Damn, I am just getting around to writing these chapters often! I guess it's because in both this fanfic and my PS-P, I am nearing events in the stories that I have long since thought up and the excitement is just fueling me on… I think. Regardless of the reason why, I am not complaining at all. It's rather refreshing to be getting chapters out at such a respectable pace.
Oh yeah, just recently watched the Amazing Spider-Man 2! Not sure if anyone else here has watched it, but it was a pretty good movie overall. Had its downsides (the Green Goblin fight probably could've been much better), but it was a good film with a big emphasis on story over action.
Also, Dragons Rioting. This is a (relatively) new martial arts-ish manga out and an ecchi/harem-ish one at that too. Don't let that fool you though, it is an awesome manga and the most recent chapter (Chapter 18 as of this chapter being posted) was just mind-blowing. I am seriously considering doing a fanfic of this manga sometime after I am done with The God Slaying Wolf. If I do follow through on this new desire of mine, I do hope you will look forward to it.
Now let's get this chapter started!
Yuko could only look on in widened eyes as Ai Space appeared. Just a minute ago, what appeared to be an invasion had just started and now Ai Space has appeared out of nowhere.
"You have got to be kidding me!" the red-eyed girl thought in shock as she hurried down one of Konoha's street.
She now made her way towards the chunin exams stadium, worried for Naruto and his friends. Especially since, even from here, she could hear the sounds of battle raging on… which meant that either another magus had been remarkably close by and rushed over to team magi when Ai Space had activated.
"Or one of the people in the stadium was the magus in question," Yuko concluded. She grit her teeth in worry as she ran. While she may not exactly have aligned herself with Naruto and his friends in their quest to try and track down Odin and also while she may one day very well have to fight them, she had no desire to just take cover somewhere all while knowing that one of them could very well be fighting another magus.
"Hang in there guys!" she thought aloud. "I'm coming!"
"I'm afraid not."
Yuko's eyes went wide as suddenly she found herself feeling a great deal of pain in her stomach before having her feet kicked out from under her. She could only let out a startled cry of pain as she went tumbling back, only coming to stop after nearly crashing into a shop nearby.
"U-Ugh…." She could only groan as she immediately tried to stand, but had trouble doing so. Whatever had hit her just now hurt and it was taking her more effort than she would've imagined to try and shrug off the pain.
When she finally stood, she could only gape in shock as she saw who had done it. "Who are…?"
Katsu glared at the red-eyed girl fiercely, his arms just hanging there loosely at his side. Earlier, before Takehiko had brought forth Ai Space again, the young magus had requested him to go and stall Yuko, having known that the girl would most likely attempt to go and assist Ryuichi and Miki.
"It would seem that he was right," Katsu thought. He took two steps towards the girl, who quickly took up a guarded stance. He had to give her some measure of respect; in spite of not being a shinobi or a fighter of any kind, she appeared to have some good instincts, judging by how quickly she had put her guard up.
"Gate open!" Yuko said, summoning her magical weapon, Overload. The four spinning blades that made up the magical weapon circled their wielder protectively.
"Not bad, girl," Katsu complimented, genuinely meaning it.
"Who are you?" Yuko demanded.
"Who I am is of no concern to you," Katsu started. "All you need to know is that I know what it is you want to do and I cannot simply let you do that. Those three magi you wish to help have become something of a thorn in our side…"
The young girl's eyes went wide and then narrowed. "That so?" Two of her blades then broke off from the circle and now floated menacingly in between the two magi. The two blades began to glow with mana.
Katsu just raised an eyebrow. "Yes." He folded his arms across his chest. "And thinking on it, I suppose it would do us well to be rid of you too." His voice was tinged with a bit of regret. He didn't like this ritual anymore than team magi or Yuko, but for his wish, he would do whatever it took to achieve it.
"Oh yeah? Just try and kill me then!" Yuko cried. Her two blades shot out equally large beams of pure mana at the man, who dodged at the last possible instant, performing a body flicker to do so.
Yuko went flying forward upon feeling a kick to the back of her spine. "Guaah!" her blades followed after her as she went skidding several yards across the ground before she rolled to a stop.
"Very well then," Katsu said. "It would also do me well to get this over with as soon as possible, especially since I can't be sure what that blasted snake will do next…" Katsu couldn't help but shiver a little. Orochimaru, a damn sannin, was a magus as well. Just the thought of any of the sannin being a magus was a cause for great concern, but Orochimaru? He felt sorry for Ryuichi and Miki and Naruto by virtue of his magical weapon, Hanako, being there as well.
But alas, he didn't let the potential danger Orochimaru posed keep him from focusing on the matter at hand. "Gate open," he grunted.
Yuko could only stand there and feel shivers run down her spine as Katsu summoned his magical weapon.
As the light that always accompanied the summoning of a magical weapon died down, she saw that Katsu now wore some kind of metallic gauntlet on his right arm, blacker than night in color with red markings all over it.
"Something… feels off here," Yuko thought as she eyed Katsu's magical weapon. "Whatever that magical weapon is…. It's incredibly dangerous!"
With a thought, she had one of her blades fire a weak magical blast at Katsu, deciding to play things safe right now.
With very little difficulty, Katsu reared back his right hand and then swatted aside Yuko's attack as if it were a fly. The blast immediately dissipated. Yuko's eyes widened as a result. Something really did feel wrong here. It was as if her blast had just ceased to be rather than simply be deflected.
Katsu, looking deeply into Yuko's eyes, could almost literally see what she was thinking. And he couldn't blame her, for that was, in a sense, what his magical weapon could do.
His magical weapon, known as World Ender, was what is known amongst magi, almost instinctively, as a conceptual magical weapon. While there are many magical weapons whose magics are mainly focused on more substantial things such as Ryuichi's Mjolnir focusing on lightning or the long deceased Rogue Flame's magical weapon naturally focusing on fire or Yuko's focusing on pure mana and manipulation of the senses, magical weapons such as Katsu's instead focus upon the very concepts that sometimes govern all that exist.
However, in the case of his magical weapon, rather than manipulate concepts or create or anything else, his World Ender destroys concepts. To be more specific, it destroys the 'history' of whatever it hits, making it as if it never existed in the first place. Attacks, much like Yuko's just now, will fade from existence. As will air. And ground. And people. And, of course, other magical weapons.
And what's more, no non-conceptual magical weapon could ever overpower a conceptual magical weapon. The only way to overcome a conceptual weapon is usually with an even stronger conceptual weapon.
"What…" Yuko muttered, nearly gulping. "What did you just do…?"
"Just what makes you think I will tell you?" Katsu responded as he calmly started to walk forward, as if taking a stroll through a nice and quiet forest rather than looking like someone about to fight.
Yuko took a few steps back, her blades spinning around her once more in a guarded manner.
Then, at a speed almost too fast for her to keep up with, Katsu moved.
In the chunin exam stadiums, Ryuichi, Miki, and Hanako were faced with their own perilous situation.
"Haaaa!" Miki cried out as she swung her magical weapon, Svafrlami, at the snake sannin.
But Orochimaru simply smirked as he guarded against the swing with his own sword, the Kusanagi, which he had just brought forth a moment ago. The blades clashed and the flooring beneath their feet buckled and cracked as a result. But the snake sannin didn't budge and with a finesse that was almost insulting, the snake sannin took a step back, sliding his blade back in a way to force Miki to nearly forward.
Then Orochimaru himself pivoted on the spot and swung his sword at Miki, who now had to guard it and did so just barely. Due to her poor balance as a result of stumbling, the hit forced her back several feet. She couldn't help but be thankful that she was using her magical weapon; if she had tried to lock blades just now with her normal sword, Orochimaru's Kusanagi would've sliced through it like a hot knife through butter. It was also a good fortune that the Kusanagi sword was simply an unusually tough blade and not the snake sannin's magical weapon.
"Kukuku," Orochimaru laughed. "We've been at this little dance of ours for a few minutes now. While your skill with a blade is actually better than my own, just how much longer do you plan to bore me?"
Miki set her teeth in frustration. The snake sannin had a point. All of the sannin tended to specialize in something. Jiraiya mainly specialized in fuinjutsu while Tsunade naturally focused on medical ninjutsu. As for Orochimaru himself, the man had focused on ninjutsu of all kinds, at least prior to awakening a magus. But while the three sannin focused on those areas, they were well rounded in all other areas of fighting as well.
However, in Miki's case, while she focused tremendously on kenjutsu, her skill in other areas of fighting such as ninjutsu (not that she could use it anyway, given how being a magus prevents her from using all jutsu but the minor ones like henge) put her at a disadvantage. If Orochimaru could be described as a jack-of-all-trades, then Miki and by extension Ryuichi and Naruto could be described as being crippling over-specialists, with their sole way of battling being entirely limited to kenjutsu (in Miki's case) and taijutsu (in Ryuichi's and Naruto's cases). Hence, whereas the snake sannin could easily switch between kenjutsu and taijutsu and using his magical weapon (which he thankfully has yet to even summon), she and Ryuichi were stuck sticking to what they knew best. And while their skill in kenjutsu and taijutsu respectively was even greater than Orochimaru's in those fields, the snake sannin had enough skill at any rate to keep up with them and thanks to his extensive experience gained over a lifetime of battle, he could easily outpace them.
This was a fact he then demonstrated as Ryuichi attempted to use that moment to launch a sneak attack from behind, only for the older and much more experienced man to easily detect it and dodge. Ryuichi didn't let this deter him and unleashed a barrage of punches and kicks, each aimed at vital spots and any and all openings in Orochimaru's stance, but the snake sannin kept ahead of the teen with ridiculous ease.
"Impressive skill, boy, but you and your friend don't have the same level of battle experience as I do," Orochimaru gloated as he spotted a brief opening in Ryuichi's assault to slide the hilt of his Kusanagi into, slamming it into Ryuichi's gut.
Ryuichi gasped as it struck him just hard enough to make him lose all his air and Orochimaru followed this up with a kick to the side that launched Ryuichi back like a rag doll.
Miki quickly attempted to attack him from his side, but Orochimaru deflected the incoming sword strike with his Kusanagi and nearly smashed his elbow into the girl's head, the only reason why he missed being because Miki managed to deflect the blow upwards with the hilt of her massive magical weapon.
She then backed off as Hanako fired more than dozen magical blasts at Orochimaru. For the first time so far, it looked as if the snake sannin was taken by surprise. But the man regained his wits in very short order, jumping aside to avoid the blasts. The very few that nearly hit him were sliced apart by a swing of his sword.
"Interesting," Orochimaru then said as Hanako followed up her failed barrage of blasts with more, lesser in number this time around but with greater power. "I can tell by looking at you that you're not human. Not exactly."
The snake sannin danced around the incoming blasts, moving with just a bit more speed than before as they were aimed for his vital spots. While he dodged, Ryuichi and Miki chose that very second to try and blindside their foe, flanking him. Ryuichi threw a fierce roundhouse kick while Miki swung her sword down. With Hanako's magical blasts keeping him from moving forward or backwards while Ryuichi and Miki kept him from moving to the sides and lastly Miki's downward swing keeping him from jumping up, Orochimaru had only one path.
He sliced at the flooring beneath him, splitting it apart enough for him to simply jump down into. He did so just in time to avoid the attacks of his three opponents.
"Damn!" Ryuichi growled as he hit nothing but empty air while Miki's struck simply struck the flooring, shattering it as if it were glass.
"Uh!" That one sound from Hanako was enough to draw the attention of both teenaged magi towards her and they could only watch in shock and horror as the very flooring before Hanako was sliced apart. Orochimaru appeared from the opening, swinging his sword upwards at the humanoid magical weapon at a frightening speed.
Hanako was able to jump back to avoid it, but not entirely; part of her robe near the chest area was cut open and she had a small gash now. The magical weapon could only wince in pain even as the wound slowly closed up, her possessing a healing factor on par with that of any other magus.
She retaliated with a large magical blast, but Orochimaru leapt over it with a deadly grace and then swung down at Hanako. Being ready for the attack, she was able to completely dodge it this time, but it definitely hadn't been easy for her.
Miki, usually not one for using any form of fighting beyond kenjutsu, quickly pulled out a few kunai with one hand and flung them at Orochimaru. However, as she had expected, he swatted them aside with just a flick of the wrist and one swift motion of his sword.
"Kukuku…." Orochimaru stayed planted where he was at, turning so that he could look at Miki and Ryuichi. "Well, I must say that you three are putting up more of a fight than I had originally expected. But you will have to do much better than that if you really want to survive this," the snake sannin said, his confidence simply brimming.
"Damn it…" Miki muttered as she clenched her magical weapon tightly. Should she finally use her magical weapon's ability? At the way this was looking so far, it may be their only hope. But if it missed…
She was snapped out of her thoughts when her friend beside her decided that enough was enough.
A familiar burst of gold mana appeared in the form of lightning around Ryuichi. "Turbulence!" He called out, activating his ability. Like before, his black hair turned gold and his eye went from black to light green.
Orochimaru could only blink in surprise. He then opened his mouth, as if to say something. He didn't get to actually speak though.
Ryuichi closed the distance between the two of them instantaneously and buried his fist into the side of Orochimaru's face.
The snake sannin staggered back, almost spinning a full 360 degrees from the sudden and strong punch. He didn't get to even recover from it when Ryuichi blitzed him yet again, leg sweeping him and then kicking Orochimaru up into the air.
He jumped into the air after his foe and unleashed a barrage of punches and kicks that struck the snake sannin virtually everywhere. Then he moved above Orochimaru and did a hammerblow, knocking the older magus back towards the stadium. Instead of crashing into the ruined kage box where Miki and Hanako still were, Orochimaru ended up crash landing into the arena itself.
Miki and Hanako, only able to gape during Ryuichi's assault, immediately snapped out of their stupor and gave chase, jumping down to the arena as Ryuichi landed there.
"Did that put him down for good?" Miki questioned, still holding her magical weapon tightly and in a guarded position.
"I hope so…" Ryuichi muttered as Miki moved next to him. To his other side, Hanako stood there now, albeit a ways back in case Orochimaru got back up and the former two needed cover fire.
Then Orochimaru chuckled darkly as he slowly stood back up, shocking all three of his opponents. "Well… that certainly had been a surprise. I never would've imagined anyone, magus or otherwise, could move even a fraction of that speed of yours," the snake sannin complimented Ryuichi.
He hefted his Kusanagi, which he had amazingly been able to hold on to the whole time. "However, it will take far more than just something like that to beat me."
"Tch!" Ryuichi gritted his teeth in frustration and worry. While his Turbulence mode allowed him to move at literally the speed of light, his strength was left unaffected, so the only way he could do more damage to his foes with his punches and kicks is if he hit them much faster than before, which Turbulence mode allow. But for Orochimaru to more or less shrug off his attacks, something that Nobuo hadn't been able to do, then they all really were in for a tough fight.
However, before any of them could move, Orochimaru raised his blade and then tried to swing it down at Ryuichi and Miki, who were closest to him.
But much to everyone's surprise, including Orochimaru himself, his arm didn't budge, straining against something that appeared to be holding it in place. "What is this?" he questioned.
Looking closely, they all could spot microscopically thin red wires pinning Orochimaru's arm in place. Then with a good deal of speed, Orochimaru was yanked forward, past Ryuichi and Miki and Hanako and ended up getting tossed all the way across the arena and through a wall.
"W-What just…?" Hanako started, still with her guard up.
"It seems like my attack had made it just in time."
Recognizing the voice, Ryuichi, Miki, and Hanako could only look on in wide eyes as Masami appeared before them, having just lightly jumped down from the waiting area that the genin had been waiting in prior to this invasion.
"Masami-san?!" Miki cried out. "The genjutsu that the enemy shinobi cast-?!"
"It wasn't able to get to me," Masami replied calmly. "I'm not sure how, but I imagine my being a magus had something to do with it, making me more… resistant, I suppose, to genjutsu."
Then they all said a tint of red and then noticed that Masami wore the same long black evening gloves from before. Looking even more closely, they could make out very thing red wires coming from the finger tips of the gloves. This was undoubtedly her magical weapon.
"My apologies for not helping earlier," Masami continued. "But earlier, I couldn't exactly see a good enough opening for me to jump into things."
"A-Ah, no, it's alright…" Ryuichi replied sheepishly. He, Miki, and Hanako were just glad to have some extra now when it most counted.
"Guuhhh…" All eyes then turned to the wall that Orochimaru had been flung through just in time to see the snake sannin himself emerge from the hole, looking just a bit worse for wear. "Another rate, eh?" His pained grimace gave way to an amused smirk. "And the daughter of the fire daimyo at that too. How intriguing."
Masami slowly approached the group, not letting her eyes off of Orochimaru. "So this is one of the legendary sannin." Her lips were curled into something resembling a nervous smile. "I never would've imagined he would be a magus."
"Yeah…" Miki agreed.
Orochimaru's sudden bout of laughter caused them to stop their beginning conversation. "Well now, four on one, is it?" he started. He looked all four of his foes over. "Looks like I will have to start taking things just a bit more seriously then…"
He held his arms apart a bit. "Gate open!"
"Oh shit!" Miki cried out. Ryuichi was of a similar mindset as the now all too familiar light appeared.
When it died down, Orochimaru still looked the same, but with one difference. "Are those… gloves?" Ryuichi muttered.
Now, the snake sannin wore what appeared to be black full fingered gloves, with a strange runic symbol on the palms of it.
"Now then," Orochimaru began. "I suppose I'll entertain you with one of your own weapons."
"….What?!" Ryuichi, Miki, and Hanako said in unison.
Orochimaru just smirked. "Well then, Memory Impersonator," he began, calling out the name of his magical weapon. "Let's try out, what was it called? Ah yes, Mjolnir."
Ryuichi's eyes went wide as he heard the snake sannin call out the name of his main magical weapon.
But what happened next shocked them all as suddenly Orochimaru's right glove morphed before their very eyes… into Mjolnir.
Orochimaru looked down at the magical weapon. "Hmmm…" He clenched and unclenched his fist several times in the gauntlet. Then a familiar burst of golden mana exploded from Orochimaru.
"H-How…?" Ryuichi gasped. "How could he now have Turbulence mode?!"
From Takehiko's dimension, Naruto could only watch the battle in horror as Orochimaru, now sped up to lightspeed thanks to Turbulence mode, made his move. In what looked like an instant, Orochimaru had gone and swatted aside Ryuichi, the teen having been too stupefied by what had happened to react in time in spite of having Turbulence mode as well. Then after that, Orochimaru had gone and kicked Miki in the gut before punching Masami in the side and then axe kicking Hanako headfirst into the ground, cratering it. He did all this faster than any of them could ever hope to react to.
"No!" Naruto cried out.
Then the 'view screen' that Takehiko had made just so he could see this happen disappeared.
"Well that looked like it hurt," the boy magus in question snorted out.
Naruto whirled around to look at him. "You little bastard…"
Takehiko chuckled. "Don't bother feeling so violent. It won't work in here." Then he paused as he fearlessly gazed at the blond magus. "Now, as I just said a moment ago, it's about time we have ourselves a little chat."
"Oh yeah? About what?" Naruto demanded.
"About your ungodly interference with this ritual," Takehiko replied, his smirk from earlier gone. Now he just looked incredibly annoyed. Naruto really felt like punching his face off.
"My interference? How could I interfere in a ritual that I was apparently chosen fo-," Naruto began, only to be cut off.
"You weren't meant to be a part of Ragnarok," Takehiko stated.
Naruto's words died on his lips. His mind went blank. Slowly, he processed what Takehiko just said. "…What?" he said quietly.
"You're an irregular, Namikaze," Takehiko huffed. "The 13th magus in what should have been a strictly 12 magi event."
Naruto stared at the boy in disbelief. "…How did this…?"
"That is very much what I would like to know from you, Namikaze," Takehiko spat, annoyed. "But now I can see that you're just as clueless about this as I am."
"But that aside, that is not what I'm here to discuss. You've become a thorn in my side, Naruto Namikaze. And it's beginning to really anger me." Takehiko glared at him and even began to approach Naruto, his hands still in his pockets. "You should've died when that Yuko girl attacked you. If not, then you should've died facing Daisuke… but you didn't."
Naruto returned the glare with one of his own. He found himself surprised at how nonchalant Takehiko was in approaching him. Still, he wasn't going to let that go to waste; as soon as Takehiko got a bit closer, he was going to blitz the kid and pummel him until he let him out of here. "Oh yeah? If it's pissing you off that much, then I guess I should be glad. And what now? Plan to try and talk me out of being a 'thorn in the side?'"
Takehiko stopped. "Originally, yes. Powerful as I am, I had felt that trying to talk you out of being so damn stubborn about all this would work… but now looking at you, I guess that just won't work."
"So you want to try and kill me then, huh? Well, you're welcome to try!" Naruto saw that the distance between them wasn't great now and made to move, to raise his fist and punch Takehiko, but found much to his shock that his body refused to move an inch. "W-What…?"
Takehiko smirked cruelly. "Finally noticed, I see." A pause. "The power of my magical weapon, that is."
"What did you do to me?" Naruto demanded, struggling to move towards Takehiko.
The younger magus in turn snapped his fingers and before him appeared a large book, with intricate markings all over it. "This is my magical weapon, King's Scripture. It's a conceptual magical weapon. It lets me do whatever I want, translating my 'words' into 'laws.' And that is exactly what I did here with you."
"W-What…?" Naruto's mind was having a hard time wrapping his mind around this, feeling overwhelmed. On the one hand, he had to worry about his friends, who were undoubtedly being on the receiving end of a beatdown. But on the other hand, he had to deal with this guy. And then there was still Orochimaru's forces invading Konoha that he needed to worry about.
"Here in this little personal dimension of mine, there is a rule that 'no action born of malice towards me can take place here,'" Takehiko said. "And given how angry you are towards me, well, I'm sure you can figure it out now."
Naruto's eyes widened. Now he understood. "A conceptual magical weapon… now I get it!" And the thought terrified him. If the boy's magical weapon could literally turn whatever he says into a 'law' or 'rule,' then there is literally nothing he could do about it. He'd have an easier time trying to flat out defy the law of gravity than defy any of the 'laws' that Takehiko could create.
Upon seeing the light go on in Naruto's eyes, Takehiko hummed. "You really do get it now. That's good, saves me from having to explain it anymore. But as you can now tell, any attempt to beat will prove futile."
Naruto glared at him. "So what now? Since I'm being so uncooperative, you plan to kill me and have all my mana added to your own?"
The boy magus lost his smirk and instead looked grim. "The thought had crossed my mind, I'll admit that. But I actually don't want to kill you."
At that, Naruto could only look confused. "But you just said I was being a major pain in your side. Why?"
Takehiko sighed. "Because as powerful as I am, I am not sure killing you or any of the other participants in Ragnarok would be enough for me to beat Odin."
Naruto's eyes widened. "You want to beat Odin too?"
"Of course. It's pretty much a given for all of us as he himself is also a participant," Takehiko answered.
Naruto's eyes widened even more and he openly gaped. "Odin… is a participant in Ragnarok?!"
His captor shrugged. "Perhaps. Since you were and still are an unknown factor, an irregular if you will, then I suppose your presence could've somehow forced Odin into a 'referee' position rather than still hold onto his 'participant' status."
But Naruto didn't let that statement deter him. That meant that having to search for Odin was something he and his friends no longer had to worry about doing. If they can survive long enough, they will eventually encounter him anyway.
"Now that said, I'd like to make you a deal," Takehiko said, snapping Naruto out of his thoughts. "Join me. And together we will kill Odin. And I will rule as a king, like I always should've."
Naruto stared at the boy for what felt like hours when it had only been less than a minute. "Join you? Why should I do that?"
At that, Takehiko glared at the older magus. "I can tell what you're thinking. You're thinking that after forcing you, albeit indirectly, and your friends into this ritual or something, that I shouldn't be going around offering you something like this. You think that if not for me, you and your friends wouldn't be fighting to try and protect your 'normal' life and the world at large. But know that I and the other participants take this ritual very seriously."
The blond magus snorted. "Yeah, the 'god's power.' I know all about it. How it can make you so powerful, you can do damn near anything with it, like true immortality or resurrection of the dead. My friends and I couldn't care any less about that. We just want to return to our 'normal' lives as you stated and keep the world safe from this ritual potentially going critical." He paused. "Why do you want the power so much, huh? Just what would you even do with it?"
"I already told you, so that I can become the one true 'king!'" Takehiko growled out. "I owe them nothing less than that!"
Naruto blinked. "'Owe them nothing less than that?' What do you mean?"
Takehiko snarled. "…I am from a small and rundown village, far away from Konoha or any of the major villages. My friends and I would often play together when we were younger. We always dreamed of growing up and going out into the world, to make our lives better. I promised them that for not just my sake, but their own, that I would become a king and do everything I can for them." Then his eyes narrowed in rage. "Until bandits came and burned my village to the ground after pillaging it for the little it was worth. Incidentally, that was when I awakened as a magus… but I had been unable to save my friends."
He glared at Naruto hatefully. "That's why I need the damn power, Namikaze. You think it's not worth it?"
Naruto could only stare in shock at the boy, at a loss for words. All he had known about Takehiko was that he was an arrogant boy, clearly high on his own power, at least according to the vibe Miki got from him all that time ago. But now… now he had to look at the boy differently.
Takehiko cut him off. "Save it," he said. "I don't want to hear you speak some words of pity. A king doesn't need pity."
He glared at him in silence for a moment before sighing. "Even after telling you the truth, it seems you still won't join me. Fine then. I guess it's time to do away with you." Takehiko snapped his fingers, calling his King's Scripture to him, ready to speak words that would undoubtedly kill Naruto if they became 'law.'
But Naruto, as shocked as he was, wasn't about to let that happen.
Takehiko had said earlier that any action born of malice towards him simply wouldn't happen. He never said anything about any action directed towards the very dimension itself.
Naruto raised his arm, pointing it up towards the 'sky' of Takehiko's dimension.
Takehiko paused in his own actions to gape in shock. "What?!"
"Da Capo!" Naruto cried out, unleashing enough mana to nearly blow Takehiko back.
The runic symbol for Da Capo appeared above Naruto's very hand, tinting the entire dimension an ocean blue color before the dimension shuttered and reverted to before it was created.
Naruto and Takehiko were back in Ai Space, now standing somewhere near the south gate of Konoha, which was a ways away from the chunin exams stadium.
"Impossible! How-?!" Takehiko stuttered out.
"You ought to watch out for those loopholes!" Naruto yelled at him, intent on punching him out now. He dashed at Takehiko, fist at the ready. While he could no longer bring himself to truly hate the boy after hearing his reason for wanting to obtain the power that comes with winning Ragnarok, Naruto knew that if he didn't try something now, Takehiko would kill him. He had to keep him from doing that.
"Urgh!" Takehiko seemed to realize that too. "'Begone from here!'" the boy magus commanded.
His magical weapon, King's Scripture, opened up and in an instant, Takehiko's command appeared on the page it had opened up to. And just in time for him as well as Naruto's fist was inbound.
But before the attack could connect, Naruto was suddenly dragged into a wormhole…
And ejected back into the real world. "W-What the hell?!" he cried out as he fell from more than several dozen meters up in the air, though he managed to flip around and land feet first on a rooftop. "How-?!" He could only look on in shock as he confirmed he was indeed out of Ai Space. All around him, the village looked wrecked, civilians still running around for cover while some Konoha shinobi tried to direct them towards shelter. In more than several places that he could immediately see, Naruto could see Konoha shinobi facing off against Oto and Suna shinobi.
From Ai Space, Takehiko saw this from the same 'view screen' he had created earlier. "That had been close…" he muttered.
He hadn't actually expected his trick to work, but since Naruto was an irregular and therefore was never meant to be in Ragnarok, he had figured that it would be possible to 'eject' him from Ai Space since its 'rules' probably wouldn't apply to him as strongly as they did to the other participants. He was glad he had been right in that deduction.
He turned to leave, but found himself stumbling, nearly crashing into a wall. "Ugh." Ejecting Naruto from Ai Space had taken up more than 90% of his mana reserves. That it had taken that much power for him and his conceptual magical weapon to force an irregular out of Ai Space personally created by Odin himself… "Odin, you are a damn monster…" the boy muttered. He couldn't even begin to fathom how much power he'd need just to hold his own against Odin.
But that was a thought that could best be dwelt on later. Right now, he had to find somewhere to rest. With that in mind, he regained his balance and quickly left.
Back in the real world, Naruto had to suddenly dodge when he sensed an attack coming from behind. Sure enough, he had been right to dodge as an Oto shinobi had attempted to slice his head off with a short sword. Naruto had no idea if he could survive and even recover from decapitation with his powerful healing factor, but he had no intention to find out.
The Oto shinobi growled in anger at having missed and charged right at Naruto. "Take this you damn Konoha shi-!"
He didn't get to finish as Naruto punched him hard in chest, collapsing his chest cavity and crushing his heart as a result. The Oto shinobi fell to the ground, dead.
Naruto stared at the body. It wasn't out of shock for having killed him; he had been forced to kill enemies in the past on certain missions. Death was just all a part of the shinobi life. No, the reason why he stared at the body was because of how easily he had killed the shinobi.
"Just one punch…" he thought. He had put more strength into the hit than he had put into any of the attacks he had hit Reiko with earlier and the shinobi he had just killed had been low to mid jounin level. It just went to show him how powerful magi could be, especially if they were shinobi prior to awakening.
He was rattled from his thoughts when the ground quaked and a huge shadow loomed over the area. Turning around, Naruto could only gape at the sight of a massive snake rushing through the area. "One of Orochimaru's summons!"
He then heard a scream and looked to the ground area to see a few civilians about to be crushed underneath. Standing in between the civilians and the snake stood a few young teens, ones that if memory served Naruto, were still academy students. Vaguely, he could see one of the young teens was none other than the late 3rd hokage's grandson, Konohamaru.
"Shit, they won't last a second against that!" Naruto, no longer seeing a need to hold back that much now, immediately leapt as high and as far as he could for the moment, moving towards the snake who was too preoccupied with the academy students and civilians to see him coming.
By the time it did appear to notice him, it was already too late; Naruto punched it square in its massive jaw, with such strength that it died upon impact. The snake went careening to the side, landing atop a handful of buildings that have thankfully been empty.
"W-Whoa!" Naruto heard someone say as he then landed.
"You all alright?!" he asked. He received nods from them all, all of them staring at him with wide, almost disbelieving eyes. "Alright, then get going to a shelter! It's not safe here!" he commanded and they listened almost immediately thanks to the sheer ferocity he had yelled out the command.
Naruto then looked away as they all left and gritted his teeth in determination. He may not be able to get back into Ai Space, but he could at least help fight off the invasion forces. Aside from that, all he could really do for his friends now is to have faith in their abilities.
With that thought in mind, the blond magus took off running deeper into Konoha, now fully dedicated to putting an end to this invasion as fast as possible.
Back in Ai Space, his friends were not fairing so well.
Ryuichi groaned, gripping at his sides. His clothes were dirtied, disheveled and caked with blood. To his right, Miki stood, panting tiredly and looking as beaten up as he did, her sleeves destroyed and a part of her skirt torn to reveal more of her legs than what the girl would be comfortable bearing were the situation right now a far less serious one.
Behind them stood Hanako, who stood on wobbly legs, her battle robes showing a few cuts here and there. Her right arm would twitch every now and then in pain and her hair was messy and generally just all over the place as one of her ponytails had come undone.
Not even Masami had been spared, her dress sporting a few cuts and tears in places that would be doing interesting things to men and women alike in any other kind of situation. The young woman's face was scrunched up in pain and if one looked closely, they would spot several cuts and bruises healing up.
Meanwhile, across from them, Orochimaru stood, with his clothes barely even dirty. The snake sannin hardly even looked winded.
The past few minutes for team magi and Masami had been absolutely brutal. After Orochimaru had demonstrated the shocking ability to mimic Mjolnir, he had used the great speed granted to him by Turbulence mode to utterly blitz them all, laying on an assault so relentless that even now they sported a number of wounds in spite of their healing factors.
Not even Ryuichi himself, who had Turbulence mode as well, had been able to do anything against Orochimaru. He may have had more experience in using Turbulence mode and was far more skilled in taijutsu than Orochimaru was, but his only real advantage against the far more experienced and powerful shinobi-turned-magus had been his speed when in Turbulence mode. Once Orochimaru had obtained it, his advantage had been completely undone and it certainly hadn't helped when the snake sannin had combined his newfound speed with his considerable skill in kenjutsu, his Kusanagi having become a lightspeed whirlwind of pain.
"I really must say, your magical weapon sure is an interesting one," Orochimaru complimented as he looked down at the gauntlet again.
All he received in response was a glare from Ryuichi and a magical blast of considerable power from Hanako. Orochimaru, seeing the blast coming, simply raised his right arm and let the blast connect with Mjolnir.
As soon as it made contact, the magical blast disappeared into the magical gauntlet, causing it to glow briefly.
At that, Hanako's eyes went wide. Ryuichi grimaced. "Damn it, so he also knows about Mjolnir's other ability…" he thought.
His Mjolnir did more than just work alongside his bandana – Megingjoro – to give him Turbulence mode. It also had the passive ability to absorb any and all mana that came into contact with it. With such an ability, Ryuichi could use his enemy's magical attacks to restore his own mana and even make his magical attacks such as Thor's Hammer more powerful.
And now such an amazing passive ability was known to the worst person ever.
"Kukukuku…" Orochimaru laughed. "As I thought, your magical weapon really can absorb mana."
Ryuichi just grunted as he launched himself at Orochimaru, noticing his guard was down, if only for a moment.
Orochimaru saw him approach and raised his sword, ready to cut him down, but before he could do so, Ryuichi feinted a kick at the sannin's chest and instead swung his fist down at the ground.
Upon impact, the ground naturally shattered apart and debris was sent flying everywhere. Due to his proximity to ground zero, Orochimaru had to take a few steps back to avoid being struck by the debris. This was something that the teenaged magus had been counting on, using the larger pieces of debris to hide himself as he quickly snuck around the snake sannin and threw a kick at his open back.
But it hadn't been enough. Instantly, Orochimaru pivoted on the spot, raising his Kusanagi in time to deflect Ryuichi's kick before burying his gauntlet-covered fist directly into Ryuichi's gut.
Miki, seeing her friend get hit, immediately rush forward and swung at Orochimaru's legs. Unfortunately, the older magus lightly jumped and landed on the blade, pinning it down with one leg. He used his other leg to kick Miki in the chin, getting a startled cry of pain out of her.
"Masami-chan!" Hanako called out. As she did so, she prepared her own attack, now on the move by rushing towards the side.
"Yes," Masami replied as she readied her own magical weapon – named Stringload – for an attack. She launched several of her wires at Orochimaru. The snake sannin blinked, surprised at the speed of the attack, but with Turbulence mode still active, he was able to effortlessly jump to the side to avoid it.
That was when Hanako made her move, firing several blasts at Orochimaru's face and legs, doing her best to not shoot anywhere near Orochimaru's Mjolnir.
Orochimaru just laughed at the attempt and dodged the blasts as well before dashing at Masami, who was open. It was clear to him that while she was a very intelligent and generally cunning young woman, she had no battle experience and thus was the weak link of the group opposing him.
Masami recalled her wires and they responded immediately, moving towards her in an almost shield like state. But Orochimaru was far too fast for her and the wires and she buried his elbow into her chest before slashing her across the leg with his sword. Then for one last attack, he kneed her in the chin, knocking her back into a wall several meters away, the young woman impacting it hard enough to nearly shatter it wide open.
Ryuichi and Miki at this point made their recovery and now attempted to attack in tandem. Miki struck the ground with her magical weapon, the sheer strength of the swing causing the entire arena to quake. Orochimaru lost his balance a bit and that was when Ryuichi struck, throwing a knife strike at the snake sannin's head. But Orochimaru dodged at the last possible second, only suffering a graze across the cheek, before spinning around to let Ryuichi past him, slamming his elbow into the teen's now exposed back before delivering a kick to his gut that knocked Ryuichi high into the air.
Miki threw several shuriken at Orochimaru and Hanako fired several weak blast but fast magical blasts at him, but the snake sannin sliced in half the shuriken while using Mjolnir to absorb Hanako's attacks.
He chuckled, but then stopped abruptly when suddenly his Turbulence mode gave out. "What?!" he muttered in surprise.
Ryuichi, in spite of his pain, saw this happen and couldn't help but smile a bit as he landed on his feet. "Since he only copied Mjolnir and not my bandana, he couldn't sustain Turbulence mode for as long as he would've otherwise. Which means this fight may have gotten just a bit easier."
Encouraged now, the teenaged magus pulled out a kunai, said weapon becoming supercharged by the mana that poured off of him constantly. Channeling more mana into it, Ryuichi tossed it at Orochimaru. It traveled quickly, far faster than it would've had he thrown it normally, thanks to the mana put into it.
Orochimaru, no longer possessing lightspeed speed and reflexes, only barely sensed it coming at the last second and ended up having the kunai stab right through his left arm. "Argh!"
"He's finally wounded!" Miki and Hanako thought.
Masami, who now made a recovery, also looked pleased. "While he has a healing factor like us, he should be hurting from that attack for a while," she thought.
Orochimaru himself looked at the already healing wound in shock and pain. Then it slowly gave way to amusement of a sort. "I see. It would I couldn't sustain your magical weapon for very long."
At the statement, all of his opponents could only look on in confusion. Their confusion gave way to shock as the snake sannin's Mjolnir reverted back to its original form.
"Looks like there is a limit to how long he can keep it transformed…" Miki thought.
"But is this really the end of it?" Hanako silently questioned, her guard up even more now than it was a moment ago.
Orochimaru then chuckled. "Well, it's to be expected, I suppose. From the looks of it, you definitely have more mana than I do." He smirked. "Still, that doesn't mean I cannot use my magical weapon for other things.
Shifting his Kusanagi from his left hand to his right, they all watched as the left glove suddenly transformed. Only this time, it transformed into a perfect replica of the Kusanagi sword itself.
Everyone's eyes went wide as then Orochimaru began to channel his own mana into both blades, both of which now glowed a sinister dark purple. "Did you know, little rats, that there are certain metals out there that can better conduct mana than the simple kunai and shuriken you have?"
At that, they all tensed up, especially Ryuichi as Orochimaru had been looking in his direction when he had spoken.
"No?" Orochimaru continued. "In that case, allow me to show you…"
He moved at lightning speed, rushing at Masami. This time around, the beautiful young woman was able to react, using her wires to cut apart the ground in between her and Orochimaru, but all this accomplished was making him leap towards her rather than run.
Orochimaru spun like a cyclone in midair, swinging both blades at her. Masami used her wires to block one swing and for the briefest of moments Orochimaru was surprised as he found the force of his strike being absorbed by Masami's wires.
Masami allowed herself the smallest hint of joy at his confused expression. Her magical weapon, Stringload, was capable of a unique ability known as Brisingamen, which allowed her to absorb the kinetic force of attacks and reduce it to zero. Which she had used just now to negate Orochimaru's swing.
But Orochimaru was undeterred by this and simply used his other sword to attack right through the miniscule openings in-between Masami's wire shield and nearly pierce her side. The only reason why it didn't actually make contact was because Hanako, who had been closest to the older girl, had been able to get behind Masami and pull her back.
Masami nodded in thanks and dropped her wires, allowing Hanako the opening needed to fire a magical blast. This was an opportunity Hanako didn't waste. Now that Orochimaru no longer had Mjolnir, she could fire with less caution now. And due to the little distance between her and her target, there was no way she'd miss.
And she was right as her one blast struck true, hitting Orochimaru right in the chest and blowing him back explosively.
Orochimaru grunted in considerable pain, but managed to recover quickly enough and turn his attention to Miki and Ryuichi. He deflect several blows from Ryuichi, who had tried to hit him with a brief flurry of midair punches before proceeding to lock blades with Miki's own.
Orochimaru once again grunted, this time out of strain rather than pain. Miki was physically stronger than he was. If he hadn't bothered to plant his feet in the ground just now, Miki's strike would've blown him back even harder than Hanako's blast had.
As for Miki herself, she wasn't exactly having an easy time of it. "My blade…" she thought. Looking closely, she could see the smallest of chips where Orochimaru's blades clashed with her own. More specifically, the sword that had formed from Orochimaru's magical weapon had created that miniscule chip.
"At the rate this is going, we're never going to win," she thought as she gave one final push, separating herself and Orochimaru. Her eyes narrowed and a grimace of both frustration and sadness on her face appeared. "Because of his magical weapon, our only real chance here… would be Svafrlami's ability…"
Her grip on her magical weapon tightened. Yes, her own magical ability would most likely be the only way to end it. But she would have to make sure that it hit. If it missed…
"No, I can't think like that," she thought as she watched Ryuichi and Hanako attempt to beat down Orochimaru, but even with the massive speed advantage that Ryuichi had regained, Orochimaru was still holding them off well. "Even if the attack connects, it will still have dire consequences for me…"
"But," she thought as she slowly took up a guarded stance, while still preparing to swing her sword. "If it's for the sake of my friends, I can't afford to hold back Svafrlami's ability any longer!"
Feeling tired – she had never been one for prolonged battles anyway – Miki did her best to stay back for now and ready herself for the right moment. She just hoped that 'right moment' would come soon.
Meanwhile, with Yuko and Katsu, they were currently stuck in a stalemate of sorts. "Damn it!" Yuko swore aloud as she leapt out of the way in time to avoid Katsu's fist. Said fist, clad in his gauntlet, struck an unfortunate tree and Yuko could only watch as the tree simply ceased to be.
She commanded her blades to swarm erratically around him, peppering him with magical blasts, but Katsu swatted the blasts aside with his gauntlet.
"I grow tired of this…" he growled out as he used his non-covered hand to pull out a kunai and throw it at Yuko.
"Tch!" Yuko then proceeded to channel mana into her legs. What she was about to use was a technique of sorts that she had developed during the time since she had fought Naruto. "Enhalt!" she cried out as suddenly, she all but disappeared from Katsu's sight for a moment and reappeared more than several hundred yards away.
Her blades broke off from Katsu and returned to her side, spinning around her defensively.
Katsu could only stare in shock. "What?!" Then it seemed as if he caught onto something. "Ah, I see now. Pumping as much mana as you could afford into your legs, you let it then explode from within as you leap back, giving you a very brief increase in speed."
Yuko's eyes went completely wide in shock. "I see…" she muttered, almost in despair. "You shinobi are really sharp…" What Katsu said was more or less true. Her technique, Enhalt, was meant for her to retreat from the enemy, to jump back to a position that the enemy couldn't touch. But for Katsu to have figured that out so quickly left her feeling far more wary than she already was.
"Ah, if only I can just hit him with one of my blades…" she thought. Given the effects her blades have on people they hit, if she could just nick him with one of them, she was certain that once the sense affected by it was overloaded to the point of shock, that she would be able to then approach Katsu without worry and destroy his magical weapon. But with his reflexes and battle-forged instincts, there was no way she could do that now.
She was snapped out of her thoughts when Katsu suddenly spoke. "Tell me: can you imagine what would happen if I struck the ground with my magical weapon?"
Yuko's eyes went wide as Katsu proceeded to do just that. As soon as the magical weapon hit the ground, a sound akin to shattering glass rang out over the area and immediately the ground literally began to just disappear.
"W-What?!" the red eyed girl cried out in shock and even horror.
Katsu just stared at her, determination now burning in his eyes. "Now come. Try and defeat me, you annoying little bitch," he snarled out, his patience having hit its end now. "If you don't defeat me or if Ai Space doesn't end soon, there will no longer be a ground for you to use your technique to run away from me."
Yuko could only inwardly swear. Just when she had thought this fight couldn't get any harder, Katsu just had to go and prove her wrong.
She readied herself. This was going to get real ugly, really damn fast.
Back in the real world, the two Namikaze parents could only continue to fight on against the onslaught of Oto and Suna shinobi.
"Minato, there just seems to be no end to them!" Kushina yelled out as she used a powerful suiton jutsu to kill a small squad of Oto shinobi that had just attempted to flank her.
"I know!" her husband answered as he used his hirashin jutsu to teleport to various spots in the village, cutting down every foe he spotted within range of his arms and legs.
Upon returning to his wife's side, he looked at her worriedly. "How's Reiko?" he asked. His wife was currently carrying their daughter on her back. She was still unconscious after the match with Naruto.
"She's doing fine, but she's still hurt and in probably no condition to fight even if she woke up now," Kushina said softly now that the area was, at least for now, devoid of enemy shinobi.
Minato smiled softly. "That's good." He paused. "And what about… Naruto?" His voice, even under these circumstances, cracked upon mentioning his son's name.
Kushina's eyes saddened. "…I don't know, Minato. Right after the kage box exploded and this invasion began, I haven't seen him. You don't think…"
Minato placed a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sure he's fine," he said. "I mean, he went toe to toe with Reiko in her 3 tailed state and came out no much worse for wear, so…"
Kushina sighed even as they hurried out of the area and off to a shelter to drop Reiko off there. "I know, but… even after all that's happened between us, he's still our son!"
"I know…" Minato said softly.
They paused briefly in their movement in time to see Kakashi appear before them. "Are you alright? And what about Orochimaru?" he asked.
"We're fine, Kakashi," Minato replied. "And as for Orochimaru… I don't know. One second, he was right there in front of us and then the next… he was just gone."
Kakashi's eyes – both his normal eye and his Sharingan eye, which he had unveiled right now – narrowed in worry.
"Kakashi, here," Kushina said, gently handing Reiko over to him. "Take her to a shelter for now. Make sure she stays there too; she's too beat up to be able to help us out right now."
"Right," Kakashi replied, taking Reiko.
"Kakashi, once you do that, I want you and every other able-bodied jounin to see to all of Konoha's entrances," Minato commanded. "Make sure that any enemy combatants there are dealt with and seal them off to keep potential enemy reinforcements out for now. While you're at it, see if you can scrounge together a dozen chunin or so and get them to do a methodical sweep of every street. I want all the enemies roaming about dealt with as soon as possible."
Kakashi nodded firmly. "Right. What about you two, though?"
Minato and Kushina glared fiercely as they turned around and looked over the village. Their village, which was currently being torn about figuratively and literally by all of the battles being waged out there. "We'll be doing exactly what we should be doing: defending our home. And I, for one, plan to start with all of the enemies' summons alongside sensei," Minato said.
"And I'll be dealing with anyone that tries to go for the hospitals," Kushina said. "I'm pretty sure Tsunade and Shizune are there right now. They could probably use an extra hand defending the place."
Kakashi nodded again. "Right. Please, be careful."
"You too, Kakashi," Minato said just before he and his wife took off.
It was time they finally got to work.
And that is it for this chapter. Not as long as the previous chapter, but still rather close, being 21 pages total whereas the previous one had been nearly 33 pages long.
Well, I certainly hope I lived up to my promise of making Orochimaru seem powerful and all that (I have to say it was rather hard trying to keep him powerful, but not too overwhelmingly powerful). That said, you can most likely expect a conclusion to his battle within the next chapter or the one after that one. At any rate, when it does come about, I do hope you enjoy it as I will finally be unveiling the power of Miki's magical weapon.
And I also hope you enjoyed the unveiling of Takehiko's and Katsu's magical weapons as well.
As always, I hope you enjoyed the chapter. Be sure to review and until next time, take care!