A slightly chubby man with orange hair and two black piercings through his nose and cheeks moved through Konoha with high speed. This was Preta Path Pain, who had the ability to absorb chakra, which included jutsu that were shot at him.

Initially, it was planned that he would attract a huge crowd of shinobi so he could absorb their ninjutsu, which would refill Pain ’s chakra reserve, but for some reason, he couldn ’t find any other people inside Konoha.

Although they entered the village only a few minutes ago, by now, it was rather obvious that their attack was predicted somehow and that most people were evacuated preemptively.

In fact, he could already see through his shared vision with the other Pain ’s that some of the other bodies of Pain were currently confronted by powerful individuals instead of hastily put together shinobi teams, which means the first part of their plan was a failure. The chaos they wanted to cause within Konoha would very like not happen unless something extreme was done.

After pondering the situation for a short moment, Pain decided to send his Preta Path to the Nara clan compound, who were the most ninjutsu dependent clan in Konoha, to wreak havoc there. Well, the most jutsu dependent clan except for the Sarutobi clan, who had too few members for Pain to bother about.

However, before he could resume running, he heard some noise coming from a nearby alley before a teenager stumbled out of it.

”O-Oi, Konohamaru, what are you doing? ”

”S-Shut up, Inari, you think I did that on purpose!? ”

Pain ’s eyebrows rose when he saw another young man walk out of his hiding place. At first, he wanted to ignore both of them, but after a quick scan, he noticed that both of them had a chakra reserve of around a weak chunin, which he decided that he might as well absorb while he was here. It might not be much, but it was better than nothing.

He vanished from his position, reappeared in front of the duo, and tried to grab both of their heads, but to his surprise, one of them dodged by substituting himself, while the other had two kunai in his hands within an instant and slashed at his hand, forcing him to retract it.

Konohamaru, the one who used the substitute, already had cold sweat flowing down his back from the first encounter. By now, he had grumpily accepted that Inari was stronger than him when it came to an actual fight. However, his jutsu speed was still the fastest in the class by a considerable margin, which was the only reason why he somehow managed to escape Pain ’s attack.

On the other hand, Inari ’s condition wasn ’t much better either. Although Yuna gave him a training plan, it ’s not like there were any secret methods to become invincible in there. It was pretty much only a list of chakra and physical exercises she deemed to fit him, combined with a nutrition plan for his growth.

The only reason he could surpass the clan children in his class was a combination of his determination and stronger will due to what he experienced during his childhood and the difference between a training plan created for a group of children by an institute that wasn ’t even 100 years old and an individual training plan, created by someone who had trained people for who knows how long.

He was stronger, faster, and better at chakra control than his peers, but that was all.

”Konohamaru, I think we are in trouble. ”

”Tsk, I have an idea. Can you buy me half a minute? ”

”Err, no? Are you cra… ”

”Okay, thanks. ”

”O-OI! ”

*CLANG*

”F*CK! ”

Before Inari could complain to Konohamaru, Pain reappeared in front of him and swiped down with one of his black metal stakes, which Inari barely blocked by crossing the two kunai in his hands in front of him.

Inari groaned as his knees started buckling due to the force behind Pain ’s attack. Pain tried to kick him in the stomach, which he blocked with his own leg, causing him to stumble backward and crash into a wall.

He really wanted to curse Konohamaru right now, but unfortunately, he didn ’t have the capacity to do so right now, as Pain continued his assault.

Pain broke through Inari ’s defense a few seconds later as he pierced a black stake into his shoulder, preventing him from using chakra. Pain gripped his forehead, and Inari could immediately feel his chakra getting sucked out of his body. Luckily, the time he brought was enough for Konohamaru to act as he appeared next to Pain with a blue spinning ball of chakra hovering above his hand. Surprisingly, moments before the chakra ball was about to reach him, signs of fear passed through Pain ’s eyes, distracting him momentarily.

”[Rasengan] ”

Unfortunately, Konohamaru was fighting Preta Path Pain, resulting in his painstakingly prepared attack getting absorbed harmlessly despite the moment of distraction, dumbfounding Konohamaru.

”N-No, way. ”

Pain ’s free hand shot forward and lifted up Konohamaru as well, while he started to absorb his chakra.

Konohamaru and Inari could already see their life end here when the sound of a cannonball getting shot echoed over the battlefield, and before the duo could understand what was going on, their enemy fell to the ground with a huge hole in his head.

The sound of someone walking in flip-flops reached the duo, causing both of them to look at the sound ’s source.

”G-Grandpa!? ”

An old man approached the duo with leisure steps. He wore a half-open pink shirt with interlinked female signs printed on it and black shorts with suspicious-looking leaves printed on them. Additionally, he wore sunglasses and flip-flops.

”Yo, Konohamaru. I wasn ’t really paying attention during the meeting, but I heard some Akatsuki guy or whatever wanted to attack Konoha, so I decided to take a look. ”

That old man was Hiruzen Sarutobi, who pretty much spent the last three years of his life on the couch inside the Hokage office reading po… *cough* refining his dao.

”G-Grandpa, what kind of attack was that just now? ”

Hiruzen thought about the attack he had just shot and simply shrugged his shoulders.

”Just a little application of Elemental Nature Manipulation I came up with on the spot. I made a small projectile and a long barrel out of earth chakra and coated it with water chakra to reduce the recoil. Pumped fire and lightning chakra into the barrel, causing an explosion, which shot the projectile forward. And finally, I guided the projectile with wind chakra while causing it to spin to hit my target. All in all, no big deal. ”

Konohamaru and Inari could only open and close their mouth like a fish out of water when Hiruzen finished his explanation. Frankly, both of them had seen Hiruzen ’s current state inside the Hokage office on some occasions and simply thought that he went crazy due to his age.

Only now did they realize that there might be more than meets the eye when it came to Hiruzen.

”Well, that was that Akatsuki guy, right? Guess that means I can continue reading, hehe. ”

A small book started floating in front of Hiruzen as soon as he stopped speaking, and moments later, he seemed to have forgotten that Konohamaru and Inari were still there, and dirty-sounding chuckles started escaping his mouth.

The duo could only share a glance before nodding at each other in understanding.

’ ’There might be more than meets the eye, but he definitely went crazy. ’ ’

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