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Volume 43
 Chapter 390
Chapter 390: "Final Jutsu...!!" - Amaterasu burns out Sasuke's flame and Zetsu comments on its ability to totally burn up its target, even flame itself. Itachi unleashes wave after wave of Amaterasu bursts and Sasuke moves to dodge. With each burst more blood begins to trickle down Itachi's eye. Sasuke avoids the flames as some catch the surrounding trees below on fire. One burst connects with Sasuke's wing and he goes to the ground. The wing burns off and the flames are subdued by Itachi. Itachi moves to take Sasuke's eye but the body disperses, revealing a crack underneath. We then see that Sasuke waited until the right moment of Amaterasu's use, to sever the roof with Chidori and use his replacement technique to generate a new body and fall back to the original room below. Sasuke goes level two and Itachi grabs his eye in pain. Sasuke then begins to unleash wave after wave of Grand Dragon Fireballs. They begin to destroy the roof and Itachi moves to avoid them. One connects with his arm, burning his cloak away. Sasuke looks up, winded, and tells his brother that Amaterasu appears to have weakened him. Sasuke collapses to his knees and Zetsu considers that both brothers look weak and about out of chakra. Sasuke then states the next jutsu will be his last. Itachi replies that his Sharingan reveals Sasuke is almost out of chakra. He offers that Sasuke used Orochimaru's special replacement technique, which consumes a lot of chakra. Zetsu recognizes Sasuke's absorption of Orochimaru and the young man acknowledges that he is indeed almost out of chakra. However, he didn't come to this battle unprepared. As it begins to rain Sasuke offers that this next jutsu will be impossible to avoid, just like Amaterasu. And with it, he will reproduce his vision of Itachi's death...
 Chapter 391
Chapter 391: "With the Thunder...!!" -Lightning crackles in the sky above as the men look to the heavens. Zetsu determines Sasuke's earlier dragon Katons set up the attack. They were actually used to blast a hole in the ceiling and also warm up the atmosphere to generate thunder clouds. This allows Sasuke to channel the surge from the sky, rather than use his own chakra to create it, which would have taken an unbelievable amount of chakra. Sasuke jumps to the roof and states the jutsu's power comes lightning itself, and all he has to do is guide it. Zetsu then thinks that what Sasuke said was true, no one could dodge something faster than the speed of sound. Sasuke reaches his Chidori charged hand to the heavens and states he calls it Kirin, which is a mythological beast. In an instant the lightning creature flies from the sky and obliterates Itachi and the tower they stood on. As the dust settles a cloakless Itachi lays face down in the rubble. Zetsu wonders if Itachi is dead and Sasuke collapses to his knees, stating it's finally over. Suddenly a voice states, was that the vision of death he had seen? A shocked Sasuke sees Itachi rise to his feet. Sasuke goes level two in a rage, while also showing one of Orochimaru's eye marks over his left eye. A phantom skeletal chest surrounds Itachi, and he states without this he would have been dead. Zetsu wonders what that it is and Itachi congratulates Sasuke on becoming strong. And now, he will show Sasuke the last of his arsenal... Susanoo.
 Chapter 392
Chapter 392: "Susanoo!" -Itachi explains that Susanoo is the third and final Mangekyou technique. He then offers that if Sasuke has any more techniques, now is the time to use them. Zetsu sees the sky clear and figures Kirin was a onetime jutsu. Spectral muscle and armor begins to take form around Itachi. Sasuke suddenly winces and hears a voice in his head. The voice offers to lend Sasuke his power. And if he is unleashed, Sasuke can finally find his revenge. Sasuke goes to his knees in pain and suddenly a gigantic white, eight-headed snake grows out of his cursed seal. Itachi recognizes Orochimaru's technique and Zetsu figures Orochimaru broke free since Sasuke didn't have the chakra to hold him back any longer. The snakes strike out against the spectral form, but a sword takes shape out of the sake gourd it holds. Quickly all eight heads are severed from the main body. From one of the mouths of these heads emerges Orochimaru. Orochimaru opens his own mouth to withdraw Kusanagi. Orochimaru gloats that his time to take Sasuke's body has finally come. In an instant Susanoo's sword impales Orochimaru and Itachi asks his brother if he has anything else. Orochimaru begins to gloat that the sword cannot harm him... but he is suddenly frozen and begins to be sealed away into the sword. He states Itachi couldn't have had the Sword of Totsuka, could he? Zetsu comments that the sword has no physical form; it's a legendary blade with sealing powers. Anyone stabbed by the sword is sealed away into a dreamlike Genjutsu for the rest of time. Orochimaru had long coveted it but Itachi acquired it first. The snake head continues to be absorbed by the sword and Sasuke returns to his normal form. A weary looking Itachi then offers to Sasuke that it's time to end it...
 Chapter 393
Chapter 393: "My Eyes...!!" -As the Yamata is sealed away into the gourd, one small white snake slithers among the rubble to escape. Itachi winces in pain and Zetsu figures Itachi has the battle in hand finally. Itachi states that Sasuke's eyes are now his and he will savor this moment. Suddenly he grabs his chest and doubles over, coughing up blood. The armor of the Susanoo begins to fade and Sasuke takes the opportunity to hurl a kunai tied to explosive notes. It explodes against Susanoo's shield leaving Itachi undamaged. As Itachi begins to slowly walk towards Sasuke, his younger brother hurls more kunai and explosive tags in the hopes of stopping his advance. The shield continues to deflect all the attacks and Zetsu comments that the shield is Yata's Mirror, another legendary object said to counter any attack. Together with the Sword of Totsuka, Itachi's unbeatable. Itachi reaches out a bloody hand and Sasuke lunges at him with his Kusanagi. Sasuke and the blade are knocked away and as he stands he suddenly finds himself pinned between rubble and Susanoo. As he watches in fear, Itachi reaches out to remove Sasuke's eyes. As his fingers draw near, Itachi's mutters to himself. His bloody fingers draw near Sasuke's eye... but instead poke him in the forehead and Itachi collapses to the ground. Susanoo disperses and the white snake continues its journey. A stunned Sasuke can only stand still as his bloody older brother lies on the ground beside him, somehow defeated.
 Chapter 394
Chapter 394: "Sasuke's Victory" -As Amaterasu flames spread to the forest, the white snake looks for a way to escape. Sasuke still stands in shock and Zetsu tries to grasp if Itachi is actually dead. The flames rage and the white snake is quickly consumed in the fire as well. It begins to rain and Zetsu debates how Itachi could have lost. He was slower than usual and appeared to have been injured before hand, due to his coughing up blood throughout the fight. Zetsu figures Itachi was either injured before the fight, or he overused the Sharingan. The blood begins to wash off and run down Sasuke's face. It pools in his left eye and then continues down. Sasuke looks down at his brother and a grin forms; he then collapses to the ground as well. Elsewhere the teams are having no luck against Tobi. Kiba yells to verify with Naruto that they actually hit Tobi. Naruto says yes, it's like before when his Rasengan passed right through him. Shino says it's no trick, the jutsu really are passing through him. Sakura says it could be a Bunshin or Genjutsu, but Hinata says no, she checked the area and the only other chakra belongs to Tobi. Yamato asks Kakashi what he thinks. Kakashi offers this strange ability could be a hidden technique, so it's up to Shino. Shino says he's ready and his bugs rise from his body. Tobi recognizes the Aburame Clan jutsu and offers that it's gross. Kiba smiles and says he knows why Shino is so enthusiastic. Shino says of course, because he missed the last mission involving Sasuke...
 Chapter 395
Chapter 395: "The Mysterious Tobi" -Shino sends his bugs surging towards Tobi. Tobi jumps away, offering his further disgust. Kakashi states the Aburame fight by dispersing their bugs and taking control of a wide area. The bugs spread to fill the air around Tobi. Kakashi offers that their opponent is now trapped. Shino thinks that any movement will be detected and he will learn how Tobi's jutsu works. He then forms a bug sphere which moves towards Tobi. Shino offers that he'll take care of him, because he's part of the mission and to make up for missing out last time. The bugs engulf Tobi and Sakura marvels at Shino's control. Hinata states Tobi is still within the bugs and Yamato extends his wood. Shino states the bugs are sucking up Tobi's chakra and Naruto yells for him to take it all. Suddenly the bugs disperse, revealing a missing Tobi. The team looks on in surprise and Sakura asks if it was Shunshin? Shino says no, as that's just fast movement which he could detect. Kakashi considers if it was a space/time technique, but decides that can't be true, as there were no hand seals or summoning marks. Such a jutsu would surpass even the Fourth Hokage's technique. Yamato wonders if he can simply cease to exist? Sakura states that might be the case, it would explain how he avoided Naruto's earlier attack as well, by simply removing portions of his body. Hinata searches the area again and locates Tobi on a nearby tree limb. Tobi greets the team and Kiba jumps to attack with his Tsuuga technique. Tobi sidesteps the attack, causing Kiba to drill through the limb and plant himself into the ground. A dizzy Kiba offers that he slipped through Tobi, but Hinata states he simply dodged it. Zetsu emerges beside Tobi and Sakura asks what that is. Kakashi states the figure is in Kabuto's Akatsuki file. Zetsu states that Sasuke won the battle and that Itachi died. The team is shocked and Tobi offers that that was a big surprise!... but not really. He expected that. Zetsu states Sasuke collapsed afterwards and is barely hanging on. Naruto and Sakura are shocked and determined by the news. Naruto demands Sasuke's location from "spiky aloe" man, which Zetsu takes offense to. As Kakashi looks on he reacts in shock to the Sharingan visible in Tobi's mask hole. Tobi as Madara states he'll deal with them some other time...
 Chapter 396
Chapter 396: "Introduction" -Kakashi is surprised by Tobi's Sharingan and wonders who the man could be. Tobi waves bye and then vanishes. Zetsu also disappears, leaving Kakashi frantic to find Sasuke before the two Akatsuki do. Kakashi jumps to a tree to scan the horizon. Noticing dark clouds, he asks Hinata to scan that area. She reports a powerful chakra and an area covered in flames. Kakashi tells everyone to follow him and Naruto tells everyone to move as quickly as they can. In the Uchiha Compound rubble, Tobi stands over the Uchiha brothers. He chides Zetsu for being too slow and Zetsu apologizes, saying unlike someone else he can't simply zip around in an instant. Tobi asks if the recording was made and Zetsu says yes. Tobi answers that he'll watch it later, for now they'll take Itachi's corpse and leave. As the Leaf ninja rush on, Kiba reports they found Sasuke's scent but the Akatsuki got to him first. Naruto is angry and the group's path is suddenly blocked by a wall of Amaterasu fire. Sakura asks what it is and Naruto says it's one of Itachi's jutsu. Yamato uses a Doton to raise and split the earth, causing a path for the teams to go through. Yamato stays behind to hold the jutsu and the rest continue on. Kakashi forms his Mangekyou and the teams arrive to see Itachi and Sasuke already gone. Kiba states there's still some scent but Kakashi reports they're too late. Naruto looks down angry and dejected while elsewhere Sasuke awakens in a cave. From the shadows Sasuke is told he was given first aid and that he won. Sasuke says nothing and the voice says the young man shouldn't be so reckless. Tobi emerges from the darkness and states that they met in the past as enemies, but it doesn't matter about what happened with Deidara, as it stands they are no longer foes. He offers that he brought Sasuke along to tell him something important. Sasuke looks away uninterested. Tobi states then perhaps if he reveals it's about Itachi. Sasuke looks at him again and Tobi says Sasuke knew both a lot and very little about his brother. Tobi says perhaps he should introduce himself. Reaching to remove his mask he says they're alike, he's an Uchiha as well. Showing his right Sharingan and part of his face, Tobi says he's the man who knows the truth about Itachi. He removes his mask to show the Sharingan in his right eye and Sasuke's left eye forms Sharingan in response.
 Chapter 397
Chapter 397: "The Man Who Knows the Truth" -As Tobi keeps his mask over a portion of his face, Sasuke's Sharingan eye begins to bleed. Suddenly the tomoe combine into a Mangekyou resembling Itachi's. Tobi is surprised and suddenly his right shoulder bursts into Amaterasu flames. He stumbles back into the darkness, dropping his mask. Sasuke grabs his eye in pain and it quickly returns to normal. Sasuke asks what that was and Tobi states it was the Amaterasu Itachi planted within him. He picks his mask up from the darkness and places it back on. A surprised Sasuke looks on in confusion. Tobi explains that Itachi must have planned ahead, as he equipped his little brother with his own jutsu either to kill or protect him from Madara. Madara explains that it appears to be activated by being within site of his Sharingan. He then considers that he's fortunate to have kept his own secrets from Itachi as well. Sasuke says he has no idea what Madara is talking about. Madara then asks if Itachi did anything before he died. Sasuke thinks back to the bloody tap his brother made on his forehead. Madara explains that Itachi somehow transferred his power into his brother. Sasuke says that makes no sense. Madara says it should be apparent... it was all to protect you Sasuke. Sasuke is stunned but then asks if that's supposed to be a sick joke. Madara explains that it's like he said, Sasuke did not truly know his brother. Sasuke offers that he's tired of the lies, if they don't stop he'll kill him. Madara says he understands Sasuke's feelings but they're the truth. The person who helped Itachi that night was he himself, so he knows the truth of his brother. Sasuke becomes angry and tells Madara to get the hell away from him. Madara says that's not the right path, it's his duty to ask questions. He should know about the man who risked everything to protect Konoha and his little brother. Sasuke should know how Uchiha Itachi lived!
 Chapter 398
Chapter 398: "The Origin of Konoha" - Madara asks Sasuke is he understands that Itachi implanted Amaterasu to ensure they never met? And the only ones to know the truth of matters were Danzou, Sandaime Hokage and his two advisors. And with the Third's death, the other three dare not reveal the truth, it will be forgotten with time, just how Itachi wanted. Sasuke doubles over and Madara offers that he knew the truth also, but Itachi didn't realize it. He explains that Itachi implanted Amaterasu just in case Madara himself did in fact know. Sasuke asks in confusion what he means, it was to protect me? Madara asks Sasuke to remember his friendly older brother. Sasuke remembers how Itachi's murderous moves conflicted with his early compassion. Sasuke begins to cough and Madara moves to calm him. Sasuke slaps Madara away and struggles to make sense of Itachi's conflicting nature. He passes out and awakes to find himself bound by Madara. Sasuke states Itachi murdered their parents and clan and joined Akatsuki, he hated him, and he was his goal. Madara says yes, Itachi did kill the clan and flee. And he did it all on orders from Konoha. Sasuke is shaken and Madara explains that revelation is the first step in understanding what happened. Itachi gave up his self-worth to complete his mission and to understand everything, one has to learn of Konoha's founding. Itachi was a sacrifice for a problem which arose long ago. Sasuke asks what that means and Madara states the following story is all true, whether Sasuke believes him or not. Sasuke says fine and Madara recounts of a warring time 80 years previously. During that time countries hired clans to fight, and the two most powerful were the Uchiha and the Senju of the Forest. The Uchiha were a warrior clan who possessed the Sharingan and high chakra. Madara offers that was especially so with himself; the fact he's still around proves such. Everything back then was battle and strength determined everything, so he killed his friend and brother to become stronger. Sasuke calls him a bastard but Madara ignores him, stating that path granted him Eternal Mangekyou and made him leader of his clan. It was in this position he fought the Senju and their leader, Senju Hashirama, the man who would become Shodai Hokage. The man who was at the top of the ninja world, the man Madara himself admired the most...
 Chapter 399
Chapter 399: "The Origin of Everything!!" -Madara explains how everyone feared Hashirama and when the Senju were hired to fight, the Uchiha were hired in response. They were rivals and the conflict helped him become better known. Sasuke asks if that's why he took his brother's eyes, for the fame. Madara it was for the strength to protect his clan as the battles grew more dangerous over time. In any case, he didn't take his brother's eyes, he gave them up willingly. Some time later the Senju offered peace, and the Uchiha accepted against his wishes. Madara felt the bloodshed and sacrifice of those who died was being betrayed by a truce. And that the Senju would seek to wipe out the Uchiha if they got the chance. Madara says he eventually relented and the truce held, causing the creation of Konoha. Other countries then took on the one country/village model and the world stabilized for a time. But then things changed when a leadership dispute arose. Everyone chose Hashirama to lead, but Madara states he knew that would be dangerous to the Uchiha. He alone chose to oppose Hashirama as the Uchiha abandoned him, saying he killed his brother to save himself and that his greed for power would lead to war. Madara asks what type of man would harm his brother? He only did it to save his people. For that reason he left the village and chose to challenge it. That lead to the epic battle involving himself, Hashirama and the Kyuubi, marked at the Valley of the End. Everyone thought he died there, but that wasn't the case. He was left to history while the Uchiha were made the police force as a sign of trust by the Second Hokage. In truth it was to keep an eye on the Uchiha. The clan soon began to understand their misfortune and over time they were made second class compared to the Senju. Some time later the Kyuubi attacked. The village leaders knew that the Uchiha could control the Kyuubi, and felt they were to blame. However the Kyuubi is a natural disaster, they had nothing to do with it. Following their suspicions, the village leaders moved the clan to one corner of the village. The Third Hokage voiced his dissent but he was overruled by his advisors and Danzou. In the end their mistrust gave rise to the thing they feared, as the discrimination of the Uchiha lead them to plot to overthrow the village. Sasuke is surprised and Madara goes on to state that in response the village planted a spy within the Uchiha... Sasuke’s brother. And that he says, is when Itachi’s life turned for the worse.
Chapter 400 Chapter 400: "In Hell" - Madara explains to Sasuke that he was kept in the dark about the coup due to his age. He then states Sasuke's father was the one planning it. Sasuke is shocked and Madara explains how Fugaku had Itachi enter ANBU as a spy for the clan, but he gave the village information on them instead. Sasuke demands to know why his brother betrayed his clan. His captor offers that Itachi saw war at a very young age; the experience traumatized him into wanting peace. He put the village ahead of all else and that was exploited by the village elders. They gave him a mission only a Sharingan user could accomplish, the total annihilation of the Uchiha. Sasuke winces in pain and Madara states he can't begin to understand the pain Itachi felt then, betraying his family. He knew though that if the Uchiha staged a coup, it could lead to the downfall of both the village and country. Many would die simply because of the Uchiha's selfishness. Madara asks Sasuke what he would have done in his brother's place? Sasuke is speechless. Madara offers that Itachi did not act out of hatred; he did it so only he would take the blame. Madara then explains how he himself was looking for revenge at that time and Itachi was the only one to learn he was still alive. Itachi offered to let him help in the massacre, if he would leave the rest of the village alone. The Third Hokage tried to reach a peace with the Uchiha, but it was too late. The time came and Itachi carried out his duty to wipe out the clan. He failed in one area though, he left one Uchiha alive. Sasuke is shaken and Madara explains that Itachi pleaded with the village elders to spare his brother after he left the village, stating he would reveal all his knowledge about the village to its enemies should something happen to Sasuke. As a result of all this, he could never reveal the truth. Sasuke remembers confronting Itachi the night of the massacre and Madara explains that Itachi wanted Sasuke to use the desire for revenge to get stronger. He also wanted Sasuke to believe the Uchiha were honorable, asking the Third to never reveal the truth. And since that night he planned to eventually die by your hand, to grant you a new power. Madara states that's the truth of Itachi. Sasuke remains stunned and states that story is a lie, it has to be...
Chapter 401 Chapter 401: "Illusion" - Sasuke says he can't believe it, as Itachi tried to seriously kill him throughout their fight. Madara says Itachi could have, but it was all part of his plan: To draw out Orochimaru in full to remove the curse seal and to awaken Sasuke's Mangekyou. Itachi knew his role and played up the stealing of Sasuke's eyes until the end. Sasuke reaffirms that Madara is lying and tells him that he unleashed the Kyuubi on Konoha. Sasuke remembers Itachi's comments on Madara and accuses him of plotting the Uchiha’s murder. Madara states Itachi lied to hide the truth, so Sasuke wouldn't trust him. Itachi also implanted Amaterasu for that reason. Sasuke yells that he can't trust the story, as Itachi murdered and joined Akatsuki. Madara says Itachi joined Akatsuki to keep an eye on them, and when the Third died, he returned to Konoha as a warning to the village advisors and Danzou that he was still around. Sasuke yells for him to stop with the lies, but Madara retorts that his proof is that Sasuke is still alive. Sasuke is speechless and thinks back over his fight with Itachi. He remembers how his brother commented on how people live their lives based on their perception of reality. Madara states Sasuke couldn't see through Itachi's illusion. Itachi killed his lover, friends and family, but he couldn't kill his little brother. Madara cuts the ropes binding Sasuke and asks Sasuke why he thinks Itachi couldn't kill him? Madara explains that to Itachi, Sasuke's welfare meant more than that of the village. He thought of Sasuke through it all, so Sasuke could gain a new power and also be recognized as the heroic avenger of the Uchiha Clan. Disease ate away at Itachi but he struggled to hold on to life, just so that he could die before Sasuke. A short time passes and Sasuke stands on a cliff looking at the ocean while remembering Madara's words; Itachi sought to protect Konoha through disgrace, so he could entrust the honorable Uchiha name to Sasuke...
Chapter 402 Chapter 402: "Last Words" - Sasuke remembers his youth, being excited to see his brother come home. Sasuke asks if he can play, but his mother says Itachi must first finish his homework. Itachi says he can do it later and the two brothers are soon outside playing hide and seek. Sasuke finds Itachi but his brother says not quite, disappearing as a clone. Later at dinner Sasuke asks his father if Itachi's clone meant he cheated, but his father instead reacts in surprise to Itachi's skills. Sasuke asks Itachi to show him how to do it but his mother reminds him of his homework. Itachi pokes Sasuke in the head and says maybe another time. We jump ahead in time to Itachi having to promise to train Sasuke in shuriken some other time, which he apologizes for with another poke to the head. On the way home, Sasuke asks when they can train. Itachi says he has missions now and Sasuke will start the Academy soon, which means they won't have time together any longer. Sasuke says that's okay, as long as they can hang out from time to time. Time passes, Sasuke and Itachi sit alone. Itachi tells Sasuke that as brothers they have a unique bond, and that Itachi will be a hurdle for him to overcome. Time passes again and Sasuke asks about shuriken training, Itachi pokes Sasuke's forehead one last and apologizes. Sasuke thinks over Itachi's words from different points, how he would always be there for him, and be a hurdle to overcome, even if he becomes hated. Sasuke thinks back to moment before Itachi's death and those barely audible words that only he heard… of Itachi apologizing… for the last time. Sasuke stands before the waves and tears rush down his cheeks. Around him sit Team Snake and Tobi. A hawk flies overhead and Sasuke states that they are no longer Snake, they are now "Hawk". In addition, as Hawk they have one goal... With Mangekyou eyes, Sasuke states that goal is to crush Konoha...
 
Volume 44
Chapter 403 Chapter 403: "Tears" - Naruto awakens in his bed thinking over his most recent run in with Itachi. He remembers Itachi asking why he cared for Sasuke so much. Naruto explained that he was more of a brother to Sasuke than Itachi himself was. Naruto then charged for battle and Itachi turned to crows. We then see more of the incident. Itachi asks what if Sasuke doesn't want to return? Naruto says he'll do anything for Sasuke, even use force. Itachi asks but what if Sasuke attacks Konoha? Naruto says he would never do that. Itachi explains that Sasuke could be swayed by most anything, so could Naruto still stop him, even if it meant killing him? Could he weigh Sasuke's existence against Konoha's? Naruto yells that he would find a way to do both, without having to kill Sasuke. Itachi retorts that such words are childish. Naruto remembers Jiraiya telling him something similar after his fight with Sasuke at the Valley of the End. Naruto states he heard that before, but he won't go back on his word, that’s his ninja way. Itachi smiles and suddenly a crow flies into Naruto's mouth. Itachi offers that he just granted Naruto some of his power, and hopefully he'll never have to use it. Naruto asks what this means, but Itachi says he must now take his leave. Elsewhere Sasuke looks at the moon and remembers that fateful night and his newly understood memories. The young Sasuke stands before Itachi and listens to his brother say to come to him when they share the same eyes. Sasuke falls to pass out then rights himself. With determined, one tomoe Sharingan eyes he watches Itachi leave. He takes chase and throws a kunai, knocking of his brother’s forehead protector. Itachi stops and ties the protector back on. He then looks at Sasuke as a tear rolls down his cheek. Sasuke passes out and we return to the present. Sasuke remembers his brother crying and admits he couldn't figure it out. He then states to Madara that his story was true after all. Back in Konoha Naruto wonders what Itachi wanted to tell him, and wonders what Sasuke's doing now. Elsewhere Madara asks Sasuke what he'll do with Itachi's eyes. Transplant them? Sasuke says no, what Itachi saw and what he will see are different. He can't do what Itachi desired, he'll follow his own path and revive the Uchiha his own way.
Chapter 404 Chapter 404: "'Hawk' and 'Akatsuki'" - In a tree hut Tobi asks to speak with Kisame. Kisame is surprised to see Tobi still alive and the other man apologizes for revealing this to him last. Tobi removes his mask and Kisame is surprised. He offers that knowing the Mizukage, or rather Madara, is running things is a big relief. In Konoha Naruto relaxes on his bed. He's awakened by Kakashi who says the Hokage wants to see him. Naruto heads to the Hokage building and sees Gamabunta and Gamakichi outside. He asks why they're here but Gamabunta says Tsunade will explain. Inside stand Sakura, Sai, several toads, Pa toad and the key scroll toad. Pa toad offers that this is the apprentice? Tsunade says yes, the probable child of prophecy he mentioned before. Naruto asks what's up. Tsunade explains that the toad before him is Fukasaku, one of the two great sages toads. Fukasaku offers that this is indeed little Jiraiya's apprentice. Naruto is annoyed and asks where he gets off treating pervy-sage like a kid. Tsunade tells him to watch his language and Shizune offers that the toad taught Jiraiya. Naruto is surprised and Fukasaku laughs at Naruto's name for Jiraiya. Naruto asks what he wants and the toad offers that he might as well just get it out. He states that the young 'un Jiraiya died in battle. Naruto stands quiet and asks what he means. Elsewhere Hawk, Madara and Kisame talk. Madara asks how Sasuke plans to destroy Konoha. Sasuke says his beef is only with the Konoha elders. Kisame offers that it won't be easy to get close to them, as Hawk isn't powerful enough. Suigetsu says they shouldn't be underestimated, and if they had finished their game earlier... Juugo tells him to cool it, but in an instant Suigetsu is lunging towards Kisame. Before he can reach him, Madara blocks the sword with just his arm. Madara chastises Sasuke for not instilling discipline in his group. Suigetsu is freaked by Madara's strength and offers that he only joined Sasuke to get to Kisame. Sasuke tells the young man that he can't beat Kisame yet. Kisame offers a wry smile at the "yet". Suigetsu relents and Madara says Akatsuki isn't powerful enough either. He says they should proceed together. Sasuke asks why, so Madara offers him a Bijuu. Sasuke asks why that matters and Madara explains that they're chakra monsters. Shodai Hokage controlled several, and shared them with other countries as a way to broker peace. Sasuke says that's generous, but Madara offers that any betrayal will result in their death. Kisame states that two bijuu remain and Madara says they'll split to go after both. Sasuke asks if that means they haven't caught the Kyuubi yet. Madara says yes, they'll get Naruto while Hawk will get the other. A short time later, Madara goes to speak with Zetsu. He offers that with Itachi now dead, he can go after Konoha. Zetsu tells Madara that he waited a long time. The other replies that everything is proceeding as planned, even if Itachi feared Sasuke would join his side. Zetsu states he never thought so many Akatsuki would die. Madara says they joined knowing there could be problems, and without them they wouldn't have gotten this far. Things went according to plan, and most importantly, Sasuke is now at his side...
Chapter 405 Chapter 405: "Those Left Behind" - Fukasaku explains how after Pain crushed Jiraiya's throat, the Sannin wrote the code on his back. Naruto asks if Tsunade sent Jiraiya. She says yes and Naruto demands to know how she could send him alone. Kakashi asks him to stop and reminds him to think of how Tsunade feels. Tsunade remembers Jiraiya stating he would give his life to set an example for the younger generation. Naruto storms off and says if Jiraiya had been the Fifth Hokage instead, this wouldn't have happened. Sakura chides him but Tsunade says to let him go. Kakashi apologizes to the toad sage but the elder says he’ll speak with Naruto later. He understands how important Jiraiya was to the boy, and hopes Naruto is the prophesized child after all. Naruto thinks back over the time he spent with Jiraiya and walks to his apartment. Iruka stops him and asks if he wants some ramen. Naruto declines and returns to his apartment unable to eat. Naruto leaves and stops at a shop to buy a popsicle. As it melts uneaten in his hands, the tears begin to fall from his emotionless face. Iruka arrives and Naruto wipes away his tears. Iruka says he heard what happened. Naruto explains how he wanted Jiraiya to see him become Hokage, but in the end all Jiraiya ever saw was him being an idiot. Iruka says that wasn't the case. Jiraiya spoke highly of him, like a grandson. He knew he would become a great Hokage one day. Jiraiya watched him and still does even now. He explains that Jiraiya wouldn't praise him just to cheer him up, so just be the normal Naruto. Iruka takes the popsicle and breaks it in two. After all, he's still the great apprentice of one of the Legendary Sannin. Naruto smiles, takes the popsicle half and thanks Iruka. In Tsunade's office, Shikamaru looks at the code. Tsunade orders him to examine it and not wait on the code breakers. Shikamaru begins to protest, as he had another matter to attend but Tsunade leaves the room. Sakura explains that Tsunade has been busy all day. Shikamaru says he has too, but Sakura asks that he please do it. Shikamaru looks on in confusion and Sakura remains quiet. Outside Tsunade walks in the hall and thinks of Jiraiya at different stages of his life, ending with the time she was first introduced to him. The young Jiraiya offers his hand and states she can send him love letters later. As she remembers his smile, tears fall down her cheek and she curses the idiot.
Chapter 406 Chapter 406: "Key to the Future" - Tsunade stands before the interrogation squad and asks they learn all they can from the Rain ninja in the toad before them. Ibiki says that won't be a problem. Tsunade remembers Fukasaku explaining how Jiraiya didn't have to fight Pain. But he knew that unless Konoha knew his powers, no one could beat him. He could have fled, but he gave his life for the information in the code. In the present Tsunade tells the squad to be as rough as the want. At the morgue, Shizune and other medical ninja prepare to autopsy the Fuuma Pain body. At the code office, the technicians inform Shikamaru that the code doesn't correspond to any existing Konoha algorithm. Also because it was a spur decision, it's probably not complicated. The young female technician offers that it's hopeless to decipher without the key. They need the rules to decode it, and the best bet is to find someone familiar with Jiraiya. Shikamaru figures he'll have to talk to Kakashi and Tsunade. He offers his thanks and states he'll return if he has more questions. The female tech, Shiho, blushes and offers to remain behind in case Shikamaru returns. Some time later Kakashi looks at the code and Shikamaru asks if the numbers mean anything. Kakashi mentions "106" and Shikamaru asks what it means. Kakashi remembers a time he and Jiraiya watched Tsunade from a distance, and Jiraiya stated "106". To Kakashi's chagrin Jiraiya was pointing out Tsunade's bust size. In the present Kakashi says his memory probably isn't relevant. Kakashi offers that Shikamaru should try the Hokage or Naruto. Shikamaru says he already spoke with her, so he'll try Naruto. Kakashi states he's worried about Naruto and hopes Shikamaru can check on him. Shikamaru arrives at Naruto's apartment and knocks. The door opens a crack and Naruto asks what he wants from the darkness within. Inside Naruto looks over the code but remains distant. Shikamaru asks him to follow him so the two head to the hospital. Kurenai exits and Naruto asks if she ate too much. Shikamaru explains that she's pregnant. Kurenai chides Shikamaru for coming to see her each time she goes to the hospital but Shikamaru says he can't help it, Asuma told him to watch over them. He says her kid will be his apprentice and Naruto is surprised. Shikamaru explains how he heard about Jiraiya, and with Asuma's death he knows how it feels. He offers that being miserable and reclusive won't get him anywhere. He can't do that because like him, he was entrusted with a lot by his former sensei. And Naruto should understand that's it's time for them to do the entrusting. They can't be kids forever, some day they'll treat others to ramen and be called sensei. Shikamaru says he hopes to one day be as cool as Asuma and Jiraiya were. Naruto remembers Jiraiya's smile and suddenly smiles as well. Shikamaru shows him the code again and says Naruto has work to do.
Chapter 407 Chapter 407: "To Naruto" - Shikamaru asks Naruto if he has any ideas. Shiho offers that it doesn't matter how small the idea is, anything would help. Naruto says there is one thing that's been bugging him, the first "ta" character. Shikamaru and Shiho are confused, but Naruto states though the letter looks like a 9, it may not be. He had a lot of experience with Jiraiya's handwriting. Shiho states that Jiraiya must have had a particular writing style. Shiho shows them how the writing difference could change the character interpretation. Shikamaru asks why he didn't mention it before, but Naruto retorts that it doesn't reveal anything anyway. Shikamaru says the books Naruto mentioned might break the code. Shiho agrees, stating that the numbers could correspond to various things like page numbers, lines, etc.. Shikamaru asks if "ta" has any connection to Jiraiya's books. Kakashi pops his head in through the window and says it's probably the one he's holding, Icha Icha Tactics. Naruto states Jiraiya wrote that book while they were out training. Shikamaru says the code was surely meant for him then and Naruto smiles. Shiho states they should probably check the page numbers that match the code numbers. Shiho asks Kakashi to read the first sentence of every page. Kakashi is embarrassed at having to read the risqué writing but Naruto yells to just read it. Kakashi reads the lines, so Shiho lines up the first word of each sentence, which reveals the phrase "the real one isn't with them". Naruto asks what that means and Kakashi says they should speak with Fukasaku since he was there. Shiho asks if she can come along and Shikamaru says that's fine. He offers that they need to talk to Tsunade so she can get Fukasaku. Shiho blushes and Naruto states they should go to her immediately. In the Rain Country Konan, Pain and Madara recline. Madara asks what held up the invincible Pain and Pain offers that he had an unexpected visitor. Madara retorts that the Sannin Jiraiya lived up to his reputation. Pain offers that he's dead now, so the Kyuubi is his new focus. Madara states that Konoha will be hunting Pain now. Konan replies that no one can defeat Pain. Madara says only two Bijuu remain, and he sent Sasuke after the Hachibi. Konan asks if he's up to the challenge. Madara says yes and takes his leave. Pain tells Konan to get ready and five figures join them. The four previous Pain bodies and a new female Pain. Pain then declares that they're going to Konoha...
Chapter 408 Chapter 408: "Fukasaku's Proposal" - In the Lightning Country, Suigetsu interrogates a Cloud ninja about the Eight-Tail’s location. The ninja says he won't betray his comrades. Sasuke says that fear can be exploited and activates his Mangekyou. The man is shaken and Karin tells Suigetsu to let Sasuke handle it. The ninja reveals the Jinchuuriki's location and appearance, a man who wields eight swords and bears an "iron" and bull horn tattoos. He passes out and Team Hawk, wearing Akatsuki robes, heads out. Suigetsu contemplates that Sasuke will be an even bigger handful with his new eyes. Karin once again blushes at Sasuke's coolness and Juugo thinks the atmosphere of the country could help him relax. The team continues on through the cloud covered peaks of the Lightning Country. In Konoha, Fukasaku reads the code and thinks over the past battle. He states the code is too vague. He knows Pain can revive himself and it's too dangerous to face him now. Kakashi asks if the autopsy would help, but Sakura says that will take time. Naruto demands to know how much but Sakura says the process is intensive, it takes awhile. Tsunade offers a week at the earliest. Naruto states he'll tell them to hurry up but Sakura yells for him to leave Shizune alone. Naruto states he will avenge pervy sage and that he can't sit around. Fukasaku offers that with the code decoded Naruto has nothing left to do. There's no way he can beat Pain so he should come with him to Myouboku Mountain to learn the Senjutsu (sage techniques) like little Jiraiya did. Naruto is taken aback and asks if that will be enough to beat Pain. The toad says he doesn't know, but his current skill level definitely isn't enough. Tsunade says it's okay for him to go and the toad says the training will be tough, so will he do it? Naruto offers that the pervy sage went through it, so he can too. He agrees and the toad contemplates being entrusted with the child of prophecy. In Lightning, multiple tentacles retract into a figure training in a cave. From out of the darkness emerges the Eight-Tails Jinchuuriki, cursing the pain of the daylight on his eyes...
Chapter 409 Chapter 409: "The Senjutsu Tradition...!!" - Naruto says goodbye to the Hokage, Shikamaru and Sakura. They wish him luck and Fukasaku leaves a frog behind for communication. Naruto rushes to leave but stops when he realizes he doesn't know the way. Fukasaku states it takes a month to get to on foot and the path is hidden. The toad shows him the toad pact scroll and says it's not a problem. Naruto recognizes the scroll and suddenly disappears in a puff of smoke. Tsunade explains that it's reverse Kuchiyose and then toad puffs away as well. Tsunade says they have to focus on decoding the information Jiraiya provided and the others give an affirmative. Elsewhere it begins to rain in the Rain Country industrial city. Pain holds his arms to the sky and states they are to kill anyone who gets in the way of their capturing the Kyuubi. Naruto suddenly pops into existence in an overgrown area filled with giant plants and mushrooms. He's confused but then Gamakichi chimes in to say he summoned him. Naruto finally understands and Fukasaku says they should eat first. In the toad’s home Naruto is treated to a soup made of insect and fish parts. Naruto is wary of the meal and is doubled over sick a short time later. Surrounded by meditative toad statues, Fukasaku states he'll explain the differences between normal jutsu and Senjutsu. Normal techniques use body stamina and spirit energy, but Senjutsu adds natural external energy. Naruto is confused so Fukasaku says the energy comes from outside, which combines with one's own energy to form a stronger chakra which greatly increases the power of normal jutsu. Naruto is still confused so Gamakichi offers that it’s like adding mint to a chocolate-vanilla ice cream swirl. Fukasaku chides the young toad for making things more difficult but Naruto states he gets it now. Fukasaku is taken aback that it helped Naruto but Gamakichi explains that it's just how Naruto is. Naruto asks what the external energy is and Fukasaku states it comes from the atmosphere and earth. Naruto is confused but Gamakichi clarifies it's the air and ground. Naruto understands and Fukasaku decides to just show him. He moves to a large nearby statue and Gamakichi offers his amazement at all the energy being collected. Naruto offers his confusion at seeing nothing, but then suddenly Fukasaku lifts the huge statue over his head. He puts it back down and Naruto says he didn't see anything outside of a hand seal. Fukasaku explains that Naruto can't yet see the flow of nature yet. Gamakichi chimes in that to do that he's got to die... Elsewhere Sasuke asks the man before him if he's the Eight-Tails. The man is taken aback by Sasuke's informality and retorts that doesn't he mean to say "honorable" Eight-Tails or "powerful" Jinchuuriki? Sasuke looks on and states they mean to capture him...
Chapter 410 Chapter 410: "The Battle of Thunder Cloud Gorge" - Sasuke directs his team and Suigetsu charges with his sword. It impacts and dust is thrown up. When it clears, the Jinchuuriki has stopped the sword with his bare hands. He offers rhyming insults at Suigetsu and then throws the sword away. Juugo tells him to retreat. At Myouboku, Fukasaku tells Gamakichi to stop providing stupid examples, as Naruto won't die. One has to become one with nature and allow the current to flow freely in and out of the body. He tells Naruto not to move and explains the young man must stop disrupting the flow of nature. Naruto says not moving should be easy but Gamakichi retorts he doesn't get it. Fukasaku says the training will not happen quickly. Naruto asks if there's a way to do it more quickly since they don't have a lot of time. The toad says there is, in a fashion, using the toad oil pouring as a waterfall nearby. The toad puts some oil on Naruto's hand and explains that it's like a magnet for nature's energy. Over time Naruto will begin to feel the power in his skin, and by focusing he'll learn to draw in that power without the oil. There is a risk though, if you don't learn to control the energy, one will start to turn you into a toad. Naruto looks at his reflection in the water with horror, as his hand and face take on toad features. Fukasaku hits him with a staff and returns him to normal. He explains that Senjutsu is all about keeping spiritual, physical and natural energy in balance. Too much natural energy will turn one into a frog, but as long as you don't go too far you can return to normal. Otherwise one would become a toad forever. Gamakichi explains that he said "die" earlier because doing it alone means certain death. Fukasaku points to the toad statues around them and states they were people who failed the training. It should be okay however, as his staff will knock the natural energy out in case it goes too far. He explains that Jiraiya himself couldn't full master it, as he would take on toad-traits when he used Senjutsu. Fukasaku offers that Naruto doesn't seem intimidated. Naruto says of course, his nindo is the same as pervy-sages. Fukasaku gives an enthusiastic affirmative. At the Cloud gorge, Juugo lays before the Jinchuuriki defeated. The Jinchuuriki offers some rhyming boasts and Karin offers her surprise that the crazy person before them took out Juugo. Suigetsu ponders how well the Jinchuuriki used his sword and Sasuke offers that he'll handle things.
Chapter 411 Chapter 411: "Eight-Tails VS Sasuke" - The Jinchuuriki repeats his boast that he'll take care of them and rhymes a question as to their identity. Sasuke says it's unimportant. Suigetsu wonders what's with their weird opponent and his rapping. Sasuke offers that he wants to find out the true nature of the Bijuu, and states they're the ones using Akatsuki. The Jinchuuriki recognizes the name and Suigetsu tells Sasuke to hurry so they won't have to listen to his horrible lines anymore. The Jinchuuriki takes offense and Karin offers that it's the worst rap she's ever heard. Sasuke lunges with his sword while the Jinchuuriki uses Suigetsu's head cleaver to parry. A quick flurry of moves leads Sasuke to plant his sword into the ground through the head cleavers hole, and then kick his opponent in the throat. The Jinchuuriki doesn't move but he drops the cleaver. Sasuke is confused as the man merely pulls out a book and begins to write in it. Sasuke throws the cleaver back to Suigetsu. The Jinchuuriki thanks Sasuke for helping him write an awesome new rhyme, so he offers that he'll play with him after all, even if he’s an idiot. He pulls out his seven swords and tosses them into the air. The man catches the swords in various body joints, like the inner arms and back of the knee. He then lunges in a quick whirl towards Sasuke. He moves to defend but the man maneuvers a sword into his hand. Sasuke watches on with Sharingan and is forced into retreat. Suigetsu offers that he can't follow the man's moves. Sasuke infuses Chidori into his sword and moves to strike, however he is surprised when his opponent parries easily with his own chakra infused sword. The Jinchuuriki then derisively offers that he floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. In an instant he slams most of his swords into Sasuke's chest.
Chapter 412 Chapter 412: "Unprecedented Fear" - Sasuke is flung back and the Eight-Tails moves to finish him off. Suddenly Suigetsu is blocking the attack. The Raiton charged sword connects and Suigetsu considers how he's weak against such attacks. The sword begins to cut through the cleaver so Sasuke charges Chidori into the cleaver to strengthen it. Juugo lunges from behind the Eight-Tails and strikes him on his head but the Jinchuuriki does not move. Sasuke retreats further and Suigetsu manages to break his opponent's sword. Juugo charges up an air blast in his arm and manages to knock the Eight-Tails off balance. Karin removes the swords from Sasuke's chest and exposes her arm, revealing numerous bite marks. She tells Sasuke to bite and he does. Suddenly his wounds close. Suigetsu says they should charge at once and come at him seriously. Then they can try and spare him if possible. The Eight-Tails watches from cover and considers his opponent's powers. Elsewhere, Naruto holds water in his hands and begins to take on toad qualities. Fukasaku whacks him and he returns to normal. Naruto says he should use Kage Bunshin and the toad says that will be okay, but be careful, as if they turn into a toad, so will he. Fukasaku offers that three clones will be the max. Gamakichi awakens a short time later to see Fukasaku whacking the clones out of existence. A bruised and puffy Naruto offers that he can't last at this rate and that it's harder than he thought. The toad explains that true strength doesn't come easy. And the training isn't something anyone can do, that's why only Jiraiya and Naruto himself with their high chakra reserves can draw on the natural energy. He then offers that only those who refuse to give up can become sages. Naruto smiles, yells his eagerness to continue and totally jumps into the nearby water pool, much to the toad's shock. Back in Lightning the three men attack simultaneously. The Eight-Tails buries his fist into Suigetsu's chest and the water man holds onto him. Sasuke charges with Chidori and strikes the Jinchuuriki's chest. The man screams out but leaps away when Juugo comes smashing down on top of him. The dust clears and an uninjured Eight-Tails watches from a distance. He offers that they're a pain for being so weak, so it's time to get real. Karin points out the man's location and he recognizes her chakra sensory abilities. Juugo charges up an air burst in his arm and flings Sasuke towards the other man's location. The Eight-Tails raises his hand forming devil horns and yells that it's time for number eight.
 
Volume 45
Chapter 413
Chapter 413: "Collapse" - As Sasuke approaches his foe, chakra begins to boil around the Jinchuuriki. Suddenly a chakra cloak and eight tails surround him. Sasuke recognizes the cloak from when he fought Naruto. The Jinchuuriki lunges, with two tails acting like horns. Sasuke uses his Sharingan and quickly avoids the attack. The Jinchuuriki considers how only his brother avoided that attack before. He continues to move and heads for the rest of Team Hawk. Juugo grabs the others and jumps to avoid the attack. He drops Suigetsu as the Jinchuuriki comes smashing down. Sasuke considers how much trouble he's having predicting his opponent's movements, so he asks Karin to keep a constant track of him. The Jinchuuriki doesn't plan to give them an opening and moves to attack Sasuke again. Sasuke activates Mangekyou and the Jinchuuriki finds himself in a Genjutsu being stabbed. He collapses but then in an instant he barrels into Sasuke, knocking him backwards. Blood flies from Sasuke's chest and Juugo catches him. Karin offers to heal Sasuke but Juugo says no, he'll fuse his own flesh and chakra with Sasuke since they should be compatible. The Jinchuuriki boasts that Genjutsu won't work if he has a partner to wake him, which he has since he controls his beast. As his skin begins to peel from his body, he rhymes that their destruction awaits. Suddenly a massive ox-headed tentacled Bijuu towers over the shocked Team Hawk...
Chapter 414
Chapter 414: "Rampaging Ox" - The group marvels at the monster’s form and chakra. Juugo rushes to finish and finally withdraws his hand from Sasuke's chest. Suddenly Juugo de-ages to a young boy and he offers that Sasuke can't die, as he's his last tie to Kimimaro. The Hachibi charges but is blocked by a mass of uprising water. Suigetsu floats within the water and tells the others to flee. The Hachibi says they won't get the chance and forms a large ball of destructive chakra which he fires into Suigetsu. Suigetsu and portions of the surrounding countryside are blown away. In the distance two Cloud ninja hear the disturbance. Elsewhere at Myouboku Mountain, Naruto continues his training and excitedly yells he can see the natural energy. Fukasaku smiles and they take a break for lunch. After lunch the sage toad directs Naruto to use his own chakra to lift one of the stone frogs. Naruto tries and fails, so the toad suggests he try to draw out his Sennin chakra. Naruto sits and focuses and the energy begins to seep in. Opening his toad-like eyes he moves to one of the stone frogs and lifts. The stone suddenly lifts above him and Fukasaku considers how much more quickly Naruto is learning than Jiraiya once did. Naruto sits the stone down and it topples over. Gamakichi chides him for knocking over their ancestor and Fukasaku considers how Naruto is also more of an idiot than Jiraiya was. Back in Lightning, the two Cloud ninja rush to the scene. They wonder why Killer Bee is in his Bijuu form, even after the Raikage warned him not to transform. Suddenly the duo sees Team Hawk below. Seeing the Akatsuki robes they recognize the group who took Yugito. Down below, Team Hawk looks at the watery unconscious form of Suigetsu. Karin offers that there's no way to run and an exhausted Sasuke looks at his team members. Remembering their various offers of help and sacrifice, Sasuke closes his eyes and sees Kakashi, Sakura and Naruto. As the Hachibi moves to strike again, Sasuke's left eye begins to bleed. It opens to reveal his Mangekyou and the black flames of Amaterasu...
Chapter 415
Chapter 415: "The Determined 'Amaterasu'!!!" - Hachibi is quickly engulfed in Amaterasu's black flames. As the Bijuu flails about, Team Hawk dives for cover. As a swinging tentacle falls towards a fallen Karin, Sasuke extends his Chidori sword to sever it. The tentacle misses but black flames spread to Karin's back from the beast. Juugo says she's finished and states they should retreat. Sasuke says no and activates his other Mangekyou. As he focuses on the flames, they die down and are extinguished. Sasuke is shaken and surprised that he was able to stop them. He yells for Juugo to retrieve Karin and she's quickly brought out of harm’s way. Juugo asks what happened and Sasuke wonders how he put the flames out, whether that was the power of Mangekyou. He then casts his gaze to the Hachibi and extinguishes those flames as well. Killer Bee drops out of the flames, as the Bijuu was burned away. Seeing the man still alive, Sasuke offers they were able to avoid killing him. From above the two Cloud are shocked that Killer Bee lost, and consider that the Akatsuki were skilled. One of the Cloud notices the Uchiha crest on Sasuke's back and says they have to inform the Raikage that his brother has been defeated. The other offers that the Raikage won't let this stand. Juugo tells Sasuke he looks tired and that the wounds from Itachi's battle still pain him. Sasuke says yes, but now... Elsewhere at Myouboku, Fukasaku tells Naruto he has mastered the oil. He then states that Naruto must begin calling the natural energy without the oil. With his toad-eyes, Naruto jumps to the top of the statuary and says he can feel the power. Fukasaku explains that normal ninjutsu utilize one’s own chakra, so a ninja becomes tired more quickly by using it. However, by using natural energy, one can recover more quickly. Naruto says he understands, and the toad considers how the Kyuubi also helps Naruto recover even faster. Naruto clinches his fists and wonders aloud if he can now do it. The toad asks him do what? Naruto quickly says nothing and tries to drop the matter. The toad relents and states he has something to give Naruto, a book to read. It's Jiraiya's first book, which he put his heart into. Naruto accepts the book and reads the cover: "Utter Gutsiness, A Ninja Tale"
Chapter 416
Chapter 416: "Utter Gutsiness, A Ninja Tale" - In a forest, a ninja taunts a hiding Leaf shinobi. The Leaf throws smoke bombs but his opponent moves to subdue him. The Leaf asks if he can say one thing but his opponent strikes to kill. The Leaf offers that he should quit making him try to give up and then poofs away. The opponent realizes it was a Kage Bunshin too late and is struck from behind. The downed man gloats that even if he dies, another assassin will strike; as long as shinobi villages exist, there will be strife. The Leaf states he will break that curse, he’ll find the peace no matter what. The assassin asks the man his name and the Leaf says it’s... In Myouboku, Naruto cries as he finishes Jiraiya's book about the hero named Naruto, the man he is unknowingly named after. Naruto thinks back to his time training with Jiraiya. He asks why Orochimaru tried to destroy the village if he and Jiraiya were once friends. Jiraiya explains that after Orochimaru's parents died, he turned to Kinjutsu, either to revive his parents or seek revenge against Konoha. Jiraiya explains that he was an orphan like Naruto, so Orochimaru said he wouldn't understand. Jiraiya says maybe he didn't but he still knows hate is spreading. Naruto asks what he means, and Jiraiya explains that he hopes to one day end the hatred and bring an understanding between people. Naruto offers that it sounds difficult. Jiraiya states if he can't do it, it will be up to Naruto. Naruto smiles and says okay. Jiraiya laughs and Naruto asks what's funny. Jiraiya offers that Naruto's smile is his salvation and that he's glad Naruto is his apprentice. Naruto blushes but Jiraiya offers that he hasn't given up yet; he'll change the world through his books. Naruto points out the lack of sales but Jiraiya yells that they'll be best sellers soon enough, and when Naruto begs for an autograph he won't get it. Naruto asks why he wants that, as he has something better. In the present Naruto smiles and we cut to Akatsuki's hidden base. Sasuke throws the bound Killer Bee before Madara. He offers his approval and Sasuke turns to leave. Madara asks where he's going and Sasuke says to heal and then to Konoha. Madara remembers an earlier conversation with Sasuke. Sasuke explains that he plans to wipe out all of Konoha, not just the elders. He can't forgive them. Sasuke was more important than Konoha to Itachi, and Itachi is more precious than Konoha to him. Konoha had the Uchiha destroyed and worship the Senju, so they're worthless. He offers that he’s not a kid ruled by his emotions, those that don't know hatred would never understand. If anyone stands in his way he'll kill everyone they ever cared about, then they'll finally understand his hatred. In Cloud, the Raikage receives word of Killer Bee's abduction. The ninja reports that his comrade went in pursuit. The Raikage smashes his desk and yells that Akatsuki will pay. He offers aloud to his abducted brother that help is on the way...
Chapter 417
Chapter 417: "The Raikage Moves!!" - Naruto begins to turn into a toad so Fukasaku whacks him again, warning him to remain absolutely still. Naruto asks why he can't just take the oil with him, but the toad explains that it evaporates outside of the Myouboku. He states that Naruto isn't taking the training seriously but Naruto says that's not true, he's much better at concentrating now. The toad tells Naruto to follow him and directs him to place a stone tile on top of a nearby spike. He states Naruto must learn to become still and find the proper balance with nature. Naruto begins to sit but then loses balance and falls. The toad grabs Naruto with his tongue and says that once Naruto learns to stop moving, he'll be successful. Elsewhere Team Hawk recuperates and Suigetsu demands to know why his sword was left behind. Karin says they didn't have time. Juugo says they need each other so they shouldn't fight. Suigetsu asks Sasuke if he'll get the Hachibi's power. Sasuke says he doesn't know but that he has a new power anyway. He reaches for a glass but accidently knocks it over. His vision blurs and Karin is alerted to a presence outside. The Cloud ninja releases a messenger lizard but Sasuke soon kills it. Juugo also arrives to stop the ninja's escape. At the King of Hell statue, Madara arrives with Killer Bee and says they have to wait on Pain. In Hidden Cloud, Raikage is angry about Yugito and Killer Bee's defeat. The secretary explains that they received several communication reports and that one of the ninja appeared to be Uchiha Sasuke, a former ninja from Konoha. The Raikage wonders why Konoha couldn't finish him off, as they had no problems with the Hyuuga. Cloud learns that no more lizards have arrived so the Raikage orders they dispatch a battalion based on the information they do have about their man's last location. He orders Samui's team to prepare and that word be sent to Konoha that they'll deal with Uchiha Sasuke. He then says to prepare a summit of the Five Kages, and that Akatsuki will pay for their actions. Three Cloud ninja prepare to depart, Samui, Omoi and Karui. Omoi ponders what he did to piss of the Raikage. He then begins to insult the two women with Karui kicking him out of anger. Samui tells them to chill and head out.
Chapter 418
Chapter 418: "Sennin Naruto!!" - As Naruto balances on a spike, Fukasaku approves of the young man's ability to control the natural energy without the toad oil. With himself centered, Naruto draws in the chakra and then opens his dark rimmed eyes, having mastered the Senjutsu chakra without looking like a toad. The toad asks how Naruto feels and the young man states he feels like he's become one with the environment. A bird swoops down and lands on his shoulder, sending him off balance and crashing down below. As the dust clears, he sees in surprise that he was barely hurt. Fukasaku says that's thanks to Sennin Mode, and now there's one final training area left, to use the sage chakra in the toad fighting style. Outside Team Hawk's compound, Cloud ninja destroy the entrance, rush in and find their comrade unmoving on the ground. Later that night at Myouboku, Naruto finishes a jutsu in secret. He determines he needs more practice and that it will have to proceed in secret. Back in Konoha, Shikamaru, Sakura and Shiho discuss how Pain controlled his bodies, possibly through Genjutsu. Shikamaru offers that the group had immortals with them, so anything is believable at this point. Shiho offers that they just need to gather what they can and go from there. At the interrogation squad headquarters, Inoichi tries to pry the mind of one of the Rain ninja, but a block turns him away. Ibiki tells his comrade to be careful and the men proceed. In the autopsy room, Shizune continues with her study of the Fuuma-Pain body. Outside Konoha, the bodies of ninja dot the ground. Soon seven figures stand before Konoha's outer wall: Pain Rikudou and Konan. Yahiko-Pain then offers that it's time for the world to experience pain...
Chapter 419
Chapter 419: "Invasion!!" - Pain has his Asura, Animal and Hungry Ghost realm bodies act as diversions, while Konan, the Deva, Human and Hell realms act as reconnaissance. Pain identifies a barrier around Konoha and says they'll launch Animal over the wall and down through the barrier to hide their numbers. Animal is launched and the barrier squad is alerted to her arrival. She lands and then summons the others. They scatter and begin launching attacks. Asura fires missiles into the surrounding buildings and Animal summons a giant centipede. Two barrier squad members are confused by the enemies’ numbers, so they move to get backup and alert the Hokage. Elsewhere the Human realm grips the head of a Leaf ninja and senses that the man does not know the Kyuubi's location. He pulls out the man's soul and the body collapses. In Cloud, the letter to the Hokage is prepared. Raikage tells Samui's team that he's counting on them. Omoi says he has a bad feeling and Karui says there's no way their sensei Killer Bee could get taken out like that. They begin to argue so Raikage tells them to stop as tears fall from his face. He says they have to save Bee. Karui and Omoi are moved and begin to cry as well. At Akatsuki's base, Killer Bee floats in the air while Hachibi is extracted. Zetsu comments that the extraction takes forever with so few members. Suddenly the group looks in surprise as Bee turns into a tentacle and then falls to the ground. Kisame offers that Sasuke messed up and Madara is speechless. Zetsu laughs and his other half chides him. Back in Lightning at the bottom of the lake rests the tentacle Sasuke severed to save Karin. From within it emerges Killer Bee. He sees the coast is clear and swims to shore. Hachibi says that wasn't a good plan, as he had to lose several limbs for it to work. Bee raps that he has plenty left and his Bijuu tells him to quite the rapping, he's not good at it. Bee says that next time he'll sing enka music instead. Hachibi is speechless and Bee offers that he's now free to finally leave his village, since Akatsuki "captured" him. Hachibi states the Raikage is probably worried. Bee says that's fine, he's been stuck defending the village and it's time for a break. He'll find Sabu, the leader of the enka ninjas. Hachibi offers that Akatsuki won't like this and asks why Bee even bothered to summon him, as he had the upper hand. Bee states that the Sharingan user was strong, and he just got carried away. Hachibi ponders that a new era is coming, and Bee happily asks if it's because of his new music career change?...
Chapter 420
Chapter 420: "Battlefield, Konoha!!" - Naruto jumps through the air as he spars with Fukasaku. The toad tells Naruto he's getting better and the young man offers that he's not finished yet. In Konoha, Iruka helps a fallen comrade. The Deva Pain arrives and asks him where Naruto is. Iruka refuses so Pain moves to impale him. Suddenly the spike stops as a hand grabs it. Kakashi offers his surmise that the attack is a diversion. Kakashi tells Iruka to go, so he picks up the injured ninja and retreats. Pain moves to kick but Kakashi dodges and summons a stone wall. Pain brings down his arm to impale Kakashi's shoulder. Kakashi uses the attack to hold Pain in place while he moves to thrust Raikiri. Suddenly Kakashi gets a sensation of Rinnegan eyes and misses Pain's head. He wonders what it was and Pain says he's honored to meet the legendary copy ninja. He asks Naruto's location and Kakashi calls the question stupid. He moves to attack with Raikiri again but is then sent backwards by an unseen wave which also crushes the wall behind Pain. Back at Myouboku, Fukasaku explains that Sennin Mode is risky, as one can't stay in the mode for extended periods of time. To gather the energy, one can't move and if one can't move, then battle is pointless. It must be done when one has allies or can find a place to retreat and gather energy. Naruto yells in confusion as to why he even bothered learning it. The toad offers that all is okay, that's why he'll have an ally, as they'll fuse their bodies together. Naruto is taken aback at the thought of himself as a giant toad. The toad clarifies that he'll only be sitting on his shoulder and Naruto is reassured. Fukasaku explains that while one is fighting, the other will gather energy. That's how he and his wife did it with Jiraiya. Naruto understands and high fives the toad in confidence. Back in Konoha, Shizune finishes her analysis of Pain's black rods. She explains that they're receivers for high frequency chakra waves. As she states that they must inform Tsunade the building is rocked. At the code breaker head quarters, Shikamaru, Shiho and Sakura are also shaken. They look out the window to see dust and debris rising. At the interrogation building, Inoichi continues searching through the Rain ninja's mind and finds what he's been searching for. Elsewhere the top of Asura Realm's head opens, and he fires a laser into the surrounding buildings. Team 8 and Ino and Chouji hear the disturbance. Ino rushes to tell her father, while in the Hokage building Tsunade looks out her window. She thinks back to Fukasaku's explanation that Jiraiya entrusted everything to Naruto, and how she entrusted him with her necklace. She tells the waiting ninja to put out an emergency alert and call for Naruto.
Chapter 421
Chapter 421: "Call Naruto Back!!" - As villagers flee from Pain's giant centipede, a little girl trips. Suddenly Sakura slugs the creature away, killing it. She tends to the girl who gives her thanks. Iruka arrives and explains the situation to Sakura. Sakura states she never thought Akatsuki would attack them directly. An explosion rises nearby and Iruka suggests that Sakura should head to the hospital to help the wounded. At the Hokage building, a toad states he'll retrieve Naruto. Homura and Koharu enter and state Naruto is to be left at Myouboku. Tsunade demands an explanation and the elders explain that the attacker is Pain, and it would be bad if Naruto fell into his hands. Tsunade grabs them by their collars and remembers Naruto's promise to become Hokage and avenge Jiraiya. The elders demand to know the meaning of Tsunade's actions. She yells that Naruto is no longer a child. He inherited the Will of Fire and will surpass Jiraiya. He's not to be kept out of conflict, hidden away. He's one of the ninja who will protect the village. She throws them down and offers that they lack what the Third, Jiraiya and Chiyo had... faith. As we see teams around Konoha moving to act, Tsunade explains that the First entrusted the elders with the village when they were young, and now it's their turn to do the same. They rise and state she can do what she wants. They take their leave and Shizune arrives. Elsewhere Kakashi ponders how he was blown backwards. He sends a lightning wolf to test Pain's defenses and it is repelled as well. As Kakashi wonders how to proceed, the Asura Realm Pain lands behind him. Shizune explains that the piercings receive chakra signals and once they learn what the Interrogation teams find, they should be able to solve the riddle of Pain. Tsunade tells the toad to let Fukasaku know about this as well. She orders teams to protect Shizune and the Interrogation squad and states she'll be helping Katsuyu with the wounded. They leave and the toad prepares to return to Myouboku. Suddenly he's impaled by a sword and Danzou offers that now the Kyuubi is out of reach.


Summaries by Leaf Ninja