Saito didn't want to give up just yet, he started absorbing Natural energy, slowly he tried to create the perfect balance between all of the types inside of him but he couldn't achieve it, he knew that he lacked something but he couldn't point it out, he could still use natural chakra to increase his body control and also enter a calm and imperturbable state of mind witch will be a great help during combat but he knew that for the moment he was far from being able to use it, he decided to create a clone and leave it here in order for it to train and try to use Water Natural chakra.
After putting a training plan he remembered one of his own clone's memories apparently two Akatsuki members were sighted heading towards the Land of Wind, their target is most likely Gaara.
After a calm night, Saito and Co headed towards the Land of Wind, Karin, Fu and Suigetsu kept nagging at him telling not to go overboard and that he still has to fulfil his part of the agreement, Jugo was standing by the side with a look of approval. But Saito still used Earth jutsu to increase his own weight, he knew that his future enemies will be much stronger and he should be able to protect his team in case of emergencies.
Three years had passed since the battle at the valley of the end. Saito became much stronger, he was now at the level of a Kage without using his chakra mode or the 8 inner gates, as he is now he could fight against a team of elite join and come out unharmed. But he knew that there existed many strange abilities that are as deadly as the 8 inner gates, and also the existence of Doujutsus that have the craziest abilities.
It didn't take long for them to reach the Land of wind, but they still need to reach Gaara before the Akatsuki.
=Hidden Sand Village=
Gaara was already engaging in a battle with the Akatsuki he kept pushing but in the end he got caught in an enemy trap. Suna was devastated by the Kazekage's kidnapping and sent for Konoha's assistance.
Even when moving at their full speed Saito and Co didn't manage to reach Gaara in time. As soon as Saito learned this he knew that they didn't have much time before Gaara dies so he needs to act fast.
Saito: "Karin can you still track them?"
Karin nodded using one of the seals she learned she could enhance her sensory ability to monstrous levels. She started moving followed by Saito and the others. Saito believes that they could still stop them before it's too late.
While Saito and his team were chasing after the Akatsuki, in Konoha a team was assembled by the Hokage to rescue Gaara, and they started moving towards the land of wind.
Saito was getting impatient.
Saito: "Karin are we getting closer."
Karin: "Yes, they should be in a cave around here. It seems to be hidden."
After scanning the area they finally found a huge boulder with a seal tag on it.
Karin: "I can feel three strong chakra signals and one weird one."
Saito: "That should be Gaara and his captors. Karin, Jugo, Fu and Suigetsu I want you to lure those guys out. I will prepare my railgun and try to take one of them out. Use everything you have to kill them, show no mercy and remember they are capable of capturing a Jinchuriki so don't let your guard down. And wear your masks just in case."
All of them took out masks similar to the ones worn by the Anbu but without any signs on them.
Nodding their heads Saito climbed a tree and prepared his Railgun instead of a normal shuriken he used transformation jutsu to shrink a Fuma shuriken, after he prepared his attack, Karin removed the seal on the rock and Suigetsu destroyed the rock using his sword.
Ready for the attack two Akatsuki members moved out one was a blond haired guy his hair was long and covered his left eye, while the other looked as if he was standing on all fours he was wearing a sand village head protector, without giving them a chance to act or talk Saito launched his attack at the one wearing the sand village head protector. Saito's intuition told him that he was the most troublesome out of the two. The fuma shuriken traced a white line heading directly at his target, the Akatsuki member was able to react he a puppet appeared in front of him and covered them with a black powder forming a pyramid. But that wasn't enough to stop the fuma shuriken who regained its original size and was in flames from the air friction, the fuma shuriken destroyed the pyramid and directly cut the Akatsuki member and his puppet in half.
Blonde Akatsuki member: "Shit! I will make you pay for this."
From his hand a mouth appeared and started spitting white paste in the form of spiders. The team moved back avoiding them, just before they exploded.
Saito: "Can I leave him to you guys?"
Fu: "We can handle him? Don't underestimate us."
Saito was still looking at the other Akatsuki member, Saito knew that he was still alive so without waiting for him to make his move. He activated his chakra mode's third phase opening five gates, he moved at a blinding speed from his place and appeared just above his target.
Saito: "I won't fall for this a second time die. Moonlight fang."
Saito's punch created a White shadowy wolf that plunged directly at his target destroying it and creating a deep hole. Saito created his technique basing it on Gai's own techniques. He knew that he needed his own Taijutsu moves that used his power to the maximum he created two techniques a single target attack and an area attack, he named them: "Moonlight fang" and "Moonlit hunt".
One concentrates all his power and lunches it in the form of a huge white wolf, the later create a greater number of smaller wolfs raining his attack at a bigger surface.
Blonde Akatsuki member: "Sasori! I will kill you."
But before he could make his move at Saito he was intercepted by Jugo who partially transformed his hand. Blocking him from advancing.
Saito: "Is he dead?"
Karin: "After your last attack his chakra signal disappeared."
Saito: "I will save Gaara."
Saito headed inside the cave there he saw Gaara floating in front what looked like a statue made from wood, it had multiple closed eyes and a string of chakra was being absorbed by it from Gaara, right beside it was a shadow standing with nothing visible but his eyes, Saito knew that he wasn't there but he was shocked by his eyes. His eyes were the violet and had circles six circles surrounding the pupils. He knew them one of the three great Doujutsus: Rinnegan.
Saito didn't know what abilities they had but from the Uzumaki records, he knew that the sage of six paths and Kaguya had them.
Saito: "So you are the one behind all of this?"
The shadow ignored him. It was as if he wasn't deemed worthy of that person's attention. Saito wasn't bothered by that on the contrary he was grateful. He know that underestimating their opponent will ultimately lead to their downfall. Saito directed his attention to the statue.
Saito: "Moonlight fang."
His attack landed right on target but it didn't leave even a scratch, Saito tried using chakra attacks but nothing managed to stop it he was getting desperate if he doesn't stop the absorption Gaara will die. He then was hit by an idea he tried to feel the natural chakra around him and was surprised about the huge amount he felt but what surprised him more was that it wasn't the same Water element chakra he felt but an earth element one. He started absorbing it and unlike Water he didn't feel calm or in control over his body, he felt his bodies strength rising and he could feel everything around him clearly, he felt the chakra of his teammates and of the Akatsuki member he also felt a huge lump of chakra coming from the statue in front of him, Saito knew that he won't be able to maintain his state any longer. He gathered all of the earth Natural chakra in his hand using it the same way he enhances his strength using normal chakra. He directly punched the statue this time it was affected and small cracks appeared near the place he punched, as if he punched a human it turned its head in the other direction interrupting the absorption a huge lump of red chakra flew back inside Gaara. Saito didn't wait for the statue or the shadow to act, he directly took Gaara and run out.
Outside his teammates were still in a heated battle against the Akatsuki member he was stronger than expected. Saito didn't want to lose more time he needs to heal Gaara because while he didn't lose his Biju, he is still injured from his last battle and with his Biju been extracted he couldn't heal as fast.
Saito: "Let's move out."
Akatsuki: "I won't let you run away?"
But before he could act a voice came from the inside the cave.
Voice: "Deidara retreat now."
Deidara: "But I can still get the Jinchuriki back!"
Voice: ""Are you defying my orders?"
Deidara looked at them retreating.
Deidara: "Next time I will show you my masterpiece."
He then disappeared using body flicker.
After moving for a while they finally stopped. Saito put Gaara down and using chakra threads he connected them to the damaged area and started healing him.
Karin was shocked by the level of mastery Saito showed, his healing was stronger than anything she saw only using a special Uzumaki technique could she heal at a similar pace. This was the first time his team saw him using Medical Ninjutsu, usually he uses it in the form of chakra mode which is not visible on the outside.
Karin: "You are really good at Medical Ninjutsu, I thought you were a taijutsu expert."
Saito: "I'm mainly a medical ninja. I use my medical skills to raise my power and increase the efficiency of my training that's all. By the way Karin no one is following us?"
Karin: "All clear."
Soon Gaara opened his eyes.
Gaara: "Where am I?"
Saito removed his mask. His teammates didn't.
Saito: "One of my clones informed me that the Akatsuki was heading towards you. I didn't manage to stop them from capturing you, I barely managed to halt the extraction. We will escort you for the moment back to the village."
Gaara nodded with his Biju back it didn't take much time for him to reach his peak condition.