Chapter 4

Miria, Naruto quickly discovered believed in walking; fast. Oh and not the speed walking people tried to do when there on the move, but moving incredibly fast and make it seem like your walking at the same time. Initially he'd believed that Clare was the only one who possessed a stride that was strong enough to chew up terrain so efficiently and swiftly that it left him breathless.

The single digit was definitely in a whole different league from Clare, Helen and Deneve combined. She walked with a preternatural catlike grace that almost made her seem like she was gliding, her endless legs moved in such a way that she didn't make any visible impact on the rest of her fit and firm body. For lack of a better word, it was simply arousing in itself.

'Damn, I thought Clare was on the only one who made walking look so damn good'

Naruto admitted mentally, his fingers flipped a blade end over end in his right hand. Stemming the perverted thoughts that seemed to creep in his mind from time to time, so he distracted himself and calm his raging lust and burning cheeks. Finger to finger to finger, stop. Finger to finger to finger, spin. His face was set behind the mottle gray and black cloak around his shoulders and sleeveless black turtle neck, covering a belt full of darts, daggers, and numerous tools and pouches.

Helen and Deneve were both ahead, flanking Miria on her left and right side and seemed like they were matching her stride for stride, though he could tell that it put a light almost non present strain on their legs in order for them to keep up, but said nothing. He figured that being a Claymore had its advantages; advanced strength, speed, agility, immunity against diseases and weather, and inhuman stamina. They were designed to do things that humans could only imagine and dream about.

All the while Naruto seemed focused on his surroundings while twirling his dagger, Clare was besides him and deep down she was greatly worried. Number 47 was worried because she knew that the probability of her companion dying on this venture was high; terribly high. True, she herself had absolutely no experience fighting against Awakened Beings, but she had heard rumors and the like from other warriors back at the Organization and knew that Awakened Beings were the main causes of death for warriors such as herself.

Former comrades who awakened and tapped into immense power that was far more sinister and potent than any yoma alive, and Clare couldn't bare the thought of losing him now. Not after everything they had been through, she didn't think her heart could take another loss of someone who she considered important to her more than anything. Already she lost Teresa, a woman who she had considered a mother/sisterly figure in her eyes and heart.

Her silver orbs trailed over towards Naruto, and inwardly she couldn't help but remember the crinkle of his lips when he smiled at her during their initial meeting in the south. Clare knew that in the entire planet that was capable of performing that one simple gesture and that was Bishou Teresa. Even after all of those dreadful years of training, fighting and planning to take her revenge against that one horned bitch that took her life, she was still able to remember that smile.

It was so clear in her mind that it felt like she was meeting Teresa again for the very first time, or rather a unique incarnation of her. But she didn't believe in that junk and she knew that being reincarnated was simply impossible, she was present when she had been decapitated. She remembered carrying her severed head in her little hands, fully aware of the freaked out expressions of every man, woman and child as she searched for the man in black to transfer her flesh and blood into her body.

It was on that very day when she began her new life as a hybrid, as a Claymore that she would have her vengeance against the one horned monster. To this day her death had left her greatly distraught beyond recognition and she had nearly blocked off any and all attachments to anyone; save for Elena. But she was very grateful that she had met and befriended Naruto, not just because he was a valuable warrior and travelling companion. But because she felt a change in herself in less than two months, she couldn't quite tell what it was but she did feel a difference within herself.

Had she been the same individual almost two months ago, she wouldn't have really cared if she died or not. Just so long as she had her revenge against Priscilla, it meant nothing to her. But Naruto gave her a new spin on life, gave her something to look forward too and lots of laughs from time to time on their adventure. Sure he was a goofball, but he was her goofball and she was damn proud of it, even if she did still found it hard to truly express how she felt.

But Clare wasn't stupid, not in the least bit and she had seen the looks in her companion's eyes would give him from time to time; but he was simply oblivious to it. She knew that even the most stouthearted half Yoma couldn't live in such an immense state of loneliness and simply be happy of it. Claymores were usually alienated and feared by humans because of their extraordinary powers and abilities, their relation to Yomas, and generally contributed to their aloof attitudes.

Due to the implementation of Yoma blood and flesh, training, isolation, and harsh lives or backgrounds, they were tended to be quite serious and cold to others even amongst themselves and comrades. They lived long, unhappy, lonely lifestyles due to their newfound solitary nature and the knowledge that they would eventually die or become worse than the monsters they created to hunt only added more to the mental stress of what they had to go through in their lives. Almost all of them avoided any sort of companionship with humans.

It wasn't set in stone, but half yoma didn't usually fall in love either. They were taught to school and reign in their emotions so that it didn't interfere with their jobs. But here she was, practically a grown woman who was trained in both mind and body to adapt and handle any situation; nearly falling prey to her own newly founded hormonal desires. Clare could only count in her mind how many times she had to stop herself from wanting to jump his bones right there and now, how her flesh would simply scream and cry in pure agony to simply have him put out the flames of desire and lust that burned within her everyday.

Just his simple glance and one assuring smile made it frustratingly hard to stop herself from feeling weak in the knees, her heart would thud in her chest and blood would pound in her ear. A dull heat would build between her thighs and frankly she was getting tired of having to wake up in the wee hours of early morning just to take a cold dip in a river or lake to control her desires. The only thing that took her mind off of it was training and killing yoma and that only for a short period of time anyway.

Clare hadn't realized that having such a companionship would have such a dramatic effect on her as an individual. She hadn't realized that just by having Naruto around would make her feel so… so… alive. It was like the feelings and emotions that had been buried so deep inside of her were trying to make her a slave to what her body wanted and needed, what she needed and desired most. But how could that be possible?

Love was a useless emotion that tied you down to someone for no good reason. It made you risk your life for no reason whatsoever.

But then, Clare and Naruto had already done these things, hadn't they? She was attached to Naruto, the same way that she had been attached to Teresa. That very trait passed over from her old life to this very new one, and she saw the very lengths and depths of what he was willing to do to protect her. Even when she nearly awakened, he didn't show any fear of dying by her side. He never stopped believing in her, and he never stopped caring.

That very action shook her to the core of her being, and she swore as long as she lived; she would never forget.

Hours had passed and evening was upon them, and the group walked along a jagged winding rigged mountain path. Helen stole a glimpse over her shoulder, before she turned around and she spoke in a whisper.

"Damn it, why couldn't they have both stayed behind?" Her face scrunched in apparent anger, and her fist clenched at her sides. She looked at Miria and Deneve pleadingly. "It's not fair to do this, couldn't we have left them behind or something. It feels like we're taking them out to die or something"

Deneve was quiet, but knew instantly that something was bothering her best friend, but visibly made no mention of it. Knowing full well that an argument would have simply been more trouble than it was worth and it was not something they had come here to do, but deal with a job of the utmost importance. But her sharp mind read Helen's face and body language like an open book and she knew the reason for her anger, and she couldn't help but shake her head at the answer.

Mainly it was directed at two individuals; Clare and Naruto.

Helen didn't want them coming for different reasons, and Deneve had a pretty good idea of what they were. Firstly she didn't want Clare along because she believed that her fourty seventh rank would have been counter productive in this hunt, and thus make her a hindrance rather than an asset. Deneve felt the same way, but that was beside the point.

And secondly, she didn't want Naruto to come along mainly because she not only felt that the Awakened Being that they were going after would have been too much for him, and she didn't want him to die because either she was beginning to like him, or she already liked him. Most likely it was the latter she believed.

Deneve knew first hand from experience that Awakened Beings were nothing to joke with, not in the lightest and in order to defeat one it required immense team work, quick precision and a shit load of luck and skill on their side. She'd seen what they were truly capable of, and even though she didn't voice it or express how she felt inwardly for the entire world to see, she too didn't want Naruto to die either.

Miria on the other hand held a look of annoyance, and looked at Helen. "How many times do I have to spell it out for you Helen," She reiterated as if she was speaking to a toddler, though she noted the way Helen spoke and who could blame her really. Here they were, surrounded by nothing more than comrades and swords, struggling for survival to combat yoma and Awakened Beings.

Then here, the Organization somehow saw it fit to allow Naruto to join their hit squad. His mere presence was truly, and deeply a godsend in itself and a welcome; if not a required one. The boy, no, she couldn't call him that; this man was simply a breath of fresh air. Just mere days, no, she was sure that it was shorter than that, hours of meeting him and already Deneve, Helen and already they felt so comfortable, so secure, so safe, so whole, warm and so…


That was the word, Naruto made them all feel human. Miria knew that she hadn't had that feeling for a long time, and the last person who actually made her feel that way was her friend Hilda. A look of pain crossed her face for half a second at the memory of her dear friend, but quickly her cold persona took over to cover it. Ever since she died she held growing bitterness and hatred for the Organization in her heart, but more importantly she had an even bigger hatred for her.

Miria saw why Clare was so quick to nearly attack a fellow warrior when Helen called him her pet, and had she been in Clare's position, she felt that she probably would have done the same thing. He had some kind of charm that simply made others simply feel inspired or feel stronger just by simply talking or being in his presence. It was a quality that she had yet to see anyone possess, and she was positive without a shadow of a doubt that he was doing it all based on instinct and he wasn't even aware of it.

She herself saw the way how Clare seemed to give off a weird type of glow when he gave her his attention, the way he never put her down and was able to keep her safe for over a month and three weeks. Even when he found out that Clare was the weakest out of all of the warriors in the Organization, his view of her didn't change in the least bit. If anything it simply made him bolder, fiercer and even more protective of her as it was.

Miria saw what he was capable in last night's spar, and to be honest she still couldn't wrap her mind around it. His strength, agility, dexterity, speed and reflexes were beyond the levels of human; far beyond their normal level. His unpredictability made him one to be feared on the battle field, his agility, flexibility and nimbleness allowed him to assume possess and stances that she knew would have been extremely painful if not outright impossible for any man to perform.

But what really spooked her dreadfully was before they started sparring, she wasn't to sure if she was seeing things or not but what she saw had left her intimidated, if only for a short period of time. To her he appeared as a warrior covered by the shadows of darkness, his eyes were blood red slits and they gave an eerie glow and the sword in his hand simply glowed white hot in response.

An aura of raw terrible power came off of him in pure waves, so much so that it felt like something grabbed her and dragged her into the very depths of an ocean. She'd never felt anything so dark and frightening in her entire life, the only thing that brought her out of her daze was when he attacked her first. Bringing out of her frightened her stupor and the image was gone, allowing her to stele her resolve and fight back.

She didn't know if she was seeing things or what, but Miria knew that one thing was perfectly clear in her mind. Naruto was anything but human, anything at all. If anything, it felt like she was fighting one of her own, but something more; so much more complex or something akin to it.

"We have to follows from the higher ups. Besides, Naruto can take care of himself quite fine without you worrying about his safety and well being, besides that he's already proven to me that he's capable of taking one of us so long as we don't release our yoki. So I have faith in his—

"Hello there!" a voice boomed in the distance, causing everyone to look towards the north. The man was coming towards the hunting part with an unnaturally fast pace for a guy his age. He sure was nimble for a traveler and he did not seem tired at all.

"Who's that?" Helen questioned nobody in particular, and Naruto simply gave her a shrug in response.

"I've been waiting for you Claymores!" He said happily, and scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "I hail the village of Lido, and it was I who sent the request. It's so great that you came so quickly!"

Naruto noted a tingle resonated in his mind, despite the seemingly exuberant and happy smile the man seemed to give off. He instinctively knew he was lying. Though his eyes simply narrowed in response, he knew that something was out of place. Miria seemed stared at the man blankly, as if she was heavily thinking about something mentally. But Naruto wasn't able to discern just what in the world she was thinking about, as far as he was concerned she was in complete danger.

He knew that this guy was outright lying to them, and to lie about his identity meant…

A look of shock came across his face, he instantly stopped twirling the dagger in his hand and slowly inched his hand for his massive blade; Retribution.

The man held his hand up to them, as if beckoning them to follow his lead. "Anyway, please follow me so I can lead you the rest of th—

Before anyone was even aware of what was going on, both Deneve and Miria was yanked back by their fauld. Both women stumbled slightly causing Clare to catch Miria and Helen to catch Deneve. They caught there bearing and were simply shocked to find Naruto land a vicious swipe at the man's right arm, severing it with ease. Dark blood spurted from the stump in time with the man's heartbeat, even from their distance it was possible to see the pale whiteness of his bone protruding from his shoulder.

"Naruto!" Helen shouted in complete surprise, but was surprised when a claw bit in his side savagely. No, not a hand, but an actual claw. Naruto growled in pain and anger, but it didn't hinder him nor stopped him from wanting to attack again. But his attacker turned into a blur of speed, and seemed to zip away. His body perched comfortably along the mountain side, his body took on a grayish green tinge, and his eyes were shadowed by his black messy hair.

"Miria, Deneve, are you both alright? You're not injured are you?" Naruto quickly asked the two, his eyes never left his target as he questioned the superior dingle digit and her comrade.

To say that Phantom Miria was completely caught off guard would have been a complete understatement. Just moments ago she had deduced that the "guide" had to have been their target in disguise, smiling and grinning to lure them all in a false state of security and had made to strike. Her eyes were simple wide with astonishment. "You… you knew? How did you—

"I can tell when someone is telling the truth or when they are lying," He disconnected his sword with practiced ease, allowing him to dual wield. "I can't really explain it, my body just gives me a sign if someone is lying or not, and I simply reacted when I felt he wasn't telling the truth"

Miria was caught by complete surprise by that, and she was sure her fellow warriors were surprised as well. She made a quick mental note that if they came out of this encounter alive and in one piece she was going to question him about that. But for now, she simply shook her head and got back on her feet. "No, we're both alright, thank you Naruto,"

But just as she spoke, worry broke out on her face as her eyes turned towards their target. "But our information was completely wrong," Fluidly she drew her sword with ease and grace. Her senses were primed for battle and her jaw was set. Already she could sense the vast levels of yoki raging and warring within the disguised human's body, and it didn't help that she was shaken by what they were going to be dealing with.

Naruto took a moment to study whatever the hell it was that had clawed at him, and his eyes were still narrowed when that thing scratched a part of his side but he could feel the wound close underneath his clothing so he was fine. He could tell that it was inhuman in the least bit, but he held no fear in his heart against this thing. Not by a long shot.

He was surprised yea, but not scared. Something definitely told him that whatever they were going to be facing, it was anything but an average yoma. Judging by the look on Miria's face and body pattern told him that it was definitely more than what Clare had made it out to be; much more.

"We heard it was an average voracious eater… But do the organization think we can really face something of this magnitude?!" Her tone was that of disbelief and dread.

"What?" Helen simply wondered while drawing her blade and her attention was drawn upwards. Her eyes were filled with surprise, and though she didn't show it outwardly. She was shaking on the inside.

The man simply gave Naruto a look of interest, and a malicious smile came to his face. "Interesting reflexes human, I do believe that you're the first to hit me in a really long time. I've never had someone look through my disguise and they weren't a Claymore, it'll simply make feasting on your body all the more enjoyable when I'm done with you, child!"

Suddenly the ground underneath his feet began to quake, dirt floated into the air as he released his yoma power. His body underwent a very dramatic change, and he seemed to only grow as well. His pale skin seemed to disappear and was replaced by a shade of onyx retched morphed skin. Jagged, razor sharp teeth lined his mouth and he couldn't control the drool that pooled down the sides of his mouth. A pleasurable shudder ran down his spine as six arms suddenly appeared out of his back, his dark grin never left his face.

Completing his transformation altogether.

It… it can't be!" Helen choked out. Fear took control of her body as she sensed the malicious Yoki coming off of his body, instantly she recognized what it was. Her face was as white as a sheet, and her confidence dropped dramatically.

"It's a male voracious eater!" Miria said in horror. The danger level of this mission simply skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. Realization and horror dawned on everyone's faces, save for the blond haired blacksmith who seemed neither afraid nor shaken by his opponents new appearance.

Helen shook her head in pure disbelief, like she was trying to wake herself up from a bad dream. Except that she was failing miserably. "But this one, this awakened being… is a male"

If this had been a movie, this would have been the moment when everything, even time it self slowed to a crawl to employ to dramatize everything. The music would have been muted to allow the audience to fully feel and see the impact of what had just happened on screen just moments ago. It took a while for Naruto to realize as Deneve was propelled backwards by the power of the blow, what in the world happened.

Her eyes were wide with shock and horror as she fell over the chasm, and it all happened so quickly and so unexpected that his mind simply could not register, or perhaps it just refused to simply accept what had suddenly happened. It refused to see the look of pain and horror on her face, it refused to believe that thing had such deadly accuracy with its tongue and had severed her arm in mere moments. But most importantly, it refused to believe that Deneve had fallen off of the cliff face and had just fallen into the river below.

As her arm was dragged back by the awakened beings jaws, and right before there very eyes it was being chewed. Chewed and bitten like it was a piece of meat, like when you give a dog something tasty. Except the look of disgust passed over the face of the awakened being, without a second thought it spat up the limb it had just moments ago been dining on and it had the ground with a clang.

It spat on the side and wiped its mouth with one of its many hands. "Yuck, fucking terrible. That piece of meat stunk of yoma energy. I can't eat that shit."

As those words left its mouth, something hot and searing burned inside of Naruto. He knew that it was anger, and it took a lot of things to get him angry. So much so that he didn't even realize that the grip on the blade tightened so considerably, a desire to make this pay suffer and pay for what it did to Deneve. A desire for vengeance welled up inside of him, and he was going to get it.

Pure, white, hot vengeance.

"YOU SON OF A BITCH!!!" Helen all but screamed in outrage, launching herself at the monstrosity that had just attacked her friend. Anger, rage and the blood pounding in her ear clouded her judgment and the only thing she wanted to do right now was kill this bastard. She was upon him and she swung her sword with all her might, but the only thing she was able to do was slice clear through the rock. Missing her intended target altogether.

Miria who was assessing everything from down below and could only curse in response, Helen had jumped into the situation without a battle plan whatsoever, Miria, like Helen was upset that Deneve had been attacked. But the veteran warrior knew better than to simply jump in because your judgment was simply clouded by an emotion. It was the surest way of getting yourself killed. "Helen above you!!!"

The blond haired woman cursed herself for missing her target, and looked up. The Awakened being simply gave her an impassive look, and slowly he began to show her his yellow stained teeth. Almost like he was giving her a wicked grin of what was to come, veins began to pop up within its body as it unleashed a bit more of its yoki.

"Miria paled at that. "Helen pull back NOW!!!!" Miria screamed, already her mind was saw the danger of the situation with this male awakened being. If Helen engaged him by herself in a pure physical battle even with her yoki released, she was no match for him.

Helen was in a state of surprise and shock as she sensed an immense amount of yoki behind her. A light growl left her lips as she realized that her quarry was so strong, but she refused to back down. She jumped out of the way as its boulder sized fists nearly flattened her skull, but it saw that she was still in mid air. Which gave him a perfect opportunity to skewer her right then and there with his prehensile tongue, he knew full well that the girl's reflexes were good but not good enough to allow her to all together dodge.

His tongue shot out at an unnatural speed, Helen cursed as she realized that she couldn't dodge not counter in time and that it would hit her.

But a blur of yellow whizzed past Helen, and she was rather surprised to see Naruto stopping the awakened beings tongue from nearly turning her into a human sized shish kabob. Followed immediately by Clare who grabbed one of the swords he was wielding in such a fluid motion that it was beautiful, and used his shoulders as a spring board to help her gain the necessary speed to successfully slice off three of its arms off, all in one swift go.

The awakened being stumbled back when a foot smashed into its jaw, courtesy sent it spiraling through the air and crashing into a wall. It pulled itself up and growled in annoyance and nursed one of its newly severed arms. Instinctively he began the process to regenerate its missing arms, but found that the very task in itself was being problematic. It realized that the woman that was successful in attacking him was handing the sword she had just used back to the human, who simply took it back with a twirl of his finger and hefted in a reverse grip.

Something about the weapon just wasn't right, and it noticed that the arm that the stump that the human had been capable of inflicting on him had just finished healing. But he felt a serious inflammation from the slowly repairing injury, not the mention he noticed something odd.

He noticed that those swords that the human was using possessed some kind of strange property. A property that was vastly reducing the effectiveness of regeneration though luckily it didn't fully suppress it, but he felt that wasn't the worse part. The awakened being realized that somehow whenever that sword inflicted injury upon itself, he felt a bit of his yoki leave his body in the process.

That boy and that sword is going to be a problem for me, if I want a chance at having an even bigger chance of winning I'll have to remove them both out of the equation. So far he and that woman have been the only ones capable of damaging me, and so far I don't think they've picked up on this. Looks like I'll have to try another method of attacking.

The awakened beings eyes narrowed calculatingly and glittered in the process. His poker face was in place as he realized if he even showed a small change of his attitude, they would pick up on it and he didn't need that right now. No way was he going to alert the hunters of his inflamed regenerated injuries.

He growled low on his throat and watched as the only male of the group, his stance was loose and fitting as he stared at back at him with those strange glowing blue eyes. Obviously he was the muscle behind the little squad, and he was just constantly surprising him at almost every turn. His actions were going to be the hardest to read as he didn't expect him to be so agile and nimble, even for a human. Though judging by the look on his face he could gather a guess that he was rather fond of that pixie haired girl; how amusing.

It knew that it hadn't survived on stupidity, but by being clever and picking up on minute things that he could use to his advantage. Using any and everything to gain an advantage on the battlefield and survive. After all, he was a former number 7 in his time; though that in itself was a really long time ago. It realized that those females were his Achilles heel huh, interesting, very interesting.

Not once did the group notice his fingers had already pierced the earth beneath his feet. Silently splitting it in the process as they made their way to their intended target, or rather targets.

Naruto and Clare barely registered what had happened next, and when they did, it was already too late. Slender green finger wrapped around their ankles tightly, and with unnatural strength hoisted them up into the air and slamming them both viciously against a rock face. The blond male felt his head thump against the hard surface, right before both of their bodies plowed into the ground

His blade skittered across the rocky surface fifty meters away from his and everyone's position. Helen let loose a slew of curses as her comrades had been attacked, what the hell were they thinking of attacking something of this magnitude! Were they out of the freaking minds? Though she couldn't help but sympathize and worry even more. Worry because Naruto wasn't like them, and the fall from that height could have outright killed him or left him critically injured.

Sympathize because she would have expected such behavior from her friend Deneve, who back in the day fought like she was suicidal. "Damn it, those idiots. What the hell was going through their minds to do something like that!?

Helen instantly made the choice of activating her yoki; the yoma power deep inside of her. Veins stretched across her face and her eyes gleamed gold with black slits. Her teeth sharpened, and her slender muscles swelled slightly, and with her claymore in hand she activated her special power. Her arms stretched like rubber directly at the awakened being, her opponent motioned to the left to avoid the blow.

This was what Helen had planned on and with control and expertise of her outstretched limb, it swerved so fast that the motions were simply blinding. Completely binding his other arms and keeping her arm away from its mouth and striking range.

Miria was shocked, but Helen simply glared at the monster with glistening eyes. "Bastard, those arms of yours are really starting to annoy me. So why don't I cut a little off of the top" A sadistic grin came to her face, with a burst of human speed and accuracy, she cut four of his arms in the process.

It simply gave a look of annoyance and not at all was it worried. The weapon he truly feared was out of this fight so he had a chance, and being a defensive type was simply the best. His own flesh and blood became miniature tendrils and reconnected its severed limbs, repairing the damage completely.

It quickly made to retaliate with its new limbs, finding a rather interesting opening in her technique. His hands turned into spears and made to run her through completely, though at the last minute it noticed a shadow in the corner in its eyes.

The spears never even made it or came close to Helen's exposed back when something blurred past her back and removed his arms in the equation.

It quickly tried to retaliate with its newly regenerated limbs, he quickly noted and opening in her technique. His hands turned to spears and made to run her through. Though to Helen's surprise the spears never even came close to touching her when something blurred past her and quickly removed his arms from the equation.

"Filthy fucking coward, striking out of nowhere like that," Deneve eyes became slits of anger, and not at all did she notice that her arm was healing fast. Unbelievably fast. "I'm going to fucking kill you for that!"

Miria looked at them both in shock and disbelief. Incredible, her arm is… regenerating… regenerating so fast that I can't believe my eyes. How can she do that in such a short time!

Her eyes turned towards a ticked Helen, or more importantly her limbs. The ability too stretch her arms like that is no a small feat neither and if I'm correct in my assumption than her legs are capable of doing such a thing as well. These capabilities should only be possible as one approaches the limit of ones yoma powers. To use them so naturally and fluidly in combat means that they've…

The color in her face practically drained and she was shocked by the simple revelation of it all.

Naruto hoisted a boulder over his head and helped Clare from the rubble and debris they had been buried underneath.

Helen didn't move her eyes from it, and inwardly she was relieved. A smirk danced on her lips. "So the two of you are still alive huh, if you both want to stay that way I'd advise you both to get out of here. It's going to get dangerous in a little bit."

Naruto couldn't help but shake her head at that. "Naw, running away isn't exactly in my dictionary and I don't leave my friends behind to be killed. If anything I'd sooner die before I let that thought pass my mind." A large grin made its way towards his face, and Helen couldn't help but feel that he was serious about that statement. Deadly serious.

The blond blacksmith couldn't help but watch in surprise and slight disgust as it reconnected its limbs they had severed time and time again. It was like no matter what damaged they inflicted on it, and he couldn't help it. "Maa, that's an annoying technique of his being able to regenerate anything in seconds even when we chop him up. So we're going to have to separate his head from his body right?"

"All in one pretty boy, heh, I guess you more than just a cute face huh?" Helen teased, even in a dire situation she couldn't help but jest in the face of danger. Naruto simply gave her a pout and a glare which made his eyes squint, and she couldn't help but chuckle in response. Oh she was definitely crushing hard on him.

Naruto blinked, remembering something that Miria had been talking about earlier. "Oi, Miria-sama, earlier you looked a bit spooked when you realized what we were fighting. Mind filling in the blanks for me so I can understand what's going on here?"

In that instant he dashed forward, the edges of his blades scratched across the ground creating sparks in the process. His wrist twisted and made to make a body cut to sever him in four pieces, but his adversary jumped back from the deadly blade. It sensed a presence behind him and spun in the air rapidly, dodging a series of slashes aimed for his head by the blondish brown haired woman.

Her boots clanked lightly as she landed besides Naruto who held his swords in a reverse grip style. "Initially, the organization created female fighters but there was a time they used males as well. Following me?"

Naruto gave a nod, and she continued. "He's a male warrior from several generations ago, a failed creation. Well, I shouldn't say he's a failed creation, though the males half yomas were a success, most of the warriors back then were male half humans half yomas to begin"

Deneve dodged a swipe and several blows that were made to attack her body, and retaliated with a clean swipe at his skull. But at the last moment he blurred out to her right flank and tried to spear her with his fingers, but Helen blocked the strikes with her sword and protected her exposed back

"There was no problem with their fighting capabilities, but there a problem with the males, a huge problem," Miria pushed off of the ground and gained altitude, while Naruto took the scenic route by digging his heels into the dirt and launching himself forward. His job was to simply attack blistering fast as humanly possible in such a manner that the awakened being found it near impossible to read his sword work.

Naruto used every weapon in his arsenal. His swords blurred through combination, whipping his blades in a beautiful show of art and death. The purpose to was to get there attention away from his hands and keep there focus on his blades. A man was always inclined to focus on the point and what's in their face, rather than focus on the unseen. But it wasn't the sword that confused the awakened being,

Naruto would follow a cut at its head with a kick to its knee then a spinning smash in the nose by the hilt of the blade. Combinations flowed excellently and followed into each other in a raging river of deadly, sinister motion. Miria's blade had almost severed his neck, but instead it simply cleaved the ground where he had been standing, and she cursed in her mind. That display was simply beautiful and was one of the perfect opportunities to get at his blind spot, and was nearly successful too.

Now that she thought about it, she couldn't even really believe that he was still alive! Miria had thought that he'd gotten a concussion or a broken neck when his head slammed in the rock face, but came back out surprisingly unscathed. A few minor cuts and scrapes, but practically unscathed. "I'm going to take a wild guess and say that even though they were a success, something happened right?"

"Right. The problem was that every last male hybrid reached their limit way to fast in a short period of time. In a sense awakening is an element similar to sexual pleasure. Just by unleashing their yoma powers, thee men became unable to suppress the urge to Awaken. So they stopped producing male warriors and it was decided that Awakened beings would be put to pasture as voracious eaters." Miria stated.

Naruto was a bit surprised. "Damn, and here I thought you world couldn't be anymore confusing to me, this just keeps getting better and better. So you mean to tell me that the term voracious eater is just a nick name for the commoners and outsiders who nothing about this, isn't it " He said off handedly, watching as Clare, Helen and Deneve used what remained of the sun as cover to blind their prey and made to cleave down the middle. But like their attempts before he moved out of the way.

Clare cursed; the awakened being landed a good ways away from the group slight shaking the earth they were standing on. Miria glanced at the blond male and simply stated. "That's right, that is how there came to be female warriors which we are known as Claymores and of the male Awakened Beings."

At first there was a tense moment of silence, one that was so quiet that the blacksmith could swear that he could hear his heart smashing against his very ribcage. Who'd a thought the organization would hide something so… so… sinister. If they knew what the hell these things were so powerful, then why the hell did they take so long to deal with the problem now?

Suddenly a dark, raspy chuckle sounded in the area and Naruto realized that it was actually coming from the awakened being itself. The beast's eyes glittered darkly as it found itself comfortably on its haunches. "There's one very major part you're missing in that wonderful story of yours my dear, something you got wrong."

"What is it that you know that she doesn't?" Naruto shot back, his grip on his swords never loosened and he was trying to make sense of what he was saying. What did he know that they didn't?

It simply gave a chuckle as if it had a hidden joke or something. "You should know what it is you're missing, being one of the most clever and unpredictable of the group. Well, next to that strange human behind you of course, but can you figure out the reason why you were sent after me, hmm?"

For a moment, Miria was a bit confused at this. Suddenly her face paled and realization dawned on her, she turned her head. Could… could it be that… this lineup was chosen for a reason? Even Naruto? But why?

The awakened being laughed at the expression on her face, and he bared his bright yellow fangs for all to see. "Oh gee, I wonder what's got your feathers ruffled."

"Shut up!" Miria spat with distaste. One of the things she realized was that the group she was in consisted of members that were below the rank of ten, save for her, but she didn't know exactly what rank this former warrior was. But she sure that it wasn't anywhere between the numbers eight and below, meaning that if he was somewhere between the top five or the last two ranks below that then that would spell trouble.

"Well, I guess that this is as good a time as any ," He stood to his massive ten feet in full length, his appendages stretched and he flexed his claws. A breathy, raspy sigh left his lips. "I gave you a taste of true despair"

Everyone bristled at that, there stances tightened and suddenly out of nowhere he was a black blur. Miria found that this was much different than the speed he had been using up until now, and saw that he had been holding back. "Everyone, run!!!"

But it was too late. A blur flew past Deneve, skewering and eviscerating her in one clear brutal movement. Half of his arm disappeared through her stomach as her purple red blood poured out of her mouth, her face mixed to one of complete shock. Her body slumped to the ground with a thud.

"No!!!" Miria roared. Pumping yoki into her legs to give her the speed to stop him. He disappeared from site once again, leaving her skidding across the dessert dirt. His next victim was Clare and he watched with calculated interest and glee as the male of the group jumped, making to intercept him and sent a diagonal and horizontal slash at his body.

He quickly evaded them with ease and his arm found its place through Naruto's chest, smashing through his ribcage, lungs and heart all in one glorious move. Taking him out of the program also. While using the same hand he had struck down his second victim with, he extended his fingers at the woman behind him and his lance like fingers struck her through the stomach, groin and kidney.

Her body dropped to the floor silently, while Naruto smashed into the earth before rolling partially on top of her.

"BASTARD I'LL KILL YOU!!!" Helen roared and sent her extended limb at her target, but the last thing she felt was something sharp and metallic raked against her back. Blood welled in her throat and she practically choked on her blood as a look of horror came to her face before she fell to the ground, quivering and shaking like a leaf in a storm right before her body became still.

Miria couldn't help but feel her heart being clouded by despair, her eyes wide in disbelief and a gasp left her lips. Her eyes trailed across the bodies of her fallen comrades. The only ones left standing were herself and the unnamed awakened being, which simply looked at her intently.

His tongue licked his lips as he enjoyed the look of despair on her face, and spoke. "So, what do you think?

"Helen… Deneve… Clare… Naruto" the words that left her lips were barely the sound of a whisper.

"It's a shame really; I can tell you're an excellent warrior. You're perceptive and clever beyond any warrior I have ever known. On the battle field it takes more than brute strength to win a conflict, you have to be decently clever in order to survive." His tone was thoughtful, but the predatory gleam in his eyes didn't waver. "But then again being too clever, can be detrimental to ones longevity also"

A chuckle left his lips and Miria didn't look inclined to take bull shit from anybody. "Bastard, just who are you?!"

"My name is or was Seymour; I'm exactly what you said I was. A monstrosity that was a former male warrior ended up becoming, nothing more nothing less. In order for me to survive, I eliminate warriors such as you, who are sent to kill me, get it now or do I have to spell out for you?"

"I get it," Her face became one of pure disgust. This wasn't just some ordinary hunt after all, it was a trap designed for a specific purpose.

Seymour was caught off guard when she disappeared out of his vision, and spun around to find her with one of her comrades in her arms. The first one who had fallen to his awesome might. Quickly motioned her body out of the way, Miria's eyes trailed at the injury in her stomach which seemed to pulse now and then as it tried to close by itself.

Okay, so far her stomach is already starting to regenerate itself back together. But the wound is pretty severe and the chances of survival are very slim.

"Now now my dear, this is no time to worrying about your comrades," His metallic claws glittered in the evening light, and a savage look was in his eyes. "I'd say worrying about your own life would be more practical!"

His fingers lashed out, only for her to turn and get stuck in the forehead and heart. A look of glee flashed on Seymour's face, but suddenly turned into another look of surprise. Suddenly the woman he could have sworn that he'd hit simply fade into nothingness, his claws struck dessert earth and rending it asunder.

Seymour spun his head as he heard the sound of footsteps and couldn't help but gape as Miria strode over towards Clare and Naruto. The former whimpered in pain, and tears fled down her eyes. The single digit was shocked to see she was alive after that assault.

A growl of annoyance and anger left his throat, and he launched his spear like fingers at her. Just like before the blow hit, but not its intended target and it simply smashed against the ground missing its target by a mile.

She reappeared next to Deneve, carrying Clare, Helen and Naruto's body with her. Miria laid them down gently without disturbing their injuries in the least. Helen gasped out in pain as a breath of air filled her burning lungs. Her teeth were clenched and agony ripped right through her.

Scanning the injuries on her comrades, she was able to surmise that Helen's back injury was just as severe as Deneve's injured stomach. And Clare, she took serious damage as well but analyzed that Naruto had sacrificed himself to deviate where Seymour's claws were initially supposed to strike; which should have been her brain and heart, but instead it struck her groin and deep in her side.

There was a possibility that Clare could survive, a large possibility, but she saw the damage that had been done to her male companion and inwardly she wanted to weep. Weep because the attack Seymour had done was beyond cheap, beyond unfair. Naruto, in last moment sacrificed his rib cage, heart and lung, all in order to save Clare.

Miria knelt there felt like she didn't know what to feel, shock, agony and pain rolled over and through her and she felt as if she was submerged at the bottom of an icy cold river. Her mind flashed back to when Helen advised him to run away, that the danger was too high. But he simply smiled and called them his friends and said he rather die than leave them behind. My friend… Naruto thought of me as a friend, and now he's gone. I… can't believe he's gone so quickly.

She shivered and felt soaked in the absolute wrongness of it all. Miria felt it shook her to the very depths of her being. A human life was much more than a half human half yoma for in such a life, there was no happiness, but he gave his to protect one of her kind. He gave his life because he saw that there lives were more valuable than his own, not because of blind loyalty, but because he was willing to give them a fighting chance even if it meant improving the chance of survival for one of her comrades at the cost. Miria never thought she'd see the day a human would do such a thing, and truth be told she wanted to curl up in the sheer coldness of her grief and squeeze it until it was embedded in her being forever.

But Miria had been a soldier for a long time, and learned long ago not to waste time on the battlefield lamenting what you chould have done, what you should have seen. Recriminations could come later, if there was a later.

The surge of approaching yoki left her no choice.

Miria felt it, and she hefted her dear friend's massive weapon, to stand and turn to meet Seymour. Leisurely watching and approaching now, kicking bits of earth from his feet disdainfully across the ground. Behind that animal visage it was impossible to hide his monstrous nature, the demonic animal thing he had awakened into

Sure enough Naruto's weapon was much heavier than her claymore, proving that he was unique, but her eyes were steeled and she held it confidently. It simply gave a chuckle at her. "Ahh, the human's sword hmm? Interesting, he was a rather interesting person I'll admit. I had figured he'd give his own body in the way to protect one of you, though I'm glad I guessed correctly that he made to protect the weakest of you all,"

Seymour gave a tooth filled smirk, looking past Miria where Naruto lied between Clare and Helen. "Out of you warriors, his swordsmanship was the hardest to read. For a human he was clever and unpredictable, but in the end his selfless nature got himself killed in the process. Pity, I had hoped to see more of what he was capable of, so I guess you'll have to do now. Phantom Miria"

Miria bristled, but said nothing. The time for talking was over, and now she was out for blood. Her eyes glittered gold slits as she activated her yoki, ready to fight.

Seymour simply smiled, and flexed his claws. "Let's see… if you resolve and technique will prevail against me.

Miria launched herself like a missile and her body was simply a blur of speed and motion.

A laugh left the awakened beings throat. "Rushing towards the very jaws of death huh? I welcome you bitch!?

Soon her entire body phased out of motion, and his eyes were swinging to and fro as her body disappeared one way, and reappeared another way. Miria appeared at his exposed left and made to cleave him right then and there, a look akin to shock came to his eyes as the sword pierced through it like a hot knife through butter.

The stump for his arm was a now deep red color, and Miria realized that instead of it healing as it did before it simply bled heavily. Miria concluded and she felt like she had a fighting chance, and she couldn't help but think that something was odd about the sword itself.

"You bitch!!!" He roared, his hands shout out and ram her through. But she gave a small smirk before she phased out.

Miria blurred across the field, out his striking distance and had to think. Somehow the sword in her hand had some kind of strange effect against Seymour, whatever it was it seemed to somehow inhibit the efficiency of his regenerating powers. She suddenly realized why her opponent had tried to do everything in his power to avoid engaging Naruto at every turn.

Because he knew that it was the only weapon amongst the ones they were given to wield capable of inflicting the maximum damage against him.

Miria blurred out of sight once again and took the fight to him. If anything she fought like a woman possessed as she cleaved a deep wound on his right shoulder. Though not deep enough to sever the entire and deem it useless, but she was going to get her revenge against thing. Even if she had to pick him apart one piece at a time!


Helen watched the battle from afar, and coughed in response. Her body was in pure agony from trying to right herself up, though she did it slowly not to reopen her back wound. "Damn, she's amazing,"

Helen coughed slightly as she watched Phantom Miria move around the battlefield, and was simply lack of a better word amazed and stunned. The woman moved so fast that her movements were beyond anything she had ever seen in her entire life. Her eyes trailed towards Naruto's body that was on the left of her, and she felt her heart lurch at the sight.

Her hand clenched into a fist, and anger was evident on her face. "Damn it! If she could have done this the whole time, then why didn't she do it before!? Why didn't she…" Her eyes burst into tears and she had her coughing fits once more, she had nearly forgotten to take it easy. But the pain in her back was nothing to the pain she felt inside of her body, of what she felt in her being.

"It's a last resort," Helen shivered at the coldness that filled the voice that spoke, her head turned to number 47. Her silver eyes never left Naruto's face, but Helen could see that she was fighting to hold back the floodgate of tears that wanted to spill.

Helen stared at the lower ranking warrior as her hand wanted to touch him, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. Clare willed herself to look back towards the battle and not at the body of her friend, and she saw Miria move expertly across the field. Naruto's sword in hand and she opened a vicious cut in his side, but not enough to pierce any vitals.

Clare coughed. "It's a strain for her to use large bursts of yoma power. Obviously it's taking a toll on her mind and body, and it's taking everything she has, even her will to push herself. However, I'm sure that Miria can only use it a certain number of times, ten maybe twenty the most."

Her jaw was set and she realized the implications of using such a technique in such a situation. "However, she's used that technique more than thirty times now; she's putting a massive strain on herself. Even for a single digit."

Helen got angry and made to rebuke her, but the sounds of something slamming into ground rang in the mountain.

Miria cried out in pain as she was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Seymour's hand pressed tightly against her abdomen and the dessert ground, rocks dug painfully in her back and she gasped to bring air into pained lungs. But even the task itself was vastly difficult.

She felt Seymour's palm dig painfully in her ribs, sinking her even deeper in the whole she was in. Miria could hear her comrade's call her name, distress was in their voices, but it was slightly muffled by the blood pumping and thumping in her ears.

"Got you now you little bitch" Seymour spat distastefully; one of his arms grabbed the handle of Retribution and without care chucked it behind his back. "Now we can't have the sword ruining our little relationship now would we? Truth be told it hurts and burns like hell when that thing slices and pierces my skin, but I can tell you gave it everything you had to fight me.

But I knew you couldn't last and all I had to do was wait you out until you reached your limit"

He gave a nasty chortle in amusement as he watched the blood leak down her nose; her breathing was heavy mostly due to one of her ribs painfully digging into her lung. The simple grimace of pain in her eyes made his eyes glitter even more, who knew watching such a sight, would be such a turn on?

Seymour gave her body a once over, and couldn't help but think how beautiful she looked with all of that blood covering her body. Miria's body was simply and utterly nubile in every way, sure she was a bloody mess but she was a beautiful bloody mess.

His eyes fed hungrily on her crushed hopes, gorged himself on her dying despair as his tongue peeped through his lips and began to stroke her cheek. Miria shivered in complete and total disgust as this… this thing touched her. "Now then… how shall I torture you to death? Hmm… Oh I know!" he said happily and malicious giggle left his lips.

His free arm smashed into her knee and she felt the bone shatter on impact, moment later she felt the other smashed by equal impact. A scream of immense pain left her lips, hot white flashes of pain came into her vision as felt one of his finger spears rip through her elbow. It felt like it had torn her arm off, and even when his tongue skewered her stomach, rupturing and disorganizing her organs as it moved about. Her screams never ceased.

Miria tried to motion away from the source of her pain, she wanted it to stop. But the pain never stopped, it simply kept coming and she couldn't do anything to prevent it. She felt blood well up in her throat and the metallic liquid formed dripped past her teeth and her lips. Darkness and light flashed in her vision as the pain was so intense that she wanted to pass out, but she couldn't

"Damn it… no!" Helen tried to stand, but her body wouldn't allow it. The injury in her back that had been healing suddenly tore open by the sudden momentum in her trying to stand. Blood poured heavily against the earth that she was nearly facedown in the dirt. The situation in itself felt hopeless, absolutely hopeless in everyway that it was agonizing.

Deneve was probably in a coma, Naruto was dead, Miria was close to dying, her injury prevented from moving and even Number 47 was practically next to death. "No… it feels so hopeless… there's nothing anyone can do. This… this is the end, this truly is despair!"

Tears of anger and sadness welled in her eye and cascaded down her cheeks, long gone was the brash headstrong woman. In her place was someone who felt powerless to do anything, powerless to stop what was happening.

"Pull yourself together, Helen. Now isn't the time to lose hope" Clare spoke in finality.

Helen looked up and realized that Clare was standing, actually standing despite the numerous injuries. Her hands clasped tightly against the handle of Retribution which, oddly enough was planted in front of her. With ease she pulled the massive blade from its place and held it loosely from her side. "I've met an ever greater opponent and felt true despair"

Seymour's head turned towards the voice and he realized that it belonged to the woman that blond male sacrificed himself for, and a cruel sadistic smile came to his lips. Miria looked on in a daze, her eyes were clouded and she fought to stay awake. To fight the impending darkness that had made to drag her in its eternal depths.

Helen was stunned at the very least. "But… what about your injuries? You suffered the most damage out of all of us, how can you even stand? "

Clare simply looked over her shoulder, eyes full of tears that were dripping down cheeks. Her voice cracked and hoarse, but still held onto its sheer frigid coldness. "Fuck the injuries; he stole the one person who mattered most to me. I'm not letting that go unpunished. " Helen flinched at the tone and the seriousness behind her tear filled eyes.

She willed her mind and body to move one step at a time. Pain and agony welled in her mind and heart like a storm and a mess of emotions raged in her mind and heart. The feeling was simply and utterly unimaginable, the last time she felt that way was…was…

When Teresa died.

Seymour gave a tooth filled smirk as he pulled his tongue from Miria's body. True her blood and flesh tasted disgusting against his tongue, but it was well worth to bring forth her agony and despair on such a beautiful face. "Ahh, so the weakling wants to give it a try huh, here let me oblige you!"

The tendrils made their way towards the other woman, this time aiming for her skull like he had planned from the beginning before that fool got in the way.

But what happened was lack for a better word, surprising. Seymour's fingers missed their target by a grand and large margin. Everyone conscious were completely surprised, even Seymour who simply wanted to gape.

Had it been possible his face would have been purple with uncontrollable rage, and he let loose a massive assault with his newly attached limbs. Despite the fact that he could feel that his yoki store was somewhat low, he refused to be upstaged by a woman!

But to his horror and like before they missed. "WHAT THE HELL!? HOW DO I KEEP MISSING!?

Helen was shocked and was speechless. Miria was shocked beyond anything. No… way…could she be…

Remember Clare, always stay calm. Suppress your yoma power as low as you possibly can, sense the strength and flow of your opponents remaining yoma power and then sense what energy remains.

Ignore what your eyes show you, your eyes can lie to you at times. But instead visualize and grasp the flow of yoki and its size and predict the path of attack and…

Seymour launched another assault with his handheld spears, and to the untrained eye it looked like she was still walking.

But Helen saw otherwise. Wait, I get it now… she's calculating the time he's attacking and at the last minute she's evading him. Incredible.

So that's what felt wrong when I fought her last night. It… it all makes sense. Unlike Naruto who was watching my movement, she was watching the flow of yoma energy going through my system. Even while we were both suppressed to the limit she was still trying to read the flow, almost like a kind of battle precognition somehow. The stronger her opponent's yoma energy is, the easier it if for her to read and react accordingly.

It's… it's the perfect strategy to fight an awakened being with ease since they always used up a large quantity of yoma energy anyway. Miria opened her lips to speak, but despite the pain in her damaged limbs and elbow she couldn't help but be completely surprised.

Did… did she practice this technique for the sole purpose of fighting an awakened being? It makes perfect sense!

Seymour gasped visibly as Clare simply continued to stare at him with cold, glittering silver eyes. Those eyes unnerved him and he hated the feeling of being unnerved, so he attacked! "DIE!!!" He lashed out to strike at her sword arm, wanting to disarm her of that retched sword.

But Clare spun like a pinwheel and was successful in taking one of his arms in the process. Seymour hissed in pain, and realized the burning sensation he had felt from the first time he had been hit had gotten worse. Quickly in a blurred motion he grabbed the removed limb and made to place it on the stump.

But Clare sliced wouldn't grant him the opportunity or even the chance, and thus she continued her attack.


"Naruto, have you given up hope?" a calm voice whispered to him.

Slowly he opened his eyes and he recognized this place. The white-gold warmth suffused him; his flesh gloried in the light. Everything came into focus as he realized that he was now standing inside of a chamber of some kind, and what was truly in focus was a woman seated before him on a low throne, and two doors. The door at her right hand was literally of beaten gold. Light leaked from the very edges that made it. The door on her left hand was plain wood with a simple iron latch,

The woman's face was dominated by lambent, glowing gold eyes. She was tall, at least a head over him, and she exuded authority and potency.

"What is this place?" Naruto asked.

The woman simply gave him a faint smile. "Neither heaven nor hell. This room, if you will, is what your mind looks like. You could say that this is our domain.

"Who are you?"

"Bishou no Teresa, but Teresa will do just fine"

"Teresa of the Faint Smile? Hmm, kind of an odd name don't you think?" He scratched the back of his head sheepishly.

The woman simply gave a warm and hearty chuckle, one that reflected her essence and beauty itself and somehow Naruto couldn't help but feel that this woman was somehow important. Very important, as strange as that sounded.

Teresa caught herself and pressed her fist underneath her chin. "Before you there is a choice. You may proceed through one door or the other. Choose the gold, and I will release back to where you were, and you will have my sincere apology for interrupting your journey.

"My… journey?"

"Your journey to heaven or hell or oblivion or reincarnation, or whatever it is that death awaits you."

"Do you know?"

"This is but all part of you mind, Naruto. You will find no answers here, just choices and memories you may have forgotten." Teresa gave a smile, and it was a joyless grin, a predatory grin. "Through the wooden door you will go back to your life, your body to help your friends. But I must warn you, you will only have a few minutes to help your friends and that's it. Once that's done your body will take some time to recuperate to adjust to the changes. You will become a man unlike any the world has ever known or will know. Your body will be completely immune to the ravages of time, disease and sickness of any kind. You will not be invincible and you can still be killed;if your head is removed from you body you die. No ifs, ands or buts about that. But if you can survive from a near death experience; your body will compensate for the damage and adapt to the damage dealt.

Your ability to heal from injury will be much faster than any mortal man or hybrid, and you can purge, revive and heal the bodies of anyone just by placing a few drops of blood over the injury and so long as you will it. But be warned that this will not work if the subject is torn beyond recognition, or if they are in pieces or if your will has not been granted and can leave you fatigued so take caution in doing so.

You will be granted the ability to see what choice you should make when confronted with a situation, to predict the outcomes of certain situations, and then simply accelerate yourself along the path of causality immediately. Though I must also warn that though you may be aware of most things, you will still have to make a choice and it may not always be the choice you want. Last and certainly not least what you know as yoki will grow and you will come have a natural affinity to use such a tool However, it will be very taxing on your body if you do not gain the proper and necessary control it will be detrimental to your health rather than an asset and your missing memories will slowly begin to come back, though in small portions as not to put a strain on your brain."

It sounded wonderful, absolutely positively wonderful. A little too wonderful. What if such a thing was too much? What if it overwhelmed him? He knew that such power shouldn't be taken lightly and be handled with care, extreme care. Would he be bitter about it or at these so called memories he had forgotten?

"Tell me, why would you do this for me?" Naruto asked.

"Perhaps, I don't do anything at all. Perhaps you've always had these gifts inside of you, but you've simply forgotten?"

"What's the price?"

"Ahh, you're careful, that's very good. You didn't jump in headfirst as I'd initially thought you would, interesting," Teresa mused, though the look she gave was mournful. "The truth is I don't know. I can only show the pros and cons of how this works, whatever decisions you make or what effect it has on others will be on your head. Only your human heart and will can allow you to control these powers, never forget them in your journey to remember who you are. Better make a decision and you better make it fast, those friends of your might be dying this instant. I'm sure you'd be very upset if anything happened to them, if anything happened to Clare right?"

Naruto's face drained at that, and his fingers dug in his scalp. Teresa was right, he had a choice and he had to make it fast or his hesitation would get them all killed and this conversation would be useless. How long he stood there, he didn't know. The mathematical formulae were no help at all; there were full of infinities and zeros, with no way of knowing which side the equation would land. There was no hedge bet when you peoples lives were at staked and you were stuck with the choice of making a decision to save them.

He knew that he had done some good. He'd given his life to save Clare and her comrades.

Could he really make such a decision? Could he help Clare even more if he accepted Teresa's offer and consequences be damned. The odds were that she would never accept him if he took such a risk, and there was the possibility of her throwing him away made his chest ache and hurt him immensely.

The only thing that remained no matter how he saw it six ways to Sunday were the lives of his friends. All he cared about were there lives and safety, nothing more and nothing less. They lives would be the risk he would take every time.

Clare would be his risk he would take every time.

He made his choice and Teresa couldn't do anything but smile broadly as she watched him make his choice. She knew that people did not choose their own destinies, it simply chooses you. And those who knew you before fate took you by the hand, could not understand the depth of the changes inside of a person. They cannot fathom how much you stand to lose because of failure. That you are an instrument of a flawless design, and all of life may hang in the balance. The hero learns quickly who can comprehend, and who merely stands in the way.

We will meet again, my boy; my special little boy.

He smashed clear through the door and screamed—


—And jerked upright.

Helen screamed. Clare screamed. Miria was nearly jumped out of her skin.

Naruto took large gulps of air, gasping breaths, and he stared at his open and decimated blood encrusted turtle neck. His chest was smooth; the skin was perfect and lightly tanned as he was before. He touched his chest. It was whole, as healthy as the fingers touching it. There wasn't a single scar or blemish on his body.

He sat there blinking stupidly, not even glancing at Helen, Miria or Claire, each who were frozen, staring at him.

"Holy shit, I'm… I'm alive?"

And in just in time for a pair of arms to suddenly appear out of nowhere, practically pulling him to his feet and he found himself being deeply kissed. A wicked tongue practically forced its way down his throat, wrestling his into complete and total submission. Though before he even had a chance to react, he felt said person slap him so hard that he felt his neck snapped around in a fluid motion. Numbing it in the process, and before he knew it he was staring probably one of the scariest things he'd ever seen while he was being shaken.


Clare hadn't realized just how tired her body was, and hadn't even realized she'd dropped him. Her fists started punching in his chest repeatedly, though he knew deep down he was going to tease her about it later for the fact that she her lips made funny shapes when she was angry.

Gradually the aggression began to slow down, letting her tears and fear of lost get to her. Her exhaustion made her collapse in his arms, her head pressed against his chest and her fingers dug into his shoulders. "I… I was so scared…I… I had thought… I'd lost you forever" Her previous rage turned to one of sobs, and Naruto could feel her tears spilling down his chest and her arms wrapped around his chest.

Miria's calm was surreal but the look of surprise was there, and Helen couldn't stop from rubbing her eyes trying to make sure he really was alive. That it wasn't her mind playing tricks on her, and it really wasn't. He really was alive.

But despite how happy she was to see Naruto alive and back on his feet, well, almost. Miria couldn't help but wonder. Just what in the world are you Naruto?


And there goes Chapter 4. I don't know why but this chapter seemed a bit forced if you ask me, but I'll have to let you guys tell me what you think. I'm sort of proud of it and at the same time I felt it could have been more, but I wanted to get this out as soon as possible. If it's not to my liking then I'll let you guys know simply do it over, but I'll let you all be the judges of that.

Sorry for those who feel that Clare was a little bit out of character in the end, but I had my reasons but I'll let the open minded individuals review and tell me what they think. Don't when or if I'll ever be able to make a chapter this big again, but I'll see what happens. Anyway, my arm is tired and I need some rest so read and review and give me your input and constructive criticisms. Correction, grown up constructive criticisms so I can change my mistakes if necessary.

Anyway, thank you boys and girls and this is my signing out to get some rest. Who knew trying to write this monster in a day would be so damn frustrating.

Your friendly neighborhood author and reader

Dark Spidey