Chapter 10: Assault

Dawn rose silently over the capital of the Land of Lightning. The fighting that had stopped for the night would start as soon as the sun crossed over the horizon, but with just the barest glimpses of gray coming into the sky no one was quite ready to restart the bloodshed. Only a small group of men moved silently through the silent and mostly dark alleyways, avoiding the large battalions of imperial troops.

Shino held up his hand, instantly the men behind him stopped moving. Their rather large group had split up, with Shino in the lead of one group that was heading for the Lord's fortress. The other group, led by another villager, was going to attempt to hold the gate as a retreat option. In reality, Shino had just told them to hold the gate because every member of that group either had children or was expecting. His group was made of world weary, tough, fishermen. The kind he could count on in a fight and who knew their time was coming anyway. The rear of the group was being brought up by the silent Hinata, who was all professional.

Shino peered around the corner and was instantly glad he had stopped.

A large squad of over a couple dozen imperials and an Iron Beetle Mark III were in the next open courtyard area. All were getting geared up, they looked like they were about to start the next attack.


Shino backed back around the corner and resisted sliding into a seated position.

This is not good. We always just barely avoided the troops on our way in. We're over halfway there, probably near their frontlines. But now this. There isn't any alley around them. It's either through them or not at all. Even a sudden surprise attack would only delay the inevitable. When that tank comes into play we're all going to die. One shot from its cannons would destroy these buildings around us.


Shino turned. Hinata had moved up and was next to him. Once again, the veins around her eyes were much more pronounced. Her eyes had that intensity that couldn't be explained.

"I'll distract them. I'll lure them away. You should be able to reach the bridge to the fortress without running into any more if I lure these men and the tank away."

Shino just stared at the girl from behind his glasses. He knew that what she was proposing was outright suicide. There was no way a single human, even one capable of surviving one hit from a tank, would ever stand a chance against a group this large.

"No, we'll do it a different way."

"There isn't another way and we are running out of time. If you want to get to that fortress by dawn, you need me to do this."

Shino instantly knew that what the girl said was true. If he didn't get past this group in minutes, they would be found, trapped, and killed. He didn't want to sacrifice someone for his goals, but…

It really was the only way.

"Fine. Go. I hope to see you again."

The girl that had been completely sober since her friend's death smiled sadly at him before nodding. Her wings came forth from her back.

"I hope so too."

Her wings flipped silently as she ran up the nearest wall and disappeared onto the roof of the building. Shino waited a few seconds for her distraction, motioning for his men to get ready.

Her distraction was actually very good.

The men in the courtyard were half asleep and packing up their gear, not thinking once that they would be attacked. They were proven wrong when figure fell into their midst, softly smacking two of them in their chests. It took the soldiers a few moments to realize that the intruder was only a young woman, and also that the two men she had slightly touched had just collapsed and coughed up blood. In those few seconds she had begun to run away from Shino's path and towards the tank. The soldiers were soon free of their shock and were firing after her, many drawing their brutal scimitars to give chase.

No one noticed Shino's men softly sprint along the other side of the courtyard, towards the castle.

Shino ran, making sure all his men made it without being spotted. He barely saw Hinata disappear down a side road with most of the soldiers either chasing her or loading into the tank. With one last glace he returned to lead his men.

The rest of the journey was mostly uneventful. The soldiers had been the front line for the attackers, and his group easily made it to the stone bridge to the castle. The gate was shut, but he recognized a face in one of the watch towers.

"Quick, open the gate. Aburame Shino and others are here to reinforce."

He was lucky that the men inside recognized him and immediately opened the gate, allowing him and his men into the grand hall. As they passed the gate, Shino could hear cannon fire from the city in the direction he had left Hinata. One of his men turned to face him with a tired look on his face.

"I hope she's alright, sir."

Shino just nodded and kept walking. Soon the gate closed behind him. He ordered his men to find stations for battle and walked towards where he knew the Lord would be.

Right in the middle of the main hall. Exactly where he was not supposed to be.

"Shino? Is that Aburame Shino I see?"

"My Lord."

Shino went down on one knee. Before him stood a man well past his prime. His white hair came down to his lower back. He was robed in the garb of a warrior currently, not the Lord he was. He even had his face painted for war in a much outdated style.

"I've told you, Shino. One of my personal guards can call me Jiraiya."

"My Lord, why are you here? You should be in the throne room."

Jiraiya frowned. He had been all smiles when he saw Shino and his men enter.

"You are young, Shino, and loyal. Listen when I say, we are running out of men. I am no safer there than here, and as you all well know I am fully capable, even at my age, to defend myself."

Shino knew all too well that what the Lord said was true. He was looking at a living legend of the Lightning Country. The man had defeated a hoard of poison frogs single handedly. It was said that he befriended them after, but no one knew for sure. He had defended and protected the people of Lightning better and with more compassion than any ruler previous, and as such he was loved by his subjects. Sure, he had some notorious… faults, but then again so did most people.


"Now, please explain…"

"My Lord! A single man has approached the palace gate under the flag of truce!"

Shino stepped back and fell in behind the Lord of Lightning as he swept past the guard and went towards the gate.

"My Lord, as we snuck through their lines we noticed that they were preparing to attack. I don't think that this will be anything more than a call to surrender." Shino followed closely behind Jiraiya as they moved through the makeshift defenses around the main gate. The white haired man was grim but determined.

"No… that is not the only thing they would try. It might also be an assassin."

"Then why are we approaching him."

"Because we don't have much choice. At the very least it provides our men more time to rest and prepare our defenses."

"At what cost."

The man smiled a bit and turned to Shino. They had reached the gate and at the Lord's command it slowly opened outward.

"At no cost, I hope."

As the gates opened they were able to see the caped man walking across the bridge towards them flanked by a man with a white flag. The man was surprisingly very young, younger than even Shino, with black hair and eyes. His uniform showed that, despite his age, he was of a high rank and most likely close to being in charge. The black haired man approached the king but was stopped from getting too close by Shino stepping between them.

"State your business, imperial scum."

"I did not come to discuss anything with hired help."

Shino was forced to remember that he was not in the uniform of the guard. He wasn't even supposed to be here. Before he could say anything more, though, and likely cause diplomacy to break down before it began, Jiraiya stepped forward around him.

"No, you did not. Apparently you came to forcefully usurp my rule."
The black haired boy sneered at the lord.

"Not at all, Lord Jiraiya. We came here to merely… ensure your support of the Golden Empire, and to gather tithes to the Lord of Fire."

The utter disdain in his voice when addressing Jiraiya almost caused Shino to release his entire swarm at the bastard. It turned out to not be necessary.

The Lord of Lightning smirked at the boy.

"Very well. You can remove your troops from my city. Have no fear, I will be draining the septic waste and shipping it, post haste, to the Golden City as tribute. And you can be sure that my forces will support yours in battle, when your men are impaled on the ends of their pikes. Now, young boy, perhaps you have forgotten exactly how to negotiate. I believe your name would be appreciated… at least so when you die we will know who to send it to instead of throwing your body in the gutter."

Both the messenger and Shino were forced to step back from the Jiraiya as sheer killing intent flooded out of him even as the lord smiled a sinister polite smile. The common soldiers around the hall stumbled away and a one vomited from the intensity. The messenger looked slightly worried for a moment before he regained control of his emotions.

"Captain Uchiha Sasuke, 1st ANBU squad."

"That's better, Captain. This is Aburame Shino, one of my trusted citizens."

Shino was content to just let his hive buzz. ANBU squad? This boy did not appear to be black ops. Maybe if they lowered their standards a lot…

"What are your demands, exactly?"

Sasuke Uchiha frowned. He seemed to be realizing that he might be in over his head, but Shino couldn't be sure the way he still seemed at least a little confident in his stance.

"You will peacefully surrender yourself to our army and then be taken to the Golden City for… safe keeping. Your country will be occupied by our troops for the foreseeable future."

Jiraiya was not smiling.

"And what, pray tell, does your benevolent Lord offer in return?"

"Your lives. We will not kill any who do not oppose this… change of control."

Jiraiya stayed silent for a moment. Shino could only pray that his lord was not considering such a ludicrous offer.

The lord looked ready to speak when large explosions started sounding from beyond the gates in the city. Large explosions that seemed to be getting closer with each strike. Shino was about to attack the emissary before he noticed that the enemy in their midst looked about as surprised as the rest of them.

"It was not by my order."

"Well its got about ten seconds to stop before we end these negotiations the hard way."

At the lord's comment the Uchiha tensed. Shino was slightly disappointed that the negotiator was so bad at concealing his intentions. But before he was given a reason to vent his anger on the young military commander the explosions stopped.

"Well, glad that's…"

Before Jiraiya could finish his exclamation of relief a man dropped to the ground just a few feet behind his current 'guest'. The man was dressed all in black, with shoulder length black hair and black eyes. If it had been up to Jiraiya he might have thought the man was a relative of the one directly in front of him.

The man hadn't made a sound, but Sasuke Uchiha followed Shino's and Jiraiya's eyes a quickly spun to face the newcomer. Then he froze. Instantly Shino was forced to change his opinion of the young man. He went from appearing like a simple negotiator with next to no combat experience to a killer. His stance instantly became that of one ready to attack. His back was to Shino but Shino could feel the power radiating off him. It was comparable, but not equal, to that the Lord had given off just moments before. Shino was about to step in when the newcomer stood up to his full height and smirked at the Uchiha.



At that moment an explosion that dwarfed the others occurred above the city, shaking the very foundations of the castle.

At that moment Sasuke attacked.

Hinata knew it was a bad idea. Hell… heck, she knew it was a down right stupid idea. But Shino's men would never make it through those troops, especially if they got that tank activated. And, unlike Naruto, she didn't have any explosives.

"There isn't another way and we are running out of time. If you want to get to that fortress by dawn, you need me to do this."

The older man stared at her through his opaque sun glasses. Why did he wear those even at night? Something about the insects, maybe?

"Fine. Go. I hope to see you again."

Hinata smiled. Shino might have only been a day or two old friend, but there was a definite bond there. A bond that could only be formed by fighting together against great odds. The same bond fellow soldiers form. It was nice, but it wasn't like what she had had with Naruto…

"I hope so too."

Her training and instinct allowed her to extend her wings and with a few silent steps ascend to the top of the building next to her. On the top of the building was a single sleepy guard. That was one more guard than Hinata had thought was on top of the building. In one moment their eyes met only feet apart, showing Hinata that he was just as surprised, if not more so, to see her as she was to see him. In the next moment the soldier had foreign chakra destroying his central nervous system. Hinata slammed her chakra filled palm into the guard's face, using her momentum from coming up the wall to force him onto his back, smashing his head into the rooftop.

Hinata stood up from where she was kneeling on top of the dead guard and shook her hand to get the small amount of blood from the man's nose off.

He still looked frightened. He couldn't have been much older than she was…

Hinata shook her head to clear it. She wasn't a murderer. She wasn't that much of a fighter compared to Shino or Naruto. But this was war… with whom she still did not know. She gently reached down and closed the man's eyes.

"Sorry, but I had no choice…"

She quickly spun to view the clearing filled with soldiers and planned her distraction. There were only a few ways out of the town square that would fit the tank, only a couple of those were away from the castle. She needed that tank away from Shino's group, or even if every soldier but one followed her it would be futile.

Only one way to make it follow her…

She jumped directly into the group of soldiers still packing, using her wings to slow her fall.

Now let's see if I can do this.

As she hit the ground she struck two stunned soldiers in the heart.

Two down, over thirty to go.

It didn't take a second for the rest to notice. But by then she was sprinting towards the tank. She dodged a soldier by vaulting over the charging man's head, giving it a firm kick to keep him down. A second pulled his sword instead of his gun and swung horizontally, which she slid under, making sure the man could never move his knee again as she passed. By then the ones behind her were either chasing after her or picking careful shots to try to not hit the other soldiers still around her. A few in a different style of uniform, less armor, were sprinting towards the tank. She would never make it in time.

Good thing that isn't the plan.

Hinata ran under the tank just as the top hatch to the control center swung shut. Instead she ran directly towards the nearest road large enough to fit the tank. The tank got fired up very fast and turned to give pursuit as soldiers piled into the read transport area. A few still came after her on foot, freely shooting as she cleared the rest of the soldiers, dropping more than a few who thought they had a chance in hand to hand combat.

She ran, zigzagging back and forth to dodge bolts of energy that would certainly kill her if she was hit anywhere besides a limb, which would slow her enough for them to kill her.

Hinata turned back to see that the tank was definitely following her. They hadn't noticed Shino's group.


Instead of continuing on the road she sprinted up the nearest wall to get to the rooftops. Just as she cleared the top she heard the sound of the Iron Beetle's main cannon charging up.

She didn't stop running, instead she ran over the roof and jumped to the next one down the street. She was barely able to leave the first roof as the entire top of it exploded, throwing her to the rooftop of the next house and almost causing her to pass out. She had to blink her eyes and lay still on the roof to hold off the black on the edge of her vision. A few moments later she was back on her feet. She ran to the edge of the rooftop to make sure the tank saw her again. Some of the men on the ground did and started shooting again.

And the race was on again.

Hinata jumped down to the ground in the next alleyway and quickly circled around the exploded house and into the alley nearest the tank. It was deceptively quick for a tank with six legs, and was making good time down the street. As the soldiers in front of it started to pass her hiding place in the shadows of the alley she contemplated her next move.

I might be able to get to the castle now, but that isn't going to help anyone that much. It would probably be best to take down as many as I can. Hopefully I can draw even more attention away from the castle and help out that way. Now, about this tank…

Hinata didn't use weapons, and there was no way into the tank unless someone opened it from the inside. In other words, to kill the tank she needed to get them to get out of the tank.

The tank and soldiers had just passed by her hiding place so she sneaked out and silently tapped the back two soldiers in the head. They fell silently to the ground, dead.

She then jumped to the top of the tank, landing as quiet as possible to avoid the detection of those in the tank and those around. It wasn't hard when they were still firing at the rooftops at anything that moved. She quickly ran up to the forward hatch and knocked on it.

She just knocked.

And a door was opened.

Then soldier looked at her stunned until she closed his eyes permanently. She was instantly down the hatch and before the pilot and gunner of the tank could even turn to face her she had knocked both into the next world. The tank instantly stopped. Hinata knew she would be having visitors soon, soldiers come to see what was the problem was, but she wanted to do one thing first.

She pushed the gunner out of his chair and moved the target on his screen towards the ground where she saw all of the soldiers looking at the stopped tank.

And then she pressed the big red button that said fire.

She jumped up and then out of the still open hatch as the cannons charged. With one wing aided leap she went from the top of the tank to the top of the nearest building.

She turned just in time to see all of the soldiers on the ground, the ground, and the tank explode. What she didn't see when she was in the tank was that the cannon was sighted for 100 yards, not ten. When she aimed at the area immediately in front of the tank the cannons aimed into the ground. The tips had been forced into the street by the powerful hydraulics of the aiming system. The cannon fired, but the energy had nowhere to go. So it went everywhere.

The explosion forced Hinata to fall back to avoid the flaming pieces of tank and soldier that went flying.

When the secondary explosions had died down Hinata observed her handiwork. It was a total kill, no survivors. She turned and ran over the next building towards the castle. She needed to thin the ranks, and now she knew at least one way to do it.

Hinata had been hopping rooftops for a few minutes trying to find some more targets, but had not had any luck. She was getting pretty close to the palace when she heard explosions coming from across the city. It startled her to hear shots being taken not at her or the castle that was supposed to be the thing under siege. She stopped on the next roof to see that near the city's center what had to be at least five or six tanks were firing into the air, some hitting building tops but most going into the sky to dissipate.


Hinata could see that the massive energy surges were being aimed at a single man with unfamiliar chakra using something similar to a hoversled to fly over the rooftops towards the castle. As he passed over new groups of soldiers he must have aroused the entire Imperial army because not five seconds went by without a building exploding because a missed cannon shot would hit an unintended target.

Hinata started jumping towards the area that obviously had the majority of the Imperial Army.

Who is that? Maybe it's someone like Shino just trying to get to the castle to help. But why would he take that path? There are many holes in the lines earlier on. He's drawing unnecessary attention to himself.

As she ran she noticed that the man on the hoversled was doing a very good job of dodging, much better than any normal man would be able to do.

It's almost like he can predict where the shots are going to go.

But the man's luck was about to run out. One of the massive troop carriers was starting to bear down on him from the direction of the palace. The airship might not have been even comparable in size to the Hokage, it was large enough that even if it didn't have men firing weapons out of small openings in the hull, it could just run him down and take next to no damage. It resembled what most Imperial airships looked like, slightly long mechanical flying ovals.

Hinata was getting pretty close to where the fight was about to be. She could now see that the man was dressed all in black and had black hair. He was at least a few years older than her, probably more than a few. It was then that she noticed that the troop carrier was very close.

And she was on the rooftop.

With that thought she jumped for the nearest alley, hoping that they hadn't seen her. No barrage of energy weapons and explosives rained down into her dark alley, so she assumed she was probably fine. But now she had no chance to get a ride with the man to the castle.

Hinata peered around the corner of the alley and into the main road to see that the man in black had changed tactics. He had been travelling pretty slow for a hoversled, spending most of his energy on dodging. Now that the airship was so close he had put the sled into top gear, shooting down the street faster than Hinata thought healthy. As he passed her hiding spot he turned his head towards her.

His eyes were red.

Hinata was slightly shocked by the instantaneous glimpse she had gotten as the man had passed. He shouldn't have been able to see her at that speed, let alone take notice of her. And his red eyes.

She didn't get any more time to actually think about it because around a bend in the street behind her two Mark III tanks were charging cannons as the moved into position. Hinata quickly ducked back into the alley as the four beams of light shot down the street.

One tank is reasonable, but two tanks? And they likely have ground troops coming as well. I could try a Kaiten, but it's a one shot thing. If I miss either tank on the first shot I'll most likely be knocked out until they can fire again. What can I do?

The airship that had been trying to block the way of the hoversled had overshot its target when the man had gone into top speed. It was now passing over her, casting a large shadow over the area.

And then it exploded.

The world shook. She was knocked flat on her back from the concussion and her ears were ringing. The airship above her now had a huge gaping hole in its side that was spewing flames.

"What on earth?"

"Sorry, that was me."

Itachi Uchiha and Naruto Uzumaki had arrived at the capital just as the sun had started going up, turning the dark sky in the east a lighter grey with the smoke from the city. They were on a hill near the city peering through a field glass Itachi had brought.

"Pretty decent formation, I don't see a very good way to get in. No way without a few soldiers, at least."

"No roofs, those troop carriers are fast and strong."

"Right. We need to get to the castle. The army hasn't gotten there, it's probably the only part of the city that is still under the Lightning Lord's control. If your friends are alive, then they will also be heading there."
"What good will that be? The enemy is out here, not in there. We should flank them, attack from both sides."

"And how would the Lord know to do that?"

Naruto sighed. He was getting a little angry sitting on a hill outside of town when they had already been here for half hour.

"Then we split up. You go to the castle and organize a resistance and I'll raise hell out here. I'll start with those troop carriers. Once they are down the bastards won't have air support and we'll be on even ground."

Itachi stared at the blond haired man pacing in front of him. He had a point, but Naruto wasn't an army. He wasn't even a team. He was one ninja. A very dangerous ninja, but a single ninja all the same. But… if he could take down even one of the troop carriers it would change the entire flow of the siege.

"Alright, let's do it. I'll head towards the castle on a hoversled and draw their fire. You sneak in first and get on that ship. Take it out and I'll get the soldiers in the castle to attack."

Itachi watched the man in front of him smirk.

"That's the second time you've taken my advice."

"Don't get used to it. You'll be disappointed otherwise."

Itachi waited a few minutes for Naruto to get a head start into the city before he decided to get ready. It wasn't exactly a great plan, but sometimes it isn't always best to stick to the plan. Itachi took a few moments to focus his chakra. Two black raven wings appeared billowing like smoke from beneath his cloak, making the man look positively intimidating against the rising sun.

He quickly made mental note of his equipment.

Cloak? Check.

Hoversled? Check.

Kunai? Check.


Itachi mentally shook his head and smiled. It was habit to check for his sword, but the sword was an officer's weapon, one that was taken from him long ago. To carry a sword required honor, and Itachi knew that the kind of honor that was required of him was not the kind he was willing to give.


Itachi's wings receded into his back as he stopped actively focusing his chakra. Once black eyes now stared at the city, now red with three black tamoe circling each pupil. His eye sight went from being slightly below average to that of any eagle, perfect. His eyes as they were now would be able to comprehend anything, especially chakra.

He got on the hoversled and started it up. The high pitched whine of whatever science caused it to work broke the early morning silence as Itachi took a deep breath and headed into the city on a meandering path to the castle.

He had only gotten a small way into the city when he was noticed. And, luckily, it appeared that the large group of men, one of which was now dead with a kunai in his head, had been a command post and now all the enemies between him and the castle were waiting for him. Still, it was child's play to anticipate their shots and just barely dodge. Cannon blasts tore apart the rooftops of the buildings he flew past at only about half speed, and smaller shots from the side arms of the troops peppered the air around him.

But it was like trying to hit someone who knew exactly where you were aiming and where your next shot was going to go after that one as well.

Sadly, after only a few minutes of distraction, his time was running out. One of the massive troop carriers was bearing down on him from the front. Itachi wasn't going to have much of a hope with that one, a simple kunai wouldn't help him here. As he prepared to kick his speed up to full he noticed a small figure on the rooftop to his left. The figure almost seemed to sense his view and jumped into a nearby alley, but Itachi was able to discern that it had been the carrier the figure had been looking at more than him.

He threw the sled into max speed, dropping altitude to get around the troop carrier. He passed the hiding spot of the figure and glanced to make sure no surprise attack was coming. He was only slightly surprised to find that the figure had been the girl that had been travelling with Naruto previous to Naruto's near death.

Maybe she will find him during the battle. Naruto will be pissed if she dies.

He sped by, nearing the castle by now, dodging the last few shots from the Iron Beetles in his last run up to the castle. He knew there was no way the gate was going to be open, so as he approached he increased his altitude sharply and fired up to the castle's roof directly above the gate.

Itachi dropped off the sled, letting it shoot into the sky as he dropped calmly to his feet on the castle's roof.

He smirked.

Didn't even need wings.

Itachi walked to the edge of the roof and noticed a small window a few feet down. With a grab and a swing he was through the window.

And he instantly regretted it.

With the sharingan active he could instantly notice everything in the room. Including the man he was about to land directly behind. This is unexpected…

Itachi landed with hardly a sound and stood to face the Aburame, the Lord of Lightning, and Sasuke Uchiha.


The elder Uchiha inwardly grimaced. He had nothing against this boy, but it was obvious that the opposite wasn't true from the look of sheer hatred and anger on the other Uchiha's face.


And then the world shook.

Naruto was not a ninja in name only.

Very few people are capable of true stealth. Being able to silently kill or, better yet, evade detection all together, was a rare ability. Naruto, though, had that ability in spades when he wanted to use it. And he currently wanted to.

Naruto stuck to the early morning shadows as he quickly and quietly penetrated the capital city of the Land of Lightning. No matter how elite the soldiers between him and his target, they were still mere soldiers and incapable detecting Naruto's shadow as he sprinted down alleys and abandoned streets. Yet even as he remained undetected his outlook began to turn bleak.

This is not good. I underestimated the amount of firepower in the city. There must be a battalion of Iron Beetles and a few thousand men. My plan is not going to work very well if Itachi doesn't get the castle to attack with everything they have the moment this ship goes down.

As Naruto was thinking and running he turned a corner and immediately dove into a doorway. A trio of soldiers were beginning a morning patrol he assumed, or delivering messages. Either way they were jogging down his street. He prepared a kunai as he stood unnoticed in the shadowed doorway. But just before he would have jumped out and attempted a silent kill on three targets, not an easy job, he was grabbed from behind and pulled through the door which shut instantly afterwards.

A grab and a spin later and Naruto was kneeling on the chest of a shocked and frightened man with his knife to the man's throat.

"Easy,stranger. You aren't Imperial, and we aren't either."

Naruto stared at the man and then around the room. He had obviously been pulled into this man's small home. Across the room there was a woman and a small girl, both of which appeared to be frightened out of their minds. The man's wife and daughter he assumed.

Naruto quickly put the knife away and helped the man up to the relief of everyone there.

"Gomen. Can't be too careful around here."

"We know. The imps have a form of martial law on the town. If you are seen, you are shot. So far they haven't started entering buildings, except those around the few main roads. Those they emptied."

"That's good to know. But I must run…"

"What are you going to do?"

Naruto looked at the man and then to the man's wife and child. The child had asked the question. He could tell she was trying to look brave. They weren't terrified anymore, but there was still fear in their eyes. Fear of the army on their doorstep.

"I'm going to get rid of the pests outside. Stay here and pray, that might help."

"Which god should we pray to?"

Naruto shook his head as he walked towards a window he noticed opened into an alleyway and opened it.

"Doesn't matter, I think if there are any out there they'll hear ya no matter what name you call them."

And with that he was out the window.

A short time later he found himself under the shadow of one of the massive troop carriers. The flying machine wasn't the size of the Hokage, but there was enough firepower on the thing to cause serious damage to any ground force the castle put out even if it was already empty. He honestly hoped it was mostly full, than there would be more to explode. It was quite a distance off the ground, a few hundred feet at least above the roofs, but at this point it was refueling the tanks and dropping ammo for the ground troops via long cables. Naruto went right into the supply station, using the shadows and the natural chaos of the refueling to climb into one of the large refueling lines as it was about to be coiled back into the ship. There were a few close calls when he had been seen out of the corner of someone's eye but after maintaining absolute stillness they went back to work. It wasn't hard for Naruto to hang onto the fueling line as it was raised. When he was almost to the top Naruto noticed that the airship had begun to move.

Itachi is moving. I need to bring this thing down.

When it was fully drawn in Naruto exited quietly to find himself in a large refueling station. Only a few workers were walking around completely oblivious to the one now in their midst. Large cylinders filled with fuel were evenly spread throughout the large room, each its own giant bomb.

Now if he only had something to set it off.

Naruto quickly ran full speed to the nearest worker. The man had just enough time to look up from his work and give a small shout before Naruto had penetrated his heart with a kunai. He kept running towards a small compartment that had some controls in it. If he was going to blow this thing up he was going to be able to do it here.

Two more men had seen him and were running towards him and one was in the booth, but they were mere workers against a ninja. They might as well have been mosquitos to an elephant. All were on the ground moments later as Naruto looked at the controls and quickly decided the best solution was… to throw every lever into the full on position except the release valves. Naruto instantly saw gauges across the controls go into the red and alarms started going off.

"Yeah, that will probably work."

Naruto stabbed one kunai into the controls to make sure no one would change his "fixes" and then sprinted for one of the smaller rope sized cables used to guide the large refueling tubes. With a grab and a leap he was in the air falling towards the ground.

Really fast.

He was about to think it was a bad idea to grab this cable when he felt a little more tension on the line and he was falling slower. The line continued to descend but slower and slower as it reached its full length. And then, with a jerk, the line stopped. And then Naruto was thrown off the cable as the air ship above him lit up the sky with flames.

He was a little shocked that it took so little time to blow the ship apart, but he was slightly more shocked that he had just been nearly imbedded into the wall of an alley.

And even more shocked to find that as he pulled himself out of the wall, the one person he really wanted to see was starting to get up almost ten feet in front of him.

"What on earth?"

"Sorry, that was me."

The girl with strange eyes spun towards Naruto in a fighting stance, but dropped it a moment later in shock from seeing the boy she had been certain was dead.

"N… Naruto?"

"In the flesh."