The Heat is On!
Neokenshin: Time for the next chapter in our saga.
Akemi: Didn't you say you were planning on introducing a new character too?
Neokenshin: Well actually I am. It's the first of many. This story is gonna be a die hard for me with so many new characters, abilities, and just about everything else. And I still have my BIG surprise in the works too.
Akemi: Mind telling me what it is? Everyone else is gone so they won't know.
Neokenshin: Sorry kiddo, not even you're gonna know about it until it's released. And the puppy dog pout won't work. I have full immunity unlike Naruto.
Akemi: Shoot. Oh well, might as well get the story started. Besides everyone knows Naruto isn't owned by Neokenshin. Enjoy the chapter everyone!
Chapter 5: The Heat is on!
Time was counting down fast. Naruto, Kasumi, Sakura, Shino, Kakashi, and Chiyo were still searching for the location of the sealing chamber that Akatsuki had in place for the extraction of Shukaku. It had already been two days since Itachi contacted them at the start of the sealing, and that left them with hours before Gaara would be dead.
"Damn! What did they do to make it so difficult!" Naruto cursed. "Even with Shino's kikai, we still can't pinpoint their location."
"Naruto, we have to remember, we're dealing with some very crafty S-Class missing nin. They have skills and tricks that no one could even think of." Sakura said as she jumped from a branch. "For all we know they could be hidden in plain sight, but we'd never notice it."
"Maybe we should take a slight breather. We've been running full speed for the past two days, and without my Kitsune Capsules, it's taking a toll on us." Kasumi said as she slowed down. "Besides, we should get in touch with home to see if anyone has found out more information."
"Kasumi's right. Plus, you'd be no good if you weren't at full strength Naruto. Considering we're going up Deidara and he has Yonbi's chakra." Kakashi noted. "For all we know, this could be a fight similar to the one you had two years ago."
"But there's no way he could be as powerful as Shadow Sasuke." Naruto replied. "I mean yeah that was one hell of a demon, but we didn't have the skills we did now."
"Naruto, you may be right, but this time we're dealing with a single element battle. Being Deidara's elemental opposite is going to make this battle much harder, especially since Oka-san said that his level of power exceeds our own." Kasumi said to her brother. "You may be strong, but what happens if he goes beyond your Bankai level?"
Naruto just chuckled. He knew it would be a tough battle, but he was determined not to let it get him down. "If he goes beyond my Bankai, then I'll just have to take it to a whole new level higher than Bankai myself. There has to be even more to our powers. I mean we've just started tapping into the second level of Illumina Power."
Kasumi just sighed at her brother's pig headed idea. "Naruto, that may be true, but we've just started working on harmonization. Not only that but the only way you can go beyond Bankai is when Itachi and I use Rainbow Nova. Otherwise, there's no way to go beyond your maximum without doing serious damage to yourself."
"Kasumi, who was it that kept saying 'don't underestimate me, I'll always find a way to win'? I mean you said that so many times that you literally pounded it in our heads." Naruto replied. "Look nee-chan, we've done a lot to improve ourselves, and I'm not about to let Akatsuki push us over."
"2 years of training and he's still got some of the same qualities." Sakura chuckled when she looked back at Naruto. "But you gotta admit, that's what makes him unique."
"As much as I want to disagree with you, I can't Sakura-chan." Kasumi sighed. "Well, let's see what's going on back at home."
"I'll take care of this one. Naruto calling home, come in?" Naruto said into his communicator. Haku was the first to respond.
"Haku here. What's up Naruto? Is everything ok?" asked Haku. "Have you guys found Gaara yet?"
"No, not yet. We were hoping you might have found out some more information on how Akatsuki is using the power of the Bijuu." Naruto said. "Anything that can give us more information will help."
"Actually, we did find out what it is. But I had better let Oka-san tell you." Haku said nervously. "Hold on and I'll go get her."
"Ok. We'll wait." Naruto responded, wondering why Haku sounded so shaky. He turned to his teammates, "Do you guys think something isn't good?"
"If she sounded like that, then it's possible it isn't good." Sakura replied. "What do you think they found out?"
"We'll know soon enough." Kasumi said, just as Akane got on the speaker.
"Naruto, Haku told me you want to know about how Akatsuki is using the power of the Bijuu, correct?" Akane asked.
"Yeah, is there anything else you can tell us Oka-san?" Naruto said.
Akane felt her spirit go weak, knowing she needed to let her kits know. "Naruto, Kasumi, you need to know. Akatsuki isn't extracting the chakra from the Bijuu."
"What are they doing Oka-san?" asked Kasumi, wondering why her mother was sounding so grim.
"After some deep meditation, I came to the conclusion that Akatsuki is only sealing the Bijuu so they can extract something far more dangerous…the Hoshi no Tama." Akane said.
"The Star Ball?? What is that Akane-sama?" Sakura questioned. "And how come we've never heard of that?"
"The Hoshi no Tama, or Star Ball, is literally the core of our demonic power. Not only does the one who possesses the Hoshi no Tama gain control of nearly 75 percent of our chakra and energy, they also gain full control over said Bijuu." Akane explained. "When you heard Deidara had a strange stone around his neck that was the Hoshi no Tama of the Yonbi. With it, Deidara has control of nearly all of Yonbi's chakra, plus he can summon Yonbi and control him at will!"
"So you mean to say, if Akatsuki got a hold of your Hoshi no Tama, they could control you at will?" Naruto exclaimed.
"Exactly. Every single command they give me, I would have to follow to the point. Meaning if they ordered me to exterminate Konoha, I would have to do it…and with my level of power, I could decimate the whole village in less than an hour." Akane said. "The only way I could prevent that from happening is to transfer all my power to Kasumi and officially make her the new Kyuubi. Only problem with that is if I do a forceful transfer of my power, it will not only kill me, but it will even kill Kasumi."
"Ok so that's not an option." Kasumi stated. "Now here's a question. You said that the person who wields the Hoshi no Tama of a Bijuu gains nearly full control of their chakra, energy, and can summon them at a whim. What would happen if I had your Hoshi no Tama? I mean how would that affect my Light Illumina Power, since that was technically a part of your own power?"
"In all honesty I have no idea. It could be possible that combining my own chakra and energy with your Illumina Power could push you to an unreal level of power. However you could only use it for a limited amount of time before the strain would begin to tear your body apart." Akane said. "I never want to have to resort to that, but if we are forced to, then we'll do what we need."
"So we know what is giving Akatsuki their advantage. Looks like I may have to deal with the Yonbi also." Naruto said. "That's gonna be a fun fight."
"Naruto, don't even think like that! You won't stand a chance against Yonbi. Your Wind Power is nowhere near the level needed to take on Yonbi. Even with the enhancement from Rainbow Nova, you still aren't strong enough!" Akane warned her son, knowing he would be crazy enough to try something like this. "Naruto you have to promise me, if Deidara summons Yonbi, you will get your tails out of there immediately!"
"But Oka-san, I can…" Naruto said before he was immediately cut off.
"But nothing Naruto! You have no idea of the sheer force that a Bijuu possesses. You might have fought against Shukaku, but from what I was told he wasn't even at his maximum power. If Shukaku had taken full control of Gaara and released all his chakra, you wouldn't even be speaking to me right now." Akane cried. She knew full well of the power of her brethren and for one of her own kits to try and take on a Bijuu was suicide.
"But what if I had Shukaku's Hoshi no Tama. You yourself said it could push our power to insane limits. With that I could…" Naruto tried to finish.
"Naruto, please! Don't be so reckless! You're facing a potential battle you cannot win. Even if you unleashed the full force of your own power, you would be walking into your own death against Yonbi." Akane was literally in tears over hearing Naruto trying to be so reckless. "Please son, just get out of there if you face Yonbi."
Naruto was at a loss for words. He had never known his own mother to be so terrified and scared. "Ok Oka-san. I promise I'll retreat if we come face to face with Yonbi."
"Thank you Naruto. Now, you need to find Gaara as quickly as possible. I've learned from Itachi that there is only 4 more hours left of the sealing." Akane said. "Do what you can to get him out of there."
"Got it." Naruto said. "Oh one more thing Oka-san…"
"What is it Naruto?" asked Akane, hoping it wasn't something else insane.
"I'll see you when we get back home." Naruto said, easily calming Akane's soul. "And that's a promise."
"Thank you my kit." Akane said as she cut off communication.
"Well that's just great. We now have to deal with the fact that we may actually face the Yonbi himself." Naruto said in disgust.
"Yonbi, meh! That pathetic chicken would stand no chance to Shukaku. Our weapon would have destroyed that meddlesome bird." Chiyo smirked, boasting her overconfidence.
"Whatever! Did you forget that you're the reason for all of this happening to Gaara in the first place!" Naruto angrily replied. "If you hadn't been so stupid as to turn a human being into a weapon, then he wouldn't have been stuck in this situation."
"Oh, I did that? I guess I forgot." Chiyo replied with a stupid smile.
"She's gone senile again. Just great." Naruto thought to himself.
"Look the fact of the matter is this, Gaara is 4 hours from death, and we still have no idea where he is." Kasumi said. "We need to figure something out or it's not going to be good."
"Kasumi-san is correct. However I believe that we now have a better lead as the wind has shifted in our direction. My kikai have informed me that we are back on the trail of the scent of Akatsuki." Shino informed the group. "We should proceed with haste."
"Alright Shino, lead the way." Naruto said as the group took off into the trees.
"So Sasuke, any idea on what we're going to do once we get to the Phoenix Village? From our current travel time, we should be arriving fairly soon," asked Hinata.
"Well, the best thing is to get an audience with the Shichibi. Chances are they have no idea about Akatsuki's plans, so we need to warn them about their movements." Sasuke replied. "Also it would be good for us to try and establish our position as members of the Kitsune Clan. From what Akane-sama told us, she was good friends with Shichibi, so it's possible that we may be able to set up the alliance quite easily."
"As long as we don't get burned, then I think we'll be ok." Kiba added. Akamaru added his own yip.
"Burning dog hair…I see where you're coming from Kiba." Neji replied. "Though Sasuke is correct. We won't be able to do much of anything without the help of the Shichibi. But we must also remember, the Phoenix is said to be a proud creature, known for its ability to carry great burdens, their longevity of life, and their healing abilities."
"True. It is said that Phoenix Tears are the most powerful healing reagent known to man. I believe that if we obtain a sample, Tsunade-sama and Kyuubi-kouhi will be able to do a lot of good in the medical field." Momoko added. "But let's just hope that there isn't any ill will towards us. I was also told by Kyuubi-kouhi that she hasn't had a chance to speak with the Shichibi in a long time."
"How long are we talking about?" asked Sasuke.
"About 500 years?" Momoko answered with a dumb look.
Sasuke sighed, "Well that's just great. Looks like we have a lot of work cut out for us."
The group continued to travel for another 5 hours before they noticed the temperature sharply changing. Even though it was Fire country, they had never known it to be so hot. Suna had high temperatures due to the desert, but the air in the area was arid, increasing the humidity greatly.
"Wow, it has definitely gotten a lot hotter!" Kiba said, wiping the sweat from his forehead. He has already taken his leather jacket off and tied it to his waist. "How you feeling buddy? I'm surprised you haven't roasted with all that fur." Akamaru let out a few barks, telling Kiba that he was only covered in his summer coat of fur, so the heat wasn't as bad.
"We must be getting close to the Phoenix Clan village." Hinata said. She had also removed her jacket, showing off her form fitting white sleeveless top. Unlike the others, she used her Water energy to keep a thin stream of cold water surrounding her, keeping her cool. "My guess is that the chakra from the clan increases the temperature of this area. Good thing we have Haku's Ice energy to help keep us cool."
"Hinata, you're not even using it! You have your water keeping you cool." Kiba retorted, noticing she was more comfortable than anyone else.
"Oh, I hadn't noticed. Sorry about that." Hinata replied, feeling a little dumb. "But it's not doing much. The heat is making it hard for me to keep the water cold."
"The best thing to do is to keep moving. As long as we don't stay in the sun for too long, and find lots of shade, we'll be able to keep cool." Neji commented. "Plus we should use Haku's Ice power sparingly. We have yet to test out our harmonization abilities, so we don't know just how long it will last."
"Neji's right. We should keep moving." Sasuke added. "Hey, did it just get hotter or something?"
"Actually I think it did. I don't know what happened but..." Momoko said before she suddenly passed out.
"Momo-chan!" Hinata cried out as she ran over to the fallen kitsune. She placed her hand on Momoko's forehead and felt her temperature. "She's burning up. We need to get her to some shade quickly." Hinata tried to move Momoko over but suddenly heard two more loud thumps to the ground, noticing Kiba and Akamaru had passed out as well.
"This isn't good. And the temperature seems to keep going up." Neji said, tending to Kiba. "I don't know what it is but we're in big trouble."
"You're right...Neji...I don't know." Sasuke said groggily. The heat was starting to get to him as well, and he even noticed something else in the air. "There's something...in the air that's..." He soon dropped as well.
"Sasuke!" Neji said in panic. He also noticed Hinata had collapsed as well, and the heat was rising. What kind of trap had they fallen in. "There had to be something affecting their advanced sense of smell in conjunction to the heat. Looks like I'll be the first to test out Haku-chan's power." He was about to activate the light blue button on his transformer to try and cool himself off, but he soon felt a prick in his neck. Somehow he was shot with a tranquilizer dart. "Who..." The tranquilizer soon took full effect, rendering him unconscious. Before he blacked out, he saw three figures with what looked to be bird shaped masks.
"Ugh...I don't feel so good." Hinata said, slowly awakening. Her body still felt very hot from the heat, and she felt extremely sick.
"Don't move too much. You suffered from sudden heat stroke." said a calming voice. "Here, take this and lie back down." Hinata's vision was still blurry, so she couldn't see who was with her, but she knew she was in a bed at least. The other person in the room gave her a small pill and a glass of water. "This will help regulate your body temperature and help it adjust to the heat. Strange though, I always thought kitsune could handle heat, since they use Foxfire."
"Huh?" asked Hinata. Her vision was starting to slowly clear when she saw a tall woman standing near her. She couldn't make out details, but she did notice her hair color was bright red and yellow, almost like fire. "What am I..."
"It's ok. Just rest some more. Your friends are being tended to as well." said the woman. "I'll return in a few hours to check on you."
Hinata's body gave out and she soon fell back asleep, not before muttering out, "Thank...you." As soon as she was asleep, another woman entered her room. She wore a bright red and orange kimono, laced with flames. Her hair was flowing with orange and red flame. What was most noticeable were her seven flowing feathered tails. Her eyes were also quite aquiline as well, almost birdlike.
"Housenka-sama, she's fallen asleep again." said the first woman.
"Shizuka, it's fine. I said you don't have to call me that. Call me Mai." said Mai Housenka, otherwise known as the Shichibi no Houou. "I may be the Shichibi and leader of the Phoenix Clan, but I'm still a normal person from time to time."
"Forgive me Mai-sama." replied Shizuka, her retainer. "I know I'm fairly new to working for you, but I've always been taught to show you the highest of respect."
"You were raised well. Even though you were not of nobility, you have much respect. I'm glad I chose you as my retainer." said Mai, speaking of her vassal. "Now what to do about this little kitsune here. It's obvious that she carries Kyuubi's Bloodline."
"But how could you tell?" asked Shizuka.
"Demon's intuition. Now did you find anything on them of importance?" Mai questioned. Shizuka handed her a scroll, held together with a golden seal. "So Kyuubi did send a message. 500 years and it takes her this long to send me a letter." Mai bit her thumb and swiped it over the golden seal, releasing it and she started to read the scroll. "If that sneaky fox has anything important to..."
"Mai-sama, what is it?" Shizuka wondered when she saw the look on Mai's face suddenly change.
"It's Kyuubi's letter. I'll read it to you." Mai said. The letter read...
First of all please don't be mad at me for not contacting you in over 500 years. I've had a lot of stress going on with Kami after Ryukotsusei's sealing, and you know how picky that old coot can be. But that's not important. Right now we are facing some grave times ahead. Hopefully you've heard of a group known as Akatsuki. Well apparently they are hunting us down to take control of our chakra for their own twisted schemes. As of right now, Yonbi and Hachibi have been captured and sealed, and as we speak Shukaku is suffering the same fate. I have sent some of my own kits to hopefully save Shukaku, but right now things look grim. You should notice that I have sent two of my own kits with this scroll, Sasuke Uchiha and Hinata Hyuuga, the Second Prince and Princess of the Kitsune Clan. They are also the wielders of the Fire and Water Illumina Gems, so I have a feeling you may have questions for Sasuke. They are also accompanied by Neji Hyuuga, wielder of the Lightning Gem, Kiba Inuzuka, tracking and recon specialist, and Momoko Kusajishi, Sixth Princess of the Kitsune. My hope is that you will unite with my home of Konoha, and of the Kitsune Village in order to stop Akatsuki. I also ask for your assistance in stopping the rogue Sannin Orochimaru. I've learned that he has a desire to release the seal on Ryukotsusei and take that power for his own. We can't let that happen Mai-chan, especially since my kits and their friends haven't taken full control of the Illumina Gems. All I ask is that you please consider this, and join with me to stop all of this from happening.
Akane Uzumaki, the Kyuubi no Kitsune.
P.S. Yeah I did end up getting a new human form. And I do have to say I really like it. Oh and I included lots of pictures of all my kits because I know how you like pictures. Honestly Naruto was an absolutely adorable bundle when he was born! And he's grown up so much now. So that means I wanna see pictures of your own chicks as well.
P.P.S Speaking of your own chicks, you have gotten married, right? I mean I know you were single for the longest time. Well trust me girl, if you still are, and you're looking for a good husband, I can find a lot of good men for you in Konoha. There's this one guy, his name is Iruka Umino, and I swear he is really cute. You'd really like him a lot! He's good with kids too since he was the one that trained my own kits in the ninja academy.
P.P.S.S. And no I did NOT go get a new best friend. The woman you see there with me in one of the pictures is the best friend of the person I merged with, so don't think I went and forgot about you Mai-chan. When you end up merging with a human, it's a lot to take in, so I've had it kinda rough! Least I'm not gonna be mean and try to ruffle your feathers...Imouto-chan!!
"Akane Uzumaki...so that's who she is now. That sneaky fox!" Mai said, starting to feel a little angered after seeing a picture fall out, containing Akane and the family.
"Mai-sama, is everything ok?" Shizuka asked of her mistress.
"No everything is not ok! That crazy vixen takes 500 years to send me a message, only to tell me that she's married and has a bunch of kids! Her husband is a total hunk, and she's rich!" Mai exclaimed.
"But Mai-sama, you're the leader of the village...you also have the same kind of wealth." Shizuka replied.
"So! I'm still single! I want a husband! I want to have chicks of my own! So what if I'm the most powerful Fire demon in the Elemental Lands, I just want to be a mom!" Mai cried out. "Oh Akane will get her alliance, but the moment I see that fox, I'm going to nitpick at her like no tomorrow! And so what if she's older than me!"
"Uh Mai-sama, if I didn't know better, I'd say you two were like sisters?" Shizuka stated.
Mai just sighed as she took a seat near the bed. "You could say that. Kyuubi always treated me like her little sister. Sure she was really caring and even looked after me from time to time, but she even picked at me when we were young Bijuu. And what's worse is she always got a good laugh out of it while I was stuck looking like an idiot." She then turned to look at the sleeping Hinata, noticing that Kyuubi was pretty lucky too. "And I gotta say, she has a very pretty kit with that girl. Well, looks like we have work to do Shizuka. Prepare one of my fastest birds, and get ready to send a message to Akane."
"What will you do now Mai-sama?" asked Shizuka as she prepared to take her leave.
"I'll wait here for this kit to awaken. Akane said she possessed the Water Gem, so her body may adjust to the heat a lot more quickly. Then I need to assess the other she spoke of, Sasuke Uchiha. If we're dealing with some very dangerous people, I may need to teach the boy how to reach deeper into his Fire Illumina power. For now make sure all of them are attended to and when they are all back up to speed, contact me."
"As you wish Mai-sama." Shizuka said, taking her leave.
"Now, time to see what other pictures Akane included. Especially this Iruka person." Mai said to herself, unsealing the pictures in the scroll. What she found was a mini-album that Akane had put together of all the kids from 2 years ago, including some shots of Naruto, Kasumi, and Hinata back when they were 6 years old. And there was the shot of Iruka in there too. "Ooh, she was right! He is cute!! I bet he knows how to warm a nest too!"
"Shino are we any closer to the Akatsuki location?" asked Naruto as his group continued to run through the forest.
"My kikai have given us a good location. I feel we are drawing near them. We must stay alert." Shino replied stoically.
"How much time do we have left anyway?" Sakura wondered, hoping to get to Gaara in time.
"Last time I checked, we're down to the last 30 minutes! If we don't make it in time, Gaara's finished." Kasumi said. "What's worse is that we have no way of bringing him back if that happens."
"Kasumi, can't you use that jutsu that brought Naruto back after Shadow Sasuke killed him?" Sakura asked.
"No, after I used that jutsu I was told I could never use it again. Hinata is the only person that can use it, and she's on the other side of Fire Country." Kasumi replied. "Not only that but we can't be sure Gaara is going to survive even after having so much chakra extracted from him."
"I swear if he dies..." Naruto said, feeling his blood begin to boil. He sent a sharp glare directly at Chiyo, hoping to reinforce the fact that she was the cause of all of this.
"Naruto, remember, we need to be on our guard. Remember, Akatsuki is at a completely different level than any shinobi you've faced." Kakashi instructed. "We need to make sure not to let them get the upper hand."
"Whatever. Just get ready for a blood bath involving some freaks in black cloaks." Naruto replied. He soon noticed Shino came to a sudden stop. "Uh Shino, everything ok?"
"We are here. Akatsuki is at this location." Shino pointed to a large boulder covering the entrance to a cave. "They must be using that boulder as adequate cover."
"Not only that but what's the deal with that seal?" asked Sakura. "I've never seen anything like that before."
"That's a Five Point seal. It's designed so that it can only be removed when four similar seals can be removed." Chiyo explained. "Knowing my grandson, he probably told them to scatter the seals far away as to give them more time."
"Your grandson! WHAT! You mean you have a relative in Akatsuki!" Naruto said in shock.
"Naruto, did you already forget? Her grandson is Sasori of the Red Sand. We learned that back at the briefing before we left." Kasumi told her brother, still thinking how dense he could be sometimes.
"Oh yeah, I forgot." Naruto answered, not really thinking. "But we have no idea where the seals are, and it may take too long to get them. Gaara could be dead by then."
"True, but we could always do something that Naruto always does." Kakashi hinted.
"And what would THAT be Kakashi-sensei?" Naruto snapped.
"We break through head on." Kakashi answered. "With enough power here, we could probably obliterate that seal and the boulder at the same time."
"Hold on, I thought the Jounin was supposed to think rationally in situations like this?" Naruto asked, thinking that this wasn't normal for Kakashi.
"We are, but seriously, do you want to wait around and have Akatsuki kill Gaara, or do you want to get in there Naruto Uzumaki style and start cracking some skulls?" Kakashi said. "Now the Naruto I know still has a nice little bull headed attitude when it comes to his friends. So do I have to wait to see it?"
"You're serious aren't you Kakashi-sensei?" Sakura said in shock. "You actually want us to do something Naruto would normally do!"
"Well, he has been gone for two years, and this is his first major battle if I am correct. So why not let him have some fun?" asked Kakashi. "It will be a good character building experience for him."
"Then I say we should get into our good clothes girls, any objections?" Naruto said, watching both of them nod in agreement. "Kasumi-chan, you're agreeing with me as well?"
"Naruto, I know you better than anyone here, and do you think I could stop you from going nuts? I mean come on!" Kasumi replied. "Besides, I've been bored myself I and wanna have some fun too!"
"That's why I'm glad you my sister, Kasumi-chan. Alright let's do this! WIND PRISM ACTIVAITON!" said Naruto.
"LIGHT PRISM ACTIVATION!" Kasumi said.
"ILLUMINA ARMOR ACTIVATION!" Sakura said.
"Wow, Dr. Sakurano did a good job on your Illumina Armor Sakura." Kasumi said, taking notice of Sakura's new armor. "It's almost like ANBU Armor."
"Really? I did always think it was nice. Plus it complimented my clothes." Sakura replied. She now donned a solid white ANBU chest plate, white armguards and leg guards. What was even better was that her armguards now had hidden compartments for her medicines and weapons as well, so she could access them much faster. Also like the others, her hitai-ate was now around her forehead. "Yeah it's really good too since I have faster access to my supplies, and I can even withstand more weapon damage as well."
"So the famed Illumina Knights of Konoha are active once more." Shino said. "Always nice to see you at your best."
"Shino, if I didn't know better I'd say you were a little jealous!" Kasumi said.
Shino simply adjusted his sunglasses. "You are quite incorrect Kasumi-san. Though I do not become jealous at trivial things, I will admit I am slightly envious."
"Just what are you? How did you even do such a thing?" Chiyo asked in astonishment.
"You really wanna know...then sit back and watch." Naruto answered. "Alright, I say we do this in three parts. Sakura you hit that rock as hard as possible, then I'll come in with a Rasen-Shuriken, and Kasumi can finish it up with a Starburst Cannon. Sound like a plan?"
"Sounds good to me. Kasumi-chan, which capsule did you say would amplify my chakra again?" asked Sakura.
"It's Kitsune Capsule no. 1. To make it easier, it's the red pill." Kasumi said, as Sakura saw what she needed.
"Ah ok. Thanks." Sakura replied, quickly downing the pill. She then took her place on top of the boulder. "Ready when you are."
"You ready nee-chan?" Naruto asked.
Kasumi smiled, "Been waiting two years to do this again."
"BANKAI!" Naruto and Kasumi screamed, unleashing the full force of their Illumina Power. The training had done them well as their power had increased greatly.
"Time to add a little fire to the mix." Naruto said, pressing the red button on his transformer. Suddenly a huge rush of Fire Energy coursed through his body, sending increasing his attack power greatly. "Whoa! So this is what Sasuke gets as his enhancement. Nice!"
"Alright here we go guys." Sakura said, channeling a huge amount of chakra in her fist. "SHANNARO!!" Sakura slammed her fist with tremendous force into the large boulder, causing the entire land around her to start quaking from the strike. As for the boulder, a large crack shot down the middle, ready for Naruto's attack.
"Here comes part two! WIND RASEN-SHURIKEN!" Naruto slammed his green energy ball into the boulder as Sakura jumped off, immediately causing it to expand in a flurry of cutting energy blades that chipped at the boulder from the inside. As the bomb was fading, Naruto could see that more damage had been done and Kasumi was sure to clean up. "Alright nee-chan, it's all yours."
"Naruto-nii-kun, you're so sweet." Kasumi replied as her light energy was pulsing in her hands. "Time to make an entrance! STARBURST CANNON!" Firing her Light Wave Cannon, Kasumi hit the weak point of the boulder, immediately blasting through it. "We always did know how to make an entrance."
"Well Akatsuki's about to get one hell of an entrance from us! Come on!" Naruto said, charging into the cave.
"What was that disturbance!" asked Pein as he felt the cavern shake through his astral projection.
"Someone's gotten through the seal. But how could they! We placed a Five Point Seal to guard the area." Deidara said in shock. "There's no way!"
"We must finish the sealing. Otherwise our work will be for naught. Everyone needs to maintain focus." Konan said, trying to keep everyone on task.
"They made it. I just hope they can get Gaara out of here soon. He only has 15 minutes left!" Itachi thought to himself.
"Deidara, Sasori, stop them immediately. We shall continue with the sealing. Now go!" Pein commanded.
"Time for me to show off my art!" Deidara said, immediately summoning a clay bird to ride upon. Sasori followed behind, slithering as quickly as possible.
"Come on guys, don't let them win. And please beware of Deidara and Yonbi." Itachi thought as he continued the sealing.
"I don't see how we were followed. You said the desert would mask any trace of us Sasori." Deidara complained. "What happened to your plan?"
"Do not patronize me Deidara. Unless they were using some form of tracking we do not know of, we should have been safe." Sasori replied.
"Too bad you won't be safe from this! VORTEX STORM!" Naruto shouted, summoning a large tornado to ravage the ground.
"What the hell!" Deidara said, avoiding the tornado. "Since when was there a tornado in here."
"Since we brought it! HIKARI SHURIKEN NO JUTSU!" Kasumi screamed, unleashing a massive barrage of Light Chakra shuriken into Naruto's vortex. "Sakura, they're distracted, go for it!"
"With pleasure Kasumi." Sakura said, slamming her fist into the ground to create a shockwave that ripped towards the Akatsuki shinobi. The two were quite unmoved as Deidara instantly created a rock pillar to block the attack.
"Just great, don't tell me he's already using Yonbi's chakra." Naruto said in disgust. Deidara just smiled with an evil grin.
"Not yet, but if you really want me to, I'll use it. It will give me a great chance to create some new art. What about you Sasori, how will you create your works?" Deidara said, noticing Sasori staring straight at Chiyo.
"So this is what you are using your skills for, grandson?" Chiyo thought to herself. "How could you have taken something with so much talent and used it for something like this."
"So Chiyo-baa-san, I see you have decided to come as well. I take much pride in the fact that I can end your life here and now." Sasori said with a sadistic tone.
"You won't take pride in anything you freaks!" Naruto screamed as he pulled out a three prong kunai. He threw it straight at Deidara, setting himself up. "See if you can deal with this."
"Naruto, wait!" Kakashi warned, but he was too late.
"HIRAISHIN NO JUTSU!" Naruto instantly warped to his kunai which was only about 2 feet from Deidara. He had a Rasengan ready to slam into the Rock nin, but Deidara was a little faster.
"So you know the technique of the Yellow Flash, Iwa's greatest nemesis." Deidara said, quickly engulfing his hand in Yonbi's chakra. A large coating of rock formed on his hand as he turned to face Naruto. "Too bad I left that pathetic village. I would make a killing if they knew I destroyed someone that knows the moves of the Yellow Flash!"
"Don't you dare speak my father's name! I'll…" Naruto said. He tried to attack first, but Deidara had the upper hand.
"Shut it kid!" Deidara said, slamming the rock coated fist into Naruto. The force was so strong that it launched Naruto towards the sealing stone…and directly in the path of the flowing chakra being extracted from Gaara. Naruto crashed into the stone with force, and was caught in the flowing chakra.
"YAA!!" Naruto screamed in pain as Shukaku's chakra ripped through his body. What no one noticed however, was that Naruto's Wind Gem began glowing more intensely than ever.
"We have to get him down from there! Otherwise we won't be able to save Gaara!" Kasumi said.
"Let's move then!" Kakashi instructed, however Deidara and Sasori were there to intercept them.
"Actually you'll be doing neither." Deidara laughed as he threw a spray of clay bombs, causing the Konoha team to jump back from the explosions. "If you want to even think of getting close, you have to get through us."
"Crud! Kasumi, we gotta do something. His explosions are way too dangerous here." Sakura said, noting the enclosed cave. "If he keeps this up, he'll cause the whole place to cave in."
"You're right. Plus we still have to deal with that Sasori guy too." Kasumi replied. "Hold on, I got it! Kakashi-sensei, do you think you and Shino could get Deidara out of here?"
"What do you have in mind Kasumi?" asked Kakashi.
"He's obviously obsessed with his so called 'art'. Well, that may be his weak point. See if you can use that to lure him out of here. We'll try to handle Sasori, then catch up to you. Plus if he summons Yonbi in here, we'll all be killed from the cave in." Kasumi said. "Otherwise we're nothing but targets for him."
"You have a good idea there. Shino, any objections?" Kakashi asked, as he pulled his hitai-ate up to reveal his Sharingan.
"None. I agree with Kasumi-san's plan. We should make haste." Shino added.
"Very well. Alright, you two keep an eye on Naruto and Chiyo-san, and try not to get killed. If it gets bad, get out of here." Kakashi said. "As for you, I have to say, you have a very poor sense of art. You know, if you had a much larger canvas, you could enlighten us more."
"So you wish to know what real art looks like. Fine, keep up if you can, and I'll show you a grand masterpiece." Deidara said smugly. He quickly flew out of the cave, giving Kakashi and Shino time to make chase.
"Knew he'd fall for it." Kasumi said. "So what do we do about this guy?"
"Well we know he controls puppets, and that he also is a master of poison, so what else is there?" Sakura asked.
"Wouldn't you like to know. What I see before me is three new puppets for my collection. First I will drain the fluids and remove the organs, then I will make sure the empty cavities are clean. That is my art!"
"Ok, this guy is really talking crazy!" Kasumi said. "He wants to make us into puppets?"
"Yes, Sasori had a knack for puppets. Looks like he wants to make this old lady show some tricks." Chiyo said, removing her hat. She undid the bob in her hair to let it down, then reached into the sleeves of her robe. "Well I will be glad to show him just what I know." With that she pulled out a string of kunai…only there was no string!
"Wait, how is she making those kunai float like that!" Kasumi asked in amazement.
"Yeah, there's no string! What's going on!"
"This is ninja puppetry. Watch and learn!" Chiyo said, sending the kunai at Sasori. His tail blocked, though a few got through and slashed his cloak.
"You'll have to do better than that Chiyo-baa-san." Sasori replied, ripping off the rest of his cloak to reveal a large puppet with what looked to be a large mouth on its back where the tail emerged.
"What is that!" Sakura said in shock. "That can't be his true form, is it?"
"No, that is another one of his puppets, known as Hiruko. It is one of his biggest puppets." Chiyo explained.
"But how is he controlling it! I thought you had to control a puppet from the outside, and there's no one around!" Kasumi asked. "That's how Kankuro does it."
"Kankuro…he's just a novice compared to me." Sasori laughed. "Now are you going to make a move or keep me waiting more."
"Sakura, Kasumi, come here." Chiyo directed. "Listen girls, we need to get him out of that puppet. But the only way to do that is to smash that puppet up close."
"Wait, couldn't Kasumi just blast him with a Starburst Cannon or something?" Sakura asked. "That would get him out of there a lot faster."
"That is true Sakura, but we do not need Sasori knowing our trump cards just yet." Chiyo said, flashing a smile. "For now just make sure not to get hit at all. Plus…" She whispered something to the girls, making sure Sasori would not hear.
"This is getting annoying. Why are you making me wait!" Sasori growled.
"So sorry grandson, I just had to tell the girls a quick message." Chiyo said. She noticed Sakura tighten her gloves, while Kasumi took one of her Kitsune Capsules. "Now shall we begin?"
"With pleasure!" Sasori said, as the mouth on his puppet opened. Next thing that happened was a massive barrage of needles that shot out of the mouth. "Get out of this if you can!"
The needles flew full speed as Kasumi, Sakura, and Chiyo ran into them. The three then began an elegant dance, bodies flowing like water as the three nimbly evaded each needle.
"You seem to be off aim Sasori." Chiyo said while continuing to avoid the needles. The dance of evasion kept up for a good three minutes until Chiyo and the girls fell back. "Kasumi, Sakura, go now!"
"Got it!" Kasumi replied.
"Right with you Kasumi-chan!" Sakura said. The duo rushed in, avoiding the last of the needle spray while Chiyo stood still behind the two.
"So they want to be foolish again!" Sasori said. "Try to dodge this!" He thrust his tail at the two girls but before it hit, the girls and his tail suddenly stopped in place. "What is this! Why did my tail…the knives!"
"So you caught on Sasori. A true master of puppetry knows how to mask the chakra strings to the point of making them invisible." Chiyo said. "My first attack was just a diversion to get the strings on your tail."
"Now it means we can do this!" Kasumi said, as she and Sakura jumped in the air, positioning themselves over Sasori. "Get ready for a double dose of pain!"
"Hey Kasumi, wanna join me this time!" Sakura said as they were about to strike.
"Sure, how did that go again?" Kasumi asked. "Oh yeah…"
"SHANNARO!!" Kasumi and Sakura screamed, delivering a double earth shattering strike, instantly destroying Sasori's puppet. As the pieces flew everywhere, the duo saw a figure jump back, also dressed in the same black and red Akatsuki cloak.
"So that's the real Sasori." Sakura said. "Time to finally meet the cause of our troubles."
"Oh the trouble is just beginning." Sasori said, pulling his cloak back to reveal his face.
"Wha…wait, he's just as young as we are!" Kasumi said in shock. "But I thought he'd be older!"
"Sasori, you didn't! You foolish boy." Chiyo said in disgust. "I never thought you would go as far as to do this."
"Chiyo-sama, what did he do?" asked Sakura.
"He's modified his body with puppetry. He was able to preserve his youth and his life through Human Puppetry." Chiyo said. "That is how he has not aged."
"Not only have I done that, but I also have this." Sasori said, taking out a scroll. With it he summoned another puppet, one Chiyo easily remembered.
"That's the Sandaime Kazekage! Don't tell me you were behind his disappearance!" Chiyo exclaimed. "We thought he had been killed!"
"Oh he was, by me. Then I turned his body into one of my most useful puppets." Sasori smiled as he looked at his puppet. "What's better is that I have full access to every skill of the Sandaime Kazekage as well!"
"That's impossible! How could a puppet have the skills of the person it was made from!" Kasumi asked, wondering what was going on.
"It's Human Puppetry, a skill Sasori knows far too well. When a normal body is used for puppetry, it retains all of the chakra and abilities it had before being turned into a puppet. Meaning that puppet has the chakra, and the unique skills of the Sandaime Kazekage!" Chiyo explained. "You girls stay back, I'll handle this."
"Chiyo-baa-san, do you really think you can do anything?" Sasori smirked.
"Of course, with these two puppets, I'll stop you." Chiyo said, summoning two puppets of her own, easily familiar to Sasori.
"So, you've taken the puppets I made of my own parents. How amusing." Sasori said. "Those are nothing but junk to me now."
"Wait, are those human puppets as well?" Sakura questioned.
"No, these are regular puppets, though I have modified them myself." Chiyo said as the puppets moved in front of her. "Very well boy, let us not delay." She sent the puppets at Sasori into battle.
"Very well Chiyo-baa-san. I hope you enjoy death!" Sasori cackled as he sent his own puppet into combat. The three puppets were locked in a massive flurry of attacks, causing Kasumi and Sakura to witness a battle of puppet masters never once seen.
"This is just unreal! The way they command those puppets!" Kasumi said in awe.
"Yeah, and I thought Kankuro was good." Sakura replied. "Speaking of Kankuro…"
"GAARA!!" the two girls said together. They turned to the sealing stone only to see the very last of Shukaku's chakra flow out of Gaara, causing his body to fall to the ground as a lifeless husk. As the chakra was finally sealed, the last had passed through Naruto, causing him to fall to the ground as well. The two girls quickly ran over to check on the boys, only to find Naruto looked much different.
"Naruto, are you ok?" Kasumi asked her brother. "Answer me Naruto!"
"I'm…fine Kasumi-chan." Naruto was breathing heavily from the mass of chakra that flowed through him. "I just…never thought that having that much pure chakra…going through me would feel like that."
"Guys, we were too late! They sealed Shukaku!" Sakura said, carrying Gaara's lifeless body over to the two. "Gaara's dead!"
"No…they did this…AKATSUKI!!" Naruto turned his glare to the silhouettes atop the sealing stone. His glare directed at all but one. "I swear it…I will kill you all."
"Damn! We were too late!" Itachi cursed himself. "Naruto, I'm so sorry. If I could have only known the location of the chamber."
"Itachi-kun, are you ok!" Mikoto asked, as she came to her son's side.
"We lost. They have Shukaku now. Deidara and Sasori held them off long enough for the sealing to finish." Itachi said in defeat.
"Look, don't let this get you down. You did all you could to try to get the group there in time. Plus if you hadn't done what you did, then your cover would have been blown, and you'd be in worse danger." Mikoto replied, comforting her son. "Right now, the best thing to do is try and gather more information for us like you have been doing. They still have no idea you're on our side."
"Alright Oka-san. I guess I should rest and try to contact Sasuke to let him know what's going on." Itachi said, as he dispelled his astral projection and went to rest.
Kasumi saw the figure of Itachi suddenly vanish, knowing he was probably upset at the failure as well. "Itachi-nii-san, you did your best for us. Sorry we didn't make it in time."
"The sealing is finished. Continue with the mission." Pein said as the other silhouettes vanished.
"Akatsuki…Kasumi-chan, where is Deidara," asked Naruto. "I want him now!"
"Kakashi-sensei and Shino got him to leave the cave so his explosives wouldn't cause a cave in." Kasumi replied. "But what are you going to do?"
"I'm going to do to him what he did to Gaara…KILL HIM!" Naruto said in rage. In his rage, he was now enveloped in a green aura. Even his eyes were glowing bright green as well.
"Naruto…what's happened to you?" Kasumi wondered about her brother, never seeing this aura around him.
"Take Gaara's body someplace safe. I have work to do." Naruto ordered. With that he flew out of the cave at full speed, heading straight for Deidara.
"Come on Kasumi-chan, let's get Gaara safe, and then get back to Chiyo-baa-sama." Sakura said, carrying Gaara to the entrance of the cave.
"Gotcha Sakura-chan." Kasumi said, helping her friend.
As for Naruto, his mind was consumed with grief and rage. He hadn't seen Gaara in over two years, and now the first time they meet, his first sight is Gaara's lifeless body. He knew the danger he was headed to, and was ready to take it on in full force.
"Alright Deidara…time for you to feel the full force of the power of Wind! You can't hide from me!" Naruto screamed as he flew full speed into the sky.
Looks like its time for the battles to begin. Chiyo, Sakura, and Kasumi vs Sasori, Naruto, Shino, and Kakashi vs Deidara. It's gonna be a lot more intense now. And the first of the Bijuu has been revealed. What does Mai have in store for Sasuke, Hinata, and their team. And what's going to happen when she eventually comes face to face with Akane?? Things are gonna start heating up now! As always please read and review! Everyone's reviews give me tons of feedback for future ideas.