Sasuke narrowed his eyes at the figure before him, 'Kakuzu. I wonder what he wants?'

"Why are you here?" he asked aloud.

"I have a business proposition for you and Orochimaru," the missing nin responded.


"I'm only going to explain it once so go get Orochimaru."

"Hn," Sasuke huffed before turning around to go find the snake. 'It's not worth getting into a fight with him. It'd be too impulsive, too. . . Naruto.'

As Sasuke's form faded down the darkened hallway Kakuzu could swear he was laughing slightly.

"So, Kakuzu, what is this proposition of yours?" Orochimaru asked.

"I'm sure you're aware of the World Government and the We Are Alliance," Kakuzu began, "But do you know about the True Power Alliance?"

"True Power?" Orochimaru mused, "Nothing worthwhile, but they haven't been sulking around here for over a year. As for the World Government and the We Are Alliance, of course I know. Don't underestimate my intelligence network."

"I wasn't, but the major Villages are still in the dark about it so it's possible that you wouldn't know."

"Oh, that. Maybe I've been messing with their information networks. It certainly would be beneficial to me in the Villages were to be weakened in a hypothetical invasion. It would make it easier to acquire subjects, both living and non."

"I see," Kakuzu responded smirking slightly. "What I've come to talk to you about would actually allow you to acquire more subjects than simply keeping to the sidelines would. Much like the We Are Alliance the True Power Alliance is a powerful group of pirates, but unlike the We Are pirates they value strength and aren't particularly idealistic either. I've already managed to secure a lucrative position in their ranks, and you should be able to as well."

"Are you offering to split your pay with Ororchimaru?" Sasuke asked disbelievingly.

"Hardly, for what I know of him he'd be much more interested in the other things such a position could offer, such as access to devil fruit users and the chance to experiment on them."

"That is indeed tempting," Orochimaru said. He glanced back at his lab where he was in the middle of attempting to clone chakra. Should he be successful he would be one step closer to immortality, but this opportunity was too good to turn down. 'A pity. I suppose I can still salvage the notes, though, so it's not a complete loss. An entire new world of subjects awaits, and I shouldn't keep it waiting.'

Sasuke glanced over at his master before returning his gaze to Kakuzu. "Will it help me become stronger?"


"Very well," Sasuke said.

Standing off to the side was Kabuto, who had to turn away to hide the grin on his face. 'Well now, things are getting interesting,' he thought to himself.

"You are dismissed," Danzo told the Ne informant standing in front of him.

"Hai!" the ninja responded before leaving.

"Privacy!" Danzo barked. Not a moment later he felt the presences of all the Ne shinobi disappear from the room. Once he was alone he allowed his iron mask to slip as he began to try to work everything out.

'So many pieces, so many issues, and I can't even inform Tsunade. They would know, the second the Villages realize that the World Government is closing in the Marines will strike. It's better to simply keep the rest of the Village in the dark while my forces prepare and prevent the Villages from ever confirming anything noteworthy.'

It was because of people like Danzo and Orochimaru that the major Villages still did not know of the World Government and the Marines, and without them things would have gone downhill quickly. 'The next question is if the pirates are to be trusted. Then again, though, do we really have a choice? I've seen one of the guns that the Marines carry, only the fastest of shinobi would be able to dodge them. Of course, suing ninjustu we could disrupt aim and there are other methods to prevent them from firing in the first place, but the enemy probably knows that. If they were to have the Marines operate in large groups that fired together and were protected by even a single devil fruit user it would be nearly impossible for regular ninja to stop them.'

'But such groups could easily be taken out by an S-Class ninja and by holding the regular ninja in reserve we could avoid countless meaningless casualties. The question then becomes how well the Marines can combat S-Ranked shinobi. Although I don't wish to admit it, they probably have us beat there too if only due to number. And that brings us back to the pirates, if they can be trusted and they fight alongside us our odds increase incredibly. Without them we don't stand a chance, and since they've had a full year of opportunities to attack this Village and haven't the only thing we can do is trust them.'

'Whatever the outcome, the Will of Fire shall burn brightly. We will not go down without a fight.'

Madara (Tobi), Zetsu and Kisame trekked though the wilderness of northern Lightning Country until they reached a gigantic mountain on the coast. Approaching the mountain they entered a cave hidden by the foliage.

Inside sat a man in a white uniform with a seagull on it. "Who are you?"

"We are Justice," Madara responded. The man nodded and moved aside revealing a large set of iron doors. Not even pausing the trio walked right through.

"They've arrive," Law said.

"Mmmm? Really?" Luffy asked around the sandwich he was eating.

"Yeah," Law responded. "But he doesn't know when or where they will strike. The True Power Alliance always has been unpredictable."

Luffy, apparently tired of eating the sandwich, swallowed it whole. "That's bad. Say, why don't we hold a secret meeting!"

"A secret meeting?"

"A secret meeting where we discuss secret stuff. I haven't seen Zoro and Sanji and Robin and Nami for a full year, come on Tra-guy," Luffy pleaded.

"Well," he consented, "That is true. Fine, we'll have a meeting in the Land of the Moon in one week. I'll have Perona inform everyone. Still, it isn't a reunion, it'll be strictly business. Do you understand?"

Luffy wasn't there anymore, so Law assumed that he didn't understand, or even bother listening beyond they time and location.

Neji frowned. He had been training alone all day since Zoro had been busy doing whatever he did on his time off, and he was curious. 'I've tried Jyuken with Haki, and I already know how to do it with chakra, and while both are devastating, I wonder what would happen if I combined them?'

Up till that point he had never combined chakra and Haki, instead choosing to use one at a time. Jyuken with Haki didn't have the power to stop the flow of chakra through an opponent's body, but it did insane amounts of physical damage. 'It makes sense, though. Being hit repeatedly in pressure points by iron jabs isn't exactly relaxing.'

Setteling into the Jyuken stance he focused his chakra before also trying to activate is Haki. The first, second, and third times noting happened. On the fourth time he managed to put his right arm to sleep, but on the fifth time he stuck gold. It was only for a moment, but he had managed to use Haki and chakra simultaneously.

'I wonder if the others know about this,' Neji wondered to himself. 'Hinata-sama doesn't, her training with Sanji has been entirely physical. Who knew that you could use Jyuken with the legs? Of course, that wouldn't be of much use if it wasn't for the fact that Sanji's been teaching her his Black Leg style.'

Neji had to shudder at that one. He had seen what Sanji could do when he was mad and imagining that power reinforced with Jyuken was simply horrifying. 'I can tell her tonight. What about Kiba, then?' he wondered. 'I. . . don't know. Might as well check.'

Nodding almost imperceptibly to himself he began the trip over to the Inuzuka Compound.

After knocking and being invited in he found himself in Kiba's room, which was rather cleaner than he had expected. It was nowhere near the perfection that was his own room, but it wasn't a mess either.

"Neji, what's up?" Kiba called from where he and Akamaru were lounging in bed.

"I was simply wondering if you knew that chakra and Haki can be used the same time."

"They can be?" Kiba asked, sounding vaguely interested.

"You don't really seem to care."

"I don't, not really. While you've been training technique I've been developing strength to complement the technique Akamaru and I already have. You're Haki level is way higher than mine, in fact I can hardly use it."

"You've been training that much in Rukushiki?"

"Yeah, but don't underestimate me because of it, Akamaru and I are an absolute nightmare now!" he bragged and Akamaru barked in agreement. "I was holding back in my fight with Naruto, I didn't want to hurt him too badly."

Neji sighed. "Sure you didn't. You're not really the type to hold back anything more than what's expected in a friendly match and I doubt you did. And, going along with that Naruto was probably holding back too, you know."

Kiba simply smirked. "You haven't seen me training, you don't know what I'm capable of."

(A/N: Most important thing first, this story will be going on a brief hiatus, but I'll be writing it again by the time Christmas rolls around. This basically means that there won't be an update this Thursday and probably not next. The reason for this is a new story I'm writing, 'Desperation,' that is meant to address a group that doesn't like this story. Unlike he Narutards in the comments section several people have said that I focus way too much on the pirates, and that one is actually probably true. Desperation is going to be a ninja perspective exclusive story, and I hope you check it out once I put the first chapter up.)