I know that this took a long time to crank out, but things have been happening here at home that needed my attention. I hope that this new chapter meets with your approval. If you need a recap, read back a few chapters first.
MAGIC GUILD, MASTER CARWESS'S STUDY...
Before going home, Naruto and Ila decided to drop by the Guild to inform Master Carwess of Foltess's strange behaivor. Walking through the halls and into the study, they found not only Master Carwess, but also two other instructors, Masters Rowen and Talia. Master Rowen was a very tall man around Jenny's age with sandy blond hair that was starting to go white and pale green eyes. Mistress Talia was an exotic looking woman, tall with tanned skin like Genie but with a wizened look on her face. She was also the same age as Jenny and Rowen. Both of them were venerable Magicians and loyal to Carwess.
"Ahh...Please come in. I believe I know what this visit is about...The actions of Foltess. Yes...He has been getting more bold these days. Who ever is backing him must be getting ready for something big, but we cannot figure out what..." Carwess surmised.
"Yeah...That creep started insulting my friends. He's lucky Anko-nee didn't gut him where he stood. She was the one that sniffed him out and spooked him." Naruto replied.
"I must admit, Miss Anko did give him quite a fright." Ila chuckled as she told them how she nearly made him soil himself.
"These shinobi would indeed be valuable allies against the Black Cross. I wonder if we could hire them to help keep tabs on them?" Master Rowen wondered.
"I agree. The tales of their abilities, coupled with what I have personally seen young Naruto accomplish...They could be of great help to us in restoring order." Mistress Talia added.
The teachers and the two students kept on discussing what should be done about security measures and the two students asking for a little help with their studies until another knocking was heard at the doors to the study. All of them fell silent.
"Who is it?" Carwess asked as the door opened to reveal Tsunade and Jiraiya, who walked into the room with one more person. This person was obviously female, but with cowl hiding her face.
"Who is the young lady with you?" He asked. Jiraiya nodded to her and she removed her cowl to reveal her true appearance.
"An elf?" Rowen gasped, surprized that an elf would actually enter the Guild, but she stunned them further by rushing in and snapping Naruto into a bone crushing hug.
"I'm so happy to see you!" She cheered and giggled, mushing his face into the valley between her breasts.
"Nfff t cyu, too. (Nice to see you, too.)" He replied, his reply muffled by her chest.
"She's come to tell you about something happening in her people's forest...Something to do with Magicians." Tsunade stated, all of the magicians in the room now paying her rapt attention.
"What's this about more rogue magicians in Tarsius Forest?" Carwess inquired.
"Well...You already know how the elves communicate with the Nature Spirits and live with them in harmony. What's been happening is that the spirits have been running amok, creating havoc throughout the forest. We sought out the cause of this and found that there were strange magicians creating some sort of magical device in the forest. The energies it was radiating were whipping them up into a fury. So far, no elves have been seriously hurt, but it's only a matter of time. The weather has also been adversely affected by this. I wanted to come here and have Naruto come with me to the forest so I could prove he was innocent of all this." Celesia stated.
"Wait...Why would they think Naruto had anything to do with this?" Jiraiya inquired.
"My people...Have always be distrustful of humans, Naruto being one of the only humans they ever liked. Now, with this happening, some on the council are looking for somewhere to place the blame and are looking in Naruto's direction." She explained.
"Damn councils...Always trying to take the easy way out." Tsunade growled before she faced them again.
"I guess that we will accompany Naruto and yourself back to the forest." Tsunade declared.
"Hime...Are you sure?" Jiraiya asked.
"Yes. I also hear that you could use some help looking into other matters. I can have Anko and the rest help you there. It's the least we could do for taking such good care of Naruto for us." Tsuande stated.
"That is very good news, Tsunade. We could certainly use the help, being as shorthanded as we are. I hear that Miss Anko is a specialist in this area, is she not?" Carwess asked.
"Yes she is...One of the very best. She also specializes in making people squeal and cough up information." Jiraiya confirmed.
"Good...Ila, I would like you to work with the Konoha shinobi on this and uncover as much as you possibly can about the plans of the Black Cross. Also see if you can find out their identities, as well." Carwess requested of the yound red-head.
"Yes, Headmaster." She replied.
"Rowan, Talia...I need you two to start keeping a very close eye on the rest of the staff. Determine who can and cannot be trusted. Also, aid the Konoha shinobi as much as you can." He ordered.
"Yes, Lord Carwess!" The two replied crisply as they strode from the room to plan out their duties.
"Now...Based on the runes Miss Celecia described, it sounds like they are setting up some sort of portal or gateway, but I cannot fathom WHY...Perhaps you can descern that when you arrive in the Elven village." Carwess suggested.
"Now...Shall we go now, or in the morning?" Tsunade asked.
"Tarsius Forest is dangerous enough during the day, but to traverse it at night is suicide. We should wait til morning." Celesia advised.
"Good to know. We can set out at daybreak and also inform the others about their new mission." Tsunade decided as she turned to the elf maiden.
"Do you have a place to stay for the night?" She asked.
"Um...No...I didn't think about that..." She admitted sheepishly, making the other blond chuckle.
"No worries. Just stay in my room tonight and we can meet with Naruto and Jiraiya in the morning." Tsunade assauged as she took the young elf by the shoulder and disappeared in a flurry of leaves, Jiraiya doing the same. Naruto himself left in a similar way, but to his final stop of the evening before heading home.
"I hope they can stop them from ripping the very fabric of nature apart..." Carwess hoped.
Naruto Shunshin'd in front of the entrance to the temple and was welcomed inside for the final time today. He didn't need a guide, since he knew this place like the back of his hand and he knew where Jenny's office was by heart, so he made his way there. Along the way, he ran into Melissa, one of the last people he wanted to see at the moment. He was about to turn away and ignore her, but she called out to him, causing him to pause.
"Wait, Naruto." She called out
Keeping his features guarded, he turned to see Melissa approaching him. Melissa knew that ordinarily, she wouldn't even consider doing what she was about to do. But after everything that happened since yesterday, he deserved this. When she got close enough, she hesitated before getting down onto her knees before him. Her action surprised everyone present...Including the person Naruto had come to see.
"Naruto, I know that I have done you wrong since the moment you first arrived." Melissa stated
'Understatement of the year...' Naruto thought.
"I judged you based on your appearance when you first arrived and on what I heard, but I never got to know who you are. I refused to acknowledge or appreciate what you do, how you do it, or why you do it. Yet despite how I treated you, you fought for me. You could have let Conrad kill you or allow him to defeat you and surrender so you would be rid of me. But you didn't." The once haughty priestess lamented.
She then did something that truly shocked everyone. She lunged forward and grabbed a kunai from Naruto's holster with her left hand. She then opened her right hand and slashed her palm. With her right hand now a fist with blood dropping to the floor, and with tears of hope and desperation in her eyes, she gazed into his.
"Naruto Uzumaki, by my blood, everything I just said is the truth. Please, forgive me. Please, let me earn your trust." With that, she collapsed forward onto the floor and cried.
Naruto was momentarily speechless by Melissa's actions, and he wasn't certain if she was telling the truth. But Kyu assured him that she was. Getting down to one knee, he placed a hand on Melissa's shaking shoulders to get her attention.
"During this past week, I kept my ears open, and I talked with Tessa and Jenny-obasan. I know how Isabelle and some of the others have treated you – contempt, disdain, distrust. Doesn't that sound familiar to you?" Naruto asked her calmly.
Melissa already knew that she had been treated the past week the same way she treated Naruto. But she soon realized what he was really saying. She had been treated by the citizens of Orphen the same way most of the citizens of Naruto's home village treated him. When he saw Melissa realized what he was saying, he continued.
"Though we now have something in common, there are two big differences. First, what happened to me was because of things I had no control over. You, however, brought it upon yourself. I think it was going to happen sooner or later. Conrad made it happen sooner. Second, you only had to deal with it for a week. I've dealt with it since I was born."
She looked at Naruto with astonishment in her eyes as realization struck her.
'The past week has been a nightmare for me, but it was only a week. But Naruto had lived in a constant nightmare his entire life. How could he still be sane after all this time? How is it that he remained so strong?' She realized, self-loathing hitting her like a hammer, Naruto looking to Jenny.
"You told me about the rules that are involved with being a chosen champion. I know that basically, where she goes, I go. And where I go, she goes. But she's not coming with me and Celecia to investigate the disturbances back at her home." The young ninja hero told her, but before Melissa or Jenny could voice their objections, Naruto continued.
"It has nothing to do with the lack of trust between me and Melissa. He might not have been much of a teacher to me, but Kakashi-sensei did teach me a few things. One of them was that we need to keep our heads in the game or we'll lose them. Melissa's an emotional wreck right now, and I don't think Celecia or her people can afford to wait for her to get herself together. And I can't see you, Kaa-san, or even Mylee asking her to continue her duties while she's all messed up like this. I don't want to see her get hurt or killed due to this." He explained as he turned to face Melissa.
"You need time to have everything that happened this week set in. I'm giving you that time." He then gave Melissa a genuine smile.
"I'm also giving you a chance to correct your mistakes and repair your friendships with Merrill and Genie. You three have been friends long before I came, and I don't want to be the cause of you losing two of your precious people." Naruto finished, finally getting that off of his chest.
Melissa couldn't hold back any longer. She got up and hugged Naruto as tightly as she could.
'If I hadn't been convinced that Naruto's not a demon before, I am now. He could have rejected my offer, but he didn't . More importantly, he considered my feelings and gave me a chance to seek forgiveness from my friends, my peers, the townsfolk, and Lady Jenny. I'm truly beginning to see just how special he truly is. Mylee sent an angel to be my chosen champion.' Melissa as she cried in the boy's shoulder.
Naruto sighed as he gently pried her off of him and had her look him in the eyes.
"Melissa...I need to get going now. Just remember what I said and when I come back...We can talk more. Okay?" The young boy...no, man told her. She nodded and let him leave.
"I pray for your safe return..." She whispered as Jenny placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"You have finally learned, Melissa. You should know that I am very proud of you for realizing your error." Jenny told her.
"No...I shouldn't have had to apologize in the first place." She replied.
"Oh? And why is that?" Jenny asked.
"Because I should have listened to you and dropped these...childish ideals that clouded my thinking. I should never have doubted Mylee's judgement." Melissa answered her.
'She has finally grown up and seen the world for how it truly is. Naruto...I truly believe, now more than ever, that you will be the greatest Hero our world has ever known. I never thought I would see it during my lifetime.' Jenny thought as she had Melissa head back to her room to get some rest while she retired herself.
THE NEXT MORNING...
Naruto arrived at the Inn where Tsunade, Jiraiya, and Celecia awaited him early in the morning. The operations against the Black Cross had now officially begun with these two teams mobilizing against them in secret. Naruto and his team would be investigating the disturbance in the Tarsius Forest and if necessary, wipe out the magicians causing it and whatever they are working on. The second team, led by Anko and Ila, would be investigating the activities of the Black Cross within Ohfun with Masters Rowan and Talia acting as advisors and back up while they screened the Guild's personnel for any collaboators. After Melissa got her head on straight, Genie, Merrill and herself would be joining the other team in the duties, both the Guild and Mylee Temple paying them handsomely for it. All of this was meant to be kept top secret, so as not to alert those spying for the Black Cross.
"You ready to go, kiddo?" Jiraiya asked, Naruto nodding.
"We should be going then. I'll lead the way." Celecia stated. That brooked no argument with the shinobi, who had no doubts about her leading them in the right direction. With a leap, all four travellers took off at top speed through the trees of the woods and off to their objective.
Unknown to them, someone had been watching them.
'So...Melissa's vertically challenged champion is taking off on this grand mission is he? He'd better think again, since my new champion and I will be taking the glory...' Isabelle smirked as she alerted her team, who eavesdropped on a conversation between Jenny and Melissa but conveniently didn't overhear the part about the necessity to keep this a secret.
Within moments, she and her team had left the city on horseback due to the high rate of speed of the shinobi, following them thanks to the talents of their youngest member. The unlucky...I mean, chosen champion of Isabelle was a young man named Leonard Bernstein, the son of a high ranking lord in Ohfun's royal court. He was, in simple terms, a very pleasant person, one that fits the criteria of Melissa's former delusions in everyway. The next teammate was much older than the others, around Jiraiya's age. Jankensen, the loyal manservant and bodyguard of the Bernstein family, followed his young master where ever he goes, including his fledgling Adventurer career. Just like the two Sannin, he is much more than he appears. Finally, the youngest of the group, Lilly, a Faris Priestess and child prodigy. She was even younger than Naruto, but only by a couple of years. She had been chosen for this team solely due to her magical abilities and talents.
After a few hours of travelling, the shinobi and elf reached the Southern end of Tarsius Forest as they stopped for a moment.
"I have to warn you now...Tarsius Forest is easily one of the most dangerous places you will ever enter...Especially now since the spirits have run amok. The dangerous creatures and my people being extremely hostile are the least of our worries." Celecia warned them before heading inside.
"Is that all? Training Area 44 is MUCH worse, and we send our Genin in there to test their teamwork." Tsunade replied with a smirk.
"Genin? Isn't that what Naruto was?" She asked.
"Yep. As good as the kid is, you've still never seen a Sannin at work. I'm the one who trained him AND his father. Like a Grandson and son respectively." Jiraiya chuckled, making her gasp.
"Yeah...From what I was told, my old man was pretty amazing and Ero-sennin here trained him from day one." Naruto added.
'Then...I not only have Naruto with me, but two super ninja?' Celecia thought, still trying to wrap her mind around the level of power and skill that was escorting her as they began to hop through the trees to avoid some of the nastier denizens of the forest.
As the team bolted inside the forest, Isabelle and her group rode up to the edge of the tree line having watched them take off.
"Miss Isabelle...What are they?" Leonard asked.
"One of the blond women was definitely an Elf, but why would an Elf trust a human? And how did they leap off like that?" Jankensen added his own question.
"That little urchin comes from a culture that trains their fellow heathens to do things like that. Come on, we don't need their parlor tricks to survive here, Mr. Leonard. Not with your skill..." Isabelle replied, both insulting her rival's Hero and trying to butter up her own at the same time.
"O-okay..." Leonard stammered as he dismounted, grabbed his sword, and took point until Jankensen stopped him.
"No young master...This forest is dangerous beyond belief. I do not know why they dashed in there like that , but it is suicidal to go in there blind. I will take point." The old man said.
"Well...Mr. Leonard is the champion, so I believe he should be first." Isabelle agrued, but a harsh glare from the old veteran stopped her dead in her tracks.
"Foolish little girl! Have you no idea what this forest is like?! It is dangerous enough even with me in your group, but I refuse to gamble with the young master's life by letting him take point. I will not argue this again." The old man growled.
"Thank you, Jankensen. I trust your judgement." Leonard thanked him.
"No thanks needed, young master. I wish to see you grow into a fine young man and dying in here is not an option. Come." Jankensen commanded, drawing a curved Scimitar out and cautiously led them into the forest.
"There is something very wrong here...As if the spirits themselves have been thrown into chaos." Jankensen muttered.
"...Yes. They cry in agony...Pain..." Lilly, the young girl added as they ventured deeper into the forest, still trying to track the unique energy source the three humans were emitting.
Further inside the forest, Celecia had sucessfully led them to the Elven Village, hopping out of the trees and into the square. The reception they got was very mixed. Some were very happy to see him, mainly the younger elves. However, many of the elder elves glared at them intensely, but that barely even fazed the shinobi as they followed their guide to the village council chambers. At the doors, the guards halted them aggressively with their swords.
"Come to steal more wood, have you? And you even brought other filthy humans to help do your dirty work." A particularly tall elf growled at them from behind the guards.
"Rivel! He had nothing to do with this! He's come to help us again! Now get out of the way and let us in to see my grandfather." Celecia argued. The young man eyed Naruto with a look of absolute contempt before he stalked away and let them inside. They were led to the council chambers, where many of the elders were dicussing how to best handle this new crisis when they saw the hall doors open to reveal Celecia.
"My granddaughter...Thank the spirits you are safe." The old elf sighed in relief.
"I am well, grandpa, but I have brough some help to deal with the rouges in the forest causing thus whole mess. You remember Naruto, right?" She asked. At that, the council blew up, some were thanking the spirits that he had returned to help them while the rest were blaming him for everything. The elf named Rivel silenced them and spoke.
"Honored elders...This Naruto's timing is just too convenient, showing up to help us like this. I say that HE is to blame for all of our troubles!" He cried out, more of the elders agreeing with him.
"Calm down!" Tsunade bellowed at the top of her lungs as she forced her way into the chamber.
"Who are you?!" Rivel demanded.
"I am the leader of Naruto's people, the Konoha Ninja, Tsunade Senju and this is Jiraiya, his mentor and the Toad Sage. He had nothing to do with what has been happening to your village as of late! We were all in Ohfun, having been reunited with him once again after we all believed him dead! What proof can you provide of his involvment?" She demanded right back.
"You insolent human wench! We have all the proof we need! He is a human and a magician! Of course he's guilty!" Rivel snarled.
"So you would blame him solely due to being human and a magician? Are you really so ignorant?" Jiraiya frowned, the two Sannin radiating with authority and strength while calling their judgement of character into question.
"All of you...Calm down! Naruto has done our village a great service in the past by slaying that crazed monster, Ansel, something you have so easily forgotten in your blind panic! I trust him with my very life!" Celecia argued passionately.
Tsunade and Jiraiya could see her affections for the boy plain as day in her voice and expressions. Unfortunately, this wasn't lost on Rivel, who had been hounding her for courtship for the past decade. After Ansel was defeated, he saw the affection she showered the human with and it sickened him to no end. Someone had come in and gotten between himself and the mate he desired. Celecia's hand in wedlock was highly sought after since she ascended into womanhood, but Rivel, who's own father was high up on the council and due to inheirit the seat soon, had chased away many others who had tried to catch her fancy.
"Celecia! Your opinion of the human is biased! You favor the boy in a romantic light and I find that disgusting! Why not grace a more worthy man with your hand?" He replied, malice, hate, and even a hint of lust evident in his words.
"Like who? You? I don't think so, Rivel. I see your little game here. You just want them to hate Naruto so that you can have me all to yourself. That is very shallow and petty for someone who wants to sit on the council." Celecia retorted. Naruto was honestly flattered that she thought so highly of him and she was willing to stand up to her people on his behalf. Tsunade and Jiraiya were also really impressed with her.
"I'm really liking this girl..." Tsunade chuckled.
"Yeah...The gaki's got a real winner on his hands." Jiraiya replied as they watched this all unfold.
"ENOUGH!" Celecia's grandfather, the head elder Halcyon, yelled, forestalling all further arguments.
"Naruto Uzumaki has already saved our people once, almost at the cost of his own life! Celecia has brought him back to help us deal with this new threat and I intend to give him my complete support!" Halcyon bellowed out, challengeing anyone else to speak out.
"You senile old man...This filthy human has you confused. Your granddaughter's mind has been poisoned by his very presence." The rebellious young man stated in a cold tone as he addressed the rest of them.
"When he slew Ansel, you all felt that dark, evil power flowing from him. If we trust him, he could turn that demonic power on all of us! I say we kill this demon, before he kills us all!" Rivel shouted, trying to rally support to his cause. A few of the other elders and council members rallied, but many still sided with the chief elder, who's wisdom had steered them through very dark times. Tsunade and Jiraiya were far from amused.
"You ignorant piece of shit...This demon...This plague you revile so much...IS MY SON!" The beautiful Sannin screamed in rage, her Ki making some of the weaker willed rebel elders pass out. Rivel was rattled, but not completely deterred.
"You...You're a demon, too..." He stammered out.
"No more so than my son, who had endured our entire village calling him a demon, punishing him for things he never did all his life. I refuse to allow this to ruin any chances he has at happiness again." Tsunade snarled at them, daring them to come close with Jiraiya backing her up.
"You dumbass...If I wanted to do all that...I would have done it by now! Celecia was one of my first friends when I got dumped in this world and I'll never hurt her!" Naruto yelled at the ignorant young man.
"You little brat!" Rivel snarled as he prepared to leap across the table and throttle the boy, but Tsunade simply plucked him right out of the air, moving faster than any of them except Naruto and Jiraiya could see, and slammed him to the ground.
"You might want to remember yourself, child...Or I might not be as generous next time." She growled as Halcyon stood up to reign in the chaos.
"Chief Elder! These...Humans just attacked Elder Hrumgrim's son! We demand justice!" Another excitable elven man exclaimed.
"No...I know what I saw. I saw a spoiled, ignorant child attempt to harm our village's savior and his companions. Rivel...You are expelled from this chamber until further notice. Leave at ONCE!" Halcyon thundered, pointing at the door.
Rivel stomped away, only stopping to sneer once more before exiting the room. Rivel's father could only bury his face in his hands in embarrassment and shame at his son's actions.
"Chief Elder...I deeply apologize for my son's action this day." Hrumgrim sighed.
"No fault lies with you, old friend. Rivel has already entered into manhood, so his actions are his own. The is nothing for you to apologize for." Halcyon settled calmly as they continued to discuss the happenings in the forest as well as what they would do to deal with them.
"Master Carwess at the Magic Guild suspects that they are trying to set up some sort of magical portal here in the forest, but the reason is still a mystery to us. We can guess that they plan on using the ambient magic that this forest is abundant with to help power it." Celecia remarked.
"Hmm...This does not bode well...If this thing they have wrought continues it's wicked work, not only will the spirits be driven mad, the very forest itself will die. We must devise a way to destroy this gateway and dispose of the ones working on it." Halcyon murmured.
The discussion went well into the evening, but outside the village, Isabelle's party had managed to reach the edge of the village thanks to Lilly's protection spells that kept them hidden from hostile creatures.
"So...There is actually a village in the Mylee forsaken forest?" Isabelle huffed.
"Something is not quite right here...I think we should leave." Jankensen suggested.
"I think not! I am tired from this long journey and I am quite sure Lilly is exhausted from casting spells over us. We are staying here for the night and we will resume our search for that little ragamuffin's group in the morning." Isabelle demanded.
"I think she has a point, Jankensen. Lilly looks tired, so we should rest while we can." Leonard stated.
"Young master...I do not agree, but I will obey." The old man sighed as they walked into the village, only to be halted immeadiately by elves with polearms and bows drawn.
"Halt! Why have you come here?!" An older elf demanded to know.
"We were lost in the forest and now one of our party has exhausted her magic trying to keep us safe. We only seek to rest ourselves and leave in the morning." Leonard tried to reason with them, but Isabelle made the situation worse.
"We already know there are humans like us here already. We followed them here." She stated, making the group of elves even anrgier, clapping irons around their wrists.
"Hey! What are you doing?!" She shrieked as they were dragged off and then shoved into a cell.
"For all we know, you might be spies of the ones causing all of the trouble here in this forest!" The same elf growled as Naruto and his group arrived to see what was happening.
"Isabelle?! What the hell are you doing here?! Are you insane?!" Naruto exclaimed. Leonard was about to explain things to them, but Isabella cut him off.
"You were going to hog the mission all to yourselves, but I will not let you. My champion, Mr. Leonard, deserves the accolades this will bring in more than some common mongrel like you." She sneered, making her teammates try to shut her up.
"Shut your mouth, you foolish little girl! This boy and those with him are far more than they seem if they made it through the forest without spells." Jankensen barked at her as he turned to them.
"I apologize for her rudeness. No harm was meant." He offered, the two Sannin chuckling at the way he reigned in the arrogant priestess.
"So...Who is this Mr. Leonard?" Jiraiya asked.
"That would be me good sirs, good lady." Leonard stated politely as he stood up.
"I am Leonard Bernstein and this is my Adventuring party. First is my manservant, Jankensen." He introduced the short old man, who answered with a curt nod.
"Next is Lilly, a Faris Priestess. She cast the spells that allowed us to get through the forest." He explained next, gesturing to the small girl who was a few years younger than Naruto who simply stared at them, as if trying to figure them out.
"Finally, I believe you already know Miss Isabelle." He stated with exasperation.
"...The power you possess is not magic...What is it?" The silent little girl inquired.
"It's chakra..." Tsunade explained briefly, the others getting the gist of it.
"So...I was correct to assume that you are warriors of some sort..." Jankensen murmured as the explanations went on. The old warrior was deeply impressed with the young ninja's life accomplishments thus far and had a gut feeling that this was only the beginning.
'If the boy maintains his ideals later in life, he will become a great and just leader in his own right. I am sure that his parents, whomever they were, would have been very proud.'
Leonard was highly impressed with these ninja and especially how they start at such a young age. The younger champion present had far more real world combat experience than himself from what he had been told by the apparent leader of his people, Tsunade. This boy, who was only thirteen, had fought in a war in which he was a hero, freed two nations, saved another ninja village and fought in several life-or-death battles before Leonard himself had even been allowed to leave his father's estate.
'How odd...Looking up to someone almost half my age, but he deserves my respect. He has done far more in his short life than I can even dream of.' Leonard mused thoughtfully.
"I don't know HOW you found out about this mission, but you will NOT breathe a word of it to anyone. This knowledge is restricted to those involved, Head Master Carwess and High Priestess Jenny. You were never supposed to know so if you blab and the wrong people find out, I will come for you after dealing with them. Is that understood, young lady?" Tsunade told them, especially the haughty young priestess. The trace amounts of Ki were just enough to scare her into compliance.
"I see the logic in your need for secrecy. Rest assured that Master Bernard and myself will stay silent about this entire debacle." Jankensen swore, the shinobi knowing that he could be trusted, his young charge nodding.
"Me too." Lilly answered silently as the small party was shown to a small hut where they could rest while Naruto and his party left to discuss matters further.
"The area where the disturbances are the strongest are centered around here..." Celecia pointed out on a map.
"So...If we were to concentrate our search in that specific area, we might just find what we're looking for." Jiraiya surmised.
"Correct. We would like you to set out just before daybreak, when the spirits are less active. This way, the chances of encountering hostile spirits will be much lower." Halcyon suggested.
"Makes sense. We have a higher chance of success this way." Tsunade agreed as they ate supper and bedded down for the night.
Before Naruto could even close his eyes, he felt someone kneel next to him. He looked to see Celecia hovering over him.
"What's up?" Naruto mumbled, but the young elf simply took him by the hand, led him out of the small cottage and up to the treetops that towered over the village, just high enough to where they could see the night sky.
Within Naruto, the Kyuubi had stirred and was very interested in the elf maiden's actions.
'Oh ho...I think that lond eared hottie's gonna make her move...Heh heh...This kid is sooo much more fun to be locked up in than his mom or that Mito chick. At least he attracts the right gender and they're all prettyhot.'The perv...Kyuubi thought as it watched everything unfold.
"Naruto...I'm glad that I could see you again." She opened up the conversation.
"Me too...You were one of my first friends here in this world and you didn't think I was a freak." Naruto replied as she sidled closer to him, resting her hand on his.
"You saved me and my people when you had no reason to, and you are a very sweet person. I really...Like you, Naruto." Celecia confessed to him, kissing him gently.
"WHOO! HOT DAMN, KIT! You hit the jackpot! He he he he!" The great demon giggled with over flowing perversion, finally attracting his host's attention.
"Wha...YOU JACKASS! Quit horning in!" Naruto fired back, but that hardly even fazed the fox while on the outside, Naruto was completely stunned by the kiss.
"You don't have to answer me right away. I just wanted to let you know how I felt. I'll see you in the morning." She giggled as she headed back to her house for some rest.
"Damn..." Naruto muttered, still sitting there as Jiraiya and Tsunade looked on.
"Heh heh...He really is a lucky kid." The old pervert chuckled.
"I think she'd be a good match for him, but c'mon. We need to get to bed, pervert." She told him as she collected her son.
DEEP IN THE FOREST AT AN UNKNOWN LOCATION
"Are you sure this will work?" A heavily cloaked man demanded, many more people behind him.
"I am certain, M'Lord. This device will allow us to open a door to the world those ninja came from. We managed to gain a small sample of his blood and used that to attune the portal. This will work and we can go forth and capture those other containers, and extract the demon's powers for our cause." Another man swore.
"Very well. Open the portal." He commanded.
"Yes...Lord Bernstein." The lackey complied as he opened the Dimensional Door.
OROCHIMARU'S SECRET BASE
After a particularly rough training session with Danzou's few remaining ROOT, Sasuke sat in the central chamber in the small hidden base with Orochimaru, Kabuto, and Danzou himself watching.
"The boy grows stronger with each day...I cannot wait until the time comes to possess his magnificent body." Orochimaru nearly salivated.
"This makes sacrificing the Sound 5 worth it." Kabuto smirked, but Danzou had a different thought.
'I would never let that short minded fool have such power. Only I have the wisdom to use it properly. I shall have make my manuvers very carefully.' The old cripple thought, but a massive windstorm erupted in the base, a glowing, pulsating disk appearing before them. Through it, they could see several men in cloaks, all gathered around it and walking through into thier world.
"What manner of jutsu is this?" The Snake wondered in awe, having never seen something like this before as the apparent leader of the group spoke.
"You. I suppose you are a denizen of this world. Would you know of something called a Jinchuuriki? Particularly one named Naruto Uzumaki?" Gerhard Bernstein nearly demanded, surprizing the ninja.
"Why yes...We in fact do. What ever could you want with a dead Genin?" Orochimaru asked with false sincereity.
"Dead? I think not." Bernstein scoffed as he explained all that had been happening, the others completely stunned upon finding out Naruto was indeed alive and very well in this other world, something which upset Sasuke very much.
'Hmm...I could use some of this...Magic. It would be beneficial to aid them...For now.' The conniving Snake thought as he spoke.
"Why, I believe we can be of service to one another..." Orochimaru grinned evilly.
A/N: Wow...It's been THAT long?! Sorry about that! Well, I hope you all liked this newest chapter!