The Bridge of Heroes

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Everyone stared in astonishment at the body of the fallen missing-nin. Naruto closed his eyes and started to turn his head away, unable to watch anymore.

"Don't look away," Kakashi said firmly, watching the difficult scene with a steady gaze, determined to bear witness to the end out of respect for his enemy. "It's the end of a man who lived a difficult life." Naruto noticed April was also doing her best to keep watching.

"... Yeah..." Naruto said, clenching his fists as he turned back, keeping his eyes fixed straight ahead this time.

KRANG! KRANG! KRANG!

"Hey! Hey! Hey! You guys really think you have time to be standing around like that!?" one of the thugs sneered rather obnoxiously as he beat the end of the metal pipe he was using as a club against the ground to make sure he had their undivided attention.

"!" Kakashi and the others said as they all turned their attention to the thugs.

"What's... going on?" Sasuke asked, pushing himself up into a sitting position while the girls were distracted. He furrowed his brow when he saw how many enemies they still had left to deal with.

"Damn ninjas... You killed out meal ticket...!!" another thug shouted.

"You guys are dead!!" another yelled.

"Now we're gonna pillage this city and take anything of value!!" the one with the pipe sneered.

"Yeah! Yeah!" the others jeered in agreement.

"Damn... This is bad," Kakashi said, furrowing his brow.

"Kakashi-sensei, don't you have a special jutsu to defeat them all!?" Naruto asked urgently.

"I can't... After the Lightning Blade, summoning, and Sharingan, I used too much chakra!" Kakashi answered regretfully, sparing a second to glance back at the others. April had also used up an incredible amount of chakra trying to break Haku's ice mirrors, and Sasuke was still heavily wounded. They were both struggling just to get back on their feet to face these new opponents.

"Let's begin!!!" the man with the pipe yelled as he lead the charge against the exhausted and injured ninjas. The thugs all let out enthusiastic shouts as they eagerly followed him, thinking overwhelming them would be easy now that they were so worn down.

WOOSH. TWANG!

"!!" the thugs gasped, stopping short when a small harpoon suddenly came flying out of nowhere, piercing the ground in front of them.

"!?" the others said as they risked taking their eyes off the thugs to look behind them for its source. Their eyes widened in surprise at what they saw. A huge crowd of armed men from the city had gathered behind them. Standing at the front was none other than Inari. It was him who had fired that warning shot.

"If you come any further onto our island... the citizens of this country will stop you with everything we've got!!" Giichi declared boldly at Inari's side, speaking on behalf of everyone present.

"... Inari... You..." Tazuna said, surprised and deeply touched. Tears began to form in his eyes. He had never been more proud of his grandson.

"Inari!!" Naruto shouted excitedly.

"Man... You've got great timing, kid!" April said with a wry grin.

"Hehe, a hero always shows up at the last second, right?" Inari quoted Naruto with a cheeky grin.

"Alright, I'm going to help out too!!" Naruto said, forming a hand seal. 'Shadow Clone Jutsu!!!' he thought, creating a handful of clones to up their numbers.

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