Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto nor Sekirei, all characters, thoughts and ideas that exist in this story that were taken from the original works belong to their specific creators, Masashi Kishimoto and Sakurako Gokurakuin. Only original thoughts and or characters created in this story are my own.
Author's Notes: This chapter rewinds a bit at the start to a time before the end of the last chapter. There was simply too much content to place it all in a single chapter so I had decide which content to have in which Chapter. I ultimately decided on a weird split that doesn't make a whole lot of sense in any world save my own head.
Chapter 49: The Death of a Planet
The three Sekirei, Miya, Yume and Blanc stared silently at Tenten from across the gap for a time, heedless to the sound of fighting picking up all around them. Gunfire, explosions, and rumbles echoed across the street as the fighting between MBI and the JSDF became more intense.
They were so focused on one another they didn't even hear the howls of sheer terror as a giant fire-breathing purple dinosaur with dozens of tanks strapped to its body began to climb up the side of MBI. It was like a rendition of Godzilla and King Kong mixed into one movie in a nightmarish package so horrible that it was almost beyond the ability of the common man to comprehend.
It didn't help that it seemed to be shitting bombs out into the street below.
"Why do you want to fight us?" Yume called out to Tenten as she settled into her own fighting stance. "Aren't you Naruto-kun's friend?"
"Fight? I'm here to kill you, and friendship has nothing to do with this," Tenten said as she reached for some kunai she had hidden in the sleeves of her shirt, "Naruto-san was my master back then, but Orochimaru-san is my master now."
"Is your loyalty really that fragile?" Yume demanded angrily. It upset her that she had to fight this woman. Tenten wasn't like the other MBI soldiers, she didn't want to kill her because she used to be a close friend of her Ashikabi.
"Loyalty… is fragile," Tenten said sadly, "and sometimes one has no choice about who their loyalty is placed with."
Tenten was well aware of what was happening to her. She knew that her desire to help Orochimaru, that the irresistible urge to obey and follow his orders were false. But she wasn't strong enough to go against them, not when the seals used to force her obedience twisted and evolved with her struggle against them.
She had long since given up resisting. The more she did, the more of herself she lost, the fewer memories of the happier times with Darui and Naruto in the past she retained.
"Then I'll just have to force another choice on you!" Yume shouted as she crouched low.
Tenten sighed, "You won't be able to. You are all more powerful than me, each of you, but… that power is why you won't win. That and you've never faced a Shinobi before."
"We'll see," Miya said tersely as she brought her sword up to her face, holding the blade in a two-handed grip with its tip pointed at Tenten. "Blanc!" Miya barked as she took a quick step forward and thrust her blade through the air.
Time and space split as Miya carved a hole through the fabric of the universe with the tip of her blade. It covered the space between her and Tenten in an instant. To the untrained eye it looked as if there was a thin distortion in the air where everything seemed to magnify ever so slightly.
Tenten didn't have time to react as she was hit almost before Miya even started her attack. It didn't as much as cut through Tenten as it erased a portion of her existence in its passage. There was a look of shock and incomprehension on Tenten's face as she glanced down at the hole in her body.
"On it!" Blanc said as she took off, her axe appearing in her hand as if summoned. She reached Tenten in seconds and leapt into the air above her. "Getter Ravine!" Blanc shouted as she brought her axe down on Tenten with all the strength she could muster.
Yume frowned as she watched Blanc close in on Tenten. Despite her injury Tenten should still be able to move, she should still be able to retaliate, so why was she just standing there? She saw a flicker of orange appear inside the hole in Tenten's body.
A smile crossed Tenten's face as Blanc descended.
It was at that exact moment that Yume realized it was a trap.
"No! Blanc-san stop!" Yume shouted out a warning.
But it was too late. Blanc's was already upon Tenten, there was no way to halt her momentum this late in the attack.
The axe sheered straight through Tenten's body as if there was no resistance.
Blanc could only stare on in absolute confusion as her axe buried deep into the rubble of the building without slowing down at all. She hadn't felt any resistance, in fact there wasn't any blood, or bones, or internal organs.
There was only fire.
"YOU BITCH!" Blanc shouted angrily as Tenten's fire clone exploded in her face.
What was left of the ruined building disappeared in a massive explosion of fire and smoke. Gale force winds and incredible heat washed over the duo as they stared on in horror. A small body rocketed from the fireball and streaked across the air towards them. It was engulfed in fire and ash.
"Blanc-san!" Yume cried out in fear as she moved to catch the small Sekirei.
And collapsed onto the ground with a cry pain.
"Get Blanc-san!" Yume cried out to Miya through clenched teeth. The pain was excruciating. Fearing the worst Yume glanced down at her feet and grimaced. There, where she had been standing, and impaled straight through the center of both her feet, were a pair of long spears that jutted almost a foot out of the ground. Yume had seen Naruto use wind elemental chakra often enough to know instantly that the tips of those spears had been enhanced with it.
She snapped the spear heads off with her hands and with a painful grunt ripped her feet off the ends of the broken shafts. Her feet were ruined, she wouldn't be able to stand, let alone walk with her feet in that condition. A pool of blood was already beginning to form around her feet on the street. In an instant Tenten just halved their combat capabilities.
"Yume-san!" Miya shouted as she rushed over to her side. She stared down in shock at her injured friend in shock, in her arms was the charred body of Blanc, still smoking from the powerful explosion that had engulfed her.
"I'll be fine," Yume said to Miya with a wavering smile as she fought down a wave of pain. "How's Blanc-san?"
Miya shook her head, and glanced down at the burned remains in her arms. It was doubtful that she survived.
Suddenly Blanc's body began to glow brightly. A brilliant flash engulfed the area for a brief moment and when it subsided Blanc had been replaced with someone else they weren't familiar with: A small, brown haired, blue eyed girl wearing a blue and white dress.
The most shocking, and beneficial thing about the transformation was that she was perfectly healthy, all the burns and injuries were gone, although she was still unconscious.
"You don't have time to be worrying about other's," Tenten's voice floated out from nowhere.
The air was suddenly filled with weapons of all different kinds: Knives, daggers, swords, maces, axes, spears, halberds, kitchen sinks, chairs, stoves, flails, guns, bullets, bombs. There were more than any of them could count and they were descending upon them from all directions.
What was worse was that many of them seem to crackle with electricity or glowed red hot.
Miya quickly tossed Blanc to Yume, who caught her with a painful grunt, and got in a protective position above the two. Her blade flashed through the air faster than the eye could follow. Shockwaves ripped through the sky, knocking most of the projectiles out of the air. Miya's blade flashed around her deflecting the few that got through.
"Are all Shinobi this cowardly?" Miya demanded as she searched for their enemy.
"All good Shinobi are, yes," Tenten's voice floated over to them, "No good Shinobi would willingly reveal themselves to their enemy."
"Naruto-kun does," Miya pointed out, completely unaware of the method Naruto used against Jack.
"Naruto-kun has always been a failure of a Shinobi," Tenten replied proudly.
"Then I'm glad I have a failure of a Shinobi as my Ashikabi than a real one."
"I am as well, Naruto-san is better as a failure," Tenten agreed as she slowly rose up from the ground. She had ten kunai held between her fingers, each one enhanced with either wind, fire or lightning.
"So you finally show yourself, I thought you said a good Shinobi never showed herself?" Miya asked.
"Be careful Miya-san, remember last time?" Yume said.
"A good Shinobi also puts the mission above their own personal safety," Tenten replied.
"Naruto-kun doesn't," Miya said.
"I know, and that makes him a bad Shinobi, but a good leader," Tenten replied as she took a single step forward. Her arms blurred and ten kunai whistled through the air as they shot towards Miya.
Miya almost shook her head contemptuously. She knew there had to be some sort of trap associated with those kunai, she had deflected a far more deadly attack earlier with ease.
She wouldn't let them get near Yume and Blanc. The ground cracked as she exploded into movement. She covered half the ground between her and Tenten in an instant. Her blade cleaved the air, half the kunai were split in half and the other half was knocked away.
Miya wasn't finished though, the ground beneath her fractured again as she pushed off it with increased force.
She was behind Tenten a split second later. Her blade cut a swift path through the air and buried itself deep within Tenten's body. Miya kept a sharp eye on the wound to make sure it was indeed a flesh and blood body she had cut. Much to her relief real blood flood down the back of the sword and soaked the white blouse.
"Fast, as expected, but not outside of the range of my calculations," Tenten said as she reached behind her and patted Miya's face gently.
"What?" That was when Miya realized she had missed her target. She had been going for a fatal strike but Tenten had anticipated her attack and had shifted her body just enough so that Miya's blade had missed her vitals.
It was still a deep wound, one that went straight through Tenten's body. She'd bleed out eventually if it wasn't treated, but it wasn't the fatal strike Miya had hoped for.
She tried to twist her blade but found it stuck fast within the body.
"And perhaps you should have destroyed all of the kunai, instead of just half," Tenten replied as she raised her left hand, attached to the end of each finger was a metal wire so thin it was almost invisible to the naked eye, "Only you need to be kept alive, the others are to be eliminated."
Miya quickly looked across the street towards Yume and Blanc. Blanc was no longer in Yume's arms, she was lying haphazardly on the street several meters away from Yume, looking no worse for wear. Yume however hadn't faired nearly as well. She had managed to catch two of the kunai, and block two more with her arms, but the fifth was a different story. The fifth kunai, a wind enhanced one, had gone straight through her arm, then her torso and had only stopped after it had buried itself into the street below.
"You!" Miya glared angrily at Tenten.
"I told you the mission takes precedence over everything," Tenten said as she raised a hand to her ear, "Orochimaru-san, she's been tagged."
Miya disappeared and instant later with a shock expression on her face, leaving her sword still embedded in Tenten's body behind.
The weapon mistress reached into a pocket in her shirt and pulled out a pill that she promptly swallowed. She reached behind her and pulled out the sword. She grimaced in pain; it was never a very pleasant feeling, having a sword stabbed through your body, it was even worse when pulling it out, it never came out as smoothly as it went in.
Holding the sword aloft Tenten slowly made her way across the street. Miya was gone, Blanc was unconscious, and Yume was on her last legs. Even if she did nothing Yume would deactivate and die.
But she was too dangerous, and Naruto in too many places at one time, for her to leave anything to chance. She had made sure to take out the clones Naruto had tailing his Sekirei before this battle began. She didn't want him to interfere, she knew how he operated.
She had a minute at most before Naruto flooded this place with more clones. A minute however was all she needed to finish things here.
"As I said, you've never fought a Shinobi, you don't know how we operate, how we behave. All that matters to us is the mission, success above all else. We'll use any underhanded technique to achieve victory, and that is why I, who am weaker than you, have won," Tenten said as she stopped just above Yume, "You were expecting a fair fight, a one-on-one battle like what you've faced thus far. That is not how we Shinobi operate. Trickery, deception, illusion, and subterfuge is how we operate. Pitched battles only occur when all other options have been exhausted."
Yume grit her teeth as she dropped the kunai she had caught wrapped her hand around the hilt of the kunai in her arm. She cried out as a sharp electrical shock ran through her body.
"Don't try to pull them out, those kunai are specially designed to disrupt the chakra of a Sekirei. You probably can't even summon enough energy to use your vaunted abilities, and with your feet ruined you can't stand. Your mobility and your powers are gone, you are helpless," Tenten said as she raised Miya's sword above her head.
"I'm sorry, but this is the end," she whispered as she brought the sword down.
"Do you have a shot?" the Captain asked as he peered down at the scene with a pair of binoculars. He was lying on a rooftop two miles away from the epicenter of the battle between Minaka's Sekirei and Naruto's.
"No, it's too damn far away, she's never stationary long enough for me to get a bead on her," the sniper said as he peered through the scope of the sniper rifle. It was an electronic scope that detected wind speed and direction to help the shooter compensate for that but unfortunately it only picked up the wind speed and direction where the shooter was and not any changes to either that occurred on the way to the target.
Two miles was as close as any of them were willing to get. Sekirei battles tended to rearranged the landscape too much for them to risk being any closer. However at this distance it was very difficult to snipe anyone. The wind had to be taken into account and in the middle of a city where the wind twisted and bent around buildings it wasn't strange for there to be multiple wind directions to account for.
"Well you better do something! That purple-haired one just disappeared and the other two aren't looking very good," the Captain said as he watched Minaka's Sekirei pull the sword from her chest.
"Grrr!" The sniper growled as he adjusted his aim once more due to a sudden shift in wind speed.
"Give me that!" a voice spoke from above them as a feminine hand reached down and plucked the sniper rifle out his the sniper's grasp.
"General!" the Captain gasped in surprise as he stared up at Major General Olivier. "What are you doing on the front lines?"
"I'm not going to stand all warm and cozy in my room while my men are out here dying," Olivier said as she lifted the sniper rifle into the air with one hand. "And I'm not going to let the women that saved my life and the life of my men die on me!"
"I've been trying General, the wind shifts three times between here and there, it's impossible to hit her," the sniper said as he glared at the wind impotently. The high rise buildings really made it tricky to shoot anything.
"Nothing is impossible," Olivier said. After seeing what the Sekirei could do she realized the limits to what one could do were far higher than she had once thought. All that matter was that one had the drive and the will to push past their limits.
She glanced through the scope once, adjusted her aim, and pulled the trigger.
"I'm sorry, but this is the end," she whispered as she brought the sword down.
An instant later her head exploded in a shower of blood, bone fragments and brain matter. Her body twitched once and folded under itself. A fountain of blood gushed from the ruined remains of Tenten's head, showering the area and Yume alike in the bright red liquid.
Miya's sword fell harmlessly from Tenten's limp grasp.
Yume could only gape at the sudden end to the battle. One moment she had been preparing for her death, and the next her opponent was the one lying on the ground dead, the remains of her head scattered across the ruined road.
Tracing the path of the bullet that had taken Tenten's life Yume's gaze went down the street and up to the top of the building at the intersection two miles away. At the top of the building looking down on them she could just barely make out half a dozen individuals.
She raised a hand and waved at the people in the distance. One of them raised a large rifle in response.
Letting out a small sigh of relief Yume glanced down at herself. She was in bad shape, really bad shape. The she was bleeding badly and the kunai stuck in her arm was hampering her ability to reinforce her body. The electrical shocks continued on even after Tenten's death.
Gritting her teeth she grabbed one of the kunai in her arm. Biting back a cry of pain as electricity shot through her hand and tore it from her arm. She quickly threw it away and reached from the second kunai. Again electricity arced through her hand as she gripped the hilt but she ignored it like the first and ripped that one from her arm as well.
Yume flopped onto her back and just laid there for a time, panting from exertion. Her hand shook and spasm due to the shock received from the kunai but Yume didn't care. With her chakra free and she began to move and flex her muscles as she sought to stem the tide of blood leaving her body by pinching the major arteries that had been pierced.
She could feel the blood escaping from her body slow down due to her efforts but it was only a temporary measure. She needed help.
She brought the hand of her injured arm up to her ear and pressed a small button on the ear piece, "Naruto-kun… help…" Yume gasped painfully through the earpiece. They all had one, just in case.
An instant later Naruto was there at her side, Chime with him.
"Yume!" Naruto shouted as he quickly knelt down beside her, "I'm here now," he said as he lifted Yume up and pulled her into his lap. He quickly summoned a first aid kit and pulled out the needed supplies.
He gave Yume some blood pills to replenish the blood she had lost, she still had plenty of chakra so he didn't bother with soldier pills and quickly went to work bandaging her wounds as best she could. The ones on the arms weren't very serious, but the holes in her feet and the one in her abdomen were serious.
She'd need real medical attention soon otherwise she risked losing both of her feet due to infection.
"Holy shit!" Chime said as she stared at Yume in shock. "What the hell happened here?"
"Not now Chime, go check on Blanc," Naruto told his shocked Sekirei. He could understand her surprise, he was surprised himself. He was certain that Blanc, Miya and Yume would easily be enough for whatever they came across.
"Ah, right," Chime said as she ripped her gaze away from Yume's injured state and quickly looked around for Blanc. She couldn't find her though, only a strange brown-haired girl a short distance away. "Where is she?"
"Right there," Naruto said as he pointed the downed brown-haired girl without look.
"Whoa… that's what I call a make-over," Chime said as she quickly hurried over to her sister. She couldn't see anything wrong with her from the back so she quickly rolled her over and sweat dropped.
She was sleeping peacefully, there was even a little bit of drool was dribbling out of her mouth. She looked a bit dirty but aside from that Chime could see no injuries.
"She seems perfectly fine, she's just sleeping," Chime said with some surprise. She had no idea how anyone could sleep at a time like this.
Naruto knew though, "bring her over here and don't wake her up," he told her. Blanc had been through a lot today, both mentally and physically. Naruto was not the least bit surprised that she was conked out.
"Is Blanc-san alright?" Yume asked as she watched Chime gently pick Blanc up and carry her over to them.
"Uh, Yume, I think you should be more concerned about yourself," Chime said as she stopped just beside them, "if you hadn't noticed you seem to be leaking blood pretty badly."
Yume let out a small chuckle and winced painfully, "Ouch, don't make me laugh, but I guess this does look rather bad."
"I'll make sure you live," Naruto promised, "As for Blanc, she's just been through a lot, that's her normal state, the form the rest of you are used to is actually her transformed state," he said, answering a question that was on both of his Sekire's minds.
"Oh, good, she took a nasty explosion, she didn't look very good," Yume said with a small smile.
"What happened here?" Naruto asked as he looked around, "Did Miya go on ahead?" That didn't sound like Miya to him but if Yume had insisted, but no, Yume wouldn't have asked for help if Miya had gone on ahead.
"No, Miya-san… she just disappeared. Tenten said something about marking her to Orochiarmu-san," Yume said sadly. She didn't like to think of the elder Sekirei being in the hands of someone like that.
"I see, so she's on Kouten then," Naruto said, nodding his head in understanding. Normally he would be upset that Orochimaru had his hand on someone he loved, but he had expected this, almost welcomed it. It meant that Orochimaru still thought Miya was in control of Kouten.
"You knew?" Yume asked surprised.
"No, but I suspected this might happen," Naruto said as he raised a hand to his earpiece and changed the frequency to the one that Yuuchi was on, "the decoy has been taken."
"Decoy?" Chime asked incredulously.
"Yes, decoy," Naruto said simply, not wanting to dwell long on the topic. Even if she was just a decoy she wasn't one he wanted to leave in Orochimaru's hands for very long. He looked over at Tenten's downed body. "How did she die?"
"We got some timely assistance from a friend," Yume said.
Naruto quickly scanned the area and his sharp eyes picked up the fragments of a .50 calibre round, "Sniper fire?"
Made sense. That was probably Tenten's sole weakness that could truly be exploited. Sure closing in on Tenten gave you a better fighting chance, but she still had the ability to protect herself.
Extreme long range, such as sniper fire, was something that Tenten had little protection against. Naruto glanced down the street at the street at the building in the distance where the sniper fire had likely come from. He couldn't help but be impressed by whoever had made that shot, the wind shifted multiple times between here and there, never mind taking into account distance, bullet drop, changes in Tenten's posture, and other minute details a sniper had to take into account.
It was sad to lose another person he had known from his earlier life, but this was war and it war didn't allow one to have sentimental feelings. Darui, too, would probably die again before this was over. The likelihood of rescuing him was slim to nil, especially if Minato didn't hurry things up. From the report he got from his clone his friend was just entering MBI.
"I see," Naruto said as he willed a clone into existence beside him.
The clone quickly picked up Tenten's remains and slung it over his shoulder, heedless of the blood. With a quick nod to his creator he disappeared, heading back to Epsilon to store beside Haku's body until they had time to bury her properly.
"Sorry, Naruto-kun, looks like I won't be able to help you against Orochimaru," Yume said sadly as she glanced down at her ruined feet.
"You weren't going to help anyways, I'm only bringing Chime with me, the rest of you wouldn't be of any use," Naruto said as he stood up. He ignore the slightly hurt expression on her face as he picked her up and held her in his arms bridle style.
It wasn't that he wanted to be cold and harsh by telling her that, it was simple fact. The battle between him and Orochimaru was going to be on a level that they simply wouldn't be able to contribute to.
They'd just end up being a weakness Orochimaru could exploit against him. Chime was the only one with a powerful enough defence that Naruto felt confident she wouldn't need his aid, or at least not unless he himself was in trouble.
Naruto quickly created another clone to take a hold of Chime and Blanc. The three of them disappeared as the clone took Chime and Blanc to a safe location off world. He'd swing around to pick Chime up again before he headed to Kouten.
"I need to get you to a real doctor, I can't do anything about your feet," Naruto said to Yume. There wasn't much he could do for her arm or abdomen either, but neither injury was serious enough to cause Naruto any concern, not with the emergency first aid he did and Yume's own natural durability. The wound in the chest had thankfully missed her vitals. The act of going through her arm had probably redirected it just enough to save her life.
The issue was her feet.
"I'm not sure a doctor can do much about my feet," Yume said quietly as she glanced down at them. That injury wasn't like the others she had received in the past; it wasn't just damaged muscles, tissues and the like. She had lost parts of her foot that couldn't grow back.
"We'll see, and if you can never walk again, we'll get you a pair of anti-gravity boots, like what Blanc and Neptune have. I'll get you mobile again, I promise," Naruto vowed. He could literally bend time and space and make the universe bow to his will, he'd figure something out.
Yume let out a relived sigh and leaned her head against Naruto's lapels. Hearing him say that was very comforting. When Naruto promised something, he always delivered, no matter how many tries it took him to succeed.
"Long story," Naruto said as the world shifted around them and they suddenly appeared in the midst of a medical camp that had been set up on the fringe of Shinto Teito to take care of the wounded soldiers.
A nurse appeared at his side in an instant, "come this way, they're expecting her," the nurse said as she hurriedly waved Naruto over to one of the tents.
"Thanks," Naruto said as he quickly followed. Yume just stared at the nurse with a mixture of curiosity and confusion as she tried to figure out how she knew to expect them, "Are preparations finished?" he asked.
"Yes," the nurse said, "we can Hiraishin everyone in the camp, hell the camp itself, the moment the end comes."
Oh, now Yume understood how the nurse knew they were coming. This was another clone of Naruto.
"Naruto-kun, how many clones do you have running around out there?"
"Enough," Naruto replied.
"Naruto-kun…" Yume said in exasperation. She hated it when he was vague like that.
Naruto glanced down at the woman in his arms and let out a soft sigh. He was so used to be secretive about this plan that he kept secrets that he didn't need to from people that deserved to know. "A little over five thousand," he said as he gave an actual answer, "most of them have just barely enough chakra to perform the Hiraishin no Jutsu once before they expire."
"Are you expecting something to happen?" Yume asked worriedly.
"Yes, yes I am." It was probably best not to say that he 'hoped' that something would happen. It would certainly ruin his and Ramen's plans if that something didn't occur.
The consciousness known as Gaia needed to be eliminated and they were hoping Orochimaru would do most of the work for them.
The timing was going to have to be absolutely perfect.
"How is Yume-san?" Chime asked worriedly when Naruto appeared in the command center at Epsilon.
"Better now that she's getting treated by people that actually know what they're doing. I have three clones watching the doctors to make sure they don't full anything funny but everything should be fine. They're all veteran military doctors used to dealing with horrific wounds, and I've already checked their backgrounds," Naruto said as he hurried over to Chime's side and glanced down at the battle field map in the center of the table. "Is Blanc settled in?"
"Yes, I washed and changed her, she's asleep in her room," Chime said.
"How are things looking Naruto-kun?" Hanabi asked as she came to stand at his side.
"Good so far, but the difficult part has yet to come," Naruto said as he glanced over at his wife briefly. "Shinto Teito all but belongs to Naoki now, for as long as it lasts. Once the western division started to hit the MBI forces from the west Orochimaru's entire force just began to fold under itself. They're already starting to take MBI HQ floor by floor."
"What about Darui-san and Evangeline?" Those were Minaka's last Sekirei. Haku and Tenten were dead, their bodies stored until they could be buried, Hiashi was locked in stasis. Jack Rakan was dead as well and Evangeline was nowhere to be found after her battle with Yuuchi.
"We're going to ignore Evangeline for now," From what Naruto had seen of that battle Evangeline had easily beaten Yuuchi. They didn't have time or resources to deal with her so they were just going to hope that she didn't care enough about them to interfere anymore.
"Minato, Yukari and Seo will deal with Darui; they're wandering around aimlessly in a maze. Knowing Darui he'll grow bored of teasing them and get serious, they better finish up before I do," Naruto added.
Hanabi nodded, "What about Miya-san?" Blanc and Akitsu were in their rooms resting after their arduous ordeals. Yume was being healed by doctors and Yuuchi was up in Kouten. Miya was the only one unaccounted for.
They even had the new Sekirei here, Neptune. She was asleep on a pull out couch in the living room.
"Orochimaru has her, but not for long, I'm heading up there in a few moments," Naruto said.
"So he took the bait," Hanabi said.
"I can't believe how callously the two of you are treating Miya-san," Chime said, more than a little put out.
"Sorry Chime, this is war, I need to put the well-being of the many ahead of the well-being of a few. If sacrificing Miya is what's required to ensure that the rest of you live to see tomorrow, I'll sacrifice her a hundred times over," Naruto said without emotion. He was forced to keep his emotions far away when he said that. Sacrificing one precious person to save six others was a hard thing to swallow.
Hanabi gave him a sly look, "But if you could sacrifice yourself to save her AND everyone else you'd do that a hundred times over too, wouldn't you?"
"Of course, which is why I'm going to get her now."
"I'll be going as well," Kurumi said as she pushed herself off the wall and came to stand over beside him, "Even if that bone-head fails to save Miya, I'll get the job done, if for no other reason than to piss off that snake."
"Are you ready?" Naruto asked his old friend.
"Are you ready?" Naruto asked as he turned to Chime.
"Yup!" Chime said excitedly, "Let's go kick that bastard's ass!"
Naruto couldn't help but smile at her exuberance. He gave Hanabi one last look, "Well, this is it. I'll see you again after we've won," he said as he gave her a smile.
Hanabi gave him a quick kiss. The room momentarily lit up as blue wings erupted from Hanabi's back, "Don't lose."
"I won't," Naruto promised.
And with that the three of them disappeared, heading to Kouten.
"Please survive Naruto-kun, I don't want to raise our child without a father," Hanabi whispered to the empty room as she rubbed her pregnant belly.
Yuuchi didn't even glance at her surroundings as she swiftly made her way through the corridors beneath Kouten.
The floating island was actually a chunk of the Elemental Nations, specifically it was one of the islands of the Water Country that had been retrofitted to become the core of the Sekirei Plan. The surface of the island was covered in lush green hills filled with all sorts of flora, the last piece of life that hadn't been touched by the desolation and kept green and alive by the enormous amount of chakra running through the island.
Beneath the island surface however was where the 'real' Kouten laid. A massive scientific outpost designed specifically for the Sekirei Plan. Its purpose was to combine the purified tailed beasts into a singular entity that could be then moulded into a new Gaia, one that they had complete control over.
Of course that was the purpose 'they' had been told. What hadn't been mentioned were all the other functions the island could perform.
But that was all irrelevant now. What the island could or could not do simply didn't matter. Yuuchi only had two tasks to do here. Bring Kouten down to Earth at the exact moment Orochimaru tried to force Miya to do it, and to rescue all the Sekirei that had been stored here.
Yuuchi's eyes were drawn to a door that was rapidly approaching. It looked like any other door she had seen in this place but what it lead to was something far different. She pushed the door open without the slightest hint of hesitation the moment she reached it and stepped into an enormous room.
The center of Kouten.
Striding across the long crystalline bridge that spanned the gap between the doorway and the great machine, Yuuchi all but ignored her surroundings. She knew what she would find there, she had helped with the final touches and had been the one to design the suit interface.
All along the walls were pods, hundreds of them. Inside each pod was a deactivated Sekirei. A few of them were empty, not all of Miya's had been deactivated yet and some of her own had escaped capture during her time, not to mention those that had died in the crash. The Sekirei in the pods looked as if they were dead. Their chests didn't rise or fall, their heart didn't beat, their brains didn't function.
However that was because their cores weren't in their bodies. Each core had already been extracted. They were floating in circles around an enormous contraption in the very center of the room. The central control mechanism for Kouten, and the place that Yuuchi was headed to now.
Interfaced with that machine she could instantly end whatever Orochimaru had planned. She could force all the cores back into their respective bodies and strip Orochimaru of all control over Kouten.
Of course then he'd know something was wrong, be here in an instant, and murder her while her mind was still inside the machine.
Yuuchi stepped up and into the machine when she reached it, there was an opening just large enough for someone to fit into. The great machine looked like a much larger, albeit more rounded, version of the machine currently covering her own face, minus the hair streaming out the back.
Instead of hair it was a series of crystalline strands that flowed away from the machine and into the walls of the room.
"Sekirei Pillar No. 2 detected, adjusting capsule accordingly," a soft mechanical voice announced over the speakers embedded into the machine.
The capsule shifted and moulded itself to Yuuchi's body, wrapping itself around her. Yuuchi felt warm and safe, like she was being enveloped by a mother's warm embrace. A slight pang of sadness struck her as it reminded her of what she never got from her own.
The emotion was quickly shoved to the side as Yuuchi prepared to interface with Kouten. She had done it only once before, to test it and set the initial default settings, so she knew what to expect.
And it was why she knew she needed her full concentration for this. It was an experience unlike anything else.
And with those two words she became Kouten.
Miya let out a small groan as she came to. Her head felt fuzzy, like someone had stuffed it full of clouds until it was on the verge of bursting. Thankfully the cool breeze on her warm skin felt nice and gave a welcome sense of relief compared to the uncomfortable feeling in her head. The smell of fresh cut grass and flowers was pleasant as well.
She tried to bring a hand to her temple to try to rub some of the fog out of her head.
Miya frowned as she realized her she couldn't. All of her senses came rushing back in an instant. Immediately alarm bells began to ring in her head. Her eyes snapped open and she quickly took stock of her surroundings.
She was in the center of a large clearing filled with bright green grass and vibrant flowers of all kinds. Rolling hills and some small groves of trees surrounded the clearing. She herself floated a few feet above the clearing, suspended by something she couldn't see. Her feet were bound together, stuck inside some clear liquid material that was warm and smooth to the touch, but hard than steel. Her arms were pulled back behind her and her hands bound in what Miya assumed was the same type of material.
She knew what that material was: Organix. A special compound created and refined in Val'Amon, designed to entrap and hold the most powerful of criminals. Miya knew that struggling was futile, it had been designed to trap beings stronger than her. After the Val'Amon was lost to the miasma after the last Great War that stuff had become exceedingly rare, only the First had a large stockpile of it.
She also realized that she wasn't wearing a stitch of clothing.
Miya wasn't one to worry too much about modesty, but it was a bit unnerving to be undressed while in this helpless state. At least she wouldn't have to worry too much about being seen in this state of undress by very many people.
Because she knew where she was: Kouten.
To be precise she was in the exact center of Kouten.
What she couldn't fathom was why she was here. She was no longer connected to Kouten, she couldn't bring it close enough to Earth for her to get here. Miya went over the last few sets of memories as she tried to figure out what happened. She remembered fighting against Tenten, getting a clean hit in, Yume getting impaled, her cheek being patted.
She also remembered 'her' words, Orochimaru-san, she's been tagged.
After that the world shifted and...
All she could remember was a pair of creepy yellow eyes with a slit for a pupil.
"You awake now," A familiar voice asked from behind her.
"Takami-san?" Miya asked in surprise, "Why are you here?"
"A madman seems to have taken an undo amount of interest in me," Takami spat out in disgust, "if I had known I would end up like this I would have kicked Minaka in the balls more often."
Miya could almost hear Takami's teeth grind in anger and frustration, "I can't believe I let myself be fooled for so long," the former head of the Sekirei Plan said, her voice laced with self-loathing.
"He tricked us all," Miya said comfortingly.
"I was with him this whole time, I knew what he was like even before he found the Sekirei Ship. I should have noticed something." Sure, she had noticed a few changes here and there, but Minaka being Minaka it was hard to tell if it was simply him becoming more eccentric or something more sinister. "And now I get to watch my children get electrocuted because of my own ineptitude."
"Has Minato-san been captured as well?"
"He went after my kidnapper, Kami bless the stupid idiot," Takami said. She was happy that he seemed to have come into his own and grown a backbone but at the same time he had just stupidly walked into a trap.
One that she was forced to watch. Orochimaru had left her in such a position that she was forced to look straight ahead at a screen he had set up for her, one that let her see everything that was happening to her son and daughter.
"Do you not like the show I put on for you, Takami-chan?" Orochimaru asked as he suddenly appeared beside the two of them. "I would have thought you would enjoy seeing your children."
Takami just glowered impotently at the screen in front of her, unable to turn her head to glare at the man responsible for the current situation.
"Why have you brought me here 'Minaka,'" Miya spat out.
"Oh you don't need to use that name with me Miya-san, I'm well aware that you know who I am," Orochimaru said as he moved around to stand before Miya.
"Orochimaru, greatest criminal to ever walk the Elemental Nations, the First Sekirei Pillar, the one that designed and engineered the entire Sekirei Plan from start to finish," Miya spat out contemptuously. She glared down at the snake in front of her. If looks could kill Orochimaru would have been vaporized a dozen times over.
Unfortunately for Miya, Orochimaru thrived on the suffering of others, especially if it led to personal gain, "Ah, it really is good to be famous," Orochimaru said with a wide smile on his face, completely unfazed by Miya's murderous look. He paused and gave Miya a curious look, "But I'm surprised, I would have assumed Naruto-kun would have come to your immediate rescue the moment you were taken. It seems this war has honed him back into the perfect leader he had been at the end of the First Great War."
"I'm sure he'll be here," Miya said confidently. She had no idea what it was her Ashikabi was planning but she knew that the only reason he wasn't here was to make sure the final preparations were made.
Because once he was here the final battle would begin, and the time for preparations would be over. If she wasn't dead then it meant Orochimaru still needed her for some purpose, and that gave Naruto more time to prepare.
"If he waits too long he'll miss the show," Orochimaru said with an amused grin on his face, "or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he'd become a part of the show."
"Naruto-kun will stop whatever it is you are doing," Miya said confidently.
"If he wanted stop me, he should have done so before I finished my preparations," the ancient snake said as brought a finger up to Miya's bare stomach and began to trace patterns into the skin. "Now, my dear Miya-chan, you are going to bring Kouten down to Earth."
Orochimaru's fingers suddenly dug brutally into Miya's tender skin, easily tearing past her natural Sekirei durability. A partially-finished seal erupted to life on Miya's stomach. Miya let out a painful grunt as lightning arced across her skin, leaving behind a trail of burnt ozone and flesh.
"That wasn't what I wanted to hear, Miya-chan," Orochimaru said as he smiled up into her pain filled face. His fingers went back to tracing delicate symbols into her skin.
"Do it yourself," Miya spat out.
"Why do it myself when it's so much more enjoyable to force you to do it?" Orochimaru said as he dug his fingers into her stomach once more. The seal flashed to light a second time, it was a bit more complete now than before.
Miya's mind exploded in pain as more lightning arced across her body. It felt as if every nerve in her body had just been set on fire. She writhed under the man's grasp, struggling to ease the pain. She could barely think as she let out a sharp cry of pain.
"Already crying out in pain? I expected more, I'm not even half done yet," Orochimaru said as he retracted his fingers once more. His face showed his disappointed at having made her cry out already, "but you will bring Kouten down, either willingly or unwillingly."
"No, I won't," Miya said fiercely as she shot a pain filled glare at the evil man standing before her.
Orochimaru's grin widened even further, "Ah yes, that's the defiance I expected," he said as he dug his fingers into her skin a third time.
Miya's screams echoed across the landscape as the pain reached unbearable levels. She could hear her skin begin to blacken and blister from the heat generated by the electricity.
Orochimaru pulled his fingers out and went back to tracing symbols on Miya, this time his fingers trailed up to her chest, "You see Miya-chan, this seal I am placing upon you, is the same seal I placed upon my own servants. Once it is finished, you will become my loyal servant. You will willingly do anything you can to please me, be that bringing Kouten down to Earth, or killing your 'beloved' Ashikabi."
Fear gripped Miya at those words. The thought of losing everything to become that man's faithful pet sickened her, and scared her, beyond anything. "You...!"
"You see, Miya-chan, Sekirei are tools, nothing more, nothing less. You were created for a purpose, allowing you to fall in love was just a convenient side effect that made achieving that purpose easier. People fight harder when they fight for those they love, they become more willing to jump into life and death situations when fighting for those they love. And by doing so I get to harvest a nice batch of ripe Sekirei Cores," Orochimaru said with a grin as his fingers began to trace symbols on Miya's breasts, "so you see, you are nothing but a tool in my eyes, a tool to be used as I see fit."
"Naruto-kun will be here before you finish!" she snapped at him as she noticed a certain blonde crest the hill in the distance.
"Kukukukuku, I wonder about that, I've already removed his seal from your body, he'll have to walk, if he's not here yet, he won't make it in time."
"He will," Miya said stubbornly, making sure to keep her eyes on Orochimaru the entire time, she didn't want to give away her Ashikabi's presence.
Orochimaru laughed as his fingers traced a final line in Miya's soft skin to her the spot just above her core, "No, he won't, because I've already finished, now Miya-chan, one last time. Bring Kouten down to Earth." His finger began to gentle tap her skin.
Miya ground her teeth impotently. She didn't want to end this, Naruto still had to cover most of the field. She wanted to keep leading Orochimaru on, but if she didn't give in she would be forced to, and then Orochimaru would find out about everything. The biggest issue here however was the fact that she was no longer in control of Kouten. She 'couldn't' move it even if she wanted to.
Kouten began to move.
The purple-haired Pillar had to suppress a look of surprise and relief on her face. Yuuchi was here on Kouten and in control. She had bought them precious few seconds.
"Good, I'm glad you decided to comply," Orochimaru said as he pulled his finger away from Miya's skin and took a step back, "you've bought yourself some time, I'll just wait until Naruto-kun arrives before I activate the seal."
Naruto had to struggle to suppress the sharp sense of nostalgia that hit him when he first arrived on Kouten. It felt, smelt, and looked so much like the home he had lost that it was nearly overwhelming. After being on Earth for so long, and having seen what the Desolation had done to the Elemental Nations, Kouten felt like heaven to him.
If it wasn't for what was to come he'd have made Kouten the location of Konoha in an instant. However he doubted there would be a Kouten left after his battle with Orochimaru. The help facilitate the revival of the Elemental Nations he had sent a few weak clones about to gather seeds and plants to carry back to the old world.
He walked steadily forward, heading for the center of Kouten where he knew Orochimaru and Miya would be. He had a hand held out in front of him and from the palm of his hand extended a loose line of seals that wrapped around him and his companions. It was a basic seal, it just concealed their presence, but maintaining it in such a mobile fashion so that it enveloped the group was tricky.
It wasn't very chakra intensive; it just consumed a lot of concentration.
Orochimaru wouldn't sense them coming until he actually spotted them or heard them. Yuuchi would make sure that he couldn't use Kouten to detect their approach.
With him were Kurumi and Chime.
Kurumi was dressed as she always was, as in she wasn't wearing anything save for her wing which was wrapped around her body.
Chime was wearing her veil, dressed as Uzume was before she had been merged with her Ashikabi.
The three of them crested the last hill and came upon a vast open field filled with bright green grass and beautiful flowers. The sight was breathtaking, and utterly ruined by what, or rather who, stood in the very center of the clearing.
Naruto looked on impassively at the scene in the center of the field. His emotions were utterly suppressed for what was to come so even the sight of Orochimaru trailing his fingers over 'his' Miya didn't disturb him.
He did pick up the pace a little however as his quick walk almost changed into a full out jog.
Chime and Kurumi followed just as quickly, making sure to keep silent. Even the Uzume in Chime knew that now wasn't the time to be cracking jokes or making idle conversation.
As they got closer they were able to pick up on the conversation between Miya and Orochimaru.
"…I've already finished, now Miya-chan, one last time. Bring Kouten down to Earth."
Naruto could see Miya grind her teeth in frustration. He could only imagine how painful this experience was for her, having her pride trampled on like this by someone like Orochimaru. And what's more having to bend that pride for the sake of keeping his presence a secret.
He knew that she knew he was there.
He'd have to do something to make it up to her in the future for putting up with this, once everything was over and done with.
The landmass shook for a moment as it began to move down towards Earth.
Good, Yuuchi was moving Kouten into place.
"Good, I'm glad you decided to comply."
Naruto was only thirty meters away now, easily close enough to close the distance in an instant. If Miya still had the Hiraishin mark on her Orochimaru would have already been dead.
"You've bought yourself some time, I'll just wait until Naruto-kun arrives before I activate the seal."
"And speaking of Naruto-kun, I believe that's close enough," Orochimaru said without turning around.
Naruto halted in his tracks and dropped his concealment seal, it was obvious it wasn't needed anymore. He hadn't truly expected it to be enough to get him right behind Orochimaru, if that was indeed even him there in front of Miya and not a clone of one type or another. He had only hoped Orochimaru's hubris would allow him to get close enough.
Kurumi and Chime stopped just behind, Kurumi on his right and Chime on his left.
"I'm glad you could make it, I was worried you would miss the show and end up becoming a part of it," Orochimaru said as he turned around to face the blond-haired Shinobi. "I had planned on you being a spectator in what was to come, not a participant."
"How kind of you," Naruto said without emotion. His eyes flickered past Orochimaru to Miya, "I've come to get my Sekirei back."
"And why would I give something of mine to you?" Orochimaru asked as he reached back and gently stroked Miya's chest, his fingers tracing the lines he had drawn over her skin. Miya had to suppress a shudder at the vile touch.
"I don't recall asking," Naruto said as Miya suddenly disappeared from Orochimaru's grasp and reappeared in his arms, the Organix bindings remained behind, floating gently in the air, suspended by the anti-gravity seal beneath them.
A slight frown creased Orochimaru's face, "I removed her marker."
"And I put a new one on," Naruto replied as he gently set Miya back down on her feet. "Can you stand?" he asked as he held on to her.
"I will stand," Miya said resolutely as she forced her sleepy legs to work and support her weight. She was unwilling to show any weakness to the monster that stood before her, not after everything he had done to her.
"Nice seal," Naruto ignored the question as he glanced around the field. While it wasn't visible to the naked eye he could feel the thrum of chakra coursing through the ground. He was familiar with what it was and what it did.
"You removed my seal," Orochimaru noted the lack of a marker on Miya's cheek.
"Did you think I would leave it on?"
"Ah, this is the Naruto-kun that I hoped to see," Orochimaru said with a luxurious expression on his face, "I was so worried that I wouldn't have any sort of challenge. You had grown so weak and complacent in such a short time that you had me worried."
"You're going to regret giving me a reason to get serious," Naruto warned as he stepped forward, putting himself between Orochimaru and Miya. A clone appeared in existence at Miya's side "Take her elsewhere, she won't be of any use here."
"I find that mildly offensive, Naruto-kun," Miya said lightly, sounding more than a little offended. She disliked being dismissed so easily but she understood. Without her sword there wasn't a whole lot she could do.
There probably wasn't a lot she could do even with it.
"This is hardly the time to be diplomatic," Naruto replied and signalled his clone.
An instant later Miya was gone.
Orochimaru watched the exchange with some amusement. "I sure hope you are serious, Naruto-kun. I've put a lot of effort into this and I would be disappointed if I couldn't say I beat you at anything but your best. Although I doubt that even at your best that you will have much of a chance. Not when the cards are all stacked in my favor," he said as he glanced to Naruto's right, "I see you managed to break Kurama out of his prison, or I suppose it's 'her' now?" he asked as he stared at Kurumi's breasts.
"I'm trying to decide if I should slow roast you or just burn you to a crisp in an instant," Kurumi said as she glared at the man ultimately responsible for her current situation, "I used sweet and sour last time, I think I'll try barbeque sauce this time."
"I see Naruto-kun pulled you out before the Jinki could change your personality, a pity that," Orochimaru said.
That was news, none of them had been aware that the Jinki had also been designed to alter personality as well as form and chakra. Although when one thought about it, it did make sense.
"Perhaps you should have built a better prison," Kurumi barked a laugh, "Naruto had it cracked within days." It was an exaggeration of course, but Orochimaru didn't need to know that.
"Hardly, a full body transformation such as yours would take more than a few days to complete," Orochimaru said, seeing through her lie. His eyes glanced over to the other side of Naruto, "Chime was it? An interesting choice to bring with you."
"So were yours," Naruto pointed out.
Orochimaru cracked a grin, "Most of them were to rile you up, the real power behind my Sekirei was Jack, he was all I needed." His Sekirei really only existed as a buffer between him and whatever forces wanted to stop his plans.
Now that his plans were finished none of them were needed anymore.
"Well Jack's dead."
"You'll soon find out that death is merely an inconvenience for that man," Orochimaru said, his smile cracking slightly. Jack was a powerful tool, but completely uncontrollable as well. He just couldn't do anything to a man that just ignored his strongest seals like they didn't exist and could fight through his strongest techniques.
The fact that Naruto could even kill him though, even if Jack was the kind of person that refused to 'stay' dead, spoke volumes of how much he had grown though.
"Then I'll just kill him again."
"Uzumaki-san, stop your damn yapping and get me out of this damn contraption!" Takami snapped angrily as she struggled against her bonds. She could hear the entire conversation, knew that he had rescue Miya. If he could rescue Miya he could just as easily rescue her.
That and she didn't want to see any more of this, like how her children were falling down a huge chute onto a platform full of spikes.
"I suppose I should…" Naruto trailed off.
"I'm afraid I can't let you take her," Orochimaru said with a frown on his face, "I'm not finished breaking her."
"Isn't that a pity," Naruto said and Takami disappeared.
"I placed a seal where you can't reach, I'll just…" Orochimaru's face twisted in confusion and anger, "Where the hell did you send her!"
A smirk spread across Naruto's face. "Now, that is a very good question isn't it?"
He had to make his own modified version of the Hiraishin no Jutsu to be able to cross the dimensional boundary. It was custom and only he knew how to do it, Orochimaru may be able to follow him anywhere in the world, but unlike him Naruto wasn't limited to 'just' the world.
"I'll figure out where she is and I'll take her back!" Orochimaru roared in anger. No one took his possessions, no one. Miya was one thing, he didn't particularly care about her beyond her use as a control point for Kouten.
Takami was something completely different. He was NOT going to give her up to anyone for any reason.
"You seem awfully obsessed with her," Naruto said as he suddenly appeared behind Orochimaru, a kunai stabbed through his heart, "Shadow clone-san."
The shadow clone exploded in a puff of smoke leaving the three of them alone in an empty field. Silence reigned for a few short moments.
Then Naruto and Chime disappeared.
The air warped and twisted, reality bent, and time slowed to a crawl and then reversed.
For a brief instant there were two Narutos and two Chimes as they reappeared an instant before he disappeared. Chime was in his arms, her back held tightly against his chest. Orochimaru appeared at the same time, standing a few meters away from Naruto scowling angrily.
"W-what the hell was that! I was just looking at me looking at me, looking at me!" Chime said as she looked around in abject confusion. Her head hurt as it tried to comprehend existing in two places at the same time.
"It appears that over-use of that technique has some rather unsettling side effects on reality," Orochimaru replied as he frowned at the universe itself, "I'll have to fix that when I became the Creator of All Things.
Naruto couldn't help but let a sweat drop roll down the back of his head at the cheesy name. Quickly pushing that out of his mind he brought his attention back to what mattered. "It seems that way, sealed?"
That was the first, last and only time Naruto and Orochimaru would ever agree on something. In that brief singular instant there had been a clash of Hiraishin no Jutsu. Orochimaru vs Naruto. They had gone all out, Orochimaru trying to kill Chime, and Naruto trying to protect her.
Over the course of that singular negative instant they had both jumped over a thousand times. The Hiraishin is both a space and time based ninjutsu. Used in small amounts it had negligible effects on time.
But when used against itself, in large amounts, time itself began to unravel. That was something neither of them wanted. Neither could afford to allow the time and effort they've put into getting to this point wasted due to an overuse of a technique neither felt they absolutely needed to defeat the other.
"It seems I should have done this sooner," Naruto said as he turned Chime around so that they were face to face.
He kissed her.
Brilliant white wings that swayed gently in the breeze erupted from her back. Chime pulled away and basked in the feeling of her full power flowing through her body.
"By the veil of my contract, my Ashikabi's nightmares will be dispelled!" Chime cried out. Her veil billowed out to the side for a moment before it began to whirl around her. For a few quick seconds Chime was completely concealed. As the veil latched onto her body it began to glow brightly. There was a burst of light Chime was visible once more, garbed in the long, ankle length dress made out of pure light. It was the same dress she had worn in her battle against Kaho. There were slits on either side allowed for freedom of movement. There was no back to the dress as the straps went up her chest and tied up around the back of her neck. A long deep V exposed ample amounts of cleavage while retaining her modesty.
"Shroud of Destiny," Chime said in a soft melodious voice, a perfect blend of Chiho and Uzume.
"So, that's the release of the Sekirei you created," Orochimaru said as he gazed at Chime with undisguised curiosity. "You didn't put any restrictors on her."
"Of course, I would never restrict my Sekirei. I've done all I've could to remove yours from them," Naruto replied. Blanc had her full transformation back, Yume had her old body, Chime was self-explanatory and the restrictions had been removed from Hanabi's core. Akitsu never had any on account of her being broken and Miya was already fully grown and thus couldn't be limited.
"You'll regret it when she turns on you," Orochimaru said.
"He already has me bound to him more tightly than any seal could ever accomplish," Chime said as she moved behind her Ashikabi and rested a hand lightly on his shoulder. "It's something called love."
"Bah, useless emotion that only leads to pain and heartache, tried it once, never saw the point of trying a second time," Orochimaru said dismissively, "much better to force control, just as effective, and none of the inconveniences later."
"If you keep delaying, 'Orochimaru-kun', I'm going to have enough time to unravel this nice seal beneath my feet," Naruto said and tapped his foot on the ground for emphasis.
The two stared silently at each other for a few long moments in a test of wills, Naruto daring Orochimaru to make the first move, and Orochimaru trying to decide if he should begin things early.
The stalemate was broken when eight beams of light tore through Orochimaru, causing him to explode in another cloud of smoke.
"I really hate that technique," Kurumi muttered in annoyance.
A soft vibrant glow began to permeate through the soft soil of the field. The glow began to brighten in certain areas, drawing lines of light in the field. The lines crisscrossed and merged together to form an enormous sealing array sprung into life.
Naruto didn't need to look around to know what it was that Orochimaru was doing. He could literally feel causality shifting around him.
"I wasn't quite ready yet," Naruto lied as he let a false sweat drop roll down the back of his head.
"Kukukuku, how unfortunate, because I've been ready since before you even arrived," Orochimaru gloated as he rose up from the ground where his shadow clone had once been. With Orochimaru it was impossible to tell whether or not this was the real deal or another clone. "But I really should thank you, Naruto-kun, thank you for teaching me this ability," he said as he grinned gleefully at Naruto, "It is a wonderful ability, is it not? The ability to take the universe into the palm of your hands and mould it how you see fit."
"I agree, it is a great ability, quite intoxicating," Naruto agreed as he began to weave his own seal around him, "it's so addictive it's hard to draw the line and say 'this is too far'."
"Too slow, Naruto-kun," Orochimaru said as his hands flashed through a series of seals. The air around him wavered for a brief moment and suddenly the eight Jinki appeared around him in a circle, floating above the ground at shoulder height. "And Naruto-kun, this is where we differ, there are no such thing as limits or too far. If it was too far we wouldn't be able to achieve it. If it can be achieved, it exists to BE achieved."
"I agree to a certain extent," Naruto said as he continued to form hand signs. Seals began to erupt around him as he wove them into existence, "but just because we can, does not mean we should. Sometimes the price is just too high."
"Wrong! The price is only too high for those whose sights are set too low! For those like us, who set their sights on goals far above the comprehension of the common man, there is no such thing as too high a price!" Orochimaru shouted and slammed the palms of his hands together.
Nine nonagon shaped columns of rose up around the edges of the clearing. Each pillar was twenty feet high and as wide as they were tall. They were made out of some unknown silvery material and had seals engraved all along their sides. The seals glowed with a brilliant blue color.
"I guess we disagree on how much value should be placed on certain things," Naruto said as he continued to weave seals around him. The reverse causality seal was active, he could strike out at Orochimaru and kill him, provided that that was actually him weaving the seals in front of them.
However he knew what Orochimaru was going to do, and he had no intention of stopping him.
Orochimaru's chakra flared to enormous levels and Naruto couldn't help but admire how much more powerful his nemesis had become over the years. He was easily a match for Kurumi in sheer amount. "Any attempt to stop me should have been done long ago, Naruto-kun!" Orochimaru crowed as he began the process to rejoin the tailed-beasts together.
The Jinki flashed across the field and stopped at the top of the columns, each one floating over its own respective pillar. The crystal encasing covering them liquefied and evaporated into thin air leaving the silvery orb of the Jinki hovering by itself in mid-air.
A tenth pillar rose up from behind Orochimaru, this one was directly in the center of the field. It looked identical to the others, save it was much smaller, "There was more to the Jinki than you thought!" Orochimaru said as leapt into the air and landed on top of the pillar. "During the tailed beasts time inside the Jinki my own special Hiraishin marker was placed within them!" Naruto wasn't the only one that had made changes to the Hiraishin, Orochimaru had as well.
"Shit! Kurama!" Naruto barked out a false warning as he feigned distress.
"I'm not going down without a fight-AH!" Kurama cried out as she was ripped from Naruto's side and forcefully slammed into the very center the pillar designed for her.
"YES!" Orochimaru cried out victoriously as he slammed a hand down on top of the pillar he was on.
The eight silvery orbs that held the purified tailed beasts shattered. From within them eight powerful entities emerged: Shukaku, Matatabi, isobu, Son Goku, Kokuo, Saiken, Chomei and Gyuki. No longer were they hideous tailed beasts, but something else, something far more beautiful, but just as powerful.
Shukaku had become a Djinn, Matatabi a Roc, Isobu a Pegasus, Son Goku a Griffin, Kokuo a Fairy, Saiken a Phoenix, Chomei an Elemental and Gyuki a Dragon.
Before any of the newly released winged creatures could react they were slammed into the pillars and held tightly by the seals embedded there. They struggled as hard as they could but before they were able to make any sort of headway against their bindings the pillars began to glow even brighter. Orochimaru kicked the next phase of his plan into motion before anyone was able to react.
A loud hum, like that of a jet engine spinning up, filled the area. The island shook as nine pillars of light shot up into the sky. The beams of light bent and met in the middle of the field, directly above Orochimaru. The nine pillars of energy began to bend and twist around each other as they spiraled inwards towards a single point. The winds picked up, accompanied by a howling screech.
Suddenly a beam of energy blasted out from the coalescing mass of Energy and Will.
"It's too late!" Orochimaru cried out as he watched the beam bend and twist around him as if being held at bay by some sort of invisible barrier, "your counter attack won't reach me until after I've absorbed you!"
"Finally, thought he'd never finished," Naruto said quietly under his breath as he activated the seal he had been weaving.
A powerful thunderclap momentarily deafened everyone on Kouten as a bright white light filled the air. For a singular moment all darkness ceased to exist.
Then the shadows came rushing back and with it the ability to see shapes and color.
The nine pillars surrounding the field were destroyed; nothing more than ruined smoking husks of silvery metal. All signs of the winged beings that once laid upon them were gone. The once vibrant and beautiful field was flattened and the very center of the field had been reduced to a smoke crater. The pillar that Orochimaru had once stood upon was gone, utterly annihilated by the counter-attack the recombined entities had unleashed.
Floating twenty feet above the crater however, was a glowing entity of pure blue chakra. It looked human in form, but possessed none of the gender specific attributes that were normally associated with them. The form was completely androgynous. Streams of white light could be seen flowing through the entity, like veins in a body, and where once there were eyes was now nothing but endless pits of pure light.
"Ah, such power," The entity spoke in a powerful voice that seemed to echo in the vaults of one's mind. "To think the Jubi had such power, and was capable of so little."
There was no doubt that the glowing entity was none other than Orochimaru.
"Intelligence wasn't something I was imbued with originally," another new voice spoke up from where Naruto had been.
Orochimaru looked down at Naruto in contempt, "So you decided to take their consciousness into yourself? How pointless. It's nothing more than a powerless voice now."
"You still don't understand," the entity said from Naruto's body, "but you will, you can keep my power, I will be re-empowered after 'she' is finished."
"Kukukukuku," Orochimaru laughed, his voice echoing across Kouten, "it's you that doesn't understand! I'm not finished, I've only just begun!"
Naruto stared up at Orochimaru for a brief moment and then disappeared.
"Hmm, why did he leave you behind?" Orochimaru asked Chime suspiciously.
"Because like you, we've only just begun," Chime said softly as she gave Orochimaru a small smile.
The island quaked the moment Naruto reappeared. His chakra poured off him in waves. He was garbed head to toe in a yellow chakra cloak, the ethereal flames whipped about him madly due to his chakra pouring out of his Celestial Gates. His eyes were blood red with a long slit down the center of them and crossed with a thick bar. He didn't have the final Celestial Gate open, that came with a time limit, but he did have the others.
Orochimaru's eyes widened, "What impos… NO!" he realized in that singular instant he had miscalculated. He had forgotten something very important.
Kurama's chakra had been split by Minato. He remembered trying to coerce it out of Minato in the very earliest of days but had been unsuccessful. He had set that project to the side and had decided to leave it until last, until he had captured all the other tailed beasts and dealt with them.
He had forgotten to go back for Minato's part of Kurama due to his obsession with trying to recover Naruto.
"You're going to need more power than that if you want to win," Naruto said as he glared up at the nightmare floating above them.
"It's more than enough!" Orochimaru shouted back angrily, more upset at himself for overlooking that one detail than he was at Naruto for not. "The seal is still active! You can't stop my attacks!"
"The seal isn't keyed to any one individual…" Naruto said as an enormous seal erupted around Orochimaru, encasing him completely. "And I've been preparing this while you were combining the winged beings."
The sphere was filled with fire so hot it was white. It was almost too bright to look at, even in full daylight, and the heat that emanated from the sphere rivaled that of the meteor impact.
A second seal formed around the first and enormous bolts of lightning began to scorch the air inside the seal.
Naruto quickly jumped behind Chime and wrapped his arms around her waist tightly.
A third seal formed, atoms split.
Naruto and Chime were thrown to the ground as Kouten heaved and bucked.
And then the ground was gone as all matter was turned to liquid fire and plasma. All sound ceased, light became all consuming. Touch, smell, taste, everything disappeared for a singular instant.
When the explosion died the landscape was gone. All that was left was a flat metal surface that stretched from end to end of the floating island. For a brief instant after the explosion there was nothing in the air above Kouten save for rivers of plasma twisting and turning through the air. Then a soundless boom flattened Naruto and Chime to the ground again as air came rushing back into the void space.
"I am damn glad you're here," Naruto said as he hugged Chime tightly.
"Of course, that is why Sekirei exist, that is why I exist, to keep you safe," Chime said as she laid one hand gently over Naruto's. "But please let's not do too many more of those, I almost didn't find a path through that."
"Hope that didn't kill him," Naruto said as he looked around the empty island. He couldn't see anyone or anything aside from the two of them, just flat, boring metal surface. Whatever the innards of Kouten was made out of, it was tough. Despite everything above it being vaporized, the metal seemed completely undamaged.
He needed Orochimaru alive, for now at least.
"It didn't," Chime said.
"Indeed it did not," Orochimaru's voice echoed across the floating landmass. With a burst of light Orochimaru reappeared in the center of Kouten where he had been before, "but that was most certainly ingenious of you, I was right about you, when it comes to seals, you are a true genius, none are your equal."
"I achieved what I have achieved through hard work!" Naruto refuted angrily as he picked himself off the ground. He brought Chime up with him and made sure to keep her between him and Orochimaru.
Chime's sole purpose here wasn't to fight Orochimaru; it was to keep Naruto alive so that HE could do the fighting.
Orochimaru merely shook his head at Naruto's stubborn refusal to admit the truth. He had been so used to having to earn everything in life he didn't realize that he was actually gifted in some areas.
"Hiding behind your Sekirei?" Orochimaru asked with a quirk of his eye ridge, "I'm not surprised, her ability is quite remarkable. To be able to pick the singular path through destiny that would allow the two of you to come out unscathed and walk it in an instant. A power that rivals even my own, if in a different manner."
"I won't be yours," Chime said, "I know all the paths that lead to that end, and I know how to end myself before those paths become actualized."
"Pity, you would be only the second woman that I have found fit to stand at my side," Orochimaru said nonplussed. He raised his hand and pointed it at Naruto who was hiding behind Chime, "But I wonder if there's a limit to your ability."
A spinning ball of chakra, reminiscent of a Rasengan, shot from Orochimaru's palm. The air screamed with its passing as it blasted towards Chime and Naruto. The ball of chakra hit Chime and then bent around her as a burst of wind picked up and blew it around to the side where it disappeared and reappeared in Orochimaru's face. There was an explosion of as the ball of chakra exploded in the madman's face.
"Well, that's certainly interesting," Orochimaru said as he let off a pulse of energy, pushing all the slivers of wind chakra out of his face and body, "Chime diverted the chakra and you infused it with your own and teleported it to me. I'd like to know how you get it here, I am not tagged."
"You would like to know wouldn't you," Naruto said, deliberately keeping his eyes away from the Hiraishin tag that floated in the air behind Orochimaru. It moved with him so that it was always positioned exactly behind his head.
It was close enough to Orochimaru that he could use it to direct objects a foot away from it, or in this case directly in Orochimaru's face.
It also seemed that despite his massive increase in power, his awareness and intelligence was no different than before. He didn't suddenly become omniscient, which was a blessing.
"Let's see you divert this," Orochimaru said as streams of concentrated chakra shot from his fingers tips. Five beams of energy converged on Chime. At the last moment Orochimaru redirected them to spread out and go around Chime to hit Naruto behind her.
A curious look overcame Orochimaru as the beams of chakra still missed the target and shot past Naruto. Every time he tried to compensate and redirect the beams to hit him they shifted again and shot past.
"That is certainly going to be one bothersome ability," Orochimaru noted, realizing he probably wouldn't be able to deal with Naruto until he got rid of Chime.
The sky began to brighten.
"I thought you said you weren't going to drop one on MBI, Naruto-kun," Chime asked with a deadpanned look on her face.
"I'm not dropping it on MBI," Naruto replied.
"But Kouten is above MBI."
"Details, details," Naruto said as he waved away Chime's concern.
The air began to burn.
Orochimaru looked up and his eyes widened in surprise, surprise that quickly transformed into pure anger, "I won't let you destroy Kouten!" he shouted angrily as chakra began to build around him.
There, in the sky's above Shinto Teito, rushing headlong towards Kouten, was an extinction class meteor. This one was far larger than the one that had destroyed Kamikura Island. This one was almost ten miles wide.
The sky seemed to burn as it streaked through the atmosphere at twenty three kilometers a second. It was as if a second sun had risen into the sky.
"It seems that Kouten is still important to you, how interesting," Naruto said with feigned surprise.
"You know that will destroy Earth if it hits, right Naruto-san," Chime whispered to her Ashikabi.
"I know, but it's not going to hit, is it?"
"No, but please be careful after this."
"I'll deal with you permanently after I deal with this!" Orochimaru snapped at Naruto as he shot into the air towards the meteor.
"It seems he's done playing around, good," Naruto said with some relief. This was starting to take too long, his nerves were frayed enough as it was.
"Please be very careful, there are very few paths where we succeed," Chime said nervously.
"I know, this entire plan was a long shot from the start, but it's the only plan we have."
The two of them fell silent as they watched Orochimaru deal with the meteor. A massive lance of light formed beside the madman. The lance was two miles in length, the tip of it was several hundred meters long and half that wide. The tail of the lance fanned out with elegant tails and all along the length of the shaft were hundreds of circular sealing arrays, glowing brilliantly as the slowly rotated.
Orochimaru hurled the lance at the meteor with all the force he could muster. It screamed through the air, crossing the distance in the beat of a heart. The lance easily pierced through the rocky exterior of the flaming meteor. The circular seals didn't however, they slammed into the surface and stuck, each seal hitting the meteor in the same location, adding to the one that came before.
The lance kept going, tearing a huge gaping hole through the very center of the meteor and exited out the other side. It detonated a moment later; it's destruction a signal to the seals to activate. A brilliant light began to emanate from the seals and a moment later a massive explosion rocked the world. The sky burned as the meteor was blasted into a million pieces. A powerful shockwave rippled across the sky and circled the planet twice over before it finally dissipated.
"Nice light show," Naruto commented as Orochimaru reappeared where he had been before. He seemed to enjoy floating above the very center of Kouten, as if that was the epicenter of another seal he wanted to activate. "Perhaps I should bring another meteor down, ready for an encore?"
Orochimaru wasn't smiling anymore, "No, Naruto-kun, I think enough is enough," he hissed as he pointed his hand to the ground, "I said it before that I had just begun, but I think it's time I finished it now. You're becoming too great a nuisance." Kouten was still key to his plans. Despite all the power he currently wielded he knew it wasn't enough to reach his ultimate goal. That goal wouldn't be achieved until he devoured Gaia.
"I hear a lot of talking, but not a whole lot of action," Naruto said with a quirk of his eyebrow.
"That ends now," Orochimaru said as dropped to the surface of Kouten and placed his hand on a small engraving in the very center of the island. "Welcome, Naruto-kun, to the End of the World!"
The small seal flared briefly.
A few moments later the entirety of Kouten began to glow. Intricate writing began to appear all over the metallic surface as the chakra from the Sekirei Cores was poured into the massive sealing array that Orochimaru had activated.
A clone quickly flashed into existence and disappeared just as quickly.
A massive beam of energy shot down from the bottom of Kouten, descending rapidly upon the city below.
All across Shinto Teito thousands of clones reached out and grabbed their targets and disappeared. Entire sections of the city disappeared as groups of twelve teleported large chunks of landmass, and the individuals on them, to safety.
The last to leave was Minato and his Sekirei.
Twenty-thousand people were instantly vaporized as MBI was reduced to nothing.
Eighty-thousand died a second later as the surrounding area was completely annihilated.
Out from the very center of Shinto Teito rivers of pure light, half a mile high, cut through the city, following the roadways and decimating the fronts of buildings and stores along its path. At regular intervals it branched off, heading down different streets. From the ground the paths the light took made no sense, but from the air you could see a symmetrical symbol being carved into the Shinto Teito.
It didn't stop with Shinto Teito though. It spread out into the island, following the paths laid out by Orochimaru's Sekirei earlier. Osaka, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Sendai, Sapporo, through every major city and across all prefectures the rivers of light raced, scorching everything in their paths. It didn't take long for the seal to spread out across the entirety of Japan and even out into the Sea and Ocean on either side.
But once it did, the real nightmare began.
"I WILL BECOME GOD!" Orochimaru shouted as he activated the second stage of the seal.
The Earth cracked and split. A million people died instantly as Shinto Teito was torn to shreds, huge chunks of landmass were torn from the ground and drawn up into the air where they were broken apart and dissolved into nothing.
A million more died as the destruction began to spread to the country-side.
"YES! THIS IS IT!" Orochimaru shouted in ecstasy as he began to feel the life force of the planet get sucked into his body.
"About damn time," Naruto muttered.
"What?" Orochimaru said in confusion. That was not what he expected Naruto to say.
"I had to wait for you to crack the world before I could begin," Naruto said with a grin as another clone flashed into existence beside him. This one disappeared just as quickly as the previous.
"What are you talking about?!" Orochimaru demanded.
"Gaia is a nuisance I need eliminated, you're going to devour her to get power, I only have one thing to say: Good luck!" Naruto said with a vicious grin on his face.
Seeing Naruto grin so openly at him made Orochimaru suddenly feel a lot less sure about his plan.
Unfortunately the seal was already activated. He couldn't stop it even if he wanted to, which he didn't. Whatever Naruto was planning there should be nothing he could do to stop him. He had all the advantages.
"You're bluffing, there's nothing you can do to stop me!" Orochimaru snapped at him angrily. HE was the one that smirked at others, not the other way around.
Naruto's grin widened, "Look up," he said as he pointed into the sky.
Orochimaru cautiously lifted his head to look up, being sure to keep Naruto and Chime within his peripheral vision. One never knew what Naruto had planned until it was too late, he wasn't considered the number one most unpredictable ninja for nothing.
Chime too raised her eyes to the sky as she searched for what it was that Naruto was pointing at.
There wasn't anything there, it was the same empty blue sky as always…
Something appeared in the sky above, or to be more precise, in orbit around Earth.
Chime's jaw dropped. Even if she knew what was going to happen, actually 'seeing' it happen was something completely different.
Even Orochimaru couldn't suppress his utter surprise as his eyes widened in total shock and his jaw dropped.
"Welcome home, Orochimaru," Naruto said as he grinned openly at him.
There, in orbit around the planet, a just a few million miles further away than the moon, was the Elemental Nations in all its glory. Its vast oceans and barren wastelands were easily visible from Earth. You could even see the enormous city of Val'Amon, stretching across the breadth of the primary landmass.
Orochimaru turned to look at Naruto so quickly he almost got whip lash, "HOW?!"
Even he couldn't comprehend how Naruto had been able to transport an entire planet across dimensions.
"I've only begun, Orochimaru," Naruto said, smiling widely. He raised a hand to his ear and pressed the button on the communicator, "It's here, you can stop now."
"Who are you…?" Orochimaru hissed and jumped back as the seal under his hand exploded with negative chakra. "What is going on here!"
This should be impossible, Miya was in control of Kouten, and so long as she was in control he had control. Especially since she had been taken away by Naruto. He would have sensed her if she had been brought back.
"My counter-attack," Naruto said simply as the chakra empowering the seal in Kouten died. The light dimmed and disappeared entirely. The beam of energy that had annihilated MBI and dug a hole to the center of the world flickered and ceased. The rivers of light dimmed and disappeared. The enormous seal that Orochimaru had set up around Japan became dormant and inactive.
It had caused catastrophic damage for the brief time it had been active. Shinto Teito all but ceased to exist and much of the surrounding landscape was warped and twisted, having been halted in its destruction part way through. The loss of life was staggering, all told almost ten million had died, but Japan as a whole was still intact, it would survive.
"No! I won't let this happen!" Orochimaru snarled angrily as he lashed out at Naruto with all the power he could muster.
The very air around Naruto warped and bent. There was a loud thunderclap as the entire area was engulfed in an all-consuming wave of destructive energy.
Naruto and Chime reappeared a hundred meters to the left, completely unscathed.
"I thought we agreed to it being sealed!" Orochimaru shouted at Naruto.
"I lied," Naruto replied.
"But you don't lie!" That was one of the things that made Naruto, Naruto. His inability to lie to save himself or those he cared about. It was one of his defining features. It was right up there was his inability to stand by and do nothing when someone he cared about was hurting.
"I've learned how."
"You!" Orochimaru snarled angrily. If Naruto was going to break the deal, then he felt no need to continue keeping it either. However before he could chase after Naruto a wide area seal came to life across the surface of Kouten, "I can't…" His ability was sealed, what was going on here?
"I've sealed your ability to use time-space abilities," Yuuchi said as she appeared beside Naruto. She was still in her full outfit, including her mechanical helm. She would need its ability to enhance her reflexes to survive what was to come. It was also required to maintain her connection with Kouten while away from the Great Machine.
Orochimaru's eyes widened in true surprise for the second time, "Yuuchi… you're still alive!" He glared at the annoyance standing beside Naruto. All those little niggling things that didn't make sense before suddenly did. "Miya isn't in control of Kouten is she?"
"Of course not, Kouten is my responsibility first and foremost," Yuuchi replied.
"I should have dealt with you personally a long time ago," Orochimaru spat out.
"Hindsight is always 20/20," Yuuchi said comfortingly, "just so you are aware, I have deprived you of your 'power sources,' they have all been rejoined with their bodies and evacuated to a safe location."
"Then I'll just have to kill the three of you and find them! I can complete my ascension then!" Yuuchi had to go first, with her in control of Kouten some of his abilities would be locked.
Suddenly multicolored light rushed past Kouten on all sides, weaving around it and diving into the hole Orochimaru had dug into the Earth. Orochimaru looked around in surprise and quickly erected a barrier around him, thinking it was another phase Naruto's plan to screw him over.
"Don't worry about that, that's just Ramen on her way back down to Earth to… settle a score," Naruto said cheerfully his hands flashed through a series of hand seals. Now was the best time to set some attacks in motion while Orochimaru was thrown so far off his game.
Despite being robbed of Kouten and his World Absorption Seal, he was still the singular most powerful entity in existence at the moment.
Get out of me!
"You should know why I am here," Ramen said as she enveloped the Will of Gaia.
This is my world!
"Not any more. My world is dead, yours is dying."
I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS!
"You think I'm giving you a choice? Father has made me strong, versatile, and adaptive. You… you are weak," Ramen said as she began to consume the Will and life energy of Gaia. "I will feed upon you, take you as my own, so that my world can be restore!"
"Your time is at AN END!" Ramen's voice thundered as she drunk deeply upon the world.
Not like this… the… humans… must…
The humans are a part of us, rejecting them was your mistake. I will take them in to me and become whole.
They… will… kill… you…
They are me, so long as they exist I will exist, I will become eternal. They will grow smarter, faster, stronger, better, and I will follow suit. They will spread to other worlds, and I will follow suit.
I will feast again, and again, until I have consumed all the worlds of the universe.
A parasite? No, I am the future.
Father has helped elevate me to a level beyond that of merely the 'Will of a Planet.' By giving me form he gave me the greatest gift mortals possess: The ability to learn. For that I will be eternally grateful.
As for you, you are the first of many that I will consume.
I will become everything… I will become the universe. Never again will I let myself be at the mercy of another's Will.
Peels of thunder boomed across the floating island as Orochimaru lashed out with everything he had at the people responsible for ruining his plans. There was an angry scowl on his face that deepened every time Naruto or Yuuchi avoided or blocked on of his attacks.
He was in full out assault mode, unleashing dozens, if not hundreds, of attacks at a time as he sought to annihilate the pair of nuisances.
"You are more than welcome to enter the final stage of your plan anytime," Yuuchi said tersely as she hastily erected another barrier seal as Orochimaru viciously tore down her previous one with a dozen lances of pure utter darkness.
That barrier went down a second later and Yuuchi was forced to Hiraishin away to a secondary barrier location she had created beforehand. She had expected a pitched battle against Orochimaru so had set up several areas to use as defensive positions before she had revealed herself.
Unfortunately none of them lasted more than half a minute, even with her replenishing the barriers as quickly as she could. She wouldn't be able to keep this up for much longer.
"Would. Love. To. But. I'm. Still. Waiting. For. The. Signal!" Naruto replied, his speech broken as he zipped around the island desperately trying to avoid the rampant assault of pure energy that was being unleashed upon him. He barely had enough time to regain his bearings after each jump before he had to jump again.
Orochimaru with his experience with the Hiraishin knew exactly how to tell just where and when Naruto would appear. Naruto knew that if he hadn't enhanced and refined the technique to the level that he had he wouldn't have had enough time to react upon arrival to avoid Orochimaru's counter-attack.
Chime was down and out, she had been overwhelmed when Orochimaru had hit her with over two hundred attacks in the span of a few seconds. She had managed to protect Naruto from the initial assault but it had been too much of a strain on her, her chakra had run out and she had collapsed.
She was now resting in her bed at Epsilon, which was currently sitting in its own pocket dimension since Shinto Teito no longer existed.
"Just die already!" Orochimaru shouted at them, "You can't keep this up forever, whereas I can! You're only delaying the inevitable!"
"I don't. Need to. Keep this," Naruto lashed out with an attack of his own he had managed to weave while jumping. He jumped again, leaving behind a large circular sealing array, with several smaller arrays circling it, hovering in the air where he had been.
The seal activated and six Rasenshuriken's appeared, formed from the wind gathered by the large central seal and channeled into the six small seals circling it. The center seal flared brightly and detonated. The force of the detonation hurled the six Rasenshuriken's toward Orochimaru.
"Pathetic!" Orochimaru snarled as he cut the attacks down before they even made it halfway there.
A seventh Rasenshuriken appeared in his face and detonated violently.
"ARGH!" Orochimaru roared as he unleashed a massive chakra pulse. The pulse rippled outwards, brute forcing its way through Naruto's and Yuuchi's defensives and throwing them violently across the metal landscape.
I am in control
"Enough of this!"
"I agree," Naruto said as he quickly jumped to avoid getting impaled by an enormous javelin of pure energy, "I just got the signal."
"This is very close," Yuuchi said as she erected a wall of time between her and Orochimaru, slowing the waves of pure energy he had thrown at her to a crawl and giving her time to redo her defenses.
"Nothing I can do about that!" Naruto shouted as another clone appeared and disappeared.
"There's nothing you can do about anything! I'll break this seal of yours Yuuchi-san, I almost have it unravelled, and once I do, you're both dead!" Orochimaru snapped angrily. Yuuchi excelled at one thing above all others, creating defensive measures for her seals. It was taking him a long time, and most of his concentration, to try and break the time-space binding seal she had slapped over Kouten.
"It's over Orochimaru-kun," Naruto said, boring the man's term of endearment for him.
"It's not over!"
"Yes, it is," Naruto said, "I'm taking Earth away from you."
Orochimaru had no idea what he was talking about until he suddenly saw Earth above him, instead of below. Below there was just a small ball of magma. His eyes widened in surprise when he realized what Naruto had just done. It was almost inconceivable. Naruto had literally lifted the tectonic plates off Earth and had moved them to the Elemental Nations.
He had even shifted the continental structure of their old world to accommodate for the arrival of the new plates. The primary continent was situated in the Pacific Ocean, the west coast of the old Wind Country only several hundred miles away from Japan. The eastern continent had been moved between North America and Europe. It was absolutely ludicrous. He had literally disassembled and reassembled two worlds like they were nothing more legos.
"This changes nothing!" Orochimaru said in a panic as he watched all his carefully laid plans go down the drain, "I'll just go to the Elemental Nations afterwards!"
"I've destroyed your markers there, there's no way for you to get there, face it, even if we die, it's over, you lose," Naruto said. "You're now stuck here on a floating island hovering over a pathetic ball of rapidly cooling magma."
"NARUTO-KUN!" Orochimaru roared in absolute rage as an enormous build-up of energy appeared above his head.
"That's our cue to go!" Naruto shouted as he appeared at Yuuchi's side, he did not want to be on the receiving end of that attack, "I left you a present Orochimaru, I hope you enjoy!" he had used a seal to amplify and project Hanabi's Norito onto a certain target. It had already occurred, but due to the long distance between here and there was a lag time between when it happened and when they were aware that it happened.
The two of them disappeared just before a massive beam of energy carved a deep gouge in the island where the two of them had been.
"ARGH!" Orochimaru roared in fury. His eyes desperately scanned the new world above him as he worked furiously to disable the binding seal. "When I get my hands on you I'm going to make you die a long, slow, and painful death. Your death will be so agonizing that your screams will be the stuff of nightmares for eons to come!"
He could sense a few markers in the Elemental Nations, Naruto had destroyed most of them, but not all. He could still get there if he could just destroy the binding…
"I'll just rebuild Kouten!" Orochimaru screamed as he summoned two enormous chakra hands on either side of the island and ripped it in half. The binding seal disappeared in an instant, it's formation disrupted by the destruction of the island. "I'm going to make you—"
The New World disappeared.
He couldn't sense the markers anymore.
"No… no… no no NO NO NO!" Orochimaru screamed in fury.
The sun suddenly began to shrink, as if it was being sucked up into something. Within the span of a few minutes it was gone, depriving him of almost all light. The only source of light came from his own glowing ethereal body, the remnants of Kouten, and the smoldering planetoid below.
Orochimaru could only look on in abject confusion, not really understand what it was that had just happened. Realization didn't dawn on him until he felt himself and everything around him get drawn towards the center of the solar system.
The sun had collapsed.
He had been so preoccupied with the thought of Hanabi using her abilities against him and Kouten that he hadn't thought of another use for her ability, one that could be derived straight from her Norito.
She had created a black hole.
Orochimaru began to laugh, his anger completely draining away, "They beat me. They actually outsmarted me, ME of all people. Ten thousand years of planning, destroyed in a single day. And he achieved the very thing I was hoping to achieve to do it!"
It was over, all his planning, all his fallback contingencies, everything, ruined in the most unexpected and unpredictable manner possible. You can't plan for this kind of situation, you can only sit back and marvel at your opponent's ingenuity and skill.
"I may not have become the Creator of All Things, Naruto-kun, but I know that someday, you will be," he said softly. "My desire has been all along to make the universe exciting, to make existence exciting. I see now I don't have to do it."
"You'll do it for me."
With that said Orochimaru simply spread his arms and welcomed the oblivion that was to come, a twisted and sick smile on his face the whole way.
Author's Notes: For those of you that are wondering why Orochimaru just sat there and let Naruto do whatever he wanted to before the merge and didn't just do everything before Naruto even arrived on Kouten… the answer is simple. I can answer it with a single word: Hubris.
It's something that only grows with time, not lessons, especially when you're at the top of the food chain the entire time.
Brute force wasn't used to beat Orochimaru, he was simply out planned by the number one most unpredictable ninja.
As for Ramen, she was transported back to the Elemental Nations along with the tectonic plates.