Before our world was born, three golden goddesses arrived. Disgusted with the way that the people of the old world had become, they ended it. It was a tragic cataclysm that ruined the laws of nature. But all was not lost.

With her flaming arms, Din remade the earth and reignited the sun. Nayru, with her endlessly flowing words, reworked Law into the world. And Faore, with her rich spirit, revived Life into the world. Their judgments and labors completed, the world reborn anew, the Golden Goddesses departed at a mountain plateau, leaving behind a land saturated in chakra. At the center of this plateau was a relic able to call upon the powers of the deities. A wonderful power, but with terrible temptation.

Wars were fought over this relic, but none seemed able to gain complete control over it. The chief powers after it were the Gerudo, a desert tribe led by their rarely-born King, the Hylians, who were said to descend from the survivors of the old world and felt that the power of the relic was their birthright, the Dark Usurpers, whom wished to return the world to its previous state with their dark magics, and the Ikanans, who lived at the base of the plateau, their daily lives filled with the strongest ambient chakra.

Using a powerful mirror, the Hylians were able to banish the entire tribe of Dark Usurpers, shifting the balance of power in their favor and gaining allies out of the many non-human races. The Gerudo were able to acquire the aid of the Zuna after they proved their prowess by killing the King of the Ikanans, Igos du Ikana.

All seemed lost as the Hylians and the Gerudo met in battle upon the plateau, when a third party entered the fray. They were the Ikanans, led by their dead King. Due to the saturation of chakra, his spirit refused to leave his body, and by the force of his will he was able to walk again. The Ikanans were ferocious and quickly caught up with the other two forces.

King Ganondorf Dragmire of the Gerudo was able to steal his was towards the relic when King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule of the Hylians intercepted him. King Igos du Ikana charged past them both as was able to touch the relic before the other two were able to reach it.

"The first to touch this gets a wish," he stated. "And my wish is that this stupid relic were to be gone from this world, that none may ever covet the powers of the Gods again. In fact, my wish is that the Gods take leave of our world and let mortals choose their own fates."

With the prize of ultimate power gone, alliances quickly fell apart. Having lost much of their forces and unable to kill Igos to stop him, the undead King summarily executed the Kings of the Hylians and the Gerudo.

Thus ended the War of the Triforce.

- from The History of Ikana, Vol. I, by Flat Wavesong, Royal Chronicler

Shinigakure no Sato

by Lord Dragon Claw

Disclaimer: Restless spirits disclaim where they don't belong.
Bring them calm with the Sun's Song.

Chapter Two: Dr. Brian Chimewater

The next morning, Naruto and Kafei got up early. The blonde boy was about to put on the blue shirt with the lobster pattern on it that he had worn at the hospital in Shini, but Anju brought him some clothes that were made for him by some of the Kokiri. They were the greens and browns of the forest.

Naruto put them on, but found that he preferred to go without the hat. It looked like an oversized sock to the blonde. He found that Anju had also given him a kunai pouch. With real kunai! Sharp ones, too.

He rushed down the stairs just as the sun was just beginning to rise over a ravine in the Goron Mountains to find Anju cooking food. He paused because he could have sworn he saw her doing laundry up the stairs. He looked out the window and saw her training her spearwomanship with a few Kokiri. He turned and saw the Anju who was cooking had paused to watch him.

"Wondering how I can be in multiple places, Naruto?" At his nod she continued. "A jutsu invented by the Sheikah that was stolen from us a long time ago by the Northlanders: Kagebunshin. Kafei taught it to me." (Shadow Clone)

"Kagebunshin," Naruto repeated, helping himself remember it. The Chuunin at the Konoha Ninja Academy yelled at him whenever he repeated what they said, but he hadn't been attending the Academy for more than a couple of months and so they hadn't had the time to ground the habit out of him.

Anju smiled at him. "The real me is outside, training with the Kokiri. I can only make two shadow clones at a time, but I do well with what I've got."

She turned back to her cooking as Kafei came down the stairs, in his full Shini ANBU uniform, the golden mask present on his face. He waved at Naruto before reaching into a pouch on his jacket. He rolled out a scroll on the table and helped the Anju clone with her cooking until some of the food was done. Kafei set the food, portions enough for two men for six meals, down on the scroll. A few handseals, a palm slammed on the fabric, and the food disappeared, a few symbols taking their place on the scroll. Kafei placed a hand on the still-rolled end of the scroll, and it snapped shut so he could restore it to its pouch.

"Go ahead and give Anju a hug before we leave," Kafei said. "It'll be nine days before we get back here again, at the very least."

"But dis one's a clone," said Naruto. "Shouldn't I hug da real one?"

Kafei glanced at the Anju clone, wondering how the boy had figured it out.

"I told him," she replied. "But if you give me the hug, the real me will feel it and remember it when I disappear. All memories return to the real one when the shadow clone disappears."

Naruto's mouth made an O shape, and he hugged the clone. Kafei kissed her before she went back to her cooking.

"So," began Kafei after they left the Kokiri village. "We've got three days to make it to Kakariko Village and Ikana Castle beyond, three days to do our business there, and three more days to return home."

Naruto nodded, showing he understood the older man.

Kafei continued. "Today we are going to stop in Shini - it will be market day. I'll send some supplies back to home via a poe courier. Then we'll spend the rest of the day getting to a friend of mine's home."

"Okay," replied Naruto.

"But first," declared a voice above them. "You'll have to introduce me!"

One of the skull kids from the night before, the one who wore a skull mask, leapt to the ground.

"Fado!" exclaimed Kafei, the smile audible in his voice. "So you are indeed coming today?"

"Why wait?" asked the dead Kokiri. "I need to see the King as much as the two of you do!"

Chuckling, Kafei gestured towards Fado. "Naruto, this is my friend, Fado. He died when I was young."

Naruto cocked his head, examining the skull kid. He didn't look particularly strong or weak, but he did look like an animated scarecrow... sort of, anyway.

"I'm Naruto," he said, smiling and extending his hand for a shake.

"I know," replied Fado as he grasped Naruto's hand. "You're the kid with the spunk from last night!"

The three of them made their way out from behind the waterfall before a swarm of bats attacked them near an old, wiry, leafless tree.

"Keese!" growled Kafei, drawing his sword.

Naruto drew a kunai and held it awkwardly - no one had taught him how to hold one yet.

Fado laughed and drew a lantern from under his cloak, raising a horn to his lips to blow it. As the note issued from the instrument, the flame alighted and several wooden objects came out of a hidden seal on the lantern glass. They were puppets. Chakra strings fed from the lantern to the puppets controlled their movements, and they struck down the keese bats rapidly enough that the bulk of the swarm flew off to avoid being exterminated.

Naruto and Kafei stared after the keese as they flew off, then looked at Fado as he lifted the lantern to his face, placing his horn back on his hip. He reached into the lantern with his gloved hand and, after opening the small glass door, extinguished the flame with his fingers, resealing the puppets. He placed the lantern back under his cloak in its hiding place and turned towards the other two.

"What!" Fado asked.

"Dat was cool!" praised Naruto.

Fado rubbed the back of his head, either in real or mock embarrassment. Kafei wasn't sure which.

"So," began Kafei, sheathing his sword. "Where did you learn that?"

"Oh, a Suna spy had come into the forest," Fado said offhandedly as he led the way to Shini. "I got the jump on him."

Kafei thought about that for a moment. "Is that his spirit in your lantern?"

"No," Fado replied flippantly. "Just his skills and my will."

"Huh?" asked Naruto.

"Oh, the man had interesting abilities," the skull kid continued, ignoring Naruto's confusion. "Rather than let them disappear with his ghost, I took them for myself. With practice, I was able to improve them."

"Is that a poe lantern?" Kafei pressed.

"It was broken when I found it!" Fado said defensively, a little too quickly.

"Do many other skull kids have them or want them?"

"Nope and nope. None of them."

"Good," Kafei said, relaxing. Poe lanterns were sacred, especially since they allowed a poe to remain anchored to the physical plane, so if skull kids all decided to start stealing them or breaking the ones in use... that would be extremely bad. The skull kids would be summarily executed, making the whole endeavor to make peace with them a lost cause.

Shini, and the road to it, was very busy that day. Not to mention the wide river, the Hylia, was full of boats going both up and downstream. Like Ingo had said the day before, it was market day. And the entire Gorman Troupe was about, performing a very impressive display of dexterity and coordination. Kamaro, the Ghost Dancer, weaved through (literally in many cases) the crowd with a very merry but mysterious dance. The Rosa Sisters, Judo and Marilla, followed along with Kamaro's dance while staying in place in the center of one of the squares. Geran and Hytuu were juggling kunai again, just barely missing the Rosa Sisters by the slimmest of margins. And Guru-Guru was playing his music box, balancing on a big red ball, while Ingo played along with a viola.

All in all, it was impressive to watch, and Kafei and Fado let Naruto get an eyeful for ten minutes before it was time to move on. As they moved along, four brown-robed ninja began traveling with the trio, seeming to escort them. Naruto was confused by their presence, but Kafei had seemed to expect it. Fado didn't appear to even notice until the blonde asked him who they were.

"Who who is?" he asked in retort, before Naruto gestured to one of the brown robed figures. "Oh. These guys. They're just Garo. Ghost ninjas. One of the few kinds of undead that can be in the sunlight."

"Some can't?" asked the young boy.

He gave a yelp of surprise when one of the aforementioned Garo lifted him onto its shoulders.

"That's right," it spoke with a woman's voice. "Only us Garo, the skull kids, Gibdos, Ghost Dancers, and poes can be exposed to the sun's light."

"Dere are more kinds?"

"Lots more."

Naruto contemplated that for a moment, before nodding in comprehension.

"I'm Naruto," he greeted, realizing that he hadn't introduced himself yet.

"As in Naruto du Ikana, correct?"

"Uh, yeah." The blonde was a little confused as to why it mattered what his family name was now. He was still six, after all.

The Garo chuckled. "In life, I was Anna Starblade. Now that I am dead, I am simply Anna. Such is the way of the Garo."

Again, this just confused Naruto, but he still tried to be polite. He put on his best smile.

"Nice ta meet you, Anna!"

If she still had lips, she'd be smiling.

"Pleasure's all mine."

Even before the Garo fell into step with his group, Kafei knew why. Until recently, skull kids were little better than rogue ninja - the looks on the faces of other passerby reflected this - and only the fact Fado was traveling with the him had kept the ninja and undead from attacking the skull kid on sight.

Also, Naruto was the heir to the throne. Among the Garo and the ANBU that would be common knowledge by now.

By the cut of their robes, this was Jori's Garo squad. All four of them were kunoichi in life, Jori being a Gerudo. And by the studs in the sleeve of the Garo to his left, Jori was walking right next to him.

"Long time no see, Jori."

"And you, Captain Wolfsbane. Tamed the skull kids when you got home?"

"They tamed themselves; they threw Majora into Death Mountain."

Jori nodded.

She wasn't one who used too many words at a time, and tried to keep silent when possible. Kafei had known her when she was still alive - he was entering the Shini Ninja Academy at the tender age of six at the time - she had been a happy mother enrolling her daughter into the school. Apparently she had died in an exchange with some Kirinin shortly afterwards. There wasn't anything left of her body, but her spirit still had seals on it anchoring it to the land of the living. Kafei wasn't sure how the seals worked, but they were powered by a combination of chakra and willpower.

A poe lantern was brought and her soul placed in it. Apparently, they returned with her to Kakariko and brought her to the necropolis. When her daughter, Surei Anvilsand, heard of this, she was happy that she could still see her mother.

What surprised everyone was that she came back as a Garo instead of a poe - most who died and had their bodies obliterated were full of anger, hatred, or sorrow and were able to manifest themselves as poes once sealed into a lantern. But a rare few were able to keep themselves calm and collected when they died. They could not manifest as poes, but the Sheikah had discovered a special method to clothe their spirits and allow them to fight as they once did, anchoring them to the Garo robes instead of to the poe lantern. Once anchored, two faint sparks would appear where the Garo's eyes would be were they still alive, and would grow brighter as the Garo became stronger.

After spending a couple of hours in Shini, getting Naruto signed up for the next term at the Ninja Academy, spending some money at the market and sending it home through the courier service, the group of seven headed for the southeast gate.

The other two Garo were named Shiitake (a former Gerudo) and Gedda (a former Zuni). They were fairly silent, even for former desert folk. But they seemed to open up a bit more around Naruto. Apparently, there was something about the boy's attitude or outlook that caused the various undead around to like the boy. That, or he reminded them of their lives, but in a positive light.

Does King Igos know of this? wondered Kafei. He had a feeling he did.

Most monsters and other wildlife knew to keep out of the way of anything with brown robes, especially if there were four of them. Garo had instilled such a fear into the psyche of everything they left alive, with the exception of a few species too stupid or too foreign to know better or a few monsters that were strong enough and confident enough to not care.

But they encountered nothing that wanted to take a crack at anything with a Garo near it, much less the four that were in the group. They only met other travelers on the roadways.

They did have to move off of the road once as a number of Gorons rolled past. The rock-like creatures had curled into balls and sped along the ground towards Shini, to either buy or sell things at the market.

By the time they had managed to get several kilometers out of the gate, Naruto had fallen asleep. Kafei had to catch him as he slumped over off of Anna's shoulders. The blue-haired man elected to carry the boy the rest of the way.

The reason why Anna was unable to catch the boy was due to a lack of nerves. Literally. Garo's were simply spirits wrapped in specially sealed clothing that allowed them to remain on the physical plane, much like the poe lanterns. They did have a touch feed-back seal array on their palms and feet, but they had much weaker ones over their "bodies" that didn't send the signal as quickly. They could fight and know when they had taken damage, but that was about the extent of it.

Furthermore, their seal arrays that kept their spirits chained to their clothing were easily damaged if the armor plating and padding were to be breached. An explosive was held inside the "body" of each Garo to ensure that enemies could not discover the secrets of a defeated Garo - the explosive was set to go off when the Garo's spirit left, but it could also be detonated willingly in case the Garo was ever captured with no chance of rescue.

Regardless, when Naruto fell asleep, as Kafei was sure he would, the group took to moving at more ninja-appropriate speeds. Still, it was late afternoon by the time Kafei's friend's home was in sight. Or within the range of hearing, for that matter.

Naruto awoke to the sound of music. Odd music. Music that had something fundamentally and instinctually wrong with it. And yet, it sounded strangely comforting.

When he opened his eyes, he saw a huge building sitting on the northeast side of the Hylia River. It had a huge horn-shaped device rotating on the top of it, obviously making the music. And the device was probably powered by the massive waterwheel that was sitting in the river.

The Garo had stopped following the group, and when Kafei turned, Naruto saw that their glowing eyes had changed to a greenish color.

"We can go no closer to the building, Captain Kafei," stated Jori. "It is painful to be near."

"I understand."

They then disappeared, only a small swirl of dust to indicate they had even been there.

Kafei turned to Fado. "Do you need to leave too?"

"No. This song has power, but it can't affect me. My first mask was made to cancel this kind of genjutsu. My skull mask was made to cancel the other kinds."

As they approached the door, it opened to reveal a tall, thin, brown-haired man with a big nose and brown eyes and was wearing a lab coat. He had pointy ears like most Ikanans and was holding a bucket which he obviously was going to use to get water from the river.

"Kafei?" he said, an expression of confusion plastered to his face. "What are you doing here?" He then noticed Fado. "And how is that skull kid able to stand the music?"

Kafei laughed lightly before speaking. "Naruto, Fado, this is Dr. Brian Chimewater. Brian, this is Naruto du Ikana, my adopted son, and Fado, the skull kids' envoy to King Igos."

The doctor nodded.

"The King requested to see Naruto, and the skull kids wish to pledge their loyalty."

"And my masks are interfering with the genjutsu your music box puts out," declared Fado.

"Anyway," continued the blue-haired man. "We'd like to rest here for the night, if that is okay."

"I don't see why not - you'd always crash at my place when we were Genin and Chuunin," Dr. Chimewater said before turning to Fado. "What are your dietary requirements?"

"I can eat nuts, berries, or meat. All of those can be eaten raw, but I like them cooked."

"Well, in exchange for the food, you're going to have to let me examine you."

Fado cocked his head. "What?"

Kafei spoke up next. "Dr. Chimewater is renowed for his expertise on the undead, especially Redeads, Gibdos, and Stalfos."

Brian nodded. "I especially want to find out how a skull kid might turn into a Stalfos, but most of them have tried to kill me."

Fado shrugged. "I see no real problem with that. Especially since you might be able to help prevent us from turning into Stalfos or help us keep our minds when we do so."

Dinner was a mostly peaceful affair, and Naruto got to meet Pamela, Brian's daughter. She had brown hair and eyes like her father did, but her nose was noticeably smaller. Her hair fell down to her shoulders and her bangs kept getting into her eyes. She was even louder than Naruto at times, but she wasn't obnoxious.

Naruto had never had roast beef before, but he thought it was delicious. Not as good as ramen, of course, but very good none the less. Kafei still made him eat the potatoes and vegetables though.

After dinner they went to bed, Naruto and Kafei sharing a guest room while Fado climbed into one of the dresser drawers and fell asleep.

End Chapter Two.

Next chapter: the Grinning Monarch.

Author's Notes

I have chosen a pairing for Naruto. No, you will not learn who she is until you meet her, and you will only have hints as to the fact she is the pairing when she does appear. In fact, she may have appeared already. I'll keep you people guessing until I finally outright tell you.

The different kinds of undead that I have revealed so far are the Garo, poes, skull kids, Stalfos, Ghost Dancers, Gibdos, and Redeads. But the specifics have been shown only for the poes and the Garo, and you all know some of the specifics for the skull kids.

I must thank Mr. Needs-To-Remove-All-Favs for being my beta for this chapter.

Happy Halloween.