Chapter Fifty-Nine: The Zetsu Invasion Of Konoha
With the break going on, Hinata was up and walking around, mainly to take care of her restless son.
"Kaachan can we see Neechan soon?" He asked, walking next to her.
"After everything's done here. She still has a lot of work left to do dear." She told him, trying to ignore her bothered ankles. She was entering her third trimester, so she was feeling rather heavy.
"But she always busy now." Jiraiya complained, upset that his sister was barely around anymore and not at all during the past month.
"Hinata, I'm going to take Shion to the hospital so I can check up on her." Tsunade claimed.
"Alright, do you want me to look over Kushina for you Shion?" Hinata asked.
Shion nodded. "I would like that." She handed the white-eyed woman her daughter, her own eyes looking a bit sad. "I won't be long, I hope."
"Where they going Kaachan?" Jiraiya asked when he saw Tsunade and Shion walk off.
"They just want to talk alone." She answered, knowing the true answer would only get him upset.
"Hinata!" Kiba said, rushing up to his former teammate with Akamaru by his side.
"Is something wrong?" She asked, noting the concern in his voice. 'Kiba had to stay with Naruto after I left, this can only mean something happened to Naruto.'
"Get yourself and your son to safety now! We're under attack!" Kiba told her, senses sharp to see if any more Zetsu would appear in here.
Hinata silently gasped. "Who's attacking?"
"We're not sure yet. But they snuck in a large army that's already within the village. It's like Orochimaru all over again."
Hinata immediately looked to her son. "Follow me Rai-chan." She wanted to hold him too, but her arms were full with Kushina.
"Akamaru can accompany you." Kiba offered, knowing the boy wouldn't be able to keep up with his mother, and Hinata already could only run so fast with one baby in her arms and another in her womb. The dog barked in agreement.
"Thank you Kiba. Rai-chan, get on the dog's back."
No stranger to riding Akane's fox form, the young boy eagerly climbed aboard the ninken's back. Once he was secure Akamaru ran ahead of Hinata so she could keep an eye on him while she followed, going as fast as she could in her condition.
Kiba went out to the stadium where Anbu were on guard and trying to direct confused people out. At the same time one was whispering to Sakura who quickly went back to the arena where her voice would still be amplified.
"Everyone remain calm, but there's an attack going on. All ninja chuunin or higher prepare for counter-invasion protocols. All civilians, head to the shelters. All genin, see to it anyone not aware is informed, but refrain from fighting if you don't have to."
Exactly as one might expect, the intended reaction and the achieved reaction were not the same. Several civilians did panic and many of the genin wanted to be in the fight to defend the village, even those not belonging to Konoha.
As if invited, hundreds of Zetsu emerged from the walls, floors, and ceilings of the stadium. Ninja responded right away, attacking in all sorts of ways, but the Zetsu kept coming.
"Are these really what I think they are?" Sakura asked as she crushed a Zetsu's head with her fist.
"It would appear so." Kakashi replied, burning another to ash with a fire jutsu.
"But where did they come from? Didn't we destroy the entire supply years ago?" The pinkette added, hitting another of the artificial men in the chest.
"Maybe someone recreated them?" Kakashi suggested.
Sakura suddenly gasped. 'Someone cloned Sasuke, they could have easily restarted the Zetsu project if they had the DNA for it.'
"What exactly are these things?" Tenten asked, throwing numerous weapons at them.
"These are what Akatsuki would have used to start the Fourth War if we hadn't destroyed their supply." Kakashi explained.
Neji went to kill one that Tenten had hit but not killed, and when he did the chest seemed to open up like a flower and swallow his lower arms. "Get me out of this!" He yelled, feeling the creature absorb some of his chakra.
Kakashi rushed to the Hyuuga and slice off the Zetsu's arm with a short sword from his Anbu days. The creature released Neji's hands and chose to flee rather than fight back. "Focus on keeping them down, I'm going to see if I can find the one behind this." He ordered before jumping away to go on a search for other areas of heavy struggle.
"I need to go get my Anbu gear. My juuken won't be enough here." Neji commented.
Tenten nodded and pulled out a kusarigama to fight with. "Come back quickly. Get Kohaku to safety."
Neji nodded and vanished as if he could not do it fast enough.
"Great Wind Breakthrough!"
A wave of wind blasted a dozen Zetsu off the top of a building, allowing other ninja a better chance to kill them.
"Glad to see being in Konoha all the time hasn't made you go soft Sis." Kankuro jested, attacking the plant men with his Crow.
"Nope, but definitely better hydrated." Temari replied. "Am I the only one who finds it strange that last time something like this happened in Konoha we were the ones causing it?"
"You're not the only one." Her brother answered. "Where's Gaara?"
A wave of sand swept up dozens of Zetsu and quickly crushed the engulfed portions of their bodies. The weight of the sand made it hard for them to escape.
The sand tightened around the Zetsu and crushed them to a pulp.
"Excellent work there Shukaku." Sari praised, throwing a few shuriken at some other Zetsu.
"Sensei, is it okay if I 'prepare' them?" Shukaku asked.
"With these things, be my guest."
With a grin, Shukaku made two fists and held one right above the other before slowly bringing it down below. "Sand Disintegration."
The sand currently holding all the Zetsu started making grinding noises, and it even turned a little red for a moment. The grinding continued on for a bit.
More Zetsu showed up, this time attacking Sari.
"Bad move plant guys. Scorch Style: Wilted Flower Field Jutsu."
Spreading her arms the Suna kunoichi conjured up a set of fireballs that looked like miniature suns. You see, while Sari didn't look the part she in fact did belong to the same clan that the late Pakura did in life, and had the same bloodline. With it, she brought her hands closer and what looked like miniature solar flares sprung out and connected the two fireballs. They didn't merge into one big ball, no it was more like they were tethered together now.
With a shove the joined fireballs shot forward, spinning around on an unseen axis and generating a lot of extra heat this way. The Zetsu that were the closest to it shriveled up in seconds and even burst into flames. The ones lucky enough to escape dove into the ground before they would suffer.
Back with Shukaku, she pulled the sand away and left behind a pile of pale particles on the ground. Unhooking one of the scrolls at her left, she opened it to a seal and held it close to the pile, which got sucked in and sealed away.
Looking up, she saw Yugiko soar thru the air, even using some fire blasts to propel herself. "Where's she going?"
"Keep your hands off my son!" Hinata yelled before pummeling a Zetsu with her Twin Lion Fist jutsu. The impact overwhelmed the Zetsu so it couldn't try to snare her like Neji had experienced before. Not bothering to confirm the damage dealt she turned around to see if another was going after Jiraiya, since this one she had apprehended had made a clear attempt to take the young boy before she intervened.
Surrounding her and a snarling Akamaru were close to a dozen more Zetsu, each malformed in some way.
"Come with us or surrender the child." One of the Zetsu insisted.
"Come with us or surrender the child." Another parroted.
"Come with us or surrender the child."
Hinata glanced at Jiraiya and at Kushina, both of which were being protected by Akamaru while Jiraiya tried to protect a crying Kushina. She wasn't sure which child they were specifically asking for, but of course either way it didn't matter to her for one second. There was no chance in any hell that she would give these things any child, let alone the two in her care.
"I'll kill each one of you myself before I let you harm a single hair on these children." Hinata threatened.
"You're welcome to try." One of the Zetsu claimed before they all jumped at each, one at a time but in rapid succession to prevent her from forming a response.
Arms spread out, Hinata spun around and formed a full Rotation, sending the cloned plant creatures flying away by surprise. It took some time for Hinata to fully compete the jutsu, but if Akane could learn just from watching Hinata could learn it too with just a little more effort. Even though the Protective Eight Trigrams version still was the one she preferred.
She stopped and breathed heavily for a second, able to see how Jiraiya and Kushina were doing thanks to her byakugan. Both were okay, with Kushina still crying and Jiraiya clearly scared but trying to be brave for his little half-sister. It made her smile to see her son handle himself well.
Even so, the Zetsu were down but not finished and she could really use some help about now.
"Need help?" Neji asked, appearing beside her.
"Neji, fight them off so I can get these two to safety."
Neji looked confused as he hadn't been expecting that, and instead without another word went to get Jiraiya and Kushina. This confused both Hinata and Akamaru greatly.
"What are you-?" Hinata started, but Neji disappeared before she could get out the rest. Overcome with maternal instincts Hinata did her best to follow, not easy to do with her swollen stomach, with Akamaru accompanying her.
Up in the air Yugiko was checking the village to see the extent of the invasion. If they could figure out how spread out the enemy was they could start working to box the threat in and give it less room to move.
'So far they're mostly on the side of the village the arena is in.' She noted, coming to a stop atop a building. "Alright, so I can get started boxing them in. I just hope this place has good insurance."
Jumping to the ground, Yugiko ignited her arms and started setting some of the streets on fire. Some Zetsu had already been out and were caught in the flames, though others were able to get away.
"Who wants to be deep fried?" Yugiko taunted, throwing more fireballs at the plant humanoids.
"I prefer deep freeze!" Someone called out, sending large sharpened chunks of ice at the Kumo kunoichi.
Yugiko did the natural thing for someone of her skills and sent some flames at the ice. The two attacks collided, but the ice kept going and hit her, drawing some blood but no damage she couldn't hear from.
'What the heck? The ice didn't melt? My flames are the best in all the nations. What ice would withstand them?' She thought, checking her wounds and licking one on her right arm.
Getsu-Ni dropped down and quickly started a jutsu. Right away ice began to form around them both, forming a type of dome. "Ice Style Crystal Ice Mirrors Jutsu." She said when she finished.
Yugiko's entire body burst into flames, and she saw that while the ice held solid, it was starting to melt. "I don't know how you're able to make ice that can withstand my flames, but even tough ice will cave to fire eventually."
"So let's see which of us is faster then Nibi." Getsu-Ni challenged, created multiple ice kunai and stepping into one of the mirrors.
Despite her desire to persist, Hinata had to stop and rest herself. Luckily Akamaru was able to continue going. At the moment she leaned against a water tower atop a building, breathing like she was exhausted and holding her large stomach.
'This invasion couldn't have waited until I was done being pregnant?' She asked herself, trying to relocate Neji with her byakugan. 'I don't understand, why did he just take the children? I'd swear that wasn't Neji, but I saw him with my byakugan and that was his chakra signature. Was he hit with a genjutsu?'
When she managed to catch her breath she looked around again with her doujutsu, and this time caught a glimpse of Neji again. Only this time he was fighting some Zetsu with his Anbu gear, which he clearly did not have before, and worst of all he did not have Jiraiya or Kushina with him.
Desperate for answers, Hinata left the rooftop and made her way to her cousin just as he finished off the group he had been fighting.
"Hinata you shouldn't be out here in your condition." He told her when he saw her approach.
"Neji where is my son?"
Neji blinked. "I thought you would be taking him somewhere safe. Why would I know where he is if you don't?"
"You swear on your father's grave that you don't know?" Hinata asked, on the verge of crying.
"No I don't. Why do you think I would?"
"Because someone that looked just like you took Rai-chan from me." She confessed, releasing some tears as some of her more hysterical emotions started to surface thanks to her worry.
Neji embraced her in a hug, which she did not refuse. "Then Kami-sama have mercy on that person when they're caught. Because no one here will."
"Death Fog Jutsu." Fuzei called out, emitting a variant of the Hidden Mist Jutsu that was based on steam rather than mist around herself. The Zetsu near her had their skin start to peel off and they sank into the ground to save themselves.
"Hiding in the earth huh? Bad move when you're against an Iwa kunoichi." Fuzei stated before jumping up and putting chakra into her legs in the air, resulting in a much bigger, more like earth-shattering, impact when she landed. This forced many Zetsu back to the surface and each one of them showed tremendous damage, like they had been shattered along with the ground.
"Hey, save some for me!" Mida shouted before dropping from the sky and landing next to Fuzei. "So old friend, what are these ugly clods?"
"No idea, but they seem to be able to fuse with the ground. Damaging the earth while they're connected hurts them too." Fuzei answered, jumping and kicking the head of a Zetsu off.
"Fuse with the earth now do they?" Mida asked, getting a dangerous grin. "Bad idea when I'm around ugly."
She put her palms on the ground and sent a burst of chakra thru it. The soil began to turn to gold and spread out, and the Zetsu that were still connected with the ground began to turn to gold with it. They actually yelled in agony while petrifying from the waist up, but it was too late for them to disconnect and stop the process. Those that could disconnect before the gold got to them were safe, but Fuzei followed up with multiple kicks and bursts of steam.
"That's a pretty gruesome way to die." The reborn Gobi commented to her former classmate when there were no Zetsu left to clobber.
Mida smirked. "But not bad for the future Golden Tsuchikage right?"
Fuzei snorted. "Just be glad I'm here and not Kyoko. Now see if you can turn more of these things in glass. They're easier to break that way."
"If I can catch them quick enough. But gold is much prettier than glass." Mida claimed, just before the two kunoichi went off to find more, leaving a golden circle in the ground with malformed humanoid features sticking out of it.
"Are we really supposed to be afraid of these things?" Akane asked after shredding a Zetsu with a rasengan. "They're barely putting up a fight."
"They're not meant to be front line fighters." Naruto told her, throwing a kunai infused with wind chakra at another Zetsu, which resulted in it actually piercing the one behind it too. "These things are like zombies, they're only dangerous in groups but easy to pick off when on their own. They overwhelm their enemy with sheer numbers, absorb their chakra, or can infiltrate places disguised as normal people to assassinate them."
"Then why are these ones not doing all that?" Akane asked, trying to ready another rasengan.
"Whoever threatened you and your cousins has to be behind this. I don't know why they're going about it this way. Maybe they're trying to force you nine to transform in front of everyone." Naruto suggested.
"Fat chance of that." Akane rued, pouncing at another Zetsu and obliterating it when her red rasengan made contact.
When the clumps of dead flesh fell from her view, Neji came before her, and to her surprise morphed into a malformed Zetsu. "Gather the rest of your kind or the young boy will die."
Akane growled and bared her claws. "You better not mean the boy I think you mean."
"Will you take that chance?" The Zetsu asked before sinking into the ground. "Bring them to the top of the mountain." It added before the head disappeared beneath the soil.
Akane growled while her body trembled and Naruto, who heard it all, could see a red aura start to bubble around her.
"Akane, listen to me." He started. She turned around, glaring at him in a way that reminded him of the looks the old Kyuubi used to give him. "You're not taking your cousins anywhere. You and I will deal with these idiots ourselves."
Akane quickly went from glaring to grinning like a fox. "It'll be like Madara all over again."