Disclaimer: My creative reservoirs are tapped for disclaimers this week. I don't own Naruto or World of Warcraft. That's it. There's no more. Nothing funny. Sorry. Mostly. I CAN'T DO IT! I NEED FUNNY DISCLAIMERS! THEY ARE A PART OF THIS STORY AS MUCH AS I! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Here's the next installment of The Legend of Uzumaki Naruto!
Tsuwabuki was in pain.
It was agonizing beyond words or sounds. She couldn't whine or growl through it, or even whimper. It seized every inch of her body with a gnarled, flaming claw, making it impossible to move from her crumpled spot on the floor. He teeth were clenched so hard that it seemed a miracle they didn't shatter. Her eyes flitted halfway between open and closed, and her back was arched so far that any more and it would have formed a right angle. Her tail was curled up so that it seemed to meld with the fur on her back. She shook, every waking second, with unrelenting, unbelievable pain.
Her mind was a haze. She knew where the pain was coming from, yet she could do nothing to stop it. Her body was being filled, gradually, with not only Naruto's aches and pains, but overflow from the Kyuubi's chakra. Her body, despite being bonded to Naruto, was not like his. It did not tolerate the creature's chakra, and her own was desperately trying to force it back, or through any available orifice in her own body. The chakra was gradually, however, eating away at her. Poisoning her. It it didn't stop soon, if she didn't find someway to close off the bond, then she knew she would die.
She also knew that Naruto would die.
She could feel his pain. She could feel the horror he did at what was going to happen if he didn't regain control. The Kyuubi was going to get stronger and stronger until it completely erased Naruto's existence. All the while, it was going to destroy. She could feel those urges too. She felt the hot, ancient, unfocused rage of the Kyuubi pouring through the bond. It was quite unconnected from her own emotions, so it did not interfere. But it was there; a sickening reminder of the source of her pain.
She could feel its delight as well. It was enjoying what it was doing. A lot.
Several times she struggled to get to her feet. In the back of her mind, Kira's parting words continued to return to her.
'We'll be back! We'll save Naruto!'
But she didn't want them to save him. Her was her partner, her spirit bondmate. He had already done a lot more than was necessary, for her and everyone else, and now it was her turn to fight for him. She refused to just lie there. She had chosen Naruto as her spirit counterpart for a plethora of reasons. But one stood out amongst the others, a shining beacon that all who knew Naruto saw as his greatest trait.
His ability to continue to fight, no matter what the circumstances. She had teased him for a variety of reasons. About his hair, his looks, his thoughtless words and bad grammar; but never his determination. That was something that she respected in him. Even now, he was fighting. She could feel that. Though he was in such extreme pain, he was still fighting for freedom.
Now she had to as well. She was his spirit counterpart. That meant that their spirits, despite their different personalities, were alike and that meant that she had the same determination burning within her. She needed that determination, now, to get up and help. Naruto was never one to just sit out and watch. And so Tsuwabuki was never one either.
Slowly and painfully, she got up on shaking, weak legs. And yet, her physical body remained where it was. The pain continued, but did not worsen as she moved. She stopped thinking of everything at that point. She just thought of her goal. And she began to walk.
With each step, she got faster. The pain did not leave, but she suddenly no longer cared. Her goal was on her mind. Not her pain. Not anything. She knew that was what gave Naruto his ability to stand up, even in the worst of situations. His goal. His dream.
And his precious people.
Tsuwabuki would wait for her chance. Her journey had only just begun, but her destination was already so close. She would wait. Her body lay where it was, still arched in pain, but her mind was free to wander the only path it could see.
It would walk to the end and wait. Wait for the only chance she had to save her spirit bond mate.
The Kyuubi roared, and Fandral cursed.
His body was nearly devoid of function. His arms were heavier than oak trees and his vision swam and darkened more and more with each passing second. His chest and head burned with pain beyond anything he had ever felt, and his blood was making a continuous exodus from his body. He had so many gashes, burns and broken bones that somewhere in his mind he found it amazing that he still stood, and was still able to think about it. He had exhausted all of his chakra, and nearly all of his subordinates and allies were dead or in the same state as he.
The demon was intact. It appeared no more damaged than when he had first laid eyes on it. It looked even more ferocious however, and was steadily growing stronger with each passing second. He had thought it powerful with four tails, but with five it seemed invincible.
And what was worse was that he couldn't end it. His body felt no compulsion to fall to the ground, no need to give up. Even with the wounds he had sustained, both in body and pride, he remained standing, and would do so until his soul left his body. But even then, he would rise up and attack as a wisp, ending his very existence to destroy this beast. He was just going to keep fighting, no matter what he thought.
It was a little sad, in retrospect. His body, even when he knew he couldn't win, simply didn't know how to give up. The Kyuubi was unrelenting and remorseless. This tenacity was not impressing it in the slightest, nor was it angering it. The creature was enjoying every moment, simply because it was fighting.
So why did he still stand?
He snorted. Because it was what Malfurion would have done.
And he was just as good as Malfurion.
He looked around. His comrades were spent. Some lay unmoving save for the slight heaving of their chests. Others lay against tree trunks, covered in blood and burns, watching their leader with eyes full of regret or sorrow, or even defiance. These would occasionally struggle to move, hoping to return to the battle, hoping to gain one final burst of stamina to die with honor. But the pain would be too great, and they would fall back into half-consciousness.
But many more were simply dead. Their bodies blown to smithereens by one of the demon's sudden bursts of chakra, or torn in two by one of its constantly changing claws or tails. Some were twisted in unnatural angles, their spines or necks broken by the demon's powerful strikes or from an impact against a tree. They had died for their people. Fandral hoped that they could rest now. They deserved that much.
Fandral pulled himself up, standing straight. He reached into a pouch attached to his belt, pulling out a handful of small seeds. They were not particularly impressive looking things. They were small and black and shriveled, but hard and dry. They weighed a surprising amount for things only two or three times the size of an ant.
He looked at the beast again. It had stopped its attack, but not because it was waiting to see what he did next. It seemed distracted. It would constantly tilt its head, staring past him into the forest. It was expecting something to come, and though his mind was hazy with pain, he had to guess that it was Tyrande and her group. He looked at the seeds again, contemplating whether he should wait for the others, or use them now. He merely had to ingest the seeds for them to take root and start to grow. He would die. But hopefully, he'd take the demon with him.
For the plant that these seeds grew into was a plant that grew only in the most desolate of places. Where nourishment was scarce and therefore it had to evolve ways of getting such nourishment from things other than sun and water. Because of the large number of animals and humanoids that inhabited that place, it had evolved a way of draining and converting chakra into energy for itself. It fed on chakra.
He hoped that if it took root in his body before it touched the Kyuubi's, it'd be able to withstand the demon's corrosive chakra and convert it. He didn't want to waste them. But, even so, he didn't want to die if he could help it. He did not fear it, but there were always other ways. Self-sacrifice was always a last resort.
The demon switched its attention abruptly back to him. It gave a shrieking roar, and suddenly lunged towards him, its claws outstretched. Fandral lifted the seeds and was just about to ingest them when a tremendous crash sounded behind him. A heartbeat later a shadow covered him, and in another, a massive tree crashed down with stone-shattering force onto the Kyuubi, stopping it mere feet from Fandral.
Looming over him was a massive Ancient of War, clutching a gigantic tree trunk that had been fashioned into a crude club. It had huge, curved tusks near its mouth, a button-shaped knot for a nose, and small shrunken eyes that appeared to be carved from its tree-like body. It wore crude armor, consisting of shoulder pads and had bushy green patches of leaves on the top of its head.
'HAIL, ARCH-DRUID,' it said, in Darnassian; the wispy, ethereal language of the night elves.
Fandral didn't respond, save for a scowl. There was a sudden splintering of wood, as the Kyuubi broke through the wooden club with a burst of chakra, howling in fury. The Ancient roared, and with a mighty swing of its thick, root-like legs, it kicked the Kyuubi across the clearing. Or tried to.
For the Kyuubi, as the wall of wood struck it, dug its claws deep into the Ancient, and hung on. Its chakra began to burn away the walking tree's leg, blackening it until it began to dissolve into ashes. The Ancient howled in pain, stumbling back. The Kyuubi hung on the whole way.
But more Ancients stomped out of the woods, and descended on the attacking demon with terrifying force. The Kyuubi roared, its tails lashing out and transforming into massive spears. They fended off the large clubs and allowed the demon time to leap from its position, and land smoothly away from the crowd of Ancients. It roared again.
He watched as the Ancients began to pursue the demon, leaving their comrade to deal with its wound by itself. But he did not watch them. They were merely distractions to the beast. He saw in relief, however, what he had been hoping for. Night elves: Sentinels, hunters, warriors and those from nearly every trade imaginable that dealt with fighting were spilling from the forest in great droves. They were led by Shandris Feathermoon. He did not see Tyrande, or her Sisters or even the human girls.
Shandris came for him at once. "You're alive," she said, with evident disbelief.
"Yes," he said shortly, tucking the seeds away. He didn't feel any relief in doing so. He almost regretted it.
Shandris looked past him, and back at the Kyuubi. It was still in battle with the Ancients, which were losing quite spectacularly. They were conjuring vines and regenerating themselves, but the demon evaded nearly all of their attacks, and the ones that struck did not appear to injure it.
"Where is she?" He did not have to say who.
"Preparing the seal. We must hold if off until then. We have to keep it from getting any stronger, as well," Shandris responded.
Fandral snorted. Stop it from getting stronger? How? And he did not know what seal she was talking about, but neither did he care. If Tyrande was planning to use it, then he had no choice but to trust her at this point. It was something he was not very good at, but he could not move his body much anymore, and so was in no position to argue.
Shandris held a hand out, summoning healing chakra. She began to heal his wounds, but he pushed her hand away, scowling at her.
"Do what you came to do. That does not include healing me, does it?"
Shandris stared at him a moment, almost ready to contest, before a sudden change in the air stopped them. The hot and stifling air suddenly vanished. It was sucked away, drawn in towards the Kyuubi, which was in the midst of doing something most odd. Its tails were all pointed towards its head, which was looking up. Its body was shivering, releasing small bubbles of red and black chakra, which began to converge into a steadily growing sphere in mid-air. The Ancients moved to stop it, but the demon danced away from their clubs and feet, still gathering the chakra into a compact ball in front of it.
'What is that,' wondered Shandris, the beginnings of her argument with Fandral disappearing. The creature was focusing an enormous amount of its power into a ball of super-dense chakra. She had no idea what it intended to do with it, or even how it was to use it. But she felt a feeling of terrible foreboding.
The Ancients seemed to share her feelings. They began to back away. They then bellowed to each other in Darnassian, and quickly the ones that were able formed a circle around the demon. As it continued to focus, apparently unaware of its attackers new formation, the Ancients let out booming roars that echoed across the entire island.
They then began to stomp the ground, and continued to roar. Great, black vines began to shoot up from the earth, suddenly enveloping the demon. It ignored its plight, and just as the vines began to cover its body and head, it finished its focusing and at once devoured the ball of chakra whole.
The vines suddenly bulged, and without warning the Kyuubi fell through them. It struck the ground with a thunderous crash and sunk deep into the earth, touching the wood beneath. Nearly everyone staggered from that impact.
Shandris gasped at the results. The Kyuubi had swelled up like a balloon, so that its body was almost perfectly spherical. Its mouth was closed, and its cheeks puffed up like those of a chipmunk with a whole season's worth of nuts in its mouth. Even its eyes, white and wide, seemed to bulge out like a fly's. But the bad feeling Shandris had gotten before returned and increased tenfold. The Ancients were on the move again. They piled straight up in front of the beast, as if knowing that what came next would not be enough for just one to handle. They were right.
The immensely dense chakra exploded from the Kyuubi's mouth, firing faster than a bullet and far deadlier than a cannonball. The demon was rocketed downwards by the attack, shattering the wooden ground, and flinging deadly splinters into the air . The chakra missile zipped forwards, tearing straight through every one of the Ancients, utterly obliterating them. Their bodies were vaporized in a flash of intense, bright light, a terrifying boom, and a surge of wind that knocked the night elves off their feet. They had no time to cry out. They were simply gone.
The chakra ball continued past them at an upwards angle, spiraling through the air and vanishing into the sky. More of the purple foliage that covered the island was forced away. Elune was a mere sliver of light, nearly consumed by familiar darkness. As if sorrowful that she had leave at such a time.
Shandris stared in horror at the destruction wrought by the demon's attack. The Kyuubi leapt from the crater it had created, letting out a scream of delight, its gaping maw wide. It immediately attacked again, rushing straight at a group of Sentinels.
Shandris shot towards it. She drew up her Sentinel's blade, imbuing it with her chakra and hurtling it at the demon. Her hands flew together in a seal, and the spinning weapon suddenly split into two dozen. They converged on the Kyuubi, striking it solidly on its body and head, slicing in a little, but never sticking.
The Kyuubi howled, turning to meet her, only to have a group of Sentinels suddenly loose arrows at it. The arrows, also charged with chakra, pierced deeper into the beast's "flesh" and caused it to turn in their direction.
Another hail of arrows arrived from another direction, these sent by the hunters and warriors, the men who could not be Sentinels, but had no taste for the druidic. Even so, they were just as strong as the Sentinel's arrow attacks. Some were engulfed in flaming chakra, which exploded on impact with the beast; others fired multiple piercing arrows from one; still others fired single arrows enhanced by chakra, which buried themselves up to the feathers in the Kyuubi's chakra-flesh. But more soon attacked as well.
The apothecaries that Kira had been working with her entire stay came forwards, hurtling vials of varying colors of liquid. Their effects ranged from exploding in great clouds of multicolored fire to flash-freezing everything around it.
Rogues, wielding weapons tainted with chakra suppressing poisons, attacked the beast with quick, accurate strikes, leaping in and out before the beast could attack them. They struck as snakes and scorpions, causing little damage but chipping away at its strength. They had no idea if their poisons would affect it. But many didn't care.
Neera attacked with everything she had. Though she was young, a greenhorn to some of the Sentinels in the attack, she was infused with the same spirit they were. It became clear why Tyrande and Shandris held her in such high regard. Her attacks were relentless and perfectly executed. But she differed from the others in that she was doing it for a far different reason.
Though Naruto had made an impression on everyone, and had made many friends, Neera thought that their relationship was much better than the others. Neera had known Naruto since he had arrived, and had trained with him more often than any other. She knew a lot about him as a person, just as he knew a lot about her.
And truth be told, Naruto was her best friend. She had had little time for making true friends in her Sentinel training, because there had been so few others around her age. She had made allies, and had had a few classmates, but she had had never gotten as close to them as she had Naruto. Naruto was not only closest to her age, but he was interesting, powerful, and despite his looks, had a lot of wisdom. Though they traded insults on a daily basis, she had never felt such an incredible feeling of camaraderie. Naruto was her precious person; probably her dearest friend.
She could not let that go. She was going to fight this demon until she could see Naruto again. She wouldn't die.
They all attacked at once. The Kyuubi was beset with so many, from all sides, that it found it extremely difficult to attack. Few of the attacks caused any harm to the demon, but with so many occurring at once, it felt the pain nonetheless.
"Keep at it!" shrieked Shandris, a steady hope rising within her. If they could keep it up, they would do it. Tyrande and her Priestesses would emerge any second to take over, sealing the demon away again. She knew it. They would do this. They would save Naruto!
Again and again, the night elves attacked. The Kyuubi howled in rage and fury with the ferocity and suddenness of each blow that it felt. It slashed with its claws, extending them outwards beyond their normal length and manipulating them into many grasping arms. Its tails lashed out, becoming like swords one moment, like spears the next. Even its head and mouth snapped at and bit anyone that came close. But even with all that, they continued to attack. They would never give up.
But neither would it.
Snarling in rage, it suddenly twisted its tails together, making them converge into a single one. The tail then seemed to harden, becoming rock-like, as if it had been shaped by an inexperienced sculptor from low-quality stone. Then, the Kyuubi smashed the tail into the ground.
The earth exploded.
Elves were flung backwards, soaring away from the beast courtesy of an immense shock-wave generated by the Kyuubi's tail. The earth: stone, dirt and everything between the wood of the tree beneath and the air above was dashed to tiny pieces and thrown skywards. The result was a massive tidal wave of earth, rushing away from where the Kyuubi stood. The night elves ran as fast as they could to avoid it, some even leaping over the wave. Others were consumed and crushed, not having the training in order to avoid it. The wave covered the entirety of the massive clearing of trees, and even expanded it by uprooting more trees and earth.
The air was thick with dust and even after the shock-wave died away, debris continued to return to the earth. The surviving elves were now scattered about the battlefield. There had been few casualties, something that Shandris was grateful for, but the attack had ended the fight in other ways for quite a few. She did not know what had happened to Fandral or his surviving druids. Those that had survived did not move from their new positions. They had been shaken by the power of the previous attack.
The Kyuubi roared in glee at the destruction of its attack. Its tails remained converged, but the hardened quality was quickly replaced with a fluid, bubbling texture, like a liquid. It then curled its tail around itself, shrouding it entirely save for its pure white eyes. Shandris did not need to know what the beast was going to do next to know that it would be incredibly destructive.
Shouting orders to her Sentinels, she rushed through a long string of hand seals, guiding the river of her chakra into her arms and hands. Others began to follow suit.
"Great Prison of Heaven!" she and her Sentinels bellowed. Shandris raised her arms out to both sides, sending long tendrils of pearl-colored chakra out. They connected with other tendrils, sent out by her Sentinels. Soon there was a vast ring of glowing lines surrounding the beast. Then, as one, the Sentinels formed a single seal in front of their chests. The lines glowed brighter, and suddenly grew up high into the air and became thick and opaque. The newly created walls then curved forwards high in the air, joining into a dome straight above the Kyuubi, just as it released its attack.
A tidal wave of water exploded from the Kyuubi's whipping tail, rushing forth with enough force to uproot trees and crush the life out of anyone who fell in its path. It came from almost nowhere, fashioned purely from the demon's chakra and what remained of the water molecules in the air.
The tsunami struck the walls of the barrier, but did not break past it. Soon the entire dome prison had become a vast lake. The Kyuubi stood in the center, steam rising from where it stood atop the water.
Shandris bellowed to the Sentinels on her left to release the technique, and they did so, allowing the water, now placid, to gush out onto the wooden ground. The others began breaking the shield as well, until the lake became merely a thin layer of water, reaching just past their ankles. Those that could stood atop the water.
The Kyuubi's tails parted, becoming five again. It howled, and began its attack anew.
Shandris and her Sentinels rushed forward to meet it, crying out the name of their goddess.
But inside, they prayed. They prayed with all their might that Tyrande would come soon, and deliver them from this monstrosity.
The sounds of battle were not so distant in the forest where Kira, Kylia and Tyrande, along with her Priestesses, stood. The latter two, however, could not afford to be distracted. They were in the midst of an extremely complicated sealing procedure, one that Kira knew she was the first human to ever see.
The Priestesses had stripped down to all but their undergarments (which, despite the situation, Kira found time to be the slightest bit jealous of their bodies). For the entirety of their time in the forest, while the others had rushed off to fight the Kyuubi, they had been painting strange designs over all of their bodies. They were incredibly detailed, and painstakingly made, for Tyrande had said that even one mistake might ruin the entire sealing process. They were completely silent.
Kira and Kylia watched the entire process. They could do nothing to help. Not yet. Their duties would come when the sealing began.
Tyrande had said that theirs was quite possibly the most important job of all. Without them, it was doubtless that the sealing could not be achieved. She had told them, very briefly, just before she and her Sisters had begun their preparations.
'You possess that which we have little experience in. You possess training in the arts of the mind. The Priestesses of Elune deal with battle and healing, but not with arts of the mind. We cannot feel the emotions of others or see into their thoughts like you. We cannot attack their mind as you can. When we begin the sealing process, the Kyuubi will not wait for us. It is during that time that you must use all of your mental arts, all of your power, to hold it still by attacking it from within. I have every confidence that you will be able to complete this task. Young Kylia, you must do what you have done from the beginning-- you must protect her body, with your life, while she is unable to. Both of you are crucial to this sealing. Naruto's fate lies just as much in your hands as it does in mine."
The task was more than daunting for Kira. Though Benedictus had always praised her for her skill in the mental arts, it was terrifying to think that she would be facing such an awful monster. For many moments after her task had been given, Kira had felt fear. But it didn't seem to be the fear she had felt in facing Shanker. That had been fear for her own life. This fear, she realized, was not for herself, but Naruto.
She was afraid that she wouldn't be able to stop the Kyuubi. That because of her, the sealing would fail and Naruto would die.
But soon, she beat that fear back. For she knew that if she feared so much that she couldn't do it, than she probably wouldn't. Did Naruto doubt himself? Naruto had faced opponents far greater than he since he had arrived in this world. But every time he had come through, due to indomitable dogmatism. He had believed he could win with everything he had. It had always given him the strength to do so.
Now, she faced an something far greater and more terrible than ever before. Even so, she couldn't let herself fall prey to doubt. She had to be strong. So as she sat there, Kylia by her side, she repeated the words to herself.
'I have to be strong.'
Kylia's presence was a godsend. The girl spoke nothing, but Kira was glad that she was there. She always had been, and for that, Kira would always be grateful. Now, together, they had to face one of the greatest evils they had ever seen. Kira, repeating her mantra, would face the demon who had ensnared her friend and ally; while Kylia, her ever-present protector, would be by her side.
She smiled softly to herself. A lot had changed since Naruto had arrived. Not just in the world, but in herself. She was more confident. She saw the world in a new way, unblocked by filters of sugar and kindness. She was stronger. But most of all, she was closer to seeing her dream realized. And that was because of Naruto.
She had, from the very beginning admired him. Someone who was willing to risk his life for a person that he had only just met, for a world that was as foreign and unknown as the future, had made her grateful beyond words. Now that she thought about it, it had been rather naive and stupid to entrust such a dangerous mission to a boy from another world. But at the time, she had had little doubts. Something had just struck her when he had arrived, carrying her mother's necklace.
This boy, she had known, would be the one to help her. So, even before she had gotten to know him, and had barely knew his name, she had asked him.
Looking back, she smiled. She had changed a lot from the desperate, naive girl that had requested the aid of a goofy, otherworldly, and unknown boy. But even so, she knew she had chosen correctly.
Naruto had become her friend. He had saved her and her dream countless times since he had arrived, and now she would repay that debt. Naruto's life, but even more, his dream, was at stake. She would save both, with the help of the others who had been touched by Naruto's amazing presence.
So when Tyrande finally stood, covered in seals, and said, "We are ready;" so was Kira. She stood, her mind focused, her face set, Kylia her shadow. As one, the elves moved towards the sound of battle.
And Kira and Kylia strode right along with them.
Tyrande was ready.
The entire time she had been inking the seals on her body, she had kept her face composed. She had stayed silent. But within was an indescribable mess of emotions. Among them: fear, despair, anxiousness, anger, depression and worry. But there was, as Pandora had discovered within her box, hope. This seal was their last hope. If it worked like she had hoped it would, then Naruto would live.
But she didn't know if it would work.
She could be very well spelling their own doom. The seals could conflict and react in different ways, and simply destroy both Naruto and the Kyuubi. It could simply not be enough; the Kyuubi could break free completely anyways.
But even with those chances, she would do it. It was a necessity. But it was also something more.
She cared for Naruto. She knew that much. The boy ignited a feeling in her that she had never felt before. It was not romantic in the slightest. It was a feeling of need that she had gotten ever since she had talked with him, that night after the Council.
A need to protect him. A need to teach him and instruct him and listen and watch him. She did not know exactly what the feeling was. But she needed the boy to be alive; so that when she did, she would know exactly how to react.
So she walked. Perhaps to her demise. Perhaps to victory. One was as likely as the other.
But she had hope.
Kylia watched her mistress.
She had changed a lot. Kylia had almost always been by her side. Even before this grand adventure, and Naruto's appearance, Kylia had watched her mistress in almost everything she did. She had watched her train with Benedictus; watched her study history and reading and the sciences and maths; watched her at play, sneaking constantly into places that she should not have been, and making Kylia herself an unwitting accomplice to her mischief; and watched her grow up, from a young girl into a young woman.
And though she hated to admit it, most of that growing up; the greatest changes she had seen in her mistress, was because of that boy, Uzumaki Naruto.
At first, she honestly admitted that Naruto had bothered her. The boy had been loud and brash, uncouth and (in her opinion) slightly perverted. The boy had ignited her suspicions on a number of occasions, though none of them had ever really turned out to be true.
But over time, Kylia saw a little of what Kira must have seen in the blonde. She saw his courage, his strength, and even a bit of his wisdom. The boy knew, despite his looks, quite a bit about the world. He could see things deep within people that others could not, and by seeing that, he could know exactly who he was dealing with. While he too possessed a fair bit of naivety, it was not in his view of the world. He saw things both for how they were.
Because of the horrors of her own past, of her life with her parents in the slums of Stormwind, she too had learned to view the world for what it really was. At first, she had believed him to possess the same type of filter as her mistress had. But after awhile, she saw that he may have been more like her. His past had been even worse, and he so might look at the world as she did: as it really was.
But she know realized that he didn't see things like she did. He looked beyond what she saw.
He saw the potential in things. He saw the world as it was, but chose to look even further, to what they could be. And he actively sought to change that. Even when it seemed impossible to everyone else, Naruto saw what could truly happen if they succeeded, and went for it. He worked harder than everyone, and made what he saw a reality.
It had become clear to her that her mistress needed Naruto. The boy could teach her this valuable skill, and was already doing so. Kira had seen the best in everything and everyone; she had been an idealist. But she had never experienced the world for what it truly was. In her travels and talks with Naruto, that had changed, and Kylia knew that her mistress was now gaining an understanding of the world. Her words to Maya had proved that.
Kira was growing up. And Naruto was the cause of it.
She knew that this monster that they would face that held Naruto captive might kill them. It was already so powerful, and nearly unstoppable. But she was in Naruto's debt. Not only had the blonde saved Kira countless times, but he had taught her how to truly look at the world, through his actions and words.
So she would go alongside her mistress, speaking nothing, simply ready to fight.
She would not question Kira's actions, because she wanted to save Naruto just as much as Kira.
Fandral lay at the edge of the battlefield, through back by the Kyuubi's earthquake. He could not move anymore. He couldn't feel anything in his legs. The rest of his body seemed to be on fire, the pain was so great. But he didn't scream or cry out, or moan or whimper. There was no one around to care, and even if there was, he had an image to keep.
He was still strong. He would stay awake until this ended, either in death or life. He watched the battle, feeling nothing, cloaked in the shadow of the forest. He did not wonder or think. He just watched. His time in battle was over.
He felt a presence behind him, suddenly. Then many more. Then he heard a soft clip-clopping of hooves against hard earth. A figure appeared at his side, looking down at him with sorrowful eyes.
"You are in great pain," The figure said, in Darnassian.
"You noticed. You always were pretty perceptive," Fandral retorted. He didn't look up at the figure. He did not need to to know who it was.
The figure gestured to something behind him, and a young night elf appeared. He knelt by Fandral's side, and began to repair his wounds with healing chakra.
"I don't need your aid, Keeper," Fandral barked.
The figure shrugged. "I do not give it to you out of necessity. You are part of our order. You are our comrade. No matter how much you disagree, you will always remain so. As long as you follow the way of the druid, the Cenarion Circle will always be there for you."
Fandral snorted. "Then go and aid. I am done."
The figure nodded. "Rest well. You have done your part. Now let your comrades and people fight in your place."
Fandral grunted in response, and let go. He fell back into darkness.
The figure rested a hand briefly on the druid's shoulder, before walking out onto the battlefield, clip-clopping with each step. He nodded in the direction of the battle.
Shandris' heart soared when she saw them. They appeared suddenly at the edge of the forest, ethereal wraiths of the utmost beauty and power. Tyrande was at their head, bedecked in little more than a few strips of cloth, her hair flailing wildly in the Kyuubi's constantly blowing wind of power. Black markings covered her body, and combined with the deep and powerful stare that had been carved into her set, emotionless visage, she looked as much a goddess as Elune. The other Priestesses stood by her side, all twelve of them, similarly garbed and composed. It was an awesome sight.
The human girls, Kira and Kylia, appeared behind them. The dark-haired Kylia had no expression, and tawny-haired Kira had adopted a look that would not look out of place on Naruto's face. They walked through the gaps on both sides of Tyrande, looked up at her once, before continuing forwards onto the battlefield. They made their way straight towards the Kyuubi and her warriors.
Kira shook as she walked, much of her earlier confidence draining upon seeing the creature. It was horrifying. There was nothing left of Naruto inside the creature's visage. It was a mask of natural fury. The demon's emotions were like a maelstrom of fiery wind. They struck her hard, and as she walked, consumed her confidence and determination like it was dry wood. She might have fled, had Kylia not been there, and Naruto's face had not suddenly appeared in her mind. She couldn't go back.
The Kyuubi was battling harder than ever. Dozens of weapons and arrows littered the ground around it. The wood was charred and splintered in many places, and the water from its previous attack had almost evaporated. Many night elves lay dead around it, killed without a thought, and in the most gruesome of manners. The creature had not yet used another of its elemental attacks. But Shandris knew that at any moment, it could perform one of those or the horrible chakra ball that had destroyed the Ancients.
Kira could feel the awful heat of the demon all around her. It was suffocating. It dried her skin and made her eyes water and burn. With each breath, her lungs hurt and her throat became drier than bark. She stopped when it reached a point where she could no longer stand it. She stood almost a dozen yards away from the demon.
This was it.
She raised her hands up, making a seal. She sucked in a painful breath, and began to focus. But it was difficult. The noise and the wind and demon's awful cries hindered her attempts, and she soon began to grow frustrated. She continued molding chakra, but she could not focus it into the form she desired.
A sudden explosion knocked her senseless, and flung her into the air. Kylia immediately caught her, sparing a long and painful travel away from their target. She opened her eyes to see the Kyuubi surrounded by a corona of chakra. It destroyed the wood beneath it, turning it to dust in seconds. The weapons caught in its way melted in a heartbeat, while night elves were scattered into the air like leaves on a breezy day.
She did not know what it was doing. It could have been reaching yet another tail level, or it could have suddenly wanted to rid itself of all its attackers in one go.
Pulling away from Kylia's protective grip, she unleashed with all her might the built up chakra, in a different form than she intended.
It suddenly stopped.
The immense dome of chakra vanished, and whatever power the creature had built up was gone. Even the wind died away for a second. The Kyuubi was howling in agony. It clutched its head, its pure white eyes clenched shut. Its tails thrashed with primal violence, causing the wood of the World Tree to burn and splinter in great clouds.
She raised her hands again. She needed to continue. This was the time. Tyrande and her Priestesses had to go now!
But suddenly, the beast roared. It looked up, straight at her, immediately identifying that she was the cause of its pain. One of its claws shot out with the speed of an arrow, stretching and whipping all the way to her. Kylia stepped in front, immediately, her blades up and ready. Kira raised her hands, beginning to make a seal to forge a Power Word: Shield; but she stopped suddenly.
From the ground, large wooden creepers, like the tentacles of an octopus, emerged and wrapped around the approaching arm. Wooden spikes suddenly erupted beneath the Kyuubi, but instead of spearing the beast, they interlocked into a position that pinned the Kyuubi where it was. Howls exploded from its mouth, as it twisted and flailed to get out of its prison.
Then, a shadow fell across her, as a massive figure appeared in front of the two girls.
It was one of the strangest beings she had ever laid eyes on. It towered over her, nearly twelve feet tall, its torso and head that of a male night elf. It had dark green, leafy hair and a moss green beard with a mosslike appearance, and bright yellow eyes. But there was where its similarities ended. Beneath the waste was a long fur-covered body and four hoofed feet. From its head sprouted long, dangerous-looking antlers and both hands seemed to be made of wood. One was sharpened and clawed, the other clenched into a tight fist. Despite its strangeness, however, it radiated power and authority. She had no idea who or what it was, but she was grateful for the help.
"Step forward, human. You must have a job to do," the creature said.
Kira did not stop to nod or thank him. She hurried past him, and began to focus her chakra again. This time, she did not intend to injure it from outside. She needed to face its source. Focusing all of her chakra, she took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and thrust out her mind.
When she opened her eyes, the battle was gone.
She stood in a dark, dank hallway. The ceiling was low, nearly touching her head, and was covered in a slimy resin. Murky, foul-smelling water came up to her calves, and more dripped from nooks and crannies all around her. The walls were made of rusted iron, and were damp from the moisture. They were lined with cracked, bent, and mangled pipes that emitted bursts of hot steam every few seconds. The air was hot and muggy, and the smell was almost overpowering.
At the end of the hallway was a dead end, where a single torch burned. However, halfway down the hallway she spotted another passage. Deep, fiery light shone through it, brightening the hallway she stood in. She slowly approached it, and felt a familiar hot wind blowing out of the passage. She took a tentative step into the passage, and saw nothing but a mass of fiery light at the end.
'COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE! DO NOT THINK YOU CAN HIDE, GIRL. I CAN SMELL YOU; SENSE YOU, FROM ANYWHERE IN THIS PLACE.'
The voice came from nowhere, thunderously loud and full of hate. It reverberated throughout the halls long after it had stopped speaking. Kira shook, the voice terrifying her. She had heard it once before; Naruto had spoken in a voice very similar to it during his fight with Rend Blackhand, but that had been watered down by the blonde's own voice. This was the demon's true voice. So hellish and terrifying that she wondered how Naruto had been able to last so long with this beast constantly in his thoughts.
But the thought of Naruto brought a sudden surge of courage, or perhaps desperation. She threw off her mantle of fear and walked down the passage, entering a cavernous room. She stopped at the entrance to the room, craning her neck upwards in horror and awe as she laid eyes on the demon's true shape.
The massive fox was little more than a mass of living liquid fire. It had five flailing tails, each the size of a castle tower, and a head as big as a house. Its claws were brutal and its teeth were curved daggers of pure flame. Its eyes were pools of boiling blood, and its visage was an eternal grin of pure malice.
But she saw that it was still a shadow of its former self. It was transparent, but parts were already gradually growing darker, more solid. Soon, it would be truly free, and its body would once more be that of flesh and blood.
One of its tails was touching the wall to her right, where she could see a vague, dark outline of a human body beneath it. Her eyes widened.
'CONGRATULATIONS, BRAT, ON COMING HERE,' the demon rumbled, amused.
She almost shouted at the beast to let Naruto go. But she knew that would be useless. She settled for glaring at it with everything she had.
'HAHAHAHA! THE BRAT'S EYES ARE EVERYWHERE, THESE DAYS! WHAT DO YOU INTEND TO DO?' The Kyuubi raised one of its wagon-sized claws, raising it right above the girl. 'I COULD KILL YOU HERE. YOUR BODY WOULD DIE WITHOUT ITS MIND. THE BOY IS MINE. IT WILL NOT BE LONG BEFORE HE DIES HIMSELF.'
"You're wrong," Kira said, barely a whisper. "He's just waiting."
The demon stared at her curiously, then began to laugh again. Meanwhile, her hands came together in a single hand seal. Though her body was yards away, lying limp on the ground, it was still connected to her chakra. She took a deep breath.
"Let him go." Her eyes flashed. "Naruto isn't yours. He's ours. He's our friend and comrade, and none of us are going to let you have him."
'THEN COME TAKE HIM,' the demon roared, laughing.
The demon's claw crashed down, just as Kira roared, "Mind Flay!" and thrust out everything she felt at that moment. She poured out her hate, her pain, her desperation and fear; she expelled her determination, her hope, her will and every emotion she couldn't even identify; she bowled her memories, and thoughts and beliefs into a tight ball, and released them in the form of a massive stream of mental chakra.
Everything she felt crashed into the demon, throwing it back against the ruined bars of its cage. Pain tore through its mind, greater than any before. Its tails flailed away, even the one obscuring Naruto. The blonde, however, remained trapped in a sphere of chakra against the wall. But not for long.
There was a silver blur beside her, speeding directly towards Naruto. Tsuwabuki, having seized her chance, had passed through the bond and into her bondmate's mindscape. She leapt into the air, and with shining claws, sliced through the demonic chakra that pinned Naruto the wall.
Kira held her technique with everything she had. She was prepared to use everything she had to keep the demon in pain.
But the Kyuubi was used to pain.
It was an old beast; though nearly invincible, it had lived long enough to experience many types of pain. Though this pain was different, it was pain nonetheless.
And after spending fourteen years in a prison of flesh, it refused to succumb and let its only chance at freedom pass it by because of something so trivial.
With a roar, it swept up a blast of wind with a tail, throwing Kira backwards against the wall. The technique broke, freeing the demon of the pain. With frightening speed, its claw sliced down at Kira, intending to finish her for good.
But it wouldn't get the chance.
The demon's claw froze, inches from her face. Its entire body went suddenly still.
The demon's head swiveled, where it saw Naruto. The blonde stood, slightly hunched from weariness, glaring at him. It was a glare that only one like Uzumaki Naruto could pull off. It had everything he felt reflected in it. They burned with an inner inferno greater than anything the Kyuubi could create. The boy's raised hand, glowing with chakra, signified why the beast couldn't move. The boy, through sheer force of will, was stopping him.
"Don't hurt Kira-chan, okay?" Naruto said quietly, flashing a bright smile at the girl. He then turned back, his glare returning an instant later.
"Just go back to your cage, you dumb furball."
The Kyuubi roared, and with everything it had, twisted to meet the blonde. It lifted a claw, clumsily, as if it weighed thousands of tons, and stretched it towards the blonde. It only had to reach him. If its will triumphed over Naruto's, it could win. It could live freely again. It would not lose here. The brat was not going to win!
It would be free! It would be finally free!
Its claw, seconds away from crushing Naruto, was suddenly sliced in two by a ray of pure, electric blue light. It cut the demon's chakra in two, letting the arm drop to the ground and dissolve into mist.
The demon howled in pain, just as another ray struck it in the chest, knocking it off its feet. Then came another, and another and another. The rays slammed into the Kyuubi, cutting through its body with little interference.
Kira's heart leapt. The seal!
Outside, on the battle-scarred field, Tyrande and her Sisters had surrounded the trapped Kyuubi, having moved the instant that Kira had used her technique. They stood, their hands forming a seal in front of their chests. The markings on their body were moving, descending down their skin and onto the ground around them. The markings spread out, connected to each other and forming a massive circle around the beast. They began to glow an intense blue, and crackled with electricity. Tyrande then got onto her knees, placing her hands upon the markings, as did her sisters, and then as one, they shouted.
"Grand Seal of Elune!"
The ring of seals suddenly began to change. It morphed and twisted and spiraled, every marking changing. Some slightly, some drastically, they became something completely different. They then were drawn inwards, crawling up the Kyuubi's still body, twisting around every limb and every tail, around its body, and up to its head and face. The markings then began to glow again, and there was a flash of light.
Within Naruto's mind, the gate had opened fully. But instead of demonic chakra rushing out, there was a vacuum of swirling wind that began to draw everything into the cage. The Kyuubi, pierced with dozens of rays of light, smashed its three remaining claws into the ground, desperate to hold on.
Kira, unable to hold on herself, realized that she would have to cut the connection. She looked at Naruto, who stood perfectly still and calm, Tsuwabuki by his side, and decided that she needed to trust him. Without a word, she vanished, returning to her own body.
The Kyuubi thrashed and screamed. The rays of light had become solid, glowing blue chains, which were wrapping around it, binding every limb and tail. It screamed and roared as almost every bit of its chakra was pulled back into the gate, and bound by the ethereal chains.
But still it clung on. It would not go. It could not!
Naruto was staring at it. His fierce glare, unshakeable even facing one of the greatest demons, was too much like his glare.
The chains continued to bind and pull the demon back towards the gate. It roared, snapping at Naruto, hoping to at least take him with it. Even if the brat died, even if it died, the demon no longer cared. It was losing its last chance at freedom.
But suddenly, the demon stopped. It saw a figure standing next to the brat, tall and blonde and so terribly familiar that the Kyuubi was struck dumb. The figure flashed it an arrogant smirk, and his eyes were the exact same shade of blue as the brat's; and they showed everything that Naruto's did.
'YOU!' the demon snarled, snapping out at the figure with its burning jaws.
The figure just smiled. He spoke no words. Naruto didn't seem to even notice him. The blonde was staring at the Kyuubi, his arms crossed. He did not look at the shade of his hero behind him. If he noticed the figure, then perhaps he did not need to look. He was just glad for his presence.
The Kyuubi howled. It howled with everything. This couldn't happen! It had been so close to freedom. So close! It roared and roared, in desperation and anger, as the chains finally closed around its head, drawing it back into the cage. The doors closed with a mighty crash, and the broken bars were suddenly repaired. They were now made of shining silver, and the whole cage suddenly became more ornate. Designs were etched into every bar, and great statues had appeared on either side of the cage, both of female elves clad in armor.
The remaining piece of the sealing paper burned away, and a new one appeared. The kanji were the same, but now surrounded a massive metal plague, with a crescent moon emblazoned upon it. The entire cage seemed to shine, as if forged from the moon itself.
Naruto stared calmly at the new sealed doors, seeing nothing but the glowing chains that bound the Kyuubi behind it. The figure behind him watched with him, laying a hand on the boy's shoulder.
It vanished, just as Naruto looked back.
But, he had felt him there with him. He smiled, as he fell backwards into darkness, Tsuwabuki by his side.
It was over.
Tyrande watched as the Kyuubi's chakra receded from the boy's body. The dark red chakra melted away, and the wooden spikes immediately retracted into the ground, allowing the charred body to fall. Almost every layer of skin had been burned away, and without the Kyuubi's chakra to keep it back, blood began to flow. What was left was little more than a bleeding mummy, hairless and naked.
Tyrande stumbled over. She could feel that he was alive. He was covered in blood and but he still lived. When she reached him, she fell to her knees and began to heal. She paid no attention to anything but her work.
Neera fell in beside her, and then Shandris, and then other Priestesses as well. They reached out and began to heal the blonde too.
Kira stumbled over, unheeding of Kylia's sudden protests, and joined the circle.
Naruto would live.
Tears of joy joined the mass of healing chakra, as the people rejoiced.
They had their precious friend back.
Tyrande smiled, and as she gazed down at the boy's repaired flesh, she knew exactly what her feelings were for him.
She couldn't wait to tell Malfurion that they had a son.
Illidan sat upon his throne of dark iron, high in his Citadel in Outland and brooded.
"What isss wrong, dear Illidan?" hissed a voice to his left, high-pitched and feminine.
"She still loves him," he said, dully. He couldn't believe it. He had even offered to help find Malfurion! Why didn't he see her as trustworthy? It didn't make sense! What had he ever done to hurt her?
"That issss obvious, Illidan," the voice hissed, as something slithered from the darkness, up to his throne, and laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. "You didn't honestly expect her to give in ssssoo easily, did you?"
Illidan said nothing.
"My word, Vashj, with friends like you, who needs enemies?" another voice said, pompous and arrogant from Illidan's right. "Why don't you give him comfort? Can you not see that his feelings are hurt?" His tone was almost mocking.
The woman, Vashj, hissed in fury. Her eyes were a terrible yellow, with cat-like slits in the middle. Her face was that of a pretty elvish woman, but was covered in horrible green and purple scales. Her hair was black, and bound back in two long braids that looked like snakes. Her body was covered in scales, too, and instead of legs, she had a long snake-like tail. She glared at the man who had spoken to her.
"Sssshut up, Kael! I am not the comforting type! You do it, if you're sssso inclined. I'm sssimply ssssaying that the harpy he sssseeks to win the favor of will not go quietly."
Kael chuckled. He had long, shining blond hair, and his face would have been incredibly handsome had it not been split in half by a psychotic grin. His eyes glowed with a venomous green light, and he was clad in blood red armor. He crossed his arms, smiling impetuously at Vashj.
"That duty falls to the roll of the woman, my dear girl. But nonetheless, I don't feel that I'm tolerant for another pity party." He looked at Illidan. "What happened?"
Illidan leaned back. "She told me never to come back. She told me that if I did, she'd kill me herself."
"You can't take women's words at face value, my friend. What they say is usually what the opposite of what they really mean. I imagine she really meant, 'Come back and see me some time,'" said Kael, adopting a feminine voice for the last part.
Illidan looked at him, his head tilted to the side. "Really?"
"No," snapped Vashj. "Kael isss an idiot. The woman meant what sssshe ssssaid. Forget about her."
Illidan didn't chastise or respond to her. He suddenly smiled.
"But I met a very interesting boy."
"I didn't know you played on that side of the fence, Illidan," quipped Kael, raising two well-trimmed eyebrows.
"I didn't mean that," said Illidan, glaring at Kael through the piece of cloth over his eyes. "He was very strong. He was like me, too." He looked thoughtful. "He comes from that Konoha place, too."
Both Kael and Vashj looked at him in surprise. "Is that so?" said Kael. He grinned wider. " That sounds interesting indeed. Why do you suppose he's in Teldrassil, then?"
"Making an alliance," said Illidan. "With Tyrande."
"Oh? So he is the one who started it all? I wonder what a traveler from the Land of Fire in the World Beyond is doing here?" Kael grinned. "And if he's like you, then isn't it possible he is our enemy's target? Their target?"
Illidan cocked his head to the side. "I suppose." He didn't seem to think much more on it. "I'm hungry."
"Then let ussss dine, Illidan. Thissss talk issss getting old," hissed Vashj, turning and slithering back into the darkness.
Illidan nodded, standing. He smiled again.
"I'm so glad I got to see her. Tyrande is even more beautiful than ever." Then he paused, frowning suddenly.
Not much to say today in author's notes. I hope the battle was enjoyable, and that it is somewhat believable as well. The five-tailed Kyuubi has access to the elemental attacks, or at least some of them. I thought that appropriate.
The ramifications of the sealing will be shown next chapter, don't worry. Just don't get your hopes up about Naruto suddenly turning into half-demon. That isn't going to happen. Too overdone, and I want Naruto human. It makes it cooler that way.
But rest assured, it will be awesome!
By the way, here's a quick Omake about Illidan that I just had to put in, since it would be too wierd, even if it is true, to put in the actual story.
Omake- Punny Situations with Illidan and Naruto
Magni's Pride flicked up just in time to block one of Illidan's wicked blades. With a grunt, Naruto pushed the elf back, and leapt away, drawing a handful of shuriken as he did. With a cry, he let them fly, only to have Illidan raise on blade and deflect them with ease.
However, emblazoned upon his right blade, Naruto spotted something very odd, and very out of place, especially on a weapon as deadly-looking as Illidan's.
"What the hell is that?" Naruto said, pointing.
Illidan frowned, cocking his head to the side. He looked where Naruto was pointing. "What?"
"That!" Naruto said, jabbing his finger for emphasis. "On your blade thingy."
Illidan frowned again, not liking his weapon to be called a "thingy" but looking anyways. He smiled when he saw it, and looked at Naruto again.
"A panda," he said, cheerfully.
And indeed it was. The head of a panda, etched into the metal, was staring cutely at Naruto.
Naruto gaped. "Why the hell do you have a panda on your weapon?"
Illidan frowned. Wasn't it obvious? He held it up, grinning.
"For unleashing panda-monium of course!"
Naruto face-faulted so hard that had he been on Earth and in America, his head would've popped up in China.
The joke isn't mine. It was on the World of Warcraft Wiki Wikipedia article for Illidan Stormrage. But I had to put it in.
Again, thanks to my brother for proof-reading!
Seeya later! Fast chapter, huh? There should be at least one, but hopefully two in the next week. Next Thursday, however, I am leaving for Scotland, where I will be attending college at the prestigious University of St. Andrews. Or Hogwarts. Whatever is cooler. During that time and Orientation week, it is unlikely I will be doing any writing. Though we will have to wait and see.