Hello all my readers and reviewers who have come this far to see what will happen next. Thank you once more for all those who had reviewed the previous chapters.
There seems to be some confusion about the western empire. So I will attempt to clarify these:
One determining the size of the empire, think the Elemental Countries as Europe and the Western Empire as the Russian empire, in terms of size.
Furthermore, the name of the western empire seems to be misleading. The Empire is still based on the ancient China/Japan era, not the historical western era.
Also, I altered the council chamber scenes so the council is less incompetent and more logical. I put Danzo more into character as well. I would like to thank ABitterPill for essentially giving me a few ideas to redo the chapter.
Now for the updates on my other fics: Demon Emperor and Rise of the Emperor will officially be cancelled and removed. I cannot find any inspiration for Demon Emperor, so I will remove it for now. If I find some inspiration for it I will restart it. Until then it is to be deleted. Rise of the Emperor is a mess without proportions. Being my first fic I have moved on from it, and thus since this fic is my main project, I will be removing it.
Rise of the Lich King will be temporarily on Hiatus until otherwise. I have enjoyed that fic, so when I'm in the mood I will restarted it at a later date, until then expect no updates soon.
On the other hand, I'm making some preparations to perhaps start another fic, which is away from the Naruto genre, if you want any information on what it is, by all means email me.
Anyway, now onto the fic once more.
The Earth Daimyo sat within his luxurious palace, up upon his throne, smiling at the current turn of events, which transpired in the last twenty-four hours. The invasion of the Western Empire has gone a lot easier than previously thought. It had only been a day since the army sent to expand the lands of Earth Country had broken thought the border, setting up camp and preparing to the drive deep into the Empires central point, thus end the war quickly.
The Daimyo of Earth had good reason to be confident of success. The war with Fire Country, even though surprisingly it had not properly escalated into armed conflict, the war was near enough won: Hi no Kuni was alone against Earth, Sound, Lightning and several other smaller countries. He had no real reason to fear that the sheer numbers of the Northern Alliance would easily decimate the single country, which was originally the strongest nation in the Elemental Plane.
Earth was not alone in its attack on the Empire to the West, as two more countries that bordered on the lands of the Empire, joined the conflict on the condition that they gain some land of their own. As such the combined forces of half the Alliance were now poised to take down the Empire. It is common belief that by taking the capital of a nation, regardless of its size, the sheer loss of moral at the loss of the heart of a nation should cause for the Empire to surrender. Such, the target of this campaign was Kyoto, the Empire's capital. At least that was the plan.
But there was another reason for Earth Country to strike at the Empire. Alliance spies that operated within the neutral countries found that a team of Konohagakure was seen entering and then a week later leaving the Empire borders. It would seem to the members of the Alliance were in a sense worried that Konoha, on behalf of the Fire Daimyo to try and bring an essential superpower into the conflict. As it was hard to determine whether or not the Emperor of the Empire had indeed agreed to an alliance. If this was the case, the balance of power could quickly shift.
The Earth Daimyo did not want to take the chance of waiting and seeing what could happen. Taking matters into his own hands he decided to strike first. The hope was to deal a blow, by taking the Kyoto Capital, which in his belief would force the Empire to surrender, and gain a great deal of land in the process. If the gamble succeeded, then not only would the threat of the Empire be neutralised and stop it becoming even more powerful. After this plan to deal with the Empire was done, then Fire Country would surely be alone.
But again this had even further implications going further than the Alliance. If he was able to take a great deal of land from the Empire, then he would easily be the most powerful of the Daimyo in the Elemental Countries and the Land of Earth would become an empire in its own. After this came to fruition, he would be able to conquer the other elemental nations, making him the most powerful, if the only ruler of the continent.
The Daimyo smiled; oh he could almost taste the power that was within his grasp. He hoped that this war with the Empire would be a quick one. This would show the continent the might of Tsuchi no Kuni. His thoughts were interrupted when a knock on the doors to the chamber. Shouting for whomever it was to enter, a servant wearing a kimono appeared before the feudal lord. He bowed before him.
"My Lord, the Tsuchikage and General Kotomaya are here to see you" he spoke, explaining why he was here. The old Lord of Earth Country grinned.
"Excellent, bring them in". With a bow the servant left the room. A few moments later, two men walked into the room. One was the Third Tsuchikage, the small, old man Onoki. Despite being an old man, he was a formidable fighter, thus being a Kage. HE was a deeply patriotic figure, and served his Daimyo with complete loyalty. The second was a young, tall male wearing blue samurai armour. He had short, orange hair and his posture was one of confidence, perhaps arrogance. Kotomaya was the son of a noble who was high in the court of the Earth Daimyo. Being of high-born status he was highly educated, and was known for having a keen eye for tactics and this soon led to the young man being head of Earth countries military. The Daimyo was slightly worried about the young redhead's ambitions, but for this operation his was the best man to lead the operations against the Empire. Both men appeared before their lord, before both falling to one knee.
"My Lord, we are here as you requested" Kotomaya proudly spoke.
"Indeed. Tell me, how goes the operation?" The Lord of Earth was surely confident that with commanders like these two he was sure of victory. At this Onoki gave a small chuckle.
"My Lord it was easy to break through the border forts, the garrisons were weak and broke the moment they were attacked. If this is the strength of the Empire, then it was surely overestimated".
"Tell me, what is your strategy for winning this war?" He already knew the basics, striking the heart of the Empire, its capital. But he was keen to know what other details were involved in this operation. At this Kotomaya spoke up.
"My Lord we plan to strike hard and fast. Since we just got into the Empire's lands we have built a temporary base of operations. We plan to launch a direct attack onto the Empire's capital of Kyoto. As such, we plan to travel light, so artillery will not be used, as it would slow us down. Scouts have reported back that there are many small pockets of defence forces all around the provinces that makes up the Empire's defence forces. However the main forces have not been sighted, so we must advance cautiously in case we run into their armies. If we are lucky, we will not be confronted by the armies of the Empire by the time we have taken their capital". After the young general spoke, Onoki put his piece to the Daimyo.
"If all goes to plan and move with great speed this will be done in just under two months, as it will take that long to get from our current army's location to Kyoto. What is not being hoped for is a confrontation from one of these "Empire Legions". Apparently their army size, if we are forced into a fight, could route us due to the fact they by far overwhelm us in terms of military might". At this the Daimyo frowned.
"What are these Legions?" he asked. Onoki spoke up once more.
"What we know currently is that they are the standard Imperial armies for the Empire. While their size is unknown, if we were to be confronted by one of them, the chances are they would outnumber us significantly is high. It's only logical due to the Empires size that their armies would be also of large quantities".
"What is the army size to deal with this operation?" he asked.
"Near enough our entire military force is taking part in the operation: the five thousand men which make up of the countries military force. Plus a thousand men from the other two countries taking part in the operation. Lord Onoki has brought a significant part of his ninja force totalling eight hundred of his men. As such, the force taking part in this operation totals to six thousand and eight hundred men". The Daimyo sighed, hopefully it would be enough.
"Then I will leave it to you gentlemen. The fate of Tsuchi no Kuni hangs on your shoulders. This campaign will determine whether we shall become the greatest of the elemental nations, or we will cease to exist for attacking this great power. For the future of this country of Earth, you must not fail". At this the two men leading the army against the empire bowed their heads low, before standing up and leaving the Daimyo to take to the field and fight this campaign.
Naruto, flanked by Mistuhide, Komei and his guard, marched to the emergency cabinet meeting with a stride in his step. He could not believe how foolish and naive he was to believe that the eastern conflict would not spill over the Empire's borders. But alas he was proven wrong. Now the forces of Earth country had broken through the border forts and had set-up camp within the eastern region. It was luckily that he had ordered the mobilisation of the Third Imperial Legion to that region, in case the worst-case scenario was to take place. Now it had come to pass. What was to happen now was attempt to deal with this situation quickly, before it escalated even further.
With force he pushed the double doors to the meeting room wide open, to find the entire cabinet arguing with one another. Lord Kazuma was also present, standing silently in the corner. Kyuubi had yet to return from his trip to Konohagakure, so only he was absent. The roaring voices of the cabinet continued as he and Komei sat in their seats, the Praetorian Guard taking their positions in the room. It was after he sat down that he noticed that Yoshimoto was the only one of the cabinet not arguing. Instead his gaze was upon the young Emperor. No voice was to be heard, as his eyes told the blond all he needed to know:
I told you so.
He could help but feel angry that the fact that the old war hawk was correct in this situation. He hoped that war would not come from the east. But now it had come to pass. He needed Yoshimoto's insight and experience to help formulate a plan quickly.
With the noise beginning to increase in levels, the boy rubbed his temples as he felt a migraine come to his head. He did not need this. While he had learnt patience, thanks to Kyuubi, even that had its limits.
"ENOUGH!" Everyone went quite as the boy essentially roared for silence. They could see he was not in the mood for arguments at this moment in time. Now he had order, he began to emergency meeting.
"Right, what the hell are we dealing with?" he essentially ordered, trying to get to grips with the situation. Yoshimoto was to have his answer.
"Your Imperial Majesty, intelligence reports that and army comprising of three countries has broken through the northern border of the eastern region and have set up camp near one of our major cities in the north eastern province. Their numbers roughly add up to about seven thousand men. The countries involved seem to be Earth, mountain and the new rice countries". At this Naruto put his head in his hands when he realised two of the countries mentioned exactly on the border to the Empire. Its obvious how they moved undetected by Kazuma's Sentinels.
"Why would they want to attack us?" one minister asked.
"I believe that question is not really important now at this moment, for war has been declared. What is important is dealing with this situation". Komei replied to the minister. At this several other ministers nodded in agreement.
"What can be said for certain is that the people are shocked by this seemingly unprovoked attack. They obviously want this dealt with" the speaker of the House of Representatives spoke before the cabinet, "Even it has just been over a day for this to start, news of the attack has spread like wildfire throughout the Empire. Needless to say public opinion is essentially one of a desire for war and retribution. The people were not happy with this attack and wanted the government to action quickly. As such we are now put under pressure to deliver. This is now one of the worst crises in the Empire's very short history, and thus we have to deal with it quickly and decisively before it grows out of control". Essentially the speaker of the House of Representatives brought home the seriousness of the situation. Now they had to deliver what the people demanded less internal strife was to start up.
"Does young Yukimura know of this situation?" old monk Kato asked.
"He has been informed of the situation. The Third Imperial Legion is already on the move to intercept this invasion force" Yoshimoto answered.
"How could they achieve victory with such a small force?" another minister asked the obvious question. With a force that large, or small, it would be easy for it to be swiped aside with a single Legion of one hundred thousand men. Hell, even a single division of ten thousand would be sufficient.
"If they have nothing to slow them down and travel light, then my guess they would attempt to go straight to the capital of Kyoto" everyone turned to the Emperor, who by now had pulled himself together. "The plan is most probably to attack the heart of the empire, in which they hope it would cause a major moral shake up to our forces. In theory its possible, as few nations in history had continued a war after losing their capital". It was a clear objective. After all the capital was the centre of a nation, with the governing body residing within. Take the capital and the governing body, victory would be almost certain. Only a few times, when the spirit is willing, do those who had lost their capital in a war continue to fight on.
"But with a force that large? Surely they underestimate us" one minister quipped. A force of seven thousand against three full Legions. It sounded foolish. Yoshimoto however was not finished with his report.
"It seems from the report that the Tsuchikage is among their ranks, as well as a significant amount of ninjas from Iwagakure". Several ministers paled at the mention of ninjas, and Naruto soon understand why they would be confident enough to attack the empire with a small force.
"So it would seem that they have many powerful warriors within their ranks. It would seem that victory of this force will not be so easily won after all" he mused. The cabinet, upon hearing the Emperors words, wondered what he was thinking. Those there began to realise he was formulating a plan to deal with this problem. Those who knew him well knew of his radical and gambling tactics. It was how he won many of his wars. Komei in fact once called him the "luckiest boy alive".
"Your Imperial Majesty?" justice minister Kisuke asked, wondering what was running through the blonde's head. Naruto on his part was assessing the situation. He was aware of the Third Kage of the Hidden Rock Village and his abilities. As such, he was wondering who would be able to match him. Hanzo Hattori of the ninja Hattori clan could be a good bet, but he wondered if his abilities would be enough to take on the old man who was rumoured to rival his own father. Sakon, Shimazu and Yukimura were out of the question. They were commanders, samurai. They would not stand a chance against a man who had a great deal of power at his disposal. Kyuubi had not returned yet, and wouldn't know when he would come back. Out of everyone in that force, it was old man Onoki that worried him the most.
It was at these times did he feel the burden of leadership heavy on his shoulder. With no other choice, he had to get involved. Personally.
"Looks like I will have to take the field of battle once more. Reluctant though I am to do so, there is no other way to deal with the leader of the Iwa's forces" at this the cabinet went into an uproar. Even Komei was shocked at this declaration.
"But Your Imperial Majesty! What happens if you were to fall!" one minister tried to argue.
"Your Imperial Majesty, I would highly advise not to take this course of action" Komei also tried to put reason before the young Emperor. He could here the advisors behind him also trying to get him to reconsider this choice. However, they were all silenced when he raised his hand.
"If the leader of a nation does not lead, then how can he expect his subjects to follow? I have fought in conflicts before I became the Emperor. I was among the front lines during the war of unification. War is no stranger to me. When a situation like this arises, I must meet the challenge." The ministers of the cabinet kept their silence, but their faces clearly showed disagreement to the Emperor, the symbol of the Empire, decision to personally take to the field. Out of all the members of the cabinet, only the minister of defence was to be smiling. It was times like these that showed that the Emperor was no coward and was willing to take to battle if the situation called for it.
Komei sighed, it seems the blond ruler was clear in his actions, and would not be talked out of swaying from hi course. He could only support what the Emperor needed and prayed the blonde's courage wouldn't end him.
"Very well Your Imperial Majesty, what s your orders?" he asked. Naruto could he the resignation in the chief's voice. He could understand his plight of having to risk his life, but to deal with a Kage, another powerful warrior was needed.
"I would like for Lord's Hanzo and Kazuma to accompany me. Inform Lord Yukimura to march for Kimina Valley. If my suspicions are correct, then the enemy force will have to pass through the valley to make quick march toward Kyoto. Even so if not then the position will allow us to quickly reposition if necessary". Already his tactical mind began to work on a plan to deal with the invaders quickly and decisively. The valley's natural defensive location made it ideal for defenders. Furthermore, it could be used for ambush purposes and the high ridges made it effective to use artillery in a much more deadly manner.
"I shall inform them immediately Your Imperial Majesty" Lord Kazuma of the Eihei made a hand sign and suddenly a pure black raven appeared, much to the startling of the cabinet. Seconds later it disappeared in a flash. Naruto nodded his head in recognition to the Lord Sentinels actions. After this he stood up, gaining the attention of the cabinet.
"I'm calling an end to this meeting. I ask the members of the House of Representatives to keep the people calm and inform them that action is being taken, and retribution will be swift. Yoshimoto I would like any other information you have on the situation, and bring Lord Hanzo to the palace so we can get moving quickly. It it time for the invaders to be shown our might. If we have to take the fight directly to the Northern Alliance to bring peace to this Empire, then so be it".
Yukimura, sat upon his hoarse, gazed on a high stance the Third Imperial Legion that marched en mass towards their destination below him. It had only been a few ours when a messenger came into the command compound within the fort in the eastern province, informing them of the attack in the north. Naturally the young general order the whole Legion to move north to meet the treat. So far he had little Intel on who he was facing, or the numbers. All he knew was that they were based near one of the cities in the north of the eastern region.
He could understand now why he was repositioned to the eastern region. While the Emperor highly doubted that the eastern block would try anything direct with the empire, he was a cortious enough to position the Third Imperial Legion to the east in case something did happen. With hindsight it was a clever defensive move, and now they had plenty of time to mobilise and move up quickly to meet the threat.
The young Sanada watched the Legion move to meet the threat. All ten divisions of one hundred thousand men moved from the defensive fort close to the boarder in the central province of the eastern region, marching quickly northwards. Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery and Chariots, along with small units of special forces filled the ranks of the Legion, all one hundred thousand divided into ten divisions of ten thousand men each. This structure essentially made the divisions individual armies within the Legion. At the current rate of speed, it would take a few months to meet the force at the border; hopefully the enemy force would still be there when they arrive at full force.
Yukimura had good reason to feel confident at victory of the invaders: His force was a fully equipped, fully manned standard Legion. What the Legion lacked in terms of experience, since this was the newest Legion to be currently standing, was made up for the fact they were given priority for the newest weapons of artillery and hand weapons, thus the Legion was given a further edge over their foes. As such, the enemy force was soon to meet a force of the Empire, and like the foes of the Emperor in the past would be smashed aside like all others.
Suddenly he heard a bird screech above him. Looking to the source, he saw a pure black raven dart towards him. Before it made contact, it dispersed in a black swirl and in its place was a clearly written letter rolled-up. In a swift motion he grabbed the letter, and with gloved fingers unrolled it to see its contents.
As he began to read the letter, a smile graced his face. An order from the Emperor, as it had the Emperor's seal upon it, along with a insignia that clearly shows it was sent via the Emperor's sentinels. He had his orders as to his new destination, but was shocked to find that the Emperor himself was taking part in the conflict. This meant that the situation was critical and the ruler of the west wanted to see a quick end to what would be a bloody conflict.
With the new orders directly from the top set, he raised his war fan high. At this yells for the Legion to halt were heard and trumpets were heard all around, and as one, all the men in the Legion ceased to move. Next his used his war fan to signal for the summoning of his division commanders. Soon they rode up from their divisions to meet him.
"You called us general?" one of the older commanders asked.
"We have new orders directly from the Emperor" at this revelation eyebrows were raised at this revelation, he showed them the letter as proof in case any doubts were raised.
"We are to move to Kimina Valley were we will meet the invading forces head on. The Emperor himself will be joining the conflict". This was hard for the commanders to take in that the ruler of the Empire was coming to the front. But the evidence was there on the letter bearing the Imperial seal. Needless to say no questions were asked about this decision, but their orders were clear. With a salute they rode down to their divisions.
Soon the commanders informed their officers of the change in location. With these orders given, the trumpets were called up once again, and the Legion as a whole began to march once more, this time to the given destination, to the Kimina Valley near the edge of the western border of the eastern region.
While he watched his large army marched, he began to wonder what he would be up against. For the fact that His Imperial Majesty was involving himself meant this was a serious situation, and thus he would not take this enemy force likely. Now it would be until he met this force personally that he would understand the mind of his soon-to-be-opponent. Now it would be up to the men down below to fight the battle to protect the Empire.
For the Emperor.
Naruto was in his chamber, preparing for the conflict that was to come soon. He was confident of victory, but he going to have to face clearly the strongest ninja in their ranks: Onoki, Third Kage of the hidden rock village. He must not underestimate the old man. He saw how strong old man Sarutobi was, even when he was old and past his prime. As such, the Tsuskikage would be the same. He would have to go all out to a least end it soon, as he would not want to have a long-drawn out fight. With luck, the battle could be over before they are, and such force him to withdraw if the battle went bad for the eastern forces.
In his hands was to be his weapon he would draw during this conflict, and in fact drawn in the conflicts of the past. This ancient long blade was forged in ages past, and carried special significance to him: The Seven Star Sword was a finely ornate, long and highly decorated weapon. The sheath and hilt was made from gold and was deeply decorated, from the hilt to the weight on the end, to the tip of the sheath. Furthermore, along the sheath were seven stars, which had within them the seals for the seven elements in this world: the main elements of Fire, Earth, Water, Air, but also the elements of Light, Darkness, and the Void.
While the seals and the materials which make the sword is valuable, to Naruto it is more valuable because it was a heirloom from his ancestors of the Uzumaki's. As such the blond treasures this sword greatly, so far it had not let him down. The sword had hidden powers which Naruto was still trying to understand. Regardless, he had drawn this sword many times during the wars of unification. Now he would do so again.
He was brought out of his thoughts when he heard the door behind him quietly open. He did not need to turn around. He knew who was coming in to see him. He felt slender arms wrap around his waist, clutching him tightly. He could feel the warmth of a body pressing against his. He could feel a head gently rest onto his back. With a sigh he grasped the arms tightly with one of his own. He knew she would not want him to go, the words did not need to be said.
"I heard from both Komei and Mistuhide you were facing them" her voice was one of a woman trying to remain calm, and not to scream out. Naruto knew this would have to come eventually; only it came sooner than he wished.
"I have no choice Hinata" he gently spoke, but he knew she still would not want him to go, most probably fearing the worst. Her response was to tighten her grip. It screamed to him not to leave. Not to leave her. With a small, sad smile gracing his lips he turned within the hold so he could face the woman who he treasured. He almost had to swallow when he looked directly at her.
Her eyes were tear stained, no doubt due to the fact of fearing the worst that could happen to him. She looked so venerable before him, clinging to him as her only true pillar of strength. Oh how he hated to make her cry. He wrapped his arms around her, thus completing the embrace of lovers as he comforted his princess while she silently begged him not to leave to the front. Not to leave her.
"Please Naruto-Kun, don't leave. I'm worried what could happen. If you were to-" she left it open. How she did not want to think of what could happen if he was to never return. It had only been a few weeks since she was first reunited with her love. She now felt whole after finding out he loved her. Now she felt like she was losing him again, and it was breaking her. Unconsciously she tightened her hold on her royal boyfriend. She felt his hand rub her hair in a soothing manner, attempting to calm her down. Silence reigned between them, words didn't need to be spoken, for both naturally seemed to understand each other.
Naruto pulled away from his princess and placed his fingers under her chin, making her look up into his eyes. Her eyes were tear stained, with a gloved finger he wiped away the tears, before leaning in to kiss her gentle lips. This was enough to calm Hinata down. She once more felt complete. When he pulled away she gave a silent moan of displeasement having only lasted for a short time.
"This won't take long Hinata. I'll be there for only a short amount of time. Once we have beaten them back, I will come straight back to you. I promise" he always kept his promise, he prided himself on it. He would be damned to allow himself to die in this conflict, not after everything he had worked so hard on and some much more to do. Also, he would not allow himself to upset his princess anymore than he already had by joining in the conflict personally.
Hinata for her part managed to give her boyfriend a warm smile. She knew in her heart that Naruto was to stubborn to change his ways. Even so, she hoped he would keep his promise, and return safely. She watched as he picked up his sword and, with a peck on her cheek, walked out to go the meeting point with the other members in the palace going to the front lines.
"I'll wait for you, Naruto-Kun. Always".
It had only been a few days since the demon lord, the Nine Tailed Demon Fox, had made his dramatic, freighting and explosive re-appearance within Konohagakure, the Village hidden in the leaves, and made his deeply startling revelations regarding a certain blonds past. Needless to say questions were in need of answering, and the people were demanding an explanation as to why that what the demon fox had revealed to them had been kept from them. This revelation made people began to wonder what else the ruling class was keeping from them. This simple act would now cause a spiral that helped to serve to foster a deepening distrust between the ordinary people in the village and the ruling council, and thus worries began to arise of unrest fostering in the village that, if left unchecked, could turn into violence.
The people themselves however were not ignorant enough to find themselves blame-free: they remembered everything they had done to the boy in the past. The fact that upon the Hokage monument now no longer bore the face of the Fourth Hokage, the father of the blond who they had treated with such distain, had driven the psychological knife into their hearts and minds. It served to show that they did not deserve heroes such as Minato Namikaze, since they did not even try to keep the promise, that his son was to be a hero for his burden, and thus was a terrible stain on their pride. A deep blow was made, one, which the hidden leaf village would never recover.
Tsunade on her part was having the biggest migraine she ever had as she sat in her office. Now having to deal with the growing unrest of the populace in Konoha, which added to the list of problems the ninja village was having to face. Taking a swing of her sake, she had to think of a solution, and fast. The people wanted to know everything dealing with the Kyuubi incident. They had a feeling there was more than what was told. The thing is this time their fears were correct. Tsunade already had to deal with the repercussions of the revelation in fire country and beyond. Needless to say if they weren't in enough trouble already, the fact that how they mistreated a son of a hero would cause irreparable damage to Konoha's honour. But this also backfired to the Daimyo himself. He also knew that Naruto was the son of the fourth Hokage, but did not do anything to help the blond boy. So his honour and standing among the other Daimyo had been hit as well, if it was not already for the fact several other Daimyo wanted his lands and head already, it was unlikely he would gain any allies for this disrespect to a great country hero.
A knock brought the fifth Hokage out of her thoughts, shouting for whomever it was to enter. The two remaining Elders were her guests, both with sullen faces. They were both aware of the situation developing, and since essentially both their careers and perhaps lives were on the lives. Tsuande was well aware of this as well. In this situation, it seemed that the ever-arguing conflict between Kage and council had ceased to try and deal with this ever-growing temperament of the village population.
"How is the current climate?" Koharu asked the seemingly overworked Hokage. She now had to be extremely careful of how she acted now, as he position was now in jeopardy. What happened to Danzo was still at the forefront of her mind, and while she highly doubted she would be killed by the demon fox, the angry populace could easily do something very similar. Well, you take the risk of keep information from the people, and now they were paying the price.
"Calling for the council to resign" was the woman's simple reply. Needless to say the two old advisors were unnerved by the proposition the people were demanding. But that was not to be the bombshell.
"And with how things are going, I may just comply to their wish", this got a major reaction.
"What!" Homura yelled, "but that would be deeply unwise. The council is there to aid the Hokage in the work they do. In fact, we do most of it. If you disband the council then you would have more work on your hands, to much to do alone. You cannot do all the work alone!" Tsunade didn't reply. Instead she slowly stood up form her chair, walked around the table and stood directly in front of the old council members. To their horror, she grasped both of them by their clothing and lifted them up into the air.
"Ts-Tsunade! What are you doing!" Koharu yelled, too shocked to actually make a move against the Fifth Hokage.
"This council has given me, my Sensei, and Minato so much more trouble than it was worth. In essence, much of our situation was due to you constantly making bad decision after bad decision. It was this Council that thought it best to inform the whole of the village of Naruto's burden, it was this Council who thought it best to WIPE OUT an entire clan AND leave the survivor all alone without any help to his injured psyche, which caused him to attempt to leave the village. Finally, you have me banish a boy who was doing his duty. This council has caused more harm than good. Perhaps getting rid of it would make my life so much easier." She growled out, glaring at the two elders. What Homura said was true, they did do a lot in aiding the Hokage in managing the village, but this council was doing more things that hindered the village more than helping it.
"If having to disband the council is what it takes to calm the people outside, from the blunders this council has made, then so be it." She threw the two seniors to the floor, both looking at her in complete shock. "With the power invested in me as Hokage of Konohagakure within Hi no Kuni, I am hereby disbanding the current Council of Konohagakure and it's members. That includes both the civilian, the shinobi as well as the advisory members. Until this matter has settled I will take full control of this villages affairs". The two stricken advisors looked on, completely powerless to do anything. Homura sighed before standing up from the floor.
"I take it that you are fully aware of the consequences?" he asked calmly. The Hokage nodded in reply.
"This is not a permanent measure. Once the matter has fully settled down, the shinobi council will be reinstated. I know that they will take their positions far more seriously that they have done now. As for the civilian council, the current members will not be allowed to return, as they caused most of the problems and thus a new civilian council will be created from new members". It seemed that Tsunade already had what she was doing planned. Regardless however, one major question still remained.
"What will happen to us?" Koharu asked, also standing up next to her fellow former-councillor. Tsunade shook her head.
"I'm afraid your time has come. You have been so secure in your positions that you began to take risks far to regularly. As such, I'm afraid that source of pride cannot exist in the ruling body of Konoha. Understand I'm doing this for your benefits as well as mine" at this both decided not to fight the inevitable. They understood were Tsunade was coming from. Perhaps they should quit politics altogether and live the rest of their lives peacefully. Furthermore they also saw this as a move to not only calm down the masses, but also save their own hides form their mistakes. It seemed it was time to let go of the past.
"We understand Lady Hokage, and thank you" they spoke with a bow, before turning around and leaving the office, never to return as members of the council. Tsunade on her part watched with a blank expression as they walked out, before a small smile graced her lips: it seemed that the old geezers were able to keep their egos in check after all. She signalled for the Anbu hidden in the room to inform the council members of the situation. She knew that the shinobi council would understand, especially since it was only going to last as long as this situation lasted. The civilian council on the other hand may be a problem. Sure some would understand their position and not make a fuss, happy that nothing else would happen to them. Others on the other hand would surely cause a fuss. Oh well, she would have to deal with them when they came.
As soon as they left the room, Shizune walked in, her face clearly showing confusion not only at the deeply calm faces and the smiling face of the Hokage. It was clear she wanted to know what went on.
"My Lady?" she asked, seeing the Hokage's gaze staying at the door.
"Shizune, I want my order for sake doubled" at this Shizune looked horrified.
"Bu-But why?" she tried not to scream. Tsunade was already a heavy drinker. Anymore could prove deadly. Instead of shouting at her however, Tsunade just sighed.
"Lets just say I'm going to have to work hard for the next few months. Very hard indeed".
In a small tavern within the hidden leaf village, the remaining members of the rookie nine sat round a table, listening to what the group members who went to the west had to say. Needless to say the discovery of Naruto being the Emperor of the Western Empire caused then to feel deeply unnerved, mainly because they obviously felt that they had a part to play in the decision that he would not give them aid. The fact they saw the demon fox himself only a few days ago only seemed to drive the knife deeper into their guilt of their conduct on who used to be their blond friend. The group obviously had mixed reactions to the events that transpired when the small group dwelled shortly within the Western Empire.
On the whole however, they all felt sick. Sick at themselves for their mistakes. Some friends they were, they disserved the cold shoulder which Naruto had given some of them, but would easy also be to all of them. Needless to say what was done was done, know they had to protect their home form the oncoming invasion. An invasion which, by the look of things, many wouldn't survive.
"I still cannot believe that Naruto's an Emperor" Ino spoke in wonder. Oh how silly she felt to see Naruto as a threat after everything he had done for the village. She may had been a smart woman, but she couldn't see the man behind the demon. In the end what was done was done, and they were all paying for it in terms of friendship.
"Yep, he unified the majority of the continent in a short period of time, he truly is an surprising, unpredictable person. A dangerous person at that" Kiba spoke. At the last sentence everyone in the group looked at him. Shikamaru was the one to speak up.
"Dangerous, how?" now the Nara was no fool. He actually discovered Naruto's burden long before the announcement by the Hokage. It was easy to piece together the small parts to the puzzle that was Naruto Uzumaki: the glares, the date of birth, the treatment. The strange abilities he had. Now he never saw Naurto as the demon he held. In fact, he respected Naruto for his burden. He just wished that the other people of this ignorant village did the same thing.
"Think about it. He holds most of the continent in his hands. The power he must wield would surely be so great that the eastern countries, which when looking at the Western Empire, makes us look like a toddler, means he could crush us under the sheer might he must posses". When looking at it, Kiba's observation did ring true. Also with the added fact that the eastern countries had no idea what the Empire had, only added to the fear of the great power which dwelled in the West.
"Perhaps", was Neji's reply, "but you must remember the state of which the continent was in before Naruto's arrival. The fact that it was so divided and war torn the way it was, the very fact it was to become the power it is now is a feat in itself. If you ask me, it could be that it is such a huge size is why people fear its power. It's more a psychological fear than anything else". Neji was able to look at the situation in a more logical sense than the others. In many ways he just did a Shikamaru in the evaluation of the Empire. He, like Shikamaru, did not hate Naruto for his burden. On the contrary, he now understood Naruto better, for like himself, he had a burden that he had no control over, like himself.
"Even so, he is not getting involved in this war, its nothing to do with him now" Sakura spoke dejectedly. At this Tenten rose up, anger shown on her face.
"What you mean he is not getting involved! This is his home!" Sauske sighed at this, gaining everyone's attention.
"Do you honestly think after everything we and this village have done to him, he would just come back to aid us. Naruto is not that stupid. Besides, he has an Empire to look after now. If anything, we are just an annoyance". That hit home. Kiba growled at the Uchiha.
"Well it was you who caused all this. You just had to try and run and betray Konoha didn't you" Sauske didn't reply to the spite that Kiba managed to growl out. He didn't need to. Everyone knew how sorry he was for the trouble he caused, and they knew of how he felt about the affair on Naruto's banishment.
"But you have to admit, if Naruto did join us, the war would be as good as won" Choji spoke, trying to break the tension in the room.
"The size of the Empire would require a large army to maintain the borders. So it is reasonable to assume that Naruto would have a large army under his command. After all we did come across those large wooden fortresses in close proximity that contained that whole Legion". Shino spoke. This caught everyone's interest that was not on the mission.
"How many men were inside?" Ino asked, the curious part of her getting the better of her once more. If anyone saw his mouth under the coat, they would have seen Shino having a very small smirk on his face.
"About one hundred thousand men" This caused all their eyes to widen in astonishment: one hundred thousand? How many of these Legion's did he have under his command? Choji was right, if he had gotten involved on their side, then the war would have truly turned. However he had denied their request and thus left them to their fate. If only something happened to change his mind. Without prior notice and Anbu appeared at the table startling the group.
"The Hokage wants all Jonin and Anbu ranked ninja to appear in the chamber. An event has transpired which could turn the events of the entire war". Needless to say they didn't need to be told twice. They were gone in a flash.
Naruto, accompanied by his Praetorian Guard, walked with a purpose towards his destination in the Palace. Armed with his sword in its sheath, he was ready to go to the front to deal with the threat from the east personally. It was time to show both his people and others around his Empire what he was capable of, and that he was not a man to be pushed over. He was not going to let this assault on his Empire go unpunished; he would drive back the invaders and take the fight to their realm.
As he came to a large room, two palace guards opened the doors to allow him inside. With the hall, he saw everyone who was joining him in this endeavour:
Lord Kazuma of the Sentinels was present, along with five of his hooded Eihei members. Their abilities to teleport whole units of troops as well as move completely undetected would prove valuable in the coming conflict. Furthermore, Kazuma had a trick only a small few knew, and it would be a great advantage if it had to be used.
Another group present was the Hattori clan, led by Hattori Hanzo. He and his men, roughly twenty shinobi were wearing the traditional ninja attire. Hanzo was clearly visible due to decorated version of that attire, while it looked intimidating and clearly showed who it was behind the mask, it was still dark enough so Hanzo would be able to move around without being detected. They would show the difference between the flashy shinobi of the east, and the quite ninja of the west.
The Hanzo clan was not the only clan making their appearance here. The dark skinned Fuuma clan was another ninja clan that Naruto had personally at his disposal. Their group was larger, about thirty men, and like the Hattori clan wore the traditional ninja clothing. Their leader was the, though loathed to admitting by the young blond, terrifying Kotaro Fumma. His outfit made him look like a devil, and when he stuck, his enemies were always frozen in sheer terror before he played the killing blow. Like all his clan members, his skin was dark, but he had black face painting, which was clearly visible, but the design, like his outfit, made him look for frighten to look upon. Despite his dark, cruel nature, he was an artist: to him killing was a performance, and he was an actor making his presence on the field.
How did he know? Well Naruto almost lost his life when Kotaro was his enemy, and when he first met him; he was frozen on the spot. If it were not for Kyuubi and Mistuhide, he would not be alive today. After their first meeting Kotaro attempted to kill him a further three times. Every time he failed. Every time he escaped. But what made him join the blond was a begrudging respect, for the fact he was the only person to survive his attacks. Three attempts no less. It was after the fall of the Ashikage Shogunate that Kotaro swore loyalty to the boy he tried to kill previously. While others, including Komei have raised concerns about this decision, Naruto strangely feels he can trust the dark skinned ninja. Needless to say he has not let him down, and now this was another chance to prove his loyalty, and maybe shut up the critics.
Finally, the last ninja clan in the hall was one that was completely different to the others: the Kunoichi clan of the Harano, led by the tomboyish Nene. They were a more revealing version of the shinobi outfit and only wore face masks for their head gear, thus allowing their hair to move freely. Nene on the other hand didn't wear a face mask at all. As such it was showed she had medium length brown hair with matching brown eyes, while her smile gave off a cheek yet experienced glow for all to see. She was not a woman to be messed with.
The Harano clan were a clan with a major difference: the males were merchants while the women were ninja. Only the females of the clan could take part in warfare, while the males handled the clans finances. Needless to say Nene was current clan head, and in fact enforced this ruling within the clan.
When Naruto looked at who was present, he was still wondering were Kyuubi was at this time. His disappearance was beginning to worry him. By now he would have appeared before Naruto and cracked a joke or inform him of something that happened. Currently however, there has been nothing. The young Emperor sighed, he would have to do this without him. He could not wait any longer. As he walked into the room, everyone stopped what they were doing and bowed before him. Kazuma, Hanzo, Kotaro and Nene walked to the front and bowed before him like all the others.
"Your Imperial Majesty" they spoke together, their heads low. Naruto nodded in response.
"Are all the men ready?" he asked. They nodded as one. It was now time to join General Yukimura at Kimina Valley, and face the enemy face to face. "Then it is time to move out. Lord Kazuma, if you please".
At this they all stood up. Kazuma summoned a sphere with his hands they glowed within his palms. In a flash the room went bright. When it dispersed, the rooms incumbents no longer there.
The Tsuchikage Onoki and the Earth General Kotomaya stood ahead of the just under seven thousand strong army from earth. Ninja, Samurai and conscripted peasants filled the solid ranks. Armed with the primary weapons of the age, they were told to travel light due to the operation they were planning: A direct strike into the heart of the Empire, Kyoto. They were not foolish; they knew that for any chance of victory it would require to end this quickly and decisively. The longer this war dragged on, the smaller their chances of victory. Know doubt that the Empire has be informed of their presence, and so would most likely be mobilising their own armies, their Legions, to face them. Their intelligence has told them that most of their forces were in the north dealing with the Syran Empire. As such, what was left of their forces would be only of the small minority was able to go against them.
There was just one small problem.
That Legion which was available had gone off the radar; as such they did not know where they were and where they were going. As such it only added to the tension of the situation, and put more strain on their mission. With so much at stake, this one roll of the die needed to score high, or else the Land of Earth would lose more than their army. Much more.
Onoki gave a snort, causing the young General to look at him. He did not fear this Empire. To him it was like a newborn child, weak and defenceless. One quick and strong puch would easily cripple the Empire. But he also had his own objective, one that would drive the knife through the heart. He grinned with anticipation. He was told he was strong, and as such he looked forward to seeing the faces of the people when they saw him destroy their beloved saviour. At the grin Kotomaya raised an eyebrow.
"Something wrong? Or are you getting senile in your old age?" at this the old Kage burst out laughing.
"Ah you young ones these days. No respect for your elders" he gave in reply, "No, I was just wondering how powerful this "Emperor of the West" is." Kotomaya chuckled.
"Well if he is anything like me, he won't be a pushover" he spoke with an arrogant tone. Onoki grunted in response.
"If he is anything like you, then he won't be a challenge at all." The young General glared at the old man. Oh how he hated the old man's views on the younger generation. He had asked the Earth Daimyo to be the one in charge of this operation; primarily due to the fact he knew they could easily come to blows if a situation got out of hand. However his pride unfortunately meant that he would not allow himself to be under the command of whom he though of an inferior status, he knew this well. He also knew that the old man thought little of him due to his age, beleive him to be an upstart with little experience. Despite the pleading for one overall commander, the Earth Daimyo would not have it: he believed that both of them could work together for the greater good of earth country. Oh how his Lord could be naive. Onoki just shrugged off the glare, and soon stood to full heights to address the men. Unfortunately, something happened which to be honest, should have been seen coming.
The Tsuchikage's eyes bulged as he felt a sheering pain run through his body. More specifically however, a certain part of his anatomy.
"ARGH! MY BACK!" the old man clasped to the floor, pain paralzsing him, making him unable to move. Kotomaya did not hold back his laugh when he observed this. Oh how refreshing to see his annoyance roll around in pain.
"Well old man, with a problem like that I wonder if you can fight. Perhaps it's time you retired" while he gloated, two ninja from the ranks appeared to help the old Kage. They were Kurotsuchi, Onoki granddaughter, and Akatsuchi, the gentle giant. As they nurtured the protesting old man, Kurotsuchi turned her head to glare at the smirk young general. Now with his rival currently down and out, he turned to the army amasses before, and began to speak to them, just as old man Onoki was about to do.
"Hear me warriors of the land of Earth, for now it is the time for you to shine!" he yelled, his voice booming so even those at the back could plainly hear. "You have been tasked with the chance to make Earth the greatest country in history, or having it cease to exist! You brave warriors are a lone warrior against the might dragon! The dragon of the Western Empire! A dragon we have provoked! You say this is foolish! Mad! Insane to attack a large empire that could easily crush all the elemental nations! But have no fear! This dragon, like all beings have a weakness! And we shall exploit that weakness!"
The men stood in awe at the practicality of the general's speech. He did not hype it up, or over exaggerate. No, he told it as it was, so confident he was of victory. As they listened any fear they had originally of having no success died away. In its place a new confidence emboldened the men. Speeches like this one can have that desired effect.
"While the dragon is strong, like all beings, it heart it's weak! Strike at the heart, the beast shall die! As such, we shall gain victory by striking at the very heart of the Empire! The capital is the weakness of this empire, for who lies in there than the Emperor himself! By conquering the capital and slaying their saviour, the men shall lose heart, and the Empire shall be our!" At this the men all raised their voices as one, raising their weapons high.
"Now we are a small army compared to the might of the Empire's Legions! We may have a fight on out hands if we encounter them! But you are an army with a purpose, and the fate of our country resting on your shoulders! As such, with such trust placed in you, there is no way you can lose! So fight hard and stay strong, for the power of Earth shall crush this Empire and BRING IT TO IT'S KNEES!" One final roar was heard by the men, and Kotomaya smiled before turning to the old man on the floor beside him. Both he and the two shinobi by his side looked at him with disbelief clear on their faces. Onoki did his best not to grit his teeth, for his pride had taken yet another blow today. First his back went out in front of all the men, and then this young upstart upstaged him before he even had a chance. Oh how he hated this youth.
Said smirking youth on the other hand was pleased with the fact he got one up on the old Kage, his ego taking a boost. With a signal, he motioned for the army to march to their destination. It was time to tame the dragon, and bring a new age to the Land of Earth.
"He cannot do this!" in a chamber that was in a secure location, the leading members of the Northern Alliance gathered. The Raikage slammed his fist into the table before him, spider cracks appearing due to the strength of the blow. Also around the table were the Daimyo's of the countries involved, especially lightning country. Said Daimyo shook his head at the Kage's reaction. At the head of the table was the leader of the alliance, the snake Sannin, Orochimaru.
"Calm yourself Lord Raikage. The lord of Earth has made his decision, as such we act accordingly" he spoke in a clam tone, one which made many of the current members shiver unconsciously. When the Earth Daimyo had ordered the invasion into the Western Empire, the members of the Alliance soon found out. Now they were convening on how to deal with the situation, and its consequences. The furious Kage on the other hand turned his fiery gaze to the old Sannin.
"Calm Down! The Earth Daimyo controls near enough have of the Alliance's military strength due to the large size of his country! Now he has decided to go on this clearly ill-fated crusade, our military strength will essentially be halved!" he boomed. He wondered if this Sannin actually cared of what happened to this Alliance. The only reason he joined was that he would see the fall of the hidden leaf village. Now that Earth country essentially pulled out by going t o attack an Empire which was clearly not involved in this war, it would most properly give a moral boost to the forces of Hi No Kuni, for the odds were now close to even in terms of overall skill. Too his shock, Orochimaru merely smiled back at him. Damn that creepy smile of his.
"Do you doubt your own power Lord Raikage? Does the fact one Lord goes astray that this whole operation will now be in jeopardy? Yes we have lost a major player in this Alliance, but we are still stronger than the Land of Fire. We still out number them in a considerable manner. Do not worry; the war is still in our favour. All we need to do put forward our plans." Everyone knew what this meant: they needed to strike Hi no Kuni quickly to put them out of the war for good.
"What about the Western Empire?" one of the lesser Daimyo's asked, bringing up the major question in the room.
"That is why we must put forward our plans" Orochimaru replied in his casual tone "Due to the fact that the Land of Earth is part of the Northern Alliance, the attack they have committed against the Empire will rebound on us. As such, if and when Earth forces are defeated by the Empire, the Emperor will most probably see it as an attack from the Alliance, not just Earth Country and its allies." Orochimaru may not have shown it, but he was deeply irritated by the turn of events, and the actions of Earth, Mountain and Rice. If he was not so entangled with the preparations to do the deathblow to Fire country, he would have personally killed the three Daimyo's responsible for bringing a superpower into the war.
His current plans to deal with this situation, in the best case scenario was to first conquer Fire country and to destroy the hidden leaf village, to satisfy those in the Alliance. Then try to open negotiations to the Empire to try and get the Alliance out of this mess. If he had to hang Earth country out to take all the blows, then so be it. He was no fool, they did not have the power to deal with the size of an Empire that existed in the west, and the fact that the Earth Daimyo thought he could take on that might, he deserved what was coming to him.
"I cannot believe that the Earth Daimyo thought he had the power to take on the Western Empire. Such arrogance on his part" the Lightning Daimyo quipped. The other Daimyo's nodded their heads in agreement. The Raikage sighed in frustration.
"So, what is your plan?" he asked the snake Sannin. Said Sannin smiled his usual cruel smile once more.
"Simple, we gather are forces, then we strike at the capital of Firs country as one. Once the country has fallen, Konohagakure will be next" at this E smiled, the finale will be spectacular.
"But what about the forces of Hi No Kuni?" asked one of the lesser Daimyo's, "Wont they try to stop us?" Orochimaru chuckled in response.
"Oh I do believe they will" he replied, "in fact, I'm counting on them to gather their own forces together to face us. At this we will crush them in one, swift stroke".
"And what about the Western Empire?" another Daimyo asked about the elephant in the room.
"I'm hoping that after the fiasco with the Land of Earth, negotiations will be able to open up, and essentially explain to the Emperor that they went on their own accord. I highly doubt he would want a long-term war, besides once Earth country has fallen their thirst for revenge may have been quenched. I am not foolish to face an Empire with only a small force, and since we have lost half our combined force, as the Raikage has said, the chances of success against such an Empire is dismal. We shall deal with the Land of Fire first, then once Earth country has been beaten, we shall deal with the Empire afterwards" the members of the Alliance looked uneasy at what Orochimaru was planning, or more specifically, what would happen if the Empire did decide to attack the Alliance. Nevertheless, it would happen in the future, now they had to plan on dealing with Fire country.
Tsunade sat alone in the large council chamber, in front of her stood all the Jonin, Anbu and other high-ranking personnel were present. The clan heads were also present, but they did not sit on the council now she had disbanded it. They did not argue since for them it would only be temporary, as to calm the storm of the civilians, which demanded action. Needless to say it seems to have worked.
"Everyone is present Lady Tsunade" Shizune informed her. Good, now it was time to inform them of what had just transpired on the world stage.
"As you are now all aware, the council has be disbanded due to the resent outcry of the events which transpired a few days ago. This is only temporaral measure until the events stablise then it will be recalled. But I'm sure you are all aware of this". As she said this many of the Clan heads had solem faces. They didn't like the fact they essentially lost their political power in konohagakure, but this was for the best due to the civil Primary reason why they went quitely was due to the fact they would be reinstated when the new council was selected in the near future.
"We are well aware of this Lady Hokage" Hiashi spoke with an irritated tone, annoyed at the fact he had to be remineded on this situation, "but I don't think that is the reason you called this meeting". Tsunade smiled and nodded.
"Just over half and hour ago, I received news from the capital of events going on in the Western Empire and the Northern Alliance" at this everyone was edge, "It appears that the Northern Alliance has declared war on the Empire". No one could believe what they just heard. What motivated the Alliance to attack an Empire as large as the Western Empire? It would be understandable if Naruto had allied with Fire Country, as he would be on the offensive. But he did not want anything to do with the war, so why did they attack a target not taking part? It just didn't make sense.
"What are the specific's Lady Hokage?" Asuma asked with half a cigarette in his mouth.
"The Land of Earth, along with the smaller countries of Mountain and Rice have in essence broken off from the Northern Alliance by doing a direct assault on the Western Empire. They have broken through the boarders and are now beginning to move deep into the Empire's territory. By doing this, the Northern Alliance's military strength has essentially been halved and the Daimyo does not want to waist this opportunity" this caught their attention.
"The fact that the Alliance is not a strong as it once was by half of their members going on a side show, which is now a critical mistake on their part, he does not want to let this window close when we can actually gain the initiative. He wants the majority of Konohagakure's military strength to join the army of Hi No Kuni, and deal a knockout blow to force what's left of the Alliance apart. If we deal enough damage to the Allaince militarily, then the Daimyo's of the opposite countries may request a cease-fire". Now they understood why they were all here, they were mobilising to go to war. Looking back the tensions that had risen during the past few months now all led to the moment, the moment when both side would finally clash. Everyone would have to put in their two-pence if they were to stand a chance and see through this war. The inevitable had happened.
"So your finally mobilising eh?" everyone turned to see the toad Sannin leaning against the wall, "well I might as well take part, after all, I wouldn't like to see this village fall to Orochimaru of all people". At this Tsunade smiled at her teammate. Looks like everyone was going.
"Right then, I want all Jonin, Anbu and Chunin avalible to gather outside the gates in one hour. When everyone is assembled we will march to the capital. Destiny awaits us all and we shall face it head on. Dismissed".
It has been a little more than a week's journey for Yukimura and his Legion to make it to the base of the Valley that would be their battleground. The young General, along with many from among the ranks, could not help but gaze in wonder at the terrain formations, and saw why his Imperial Majesty wanted to stage a defensive action here. This place surely favoured the defender.
The Valley was a vast green field, a beauty of nature which contained a variety of different terrain pieces, natures art at its best. Surrounding the valley was an immense mountain which acted as natural barriers for all ground dwellers, and moved this way for miles. It was primarily dominated by different size hills and slopes, the biggest of these were near the centre of the valley forming into a multi-ledge mountain that dominated the area. The mountain was ideal for placing a base camp and building fortifications. The ledges also proved perfect locations to place artillery and troop deployments. The mountain was large, but it was not the only terrain in this valley:
A large forest seemed to place itself near the mountainous terrain piece, growing and changing to the varying gradient of the mountain valley. It seemed to encompass the entire region below the mountain, claiming it as its own land. The forest would prove ideal cover for cavalry and light mobile units.
Yukimura noticed also that a river flowed through the valley, moving through the top end, upon which the enemy would arrive if the Emperor's beliefs were correct, and moved right through the valley towards his end, move just to the left of which his forces were currently standing. Yukimura deduced that unless a bridge was built, one side of this valley would be in accessible to ground forces. However at the same time, it limited the manoeuvrability for both forces. Upon looking at this it seemed that Yukimura would have to place his troops carefully if he did not want his men to be unable to move in their formations.
As he looked at his map to see if this was indeed the location he was ordered to, he saw the reason clearly why this place was the designated spot for the showdown. It was a direct route to the capital from were the enemy forces were originally positioned. If they didn't come through here, then they would lose a week a least trying to get around the mountainous landscape. This valley was an important location for merchants, travellers and indeed military units, due to the fact it could cut travel times considerably if they wanted to move to the capital, or any of the central region for this case.
If any doubt that they enemy forces were going to come through here still laid in his mind, they were now long gone. It was common sense to come through here, if you wanted to reach the capital quickly. From reports about the enemies progress, they would surely come through here. Region defence forces had already come into contact with the enemy, and although were defeated, not only did they reduce their numbers, even only if by a small fraction, they gave a better reading of what they were up against.
Apparently they were travelling light; as such artillery trains were not in use. Not only this, but their supplies only had a limited duration, only allowing to keep their forces going for a month or two. Why would most probably have a supply train, a logistics line for the army, he received reports that the Regional defence forces not involved in the direct conflict were hampering and in essence, destroying the supply lines. Due to the high walls of the towns and cities in the eastern region, and assault would be costly for them. Likewise, attacks on villages would cause more harm that good, as it would cause growing contempt against them if they attacked civilian targets. If they wanted to stand any chance to succeed, then they would have to do a direct assault on the capital. Yukimura shook his head; they were playing a massive gamble here, an all-or-nothing roll of the dice. A defeat here against the west would certainly cause the Northern Alliance to reel.
Yukimura saw that on the map he was closer to the valley than the enemy forces were. As such it would give him time to prepare defences and prepare for the Emperor's immediate arrival. That is until he saw the Emperor and his retinue standing right before him and the Legion, a smile on his face.
"Took your time, eh General Yukimura," he asked with a cheery tone, enjoying the jaw-dropped look of the young General, along with many of the officers mounted beside him.
"Your Imperial Majesty!" They hurried of their horses and fell to one knee each, trying to save face at not noticing him sooner. Naruto shook his head before motioning them to stand. As they stood he walked towards the General.
"I take it your enjoying the scenery General?" he asked. Yukimura smiled.
"I can see why your Imperial Majesty chose his location for the defence against the opposing forces. I take it that the mountain in the centre will be a centre point for the defence?" he asked pointing to the large hilly piece that would be perfect for the defence. To his shock however, the young Emperor shook his head.
"If we deploy are main force there then we lose the element of surprise. While a division will be staged there for the battle, our main force will be all around this valley". At this Yukimura looked perplexed.
"May I ask what your Imperial Majesty is planning?" at this Naruto smiled. It was not a kind smile however; it was a smile that showed just how cruel he could be.
"I intend to surround and completely annihilate this army, and send a message to the Northern Alliance that they had made a serious mistake is declaring war on this Empire. You Yukimura shall show these eastern fools just how powerful a Legion can be".
Kotomaya was deeply annoyed as he looked at the valley before him. Actually annoyed was not the right word, for he was down right furious. It had taken him and his men just over a month this far, and near enough everyday something went wrong. If it were not the small local forces that appeared to hound them in person, it would be other forces that would hamper their supplies only their lines of logistics, causing if lucky only a small amount of what supplies they actually needed.
Which they smashed aside every force they came across, every battle cost them a day to the capital. It was as if they were just coming towards them as to stall them to reaching their destination on time. So far they are a week behind schedule, and it began to show among the ranks.
The constant warfare, the constant harassment, the constant need for supplies, which are insufficient, has now begun to sap the moral of the men. The rations are small already, and the fact that the only way to make the supplies last is to make them smaller. Doing so however could cause severe backlash from the troops, as well as decreasing their fighting finesse. Even his rival Onoki agreed something had to be done.
But it didn't find a solution to the constant assaults on the supply train for the army. Sometimes the needed recourses, food, water and materials never arrived. Even if they did appear, it was only a small part of what was actually sent, or actually needed. Pressure was put on this force to end this war quickly, or else they would not be defeated by an army, but by their stomachs.
There had already been a serious debate on raiding western villages for recourses, but both he and the old man were against it. They knew that if that were to happen, then it would enrage the Empire even further. They were far more than sheer barbarians, and they didn't want to fall into the trap of being shown as inhumane. That's exactly what the Empire wants them to be. Needless to say it was a clever strategy by starving them out of much needed provisions while in hostile territory, and a part of him cannot help but think if they were woe-fully unprepared.
He knew that if he came with siege equipment and other, much heavy materials, and take over the fortified towns and cities, then he wouldn't have to worry about the constant harassment to his logistics. The only problem was that conflict with one of the Imperial Legions would be definite, and from what he has heard from captured prisoners of war, is that a single Legion would indeed over-shadow his own force. Both he and the Third Kage of Earth did not want to face the definite defeat of facing a Legion, even if they were in city walls for the people would surely help them. No, the only rode to success now was to follow the plan through, no matter how tough it would become for them.
As the army marched slowly into the narrow entrance to the valley pass, Kotomaya could not help but feel a wave of dread over him. This place had an eerie feel to the seemingly calm location. As he looked around from being mounted on his horse, Onoki hovered to his side.
"This place is a perfect spot for an ambush" he muttered to the young redhead. Kotomaya sighed.
"Indeed, we should advance cautiously through the fields, and avoid the forest. I don't want to risk any ambush if they appear." At this Onoki nodded in agreement to the Generals words.
"General, look up there!" An Officer yelled. Turning to the officer, he saw him pointing to a location. When he looked to the direction, he smiled. That mountain was either a perfect place to set-up camp, or was an ambush site.
"Get scouts to take a look at that location!" he yelled out. Shortly after several mounted troops rode at all speed to take a look at the mountain. All at the same time the valley was getting filled by the soilders of the Alliance. Kotomaya smiled, it seemed that so far this place was deserted.
"Well if the scouts return and say its all clear, this would be a perfect place to rest for the day. The men need it" Onoki spoke with a tired voice.
"Indeed, pushing them any further today would be too risky. Were already behind by a week, so half a day won't hurt. Besides, that mountain is a brilliant defensive position".
"Indeed. I find it amusing that no-one is here to meet us. I though there would be an army there". At this the old man laughed heartedly. Several officers who heard what he said also laughed. The young General smiled, but then frowned. This didn't go unnoticed by the old Kage.
"What's wrong? Disappointed about the enemy not being here?" he joked. He suddenly turned serious as he looked at the blank expression the young redhead beheld on his features.
"No" he replied in a solemn tone, "I find it hard to believe that no army is here to meet us at this location. Surely they would know this was a good defensive position. The fact that the mountain looks deserted, with no banners, no sounds either. All is quite, too quite, Its as if this place was…." Then it suddenly hit him. With a load shout, he roared to his troops.
"EVERYONE OUT THE VALLEY NOW!" he moment his words left his lips, explosions burst all around him. Men were blown apart were they stood as everyone scrambled to try and get out of the valley. Any sort of discipline was lost as explosions ran through the ranks, turning the armies retreat effectively into a route due to the sheer shock of the attack. Kotomaya was thrown off his horse along with some of his officers due to the sudden explosions that rocked his army, all of which was heading to the exit. But suddenly the exit for the Alliance army was sealed. Explosions rocked the mountains, and large rocks of various proportions flew down into the valley below. Men were crushed under the large stones that came into the narrow valley entrance. The men soon found to their horror that the entrance was blocked.
There was no way out. They were officially trapped.
"I never though it would say this, but thanks" Kotomaya spoke in a depressed tone to the fact he was in his rivals debt. Onoki created a barrier around both them and the officers around him that protected them from any form of blasts. As he looked around, he saw bodies of his men laying motionless on the ground. Some were even in pieces, those unfortunate to be directly under the explosions
"Why didn't I see this coming" he managed to growl out, annoyed at the fact he was blind to this tactic. Onoki looked at him, assessing any damage course
"You now what happened?" one of the officer asked, trying to get to grips with the situation while getting up from the ground.
"It was all a set-up. The mountain was made to look deserted so we would be compelled to go to it. The fact is that we have fallen into their trap, this entire valley has been rigid" he turned to the now blocked entrance. "And there is no way out". At this Onoki smiled.
"Well looks like were going to have a fight". While he prepared to give orders, only to be silenced by the of sounds of roars of men all around him, so many voices which just seem to surround them. When he looked to the mountain, he saw banners being held high. Unexpectedly one of the officers shook if fear.
"My God…" they turned to him, seeing his go pale at what he was looking at.
"What is it? Tell Me!" the General demanded. With a shaky hand he points to the mountain, were the banners are held high.
"It's the Third Imperial Legion" the officers paled, while Kotomaya slowly turned to see even more banners being held, along with a lot of men standing tall on the mountain. As he looked closely to the banners, even though they were some distance away, he could make out the ancient numberals for three, three capital I's.
"Looks like we are going to find out what these Legions are going to be made of first hand." Onoki muttered, before turning to the officers. "GET THE SOILDERS BACK INTO FORMATION!" As they scrambeled to re-organise the army and restore order, the kage then turned to young general.
"You ready for this fight?" he asked. He sighed.
"Well looks like we are going into the jaws of hell itself. If this is to be our last fight, then let us give them a battle they shall never forget" at this Onoki grinned, he liked that idea.
"Yes, lets show them what we are capable off".
"Now!" Yukimura yelled as he raised he war fan high. Men stationed all around the mountain pressed the detonators, thus setting off the mines that were buried in the ground that caused the army stationed in the valley floor to lose all cohesion. This was the start of their plan to completely obliterate this invading nation, and show the eastern nations the power of the Western Empire.
Naruto smiled as he saw his plan fall neatly into place. He watched as the black powder mines he had the Legion place all around the valley floor go off, causing the army to essentially fall apart. Then as he looked upon the routing army, he watched as Yukimura signal for the mines that were carefully planted on the mountains to detonate, thus entrapping the enemy forces in the valley, with no way out.
Looking down he saw on one of the ridges the corpses of the men sent to scout the mountain, they didn't stand a chance. A part of him couldn't believe how easily this plan worked, the enemy was either overconfident or desperate for a defensive position to settle down to. Needless to say it did not matter now. This would be the Empire's finest hour. He chuckled as he watch the enemy force try to regain its discipline and cohesion to try and prepare for the inevitable. Grasping his sword tightly b the sheath, he raised his hand to gather everyone's attention that was on the top of the mountain.
"Look Legionnaires at your opponent upon the valley floor! Look at them grovelling and reeling at just a small portion of what you are capable off! These fools believe that they are a match against this Empire born from blood, sweet and tears! They are soft, weak and deceived into believing they could bring down our Empire! Now look at them! Their arrogance has led them to this; there arrogance has led to their demise! Now show these invading parasites your wrath! Show them your fury at the fact they have dared to taint this land with their presence! Show them no mercy! Bring them down with the might of the Empire as your righteous fist! And shatter our adversary!" At this roars were heard throughout the mountain, and it soon spread throughout the valley, showing that the entire valley was covered by the Legion and its divisions.
Naruto smiled as he watched events fall into place. Very shortly his Third Imperial Legion would smash aside this pitiful excuse of an army. While the Legion dealt with the army, the ninja clans that accompanied him from the palace would deal with Earth's ninja. Soon the difference between styles would be apparent in this battle. He could see his own personal battle as he gazed upon the reforming ranks of the Alliance army, as he spied on one figure in particular. It was time to end this one-month war.
Now the battle of Kimina Valley was about to begin, and the fate on the continent was hanging in the balance.
And that's a rap for this chapter. As you can see, Earth's assault on the Empire started as a foolish and ambitious endeavour, and will now end in disaster. Oh how many times that has happened in our world, I can think of so many examples of it happening. As such, I think you all know how its pretty much going to end, but that won't mean it won't be entertaining :).
As you can also see I introduced two new Ninja characters, I think you now were I got the inspiration from ;). Anyway, I hope will like them, they will be pretty important in the upcoming battle.
Now the next chapter will solely be on this battle, as such other events will be left until the chapter after this next one. It will be up when its ready, as such there is no upload date. As such, please wait patiently and I hope with this I can deliver.
I will tell you now this is my first real battle scene I will be writing, as such I will be trying to perfect it as much as I can, so even if it takes several months, I will not upload it unless I deem it to a good standard, and I do Judge myself harshly when it comes to these. As such, I hope you will look forward and enjoy my next chapter when it comes out, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter as well, this was a fun one to right, especially the Naruto Hinata scene, and I hope you enjoyed it too :).
As usual, read and review, I would like to here your thoughts, opinions and ideas. I hope to here from you soon. Till next time, take care.