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Part One
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27

Part Two
28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50
51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70




Volume Sixty-Eight Manga Summary
Naruto: VOLUME 68
Title: Wadachi ~ Path




Chapter 648: "A Shinobi's Dream!!" - Naruto affirms his readiness to Sasuke, leaving Obito to offer annoyance at the young man's continued persistence. As the Susanoo and Kurama stand side by side, one of the Kyuubi tails remains extended back onto Minato. Inside the internal plane, Yang Kurama apologizes to Yin for still having to borrow chakra as he gathers his own. The tail finally cuts loose from Minato and the man offers his son encouragement. Looking to needle Sasuke, Naruto asks his friend if he forgot that only Senjutsu hurts Obito. Sasuke cautions Naruto not to think he'd make the same mistake, which signals Juugo to release his ability, causing the black flames of activation to spread out from his body through the Susanoo guardian. In the distance, Suigetsu asks Karin if that's Sasuke's cursed mark. She agrees that it looks so, but she though he lost it. Orochimaru explains that Senjutsu chakra is the source of Juugo's power, and when he injected Sasuke with some of it, he immediately took to the cursed mark. So it's unsurprising they can still merge so well, in short it's something like a Senjutsu Susanoo. Tobirama surveys the development, pondering that Sasuke shows the same potential Madara once did. Karin offers that maybe she should help, but Suigetsu retorts she'd probably just get stabbed again. As she slams Suigetsu back into a water puddle, Orochimaru considers to himself that Sasuke is unlike those two or even any he's ever experimented on. And he's still not even reached his upper limit, that his gut tells him Sasuke will be a shinobi who one day surpasses Madara. Tobirama shares similar thoughts of Naruto, pondering that the boy reminds him of his older brother. A foolish brat who spouts their ideals at the top of their voice, and yet everyone still wants to depend on him. Quickly the Susanoo and Kurama jump to attack, leaving Obito to caution them not to cry when their attack fails. Forming one of his dark spheres into a staff, he flies to confront them head on. As the alliance look on, they offer surprise that Naruto and Sasuke went to face the man again, and question what they should do. Maybe they should wait for the Five Kage to arrive and ask them? As the Hashirama clone watches on, he recalls Madara's excitement at all the fights they'll have until the day he achieves his true dream. He recalls his own question about what that is, and Madara's answer that Hashirama can't see it, the dreams of the far future. Hashirama asks that he explain those far off dreams then... As Hashirama ruminates on his own dreams, his memories begin to echo throughout the gathered alliance members. We flashback to the past, as the Five First Kage sit around a meeting table for the first time, flanked by their trusted attendants. The First Kazekage with the man who would become the Second, the First Mizukage with his attendant, the First Tsuchikage with Muu, the First Raikage with the man who would become the Second and finally Hashirama with Tobirama. Hashirama offers that the fact they were able to convene honors him greatly. As he emphatically bows his head to the other men, Tobirama quietly chastises his brother for lowering himself. Hashirama counters that he's just really happy, leaving the others to chide him as well. Shodai Raikage suggests he raise his head, as it's unbecoming behavior for a village leader. Shodai Tsuchikage offers that he did come to support the Five Kage plan, but he still isn't signing off on it. Shodai Mizukage agree with the Raikage, suggesting such humbleness will make them question his motives. Shodai Kazekage offers that the distribution of the Bijuu the Hokage collected is their purpose for signing the treaty, it's just a business transaction, not something to get worked up over. Tobirama agrees, explaining that they'll be divided based on power balance, and only given for a price. Hashirama is surprised by this news of a cost, leaving Tobirama to tell him to quiet. In the present, Mei marvels at seeing the First Kage conference, with Oonoki then offering that it lead to the end of many minor conflicts. As Naruto and Sasuke begin their assault against Obito and as Hashirama continues to battle Madara, we once again return to the past. Kazekage offers that for a long while, a temple in their village has sealed away a Bijuu, for that reason they do not need to be given one. Instead they would accept an alternate compensation for agreeing to the pact: Since they adjoin with the nearby Konoha, they wish for a gift of arable land in lieu of a Bijuu. In addition, 30% of the purchase price the others will be paying for the Bijuu will be given to them. Raikage, Tsuchikage and Mizukage are immediately in an uproar at the suggestion. The Kazekage reiterates that he won't sign unless they agree. Simply, they have no land for farming, so it's only natural his village will use their existing Bijuu to their own benefit. Unmoved, the Mizukage counters that the other four could just simply align together to then crush the Sand... Hashirama slams his forehead to the table again in deference, and pleads that though they've never gotten along before, he knows they acted as they did for their brethren and clans, when they had no other choice. And even if the treaty is signed today, he does not know how long a peace would last. But he has a dream that someday in the future, there will come a time will all shinobi will unite and help each other with one heart, regardless of their affiliation. That is his dream of the future! In the present the five current Kage finally arrive at the battlefield at the head of their troops. The alliance shinobi look on, and we return to the past, as Hashirama offers his honest plea that they all take that first honest step with him today. Please! Please! Please! As his cry for understanding echoes, he repeats it in the present. Please! He begs them, all of his... all of their beloved children... Now is the time to take all that pain and suffering, all that frustration that shinobi have endured and weave it into their dream of the future!!...




Chapter 649: "A Shinobi's Will" - A offers that their generation no longer needs to think of it as a dream. Mei agrees, Oonoki as well, but he cautions if they lose there won't be a future for them. Gaara affirms that defeat is not an option. Tsunade decrees they should spread out amongst the forces to draw the best out of the alliance, that's their job as the Five Kage. All five then jump and move out. As the once worried shinobi close their eyes, they reopen with a new purpose, set on fighting to the fullest they draw their weapons and prep their hand signs. As the Susanoo and Kurama fly through the air, Sasuke lets loose an arrow. Obito knocks it away with his dark matter and glares at the duo in annoyed hatred, announcing they better be prepared... Naruto recalls his promise to not let any of his comrades die, while down below Sakura attends to Shikamaru. A chakra bubble bursts on his hand as she notices the Kyuubi chakra. She looks to the other alliance members, noticing that even while in battle, Naruto is still trying to heal his comrades. She pleads for him to focus on fighting and leave the healing to her. Ino counters that Sakura is mistaken, Naruto isn't even aware he's doing it. His chakra is acting from his own deep desire to help Shikamaru. She can tell through her Shindenshin no Jutsu. As he lays dying, Shikamaru thinks over how Naruto always goes above and beyond, will go to any length, never holding back or comprising when it came to them, even before the war. He even made him feel guilty about being lazy. He apologizes to his dad, as Naruto doesn't want him to pass on yet. Sakura yells for him to be quiet, she won't let him die, Naruto... no everyone needs him! Shikamaru recalls the young Naruto from the Academy and explains to his father that he only found out later how difficult the boy had it and he never wants him to face such difficulties alone again. He recalls once saying that Naruto will become an important shinobi in the village and when he's with him, it makes him want to walk at his side. And unlike Shodai Hokage, he doesn't have an adept brother to be his advisor. Gathering himself, he affirms that's why he needs to stick around so he can stand next to him when he becomes Hokage! As Sakura continues to heal him, Shikamaru rises into a sitting position, much to Choiji's happiness. Shikamaru apologizes to his father again, as he can't cross over just yet, because there's no one more qualified to be Naruto's advisor! Tobirama offers a smile, and Sakura rejoices as well, affirming that Naruto's chakra and heart saved him. Sai and Ino agree and she thanks Sakura as well. Kiba cautions Shikamaru not to get ahead of himself, as Shikamaru might just become his advisor instead. Akamaru offers a whine, but Shino tells him not to fret, a Kage can have a lot of advisors. Hinata concludes she wants to stand beside Naruto too, so she'll have to work hard. Chouji gives Shikamaru a hard embrace and the other winces. His pain is short lived as Tsunade lands before them and places her hand on Shikamaru's forehead, instantly returning him to full health. Sakura offers surprised greeting and Tsunade pats her protégé’s head in return, declaring she's done well. Sakura smiles and Tsunade turns to her grandfather in apology. The Hashirama clone offers that no apology is needed, it is he who dragged this mess into his grandchildren's era, he is the true loser here. Tsunade counters even so, his heart and dream have been passed down to that same era, even his will of fire! Hashirama suggests their first action should be to cut down the tree while Obito is distracted. Oonoki offers that even though it's big, it is still dwarfed by the size of the great earth itself... and that great earth is on their side! A looks on, and recalls the time in the Iron Country when Naruto bowed his head and his statement that shinobi should not lower their heads so easily, as they only respect action and power. He surmises that those who become Hokage appear to like lowering their heads as an act to relay their heart, perhaps it can lead to a strength and be worthwhile too. He affirms the Kumo's readiness and Bee and the other Cloud ninja yell in unison. Mei offers that as a woman she can't get a late start on battle like she has with marriage, leaving her to encourage the Mist on. As Naruto continues his fight, Gaara offers to Naruto that he's become a necessary existence to the world, something the both of them always wanted and now Naruto, you shall save it! He directs the Sand shinobi to follow him and they yell in agreement. Elsewhere on the Kamui plane, Kakashi finishes sewing up his gut wound. He affirms that should be enough to allow him to get going. Back in reality, Guy declares that the springtime of his youth hasn't faded yet, and yells encouragement to Lee and TenTen. They affirm and Hashirama looks on, marveling to Naruto that the young man's past is filtering into him from the others and right now, he is uniting everyone. His tempestuous life made him who he is, and that way of life has given everyone hope! With the shinobi alliance united in determination once again, Hashirama declares that they fight for their future, so bring it on!!...




Chapter 650: "Those Who Shall Sleep" - The alliance charge in defiance and Hashirama proclaims the goal to cut down the tree. As the roots stretch out, the samurai cut them down in support. Nearby, Tobirama explains to Minato that he'll use the man's link to Naruto's chakra to help protect them with his teleportation jutsu. Hiruzen asks his former student if he plans to just watch, leaving Orochimaru to explain that he has no interest in the war. However Obito's dream would mean an end to his precious laboratory, so that would seemingly mean he stands against Obito. Hiruzen directs him to lend a hand then as more roots snakes out. Orochimaru relents and extends his Senei Ta Jashu to arrest their movement. Hiruzen then breaks the root in two with his staff and Orochimaru admits he'll do it for the nostalgic memories of his student-teacher partnership. Up above, Obito shifts to take the offensive, generating wooden dragons which lash out at alliance shinobi. Before they can impact, a Hiraishin kunai flies in for protection to move them away. The saved ninja are confused until Tobirama chimes in telepathically to explain he'll save those who appear in danger, so they should fight without fear. Elsewhere Tsunade and Sakura both maintain their healing signs. Tsunade boasts that with two Byakugou no In users, they can likely summon 1/10th of Katsuyu's actual body from the Shikkotsu Woods. She explains that they'll mold her into the alliances’ footing, a healing area where one can be restored just by standing on her. She asks if her pupil is ready and Sakura affirms. As they slam their palms to the ground, the larger Katsuyu segment arrives. Tsunade asks if Ino relayed that information and she affirms. Suddenly Katsuyu begins to melt and ooze apart, spreading over the floor of the battlefield. Higher above, Sasuke and Naruto continue their assault on Obito. As the man flies to avoid the strikes, Naruto marvels at his speed. Sasuke continues tracking the man with Mangekyou and Naruto confirms being able to sense him better and better. They both locate him at the same time, and strike out. Obito extends shields on either side to block and declares that it's time that they sleep, for he'll guide them to that land. Suddenly black arms stretch out to grab hold of the Susanoo and Kurama forms, much to Naruto and Sasuke's surprise. On the Kamui plane, Kakashi contemplates that Obito really did want to confirm if a heart that never bends and a will of fire that does not waver could really exist. As Obito begins to crush the duo, Kakashi's words to Obito echo that his friend gave up on those ideals, but after fighting Naruto and hearing his promises, it's possible he can no longer deny that deep down they might exist after all. And yet he still pushes everyone to try to prove him wrong. As Obito plummets to the earth below he hurls the duo into the ground, having removed some of their chakra. As they attempt to gather themselves, Kakashi concludes his thoughts, wondering if Obito is continuing to push Naruto in the hopes of finally getting an answer. As Naruto begins to stand, Obito questions why he keeps getting up. For what is he fighting? For his comrades or for the world? Comrades will eventually betray and the world transforms love into hatred, Naruto should know, he's experienced it firsthand. Both Konoha and Sasuke betrayed him and Jiraiya's love conferred hate upon him. They're the same; the culmination of anguish and pain will eventually change him and soon more suffering will assail him. So how can he claim that he'll never change? He can never know when his comrades might betray him again or if the allied forces might go back to fighting each other, in fact he doesn't even know if he can win. So there's no reason to keep fighting for a world like this, it's about to come to an end, so why keep it up? As Naruto finally gains his feet he declares his long held credo, it's his ninja way. As Juugo and Sasuke also stand, Naruto explains that he never goes back on his word, that's his shinobi way. As Obito narrows his eyes in annoyance, Sasuke once again stands beside Naruto. He tells Naruto that they need to end it with their next move and Naruto agrees. As Naruto's Kurama form bursts into being, Sasuke's Susanoo flares as well, this time as armor for the Kyuubi. Standing defiant Naruto announces that they'll sleep tomorrow dreaming their own dreams!!




Chapter 651: "That Which Fills the Hole" - Juugo and Naruto both note the Susanoo taking shape around the Kyuubi. Sasuke offers that he believes Madara once did this. Hashirama notices the armor as well as it full encases the Kurama and generates a sword. As Obito looks on, in the Kamui plane Kakashi suddenly grabs his Sharingan eye as his vision alters and gives him a brief glimpse of Naruto and Sasuke looking back. Back at the battle, one of Obito's black substance hands suddenly twists into a helix shaped sword, while the other arm morphs into a shield. Obito asks the duo what they see through the hole above. In the Kamui plane, Kakashi realizes he can both see and hear Obito through some form of resonation. Obito continues, stating the moon above will pave the way to the moonlit dream world. That same moon will also bury the gaping hole as well. As Naruto looks on, Kakashi recalls Obito's proclamation that there's nothing in his heart, the hole within his chest doesn't even cause pain. Furthermore, reality is cruel and the hole will keep growing, so how can Kakashi fill it? Back in reality, the helix material has formed a sword, Obito explains it is the Rikudou's divine blade which he used to create the world, the Nunoboko Sword. With it, he cannot be defeated. Kiba is alerted and asks his teammates if they felt that. Shino affirms, Lee and TenTen also make note. Shikamaru as well, offering that Naruto is calling for them. Inside the armored Kurama, Naruto suggests they focus everything on a single blow, as they'll only have one tiny window. Within the Kurama tails, individual Rasengan begin to spiral into being. Suddenly Obito darts forward, announcing that as the Rikudou created the world, he'll destroy it with the same blade. Naruto and Sasuke charge in turn as Naruto's friends jump to assist. As Kakashi watches on, he offers to Obito that when people see someone trying twice as hard as others, even if it's someone they once mocked, they instinctively want to lend a hand. That's because people eventually learn that they only have each other to fill the holes in their hearts. As each of Naruto's nine friends jump to a tail Rasengan, they are surprised as a chakra cloak suddenly bursts into being on them. Naruto mentally tells them he's leaving the Rasengan to them, so use them to blast through Obito's shield. Lee offers doubts if he can do it, but Naruto affirms that he can. Kakashi concludes by offering that one who possesses a heart filled with comrades is truly powerful... As Naruto and Sasuke charge forward, the Rasengan tipped Kurama tails extend forward being directed by Lee, TenTen, Sai, Chouji, Shikamaru, Ino, Hinata, Shino and Hinata. As Sakura continues maintaining her healing seal, she offers encouragement. The Rasengan tails meet Obito's shield head on, tearing a hole through it. Obito attempts to counter with his Nunoboko, but the Susanoo sword is extended to meet it in turn. As the two blades meet, so to do the minds of Naruto and Obito. We flashback to a world which never existed, as the reanimated teenage Obito stands loyal beside Kakashi over Rin's grave, having both returned to Konoha after her death. Obito turns to his beloved friends a proud Konoha shinobi once again. Years pass and we see him grow into an adult shinobi alongside his comrades like Asuma, Anko and Guy. Soon his own scarred visage graces Hokage Mountain as the new Hokage. Within Obito's mind, he falters at seeing such images and questions what’s happening. As he breaks, so too does the Nunoboko against the Susanoo sword. As Naruto and Obito stare each other down, the final strike slices home through Obito's body, leaving Naruto victorious...


Hashirama, Naruto, Obito, Madara & Sasuke

Chapter 652: "Naruto's Path" - Flowing from the wound back towards Naruto flies the spectral heads of the Bijuu. Kurama and Naruto both cheer at being right and the fox surmises the Bijuu chakra reacted to the chakra they had given him earlier, allowing them to pull it all out in one shot. Thinking over his brethren, Kurama deduces it only worked because they liked Naruto. He's truly something special. Naruto yells in readiness, releasing his previously received Bijuu chakra back to meet their counterpart. As the two sides slam into each other, the Gyuuki and Shukaku chakra stand alone. Kurama yells for Naruto to take the next step, as it'll be tug of war, so yank it out. Naruto affirms, but the Gyuuki and Shukaku chakra rejects the pull. Kurama curses, but Gaara is quickly at Naruto's side, stating he'll handle the Sanbi chakra. As his sand reaches out to grab ahold, he pleads for Shukaku to return. Bee steps up as well, rapping he'll handle the Hachibi portion with his tentacles. Gyuuki urges his host on and Kurama grins. As Obito turns in confusion, Naruto's friends land back on the earth below. Kurama yells out that they have to extract the Bijuu, which will only leave the Juubi's shell, which will prevent the bud from blooming. Obito winces as and high above the flower petals come to a stop. Obito's wooden dragons also stop in place. Hiruzen identifies the opportunity, but before he can give orders, Shikamaru's voice echoes in their head via Ino. He announces that it's like he said, they have to wait for their moment, and this is their time. Their power will change the course of the world. As Naruto continues the pull, Obito's thoughts and memories begin to swim through his head, leaving him emotional. As a tear begins to fall, Kurama cautions him not to get distracted, as their chakra connection will cause Obito's heart to flow into his. Obito yells out in anger to not doubt the Juubi Jinchuuriki, as he shares the Rikudou's power. As he begins to pull back, Sasuke lends a Susanoo arm to help pull. He directs Naruto to keep pulling and Naruto's friends quickly jump in to help. Kiba explains they'll help out until the end and Shikamaru chimes in that it's not just them... Suddenly all the other surviving alliance members are jumping in to help. Minato quickly extends his chakra into the fray and directs the others to grab on and he extends further tendrils back for them to grab hold. They eagerly grab on and Naruto yells for them to all pull on his mark. As Obito stares in wide-eyed shock, Naruto gives the word and the alliance pulls. Within the mind space, Obito stands alone; opposite stands Naruto, backed and supported by the comrades and friends. As Obito turns to see his lack of support he looks back, suddenly seeing himself in Naruto's place. He's angered by the reflection and again sees himself as Hokage, joined by Team 7. Naruto offers to Obito that he once said "I'm nobody and want to be nobody." Obito cautions Naruto not to enter his mind, but the young man just looks on and ignores the warning. Naruto continues, saying the truth is they both wanted to be Hokage. It could have even ended up with him desperately seeking to be like him, since Hokage was his dream too. Obito retorts that he left such naive dreams behind, so don't tell him... Naruto questions why he can see it then, he can hide behind a mask, but it's no use. He’s Kakashi's friend, his dad's subordinate, Sasuke's relative, his senior and a Konoha shinobi who shares his dream. Obito questions just what he wants then? Naruto answers simply... to remind him that's he's Uchiha Obito, he swore to tear his mask off, didn't he?...




Chapter 653: "I'm Always Watching" - Obito repeats his name and asks why it matters, now that's he's merged with the Juubi and attainted enlightenment. He's no longer human, he's someone who will lead mankind to their next stage. He possesses the same body and will as the Rikudou, he's his second coming. Naruto looks on unimpressed, points a finger in accusation and challenges that the man is wrong, he's Uchiha Obito. Obito glares but Naruto continues, explaining that when their chakra touched he saw the man’s past. Their histories and dreams are nearly the same, neither knew their parents and both lost people precious to them. It's why he tried to shake him by saying solitude is his worst nightmare. Obito is shaken and ruminates as Naruto continues. He offers that both wanted to be acknowledged and praised, that's probably why he wanted to be Hokage, it was his reason too. With fire in his words, Naruto tells Obito to look at himself now. He's turned all shinobi into his enemy and spouts nonsense about doing it for the sake of the world, when he's really doing it for himself. No one, not even those previous to him would ever acknowledge his current dream. Obito purses his lips in silence as Naruto goes on, yelling that they shared the same dream, but now he's become the opposite of a Hokage. It's because they're alike that... Obito interjects that's it's for that reason he wanted to see him despair, or he supposes he wanted to verify again the path he chose was not a mistake. When he was fighting them, it made him recall his youth. That's why he wanted to test him, to see if Naruto too would fall into despair and abandon his feelings and past. Naruto challenges in response that it's because they're alike that he really pisses him off. Obito turns away but Naruto continues, yelling that the man is just abandoning everything and running. Obito counters that what he's doing is no different than what a Hokage would, in actuality it's more, since he can truly achieve peace. Naruto looks on, and questions if he's serious about it. Does he truly believe it? Obito's eye closes and we flashback to the past. Rin tends to the wounded Obito and the young Uchiha thanks her for saving him, since it's the same as saving the world. She is confused and he explains he'll be Hokage one day and stop the war, to do that he needs to live and be healthy. She affirms understanding, even if it doesn't make much sense. He blushes and explains that if she stays by his side and watches over him... then... She smiles in turn and we return to the present in Obito and Naruto's shared mindscape. Obito opens his eyes, looks on Naruto once again and gives his answer, saying he does believe in what he's doing. There's no need to walk a difficult path filled with uncertainty, for one will have to step over the corpses of ones comrades. Instead, why not take the shortcut with the fixed outcome? After all, being Hokage means one should aim for world peace. Naruto clenches his fist in anger and asks just what he means? What he's asking is not for the easy path, but how to navigate the difficult one. Obito questions if he would still ask if both led to the same end point? Naruto ponders who can even tell which one is the difficult one starting out? Someone has to pick one without hesitation regardless. A Hokage walks ahead of all others, swallowing their pain and breaking down the roadblocks for their sake. There's no shortcut to becoming Hokage, and there are no ways out for the ones who become Hokage! Obito ponders the words and we once again see the past. Rin tends to Obito's wound once again and he apologizes, explaining that dust got into his eyes. This annoys the young woman to Obito's surprise. He attempts levity, offering he needs a scar or two to get some cred... She tightly cinches the bandage, hurting Obito. He looks on in confusion and she cautions that he shouldn't act tough and try to hide his wounds, as she's always watching. He promised to become Hokage. She too wants to stop the war and save the world, that's why she's decided to stick by his side and watch over him. After all, he said that saving him was the same as saving the world, right? As tears well in his eyes, he affirms. She continues, explaining that since she's watching him, he can't hide anything from her anymore, okay? He agrees and she clenches her fist in encouragement, telling him to go for it. Become Hokage and show how he'll awesomely save the world, as that's another promise! Grabbing his hand they turn to rejoin Minato and Kakashi who are waiting nearby. Back in the present, Obito looks to that same hand. Naruto points out that he told Kakashi he would discard all his old memories and feelings about his comrades, but when he was about to be taken over by the Juubi, didn't he try to quash it in return since that's not what he wanted? Obito thinks over the incident and Naruto goes on, offering that the reason why he won against the Juubi was because he stood firm on not throwing away his past and stayed himself, right? He couldn't discard the past, Kakashi or that Rin person, could he? That's how he could stay Obito, even after becoming the Juubi Jinchuuriki. As Naruto walks past Obito he asks if he's wrong? He circles the man and declares that no longer will he drag everyone onto his path. He'll cross over to theirs and atone for his sins, as Uchiha Obito and as a Konoha shinobi. He tried to run away, but he bets Rin would say this had she still lived, "Don't act tough and try to hide your wounds. I'm always watching, you know?" As Naruto extends his hand in peace, he declares to Obito that he's no one but himself, so stop running and come join them...




Chapter 654: "I'm Uchiha Obito" - Obito stretches his hand in turn and steps forward... bypassing Naruto's outstretched hand. Grabbing hold of Naruto's throat he affirms in defiance that he won't go over to his side, he has no regrets with his path up until now. Naruto counters it's like he said, he saw everything... Clenching his fist he knocks the man back, stating that if that's the case, he should stop imagining himself as Hokage! Obito regains his footing and looks back, seeing his younger self in Naruto's place. He's taken aback and the young Obito offers that the one Rin wanted to watch over isn't the current him, it was Uchiha Obito. The mindscape alters, and the two men now stand in a forest during the Third Great Ninja war. The young Kakashi chastises Obito for being late again and Minato directs him to hurry up. Obito is silent, as his younger self offers apologizes and rushes past as Rin leads him by the hand back to their teammates. The elder Obito is shocked by her appearance and watches them go. A trio of visages in his Rikudou form stand nearby, offering that he needs to fill that hole in his heart by himself. As they take on the shape of his teammates, the false specters offer that others won't help. The false Rin directs him to come on over, she won't ignore him. His younger self tells the valid Rin to hold up, and the young man turns to look on his older self. The young Obito extends his hand, explaining that Rin wouldn't even give the time of the day to his current self, Rin wanted to watch over Uchiha Obito, so give it up already, he himself is Uchiha Obito. Grabbing his older self by the hand, the vision disappears, and now Naruto stands in his place, holding the current Obito's hand. He tells the idiot to come on already, don't he dare underestimate... As he begins to pull Obito forward, we see the combined might of the shinobi alliance pull in determination as well. The chakra tightens on Obito's chest, stretching until it finally gives way and pulls free, as Naruto concludes that Obito shouldn't underestimate their power! Naruto yells that he got them, as Obito's face begins to crack and crumble. The alliance cheers and the Bijuu chakras recombine, causing their massive forms to coalesce into reality and slam down onto the battlefield. As Obito's power begins to peel away, he plummets back to the earth below, questioning that he really lost?... As he slams into the ground, Naruto and Sasuke end their cloaked Kurama form. Obito remains motionless, looking to the moon above. He recalls his words that the moon's dreams will bury the gaping hole in his heart and Kakashi's retort that he can try to fill it with delusions, but it won't fill up. He then recalls Naruto's explanation that it can only be filled by the others around him. Extending his hand to blot out the hole in the sky above, Obito recalls Rin and voices her name...




Chapter 655: "Path" - As the Bijuu stand before Sasuke and Naruto, Son offers surprise and thanks that Naruto saved them. Naruto salutes him in greeting. Choumei offers they were lucky. The others offer surprise at Naruto's success, including Shukaku who ponders recognition of the young man. Suddenly Sasuke bolts forward, withdraws his sword and Naruto calls out for him to stop. Nearby alliance members search for Obito. C locates him, just as Sasuke approaches to strike the final blow. Obito looks on in a daze, helpless, finally grasping that he lost. Above Obito, reality begins to warp and Sasuke pulls up in alarm. Finally returning to the battlefield, Kakashi warps into being on top of Obito and pins him in place, though the man offers no resistance. Minato looks on, while Naruto and Sasuke also come to a stop. Kakashi offers that he wishes to talk to Sasuke later and then apologizes for appearing so suddenly. However, as Obito's once classmate and friend, he asks that he be allowed to take responsibility for him. Naruto yells out as Kakashi moves to strike the final blow with a kunai, but his arm is suddenly stopped by the remaining hand of his former sensei who now stands at his side. The alliance cheer that they can finally finish him, but Tsunade cautions they hold up. Looking down upon his former student, Minato explains to Obito that when he participated in the chakra tug of war, he could see inside the man's heart. His son nagged and lectured him, something he seems to have inherited from Kushina. As Naruto looks on, Minato says that job really should be Kakashi's, for he believes the one who would truly understand Obito and would know him, would be his friend. Naruto is left without comment, finally understanding his meaning as he looks to Sasuke. Minato then suggests to his son that Naruto and Sasuke assist Shodai seal away Madara. Naruto is suddenly startled, having forgotten the elder Uchiha was still in play. He yells for Sasuke to come along and the duo head out. As Minato watches them go, he offers to his former students that they were smaller than Naruto is now when they completed their numerous missions together. Rin, as a medic ninja frantically protected the two of them, and she wouldn't have wanted things to have ended like this. Kakashi finally relaxes his arm, leaving Minato to remove his hand. He admits that what happened was his responsibility. It's no coincidence that having died, he now stands before them, perhaps Rin helped it come to be, her way of scolding him for his failures. He then apologizes for failing to protect her as Obito and Kakashi remain silent in weary repose. Obito finally speaks up, explaining that she was his sole light and hope. After he lost her, his world changed, it became a black hell. This world holds no hope, so he took Madara's identity and walked the world. It only served to confirm his views even more. Even possessing the Sharingan revealed nothing, because there was nothing to see. Kakashi admits that he does not know anything for sure either... Obito is struck by the admission, and with new agitation offers that means then that he can't say his new path is... Kakashi interjects, explaining that Obito's path was just one of many, and it may not be wrong. He's long thought the world was hell too. He had lost both of them and then their sensei, but after receiving Obito's gift... even though he doesn't know for sure, he's tried his best to see the world with his new eye. He felt that as long as he had Obito's Sharingan and words, he could see the future. As Naruto races up the tree root, Obito guesses Kakashi means Naruto. He then asks how the man can be sure Naruto's path won't fail? Gathering himself to stand, Kakashi admits that Naruto very well may fail too. Obito questions then what the difference is between them, why defend Naruto if that's the case? The other then explains that he can simply attest he won't fail as much, because if he falls, he himself will help Naruto up. Obito's eyes go wide in thought and he asks Kakashi why then help him? Kakashi looks to the man then to Naruto and answers that Naruto would never give up his dreams or reality, that's the kind of person he is. As Naruto finally locates Hashirama and Madara, he forms a hand seal and Kakashi continues, explaining that Naruto lives his life and draws others to him, folks who want to help right him if he trips. For the larger and greater support behind you, the closer you can get to your goal. That's the difference. As the full moon comes into view high above, Naruto forms an Oodama Rasen Shuriken with the help of some clones. Down below, Obito questions if such a thing is truly possible in this pitch black hell. Looking down on the man, Kakashi suggests that he's sure Obito could see it too if he tried, as they both share the same eyes. If comrades that you trust gather around you, hope can take physical form and before visible, that's what he believes. As the foot prints of Naruto's comrades mark the ground in their journey to help him fight, Naruto's Oodama Rasen Shuriken shines out through the night from atop the God Tree.




Chapter 656: "The Switch" - As Obito looks to the heavens, the bright glint of Naruto's giant Rasen Shuriken spirals above him. He ponders the young man’s path, as Sennin Mode Naruto wields the giant jutsu. As his clones disperse he hurls the sphere. As it plummets through the air towards Madara, Obito admits possibly... At the remaining battle, Madara stands unmoving, having been wrapped up by Hashirama's Mokuton dragons. Shodai offers the man can't move any longer, and will be unable to avoid this... As he jumps out of the way, the Rasen Shuriken flies in as Madara glares on. Hashirama compliments Yondaime's son and urges this to be the end so they can finally seal Madara away. As the jutsu detonates, more shinobi rush in to help. High above, Sai arrives on an ink bird to help Naruto down. Down amongst the Bijuu, Gaara kneels and requests Shukaku's assistance in sealing away Madara. Shukaku asks if he plans to use the Sabaku Soutaisou? Gaara says, a very large one. Shukaku laughs, gloating that he's no longer bound to a Jinchuuriki, so why should he listen? Gaara calmly explains that he's not ordering, simply asking. If he doesn't wish to help, that's fine, he'll just look for someone else's help. Shukaku is silent, but then voices Naruto's full name, questioning that Gaara seems to have become close to the Fox's brat. Gaara turns away and offers that if he doesn't plan to help, they can talk later. Shukaku voices annoyance at the young man's tone, but boasts that tanuki are better tricksters than foxes, so he won't be one-upped by that stupid fox. Gaara turns in surprise and Shukaku explains that he isn't giving in to the request, he's just helping because he wants to, so lead the way. Gaara looks on and then points the way. A voice tells them to stop, as Son and the other Bijuu step in to offer assistance as well. Son recalls Naruto's request to help, and explains that they're not doing it on a whim, they're returning the favor. Gaara offers thanks and Son asks if Naruto is Gaara’s friend too. Gaara says yes, he was his first friend. Son smiles in understanding, and suggests they hurry. With Rasen Shuriken spun out, the dust clears to show Madara unharmed under the weight of Hashirama's newly made binding gates. With Madara now stopped again, he leaves it for the sealing shinobi. Unphased by his predicament, Madara offers a wicked smile in return. Suddenly Obito cries out, startling Minato and Kakashi. Minato offers that with the Bijuu extracted, that'll mean Obito will... Yin Kurama interjects to say that isn't the case, Juubi Jinchuuriki are different, they don't die if they get their Bijuu removed. This is because the Juubi's husk the Gedou Statue still remains, as it contains a lot of life force. Minato asks how he knows such a thing? Yin offers that it should be obvious, who after all scattered them all across the world after splitting the Juubi's chakra into nine pieces? Minato realizes he means the Rikudou and Yin continues, explaining that the man did get nine bodies sucked out of him at once though, he'll be so weak it's like he is dead, he won't be able to budge for several months, just as it was for the old man long ago. Minato voices understanding, then begins to explain the situation to Kakashi. Above Madara, Naruto stands beside Sai on his ink bird as the swoop down. Back at Obito, Kakashi offers that he hoped Obito would have been able to make up for his past behavior, but if he can't move, that can't be helped. Turning to leave, he asks his former sensei to watch over Obito and Minato affirms. Strangely Obito's hands come together to form a seal, Minato questions what he's doing, leaving Kakashi confused as well. Obito explains that he's going to do the same thing the man he once used tried to use, did use... to betray him. Kakashi's eyes go wide and Obito admits he never thought he'd end up doing the same thing. Thinking of Nagato, Obito calls out Gedou Rinne Tensei no Jutsu. Kakashi questions that it will result in his... Minato grasps the jutsu's cost immediately and Obito explains that he might finally understand why Nagato betrayed him. A string of hearts linking together like prayer beads, that can be a strong power indeed... Both Nagato and Naruto were Jiraiya's disciples, could it be said that he was thus defeated by Jiraiya?... Obito then points out to Minato that the man was his master and the one who groomed him to before Hokage. He himself was Minato's student, a shinobi who gave up on becoming Hokage and cut all his ties... So there won't really be much to say to Rin on the other side. Kakashi asks his former comrade if he's really sure, as he could still live and atone for his sins. Obito counters that such a thing would be too easy and simple... Obito's reverie is quickly shattered as a black arm bursts from the ground to grab ahold and prevent his actions. The round eye of Black Zetsu looks out as the being's head rises to explain he'll be helping Obito out this time. Madara smiles in conjunction, reveling that it's time to switch places. He explains that he'll be going on the offensive now. Hashirama chides him for the touch guy act, as the war is over. As Naruto and Sai join Hashirama, the Root ninja quickly sends out ink tiger seal to bind Madara. As the tiger bears down upon the man, the elder Uchiha offers thanks to Naruto, as he even extracted the Bijuu from Obito, saving him the trouble of weakening him. As Obito writhes on the ground, black tendrils snake over his body. Black Zetsu offers apologies, explaining that this is more or less the reason he was even stuck to him in the beginning. Minato and Kakashi are dumbfounded, while elsewhere the ink tiger bites into Madara's side. Sai states it'll be just a moment, but the name of Rinne Tensei is called out as Madara and Black Zetsu synchronize. The man shudders, while in turn Black Zetsu partially peels off Obito. The ink tiger and Mokuton gate explode as Madara stands complete once again, rejuvenated to full, true life. Looking to his living hand, he boasts that *this* is the form, the body, he needed! As you can't call it a battle without raging blood and a pounding heart!




Chapter 657: "Uchiha Madara, In the Flesh" - As the crazy-eyed Madara scans his surroundings, his Rinnegan turn to ash and fall away. Closing his now empty sockets, the black flames if Amaterasu burst forth on his body. Naruto, Sai and Hashirama are surprised, Madara as well, as he turns to the newly arrived Sasuke. High above on an ink bird, Sasuke declares that historical relics should butt out. Madara in unimpressed, concluding the boy is nothing but a brat who pales in comparison to him. Hashirama looks on and questions why Madara shut his eyes. Naruto yells that it's pointless to just lob attacks at him, as he can absorb Ninjutsu. Madara's armor falls away as he frees himself from a majority of the flames. Hashirama questions what he's looking at and Madara explains that two polar opposites operate together to give rise to all things in the universe. It's as they discussed long ago in front of the Uchiha stone tablet. He recalls to the gathered Leaf that Hashirama believed true happiness could be found when two contrary powers cooperate, but he himself said it could be interpreted differently... With the grafted face of Hashirama marking his chest, he explains that his belief is that one who wields both the power of the Uchiha and Senju can attain true happiness, couldn't that possibly be true as well? Hashirama chooses not to answer, instead offering that it looks like the man continued his plotting after he left the village. Madara explains that's not actually the case, it was done by a subordinate completely by chance, as there was apparently a fellow who thought a lot like him. Drawing blood from his arm, Madara offers however, that coming back to life was exactly his plan. Hashirama and the others are surprised as the man draws his hands together in a seal. Hashirama is suddenly shaken as he can't move. Madara bolts forward and knocks both Sai and Naruto aside to grab Hashirama by the throat. Chakra begins to emanate as he withdraws his former friend's life force. Madara admits that things weren’t quite as planned though, or at least they happened out of order. As Hashirama begins to crumble, his face-counterpart on Madara's chest develops the marks of Sennin Mode. Madara remarks upon the sensation of Senjutsu chakra, concluding it's not so difficult to understand and control. With sword in hand, Sasuke approaches the man from his rear. Madara releases Hashirama and deftly turns, avoiding Sasuke's slashes with ease. Sasuke continues his assault, offering that this new twist only helps their cause, as it gives them the chance to kill the man for good and send him back to the afterlife. As Naruto and Sai gather themselves, Hashirama grunts in weakness. Sasuke moves to strike again, stating the man should regret that he's not still Edo Tensei as he goes to his death... The katana pierces through Madara' right bicep, but he turns his forearm to grab the blade with both his hands. Though he looks on with closed eyes, he remarks that he can feel Sasuke's Mangekyou, being a Choku or Straight Tomoe pattern. No wonder he has such good moves, in that case it might not be so bad to take the eyes until he can get his Rinnegan back. Back at Obito, Black Zetsu remains outside, still partially submerged in the ground. Kakashi questions what he did as Obito weakly answers that Madara was revived for real. Black Zetsu admits that Obito has finally finished being useful, as the Rinne Tensei will result in his death. So here's the last step, he'll take back the left eye. Minato and Kakashi jump to stop the being, but it withdraws back onto Obito in response. Black Zetsu concludes maybe not… Obito will hang on for a bit longer as he appears to need to stick around. Minato questions just what he is, surely not human. Black Zetsu explains that he's Madara's Will, incarnate. Kakashi points out that he thought he was captured. Black Zetsu cautions that they and Obito all underestimated Madara's plan. We flashback to see Choujuurou cut Black Zetsu in two and his surprise at the man's skill. We then see Edo Tensei Madara's silent affirmation that it's not a problem though, directing Black Zetsu to go to Obito and bide his time until the signal is given. He then explains he'll head over after he finishes playing with the Kage, as he wants to gauge their strength. Black Zetsu affirms and as Choujuurou moves to finish off Black Zetsu's torso, the black Madara-will drains off the lower half's right leg, tunneling into the earth to escape. We return to the present as Black Zetsu declares Obito a traitor who went against Madara's plan, and until Obito dies, he'll use his body to fight them all. After all, it's only fair he be useful until the very end. Back at Madara, the man concludes it would be a waste though to kill Sasuke. How about they join forces as fellow surviving Uchiha? Sasuke questions the label, as the man is dead. Madara says very well, not that it matters, either way the boy has no time left. Inhaling air, he casts Katon: Haijingakure no Jutsu. As his cheeks expand, a blinding and burning torrent of ash bursts out from his mouth to knock his opponents away. Naruto winces and as Sasuke gathers himself, he looks to his now freed sword. Hashirama concludes Madara is regaining his past strength, which means his next target is... As he turns, some alliance ninja are knocked away. As Madara stands over their defeated forms, the wound on his arm heals. Facing his new targets in the distance beyond, he announces he'll be taking them next... the filthy beasts...