Journey of a Hero


Well, folks, it's been a while. Due, in no small part, to the fact that my muses have seemingly abandoned me. I have tried to get work done on my other two active stories, yet more often than not, I find myself staring blankly at my screen, drool coming down my chin. At most, I get a line or two done in maybe two days. My head is full of ideas, and they won't leave. It's kinda creepy, cuz they're actually telling me they want to be written. But I digress.

Not long before my first semester of college, I finally got that wonderfully addictive game known as World of Warcraft. Also, I have been keeping up to date with the latest Naruto releases, and now I can slightly forgive Kishimoto-san for his blatant overpowering of Sasuke. After all, I doubt Sasuke could take out all but three Pain's in 15 minutes. That, and Naruto is now able to throw his Fuuton: Rasenshuriken, probably the most pwnage'd jutsu out there. And it was then that I came across a NarutoxWorld of Warcraft crossover. I read it, thinking "Well, this probably won't be too good". And, much to my surprise, it actually was one of the best crossovers I've ever read, in par with "Till Eternity's end". So, I read a few more that I'd found. To my dismay, there weren't many that were even remotely fascinating. They all lacked the depth and thought that had been put into the original I'd read. So, I thought I might try to contribute to the genre, and hopefully, it will be rather good, but, I must admit, my opinion is rather biased.

Top Ten Things they don't tell you when you become a ninja

10) You get to meet new people. Unfortunately, most of them are trying to kill you.

9) You get to see new places, most of which are filled with aforementioned people trying to kill you.

8) The stationery sets you use make things go boom

7) "Getting Office Supplies" constitutes a visit to the blacksmith

6) Secretly, they really do want pyromaniacs

5) You will never again visit the carnival. Mostly because your teammates have relatives as sideshows.

4) When you become a jounin, you will have to adopt some sort of vice, usually of a perverted nature.

3) Tora the cat is a minion of the devil himself

2) you will meet a surprising number of androgynous people

And lastly.....

1) When in doubt, kill them

It was dark out, but the lack of lights in Suna, as well as the absence of enormous trees, made looking at the stars quite enjoyable. For Naruto, though, it was a canvas on which he could spread his troubles.

He and his team had just returned to Suna after the successful, somewhat, rescue of Gaara from the hands of the Akatsuki. He counted it as only being somewhat successful, due to the sacrifice of Old Lady Chiyo. Naruto was thankful, no doubt about that, he was extremely glad to have his friend back, but he couldn't help but wonder if, at some point, Akatsuki managed to get him, would he wish for any of his friends to do the same? His response to the internal question was a resounding no. After all, he had promised to protect those precious to him, and protecting them meant not only protecting them from outside bad guys, but from themselves as well.

Sighing, he lay down against the roof of the hotel. Maybe that's why he went after Sasuke with such a passion. Granted, he had also promised Sakura that he would bring the teme back, but Sasuke had also been like a brother to him, and watching him destroy himself in the name of revenge was almost more than Naruto could take.

Almost on its own, his hand began to drift towards his stomach, where it rested atop the seal that housed the greatest of the tailed demons, the Kyuubi no Kitsune. Having the beast sealed within him was both a blessing and a curse, but Naruto tended to think that it leaned more towards the curse aspect. With the beast, he had huge amounts of chakra, regenerative abilities, and an unending supply of stamina, but they all had their bad sides. The chakra and stamina facets were great for training, but his control was so shot that he had to work several times harder than any normal ninja to even make it worth it. The regeneration was perhaps the most daunting.

Tsunade had told him that healing like the kind he had was not normal, and of course he already knew that, but what he hadn't known was that his cells were dividing so fast to fix the injury, that he was shortening his lifespan when he used it. The worst was when he used Kyuubi's chakra. The sheer corrosive nature forced his healing process to activate, and in the course of a single 1 hour battle, he could lose as much as 3 years off his life, and that was only using one tail. If he went for too long, he could lose decades.

"Deep thoughts for a genin." a soft voice drew his attention to a shadowed figure behind him. Sitting up, he turned around to see Temari walking up behind him. He grinned lightly "Not so deep for the future hokage." The female blonde crooked an eyebrow before shaking her head in mock exasperation.

"And here I thought you had given up on that ridiculous dream?" Naruto put on a shocked face. "Of course not! Besides, if Gaara can become Kazekage, I can become Hokage!" Temari smiled again, "I have no doubt."

The two of them were silent for a while, before Naruto spoke again. "Was there something you needed, Temari-chan?" The girl was glad for the darkness of the night, as it hid her blush quite well. "Well...I just wanted to thank you for saving Gaara's life. Not many people would have done something like that for a jinchuuruki."

Naruto chuckled. "Gaara's a friend, which makes him a precious person. I always protect my precious people. I would do the same for you." Now, seeing as Naruto was a guy, he had no idea of the effect his words had on Temari, and so, he didn't notice the fact that her face was lit up like a christmas tree.

"Besides, I couldn't let him go just like that. His life has been much harder than mine, maybe the worst out of all of us. It didn't seem right for him to die after he finally found people he could care for and cared for him."

Temari smiled softly in the darkness, but didn't say anything.

The comfortable silence continued for a few minutes before Temari asked, "Ne, you have... a girlfriend back in Konoha?" The shinobi was silent for a bit before he chuckled ruefully. "Temari-chan, do you really think something like me could ever be involved with a girl?" He ran his hand through his hair, "I'll be lucky if I make it to being hokage. People are just too afraid of what I carry. I figure I shouldn't be too greedy and simply focus on one lofty goal."

Temari really didn't like the way he had referred to himself as a thing, and she felt anger well up in her. When she had first met this boy, her first impression was that he was a complete and utter idiot. After all, what kind of shinobi walked around wearing orange and shouting at everything (Granted, this was before she had met the fashion disaster known as Maito Gai and his mutant eyebrows, but still) if they had any intellectual acitvity above a cabbage? But her impression had changed, more than changed. Her expectations of him had been mauled like dogs on a three-legged cat.

The dead-last, she had heard him called, managed to defeat a member of the prestigious Hyuuga clan, whose fearsome reputation was known even in Suna. Then there was his fight with Gaara.

She shivered despite herself. Never before had she seen a fight like that. The sheer destructive nature of his fighting, as well as his determination were enough to throw anyone for a loop. And he could summon! How the hell had he managed that? Summons were extremely rare, even amongst jounin. In fact, the only people she could recall right off the bat who could summon were herself and the Legendary Sannin. Even then, her own summons were fairly small, and not much help when compared to a 100 meter tall toad with a sword and a bad attitude.

Frowning, she moved closer to her fellow blonde and bonked him on the head quite hard. "Itai! Temari-chan, what was that for?" He whined, rubbing the offended area gently.

"Uzumaki Naruto, you are not a thing! You are a shinobi of the leaf village, and friend of the family. You were able to make Gaara feel again, and he became the protector of this village. We owe you more than we can say." And with that, she planted a sizzling kiss on his lips, before disappearing into the village.

Naruto....well, he simply passed out on the roof.

The next morning saw team 7 at the gates to Suna, preparing for the journey home. A good portion of the village was there to see them off, as well as the Sand Siblings. Naruto barelycaught Temari's eye, before blushing heavily and looking away. Sakura, seeing this, narrowed her eyes dangerously. Any possible confrontation was cut off when Gaara came up to naruto with his hand out, "Tank you, Uzumaki, for helping me." Naruto took the hand and gave it a firm shake. "No problem Gaara, after all, that's what friends are for!"

Gaara's lips turned up slightly, "Indeed. I look forward to working with you in the future, hokage-to-be." Naruto grinned, "Damn straight."

As the leaf nin made their way across the desert, Gaara noticed a slight tinge to his sister's cheeks. "Temari, are you ill? Your face is flushed..."Kankurou snorted. "She's probably just sad to see her precious Naruto go." Temari's face instantly turned beet red. The hooded puppet user gaped " way! She actually likes the guy! I gotta spread the news!" as he turned to begin what he felt as his moral and theological responsibility (after all, Temari was considered one of the more attractive kunoichi in the village, and it was widely considered to be a sign of the coming apocalypse when she actually fell for someone), a massive killing intent sprung up behind him, and he barely managed to utter a soft curse before he was sent across the village via Temari and her fan.

Sakura frowned as she pushed off another branch, clearing a good 20 feet to the next one. She had no idea why, but the image of Naruto blushing at Temari made something inside of her well up and growl. Huffing, she tried to clear her mind and focus on getting back home. She might have succeeded, if the branch she landed on didn't snap underneath her.

For a short moment, she forgot she could walk on trees, and let out a small scream as she fell. She barely made it a foot down. She realized someone was holding her tightly, her feet dangling like a puppet's nearly 30 feet above a deceptively soft-looking forest floor.

The one holding her was solid, which felt fairly nice, and was their grip was tight, but not uncomfortable. It was obviously male, and a relatively small one if she figured his height correctly. She breathed in involuntarily, and a subtle, spicy scent filled her nostrils, one that she found rather enticing.

"Are you alright Sakura-chan?" She looked up. A mop of blonde hair and two worried blue eyes met her gaze. She was about to answer his question when she noticed that he was still holding her. He apparently noticed it too, and as soon as he got them to a good branch, let go of her as if she had scalded him.

"Sorry Sakura-chan, didn't mean to hold you like that." She looked at him and he flinched, expecting her to hit him for being a pervert. He knew by experience that she could be quite violent, especially when it involved situations where she deemed him as acting like a pervert.

So, it came as no small shock to the boy that she simply mumbled a 'thanks', before catching up to their sensei who was just ahead. Shaking his head, Naruto gathered chakra to his legs and prepared to leap after his teammates, but stalled when a sudden stomach cramp seized him. He grunted, grabbing the trunk of the tree he was standing on with one hand, and his stomach with the other.

Another spasm hit him, painful enough for him to actually groan. He collapsed to one knee. The pain was growing, and it seemed to be originating from his seal. His eyes widened.

Kakashi heard his groans and stopped to look back. Naruto was clutching his stomach right over the seal, and looked to be in pain. Alarmed, Kakashi jumped towards his student.

"Stay back!" Naruto's snarl alarmed both his teacher and his teammate. Another spasm hit him, this time with enough pain to actually make him scream. The wind around him slowly began to pick up, leaves and pine needles swirling into some unknown vortex behind the boy. Another spasm hit him, and he tasted copper.

Sakura stood rooted to the spot, horrified as she watched her teammate vomit blood. She knew about the Kyuubi, of course, as well as the inherent dangers of using its chakra, but this was unlike anything she had seen before. She turned to her sensei, who had a bewildered expression on his face. "Kakashi-sensei, is that the..." He shook his head.

"No, the fox's ckakra is red. If it were trying to do something, we would know. This is something completely different."

The wind picked up even harder, so much so that the two of them were forced to use chakra to grip the trees. A muted roaring sound filled the forest, as the wind gathered to a single space, twisting and gyrating. Wisps of purple mist began to sprout from the vortex, spreading out like blood in water before eventually forming a twisting, churning doorway. The wind picked up to almost insane speeds, and Naruto coughed up more blood. Glancing up, he saw the horrified looks on his teammates faces, just before he was ripped from the branch he was holding into the doorway.

Abruptly, the wind and howling stopped, and a hushed silence filled the forest, as the leaves slowly fell back to the forest floor. There was no sign of Naruto anywhere, save for the blood that dripped slowly from the tree he'd been on.

Naruto was not having a comfortable experience. His body was almost bent over completely. Whatever had him, it felt like a giant hook had grabbed hold of his stomack and was yanking him along to kami knows where. It didn't help that the Kyuubi's seal was reacting to whatever was going on, burning with such an intense heat he idly wondered why he wasn't smelling his own flesh being cooked.

Then everything froze.

That was the only way he could explain it. In a moment that lasted both for nothing and forever, everything was still. He couldn't move, he couldn't breathe, even the seal seemed to freeze in midpulse, strands of angry red light that had been twisting from it locked in place. His eyes were able to both see and not see, as if he were reading a book , but not comprehending any of it.

Then it was over, and the chain pulling him disappeared, but the momentum from his journey didn't, so when he landed on something solid, he rolled for a good distance, before skidding into a boneless heap. The light around him was abysmally bright, and just before he passed out, he saw black blobs walking towards him.

Maia Darksage's day so far had been, to say the least, frustrating. It had started yesterday when her trainer had told her that she was going to have to be in Stormwind for a while. The young warlock absolutely hated Stormwind, if for no other reason than it was filled with people. Warlocks in general tended to avoid crowded areas, and, if absolutely necessary, gathered in the comforting darkness of the basements of the inns and taverns. Yet, Maia had been forced to rent a room at some hovel in Old Town called the Pig and Whistle Tavern. Classy.

She had heard somewhere that judging things by their names usually ended in misconceptions forming. In this case, her fears when she had heard of the name were right. The interior of the tavern was dark, but not the kind she liked. It was the kind formed by the smoke-stained lamp covers of the oil lamps that dotted the tables. The floor was sticky with spilled beverages and food, and the few patrons that were there -two humans drinking raucously with a rather inebriated dwarf, and a night elf who seemed to be judging whether or not it was safe to drink from his spotty wineglass- were of the sort that could hardly be considered company for an up and coming warlock.

a hand landed on her shoulder, and she turned to see one of the humans that had been drinking with the dwarf. The man was rather short, just barely above her height. His clothes, the cheap wool garb of peasants, was spotted and stained. As if to add icing to the cake, his face, pockmarked with a rather bulbous nose, appeared as if it had been squished, made worse by the fact he looked as if he hadn't shaved in a week.

"Hey there sweet thing, how about you and me go somewhere a little more...cozy?" Maia rolled her eyes. This was not the first time someone had tried to pick her up. She knew she was beautiful. She just didn't like it. Her hair was jet-black, falling to just between her shoulder blades. Her face was smooth, with creamy skin and full lips. Dark lashes covered eyes that were a glacier blue. Her figure was trim and fit, unlike many other warlocks who simply focused on their mental prowess. Indeed, she had been propositioned many times, and for each and every time, she had the same answer.

Reaching up with her right hand, she focused, and a bead of purple light gathered at the tip of her finger. One flick of her finger, and the light shot into the man.

He simply stood there for a moment, before his face screwed up in agony. He collapsed, mouth open in a silent scream as he desperately tried to calm the searing pain that filled his nerves. His back arched almost to the point of breaking, fingers splayed like claws, before he finally passed out, muscles twitching. The rest of the patrons had left her alone after that.

So, even with that entertainment last night, she still was not in the best of moods. Her instructor had finally deemed her worthy enough to summon a voidwalker minion, rare for a 16 year old. She had paid him the obligatory fee (and felt rather cheated when she did so) and he had told her the incantation for summoning the demon.

Immediately, she had tried, gathering up her mana and mumbling the words to herself. She could feel the spell work, the very elements forming time and space bending to her will. Then the damn imp came in.

There was a reason why she was relieved to be able to summon voidwalkers. The first companion all warlocks learned to summon was the imp. In her opinion, the imp was a glorified punching bag. All it really did was complain about having to work when being summoned, and when it actually worked, half the time its fireballs missed. And thus it came to be that some overconfident young warlock who looked barely old enough to be off his mother's apron strings, came strutting in, imp following him, jabbering in that high, nasally voice that was so annoying. But the little bastard had almost no control, and the imp started flinging fireballs left and right, one of which singer her robe, distracting her for a split second, which was all it took.

Abruptly, the targeting matrix of the spell was adjusted. The still atmosphere of the dungeon began to pick up, winds beating at the robes of all those assembled. The winds escalated, a virtual hurricane, as an arcane doorway opened, tossing out an orange and black figure. The winds died down, and the doorway closed, the fabric of space and time stitching back up.

Everyone was still for a moment, before the entirety of the Warlock coven, save for Maia and her instructor, fled the room. Signaling for Maia to stay where she was, the instructor moved cautiously to the unconscious body of the lump. He reached out a hand, pulling on one shoulder so that the object was lying on its back.

The first thing they noticed was that it was human, which was a great relief to both of them, considering that most things summoned by Warlocks tended to be unfriendly in nature. It was also noted that it was a boy, but no boy that Maia had ever seen before. His hair was blonde, but not like any hair she had seen before, his was almost...shaggy, like it was fur or something. He appeared to be relatively short, though taller than Maia, and was dressed in a strange orange and black outfit, with open-toed sandals. Strapped to his right thigh was some sort of holster, from which numerous handles emerged. Behind his back there was a tan pouch, but she couldn't make out what was in it. The strangest thing was the whisker marks on his cheeks, almost like some sort of cat or something.

Her instructor waved his hands over the boy's body, a frown appearing on his face as he neared the boy's stomach. A sudden flare of red energy drove from the boy, hitting her instructor and throwing him back. Maia stared. Nothing, nothing, had ever done that to instructor before, not even when a Fel Guardian had broken free from his contract.

The man panted, watching as his hands steamed. The energy from the boy had been demonic in nature, but unlike any he had ever felt before. This was far beyond his knowledge. With but a thought, he summoned his minion, the voidwalker appearing with a slight hiss.

"Maia, we must quickly get this boy to the archbishop. The demonic energy just now... I have felt nothing like it before. I have no idea what we're dealing with." Maia nodded automatically, not really able to comprehend what was going on. As if on autopilot, she followed her master as his minion picked up the boy and they made their way to Cathedral Square.

The stares they received as they walked up the mighty steps of the Cathedral of Light were understandable. After all, priests and paladins were the farthest things you could get from warlocks, and seeing either traversing the domains of the other was almost considered taboo. This was made more evident when a Draenei paladin stopped them from entering the Cathedral proper.

Maia grimaced when she saw the draenei. His eyes were filled much like the other paladins; a self-righteous nature that made them feel as if they were morally and spiritually superior to any other class. The hoofed being snarled, the sound echoed by the mighty helm it wore. "What are two filthy Warlocks doing here? And with an unconscious human too? Are you preparing him for some sick ritual?"

Maia glanced to her master. It was common knowledge that due to some of the more...esoteric practices the Warlocks used, that they were pariah's, but usually no one was foolish to say so to their faces. She felt the aura around her master focus for a brief moment, before the Draenei's eyes widened and he dropped his mace, running away screaming in fright. Her master scoffed. "Any moderately powerful paladin could have thrown off that fear spell. What have their standards fallen to?" that being said, he resumed his trek into the Cathedral.

Being a warlock, Maia had, of course, never been in the Cathedral, and so was woefully unprepared for the splendor of its high arches and the artwork, magnificent tapestries hanging from ceiling, various battles embroidered upon velvet with gold and silver thread. Various preists and priestsess traversed the main hall, their soft-slippered feet only covered by the clanking and banging of the plate armor of the paladins. The hall was split in twain, each side housing a few rows of pews, which were sparsely populated. They walked straight up the middle, ignoring the questioning looks thrown their way.

Despite the majesty of the main part of the hall, Maia couldn't help but be impressed with the Altar. Gold candlesticks adorned the altar, and a pure white silk cloth covered the stone tablet. Twin stained glass windows arched overhead, each depicting various heroes of the Light. But by far the most impressive and intimidating part was the figure of the Archbishop himself.

A veteran of the last two major wars, archbishop Benedictus was fairly old, but his age belied his power. Even from nearly 20 yards away, Maia could feel the man's aura, subdued as it was. Fully unleashed, she doubted that she would even be able to breathe. He was clothed in magnificent robes of white and gold, with the hat depicting his station adorned on his crown. Normally, such clothes would be cumbersome, but the man wore them as if they were made of simple cloth. His facial hair was trimmed into an immaculate goatee, the last vestiges of black fading away.

He noticed the party as they made their way to him, and said a few last words to his assistant, before turning his attention towards them just as they reached him. "Ah, Rictus, it's been ages since I've last seen you! How have you been?" Maia barely contained a smirk as she heard the gasps behind her. The very idea that the archbishop, the pinnacle of holiness, associated with the likes of warlocks was akin to blasphemy among a good number of the Order.

Her master pulled back his hood, revealing a middle-aged man, black hair beginning to turn silver at the temples, coal-black eyes settled underneath thick brows. Lips set into a frown made his sharp chin even more pronounced.

"We have a problem, Benedictus. My apprentice here was attempting to summon her voidwalker companion when one the less mature students interrupted. Thus, she ended up summoning this boy here. The problem is, something in the boy's stomach is exuding an extremely powerful demonic aura."

The archbishop sucked his teeth. "Very well, follow me." He led the group back down the center aisle into a side room, where numerous paladins were gathered. Some were polishing their armor, others praying, and a few were even drinking and appeared to be having a good time.

He led them to where three paladins were sitting at a head table, all studying a map. Glancing at it, Maia could see that it was a map of Outland, home world of the orcs. The older of the three was the first to notice them, and he saluted the Archbishop sharply, soon followed by the other two.

The first, whom Maia assumed was the leader, was clad in heavy plate armor that glowed slightly, and a large maul was strapped to his back. His shoulder length hair was pulled into a ponytail and tied off with a leather tong. The other two appeared to be twins, and both had their chestnut hair cropped close, their helmets resting underneath their arms.

"Your honor, it is a pleasure to see you. We were just going over troop movements to Outland." Benedictus nodded. "Yes, I had heard about some increased Fel orc activity in hellfire peninsula, but I had hoped it was a rumor." One of the twins spoke. "Unfortunately not sir. It even appears as if they are attempting to create a new breed of them."

Benedictus frowned. "That is indeed troubling news, my son. Still, we must also focus on situations that arise here as well." The leader noticed the boy being held by the voidwalker. "I assume that the boy there is the situation of which you speak?" Benedictus nodded.

"He was accidentally summoned when a ritual went wrong. Apparently, there is a strong demonic presence within him. I wish to examine him with your aid." The leader bowed his head. "Of course, right this way." The paladin led them to an empty table, where the voidwalker set the boy down. "First, let's remove his garments." It took the party nearly five minutes to figure out the metal device which opened the jacket the boy was wearing, revealing a black shirt underneath. After spending another 15 minutes trying to figure out the rest of the garment, they finally managed to remove the rest.

Maia had to suppress a blush. The boy was in extraordinary shape. He wasn't made completely of muscle like most of the males, but his body seemed to be more..compact. His muscles were clearly defined, and well-toned, but they were more lean and wiry than that of the bulging variety favored by everyone else. Still, it was quite obvious that he exercised regularly.

Benedictus mumbled a few words under his breath, and his hands glowed golden. Reaching over the boy, he began to move his hands down, fingers writhing as if he were weaving a cloth. "He has a great deal of internal damage, several ruptured organs, but....they are an extraordinary rate, almost to the point of regeneration. But this healing is reducing his lifespan considerably." That was a surprise. Regeneration? That didn't sound like a human trait, more like a troll.

Then Benedictus reached the stomach. Immediately, the same red energy as before flared up, but this time, something else did as well. A seal array appeared, the center of which was a spiral.

Benedictus' eyes widened. "Rictus, copy that seal down, it is unlike anything I've seen before." Her master grunted, but did as he was asked, doing a fairly good sketch of the array.

The red energy began to whip out even more fiercely, and sweat beaded down Benedictu's forehead. Almost painfully, he moved away from the stomach to further down the body, before finally finishing his diagnostic.

Breaking the spell off, he collapsed into a chair. "It is as you said Rictus, there is a demonic presence around the boy, but it is not coming from the boy himself, but rather something inside him. There is something sealed within him." Rictus sucked in his breath, and the paladins straightened up. The boy was possessed? They gripped the handles of their weapons tightly.

None of them noticed the boy's hand twitch.

Naruto's first sensation was that his body was cold. He could feel a breeze across his body, which meant that he was undressed, and, ultimately, unarmed. Still, he was not helpless without his weapons. He did a mental checklist of his body, making sure he was still able to move all of his extremities. He could. Then he sensed movement towards him and he tensed.

The leader of the paladin trio walked up the boy's form, staring at it. If the boy was possessed, then a strong exorcism might be able to clear the infestation, but from the degree of difficulty that a simple diagnostic had been put on Benedictus, he doubted he would be able to do it by himself. Still, it was always safer to start off small, then work your way up. He prepared the spell, mubmling the incantation...

Then the boy disappeared. The paladin blinked. What the....? He looked up. The boy was on top of a bookshelf, crouching, eyes narrowed at the leader. One hand was gripping the bookshelf, and the other was held to the side, a swirling ball of energy held there. The paladin blinked. Was this boy a mage? Regardless, now that he was awake, he presented a more potent threat than he did when he was unconscious.

He unslung his weapon, a holy maul he had received from his master decades ago. He launched himself toward the boy, swinging the maul down. But the boy was gone. The bookshelf dissolved into a mass of kindling, and the paladin turned, just in time to avoid the swirling mass of energy, which hit the wall.

The wall exploded. There really was no other word for it. Dust filled the air as chunks of marble fell to the ground, exposing a hole the size of an Elek in the stone. Various priests on the other side blinked back at them. The Paladin made a mental note to avoid that avoid that spell. He swung his maul at the boy again. The boy sidestepped the swing and hit at the paladin's wrist, forcing him to drop the weapon. The boy then did something no one expected.

Plate armor is well known as being the strongest in regards to the ability to absorb punishment. Thus, it came as a surprise when the boy punched his armor and actually put a dent in it. The force of the blow made the paladin stumble back, but hardly out of action. Shouting, he charged the boy with his armored fists. It quickly became obvious that this was a bad idea as the boy turned his blows and countered with shots of his own, doing little damage but managing to severely dent the paladin's armor.

They separated, the boy barely breathing hard, and the paladin panting. He wasn't used to having to move quickly in his armor, no one really was, save for rogues. The boy's eyes slid to the paladin's left, and he dodged a purple bolt from Rictus, growling. He moved his fingers into an odd shape, and 4 clones of him appeared.

They froze. The boy knew horde techniques? Their hesitance cost them as the clones and the boy launched themselves at they party.

Benedictus was able to dispel the clone with a simple spell, and noted with some interest that the clone dissolved into smoke. The twins were having a slightly more difficult time with their clones, but were holding up well. The leader was still facing off with the original, but the girl...Maia, if he recalled her name correctly, was a different story.

The girl swallowed hard, the cold steel of some sort of knife hovering above her slender throat. The clone held her arms behind her back in some sort of grip. Maia attempted to utter a spell, but stopped when the kunai was pressed just enough to draw a bead of blood. "Tell everyone to stop, or I'm going to carve a smile in your throat." well, there wasn't a way around that.

"S...stop!" her cry caught the attention of everyone, who immediately stopped what they were doing. The boy who had been facing the leader of the paladins scowled when he looked at her. Faster than she could blink, she was free, and the boy was...arguing with his clone.

"You baka! What the hell were you thinking? Don't take people hostage unless I tell you to! Look, you cut her!" the clone hung its head, apparently ashamed of himself. "Sorry boss. It won't happen again." the boy grunted, and hit his clone over the head, dispelling it. He turned to Maia. "Sorry about that, sometimes my clones get some stupid ideas in their heads."

Maia wasn't too sure what to make of the boy. One minute he's trying to kill all of them, the next, he's smiling at her while apologizing. So, she spoke the words that came to mind first. "Uh, are you bipolar?" The boy actually looked thoughtful for a bit. "Not that I know of, though obaa-chan hasn't really tested me for something like that." The entire room was quiet as the boy continued to look thoughtful.

Then the boy shouted out, shocking all of them. "Ah! I forgot to introduce myself! My name is Naruto Uzumaki, genin of Konohagakure!"

A/N: Just to let those who read the original chapter know, I wasn't satisfied with the way it started off, so I thought I would do it more like this. Hopefully it's better...

By the way, If any of you are unfamiliar with that wonderful game known as World of all fail at life. Just kidding. But not really. If you have any questions or anything like that regarding the universe (aka my sandbox) feel free to pm me. Flames will be used to my meals with, while reviews, even ones depicting faults, will become like a drug to me.