Kyuubi grinned widely. Naruto stared at it with a hard look. It had been ten years since he had last seen the fox. The seal the Sandaime had used to get him here should have killed the fox. Yet here it stood before him. How did it survive? Why couldn't he sense its presence? Better yet, how long would that cage hold? His eyes could already see that the strong seal that once held back the demon was slowly disappearing.
"What's the matter? Aren't you happy to see me?" smirked Kyuubi.
"Why aren't you dead?"
The fox burst out laughing. Naruto stared at it emotionlessly. "Come now. I am the most powerful being in the universe. I can't be killed so easily."
"You are as delusional as ever."
A growl of anger came from Kyuubi. He had forgotten how much this fleshing pissed him off. Just like his father. "Enjoy what time you have left. It is only a matter of time now before I break free. Then I will take great pleasure in making you watch as I take everything away from you." Kyuubi's dark laughter filled Naruto's ears as he was ejected from his mindscape.
Aeris and Tifa slept with their heads on the bed where Naruto lie. Aeris refused to say anything about why she came here until Naruto woke up. Everyone respected her wishes and so they had been staying in the Forgotten Capital the past day. Each women continued to sleep never seeing Naruto wake up. He crawled out of bed and walked outside.
Naruto didn't bother to put on a shirt or his armor. His eyes landed upon Vincent who sat on top of the building looking up at the stars. In a single leap, he landed next to Vincent and took a seat next to the man. The two stared up into the stars. "Have you spoke with the monster inside of you?"
"Hai," nodded Naruto.
"You worry it is going to break free."
Vincent turned to look at Naruto. Naruto stared up at the moon, "it will break free."
A silence settled between the two. "In the past. I didn't need to worry about it breaking free. The seal binding it had been strong enough to hold it until the day I died." Naruto placed a hand over the stomach. "Kyuubi may be weaker then I remember, but its strength is growing. And the seal is disappearing having lost its power many years ago. It will not hold much longer. Maybe a year at tops, a few months at the least." He looked at Vincent with a hard look. "I need a favor from you."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. When the times comes. I need you to kill me. If you kill me before it breaks free then I can take it into death with me." Naruto gained a hard look. "I won't let them get hurt."
A look of respect appeared in Vincent's eyes. Naruto was willing to give his life for the women he loved. The same thing that he should have done so many years ago. "I will make sure they are safe." Naruto nodded gratefully at Vincent. The two men went back to staring up at the stars.
Aeris woke up yawning lightly. She rubbed her eyes and looked over to check on Naruto. Her eyes widened as she realized the bed was empty. She shot awake and shook Tifa. A mumbled came from Tifa as she opened her eyes to look at Aeris. "What is it?" yawned Tifa.
"Naruto is gone!" worried Aeris.
Tifa shot awake and looked to see the bed empty. Both women quickly ran outside to warn the others but froze. There sitting on the ground with the others was Naruto. He was looking right at them. It was as if he and all the others had been waiting for them. A grunt came from Barret. "Bout damn time you two woke up." Naruto gestured for them to have a seat.
"Are you ok Naruto-kun?" asked Tifa concerned.
"Hai." Tifa frowned as she heard the emotionless answer. He was acting differently. He didn't even look at her when he answered. "Aeris-san. I believe you should tell us why you came here," said Naruto changing the subject. Aeris shifted uncomfortably and glanced at Naruto who wouldn't meet her eyes.
She reached up and pulled out a small materia they is glowing a light hazel blue. "You came here for some materia?" frowned Cid. The man took a smoke from his cigarette.
"No. I came here to use this materia. This is known as White Materia, or Holy. My mother gave it to me before she passed away. It is the exact opposite of Black Materia. Holy is a way to protect the planet. The only way to stop Meteor should Sephiroth truly call upon it." Aeris put the materia back in her braid. "This place is the home of my ancestors. Where you all found me is designed for Cetra to come in contact with the planet. I traveled there hoping that my prayers would reach the planet."
Barret spoke up, "did it work?"
Aeris frowned. "Yes. The planet has heard my prayers but nothing is happening. I don't understand." A silence fell over the group.
"Then we will make something happen," said Naruto. Aeris looked up at Naruto. "All we have to do is kill Sephiroth before he calls upon Meteor. We know where he is headed. The Northern Crater past the Snow Fields."
"Where Professor Gast found Jenova," said Vincent.
Naruto nodded. "I read in one of Gast's books that the Northern Crater has a high abundance of spiritual energy. Only there will Sephiroth be able to invoke the magic of Black Materia."
"Then we will just have to kill that bastard before he can use it," smirked Barret.
"You make it sound so easy," yawned Cid.
"Ugh, why did I join this group?" grumbled Yuffie.
"Red, Cid, Barret, and I will leave here first. The rest of you follow behind us after an hour has past," said Naruto standing up. Tifa wanted to say something but Naruto turned his back and started to walk away. "Not even Shera was this fucking irritating," grumbled Cid flicking his cigarette.
"The fuck you always complaining about?" said Barret.
"The only irritating ones here are you two," sighed Red catching up to Naruto.
"Just fucking great. First we climb a damn mountain and now we end up in a fucking blizzard," cursed Barret rubbing his arms. A cloak hit him in the face. Barret looked at Naruto who put on his own white cloak.
Cid sighed, "too cold to even light a cigarette." He raised his hand catching a cloak that Naruto tossed towards him.
Naruto used his chakra to stay on top of the snow. Red came up besides Naruto somehow able to stay on top of the snow as well. Unfortunately for Red, Naruto had no cloaks that would fit him. He glanced at Naruto before looking ahead. It didn't take a genius to realize that something had happened to Naruto. Something that had made Naruto act coldly towards those around him. Just what it was, Red did not know.
Previously, Naruto always had Tifa or Aeris and most of the time both traveling with him. Mostly because they would volunteer to do so. They all knew that Naruto had feelings for the two women. Yet back at the Ancient's Forgotten City, Naruto had specifically chosen a team without either woman. Naruto must have seen the hurt looks in Tifa and Aeris's eyes. Red didn't know anyone who was more observant then Naruto.
Could he be upset at Aeris for leaving on her own? No, Naruto didn't seem like the type of person to hold a grudge. Red frowned trying to think of what could have happened to his friend. "Fucking hate this weather. Why couldn't Sephiroth go somewhere warmer?" shivered Barret.
"Hey Naruto, give me a light," groaned Cid unable to get his lighter working. Naruto raised his hand conjuring a small flame. Cid leaned over and lit his cigarette before taking a puff. A strange way to use a fire materia. "Damn that hit the spot." Red shook his head at the two ignorant men.
"There is a town up ahead. We will rest there for a bit. I will see if I can find us a map," said Naruto.
Barret groaned, "I fucking hate this. When I see that silver haired bastard, I am kicking his ass for making me come all the way out here." A sigh escaped Red. Idiot.
Icicle Inn. A small resort town that had snow year round. Despite being a resort town, it is extremely hard to reach. Being on the far side of the Northern Continent and only accessible to those who had the money to pay for a ship or plane to take them to it. Or could somehow make it pass the mountains like Naruto and his group.
Naruto felt a pulse of Kyuubi's chakra go through his body and he winced. Fortunately, no one saw his momentary stumble. He quickly composed himself. "Yo blondie. If we keep continuing I am going to catch a severe cold. Why don't we rest for a bit?" grunted Barret. "At least until the others get here."
"Get us a room at the inn. We will continue in the morning," agreed Naruto. Barret nodded and headed towards the Inn along with Cid. Red looked at Naruto curiously.
"Are you coming?"
Naruto nodded, "I am going to the store first. See if I can buy a map." A nod came from Red before he ran to catch up to the others. Barret and Cid may be annoying, but Red agreed about staying some place warm for the night.
Another pulse shot through Naruto's body. Just a matter of time now. Then I will be free. A dark laughter filled Naruto's ears. He paid it no attention as he walked towards the store. He pushed open the door and entered. "Hello. How may I help you?" smiled a kind woman.
"Do you have a map of this area here? I plan on heading towards the Northern Crater," said Naruto.
A surprised look appeared in the woman's eyes. "You must be incredibly brave. No one who goes to that mountain has ever come back. Most usually just go halfway then come back due to the extreme cold." The woman walked over to the other side of the counter and reached under it. She came back with a rolled up a map, which she unrolled on top of the counter. "This is the village here." Naruto nodded. He already had the map memorized. "There are two ways to reach the Northern Crater. The fastest and most dangerous way is skiing or snowboarding there by taking this trail. Then there is the safer route where you take this hiking trail to the Crater."
"How much for the map?" The others didn't have an eidetic memory like him.
Naruto put the gil down on the table. "Thank you and have a nice day. Be careful," smiled the woman. He rolled up the map and put it within his pouch before leaving.
Another pulse almost made him fall to his knees and he bit his lip in order to keep from making a sound. Blood dripped down his chin, but he quickly wiped it away. Kyuubi's dark laughter filled his head. Naruto could barely make out the sounds going on in the real world. He did his best to ignore it as he headed over to the inn. Tomorrow when the others showed up, he would buy some snowboards or whatever. Right now he needed to meditate to try to clear his mind.
"Yahoo! Now this is what I call traveling!" shouted Cid, as he made a sharp turn on his snowboard.
"Sure the hell beats walking down," smirked Barret on his snow ski bike. Red sat on the back of the bike with a woozy look in his eyes. He was wishing they had decided to take the long way down the mountain.
Tifa and Aeris were on the other ski bike. They only had enough money to buy two ski bikes and the rest were traveling on snowboards. "This would be so much better if it wasn't so damn cold," smiled Yuffie jumping into the air and doing a heel touch.
Naruto kept his eyes ahead keeping a safe distance away from the others. If not for the situation with the fox, he might have found himself enjoying this experience. As it was, he had too focus on keeping from the fox from taking over while also making sure he didn't fall off his board. "I don't understand why the lady said this way was so dangerous," shouted Aeris.
Cid jumped up performing a 360 before landing back on top of the snow. "I don't give a damn what she said. This is the most fun I have had this whole journey," laughed the pilot.
The group went around a narrow slope and noticed large boulders sticking out of the snow. Yuffie panicked as she saw the large boulders ahead. Naruto appeared in front of her, putting a hand around her waist and jumped clear over the boulder. Both touched back down on the snow and he helped her regain balance. "Hehe, thanks," blushed Yuffie.
"Um, I think we might be in some trouble," said Tifa glancing ahead. A grove of trees were ahead of them. Worse yet, barely any room to maneuver. Naruto unsheathed both ninjato and shot forward. He channeled his wind chakra through the blades. Straight into the grove he went his hands becoming a blur as he wielded his ninjato.
The trees were sliced to pieces clearing a path for the group. Tifa and Barret still had to avoid the trunks, but it was much easier when their vision wasn't obscured. Out of the grove they came and it seemed like smooth sailing. Or so they thought.
Naruto sensed something nearby. No correct that, multiple things. It felt like they were right on top of them. He frowned as he looked all over but couldn't see a thing. There was something here he was sure of it. "Yo blondie, something wrong with your head?" shouted Barret.
"Something is here, keep your guard up," ordered Naruto.
"Huh? I don't see-" Barret never finished when something burst out of the snow in front of him and grabbed onto his ski. The man started to spin out of control as a monster made completely out of ice clawed its way towards him. Vincent came up next to the monster and with a single shot blew off its head. It body fell from the bike and Barret managed to gain control. "The fuck is that!"
"Abdominal Ice Men?" suggested Aeris jokingly. She didn't think it was too funny anymore when a three more burst out of the snow all around her and Tifa. The Ice beasts seemed to glide on top of the snow as they charged towards the two. One raised its claw ready to take Aeris's head, but a spear burst out of its chest. With a yell, Cid spun the Ice beast into the other two and they all shattered into ice shards.
More and more started to burst out of the snow. "Mother fuckers. Get the fuck out of my way!" yelled Barret raising his gun arm. He started to blast them away but more just popped up.
"Ahhh! Don't touch me!" yelled Yuffie. She tossed her Fuma Shuriken, it sliced through four Ice beasts before returning to her. She smirked. That smirk didn't last long when an Ice beast burst out right in front of her. Her eyes went wide in horror.
Naruto came down from above crushing the Ice beast under his board. "Tighten our formation. Vincent, Yuffie take the lead. Barret, Tifa, take the middle. Cid and I will cover the rear!" ordered Naruto.
"Red, Aeris, support us with Fire spells," shouted Naruto.
Vincent moved in front of the group and with deadly accuracy started to blow off the heads of the Ice beasts in front. Yuffie not to be out done, started to slice through whatever Ice beasts she could reach. Barret and Tifa rode side by side behind Yuffie and Vincent. Red and Aeris protected the ski bikes by casting weak fire spells that were super effective against the ice beasts. In the rear, Naruto and Cid took out any Ice beasts that tried for a preemptive strike.
The group had managed to make it to the base of the Northern Crater after experiencing several close calls. Fortunately, at the base of the mountain they found an empty cabin where they could rest. Naruto had sealed away the ski bikes and snowboards within his storage scrolls while the others rested. He then stared up at the mountain that had been formed due to the Calamity Jenova falling onto the planet. That is right. He had finally finished reading all those books he had stole from the Shinra Mansion. Besides Professor Hojo, Naruto knew more about Sephiroth and Jenova then anyone else. Anyone living that is.
The Northern Crater had been created over two thousand years ago when Jenova arrived on this planet on the back of a meteor. Jenova had then begun its rampage of the planet. Its only desire is to devour all life. Using its incredible powers, Jenova had managed to pose as a Cetra and slowly destroy them from the inside out. For Jenova had the power to absorb the memories and form of all those that it had devoured. It had managed to destroy much of the Cetra civilization. Mankind or humans, a cousin species, had hid in fear forcing the Cetra to deal with Jenova. Those few Cetra that survived banded together to defeat Jenova and quarantined her inside the Northern Crater. Jenova would lie dormant there for thousands of years. Despite their victory over the "Calamity from the Skies", the Cetra civilization was lost, and their numbers dwindled down to almost nothing. Mankind took over the planet from the Cetra, whom they called "Ancients", and started their own civilization. As time wore on, humanity forgot about Jenova and the Ancients fell into legend.
Then after two thousand years of being dormant. Professor Gast Faremis excavated the creature and mistakenly identified it as a Cetra. Thus began the Jenova Project—an effort by a number of Shinra scientists to take Jenova's cells and create a human hybrid with it to produce super-soldiers with Jenova's powers. The product, SOLDIER or more importantly, Sephiroth. Sephiroth is the offspring of the Jenova Project. Considered to be the ultimate weapon. Shinra overjoyed with their success, had then started to implant Jenova cells into others who joined the SOLDIER program.
Unfortunately, Sephiroth had found out the truth five years ago, had gone mad. He believed himself to be a direct descendant of the Ancients whom the humans had 'betrayed.' Sephiroth now wanted to destroy this world in order achieve what his 'mother' failed to do over two thousand years ago.
A beautiful story isn't it?
'He will not succeed. Neither will you. For once I have killed him. I will kill you.' Naruto had a hard look in his eyes.
Kyuubi laughed finding Naruto's comment to be extremely amusing. Fool. The only reason I stay here is because I don't feel like getting my paws dirty. Once you kill this Sephiroth, I will break free and gladly destroy this world. It's dark laughter started to fade as Kyuubi disappeared from his mind.
The fox was the fool if it truly believed it would escape. No matter what it took, Naruto would prevent that from happening. His eyes glanced at the cabin. To keep them safe. Even if it cost him his life.