Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
by Chronos Astral
A swirling mass of blue and white energy formed and expanded within the confines of the realm, and within it, came the approaching symphony of hysterical screaming.
"Ow." Naruto picked himself up on his knees and rubbed his throbbing head, trying to soothe the aching pain. He surmised that since he could feel pain now, he had either woken up or successfully traversed into another person's dream. After a few moments of retaining his bearings, Naruto took his time to survey his surroundings.
Well, for one thing, he wasn't in the Plane, nor was he in his bedroom. The blond found himself in the middle of a vast interior that had the look of some of Konoha's older buildings and sites. The room was made up of traditional tatami mats and shoji screens and decorated with homely plants and ornaments of time-honored nature, like fans, masks, and displayed weapons of old. From what Naruto could tell it was but part of a large complex, though no one but himself was there.
The Link is successful, Scion.
"Gah!" Startled, Naruto jumped a few feet into the air and landed on his behind. "Lucid!? Where are you!? Don't startle me like that!"
Again, Lucid's voice spoke in its many tongues, though this time not as loudly and resounding only within the boy's mind. I apologize for affrighting you, Scion. I have neglected to tell you that I may communicate with you through each Link, and you the same to me. I cannot present myself within the realm, but I can act as your guide for what may lie ahead.
After letting this information sink in, Naruto made a nod to himself and stood from his position. "Okay, then. So... Where am I?"
Currently, you are residing in a realm of fantasy, built upon the desires or wishes of the controller of this realm. This place is a representation of said desires, symbolic or otherwise.
"I see. And what am I supposed to do now?"
Inspect you're apparel.
Naruto looked down at his form, a little surprised to find himself garbed in a traditional hakama and gi set. Further to his feet were a pair of tabi socks and zori sandals. "Woah. When'd I get this stuff?" He asked, fiddling with one sleeve.
You are playing a certain role in this vassal's dream. You may or may not be made consciously aware of it, depending on said vassal's will. As an arbiter, you can only succumb to the events of the dream, but at the same time, you may enforce a bit of your own will as well.
"I'm not sure I-" Naruto was cut off with a sliding door suddenly appearing on the wall. It opened to the side, revealing a long-haired, pale-eyed figure, dressed similarly to him.
"Neji!?" Naruto exclaimed in surprise, but the familiar stoic Hyuuga didn't seem to pay him any mind and walked regally towards him.
Neji stopped in front of Naruto, eying him up and down for a moment before speaking. "Hmph. Another foolish would-be warrior seeking glory?" He said, clearly unimpressed with him.
Naruto growled. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means that you, like many before you, are foolish to think that you actually stand a chance at winning. I don't know why we even bother letting you people try." The dream-form of the Hyuuga crossed his arms in an act of condescendence, reverting to his infamous holier-than-thou persona.
Obviously, this would serve to irk the blond, as he'd always hated people who downplayed his strength. "Oh yeah!?" Naruto raised his fists. "Wanna bet on that right now!?"
Neji merely scoffed irritably. "Hmph. Even if you beat me, you still wouldn't last a mere five minutes with the master."
Naruto was about to make a fiery retort, before the mention of 'the master' interested him. "Wait... What master?"
"What's happening out there?" Another voice queried from the door that Neji had entered from.
Once again, said door slid open, revealing another figure in the same robes, calmly approaching them with regal poise. A man of apparent exceptional upbringing to the casual observer. At least until they take notice of his shiny bowl-cut hair and ruler-thick eyebrows.
"Neji." The newcomer addressed with a composed tone. "Is this another challenger?"
"Yes." The Hyuuga nodded in affirmative. "Another cocky one as well. I'd give him a minute before we need to mop his face off the mats and wall."
"We give equal chances to everyone willing. Remember that, Neji."
"Of course, Lee."
At that point, Naruto's mental activities screeched to a halt. This... person in front of him, one that had the most ungodly resemblance to Rock Lee, was the actual Rock Lee!?
A vision of Hell in polar climate and TonTon having gained the ability of flight briefly appeared within his mind.
This 'man' could not possibly be 'Lee' of all people! He had to be the complete opposite of Lee! There was no green spandex! No avid and exaggerated exclamations of youth! And was he wearing glasses!?
'Lee' adjusted said spectacles on his face to better regard the gaping form of Naruto. "Well he's certainly the strange-looking one."
"'STRANGE'!? 'I'M' STRANGE!? WHAT ABOUT YOU!? NO YOUTH!? NO SUNSET!? NO WEIRD AND INCONCEIVABLE SELF-PUNISHMENT!? WHO THE HELL ARE YOU, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH LEE, AND WHAT THE HELL DID YOU TAPE OVER YOUR EYES THAT LOOK JUST LIKE HIS EYEBROWS!!?" Naruto exploded in disbelief, as if the very nature of this 'dream Lee' was a heresy of life itself. While the bowl-cut boy usually was respectful, it was not in this sense. Not in a million lifetimes.
Lee blinked at the blond's puzzling reaction. "... Excuse me?"
"DON'T DO THAT!" Naruto screamed at him again.
Lee took a precautionary step back. "What do you mean?"
"THAT! THAT THING WHERE YOU'RE NOT REALLY LOUD!!" Naruto exaggeratedly thrust a finger at him, as if accusing him of a heinous crime.
"I can only honestly say that the only loud one here is you, sir." The very un-Lee-like Lee calmly stated, still a little taken aback by the blond's tirade.
In contrast, Naruto had started sputtering incomprehensible things in an uncontrollable volume. Decidedly, Neji had enough. "Enough! Save your deluded rambling for a later date. The master cannot be kept waiting."
"I agree." Lee nodded, cleaning his glasses of the spittle that was sprayed from Naruto's outburst. "We must proceed to the master at once." After placing his glasses upon his face once more, Rock Lee held the still mumbling Naruto by the arm and dragged him into the next room with Neji following suite.
Scion... Lucid spoke to the disheveled Naruto, alerting no one but him. Recall that this is only a dream and that it will not always coincide with reality. There is no reason for alarm.
"B-but this is 'Rock Lee'. The Rock Lee. Not in anyone's, even his own dreams can Rock Lee not be loud and not wearing green spandex." Naruto whimpered to himself, still being dragged like a ragdoll across the vast halls.
Lee caught wind of a few of his words and gave an amused huff. "'Green spandex'? I wouldn't be caught dead wearing 'green', much less 'spandex'." He chuckled lightly to himself in an even more un-Lee-like way, not knowing that Naruto had just sunken even further into the incredulity of it all.
'Only a dream. Only a dream. Only a dream. Only a dream...' He stubbornly repeated in his mind.
After what felt like an hour of being dragged and reassuring himself that the whole thing was a dream (albeit one that was so far eerily strange), Naruto resigned himself to the will of whoever was dreaming of the whole thing. Speaking of which, "Who is this 'master', anyway?"
"We do not speak freely of the master." Neji said briskly.
"Indeed. The master is far too great to be spoken of by us mere servants." Lee added with a tinge of reverence.
Naruto voiced his own opinion. "So this master guy is really strong?"
"That, would be a very grave understatement."
The three then ascended a flight of unnecessarily wide stairs (at this point, Naruto would walk instead of being dragged) and navigated through a vast array of gratuitously excessive defense systems consisting of, but not limited to, mine fields, laser grids, bottomless pits of doom, mounted turrets of both immolating and freezing variety, 20 foot robot sentries, banana peels, your standard large burly bald man with a bat - the whole nine yards (and maybe a few thousand more).
It would seem 'gratuitously excessive' was also a grave understatement here.
And so, after nearly tripping on one such mine, having part of his hair cut clean off by lasers, almost falling into said pit (with much hysterical screaming), getting his rear burned and frozen at the same time, narrowly escaping being stepped on by 60 tons of steel and electronic wiring, slipping more than just a dozen times, coupled with just as many curses and promises of death, on the infernal yellow peelings that he had learned to loathe, and nearly having said bald man deck him for making an off-comment on the sheen of his scalp, Naruto was seething and impatient, flaring with an aura that would have made even the Kyuubi flinch. Though, the two males of Team Gai took no notice.
"ARE WE FKING THERE YET!?"
"You're amazing resilience still cannot compare to the overwhelming volume of your screeching, it would seem." Neji commented in an irritated tone. "We told you to stay close to us as to avoid getting hurt. Consider yourself lucky that you're even alive at all."
"To be honest, though, even your uncanny ability to avoid certain death, you cannot come close to defeating the master that way." Lee chided respectfully.
Naruto grumbled at the repeated mention of this 'master'. He had long concluded that this 'master' was most probably the one who was dreaming of all this, and he certainly had a large and rather unsated ego to be imagining himself to be some almighty overlord of horribly deformed versions of Green Beasts of Konoha and master of a home equipped with an ungodly array of totally unnecessary traps. In any case, whoever he was, Naruto was going to give him a piece of his mind.
"We have arrived." Neji bade as they approached a door. An impossibly massive door made of what looked like titanium.
After adding that to the list of 'severely messed up things' he'd found in this realm so far, Naruto entered through an alternate route in the form of a simple wooden door found adjacent to its more extravagant metallic counterpart (As if the place wasn't screwed up enough for his tastes).
"Who goes there?" A commanding and yet surprisingly familiar voice beckoned to them from within the vast room. A shadow of a figure loomed over Naruto, falling closer and closer to him in an aggressive pounce. Reflexively, the blond rolled out of the way, and right on time as the perpetrator landed on the wooden floor he had been standing on with a fierce crash, destroying the very floorboards and kicking up dust in its wake.
On impulse, Naruto's hand darted for his right leg, but cursed inwardly having realized he had no kunai pouch there, and thus, no kunai.
"Impressive reflexes, boya. Not a lot of guys see that attack coming." The voice spoke again, discernibly female and mildly impressed. The smog cleared, revealing to all a rather well-endowed blonde woman, dressed in the same manner as both Neji and Lee, albeit her gi was made a few sizes bigger to properly fit her assets. A notable feature of hers would the purple diamond seal embedded on her forehead.
A blond rocket was sent hurdling into the wall at mach speeds, courtesy of Tsunade. "Who're you callin' old!?" She hollered in unsuppressed outrage, veins bulging whilst shaking her fists. "29 years old is a tender age! I'm not old yet!"
"'29'?" Naruto said skeptically, after arising from the impact. "But, Tsunade-baa-chan, you're at least 60-urk!"
And again, a second blond projectile is launched.
"I most certainly am not!" The buxom woman stomped in defiance, rocking the very foundations with her immense strength.
Neji marched angrily over to Naruto's limp form and strung him up by the collar. "How dare you speak of m'lady that way! Apologize this instant!"
"M'lady, forgive him," Lee bowed respectfully to the woman. "From what I've seen of him, he has... erm... an unstable frame of mind."
"Wait, wait!" Naruto removed himself from the Hyuuga's grip, to stand before the irritated woman. "So you're this 'master' everyone keeps talking about, Tsunade-ba- I mean Tsunade-san?"
Tsunade stared wide-eyed at him, abandoning her previously irate expression. She looked to Lee, who wore a similar expression and looking back at her. Then to Neji who did the same. Then back to Naruto.
The three exploded in gut-wrenching laughter.
Naruto was left dumbfounded.
"Pfffhahaha! The 'master' he says! Ahahaha! As if I were even strong enough to compare!" Tsunade guffawed, holding her stomach to soothe the pain of her convulsing laughter. Neji and Lee were near tears, banging and clawing at the ground as they too were unable to stop themselves from outright howling their mirth.
After a few minutes of leaving them that way, they were finally reduced to just snickering.
"By Kami, boya, you've got a strange sense of humor," The woman said as she regained her bearings, wiping away the accumulated tears in her eyes.
"So... You're not the master?" He asked.
"'Course not! I'm just the secretary and guardian." She said with a huff of pride.
"Th-then... Who is?"
Adding the ridiculously large elevator that was ascending several thousands of feet into a massive floating fortress to the 'severely messed up things' list, Naruto waited as patiently as he could during the ascent. His three escorts were busy checking themselves as if to appear presentable to this 'master', straightening their sleeves, combing their hair, and whatnot.
The resounding ping of the elevator's final destination signaled the end of its ascent, and opened its twin steel doors to exhibit the palace-like interior of the fortress.
'This master sure is full of himself...' Naruto thought as his eyes gandered at the sheer over-extravagance of the entire complex. The floor was tiled in the cleanest marble flooring and fitted with smooth red rugs. Various furniture items lay arranged, blending nicely with the decor, and a good view from a thousand foot vantage point could be seen through the windows.
Through another set of massive doors was a chamber room going into a slope upwards accessible through a wide set of stairs. A lush red carpet led to the top of these stairs, where what appeared to be a large throne sat and the obscure visage of a person sat.
Immediately Naruto's three escorts were on their knees in prostrate as a show of complete veneration. Not one to be the odd man out, Naruto followed suite in their actions.
"Master!" Tsunade called with a slight bow of her head. "We deeply apologize for the disturbance, but another seeks to challenge your might in a test of strength through unrestricted combat. If your benevolence would permit it?"
"Let it be so!" A feminine voice responded back.
The figure rose from its seat on the the throne and regally approached the four. As she drew closer, her features grew more discernable. With the elegant light blue robe fashioned onto her shoulders, the decorated black gi and blue hakama that hugged her shapely frame, and the graceful brown locks that flowed loosely onto her shoulder, the young woman no older than twenty years of age was the epitome of royal beauty.
Naruto blinked once, sensing an odd familiarity with the woman. He squinted, trying to make it out.
"So this is the challenger?" The woman said in a tone of curiosity, circling Naruto briefly to size him up. "Not as strong looking as the one's I usually receive, but I suppose I should give him credit to be so brave as to challenge me."
"Ano... What is you're name, 'Master'-san?" Naruto asked but was roughly planted on the floor, face-first, courtesy of both Neji and Tsunade.
"You were given no permission to speak to the master!" Neji barked.
"Let him be." The woman commanded, and the two obeyed, separating themselves from the blond boy, but still glared spitefully at him. "I'm surprised you don't know me, considering my reputation. Let me properly introduce myself then..."
She stood tall, all lights shutting off except a lone spotlight aimed right at her, and her servants playing dramatic theme music from behind. "I am known as the world-renowned 'Mistress of Weapons' and the 'Queen of the Forge'. Undefeated champion of all Elemental countries. I am Ten-Ten of the Thousand Blades and should you lose your challenge, you will pledge eternal servitude to me!"
Cut a little short at the end. May edit later.