Complicated doesn't explain it!
Naruto: Yeesh! I've heard of extended vacations but man this was a long one!
Kasumi: It wasn't a vacation, it was a sabbatical!
Naruto: What's that?
Kasumi: Uh it's where you take time off to go and learn more things, increase your knowledge and then you come back with tons of new ideas and stuff.
Naruto: Oh...that makes sense.
Kasumi: Plus Neokenshin kinda ended up and got himself a girlfriend, so he's also got real life to handle too.
Naruto: Well then, I guess we'll just have to work that into the script too. Now let's get back to the story. It's been a long wait for our return so let's make it a good one! And you guys know Kishi owns Naruto!
Chapter 32: Things go from complicated to more complicated!
The air was calm as a gentle breeze flowed through the lush foliage of Mount Myoboku, home of the great toads. One could hear the calm streams flowing, insects chirping, and toads of all sizes were resting calmly at peace. A soothing aura could be felt all around as one could feel in tune with nature itself. No one could break this calming peace…well…almost no one.
"YEEOUCH!" Naruto grabbed his head in pain after getting hit again. "Geez do you have to hit me so dang hard!"
"I told you, in order to master Senjutsu you must have complete calm and focus. Or do you want to end up as a fox-toad statue?" Fukasaku tapped the mystic staff on the ground. "Now try it again!"
"Ok ok! Sheesh! I think you're only hitting me because Natsu-chan is your favorite." Naruto grumbled as he went back into his meditative pose.
"Well maybe I should make you practice while fully dressed. I doubt you'd like that in this heat?" Naruto heard the old toad's words and quickly shook his head. It was definitely a hot day and luckily he and Natsumi could dress lightly. He had been only in a pair of dark blue swim trunks, while Natsumi was in a purple and blue two piece swimsuit. "Speaking of Natsu-chan, I think she's doing quite well." The duo turned to see the kitsune girl in perfect calm and harmony. Natsumi had quickly taken to getting in tune with the natural energy around her, easily harnessing it. However…
"OW! That hurt!" Natsumi's focus was quickly broken as she was hit on the head with Fukasaku's stick. "Fuka-jii-sama, why so hard?"
"You was getting a little 'toady' there girl. But you've done well. Pretty soon you'll be able to start on Frog Kata." Replied the old toad. "For now let's go in. Ma's got dinner ready."
"Finally, a word I like!" Naruto rubbed his stomach as it growled.
"Even if it's not normal food?" Natsumi asked. "I know you miss having a big bowl of ramen."
"Ugh, don't remind me. I'll be so glad to get back home and eat some REAL food!" Naruto said, not knowing he was overheard.
"And what's wrong with my cooking?" The two kitsune turned to see another toad with an angry look. "I'll have you know I cook some of the best meals in Myoboku!"
"Oh, uh, it's not that Shima-sama…it's just that, I mean…well…" Naruto spat out to save face.
"That again Naruto-chan? Silly boy." Shima just chuckled as she knew what Naruto meant. Over the past month Naruto and Natsumi were presented with a different type of cuisine…namely toad cuisine, which usually consisted of insects and larva that the toads loved. To a normal human, it would probably make them sick, but strangely Naruto and Natsumi were able to eat it with no problem as kitsune hanyou. "I'll have you know that the stomach grows fond of what it doesn't have over time."
"Yeah…I kinda figured that." Naruto said as he went in and sat down. "I still can't believe it's been this long and I haven't come close to perfecting gathering nature energy."
"What's throwing you off Naruto?" asked his twin. "It's not that hard. You just have to be perfectly still and calm."
"Well that's easy for you." Naruto said as a bowl of soup was placed in front of him. "I just feel like I need to be out there using that energy instead of trying to gather it. I mean I can already gather it using the oil, but I have to perfect it without the oil."
"Hmm, that's been bothering me since you two have been here." Fukasaku commented as he ate. "Naruto-chan was able to use the natural energy almost flawlessly once he could gather it with the oil, but Natsumi-chan had way too much difficulty. And on the other hand, she could gather the nature chakra with no problem, but Naruto-chan would be a blasted toad statue if I didn't knock that energy out of him."
"Hmm…never noticed that." Naruto said after taking another bite. "That ever bother you Natsu-chan?"
"Not really. Do you think it might have something to do because we're twins?" asked the kitsune girl.
"That's another thing! Why on earth didn't Arashi-chan tell me he had a girl?" Fukasaku added.
"Oh that. Well…technically…Otou-san isn't my true father. Naruto-kun is." Natsumi said, causing both Fukasaku and Shima to spit out their food.
"Yeah, that…see the thing is I created Natsu-chan a few years ago when I was training for the Chuunin exams. It was right around the time I signed the toad contract." Naruto explained. "She was really just an alternate form I could change into, but over time she just got a mind of her own."
"Since then, Oka-san taught us a jutsu that would let us separate spiritually and that's how I was born…so to speak. Just before Kasumi-chan and Shiori-chan got married, Oka-san placed a Life Stream seal on me." Natsumi showed off the fox shaped tattoo on her hand. "This pretty much made me completely real and self reliant. I have my own chakra system and everything."
"Hmm…maybe that's what is causing the problem." Shima commented. "When you separated, your abilities were evenly split between you."
"Naruto-kun, she's right! Haven't you noticed how we do completely different things with the jutsu we know? Both of us know the Kage Bunshin, but we also have different variants. You can make thousands of clones, while I can only make a few, but I can change their form perfectly." Natsumi commented on this revelation. "Also like the Hiraishin. You know how to move at the highly accelerated speed over long distances and only create a temporary afterimage for a long period of time, but I can only go short distances and create a long term afterimage that looks real."
"Whoa, never thought of that. So are you saying we actually hurt ourselves by splitting apart?" Naruto asked with his mouth full.
"No way baka! No offense, but I like being my own person." Natsumi replied. "What I'm saying is that maybe if we use the Kitsune Rei Yuukai to fuse together, it may let both of us perfect using senjutsu. You have a hard time gathering the chakra because you have difficulty maintaining perfect calm and stillness, while I can do that no problem." She saw Naruto raise an eye in intrigue. "Now while I can gather the chakra, I have the worst time using it correctly, but you can use it like it's second nature. What if I gathered the chakra and you used it. This would make it so together we could use the chakra indefinitely?"
"Natsumi-chan that just might work!" Fukasaku was surprised at the girl's brightness. "Alright you two, we'll work on this fusion thing or whatever you call it tomorrow. For now, eat up!"
"Forget tomorrow, we gotta try this out today!" Naruto said as he sped up his eating.
The twins quickly chowed down (how anyone human could eat what was before them was a feat of its own), and rushed back out to begin testing their theory. After coating themselves in the special Toad Oil to allow gathering nature energy much easier, the duo used the Kitsune Rei Yuukai to fuse, leaving Naruto standing alone.
"Let's hope this works." Naruto said as he sat down to enter a meditative state.
"It should. I'll focus on gathering the energy and direct it to you. Afterwards, try to lift the large statue that Fukasaku-sama said to practice with." Natsumi said from inside.
"Alright tadpoles, show me what you got." Fukasaku was waiting with his staff in case anything went wrong.
Naruto closed his eyes and began to enter a state of perfect calm. Natsumi was already perfectly still and in balance as she drew in the natural energy. Upon coming one with Naruto, their chakra merged and she was now in full control of keeping the balance. Due to the Toad Oil, she could easily feel the natural energy flowing and felt the harmony as it balanced with the other chakras.
"Amazing. It feels so calm and peaceful. It's like a wonderful dream happening." Natsumi said to herself. Although she couldn't see it, a very noticeable change happened to her face. The same happened with Naruto.
"I don't believe it!" Fukasaku saw Naruto and was amazed. As an elder sage, he could sense the nature chakra in someone when it was in use. When he saw Naruto, it confirmed that the twins were supposed to be one when using Senjutsu. "Naruto-chan, she was right! She's balancing the energy flawlessly."
Naruto opened his eyes, now with a red/orange coloring just above the eye. His pupils were no longer vertical as in his normal form, but now a cross shape, as it was a blending of his kitsune traits and his new Sage form. Natsumi had the exact same traits as well if she could be seen. There were no other traces of toad features anywhere. The two had achieved the Perfect Sage Form. "This feels amazing. I feel a thousand times stronger! The natural energy is in perfect balance with our combined chakras." He went over to the statue that Fukasaku let the two practice on and began to lift it.
"Astounding! You picked that up like it was nothing at all." Fukasaku was more than amazed. Not even Jiraiya had reached the perfected form. "Once we finish your training, Madara will be in for a big surprise!"
"You bet he will Fukasaku-sama. After all the crap he's pulled with us, he'll think twice before pissing off an Uzumaki." Natsumi said to herself.
In another part of the world, scents were running wild as Kiba and Kimiko were atop Akamaru, running through a jungle in Earth Country. Their mission was to follow leads on looking for two legendary artifacts, the Totsuka Sword and the Yata Mirror. Kagome had gone over her scrolls and parchments for holy weapons that could possibly be used to help defeat Madara, and these two were the ones that came up. After about two weeks in Lightning Country, the duo located the Totsuka Sword in an abandoned temple miles from the Inu Village. Now their leads were sending them through the jungles to find the Yata Mirror.
"Ugh, I hate dry weather." Kimiko complained as she took a drink from her water bottle. "It always makes my fur on my ears and tails go frizzy."
"Arf!" Akamaru replied. Of course, being half Inu, Kimiko easily understood him.
"You too huh Akamaru?" Kimiko replied as she rubbed his head. "I say when this is done, we head back to my house for a full on luxury treatment. That will really put the shine back in your coat."
"Oh so he gets a luxury treatment? What do I get?" Kiba complained.
Kimiko turned back and shot him a cold stare, "You get a trip to the doghouse like always." That caused Kiba to flinch when Kimiko started laughing. "You know I never get tired of that Kiba-kun."
"Ugh, Inuyasha-sama's stories are true. You are just like your mother." Kiba groaned.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Kimiko was a little upset at that retaliatory comment. "Oh whatever. So any idea on what these so called artifacts are supposed to do?"
"Not a clue. Although apparently Kagome-sama said that they were considered to be very powerful items. She also said something about a Yaksani Jewel, but I wonder why we weren't told to find that one." Kiba replied.
"You don't think Madara has it, do you?"
"I would hope not." Kiba put the scroll with the artifact information back in his pouch. "If he did, then things might not be good at all."
The duo continued through the jungle, following a lead they got from a small restaurant in a village they found. The news was that the mirror was located in a temple that was built to honor some kind of god. After a few hours the two decided to make camp for the night. Luckily they found an empty cave for shelter.
"Here ya go boy." Kiba set down a slab of meat from a deer they found for dinner. The large dog was definitely ready for a bite as he started chewing on the meat. "Wow looks like he was hungry."
"Well duh! He's been running all day with your heavy carcass on his back." Kimiko teased as she brushed some more sauce on the roasting deer meet she was cooking. "He wouldn't be that hungry if it was just me riding on him."
"Yeesh Kimiko, do you have to be so harsh? I don't know what's worse, you like this or you back when you were evil?" Kiba sat down beside the fire and took a drink from his canteen.
Kimiko had a sudden flashback, remembering that day…the day she almost killed Kiba. "Sorry Kiba-kun, really. I'm just playing around."
Kiba knew that time was a rough time for her. Ever since they first met back in the Inu Village, he saw that she was a caring person, but when her personality was completely twisted, it was a person he never wanted to see ever. "Does that still bother you?"
Kimiko went and sat beside her boyfriend, pulling her knees to her chest, "Yeah it does. I still have nightmares sometimes of thrusting that sword into your chest like that…or after I heard that Naruto had killed Konohamaru in cold blood. It makes me worried to think that I could return to that person again…a dark, ruthless, killer with no remorse."
"Look your mom said you had been completely purified of the corruption. There's no way that Kimiko is coming back. Even if she did, I'd still find a way to get the real you back, ya know." Kiba looked on at the fire as Kimiko reached up and kissed him on the cheek.
"You're wonderful, you know that." Kimiko pulled herself closer to him, feeling his warmth while he rubbed her ears. "Got a question…did you really think I was that beautiful when you first saw me? Or was that just your 'man ego' talking?"
"Man ego? Whatever! Look, I had seen a lot of girls and thought they were cute…and they were. I mean hey, I even wanted to go out with Hinata or Kasumi back in the academy." Kiba chuckled. "But when I saw you…you were a combination of so many things. I saw a strong warrior, a quick thinker, and a kind person. But then you also had that snippy side."
Kimiko quickly snapped up, "Snippy?" She was about to argue back, but Kiba was right. "Yeah, you're right. I guess that's what separates me from most girls, huh? Plus your mom does like that I keep you in line. Especially after that whole fiasco with Aunt Mai."
Kiba groaned in pain, "Please don't remind me about that."
"Hey we're teenagers, we can act like that." Kimiko replied with a pinch. "So, any idea on what this Totsuka Sword does?" She figured she might try to find out a little more about what they were trying to find.
"Beats me." Kiba took the sword from its sealing scroll and looked at it. The sword was a finely crafted blade that would probably make Tenten squeal in delight. "It must be important though."
"Come to think of it, I think I remember reading something at my grandma's shrine." Kimiko said, recalling some thoughts. "See my mom grew up at a shrine and there was a legend that the God of All Creation had three sacred treasures, a sword, a shield, and a magic orb. It said the orb was fueled by his great strength, the sword could cut away any defense, and the shield could reflect any offense."
"Sword, shield, and orb…the Totsuka Sword, Yata Mirror, and Yaksani Jewel!" Kiba slowly put things together. "Wait, but that still doesn't give us much."
"Well there was also something else, but this might sound kinda stupid. See there was an anime that my mom liked to watch when she was growing up. In it, three of the characters had similar items. They were called the Space Sword, Aqua Mirror, and Garnet Orb." Kimiko remembered. "Wait…that's not possible!"
"What is it Kimiko-chan?" asked Kiba.
"In that anime, the one who had the Garnet Orb also controlled the power of Time, just like Grandma Kouin! There's also Grandpa Kami, god of Space, and Yami, god of Reality! That would mean the Totsuka Sword is linked to Space, the Yata Mirror linked to Reality, and the Yaksani Jewel linked to Time." Kimiko deduced.
Kiba understood, but parts still didn't match up. "That's good and all, but what about that one legend? I can understand how the sword would work, because Naruto explained how that other Naruto could go through dimensions. The sword would be the same. If you had a barrier, you could go through a dimension to break through the barrier."
"But it's the Yata Mirror and Yaksani Jewel. The mirror seems like it would be more of Grandma Kouin's…wait, mirrors can be used for reflection…reflections…reflections!" Kimiko thought hard and had a breakthrough.
"What about reflections?" Kiba asked.
"Reflections can also mean thinking about stuff, like reflecting on past actions, reflecting on the future, etc. That would mean the Yata Mirror is linked to Grandma Kouin." Kimiko answered. "That would make the Yaksani Jewel linked to Yami. I got it now!"
"So you have an idea as to what they all do?" asked Kiba.
"Yeah. Look at this." Kimiko made a drawing of all three items on the ground, and linked them in a circle. "Ok, you have the Totsuka Sword that can go through any defense by moving through space itself. Now there's one problem. The Yata Mirror has the ability to block ANY offense, even the offense of the Totsuka Sword! Now there has to be some weakness to the ultimate defense." Kiba was slowly following her description. "Now if you change reality, meaning you create an attack that no one has ever thought of before, the mirror can't reflect it because it doesn't constrict to the normal laws of reality. So this would mean the Yaksani Jewel can break the defense of the Yata Mirror."
"And if you keep with the pattern, the Totsuka Sword can cut that altered reality and attack, meaning the Totsuka Sword can overpower the Yaksani Jewel." Kiba noticed the continuing pattern.
"Exactly my point. But what I'm wondering is why the Yaksani Jewel wasn't on our list to get." Kimiko questioned herself. "It couldn't have already been found, could it?"
"You know all this talk about a jewel that controls reality reminds me of that Shikon Jewel thing. But that only affects demons from what you and your mom said." Kiba replied. Kimiko paused for a minute, and then froze solid.
"Kiba-kun…I think we may be in more trouble than we know. What if the Shikon Jewel doesn't enhance demonic power…it alters the reality of it?" Kimiko started running through countless ideas in her head. "Maybe the Shikon Jewel was just an alternate name?"
"Are you saying Madara already has the Yaksani Jewel? Oh great, this just makes things worse!" Kiba growled in grief. "Is there anything this freak doesn't know about?"
"I wish I knew myself." Kimiko replied. "For now the best thing we can do is try to find the Yata Mirror and get back home as soon as we can."
Kiba pulled Kimiko close and noticed her starting to doze off, "Yeah you're right. We need something to tip the scales and soon." He felt himself drifting off to sleep as well.
Unknown to the duo, a faint image of a face melted back into the rock above them. The only noticeable feature was a line going right down the middle of the face.
Neji and his team hadn't been faring too well in their goal with negotiations. Unlike the ease Haku had with the Mizukage, the Raikage was not one to negotiate so easily. That didn't help the fact that he had to deal with one of the Raikage's personal aides trying to seduce him into staying in Kumo.
"So that's the situation. Right now even with Inuyasha-sama and Yugito-sama, the Raikage still wants no part in the alliance." Neji was in the group's hotel room talking to Haku via communicator. "We may have to rethink our strategy without help from Lightning."
"Aunt Mei said that the Raikage could be quite stubborn. I didn't think it would be this bad. And he's even trying to get you to stay in Kumo? Do they want the Byakugan that ba…ba…ba-a-a-achoo!" Haku quickly grabbed some tissue. Apparently she caught a cold after her fight with Kisame and was trying to fight it off. Even having a demon immune system didn't make her immune to the common cold. "Ugh! I hate this."
"Now now, don't overwork yourself. For now focus on getting better and getting back home." Neji told her. "I'll see you in a few days ok?"'
"Yeah yeah. It's days like this when I wish I was a little kid again and someone was taking care of me." Haku complained as she rubbed her nose.
"You know that's possible, right?" Neji said with a laugh. "Maybe if you're good, I'll spoil you for a day."
"Love you too Neji-kun." Haku said sarcastically. "Talk to you soon." She ended the transmission as Tenten came in the room.
"So how's things on Haku-chan's end?" asked the catgirl.
"Other than a light fever and a runny nose, not bad. Negotiations were successful with the Mizukage and we now have Kiri on our side." Neji replied. "She also took out Kisame from the Akatsuki."
"One less problem we have to deal with." Tenten sighed as she sat down beside Neji. "But it seems like things are starting to get worse as this war goes on. Who even knows what Madara has planned?"
Neji nodded in agreement, "I know what you mean. We have faced many of the Akatsuki, but we have still to face Pein. From Konan's intel, he is Madara's 2nd in command and wielder of a doujutsu more powerful than the Byakugan."
Tenten sighed, "I hope we can do something soon. Otherwise we may be in for more trouble than we bargained." Letting her mind wander a bit, she actually came up with an interesting question, "Hey Neji I always wanted to ask this. Do you think that you and I might have been a couple if Haku-chan never came to Konoha, or I never met Kyoji-kun?"
"Why do you ask that?" Neji was puzzled at her question.
"No reason." Tenten began to fiddle with a ribbon on her tail. "I just remember that when we went to that other dimension, that Neji and Tenten were married with kids. I mean we've known each other since we were little, even before Kasumi-chan came to our world. I just wanted to know your opinion on this."
Neji scratched her ears and chuckled, "You know curiosity killed the cat, right? But to answer you, chances are we probably would have. Even though I have yet to say this to anyone, but I consider you my best friend. We are an excellent team and have always had each other's backs. You need not worry about trivial things like that."
"Hey I'm a girl, I can worry about stuff like that." Neji started laughing at her reaction. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing. It's not every day you get to have a relaxing conversation with your best friend during wartime. I actually enjoy this. We should keep each other's company more often." Tenten's reaction changed and she began to laugh along with Neji. "But I'm worried…I have this bad feeling that we're going to be running into some trouble soon."
Neji wasn't one to doubt his friend. He knew that if Tenten felt uneasy, something usually was wrong. "You may be right. I think we need to find…" Before he could finish, a loud explosion wrecked the city. "Ok change that. I know we need to find our allies!"
"That has to be someone really strong for an explosion like that. Do you think it's the Akatsuki attacking?" Tenten asked as she and Neji rushed out of the room.
"I wouldn't doubt it. " Neji quickly activated his Byakugan to try and locate the problem. "It's in the center of the village. The chakra is very strange…it's not a normal color."
"What do you mean by that?" asked the catgirl.
"Normal human chakra is blue in color. Demonic chakra is usually red. However this chakra is a dark green." Neji definitely knew something was wrong. "The only person that has a dark green chakra aura is…"
"Ino when she's in Illumina Form! But she's with Chouji and Sakura on their way to Iwa!" Tenten became more uneasy at what they may be facing. "You don't think someone else has control of the Wood Illumina Power do you?"
Neji shook his head, "It's highly possible. I also noticed that there looked like whatever is using that chakra was receiving a signal, like someone else is controlling it."
"Madara has to be behind this. We gotta hurry!" Both Tenten and Neji transformed and burst out of the hotel as quickly as possible, heading towards the source of the destruction.
"Raikage-sama, we have a problem!" A fiery red haired kunoichi quickly ran in to the main office of the Raikage. "Some weird guy throwing around tree branches is wrecking the village."
"WHAT!" The Raikage, A, bellowed in anger. "Who the hell thinks they can come into my village and start causing some problems? Karui, give me a rundown on this guy."
Karui kneeled and reported, "All we know is that he has orange hair and is wearing a black cloak with red clouds! He's from Akatsuki!"
A's rage was fueled, "So that Hyuuga was right. Akatsuki is on the move. Doesn't matter, we don't need some alliance to stop Akatsuki. Karui, where's Bee?"
"Bee-sama has already made his move towards the Akatsuki. I got news from Omoi that two of the Konoha ninja have gone to the battle area as well." Karui continued her report. "It was the Hyuuga and the cat girl."
"What about the Bijuu?" asked A.
"No update on Gobi-sama and Nibi-sama." Karui could see that A was really ticked that the Akatsuki was attacking Kumo.
"That Akatsuki had to have been following those Konoha ninja. Karui, for now get the civilians to safety. Once the area is clear, I want that Akatsuki dead and those Konoha Ninja out of my village by sundown!" A roared his commands. "Make sure Samui and Omoi know not to get in Bee's way."
"As you wish Raikage-sama!" Karui vanished quickly and went to relay the message.
"Time to show those Konoha weaklings just how we do things here in Kumo." A said to himself as he looked upon the village.
Meanwhile there was a definite stalemate going on. The Akatsuki, revealed to be one of the incarnations of Pain stood toe to toe with one of the most powerful Kumo ninja, aptly known as Killer Bee, brother to the Raikage. Bee was already making himself known to Pain as he held off any attack with his unique style of swordplay, handling eight swords at once!
"You would do best not to interfere with my plans. I have no business with you unless you make it. However I know you are harboring the Nibi and Gobi here and request that you return them to me." Pain said calmly.
"You must be a crazy foo' if you think I'm gonna be yo' tool!" Bee replied in his trademark rap style. "When you roll up talking like 'dat, I'll make you see your words ain't phat!" Bee was nimbly dodging the prickly vines that Pein sent forward. "Dis freak got some crazy stuff going on."
"I hope you realize that your attacks and maneuvers are futile. You cannot hope to stop me." Pein kept up his assault of vines, lashing out and destroying anything in his path. He sent more vines toward Bee but the Kumo ninja avoided easily. Bee was so confident, he took out his notepad and started trying to jot down ideas.
"Hmm, gonna have to come up with a new rhyme for this punk." Bee twirled his pencil in his hand, secretly fusing it with lightning chakra. "Screw that, this sucka's goin' down now!" He threw the pencil at full speed toward Pein. Due to the chakra infusion, the pencil flew like a missile at the Akatsuki. However it didn't even make a dent in Pein, instead it just bounced off like nothing happened.
"You really believe your lightning ability can stop me? Your arrogance and foolishness will be your demise." Pein stood fast as his Rinnegan blazed. "I have no time to deal with you."
"Ok, this ain't good!" Bee saw things change as Pein was about to go back on the offensive, but reinforcements arrived soon enough.
"LIGHTNING SHOCKWAVE!" Out of nowhere a huge wave of electromagnetic energy ripped through the ground, cutting through the vines as it headed for Pein. He jumped out of the way just as Neji and Tenten arrived on the scene.
"This is worse than I thought. Whoever that Akatsuki is has control of Ino's elemental power." Neji commented on the leftover vines.
"Neji, that's just not any Akatsuki…that's Pein!" Tenten easily saw the Rinnegan eyes and knew things were really bad. "How did he get control of Illumina Power?"
Bee saw the two and decided to get more info, "Whachoo two doin' up in here? I had 'dis foo' on the ropes!"
Neji and Tenten both froze for a second, "Neji, any idea on what he just said?"
Neji nodded negatively, "It does not matter. For now we must focus on stopping Pein from causing any destruction here. At least until Inuyasha-sama and Yugito-sama can arrive."
"So Neji Hyuuga and Tenten Ishida, the Lightning and Gravity Knights. Do you truly believe you can defeat that which is Pein?" The Akatsuki co-leader stood in perfect calm against the two knights. "It is best if you surrender the Bijuu and accept death."
"Oh that is NOT happening!" Tenten drew her Masamune and immediately charged it with Lightning Chakra while Neji summoned lightning around his palms. "You ready Neji?"
"Of course. Strike now! HAKKE RAIKUSHO! (Eight Trigrams Lightning Air Palm)" Neji launched a lightning charged blast directly at Pein while Tenten ran in ready to strike with her lightning sword. Pein showed no emotion as he easily deflected Neji's attack and grabbed hold of Tenten's blade.
"What the hell…just what are you?" Tenten struggled to get her blade out of Pein's grasp. He said nothing as he just raised his hand.
"SHINRA TENSEI! (Almighty Push)" Pein sent out a wave of chakra that blasted Tenten and Neji back into a building. "This fight is meaningless. Simply surrender the Bijuu and I shall depart.
"That's not going to happen." Neji pulled himself from the rubble and helped Tenten out as well. "Tenten, we need to get rid of him now."
"Then it's time to take this fight into overdrive, don't you think?" Tenten flashed a devious smile on her face.
"Is that another way of you saying you'd like to let the cat out of the bag?" Neji knew just what she was talking about. "Let him have it! LIGHTNING OVERDRIVE!"
"GRAVITY OVERDRIVE!" Both knights exploded in energy. Lightning arced all around Neji while the air around Tenten became much heavier.
"Your power means nothing. You shall still lose." Pein went on the move for another attack but Tenten countered. He tried his Shinra Tensei again, but this time Tenten had something of her own.
"Not this time! Stay put!" She used her Gravity power to hold him in place and lift him in the air. "Neji, blast this guy!"
"With pleasure!" Lightning came down from the skies and gathered in a large ball over Neji's head. He focused the lightning into a large blade, ready to slice his enemy. "Now it ends! LIGHTNING SWORD!" He brought the large blade down on top of Pein, planning to vaporize the Akatsuki in a blast of lightning. Tenten followed up by encasing the lightning with her energy.
"This will make sure you're finished! GRAVITY CRUSH!" She condensed the lightning around Pein in the attempt to crush him in a centralized gravity field. She used all her strength to condense the field, but noticed that it wasn't shrinking. "What the hell is going on here?"
"Tenten, what's wrong?" Neji looked over to see his friend struggling.
"He's somehow stopping my Gravity Crush! That's impossible!" Tenten tried harder to crush the Akatsuki, but nothing was working.
"SHINRA TENSEI!" The encased ball of lightning and gravity energy exploded outward as Pein stood there unharmed. "So now do you wish to end this farce?"
"Oh hell, this is not good!" Tenten saw that the Akatsuki survived not just one, but two Overdrive attacks. The only ones they knew who could survive that were Mai, Daisuke, and Akane! "We have to go Excelion Drive to stop this guy!"
"As much as we'd like to help, we're kind of tied up at the moment kitten!" Tenten heard Yugito send a transmission on her communicator. "There's wood vines attacking all over the place here and it has Inuyasha and Kyoji in a major bind…literally!"
Things definitely were not looking good. "Neji we have to figure something out! This guy could destroy the whole village if we're not careful."
"Look no sucka is gon' destroy my village! Back up and I'll handle 'dis foo'!" Bee overheard the duo and decided he'd take things on his own.
"OK I still don't know what you said, but there's no way you can take this guy!" Tenten said angrily. "My friend and I are using Bijuu level power and he held it off! What makes you think that you can do anything to him?"
"Oh I'll show you what I can…hey where's dat sucka go?" In the midst of all the arguing, Pein vanished from the field.
"Something's not right." Neji had his Byakugan activated and immediately scanned the area. "His chakra signature is gone. He's nowhere near the village."
"Why would he attack and then just leave us…Neji, you don't think it was a decoy do you?" Tenten questioned the motives.
"It is possible. We need to return to Konoha as quickly as possible. Otherwise we may not have a home to return to." Neji said. "As for you, I strongly recommend you have your leader reconsider our offer for alliance. The Akatsuki are not to be dealt with lightly, and there is no telling if they will attack again."
"Hmm…you may be right yo." Bee replied. "Lemme handle 'ol A, and I'll see if I can make him down with the plan."
"Uh…right." Both Tenten and Neji still had no clue what he said.
"This guy isn't giving us a chance to do anything!" Chouji was breathing hard after having to deal with Kakuzu. It was bad enough that the alliance talks with Onoki, the Tsuchikage failed, simply because the village still held bad blood against Konoha, but things got worse when the near immortal Akatsuki attacked. Chouji had to go full force with Excelion Drive to do anything to hold off Kakuzu while Sakura, Ino, and Shinja were in Link Overdrive to try and give him back up. In the midst of the battle, they were actually joined by the Tsuchikage's granddaughter Kurotsuchi, an Iwa Kunoichi that happened to have a bloodline to control lava itself.
"Hmph. Always figured you Konoha shinobi weren't much but I gotta say I think a lot differently about you." Kurotsuchi wiped her own brow of sweat. Originally she was doubtful about Konoha simply due to the way she grew up and how things had been in the Third World War, but after taking note of how two Konoha shinobi took on Kakuzu, her views definitely began to change.
"Yeah well…when you're dealing with Akatsuki, you gotta work a lot harder." Ino replied. "But this is getting ridiculous! What is it going to take to kill this freak?"
"I told you. I can only die when all of my hearts have been destroyed. You have only destroyed three." Kakuzu said as his black tendrils lashed at the group. "You will never destroy the last two!" A green looking mask moved to face the shinobi as wind began to swirl violently and lightning began to charge in his own mouth.
"Great he's using wind and lightning!" Chouji noticed that things were now worse as the last two hearts needed to be destroyed were wind and lightning based. "Ino get out of the way!"
"What's he talking about? A little lightning never hurt anyone?" Kurotsuchi asked as Ino grabbed hold of her wrist.
"Yeah, but here's the thing…the whole element theory as you know it is completely changed! He's got both of mine and Chouji-kun's weaknesses!" Ino was about to run for cover when Kakuzu attacked. She barely had a chance to move as a massive bolt of lightning struck, throwing her and the Iwa kunoichi for a loop.
"INO!" Chouji screamed in the hopes that his girlfriend wasn't killed. Sakura and Shinja immediately rushed over to see if she was ok. Chouji however was more focused on eliminating a massive problem. "You son of a bitch! You're dead!"
"Oh really now…then come forth and be harvested!" Kakuzu taunted.
Chouji's anger nearly pushed him over the edge. He knew he had to finish this freak and fast! "Harvested…I'm gonna bury you in so much rock, it'll take millennia for people to find your remains!" The entire area began to shake in a massive seismic tremor. "Never piss me off again! EARTH EXCELION: GAIA DESTROYER!" Chouji slammed his fists into the ground, causing the seismic tremor to go into a full on earthquake. Before Kakuzu could counter, massive pillars of rock began to rise up around him, completely blocking off his escape and leaving him at the mercy of the Earth Knight. Chouji then grew to massive size and created two diamond gauntlets on his fists. "I like my meat nice and tender before I cook it!" There was nothing Kakuzu could do as Chouji began to pound away relentlessly. All Kakuzu could see was fist after fist crushing down on him with unbelievable force, pushing his body further and further into the ground. The Akatsuki was barely alive as he looked up at the giant Akimichi and saw that he had the Iwa Kunoichi in his hand.
"Hey uh…Kurotsuchi is it? You said you know lava techniques right?" Kurotsuchi nodded in agreement. "Wanna melt this guy and wipe him out for good?"
Kurotsuchi smiled at the fact that she'd get to take out an Akatsuki. She was very protective of her home and wouldn't hesitate to eliminate any threat to it. "With pleasure!" She flashed several hand signs and pulled her hand to her mouth. "YOTON: SEKKAIGYO NO JUTSU! (Lava Release: Quicklime Congealing Technique)" She sprayed a mass amount of quicklime that began to fill the hole with the buried Kakuzu. "He won't be getting out of that for a long time."
"What was that stuff?" Chouji asked as he returned to normal size and placed Kurotsuchi back on the ground.
"Quicklime. It's basically quick drying cement. Well that's only if I get it wet with water, but there's not enough here to use my Water Trumpet Jutsu. So it'll take some time before it…" Before she finished there was a loud boom of thunder in the air. Due to Kakuzu's use of fire jutsu, the air became superheated and started forming storm clouds, which in turn brought forth rain.
"Well, there's the water." Chouji said as the rain fell. "This isn't good at all. How in the world did Akatsuki know we were going to be here?"
Ino, Sakura, and Shinja joined up as he released his fusion. "They have to have a spy somewhere tracking our movements. It's the only possible way that Madara would know what's going on." Shinja commented. "We need to get back to Konoha immediately."
"I still can't believe that the Tsuchikage won't agree to this alliance. This is more than any of us can deal with." Ino cringed in pain from the wounds she received.
"Let me deal with Onoki-jii-san. He's just really stubborn but trust me, he's one hell of a ninja. It might take some time, but I'll see what I can do." Kurotsuchi would try her best to get the Tsuchikage to change his mind.
"That's great. Now we need to get back to Konoha fast. There's no telling what Madara will do." Ino said, hoping that things weren't about to go from bad to worse.
A month later…
"So no word from Naruto and Natsumi yet?" asked Haku as she came down for breakfast. Everyone had returned back from their respective missions and were in preparation for whatever Akatsuki could throw at them. However things had been very quiet as Madara's group hadn't made a move yet.
"Last I heard their training was going well at Mt. Myoboku." Arashi replied. "Fukasaku-sama said they were really doing well. The two should have Sage Mode down soon."
"Well I hope we find some kind of lead on his whereabouts. This waiting isn't good at all." Akane expressed her concern as she was trying to feed a spoonful of oatmeal to Minato and Kushina.
"Akane, you know it isn't good to be stressed like that while feeding the kids. They can sense that." Yugito came in and helped out with the twins. "For now we should just be happy that we have a chance to breathe."
"That may be good and all, but there's no telling what Madara has planned during all of this breathing time. For all we know we could be…" Akane was cut off as her hearing picked up a faint explosion. "What was that?"
"You heard it too?" Arashi heard the same explosion. "This isn't good. We need to check things out. I'm going to head over to see Tsunade-sama. Haku-chan, get your brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles and meet me there."
"On my way Tou-san!" Haku jumped from the table and went to go get everyone.
In the village, Konohamaru had just finished his morning training with Udon and Moegi and was headed in for breakfast himself. Unfortunately he wouldn't get to enjoy it as he would be the first one to find the problem in Konoha.
"What the heck is going on?" He surveyed the part of the village he was in, noticing the damage. He could smell burning wood and blood. He figured that this would be a good time as ever to investigate the problem. Quickly running through the destruction, he didn't see anything but people running until he turned a corner and saw the familiar black cloak with red clouds. "Oh crap!" Hoping he wasn't noticed, he quickly fell back and hid. However his hearing was able to pick up what the Akatsuki were talking about.
"Where are the Bijuu?" One of the figures had a civilian by the neck, trying to get answers.
"I…I…don't…" The civilian was barely able to finish as the Akatsuki delivered a crushing grip and death was instant.
"You know nothing, therefore you will know the ten paths of pain!" The Akatsuki threw the civilian to the ground and continued into the village.
"Ten paths of…oh no!" Konohamaru quickly opened up a communication channel. "Attention all Illumina Knights…this is Konohamaru! Akatsuki has infiltrated our home! I repeat Akatsuki has infiltrated our home!"
"Konohamaru, this is Kasumi. Where are you?" Kasumi picked up and hoped he was ok.
"I'm on the west side of the village. There's a lot of destruction here but I'm ok. But we're in big trouble!" Konohamaru replied. "It's Pein! He's here and there are at least nine more guys in cloaks with him!"
"Nine more…Konohamaru, do what you can to get to the Hokage Tower. Please try to be careful too!" Kasumi said in dire urgency. "We're all on our way!" Communication was closed as one of the worst things could possibly happen.
"He's here? Of all people it had to be him?" Konan sighed in grief. Pein was the worst choice to attack out of anyone.
"To make matters worse…if Tenten and Neji's info is true, then we're dealing with 10 Illumina powered Rinnegan users!" Shiori added. "Kasumi-hime, what are we gonna do?"
"What else…" Kasumi summoned her transformer and held her wrist. "We destroy them and protect our home or we die trying!"
Well the group finally returns with their greatest battle to date on the horizon. What will happen now that Konoha faces off against one of the most powerful members of Akatsuki? Stay tuned for the next arc "The Konoha Destruction Saga".
On another note, I don't want you guys to think I've vanished. Trust me I have no intentions of leaving until this and Change of Scenery are fully finished. I just needed a little bit of sabbatical time to get some new ideas for the next chapters. Hope you all enjoy!