Long Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Nor will I ever. I do however own this story and everything in it. Therefore, one could make the argument that I actually DO own Naruto to a degree. Specifically I own the version of him that appears in this story. In a world where everything is relative to the viewpoint of the observer, how can anyone truly claim that they own anything, except by virtue of their own reality? EVERYTHING I KNOW IS A LIE!
Chapter 5: A Fox's Tale
Naruto flipped through the air as he jumped from tree to tree, his face hidden by the dark travelling cloak that was wrapped around his form. Two more figures, similarly clothed, followed behind him. Gone were his fox-like ears and tail. Gone were his claws and fangs. If one didn't know any better, it would be impossible to recognize Naruto as a Kitsune demon at this moment, which is exactly what he wanted.
The villiage was ahead of him, his eyes glimpsing the thatched, cone shaped rooftops which were dotted here and there in the center of a large depression in the earth. It was a nice, quaint town. It was also almost assuredly the place where the hunters were currently residing, which means that they would have to be extremely careful. He, Sasuke, and Garra were powerful, but he didn't want to take any chances.
Most of the humans in the villiage didn't know that they even existed, but Naruto did have a couple contacts within, and he wanted to know what the deal was with these deaths that Sakura and her hunters were talking about. It couldn't just be a lie. Naruto could tell if someone was lying, and the beautiful pink-haired girl was not lying. At least, not to her own knowledge. There had to be something here going on that Naruto didn't yet know about.
"Naruto!" Sasuke yelled out from behind the fast-moving blonde, "We need to slow down! If we come up to the villiage going at full speed, that Hyuuga is bound to catch sight of us!"
The kitsune nodded his consent and dashed onto the ground before skidding to a halt, "Right, gotcha! Better to be careful about this."
Sasuke dropped down beside him, "Don't you ever stop to think? How an idiot like you got to be our leader I'll never know."
Naruto rolled his eyes, but grinned, "Well at least I'm not a total jackass like you, eh? At least the others like me."
Sasuke slowly shook his head, "Shut up and lets go. We did have a job to do, didn't we?"
Garra appeared behind the two of them, "If you two are going to stop fighting like an old married couple, I'd prefer to get this over with." and the Tanuki demon walked off in the direction of the village
Naruto and Sasuke grumbled slightly before following after him.
The young kitsune glanced left and right as he stood ouside the wood and straw house. He and the two others were standing in a wooded area just around the outskirts of the viliage, his contact waiting inside. He was honestly somewhat surprised that they had gotten this far without any incident. A Hyuuga can see for ages, through walls and trees, and even out the back of their own head so long as their Byakugan is activated. They had expected more trouble then this. They had only come because it was so important to find out what was happening.
"Alright," Naruto whispered to his companions, "you guys wait out here. This guy trusts me, and besides that I don't want anyone showing up uninvited without warning. Keep an eye out."
Sasuke scoffed and Garra silently nodded. Naruto ducked down through the doorway and entered the house.
Inside was dark and small, almost claustraphobic in nature. The house had only a single room, and no windows, the only light coming from a small fireplace in one corner. Opposite to the fireplace was a wide, flat pile of straw which looked as though it might have been used as a bed. On the walls were various tools, including a hammer, a small hatchet, and on old rusted-out shovel. In the center of the house was a small table with twin chairs, all of which appeared to have been hand carved.
Sitting in the chair opposite Naruto was a middle aged man with black hair pulled back into a short topknot (with a slight bit of greying at the temples), a bit of wrinkles around the edges of his eyes, and a long scar that ran over the bridge of his nose.
Naruto nodded in greeting, "Iruka, it's good to see you again."
To the Kitsune's surprise Iruka didn't give him his usual jovial smile. Instead the man looked at him with something akin to apprehension.
"Naruto, what are you doing here?" Iruka asked, "Don't you know what's happening here around here?"
Naruto slowly shook his head, "You mean it's true? People really are dying?"
Iruka now looked surprised, "Naruto, I have known you for 21 years now, and we know each other very well. I trust you Naruto, but...I don't know what to believe any more." the man took a deep breath, "Three people have shown up dead...and given the state of their bodies, well...I don't have any other explination. It has to have been one of you."
Naruto slowly shook his head, "No...no it can't be. I trust every single person in my family, and I know that none of them could do something like that."
Iruka slowly shook his head, "Naruto, you don't understand. I cannot simply explain to you what has happened to those bodies, but if you saw them you would understand. There is only one being in this area which could possibly have killed those men, and that being is one of yours."
Naruto glared at Iruka. He was growing angry, "What would you know about it, huh? You know me...you don't know my people."
The human man glanced up at him, "I know one of them."
Naruto's face paled, "You...you're trying to say that...no. I don't believe it. I trust him like he was my own brother."
Iruka sighed, "Naruto...why did you come here?"
"I was hoping that you could clear this up for me, obviously."
The man who appeared older sighed, "No Naruto, I mean why did you come here, to this village, 21 years ago. What made you leave the Kitsunes? You must have known that sooner or later, no matter how hard you tried, people would hate you. Why did you do it?"
Naruto turned his head away, "Where are they keeping these bodies?" he growled at his old friend, "I need to see myself."
Iruka sighed, "You won't be able to get there easily. The village will attack you the moment that you try to get anywhere near it." Naruto glared at him and he grudgingly continued, "Since you seem to be so determined, I suppose I have to tell you. The village dug a pit out behind the leaders house, where they dumped the bodies. The way that I understand it, the hunters have been looking real close at them."
The Kitsune nodded, "Thank you Iruka." he whispered, and turned back to the door.
"Naruto." Iruka called back to him, just before he reached the door. Naruto froze for a moment before turning back to his old friend. Iruka hesitated for a moment before continuing, "Just...be careful alright. There's something weird about all of this."
Naruto smiled, "I will my friend, and again, thank you." He turned away and began thinking, always a dangerous pastime.
Naruto's Flashback: 41 years ago
Naruto no Kitsune grinned with jubilance as he dashed through the courtyards of the mighty palace of the Kitsune's, rulers of the 1st great demonic kingdom. He was so thrilled because, after nearly 30 years of hard practice, he had finally achieved the goal that all Fox demons dreamed of. He had grown his second tail. He was now a full-fledged Kitsune! And after being called a weakling and a failure for his entire life. He had worked himself to exhaustion every day and every night to prove that he deserved to hold the title, son of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, and now he had done it.
And now, he was here, standing amongst the other Kitsunes, prepared to go through his coming of age ceremony. 30 years old...still a kit if he was a mere Fox demon, but when a Fox becomes a Kitsune, they are considered to have reached adulthood regardless of age.
Naruto looked up as he was running and saw a familliar man standing near the gates to the palace, "YAHIKO!" he called out in joy, "ARE WE READY TO GO YET?"
The 6-tailed Kitsune, Yahiko, smiled an almost fatherly smile as he watched Naruto run up to him, "Naruto, you're early. Konan and Nagato aren't even here yet. We'll have to wait for them."
Outside of the mighty Kyuubi, Yahiko was the single strongest Kitsune in the clan. He was tall and handsome, and many of the vixens were after him. He also had blonde hair like Naruto, though less yellowish and more orange. He even had a somewhat similar look to him as Naruto, which lead to some interesting rumors. Was Naruto actually of royal blood or was he simply taken in by a Kyuubi who had been unable to produce any other heir. The Kyuubi's hair was as deep red as blood, and had been extremely adamant about not revealing when Naruto had occured or whom his other parent was supposed to be. Naruto didn't really care, but he had to admit that every once in a while, he wondered. Yahiko was so cool, so strong, and so supportive of Naruto's dreams.
Today, nothing would hamper Naruto's joys, not even the excruciating idea that he had to wait for the others (and he really, REALLY hated waiting).
"That's alright!" The young kitsune replied, "As long as they get here soon. I really can't wait to get going."
Yahiko smirked and ruffled Naruto's hair, "Don't worry firecracker, you'll get your time in the spotlight today."
Naruto gave one of his trademark grins for just a split second, but then his face fell into shadow, "Is...uh...is there any chance that Kyuubi will be coming with us?"
The look on Yahiko's face mirrored Naruto's own, "The Kyuubi no Kitsune is a very busy demon Naruto. Our master wishes you luck, but will not be joining us today."
Naruto nodded, but didn't say anything. He wasn't surprised, just dissapointed. This was his special day, and even though he had grown accustomed to being ignored he didn't think that it was too much to ask for one day with the only parent that he knew.
Thankfully, he was knocked out of his bad mood by a familliar sound, "NARUTO! WAIT UP!"
Before Naruto could react, a black little ball of fur canon-balled into his chest and knocked the wind from his lungs, "NARUTO! I'M SO EXCITED! CAN I COME WITH YOU?"
Naruto grinned as he mimicked the hair-ruffling motion that Yahiko had used on him, "No way Konohamaru! This is a super special mission for Kitsunes only! You don't get to come until you get your second tail."
Konohamaru pouted as he moved back away from Naruto. The much younger fox-boy was a close friend of Naruto's, although perhaps devotee would be a more accurate term. Not the strongest warrior by any stretch of the imagination, Konohamaru had yet to grow a second tail (not that this was a surprise, most Fox demons did not), and even if he had this his combat and killing instincts were still at best mediocre. He was small even for his age, just over half Naruto's height, and was still too young to be able to hold much of a human form, still pretty much covered by black fur save for his face. But he was a good kid, mischievous but goodnatured, loyal and kind.
He didn't look quite so good-natured now however, "Aw, why can't I come?" he whined.
Yahiko smirked, "Don't worry too much Konohamaru. Just keep working hard and growing stronger and one day you'll get yourself a second tail as well, then you can go on your own adventure."
Konohamaru rolled his eyes, "Yeah, yeah, but anyways Naruto, show me some of your awesome fox-fire!"
Naruto grinned and held his hand up, summoning a surge of the energy that now coursed through his body into his palm. A moment later, a tiny flicker of bluish light appeared floating around his hand, "What do you think?" he asked, sounding alltogether too pleased with himself, "Pretty cool eh?"
Konohamaru looked unmoved, "LAME!"
"Whatdaya mean lame?" Naruto protested, "I'd like to see you try it!"
"Bah! That thing couldn't hurt a Caterpillar Demon! Not like Yahiko's!"
Yahiko grinned, "Don't be so sure Konohamaru. The power in fox-fire is compressed into a very tight form that makes it seem like it doesn't have nearly as much power as it actually does. That little flicker of flame could still destroy a small building." Yahiko's grin became equally as mischievous as Konohamaru's "Of course, you're right when you say that it doesn't hold a candle to mine."
The older blonde held out his own hand in much the same way that Naruto had, but instead of a flicker of light that was hardly larger then the flame on a candle, he generated a golden orb of fire roughly the size of his own head.
Konohamaru was ecstatic, "Wow Yahiko! Now that's some impressive fire!"
Yahiko responded by tossing the fireball directly into the air. Once it reached just out of sight it detonated, creating a shockwave of flames that, for a brief moment, painted the sky akin to a sunset.
Konohamaru whooped and cheered like he was still a mere kit at the display, while Naruto sulked. Yahiko noticed Naruto's look and began laughing, "Don't you worry about it Naruto. Before long I'm sure that your fox-fire will be even stronger then mine."
"One would hope however that he would have more control over it however. I swear sometimes you act more like a child then they do Yahiko."
The taller blonde turned his head to see two figures walking in the direction of the group, one a thin male with limp red hair, the other a female with deep purple hair adorned with a flower.
Yahiko grinned, "Konan, Nagato, you made it! Well met, friends!"
Konan rolled her eyes, "And you as well Yahiko. Tell me, what possessed you to go showing off your fox-fire just now?" she asked, "Did it occur to you that the others might suspect that we were under attack?"
Yahiko scoffed, "Everyone knows that today the crown prince has grown his second tail. Anyone with a brain will know that it was just a demonstration."
Nagato shrugged, "It's not that big of a deal Konan. Yahiko's flame color signature is instantly recognizable and everyone knows that he can't resist showing off. Anyways, we should be heading out. The group is all here and we're eating up daylight."
Konohamaru pouted, "Are you sure that I can't come along?"
Nagato shook his head, "I'm sorry little one, but at your level this trip would be far too dangerous. Don't worry, Naruto will be back before sunset tomorrow and then you can play all you want."
The little black fox looked for a brief moment like he would protest but instead he quietly walked away.
Konan turned to Naruto and smiled, "Are you ready for this Naruto?"
The young Kitsune looked determined, "I was born ready! Believe it!"
Yahiko rolled his eyes, "Don't say that."
The woods that surrounded the palace of the mighty Kyuubi were thick and treacherous. Lesser demons could be found around every corner, the ground was covered with marshes that would swallow you up if you were not careful, even the trees would grab at you and tear you apart if they got the chance to. The forest was also one of the most heavily travelled areas in any of the Five Demon Kingdoms, because it served as the only trade route from Kyuubi's Kingdom to Sakumo's.
Of course, one didn't just travel through the forest itself. That would be suicide. The forest was bisected by an enormous road, just over 100 feet in width and continuing on for miles through the forest. Every 7 miles there was a well for the use of travellers, and at the edges of the road were wards placed by monks for the purpose of keeping the evil contained in the forest off the road. Because it was expedient to keep the humans living in the area happy, the Kyuubi was more then happy to let them continue to use it.
Of course, this didn't mean that the road was safe. There were still demons in the forest which were more then powerful enough to get through the wards, which is why any travelling merchant who went through these parts who had any sort of brain would hire a group of Demon Hunters as protection for the journey.
Of course, there weren't many Demon Hunters in the world who could last more then a few moments against Yahiko, Konan, and Nagato.
"So you know what the plan is, right Naruto?" The tall blonde asked.
Naruto grinned and nodded. The test, a sort of an initiation for every Fox Demon who made the transformation into a Kitsune, was simple enough. They were going to attack and raid a wealthy merchant travelling through the forest. The goal was simple, get in, take the most valuable object that they had, and get out without any casualities and, most importantly, without anyone realizing that the object had been stolen. The Foxes were pranksters by nature and this was the ultimate prank. The humans had to get away alive and believing that they had lost nothing until they got out of the forest.
Naruto's job was simple enough. While Yahiko, Nagato, and Konan staged a false attack, distracting the hunters that were paid to protect the caravan, Naruto would slip in unseen and swap out their most valuable object with a fake that he would create there and then by putting an illusion on a worthelss rock. Then they would stage a fake retreat, and, with any luck, their deception wouldn't be found out until much later.
It wasn't like it was the most increadible adventure in the world, but it was traditional, and it did have more then a small degree of danger in it. The Hunters were getting smarter and stronger, making the caravans very well defended.
Yahiko held up his hand and broke Naruto out of his thoughts, "Here we are," he whispered under his breath, "And there's the caravan, just as our intel said."
Naruto glanced over Yahiko's shoulders and saw their target rolling down the dirt road. It was a large craft, pulled by a team of four horses, and even so it looked as though they were struggling to make the object move across the ground. A small man in a heavy, hooded brown cloak sat in front of the caravan and directed the horses, his face impossible to see. Two more men on horses rode on either side of the caravan as well, similarly cloaked.
Nagato was the first to speak up, "Alright Naruto. We're going to step in and cause some chaos. All you have to do is get into that caravan and make the switch."
Naruto nodded, "Yeah, yeah, I already know what the job is. C'mon, I'm tired of waiting."
Yahiko grinned, "Alright then. Let's go."
The cloaked man glanced up from his reigns as he felt, rather then saw, a change in the environment. How curious...there was a man standing in the middle of the road. He was tall, had strong, boyish features, shining blonde hair, and even from this long distance it was impossible to miss the confidance that he oozed off. The cloaked man pulled up on his reigns and the caravan came to a halt.
"And who might you be?" the cloaked man called out, loud enough so that so that the man could hear him clearly.
The confidant blonde man grinned, "These are dangerous territories friend. The Demon Lord Kyuubi owns these woods ya know."
The cloaked man nodded, "Yes, but we do have a pair of pretty good Hunters with us for protection," he gestured to the two men on horseback, who's hands were currently resting just a little too nonchalantly over their laps, "And besides, the Kyuubi doesn't have any problem with people using the road for transportation, and doesn't go out killing people on a whim. I think that we are pretty safe for now."
The blonde man grinned savagely, "Think again."
Naruto slipped behind the caravan, a wide grin plastered on his face. This was far too easy. With any luck, he could slip in, make the switch, and slip out before Yahiko and the others even had to start any fighting.
Quiet as a mouse, Naruto slipped into the back beneath the tarp, and nearly had his head caved in by two pounds of cast-iron. There was a young woman standing there, perhaps 20 or so human years old, strikingly pretty with green eyes and unusual pink hair. She held a heavy frying pan in her hands and the look on her face told him that she was more then prepared to swing it at his head again if he should come closer.
"Sorry about this lady," he whispered. Faster then her untrained human eyes could detect, he dashed for her throat. He wouldn't hurt her, not really, but he needed to silence her before she yelled out and broke his cover. He closed his clawed hand over her throat and began to constict, blocking the flow of oxygen to the lungs. She made a sort of struggling gurgling noise and tried to slam her frying pan into his head again but his other hand grabbed around her wrist to stop her.
Just as he started to see her eyes grow hazy, a small sound to the side caught his attention. He turned his head and his eyes opened wide in shock. Tucked away into the corner was a small wooden cradle, and sitting inside of it was the tiniest little thing that Naruto had ever seen. The baby looked like it would fit into the palm of his hand, and although was clearly asleep, was fussing about underneath it's blankets. It's head was covered with extremely short, fuzzy pink fur. It was clear that they had attempted to push the baby out of view in the dark inside of the caravan, but it was still only a few feet away.
Unfortunately, Naruto's hand reacted before his brain had a chance to, and he slackened his grip on the woman's wrist in order to reach out to the baby. This was all the woman needed to swing her pan in a ferocious arc, directly into Demon boy's face.
Naruto let out a cry of pain and dropped the woman, staggering backwards and clutching the side of his face as it throbbed with pain.
"GET AWAY FROM MY DAUGHTER YOU BASTARD!" The woman cried.
Naruto gulped, praying against all possible odds that the people outside hadn't heard that.
An explosion of golden fox-fire outside told him that his prayers were not going to be answered today.
"Listen lady," Naruto growled out, "I don't need to hurt you or your daughter. Just get out of my way and nothing will happen to either of you."
The woman glared at him and stood her ground, but he could see the bead of sweat rolling down her wide forehead. She was afraid. More explosions of golden fox-fire lit up the outside, along with blasts of dark purple and pale cream colors, Nagato's and Konan's fox-fire respectfully. Naruto was surprised. Whomever it was that was protecting the caravan must be good if Yahiko needed help.
"You're not going to get away with this." The woman growled at him, "We have the best Hunter there is with us. Your friends out there are are good as beat."
Naruto scoffed. There wasn't a Hunter alive who could take down Yahiko, Nagato, and Konan all at the same time. He told her so.
"You're wrong about that." She replied, "This guy is unreal. You'll see." Suddenly she grinned, "Looks like one of your friends is already down."
Naruto's eyes flicked to the bursting lights and he immediatly understood her reasoning. The cream-colored bursts had dissapeared. There was only one explination for why that could be. Konan was out of the fight. She was either down, or had retreated. Since he knew that Konan wasn't the type to retreat, he knew that it had to be the former. Now it was his turn to break into a cold sweat. Within a few moments the purple flashes stopped as well.
Nagato was down, Yahiko was alone out there. Naruto didn't wait around any longer, he dashed out of the caravan and dashed over to where the flashes had been.
Naruto's eyes opened wide in shock at the scene before him. Four figures lay unmoving on the ground, two of whom Naruto recognized immediately as Konan and Nagato, both appearing to be unconscious with deep bruises on their foreheads. The other two were the two Hunters who had been riding the horses, and were similarly injured.
But it was the standing figure whom Naruto was most interested in, "YAHIKO!"
The tall blonde looked different from any other time that Naruto had seen him, tense and nervous, his eyes glinting with something that was so foreign to those eyes that at first Naruto didn't recognize it. When he did, it sent a chill up his spine. It was fear. Yahiko was afraid. His fear filled eyes darted towards Naruto when the boy called out to him.
"NARUTO, GET OUT OF HERE NOW!"
Naruto slowly shook his head, he didn't understand what was happening, and he could see no enemy for Yahiko to be fearing. He began to run towards the downed figure of Konan.
"NO NARUTO! LEAVE THEM, JUST RUN!"
A glint of something very small appeared at the ground by Yahiko's feet, and the powerful Kitsune's eyes opened wide in shock. He tried to move out of the way, but he wasn't fast enough. A crouching figure appeared next to Yahiko so quickly that it was as though he had simply blinked into existance. With blinding speed he wrapped one hand around Yahiko's head and yanked it down, throwing his own knee up to meet Yahiko's forehead. The sickening crack left no doubt that there was increadible force behind the blow.
Yahiko's eyes rolled back in his head as he crumpled to the ground. Naruto was alone.
The warrior that had taken Yahiko down was the same cloaked man that had been directing the caravan earlier. He turned his head slowly to glance at Naruto, who still couldn't see the man's face because of the hood. He seemed to give Naruto a light nod as though of acknowledgement.
"Hey kiddo," the man spoke to Naruto, "Don't you worry, I didn't kill them. I aint even gonna stop you from bringing them back to the Kyuubi's place."
Naruto gulped, "Who are you?"
The cloaked man tilted his head slightly to the side as though in confusion, then he wordlessly reached up to his cloak and slipped it off.
"I gotta say, I'm sort of dissapointed. I would have thought that the Kyuubi's kid would know enough to recognize the Flying Thunder God by his technique."
The man looked...actually somewhat similar to Yahiko. Tall, messy blonde hair, blue eyes, good-looking and confidant face, and he absolutely radiated power. Underneath the cloak he wore an ornate white coat with flame patterns on the bottom and the sleeves. He looked even more the spitting image of Naruto then Yahiko did.
Naruto didn't recognize him, "Flying Thunder God? What the heck are you talking about?"
For a moment the man looked affronted, then he just sighed, "Really? I thought that I left a better impression then that. I mean its not every day that a guy takes on an S class demon and lives, right?"
Naruto's eyes opened wide in shock, "What are you talking about, took on an S class demon? Are you trying to say that..." he couldn't even finish the sentance.
The man seemed to get back his previous bravado, "That's right kiddo! My name is Namikaze Minato, known world-wide as the Flying Thunder God, and also the only S ranked hunter in the world because I took on the almight Kyuubi no Kitsune 1-on-1 and I not only lived, I kicked the living snot out of the arrogant fox!"
Naruto shook his head, "I don't believe it. I'm Naruto no Kitsune, the crowned prince of the Fox clan, and the only son of the Kyuubi no Kitsune. I have seen what the Lord Kyuubi can do up close, and I refuse to believe that anyone can beat that kind of power."
Minato raised an eyebrow, "Well whatever. Like I said, you can take your wounded and leave if you like, I won't stop you. I get what this was, just a simple little initiation thing for a newly realized Kitsune. I'd have let you just get on with it if your friends hadn't attacked when the little lady in there yelled out. I think that they thought their cover was blown so they had to buy you some time. Now if you don't mind, I gotta go check on said little lady to make sure that she's alright."
The man turned towards the caravan and nonchalantly walked past Naruto and towards the back entrance. A moment before he entered, he turned back to Naruto, "Oh and one more thing. Tell Kyu that I said hi." he gave a brilliant grin that was eerily similar to Naruto's own, and dissapeared into the caravan.
Naruto waited a moment to make sure that the man, Minato, wasn't coming back out, and then he slung Yahiko over his shoulder, grabbed Konan and Nagato in each of his hands, and took off into the woods.
Naruto watched from the corner of the room as an attractive young vixen continued to apply a healing balm onto Yahiko's forehead with considerable more lovingness then was stricktly needed. He didn't know why Yahiko wasn't healing on his own, like all Kitsune's could, but he supposed something must be stopping him. The same was true for Konan and Nagato, who were being tended to in seperate rooms.
The sliding door on the far side of the room creaked open and Naruto turned to see another Fox walk into the infermary. The newcomer gestured for Naruto to come outside with him and Naruto nodded his consent.
"I'll tell you when Yahiko awakens." The medical girl told him, and he thanked her and walked outside with the other fox.
"Prince Naruto," The man stated in a highly formal manner, "The Great Lord Kyuubi no Kitsune has requested an audience with you in the throne room."
Naruto nodded, "Did Lord Kyuubi state what this was about?" he asked.
The messenger shook his head in the negative, "No, but I will say, our lord did not at all seem happy."
Naruto gulped as he stood outside the enormous double-doors that lead to the throne room. Mahogany wood with red paint and gold inlay that formed the image of the Kyuubi's full beast form. Even the picture was terrifying to behold. A part of him couldn't help but love his parent, but a part of Naruto also knew that he was afraid of these meetings.
Slowly he edged open one of the doors and walked inside.
The throne room was really more of a throne hall, nearly 50 yards long from the doors to the throne itself. Jet black marble made up the floor, and every few feet there was a pair of crimson pillars on each edge that held up a large lanturn of blood-red flames, the Kyuubi's own fox-fire. Half-way through the hall there was a large curcular pit that was also alight with blood-red flames. The place would have been pitch black if not for this fire, lacking any windows or other places for light to enter. The ceiling was so high that it was impossible to see, instead opening up into a huge black emptyness overhead.
Naruto walked down the hallway, around the fire pit, and saw the throne itself. A huge chair that was far too opulently designed for practicality. The seat itself was covered with red leather that came from the hides of creatures that Naruto honestly didn't want to know. The back and sides were enormous, forged from pure gold and shaped into the form of nine curling tendrils of flame.
But none of this opulence could even begin to overshadow the being of sheer raw power that sat upon the throne, the Kyuubi no Kitsune in the flesh. Legs lazily hung over one of the arms rests, head propped up by one arm, crimson hair cascading down over the shoulders, razor claws and fangs, two fox-like ears sticking out from the top of the head, a single blood-red fox tail extending from the base of the spine and wrapped around the waist, eight floating orbs of fox-fire floating in the air in a perfect arc, a single tail growing out of each one, and an aura of demonic energy that was so potent that it actually obscured the face of the being at its core.
"Naruto," the being spoke in a voice that held so much power that the room seemed to vibrate with it, "I am glad to see you my son."
Naruto fell to his knees and bowed deeply, "It's very good to see you as well...mother."
End Naruto's Flashback
Naruto shook his head as he walked out of Iruka's home and into the open air. His memories had taken him farther then he had wanted to go this day, and he knew that it would only get worse. It didn't help anyone to dewll on the past. He walked out and glanced at his two friends to either side.
Sasuke noticed Naruto's look of discomfort, "What's the matter with you dobe?" he asked.
Naruto shook his head, "It's nothing. C'mon, we need to see these bodies."
Garra raised an eyebrow, "You want to go into the village with those hunters still there?"
Naruto grinned, "You afraid, Garra?"
The Tanuki Demon turned his head away, "Don't be rediculous. But it isn't smart to disturb a bee-hive."
Naruto nodded, "Yeah, I know...but I have to see for myself."
More Author Notes:
Toad Demons: The Toads are especially notable as the only Demons that are truly friendly towards humans. They are kindly, benevolent, and admire humanity for its ability to survive for so long despite their innate weakness. Most are known for hanging around mountains as hermits and helping out any humans who happen to stumble across them. They do however have a homeland, the Grand Sage Swamps which is home to the lord of one of the Five Demon Kingdoms. This Kingdom has the greatest number of humans living within it, and is considered to be something of a paradise for them. Because of their innate kindness, most humans don't think of them as demons, instead refering to them as the Toad Sages.
The Toads have three powers innate to themselves, though most only ever achieve much prowess with one. The first the first of these powers is the fact that their bodies generate enormous quantities of oil that they can excrete through their mouths or skin. This oil has several qualities, the first being that it is extremely flammable, combusting on contact with even a small spark, and burning at an extremely high temperature. The oil is also very slick, and if it remains in contact with the air for long enough, becomes as sticky and tough as super-glue. In small quantities the oil can also however have medicinal qualities. The second of the Toad powers is the abilite to generate swamps around them, including all the murky waters and bog flora that comes with it. The more powerful the Toad Demon, the larger the swamp. After this swamp is created, the Toad has a high degree of control over it, being able to control the water and the plants to attack their foes, or protect travellers. Some have said that the Grand Sage Swamps, over 500 miles in diameter, were made by Jiraiya himself. The third power of the Toads is the ability to draw in power from nature. They borrow tiny bits of life energy from all the living things in the area and use it to revitalize their own strength. Any Toad can learn any of these techniques, but they take so much practice that rarely do you find one who is a master at more then one. Jirayia is the only Toad Demon in existance who has mastered all three Toad techniques.
Some notable Toads include Jirayia, Gamabunta, Ma and Pa toad, and Gamamichi.
Rabbit Demons: If any one word can be used to describe the Rabbit Demon's general behavior, it would be "horny". The Rabbits are unique in this world in that every single one of them are female. Because of that, they cannot reproduce on their own, instead they require a male human to inpregnate them. Perhaps because of this, they are also the only demons who are born already capable of taking a fully human form, and must train hard to be able to take a beast form, rather then the other way around. Somehow, they do not give birth to half-demons. Although the fathers are always human, the babies are still full demon. Because they are weak, and are easy prey for more powerful demons, they breed often. However while some horny men might think that these demons are godsends, they are trully to be feared, for after they impregnate themselves, they have no more use of the human male and murder him, lest he cause trouble by desiring to see his daughter. In fact, they are so superstiscious about this, that if a Rabbit Demon does fall for the human that they chose as a "doner", both the mother and the baby are killed, in fear that the affection might infect the others. The mothers group together in large nomadic collonies (often posing as gypsies) and take care of the babies togehter until the baby is old enough to continue the cycle.
Rabbit Demons have very little power. They are barely stronger then humans, and have no elemental powers to speak of. The one power that they do have however, is a pheramone that they excrete that, if inhaled by a human male, will take over that human's mind and will force them to do whatever the Rabbit wants them to do, unless the human has the willpower to fight off the control. Most Rabbits have to release these pheramones through the mouth, it entering their victem in the form of a kiss, however the most powerful of them can exude the pheramones through their skin as well, making it much harder to avoid. Fortunately for man-kind, they are simply not very powerful demons, and even if they are the kind who train constantly and work themselves to the bone to try and get stronger, they simply do not ever achieve more then rank B (and even this is rare).
Some notable Rabbits include Ino and her old group.
Hawk Demons: Fear them. Fear them all. The Hawk Demons are second only to the Snakes as the most malevolent of all demon types. They are prideful, they are arrogant, and they look down on everyone who is not Hawk. They are not like Snakes who wish to slaughter and destroy, rather they wish to rule and command all those who are weaker then them, only killing those who refuse to submit. They live in a very highly structured caste system, where each higher caste rules the lower caste absolutely, even to the point where they can freely kill those of the lower caste without any reprecussions at all. At the top of this system is Madara himself, one of the Five Demon Lords, followed by the lesser lords, the masters, the warriors, the soldiers, the workers, the peasants, and finally the filth. If one wishes to rise up from one caste to another, they must simply prove that they are powerful or intelligent enough to be worthy of such. Of course, even the filth is, to them, of a higher level then any human, or most any other demon. They will not stop until they command the entire world.
The Hawk's most obvious advantage are their wings, through which they can fly, an ability which they claim gives then dominion over all others, since they can always see them. And indeed their vision is the next of their abilities. Although they cannot see through walls like the Hyuuga, or read muscle movements like the Uchiha, they can see for miles and miles and miles, so clearly that they could count the number of ants in an anthill from thousands of feet in the air. For more combatative purposes, they have the ability to control wind, creating gale force gusts, tornados and hurricanes, and can even control air pressure enough to create powerful storms. Some of the most powerful can even create a vaccum bubble around their enemies to suffocate them to death. On top of this, their wings also have another advantage in that their feathers, while as light as any other, are also as hard as steel and as sharp as razorblades. They can use their wings as biological swords, or they can fire their feathers at their enemies in a rain of deadly blades.
Some notable Hawks include Madara, his little brother Tobi, Juugo, and Karin.
Caterpillar/Butterfly Demons: The only other demon besides the Toads which one might argue is not intentionally antagonistic towards humans. However unlike the Toads they are not at all good for humans. Caterpillars are even more pathetic and helpless then Rabbits, and as such they also have to ensure their survival through means other then strength, that being the fact that when they give birth, they give birth a lot. An average clutch contains roughly 20 babies, each one about the size of a person's index finger at birth. However they grow very, very quickly, becoming 10 times this size within their first week. To do this, of course, they must eat, and eat a lot. Caterpillars are vegitarian, at least until they have grown, and one clutch of babies can strip a farmer's fields bare in a single night, and a large portion of the surrounding trees with them. They are locusts who cause extraordinary damage to the surrounding area. When they grow up, they slow down their eating somewhat, but not much. They still require copious amounts of food to keep up with their enormous metabolism. Despite this metabolism, they still always manage to gain copious amounts of weight to the point of near obesity. Of course, they are not malevolent and they don't mean to eat entire villages out of house and home, they just have to in order to stay alive, and staying alive is very important to them. Despite having such large clutches, it's not common to find adults, since they are so weak and defenceless that less then 1% of them reach adulthood. Out of those who do reach adulthood, even fewer ever reach the final stage of their developement
Although their powers as Caterpillars are minimal, even pathetic, their most impressive ability being that they can swell their bodies up like balloons as a defense mechanism. Some who train very hard for a very long time manage to have a certain degree of control over this, only inflating certian parts of their bodies, such as their fists, but even then they never reach past C class. However, they do have a secret, much like that of the Foxes, which holds a power which is phenomenal to say the least. Of those Caterpillars who reach full maturity, some, rarely, create a cocoon that they go into for nearly an entire month. In this stage they are even more helpless then before, but if they manage to survive the whole month, something miraculous occurs. They emerge from the coccon transformed, empowered into the Butterfly Demons. In this form they loose all of their excesss weight, grow beautiful, enormous Butterfly wings, and achieve a level of power which few others can claim to have. Their strength and speed increase until they are nearly on par with the Monkey demons, and they gain the ability to cause plantlife to grow at an increadibly fast rate at their whim. Although no Butterflies have achieved S rank, the vast majority of them are A ranked demons.
Some notable Caterpillars/Butterflies include Chouji and his father Chouza
Sea Demons: Sea Demons are unique in that they are not correlated to any specific creature of the sea, but to sea creatures in general. One might be shark-based, while his own father had connections to Sea Turtles, and his son a lionfish. Because of this, their character and even their abilities are usually all over the map. What they all have in common however is that they all are capable of coming up on land, but they all preffer to live under the sea. They tend to be reclusive and unconcerned with matters of things going on above the sea, because it does not concern them. Very little is known about the culture of Sea Demons, and many legends about them persist, perhaps true, perhaps not. It is highly susupected that there is at least one enormous under-sea city where many of them live (some have suggested as many as over one-million), but this is still not confirmed. Some people believe that it would be more prudent to break the Sea Demons up into various types (such as Shark, Octopus, ect. Demons), but because the different types of Sea Demons don't seem to function on a lineage based system, most still consider them to be a single breed.
Because of their various types, Sea Demons have a variety of powers and abilities, usually having some correlation as to the Sea creature that they emulate. A Shark might be extremely strong, fast, and vicious, whereas an Octopus can generate ink from their bodies which they can shoot from their mouths like a canon. However there is one ability which is uniform throughout all Sea Demons, that being a certain degree of hydrokenisis, the ability to manipulate water. Powerful Sea Demons can create whirlpools, tidal waves, or even huge whips made of water that they have complete control over (whereas weaker ones can simply control water current to make high-speed swimming easier). Because of their reclusiveness and secrecy, it is unknown just how powerful Sea Demons can become, and there are even theories that a sixth (or even more) S class demons may exist among them, however these are likely nothing more then theories and rumors.
Some notable Sea Demons include Kisame and Suigetsu.
Reviews: My reason for existing!
silverspetz: Hello Muse. Glad you enjoyed my most recent couple chapters. In regards to Hinata trusting Kiba, that is her major weakness as a character, she is far too trusting. It's probably going to get her into trouble one of these days, but it's also part of what Kiba likes about her. And yeah, Kiba's reasonings will become apparent with time. Despite having pretty good reasons for what he did at the time, it is still the time that he looks back on as his worst moment because of his actions. You'll find that everyone in Naruto's group has things in their past that they regret (or very adamantly do not regret despite what it did to them).
9-tailed reaper: Uh, yeah that was Neji. I didn't mean for that to really be very debatable, I meant for it to be obvious that it was Neji...maybe I should have been more direct...
Blood Seraph: Yup, 5 tails to go and the last one is a BIG jump. Naruto has obscenely enormous potential, but he won't get there overnight. Of course his persistance, obstinance, and durability play a big part in that :p I didn't say if Minato was dead or alive, though given the time-line that I have just given in this chapter, he would be at least 61 years old by now if he were still alive.
As for your imput on the actual chapter, thanks a bunch! Yeah, Kiba knew how to get to her where no-one else did (although he was partially channelling Naruto here, having seen how well Naruto inspires others). I do love Kiba x Hinata as well (much better then Naruto x Hinata...it is amazing how subtle differences between two characters can make a world of difference when it comes to that). And then there's...him...the man in the shadows, the director of our little play...WHO IS HE? MWA HA HA HA HA HA! *cough-wheeze* anyways, yeah, he will show up plenty more times.
PeaceForEternity: Minato isn't Naruto's daddy for three reasons. 1: He is human while Naruto is full demon, and I didn't want Naruto to be a half-demon (because someone else is...). 2: It would be SO obvious because he is already Naruto's pappy in the original story, and although it works fantastically for that story, I think that it works better here for what Minato's purpose is, if he is not Naruto's dad. And 3: He is someone elses daddy.
BUM BUM BUM!
Namikaze Soul: Hm? Hanabi? That is an excellent question, and it has an excellent answer. I'm not going to tell it to you, but it does have an excellent answer.
bathedinblood: Wow, high praise indeed. Thanks a bunch! Yeah, I like conflict and turmoil, and Kiba's and Hinata's story is going to have its serious ups and downs.
Everyone who asked about getting to the NaruSaku moments, don't you worry your little heads :P They will come, and they will have many different types. Neither of them are very sweet on the other at first, but that will change. And for Naruto it will change soon (maybe not for a bit longer for Sakura).
Everyone else: Arigato friends! I do love to know that someone appreciates my work!