AN - Well here is the next and unfortunately LAST update for this story. And yes I did keep you guys guessing on when my story would end so I could keep the suspense up *points to self* evil author you know.
IMPORTANT: Pretty pointless now since its the last chapter to the story, but it seems many of you haven't read my other 'notes' concerning the Akatsuki and the role they play in my story. So to make it blunt...they are and were NEVER meant to be the important bad guys in this story...they simply made cameo roles to spice up the story. Orochimaru was and has ALWAYS been the main bad guy in this story.
Anyway enough of the author's notes, here is the thirty-first and final chapter for 'Ascension of the Kitsune'.
Naruto - Normal/Human speech
Naruto - Human thinking speech
Naruto - Demon, Summon, Pissed off jinchuuriki normal speech & Jutsu Casting
Naruto - Demon, Summoning thinking speech
Flames...desolation...and death...these were the things I witnessed as my eyes opened to the world around me. I know not how it is I came to be in this place, but seeing the skies tainted shades of crimson that could only remind me of blood, I knew that this was wrong...that I should not be here. I watched the clouds crawl across the sky whose forms were a ghostly grey as lightning bolts danced amongst them before deafening thunder claps echoed horrifically from every direction assaulting my ears soon after. I pulled my gaze back to earth and turned my head to and fro in hopes of finding something that could give me a hint as to what was going on or where I was.
However the only thing that appeared continually before my eyes, expanding like a never ending red and black sea was the charred, and burning earth, along with disintegrating ruins that were scattered haphazardly across it. I could immediately tell what these ruins once were and I felt my heart quicken almost painfully inside my chest at the prospect. They were buildings...offices, homes, apartment complexes, hospitals, schools...I was inside a village...but which I did not know. However the simple fact remained that while part of me was elated to finally know I was still in the world I should be...the rest of me dreaded the demise of this place so much more.
These buildings were now merely shadows, charred husks of their once proud purpose when they stood. Pieces fell off them, falling to the ground crumbling into nothingness before me. I looked away from the depressing sight and continued to survey what I could with my secret hopes of finding people, or even just a single individual to get the answers I so desperately wanted. Its seemed however the fates were against me, as my hopes waned swiftly the longer I looked, before a realization finally registered in my strained mind. Either the people of this unknown village were gone...or by what I've witnessed would have me believing, they were all dead.
Deciding on taking action I took several steps forward preparing myself to rummage through the village to search for anything of value...until I heard something...this something I could dare call a laugh. But it was far too malevolent...too corrupted to be called such a simple thing. The sound made my entire body tremble in unknown fear, feeling like a thousand needles in my heart. I could feel my brow grow sweaty, my palms clammy, and my mouth go dry as if I hadn't had anything to drink in weeks.
The sound died soon after it started, but my body retained it's frightened state, while my mind was raging between the two options ringing throughout. To turn around and see just what kind of unholy creature could produce such a sound, or to run. Run for my life and not look back until my legs could carry me no further away from this place. Despite my body's instinctual protests for self-preservation however, I slowly began to pivot my body around, with my eyes clenched shut and, my breathing completely ceasing as I did so.
When I felt myself turn that complete half-circle facing the other direction, I planted my feet, clenched my fists, as my entire body tensed at what I was about to do and things I would soon witness. Without another thought my eyes shot open, and the sight before me chilled my very soul...my mouth unconsciously opened as I screamed...yet no sound escaped my lips, but it did not stop me from trying. What I witnessed in front of me now...I knew I'd never forget for the rest of my life, and would probably keep me from sleeping ever again.
In front of me was an army that stretched on for what seemed like forever into the horizon and probably beyond. But this army...this army was not comprised of shinobi like I would have expected. Nor was it comprised of beings that I could ever fathom stepping foot in this plane of existence. Ghouls, goblins, and the undead...ravenous monsters...horrendous creatures that could only be conjured up in the minds of parents when telling their children bedtime stories to scare them. Yet here I stood only yards away from these monsters that had seemed to literally jump out of the deepest, darkest nightmares of man.
Then my gaze centered to the front of the army where three beings stood who I could only describe as devils. They looked like nothing that even the most wicked of minds could ever hope to conjure up even in their most deprived nightmares. Each one lumbering over the army, at least three times my height. The one to my far left looked to be a mix of monsters that I dare not even question their existence in this world...ignorance can be bliss sometimes.
He had the lower body of a spider with vicious looking hooks running along each of his four legs, and if I should guess could probably eviscerate a human with little difficulty. His upper body appeared mostly humanoid, at least in it's general appearance. However the large clawed hands and multiple tentacles protruding from all along the back of his head and back would tell any observer that this creature was anything BUT human. His entire form was shaded in grey and black...aside from his eyes which were a sickly yellow, and the ends of his tentacles which were a brownish-yellow.
The second one on the far right was far more bizarre however, because he appeared to only be a monstrous skeleton, that seemed to float atop a continually moving bed of transparent smoke. His lower half was completely missing except for the large, menacing hooked spinal column that swayed back and forth. His skeletal form which was the color of aged and dried blood, despite lacking in sheer size compared to the others, did not take away from his formidable presence. His bony arms, and hands hung low, which despite first glance I believed could easily squeeze the life of out anyone should he feel fit to do so. Great boned spikes protruded upwards from his shoulders, and downward from the back of his visible ribcage. Finally two great horns adorned the front of his skull. His face was contorted into a rather ominous smile as he looked at me. That smile made my entire body freeze, as his black eyes seemed to look directly into my soul...as if measuring me for some later purpose, what possible purpose I dared not inquire.
I forced myself to look away from his eyes, lest I stay stuck in his vile gaze for all eternity only to look upon the final and most terrifying one of the three...if one were to ask my opinion anyway. He was a devil in the truest sense of the word...as if the word itself was created when looking upon his visage. His skin was a scaly crimson like a snake's, aside from his palms and underbelly which were a pale yellow. The claws at the end of his fingers were far more dangerous then I could ever fathom...if I gathered a thought I'd say that they had killed many beings from human to angel while reveling in each slaughter. Spikes protruded from the middle of his skull down his back, to the very end of his long serpentine tail. Two large horns also shot out of the side of his skull before curving forward much like a bull's. Lastly three small horns jutted out at the end of his oddly though no less intimidating chin, with rows of sharp teeth in his reptilian mouth.
After measuring the three beings in front of me individually I came to the realization that running was never truly an option to begin with. Had I ran...they'd have chased, and made my torturous death even more enjoyable for them. One other thing I came to the odd conclusion of as I looked at them, is their connection between one another...if one could call my observation such. All three had an oddly carved stone of unique colors somewhere on their persons.
The first one had a small yellow gemstone protruding from his left breast. The second had one albeit blue in color in the middle of his chest where his heart would be. While the final one had a stone of pink jutting out of the middle of his forehead. For a moment I questioned what if any significance the three stones held for them, but I quickly threw that thought away when I noticed the spider-like one's lips begin to move, though I could hear no words. At first I thought perhaps I was too far away to hear, but when I chanced a step forward, the scene in front of me seemed to shift and warp, and before my very eyes, now stood nine more beings all with their backs to me or what I thought were their backs.
At first I didn't know what to make of their appearance, but I was able to calm my already shot nerves enough to clear my head. I looked back upon the scene and noticed immediately that the nine newcomers were silhouetted...which unnerved me greatly because I had no idea how to identify them...friend or foe...human or devil. However my attention was grabbed when one of the silhouettes stepped forward towards the army and three devils, before taking out what appeared to be a sword in his left hand. I say 'his' simply because the body structure gave away what I conceived to be male.
As I watched this interaction between the devils and newcomers I immediately realized something. The laugh...the spider-like man's silent words, and the devil's attention...they weren't direct at me...but them. I just hadn't realized it until now...either they didn't deem me any threat or they somehow couldn't sense or see me. I let out a long breath at this, never feeling such relief in my life at knowing through some unknown circumstance I'm here and yet none of them noticed. However I wasn't going to question how this fortune came to be and simply stayed doing the same thing I had been, lest doing something different break my luck.
So I simply continued to watched their interaction with slight relief running through my body, as well as a more intense care of every detail of what I could see. All three devils had taken time to speak with the man and his group whom I still knew nothing about. At several points I saw them seeming to laugh evilly at the man and his comrades...apparently finding his words amusing. Whether that was a good thing or bad I know not since their words were as silent to me as I was to them.
Eventually the words seemed to cease between the two groups, and the man unsheathed yet another sword in his other hand, which caused the three devil's eyes to narrow in annoyance, and what I believed to be anger. The three then each lifted a hand as a ball of swirling ice, blazing fire, and crackling lightning formed in each of their hands respectively from left to right. The next moment I saw the first identifying mark from any of the silhouettes. The man after seeing the devils become serious about whatever they had talked about transformed...or at least thats the best way I could describe it.
From his head grew two triangles, although they weren't menacing nor dangerous looking unlike the devils. In fact they looked rather soft, and fluffy if I had to use any words to describe them. Then to my astonishment, and slight horror...nine tendril-like appendages sprouted out of him and swished wildly behind him...they almost appeared to be...tails. In all honesty the man now looked like a monster...and yet I didn't feel the same fear rise within me like when I looked upon him as I had done with the three devils. In fact his new presence seemed to have an almost calming effect on my fear...at least to a degree. I didn't know why nor what compelled me to believe so, but something inside me believed that whomever this man, or beast was...he was anything but evil.
As I watched these two groups prepare for war...an epiphany hit me like a tone of bricks from all I had seen. This village was probably not the only one like it to be obliterated from this vast, horrific army. This wasn't a simple skirmish between two groups, this army must have crossed the entirety of the great elemental nations themselves.
If that were the case, then the reason I saw no people until the nine appeared is because there were none left...or at least none that weren't probably hiding hoping for a miracle of salvation. If so then these nine silhouetted beings, whom I could still identify nothing about other then their genders...were our last defenders...the last bastion before this army stretched across whatever or whoever was left untainted by their hands. This was the last battle to save mankind before it's ultimate demise.
My attention was once again grabbed when the man suddenly raced forward along with his comrades, weapons ready to strike, as they descended upon the devils and their army. Right before the two groups collided, my eyes widened when two of the female silhouettes actually began to shift, and colors began to be filled in where black once was. My heart stopped the moment I recognized the two women rushing towards that menacing army, one with a tuft of lavender hair and the other an auburn shade. My body reacted on its own when it stepped forward and my left arm stretched out towards them, with my mouth opening about to scream out their names...
"MIKO-SAMA (Priestess)!" A man's concerned voice yelled, while trying to awaken a young woman from her bed...the woman's violet eyes soon fluttered open at the offending noise as well as the shaking of her shoulders. "Miko-sama are you alright! I came in to wake you up and found you thrashing in bed!"
"What have I told you about calling me that Taruho." The woman groaned when she sat up in her bed ignoring the man's concerns, only to feel her sheets completely drenched, noting immediately that it was from the cold sweat that was still running down her flesh.
"Kami-sama...that really was a vision." She thought worriedly to herself, an unconscious shiver of fear she'd never felt before crawl down her spine...finally recalling what she just witnessed.
"Gomennasai...Shion-sama..." Taruho apologized with a bow, before looking up and seeing her not only disheveled state, but the ghostly expression marred on her face. "...it was a vision wasn't it?" He questioned, with a frown.
Shion looked from her lap to stare at her long time servant, and could only nod before looking back down into her lap.
"Hai" She said in a barely audible whisper.
Taruho's frowned deepened when she answered...he knew her visions always ate away at her, especially when they entailed people she knew. He felt pity for the young woman, and the vicious destiny that that been thrust upon her simply because she was the daughter of Demon Country's famous shrine priestess. He wished he could carry some of the burden that weighed on her shoulders and within her soul but knew he could not. Therefore he would do anything that WAS within his power to make her life as comfortable and happy as possible. He nodded to himself after remembering that little bit of the silent promise he had made for her when he first began to serve her.
"Its ok Shion-sama...I'll draw you a warm bath and afterwards you'll feel right as rain." He offered warmly, before getting up from the bed and headed for the door to prepare the bath.
"No!" She called out softly, but being used to her reactions after having a vision Taruho had heard her.
"Taruho..." She called back before lifting her face to him, making him bite back a gasp...never before seeing her look such a mess...so lifeless...and frightened. "...t...this vision..." She continued before swallowing loudly. "...it was like no other vision I've ever had. I saw things...things no person should EVER see. Creatures that could only possibly walk in the plains of our darkest nightmares...yet stood upon the earth like you or I before my very eyes." She explained, sounding more and more distraught with each passing word, her arms encircling around her trying to stop her trembling.
"Shion-sama..." He called out with a frown. "...we should get you to the bath. You're shivering and could catch a cold." He offered trying his best to get her mind off of such a horrible vision, without dishonoring her by ordering her around.
"Call a meeting with the Dragon Gate Unit." She ordered softly.
"Shion-sama...you can't possibly mean that." He tried to reason.
"I DO!" She yelled, startling both Taruho and herself at her outburst. "Please Taruho...call them...what I saw can't possibly wait for a bath if it is to become truth like all my other visions have. We don't have that kind of time." She explained, her voice subdued and pleading.
"I..." He started, his mind now fighting in two different directions...one to obey her orders, and the other to take care of her. "...I understand Shion-sama...I shall call them here." He answered with respect, realizing that her visions are more important then either of their personal feelings...no matter how much he hated it.
"Arigato Taruho-kun." She thanked while looking up at him with the brightest smile she could afford for him at the moment, which only made him blush...he always thought she looked cute when she smiled.
"What should I tell them the meeting is about if they ask?" He questioned, remembering the reputation that particular unit had when it came to their 'missions'.
Hearing his question her expression turned serious, her eyes narrowed, and her hands clutched a handful of her sheets.
"The end of mankind..." She answered ominously.
- - - - - TO BE CONTINUED. . . - - - - -
AN - Well there you have it the thirty-first and final chapter for 'Ascension of the Kitsune'. Hope despite most of it being in the first person narrative it was still good, and left you wanting more...and wondering about the ending (and future).
If you couldn't tell by the ending YES there will be a sequel to this story (which I've already started working on), however because of real life stuff happening (police academy thing) I doubt my story will be published on this site for a year of not longer. But either way I'll try to keep the level of my writing on par if not better then this story was written. Now for a little fun with my readers *laughs evilly*
CONTEST: This is a challenge to you (my readers) dealing with the sequel that I'm writing. Within the sequel I will be having two LARGE crossover influences, and I hint at both of them in this very chapter (sorry no hints). Now the challenge is to name both of them, and if you guess correctly you'll get a reward (yes a real one, not some Internet cookie).
REWARD: The thing I'm sure all of you want to know...the reward. Well for the individual who guesses BOTH of the crossovers correctly, they will have the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the sequel to 'Ascension of the Kitsune'. More specifically I will answer ONE...I repeat ONE question they wish answered concerning the sequel.
RULES: Now here are some rules to my challenge you MUST follow if you wish to get the prize:
#1: You must guess BOTH crossovers correctly.
#2: Only ONE guess per an account.
#3: Along with your guesses you MUST write THREE possible questions that you would like answered dealing with the sequel (its so I have a choice to choose from...I will only being answer ONE of them if you are the winner however). The questions you may ask are no holds bar so you can ask anything you wish.
#4: IF you wish to review this chapter then please do just that REVIEW. If you want to submit your guesses & questions for this contest you MUST Private Message me separately (so it doesn't seem like I'm doing this to rack up my review count or anything).
#5: ALL OF THESE RULES MUST BE OBEYED! If you don't follow these rules accordingly, even if you guessed the crossovers correctly I will NOT declare you to be the winner.
WINNER: As for the winner, I will PM them back that they won, and the answer to ONE of the THREE questions that they asked me. I will NOT however announce who the individual that won is, because then some of you may pester the poor person for my answer, which would completely undermine the point of this contest. I WILL however leave an AN chapter up for a few days once the winner is found...to tell everyone that the contest is over. Anyway please enjoy the contest (since that was the point) and good luck to you!
Anyway review if you like with your thoughts and comments! Also I truly hoped you all enjoyed my story, I enjoyed writing it and with any luck will continue to enjoy writing the sequel. Either way, thank you for reading 'Ascension of the Kitsune', and I hope many of you come back for it's sequel!
PS: For those who have questions about this chapter (not including anything that has to do with the contest) or story after me submitting this chapter...I'll PM you the answers when I have the chance.
***UPDATE 5/5/12: The contest is still on going, there have been about four dozen attempts at guessing the two crossovers, but so far people have only been able to guess a single one (the easier one) of the pair correctly. So for those reading this after it's completion, feel free to continue PMing me your guesses, cause there is NO winner as of yet!***