Chapter 9: The Cursed War

"Hokage-sama!" A Jounin came into Naruto's office, slamming the door open, shoulder first.

The man resembled a Yamanaka in a Jounin outfit.

Naruto glanced up from his paperwork with a straight face, having sensed the man's frantic chakra since he entered the building. The Uzumaki's senses had been growing at an alarming rate ever since he increased the intensity of his training a month prior so knowing of peoples arrival had become a daily occurrence.

"What is it?" The Rokudaime Hokage asked plainly.

"Anko's team reported a disturbance at Akatsuki's hideout!" The other man exclaimed, procuring his leader's interest.

Anko's team had discovered Akatsuki's hideout a couple days ago, whilst trailing Kabuto. Naruto had kept the information quiet, not wanting the other nations to find out for the hopes of bringing down Tobi and Kabuto by himself so Sasuke could be detained. If any of the other villages got their hands on Sasuke, he would surely be executed. The Uzumaki was still at a loss for what would happen if he captured Sasuke and brought him back to Konoha, but Naruto still felt that he needed to do it. For his promise to Sakura, and to himself.

That was why he told Anko's team to hold off on pursuing any course of action for the time being, much to the ire of the Mitarashi. That and the fact that Kabuto had apparently been leading their team to himself, from what Anko told Naruto. They had not found any traces of the man for almost a month until, just out of the blue, victims with attack marks similar to snake bites started mysteriously appearing in the team's general search areas. The team eventually found Kabuto as he traveled about.

They were told to hold back from engaging him by Naruto, which really pissed off Anko, but she listened nonetheless. Naruto believed that Kabuto had intended to gain their attention from what Anko told him, so he commanded them to hold off.

The letter that revealed Tobi's plan of attacking Amegakure had come to mind when Naruto heard Anko's report, and it made the Uzumaki want to see what the snake man was doing.

The last time Naruto and Kabuto had met, the glasses wearing ninja had said he was indebted to the Uzumaki for giving him the drive and conviction to overpower Orochimaru's cells. So perhaps this was Kabuto's way of repaying him back?

Naruto was wise in telling them to hold off as Kabuto led them to Akatsuki's hideout. When Naruto learned of this he told them to stay back, knowing they would not be strong enough to handle the ninja inside, let alone Sasuke or Tobi by themselves.

The Yamanaka that had gone with them reported the conversation between Kabuto and Tobi, having used the traditional mind possession Jutsu to take over a rat which spied on the two. The Yamanaka said that the two were going to join forces, which did not really surprise the Uzumaki, but it did make him question whether Kabuto had intended to gain the team's attention, or if it had just been a stroke of luck.

The only thing that shocked Naruto was the fact that Kabuto had the body of Uchiha Madara under his possession with the Edo Tensei technique. Not because Tobi was now officially a fake Madara, which Naruto already knew. But because now it meant that Uchiha Madara, the one man that Naruto had come to fear through the First Hokage's journals, actually had a strong chance of being resurrected in the coming war.

That man alone could spell the end for the Shinobi Alliance.

The only thing good out of Anko's team discovering Madara's reanimated body was the fact that now Naruto had others that could verify to the other nations that Tobi was not who he said he was. And if by chance Kakashi had discovered that Tobi was actually Obito, then there would also be a well-renowned ninja who could back Naruto's story.

Nevertheless, the Uzumaki wanted to wait, to make sure that they were all there. Until Anko's team could confirm that Kabuto, Tobi, and Sasuke were all there, they were ordered not to do anything.

They were told to merely report anything out of the ordinary, or when confirmation of the three targets was established. When the latter was definite, Naruto would go to the base himself and end this war before it even began. Hopefully he could dispose of Kabuto before he gets the chance to summon Madara. If not, Naruto did not really know what would happen.

Naruto was confident enough in himself so say that he, himself, was probably one of the strongest ninja in the world at the moment. However, even now he did not believe he was close to the level Madara and the First Hokage were at in their own time.

Naruto took the information from the Jounin in front of him gingerly as he cupped his chin and turned his eyes downward, eyeing the top of his desk in thought.

The Jounin did not mean to speak out of turn, but when he saw that his Hokage had yet to move, he said one more thing, "They have confirmed Uchiha Sasuke's chakra signature!"

Naruto remained in the same position, but his eyes shifted back up to the Jounin's, and his brow slightly furrowed.

The time had come.

Naruto stood from his chair with his hands now on the desk, and commanded the Jounin, "Get me the Hokage Guard Platoon!"

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"I WILL KILL YOOOOUUUUUU!" Obito roared, whipping his exposed arm around. His bare face stared down at the cause of all his anger.

Sasuke went at Obito with the ultimate power of the Uchiha at his disposal. The large purple Susanoo bellowed with its right arm raised overhead, a sword made of Amaterasu flame in hand.

The scarred face of Uchiha Obito was scrunched up in pure rage as the younger ninja came for him. The former member of Team Minato stayed in place, his anger building. The amount of hatred Obito had for Sasuke at this very moment could rival even that of when he saw Rin being murdered by Kakashi.

Obito normally would have stayed still and waited for Sasuke to attack so he could merely phase through the attack. However, in his rage, Obito took the offensive by charging back at his current bane of existence.

Sasuke's stoic façade did not change at the man's sudden movement. The younger Uchiha halted in his stride and brought his arm down, his Susanoo following suit. The sword expectantly phased through Obito as the man continued running through the arm and stomach of Susanoo. The blade slammed into the ground and created a small plume of steam as the intense black fire met the thin layer of water. Obito entered the bubble of space that surrounded Sasuke in stride and reached his hand out, materializing himself.

Once he pulled Sasuke into his own dimensional, the battle would be over, and Sasuke would surely be killed.

Sasuke's Eternal Mangekyou eyed the hand down impassively, waiting for the appendage to get even closer. The Uchiha's left eye became bloodshot, but no red liquid came out.

"Amaterasu!" The black flame emerged instantly and covered the entire half of the space inside Susanoo.

Sasuke was not surprised when Obito's hand kept coming for him as the older Uchiha phased through the black flames and Sasuke's body, unable to materialize while surrounded by Amaterasu.

'So he can become intangible in a moment's notice.' Sasuke thought to himself.

Obito's body remained intangible as he went through Sasuke and the back of the purple Susanoo.

Obito turned when he was a good distance away to see that the Amaterasu had consumed the entire space within Susanoo, creating a black sphere within the creature's lower abdomen, veiling Sasuke for a few moments. The black flames were then extinguished, leaving an untouched Uchiha Sasuke within his Susanoo that was facing away from Obito.

Obito's right eye was in its Mangekyou form while his left was in its base three-tomoe mode, being an ordinary Sharingan. The scarred side of Obito's face stung, his non-eternal Mangekyou Sharingan making its presence known like it always did when he used Kamui.

The Uchihas stared into each other's eyes as Sasuke looked over his shoulder at the older man. Several wisps of black flame that remained flickered past Sasuke's back before vanishing at its creator's command.

Sasuke stared at Obito features. An unmasked face, and a portion of clothing blown away from a battle that must have happened before his return to the hideout. Sasuke would have voiced his thoughts on the fact that the man behind him was most certainly not Madara, but the once masked man was clearly in no mood to talk. Aside from the right side of his face that was scarred, he looked pretty young. Sasuke had originally thought "Madara" wore the mask to hide his old age. However, Sasuke could remember seeing pictures of the real Uchiha Madara within the Uchiha clan district, and this man had a different facial structure, so he was convinced Tobi was not Madara. There were also other instances that Sasuke could recall that would back this discovery, but they were not needed.

A sudden hissing noise caught Sasuke's ears as he finally noticed the lit explosive tag on the back of his Susanoo, where Obito had exited. He mentally cursed, at being sidetracked in thought, as it exploded and created a cloud of dark smoke between him and the other Uchiha. It did not damage his Susanoo whatsoever, but it did obscure his vision.

The water between them thrashed around violently, following the explosion. The water slowly calmed, leaving nothing but ripples echoing over its surface.

Sasuke turned and backpedaled, gaining distance from the cloud while watching for any sudden movements. When he was a good distance away he held his position, waiting for the coast to clear. Susanoo held a defensive position over is creator.

The smoke slowly dispersed and revealed that Obito was gone. Sasuke grabbed the hilt of his sword in caution and braced himself. He reached out his senses and looked around. He could no longer sense Obito and could not see him anywhere.

Sasuke began to wonder if Obito had retreated to his own dimension, which surprised the younger Uchiha because he believed Obito would surely want his head after everything he had done.

This is what Sasuke had intended with his actions. He did not want Obito running away.

Unbeknownst to the younger Uchiha, Obito immerged from beneath the anti-sensing waters directly behind Sasuke in one swift motion, within the bubble of space inside the formed Susanoo. The elder Uchiha reached out and went to grab the back of Sasuke's neck and the wrist that's hand rested on the undrawn sword.

Sasuke sensed Obito immergence too late as he felt the man's hands grab him, preventing him from drawing his sword. However, the Eternal Mangekyou user was prepared, having attached a contraption to his non-sword wielding hand, for instances such as this, that sprung forth a kunai from within his sleeve. The Uchiha caught the kunai, put it in a reverse grip, and swung it backwards toward Obito's stomach.

Obito saw the incoming weapon and let go of the other Uchiha just in time to become ethereal as the kunai went through his stomach. Sasuke twirled around, swinging the kunai up through Obito's intangible body.

Obito retreated backwards just as Sasuke faced the man and unsheathed his sword, stabbing at him. Sasuke sent lightning chakra through his katana, increasing his length in an effort to make contact with Obito. The younger Uchiha did this to see if his lightning chakra could affect the other Uchiha, even while in he was intangible.

Sasuke did not get to see if this was true as Obito phased out of Sasuke's Susanoo before the boy's lightning encased sword could reach him. The extending chakra hit into the inside of Susanoo, merely causing Sasuke's sword to ricochet back.

However, Sasuke did learn one more thing, 'So he needs to be solid to grab me. He is vulnerable in that moment.'

Obito took several more heavy steps backwards before doing a series of hand seals. He brought his hand up to his mouth while inhaling air through his nostrils, "Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu!"

The older Uchiha spewed forth a gargantuan fireball that raced for Sasuke, leaving in its wake steam from the evaporating water.

The opposing Uchiha duplicated the same hand seals as Obito, and commenced with the same Jutsu, "Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu!"

Sasuke let loose a fireball from within Susanoo that quickly matched Obito's size as the two techniques raced for one another. They met within moments and sent out a shockwave that pushed back the water and cracked the ground beneath them. There was a subsequent explosion that shook the room around them. Several chunks of wall cracked and fell onto the water covered floor, creating ripples.

Obito's eyes narrowed as the space between the two combatants began to clear, 'There is no point in concealing my full abilities any longer. My true identity will surely be exposed soon because of Kakashi's interference.'

Obito then saw the other Uchiha coming at him through the smoke. Obito caught glimpse of the determined look on Sasuke's face, and his face scrunched up in anger, 'Not like this brat will live to tell anyone about it anyways.'

The elder Uchiha then began a series of long hand seals. Sasuke visibly braced himself, but did not stop in stride. The black flames in Susanoo's right hand began to transform into the shape of an arrow as it loaded the projectile onto its bow. The manifestation of chakra pulled back the weapons contraption just as Obito finished his technique.

"Mokuton: Jukai Kōtan!" Obito called out just as Sasuke fired his Amaterasu arrow.

Sasuke's eyes widened, 'Wood Release?!'

The room began to tremble as large roots and trees began sprouting out of the ground nearest to Tobi's location. A thick trunk of a tree emerged in front of Obito just in time to intercept the fire arrow as it pierced the wood and only made it halfway through.

Sasuke could only see the left half of Obito face after the tree's appearance.

Sasuke did not let up. He summoned another plated arm out the right side of his Susanoo. The new hand hovered over the other and a new ball of black fire was conjured into Susanoo's hand. The hands then molded it the fire into three magatama shaped orbs that Sasuke unleashed upon Obito.

"Enton: Yasaka no Magatama!"

The multiple projectiles were sent flying and cut through some of the growing foliage, leaving severed wood and black fires in their path of destruction. Unfortunately the attack never reached Obito as the amount of foliage generated was too much for the blames orbs to overcome.

Sasuke was not outwardly surprised by his technique's failure, but he did suck his teeth when he lost sight of Obito. The man slipped behind the tree that had saved him from Sasuke's original fire attack.

Suddenly the foliage surrounding Sasuke lashed out at the Uchiha, attacking the purple Susanoo from all sides. The branches wrapped around the creature's arms and halted its movements. Several other wood appendages looked similar to drills as they stabbed at the chakra creature. The Mokuton enforced branches pierced Susanoo's armor and would have skewered Sasuke had he not maneuvered around them. The Uchiha was soon forced to leave the safety of his Susanoo as the branches around it began squeezing down and cracking the purple chakra.

Sasuke made sure to leap backwards so his attention was still where Obito had last been seen.

As Sasuke was jumping back, he passed the trunk of a tree that had sprouted sometime ago. Just as he passed said tree, his eyes widened when he saw, out the corner of his eye, Obito with a fist aimed at his face. The younger Uchiha could do nothing as Obito smashed his fist into the side of Sasuke's face.

The attack disoriented Sasuke, and allowed Obito to lay several more strikes into Sasuke's body and face. Through the barrage of hits, Sasuke recomposed himself and caught one of Obito's gloved hands, catching it with a smack. The elder Uchiha went to punch Sasuke's face with his other fist, but Sasuke ducked under it. Obito brought up his knee just as Sasuke dodged. Sasuke was able to block this follow up attack with his elbow. Immediately after blocking the secondary attack, Sasuke jabbed his fist into Obito stomach, which sent the deformed Uchiha stumbling backwards as he clutched his abdomen with one hand.

Sasuke went after Obito without delay following his counter. The two's gaze met, both pairs of Sharingan spinning as the two Uchiha's predicted the others' movements.

The two went back to a Taijutsu battle, aiming punches and kicks that neither could land. The pair fought with equal intensity as their fast movements kicked up the water at their feet. Neither could land a hit as their Sharingan predicted the other's movements. Their speed was matched, and so was their hand-to-hand ability.

However, the pace of their battle turned Obito's way as he used the forest around them to his advantage. The more experienced Uchiha had Sasuke backpedaling when the back of the boy's foot caught on a root. This allowed Obito the opportunity to land a heavy kick into Sasuke's chest, which sent him fly into the trunk of a tree twenty yards away.

Upon collision with the tree the wood splintered, and Sasuke coughed out blood, dribbles of the crimson liquid falling from the corners of his mouth.

Sasuke began picking himself up just as Obito finished a set of hand seals.

"Katon: Jettohi!" Obito called out as he held the tiger seal and breathed out a torrent of smoldering hot fire. The fire's bright colors illuminated its heat. The water it travelled over instantly vaporized, and the trees nearest to the technique moaned and crackled from the heat.

Sasuke saw the incoming attack and knew he did not have time to execute any Jutsu requiring hand seals. The Uchiha summoned Susanoo's ribcage as the manifested purple chakra covered him.

The fire Jutsu smothered Sasuke and Susanoo in its bright orange, almost yellowish, color as it washed over the two completely. The tree directly behind Sasuke was eviscerated by the fire torrent that Obito was still pumping out.

Sasuke remained within Susanoo's ribcage, sweating profusely from the heat that covered him. His eyes were closed in concentration so that Susanoo's manifestation did not falter. However, even without looking the Uchiha knew that the purple chakra was starting to melt from the molten hot flames. Sasuke grunted when the flames suddenly became a brighter color as Obito pumped more chakra into the technique.

Sasuke had almost made it to his feet, but when the intensity of Obito's Jutsu increased, it forced him back onto his knees.

'Damn it! He is a lot stronger than I had originally thought!' Sasuke told himself, his agitation clearly shown across his face, 'What should I do?'

"So you think you're special, huh?"

Sasuke's eyes cracked open, wondering why he was thinking back to the time at the Valley of the End with Naruto.

"You won't be special when I'm through with you!"

'Shut up dobe!' Sasuke thought to himself as he scrunched his eyes shut, telling the figment of his imagination, 'I am special! I am an Uchiha!'

"THEN SHOW ME!"

Sasuke's eyes snapped open, his Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan spinning.

Susanoo's body shimmered before tendrils of purple chakra covered its ribcage, even through the constant torrent of flame. Within seconds, Sasuke's armored Susanoo had returned. Its arms were crossed, taking the full brunt of the flames as Sasuke slowly made it to his feet, his hair casting a shadow over his eyes.

Obito narrowed his eyes at seeing the sudden change in circumstances.

Sasuke's full attention was drawn to Obito, his eyes illuminating, "AMATERASU!"

The black flames spread out in a wide arc, overwhelming Obito's Jutsu. The elder Uchiha cancelled his technique as he saw the black fire overpower his own Jutsu. The fire raced for Obito and he became intangible, allowing the attack to go through him.

Several moments later the fire's stream stopped as Obito continued to stand there patiently. He did not look away from Sasuke, but Obito knew that most of the forest behind him was slowly burning to smithereens.

Obito was trying to quell his anger, devising another plan of attack against Sasuke.

Though he did need to calm down, it did not stop him from yelling at the soon-to-be-dead-brat, "Do you know what you have done?! What you have wrought?!"

Sasuke was slightly surprised Tobi could even muster up the patience to talk when all he probably wanted to do at the moment was kill him.

"For the first time in four years, my mind is finally clear!" Sasuke answered, taking a step forward with his brow furrowed, his Susanoo mimicking his movements, "I know exactly what I'm doing! I'm going to stop you, even if it kills me!"

Obito slapped his hands together, gathering chakra, his snarl heavy, "Oh, I'm definitely going to kill you!"

Obito began executing a series of hand seals before drawing his hand to his mouth, "Katon: Bakufū Ranbu!"

The scarlet flames immerged from Obito's mouth in spiraling fashion. The one-eyed Mangekyou user then activated his Kamui, amplifying the flames rotation and intensity with its distortion effect.

The flames crushed the ground they traveled over, and evaporated the water, creating steam as the fire raced for the other Uchiha. The spiraling flames were in such a wide arc that the trees nearest to the path between them had been washed over and destroyed even more so than before. The trees that had been safe from Amaterasu's reach were not safe from this one's. Some trees were uprooted while others were burnt to a crisp.

Sasuke eyed down the flames impassively, having Susanoo swipe its sword made out of Amaterasu flame horizontally, cutting through the fire Jutsu with ease and some of the trees closest to them. There was a subsequent explosion from where the technique had been cut that left a cloud of smoke, which once again obscured Sasuke's vision.

Sasuke waited for a moment before his Sharingan noticed two fuma shuriken that came at him from out the smoke, both covered in a layer of chakra. The Uchiha did not know where Obito got them from but he did not question it as he maneuvered Susanoo's other arm in front of himself. The two large shuriken embedded halfway into Susanoo's forearm and bicep. They probably would have gone through the manifestation's abdomen and his Sasuke had he not protected himself with the arm.

Sasuke had no time to rest as he suddenly felt Obito directly behind him. He had been too slow in realizing Obito's emergence from Kamui as the man grabbed Sasuke and began pulling him into his own dimension.

"Game over." Obito said menacingly, having used the shuriken distraction to his advantage.

Sasuke was surprised by the sudden movement, but did not let it get to him. In the several seconds that he had to escape from Kamui's technique, Sasuke recalled the fact that Obito had to be tangible to grab hold of him. So it was a safe bet to believe the elder Uchiha was most vulnerable at this very moment.

With that in mind Sasuke activated the one technique that could save his life.

"Chidori Nagashi!" Sasuke yelled moments before being completely sucked into Kamui's dimension.

Sasuke's Jutsu came to fruition when the sweet sound of Obito's agonizing cries reached the younger Uchiha's ears. Sasuke was sent flying from Obito as Kamui's ability was involuntarily reversed. Susanoo had all but vanished after its disconnection from its medium, which allowed Sasuke to be sent several tens of a yard away.

Sasuke flipped onto his feet and saw Obito twitching in pain as electricity still coursed through him. Several sparks could be seen traveling over his body as he fell back onto the water. Sasuke knew he could not let up as his time to finish this was short. Obito would regain movement of his body within moments, so the younger Uchiha would not pass this up.

Sasuke ran at the man with his sword drawn.

Obito, with great effort and pain, picked his head up to see Sasuke running at him. The older Uchiha mentally cursed, not able to move yet. The once masked man had no choice but to momentarily retreat as he activated Kamui and used all his power to pull himself into his own dimension.

Sasuke's eyes slightly widened when he saw the man's dimensional ability activate. Sasuke knew he was vulnerable at this moment, so he threw his katana at the downed man, hoping it would hit him.

Unfortunately, Obito was able to disappear into his own dimension just before stabbing into the ground from whence the Uchiha laid.

Sasuke ran up to his sword and pried it from the ground, cursing.

Sasuke sheathed his sword and began channeling an immense amount of chakra. A purple layer of chakra encased the Uchiha as the water beneath him began rippling from the power being used. His clothing and hair whipped around as the chakra that emanated from Sasuke grew. The Uchiha growled, allowing his anger to show.

Sasuke knew the man could not have gotten far, and even if he had to bring down this whole place, he would kill his last of kin.

"TOOOOOOBIII!" The normally stoic Sasuke erupted as the purple chakra around him expanded and thrashed about, destroying the ground around him as his Susanoo once again formed.

The Susanoo roared to life before swinging its blade of Amaterasu around, demolishing everything within the room.

Elsewhere, Obito emerged from his dimension in a disheveled heap as he unceremoniously slammed into his desk. He was twitching sporadically as electrically would run over his body in different areas at random times. The scarred Uchiha raked off what remained of his damp shirt, leaving his steaming body bare to the world. Burn marks littered both sides of his body, the normal side, and the more pale colored side that had Hashirama's cells in them.

Now that the moist shirt had been discarded, the electricity was slowly stopping, but the pain was still there.

Using whatever strength he had left, Obito made it to his chair. He grabbed one of the remaining syringes on his desk and injected himself with the green liquid in the opposite arm he had done previously, not even caring to wrap his arm with elastic.

The physically formed Shōsen Jutsu healed immediate injuries, but only replenished a miniscule amount of chakra.

Because of this, Obito rummaged through his drawers for some soldier pills. Upon finding some, he popped one into his mouth and immediately stood to his feet, feeling his reserves returning and the rush of energy they brought.

Obito turned around and stood in place, feeling the small tremors that Sasuke was causing, most likely from destroying the base.

'I was a fool to let that child alone.' Obito reprimanded himself, 'I should have killed him after the Kage Summit.'

He was still too unstable and now Obito was paying for it. He knew something in Sasuke had changed.

He had just been too hesitant.

That was something he would never be again.

However, in his angered thought, he wondered what had become of his newly aligned snake freak. He recalled Kabuto saying he would remain within the hideout, just well hidden enough so that Sasuke would never find him. Kabuto should have easily noticed all the commotion, so why the hell had he not stopped Sasuke from destroying their army?! Obito had showed the snake user the army of Zetsus for a reason! And that reason was so he could protect them!

So where the fuck was he?!

Obito eyes suddenly widened as the right side of his body irrupted in searing hot pain. Time seemed to slow as his head slowly turned right. To his horror he saw his severed arm spinning away from his body, black flame trailing off the ends of it. Sasuke's Susanoo sword made of Amaterasu had cut clean through the room and the right shoulder of Obito.

Obito's left eye began to spin and the world around him shimmered. Within moments Obito was now standing several feet away from where he had been previously. There was still a large incision in the room that had black fire trimming its edges, but Obito now stood whole once more. It was like Obito never even had his arm cut off.

'That had been close. A second later and I would not have been able to recover my arm with Izanagi. Normally I would have not cared because I could reattach another arm using Zetsu's tree of birth. However, because it's gone now I have to be more careful with my body.'

Obito did not stay in the room much longer, activating Kamui as the spiral centered on his right eye sucked him into another dimension.

The room irrupted in black flames moments later, everything in the area being slowly burnt to nothingness.

Obito reemerged atop the outer rim of his base. His breathing was heavy and he could feel the brisk nighttime wind against his bare skin.

His left eye was now fogged over, having lost its light after using Izanagi.

"This will be your burial place." Obito said aloud, all thoughts of Kabuto now gone. Obito brought his hands up as he began forming seals. The Uchiha's chakra started to pick up as he finished his set of hand seals and called out his Jutsu, "Mokuton: Jukai Kōtan!"

Trees began sprouting out from within the base, destroying the surface area and disheveling the ground. Rock and bones of extinct animals were compressed and destroyed, making room for the forest that was emerging. The foliage continued to grow, crushing everything that had been within the base at the time.

Obito was irritated to see the large purple Susanoo that had grabbed hold of a growing tree's branches as it pulled Sasuke out from within the hideout. After seeing the boy's survival, Obito stopped the flow of chakra he had with the Jutsu, halting all plant growth.

Sasuke stared up at the other Uchiha as he stood among the wood and mangled other material, taking notice of Obito's left eye.

The younger Uchiha was breathing pretty heavily, feeling the toll Susanoo had on his chakra reserves. There was dried blood covering the corners of his mouth and sweat was matting down some hair on his forehead.

Sasuke narrowed his crimson eyes. He thought he had hit Tobi through his rampage of the base, but maybe he was mistaken. The man's left Sharingan was gone, so that might possibly have something to do with it. However, it was not like Tobi would just tell him so it did not matter at this instant.

"This will be the end, boy!" Obito called out menacingly.

Obito took a step forward over the open air, letting his body fall until he landed on one of the tree tops that he had created. He jumped from tree to tree, running for Sasuke.

Sasuke saw the incoming Uchiha, getting himself ready. For a brief moment Sasuke looked up into the sky, and noticed the dark clouds that blocked out any chance at seeing stars. Now that all the commotion had died down for an instant, Sasuke could hear the low rumble of thunder headed their way.

Even the gods knew that the path to redemption would be an ugly one.

Sasuke turned his attention back to Tobi just as the man finished a set of hand seals.

Obito stopped in his stride a good enough distance from Sasuke, bringing his hand to his mouth, "Katon: Karyū Endan!"

Three fire dragons shot out in an arc towards Sasuke. The intense heat left no room for escape as Susanoo took the full brunt of the technique, allowing the flames to wash over it.

Sasuke took notice of how Susanoo's chakra was already starting to melt. His chakra was dwindling down and sustaining the perfected Susanoo was becoming increasingly difficult.

'I don't have much more chakra.' Sasuke thought.

Susanoo redirected the flames, pushing the fire dragons into the sky after they lost their momentum.

Obito did not quit, going through another set of hand seals as he got closer to Sasuke between techniques, "Katon: Gōryūka no Jutsu!"

The elder Uchiha let loose a grand fireball in the shape of a dragon that flew at Sasuke with great speeds. It hit Susanoo in an instant and exploded in a magnificent array of red shades that burnt the immediate area within seconds.

Obito continued his stride towards Sasuke, knowing the boy would not fall to something like this.

The fire died down quickly, revealing a slouched Susanoo who was even more eroded than before.

The sound of thunder became stronger and a droplet of water fell between the two combatants moments before Obito was upon Sasuke.

Tobi jumped into the air, holding a tiger seal.

Sasuke saw his opportunity. He had to attack Obito the instant he was about to use a Jutsu, that would make him tangible, and thus vulnerable. Sasuke's left eye became bloodshot, and he yelled out, "Amater-"

"AMATERASU!" Uchiha Obito screamed out, his right Mangekyou eye bloodshot and bleeding. The black flames of hell spawned from the older of kin, surprising Sasuke.

The black fire smashed into Susanoo and the creature bellowed as its already teetering state collapsed. Sasuke was unable to pump enough chakra into Susanoo to allow it to withstand the fire technique. The chest cavity melted away, leaving Sasuke defenseless.

The young Uchiha's eyes widened, 'Shit! I should have known he could use Amaterasu!'

All Uchiha gain the three secret techniques upon activating the Mangekyou. The eye with Amaterasu is dependent upon the user's dominant side, or hand. If the user is ambidextrous then it is random. So even though Tobi only had one Mangekyou eye, he should still be able to use one of the techniques, as just shown.

Obito eyed the still Uchiha, having kept the technique a secret till now for scenarios like this.

The purple Susanoo was now fading away as Obito continued to glide through the air. The elder Uchiha reversed the effect of Kamui, hurdling at Sasuke a barrage of normal sized shuriken from out the distortion of space.

Sasuke put his hands together in a tiger seal, but widened his eyes when he felt the emptiness within him, and then the surge of pain that followed when someone tried to use chakra that was not there. The Uchiha grunted in pain as he put his arms together, covering his head and upper chest as best he could. The wave of shuriken washed over him, cutting up his clothing and skin, while others stabbed into his thighs, arms, and abdomen. Blood leaked back out his mouth as the weapons did a great deal of damage to his body.

Obito landed just as the shuriken barrage stopped. Sasuke's arms fell to his side as he staggered backwards. The older Uchiha ran up and delivered a heavy spin kick to the boy that sent the boy flying into a tree twenty yards away.

Sasuke's body hit the tree like a ragdoll; some of the shuriken that had been embedded into his body were slung out. The Uchiha's body slid to the ground in a messy heap. The tree acted as a stint that prompted the Uchiha up in an erect position. Sasuke's head hung lackadaisically, feeling the effects of chakra exhaustion.

The heavy downpour of rain came swiftly, washing over the two combatants like a tidal wave.

Using Amaterasu on an army of Zetsu had taken its toll on Sasuke's chakra reserves. Then having to maintain Susanoo's perfected form even took a larger toll, leaving him with almost nothing while he destroyed Akatsuki's base.

"Fuck" Sasuke said out loud in irritation.

The boy rolled over onto his hands, coughing up some more blood.

The thunder became stronger, and soon lightning began forming off in the distance. Each strike would light up the area for a fraction of a second.

Using whatever strength he had left, Sasuke made it to his feet. Upon making it to a standing position, his shirt slid off his body, being too shredded up to stay on his body.

Sasuke was having difficulty breathing as he slowly turned around, eyeing his adversary as Obito stood in the same position as before. A bolt of lightning appeared in the distance behind Tobi, which helped accent the man's one crimson eye for a moment.

"It's over, Sasuke." Obito told the boy, "Our cursed clan ends with you!"

Sasuke said nothing, his wheezing being the only thing that could be heard over the rain and lightning. Blood trailed down the corners of his mouth and his body was ravaged with cuts and imbedded shuriken. The rain had meshed with his sweat and was matting down his hair. His shoulders were sloughed and merely hung from his body.

Sasuke blinked slowly with a lot of effort. When he reopened his eyes, they were no longer the Eternal Mangekyou, but just onyx colored orbs.

"Always the anti-hero." Obito shook his head with a ruthful smile, "Pathetic."

Sasuke closed his eyes, slowing his breathing.

'Naruto…'

His arm felt like lead, but Sasuke was still able to raise his left hand into the sky. Another lightning struck down to earth in the distance, with a loud boom echoing shortly afterward.

Obito saw the other Uchiha's actions and scoffed.

"Praying for a miracle are we? There is nothing you can do Uchiha. You have virtually no chakra left. I can see it." Obito pointed to his Mangekyou eye as it transformed back into its three tomoe state.

Sasuke reopened his onyx eyes. His brow furrowed, a look of determination now replacing his façade.

"I will never go back on my word…" Sasuke said softly.

"What was that?" Obito asked sardonically, not really caring what the boy actually said.

"That is my Nindo!" Sasuke said a little louder.

Obito's eyes narrowed as he noticed the small spark of electricity that traveled over Sasuke's held up arm.

"MY NINJA WAY!" Sasuke yelled as he swung his arm down.

The hair on the back of Obito's neck stood on and as he looked into the sky. His eyes widened as for a millisecond he saw the face of a white demon…

"KIRIN!"

The lightning bolt hit the ground and completely washed over Obito, consuming him whole and erasing his very existence within an instant. The Jutsu uprooted the ground and vaporized chucks of earth nearest to its centered point.

As quick as the Jutsu came, it was gone.

Sasuke arm fell back to his side as his panting increased. The Uchiha could not sense Obito anymore.

There was nothing left of Obito but ash.

A small smile crept onto the Uchiha's face, 'I did it Naruto. I won-'

The feeling of coldness in Sasuke's chest made him stop in thought.

Sasuke's eyes slowly widened as that feeling of coldness quickly turned to searing hot pain. He looked down in disbelief to see the blade of his own sword sticking out his chest.

"You lose Sasuke." Obito's voice could be heard over the rain.

Sasuke slowly turned his head to get one last look at Obito, dumbfounded as to how the other Uchiha could have survived his attack.

Sasuke noticed that Obito's Mangekyou eye was now clouded over as well.

Sasuke's last thoughts were on why Tobi's eyes had become blind as the sword was pulled from his chest. The young Uchiha's body slowly turned and fell onto his back, his body sprawling out over the puddle covered ground.

Sasuke breathing was light, and getting even lighter. He could no longer move and just stared into the dark sky, motionless.

Obito stood over Sasuke, unable to see the boy. He had sacrificed his original eye in order to use Izanagi. However, his body was still mostly burnt and steam trailed off of him. A section of his hair was missing and electricity was running over his body.

At the time of Sasuke's attack, Obito did not have the time to activate Kamui. He was also, once again, hesitant. Hesitant in sacrificing the one thing he had kept around as a reminder of his pain. His real eye. His hesitance almost cost him his life. While Izanagi had saved his life, it did not stop the damage that had been done several seconds before its activation.

Obito walked over the other ninja, feeling the boy's signature fading. He needed to get out of the area for fear of someone coming upon them. He could no longer use Kamui, and the lightning chakra coursing through him was messing with his chakra network so his only method of travel at the moment was to walk.

"Farewell, Uchiha Sasuke." Obito said, making his way out of the area.

Sasuke was left alone in a puddle of his blood, staring up at the sky in silence as the rain slowly came to a stop.

'Naruto…' Sasuke thought weakly, '…I'm sorry…'

The Uchiha wallowed in his own failure, having once again letdown those important to him. One last raindrop fell from the sky and landed on Sasuke's cheek, simulating a tear.

Sasuke blinked slowly. When his eyes reopened he saw an imaginary Naruto standing over him, almost identical to how he had done years ago at the Valley of the End. However, their positions were now reversed.

Sasuke scoffed at the audacity of it.

'When was it that I grew so sentimental?' Sasuke asked himself with a mirthful smirk. His smirk quickly died down, aware that these would be his last moments. The Naruto standing above him faded away, and Sasuke's expression turned soft, 'Just once more. Please…'

'Let me see my best friend just once more…'

Sasuke's eyes soon grew to be too heavy, and his breathing slowly ceased.

\/

Obito was limping along after having made a bit of distance, cursing his current predicament. It was becoming increasingly harder to move his body. Sasuke's Kirin had apparently done far more damage than Obito had originally believed.

When he took a hard right step, Obito cursed aloud when his right leg snapped in half. He fell forward, onto his back. He looked up in disbelief as everything from his knee down was broken off and still standing on the ground. Though he could not see it, he could hear the white appendage harden and become like rock. Obito's eyes widened in disbelief as he felt the electricity coursing through him affect the placebo appendages that had for so long been a part of him.

"FUCK!" Obito yelled. The electricity that coursed through him was actually from real lightning and not simply from lightning chakra. Because of its more natural power, it was causing a solidifying chemical reaction with the material in his right arm and leg. This would destroy Hashirama's cells, and the appendages that Madara had built him after getting crushed by that boulder so many years ago.

The white side of his body began crumbling off, leaving the right side of his body cut off as he lay in the muddy ground.

Obito continued to curse Sasuke, and somewhat Kabuto for putting him in such a dire situation.

The image of a smirking Naruto suddenly popped into the crippled Uchiha's mind.

Obito's hatred resurfaced as he lay on the muddy ground. All of this was Naruto's fault. All of it! The elder Uchiha had greatly underestimated the blonde. He never would have thought the brat could have this much of an impact on Sasuke.

It clearly showed Sasuke's weakness at being so impressionable. A weakness created by Itachi for what he had done to his younger brother during the massacre. However, the rest was centered on a silver-tongued devil named Naruto, who planted the seed of doubt within Sasuke that had caused all of this.

The Uzumaki would pay dearly for his transgressions. Obito would make sure of that. Even if these were Obito last moments, the Uchiha swore to himself that he would make Naruto regret this.

Even if he had to do so in the afterlife.

Obito continued to curse Naruto until his world eventually turned black.

\/

The Rokudaime Hokage, Uzumaki Naruto, fixed his position in the chair. He shifted his weight to the other side in a way to lessen his soreness.

He stared at the hospital bed, head in hand as he rested it on the armrest. He sighed for the umpteenth time, watching the comatose body. It lay in the hospital bed almost motionless, covered by a sheet to the neck. Another veil covered the person's face, an intricate seal design etched onto the cloth. The large tubing connecting to a breathing device could be seen coming out from under the masking clothe.

If one looked close enough, they could see the almost nonexistent rise and fall of the person's chest.

Naruto's eyes traveled to the direction of the window, gazing out from the dark hospital room. No lights were on, and all that illuminated the room was the light that shone in from the moon.

There was a sudden knock at the door.

The Sixth Hokage sighed once as he said, "Come on in."

The Uzumaki did not need to look to know that it was Shikamaru who walked in. The Nara looked from his Hokage to the bedridden individual.

Shikamaru walked up beside the seated Rokudaime, who had his leg crossed over the other in a lackadaisical manor.

"Is that him?" Were the first words out Shikamaru's mouth as he continued to stare down the man's motionless body.

Naruto batted his eyes slowly, not averting his gaze from the slumbering village. He replied with a short, "Yes."

The Uzumaki heard the heavy sigh that pressed out Shikamaru's nostrils, knowing the Nara needed some time to take in all this information.

It was a full two minutes before Shikamaru asked, "What happened."

Naruto then told his advisor about Anko's team and how they had been trailing Kabuto, until he led them to Akatsuki's hideout and what they had discovered.

The Uzumaki continued informing Shikamaru, "I got word this morning that they confirmed the presence of all three of them, so I had Anko place a Hiraishin seal into the ground and used the Hokage Guard Platoon to get there."

Shikamaru knew about the three; Namiashi Raidou, Shiranui Genma, and Tatami Iwashi. They were a squad constructed from the finest Jounin the Leaf had to offer. Their sole objective was to protect the Hokage. Together the three could use the Flying Thunder God Technique, which is what allowed Naruto to get there so quickly.

Shikamaru waited for Naruto to finish.

"I arrived to find that the base was destroyed, Kabuto and Tobi were gone, and Sasuke was mortally wounded and in a fatal state." Naruto finished.

Shikamaru took in the rest of the information gingerly before asking, "Do you have any idea what happened before you arrived? Like why the base was in the state it was?"

"I do not. My first priority was bringing Sasuke back here to get help." Naruto sent a glance towards Shikamaru and could see the slight narrow of the eyes from the Nara, probably agitated at the Uzumaki's actions. Naruto looked back out the window, continuing, "I had the H-G-P send me back here as soon as possible while Anko's team scavenged the base. However, it was completely destroyed and there was no possible way of getting in."

"So we know nothing." Shikamaru concluded.

"Not until he wakes up." Naruto answered back.

Shikamaru quickly countered, "If he wakes up."

Naruto's gaze turned toward Shikamaru and the Nara thought he was about to retort, probably to defend the Uchiha, but the Uzumaki stopped himself before turning his vision to the window.

Some more time passed as the two stewed in silence.

Shikamaru was the first to break the tension, "You need to tell me things like this."

Naruto turned his head back to the Nara, "What are you talking about? I called you here didn't I?"

"I'm not talking about now." Shikamaru said a little irritated, "I'm talking about the fact that you sent out a team to scout for Kabuto, and when you found his location and then Akatsuki's location, you did not say a word to me. I'm you're advisor damn it!"

Naruto stared at the Nara with a blank expression. He was silent for a moment before saying, "I'm sorry…"

Shikamaru sighed and scratched the back of his head, not able to stay mad at the Uzumaki for long. He was always like that. The Nara's hand went from rubbing his head to his neck as his attention was drawn back to Sasuke.

"So who's taking care of him?" Shikamaru asked offhandedly.

"Shizune." Naruto answered, his attention being drawn to the Uchiha, "She was the only one qualified to treat his injuries other then Tsunade, who is in a coma, and Sakura, who does not need to know about this as of right."

"Oh? Why is that?" Shikamaru asked, surprised by the Uzumaki's last words. He had a good idea why, but he still wanted to hear what the Sixth Hokage thought.

"Because no one needs to know right now." Naruto confirmed the Nara's thoughts, "We are already on the brink of war and peace between the villages is still a new concept that everyone will have a hard time adjusting to. If it were to be discovered that I was harboring an international criminal that tried to kill one of the five great leader's brothers, peace between the villages would crumble within seconds."

"Then why are we keeping him here?!" Shikamaru asked uncharacteristically loud.

The Nara was surprised by how stupid his leader was being. The Rokudaime had been showing Shikamaru a whole new Naruto as of late, so this sudden change back into someone he used to think was immature was throwing him through a loop.

"Because he is my friend." Naruto said back, not raising his voice but furrowing his brow.

"There has got to be a stopping point!" Shikamaru said back with the same amount of agitation, "All the things he has done! All the things he might do if he was to awaken in the middle of Konoha!"

Naruto did not immediately reply back, allowing Shikamaru to calm himself.

The Nara mentally scoffed at the situation, having their usual roles reversed. Usually it was Naruto yelling while Shikamaru played the calm cucumber. However, this situation was different. This situation put Naruto at more risk than he probably even knew. And that worried the Nara.

Naruto's eyes became soft for a moment, seeing Shikamaru as he wore his emotions on his sleeve, "I never realized you cared so much."

"Naruto." Shikamaru said the man's name aloud, knowing there were none around so he could speak to his leader in a more informal way, "Of course I'm always worried about you. You're my friend."

The resolve that Shikamaru could see almost all the time within his Hokage's eyes returned as the Uzumaki caught him off guard.

"If it were any of my friends, I would score the earth and go to the deepest parts of hell to return them home. If it had been you, or any of my other friends. I would bring them back here, even if I had to break every bone in their body!"

Shikamaru's eyes widened at the Hokage's words, realization dawning upon him.

After all this time, how could he have never seen it?

All the talk about returning Sasuke to the village, and to Sakura. It had not been because of some promise. It had not been because Sasuke was once part of Team 7. It had not been because of his love for Sakura.

It was because he was Naruto's friend.

The Naruto who would do anything for those that showed concern, or care, for him. The Naruto that would do anything physically possible for those he cared for. The Naruto that would give his life for another.

Sure the thought of it was preposterous, one of them, from the Konoha 11, defecting from the village. However, the sentimentality behind it was all that was needed.

For so long Shikamaru had thought it was because Sasuke was Naruto's "best friend" that the Uzumaki went to such lengths to get him back. But Naruto's words showed the Nara otherwise. Naruto did not think of Sasuke in such a way. Naruto cared for Sasuke the same way he cared for any of his other friends.

"Naruto…" Shikamaru said the name slowly as he stared into the resolute cerulean eyes of the leader he would follow to the ends of the earth.

Shikamaru sighed through his nostrils, having lost out to the unyielding stare of the Rokudaime's.

"Damn… this is going to be troublesome."

A small smile crept onto Naruto's face, "When is it not?"

"How are we going to keep this a secret?"

"Well I have sworn all those that know about this to secrecy. The penalty is death if anyone blabs. I have placed Anti-Transgressor seals around this room so only me, you, Shizune, and the head doctor and nurse are allowed to enter. Mute seals have also been placed."

Shikamaru nodded after each sentence, believing the precautions in place were good enough, for now.

The Nara then scoffed aloud, shaking his head with a mirthful smile.

"It's unbelievable." Shikamaru said, gaining Naruto's attention.

"What is it?" The Uzumaki asked, genuinely interested.

"You have been Hokage barely two months, and already you have me swearing secrecy to acts that could commit us both of treason."

A cheeky grin spread across Naruto's mouth as he could not help but chuckle, "I'm sure it will be the first of many."

\/

Beep… Beep… Beep…

A figure stood in front of a large vat of green liquid. The human sized container was hooked up to many computers and a heart monitor that's robotic ticks echoed throughout the room.

The person standing in front of the silo was wearing a heavy cloak with its hood pulled over so as to hide their identity.

A single man floated within the green substance, a breathing apparatus and pads connected to wires covered the person's body. He wore nothing but a pair of boxers

The being watching the floating man clicked several buttons on a module. The healing capsule released sporadic bursts of steam as the water slowly depleted. The breathing apparatus and wiring was ripped from the man's body. Once all the water was gone the front of the glass chamber opened, allowing the man to fall onto the ground in front of the cloaked figure.

The man coughed hoarsely several times, regaining his bearings.

The man opened his eyes and was surprised to find that he could see. He was on all fours as his eyes adjusted to the scenery around him. He looked up to the cloaked figure and pondered on who the man could be. The figure did not say anything, but handed him a mirror.

The man took hold of the reflective material with his left hand and peered into it. The mirror nearly slipped from his hand at what stared back at him.

A pair of Rinnegan eyes.

However, that was not what shocked the man the most.

What stunned the man silent was not the most powerful of Doujutsu, but the right side of his face, which now matched the left side.

Uchiha Obito starred at his reconstructed face. The hair he had lost from Sasuke's last attack was miraculously back and the wrinkled side of his face that had made him grotesque for most of his life was gone. It was upon this realization that he noticed his right arm and leg were also back. These were not placebos or man-made appendages. These were his actual limbs, their skin color matching the other half of his body, and there were no indications or scars that showed where the appendages should have been connected.

"A-Am I in hell?" Obito asked out loud. He had no delusions that he would ever end up in heaven, so that had to be the only answer to what had become of his body.

"Oh no my friend." The figure spoke. The being's voice sounded familiar to Obito, but he could not recall to whom it belonged, "Not yet anyway. As long as you follow my orders, your dream of putting the world in an eternal Genjutsu will come true."

Obito's new pair of Rinnegan eyes narrowed as he went to grab the cloaked figure by the throat, "No one order m- AAAAHHHHH!"

Obito suddenly clutched his head with both hands, pressing down on it as the pain that surged through it was unbearable. He fell onto his back and rolled back in forth, writhing in pain.

The pain lasted several more seconds before slowly coming to a stop.

The events left Obito panting and drooling.

"WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME!?" Obito yelled.

"Fufufufu." The figure chuckled, "I gave you the power to make all your dreams come true."

"It was quite easy to mend back your facial structure." The figure continued, "Even rebuilding your appendages was not all too difficult using my cellular medical Ninjutsu. Although, it was a bit of hassle having to find the right sized bones to hook up to your nervous system and muscles."

Obito's eyes widened, "Wait you're-"

"Fufufufu." The figure's laughter cut him off, "The easiest part was recovering Madara's eyes from Nagato while you distracted Konan and the Leaf team Naruto sent to intercept you."

The figure reached for his hood and pushed it back, his lush white hair swaying. Large circular glasses reflected the lights of the room. The corners of the man's mouth were slit open like a snake's and the man's skin was pale, while scales lined the sides of his neck.

"YAKUSHI KABUTOOOO!" Obito yelled, he made a move to strike the man, but stopped when Kabuto raised his hand up toward him.

"Ah-ah-ah." Kabuto said, tilting his head slightly so his yellow snake eyes could meet Obito's Rinnegan, "I made sure to put in a failsafe should you try to resist me. If you do not follow my orders or make an attempt to harm me, it will feel like your mind is going to melt. Know that I can kill you at any time."

"This is your entire fault!" Obito yelled, not caring about the droll that cascaded down the corner of his mouth, "You did this didn't you?! You informed Naruto about my intention to retrieve the Rinnegan. You allowed Sasuke to do as he pleased. Because of you the army I have spent years on making is GONE!"

Kabuto's smirk never left his face, "Now now. Why would I ever sabotage you? What would I have to gain?"

Obito knew the questions were almost impossible to answer, but he could not trust the way Kabuto smiled at him.

"Now if you will be a little more civilized, I can show you something truly interesting."

Obito narrowed his eyes, but made it to his feet.

"Fufufufu. Good." Kabuto turned and began walking.

Obito followed close behind.

The two continued walking, eventually making it to a dark corridor the two traveled through side-by-side.

As they were walking, Obito stared at the snake-like man out the corner of his eyes.

Kabuto could sense the man's eyes on him, which made him ask, "Do you have something to say?"

"Yeah I've got a question." Obito answered honestly, "How do you know so much? Like the fact that Nagato's eyes that I gave him were actually orginaly Madara's. Or the fact that you know of my Eye of the Moon plan even though I'm almost certain I have never spoken a word of it to you."

Kabuto's smile somehow got even a little bigger, "Come now Obito. You should be able to figure it out. Even if you are not a genius like Sasuke, or Kakashi."

Obito grumbled at the man's insults, but said nothing else.

"Fufufufu… you will discover how in due time."

The two continued to walk in silence until Obito could make out an entrance to the long tunnel. As they got closer to the exit, the walls around them seemed to vibrate. There seemed to be a lot of commotion at the end of the hallway.

As they got even closer, Obito had to almost cover his ears as a multitude of roars echoed down the passage. The bellows sounded like a mix of human and beast.

"There was a reason I have remained hidden for the past six months." Kabuto spoke up over the roars, catching the Uchiha's attention, "I was not only mastering Edo Tensei and overpowering Orochimaru's cells."

The two emerged into a colossal coliseum far under the ground.

Obito's eyes widened as he peered down to the base level, grabbing hold of the vibrating railing closest to him.

Kabuto saw the man's expression, and a large smile spread across his lips, "You should be pretty familiar with curses, being that you hail from the Uchiha clan."

Obito continued to stare down at the hordes of man-beast hybrids as they fought one another. Men, transformed into all manner of creatures, battled for dominance. There were hundreds, possibly thousands. Even though their numbers were small in comparison to the Shinobi Alliance, Obito could see the amount of chakra and potency each individual had. The vile chakra that had only been seen around Orochimaru's old Curse Seal experiments had finally resurfaced.

Peering down on this gathering of unnaturally strengthened ninja, Obito could not help but think this war was still in the bag.

The light reflected off of Kabuto's ocular lenses as his smile grew, 'Everything is going exactly as planned.'

"Come, Obito-kun… Let me introduce you to my Cursed Army!"

\/

Author's Notes: Sorry for the longer than usual wait. I have been enjoying most of the summer with my buddies, and quite a bit of work on the side, so I have not found much time to write. I fell out of my usual habit of writing for several hours a day, and it is going to be a bit hard to get back to that routine, especially now that I'm working six days a week. If anyone was wondering, I'm a server/cook at Outback Steakhouse. Anyway, hope you all enjoyed the chapter.

I do not intend for it to ever take this long for a chapter update again. At the longest you should only have to wait one month. If I exceed that time limit then don't be afraid to send me hate messages, it will give me all the more drive to write more.

Quick shout out to SkyRage for letting me know it is "Juubi" and not "Jyuubi". I have a pretty good grasp on everything there is to know about Naruto, but I still tend to always check myself by looking online before I write anything. I did not on this and that is why it came out Jyuubi. However, I have you wonderful readers there to tell me when I make a mistake. :)

On a side note, I'm going to rant just a little bit on stuff people have been saying about the story so this author's note will be a bit long. From the way they spoke in their reviews it made me realize some of them will never read this far to see this (I know that others have complained about some things but said they will continue reading, so this isn't necessarily pointed at you, but maybe it'll help clear some stuff up). To be honest I'm doing this for myself more than for them.

Firstly, the fact that Shiro, an OC I created, took on Naruto on equal standings. Are you all (to those that are) really upset by something like this? First off Shiro was never as strong as Naruto, he was maybe close to Kakashi's level, and that was without the enhancements. Shiro was infused with the powers of the moon for most of their fight and Naruto was still able to have control in their fight with just his sage abilities.

If you did not realize, when I say powers of the moon, I mean the powers of the Juubi. I figured people would realize that when I kept saying he had the powers of the MOON and was covered by white light, because, believe it or not, I actually want my readers to try and look deeper into my story without me having to blatantly state it. Seems I'm going to have to from now on (I'm not, I'm being sarcastic). Plus the only one that actually knew about the Juubi at that point was Naruto, and he had not realized what was happening because the others were the ones who solved the mirror problem.

So even with parts of the Juubi's powers, Shiro could still not beat Naruto. The reason I had to make Naruto lose his sage powers when Shiro lost the moon's (Juubi's), was because Naruto would have curb stomped the guy in a matter of seconds if I had not.

Also pertaining to this issue. The anime comes up with all these bullshit characters that can match Naruto (even after Pein's arc), so what is the big ass deal? He beat Pein so he should not be having any troubles with another ninja because that would be a disgrace to Pein's character? Get fucking real. Pein had fought an entire village before fighting Naruto. No shit the dudes good, and he definitely had a handicap when fighting Naruto. But that does not change the fact that the ninja world is huge and there other powerful ninja. Does that mean Shiro is as strong as Nagato? Hell no, nowhere even close. But he did have a strong force backing him and was a prodigy, so for him to give Naruto a little bit of trouble, even with sage mode, should not be this big of a deal to some people.

I figure the only people that are annoyed that Shiro could handle Naruto for a time are those that don't like OC's. I personally don't like them either, but I can put my bias aside in order to write a story with them in it. No OC will ever play a major role in this story, or any of mine, and I have mostly everything planned up till the very end of this mother.

On to the next thing. The fact that Kyuubi's chakra can still harm Naruto. Naruto may have control of it, but it is still demonic chakra. Demonic chakra harms the body. His own chakra is used to counter the Kyuubi's, so when his chakra runs out the Kyuubi's tries to take over. The only reason he lost control was because he purposely used all of his chakra up to see what would happen, and it took nearly twenty minutes of releasing constant waves of his chakra out, which he will not be doing in battle. Most of you already know this. However, some people have been angered that I have somehow made Naruto handicapped now. Someone even said that if I keep giving Naruto weaknesses I'll have to come up with a deus ex machina idea to make it right. For those who do not know what that is, I'll save you the trouble of googling it. Deus ex machina is a plot device where a seemingly unsolvable problem is abruptly resolved by an unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object.

Are you fucking kidding me? All I did was put an Achilles heel to Naruto's Kyuubi power and all of a sudden I have made him weak? As of right, in my story, Naruto is one of the strongest ninja in the world, even without the Kyuubi's powers. Yet I'm going have to come up with unrealistic devices to save him? I literally laughed out loud at the stupidity when I read that.

Look people. This is not going to be your average god-like Naruto story. That's not what I'm going for with this story. It is why I put a limitation to his Kyuubi powers. He is not going to all of a sudden be someone who could wipe everyone off the face of the earth. I have read many stories like that. I want Naruto's ascendance to godly-hood to be well paced and realistic. I also intend to slowly change Naruto's personality, which I think some have seen with the ways he interacts with his friends. I am trying to bring Naruto out of his childish persona as he realizes some things must be done for the betterment of his village in his pursuit for peace. I'm trying make him more like the Third than anyone else because in my opinion Sarutobi believed in the Will of Fire, but still knew that in the ninja world, you had to get your hands dirty for the betterment of all. It is why I have used him in so many instances through the story where Naruto thought about what to do (I know I'm blatantly stating things when I said I would not).

Guys and gals, I have literally read a story where Naruto became so strong within the first chapter, the author actually said that the story would be more Naruto just giving orders and the others struggling to follow through with them because they are not strong enough. I immediately stopped reading it after that (and almost flipped my laptop over). How is that entertaining? The main character was merely going to play god and anyone that opposed him would be killed off instantly. If this is the kind of story you want to read, then I advise you go elsewhere, because that will never be this. Naruto will assuredly be god-like, but it will come with time. If you would rather read something where Naruto's most difficult decision is what color underwear to wear for the day is, then by all means do.

Lastly, people have been finding it increasingly more difficult in believing this is still NaruSaku. Now I'm going to say this one last god damn time. This story is going to be NaruSaku. There may be other romantic interests for Naruto, and possibly Sakura, in the future, but they will eventually end up together. I'm trying to make a very realistic story here, and so far I think I have done well by their personalities. I have said many times that there would not be much actual romance (by romance I mean dating) between Naruto and anyone for sometime as he deals with the upcoming war so do not expect much. There will be some fluff and possibly hot and heavy scenes here and there, but that's about it.

Some have argued that Sakura had stronger feelings for Naruto in the manga, but that is not true. I will say her feelings for him changed after Sai went and told her about Naruto's feelings, showing she had been just as belligerent as Naruto to Hinata's love. However, that interaction never happened in this story, so my thought pattern is that Sakura still has strong feelings for Naruto, but in a more brotherly way. You can argue that they were more than brotherly, but you would be wasting your breath (finger fatigue), because she has clearly shown she still loves Sasuke, though her feelings do seem conflicted at certain points. It's just hard to judge because they never show the two interacting because Sasuke has been gone all this time. In the more recent chapters she has still been shown to have feelings for Sasuke so if he would have still been around before the war I'm sure she would be acting the same way.

In my story, I have been throwing in subtle hints recently that Sakura is starting to think of Naruto differently, in a more intimate way that she had previously never done. She has been closer to Naruto than Sasuke, and that will begin to show very soon.

A couple people were angered that Sakura could not answer Naruto's question about Sasuke. I can understand the anger, but in my opinion that is the kind of response I saw happening in the manga if Sai never confronted Sakura and she was asked that. Because frankly, like I said, she has not seen Sasuke in so long, so her emotions are torn. She has never interacted with him separate from the time at Orochimaru's hideout, and even that they did not really talk. That has left emptiness when pertaining to the subject of Sasuke and she needs things answered.

I can assure you all that her feelings will be changing very soon. But that is all I will say.

Thanks for listening (reading). :) Read and Review. Later.

Jutsu Description

Susanoo (He with the Ability to help by All Means); S-rank: an ability granted by the Mangekyou Sharingan to those who awaken the powers of both eyes. It creates a gigantic, humanoid being that surrounds the user. As one of the strongest techniques granted to those that have acquired the Mangekyou Sharingan, it is the user's guardian deity, but at the same time, it consumes the user's life.

Amaterasu (Heavenly Illumination); S-Rank:The jet-black flames of the Amaterasu, said to be as hot as the sun, ignite at the focus of the user's vision and are inextinguishable. The flames burn for seven days and seven nights and will turn virtually anything into ash.

Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu (Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique); C-Rank: A technique where chakra kneaded inside the body is converted into fire and expelled from the mouth either as a massive orb of roaring flame or as a continuous flame-thrower. The scope of the attack is altered by controlling the volume of chakra that is mustered. The released flames will engulf their target, and leave a crater on the ground's surface.

Mokuton: Jukai Kōtan (Wood Release: Nativity of a Sea of Trees); S-Rank: After forming the necessary seals, the user is able to turn an area into a vast forest in a matter of mere moments complete with trees and even grass growing out of any terrain the ninja is on.

Enton: Yasaka no Magatama (Blaze Release: Eight Slopes Curved Jewel); S-Rank: Utilising the orb of black flames in his Susanoo's third hand, the user is able to rapidly produce a number of magatama projectiles, which are composed entirely of the flames. Upon impact, victims are forcefully thrown off of their feet and quickly incinerated.

Katon: Jettohi (Fire Release: Jet Fire); A-Rank:A technique where chakra kneaded inside the body is converted into fire, and then expelled from the mouth in a single continuous torrent of molten hot flames. The fire produced from this technique is nearly as hot as lava. (Original Jutsu)

Katon: Bakufū Ranbu (Fire Release: Blast Wave Wild Dance); A-Rank: A technique where chakra kneaded inside the body is converted into fire, and then expelled from the mouth in a continuous stream of flames, which spirals outwards, creating a massive fire vortex. If needed, the distorting effects of Kamui can be used to aid the formation of the vortex.

Chidori Nagashi (One Thousand Birds Current); A-Rank: A Ninjutsu developed by Sasuke Uchiha during his training with Orochimaru. By releasing the Chidori in every direction, an electrical discharge flows from the user's entire body allowing him to affect multiple enemies. When using this attack on a great number of enemies at once, it can effectively double as an instant defense. The body of the person touched by the Chidori will misinterpret the lightning nature as "electrical signals from the nerves", making its muscles contract. This causes the body to involuntarily go stiff, while at the same time receives damage. This attack can also be channeled through the ground to increase the range of the attack.

Shōsen Jutsu (Mystical Palm Technique); A-Rank: This medical Ninjutsu allows the user to speed up the body's natural healing process by sending chakra from their hands into a wound or afflicted body part. This allows the user to heal a patient without the need for medical equipment or surgery, making it very useful on the battlefield. It can be used to treat both external and internal injuries. It is vital to match the amount of chakra used to the severity of the affliction or injury.

A green chemical substance, known as Myst on the black market, is a liquid form of the Jutsu. It serves as a proxy of the Jutsu to those who are incapable or just do not want to spend the time learning the technique. In the medical world, the use of the substance is looked down upon. However, the healing tool thrives in the black market. (Original Idea; I made it last chapter, but I decided to give it a little back story in this one)

Katon: Karyū Endan (Fire Release: Fire Dragon Flame Bullet); B-Rank: the user kneads their chakra into flames, which are then manipulated into a genuine-looking dragon. Since the art of having the flames obey the user's will is outrageously difficult, its mastery is restricted to a limited number of skillful shinobi. The flames are divided to launch a left side, right side, and frontal assault in all three directions at once, turning the enemy into ash in a matter of seconds.

Katon: Gōryūka no Jutsu (Fire Release: Great Fire Dragon Technique); B-Rank: The user compresses a large amount of chakra built up inside their body and changes it into a dragon head-shaped fireball. The user then skillfully manipulates that great fire, and attacks their opponent. Even outside of the attack range, its power and reliability are stressed. The flames have a high temperature, as they can create an upward movement of air currents which in turn can give rise to thunder clouds. A master of this technique can fire off several flames in succession and anyone caught in the technique could potentially be reduced to ashes.

Kirin (Giraffe); S-Rank: An extremely powerful, one-shot, lightning technique created by Sasuke Uchiha. He draws natural lightning directly from thunder clouds to supplement the power of his strike and controls it with chakra. Unlike most techniques, which are based on the user's chakra, this one uses the natural lightning, which reaches the ground in 1/1000th of a second. However, the preparation time required also decreases the technique's efficiency. If there are no active thunder clouds, the user must create them by using powerful fire techniques to produce the necessary storm conditions. With techniques such as Amaterasu, even stronger storm conditions can be made by them.

Once a lightning source has been acquired, shaping and guiding the lightning to the target requires very little chakra. In addition, usage seems to disperse the thunder clouds as the sky cleared up of clouds after use. As such, this technique can only be used once in a fight.