A/N - Okey dokey, I decided to update this fic again because people were getting rather pissed off for the way I ended things in the last chapter. You guys really don't give me enough credit. :P

Anywho, one thing you need to know about this chapter: a loooot of people die. And yes, this means a lot of named characters and a bunch of random ninja from both sides that don't really matter. Soooo, fair warning there. Looots of death.

I'm rather tired, and I was struggling just to get this chapter finished. I just couldn't focus and I feel like the chapter quality just isn't as good as it could have been. Still, I hope you enjoy. Read on oh avengers of dastardly hugglepants!


Chapter 5 – Cost of War

Hiruzen had just finished giving his customary speech, though he honestly wished he could drag it out for longer than he had. His mind was more focused on figuring out what the hell had happened to the village's jinchuriki. Dammit! They still haven't found him! The other competitors don't matter, but we need Naruto! So, where the hell is he?!

Retaking his seat, the aged Hokage brought a hand to his face and let out an agonized groan. "Where the hell is everyone?" Lowering his hand, he looked at the other kage seated nearby. "I'm not accusing any you of any wrongdoing, but do any of you happen to have some clue about where everyone is? Something is very wrong here. So many competitors going missing isn't a coincidence. No, something terrible is happening."

A looked at Hiruzen for a time before saying, "I haven't a clue what happened to them. But I do agree with you: this is no coincidence. Are you sure they didn't kill each other outside of the exams?"

Rasa scowled at this point and said, "I know why my daughter hasn't arrived. She was found dead just the other day. If I were you, Hokage-dono, I'd do something about the people in your village. I do not take kindly to my daughter being murdered in your village." I should never had had to kill you, Temari. If only you had used your head and not threatened our plan.

Before Hiruzen could say anything in response, the Otokage spoke up. "Dosu was killed, as well. And Kin has gone missing. I do not know if she still lives." Glaring into the Hokage's eyes, she said, "I'm beginning to wonder if it's normal for foreign ninja to die so suddenly in your village. Trying to weed out the competition, perhaps?"

The Hokage clenched his fists angrily and said, "No. It is not. But that does sound like something Danzo Shimura would do. Dammit! I'm sorry for your losses. I know that won't excuse what has happened, but…"

Rasa shook his head and said, "You should have dealt with that man before this point, Hokage. Enough of this, though. Let's just watch the matches and try to forget about this conversation for the time being."

A chanced a glance at the Kazekage and then at the Otokage. Frowning slightly, he thought, They're going after Danzo themselves. Curious. Oh well, it is not my problem.

Hiruzen sighed frustratedly before he tapped his headpiece. "Start the first match. Hopefully the others will be found soon."

Down below, Genma looked up at the Hokage for a moment and nodded once. Afterwards, he dismissed Gaia and Zaku. Once they were gone, Genma declared, "First match: Rock Lee vs. Omoi…begin!"

Orika

Danzo grinned victoriously as he watched Orika slowly turn her back to him. "Kill them." He commanded. However, when she didn't move, he scowled and exclaimed, "I command you to kill them NOW!"

Orika turned back to Danzo and began to cackle maniacally. Then, before Danzo could grasp what the hell was happening, the Orika in front of him suddenly exploded, catching Danzo off guard. He couldn't even throw up some kind of defense against said explosion.

At this moment, Orika's allies finished off Fu and Torune, severing their heads and torching them. Looking at Danzo's downed form, they could easily see that his right arm and left leg had been blown completely off. His body was charred and he was currently struggling just to stay alive. Yoshino smirked at him as she looked at him, being careful not to look into his eyes. "Did you really think it would be that easy, Danzo Shimura?"

Danzo coughed up blood and rolled onto his side, wincing in agony as he did. "W-What…what happened? I…I w-w-won! This…this can't…be p-possible…"

Orika stepped out of the shadows and giggled to herself. "You wasted your technique on a clone, Danzo. I came prepared for all of your tricks. This entire time, a single clone has been cutting down your Root forces and battling you. Face it, you were outsmarted and you will die without ever having amounted to anything. Farewell, you rotten monster. May you rot in Hell."

Oh, how Danzo wished he could capture the real Orika in a genjutsu powerful enough to slay her allies. However, a thought came to him and he looked at the other three in the room. "C-Clones…too?"

Yoroi simply grinned and said, "No, we aren't clones. Only Orika-sama. It was certainly fun taking their lives with our own hands. Too bad for you."

Danzo smirked evilly to himself, even as he continued to bleed out on the floor. "G-Good job…Sai." He said before the life finally left his eyes.

Orika blinked in confusion for a moment before she saw the young man appear behind Yoroi. Before she could even call out to him to move, Yoroi's head fell off of his body. As his body fell, Orika's hands clenched into fists and she prepared to act. However, when Sai went to strike down Yugao next, she spun around and began a fierce sword duel with Danzo's final agent.

Yoshino was waiting for the right moment to jump in and finish Sai off. However, when he managed to slip inside Yugao's guard and stab her through her left leg, her eyes widened in horror as her purple-haired companion stumbled backwards, leaving herself open for Sai's next attack. Quickly utilizing the Replacement Technique with Yugao, Yoshino quickly thrust her sword through Sai's forehead, piercing his brain in the process.

As Sai's body dropped to the ground, Yoshino winced as she placed a hand to the wound Sai had managed to inflict in the end. Looking down, she saw that her belly had been sliced open and she was bleeding profusely. Tears began to stream down her cheeks as she fell to her knees. "O-Orika-sama…"

Orika quickly hurried over to Yoshino and began to survey the damage done to her friend. "Yoshino…just hold on, I'll save you!"

Yoshino giggled ruefully and said, "F-Face it, Orika-sama, there's no healing this wound. I-If Tsunade-sama was here…"

The Snake Sannin had tears streaming down her cheeks as she held Yoshino in her arms. "I…I'm so, so sorry. I shouldn't have put you in such a dangerous situation! This…!"

"This is NOT your fault!" Yoshino exclaimed angrily. "I chose to s-serve you, Orika-sama. I was more than willing to sacrifice my life to make you happy with the man you love. I have no regrets. I'm just sorry I won't get to see Naruto again. I was…I was hoping…hoping…"

As Yoshino's eyes began to close, Orika held her tighter and began to sob. "I know. You would have been my maid of honor. I love you, Yoshino. You're dear to me. I'm…I'm really going to miss you. I didn't know about that boy. I should have…!"

Yoshino simply giggled weakly and patted Orika's cheek very lightly. "Don't blame yourself…Orika-sama. I'll…always…watch over you…"

After Yoshino perished in her arms, Orika clenched her eyelids shut tight and quivered as she simply held Yoshino close. After taking a while to grieve, she laid her friend down and moved over to examine Yugao's injury. Looking it over, she said, "You'll be okay, Yugao. It's not a fatal wound, but you won't be able to walk on that leg for a while. I'll get you out of Konoha. We're going back to Otogakure where it's safest. I can't believe we just lost two of our own. Dammit."

Yugao winced in pain, but offered her master a smile. "It's okay, Orika-sama. We knew the risks going into this mission. They died with no regrets. We love you, just as you cherish and love us. Now come on, let's get out of here and go back home."

Orika sealed Yoshino's and Yoroi's bodies into a couple of sealing scrolls. Afterwards, she created a clone to carry Yugao, seeing as she couldn't possibly walk on her own right now. Finally, she created three more clones to essentially ransack Danzo's office, taking whatever they could that might prove useful later on. Once they were gone, Orika wiped away her tears and thought, You've taken so much from me, Danzo. I never wanted to lose two of my friends. Not like this…

Arena

The battle between Rock Lee and Omoi had been an intense one so far. Whilst Lee had speed and strength on his side, Omoi had a bit more experience under his belt. However, while Omoi was doing an admirable job of keeping up with Lee and fending him off, it was obvious that he was slowly losing ground. Omoi had been getting slower as the match progressed and everyone could tell he was getting tired while Lee seemed to still have quite a lot of energy to burn through.

Realizing that he was losing the battle, Omoi grumbled irritably to himself as he thought over his options. If he continued the fight, he knew he would lose unless he managed to get a lucky hit in. However, he knew that, with Lee's speed, it would be hard as hell to land the decisive blow. Then, he came to the realization that sometimes you have to know your own limitations. Right now, he couldn't win against his opponent. He had reached his limit for this particular battle. However, this didn't mean he couldn't get stronger and faster after training for a while. So, while he might not be able to challenge Lee today, if he kept up with his training, he knew he could best even the mighty Green Beast of Konoha.

Sighing, Omoi raised his hand and said, "I forfeit. I just can't keep up with my opponent. He seems to be getting even stronger while I'm getting more and more exhausted." Once the proctor called the match in Lee's favor, Omoi walked up to his opponent and shook hands with him as a sign of respect.

Up above, Hiruzen felt like taking a bite out of his hat, he was so frustrated. He had hoped that the first match would have lasted a while longer to give his Anbu time to find Yugao and her students. Dammit! Where the hell could they all be?! Did…did Orika have something to do with their disappearance? She couldn't have Sasuke, so did she take Naruto in his place? No, that doesn't make sense. What the hell is going on?!

The Otokage frowned as the next combatants were called down to the arena. She knew that the real Orika had trained Zaku hard for this fight, but at the same time, he was up against Gaia. Gaia was as unstable an individual as they come, and she had already proven that she didn't differentiate between friend and foe. Everyone was fair game in her eyes! Misumi, you'd better stick to the plan and use that genjutsu. I don't want to see another one of my genin be killed by that bitch!

As if sensing his comrade's unease, Rasa looked at Orika's clone out of the corner of his eye and said, "If you don't want another of your genin to die at the hands of my daughter, I suggest you convince him to forfeit the match now. Otherwise, she's likely to kill him."

Orika's clone glared at Rasa and whispered harshly to him, "I bet you wouldn't even lift a finger to stop her, would you?" Seeing him simply smirk at her, the clone turned her gaze towards Gaia and Zaku as they took their places in the arena. Please, Misumi, don't let Zaku die!

As the fight got underway, Zaku immediately went on the defensive, avoiding tendrils made of sand as they lashed out at him, attempting to strike him down. The Oto genin knew that he had to stay on the move to avoid being killed by the psychopathic jinchuriki he was up against. He had learned a lot under Orika's guidance, but even she admitted that his best bet was to just keep on the move and try to get in close enough to unleash his Decapitating Airwaves attack where Gaia's defense was the weakest. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite sure how to go about doing that, considering the psycho-bitch had what a lot of people referred to as the Ultimate Defense.

After dodging for a while and trying to slip in close, Zaku breathed a sigh of relief when feathers began to rain from the sky. This was the sign that the invasion was starting and, with Gaia as their secret weapon, he figured she'd do her damn job and NOT kill him. Sadly, this was not the case. Gaia ensnared Zaku's leg before slamming him into the ground a couple of times, grinning sadistically as she broke his bones. Afterwards, she commanded her sand to swallow him whole before clenching her fist tight.

As she saw another of her genin perish at the hands of that psychotic little bitch, Orika's clone quivered in anger before she turned on Rasa and exclaimed, "Get that bitch under control already! She just killed ANOTHER of my genin!" Seeing him smirk at her, she clenched her fists angrily and shouted, "You sick bastard! Don't you dare smirk at me like that!"

Rasa simply shrugged and said, "Gaia makes the perfect weapon. She's emotionless and, more importantly, she is ruthless. So long as she obeys me, I care not who she chooses to kill or why. Perhaps you should have done your homework so that little Zaku could have been spared."

Orika's clone snarled, but didn't respond right away. When Rasa turned to attack the Hokage, as per his and Orika's plan, the clone couldn't take it anymore. Taking hold of a kunai, she moved in close and proceeded to stab Rasa numerous times in the back before finally letting him drop to the ground. As he lay there bleeding out, slowly dying from his wounds, he looked into the clone's eyes and scoffed dismissively. "Heh. Should've seen this coming the moment…moment I killed Temari. I figured you didn't trust me, but it would seem I pushed things a little too f-far this time. Oh well. I suppose I'll be seeing you in Hell someday. Monsters like us wouldn't be permitted entry into Heaven. Just…keep up your end of the bargain. Save my people."

As the life left Rasa's eyes, Orika's clone looked at the Hokage, who had watched the murder with wide eyes. "Hokage-sama, I'm sorry you had to see that. But this is the second of my genin to die at Gaia's hands. I…I was furious."

Hiruzen nodded slowly, but didn't say a word in response. Instead, he turned to gaze out at the audience that had been put to sleep, courtesy of the mass genjutsu. Just what is going on here? Is this Orika's doing? What does any of this accomplish?!

Orika's clone frowned to herself and went to speak, only for the Raikage to interrupt her. "So, an invasion during the Chunin Exams. And by Oto and Suna, no less. Normally, I'd beat you senseless, Otokage, but I have something else in mind." Then, before Hiruzen and Orika's clone could react, the Raikage activated his lightning armor technique. A second later and Hiruzen was sent flying, grunting in agony as he could feel some bones breaking. "I'd be a fool NOT to take this opportunity presented to me!"

The Otokage clenched her fists tight, but couldn't find it in herself to say anything. If she could, she would have killed the Raikage for daring to pull this stunt. However, she was just a clone and couldn't possibly stand up to the asshole. Chancing a glance at her old sensei, she thought, Dammit! This asshole is taking away Naruto's rightful kill! A is denying Naruto his chance at vengeance! I have to do something, but what can I do?!

Kin

Kin Tsuchi knew that assassinating her target would be a trial. She had waited for the genjutsu to be cast before she slipped in close to Neji and prepared to strike him down. Sure, he had broken out of the genjutsu easily enough, but he soon had to contend with a number of Oto and Suna ninja. This kept his attention off of her and allowed her to creep ever closer.

As Neji struck down one of the Sunagakure ninja and turned to do battle with another, she knew that he could see her coming closer. However, she smirked as she jingled a few bells, capturing him in a sound-based genjutsu. Sure, he could see through pretty much any genjutsu, but her sound-based genjutsu still screwed with his equilibrium and caused him to stumble, nearly passing out in the process. Then, once he was off balance, she gripped a kunai tight and slipped in close. Before the Hyuga could react, she slit Neji's throat and smirked wickedly to herself as she watched him struggle to breathe. However, she knew that, even though he was now on the brink of death, he might still be able to get in a lucky shot before dying. So, with the same kunai, she stabbed him numerous times in the chest, piercing his heart in the process. As he began to collapse, Kin said, "Good riddance, filth. That was for Hinata and everyone else you've ever hurt."

Sadly, Kin's sense of victory was short-lived. After watching Neji's body drop to the ground, Kin began turning to find her next target…only for a hail of weapons to pierce her body. Coughing up blood, she turned her gaze on the one who had just struck her. Sure enough, as she thought, it was Tenten, Neji's teammate. "B-Bitch…" Kin said before collapsing to her knees.

Tenten scowled at the Oto genin and shouted, "How dare you kill Neji-kun?! I…I loved him! Damn you!" Then, before the heavily wounded Kin could raise even the smallest defense, Tenten severed her head from her body. Glaring at Kin's head as it began to roll, the Weapons Mistress of Konoha threw a kunai into the center of its forehead just for good measure.

As the Weapons Mistress became surrounded by a group of Oto ninja, she knew that she was likely going to die. She knew that Lee was probably fighting elsewhere in the stadium, and she had seen her sensei, Might Guy, battling at Kakashi Hatake's side earlier. The odds of either of them showing up to save her were pretty slim. She highly doubted that anyone else would arrive in time to save her life. So, deciding on a course of action, she unfurled a couple of scrolls and leapt straight up into the air, raining weapons upon her enemies. If I die here, then I'm taking as many of you down with me as I can!

While her attack killed the majority of her enemies, a few of them had escaped with only minor injuries. She knew that she was in trouble, considering she had just unleashed the majority of her weapons upon them. So, as soon as she touched the ground again, she grabbed her nearest weapon: a curved sword that resembled a scimitar. It wasn't the most practical weapon, but it would serve her purposes well enough.

Quickly dashing towards her nearest foe, she prepared to end his life, only to suddenly freeze in place. Blinking a few times in confusion, she glanced over her shoulder and saw what she thought was another Konoha ninja. Misumi Tsurugi stood there, smirking at her like he knew something she didn't. Then, when she got a closer look at his headband, she grimaced in realization. "Shit." And with that single word being uttered, she soon collapsed to the ground, dead as can be.

Once she was dead, Misumi approached Kin's body and shook his head sadly. Orika-sama isn't going to like this. I need to get out of here before the same thing happens to me. He thought silently to himself before he looked at his fellow Oto ninja. "Do what you need to do and then get the hell out of here. I don't want our master to lose anymore of her ninja. Get going!"

As the ninja saluted him and dispersed, Misumi looked around at all the dead bodies before shaking his head once more. Before anyone could do the same to him, he vanished to make his way to one of Orika's hideouts within the village. Things have gone to shit real fast. Orika-sama, I sincerely hope you and the others are okay.

Hiruzen

The Third Hokage grunted as he pushed himself back on his feet. Spitting out a glob of blood, he glared into the Raikage's eyes and asked, "Why the hell are you doing this? After what you did last time, shouldn't that have been enough? Now you want to kill me, the Hokage, knowing that your actions will lead to war?! What is the purpose of this, Raikage?"

A chuckled darkly to himself as he shrugged his shoulders. "No hard feelings, Hiruzen. Like I said, though, I'd be a fool to let this opportunity pass through my fingers. Besides, I think you deserve a good beatdown after the stunt you pulled. Giving us Hizashi's body in place of the one who really killed our ambassador. Then again, I suppose you did see through our plan. Oh well."

Looking at the Otokage, A asked, "What are you going to do? It's your people that are invading Konoha this day. I assume you want Hiruzen dead, as well. Or are you simply hoping to stay out of my way and keep yourself uninvolved in this little affair?"

Orika's clone removed her kage robes and hat, tossing them aside. Narrowing her eyes at the Raikage, she said, "I promised somebody dear to me that I'd give him all the power he needs to come back here and kill Hiruzen. How am I supposed to tell him that I let you kill the old man without interfering? I hate him just as much, if not more than you do! If I can stay my hand and leave him be, then why can't you? Or are you truly so bloodthirsty?"

Hiruzen's eyes widened as he looked at the clone of his student. "I knew you were here, but I never imagined you would sit so close without trying anything. You killed Sasuke Uchiha! Are you behind the disappearances of Yugao Uzuki, Sakura Haruno, and Naruto Uzumaki? What have you done?!"

Orika's clone facepalmed itself before glaring at her old sensei. "Is now really the time to be questioning me? In case you missed it, he's trying to kill you. I can't match his speed or his strength, and you're no longer in your prime. Chances are high that he's probably going to kill you and me both. I'll do what I can to help you, but…"

Before Hiruzen could reply, A began to laugh loudly. Then, without a word of warning, he bum-rushed the Hokage and landed another harsh, lightning-fueled punch to Hiruzen's stomach, sending him flying once again. Turning his gaze to the clone, he asked, "Helping him, huh? Not too smart of you. I hope you're ready to meet his fate."

Orika's clone looked into A's eyes as calmly as she could. She was trying desperately to come up with some kind of plan, but when she saw him approaching her, the clone knew that her time was likely up. Still, she wouldn't just roll over and die without trying something! So, when A appeared in front of her, going for one of his Lariat attacks, Orika smirked before shooting her head forth and biting deep into A's neck. Yes, the lightning was hurting her, but she managed to give A a version of her curse seal.

Moments before Orika's clone dispersed in a cloud of smoke, A's armor technique faded and he clutched at his neck and began to scream in pain. From there, he was further caught off guard when he was struck hard in the back of his head, sending him stumbling forward. As his vision began to swim, he turned to look at Hiruzen and saw him wielding a staff of adamantine. "Son of a bitch…"

Hiruzen coughed up some more blood and staggered a bit. However, seeing as how the Raikage was struggling to remain conscious after what Orika's clone had done to him, the aged Hokage couldn't help but chuckle. "To think, she'd actually h-help me…" Coughing again, Hiruzen reached up and wiped away the blood trickling down his chin. Overall, he was in bad shape and likely wouldn't survive his internal injuries. However, this was his perfect chance to remove a certain blight upon the world. So, slowly staggering up to A as he finally lost consciousness, Hiruzen clenched his staff tight and began to bring it down repeatedly on the Raikage's head until it was a bloody smear on the ground.

Once A was dead, Hiruzen took a few steps back and began to wobble slightly. Sensing this, the staff changed form until Monkey King Enma was standing there, supporting his old friend. "Hiruzen, we need to get you to the hospital immediately! They can…!"

The old man coughed up more blood and shook his head. "We'd n-need…Tsunade…" Coughing again, he fell to his knees and chuckled softly to himself. "I'm old, Enma. So very old…and so tired. I've l-lived a good l-life… Goodbye, old friend." And with that, Hiruzen's eyes closed for the final time. Before the Hokage's body could fall forward, Enma caught him and laid him gently on the ground.

"Hiruzen…" Enma said sadly. Looking around at the village, he could see buildings on fire, large snakes running rampant throughout the village, and more. Then, he turned his gaze to the audience and saw that the various ninja from both Suna and Oto were on the retreat. So, despite the losses they had suffered, they had managed to repel the invaders. At least your sacrifice wasn't in vain, old friend.

Seeing movement out of the corner of his eye, the Monkey King turned and looked at the various bodyguards for the Kage in attendance. He was a little surprised that they hadn't bothered getting involved before now. Moving Hiruzen's body behind him, the summon animal looked first at the Raikage's bodyguards and then at the Kazekage's guards. Then he took notice that there were no guards from Otogakure. Shaking himself out of his thoughts, Enma asked, "Why didn't you act in defense of your Kage? What could you be playing at?"

Darui, one of the Raikage's bodyguards, shrugged and said, "We weren't in agreement with the Raikage. We were meant to guard him, true, but his actions here warranted severe punishment. Because of him, there's a very real chance Konoha and Kumo could go to war now. The two of us saw no reason to involve ourselves in the affairs of our Raikage. I don't know about them."

Looking at Rasa's guardians, Enma frowned as they removed their hoods. "Who are you and why did you not intervene when your Kage was attacked?"

One of them, a woman by the name of Pakura, scowled as she glanced back at the body of the Kazekage. "Rasa was a scumbag. He murdered his own daughter! All to further his own schemes. As far as we're concerned, the world's a better place without him in it. I would appreciate it if Konoha's forces would allow the four of us," motioning towards the Raikage's guards and then at herself and her partner, to signify who she meant, "to leave unhindered. We have no interest in seeing their plans come to fruition. I'm not even sure why I stayed in Suna after Rasa tried to have me killed."

Enma nodded in understanding before waving his hand dismissively. "Take your people and go. I don't want any more needless bloodshed."

"Thank you, Monkey King." Pakura said, bowing to the monkey summon. Afterwards, the Kage guardians hurried away, hoping to get far away from Konoha as quickly as possible.

Once they were gone, Enma turned his attention to the newly arrived Anbu. "What took you so long to react? In case you missed it, Hiruzen, your Hokage is dead!"

The lead Anbu shook his head as he stepped closer. "We left as per the orders of Hokage-sama. He wanted us to focus on getting the people to safety and protect key locations. Others were ordered to enter the Forest of Death and go in search of Yugao Uzuki, Naruto Uzumaki, and Sakura Haruno. They've been missing for some time now. Hokage-sama seemed sure that Orika was behind their disappearances, but we couldn't find any trace of them anywhere. Well…"

Enma scowled at the man and asked, "What is it? Spit it out!"

"We might not have found them…but we saw evidence of some kind of struggle. There was a lot of blood, yellow and pink hairs, a broken sword that belonged to Yugao…" Sighing softly, the lead Anbu shook his head and said, "We don't know if they're still alive or not, but it didn't look good. If Orika is behind their disappearances…"

Enma scowled and clenched his fist tight. "Damn that woman! I told Hiruzen that he should have killed her while he had the chance!" All anyone could do was mourn the loss of so many and wonder how things could have gotten to this point.

Orika

Shortly after slipping into her hideout in the Forest of Death, Orika took Yugao to one of her labs and instructed her to sit on the nearby hospital bed. Afterwards, she began to do her utmost best to tend to her friend's wound. "How do you feel, Yugao? Do you think you'll be okay?"

The violette nodded once and said, "I'll be fine. I can make it back to Otogakure with you. Kiriko can heal me once we've arrived."

Orika went to say something, only for her clone's memories to hit her like a freight train. Clutching at her head in agony, the Snake Sannin scowled and said, "Damn him! Damn all of them straight to Hell!"

Yugao was worried, having not expected such a reaction from her master. "Orika-sama? What happened?"

Orika took a deep breath before looking seriously into Yugao's eyes. "Gaia killed Zaku. The invasion began, but…" Closing her eyes, Orika took a few deep, calming breaths before speaking again. "Rasa…my clone killed him after what he said. His casual dismissal of what Gaia had done to yet another of her allies, the dismissal of killing his daughter…it all became too much for my clone to handle. So she killed Rasa. Then A, that blasted fool, took advantage of all the chaos and attacked Hiruzen and my clone. I don't know if either of them survived. But, I'm fairly certain that at least the Raikage has perished. My clone gave him her cursed seal and it seemed to have worked, but I can't be certain what happened after that."

Yugao frowned, but didn't say another word. She just winced and grunted occasionally as Orika tended to her wound.

It was at this point that Misumi arrived, walking towards them with a deep frown on his face. "Orika-sama…I have bad news."

"Great, just what we needed. What happened, Misumi?" Orika asked before wincing in sympathy for Yugao as she began to suture Yugao's wound.

Looking between the two women, the stretchy man looked into Orika's eyes and said, "Kin was killed by the genin known as Tenten. She succeeded in killing her target…but Tenten killed her in turn for killing the boy she 'loved'. I killed her, but…"

Orika's eyes widened and she began to shake, temporarily forgoing tending to Yugao's wound. After a time, she resumed work on Yugao and said, "I…dammit. Kin was looking forward to seeing Naruto again. She and Naruto got along well, from what I saw during their time spent together. Dammit."

Once Orika finished suturing Yugao's wound, she stood up and looking into Misumi's eyes. "Do you know what became of the Raikage and the Hokage? My clone didn't see the end of their fight."

Misumi shook his head and said, "I'm sorry, Orika-sama, but I don't know what became of them. It was odd though. The guards that should have been there for them just…weren't! A's guards just watched without doing anything. The Anbu that were meant to be protecting Hiruzen weren't there either. Actually, now that I think on it, where the hell was Jiraiya? I figured he would have been there."

Yugao shook her head and said, "No, Jiraiya was most likely in charge of dealing with Orika-sama's snake summons. He couldn't have been there to protect the Hokage if he was forced to deal with that."

Orika nodded in agreement. "That's part of the reason I unleashed them on Konoha period. They were just there to serve as a distraction. Misumi, where are the others? Has everyone escaped?"

Misumi frowned and shook his head sadly. "We lost a lot of people, Orika-sama. The invasion may have been intended to simply serve as a distraction, but we weren't prepared for how hard Konoha would fight. Suna's forces and ours were forced to retreat. We need to get out of here and get back to Otogakure if we don't want to get captured by the likes of Jiraiya or the others."

Orika took a breath to try and calm her frazzled nerves. Once she was finished with Yugao, the Snake Sannin stood straight again and said, "Let's go. If the others escaped, they'll meet us back in Otogakure in due time, after they've thrown any potential pursuers off their trail. I need to get home and see Naruto. This whole mission turned into one giant clusterfuck. Yes, we killed Danzo, but…" Sighing sadly, she began to lead her friends/subordinates towards the exit. "The price we had to pay for that one goal was too great. I should have prepared everyone better. There had to be something I could have done to ensure we didn't lose so many lives! I…I…"

As her master began to quiver and sob, Yugao stepped up to her and hugged Orika. "Orika-sama, no one will blame you. None of this is your fault. Our people knew what they were getting into. I feel terrible about losing our friends and family, but…"

Misumi nodded and said, "I can't help but feel like I failed in my duties to you, Orika-sama. I know you cared about those three, but I couldn't do anything to save Kin's life or Zaku's. Things didn't go our way today, but we did complete one objective: Danzo is dead. I know it's hard, losing so many people, but we need to hurry and get out of here. I don't trust Jiraiya to let us escape so easily."

Orika nodded once as she reached up and wiped away her tears. "You're right, Misumi. Of course. Let's hurry."

After walking for a while, Orika finally stopped and pressed a hidden button in the wall. When the way opened up for them and daylight began to trickle in, Orika motioned for Yugao and Misumi to remain hidden for the time being. Stepping out of the hideout, Orika glanced around for a time before she motioned for her subordinates to follow her. They were miles outside of Konoha, but until they had reached the Land of Rice Fields, she knew that they weren't truly safe just yet.

As they hurried along to the north, towards the Valley of the End and beyond even that, Orika glanced at Yugao worriedly. She was starting to slow down and the Sannin knew immediately what was wrong. So, pausing for a moment, she moved over to Yugao and lifted her onto her back. "Just hold on tight, Yugao. We'll get you home and get Kiriko to heal you, I promise. Just hold on for a while longer."

Misumi scowled and shook his head. "I think he has other plans, Orika-sama."

Orika blinked in confusion for a time before she looked ahead of them. Sure enough, standing in their way, was Jiraiya of the Sannin. She knew it had been upwards of an hour, perhaps longer than that, since their escape from Konohagakure. Glaring at her once-teammate, she said, "Jiraiya. Please move. I need to get Yugao some help!"

Jiraiya scowled angrily at Orika and said, "She is a traitor and will die as such. Before we get on with it, I want you to answer something for me, Orika."

"What could you possibly want now, Jiraiya?! You know I'm not some kind of horrible person! I'm sure you realized that Danzo was a damn scumbag! You have to know he was lying through his damn teeth when I was chased out. I was a loyal kunoichi if Konohagakure before that day." Orika said, desperate to get Yugao back home.

"Why did you decide to invade Konoha? Why did you trick Suna into helping you? And why did you kill Hiruzen? What is wrong with you?!" Jiraiya exclaimed angrily.

Orika's eyes widened and she said, "Jiraiya, nobody was supposed to die. The invasion was simply meant to be utilized as a distraction so nobody would catch on to the fact that I was going after Danzo. As for Suna, I didn't trick them into helping me. The Wind Daimyo is outsourcing all missions to Konoha. Once again, that bullshit is thanks to Danzo Shimura. And I didn't kill Hiruzen! I killed Rasa for daring to kill his own daughter and for the rest of his crimes. Then…then A decided to take advantage of the distraction to attack Sensei. I had left a clone to watch over everything in the arena while I took care of Danzo. My clone tried to help stop the Raikage, but I don't know what happened after my clone dispelled. Is it safe to assume that Sensei died from his injuries? Because I never touched him. I'll be completely honest with you here, Jiraiya. Despite wanting to kill him myself, I promised someone that I'd train them until they could get their revenge on Hiruzen. I can't do that if I killed him myself."

The white-haired man frowned at her, but nodded his head in understanding. "Based on what I'm seeing, is it safe to assume that you are behind the disappearance of Naruto Uzumaki and Sakura Haruno? And did you have anything to do with Hinata Hyuga's sudden disappearance?"

Orika nodded and said, "Naruto-kun deserves far better than the treatment he was given in Konoha. He was suffering there, Jiraiya! You had a duty to look after him as his godfather, and you neglected him! Jiraiya, I love Naruto-kun! I helped him and his girlfriends to escape so that they could be happy back home with my people and me."

Before Orika could say anymore, Jiraiya held up his hand, stopping her. "I believe you, Orika. I really do. However, a lot of good people were killed on both sides. Even if you had noble intentions and didn't truly mean any harm, you cannot change the fact that a lot of people died. Orika, Konoha will declare war on Kumogakure for their part in Sensei's death. Then there's Sunagakure and their betrayal. Because you got them involved, they can no longer be called our allies and will suffer the consequences. Finally, there's your village of Otogakure. Once we're done with Kumo and Suna, we'll be taking the fight to you. In your quest for vengeance, you've ruined so many lives, Orika. Are you prepared to face the consequences of your actions?"

Orika flinched and found it incredibly hard to look at her old teammate. "Truthfully? All I could think about was getting Naruto to safety, to somewhere he'd be loved. Sasuke was never supposed to die. Sensei was never supposed to die. The only one that needed to die was that scumbag Danzo. If you want to blame anyone for Suna's betrayal, blame him. He's the one that manipulated the Wind Daimyo into doing what he's done. If you act fast and smartly, you can probably fix everything and still keep Suna as an ally. However…"

Jiraiya sighed aggravatedly before saying, "Gaia is completely unstable. I'll have to take a look at her seal and see if I can fix it somehow. However, seeing as how you killed the Kazekage, or rather, your clone did, they aren't likely to remain an ally of yours either. If we are unable to mend the relationship between our villages, Suna is likely to be invaded by Iwagakure. If they win, they'll be able to advance on Konoha from two fronts. So, I'm going to make you an offer. If you refuse, then we'll come after your village and take from you what you took from us. In due time, of course. We can't target you and your village until after we've dealt with the immediate problems. Just know that your days will be numbered and we'll be taking our jinchuriki back, whether you and he like it or not. After all, despite the fact he's my godson, he is a weapon to be used by the village as we see fit. Right now, consider him 'on loan' until we're ready to take him back."

Orika glared hatefully into Jiraiya's eyes, but didn't say anything just yet. Instead, she listened as Jiraiya continued to speak. "Our first target will be Kumogakure. For killing our leader, they will be destroyed, as they deserve. The offer I'm willing to make you is this: join us as an ally and help us to protect both our villages. If you do, I'll step aside and let you three pass. If you refuse, I will take Yugao Uzuki from you by force and take her back to stand trial for her traitorous actions. Well, regardless of the outcome, she'll be put to death either way. As for your friend there, Misumi Tsurugi, he will be dealt with as well. However, you, on the other hand, will be captured and forced to work for us whether you like it or not. After all, we have ways to make you cooperate. I'm sure a person as smart as you can understand."

The Snake Sannin's eyes widened in horror before she exclaimed, "You bastard! You'd force Naruto into that kind of life?! Why?! How could you be so…so evil?! So cruel?! I can't believe you, Jiraiya! He is your godson, Jiraiya! Minato and Kushina trusted you to look after their son, and you'd spit on their wishes like that?!"

Jiraiya smirked sinisterly at Orika and said, "I never asked to be made Naruto's godfather. Who in their right mind would want to look after some snot-nosed brat? Certainly not me. I have other priorities that don't involve raising a child, Orika. You know me well enough by now to know what I crave. I don't give a shit about Naruto, Orika. Not like you do. Not like Tsunade would. However, I recognize his potential. He'd make for an excellent weapon, once trained properly, of course. Just slap a slave seal on him and he'd never be able to resist. And, if he becomes too unruly, we can always breed more Uzumaki's using his seed and willing females. I'm sure one of his children would make for a fine vessel. Wouldn't you agree?"

Orika began to snarl as she glared hatefully into Jiraiya's eyes. However, before she could utter a word, Misumi stepped up beside her and whispered, "I know I don't stand a chance, Orika-sama, but I'll delay him as long as I can. You need to get Yugao to Otogakure as quickly as possible. She'll die if she doesn't get the help she needs."

The Snake Sannin shook her head and said, "It wouldn't work. He can utilize the Shadow Clone Technique to render that plan asunder. No, the only hope we have is…"

"What is your answer, Orika? The longer you keep me waiting, the lower the chances of Yugao's survival. Tick tock, Orika. Tick tock." Jiraiya taunted.

"The answer's no, jackass!" a female's voice could be heard moments before Jiraiya was smashed into the ground by a trio of rather large creatures. "Orika-sama, get going! We'll hold him here as long as we can!"

Without even needing to look, Orika knew exactly who had come to her rescue. It was the members of the Sound Four, and she couldn't have been more grateful for their good timing. Nodding to them once, Orika looked at Misumi and said, "Help them. Ensure that Jiraiya doesn't follow and then get the hell out of here. Rendezvous back home. Move!"

Misumi watched as Orika zipped past Jiraiya, moving as fast as she could with Yugao on her back. When the Toad Sage began to rise, Misumi contorted his body and shot forward, wrapping himself around Jiraiya's body and pinning his arms and hands to his sides. "I'm not letting you go, Jiraiya! Even if I die here, I won't let any harm befall Orika-sama!"

"Misumi! You sure about this?" the man known as Jirobo asked as he prepared to use one of his unique ninjutsu. "If I do this…"

Misumi didn't even bother to look at any members of the Sound Four. "Just do it Jirobo! Even if I die, you need to do it! We absolutely cannot let this asshole go after Orika-sama!"

Jirobo scowled, but did just as instructed. Slamming his hands to the ground, Jirobo activated his technique and watched as a dome of earth trapped Jiraiya and Misumi inside. This wasn't all, however. No, the moment they were trapped inside, Jirobo had begun siphoning their chakra and using that to power his technique. It wouldn't take too long for Misumi to perish once all of his chakra was gone. Jiraiya, on the other hand, had far more chakra available to him and would therefore require more of his concentration. Be safe, Orika-sama.


A/N - Aaaand that's the chapter. I wasn't quite sure how or where to end it, so I chose that spot to do so. As you can see, Naruto and the others at Otogakure weren't involved in this chapter AT ALL! I wanted to focus on the invasion and the aftermath of said invasion. All kinds of crazy shit happened and a lot of good people died. I'm sure a lot of you are going to be super pissed at me for killing off certain characters, but it wasn't planned that way. In fact, it just kinda turned out that way as I was writing the chapter. *shrugs*

Anywho, I really need to think about getting some sleep. I'm dead tired, and yet I can't seem to doze off. I hate it when that happens. x.x Oh well.

I have a few things I'd like to say here at the end of ze notesies.

First, I have a bunch of challenges up on my profile that I'd very much like to see people accept and write. I'd love to see what you all could come up with. They're towards the bottom of my profile, if you're interested in taking a look.

Second, I have another new poll up on my profile. For those of you who have read Maelstrom of Cold Steel, I would very much appreciate it if you vote on that particular poll. Right now, there's a pretty clear winner in the lead, but I'd love to see more opinions on said subject.

Alrighty, time to try and get some sleep or something! Ciao! lol