80 V.1-C.80│End of the Third War│

The end of the war was near.

Hiruzen wanted to end the Third Shinobi World War by signing a treaty with Iwagakure, an armistice. An agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time, or otherwise known as a truce.

This meeting would take place soon, though Hiruzen was further pushed by his fellow compatriot and friend, or at least whom he would consider as a friend, Danzo Shimura, to not end things with Iwagakure.

Precisely because Konoha has suffered disastrous loses to the village. There was nothing that he could do to stop the loss, but there was something that he could do, and that is to put an end to the bloodshed.

He is the Hokage, and he has to make the right decisions by the village and her people, for the 'king' of the land is not the Daimyo, nor is it the Hokage, but it is the people.

Hiruzen knows that Danzo doesn't like his decision, and he also realizes that he may have to step down after the treaty has been signed. There was no way he was going to step down before he did sign that armistice, as it was something that he must do, even at the cost of the position he holds.

It was nothing in comparison to all of the lives lost in this war, a war of which may have start because of Iwagakure, yet Konohagakure retaliated in kind.

These two villages were the aggressors, the original aggressors, and if the two of them agree to stop, the war and conflict for the rest of the continent would stop as well.

At least the overt conflict and war would stop, as there was no doubt still some subterfuge and espionage that is going to happen behind the scenes. Just as it always does when it comes to the world of a shinobi, of a ninja.

If this is what he has to do. Step down. Then, he needed to actually consider his choices all the more seriously for the position of Hokage after him, and there was still the very same two that he was wanting to decide between.

Minato Namikaze and Orochimaru... 'I would've thrown Obito Uchiha into the mix, but it seems like he will not be joining in this. I also doubt that he would be accepted by those higher up as well...' Hiruzen thought to himself about this.

He knew that there may be some level of pushback, and it was guaranteed even if he pushed it through and made Obito the Hokage.

Thinking on the two candidates he wishes to promote into the position of Hokage, it is true that he doesn't see Orochimaru as someone that adheres to the 'Will of Fire.'

It would eventually become the life philosophy which Hashirama founded and the Senju clan lived by, which has since been passed on to many ninja from Konohagakure as a part of their spiritual heritage.

It states that the entire village is like a large family unit and every Konoha shinobi with the Will of Fire loves, believes, cherishes, and fights to protect the village, as previous generations had done before them.

Hiruzen saw this in Minato, but didn't see this in Orochimaru. Even though he did see this in Obito, an example being him discovering Kushina as the Kyuubi, yet he was someone that kept this secret, proved to Hiruzen that he respects the village as such.

Then there was his own intuition when it comes to Obito somehow being someone... maybe not perfect for the position as he is, but is someone that is best from the candidates given.

That is until Orochimaru and Minato have been providing bigger and bigger accomplishments throughout the war.

This is what gives Konohagakure shinobi the strength to continue fighting against all odds, building willpower and strength of character. It is also symbolic of the hopes and dreams of the previous generation being passed to the next.

This is also seen with the shinobi of the village identifying a 'King' which is simply anything or anyone they want to protect. It was easy for Hiruzen to see who Obito considered his 'King,' and for Minato, although it didn't seem like he had anyone like that, he was someone that still protected those from Konoha like they are the 'King.'

Then there was Orochimaru, whom Hiruzen didn't see what or whom he would be protecting. He never identified Orochimaru being close to anyone, not really. Though, he did seem to have one student in particular, Anko Mitarashi, where he has some level of closeness to.

Hiruzen could almost be convinced that Orochimaru was different from how he perceived him, if Orochimaru did something for someone else other than himself.

Minato was a very humble and collected man. Very perceptive and shrewd, he was noted as not to do something without a reason. He was well-aware of the terror his reputation inspired in rival villages and would take advantage of it at times, but even then he would remain respectful to opponents.

Minato also wouldn't pry into other people's personal affairs unless he felt it was necessary, and was not the type to hold grudges. If anything, Minato blames himself for a lot of things for several reasons, like his genin student having to sacrifice his arm, and other such examples throughout his life.

Minato has an indomitable spirit and fierce ambitions that drive him through all of his choices in life. He has an unwavering loyalty to Konoha and his loved ones, friends and family, and that devotion inspires all those around him.

Hiruzen saw all of this, knew of all of this as Minato was a great person to take after him in this position.

Then there is Orochimaru, possessing a complex personality, however, more often than not, he was described as 'twisted' by a large number of people, including Tsunade. Someone that has come back to the village recently and Hiruzen thought of as nice.

Though, he didn't think that Tsunade would then grow a... romantic interest in Obito, then again he was someone that attracted girls around him. 'That boy doesn't even realize this...' Or at least that is what Hiruzen thought.

Orochimaru does good still, in doing things for the village, in accomplishing change in saving others. Even if he is no longer under Hiruzen's mentorship, Orochimaru is someone that Hiruzen believes that he could do the right thing.

An aspect of Orochimaru's personality is also his greatest weakness, his arrogance.

Jiraiya speculated that the death of his parents while he was young, along with his horror for Tsunade losing Nawaki and later shedding tears when she lost Dan, implies that Orochimaru grew to disdain the fragility of human life and how it affected those still living.

Thinking of Jiraiya, Hiruzen even considered whether or not he should bring in Jiraiya for the position as Hokage, though, he had already rejected Hiruzen before he could even ask.

He has no desire to become the Hokage.

"Lord Hokage." An ANBU had just arrived in front of Hiruzen, seemingly wishing to report something, and so Hiruzen gave his go ahead for the ANBU to start. "We have received some strange reports from some teams sent towards the area known as Kikyo Pass."

"And...?" Hiruzen saw that this was not all to the story.

"The captain of the Medic Corps, Nono Yakushi, found a single survivor from amongst the dead enemies, a young individual known as Kabuto, and she has taken it upon herself to start teaching him basic medical ninjutsu." The ANBU finished.

"Did you identify the enemies at this... Kikyo Pass?" Hiruzen asked.

"No. We were unable to determine the identities of the shinobi whom attacked them, however what we can know is that they are shinobi." The ANBU replied.

"Thank you. You are dismissed." Hiruzen allowed the ANBU to leave after he reported to him. 'Kikyo Pass...' Hiruzen had a few things to worry about as things were starting to wind down as the war is coming to a close.

Sighing, Hiruzen would then think to himself. 'Maybe I'm getting a bit too old for this job...'

[]

The old man that was nearing his seventy fifth birthday was currently sitting on his hidden throne, connected not to the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path, but instead hooked up to the artificial body of Hashirama Senju he had grown using the Demonic Statue.

In doing so he is extending his life, even if he is just 74 years of age, that didn't mean his natural lifespan would allow him to live this long.

Not with how things went for him during his lifetime, in which his body has been broken, beaten, yet still as ok as it could be. He was only really still functioning in this weakened state because of that artificial Hashirama, alongside the cells he had implanted into himself to further increase his lifeforce beyond what could be considered normal for humans.

His time was nearly up, and soon he would no longer be of this world.

'Well, that is if I have any say in it...' Madara thought to himself as he was considering his next plans of action.

You see... Madara saw that his grandson was growing, and for sure considered him to be his successor, yet he hasn't done much for him at all. Even helping him make sure his loved ones are safe was something little, and something that Madara didn't really care all too much about, considering that he planted the Three Tail's into Rin Nohara, and killed his grandmother so that he may awaken the Mangekyo Sharingan.

Madara also considered Zetsu's words on how Obito has been related to a lot of things going on throughout most of this war. Especially in relation to his position with Obito's connection to the jinchuriki of the Nine Tail's and his connection to the granddaughter of Hashirama Senju, and it almost seemed like destiny, or some red threads of fate was connecting him to these individuals.

The Stone Tablet records a lot of information, and even though Madara himself didn't know how at first, he soon came to understand with his eyes.

The eyes that granted him the power of a god, yet because of his weak and frail body as it was now, he couldn't really go anywhere personally himself.

Sure, he could use Wood Clones, and they would be useful, but they would still be a reflection of his true self.

No, he had found himself a proper person with which he has been using to go around and do his 'dirty work,' so to speak. Of course, he made sure to target those that are most vulnerable to his manipulations, and the most vulnerable are those from the Uchiha, whom are affected by the 'Curse of Hatred.'

The Curse of Hatred was an ideal common to members of the Uchiha clan. Tobirama Senju, loathe him as Madara does, knew about the Uchiha and studied them as much as an Uchiha would understand themselves, if not more so than any Uchiha really. The Uchiha are people greatly devoted to love and friendship, yet they tend to conceal their more affectionate traits.

When the object of their affection is lost, an Uchiha's love can instantaneously turn into hatred, leaving them more inclined to do anything and everything in their power to achieve their goals and show their own superiority, regardless of the consequences and repercussions of their actions.

Madara takes full advantage of this himself, manipulating and making Obito hate this invisible enemy, or trying to make him hate Konoha, and it isn't like he doesn't already have his reasons.

The despair of these experiences cause a manifestation of unique chakra within an Uchiha's brain, impacting the optic nerves and creating the Sharingan. The Sharingan's advanced form also requires extremely painful experiences, which cause the user to delve into darkness that utterly consumes them.

Just as Madara had done for Obito to awaken his Mangekyo Sharingan.

Madara was surprised upon finding that Obito was offered to become the Hokage, yet he turned it down. This... Madara didn't know how to feel about, but he was a bit pleased knowing that his direct descendent wouldn't bow down and accept a position that would have him defending a village that Madara dislikes, hates even.

He knows Obito has that hate in him as well, especially since there are too many suspicious things happening surrounding Konoha and those around him.

The Uchiha's Curse of Hatred can be considered a counterpart to the Senju's Will of Fire. Whereas the Will of Fire encourages a selfless approach to life, sacrificing oneself for the betterment of the many, specifically one's village, the Curse of Hatred typically sees Uchiha displaying self-interested tendencies, sacrificing the many for the betterment of the few, specifically the clan or an Uchiha's close intimates.

Madara didn't just use this against his own grandson, no, he also used it on the person he is currently taking advantage of.

An Uchiha that goes by the name of Naka Uchiha.

Madara had found this boy, and noticed that he has the Mangekyo Sharingan, something with which he could take advantage of.

Naka was a close comrade of the girl known as Naori Uchiha. He was able to awaken his Mangekyo Sharingan and became obsessed with the technique Izanagi, which he used to kill some of his own clansmen.

Madara had oh so graciously saved the boy from his comrade, Naori Uchiha, as he noticed she was prepared to use Izanami on the young man, which would sacrifice her own eye in exchange just to make the boy see the err of his ways.

Naka had grey chin-length hair, and wore the typical attire of the Uchiha clan which comprised of a high-collared shirt with the clan's symbol emblazoned on the back, a Konohagakure forehead protector, and a variation of the village's flak jacket which more closely resembled the one worn by Anbu; it had a pouch on the left strap, and no band woven around the waist.

Accompanying this was a large equipment pouch and a tanto strapped across his lower back.

Or at least this is what he would've looked like if he stayed within the Uchiha, as right now he had been placed under Madara's control. He has currently forgone any association he has from the village, and the boy looks up to Madara, accepting his words like gospel.

Madara was pleased by how easy it was to manipulate Naka, however he did see that this young man, this boy would be a problem if he allowed him to know everything that Madara knows. Especially if he exposed Obito as his grandson, as that would no doubt be something that would draw Naka's attention.

It could be both bad and good, or just one or the other. He would prefer not to test it, and just use everything to his advantage for now, keeping things from the boy and getting him prepared to do things for him as he would like.

'Soon, I think I will have to gift my grandson with the ability to not go blind...' Madara thought to himself.

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