Naruto felt the soft comfort of a bed beneath him. He had slept for an entire day, and it was nearing sundown again. He didn't remember what happened, or how he got in a bed. The last thing he remembered was… Smoke. It all came flooding back to him, the running, the screaming, the rain, the fire, Pyrus, the thunder, the charred remains of Argos. It was too much for him, and he nearly broke down crying. He couldn't believe that he had brought this here. It was his fault innocent people died, and the city was burned. He could blame no one but himself. He opened his eyes, and saw that his arms were covered with small bandages, and he had been given clean clothes. Someone had also took the time to wash the dirt off of his face and arms. Naruto tried to get out of the bed, stumbling as he went. He looked down at his leg where it seemed to hurt. His knee was purple and bruised badly, probably from the fall the night before. He starightened up, and walked to the small cottage's door. He opened it and a wall of noise crashed into his eardrums. A shout nearby said, "The hero is awake!"
Suddenly, the hundreds of people around the cottage quieted, and Naruto could feel their eyes on him. The crowd burst into a long series of whoops and screams of joy, then a party began. He walked out further to meet the crowd. He a familiar-looking woman and approached her, and her eyes lit up as he drew closer. The crowd began to chat, "All hail Naruto! All hail Naruto!" As Naruto reached the woman. He noticed a small boy by her side and remembered it was the one he saved from the fire last night. "Thank you so much, Naruto! You saved the city, and many of it's people." The woman said happily, congratulating him.
"I really didn't do that much... I still don't understand... What happened to the remaining fires? Weren't they still spreading?" Naruto said, as he looked around at the now scorched buildings, but some of the plants seemed to be alive and blooming.
"You didn't do that much?" The woman scoffed. "About one hundred city folk said they saw you defeat a great fiery beast! You alone defeated it. You saved my child too! I am forever indebted to you. And don't worry about the fires. The ones left after you beat the beast were shortly doused by the heavy rain." She said.
"You owe me nothing." Naruto said. No one in this city owed him anything. It was his own fault the beast came here and destroyed so much, so it was Naruto's responsibility to get rid of it. "What's with those flowers? I thought they all died." Naruto said, pointing at the flowering plants on the side of the road.
"Ah, that is one of the many secrets of Argos. The plants here have flame resistant seeds, and grow relatively fast. The flowers are a large part of this city's morale, so when the city was established, we made the flowers that way so if there ever was a fire, the plants would be quickly replaced. Ash serves as a nice fertilizer too, so when all the plants grow back, they'll be nearly double in size." She said, staring at the beautiful plants.
"Wow, I had no idea..." Naruto was astounded at the plants' resiliency. The crowd grew larger as they moved closer to Naruto. Several children wanted him to run off and play with them, show them some of the tricks he used to defeat Pyrus. Most adults shook his hand, and clapped him on the back, thanking him many times over. "It seems someone else is waiting for you." The woman said, smiling coyly. Naruto looked behind him and saw Adonia running towards him. "Naruto!" She screamed, slamming into his chest and hugging him tightly. "Are you going to be ok?" She asked, letting go of the hug.
"Yeah, it's just a few scrathes and bruises. I'll be alright." Naruto said, smiling at her concern.
"Good." She said, leaning in and kissing him softly on the lips.
"I see you two are getting along nicely." Alexios said as he chuckled loudly and approached them. Adonia's face quickly turned to a flush of bright red. "So how are you feeling, Naruto?" He asked, walking closer to him.
"Good, other than a few scratches. I'm glad to see the city's flowers are regrowing so fast." Naruto said, looking at some of them.
"I see someone let you in on a little secret." Alexios said, smiling.
Naruto scratched the back of his neck and laughed a little. "Yeah." He replied. A sudden realization struck him like a blow to the head. How had he failed to ask? It should have been one of the first things he said. "Is your home alright?" He asked, a worried look now in his eyes.
"My home? Oh, yes, it's fine. A few burn marks on the sides, but they'll wash away with rain in time." Alexios said. Naruto felt the lift of relief on his shoulders. He couldn't have beared it if he had caused Adonia and her father to lose their home.
Naruto had an idea. He had seen most of the stones that were used to build the houses being carried into the city maybe from a mine or something close by. "How many homes were destroyed?" Naruto asked. It wasn't an easy question to ask, but it was important, even if it was touchy.
"I think we lost about six. Not too bad considering the whole city was ablaze. Why?" Alexios asked.
"I was just curious." Naruto said quickly. "I think I'm going back to bed. I'm exhausted." Naruto said, rubbing his eyes to make it seem more realistic.
"Alright, you've done plenty for this city already, a little rest couldn't hurt, now would it?" Alexios said, clapping him on his back.
"Good night, Adonia." Naruto said, looking back at her now. She didn't reply, just swooped in like a hawk and gave him another bear hug. Naruto turned around after she let go and went back to the cottage he awoke in.
Just after he closed and locked the front door, he ran straight for the back window, peering out to see if anyone was watching. There wasn't. He dove out the window, landing on the ground swiftly launched him self upwards in the air with the pile of dirt beneath him, rising so fast that if you blinked, you would have missed him. He rose further still, above the city walls. He floated lazily over them, then descended quickly south of Argos. He saw a small forest, and landed near the entrance.
He had seen a small mine in the center of the forest. As he walked into the shield of trees, the air around him cooled from the absence of the sun. He traveled further into the forest, and heard wolves howling in the distance. Naruto didn't mind the thought of wolves, and their howling reminded him of loneliness. He reached the small mine, and made sure no one was near. Deep down in the mine rocks began to move and shift, making their way to the top as Naruto descended further into it. As Naruto grew closer, the rocks had more guidance, traveling faster and more accurately. Soon, Naruto was at the bottom of the mine. The place stunk of sweat and minerals. It was surprisingly warmer in the mine than outside, and Naruto couldn't imagine the temperature of the mine when there were hot, humid days.
He now focused the entirity of his power on the moving rocks, hundreds leaping from the cave an placing themselves into a neat pile. He did this for an hour or so, then ascended to exit the mine. What had started as a small pile of rocks had now become an expansive mountain of rocks, boulders and dirt. Naruto focused all his power now on the dirt and mud and plants residing on the rocks, beginning to pull itself off. Soon, a cloud of the debris that once covered the rocks were now floating above them, then shifted and set into a second pile. The cleansed rocks were now white, and brightly shining in the moonlight sky.
Half way done, Naruto now separeted the rocks, breaking them into many different sizes. Then he willed the energy to create stone blocks, about six inches by two inches. The rocks meshed together and broke apart to form these perfect blocks. About an hour later, the pile of mismatched rocks had transformed itself into a neatly stacked mass of shiny white bricks. Naruto used the dirt he had pulled from the rocks to levitate to the top of the pile, where he jumped on. He then scattered the debris into the ground, making it look more natural.
The next part was going to be the stood in the center of the brick mass and closed his eyes. He willed the power of earth down through his toes and onto the bricks. He felt a shift in motion as the entire stack of bricks lifted precariously off the ground. He had to worry about every brick having the possiblilty of falling off and having to keep it in the air high enough. He felt the weight of each and every brick in his mind, feeling it pull and stretch his remaining energy. The stack of bricks rose further, about two feet off the ground now. It rose further still, and the weight was nearly unbearable. Naruto grunted with effort as he focused on anything he could to draw any more energy. Naruto thought about all the people Pyrus had killed with the smoke and flames. And the now homeless people, and the families missing friends and relatives. Naruto converted his grief into more power, feeling slight trickles in his veins. Even though most of the challenge was mental, Naruto hadn't eaten in more than twenty four hours, and the pain and exhuastion was wearing on his muscles.
The stack was now a safe enough distance in the air that Naruto could go straight and end up in the city of Argos, going right over the walls. He had hoped the guards on the wall had slacked off and fallen asleep. He approached the city and saw that most of the torches were put out, signaling that most of them were asleep. He saw guards sitting, leaning against the wall, asleep. They were probably working overtime because of the fire. Naruto quietly traveled over the wall, and headed for the biggest clearing in the town, which was basically in the center of the shops and markets. He descended, feeling relief from the weight, and nearly collapsed on top of the bricks as he landed. The bricks were still in a fairly organized fashion, and were pure enough to build a king's manor.
Naruto lept quietly off of the the stack, heading for the cottage he currently resided within.
He crawled back into the cottage through the back window, struggling to fight his exhaustion. He landed on the floor hard, making a loud thud. He quickly slipped off his shoes, removed his shirt, then climbed into the comfortable warmth of the bed. Naruto's breathing had just barely returned to a regular pace when he was fast asleep.