Author's Note: Soo… I got two flames, rightfully, so I won't complain *feeds them to Er'ryl*
ANYWAYS. Let's get going. I've wasted enough time. First there were problems within the family, now I'm double majoring in university. A piece of advice to any high school people reading this, unless you're really sure about what you're doing, don't double. Work load is intense and it would be better off to study the other major once you get a degree in the first. You get more out of it that way even if it takes longer.
Along the way, I have begun rewriting past chapters, one because they sucked, two because the relationships I've been hoping to develop for Naruto has become very hectic and it didn't feel right to be as a writer. Thus, I'm going back to the chapters and edit it so that one of the girls will be left out. I honestly have no idea how the original idea of having only two girls became four. I'm staying at three, and the final will be paired up with someone else. Once I finish all the chapters I'll probably edit this portion out to avoid confusion. Any questions about that please private message me so I can give you as prompt a reply as possible.
Chapter 42: The Northrend Finale
As Naruto exploded, Sasuke was thrown back violently, impaling himself on a pair of blades – very familiar blades. Looking up, he saw, to his disbelief, Naruto.
"When…?" Sasuke groaned out as blood spilt onto the ruined battlefield.
"When you deactivated your eyes," Naruto replied, "The Rinnegan is powerful… but obviously you don't know its intricacies.
The Rinnegan is old – very much so – in fact the Sage only manifested it out of several generations of genetic carriers, and it was then carried on in the ocular powers of the Sharingan and the natural DNA of the Uzumaki. Only combined with the blood of Senju or Uzumaki can the Rinnegan be formed – I suppose your Rinnegan is a manifestation of both your power and my own during our crossing of blades this past year. Nevertheless…"
Naruto leaned in.
"Your power over the Rinnegan pales against mine, and had you kept to the Sharingan you would've won instead."
And with that, Naruto pulled out his wind blades, watching emotionlessly as Sasuke crumpled to the ground.
"This is the way we part… brother…" Naruto said, "You are my brother in everything but blood, Sasuke… but I cannot let you live. For either world's sake you must die before you wipe everyone out with your ambition, and your lust for power."
Even as Naruto finished his speech, his entire body lit up as, inside his mind, the cage unraveled to reveal Kyubi, and he transformed, growing larger and larger until the fox appeared.
Alliance Assault Camp
There was no doubt everyone felt the tremor from here, Fenix mused as he looked at the falling meteors, ablaze with black fire. He wondered briefly what the fire was even as he shot some out of the sky to prevent damage to the base.
"Dear Lord… what was that?" Kael whispered as he looked at the carnage, and as entire sections of the land broke off at the weakened joints, "At this rate he'll tear Northrend apart… Darkterror needed the Skull of Gul'dan for this… yet…"
"He will be exhausted, no doubt. The two beings there contain some of the most powerful energies I have ever felt," Horus said as he walked forward, "Hail to thee, Prince Kael, the attacks have been repelled completely, but all pathways are blocked."
"Indeed…What is that energy?" Fenix tried to bring his sentence into being but was lost as a sudden pressure, more powerful than anything they had felt before, emerged from the ruins and a gigantic apparition appeared, greater than the Susan'oo. A silhouette of a fox appeared among the snow.
"Is that… a fox? A nine-tailed fox? What is that thing?" Kael wondered as Sylvanas came rushing out.
"Why do I sense… By the Sunwell, that's Kyubi…" Sylvanas breathed out as she took in the Bijuu.
"Kyubi? What's that?" Kael asked, but Sylvanas shook her head.
"That is a question better suited for Naruto to answer once he gets back…"
Nothing else could be said as they watched the gigantic fox charging up a black sphere… and the world went white with an explosion…
Naruto vs Sasuke
"Sayonara…" Naruto whispered as the gigantic orb he now held in the jaws was unleashed, obliterating the entire landscape in front of him, stretching for miles – though not quite managing to hit the Citadel. A pity.
As the beam of destructive energy subsided, all that could be seen of Sasuke was a fine scattering of ash, mixed with the devastated snow. The form of the fox began to subside, gradually losing shape until all that was left was a shroud of pale yellow, which then further dissipated until only the figure of Naruto was left
Dropping with exhaustion, he was suddenly glad that the base was not too far from here as he heard the screech of a phoenix. Raising his head slightly he was rewarded with the sight of Horus jumping down and nearing him.
"I must say that was a very well-done explosion. What was that explosion of darkness?" Horus asked.
"Kyubi. I'll explain when we're back at base. Can you give me a hand?"
Horus smirked as he held Naruto up and whistled. A red dragon came soaring down as he placed Naruto on it carefully.
"Take him to base directly, please," Horus said as the dragon nodded, Horus stroking her snout, and, with a powerful flap of her wings, she took off directly to base, "I do wonder though… I have never felt anything so… vile… yet so pure…"
There were no answers in the wind even as Horus walked away from the field of battle, leaving the scars of war behind him… the Scars of the North.
Jaina watched as the portal brightened before a messenger moved through.
"Lady Proudmoore, the assault on Northrend has ended… Arthas is now the Lich King. However, we managed to kill both Athaniar and Darkterror, though their respective apprentices remain at large. Sasuke Uchiha has been killed in a final battle with General Namikaze, though the battle left Namikaze in a coma," the messenger reported as Jaina's heart leapt out.
"Naruto's in a coma? Why?" Jaina asked frantically as the messenger bowed further.
"He has used it's chakra to its maximum potential, and the backlash from the first usage, plus the lack of his own supply, forced hi into extreme chakra exhaustion and his body has shut down to prevent any damage, or so the Priests said. He also asked to relay a message to Admiral Proudmoore – Horus Lightwing and Fenix Skywalker has been found in Northrend – they were in an alliance in Northrend to take out the Icecrown Citadel but failed due to the massive forces stationed there despite their powers," he replied.
"I see… so they will return here?" Jaina asked carefully.
"Lightwing's status is unknown but it is known that Commander Skywalker has joined our forces, though he requests a trip back to the main continent to search for his beloved and asks that his son be taken care of."
An explosion occurred as several voices yelled out in confusion.
"Skywalker! No using fireworks!" one of the voices drifted over.
"…I think he's okay," Jaina said dryly as the messenger just tensed, looking around nervously.
"Milady, is this castle durable enough?" the messenger asked nervously.
"Don't worry, he won't do much," Jaina waved, as another explosion was heard in the distance and the castle shook, "Um, I think. Go back and tell them to return as soon as possible, and safely."
"Yes milady," the messenger said, as the ground rumbled again. He quickly reactivated the portal and stepped through, disappearing.
"I hope you're okay, Naruto…" Jaina whispered as she clutched the tiny crystal hung around her neck, before walking away for preparations to leave. Her father should be back soon from ending the dissidents that left half a year ago, and she needed to see Thrall to tell him of the failed assault – and Malfurion as well, she just realized, and sighed deeply. Today was not a good day.
"Ricky!" Jaina yelled as she spotted her long-time friend, "I need you to do a favor for me!"
"Yes Jaina?" Ricky asked as he hurried over, "What do you need?"
"The assault failed. I'm going to inform Thrall and the Night Elves of that, then head over to Northrend, but I need someone to look over Theramore at least until Lina or my father returns. Can you help keep the order while I'm gone?" Jaina asked.
"Sure, but why me? Surely General Northstrong is around," Ricky replied, confused.
"He is leading the grounds troops alongside my father and is unavailable," Jaina replied.
"I see. Sure, I can do that, but if anything happens I'll contact you and request for your return, is that alright?"
"That's fine, thanks Ricky," Jaina said as she smiled, hugging Ricky briefly before hurrying away.
"No problem at all. But still, why me? She knows that I'm no good at politics…" Ricky said, more to himself than anything, "But that means I have full control..."
"SKYWALKER!" this time a louder explosion was heard immediately following his name.
"NOT MY FAULT! THE WALL GOT IN THE WAY!" a child's voice was heard. (Cookie to those that got my reference)
"Great," Ricky deadpanned as he hurried away to find out what's going on. Thankfully, his skills with water-based spells were on par with most archmages – he just lacked the mana to do it consistently.
One week later
Pain. That was the first thing that registered on the young, and the only, jinchuuriki in Azeroth. That's a good thing – it meant he was still alive, for now.
"Good to see you awake, Naruto," a sweet voice came from his right, and Naruto cringed. That was not a good voice to be heard, especially from Mei, "Now…"
Mei leaned in as Naruto opened his eyes, looking at her wearily.
"What were you doing taking on Sasuke alone, in enemy territory, and in a battlefield he selected?" Mei asked in a very sweet voice as Naruto seemingly shrunk in size.
"Well, you see…" Naruto began but was cut off.
"Chakra exhaustion on the greatest scale I have ever met, twelve different types of poison including one that's designed to interfere with natural healing and one that specifically targets the chakra pathways. If it wasn't because you are an Uzumaki, you probably would've died! I could feel the Kyubi from halfway across this continent, and that's saying something considering how that's farther than the entire battlefield that constituted the land 100 miles in radius around Amegakure!"
"Where are they?"
"Horus and Fenix. Where are they?" Naruto rasped out, realizing just how parched he was.
"Is the pair you're talking about a Farstrider and a paladin?" Mei replied with another question as Naruto nodded, rasping out a weak thank you to the Priest who got him a glass of water that he eagerly gulped down, "They left a couple days ago. I'm not sure where, just that they will be returning once their task is complete."
"What did they say they're going after?"
"They're setting up for the Lich King's fall."
"How do they intend to do that?"
"No one knows… but I heard them mention one place: Dragonblight."
"The final question comes then… what will become… of it…?"
The question echoed through the cavern as two figures stepped into the darkness. There was a single beam of light, shining on an empty pedestal – the former pedestal of the rune weapon, Frostmourne.
"I fear that time is running out," Horus said first, "Though the Lich King has fallen dormant… it is only a matter of time before he awakens… and his powers merged completely."
"That is why we are here…" Fenix said, but trailed off, "I thought he was fallen into a slumber…?"
"Light's Vengeance…" a hollowed voice sounded through the cavern, "You intend… to wield this weapon… the way I wield mine…?"
"Show yourself… Arthas…" Horus called out, "Face us, if you dare…"
"Were I so foolish as before that I would attend that challenge once more?Arthas' hollowed, cold voice replied back, "Try me… Follow my path… and see what I have done… and when you wield the weapon, Lightbringer… Skywalker… You shall see.
But alas, this would be no fun… if there was no challenge," suddenly the hammer, lying on the side of the cavern, hurtled away as if kicked. In response both champions launched their respective attacks at the point, briefly revealing Arthas – though he took little damage, "Let us see your resolve…"
"Grab the hammer, Fenix!" Horus yelled as he blasted everything in front of him. "I'll deal with these monsters!"
There was no reply as a shower of arrows suddenly rained, all blazing with arcane power as each detonated its imbued energies. Fenix raced forward, tucked under, and rolled next to the hammer. There, he stopped… briefly. Then, without further ado, he picked it up, and hurled it with all his strength at the necromancer. The hammer flew and spun straight and true, smashing the necromancer right across the head and causing him to collapse instantly, dead on the spot.
A follow-on sprint through the undead allowed Fenix to retrieve the hammer even as Horus forced the ghouls and abominations to confront him.
"Go go go! Get out of there!" Horus yelled as he consecrated the entire area while Fenix fought his way out, slowly, "Forget fighting them! There's too many of them!"
"Chill. I got this," Fenix said as he placed the hammer behind his back, the weapon glowing a faint orange, "Give me a minute."
"We don't HAVE a minute!" Horus yelled back as he launched several spells in an attempt to stave them off, "I don't remember them being so freaking strong!"
There was a blinding flash of light as Horus covered his eyes. When he reopened them, he saw Fenix walking forward, his bow shattered and his armor cracked – the skin underneath smoldering. The hammer was still glowing, as was half of Fenix's body.
"You're kidding me. That had to hurt," Horus deadpanned, "You, Fenix, are an idiot and likes heroic dramatics way too much."
"My nerves are near dead in any case," Fenix shrugged, "Using the remaining power from the hammer was of no consequences to me at this moment. Can you imagine the type of Scourge the Lich King would send to cover his old hammer though?"
It took Horus a minute to get what Fenix said, then everything clicked together.
"I do not lead armies, remember," Horus deadpanned, "I fought as a lone wolf until I met you, and even then both of us admitted that we worked together as a necessity to take down the Scourge."
"You took out files of them with no apparent effort," Fenix pointed out as he walked forward, Horus moving in line, "This final part is mine to partake in. You cannot enter into the hold, unfortunately."
"And why not?"
"I'm going to one of the Scourge's strongholds in Dragonblight. It is not wise for someone with your aura to follow, for it will certainly attract the Scourge to our presence. And right now, we need discretion."
"I'll go into the Eastern Kingdoms… check out what Kel'Thuzad is doing. It's time to pay him a visit…" Horus said darkly as he paused, "I'll also look into the rumors of this so-called Undercity, if you wish. Perhaps clues can be found there."
"Thank you… my friend," Fenix said, "I'll meet up with you as soon as possible."
With those last words, both took off in their mounts, one flying into Icecrown directly while the other flew towards the Eastern Kingdoms. As they flew away, however, there was a pair of eyes watching them.
"Fenix… first of the freed… and Horus, the Chosen of the Light… I look forward to your future exploits… and those who you will train to take me down…"
The stage is set… for the final confrontation.
Fenix moved silently through the dark halls of the underground fortress, undetected, silencing those that got too close. As he neared the Runeforge, he stopped.
"Why are you here?" Fenix asked. There was not response – there wasn't a need to. "It is of no difficulty to me in entering this hold. For any of you, however, the Lich King could very well enslave you again."
"Our allegiance is to you, Lord Skywalker… we will not run from a fight," the unknown figure replied.
"Await my orders. Once this blade has been forged, I will meet up with you." Fenix replied back as the figure nodded and dispersed in a cloud of dark smoke. Almost immediately following that Fenix heard a voice in his own head.
'You think you can merely mimic my blade, Fenix? You may be the strongest of my death knights before your freedom, but do you think you have the willpower to do what you must? Do you think… you can control that power?'
'What I do is none of your business, Lich King," Fenix replied resolutely, "This blade may be a reflection of your dark blade, Arthas… but it will be the blade that ends your life… I swear by my own…'
'I look forward to the challenge…' the voice trailed off as Fenix shook his head.
Was that a challenge… or was that a taunt? Fenix thought to himself as the Runeforge consumed the hammer with the materials he gathered. Without any further thought, he started pouring his essence into the weapon itself, and without doubt, he seeped his blood into the furnace, causing the flames to glow a dull, sickly green, before turning bright once more.
Remember, Fenix… the greatest challenge comes not from the outside… but from the inside. To be the most powerful one must defeat his own darkness… his own fear. Only then will you be able to consider yourself one of the best… only then will you be able to truly command the power of darkness without the delicate touch of the light, and not lose yourself to its wiles, Horus taught him that when they first met, when his powers were not yet stable. Fenix kept that thought in his mind as he called forth his fears, and injected that into the forge. The forge continued to burn with an eerie green as he pushed his own consciousness into the blade, to combat his own darkness.
Alliance Base Camp
The entire camp was in a slurry of activity as Naruto strolled across. Everything was packed up except for a single outpost, which would be commanded by troops stationed there every six months.
There were still no signs of Horus and Fenix even after 2 days, a fact which worried Naruto. No matter what they encountered no Scourge – except maybe the Lich King's champions, and that's a very big maybe – could face them both in combat and come out triumphant.
"No sign of either of them, sir," a marine came forward and reported to Naruto – the same report, per 2 hours, for the past thirty-six hours since he woke, "All packing is on schedule and we should be able to leave in half an hour."
"Very good, keep up the pace," Naruto said as he waved the marine away, then thought better of it, and gave the marine a tri-pronged kunai, "Hold onto this and give it to Mei for me."
"I'm checking the surroundings, move out if I have not returned when packing is complete," Naruto replied curtly, "Dismissed."
The marine saluted and left his sight, and the instant that happened, he disappeared, the location he was in displaced so fast that a small wave of air swirled.
"Are you there, Fenix? If you are, then where's Horus…?" Naruto wondered, "Eastern Kingdoms?"
There was no reply in the wind as he surged forward, closer and closer to Icecrown. Just then, Mei received the kunai.
"You are one little troublemaker, you know that Naruto?" Mei sighed softly as she tucked the kunai away, before continuing to help with the operation.
As for Naruto, the closer he reached Icecrown, the colder the air got, and it wasn't from the snow or the temperature – it was the coldness of death itself.
Within the hold
Fenix panted from the exertion – the battle with his own self was as hard as any that ever came before. A single misstep could cost him his soul – and it would cost the world much more as Arthas has done.
But he had done it – he had faces his own fears and overcame it. He was now the wielder. As he took the smoldering piece out, it no longer looked like a hammer. The distinctive eagle edges were still there, but the edges were sharpened, ominous, and glowed with a distinct edge. Fenix watched the blade with confusion.
"It needs… a sacrifice… it needs… blood…" Fenix whispered as he looked down at himself, then at the armor plate that constituted his bow. Gently, he unlatched the bow construction and held it in his left hand, the blade on his right. He looked between the two.
"Goodbye… old friend…" Fenix whispered as he left one on the ground, then, with a powerful roar, he smashed the blade down, and the bow shattered. Screams came out from within the confines as pale, translucent, white smoke roared and left the shattered remnants, streaking through the dark walls into the blade. Fenix gritted his teeth as the power surged through the blade – and into his body. The forging of the blade must go on…
Outside the hold
"Why would you come back here, so close to the Lich King once more, Fenix?" Naruto asked himself as he stepped onto the steps leading into… somewhere. "And where is this place?"
"It is of no concern to you. Leave. Now," a voice whispered out as Naruto turned into a fighting position.
"I'm here to look for Fenix. I'm assuming he's in here," Naruto replied.
"As before, it is of no concern to outsiders… Leave, you are not welcome here," the voice replied as Naruto shrugged.
"I'm never good at following orders," Naruto replied as he disappeared and reappeared behind the voice, smashing a brutal haymaker into the figure's head, knocking the figure out cold.
"A Death Knight? Who is he… and why is he here?" Naruto muttered as he walked into the hold, snow swirling around the scene of skirmish and hiding it all… and the death knight dispersed into shadow.
Deep within the hold
"Fenix? Fenix, where are you!" Naruto yelled as he walked through the dark halls, "What is this place?"
He heard a small groan just ahead, through the door. Readying himself, Naruto approached the door, a Rasengan in both hands as he kicked the door open.
The door opened to reveal Fenix, panting before the forge, a triumphant grin on his unmasked face.
"Naruto?" Fenix asked, "What are you doing here?"
"Finding you," Naruto said, "What are you doing here?"
Fenix turned sober at that.
"The Lich King must fall… for the sake of the world, the Lich King must fall… and I am the instrument to his destruction…"
There was a long pause where neither of the two spoke a single word. Then, Fenix slowly spoke the word, while holding his finished project in his hand.
"To kill the Lich King one needs a blade as powerful as his own – forged in the blood of unholy and infused with the light. Ashbringer is one such weapon – but such weapons are rare at best, unique at worst…"
"You made one," It wasn't a question. Fenix nodded.
"The greatest… and darkest of them all…"
Further down south in Dragonblight
"So… the dice has begun to turn… What have you found out?"
"I tracked Fenix Skywalker all the way to Northrend, and then back into the ruins of Lordaeron… but then he disappeared off the map for awhile and wasn't seen until I snuck into the Alliance camp and figured out that he allied with Horus."
"Currently he's due north east north of our location. I can take you to him if you wish."
"Not yet… he will come to us in time. We will wait here."
Short chapter, I know. I had a good draft worked up ages ago but never got around to editing. After a full year (I think it's been a full year) of hiatus I returned to this chapter to find it in a state of mess. So it got edited to this length. I apologize for the long hiatus, hopefully new chapters will come out faster now that my first term is done and I've dropped one of my majors.