Sorry this chapter took so long folks, the end of the year was very hectic. I moved back in with my parents, had a death in the family on Christmas Eve, and then had to start a new shift at work that is even earlier than my previous one. I've made this chapter shorter as an experiment to see if I can shorten the time between updates and get this fic done a bit sooner.
Hanzo had been around for a millennium and had experienced a lot during this time. He might have been the youngest of Ankoku's kits, but he had always had a thirst for knowledge and traveled the world to learn everything he could. However, he never expected the teenage girl in front of him to deliver a punch that sent him sailing above the buildings of Nerima in a beautiful arc. He also wasn't prepared for her to appear above him and start spinning while releasing her chakra. "Hakkeshō Kaiten!" roared Hinata as the force of her spin sent her crashing into the Nogitsune and pushed him into the ground. When the force of the spinning chakra finally stopped, Hanzo tried to push himself to his feet, only to have the wind knocked out of him as Hinata came plummeting down with both feet to his stomach.
"I won't let you hurt Naruto-kun!" roared Hinata as she brought a palm blazing with chakra and miko power in preparation for a strike to Hanzo's heart. The fox man's eyes were wide as he struggled to move his body, but he was spared a literal heart attack when Naruto burst onto the scene and tackled Hinata off his cousin just before a fireball shot through where her heart would have been. Rolling across the ground from the force of the tackle, Hinata's instinctively activated Byakugan showed her the leather clad woman holding a fireball in each hand ready to send it flying at Hinata.
"Cassandra, stand down!" gasped Hanzo as he staggered to his feet before suddenly shifting to his true form, though only the size of a pony. "Oh man, cousin, your mate packs a wallop to make me lose control over my form like this," said the nine-tailed fox as he shook his head. "I won't be shifting back for a few hours since my yoki is all messed up."
Cassandra dismissed her fireballs and hurried over to Hanzo while pulling several vials from a pouch on her waist. "Are you sure you don't need some healing potions?" she asked.
"Nah, just a good meal and some rest to replenish my energy," said Hanzo as he did a full body stretch like a cat. "Anyways, as I told your mate I'm here to speak with you cousin. I swear on my tails and my Hoshi no Tama neither Cassandra nor I will attack you."
Naruto stared at the giant fox for a moment before sighing and turning back to Kitsune Sou while waving for his cousin to follow. "I'm in no mood for a brawl in the middle of the street today. We'll discuss this like civilized people," said the blond.
Jiraiya had seen many things in his long and illustrious career as a ninja. But he never thought he'd open the door to the house to find Naruto and Hinata having tea with a nine-tailed kitsune and a woman dressed in a tight leather catsuit. It was this last one that really grabbed his attention and his perverted grin coupled with the scent of his rising hormones caused Hanzo to stiffen. Jiraiya didn't really notice the kitsune's reaction, he was to busy undressing the woman with his eyes. He suddenly found himself starting at some of the ceiling around the muzzle of a clearly angry kitsune. "Uh, Naruto, mind calling your summons off me?" asked Jiraiya as he realized just how sharp Hanzo's fangs were.
Naruto actually chuckled. "Sorry, Ero-sennin, but Hanzo isn't one of my summons, he's one of my cousins!" Hanzo suddenly found himself flipped onto his back as Jiraiya raised a kunai, only for Naruto to grab his wrist and stop him from driving the small dagger into Hanzo's chest. "Easy, Ero-sennin, Hanzo swore that neither Cassandra-san nor he will attack us. If he breaks that oath he'll lose all his tails."
Jiraiya considered Naruto's words for a moment before nodding and releasing Hanzo. "Okay, Naruto, I'll take your word for it," said the Gama-sennin as he sat down at the table.
Hanzo shakily climbed to his feet, quite frankly amazed at the skill Jiraiya and Hinata possessed to go from calm or scared to ready to kill in a heartbeat. The nine tailed fox suddenly understood how Naruto could defeat four of his siblings if this was the level displayed by highly trained humans. Add in the fact Naruto's father had killed Hanzo's own father Ankoku when the demonic nogitsune was released from his prison and Hanzo felt a burst of hope. 'He just might be the one to do it. My eldest brother has never known the taste of defeat except from father… but Naruto is probably the only one who can defeat him.' Glancing at Cassandra, he flicked one ear while winking at her, causing her to nod. "Well, it seems you have quite a skilled teacher, Naruto-kun. I'll cut straight to the point. I need to challenge you for the right to inherit the title of Kyuubi, but I'm not very strong physically compared to my siblings. So instead I will be using my more advanced mental faculties to challenge you. I've long been a fan of roleplaying games and have been developing my own dungeon crawl suitable for a video game. I'd like you to test it out and if you can beat the final boss I'll concede defeat."
Naruto's eyes narrowed slightly. "I'm not really into video games," he said. "I'm much more of a hands-on person."
Hanzo grinned as he replied, "Well, you don't have to worry about that; this is my personal training labyrinth. While the maze will be real, the monsters and traps will be hard light holograms. Sort of a combination of virtual reality and real life."
"I've had a bad experience with virtual reality," said Naruto flatly.
"Ah yes, the Encom digitizing laser and the Yugati hacker," said Hanzo, causing Naruto and Hinata to stare at him in surprise. "We have been watching you closely since you defeated Gin."
"How do I know you won't just try to kill me when I enter the maze?" asked Naruto. "All it would take is a trap or some hidden poison."
Hanzo sighed and shoot his head. "After everything my siblings have done to you, you have every right to be suspicious of me, cousin." The nine-tailed fox's neck suddenly bulged as if he was about to hack up a hairball like a cat before he spat out a glowing white orb onto the table where it rolled to a stop in front of Naruto. "I offer you my Hoshi no Tama as a guarantee I won't try any trickery against you on the condition you give it back to me after the game is over no matter the outcome."
Naruto's eyes widened before he pushed himself away from the table and bowed down with his head to the ground. "I graciously accept this generous gift cousin; may Inari Ōkami give you a bountiful harvest, sweet sake, many kits, and wealth beyond measure!" intoned Naruto before he pulled out and unrolled a blank scroll. Gathering chakra on his finger tip, Naruto started rapidly drew a spiral sealing diagram with the now glowing finger. Gently grasping Hanzo's Hoshi no Tama, Naruto placed it in the center of the sealing diagram and pressed his hands down on either side of it. "Uzumaki Sealing Technique!" exclaimed Naruto, causing the seal to absorb the Hoshi no Tama. Rolling the scroll closed, Naruto bit his thumb and wrote a smaller seal around the edge of the scroll with his blood. The blood suddenly thickened into a wax like substance holding the scroll closed. Naruto took the now sealed scroll and stuffed it in his supply pouch.
"Now that the formalities are taken care of, I suggest you get a good night's rest and come prepared to give it your all," said Hanzo as Cassandra placed an envelope on the table. "This is the address and directions to my lair, feel free to bring your friends if you want."
"I'll be there," said Naruto. Hanzo nodded and climbed to his feet with Cassandra resting a hand on his head.
"Good. I'm sure at the very least we'll have some fun," said Hanzo with a kitsune smile.
Naruto returned the grin and escorted the two out of the house. After several minutes of walking, Cassandra sighed and glanced at Hanzo. Rubbing his head against her thigh the kitsune returned the sigh. "I really hope that young man can survive what's ahead of him," said Cassandra as she brushed her blonde hair back, revealing a pointed ear for a minute.
"All I need is for him to defeat me and I can swear an oath of fealty to him and shed the curse on me," said Hanzo as he raised one hind foot to scratch at a dark purple flame mark barely visible on his belly.
"You can't seriously be thinking of going, can you?" Kimiko asked Naruto that evening. "This whole thing smells like the traps Naraku set for my parents during the pursuit of the Shikon no Tama."
"It's like how Palpatine leaked the plans for the second Death Star to lure the Rebel fleet to Endor," said Ryeka as she fiddled with her holo computer for a minute before causing a clip of Admiral Ackbar giving his memetic "It's a Trap!" line to play on a holo screen in front of Naruto's face.
"Pantyhose Taro kidnapped mom to lure dad to a mountain littered with cold water traps where he would have the advantage in his cursed form," said Miyuki.
"Itachi using a genjutsu on that lady to lure Jiraiya-sama away," said Hinata in a deadpan voice.
Naruto groaned and rubbed his head. "Look, I know it might be a trap, but if I go in prepared for that outcome there's less of a chance I'll be caught. Better to spring the trap and escape when he thinks I'm caught than lose this chance to beat him and get one step closer to ending this fiasco with my cousins." Hinata suddenly stood up from her seat and hurried out of the room as Naruto finished speaking and the blond blinked for a moment before leaping to his feet and chasing after her.
Naruto finally caught up to Hinata as she knelt by a pond in the local park watching some ducks paddle around. "I guess I should have taken your feelings into consideration when I opened my big dumb mouth," said Naruto quietly as he walked up to Hinata.
"Considering every one of your cousins so far has tried to kill you, I think I have a right to be worried!" exclaimed Hinata as she slammed a palm into the water, splashing both of them and changing Naruto into Naruko. The blonde vixen sighed and wrapped her arms around Hinata.
"I'm sorry, Hinata-hime-sama, but right now we're focused on getting this taken care of so nobody else gets caught in the crossfire. Hanzo giving us his Hoshi no Tama is a good sign he'll keep things civil and just between us in the fight," explained Naruko before she started nuzzling Hinata's cheek. "I promise we'll be on our guard and make sure we come home safe."
"You know I'm not letting you go into his lair alone, right?" asked Hinata as she grabbed Naruko's hand and held it tight.
Naruko smiled and slipped around so she was kneeling in Hinata's lap. "I wouldn't expect anything less, Hi…na…ta…chan!" chanted the vixen as she kissed Hinata with each syllable of her name.
Hinata's face turned red before she grabbed Naruko and pulled the vixen down in a hug. "Promise me that you'll be careful," she whispered.
"Of course, hime-sama, nobody can beat Naruto and me!" exclaimed Naruko as she gently wiped some tears from Hinata's eyes. "Now stop putting on a brave face and come back before everyone gets worried about us."
"This is the address," said Naruto as he stared at an abandoned tori gate on the edge of a cliff.
"Is he pulling your leg?" asked Akira as he stepped through the archway and examined the bit of cliff behind it.
"Well, according to the records I found, there used to be a shrine here but a tsunami hit and washed it away," said Ryeka.
Naruto moved to examine one of the pillars of the tori before grinning. "Well, my cousin is a genius. He built an alternate dimension in this arch and it needs kitsune yoki to open," said Naruto as he bit his thumbs and swiped his blood along both sides of the tori arch. The air inside the arch seemed to ripple and the teens watched as a spiral mass formed and opened into a rectangle of light. "I guess we step through," said Naruto. The rest of the teens nodded and followed the blond's lead.
Glancing around the isolated area, Ryeka stopped long enough to drop a small sphere to the ground before being the last one through the portal while pulling another and hiding it in her hand as the portal shut with a flash of light.
The first thing everyone noticed was a lack of light. The smell of earth was all around the group and echoes repeated themselves through the dark. "I don't think we're in the right place," said Naruto. "Kitsune Ninpou: Gentou (Magic Lantern)!" as a ball of fox fire leapt into the air from his palm and hung there shining brightly. The light revealed a network of tunnels and caverns that never seemed to end.
"Please tell me this is a prank on your cousin's part, Naruto," said Akira as he flared his aura.
Naruto shook his head as he drew Nenshousaiga. "Sorry, but if it is it's in bad taste," said Naruto. His ears suddenly twitched.
"Something's coming," he hissed. The whole group moved into a hard-to-see upper side tunnel and readied their weapons.
The sound of many feet slowly grew louder and chanting could be heard. "Nice and tender, juicy sweet, got a buncha meat! Gonna rip, gonna tear, drink up every tear. Princess stolen from her bed, Parents wailing in the castle, gotta get home without hassle! Magic got us through the door, warped us down through stone, bring her back to Orc throne! Sharpen knives, ready pot, make the fires roasting hot!"
"One princess rescue coming up," muttered Naruto as he loosened Nenshousaiga from its sheath. He could see Kimiko knocking an arrow with several stabbed into the ground in front of her for quick firing while Hiryuu crouched ready to defend her. Hinata was using her Byakugan and by the look on her face they might be outnumbered. "How many, Hinata-chan?"
"At least a hundred," whispered the girl, causing everyone to grimace.
Ryeka and Cinnamon were lurking by the ceiling, ready to swoop down on the approaching horde, the first of which were now visible due to torches they carried. Large orcs, each one carrying a wicked looking falchion and shield, marched down the tunnel singing their gruesome song. In the middle of the horde was a metal cage with a little girl locked inside. Several of the orcs jabbed at her with spears as they chanted and laughed as she tried to twist aside from the weapons. "Naruto, Kimiko, can you get a good scent from her?" asked Miyuki as she readied herself to pounce.
"Yeah, she smells just like Hanzo and Cassandra, somehow those orcs kidnapped her. I'm guessing whatever magic they used interfered with our transport spell," said Naruto softly as the orcs were drawing closer. "Give me a minute and I'll distract the front ranks!" Naruto slipped out of the side passage and around a corner so he was able to step into the main passage with Nenshousaiga drawn and blazing in his hands. "That's far enough!" growled Naruto. The Orcs slowed to a halt, staring at the teen barring their path.
"You'll want to get out our way, puny fox boy," said one of the orcs with a nasty grin.
"No can do, that's my cousin's daughter you've got in the cage," said Naruto. "Plus, I have a thing about girls being kidnapped; it brings out my Knight in Shining Armor complex." The infamous Uzumaki smirk on Naruto's lips said it all, he was there to kick ass and rescue the girl.
A large orc pushed his way through the horde and snorted at Naruto as he clutched a large war axe. "You think you can beat Grong?" he growled. Grong was about half a body taller than his fellows and had numerous scars visible on his face and arms where the armor didn't cover him. Unlike the other orcs who wore chain mail, Grong was clad in plate mail.
"No, I know I can beat you," said Naruto as he channeled the most arrogant Uchiha and Hyuuga sneers he had ever seen and directed them all at the orc. "I'm more worried about all your buddies behind you. And by that, I don't mean much, I bet I can take all of you!"
"Naruto-nii-san, catch!" the small fox girl suddenly yelled as she stuck her arm through the bars of her cage and hurled something that glittered at Naruto. The fox boy grabbed the item out of the air and blinked as he found himself holding a diamond. "Break it!" yelled the girl. Naruto tossed the jewel to the ground where a loud crack filled the air of the cavern along with a bright light.
The light faded to reveal Hanzo clad in hi tech battle armor as well as a group of six people behind him. One was a blonde elf woman holding an arrow knocked to her bow that immediately shot through the air to plunge into an orc's throat. The second woman in the group had a red hooded cloak and sent a barrage of sling stones at the closest orcs. A man in armor wielding a large two handed sword charged into the orcs, his plate armor turning aside their falchions while his great sword carved through their shields and mail. He was joined by a blond dwarf using both his hands to swing a battle axe and chopping the orcs who were twice his size in half. A large man in chain mail carrying a morning star and a robed man clutching a staff stayed back and unleashed pillars of holy light and fireballs respectively. Grong stumbled back from a stone that had hit his chest and bellowed for his orcs to charge.
"Naruto, good to see you. I was worried when you never arrived, but my daughter being kidnapped kind of had my attention," said Hanzo as he drew a black hilted sword with a faintly glowing yellow blade from its sheath on his back, acting like he wasn't standing in front of a horde of charging orcs. The sword suddenly started crackling with lightning and Hanzo smirked at the orcs as those closest to him started to slow down with doubt in their eyes. His smirk turned into a wide grin as Naruto's friends smashed into the orc horde from the side. "Well Naruto, let this be the hour we draw swords together!" Hanzo's grin turned maniacal as he charged into the horde, the lightning crackling around his blade coursing through the orcs' chainmail and leaving them open to Hanzo's blade. Naruto was right beside him, Nenshousaiga blazing as the blond hurled kunai at vulnerable eyes to give him gaps in his enemies' guard.
Akira, Miyuki, and Hinata were working as a team, covering one another's backs as their blows sent orcs flying across the cavern, which the blonde woman took advantage of to shoot the flying orcs to ensure when they landed they stayed down. Kimiko quickly joined in, several of the orcs falling to the earth with double kill shots depending on how fast the two archers could reload and react.
Thyme, Ryeka, and Ranko had carved their way through the orcs to join up with the great sword wielding man, the trio leaving a trail of maimed and dead orcs behind them. Together with the armored fighter, the three teens were leaving a pile of chopped off limbs and heads around them as their blades formed a ring of steel, wood, and energy. Cinnamon had joined the two magic users in long range bombardment, hurling fire and ice blasts with wild abandon from on high.
Grong rallied his fighters around the cage containing his prize, determined to keep his captive secure. However, he missed a red blur maneuvering through the orcs before the woman in the red cape suddenly sprang into the air and landed on the cage. A gold hilted sword with a flaming red blade was held in a reverse grip as she did a crouching slash that decapitated the orcs immediately around the cage. A quick flip into the air and she had pulled six bottles with small flames coming from the tops before throwing them around the cage in circular pattern. The bottles hit the ground and erupted in blasts of flame that sent the orcs charging at the cage stumbling back. "I could use some help here!" she yelled as she menaced the orcs from on top of the cage.
With a roar, the dwarf bull-rushed through the orcs, sending them flying into the air as his battle axe slashed through the orcs' mail. As he neared the cage, he leapt into the air and came down to decapitate an orc with his axe. Putting his back to the cage, he swung the axe to clear some space. The cloaked woman dropped down, pulling a set of lock picks from her belt and starting to work on the lock. "I'll keep 'em off your back, lass. Just free the little darlin'!" roared the dwarf as he felled a pair of orcs with low swing followed by a higher backswing.
"Thanks, Dimsdale!" said the rogue as she probed the lock. "Don't worry Mayu, I'll have this open in a moment!" The reassurance on the thief's lips died as an arcane sigil appeared above the lock and melted the probe she'd been using. "Baator's Dark Night, it's warded!" gasped the rogue as she shook her fingers to make sure they weren't burned before turning and yelling over the din of battle, "SYOUS, LUCIA! The Abyss cursed lock is warded!" The blonde woman instantly stowed her bow and raised her arms, causing a ripple of light to shine from her for a moment before she blurred forward, flipping into the air and landing on the heads of the closest orcs. Using the helmeted heads as stepping stones, she darted over the battle and leapt down beside the rogue.
"Let me at it, Moriah, I'm not having my little sister stay in that cage any longer!" growled the woman as she tossed her hair back to keep it out of her eyes and revealed her ears came to tapered points. The cloaked woman moved back, joining Dimsdale in keeping the orcs from Lucia's back. Mayu smiled up at the blonde girl as she crouched down and examined the sigil for a moment before snorting and pulling out a glowing dagger. "Nothing my Spellcutter can't handle!" with a flick of her wrist, Lucia slashed the sigil in half and switched places with Moriah, drawing a icy blue bladed sword with a gold hilt while the rogue went back to work on the lock. True to her word, in a few seconds she had the cage open and Mayu was safe in her arms.
"TIME TO GO!" yelled Moriah, passing Mayu a dagger and turning to join Lucia and Dimsdale in sending orcs to the afterlife. However, Grong had seen the rescue by now and rallied his troops into place to block the three from getting the little fox girl to safety. Despite fighting on two fronts, the orcs were able to keep the group by the cage pinned while also keeping their friends from reaching them.
"I think we need to even the odds!" yelled Naruto as he flipped Nenshousaiga into the air and rapidly formed the boar and tiger hand seals before slamming his palms into the ground. "Doton: Yomi Numa (Earth Style: Swamp of the Underworld)!" yelled Naruto as the ground beneath the orc horde became a swamp that rapidly sucked the marauders down to their waists.
"Impressive, most impressive," said Hanzo with a grin as the orcs tried to pull themselves free of the clinging muck. "Syous, you got another Ice Storm left in you?" he asked with a smirk that the mage returned.
"I do, Lord Hanzo, and I believe Lucia hasn't used any of her higher level spells today," said the mage as the blonde elf woman, Dimsdale, Moriah, and Mayu made their way around the swamped orcs to rejoin them.
Hanzo held his arms out and Mayu ran up to him to be swept into a hug. "Good, put these kidnappers on ice for me please!"
Syous and Lucia moved to opposite sides of the swamp and started chanting before raising their arms into the air with a cry of "ICE STORM!" Freezing winds sprung up above the swamp, the swamp water rapidly encasing all of the orcs in blocks of ice.
"I guess they just needed to chill out," said Hanzo, only to wince as Mayu bonked him on the head lightly.
"That was a horrible pun, Otou-san," she said. Hanzo chuckled sheepishly and moved Mayu so she was sitting on his shoulders.
"I guess it was. Alright everyone, let's move out!" said Hanzo as he gestured to the portal.
As the group approached the portal, the light faded slightly to become like a doorway and they could see Cassandra, with Hanzo's Red team standing by, sigh in relief at the sight of her daughter waving to her. A sudden bellow from the side caught everyone off guard as Grong charged out of a side passageway and tackled Hanzo, ripping Mayu from his shoulders and carrying the little fox girl away. It was impossible to tell whose shot hit first, but Lucia and Kimiko both managed to hit Grong in the back of his lower legs so he tumbled to the ground. The orc chieftain managed to keep Mayu pinned beneath him and raised his axe in preparation for a decapitating attack.
As the axe came down, Naruto dove in between Grong and Mayu, a Hiraishin kunai clenched in his hand that he drove into Grong's stomach even as the axe bit into Naruto's side and slid between his ribs. Grong's hands shot to the kunai lodged in his gut as Naruto hit the ground, barely managing to catch himself with his arms and deliver a mule kick that knocked Grong back away from Mayu and on his back. Hinata didn't even bother to stop, a quick spin kick sent Grong flying into the darkness as she ran to Naruto, who was already being supported by a teary eyed Mayu. "Not on my watch, you bastard," gasped Naruto as Hinata slid to a stop beside him, her hands already glowing with the Mystical Palm.
"GRELDON!" bellowed Hanzo as the bearded man ran forward, holy light glowing around his hands.
"Pelor, grant your mercy on this young man!" said the man as he knelt at Naruto's other side, pulling a golden sun amulet from underneath the cloak he wore over his armor.
Naruto groaned as Hanzo gripped the axe handle. "Naruto, I'm going to pull this out so Hinata and Greldon can heal you enough that you'll survive to my castle's medical suite, got it?" he asked, gently pushing Mayu into Lucia's arms.
Naruto slowly nodded, his eyes staring past Hanzo. The older kitsune grimaced as he grasped the axe's handle. Hinata and Greldon both nodded to show they were ready and Hanzo suddenly pulled the axe free with one hand while holding Naruto down with the other. Blood rushed through Naruto's head and he let out a single scream before his eyes rolled back and he fainted even as a warm feeling started seeping into his side.
Grong staggered through the tunnels, trying to make it back to his clan's territory so he could receive medical attention. He left a trail of blood behind him and several minor predators who had mistaken him for easy prey. The rasp of scales on rock was the only warning Grong had before a large tail shot out of the darkness and knocked him onto his back. Looking up, Grong gulped as he saw a pair of yellow reptilian eyes staring down at him.
"I'm very disappointed in you, Grong," said a lilting female voice as a shadowy figure stepped forward just enough that Grong could make out the shape of her body in the darkness and a pair of red cat-like eyes staring at him from a position below the yellow ones and a larger mass behind her belonging to the yellow eyed creature. "After I gave you that spell to break through the wards and kidnap the brat you still managed to fail me."
"Mistress, Hanzo had strange allies that appeared out of nowhere to ambush us, my tribe could have handled his group if it wasn't for them," Grong gasped.
"And yet you failed to search the brat to find the warp stone that summoned her father and his forces to you," said the female in the same teasing tone.
Grong's face grew paler, though whether from blood loss or fear was uncertain. "Mistress, give me another chance!" he begged.
The red eyes stared at Grong for a moment before a chuckle echoed through the darkness. "Of course Grong, there is one more thing you can do for me and I guarantee you won't fail this task," said the shadowy woman.
"Thank you mistress," gasped Grong, only to feel warm air on his neck as he bowed to the shadowy woman. Looking up, he found himself staring into a fang filled maw.
"You can feed my pet," said the woman as Grong's scream of terror was abruptly cut off by a loud crunch.
The sounds and smells of a modern hospital greeted Naruto's ears and nose as he slowly fought his way back to consciousness. He could feel a throbbing pain at his side and bandages around his chest, but he was alive, he knew he had kept Mayu safe, and he could smell Hinata at his bedside. The smell of oil and sake could only be Jiraiya, while the burned earth and sake was Rōshi. Slightly opening his eyes, Naruto smiled at the sight of Hinata sleeping in a chair beside his bed with Mayu snuggled up next to her and covered by a blanket while Jiraiya and Rōshi were slumped in a corner together snoring lightly.
The sound of a door opening had Naruto looking up to see Lucia opening the door while carrying a tray with dishes on it. The elf woman set the dishes on a table and smiled at the sight of Hinata and Mayu before noticing Naruto was awake. "Ah, you're up. You gave us quite a scare," she said as she gently sat down on the side of the bed and took Naruto's pulse. "Nice and strong, I'll tell father you're up," said the elf before gently shaking Hinata awake and stepping out of the room. The pale eyed beauty blinked and yawned, only to break out in a glowing smile as she saw Naruto smiling at her from the bed. Carefully detangling herself from Mayu, Hinata slid onto the bed and wrapped her arms around Naruto.
"I thought I lost you for a bit there," said Hinata.
"I'm harder to lose than you'd think," said Naruto as he hugged her back.
A squeal of delight prevented any further discussion as Mayu had woken up and scrambled around the bed to hug Naruto from the other side. "Naruto-nii-san, you're awake!" cheered the little fox girl, her tail wagging happily. Naruto ruffled Mayu's orange hair, causing her to giggle.
"Glad you're okay, squirt," he said.
Jiraiya and Rōshi both grinned at Naruto's recovery and slowly stood up from their places on the floor. "Not bad Naruto, diving in front of the villain to save the princess, I'll have to work that bit of action into my next book," said Jiraiya with a smile as he ruffled Naruto's hair, only to bop him on the head hard enough to drive Naruto's head into the bed's mattress. "And if you ever give me a scare like that again… I'll throw you to the tender mercies of Tsunade-hime-sama and your mother!"
Hanzo chuckled as he entered the room with Cassandra, both of them smiling. Cassandra was wearing a silken dress straight out of a fantasy movie while Hanzo was wearing a comfortable pair of pants and a t-shirt bearing the words "+20 Shirt of Smiting" on it." Naruto, we can't thank you enough for risking your life like that to save our daughter," said Cassandra as she wrapped one arm around Mayu and hugged her.
Hanzo nodded and grasped Naruto's forearm. "Rest up and we'll have a feast to celebrate your heroics," he said as the couple turned to leave, only to glance back over his shoulder. "Mayu, don't forget you'll need to feed and water Sparkle today," he said. Mayu nodded, but still stayed on the bed with Naruto and Hinata while Lucia watched them from the doorway.
"Who's Sparkle?" Hinata asked.
Mayu's face split into a big grin as she said, "My pet pony! You want to meet her?"
Hinata giggled at Mayu's exuberance and exchanged a glance with Naruto. "Maybe later, Mayu-chan, I think Naruto-kun needs some more rest before he's up and about. That axe had some nasty grime on it and I don't want him getting sick," said the pale eyed beauty.
Lucia chuckled and waved for Mayu to leave the room before closing the door. "I wanted to add my thanks to my parents'. For a moment I thought I would see my little sister die in front of me and then you saved her at great cost to yourself," said the elf. "Such a feat is a tale the bards would sing for ages."
"Lucia-san, is Hanzo-san really your father?" asked Hinata hesitantly, causing Lucia to chuckle.
"Nope, I'm pure elven blood. I was born in another world called Mystara and came with mother to this world when my birth father was killed by an old enemy of hers. Hanzo actually saved us from some Oni that ambushed us and it was love at first sight for them. Mayu is actually only nine years old like she looks, the typical hanyou rapid aging at birth was toned down by my mother's longevity," said Lucia. "Well, once you recover, Naruto, I'll be showing you around the castle and introducing you to my friends. Then we'll have the feast and tomorrow you can tackle Dad's labyrinth."
Naruto grinned and nodded, lying back as Hinata rested a hand glowing with medical chakra on his chest. "Don't worry, I wouldn't miss a party for the world!" he said. Lucia smiled and waved good bye before leaving the couple to themselves.
And that's it for this chatper, please leave a review telling me what you think about the chapter, anything you think I can do to improve, and if the length was satisfactory.