Just as a random comment...throw those tomatoes! Throw them now!
That is all.
There was screaming and blurry images of people fleeing for their lives from deep red, flickering blurs that could only be fires, even through hazy vision. An explosion erupted, causing a nearby building to collapse, sending dust, debris, and flaming wood everywhere...but even among all that, there should still have been some form of coherency. The problem was that, even with the explosions and fires, there was a looming sense of dread that there was something bigger here; something far more dangerous than anything felt before. Then, with such a swiftness it could easily be described as inhuman, a dark figured appeared some twenty yards away, walking towards her. Each step it took felt like a tremor to her, like every passing stride was leading one step closer to the confines of hell. Almost there...just another few feet and she would be able to see its face...almost... And then the image of it was gone, and only a searing pain was left, burning itself into her brain, screaming at her, clawing its way to the surface to be etched on the surface for all eternity. With a shrill, wailing cry, one sentence, one thought...one fact was forever engraved into her memory: Beware the Destroyer of Worlds.
Hinata woke up to screaming, only to realize soon after that it was her own. She'd been having reoccurring nightmares lately, but none of them were as graphic as that one had been, and more so, none of them had left her with that warning. Shivering, she clutched her own arms as the tears freely flowed down her face, even as Naruto cooed into her ear that it was just a dream.
It wasn't a dream. It couldn't be a dream; no dream left that sort of impression on someone. There was no way that her own mind could warp her reality and fixate on something so dangerous, so destructive...so evil. The power coming from that being in her dream...even on his best day, her father's own may as well have been a fly trying to overpower a Katon jutsu with a single beat of its right wing...there was simply no comparing what she felt to anything she'd previously experience. No, that wasn't a dream at all, and it left her with a warning. One she would remember to the end of her days.
"N-naruto..." Hinata stammered.
"What is it?" he replied, settling to sit beside her.
"Have you ever h-heard of someone called the destroyer of worlds?"
The puzzled look on his face more than answered her question. He had no idea what she was talking about.
"I don't think so..."
"Never mind then, it's no big deal."
It was at this moment that Hinata's stomach made itself known with a loud growl, leaving Hinata staring down at it was a face red enough to replace their old torch...good thing it was already put out. In the pitch black of the cave, Naruto couldn't see her blush, and for that she was thankful.
"I'll go see if I can find anything. We passed a lake about a half mile back...I wouldn't be surprised if it had fish in it," the blonde commented, taking off his last shirt, "Hope you don't mind cave sushi."
"That would be great, Naruto-kun," Hinata replied, feeling a bit better now that Naruto's humor was starting to kick in.
"It's settled then. I'll be back as soon as I can."
After Naruto had left earshot, Hinata laid back down. No sleep could claim her, not after that nightmare. But the thought continued to creep in her head...the destroyer of worlds.
"What was that, Shika?"
"Chouji, this place is perfect," the genius replied, walking around the cave, "So far, most of the places we've been in have been too small or narrow, or too shallow.
The size of this place is perfect for actually staying in. I think we've found our permanent residence."
Chouji took this chance to look around the place; Shikamaru was right, it seemed perfect. In the corner of it there was a small lake that seemed to run further under the cave wall, and the walls themselves seemed completely devoid of and flora. The ceiling was at least fifteen feet high and the walls around twenty feet apart from each other; all in all, it was a decent sized place to stay.
"In that case, we can start stocking, instead of just gathering for the moment," Sasuke commented, finding his way to the two.
"Exactly." In a way, they knew that this was their comeback.
Two weeks. It had been two weeks since Naruto and Hinata had been drug into the ocean; two weeks since they were separated from their Hi no Kage family...and this was finally it; they could see daylight ahead. Of course, the two had no idea two weeks had passed, having been in the dark for the entirety of it, separated from all forms of worldly cycle. All they knew was that it had been a long time, too long, since they'd felt the warmth of the surface.
At this point, Naruto felt like he was chilled to the bone. If he didn't know any better, he'd say that his natural body temperature had dropped a few degrees, like it was trying to adapt to living underground. This point was only accentuated when they finally broke the surface, and he felt the wave of heat rush over his body, despite the fact that it was mid-autumn.
"What is it, Naruto?"
"I didn't think we'd actually make it out of there...if I didn't know any better, I'd say we circled the island some two or three hundred times," he joked.
"That's about what it felt like," Hinata replied tiredly, "My feet feel like they're about to fall off."
"Well, we've finally surfaced, did you want to take a break?"
"No, not yet...wait...do you hear that?"
Naruto did hear it. It was almost a light screaming sound.
"Let's check it out," the blonde replied deftly.
And with all the grace and speed of a shinobi, the two vanished to the treetops.
"Do you see that, Shika?" Sasuke commented, staring at the strangers, his sharingan spinning wildly.
The genius glanced at Sasuke's eyes; he'd managed to awaken his bloodline a few days prior, narrowly saving Ino and Kiba in the process, "Not the same way you do, but yes, I see it."
"I don't really understand it..." Sasuke added, "I see varying chakra spikes in that machine, like it's trying to use chakra to form something."
"This isn't good. What are foreigners even doing on this island?" Shikamaru paused for a moment, thinking a bit, "Nothing good. Get the others. We're nipping whatever's happening down there in the bud."
Sasuke vanished. It would be a few minutes before he returned, and Shikamaru knew that he needed to use this time to formulate some sort of plan, but there were so many unknown factors involved. What if the enemy knew they were here? What if they were far more experienced in battle? If there was one thing the Nara heir preferred knowing, it was the facts, and in this situation, he may as well be flying by the seat of his pants.
Naruto and Hinata stood in the trees on the other side of the clearing; they too were staring at the contraption, but unlike Sasuke and Shika, they knew the others were there. There wasn't much the Byakugan can miss, but they weren't about to let the others know they were here, not so long as that foreign shinobi was even slightly aware of his surroundings. What was worse, is that he wasn't alone...the others couldn't see them, but there were two more ninja standing to either side of the man, both completely covered by a henge, making them look like large stones. Even that, however, wasn't the worse of it all. No, the worst of it all was that both of the henge'd shinobi were wearing headbands of the hidden cloud.
"I wonder if Taicho really is watching our every move," Naruto whispered.
"I hope so," Hinata replied, just as quietly, "Cloud seems to be very interested in us lately."
Naruto nodded his head. He really wished he could get a message to Shikamaru right now, to let him know what they knew, to let him know they were there...but they couldn't take that chance right now.
"Welcome back," Shika commented idly as Sasuke and the others landed beside him, "Wait for my signal...here's the plan..."
After a few moments, the group quickly got into position.
"Remember, we're going for the incapacitation, not the kill, but if your life is on the line, end him," Sasuke added after a moment.
A brief rush of wind, and the group attacked.
They had the element of surprise behind them; they had the numbers. They even had a multilayered plan in place, just in case some surprise factors showed themselves.
But you can't plan for everything, and despite the traps that Shikamaru had laid in place while Sasuke was away, and despite the fact that they were the most promising of their generation, not everything can be planned for. Not everything can be expected, and once you make a decision to do something life changing and vital, you can't undo it; you're stuck with the repercussions, whether you want them or not.
The decision to attack head on had been Shikamaru's mistake. They were ninjas, expected to strike from the shadows with deadly, precise attacks...attacking head on gave the two henge'd shinobi more than enough warning and more than enough time to counterattack, as shown by the backhand Chouji and Kiba received upon reaching the 'rocks'. In that moment, two of their fighters were shut down before they even had time to realize that they weren't facing one opponent; they were facing three.
"so they were the chakra spikes I kept seeing," Sasuke shouted as he stopped and prepared a Katon jutsu.
"Grand Fireball!" The massive ball of fire hurled directly towards the two revealed shinobi, but a wall of water quickly intercepted it, leaving a steamy smokescreen, and more than enough time for Sakura and Ino to jump in, grab their comrades, and get back out...at least that's what they thought, until an arc of electricity shot Ino in the back. She fell to the ground, limp and smoking, Kiba in a similar state beneath her, but at least she was a firm distance away from the enemy. They wouldn't be able to make for the finishing blow without leaving themselves wide open.
Unfortunately, the numbers were fairly even now with three of the Hi no Kage downed, it left their numbers at four to three.
With all the brutality he could manage, Sasuke hurtled what few shuriken the group had at the enemies, even as Shika led his shadow to where he knew one of them would land, but the other seemed like he knew what would happen, and dashed forward at the genius's obvious opening, only to be swarmed with insects, biting at his flesh, trying to drain him of his chakra. In only a few moments, the man managed to course lightning through his system, frying the bugs, but he was too late...and out of the seven there, only two knew what was coming as a blonde blur and a similar blue one appeared behind the man and began rapidly striking him in his tenketsu.
"Kage mane Jutsu...success," Shikamaru stated, holding the other enemy in place, "Now for the last one."
The unknown man started clapping; no more than thirty seconds had passed since the battle began, and it was already over.
"Thirty seconds," the man started, pushing his glasses up from the rim of his nose, "It only took thirty seconds for nine children to overpower two chunin body guards.
Not bad, even for the Leaf."
Killing intent poured over the group, forcing their breath to catch in their throats. This man was no chunin, he was obviously of jounin caliber...or higher.
"Allow me to introduce myself," he added, his hair blowing with the wind, showing a crescent shaped scar on his forehead, "I am Iesu Kamigawa. But for all it matters, you can call me Death."
And he charged.
"Do you think they've realized it yet, Kakashi?"
"I'm sorry, Hokage-sama, I don't understand."
"No need to play coy with me," the Hokage replied, "I know Minato told you the details of the plan."
"No, Hokage-sama, I don't believe they've realized what is happening to their bodies," Kakashi replied, eyes flashing to the hidden anbu in the room, "But should we be discussing something of this level of importance with others present?"
"Do not worry about that," Sarutobi replied calmly, "They've earned their right to be here. No information hear here will be spread in any way, shape, or form."
Kakashi bowed quickly, assuring his compliance and understanding, "I was informed of what Tsunade-sama did to them, yes."
"I see..." the Hokage replied, trailing off slightly, "Have they begun to show the effects of the storm?"
"No, sir, it seems the storm isn't having any adverse effects on them," the anbu captain replied, "As far as I can tell, there will only be affected by the positive impacts."
"Tsunade isn't hailed as the legendary medic for nothing."
"Have any of them shown the positive signs of the storms effects?"
"None of our shifts have reported anything unusual...except..."
"Yes?" the Hokage interred quickly.
"Not long after the storm started, it was reported to me that a tree's root had forced a hole in the opening of a cave they were staying in, after being trapped by a landslide."
"Excellent," the Hokage replied, receiving a raised eyebrow from the silver haired anbu, "I don't know if you're aware, but other than the 'positive effects' of the storm, it also hastens the awakening of any kekkei genkai that the user may contain...it's just unknown how fast or to what level their bloodlines will be opened. Only time will tell how much power it can unlock, and we have much time left before the storm begins to subside."
"Yes we do," Kakashi agreed, "I doubt these cadets realize that they'll be on this island for a few more years."
Shino did his best not to show how much that hit hurt. Shikamaru lay unconscious behind him while Naruto was slowly getting back to his feet, some twenty feet away. This was no fight, it was a slaughter; the jounin was just toying with them. 'Death', he said, what a ruse; he'd been playing with their minds since he first took to the fight.
"Just give up," Iesu commented idly, waving his hand in a placating gesture, "I might even make your death quick."
Shino had no intention of giving up, but he was also certain that offer had been a blatant lie; he wanted to toy with them until they were completely broken.
"I'm afraid I will have to decline your offer, thank you for the consideration though," the young Aburame replied.
"I didn't think someone from your clan was capable of sarcasm," he replied with a feral grin, "Look around you. All of your allies are down for the count except that weird blonde Hyuuga and that pink haired wanna be over there."
He was absolutely right, only Naruto, Shino, and Sakura were left conscious after five minutes of battle. Hinata had been dealt with first, receiving a harsh blow to the back of her head, and Shika had taken a kick to the gut that launched him some thirty feet. Sasuke had been a bit trickier; he'd dodged the initial blow the man threw, but when he tried to return the attack, Iesu managed to course electricity through his body, shocking the Uchiha into unconsciousness.
"You see this scar here?" the man pointed to his head, "I received this from the infamous Mirror Ninja, Kakashi of the Sharingan. I promise, if I could survive a battle with him, what makes you think you stand as more than a pebble in my path?"
"It's simple," Shino replied as Naruto joined him, "You underestimate us."
And the man was covered in fire.
Sasuke coughed a few times, hacking up a globule of blood and spitting it to the side. The shock treatment he got from the jounin wasn't so bad, but the kick that launched him into a tree did a fair amount of damage.
"Roast, you moron," he commented as he stared at the result of his work...until the man started moving again.
Third degree burns covered the man's body, but still he moved, an enraged look scouring his face, making the man look all the more menacing.
"You little bastard!" Sasuke didn't know what hit him. He was knocked around like a rag doll, punch after punch, each more vicious than the last, assaulting him until he was near the point of blacking out.
The man lifted him by his throat; this was it, Sasuke Uchiha would die here. Even as the man's hand constricted, Naruto and Shino sprung to action, but they knew they would be too late. The man was too far away and they had nothing left that could reach him in time, even to impede him slightly. And then there was blood, but it wasn't Sasuke that was lying wounded or dead. It was Iesu.
"What the hell!" he screamed, even as his arms were torn from their sockets.
"Leave! Him! ALONE!" Sakura was almost unrecognizable. The look on her face promised death to any who would challenge her, even as the vines that were under her control ripped the man's arms from his body, blood spurting everywhere.
Another hand gesture and his legs were severed at the kneecap.
By the time Shino and Naruto reached him, he was crying and whimpering, begging for mercy. Sakura would have none of that.
But before she could end the man, Kakashi appeared beside her, placating her with his hand on her shoulder.
"Remember, Sakura, one of our Shinobi Teachings: always put the mission before your personal feelings. He will die, and soon, but not right now."
"T-taicho?" she stuttered, losing the grip on her chakra. The plants fell, lifeless, to the ground.
"I told you I wouldn't be here to help you, but this is something else entirely," he continued, "This man was here for a reason, and we will find out what it was. You all did well."
The three remaining candidates gave him a look of incredulity.
"I mean it. This is a jounin, and he wasn't kidding when he said the other two were Chunin. You nine fared far better than any of your teachers could have expected, even me. Good job, cadets."
The three didn't stop staring at him.
"I'm taking this man to T and I. Get your allies back to your camp. You can't forget the nature of this storm."
With that, Kakashi disappeared and the group did the only thing they could. They did what they were told and collected the others to prepare for the journey to camp, rousing those that they could. But the one thought coursed through Shino's and Naruto's minds: 'Was that really Sakura?'
By the way, the page break problem from the last chapter was caused by my upload...I actually do have page breaks, but doesn't seem to like them at all. Also, to the guest that asked, I gave chapter 6 a chance with the first person perspective and failed UTTERLY. So I'm avoiding doing that one again. I may go back and edit it, but that won't happen for a little bit.