Laharl leaned back into his throne and stared at the ceiling of his throne room. To put bluntly... he was bored. Extremely so. For centuries, he had been the undisputed Overlord of his Makai... Nobody even considered challenging his rule anymore.
Where did that leave him?
Sure he was in charge, and would be for quite some time, but being Overlord was surprisingly far less fun than he'd expected. For the first hundred years or so, there seemed to be a new challenger every week... first the Baal incidents, then when Etna ran off to Veldime because he'd eaten her last pudding, with the whole Zenon thing... the excitement had never died down for a while... But eventually, fewer and fewer were willing to challenge him. After all, he was the almighty Overlord! These days, he was lucky to recieve a challenger every twenty or thirty years, and they were usually headstrong idiots that thought since they'd never lost a battle wherever they'd come from, they were invincible. It would usually take only a single attack to brutally demolish them. No fun at all...
Of course there were demons and monsters out there that were strong enough to give him something of a challenge, but most of them were perfectly happy fighting each other instead of him, and would likely run away if he ever happened to drop into the middle of a battle... And it would be 'unseemly' should he disguise himself, just to be able to fight someone. His councilors could become extremely irritating should he do anything 'unseemly towards his status as Overlord'. So that was out.
A thought struck his mind... a sudden stroke of brilliance cutting through his boredom.
It would be unseemly for him to disguise himself and hunt down fights... unless he was training himself a successor to take his place! The councilors had been nagging at him for several decades to either find a mate and bear himself an heir, or select someone to train as his successor... He would have to think carefully about this.
He stood up, casually walking out of the throne room, ignoring the shocked cries of the senile councilors... nobody ever came to him with their problems anyway, the whole court thing was just a show to assure the councilors that he was following traditions, like a proper overlord.
If he thought any of the feeble old men would be able to put up a fight, he would debate just killing them all... but weak as they were, there would be no point to it.
Now... Someone to train as a successor... someone weak, so that the training wasn't too short... a human would be perfect, but the stupid councilors would never accept one as successor, and there was the problem of their short lifespan. He had been completely shocked when Gordon had died of old age less than a century after they'd first met. No, a human might be capable of growing powerful enough to achieve Overlord levels of strength, but they wouldn't live long enough to be a viable candidate. A demon would work, but if he chose a demon from his Makai then word would get around too fast, and his chosen one would be killed by a more powerful demon in the hopes of stealing the position as successor, sending him back to square one. He couldn't take a demon from someone else's Makai either... that would cause all sorts of questions, leading up to the same problem.
What did that leave... Half-demons? No... it was rare for a demon to willingly breed with a human... the last one was a couple hundred years ago, and he was living in peace in a human world. He was also far too powerful for Laharl's purposes. So... just what did that leave? Not an angel certainly. That was out of the question... and patently ridiculous.
How depressing... and this had been such a good idea too, just like ten years ago when he decided to send a search party to follow the Bijuu that had defected...
He froze, before turning and jogging down a different hallway.
He slid to a stop in front of a specific door, and kicked it open. Etna was... snoring loudly, tangled up in her bedsheets. His eye twitched and he turned around... seconds later he had returned to the room, with a large bucket.
"Etna... this is your last warning... get up, or else!"
She continued sleeping, and a wide grin crossed his face as he lifted the bucket.
A shrill scream erupted throughout the entirety of the castle.
Etna sat up on the edge of her bed, wringing the chilly water out of her hair and glaring at Laharl.
"What the hell do you want, Laharl? You know that I always take a nap at this time of day!"
"Do you? I hadn't noticed because... THE STUPID COUNCILORS MAKE ME SIT IN A CHAIR IN AN EMPTY ROOM FOR HOURS ON END!"
"IF THEY'RE THAT IRRITATING THEN JUST KILL THEM, MORON!'
"Tch... I'm thinking about it. Maybe if Baal came back and possessed one of them, it would be worth the time it would take to kill them. But anyway... I need to know what happened to the reports on the Bijuu that left after my old man died."
"You... WOKE ME UP FOR THAT! Sheesh... you... gah... It's in the file room, somewhere under 'B', just like anyone in the castle could have told you."
Laharl nodded and left, leaving Etna free to flop back down into bed and finish her nap... right into the wet spot.
By the time Etna caught up to Laharl, he'd already located the folder holding the reports he'd wanted and spread them out all over the table. She stood behind him, reading over his shoulder as he seperated the reports into two piles. The larger one, he slipped back into the sleeve and set aside.
"Ah... Laharl? Is there a point to this?"
"... Ten years ago, to relieve the monotony, I sent a search party out after the nine Bijuu, led by Kyuubi, that left to go terrorize a human world after my father died. My hopes were that, with any luck, all nine of them would be rampaging around, and I'd have an excuse to go bash their heads in... as a sign of good faith to the human worlds of course. Unfortunately... They had almost all been defeated already, by the humans of the place they had chosen at random. Not killed... but sealed away. Into things... jewels... weapons... and more recently, humans. After reviewing the reports I reluctantly decided it would not be worth it to hunt down the only Bijuu that had remained unsealed. A few years later I sent them back for a follow-up report, to see if any of the seals locking the Bijuu away had begun to weaken, reasoning that if the seals broke, releasing even one Bijuu from its prison, then it could be used as an excuse to allow me to hunt them down... but the seals were holding perfectly."
Laharl sighed as he leaned back for a moment, then returned to poring over the reports.
"It's been years since I've had a decent fight... I know full well that there are beings, human and demon, that can even yet challenge me, but they respect me... and fear me... too much for them to seek me out for battle, and should I seek them out they would either flee or forfeit. I cannot seek them out in disguise either... unless I was training a successor in secret, and did not want the fact to get around."
Etna caught on swiftly.
"But if you want to train someone in secret, you can't just choose anyone, or it will be noticed and riots will break out over who was selected."
"Exactly... that cuts out almost all demons. Humans can become powerful, but they don't live long enough to serve as successor, and angels... Flonne was a fluke. No other angel would willingly stay in a world inhabited by demons... even Flonne only came at first because she was ordered to. I considered half-breeds, but there aren't many of those, and most of them are more powerful than I want. I was about to scrap the idea when I remembered these... the Bijuu sealed into humans. Humans backed by demonic entities... one of these would be perfect."
He lifted one and set it aside.
"From what the reports say, this one's mind seems to have shattered under the strain of a weaker seal than should have been used... add that to the fact that the Bijuu sealed within him wasn't the sanest of the nine to begin with... and he's useless."
He lifted a second, considered it a moment, then sighed and set it on top of the first.
"She may actually have worked out well... but by now she's too set in her role, and she wouldn't work anymore. A pity... she seems to have the most control over the demon within her."
He picked up the last report and smiled.
"This one... The seal on him is slowly destroying the Bijuu within him, unlike the less powerful seal on the other two... a seal that apparently required an extremely powerful sacrifice to be performed. Unlike the other two, this one is almost completely untrained, a definite plus. Almost all of the humans of his village shower him with hatred, unlike the other two, who were feared... give him even a little attention, and he'll be utterly devoted to me. I'll have to try not to abuse that... too much."
Laharl smirked as he stood up, tossing the report back up on the table.
"Etna, find Flonne and then notify the councilors that... I have decided to take a little vacation."
Naruto slumped into his bed, staring at the ceiling. Most of the day, it was easy enough to let his mask control his every action, running around like an idiot and flirting pathetically with Sakura. While people were watching, he had incentive to act 'normal'. But times like this... when he was alone in his ratty apartment, staring at the cracked ceiling and peeling wallpaper... his mask would slip and crack, revealing his depression.
He'd been excited when Iruka had passed him, letting him become a Genin... the first step to his dream of becoming Hokage... And then when he'd been put on a team with Sakura, his mask had been overjoyed... putting up with Sasuke would be a small price to pay, right?
But first there was the 'real' Genin exam... underneath his mask, he'd realized the purpose of the test only a minute after it began... but noone else did. Naturally, when they all failed, it was him, the dead-last, that was tied to the log. He'd been lucky that Sasuke had finally figured it out then... but it was likely that Kakashi was grasping at straws to pass the precious 'Uchiha Survivor' at that point.
Then there had been weeks of pointless D-rank missions, for the villagers who had only praise for the Uchiha, and scorn for the demon bearer. Even Kakashi... he never outright badmouthed or scorned Naruto, but he never had anything good to say about him either, while he would throw some praise to Sasuke and Sakura now and again. It was depressing... he seemed to expect them to train on their own, but the Shinobi library would never allow him inside... Even if the Sandaime was with him it only bought him a little time and he was closely watched, to ensure he got exactly what he came for... and nothing more.
Then came their first C-rank mission... half his pack was occupied with things that didn't fit in Sasuke's... Spare kunai and shuriken, and a couple specially made shuriken as well. The bastard seemed to enjoy idly rubbing Naruto's nose in the fact that no matter how much money he made off the stupid D-ranks... if the villagers decided to pay him at all... none of the more well-respected weapon shops or shinobi supply stores would even allow him entry. Did they think that he wore the same orange jumpsuit every day just because he liked the color orange? His mask was good, but wasn't that a little much?
They'd gone through all sorts of hell on that mission, C turned A-rank, and all Kakashi had taught them as a group was how to climb trees. At first he'd been extremely impressed, but after everything was said and done, a few subtle inquiries from a henge'd bunshin had revealed that the tree walking technique had been taught to the other rookies... on their first day as Genin.
And now, after doing the day's D-rank, Kakashi would train them... sort of. In reality, he would work heavily with Sasuke, teaching him how to use his eyes, new fire techniques, and polishing his taijutsu while he sent Sakura and Naruto to the other end of the field, to work on stamina and chakra control... 'or something.' Sakura had no problem with this, running up and down a tree once or twice before calling it a day before crossing the field to cheer and drool over Sasuke, who would sometimes remove his shirt for the training. Sure, he claimed he didn't want fangirls drooling over him, but he certainly took every opportunity to flaunt himself for them!
He grimaced and glanced over at the calendar on his wall, before sighing and returning his gaze to the ceiling. Only a few months until the Chunnin exams... he had no doubt that Kakashi would enter them, and the only one of them that might be ready would be Sasuke... That exam was a deathtrap... fully prepared Genin could wind up dying if they were unfortunate... He and Sakura would have to be extremely lucky to survive it. Naturally, if he, Sakura, or both died it wouldn't matter at all to Kakashi or Sasuke... only that if they died at the wrong time, it might affect the Uchiha's chances for promotion.
Naruto shivered lightly. Was this it? He had done his best to train himself... but it wasn't enough. Nobody would willingly train him... not even Kakashi. If properly trained Genin died in that exam, what possible chance did he have of surviving it?
Of course there was always... he shook his head, even as the raspy, growling voice he had grown so familiar with since the incident in Wave. In his rage, he had used the Kyuubi's power, opening up a link between the two that the monster could use to speak directly into his mind.
"I can help human... for a price. Kill for me, and I will lend you the power to keep yourself alive."
Naruto grimaced, focusing on drowning out the voice, burying himself in random thoughts and memories.
"Human... kill for me... spill the blood of these concieted peasants... let it flow freely on the streets... human... kill for me... I can give you power..."
Naruto clenched his eyes shut, wrapping his hand around the unwrapped hilt of his third-rate kunai. It was sharp, but bore several faults that could cause it to crack when struck, or shatter completely if hit exactly the right way.
Naruto's eyes snapped wide open, and the kunai flew from his hand directly towards the intruding voice as he sat up and stared after it into the shadows.
A length of tattered red fabric emerged, deflecting the kunai into a wall and billowing in place as a short, blue haired man in shorts stepped forward. He could feel the demon within him reacting in shock and recognition... and fear. What could make a demon like Kyuubi know fear?
"Human! Kill him! You must kill him! Kill him before he kills us! Kill him now!"
Naruto ignored him, choosing to stare at the intruder in curiosity instead. In the back of his mind, he considered reverting to his mask, but decided against it. He'd never seen this person before, so it wouldn't matter how he acted anyway, and...
"It's afraid of you."
The intruder slowly arched an eyebrow and smirked.
"He speaks to you? Or does he borrow your senses... looking through your eyes, and hearing through your ears? No matter... Kyuubi, leader of the Nine Bijuu, you abandoned your post as head of the Royal Guards during the tumult following the unexpected death of Overlord Krichevskoy. In so doing, you were critical in allowing the poisoning of his son, inducing his long sleep. Now I'm ashamed to say that I am willing to allow you your life... but on my terms."
Naruto's eyes widened as a rush of Kyuubi's chakra flooded his body, focusing in his head and taking control of his mouth and tongue as his eyes shifted to an evil red.
"Speak quickly... Laharl-sama. I can only overpower the seal for so long, and my remaining lifespan shortens as we talk. I have no desire to be lost to oblivion."
"Heh. So you do know that the seal was specifically designed to kill you slowly. However... I can remove you. Not your power, and a new body will have to be created for you. You'll be knocked down to the most basic of levels, but you'll be alive. I think you should know... at the seal's current rate of assimilation, you have perhaps a decade at best before total absorbtion and oblivion.
There was silence as Kyuubi apparently thought hard about the offer.
"This deal... what do you get out of it?"
"Hmm... I'm looking for a successor, and need someone that I can train for the post in secret. Your vessel, with most of your power left within him and sustaining his longevity... he was one of the few people to fit the bill. Now I can still train him with you inside... but you'll still have only a decade to live left before the seal finishes.
Or I could just go on to the next on my list. Your call."
When the demon spoke through Naruto again, it was almost a plaintive whine.
"I'll be weak?"
"Yes... but you'll have an entire lifetime to grow powerful again."
"...Fine. Do it."
Naruto's eyes widened in horror as Laharl's hand suddenly lit up in light purple flames and plunged directly into his stomach, through the seal. The pain... it was excruciating.
He blacked out.
Ah, a little break from the same things. This is actually an idea I've been floating around my head for some time. My favorite video game crossed with one of my favorite manga's... there are only three, maybe four crosses between these two last I checked. It just makes sense to me though, Disgaea and Naruto. Let's just see how it works out.