A.N. I've had this idea in my head for several months now, and I just never bothered to write it down. Yes, it's another cross-over. The premise is that one of the Kiri no Shinobigatana Nananin Shu (Seven Swordsmen of the Mist) successfully overthrows the previous Mizukage, though, as it turns out, it is not Momochi Zabuza. Instead, another Swordsman, a gaijin (foreigner), no less, has ascended to power. Some things may not completely mesh with the world of the original work, just to make sure I get that across. I'm just telling a different story.
I was influenced by several authors on FF, including Jonohex, who wrote excellent stories such as "The Broken Tool" and now "Kirigakure's Shore," and Dragon6, who wrote "Mizukage."
I do not own Naruto or Claymore. They are the works of Kishimoto Masashi and Yagi Norihiro.
Whenever the topic comes up in a conversation by the people of Kiri about the Godaime Mizukage, inevitably it results into an argument. Ah, but it isn't the kind that ends in a bloody fist fight to the death, since the Mizukage has forbidden that kind of thing when he came to power, after overthrowing Yagura-sama, the Yondaime. No, it is praise for the Godaime, and the argument usually is about just how much more can the Godaime do to make the country better.
After the overthrow, the change was palpable. The Yondaime was feared by all, who personified the moniker "Bloody Mist" which Kirigakure no Sato was known by. Under such a ruler, the non-shinobi of the village made themselves as inconspicuous as much as possible in the old days, afraid to raise the ire of the shinobi, some of who were said to be just as vicious as the Yondaime. That, coupled with the dreary weather that pervades Kiri for most times of the year, made Kiri a frightful place to be. And yet, somehow, the gloom seemed to have lifted the day after the successful coup. The new Mizukage, when presented to the eyes of the general public on the first day of his rule, seemed far more welcoming than his predecessor. Similarly, the people warmed to his declaration for a need to renew the image of Kirigakure, to make Kiri a place where people should not have to fear their own shadows. Gone was the homicidal tyrant, under whose bloodthirsty rule much suffering took place. In his place is someone who looks deceptively young, with the power and the drive to correct wrongs and lift the people from their misery.
The shinobi forces were more difficult to convince. There were some who were loyal to the Yondaime, and refused to accept the new Mizukage. Then there were others who had no problem with the Yondaime's death, per se. Their issue did not involve the combat prowess of the Godaime—he is, after all, the one who managed to defeat the Sanbi container, with no help from any of the others, including Zabuza-san and the other Swordsmen. Rather, it is his vision of a different Kiri that cause them to be disgruntled. They believed that the ways of the Yondaime embodied the strength of Kiri shinobi, and that way the message would be sent to all the other villages to let them know anyone who opposed Kiri should expect to face a violent end. In the end, these shinobi were given a choice; to accept the rule of the former Swordsman, or be cast out and sent into exile. There were indeed a few who left the village the next day, to strike out on their own without the protection of Kirigakure. But fortunately, none of the other Swordsmen left, and by extension the most powerful shinobi of Kiri remained.
The Godaime, as one of his first acts, liberalized trade between Kirigakure with the other islands of Mizu no Kuni, and under new policies developed by him and his advisors, Kirigakure flourished like never before. Kiri was once known as a backwaters place, in no way comparable to Konoha, the strongest of hidden villages. Now, though it continues to isolate itself from the other villages, the hidden shinobi village of Mizu no Kuni has become a true metropolis. Where once the streets were mostly empty, there are now small crowds of people in the streets, and the sound of chatter can be heard from blocks away. Though the weather remains the way it was before, sounds of laughter and joy are now in the air. Many of the older civilian population, having been born and raised under more violent regimes of the past, declare that it is a good time to be in Kiri. Some even say the monks of the Water Temple, in the past, had already prophesied for the savior of Kirigakure to be a gaijin.
However, it still seems strange, amongst the jounin and the Swordsmen themselves, just how easily the new Mizukage had learned to govern a hidden village. When questioned, he merely said that he had once served as mayor of a town, in an earlier part of his life. Just how long ago that was, he would not elaborate. Zabuza-san confided that the Godaime had not changed in his physical experience since the first time he met him, and that had been almost ten years ago. It seems that, with any new information about the Godaime, more questions would arise about his past.
He had been a virtual unknown upon admission as a Swordsman, according to Zabuza-san; he was never educated in the Kiri academy, and yet he possessed incomparable combat skills. Though it seems he does not often use ninjutsu, if at all, he possesses prodigious talent as a fuinjutsu master. Also, his chakra is most strange. Kisame-san said it is unlike any he has felt before, and with the Samehada, he had felt the chakra signature from a large number of people in his life. Though he denies that he is the strongest amongst the seven, and left Kisame to loudly boast of the title, others suspect that they had never seen the depth of the Godaime's power.
But it seems I will have to find some other time to ponder on these things. A shinobi messenger from the port has just arrived and made her presence known.
"Haku-san," the woman called out to me from beneath my perch on the tree. "Please let Mizukage-sama know that a boat carrying some gaijin had just docked at the southern harbor. Though we do not know if they pose a significant threat or not, they all carry large swords on their backs. They are all blond women, with grey eyes. The commander thinks they may be mercenaries from somewhere else. I will need to go back to keep watch over the new arrivals."
Nodding my acknowledgement, I performed a shunshin, and left for the Mizukage's office.
We finally see land again.
It had been months since we left the Continent. Months since the beginning of our exile from what had been our world.
Turning around, I looked at the faces of the warriors under my command…likely the only ones that survived the disaster. From Helen's excited grin, to the more subdued but still visible hopeful gleam in Clare's eyes, all the survivors felt their spirits lifted by the possibility of a new world. A new beginning… where we can hopefully vanish, just as we did in the North…and gradually forget all the pain and suffering that was left behind us.
We, the Ghosts of the North, along with God-Eye Galatea, are remnants of the half-human half-yoma hybrids created by the Organization. Shortly after the original seven of us came out of our self-imposed voluntary seclusion in the lands of Alphonse, we encountered Galatea in the city of Rabona, along with two warriors sent to hunt her down. I had given permission to all of them to conclude whatever loose ends they still had, so that, if and when they felt ready again, we would take on the Organization. To make them pay for the deaths of our comrades in the North, for the suffering endured by those lost to us forever.
However, the Organization had not been idle during our absence. They had created a new breed of monsters, trained to hunt down the Abyssal Ones. With these Abyssal Feeders, they took down Isley, the Number One in the first generation of warriors created. They almost succeeded taking down Riful next, when they sent out both Alicia and Beth along with the Abyssal-hunters.
What they had not counted on was for Riful to find the merged being formed from Luciella and Rafaela. Nor would they have known of the series of accidental events that resulted in Clare awaking the dormant consciousness residing deep inside the merged being. The monstrosity that awakened laid devastation to the land. Any living creature touched by the parasitic rods shot out from the merged being spawned forth more monsters, and began a cycle of continuous destruction that destroyed entire towns and villages. One of those casualty included Beth, which caused Alicia the Black to awaken entirely. With the amount of yoki given off by both Alicia and the fused being, Priscilla was drawn into the fight. No one else could have interfered in the three-way struggle, with their innate bloodlust driving them onward, causing widespread destruction in the West.
In the end, Alicia was the one that survived the encounter. The abomination formed by Rafaela and Luciella was destroyed with the combined might of Alicia and Priscilla, who had identified her as the bigger threat. Priscilla, despite the depth of her power, was depleted from the struggle, and could not react in time to Alicia turning on her. The outcome, essentially, was that another Abyssal One had formed. Riful also managed to survive, presumably, after she disappeared from the scene, taking advantage of the distraction from Priscilla. More likely than not, she had been hurt badly enough from her struggle that she needed to recuperate.
We did all we could to try to fight off the spawned yoma from the fused monstrosity, who were all at the level of Awakened Beings in their short lives. Making the Organization answer for its crimes would have to wait. Though Riful's abode was far off in the West, eventually some of the yoma did reach Rabona, and those of us remaining there had no choice but to defend the city once again. Ironically, we owed our thanks to Alicia and Priscilla, since they were the ones that destroyed the source of the spawned yoma, and ensured that no more would be born. Thus, we were finally able to whittle down the numbers of these yoma, and this also allowed the other members of our original seven to fight their way back to Rabona.
The Organization, whose primary interest had never been for the good of the normal humans that we were supposed to protect, finally decided to act. Many of the younger generation of warriors were sent out to fight against the spawned yoma, and many did not survive the onslaught. Even though so many warriors lost their lives in such desperate times, the Organization still focused on obtaining samples from the parasitic yoma. All in the hopes of perfecting a new breed of warriors to aid their sponsors in a far off land.
What no one foresaw, however, was the fact that a conflict elsewhere had reached a climax. The faction supported by those in the Organization, the ones who commenced the hybrid warrior program, had lost badly in a key battle. The Dragon Kin faction had discovered, in the aftermath of their victory, the existence of the program on our Continent, which had been kept secret from them for so long. Because the opposing side was reeling from their defeat, the Dragon Kin were able to place themselves in a position of control, and corner the remaining forces on the mainland.
This meant that a significant number of troops were freed from elsewhere in the struggle on the mainland, and could be made available for other tasks, and they took advantage of it. Thus, while our attention was still occupied by Alicia, Priscilla, the merged monstrosity, and the Organization, the Dragon Kin forces began a large-scale invasion of the Continent. Their main target was to completely eradicate the Organization, but their secondary objective, as it soon became clear, was to eliminate all yoma, and also any hybrid beings created from the infusion of yoma flesh into human beings.
The Organization, unprepared for this sudden change of events, was quickly pushed back. They attempted to call back their warriors in the defense of the headquarters at Staff, but they overlooked one crucial problem. The problem, of course, was that not all of the Dragon-Kin faction were monsters; on the whole, most of the invaders were humans. This created a dilemma for many of the warriors, since they were indoctrinated, from early on in their training, that the most grievous violation would be to kill a human being. While some were able to overcome this barrier, others chose instead to only attack the Dragon-Kin, since they could never, in good conscience, bear the thought of slaying humans.
Staff was eventually overrun, with Rimuto and the other leaders of the shadowy council put to the sword. The warriors loyal to the Organization were also killed off, one by one. Eventually, Dietrich, one of the survivors, made her way to Rabona, and was able to warn us of the threat of the Dragon-Kin. The others in our group, which had finally just arrived back at Rabona, were shocked by the new development. Some probably did not believe me when I first told them all I knew about the Organization, and of the existence of the war that gave birth to the Organization.
The Dragon-Kin forces rapidly set forth from the conquered East, and placed their banner on the walls of the towns they come across on the Continent. Dietrich left on her own to face them, in a last stand, and was killed. The rest of us that remained were placed in a quandary. On the one hand, our goal had been accomplished, and the Organization was no more. On the other hand, however, the new overlords of the Continent do not accept our existence. There really was no justification for us to fight them. They are merely staking their claims on the lands they overrun, and are doing nothing against humans. Even though they are also eliminating all the yoma throughout the land, we knew there was no place for us under their rule, tainted as we were by yoma flesh and blood.
We said our good-byes to Father Vincent, and to the commanders of Rabona's defense force. They had been generous in their thanks, and were sad to see us leave. Clare, especially, had been distressed. She had been so sure she would find Raki while on her quest away from Rabona, but the subsequent chaos had taken that chance from her. Though none of us wanted to say it, but it was likely that he was already dead. Besides, if he were still alive, he would be more likely to be safe staying where he was, than to come find Clare. We were targets of the Dragon-Kin forces, and anyone associated with us could also be placed in danger. Clare was stubborn, but when I directed her to my line of reasoning, she finally conceded. The Continent was no longer the way we had known it to be, and the time for us had past.
We set off with haste to the South, where we knew a port to be. Galatea, Miata, and Clarice also came with us, since they knew that they could not stay in Rabona. However, we were sighted by a scout sent out by the invaders, and soon a force was mobilized against us. Clarice, despite all the fear shown on her face, had been defiant, and asked the rest of us to go on, and that she would try to slow them down. That child…she knew that she was the weakest one out of all of us. And yet, because she felt indebted to us for saving Miata and herself, wanted to repay us, and prove to herself that she could be capable as a warrior. Miata, unsurprisingly, was unwilling to go on without Clarice, and stayed behind as well. None of us were comfortable with that idea. Galatea, especially, tried to reason with them, even though they had originally been sent by the Organization to take her head. However, Clarice was resolute, and with an unsure smile, told us that we should go on ahead.
The eight of us that remained finally set forth, so that we could reach the port and wait. We found a captain willing to take us, after promising to give him all the money that we had, so that he would take us far away from the continent. The belief that nothing else existed outside of our Continent had been broken when the Dragon-Kin invaded. From the scattered reports that we gathered about the direction in which the Dragon-Kin fleet arrived, we chartered a course that would most likely take us as far away from the Dragon-Kin as possible. We had stayed in port for a further three days, without seeing Clarice or Miata. With the news of an approaching Dragon-Kin force, we were finally forced to depart without them.
The journey these past few months on the sea had not been easy. We did not see land very often, and most of them looked inhospitable, even for hybrid warriors such as us. Usually, two from our group would scout the new land while the crew foraged for supplies to restock. The men were disgruntled, even with the promise of gold. Some had eyed us hungrily, and were only held back by our reputation, and the large swords we carried with us. Cynthia and Galatea, in particular, had drawn the most amount of unwelcome attention, and, from the way the relief seen on Cynthia's face just now, she was glad for this ordeal to be over.
Turning back around, we surveyed this new land. Without a doubt, this land is already settled by humans, as can be seen from the busy port. There were many ships docked there, and the whole place seemed to be filled with activity. As we finally disembarked, we noticed the attention from those around us at the port. Some of them seemed to be in uniform, and were giving commands to one another in a language we cannot fathom. Though I could not understand the exact words, I could guess that they wanted to inform a higher authority of our presence. One of them turned towards us, and gave us an incomprehensible command, which ended with a question. We gave him blank looks in response. He gesticulated, and we understood that we were to stay in place, until someone would decide what to do.
"Bah, we should have just stayed on that island we saw three months ago! I mean, even though we didn't see anyone living there, at least we wouldn't be bothered by all this!" Helen, as usual, could not keep her opinion to herself.
"Maybe so, but you were also the one against us staying there three months ago, because you didn't want to be trapped in a place where you may be spending the rest of your life without any outside contact." Deneve said, once again the voice of reason.
I looked over at those in uniform facing us. Some of them seemed uncomfortable with our talk amongst each other, probably because they could not understand it. Others seemed intrigued, and would not stop looking us all over. "I think we should stay still and keep to ourselves for now, until whoever they called for comes for us. It would put them more at ease."
With that, we fell silent. That is, until we suddenly detected a powerful yoki source coming in our direction. I could see the alarm in the eyes of the others, which seemed to agitate those watching us.
"Everyone, don't put your hands on your weapons…we don't want to make them think we are threats, since they cannot detect the yoki, and would interpret our action as a sign of aggression. We would have to wait for the Awakened Being to make the first move before we draw our swords." I gave my command, since I could see that some of them were preparing to fight. This would only put those watching us more on edge.
"How could there be a yoki source this potent in a place so far away from the Continent?" Clare quietly muttered, with her eyes focused on the direction of the source.
Tabitha, who had closed her eyes, gave us her assessment of the yoki. "This one is most certainly at least at the level of an Awakened Being. It is strange, but I feel as if his yoki should be more than what has been revealed to us."
Though Tabitha had proven to be adept at reading yoki, I still wanted to confirm with Galatea.
"The yoki is most certainly at the level of an Awakened Being, but it is set at a wavelength different from what we had been used to. Maybe that's why we could not detect him earlier. This is only a theory, but it seems he knows we are here, and maybe wanted us to know about him also, and that's why he exposed some of his yoki."
We pondered upon this, but soon enough, the source of our anxiety entered our sight.
A.N. I sometimes felt as if the chapter wrote by itself, and I simply couldn't find a place for it to stop. Hopefully it's been good so far. I am going to add one more cross-over, which will be revealed, hopefully, in the next chapter. There is another story that I have written, which I will continue to write. The annoying thing is that I already have an ending for that story, but I haven't figured out yet all the parts in between. We will see how that goes.