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Chapter Sixteen: The Unfinished Seal

The beast sensed Naruto and Sora’s approach, and launched blasts of shadow in their direction. Naruto seemed to teleport past the shots and Sora swatted them aside with his Keyblade. It roared and lunged to devour them with its massive jaws, but Naruto pushed Sora out of the way as its jaws chomped down onto him. Sora cried out with shock, but suddenly he stopped. The Boa King’s jaws were shaking with strain, and he saw Naruto’s body in between the jaws of the beast. Naruto’s arms bulged with demonic chakra as he held open the gigantic jaws, and he finally hurled them open hard enough to snap the Boa King’s jawbones. It screeched with pain and hurled Naruto out of its mouth. Naruto skidded next to Naruto and nodded. Sora nodded back and the two of them sped up the side of the Boa King’s head to the top. When they reached it they found Orochimaru waiting. He angrily stepped in front of Hinata’s unconscious body and snarled.

“Why won’t you all just die! You’re just becoming an annoyance!” He began to initiate a jutsu, but froze with fear when he saw the amazing aura surrounding Naruto.

Naruto and Sora looked at each other, then stood back to back as they rapidly began making hand signs. Sora wondered how making these hand signs were so easy but he figured it had something to do with Naruto’s enhanced chakra. Somehow he knew that Naruto was bridging the gap between their hearts and minds, and together they acted as one.

“Ladies and Gentleman, we proudly present to you, Naruto and Sora’s whirling, swirling…” They initiated their jutsu as they finished the title.

“Ultimate Ninja Handbook!” Several Sora and Naruto shadow clones appeared, and they all charged Orochimaru. Naruto’s clones leapt into the air and hurled several shuriken at Orochimaru.

“Everywhere Shuriken!” The name fit, as Orochimaru couldn’t move fast enough to block them all, and almost all of them stabbed into his body. Meanwhile, Sora’s clones rushed in and knocked Orochimau’s body upward with a series of Keyblade swipes, each one punctuating the attack name.

“U-zu-ma-ki!” Orochimaru’s body was launched into the air, where all of the shadow clones rushed in for a final strike.

“2,000 Blows...!” The clones all struck at once, their fists and Keyblades decimating Orochimaru, and he screamed in pain. The original Naruto and Sora rushed in for the final blow, and delivered a bone shattering punch and slash to finish him off. “…Barrage!” Orochimaru’s body slammed into the surface of the Boa King, and it howled in pain. The shadow clones vanished, and on the way down Sora aimed his Keyblade in a downward stab. Naruto imbued the Keyblade with some of his demonic chakra, and it stabbed directly through the Boa King’s Heartless symbol on its forehead. It screeched one final time, and then its body collapsed onto the ground.

Naruto and Sora turned to face Orochimaru, who was barely able to stand. Black smoke was leaking out his body, and blood stained his every move. He still managed to grin villainously at the two. “I keep trying to tell you… your attempts are worthless! You cannot kill me! My immortality jutsu will keep me alive for all eternity!” Darkness began to surround him in an evil aura and Sora noticed a strange half-seal on his stomach.

“Hey Naruto, look!” He pointed to the mark and Naruto’s eyes widened. He couldn’t quite explain it, but somehow he knew that the mark was there because of the Third Hokage. He realized only one person could complete the seal.

He turned to Sora and yelled, “That’s it! You need to seal that mark on Orochimaru’s stomach! It’s the only way to defeat him for good!” Sora didn’t bother to ask questions because he didn’t have a better plan. He aimed the Keyblade at Orochimaru and willed it to seal. Slowly but surely he saw the mark becoming complete, and Orochimaru realized this too late. He cried out as it completed, and knew that his life was over. The death god from the Third Hokage’s jutsu reappeared again, this time reaching for his soul directly. He screamed as his soul was dragged out of his body, Sora and Naruto watching as his life slipped away.

The death god finally pulled out the liquid-like soul and swallowed it within his ghoulish body. They watched as Orochimaru’s body began to smoke and dissolve into a black puddle. He screamed continuously as his body faded away, until his tell-tale heart floated upward and vanished. The death god, knowing that his purpose was done, vanished.

The Boa King’s body began to shine with a bright light and the heart he was created from floated upwards and vanished. The body began to dissolve as Naruto and Sora leapt off it to the ground, taking Hinata with them.

Sora looked up at the four faces of the Hokage. He gasped when he saw the stone face of the Fourth Hokage shine brilliantly and a keyhole appeared on the forehead. Sora knew what to do. He raised his Keyblade at the keyhole and watched as the light energy gathered into the tip and fired into the keyhole. A clicking noise was heard and the keyhole vanished in a flash of light.

Naruto and Sora turned to see Goofy and Donald coming with Sakura and Sasuke towards them. Sora turned to see Naruto carefully cradling Hinata in his arms, looking at her with a smile that she was alive. Naruto turned around and saw the body of the Third Hokage. He carefully set down Hinata and walked over to where his body now peacefully lay. Sora followed, and the others soon joined them. Naruto’s demonic aura faded, and a tear rolled down his cheek.

“Gramps gave his life to save us all. We… we never would have been able to defeat Orochimaru if he hadn’t initiated that one jutsu…” He buried his head in the Third Hokage’s chest and cried. Sakura held onto Sasuke as their eyes began to well up with tears as well. Naruto sobbed with grief. “He was willing to put his life on the line for us all! He was brave enough to throw his life away even though he knew he might not win!” He sat up slowly and wiped his tears.

“I remember thinking of Hokage as a title for the strongest ninja in the whole village, something I wanted only so people would acknowledge my existence and show me affection. I realize I was wrong.” He stood up and turned to the others with his head bowed. “To be Hokage means to recognize that this entire village is your family and that your life is trivial compared to theirs. To be Hokage means to love this village enough to die for them!” He looked up at the others and clenched his fist.

“I know now that I want to protect this village no matter what, and at any cost!” He glanced at Sasuke, Sakura, and at Hinata. “There are too many people here that are precious to me, too precious to let die because I was afraid to protect them! And someday, I will die because I fought for every single life in this village, and I won’t die of any other death! Not until that day!” And he lowered his head again, the sun beginning to set on the war-torn village of Konoha.

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