Chapter 154: "Arrived...!!" – Kabuto confesses to being a medical specialist like Tsunade, knowing of her past.

Naruto finally cracks the second stage of training with help from an old lesson of Iruka’s. The Konoha head protector symbol comes from an old training method of holding a leaf on the forehead with chakra by focusing it into one spot. Naruto picks up on the idea and modifies the mark Jiraiya painted to look like the Konoha symbol. An explosion of energy signals that Naruto has passed the second stage! Jiraiya tells him he will explain the basics of the third stage on the way into the town as they go to find Tsunade. The lady in question is nervously admiring a castle with her aide, when the walls crumble… and atop a giant snake ride Kabuto and Orochimaru. Chapter 155: "The Third Step" – Jiraiya blows up a regular balloon and declares it to be the third part of the training. Naruto gazes at the unmoving balloon unimpressed, until Jiraiya shows him what’s happening inside it. The object is now to NOT pop the balloon. The first exercise was for speed, the second for power, the third for control. Naruto realises the difference between the third and second steps is titanic. Meanwhile, Kabuto and Orochimaru ask Tsunade to heal the wounds created by the sealing of Orochimaru’s arms. Already offguard by the appearance of her old “friend”, Orochimaru applies pressure to Tsunade’s emotions... Chapter 156: "Business" – Introduces Shizune. Kabuto and Shizune overreact to Orochimaru’s words, with Tsunade herself displaying monstrous strength threatening Orochimaru. Tsunade counts down 5 seconds before she kills him, but at zero, he offers to resurrect Tsunade’s boyfriend and her younger brother from the grave. Naruto and Jiraiya get closer and closer to Tsunade by checking gambling establishments, with Naruto shifting their luck in exchange for information as well as a hefty win. Tsunade is overcome by Orochimaru’s offer, asking him what he plans to do once his arms are cured. Unable to lie, he reveals his plan to finish what he started with Konoha. Chapter 157: "And the Answer is...!?" – Horrified, Shizune begs Tsunade not to comply. Orochimaru departs, leaving Tsunade shaken up, offering them one week to decide. Jiraiya and Naruto arrive to find everyone already gone, but catch up to Tsunade and Shizune later in a pub. Confusion and surprise follows as Tsunade confirms she met

Orochimaru, that Konoha wants her to bear the title of Godaime Hokage after Orochimaru killed Sandaime. Naruto takes the news in the worst manner, unhappy with Tsunade becoming the next Hokage and even more so learning that Orochimaru was the murderer of Sandaime. Jiraiya becomes the second of Tsunade’s old comrades to give her a tough choice… and one that contradicts Orochimaru’s. Chapter 158: "I Won't Forgive You...!!" – Tsunade declines to be the new Hokage, even though she is actually Shodai’s granddaughter. As Tsunade continues to voice her opinion on the Hokage title, Naruto becomes enraged. The two step outside for a fight. With one finger, she sends Naruto flying back. Naruto’s face gives her a flashback to her brother and boyfriend’s words. As she becomes distracted thinking about them, Naruto gets back up and begins to spin chakra in his hand. Tsunade is too distracted and unprepared as Naruto leaps at her! Chapter 159: "The Wager...!!" – Tsunade has no time to evade, but splits the ground beneath Naruto to make him lose balance. However, she recognises the technique he used as the Rasengan, specifically Yondaime’s trademark. After mocking both Jiraiya and Naruto, the two decide on a bet. If Naruto can master the Rasengan in a week, Tsunade will hand over her necklace, a keepsake of Shodai and expensive enough to buy three entire mountains. If not, Tsunade will take every penny Naruto has. The two groups split, with Jiraiya trying to discourage Tsunade from taking Orochimaru’s offer over sake while Shizune accompanies Naruto back to a hotel with a request... Chapter 160: "The Necklace of Death...!!" – Introduces Nawaki and Dan. Shizune attempts to discourage Naruto, saying the necklace is cursed. Tsunade strolls down memory lane, remembering the death of her younger brother, Nawaki, after she gave it to him on his 12th birthday. Her proposal for each team to carry a medic was agreed upon by a man called Dan, who would later become her boyfriend and receive the necklace. Shortly after, Dan was injured and died even while Tsunade tried to heal him with hands saturated in his blood. Shizune explains Tsunade’s past to Naruto at the same time, but Naruto simply leaves to train. Chapter 161: "Tsunade's Decision!!" – Naruto still has difficulty creating the self-sustaining ball of whirling chakra Jiraiya used, only

managing to produce a crude spiral that vanishes seconds later. Tsunade is still in a state of confusion over which of her comrades to accept, especially with Orochimaru needing two living people as sacrifices for Edo Tensei... Time passes and with one day to go, Naruto still can’t use Rasengan correctly. Shizune sees the area where Naruto had been training and gasps at the demolished trees. Jiraiya has another drink with Tsunade, however, he doesn’t notice Tsunade slipping a powder into his sake, taking another gulp... Chapter 162: "The Heart That Can't Resist...!!" – Jiraiya is discovered in a bad state the next morning. Shizune’s pleading for Tsunade to not meet Orochimaru are answered with violence. As Shizune wakes Naruto, Jiraiya stumbles in on them, feeling awful thanks to Tsunade’s drug. As the three leave to stop Tsunade, Shizune tells them of Orochimaru’s plan. Jiraiya decides that if she tries to heal Orochimaru, he may have to stop her with lethal force. As Tsunade reaches the rendezvous point, she tells Orochimaru that she will only heal him if he does not attack Konoha. He agrees with her condition and slowly stretches his right hand out towards her...