A/N: Bit of an author's note here, but I'm back! Miss me guys?!
So, one reviewer gave me a bit of flak for Naruto ALLOWING Geralt to beat him senseless. Seriously, guy? If Geralt can allow DANDELION of all people to give him a sound thumping for the sake of friendship, then why can't Naruto?! I thought I made it clear he was allowing it to let good ol' Geralt blow off some steam. Its not going to happen again, for crying out loud!
That aside, I appreciate all of the feedback! Keep it coming!
Now to answer your questions!
Q: ...we're going to see some serious attitude from Naruto and Yen's interactions, aren't we?
A: Like you've never seen before.
Q: Can we expect to see a rampage in Novigrad?
A: Hmm. Not a rampage, but a reckoning I'd say. Naruto's not the sort to stand by and let that pass. Certainly not Arwen! Menge and his boys are in for a surprise, as Naruto does NOT adhere to the concept of neutrality. If he sees anyone suffering, be they man, woman, child or nonhuman, he's going to be right in the thick of things and heaven help you if you get in his way. Needless to say, that's going to cause all sorts of trouble...
Q: Why does Naruto allow people to see him as a Witcher when he clearly isn't one?
A: I've said it time and time again, most everyone believes Naruto to be a witcher solely due to his eyes and unique talents. He's protested time and time again, but eventually given up on it. Now a proper sorceress like Yen or Triss might be able to tell the difference but the common peasantry is utterly unable to distinguish Naruto from what he truly is.
Q: Is Kurama dead?
A: Aye, dead and gone, with only his chakra left behind at that. No world breaking powers for Naruto.
Q: So, that healing thing Naruto does, is he making people witchers? Are they witchers?
A: Indeed, in healing he creates pseudo-witchers of a sort, at least that's how most will see it. By all rights, Kurama's chakra is no longer toxic and we all know he's CLEARLY able to give it to others in measured doses. He just hasn't figured out how to simply use it without the aforementioned side effects. It CAN kill if he overloads a weakened body with it, hence the appalling rate of success and his reluctance to use it unless pressed. And NO, to answer another inquiry, it doesn't make the patient sterile by any means. Think of it as giving one's body a "boost" but rather than simply creating chakra, that particular power stays with them the rest of their lives. They can't use "signs" but they have access to a host of other abilities. What are those? You'll soon see!
Q: Aha, I called it! He's going to found his own school, isn't he!
A: Still mum on that, sorry.
Q: Begging your pardon, but how far has Naruto traveled. You stated that he's been to Velen, but has he visited Skellige?
A: Parts of Velen such as Crow's Perch, yes. Skellige, no. Additionally he has yet to see Oxenfurt or Novigrad so he's not entirely away of the mage plight or the nonhuman issue. He certainly hasn't had the time to visit Beauclair with the war on!
Q: Uh-oh. Blowing up that garrison isn't going to come back and bite him, now is it?
A: Aye, it is and this chapter signifies that. Emhyr already wants him gone for obstructing his front, but destroying a garrison is going to put him squarely on his shit list.
Q: Can we expect death in this story?
A: A lot of it, aye.
Q: Will you keep diverging from canon?
A: Ah, but of course! For one, as I'm sure you all noticed, Yennefer had to track Geralt down ALONE and without an escort due Naruto's campaign in White Orchard. A relatively small change in the grand scheme of things perhaps in the, but there'll be many more larger ones before this story is through. Another such change being that the Wild Hunt didn't try to attack in White Orchard, this time around. More changes to come! After all, I aim to include the expansions in this story as well! I can't decide whether to have the North win or not, hmm, decisions, decisions...
Q: Is the pairing nailed down yet? Can Philippa be a part of it?
Q: We gonna see quests and contracts in this?
A: Yes, indeed! Quests and contracts aplenty, some old, others new!
Q: I get the distinct feeling you're going to enjoy writing out the Iron Maiden quest, no?
A: Shhhh! Spoilers!
Alright, and that's all the time we have for today!
Now then...off we go!
The title says it all =D
One more thing.
GWENT IS ADDICTING!
Whomever doesn't like it, feel free to skip the section where it crops up. But if you do...
...well, you might miss some stuff.
After all, I DID say this story was going to branch out...
"There are many worlds. It could even be said that there are more of you and I, out there, somewhere."
"I'll take your word for it. One is enough, thank you very much."
"You wouldn't be talking about me now, would you?"
I Hate Magic
I hate magic.
Hate, hate, HATE it.
I'll say it plain; I just don't like it. Not a bit. Magic is inherently different from chakra-you can open portals with it, crush a man's throat, curse him, probably kill him at a glance. Hmm. Actually-second thought-its not all that different. Its the application of magic that differs from chakra. Not to mention the persecution. In my world shinboi were something to praised and honored. Agents who strove in the shadows for the greater good and prosperity of their villages. Sorceresses, or any who practice magic for that matter, don't seem to serve such a purpose.
They are-with the notable exception of those who've taken refuge in White Orchard-a bunch of arrogant, self-serving pricks.
From what folk tell of it, they started a war and everything's their fault.
Needless to say, I don't take stock in such rubbish for a second, but after meeting Yennefer I find myself wondering if their isn't a nugget of truth hidden somewhere in this bedrock of lies. After a long chat with her, I'm not even entirely sure I like sorceresses for that matter. She might've helped Arwen and I with the griffin when it attacked, but in all honesty...
...she's a bitch.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Others might find her perfectly likable.
I just find her a bit prickly, that's all.
And by prickly I mean she's got a tongue-so-sharp-she-could-cut-you with it scarce as look at you.
I've known her for all of half a day now and I'm already ready to hit her with a prank. Or two. Maybe three. Possibly even four. Perhaps then she'd get off her high horse and stop talking down to me. Who knows? Yet I'm fairly certain Geralt's in love with with the crazy wench. At least I think he might be. Bugger's hard to read. Do Witcher mutations truly strip a man of emotion? I wonder...
Right, right, Lena's poking me so I must be getting off track.
Oh, her? She survived. Tried to gut me afterward, but she's alive.
Downright healthy too, if you ignore the...ahem...side effects of our little cure.
Long story short, I've got another one on my hands. Ain't that just fucking peachy.
I REALLY need to figure this healing thing out, and soon. Especially considering where I am.
If someone had told me a week ago that I'd meet the White Wolf himself, I'd have called 'em crazy. If they'd then told me we'd both be summoned by one of the most hated men in existence, I would've laughed in their face. Now I'm in Vizima, about to meet with Emperor Emhyr van Emreis himself. The White Flame dancing on the graves of his foes indeed! Fucking honored. Hmm. I wonder if I...nah. Too risky. Gah, being here makes me worry about White Orchard. Can they defend themselves without me and Arwen? For how long? Fuck.
I hate Nilfgaard.
And, yes. I despise magic.
Don't much like sorceresses either.
Especially those thrice damn portals of theirs!
(...With Our Heroes in Vizima...)
"I didn't expect the the Lord of White Orchard to be well-versed in literature."
Naruto's first instinct was to fling his journal into Yennefer's smug face.
"I don't know about this "Lord" business, but yeah, that'd be me."
"Hmm. There's a first time for everything, I suppose."
Only years of training prevented him from acting on that urge. Instead he painted a thin smile on his face and spoke, finishing scratching his latest entry into his leather bound tome and stood. His doublet chose that very moment to pinch horribly where it had no business pinching, and his smile grew strained indeed. Arwen's hiss of discomfort proved far less restrained. Blasted guards taking their armor and weapons! More fools they, for a ninja was never unarmed. Naruto knew he could render this entire study a flaming mess if the whim struck him. Arwen and Lena could raise all sorts of chaos if they chose, as well.
Fortunately, neither was feeling particularly pugnacious towards Yennefer at the moment.
Realizing the sorceress in question was gazing at him with a most quizzical expression, Naruto relented with a sigh and moved to join her at the table. It really was a nice study all things considered; more than enough books to keep his wards occupied for the time being. Furthermore, a roaring fireplace lent the room plenty of light, and if that weren't enough a minstrel and his lute provided a rather pleasant ambiance. Naruto might even have considered it cozy...if it weren't for the guards that shadowed his every move. Still, they were forbidden from outright restraining him so he supposed that was a plus.
Even if he had to wear this insipid suit.
"So?" he sighed, stubbornly stifling the impulse to sweep the many maps off the table. "Find anything interesting in these maps of yours? Maybe you could tell me what's going on?"
"Perhaps." the sly sorceress replied, covering a portion of Velen with her hand with he moved to look at it. "But we shall wait for Geralt to join us first."
"Right." red eyes rolled. "Wouldn't wanna upset your lover."
Yennefer favored him with a decidedly stern expression.
"Quite. He might beat you senseless again if you do."
A muscle jumped in the shinobi's jaw.
"Alright. I'll bite. Who or what crawled up your ass and died?"
Yen's expression proved almost comical.
"I...beg your pardon?"
"You heard me." Planting his palms firmly upon the oak table, Naruto spun to face the dark-haired woman, unable to maintain his pleasant facade any longer. "You've been sniping at me from the moment we met. Kinda bitchy of you, frankly. So? What's the problem?"
"For Geralt's sake, I'll pretend you didn't say that just now." turning to face him fully. "Watch your tone. I'm no mood for dull jests."
Despite himself, Naruto bridled.
"Oh, really? How kind of you!" he bit out, rising to his full height to leer down at her. "Then perhaps I shouldn't pretend you aren't working for the man responsible for bringing famine and war down upon half the North. Do you have any idea how incursions I had to put down because your patron got it into his head to expand his glorious empire? How many rapes I dealt with on a weekly basis? Murders? Never mind the ploughin' robberies and kidnappings. So no, I don't think I'm going to pretend at all. You're being downright nasty to me, so I see no reason not to return the favor with interest."
Violet orbs narrowed.
"You be careful, witch." Lena's smooth voice carried from across the room. "Keep insulting him and I'll chuck one of these bestiaries at your head."
"Must you be so-
Yennefer arched her neck to reply, but momentarily found herself flummoxed just by looking at the young woman. At first glance one might mistake her for a Nilfgaardian beauty or a noble; all pale skin and rosy cheeks in full bloom of youth, firm curves wrapped up in a dark gown, her equally ebony hair coifed into a long, elegant braid over her shoulder. The sorceress knew better. This was no princess, or even a lady in waiting. She'd seen her bloody and covered in filth back in White Orchard. All in all, she cleaned up rather nicely. Still, those strange orbs still baffled her.
Witcher eyes clearly, and yet...not.
They weren't even gold.
No, not blue, those eerie sapphire orbs seemed to shimmer when she looked directly at them. Just like the elf's, yet not so. Even for her lack of weapons she seemed to radiate a singular menace; one that left her loath to take up the dark-haired woman's challenge. Clearly something had gone wrong when she'd been healed, but even now she knew not what. The woman didn't seem right in the head, but there was more to it than that she feared. For Lena's entire body seemed...coiled somehow, ready to spring at her given the slightest provocation.
In the end, she held her tongue and turned her wrath back to the outraged blond.
"I'll thank you not to associate me with the acts of common thugs, Naruto."
It was precisely the wrong thing to say and Yennefer realized too late.
"Is that so?" the words were spoken with cool calm, but she sensed the venom in them all the same. "I wasn't aware you thought so little of those in my care."
"That wasn't what I-
Pivoting from the table, the red-eyed warrior rounded on her with an unexpected burst of speed; so much so that the wind from his sudden passage sent the maps sailing from the table in a flutter of dry parchment. Yennefer scarcely noticed; rather, found herself very gladdened that he wasn't armed. Had he been, she might've expected a blade in the gut. Such, was his expression. As it were, his sudden proximity forced her to take a swift step on her back foot, retreating in the face of his anger.
"There's no need for violence." She'd meant to sound haughty when she said this, but it escaped on a squeak of surprise. It sounded weak. She despised weakness. Thoughts writhed in her mind like maggots through rotten flesh, causing her to fidget restlessly.
"Tough." as though sensing this very thought, the ninja snarled. "I've lost all the fucks I give."
And just like that, her fury came roaring back.
"And I've lost my patience."
"Too damn bad!"
And then, abruptly, that anger in his eyes withered away.
"Fuck's sake." The blond's shoulders slumped suddenly and he palmed his face, shaking his head. "Why are we even arguing? You know what? I've had about all I can stand of you today." the word escaped him on a sigh. "So just tell me what the hell you want or leave me the hell alone alone. I'm outta here." before Yen could think to slip in another verbal riposte of her own he turned his back on her and made good on that very threat; stalking towards the door. The abruptness of his departure caught her flatfooted, leaving her momentarily agape.
"Where are you going?"
"Gonna play some gwent." came the reply. "That one guy in the hall had a few good cards. Think I'll rob him blind. Maybe good ol' Emhyr himself has something tucked away...
"You can't be serious."
"I'm always serious about gwent!" Naruto declared, thumping his chest with a fist. "Robbing the emperor blind?" he turned, flashing a snaggle-toothed grin at his escort. "Hmm. Well, that really depends on my mood, I think. So? You boys feel up to stopping me?"
Fully realizing the blond was attempting to get a rise out of them, Yennefer thrust herself between them.
"We're his guests, you blond buffoon! If you dare jeopardize-
"What's that? Couldn't hear you over the nagging."
Her hands curled into furious fists.
"Come back here at once!"
Who did this fool think he was?! From the moment they'd met, he'd challenged her at every turn, poked and prodded then gave as good as he got. Whenever she snapped at him he rose to the occasion and batted her own words back at her anew; as though just daring her to attack. It was almost admirable. Almost. Under any other circumstance she might've actually enjoyed the banter. Now? With her nerves frayed and the pained, agonizing knowledge that Ciri was in danger? Yennefer wanted to strangle him! She wanted to wrap her hands around his throat and give him a good hard shake besides! How dare he! How dare he argue with her like this only to leave and make her seem the villain?
Not a heartbeat later, Yennefer's a shelf's worth of books sailed across the room.
"Not today, sweetheart!"
Quick as you please, the shinobi cackled aloud and shot out the door like an arrow loosed from a bow, quickly closing the former behind him before she could make her mar; thus leaving the leather-bound tome to crash harmlessly against the wooden frame. Chuckling to himself over her indignant oath, he left the sorceress to her hissy fit and made for the courtyard. Or what served as one. He couldn't rightly call it a palace by itself but the grandeur of it wasn't lost on him, nor the fresh, open air in his aching lungs. Hmm. Might be a problem, that. Should probably have someone take a look at it.
Dismissing such concerns as inconsequential, he left the sorceress behind with Arwen and Lena's laughter.
Let her sulk.
He sought a far greater prize.
Making a beeline for the target in question, he found them reclining on a stone bench near the back of the courtyard, none the wiser of who was bearing down on him. That blissful ignorance wouldn't last for long if he had anything to say about it.
"Oi, you! Yes, you! With the hat! Care for a round of gwent?"
A noncommittal grunt was the answer...
...until the man looked up.
A moment passed.
The blood draining from the merchant's face was truly a sight to behold; his jaw actually came unhinged for a moment, leaving him agape, gawping. No doubt he recognized his face from the wanted posters. Already he could see gears turning in the man's mind; the Nilfgaardian pondering whether it would be wiser to call the guards or simply flee. In the end, judging by the dark stain emanating from his breeches, Naruto suspected the man had simply surrendered to fear and momentarily lost control of his bladder.
'Instilling fear in fools. Never gets old...
"Me." Naruto replied verbally with a flourish, making a face to match the likeness of the poster. "Oh, don't worry. I'm not here to murder Nilfgaardians. Just wanna play a few rounds of Gwent. You game? I'm willing to make a little wager. Whaddya say we start at...I dunno...a hundred?" when it appeared the man might prove recalcitrant, he thumped down a large pouch of coin on the table to cement his claim. Needless to say, this produced the desired effect. As swiftly as that thorny terror had bloomed in those beady eyes, so too was it torn aside and replaced by avarice. It seemed greed could outweigh even fear sometimes.
"W-Well, when you put it that way...
Naruto restrained a grimace.
Times like these, he almost understood Arwen's scorn for humanity.
Pleased that his gambit had paid off, the blond slid onto the bench opposite him and pulled out his deck.
He wasn't disappointed.
"Right, then. Ooh, and you've got a Nilfgaard deck? Not surprised, you being a loyal patriot and all." he feigned an innocent smile. "More of a Northern man myself...hopefully I'll learn a few things."
What followed was a thoroughly one-sided trouncing that left said patriot wishing he'd never met the man. Oh, he possessed a stellar deck to be certain and against another play he might well have triumphed. However, he, like so many others before him, made a singular mistake. He underestimated a shinobi. Five games passed and with each successive victory, Naruto's coin pouch grew that much larger. In short order he had a fresh set of rare cards under his belt, and most of the man's possession's aside. Good. Beaming, he tucked them aside. His newfound winnings would go far towards equipping his companions.
He was only just considering allowing his unlucky victim a chance to win everything back when a familiar voice intruded on his thoughts.
"So this is where you were." Geralt said, coming into the courtyard.
Naruto perked up, delighted by the distraction.
Notably, the Witcher had reclaimed his armor and weapons, which led him to believe that he'd survived his meeting with Emhyr.
It also meant he had information.
"Ah, Geralt!" Beaming, the blond beckoned to the table. "We were just having a friendly chat. Care for a round a' gwent?"
"No more!" seeing the White Wolf, the nobleman wailed aloud and threw up his hands in supplication. "Mercy! Please, master witcher! He's all but fleeced me! I haven't anything left!"
Naruto arched an eyebrow.
"Still have most fo your clothes. Lay 'em out."
Naruto's unfortunate victim made a squelching sound; thus Geralt saw the man's face and took pity on him. After a moment's thought, he waved the stricken nobleman away. Poor sod didn't need any prodding-he all but bolted the moment the bearded witcher finished making the gesture. Eager to escape, that one. So why did it feel like he was the one walking into a drowner's nest? Exhaling in a long suffering sigh, he reluctantly laid claim to the vacated space. It was only then that Geralt noticed the headgear Naruto was wearing. Indeed, how could he not?
...did you have to take his hat?"
The blond tilted his head.
"Fine." with a swift shake of his head, Naruto discarded the hat and sent it sailing into a nearby fountain.
"That really necessary?"
"Yup." he beamed in a long-suffering sigh, claiming the vacated seat. "Wanna make a wager?"
Those red eyes turned sly.
"Weeeeeeeell," he sang, "I happened across this fascinating diagram back in White Orchard. I'll even throw in a crossbow, win or lose."
"Think it'll be that easy?"
A wicked gleam sparked to life in the blond's eyes.
"Nothing simpler, Geralt. Nothing simpler."
"Pull out your deck, then."
"Have at you!"
They laid their cards out in short order and to Geralt's disbelief, the blond proved he possessed a somewhat decent deck. No, more than decent. Though clearly incomplete, he'd amassed a notable array. A number of hero cards among them, if he recalled the outlines. It remained to seen whether he knew how to use them, however. Where the hell had he gotten them all?
The game that followed proved diverting indeed.
"So?" Naruto asked, laying down a Ves card to start the round at five. "How'd it go?"
Geralt glowered at his hand and after a moments consideration, answered with Sile de Tansarville at range, evening the field.
"Coulda been better."
His companion cocked a blond brow.
"Hey, I heard of her. Sile-something-or-other, right?" he remarked, almost casually flicking a level six siege card down. "Whatever happened to her?"
"Wanna hear the long story or the short version?" Geralt retaliated with one of his own, only to scowl as the blond blithely played a scorch card and sent his score plummeting back from whence it came. Before he could think to return the favor Naruto swooped in with a decoy, snatching his siege engine from danger. Not so for the Ves card he'd played. Naruto didn't so much as bat an eyelash at the loss, throwing it into his discard pile without so much as a second thought.
"Short, please." the whiskered warrior hummed, returning his siege to the fray," I'd like to get on with thrashing you."
Geralt was determined to do just that to him, so too said the trebuchet he laid down. "Let her get away. Letho, too."
"And?" Naruto actually paused, gazing at him intently.
The White Wolf blinked, confused.
"Don't keep us in suspense, man!" the blond slapped down a ranged Zoltan (Five) card with enough force to make the table shake. "What about Iorveth? Or Saskia? Out with it!" Despite himself, Gertalt felt the ghost of a smile pluck at the corners of his bearded mug. He hadn't expected to see the young man so animated over ancient history. Shaking his head, he deployed a Blue Stripes Commando (Four) Only to experience a biting frost that all but crippled his close combat units. Blasted clever!
"How much have you heard?"
"Only the juicy bits, I assure ya." Naruto waved him on, laying down impenetrable fog for good measure." C'mon, spill the beans!"
Realizing he wouldn't escape without answering the question, Geralt heaved a small sigh.
"Helped Iorveth and freed Saskia." he relented. "Haven't seen either since then."
"And what about Philipa?" Naruto asked. "Heard some ghastly stuff about her."
"Radovid put her eyes out. Afterwards, she turned into an owl and escaped."
"Had a hand in that, did ya?" Naruto laughed.
...rather not talk about it."
"See, that's unusual." Naruto remarked, depositing a measly infantry unit in place of his combat reserves. "I might have seen an owl a week back. Though it was just a big hawk at the time, but eh, maybe I was wrong? As to a dragon...hmm...well, seeing as I don't rightly know what one looks like, so I couldn't tell you. Might wanna ask Arwen. And are you gonna pass or not? You haven't put any cards down in awhile. As to our shared friend Iorveth, we did encounter a band of Scoia'tael. One of 'em might've been him. Or he could've hid his face. Dunno. I don't exactly know what he looks like, remember?"
Geralt restrained a shudder.
Iorveth aside, he was far more concerned at the prospect of Saskia. True enough, he had freed her from Philipa's spell, but the idea of an angry dragoness rampaging across the countryside was not an enviable one. He didn't envy anyone who crossed her. Much less Philippa.
"Aaaaand got ya!" Naruto declared in triumph, throwing down a ballista.
Observing his shoddy hand, the Witcher ceded the round.
"Ha!" Naruto crowed as they discarded their cards while he drew a new one, as was his right. "Still, that was generous of you. Letho? I'd have killed 'em for framing me like that. Mighta been smarter to kill him."
"Thought you didn't like killing." Geralt inquired.
"I make an exception for assholes." his partner-in-cards chirped, starting the round down a Dethmold card at range for a count of six.
"Only good enemy is a dead enemy." the blond's head bobbed as he watched Geralt retaliate with a siege tower of his own, forcing him to consider his hand. "Humiliating 'em works too, but its risky. Take Emhry for example. I'd be well within my rights to try and kill him now, but that'd stir up a storm I'm not yet ready to deal with. So, humiliation it is. He wants to kill me, but knows he can't...yet. I'm not so foolish as to let my guard down in a place like this."
Geralt's glower deepened slightly.
"Speaking of humiliating...
"You used me." he growled, throwing down Sabrina at range (Four) to the blond's bemusement.
"Maybe I did. Maybe I didn't." Naruto replied, slapping down yet another siege card at an eight, much to the Witcher's annoyance. "You beat me bloody back in White Orchard. I think one good turn deserves another. Wait, wait," he raised his hands as Geralt show him a dark glower, "Let's have bygones be bygones. No need to come to blows, again. I know you're angry. You wanted Yennefer? She was in Vizima. Now you're here. With her. See? I can be nice."
After a moment's consideration, Geralt shrugged and made to counter with one of of his own.
A costly mistake, that.
"And scorch again!"
The Witcher's scowl deepened as he found himself forced to discard another unit.
"You knew about Yen."
"I did." the blond replied happily, tossing down a Prince Stennis spy card, thereby drawing two free cards from his deck at the cost of handing Geralt five points, forcing the older Witcher to counter with Siegfried at a measly five. "And since you were so kind as to deliver that package for me, I did you a solid. By the way." beaming, Naruto pointed to the board. "You've lost."
"Wait, what?" stupefied, he found he actually had, or was about to; he possessed a mere two cards while the blond retained several more, his score near astronomical by comparison. He'd been so distracted by their conversation that he hadn't given the game much thought. To his annoyance.
A muscle jumped in his jaw.
"Damnit. Double or nothing?"
To his disbelief, the blond actually shook his head.
"I said I'd give you the crossbow regardless, remember?" he declared, tapping the side of his head. "You'll get it, just as soon as I retrieve my things. Don't be greedy-ah, what the hell." shrugging, he collected his deck and stood in one fell swoop. "You can have the diagram. Not like I've much use for it any way. 'Sides, you'd get more use out of it than I would."
"Just like that?"
The ninja nodded.
"Yup. Just like that."
"We're friends, aren't we?"
Remarkably, Geralt found he didn't bear Naruto any ill will.
Not just over this recent loss, but for everything; the blond genuinely didn't seem to bear him any ill will. If he did, he was doing a remarkable job at hiding it. In any case, he certainly wasn't afraid to tell him the truth to his face. That he didn't care a wit for Emhyr also helped his case. Unbidden, a wry smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. Hmm. He might not be so bad after all. Time and time again he'd proven he was willing to stand up for what was right-so much for the vaunted witcher neutrality-and walk through hell to get it. They were alike in that aspect.
So he told him about Ciri.
To his credit, Naruto listened intently until he finished, not interrupting. Not a once. And when he was completed his tale, the blond nodded.
"So?" he asked, climbing to his feet. "Where do we start?"
Geralt actually blinked at that.
"You don't owe me anything."
Lena's laughter startled him; he turned to find the dark-haired woman lounging upon a nearby chair, looking every bit as watchful as a dragon guarding her hoard. Where had she come from? He hadn't even heard her footsteps, which was unusual in and of itself. Turning her cheek, the woman-or was she a witcheress?-rose from her perch and glided to Naruto's side.
"I believe you still owe him a favor, darling."
"That I do!"
With a grunt, he rapped one hand against his chest and cackled.
"Let's go find that girl of yours, shall we?"
"Gotta talk with Yen, first."
Naruto felt his smile wither away.
"Yeah, about that...
"What did you do?" Geralt sighed, trailing after his ally.
"I maaaaaaaay have riled her up a bit."
"How much is a bit?"
Naruto grimaced quietly.
"She threw a bookcase at me."
A/N: Novigrad and Velen next chapter and booooooooy is it going to be a doozy! And there you have it! My first stab at a crossover with the Witcher series! I do hope you liked it! Pairings and suggestions are welcome a plenty! And YES, Naruto clearly isn't a witcher, but the incident with his eyes will have most folk thinking he is. Consider it something of a running gag. What'll happen next? Will our knuckle-headed ninja make it home? Will he even want to?
So in the Immortal Words of Atlas...
...Review, Would You Kindly?
And of course, enjoy the preview of an oncoming chapter! There's an expanded one this time. Hopefully updates will come faster as work allows! MAJOR CHANGES incoming!
"I believe you."
"But that won't save you. Now...burn."
That was the last Radovid heard before Naruto took hold of his face and shoved it into the fire.
"You're an idiot."
The Bloody Baron sputtered in disbelief, rubbing his fractured jaw.
"The fuck you say?" he gawped up at the White Wolf, stupefied, unable to believe how easily he'd been knocked on his arse. Anger purpled his visage. "Did you just ploughin' hit me?! Is he with you?!"
Naruto barked a laugh.
"No, no, I think I'll just let Geralt handle this...
"What are you?"
"Ah, I'd almost forgotten how amusing it is, dealing with your kind." Gaunter O'Dimm smiled. "Do you wish to know?" in the silence, he shook his head, a grim smile affixed to his gaunt features. "No, you don't. I shall spare you this once, provided you don't ask again. Now, then." a hand thrust itself through the bars of his cage. "What do you say? Would you like to disembark? Oh, don't give me that look. I've no interest in throwing you to the wolves-or should I say sharks-as it were. You're far too interesting for that."
Naruto eyed the offending palm as though it were the plague.
...you do know I can probably break out on my own."
"Perhaps." Master Mirror replied. "Perhaps not."
"You may have learned to revive the dead, but can you revive yourself if you lose your head?" O'Dimm replied with a suave smile. "No? I think not. Come now, let's be reasonable; with your hands bound like that, you won't be able to do much of anything when the headsman comes for you. Not to mention poor Arwen. Or even Lena." seizing on the latter's scowl, Master Mirror's smile deepened. "I see I've hit a nerve! Whatever will become of your allies without those hands of yours to guide them? Such a pity...
A growl snaked between the bars.
"Unlock these shackles and I'll show you what I can do with my hands."
...you might well do better than most, but no, I think not."
Naruto's scowl deepened imperceptibly.
"Say I accept your offer. What's the catch?"
His benefactor laughed.
"A catch? Ha! Life is a catch! I suggest you catch it while you can! Suffice it to say, I will free you from this vessel. The rest is up to you."
Twisting to reach the offered limb, he reluctantly accepted his hand.
"Excellent! But first, a little something to remember me by."
A hiss of pain tore itself from him as something burned itself into the right side of his face.
Arwen's shriek of surprise came too late.
Attacked from behind, Naruto stumbled in surprise, startled to realize someone had actually gotten the drop on him through no fault but his own. His act of mercy, backfired. Spectacularly. A blaze of fire roared up his right side as he turned, clutching at the thin razor protruding from his back. A bloody cough erupted from him as he turned to face the one who'd dared-literally-stab him in the back. No, now he couldn't even feel that. Poison? He saw Arwen out of the corner of his eye, watched her bring her bow down hard on his assailant's head, screaming, but too late. His vision was already swimming. Cold. He felt...cold.
"Are you...fucking serious?"
With faltering steps, he reached back and ripped the razor from his back.
The pain came howling back and the ground rushed up to meet him.