by Random Writer 46
Chapter 1: Romance Dawn
The voices rang out over the field. Words of parting were exchanged, and students filed out of the school grounds. Indeed, it was Friday and that meant another two days before they had to get their asses back in class next Monday. That was plenty of time to relieve their stress and party all weekend and miraculously forget about their homework come Math class.
Uzumaki Naruto was not somebody who was too fond of the weekends, and there was a reason for that. Many of his classmates knew him as the class prankster, somebody who was always grinning like an idiot no matter what kind of trouble he landed himself into. Maybe that was true.
"Naruto-kun!" cried a feminine voice as he exited the school gate and turned onto the sidewalk.
The blonde boy with the orange jacket turned around and faced the girl in front of him. She was one of his few friends at school, the reason that he enjoyed the place of education a bit more than the orphanage. They had most classes together, and he could always count on her to make him wake up when the teacher got suspicious at his napping. It seemed like her father also owned a kung-fu dojo, but that was just a rumour he heard around the block and not something that she had told him herself.
She had dark, brown hair tied up in two buns, and her eyes were brown as well. She carried in her left arm a handful of books, while in her right she held up an orange backpack. Naruto's eyes widened as he realized where it had come from. Tenten's knowing smile told all.
"That's right," smiled the oriental girl. "You should take more notice in your surroundings, Naruto-kun. If I didn't pick this up for you who knows where it would've ended up."
Tenten held the bag out, and Naruto took it out of her hands. After looking inside to make sure that nothing's been stolen, Naruto grinned appreciatively at the girl. They talked for a few seconds before they split up at the intersection. Naruto continued walking towards the orphanage, realizing that nothing could save him from the cold, unfeeling place now.
Walking up to the front of the orphanage, he couldn't help but feel dejected as he entered through the doorway.
Voices rang through the orphanage as three little blurs ran down the corridors, attaching themselves to Naruto's leg. Naruto smiled as he ruffled their hair. These three were the ones closest to him in this dreary place. They arrived three years ago when their parents were found in a car accident and none of their relatives were willing to take them in. Naruto had felt instant sympathy for them the day they arrived with their bags looking so lost and confused.
They had practically adopted him as their older brother, and spent practically every waking moment with him when they were out of school. He didn't mind their attention, as it was a pretty good feeling to know that there were little kids that looked up to you.
"Konohamaru, Moegi, Udon," he nodded at each one of them in turn. "How come you're not doing your homework like your teacher asked you to? Don't you have a test Monday?"
"Ehehe... How do you know about that?"
Naruto grinned like a fox, "Your teacher comes to me every time you guys do something. I know all about last week's 'flaming poo' accident and the love letters. Now, are you going to be studying your Japanese or am I gonna hafta get the waterballoons?"
All three of them visibly stiffened. They hadn't forgotten about Naruto's skill with waterballoons. He always seemed to get their most vulnerable, most irritating, and most don't-want-to-be-wet parts. They didn't know how he did it, and to be truthful, he himself didn't know. He just had a talent for that kind of thing.
He quickly shooed the three kids to their rooms on the second floor, and looked around. There really wasn't much to do, as most of the children in the orphanage were outside playing. He himself was one of the oldest in the dreary place, though his fifteenth birthday was coming up. The laws of Konoha stated that at fifteen years of age any minor without true legal guardians was allowed to live on his own with a grant from the government.
Orphans were becoming quite common as of late, Naruto realized as he stared at the courtyard. Several children were playing with each other, and a boy who had just come in recently was being consoled by several same-aged children. It seemed like orphanages elsewhere were starting to fill up as a result of terrorist attacks since two years ago, and the fifteen-year-old law was passed to free up more space in the orphanages.
The thought saddened Naruto. Everyday there were new orphans made. He himself had never met his parents before, as the matron in the orphanage had always told him that she had found him on the steps to the building one day and there was a little note tucked into his blanket that contained his name. Nothing else had been given, so therefore he became a ward.
The matron herself was a nice old lady, though a little distant. It was understandable however, given that she had no time to make herself familiar to all fourty-three children in the orphanage and had a hard enough time just keeping up with them. Naruto himself always volunteered to help in the kitchen or whatever whenever the opportunity rose, as it always lightened her load a little bit.
Oh well, there was nothing that he had to do around here anyway. He dropped off his bag and books in his room, and walked down the stairs and out of the door. Homework could wait, and it was a nice day outside.
The back forest was what the kids affectionately called the large patch of woodland that spread out across the back of the orphanage. It was indeed a very large place, and many kinds of woodland creatures lived within. Little kids weren't allowed without proper supervision, but Naruto was no little kid. He had traversed this area of the country ever since he had been admitted into the orphanage, and it was like a second home to him.
Climbing up over a root, he turned deeper into the woods. There really was a lot to think about now for him. For one, his birthday was only three days away, which meant three days until he could apply to live alone. He wasn't sure he wanted to, for one, but then again it would free up space for kids who really needed it. There were some open houses around here, so maybe he should start looking around.
Lost in his thought, he didn't realize he had arrived at his destination until he almost tripped over a bush. He looked around, this was definitely the place.
Climbing up the tree carefully, grabbing every branch that he could, he carefully aligned himself. There, in the center of two trees stood that hammock he had put up four years ago. It was a rather large hammock as he had anticipated that he might grow and wanted to make sure that he didn't have to go through all the trouble of stringing up another one.
Carefully he neared it and spun it around, getting rid of much of the fallen leaves and water. It was about a story and a half high, since as a kid he had been quite fearless. Climbing into it, he relaxed and stared upwards at the sky. The white clouds contrasted with the light blue sky, and the fine breeze and good weather made sure that he would be comfortable.
He didn't know how long he rested there, staring at the sky. Time seemed to pass by quickly at points, but slowly at others. His mind was in turmoil.
The orphanage was a nice place, that was true. Maybe it was strange for him to feel so dejected whenever he stood in front of it, but there was a reason for that. The orphanage was bad for many of the other children as well, but their reasons were different from his. Similar in many aspects, but overall different in the most important part. Something that none of them could understand.
He had no parents.
No memories, no nothing. No names.
They didn't exist, and that was what hurt the most. He couldn't help, every time he looked at the orphanage, to feel dejected, as though he wasn't good enough. Thousands of questions filled his head whenever he thought about it... some of which his mind had tried unpleasantly to reason out. Why was he left at the steps of the orphanage? Why had he been left behind? Why didn't his parents leave anything of themselves to at least give him something to remind himself of them?
Maybe he really wasn't good enough.
Naruto opened his eyes, and sat up groggily. The soft swinging of the hammock reminded him where he was, and he looked around cautiously. Falling asleep while thinking seemed to be a talent of his along with the waterballoon thing.
There was nobody around him... Maybe it was just a figment of his imagination?
Naruto looked over the edge of the hammock. There, on ground floor, stood a girl with waist-length navy blue hair and a pair of the most peculiar eyes he had ever seen. They were white, but the way that she looked at him suggested that there was nothing wrong with them whatsoever.
Naruto quickly flipped sideways out of the hammock and flung himself towards the ground. Midway he heard the audible gasp of his lone observer, and grinned as he hit the ground with a hard thud. Most people he knew were pretty impressed with his ability to take damage, therefore another talent. He straightened up and brushed the dust off himself.
"Heya," grinned Naruto. "What's up?"
She eep'ed in surprise.
"A-ano, I'm sorry. I just saw you and... Ah, my name is Hyuuga Hinata. I'm sorry to have disturbed your rest."
Naruto shrugged and scratched his head.
"Don't worry too much about it. I wasn't planning on sleeping anyway, it just came to me." grinned Naruto. "What're you doing in this part anyway? Not a lot of people ever come here for anything, and the few who do never really get this far. They usually get tired and leave right away."
"Ah, well, I'm here for b-business."
"Business...? What kind of business would want you to come to a place like this?" asked Naruto quizically. He took in the sight of the girl. She was wearing a gray sweater along with a pair of long pants, and it struck Naruto that she was rather cute. "Oh yeah, sorry for being rude. The name's Uzumaki Naruto."
"N-Nice to meet you, Naruto-kun," blushed Hinata. "A-Ano, I can't really talk about my purpose in coming here. But I seem to have lost myself in these woods. I'm not sure exactly how to get out..."
"Oh yeah, that's something that happens around here. If you're not used to the back forest you usually shouldn't even bother coming here. 'Cause this place is huge, and if you don't have a guide you get lost really easily," Naruto said, nodding thoughtfully. "Which way are you going?"
Hinata took a piece of paper out of her pocket, and looked at it closely. Naruto was now sure that there was nothing wrong with her eyes whatsoever, however it didn't change the fact that they were a bit weird. But they made her unique in a good way. A cute good way.
What? He was an almost fifteen-year old teen. One of the things that came with being one was raging hormones, at least that's what the guys in school said. He had doubted them until his counsellor intruded on one of his Art classes to bring a certain presentation that changed his perspective of the world forever. It was something that all high-school kids went through.
"A-ano, it says here that there should be a tree marked with a big 'X'?"
"Oh yeah, that one. See, if you keep walking in that direction for a bit, you'll come across it. It's actually just a trunk, since the top part was cut down a long time ago," said the blonde teenager, pointing towards a break in the trees. Hinata's eyes followed his finger, and nodded thankfully when the boy had finished talking.
"T-thank you very much!"
Naruto waved it off as he watched the girl bow and take off in the direction that he had specified. Pretty soon the sound of her footsteps became dimmer and dimmer, and faded completely, leaving Naruto wondering what she was in such a hurry for.
Oh well. There was nothing for it. Looking up at the sky, Naruto judged by the position of the sun that it was at least after dinner-time. Knowing that the matron would be kind enough to leave him some grub, he turned towards the direction of the orphanage and started sprinting.
"So you're finally here."
Hinata slowed down from her brisk run at the sight of the man in front of her. He was wearing a military uniform, and the headband that he pulled over his left eye and the mask that obscured his lower face served to give him an aura of mystery. His eye travelled over the pages of a small orange book that he held in his left hand.
"I'm sorry sir, but I couldn't find my way. I only managed to get here due to directions from a local."
"It's fine, don't worry about it," admitted Kakashi. "When Shikamaru-kun told me about this place I didn't quite expect it to be so large. I myself also had to ask for the help of a local, more specifically the matron of this orphanage nearby. It seems like quite a few of her kids have a tendency to get lost in the forest themselves."
"Still, all things considered, sir. It's simply unacceptable..."
"I already said don't worry about it. Look at me, I'm late to things all the time."
Hinata didn't say anything. Hatake Kakashi was not the paragon of responsibility.
"Wait there for a bit," said the gray-haired man as he closely inspected the tree trunk marked with an 'x'. He had previously been leaning on one of the other trees in the clearing. "So, who gave you the directions? The matron herself had to write me a detailed map."
"I encountered him a little while ago," said Hinata. She wasn't nearly as nervous when she was dealing with people whom she was familiar with. "His name was Uzumaki Naruto, and he seemed rather familiar with these woods. He was sleeping in a hammock when I came upon him, and I woke him up when I was asking for directions."
Kakashi had paused at the mention of the name.
"Uzumaki Naruto, you say?"
"Yes, sir," said Hinata, curiously. "Do you know him?"
"I can safely say that I know of him. But that's neither here nor there..." said Kakashi. "Ah, there we go."
A little switch had been hidden at the base of the trunk, and the gray-haired man tapped it two times in quick succession and a third time slowly. Suddenly, a rumbling seemed to fill the clearing and the sound of Hinata gasping was quite audible.
"Yes, it is rather amazing, isn't it?" mused Kakashi. "I was surprised the first time I saw it too."
Naruto woke up, feeling the fabric of his mattress rub against his pajamas. Sitting up groggily, he wiped his eyes. He didn't really want to wake just yet, but the light that the blinds didn't manage to filter hadn't really given him a choice.
Jumping out of bed, he quikly changed himself. The orange jacket that he wore every single day and a black T-shirt underneath. Next came the washed out jeans, not that they had been washed out originally. When you lived in an orphanage with no money whatsoever you had to make do with what you managed to find.
Going downstairs, he joined the line of other kids waiting to use the washroom. After telling off a girl for trying to budge in front of another girl, he quickly entered and brushed his teeth with the toothbrush and cup that had been assigned to him. After breaking up another fight between two boys trying to get to the toothpaste, he made his way out of the room.
There was one last thing that he had to do.
He entered the kitchen, and was met with the matron's smiling face.
"Good morning, Naruto-chan."
Naruto smiled and bid the motherly old woman a similar greeting, and started helping with the cooking. Even though the matron was rather distant at times, she had been the one to raise him after all and had dedicated as much time as possible to giving each and every single child her attention. It wasn't her fault that there were fourty-something children in the orphanage and that she was only human after all.
She was the closest thing to a parent that he had.
That was why he cared so much, and was willing to work whatever task she set out for him.
"Don't worry about it, matron-san," said Naruto.
They worked diligently, and were soon joined by several of the other older orphans. None of them spoke, as they were all used to helping out, being some of the more responsible in the orphanage. Today's breakfast was simply congee with some Iwa donuts, something that most of the orphans loved.
"Konohamaru, don't run around so much after you just finished eating!" yelled Naruto.
Like most of the orphanage children, the Konohamaru Corps were fond of the back forest. It was actually a Saturday ritual for the children to play in the back forest after they finished eating, and today was no exception. The younger children were usually assigned an older supervisor, and today Naruto had gladly picked the KC for his charges. He knew them better than most of the orphanage after all and the others couldn't handle their energy.
The kids were playing tag, or more specifically something that seemed like a cross between tag and hide-and-go-seek. Whenever the person who was 'it' caught somebody, they had to close their eyes and count to ten. After they finished that they had to go and find the others and catch them when they had found them. Rinse and repeat.
He sat down, tired of standing, and laid back. He wasn't quite prepared for what he was going to see when he turned his eyes to the sky. After a few seconds of stunned shock, he quickly sprang back up from his position.
"Konohamaru, Moegi, Udon!" yelled Naruto. "Come with me, quick!"
The three children stopped what they were doing and looked at each other curiously. However, the tone of urgency in Naruto's voice convinced them to drop their game and follow their leader. Naruto began running towards the deep end of the woods, and knew that all the other supervisors as well as the people in the city should also be scrambling for shelter.
As if on cue, the alarms in the city began blaring. The Konohamaru Corps looked frightened by this point, but Naruto quickly reassured them with a glance. It was imperative that they made it deeper into the woods where it would be harder for thirty-feet tall giant robots to follow them.
The large black shape in the sky moving quickly towards the city had tipped him off. After all, it wasn't often that you saw a Messiah-class battleship near a city that had no importance whatsoever for any military uses. They also had no notice whatsoever that it was going to come. There was only one reason for it to be here, and it wasn't for fun and games.
The terrorists had arrived.
Yamamoto Ichiro was not a happy man. Being the head of police in a city carried with it a responsibility for the well-being of those who lived in said city, and for once Ichiro could do nothing to stop whatever it was that threatened them.
From the battleship three Trigger Mark IIs had been deployed. They were black in colour, something that had probably been customized as a standard Trigger Mark 2 was usually black. Each of them held a particle rifle in each hand and a beam sword, and after the three Gears hit the ground with a thud they had quickly set about securing the city.
He had already called for the deployment of the defense systems within the city, but two simple tanks weren't going to be stopping these mechanical monstrosities. Truly the swiss army knife of Gears, as though the Trigger Mark II had simple armour even the strongest cannon of his tanks would barely scratch its paint. Only a Gear could fight a Gear... it was something they had been taught in the military.
Yamamoto cursed. That meant the only thing he would've been able to do was to wait it out until the military arrived. However, that was no longer the case. The terrorrists had a jammer of some sort, and all communications were severed. They were alone now.
They were conquered.
He cursed. The only way out now was to hope for a miracle.
Naruto lead the kids deeper into the woods, and soon they came upon the area where the hammock lay. The blonde-haired teen looked around, this should definitely be far enough for now. There would be no reason for terrorists to come this far and there would be no guarantee they would make it even if they did.
They sat there for a while, not talking much. Konohamaru looked oddly nervous, given that he was usually the most reckless and courageous of his Corps. Moegi was fidgetting, and looked to Naruto every now and then as if she was going to ask something, but stopped every time. Udon however didn't seem at all unnerved, and was just looking around the place as though he was bored.
Naruto himself tried to calm down. The sight of that black ship had infused him with a feeling that he had never felt before, a mixture of fear, anticipation, excitement, and dread. It was eerily familiar, but for all he knew he had never felt it before in his life. Instinctively he had known that it was a bad thing, and he was sure even if he hadn't seen that television documentary on Gear warfare a few days ago it still would've sent him running.
"Where am I?"
Naruto looked up, where had that voice come from?
There was nobody around, and the voice hadn't sounded like Konohamaru's, Moegi's, or Udon's. It was of an older man, and for some reason it inspired a sense of familiarity within him.
"What's going on in here...? Who are you?"
The voice was of an older man, at least twenty years of age. It was rough and carried with it a trace of an accent that Naruto couldn't place. He looked around again, there was nobody in the clearing except for him and the KC, and he knew that the kids weren't very good at changing their voices at all.
Maybe the terrorists had sent troops searching through the woods for them? There was no telling what their goals were after all, but there had been reports on the television that they had done it before. Naruto didn't watch much television usually but he was glad that he had watched several news reports about the terrorist attacks."Hey, answer me!"
'But I can't answer you if I don't know where you are!' thought Naruto frantically. The lives of three children were in his hands, and he'd be dead before he let them come to any harm. He looked about the clearing, at any hiding places.
"You just did!"
He had answered the voice? How?
Then he realized. The voice wasn't coming from around him, it was coming from within his mind. At this revelation he practically panicked. When had he developed multiple-personality disorder? If anybody found out would they lock him up?"Whoa, whoa! Calm down bastard, you're messing this place up!"
'What are you talking about!'
"Stop panicking! I'm in your mind or something, and the entire place is tilting and shaking and shit. Calm down!" commanded the voice that came within his mind, and Naruto knew that screwing himself up right now might not be the best idea he ever had.
Naruto took a few deep breaths, and the Konohamaru Corps looked up at him strangely. When he had sufficiently calmed himself down, he took to conversing with the strange entity that had taken up residence within his head.'What are you doing in my head?'
"Damned if I know," the voice replied disdainfully. "I don't really remember what happened... I think I was talking to somebody and then I walked through a portal. Something happened after that and I... UGH!"
Suddenly, Naruto fell to the ground clutching his head in pain. He bit his lip to keep from screaming, and almost drew blood. The entity in his mind however didn't have the luxury and Naruto could hear his tortured cries over the pain that flooded his head. Each cry of his reacted with the pain in his head increasing and decreasing, effectively spiking.
Konohamaru ran to his leader in alarm, as both Moegi and Udon watched in shock.
"Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!" cried the voice. "Abort, abort!"
The pain in his head subsided, and his breathing returned to normal. Naruto looked up and gave Konohamaru a reassuring look and they relaxed, though each of them still looked at their leader suspiciously, concerned for his health. Naruto turned towards the inside of his head again.
What was that!'
"I dunno!" groaned the voice. "It's like there's a block in my memories or something! Dammit, that smarts."
'Well, whatever it is, stop doing it,' replied Naruto forcefully, or at least he tried to. It was hard to be forceful with a voice in your head. 'I'm in a dangerous situation here and I don't need anymore distractions!"
"Alright, alright... Na... Naruto, right?" said the voice. The blonde-haired teengaer suddenly realized that he hadn't told the voice his name yet, though if he existed in his head it should be pretty obvious that he was able to read his memories. "We'll talk about this later when you've calmed down. Just warning you though, you might want to pay some more attention. I can hear footsteps, and they're not from your kiddies."
Naruto turned sharply towards the source of the sound. From what he could hear they were made by boots, something that he knew nobody in the orphanage wore. As the footsteps came closer and closer, he could also hear what sounded like the voices of three men.
Naruto made a silencing gesture towards the Konohamaru Corps, and motioned for them to follow. Hopping over a root, he made his way deeper into the forest. Unknowingly however, he was following the exact directions that he had given that white-eyed girl he had met yesterday.
"This isn't good," Kakashi noted absent-mindedly as he stared at the terrorist Gears high up.
Hinata nodded. They were standing on ground level looking at the destruction that the Gears had already caused. People ran past them in panic as they tried to get to a safer place. Though the white-eyed girl was calm to the world, inside there was a storm brewing within her. Puzzled by her superior's unchalance, she wondered why they were here doing nothing as the black Gears made a mess of the city.
"There's nothing we can do," said the gray-hared man as he casually observed the dark Gears. They were awkwardly piloted... very amateur. Their reaction times were slow, and Kakashi knew that none of them had been properly trained in using a Gear. Even so however, the city couldn't put up a proper defence without Gears of their own. This was a situation where the weapons and defences mattered instead of the pilot.
"I don't understand, sir."
"Elementary, my dear Hinata," said Kakashi slowly. "We don't have any weapons to fight back with. I've already contacted Yggdrasil, which means they'll be here in under an hour. There's nothing we have to worry about, since the alarm system in this city is exceptional. I estimate that there will be no casualties."
"What do you mean?" asked Hinata once again. "We do have a weapon, we inspected it yesterday. Even though it is a little out-dated with your skill you can..."
"There's a problem with that," smiled Kakashi, amused as he read his little orange book. "It's waiting for a very specific pilot. Said pilot is neither of us, and I expect that he will not show up in this battle as he's sleeping right now."
Curiousity gripped Hinata once more.
"Who is it, sir?"
Kakashi did that strange thing where you could tell he was smiling even though that mask of his. Closing the little orange book with a snap, he put it into his pocket.
"You've already met him, even though he doesn't know it."
He turned towards the outer edge of the town, and started walking. Hinata kept staring at her superior until he faded out of sight, and turned to look upwards at the black Gears that terrorized the town. After a few seconds of confused thoughts, she turned as well and ran to catch up to Kakashi.
Naruto and company quickly lost their pursuers as they entered deeper into the forest. They were familiar with this forest, and the guys that had been chasing them weren't. Naruto knew without a doubt that unless they had a guide of some sort, it'd take a while for them to find them. The blonde-haired teenager stopped as they hit another clearing, one that Naruto instantly recognized.
It was the trunk with the small 'x'. The one that he had directed that cute girl (Hinata, was it?) to. This was a good place to stop, as it was in the deepest part of the forest and incredibly hard to find by chance. He himself had been directed to it by an older orphan a long time ago. Said orphan was now living somewhere in the city by himself as the government had requested.
Sitting down on top of the log, he let the kids beside him rest while he took a few deep breaths. They were obviously tired, as they weren't really used to all the running and sneaking. He himself wasn't either, but since he was older he had to act like a leader.
"Whew... Let's stop here for a bit," grinned Naruto. "We're probably not going to be moving for a while. Calm down and take a break."
The Konohamaru Corps agreed, and each one of them slumped down.
"Naruto-nichan!" asked Konohamaru. "What's happening? Why are we running?"
Naruto didn't know quite how to answer the question without causing them to panic.
"Just tell them the truth. They're mature enough to handle it."
'Ah, you're back,' said Naruto as he took note of the entity in his head. 'What do you know about them anyway?'
"Well, while you were running away from your pursuers, I scanned your mind a little. Looks like I can look through your memories. Kind of weird but it makes sense since I'm living in your head and all. Oh, and for your information I'm not a split personality, at least I don't think so. That oughta reassure you a bit."
'So, I should be reassured by the fact that instead of having split personalities, I've got somebody else in my head instead?'
"Whatever makes you happy. What're you waiting for anyway? The kids are waiting."
Naruto looked at the three kids in front of him. They looked back expectantly.
"Alright, you know what Gears are, right?"
"I know, I know!" cried Moegi. "They're giant robots!"
"Good enough," said Naruto. "The city's being attacked by a bunch of bad Gears. Everybody's taking shelter, so my responsibility as your supervisor is to take you to somewhere safe."
"Then are we safe now?" asked Udon.
"Well, as close to it as we could be, yeah."
The conversation died off as the kids rediscovered their fatigue and Naruto rested against the stump.
"You know, there's something about this place that's familiar."
'Didn't you say that you couldn't recall anything?'
"I know, I know! I tried accessing my memory a bit when you were running, but it was always like there was something blocking it. Don't look so shocked! Whenever I felt even a little bit of pain I stopped immediately!"
That pacified Naruto, who had been getting a mental barrage of insults line up. He couldn't believe that this guy in his head had been irresponsible enough to risk sabotaging their escape.
'That doesn't excuse...!'
"Look, I'm sorry alright! I figured it wouldn't hurt and it didn't!" cried the voice in his head. "Looks like whatever happens whenever I try to get to my memories affects me first before you. From what I could tell I can't actually try to recall anything, but if something just comes up then there's no problem."
'Wow, I'm ectastic.'
"Really? That's great!"
Naruto wondered to himself why a man who sounded ten years older than himself could be so dense. However, he ddin't have time to worry about that. Suddenly, the sound of footsteps and branches breaking could be heard in the distance again, and Naruto realized with alarm that they were the same footsteps as the ones he had heard before.
"What the hell! Your memories said that only the guys at your orphanage knew how to get here!"
'I thought that too, but it looks like we're wrong,' noted Naruto morbidly. The Konohamaru Corps had gotten up, uncertain of how to proceed and looking at Naruto expectantly. 'Dammit, I can't go any further into the forest. I don't the paths very well and we could all get lost.'
"There's a way out of here, I just remembered!" said the voice, happily. "Quick, look at the bottom of the stump!"
Naruto did so, brushing away the grass and dead leaves. Actually, it seemed like somebody had done this exact same thing recently, as the plants seemed to have been bothered. He quickly found a little button, and was amazed that he hadn't seen this before.
"Not the time, buddy! Umm... here, you're going to have to hit that thing quickly two times and then slowly one last time!" said the voice confidently, and Naruto did so. The voice had no reason to lead him wrong and he hadn't done so, so far.
Suddenly, there was a slight rumbling. It was the exact same thing that had happened yesterday, Naruto realized, and watched as the stump, and the patch of earth that had been under it, rose. What popped out of the ground was an elevator.
All four of them watched in awe, before Naruto came to his senses. He quickly ushered the children into the large cylindral construction, and moved inside himself. There were a series of buttons on the wall, and the voice instructed him on the ones to press. It seemed like a password of some sort.
Soon, the elevator was sinking back into the ground, and when the men came into the clearing all they could see was the stump and nothing else. It was as if nothing had been disturbed whatsoever.
"Where... are we now, Naruto-nichan?" asked Konohamaru nervously.
After a short ride, they had hit the bottom. Naruto waited, unnerved, as the elevator door started to open. They had arrived at a long corridor of some sort, very white-looking and high tech. Without a word they got out of the elevator.
When all of them were out, the elevator closed its door once again. Naruto could hear the faint hum as it went back to wherever it had come from. Silently, he motioned to the kids. There was a door on the other side of the hallway, and that was the only place they could go for now.
However, as soon as they hit the midpoint between the elevator door and the one in front of them, red light flooded the room. The Konohamaru Corps recoiled in surprise and terror, but Naruto stood his ground. The voice would probably tell him about it if it was dangerous.
"Uh, sorry, man," speak of the devil. "I don't got a clue 'bout what's going on here now. The only thing I remembered was how to get in here. You're on your own now."
Naruto cursed as the red light washed over them and a computerized voice beeped out a message.
"Objects identified... Three unknowns. One subject PMB-009. Sufficient clearance. Have a nice day."
The Konohamaru Corps looked at each other and then at Naruto. The blonde-haired teenager himself looked confused. There was no way that the computer could've identified any of them... From the way that the kids looked, they had never been here before, and there was no way he could forget a place like this if he had known about it.
"Well, who cares about that? C'mon, go further! I wanna see what's it like inside!"
'You've made yourself comfortable, haven't you?' asked Naruto with a growl in his mind-voice.
"Don't you like mysteries, man?" said the voice, a bit giddy. "I love this kind of stuff! There's no telling what's in the next room. Maybe a demon chained to an earthly grave which'll try to tempt you into releasing it, maybe a load of treasure! You'll never know if you don't check it out!"
'Fine, fine,' said Naruto, mentally. 'It's not like we can go back anyway.'
"Holy crap," muttered the blonde teenager.
They had arrived at a... hangar. That was the only way to describe it.
It was consisted of two floors, one being ground floor and one made of catwalks. They had arrived on the second floor. The hangar itself was rather large, maybe the size of a very big gym. There were computer terminals on the ground floor, though none of it seemed to be connected. The room had lit up the moment they entered, which meant that there still was electricity flowing within its walls.
In the center of the room, cables connected to it, was a Gear.
It was old, evidenced by the dust that covered it. Most of its colour was faded, but it was easy to tell that most of it had been a vibrant orange along with a bit of white lining here and there. On its faceplate were six raised stripes, three on each cheek. A catwalk lead right into a chest cavity, where Naruto could see the cockpit.
"Wow... I didn't know there was something like this back here," said Konohamaru in awe. His cohorts agreed with his sentiments, and they each stared and followed as Naruto carefully navigated the catwalk.
Naruto looked about the place. There really wasn't much here except the Gear...
"Forget what I said about mysteries. I've got a bad feeling about this place," the voice was strangely grim. "I dunno, there's something... not right."
'What do you mean?'
"It's like I've been here before, alright? But something's changed... for the worse. You've got to get in that robot as soon as possible, and bring the kids with you too. Something bad's gonna happen, and I'm actually not kidding this time."
Naruto decided to follow his advice. He believed in feelings, and if it was bad enough for the voice to go from happy-go-lucky to grim in a split second, then he really didn't want to be caught up in it.
"C'mon, guys," said the blonde-haired teen to his charges. "Let's get in the Gear."
"Why?" asked Udon. "We don't even know if its safe or not."
Naruto wracked his brain trying to come up with an excuse.
"Well, let's just say I have a bad feeling about this place."
The KC looked at each other and shrugged. They had a habit of doing whatever their leader said, even though it sometimes got them into trouble. This time would be no exception. Moving quickly, they walked around the catwalks and approached the Gear.
Suddenly, just as they approached the faded orange Gear, the entire room started shaking. Naruto quickly pulled Udon to the side just as a piece of debris fell from the ceiling and struck the place where he had been standing with considerable force. It seemed like the voice's hunch had proved right after all.
"Shit, I knew it! Run to the 'bot quick, you'll be safe there!"
'What'll we do once we get there! It's not like we can just get out when this place collapses!'
"We'll worry about that once you get your and your little friends' asses in there!"
"C'mon, let's get in the Gear quick!" yelled Naruto.
They were almost there now. The debris was now falling freely, though luckily most of it didn't land on the catwalk. Naruto quickly jumped past a small hole in the path and the Konohamaru Corps followed closely behind. They turned the last corner sharply, and were just about to enter the cockpit of the Gear when a large piece of the ceiling fell through and struck the catwalk in front of them, disconnecting it from the rest of the way and making it hit the ground with a thud.
Naruto looked around, clenching his teeth. There was no way that the kids could make that jump, and there was no way he was going to leave them behind while he went on alone... If there was only some kind of way out...
Suddenly, he got an idea.
"Alright, Konohamaru, Moegi, Udon. You three stay here for a bit and look out for falling stuff," ordered Naruto. "I'm gonna go ahead and get in the Gear. When I find out how to control it I'll move forwards and let you guys in, is that clear?"
The kids nodded, and Naruto smiled. Taking a few steps backwards, he made a running leap that allowed him to sail across the open hole. Landing at the edge of the chest cavity of the Gear, he quickly made his way inside.
The cockpit was rather small, but enough to fit four people, even if it would be a bit of a squeeze. On all sides were deactivated monitors that he was sure were used for monitoring the status of the Gear as well as probably letting him see. Settling himself into the driver's seat, he looked at the controls.
For a moment he despaired. There were no controls whatsoever. How was he supposed to move this thing? Was it unfinished, or something like that? Dammit, if he didn't find a way to get the kids into the Gear then they'd die... How was he going to explain that to the matron!
"Calm down! I know how to use this thing!"
Naruto did as the voice told.
"Alright, feel to the right of your chair. There should be a button to light this thing up."
After fumbling a bit, Naruto managed to find the switch. Flipping it, he was pleasantly surprised as the Gear started humming. The monitors that had stood to the sides of the seat started booting up, and a 3D display lit up in front of him. It arranged itself into a keyboard like function, and Naruto realized that what he was seeing in front of him were the controls.
The main monitor turned on.
A red light once again filled the cockpit, but this time Naruto knew what it was about.
Naruto hit the Y letter with his finger without a second thought. The Gear came to life, and Naruto could feel it shifting underneath him. The cables at its side fell off, and its empty eyes lit up with a light green glow. Now, for the next step, actually piloting the thing.
There were no instructions whatsoever, so Naruto had to make do. The keyboard control in front of him didn't seem to have any places for actions, so he looked around. Finding two slots that seemed to be made for his hands, he inserted them. Two clamps slid down out of the ceiling and attached themselves to his hands, making sure that they didn't slip, and two footgrips appeared out of the floor. Naruto put his the soles of his shoes on them and as soon as he had done that another two clamps popped out of the sides and connected themselves to his legs.
Whatever it was, it had to be used for piloting, right?
Moving his fingers a little, he was surprised to feel the Gear's hand move as well. Suddenly the idea all came together in Naruto's head, and he moved forwards, letting the entrance to the cockpit near his charges. The Konohamaru Corps got the idea and jumped into the entrance.
"Alright, you guys," Naruto said over the humming of the machinery. "Get over here so I can close the hatch."
They did as they were told and tried to make themselves comfortable in the small place. It was obvious that it was made for only one person, but it did hold enough space for four people. Granted, a few of the displays were blocked from Naruto's view but most of them he didn't understand anyway.
The blonde teenager closed the hatch, and turned back to the entity in his mind.
'What do I do from here?'
"Crouch the 'bot," answered the voice. "It'll activate a launch pad on the floor that'll open up the ceiling for you to boost through. This place used to be military laboratory for the development of Gears, so there was place made for the deployment of Gears as well. You can use that."
'Right. After we're done here though, you're gonna have to try to expain to me how you know so much about all of this,' noted Naruto. 'And you're going to have to give me a name too. It's hard enough talking to you without having something to call you.'
"Worry about that after we're in home stretch! GET READY TO LAUNCH!"
Naruto had done exactly what the voice had told him. Within seconds the ceiling had opened up, and a vertical tunnel-like structure that lead to the surface could be seen. Suddenly, he felt heat around his feet, even though he knew there was nothing there. Was the Gear connected to him by the nerves as well?
Soon the heat became hot... too intense. He knew the time was now. Springing his legs up, he felt the Gear lurch as it entered air. The boost had been immense, and he saw the tunnel pass by on the monitor as though he was moving in a really, really fast car.
Sunlight suddenly burst in from the monitors, momentarily blinding him. Just then he realized he had hit the surface, and he smiled as he felt the dirt underneath him through the Gear. The Konohamaru Corps looked equally relieved as they grinned at each other.
Suddenly, a beam of green energy shot past his face. Naruto panicked, and lost his footing as the orange Gear he was riding toppled and landed on its rump. The cockpit shook and Moegi suffered a small bruise, but otherwise everything was alright. Naruto turned the Gear's head towards the direction of the shot, and saw a black Gear around the same height holding a smoking rifle.
Kakashi looked towards the forest. The orange Gear that had popped out of the ground didn't surprise him, but its timing did. He hadn't quite expected the boy to have found it so fast, but it seemed like fate worked in mysterious ways.
"Sir, isn't that the..."
"Yes," verified the gray-haired man. "It seems like he's waken up now. Both the pilot and the Gear. I don't think we'll have anything to worry about at this point. Even before the Yggdrasil arrives he'll probably have taken care of all of them."
Hinata looked at her superior with curious eyes, before turning back towards the battle. The movements of the orange Gear were sluggish, as though the pilot wasn't used to the controls.
"But, sir! The movements of that Gear are those of an amateur! Surely, even a strong Gear with an average pilot can't take on four or five fully-outfitted Trigger Mark IIs, and you're expecting an outdated Gear with a new pilot to win against these kind of odds!"
"No need to worry about that," said Kakashi, smiling.
Hinata's eyes pressed the issue, however.
"Well, let's just say that if the pilot is anything like his father, then he'd be a pretty fast learner."
'Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!'
'If you don't anything to say that could keep us from becoming scrap then don't say anything! It's taking up all of my powers of concentration just to make sure we don't get shot into a million freaking pieces here!"
Indeed, the shots of the enemy mech were starting to become more and more accurate as Naruto's Gear tumbled and ran around the place. The shots themselves were starting to cause damage, though to the forest instead of its supposed target.
The Konohamaru Corps were on the verge of panic, and Naruto knew that nothing he could say right now would calm them down. None of them were used to fights, and although normally Naruto would throw himself head-first into a fight this time the stakes were higher than just his own well-being.
"Well, don't run away all the time, man. You've got to take the problem out at the source!"
'Sure, I'll just walk up to the guy with the rifle and the beam sabre in his hand and ask him to stop trying to turn me and the kids in here with me into dust! That's gonna go real well! I don't even have a weapon!'
"Dumbass, look at that guy," said the voice. "He's not even properly synced with his mech. I'll bet you a hundred bucks that this guy was just a last resort, used only because better pilots aren't availabe. Heck, you could probably kick his ass with ease and a few kung-fu moves!"
'Even if you say that, how am I any better? I just got into this mech by accident, and the few moves Tenten-chan taught me probably wouldn't translate to Gear-fights anyway!'
"There's a reason the Gear allowed you to pilot it!" cried the voice in exasperation. "Look, if you don't fight back somebody is going to get hurt! What about the other kids from the orphanage? They're probably hiding somewhere in the forest right now, and the more you let that guy shoot the higher the chances of somebody dying!"
Naruto froze, he hadn't thought about that. This proved to be a mistake, as the next shot barely grazed the side of his Gear's visor.
"Good, now you're listening. You see the plasma rifle that the guy's holding? There's a recharge time between every shot. He just fired now, so he's open. You just gotta watch out for the beam sabre, that's all."
The blonde teenager cursed. He made it sound so easy.
There was no choice however, and both of them knew it. The voice had made Naruto realize that the longer he drew out this battle, the more people were going to get hurt. The thought of any of his friends from the orphanage lying in a pool of their own blood or vaporized by a stray particle rifle shot steeled his resolve, and he charged forwards blindly.
Something seemed to change within that few seconds when he had started dedicating his mind to the thought of taking his enemy down. For some reason, the monitors seemed clearer, and he felt more in tune with the Gear that he was piloting. The trees underneath his feet felt real, and he could see the enemy Gear as though he was the thirty-feet mechanical giant instead of merely ordering its movements.
The move seemed to have taken the enemy Gear by surprise, and Naruto was soon within his guard. Grabbing the arm of the enemy, he forcefully wrenched the beam sabre out of it. Spinning around, he delivered a quick horizontal slash that decapitated his enemy.
The mech stumbled around blindly for a few seconds, discharging a few rounds from the particle rifle that Naruto made sure were aimed at the sky, and fell down, deactivating. Most of its sensors were in the head after all, and the pilot probably knew struggling at this point was impossible.
The Konohamaru Corps were staring at their leader in a new light, and Naruto himself was looking down at his hands. For a few seconds, he had felt like he was the Gear instead. The fresh wind in his face as he charged his enemy... The way that his heavy mechanical body moved and felt...
He quickly smacked himself up the head. He was Uzumaki Naruto, not some unnamed antique Gear. Now to try and convince himself of that.
"What just happened?" asked Hinata, amazed. "How did he... That movement pattern..."
"Yes, it's rather familiar, isn't it," asked Kakashi with a smile on his face. "Those weren't the movements of an amateur at all. In fact, you may remember that exact technique from during your pilot training days. The disarm technique of the Golden Flash, though it wasn't executed as smoothly."
They watched the orange Gear looked around. The other terrorist Gears were on at the other side of the city, but now that their comrade had fallen they'd be coming at him, not one-by-one, but a whole load at once. It would be an imposing sight for the new pilot, but Kakashi had confidence in this one.
Kakashi kept watching, unfazed. Now to see if he was good at multiple enemy combat.
"Quick, take the guy's gun! Now that you've brought down one of their guys they'll be going for you full-hog! You've got to arm yourself, man!"
Naruto quickly commanded the Gear, picking the discarded particle rifle up from the ground. Looking around, he realized that was still within the forest.
"Take it to the city. This is a bad place for you to fight against multiple enemies, with all the trees and whatnot. It'd be pretty easy for them to hide themselves inside the trees, and you'll have to hunt them down. That's what I'd suggest, anyway."
'How did I go from taking the kids out on a trip to running from terrorists to avoiding falling debris to piloting a Gear and fighting said terrorists?'
"Who gives a shit. Go, go, go!"
Naruto gave the mech underneath a kick and turned around, running off. The Gear that he was piloting was a little bit shorter than the trees around him, which meant that he still had some stealth. If the enemy was going to try and take him down... well, he wasn't going to let them do it that easily.
"That's the spirit!"
He burst out of the forest to awaiting fire. Several particle rifle shots went past him. Turning around, he raised his own and fired at one of the three mechs waiting for him. He missed by a mile.
'Shit, this thing really is hard to aim...'
"Don't use it then," said the voice sagely. "You've got to do what you're good at! I think in your case this means close-range combat. Go get'em, tiger!"
Dodging another few shots, he turned the corner and charged down the street. A row of large commercial buildings blocked the view between him and the terrorist Gears. This way he'd be able to get closer to them without them having a chance to fire.
Turning the corner again, he caught one of the Gears by surprise. Activating the beam sabre he was holding, he quickly delivered several uncontrolled slashes. Luckily, he quickly lopped off both of the mech's arms. Now that it was defenseless, he spun like a top slashing horizontally and decapitated another one.
"Cutting off heads seem to be your favourite way of ending a fight, eh? You should've been an executioner in the Middle Ages! Perfect for people like you. Now watch out, there're another two near you somewhere, so you've got to keep CONSTANT VIGILANCE!"
Naruto nearly jumped, but he didn't. Instead, he took the voice's advice and looked around a bit before entering the city. Most of the buildings in said city were large, due to a focus of commercialism, and therefore great hiding spots. Now, if there was only someway to find out where the rest of the enemy Gears were...
"Why's he letting that enemy Gear sneak up behind him?"
"Well, he could be just letting his victim into trap, could be just trying to lure out the other one, or..."
There was a pause as the black Gear shot the orange one in the shoulder.
"He doesn't know how to turn radar on."
"That seems to be the most likely choice, sir."
'Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!'
The Konohamaru Corps looked at their leader.
He was gripping his shoulder, not expecting that pain was actually transferred through the Gear. The shot had been immediate, and he hadn't known what had happened until he saw on the monitor the streak of bright green light that went past him.
"Get a hold of yourself, man! You've got to take that guy down before he shoots you again!"
'I will, I will!'
Turning around, he saw the the particle rifle of his enemy's had almost finished charing. He looked at the rifle that he held in his hand. He couldn't shoot for shit anyway and it'd be a good idea to lose some extra weight. There was no way he was going to get within range before the enemy had finished charging his rifle and blew off his head, so he threw his own rifle at him, praying.
Luckily, it worked just as he hoped it would. Startled, the enemy shot his rifle prematurely and blew a hole in the projectile flying towards him. Naruto was within range now, and as he quickly dashed forwards he swung out the sabre that he held within his hands.
The bright green blade of light tore through the enemy mech's head, and landed on the street, deactivating. The mech fell to the ground as well, also deactivating. Naruto quickly moved forwards and picked up his beam sabre as well as the unactivated one that lay in the enemy mech's holster. He might need this later.
"Crazy technique, but why do you always aim for their head, man?"
'I'll tell you when we get out of this! No time now, incoming!'
He dodged a saber strike as his enemy leapt off the skyscraper he had been standing on. This guy seemed a bit more fluid, more used to his mech compared to the others. In one hand he held out his sabre, and in the other the sabre of one of his fallen comrades.
"Two dual-wielding sabre Gears?" muttered Hinata. In real combat this was a ludicrous idea, as each Gear always needed a far range attack just in case. There were Gears with built-in ranged attack weapons, of course, but even then most of those Gears were made specifically for sniping. "Sir, isn't that..."
"A bad idea?" asked Kakashi. "That's why they teach you in the academy, isn't it. Well, tell you the truth. On the battlefield any idea's good. You could go out with a survival knife and if you knew how to use it you'd survive."
"But, two swords...?"
"The important part of Gear-piloting is always to focus on what you're good at," noted Kakashi. "If you can't shoot the broad side of a barn point-blank you're not going to have much luck carrying around a sniper rifle. Looks like he's realized that, so that's why he's concentrated on going close-range."
Hinata wondered why he said 'realize'. Was the pilot a complete amateur after all? But if he really was an amateur how did he sync with his Gear so well? That wasn't possible unless it was specifically made for him, and new pilots never had custom Gears.
"I've never heard of a pilot who fought dual-sabres before!"
"Actually, you have," said the gray-haired man. "He's not famed for doing it, but it was something that he did all the time. See, the Golden Flash himself never managed to get the hang of guns either."
Hinata looked at her superior, incredulously.
"That's it, watch for his actions and then react. He won't know what's hit him!"
Naruto blocked another strike from the enemy's beam sabre, and tried to counter with his own. Both of them were like storms in motion, their sabres swiftly moving here and there like a fireworks lightshow. After a failed attempt at the enemy's leg, Naruto hopped backwards, out of the reach of his opponent's sabres.
'Alright, any tips here? I can't seem to get through his guards!'
"This guy's a tough one, and nothing's coming up, sorry. Looks like I still can't access my memory at will."
Dodging a charging thrust from his enemy, Naruto spun the sabre in his right hand and slashed it downwards towards his opponent's back. The damage that had been done to the shoulder of his Gear earlier was now taking its toll, and even though the pain had faded the movements of the joint were becoming sluggish.
Luckily, the enemy dropped his sabre as he put his hand on the floor to catch himself while blocking the attack with his other hand. Naruto took the chance and delivered a bone-shattering kick to the mech, which flung it aside. The beam sabre on the ground deactivated itself, and the orange Gear picked it up, wondering what to do with it. Suddenly, an idea popped inside his head, and he put it in his left hand, reverse the direction of the saber already there.
Another blade of light popped out of it, and Naruto grinned. Two shafts of light stuck out of the left hand of his Gear, each going in opposite directions. Now he was ready to kick some ass, Darth Maul-style.
"Alright, I'll be honest with you here," said an amused Kakashi to his gaping comrade. "I've never seen that before."
Naruto quickly blocked a clumsy strike from his opponent. It seemed like after losing one of his weapons, he had lost some nerve as well. Swinging the hand with the two sabres, he charged his enemy. With any luck he'd be able to at least lop off an arm or something, but the black Gear was surprising resilient.
It dodged by hitting the ground in a duck, and when Naruto prepared himself to stab a sabre through the pavement where his enemy's head was it quickly rolled to the side and jumped behind a mall. Naruto charged blindly, swinging his arm, tearing through a little of the building and striking part of the black Gear's head. There was a little damage done, but nothing serious.
Taking his chance, the black mech countered.
Naruto stared at the stump that had been his mech's left hand, and realized he had been careless as pain blinded him. He knew that there was nothing there, and that his own hand was fine, but it seemed like his brain was telling him otherwise.
The Konohamaru Corps were on the verge of panicking as they watched their leader, when they looked up in shock at the monitor. The voice in Naruto's head was screaming, not in pain but at him.
"GET UP, GET UP! IF YOU DON'T GET UP, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!"
Naruto tilted his head up through his pain and saw what was happening. The black Gear was aiming its sabre at its fallen opponent, and Naruto could barely register what was happening as he stared at the screen.
The black Gear was aiming for the chest compartment. The cockpit.
Images flowed through his mind.
Konohamaru lying in a pool of his own blood.
A decapitated Moegi.
Udon being burned to death.
Naruto, himself, being blown to bits as the Gear he was riding exploded.
The matron being gunned down by terrorists.
Tenten vapourized as a particle rifle in the hands of a black Gear recharged.
The orphanage on fire.
And in a fit of some unnatural strength, Naruto could feel the orange Gear's remaining hand, the one with the damaged shoulder, rise to the enemy's face in a fraction of a second. The blonde teenager was sure that if Gears could show emotion this one would've been shocked as he clenched his hand around the head of the black mech.
His hand started glowing red. He could feel the energy rising within his arm, and he could practically see the expression on his enemy's face. He didn't know how, but at this moment he was the Gear. Not Naruto. He could feel perfectly the faceplate of the enemy mech, the short-ciruiting stump that had been his left hand. The faded feeling that age and antiquity lent to him, and the darkness that he hid within his very soul.
For a split second, Naruto wondered where that sound was coming from. Then he realized, it was coming from himself. He was the one yelling, though he wasn't quite sure why.
The black mech's head exploded in a fit of energy. No, that wasn't quite right. It wasn't the enemy that had exploded, Naruto's weary mind noted, it had been his hand. Yet his hand -- no, the hand of his Gear -- was unharmed. The energy had poured through from his palm, and... had...
Just before the darkness over took him, Naruto wondered about the Gear he was riding. He thought about the way that it had looked at him when he first saw it... It was like it had been waiting for him. It wasn't logical, heck, the thing hadn't even been activated, but Naruto thought it looked, from the way that the light shone in the depths of that underground laboratory, that it was happy.
Happy that its pilot had come at last.
"WHOOOHOOO! THAT WAS AWESOME!"
Naruto grinned as he succumbed to the darkness, and let sweet unconsciousness brace him. Hopefully, he had taken down all of the black Gears. If not then... Well, then he was screwed.
List of Techniques
Crimson Claw Strike
A/N: Whew, this is my first story written with an outline. None of my other stories had been, so I was never really sure where I was going with them. I suspect that was the reason I lost interest after the first few chapters, and I sincerely hope that this will be different. I hope you enjoy Spiral Nine, and please review if you have any constructive criticsms, questions, or encouragements. Everything is accepted and enjoyed, excluding flames.