Malik's vomit painted the bark of a nearby palm tree, the contaminated water wreaking its havoc on his insides. Naruto felt awful, being ninja, he and his friends had trained to be able to ingest tainted substances from a young age, and though it hadn't occurred to Naruto at the time, Malik had no such training. Now Naruto was able to figure how it was that the whole of the desert Eden had been abandoned, the dead bodies had poisoned the water. Naruto looked down at Malik apologetically, but he had no answer to his new friends dilemma.
Naruto threw Sasuke a glare, but the Uchiha did nothing. Before Naruto could argue against Sasuke's proposal, Malik passed out.
"Do whatever, I'm going to take a look in some of these buildings."
"I'll go with you." Sakura said. Sasuke turned sharply.
"No." He said, "Stay here with Naruto. It will only take a moment."
Sasuke dipped into a nearby house. Closing the door behind him. He hadn't had time to read whatever was in his new gear.
It was a scroll, and on the scroll was various blueprints of an elaborate series of interconnected pipelines, made from chakra. The chakra lines were all focused into large metal stakes that were forced into the ground, it resembled what had brought them here very closely. Scrawled under the blueprints were notes, written in very fine handwriting. Sasuke had some trouble deciphering it.
Naruto closed Malik's eye-lids as he felt the man's heart slow to a stop. He could not hide the tears he was shedding.
"I'm going to find a place to bury him..."
Naruto's voice sounded different, Sakura had noticed the gradual deepening since they had arrived, she had assumed it was simply him growing... but he sounded more mature, as if the few days out alone in the desert had hardened him, made him cold. Sakura didn't like what this experience was doing to him, it made her sad in the deepest part of her being. If they didn't get home soon, she feared Naruto would lose everything he once was, and end up more like Sasuke.
They needed to find Kakashi, and Quick.
Kakashi held the sobbing man in his arms, not knowing what to do to console the poor, misguided soul.
"I'm so... sorry... we just needed your help. I didn't mean to- Don't hurt me... please..."
"Okay, Okay!" Kakashi said, "Just please explain to me what is going on."
The desert man nodded and cleared his throat. For a moment he looked around hoplessley, but all his companions were still knocked out. He would have to handle the scary silver haired man on his own.
Kakashi pulled his headband back over Obito's eye.
"The first thing that you should know... is that we are a dying nation."
Kakashi nodded and implored the man to continue.
"It started in some of our villages smaller outposts, all of the sudden, all of the residents would die... vicious wounds on everyone. Men, women, children... all brutally murdered." The old man held back tears as he continued, "At first we thought it was an isolated incident, but it spread from village to village. We only have a few safe havens left..."
Kakashi continued to listen.
"No matter what we did, posting armed guards, militia, even our best warriors... by morning they were all dead. No survivors, no witnesses." He cleared his throat, but found it hard to swallow, "Every day, more villages are... destroyed. In desperation, we turned to myths and legends. We have heard tale of totems spread throughout the world, some of which lead to the homes of the greatest warriors on the earth."
Kakashi's mind began to unravel the mystery of where he was.
"But that's all the totems were... myths, until we discovered a map... and this monolith, right here." The man pointed to a tall black stone, "A few of us decided to try it, knowing full well we might not make it back... we lit the monolith aflame, like the map described, and we ended up in your world."
Kakashi opened his mouth to ask more questions, but the man spoke.
"The language you speak is taught to us in school, but it isn't our first language... it's evidence of when your people walked among us... you startled us by speaking it, and even more when you attacked. Everything went wrong... your friends are okay, but the portals they followed stranded them in random parts of the desert... they could be miles away, or hundreds of miles... and because they followed a separate portal than the main one, they lost anything inanimate."
"No clothes, no weapons..." Kakashi surmised.
"No offense friend... but I doubt they still live."
"Well friend..." Kakashi said calmly, "You don't know them as well as I do."
The desert man nodded, confused.
"Take me to one of your safe havens... I'm sure my friends will find their way to one as well. In the mean time, let's see if we can save your nation."
"Thank you! Thank you so much!" The desert man blubbered, and moved to wake his friends. Kakashi summoned a shadow clone.
"If you find them, take them to the monolith. I'll be back in a day to check..."
The shadow clone nodded, and walked off into the desert. Soon, he disappeared from sight.
Sasuke left the small house, he had read the scroll completely, and knew exactly where they needed to go. Not that he would ever admit it, but Naruto had been right, the totems were connected to their trip to this strange land. In fact they were the cause of it. According to the scroll, the central focus point of the totem was a large monolith in the desert, several miles west of this deserted village. If they were lucky, they could get there in a few hours, if not... it might take a few days. Either way, they needed to leave now.
Naruto was rubbing the ground for some reason, and Sakura watched on with sad eyes. Whatever those two idiots were doing, it was delaying their departure.
"Let's go guys." Sasuke looked around, Malik, or whatever his name was, was nowhere to be found.
"Okay..." Naruto said sadly, standing up slowly. Sakura walked over to him, and hugged him. Sasuke watched as Naruto cringed beneath her touch, then give in to the warmth. It sickened him.
"I said let's go."
"Sasuke-kun... Naru-" Sakura began to explain, but Sasuke had already figured it out. He might've been cold, but he wasn't heartless. Walking over, he joined the hug.
"I'm sorry Naruto... he was a good man, but we need to go."
Naruto wiped a single tear from his eye, and nodded. Together, they headed out in the direction of the monolith, and hopefully, toward an escape.