I've thought about making this crossover for a very long time. I've always imagined what it would be like for the resident emo…er Grim Reaper to step into the world of Naruto. There's so many ways it can all go wrong but there can be only one true ending.
I don't know how often I'd be able to update it. I'd like to make it weekly, but that's pushing it. Maybe every two weeks? I don't know. But if enough people like it, then I'd update it regularly.
'Thinking with emphasis/telepathic conversation'
Deus Ex Machina
Refers to the practice in Greek drama of lowering by crane (the mechane) an actor playing a god or goddess onto the stage to resolve an insuperable conflict in the plot.
The latin word for death.
Mors Ex Machina
Chapter 1: Foresight
It was a dark night in the Tohno household.
Everyone but Shiki had fallen asleep in peace, leaving the young man to fall into pieces as he tossed and turned in his bed.
Never had he dreamt so vividly in his entire life. He usually dreamed of his past or the occasional 'What if' with Arcueid, which often were pleasant.
But this time was too nightmarish for words.
While the sweat dripped from his cheeks, he saw himself on the top of the mountain whilst the sun sunk low. Overlooking the vast plains of forest, he saw many dead men and women and white zombie like monsters with a wild grin on their plastered faces.
He looked over the ground from his perch and saw that there were some men and women alive but they were battling the same zombie like monsters. An array of colors could be seen as they used what looked like magic to destroy the monsters.
"This can't be right. These soldiers are fighting a war they can't win." He commented.
But Shiki wasn't dull anymore. He knew that he didn't intentionally say that. 'What the? What am I saying? Of course this is a dream so I have no—'
But his body moved without hesitation, running down the mountain as he brandished in his right hand, a red handled knife with a white blade.
'What happened to the Nanaya knife? Did I lose it somewhere?' He thought, noticing the new weapon.
But his body kept moving till he was in sight of the shoreline where the fighting was thickest. He dove in past the 'soldiers' and started hacking away at the closest white zombie.
It was at this point that Shiki noticed something that should be there. 'I'm not wearing my glasses but I'm not seeing the lines. No dots either.'
Suddenly he heard a high pitched growl. He turned around, swinging his knife, and slashed open the neck of the zombie like creature as it fell on top of him. Shiki pushed the corpse away and continued cutting down the zombies one by one until he made his way to a pair of 'soldiers' fighting back to back.
"Hinata, your left!" He yelled.
The white eyed girl gracefully spun, evading the right armed thrust of the zombie. She spun till she was facing its back where she thrust a right open palm onto it. The zombie dropped dead instantly.
Suddenly a zombie jumped onto Shiki pinning him to the ground. But before he could use his knife, the zombie thrust its right hand through his chest, ripping his heart out.
The world turned black.
Shiki woke up in a start and instinctively looked around the room. He saw black lines and a few black dots all over the place in some nearly random pattern.
"Thank God. I finally woke up." He reassured.
He looked at the small counter to his left and saw his glasses next to the lamp. Pulling it over his eyes, the dull headache he felt had left along with the black lines and dots.
He took several deep breaths as he gathered his thoughts together. It was a nightmare too close to home and too real to forget. He needed to calm down.
'I didn't think it would be that bad. But maybe I should've woken myself up before he yanked away my heart. But who were those people? How did I even know the girl? Too many questions and not enough answers. There has to be a reason for this. There just has to.'
He calmed himself a little bit more and waited for a few minutes.
When his heartbeat finally softened, he got out of bed and noticed it was 5 am. He knew this because the sky out his window was brightening into that familiar light blue hue.
Shiki walked over to the window and swung it open, allowing the morning breeze to sweep past his skin. He inhaled the fresh air and briefly looked at the sky.
'It's another beautiful day. I hope my mornings will be better than my nights this time.' He thought as he turned around and headed for his dresser.
Fully dressed in his blue high school uniform, the sixteen year old boy walked down the stairs of the Tohno mansion.
It was quiet and all he heard were the sounds of his own steps.
'That's odd. Kohaku and Akiha should be up by now.' He thought as he saw no sign of them.
Pacing into the living room, he noticed it was empty. He walked into the kitchen…no avail.
"I guess I'm the earliest today." He commented.
Shiki turned around and was headed for the door till it swung open allowing a red-headed girl in a brown kimono to crash into him.
The two backed off and apologized at the same time. It was awkward yet homely.
"I'm really sorry, Shiki-san." Kohaku said as she adjusted the blue ribbon on her head and dusted off her kimono.
"It's alright." Shiki answered with a sheepish grin. "I wasn't looking either."
With her composure restored, the young maid politely bowed before saying, "It's great to see you so early this morning Shiki-san. But why so early?"
Shiki sighed and said, "I couldn't really sleep in anymore. I just woke up today."
Kohaku giggled, her amber eyes glowing with delight. "I hope that you can wake up like that everyday. It'd make Akiha-sama really happy. Me as well."
Shiki smiled once more. He was unable to feel down around her. "I'll try. Yeah…I think I will wake up earlier."
"Ah, have you eaten Shiki-san? What would you like?" Kohaku asked with a polite smile.
Shiki wasn't too sure yet. He just woke up and didn't feel that hungry at the moment. "Well…I'm not really hungry yet. But I guess I'll have some milk and eggs. Is that alright?"
Kohaku replied. "Yes. I'll prepare them right away. Akiha-sama is waiting for you in the living room."
While the young maid took to her task, Shiki decided now would be the best time to visit his younger sister. He walked over to the living room and sat on the couch across the one Akiha was seated.
She sat there, her white headband on the crown of her head holding in place her long flowing, dark brown hair that elegantly draped over her shoulders. She had sharp yet beautiful features. Her every move was filled with grace so much that lifting her teacup from its saucer left little to no wrinkles in her white and blue sailor uniform. Taking a brief sip, she set it back down carefully and gracefully.
"You know Akiha, you can actually wear our school uniform." Shiki said in a playful manner. "It wouldn't be so bad considering you're entering 2nd year of our high school."
"That wouldn't do onii-san." Akiha retorted with mild amusement. "I was given permission to wear my old school uniform while I wait for the new ones to arrive."
The older brother sighed. "At this rate, you'll follow me through college wearing the same outfit…though that wouldn't be too bad."
"And what exactly are you implying, nii-san?" Akiha asked with a cold glare.
Shiki shook his head and said, "Nothing too embarrassing. I just wish you'd wear cuter clothes, that's all."
Akiha was slightly flustered by that comment. "Wha- it wouldn't be proper of the head of the household to be seen in such attire."
"Yeah. I guess not." Shiki replied, a hint of disappointment in his voice. 'I guess I can't expect everything to be back to normal.'
Despite this, he was more than happy that that was his only crisis as compared to what happened a year ago. 'So much has changed in a year. Ciel-sempai is nowhere to be found. All the stray ghouls are gone. Nrvnqsr and Roa are dead, and Arcueid…Arcueid…'
"Nii-san…" Akiha muttered with a worried look.
Shiki looked back at Akiha and saw the worried look she was giving him. "I'm alright. I just remembered a few things."
"Oh." Akiha breathed, as she gave him an understanding look. "It's been over a year now since that incident occurred. Were you able to settle it?"
Shiki paused for a moment. But he lifted his head and said, "Yeah. I think I understand why Arcueid could never be with me." A warm yet longing look washed over his face. "Had we stayed together, we'd be killing forever. A never ending cycle till it's only me and her. It was for the best I guess."
Akiha replied, "We all go through difficulties nii-san. But there are no accidents in life. Everything has a place and purpose in its own time. Sometimes it is right to wait, other times it is right to go. But if we do not listen, we will never know."
"If only it were so simple." Shiki stated.
"But life is simple nii-san." Akiha answered. "We simply complicate things."
Shiki chuckled a little. She was right. Completely so. He had complicated his life in so many ways.
Suddenly a worried red-headed girl in french maid clothing entered the room.
Shiki turned to see the girl and said, "Oh. Sorry Hisui, I should've told you I woke up early."
Hisui was still worried. Most especially since she wasn't able to perform her duty. But she accepted his apology and returned his words with a polite bow. "Shiki-sama. Please inform me if you need anything else."
Shiki nodded as Hisui walked to the side and stood in polite attention, hands resting in front of her.
Akiha simply gazed at the maid until she confirmed that the young girl was no longer uneasy. She returned her gaze to Shiki and asked, "Nii-san, it is rare for you to wake up this early. Why are you up?"
Shiki replied, "I really couldn't sleep past 5."
Akiha's eyebrows rose a little. "I'm grateful for that. Maybe now you'll learn a little bit of discipline. You'll be entering college soon so you must learn to be more responsible."
Shiki rose from his seat and said, "Yeah, I guess so. I'll go and eat breakfast. Thank you for the conversation Akiha."
Akiha replied with a more cheerful tone, "You're always welcome nii-san."
After a hearty breakfast, Shiki walked out of his house and down the road to his school. He still kept upbeat trying hard not to ruin the day.
'That's all in the past now. Arcuied will sleep with a pleasant memory. Though… I still miss her.' He thought.
The young man walked past the busy Japanese intersection and saw the old swing where he spent time with Arcueid. He smiled as he vividly projected the memory on the swings, imagining it like was yesterday.
He remembered standing by the swing's bars while the blonde princess sat in its swing.
'Yeah. We did a lot of useless things.'
Gazing at the projection on the swings, He smiled as he remembered placing a hand on the chain as a younger blonde girl in a purple tank top and skirt passed in front of the swings.
He returned to reality as he saw the silhouette of a young blue-eyed blonde girl wearing a purple tank top and skirt standing passed the swings, as if looking for something.
'Is she lost?' He thought, thinking he was seeing someone's ghost, looking for its body.
He walked a little closer, wondering what to do as the girl suddenly shrugged her shoulders and said, "Why did it fail? I've done it a hundred times and it never fails like this."
Shiki nodded confirming his suspicions. He tapped her on the shoulder, causing the girl to whirl around in surprise.
"Don't worry. I'm here to help." Shiki reassured her.
The young girl was unsure about this guy. However it was the first time someone in this strange place actually saw and talked to her let alone touch her.
"Are you looking for your body by any chance?" Shiki asked her.
The young girl stood in utter surprise. "Yes. How did you know?"
Shiki replied, "You're wandering around in your soul form. I'm pretty sure you're looking for your body. Do you remember anything before running around as a ghost?"
The young girl saw he meant no harm. She was able to relax more at this point. "I was using my family's secret jutsu and missed hitting the target. So instead of transferring to the dummy, I wound up waking up by an alleyway. It's so strange."
Shiki nodded and said, "I don't know much about magic but from the sound of your explanation, I'm guessing you normally don't wake up anywhere else."
The girl nodded this time. "I'm supposed to be in my body by now. What is this place by the way?"
'A complete foreigner, huh.' Shiki concluded. "You're in Japan. It's a country much farther from yours I think."
"Farther than Hi no Kuni?" the girl asked. (1)
'VERY FAR.' Shiki thought. 'I've never even heard of that place. It sounds like an old Japanese mythological village.'
He gathered his wits hoping to find a rational explanation. But he was too stumped by the idea that she was a ghost of some mage from a suspiciously Japanese sounding place.
The young man told her, "It must be. I've never heard of Hi no Kuni. I doubt anyone here does."
The girl was confused and puzzled. There was no one who has never heard of the land she came from. Even the farthest villages in the snowy north have heard and travelled to her homeland. "So where the heck am I?"
Shiki still had no idea how to deal with this. He was good at killing things, not saving things. But an idea came to mind. "Maybe if we go back to the point of origin, you'll be able to head back into your body."
"Oh, okay." The young girl replied, a little sheepish and embarrassed that she was helpless in this strange place.
She led him passed the several streets, still in wide-eyed wonder of the many things that looked familiar and the things that looked strange. But when she made the next turn, she pointed ahead and said, "This is the place."
Shiki and the girl walked down the alleyway, passed the few hobos that lay by the side. It was a fairly depressing place filled with papers and cardboard amidst the concrete walls. At the end of the alleyway, they came upon a cracked piece of wall with a single red rose blooming from it.
Shiki raised his hand over the rose. 'Not the rose huh. Though it's faint, this doesn't seem to be the source.'
He waved his hand over the cracked wall and felt a strange but familiar tingling sensation roll from his fingertips up to his spine.
'I wonder if he really knows what he's doing.' The young girl thought, still skeptical of this strange teen.
"Well, it seems I've found our problem." Shiki answered.
"So what happened?" she asked him.
Shiki turned to face her. "There's a protective barrier that's keeping you here. And from the feel of it, it's been recently crafted. When you did your technique, you somehow ended up going through a portal and exited here. But by chance, some mage found the portal and plugged it just as you exited."
"Huh?" the young girl gasped, barely understanding what he said.
Shiki scratched his head wondering how to shape his theory into simpler terms. "Well, I don't know how else to explain it without more jargons but I think this rose here has something to do with the portal."
He stepped aside allowing the blonde girl to look at the rose. Instantly, she recognized it. "This is my rose. I was holding on to it when I did my jutsu. So I really did go through a portal."
He answered, "I guess that confirms it. I think the portal is still active. If I cut down the barrier, you'll be able to return."
The blonde girl put her hands together and smiled. "Thank you. Thank you so much. I'm sorry for all the trouble."
He shook his head and said, "It's nothing. I'm just glad to help."
He faced the cracked wall and pulled down his glasses. The headache returned but he was able to see the intricate magical seal over the cracked wall. Pulling out his knife, he made one swift stroke on a horizontal black line. The seal broke apart, leaving a gaping inter-dimensional hole. As swiftly as it opened, the blonde girl's soul and her rose were sucked in and the hole collapsed on itself as the cracked wall fell apart.
"Er…I guess I cut it too deep this time." Shiki commented as he put on his glasses once more.
He sighed as he said, "We didn't even know each other's names."
The road to school had become hardwired in the young man. He could walk there with his eyes closed and still make it in time for first period.
It was a good thing too. As of now, Shiki wondered about things that had happened earlier while he paced to his school.
'First the nightmare, then the ghost. If a third event occurs, I'm going to find out what's going on.'
As the school came into view, he felt a familiar presence behind him. He turned and saw his red-headed delinquent of a friend, Arihiko.
"Tohno my man! How's it goin?" the brash guy asked.
Shiki replied, "Actually, I'm a little worried."
"Really Now? On what?" Arihiko asked as he slung his left arm over his neck. "If it's about Satsuki, I can't help you."
Shiki chuckled a little. "No, not that. Have you ever seen a ghost before?"
Arihiko replied, "Like a real one? As in, blood on the walls kind?"
Shiki huffed in discontent. Maybe talking to Arihiko wasn't such a good idea.
"You know, I think I kinda did once." Arihiko added. "I visit my parents' grave now and then but the other day, I think I saw a big-ass frog leap around."
"A frog?" Shiki asked, not sure if he could believe it. "Was there anything unusual about the frog?"
Arihiko replied, "Yeah, it wore a blue vest like the guys in Okinawa. I told my sister about it but she hit me with a bag of ice."
"I guess not everybody is that gullible." Shiki taunted.
But Arihiko rung his arm around Shiki's neck in a vice grip. "HAHA. Very funny. I hope that mouth of yours get's you in trouble one day."
Shiki tapped out allowing Arihiko to drop his arm. "Careful there Arihiko. It might come true and I'd tell everybody it was your idea."
They bantered like this for a few more minutes till they noticed that less students were passing through the gate.
"Yikes. I'm going inside before the gate closes. See you later Tohno!" with that, Arihiko waved goodbye and ran past the closing school gate.
Shiki, on the other hand was too bothered by what Arihiko said. There was something really off about all this but he had no clue what to do about it. "Oh, yeah! I could ask the Burial Agency. Maybe they know what's going on."
After an hour of running, he arrived at the nearest Catholic Church he saw Ciel enter on occasion. It was a small, stone chapel with a cross standing at the center of the roof.
He pushed passed the double doors and walked down the red carpeted aisle. As he walked closer to the podium, he voiced out, "Hello? I'm a friend of Ciel. I'd like to make a report on suspicious activity."
Not five seconds later, a green eyed nun with scars on her neck walked out of the backdoor and went to meet him.
"How do you do." She began.
The nun then curtsied. "I am Sister Rosanna Yew. I'm the current liaison of the Burial Agency in Japan."
Shiki bowed and replied, "I'm Shiki Tohno. I'm a friend of Ciel-sempai. I've been noticing that paranormal beings are becoming active in broad daylight. A friend of mine saw a ghost of a huge frog yesterday, and today, I met with the ghost of a mage."
"That's quite disturbing. Where is this mage now?" she asked.
"Gone. I found out where she came from and helped her get back. But the strangest part of the incident was that she came from a place called Hi no Kuni using a portal." Shiki explained.
"Oh. You must have been the one who cut it down." She replied, taken aback that he was the one who undid her barrier spell. "I don't know about that place though. I've never heard of it. But we did receive a strange table that had Hi no Kuni written on a part of it."
He began to see a pattern. "May I see the table?"
She nodded and stepped to the side while casually waving her right hand at the door. It opened allowing the nun and Shiki to enter with ease.
They walked through it and down the steps to the basement door. Upon entering it, Shiki noticed that it was a circular room with rounded dressers and a few chairs set by the walls. In the center of the black and white checkered floor, stood a round table. It was 42 inches in diameter with the chestnut base inscribed with many runes and Celtic words. On top of the table was a topographical map of a strange continent. But upon closer inspection, Shiki noticed that Hi no Kuni was written over an area in the center.
"This is it huh?" Shiki said, seeing the map.
"Yes. The church dug it out of Perthshire, Scotland." Sister Rosanna answered. "From the language, most of the inscriptions are in Scottish Gaelic but there are some Old Irish and Old Norse."
Shiki moved a bit closer to the map and felt a powerful spell being invoked by the table. "Five feet away and I can feel its power. Did you activate it?"
She shook her head and said, "It was already like this after we set it down three days ago. We tried analyzing it but our strongest rites and holiest weapons couldn't even scratch the surface."
Shiki nodded in confirmation. 'Understandable. For it to open a portal and send souls across, it has to be powerful. Whoever built this thing knew what they were doing.'
"Sister Rosanna," Shiki began, "I think this table is responsible for all the paranormal activity this week. If we don't figure a way to stop it, I fear what could happen next week."
"I had the same feeling Tohno-san." The nun agreed. "But how should we do it?"
Shiki replied, "I guess we should start by finding someone who can read the inscriptions. Maybe, someone from the Roman Catholic church of England."
The nun sweatdropped and chuckled uneasily. 'I guess it is true. The Japanese are isolated from the outside world.'
"I'll try to find someone." The nun answered. "In the meantime, I'll put in a word to the Burial Agency and get their help on this matter. Thank you for all the help Tohno-san."
"Not to worry." Shiki replied. He moved over and tapped the area of Hi no Kuni. "I'll help out so that this place doesn't send more lost souls out here."
A bluish glow erupted from the table and the map suddenly sprung to life, as if it were a miniature earth. The mountains popped up and the bodies of water flowed so naturally without spilling over the table. In fact, the only way you knew it was still a map was that there were transparent blue lines separating the territories.
"Woah! I didn't mean to activate it." Shiki yelped.
But before he said anymore, he suddenly was warped into the map never to be seen again.
The world went black as he could feel himself lying on his back.
'Ah man, did I just teleport into the map?' He tried to reason.
He blinked a few times till the colors returned. With his vision fully restored, he sat up and realized he was next to a lake. He looked around and noticed that he was in the middle of a vast forest with tall trees and thick branches.
'No enemies so far. Man I'm thirsty.' Shiki thought before walking to the lake.
But when he got to the lake, he saw his reflection and realized that his glasses were missing.
"Wha- This isn't good." He said in fear. "Wait…no headaches? I don't even see the lines."
Suddenly he started seeing black points and lines all over the lake and surrounding areas.
"Thanks a lot Shiki." He complained. However he didn't have the usual headache that accommodated it. "I see the lines but I don't feel what comes after it. The rules of this place must be slightly different. I should be a heaping pile of pain by now."
He heard rustling noises nearby.
Shiki dove for cover behind a nearby bush where he went prone and shallowed his breathing as a group of 10 bandits carrying swords and clubs walked by the lake.
Slung over one thug's left shoulder was a half naked, brown haired woman, bound, but completely ashamed that she was undressed till her underwear.
"So we gonna sell her or what?" asked one thug with a club.
"Let me go!" yelled the woman as she kicked and struggled to get free.
The thug holding her up spanked her butt and yelled, "Quiet fool!"
"Hey I know, let's take care of business before we sell her." Yelled another thug, twiddling a knife.
Shiki at this point had had enough. He carefully crawled around to the right where the bushes were thickest. He rose to a crouched stance when he was directly behind one thug. He carefully pulled out his knife, and swiftly slashed at the lines of the man's legs.
The thug's legs fell apart into five pieces as he fell to the floor in pain. Before the others realized what happened, Shiki leapt through the bushes and landed on one thug, pinning him to the ground. Shiki cut apart the arms, and deftly rolled to the left as a thug made a vertical swing with his club at where he was.
The armless thug was now unconscious from the blow to the chest. Shiki rose to a battle stance, knife in a reverse grip with his left hand patiently waiting a little behind his armed right.
One thug with a sword ran to him aiming to cut him with a horizontal swipe starting from the thug's right to the left. Shiki stepped into the attack, letting the man's wrists hit his left waist as he grabbed the thug's neck with his left hand. He quickly stepped his left leg behind the man's left leg then made a sweep and pushed the off balanced man down with his left hand. With the thug on the ground, Shiki held up the man's sword arm with his left as he crouched down and stabbed the man left elbow then yanking it forward, causing the line there to be cut. The man's left arm was dismembered into several pieces. The young killer took a swipe on the lines of the legs of the thug, crippling him for good.
Shiki stood up as the thugs realized they were fighting a predator of incredible skill. Some of the thugs were shaking in fear.
The seven thugs quickly ran and surrounded Shiki. But the young killer charged forward catching the thug in front of him by surprise. The thug raised his club up and made a downward swing but Shiki raised his left hand up just in time for the thug's wrists to cushion on his arm. Shiki took advantage and thrust his right hand forward into the man's gut, hitting it with the butt of his knife. The man keeled over allowing Shiki to step to the man's left side and stab the spine in his lower back, paralyzing him for good.
The thug dropped as Shiki yanked out the knife. Another thug with a sword came charging at him from behind. Just as the thug was about to make a wild, downward diagonal slash, Shiki turned and crouched, stabbing his knife into the man's right foot, startling him with the pain. Shiki then rose up and thrust the butt of his knife into the man's throat, stunning him before Shiki made a swipe to both arms then stabbing his left hip. The man's arms were dismembered and he fell to the ground from the immense pain and his weakened left leg. Shiki walked forward to the remaining six thugs, his bloody knife still in a reverse grip.
The remaining six thugs were now even more cautious than ever. One thug, the one with the hostage slung over his left shoulder, thought of a brilliant plan. Sadly, Shiki suddenly burst into action and appeared in front of the thug. The young killer stabbed at the front of his left hip, causing the man to drop the woman. She fell on soft soil as Shiki yanked out his knife and swiped the right wrist of the man before he could swing his club at him. The man's entire arm fell apart as Shiki knee'd him in the groin causing the man to drop to his knees allowing Shiki to make a careful swipe at the man's eyes.
The thug writhed in pain as Shiki faced the remaining five thugs with a predatory gaze from his bright blue eyes.
"What hell is this guy?" shouted out the thug with a knife.
"Naoto was my friend you bastard!" one thug yelled out.
All four thugs rushed at the same time but Shiki leaped over them and landed behind them in a crouch. He dug his left hand in the ground and ripped out some sand and dirt. He hopped forward, evading a blow from a club, then quickly turned to face them and threw sand in their eyes. While they were distracted, he charged forward and sliced apart the legs of one thug, then stabbed the feet of another causing him to collapse beside his crippled companion.
Shiki rose to another battle stance as the other two thugs had finished rubbing the sand from their eyes.
Fear and dread filled their hearts. They could not win this fight. But one thug ran at Shiki, screaming like a berserker, swinging his sword wildly. Shiki evaded the blows till the thug dropped his sword and charged at Shiki hoping to spear him.
But the young killer knew the thug's plan. When the thug was in knife range, Shiki moved forward and grabbed his head in a headlock using his left arm. He then stabbed the man's left armpit. He nearly buckled under the weight of the thug but gained enough control to leap away as the thug with the knife tried to stab him from behind.
"So, you think you're good with a knife." The thug stated. "I gotta hand it to ya. You're pretty damn good. We can leave this all behind you know. Go get a drink a few girls and start over."
"I don't deal with criminals." Shiki replied with a deathly tone. "Stop dicking around if you want to live." He stepped to the left, evading a downward strike from the club wielding thug behind him.
Shiki put up his battle stance once more as the club wielding thug charged to make a horizontal swing to his head. When the thug swung his weapon, Shiki crouched, spin behind the thug's right leg and sliced at the nearly crooked line behind the right knee. The thug dropped on his right side, allowing Shiki to slice the line on the man's left arm. He then stood up and glared at the knife wielding thug.
The thug panicked and looked right and left but no one else could fight let alone stand. He faced Shiki and pulled out a primitive wick bomb. He quickly lighted it and threw it at the young man. "Damn You!"
Shiki simply sliced the bomb in mid-air, causing it to disintegrate into small enough chunks that they could be mistaken for dust.
"Who are you?" the thug yelled as he readied the knife in his right hand.
Shiki replied, "The Merchant of Death. And you'll be buying my product." He shifted the knife into a forward grip and quickly charged forward and grabbed the knife arm by the wrist with his left hand. He pushed it down but the thug tried to free it with his other hand. Shiki intercepted and sliced open the man's left palm, causing the entire arm to be dismembered. Shiki quickly thrust forward and sliced the eyes of the thug before shoving him down to the floor. He mounted the thug, pulled the thug's knife away and swiped at the lines on the thug's legs and remaining arm, causing instant dismemberment of the limbs.
Shiki stood up and breathed a sigh of relief as he cleaned his knife with a napkin and stowed it away before walking to the tied up woman.
He removed her restraints and said, "It's alright now. You're safe."
The woman held herself and sat in awe of this man. He came out of nowhere and rescued her without a second thought.
Shiki took off the blue coat of his uniform and wrapped it around her. "Do you need to be escorted home?"
She shook her head and said, "I'll be fine. My father will come for me."
Shiki was worried about that. There wasn't anyone else around from the looks of it. No signs of roads either leading to villages.
'If there's a lake here, the village shouldn't be far away.' He thought. 'Then again, I'm trusting my preconceived ideas. For all I know, the village could be miles away.'
He knelt down then picked her up bridal style, much to her embarrassment.
"I'm sorry for this. But I won't take any chances. More bad guys could be around and you'll be in even more danger than today." Shiki explained.
She gasped out, "It's alright. I can walk and I know the way to the village better than you do."
He shook his head and said, "Not a chance in hell. Call me stubborn, but I'm not leaving another girl to die."
He walked forward despite her protests and after a few kilometers, she pleaded with him to let her walk and Shiki yielded.
They walked past the dirt road as the girl asked, "So Shiki-san, what brings you out here in Hi no Kuni?"
He replied, "I got lost on the road of life and touched things I never should have so I'm taking a long detour home."
"Hahaha. You sound like Obito—a ninja who always finds an excuse to be late. At least that's how mother describes him." She answered.
"Was your mother a ninja?" Shiki asked, completely intrigued.
The girl sighed. "Yep. She was a medic-nin. She lived through the Great Ninja Wars and still found time to settle down and have kids. Kami bless her soul. Funny thing is, you sound like you've never even heard of ninjas till now. Where are you really from?"
Shiki replied, "Another continent passed the ocean. And after I finish business here, I'm heading to the first boat back home."
"Just like every ronin around here." She answered. "I know it's not my place to poke around but I think the business you're looking for is in Konohagakure. It's just a few miles north from here."
"Really?" Shiki asked.
"Really. There's even a pair of ninjas passing through who're from there. If you don't like fighting too often, you can join them on the way back." She replied, putting hands on her hips as they neared the village.
"That sounds nice Saika-san. So where are they exactly?" Shiki asked as they entered the village entrance.
She smirked and answered, "They're in the middle of the square. One of them is a loud blonde. He's not hard to miss."
Shiki looked at the town square and saw a blonde teen roughly two years younger than him wearing an awful black and orange jumpsuit while gorging down ramen in what looks to be a ramen festival.
A bell chime later, and the nearby announcer yelled, "Aaaand we have a WINNNERRRR!"
"Yeah! I'm totally pumped up!" yelled the blonde boy as he stood up and pumped his fist in the air.
No words or thoughts entered Shiki's mind. There was nothing he could use to describe what he was seeing.
Only these words escaped his lips, "You have got to be kidding me."
Hi no Kuni – Land of Fire in literal translation.
Author's Notes: This is pretty much the start. As you can see, the plot has just begun and Shiki has already met a handful of the cast. I plan on making this a 10 to 20 long fic if time permits. Of course, I still need to finish the others first. Anyway, I'm dead tired, so see you soon.