A large crowd was watching in horrified fascination at the unholy spectacle, which was taking place in front of them. Uchiha, Senju, Uzumaki alike stood together, with eyes wide open, and bulging in shock as they looked at the scene in front of them.
"I don't believe it ..."
"He's downed another one; I didn't think it was possible any more …"
"What number are we at?"
"Forty-one, I think…"
"Do you think it is because of those weird powers of his …,"
Unfazed by all the muttering around him, Naruto continued on his task with renewed gusto, even as he looked at the cook in front of him, and asked again, "one more please, Jii-san," as he held his bowl forward, while the cook shook his head in exasperation.
"Kozo, you have downed forty-one bowls of ramen already, any more and you will burst, sure, Ramen is good and all, but too much of anything is always bad, think about it," the cook smiled wanly, even as he took the bowl in his hands.
Naruto snorted, "Heh … don't worry, Jii-san, I gotta eat for six, not just one, besides, it is gonna take a lot more than a few bowls of ramen to bring me down," he boasted, even as the cook began to fill another bowl.
"Indeed, now, if you were to stop this vulgar display, then perhaps we can move inside the main hall, the elders of all the three clans are waiting for you," a curt voice came behind him, and he turned around, to see Uzumaki Mito staring at him, with distrust rife in her eyes.
As all the spectators fell silent, eagerly awaiting the boy's reply, they were surprised to see that the boy calmly ignored the regal woman, and returning to eating his bowl of noodles. Mito twitched as she looked at the obvious disrespect shown by the boy, and rushed forward, and yanked him off his chair by twisting his ear and dragging him away, with a look of fury on her face.
"Oww… let me go, you crazy old bat, what the hell … you can't do this … this is child abuse … I am gonna complain, this is …," Naruto began to scream, while Rikudo laughed his butt off, inside Naruto's mindscape.
"I don't give a damn, I don't know how you have been living all these years, but as long as you are here, among your family, you will learn to live like a civilized being, even if I have to skin you alive to teach you some respect and manners, do you understand me, brat?" she growled as she looked into his eyes, while Naruto gulped and nodded fervently.
Wow…she's scarier than Tsunade-baachan, and she's … shit, she is Tsunade's baachan, I am so … boned.
As they neared the large looming building, Naruto mentally prepared himself. This was not going to be pretty.
Inside the hall, the three clan heads, waited in a pensive mood as they awaited the arrival of the child who had literally shaken the foundations, and the very existence of their clans.
Suddenly, their reverie was broken by the sounds of a struggle, and they watched amazed, as Hashirama's wife dragged the boy in, screaming and kicking, even as he spouted off obscenities, that made even the elder Uzumaki raise his brows in surprise.
Mito dragged Naruto in & dumped him in an unceremonious dump, and gave him a scorching glare, even as the boy shivered.
"I will be seeing you…," she muttered darkly, and walked out, and even as she walked out, she punched the wall adjacent to the door in frustration. Naruto further gulped as he noticed the concrete wall literally dent as spidery cracks formed within it.
"Scary…" he shivered, even as a disguised snicker caught his attention, as he looked around and came face to face with the three men who would now decide his future, or so they think, he thought, as he faced them.
"Well, boy, we have not been formally introduced, and I believe we should start now. I am Arashi, the 87th head of the Uzumaki clan of Uzu no Kuni, This," he pointed to his left towards Hashirama, as he continued, "is the 98th head of the Senju clan of the Forest, Hashirama Senju, and my son-in-law, and that," he continued, as he pointed to his right towards Madara, "is the 99th head of the Uchiha clan, Uchiha Madara."
"And now, tell us your name," he commanded, as Naruto glared at him sullenly, "now…," he added with emphasis as the blond sighed.
"NARUTO, my name is Naruto," he replied, while Madara stared at him in surprise.
"You are named … for a bowl of noodles?" he asked in mild revulsion, as he looked at his …nephew, who shrugged in despair.
"Hey… we don't get to choose our names," Naruto replied casually, "if you have to blame someone, blame your brother, the one who gave me this name …," he replied crossly, even as Madara narrowed his eyes.
"Yes … yes, that is something we have to address," Arashi muttered, even as he looked at the boy. "Earlier during the battle, you told me that you know what it is that you have in your possession, when I mentioned your bloodline. Do you know what it is even called as?" the old man asked, while both Hashirama and Madara stared at the boy in surprise.
"Yes," Naruto sighed softly, as he looked at the old man, who smirked.
"You are going to make me say it out loud aren't you?" the boy accused, even as the old man gave him that same infuriating smirk.
"Hai, Hai, it is called as Rinnegan, all right," he spoke out, in an annoyed tone.
The reaction to that was quite comical. Arashi nodded, as if expecting it, even as Hashirama and Madara jumped to their feet, as their eyes widened in horror, and as one, they turned to face Arashi, with accusing looks in their eyes, as the old man gave a hearty laugh.
As he watched the boy's eyes, Madara could not help but recollect their battle, no wonder he could match me in battle, his dojutsu surpasses mine, but how in the world did this child manifest the pinnacle of our race?
This is not good, I always thought that the eyes were a myth, and yet, it is here, in front of me, no less, Hashirama's mind raced furiously as he analyzed the situation, and as he looked at the Uchiha head, his eyes narrowed, I cannot allow this boy to go to the Uchiha no matter the cost, or else, the supremacy that we have maintained for the last 900 years will disappear.
"I am curious, if you have been alone for your entire life, then how on earth did you know what your bloodline is? Who taught you the arts of Ninjutsu, teaching Ninjutsu to outsiders is forbidden, and we know for a fact that neither the Senju nor the Uchiha have been in contact with you? How … did you learn the ninja arts?" Madara asked gruffly, even as all the three older men gazed at the boy, who flinched.
"You will answer us," Hashirama spoke out curtly, as he gazed at the boy, with a harsh glare.
"I am under no obligation to answer you," Naruto replied defiantly, steeling his face, even though his heart was beating wildly inside.
"You will answer us, we … are your elders, and the ones who will decide your fate, you will … answer us," Madara growled, even as his sharingan flashed, as he released in a minuscule amount of killing intent.
"And what makes you think I will abide by the decisions you make? What gives you that right?" Naruto retorted defiantly, as Hashirama's face reddened.
"You … are descended of Senju …" he began, "and of Uchiha," Madara interrupted gruffly, as he stared at Hashirama before turning his attention towards the boy who stared at him so defiantly.
"That gives us all the right we need," he added as Naruto snorted.
"Both of your clans," he began, as the two younger clan heads stared at him in surprise at the level of defiance being shown to them, even as he continued, "forfeited the right to claim me as theirs, the day when both off my parents cast me away as an outcaste. The only one who has the right to decide upon the course of my life is me, and me alone, and no one has the right to say otherwise," Naruto growled, even as Hashirama and Madara spiked their chakra in anger.
"Who do you think you are? Boy, know this … do you think …" Hashirama began to speak, only to stop mid-tirade, amazed, as the boy spiked his own chakra to actually match his levels.
"What you think and believe is irrelevant," Naruto spoke disdainfully, as he dismissed Hashirama's words with a casual wave of his hand, while the man spluttered in anger.
"Do not forget, that it was I, who came here to see whether your clans were worthy enough to have me as their member, not the other way around. Only I, possess the right to decide how I live my life, and no one, not even Kami, has the right to say otherwise. If you think that you can intimidate me, just by flaring your power, then you will be sorely disabused of that notion," Naruto concluded, while both Hashirama and Madara turned an ugly shade of puce.
Arashi narrowed his eyes, as he gazed at the boy, deep in thought. While he was glad, that there was finally someone who could actually bring both Hashirama & Madara down a peg, even he was disturbed at the level of animosity being displayed by the boy. It would appear that his parents act of abandoning him, had entrenched in the boy a deep-seated hatred of authority. He would have to do something about that.
"Then perhaps, you could tell me of what it is that you desire?" a soft voice came behind him, and everybody whirled around, only to see Senju Toka walk in, dressed in a simple kimono, divested of all shinobi attire.
Naruto's eyes narrowed. She may not have been his mother, but she was the mother of the soul, the one whose body he currently inhabited, and she had abandoned his previous host, without a thought at her husband's word.
Regardless of her situation, he found it hard to sympathize with her, but then again, compared to Kushina and the sacrifices she had made for him, maybe he had set his standards a bit too high. One set of circumstances could never apply to another, and there was no denying that during this time period, every single day was a day of battle and war, and Toka's situation was, at the time, dire indeed.
He would give her a chance, a slim one, but a chance, nonetheless.
"I do not ever expect you to call me as mother, nor do I expect you to even treat me civilly, considering the grave dishonor that I have inflicted upon you, but I would, if you are willing, try to make amends, time permitting," Toka added as she approached the boy, who was looking at her sullenly, and knelt in front of him as she gazed into his eyes, with a desperate pleading look upon her face.
She could see a myriad of emotions running through his eyes, sadness, anger, betrayal, but also ... a faint bit of hope. Yes, there was still a chance.
As he watched the smooth manner in which his niece placated the irate boy, Arashi could not help but smile. She may not have been a mother to him until now, but by sheer instinct, she had tamed the boy's temper in a few minutes. Blood ran true after all.
After a few seconds, Naruto gave a curt nod to the woman, and turned around to face the old man, who was once again stroking his beard and smiling at him genially. It somehow irritated him for some unknown reason, as it brought back annoying memories of the Sandaime Hokage for a fleeting second.
Arashi noticed that Hashirama was looking rather smug, while Madara was looking rather sullen. Of course, with the boy's tacit acknowledgment of Toka, it would appear to the man that he was already losing his claim over the child. This would be fun, watching the two of them bicker like children, was great entertainment after all.
"Now, boy, we must have an answer to this question, who taught you the ninja arts?" Madara reverted to the issue at hand, as he gazed at the child, even as the boy's mother settled herself quietly behind him.
Naruto looked down, as he began to claw at the ground with his foot, even as he spoke sullenly, "Well, it is more like a person actually, but he is not a person in the literal sense," he added, while everybody else stared at him with a degree of apprehension.
"Explain yourself," Madara ordered curtly, while the others began to run possible scenarios in their minds as to ascertain what the boy was implying.
"Well, he is like … a spirit, but only I can see him, and nobody else can … he says it is because of my eyes," the boy concluded, while the three clan heads carefully avoided looking at each other.
If what the boy was saying was true, then it meant that he had been trained by a Ghost, a ghost of a shinobi! It was so surreal, so impractical, that they could not dare to believe it, even for the Rinnegan, it seemed a farfetched ability, but then again, they had no actual knowledge of what those eyes were capable of! However, if it was true, then the possibilities … oh the possibilities … this needed more careful investigating.
"And who is this spirit…," here Hashirama rolled his eyes, even as he gazed at Naruto, with a disbelieving look on his face as he continued, "why would such an unknown spirit wish to train you?"
"Yes, even I find myself curious," Arashi asked as he looked at the boy, who had become more uncomfortable by the second.
"He …," Naruto paused, knowing that what he would say next would make the earlier events of the day seem paltry in comparison to what would come after, even as he steeled himself and continued, "He says … that he is doing it … because I am his true descendant or something … about me being his true heir or some other stuff like that," he retorted casually, while Arashi paled at the implications of those words. Fortunately, Madara and Hashirama had not seemed to grasp the significance of those words, unlike Toka, who it seemed had managed to understand everything the boy was trying to convey, if the look on her face was any indication.
"And … and … what does thing being refer to himself as? What … is his name?" Toka asked in a tremulous tone, as she looked at her son. Dear Kami, please let it be false, otherwise the clans will eat him alive … please … she prayed fervently, but it was to no avail, as the boy shattered her hopes with his next words.
"I don't know … he never gives his true name … he just calls himself Rikudo Sennin,"
"BULLSHIT," Madara was just a split-second behind Hashirama in uttering the same exact phrase as both the men jumped to their feet, with their eyes wide open in disbelief as they glared at the boy who was soon replacing each other in their minds, as their newest bane of existence.
NOTE: Not much of a chapter, I agree, but it is more like a filler, so that I can make the next chapter all the more better, considering the time constraint in which this was written.