Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, Mai Hime/Mai Otome, the Final Fantasy series and the Persona series.
I may have included elements of Final Fantasy, Mai Hime and Persona, but they are just that, elements. You don't need to have an extensive knowledge of the three series to understand the story. Really, this is just another, Naruto gets a Summoning contract, fic, though I must admit, there is actually very little summoning involved, in Naruto's case. Anywho, I'm just adding a little bit of spice into the mix. (Or that's what I keep telling myself, anyway. Feel free to ask any questions about any of the three series if you're ever confused.)
Fifty years prior to the event known as the Kyuubi Massacre
Urgency fuelled Haruka's footsteps, and those who saw her that night saw nothing but a blur, even to the most trained of shinobi eyes. On one hand she carried three ready-to-throw kunai, each clamped tightly between her fingers. The other held some blank scrolls, a brush or two and a bottle of ink. She jerked ungracefully to the left, almost dropping some of the scrolls, and ran forward with a burst of speed that would have made her peers jealous.
"Sensei," she said, opening the steel-enforced door with very little effort. "I have 'em—took me some time but I have 'em."
"Thank you, Haruka," Rirumu spoke kindly, motioning for Haruka to sit on one of the cushions on the floor. She gathered up the things Haruka brought and placed them besides Poromu, who was kneeling in front of the Elder Gate, an activity the old woman shouldn't be doing. "Is it bad out there, Haruka?"
"Bad doesn't even begin to describe what's happening outside," Haruka answered bitterly, her features scrunched into a growl.
Rirumu hesitated, thus it was Poromu who spoke next, "Tell me, child."
"We anticipated Kanzaki's main force to hit us from the west, where the mountains are. Turned out, all that noise last month about them building forces in the mountains was just that—noise. They hit us from the south, the main road, instead. Two tinier forces, diversions, attacked us from the north and the west. They're massacring us, Ma'am. Wish I could say otherwise, but that's the truth of it. We were completely unprepared."
Rirumu grimaced from the news but her writing hand remained steady as she wrote on the scroll in front of her. "When will the reinforcements arrive, Poromu-sama?"
"There will be no reinforcements, child," Poromu spoke solemnly and stood up shakily, her gaze still directed towards the Elder Gate. Even from this distance she could hear the cries of the Espers, imploring her to open the Gate and allow them to unleash their wrath against her enemies. "The village elders fear us, and though we have close ties with the Hokage, he is but one man. Even if he was to send aid, they would not be enough to help us turn the tide of this battle. Not to mention we're so far away from Konohagakure, the reinforcements would not reach us in time."
"This wouldn't have happened if they just allowed us to live in the village. Out here in the mountains, we're more vulnerable to all sorts of attack." Rirumu muttered to herself. "So you're saying we're doomed?" she asked lightly, though there was an undertone of rage and worry in her voice. "Is that why you denied the Hokage's help?"
"Sensei, she didn't say anything about denying the Hokage's help," protested Haruka.
"But it was exactly what I did, child. As I've said, even with his aid, we will still lose this battle. I will not have him involved when I know it is futile. Besides, the others would see it as a sign of favouritism among clans. I will not let that happen, for his sake."
"I would think that you're beyond pride at this point, Poromu-sama. Look at us. We're affiliated to Konohagakure—we're sworn to their Hokage—but they don't even treat us like we're part of the village. We don't live within the village; we can't have their aid... I say, it's about time we welcome a little bit o' favouritism, don'tcha think?"
"This isn't about pride, Rirumu. I'm simply thinking about the future."
"Yes, I know," Rirumu answered with a sigh, wiping the accumulated sweat off her forehead with one arm. "Because the future is more important than the preservation of this clan."
She expected a slap or maybe even a kunai to her heart. After all, she'd just implied that their clan head didn't care about the clan. She might as well be talking about treason. Instead, she felt Poromu's warm hand on her shoulder. "But the preservation of this clan is indeed important, child. We'll all probably die in this struggle against Takeo and his men, but our bloodline will live on. That's what's important, ne?"
"We used to be the strongest clan out there," Haruka spoke up finally, brushing back pink hair from her face—a trait she had inherited from Poromu, her great-great-grandmother. "What happened?"
"We, as a clan, restricted our power," Poromu explained. "Since Sin, the greatest of our enemies, had fallen, we believed that our duty to the world was over. Thus, we felt that we should restrict our teachings to the art of summoning, and the few basic jutsus that go hand in hand with it, for we feared that too much power would corrupt our clan. The generations following the Founders' generation, the Nisei and the Sansei, agreed to this and followed our wishes, ignoring the jutsus that our Espers, our comrades, had to offer. We could have been mighty, yes, and perhaps it was wrong of us to deny our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren access to the Espers' boundless knowledge, but it's too late now. We cannot fix the mistake of the past so easily."
"Why are you telling us this now?" Rirumu asked angrily. "None of our teachers ever talked about this!"
"We kept it a secret. For the sake of the children."
"I'm done," Rirumu said, handing Poromu the scroll. Her eyes refused to meet the clan head's own dark brown. "You will hide the scroll, won't you, Haruka?"
"Of course!" Haruka said confidently. Belatedly, she added, "If that is what Poromu-sama commands."
"Yes, child, this will be your final task for me," Poromu said with a firm nod. "When I am done, you will run away and head for the Land of the Whirlpool. I have already arranged for your quarters there. A friend of mine, Uzumaki Hiroshi, will help you establish a new identity. In this way, our clan will live on."
Rirumu listened quietly to the instructions that Poromu was giving Haruka, her face grave. She understood what the scroll was for—a fail-safe in case even Haruka was captured by Takeo's people. After all, she had placed certain conditions to the scroll, ensuring that whoever would sign it was worthy to inherit the bloodline. Poromu wanted someone who would use their bloodline well—someone pure of heart. There were also other conditions, but just that would be enough to stop Takeo from fulfilling his one goal: to Bind the Espers into their blades and create more Demon weapons for his clan to use. Yes, that would be enough to keep a man with the foulest of intentions from ever acquiring their bloodline.
Even so, she hated Poromu for her plans. Once the contract was complete, her clan would be completely powerless against the Kanzaki clan; the contract would take away the right of Summoning from all of them. Seeing as they had relied on that bloodline for many years... The outcome was certain: they would all die.
Poromu threw the scroll against the Elder Gate and began a series of seals that was too quick for even Rirumu to follow. Biting her right thumb, she smeared some of the blood on her left thumb as well, and lifted her hands to her sides. Rirumu and Haruka rushed forward, and, with shallow cuts from their palms, mixed their own blood with Poromu. Then, she placed both hands reverently against the smooth surface of the scroll, the blood of the three branches—the White Mage, the Swordsman and the Gunner—seeping into the scroll. Her vision blurred and she felt reality shift underneath her feet, as if someone had just pulled the carpet from under her.
"A contract?" A small man with a very distinguished nose of some considerable length stepped forward from the shadows, grinning madly at Poromu. The Elder Gate in front her was now gone, replaced with a wall of wreathing darkness.
Her hands fell to her sides. "Yes, a contract." A light blue butterfly fluttered into view, shimmering slightly in the dim light. It landed on her shoulder. She looked around wearily and saw that it was the same room she was in before, except that now, Haruka and Rirumu were gone. The place was also considerably more silent than before.
"And the terms?" the man interrupted her thoughts, making her turn her attention towards him.
Poromu sat in seiza on one of the cushions on the floor. The man sat in front of her and a table appeared almost instantly. He picked up a brush from the table and slowly unrolled a blank scroll in front of him. She licked her dry lips and looked at the scroll, feeling nervous for the first time in a long time. "That depends on who it is I'm talking to."
"Oh I assure you, the master sent his best for this job," the man said and stroked his nose, his eyes shining eagerly.
"Your words alone won't convince me," Poromu replied.
What evidence will satisfy you, my dear? She looked up at the butterfly overhead with surprise. "Philemon?" Her voice cracked as she spoke his name. Philemon was the bearer of the Mirror of Souls, the entity responsible for drawing out manifestations of the human's soul in the form of a beast. Kaien had met the man before his death. This man, Philemon, had been responsible for awakening within people of the Kedamono clan the potential to become an Esper. Poromu knew this to be true for she had met Kaien's Esper several times when she sought for his council.
"The master must think you're special, to come here and witness the Creation of this Contract himself," the man spoke happily. "The terms, my lady?" He repeated, his brush poised and ready. "I have an eternity of waiting, but you and I both know you don't have that long."
Rirumu felt the soft whispers of the wind as they brushed past her face and made their way to the east, to the sea. With her gloved hands she held the hilt of the blade Ragnarok and stared at the chaos below her with passive eyes. Beside her, Minoru shifted his weight from his right to his left foot, and back again, ostensibly uncomfortable—more so than Seiji. The staff, Nirvana, shimmered in the dim moonlight, and though the sight of it often brought a sense of calm to the old White Mage, he found no calm tonight. Only fear and a near-endless amount of worry. Not that it mattered anymore. In just a few minutes...
Seiji moved into a crouch and rested his right elbow on his thigh, taking careful aim using Haya-Ji. With deadly precision, he killed three of the enemies trying to climb the rooftops to reach them. He paused and watched his friends and family struggle against the downpour of shinobi rushing into the gates of their compound. Not all of them were Kanzaki, he knew, for the Kanzaki, though large in comparison to other clans, could not possibly boast such a huge number of people. His eyes focused on their hitai-ate and he found himself certain about that issue. After all, some of those shinobi attacking them weren't from Konohagakure. In fact, a large number of them were Grass and Rain shinobi.
What promises have you made with them, Kanzaki? He wondered to himself. For once, Ifrit, did not give him an answer. The Esper was too busy protecting a group of White Mages huddled over the fallen, their hands glowing.
A light blue butterfly landed on top the sword's hilt, though Rirumu made no attempt to bat it away. Minoru's grip on Nirvana tightened when he saw the small entity however, relating it as an omen from the gods.
It is time. They heard Poromu's voice whisper into their minds, her tone grave. Ready your weapons.
The three exchanged looks of comprehension and sobriety. It was over. Within moments, their power to Summon Espers would be gone, and their people would be vulnerable against their enemies, more so than before. But it would all be for the good of their clan. Their secrets, and greatest discoveries, would never fall on enemy hands.
Their hands blurred into motion as they formed seal after seal. Behind them, three Espers shimmered into view. Another set of seals were executed before their hands reached for their weapons once more. As one, they cried out, their voices tinged with pain at the amount of chakra that was coursing through their bodies, towards their hands and into their weapons, the building up of pressure making their arms shake uncontrollably. Their Espers moved to hold their hands and helped them steady their weapons. Rirumu slammed Ragnarok downwards, the sword digging through the stained wood of the rooftop. Minoru pointed Nirvana to his people, tears falling freely, the effort of holding the staff giving his face a purplish complexion. Seiji pointed Haya-Ji heavenward and pulled the trigger. "Ultima!"
The single word spoken by those three reverberated across the compound, and every one of the Kedamono clan stopped to look at the three figures in the distance. And then the blast decimated the whole compound, taking everyone within its boundaries. There was no cry of pain, no shout of horror, for the blast was quick in execution.
The few shinobi left who were waiting for Kanzaki's signal to move towards the compound, scrambled to get out of there, fear overtaking reason, urging them homeward.
Not a soul was in that area that night, save one butterfly, fluttering aimlessly.
A/N: Some might view this as a rewrite, others an alternative story to the Summoner's Craft. Suffice to say, most of what will happen in this story would have happened in Summoner's Craft anyway. If you feel that this rewrite is a disappointment and wish for me to just continue working on the original storyline that I already had, I'm sorry. I've tried several times already to write that chapter. It's just not going to happen. That said, you're free to pick up that story and make it your own. I have no objections.
I'd just like to talk about the Founders of the Kedamono clan. There are three of them: Poromu, founder of the White Mage branch; Kaien, founder of the Swordsman branch (or the Warrior branch); and Avain, founder of the Gunner branch. They're actual characters from the Final Fantasy series, although I used their Japanese names, so you'll have to research a bit if you want to know who they are. Or you can ask me. xD (Ririmu is also another character, though Haruka is not.)
That said, for those who read the original version of the Summoner's Craft, much of its history Pre-Massacre remained the same, except perhaps of the inclusion of the Elder Gate. The Founders were still part of the Liberi Fatali, the Children of Fate, and still fought with seven other individuals, all who died under Sin's wrath. The power that the Children of Fate were granted, however, is no longer as vague as it was in my earlier story. The power that they were given was access to the Elder Gate, a reference to the Sealed Gate in FFVI which was sealed by the Elder, one of the Espers there. Anyway, this meant that they could summon the Espers, and much like the system in FFVI, could learn jutsus from certain Espers. Another significant change in the Kedamono's history is the fact that all their fallen brethren (the Seven), entered the Elder Gate and became Espers themselves. That was to be their reward for dedicating their whole lives to the gods. Later on, it was said that whenever a very strong Kedamono died, a blue butterfly would visit them at their deathbed, and it would lead their soul to the Elder Gate where it will manifest into an Esper of considerable power.
With the Kedamono clan being treated as outsiders by the rest of village, I figured, not a lot of people would know about their history anyway. That means that their history will not likely be discussed by any of the villagers any time in the near future.
Also, for those who actually know about Mai Hime, when I said that there would be elements of that particular anime, I wasn't joking, though Carnivals, and mecha robots will not be included in this story. In fact, the most you'll probably see are some of the characters in Mai Hime (i.e. Natsuki and Shizuru, who were originally in Summoner's Craft, as well as a certain Kanzaki...) as well as their weapons which will be called 'Demon Weapons' in this story. More of their history will be known at a later date.