A/N: Here it is! My first story in a long time. I hope you don't mind the dragon theme. I was really inspired by an Eragon commercial. XD Hope you enjoy, and Happy Holidays! Let's just hope I do as well as I did on my previous chapters.
To Nacho Libre: You know who you are! Keep in mind our little competition:D I'm sure you'll do just fine!
Disclaimer: No, Naruto is not mine, and no, I do not want you to sue me.
Chapter One: A Prologue
A loud bang echoed in the room as a furious Uchiha entered with a majestic sweep of his midnight black coat. "Where is she?" he demanded, eyes darting around the room at lightning speed.
"Uchiha-sama," gasped a couple of stable boys from their positions on the floor. They were scrubbing the dirt off the decaying wood to make life easier for the horses and other animals residing in the wooden shack. "Who are you looking for, Sir?"
Uchiha Fugaku bit back a nasty comment, restraining himself like the prestigious leader he was. "Where is the dragon?" he forced out through clenched teeth, as if he was pulling on a two ton slab of stone.
"Well, one of your messengers has taken her out for a walk in the forest, Sir. As you have requested," the boy answered cautiously.
The man let out a fierce growl through his open mouth as he flung his arms in the air in absolute fury. He then proceeded to spin on his heels and march back to his horse, determined to find that dragon before sunset. He mounted his horse and after composing himself for a moment, spoke, "You are all released of your duties to this castle. I want you out of my estate by the time I get back. Is that clear?" His eyes narrowed as his voice dropped to a lethal whisper.
The boys bowed in understanding, scurrying to pack their few possessions as the Uchiha galloped away on his pure black mare, the best of the best. It was but a minute before he disappeared into thick foliage.
The stable boys stared at each other in panic. "What do we do?" hissed one boy in particular.
One of the elder teens pondered on this for a moment before answering, "We'll head for the Hyuuga kingdom. There will surely be work there. Although the regulations are as strict as the Uchiha kingdom, their families are much more stable and just. We can get there in three days if we plan it right."
The other boys nodded at the wise adolescent, unsure of how to make the decision themselves. One boy, however, didn't respond. He kept to himself in a corner and spoke in a hushed voice.
"You don't know why Uchiha-sama was angered, do you?" he spoke in an amused tone, a hint of ridicule behind it.
The boys turned at the sound of his voice. One of them sneered before taunting, "Who asked you, shortie? You're new here so you wouldn't understand, but losing the dragon isn't our problem. It'll probably find some place to rest and be caught by the Uchiha no matter how far it travels. There's no worry here other than that of our stomachs."
"Fools. If you do not know the importance of dragons," the boy said, emerging from the shadows, "there is no place in the Hyuuga kingdom for you."
The boys gave him a funny look, not paying heed to the flashing gleam in his pale white eyes. "Who are you?" asked Midoroki, the eldest and wisest of the stable boys. He definitely knew something was up, and stepped forward cautiously.
The small boy smirked before pulling off his rags with a flourish. Underneath the raggedy exterior stood Prince Neji himself, the Hyuuga Prodigy that was famous for his ability at mastering moves; moves that were only taught to the Head Family. Not that he was a member of the Head Family. No. He was far from it.
"I am the son of Hyuuga Hizashi, the brother of the current King, Hyuuga Hiashi-sama." Okay, well, maybe not that far… Smirking a twisted grin, he shot forward in his feathery light, silk cape, the symbol of the Hyuuga Clan on his right shoulder.
"And I do not tolerate slackers."
The boys screamed in terror as they received thousands of terrifyingly painful jabs from the Hyuuga. They crumpled into a pile on the dirty stable floor, eyes wide open in shock.
They were dead.
Looking down on them disdainfully, Neji dusted off his cloak and swiftly exited the smelly room, intent on catching up with the older Uchiha. It was his mission after all.
With glistening muscles of pure steel, the stallion raced through the forest, dodging every obstacle in its path. Still, its owner pushed it past its limit, following the dragon blindly with only its distant roars being heard. It gave a great neigh as it galloped over a small stream, getting both of them wet.
"Hya!" a deep voiced cried, still pushing the horse to accelerate beyond its control. The distant roars of the dragon were heard louder and clearer as the seconds ticked away. The rider snapped his head towards his back for a second before concentrating on the ground once more.
They were gaining on him.
'Come on,' he thought apprehensively. 'Just a little further…'
He didn't waste time sighing in relief when they burst out into a clearing next to a small pond. Instead, he quickly located his dragon and made a mad dash for her, jumping off his steed and grasping the leash that was situated on the animal's neck. He slapped his horse on the back, sending it galloping back to its headquarters while he led the dragon away quietly through a secret passage. Well, as secret as nature can build a passage.
The foot wide path was not an ideal traveling method for the navy blue dragon, but it couldn't be helped at the moment. She breathed quietly, knowing that something dangerous was coming. If it weren't for her master holding onto her collar, she would've taken to the skies to avoid human contact. He was never going to ride her, but she still knew who took care of her when worst came to worst.
As the two tiptoed away from the clearing, a group of shinobi no taller than three and a half feet landed right in the middle.
"Neji… Where's the dragon?" a girl with brown buns questioned. Her innocently rebellious brown eyes searched the clearing, much like the other two members of her team.
Neji narrowed his eyes, still searching for the dragon. "I don't know, Tenten."
"Hey guys! I think I found something!" shouted the last member of their group. The young boy had shiny black hair that was cut into a bowl shape, thick eyebrows being the most noticeable feature of his face. The other two rushed to his side in an instant, peering at the patch of twigs he was shifting aside.
The only female of their team looked at it in puzzlement before asking, "Shouldn't we be going after the dragon, Neji? Your uncle did assign us to retrieve the flying creature."
The dark brunette contemplated on this question for a moment before smirking and saying deviously, "Well technically, this is the dragon's egg…"
The girl cheered, jumping up and down. "Yay! So we're done here, right?"
A nod was given in return for her question. "Then let's go home! I'm starving."
Their apparent leader carefully picked up the egg and wrapped it in a fluffy blanket, handing it over to the girl to watch after. "I trust you, Tenten."
She rolled her eyes. "It's because I'm the only girl here, isn't it?"
A blank stare was all she got in reply.
The first person to meet the Uchiha King when he returned was his eldest son. Staring at the arriving figure coolly, he leaned against the stone arcs of the castle entrance casually. When his father was close enough, he approached him and greeted, "Welcome back, father."
"Itachi…" the father acknowledged with a narrow eyes. "What brings you here? Usually you're off in your own room doing who-knows-what."
The eldest son wasn't affected by his father's harsh hostility. On the contrary, he was fully expecting it. "I just wanted to remind you that the dragon belongs to me, father. I will not accept it if Sasuke is chosen to be the next dragon rider."
The father sighed, not yet ready to handle Itachi's overblown ego at the moment. "You should know that the rider doesn't choose the dragon-"
"The dragon chooses the rider," Itachi continued in a bored tone.
The father didn't answer to this right away, nor did he bother correcting his son's rude behavior. He paused for a second and continued, "Then you know that the previous rider of this dragon has already been chosen and is now dead. She will not carry ever again."
"Ah, but her offspring will," Itachi steadily countered.
"Now how would she have…? An offspring! So that's why they didn't pursue me further! She must've laid her egg in that clearing…!"
"You mean that she already laid an egg and you didn't get it?" Itachi growled, furious at his father for being so careless.
Stopping a moment from his ranting, the elder Uchiha frowned before waving a finger and saying, "Now you listen here, young man. I am your father, and you will not raise your voice at me!"
"Does a father forget his own son's dragon egg when there's only one every fifty years?" Itachi retorted haughtily, his anger getting the best of him.
"You should just be thankful that we have food on our table every night. Practically everybody in our kingdom would kill to be in our positions!" Fugaku shouted, trying to bring guilt and gratitude to Itachi's conscience.
"Then let them do as they damn please!" Itachi shouted in absolute rage. He stormed past Fugaku, a black cape bellowing behind him. It was only when he mounted Fugaku's earlier horse and started riding away when Fugaku finally realized that Itachi was leaving… without the Uchiha crest on his back.
"So he's finally leaving…" muttered a boy sitting with his elbow propped against the window sill. His blonde hair and blue eyes gave one the impression that he was a happy-go-lucky guy, which was mostly the truth about him… other than the fact that he was also in line to be one of the Uchiha kingdom's top commanders, of course.
"Good riddance," snorted a black haired individual from his position on his king sized bed. "That means that I get to lead the kingdom when the time comes. I can't wait." If he was really excited about his new fate, he sure didn't show it.
"Chill, Sasuke. We've still got a long ways to go before we're adults yet. We're still only nine years old," Naruto admonished, tilting his head back to let his sleeping cap fall onto his eyes. "School's still tough, you know?"
"Speak for yourself, idiot. I'm passing with flying colors."
"Yeah, yeah…" Naruto brushed off, not offended by his friend's ill mannered attitude.
"When the time comes… I will be a dragon rider," Sasuke muttered vehemently, clenching his fist in determination.
"Sure, Sasuke. Whatever you say."
Sasuke rolled his eyes at his friend's lazy attitude. "Fucking idiot," he murmured.
Naruto smiled, glad to see that his friend was growing up; he was growing accustomed to using the "F" word.