Lord of Slivers
Chapter 1 – The Lord Emerges
OoOoOoOoO – Opening/Ending
XxXxXxXxX – Story jumps
ST – Split time (different areas same time)
Important A/N: I'm going to be honest – I don't really know where I plan to take this fic, it was a random idea that occurred to me one day so I began to write. It's taken me quite a while to write this chapter alone so any suggestions that you have that could help or ideas of what to do with or which direction to take this fic in please let me know. Any who provides ideas that help this fic along will get credit for their ideas.
Naruto stumbled through the forest. It was thicker than in any other area of Konoha and even ANBU didn't patrol it. Not even Konohas enemies would risk trying to enter Konoha through this area, the stories of those that had entered and never returned were not just tales told to children to keep them in line. These stories were true, genin, chunin, jonin and ANBU all heard of it and every so often a stupid ninja who believed themselves stronger than they were or didn't believe the stories, would enter and never return.
Of course 9 year old Naruto's isolation and the ostracising from society that the villagers forced upon him meant that he had never heard the stories, didn't know the danger. He could hear the occasional clicking as he passed but paid it no mind. It was his birthday and while the villagers generally didn't attack him – there where exceptions in the later hours of the night after they had had too much to drink – the looks he received where far worse than those on any other day of the year and he just wanted away from it all.
The clicking that he had barely noticed before became a little more frequent, enough for him to notice it but not enough for him to bother as the forest around him continued to get thicker and thicker. It wasn't long before the clicking became incessant and the forest became so thick that Naruto found himself climbing through. The clicking around him surrounded him, coming from every side, but seemed to part before him to allow him access.
He glanced upwards and realised that he no longer knew what time it could be, the trees above him blocking any hint of sky from view. He began to feel drawn in, as though something was telling him to continue on and move deeper into the forest. He had long since learned to trust his instincts and though this didn't feel like his instincts usually did it was sufficiently close to them for the ever curious young boy to follow its prompts and move deeper into the forest.
Sarutobi Hiruzen was nicknamed the god of shinobi and the professor for good reason, he had survived 2 wars and the attack of the Kyuubi no Kitsune despite being on the front lines. After surviving 5 decades as a shinobi he had learned that many things were not worth the effort to worry over, they were out of his hands and worrying never did any good. Which was why his current emotional state was a long way from normal.
Sarutobi Hiruzen was worried. Very worried in fact. Uzumaki Naruto had been missing for nearly 6 hours and the last reports of his whereabouts pointed towards the most dangerous section of Konohas vast forest. This left the aging Sandaime frantic with worry and at a complete loss as to what to do. No ninja would willingly go in after the boy, fearing that both he and they would be lost. Even Hiruzen himself felt unsure that he would be able to escape the forest alive, with or without the blond child.
It was over 8 hours after he had gone missing, the sky long since darkened by the absence of the sun, when Uzumaki Naruto emerged from the forest, unharmed and with 5 strange creatures following him. Each creature bore its own unique characteristics but each also had a few things in common, they each moved on a number of tendril-like limbs, had apparent upper and lower bodies, from the front centre of the upper body on the 4 largest creatures projected a single limb with apparent elbow and wrist joints while the smallest had a limb from each shoulder joint.
4 of the creatures had something resembling a scythe attached to the wrist, though the exact looks for each differed both in length and design, while the last had a set of smaller tendrils, like a miniature version of those that propelled it along the floor with side-to-side motions reminiscent of a snakes'. The heads of the creatures were also very unusual and each unique to the creature, though each tapered off to a point at the front, none had eyes or nostrils and none appeared to have mouths.
Sarutobi Hiruzen appeared in front of the boy mere moments after receiving word of the boy's return, his personal ANBU standing behind him, obviously tense and wary of these strange new creatures.
"Naruto, where have you been and what are these, creatures?" Hiruzen asked carefully.
"They're slivers Oji-san and they're my friends." The boy explained and then giggled when the smallest of the 5 creatures, a completely grey, smooth skinned and rather simple looking creature, at least in comparison to the other 4, nuzzled up under his chin in an obvious display of affection, although what type of affection was unknown, it was quite apparent that they wouldn't harm the boy.
"Perhaps we should discuss this further in my office Naruto." Naruto merely nodded his acceptance and dutifully followed behind the leader, the 4 larger creatures enclosing him while the fifth remained at the boy's side. Suddenly a ninja jumped from further back in the crowd, a kunai drawn and aiming for Naruto. In an instant the 4 larger creatures moved into action, their appearances meshing together as they moved.
In mere moments the man had been killed and consumed by the creatures and another creature, looking like a smaller versions of the creature that remained at Naruto's side, emerged from each of the larger creatures. The 4 new creatures immediately swarmed around Naruto and seemed to wrap around him, the boy sighed with a wistful smile on his lips. Then 2 of the creatures began to change.
Sarutobi watched in fascination as the creatures paled to white and then eyes snapped open on the side of their heads, white pupil-less eyes, the eyes of the Hyuuga clans Byakugan. It was apparent that the man that had attacked had been a Hyuuga and now these creatures seemed able to use that ability. Hiruzen shifted his attention back to Naruto and noticed that his eyes had also turned to those of the Byakugan, veins bulging to show there activation. As Hiruzen watched in shock the dojutsu deactivated and faded from Naruto's eyes.
Deciding it best to wait until they were in the security of his office before asking any questions Hiruzen quickly spun on his heal and began moving towards the tower once more. He could easily tell that Naruto was following by the clicking sound the creatures gave off as they moved and he was certain that the creatures would remain with Naruto to guard him.
Hiruzen slumped into his chair, his aging body feeling slightly overwhelmed by the stress he was under. He could only imagine how he would feel after the conversation that was about to take place. Beside him stood an ANBU in a dog mask and on the other side of the desk Naruto sat in a chair, the largest of the grey coloured slivers lying across his lap and 1 of the smaller ones curled up on his head while the remaining creatures formed a protective semi-circle behind him, the 2 white and 1 grey smaller slivers closest to the boy while the 4 larger slivers remained on the outside.
"So Naruto, why don't you tell me what happened and then explain more about these, slivers, to me." Hiruzen told the boy gently.
"Ano sa, I'll do my best. I decided to get away from the village, since usually things are worse today than any other day of the year, so I wandered into the forest and eventually came across these creatures. Some of them could talk to me in my head, they told me that I was special and that I was to be their new lord. After that they did something and I ended up my head and met Kyuubi-san. It said that I was an interesting host so it would help me because it wanted to see what would happen.
"Once I woke up I did as it told me, I cut my arm and got one of the grey slivers that hadn't e-e-evo-lved yet to put some of its blood into the cut. Kyuubi-san then int-int-int, made it so my blood was like theirs so I could do the same thing they do." The child explained to the best of his ability.
"And what exactly is that Naruto?" Prompted Hiruzen.
"Ano sa, they..." Naruto paused part way through his sentence and looked over to the sliver that had tendrils at the end of its wrist, Hiruzen noted that the creature was a combination of gold's, yellows and greys and that from the back of its head were more, smaller tendrils.
"To answer your question, we are of a hive mind and in some way body, whatever ability one amongst our number has, all amongst our number have. We continue to evolve as time passes and we gain new abilities based on how each new brood grows and adapts. Only our Lord retains a fully singular mind, while still being able to adapt and change with the abilities of each of the hive around them.
"Though we think as one we are capable as acting as individual units and each is fully sentient but orientated to the hive. We will sacrifice one before we sacrifice the hive but we will still protect the one whenever possible. From now forwards our race will co-exist with the descendants of our Lord, we will choose those we bond with and any that try to force themselves upon the hive will be dealt with in the same manner as the fool that attacked our Lord earlier."
It took Hiruzen several moments to realise that the creature was using telepathy to speak with him directly. Then several more after it had finished to realise that Naruto was about to become the head of a new clan.
"Tell me Naruto, do your new friends have names?" Hiruzen asked when he finally gathered himself together, the information was enough to shake him even with his age and experience.
"Well, not on their own, but each type has their own name, like the one that speaks in your head is called a synapse sliver, the pink one is a mistform sliver, the goldy one is called a b-broo-brood sliver and the glowy one is called a mind, mindlash sliver."
"And what of the grey ones and the white ones?"
"Well the grey ones are just slivers, they don't have a name because they haven't e-e-ev..."
"Yeah that, 'cause they haven't done that yet. The white ones are new so they don't have a name yet but I was thinking vision sliver." The slivers seemed to nod their heads in acceptance. "Vision slivers Oji-san." The boy told him happily.
"And how many other kinds are there?"
"Ano, lots?" Naruto replied, Hiruzen sighed, it was obvious that the boy either didn't actually know or couldn't count high enough to be able to know. Making a slight motion with his hand an ANBU appeared beside him, the slivers instantly tensed, ready to protect their lord if needed.
"Gather the full council, this calls for a meeting." He ordered, the ANBU bowed and departed as quickly as they had arrived, the slivers relaxed once they had gone. "So what are the abilities of those with you?" Hiruzen asked the boy.
"Well the synapse slivers can talk without words, mistform silvers can change shape, like that jutsu they told us about in the academy, ano, henge no jutsu I think. Mindlash slivers can attack someone's head, but they die when they do it and when a sliver kills and eats brood slivers let them create a new sliver, sometimes they're like the mummy sliver, sometimes they're just baby slivers and sometimes they become new slivers, if they eat something they haven't before." Naruto said, it was a basic explanation but for a 9 year-old with a stunted education it was very accurate.
"And you can use their abilities too?"
"Of course I can Oji-san." Hiruzen was surprised to see the body take on some of the characteristics of the synapse sliver and then startled when he heard Naruto's voice within his mind. It was at that point in time that they were interrupted by the ANBU returning.
"The council is assembling Hokage-sama."
"Excellent, come along Naruto, we need to tell them about your new friends and your new abilities."
The council chamber was buzzing with noise when Hiruzen led Naruto in. Upon seeing the boy and the strange creatures that accompanied him they immediately quietened down and observed while Hiruzen took his place and Naruto stood nearby, the creatures guarding him.
"I call this meeting to order." No sooner had Hiruzen finished speaking did the head of the Hyuuga clan stand up.
"Hokage-sama, those creatures killed one of my clan earlier this evening, I demand recompense." Though his voice remained even it was obvious that he was pissed.
"Yes that sounds reasonable..." The Hokage began, surprising those present. "The Hyuuga clan will pay damages of fifty-thousand ryo to Uzumaki Naruto for attempted assault." That caused outrage, which quietened down after a minute or so, at which point Haishi spoke again.
"Hokage-sama how can it be that my clan has to pay when those creatures attack my clansman?" He demanded.
"Because, Haishi, your clansman was the guilty party, the creatures, which are called slivers for your information, merely acted in the same manner as an Inuzuka nin-ken or an Aburame Kikai." Hiruzen told the man sternly.
"What exactly are you saying Hokage-sama?" Danzo probed, apparently seeking an in to be able to use to get Naruto into ROOT.
"It's quite simple really, the slivers have chosen Naruto as their Lord. They are a most curious and unique kind of creature, they are as intelligent as any nin-ken I have come across but share the same hive mentality of the Kikai. Furthermore they have a rather useful ability, each creature has its own ability but each shares another in common, they are able to share the abilities of those around them.
"But that is just the begging of what they can do. Earlier today, when that Hyuuga attacked young Naruto I got a glimpse of their abilities fist hand, they swarmed like kikai, attacked in defense of their Lord and devoured the perpetrator. Each of the four larger creatures then, gave birth, to a new sliver, of those four, two remained as the fifth, grey sliver, the other two became the white slivers that are here now.
"Naruto has named them vision slivers and they are able to use the Byakugan and, if he so chooses, so too can Naruto." Hiruzen explained.
"I demand those creatures be destroyed!" Cried Haishi, rising from his seat and pointing at the creatures.
"By that argument Haishi, your own clansmen cannot be ninja as that would they had too great a risk of being captured alive and their eyes removed. So shall I remove every Hyuuga from the ninja ranks, and remove your clans status as a member of the council with it? Your clan is on the ninja council after all and without an active ninja I see no reason to keep you in your position, that would also cost a number of other councillors to lose their positions if I am not mistaken." The argument Hiruzen posed was too solid, even Haishi knew that to believe no member of his clan could be captured alive would be fool hardy.
"A wise decision. Now the reason I have called you here is because I believe that young Naruto has the begging's of a new kekkai genkai, one with enough power to match the Hyuuga, Aburame, Inuzuka and perhaps even the Yamanaka clans, and that is just what I can guess from those you see before you. According to Naruto there are a good number more, of many different kinds. I have already witness their ability to blend their abilities and absorb new ones.
"Imagine if we had a clan that was capable of defeating an enemy and then taking their kekkai genkai, within a few months or years every member of the clan might be able to travel with a creature holding the kekkai genkai. This clan has the potential to be able to adapt to any given situation with ease."
"Hokage-sama, you can't seriously be proposing that we give that thing a clan can you?" A member of the civilian council spoke out.
"I assure you, human, that our Lord his no more his prisoner than you are his prisoner." Came the words of a strange voice into the mind of every person in the room.
"As you can tell, these slivers are highly intelligent and their abilities are astounding, that was the ability of just one but each is able to use that same gift as long a member of their hive with that gift is around." Hiruzen explained.
"Perhaps, Hokage-sama, it would be best if he were trained to be able to handle his new skills?" Danzo prompted.
"You wish to corrupt our Lord and make him your pawn so that you might control us, give us a reason we should not kill you now?" It was obviously no idle threat as each sliver took up a defensive position around their young Lord, they each shifted their appearance as their abilities merged and each readied themselves for combat.
"As you can see Danzo, you will not be training Naruto, end of story, for even if the council was to allow the slivers will not. We all know that that particular section of forest has claimed the lives of many ninja of various rank over the years, including a few that may have been S-rank. There is no doubt in my mind that the slivers are the cause and I dread to think what might happen if they were to turn on Konoha because of such an avoidable mistake." Hiruzen stated calmly.
"Then what did you have in mind Hokage-sama? It is apparent that the Inuzuka and Aburame clans would be the best choices but at the same time they may not be." Nara Shikaku was often a voice of level head reason and now was no different.
"Tsume, Shibi, Kuromaru, what do you say on this matter?" Hiruzen asked the 2 clan heads and nin-ken. He knew from experience that the oldest of the Inuzuka dogs could come up with surprising insight.
"Logic dictates that my clan may be able to give aid to Uzumaki-san in understanding a hive mind better but I doubt we could be of further use in teaching the boy." The Aburame clan prided itself on its logical mind set and had proven themselves to be as intelligent and capable as any Nara and Aburame Shibi was amongst the best and brightest that the clan had to offer.
"I don't really know, pup's got potential but I ain't sure how much help we could be, what do you think Kuromaru?" Tsume differed to her nin-ken. The dog chose that moment to jump onto the table and lay in front of his battle partner to get a better look at the boy and his new allies.
"We could teach him much, but how well it would work depends on his new allies, they're powerful alone, no doubt but combined they'll need time and help to develop but at the same time they'll need to learn how to work together fully on their own. We'd have to test them and ask some question of the boy before we'd be able to make a decision. Probably best to get some others to train him as well." The nin-ken's gruff tones bounced off the walls a little as it spoke, once done it dropped back to the floor.
"Are there any other suggestions from the council?" Sarutobi asked after the dog was out of sight. Muttering broke out between the various members of the council as they talked over potential ideas for training the boy. Many of the civilian council want to give him teachers they knew wouldn't teach him properly, fearful that if he were properly trained he would become a danger to them and may even turn on them.
Most of the clan heads however had very different ideas of what the boy's training should entail, they understood that the wrong kind of training and the wrong kind of teaching would make the boy far more dangerous than any enemy to his allies and these strange new creatures that followed the boy's commands without question were at least as dangerous as any jonin individually and with their apparent reproductive rate and unknown numbers they easily had the potential to wipe out the village as nothing more than a gesture if they so wished.
"Tell me, honoured council, most of you have children in the academy correct?" Shikaku asked and received nods from the majority of those looking to stunt the boy's training. "So tell me, what do you think would happen if Uzumaki-san wasn't able to fight properly because he hadn't been trained properly and he was paired with one of your children and became an active team. Then imagine that team was sent of a basic, C-rank delivery mission but something went wrong.
"Say for example a team of Iwa ninja, most chunin or jonin, had been hired by another party to intercept the team and capture or destroy the message, it has happened before. They cut off the team's retreat and force them to fight, if the team has been trained properly and each is skilled enough they have a higher chance of escape, the jonin may be lost in doing so but it may give the genin team a chance to escape to safety and return to the village.
"Then imagine if you continued on your train of thought and sought to cripple one member of that team in hopes of their death, yes the chance of them dying when something went wrong would be extremely high but it would also cut the chance of the other team members surviving that same encounter by around ninety-five percent. Then take into consideration that the person you are trying to cripple is Uzumaki-san.
"There is no question in my mind that with a hive mind such as these slivers possess they would think nothing of rescuing only their Lord while leaving the rest to die, however if they didn't need to step in, or Naruto was still in a position to answer them when things went wrong, which proper training would allow, then instead you increase the chances of not only Uzumaki-san and the genin surviving but also the jonin.
"Right now we are still at less than seventy-five percent of our strength prior to the attack of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, at that point in time we were still recovering from the last war and had barely made it to eighty percent of our forces at the start of the war. Right now we are at perhaps sixty-five percent of our pre-war strength, if we are lucky. If Uzumaki-san was properly trained, combined with his new allies he alone would be able to boost our strength to at least ninety-percent of our pre-war state, potentially even beyond one hundred percent of our pre-war strength."
Shikaku slumped back into his chair, his piece said and already working quickly in the minds of the civilian councillors. It was a strange conundrum for them. On 1 hand they could pull their children from the academy and stop them being ninja but adding ninja to the family gave them a higher chance of being able to marry into a ninja clan or become a ninja clan of their own if they could get enough members.
Then came Shikaku's other arguments, the risk involved for their children if they ended up on the same team as the boy was 1 hand, but the other was the strength the boy could add to the village. While none would admit to liking the idea of it being the boy that controlled 25 or more percent of their forces the fact was that they were still greatly weakened and needed to be able to secure their position as the strongest if someone chose to attack them.
It had been witnessed when Iwa lost the last war very badly that smaller villages would attempt to attack them and either defeat or destroy them in an attempt to take either business or position from them. Konoha could not be seen as weak at any point if they wished to maintain their spot. As soon as they had fully processed the information the civilian council once again broke out in mutters of conversation.
"If I may Hokage-sama..." Yamanaka Inoichi began and continued at Hiruzen's motion. "Given that some of the abilities of these slivers deal with the mind, perhaps it would be best if I were to teach him what I could, after all it wouldn't be good if he were to accidently destroy someone's mind because they said something wrong or he was trying to do something to help them. The mind is a delicate thing and it's very dangerous to start doing things without knowing at least something about what your actions could cause."
These comments once again began another round of discussion, they had all the information they needed to understand that the boy was potentially highly dangerous, more so if improperly trained, they would have a full scale war on their hands if they tried to kill and if they banished him that power could easily end up in enemy hands since it would be far too difficult to kill him and would likely cost them a good number of hunter-nin trying to do so, if they could manage it.
The civilian councillors were quickly coming to the conclusion that whether they wanted it to happen or not, Uzumaki Naruto would need to be trained correctly. The realisation of how dangerous the boy had become also brought about the realisation that if the populace continued to treat Naruto in the same manner as they had been then they could very well create a foe as powerful as any of the great nations.
"Hokage-sama, it has come to our attention that Uzumaki-san will need to have a better standing within the village so that any further incidents, such as the attack by one of Hyuuga-sama's clansmen earlier today, do not happen again." A portly civilian councillor said. Hiruzen considered the man's words carefully, he could see 2 possible options to compensate for this but each had its own problems.
"Homaru, Koharu, Danzo, I wish to discuss something with you privately before I make a decision on this matter." Hiruzen said as he stood from his chair and motioned to a door at the side of the room. The 3 elder advisers rose in silence and followed Hiruzen through the door. Once the door had closed and the room was sealed they sat around a small table to begin their discussion.
"What are you thinking Hiruzen?" Danzo asked cautiously, Sarutobi remained silent for several moments before finally speaking.
"The way I see it we have two options, first is to implement that Clan Creation Act and instate Naruto as a future clan head, or we could reveal his heritage to the populace. Either has its risks, being a future clan head may not sway enough of the village to be suitable but revealing him as Minato's son is equally as likely to bring Iwa's wrath upon him. I need to know what you think about this."
Additional A/N: While Jutsu and such will be written in Japanese any slivers, original or new, will be given English names since they are a western creation and as such have western names.