The wind blows hot across the broken land.

The soft sigh of its passage is the only sound in a landscape that but a heartbeat past rang loud with the terrible music of war.

However, the war is over now. The battle is ended.

And the erstwhile Hokage of this shattered land looks down upon the corpse of his domain…

And wonders why he has no tears to shed. Wonders why the center of his being feels so empty…

As though the very essence of his soul has been sucked, dry, to leave him nothing but a fragile, hollow shell.

A shell such as a breeze might easily shrivel and destroy.

Little remains, it seems, of the legendary ninja, an awed and sometimes-disbelieving world has come to know as…

Uzumaki Naruto.

The Hokage looks with vacant and sorrow filled eyes at the hundreds of corpses piled upon the battlefield.

These were his friends, his brothers, his sisters, the ones who had embraced him as their own, and had laid their trust in him, and he… he had let them down.

"Well done, Naruto. Your warriors fought well. I am sufficiently impressed to say that the day is yours," Uchiha Madara spoke with a thin smile adorning his face as he stood in front of the young man, looking at him with a calculating look on his face.

"Spare me of your sarcasm, Madara. There is no victory to be claimed from so much bloodshed. Not even for the winner," Naruto growled, at which the ancient Uchiha casually shrugged his shoulders away.

"And such a senseless battle in the end…," the enigmatic Uchiha replied after a moment as he surveyed the battleground again, "Since that which I sought continues to elude me. And since your warriors perished…while mine did not…," he paused for a moment as he waved his hands, at which the seven bijuu under his command, which had been lying on the ground, broken, and defeated at the hands of the shinobi alliance stood up again and vanished in swirling vortex of chakra.

"Farewell then, Uzumaki Naruto. It would seem that what I crave is not here for me to take," the man spoke softly as he activated his space/time teleportation technique, and paused for a second, "I have no doubt that our paths will cross again. I remain convinced that you are the doorway to what I seek. It remains only to find the proper key. It is a pity that we are forced to be enemies. You and I are so alike, together we could have done wonders," the man added wistfully as he shook his head.

"I am nothing like you!" Naruto roared as he glared at the man with all the hate he could muster.

"You are still blinded by your naiveté. Think about it in leisure, and you will see what I mean. I have no doubt that our paths will cross again. As I said earlier, I remain convinced that you are the doorway to what I seek. It remains to find only the proper key. We shall meet again, but for now, I leave you to bury your dead in peace," and with that, Madara Uchiha vanished.

Two days later,

The last of the fallen have been gathered from the battlefield. The breezes now are still. The silence of the aftermath has been replaced with the slow, rhythmic beating of a funeral drum, and the unearthly trilling of numerous people, giving voice to their grief.

"We have the tally, Hokage-sama. One thousand, seven hundred and sixteen fell in battle. Of them, only five hundred and eight survived," Mifune, the leader of the land of Iron spoke out as he approached the Hokage.

"Twelve hundred! Twelve hundred dead! Nearly a quarter of our number!" the Hokage spoke out with a deep tone of sorrow underlining his voice, while Mifune lowered his head as the people near the Hokage moved back, to grant him the privacy needed to grieve properly.

A day later,

"Naruto-chan, do not lose hope, we can still prevail," Fukasaku, the ancient toad sage and his mentor, spoke out while Naruto slowly looked at the old toad in despair as he paced around in his makeshift office.

"Fukasaku-sensei, please, tell me the truth, about what you think will happen, and not what you hope will happen," Naruto spoke out at which the old toad bowed his head.

After a moment's silence, the old toad spoke out with a heavy tone, "I fear Madara is too powerful for us to beat, Naruto-chan, he has been preparing for this for more than half a century. As we speak, you are the only one standing against him and total victory. But even a lone rock cannot hold out against the grinding waves of the ocean forever, and sooner or later, it will be ground to dust," the old toad spoke with a small sigh.

"Then I have no choice…," Naruto spoke out as he spread out the scroll of sealing on his desk, and pulled out a scroll sealed within the large scroll.

"That's the key of the seal, left by Minato-chan," Fukasaku spoke out in a startled tone as he eyed it.

"Yes, and I have finally completed the technique, that father wanted me to complete," Naruto spoke out at which Fukasaku looked at the young Hokage in shock.

"Let's go to Myobokuzan, I will explain everything there," Naruto continued, at which Fukasaku nodded and began to weave the seals for the reverse summoning, and soon, the two of them were back in Myobokuzan.

In Myobokuzan,

"Now, Naruto-chan, what is it? What are you going to do?" Fukasaku asked quietly.

"This…is the only thing that Madara lacks. If he had this in his possession…then we would have lost already; as he said, he needs a proper key to gain what he seeks, but even he could never have guessed that I held it in my possession all along," Naruto replied as he held up the scroll.

"What is it?"

"This is the original sealing technique devised by the Rikudo Sennin to seal the Juubi within himself; the seal used to create the first Jinchuuriki; the technique that allowed him to split the Juubi into the nine bijuu; and it is transcribed in this scroll. How it came into father's possession I do not know, but it was incomplete, since part of the scroll was damaged by the ravages of time; and he spent his entire life trying to complete it unsuccessfully, but I managed to complete it finally, making use of Jiraiya - sensei's notes, as well as the notes left behind by father. This is quite possibly the most powerful sealing technique ever devised, I can safely say that it is far more powerful than even the Shiki Fuujin," Naruto explained, while Fukasaku's eyes widened.

"So, are you going to use this…," Fukasaku began when Naruto raised his hand.

"No, you see, whatever happens, I cannot allow the Juubi to be formed. That is too great a risk. I will use this to seal a power greater than the Juubi within me, and use it to defeat Madara," Naruto concluded while Fukasaku's eyes went wide.

"A power greater than the Juubi? But what could…," Fukasaku began when Naruto spoke out again.

"This seal, can seal not only bijuu, but also souls. In essence, using this technique, the soul of a deceased warrior can be sealed within another living person, and then, that person will be able to make use of the abilities of the soul that is sealed within him. You could say, it is like an advanced version of the Shiki Fuujin," Naruto finished explaining quietly, at which Fukasaku took a deep breath.

"Are you out of your mind, boy? Did the blows Madara inflict upon you knock your brain loose? Do you even know what you are saying?" Fukasaku bellowed as he whacked Naruto on the head with his walking stick.

"You have a better solution for beating Madara, then? Because I cannot think of anything else. If we stay like this, then eventually, I will fall, and the Juubi will come back, do you want that? Do you have a better alternative?" Naruto asked testily as the old frog fell silent.

"Fine," the old frog spoke in a huff, "But, you said a power greater than that of the Juubi? Care to explain that Naruto-chan?" the old frog asked in an annoyed tone, at which Naruto smirked.

"Power can be defeated by an even greater power, to beat the Juubi's abilities; I need to seal within me the soul of the person who had the ability to defeat even the Juubi," Naruto ended with a smirk.

"You can't possibly mean…," Fukasaku began in shock when Naruto nodded.

"Yes… I intend to seal within myself, the soul of the one person who defeated even the Juubi… I intend to seal within myself, the soul of the Rikudo Sennin himself," Naruto spoke in a quiet tone.

"And how will you do that? He died more than two thousand years ago. His soul would have departed this plane long ago," Fukasaku pointed out in consternation at which Naruto smiled.

"I will use Orochimaru's technique," Naruto pointed out at which even Fukasaku jumped up in alarm.

"Naruto, are you even realizing what you are talking about?" the old toad asked as he eyed the young boy with pity in his eyes.

"No price is too great to pay, to save the world, sensei," Naruto pointed out and the old toad bowed his head.

A day later, in Myobokuzan,

"Kuchiyose: Edo Tensei," Naruto muttered as he made the hand seals and plunged his palms into the ground, while Fukasaku stood in the background and watched the proceedings with a gimlet eye.

Naruto had used Zetsu, who had been captured during the battle, as the sacrifice for the technique, and now, as he watched, in front of him, a coffin rose from the ground, without any markings and stood up.

Then, with a groaning creak, it opened and a foot came into view, as the revived soul inside stepped out.

After two thousand years, the Rikudo Sennin stepped out and walked on the face of the earth again.

He had long, spiky hair flowing backwards, in a style similar to Madara Uchiha's. He wore what appeared to be a cloak with a high open collar and armor similar to that once worn by Hashirama Senju, showing his necklace with six red magatama. And in his hand was a Shakujo staff, while a sword was strapped to his back. For a second, Naruto was mesmerized as he watched the enigmatic and mesmerizing spectacle, of seeing the founder of the ninja world stand in front of him, proud and unflinching, but he collected himself quickly.

"Now, Fukasaku-sensei," Naruto spoke out and the old toad rapidly made some seals as soon as the Sage stepped out of the coffin.

"Fuinjutsu: Konpaku Ijou Ken Tomurai no Jutsu," Naruto rapidly made the seals, and placed his palm on the chest of the Rikudo Sennin. As soon as he did that, a blinding and glowing light engulfed them both, and covered them completely, placing them within a bubble of chakra. Fukasaku began screaming and shouting at that point, but Naruto could not hear him anymore.

And then, just as the pressure of the chakra began to become unbearable within the bubble, he looked up at the Rikudo Sennin, whose faux body began to crumble, while his spirit began to seep into his body. The last thing he remembered seeing was a small smile on the Rikudo Sennin's face, and then everything went black as he lost consciousness.

Unknown Location (for the present), Time: Unknown,

Drip…drip…drip…the sound woke Naruto up and he sat up, with every joint in his body aching and groaning at the movement.

He pushed himself up into a sitting position. The pain in his head was starting to feel better. His train of thoughts vanished as and brought to light his current predicament. He was awake. What the fuck was happening? Dozens of scenarios and ideas recycled through his mind, every one of them just as unlikely as the next. He was supposed to be in Myobokuzan, but somehow he had managed to appear at Konoha. Only there was no sign of the village, nothing to indicate that humans even lived here. He recognized the place, but the current predicament was beyond his understanding and it was really starting to piss him off.

He looked around, saw a small pond nearby, and ambled over to wash his face, and to quench his thirst. He greedily gulped down the water, and as the liquid went down his parched throat, he heaved a sigh of relief, and began to wipe his face clean. And then, he stopped as he saw his reflection.

He stopped as soon as he saw the reflection of his eyes in the water.

That was because his eyes now bore a very familiar pattern.

A pattern of a dojutsu.

A dojutsu used by the other student of his sensei, who had once led the Akatsuki.

The Rinnegan.

Somehow, Naruto Uzumaki had unbelievably manifested the Rinnegan within his eyes.

At that moment, his surroundings vanished, and he found himself in front of the place where the Kyuubi's sewer used to be, but only thing was, in place of the Kyuubi, there was someone else.

"Well now, boy, shall we have a chat?" the Rikudo Sennin asked with a cheerful smile as he put his arm around Naruto's shoulders like an old friend and guided him in, leaving Naruto to splutter around like a fish out of water as he gazed at the man.

P.S. 1. And it is back, and as I said, major rewrite in effect. This I will tell, because I don't want to be hounded by questions. Yes, I gave him the Rinnegan, instead of the perfect Sharingan as compared to the old version. And yes, he now holds the soul of the Rikudo Sennin within himself gaining access to all his abilities and powers, but that will be explained in detail in the next chapter. This is still the prologue, so please pardon me if I give less information as of now. Ditto about the presence of Kyuubi as well.

P.S. 2. Secondly, yes, he is back in the past, in the time of the clan wars, and yes, he will still become Madara's nephew just like in the old version, but there will be a major added complication, and that will be revealed in the next few chapters.

P.S. 3. However, here he will play a much more complex role than compared to the original, and his relationship with Madara will be rather complicated. Not antagonistic, but not too friendly either. Uncle and nephew, but at the same time, there will be a clash of egos as well.

P.S. 4. The Senju clan is going to play a very crucial role here, and no, you will have to wait to see. I ain't giving too much information right off the bat.

P.S. 5. And yes, it is too early for you to think about pairings.

P.S. 6. And yes, the Rikudo Sennin is going to play possibly the most crucial part in this story. Again, you will have to wait and see the next chapters.

P.S. 7. And yes, now that I have posted the prologue, it will take some time for me to post the next update, since I have some urgent work coming up, so you will have to excuse me, if I delay the next update by a week or so, with regards to this story.