For Sakura, her vision of how to effectively prevent the Third Hokage's death was simple. All she had to do was fix the problems that caused the Village hidden in the Sand to have no choice but war.
Due to the Hidden Leaf, the people of the Sand Village were unable to make a living or gather resources through mercenary work or other kinds of employment in this nature. Therefore, her solution was to fill in their food shortages.
She thought long and hard about it, using her time to assess many records of the Sand Village in her photographic memory before finally coming to a conclusion: She decided to 'invest' in the village.
She didn't hire mercenaries from the sand. Instead opting to travel to the Chinoike Clan trapped in Valley of Hell before they destroyed themselves and hired them with the dirty money she acquired.
Who were the Chinoike Clan? Haku might have been ignorant but Zabuza was well aware of the rumours about these 'demons' who had been banished for years from the Hidden Mist.
The fact that his 'Boss' wanted to hire them was out of his expectations. After all, even if they were compromised of mercenaries, there had been rumours of these people drinking blood regularly.
Of course, after meeting them firsthand, he realised the rumours were all empty. Though they did drink from a 'red river' in this desolated wasteland, all of it was just mineral rich water.
This was still unexpected, but it was better than making deals with vampires. However, he found the action of his Boss had meant to transport the Chinoike Clan to the Hidden Sand. Not only boosting her enemy Village's military might but also fixing their lack of resources with a special plant she found in a region of the Hidden Leaf.
This action was understandably, very strange...
"What are you planning?"
On their way out of the Valley of Hell, he couldn't help but speak up to this mysterious little girl...
"Don't you know I'm trying to save my village?"
"I know, but this is going too far. Aren't you worried that they will turn on your village in a blink of an eye. Never mind all that, what about their signature Dōjutsu? Do you think the Sand will be safe?"
"They will. Though the Chinoike Clan is still angry at the Uchiha, news of its annihilation made their hearts calm down. To them, you could say they feel like their enemy was hit by karmic retribution."
"Is that really something you should say? I know well that you have an eye for that Uchiha kid."
"DO YOU WANT A PUNCH?!" Veins bulged on here forehead... but she calmed herself to explain:
"My plan is like this: The Chinoike Clan will focus on growing Blood Fruits in the Hidden Sand, who are hungry enough to eat anything by now. They are also the most likely to not give the Chinoike Clan much trouble as origins are irrelevant to them.
Even if they are considered 'demons' to others, the current Kazekage seems like the type to look past that and focus on tangible benefits. He will also be busy trying to figure out who actually hired the Chinoike Clan to help them rather than spending his time scheming against Konoha due to this. It's not like Orochimaru's proposal of fighting against their ally, the Hidden Leaf, will fall through now that they have better options." She said after a cough.
"Aren't you going to watch over the proceedings? I don't see the reason why you left them to negotiate by themselves..." Haku was the one who asked as he felt this didn't suit Sakura's style.
"Firstly, we have work to do, and secondly, I've decided to take a certain someone's advice and tried not to micromanage. I'm going to put some faith in the Chinoike Clan." This surprised Zabuza as Sakura didn't seem the type to trust others.
Little did he know that for a 'Support Type' Kunoichi like her, it was a minor matter. When she first arrived in the past, she wanted nothing but to fight the world herself. Only after Kurama brought up Obito and Madara did she understand something. She realised that no matter hard one tried, you couldn't make a 'perfect future' just by manipulating people, you also needed others by your side. That's why, she chose to have faith.
"Anyway, now that we've settled that. The next step is to give Orochimaru a little 'warning'."
"You want us to try at assassinating him?" Though he was confident in assassination, this was a Great Sannin they were talking about. Other than that, he had even heard Orochimaru was a slippery snake.
"It's not just you and Haku, I will be in the team too." Sakura spoke with a heart of conviction.
"Then what is the plan?" Haku asked as he was well aware Sakura could judge the best tactics.
"From what I can gather, Orochimaru should be passing by this location to leave Konoha and enter the Hidden Sand. Zabuza, I want you to make this place perfect using your water style."
"Understood." In the tree filled forest, the masked Ninja Swordsman started to gather mist into the area and change the climate ever so slightly so that it would be more suited for silent assassination.
Unlike others, low visibility due to mist meant nothing to him. He could 'see' as clear as day using his hearing and hunting instincts. Sakura also marked location around the place with her Formula Seals while setting up traps with Haku.
"Haku, as you already know, most Ninja choose not to use Body Flicker when surrounded by both trees and mist as it can sometimes lead to slamming into obstructions. However, your mirrors... Are you able to set them up beforehand?" Sakura's advice gave Haku an idea of what she was aiming at.
He thought about it clearly and used his experiences to inspect if using his mirrors to transport himself to location to location was a good idea. As the way he moved from mirror to mirror was a little different from regular Body Flickers.
After inspecting the best areas that could help him trigger traps they were setting up manually, he finally came to the conclusion that he could probably form three or four Ice Mirrors he could alternate from without hitting any nearby trees.
Once he was finished with that, Haku also helped Zabuza make the changes to the climate less noticeable. After all, they didn't want Orochimaru noticing something amiss and retreating swiftly.
Sakura herself was making the most of the time they had before she estimated their target would arrive to condition her body. It was only now did she channel the hidden Bloodline Seals within her.
Two seals, both shaped like 'diamonds' that were similar to the Yin Seal of her previous life, but unlike that seal that would take a tremendous amount of chakra and control to form, these two seals were made solely to act as 'supplements'.
The first was Strength of a Healer Seal that was formed through her Healing Power Alteration Technique that gave off the same green glow as her hands would when healing someone.
The second was the Strength of a Avalanche Seal that she formed using the special chakra within Haku. This Seal was similar to the one she gave Hinata but its effects were a lot more supportive.
Using these two Seals, she aimed to finally take the first step in activating the strongest Medical Ninjutsu she created in a past life 'Destructive Rebirth'. This was a technique that fused the benefits of Yin Healing Wound Destruction of Kabuto and the Creation Rebirth of Tsunade. The ultimate Medical Ninjutsu create solely for battle...
No normal individual was capable of attaining the 'Destructive Rebirth', as not only did the user need vast amounts of experience with Medical Ninjutsu to pull it off, it also required a level of high chakra control wouldn't be disrupted at all costs.
Once the user screws up the flow of energy, the recoil of the technique will instantly kill them.
She could have started the procedure to use Destructive Rebirth without the two Bloodline Seals, yet she chose to do it this way in order to maximise chances of succeeding in its activation.
She first put the Strength of a Healer Seal on the first Gate in her body, the Gate of Opening. This changed the nature of the Gate itself to have a higher rate of healing than even second Gate.
Then she placed the Strength of a Avalanche Seal on her Gate of Healing, ensuring that the re-energising effects that would happen once it opens would contain a 'coolness' that would calm her.
It was only after both these two Seals had formed did she take out something she had somehow brought back from the future, inside her body existed the advanced 'Yin Seal' of her past life.
This was the same Strength of a Hundred Lady Tsunade had imparted her. In the time she had been fighting the the Fifth Ninja War, the Yin Seal named the Strength of a Hundred became the Strength of a Thousand, a Seal that had ten times the Chakra Reserves and physical power boosting effects of the Strength of a Hundred Seal.
This Yun Seal was her most prized creation in her past life. It even allowed her to keep up with Naruto and Sasuke to a certain degree. However, she chose to give up this power in exchange for more potential in her bloodline itself. After all, she didn't want to match them to a 'certain degree', she wanted to surpass them and stay as that level!
That's why, without hesitation, she fused her Yin Seal into her Gate of Death, allowing it go through changes that were vital for her to reach a level she had never attained in her past life.
However, that level wasn't something she could access yet without a certain condition being met.
In fact, all she aimed for today was to reach the first level of Destructive Rebirth. This required her to permanently open the first four Inner Gates of her body... something normal people wouldn't dare to do. After all, keeping them open would kill most!
Not even Might Gai, who could seemingly ignore the enormous strain on his body from opening the Seventh Gate of Wonder multiple times, would be able keep the first four Eight Gates open forever.
Such a thing would exhaust the chakra, bodily nutrients, and physical strength of the user. It would practically eat away at the user's life force until they became nothing but mummified corpses.
"We have finished the preparations. What do w-"
"Shut up, kid. Didn't I already train you in the basics of assassination? Even this little Boss of ours already understood what we need to do." The fact that she didn't respond made him certain.
"Then what do we do?"
"Wait..." These soft words made his heart shudder as he followed their example to hide expertly.
They waited, and waited. The sky started to drizzle rain, but they still waited for their opportunity.
Hours went by, but they didn't move from their position as their body's breathing slowed down...
Sakura and Haku needed to eat a Food Pill, but Zabuza was still calm as he waited patiently.
Finally, their target arrived at a fast pace using Body Flicker from tree to tree. Noticing that he'd slip by then if he continued, Haku threw a needle within the trajectory where Orochimaru would 'flicker'. The Great Sannin was alerted immediately!
He looked around with high awareness as the surroundings covered by rain was filled with fog...!
"A ninja from the Hidden Mist, are you? It doesn't seem like anyone related to the Mizukage though."
Orochimaru spoke out loud without even caring if his opponents would listen in, all he did was mumble to himself as he calmly analysed the situation he was in with a look of surprise.
Suddenly, he was assaulted by a wave of fear as his body instinctively did a Snake Style Cicada Substitution upwards before using the Sword of Kusanagi he drew to slash at the one behind him.
In Zabuza's own perspective, he was shocked as his body retreated back into the mist.
Perhaps in terms of Jutsu, he lost out in front of this Great Sannin. However, there was normally no one who would escape when he was serious in killing someone using assassination. His giant Executioner Blade even made it easier for him to kill people since he didn't have to aim at vitals and could just bisect most targets with a single swing.
He didn't expect Orochimaru to not even sense him before he attacked but even managed to throw a great counterattack in response... He really wanted to say that this was really going beyond his pay!
Just when he thought he escaped, Orochimaru seemed to see straight through the thick fog with his almost 'heat sensing' eyes.m, causing him to have no choice but to fight him in close-combat.
As a swordsman, he didn't lose out. However, the Sword of Kusanagi was such a good blade that it managed to chip away at his Executioner Blade with each impact. This created a temporary deadlock that was only broken once Haku started setting off the traps he and Sakura placed.
Despite all their efforts, Orochimaru seemed to ignore the low visibility area they had created and had even more mobility than them as the slippery snake dodged the knives and wooden stumps being thrown at him. Haku was terrified as this monster managed to get his location swiftly...!
If it wasn't for his Ice Mirror, he would be dead!
Orochimaru looked around for the fleeing mice who didn't recognise a predator when they saw it until his eyes landed on a little girl who was able to get past his high senses and stand just behind him.
The pink-haired girl with a mask didn't speak, all he saw was her eyes smile as she struck towards him.
'It is just a kid...' Was what he thought while trying to intercept the punch with his arm, only to be struck flying by the strength of that punch! It didn't even take him a second for him to recognise the 'Power Fist' his former friend was known for.
Instantly knowing it's weakness in speed, he threw a kunai at her throat, but something weird happened... Her body flashed in a pink light before appearing next to a tree, then she rushed at him again without giving any thought to defence.
"This is... the Flying Thunder God Technique! Where did you study thus!? Who are you!" This time his voice was a little excited as he found the specimen in front of him was worth capturing.
Despite her vast strength, he was able to brush off most of the impact of her strikes through a unique bodily movement technique of his that allowed him to 'shrug off impacts'. This was also the reason he could survive being hit by Six Tail Mode Naruto multiple times without much injury, only fearing bladed attacks and Genjutsu from masters.
He exchanged blows with her in hand to hand and realised the strength of her Taijutsu mixed with the Formula Seals that allowed her to teleport herself around. However, the more they fought, the more he could understand the 'patterns' in her teleports.
"Never!" She growled while making the signature stance Rock Lee would use before opening Gates.
[Gate of Opening, Healing, Life, Pain- Open! Destructive Rebirth of the Dragon Phoenix- Lv 1!]
[Purple Lightning Chakra Mode!]
Orochimaru thought he could but also could not understand the techniques that were being used by the child in front of him. The moment she opened her Gates, the fog around the was blasted away and was replaced with burnt sweat.
Sakura could feel her blood rushing and her heart pumping, the pain of skipping so many Gates was horrible! She was able to grit her teeth and hold onto her sanity, but she couldn't understand how Rock Lee was able to fight in such a condition.
A normal child would find her movements dulled by the pain, but this is where her two Bloodline Seals kicked in. A cold chakra in her body slowed down her ever increasing heartbeats and another wave of chakra containing healing properties allowed her muscles to regenerate as soon as they ripped. The slippery 'target' in front of her was again struck!
[Personal Taijutsu- Power Fist!
Dragon Phoenix Inverse Lotus- Strike Storm!]
Even Orochimaru couldn't dodge the sheer speed of her attacks anymore. With no other choice, he was uppercutted up into the air and had to endure multiple attacks as she bounced off the trees.
Even Zabuza felt his heart grow cold as the sounds of bone crunching could be heard with each attack. However, Sakura didn't stop as she finally had a chance to beat up the culprit who took Sasuke from the village all those years ago and caused her so much suffering. With each hit, she vented the feelings of anger from 'waiting'!
She had waited for so long for him... Others might say that all she had was a crush on a cute guy, but her love had always been sincere! Slowly, she even forgot why she was angry anymore and attacked some more! Attack, attack, attack! Strike, strike...!
All until she remembered a memory from the far past, about the daughter she now 'never had':
"If you went back in time, would you marry Dad again?" Her daughter asked innocently on a day like any other. Sakura was busy doing the housework that time, but she remembered her hesitation to answer... thinking about it properly.
"Do you not like Dad?"
"I love your father."
"I know, but do you 'like him'?" Sarada asked while looking into her mother's eyes seriously.
"Maybe I'll check my other options first. There was a lot of guys falling for me back then~" She joked before using two fingers to tap her head, Sarada pouted but also couldn't contain her laughter the more she looked at her mother's 'serious face'.
"I can't imagine you being popular, Mom."
"Hey, I WAS and AM still striking."
"Sure sure, I reeeaaallly believe you~!"
The laughters stopped when Sakura opened her eyes to find herself in the arms of a worried Haku who was giving her a lap pillow. Her body still continued to ache, and she didn't get up...
"Escaped. He disappeared as soon as you fell unconscious in the middle of the battle. It took both me and him together to stop you from continuing your barrage on a substitution."
Even as he said that, her deft eyes located a few bruises on his arms probably from holding her down. Zabuza at the side too looked injured but didn't seem to want to show it as he covered his arms with bandages as if only due to the cold.
"Your welcome. Anyway, who's Sarada? You've been saying her name in your sleep." Zabuza almost face-palmed as Haku, not being the best at reading the mood, asked her innocently.
Sakura thought of her answer seriously. She took her time thinking, then sighed before saying:
"Just a memory of my past..."