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Kushina soon arrived, and Ryo immediately let her see the cursed seal on Maan’s tongue.
This was not a seal of the Uzumaki clan, but Kushina managed to decipher it after some inspection and thinking.
“This one is rather complicated, Ryo. It’s connected to the human brain, and when one wants to say things that caster wouldn’t want them to, they’d be kept from so that forcibly by the seal.”
Ryo nodded, already knowing this much, and then asked: “Can you release this cursed seal, Kushina Ne-san?”
“I cannot do it alone, but if you’re willing to help, I should be able to pull it off.”
“Help? What do I need to do?” Ryo quickly asked.
“Like I just said, this cursed seal is connected to the brain. Its release should obviously affect it. I could even cause permanent damage to Maan if I go too fast. On top of that, this seal should allow its caster to know when it’s being removed. When that happens, they would be able to unlock something akin to a self-destruct mechanism, destroying his brain completely. If I go fast or slow with this, Maan is doomed to be hurt; it’s almost a perfect system.
Fortunately, this seal should be on too many people for the caster to just know immediately which seal is being removed. Here’s where you come in: you should try to use your Spiritual Power to shield Maan’s mind for a while. If you get me enough time to dispel the Cursed Seal safely without him being identified, the caster shouldn’t be able to hurt Maan after the process is complete!”
Kushina told Ryo of her idea, and he trusted her, deciding to go with it.
After making their preparations, Kushina began undoing the seal, while Ryo used his clan’s techniques to invade Maan’s mind and shield it from the inside.
The way Kushina went for was one that consumed a lot of Chakra, Biju Chakra in particular.
Kurama’s Chakra was rather corrosive, which what Kushina relied upon to attack the seal. Gradually, the shape of the Cursed Seal on Maan’s tongue began to get blurred, and at the same time, Danzo noticed that someone in Root was having his Cursed Seal removed.
He held back a yell of frustration, and then began trying to identify the one whose cursed seal was being removed.
Unfortunately for him, he was one step too late, and before he could confirm who this was, Kushina completed the operation.
Danzo’s face turned very heavy instantly, and he yelled at the Ninja by his side: “Go bring me Homura right now!”
Back in the Hokage’s office, Ryo continued his interrogation of Maan Uchiha.
He eventually learned from him that he only joined Roots after the 3rd World War. The reason was rather unexpected, as the whole matter was that Danzo promised him to help him unlock his Mangekyo if he joined.
“Danzo is really good at gauging people. I know Maan well, and besides performing his tasks flawlessly, all he cares about is getting stronger and stronger. Offering him the Mangekyo would be the best possible way to lure him in.”
“So it’s Root’s curse?! No wonder it was so complicated to lift!” Only now did Kushina realize this fact from Sakumo’s words.
“Sakumo san, I want you to let me handle this matter myself. Just please make sure to get the Anbu to escort Maan straight to his place!”
Sakumo looked at the dull and exhausted Maan on his side, and then nodded. Seeing that, Ryo left the office.
Back in Root’s headquarters, Danzo asked Homura about any news, and the latter told him about the meeting with Sakumo and the 3rd.
“What? Did you actually reveal Maan?!!” Danzo was shocked.
Homura had not yet realized how serious the matter was, and he said casually: “It should be okay! I just said that Maan did this out of loyalty to the village…”
“You’re too naïve, Homura! Do you think that Sakumo would just believe that Maan’s actions are the pure and innocent result of his allegiance to the Will of Fire? This is not Hiruzen you’re dealing with! Just now, I sensed someone tempering with my cursed seal on one of my men. Now, it seems like that one was Maan, and his cursed seal had been already lifted!”
These words took Homura by surprise, and he knew just how bad he messed up.
“Danzo, what should we do now? Maan is our most important pawn at the Uchiha’s. You told him before that you’ll help him with the Mangekyo, but now with his Cursed Seal lifted, he wouldn’t necessarily listen to you, even if you actually do that for him!”
As soon as Homura finished his words, Ryo popped up on the table before the two of them!
“Ryo Yamanaka! What are you doing here?!” Danzo asked in a smothered tone.
Ryo smiled and said: “I hope that you would not bother Maan in the Future!”
“Maan has voluntarily joined root! I didn’t force him; I just…”
“Spare your breaths! I already know how he joined, and that doesn’t matter. I’m just telling you, if you approach him again, you’re dead!”
Ryo’s tone was very cold, and no emotion could be sensed through his words. He stated Danzo’s death as if it was an objective fact.
Seeing his Shinigami staring him in the eyes, Danzo could only nod: “I promise: I will no longer approach Maan.”
“Good! I hope you will be keeping your promise, Danzo san!” After saying that, Ryo prepared to leave. Danzo breathed a sigh of relief, one that was cut short by Ryo turning around all of a sudden: “Danzo san, one more thing! I don’t think I need to remind you that Root has been disbanded and that you are now retired, no? Don’t try to be involved with the village; you’re not needed!”
On those words, Ryo disappeared, leaving behind only the angry faces of Danzo and Homura.
As for Maan, he was arranged by Sakumo to return to the Uchiha’s district, accompanied by the Anbu. From afar, Ryo watched his old friend getting home.
Indeed, he knew all too well that things have been said and done by both of them, and they could no longer remain friends as before.
Now, all he could do was to threaten Danzo, trying to make sure that Maan would get a safe life that’s not disturbed by all the clashes among the higher-ups of this world.
Ryo knew that promises could be broken, but he relied on Danzo’s fear of him. The old man was weak; unable to stand up to the young kage Tier, but little did Ryo know that someone else had broken his promise to him!
All along, there was one other player watching all of these events evolving: Black Zetsu!
Ryo had not used his Sage Mode for a while now, which allowed Black Zetsu to go undetected, as he was sent back in by Obito. His task was over, but he did not forget to leave behind a little token for Maan as things were being wrapped up.
Maan opened the door to his place, just to be welcomed by a Dark Gas cloud, one that went through his breath, making his pupils rotate frantically!
At the same time, his thoughts began to be clouded: he couldn’t get what was wrong with his pursuit of power.
Thoughts and memories raced through his mind; how close he became to Ryo during the war, how he was beat by him every time, how his “friend” was so willing to kill him just earlier today, how he was looked down upon by everyone for his pursuit of power.
Every memory seemed to be larger than life for some reason, discomfort grew inside him, and as time went by, he began to be filled with hatred, to Danzo, to Konoha, and to Ryo!
His pupils madly rotated until all tomoe inside them drew a circle, one that was gradually deformed into an inverted triangle!
He never realized this process was going on until it ended, for that’s when he had an overwhelming burning sensation.
The Uchiha attached great importance to their eyes, so when feeling this, Maan rushed to the mirror and saw the pattern in his Sharingan.
“This is… the Mangekyo Sharingan!” Maan trembled in place with excitement. As for Black Zetsu, he smiled slyly and left the village…
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