Thank you to everyone who answered my questions last chapter! The responses helped me out a lot. I really appreciate it.
Enjoy the chapter!
Two months after.
The moon illuminated the dark night sky, casting a warm glow over the forest. The streams were murmuring quietly, the leaves were rustling softly in the gentle wind, and the wildlife was coming out to play in the early hours of night.
The tranquil peace of the forest was shattered by a loud screeching sound that sent the wildlife into disarray. A moment later, there was a loud explosion followed by angry cursing in Ancient Greek.
"What in Tartarus's name was that for?!" Apollo yelled indignantly.
"I thought that you would teleport away!" Naruto yelled back frantically.
"I thought that you would have the brains to stop before you actually hit me!"
Apollo let out a groan of pain, collapsing to the ground. Golden ichor - the blood of the gods - trickled from countless cuts all over his body, courtesy of a Rasenshuriken.
"This - this might be the end for me," he gasped, his face twisted in utter agony. "The pain is too much. I - I don't think I can make it."
"Apollo, stop overreacting," Artemis spoke up, stepping in from the edge of the clearing.
"Aww," Apollo pouted, his pained grimace disappearing. "You're not even the slightest bit concerned?"
Artemis didn't hesitate in her reply. "Not at all."
"I could be fatally injured, you know," Apollo exclaimed dramatically. "Can you imagine the guilt you would feel if I died knowing that my little sister wasn't worried about me at all?"
Artemis stared at him, unimpressed. "Gods can't die, so forgive me if I'm not overly concerned. Now heal yourself; you're bleeding all over the forest floor. The last thing I need is a repeat of the previous time your ichor got into the systems of the wildlife."
Apollo chuckled. "I remember that incident. Out of curiosity, did those contaminated squirrels ever return to normal?"
A haunted gaze passed over Artemis's face. "No. No they did not."
With a snap of his fingers, golden light enveloped Apollo's entire body - not the intense golden light of his divine form, but rather the warmer light of his healing magic. A moment later, the light died down to reveal Apollo in perfect condition. There were no traces that he had been previously injured; not even a light scratch. He stood up and stretched, his spine giving a satisfying crack.
"Y'know, I can't help but feel a little annoyed that you can heal the damage from the Rasenshuriken by merely snapping your fingers," Naruto grumbled. "It deals damage on the cellular level, for the Sage's sake."
Apollo hummed. "I'm sure that would've been an issue if I had cells."
Naruto stared at him. "You don't have cells?" he echoed blankly.
"I don't have cells," Apollo confirmed. "I thought that was obvious. Isn't it common knowledge that gods don't have DNA? Which, incidentally," he coughed, muttering under his breath, "is why it's totally acceptable for gods to date each other even if they're family."
Naruto chose to ignore the latter half of his statement. "I knew that you didn't have DNA, but you don't have cells?!" he asked incredulously.
"Well, yeah," Apollo shrugged.
"But you have organs and sinews and stuff!"
"Correct," Apollo inclined his head, "However, if you examine those under a high-powered microscope, you would see no further base components: no cells, no organelles, nothing. Just the golden color of ichor."
"It's important to keep in mind that while we are in our mortal forms, we're not actually mortals," Artemis added.
Naruto made a face as he tried to wrap his mind around it. "That's so weird."
What's wrong with not having cells? Kurama spoke up, sounding rather bewildered. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.
What do you - he was silent for a moment as he thought it over. Bijuu's didn't have cells either. Huh, that actually makes sense.
Naruto shrugged. "Alright then. Godly physiology aside, good fight," he grinned as he extended two fingers in the seal of reconciliation.
"For you, maybe," Apollo grumbled as he reached out and completed the seal. "You weren't the one who had to deal with millions of microscopic wind blades piercing through your body."
First time? Kurama muttered with a note of sympathy.
Naruto rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Yeah... that's my bad."
"It is your bad," Apollo agreed. Naruto snorted. "Another round?"
Once more, Naruto closed his eyes and prepared to enter Sage Mode. As always, he sensed countless natural energies.
Hmm... Let's try something new this time.
Instead of gathering Artemis's natural energy like he normally did, he focused on the bright and potent natural energy that felt like Apollo, gathering and blending it with his chakra to create senjutsu chakra. Oddly enough, this was way slower than usual.
Unbeknownst to Naruto, Apollo's gaze steadily grew darker and darker as the seconds ticked on.
Finally, after nearly a minute, his eyes snapped back open.
Sage Mode - Apollo style.
Golden pigmentation appeared around Naruto's eyes as his internal temperature seemed to rise by several degrees.
Naruto examined himself, clenching and unclenching his fists experimentally - then his eyes widened in surprise as Apollo suddenly materialized in front of him, grabbing his shoulders tightly.
"Hey, what's the big deal-?"
"What did you just do," Apollo demanded in a low hiss, his narrowed eyes glowing an intense golden light.
Naruto blinked. "I borrowed some of your natural energy to enter Sage Mode."
Apollo paused, confusion flickering across his gaze. "You what?"
Naruto tilted his head. "Err... you know how my Sage Mode is when I combine my chakra with natural energy?"
"No, I don't know," Apollo said bluntly. "You never told me."
"I didn't?" Naruto frowned. "Huh. Well, Sage Mode is when I draw upon natural energy and mix it with my own chakra to produce senjutsu chakra. And it just so happens that in this world, natural energy is a god's energy."
Apollo's eyes widened in shock as he drew back abruptly.
"Naruto..." Artemis stepped forward, her brows furrowed in concentration. "Are you saying that you can absorb the divine energy of the gods and use it for yourself?"
Naruto nodded. "Pretty much, as long as their domain counts as something natural. The sun, the moon, the forests, the oceans, the sky, and so on. However, if the domain isn't natural, I can't use it; I can't draw upon divine energy with the domain of war or archery, for example."
As he spoke, Artemis and Apollo's expressions grew increasingly astonished.
"Excuse me, but what the Tartarus?!" Apollo said incredulously. "Wait wait wait, so you're saying that just now, you drew upon my divine energy with the domain of sun, and mixed it with your chakra to enter Sage Mode?"
"Yup," Naruto tilted his head. "Is there a problem? It's what I've been doing all this time with Mom's natural energy..."
Apollo's head whipped over to stare accusingly at Artemis. "And you never told me?" he demanded.
"I didn't know!" Artemis protested. "I've never had a child before! I thought it was perfectly normal for him to tap into my divine energy!"
"Okay, that's fair," Apollo admitted. "But holy Zeus, Naruto. These are the types of things that you gotta tell us - " he froze as a thought struck him. "Please tell me you haven't tried to gather other gods' divine energies."
"I haven't," Naruto replied. Apollo visibly relaxed at that. "I've only drawn upon Mom's natural energy so far. Why, is it that bad?" he asked curiously.
"If I didn't know you, I would've blasted you instantly," Apollo answered, his expression fully serious.
Naruto paled. "... for real?"
"For real," Apollo confirmed. "For you to steal away a god's divine energy without their permission... It's an insult of the highest degree, on the same level as sitting on their thrones or stealing their symbols of power."
"Oh. Uhh... my bad. Sorry," Naruto apologized.
Apollo sighed. "It's fine. You didn't know."
"Just make sure to never do it unless you ask the god for permission first," Artemis said. Naruto nodded. Then Artemis breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank the gods we found out now. I only shudder to think what would've happened if..." she trailed off. "Well, it would've been bad, to say the least."
Naruto hesitated for a moment before looking at Artemis. "May I please use your divine energy?"
Artemis nodded. "Yes. I'm fine with it."
Naruto grinned. "Thank you! And, err, sorry for not asking permission before."
"It's quite alright," Artemis assured.
Apollo was already answering even before Naruto turned his way. "Yeah, whatever," he grumbled. "Go ahead. I'll be generous and allow you to use my awesome powers."
"Sweet," Naruto grinned. "First things first, let's test out the Rasengan variant."
Another Rasengan? Kurama muttered. I swear, every time you attain a new power, it's as if you have some moral obligation to try to incorporate it into the Rasengan.
Hey, you can't have too many Rasengans, am I right?
Naruto held out his hand palm up and a Rasengan infused with Apollo's divine energy burst into existence, emitting a red-orange light so bright it hurt Naruto's eyes. He could feel the intense heat scorching the air around it. It was as if he was holding a miniature sun in his hand.
Apollo grinned brightly. "Now that's awesome," he declared, sunglasses automatically materializing on his face.
Naruto had an identical grin on his face. This Rasengan was similar to the Sage Art: Lava Release Rasenshuriken, only a lot brighter. Now all he had to do was name it.
"This is called... Sage Art: Sun Rasengan," he decided.
"Sounds suitably epic. Test it out," Apollo said eagerly, nodding at a nearby tree.
Naruto drew back, aghast. "On a tree?! The sheer blasphemy!"
"Indeed," Artemis agreed, snapping her fingers and materializing a dummy in front of Naruto. "Here."
"Thank you." With that, Naruto slammed the Sun Rasengan into the dummy. The dummy didn't stand a chance - the Sun Rasengan melted right through it like lava poured onto ice.
"Oh man," Apollo grinned, "That deserves a poem in its honor. Let's see..."
Artemis sighed despairingly as Naruto automatically tuned Apollo out - it was habit by now - and he regarded the Rasengan with a thoughtful gaze.
Y'know, I'm pretty sure the Sun Rasengan is even more powerful than the Lava Release Rasengan. What do you think?
Not a clue. Use a Lava Release Rasengan and compare the two, I guess.
Naruto nodded, entering Six Paths Sage Mode and forming a Sage Art: Lava Release Rasengan in his other hand before testing it out on the dummy.
The Sun Rasengan was more powerful. By a large margin.
Huh. So it is more powerful. Speaking of which, I'm surprised that you can still use your Bloodline Limits.
What do you mean?
Kurama sighed. Listen, Six Paths Sage Mode doesn't give you any Bloodline Limits. You gained all your Bloodline Limits from the Bijuu's chakra. However, when I used the jutsu to reincarnate ourselves, my siblings' chakra was left behind. He paused, his expression becoming slightly sad. I can't even communicate with them through our telepathic link anymore...
He shook his head to clear away those thoughts. Anyway, without their chakra in your system, you should've lost all your Bloodline Limits. However, I guess enough traces of residue of my siblings' chakra present in my own chakra after becoming the Juubi was enough to alter the genetics of your new body to allow you to use Bloodline Limits. Bloodline Limits are genetic, after all.
Oh. Wait, but if only our chakra was transferred in the space-time transit, then how do I still have Six Paths Sage Mode? I thought I needed Six Paths Chakra for that, and I already lost my Yang Seal.
You know what Six Paths chakra is?! Kurama asked, astonished.
Naruto grinned. Not so stupid now, am I?
Even a broken clock is right twice a day, Kurama replied dismissively, snickering when Naruto made a rude hand gesture at him.
Okay but seriously though. How in the world do I still have Six Paths Sage Mode?
The short answer is pure luck. The longer answer is that, since the jutsu I used was originally derived from a Six Paths technique, it automatically transferred the Six Paths chakra that was left in your system, Kurama explained. Then, when your new body was created, your new chakra system was altered so that not only does it produce your own chakra, but it also produces Six Paths Chakra - which is why you can still use Six Paths Sage Mode.
I see, I see, Naruto nodded. That seems... awfully convenient.
Indeed, Kurama agreed, absently flicking his tail.
"Why did it take you longer to enter Sage Mode than usual?" Artemis inquired.
Naruto raised an eyebrow. "You noticed that-? Of course you noticed it." He shrugged. "To tell you the truth, I honestly don't know."
"My power was probably too immense for you to absorb," Apollo smirked. "Don't worry, it's normal for my sheer awesomeness to be overwhelming."
Naruto and Artemis both ignored him.
"Try entering Sage Mode with my divine energy again?" Artemis said.
Naruto nodded, exiting and then entering Artemis Sage Mode. While it had taken him about a minute using Apollo's divine energy, it was nearly instantaneous with Artemis's. Strange...
Isn't it obvious?
What do you mean?
Kurama sighed. Come on. Your body is literally composed of Artemis's divine energy.
So, Kurama said slowly, that means that you literally have a source of divine energy within yourself. When you enter Artemis Sage Mode, all you have to do is divert that energy into your chakra system, and then you'll have a continuous flow of energy. The natural energy is internal. However, when you enter Apollo Sage Mode, the natural energy is external, which is why you actually have to take time to gather it, like back in our old world.
Naruto's eyes widened in realization. OHHH, I get it.
Yup. I suspect you also have a time limit with Apollo Sage Mode, unlike Artemis Sage Mode.
Probably. Yeah, that makes sense.
Naruto quickly told Artemis and Apollo what Kurama had just told him.
"Hmm... nah, I'm pretty sure it's just because my divine energy is too - "
Artemis gave a long-suffering sigh as she elbowed Apollo in the gut. "Anyway, it's getting quite late. I should return."
Artemis gave a nod in farewell before disappearing in a flash of silver light, leaving Naruto and Apollo alone in the clearing.
There was a moment of silence as they both stared at where Artemis had previously stood.
"Say..." Apollo began, his voice low, still staring ahead. "You mentioned that you could absorb all types of natural energy, correct? Have you ever felt an ancient, extremely powerful divine energy before? Possibly slumbering?"
Right away, Naruto knew what he was talking about. "Yeah, I have."
Apollo stiffened. "I see," he murmured. "A word of advice. Don't ever use it. No matter what."
"That sounds rather ominous - "
"I'm serious," Apollo snapped. "Don't."
Naruto raised his hands placatingly. "Alright, alright, chill. I won't."
Two months, two weeks after.
"You're back," Charon groaned. "What do you want this time?"
"I want to go to the Underworld," Naruto said. "Don't worry, Nico invited me."
Charon's eyebrows rose. "He did? One moment." He raised his hand to the side of his head as if listening to someone before blinking. "Oh. He did."
Immediately, it was as if a switch had been flipped. Charon's entire expression and posture shifted, appearing more formal and sophisticated. He stood up and gave a slight bow to Naruto, a smile on his face. "Welcome, Naruto, son of Artemis. It's a pleasure to have you here. Come, right this way."
Naruto blinked at the sudden change in attitude. "Alright."
"I apologize for my previous bout of rudeness," Charon said as he led Naruto into the back of the studio. Naruto stared straight ahead stiffly, trying his best to ignore the ghosts around him. "It was most unbecoming of me."
"Uhh, it's fine."
They stepped into an elevator already nearly filled with spirits. Naruto tensed up uncomfortably as sweat began trickling down his face.
Seriously? Kurama snickered. You've fought against the likes of Kaguya and Madara themselves. How are you still scared of ghosts?!
They're creepy, okay?Naruto shouted. Gimme a break.
The elevator started to slowly descend.
"I'm surprised you're still friends with Nico di Angelo," Charon remarked. "Most would've abandoned him once they found out he was the son of Hades."
"Yeah, well, most are idiots then," Naruto declared. "Judging someone by their parentage is beyond stupid."
Charon chuckled. "A pity most don't share your worldview."
Naruto started to reply but then clamped his mouth shut when he was unexpectedly struck by a sense of vertigo, feeling extremely dizzy. They weren't going down anymore, but forward. The air turned misty, and the floor of the elevator began swaying.
"Are you going to puke on me?" Charon asked, suddenly looking very worried. "Please don't puke on me."
Naruto turned to look at him - then froze. Charon's Italian suit had been replaced by a long black robe. His eyes were gone, replaced by empty eye sockets filled with pure darkness. The flesh of his face was becoming transparent, allowing Naruto to see straight through to his skull.
"I have a bag somewhere," Charon continued panickedly.
Naruto wasn't focused on his words, however. Rather, he was a bit more concerned about the fact that the flesh of Charon's face was melting off, revealing the white skull underneath.
"HOLY SAGE YOUR FACE!"
Charon blinked. "My face? What's wrong with my face?" He drew out a pocket mirror and examined himself.
"It's - "
Naruto cut off when he realized that the elevator wasn't an elevator anymore. There was no flash of light or dramatic transformation; one moment, they were in an elevator, the next, they were standing in a wooden barge. Charon was poling them across a dark, murky river that seemed to absorb light itself; it was pitch black.
"Hmm... my bone structure seems fine," Charon continued, still scrutinizing himself in the mirror. "In fact, I look pretty damn good, if I do say so myself." He turned to Naruto, who had paled substantially. "What's wrong with my face?" he asked again.
"IT'S GONE! THAT'S THE PROBLEM!"
"Well, of course it's gone," Charon replied, sounding as if it was nothing out of the ordinary. "Anyway, we're here."
The shoreline of the Underworld came into view, shimmering with purplish light. Craggy rocks and black volcanic sand stretched inland to the base of a high obsidian wall, which marched off in either direction, disappearing into the darkness.
"I hope your trip was pleasant. Please come again." With that, Charon held out his hand, as if expecting something.
Naruto stared at the skeletal hand blankly.
"A tip, if you will?" Charon asked hopefully.
Wordlessly, Naruto reached into his pouch and drew out several golden drachmas, dropping it into Charon's palm.
Charon practically purred. "Ah, I knew I liked you."
"Naruto! You came!" Nico exclaimed enthusiastically.
"Yo," Naruto greeted cheerfully with a two-fingered salute. "How have you been? The Underworld treating you alright?"
"More than alright," Nico grinned. "I have no idea why the Underworld has such a bad rep."
"Lots of reasons," Naruto muttered under his breath.
"I kinda like it, not gonna lie," Nico continued.
"Oh?" Naruto raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
Nico nodded. "Yup! The food is always cooked by master chefs, my room is larger than a house, and I get to train with a bunch of epic heroes. I mean, sure, the decor is super gloomy, and sometimes the shower malfunctions so liquid fire from the River Phlegethon would blast me in the face first thing in the morning - "
" - but other than that, it's actually awesome."
"Well then. That's good."
"Anyways, I've learned a lot from ancient Greek heroes like Achilles and Theseus. You wanna spar?" Nico practically vibrated with excitement.
"Sure," Naruto agreed with a smile. "Show me what you've got."
"Not bad, not bad," Naruto nodded approvingly. "You've improved drastically from the last time we sparred. I'm impressed."
Nico beamed. "Yes! Let's go! We take those!"
Three months after.
"It's rather concerning," Hestia spoke up out of nowhere.
Naruto glanced over from where he was sitting on the couch. "Hmm?"
"Ever since the winter solstice, the Titans have gone total radio silent," Hestia said, a small frown on her face. "The surveillance automatons Hephaestus created haven't picked up on any movement at all. They're undoubtedly preparing for something big."
Naruto's gaze darkened. "Ah. Right."
Hestia smiled humorlessly. "And you know the worst part? Most of the gods on Olympus still aren't worried about the Titan threat at all."
Naruto blinked. "Wait, seriously?"
Hestia nodded. "To a certain degree, I can understand their viewpoint. After all, we have already defeated the Titans once, so naturally, we would be able to do it again, especially since Olympus has gained a lot of gods since then."
"I guess that's true," Naruto muttered. "If the six Elder Olympians were able to defeat the Titans, then the twelve Olympians should be able to do it with ease, I guess."
"Indeed," Hestia said before shaking her head. "They're wrong though. Father wouldn't act unless he was absolutely certain his plan would succeed. And..."
She looked down at her lap. "I'm scared," she whispered after a long moment of silence. "Scared that my family will be destroyed and - "
Without any hesitation, Naruto reached over and drew Hestia into a comforting hug. She relaxed into the embrace. "Don't worry. It'll be fine," he said with conviction.
Hestia gave a heavy sigh. "If only we could make peace," she murmured. "Then everything would be well."
Naruto laughed lightly. "You truly are the goddess of family," he smiled.
Strangely enough, Hestia looked up at him with a frown. "Do you really think that's the reason why?" she asked quietly. "That I'm this kind and forgiving only because I'm the goddess of family?"
Naruto hesitated, but before he could say anything, Hestia continued.
"My sister, Hera, is also the goddess of family. However, is she as kind or forgiving at me?" Hestia asked. Naruto shook his head. "Exactly. Just being the goddess of family has nothing to do with it."
Hestia was silent for a long moment. Finally, she spoke. "Due to a curse placed on Kronos by Ouranos, the Titan Lord ate all of his children after they were born except for Zeus. It was a horrifying experience, and everyone knows that the Elder Olympians are still touchy about the subject even now, millennia later. "
Naruto stayed silent, not knowing where she was going with this.
"However..." She turned to him. "Nobody quite seems to have realized just how utterly painful it was being the first."
It took Naruto a moment to understand the implications, but once he did, he drew in a sharp breath.
Being eaten alive by your own father was already bad enough. Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon had all gone through that. However, only Hestia had gone through it alone, before the rest of her siblings had been eaten.
Just how much had she suffered? To have been born into the world, fully mature and cognizant because she was a goddess, only then to be swallowed by her own father and remain stuck inside his stomach in complete isolation, not a single soul around.
Day after day. Month after month. Year after year.
Naruto's heart clenched painfully. It must've been pure agony.
"You understand, don't you?" the goddess said softly. "The hell that is loneliness?"
He swallowed heavily. "Yeah," he managed to say.
"Then you must understand why I try to be kind to everyone. After all..." Hestia smiled. "How could I possibly not be kind to others after I've experienced the pain that's completely out of this world?"
Naruto's eyes widened.
Knowing what it feels like to be in pain is exactly why we try to be kind to others.
And at that moment, Naruto realized without a doubt why he felt so close to Hestia.
It wasn't because she made delicious ramen or that she was really nice.
It was because, at her core, she was just like him.
"I'll do it," Naruto declared, determination burning in his silver eyes. "You don't have to worry about our family being destroyed. I'll protect all my family and friends, even if I have to beat the shit out of Kronos himself. I swear it."
Hestia stared at him, her brown eyes slightly wide. Then she smiled. "And you never go back on your word, right?"
Naruto grinned. "Believe it!"
But even as he said that, the image of Neji's broken body flashed across his mind -
He quickly banished those thoughts. He would never let that happen, ever again.
No matter what.
Three months, two weeks after.
"It's time," Apollo announced grimly.
"For what?" Naruto asked curiously.
"For me to make the single worst mistake of my life."
"Stop being so dramatic," Artemis sighed. "It won't be that bad."
"YES IT WILL!"
"Okay, possibly," Artemis admitted. "Naruto, our mother wishes to see you."
Naruto perked up at that. "I get to finally meet my grandma?" he asked eagerly.
"Yes," Artemis nodded. "Let's go."
"He's so cute!"
The moment they materialized inside a little cottage, Naruto wasn't given any warning before he found himself getting the life squeezed out of him.
"Mother, let him breathe," Apollo sighed.
Leto pulled back, scrutinizing Naruto's face closely before squealing in delight. "He has your eyes, Arty! He has your eyes!"
"Yes, Mother," Artemis let out an identical sigh. "And please, at least introduce yourself first before hugging the life out of him."
Leto coughed into her fist. "Oh, right." She smiled at Naruto. "I'm Leto, the Titan of Motherhood and Demurity. It's a pleasure to finally meet you."
"Hello," Naruto introduced himself with a smile. "The name's Naruto. It's nice to meet you too!"
"Oh, you have no idea just how long I've waited for this moment," Leto beamed. "Arty's son, in the flesh!" She laughed joyfully. "It's wonderful."
Naruto looked at Artemis. Arty? he asked silently.
Don't ask, her expression said.
"You know, I had never expected Arty to have a child, so it was a pleasant surprise when Hermes came bursting into my cottage all those months ago telling me that, after all these millennia, she finally had a son," Leto smiled. "I didn't believe it at first - I thought it was just another prank - but it looks like he was telling the truth."
She paused, looking him over again. "You look so much like her," she murmured, her thumb tracing across his face.
Naruto squirmed under her attention but didn't pull away. It was kinda annoying, but at the same time, it was kinda nice. This had never happened to him before, after all.
"Anyway," Leto finally stepped back, smiling, "Did you have dinner yet? I heard that ramen was your favorite meal, so I made some before you came over. Would you like some?"
Naruto brightened. "I'd love some."
"Great!" Leto led him to the kitchen. "Is there anything else I can do for you? Did you want some dessert, or perhaps some trail mix? Arty really liked trail mix when she was younger."
"No, ramen is fine. Thank you though - " Naruto paused before he smirked. "Actually, there is something you could do. Could you please tell me stories about my mother and uncle when they were little? Preferably embarrassing ones. "
Artemis and Apollo both froze.
Leto's smile took on a mischievous tinge. "I'd be happy to tell you. Ah, it was so long ago," she said reminiscently as she ladled out the ramen. "Did you know Apollo had once..."
The twin gods watched the scene unfold in front of them, horror in their eyes.
Apollo had only one thing to say.
"I told you this was going to be a mistake," he muttered. "I told you so."
Once they returned to the mansion, Apollo immediately whirled onto Naruto. "You little shit," he growled.
Naruto merely smirked at Apollo.
"Blackmail material, acquired. Let's see you try to turn me into a magical girl again - "
Apollo and Naruto both froze as Killing Intent began leaking into the air. Slowly, they turned towards Artemis.
The goddess smiled at Naruto serenely. It was a terrifying smile. "I need to have a word with you."
After Naruto finished apologizing for dragging her into things - even though she deserved it, damnit! She had been an accomplice! - he decided to change the subject and ask her something that had been bugging him all night.
Apollo tensed up as he began slowly edging away.
Artemis's eyes flashed. "Naruto," she said dangerously. "Would you like to find out exactly why Apollo has never called me that before?"
Naruto considered it.
Artemis smiled, satisfied. "That's what I thought."
Four months after.
It was bound to happen eventually.
Zeus with his arrogance.
Kurama with his superiority to match.
Naruto with his impulsiveness.
They had been having dinner, with Hestia, Zeus, Artemis, and Athena coming over. Athena came over because she wished to continue interrogating Naruto, and Zeus came over for Hestia's heavenly cooking.
A passing remark from Zeus had been the last straw that triggered everything.
"It's rather insulting how many minor gods believe you're on my level just because you defeated Ares."
Naturally, Kurama took offense to that.
Insulting? How about we show him insulting by smashing a Bijuudama against his face?
And since Naruto had been rather bored that day, he decided to finally take Kurama's advice.
"I mean... I am on your level, though."
Cue the frantic looks from Artemis, Apollo, Hestia, and Athena.
Which led to the situation they were in now. Naruto staring down Zeus with Kurama egging him on in his head.
Zeus raised an eyebrow. "Such arrogance is unbecoming of you, Naruto."
"Well, as you said," Naruto shrugged. "It's not arrogance if it's actually true."
"Oh?" An interested gleam appeared in Zeus's eyes. "Are you perhaps challenging me to a fight then?"
Say yes. Say yes. Say yes. Kurama chanted in his mind.
Naruto smirked. "Perhaps I am."
Let's fucking GO!
Zeus stood up, stray sparks of electricity crackling around him. "You. Me. Outside. Now."
Naruto stood up as well. "Deal - "
"No deal!" Apollo yelped. "No deal!"
Artemis shot him a grateful look.
"My mansion is going to get annihilated if you guys decide to go at it outside!" Apollo continued. "If you two wanna finally have your dick measuring contest, go fight on a deserted island or something!"
"Apollo!" Artemis hissed under her breath.
"Hey, I like having a standing mansion, thank you very much."
"Tomorrow, then," Zeus said, taking out a small pocket calendar and making a small note. "Let's say... one o'clock in the afternoon? I'll take us to a deserted island, like Apollo suggested."
"Sure," Naruto agreed.
Zeus smiled. "Ah, this will be fun. It's been quite some time since I've last crushed a demigod in battle."
"Likewise, it's been several months since I utterly destroyed a god," Naruto returned without missing a beat.
Zeus laughed heartily. "I'll see you tomorrow." With that, he disappeared in a blinding flash of lightning.
There was a moment of silence.
"That went well," Naruto said brightly.
"My child has no sense of self-preservation," Artemis muttered hollowly. "None at all. What did Chiron even teach you at camp? It's completely doomed."
"Cheer up, sis," Apollo grinned. "It's gonna be an awesome show, that's for sure."
"Indeed," Athena nodded, her grey eyes shining in excitement. "This is going to be fascinating to observe."
Hestia only had an indecipherable expression on her face.
Four months, one day after.
"You said what to my father now?!" Thalia exclaimed in shock. "Please tell me you're joking."
"Nope!" Naruto grinned. "I have a fight scheduled later today. It's gonna be so much fun."
"Wow. Just..." Thalia shook her head in disbelief. "I have no words. Chiron would be so disappointed in you." Naruto snickered at that.
"Well done, Naruto," Phoebe said approvingly. "The next step is to actually back up your words and defeat him, preferably in a beatdown that absolutely humiliates him."
Thalia whirled to Phoebe. "Phoebe?"
"What?" Phoebe shrugged. "We all wish to see the King of Olympus get taken down a peg or twenty." She narrowed her eyes. "A god like him deserves nothing less."
There was a muttering of agreement around the Hunters of Artemis, their gazes dark and determined.
"I admit, we don't know much about Zeus's fighting style," Zoe said, her brow furrowed in concentration, "but as long as you manage to avoid his lightning bolts, you should be fine. I doubt he's had much experience in close-quarters combat, so try to get into melee range."
"Remember: there are no such things as cheap shots," Ally's amber eyes were narrowed, her customary smile nowhere to be seen. "Use whatever dirty tactics you can think of. Go for the eyes. Just make sure to cause as much pain as possible."
"Typically, I would disagree on principle," Lily stated. "But in this case, I suppose an exception could be made."
Naruto exchanged a look with Thalia. The Hunters' collective animosity towards the king of the gods was clear.
"Whatever you do, Naruto," Zoe said resolutely, "Just make sure to win."
The island they were on was a pretty stereotypical deserted island. Pristine white sand stretched about a hundred yards inland before meeting a dense forest. The blue skies were partly cloudy and the sun shone down on them. They were surrounded by the clearest turquoise water Naruto had ever seen. Zeus was already waiting for them on the sand.
"This island didn't exist yesterday," Apollo muttered, looking around.
Zeus nodded. "I had Poseidon create it just for this fight."
Naruto blinked at the nonchalant statement. Oh right, gods. They could do that.
"Uncle is here?" Artemis asked.
As if on cue, Poseidon materialized on the beach in a spray of sea mist. The sea god wore a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, and leather sandals, and he was holding a mango smoothie complete with a cocktail umbrella.
"Hey," Poseidon greeted with a smile. "I hope you don't mind if I watch the fight."
"I do mind, in fact," a new voice spoke.
Naruto turned around to see Athena walking up. Her grey eyes were narrowed at Poseidon.
Poseidon shrugged. "Oh well. Sucks to be you, I guess."
Athena opened her mouth to retort, but Zeus raised his hand, interrupting her. "You two can argue later. For now, however, I have to teach a certain demigod the meaning of respect."
Naruto snorted. "You wish, old man."
"Manners, Naruto," Hestia chastised.
"Oh, it's just the pre-fight banter," Apollo grinned. "Don't worry about it."
"So what are the rules?" Naruto asked Zeus. "Fight until knockout, surrender, or ring-out?"
Zeus looked amused. "Gods can't be knocked unconscious, by the way."
Naruto blinked. "Oh. Surrender or ring-out, then?"
"Seems good," Zeus nodded. "Boundaries are this entire island?"
"Sure," Naruto nodded. "No holds barred?"
Zeus smiled. "I'll give you a handicap," he said magnanimously. "If you wish, I'll let you choose one of my powers and I won't use it this entire fight."
Naruto smirked. "No holds barred it is."
Zeus's smile widened. "Very well then. The terms of this fight are fight until surrender or ring-out, no holds barred. Boundaries are this entire island. If you get knocked into the water, you lose. Do you agree?"
"Yup," Naruto nodded. "Then..." he grinned. "Shall we get started?"
The King of Olympus smiled. "The rest of you should leave."
Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, and Hestia teleported away, getting out of range.
For a moment, everything was still as the two regarded each other.
Then, Naruto disappeared in a puff of smoke.
A second later, a loud screeching sound filled the air.
From inside the forest, Naruto finished forming his attack. First, he needed to probe Zeus's defenses.
Zeus spun around to see two spinning shurikens emitting a bright purple-silver light converging on his location. Even as they neared, Zeus simply stood there, his gaze unconcerned.
In the instant before they hit, Zeus entered his divine form.
Naruto immediately slammed his eyes shut. Even after all these months, he hadn't managed to finish the seal yet. In his defense, it was hard.
He still had perfect awareness of everything that was going on though. As such, he saw electricity crackle around Zeus's form before he vanished in a blur of speed just before the Rasenshurikens detonated.
Zeus reappeared in front of Naruto. He stood in perfect yet relaxed posture, his hands clasped behind his back.
"Nice try," he said.
Naruto grinned. "Just a warning shot."
Clones popped into existence and charged Zeus, Rasengans in their hands.
Zeus didn't even deign to give them a second glance.
A massive lightning bolt shot down from the sky, branching out to strike all the clones. They burst into chakra smoke, which was blown away by a gust of wind.
"You know," Zeus said conversationally, striding forward as dark thunderclouds began forming overhead, blocking out the light. "I can't help but feel like you aren't taking me seriously. Clones? Really?"
"In all fairness, they were Six Paths Sage Mode shadow clones with chakra cloaks," Naruto said, looking slightly disturbed. "They're leagues more durable than normal shadow clones. And you dispelled them in a single shot."
That was... slightly concerning. However, it made sense. After all, Zeus's lightning bolts were like Sasuke's S-class Technique, the Kirin. The Kirin was a highly destructive technique that involved Sasuke directing the natural lightning in the clouds. Zeus, however, had absolute control over lightning itself; the lightning bolt he just used was exponentially stronger than the Kirin. And unlike Sasuke, who needed to have perfect conditions to use the Kirin, Zeus could freely summon lightning bolts with just a thought.
A god of the Big Three simply operated on a different scale than most shinobi.
Luckily, Naruto was not most shinobi.
As another lightning bolt slammed down from the suddenly dark sky, Naruto had already finished molding his chakra into the appropriate technique.
Raiton: Odama Rasengan!
In his Six Paths Sage Mode, Naruto gained the ability to fully comprehend chakra, thus essentially giving him complete mastery over all aspects of chakra manipulation. For example, it took him more than a month to finish the Wind Release: Rasenshuriken while using hundreds of shadow clones, whereas it took him less than a second to master the Lava Release: Rasenshuriken after attaining Six Paths Sage Mode. As such, combining the Rasengan with lightning nature was a piece of cake.
And... well, hadn't Kakashi been able to cut through lightning itself with his Raikiri, which was a failed attempt at combining his lightning nature with the Rasengan?
Just imagine what the real deal could do.
Zeus's eyes widened as he witnessed his lightning bolt get split in half.
"Okay, now that's new."
Even before Zeus finished uttering his sentence, Naruto was already moving onto his next attack.
Without any warning, Naruto stomped his foot on the ground before he leaned back, inhaling deeply, and blowing out a literal sea of flames that would've made even Madara impressed. Simultaneously, he waved his left hand, sending out a gigantic gust of wind that amplified the flames tenfold.
The ground around Zeus cracked before earthen spikes shot up, trying to pierce him. At the same time, the scorching sea of flames a hundred meters tall rushed him.
It was the highest level of elemental manipulation, all performed without a single hand seal.
To any shinobi, it would easily be one of the most impressive things they've ever seen.
To Zeus, however, a god who was used to entire seas being vaporized and mountains being destroyed in a single fight?
It was nothing.
Divine energy exploded out from him as he imposed his almighty will on the incoming attacks. The earthen spikes crumbled into dust and the roaring flames were extinguished.
Of course, Naruto didn't expect the attack to work. It was meant to be merely a distraction.
Once the dust cleared, Zeus blinked in shock at what he saw. Hundreds of clones stood on every available surface in the forest: on the branches, standing parallel to the ground on trees, on the ground.
Each with a Rasenshuriken in their hand with different chakra natures.
Zeus glanced around. "Ah," he said sagely. "I call bullshit."
In unison, the clones hurled their Rasenshurikens.
Even as an incomplete Kurama avatar head formed around Naruto to protect him, Zeus didn't make any outward moves. He simply stood there calmly, hand still clasped behind his back as the Rasenshurikens streaked towards him.
Then he gave a heavy sigh.
A two-foot-long Celestial Bronze cylinder materialized in front of him, hovering horizontally in the air. Immense power radiated off of it in waves.
Naruto recognized it on sight.
Zeus's symbol of power.
The master bolt.
Naruto's attention was brought back to Zeus when he cleared his throat, the closest Rasenshuriken only a few inches away.
And then the king of the gods roared.
Thunder boomed overhead as purple lightning streaked out from both ends of the master bolt, crackling and hissing. The hairs on Naruto's arms stood up as the purple lightning arced from Rasenshuriken to Rasenshuriken, overwhelming the dense spheres of chakra with sheer, overwhelming power, causing the Rasenshurikens to explode, their structural integrity lost.
Their surroundings were utterly decimated by the shockwaves, trees and rocks and bushes disintegrating from the effects. Naruto winced and made a mental note to write an apology letter after the fight.
Zeus stood in the middle of the explosions, an invisible barrier protecting him from the blasts.
"You forced me to use my master bolt," Zeus murmured once the last Rasenshuriken was gone and the purple lightning fizzled out. "A mere demigod forced me to use my master bolt..."
He narrowed his eyes. "I admit, I'm just a little miffed about that."
Naruto grinned, the Kurama avatar dissipating. "Yeah, well, you're about to have to use a lot more than that."
Despite his outward confidence, however, Naruto was slightly concerned.
The master bolt was strong as hell. The lightning it just unleashed was one of the most powerful attacks Naruto had ever seen.
Indeed, Naruto could see why it was considered the most destructive weapon in the world.
Naruto then smirked as black spheres appeared behind him, levitating in the air. One of them formed a monk's staff - a shakujo - that Naruto wielded in his left hand.
Correction: the second most destructive weapon in the world.
Zeus's eyes widened as he regarded the Truth-Seeking Orbs. "That's - " he breathed incredulously. "Concentrated spheres of Chaos?!"
Naruto frowned. "Say what now?"
"No," Zeus muttered, calming down. "At first glance, it appears to be the same, but now that I examine it closely, there are definitely differences. However..." He chuckled. "You're certainly full of surprises, son of Artemis."
"Huh," Naruto shrugged. "Thanks, I guess."
With that, he blurred out of existence, the landscape around him warping as he shot towards Zeus.
Naruto was already planning ahead in his mind. After a brief melee exchange, he would disengage and then use a Bijuudama Rasenshuriken with a Truth-Seeking Orb at its core - that is, of course, assuming that Zeus wouldn't be defeated by the close-quarters fight alone, which was a highly likely possibility. After that, he would follow up with a Sun Rasenshuriken -
For the first time since the fight began, Zeus unclasped his hands from behind his back.
Naruto stopped immediately, partly out of caution, partly out of curiosity.
Zeus slowly raised his right hand. It appeared he was going to use his master bolt, then -
Naruto scrunched up his eyebrows in confusion when Zeus continued raising his hand past the still-hovering master bolt until his hand was around eye level.
"Naruto," Zeus called out.
"Yeah?" Naruto replied warily.
"You shouldn't have stopped."
He snapped his fingers, and suddenly, Naruto couldn't move.
"Annddd there we go," Zeus smirked. "I win."
About a kilometer away, Poseidon, Athena, Hestia, Apollo, and Artemis were observing the fight from a boat. The distance was irrelevant; all of them had superhuman senses - and supernatural sight, in some cases. The sheer amount of power and energy that was emanating from the island was god damn terrifying. It was easily comparable to a fight between the Big Three.
Athena's pen blurred as she took down notes, an almost hungry expression in her grey eyes.
Hestia had a slightly worried expression on her face as she watched the fight.
Apollo was grinning wildly. He had headphones on, and epic music was undoubtedly being blasted into his ears at max volume as a soundtrack for the fight.
Artemis wore a blank expression, but she was gripping the railing so tightly her hands were white.
Poseidon was simply sipping from his mango smoothie, every so often raising his eyebrows in interest.
The five gods watched as Zeus snapped his fingers and suddenly, Naruto froze.
"What just happened?" Artemis demanded. "A paralyzing spell?"
Poseidon hummed. "Not quite," he said. "Oh, this is getting interesting."
Artemis paused when Poseidon shot her a glance.
"Please," she amended. "Apologies for my rudeness."
"It's quite alright," Poseidon said amicably. "Let me ask you something. When you think of me fighting, what images are conjured up in your mind?"
Artemis blinked. "What?"
"Or let me put it to you this way. What powers do you see me using in a fight?"
Artemis tilted her head. "Hurricanes and tsunamis, I suppose."
Poseidon smiled. "Because I'm the god of the sea, correct?"
"Yes," Artemis nodded slowly.
"So you don't think of me using my trident at all?"
Artemis paused. "Well, if you were in close-quarters combat, then sure..."
"Then tell me. Why is it that, whenever everyone thinks of Zeus fighting, the master bolt is the first thing that comes to mind? Shouldn't it be something else?"
Artemis frowned in confusion before her eyes widened. "Wait, you don't mean - "
Poseidon's eyes twinkled. "Now you get it."
"It's been millennia since anyone's pushed me this far," Zeus admitted, stepping forwards. "I haven't had to use this power in thousands of years - I doubt even Athena, Apollo, and Artemis knows what this is."
Naruto struggled, trying to move, but it was futile. "What the Sage did you do?" he demanded.
Zeus hummed. "Haven't you ever thought it was strange?" he asked.
"What?" Naruto scowled. "What are you talking about?"
"Everyone - and I mean everyone - thinks that my strongest power is the lightning bolt," Zeus continued, ignoring him. "From movies to books to even my myths. And to a certain extent, I get it. Lightning bolts are awesome, and my symbol of power is the master bolt. However..."
The King of Olympus chuckled. "While I am the god of lightning, I have a domain that I feel is slightly more impressive. For you see..."
"I am the god of the sky."
Naruto's eyes widened in realization.
"And tell me, Naruto. What is abundant in the sky?" Zeus asked, stopping right in front of him.
The thing that was preventing Naruto from moving... Zeus's strongest power... It was -
Hundreds of millions of tons of concentrated air were pushing on Naruto from all sides, holding him in place. The only reason why he wasn't crushed was because of the durability of his chakra cloak.
"My master bolt may be one of the strongest weapons in the world, but in the end, it's just a weapon. Compared to the infinite vastness of my principal domain itself..." Zeus smiled. "There really is no contest, is there. On a related note, I really hope you know how to swim."
And with that, Naruto was blasted by a cannon of pressurized air. He shot back, tumbling head over heels. He tried to stabilize himself and fly, but it was useless; the air pressure was too strong. The force pierced through his chakra cloak and he coughed out blood.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Naruto impacted the ocean, skipping across the surface like a stone before rolling to a stop, his chakra keeping him aloft.
Fortunately, Naruto was half-god, half-Bijuu, and so his injuries healed in just a few seconds. He shakily climbed to his feet, trying to piece together what had just happened.
He had just been struck by a cannon of pressurized air. It was similar to Gai's Evening Elephant - the attack that had temporarily immobilized Madara in his Juubi Jinchuuriki form. Only, while Gai had to open the Eight Gates themselves in order to gain the strength to punch the air cannons into existence, Zeus appeared to be able to unleash an air cannon even stronger than the Evening Elephant with a single thought.
It really was unfair.
Well, there goes our win streak in this world, I guess, Kurama said hollowly.
What? I didn't lose the fight yet -
That was right. This fight was determined by ring-out. Naruto was currently standing on the ocean, outside of the boundaries.
He had lost.
"Are you alright?" Hestia immediately asked in concern as Naruto stepped back onto the beach. The six gods were already there, waiting for him. Zeus had exited his divine form, and Naruto had also exited Kurama Mode and Six Paths Sage Mode.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Naruto said.
"That was a good fight," Zeus said, smiling. "I haven't been pushed this hard in millennia. You did exceptionally well."
Naruto grinned at Zeus. "Right back at you. I confess, I did not expect this to happen. Good fight, Gramps."
Don't get him wrong - he was frustrated as hell. He could've won. He could've won, damn it! Naruto hadn't used his Truth-Seeking Orbs to their full effect yet, not to mention his newly acquired Sun Rasenshuriken. Hell, there hadn't been a single Bijuudama in their fight.
Naruto had just been getting warmed up - and then the fight was over due to a ring-out. Who the Hades agreed to that stupid condition? Oh right, he did.
It was kinda tilting. Kurama was still screaming incoherently in his mind.
However... Naruto had been defeated because Zeus had taken him by surprise. As someone who prided himself on his unpredictability, he respected that.
Then the son of Artemis narrowed his silver eyes, his gaze determined and resolute. "Of course, you may have won this fight, but in our rematch, I'll definitely defeat you," he vowed. "Just you wait."
Zeus chuckled. "I highly doubt that. But in any case... I look forward to it - "
All of them paused as Hermes materialized in front of them.
"Hermes?" Zeus said in confusion. "What are you doing here-?"
"Father," Hermes had a panicked look in his eyes. "It's gone. Holy Hades, it's actually gone." He turned to Apollo. "Dude, please tell me this was some prank I wasn't included in on because if it wasn't then we're actually so fu - "
"Calm down," Zeus commanded. "What's gone?"
Hermes turned back to Zeus, his eyes wide and fearful.
"Camp Half-Blood," he answered. "The camp... it's gone."
They all tensed up.
"Is this a prank?" Zeus asked dangerously. "Because if it is - "
"JUST CHECK FOR YOURSELF!"
Zeus narrowed his eyes at the messenger god's tone but nodded, using his supernatural sight to check.
A moment later, he paled drastically.
"Hey, Father, if I'm not mistaken..." Apollo said, his voice shaky. "There's an empty field where Camp Half-Blood should be."
"Call an emergency council meeting," Zeus thundered. "Now."
Chaos. The throne room was in absolute chaos as the gods screamed accusations at each other.
Naruto was sitting on the ground next to Artemis's throne - he had tagged along. Nobody objected to his presence. Probably because they were too busy freaking out.
"Enough!" Zeus finally shouted, thunder booming overhead. The gods all quieted down.
"The situation is this," Zeus said, steepling his fingers. "Approximately fourteen minutes ago, Camp Half-Blood disappeared off the face of the earth. There are no traces left behind. None of us knows where it is. Even worse, we're unable to contact Chiron, Dionysus, or any of the demigods."
Everyone glanced at the empty grapevine throne.
"It appears the Titans have finally made their move after months of being silent," Athena spoke up grimly, her grey eyes narrowed. "Summer break started a week ago, so the vast majority of demigods were already at Camp Half-Blood. In one single move, they accomplished one of their biggest objectives: the destruction of the demigods."
"Camp Half-Blood cannot possibly have been destroyed," Ares growled. "Its magical borders would've protected it - besides, I would've sensed such an event."
"Perhaps it was moved?" Apollo asked.
"That's the most likely conclusion, yes," Athena nodded.
"Then we just need to figure out where it was moved to," Hermes declared before turning to Hephaestus. "Any luck with your surveillance automatons?"
Hephaestus shook his head. This entire meeting, he had been typing on a laptop, his fingers blurring across the mechanical keyboard. "I'm not picking up anything."
Hermes let out a sound of frustration before whirling to Apollo. "C'mon, bro. Prophecy powers. I believe."
Apollo also shook his head, his eyes downcast. "I'm not seeing anything. A strong, ancient magic is clouding my vision. I can keep trying, but for now, I've got nothing."
"Damn it," Hermes cursed.
"We're going about this in the wrong way," Athena suddenly said. "Instead of trying to figure out where Camp Half-Blood was moved to, we need to figure out how it was even moved in the first place."
There was a moment of silence as they considered it.
Zeus growled. "Hecate."
"Precisely," Athena nodded. "We already know that Hecate is working with the Titans. Every time we shift from country to country, Camp Half-Blood also automatically shifts due to the Mist. I presume that Hecate somehow hijacked that function as the goddess of the Mist, allowing her to freely move the camp around to wherever she pleases."
"However..." Poseidon frowned, deep in thought. "Hecate shouldn't be powerful enough to do that on her own. The camp has numerous magical protections and charms. She must've exploited some internal weakness in the camp's defenses. But what could it have been..."
Naruto's eyes widened. "I think I know."
Instantly, every god's attention turned to him.
"Of course," Athena muttered, having realized as well. "I'm so blind - I should've expected this to happen. There's only one thing that could've acted as an internal conduit to facilitate the process, and we've all been aware of it for months."
"What?" Zeus demanded.
Naruto's expression was grave.
New Arc Begins:
Battle of the Labyrinth
And with that, the canon plot is completely destroyed.
Okay, okay, I know. Naruto shouldn't have his Bloodline Limits either. But I already broke Naruto canon by letting him keep Six Paths Sage Mode and his Truth-Seeking Orbs, so I figured might as well get the whole trifecta in here and let him keep his Bloodline Limits as well. I did give an explanation this chapter, so there.
You know, it literally just occurred to me the other day just how bad it would've been for Hestia when she was swallowed by Kronos. See, when Demeter was swallowed, at least Hestia was already there to keep her company. But nobody was there for Hestia. She was all alone inside Kronos's stomach... damn.
This is a PJO AU. This is my interpretation of Zeus's powers.
Thank you all for reading, and please review :)