Ruined trees did not well hide the great flame of the former Hokage's chakra, visible clearly in his mind's eye even before any of the combatants responsible for the destruction. In many ways, the Kazekage understood that they'd never have posed the same threat that he could have, should he have wished to do so. Kyōsuke was uncertain whether or not he was grateful for the man's uninvolvement. He did not have the time to ponder the nature of the man's abandonment of his own village; he certainly could hold only less disdain for the man if the nature of his departure had more to do with the conflict between himself and Ryoka and the risk to his own students than he could if the act had been merely some self-serving lunge, but his opinion of the former Hokage would not change in the few moments he had before breaking from the cover of the treeline onto the battlefield.
In the same way that the act of coming face-to-face with the former Hokage's clone had not found him before he had known it was there, so too did the Kazekage not come upon the battle between two raging jinchūriki before knowing who they were to him. One carried the signature feel of an Uchiha that he had met before. That one, who Kyōsuke understood to be a former Hokage himself, danced between the blows of, among others, Satomi Hyūga.
"Kyūban mentioned you,"
thought Konohagakure's strongest ally, "and for that you should be thankful. For his pliability, your weakness does not matter. For his obedience, I can shoulder this for you."
"Stop anyone who attempts to interfere with my clones,"
he told the students that had followed him, "if they succeed, the fight could turn against us."
While, for her sake, he hoped that the girl that called herself the weakest link would understand the importance of the responsibility he gave her, he expected that she might well feel the task to be some kind of confinement. He did not have the time to think of the nature of her sense of inferiority.
He acted before he had fully registered the span of the scene that faced him, for he had to. For an instant, the confusion he felt at the appearance of the second of the two pulsing signatures of jinchūriki left him. For that instant, the rage he had felt at the reminder of his student's death was calmed. The coursing gales of wind sent scattered by the blows of the embattled shinobi washed over him. For the second time in his recent waking memory, he knew that he had spent more than his fair share of time alone. Sealed away from touch and smell and taste. No longer confined to the senses of a spirit, the Kazekage felt
, and he drank in the energy of his surroundings.
He did not drink for long. As the one that had stolen the demon of blue flame from Shingen came to a halt before Seto, seeming to sense the man's intent to strike back at her lunging assault, Kyōsuke's eyes opened. Markings of white stretched their way from his eyes around the sides of his head and down along his cheeks. Several things, to others, would appear to happen simultaneously. Five clones, each appearing scattered among the three that had followed him, knelt to meditate as compensation for the time that he did not have to do so himself.
Bursting into bright white flame, the Kazekage formed a single half-boar handsign with his right hand while his left closed in a fist. When it opened once more, he had already taken stance to leap forward through the air into combat. While he had been further from their shared target, Kyōsuke did not need concern himself with arriving to strike at Seto before the increasingly bestial form of the Nibi jinchūriki. As he launched forward, she let out a piercing howl that he had no doubt would work to disable or distract many shinobi that weren't himself. As his hand, wreathed in the thrumming sheath of undoing, coiled through the air to catch the Uchiha's free arm at the shoulder, she spun towards them both.
His own spin would b less impeded. Unlike her, he did not have to contend with the shifting ground or the pillars of earth or the lumbering form of the great statue that approached them or even the attention of the man whose sword remained turned towards her. He strode through the air as easily as he did across the ground, and did not need to actually meet the soil with his feet in order to continue forwards. He did not need to see the spires of rock or the feathers from above, as unlike her, he could feel them as they forced the air and ground around them to change. For as long as he could feel them, especially as they were not aimed at him, he could at worst avoid them and at best force his opponent to back into them. Unlike her, he did not have to contend to kill Seto, for he did not strike to kill. Not yet. He wouldn't unless he was made to.
Whether the man's arm was detached or not, the Kazekage moved to impose himself between the two jinchūriki just long enough to require that at least one move around him in order to strike at the other. No matter how they fought, they would have to fight with, through, or against him, for he was here. He had learned from his fight with Rei, and he had changed. He would make them change too, and he would have answers from the one that had taken Matatabi.