I don't own Naruto, and I don't think I ever will.
Chapter 141: The Anomalies
Naruto's eyes shot open wide, the bedsheets barely covering his torso and that of Akimi, who was using his chest as a pillow. 'What do you mean Madara... you mean that fake, Tobi?' The blond thought, still laying on his back while scanning the room with his eyes darting quickly, as if half expecting the masked Akatsuki ninja to appear at any moment.
'No this is the real Madara, I am sure of it.'
'How is that even possible, shouldn't he have died something like a hundred years ago? the Shodai Hokage killed at the valley of the end. At least that's what Itachi taught me.'
'I don't really know but I am sure it is him, I would know his dark chakra anywhere.'
'I can't feel anything though.'
'Trust me he's here. Just a short way to the north, he also knows you're here. He's suppressing his presence.'
Naruto frowned, he was unsure what to make of this development. 'I should probably check it out. It seems to be more than just some coincidence.' He decided, slowly he began to slide out of the bed untangling himself from Akimi light embrace trying his best not to wake her.
Escaping Akimi's grasp and getting out of bed took him longer than he was proud to admit, letting out a sigh as he pulled on his clothes. As he slowly approached the door however Akimi appeared behind him wrapped in the bedsheets. "Naruto-kun, where are you going?" She asked with a yawn.
"I felt a strange chakra spike." he lied not wanting to worry the kunoichi. "I didn't mean to wake you, sorry."
"It's alright, I was just shocked when I woke up and you weren't there. If you wait a minute I'll come join you." Akimi suggested.
Naruto didn't like the sound of that, if he was really going to meet someone like Madara Uchiha, he didn't want Akimi to get too close him. He didn't know all that much about the man but he was a the great rival of the Shodai Hokage, someone who was known as the god of shinobi. "Don't worry about it Akimi-chan I probably won't be out long, you go back to bed."
"Uh okay, but if you don't come back soon, I'm going to come join you." She replied. 'There is something wrong here. He's a little jumpy, it's not like Naruto-kun at all.'
"Yeah I won't be gone long I promise." The blond replied, not sounding at all convincing. Realising this fact, he walked over to Akimi and gave her a quick kiss, as if to reassure her that nothing was wrong before he left their hotel room through the closest window. 'Right, so where am I headed Kyuubi?'
'Like I said, head to the north, I can't say how far from here, but he knows you are here I am sure of it.' The large nine tailed fox replied.
'What makes you think that?'
'He attempted to summon me, that's how I initially caught on he was here.' Kyuubi replied casually.
Naruto landed on the branch of a tree and took a knee. 'Then this is a trap. It cannot simply be a coincidence that he would show up here, and then try to summon you. If this is how he wants to introduce himself why not just flare his chakra, on that note I still can't feel it from here.'
'Well a trap is a distinct possibility. There is nothing that could involve that man, that could be positive. As much as I hate most humans, it has nothing on the hate I have for Madara Uchiha. It is Because of Madara I was enslaved, captured, and then sealed away for the past hundred years.'
'Then tell me why should I go there?'
'If you don't go there, then he will come here. Do you really want that, there would be nothing left of that hotel at all. Your little holiday would be over early.'
Naruto sighed realising that he actually had a point. 'I guess there are a lot of innocent people there that could get caught in the crossfire if things go sideways. Oh Kami, what am I thinking listening to you.' He thought before kicking off from the tree following the Kyuubi's directions carefully.
In the end Naruto came to a stop in front of a narrow valley, high vertical cliffs cut off all moon light and it was clear Madara was attempting to channel Naruto inside. "Well this isn't half obvious." he muttered sarcastically to himself. Earning a dark chuckle from the fox. "Hey Madara, I am not going in there, so you better just come out!" He beckoned.
"Hahaha, well it's good to see you have some common sense. I take it my little pet told you where I was." A low masculine voice chuckled. Slowly, from the pitch black of the valley a man no older than thirty appeared clad in blood red body armour in the style of a samurai. He had long black spiky hair like a mane, running all the way down to his waist. His dark expressionless eyes staring down the young Uzumaki.
"I've gotta say, for someone that's over a hundred years old you look pretty good." Naruto replied with a smirk.
Madara chuckled and smirked to match that of the blond's. "So you're the anomaly huh... interesting."
"Says the dead man. If you ask me, that's more of an Anomaly than I am." Naruto replied. 'What does he mean by anomaly? Must be about the Rinnegan, it is a bit of a shock to see it for the first time.'
"I guess you do have a point, we are both anomalies in this world. If we worked together we could rule this world, nobody could touch us." Madara mused slowly examining the young jinchuuriki. "You have something that belongs to me, I came here to get it back. Why not hand it over?"
"Really, and what would that be?" Naruto asked.
"The Kyuubi of course. It's not nice to steal someone else's pet. So I will ask again, why don't you hand Kyuubi over to me? Being an anomaly you could even survive, if you use those eyes of yours... That is if you have developed them enough. Still I wonder where you got eyes like that."
"Well I am going to have to turn you down. For one, I have no desire to rule the world. But to be honest, the main reason would be... you expecting me to hand Kyuubi over. That's never going to happen, so sorry." Naruto replied, he still had a casual tone but had slowly positioned himself, incase the ex Uchiha patriarch decided to attack.
"Then it seems like our discussions will have to end here for the time being. As much as it pains me to kill someone with such potential, I can't let you get in my way." Madara said calmly, completely self assured in his own ability to follow through with his threat.
"Then bring it on old man, I'm not going down without a fight." Naruto replied.
They both moved at the same time each catching the other with a fist to the jaw and were rocketed in opposite directions at the same time, spinning in mid air so they would land safely on their feet. Madara having a larger frame was able to regain his composure before the blond teen, and used that to gain a small advantage to put Naruto on the back foot.
Naruto was faster, but Madara's experience meant that they were equally matched, or so it appeared. Madara had a vicious smile, it was like he had never had so much fun in his life. Naruto was able to use this to his advantage, sliding around Madara's extended arm and using his slightly smaller and more nimble frame slipped under his legs and kicking the long raven haired man in the back.
Madara used his arm to vault up, regain composure, and land on his feet. Naruto had attempted to follow up on the attack and ran face first into a spinning leg of the older man. Like Madara, Naruto readjusted himself in mid air skidding to a halt and ready to counter any attack. Madara however hadn't moved, so Naruto spat out a small amount of blood.
"Now this is exhilarating, I haven't had this much fun since I fought with Hashirama. but you will eventually have to take this fight seriously. You can't defeat me like this." Madara said confidently.
'Well didn't he die the last time he fought with the Shodai? It makes sense he wouldnt have had much fun since then.' "You're one to talk, you haven't even activated your Sharingan yet." Naruto replied sharing the Uchiha's confidence.
Madara chuckled, nodding his agreement. "Well once more I guess you do have a point. So what do you say we take the gloves off then?"
"Fine by me, let's do this! Fuuton: Great Breakthough!" The ground broke up under the immense force of Naruto's jutsu. Madara though ran through hand seals faster than Naruto thought was even possible and spat out a giant ball of fire that enveloped Naruto's jutsu and easily overpowered the wind. In response Naruto erected a giant wall of water to protect himself.
Madara forced himself through the water and his eyes morphed "Amaterasu!"
'Oh Shit!' "Shinra Tensei!" The black flames hit the invisible barrier of gravity and exploded back into Madara's face. Naruto jumped back laughing "I can't believe he fell for that!"
"Fell for what?" Madara said calmly, despite still being on fire.
Naruto's eyes widened in surprise. 'What the fuck!?'
The flames dispersed and Madara's charred features almost instantly healed themselves. "Oh, you mean the gravity jutsu... I wouldn't really consider that working, but if I had wanted I could have easily avoided that attack, I just didn't see much point in it." Madara chuckled darkly.
"You're an Edo Tensei." Naruto replied in mild shock.
"True... To tell the truth, this was not how I was expecting to be revived. But I suppose that it is better than nothing." The Uchiha said casually.
"In that case this fight is as good as over, I don't know who summoned you, but taking me on was a mistake. I have no desire to fight an Edo Tensei for someone who is too much of a coward to fame me themselves." Naruto replied.
Madara gave the blond a quizzical look but simply shrugged it off. "Well it's good to see that you're confident. But everyone I have met that spoke like you I have killed... but fine I will play along."
Naruto's body sparked and he shot forward in a flash. Madara's eyes widened as Naruto reappeared with the palm of his hand on the Uchiha's forehead. "Human Path!" Madara stood with wide eyes but his stunned look soon turned to a smirk. It was now Naruto's turn to look surprised, nothing was happening. He was trying to remove the Edo Tensei's soul and end the jutsu but it didn't work.
"Well... That was uneventful." Madara laughed before kicking Naruto in the stomach. This time the blond couldn't readjust and sound himself slamming into the cliff face.
Naruto coughed up some blood as he pulled himself to his feet. 'What the hell, why didn't my jutsu work? If he's an Edo Tensei, then how come I couldn't remove his soul from the fake body?'
'I don't know, the human path worked when you used it on the two Senju years ago.' Kyuubi replied equally surprised.
"You look a little confused... perhaps you were trying to, oh I don't know, remove my soul?" Madara said with a smirk.
Naruto gave a weak smile. "Well now that you mention it."
"Hahaha. It seems that the one who summoned me foresaw you trying to use that particular jutsu. He came up with a rather ingenious method to stop the soul removal jutsu of the Rinnegan, I must say I was impressed." Madara chuckled.
"So, who did summon you? They obviously put a lot of thought into countering my jutsu." Naruto asked.
"I didn't ask his name, but it's a pale man with silver blue hair, always wore glasses." Madara answered truthfully.
"That doesn't really ring any bells... Obviously not someone that I ever considered to be a threat." Naruto mused, rubbing his chin while trying to think about who that could be.
Madara laughed at the still casual approach the blond had to his predicament. "Hm, yes in a fight the man is certainly nothing special, below average for sure. Hm... well the only other feature I can think of were his slitted eyes... like a snake."
This rang a bell with the blond. 'A snake? But Itachi killed Orochimaru, he sealed him with his Susanoo. In that case it must be, Kab... uh Kabuto was it?'
'That would explain why you can't use Human path. When you were in his underground hideout there was that weird experiment of his, you couldn't use Human path on him either.' Kyuubi mused.
"That's it!" Naruto said in understanding. 'Thanks Kyuubi.'
'Save it fool, this is not going to be an easy fight, stay focused.'
"You figured out who summoned me?" Madara asked with mild interest.
"Well yes I did. But I also know why my soul removal jutsu didn't work." Naruto explained. Madara arched an eyebrow but at the same time he didn't say anything. "An anchoring seal, a powerful one, he anchors your soul with others to a specific part of your body, being an Edo Tensei, it could even be inside your body."
"I'm impressed, but it's more than one seal. The man that summoned me used several anchoring seals, they must have required the life force from a number of people with higher than average chakra levels." Madara explained.
"So he kills a bunch of people and steals their chakra and life force?" Naruto surmised. 'That complicates things... there is no telling just how many anchor seals he has. Also using life force chakra, that's an advanced form of Senjutsu... does that mean that a cut rate shinobi like Kabuto has become a sage?'
"From my limited understanding, that is indeed how it works. In any case, we have gone off topic. I believe I was in the middle of taking my Bijuu back." Madara said with a smirk.
"Then you were in the middle of failing. But thanks for indulging me." Naruto replied, a smirk forming on his face as dark orange pigment formed around his eyes than gained a slightly golden hue.
"Sage mode. You really are full of surprises." Madara replied growing even more interested in the blond anomaly.
'This is the best option I have at the moment. His soul has been anchored to an indestructible body, and I am not competent enough in Fuinjutsu to seal him that way.' Naruto thought, slightly worried.
'You could use my chakra, it is similar in many ways to the natural chakra used in your sage mode.' Kyuubi suggested.
'I don't want to go that far yet. I need to see more of what he can do, besides I don't want to give away my full strength this time. I still can't get a proper read on this guy, I wan't to see more of what he can do first.' The blond reasoned.
'You cannot toy with Madara Uchiha, Naruto! It will end badly for you.'
'I'm not toying with him, if I jump in using your chakra and make a mistake it could be all over for me. Besides, despite what he has said I don't think he is here to capture you... at least not today anyway.' Naruto replied. "So Madara, why are you really here, I don't believe that you're simply after the Kyuubi, also find it hard to believe that a legendary shinobi like you would allow yourself willingly to be controlled by someone like Kabuto." He asked trying to prove his point.
"You really think that is the case? Perhaps you underestimate Kabuto... he was able to resurrect me, or does that mean nothing to you?" Madara answered flatly.
Naruto took his response without any degree of seriousness, he didn't even believe that Madara believed what he was saying. "He's nothing but a useless waste of space, hiding behind someone else's talent. All of the credit for his work goes to Orochimaru, he was the real... I guess the word would be genius. Don't get me wrong he was a real creep no doubt about it, but he was smart, he had all sorts of data on you... and lot's of others as well. Is that his game, he'll release an army of freaks like you that can't be killed?"
"I couldn't tell you even if he does have such a plan. The first thing I did once I was resurrected was to fight control from him, he has been recovering ever since from sever chakra exhaustion." Madara answered honestly.
"Sound's like he didn't want to give up control." Naruto chuckled.
"I hadn't thought about it, nor do I care in the slightest. Like you said he is a waste of space, he was beneath me, why would I allow him to even have the thought of being able to control me. " The old Uchiha said.
"Then why didn't he just end the jutsu?" Naruto queried.
Madara nodded, impressed with the blond's knowledge. "In the end he did. But I knew that hack Tobirama quite well, I had very little time for him, but his fuinjutsu was a thing of beauty, equal if not better than the greatest members of your own clansmen. I was able to use the Edo Tensei for myself while keeping the same body that had been provided along with his handy little seals. Granted I am not as strong as I was when alive, but it is still more than enough to deal with you in good time."
Naruto nodded in understanding. "But not today, right? If you were serious, then you wouldn't be wasting time with this little conversation when you know as well as I do that I have help on the way."
"Yes, there is very little possibility of this being settled tonight, it's as you say this was just a little greeting between myself, and someone who if given time I may even consider to have enough potential to become my equal. Those eyes mask you as such." Madara said darkly.
'Equal... huh?' Naruto thought, a slight frown appearing on his brow.
'Don't let him get inside your head fool! You will only end up making more mistakes.'
'No there is definitely some meaning in what he just said. Akimi will have noticed my chakra by now, that that means she be here soon. I would also put money on Madara having an exit strategy to leave quickly in case things fall in my favour. If I want to find out what he meant then I need to act now.' Naruto thought, he slipped off his Yoinokuchi robe before he began channeling chakra into the palms of his hands, spinning it to form a rasengan.
Naruto shot forward in a blur, ready to impale the long haired Uchiha with his jutsu. Madara didn't even bother to move as Naruto came close a large spectral arm appeared and blocked the strike with ease. "That's a rather impressive jutsu, it would cause considerable damage if it had hit me that is." Madara said lazily. While Naruto's rasengan continued to be stopped by his Susanoo.
"Then try this on for size!" Naruto yelled and started channeling wind elemental chakra. The rasengan began to screech and soon began to shred through the spectral arm. Madara raised a brow, somewhat impressed that the blond was able to achieve.
In the end Madara was forced to jump away to avoid being torn to shreds. Naruto responded by switching to Asura path and sending a wave of exploding projectiles at the former Uchiha clan leader. Once more a spectral arm grew to shield Madara from harm. He then decided to go on the offensive jumping forward ready to swat Naruto away.
Being more nimble than the Uchiha, Naruto was able to vault out of the way before breathing out a torrent of flames that engulfed the Susanoo arm, and gave Naruto time to get behind the Edo Tensei shinobi. 'There his backs exposed!'
Naruto spat out a volley of thin senbon like blades of wind directly at Madara's back but just as they were about to strike their target, Madara spun out of the way. He had perfectly anticipated Naruto's attack, and had even predicted where the blond would move next without even needing to see with his Sharingan. As he spun he released a giant ball of fire right where Naruto was about to land.
In response Naruto created a clone and used it to toss his real body to safety. "Phew that was close, your judgement is spot on." Naruto said cheerfully.
"You're still not showing me everything, do you think you can defeat me by hiding most of your strength boy? At this rate I won't even break a sweat." Madara said with no small level of scorn.
"Well the way I see it you're the one who came here looking for a fight, so why should I be the first one to take this fight seriously." Naruto reasoned. 'He's still so calm, I know I am hiding a lot of my strength... But it's just like he said he doesn't even look like he is trying at all.'
'It's not like you are trying either. This is Madara Uchiha, he is on a completely different level to anyone you have, or will ever meet. To have a chance against him you will need to fight him at your full strength.'
Madara stood, his calm expression not changing. 'This kid isn't bad at all. I haven't been this excited since the last time I fought Hashirama, he has the exact same feeling about him... I am going to enjoy killing this one... My time here is almost up though, we're going to have to do this another day.'
Naruto thrust his arms out and formed two Rasenshuriken, one in each hand. He then took off at high speed, he knew that with the Sharingan Madara would be able to follow his movements quite comfortably. 'Time to take things up a notch.' He thought putting on an extra burst of speed, while releasing the first of his jutsu.
Madara jumped out of the way, but that played perfectly into Naruto's hands. The blond tossed the second jutsu to where he knew that Madara would land. The older Uchiha took a play out of Naruto's book however, as he formed a clone to pull himself out of the way.
In response Naruto sped toward Madara, wind wrapping around his arm. Madara's eyes widened in excitement. 'Fuuton manipulation at such a high level... impressive.' He thought, shooting a large wall of fire at the blond.
Naruto reacted instantly, absorbing Madara's jutsu. He shot through the flames without stopping and released the wind around his arms forward, ripping up the ground. Madara slammed his hands to the ground to erect a large wall of stone, but it was no match to the power of Naruto's jutsu, powered by his sage mode.
Madara was cut up, by the jutsu he could no longer avoid. Rather than looking shocked however, Madara grinned triumphantly. "Oh yes... show me more! Let me see how strong you really are... do not disappoint me Naruto Uzumaki!"
'Does he have a screw loose?' Naruto wondered.
'I don't think he has a single one that isn't.' Kyuubi scoffed.
Naruto and Madara both turned their necks as they felt a new arrival. "Naruto-kun! What the hell is going on." Akimi yelled. She was already on guard, she knew that if Naruto had taken his weighted robe off and entered sage mode, then they were not to be taken lightly. "Who is this?"
Naruto smiled and rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment. "Uh hey, nice timing Akimi-chan. This would be Madara Uchiha."
"You're kidding me right?" The kunoichi asked.
"Oh it's really him alright. At least, it's an Edo Tensei version of him." Naruto replied.
Madara lowered his guard, looking a little bored. "Things are getting a little over crowded, but as you said, we were never going to resolve anything here today."
"What you telling me it's over already?" Akimi replied, looking like she had just showed up a far too late to a party.
"Sorry Akimi-chan, this was just the first round, I'm sure we will meet again." Naruto said.
"What are you talking about, you're just going to let him go!?" The kunoichi asked indignantly.
"For today at least. I'm taking a small vacation." Naruto answered. 'Truth is, if the fight continues now, I doubt I would win. I have no way of ending his Edo Tensei, it's better if this fight ends now.'
"I look forward to finishing this later." Madara replied.
Behind Madara a spiralling vortex opened up and Tobi appeared. "Have you had your fun?" He asked calmly.
Naruto contemplated attacking the masked Uchiha, but decided against it. Madara nodded and turned his back on the two Yoinokuchi shinobi. "Yes we're done here, lets go." He turned slightly, so he met Naruto's gaze. "Next time we meet you will die." With those final words Madara and Tobi disappeared.
Naruto let out a deep sigh and relaxed his stance. "Why did you just let them leave?" Akimi asked, she was still a little confused with the situation.
"Because I don't think I would have won. This way I at least have some time to think of a counter to his Edo Tensei. Human Path didn't work at all this time, thanks to Orochimaru. He was looking for a way to counter my Rinnegan, I guess this was his answer." Naruto admitted, slowly walking over to where his white robe lay on the ground.
"Uh, didn't Itachi kill Orochimaru?" The kunoichi queried.
"He did, it seems Kabuto has taken over from the old snake." Naruto answered, sliding his robe back on. "Let's head back to the hotel, I need a shower."
"So I basically came all the way out here for nothing." Akimi sighed.
"Well I'm sure our fight would have continued a little longer if you didn't show up, so that is at least something." Naruto chuckled.
Akimi sighed and fell into step beside the blond as they slowly walked back towards the resort where they were spending the night. "So, what was Madara Uchiha like?" She asked eventually.
"To tell you the truth, I still don't have a very good read on him. He was hiding too much for me to gauge the full depths of his abilities. But it's clear that he's on a completely different level to anyone I have ever faced before." Naruto admitted.
"You can beat him, I know you will." Akimi said confidently.
Naruto smiled and put an arm around the kunoichi's waist, pulling her close to quickly kiss her forehead. "Well at the moment, I'm not so sure. If that fight continued I probably would have lost. I need to get stronger. It's even more important now that I master using Kyuubi's chakra." He admitted.
"But why would he leave then, if he could have won." Akimi asked, hearing Naruto admit that he could have lost to Madara was a shock.
"He never intended to fight me for real today. I think Tobi and Kabuto must have told him about me, I guess he wanted to find out for himself." Naruto deduced.
Akimi nodded at the blond's reasoning, but still seemed to be quite confused. "It still doesn't explain why they ran away. We were alone, surely they wouldn't get a better opportunity to attack, they are after your Bijuu aren't they?"
"That's true, he also gave me a bit of intel on what the Akatsuki's plan my be, so logically it would have been in their best interest to keep fighting and hope they could defeat me as I am now. That just leads me to believe that he's confident enough to let us have these advantages." The blond admitted.
"Then we will have to make them pay for that little slip up wont we." Akimi replied with confidence, she was not going to be intimidated by the appearance of Madara.
Naruto chuckled, nodding his head in agreement. "Yeah, I agree. I will make that zombie pay for not seeing this fight through to the end today, But I am going to need some strong sparring partners."
So that was a first meeting between Madara and Naruto, I was contemplating just having the pair talk, but that would be a bit of a info drop and chapters like that can end up like a shopping list of plot ending in an overload plot dump with no time to react to any one piece of information. So I decided to go the rout of letting the two of them test each others abilities.
No chapter this week in the cannon, but with any luck things will resolve rather quickly now, I am growing a little tired of the constant power up plot developments, it doesn't even explore the full strength of one before they power someone else up and we get no real explanation as to just what that adds to their strength.
For example in the next chapter of the cannon (Spoiler Warning) we will most likely see Madara get his other Rinnegan eye, or Sakura by some insane plot hole be able to stand up against him. Either way one character would get a power up, two chapters after Naruto and Sasuke did. Now there is a chance neither will happen, but it's not likely.