Sorry this took so long. Here's my list of excuses: 1) I hate my job. My boss clearly wants me to work as much as I can before school starts up again. (I quit, so more writing time!) 2) School started on August 10th. Yes it was a Friday and yes that is retarded. And that also means my already limited time is going to be more stressed out what with me being a senior. 3) Apparently, I'm the only idiot around who gets a cold in the summertime. 4) I was at a loss for inspiration. The main things I want to write are the awesome fight scenes I got planned out, but I need stuff to fill in between the fights. If anyone as any ideas, please feel free to put them in a review or PM. 5) Zombies over ran my town I had only 72 hours in a mall to figure out why. 6) I was fighting off an extremely religious alien brotherhood that was trying to extinguish humanity. 7) I was trapped in an underwater city filled with crazies with genetic superpowers.
Thanks for waiting anyway. This chapter will focus mainly on Naruto and Johnny.
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"Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves."
Chapter 5: The Lost
That was what the kitsune had basically said he was now. A slave to Mephistopheles and his will. His selfless sacrifice to save Sasuke's life had cost him his freedom. What was that old saying? "Nice guys finish last". Yeah. That was proving to be true in ways very few mortals could ever understand.
Naruto Uzumaki sighed as he walked down an empty street.
Just two weeks ago, Team 7 had been your normal, run-of-the-mill Genin team of the ninja village of Konaha. Although one was a demon container, the next a brooding avenger, the third a love struck fan girl, and their sensei was a chronologically tardy pervert. And he would give anything to have those days back.
Now everything was so messed up. Naruto had a second curse to deal with, Sasuke was still under house arrest, and he hadn't even seen Sakura or Kakashi since they had visited him in the hospital on separate occasions.
Both of them had visited for less than an hour before excusing themselves to go see their precious Uchiha. Kakashi had congratulated him on a job well done and Sakura had thanked him most generously with a giant hug and a kiss on the cheek. He still hadn't washed that spot in over 10 days.
But what had changed most was Naruto's look. If a villager was to see the young ninja now, they would have trouble recognizing him. Instead of his regular 'kill me orange', the blonde was wearing a dark black muscle shirt, black ANBU pants like Kakashi wore, and a dark trench coat like Ibiki wore during the Chunin exam. It was a look that didn't say "I'm emo, leave me alone," but said that he was one not to be messed with.
He had also decided to get a weapon. Or more precisely, two weapons; one for each arm. He had purchased two arm blades that were as long as his arm from wrist to elbow. The blades were currently folded down against his arm, but with just a quick concentrated burst of chakra, he could whip the blades out in an instant. To make sure the weapons wouldn't damage his new coat, Naruto had gotten one with slits in the arm like some dress shirts have.
But that damn mark wouldn't stop irritating him! After his release from the hospital, he had found a strange marking on his left bicep. It didn't show up till the day after he returned to his apartment.
The mark was 6 inches long and completely black. It was shaped mainly from a triangle that had two curves protruding from the end points of the triangle's top. There was an X through the middle of the triangle beginning from inside the bottom two corners. At the top with the curves, a V shape overlapped them (AN: if you still don't have a good idea what it looks like, check out the picture on my profile).
The damn thing would either burn or prick his skin, and no amount of home remedies would cure it. Naruto was afraid to go to Tsunade for help because she would ask where he got it. Naruto couldn't tell her his idea of it being a mark of the devil and he couldn't lie about it less the Hokage check the library to find out the truth. So he ignored the small irritation as best he could.
But the nightmares he couldn't ignore. Every night since he had discovered the thing, his dreams would be plagued by horrors almost equaling the one he had when he first woke up in the hospital. Chaos everywhere, bodies mutilated, fires raging out of control.
But the worst part was the screams. Constant, never ceasing wailing and gnashing of teeth. He never saw the faces of those being tortured and he didn't want to.
He had tried going to the Kyuubi for guidance, but every time he tried to go to his inner mind, he felt something blocking him. Whether it was the fox keeping him out or something else, he didn't know.
For the first time in his life, he felt totally and completely lost.
"Hell Fire Blast!" yelled out a ghostly figure, shooting a ball of fire from its skeletal hand. The low-level demon on the receiving end of the attack screamed as it was instantly turned to ash.
The other demons were in a panic. They had gotten past the barrier dividing Hell from the mortal plain only a few days ago and had barely caused any destruction or carnage. The five demons had found a group of hikers in the woods near where they materialized and had slaughtered them and feasted on the corpses. Before they could continue their indulgence of human flesh in a nearby town, the five had been found by the one thing every demon feared.
Someone who has been chosen by the dark prince to become his bounty hunter. The darkest and most destructive powers of Hell were at their disposal, and this one seemed Hell bent on annihilating the remaining four demons.
"Damn you, you fucking bastard!" yelled one of the demons, rushing at the burning skeleton.
The rider calmly looked at the charging foe without moving. When the demon was about to strike, the Ghost Rider used his battle chain like a whip and ensnared the demon around the neck. With a quick jerk from the rider, the demons head made a snapping noise as the vertebrae separated.
While the Ghost Rider was concentrating on that demon, two of the remaining three appeared beside and in front of him. With all the strength they could muster, the duo pieced him thru the side and front of his leather jacket.
But instead of screaming in pain, the rider just looked at the two and said, "Is that really the best you got?" Then the flames from his skull then exploded outward, lighting up the night sky and frying the two.
The last demon decided that he valued his life more than avenging his comrades; so he high tailed it out of there.
The Rider saw this act of cowardice and chuckled darkly. Reaching behind his back, the skeleton pulled out a sawn-off Winchester Model 1887 shotgun. Infusing it with his powers, the gun took on a demonic and more powerful look.
"Austa la vista, baby," the rider said, quoting one of his most favorite movies from when he was young. He pulled the trigger and a bullet of pure, hot fire shot out and went right thru the demon's torso.
"Ow," was the only thing he could say before keeling over and then turning to ash.
The Ghost Rider stood looking over the battlefield. Nothing but scorched earth was left. Suddenly he doubled over in pain and cried out. He continued to scream in agony as the sun dawned on a new day.
After a few moments of pain, the rider stood back up; now back to his fleshy, human form of Johnny Blaze. Instead of fire, the top of his head now held the wavy brown hair that made so many women swoon back when he was one of the most famous stunt riders in the world.
Now where was he? Hunting demons and risking his life everyday. He couldn't die while in his Rider form, but he could still feel pain.
Thinking back, he still couldn't figure out why, when the first time he transformed to battle Blackheart, he was run over by a semi driven by the Elemental of Earth, and when he de-transformed, he was fine. But on that same night, he was stabbed by some punk mugger and he had to get sown up by the Caretaker. Very strange.
Checking himself out, he made sure the demons hadn't done any lasting damage. Luck seemed to be with him this time, as the only thing damaged was his jacket.
"Damn it all," Johnny said with exasperated sigh. "This was my favorite jacket too. I've barely got enough for food and gas. And everything on this continent is so god damn expensive."
After finishing the most dangerous demons on the Northern continent, Johnny had made his way across the ocean to the Eastern continent. This was where he had sensed that monstrous power that had him worried so much.
But now he was at a loss of where to go and what to do for cash. And what was worse was that stupid marking on his left arm wouldn't stop bothering him.
"Is this what death feels like? It's so cold" thought the young boy as his mind, soul and body lay in the cold darkness.
"Was I not able to join you master? Was my sacrifice for nothing?" His master had saved him, taught him, and been like a father to him. Was this his punishment for taking so many lives under the service of his master: to never be able to see him in the afterlife? It just wasn't fair. He didn't want to be alone and lost in this cold.
"Now now little one. When I find you, you won't be alone or lost anymore," said a voice from nowhere.
"Who's there? Are you an angel?" thought the confused youth.
The voice gave a deep, almost malicious, chuckle. "No I'm not an angel. Far from it. But I can reunite you with your master. You just have to help me out with a few small things."
"What can I help you with? I'm dead. I am of no use to anyone. I have no purpose."
"You may be dead, but I can fix that. Just concentrate hard enough and I will find you. Then after you have helped me, you will see you master again. I promise" the voice spoke in an almost comforting tone.
"What have I got to lose? All right, I'll help you." The last thing on his mind before the boy fell into a deep meditation was one word: Zabuza.
Wow! And that only took a month! So sorry again if I made everyone wait. If you want to help speed things up, send in your ideas with your reviews. That should really help!