Kitsune of the Hakurei Shrine
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Chapter 12: Newborn [X]
Sleeping contently in the safety of the ten-tailed fox's arms was the little Hakurei maiden, looking far more comfortable than all four other beings in the room wearily watching the Juubi's visage, wearily waiting for him to speak out a word, any word, to end the silence that had spread from him the moment he used one of his numerous abilities.
The bravest, or most foolish, of them was the first one to speak.
"Master, did you kill her?"
"No, Sariel, I did not kill her." The Juubi snorted; trust the one who had no connections with Reimu to speak so crassly. "Her mind could only take so much of the illusion before she tired herself out getting out of it."
"Illusion…" Sariel wings fluttered, and she tilted her head, regarding her Master with honest curiosity. "How long was her illusion compared to ours?"
If it was somewhere within the million of years, Sariel would understand how the influx of information would tire out her Master's protegee.
Even something like etern - Sariel's thoughts came to a screeching halt, and her wings flew upon along with the widening of her eyes. Her words, too, came out more akin to a screech than anything else. "E-eternity? Master, are you insane!? Were you trying to kill her!?"
Funny that it was Sariel who almost accomplished that same task had he not intervened.
"That is her wish," The Juubi shrugged noncommittally.
To be together, forever.
"To show her any less than Eternity would've been an insult to her."
He was insane.
That was the thought shared between the three women with far too much power, power that compared to his, was still leagues away from scratching even the barest of surfaces of his.
And it was exactly that discrepancy between powers that allowed the Kit to understand the ten-tailed fox better than her own master, better than his old friend, and better than his new pet.
Ran scuttled on her knees to side up to Naruto, with naught but a touch to his side, he relinquished his hold on the sleeping Maiden, allowing Ran to take hold her to her bosom much like a mother would her child.
Which wasn't so far off from what she wanted to be to the little Maiden.
They were both granted Eternity by the same being, and as her older peer, it would be her duty to ease her into what infinite longevity meant.
Not that her Mistress knew, as far as Yukari was aware, once she passed away, so would Ran without nobody to hold onto her Shikigami soul.
Ran Yakumo, the Shikigami of Yukari Yakumo, was born from a wish.
Ran, the Kit cared for by the Juubi, was born from a gift.
Once her Mistress time was over, which would be a very long time, she'd return to her duties - Self-bound as they were - to her Lord. Perhaps, her Mistress knew of their arrangement, or simply turned a blind eye, as there would be no way she would allow for Ran to be anywhere but her side in her presence.
"I must agree with the bird, Ju-kun." Hecatia glared at him, with actual intent behind it. "You could've killed Reimu."
Hecatia knew very well what longevity was like, she was not eternal, but with how long her span was, and how near-immortal she was, she was damn near close to his concept of Eternity.
To be ravaged by the sands of time, swept in the storm where every second made the horizon look darker, duller, harsher.
Walking that path alone -
Hecatia's thoughts froze as realization dawned upon her.
Reimu was not alone in her illusion.
Her wish was-
"So, you showed her an Eternity alongside you, then?" Yukari voiced Hecatia thoughts, her fingers laced together with a look of utmost attention.
"Of course, that is her wish." The Juubi grinned, a feral visage for any who were not aware it was a true smile, "Her response?"
All four beings around him knew the answer already, otherwise the little shrine maiden wouldn't be asleep at all.
"I'll care for her in the meanwhile, M'Lord." Ran bowed her head lightly in Naruto's direction, ignoring the owlish stares of her Mistress and the two other women. Ran actions up to this point were finally adding up in the mind of all three, and all three were curious at the unique closeness the Shikigami shared with the Juubi.
However, there would be no answers, neither from Ran herself or Naruto.
The Kit excused herself with another dutiful bow to the three women, and seemingly floated out of the room, the door sliding and closing with her needing to touch it.
"With that debacle over." The Juubi's words turned the attention to him. "Reimu's decision changes things."
That was putting it lightly.
An Eternal Shrine Maiden?
What kind of life awaited her, and all those around her?
The answer to that was known only to one, to the one who spent that very future with her. An illusion it may be, but his powers pulled at Reality to manifest it.
So, whatever Reimu had seen.
It was the truth.
She would not remember it, no living being except for those outside of the wheel of Reality could truly understand what Eternity meant, but she had reached the end.
The end of Eternity.
"Sariel, Yukari, you two are most likely not aware yet, but my domain has a time difference with the outside world." The Juubi shifted, leaning on his side with his paw holding his snout. "I've granted Reimu's wish, however, it is far too soon for the effects of eternity to bind to her."
Out of everything that had come out of his mouth for the last hour, that was the most understandable thing he'd said so far.
"Master," Sariel raised one hand to place her question, the chains around her neck rattling with her movements. "Exactly what did you grant her?"
Short answer would be Eternity.
But that wasn't all there it was to it, right?
Eternity in and of itself meant nothing but absolute longevity.
"Does she possess your kind of Eternity, Master? Or does it resemble ours?"
"Yours. Between the three of you, yours is the closest one to Reimu, Sariel." The Juubi scratched under his chin. "Reimu will not die of age nor erosion, her mind will never deteriorate either, however she still remains human, and as such, has all the weakness of one."
She can die from just about anything except aging.
"Eh/eh?" Both Hecatia and Yukari were surprised at his answer.
After all, what is the point of being Eternal if just about everything can snuff Eternity from you, then?
"Her wish is to remain with me, forever. Not to live forever," The Juubi raised two fingers, "The moment she no longer desires to remain by my side, she can find her end easily. The moment she's no longer trying to actively remain by my side, she will find her end just as easily."
Because a wish, is just that.
Like the jokes of genies in magic lamps, like the small letter in terms & services.
To make a wish, a true wish, you need to understand everything there is about such a wish.
To wish for salvation means to never face any hardship in life ever again, and living in and of itself is a hardship, therefore salvation will be granted in the shape of death.
To wish for becoming a hero means to always push someone into enough misery that they call out for someone, anyone, to save them from their pain.
To wish for immortality means to live forever, but erosion will eventually get to them. The mind will deteriorate, the will will falter, and the purpose will be gone long before they can reap the fruits of their wish.
Yes, to wish for anything is to obtain everything at the cost of anything.
Kill all humans, includes killing humanity in and of itself. Evolution will eventually replicate them, yet again. All life is like that.
He'd seen it enough times.
Give a home to all animals in shelters, a seemingly innocent wish, however, not all homes can care for animals.
Not all living beings can take care of others.
A lot will die from neglect, others from mistakes, because, surely, every living being makes mistakes and it can affect not only oneself, but all those around them.
That was not even counting all those who sought to harm everything around them.
Yes, all wishes are inherently dangerous.
But was it wrong to wish for something? No, of course not. It is human nature, it is an instinct engraved in all living beings to await for something, anything, that they could not easily attain.
Plants killed plants in search of sunlight and water.
Animals killed animals in search of sustenance and prosperity.
Humans killed humans in search of understanding and dehumanizing.
Monsters killed monsters in search of acknowledgement and compliance.
Even the beings in the room with him, they too, killed to find their own place in the world, to understand what their existence meant.
To learn what their existence could be.
And to throw a wish into the hands of all those meant to give them exactly what they sought through their lifespan, as infinitely short or eternally long as it was.
Therefore, he would only grant one wish.
And all around him would have to live with everything that encompassed that one wish.
It was why Naruto Uzumaki no longer allowed himself to feel emotions, for he too, had once upon a time, a very, very, very long time, wished for many things.
Emotions, feelings, needs.
They brought out desires that were in his reach, and even if he was susceptible to his own power, then what could be said about everyone else around him?
'I have everything'
But do you truly have everything? Or did you find out that all that you had was all that you wanted?
Wasn't there more?
Your body still needs sustenance; therefore, you still do not have everything. Or are you willing to say that your body is not a part of what makes you, you?
Yes, it is exactly that very same train of thought you're having that led Naruto Uzumaki to become what he was, what he is, what he will be.
"I love Reimu, but our bond is one that is entirely up to her for severance or nourishing."
Because Naruto Uzumaki did not want Reimu Hakurei to become like him, to become The Ten-Tailed Fox, The Juubi, A Self-Nurtured Primordial.
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Author's Note: Hmm, yes. This will do, this will do indeed. Next chapter title: Ten and Nine, A Fluffy Fuss!