Standard Disclaimer: The creative properties used in the development of this story are not owned by this author. However, original characters are.
Surgeon General's Warning:
Read at your own risk.
Kara no Kyokai / The Borderline of/to Emptiness
In the DARK Future, there is only -- Magical! Lyrical! Naruto?
Umaretsuku / To be born / To be destined…
A Naruto AU fanfic by Tempest Dynasty
I have bore witness to so much… and still I watch…
- The Watcher
A daemon's scream is a terrifying sound to behold. Its very essence instills terror in the hearts of man, sowing doubt and scattering the faithless. Especially ones as physically grand as the Tailed Beasts, their huge daemonic bodies even more horrifying; nine tails this one had. Yet the screeches of this particular daemon failed to even move its captors.
RELEASE ME SCUM! I WILL GIVE THE ONE WHO RELEASES ME A QUICK DEATH AND UTTERLY IMMOLATE THE REST OF YOU!
It struggled in a powerful binding spell, a gigantic arcane spell circle glowing brightly beneath it. Magical chains bound the daemon to the circle, unyielding against the giant's strength. Its nine tails were similarly restrained, held down by these chains. Standing on select sigils were hundreds of men clad in silver armor, a halo of light encircling their heads. From them came a cacophony of chants and prayers, strengthening the bindings with each word uttered.
"Lo, though the time is dark, my faith shines."
One man stood out from them all, his blond hair and blue eyes shining against the daemonic fires. Unlike the others, he wore grand flowing robes and archaic armor, a headband with a leaf etched upon it wrapped around his forehead, standing in front of an altar covered with sacred objects. Floating majestically in front of him was a great gem, ablaze in pure untainted light. He chanted a different prayer, a spell triangle forming by his feet pulsing in symphony with the gem. At the same time, his hands blurred with motion, form a long series of hand seals. At its apex of light, the gem floated to come between the man and the beast.
"Begone, foul daemon! May you never trouble us again!"
The gem sparkled brightly, a rainbow of colors against the fiery orange red of the daemon beast. New iridescent chains sprang from the crystal, encircling the beast's limbs and body, and drawing the monster into a blazing vortex. With an inhuman roar, the great Nine-Tailed daemon was drawn into it, its massive body twisting and stretching with the great current. There was a great burst of flame and light, so bright and hot that those nearby had to shield themselves.
NOOOOO! WARP DAMN YOU ALL!
And like that, the daemon Kyuubi, the Lord of Flames, was sealed away.
"This boy… his name will be… Naruto Uzumaki…" he sighed, collapsing to the ground as the breath of life exhaled its last. "A hero… of Konoha…"
Quickly, the body was carefully picked up and carried away by a contingent of Konoha ANBU, quiet prayers and silent tears trailing behind.
Their honorable Hokage was slain by the horrible magicks brought on by the spell. Through the use of the gem as spell catalyst, the daemon was sealed into a suitable container. There the daemon would remain caged so as long as its container remained alive. The price for this safety, however, was cruelly high. The Yondaime had given up his life for the safety of his beloved village.
Upon the altar, a newborn child wailed. On its belly were carefully painted circles etched with arcane markings. They glowed brightly for a moment, inciting a fresh set of cries from the baby, though they dimmed in moments. The paint had been infused into the boy's flesh, black marks that would damn him forever as a host. In time the markings faded, inviting the approach of a tall man in ornate armor, though differently crafted from those earlier. Unlike the Konoha nin, this man seemed to be far technologically superior.
"I fear his life will be a difficult one," the armored man said, picking up the child with surprising delicacy. He turned to face the elder man in the room. "What will you do, Lord Hokage?"
The Sandaime, once again Hokage with the death of his successor, stepped forward into the room with a grim look on his face.
"I am inclined to agree, Lord Inquisitor. While the men here may see the child as a hero, the populace may not. His childhood may very well be filled with sadness," the Sandaime sighed tiredly. The battle had drained much from everyone, but work was not yet over. "I am afraid that my power will not be enough."
A moment of silence fell among the two. What else was there to say? The child's cries were the only sounds ringing in the vast room.
"The Inquisition will take this boy, Lord Hokage, to observe and protect him," the Inquisitor spoke up suddenly. "If the Yondaime's technique was superior, then the boy will grow without daemonic possession. However, should it be otherwise, we will be ready to strike it down."
"I would greatly prefer the former, but I understand the need of security…"
The Hokage seemed reluctant to leave the boy, the only living legacy of the Yondaime Hokage. He stood there, looking at the boy with sad eyes and silent lament. The Inquisitor allowed the man his moment, but time was against them.
"Lord Hokage, perhaps you should tend to your flock. We will finish things here."
"I… yes. Thank you for your support, Lord Inquisitor," Sarutobi bowed to the armored man. "I feared that we would have been unsuccessful without the assistance of the Ordo Malleus. The Empress bless you."
Before the Sandaime exited the room, however, he left one final note,
"Please, let Naruto's life be what it should have been…"
The Inquisitor did not acknowledge the parting words, his attention solely focused on the boy in his arms. Naruto had stopped crying and had lapsed into a peaceful sleep, possessing no indications as a host. There was no Chaos taint, even in the room. It was as if the daemon had not been here. If anything, the only marks that separated the boy from other children were the whisker-like marks upon his cheeks.
"Indeed. Brother Raoul, please inform the "Adjudicator" to retrieve us. We will be taking this boy with us."
A member of the Inquisitor's retinue, steadfast allies in his battles, Raoul stepped out from the shadows. He, along with the rest of the retinue, had waited to be summoned.
"Lord Drakken? Why do we not kill the host? If we slay him now, then the Kyuubi may never return!"
"Be silent, Brother," he snarled, glaring at the servant with fiery eyes. "I will follow the last request of the Yondaime Hokage, regardless how absurd it may sound! That man banished a Daemon Lord, and for that, he has my respect and the honor of being a hero of the Imperium."
"Of course, my lord. Forgive my lack of faith," the man bowed in his head momentarily. "Where shall we take the boy?"
"Earth. He will live on our holy planet so that we may watch over him."
"Earth? But who shall perform such a task? The Bureau there hardly possesses the proper facilities to deal with a Warp entity. We could very well be unleashing a daemon upon our holy land! "
"Worry not, Brother Raoul. I have the perfect guardians…"
Years passed, seasons dancing by unyielding. A tentative peace had settled over the Imperium of Man. Light years away in the heart of the Galactic Core, guarded by a seething nest of fortress worlds, the golden fleets of the Imperial Navy, and the finest the Imperium had to offer, was a small blue planet: the cradle of life where Man first learned to stand proudly upright. Thought lost for millennia by the scholars of yore, swept away by the tumultuous waves of warp storms and fate, Mother Earth had been borne anew in the absence of her prodigal sons and daughters.
Paradise: a return to simpler times, purer times before the Dark Ages, she knew nothing of the horrors of the infinite war raging across the cosmos, sowing the seeds of strife and sorrow.
Here, a seed was planted not long ago, a misbegotten life perhaps but precious nonetheless. Angels of Death from high and low watch his every move, some even walking amongst men as mysterious, stoic sentinels; their great works unknown and unseen for the common good. So too in the same manner, a Prophet, waited and watched, tending diligently to his flock, but never leaving his eyes off the child for too long. After all, his was a life destined for great things: be it savior or demon.
But for now, he was a child, innocent and frail. His time had not come yet, and so they would watch and wait.
"Haha! I gotcha I gotcha!" the gleeful laughter of a young boy with glorious blond hair bounded through the streets as a mob of angry people chased from behind, their hair and clothes stained a gaily pink.
"Damn punk! Get back here!"
"Nyaaah!" the boy blew a raspberry as he bounded nimbly away. It was a great plan to booby trap the local water sprayer with clothing dye. This city was so drab and boring! A splash of color would do everyone some good!
"He went this way! Down the alley!"
Bums and hobos watched impassively as a blond boy streaked past, laughing as he leapt over obstacles.
Such a silly boy… a hobo thought.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
What's that sound?
The homeless joined the angry crowd, now a mixture of pink and neon yellow.
"Citizens, please calm down! You cannot gather in such a crowd here!" uniformed police gathered ahead, trying to stop the oncoming tide. To their displeasure, the mob did not seem to slow. Unseen were gobs of paint flying towards them.
Bright green joined neon yellow and happy pink, a rainbow of colors chasing one laughing boy.
It did look to make the community seem much more happy, that it did. The drab browns and grays contrasted sharply against the raging mob, more energy in one moment than there was all day.
This game of cat and mouse went of for nearly an hour before the boy managed to lose his pursuers. It was easy enough considering that the streets were a literal maze of pipes, alleys, and roads. For many, it was yet another day in the hive city of Osaka.
The young Uzumaki sighed in satisfaction as he opened the door to his apartment. His successful raids of the public and subsequent evasion were an excitingly fun part of his day – he loved the planning and execution even more.
"Naruto? It is I, Drakken," spoke a low authoritative voice.
"Ahh! Old man! I didn't know you were coming!" the boy gasped in surprise, shuffling quickly to clean his messy apartment and throw something together to drink. The man was responsible for Naruto's well being and his current situation, as well as being a high-ranking Inquisitor. Of all people, it was he that Naruto respected the most.
"Relax, my boy. I am not here for long. There is something I must discuss with you, however. Please sit."
The boy plopped into a chair across from the Inquisitor, sliding a mug of hastily made tea towards the man. In turn, the man sipped the drink politely.
"Naruto, you are growing older, and from my observations, this city does not suit you," he began, his tone calm and neutral. "The people here do not understand your energy and creativity, especially with that paint bomb.
"Hehe… so you saw that?" the boy laughed nervously with a hand behind his head.
"Indeed, Naruto. I will admit it was a trap that even the men of Catachan would be proud of."
The boy beamed with pride. It was hard knowing that he was cooped up on a backwater planet like "Earth" when he knew for a fact there was a whole universe out there just waiting for him. Pretending to be an average child who knew nothing more than what he was taught by the ignorant adults around was such a pain! Why ol' Drakken had not raised him at the grand capital world of the Imperium, Holy Terra, escaped his young mind; other than the fact, the old man must have been out of his mind when he decided raising Uzumaki Naruto in the "holy land of Earth" would be best for the rambunctious boy.
Still, moments like this where he got to spend some time with the Inquisitor were not bad at all.
"But I have received a number of complaints; so much that I cannot ignore them anymore without losing faith. Thus I have decided that you move to a new home."
Happy feeling gone.
"Whaaaaat?" Naruto leapt out of his seat, decorum forgotten. "I gotta leave everyone? That's not fair!"
The Inquisitor sighed, excusing Naruto's lack of manners due to youth. His brown eyes bore into the boy's blue, sending a silent message through the link. Naruto seemed to get it, as he calmed and sat down.
"I agree with you, Naruto, but as much as you are my responsibility, so is my flock. I am the shepherd of many, and thus I must look out for the greater good."
"Oh…" the boy had the look and air of a kicked puppy.
"But that is not to say I will abandon you. Your new neighborhood is one of much higher quality. It is not so crowded as this hive city."
Both males looked out the same window to the hive city of Osaka, its towering buildings standing majestically yet intimidating over everything. Naruto's home was an apartment buried among the rest of the technological city, a speck against everything else.
"Yokohama is a splendid port city, its industrialization unlike that of Osaka. Uncrowded yet full of life, there are many of your age. It's a comfortable suburb."
"Ano sa, ano sa! What's my new home gonna be like?"
"It's a new apartment complex with rather spacious rooms. You could fit a small family in one. It'll be within walking distance from the local school, of which I expect you to attend," the Inquisitor gave Naruto a meaningful look. In turn, the twelve-year-old nervously laughed again.
"While I do not expect perfect grades, I do ask that you at least try to apply yourself, Naruto."
"But it's all so boring! What am I going to use all that stuff for, anyways?"
"The Blood Ravens Chapter has a mighty battlecry. They cry out 'Knowledge is power! Guard it well!' as they charge their enemies. Because of their reverence for knowledge, they are highly regarded amongst their peers, even among Xenos!"
"Indeed, child. But we are getting off topic. About your new home…"
It was only a week since that conversation. The move had gone smoothly, and despite the shenanigans they suffered through, several people were sorry to see the boy go.
Inquisitor Drakken watched on as the last of the movers packed away their gear and left the scene. Before him was his transport, a sleek black limousine, awaiting his arrival.
"Lord Yondaime Hokage. Lord Sandaime Hokage. How I wish you could see him now. His presence shines brightly against the Warp, even though his existence is cursed. Naruto's destiny will be a great one. May the Empress watch over him."
The boy in question stood on his apartment's balcony, a dramatic wind tugging at his clothes and strands of his hair. He gazed upon his new home, the city before him teeming with life.
Yokohama was a very different city from Osaka. For starters, the primary industry was trade, due to the fact that the city was a grand port. The widespread docks at the blue coastline, filling with freighters coming and going, were a testament to that fact. Gone were the massive skyscrapers, offices, and crowded compartmental buildings of yesterday, teetering dangerously on the edge of chaos. Yokohama had suburbs, sensible neighborhoods with room to play and room to breathe, and downtown actually made sense, instead of being hopelessly convoluted to a visitor.
Ah, cleanliness and order; it was a refreshing change, really, but it still needed a little… something.
Naruto smirked, pulling down his goggles and shouting out to the world,
"Yoshaa!! Let's get this show started!"
To be continued…
Author's Notes: The product of a whim and overactive imaginations, this story may or may not be your cup of tea. Regardless, please feel free to leave some comments. They add fuel to my fire, resulting in quicker updates. My use of Japanese will be minimal and context sensitive, brought in only when most appropriate – suffixes, for example – or when it matches a character's behavior. I am not here to show off my poor Japanese skills. For those who stick around, this should be a fun ride.
I would like to thank my beta / partner / Chaos Lord James Ray Edwards for his advice, assistance, and heavy contributions. If it weren't for him, this would've never gotten off the launch pad. Go read his stuff – they're sure to leave a unique taste on your palate.
I'll see you all next chapter.