Chapter Summaries

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<< Volumes 28-30                                                                                                                                                                             Volumes 34-36 >> 

Volume 31
 Chapter 272
Chapter 272: "Chiyo-baa VS Sasori...!!" – As Sasori flies through the air towards Chiyo, Sakura grabs his cable and pulls him back towards her. Sakura lets out an audible "Shannaro!" and smashes Sasori into pieces, barely finishing him before the antidote ran out. However Sasori's chest casket draws the puppets parts back together, reforming him whole. Chiyo pulls in her arm and withdraws a summoning scroll. Swearing she would never use it again, Sasori has forced her hand. Chiyo summons ten puppets, with one puppet for each finger. It’s her ultimate master move, which is said to have brought down a fortress. Sasori removes his second of four back scrolls, and opens a chest compartment to help him summon over one hundred puppets! Sasori states he still can't believe he was forced by an old and a young woman to go this far to use the technique that brought down a country. Chiyo tells Sakura it’s better to not get involved, but Sakura says she should know her character by now as a student of Tsunade. Standing confidently beside Chiyo, the two kunoichi prepare for the final battle!
 Chapter 273
Chapter 273: "Last Battle!!" – It is a puppet onslaught, as Sasori launches his final attack. Puppets come in from all sides, with Chiyo deftly maneuvering her puppets in defense. Each of Chiyo's puppets begin to unleash hidden cords, weapons and devices to begin to cut Sasori's numbers down. The tide of puppets begins to get overwhelming, Sakura does what she can smashing puppets to bits. As Chiyo worries that one antidote makes things dangerous, she gets cut by a poisoned blade! Chiyo yells for Sakura to go after Sasori as she restrains the other puppets. A glowing orb is thrown to Sakura and she hurls it at Sasori. The orb expands to a gaping maw which bites onto Sasori and pins his body to the wall, cutting off his chakra with a seal. Sakura yells for Chiyo to take the antidote, but Sasori isn't done. The battered form of a fallen puppet rises from the ground with Sasori's casket implanted in its chest. The two kunoichi react in shock as it rushes with a katana toward Chiyo. With a desperate lunge, Sakura jumps in front of Chiyo, and becomes impaled by Sasori's blade.
 Chapter 274
Chapter 274: "Ungrantable Dream" – Chiyo is stunned by Sakura, who tells Chiyo to take the last antidote. Sasori is amused, and notes Sakura already is trying to promote healing in her stomach. It is pointless though, because the poison will deaden her body. Looking at the two struggle, Chiyo makes her decision. She withdraws the antidote and injects it into Sakura's leg to the surprise of Sakura and Sasori. Sakura holds firm to the sword, realizing Sasori wants to remove it and cut down the fallen Chiyo. It proves useless though, his puppet arm detaches at the elbow to reveal a hidden blade. Sasori charges for Chiyo and his grandmother makes one final puppeteering act. The father and mother puppets come rushing in with swords from either side, piercing Sasori's chest casket in a painful mockery of his young flashback embrace. Chiyo tells her grandson that his mind got too focused on killing. Puppet manipulation requires chakra from living tissue and such was housed in his true form, the chest casket. Sakura collapses to the ground and Chiyo moves to close her wound and remove the katana. An immobile Sasori states its useless, the wound is critical and even stopping the poison won't be enough. Chiyo states she knows medical jutsu would be pointless, so she will not even try. She will instead use a technique she developed just for Sasori, a reincarnation technique that could breathe life even into a puppet. A stunned Sasori looks on, realizing she meant it for his parents. Chiyo sadly states in exchange for granting life, she loses hers in exchange, to which the dying Sasori replies... "how stupid."
 Chapter 275
Chapter 275: "The Reward" – Chiyo finishes her jutsu and Sakura awakens. An amused Sasori asks Chiyo why she isn't dead yet, she replies Sakura wasn't dead, so it didn't require all her life in exchange. Sasori states that was a shame, causing an angered Sakura to slug Sasori across the face. Sasori states her actions do not hurt him, he long ago left his physical body and emotions behind to gain a type of puppet immortality. Knowing his time is at an end, Sasori offers to do them one final useless favor. He states he was scheduled to meet one of his underlings who has been a spy in Orochimaru's camp. In ten days time they were to meet at a bridge in the Grass Country. And with that, Sasori collapses alongside his parents... dead. Sakura congratulates Chiyo but the older woman wearily states it was not her doing; Sasori hesitated at the last moment and did not avoid the attack. Chiyo then collapses and Sakura tells her they can return to make more antidote, but Chiyo declines, saying she has one final act she needs to do. Elsewhere Deidara flies on, noting Naruto has calmed down. Naruto asks Kakashi if he's ready, but he states he doesn't have as much chakra as Naruto. But he says he is getting there, forming a handseal Kakashi reveals a new Sharingan form!
 Chapter 276
Chapter 276: "New Sharingan" – Naruto asks if that's what he was referring to and Kakashi affirms. Naruto states even if Kakashi fails, he'll take care of things. Kakashi focuses his eye and activates... Mangekyou Sharingan! This new Mangekyou form focuses on the area around Deidara's heart and the reality there begins to warp and sway. Deidara is surprised at a Doujutsu attack, and the focus moves from the chest to his right arm. Kakashi curses himself and Deidara's right arm gets sucked into nothingness. Deidara winces in pain and Kakashi states he's not skilled enough to properly control it. He begins to focus again and Deidara moves to fly away, Naruto and a Kage Bunshin appear in the air beside Deidara and attack with Rasengan. Deidara jumps off the bird and Naruto cuts off its head, carefully catching it as it falls to the ground. Deidara finds refuge in a tree. Kakashi's eye returns to the three tomoe Sharingan and a Naruto comes to check on him. The other two Naruto's peal away the clay to examine the dead Gaara. Deidara states that with two arms gone, jutsu usage is impossible. He is further surprised at a Doujutsu ability on par with Itachi, but the Jinchuuriki wasn't much. Deidara boasts they may fight again and Kakashi retorts Deidara's too careless. Right then another enraged Kyuubified Naruto appears from behind Deidara and slugs the Akatsuki member hard across the face.
 Chapter 277
Chapter 277: "Ultimate Art Form" – As Naruto falls, he forms four clones to each grab onto Deidara. The clones slam Deidara into the ground and the real Naruto begins pummeling. Kakashi watches on in worry. Naruto forms Rasengan and then slams it home; however Deidara disappears revealing a clay Kawarimi. As a chakra tail grows from Naruto, Deidara watches on from the bushes, marveling at Naruto's Jinchuuriki gift of strength. Naruto turns feral with a second tail forming, and the Naruto beside Kakashi winces in pain at some internal heat. Kakashi remembers how Jiraiya warned him to use a sealing tag to cut off the chakra before a second tail appears. Kakashi darts to Naruto and slaps the seal on his forehead, quickly weakening the young man. Elsewhere Team Gai has finished off their clones. As Naruto rests, Sakura and a weary Chiyo appear. Naruto welcomes them and Chiyo worries about Gaara only to see him with the Naruto clones. Deidara can't believe Sasori lost, his overconfidence in his art was his downfall but it was a fitting end. He moves to escape only to be cut off by Team Gai! Deidara bolts and TenTen launches projectiles. He quickly moves to his headless bird and chomps off a huge portion of clay. Deidara then ingests it! Neji sees Deidara focusing chakra to the clay inside and suddenly yells for everyone to move! Team Gai jumps away and Team Naruto watches in horror as Deidara grows huge and explodes!
 Chapter 278
Chapter 278: "The Death of Gaara" – As the explosion expands Neji is fearful they won't make it. Suddenly the dust settles to everyone's surprise. Where Deidara stood the surrounding area finishes being sucked into nothingness. Kakashi feels grateful that he somehow made it just in time with his Mangekyou technique. Gai is impressed and Sakura asks Kakashi what he did. He wearily responds he sent Deidara to another dimension. The Naruto's arrive with Gaara and the teams leave the forest for a nearby grassy field. Sakura checks Gaara and sadly nods that he is gone. Naruto begins to cry and asks why this had to happen to Gaara, right after he became Kazekage. Chiyo asks him to calm down but Naruto yells for her to shut up. He angrily demands to know why they made him a jinchuuriki anyway, why no one ever asked how he felt about it. He states he's failed two people so far, both Sasuke and Gaara. He could save neither even after his three years of training. Chiyo moves to Gaara and places her hands on his chest, and begins her tensei jutsu. Sakura recognizes the technique and yells to Chiyo but she trails off in sadness. Naruto demands to know what she is doing. Gai and Kakashi recognize her plan but Naruto still demands an answer. Sakura responds that Chiyo is going to bring Gaara back to life.
 Chapter 279
 Chapter 279: "Wonderous Chakra" Naruto asks in surprise if such a jutsu is possible. Sakura responds that only Chiyo knows it, while Neji contemplates the chakra manipulation. Kakashi watches on with his Sharingan and Chiyo begins to falter. Out of chakra Naruto offers to help, placing his hands over Chiyo's. Chiyo thinks over how Kakashi spoke highly of Naruto and his character. Chiyo begins to smile and thinks how good it is that there are good people like Naruto in this horrible world the older generations created. Chiyo tells Naruto to become an unparalleled Hokage, and for Sakura to surpass her teacher with her fiery spirit. As Naruto and Sakura listen on in sadness, Chiyo wishes for Naruto to help Gaara. We then go inside Naruto's young life conception, being surrounded by all his friends and Konoha comrades. Turning from the group the fantasy Naruto bolts away. Elsewhere Gaara is awakening into his own life conception, realizing he has form again. The lonely young Gaara sits alone crying in the desert wasteland. We draw in close and a hand grasps his shoulder. It's the young Naruto, who morphs into the older reality Naruto. A bittersweet looking Naruto welcomes Gaara back, and Gaara looks around in surprise. Naruto tells Gaara they came to save him. Surrounding the group are scores of celebrating Sand ninja, including Temari, Kankurou and Ebizou!
 Chapter 280
 Chapter 280: "The Entrusted Wish" Kankurou and Naruto begin to chide Gaara for causing so much hubbub, so Temari chastises them. The Sand ninja around the group begin to discuss Gaara, talking of strength and handsomeness. The kunoichi’s girly words perturb Naruto but Kankurou tells him girls can be like that. Kankurou thinks back to how Gaara spoke kindly of the way Naruto changed him, so he thanks Naruto. Naruto looks to the fallen Chiyo and says he should thank Chiyo when she gets better. Kankurou sadly tells Naruto how the tensei ninjutsu was developed by the puppet squad to breathe life into puppets, costing the user their life. A stunned Naruto thinks over Chiyo's previous words, including her wish for him to become a good Hokage. Ebizou looks down on his sister and states she finally looks at peace. Temari tells Naruto he's unique in that he can change people, he did so for Gaara and for Chiyo as well. She was not someone who cared for the village future, but Naruto changed her to believe that he and Gaara could both ensure a better future. Naruto contemplates she died in the same fashion as Sandaime Hokage, and sadly says he finally understands what she meant. Gaara begins to stand and moves to Naruto's side and looks down on the fallen Chiyo. The newly resurrected Kazekage then asks everyone to pray for Chiyo. Elsewhere a figure bursts from the ground... it's Deidara! Deidara is surprised he had to use his self-destructing bunshin, fortunately it provided a convincing enough diversion to allow escape. He then surmises he better look for his lower arm and his ring. Back in the destroyed cave, Zetsu stands over Sasori and his parents. Looking over his fallen comrade in arms, he states it appears to be the real Sasori. A voice elsewhere in the cave yells that Sasori's ring has been found. Sitting among the rubble is a mysterious figure, fully covered in clothing except for his hair, which sticks out from a mask with a swirling vortex for a face. The young man politely asks if he can finally become a member now that there is an opening. Zetsu yells that it is not that easy, but Zetsu's alternate personality asks why not and chimes in to say "Tobi" is a good boy. Tobi flicks the ring into the air, but fails to catch it again.
 
Volume 32
Chapter 281 Chapter 281: "The Road to Sasuke!!" – In Konoha, Shizune and Tsunade discuss Chiyo's passing and the teams coming back in three days. Shizune asks why Naruto was sent, and Tsunade responds Naruto knows what Jinchuuriki go through. Back in Hidden Sand, Naruto and Sakura pay respects to Chiyo's grave and then join the rest to leave. Outside the village entrance, Naruto shyly says this is where people usually shake hands to say goodbye but he knows Gaara is not like that. To Naruto's surprise sand begins to raise his arm and the two shake hands. Gai supports Kakashi and his rival apologizes for being wiped out. Gai then maneuvers Kakashi to give him a piggyback, much to Kakashi's embarrassment. Gai asks who else wants a ride and Lee gets psyched seeing it as training. Lee bends over and asks for Neji, which Neji quite quickly and firmly says no to. Elsewhere Tobi finds Deidara's arm and states he definitely died in an explosion. Before he can pick it up, Deidara walks up and tells him to drop it, much to Tobi's surprise. Zetsu asks where the Jinchuuriki is but Deidara just states he did his job already. Tobi then excitedly asks if he is okay after such a tough fight. Deidara is beyond annoyed and states his tolerance has limits, he then asks Tobi to drop it or else. Tobi asks if that means blowing up?... With no hesitation Deidara has Tobi down to the ground trying to strangle the young man with his legs. Back in Konoha, a bandaged old man tells a young man that he is the strongest of his generation and that strings have been pulled to place him on Team Kakashi. He dubs him Sai and chastises him for attempting to smile. Sai apologizes saying he can't make much of the things called emotions yet.
Chapter 282 Chapter 282: "Kakashi's Group Returns" In Konoha, Kakashi rests in the hospital. Elsewhere Tsunade, Sakura and Shizune discuss the upcoming Grass Country mission. Tsunade wants Naruto to go as part of a four-man team. Naruto watching from above agrees with them and then jumps away. Village council member Koharu arrives and asks to speak with Tsunade. They go inside and Koharu and Homura ask her not to send Naruto on any more missions which could involve Akatsuki. Naruto walks through Konoha and he wonders who to bring. Suddenly a figure with a high collar shirt, shades, oversized coat with the hood up tells him it's been awhile. Naruto is at a loss and the man states Naruto should recognize the face of his comrades. Naruto then realizes that the "annoying" speaking figure is none other than Shino! He then yells at him for being so covered up, making it hard to recognize him. Suddenly from above lands Kiba and a very huge Akamaru. Kiba is surprised at Naruto's growth but Naruto retorts Akamaru is the one who has grown. Kiba states he did not really notice because he and Akamaru are always together. Naruto looks to Shino for agreement but Shino only mockingly sulks that Kiba was recognized so quickly. A yelp is heard and in the distance standing behind a fence is a surprised and fuller figured Hinata. She frets over what say to Naruto after three years. Suddenly Naruto is beside her asking why she is hiding and she quickly feints. Naruto asks her what's the matter and Kiba retorts that this always seems to happen when Hinata is around Naruto. Shino can only sadly quip about how Hinata was so easily recognized as well.
Chapter 283 Chapter 283: "Search for More Members" – Naruto walks through the village and states Team 8 cannot join him because of a mission. He sees Shikamaru who states that as he told him before, his Examiner duties are keeping him busy. A voice volunteers to help Naruto though, it's Chouji! Who has grown in size and girth. Shikamaru tells Chouji though that his mission with Ino and Asuma would preclude his joining, Chouji says he'll talk to Asuma about it. Elsewhere Sai unrolls a scroll and begins to write on it in ink. As Chouji eats from his chips, Naruto jokes that he is as big as ever. Suddenly Shikamaru and Chouji are alerted, Shikamaru jumps and knocks down Naruto while Chouji enlarges his fist to smash into a tiger made of ink that is jumping at them. The ink explodes and another tiger jumps from above, Chouji grabs and smashes it as well. Shikamaru sees their target and extends his shadow. Sai sits on a roof beyond, Shikamaru states he does not know who the guy is but they'll turn him over for interrogation once caught. Sai draws more tigers and Naruto charges him. The tigers jump off the paper to attack Naruto on the ground below; Shikamaru's shadow extends off the ground and pierces each tiger with multiple spears. The ink falls down harmlessly and Naruto jumps with a kunai to attack Sai. Sai pulls his weapon to defend effortlessly. Sai states Naruto's power is weak, and then mockingly asks him if he even has a penis.
Chapter 284 Chapter 284: "New Companions" – In the Hokage building, Homura and Koharu state Naruto is not to leave the village. Tsunade replies that will only put the village in danger from Akatsuki. If he is kept on the move, Akatsuki will have little chance to track him. Homura calls Tsunade naive. Tsunade grows angry and says she offers a compromise as well. Homura retorts what proof can she offer of village protection? Tsunade remembers her first meetings with Naruto, and states she believes he will not be defeated. And if the village should be in danger, she will gladly give her life protecting it. Homura placates and says if that is the case, they will choose the other squad members. He then asks Danzou to come in, the older bandaged man from earlier. Tsunade knows the man and asks if this means the new member will be from "Root." Elsewhere Naruto demands to know Sai's identity and the two break, a shadow creeps below Sai so he jumps into the air and disappears. As Shikamaru and Chouji watch on, a voice demands to know what is going on. It's Ino! Chouji replies that some weird person attacked them, and Ino asks if he is referring to Naruto. Chouji says no and Ino yells a greeting to Naruto. Back in the office, Shizune states with Kakashi out they'll need a new captain. In flashback Danzou states that Tsunade controls the ANBU, so one of her best could be picked. In the present a masked ANBU stands before Tsunade as she lays out the mission. The man is honored to be replacing THE Kakashi senpai. Tsunade tells him this is a normal mission, he can lose his mask. She gives him the code name "Yamato" and tells him he'll also get another team member, a new recruit from the ANBU "root" division. She asks Yamato to keep a close eye on Sai, being the recommendation of Danzou, a war hawk who opposed Sandaime. Though the "Root" division was disbanded, he should not be taken lightly. Elsewhere Sai appears and greets Naruto. Yamato arrives and lays out the mission plan. Sakura asks if Naruto knows him and Sai retorts he wanted to test Naruto, but had no idea he was so weak. Naruto is enraged and Sakura holds him back, and tells him not to get into fights with a teammate. She tells Sai he is not making a good impression, which Sai retorts back that the same can be said for her, being so ugly. This causes Sakura to rage and be held back by Yamato, who can only suggest she take her own advice.
Chapter 285 Chapter 285: "You from 'Root'" – Yamato stands before his team and asks them to introduce themselves, and then he lays out the mission. He states it will give them the opportunity to find info to assassinate Orochimaru and retrieve Sasuke. He asks the team to gather in an hour and dismisses them. Naruto and Sakura walk away and compare Sai to Sasuke, stating Sai fails to live up to their friend. In an apartment, Sai gathers his tools. On the walls hang drawings of scenery. He picks up a drawing of his younger self and quickly pulls a kunai to defend himself. An ANBU member withdraws after locking kunai with Sai. He complements Sai's reflexes and gives him orders from Danzou. A cat meows and the ANBU is startled. He tells Sai failure is not an option and chides him for carrying the drawing of himself. He tells Sai that those in Root have no name, feelings, past or future, only your mission. Root lies below the ground supporting the great tree of Konoha. In Tsunade's office, she tells Sakura to control Naruto as best she can. Danzou knocks and enters her office. He states he has heard of the ANBU appointed as leader, and hopes Sandaime has not rubbed off on him, as how Shodai rubbed off on Sarutobi. He takes his leave and Tsunade tells Sakura that Danzou was a militaristic hardliner who was up for the Third Hokage position with Sarutobi. Sakura leaves and joins her team at the gate of Konoha, Yamato then tells them it is time to move out for the Grass Country!
Chapter 286 Chapter 286: "Naruto and Sasuke and Sai" – As the team walks, Naruto contemplates how Sai resembles Sasuke. Sai asks him to stop staring and Naruto gets angry. Yamato tells them to calm down, that they are a team now. Naruto retorts he had a team, and it had Sasuke, not Sai. Sai states he is glad he is not Sasuke, because he was a bastard traitor. Sakura steps to calm Naruto and asks Sai to forgive him, and then suddenly slugs Sai. She states he does not have to forgive her though. Sai says he was fooled by Sakura's fake smile, and Sakura tells him to not talk about Sasuke again in her presence. Sai states he smiles because it says in a book that even fake smiles will help get out of bad situations. Yamato then forms a handseal and does a wood prison technique. He says they can spend a day making friends in it or go to a hot springs, and he interjects that he is not against ruling by terror. Sakura is surprised he could use Shodai’s wood release jutsu. In the springs Yamato, Naruto and Sai relax. Yamato says relaxing as men in the nude should make them comrades, and then gives Naruto his scary terror face. Naruto jumps up and agrees and Sai ruefully comments that it appears Naruto finally has "one". Naruto yells at him for only thinking about penises. An embarrassed Sakura can only curse Naruto from the nearby women’s spa, as fellow female bathers laugh at his comments. Naruto gets a dirty eye to peep but Yamato exits the spring and warns him that Jiraiya once made the same mistake when he was younger, and Tsunade beat him to a pulp for it. In the bath cabin, Yamato sits down looking at an ANBU Root mask, and states things should start getting busy soon.
Chapter 287 Chapter 287: "Untitled" – Sakura awakes and heads outside to meet Sai who is painting. She asks what he is painting and states she is surprised to see a soft side to him. Sai remarks with her smile should he be afraid of being hit? Sakura jokes but says no, she was just interested. She asks the name of the work and Sai reports that he has never given a name to the thousands of pictures he has painted. Sakura states one normally gives names to paintings based on your mood or feelings. Sai states he couldn't give them an accurate title, no feelings occur to him. Naruto arrives and states that is probably why he acts the way he does. He also tells them Yamato is ready to go. Naruto says the painting isn't much, and Sai retorts just like his penis. And infuriated Naruto yells that he can honestly say he hates Sai, and that he should drop the fake smile and talk honestly. He tells Sai if he wants to fight then lets fight. Sai says that really isn't the case, he simply doesn't feel anything towards Naruto at all. He tells them to go ahead and he'll pack his things. Sakura picks up a picture book with drawings of a young boy on each side. Sakura asks if she can look through it on the way, and Sai declines, saying it is not yet finished. Also it belongs to his older brother. A short time later during the night in a forest, Yamato uses a Mokuton technique to create a huge house. They go inside to camp for the night and Yamato tells Sakura he has read Sasori's profile and needs to know everything she has on him. Yamato tells them they will impersonate Sasori and he himself will approach the spy. Sakura says Yuura was a resourceful spy so this one will probably be dangerous as well. Naruto states he'll take him. Elsewhere a cloaked figure stands in the darkness.
Chapter 288 Chapter 288: "Incomprehensible Feelings" – Yamato tells the group to back him up and work together in groups of two. Naruto begins to yell about being paired with Sai but Yamato shuts him up with his "scary" face. He tells them tomorrow they will train so he can see their skills. The next day Naruto and Sai jump to attack Yamato. Naruto forms Rasengan in Sai's hands and wood emerges to trap "Sai," who is revealed as a henge'd Naruto. The other Naruto jumps to pin Yamato but finds he is a dummy replacement. The real Sai releases painted snakes using his special mimic technique. The snakes coil around Naruto and the dummy trapping him. Elsewhere Sakura and Sai have captured Yamato and he congratulates them. A frustrated Naruto grabs Sai and asks if he if knows what comrade means. Sai says of course and writes the word "Comrade" on a scroll. He retorts Naruto was weak and let his frustration give himself away, preventing Sai from hiding and proceeding with caution. Sai says he did what was best to succeed in the mission. Naruto states he refuses to accept Sai as an ally. Sai asks Naruto what Sasuke would have done, would he have helped him? He states Sasuke betrayed the village and you still call him friend. Naruto says he'll do anything to save a friend, even work alongside Sai. Sai asks why he would do that, and Sakura tells him Naruto thinks of Sasuke as a brother. She asks Sai doesn't he feel the same towards his older brother? Sai states he talked of his brother in regards to his paintings, he doesn't have any emotions at all.
Chapter 289 Chapter 289: "Akatsuki Spy" – Sakura asks Sai what he means by not being able to feel, especially having a brother. Sai states his brother died but even then he was not sure what expression to make. Yamato asks them to stop talking and get ready. Sakura tells Sai if it were some other day she would have hit him again, but Naruto was willing to work with you to find Sasuke, so she can not go about hurting him. Sai states that means she was being nice to Naruto. He states he doesn't understand and begins to comment on reading something similar in a book when Naruto interjects it is time to go. The group leaves and takes positions at the bridge. Yamato in the guise of Sasori waits on the bridge while the others wait in the bushes on one end. The spy arrives and it is Yakushi Kabuto! Kabuto states its been five years, and he is feeling weird with the memory block finally being removed. Naruto and Sakura are both surprised but have a hard time hearing their words. Sasori asks Kabuto where Orochimaru and Sasuke are. Kabuto replies they change lairs every week and will do so again in three days. They are currently at the north lake hideout. Kabuto is startled and looks to the bushes, a rabbit appears and then hops away to Kabuto's relief. But hidden in the trees watching is Orochimaru, who evilly grins as the meeting continues.
 
Volume 33
Chapter 290
Chapter 290: "The End of Treason" – Orochimaru watches on and Kabuto tells Sasori he wasn't able to get the needed cell specimens from Orochimaru's former host body because of the jutsu used. Naruto and the others talk over whether to take Kabuto now. Kabuto asks for the object quickly so he can get a move on. Yamato senses his ruse is about up so he pulls a kunai. Suddenly Orochimaru is standing beside a shocked Kabuto, who quickly bolts to Sasori's side and thanks him for pulling the kunai as a warning. Orochimaru states Sasori's cloak brings back memories. Yamato asks if Orochimaru followed Kabuto. Orochimaru states he is glad Kabuto was sent to him, because his expertise allowed him to reuse experimental human bodies over and over, where he could only use them once before. Naruto isn't sure what to do, and Yamato debates over whether to assist Kabuto against Orochimaru, and how easily it will reveal him. Kabuto charges his hand with chakra and suddenly swipes at Sasori, cutting off his head! Yamato has to bolt from the body and retreat. Orochimaru sends a torrent of snakes from his sleeve to capture Yamato. Yamato replaces himself with a wooden doll and manages to retreat backwards. Orochimaru is surprised by the wood technique and shows recognition of Yamato's true identity. Standing together, Kabuto asks Orochimaru if this is Sasori's true appearance, Orochimaru says no. Kabuto says he never saw Sasori's true form. Yamato asks how it is possible, and Orochimaru says he removed the memory block long ago. Kabuto states he sympathized with Orochimaru and has been siding with him since. Kabuto asks Yamato who he is but Orochimaru says he will explain later, then asks for the three in hiding to come out. Yamato gives the signal and the three jump to his assistance. Kabuto acts bemused by Naruto showing up again, and Orochimaru gloats it will be interesting to see who between Naruto and Sasuke has become stronger...
Chapter 291
Chapter 291: "The Trigger of Anger" – Naruto fills with rage and the Kyuubi chakra forms around him. Sakura tells Kabuto to give Sasuke back and he retorts Sasuke came willingly. Orochimaru gloats if they want to know about Sasuke they'll have to beat it out of him. Naruto charges and slams Orochimaru back into the forest beyond. Everyone watches in wonder. We flashback to Jiraiya showing a scar on his chest, explaining how rage triggered a bloodlust in Naruto and caused him to grow four tails and lose control. He explains how the Kyuubi chakra will destroy Naruto's body and then later heal it. Unfortunately that lessens the cellular life span and will eventually kill him. Tsunade then tells Yamato that is why he is important. Orochimaru reappears with half his face torn off and states Naruto has become more Jinchuuriki-like. He states no wonder his guinea pig Yamato is there. Kabuto is confused and Orochimaru explains how years earlier he infused 60 children with Shodai's gene's, in the hopes of attaining the ability to use Mokuton and Shodai's legendary ability to control the tailed beasts. Sakura finally understands how Yamato uses Mokuton and Orochimaru states he can finally get his hands on an old research sample. He again gloats though he'd like to see who is stronger, Sasuke or Naruto. Naruto yells that Sasuke doesn't belong to Orochimaru, and three Kyuubi tails now swing behind him...
Chapter 292
Chapter 292: "The Third Tail" – The group watches on in fear. The chakra twists and contorts around Naruto's body, with him facing Orochimaru directly in a vision of the demon fox himself. Orochimaru is amused and the demon fox roars sending shockwaves outwards partially destroying the bridge. Orochimaru still stands firms and Sakura marvels at the power of the jinchuuriki. Sai recognizes the power within Naruto. Kabuto charges from behind Naruto with his chakra scalpel and Naruto turns and yells, sending a destructive sphere of chakra outwards to knock him backwards and into Sakura. Kabuto lands in the forest beyond and Sakura is now unconscious. The bridge splits in two and Sakura begins to slide off. Yamato uses Mokuton to brace the bridge. The other half has fallen against the cliff wall; a chakra arm extends swiping at the airborne Orochimaru, sending him into the forest. Sakura falls over the side to the gorge below. Sai states this is where his mission begins; he forms an ink bird and falls towards Sakura, only to take air and then fly away from her. A surprised Yamato has to extend a tree limb far below to grab Sakura. Sai flies on and the forest explodes as Orochimaru emerges on a tree limb, missing an arm. His mouth opens and he emerges from his mouth, peeling his outer skin away and he is whole again. Orochimaru gloats again that even with all that power, Naruto is still nothing next to Sasuke. A fourth tail begins to emerge...
Chapter 293
Chapter 293: "Running Wildly" – Naruto hunches over as the chakra boils around him. Inside himself he reaches out to a spectral Sasuke and the liquid in the Kyuubi lair fills. Naruto passes through the gate barrier and the Kyuubi encloses his paws around him. In the forest, Naruto’s flesh begins to peel off, revealing skin similar in appearance to his feral whiskers. Orochimaru remarks the chakra feels different this time around. Elsewhere Yamato assists Sakura and she asks where Naruto is. Yamato explains and then sends a wood clone towards the disturbance. Kabuto heals himself and remarks it is no surprise why Akatsuki wants a jinchuuriki's power so bad. Sai watches from above as a sphere of chakra surrounds Naruto. Naruto wails and an explosion rips from his location leveling the surrounding forest. Yamato forms a wood barrier and Sai's bird is destroyed. To Yamato's surprise and Orochimaru's delight, a totally feral Naruto with claws, ears, fur and four-tails crouches ready...
Chapter 294
Chapter 294: "The Fourth Tail" – Orochimaru unleashes a torrent of snakes from his mouth. The wave slithers towards Naruto and swords emerge from their mouths. Naruto swipes the snake tidal wave away with a shockwave. Yamato marvels at the power of even one Kyuubi strike, and Sai thinks he can't get close enough with the current state of battle. Naruto sends his Kyuubi arms into the ground. They burst up near Orochimaru and then split off to grab him. Orochimaru sends out a huge snake from his arm, it coils around the Kyuubi arm and the snake begins to burn. Orochimaru sends out a second form of himself from his mouth. It attempts to strike Naruto but the demon form falls away and another emerges from lower on Naruto's body to swat his attacker away. Orochimaru is ripped in two by the attack, but snakes emerge from each torso to connect and reattach his form. At the bridge Yamato is surprised the fourth tail would come out here, and Sakura asks how he knows so much. He tells her not to worry, and that this is why he was assigned to this mission. Kabuto walks up and states that he guesses Sasori won't be coming. That even Akatsuki has trouble with Orochimaru-sama, but for Sasori to choose them to come is a bit surprising. Sasori always stated how he wanted to take down his former partner. For Sasori himself not to do it, means he is captured or dead. Sakura affirms it is the latter, which Kabuto says is not a bad thing. Elsewhere small black orbs of blood and chakra begin to coalesce into a ball above Naruto as he prepares to attack. Orochimaru watches on and surmises this development can't be good...
Chapter 295
Chapter 295: "To the Kyuubi..." – The black orb begins to shrink and Orochimaru surmises he will die if it hits him. Yamato watches on and considers how the chakra around Naruto forms a mini-Kyuubi. He states he can sense its evil desires, and it is a wonder Naruto can even move with that chakra around him. Suddenly Naruto swallows the small orb and his chest swells in size. Orochimaru thinks over how the attack will come, and suddenly a huge blast erupts from Naruto's mouth. Orochimaru quickly draws blood and summons three gigantic protective gates. The gate erupts and Yamato marvels at the level of battle. The blast rips through the surrounding area, when the dust settles the gates are gone and Orochimaru is planted upside into the ground. Kabuto remarks the attack was not enough and suddenly a blade extends from the ground through Naruto's chest. Orochimaru's head snakes up, controlling the blade from his mouth. Naruto is thrown into one of the cliffs beside the bridge. Orochimaru smiles and Kabuto remarks that Naruto is more like the Kyuubi than ever. Sakura watches on in worry.
Chapter 296
Chapter 296: "A Sorrowful Conclusion" – Kabuto comments this is more a fight between monsters than ninja. Sakura watches on with sorrow, and Orochimaru thinks how even the Kusanagi could not pierce Naruto. Naruto throws the blade aside and the others jump to safety. Kabuto comments on the lengths of Naruto's drive to save Sasuke, and Sakura thinks over Naruto's past promises to her. Kabuto states Naruto is losing himself, a tear wells in Sakura's eyes and she darts towards her friend. Yamato yells to stop and she screams for Naruto to end this, that she can bring Sasuke back. A worried Yamato forms a handseal as a tail whips to strike Sakura. Elsewhere Sai wonders if Naruto died and sees his chance, in the distance Orochimaru's extended head spits out a new body. Both collapse to the ground. A ragged Orochimaru comments that his vessel is nearing its end, but he reassures himself by thinking that he has Sasuke. Back at the bridge, Sakura strikes the ground injured. Wood has enveloped Naruto to contain him. Kabuto walks towards Sakura and wood envelops him too. Kabuto tells Yamato not to get hasty, he has no intentions of hurting anyone. Kabuto extends his chakra from his hand to heal Sakura, and states that they both oppose Akatsuki. If they live they may even be able to take down another one. Naruto rages against the wood and Kabuto states they have their hands full with Naruto, and something should be done about him. He thinks that Orochimaru must be ready and disappears. Yamato forms a complex handseal and slaps Naruto on the chest. Spiked wood pillars rise around him, and the black chakra and blood begin to retreat from his body to the seal on him chest. Elsewhere Sai walks up to a surprised Orochimaru and states he does not mean him harm... he has a message from Danzou.
Chapter 297
Chapter 297: "Sai's Mission" – Orochimaru can’t believe Danzou is still alive. Sai says he has a message and Orochimaru interrupts to tell him to speak carefully. Sai states he only speaks how Danzou instructed him to. The two men exchange smiles and Orochimaru quickly spits a sword through Sai's chest. Orochimaru chides Sai for having no manners. Sai falls apart as an ink blob and the sword turns into a snake and returns to its master. Sai emerges from the ground and Orochimaru states he should be polite and show himself when speaking to superiors. At the bridge Sakura heals Naruto, and notes that Kyuubi is healing Naruto even more slowly than before. Sakura winces at her Kyuubi burns and Naruto begins to stir. She asks Yamato if she can be taught the control technique, he states no. He can do it only because he has Shodai's genes, and even then not as well. Naruto wears a special chakra crystal which belonged to Shodai, with that Yamato can control a Jinchuuriki's chakra. Shodai was made Hokage for this ability, and Yamato was chosen for this reason as well. Sakura sadly retorts she can only do little things for Naruto. Yamato states it’s not a matter of big or little, it's the strength of the feelings she has for him. Sakura looks on with a bit of surprise. He begins to state he can tell by looking at her that she... but Naruto awakes and greets Sakura. She begins to cry and Naruto is clueless about what happened. He asks why she is crying and jumps up, theorizing that Sai must has called her a cow or monstrously strong. She punches him in the stomach and states he's the one who always comments about the latter. Sakura asks of Sai's whereabouts and elsewhere Orochimaru asks how he can believe Sai. Sai reaches into his backpack and he is suddenly slammed face first into the ground by Kabuto with kunai in hand. His bag contents spill everywhere, including his ink, brush, picture book and an envelope. Orochimaru tells him to calm down, Sai is now their subordinate. Kabuto wonders if he can be trusted, and Sai tells him to look in the envelope. Orochimaru reads it and tells Kabuto to let him go. The two men rise and then all three disappear. Watching from the woods beyond, Yamato's wood bunshin clone finally understands...
Chapter 298
Chapter 298: "Secret Mission" Yamato's clone surmises this was Sai's mission since at least the hot springs, and he figures pursuit is best. At the bridge Yamato tells Sakura and Naruto that Sai has gone with Orochimaru. Naruto ponders why everything is destroyed. Yamato remembers what Jiraiya said and Naruto asks if he was unconscious. A worried Sakura tells him Orochimaru knocked him out. Sakura picks up Sai's photo book and Yamato tells them he's in wireless contact with his clone. Yamato tells them Sai went willingly. They then discuss Danzou, and Yamato surmises he probably wants to destroy Konoha and assume leadership with Orochimaru's help. Elsewhere Kabuto tells Orochimaru they're either being tailed or Sai is being tracked. Orochimaru says a corpse will be necessary. At the bridge Yamato tells them they're going now, and Naruto collapses. Yamato tells him to go back to Konoha because of his weakened state. Sakura is surprised, stating Kakashi would never do that. Yamato tells her he is not Kakashi, and they are not Genin who need to be coddled. This could be their last chance to take out Orochimaru. Elsewhere the pursuing Yamato clone stops in surprise, hanging from a noose is Sai... dead.
Chapter 299
Chapter 299: "The Source of Strength...!!" – The team rushes on, Sakura goes to grab a limb and winces in pain from her Kyuubi wound, causing her to fall. Yamato quickly stops her from hitting the ground. He speculates the Kyuubi chakra has acted like a poison, which her medical jutsu can't heal. He is surprised Naruto can even handle it. Naruto is worried and Sakura tells him Orochimaru did it. Yamato tells them to rest, and that Sakura is vital to the mission. She is annoyed at slowing them down and Yamato tells her to not worry about it. He asks Naruto to help him plan their attack and they walk away. Being a distance from Sakura, he tells Naruto that he hurt her. Naruto is surprised and remembers it was just like the time Jiraiya was injured. He tells Naruto that she didn't want to hurt him. Yamato states he can control the Jinchuuriki power when close. And it's true that power may help Naruto save Sasuke, but it's not his true strength. Using the power hurts both him and those close to him. Yamato states Naruto lost patience, correct? He then says he'll seal off Kyuubi's power completely, but it won't make him weaker. He tells Naruto that he is strong enough in his own right. Naruto isn't so sure, but Yamato says that Naruto is able to stand Kyuubi's chakra because of his own. Naruto is surprised and Yamato tells him if he really wants to help his friends, do it on his own power. Naruto empathically affirms. Elsewhere Orochimaru states their tail has stopped and Kabuto says it's thanks to him that he could create so many corpses. He looks back at Sai and asks Orochimaru if Sai can help in the experiment in his free time. Orochimaru tells him to do whatever he likes. Back at the Sai corpse, the clone Yamato determines it’s a fake body, and realizes they'll need to be more careful now. Elsewhere Sakura looks through Sai's things and sees a surprising picture in his drawing book. She yells for Yamato and Naruto to come have a look...


Summaries by Leaf Ninja