The Border between Wind and Leaf
Naruto landed softly in front of Shikamaru. The windstreams had taken himself and the team of Sakura, Hiroka and Calamity, as well as Jiraiya and Tsunade, directly to the large moving population of Konoha on the edge of the desert midway between Leaf Country and Wind Country. This was the crossroads that would decide which direction they would travel.
His flame adorned cloak fluttered in the wind, as his eyes took in the people before him. They had been hard to spot. Clearly even though they were mostly citizens, there were enough ninja amongst them to keep them well hidden. The danger of pursuit was very real and there were at least several thousand people gathered here. He scanned their faces, recognizing most. Shikamaru had done well to save this many people. From the multitude of sad and angry faces though, he realized that not all had been so lucky.
Naruto hardly recognized Shikamaru. The teenage lout who would rather play shogi than work was long gone. This was a battle seasoned fighter in front of him. One that Naruto knew possessed a brilliant tactical mind. It was a scary combination. In fact, he took a second harder look at all of his old friends. Kiba was massive, and feral somehow. Naruto got the sense of a wild animal guarding its pack. Shino seemed…alien. Even Hinata looked more mature, ready to fight again.
"Yo Shika." He smiled at Shikamaru, though his smile did not reach his eyes. Shikamaru smiled back grimly. "Yo Naruto."
They glanced out over at the flickering sand dunes of the desert. Everyone could see a shimmering and flickering as something approached from the horizon. It had become common knowledge recently that the desert sand of Wind Country was off limits. Stories of the monsters beneath the sands that had been unleashed had spread like wildfire across the world. No physical warning signs were necessary. Everyone knew not to cross the sands unless invited.
Slowly the images grew larger and within a few minutes Gaara, his siblings and the ancient Ebizo appeared riding one of the terrifying giant worms. They slid off and walked over to where Naruto and Shikamaru were standing as the worm rumbled and the ground shook as it disappeared.
Gaara looked across at the large gathering and then back to Naruto, greeting him with a concerned look on his face.
The Tenshikage breathed deep. He hadn't known what exactly the plan was going to be, but they had to start somewhere.
"Who's in charge?" He asked the group in front of him. He thought he knew the answer but it needed to be said out loud, and this was something that had to be decided before anything else.
The Konoha clans looked at each other. "Shikamaru is." Hiashi Hyuga said pointedly. "For now." Some were surprised, none spoke differently. The Hyuga patriarch assessed the young man in front of him. The boy who had escaped Konoha was gone. The younger generation had grown in strength at an unprecedented rate, but Naruto had also grown in another way. He radiated leadership. Hiashi glanced at his daughter Hinata, frowning in thought as he saw her flushed cheeks looking at Naruto. Her infatuation with the boy was also a cause of concern for him before, but now…
Naruto nodded. "Good. I want to suggest an alliance between Konoha and Tengoku." Naruto continued, "Danzo is not defeated, his armies grow. We need to deal with him soon, but we all must work together for that to work."
"I don't disagree." Shikamaru replied. "Konoha the city is in ruins, but the Will of the Leaf lives on in us. We plan to go back when this is all over."
Gaara interjected. "Back from where? That is the biggest question right now."
The nin gathered rumbled anxiously. It was the question on everyone's mind.
Naruto waved his hands at the gathered survivors. "There are a lot of civilians here. They've no place being on the front lines. And Wind Country is the closest to Danzo. I think we should move them all to Tengoku, or a nearby village under our protection. Danzo cannot march an Army across the world without us knowing."
Shikamaru grimaced. "That's a long travel for many of them."
Naruto shook his head. "No, we'll 'jump' them closer." He winked. "We have our methods."
"I won't ask how…yet, but what about our fighters?" Shikamaru asked. "We could be better served staying closer to Danzo's operations." He looked at Gaara.
The Kazekage shook his head. "Sunagakure is safe for now. There is a better place for your force, if you're willing."
Naruto frowned, thinking quickly. "That's a good idea Gaara. But it would mean separating families." He turned to Shikamaru. "If the clans are willing, we'd like to ask your help in supporting Wave Country. Danzo has an army massing on their border. We are taking certain…actions. But a few more skilled fighters in the mix would help a lot."
Shikamaru wasn't slow by any means. He picked up on Naruto glossing over what actions they were doing to support Wave country.
"I can't force anyone to join that fight, but we can ask for volunteers." He said thoughtfully. Wave was on the opposite side of Danzo. The biggest concern strategically for them would be supply lines. In an ordinary war they'd have to rely on supplies coming via the sea, but those could be easily cut off, sealing off the country and ensuring doom. However, Tengoku's ability to seemingly fly/appear anywhere, meant that Wave country could never be isolated.
It was a very desirable ally Wave had made in Naruto.
Shikamaru could also see Gaara's reluctance to take in so many strange clans. It was a recipe for discord in his own city. It was possible they hoped the casualties in this battle would take care of the fighters from Konoha and remove the problem before it started. Killing two birds with one stone. It was a cynical thought.
He turned to his friends. Kiba shrugged and grinned, bearing his teeth. He'd love a fight.
Shino adjusted his glasses in the manner that Shikamaru knew meant he was ready.
"We're with you Naruto!" Hinata shouted too loudly. She looked embarrassed for a second then smiled at her friends. Sakura flashed her a knowing wink and Hinata blushed bright red.
"Good!" Naruto exclaimed. "After we start evacuating the civilians, anyone who wants to go will follow me to Wave."
Tengoku's Tennyo team (the girls) laughed. Of course Naruto would want to go to Wave too. They'd come prepared for that eventuality, their weapons ready.
Shikamaru shook his head ashamedly, embarrassed at thinking they were being sent on a suicide mission. Naruto hadn't changed completely, he was still honest and earnest.
"There's a possibility Danzo has a small force looking for us already." He said. "We've a few clan members in the rear position looking out for them."
Naruto brushed that aside. "Maybe, but if so they'd be in for a surprise." He grinned and looked at Jiraiya. The Tennin laughed and began drawing a giant rune in the ground. They'd prepared a portal to a valley beneath Tengoku. More permanent quarters would have to be made, but they could camp there for now while they built something in safety.
10 miles behind the Konoha refugees
The iwa nin had little trouble following the trail left behind by the Konoha refugees. Even without Danzo's orders this battalion of soldiers would have pursued them. Most had long memories and there had been countless skirmishes and casualties for generations between Iwa and the Leaf.
"Hold" The captain in charge of the group barked quietly. They were several miles away from the border of Wind Country. It had become obvious where they were headed, but you could never be sure. Now he was. He too had heard the rumors of the monsters beneath the sands. That would work to his advantage. The fools ahead would be trapped, sandwiched between his small force and the death of the sands.
He anticipated they would be caught by surprise, and that the fighters amongst the group would be dispatched quickly, allowing them to slaughter the women and children that were left. Removing all seeds of the cursed leaf forever. He practically salivated at the thought.
So engrossed in the thought was he that he never saw the arrow that shot like lightning from the sky and entered the top of his skull and out the bottom of his jaw.
Simultaneously a streak of metal seemed to wrap like a ribbon around another soldier and tightened in a razor-sharp tornado of steel, blood and flesh. Azriel pulled his sword back in a swirl, his hard eyes making sure he had a clear landing spot, pumping chakra into his feet to brace for the impact.
The other Iwa nin leapt away, changing positions and looking up to see eight bodies falling towards them from out of the sky, and a large...thing…with wings streak by.
Inari managed to let another arrow from his mini crossbow fly before they reached the ground, but that one missed. He cursed, knowing he'd be reminded of that miss mercilessly later. He glanced to his left.
Syrren met his eyes and laughed wickedly eliciting a groan from Inari. Syrren then curled into a ball midair and transformed into a tight ball of water. He hit the ground and splashed upwards, transforming back into himself, grabbing a soldier's head with his legs as he twisted and spun around the man's body. He landed back on the ground with a final twist and sent the man, broken neck and all flying towards the other soldiers.
Mirrun grabbed onto a branch and used the momentum to change course, flying perpendicular to the ground and into the chest of another soldier who almost succeeded in blocking her attack. They fell to the ground and she rolled past him, ignoring him and moving onto the three soldiers in front of her. They made the mistake of catching her eyes. The world froze for them and in a blink she was gone.
Her metal gauntlets smashed the first one on the temple before he could blink again.
Gennosuke fell with precision through the branches of a large tree, twisting and shifting so slightly that it would seem he didn't move at all, but in fact he was avoiding every branch, finding every hole. He touched so slightly one branch, shifted direction, another, and again. His descent slowed to a manageable rate and flipped once more, leaving the canopy of the tree. A nin who was traversing the trees as well appeared before him. Gen sensed his movement, every time he had touched a branch or leave he had sent out pulses of chakra, enough to see. His escrema sticks were out in a flash from their carrier behind his jacket. With a flick and accuracy only his unseeing eyes could achieve, his right escrima stick slipped through the nin's defenses and crushed the man's nose, driving the bone into his brain. A geyser of blood erupted onto him.
The remaining soldiers recovered quickly; these were no low-level hoods. They were seasoned fighters and had fought in many battles.
The second in command recognized the winged armbands of the children before him. (Note: they are currently teenagers, 'children' is meant derogatorily). These were warriors from Tengoku, and judging from reports he'd read, these were the Tendou. He took note of them quickly. White clothes, currently two of them covered in the blood of his dead soldiers. Clearly no mercy was given or expected. They had acquired another name from rumors he'd heard about their methods, and the way they looked after a battle.
"The Blood Children" He growled. A series of hand signals and his men counterattacked. Swords and shuriken were unleashed, while three fighters held back, and together sent a wall of earth and boulders rising towards the attacking Tendou. However, the ground rumbled louder than it should have.
Five enormous white rhinos burst out of the forest, rocketing towards the Iwa Nin. They plowed through the wall of earth in an explosion of dust and rocks and trampled several soldiers beneath their feet on their way through the ranks. They didn't turn and attack again, instead continuing in a straight line into the forest and disappearing.
"We need to work on controlling them." Junya said sheepishly as he and Fuki ran into the small clearing created by the battle thus far.
Gennosuke smiled, his unseeing eyes crinkling. He stamped his foot on the ground, letting a chakra wave flood the area. Using this technique, he could "see" where everyone and everything was. He twirled the escrima sticks in his hands, flicking off the blood from his last attack and rested them on his shoulders breathing in deep. There were still more than twenty skilled ninjas in front of them, and they'd lost the element of surprise, but still he smiled. After all, they hadn't come alone.
From the sky four other shadows fell to the ground in front of the Tendou in an explosion of stone and dust. The menacing figure of Kakashi, his right hand already crackling with electricity peered through the smoke. Tenshi Shiratori stood like a coiled spring waiting, his hand hovering over the hilt of his sword. The enormous form of Guerrera took a step forward out of their landing spot.
"Yo Yo Yo" The fourth figure spoke rhythmically as the dust settled as well, brushing his shoulders free of dirt. "What a way to go! I had no idea about the sky roads of Tengoko! High in the sky like a bird on high..."
"it's Tengok-U." Tenshi corrected him.
"Man, don't interrupt, this place right here 'bout to erupt." Killer B adjusted his sunglasses. He had come to Tengoku to meet Naruto and talk an Alliance with Kumogakure. He'd liked what he'd seen in the boy and the city. They'd instantly clicked. With him joining this fray, and helping the refugees from Konoha escape, their pact would be solidified. It was a natural fit anyway; The village hidden by clouds and the Heaven Village.
He drew his swords. "My wicked styles are brand new...and my sick sword skills will surprise you." He pointed his swords to the current de-facto leader of the Iwa Nin and burst forward to attack. The warriors of Tengoku likewise rushed forward. Kakashi disappeared with a crackle, his Chidori taking the heads of two soldiers and cleanly separating them from their bodies, cauterizing the wounds instantaneously.
Three iwa nin used earth jutsu to open a hole that swallowed the giant Guerrera and closed up above him. His hand burst through the ground and pulled his frame out from the rocks that had tried to crush him. His white luchador mask looking like a massive skeleton had emerged from a grave. His speed belied his size, and he grabbed the first man and flung him full speed backwards towards his protégé Syrren. Syrren jumped into a dropkick, snapping the man's head backwards with enough force to hear the crack of his neck as his body collapsed like a rag doll.
Tenshi was low to the ground running, he drew his sword in a quick upright motion aiming for the leg of one of the soldiers. He was parried by the soldier's own katana, but the force of his blow spun the soldier sideways. Enough for one of Inari's crossbow bolts to lodge itself in his neck. Tenshi just kept going forward, into the bulk of the collapsing platoon.
Killer B was in full on acrobat attack. His swords seemed to reach out everywhere. Screams of anguish and fear started to fill the clearing. Battles are a lot shorter than stories make them out to be. This one in particular was over in less than ten seconds.
The warriors from Tengoku stood victorious. Guerrera had a few cuts, one looked nasty but he gave no sign of having felt it. Kakashi was unscathed, as was Tenshi. Killer B however was kneeling…clutching his…
"My sunglasses are shattered, as if they never…even…mattered!" He lamented.
The Tengoku elders grinned. This fighter from Kumogakure fit right in with them. This alliance would do well. This fight wasn't in keeping with Naruto's last conversation with them, that he would try to avoid killing people. But that was his decision, not theirs. Each fighter had to decide his own methods.
The Tendou also checked each other for any serious injuries, all glad to have survived another encounter.
"I'm glad we're all ok." Gennosuke said.
"Ok? We're better than ok!" Syrren almost shouted. "Didn't you hear them?"
"Hear..." Started Fuki, "…what?" finished Junya.
"He called us The Blood Children!" Syrren laughed. "What a sick-ass name!"
Somewhere in Wind Country
Senjii had no expression on his face as his blade moved on its own. He no longer tried to will it to block or parry or attack. His mind registered the forms effortlessly from within the void, but his body did them automatically.
Apple blossoms in the wind…Kingfisher circles the pond…The lion springs…Leopard's caress…cutting the clouds
Back and forth he and Soujiro circled the garden that had become his training ground. A gust of wind blew up a small dervish of dust that danced around their feet. Senjii had lost track of time, not knowing for how long they'd been in this particular battle. His body was caked with sweat and dust, but he paid it no attention. Every detail of his opponent's body was being scrutinized for movement. Anything that would telegraph the next move. The slightest of muscle twitches on Soujiro's right shoulder and they clashed again.
"Enough." Soujiro said calmly as he lowered his sword. The noon day sun glistened off it, and it seemed to wink at him in amusement.
"Your swordsmanship has improved. You learn fast and have a natural gift." Soujiro continued. "I would consider you almost ready to be called a blademaster." He took a step backwards. "There are two more steps you need to take to achieve that name." He pointed his sword at Senjii.
"Your twin shodai are fantastic weapons, but you do not know them." He declared with a frown.
Senjii looked at his blades. He knew every inch of their surface. He'd spent countless hours polishing, sharpening. He fingered them lightly. "I know them very well." He declared.
Soujiro shook his head. "No. Have you met them?" He turned his own sword so the flat side of the blade was facing upwards. "This blade's name is Shiryu. It has an…interesting…history. It has survived a world before this world. It is incredibly old, but it can never rust, can never dull."
"You must discover your blades. This is the first real step to learning who you are." Soujiro smiled, "The next step after that is to become MORE than who you are of course."
Senjii frowned. "How do I do that?"
"Well, here's where it gets to be fun." Soujiro bent and plucked an iridescent blue flower from his garden. "Fun for me anyway. You? Not so much."
A short time later…
"Now breathe it in." Soujiro commanded Senjii. The lidded box in front of him had been filled with petals from that blue flower, and then crushed, and boiling water thrown in with it and sealed for an hour. Now both Senjii and Soujiro sat on either side of the box inside Soujiro's home on the ground. Senjii was wary but followed his teacher's command.
Within seconds his head began to swirl, and his eyes squeezed shut. He fell backwards and writhed violently for a few seconds. Soujiro shifted the box away, making sure to close the lid and watched Senjii's body calm down and remain perfectly still.
"Now follow the path before you, find your fears and face them. Learn your swords and learn yourself. Life is a dream from which we all must wake before we can dream again. If you survive the World of Dreams, you'll evolve."
Senjii sat up in a place that looked like a washed-out version of the real world. All the colors were slightly duller. There was no wind, no smells. Nothing beyond what he could see and touch.
"Well…...this is new."
Nagi felt it. It felt like…a lump. Gingerly he touched the bump on the top of his head from where N'huic had whacked him with his fist. He knew it was an admonishment, and if it had been a serious punch he'd probably be brain dead already.
He looked down again to where his arm used to be. He could still feel it. The phantom limb. All the practice, all the work he and N'huic had been putting into expanding his powers. He had hit a wall and didn't know where to go from here. N'huic was a skilled master, but Nagi felt that without someone who was skilled in his particular type of jutsu – shadows – he'd get nowhere fast.
The fact that Naruto had to tell him to stay and train more, instead of taking him on their latest excursion rankled even more than the lack of progress. He knew he was useless in a real fight right now, he didn't need to be reminded of it. And who knew where that goddam Senjii had gone off to. Tenshi had been cryptic about his whereabouts.
"Hey Nagi." Mabry walked over. It had been a while since Nagi had seen Mabry. The once trader had taken it upon himself to improve the commerce and organizing the trading village that appeared below Tengoku. The "village that disappeared was flourishing and prospering. Traders and merchants now came from far and wide to buy from the artisans of Tengoku. There had been a lot of skilled craftsmen and tradespeople Naruto had taken in. Refugees. They had wasted no time in setting up shops again and making goods of the highest quality. Something about being here made people want to do better. To BE better.
"The refugees from Konoha will be arriving soon at the land gate." Mabry said to him. The land gate was a place they'd created below the actual entrance to Tengoku. Instead of teleporting people directly into the city itself, like they did when they left the burning castle, this teleport gate would ensure they got to do a secondary check on people before letting them inside.
"I'm coming." Nagi stood up and put his stump behind his back. Instantly he was ashamed of this. As if he was hiding.
Mabry didn't even glance at it. But he did crease his brow slightly. He didn't say a word though and they left to jump into a Windstream that would take them to the gate.
The Konoha refugees appeared in family groups at the symbol carved into the stone. After getting their bearings, each group was moved immediately off the stone and directed towards tents that a slew of Tengoku residents had volunteered to erect. There were Naruto clones scattered throughout assisting where they could. It was a very organized, yet chaotic scene at the same time. The area was growing more and more massive, and the influx of people didn't seem like it would ever end.
Mabry and Nagi stood at the gate, more overseeing things and as security so to speak. There were a few other academy students also standing around, in case any enemies appeared.
"Mabry is it?" A man walked up to where Mabry and Nagi were standing. "I'm Shikaku Nara." He extended his hand.
Mabry took it warmly. "I know who you are Shikaku, I've been waiting to talk to you. Perhaps when the exodus is over and all the people of Konoha are settled into their temporary tents you and I can talk."
Shikaku nodded. "Of course. So these tents are temporary then? I have to admit I expected more when I heard stories of Tengoku." He glanced at the expanse of rocks and mountains behind them, and the clearing where the tents were being set up.
Mabry laughed. "On the other side of that mountain over there you'll find the Disappearing Trading Village. If you've heard of it? We wanted to keep your people away from it for now and any prying eyes. We have merchants from all over the world trading there, and we want to keep Konoha's people's secret for a bit longer." He smiled wider. "But that's not Tengoku though."
He pointed straight up. Shikaku followed his finger and saw only clouds. "Up there. That's Tengoku. And we were asked to keep your people here safe until Naruto and the council return from Wave."
Shikaku shrugged. "Ok, we'll see. What did you want to talk about? The clans are moving their people orderly enough, they don't need my help."
Mabry thumbed towards a very startled Nagi. "I want you to sit with Nagi here for a bit. I think you'll find you've a lot to talk about."
The last of the Konoha refugees had vanished through the scroll marks, so the warriors that were left turned their attention to the next task at hand.
Rejoining the wind streams was a new knowledge that the mad scientist Yoshi had discovered. Using a smaller version of the Daedalus, the warriors of Tengoku only needed to run into a head wind and lift off the ground. This got them airborne. Once there, Naruto could sense where the rivers of wind were and guide them there.
A scroll produced enough smaller Daedalus- nicknamed 'Doves' for the white material used for the wings - for the Tengoku fighters, and a couple larger ones to carry the Konoho Nin. Shino fingered the wings of the Daedalus curiously as Sakura explained it all.
"I'm not going on that." Kiba growled, taking one, then two steps backwards.
"Come on Kiba." His older sister slapped him on his back. She used to be taller than him, now he towered over her. "Where's your spine? If these guys can do it, our clan is more than brave enough to!"
Kiba snarled at her, and didn't move an inch, his eyes darting to the contraption. "No." Akamaru sat behind him with his tongue out, unconcerned.
"Hey big guy." Calamity strode forward. "I'm nervous about these things too. Here," She removed a pouch at her waist and took a drink from it, then passed it to Kiba. "Have some of this, it helps. Trust me." She smiled with a wink, she reached out and stroked Akamaru's ears, the huge wolf-dog reaching her at shoulder height even when sitting.
Kiba felt no threat from this woman, he grabbed it from her and glared at his sister while pouring the liquid down his throat. He pulled it away and wiped his chin, handing it back. With a smile, Calamity took the pouch and poured the rest out into the dirt. Kiba watched in confusion, but then realization hit and he growled.
He took one step towards Calamity then fell forward unconscious.
"Hey what did you do!" Kiba's sister shouted angrily. Her clan's fighters were bristling.
"Relax, he's just asleep for the trip." She palmed some ninja sleeping tablets to show them. She had slipped a few into the canteen before handing it to the distracted Kiba, hoping that he would not detect the odorless, tasteless pills.
Sakura put her hands on her hips and tilted her head. "How are we going to lift him into the Daedalus, Calamity?"
Calamity blinked. "Hmm…hadn't thought of that."
Naruto came over and looked at the huge sleeping mass of Kiba and the still unconcerned Akamaru. The wolf-dog knew these were friends. Calamity pushed the hair out of Kiba's face. Handsome, she said quietly with a smile.
"Well, I'll send some clones to take these two to Wave over the land route. We'll Hiroishin the whole way." He scratched behind his head thinking. "They won't last the whole way with that weight, might have been easier if he was awake Calamity…hmmm." She shrugged with a wide 'not-sorry' grin.
Tsunade chimed in. "Send some other clones to switch out, so when one set dissipates the others can just take over."
Naruto smiled at that. "Perfect!" With a quick hand sign, he'd made eight shadow clones. Two picked up Kiba, while two others approached and tried to find a good way to pick up Akamaru, but could find no good way to do it.
"If only I was bigger…" Naruto whispered. He looked at the sleeping body of Kiba. "I know what to do!"
The clones huddled together, talked heatedly for a minute, then one got on another's back.
"Ah, I know what he's going to do." Sakura exclaimed knowledgably. "He'll use transformation to become big like Kiba so he can carry Akamaru on his back." Calamity and Tsunade nodded in agreement. That made sense.
Naruto examined his two clones, nodded and stepped back. In one voice, the two clones shouted together in unison:
In a puff of smoke, in place of the two Naruto's stood a twelve-foot-tall voluptuous woman with non-proportional giant breasts, scantily clad in furs. Sakura, Calamity and Tsunade exclaimed in anger and surprise.
"I'm not great at the body transformation." Naruto said sheepishly. "This technique works every time, plus this giant version of it is a new level of Jutsu!"
Jiraiya had spouted a small stream of blood from his nose, and walked over wiping it. "This is a good idea Naruto. Smart use…great problem solving."
Tsunade bashed him over the head.
'Sexy giant Naruto' picked up Akamaru and nodded at the two holding Kiba, the four spares also confirming their readiness.
They all turned to face east and vanished, appearing a mile away, then vanishing again out of site.
"Ok!" Naruto said loudly. "Everyone else on the Daedalus! Time to move!" He made another two clones who would be responsible for piloting the large Daedalus, while he himself and his team donned the 'doves'. They ran a few steps into the headwinds, and the wings lifted them off the ground like kites. They circled higher and higher. They were joined in the air by the Tendou squad (Gennosuke, Mirrun, Syrren, Inari, Junya and Fuki), Kakashi, Tenshi and Guerrera. Killer-B had opted to head home to update his brother and people.
Naruto could feel the Windstream above them and to the right, so he guided the group in that direction. The second they hit the stream, instead of a slow glide, they moved as if shot out of a cannon, picking up immense speed and careening east towards wave.
Nagato (Pain) woke slowly. He could not feel his paths. That shared control he'd exercised for so long was gone. He groaned and turned his head. His eyes had been covered with a cloth, so he could see nothing. His wrists and legs were bound, and he was on a soft surface, leaves it felt like.
Bōkyōsei's voice echoed. "Ah you're awake. Good." Nagato felt a kick against his ribs.
"You caused us a setback, foolish human." A female voice barked at him.
"Calm down Benisata. We know where the shards are roughly, we'll catch them." Another male voice said very matter of factly.
Nagato wasn't sure what was going on, but it appeared they'd underestimated him. His hands were behind his back, bound, and his legs were also tied. His eyes were covered, but he was still alive, and still wielded immense power. His body was not able to move very well and hadn't been able to for very many years. But he could move enough to summon he figured.
These bastards had destroyed his Path bodies. Yahiko…
What about Konan? Was she alive still?
"I sense you have many questions human. I've no problem answering them for you. You see, you have a skill that we could use. And if you don't use it for us, that's fine too, you'll be a tasty meal."Bōkyōsei laughed at his own words.
"We're hunting the pieces of an old enemy. They were broken up a long time ago, each one becoming its own self-aware entity. Pathetic versions of their former self. Our mother, in her infinite wisdom, had made this enemy of ours out of pure Demonic Chakra and could never be really destroyed. Some human came along, with eyes like yours you see, and helped him escape Lord Magnus by splitting him into smaller…shards…you could call them."
"The tails…" Nagato whispered. He felt something in his hands that wasn't there a minute ago. A small piece of paper had flitted into his palm on the breeze. She's alive…
"Yes yes, the Tailed beasts as you humans call them." Bōkyōsei brushed him aside. "The main shard seems to reside inside a very powerful human as well. We can smell him sometimes, mixed in with Kyuubi's scent. All over this damn country. Funny though, now that I think about it, he smells kind of like you." Nagato could feel Bōkyōsei's breath near his face. "You must be kin…" He sniffed again, closer. "yes…I think so."
"Wait! Do you sense that!?" The female one exclaimed again in excitement.
"Yes! The main shard! Kyubbi!" Bōkyōsei responded.
"It's moving east of us now! It was west of us not long ago, how is it moving so fast?"
"No matter," The deep voiced one growled. "We must go! I'll take the human, let's get on the move."
Nagato felt himself lifted, and then moving with speed. He allowed himself a small smile. His chance would come; plus, Konan was out there watching him as well, every trace of her presence masked. A lifetime in war had taught them both the same thing.
Sasuke leaned against a tree. Kabuto had disappeared after he'd defeated the white scaled snake. It had taken a lot out of him though. His wounds weren't healing. It had been three days since the battle and that one on his left side was still red, felt hot and had gotten blistery. He knew enough to know it was infected. Curse that Orochimaru and his cursed blade.
He needed a doctor. The closest village to Konoha was still a day's journey away at this speed. If only Kabuto was still around, he could make him… make him…
Sasuke collapsed onto the dirt and didn't move.
From trees two figures came out and one bent over him. The other stood guard impatiently.
"Either kill him or pick him up, I've never liked these woods."
Itachi didn't bother to respond to Kisame, he turned Sasuke over and checked his wounds.
"He's lost a lot of blood. I'll have to carry him."
"You?" Kisame scoffed. He came over and picked up Sasuke like he was no heavier than a backpack. "You'd trip over your own feet with any weight on your shoulders. Seriously, you should eat more."
Together the two of them melted back into the forest.
Senjii walked for what seemed like an eternity in the washed-out world. It looked very much like the real world, with places he recognized. Certain landmarks he remembered passing on his way to meet Soujiro. But this world felt stale and off, and he had yet to see a single living creature. Not a bird, not an insect. Nothing. There was dead silence that threatened to stifle him. Not even a breeze stirred the hair on his head.
He had followed the road up to this point and felt drawn towards a canyon up ahead and to the left. It was as good a destination as any. Soujiro had not prepared him for any of this.
Minutes later, he stood in the center of a high canyon, looking up at the walls that loomed over him.
"Took your time getting here." A strong voice barked behind him.
Senjii swiveled and reached for his swords.
They weren't there. He was sure they were in their scabbards all this time. So where…?
He finally saw the man in front of him. An older man wearing blacksmith clothes. His muscles were hard, much like Guerrera's, but not as hard as his face.
"What is this?" Senjii asked
"You've had this for so long, yet don't know anything at all do you." The blacksmith said, shifting slightly and showing one of Senjii's Kodachi grasped low. As he did that Senjii heard a shuffing behind him again and turned his head to see an older woman, holding his other sword.
"Those are mine." He said plainly, his eyes narrowing.
"Foolish boy." The woman replied. "So young and arrogant." Her voice cracked into him like a whip.
Senjii couldn't help but feel like he'd met these two before.
"One cannot OWN real blades. You work with them, become one with them." The old woman disappeared, and reappeared inches from his face." The Kodachi in her hands impaled his left arm. Simultaneously he took his eyes off the old man, who likewise appeared behind him, and thrust his blade into Senjii's right arm.
He tried to move, but found his legs would not respond. His mouth moved, but he could make no sound.
"Come on boy." The old man said calmly. "You earned the right to wield us. Now earn your mastery of us."
Senjii's eyes widened as realization hit him. These two were the spirits of Gan Jiang and Mo Ye. The couple that had sacrificed their bodies and souls to forge these swords. He felt the pain of the blades in his arms, but could not move. He remembered the trial he had to undergo to be able to get the twin Kodachi in the first place. Sacrifice.
But this test, and he was sure it was a test, seemed to be different.
One with the blade…
That phrase stuck out in his head. Well, they were embedded in him, so couldn't be much more part of him than that.
With a twist and thud, he was on his back. The couple had vanished, but his arms were now outstretched, impaled into the ground by his own swords.
He turned his head – glad to be able to move that much again. No one was around.
Foothills of Tengoku
The night grew cold in the shadow of the mountain. Nagi sat on the ground and exhaled, frustrated while listening to Shikaku recite the same things again.
"Your skillset is a branch of our shadow arts. You travel the shadow to an extent we've not done in generations. However, there are basics that we teach that you've not learnt yet. The shadow can be used by you, for you. For more than just travelling."
He pushed his hands together in a series of signs and the flames of the fire made his shadow dance. Then Shikaku's shadow moved away from the flame and picked up a stick, throwing it into the fire.
Shikaku admitted to himself that he was shocked to find a shadow user all the way here on the other side of the world. But he adapted quickly. It made sense, his clan had been around for hundreds of years. Not all of it in Konoha. He had not known about the Blood Country connection before, but it didn't matter. What he saw before him proved it. This young man was connected to his clan.
"How am I supposed to do hand seals without a hand!?" Nagi spat out angrily, earning him a rap on the head from N'uihc.
"Mind your tongue apprentice or I will remove that as well." The master of Sinanju pronounced menacingly. He would not be embarrassed by his student in front of a lowly clan leader. On one hand the Shadow Clan leader seemed knowledgable and patient. On the other, N'uihc rankled at having another master instruct HIS student. His bad mood was not improving because of this.
Shikaku scratched at his beard. "Well, not all Nin use hand signs." He explained. "The signs mostly just focus our intent. You don't use it when you sink into the shadows."
He pointed at the shadows dancing in front the fire. "When you reach a point where you can almost 'feel' those shadows, then you'll be ready to work on controlling them. And then…maybe…as your goal is…to shape them."
Nagi stared at the flames and the shadows, his eyes watering. "I'm sorry. I'm grateful you are trying to help. Please forgive my words."
N'uihc nodded in approval. "You will stay here without food and water until you attain this awareness as the Shadow clan master has instructed apprentice." His steely voice offered no room for negotiation.
Shikaku stopped himself from contradicting the small Master's words. He knew enough to know this little man was beyond lethal and any words against would be an insult. He just nodded and walked off to go talk to his clan members about Nagi.
Nagi stared into the darkness, intent on the shadows dancing around the flames. He could not feel anything, but this was a path, some hope. He kept staring unblinking and did not notice when N'uihc slipped away.
The entire contingent from Tengoku and Konoha landed carefully in the middle of Wave's village in the middle of the night. While flying over, Tsunade had seen the shadows of the amassed forced below. They numbered in the thousands. She had had no idea that Danzo possessed that many soldiers. Wave's defenses seemed weak in comparison. The Great Naruto bridge still stood. Rows and rows of blockades lined it. Beyond it on the forest side were positions she could see where battles had raged. The forest had beeIf she had to guess, one more massive push from Danzo's forces would overrun the bridge and the town.
Naruto strode away from the Daedulus machines after making sure all his friends were safe from the flight. Shikamaru looked pale, but Shino on the other hand seemed to be in ecstasy and was uncharacteristically effusive. "Flying! Like true insects. How glorious!"
They were met by the Mayor, Lord Gama, who was outfitted in battle scarred armor. He quickly gave them a rundown of their defenses. The three warriors they'd met last time they were here -Takada, Masahiro, and Mizurai - were positioned at the frontlines. There were three members of Tengoku that Naruto was most interested in seeing though.
"Where are the Vipers?" He asked Lord Gama.
Lord Gama grinned mightily. "Those heroes of yours are out again. It's night and that's when they do their hunt. I tell you, if it wasn't for them we'd have been overrun a month ago."
"Tell me more." Naruto asked, happy to hear his former teacher was doing well. He remembered how he'd found Iruka sensei, and Anko… He bit down the rising rage at that memory and looked at the Mayor who mistook his hard eyes for anger at his response.
"Um well..well… see they've been targeting any leaders above a certain rank. At this point they've together killed upwards of forty leaders in the invading army. They strike at night, and they never miss. We've captured a few enemy combatants and they say the night time raids are keeping them ragged."
"Good." Tsunade said as she walked over. She remembered the last battle they had here and didn't want a repeat of that much loss. "You captured someone you said?" She led the Mayor off to take her to the prisoners.
Inari looked around at his old village. He remembered every street, every house. Nothing much had changed. Except the faces of the people. They all looked, tired. He noticed some families seemed to be missing one or two members. Naruto saw his face and understood what he was thinking.
Naruto vowed to himself quietly, he would not let this War continue.
An hour past midnight, three figures in black slipped back into the village along paths only they knew. The council of Tengoku was waiting for them.
"Asuma! Hi there." Jiraiya waved the son of the fifth Hokage over. The three of them wore variations of their previous outfits, but all very dark green. Black was actually not the best color for night word, as even at night pure black stood out. They all wore a custom symbol on their right arm. Jiraiya admired the artwork and wondered who had designed it. The wings of Tengoku, with the Konoha leaf between the upper tips, and the head of a viper beneath them. The symbol of the Viper team who want to reclaim Konoha with the power of Tengoku behind them.
Iruka made a hand sign that meant 'nice to see you guys'. Anko just nodded with a small grin. It had been a good night's work, her sword would need to be properly cleaned.
They sat down to listen to the council as they were getting started on the plans for the day.
"The news isn't good." Asuma started. "We've been working on their squad leaders and commanders. But in the past few days the size of the army has grown from a few hundred to a few thousand. Many are roaming bands of marauders conscripted by Danzo's army."
"Some are a type of clay clone that stink of Orochimaru's work." Anko spat on the ground. "They're tough to kill but possible."
"That army is massive." Tsunade stated. "Much larger than the last force we repelled."
"You should have destroyed the bridge." Kakashi said matter of factly.
"Never! The great Naruto Bridge is a source of our pride!" The Mayor shouted.
Naruto smiled in embarrassment. "Actually, I have a suggestion." All eyes went to him.
"This Island is your home, like Konoha was once mine. But…" He looked around. "It's time to leave it behind, for now." There was a litany of shouting from the representatives of Wave Country. Even Inari was shocked by his Kage's words.
"He's right." Shikamaru chimed in. "There are several thousand soldiers amassed to invade. You've done amazingly to keep the forces that were there before at bay, but you've faced losses. And you're not an army."
Naruto nodded. "Even with us here, there will be more loss of life. Danzo will be defeated, but this should not be your villager's and families price to pay."
Silence greeted that statement for a minute.
"What do you suggest?" Lord Gama asked in defeat.
"There are boats in the harbor. Evacuate. There are two places you can go. Either to Crescent Moon country. Or…" He looked around the room and pulled out an old parchment. He unraveled it so that everyone could see. A murmur went through the room. It was a World Map.
"What in blazes!" Tenchi shouted in disbelief. World Maps hadn't been seen in so long they were thought to be no more in existence.
Naruto grinned. "Remember, Tengoku is where all things go in the end." A shadow crossed his eyes. "Someone told me that a very long time ago."
"I found this a while back." He pointed to the map. "Here is Tengoku, roughly, I mean it's not actually on the map." They all craned to see.
"I've gone ahead and drawn in the lines for where I think the current countries are. Some of the names have changed, but the sizes look about right…" He continued. "...and here is where we are right now." His finger pressed the shape that was Wave Country. "There are many islands between here…" he traced a line across the ocean to Tengoku. "...and here. But, there's a tiny island right here, just north of Tengoku off the cast of our new country. I don't believe it's inhabited." They could see the pen marks on the map that Naruto had made, looking fresher than the original drawings on the map.
"How do you know that Naruto?" Jiraiya asked.
Naruto shrugged. "One of my clones took the wrong stream once. Ended up there. There's a stream that flies directly over it and around a peak. I didn't see any villages."
Lord Gama looked incredulously at the map. He'd never seen one. They had fishing maps of course, but no one had travelled enough to cartograph the entire world, no one he knew of anyway. He studied the route carefully.
"There are too many villagers here to take via our airways. The only way out is by fleet. After that, the decision is yours. I'm sure Crescent Moon will take you in." Naruto explained more.
Shikamaru studied the interaction carefully. He'd not witnesed this side of Naruto before. The leader, the diplomat. What had he been through to grow this much?
"Of course, whichever way you decide to go, we will escort you." Naruto smiled. "We're not setting you adrift to fend for yourself. I'd also cover your escape." They all began quietly talking amongst themselves about the options. Naruto hoped no one noticed his slip about being the one to cover their retreat. One look around at the disapproving looks of Sakura and Jiraiya told him otherwise.
"We will meet to discuss this Lord Tenshikage." Lord Gama declared. "We appreciate all Tengoku has done to protect us this much." With that the village council separated from the Tengoku contingent to discuss matters.
Sakura walked over calmly and smacked Naruto on the arm.
"Ow!" He winced as he rubbed.
"Baka. You will not be covering anyone's retreat alone." She shook her head and left the building with Calamity and Hiruka. Naruto smiled. He was glad they were here, but he missed his friends Nagi and Senjii. He wondered what they were doing now.
World of Dreams
"What the hell am I supposed to do now!" Senji bellowed. He had not been able to move from the ground, his arms remained pinned by his blades. It had felt like a day, maybe more. He stared up at the sky.
"One with the blades. One with the blades." Well one this was positive. He'd lost all feeling in his arms, so that was a positive thing. At least he wasn't in pain anymore.
"Master Senjii?" A voice asked him. He lifted his chin and saw a boy a few years younger than him standing nearby.
Senjii couldn't place his name, but he knew he'd seen his face before. Suddenly it clicked. "Yume?" *(See Rogue Wave – Chapter 22). Senjii remembered him as a boy from Wave Village. He had the ability to invade other's dreams.
"What are you doing here Master Senjii?" Yume looked around nervously. He looked a bit older, a bit more battle hardened than when Senjii had first met him. "It's not safe to dwell in Tel'aran'rhiod for too long."
"Tele-what?" Senjii strained his neck to see Yume better. He looked slightly unreal, almost not wholly there. "I'm doing training, if you can believe it." He glanced down at the swords in his arms. "These are part of my training."
"These what?" Yume looked confused. "You should leave as soon as you can Master Senjii. There are others who cross the world of dreams. Monster, wolf and man."
"Thanks Yume. How's wave?" Senjii asked. The ridiculousness of his position during their conversation not lost on him.
"Lord Naruto is here. The masters of Tengoku as well. There are thousands of invaders on the border. I do my part invading their dreams, troubling them. It's not much but it's all I can do." Yume shrugged. "I overheard the council. We may be abandoning wave soon, heading out to sea."
Senjii frowned. Things must be bad if Naruto is there and they're still talking about fleeing. He needed to go to his friend. Quickly.
"Thanks Yume. You be careful now. Let Naruto know I'm coming." Senjii smiled at the boy who gave a half smile back and disappeared.
"Of course, I don't know HOW I'm going to get there." He said to no one in particular. "Or how I'm even going to get off this ground."
Senjii scowled. Yume seemed confused about the swords in his arms...these what… He looked again. What exactly was holding him back?
He closed his eyes.
It was the third night that Nagi fell off the rock as he fought off sleep. He had stared into the darkness surrounding the fire constantly, not eating, only allowed water by N'uihc who would come and say nothing but add wood to the fire and leave. It had become more than a test for his master, it was now a point of pride. If he failed in this "simple test", he would bring shame to Master N'uihc.
Of course, the added pressure didn't help at all.
Nagi was exhausted, irritable. He didn't feel any different now than before he started. He stared in intense dislike at the shadows again. He could jump into them and travel, but no one had ever taught him that. He just *knew* he could do it. Probably learned it before he could remember walking. He wasn't sure.
The shadows flickered and danced. He moved his fingers and hands in time to the flickering shadows, waving this way and that. Just mindlessly keeping time with it.
The noises from the encampment were soft and waning. Most of the refugees from Konoha had gone to sleep. He could hear the movement of some of the men of the camp as they took turns on guard duty. They knew it wasn't necessary; the Tengoku academy was using guarding the camp as a training exercise. He was also pretty sure there were a few Naruto clones hovering around still.
He angrily cleared his thoughts. His eyes were now painful to keep open. He realized he was sitting on the ground after falling from the rock, and dusted his clothes in frustration and shifted back onto the rock. Thank goodness Master wasn't here to see that display of weakness.
"Are you certain this is the only way?" N'uihc asked from the shadows. "My pupil is at his limit."
"Yes." Shikaku replied. They watched carefully and far enough away to be unheard. "He's too old to learn using traditional methods. He needs to reach near insanity and break through the barrier of his age and knowledge."
"So you said." N'uihc replied. "I judge the preparation time to be sufficient now. Let us begin." With that N'uihc stepped forward.
"Wriggling worm." N'uihc voice was full of disdain as he approached Nagi. "You bring shame to Sinanju. Shame to the greatest martial art that has ever existed and it's current poor Master."
Nagi shook his head, too tired to even respond.
"Is this the limits of your skill? The limits of your resolve?" N'uihc continued berating him. "You are not worthy of the gifts you've been given. Far less any more that you already have."
Nagi had almost expected this reaction for his failure thus far, but it still hit him like a tonne of bricks. He was tired, hungry, and mentally just couldn't take it anymore.
"I lost my hand!" He shouted back to Master N'uihc. "I've not slept in days! This is impossible! I cannot learn this!" His voice raised and got louder until he was almost shrieking.
N'uihc sneered. "Cannot. You are no pupil of mine. This shame is unbearable. I will remove your existence from the world to restore the Sun Arts to it's glory."
He stepped towards Nagi radiating killing intent. Nagi stumbled backwards, too tired to sink into the shadows to run. He saw death approaching him, and his fear rose up and overpowered him.
"NO!" he shouted. He raised his hands and the shadows he was playing with earlier raised up into a wall to protect him, shielding him from the killing intent of N'uihc.
"GOOD!" His Master shouted from the other side of the wall. Nagi stared incredulously at the impenetrable black shadow between himself and N'uihc. It fell away immediately like tendrils of black smoke, to reveal N'uihc…smiling.
Shikaku stepped out of the shadows his hands clapped together. "You did it!" He smiled and clapped Nagi on the shoulders, helping him to his feet.
"We've never had to teach someone your age how to use Shadow technique before." His grin was unapologetic.
Nagi nodded numbly. N'uihc turned to Shikaku. "Now that my student has broken this barrier. What training will be next?"
Shikaku scratched his beard. "Well there are exercises he can do. Of course he needs to tap into the feeling of what just happened and be able to call the shadow at will."
They turned to Nagi, but the boy was asleep on his feet. Rooted in the ground -as N'uihc had taught him- unmovable, but fast asleep. N'uihc nodded in approval and removed his own cloak, draping it over his pupil, leaving him standing there, dead to the world.
The real training could wait till dawn.
The world of dreams
One with my swords.
One with my swords.
They're a part of me.
Part of me…
They are me.
I am them…
He felt his arms again. He looked and saw no blood, no wound, no swords. But he knew the answer now.
I am the sword.
He remembered the makers of the swords, the sacrifices. What it took.
No. Not I am the sword
He stood up and shouted into the wind. "WE ARE THE SWORD!" his arms outstretched. His twin Kodachi were back in his hands, no…part of his hands, extensions of his body. He felt their power coursing through him. Different than before. This was not their power any longer, it was HIS power. Life and Death. His left Kodachi could heal, his right could kill with a scratch. Things he never knew about them, he now understood. He investigated the blades and saw the reflections of Gan Jiang and Mo Ye in the steel. Part of him forever.
Senjii woke up.
The decision to leave was agreed upon fairly quickly two days ago. Naruto and his forces has bought them time to prepare and pack, and now tonight was the night. All the ships were full. The convoy was ready to set sail. There were ten Ships in total. The experiences sailors amongst them had taken stock of Naruto's maps with glee. Most of their maps only extended to the Land of Water. Beyond that they knew nothing. Now they had a bearing and a destination. They estimated the journey would take a month.
Jiraiya and Tsunade had made the necessary arrangements for protecting the ships. The majority of the forces from Konoha would split up across the ships, with Kakashi and the Vipers acting as defensive commanders.
Naruto and the main forces from Tengoku would stay behind and leave a parting gift for the forces from Danzo. Grimly Lord Gama stood on the bow of the lead ship. He shouted into a megaphone to the other ships.
"People of Wave! Good morning. In a few minutes, our ships will join together in the largest exodus in the history of our people. Citizens. That word should have new meaning for us here today. We leave behind the only home we've ever know, and sail to a new land. We run today, not from tyranny or oppression, but annihilation."
"We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. We have seen enough war for now."
"And, as we set sail, today we will declare with one voice, that Wave will live forever! That we,the Citizens of Wave will always be together and survive! We shall return someday to this land! Now! Let us sail towards Hope! Towards the future!"
A cheer rose up from the ships and with a creak of wood and steel, they set sail towards the horizon one by one.
Naruto watched them go with a smile on his face. He glanced at Inari who stood next to him watching them sail. "Did you want to go with them?"
Inari shook his head "My home is Tengoku now. My team is my family."
Naruto smiled and turned. He gave a signal, and a flare went up.
The flare was the signal for the front guard, the three former mercenaries and the Tengoku forces on the front line keeping any advance scouts at bay. Jiraiya released the illusion he had cast to hide the departing ships and a shout went up amongst the invading forces. In a flash the Tengoku group was on the land side of the bridge.
Naruto nodded at Sakura.
She tightened her fist and dug her toes into the ground. With a burst of strength, she launched high into the air. Tsunade watched on approvingly. Sakura gathered all her chakra and strength into her right fist and came down in a tremendous punch on the piece of land where the bridge met the island. The impact was catastrophic. The bridge rolled like a whip that had been cracked before shattering into chunks of concrete and steel. The shockwave threw a blast of dust and pebbles back at the Tengoku defenders. They did not budge.
"That'll do for now." Jiraiya said. They turned to get onto the Daedelus' that they'd prepared. Even Kiba got on one with only a small growl. Calamity patted his forearm and sat behind him with a broad smile. One by one they clambered on board the devices. Sakura turned to Naruto who stared across the crumbled bridge into the forest. The amassed forces on the other side were attempting to cross using the stones from the destroyed bridge.
He looked up at the sky and at his friends on board their Daedelus'. He directed the wind to get stronger and pointed at the devices. With a rush they took off, startling their passengers.
"Naruto! What are you doing!?" Shikamaru shouted down at him, hanging on for dear life. The Daedelus rose higher and higher, racing towards the Windstream that would take them home.
"I'm buying us time to escape." He turned to face the oncoming horde and said quietly to himself. "I won't kill anyone."
An advance guard of seven ninja raced towards Naruto. His white jacket flapping in the breeze he stepped into his toad Taijutsu patterns. Grabbed one leg coming for his face, kicked the person to the left in his head. Spin around, swipe the stabilizing leg of the person who'd attacked first. His fists and elbows were a blur as he pushed forward into the group. One by one they fell groaning or unconscious to the floor.
A fireball raced towards him. He didn't see it. He felt the disruption and heat in the air. He thought about it and the blast veered away and exploded on a rooftop away from him. Naruto felt like he'd broken through a barrier. He felt…everything…around him. He could see the chakra energies flowing in the wind. He allowed it to flow through him.
His iris became rectangular slits and shadowed as he effortlessly entered sage mode. With another flap of wind and his cloak, he floated into the air, lifting off the ground.
"Is Naruto flying?" Hinata asked no one in particular. As they joined the wind stream and flew away, they watched as Naruto rose above the land. More and more enemy ninja and creations poured onto the island. Naruto knew he could wipe out a huge chunk of this invading army. He should, right here and now. Save a life later, by taking some lives now.
But he struggled with the guilt of what he did in Blood Country. He watched as ninja went from house to house making sure no one was left in the village.
"This is ridiculous." The fox said in his head. "Your so-called mercy means hundreds or thousands of innocent humans will be slaughtered in front of that army."
"I can't be the one to decide if they live or die." Naruto shook his head and replied.
"Well how about those creations from that Sannin Orochimaru? They're not human." The fox growled, his bloodlust surging. "Let's kill those!"
Naruto frowned. Finding no reason to argue that point. Besides, he had some anger to work out. Seeing the Country of Wave overrun was another nail in the coffin of his childhood memories.
With a yelp of glee, the Fox pushed his Chakra further into Naruto. His yes changed from rectangular shaped to crosses. His whisker like birthmarks grew deeper and more pronounced. Naruto managed to keep his head though, and held his hands out, palm up. A single tiny Ransengan appeared.
The Rasengans rotated around each other. Naruto kept adding more miniature Rasengans into the swirling vortex above his hands. He glanced down below and directed each ball to a target at a rapid rate. The fox's chakra adding more destruction to the attacks. The creations of Orochimaru exploded one by one.
The chaos that ensued as the army below realized death was raining down from above was something to see. People trampled each other to get under shelter. Some fired back with fireballs or earth Jutsu. But Naruto just rose higher into the air and kept up the barrage. Each Rasengan finding it's intended target even if they moved. After a solid minute of his assault, and an innumerable amount of Rasengans, Naruto lowered his arms. Chaos reigned below. At some point some buildings had caught fire. Naruto remembered some of the Nin used fire jutsu, so one of them must have started it.
Fitting. He thought. The village could burn down… he glanced away to sea and saw the ships on the horizon. …but the village still lives on in them. He looked up at his Konoha friends and Tengoku family flying away in the Jetstream. And in us. Konoha will live again for them.
Naruto flew up into the stream himself, caught it, and raced after his friends. With a quick Hiraishin in midair – something he had never tried before – He blinked and was sitting in the Daedelus with a huge grin.
"Let's head home!" He shouted over the wind. The ashes of Wave blew in the other direction, out to sea, following its former citizens on their journey.