Author's Note: So I was discussing with one of my reviewers recently, and the subject suddenly turned to White Magic. After extensive conversations of what exactly makes up the different parts of White Magic, I realized that it would make a pretty good story. So... here's the first chapter.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or the Final Fantasy Franchise.
The Birth of Byakko
Winter in Konoha was always beautiful. It was always just the right temperature for snow, which fell in powdery flakes from the heavens. Many would look upon the village with wonder at the absolute perfection, hardly believing it was in mortal peril only a few short years before.
Of course, one should never judge upon appearances alone.
This was the first lesson one Namikaze-Uzumaki Naruto learned at the tender age of four. Being the Jinchuuriki (Power of the Human Sacrifice, literally a human container) of the Nine Tailed Demon Fox Kyuubi who attacked only four years prior on the date of his birth, the first two emotions he could remember were loneliness and hatred. He could see it in the villagers' eyes; the absolute loathing of his existence, the slight amount of fear, as well as the disgust.
Whenever he asked 'Hokage-jiji' why they didn't like him, the aged leader would get a far off look in his eyes, and simply stated 'I'll tell you when you're older'.
This did not sit well with the young child. He may be short for his age, with a blonde mop of hair and bright blue eyes, but he wasn't a blonde in mentality. He knew the old man knew why he was treated, and wouldn't tell him. He also caught Sarutobi staring wistfully at the Yondaime's portrait in his office whenever the subject was breached, so he supposed it had something to do with the Fourth Hokage.
Today was December twenty second, the Winter Solstice. For some reason, the blonde child had an overwhelming sense of dread about this day ever since he woke up in his apartment.
One may wonder why a four year old child had their own apartment. Due to Naruto's 'special circumstances' (the orphanage tried to assassinate him over twenty times in one week, until the blonde finally told the Hokage) he was given an apartment by the Hokage himself in one of the worst districts in town.
Naruto was well aware of all the dangers of the city, having been chased by multiple mobs on a weekly basis, and was adept at escaping the mere civilians. He knew almost every crack in the walls that could be turned into a hiding place within his district. He had a tentative neutrality with a few of the poorer citizens, who merely saw a boy in need of people to care for him.
However, that is neither here, nor there, as currently Naruto was being dragged through the surrounding forest, unconscious, by two chuunin level ninja. He had been ambushed when he got to his home, blinded by a smoke bomb before being hit on the back of his skull with a blunt object. The one final thought before he lost consciousness was: 'I knew it.'
The two chuunin, having decided they dragged him far enough away from the village, which seemed to be around five or ten miles in distance, released him and tossed him against a tree. One of them pulled out a syringe filled with a clear fluid and injected it into the vein in the blonde's arm, before they both jumped to the treetops to get back to Konoha and celebrate the 'demon child' being killed.
Naruto woke up less than twenty minutes later, feeling lightheaded and aching all over. He saw a needle mark in his arm that was swiftly closing up and oddly wondered why there was a mark there. He started to feel like he was fading away, the pain intensifying by the second, and looked up to the sky that seemed to be crying tears of snow for him.
He refused to cry out, as it would do no purpose besides disturb the peaceful scenery, though two twin tears trailed down his cheeks.
He knew he was dying, and the only thought before his world faded to black was: 'I hope that my death will make the village happy.'
In the realm of the summons…
The realm of the summons was a rather interesting place. It wasn't a grand castle with walls of diamond, it wasn't a tropical paradise, or even a woodland glade.
It was blue.
Many would've likened it to the Blue Screen of Death.
The summons were separated into different areas of the plane depending on their 'type'. Eidolons were in one area, Ninja summons in another, Espers in yet another, and so on. It didn't really matter, though, seeing as how the entire dimension was just… blue.
As such, the place was incredibly boring, with only fellow summons to converse with, and that gets old after a millennia. The Eidolons in specific were almost killing themselves with boredom, since the Summoner race had died out ages ago, and nobody was around to call them for battle.
Madeen, the Holy elemental summon, was floating on her back and snoring up a storm, when a single outside thought penetrated her mind.
'I hope that my death will make the village happy.'
She immediately bolted into a standing position, trying to trace that thought so that she could follow it. Nobody was supposed to be able to contact the summons, unless they were a summoner! Well… there were a few exceptions here and there… but that doesn't matter! She was getting out of this boring plane! Woo!
Quickly ascertaining the location of the heartbroken plea for help, she tore through the dimensional walls, sealing them on her way out as she fought against time to save the child who called out to her.
Madeen adopted an appearance of one of her previous summoners, and her current favorite. Eiko may have only been 6 when she fought for her planet, but she had a good heart, and grew into a beautiful woman.
She shifted her form quickly from the bear/dragon hybrid-thing that she never really figured out what she was, and changed instantaneously.
She was 5'3, and had a nice peachy skin tone, indigo hair brushing just past her shoulders, emerald green eyes, and an eight inch horn growing from the middle of her forehead. She was clothed in a simple pink yukata, with a white obi.
Quickly searching around where she landed, she saw a small blonde boy with deathly pale skin. He was barely struggling to hang onto life, courtesy of the Bijuu sealed within him attempting to fight off the poison, but it wasn't working fast enough.
Madeen quickly formed a small ball of holy energy in her right hand and shot it directly at the blonde's chest, attempting to purify the poison inside him. What she didn't realize at that point was that there was a demon full of malice and destructive intent within him, and holy energy doesn't exactly mix with that.
An explosion of red energy, coupled with a beastial roar of pain rewarded her purifying attempt, blinding her momentarily.
As soon as she blinked the spots out of her vision, she sprinted towards the blonde, who had gained a healthy tan skin tone, and picked him up, not paying any mind to the small silver fox kit sitting atop his stomach, or the rapidly fading whisker marks across his cheeks.
She carried him to a nearby cave, and concentrated on healing any extra damage to him that wouldn't have been purified by the holy energy. What she found shocked and appalled her. The boy had an inhumane amount of malnutrition, probably causing his shortness of stature, and several broken bones hadn't set correctly. She quickly set about fixing them in a manner that caused the least amount of pain, not noticing her patient's eyes snapping open as she gently applied a palm of healing energy to him.
Naruto was confused. Strike that, he was confounded beyond imagination. All he could remember was being knocked out in his apartment, and then being left in the forest with a needle mark in his arm and incredible pain, and knowing that he was going to die. Now, though… he was still alive? He could hear his heartbeat, and opened his eyes when he felt a cool, soothing energy course through him.
What he saw shocked him more, and nearly made him faint from the sight. A beautiful young woman, only about sixteen or so, had a glowing palm set against his chest. She had dark blue, almost purple hair, and bright green eyes. She also seemed to have a horn…coming…out of her head…?
He felt something dissipate inside him, and felt a little cleaner, as if something of someone else were stuck to him, and he finally got rid of it. He also noticed a little fox kit asleep on his stomach, looking like a little silver fluff ball.
The first words he could come up with were rather surprising to Madeen.
"Are you going to hurt me too?"
The woman blinked rapidly in shock, before a warm smile lit up her face.
"No, I came here because I felt you calling out to me. You were just about to die from poison when I healed you, though when I purified the poison, something inside you reacted to it and exploded, bringing this kit into existence. Tell me, did you have a demon sealed within you?"
Naruto felt instantly calmed and relaxed in this woman's presence, as her very being simply oozed tranquility and power. He could see no hidden malice in her eyes, only compassion and concern. He thought about her question for a moment, before replying.
"I used to have these weird scars on my cheeks that looked like whiskers, and everyone in my village hated me. I can't feel them on my cheeks anymore, so I guess they're gone? I had them for as long as I remember…"
The woman nodded a little, before the glowing intensified. After a few short moments, Naruto felt better than he had in his entire life. The woman chose that moment to speak with a slight smile upon her lips.
"I believe I may have purified the demon within you, which caused this kit to pop into existence. The purifying energy washed away all the blemishes upon his soul, reverting him to the age of a child when his soul was the most pure. Tell me… were there any demon foxes around near the time of your birth?"
The blonde scrunched up his face in concentration, before overwhelming dread appeared on his face.
"The Kyuubi attacked on my birthday… so this means that… this is Kyuubi before he became evil?"
Madeen simply nodded her head and pet the small fox with one hand, giving a slight smile.
"He won't awaken for a few years, though, as he was millennia old when he was sealed. Now he's the demon equivalent of a toddler, and the change has put him into a sort of long sleep to recover. Oh! I almost forgot… I am Madeen."
The blonde smiled a bit at that, before introducing himself. He quickly became attached to the young woman, and they talked well into the night, comfortably watching the snow fall from inside the cave.
Finally the subject came up of where Madeen came from, and why she answered his call when he couldn't remember calling out vocally.
The woman bit her bottom lip a little, before deciding that the truth would be the best.
"I come from the plane of the summon creatures, much like where your Hokage's monkey summons come from. I am the elemental embodiment of Holy, the purifying light. Your last thought before you blacked out is what called to me, which is odd since you're not a summoner. I suppose you're one of the few exceptions to the rule…"
The blonde was fascinated by this information, idly scratching his whiskerless cheek as he thought.
"What do summons do? I don't want you to leave yet… you're the only one that's actually nice to me…"
The summon pondered on this for a bit, before replying.
"Summons are usually called to battle for their summoner, and we haven't really been called outside of that. However, I was a friend to one of my previous summoners, and I guess I can be that for you, too. I can't be around forever, though…"
The blonde nodded a little bit, before carefully wording his next question.
"Could you teach me how to defend myself so that I don't get hurt anymore?"
Madeen was shocked a little by this, as she had never encountered anyone who had been raised and train by a summon before. A mischievous thought emerged in her mind… she could brag about this to the other summons when she finally returned! Take that Bahamut!
"You do seem to be able to be trained in the art of White Magic… though it really shouldn't be called that. It's a rather misinterpreted style of combat, as it focuses on balance more than anything else. Many think of it as a purely healing branch of magic, when in reality, it's so much more. What do you think?"
The blonde thought about this for a few seconds, before looking over at the fox kit.
"White Magic is about balance, huh…? It's neither good or evil, light or dark. That's… how I want to be. Will you train me in it?"
Madeen's warm smile suddenly turned slightly sadistic, envisioning the training that they would go through with a slight cackle.
"I'd love to! Just think… I get to brag that I was the first summon to raise and train a child! Plus… we summons don't ever have children so… I get to be the first summon to have a pseudo-child!"
Naruto's eyes widened to the size of saucers at that, tearing up in happiness before speaking in a quavering voice.
"Can I call you kaa-san…?"
This, of course, caused the standard female reaction.
"WAI! I GET TO HAVE A CHILD!"
She finally broke the glomp-hug when it was necessary for the poor child to breathe, and started to do a little victory dance.
Meanwhile, in Konoha…
The Sandaime was not having a good day. At all. He hadn't seen Naruto in over a day, and that usually meant he was hurt. He always visited the aged Hokage every day, if only to bring a smile to the old man's face. He quickly pulled out his crystal ball, and started to scry for the tag of chakra placed within Naruto's chakra coils. He nearly got a lock on it, before he saw an explosion of white light from the center of his crystal ball, blinding him temporarily.
He sat back in his chair, thinking about this for a few moments while the spots cleared. The crystal ball had never acted like this before! He quickly tried to trace the chakra again, giving a soft cry of despair when it came up with nothing. He couldn't find Naruto. That could only mean two things: Someone kidnapped him, or he died.
He was betting it was the second one.
With a heavy heart, he called the council to meet in thirty minutes to deal with this issue.
The years passed by quickly for Naruto, quickly learning the exacting art of White Magic. He seemed to be quite adept at it, possibly because he had such a pure soul, yet balanced out with much grief, despair, and loneliness. Madeen had given him a book on White Magic so that he could study it as much as he wanted to, as well as have something to compare her lectures to.
'White Magic is controlled through a force called mana, the purely spiritual component of chakra. The aura manifested tends to vary between person to person, but sticks to a color that is subconsciously soothing to the caster.
The art of White Magic comes in three distinct branches.
Body magic is the art of manipulating the body. This includes cell decay, cell rejuvenation, cell revival, as well as cell mutation.'
As soon as he started the theoretical learning of the last one, something brought itself to the forefront of his mind.
"Mutation… like Kekkei Genkai (bloodline limits)?"
Madeen had adopted a pondering stance, before nodding decisively. This, of course, caused Naruto to go wide eyed in shock.
"By controlling the mutation… I could give or take the Kekkei Genkai away!"
A smug smirk settled itself upon Madeen's lips, before she nodded and gave him a warning.
"Always remember, Naruto-kun, that mutations upon the genetic level are extremely hard to work with due to the complexity and the danger."
The blonde gave her a smile and a nod, before going back to his studies.
'Other parts of Body magic include poisons and antidotes, though not normal poisons and antidotes. They are magical in nature, as opposed to plant or animal based poisons, and are hard to heal with anything but magic in turn.
Mind magic is the second branch, focusing on affecting the target's mind. This could include, but is not limited to, mind control, mind influencing, healing of the mind, as well as incredibly convincing illusions. People have succumbed to the feeling of one of these illusions and driven into endless insanity. They become quite realistic, as opposed to chakra based genjutsu. Escaping one is also considerably harder, as it is not simply releasing a pulse of chakra, or stopping the flow of chakra. The victim needs to firmly believe that the genjutsu is not real, and fight against it mentally to break it.
The final branch of White Magic is Soul magic. Soul magic is rather odd, since one can do almost anything with the soul. Not many accounts of successful White Mages using Soul magic were ever reported, but it is thought that one can only use it if they are completely balanced emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Other fields of White Magic have been speculated on, but none ever drew conclusive results.'
By the age of nine, Naruto had quickly gained an excellent understanding of the human body. He had also been trained in a rather… interesting taijutsu style. It focused on attacking the weak areas of the human body, and attempting to cripple the opponent without killing them, though killing would be quite easy should the user need to. It focused on open-palm hits, quick jabs, as well as quick kicks, and was quite erratic yet fluid in use. It was a complete paradox in and of itself, as there were no katas, there were no stances. It was based off of opportunity alone, and adapting to fit any situation. This, coupled with his innate flexibility and strength, created an incredible style.
He was given a choice for a weapon, and, remembering his medical texts, had chosen senbon needles. They were efficient, subtle, and deadly all in one.
Every morning he would wake up at the crack of dawn, meditate and train on his mana manipulation, building his mana stores as well as increasing his ability to use it. After breakfast, he would complete his physical training regimen, including hand to hand sparring with Madeen, and throwing weapon accuracy on a human-shaped training dummy with senbon. He felt that kunai and shuriken were too obvious, though he worked on those as well just in case. After lunch, he would be quizzed on his knowledge of the body, including skeletal structure, average lifetime of a skin cell, anatomy, as well as in depth studies of genetics. Finally, he would work on his White Magic by causing and healing wounds in small animals, trees, himself, anything.
His clothing had been exchanged from a simple white short sleeved shirt and blue shorts into something better suited for training. He wore a long sleeved fishnet undershirt with a short sleeved gray shirt on top of that. A pair of black shinobi pants taped off at the ankle completed the training outfit.
The Kyuubi kit had yet to wake up, but Madeen informed him that he seemed to be almost ready.
By the age of twelve, Naruto had excelled in all three branches of White Magic. When he came across a dead bear cub, he could feel the soul of the cub that had just barely vacated its body. This revelation was astounding, as there had been no recent users of Soul magic, and it made both Madeen and Naruto giddy with delight. He quickly began to train in it to catch it up to his Mind and Body magic.
It was at this point in time that Naruto decided that, since he was able to change his genetics, that he would change his appearance to better suit him. He lengthened his hair, changing the color from the sun-kissed blonde to a light silver color, matching the fox kit. He changed the style of his hair from gravity defying spikes to absolutely straight. His hair grew down to his mid back, with two locks of hair coming from his temples and hanging down on either side of his face, barely brushing past his chin.
His eyes lost their sky-blue hue, and deepened into an earthen green-brown.
His skin tone darkened a little, changing from a light tan to a full bronze.
Finally, he tampered with his bone structure, altering his facial structure to raise his cheekbones and sharpen his face, giving it a more mature look. He also tampered with his skeletal structure, granting him a few more inches in height to become taller than normal.
Madeen was glad for the change, as his behavior had changed over the years, and a bright blonde with blue eyes didn't seem to fit his new attitude. He became more level headed, letting his intelligence shine through. He was always composed, and didn't let too much emotion through. However, he was quite compassionate by nature, healing many injured animals in the forest, whether they were predator or prey.
It was at this time that the kit woke up, having no memory of who he was or where he was, and started to panic. Naruto gathered the silver furred one tailed fox kit into his arms and soothed him gently, explaining that his age had been regressed to a point where his soul was pure.
"Do you remember what my name was?"
Naruto thought over it for a few moments, before nodding.
"You were known as Kyuubi, but I'm not quite sure if that was your name or just your title. You were the Nine Tailed Fox, most powerful of the Bijuu. If you don't wish to be referred to as Kyuubi, you can pick your own name."
The kit thought about it for a moment, before asking another question.
"What was I like?"
This was the moment that Naruto and Madeen had been dreading, but decided that the truth would be better in the long run.
"You were an entity of destruction and malice, though we have no idea why. When you attacked Konohagakure, you were sealed within me by the Fourth Hokage at the cost of his soul. When Madeen attempted to purify the poison in my system when I was four, she purified your soul at the same time and released you from the seal. However, that was then, and this is now. You are different now than you were then, and I won't let how you were before cloud my judgment of you."
The fox seemed ready to cry, either in happiness or sadness. It snuggled deep into the silver haired boy's embrace, his voice only a slight mumble.
"I'd prefer to be known as Kyuubi, both because I'd like to redeem myself, as well as because who I was will always have an effect on who I am, and I would never ignore that."
Naruto gave a nod and a soft smile, content to soothing the poor fox whose world got turned upside down on him.
At the age of thirteen, Naruto had discovered two new areas of magic that he could manipulate with his mana. Time/Space magic and Barrier magic.
'Time and Space magic is a balance in and of itself. It's impossible to counter an acceleration of time, unless you decelerate time in return. The branch of magic counters itself, and thus had no need of a balance. This branch of magic is neutral, and can be accessed by most spell casters, due to the simple fact that it has no alignment towards anything. Space magic is a sub-branch of this branch, and is incredibly hard to control. It consists of bending, compressing, extending, and manipulating space. One can rip open holes in the fabric of space and time to teleport from one area to another through a gateway of sorts, or change an area so that one centimeter becomes one kilometer in distance. One can also bend the vacuum of outer space, changing the trajectory of a nearby heavenly body, and sending it on a collision course with the planet. Truly skilled space manipulators can create an area around the impact zone that would dissipate the impact damage into nothingness so that only the area targeted by the impact would be damaged with no collateral damage.
Barrier magic is quite ingenious. It is just creating barriers for different uses, from a simple barrier to protect, to forming barriers into weapons by repelling everything on the outside of the barrier besides the weapon bearer's hand, creating the perfect weapon capable of powerful cuts. A skilled barrier user can also move the barriers, using them as blunt force attacking.'
Kyuubi, at this time, was learning many things, such as youki manipulation, anatomy, psychology, and biology. He wasn't going to learn how to fight yet, as he was only the equivalent of a human four year old, but he was surprisingly intelligent for his age, and learned things quite quickly; he had already gained his second tail.
The little fox kit had taken to calling Naruto 'tou-san', which caused the thirteen year old to embrace the soft fluffball, honored at being considered a father.
Madeen, however, had the genetically ingrained reaction of most women.
"WAI! I HAVE A GRANDCHILD!"
This, of course, caused the eidolon to force the kit to call her 'obaa-chan (grandma)', and predictably embarrassed Naruto, as Madeen still hadn't seemed to age. She still looked around sixteen.
At the age of fourteen, Naruto had progressed well in all of his branches of magic, though Barrier and Soul were much harder to learn. Mind magic, Soul magic, and Barrier magic all relied on his ingenuity, for the most part, but he wasn't skilled enough to do a few things with his Barrier magic that he should, and was only able to make a stable barrier about seven feet tall and three feet wide at maximum. He was considered a master in his taijutsu style, and could strike a gnat hiding on a tree with one hundred percent accuracy with his senbon.
Deciding that he needed to test his stealth and espionage, as well as answer the one question that had been eating at the back of his mind, he decided on a pseudo-mission. He, Madeen, and Kyuubi would infiltrate Konoha and find his birth records to figure out who were his parents, and where the hell they were.
Oddly enough, it was pathetically easy to gain entrance to Konoha. They simply waited until the guards shifted, and walked in behind a merchant's caravan and crew. They waited for night fall, hiding within dark alleys and such to avoid calling attention to themselves before they struck.
A simple spell to influence people to ignore the spot the three were at was all it took to get into the tower. Creeping silently along, they made their way to the records room, and attempted to track down the name of Uzumaki Naruto. As they rifled through the folders, they found that Uzumaki Naruto seemed to not be within the records…
This was not planned at all. Where would his records be, then, if not for in the records room?
Madeen, who had been thinking about this for awhile, brought up her idea.
"Since you were a Jinchuuriki, wouldn't your files be kept by the Hokage himself due to confidentiality?"
Naruto had to agree with her on that, and they all agreed to search the Hokage's Mansion instead. It would take more time to complete, and they would have to be thorough, but if worst came to worst, then they could escape by teleporting away.
Padding forward on silent feet, the three searched the Mansion from top to bottom. They encountered a small issue when Naruto had stepped on a squeaky floorboard, but they quickly moved on, hoping that the aged man didn't hear it and come investigate. It was nearing dawn when they finally found the records room, hidden inside the basement. They rifled through the records as quickly as they could, before Kyuubi found it and snatched it within his jaws, pulling it towards his father.
The teen gave the kit a few affectionate scratches on his ears for finding it first, before skimming through the file to find his parents. He was barely able to prevent himself from dropping it in surprise when he found them.
"Mother: Uzumaki Kushina, presumed deceased, missing from hospital room soon after birth.
Father: Namikaze Minato, Fourth Hokage, deceased due to Shiki Fuuin (Dead Demon Consuming Seal)."
Naruto gave out a long sigh of sadness, coupled with resignation at this. He supposed Kushina could still be alive, but he didn't know where to look. He decided to think on this later, and motioned Madeen and Kyuubi to follow him. Quickly coming to a decision, he wrote out a note on a blank scroll, and slipped into the Hokage's study where he placed the note on his desk, along with the folder sans pictures and a single strand of his hair, before all three slunk out into the night once more.
Back at the cave...
Naruto was slightly depressed when they got back to their hideout/home, and was mulling over the information he had just acquired. Namikaze Minato, the fourth Hokage, had sealed the Kyuubi within him. He respected that. If the blonde dunce believed that he would be seen as a hero, then his respect might have been misplaced. Uzumaki Kushina had disappeared right after his birth. Could be signs of foul play, or it could simply be that she didn't want a Jinchuuriki for a son and ran off, or she died soon after child birth and it was covered up.
Kyuubi, as if sensing his father's turmoil, shape shifted into a humanoid form. In this form, he looked like a tall four or five year old child with short, silver hair, two silver fox ears atop his head, and two silver fox tails sprouting from the base of his spine. His eyes were crimson like his fox form, and slitted. He was clothed in a simple white yukata and white obi.
Seeking to help cheer his tou-san up, he wrapped both arms around the teen, hugging for all he was worth.
Naruto, unable to concentrate on brooding when his kit was unhappy, pulled the child into his lap with a warm hug, resting his chin between the two fuzzy fox ears. He gave a soft sigh as he continued to try to concentrate on the problem at hand while rubbing soothing circles on his kit's back, before a hand on his shoulder caused him to look up at Madeen, who had a concerned look on her face.
"Want to talk about it?"
The teen gave a slight nod, collecting his thoughts before beginning. He waited until Kyuubi was asleep, still gently holding the child in his arms, his lips twitching at the corners every time a soft fox ear flicked during the kit's dreams.
"The man I used to look up to as a hero turns out to be the one who killed himself by sealing Kyuu-kun into me. The shallow villagers then believed I was a demon, and proceeded to treat me as some sort of flesh eating plague, or possibly a cockroach that just wouldn't die, and they kept bringing bigger boots to smash. Now, that guy who sealed Kyuu-kun in me turns out to be my father. How am I supposed to react to this? Do I respect him for having enough devotion to die for his village? Do I hate him for making his son a Jinchuuriki? Do I mock him for possibly believing I'd be regarded as a hero? Next there's Kushina, whose surname I apparently carried. She's 'presumed deceased' and has been missing since just after my birth. Was there foul play involved? Did she leave thinking I was dead? Did she leave because she had a 'demon' for a son?"
Madeen thought about this for a few minutes. How would she react if all this was happening to her? Finally, she nodded to herself and spoke up.
"I think you should give both of them the benefit of the doubt until you learn more about the situation. If Kushina is dead, then she's dead. If she left you, then fuck her, she can go die. If foul play was involved... maybe we need to locate her. Minato... if his intentions were honorable, yet still realistic, then I'd say respect would be the way to go. He did give his soul to the shinigami (death god) in exchange for the sealing procedure, you know."
The White Mage nodded a little before sighing in exhaustion. He perked up a little bit, though, when a thought entered his head.
"Can I create a scrying mirror that will double as a focus for some of my Soul magic?"
The eidolon nodded, breaking out in a broad grin as she thought of the possibilities.
"To create it, you'll need to combine Barrier, Soul, Time/Space, and Mind magic flawlessly before solidifying it into the mirror. Then we need a good frame to hold it…"
They quickly got to work creating the mirror, with Madeen searching around the cave and the surrounding forests for something that could work as a decent frame for the mirror, and Naruto meditating with his hands held in front of him in a cupping motion.
Kyuubi awoke with a start when he felt his tou-san's mana working on something incredibly complex and powerful. Opening his eyes, he saw a rather interesting vortex of softly glowing aquamarine mana floating a few inches above Naruto's cupped hands. A solid form slowly began to condense from the pulsating magic, taking form into a slightly aqua tinted circular mirror, about one and a half feet wide in diameter.
By the time the mirror fully came into existence, a bead of sweat was beginning to form on Naruto's brow, and Madeen had reentered the cave holding a large limb of some form of black wood. She inspected the mirror a bit, before nodding and holding out the tree limb.
"How's this? It's ebony."
The silver haired teen ran his fingers along the wood, before nodding. Using Barrier magic, he formed a barrier around the entire limb before compressing it into a flat disk only a half inch thick, and a little over one and a half feet in diameter. He increased the density of the frame by compressing the excess wood to fit the frame, before releasing the spell. He gently set the aqua tinted mirror on top of the frame, watching in slight amazement as the wood seemed to absorb the mirror into the frame, leaving no adhesive.
Naruto looked up at Madeen with a slight smirk, before holding the mirror in front of him. He carefully thought through what he had read on scrying, before pushing a minute amount of mana into the mirror.
'Scrying is an exacting art in and of itself. All I need is a reflective surface, a little bit of mana, and absolute control over my mana. Scrying is a neutral art, as it's neither offensive nor defensive, and thus requires no balance. It's easier to scry for things if I've already been there, or if there's something there that I can lock onto. Unfortunately, all I have of Kushina is a picture, and that's not something I can lock onto. Ah well, let's check on the Sandaime.'
With a slight smirk on his face, he mentally guided the mirror to scry on the Hokage's study, where he was sure that the Hokage had woken up by now. Madeen looked over his shoulder, while Kyuubi sat up in his lap, leaning back against his father's chest and watching the swirling depths of the mirror with slight awe.
Sarutobi was not having a good day at all. Something creaked in the middle of the night, and that had him on edge until morning came around, so now he was sleep deprived. When he finally got out of bed, he ended up walking into a door that he swore wasn't opened the night before, which set his danger senses on fire. As he walked through his mansion, his day worsened even more due to the fact that… there was no coffee! How was he supposed to start his day without coffee?
'I suppose I could pull the 'I'm your Hokage, give me your coffee' card on my secretary. She always has the good kind.'
He followed the trail of open doors, idly noting that there were no footprints, nor was there chakra residue on the trail. He did, however, find that the open doors seemed to be leading him somewhere. When he finally got to his study, he saw something that chilled him to the bone. Atop his desk were a single folder, a note, and a single strand of long silver hair.
I will be seeing you on the day of the genin exams of my age group. I must say, I'm rather disappointed that you had such little faith in me so as to presume me deceased.
Ah well, perhaps you're simply losing your touch. Although, that chakra tag you had keyed to your crystal ball was most unfair. I had to be rid of it right away.
See you in a year.
As he read the note, his face paled to a color normally associated with albinos, before a single sentence left him.
The silver haired teen gave a sadistic grin at this, cackling maniacally as he watched the so called 'Professor' and 'God of Shinobi' start to hyperventilate and pace. Kyuubi was giggling cutely, not nearly as naïve as one would suspect from a four year old. He already knew almost all the curse words, and how to apply them. Madeen, however, was smirking in triumph, doing a little victory dance before flashing the V sign at the mirror, hard pressed to not yell out 'Booyah!'.
Between the ages of fourteen and fifteen, Naruto learned the basics of two very important things. He realized that, with his Body magic, he was able to create a bastardized form of Shikotsumyaku (Dead Bone Pulse) by manipulating the density, growth, and sharpness of his bones. He quickly began training in it, and resolved to find a Kaguya to learn the basics of the dances from, though at the moment he was able to recreate the Tenshi Sendan (Finger Bullet Drill). He also began adapting his taijutsu style to include weapons in it. So far, it was going quite well, as he only had to adapt to the increased range on a few weapons such as Katars created by extending blades of bone through his palms, and a single wakizashi in his right hand, using his left for open palm strikes and jabs.
The second thing he learned was that there was yet another branch of magic that White Mages were able to partake in, though none before him had ever tried it. Nature magic, as he called it, was the ability to manipulate plants and trees. When Madeen asked him why he thought he would be able to do that, his answer was quite clear.
"Nature is a balance to itself as well. It's both life and death at the same time. It's neither good nor evil, as a plant can easily be used to heal a wound or to rend another. Nature is the balance of life and death. It uses the dead for nutrients to create the living, and uses the living to balance the population, creating the dead."
To prove his point, he held up a wilting flower, gently coaxing his mana through the dying plant. Within a few moments, it visibly looked regenerated, and was already sprouting more leaves and flower buds. He gave a small smile as he replanted the flower into the ground, where Kyuubi promptly started batting at the flower buds with his paws.
His fifteenth birthday was something that he was dreading, however. He knew Madeen would have to go back to the summon realm, since her power was steadily declining from staying in the material plane for too long, but he would miss her.
When the day came, all three were in a somber mood. The day was quite beautiful, as the sun was shining brightly, and it was already halfway through fall, so the leaves were full of beautiful shades of red and gold. All three simultaneously glowered at the sky, as if demanding that the day quit being so cheerful to accommodate to their whims.
They spent the majority of the morning and well into the afternoon just reminiscing of all the fun times spent with each other, before Madeen handed Naruto two presents. The first was a pure black ribbon, that she said was a memento of her favorite summoner, and that he should keep it to remember their times together.
The second was a new set of clothes that she had got from… somewhere… that were specially made for people that tended to rip their clothing. A lot.
Specifically, it was a kimono top with wide, flowing sleeves that ended an inch past his fingertips. It was a pure white color, and had been infused with a minor barrier to repel liquids such as blood from sticking to it. The cloth was some sort of metal thread/demon silk hybrid, giving it a bit more durability than most clothing, and the only thing he would need to do to repair or refit it to his form, assuming he grew, is gently flow a little bit of mana into it, and the holes and rips would mend within a day or so. The top ended a little past his waist, so as to not impede movement.
There was a set of shinobi pants out of the same cloth, with the same white color, and the same barrier. They had dozens of hidden pockets, barely visible to the naked eye where he could hide weapons, scrolls, and such within them. The pants ended right at his ankles, though he refused to tape them off.
His hair had grown a bit longer, and ended at his lower back. The two locks of hair on either side of his face had been tied near the ends with a few strands of white thread so that the hair didn't blow into his face when moving, and had grown to a few inches past his chin.
He had grown to the respectable height of 5'8", and looked quite exotic with his bronze skin and silver hair, prompting Madeen and Kyuubi to joke behind his back that he could be mistaken for a woman. This, of course, prompted Kyuubi to jokingly call him 'kaa-chan', throwing Madeen into gales of laughter at the disturbed look on the teen's face.
Madeen had also given Kyuubi a small gift to remember her by. It was a simple metal bracelet with an engraving of Madeen's full form on it, and the words 'I'll always protect you'.
They said their tearful goodbyes, before Naruto got a rather evil idea. He relayed this information to Madeen, who gave a maniacal cackle, and agreeing. They were only about five miles away from Konoha by now, and she thought it would be perfect to provoke them.
She shifted into her full form, easily towering over the surrounding trees. She was over a hundred feet tall, easily rivaling that of a Bijuu, and seemed to be a large bipedal bear with dragon wings on her back. She bellowed out a warcry that reverberated for miles around, her claws glowing with purifying holy energy. Naruto quickly crafted a barrier in front of him to repel any damage, and a barrier behind him that doubled as a teleportation gateway.
Less than five minutes later, several squads of ANBU had arrived in the treetops, preparing to attack the behemoth, which simply let out a deep chuckle. She turned to a different direction, and sliced her claws through the air, sending several beams of concentrated holy energy slicing through a good section of the forest. The two words she repeated before disappearing back into the summoning plane were etched into the shinobi's minds from that day forward.
The Hokage, who had also arrived to investigate, caught sight of the silver haired teen holding a two tailed silver kitsune in his arms. He matched the color of hair with the single strand of hair found with the folder, and quickly jumped down to confront him. About ten feet in front of him, he slammed into an invisible wall with a grunt, causing the mysterious person to laugh softly. Quickly regaining his composure, he shifted into his 'authoritative voice'.
"Who are you, what are you doing near Konoha, and what was that?"
The stranger simply laughed again, before replying in a soft voice that simply oozed power.
"You may call me Byakko (White Fox) although you already know who I am, Hokage-san. I'll return in two months, on the day of the genin exams. 'That' as you call her, was the woman who was a dear friend of mine for the past decade or so. Good day."
With his answers bringing up only more questions, the teen turned on his heel and seemed to disappear into thin air without a trace, either physical or chakra.
The Hokage rubbed the bridge of his nose wearily, attempting to stave off the monstrous headache that was sure to come as soon as the council heard of what happened, and turned to the four ANBU squads assembled behind him.
"Find out everything you can on this 'Byakko'. Try to see if they're an ally or an enemy. And… maybe try to find out their gender. I wasn't able to tell."
For the next two weeks, the Hokage was bombarded with accounts of a 'silver haired stranger with a silver furred kitsune' from all over the elemental countries. It didn't make any sense to him! One day he'll be in Hi no Kuni (Land of Fire) and only a few days later, he's in Mizu no Kuni (Land of Water)! That's over a week of traveling, even for a jounin!
All accounts of the person said the same thing: very gentle, always taking care of those that are in need. Quite a few were confusing, though, as it detailed sighting Byakko healing nuke-nins Hoshigake Kisame, Momochi Zabuza, and even Uchiha Itachi! Others detailed how a village under siege from bandits would suddenly find their problem resolved. Nins unfortunate enough to view the battlefield were quite queasy with what they found, however. The corpses were riddled with holes and slashes, as well as having elbows, shoulders, knees, or other joints completely destroyed or worse. There were a few living survivors, but their minds had been broken by a powerful illusion, and they would only mumble incoherently before their bodies simply shut down a few days later, giving up on itself. No weapons could be recovered that could've been used by the mysterious 'Byakko' in those battles, as they all seemed to be either meticulously retrieved, or disappeared.
About halfway through the first month wandering around, he found himself wandering through Ta no Kuni (Land of Rice Fields). He had heard it was in poor shape, but he never thought it would be this bad! Over half the people were poor or homeless, scavenging anything edible to stay alive. The rice fields that the country had been named for apparently had been afflicted with a famine for the past two years, cutting off both their trade, as well as their food supply.
He quickly racked his brain to find a solution for this, as he couldn't simply let an entire country suffer. Kyuubi spoke up from his position on his shoulder, where he had snugly curled into a ball, sticking himself to Naruto via youki manipulation.
"Kaa-chan, why don't you grow their food back?"
The simple childish logic in that one statement was nearly cause for a face fault. The silver haired teen giggled a little nervously, internally berating himself for forgetting that. Naruto quickly began the process of rejuvenating every crop field within a five mile area. To do this, he had to be rather… conspicuous.
He encased his body in a thin barrier before manipulating it into the air, causing him to float about fifteen feet off the ground in the Lotus position. He gathered his mana and sent out heavy pulses from his body, directing it to rejuvenate and revive the plant life in the area.
This had a side effect of an aura manifesting around him, a pale blue-green in color. Thin tendrils of the aura twisted and twined around him, causing his clothing and hair to flick to and fro as if caught in a gentle breeze. His earthen green-brown eyes glowed softly as he watched the fields visibly begin to flourish from his vantage point.
Unfortunately, this caught the attention of the Sound Five, who were on patrol for anything suspicious in the area, and they could feel the pulses of magic emanating from the floating figure. It felt like gentle waves breaking across them, creating a light pressure, but not enough to be uncomfortable. All five quickly headed towards the epicenter, but weren't prepared for what they found.
Naruto was enjoying the feeling of flying through the air, checking over the 'patients' to make sure nothing went wrong. He was so caught up in his inspection that he didn't notice the five ninja until they had called out to him, asking for his attention.
He looked down at the ground and reddened a little in embarrassment for being caught off guard. He saw five teenagers dressed in rather odd apparel looking up at him with a mixture of suspicion, awe, and surprise.
One was obviously a woman, with shoulder length crimson red hair and brown eyes. She was a little on the short side, only about 5'1 or so, and had an odd hat situated on the top of her head, with the brim swathed in bandages to keep it close to her skull.
A second was a rather odd man, as he had six arms. His hair was pulled back into a spiky high ponytail, and was black in color. His eyes were a dark brown. He was only marginally taller than the woman, at a height around 5'4.
The third was a rather large, bulky man to put it softly, and had hazel eyes. He had an interesting hairstyle, consisting of three rows of bright orange hair, one at the very top of his head, and one on either side. He was the tallest of the five, leveling out at a little over six feet.
The fourth was a slightly androgynous teenager that had two heads, with the extra slumped at the back of his neck as if sleeping. He had teal colored lipstick applied, and his hair was a dull gray color, as was the head's behind his. His eyes were a deep blue, and he seemed to be the middle of all five in height, being around 5'6.
Finally was a sickly pale looking young man with light gray eyes, and bone-white hair. He had rather interesting marks upon his face, manifesting as two dots just above his eyebrows in a color reminiscent of dried blood. He also had a slightly lighter color that seemed to be applied as eyeliner or eye shadow, though it could just be a tattoo or a genetic quirk. He was the second tallest out of the five, easily being 5'10.
Naruto gave a soft smile as he descended to the earth, before raising an eyebrow in silent question. When none of the five moved to speak, he got slightly impatient.
"Is there a reason you were distracting me from my work...?"
Tayuya was the one to respond, her impatience getting the better of her.
"Who the fuck are you and how the fuck did you do that?"
Kimimaro, his face showing absolutely no emotion, hit the red headed foul mouthed girl across the back of the head.
"Watch it, trash. We're not sure if this person is dangerous to Orochimaru-sama or not."
Naruto was ignoring this, meanwhile, and was gently petting Kyuubi who had migrated into his arms. The silver fox sniffed the air a little bit, before speaking up, causing the Sound Five to stop in the middle of their argument.
"That pale one is sick with something baaaaad. Will you heal him?"
The silver haired one immediately brightened at this, his eyes sparkling with delight at a challenge.
"Ooh! Is it a difficult one? It's not something easy like a cold, is it?"
The two tailed fox kit leapt down onto the ground and climbed up Kimimaro's legs, before staring at him in the face. The sickly nin was too shocked at the fact that A) There was a talking fox. Talking foxes are weird. And B) Talking Fox somehow knows that he's sick.
Naruto was hard pressed to hold in a snicker as the kit nudged and poked the pale nin in seemingly random places, before nodding to himself and leaping back to his father.
"Oooh, it's really baaaaad. He'll die within a year or two if it's not healed. It's something with his lungs."
The White Mage was almost bouncing on the balls of his heels by this point, and whisked all five nins away to begin treatment immediately. He didn't really care if they worked for Orochimaru or not. They were people, and they needed help, regardless of affiliation. Plus, he wanted a medical challenge.
At a cozy cave, less than a mile away…
The five finally broke out of their shock when they realized that they had been pseudo-abducted to a rather cozy cave set up as a temporary home. There was a futon lying towards the back near a fire pit, and the whole place seemed to give off a feeling of home, regardless of the fact that it wasn't really furnished… at all.
Kimimaro snapped to attention when he realized that he was on the futon, and was just about to start fighting back when a round of coughing disabled him. Naruto looked over him for a moment, before nodding to himself and propping the pale man up. His left hand started to glow a deep aqua color, and he set it against the middle of the nin's chest to scan the damage. He blinked rapidly at what he felt, before looking up at the rest of the Sound Five with a deadpan expression.
"Who the fuck put part of their soul in you five?"
All of them were dumbfounded at that question, before Tayuya used her rather intelligent mind to come up with a tentative answer.
"I dunno anything about souls, but Orochimaru-sama gave us each a Curse Seal to increase our power."
The White Mage pondered on this for a moment, before turning back to his patient with a level stare.
"Show me your Curse Seal and I will heal your lungs. This Curse Seal thing makes me edgy."
Kimimaro obliged by shifting his gi, opening it to show his chest along with a small tattoo-like mark that looked like three curved lines spiraling around a central point. Naruto quickly laid a glowing palm on top of the mark, before recoiling with an expression of horror and disgust on his face.
"Do any of you five know what that thing does exactly?"
All five shook their heads, each simply saying that 'Orochimaru-sama told us it's to increase our power to make us better bodyguards'.
Kyuubi took this moment to speak up from his vigil on top of Naruto's left shoulder.
"Kaa-chan… isn't a fragment of a soul used to create puppets?"
A slight tic mark appeared at the silver haired person's temple, before replying in a strained voice.
"I'm a guy, damnit. And yes. A fragment of a soul is used to control a foreign body. Orochimaru apparently disguised this by making the seal also inject the target with foreign enzymes that create a rather ghastly transformation when activated, and the more they use it, the deeper the fragment roots into their own soul."
Jirobo (the large one), Kidomaru (the six armed one), and Sakon and Ukon (the two headed one) were quite stumped at this, until Kimimaro decided to speak up.
"He means that the more we use the Curse Seal, the more that Orochimaru-sama controls us until we're nothing but lifeless dolls."
All five were quite disgusted by this turn of events, even Kimimaro. Naruto took this moment to contemplate what he should do, before nodding to himself.
"I can remove the fragment, but it'll cause incredible pain depending on how deep it's placed itself."
Tayuya answered first, narrowing her eyes rather suspiciously at the teen.
"Why would you be willing to do this for us? What's in it for you?"
The young man's lips spread into a rather nasty grin, unsettling all five of them as he chuckled darkly.
"With the fragment of his soul in my possession, I can cause him incredible amounts of pain. Plus, it's what I do. I am a balance, plain and simple. I came here because the balance of life and death was skewed, and I aim to fix it. I heal most anyone, regardless of affiliation. Of course, I also do it for the sake of the challenge."
Kimimaro, wanting to be rid of his disease, decided that he would oblige as a test subject. Naruto gave him a rather sympathetic glance, before issuing a warning.
"You have to be awake when this happens, as you need to consciously reject the soul fragment for me to pull it out. I'm really sorry, but it's going to hurt. A lot. Are you sure?"
The pale man nodded, steeling himself for the pain.
Naruto bit his lower lip, before sighing in resignation. He reached out into seemingly thin air, causing a rather beautiful aqua-tinted mirror with a pretty black frame to materialize within his hands. He held it between both his hands, with his right hand on top and the left hand on bottom, and channeled mana through it, causing it to shimmer and sparkle.
"Here we go."
Almost immediately, sweat started to bead on the sickly nin's forehead, eyes wide and showing incredible agony as a black mist was forcibly pulled from the tattoo on his chest. After a few seconds, he finally lost composure and howled in pain as the mist streamed from the tattoo into the mirror. The procedure took only a minute, and ended with the seal being completely removed, but it seemed like an eternity to Kimimaro. Naruto immediately dropped back down to his knees, the mirror disappearing into the air, and set both his hands against the nin's chest, palms alight with pale blue energy that steadily streamed into the chest cavity.
The rest of the Sound Five were quite pale at the turn of events, as anything that could make their leader, the stoic Kaguya, break composure had to be incredibly painful. They, too, steeled themselves for what was to come, as each one had survival instincts that were screaming that they didn't want to be lifeless dolls.
Kimimaro became visibly healthier over the course of the next few minutes, the sickly white skin turning to a healthier shade of pale peach, and a slight spark of life returning to the formerly dead gray eyes. As soon as Naruto was finished healing his lungs, he gently tapped Kimimaro's forehead with a finger alight with a teal glow, instantly sending the young man into dreamland to recover from the ordeal.
Naruto stood back up, brushing off the knees of his pants before turning to the other four, mirror appearing in his hands.
"After seeing that, do you still wish to be rid of it?"
Each paled drastically, before steeling themselves for what was to come. Each had fires of determination smoldering within their eyes, each feeling betrayed and used by their leader who had basically signed their death warrants and didn't even bother to tell them.
The teen gave them all a wan smile, before focusing on the mirror and draining the soul fragment out of them. He quickly placed minor barriers on them so that they didn't hit the ground too hard, causing them to feel as if they had been slowly lowered to the ground as they lost control and started screaming in agony.
When all was said and done, Naruto had five fragments of Orochimaru's soul stored safely within his mirror to tinker with later, and each nin looked marginally healthier, and felt cleaner now that they didn't have a piece of someone else's soul lurking around in them.
For the next month and a half, Naruto trained with Kaguya Kimimaro in the dances of the Shikotsumyaku (Dead Bone Pulse) while continuing to monitor their health and teleport to random places to maintain the balance. They never learned much about the strange teen, but they did know that he was a surrogate parent to a kitsune, and was capable of soul manipulation, scrying, healing, as well as Shikotsumyaku. The Sound Four decided to go back to their home villages, or go wandering around. Kimimaro decided to go with Naruto to Konoha, as he was the only person to show him genuine friendship without any hidden agenda.
Kimimaro was of the Kaguya clan, which originated from Mizu no Kuni (Land of Water). The Kekkei Genkai (bloodline limit) of Shikotsumyaku was relatively rare in the clan, and the members with it always manifested two circular dots above their eyebrows, as well as eyeliner/eye shadow of the same color. He was kept within a cage underground for most of his childhood, only let out when he was needed to fight other clans using his bloodline. At some point, the Kaguya clan decided to attack Kirigakure (Village Hidden in the Mist), and Kimimaro escaped in the slaughter, only to be picked up by Orochimaru who invited him to train under him and serve him.
Over time, the Curse Seal had perverted his loyalty into fanatical zealotry towards Orochimaru's cause, and after the seal was removed he mellowed out. He didn't show many emotions, and regarded those without drive as 'weak trash to be cleaned up'. With the removal of his lung disease, he quickly regained his strength and was able to fight Naruto to a standstill with taijutsu and kenjutsu, using his many Dances. His ninjutsu and genjutsu were non existent, but vowed to improve on them so as to not become weak.
Kimimaro quickly warmed up to the small fox kit, and was rewarded by being called 'aniki' or 'Kimimaro-onii-san'.
The three set off towards Konoha, taking to the tree tops with Naruto holding the fox kit to his chest.
Author's Note: Woo! That was fun. This story will be a little less humorous than my other story, 'Naruto, the Black Mage'. I'm also still not sure whether or not to put romance into it. Gah! Edit:
I don't think I can, in all good conscience, write this with romance in it. It A) screws up the whole 'balance' thing since the emotion of Love distorts perception, and will tilt the balance for the person he's paired with, B) Love is actually much like a really powerful genjutsu: it gets the affected to do crazy things that they normally wouldn't, and C)... there's a power issue here. He has too much power to be able to fall in love with someone. There'd always be that little voice in the back of his head saying 'they're doing this because they're afraid of my power' or 'they're doing this to get at my power'.