Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: This is a rewrite of the first chapter (obviously). I'm not too sure about how I liked the first attempt so I wrote it again here and depending on the response I get, I'll replace the old one with this. As you can see, things have been taken a little slower and Naruto now has to track down the Kyuubi and seal it before traveling to Konoha. It just thought this would be A) More exciting and B) Suited the plot more. As I stated before, Kami won't interfere with the affairs of mortals but I realized that she interfered a great deal with sealing the Kyuubi.
Humans, Kami had long ago decided, were incredibly and undoubtedly very troublesome. Harmony, it seemed, was a concept too alien for them to grasp and as such they strove to keep their race locked in a spiral of hate, death and destruction. Their every action affected all around them, putting entire species, including their own at great risk. Oh, she could never hate them for it; she loved all her creations equally, but it hurt her greatly to see her children fall so far from grace, many damning themselves to an eternity of torment for their actions. Even those who caused terrible atrocities in the name of frivolous things like personal wealth, race, territory and the such were never hated by the ever loving deity but she did feel a great disappointment. She could only hope that someday they learned from their many mistakes and thrived like they were supposed to.
However there was one of her children who was beginning to gnaw away at her near infinite patience. That child was one Uchiha Madara. As she watched the ancient (By human standards) man go about his business far below, Kami couldn't prevent the frown that graced her beautiful features. Long before he had even been born, Kami knew Madara was destined for great but terrible things. Fuelled by his own hate and contempt for the world around him, Madara sought to twist the natural order of things to suit his own designs. Even though he often sought less violent means to further his objectives, Madara's end goal would lead to a far greater crime than any previously committed by even the vilest of humans. He sought to rid all sentient life of their free will.
She sighed. Madara was powerful, almost too powerful. His control over his Sharingan eye was immense and he possessed a sharp and dangerous mind. Given a few more years she may have placed hope in the young Namikaze Minato but Madara was becoming too big a threat too fast. By the time Minato would be ready it would be too late to do anything. Madara would enslave all life on Earth and turn all who called it home into mindless drones. Therefore to stop this atrocity from happening she would have to do something she swore never to do, even if indirectly; she would have to meddle in the affairs of mortals. As much as she hated to do it there was far too much at stake. If Madara succeeded in his plans, the natural order would be thrown terrible out of balance, almost to a point where it could never be repaired.
She was silent even as the soft rustling of cloth announced the arrival of the one she sought.
She turned, and smiled kindly at the man before her, one who had dedicated his life to bringing peace to a troubled world. His handsome features and kind eyes went well with his strong, noble body; a testament to his days of life before joining her on high.
"I am glad you could make it." She said, her mystical voice sounding like the soft tinkling of a thousand merry bells.
He inclined his head. "I'm always at your call, My Lady. May I ask what has caused you to call out this old man?"
She laughed, a truly magical sound. "Ask any of the women here, I think you will find that very few would consider you old." Her face became more serious without loosing its gentleness. "But I am afraid that there is trouble brewing on the lower plains. Trouble that involves your decedents."
The man sighed. "I take it the blood feud of my sons still runs strong?"
"Yes, but I am afraid that is the least of our problems. One of your decedents seeks to undo your work. He seeks the power of the Juubi to enslave all of the world's inhabitants."
His eyes narrowed as a frown made its way onto his face. "How does anyone know about that?" His tone was low.
Kami smiled humorlessly at him. "The stone tablet you carved."
His eyes closed as he hung his head. "I had hoped that if I had died before separating the beast then my sons…"
Kami gently cupped his cheek and forced him to look into her eyes. "I do not blame you. You always had the best of intentions at heart and that is all that matters. Because of you the world managed to claw its way out of a deep pit of chaos and flourish. Your place here was assured long ago."
He heaved a sigh before standing erect. "What would you have me do?"
She suddenly looked sad and turned to look down upon the mortal plain once more. "I know I have no right to ask you to give up your afterlife but I ask that you return to Earth once more to prevent your descendant from carrying out his plans. I have though much on this matter but can see no other way. Once there you will retain your Kekkei Genkai and all of your knowledge but I am afraid your chakra level would be far lower than you're used to. Your descendant Uchiha Madara's plans revolve around collecting the Bijuu so I believe that there is a way to ensure he cannot fulfill his plans without you knowing about it." She looked at him meaningfully.
The man raised a brow with a lazy half smirk. "You think I should become a Jinchuuriki again?"
Kami nodded. "Specifically for the Kyuubi. Its power is key to Madara's plans, and you should have no problems containing it with your skills with seals, and you strong will. I'm sorry to say that containing the beast would be your problem. I cannot interfere too much. There is still quite a while before Madara's plans are out into full effect so there is no hurry. When I do send you back you'll be returned to the age of thirteen. That should give you plenty of time to train and become strong before facing Madara. I will provide assistance where I can. Will you do me this final service?"
The man didn't even hesitate as he lowered himself to one knee before her in total servitude. "You need only ask, Kami-sama."
She smiled sadly at the kneeling man. The greatest part of his life had revolved around combat against the greatest odds, where the only help he had was his own mind and strength and now she was asking him to return to that tragic life once more, leaving behind his well deserved peace.
"I will tell you this; no matter what happens, the village of Konoha will be the crucible of it all. It would be pertinent to go to this village and stay there. Also Madara is extremely knowledgeable of your personal history so I believe a change of name will help you move unseen. Perhaps your new name will be…Naruto?"
As a glow of pure energy began to envelop him, the Rikudou Sennin could only grin. It seemed there were interesting times ahead.
In the rain lashed hills of Ame, overlooked by a small region of mountains, stood a tiny derelict temple. It was no more than a stone building comprising of a single room that was at the very most ten meters long and six wide and filled with rotting benches that had crumbled in on themselves. The walls were thick with moss, the stain glass windows had long ago blown out and the stone floor was hidden underneath a thick layer of dirt. This tiny place of worship had been long abandoned during the last war and had never been rediscovered by its former worshipers.
Suddenly a tiny pinprick of light appeared in the centre of the temple. It shuddered and flittered about like a tiny firefly before it began to expand, its majestic glow lighting up the decrepit building. The light grew and grew until it reached blinding levels before giving one silent pulse and dispersing, leaving a small naked huddle on the floor.
Countless minutes passed before the huddle shifted and moved. Giving a large jaw cracking yawn, a young boy, barely into his teens, sat up, his hands wiping the sleep from his eyes before reaching up to run through his shoulder length spiky white hair. A pair of bleary blue eyes blinked sluggishly as he clambered to his feet, groaning as he stretched, hearing the bones in his back crack as they righted themselves.
Naruto blinked and looked around at his surroundings, not at all abashed in his state of undress. The place looked like it had seen better days and it was a good indication that there wasn't anyone around for some miles if a place of worship was allowed to fall into this level of disarray.
Naruto walked towards the heavy wooden doors, careful not to step on anything sharp or infectious and grasped the iron ring that served as a handle before pulling. Ancient metal hinges screeched in protest and flakes of thick rust broke away from the old metal as he pulled the door open fully.
The outside was just as desolate as the inside. A barren valley stretched out before him with a range of small mountains encircling it. The valley was bare save for a few leafless trees, bent and twisted and high above the sky was sleet grey, promising heavy rain. Naruto gave the air a small sniff. The entire place smelled stagnant. Like it had been left to soak in water for too long.
Naruto sighed, leaning against the door with his arms folded. 'I don't know where I am and by the look of things that cloud cover isn't going to shift any time soon. I don't know where the nearest town is, I have no money, no clothes, no weapons and no knowledge of the state of the world today. Well, if all else fails, follow your gut as my old man used to say.'
He had quite a bit to do. He'd need to learn about the world, about who was in charge and who didn't like who. He needed to locate the Kyuubi and seal it. He needed to find this place called Konoha and establish a base there. He needed to track down his wayward descendant and stop him from releasing calamity on the world.
But right now his biggest concern was finding a pair of pants.
He had been travelling for two days when he finally discovered civilization. It was early in the third day when he crested a ridge before his eyes landed on what looked like a small town a few kilometers in front of him. He was clad in a simple pair of pants and a work shirt, a threadbare cloak draped about his shoulders with the hood pulled low over his white hair. He had procured the clothes from what appeared to be an abandoned farmhouse. Unlike the temple, the farmhouse looked as though it had been recently vacated, which looked as though it had been rushed. Dresser drawers and cupboards were haphazardly open and the place was in disarray. Only the shirt, pants and cloak had been left behind, leaving him to walk barefoot, looking very much like a beggar. There had been no food, no maps and no indication of what caused the former owner's abrupt departure so Naruto took his "new" clothes and left.
Pulling the cloak tighter about his shoulders, Naruto walked into the town, his calm blue eyes taking in every detail. Whatever this place was it had obviously seen better days. The many buildings were starting to crumble and appeared to slouch over the streets, giving the place a very claustrophobic feel. The residents looked even more decrepit, scurrying through the streets with tattered clothes hanging off unwashed, underfed frames as they hurried from one destination to the next, not pausing to speak to one another.
The state of the place just screamed "defeat".
He made his way though the small town, passing though the thin crowds. Deciding to save time, he turned towards a small stall selling blankets that looked too ragged to be new and asked the wrinkled old owner, "Excuse me but I'm new here in town. Do you know where I can find the nearest library?"
The old woman didn't speak but simply raised one gnarled hand and pointed to a building a few blocks down the street with a tarnished hanging sign out front painted with what looked like an open book.
Naruto thanked the woman and made his way into the library. It wasn't large; the entire building was only two stories tall and the rooms were not very big. The only light came from dull oil lamps which illuminated dusty shelves filled with old books that looked ready to crumble at the slightest touch. He went up to the counter and rung the small bell.
An portly man lumbered out of a back room with a limp, his face scrunched up as if he had just eaten a lemon whole. "D'ya want?" He asked gruffly, his lips peeling back over yellowed teeth.
"I was wondering if you had any books on history, any maps and any material on the legendary Bijuu?" Naruto asked politely.
"I don't know about the Bijuu but we have the history books and the maps. Second floor, stacks 35a to 56c for the history books, stacks 23d to 25d for the maps. I'll check the ledger to see if we have anything on the Bijuu." He told the boy, pulling a thick tome from beneath the counter and beginning to rifle though it, muttering under his breath.
"Thank you." Naruto said and wandered up the stairs in search of the indicated stacks. It didn't take long to find them and he took a number from the shelves, going as far back in time as he could. Seeing as he was the only patron in the library, it was easy to find an empty table to work and he piled the books neatly before cracking open the book detailing the earliest years and beginning to read.
He stayed at it for hours, reading and reading and reading. He made his way through history, reading up on all that happened after his death. Okay, so the books here didn't detail anything until a hundred years or so after he died but it was still invaluable information. He read up on all the wars, the struggles, the advancements, the people and the changes he'd missed, filing each and every scrap of wisdom away in his mind even though he doubted some of it would ever be needed. The old librarian had lumbered up the stairs to drop off a single tome he'd found concerning the Bijuu and Naruto thanked him graciously, placing it off to one side for later. It was getting on in the evening when he began to reach recent times and happened upon something that concerned him.
He had just begun a chapter called The Decline of Ame when he paused. Ame. The name triggered something in his memory but for the life of him he couldn't remember what. Shrugging it off, he continued to read. It seemed this Ame place had become a sort of middle ground for the larger, more powerful nations that encircled it to wage battle and it had ravished the land. The book said that generations of warfare had decimated the land, destroyed crop fields beyond all repair, destroyed the economy and had misplaced or killed thousands of refugees. The land was in a constant state of marshal law and there wasn't even a Daimyo or royal family to lead. Instead, all the land was under the complete authority of the ruler of Ame's ninja village, who, it seemed, changed regularly as a result of major infighting and civil war.
It was somewhere near the middle of the book when he first noticed something off.
The landmass that makes up the majority of Ame's total area size was once considered a lush and bountiful land, famed for its well grown crops, the medicinal properties of its fauna and the rare and endangered species that call the land home with many comparing the Ame of the past with today's Land of Fire, one of the biggest competitors of the agricultural market. Now however, the land is pockmarked with craters from numerous battles and as a result Ame's soil has deteriorated to the point where any plant growth is hard to come by. Bordered on all sides by foreign countries, most notably the Lands of Wind, Fire and Earth, Ame has become a place synonymous with war. Bordered on three sides by the mountain ranges of Kyobu, Hitai and Maju, these provide very little protection ag--
Hold on a minute. The mountain ranges of Kyobu, Hitai and Maju? Unless things have changed more than he thought, he recognized those mountains. He'd frequented them many times in his life, often passing through the small villages that were nestled among the peaks or visiting one of the watch posts that were once stationed there. But if this Ame place was bordered on all three sides by these mountains then did that mean…
Quickly, he stood from his chair and rushed over to the railing where he could see down onto the floor below.
"Excuse me, sir." He called down to the librarian, who was seated at the counter, scribbling on a form. He looked up at the boy impatiently. "Can you please tell me the name of this country?"
The man looked at him as if he'd grown two more heads along with a nice pair of wings. "Eh? You don't know what country you're in? You touched in the head or somethin'?"
Naruto sighed impatiently. "Sir, I'm a wanderer; I've been traveling for a while and I haven't stopped at many towns. Please, just tell me the name."
The man gave a twist of the lips that was somewhere between a smile and a grimace as he spread his arms as if showing off the room. "You're in the wonderful and magical land known as Ame, boy."
Naruto paled and with a hasty "Thank you" tossed over his shoulder, he rushed back to his table and began rummaging through the piles, looking for a particular book, the feeling of dread and unease that was in his chest slowly growing.
Finally he found it: The Formation of the Elemental Nations. It detailed all the changes the world went through after the Great Upheaval; a time of revolution against the old ways and the birth of the Elemental Nations.
He nearly tore the book in half as he hurried to open it, his breath coming faster and faster with each second as he searched before stopping at a page.
In the aftermath of the Great Upheaval, it was decided that the land would be equally divided up and that each province would take up a new name, one proclaiming its signature characteristic. For example: the Red Plains became known as the Land of Demons, Hearth's Haven became the Land of Bears, etc. (For a full list of the changes, turn to page--
With a frustrated sigh, Naruto turned to the indicated page and began to run down the list, silently praying he was wrong in his assessment.
The Emerald Bay became the Land of Whirlpool.
Satoshi's Cove became the Land of the Moon.
The Bays of Mist became the Land of Water.
Naruto reached the one he was looking for and his blood turned to ice.
The Weeping Country became the Land of Rain.
Naruto stared at the sentence for many long minutes, as if hoping that if he looked long and hard enough that the words would somehow change. They didn't. For almost ten full minutes, Naruto stared at the page before numbly stumbling backwards into his chair, his eyes staring blankly ahead as his mind slowly processed what he had learned.
The Weeping Country. The Land of Rain. The Land of Ame.
This grey, depressing, decrepit, war torn, and above all, dying land…was his home.
He didn't know how long he stayed there, staring into space before he finally snapped out of his stupor. He did remember his stomach lurching before he ran for the door. He hadn't even made two steps out of the library before he vomited all over the road. Leaving the library only made it worse because once he stopped puking his guts up, he looked at the world around him. At the defeated faces of the people, of the state of the village itself and beyond that, the vast empty land filled with nothing but mud and dead trees as a heavy, dark cloud cover blocked the light from the sun, only enhancing the depressing atmosphere all the more. He wanted to fall to his knees. He wanted to run as far away from here as possible. He wanted to punch something. He wanted to shake his head in denial of it all. He wanted to suddenly wake up and find it was all a horrible dream. He wanted to cry. He wanted to scream. He wanted to rage.
He wanted to kill.
His hand clenched into a tight, trembling fist at his side as his blood started to boil. His teeth grit together painfully as his face slowly twisted into a mask of fury, his muscles standing taunt as a low growl started to build in his throat. He wanted to find them; the people responsible for turning his home into this…twisted perversion of its former glory and when he did he would wipe them from history. Who his targets were was the easy question. They were the countries that surrounded Ame and had decided to use the tiny land as a place to settle their differences without regard for the people that called this place home. He would show them that although this land was small and for the moment, wounded, it held the potential to become strong once more and then they would get their revenge for years of mistreatment. Ame…the Weeping Country was once the head of an empire and it could very easily become one again. Oh, they wouldn't have to worry about Uchiha Madara and the Juubi. What he would do would make their plans seem tame in comparison.
As his thoughts grew progressively darker and bloodier, the clouds above the village parted slightly, allowing a single beam of light to pierce through. The light hit Naruto right in the eyes and he jerked and raised a hand to shield them, his thoughts of revenge momentarily stilled. Before they could start up again, a calming breeze blew, enveloping him in a warm blanket as a sound echoed around him, like a whisper just on the very edge of his hearing.
He wasn't sure if he really heard it or not but the soothing, gentle love that rung in that single word began to slowly drain him of his negative emotions even as he vainly struggled to hold onto them. It was no use. His anger and hate began to slip away from him, replaced by a sort of detached calm. While he wasn't serene, he at least wasn't angry. Contemplative was the way he would describe it. The face of his beloved wife appeared as an apparition in his mind's eye, her loving smile lifting his heart.
He glanced up at the single break in the clouds. He wasn't fooled. He knew what happened. Kami had influenced him. While she wouldn't interfere directly, she would help steer her children when she could. She must have sensed his fury and heard his thoughts. She was the Alpha; she knew, heard and saw everything.
'Fine.' He thought, staring at the light beyond the clouds. 'I won't seek vengeance. I have a more important mission to complete and I fully intend to see it through. I will fix this though.'
Taking a few calming breaths, Naruto turned and reentered the library to continue his research.
The sky thundered and split with lightning as the storm raged high above, illuminating the barren landscape with white flashes.
Naruto pulled himself up the slippery, rain slicked side of the mountain, his fingers digging into the rock. He'd been at this for almost three hours now, long before the rain had started, and was nearing his destination. Sure, he could have walked up the side of the mountain with chakra but his new body was unconditioned for fighting so a little mountain climbing seemed like a good way for some quick and easy training.
He grasped a small crevice in the stone above him with both hands and his feet were notched into a small gap before him. He took a small breath before launching himself upwards, managing to grab onto the ledge above him. Suddenly, his hand slipped and he nearly lost his hold but his other hand managed to keep a good grip. He glanced down at the large drop below him, the depth made all the more impressive by the shadows being cast by the storm in the night. With a small grunt, he managed to swing his arm back up and grab onto the ledge before pulling himself up onto a tiny platform jutting out from the side of the mountain.
There was barely enough room to stand, even for him, and he had to brace himself against the strong gale but he had reached his target. Before him was what looked like a crack in the face of the mountain; tall enough to allow a fully grown man to walk in at his full height but so narrow that even if he walked sideward, he would still run a high risk of getting stuck. Fortunately, Naruto was smaller and slimmer than a fully grown man.
He slipped into the tiny crevice, his eyes squinting to see in the gloom as he shuffled forward. The further he went the quieter and darker it got, the lights and sounds of the storm outside becoming nothing more than distant echoes. He regularly winced as his bare feet were cut on the sharp rock beneath him and there was more than a few groaned curses as he stubbed his toes on the rock face. Shoes. They would be his next objective.
He didn't know how long he travelled into the mountain or how deep beneath it he went but it was a while later when he stumbled out of the tiny tunnel into a far larger space. The lack of any light source made it pitch black.
He clicked his fingers sharply and immediately a small ball of fire appeared in his hand, giving off plenty of heat and warmth but not burning his hand at all. He held it aloft, illuminating the chamber.
It was indeed a chamber. Or rather, the outside of what looked like a large vault of some kind. The room was shaped like a half circle and dominating the flat wall ahead of him was a large pair of stone doors. Intricate carvings decorated the face of the doors, which he noted were of a lighter stone than the walls around him, being a sandy tan instead of a muddy brown. Naruto squinted slightly trying to see the details of the fresco but it was covered in a thick layer of dust.
He tossed the fireball into the air but instead of disappearing or falling to the ground, it bobbed in the air beside its creator as he slapped his palms together before inhaling deeply and blowing. A sheet of wind slapped the doors, blowing off all the accumulated dust and before it could choke him, a tiny tornado, barely two foot tall, appeared, sucking up the dust and disappearing with it back into the tunnel where it could be released without annoying him.
Naruto wiped his hands, a small smile on his face. It felt good to perform a jutsu after so long.
The fresco, uncovered, was now easy to see. It depicted a single man, wielding a simple sword and a monk's staff, standing before a great beast under a single moon. The ravages of time had whittled away most of the detail but the few characteristics that were visible were striking. The monster appeared to be hundreds of feet taller than the man, with ten long flowing tails curled above it as a single eye stared out, concentric circles radiating from a dilated pupil.
Naruto squared his shoulders and walked forward until he was stood before the large doors, flicking back the sleeves of his second hand work shirt as he did so. Bringing his wrists up, he gave them a quick bite, enough to cause them to bleed just enough to do what he needed. He waited until the crimson liquid ran down his arms and over his palms before he pressed his fingers to the stone, one on each side of the single gap between the doors, and began to write. His hands flowed smoothly as he traced the kanji that he had helped create long ago, known only by his closest comrades and encoded by the best minds of the time. He wrote a single line on each door in a perfect vertical line, making sure that none of the blood ran and that each character was perfect. After about a foot of it had been dine, the direction of his hands changed as he made two perfect circles of kanji before continuing down in another foot long line.
When he was done, he flashed through a series of hand seals, some common, others that had never been seen before, and then slammed his bloody palms into the circles.
The bloody characters suddenly burned with a bright purple, almost white, flame. He removed his hands, leaving two bloody prints on the doors as tiny veins of purple flame slithered from the circles of kanji. They flowed into the prints, slowly turning the blood to purple light. Suddenly, there was a pulse of chakra and the flames shot out across the doors, highlighting an extremely complex seal network that had been invisible before. The kanji that made up the seal were tiny, no more than a millimeter in size and covered the stone in a grandiose pattern, the whole effect quite stunning.
The seal burned for a full minute before there was a rumble of stone against stone as the doors slowly opened. Naruto stepped though.
If the entrance chamber was grand, then the one he now entered was simply unimaginable.
The chamber was a large dome shaped space made up entirely of black marble, thin veins of white running through it. The space was wide and perfectly immaculate. Hell, the floor even looked impeccably smooth, like it had just been cleaned. In brackets spaced in precise intervals around the room's perimeter, flames still burning. If he didn't know better, he'd have thought that this place had staff that regularly kept it clean.
Those thoughts, however, were driven from his mind as his eyes settled on the single focal point of the chamber. In the exact centre of the dome, raised on a circular dais, was a crypt made of the same black marble as the rest of the room.
He walked slowly forward, his steps echoing off the walls. He stepped up onto the dais and looked down at the long marble casket. His hand ghosted over its surface but didn't touch it. Taking a deep, calming breath, he brought up both his hands and slowly began to form seals as he chanted in an ancient language long forgotten by the world.
The effects weren't immediate. It was nearly two full minutes before something happened. A faint glow began to emanate from the surface of the casket but Naruto kept signing and chanting, never once breaking his rhythm. The light became progressively brighter the more he chanted until two kanji stood out against the dark marble which spelled "Ninpou". Naruto chanted the final verse before slapping one hand to the glowing kanji and pushing his chakra into the crypt.
There was a resounding sound of stone sliding against stone as the marble lid slid open.
When it slid fully out of the way, stopping with a dull bang, Naruto stood ridged for a moment before stepping forward. His hands rested on the rim of the coffin as he peered inside at the body that lay within. It was wrapped in gauze which clung to the dead, emancipated frame, the thin material only hinting at what lay beneath. Upon its chest lay three objects. Naruto reverently reached in to pick them up one by one.
The first was a simple hitai-ate. It was a metal plate attached to black cloth and jutting from either side were two short horns. Between the horns were the two kanji that spelled "Ninpou" or "Shinobi Sect". Naruto smiled fondly as he ran a hand over the engraving. 'Even after all this time it's still as untarnished as the day it was forged.' He turned it over in his hands and lifted it to his forehead, tying the knot at the back and allowing a few strands of hair to fall over the metal, both at the sides and between the horns, partially obscuring the kanji.
When he was done he reached into the casket once more and retrieved a far longer treasure. It was a longsword, single edged and straight and as long as he was tall with a narrow guard that was almost as thin as the blade itself. The handle was long enough to allow the wielder to wield it with one hand most of the time but with enough space to grasp it in two hands if need be. It was in a simple black wooden sheath with a black leather belt to allow him to carry it slung across his back. He leaned it against the crypt before reaching inside and withdrawing the most valuable piece of all.
It was a shakujou. A Buddhist monk's staff. The metal pole was as tall as he was and topped with a hoop from which dangled six rings, three on either side of the pole that would jingle as he walked. Other than a few engravings on the rings, the pole was bare of ornamentation. Being made of a strange, practically indestructible metal the colour of dark steel, the staff was both simple and elegant.
He gripped it tightly in one hand and sent his chakra into it, through it and it became an extension of his very being. It hummed and throbbed in his hand and he could almost imagine it was saying "Welcome back, old friend".
He made to turn from the crypt when something caught his eye. Intrigued, he leaned in closer to inspect when his eyes widened in surprise and a broad grin broke out across his face. Arrayed around the inside of the casket were numerous scrolls, each tightly bound and sealed. He picked one up and looked at the title.
"Library." He read aloud, his grin becoming even wider. He looked back at the scrolls and chuckled gleefully. It was all here! His library, his journals, his trinkets, his jutsu notes, his weapon collection, his armor and best of all, his clothes!
He was quick to grab that last one and with a little flick of blood the seal was broken and out came his garments. He tossed off his tatty work clothes and slipped into his familiar battle gear.
He slid into a white gi, the open front exposing his chest and the long sleeves almost covering his hands. For his legs he wore a simple pair of baggy black pants over which he wore a billowing battle skirt that was open at the front and held up at the waist with a thick black belt, the top of the material folded over it so that the belt, save for the buckle at the front, was invisible. His feet were clad in a pair of "roman-style" sandals which wrapped half way up his calves over the pants. With great love and care he extracted from the scroll marked "Trinkets" a necklace made of a black cord from which hung six magatama; tomoe shaped jewels of glittering emerald. His beloved wife had crafted it for him and ever since then he had never been without it. He hung it from his neck, feeling the familiar weight settle on his chest reassuringly.
He stood, turning this way and that as he admired his new look. He looked just like he did all those years ago when he was a simple traveling priest spreading his message. He swung his sword across his back so that the handle was poking over his left shoulder then extracted from the scrolls a white hooded cloak which he wrapped around himself. He then sealed all of the scrolls into one larger scroll which he hung from the back of his waist before perching on his head a simple straw hat. Grabbing his staff in his right hand, he resealed the crypt before turning and exiting the chamber, the charms of his staff jingling with every movement.
He would never return.
After clambering back through the tunnel, harder now with his new additions, he stood on the rocky ledge, looking out over the rain lashed lands of Ame as the storm raged around him. He stood unbowed by the strong winds or the sheets of icy rain as he leaned upon his staff, his other hand holding the rim of his hat to prevent it from blowing away. His staff thrummed in his hand, seeking out the malevolent chakra of the monster. The miniscule seal array engraved along its metal surface glowed purple in the night, the rain fizzing as it came into contact with the charged ruins. The staff hummed. His eyes opened.
He found the beast.
His knees bent slightly before he launched himself forward, over the side of the ledge and down into the darkness below. He dived down through the air, the ends of his cloak snapping at the air and his blood singing in anticipation for the battle to come.
He had a demon to hunt.
A/N: There you go. Please leave a review and tell me what you think and how you think this rates against the original first chapter.