About 2 years had passed since the Retrieval Mission and Naruto's departure to train with Jiraiya, and everyone had been training fiercely, especially Tatsu, Sasuke and Lee in preparation for the battles with the Akatsuki that had yet to come.
Tatsu's Shadow Clones dispersed, leaving him panting heavily with sweat dripping down his face to no end 'Dammit, I'm not getting anywhere on this!'
"Easy." Sasuke knelt down beside him "It's been a full day since we started trying to add your wind change in nature to your Rasengan, and you're using about 200 Shadow Clones now. You've just achieved what the average ninja would take 80 full days to do, but I guess that's just not enough for you."
"It'll be enough when I can beat the Akatsuki. This training is impossible, I can't wrap my head around this and it feels like 200 Shadow Clones are my limit. It's taking all my concentration to form the basic Rasengan with one hand, but trying to use another hand is just way too much for me right now."
"You're unusually negative, that's not like you. You don't sound like the Tatsu Kamikaze that I know."
"That's because you're not the one who has to look to the left and the right at the same time. Look Sasuke, unless you've got some ancient wisdom the Fourth Hokage wouldn't be able to come up with I don't wanna hear it."
"Actually, I've been brainstorming and I think I have an idea. But before I get to that, let's deal with this little left and right example you mentioned." his Sanda Sharingan formed in his eyes and he formed a single Thunder Clone "See? With a clone I can look to the left and the right at the same time, this is what you meant right?"
Tatsu blinked, before realization dawned on his face "Now I get it!"
'What does he get? That look on his face never ends well.'
"Maybe if I-" Tatsu was cut off when the ground started shaking violently "What the-?"
The shaking stopped after a moment, and Tatsu was still concerned "You noticed it right Sasuke?"
"Yeah, the way that shaking stopped seemed unnatural."
"We'd better head back." then he felt another one "That one was closer by the first."
"I think it was by Shirato Street."
"Let's move!" and they took off.
Tatsu looked around at the destruction throughout Shirato Street "Who would do something like this?"
"We don't know what we're up against, don't lose your head." Sasuke warned.
"I'm the one who should be telling you that. We'd better go see Lady Tsunade, she might have some info on what's going on." Tatsu advanced forward, with Sasuke following, and found several odd creatures in front of him "The hell are these things?"
"My best guess is that they're the ones who did this." he saw a girl hiding amongst the debris holding something wrapped in a cloth "Sasuke."
"Yeah, you wanna take them and save her?"
"Why not? I need to vent a little frustration." he leapt down in front of the creatures and formed several hand seals "Fire Style: Crimson Dragon!" he fired a red fire dragon, quickly incinerating the creatures, then went over to the girl "Are you alright?"
The girl nodded shakily "Y-Yes, thank you."
Then Sasuke came over "Looks like you're done."
"They were clearly the fodder soldiers." then he turned to the girl "You don't have to be afraid. I'm Tatsu Kamikaze, this is Sasuke Uchiha. You don't look like you're from this village, we'll escort you somewhere safe."
"No!" the girl quickly cut him off "I need to speak to the Hokage right away."
"Right, we'll take you to see her once things settle down."
"No, there's something I must tell her immediately! Please, please take me to the Hokage."
"Well we are on our way to see her anyway, I don't see the harm. Still though we should hurry, get on." he took the girl onto his back and ran ahead, with Sasuke following, only to find more creatures in front of him "Son of a bitch, there's more of them?"
"Let me get this one." Sasuke drew his Raijin katana and quickly cut the creatures down, causing them to disappear, only for more to appear in their place "Dammit, they're everywhere. We'd better conserve our chakra."
"Leaf Hurricane!" in a green blur, Lee appeared and defeated several enemies "Are you guys alright?"
"We're fine, we just have to get past them."
"Alright. Neji, more over here!"
Then Neji showed up "So they appeared here as well."
"Are you saying they're in other areas?" asked Tatsu.
"Yes, it would seem quite a number of them have entered the village."
"But it doesn't seem right, even if there were so many of them I doubt they'd be able to cause something like this."
"When I used my Byakugan a moment ago, I saw something different. It was gigantic."
"How big was it? And is it related to those huge dust clouds? We'd probably be able to learn something from Lady Tsunade, but first we've gotta do something about these guys right here."
"Don't worry, we can handle this." Lee told him "Neji, let's do it."
"Thanks Lee. Sasuke, let's go!" and he took off, with Sasuke following, leaving Lee and Neji to deal with the creatures.
"Lady Tsunade!" Tatsu and Sasuke rushed onto the roof of the Hokage building "What's going on?"
Tsunade shook her head "I'm not sure, we're gathering information as we speak. There's the occasional dust cloud and mysterious enemies, that's all we know for now."
"We already encountered these mysterious enemies." Sasuke told her "We fought with them too, they didn't really feel alive to be honest."
"I see, is there anything else you can tell me?"
"There is." Tatsu let the girl off his back "This girl here wanted to see you-" he was cut off by another earthquake.
The girl seemed anxious "The Earth Genryu, it's nearby."
"The Earth What now?"
"That was the most violent quake yet." that was when Kakashi showed up.
"How'd it go?" asked Tsunade "Did you find anything?"
"I'm afraid not. The entire village is in chaos, I only got bizarre witness accounts."
"Just what I said, stuff about monsters and a gigantic turtle."
"We probably ran into those monsters you were talking about." Tatsu told him "Still though, I doubt they could've caused this much damage to the village."
"If it's a natural disaster then I wonder if it's related to the phenomenon at Mount Koryu."
"Mount Koryu… I remember my brother telling me legends about that sacred mountain…"
"It does exist, but it's quite a distance from the Land of Fire." Tsunade pointed out "So then how could it be related to what's happening here?"
"If I may…" the girl spoke up "I-" she was cut off by another earthquake.
"What the- LOOK OUT!" Tatsu quickly grabbed the girl and got her away from what appeared to be a massive rock dragon.
The dragon then brought down one of its claws.
"Tatsu!" Tsunade stopped the claw with her brute strength.
Tatsu then leapt back, again taking the girl with him, and formed several hand seals "Lady Tsunade, fall back! Fire Style: Crimson Dragon!" once Tsunade leapt back, he breathed out a large red fire dragon.
The dragon was unfazed and brought down its claw again.
"Tatsu, get back!" Sasuke quickly activated his Sanda Sharingan and drew his Raijin kanata, then formed a hand seal "Lightning Blade: Twin Lightning Shiver!" he struck the dragon's base with a Chidori, then blitzed left and right as he ascended, ending with one final lightning strike downwards, causing the beast to howl in pain "Looks like the strengths and weakness of the five changes in chakra nature still work, so then if we-"
"It's no use!" the girl revealed a small dagger with a hole in the handle "Against Genryu, only this Dragon Blade can defeat them, but only someone with the Dragonseed in their hearts may unlock its true power."
"How can you tell if someone has the Dragonseed?"
"Grip the handle, and if you are the one then the blade's true power will be unleashed."
'Sounds a lot like with the Raijin Blade. Tatsu, grip the handle ."
"Gripping the handle." Tatsu gripped the handle, and the sword was engulfed in a white light, and when it dissipated the sword had evolved from a standard-looking dagger into a silver katana with a black handle, a dragon mark on either side of the blade, and a ring on the handle around the size of Tatsu's palm "Is that good?"
"Very." the girl smiled "It means that you are the blade's true master, Tatsu Kamikaze."
"So I go fight it?"
"Please do so."
"Well alright then. Sasuke, I'll give you the signal to back me up." and he charged in, beginning the real battle.
The Genryu swept its claw, unleashing a barrage of small boulders that grew larger the further they progressed.
Tatsu was able to block, but was sent back by the force, and only just barely managed to dodge the boulders coming up from the ground, then managed to cut the Genryu across the face 'This Dragon Blade does seem to be working against it, and the power I feel from it is almost overwhelming. Sasuke, now!"
"Right! Raijin Chidori!" using a Raijin-powered Chidori, Sasuke blitzed across the rooftop, hitting the Genryu with a blast of lightning, causing it to collapse.
Then the Genryu got up and let out an angry roar, but with a scale on the tip of its nose glowing.
"Please aim for the shining scale!" the girl called.
"Shining Scale… I see it!" taking the opportunity while the Genryu was overcome with pain from Sasuke's blast, Tatsu struck the shining scale on the Genryu's nose, causing a strange orb to emerge and fall to the ground. He then landed on the ground and picked up the orb "What the hell is this thing?"
"Tatsu, look out!" Kakashi barked.
"Wha-" it was too late and Tatsu was knocked unconscious by the Genryu's claw falling on him, as well as several boulders.
Tatsu later came to in the hospital "Damn, I feel like I got run over by an angry Choji…"
"Looks like you're awake."
Tatsu looked to see Tsunade on one side of his bed and Kakashi on the other "Why the hell am I in the hospital?"
"You don't remember? You fought that gigantic rock dragon." Kakashi told him.
"Oh yeah, did I kill it?"
"Well no, you actually just knocked it out but it's not a threat now." Tsunade told him.
"I see. Still though, it felt like that Dragon Blade I was using really helped me take that thing down. What about that girl by the way?"
"Her name is Akari Tatsushiro."
Sasuke was discussing with Akari and Kin on the roof "So Akari, that giant Earth Genryu was after the Dragon Blade you were carrying."
Akari nodded "Yes, all of this happened because of it."
"Even those mud doll-like creatures that appeared in the village?" asked Kin.
"Mugonhei, soulless soldiers created to protect the Genryu."
"Who created those things?"
"They were made in the days of old, but the Tatsushiro clan sealed them long ago. My brother Kuroma, he revived them to gather the power of the Genryu."
"Power of the Genryu, huh…" Sasuke muttered "Since that was the Earth Genryu, I'm guessing there are others like Fire and Water?"
"Yes. Fire, wind, lightning, earth, water. Those are the 5 Genryu."
"Combining the powers of the 5 dragons will grant unimaginable power." Kakashi explained.
Tatsu's eyes shot wide "Beyond even the Kyuubi? That's what Akari's brother is trying to do?"
"According to our understanding, yeah."
"Well from what she said, it's so he can destroy the world."
"That honestly doesn't sound very believable." Kin commented.
"To erase the natural energy of this world and create one where people can't live, those were his words." Akari told them.
"Reports from the group sent to Mount Koryu say that the land is deteriorating." Sasuke pointed out "Looks like the area of destruction is expanding."
"This Kuroma person, does this mean he plans to use this power to eliminate people who stand against him?" asked Kin.
"Probably. It looks like Mount Koryu is a key to this as well."
Akari nodded "That's correct, Mount Koryu is a unique land to begin with."
"What do you mean unique?" asked Tatsu.
"According to reports, entering Mount Koryu disrupts one's inner chakra." explained Tsunade.
"That means using ninjutsu becomes more difficult, making it harder to fight."
"And where do you keep getting these reports?"
"We needed to confirm Akari's story while you were unconscious, I put together a small team and sent them to Mount Koryu. We have confirmed the effect of the Genryu revival, as well as countless Mugonhei."
"So what she said was…"
"It's rather credible."
"On top of that, there's some information we received a little while ago." Kakashi cut in "The legends of the Genryu date back to ancient times, if they truly do exist then it's only natural that they couldn't ignore them."
"The Akatsuki could be involved in this as well." Kin noted, having been informed about the Akatsuki by Tatsu and Sasuke a few months before.
"Kakashi got some info that a number of Akatsuki are already heading to Mount Koryu as we speak." Sasuke pointed out "They might seek them for the same purpose as the Tailed Beasts, whatever that may be."
"So Dosu, Neji and Lee are…"
"Right, once Tatsu wakes up the Hokage wants us and a few others to go rescue them."
"So Lee's team is still at Mount Koryu?" Tatsu repeated.
"Yes, and we've lost contact with those three." Tsunade told him.
"Well I guess I shouldn't be too worried, Lee can hold his own for a good long while even if he can't use chakra. Dosu and Neji however…"
"Have some faith, even if you were to go there right now then you'd be in for a very rude awakening. We've prepared some special equipment, even if it was a rush job. It will allow you to control your chakra in special places like Mount Koryu."
"Think of it as a special costume to wear while inside Mount Koryu." Kakashi told him "Also, since I can't come with you I'll be sending along in my place."
"Who would that be?"
"That would be me."
Tatsu looked to see a figure in an ANBU mask appear "Oh hey, Tenzo right?"
"Yamato for this mission, I look forward to working under you."
"Hold on, what?"
"You heard him, you're the leader for this mission." Tsunade told him.
After about an hour, Tsunade stood before Tatsu, Sasuke, Kin, Akari and Yamato, all of them being clad in the same new equipment for the mission "I will now explain the details of this mission. Your squad will head to Mount Koryu. You have two objectives: The first is to rescue and join Dosu, Lee and Neji. The other is to prevent Kuroma from continuing his destructive actions. According to the information we've gathered, Kuroma has amassed extraordinary power. I give you leave to take whatever steps you feel are necessary to deal with him. The second objective is also a request from Akari Tatsushiro."
"There's something I don't understand." Tatsu cut in "Why is Akari's brother trying to do this in the first place?"
"My brother said it was for revenge." Akari told him.
"Revenge for what?"
"Revenge against the world, my brother blames the world for what happened to him."
"Blaming the whole world sounds a little over the top. Still, that giant Earth Genryu and all those Mugonhei. If what appeared here in the village was just the tip of the iceberg then his claim of wanting revenge against the world might not be an exaggeration. Still though, to go to such extreme lengths for revenge, what did people do to your brother?"
"It might be related to this mission, could you please tell us about it?"
"Well by the time we were old enough to understand, we were already drifting. We are the last descendants of a clan that was nearly wiped out and exiled. Because of our disfigurements, we were loathed no matter where we went. Some hated us because we were exiled." she removed the cloth from her head, revealing two small horns "At first my brother and I hated the lives we had to lead, he later directed his anger at the great nations that destroyed our clan."
"She means the Land of Fire and the other neighboring countries." Kakashi clarified "This was probably before the Great Ninja Wars, before the current nations were formed."
"You mean like sins of the father shall fall upon the son?"
"Something like that."
"My brother Kuroma sees us as innocents." Akari continued "The ones at fault are those who created a world where only they can survive."
"And that's why he wants revenge?"
"Yes. Of course he understood that doing such a thing isn't possible, but he discovered the Dragon Blade and learned the dragons really existed. Once he learned that, he changed."
"Revenge and power can change people." Sasuke noted 'If it weren't for Tatsu, Kin and the rest then I probably would've turned out just like him.'
"Kuroma plans to use the Genryus' power to become a Light Dragon."
"Taking the powers of a Genryu?" Tatsu muttered slowly "But that's like a jinchuriki. I wonder how Naruto's doing right now.'
"Please stop my brother, even if you must…"
"It may be necessary to sacrifice your brother." Tsunade pointed out "Are you prepared for that?"
"He doesn't listen to reason anymore. I understand that I'm being selfish, I can't give you much in the way of payment either. But there's no other choice, someone must stop my brother."
"And that's why you came to us in the Leaf Village."
"Even if we do defeat him, it won't change anything." Tatsu told her gently "Akari, are you truly fine with losing your brother?"
"But he has to be stopped from destroying the world, there's no other way."
"That's not true, I'm sure that your brother is alone and just lonely too. I was alone at one point too. It really hurt for a really long time…"
"The pain of being alone…"
"But I found people that understood my pain, people who would stand by me through anything and everything."
"I don't know if I can explain it very well, but I think your brother is just like how a friend of mine used to be. He's angry at everyone else right now, so I'm sure he'll eventually come to understand too."
"But will my brother even listen though?"
"Your brother is important to you right?"
"He's all I have, he's precious to me."
"Then we've gotta save him, no question about it." he turned to Tsunade "We need to know more about the mission before we do this."
"Akari will be accompanying you as your guide, she requested this herself. I'll also give you versions of the special equipment for those you'll be meeting."
"Good, because there's something I wanna try. If all goes well, I'll explain it when we get back. If my theory is correct, I can use the purifying chakra of my Tenseigan and the same purifying chakra within the Dragon Blade, maybe it'll work…'
"Tatsu, there is one more thing." Akari snapped him out of his thoughts.
"What is it?"
"Hold out the Dragon Blade for a moment."
Tatsu drew the Dragon Blade and held it up "Okay, what now?"
Akari held out a glowing orange orb "This Earth Dragon Orb was created from the Earth Genryu's shining scale, please try inserting this in the Dragon Blade."
"Alright." Tatsu placed the orb in the hole in the ring on the handle, causing the dragon marks on each side of the blade to glow and turn orange "What the hell?"
"This will allow the Dragon Blade to have an earth element, and since you have unleashed the true power of the Dragon Blade you can now use Earth-style jutsu as well. I don't know how effective it will be, but it should be useful."
"Tatsu, here." Kakashi handed him something "This is a map of Mount Koryu, it's old but it should give you a basic grasp of where things are located."
"I'd like you to get going, and above all be careful." Tsunade warned.
"You got it."
A member of the Akatsuki, a man named Deidara, and his partner Tobi stood outside the entrance to the Earth Region of Mount Koryu "Don't get all nervous."
Tobi was exactly that, nervous "You say that Deidara, but isn't there a big scary monster in there?"
"How should I know? Whatever we face, my art explosions will kill it."
"But I mean, you know how monsters are with their super stretchy-arms and how they can live with their heads cut off! That's just way too scary!"
"...Tobi, are you talking about Kakuzu and Hidan?"
"Am I? Now that you mention it, I think I am. Wow, if I think about it like that then the Akatsuki's like a group of monsters."
Deidara stared blankly at him, which meant Tobi would get exploded later.
"Anyway, two questions. First, why am I with you instead of Sasori?"
"He refused to come, something about being with me more than I have to not being artistic enough for him."
"Uh-huh. Also, weren't Itachi and Kisame in charge of capturing the Genryu?"
"Yeah that's right, but even so I don't like letting them have all the fun."
"We shouldn't be sticking our heads into other people's business though, isn't it just that you're bored and-"
"Stop blabbering and hurry up, get going!"
"O-Okay!... Wait, you're not coming Deidara?"
"I'll look for a different entrance, there has to be someplace more artistic."
"Aw come on, you keep talking but I bet you're just as scared as me."
"...Guess what Tobi, I just decided what I'll be exploding first."
"Already? But there's nothing in particular over there."
"I'm talking about you you dumb bastard!" he formed a giant clay bird and took into the air, then dropped a mini-C3.
"Ooh, these little C3 are cute. Wait, what's with these?!"
Deidara then detonated the C3, exploding Tobi "You can take that place!" and he took off, leaving Tobi alone.
Kisame felt the tremors "Those tremors felt like an explosion, it seems Deidara and Tobi have followed us." he got no response from Itachi "Couldn't you have turned down this job?"
"It's too much for Deidara to handle alone." Itachi stated bluntly.
"You don't think Tobi will help at all? Harsh."
'You have no idea.'
"No, it's nothing." Itachi stared at the mountain that was the Lightning Region "Let's go, before we capture them we need to confirm the Genryus' locations."
"You're rather cautious. Understood."
Dragon received a messenger bird from a certain person 'Thank you my friend. Izumi, he says the Akatsuki are heading to Mount Koryu in search of the Genryu."
"I'm coming with you." Izumi said firmly.
"You know you can't, don't forget that that certain man cannot find out that you're alive under any circumstances or who knows what he'll do to the Hidden Leaf. I'm going to Mount Koryu alone to find that certain person. Hopefully Orochimaru won't end up taking that hint as well or else the plan might be jeopardized.' and he disappeared in a green flash.
The Hidden Leaf group entered Mount Koryu through the Water Region.
"This isn't what I expected to see." Yamato commented.
"They said the world's energy was being drained, I thought it'd look a lot worse like some sort of barren wasteland." Kin admitted.
"The Genryu were originally beings who fertilized the land of the Tatsushiro clan." Akari told them "This place could be the last remnant of that land.
"Does that mean it's as terrible as we imagined in other places?"
"As far as I know…"
"Hold it." Tatsu stopped the group when he saw some Mugonhei "Here they come, big ones too, way bigger than the ones that were sent to the village. Not that it's a problem though, the Dragon Blade was able to defeat something way bigger than these things."
"They're probably on patrol." Yamato guessed.
"Probably. Kin, take Akari and get some distance from here. Sasuke, guard the perimeter around them."
"Right." Kin led Akari further ahead, while Sasuke activated his Sanda Sharingan and created a ring made of pure lightning before going after the others.
"Yamato, bind them."
"Right." Yamato was quick to bind them with a wood-style jutsu.
'Wood style, a secret Kekkei Genkai known only to Hashirama Senju the First Hokage himself, though Orochimaru was experimenting with the First's DNA. Maybe this guy was one of the test subjects. No wonder Kakashi wanted him on the team.' he then drew the Dragon Blade and cut down the Mugonhei, only for several more to appear.
"We managed to defeat them."
"I didn't think not using my chakra like normal would be this bad."
"Just one of Mount Koryu's special attractions, I doubted it until we got here but I'm glad we have this special equipment."
"Guys!" Kin yelled on the comlink.
"What's wrong Kin?"
"Mugonhei are here too, Sasuke's handling them but I think you should hurry up and join us before they outnumber him.'
"Alright, we're on our way."
"We're just ahead of you guys, by the waterfall."
"Keep cool, I see it from here. Yamato, let's move!" he rushed forward, only to see several more giant Mugonhei "Oh come on!"
Then Yamato made a decision "Tatsu, go help Sasuke and the others. I'll hold them off here."
"Alright Yamato, I'll leave it to you. Just catch up when you're done." and he raced off.
Sasuke cut down the last of the Mugonhei with ease, then went over to Kin and Akari "You two alright?"
Kin pecked him on the cheek "That answer your question?"
"No, but this does." he dipped her for a makeout session that made Akari blush.
"Yo Thunderclap Loverboy!" Tatsu showed up, using the new nickname he'd come up with "In case you've forgotten, we're on a mission to stop a psychotic maniac from destroying the world here!"
Sasuke broke off the kiss after about 5 minutes "Sorry, but when you've got a girlfriend you tend to wanna get as close to some action as you can."
"...Nevermind that right now. There's too many enemies, we're gonna have to conserve our chakra and use it wisely or we're gonna be in big trouble."
"Wait." Sasuke looked up and saw a giant eagle flying above them "Wait, I think I see Orochimaru and Kabuto on there."
"So they're here too, they're not our objective but we can't ignore them."
"Agreed. Summoning Jutsu!" he summoned a gigantic hawk "Listen up Garada, I'm gonna need you to hang back for awhile and pursue them."
"You want me to tail them?"
"Just find out where they're going." he quickly formed a Thunder Clone "This clone of me will take a headset to stay in contact. Like I told Garada, just find out their objective and avoid a confrontation."
"Got it." then the clone hopped on Garada and took off.
Then Tatsu got their attention "We need to keep moving, our top priority is to find our comrades in the mountain."
"Looks like there's an entrance to a cave at the top of the waterfall." Kin noted.
"I say we climb." so Tatsu led the group up the waterfall and into the cave, where he quickly cut down some Mugonhei with the Dragon Blade as he made his way across the river and into another area, only to find himself ambushed, both entrances sealed off "Dammit, I'm locked in. I'd better take care of these Mugonhei first. Oh well, better not waste time.' he then proceeded to cut down about 20 Mugonhei in about 5 minutes, causing the seals on the entrances to disappear almost instantly "Alright, that's done."
Then Sasuke finally caught up with him, Kin and Akari right behind him "Dammit man, would it kill you to wait for us?"
Then Yamato contacted them "This is Yamato, I've defeated the enemies from earlier. I'll catch up soon."
"Got it, we've entered the mountain from a place just ahead of where you are." Tatsu led the group ahead, only to find himself outside the caves 'You know, if this was one of those old stories from when I was a kid then there'd probably be a hidden passage behind that waterfall.' he then paused and tried to check it out, then checked higher up 'There's definitely a passageway behind there but I can sense some kind of strange chakra coming from the waterfall, I can't push through it.' he made his way through another entrance into the caves, only to find another ambush, which he dealt with quickly "This is getting annoying."
Then Sasuke's Thunder Clone contacted them "You guys read me? Orochimaru and Kabuto ditched the giant snake and they're riding around on what I think is some giant eagle summon. It looks to me like they're scouting."
"So we don't know why they're here or what they're after. Keep following them but don't reveal yourself under any circumstances."
"Got it." then the comlink shut off.
Tatsu led the group onward and saw a device in front of a large door "The hell is that?"
"That is a device for opening the door." Akari told him "Please be careful, the Mugonhei protecting the devices are stronger."
Tatsu was quick to cut several of them down "Yeah you're right, instead of one slash they took two slashes each. So much stronger." then he stepped on the device, causing all of the remaining Mugonhei to stop moving, only for them to resume when the door opened completely "So that's it." he was quick to cut them down, then entered the room "Come on guys, let's-" he stopped when he saw that they were outside and he was alone "Son of a-" then he looked and saw Dosu lying on the ground "Dosu!"
"Tatsu…" Dosu rasped out "Sorry… I underestimated them… these things… they seem to be draining my chakra…"
'I'd better hurry, Dosu looks like he's lost a lot of strength already.' Tatsu quickly cut down several Mugonhei, but was forced to use a small Rasengan to take out the giant one that appeared in the last leg of the ambush. Then he turned his attention to Dosu "Hang in there big guy, I'll get you back to Kin and Sasuke and then she can treat your wounds." he held out the special equipment from Tsunade "Take this too, it should work even if you put it on over your regular clothes."
"What is it?"
"Special equipment that'll let you control your chakra in this environment."
"That'll help." Dosu slowly put on the equipment, wincing from his wounds as he did "I see, my chakra feels different but I think I'll be able to help out a little."
"You're injured keep in mind, don't strain yourself until we can get Kin to treat you."
"I know, but I've still got enough strength." Dosu stood, but quickly stumbled.
"I've got you." Tatsu quickly caught him and carried him out of that room, only to find a large stone wall "I can sense Sasuke and Kin on the other side of this wall, the only problem is that my chakra control isn't at its best so I can't run up it and carry you too."
"I think I can help with that." Dosu pulled out a scroll with a dragon mark on the front "I found this in that other room not long before you arrived."
"What is it?"
"Based on the pattern and color scheme I assume it's an earth-style scroll, but for some reason I can't open it."
"Let me try something." Tatsu took the scroll and placed it on the dragon markings on the Dragon Blade, causing it to disappear and the blade of the sword to turn brown 'Weird, I feel something. Dosu stay back, I'm gonna try something." he sheathed the Dragon Blade and formed several hand seals "Earth Style: Mud Wall!" he then formed a large wall made of mud, rock and Dragon Blade chakra "Alright Dosu, let's move." he slung Dosu over his shoulder and leapt onto the mud wall and over it.
Having ushered Kin and Akari back, Sasuke had drawn his Raijin katana and cut down the attacking Mugonhei with ease "Pointless fodder, that's all these things are."
Kin and the rest looked back to see Tatsu show up through another entrance, carrying Dosu slung over his shoulder "Tatsu! Dosu?"
Tatsu set Dosu down by a wall "He's hurt pretty bad, but he's been powering through."
"I've got him." Kin knelt down beside Dosu, green energy emerging from her palms "Stay still and try not to talk."
"When did you learn medical ninjutsu?" asked Sasuke.
"I've been secretly training under Lady Tsunade the past few months, after Tatsu recommended me. I was gonna surprise you with it after I finished learning her medical ninjutsu, but I guess the secret's out."
"Moving on!" Tatsu stressed "Dosu, Lady Tsunade said that Lee and Neji are supposed to be with you. Where they are?"
Dosu let out a groan "Lee and Neji… last time I saw those two was in front of that building near the center of the mountain."
"A building near the center… were there dragon statues lined up at a large door?" asked Akari.
"Yes, why? Do you know what that is?"
"It's most likely the Ritual Hall, my brother Kuroma should be there as well."
"Dosu, did Lee and Neji go in there?" asked Tatsu.
"When I was there, they said there was a barrier keeping them from going any further, so nobody went inside. We each split up to try and cover different Regions of Mount Koryu. I came here to the Water Region, Neji went over to the Wind Region, and Lee went over to the Lightning Region."
"One must have all five of the Dragon Orbs in order to reach the Ritual Hall." Akari explained to them "No one but my brother should be able to enter."
"Well I've got one of the Dragon Orbs, the one I got from the Earth Genryu, so nobody at all should be able to get in." Tatsu pointed out "In any case, we'd better get closer to this Ritual Hall and look for clues."
"In order to reach the central shrine housing the Ritual Hall, we need to proceed through a cave hidden behind the waterfall."
"Right." then he contacted Yamato on his headset "Yamato, you heard her. We're heading to the central shrine, I want you to meet us there and we'll discuss our next move.
"Roger." then the connection severed.
"Alright guys, here's the issue. There's a cave hidden behind the waterfall further down, but the waterfall is being enhanced by some strange chakra so I can't push through it."
"Maybe you can use the Mud Wall jutsu to stop the flow of water." Dosu suggested "After all, a scroll from inside Mount Koryu might work inside it as well."
"Alright. Sasuke, Kin, Akari, you guys stay back a little ways so we're spread out and not all bunched up. Dosu, you'll be my backup for now."
"Akari, any advice for fighting the Water Genryu? I'm pretty sure we won't be able to just waltz past it."
"There will be a large door leading to the Genryu Hall, we must go through it if we're to get to the central shrine. By the door will be a device leading to the Genryu hall, you must activate it in order to open the door."
"Good to know, now any advice for fighting the Genryu itself?"
"Using the Dragon Blade on the Water Genryu's shining scale should calm it down, and while the Genryu are all powerful their attack patterns are very predictable, except for the Wind and Lightning Genryu's, so just analyze and counter their attack patterns and you will be fine."
"Thanks. Alright Dosu, let's move."
"Right." and Dosu took off after him.
Sasuke held out an arm to stop Kin and Akari from following "We'll give it about 10 minutes, then we'll follow in case they need backup.
After activating the device and opening the massive door leading, Tatsu led Dosu through the door and confronted the massive Water Genryu 'The Water Genryu, the dragon residing over the power of water. I was right, we couldn't have just waltzed past it."
"Remember what the girl said, using that sword on the shining scale should calm the thing down." Dosu reminded him "Also, what's a shining scale?"
"You damage the thing enough and this one scale on his nose begins glowing like a star." then he turned serious "It's coming, stay behind me. I can't use the Mud Wall jutsu too much or I'll just be wasting my chakra, so I'd better focus on dodging and having Dosu binding it using Earth-style jutsu so I can attack it as much as possible. Dosu, come on!" and he charged forward, with Dosu right behind him.
The Water Genryu launched a wave attack, getting smaller the farther to the right it went.
Tatsu blitzed toward the right and leapt over one of the smaller hurdles.
The Genryu followed with the same attack.
Tatus leapt over it again 'Looks like there's an opening after it attacks with a wave, if that's the case then maybe I can find a way to work around that. But the only Earth-style I know is the Mud Wall jutsu, and I can't use Purple Thunder recklessly. I'll have to figure out a strategy and make it up as I go.' he finally got to the end.
The Genryu hissed at him and leapt back into the water, then rose up and fired a gigantic ball of water at him.
'Stay calm, concentrate, focus only on your blade and the ball.' Tatsu slowly rose the Dragon Blade, and with one mighty slash, cut the water ball in half.
Then the Water Genryu moved closer to the land, both fins on the ground.
"Right! Earth Style: Mud Pull Bind!" Dosu slammed both hands into the ground, and large clumps of mud rose from the ground and attached themselves to the fins of the Water Genryu, preventing it from retreating back into the water "Go!"
"Right!" Tatsu formed several hand seals and placed both hands on the Genryu "Lightning Style: Purple Thunder!" purple lightning was generated from his hands and sent throughout the Genryu's body.
The Genryu howled in pain, and the shining scale appeared.
"There!" seeing the scale and the chance to cut it, Tatsu readied the Dragon Blade, charged up and cut the shining scale, causing the Water Orb to come flying out from the scale.
The Genryu collapsed, unconscious.
Tatsu quickly caught the Orb before it fell into the water "This must be the Water Orb."
"Excellent." then Akari showed up with Kin and Sasuke "Now we can pass through two of the five elemental barriers."
"Elemental barriers, so that's how we get to the Ritual Hall?"
"That's correct, I believe they are used elsewhere as well."
"So we need to get the remaining three Dragon Orbs as we track down Lee and Neji, and maybe fight off the Akatsuki and Orochimaru in the process."
"Looks like… you catch on… pretty quick…" then Dosu hunched over and coughed up blood.
"Dosu!" Kin caught him and gently lowered him to the ground "Are you alright?"
"Sorry… looks like… using too much chakra… opened up… my wounds again… during… that battle… and you took the time… to heal them too…"
"Hold on, I'll treat them right now."
"No, don't waste your time on me. I'll stay here and regain my strength, just leave some of your medical tools. I'll probably just get in the way if I come along."
"The Genryu will awaken again if too much time passes." Akari warned "Let's move to a safer area."
Tatsu held out a comlink "Dosu, stay alert and standby somewhere without any enemies, if you run into any trouble then just contact us with this. In the meantime, I'll leave a Shadow Clone behind to meet up with Yamato." he formed a clone "Alright guys, let's move."
Things were getting serious in other areas too.
Dragon stood outside the entrance to the Earth Region of Mount Koryu 'Just like the intel says, I can't control my chakra as well as usual. Even with this special armor, I'm only at about 70%. Then again, it was either that or use those pills to give me more chakra control, but they were made by Orochimaru.' then he paused 'I can feel one chakra signature deep inside this cave, and another one closing in on it though it's pretty far away too. I sense the Hidden Leaf group in the Water Region and making their way towards the center of Mount Koryu, and Orochimaru is heading towards the Lightning Region, so these must be members of the Akatsuki. I'd better hurry.'
Tatsu stared at the Ritual Hall in front of him "This is it."
"Are Neji and Lee inside?" asked Sasuke.
"Hold on…" Tatsu paused for a moment, then shook his head "I can't sense either of them inside, but we'd better check and take a look around the elemental barrier just in case the environment on Mount Koryu is screwing with my sensory abilities. Come on, let's go." and he led the group into the Ritual Hall.
Dragon activated the device to open the door to the Earth Region, only to feel an earthquake coming from the other side 'That quake was pretty strong.' then he paused 'Looks like the first and second have joined up, this might be more difficult than I thought.'
After fighting through several Mugonhei that got bigger and stronger as time passed, the group found a figure at the end of the hall.
Akari was quick to recognize him as Kuroma "Brother!"
"You've returned Akari. Who are they?" Kuroma studied the Leaf group intently "They appear to be shinobi, and one of them wields the Dragon Blade. I see, clearly he possesses the Dragonseed."
"I brought them with me, so I can stop you."
"Stop me? You still believe that? It doesn't matter, give back the Dragon Blade that one carries."
"Hold on a minute." Tatsu cut in "Why are you doing this? Why do you have to destroy the world?"
"So Akari told you… Destroying the world? No, I'm getting my revenge."
"What's the difference?"
"What humiliations would a clan ruined by the nations of the world have to endure? Have you ever considered it? Of course not, you never think of anyone but yourselves. Our clan lived in peace, and you despised us because we were different."
"That's why you're out for revenge?" asked Sasuke.
"Yes, vengeance will be mine. Because of these horns I was made a freak, a pariah. Not once was I treated like a normal human being."
"But even then, we endured the pain together." Akari protested "So why now, why so sudden?"
"Endured it? Why did we have to endure that treatment? Why must I, a descendent of the Tatsushiro clan, endure such debasement?"
"You don't have to suffer." Tatsu cut in, taking Kuroma by surprise "No matter who or what you or Akari are, there's no reason why people can't live together in peace."
"You talk like you know everything, but there's nothing that can be done by a single person. Those who pretend to have sympathy for us always betray us in the end. How many times have I been deceived by believing in false hopes of other people?"
"Brother…" Akari murmured.
"Enough, all this talk is useless now. Akari, take the Dragon Blade and come back to me. Once I become the Light Dragon, it won't take me long to destroy the world."
"You can't do that." Tatsu protested.
"More from you?"
"Becoming a jinchuuriki hurts not just yourself but the others around you, don't tell me you can't see that. I can't let you do that."
"The others around me? Have you not heard a word I was saying? I've always been alone, the suffering of others means nothing to me."
"Why don't you get it?"
"Now Akari, come with me."
"Please brother, please listen to what Tatsu is trying to say." Akari pleaded.
"That impudent fool? Please." he launched a fireball.
Tatsu leapt back and dodged it "Wait!"
Kuroma stared for a moment, then walked through the barrier.
"Dammit, looks like we can't follow him. Come on guys, let's get out of here for now."
Tobi stared at the destruction caused by Deidara's explosions "Nice Deidara, going with the "blow up the ceiling if the door won't open" trick!"
"Well I suppose that's one name for it." Deidara commented dryly.
"You should've just done that to begin with."
Deidara just glared at him.
"What? I'm just saying. Anyway, isn't there supposed to be a Genryu here?"
"Looks like the one that was here was sent to the Hidden Leaf."
"That means we've come up empty-handed."
"That's okay, I've confirmed other places we might be able to find them."
"Oh so you weren't just flying around for fun?" then Tobi noticed the door open, revealing Dragon on the other side "Deidara, someone's here."
Dragon slowly walked forward "Judging by those robes, you must be members of the Akatsuki."
Deidara let out a sneer "What of it?"
"You wouldn't happen to know where Itachi is would you?"
"Maybe, what's it to you?"
Dragon suddenly appeared behind him, katana at Deidara's throat.
'He's so fast, I couldn't even follow his movements!'
"Let me tell you how this is gonna work, you can either tell me where Itachi is, or I can just kill you and get the information from your partner."
Tatsu led the group out of the Ritual Hall "Kuroma went beyond the other barrier, we'd have to bring it down to reach him but we can't do that without the remaining three Dragon Orbs."
Kin put a comforting hand on Akari's shoulder "I'm sorry Akari."
"For now we should focus on our other objective and search for Lee and Neji."
"Tatsu, are you there?"
Tatsu checked his radio "Dragon, is that you?"
"Yes, I'm in Mount Koryu battling two members of the Akatsuki in the Earth Region of Mount Koryu."
"Is it Itachi and Kisame?"
"No, some blond guy who fires clay bombs and an idiot with a mask. Oh, and now the blond guy claims he's going to switch to C3, so I should probably go."
"Alright, thanks for the heads up." then he paused.
"Something wrong?" asked Sasuke.
"The Shadow Clone I left behind in the Water Region met up with Yamato."
"So he's alright."
"Yeah, and he found the Akatsuki on the way here. He's in pursuit and they're heading towards the Fire Region."
"You mean the volcano?"
"Yeah, now let's go rendezvous with Yamato."
Dragon had figured out the trick to Deidara's attacks using several Shadow Clones, and in the end he didn't have a scratch "So then, had enough?"
Deidara spat out some blood "Dammit, you're better than I thought. Tobi we're wasting our time here, let's go."
"Run away!" Tobi cried.
"Shut up, just follow me!"
"Deidara wait, I can't fly!" then there was a white light and an explosion.
Dragon sensed that they were retreating "Oh no, they got away. Well I could always go after them, but they're not really my objective right now. If I'm gonna deal with the Akatsuki myself, it has to be after that certain man makes his move, and even before then I've got that crippled old bastard to deal with. I've gotta bide my time until them, but dealing with Orochimaru will have to come first.'
Tatsu led the group through the volcano "Remember guys, meeting up with Yamato is our first priority."
Then Yamato contacted them on the radio "Yamato here."
"What's the status?"
"Sorry I lost the target, and I'm currently battling several giant Mugonhei."
"Where are you?"
"Deep into the volcano."
"I can sense you from here, we're on our way. Just hold on until then."
"Understood." then the connection shut off.
"We're gonna help Yamato, let's move." Tatsu quickly removed the Earth Orb from the Dragon Blade and put it in his bag, then pulled out the Water Orb and inserted it in the ring, causing the dragon marks on each side of the blade to turn blue. Then he made his way around a pit of lava and onto a door activator, opening it and leading to a new area, where he found himself in an ambush 'Dammit, this again. Oh well, at least this time I know of a jutsu to try out with the power of the Dragon Orb.' he formed several quick hand seals "Water Style: Water Dragon Jutsu!" a medium-sized water dragon burst from his mouth, engulfing all of the mini and regular-sized Mugonhei 'Not too shabby for an attack based on an element I have absolutely no experience with.' then he took out the giant Mugonhei with a water-enhanced Crescent Moon Dance, ending the ambush and unsealing the doors. Then he continued onwards, with Sasuke and the rest lagging behind somewhat, and found another room on the other side of a large and wide pit of lava 'I can't jump over that, maybe I can use some water to cool it off.' he breathed out a blast of water, but it did nothing 'Maybe I need one of those dragon-marked scrolls like the Mud Wall scroll Dosu found in the Water Region, they were probably made in Mount Hakurei so their properties can affect the environment here.' he kept going onwards until he came to a fork in the path, where he noticed something as he waited for the others to catch up 'There's some kind of device on the ground on the other side of that pool of lava, but the lava's so hot I can't even jump over it.'
"I think there are other two more switches like this." Akari told him.
"Good to know." he looked and saw a chest by the lava pool and opened it, revealing a white dragon scroll "It says Healing, what's that supposed to mean?"
"Place it on the Dragon Blade and it will slowly recover your stamina and chakra."
"Is that right?" Tatsu placed the scroll on the blade, and the scroll disappeared, causing the blade to glow white for a moment 'Cool, I can feel my chakra recovering. Kind of slow though, so I'd better still work on conserving my chakra.' he looked down the right 'I can sense some kind of cray chakra coming from the right that's messing with my senses, so that must be where the Genryu is. If that's the case, then to get to Yamato I'd have to go to the left. Remember the drill guys, stay a ways back." and he took off.
Sasuke and the rest waited for a moment, then followed after him.
Tatsu continued on for a little while, with the rest not far behind, and entered a room and found Yamato battling a giant two-headed Mugonhei "Yamato!"
"Tatsu." Yamato breathed a sigh of relief "Sorry, I can't beat this guy alone. Let's use the tactic we used last time."
"You mean you bind them with your wood-style and I finish them off?"
"Yep." he formed the hand seals "Wood Style: Prison Jutsu!" he slammed both hands into the ground, binding it.
'Now for the finisher! Rasengan!" Tatsu slammed a Rasengan into the gut of the Mugonhei, causing it to crash to the ground.
As the Mugonhei collapsed, it fired several blasts up at the roof of the cave, causing it to cave in.
"Everyone get down!"
"Wood Style: Domed Wall!" Yamato formed a hand seal and a dome of wood quickly covered them. When the debris stopped falling, he released the jutsu "Everyone okay?"
"Yeah, thanks Yamato." Tatsu looked around "Looks like that thing wanted to trap us in, everyone spread out and find another exit."
"Found one." Kin called "Looks like the wall continues upwards."
"Good idea, everyone follow me." Tatsu leapt onto the wall and ran up it, then through it, with everyone else following.
After that, the group found themselves back near the entrance to the volcano, now blocked off.
"Could you identify the Akatsuki you saw?" asked Tatsu.
"One was Itachi, I believe the other was Kisame Hoshigaki." Yamato told him.
Sasuke's eyes hardened furiously "Itachi's here?!"
"I can't be certain, I lost them once they entered the area."
"Let's see if we can track him down." Tatsu decided "Akari, are there any other paths leading out of the volcano?"
"The volcanic vent is the only exit." Akari told him.
"Alright. Yamato, Kin and Akari, you guys wait here. Sasuke and I will search inside and see what we dig up, if Itachi and Kisame are still here then we should be able to find them."
"One more thing. Tatsu, take this." Yamato handed him a scroll "I found it in the other room, I think it'll help."
"Thanks." Tatsu put the scroll on the blade and it disappeared, causing the blade to glow blue for a moment 'Water Pistol jutsu huh? Maybe I can use it to cool off the lava and make my way over it.'
Tatsu, with Sasuke behind him, made his way to the door "So this is the last area."
"That means the Fire Genryu is past here." Sasuke noted.
"But if Itachi and Kisame went through here the door should be open already."
"That's true, but don't forget that we've still gotta deal with the Fire Genryu or we can't get to Kuroma."
"For now, let's see if those switches Akari told us about can do anything."
"Right." they made their way back to the fork in the road, where he blasted a Water Pistol from his mouth to make his way over the lava and stood on the device.
"Looks like your weight alone isn't enough."
"Hold on, I think I've got an idea." Tatsu sheathed the Dragon Blade and formed several hand seals, the blade glowing brown "Earth Style: Mud Wall!" he formed a large boulder that activated the device, causing a mini-quake "Is that bad?"
"We won't know until we try the other devices."
"Fair enough." they made their way along the left path until they found the second device, where he used a Mud Wall, resulting in more shaking "Alright, just one more." they made their way further along the left path until they found the third and final device, resulting in an even bigger mini-quake than the other two "Okay, nothing happened."
"I wouldn't be too sure."
"What do you mean?"
"Just follow me." Sasuke led him to the outside of the room where they found Yamato, and pointed to a mini pool of lava nearby, with lava erupting upwards from it "I'm pretty sure that's supposed to lead somewhere."
Tatsu saw a round slab of rock land on top of the lava pool "Oh yeah. Come on, maybe that leads somewhere." they leapt onto it and were rocketed upwards to a new area "Okay, what's here?"
"Guys!" a voice called.
Tatsu looked to see Kin and the rest on the other side of a pool of magma "Hey guys, we found the device." he was about to leap over to them, but stopped 'This magma is being protected by some weird chakra, the Water Pistol probably won't work.' he looked and saw a stone staircase on the side of the magma 'After I get the device. Sasuke, let's push on three."
Sasuke nodded "Alright."
"1… 2… 3!" they pushed on the device, and it activated, opening the door "Alright, let's head back."
"Right." he was about to follow Tatsu, but stopped and gave Kin a quick yet passionate kiss on the lips "When this is over, there's something I wanna ask you."
"Sasuke let's go!"
"F*ck you!" but Sasuke was about to run after him nonetheless.
"Wait!" he turned back to the others "Akari, any tips for fighting the Fire Genryu?"
"The Fire Genryu is not like the others." Akari told him "To reach the shining scale you have to damage it like the others, but you must use the Water Pistol scroll to put out the flames on each of its horns so you can reach the scale."
"Good to know, thanks. Alright Sasuke, let's move." and he took off, with Sasuke following them.
After making their way down, Tatsu and Sasuke found the Fire Genryu "Sasuke, you know what to do."
"Formation B?" Sasuke guessed.
"Formation B. I can't spam the Water Pistol because it takes too much chakra, even with this weird healing scroll I found."
"Oh crap it's mad, you know what we've gotta do. Let's see, looking at it evenly the path to the Fire Genryu can be split up into three even sections, left middle and right. Let's see if I can play this out properly.'
The Fire Genryu unleashed a large fireball down the middle.
Tatsu was quick to dodge it and quickly blitzed down the left side of the lane.
Then several fiery eruptions appeared from the ground around the Genryu.
Tatsu gracefully weaved his way around around them, then quickly dodged a sweep of fire from the Genryu's claw "Sasuke now!"
"Right! Lightning Speed!" Sasuke drew his Raijin katana and zig-zagged back and forth, hitting the Genryu with a large blast of lightning, causing the Genryu to fall to the ground.
Tatsu then leapt up and breathed out a Water Pistol, extinguishing the flames on one of the three horns "One down."
The Genryu got up and let out a roar, the shockwave sending them staggering backwards until they were right in front of the gate.
Tatsu drew the Dragon Blade again "Sasuke, stay back until I give the signal."
The Genryu fired one fireball down the middle and one on the right.
Tatsu leapt to the right to dodge the first, then to the middle to dodge the second, then charged onward.
The Genryu slammed its claws down to the ground, causing fire to erupt from the ground at three different points, then two more, then another two the closer to the Genryu they came.
"Water Pistol!" Tatsu hit the Genryu with a Water Pistol to the face, then several water-enhanced slashes across its body "Sasuke!"
"Right!" Sasuke drew the Raijin-katana, coating it with lightning as his Sanda Sharingan flared into life "Thunder Style: Lightning Perimeter!" he formed 3 Thunder Clones, each one of them standing at a different point, and they all pointed their swords, causing lightning to rain down on the Genryu, knocking it out cold.
"Nice work Sasuke." then Tatsu leapt up and fired a Water Pistol, extinguishing the flames on the horn on the right of its head.
The Genryu launched multiple fireballs in the right, middle, left, right, middle, right, left, middle, right, middle and left areas, in that order.
'I guess I can try this since the thing's on its last leg.' Tatsu formed several hand seals "Water Style: Raging Waves!" he fired a blast of water from his mouth.
The Genryu caused fire to erupt from 10 positions at once, as well as flames sweeping from one of its claws.
'So it's going all out for this one, I guess I'd better not risk holding back now. "Multi-Shadow Clone Jutsu!" he formed 10 clones 'I remember the hand signs from when Kakashi fought Zabuza on the bridge, I guess now's as good a time as any.' each clone blitzed through several hand seals "Water Style: Tsunami Dragon Barrage!" each one breathed a medium-sized water dragon out of their mouth, all of them combining into one massive water dragon, slamming into the Genryu full force "Sasuke!"
"Right! Chidori!" Sasuke slammed a Chidori into the water dragon, electrifying it, causing the Genryu to howl in pain and fall to the ground.
'Now!' Tatsu took that opportunity to blast the last flaming horn with a water pistol.
Now that every horn was put out, the Genryu let out an enraged howl, the shining scale glowing brightly.
'There it is!' seeing the shining scale, Tatsu leapt up and slashed right through the shining scale, causing the Fire Genryu to collapse, and he caught the Fire Orb as he hit the ground "That's three down, two to go." then he checked his radio "Hey Yamato, we didn't find any Akatsuki members here. How about you?"
"We didn't find them either."
"I guess they must've left. Anyway, I found the volcanic vent. Just head down to that fork in the road and we'll meet you there." he looked back "Sasuke, you coming?"
"In a minute. I'll just recover my chakra and meet you there." Sasuke told him.
"Alright, but don't do anything stupid." and he took off.
Sasuke took a breath, then turned around "Alright, show yourself."
Then a figure appeared in the shadows "So you noticed."
"It's me… Sasuke." then the figure emerged from the shadows, revealed to be Itachi "You've gotten a bit taller."
"And you're the same as always, those cold eyes." Sasuke readily drew his Raijin katana.
"You're not going to attack me like you would, screaming with all your might?"
"You know absolutely nothing about me." Sasuke then sheathed his katana and turned around and began walking away "Remember this Itachi. I will get stronger, I will defeat you, but I refuse to become like you. When I defeat you, it will be on my terms." and with that, he walked out of the chamber.
Itachi stared for a moment, and when Sasuke was out of sight, he gave a small smile 'I see… so that's how it is… Sasuke…'
After they made their way out of the volcano through the volcanic vent, Akari led the group to a shabby abandoned hallway "We must pass through here in order to reach the Wind Genryu."
"Doesn't look like there are any Mugonhei here." Tatsu noted "Still though, everybody stay on your toes." he led everyone forward, only to see the floor crumbling behind him "Okay guys, new plan. Run!" they all ran as fast as they could, only to reach the end and find that there was no floor there 'Guess we've got no choice but to jump.' so he and the rest leapt down into the hole, just as the crumbling floor caught up with them.
Tatsu looked around "It's pitch black… where the hell am I?"
"Tatsu." then Sasuke walked over.
"Sasuke, where are the others?"
"They're close by."
"I guess we all fell into the same area."
"It's too dark, I can't see very well and my chakra sensing isn't at 100% right now."
"Is someone there?" a voice called.
"Neji, is that you?" Tatsu rushed forward and found Neji lying against a wall "You alright?"
"I'm fine, but my legs are injured. There were enemies waiting where I landed."
"Let me see." Kin knelt down and touched his leg.
"His leg is broken, I can't see well enough to treat him here. We'll have to get to somewhere with more light."
"If I could use my Byakugan then I'd be able to fight in the dark."
"Use this." Tatsu handed him the special equipment "You won't be at full capacity, but it's better than nothing. This equipment will allow you control your chakra, even inside Mount Koryu."
Tatsu quickly slung Neji's arm over his shoulder "Alright Neji, use your Byakugan and locate the nearest exit."
"Right." Neji activated his Byakugan "It's a fair distance away, but I'll point it out once we get there."
Several blind Mugonhei ambushes later, Neji pointed it out "There's air escaping through that wall, it must lead outside."
"On it." Tatsu formed a small Rasengan "Where?"
"In the middle."
"Got it." Tatsu blasted the wall apart using his Rasengan, leading them out of the cave and into the open desert "Perfect, now we're outside."
"Good…" then Neji collapsed.
"Neji, you alright?"
"I'll be fine, looks like you won't need my help from here on. I'll rest here so I don't slow you down."
"Actually, I'm gonna go it alone from this point. You guys hang back. Also, where do I go?"
"The wind in this area is caused by the Wind Genryu." Akari told him "If you head into the wind then it'll lead you straight to it."
"Got it." Tatsu bit his thumb and slammed his head into the ground "Summoning Jutsu!"
Then Ryu appeared "What's up Tatsu? And why does my chakra feel so weird?"
"We're in the Wind Region of Mount Koryu, I need to get over that gap in the road so I can get to the Wind Genryu."
"Oh yeah I've heard of this place, the reason people can't use chakra properly is because the nature energy is all out of whack in here. But isn't there supposed to be some kind of device you're supposed to activate in order to open the door?"
"Good point, just drop me up there."
"Got it." Ryu floated up slightly until he reached the top of a cliff.
Tatsu hopped off "Thanks."
"Sure." then Ryu vanished.
Tatsu leapt down into the cave and quickly dispatched several Mugonhei using the Fire Orb-enhanced Dragon Blade, then activated the device, opening the door, then made his way along the cliff across the pit, then through the door.
Sasuke stared for a moment, then watched as Kin treated Neji's wounds 'I wonder if she'll say yes.'
The battle was about to begin on the other side.
Tatsu watched as the Wind Genryu soared above him 'I've just gotta bide my time and use a jutsu that's effective against wind when its guard drops.'
The Wind Genryu immediately dropped to the ground.
'Well that was fast.' Tatsu formed several hand seals "Fire Style: Fireball Jutsu!" he launched a fireball at its feet.
The Genryu flew back into the air, circling the battle arena before lowering itself back down on the other side of the battlefield, then launched 5 simultaneous tornadoes.
Tatsu tried to outmaneuver them, but received a few cuts 'Damn, the Genryu must be infusing these things with his chakra. I can't dodge or counter them, so I guess the only thing I can do is block.'
The Genryu launched another barrage of tornadoes.
"Earth Style: Mud Wall Jutsu!" Tatsu summoned a Mud Wall and blocked the tornadoes very effectively, then drew the Dragon Blade and repeatedly cut the Genryu along its tail, enhanced by the Fire Orb.
The Genryu then retreated back slightly and inhaled a massive breath, preparing to breath out a cyclone.
"Fire Style: Crimson Dragon!" taking advantage of the intake of air, Tatsu unleashed a fire dragon, which then travelled up and burned the Genryu, causing it to howl in pain, revealing the shining scale in the process 'There!' then he cut through the shining scale and caught the Wind Orb as it emerged.
The Genryu itself fell to the ground with a mighty thud.
Tatsu gracefully landed on the ground and stared at the Wind Orb in his hand, then inserted it into the blade, causing the dragon mark to glow green 'Alright, four Dragon Orbs down and one to go. Next is the Lightning Region, so Lee's gotta be there. This idea wouldn't work under normal circumstances. I'd better head back and join the others.' and he ran off 'Next stop, Lightning Region.'
Not long after the Leaf group departed from the area, Dragon showed up and stared at the unconscious form of the Wind Genryu 'So they've already collected four of them, and from what I sense they've yet to encounter Orochimaru or any of the Akatsuki. But enough of that, I have my own business to take care of. For now I should start exploring from the middle of Mount Koryu, then I can figure out which direction he's gone. So then, I suppose the best choice from here would be to go to the volcano. But first…' he summoned a Shadow Clone "You know what you have to do. You head to the volcano, I'll head to the Lightning Region to rendezvous with them."
"Right." and the clone disappeared in a green flash.
Tatsu stared up at the mountain that was the Lightning Region "Sasuke, has your Thunder Clone gotten any updates on Orochimaru's activity?"
"Let me check." Sasuke paused, then his eyes shot wide "My clone's been dissipated. Orochimaru and Kabuto must've found it and destroyed it."
"Do you know what the last thing it saw was?"
"Let's see… They were flying around the mountain on that giant eagle summon, so we weren't what they were looking for."
"Looks like we're going up, past the clouds."
"As far as I can see, the entrance is up there."
"Alright guys, let's move. Sasuke's my backup. Kin and Akari, you two stay behind but keep your distance so we're not all bunched up. Yamato and Neji, stay behind aways and watch the back for any surprise attacks from behind." and he rushed off, Sasuke right behind him and the rest of the group not far behind.
Dragon landed at the top of the mountain, having driven off Deidara with ease after disarming his detonating clay 'He shouldn't make his hand signs so obvious, unbeatable art my snow white ass. Now then, where are you Orochimaru.'
"Well well Dragon, it's been a long time."
'Typical.' Dragon turned his head back and saw Kabuto "If it isn't Kabuto, I haven't seen you since you saved Orochimaru after he failed to take Itachi's body. So what would someone like you want with someone like me?"
"You already know what Lord Orochimaru's objective is, I'm merely here to buy time."
"If you know as much about me as you say you do then you know that I have no intention of stopping him, but don't forget that if you two act against the Hidden Leaf then I will cut you both down without mercy."
"I'll be sure to remember that." then he formed a hand seal and disappeared.
Sasuke ran ahead of the others into a secluded room, only to see Orochimaru standing in front of him, and his eyes shot wide 'Orochimaru! Tatsu-" he looked back, but realized that there was nobody there 'Where did-?' then he promptly hid himself behind a boulder 'What the hell is going on?'
"Come out Sasuke, I know you're there." Orochimaru coaxed.
'No other choice, I'll have to take him on myself.' Sasuke slowly emerged from the boulder and cautiously approached Orochimaru 'I'd better be careful, he'll probably try some underhanded tactic to get me to do whatever he wants. Let me guess, you came here to capture me and take me back to whatever filthy hole you crawled out of?"
"Far from it Sasuke, I merely wished to talk to you, that's all."
"Give me one reason why I should believe you. I don't have time for any of your crap, I'm gonna go find my comrades."
He started walking away, but Orochimaru's voice stopped him "And what would you do if I were to take your comrades away?"
Sasuke stopped in his tracks, then turned "As long as I'm alive, you won't touch them. I'll do the village a favor and kill you here and now." he was about to reach for his Raijin sword, but suddenly found himself paralyzed 'I can't… move! What's going on?'
"I'm afraid our time here is short, so I'll make this quick." Orochimaru formed a hand seal, his neck extended, and he bit the paralyzed on the neck, then retracted his neck.
Sasuke felt a mark on his neck appear, along with a burning sensation "What did… you do… to me…?"
"I just gave you a little parting gift, that's all. In time, you will seek me out and desire my power. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing the power you already possess." then he melted into the ground and disappeared.
When he was gone, Sasuke fell to his knee, violently puked up blood, then collapsed, sweat dripping down his face and neck endlessly as he lost consciousness.
Orochimaru emerged from the ground further up "It's been quite some time, hasn't it Dragon?"
Sure enough, at that moment, Dragon emerged from the darkness "It's been a few years Orochimaru, not since you failed to steal Itachi's body if I recall correctly." from within his mask, blue markings appeared around his eyes "If you've come to me yourself then that must mean you have a death wish, right?"
"Not quite." Orochimaru's tongue shot out at high speed.
Dragon leapt back onto a slab of rock that looked like a staircase.
Orochimaru's tongue wrapped around Dragon's arm and dragged him back down to the ground.
Dragon held his ground, pulled on the tongue and pulled Orochimaru towards him, then grabbed him by the neck, a dangerous look in his eye "I've given you this warning before Orochimaru and yet you refused to heed it 2 years ago. Your failed invasion is proof of that. Remember this, if you attack the village and more importantly my brother, I will hunt you down and kill you myself." he aimed a fist, but it missed.
"Is that all?" then Orochimaru was hit by a shockwave, sending him crashing into the wall, which then promptly shattered, leaving him dangling off the edge of the mountain.
'You have to love Sage Mode. If you survive this fall then I suggest you heed my warning next time, because if you don't then I won't be so nice." and with that, Dragon promptly dropped Orochimaru, leaving him to fall to the ground below 'He'll survive that no doubt, but even he won't be able to escape without damage. He won't forget this. I've wasted too much time already, I'd better not forget why I'm here in the first place.' then he ran off, down the path.
"Sasuke, wake up! Sasuke!" Kin was shaking him frantically.
Sasuke slowly opened his eyes, his voice weak and raspy, and full of pain "Kin… my neck…"
"Hold on a second." Tatsu checked it, then froze "I recognize this… it's the sign of Orochimaru's Curse Mark."
"What?" Kin's head snapped towards him "But how? Sasuke was only unconscious for a second and we were right behind him the whole time!"
"Orochimaru must've somehow incorporated his own being into a timetrap so he could mark you without risk of getting caught by us. Problem is, I have no idea how to deal with the effects of this thing." he got out his wireless headset "Yamato, Neji, we ran into some time-traps over here that Orochimaru set up for us. Anything to report on your end?"
"No, nothing's- Wait, I think I see Orochimaru falling down the mountain." Neji told him.
"Even he won't survive a fall like that without damage, but all the same you two better come up."
"Alright, see you guys in a minute."
"That voice… Tatsu, is that you?" asked a voice.
"Lee, is that you?"
"Yes, it's me. Where are you guys?"
"Inside the cave, and Sasuke just got hit with Orochimaru's Curse Mark."
"I can help with that." a new voice cut in.
Tatsu looked to see Dragon coming towards him from the direction they were headed "Oh, it's you again."
"I know this may seem out of nowhere, but I'm skilled enough in sealing jutsu to seal off the corrupting effects of that mark."
'Should we trust him? We don't really know anything about him, but he has helped us out several times now. I guess we don't have a choice. Alright, what do we need to do?"
"I just need a kunai."
"Here." Kin handed him one.
"Thank you." Dragon sat Sasuke up, cut his own arm down to just before his wrist, then drew several symbols around Sasuke and on his back and arms "Alright, this will be over after a moment. Are you ready?"
"Just… do it…" Sasuke rasped out.
"Okay." Dragon formed several hand seals "Curse Sealing!" he placed a hand on Sasuke's mark, causing him to scream in pain as the markings along the floor and his back made their way up his back until they formed around the mark in a complete circle.
Sasuke dropped to his hands and knees, panting heavily.
"There, now if the Curse Mark should start acting up then the seal will keep it in check. But do not forget, this seal is only as strong as you are and derives its power from the strength of your will. Should that will ever weaken, should you ever begin to doubt yourself, the curse will be unleashed in all of its fury and the pain will likely kill you."
Sasuke then promptly dropped to the ground, unconscious.
"Too tired to even argue, that never gets old."
Kin knelt down beside Sasuke "Will he be alright?"
"With enough rest he will be fine, a normal person would take at least a week but he should be up and about after a few hours."
Kin gently embraced Sasuke's unconscious form "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Now then, I'll go and pick up your comrades, then we'll join you further up ahead." and he disappeared in a green flash.
Tatsu stared intently 'That jutsu… that was the Fourth Hokage's Flying Raijin Jutsu. Whoever this guy is, he definitely isn't anyone to mess with. Alright, let's move."
"Tatsu? Tatsu! TATSU!"
"Sorry Lee, forgot you were on the line."
"...Anyway, I got separated from Dosu and Neji awhile ago, and I've been tuning in wirelessly from time to time ever since in hopes they'd hear me and we'd be able to rendezvous."
"What's your location?"
"I'm fighting Mugonhei inside the clouds near where I exited the caves, just keep going through and you should find me."
"We'll be right there, don't push yourself too hard."
"Right." then the connection shut off.
"So should we go now or wait for Dragon to show up?"
Then Dragon showed up in a green flash with Yamato and Neji "Alright, I've done what I needed to do. From here on out, you're on your own. I'll be heading over to that volcano, I think that's the Fire Region, and I'll be tracking down the Akatsuki. Bye." and he disappeared in a green flash.
"So what'd we miss?" asked Yamato.
"Short version, Sasuke got marked by a time-trap Orochimaru set up." Tatsu told him "Yamato, you stay back with Kin and look over Sasuke, then come and meet up with use once he's come to. Neji, stay behind me and guard Akari while we go rendezvous with Lee."
Neji nodded "Right. Akari, please stay behind me."
"Okay, let's move." and Tatsu took off, Neji and Akari right behind him.
Kin just gripped Sasuke's hand tightly 'Sasuke…'
Dragon appeared about halfway through the volcano, and his Shadow Clone dispersed 'That went well, by placing a Flying Raijin mark on my Shadow Clone I was able to use it to appear here instantaneously. Still though, I'd better focus on tracking down Itachi.' he paused and tried to sense out Itachi's chakra 'Alright, there are two of them. One's definitely Itachi so the other must be Kisame, I know he won't interfere so that'll work. The only question is, will I have to fight one of the Genryu?'
Tatsu raced out of the cave and saw Lee punching out a Mugonhei "Hey Lee, you doing okay?"
"Just fine, I can keep this up forever." Lee waltzed over to him and easily punched out a Mugonhei behind him without looking back "How are the others doing? I heard Sasuke was marked by Orochimaru, so that's another problem to deal with, not to mention almost all of you would have a hard time since you can't use chakra well here."
"Well you're an expert in taijutsu and I'm not too bad either, so it makes sense why Dosu and Neji had a hard time but you didn't. Even so, once I get through with the plan I have you'll still need this special equipment."
"What do you mean?"
"Hold on a second. Neji, get out here!"
Neji came out, with Akari right behind him "So this plan requires me?"
"It requires my Tenseigan chakra and a Gentle Fist user. Okay first, Lee, stand right here."
"Alright." Lee did so.
"Neji, stand right in front of him with two fingers extended out and your Byakugan active."
"Very well." Neji extended two fingers and activated his Byakugan.
"Now for my part." Tatsu placed a hand on Neji's back and his Tenseigan flared into life, before it quickly disappeared, and cyan-coloured chakra began pouring into Neji "Now!"
Neji thrusted two fingers into Lee's chest, causing it to glow, before it suddenly died down.
Lee froze, then blinked "I feel different."
"You should." Tatsu told him "I basically unlocked your chakra."
"See, I've been going over some of your medical charts, having Ino as Tsunade's apprentice really helps in that regard, and I realized that the mean reason you couldn't access your chakra aside from the Eight Gates was because your central chakra point located at your heart was blocked off since your birth. I figured that with a powerful enough and precise enough Gentle Fist strike, it could be unlocked. Only problem is, it takes so much power that not even the head of the Hyuuga clan Hiashi can do it. Neji's second only to him so I figured that if I flood him with enough Tenseigan chakra, it could work."
"So this could've been the solution all along?"
"No, the environmental effects of Mount Koryu helped a ton in that regard too. If it wasn't for that then this wouldn't have worked."
"So you're saying… I can use ninjutsu now?"
"To an extent, you can really only use Shadow Clones and incorporate elemental chakra into your taijutsu. Put on the equipment and try it out."
Lee took a moment to try on the equipment "So I can use my chakra here?"
"To an extent, maybe around 70%." then he looked around and saw several Mugonhei "We've got incoming."
"I'll take care of this." Lee stepped forward and took out a gold dragon scroll "I found this a little while ago, I think you might be able to use it."
Tatsu accepted the scroll "What is it?"
Akari let out a gasp "That's the Dragon Orb Awakening scroll!"
"It awakens the true power of the properties within each Dragon Orb."
"Cool." he placed the scroll on the blade, and it disappeared 'It feel like the sword's power just shot up. So then, how are we supposed to get through these clouds?"
"Normally the wind from the Wind Genryu would dissipate the cloud cover."
'Should I try this Orb Awakening now? No, save that for the Genryu. Lee, you're up."
"On it." Lee stepped forward and spun his leg around like a tornado, actually generating one and sucking the surrounding Mugonhei into the rotation "Wind Style: Leaf Whirlwind!" he then kicked the life out of each of them, leaving them to dissipate "I feel so much more powerful now. This is amazing!"
"Let's go. I'm getting the last Dragon Orb from the Lighting Genryu and you're my backup for this one. Akari, any advice?"
"When you battle the Lightning Genryu, it will try to hide amidst the fog and clouds but you will be able to see it even amongst them if you look close enough." Akari told him.
"Thank you. Alright Lee, let's move." and he took off into the mist, with Lee following him.
Dragon stared at the Genryu hall in front of him 'So he's up ahead, and there's definitely two of them. Itachi is definitely there no doubt about it, so I don't have to worry about Kisame interfering. Itachi…' then he made his way inside.
After fighting through countless Mugonhei and activating the device that opened the door, with Lee not far behind him, Tatsu found himself confronting the Lightning Genryu 'The clouds are thick, but like Akari said I can still kind of see them.'
The Lighting Genryu raised the horn on its nose, and a circle of lightning generated around him for a few seconds 'Those blasts of lightning are pretty powerful, I'd better avoid getting hit or I'd be fried.'
The Lightning Genryu fired a large ball of lightning from its nose.
Tatsu tried to push it back with the Dragon Blade, but failed and got shocked by it, then sent tumbling back.
Then the Genryu disappeared into the fog, and several blasts of lightning began zigzagging down from above him, first horizontally, then vertically, then circled around him.
'Like Akari said, the Genryu are powerful but their attack patterns are seriously linear. Lee, see if you can clear away this fog so I can track him down!"
"I can do more than that! Wind Style: Severe Leaf Hurricane!" with a wind-enhanced Severe Leaf Hurricane, Lee not only cleared away the fog, but also sent the Genryu crashing to the ground with a mighty kick to the face.
'Now's my chance!' Tatsu formed a Shadow Clone "Let's do it." he formed the basic Rasengan, and the clone placed both hands above it, resulting in the Rasengan changing shape, turning a bluish-white, and giving out a high-pitched whirring sound 'Perfect! Thanks to Sasuke's Thunder Clone tip earlier I figured it out. It took two of me to produce the original Rasengan at first, me to control the chakra emission and the clone for the change in form. I realized that I was gonna need another set of hands if I was gonna make this work.' then he turned his attention back up to the Lightning Genryu "Alright big guy, get a load of my brand new perfected jutsu! Wind Style: Rasengan!" he slammed the perfected Rasengan into its torso.
The Genryu howled in pain, the shining scale glowing brightly.
'There it is!' seeing the change, Tatsu leapt up and slashed through the shining scale, then caught the Lightning Orb as it fell "Alright, that's all five Dragon Orbs. I guess that means now we can pass through all the elemental barriers."
"Elemental barriers?" asked Lee.
"I'll tell you on the way."
"Tatsu!" then Neji and Akari showed up "There's something nearby, a figure in a black cloak with clouds on it."
"Lee, you know what this means."
Lee nodded "The Akatsuki, they're nearby. Stay on guard. Tatsu."
"I know, you can handle this one."
Dragon was quick to dodge the fireballs from an enraged Fire Genryu, effectively cutting its shining scale and knocking it out 'Now then, where are you Itachi?'
Lee paused 'They're here, I've gotta wait and look for a sign that gives away the location of my enemy.' he paused, the air thick 'I hear chewing, crawling… a footstep!' he blitzed over and punched his target in the face, sending him to the ground 'Got him!'
The target got up, revealing himself as Deidara, and wiped the blood from his face "How'd you know where I was? But… Tobi!"
"Leave it to me!" Tobi called from within the fog.
"So looks like I'm dealing with a taijutsu user. Oh well, I've just gotta keep my distance and I'll be fine."
'They've got the advantages of setting up traps and visibility.' Lee noted 'I've got an idea, but it'll require some time. First Gate: Gate of Opening: Open!" he opened the first gate, dodging several clay bombs "Second Gate: Gate of Rest: Open!" he opened the second gate "Third Gate: Gate of Life: Open!" he opened the third, his skin turning red, the shockwave destroying several clay bombs "Fourth Gate: Gate of Pain: Open!" he opened the fourth gate, the force of the shockwave sending Deidara back.
"Deidara!" Tobi cried.
"What is it?!"
"There are no more bombs!"
"Got you!" Lee blitzed forward, the groundbreaking from under him, and sent Deidara into the air with a single kick, sending out a shockwave, then formed a hand seal "Shadow Clone Jutsu!" he summoned 10 clones "You know what to do!" they all leapt into the air. One clone punched Deidara downwards, the second kicking him back up, then blitzing and kicking him all through the air.
'Dammit, I can't move! Think Deidara, think!'
"You're a tough one after taking all of those, but this will end it!" the original Lee appeared right above "One more and you're finished! Fifth Gate: Gate of Closing: OPEN!" he unleashed the fifth gate "HIDDEN LOTUS!" he barrelled a fierce barrage of punches into Deidara's gut, then ended it with one brutal kick to the gut, sending him crashing to the ground, which promptly broke apart underneath him 'He can't still be able to move after that, at least I hope not because I don't have much left after that.' he returned to the ground and made his way over to Deidara's form, only to find that it was made of clay 'He must've used a Substitution Jutsu right before he took that last hit.'
"Nice try Bushy-Brow, but you're gonna have to do better than that if you wanna get the better of me!" Deidara flipped him off from atop his giant clay bird, and he and Tobi took off into the fog.
"Dammit, I let him get away."
"Let them go." Tatsu approached Lee and helped him to his feet "They're not our objective anyway, we'll get them next time so don't worry. Since we have all 5 Dragon Orbs, we should focus on our mission. For now, let's go pick up Dosu and head back to the Ritual Hall. I'll give you more details when we get there."
Dragon stood in the hall, back turned to the unconscious Fire Genryu, when he sensed a familiar presence behind him and turned to face him "So you were here after all. It's been a long time… Itachi."
Sure enough, Itachi stood in front of the Fire Genryu "It has indeed Dragon, nearly 8 years if I recall."
"Not since the Uchiha Incident if I remember correctly."
"And your power is as great as ever, I should have expected as much from someone like you."
"Did you really have to control that Genryu with your Sharingan just to test me?"
"I had to make sure your skills haven't rusted since last we met."
"And you've seen what you need to?"
"I have. There's nothing more to discuss. Until we meet again Dragon." then he disappeared into a flock of crows.
"It seems that bit of business is finished." he turned to the door "If you're going to show yourself then now's the time."
Sure enough, Kisame emerged from behind the door "I guess Itachi finished what he came here to do."
"So it was you after all Kisame Hoshigaki, Monster of the Hidden Mist."
"You knew there was someone else here?"
"I sensed two different chakras aside from the Genryu, but knowing Itachi I'm sure he asked you to stand guard to ensure that he and I weren't disturbed."
"I'm glad you understand, though since I was bored while I was waiting I feel like playing now."
"If you insist then very well."
"Then allow me." Kisame formed several hand seals and placed a hand on the ground "Water Style: Four Shark Shower!" a large column of water rose into the air, then divided into four different water sharks.
'An effective water style user I see.' Dragon took out four kunai with paper bombs attached and launched one at each of the water sharks, detonating them in explosions.
Kisame formed a hand seal, and the water raining down them formed then formed into several droplet-sized water sharks "As good as you might be, even you couldn't possibly dodge all of these." then he charged and brought down Shark Skin.
Dragon disappeared in a green flash right before the blade connected, then appeared behind him with his katana drawn.
"I stand corrected." Kisame swung Shark Skin behind him, forcing Dragon back.
Dragon rebounded and blocked another strike from Shark Skin with a kunai, then kicked the blade before blocking another strike.
"I've always wanted to see what you can do."
Dragon saw some of the bandages break off of Shark Skin and quickly broke away.
"Even Shark Skin is happy." Kisame formed several hand seals "Water Style: Water Shark Bomb Jutsu!" he shot out a water shark.
"Fire Style: Crimson Dragon Jutsu!" Dragon shot out a red fire dragon, clashing with Kisame's water shark and enveloping the area in mist. When it subsided, Dragon stood behind Kisame holding a kunai to his throat "It's over."
"With your sensory abilities you're able to sense me out and attack, even in the mist. Impressive. At least, that's what I'd normally say." then he dissolved into a puddle of water.
"So you saw through me and used a water clone."
Kisame appeared behind Dragon and held Shark Skin to his neck "It's been a long time since I've had to do this."
"I haven't had to do this in a long time either." then he disappeared in a puff of smoke.
"So you saw through me seeing through you and used a Shadow Clone?" he was quick to use his Shark Skin to block Dragon's katana.
Dragon quickly broke away "Damn, we've been here too long. Look."
Then the Fire Genryu regained consciousness and let out an enraged roar as it stomped on the ground, causing it to give way and for both Dragon and Kisame to fall into the hole below.
The entire Leaf group stood outside the Ritual Hall.
"Akari." Sasuke addressed her.
"Yes?" Akari looked up.
"Let me ask you one last time."
"Your request was to stop the destruction that your brother is causing right?"
"And if we're forced to defeat him in the process?"
"That's fine. I thought I could convince him when I saw him with you earlier, but he is no longer the Kuroma that I used to know."
"Don't give up Akari." Tatsu knelt down and put a hand on her shoulder.
"Fighting might be inevitable, but there's no rule saying that when you fight someone has to die. I used to be alone too after my brother died, but there were people who helped me, guided me, believed in me, and that's why I'm here now. So I'm not going to defeat him Akari, no matter what happens I'm going to save your brother. After all, we won't know the outcome of the battle unless we try." then he stood in front of the others "Alright guys, let's go over the plan. Akari, please tell us how to undo the barrier in the back."
"Very well. When you go inside, there are five rooms along the halls. In each of those rooms, there is a device that removes the barrier. When they're all activated, the barrier in the back will be removed."
"How do you activate the devices?" asked Dosu.
"It's on the ground, so you just have to put something heavy on it."
"So they're like the devices we saw on the way here?" Tatsu guessed.
"Yes, but the main barrier won't break if the object on any switch is knocked off."
"So if whatever we put on it doesn't move there's no problem?" Lee guessed.
"There will be Mugonhei crawling all over the place, so it won't be easy." Tatsu noted "That means one of us should each take a room."
"And each one of us finishes off the Mugonhei in each room and defends the devices, right?"
"Exactly, now let's decide who stays behind in each room when we get there. Alright everyone, let's move." and he took off, with the group following.
Tatsu unlocked the Earth room "Alright, who's first?"
"I'll do it." Dosu offered "I'm proficient in Earth-style jutsu so it only makes sense."
"Suit yourself." and he rushed out, leaving Dosu to defend it.
Tatsu unlocked the Water room "Next."
"A room with low visibility, leave this one to me." Neji decided.
Tatsu unlocked the Wind room "Next."
"I'll protect this room." Yamato told him.
Tatsu unlocked the Fire room "Next."
"Leave this one to me." Lee wasted no time in charging in to deal with the Mugonhei.
Tatsu unlocked the Lightning Room "Who's got this one?"
Sasuke wasted no time in activating his Sanda Sharingan "I'll handle the last one, you go check on the barrier." and he charged in.
With everyone in place, Tatsu went to the back and saw the barrier deactivate "Alright, how's everybody doing?"
"We're on our way right now."
"Good, because I'm gonna need all of you for backup." then he rushed inside, with everyone else following shortly.
The group all confronted Kuroma in the Central Shrine.
"So you've gotten all the Dragon Orbs from all the Genryu." Kuroma noted.
Tatsu stepped forward "Kuroma, I'll say it one more time. Stop this, you're not making anyone happy by doing this."
"Be quiet, I'm not obligated to make anyone happy. Everything I've ever done for people, it's all been thrown back at me as insults, prejudice and discrimination. I don't need a world where anyone else lives."
"Kuroma… please brother…" Akari pleaded.
"I loved you because you said that no matter what we'd always persevere. That's why I was able to handle it all."
"I see… Akari…"
"A world where we are forced to persevere will soon be gone, so come with me."
"N-No… that's not what I'm trying to say… why don't you understand?"
"I understand perfectly."
Tatsu stepped forward and drew the Dragon Blade "If this is how you're going to be, I have no choice but to stop you."
"To stop me, you must defeat me. But I am already a Light Dragon, can you withstand my powers?"
"Are you saying you already have the power to destroy the world?"
"Tatsu Kamikaze, warrior of the Dragonseed, you and your allies will soon learn just how powerful I have become!" he unleashed a blast of lightning.
Tatsu dodged, and everyone else retreated back.
"I will destroy the world, and everything in it."
"There's no way I'm going to let that happen!" Tatsu charged in.
Kuroma unleashed a blast of wind.
'Come on… come on…!' Tatsu braced himself and grabbed Kuroma, then slashed him down the middle.
Kuroma got up, sending out a blast of dark chakra that nearly knocked Tatsu off his feet, then used his Earth Genryu power to cause an earthquake.
Tatsu quickly rebounded and slashed at him with the Dragon Blade.
Kuroma dodged and unleashed a large tsunami wave.
Tatsu dodged, then noticed the roof shaking "The hell?" he looked up, only to see Dragon and Kisame fall through "Oh for f*ck's sake."
"Hi." Dragon waved "See we were fighting in the volcano, the fire dragon woke up and broke the ground between us, we spent about 10 minutes falling and now we're here."
"I was the one he was fighting." Kisame told him dryly "I'm guessing I can't get out of here alive unless we get past you?"
"Nope, unless you get past that guy." Tatsu pointed at Kuroma.
"What's his story?"
"Short version, he's absorbed the power of all 5 Genryu and now he claims to be something called the Light Dragon. So far his claims turn out true. So you wanna help us or should we just kill you here and now?"
"You really think I'd team up with you?"
"Pretty much yeah."
"And do tell, what makes you think I won't stick a knife in your back when you're not looking?"
"Because if you kill us then Kuroma will kill you, your survival rides on this teamwork just as much as ours. We'll watch our backs after this but not before, I'm smart enough to know that."
"...You know kid, you just might make it in this world after all. Alright, what's the plan?"
"The Dragon Blade I carry is the only thing that can harm Genryu but he uses elemental attacks, see if you and Dragon and the rest can counter them."
Then Kuroma addressed them "Are you two also with this group, or have you foolishly come in an attempt to steal my power?"
"I'm actually under no obligation to tell you."
"Very well, you will perish either way so it really doesn't matter."
"Got you!" Tatsu blitzed in front of him and slashed with the Dragon Blade.
In a surprising move, Kuroma stopped the blade with one hand and looked at Tatsu with nothing but disdain "I grow tired of you constantly wasting my time." he sent Kisame back with a blast of wind and formed a hand seal "Sealing Jutsu: Black Aura!" he held out his hand, engulfing Tatsu in a black aura, then launched a fireball and blast of lightning at him simultaneously, sending him tumbling back with clear burns.
"This is bad." Sasuke noted "Guys, we've gotta help Tatsu or he'll lose. Kin, stay with Akari. Let's go!" and they all charged.
Kuroma let out an arrogant laugh "You're all like a bunch of crows, a group of weaklings pretending to be strong!" he sent out a shockwave of black chakra "Pathetic." he paused and looked at Sasuke, then grabbed him by the shirt "You carry the spirit of the thunder, Raijin. Such a shame, I probably would've liked to spare you." he drew a kunai and slashed Sasuke down the middle of his chest, then dropped him and walked away, swatting away Dosu and Kisame like flies in the process.
"Sasuke!" Kin was by his side in an instant, trying to heal him 'You'll be alright Sasuke, just hang in there.'
"Dammit!" Lee swore "He's so much more powerful than us. At this rate, not even the 6th or 7th gate would be able to defeat him. Should I use the Gate of Death? It would kill me, but I'm to protect my comrades then I must-' he was cut off by a sudden surge of chakra.
Kuroma looked and saw Tatsu clad in his Tenseigan Chakra Mode, eyes white and blank "What is this? Even with this power, he's still unconscious. You appear stronger, but it's meaningless against the Light Dragon." he unleashed a linear-patterned blast of lightning.
Tatsu dodged all of the lightning with ease and slashed at Kuroma with a large claw made entirely of chakra.
Taken by surprise, Kuroma barely dodged it and slammed a hand on the ground, causing fire to erupt.
Tatsu merely sidestepped the attack and hit Kuroma with a blast of cyan chakra, sending him tumbling back.
Kuroma stood and spat out some blood "Wh-What is this power…? How could this be? It surpasses even the Light Dragon's?! I won't… I won't accept this!" he unleashed a column of erupting fire with one hand and a blast of wind with his other hand.
Tatsu charged through both attacks, receiving minor burns, and slashed Kuroma across the chest with a chakra claw.
Kuroma let out a scream of pain as he was sent tumbling back.
Tatsu appeared above him, intending to finish him off.
"Brother!" Akari cried out.
Tatsu stopped, then turned to her instead.
Lee appeared in front of him "Stop it Lee, that's enough."
Tatsu slowly advanced forward.
"If you're not going to stop then I'll have to snap you out of it." Lee got into a combat stance.
Tatsu lunged forward.
But before Lee could do it, Kisame shredded Tatsu's chest with Shark Skin, causing him to collapse to the ground "That oughta… do it… Sorry kid… but if you go down… we'll all go down…" then he coughed up blood and passed out.
Tatsu's pupils returned, and he blinked, then collapsed, only to see someone catch him "Wha-?"
"I've got you." Lee helped Tatsu to his feet "You had me worried there for a minute."
"Sorry… Akari… Lee…"
"What was that anyway?"
"You remember the drawback of using the Tenseigan too much?"
"Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
"Exactly. While I was unconscious, the negative energy building up from my use of the Tenseigan took over my body and forced me to go out of control. But on the bright side, it's over now…"
Despite being wounded, Kuroma limped towards the center of the room "The power… of the Light Dragon… was incomplete…"
"Brother… stop… If you fight anymore, you'll…" Akari quickly rushed over to Kuroma and pushed him out of the way "Please stop, you've done enough brother." then she was encased in a white light, and she disappeared.
"What the hell is going on?" Tatsu wondered "Akari… she just disappeared…?"
Kuroma appeared horrified "What…?! How… How could this be?"
Kuroma fell to his knees "This can't be… This is all my fault… Akari…"
"What happened? Kuroma, where's Akari?"
"Akari… and the Light Dragon…"
"What are you talking about?"
Kuroma got to his feet, but fumbled.
Tatsu helped him up "Easy big guy, where're you going?"
"I must go… to the Hall of the Light Dragon… Akari…"
"The Hall of the Light Dragon right? Can you stand?"
"I don't know what's going on, but you're trying to save Akari right?"
"Then I'll help you."
"Tatsu, I'm coming with you." Lee told him.
"Thanks Lee, I'm glad I can always count on you." he turned to Dragon "I don't suppose you'd be willing to come to?"
"I would, but someone has to keep an eye on him." Dragon pointed to Kisame "That, and I should stay here to fend off any Mugonhei while the future wife of the Uchiha there heals as many as she can."
"Thank you. Kuroma, which way?"
"Follow me." Kuroma limped off, with Tatsu and Lee supporting him.
Dragon stared for a moment in the direction they left in 'Good luck… brother…'
Tatsu wasn't amused with the Mugonhei they encountered "Really? More of these guys?"
"They're the soldiers protecting the awakening of the Light Dragon." Kuroma explained.
"The awakening of the Light Dragon?" Lee punched and kicked two Mugonhei in between every word "Didn't you say you already received the power of the Light Dragon?"
"I didn't receive all of it, I only got as much as a human could hold."
"So then… You know what, forget it." Lee stood in front of the Genryu "I'll stop these things, you two go and I'll join you when I'm finished."
"Thanks Lee, I owe you." Tatsu slung Kuroma's arm over his shoulder, and he carried him through the Genryu door.
Lee waited until they were gone, then turned to the Mugonhei "Sorry guys, but it ends for all of you here."
Tatsu stared at the being in front of him "A Genryu? I don't get it, where's Akari?"
"This… This wasn't supposed to happen…" Kuroma mumbled.
In front of them stood a massive white Genryu with four balls of light hovering above it, which then promptly fired blasts of light towards them, hitting Kuroma and leaving him to crash to the ground.
"Kuroma!" Tatsu knelt down beside him "You alright big guy? Dammit, where the hell are you Akari?"
"Akari… Akari…" Kuroma murmured.
"Hey… is that…?"
"I'm sorry, Akari… What monster have I resurrected…?"
"Come on Kuroma, answer my question. What is that thing? Where's Akari?"
"That's the Light Dragon's true form… That's Akari…"
"Wh-What?" Tatsu stared at the Light Dragon for a moment "How can we save her? There has to be something we can do."
"No… there's nothing we can do now… just look at it… Akari's will was consumed by the Light Dragon… Akari is no longer with us…"
"I have persevered through whatever persecution the world threw at me… as long as I had Akari, I was fine…"
Tatsu's eyes softened.
"Akari's smile… that was the only thing that kept me going… But just because of our horns, Akari was hated. People would throw stones… I decided to protect Akari… I kept travelling, hoping to find somewhere we could lead normal lives… But it was a fantasy, no place like that existed… No place accepted us, not a single person…"
"That's why you decided to destroy the world…"
"And this is the result… without Akari, I have no reason to live…"
"Tell me something Kuroma… Being hated by everyone sucks, doesn't it? It must be lonely and painful, make you wonder why you were even born right? But if you don't give up, you'll meet true friends who will acknowledge you."
"Look, I'm not going to lie or give you a whole shpeel saying I know how you feel, but I know someone who does. Naruto Uzumaki, my closest friend. He's got a monster inside of him too… the Nine-Tailed Fox. Because of that, almost every single person in our village hate him… I acknowledged him first, and he started to grow little by little. And when he kept going with all of his strength, other people acknowledged him too. The numbers slowly grew, and before he knew it he had a ton of friends, even friends from other villages. Hell, he's got a bridged named after him. Technically after our entire squad, but that's not the point. My point here is that no matter what he faced he never gave up, and neither will I." he stood and inserted the Wind Orb into the handle of the Dragon Blade "That's why I'll never give up either, I promise I'll save Akari no matter what it takes.
What the Dragon Blade separates are light, people, and power… a voice rang through the air.
"What the hell was that?"
"It's an old song that the Tatsushiro clan has passed down through generations." Kuroma told him "That Dragon Blade you have…"
"Yeah, I thought so too… It's the only thing that can save Akari now." he turned his attention back to the Light Dragon "Don't worry Akari, I'm coming to save you!" and he charged into the fray.
The Light Dragon was engulfed in a white light, and when it subsided the markings on it had turned from white to red.
'So it's take on a fire mode? Maybe I have to use the Fire Orb to counterbalance the fire form it's using.' he swapped out the Wind Orb for the Fire Orb and quickly slashed away with the blade.
The Light Dragon merely flexed its jaw and swatted Tatsu aside.
Tatsu landed on one of the side paths and wiped the blood from its jaw 'That burned, I guess I shouldn't be surprised since it's using the fire power.' then he got hit with a beam of light, injuring his shoulder 'Dammit, those things hurt like a bitch. I can't take too many hits like that or I'm done for.' he looked at the wings 'Maybe if I can slash at the tendons in the wings hard enough I'd be able to injure it.'
The Light Dragon promptly switched to its Lightning form.
'So it's trying to outpace and nullify my attacks by constantly changing its form and elemental nature.' Tatsu promptly switched to the Lightning Orb 'I thought about using the Wind Orb instead, but that would only destroy the Lightning Orb without leaving me anything to counter the Earth Orb later. So bottom line, same form, same orb.' he repeatedly slashed at the wings, aiming for the tendons 'Dammit… these things have pretty thick skin so reaching the tendons will be harder than I thought.' he placed both hands on the blade 'First rule of swordsmanship, a sword's strike becomes exponentially more powerful if you use two hands instead of one. Thank you Hayate-sensei, this battle is for you!' then he charged, and with one powerful slash, cut through every tendon on the Light Dragon's left wing.
The Light Dragon howled in pain as one of the horns shattered, and the Lightning Orb cracked apart and turned to dust.
'The Orb… It's nullifying the elements possessed by the Light Dragon! So that's how it works, I should've seen it sooner!'
The Light Dragon ducked down below the pathway, then rose back up in its Water form and slammed down its claw, several waves crashing down on the pathways and water bullets raining down from the balls of light above.
Tatsu attempted to dodge them, only for a few of them to pierce his skin with ease, drawing lots of blood 'Dammit, those hurt even more than the fire blasts did.'
Then the Light Dragon entered its Wind form.
'Wind.' Tatsu switched out the Water Orb for the Wind Orb 'Good thing I'm mainly proficient in wind chakra so I can just use the Dragon Blade to amplify that.' he formed a hand seal and summoned two Shadow Clones "Wind Style: Tornado Dragon Dance!" using the form of the Crescent Moon Dance, Tatsu and his two clones charged in, swords drawn.
The Light Dragon destroyed one clone with its claw, and the balls of light destroyed another.
The original Tatsu raised the wind-enhanced Dragon Blade and slashed clean through the tendons on one of the wings.
The Light Dragon howled in pain as another horn disappeared.
Tatsu saw the Wind Orb in the handle of the Dragon Blade shatter 'That's two down, three to go.'
The Light Dragon fell to the ground, destroying one of the pathways along the battlefield in the process.
'Okay like that doesn't limit my movement space at all.'
The Light Dragon rose back up in its Fire form once again, shooting out balls of fire in every direction and from the balls above him.
Tatsu found his entire right side burned rather badly, but he managed to cut about half of the tendons on one wing.
The Light Dragon let out a howl of pain and swatted him back to the center platform.
'Gotta… keep moving…' despite feeling the pain from his burns, Tatsu mustered up enough strength to charge forward and slash the remaining tendons on the wing.
The Light Dragon howled in pain as yet another horn disappeared, and the Fire Orb shattered.
The Light Dragon promptly entered its Water form and sent out several water bullets, one of them piercing Tatsu's right shoulder.
'Dammit… If my arm wasn't dead before, it is now.' now that he only had one good arm to wield the Dragon Blade, Tatsu brace himself more tense than ever as he threw the sword into the air, whipped out the Water Orb and slammed it into the handle ring, then slashed through the wing's tendons once again.
The Light Dragon howled in pain as the fourth horn disappeared, and the Water Orb shattered, and it fell.
'The last Dragon Orb, I'll have to make this one count.'
The Light Dragon slammed its claws on the ground repeatedly, causing boulders to fall.
Tatsu found his leg badly crushed by one of them 'Dammit! No calm down Tatsu, you've gotta focus…' he channeled chakra into his leg 'Concentrate… focus… NOW!' he used every ounce of strength he'd stored in his leg and pushed himself into the air, and with every ounce of his strength, slashed the Light Dragon straight across the face, then collapsed to the ground 'I hope that did it… that was about all I had left…'
The Light Dragon fell, then rose back up in its basic Light form, the balls of light blasting Tatsu's good arm and good leg, leaving him immobile.
'Dammit…' he looked and saw the Dragon Blade glowing 'Spirit of the Dragon Blade… if you can hear me then please… Lend me your strength… I don't have enough power on my own… please, help me protect them… please…' his left arm inched upwards bit by bit, and slowly but surely a Rasengan formed in his palm 'Not enough… power… please… lend me all of your strength…' the high pitched whirring came into life, taking on a dragon-like aura 'Thank you… now to end this…' before he even realized it, he was on his feet 'I've only got one shot at this, so I've gotta make it count…'
The Light Dragon let out a primal roar as it unleashed a blast from its mouth, as well as every ball of light joining in the attack simultaneously.
With an invisible force pushing him upwards, Tatsu leapt into the air, the dragon-powered Rasengan growing bigger "This is the end! Wind Style: Dragon Rasengan!" and with that, he slammed the Rasengan down into the Light Dragon's shining scale, then the actual Dragon Blade itself, resulting in a blinding white light engulfing the area.
A white void.
That was all Tatsu could see, before Akari came into his line of vision "Akari…"
There she sat, huddle in a ball, clutching her knees "Thank you, Tatsu…"
"I was watching… I heard everything… You spoke with my brother…"
"He wasn't hated… It was me he was talking about… My brother never had any trouble with the people around him…"
"I never did anything by myself, I was just fine being protected my Kuroma. I put on a facade… I was pretending to endure…"
"I'm so glad I met you Tatsu, and everyone else…" tears began streaming down her face.
"I'm glad I met you too Akari…"
"I never knew you could cry from happiness…"
"My heart feels so warm…"
"I know…" Tatsu put a hand on her shoulder "Come on, let's go back…"
"Wait." a voice thundered, and the 5 Genryu, as well as the Light Dragon, appeared before both them "Tatsu Kamikaze, we have seen your heart and have confirmed that you are indeed the rightful heir to the Dragon Blade. Now and forever, our power is your power." they all held out a claw.
Tatsu held up his own hand "Thank you. Tell me, what are you names."
"I am Jishin." said the Earth Genryu.
"I am Kaiyo." said the Water Genryu.
"I am Kaen." said the Fire Genryu.
"I am Tatsumaki." said the Wind Genryu.
"I am Sanda." said the Lightning Genryu.
"And I am Hikari." said the Light Dragon.
"From now on, we will lend you our strength." and with that, they channeled all of their power into Tatsu, then everything was enveloped in darkness.
'Is that Sasuke's voice?'
Sasuke froze "He stopped breathing."
Lee grinned mischievously "I've got it. Don't worry guys, I'll give him mouth-to-mouth!"
"HELL NO!" Tatsu bolted upright "Anything but that!"
"See? I told you that would work."
"Wait…" Tatsu looked around and saw everyone, from Sasuke and Lee to Dragon and Kisame, were all fully healed "Hang on, why's everyone…?"
"This light suddenly surrounded us, and then our wounds were all healed."
"Well that would explain why I feel fine now too." then he shot a look at Kisame "And you haven't bailed yet?"
Kisame shrugged "You saved my skin, I'm just repaying the debt. Heard what happened by the way, not bad kid."
Tatsu knew that was close to "Good job" as he would get "Thanks, I think. So where are…?"
"Right here." Kuroma got his attention, with Akari right by his side, though they looked rather different somehow "You have my utmost gratitude Tatsu Kamikaze, thank you."
"Kuroma… Wait, your horns are gone. Akari's too?"
Kuroma checked and realized he was right "Indeed, they're gone…"
"And the markings on your face are gone too."
"Perhaps the Light Dragon has taken everything, and returned to Heaven."
"Not everything." Tatsu held up the Dragon Blade "They gave me their power when I saved Akari, now their strength lives on in me." then he felt shaking "Oh crap…"
"Mount Koryu is starting to crumble!"
"Let's move people!" and Tatsu and the entire party made their way out.
Tatsu stopped the group in front of the door to the central shrine "The device to open the barrier is on the outside."
"I can't open it since I don't have the Dragon's power anymore." Kuroma admitted.
"The shaking is getting harder, this is bad." Yamato muttered "Are we done for?"
"What're you saying Yamato? You never know until you try!" Tatsu formed a Rasengan 'I know I've been pushing all of you guys pretty hard today, but please lend me your power just one last time. Wind Style: Genryu Rasengan!" he slammed the Genryu-powered Rasengan straight into the door, shattering it and allowing them to pass through.
Soon enough, everyone was outside, staring at the remains of Mount Koryu.
"That was close." Lee muttered.
"That jutsu you used Tatsu, what was it exactly?" Dosu asked.
Tatsu smiled and held up the Dragon Blade "That was a Rasengan influenced by the powers of the Genryu. Now their power lives within me."
"So it's finally all over…" Akari murmured.
"Looks like it. Well then guys, let's return to the village. We still have to report the mission's outcome."
"Aren't you going to capture me?" asked Kuroma "I've done terrible things to the Leaf Village and the others."
"The mission was simply to stop what you were trying to do, capturing you was never our objective to begin with. Besides, if we wanted to capture you then you'd be captured before you could even blink."
"That, and what would Akari do without you?"
"It's alright, really. Tell me something Kuroma, Akari's your reason for living isn't she?"
"Yes… she's my only sister…"
"Then you two should be together, plain and simple."
"Well there you go."
Then Akari stepped forward "Thank you, all of you, for everything you've done for us. I'll go to the village to formally thank you."
"Be sure to come and visit once things have settled down."
"I will Tatsu, thank you very much."
"On it." Sasuke summoned Garada and had him send Akari and Kuroma on their way.
"Okay, as sweet as this has been, are you gonna capture me or not?" Kisame finally lost his patience.
Tatsu shrugged "No need, you helped us out twice and by letting you go we'll be even. Besides, that way Lee can get his shot in at you later."
"Fair enough. I wasn't looking for any trouble anyway." then he suddenly turned into water and disappeared.
"He will be later though."
"Are you sure it was wise to let him get away?" asked Dosu "Whatever this Akatsuki is, we might've done a major blow to them by taking him in."
"Maybe, but he helped us so it's only right that we repay him. We'll get him next time, don't worry."
Kin turned to Sasuke "Hey Sasuke?"
"What's up?" asked Sasuke.
"Back in the volcano, you said you had something you wanted to ask me."
'Shit, I was hoping she'd forget.' Sasuke was cursing himself for somewhat failing to suppress his blush "Well, you see… I was kind of wondering… would you maybe want to… you know… move in with me? I understand if you don't want to… no rush or anything, but… yeah…" he cursed his nervous stuttering 'Dammit I'm an Uchiha, and Uchihas don't stutter!'
Kin looked at him and smiled 'He's always so adorable when he gets nervous like that. I'd love to Sasuke." she pecked him on the cheek.
And cue Sasuke dissolving into a pile of goo.
Part of the revisions I'm doing to my Naruto series is taking the two part opener to my Shippuden fic and merging them into one long chapter. I know that the game Dragon Blade Chronicles receives a decent amount of hate from the fandom, and looking back I can understand some of the reasons why, but I personally thought that it was pretty good, and I thought that if it was made canon then it could have a lot of potential for the story. And adding onto that point, unlike in the game Tatsu keeps the Dragon Blade and the Genryu powers, which will come into play later on.
I know the Wind Region came after the Ritual Hall, but I thought it only made sense to go to the Fire Region next since they already have the Water Orb, then have the Wind Region come next since they'll have the Fire Orb.
In case I didn't point this out before, Dragon is there in place of the Sasuke quest in the game, and he'll be making his way to the Fire Region of Mount Koryu last in order to meet up with Itachi. And yes Dragon has Sage Mode, and I'm pretty sure you guys still don't know who he is, but if you wanna guess in your reviews I'd really appreciate it.
Lee can now use his chakra, basically Shadow Clones that he can incorporate into his Hidden Lotus, thereby perfecting it, thanks to Tatsu's abilities combined with the unique environment of Mount Koryu.
I know you guys are probably pissed that I had Orochimaru mark Sasuke after saying that Sasuke wouldn't leave the village, but after spending some time brainstorming I decided that it had to be done for the sake of Taka. I know for a while it wouldn't be consequential, but think about how they saved Sasuke during the war, not to mention the Five Kage so they could join the battle. And don't worry about Sasuke going insane over revenge when he learns the truth about Itachi, I've got that all worked out.