Disclaimer: What do I not own? The rights to Naruto! What do I own? The entire Demon Slayer manga collection (... minus Vol 23. That'll be an insta-buy when it comes out here in the States)! And believe it or not, it's the first whole manga series I actually went out and bought. And having it all organized and shit is kinda addicting and makes me want to do this with more manga, especially of anime that I've enjoyed!
... the price, though, of doing that for other manga, is kinda off-putting to continuing this collection in extensive detail. I feel like I may have just picked up an extremely expensive hobby and I'm not sure if I/my bank account is ready for this...
'G-Gods…' Yagura groaned as he pulled himself off the ground.
He always knew Kisame was strong – the man was considered 'The Bijū without a Tail' for a reason – but he was not expecting his kick to be strong enough to send him flying into the stadium like that. The Sanbi jinchūriki briefly glanced around the battlefield, noting that he had been sent flying into a large, entry hall where he imagined people bought tickets to attend the Chūnin Exams regularly.
"Stop looking around, Yagura!"
Yagura turned around in time to see Kisame charging towards him from the direction he had been sent flying. He raised his hand, causing coral to rise from the ground in a rippling fashion towards Kisame. The swordsman disappeared in a flicker before appearing right behind Yagura. He swung his claws at Yagura, but the Yondaime Mizukage grabbed his staff, blocking the attack.
"Still alert. Good. I'd hate to beat you without a fair fight." Kisame noted, grinning. "I think we each other that much: a genuinely good fight."
"Hoshigaki Kisame." Yagura grit his teeth in response as he pushed back against Kisame's claws, trying to overpower his teammate: "I owe you nothing, you traitor."
"Harsh accusation, coming from the former 'leader' of a failed state." Kisame snorted in response: "Then again, Kirigakure's always been shit. Nothing changed when you took over, and nothing is any different now that Mei controls it."
Yagura was about to respond, but Kisame opened his mouth: "Water Style: Exploding Water Shock Wave!"
Yagura jumped back just as Kisame spat out a deluge of water from his mouth. The water quickly filled the entire room, flooding the entire room from the floor to the ceiling.
Kisame swam around the room, using his newly-created gills from merging with Samehada to breathe. Yagura had tensed-up upon the water flooding the room, expecting to be struggling to breathe, but he quickly realized that he was breathing underwater like normal.
'I… I'm fine?' He blinked, looking at his body as he started to flutter kick slightly, staying afloat: 'How?'
"You and I are connected more than we have ever been, Yagura." Isobu responded in his mind: "I can breathe underwater. It's only natural that you, with your Chakra Cloak active, can do the same."
'Ah!' Yagura's eyes widened in response: 'That makes sense-'
Yagura quickly swam to his right, narrowly avoiding Kisame rushing forward him. A scowl was on the shark-like shinobi's face.
"So, seems like you're a bit more functional under the water than I thought. But that's not going to change anything." Kisame said with a snarl: "You're definitely no expert at fighting under the water, which is something I am rather skilled at! Water Style: Water Prison Shark Dance!"
Kisame quickly jetted backwards at Yagura. Yagura attempted to move in time, but Kisame tore into his skin. Yagura hissed in pain, blood pouring from an open wound on his right arm. Kisame then turned back around, charging at Yagura once more, but as he was about to close-in on the former Mizukage, coral pieces developed around Yagura's skin. Kisame swam backwards, narrowly avoiding getting caught in the coral.
Yagura's eyes narrowed as he held out his right hand, launching a chunk of coral from his right arm directly at Kisame. The shark-looking man swam upwards, avoiding the attack. Yagura scowled as he snapped his finger, causing the coral to explode, sending more fragments flying throughout the underwater battlefield.
Kisame scowled as he watched the barrage of coral fragments fly through the water: "That little piece of coral was enough to create this bullet hell?"
Yagura smirked in response as he watched Kisame swim around the battlefield, trying to avoid the coral blasts: "You should know that even the smallest of attacks can be as dangerous as more grand, 'larger' techniques?"
"Heh, still trying to overcompensate for yourself, are ya?" Kisame snorted as he continued to swim throughout the battlefield.
The Akatsuki member started to swim forward, avoiding the coral fragments as he rocketed towards Yagura's position. As Yagura's body became surrounded by coral, Kisame's right arm became surrounded by the prickled scales of Samehada. He swung his arm like his sword directly at Yagura's body. Upon impact, the coral on Yagura's skin started to crack slightly as the scales threatened to pierce the jinchūriki's body.
"Just like old times, right, Little Turtle?" Kisame asked, grinning.
"Silence." Yagura hissed as he gripped his hook and swung it at Kisame. The Hoshigaki swam backwards, avoiding it. The two men then stayed stationary for a moment, glaring at one another: "What happened to you? You were always a bloodthirsty man, Kisame, but I always considered you a loyal confidant. Does our time fighting together in the Third Shinobi World War mean nothing to you?"
"What do you mean by that? That we bled and nearly died for a failed state? That's our common bond? The memory I'm supposed to stay loyal to and be willing to die for?" Kisame snorted, glaring at the man in front of him: "You were supposed to change Kirigakure and make it a better place, and all you did was lose your goddamn mind and cause our village to fall apart!" He then started to laugh loudly: "Well, good riddance to a failed village and to its failed leader!"
"I… That…" Yagura bit down on his lip.
"So many deaths can be attributed to your name alone."
"The fall of so many ancient Mizu no Kuni clans with kekkei genkai is our fault."
"Everything is our fault."
"Yagura deserves to die!"
'Stop!' Yagura's bite grew harder, drawing blood: 'You… You know better, Yagura. You faced your Inner Darkness and confronted this! You will not be chained by the past any longer!'
"You really can't respond to anything, huh?" Kisame shook his head, still laughing: "Then stay silent, forever!"
Clapping his hands together, multiple water clones of Kisame formed. All the Kisame clones began to swim around Yagura in a circular pattern before closing down towards him.
"Water Style: Feeding Frenzy!"
As the Kisame's rushed directly at Yagura, the Sanbi jinchūriki brought his hook to his side and sliced around his body, forming a three-hundred-sixty degree spin: "Water Style: Water Mirror Jutsu!"
A lighter layer of water formed around body, resembling a mirror that reflected the school of Kisame clones. The mirrors then released a separate barrage of Kisame shark clones that swam directly into Kisame's clones, tearing into one another.
Within seconds, the original Kisame and Yagura were all that was left. Yagura's eyes narrowed intently at Kisame.
"You hate me for failing Kiri, but then you turn to side with the man who brainwashed me? The man who destroyed Kiri?" Yagura shouted: "Where's the logic in that?"
Kisame torpedoed towards Yagura, swinging his Samehada-fused arm directly at Yagura. Yagura, once again, blocked with his hook.
"The logic is that Madara is trying to change the world." Kisame replied. "To create a world without lies. And unlike you, he has the powers to actually fulfill his promises!"
"A world without lies? That man isn't even Uchiha Madara!" Yagura retorted, pushing back against Kisame's attack. "His whole 'claim' is built on a lie!"
"When did he ever claim to be the genuine Madara, though?" Kisame asked, chuckling: "As far as I'm concerned, he inherited the name and will of the real Uchiha Madara. I don't give a fuck who he is; all I care about is his agenda and his power to accomplish it!"
"You goddamned hypocrite!" Yagura snarled.
"Ooh, careful Little Turtle, you're using 'vulgar language'." Kisame noted, grinning: "Don't the gods damn religious pissants like you for talking like that-"
"The gods can go to hell!" Yagura growled as he applied more pressure onto his hook, channeling chakra into it: "As can you, you fucking bastard! Turtle Hook Shatter!"
Within seconds, Yagura's hook became encased in coral as he finally slammed forward with it enough force that he overpowered Kisame's Samehada, forcing the blade to retreat back into his body. Kisame tried to swim away, but the hook managed to cut into Kisame's chest, delivering a deep wound into his chest.
"ARGH!" Kisame growled he swam back as his blood began to pour from his wound, giving the water a pinkish tent to it as it began to float. Kisame's eyes then narrowed on his wound as a large coral developed on his wound. The coral began to spread throughout his body for a moment before Samehada's scales appeared on his body, cutting off the coral: "Well, I can see when you came back to reality, Yagura, you gained a bit of an edge."
"Gained? It was always there, Kisame. You just never knew me." Yagura retorted: "Just like how I never truly knew you!"
"Hmmm. Guess we both played our parts in this horrible world of lies well, then." Kisame said, shaking his head: "Then, let's shut up and fight like the strangers we are!"
"We're getting close, I can tell.' Kagari noted, chuckling: "We're about to kill all of those genin!"
"Damn right. Surprised it took us this long, though." Mubi noted: "What do you think Oboro? Think we got them?" He was still for a moment, waiting for a response, but he never received one. He then turned his head to face his teammate: "Oboro?"
The three Amegakure chūnin had set-up camp in a bar in Kumogakure close to the stadium – the Jigoro Brewery – and began their plan of tormenting the genin. They had intended on killing off all the genin participants in a rather slow manner just to have 'some sort of fun' during their mission, but their plan already came to a halt as three genin, Team Nine of Konoha, managed to escape.
Fortunately, though, their former jōnin-sensei, Rokushō Aoi, was there to intercept the genin before they could reach them. Unfortunately, though, Oboro – the one most skilled in his chakra sensing abilities – learned the result of that battle.
'Aoi-sensei is dead… and they're coming. They're going to come for us.' Oboro noted, his breathing growing heavier.
"Oboro, what's going on?" Kagari asked, his eyes narrowing: "Did something happen?"
'I can't die. I refuse to.' Oboro shook his head, gritting his teeth behind his gas mask: 'I have so much I need to do. Dying like this here would be pathetic…' His eyes then focused on Kagari and Mubi: 'But if we all get away, they may hunt. No… they need something to kill, otherwise they may go out looking for me.'
"What's going on, man?" Mubi asked, frowning behind his gas mask: "We're partners, Oboro. Answer-"
"Apologies." Oboro shook his head as his body began to sink into the ground: "It's been a pleasure."
"H-Hey!" Kagari called out, his eyes narrowing: "Oboro, where the hell are you going-"
The door to the Jigoro Bar opened-up. Kagari and Mubi turned their attention as they saw Team Nine rushing in.
"Mind Destruction Jutsu!"
Before either could properly react, their bodies shut down as Kanji held out his hand towards them. They tried to struggle against his control, but they were both at his mercy.
They had spent far too long toying around with the other genin to do any meaningful fighting.
As Hanabi and Katsumi rushed towards Kagari and Mubi respectively, the two Amegakure chūnin tried to turn their head towards Oboro to ask for help. Despite being unable to move their bodies, however, they knew it was a fruitless hope.
Oboro had left them to die while he escaped with his life.
It was the last thought in both Kagari's and Mubi's minds as both Hanabi and Katsumi, with a kunai in their hands, slit their throats and killed them.
"… Almost too easy. Especially compared to that other guy." Katsumi mumbled. Her eyes briefly moved to the Raijin no Ken attached to her side before she turned her head back to Hanabi: "Well? See any more of those weird illusions?"
"No. Now that we killed them, the illusions are gone. The others in the infirmary should be safe." Hanabi replied. Katsumi sighed in relief, but Hanabi's eyes narrowed: "However, I can see there was a third shinobi with them. I can see him using some Earth Style jutsu to run through the earth to get away from us."
"How far is he?" Kanji asked. "Should we follow?"
"He's making a surprising amount of distance." Hanabi acknowledged, shaking her head: "From what I can see, I believe he's running towards the exit of the village. I don't believe he'll be involved in the rest of this fight."
'But he might be a problem later…' Katsumi bit her lip in thought before shaking her head: "We shouldn't hunt him down. We… We need to do what we can to help keep the village safe. Tracking one fleeing enemy isn't going to change that."
With those words, Katsumi, Kanji, and Hanabi rushed out, preparing to help out in the invasion however they could.
'What's going on out there? Was today the day of the invasion?'
Throughout the central prison of Kumogakure, built directly into a series of caves inside the mountains, the inmates thrashed around in their cells, trying to bust free. No actual fighting was occurring near the prison, but all the shinobi prisoners knew that something was going on and were desperate to try and get out.
Unlike the other prisoners, however, Amuda sat down on the bed in his prison cell. The chaos around him started to get to him, causing him to close his eyes as he tried to ignore the negative emotions he could sense around him.
'It must have been for today. Time has gotten irrelevant in these walls that I forgot the date. Shame.' He sighed. '… I presume Oyashiro and the others are amongst the numbers right now.'
Amuda remained still, trying to drown out the energy around him. Seconds passed by at an irreconcilably slow pace. In his mind, it felt like this wretched day was already lasting longer than his entire lifetime.
He was so focused on ignoring everything around him that he failed to notice the sound of footsteps approaching his cell, nor the familiar chakra presence.
"Everything okay, Amuda? You look like you have a headache."
The voice echoed through his mind, causing him to open his eyes. He gazed back into the warm, inviting eyes of Chino, a wide smile on her lips.
"Chino… what are you doing here?" He asked.
"What does it look like? I'm busting you out!" She said, her smile turning into a grin as she pulled out a kunai. She brought the kunai to her right arm, causing her to bleed: "Piercing Blood!"
A stream of blood rushed from her open wound, cutting through the prison bars. She then skipped into the room as she rushed over to Amuda's side. Creating another sharp stream of blood, she shattered the chains holding him down before removing the chakra suppressant seals.
"I assume Oyashiro ordered you to break me out while the security is weakened from the invasion?" Amuda asked.
"Bah. Forget Oyashiro. We're done with him." Chino scoffed. Amuda raised his eyebrows in response. Before he could respond, though, Chino grabbed his hands, her grin widening: "Come on. Yakumo and Nowaki are waiting for us. We're going!"
"Going?" Amuda blinked: "Go where?"
"Away." Chino stated, a giggle escaping her lips: "Although, depending on the results of this invasion, we may be going somewhere Akatsuki can contact us. Did you know that there end goal is the destruction of all the major shinobi villages?" Amuda's eyes widened in response, which only caused Chino's giggling to turn into laughter: "Yeah, I didn't know either. But that sure is an agenda I'd be down for!"
"We're… leaving Oyashiro?" Amuda blinked a second time.
"You're really slow on the uptake today." His fellow 'bodyguard' noted, rubbing her chin in thought: "Does prison really change a man? Cause you sound a lot dumber than I remember."
Amuda scowled slightly in response before he shook his head: "We're just going to leave and Oyashiro won't follow us?"
"Truth be told, I kinda sent the Mizukage on his ass." Chino admitted, her grin starting to grow dark as she pulled her hands away. Her right hand rubbed her cheek slightly: "I know Oyashiro is a Kage-tier shinobi himself, but I'd imagine the Mizukage should be able to kill him. If this all works out, he'll be gone!" She then shook her head as she crossed her arms: "Anyway, we're burning daylight, and like I said, Nowaki and Yakumo are waiting for us! Let's get out of here!"
Amuda was quiet for a moment before he nodded his head. He took a few steps forward and picked up Chino, bridal carrying her. He then took a deep breath as he channeled his chakra throughout his body.
"Swift Style: Shadowless Flight!"
With those words, Amuda and Chino vanished from the prison.
'What's the deal exactly with these clones?' Mei wondered, her eyes narrowing on Oyashiro before moving to the other four clones standing by his side. 'Blood clones, I can tell, but they have a different chakra feeling compared to both elemental clones and shadow clones. How exactly do these function differently?'
Oyashiro smirked, seemingly in response to Mei's thoughts. The Mizukage, Aō, and Misora stiffened in response as the arms dealer finished his final hand sign. He, alongside his four blood clones, were all making the same 'dragon' hand sign.
"Blood Dragon Ascension!"
Streams of blood poured out from the bodies of Oyashiro and his clones, growing into massive sizes and forming what appeared to be large serpentine-like dragons of blood. The dragons screeched loudly as they flew through the air towards the three Kiri shinobi.
Mei clapped her hands and took in a deep breath: "Boil Release: Skilled Mist Technique!"
The Godaime Mizukage breathed out a thick cloud of corrosive mist that quickly formed a barrier around her, Aō, and Misora. The blood dragons continued to fly through the air until they connected with the barrier, causing it to shake. The blood dragons, however, appeared to quickly push back against the mist, slowly inching their way forward through it.
"What?" Mei's eyes widened. "How?"
"Were you thinking that because blood is mostly liquid that you'd be able to evaporate it or something?" Oyashiro asked, his smirk widening as one of his clones chuckled: "You do know that blood has iron in it, right? This particular jutsu of mine has a rather high level of iron in the blood, just so you know. Not quite certain if you made your mist here hot enough to do anything about that."
"Shit." Mei grit her teeth in response before she turned her attention to her allies: "We need to move. Now!"
Misora nodded her head as she raised her hands into a singular hand sign: "Ninja Art: Hidden Mist Jutsu!"
The brown-haired shinobi released an overpowering amount of mist just as the blood dragons finally tore apart Mei's jutsu. They continued to fly through the air into the mist before they collided with each other instead of the Kiri shinobi. Upon impact, the blood dragons fell apart, causing blood to drench the whole battlefield.
Oyashiro, again, chuckled in response: "Hidden Mist Jutsu isn't going to work on me-"
"Water Style: Water Forge Jutsu!"
The arms dealer turned his head in time to see Aō directly behind him, holding a kunai. The kunai became encased in water, which then generated a spiraling stream of water just as he was about to strike. Before he could plunge the knife in, one of Oyashiro's blood clones jumped in front, taking the hit. The clone had a scowl on his face as blood started to pour from the wound.
Because of Aō's close proximity to the clone, blood squirted out onto his cheeks. A scowl developed on his face.
"I see your clones are quick to defend, but it's not going to change anything-" Aō's eyes widened in response as he started to choke in response.
The veteran Kirigakure shinobi jumped backwards. He watched the blood on his cheeks started to glow lightly before they started to burn. He grit his teeth as he fell to one knee.
"Aō, right? The right-hand to the Mizukage? You're a smart man; can you figure out what you're feeling?"
"I… urk!" Aō gripped his stomach slightly and tightened his mouth, resisting the urge to vomit.
"Suppose I can give you a little bit of a science lesson. I can tell you got A Blood, by the way. I'm sure you, as a qualified shinobi, know that means you can only get blood transfusions from someone with A or O Blood types." Oyashiro explained: "Unfortunately for you, the clone you just had a little 'spat' with was my B-Type Blood Clone. Allowing my clone to bleed on you was a major mistake, and now your immune system is registering the B antigens in your body. Been told that could be fatal medical condition."
"I… You only got a little blood on me, and it only touched my skin; not entered my body. I shouldn't get such a severe reaction like this." Aō hissed in response as he tried to rub away the blood on his cheek. Unfortunately, the blood stuck to his skin.
"Well, you're getting one, because it is my blood. The blood of Chinoike Clan is a cursed, tainted blood after all. Stronger than most." Oyashiro said with a chuckle. "Certainly stronger than-"
"Ninja Art: Decapitating Mist Jutsu!"
Oyashiro turned his head in time to see a blade of mist resembling a guillotine blade flying towards him. It was difficult to see, but his eyes noticed it approaching him. He side-stepped in time, causing the mist to connect with his B-Type Blood Clone's head, severing it instantly and causing the whole thing to melt back into blood.
"Nice try, but nice enough." Oyashiro replied, looking back at Misora: "Unfortunately for you, that was my B-Type Clone. Aō-san learned how deadly that thing was for him, but considering you – Kawada Misora – are B-Type yourself, I doubt that one would have done much." His grin returned: "Now my A-Type Blood Clone, on the other hand… that one might do some serious damage to you."
"You talk. Way too much." Misora hissed in response.
Oyashiro's grin turned to a frown. He was about to respond, but Mei appeared directly behind him. The Mizukage attempted to breathe out a stream of lava directly onto his body, but the man jumped into the air just in time, causing the lava to hit the ground instead, creating a hole in the ground.
'While her aides will be easy to finish off with their blood types, of course Terumi Mei has to be difficult, with her AB-Blood Type. 'Universal recipient' my ass.' Oyashiro noted, biting his lip slightly. 'But no matter. I can simply overwhelm her. A Kage and war veteran she may be, but she's still a few years away from being able to kill me!'
Oyashiro made a hand sign, which his three remaining blood clones mimicked.
"Let's have some fun with this, Mizukage-san. I doubt your assistants will survive this, but I hope you'll fare better than they surely will." Oyashiro noted, his smirk returning: "Hidden Blood Art: Plague of Blood!"
As he finished his jutsu, the blood puddles scattered around the room began to bubble. Within seconds, the blood evaporated, forming a thick, pinkish-red colored cloud that began to float around the battlefield.
"What kind of jutsu is this-" Aō's words died on his lips as his Byakugan focused intently on the cloud: "Mizukage-sama! Misora-san! Whatever you do, do not allow yourself to step into that cloud!"
"Awh, why not? It'd be fun." Oyashiro chuckled as he snapped his finger.
In response, his three blood clones charged forward at their three enemies. Both Aō and Misora jumped back, keeping distance from their opponent, while Mei blocked the punch of the Oyashiro clone that targeted her.
'Keeping things into consideration, with Misora's B-type, I'm certain the A-blood type clone went after her. Likewise, the AB-blood type clone must be going after Aō. Meaning this one is Oyashiro's O-blood type clone.' Mei noted. The clone raised its fingers, causing a thin, sharp-layer of blood to develop on its fingertips. Mei side-stepped, narrowly avoiding its strike: 'I'll still need to be careful, but this one's not going to do any real damage to my body. I don't have conflicting antibodies, after all.'
The O-type clone, again, tried to cut at her again with its blood-coated hands, but Mei stepped to the side. She then breathed out a stream of liquid lava from her mouth directly at Oyashiro's blood clone. The clone's side was hit, causing it to melt off, but it managed to jump away in time before it entirely melted away.
"You'll find my blood clones are a tad more resilient than standards clones. I'd say they're even more durable than elemental clones or shadow clones, at the very least." Oyashiro spoke-up, bringing his hands behind his back.
"Misora is right; you do talk way too much." Mei noted, briefly turning to face the original Oyashiro. "Why do you waste your time explaining your jutsus like that?"
"I just thought it was common courtesy." Oyashiro shrugged his shoulders in response: "I know it's not one you or anyone else returns, but hey, isn't the old saying 'treat others like you'd like to be-'"
"Ah!" Mei's eyes widened as she noticed the blood cloud growing closer-and-closer towards her.
The Mizukage immediately jumped backwards, avoiding the cloud. Her eyes briefly glanced towards it before looking back to the original Oyashiro.
'I get it now; you're simply trying to distract. Giving out crucial information about your jutsus in an effort to disarm your enemies and make them forget things such as positioning.' Mei realized.
The Mizukage continued to move away, avoiding the blood cloud more. Oyashiro's O-blood type clone charged forward once again, but Mei continued to jump backwards, creating more-and-more distance. Within a few seconds, she was standing alongside Aō and Misora, who also had been avoiding their blood clones.
"You two, stay behind me for a moment." Mei stated as she ran through six hand signs, ending in the 'bird' sign: "Lava Style: Melting Apparition Jutsu!"
"Let me assist!" Aō's eyes lit-up as he took in a deep breath: "Wind Style: Drilling Air Bullets!"
Mei breathed out a massive stream of liquid lava, forming a large wall between the Kiri shinobi and the Oyashiro blood clones. At the same time, Aō breathed out a barrage of air bullets from his mouth directly into the lava wall, causing chunks to go flying forward.
The first blasts of lava smacked into the O-blood type clone's body, hitting it in the head and causing it to melt slightly. More-and-more lava blasts connected with each of the blood clones, causing them to fall apart into more piles of blood that splattered forward.
"Well, looks like that did it." Mei sighed in relief. Her eyes then focused on the original Oyashiro as her lava wall started to fade away: "Only one left to kill-"
"Hidden Blood Art: Grip of Hell!"
Before any of the Kirigakure shinobi could react, a whip of blood rushed out from the newly formed blood pools that the clones had created. Mei jumped back in time, but the blood whips connected with both Aō's and Misora's right ankle, holding them both down.
"Argh!" Misora grit her teeth in response. "This-"
"What the hell?" Aō hissed as he tried to pull the blood off of him. "This is-"
Pain coursed through their bodies, as Misora's body was exposed to the blood of the A-blood clone, and Aō exposed to the blood of the AB-blood clone. Both hissed as they struggled to fight back as the whip quickly brought them to their knees.
"Whelp, it's as I predicted, Mizukage-san. Caught both of your aids." Oyashiro noted with a smirk: "Now, say goodbye to both of them!"
The blood whips holding both of them back proceeded to extend forward, dragging both Aō and Misora closer to the approaching blood cloud.
"Aō! Misora!" Mei shouted as she spat out rocks of molten lava from her mouth at the blood whips.
To her chagrin, the blood whip contorted, avoiding the attacks as it continued to drag both Kirigakure shinobi towards the blood cloud. The cloud inched slowly towards them as they both tried to pull themselves away.
'Move, Misora! Move!' Misora shouted in her mind. Forcing her body to ignore the pain in her body, she reached for her scythe: 'Don't die like this, Misora! FUCKING MOVE!'
With a loud shout, Misora sliced at her leg, just above her ankle, right above where the whip was holding her. She screamed loudly in pain, blood spilling from her open wound, but in the process, freed herself from the blood whip. She immediately crawled on the ground, rushing away from the blood cloud and creating distance.
Aō, unfortunately, was unable to do anything as the blood whip finally dragged him into the blood cloud. Within an instant, his nose inhaled the blood cloud, causing his whole body to go limp.
"Mizu… kage… sama…" Aō forced the words out before blood started to pour from all pores on his body.
His body collapsed to the ground, deceased.
"Aō!" Mei shouted.
'Aō-san… dammit!' Misora grit her teeth in response as she shook her head: 'I'm so sorry…'
"Whelp, there's the first one. Two more to go." Oyashiro noted, chuckling as he took a step forward, towards Mei: "Well, one really. That one girl crippled herself to avoid the Blood Plague, which was admittedly pretty quick thinking, but it means she'll be a secondary priority now. Finally, I can focus all my attention on you, Mizukage-san!"
Mei was still for a moment before she turned her attention back to Oyashiro: "Aō… will be the last life you take, you parasite!"
Oyashiro's response to Mei's promise was to charge forward at her.
"Deidara! Return focus to the mission!"
Sasori's shout pulled Kurotsuchi's and Shikamaru's attention away from Deidara for a moment back to Sasori. The red-haired puppeteer's eyes focused on Deidara's, who was still flying away avoiding Shikamaru's last attack, before they both nodded.
"Fine with me!" Deidara replied, grinning: "I was getting kinda pissed that a lot of my explosions haven't done shit, hmm!"
"Just allow me to join you." Sasori requested as he gestured his right thumb, causing his Kitsuchi puppet to bring its palms to the ground: "Earth Style: Erupt!"
The ground underneath Sasori's feet up, creating a massive rock formation that sent Sasori flying up into the sky. He gestured with his hands, bringing all five puppets with him as Deidara managed to catch him.
"They're both airborne now." Kurotsuchi's eyes narrowed: "This is going to be difficult to-"
Her words died on her lips as both she and Shikamaru watched Deidara's clay dragon change direction, turning their attention away from them and flying further into the civilian district. As the two flew further into it, Deidara clapped his hands together before making multiple clay birds while Sasori gestured with his index and ring figures, causing the puppet bodies of Pakura and Kimimaro to prepare.
"Scorch Style: Incinerating Flare Technique! Ten-Finger Drilling Bullets!"
Deidara launched the clay birds into nearby homes and detonated, creating massive explosions while Sasori used his Pakura and Kimimaro puppets to attack. Pakura's launched a massive pinkish-red fireball that detonated, creating a firestorm that brought a large building down to ashes while Kimimaro sent bone bullets into the sides of homes, causing them to fall apart.
"They're just trying to cause destruction." Shikamaru realized, his eyes narrowing: "They don't care about anything else; just destroying."
'The Raikage did do measures to evacuate as many civilians as possible, but there's probably still some out there…' Kurotsuchi's eyes focused on the rubble before she noticed a few shinobi corpses scattered, each with heavy burns from the explosions and flames: 'And any shinobi out here are going to get killed in the crossfires…'
"We need to stop them." Kurotsuchi said sharply.
"I know." Shikamaru nodded his head, bringing his hands together: "The hard part, though, is forcing them back into fighting us. We'll need to take the fight to them."
Both Kurotsuchi and Shikamaru started to run after the Akatsuki members. As they ran towards them, Kurotsuchi ran through hand signs before coming to a standstill and slamming her open palms onto the ground.
"Earth Style: Erupt!"
Using the same jutsu Sasori used through Kitsuchi's puppet, Kurotsuchi opened the ground upwards before creating a massive rock formation that launched both herself and Shikamaru into the sky. The two flew through the air, directly at Sasori and Deidara.
"Idiots." Sasori chuckled as he gestured to Deidara.
"I wouldn't call them that. They just wanted an up-close look at some of my C1!" Deidara grinned as he began to morph clay in his hands, creating multiple clay hummingbirds.
"Shikamaru!" Kurotsuchi called out.
Shikamaru nodded his head as he made the 'monkey' hand sign.
Sasori seemingly grinned in response as he gestured with his puppet strings. The Kimimaro, Pakura, and Sandaime Kazekage puppets stiffened slightly.
'What's he-' Shikamaru's eyes widened as he noticed, on the ground, was a Kumogakure civilian family – probably one of the last families that needed to be evacuated – running away alongside two Kumo shinobi that were 'guiding' them: 'Shit, I get what they're really doing with this! But even still…'
"Sage Art: Holy Barrier Jutsu!"
Shikamaru took a deep breath as he created a golden light that surrounded his body, Kurotsuchi's body, and the bodies of the Kumo citizens on the ground. The resulting light protected both him and Kurotsuchi from Deidara's explosions, while simultaneously keeping the Kumo citizens safe as Sasori launched bone bullets from the Kimimaro puppet.
"AH! Wh-What the hell?" One of the Kumo shinobi's eyes widened as the 'strange light' that had formed around him seemingly reflected the bullets that had flown directly at him.
The puppets, however, continued assaulting the fleeing group, attacking them from a distance with a mixture of jutsus from the Kimimaro, Pakura, and Sandaime Kazekage puppet.
'That's the goal. They're looking for people to attack to divide my attention. To make me waste my chakra.' Shikamaru noted, gritting his teeth as he did his best to maintain the jutsu covering both him and Kurotsuchi as well as the people. An image quickly reappeared in his mind – of the five kekkei genkai wielders dying at the hands of Karitoriki in Mizu no Kuni. He shook his head: 'And the problem is, it's going to work. I… I can't stop myself from helping them. Not if there's something I can do to help.'
Kurotsuchi's eyes narrowed on the fleeing Kumo citizens as well before focusing back on Sasori and Deidara, having reached the same conclusion as Shikamaru: 'Even if he is using Sage Mode, fighting like this is going to kill him from chakra exhaustion. No, we need to change this.' She clapped her hands together, creating a three-dimensional cube of chakra in her hands:
'Switching to Dust Release?' Sasori smirked as he gestured with his left pinkie, alerting the Ōnoki puppet, which started to form a three-dimensional cube of chakra in his hands: 'Two can play at the game.'
Both Kurotsuchi and the Ōnoki puppet launched their chakra cubes forward at the same time. The two jutsus collided with another, causing the cubes to shatter.
Kurotsuchi, in response, narrowed her eyes further as she raised her right hand. The shattered pieces of her jutsu, instead of dissipating like normal, flew upwards in the shape of shards.
"What?" Sasori's eyes widened in response.
The 'dust shards' flew directly into the clay dragon, stabbing into it at multiple points all over its body. One shard flew just past the dragon, flying directly towards Sasori, but the Kitsuchi puppet got in the way, causing the shard to connect with its wrist instead.
"Dust Style: Partial Atomic Dismantling Jutsu!"
In an instant, the 'dust shards' glowed a bright color before they detonated. The clay dragon immediately vaporized into dust, causing Deidara, Sasori, and his puppets to start freefalling.
"Th-The hell?" Deidara growled out as he immediately formed clay in his hands.
Before they collided with the ground, Deidara created a large clay owl that managed to catch both himself and Sasori. The owl floated low to the ground as Sasori's puppets collided with the earth before pulling themselves up with minimal damage. The puppeteer's eyes moved from puppet-to-puppet before focusing on his Kitsuchi puppet.
His eyes narrowed; the Kitsuchi puppet was now missing its right hand, just above where the dust shard connected. He then turned to glare at Kurotsuchi, who alongside Shikamaru, were now standing on the ground across from them.
"How did you manage to use your Dust Release like that?" He demanded: "Our techniques should have canceled each other after collision; you should not have been able to still utilize it?"
"And why the hell would I answer that question?" Kurotsuchi asked back.
"I mean, I think it's pretty obvious why." Deidara said, shaking his head: "She obviously was expecting that Kabuto would revive Ōnoki, so she must have trained with the intention of fighting against Dust Release." Kurotsuchi's eyes narrowed, which only caused Deidara to smirk in response: "I'm right, aren't I, hmm? After all, I do know you!"
"Fuck you." She hissed as she cracked her knuckles: "You have no right to claim familiarity with me, Deidara. Not after you turned your back on Iwa!"
Deidara shook his head in response: "I had a vision and I couldn't afford to slow my pace down. Staying in Iwa and being some dumbass sycophant like you would not have moved me or my art forward at all."
"Moved forward?" Kurotsuchi grit her teeth in response: "My gramps was your fucking teacher, Deidara! You were considered probably the best user of Explosion Release ever recorded in our village! Hell, you probably could have become Tsuchikage if you wanted to!"
"And root myself to one place? A place that would stifle my art?" Deidara replied as he held out right hand, revealing a clay statue with large hands that were placed over one another: "As if. Iwa's going to be nothing more than a memory one of these days. Just like this pathetic village!"
Sasori's eyes widened for a moment as he watched Deidara grip the statue tightly: "Deidara, right here-"
"Hey, you said return focus to our mission-" Deidara's eyes widened as he watched Shikamaru's shadow rush towards him. The clay owl he and Sasori were on started to fly up into the sky once more, creating distance. Sasori tugged on his puppets, pulling them up into the sky alongside him as Deidara let the clay statue down: "Asshole, don't try and interrupt my art show! Now, go ahead and enjoy a nice, in-person view of my art!"
"This is bad…" Kurotsuchi shook her head as she held out her hands: "Dust Release!"
A three-dimensional cube of chakra formed between her hands. After it finally formed fully, the clay statue disappeared in a poof of smoke, turning into a much large clay figure.
Her eyes widened in horror as she launched the Dust Release jutsu she prepared. The cube expanded, completely encasing the statue.
'Nice try, but this particular piece was designed to be dropped on Iwa one day. Well, this one and one another that I'll be saving for a little bit.' Deidara chuckled to himself as he made a hand sign: "Art is an Explosion! C3!"
The giant clay statue detonated inside the Dust Release jutsu. The resulting explosion quickly shattered the cube, evaporating the dust shards before sending shockwaves, flames, and explosions all around the area.
"Sage Art: Holy Barrier Jutsu!"
Kurotsuchi and Shikamaru were surrounded in a golden light just as the resulting explosion spread around them, completely encasing the whole area they were in flames.
"Sound Wave Technique!"
After running through five hand signs, Orochimaru slammed his hands together, generating a massive sound wave that echoed throughout the battlefield. Both Sasuke and Sakura tensed in response, Sasuke reaching for his ears while Sakura, for a moment, stopped her struggle against the snakes holding her.
'He's stronger, but in the end, he's still immature. Allowing such a simple jutsu to hinder him so…' Orochimaru chuckled to himself as he continued to rush towards Sasuke. He licked his lips as he watched the curse mark seemingly vibrate on Sasuke's skin: 'That's it; my essence senses me! And it's a much more recent curse mark than the one on Anko's; this is truly my ticket back-'
Orochimaru jumped back just in time as black flames materialized from the air. The flames quickly approached him, forcing the Edo Tensei to take steps backwards.
"Amaterasu, hmm?" Orochimaru frowned as he watched Sasuke turn his head back towards Sakura and use the Amaterasu black flames to burn off the snakes, freeing her and causing his summons to dissipate: "My ignorance of the Mangekyō Sharingan must be showing; I had always assumed that the Amaterasu was a technique unique to your brother."
Sasuke's eyes narrowed in response: "Perhaps other Uchiha may not have it, but I am Itachi's brother. It makes sense I'd have it."
"Suppose it does." Orochimaru admitted, shrugging his shoulders: "As much as I'd like to probe for more information, I am on a time frame. I would like to hurry this up!" He then fell to his knees, bringing his mouth close to the ground: "Formation of Ten Thousand Snakes Silk!"
Orochimaru spat out countless snakes from his mouth that quickly flooded the battlefield, rushing towards Sasuke and Sakura. Sakura immediately got directly next to Sasuke, her body almost pressing up against his just Sasuke's Sharingan tensed-up. A purple, skeleton-outlined mass of chakra formed around his and Sakura's body, keeping them protected.
The snakes tried to bite into Susanoo and squirm through the skeletal mass to reach either Sasuke or Sakura, but no snake was able to break through. Orochimaru grit his teeth in response as he stared at them.
"The Susanoo will definitely keep us safe for the most part, but we'll need to do more than just hide from his attacks. We'll need to be more aggressive." Sasuke stated sharply before looking to Sakura: "Do you have a sealing scroll ready?"
"I do." Sakura nodded her head: "Just help me get close, and I'll get this monster sealed up-"
A poof of smoke filled the area, causing Sasuke and Sakura to turn their attention back towards Orochimaru. The man was now standing on top of the Boss Summon of Ryūchi Cave.
"I recognize this wretched scent…" Manda mumbled to himself before a scowl developed on his face: "Orochimaru, it seems even in death, I am still burdened by your presence."
"Saying it like that hurts my feelings." Orochimaru chuckled in response before gesturing towards Sasuke and Sakura: "However, I do think I have a way you can make up for that!"
"Death has done little too humble you; you have some nerve ordering me anything! Once again, you summoned me without making a sacrifice to me! In addition, I still remember how you summoned me as no more than a distraction in Konoha!" Manda growled out. Orochimaru's chuckling stopped: "… However, for nostalgia's sake, I will comply." A grin developed on the snake's face as he stared intently at the Susanoo: "I see there's at least one thing here that appears interesting. I'll enjoy crushing it!"
With those words, Manda rushed at the Susanoo. Sasuke's eyes narrowed as he brought his hand down, causing the Susanoo to strike at Manda with its sword, but the giant snake managed to slither out of way in time as it inched closer. Within seconds, Manda surrounded the Susanoo's body, wrapping around it and starting to squeeze.
"Urk…" Sasuke grit his teeth as he watched his Susanoo shake: 'I only just learned how to create this thing. I'm hoping I can maintain its shape as long as possible-'
"Wind Style: Immense Breakthrough!"
Orochimaru breathed out a massive gust of wind directly at the Susanoo's head, pushing back against it. The resulting pressure from the attack cause Sasuke to step backwards slightly, wincing slightly from the pressure.
'They're going to overwhelm it. Way too fast.' Sasuke shook his head as his eyes narrowed: "Sakura, I'd recommend getting out of here and try and do what you need to do." She nodded her head as she crouched down, preparing to charge out. He took in a deep breath as he focused his eyes on Manda's head: "Amaterasu!"
A black flame formed directly on Manda's face. The snake growled in pain as more flames spread, quickly spreading around its body. The snake was forced to let go of the Susanoo and slithered back slightly. He tried to rub the extinguish the flames himself, but the flames were not extinguishing.
"Accursed fire…" Manda growled for a moment before his eyes narrowed: "But if you think this is enough to stop me, you're surely mistaking, brat!"
Before Sasuke could respond, Orochimaru made a hand sign, forming three more shadow clones that took a formation around the Susanoo. He, along with his clones, all ran through the same hand signs.
"Four Black Snakes Formation!"
A large, purplish-black colored barrier began to form around the Susanoo. Just as the barrier was about to finish, Sakura ran out of the Susanoo's protection, rushing straight towards Orochimaru. As soon the as the barrier had completed, the inside of it was covered in flames.
The thousands snakes on the ground that Orochimaru had summoned previously started to lunge towards her, biting down on her ankle and leg.
"You really are foolish to rush at me, girl-" Orochimaru's eyes widened as he watched Sakura continue to move towards him, as if the snakes were not slowing her down in the slightest: 'Those snakes bite with a similar poison that is imbued in the Kusanagi! How is she still able to move around like that almost effortlessly?'
Sakura's response to Orochimaru's words was to continue her approach towards him, tightening her hands into fists. She jumped at him, attempting to punch him in the face, but the man caught her fist with his right hand.
"Interesting. I did not recall you leaving much of an impression on me when I attacked your team in the Forest of Death. You appear to have grown into a shinobi as well." Orochimaru stated, a small smirk on his lips: "What is your name, girl?"
Sakura's eyes narrowed as she began to apply more pressure onto her first, trying to overpower Orochimaru: "Haruno Sakura."
"Well, Sakura-chan, allow me to inform you that I am now taking you seriously." Orochimaru chuckled as he made a hand sign with his left hand: "Release!"
In an instant, he dispelled the jutsu, causing the Sakura in front of him to vanish and revealing the 'true' Sakura approaching him with the sealing scroll. Orochimaru opened his mouth, elongating his tongue and causing it to reach out and grab her by the waist. Sakura shrieked in response, but did her best to hold onto the scroll.
"You have an aptitude for genjutsu, I can tell, but I have been placed under much more complicated, difficult to break variations. Such a petty illusion won't stop me." Orochimaru stated sharply as he held out his hands. One of the snakes on the ground opened its mouth, spitting out the Kusanagi sword. Orochimaru gripped it tightly, spinning it in a circular fashion before pointing the blade at Sakura: "Now, suffer the consequences for your mistake!"
Orochimaru then tossed the Kusanagi blade directly at Sakura's body, aiming for her face.
"Blaze Release: Fire Lightning!"
Before the blade could connect, spikes of black flames were sent flying through the air and intercepted the Kusanagi, causing the blade to fall to the ground. Orochimaru frowned as he gestured with his right hand, causing the sword to return back to his group to see Sasuke approaching him, his Susanoo still standing with burn marks on the bones of his summon.
"I certainly wasn't trying to kill you yet, Sasuke-kun, but I most confess to being disappointed to that your Susanoo is still functional." Orochimaru noted, frowning: "I'll have to work harder to pry it off then. I have much I need to do and the longer it is still around, the more difficult it will be to obtain my true goal."
"You are not the only one disappointed, Orochimaru." Sasuke admitted, gripping his hands tightly: "With where I intend to be, with what I intend to do… I should have destroyed you already."
"Oh?" Orochimaru's grin returned to his face: "Mighty over-confident, aren't we, Sasuke-kun?"
'How is able to talk and grin like that with this tongue out?' Sakura wondered, briefly acknowledging that the thing restraining her was, in fact, Orochimaru's tongue. A shiver went down her spine at the thought: '… On second thought, I'm going to do my best to ignore that.' A determined expression developed on her lips: 'And do my best to get out of here!'
"Call me overconfident, but I know myself. And I think it's about time to take this to the next level." Sasuke said sharply as he began channeling lightning chakra. The chakra rushed from his body before being transferred into the Susanoo: "And now, let's show you exactly what I am capable of!"
His Susanoo then extended its left hand outward: "Chidori Arrow!"
With a loud, deafening scream, Nue jumped into the air. Anko, Gamabunta, and Chōza tensed-up in response as they watched the chimera disappear for a moment. Seconds passed by before it started to fall back down to the ground, directly above Jiraiya's position.
Chōza immediately rushed over to Jiraiya's side. As Nue descended, it tried to crush the Hokage with its weight, but the Akimichi Clan Head managed to block just in time, grabbing the chimera by its claws.
Immediately, Chōza's feet skidded backwards, digging into the earth as Nue roared, its weight digging into him. Chōza grit his teeth in response as he did his best to push back against the weight of the beast.
"We're not going to let you touch the Hokage, you ugly bastard!" Anko exclaimed as she clapped her hands together, channeling blue fire into her hands: "Sage Art: Fire Style: Hellfire Rain!"
Anko proceeded to toss large fireballs of blue flames from her hands directly at Nue's body. The creature roared in pain as each fireball connected with its body. It tried to jump away, but Chōza tightened his grip onto the creature, forcing it to stand still as it took each of Anko's attacks.
"Yeah, stand still like that, you ugly beast." Gamabunta stated as it gripped its tantō tightly: "Toad Blade Cut!"
With a swift leap, Gamabunta closed the distance between himself and Nue and sliced with his blade, cutting Nue's head off. The head fell to the ground, creating a crater upon impact before it disappeared in a cloud of dark-purple mist.
In response, Chōza sighed in relief as he dropped the body, allowing it to crash into the ground and creating another crater. Anko frowned in response.
"Akimichi-san, restrain it again. It's not going to go down that easily-" Anko's words were cut-off as Nue's head reformed from the end of his neck. A scowl developed on her lips: "Yup, called it."
"Wood Style: Deep Forest Bloom!"
With a loud roar, Nue slammed its feet on the ground, causing large trees to rise from the ground with flowers growing on them.
The flowers opened up, releasing pollen that spread throughout the air quickly. The instant Anko inhaled a bit of the pollen, her body started to relax.
"What… the… hell…" Anko's words began to drag out before she quickly fell to the ground.
"Anko-san!" Gamabunta called out as the pollen spread higher into the battlefield, reaching his nose. The Toad Boss dropped his tantō in response as he fell to the ground as well: "This technique… how do you…"
His words were cut-off as he succumbed to the pollen, falling unconscious alongside Anko.
"So, I was able to knock out both a Sage and a Boss Summon like Gamabunta-san with the Deep Forest Bloom jutsu. The pollen had spread in such a way that neither of them were able to react in time. Marvelous!" Tanuki exclaimed, laughing loudly from Nue's body. "It seems like the incorporation of the Shodai's blood cells have worked even more than anticipated. While a regular human like Tenzō is not even half the user of Wood Release that Senju Hashirama was, a non-human weapon like my Nue has become a genuine successor to his kekkei genkai! Excellent-"
Tanuki's rambles as Nue was pulled upwards. The beast – and its creator by proxy – came face-to-face with Akimichi Chōza, still conscious and now much taller than earlier. The Akimichi was now towering over the entire village, his head entirely through the clouds, at a massive one hundred-seventy feet tall.
'He used his Super Expansion Jutsu to increase his size again, to prevent himself from unconsciously breathing in the air of the pollen. He's now towering above the pollen… as well as Nue. As well as the whole village. How much chakra did this take?'Tanuki observed, scowling. He began to channel chakra, causing Nue to grit its teeth as it prepared a technique: "You're not going to stop this, Akimichi-'
"Stop talking!" Chōza demanded.
Tanuki's words were silenced as Chōza brought his hands towards the chimera's head and squeezed as tightly as he could, channeling all his chakra into his hands. Within seconds, Nue's head was crushed, turning back into purple-mist once again.
Chōza then immediately changed his grip, grabbing onto Nue's body tightly, squeezing onto it. He looked downward, noticing the flowers still open and breathing out pollen. He noticed the pollen flying upwards still, heading towards him, as he shook his head.
"Shigaraki Tanuki, I know you can hear me." Chōza called out, his voice booming throughout the area: "I'm aware your creature will regenerate its head, but can it regenerate its whole body if I completely destroy it? Call off this jutsu now, unless you want your precious experiment to be nothing but dust!"
The body of Nue squirmed in response, trying to break free. Chōza immediately tightened his grip before he squished its torso apart, causing the arms, legs, and tail to fall to the ground.
'It still hasn't dissipated-' Chōza's eyes widened as Nue's body parts came together once more, creating the chimera once more: 'That fast?'
"You didn't even wait long enough for me to consider your ultimatum!" Tanuki's voice shouted back alongside his creation's roar: "You degenerate, unremarkable man! You'll pay for your attempts at destroying Nue!"
Before Chōza could reply, Nue's tail swung forward at him. Chōza tried to move away in time, but the tail quickly collided with his knee. The Akimichi Clan Head hissed as the snake-like tail bit down on his body.
"Your jutsu and the accompanying size does make you a dangerous physical threat, but a larger enemy is a larger target. It's much harder to dodge like this, isn't it?" Tanuki noted, chuckling. His chuckling stopped as an epiphany entered his head: "… Although, I suppose Nue has been at the mercy of you all because of his size as well. Interesting. I'll need to make adjustments in order to allow him to become smaller in necessary situations. This was an interesting oversight I never considered. You have my gratitude, Akimichi-san."
Chōza was about to respond, but his words died on his lips as the snake-tail that had bitten into him began to morph into a wooden spear that dug into his leg, causing blood to spout from his wound: "ARGGH!"
"As thanks for that realization, I'll make this quick." Tanuki stated bluntly. "Wood Style: Seed of the Death Plant!"
Chōza's eyes widened further as the wooden spear lodged itself further into its leg before, while inside his leg and in his blood stream, turning upwards. Within seconds, a seed entered his blood stream and began to quickly move its way upwards, absorbing nutrients from Chōza's blood.
Nue pulled out the wooden spear, which quickly regressed back into its snake-tail, now coated with Chōza's blood. The Akimichi Clan Head took a few steps backwards in pain, before his body shrank back to its normal size before freezing entirely.
"No… wh-what's happening…" He closed his eyes tightly as blood began to leak from his mouth: "D-Dammit… Ch-Chōji… I'm sorr-" His eyes then shot wide-open: "AGHHH!"
Beautiful, red-colored chrysanthemum flowers bloomed from Chōza's body, appearing out of his eyes, mouth, nose, ears, and other parts of his body, tearing holes out as they appeared. The man's body collapsed in a pile of blood as more-and-more flowers began to grow from his death.
"That was quick, but it seemed rather painful. Intriguing. I'll have to collect Chōza's body and study the flowers that bloomed." Tanuki note with a chuckle.
Using its tail, Nue grabbed onto Chōza's corpse, pulling it up. The beast then turned his heads back towards the unconscious forms of Anko and Gamabunta.
"Before I go study this though, I do have a job to get back to. Now, let's how long it takes to kill a Boss Summon-"
"Sage Art: Toad Crater!"
Within seconds, the ground underneath was ripped open. The flowering trees that had formed quickly sank back into the ground and were torn apart by sharp stalagmites as they descended into the ground. Nue's body, too, sank into the ground slowly, forcing it to drop Chōza's body as the chimera sank into the earth, getting torn apart by the ground.
Jiraiya was now conscious, his meditation complete and his Sage Mode now activated. The man took in a deep breath as he made his first few steps towards the battlefield, not breathing in the air. He clapped his hands together before he exhaled heavily, breathing the pollen out of the environment.
As soon as the pollen was gone, both Anko and Gamabunta pulled themselves up.
"Wh-What happened? What kind of-" Anko's eyes widened in horror at the sight of Chōza's corpse: "Akimichi-san!"
"Jiraiya… what just happened?" Gamabunta asked, rubbing his head with his left hand while he grabbed his tantō with his right hand.
"Tanuki managed to use the cells of Hashirama Senju in that creature's body to use one of the Shodai's most dangerous techniques. We all fell unconscious." Jiraiya stated, biting his lip: "Thankfully, though, my body never stopped channeling natural energy. Although I think I would have been knocked out like Anko if I were already in Sage Mode, having my body enter it in my unconscious state forced me into consciousness, giving me a brief window of opportunity to dispel his technique."
"I see… I suppose that was good timing on our part." Gamabunta noted.
"Not good enough, though." Jiraiya shook his head, turning to face Chōza's corpse. His hands tightened into fists as he grit his teeth: "Dammit… Chōza, why?"
Both Jiraiya and Anko tensed-up as they felt negative emotional energy form above them. Both Sages turned their heads upward and breathed out a stream of fire – both red and blue-colored respectively – as Nue fell down into the battlefield once more. The creature screamed in pain for a moment as the fire caused it to shirk back for a moment before it roared as loudly as it could, creating a shockwave that extinguished the flames. Despite the impact of the shockwave, both Jiraiya and Anko remained steady, not staggering in the slightest.
"I see you're finally conscious and in Sage Mode, 'Hokage-sama'." Tanuki spat the name out. He began to grit his teeth loudly, a reaction that Nue mimicked: "This won't change anything. Nue is going to kill you!"
"No, I'm going to destroy your little pet here, Tanuki. And then after that, I am going to kill you." Jiraiya stated sharply: "For Chōza… and for all the lives you've destroyed so far in this invasion… I will destroy you!"
"All Hail Jashin-sama: Blood Circus!"
Upon finishing his prayer, Hidan created a large disc of dark-colored blood that he sent flying directly at Chōji. He, along with Shino, Ino, Samui, Omoi, and Karui all jumped away as the disc flew through the air, narrowly missing Chōji's cheek. Upon missing, the disc split apart, forming six smaller discs that flew through the air directly at them.
"This guy's techniques are so creepy." Omoi noted, biting his lip as one disc barely missed him. He then jumped into the air, narrowly avoiding a second.
"Fitting for a monster." Samui growled out in response, side-stepping one of the blood discs as she began to march closer towards Hidan.
The Akatsuki member made no effort to move, instead only grinning as Samui grew closer, gripping her own sword tightly. Just as she was about to reach him and strike at him, Hidan's revenant – the reanimated corpse of Atsui – jumped in the way and blocked her sword with its.
"Atsui…" Samui's voice lingered for a second before she shook her head. She turned her head to glare at Hidan: "This is downright cold. You will rot in hell when you die."
Hidan snorted in response: "The taunts of a sinner mean nothing to me."
The Atsui-Revenant hissed as its sword became encased in fire once more. As it pushed back against Samui, she jumped backwards. She then narrowly side-stepped, avoiding a blood disc that, instead, crashed into the revenant's body. The blood disc pierced its chest, creating a hole. The technique did not phase it, though, as it continued to charge forward still.
"Don't you just love the faithful to Jashin-sama? No injuries are going to stop them from continuing towards their pilgrimage of total annihilation!" Hidan exclaimed, taking in a deep breath. "How joyous-"
"Mind Destruction Jutsu!"
Hidan's body tensed-up for a moment as his body became completely still. In response, the blood discs all fell to the floor, creating pools of blood.
Ino sighed in relief, maintaining her hand sign as she focused on Hidan: "Alright, I'll hold him down for a moment. You all-"
Her words died on her lips as images of a large towering creature – a man with red-colored skin and bulging eyes that were falling out of his eye sockets – appeared in her mind. The man was screaming loudly as images of corpses filled her mind.
"AGGGGHHHH!" She screamed, falling to the floor and ending her jutsu.
"Wanted to play around in mind, bitch? Well, what did you think of it?" Hidan snorted, a grin developing on his face as he stared at Ino's form: "How'd you like that taste of what my mind has to offer? That was only a hint of the salvation Jashin-sama will bring to this wretched world!" He then charged forward, pulling out an iron spike from his Akatsuki robes: "Now, why don't I show you more of what's to come!"
"Partial Expansion Jutsu!"
Before he could strike at her, Chōji enlarged his right fist. He then punched forward at Hidan. The Akatsuki member side-stepped just in time, avoiding the attack as he then redirected his charge towards the Akimichi.
"You took my scythe!" He growled out: "Prepare to face His holy wrath!"
"Keep your religion to yourself, you freak!" Chōji spat out as he then swung his arm.
Hidan jumped again, avoiding Chōji trying to slam his arm into his body. He then threw his spike directly at the Akimichi's arm, but he canceled his jutsu in time, causing the spike to miss. Before he could continue charging at him, Karui and Omoi charged at him. Both attempted to slice at his body with their swords, but Hidan pulled out more iron spikes, using them to block the attacks.
"He's right; your religion is sick." Karui spat-out, trying to apply more force: "And in its name you killed our friend!"
"So fucking what?" Hidan snarled in response, pushing back against both her and Omoi. "All humans deserve death!"
"You're human too, aren't you?" Omoi asked, his eyes narrowing: "Or do you think you're better just because of your faith?"
"I am no better than you all in that regard. As a human, I will one day be no exception and will be slaughtered in Jashin-sama's name." Hidan hissed.
As he continued to push back, he felt a crawling sensation on his body. He looked down to see kikaichū slowly crawling up his body.
"If you desire death, then you should simply commit suicide and leave us be." Shino said sharply as he snapped his finger. More-and-more kikaichū then rushed onto Hidan's body: "We do not share your beliefs."
"Heretic…" Hidan grit his teeth in response, struggling to fight back against Karui and Omoi while Shino's kikaichū were crawling up his body: "You all have no appreciation for the concept of death. You condemn my righteous slaughter as mindless and cruel, but I'm certain any kills you all have made on missions are considered justified, aren't they?"
"The fuck do you mean by that?" Karui demanded: "We don't mindlessly kill! We-"
"Still kill! Still commit destruction! That's what it means to be shinobi! THAT'S WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A GODDAMN HUMAN!" Hidan snarled out: "You all are so willing to kill, but in the end, you fear dying or fear your loved ones dying? You're all fucking hypocrites and don't understand what death is at all! If you're not able to understand that, then you have no right to be able to extinguish any life! And none of you shitheads have any right to be considered amongst the living-"
Hidan's voice was silenced as the kikaichū finally spread, covering his body entirely. His grip on the iron spikes weakened, allowing both Karui and Omoi the opportunity to slice at his body. The kikaichū made openings, allowing both of them to cut into his skin deep, causing blood to spill out.
"What say we hack this bastard to bits and seal each of his body parts away?" Karui asked as the blood splattered onto her skin: "That way he'll be gone-"
Her words died on her lips as she began to scream in pain. Before Omoi could ask, blood splattered onto him from his own attack on Hidan, causing him to scream in pain. Both Kumo shinobi took a step back as they tried to brush away the blood. Upon finally getting it off, they noticed burn marks on their skin.
"Wh-What's going on?" Omoi gasped, taking a few steps back as he nearly dropped his sword.
The kikaichū surrounding Hidan's body immediately started to stir, flying away quickly back to Shino in an odd flight pattern. The Aburame's eyebrow raised slightly as the kikaichū all returned to his body.
'Are they injured or something?' He questioned.
Hidan now stood still in the center, bite marks covering his body and two large gashes on both of his sides. He was now covered in his own blood, with a large pool of blood forming under his feet, and was glaring intently at the two Kumogakure chūnin.
"My blood is toxic to all of you heretics! You two bastards surely feel why, but now allow me to show the rest of your bitch friends exactly how!" Hidan growled out as he ran through six hand signs, culminating in the 'rat' hand sign: "All Hail Jashin-sama: Curse of the King of Hell!"
Blood from Hidan's wounds began to shoot forward, forming a near endless barrage of blood that flew throughout the air towards his enemies. Shino, Ino, Chōji, Karui, Omoi, and Samui tried to dodge the oncoming attacks, but the shear extent of blood bullets was impossible to avoid; all six shinobi were hit by multiple stay bullets, causing each of them to hiss in pain each time and fall to their knees.
After a few seconds of the barrage, Hidan finally ended his jutsu. A grin developed on his face as he made a seventh hand sign, forming the 'monkey' sign.
"All Hail Jashin-sama: Curse of the King of Hell Stage Two: Decay!"
Immediately, the exposed skin on all six shinobi started to darken heavily. All six screamed in unison as certain patches of skin on each of their body started to darken further.
"Wh-What the hell did you do to us?" Ino shouted.
"I just ended this fight." Hidan replied with a grin: "Right now, I'd say you have twenty minutes before my jutsu is completed and your body finishes its decomposition. And you know what? I think I'm just gonna fucking watch." Hidan smirked as he snapped his finger. In an instant, the Atsui-revenant disappeared in a poof of smoke, causing Samui's eyes to widen. "I'm not going to fight you bastards and I'm not even going to try offering any of you to Jashin-sama. I'm just going to sit here and enjoy watching all of you slowly turn into corpses."
"Don't talk like we're dead!" Karui growled as she pulled herself up and charged forward at him.
As she reached his side, she gripped her sword tightly. Before she could swing the blade, however, the necrotic tissue in her arms started to spread further. She immediately winced as she nearly dropped her sword. She continued with her swing, but Hidan effortlessly dodged.
"Notice how slow you are now, huh?" His grin widened: "Yeah, you all are basically walking corpses right now. I just now get to watch the show as your spirits catch up to your rotting bodies."
"N-No…" Samui tightened her hands into fists: 'It can't end like this…' She pulled herself off the ground and ran through hand signs: 'I refuse to go like this! I will avenge Atsui!'
Hidan's eyebrow raised: "Didn't I say that it was worthless-"
"Earth Style: Earthen Stone Shoots!"
Spikes of stone rose from the ground around Hidan's body, piercing his chest from four different points and holding him down. The Jashinite choked out heavy amounts of blood as he tried to pull himself off the spikes but found himself pinned to it.
"Bitch!" He growled-out, turning to face Samui: "You really want to die fast, don't you?"
"You… aren't going to kill us. Not going to kill me." Samui said, shaking her head. She tried to remain focused on standing, fighting against her slowly decaying body: "I… I will kill you."
"You still haven't figured out that I can't die? None of you fuckwads can kill me!" Hidan snorted in response.
Before Samui could reply, Hidan's body melted into blood. Her eyes widened as the pool of blood moved away from the earthen spears before it rose, forming into the shape of Hidan once ore. The Akatsuki member grinned once again as he walked closer towards her.
"Let me repeat myself, and I'll do it slowly until you understand. I. Can't. Die!" His grin widened as he finally came face-to-face with Samui: "But you can-"
"Shadow Possession Jutsu!"
Before Hidan could finish his sentence, his body froze. He felt himself lose control over his bodily functions as he started to take steps away.
"This goddamn jutsu again? You're back here again, you pineapple-headed bastard-" Hidan's words died as he felt his head turn slightly, coming face-to-face with his captor: "Wait, who the fuck are you?"
"Nara-san!" Shino called out.
"Shikaku-san!" Ino sighed in relief.
Shikaku remained stiff, focusing on his jutsu. He briefly turned his head to face the six shinobi; an action that Hidan mimicked.
"You all need to get out of here before you die." Shikaku stated.
"Nothing will save them, heretic!" Hidan hissed in response: "The curse is already in effect! They'll-"
"Find a medic. Someone can stop the decomposing, I'm sure of it." Shikaku shook his head, interrupting Hidan's ravings.
"And leave you here?" Chōji's eyes widened as he shook his head: "Shikaku-san, you can't be serious! This man… he's not normal. He's-"
"I know exactly who this man and what his abilities are." Shikaku said sharply, shaking his head: "I can fend off for now. Again, you all need to leave."
"I'm not leaving." Samui said sharply: "I need to avenge my brother-"
"Avenge him by dying?" Konoha's Jōnin Commander asked. Samui stiffened in response: "Your bodies are decaying. All of you. None of you will be of any help in this fight or any fight while in that state. You all need to find medics and fast. Now, go. That's an order!"
The six shinobi were quiet for a moment. After a few seconds, Omoi spoke-up, shaking his head.
"Thank you, Nara-san." He stated as he started to hurry-off.
His actions started a chain, as Karui and Samui followed behind, with Samui giving one final, tear-filled glare at Hidan. Shino hurried behind as well, while Chōji and Ino turned to look at Shikaku with a concerned expression.
"Please be careful, Shikaku-san." Ino requested.
"I'll be fine." Shikaku said, smiling in response back. "Promise. If you see your dads, tell them I'll meet him for drinks after this. My treat."
Chōji and Ino, accepting those words, hurried off, following behind their allies. Shikaku was now left alone with Hidan.
"… I can tell you're wasting plenty of your chakra to hold me down right now." Hidan stated sharply, a grin developing on his face: "Afraid I'll hunt them down?"
"I know you'd try." Shikaku said, his eyes narrowing.
"Just drop your shadow." Hidan replied, starting to force his arms together. Shikaku grit his teeth as he struggled to contain him: "I'm not going to hunt them. Right now, all I want to do is kill you."
A snort escaped Shikaku's lips: "All the more reason to keep you restrained."
While Hidan continued to struggle against Shikaku's control, another shadow began to form, going up Hidan's body and reaching his neck.
Mei stepped to the side as Oyashiro launched three blood streams – in the shape of needles – from his wound. Oyashiro then made a gesture with his right hand, causing the blood needles to turn right back around. Mei, once again, stepped to the side just in time. Oyashiro now stood side-by-side to her.
"Getting aggressive, Oyashiro?" She asked with a snarl.
"Why not? It's just you and me now. I can afford to be a little reckless now that I only got one enemy to worry about." Oyashiro noted with a smirk. Mei gritted her teeth in response, which only caused Oyashiro's smirk to widen: "Now, allow me to show you exactly why none of the other Kage, including your predecessor, never bothered trying to hunt me down!"
Oyashiro attempted to punch Mei in the face, but she dodged. A drip of blood dripped from his open wounds onto the battleground, which quickly morphed, taking shape into another Blood Clone of Oyashiro. The clone acted quickly, landing an upper cut on Mei. The Mizukage choked out some blood in response as she was knocked backwards slightly.
"Gotcha." The original Oyashiro clapped his hands together. Another stream of blood released from his open wound, connecting with the blood he just knocked out of her. The blood mass proceeded to grow exponentially: "Hidden Blood Art: Blood Prison!"
The blood mass launched itself, changing in shape into a large cage. Mei attempted to dodge, but the blood spread too fast, surrounding her and locking her inside.
"Dammit." Mei scowled as her eyes moved around her cage. She took in a deep breath before she breathed out a stream of lava from her lips. The lava connected with the blood cage, but seemingly had no effect on it. "No use, huh…"
"Naturally. The beautiful thing about blood is how absolutely versatile it can be used as a weapon, especially when one has eyes like mine." Oyashiro chuckled as his Ketsuryūgan narrowed on the blood cage: "Being able to freely control the concentration and qualities of the blood, all the way down to the amount of iron in it, makes any blood I utilize just that little bit more special. And consider that cage extra fortified, too, since it has your blood mixed into it as well. There's not a damn thing you can do that will break it."
'Nothing I can do, huh?' Misora tightened her hands into fists as she looked around her blood cage.
"So, do yourself a favor as a Kage and die with a little bit of grace, okay?" Oyashiro said as he snapped his fingers.
In an instant, the bars of the 'blood cage' sharpened, forming blades as they began to close in on Mei.
"M-Mizukage-sama!" Misora called out. Her body moved forward before she could think, but as a result, she fell to the ground. She grit her teeth in response: 'Dammit, am I really unable to help at all, just because I lost one limb? Dammit, Misora!'
Mei took in a deep breath as she eyed the blood blades approaching her. She clapped her hands out as she began to breathe out a corrosive gas from her lips, forming a small barrier around herself that blocked the blood blades from stabbing into her. The blades, however, continued to push back.
'Nothing you do is going to be able to stop them.' Oyashiro said, his Ketsuryūgan narrowing on her.
The blood blades continued to push forward at Mei's position. The Mizukage, nevertheless, continued to focus on breathing out her corrosive gas. Her entire body stiffened as she continued to channel chakra into her lips as she continued her jutsu.
"Lava and Boil Style Combination: All-Matter Boiling Point Jutsu!"
As the two jutsu clashed with one another for a more seconds, the blood blades, along with the blood prison, started to radiate steam. As quickly as the steam came, the blood started to evaporate.
Oyashiro's eyes widened in horror: 'What the… No. No! Nonono!' He grit his teeth as he watched the steam start to dissipate to see Mei rushing towards him, seemingly unharmed: 'I've trained my blood against Futsu's Boil Release and Karyū's Lava Release. I don't give a fuck if she's Kage-level; she should not be able to create the temperatures need to evaporate my blood! There's no way!'
"Lava Style: Melting Apparition Technique!"
Just as Mei started to spit out a stream of liquid lava from her mouth, Oyashiro's wounds opened-up again as five more blood clones came out. The arms dealer jumped back while one of the other blood clones tanked Mei's hit, melting instantly back into a pile of blood. The other four – one A-type, one B-type, another O-type, and the final AB-type blood clones – surrounded Mei's positioning.
"Blood Dragon Ascension!"
Blood flew from each of the clones, forming into four serpentine-dragon-shaped blood streams that flew towards Mei's position. Mei attempted to jump away in time, but one of the dragons managed to collide with her body, hitting her head on. She hissed in pain as the blood dragon slammed itself into her, breaking almost of her ribs and causing heavy internal bleeding. As the dragon connected, however, Mei channeled both her Lava Release and Boil Release kekkei genkai once again through the chakra pores in her body.
As her elemental chakra affinities started to take effect, the blood dragon melted away, evaporating just like the blood prison.
'Again… this is getting problematic.' Oyashiro bit his lip in response hard, intentionally drawing blood. His eyes narrowed on her body: 'However, I can tell there's a lot of internal bleeding. I need to keep this up and I should overwhelm her.'
'The fact that I have to use so much chakra to generate enough heat to fight against your blood… I won't be able to use both of my kekkei genkai like this for too long. I'm going to drain myself at this rate. I need to kill him fast, before it's too late.' Mei's eyes briefly moved towards Misora. '… And I got an idea.'
Sensing Mei's gaze, Misora turned her attention towards her. Mei gestured towards Oyashiro before she channeled a brief burst of chakra to her eyes. She pulsated her chakra in her eyes three times.
'Misora, please tell me you understand what I'm asking. I am trusting you.'
The Kawada, in response, nodded her head. She tried to steady herself, pulling herself up on her single foot, before she brought her right hand forward in a single hand sign. In an instant, Misora's behind disappeared under a cloak of mist resembling the dust of their battlefield. Upon seeing Misora's movement, Mei took a few steps forward directly towards Oyashiro before charging at him once again.
Oyashiro's remaining blood dragons tried to strike at her, but like earlier, Mei's body radiated enough Boil Release and Lava Release chakra that the dragons evaporated. The blood clones then charged forward at her, but once again, after a few punches from Mei's fists, the clones melted back into blood. She then continued to charge forward at Oyashiro.
"Hidden Blood Art: Grip of Hell!"
The blood puddles that had formed from Oyashiro's defeated clones rose upwards, forming chains that grabbed onto Mei's feet. Mei growled in response as her legs started to radiate heat from her kekkei genkai chakra natures, causing it to evaporate. As she struggled to free herself, however, she briefly glanced over at Oyashiro, staring him in the eye.
She made eye contact with him.
'What!?' Oyashiro's eyes widened in response before his Ketsuryūgan pulsated, a grin developing on his face: 'JACKPOT! Genjutsu: Ketsuryūgan!"
The Ketsuryūgan sent a blast of chakra forward directly into Mei's eyes. The chakra then spread throughout her brain before firmly rooting itself into her mind.
Immediately, Mei's body stiffened in response. Her entire body grew limp for a moment before relaxing, as her face shifted into a neutral expression.
'She… She fucked up. The Mizukage fucked up.' Oyashiro noted, his grin widening.
He had arrived during this invasion with the intention of getting more weapons to have under his arsenal for the upcoming war, but he had expected to have to train the Terumi genin to make him a worthwhile slave. However, now, he had an opportunity fall neatly into his lap that he had never expected.
'I never thought I'd be able to land someone as powerful as the Godaime Mizukage as a tool! Imagine the money… I could employ her alone off and make BILLIONS. There's not a damn mission she'd fail at!' Oyashiro nearly screamed aloud: 'The only problem is that I won't be able to break her like I did my other bodyguards; she's someone I'd have to keep entirely under genjutsu at every moment. However, between me and Chino, I'm sure we can make sure that at any given point, one of us will always be there to keep her mind on lock! I have never had-'
Oyashiro's ramblings were interrupted as two thick mist formations – locked in the shape of needles – flew into his piece, stabbing directly into both of his Ketsuryūgan eyes.
Oyashiro's blood-curling scream sounded throughout the area. He could not even process what hit him. He tried to pull out the 'weapon' that had stabbed into him, but his hands grasped at nothing, moving straight through the mist. In contrast, the pointed ends of the mist needles dug further into the Ketsuryūgan eyes before permanently destroying them.
Misora hobbled over, a small smile on her lips as she made her way forward on her one leg, making sure to maintain her hand sign as she hopped forward: "Your first mistake was ignoring me and focusing on Mizukage-sama."
"You… You did this to me?" Oyashiro growled out, trying to turn his head towards the sound of Misora's voice: "I'LL KILL YOU-"
His words died on his lips as his throat was grabbed. Terumi Mei, now snapped out of the Ketsuryūgan's brainwashing genjutsu, had now closed the distance between herself and Oyashiro, holding him by his throat.
"Despite you not paying much attention to Misora, you still would most likely notice her if she tried something. That's why I was willing to try this gamble; to see if, presented with the opportunity of brainwashing me, you would tunnel-vision on me and forget her." Mei explained. Her grip tightened on Oyashiro's throat, causing him to choke: "You are indeed a Kage level shinobi, but you are still a man with many flaws. And your greed is your biggest!"
"This… wasn't…" Oyashiro struggled to speak, choking out his own blood: "It… wasn't supposed… to end like this…"
"You're right. It wasn't. You were never supposed to have had your arms dealing empire for as long as you have. You were not supposed to have damaged and destroyed so many innocent lives throughout the Elemental Nations." Mei said sharply. Her eyes narrowed on Oyashiro's bleeding, eye-less, dying body as her grip tightened even further: "You were never supposed to kill Aō! That man was one of Kirigakure's finest, having served in the Third War and fought in our civil war! He deserved to make it to retirement and die a natural death!"
Her eyes briefly flicked over to Aō's corpse. A few tears developed in her eyes as she saw the spirit of the veteran shinobi – one of her first and most adamant supporters during the Civil War, someone she even trusted with the secret of Yagura's survival too. The tears quickly subsided as she turned her attention back to Oyashiro.
"These are only a handful of the reasons why you deserve to die, En Oyashiro! And I cannot be more happy to be the one to finally put you down!" Her grip on his throat tightened one final time: "Lava Style: Meltdown Palm!"
Mei's hands became coated in liquid lava as she slowly brought her hands up to Oyashiro's face. The man tried to scream, but his throat would not let him. He continued to internally wail in pain as lava was forced into his head bit-by-bit until Mei finally overwhelmed, melting his head entirely off and killing him once-and-for-all.
The Godaime Mizukage remained standing for a moment, staring at Oyashiro's corpse, before she turned her attention towards Misora. With Oyashiro dead, the Kawada finally dropped her hand sign. She then immediately fell to the ground.
"Aggghhh…" She hissed.
"Misora… we need to get you to a medic fast." Mei said, shaking her head as she made a hand sign.
Generating two water clones, Mei walked over and picked up Misora's body. Her two clones grabbed onto Aō's corpse and Oyashiro's corpse as they all started to rush out of the Dengō Raigō Stadium.
"Just… entrust me to a clone. They'll find me a medic." Misora noted, closing her eyes: "You have more important things to do-"
"And if that clone gets ambushed and dissipated, you will die." Mei stated sharply, tightening her grip on her jōnin's body: "You are in no condition to fight and you know it. So rest."
Misora said nothing in response as she did as she was told, remaining quiet as Mei carried off.
"Water Style: A Thousand Feeding Sharks!"
"Water Style: Water Mirror Jutsu!"
With a gesture with his right hand, Kisame generated thousands of water sharks. As quickly as they formed, Yagura created water mirrors all around his body, reflecting the shape of the water sharks before sending a barrage of equally water sharks after the others.
The underwater battlefield was thrust into chaos as each water shark tried to overpower the other, destroying one after another. As the two sets of jutsus collided with one another, Yagura and Kisame swam directly at one another.
Kisame's right arm was covered with the scales of Samehada once more while Yagura gripped his hook-staff tightly. Kisame tried to slam Samehada into him, but Yagura quickly blocked with his staff. He then swung it at Kisame, but the Akatsuki member swam back just in time to avoid it.
Yagura scowled as he reached for his chakra cloak: "Water Style: Coral of Isobu!"
The Yondaime Mizukage proceeded to throw a chunk of sea-green coral at Kisame's swimming figure. Kisame dodged, then proceeded to dodge as Yagura continued to toss coral after coral. After a few seconds, with enough coral littered around the battlefield, Yagura made a hand sign.
His jutsu was interrupted as a large water shark approached him. Yagura turned his attention towards it as he swung his staff directly through it, cutting straight through and destroying it. In response, the shark turned into tinier water shark bullets that flew directly into his body, biting down on his skin. Yagura hissed in pain as the tiny sharks continued to pelt him.
'One of his sharks managed to survive…' Yagura briefly glanced over to the side of the battle, noting the lack of water sharks: 'My Water Mirror Jutsu's reflections are designed to be at equal strength to the original to either even out a fight, or to tip the balance in my direction if the card was played correctly. To have even a single shark survive… his creations must be more tenacious than I initially gave credit to.'
With a tense grip on his staff, Yagura swung his hook upward, generating a wall of coral that blocked the remaining shark bullets. He then turned his attention back towards to Kisame.
Yagura was about to make a hand sign, but his eyes widened as he noticed that the coral he had scattered throughout the battlefield had been destroyed. He gripped his staff tightly as he noticed that Kisame had vanished from the battlefield.
As quickly as he vanished, Kisame reappeared from above, swimming down directly on top of him. Yagura noticed his presence just on time to block another strike from Kisame's Samehada-encased right arm with his staff, but the Akatsuki member hit with enough force that he knocked the staff out of Yagura's grip.
Yagura's words were cut off as Kisame then swung his left arm forward at him. Samehada's scales switched from his right arm to his left as Kisame slammed Samehada into Yagura's body. Yagura hissed in pain as the scales pierced his Bijū Cloak, causing him to bleed heavily. Kisame continued to push down on him until the two finally swam down to the bottom of the room, where Kisame held him down in place.
"You know, I don't think I ever got a chance to use Samehada against you, Yagura. Got to say, it seems to love your chakra." Kisame cackled in response.
Yagura glared back in response as he struggled to push back: "I'd imagine, since it is Kirigakure's blade. And Samehada was made with traces of the Sanbi's DNA. It naturally wants the life it does not have!"
"Oh, I forgot that fact about Samehada, but the 'life it does not have'? Bullshit." Kisame's laughter grew louder: "Samehada is the definition of a living weapon. I understand it better than anyone else in the world. It does not miss a life in Kirigakure."
"You would think that, you filthy traitor." Yagura replied, gritting his teeth as he began to channel chakra throughout his body: "Are you aware you stand for nothing, Kisame?"
"What?" Kisame's eyes narrowed in response: "I stand for the ability to break free from this world of lies-"
"And with that thought in mind, you sided with history's biggest liar – the fraud referring to himself as Uchiha Madara – and turned on the village you swore an oath to fight and protect." Yagura stated: "I would say that betrayal of that caliber can be considered lying as well."
Kisame grit his teeth in response: "Says the man who failed do anything you promised! What the hell did you accomplish that you said you would when you became Mizukage? Even before you became 'brainwashed', you still didn't do shit!"
Yagura's eyes moved down slightly in response: "The work to rebuild Kirigakure was not going to be quick… I was making the groundwork for just that when that accursed Uchiha arrived."
"Blaming it all on that, huh?" Kisame shook his head, his scowl returning: "What a pathetic-"
"But allow me to contradict another thing, Kisame." Yagura interrupted again, his focus returning back to Kisame, glaring at his former teammate: "I never claimed to not be a liar. I am. I failed in my goals. I failed Kirigakure when it needed me. And as a result, I now live as 'Kamui', living a life that's not my own and being treated as a 'hero' rather than the 'war criminal' that my village thinks I am."
Kisame snorted in response: "That's right, and-"
"And because I am a liar, I think I best equipped to say that that you are an even bigger liar!" Yagura shouted back as he began to concentrate his chakra onto the back of his cloak.
Kisame growled in response as he pushed harder back, digging Samehada's scales deeper into Yagura's body: "You dare call me-"
From Yagura's chakra cloak, three tails generated – all in the shape of Isobu's tails, but with the orange coloration of Kurama's tails – appeared behind his back. A beam of chakra, colored a mixture of orange and light blue, was released from each tail.
The beams had formed quickly and dug into Kisame's body. The Akatsuki member was sent flying backwards into the ceiling of the room as the beams connected with both his shoulders and his stomach.
"Wh-What the hell is this?" Kisame shouted.
"This… is actually a technique of Naruto-san's, that I am repurposing slightly." Yagura answered, a grin developing on his face as he pulled himself up: "You've been pretty good with dodging my coral, so you probably didn't realize that my coral, while I'm in this state, drains chakra." His grin widened: "And I just so happened to grab some of Naruto-san's chakra when that Pain figure tried to accost him with that 'Banshō Ten'in' technique, if I recall the name."
"You…" Kisame growled out as he tried to pull himself out of the Three-Tails Beam. Unfortunately, he was unable to move his body at all. The pressure of the beams was too much: "Damn you…"
"I figured I'd be able to kill you if I landed this jutsu on you. I just needed to make sure I got you to lower your guard. Thankfully, I know the right things to say to get you riled up." Yagura noted, shaking his head: "… Perhaps we really aren't strangers, Kisame."
Kisame did not respond to his comment, only focusing on his struggling. Yagura looked up to the man as his eyes studied him.
For a moment, he saw a young, cocky genin who, alongside Mei, would become his most trusted confidant and ally throughout the Third Shinobi World War.
As quick as the image came, the modern image of Hoshigaki Kisame – a traitor to Kirigakure and a member of Akatsuki – entered his mind once more. Yagura's eyes narrowed as he began to channel chakra into his mouth.
"Kisame… I did not want it to end like this." Yagura shook his head.
"Bullshit." Kisame snorted in response: "You… You've been looking forward to this for a while, haven't you? To 'punish a traitor'?" With a loud shot, Kisame, began to channel chakra throughout his body: "I'M NOT GOING TO LET YOU!"
"Kisame, I really am not lying. Not about this." Yagura, again, shook his head as his eyes started to redden: "I… I genuinely considered you a friend. I… I may have even gone against my better judgment and spared you…" He took in a deep breath as his hands tightened: "But I can't afford that. Not the way you are right now."
With one loud growl, the water around Kisame's body changed shape, forming into another large water megalodon that tore through the water towards Yagura. The Yondaime Mizukage, in response, finished channeling his chakra as he formed a large, black orb of chakra in his mouth.
'Goodbye, Kisame.' Yagura told himself as he launched the giant orb: "Bijūdama!"
The massive bijūdama rushed through the water, colliding with the water megalodon and destroying it with ease. The jutsu then flew directly towards Kisame's body.
As the bijūdama grew closer to Kisame's body, his body began to morph back to normal. Kisame's eyes widened in betrayal and he stopped his struggling against Yagura's 'Thee-Tails Beam' jutsu as he watched Samehada escape his body and start to fall to the ground of the battlefield.
"Samehada, you can't-"
His words were cut off as the bijūdama crashed into his body. The jutsu quickly swallowed his body whole as it tore into entirely.
Yagura waited as he watched his bijūdama remain stationary in the ceiling of the battlefield. Within a few seconds, the water in the room began to drain, as if it had never been there. Just as the room had dried up, the bijūdama finally dissipated, revealing no trace of the Akatsuki member. Hoshigaki Kisame was now dead, with not even a body in sight to bury.
'… God damn you, Kisame.' Yagura closed his eyes, tears finally starting to fall as he shook his head: '… Repent in hell. Take your punishments well, and I genuinely pray your next life will be a more rewarding one…'
After staring at the spot of Kisame's death for one last moment, Yagura turned his attention downward towards the fallen Samehada. With a firm look on his face, the Yondaime Mizukage walked over and reached for the blade, half-expecting its scales to appear and shake him off.
To his surprise, the blade did not react.
'… I'll help Mei-chan find a wielder for you. One that will have the spirit of Kisame that you seemed to appreciate, but one that will not turn on our village like him.' Yagura promised to himself: 'Now-'
Before he could do anything else, the ceiling to the room opened up. Yagura's eyes turned upward as he saw chunks of the room he was in starting to rise up on its own accord, flying like debris towards a large 'mass' in the sky.
"What… is that?"
Pain held up his right hand, causing the black orb to fly into the sky, obfuscating the sun slightly. As it flew into the air, the battleground started to shake rapidly.
Utakata grit his teeth in response as he did his best to keep himself steady: "What's going on-"
He was interrupted as large chunks of the ground started to break apart, flying into the sky towards the black orb. Chunk by chunk, fragments from the ground rose rapidly into the air, joining with one another at the black orb, forming a large orb of sorts in the middle.
The ground underneath Yugito's body started to rise upwards. The Nibi jinchūriki quickly tried to jump back to the ground, but the bit of land she landed on proceeded to fly back upwards into the sky as well.
"Shit!" She growled out.
Han's eyes widened: "Yugito-san-"
The Gobi jinchūriki was forced to jump to his right as a large pipe – from the boiler room of the stadium underneath the battlefield – rose up from the ground and nearly collided with him. Another pipe then flew through the air, this time colliding with his leg, tripping him slightly. He cursed slightly as the ground he was now standing on broke apart, pulling him upwards along with the debris.
"Han-nii!" Naruto shouted.
'This is real bad.' Rōshi grit his teeth in response as his eyes moved around. The other jinchūriki were doing there best to remain stable, but the ground continued to break apart: 'At this rate, we'll all be flying into the center of that thing.'
"What a terrifying jutsu." Kabuto spoke aloud, his eyes focusing on the growing orb in the sky made of stone, pipe. "I assume Pain-sama is controlling all of that?"
"He is." Konan nodded her head: "He can control the gravitational pull of that jutsu. It is how you and I are remaining safe, able to watch as the jinchūriki try their hardest to resist the pull."
'What's his game here?' Bee wondered, his eyes narrowed on the giant orb in the sky as he continued to dodge. He then studied both Yugito and Han, who were trying to jump from rock fragment to rock fragment back to the ground, to no success: 'Is he trying to imprison us? Or is he going to drop that thing on us?'
Seconds continued to pass as the entire stadium began to fall apart, turning into debris that flew towards the central meteor.
"Oi, why aren't we doing anything?" Naruto shouted, his eyes narrowing on the Deva Path Pain as he held out his right hand: "We need to stop this shit! Wind Style: Rasenshu-"
Naruto's eyes widened in horror at the sound of the screaming. He turned his head to see that, as the stadium began to crumble, the infirmary was now visible from their position. From there, they could see Team Six and Team Eight of Konoha, Team Misora of Kiri, and Team Tango of Kumo, starting to fly towards the center of the sky.
Bee's eyes widened in horror: "They're were still people in the stadium? They're were still genin?"
"No… dammit!" Naruto grit his teeth as he channeled his elemental chakra throughout his body: "Fū, Utakata, follow me! Wind Release: Drift!"
Naruto released wind-elemental chakra throughout his chakra points as he tried to fly towards the genin's positions. Both Fū and Utakata followed behind, Fū's wings flapping hard while Utakata flew in a smaller bubble. All three hissed slightly as they tried their hardest to fight off the gravitational pull of Pain's jutsu as they hurried into the air nearby it.
"Gotcha!" Naruto called out as he grabbed onto Konohamaru's and Moegi's hands. He then generated a tail from his chakra cloak that grabbed onto the back of Udon's shirt: "You guys okay?"
"Y-Yeah…" Konohamaru mumbled, closing his eyes as he felt the suction of the Chibaku Tensei trying to pull him up: "I'm… Naruto-nii-san, what's happening?"
"It's…" Naruto bit down on his lip as he concentrated his chakra on trying to fly back down to the ground: "It's going to be okay, alright?"
"Ninja Art: Cocoon String!"
Fū held out her hands, causing thick, green-colored cocoon string to come out. The string managed to attach itself to the backs of the three Kumo genin and two of the Kiri genin. Utakata, meanwhile, managed to breathe out four bubbles that captured the bodies of Team Eight, as well as the final Kiri genin – Terumi Kinosaki. Upon absorbing them in bubbles, Utakata made a gesture with his left hand, causing their bubbles to drift in the same direction as him.
'Close. Way too close.' Fū sighed in relief.
'We still need to get back on the ground…' Utakata noted, scowling as his bubble moved slowly back to the ground: 'This jutsu's force is overwhelming-'
More debris managed to come into contact with the three flying jinchūriki and the genin. Naruto hissed in pain as he tried to cover Konohamaru, Moegi, and Udon from harm. Fū hardened the string on her genin, keeping them protected. Utakata snapped his finger, causing all five bubbles to grow more fortified.
As the debris continued to fly upward and smack into the jinchūriki and the genin, one of Utakata's bubbles – the one holding Aburame Tsunemasa – proceeded to pop. The genin was immediately sent flying backwards, his sunglasses flying off his face, showing his eyes wide in horror.
"Wh-What?" Utakata's eyes widened.
"Tsunemasa!" Kazuo shouted.
Yūna's hands went to her mouth in horror: "N-No!"
"DAMMIT!" Naruto growled out as he created another chakra tail.
Naruto's chakra tail barely missed grabbing onto Tsunemasa's bodysuit. The Aburame took in a deep breath as he shook his head.
'Dammit. Not like this… I'm so sorry-' Tsunemasa's thoughts were cut short as his body connected straight to the center of the Chibaku Tensei as more-and-more debris piled around his body.
"No… NO!" Naruto growled out as he began to channel chakra into mouth as he turned his head towards the Deva Path Pain: "LET HIM GO! BIJŪDAMA!"
Naruto released a large, black orb of chakra from his mouth forward, directly towards the Deva Path. Before it could get close to him, however, the bijūdama turned around and flew upwards.
'DAMMIT!' He bit down on his lip.
The bijūdama continued to fly through the air towards the large, newly-formed orb of rock, pipe, and metal in the sky. The jutsu managed to connect with its outer layer, creating a hole in it slightly that was quickly patched up as more stone continued to fly into the sky.
'Wait, that's it!' Rōshi's eyes widened: "Everyone, use the Bijūdama! Now!"
All five Paths of Pain narrowed their eyes on Rōshi in response.
"But Rōshi, that's going to kill him!" Naruto shouted back.
"That boy is going to die, and so will we, if we don't stop this jutsu!" Rōshi growled out: "Now, everyone, create a bijūdama and destroy that thing!"
The Yonbi jinchūriki's voice boomed throughout the stadium. His fellow jinchūriki nodded their heads in response before they all began to channel large masses of chakra in their mouths, keeping the ratio of positive and negative chakra at eight-two.
Gaara, Yugito, Rōshi, Han, Utakata, Fū, Killer Bee, and Naruto all launched their Bijūdamas simultaneously, the black orbs flying through the sky directly towards Pain's growing meteor. Upon contact, each bijūdama connected with the orb, piercing it. With each hit, the orb began to shake rapidly before the ground finally stopped shaking and the pieces of stone that had not connected with the meteor began to fall towards the ground.
Naruto, Fū, and Utakata quickly got back on the ground, alongside the genin with the. As soon as they all landed on the ground, Naruto immediately ran through hand signs before using the Summoning Jutsu, summoning Gamakichi.
"Gamakichi, get them out of here. Now!" Naruto shouted.
All eleven genin looked towards the blond in surprise.
"Uzumaki-san… Takigakure shinobi…" Nibui noted, looking back between the two shinobi before bowing his head: "Thank you."
"But Naruto-san, the invasion-" Konohamaru started before Naruto sent him a glare. The genin's words died on his lips.
"B-But what about Tsunemasa…" Kazuo mumbled, his eyes focusing on the falling debris looking for any sign of his teammate's body.
Before Naruto could reply, Gamakichi pulled all remaining genin towards him and used the reverse summoning jutsu, taking them all to Mount Myōboku. As soon as they were gone, Naruto, Fū, and Utakata turned their attention towards the remains of the Chibaku Tensei.
'Please be okay…' Naruto mumbled to himself. He saw Han and Yugito land safely on the ground, quelling a fear in his heart, but his eyes still remained focused for Tsunemasa.
'Come on, kid…' Utakata bit his lip in response as his eyes focused on the sky: 'Please… let a miracle happen and let the boy live…'
'They managed to destroy the inner core of the Chibaku Tensei.' Pain realized, his Deva Path's eyes narrowing intently. 'I'll need to take advantage of the meteor while it still has some structure.'
In a moment, Aburame Tsunemasa's body, heavily bruised and cut-up, began to fall towards the ground. Just as Naruto and Utakata were about to rush over and catch it, the Deva Path held out its right hand. Immediately, what remained of the meteor began to fall rapidly down onto the ground in one clump.
The meteor collided with Tsunemasa's body before it neared the ground, preparing to crush everyone in the middle of the stadium.
"Ultimately Hard Defense: Shield of Shukaku!"
Sand rushed from Gaara's cloak once more, forming a large barrier around him and the other jinchūriki that took the likeness. Gaara grit his teeth as he crossed his hands, making the sand barrier as sturdy as possible. Gold dust began to fly from his cloak, joining the sand in fortifying the Shukaku barrier.
'This needs to work.' Gaara took in a deep breath: 'Hold-'
As soon as the meteor collided, the earth shattered Gaara's jutsu instantly, causing sand to scatter everywhere. The collision, however, did cause the meteor to finally fall apart into multiple pieces. Instead of raining down as a large, single meteor, it now fell down onto the jinchūriki like thousands of falling stones and metal chunks.
The jinchūriki did their best to dodge, but scattered debris managed to collide against all of them, creating heavy bruises and cuts on all their bodies. Gaara, however, took the worst. Having been staggered from his jutsu falling apart, he was unable to dodge any of the attacks and was bombarded by debris-after-debris.
Gaara fell to the ground in response, his Chakra Cloak fading away as he turned back to his normal appearance.
"GAARA!" Naruto screamed.
The Uzumaki rushed over to the redhead's side, placing his head against Gaara's heartbeat. Relief filled his heart; the Kazekage, while heavily injured, was only unconscious and not dead.
He then turned his head over towards Aburame Tsunemasa's body. Utakata's head was already on his chest and his hand was reaching for his wrist to feel any pulse.
Utakata heard nothing. He felt nothing. The Rokubi jinchūriki's grip on the body's wrist grew tighter as he shook his head.
'No… This…' He bit down on his lip hard.
Naruto was still, staring intently at Utakata and Tsunemasa's body. He turned his back to Gaara's unconscious form before his eyes narrowed back on the Deva Path.
"I'm going to kill you!" He growled out.
"Is that so?" Pain asked, another chuckle escaping the lips of the Deva Path's lips: "You hate me, I assume."
"Damn right he does!"
The remaining group in the stadium turned their heads towards the rubble of the stadium bleachers to see Yagura walking out, gripping his staff tightly in one hand and holding onto Samehada in the other. A scowl was on his face as his attention was focused solely on the Deva Path.
"I see. So, Kisame failed to kill you, and instead, he is dead." Pain noted, the Animal Path shaking its head: "Unfortunate."
"That's really all you have to say, huh? Kisame was so fixated on your group that he turned his back on his village and his past, and all you have to say about his death is 'unfortunate'?" Yagura grit his teeth in response, his grip on both his staff and Samehada tightening: "Wretched creature. It appears Uchiha Obito is not the only monster amongst your organization.'
"Your words may seem like righteous indignation from your perspectives, but it's all the meaningless dribble of children to a god." Konan spoke-up, shaking her head: "The time has come. Whether or not you all hate us is irrelevant."
"I suppose it has." Utakata said sharply, bringing his bubble pipe to his lips as he pulled himself away from Tsunemasa's body: "Let it be known, though, that we all thoroughly hate all of you. Let it be known how much pleasure that we are going to take in destroying your organization and killing all of you!"
"You're all hurt. You're all in pain." The Asura Path chuckled in response: "You all understand. Good."
"Shut up! We don't care about your nonsense or your goals or philosophy or whatever!" Naruto snarled, his eyes narrowing further: "I don't give a fuck if you were an actual god, or if you were the Rikudō Sennin reincarnated! I don't even care that you are an Uzumaki! Pain, you are going to fucking die!"
"Ah, that is true. I suppose we are distant cousins in our ancestry." Pain noted: "Regardless, it is the end for you, 'cousin'."
With that statement, the Asura Path charged forward towards the jinchūriki.
Previous Chapter Update: Did you all forget I had planned on doing these? Yeah... I kinda did too. XD But I've had a couple new readers start reading the story, and that reminded me that I REALLY needed to fix my opening chapters.
So yeah, chapter four's been edited. I added a scene of Shikaku/Hiruzen discussing team assignments, added a few more lines of Shikamaru/Hinata/Naruto/Choji bantering before the graduation exam, and cleaned up A LOT about Mizuki's thoughts. Cause jfc, I really think I wrote Mizuki's perspective so, so, so bad and I really did not like it at all lol.
I still regret not going with my original plan of skipping the whole Mizuki incident and having Naruto learn about the Kyūbi from meeting with Han, but while I want to improve my story through editing, and am okay with adding scenes that can emphasize the story, I don't want to 'alter' some of the story's core, so the Mizuki incident survived the update. Barely.
I actually am excited to get back to editing chapters. Expecting the re-edit of chapter 5 to be a lot sooner, cause I got some fun things planned! :)
1: Want me to talk about Oyashiro's and Hidan's jutsus and how they function differently? ... Wait, no one asked? Well, too fucking bad, I'm a do it anyway :)
So obviously they both use blood-based jutsus, so obviously they share similarities with one another, but I tried to keep them more on two opposite spectrums. Oyashiro's jutsus are more akin to a traditional hemomancer, (a.k.a. straight-up blood manipulation). Think of something akin to the Kamo Clan's abilities in Jujutsu Kaisen. Where as Hidan's jutsus are more similar to more traditional voodoo elements (obviously his 'curse jutsu' he's known for, but also the decaying jutsu, his summons of literal corpses). Do they both share elements of the other's style? Yeah, Oyashiro's brainwashing genjutsu is closer to voodoo, and Hidan's 'Blood Circus' is just straight-up a blood manipulation technique. But they both have their fortes related to their particular fighting style, and it's just something I wanted to elaborate more since they both were fighting in this chapter and all. :)
2: Kinda want to talk about Pain/Nagato for just a moment.
I do think there's a lot of things about Pain's fighting style that makes even nine bijū-mode-using jinchūriki have a hard time fighting against him. Especially since all nine of them entered the battle unaware of things like Preta Path's ninjutsu-absorption/Naraka Path's revival abilities/the specific counters/limitations to Deva Path's gravity techniques. Now, I'll admit I probably made Chibaku Tensei a little more powerful than in canon by not having it entirely breaking apart after nine simultaneous bijūdama, but I also think the scope of the attack does warrant a little more 'power' in it that it can still do something, even after its core has been destroyed. It's the kind of technique that breathes 'presence' and I really wanted to showcase it and give it justice, even against its particular opponents.
My overall point being is that I'm trying to give Pain/Nagato 'justice' and show exactly how strong and capable he is in a fight with all his chips the way they are, and when he's not fighting alone. I'm not trying to present him overpowered or anything, but I just wanted to elaborate more on it. That's all.
Author's Note: Hey! Chapter 125 is done! :) Wow, this one felt like it took me a while to get out. Probably just cause I've been kinda busy these past couple days. My 'free days' that I usually spend writing were taken up by two back-to-back weddings that my wife and I were invited to. :O It's odd to actually be busy in regards to my personal live. It's especially odd being busy considering how little I did anything throughout the last year. But hey, it was nice. A good omen for the rest of the decade, maybe? :)
... I now feel like I just doomed us. A fucking meteor is going to wipe us out in 2027 now. GG, y'all. Sorry.
Anyway, side-note about this arc; I believe I just have two more chapters left of the invasion and it's all wrapped-up! Excited as hell to be getting it wrapped up; words cannot describe how happy I am to still just be writing this arc but also to be getting closer to its end. I hope you all are still enjoying it, cause I for sure as hell am!
... Looking at PMs and shit, I'm still very, very, VERY behind on a lot of things, so I need to catch up on that. However, I'll try and get myse