------------------------------------------------Flashback, Several Months Ago-----------------------------------------------------

"Why have you summoned me here?" asked Zetsu, as he observed the fallen form of Pein and the new unfamiliar form that implied he defeated the man. Zetsu was always a very blatant person, not one to beat around the bush. If this new person defeated Pein and summoned him, surely he wants to strike a deal of sorts.

A long silenced drawled out as the man, lazily sprawled on one of the finger's of Anima, observed Zetsu's form.

"Much has changed, has it not?" Came the distorted voice of the man.

"You have killed the leader, not much beyond this has changed." Replied Zetsu.

"I speak not of this mortals extinguished flame. I speak of times long past, when men were not but a seed that was planted int he Earth.

Zetsu narrowed his eyes.

"And how would I have a memory of something like that."

"You control the Earth to such an extent that you are an embodiment of it. Do not take me for such a fool that I do not recognize ancient memories when I see them." Came the aggressively laced reply.

This man knew of his secrets...of his bond with the Earth...then surely he knew of his goals...

"Yes Zetsu, I am here to help you reach your goal. We will deliver this world to what it was before. A paradise of soil, grass, and trees." the man stated, reverence already appearing in Zetsu;s eyes.

Zetsu never gave a reason for following Pein. He merely went along with Akatsuki's plans because it involved mass destruction...wars...casualties to rid the Earth of its most ill-fated inhabitants. But this man knew thing that no one else knew...that there was no way no one else was suppose to know. He had achieved mastery of Earth to a degree where the lands had shared their memories with him...distorted and crying in agony, was the way of the land now. Humans, the only animals to shit where they eat, to pollute where is neccesity for them to exist.

"Follow me, and be apart of Cherry Blossom that never wilts, apart of what this world will become." Asked/commanded the man.

Zetsu, recognizing ancient memories himself, had discovered this man held not just a few, but all of them. Surely, this was no man.

"You have my fealty untill I die or the Earth is cleansed. What is your name, oh ancient one?" Zetsu replied.

"I have many names, but you may call this one..."

------------------------------------------------Flashback, Several Months Ago END-----------------------------------------------------

And so they found themselves traveling--Sakura, Sasuke, Kakashi and Naruto, towards lightning country, towards a series of small villages on it's southern coast.


"The target's profiles and likely locations are in the folders you just recieved. Team leader will be Naruto" Tsunade blearily stated, having been awoken by a messenger bird fromt he Cloud. Relations had improved...as much they they could anyway...and they had asked a favor of Konoha. Eight misssing ninja in all, two Jounin of elite status and six Genin, almost fresh out of the academy.

"Retrieval?" Naruto asked.

"No." Tsunade replied.

She didn't need to say anything else. There were only two kinds of missions regarding missing nin. And both ended the same way, either by trial and execution, or straight out elimination.

"Very well..." Naruto responded, then turned to adress his team "Three hours, gate nineteen." He then summarily vanished in a swirl of leaves.

---------------------------------------------Flashback END----------------------------------------------------

"Naruto. I notice you are..exempt from wearing your Jounin jacket. Anything we need to know about?

Ninja of high rank, specifically Jounin, were required to wear the heaviest protection flak jackets. The only way one didn't have to wear them was the possibility of it interfering with siad Jounin's fighting/combat style. Kakashi and the rest of team seven knew this and were wondering what kind of combat style Naruto had. They had seen him spar, and that was impressive enough, but sparring and combat were two very different things.

"Nothing of great importance Kakashi". Naruto replied in a monotone voice.

He wore his seal master rope around his left, his red scarf secured around his neck witht he tail dragging several feet behind him, but that was wear uniformity ended. He dawned a cloak not unlike the Akatsuki cloaks, but with noticeable differense. his didnt have sleeves, was buttoned only in the middle, and did not have a full collar. The high collar ended in the front. What was truly interesting about the cloak was the designs. Intricate red ruins and scripture was written in blood red and yellow, on a pure black background. Beneath he wore what could only be described issue ANBU gear.

'While the cloak is probubly only for looks, everything underneath is indicative of a style relying on speed and felxability, not strength. Refinement over raw power huh?' Kakashi deduced.

So several hours later, when they were about to hit the norh eastern coasts of Fire Country, Naruto suddenly came to a halt on a high branch. The other had instinctively followed his actions.

"I sense multiple signiture North-North West of this location...perhaps 3 kilometers." Naruto explained, answering their unasked questions.

"So?" Sasuke drawled out. Hell, even he had sensed a few signitures a while back. But they weren't his mission. Hell, they could even be comrades.

"Konoha's main port is in the South East, and there are no major cities here." Kakashi said, interpretting naruto's actions.

"There are currently no Leaf friendlies operating out of Cloud, besides the normal diplomats, but they aren't due for another month. There aren't even possible mission targets out here. Logically, there is an 80 percent chance that the signitures belong to missing nin." naruto cut in, finishing Kakashi's explanation.

"But its really unlikely that they are our targets. Intelligence points them in villages surrounding Lightning country. We are still in Fire." Sakura piped in, kind of confused.

There was a slight pause as Naruto seemed to peer into the direction of the signatures.

"Sakura, Sasuke, proceed to flank from the North. Kakashi and I will proceed to attack directly. Radio frequency channel is 138." Naruto silently commanded.

Sakura and Sasuke exchanged worried glances and hesitated a little. They turned to Kakashi for approval, seeking their senei's wisdom.

Kakashi gave a nod.

And just like that, the two vanished to perform a flanking manuever.

"You know...I think they hang you for going off mission".

Naruto stood up from his crouch and stood to his full hieght, cloak and scarf billowing around him.

He said nothing, but the message was implied. Move forward with me or fall against me.

"Flank through the South and wait for my signal." Naruto commanded.


"So...we made it to Fire country in one piece. Where do we go from here, Kenjobu-sama?" asked what looked to be a regular chuunin.

"...We should move to Kiri in a few days. I hear we might find some work there." replied Kenjobu.

This was the scene Naruto had started to listen in on. He immediately recognized the name.

The chuunin was about to say something when all five missing nin noticed a presence.

Stealth was always a huge factor in the Shinobi world, when it came to battles. The strongest Shinobi could be killed in surprisingly simple ways using stealth. This is one of the founding principles of combat for ninja. Its what has seperated them from regular mercenaries or warrios before them. However, the battles themselves can be simplified even further. The amount of time a battle takes varies greatly on many aspects. However, if the difference in power of the two battling is great, a battle can end in less than a second. If, by chance, the two are at a close level, the battle can take minutes, hours, even days. The longest recorded battle was between two opposing ninja set the record books about 28 years ago, and had lasted one full week and three days.

The blonde ninja hopped off his tree branch onto the high grassy plain. His moves were slow and calculated, giving off no threatening aura. He approached Kenjobu, obviously the leader, while his five chuunin comrades circled around him.

"Kenjobu of the Molten Axe," the blonde said with an air of authority. "You have been charged with deseration and are hereby sentenced to death." The blonde finished.

The gaul. The sheer gaul and hubrice it would take to forgo stealth completely and just walk right up to their prey. Such an act was not found anywhere in nature.

Kenjobu, as jovial as he seemed a few seconds ago, was furious now.

"You little prick!" Knejobu shouted, and prepared his massive battle axe for a straight charge.

"Show me" Naruto commanded he a large scroll slid into his hand when he unbottoned his cloak.

Kenjobu charged, straight at the blonde bastard. Normally he was all for tactics. But this bastard was drawing his last nerve.

Time seemed to slow down for him and everyone else as soon as his foot left the ground for the charge.

The blonde, slowly but surely, rose his left hand toawrd Kenjobu, palm facing straight at him. Then is when an absurd situation took a turn for the surreal.

Ink ruins, designs, seal, expanded and floated around the blonde's arm. They encircled them at various points from the shoulder to the wrist, ending with a floating circle in front of the palm. They began to move clockwise while other began to move counterclockwise. They locked, melded, and blended into place, seamlessly, soundlessly, and quickly. So fast, that in less than a quarter of second when the seals were done moving and had settled down, what looked to be wisps of energy started floating into the seal floating in front of his palm. Then even quicker was the rapid expansion in diameter of that seal, so large as to encompass Kenjobu's complete form. And thats when it happend. All of this, in fractions of a second.

"Show me a beautiful death, one worth remembering amongst the thousands." Naruto whispered.

Birght white light, was what Kenjobu would have described it as. So bright was this beam of perpetual energy, that he didn't even mind dodging. Show you...I'll show you how a man dies!

He couldn't dodge, so he did the next best thing.

He smiled and accepted his fate.

The beam went right through him, through the trees behind him, and left a kilometer long scar in the Earth after that. All without a sound made fromt he beam itself, only from the collapsing of trees.

Everyone was stunned, to include Naruto's comrades at the tree line, waiting for their signal.

The blonde idely took advantage of the short break it the fight to use the scroll in his right hand to seal what was left of Kenjobu. Ironically, the right hand that was holding his battle axe. Nothing else remained.

He packed the scroll back up into the confines of his cloak, and drew a large nodachi from one of his sleeves.

"Perhaps...you who are left will show me a better death." Naruto morbidly stated.

Kakashi, Sakura, and Sasuke watched on in horror as Naruto weaved and danced through blades, kunai, and punches. It was clear to them that Naruto was simply toying witht he missing nin. He even made it a point to sever arteries in such a fashion that it would take minuets instead of seconds to blled out. Not a speck of blood was on Naruto. They just couldn't catch him, or even the scarf that trailed his movements.

Slowly but surely, Naruto finished the fight with the last nin bleeding to death.

Team 7 jumped fromt heir perches to meet with Naruto.

They approached him as Naruto was simply staring down at one of his kills.

"Naruto..." Kakashi said, announcing their presence.

"Bury the bodies." He responded.

And so they did.

The entire battle lasted about twelve minuets. Burrying the bodies took twenty.

When they were done, Naruto starred at all the graves, while his teammates behind him were still in awe of his combat ability. The beam he shot shouldn't have even been possible...or atleast was unheard of in any kind of technique effect. He didn't even seem winded or taxed in any way after he used it. 'I don't know why, but something tells me...no...I KNOW that humans aren't suppose to posses such power...such...absoluteness' Kakashi thought. Event he way he killed those Chuunin...it was like listening to an orchestra with the shrillest highs and lowest lows he had ever heard. Pure beauty in killing, he though he would never see the day. Yet he had witnessed it right in front of him. So percise were his movments...it was like he could peer into the future.

"You know..." Naruto said, still staring at the graves but adressing his team. "In the begining, there were only a few ways to kill a man. It is only by human design, by morbid facination and great ambition for absolute power, that humans have created so many ways to deal death." Naruto stated, imparting wisdom so great that it seemed out of place coming from his mouth.

"Tshh...and how would you know that." Sasuke spoke up, tired of the atmosphere of a funeral. He hated funerals, and a funeral for your enemy is even more reproachfull to him.

"When I was younger I did not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man." Naruto responded.

Not a word was said as they set up camp for the night after several more hours of travelling. Tommorrow they hit a port town on the coast, where they would catch a transport ship to Lightning country.