Notes: I WANT PIE! Or more reviews. Whichever you guys can give me.
Chapter 7: Death Is Absolute
Kagai walked over to two Darkwing Spirits lying on the ground, making sure to step extra hard on their spiritual armor once he got there.
"Weak." The teen said as he spat on the spirits' faces. "Even for the so-called 'elite'. What kind of system is Shinigami running these days?"
The bodies suddenly began to dissolve. As an already dead being, spirits could not die. They could only disappear into oblivion, never to be seen or heard again through any known means.
The black-haired boy reattached his scythe to his back and looked out in front of him. There it was… The Infinity Codex, the book that documented the past, present, future and all that occurred and existed within those times. Some say it was written by the very first all-powerful being that created the three lords of the planes and the deities that shaped the mortal world. But however it was written, the matter of the fact was that should it fall into the wrong hands, the realms could be forever trapped in an age of chaos. It was guarded deep within the recesses of Shinigami's Palace, guarded by elite Darkwing Spirits.
The Darkwing Spirits were the standing army of Yomi. They possessed superior technology and weapons than their angel or demon counterparts. This is due to their need for protection against the Netherbeings, which the dead naturally did not have seeing as they have no energy coils of any sort. The Darkwings often wore full body armor that befit a samurai but had technology that would make any non-spiritual technician drool. Many parts had shock-absorbing materials and could withstand a Teppou Rei without any visible effect. Their weapons were more like beams of pure artificial energy attached to a metallic rod.
"I might need one of these." Kagai said as he took one of the spirit's beam swords and attached it to his belt. He walked up to the book.
"THIS THING IS TWICE MY FRICKING SIZE!" The scythe-toting teen shouted as he looked up at the really big (!!!) tome.
It had a pure white cover with golden edges. And as he said, the book was literally twice his height and thicker than the pure metal walls that made the room it was contained it. The Infinity Codex seemed to radiate its own aura that could intimidate any lesser being into submission.
Kagai grumbled as he put his hand on the colossal cover. "Well, this is it."
He gave a hard heave and the book opened, its infinite pages instantly flipping to where the book sensed its reader wanted to go. It stopped.
Kagai grinned as he read the passage that contained what he wanted.
A company of Darkwing Spirits slammed down the door to the Infinity Codex chamber. The vault-like door fell to the floor with a clang. The room was empty save for pieces of armor, a few beam swords, the Infinity Codex on its pedestal and a slight burn on the ground. The armored spirits rushed into the room, securing the perimeter of the walls and keeping an eye at the Codex at all times. One didn't. He walked calmly to the burn on the ground and studied it. His eyes widened.
"Well?" A voice asked from outside the room. "What has 'Experiment One' done to the Codex?"
The spirit looked directly at the voice. A general's badge on his chest shined brightly. "He must've learned a seal from the Infinity Codex and used it. Whatever the seal was, it required large amounts of both reiatsu and youki. These burn marks are still fresh with them."
"Hm…" The voice hummed. "Contact Kami-dono and Akuma-dono at once! Perhaps they know which seal was used and One's reason to do so."
The Darkwing general nodded. His cerulean eyes scanned the burn mark, trying to see if the seal outline was still visible. His lips tightened into a thin line. His spiky blonde hair waved as his head turned back to the voice. "Actually, I think I know which seal he used."
"Then tell me… General Minato." The voice demanded.
"By the looks of it this is a teleportation seal, possibly a Tenshi/Onijutsu: Koukudo Joutou Fuin (Angelic/Demonic Arts: Realm Jump Seal)." The former Hokage explained. "Should we send troops to intercept him, Shinigami-sama?"
The Emperor of Yomi, decked in ethereal white and black robes, put a hand to his chin. "No. 'Experiment Two' should be able to handle him. If what Kami-dono has told me is true then Two is on the mortal realm, is that correct?"
Minato narrowed his eyes in slight confusion. "But, Shinigami-sama how do you know One transported to the mortal realm? For all we know he could've just went Shinkai or Makai."
"Trust me, captain. One has his reasons to visit the mortal world." Shinigami told him. The lord began to walk back to his personal chambers in order to get some rest. Managing a whole realm filled with trillions of souls would cause some major stress pains. Tracking a rogue being who could possibly be a match for any of the three lords causes even bigger ones.
"Get me Hiruzen." Minato told one of the spirits near the door.
"Yes, sir!" The spirit saluted before he ran out of the chamber to search for the other of Shinigami's generals.
Ran awoke. She sat up on the bed that she shared with her angelic cousin. The navy blue-haired teen looked around with half-lidded eyes. Hibana snored lightly as she slept next to her, clad only in one of Naruto's smaller shirts. Ran herself was wearing one as well. She also spotted Haku on Naruto's couch, sleeping soundly, with said blonde at the floor next to it. His head was on a small pillow while the rest of his body was uncomfortably sprawled on the hard wooden floor.
The demonic girl got off the bed and immediately walked to the bathroom, stopping only to get her clothes off a dresser near the bathroom door. She came out a few minutes later, fully-dressed and awake. Ran quietly tiptoed to the apartment's exit and pulled the door open. She slowly slid out and closed the door behind her.
As soon as the door closed, she immediately jumped over the railing down to the street four stories below. Ran landed soundlessly and began to stroll in the cool morning air of autumn in Konoha. She studied the decorations everywhere. One was a particularly large and decorated sign that said, "Fifteen years ago, the demon died! Three years ago, it died again!"
Ran was not stupid. She knew of Naruto's past and his memories, many of which he told her personally. The very thought that these people would celebrate at a hero's death sickened her.
'Psh… Humans. At least some of them turned out to be decent.' Ran mentally ranted.
The sound of a door opening caught her attention. She saw a man around her age walk out of a grocery store, a plastic bag of food items in hand. He had black pineapple-styled hair, an apathetic visage and the standard Konoha Chuunin uniform.
Shikamaru glanced at the only other person on the street. It was Naruto's demonic companion. Ran waved at him with a small smile. The Nara ignored it and walked down in the same direction she was going. The green-eyed teen huffed. She caught up to him and tapped his shoulder.
"You're Naruto's friend, right?" Ran asked. Shikamaru grunted in response. She frowned. "You should at least say hi when someone waves at you."
"It's too troublesome." He simply answered.
"Well, fine then." The demoness huffed again. The two continued walking down the street. The sun peaked over the horizon, illuminating the morning twilight in a glow.
"Why are you following me?" Shikamaru asked, not turning to look at her.
"I've got nothing else better to do." Ran replied. "Besides, I love morning walks. The air here in the mortal realm is way better than Makai's. Moisture is something we kind of lack down there."
The lazy Chuunin suddenly stopped, causing the other teen to pause as well.
Shikamaru turned to the girl with a small glare. "Look, Ran-san, I do not trust you. Not in the slightest."
Her eyebrows rose in surprise at the sudden comment. "And why is that?"
"Let's just say Konoha doesn't have a good history with demons." He answered, putting slight emphasis on his last word. "Even though Naruto trusts your little façade, I am sure you have no other intention but to harm him. I will not allow that."
"And I thought a friend of Naru-chan's would be less idiotic than that." She hissed at him. "Do you not know his past burdens? A person is not responsible for what they are born as. Their actions and words are not affected at all by their birthright. I am no different."
"True, but he was merely a demon's container." Shikamaru countered. "You on the other hand, are of the same kin as the monster that almost destroyed this village fifteen years ago."
"So does that mean all angels are purely innocent and good then?" Ran said sarcastically. She chuckled. "Does that mean all humans are in the middle, the balance of good and evil?"
"In general, yes." Shikamaru said confidently. "All humans are made to choose, with their own freedom. We possess the ability to be as pure as an angel, or as defiled as a demon. However, every single demon ever encountered by humanity in the course of history has been malevolent and has caused many to suffer."
Ran's eyes immediately softened.
"So…" Her voice became quiet. Shikamaru could barely hear it. "Does that mean we're slaves to the example that certain individuals make? Does that mean we have no choice but be evil?"
The tactician thought for a moment. He looked up at her. "… Yes."
Doors began to unlock as civilians piled onto the streets to do their errands and set up shops. As Konoha's citizens awakened, many either did not notice or did not care to why a shinobi stood motionless in the middle of the street… with a red hand-shaped mark on his cheek.
Gaara tried to open his eyes, but had a lot of trouble doing so. With the little slit he managed to open, he saw a big black thing with red blobs on it in front of him. He registered his body to be on top of a hard object that was moving. Wind lashed at his face, indicating he was moving at a fast speed.
The Jinchuuriki groaned as his memory reregistered itself. Memories from his battle with two Akatsuki members last night resurfaced.
'I've been captured. At least the village is safe.' The red-haired Kazekage thought. He silently chuckled. 'If Naruto was still alive, he'd mock me about this until I died.'
"I think the brat is conscious." A gruff voice said. "He made a noise."
"I'm on it, yeah." Another smoother one answered.
Gaara felt a chop to the back of his neck and the world faded to black.
"NARUTO! NO EATING WHILE ON THE JOB!" Ayame shouted as she bopped the blonde on the head with a ladle.
"Srrmphhee." Naruto grumbled, his mouth still full of noodles. He quickly swallowed. "I'll get back to work."
Ayame smiled in exasperation as she watched him continue to stir the boiling noodles.
"Ohayou, Ayame-san!" A deep voice called as its owner entered the stand. "My usual before-mission meal, please!"
"Sure thing Chouji-san!" Ayame cheerfully replied to the 'big-boned' Akimichi. She poured broth into an extra-large bowl specifically made for Akimichis and a certain Uzumaki. The ramen girl then went over to her blonde employee and told him Chouji's preferred toppings.
"And no repeats with yesterday this time." The brunette winked playfully.
"Hai, hai." Naruto replied, rolling his eyes. He strained the water in the pot he was boiling and put transferred all of the noodles into the bowl. He put in the toppings and set it in front of the armored shinobi.
"So…" Naruto said as he watched his portly friend chow down. "How's it been since I was dead, Chouji?"
"It's been good." He replied as he finished slurping down the broth. "Things haven't really changed for me. I go on missions, train, and then eat here or at Asuma-sensei's favorite barbeque restaurant."
"That should be everyone's schedules." The blonde joked. "What could be better than missions, training and eating here at Ichiraku's!?"
"Yeah!" The armored teen chuckled. "I actually think the food here has gotten even better since Teuchi-san went away!"
Naruto furrowed his brow. "You're making sound like he's been gone for a long time."
"But, he has been gone for a long time." Now it was Chouji's turn to furrow.
"Ayame-chan told me he's only at the Ramen Competitions in Demon Country for a few weeks." The angel/demon narrowed his eyes in suspicion. The sound of metal clanging made him turn around. Ayame had dropped her ladle. Her head was bowed and her shoulders were sagging.
"I think I better go." Chouji mumbled as he inconspicuously slid out of his seat and hurried out of the stand.
Naruto walked over to his brunette friend and reached out to touch her shoulder. Ayame suddenly turned and grabbed it. Tears flowed freely from her eyes.
"Ayame-chan?" Naruto asked, his eyes demanding to know where Teuchi had went. "Where is Teuchi-ojisan?"
Ayame sniffed. "H-he's gone."
"Gone where?" The blonde covered the hand that held his hand with his other one.
"I'll tell you." The brunette answered. "It was just a few days since you died. The villagers had begun partying and a few drunkards came to the stand. They attacked us with rusty kunai and sake bottles."
She gasped as tears began to flow again. "They shouted, 'Kill the demon-lovers!' over and over again. They tried to do 'stuff' to me but Tousan fought them off. He got hurt badly. The medics at the hospital said his lungs were pierced by his broken ribs and they couldn't fix it without killing him."
"But, Baachan could heal anything." Naruto said. "Why couldn't she…?"
"Medical Jutsu have no effect on civilians. Most of them use the patient's own chakra system to power the healing. That is the reason medic-nin require only precise chakra control and not large chakra reserves." Ayame interrupted. "The only way to extract the ribs was to send him to the hospital in the capital city. They had equipment there that could save him from death. However, he's been in a coma since."
The ramen girl broke into sobs. "I've made that lie about the ramen competitions over two years ago. It was mostly to encourage myself that he was safe and not at the brink of dying."
The blonde slowly wrapped his arms around Ayame, holding her tightly. He noted how frail his former older-sister figure was at the moment.
"It's strange isn't it?" Naruto mumbled.
"What is?" Ayame asked as she settled into the embrace, putting her head on his shoulder.
The blonde sighed. The ramen girl felt his warm breath tickle her neck.
"You do not feel pain when you die…" Naruto whispered. His voice had a wise tone to it, as if he spoke from first-hand experience (which he did). "But your loved ones do."
Ayame smiled as she pulled her head back in order to look at his face.
"You've grown up, Naruto." She stated.
The blonde grinned. "Well I have to sometime, right?"
The brunette's smile fell as her face took on a more serious expression. Naruto blinked in confusion.
"What's wrong now, Aya- mph!?"
Ayame had leaned forward.
Hibana walked down the street, enjoying the view of the village. The large village had many interesting things that were new to the young angel. Also, Konoha was warmer than Shinkai usually was in autumn. It was a pleasant change to the usual near-frozen air of Shinkai.
"Where is he?" The angelic teen asked. Haku had asked to know where an ideal weapons store was and had Hibana go ask Naruto for any ideas. She spotted the ramen stand that said blonde now worked in. "Maybe he's there."
The kimono-wearing girl walked up to the stand's flaps and moved one aside in order to peek at the stand's interior. Her eyes widened.
"Oh my Tousan…" Hibana whispered in shock as she stumbled back a few steps. She covered her mouth in shock as her eyes began to water.
Kagai walked through dense woodland, taking note of all the wildlife around him. Songbirds chirped jovially, a pair of wolves ran by, a squirrel chewed happily on a nut. The stark contrast to the industrialized Yomi was appealing to the black-haired boy.
"Where are you Hibana-hime?" He mumbled mostly to himself. "Where are you and Ran-hime? I miss you."
There was a flash of black light and a dark figure soared through the canopy. The animals in the forest dropped dead while the trees wilted as it passed by. It seemed Death was the figure's personal escort.
A bit shorter than my usual chapters, but I feel it told what I wanted to tell for now. Review please!