152. The Eternal Conflict
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Slash…

Mangetsu slashes his blade at Zengetsu.

Haah…

Zengetsu smirks as he stabs his blade in ground.

"You lowered your guard."

"Kenjutsu: Surudoiken: Blade Crucifixion: Death by Thousand Cuts"

Slash… slash….

Almost a thousand glowing chakra blades erupt from the ground.

"Hydrification Technique"

Mangetsu yells immediately. His body turns into the water to avoid the physical attack.

"It's useless… These blades are infused with chakra."

Stab… stab…

The blades stab through Mangetsu's body. His body turns into a jelly-like state as it slowly converts into a puddle of water.

Cough… cough…

"I did it… I brought honor to you… father."

Zengetsu slowly closes his eyes as blood continues to spill from his wounds.

"No… not like this… I won't die alone… I will take you with me."

A hand comes out from the puddle of water. There is a long needle sword held in the hand.

"Kenjutsu: Nuibari: Wire Crucifixion"

The hands stab the needle through Zengetsu's throat.

Guffaw…

Zengetsu coughs out a mouthful of blood as he struggles to breathe. Zengetsu infuses more chakra in his sword as the blade pierces through the puddle of water, silencing it completely.

"Guess… in the end… like father… I will also die a meaningless death because of a foolish rivalry. I only came to know of this fact at my deathbed."

Zengetsu's vision blurs as his eyes shut down.

----------------

Izuna immediately approaches the direction of the explosion.

He notices a giant pool of lava at the center of the pool. A frown appears on his face as he notices Mei lifelessly lying on the ground.

He quickly approaches her and checks her pulse.

Phew…

"She is alive… she just ran out of chakra."

Izuna makes some hand signs and grabs her hand.

"Chakra transfer"

He transfers some of his chakras to Mei while rejuvenating her with Nature energy.

"Ugh!"

Mei slowly opens her eyes as she looks around.

A handsome face appears in her vision as she is lying in Izuna's lap.

"What… what? What happened?"

She quickly distances herself from Izuna as a slight blush appears on her face.

Cough… cough…

Izuna coughs a little to remove the awkwardness.

"So… what happened here? Where is the enemy?" He asks her.

"He… he is gone… forever." Mei points towards the cliff.

Izuna understands her gesture and nods his head.

"So… did he give you any information?"

Mei immediately passes the scroll to Izuna. Izuna opens the map and notices the marked location.

"It is situated on the alternate route of the escort group. We have to hurry up."

Mei slowly stands up and tries to walk. She staggers and falls to the ground.

"I am still weak from the chakra exhaustion." She takes out a chakra pill from her storage scroll and consumes it.

"We don't have time to wait for your recovery." Izuna grabs her by the waist and Princess carries her.

"Wha… what are you doing? Put me down…" Mei protests.

"Listen… we don't have time for this banter… your father needs your help." Mei hesitatingly nods her head and stops struggling.

"Let's pick Zengetsu too… that guy is like a cockroach… he won't die easily with his water body." Izuna closes his eyes and senses Zengetsu's chakra.

A frown appears on his face.

'His chakra signature is too weak.'

He immediately dashes in Zengetsu's direction. He arrives at the location to see a needle sword stabbed through Zengetsu's throat.

He places Mei against a tree as he approaches Zengetsu.

"Zengetsu!..."

Izuna immediately pulls out the sword while he treats him with 'Mystic Palm Technique'."

"Oye! Zengetsu!... open your eyes… you can't die like this. You are an unkillable cockroach… just open your eyes… you can't die like this." Izuna infuses Nature Chakra in Zengetsu's body while treating his wound with 'Mystic Palm'.

"Ugh!"

Zengetsu slowly opens his eyes as he stares at Izuna.

"It's futile… I won't live longer… my end has come."

Zengetsu places a hand on Izuna's shoulder.

"It was fun to know you… I hope… I will be able to have a friend like you in my next life."

Zengetsu closes his eyes.

"Name?... tell me your real name?" Zengetsu asks him.

"… no Yuki clan member can use such a high level 'Medical Technique'. You are not a Yuki clan member… so at my last moments at least tell me your real name."

Izuna opens his eyes and activates his Mangekyo Sharingan.

"Amenominakanushi"

Izuna activates his Mangekyo ability as he stops time. He holds Zengetsu's hand to remove the effect.

Zengetsu slowly looks around and notices everything frozen in a place.

"This is…"

His eyes widen as he notices everything frozen around him. Zengetsu turns towards Izuna and notices his Sharingan and real face.

"Haha… as I expected… who could it be except the 'Silent Shinigami' of the Shinobi World. There is no ninja as talented as you." Zengetsu chuckles as he struggles to utter more words.

Izuna clutches his right hand as he tries to communicate with the 'Sin Seal'.

"Sin Seal… damnit… listen to me… save him… like Minato and Kushina… I made a friend in this shinobi world… and he is on the verge of death… save him…"

The Sin seal remains dormant without any activity.

"Damnit!... Damnit!"

Izuna smashes his fist on the ground.

Crack…

A crack appears on the ground.

"Just give up on me..."

Zengetsu holds his hand.

"I don't have much time… here take this sword as my present for you…"

Zengetsu passes his sword to Izuna and slowly closes his eyes.

"Remember… what I said about the origin of 'Seven Swords of the Mist'. It is the Eighth sword out of the Seven. No one… no one… was able to use it… Even now… I don't know what else is it capable of… just take this sword as a memento from me."

Zengetsu slowly passes the sword to Izuna as he breathes his last.

"Damnit!... Damnit!... Even if we knew each other for a few days… but I came to consider you as a friend."

Izuna holds the sword in his hand.

A strange feeling wells up within him as he feels a strange connection to the sword.

He ignores this feeling and stows the sword into his storage scroll.

Bam… Bam…

Izuna digs a grave near Zengetsu's body and place him inside it.

"I won't allow anybody to pilfer your remains and disrupt your rest."

He makes multiple hand signs and places various fuinjutsu seals around Zengetsu's grave.

"Release"

Izuna releases his space-time ability and walks towards Mei.

"Zengetsu has left this world."

He emotionlessly informs her. Mei silently nods her head. He makes some hand signs and slams his palm on the ground.

"Summoning Jutsu"

Izuna summons his eagle and moves towards the Escort Group.

"We will unite with the escort group and face the attack of the enemy together with them."

Mei silently stares at Izuna's solemn face while sitting on top of the eagle.

'Is this the face of a man who lost his friend? Is this how… father felt all those years when he lost his friends and family?... No… I don't want to lose my father.'

She clutches her fists tightly.

They travel for another hour before they spot Fuji and his escort group.

Ao frowns as he notices some chakra signatures.

He activates his Byakugan and notices Izuna and Mei flying towards them.

Ao turns towards Fuji and informs him. A frown appears on Fuji's face.

"This girl… why did she come all the way here?"

The eagle lands in front of the group and Mei jumps down and rushes towards Fuji. Fuji stops her and questions her.

"What's the meaning of this, Mei? You were supposed to stay in the village… under Terumi clan's security."

Fuji notices the worn-out condition of Mei as his frown deepens.

"Father!... you can accuse me later… but listen to me first."

She thrust the scroll into Fuji's hands and narrates the entire series of events to the group.

Sigh…

Fuji sighs to himself as he laments Zengetsu's death.

"His father was my savior. He saved my life during the Second Shinobi War. I can't even take care of his only son… what kind of friend am I?"

"It's not the time for the mourning… we have to move forward… or else his sacrifice will go in vain."

Elder Genji reminds him.

Sigh…

Fuji sighs again and continues his journey. Izuna moves alongside them as he recalls his journey in the shinobi world.

'As an Otaku… I thought the Naruto world… would be an interesting place… from the anime and manga I read… I always find it fascinating… when a bunch of shinobis throw around there cool jutsu… but I guess… I was naïve back then… my powers might have made my life a bit easier… but there is still pain, suffering, and death in this world.

There is no true peace in this world. Only endless conflict and war… if there is no conflict then the human will create a new one… ahh… it is the nature of man.'

---------------

Inside the Storage scroll…

The sword continues to glow with a cyan hue as many strange seals appear on its entire blade.

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