Chapter 37: Three Dragons
A low howling whistle escapes in the air, the wind gently caresses his cheeks.
The red head awakens and he rises from the sandy desert land and looks around.
Above him, nothing but clear blue skies with several clouds floating in the air as they change their shapes quickly as they came. Around him, nothing but the vast but familiar desert of his country.
Gaara looks around and he notices the winds were not as harsh as that of Kaze no Kuni.
Something was off, he could tell. But awakening in such a place puzzled him as well. Was he not supposed to be in Suna? Nothing about the desert where he awoke seemed to be showing signs of his village beyond the horizon.
Gaara looked down on his hand and noted that the harsh stinging rays of the sun in his village did not seem to take effect.
Wondering how it was even possible to not feel the harsh heat of the sun in their desert country, Gaara now stood up and felt the gentle wind lightly touch him once more.
Such wind was never present in his village, the wind of the desert was harsh, it brought nothing but searing pain in the day and unforgiving cold in the night.
The Kazekage looks around once more, nothing was of interest. Not a living creature could be seen.
Then, flashes of memories enter his mind, he could picture his battle that lasted until the peak of sunrise, against a member of Akatsuki that could maneuver and fly and evade his sand.
Gaara clutched his head, a bit of the pain enters his skull as he remembered how he had protected the village with all his might, costing him a significant amount of chakra.
"Gaara, my sweet Gaara…"
A voice brought him out of his thoughts as he looked behind him, there stood a woman, sandy blonde hair, reaching just behind her nape, an uncanny appearance to his dead uncle was present in her features, and a long robe that wrapped around her, as if protecting her from the sun.
"W-who are you?" Gaara asked, a slight bit of confusion and dread filled him. The lady before him merely maintained her beatific smile as she walked towards him. Her left hand reaches out to him just enough of a distance for Gaara's shield of sand to activate, but that never came. In this moment of distraction, the lady seizes her opportunity and touched Gaara by his left cheek.
"My time with you may have been brief, but the moment I saw you, the moment you cried and when my hand reached out to you, to carry you within my arms, that was the moment that I knew that I have loved you, from your very first breath."
Tears slowly appeared from Gaara's eyes as the lady smiled warmly and pulled Gaara close to envelop him within her arms.
"You have suffered much. You have endured so much and in a moment of your weakness, gave in to your hatred. I can tell… I can tell how much it hurt you."
"Let me ease your pain, Gaara, my youngest child, even if it is only brief once again. I… Cannot call out to you again like this."
His mother shook his head, "Do not be sad any longer, you have earned just this much. You still cannot come to my side. You are still alive."
It soon dawned on him, he was on the verge of death. He had lost protecting his village and was whisked away by Akatsuki. But if he was seeing his mother now, then why is he still alive?
His mother slightly pushed him away from her but still held him within arms' reach.
"You have made a connection, Gaara, one that stems from the understanding of your pain. You have come far, forming such a near unbreakable bond. I could not be any happier than I am now. But it's not your time yet."
The wind suddenly swirls around them, the sand began acting up as they were swept by the winds, her mother's gentle wind, Gaara supposed.
Gaara took note of his mother's sweet smile, her eyes were filled with tenderness and warmth but he could not help but weep once more. Sabaku no Karura, that was his mother's name. The one Yashamaru told him about. It seemed, that even with the murkiness of his father's doings, Yashamaru never lied to him about his mother's love.
"Go back, Gaara, go back to your country, to your friend, to your siblings. They still need you."
Gaara merely gave a wordless nod and Karura gently pushed him once more and away.
"The jutsu that I gave you, my last blessing before I died, will always be with you, and in a way, I will always be with you. But just remember, Gaara…"
It was Karura then who shed her tears for her son, one filled with happiness and joy for a brief meet and parting, "I will always love you, forever and more."
Her form then blurred as the winds began getting stronger and stronger until Gaara's vision could no longer make up the form of his mother.
He reached out but found the wind to be so strong that he was stopped.
Gaara closes his eyes for a brief second and opens them only to find a endless swarm of Naruto's clones flying high above him and around him.
He looked up and saw his captor looking around in panic as the Konoha shinobi had managed to close down all avenues of escape.
Just before Naruto could detonate all of the clones that were charging at the mad bomber, Gaara had managed to slip through the man's watch and rolled sideways to drop into the air.
A series of cascading explosions escapes his ears. Gaara looks up and see a large circular cloud of grey smoke escaping every which way, Gaara had gathered sand beneath his feet and landed on to his platform of sand.
Then, from one side of the circle, something shoots out of the smoke.
An injured Deidara manages to get away even after being surrounded by all sides of the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki's clones. His clay bird damaged from the looks of things and the Akatsuki member chose to discard his ride for a newer one.
It was the third bird he had conjured up that day and he was getting annoyed that his works were getting destroyed by one of their targets managing to one up against him once more.
'Amazing piece of art, though.' Deidara complimented the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi inwardly for showing him such a fleeting moment of beauty that he couldn't help but feel compelled to one up the bastard with his own creation.
Deidara then turned his vision to the recently awakened Kazekage. A raised brow escaped on his one visible eye as the red head was now standing up on to his platform of sand and raised his right hand. A steam of sand then appears from the ground racing up towards the Akatsuki member. Deidara seemed non-plussed about the fact that two Jinchuuriki were about to make sure he gets killed.
"Tch. Just my dumb fucking luck."
The sand swirls in the air as it went straight for Deidara, the mad bomber clasped his hands together and a plume of smoke escapes from below him, another peregrine falcon clay bird model flapped its wings upward and streaked past the air as the mad bomber landed on it and narrowly escaped Gaara's pincer move.
Up above, Naruto saw the movement of sand in the air and the sight lifts his spirits.
Gaara is now awake!
The blonde dove down to see where the Kazekage was and found the teen standing on a platform of sand in midair.
Gaara turned around and saw Naruto now standing beside him the board beneath the blonde's feet stabilized as he stood up straight and said to him.
"Shouldn't you be resting? You're low on chakra right now."
Gaara responded with a nod, agreeing with his fellow container, "I should be, but the chakra you've given me is more than enough to maintain this. I cannot control sand as much as I can when I am on the desert, but I can at least do this."
The streak of sand that was pursuing Deidara turned into a different shape, compressing together to form a deformed spear and packed densely by Gaara's command.
"Saikyo zetai Kougeki: Shukaku no Yari (Supreme Absolute Attack: Spear of Shukaku)"
Naruto grinned, a clone formed by his side as he performed the necessary seal, with the clone now forming a Rasengan with its hand while Naruto began spinning chakra with his forearm. The blonde didn't know how this would affect his current jutsu, but Naruto hardened his resolve. Akatsuki was a threat and all doctrine concerning threats ended up the same throughout all the established nations of the world.
They needed to be dispatched.
If Tsunade was going to pour all of Konoha's power to bear against its enemies, then Naruto would be happy to oblige.
Slamming the Rasengan to his wind infused forearm, Naruto absorbed the force of a storm into his hand and quickly, the winds answered his actions in kind. It howled wildly in the sky like a screeching tornado, and Naruto turned his sights towards the fleeing Akatsuki member.
Like a comet streaking to the night sky, Naruto flew straight across the heavens as his figure was distorted by both wisps of chakra and wind, covering his entire form like a shooting star, obscuring his visage and making a loud boom as he sped further and further. Momentum increasing, Naruto activated his third jutsu as he broke the sound barrier.
There was a loud deafening boom as the clouds gave way, forming a perfect circular ring around the blonde and the trees rustled below giving away hurricane force winds that smashed its way down towards the forest.
Naruto then caught up to Gaara's spear of sand and instinctively, he grabbed the spear by its long shaft and proceeded to aim at Deidara's clay falcon.
The Akatsuki member could only watch as the spear smashed its way into the falcon from the tail feathers.
It was only for a second, a very minute, small and even unnoticeable one, but in that brief moment, just before Naruto had collided with Deidara, the sand spear within Naruto's hands allowed itself to be aimed to what Naruto was going after and deemed the blonde its master as it approached its target from behind.
Deidara turned around seconds from disaster only to see that he could only watch as Naruto tore through the skies and smashing on to his flying vessel.
The spear connected and the clay falcon all but destroyed by Naruto and Gaara's attack. The monstrous force created an explosion so loud that the sound of it could be heard miles and miles away like a volcano exploding in tremendous fashion as grains of sand littered the sky. Naruto, being at the epicenter of the impact, spun uncontrollably in the air and the blonde adjusted slowed his momentum and honed his eyes in against his opponent.
He saw Deidara being blown away from the epicenter but the mad bomber still had clay in his hands to conjure another one of his damn creations.
But Naruto would not let him.
"OH NO, YOU DON'T!" Naruto shouted and zipped through the air once more and this time, managing to land a punch on Deidara's right cheek sending the Akatsuki member to crash on to the forest below.
Dust and debris soon rose from the ground as the earth gave in from such a tremendous force that Deidara managed to form a crater beneath him.
Destruction lay waste to the lands but this fight would not go any further.
This was over.
It had been some time since Sasori was presented with a challenge. Many of his enemies had crumbled before him with just Hiruko alone. The marvel of his puppetry technique was second only to none and even the great second Kazekage, Chikamatsu the first puppet master could not hold a candle with the innovations and the engineering it took in creating his works of art.
Hiruko alone, a puppet he had painstakingly designed from the ground up without any other models or previous blueprints to base off, was a marvel in the world of puppetry. He had forgone mobility at first in place of a veritable compact fortress of a puppet designed to protect its user from any and all forms of attack and improved upon them by the time he had acquired a specialized alloy to absorb chakra. He had also designed the puppet now with multiple redundancies to repair his puppet that was unique with his own abilities that came as a puppet master, self-repairing and constant work on his puppet in case of attacks made it sure that his puppet would remain in fighting condition and protect the puppeteer for a long time. All that was supported by multiple tiny puppets that moved on his command to where the damage was and repair them with multiple mechanisms and formulas he had learned when creating poisons to patch up the damages that his puppet would have to endure.
Minimal chakra use, self-repairing redundancies within the puppet and armed to the teeth with weapons either dipped in poison or explosive armed munitions made Hiruko a veritable mobile fortress that would remain unconquerable for most. Granted, by the time Sasori had optimized this creation, the puppet became a much more complex system than what he had intended it to be. But Hiruko now was much more difficult to overcome than what he had imagined.
The puppet hissed and gave numerous ominous clacks as Hiruko's back, to where he had placed majority of those chakra absorbing alloys began to seep out smoke from the mouth and the eyes.
Neji, Lee and Tenten prepared for what was to come when the eyes of Hiruko's back began to glow to a menacing red and popped up from its back slightly from the sockets to supported to what appeared to be multiple tubes and looking right at them.
A stream of fire escapes from the right eye, blowing out and fanning outside as Neji, Lee and Tenten had managed to evade the gout of flame, jumping to the sides with Tenten jumping up and called forth her bow and aimed a chakra arrow downwards. Lee and Neji were at the side, their paths curving outwards from the puppet and then making a sharp turn towards their target as the puppet managed to prop up four tubes from the sides, two aiming at Neji and two aimed at Lee while the tail surprisingly elongated and went straight to the top.
The trio were reacted quickly with Neji letting out an air shell to his front, disrupting the trajectory of the projectiles and scattering them away from him while Lee had accelerated and passed through the projectiles as he had seen his opportunity to strike.
Neji responded in kind and flickered close enough that Sasori was caught by surprise. Neji, with a chopping motion of his electrified hand, had made his chakra vibrate as his hand approached the set of legs on the puppet's legs and subsequently cut them down seamlessly, like how a blade can cut through string. The effect of the vibrations increased the effectiveness of Neji's attack.
Neji took a page out of Naruto's moves and subsequently applied the nature of lightning chakra to its most offensive tool yet. The effect was instantaneous, Hiruko became unbalanced once one side of the legs were severed. It had then exposed the puppet's underbelly.
With the first objective done, Neji retreated just as the massive tail was about to hit him.
From above, Tenten released the chakra arrow and aimed her weapon at the base of the tail. It would be difficult to aim for an area mostly covered by the giant tail of the puppet, but she had another trick up her sleeve with the chakra arrow.
Tilting the bow lightly sideways, she unleashed the chakra arrow in complete sync to her turn of the bow and the chakra arrow did an unnatural curve in the air as it descended hitting the base of the tail!
Sasori was surprised. He had never seen such a person be so skilled with weaponry that her shot could curve in midair and hit something that she couldn't see!
Second objective met, Tenten landed on the ground and hid behind one of the stone walls that were in place of the cave.
So surprised and astonished of this fact that he could not react fast enough when Lee had closed in instantly all bulked up with arm reaching back as far as he could and gathered the necessary momentum for one thunderous punch.
It was less than a second, but that was all that Lee needed to execute his part, his technique with this one punch. Timing, stance, posture, aim, speed, momentum, range and execution, Lee performed them all flawlessly for this one technique, this one second for that one moment to use man's most primitive weapon. He crouched down, gathering more energy from the ground and inhaled as much air as he could. Oxygen powering his entire being, every single cell in his body strengthened further as he closed the distance.
Wisps of hot air escape his mouth and nose as he exhaled signifying how much oxygen his lungs needed to perform this one single strike.
Lee's right hand tensed and shook as he swung it forward with a closed fist the force of Lee's swing and the energy built up from his punch began to make the very air itself around him to burn up, his fists catching far as the Lee had done the impossible and caused friction in the air, his right hand burning up as it caught on fire aiming to smash through Hiruko's tough hide.
"Kongosho: Hasshodo (Diamond way: Eight-fold path)!"
A punch that could destroy everything in its path, defenses crumble in its way bones break and soft flesh scatters. This one single punch manage to find its way directly at Sasori's side and his beloved puppet, Hiruko, was smashed to smithereens, Iron wood breaking, and metal bending and collapsing from the might of that single punch. The puppet shattered, broken beyond repair.
The puppet was then sent cratering to another part of the cave, the ground gave way and formed a trench as it was sent away and the remains of Hiruko scatters all about the cave. Neji, Lee and Tenten await in silence, anticipating a corpse, mangled beyond belief, beneath the monstrous puppet that their enemy used as a moving fortress.
A few more seconds later and the smoke cleared, the main body of the puppet was destroyed but the inside did not hold the puppeteer that Neji had predicted. Instead, the puppet was hollow.
Alarm bells were ringing inside Neji's head. If they couldn't notice the puppeteer's escape then…
Neji was suddenly surprised when he saw Lee being blown back by something large, dark and round. He looked towards where Lee had been and was surprised to see a giant around ball now remained in his place. Lee crashed towards the stone wall just behind them, blown away from with something they had not foreseen.
"You cretins destroyed Hiruko, one of my favorite puppets, my creation…"
Above one of the protruding rocks that rose upwards, there stood an enraged looking red head, boyish features and sharp looking eyes, smoke billowing around him, wearing the red cloak with red cloud patterns Neji, Tenten and Lee could recognize and surrounding the red haired Akatsuki member was another puppet in his arsenal, much more traditional looking, but with spiky long black hair, wearing a brown cloak that was slashed diagonally on the torso and fur that reached upwards to its upper cheeks surrounded the puppet's neck, revealing a mechanical cylinder with a gate that was sealed shut on its chest as multiple tubes intertwined and connected attached to said cylinder like a core.
Sasori was now looking at them with utter contempt.
"I WILL MAKE YOU SUFFER!"
The iron ball then dissolved and dispersed in midair, scattering every which way.
Sasori then angrily channels his chakra strings once again and the gated cylinder on the chest of his hidden weapon opened and a light blue glow escapes from it.
With fury in his eyes, Sasori called upon the iron sand to move once more and spoke to his opponents.
"I will make use of the Sandaime Kazekage's kekkei genkai and kill you all! Death by a thousand cuts!"
With the words of the deadly puppeteer now a promise of fate worse than death, Neji remembered just what they were facing now.
"The Sandaime Kazekage… Known as the king of Iron Sands." Neji uttered, enough for Tenten to hear. If that was the case, then Tenten needed to change her game plan.
Lee emerged from rubble, seemingly unharmed. The wounds that he sustained earlier were already healing at an impressive rate.
Smoke wafted from his form and saw the dispersing iron ball into streams of iron sand in the air.
Lee may have been the deadlast of his class, but that was only due to his inability to do Ninjutsu and Genjutsu. He was nowhere near as versed as Sakura on her intellect, but he knows a unique ability of one of the Kages if he ever saw one.
Aiming to be a splendid shinobi with just his work ethic and Taijutsu, Lee read many books about the Shinobi from the founding of Konoha, to even the kage of other villages to see why they would be bestowed the highest honor of any shinobi alive.
In his many nights of looking for inspiration about the numerous shinobi with accolades that predates even the hidden villages themselves, The Sandaime Kazekage caught his attention, being named as the greatest Kazekage to have ever lived and his untimely demise with an assassination.
Along with the third Kazekage's infamy, he knew about the man's ability to manipulate iron sand.
To see the iron sand in action was a mesmerizing and terrifying sight to behold.
Lee then knew that the situation would not be in their favor now.
If this member was able to kill the Sandaime Kazekage, then it was obvious now that they were facing a kage as well.
With this understanding, Lee had accepted the fact that there was a high chance that they would be killed.
Lee clenched his teeth and then spoke to Neji, "Neji, this is a battle we cannot expect to win. Even if we go all out, this man, Sasori of the Red Sands, has managed to beat a kage. But I do not intend to go down as a coward. I will face him, with all the power that I could muster."
Neji looked back at Lee, Byakugan activated and Tenten did as well. It was true. With the reveal of the Sandaime Kazekage as a puppet to be used by its own killer, Tenten knew that she would need to throw everything at the man. She refused to go down without fighting.
Lee then continued, still in Kongosho, began to take a familiar stance.
"I will bet my life on it! Hachimon Tonkou (Eight Gates Opening)!"
First gate… Open
A rush of powerful chakra soon flooded Lee as he entered the state. Limits pushed down, overcame with every second as Lee attempted to open the second.
Sasori took this chance before Lee could even attempt to open the second gate.
"Satetsu Kesshu (Iron Sand Gathering Assault)!"
Drizzles of iron sand then began coalescing around the puppeteer and puppet and formed all conceivable three-dimensional shapes and sizes as the three-man cell from Konoha, rather than splitting up, rallied with Lee as Neji intended to push his technique further than it already is now.
Sparks were flying away from his form, lightning lashing out everywhere. Neji reacted as the metal weapons reached his field of reaction immediately. He vanished from sight just as quickly and stepped on a rectangular cuboid shape structure made of iron sand. Neji took note of this. The shapes were dense and compact enough that he could step on it without ever sinking, it was as if he was stepping on a solid metal surface rather than iron fillings.
But he also noticed something.
As soon as his foot touched the object, the sparks of electricity leaving him surged all around the object. Something happened, surely. The iron fillings suddenly dispersed it's as if what was holding them together was gone!
Neji landed on the floor noticing the Iron sand seemed to have trouble forming back as another shape made its way to him Neji, rather than dodging and shifting his enemy target from him to Lee or Tenten, stood his ground and performed a Kaiten while lightning surged around him, the effect was the plasma circling around him grew in intensity as he spun cancelling the formation of shapes from the iron sand and scattering them about in every which way.
An idea enters his mind.
'So lightning counters the magnetization of the iron fillings. Charging them up changes their polarity.'
Arcs of lightning crackled around the cave, forming streams of angry plasma every which way around Neji as he stopped his momentum from spinning.
A new jutsu was formed.
'Ryujo Kaiten (Prancing Dragon Heavenly Spin)'
"Second gate… Open!" Gale force winds were now gathering around Lee rising upwards as his chakra network expanded. Fatigue was replaced with energy brimming inside Lee, threatening to spill out as he dug deeper within himself.
Neji nodded internally, good, Lee was able to open the second gate without problem. His job of protecting Lee while he redirects Sasori's attention seems to be paying off for now. But that would soon change as Sasori's attention turned to his teammate.
Sasori knew that letting the boy gather up the necessary power to match his puppet was going to be trouble for him later. So the puppet master decided to change his tactics and instead of getting rid of his teammate first who seems to be forming a counter piece by piece, he would go to the one who had the potential to steamroll through his technique later on.
With that in mind, Sasori manipulated his puppet and said weapon gave an ominous clacking noise as it rushed towards Lee who stood still while the iron sands made their way towards him performing different shapes to either pierce, cut, tear or crush him.
Neji was about to intervene but found himself stalling as he could now feel his every muscle and chakra network aching from his over usage of Kanmuru.
"Gurenjigoku: Karyu Enbu (Pyroclasm: Flame Dance of the Fire Dragon)!"
Flames coiled and surged in the air leaving behind small embers in its wake that danced along with the surge of fire. A fire dragon shaped head rose into a spiral as Tenten appeared to be on the center on the ground, wielding a massive blade that ignited on her command and held it in a reverse grip behind her.
Third gate… Open
Iron shavings scattered around her as she remained in her stance. She looked back at Lee who had the telltale signs of unlocking the third gate.
She then looked back at Sasori who was looking at her with a raised eyebrow.
Funny how he seemed to have an expression as if he was looking at an ant.
"I'm not letting you get close to our only hope of ever putting a stop to you. You may have the Third Kazekage, but it doesn't mean we're going to back down from this. We will prevail over you!"
The puppeteer merely gave of an amused smirk that suddenly turned dangerous.
But it was Tenten first who went on the offensive. Waving her giant sword around her, multiple tongues of flames surrounded her as she activated her weapon's second Katon Jutsu.
"Karyu Enbu: Hado (Flame Dance of the Fire Dragon: Wave Motion)"
These tongues of flames then began to gather to her blade, imbuing it with fire properties as Tenten lunged forward with Sasori sending out the third Kazekage's iron sand. Tenten's form was then surrounded by a coiling flame dragon that danced alongside her as she surged forward, the dragon looking as if it was spinning with every slash and jumping around with every step, protecting her from the iron sand that was heading towards her. As she got close, the wave of flames that made the flame dragon surged forward and went straight to Sasori who had gathered the iron sand around him and formed into a ball as the flames slammed onto the iron ball that protected the Puppeteer.
Fourth Gate… Open
The flames scattered about but not before leaving a red-hot angry flames scattering about like streams of blazing rivers all around. The iron ball scatters, with a surprised Sasori exposed directly in Tenten's line of sight. Gurenjigoku vanishes from Tenten's hands and out came a three sectioned staff.
Tenten knew that using metal against the third Kazekage was tantamount to suicide. Magnetism was her enemy and only through her jutsu could she kept the iron sand at bay. She had not trained for using Raidensou (Spear of Thunder and Lightning) as it was not yet something that she could comfortably wield yet. So, in this instant, she would use Sanzuryukon (Three Headed Dragon Staff).
In one quick fluid motion, Tenten twisted the red dragon head and completed the seal that shifted her attribute to power and thrusted the staff forward.
Sasori had managed to evade in time, as the impact of the staff's blunt end hit the third Kazekage puppet square in face and a large, deafening shockwave escaped, blowing away both puppeteer and weapons expert from each other.
Tenten rolled on the ground backwards as Sasori managed to prevail with his feet still on the ground but was sent skidding backwards by several meters.
Tenten got up, a smile on her face as she knew that she had planted a good hit but her smile disappeared seeing the puppet still intact.
'That's impossible, I placed a good hit! I know I did!' In her eyes, she had managed to land her strike to the puppet perfectly! How was it that it looked like it was undamaged?
Then she managed to see Iron sand dissipating from the third Kazekage's face.
She knew her answer then and there.
Clicking her tongue in disappointment, Tenten slowly began to stand and noticed her left arm was dangling in a limp and her body aching everywhere. She flinched as she got up. The force of using the power aspect of Sanzuryukon and the recoil of using everything she had against the puppeteer only to fail had done a number on her.
She gritted her teeth as she forced herself back up as Sasori finally discerned the extent of his opponents.
"hehehehe… HAHAHAHAHA! You're done for, you cretins!"
Maniacal laugh escapes him, the two shinobi were injured by their own jutsu and the third one had failed to accumulate enough power to match him and his puppet.
Sasori then flicked his hand and the puppet behind him complied. From the cloak of the automaton began an ominous clacking sound, forming a large claw like weapon from beneath the cloth. It raised its weapon sideways and dashed. It's first target, the Hyuuga.
Neji was still feeling the effects of the backlash of his jutsu, his body ached, as if a thousand needles were piercing deep into him continuously. Neji tried and failed to force himself to get up as the Third Kazekage puppet flew at him with the intent to tear him apart limb from limb. Neji could only watch helplessly as the puppet raised its weapon and ready to strike him down.
Fifth gate… Open
A gentle breeze.
It was quick and unnoticeable. Neji had suddenly noticed that this swaying wind had blown away the weapon that was to come down on him.
Sasori was suddenly taken aback at this as he tried once more, only to be met with the same result, his puppet couldn't touch the Hyuuga whatever weird updraft was happening. Sasori clenched his teeth and pulled his puppet back as he willed his puppet to control the iron sand once more.
"Satetsu Kaiho (Iron sand: World Method)!"
The iron sand began forming into multiple interconnecting branches as it gathered around Sasori and resorted to pulverize his enemies all at once now.
Iron sand branches then turned its spread towards Tenten and Neji who could only watch as the black metal in sand form were about to crush them.
Sasori was then met with a powerful gale of wind that blasted him back
Sasori was sent flying towards the upper wall of the cave crashing on it and embedding himself there as the Third Kazekage puppet crumpled out in one of the elevated earth platforms to where Sasori stood and out in front, in between Neji and Tenten stood Lee, now unlocked with the power of five of the eight gates, standing with the recognizable stance of the Goken.
Was all Sasori could mutter as Lee remained wordless and still out at his front. Sasori growled in contempt as Lee shifted his stance.
"You will not touch them." Lee declared as he chambered his fist back gathering as much power in it as he could.
Lee took a deep breath once more as steam rose out of his mouth with gritted teeth, the flow and surge of power was evident as his chakra spiked to astronomical levels as if…
"… He's matching the power output of a jinchuuriki." Neji mumbled to himself as he saw his friend shifted in his stance and saw the flow of chakra widen before it gathered at a center point, to Lee's right hand, to where his biggest knuckle was.
Quick on the uptake and realizing that Lee was about to let go of something powerful, Sasori pulled the third Kazekage puppet back to him and enveloped himself in Iron Sand in a dome once more. With Lee appearing suddenly in a blink of an eye just in front of the third Kazekage puppet that he had recalled.
"Two paths converging as one, THIS IS MY SECRET TECHNIQUE! RYU TEN'NO METSUBOJINRAI! (Dragon Emperor Downfall Thunderclap)"
With that, the cave shatters upon impact of Lee's fist directly at the Third Kazekage and the earth gives way outside.
Somewhere in Kawa no Kuni:
Two loud explosions could be heard by the two, the first one, they saw the sky be cleared by an invisible force, most likely a shockwave. They saw the clouds curve and contorted into an unnatural bend before a large cloud of dust exploded from afar.
A few minutes later, another shockwave hits. This time, it was on the ground, a shockwave so powerful that there was an uprising of earth and dust in the far distance.
"It sounded like a volcano just erupted."
Kakashi mentioned as Sasuke nodded wordlessly. They needed to back up as soon as possible. It was here that they were met with Gai, a little winded, with some scratches and a little wet but not out of the fight.
"Did you have any encounters?" Kakashi asked and Gai nodded.
"A weird little fish man tried to get in our way, it is a good thing that Naruto and Neji saw through the man's intentions and they left to what could where Akatsuki has placed the Kazekage. Wait, maybe not a fish man, maybe an imp?"
Kakashi looked exasperated at this, it was natural for Gai to forget the name and faces of his enemies after he'd beaten them. He was just too quick on the draw to see them properly and he focused more on their movements. Gai would have faced Kisame and won for all he knew, and the man would have forgotten that fact.
"We're getting close." Sasuke mentioned and asked permission to go ahead.
Kakashi acquiesced to Sasuke's decision.
With that, Sasuke bit his lip and performed the Kuchiyose no Jutsu with a giant hawk screeching from the white smoke. Sasuke rode on his summon and flew up, intent on finishing the fight.
Kakashi then looked at Gai, "I'm surprised you let your students go ahead even if they were helped by Naruto who is a jounin and Neji, your other jounin."
Gai smiked, "I've seen their work, Kakashi, with just my students alone, they are enough to face down any threats. They are an assault team, and they carry a lot of power in their belts. Their first objective as their designated assignment is to survive the frontlines."
Kakashi could not argue with that, his team was built with almost the same principles and designation, but they were more tactical, preferring surgical strikes and midrange support than close range.
"Besides, they have a few tricks up their sleeves. These past three years have been nothing but fruitful and they have a specific goal in mind to match with that drive. If anything, they are the least to die first on the battlefield now."
Kakashi just hoped that Gai's intuition was just as sharp as his.
When Sasuke had arrived at the scene where he thought was the epicenter of the first explosion, he was surprised to see a huge amount of sand littered the area below, enveloping the ground with Naruto landing down and searching for his enemy and Gaara breathing heavily, alive but fatigued if his weakning chakra was to be observed.
Sasuke landed down beside the Kage and reported, "Have you beaten Akatsuki?"
Gaara shook his head, "I am still waiting for confirmation, Naruto is out there trying to find his enemy in his new ability. He calls it sage mode. I've never seen anything like it."
More than that, Gaara had survived. He had thought he himself had died. But it seemed he still had some unfinished business left in the world. And the fact that Naruto had saved him once more assured him that he wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Sasuke meanwhile decided to follow up on his teammate by going after him.
Deep within the forest was Deidara, his cloak tattered and ripped open from his last battle, ruined after an explosion and further destroyed once the nine-tails Jinchuuriki had landed his commanding blow.
He gritted his teeth in anger. This was supposed to be a manageable mission. He and his partner managed to secure their target, the Ichibi, yet they were surprised when Konoha had gotten word of their activities. Deidara swore to the heavens with just how their intelligence reports were lacking considering that the Kyuubi Jinchuurii caught them flatfooted. Somebody in the organization had been doing a terrible job. And Deidara knew who he was going after when the next meeting starts.
Two clones of the nine-tails jinchuuriki suddenly surprised him as they got the drop on the mad bomber. Deidara was surprised when the boy intercepted him once more, Deidara was about to perform a seal when he noticed that his arms were suddenly locked at the shoulder joints and decided to toss him back.
Deidara then turned around, and saw another blonde, more likely the real one this time, with hands open and in the middle of a chopping motion, he could see the contortion of the hand's space slightly extending outward as the wind gently whistles.
'Screw the objective, I'm going to waste you, asshole!'
Deidara's cheek suddenly swells, and his body suddenly balloons. Naruto increased his speed more and went past the Akatsuki member in one fluid motion and his hand slicing the air between him and Deidara.
Naruto then jumped up and saw Deidara fall to the forest floor bisected by the waist with a look of surprise written on the man's face.
It was then replaced when the mad bomber spoke, "YOU'RE DEAD KYUUBI JINCHUURIKI, LET ME REMIND YOU THAT YOU HAVEN'T BEATEN ME YET! ART IS AN EXPLOSION!"
A large flash of light then escapes the two parts of Deidara's body as the pent-up energy reached its peak and about to burst.
Naruto shielded his eyes and jumped back as far as he could before he could be swallowed by Akatsuki member's last resort.
Before he could escape though, he heard the distinct sound of a thousand birds chirping.
Naruto may have escaped the explosion itself, but he was blasted back by a shockwave and sent him crashing through one of the trees and finally falling on the ground.
The blond groaned in pain and saw only one trail of smoke upwards, he got up, a little worse for ware but ultimately fine. From the distance, he saw Sasuke stabbing the upper half of Deidara's body with a long chakra spear that was crackling madly.
Naruto sighed, so this was Sasuke's jutsu, Chidori Eisou (Chirping of a Thousand Birds, True spear). He noted that the explosion must have only been half as powerful, and he was lucky that it could have been worse if not for that last second save.
"Couldn't finish the job, huh?"
Naruto merely clicked his tongue, "It was a lucky shot."
"You kissing the ground says otherwise."
A silence escapes within the two, "I've got a lot of things we need to talk about. First we need to get back to Gaara and Bushy Brows' team and support them. Things are going to get worse from here on out."
Sasuke pulled Naruto up and before he left, he wanted to make sure that the Akatsuki member was dead.
A few seconds later, Sasuke called out to the blonde and Naruto threw the corpse into the flaming pit that the lower half had exploded on.
He would not notice that the burning corpse soon later turn grey and melt within the flames.
Too much dust and debris all around them, Neji, Lee and Tenten were all coughing as they were on the ground with Lee plopping down earlier near them with his body in as much pain as with his two other teammates. Outside, they could hear the sound of thunder echoing in the distance, the entire area seemed a bit colder than it was before.
"Holy shit… We did it." Tenten said, finding it hard to believe that they bested a ninja that was at Kage level.
"That iron sand… It was too hard to beat. I'm surprised we managed to survive." Neji muttered which earned a nod from both Tenten and Lee.
"If only Gai-sensei were to see our progress now…"
"That won't be necessary."
A familiar voice comes out of the smoke and all three Konoha shinobi turned around to see Sasori, now without his cloak, his whole body now visible to see, a body made of wood and metal. Six curving pieces of metal then unfurled from behind Sasori, almost resembling legs of a scorpion with his joints now visible as hinges with Sasori's stomach now replaced with a large malleable metallic cable with its needle tip dripping with poison. Another roar of thunder escapes outside as drops of rain started to fall
"I congratulate you for managing to scrape your way here."
"How the hell does that work!?" Tenten pointed at the puppet with her good arm as Sasori chuckled.
"I'm much more impressed that you can stare death in the face. I guess it must be a given seeing as you are made into an assault team."
The cable then extends upwards before planting itself in the ground bending slightly as Sasori grabbed a scroll behind him and unfurled it.
"You three are worthy to be part of my collection!" Sasori said hungrily as he tossed the open scroll upwards as one hundred puppets materialized into existence with Sasori spreading the metallic curves in his back, more looking like a bat rather than a scorpion as hundreds of chakra strings sprouts from a compartment that Sasori revealed on his right shoulder.
"For your prize before your death, I present to you my jutsu that fell a country. Aka Higi: Hyakki no Soen (Red Secret Technique: Performance of a Hundred Puppets)"
Then, lightning strikes, twice in a second with one visible above as it arced from one side to another followed by a loud drum of thunder bellowing from the distance.
The visage of Sasori's shadow stretches towards the trio giving off an ominous look about him.
The three could only watch, injured, beaten and tired. They did not have the strength to resist. They were going to die.
Sasori's expression changed to a manic smile, his pupils constrict in the rush of putting down three shinobi that had not only overwhelmed his first puppet but matched his most powerful. Hiruko can be repaired, The Kazekage puppet can be repaired, the main chakra core of the puppet was left intact and he made it sure that it did. But these three…
These three would serve as good puppets for him, make him stronger make him close to perfection as he can get!
The puppets all gave menacing clicks and crackles as they pulled their weapons out and lunged at the trio. It was then that lightning struck several of the puppets down, but this time, the color was different.
The lightning was purple, and it ripped through ten puppets in a fraction of a second while it scattered the rest.
"Raiton: Ryoiki Shiden (Lightning Release: Purple Lightning Domain)"
Sasori was surprised when support had arrived. Sasori looked down and saw the infamous Hatake Kakashi now standing in front of his prey, one hand inside his pocket with another crackling with purple lightning.
It was as if nature was bending to his will.
"I'm glad we finally made it."
"Keimon kai (Gate of view open)!"
Gai then jumped beside Kakashi, a flaming aura escapes him as the two faced off against Sasori who was looking much more concerned now. He heard of tales of a Taijutsu practitioner in Konoha that was at the same level as the copy ninja. And to see the man confidently stand by THE Hatake Kakashi while activating six gates simultaneously at that, it was a fearsome sight to behold.
"Good job in holding down the line, my youthful students, but now it is time for you all to fall back. This time, allow us to protect you once more." Gai said giving a thumbs up to Lee, Neji and Tenten.
This didn't amuse Sasori at all.
"Don't you dare belittle me!"
With that, Sasori swarmed the area with his remaining ninety puppets as Kakashi outstretched his hand sideways and the purple lightning crackling in his hand turned into the shape of a vicious hound.
The lightning hound then pounced and proceeded to destroy all the puppets at once as Gai bent his knees lower and then jumped.
"Burn, my youth! ASA KUJAKU (Morning peacock)!"
Hundreds of burning fists flew threw the air that even the rain could not extinguish all hitting the swarming puppet army that came before him. Nothing seemed to get past the duo's jutsu as they did their work.
Sasori then manipulated the cable planted on the ground and hurled himself upwards before he was swallowed whole by both Guy's and Kakashi's jutsu.
Soon, the swarm ended, no puppet left intact as they all scattered on the ground. Sasori was nowhere to be found. The group were still on high alert for a few more minutes until they all calmed down. It seemed like Sasori chose to retreat and fight another day compared to making his last stand.
A sigh of relief escapes them as they saw no trace of Sasori left. Only the destruction of his puppet army.
Neji, Lee and Tenten survived for another day.
Soon, the storm died down, clouds above began clearing away, and clear skies could be seen once again.
Naruto, Sasuke and Gaara had all arrived at the once large cave, finding it in complete ruin with countless destroyed puppets around them.
"Whoa, what happened here?" Naruto asked, astonished at the destruction that occurred. Neji and Tenten then looked at each other then looked and pointed at Lee, battered and beaten, body aching from using five of the eight gates in combat.
"Seriously, Bushy Brows? How'd you do that?"
Lee could only grin, "Hardwork and dedication, Naruto-kun!"
Gaara then approached Lee wordlessly and for the first time in a long while, the red head smiled once more. "You are, indeed, a shinobi to be proud of, Lee. I am glad that I was the one you faced all those years ago."
"Anything for a friend, Kazekage-sama! Naruto-kun's friend is also my friend and if he wishes to chase his friends at the ends of the earth, then I too, am willing to do so!"
"And I apologize for what I did to you in that fight."
Lee could only give out a thumbs up and said, "All water under the bridge, Kazekage-sama! Your battle has only made me stronger for the future! Your fight may have almost ended my career, but I came back stronger than ever!"
"That's not exactly reassuring."
Gai couldn't help but weep in tears of joy as he struggled to keep Lee up.
"To be acknowledged by your rival and a kage no less! Lee, your hard work is recognized!"
"Okay guys, you can calm down now."
"No seriously, stop. We have injuries here."
"I'm seriously starting to wonder if I should have let myself get torn to shreds by that puppeteer."
"And leave me behind to put up with them? Really, Tenten?"
Neji, Lee and Tenten were then sent were then sent first to Suna to report their encounter on three large hawks as the rest of the team that faced Akatsuki remained behind.
Gaara had chosen to walk back to where Sasuke and Kakashi had found his fallen soldiers and said his prayers silently. Naruto watched as Gaara quietly mourned, seeing him kneel and clasped his hands together, knowing that they chose to look for him albeit recklessly. It spoke volumes on how they would trade their lives for him.
Naruto resolutely looked on. Reminding himself, that this was one of the burdens of being a Kage. A sorrowful reminder that any situation could lead to a death of his subordinates. There was no sorrow, only deep acceptance that one day, he may do so unknowingly as well.
Shinobi traded their lives for their work daily, it was a fact of life. But no matter how much it was commonplace; a death was still a death.
Once the dead were buried by sunset, the group settled for a camp near a river now bordering Kaze no Kuni. Once everything was settled, Naruto sat by the fire with the rest looking at the flames, possibly exhausted from their whole ordeal earlier.
"We have a lot to talk about" Naruto declared. The four shinobi looked at the blonde as he made his way to the fire.
It was here that Gai spoke when Neji reported to him their part of the mission.
"Neji-kun mentions you reacting badly to that statue. Up until then you were conducting yourself fairly well."
What statue was that anyway.
Naruto nodded, "I recently learned about it. It's not everyday that you see the Kyuubi freak out against a colossal statue with ten eyes."
Sasuke's eyes widened and Kakashi leaned in closer.
It couldn't be…
"Ten eyes, you say…" Kakashi trailed off as he looked to his side to where Sasuke was. Kakashi could recall the Uchiha also reacting badly at the sight of said statue.
"What did they call it?" Sasuke asked, just one more answer, and he could confirm it.
"The Kyuubi called it the Gedo Mazo…" Naruto replied.
Sasuke's eyes became focused on the blonde his sharingan suddenly flashes and turns into the Mangekyo Sharingan.
"Interesting…" A different voice comes out of Sasuke's lips as he held his hands together and raises it before his face, hiding his lips as Naruto looked at Sasuke in shock. The camp's flames flickered slightly.
'No…' Asura muttered inside the blonde as he recognized the voice.
The remaining shinobi were all on alert as the mere presence of Sasuke's chakra seemed to have a cold and chilling effect around him.
"Gedo Mazo, you say? That same statue back in Kusa?"
Beneath Sasuke's hands lay a devious smirk.
"Tell me more…"
Sakura, Shikamaru and Temari all were in the hospital now with the arrival of Gai's team. Temari eyed all of them warily and had asked of their mission status. A sigh of relief finally escapes Temari once Neji had stated, "We have successfully rescued the Kazekage."
This brought forth many of the staff inside the hospital cheering as shinobi left and right held their hands up in relief and tears of joy as their Kazekage had been rescued. A fate that he defied against all hope.
Sakura had whisked them all away and tended to their wounds with Shikamaru now the only person that was standing at Temari's side.
"Good news all around, wouldn't you say?" Shikamaru said with a smile as Temari remained silent but nodded all the same.
"You know, it wouldn't hurt to speak up about your thoughts on the matter." Shikamaru replied and Temari didn't reply once again.
It was weird, usually she had a snide comeback ready, or she would reply professionally. To give him the silent treatment was a little unsettling.
Shikamaru turned to Temari and saw that she was silently holding back her tears and failing as she heard the news of Gaara coming back alive and well.
"My little brother… Gaara… He's gone through hell and back…"
Shikamaru then grabbed a handkerchief from his pocket and handed it over to Temari.
The incumbent Kazekage turned to the Konoha shinobi in mild surprise as Shikamaru's head was turned away from her.
"Everyone is crying inside knowing your brother is safe and alive. It's only right that you cry harder than them. He's your brother."
Shikamaru then looked up, "There is no shame in crying. Especially now that it's a time to express them freely. More than anyone, Temari. You need this, more than they do."
Temari grabbed Shikamaru's handkerchief and accepted wordlessly.
"If you tell anyone about this…"
Shikamaru had already cut her off.
"You'll kill me, blah, blah, blah. I know how this works."
A moment of silence escapes the two until Temari speaks up, "Thank you, Shikamaru, for everything."
Shikamaru simply shrugged.
"I know you might find this weird but, I didn't do it just because it was my duty to my village."
He then turned to Temari, looking serious this time, "I did it mainly because I wanted to help you."
Through her tears, Temari felt her face heat up with Shikamaru laying his intentions bare. Whatever reason that her companion had in helping her, he made it personal for him and that was all Temari needed to hear.
It was here that Shikamaru made himself scarce and went outside and excused himself. As he opened the door, he was surprised to see Chiyo standing in front of them.
"Baki has told me of what you are planning, Konoha nin. I see the Nara genes are strong with you."
Without saying worth of praise, Chiyo was impressed with Shikamaru's strategizing. Temari halted her moment of joy for a moment and looked at Chiyo.
"Come. The night awaits for a scouring"
Temari looked serious for a moment and nodded. As she went out of their room, she saw Kankuro just beside the old puppeteer with Chiyo going upstairs.
Following the old woman, Temari was handed a cloak, black as the starless night and a scroll. She immediately recognized it and nodded again.
Shikamaru was handed the same cloak and now, with a mask to go along with it.
As they made it to the rooftop, she was met with a serious looking Sakura who had just finished treating team Gai and now is wearing a cloak the same as they did. Chiyo looks back at her, a full moon rests behind her and their shadows extend as far as the edge of the hospital rooftop. Shikamaru brandishes a black Katana and Chiyo unfurls a scroll as she gave one more to Kankuro and then to her.
"The time has come to purge the poison that continuously defiles Suna. Her salvation is at hand."
Baki appeared with a cloud of sand surrounding him as he kneeled.
"The preparations are complete, Chiyo-dono. The people are now restless, all that is left is to lure the vermin out."
Chiyo nodded and unsealed two puppets behind her as Ten more popped out of another scroll from Kankuro and Temari unsealing her scroll to see two large sickles in her hands.
Six figures became eighteen and they all vanished in the night.
A night filled with death, a night that could only be described as a night of blood and terror.
Hi no Kuni, undisclosed location:
An old man filled with bandages limps across the hallway carrying a cane to support him. He silently continues his way as he was being escorted by two of his agents.
Danzo then commands his bodyguards to halt with but a raise of his free hand and stopped.
The two bodyguards did as they were commanded.
"What news do you have for me?" Danzo asked and another figure slips from the shadows.
"Orochimaru has acquiesced to your negotiations, Danzo-sama. In exchange for his research on the cursed seal, we are to deliver the profiles of the Hokage's top level ANBU members."
Danzo nodded as he was handed over a scroll and briefly read through it. The seal encrypted within the scroll was very thorough. It was an offshoot of the cursed seal that he had wanted for his soldiers, something that would strengthen them without the biggest weakness that the cursed seal had, nature chakra users, also known as sages. Orochimaru still had his obsession of destroying the leaf. The man did not know when to give up with his ambitions.
It didn't matter to Danzo. He was going to make sure that only the surface burns. What lied beneath was what was important. The Hokage's special units were far out of his reach, a factor that he did not like. Those special units had purged all his spies and saboteurs much to his irritation and he could only blame the new and restructured departments that Tsunade and Jiraiya had gotten their hands on.
The two of the three Sannin were much more formidable than he thought. With Jiraiya integrating his own spy network with the intelligence and research departments, Danzo could have foreseen that the redundancies he had in place were going to be exposed.
His teams had bailed out before being even found out. But he once again remained in the dark, unknowing of the plans that the Hokage had for the future of the village.
"Then we must act quickly. How is our agent within Konoha?"
"He is aware, and his skillset has been changed to avoid being traced back to you, Danzo-sama."
Danzo nodded and walked further towards a new room.
Once he opened the door, he was greeted with an agent, now donned with a tattered brown cloak, light but sturdy armor hidden underneath the cloak with his hands covered by a pair of black gloves with his right arm now adorned with a tattoo of a scorpion tail spiraling from his shoulder with the tip just behind his palms while his left shoulder was painted with a black eagle. The agent looked not beyond fifteen with a mask that hid his features.
"Agent Sai, here are your orders."
Danzo stepped forward and stamped his cane just in front of the agent.
"Your mission is to deter the intelligence division and infiltrate it, the Yamanaka Clan has been meddling with our internal affairs. Make an example out of their heiress."
By that, Danzo meant that he wanted Yamanaka Ino, the child of Yamanaka Inoichi dead.
And to make sure that he was clean from the mess, Danzo held out the scroll he had obtained earlier from his agent who contacted Sarutobi's wayward pupil.
"This is a new seal that Orochimaru developed, it mentions the ability to increase the parameters of one's physical ability to an extreme amount by imbuing enough natural energy to forcibly open three of the eight gates, this forces the user the act indiscriminately and in doing so, cause enough havoc that no trace can be left back to Root."
Danzo then looks at the seal, the Kanji of consciousness. From the notes that he had skimmed through, it forcibly pushes the human consciousness, or the ego inside of the mind only allowing the id to take control.
"Storing one's own consciousness, so this is what it truly does."
Danzo laid the scroll to the floor and in front of Sai as Danzo raised his walking cane and slammed it to the center of the seal that was inscribed the seal glowed in a red light as the sealing matrix encompassed the kneeling agent. Sai flinched for a moment as Danzo named this new seal,
"Fuinjutsu: Arayashiki (Sealing Technique: Alaya-Vijnana)!"
Sai screamed for a moment before he could hear a howl piercing his ears. His body was shaking terribly as the seal began to form in the middle of his chest, tongues of chakra flames gathering and forcibly making a mark that his chakra system became hot like burning quicksilver.
His eyes changed color for a moment beneath his mask and it glowed an ominous red.
Original Jutsu Corner:
Kongosho: Hasshodo (金剛杵: 八正道)- Diamond Way: Eight-fold path - A-rank- A technique of Rakanken that combines all the eight different aspects into one move. It can be executed as a punch, as a kick, elbow, knee or headbutt. The technique requires the execution of the move in a near perfect and fluid motion in one go that increases the power in one strike. Unlike Goken with its flurry of moves in one go, this move is one move in a single motion.
Hakkesho Ryujo Kaiten (八卦掌龍驤回天) - Eight Trigrams Prancing Dragon Heavenly spin A-rank- An variation of the original Kaiten, this technique once initiated unleashes two streams of lightning outward that bounces off of any metallic surface, hence the name, Ryujo Kaiten. In its initial state, it can expand upon the defensive boundary of the normal Kaiten, for now, this will be a step to the next part of the technique in future chapters
Gurenjigoku Karyu Enbu (火龍炎舞) - Pyroclasm: Flame Dance of the Fire Dragon- B rank a technique that surrounds the user in spinning flames that act as a defensive barrier and serves as a setup for the second technique.
Karyu Enbu Hado (火龍炎舞 波動)- Flame dance of the Fire Dragon: Wave motion- A- rank, a technique that captures the flames of the first technique and contains the flames within the blade and without, it allows the user to have the necessary mobility to use as an offensive tool against the enemy and not just as a shield, the user must be aware of the motion of the blade at all times as it can burn the user if they are not careful enough.
Ryu Ten'no Metsubojinrai (竜天皇滅亡迅雷) - Dragon Emperor Downfall Thunderclap- A-Rank- a combination of styles and philosophies given birth into one single punch. The serene form of Rakanken and the explosive power of Goken concentrated and released at a single point that it causes a massive force to surge outward. The difficulty to pull this off into just a single moment is what makes it as an A-rank as well as its destructive power.
Raiton: Ryoiki Shiden (雷遁・領域紫電) - Lightning Release: Purple Lightning Domain- S- Rank- an expansion of Kakashi's purple lightning. This technique is setup once Kakashi shoots purple lightning into the skies, causing an expansion of heat upwards and forming cumulonimbus clouds, charging up the atmosphere. Once done, it polarizes anything inside its domain turning the target's charges negative on the target while positive charges increase in abundance in the atmosphere, once set up, purple lightning surges from the atmosphere to the user with it manipulating the charged particles around him either to slow down by limiting their movements or increasing the charge to increase the user's acceleration or striking his targets down with true lightning with pinpoint accuracy.
I apologize for my delays and not updating. Throughout the remainder of the year, I've had COVID and had been recovering from the illness twice. I couldn't move well enough and due to resting up, my writing ability had to be sidelined for both recovery and concentrating back on work. Before anyone says that I should have vaccinated, yes, I've been vaccinated 3 times. The first positive test was ten days after my first dose and the second was after my booster, both times were ruled as a breakthrough infection. I guess I'm just unlucky that way.
Anyway, here, I've expanded upon Kakashi's abilities. In the novels that I read about his side adventures, it's good to see WHY Kakashi is considered a Kage, his ability to bend the laws of nature are quite something to read about. Something I've realized that it was what I had in mind for him back then. For anyone that's concerned, Akatsuki is not growing in strength by training but with acquiring assets or expanding upon what they currently have, as seen with Sasori, Itachi and Kakuzu. They are at the peak of their abilities, the only thing for them to do is to gather the necessary tools to still be at the top of their game.
As for Danzo, I've held out for him long enough, it is time to make him an active player in the game. So here is his part, him and Orochimaru, that is.