Negi really wasn't sure what was happening. For a moment, everything was calm—Konoka was rescued and smiling happily in Setsuna's arms, and he and Asuna stood off to the side, smiling and completely unharmed. Everything was right…
That all changed as a sensation of dread entered the pit of his stomach. His adrenalin came rushing back in a fiery burn as a loud and terrible crash sounded behind him, a strong gust from the impact of who-knows-what's fall carried the broken bricks and dust of the plaza out around the area.
Asuna was quicker than any of them—she twirled around and got the first eyeful of the sudden arrival. That's why she was the first to cry out in both surprise and fear. As the others followed her gaze, they quickly found themselves face-to-face with two very red and very large claws reaching out of the dust and dirt that was kicked up by the impact.
It took them a second longer to realize that the claws were outstretched and headed towards them—fast.
They spent yet another second leaping out of the way, trying to make a mad scramble to the safety of anywhere but where they stood. The claws cracked against the ground where they once stood, shattering the earth like glass as the group looked on in shock. Before the blanket of air-scattered debris fully cleared, a powerful torrent of frothy water shot out of the dust, looking to strike down on the flabbergasted Negi. Negi's eyes widened as both his mind and the voice of Chamo screamed at him to move—his legs would not obey, however.
'…T-Th…T-This feeling is…' Negi couldn't manage to finish his thought as he could only helplessly stare at the incoming water.
A strong and forceful tug at the back of his clothes got him to safety just as the torrent came down upon the ground where he stood, cutting through it cleanly and deeply. Turning his head over his shoulder, Negi saw the startled Asuna, who gave him a worried look in return.
"Y-You idiot! What are you thinking? If you're about to get hit, you have to dodge!" Asuna shouted angrily.
'Asuna…can't she feel it?' Negi looked to Setsuna, who was trembling from her position a few yards away from them. Konoka was out cold in her arms, clearly from the surprise and stressful events she had gone through that night. Negi could see it clearly in her eyes, despite her angry glare—Setsuna did not want to fight whatever was attacking them. Not one bit. She, like he did, felt it. She, like he was, was afraid.
'I-Is this…killing intent?' Negi briefly wondered as the dust and dirt began to clear, 'No. Evangeline-san had killing intent. This is different. This doesn't just want to kill us…it wants to completely devour our very existence.'
Finally, the crustacean was in plain view for all to see. Still, it did not stand still long enough for the group to appraise its finer details—it quickly scuttled towards the group, its mouth frothing furiously and its claws snapping. Before Negi could even register the movement, he felt himself be snatched up by Asuna again as she quickly ran out of range of the attack.
"Negi, I don't know what's wrong with you, but focus!" Asuna called out as she ran to the side of the crab, out of its immediate targeting area, "If you're scared…then do you think that you're the only one? Setsuna…how do you think she feels, carrying Konoka in her arms right now? How do you think Chamo feels, when he can't do anything but give advice? How do you think I feel, when I have no idea what that thing's capable of? We're all scared, but you can't just sit there and let that thing win! You're our sensei, damn it, so snap out of it and think of something!"
"…Please put me down, Asuna-san."
"Eh?" Asuna took her eyes off the crab and glanced down at Negi. He was glaring at the crab with eyes full of determination. She grinned, "Well, it's about time."
Setsuna, meanwhile, was busily dodging the crab's claws, both of which it was thrusting at her with gusto. She snarled in anger at the beast, as its eyes mocked her—it knew as well as she did how little she could do to retaliate with Konoka in her arms.
'This thing is intelligent. It's picking off what if feels is the weakest link first—Ojou-sama!' Setsuna growled as she jumped away from another strike.
Her eyes widened as she saw one of its legs shoot out, poised to lob her head clean off. Quickly, moving only by reflex, Setsuna maneuvered Konoka into one arm while her other hand shot to her sword. She parried the blow with one of her own, only to find herself vastly overpowered. The audible crack of her blade as it snapped in two sounded in her ears as the large appendage slammed into the side of her head, sending both her and Konoka flying into the air. Both girls hit the ground hard, yards away as the crab snipped its claws in delight.
Turning to its other foes, the crab was met with a surging attack flying towards it, which it quickly put to rest with another torrent of water. When it searched for the source of the attack, it quickly found a seething Negi and Asuna. Asuna rushed towards the crab with her fan drawn, sliding under a swipe from its claws to get beneath its belly.
Immediately, she began to slam the fan into the armored stomach of the beast, only to be left with confusion at her obvious lack of an effect.
'But it worked on the rest of that lady's summons, so why not this one?' Asuna roared mentally, her frustration growing as she continued in vain to swipe at the monster.
Negi continued to fire shot after shot of his magical blasts, but found the few that actually did manage to get through did nothing much but leave insignificant scratches so light that he doubted the beast even noticed them. He frowned, "This thing doesn't have a weakness!"
"Aniki, incoming! The left, the left!" Chamo warned.
Negi immediately ducked down as a large claw flew from the left, over his head, and cut into the ground like it was made of butter. Negi's head shot back up afterwards, "Flans Exarmatio!"
The attack struck the back of the creature, but did about as much as any of his previous attacks. Suddenly, the crab ceased its attacks tucked in its arms, much to the confusion of Asuna and Negi. Its legs stopped scuttling around and it stopped moving entirely. It froze there, the froth from its mouth no longer trickling out and its strange eyes focused on nothing in particular, staring into the air blankly.
Silence reigned over the make-shift battlefield.
Asuna refused to take her eyes off of it, "D…Did we win?"
"I don't know…" Negi also refused to lower his guard, fighting the urge to run and check on Setsuna and Konoka.
Chamo studied the monster carefully—its eyes were frozen, its claws were frozen, and its mouth was frozen…
'Is it tired?' Chamo wondered, 'It was moving so fast a second ago…what happened to all of its energy? Where did it g—crap!'
Chamo's eyes looked in horror at the slight trembling of the crab's legs, far too unnoticeable for the exhausted Negi and Asuna to pick up on, "Everyone, move! It's not done, it's about to—"
Before Chamo could finish his warning, Asuna and Negi were caught off guard as the crab leapt up. Asuna was knocked back by the force of the crab's jump alone—it leapt high into the air, higher than something of that size should be able to go. It hung in the air for a moment as it reached the peak of its height—at least it seemed to, for the stunned group below. Without warning, however, it shifted violently to glare down at them and opened its mouth wide.
Negi heard a loud rumbling before a stinging, powerful, and wet pain struck him and launched him into the air. He felt it hit him again, the torrent hitting him square in the gut as he felt the air leave his lungs. The water continued to rain down upon him as he crashed into the stony plaza below him with a sickening crack.
Negi was in too much pain to move, but not enough to miss the startled scream of Asuna as she too was hit by the water. In the same manner that Negi was, she was knocked into the air. In the same manner that Negi did, she hit the ground—hard. The entire group lay still, gasping for air and groaning in pain. They didn't need to look to know what was coming as they felt the shattering quake from something large landing on the plaza.
Weakly, Negi lifted his head to glance the area around him.
Konoka was out cold and was the furthest up the road, her frail form sprawled out on the ground.
Setsuna was a few feet away from her, also sprawled out, but with her forehead bleeding profusely and her broken sword besides her.
Further down the road was Asuna, groaning in pain as she clutched her stomach. Her weapon lay forgotten next to her as she violently coughed up saliva and blood.
Chamo was next to his own head, out cold but otherwise miraculously untouched.
As for himself, Negi had lost feeling in one of his legs and his chest seared with such pain that he knew he must have broken some ribs. Blood dribbled down his chin from both his forehead and mouth as he stared in fear at the giant crustacean that had moved to hover over him since its landing. Its eyes were hauntingly familiar as they stared down at him with no emotion whatsoever.
An eternity passed between Negi and the beast, just staring at each other.
Finally, the victor opened its mouth and Negi gently shut his eyes, bracing himself for whatever came next with trembling fear.
Negi blinked in confusion as his eyes snapped open. Gone was the crustacean, replaced by a simple and harmless puff of smoke. His mind wracked with questions and confusion, his body wracked with pain—Negi could do nothing else but allow consciousness to leave him as he heard the sound of approaching footsteps.
Naruto surveyed the scene with his ever-present smile and uncaring eyes. He walked down the plaza, stopping briefly at Negi. Wordlessly, he nudged the boy's head with his foot. Getting a slight groan, he moved on with a sigh.
"I was hoping for some fun…but I guess I was expecting too much, even though I held back so much," Naruto sighed, shaking his head and shrugging his arms, "Be thankful I'm benevolent, otherwise I would leave you all here to rot for showing me such a pitiful performance. As for you, Negi-chan…be thankful that you're more useful to me alive than dead."
Naruto kneeled down and slammed his hand onto the ground. In another poof of smoke, a large brown bird appeared. The bird stood silently on its three crooked legs, with its three large wings folded neatly against its frame. Towards the base of its neck were two large black rods and it shared the same Rinnegan eyes Naruto had. Its most prominent feature was the jagged and large beak it sported, which was almost as tall as the bird itself.
Naruto unceremoniously tossed the bodies of Negi, Chamo, Asuna, and Setsuna onto the bird's back. Silently, without orders, it picked itself up into the air and flew off in the direction of the hotel. Naruto watched it disappear for a moment before turning around. Silently, he walked over to the prone form of Konoka and stared down at her.
"Kono-chan…I suppose you won't remember me either. A shame, but it's for the best," Naruto muttered, his smile stretching thin as he kneeled down and lifting her up gingerly. Carrying the girl bridal-style, Naruto turned and began his trek back to the hotel, "I suppose this means the promise the three of us made, then, is null and void."
With a gasp, Negi shot up, one hand flat against the floor to keep his balance while the other lay over his rapidly beating heart, his breath heavy and a cold sweat covering his body as if he had just awoken from a terrible, terrible nightmare. Daring to remove his hand from his chest, Negi quickly felt the rest of his body—no bruises, no cuts, no broken bones. His frantic eyes searched his surroundings. He was back in his hotel room, without an object out of place. He was lying in his futon, with an equally unhurt Chamo curled into a ball next to him, as his alarm clock quietly buzzed off its usual greeting.
'How did I make it back here? I should still be back at the plaza,' Negi frowned, 'And I should be hurt. On that note, where are the others? Are they alright?'
"Yo, Negi-chan, you shouldn't sleep in so much—it's unsightly for a teacher. Try to be a bit more of an example for your students, okay?"
Negi leapt up in a mix of fright and surprise, tumbling out of his covers and twirling around to find himself face-to-face with a very familiar smile, "N-Naruto-san! What are you doing in my room?"
"You weren't there when everyone went to breakfast, so I came to check up on you, Negi-chan! You should lock your door at night," Naruto laughed, "Otherwise the Namahage will get you for sure with how late you sleep~!"
Negi stared at Naruto for a moment, completely bewildered by his strange student's actions.
Naruto grinned and patted Negi on the head, "Oi, you look like you've seen a ghost, Negi-chan~! I told you breakfast is on, right? C'mon, Set-chan and the others are waiting."
"S-Setsuna-san?" Negi's eyes widened with realization as he leaned forward, his form wracked with worry, "How is she? How are Konoka-san and Asuna-san?"
Naruto blinked, his smile drooping slightly from confusion, "Eh? Alright, I guess. I think Set-chan is a little grumpier today than most, but other than that..."
Negi gripped Naruto's wrist and stared him in the eye—or at least tried to, with his view obscured by Naruto's sunglasses, "Are they hurt?"
Naruto closed his eyes as his grin settled into a thin smile. He wrest his arm free from Negi's hold as if the child's touch had burned him.
"…I said they were fine."
'Then, maybe…was it all just a bad dream?' Negi, too caught up in his relief, paid no attention to his student's actions, and instead sighed loudly and fell back in his futon, "Thank goodness…"
Silence reigned in the room, with both boys being unmoving. A few minutes ticked by on Negi's alarm clock as Negi stared at the ceiling and Naruto stared at Negi. Finally, Naruto sighed lightly and stood from his crouching position, dusting off his pants as he moved. Turning and moving silently to the door, Naruto opened it and stepped into the frame, pausing for a moment.
"I'll be heading down then, Negi-chan, but before I go, I feel like I have to ask…" Naruto spoke without looking back or even turning his head slightly, "Is there any reason why those three would be hurt in any way?"
Negi stiffened as he realized his mistake and he frantically looked to Naruto's back as he scrambled for an excuse, "O-Oh! U-Um…I…you see, I was told that they weren't feeling well at dinner last night! I just wanted to make sure they hadn't gotten sick in the middle of the night!"
"…I see. I hadn't noticed Set-chan was feeling bad. What a horrible friend I am~!" Naruto cried dramatically, holding a hand to his forehead and grasping the door frame for support as he slumped downward in mock-despair, "I'll have to go to her at once and check to make sure she is healthy! Make sure to make it down before the groups leave for the day, Negi-chan!"
"I-I will, Naruto-san," Negi mumbled in both relief and exhaustion from his student's overreactions. Negi tossed his covers to the side and moved towards his suitcase to pick his clothes out for the day as Naruto hung in the doorway for a few more seconds.
"Oh, and Negi-chan?"
"Do you know the one thing that a hero should never do in Weekly Shōnen Jump? Actually, in any matter, now that I think about it~! There's just one little thing that every hero knows not to do~!" Naruto called, "Do you want to know what it is, Negi-chan~?"
Negi nodded half-heatedly as he pulled out a shirt, deciding that it would be best to humor his bizarre student's quirks, "Sure, Naruto-san."
"Don't insult the main villain's intelligence."
The shirt that was in Negi's hands dropped to the floor as he quickly whirled around to face Naruto. The doorway was empty, the door still ajar as the sound of footsteps echoing down an empty hall rang into the room. For a split second, a familiar echo sounded in his head, bringing back the fear he had felt night.
Negi calmed his beating heart and ignored the chill that went down his spine, mentally slapping himself for being so silly and deciding that whatever had just happened was just the sum of a bad night's sleep and his overactive imagination.
"I'm letting this Kyoto business get to me a bit too much," Negi mumbled, double-checking the letter that was packed away in his suitcase for safekeeping, 'Naruto-san maybe weird, but it's nothing to be wary about. I should just focus on my task at hand.'
"Set-chan, Set-chan~! Show me where you're injured! I demand to see right now!"
"W-What are you talking about, i-idiot? H-Hey, don't just grab me like that!"
"Is it here? Or here? Ah, it's definitely under here isn't it?"
"H-Hey, t-that's my—kyaa!"
A loud slap resonated in the large room, though it was largely drowned out by the chatter and gossip of the other students as they picked away at the breakfast the hotel had provided for them. In the far corner of the room rested the most secluded table and at that table sat three individuals. Zazie Rainyday sat opposite of the blushing Setsuna who was now fixing her skirt and the still-grinning Naruto who was now nursing his cheek, which had a very noticeable and red handprint on it. As the two bickered—well, it was more like Setsuna was bickering and Naruto was happily enjoying the conversation—Zazie quietly chewed on some rice. She had such weird group members…
"How cold of you, Set-chan. A childhood friend tries to check on your health, and you slap him…" Naruto sighed, "My Bianca-chan was never this cruel to me."
"What friend tries to peek up another friend's skirt?" Setsuna growled angrily, "You're just a pervert!"
"If I was a pervert, wouldn't I be asking what color your panties are?" Naruto smiled, "…I'm going to guess a pure white, by the way."
Another slap sounded around the room, this time much louder. A few heads were pulled from their conversations and turned to see Setsuna, red in the face from anger and embarrassment, storming away from her table and the new kid sprawled out on the floor, nursing two slap-marks on his face. With a light groan, Naruto sat back up and picked up his chopsticks.
"That just means I guessed right," Naruto muttered to himself as he began his meal.
Zazie stared at him, "…"
"Hm? Oh, no—I knew she wasn't hurt at all in the first place, but one does not pass up such a good flag event after so many hours of visual novels," Naruto stated sagely.
"You say pervert—I say a healthy, normal teenage boy."
Setsuna muttered curses under her breath as she took another seat at the opposite side of the room. She set down her food and began to eat in silence, hoping to calm herself. Sighing, she tried to focus her mind on more pressing matters. She took the quick second to glance over to Negi's table—currently, he was being swarmed by his students, each begging him to accompany them on their trips today. Holding down a giggle, Setsuna delved into her thoughts as her hand subconsciously ran over the ground next to her where she would normally have set her sword aside. The blade now lay in two pieces in her room, though how it happened was a mystery to her.
'Why can't I remember much of last night? The last thing I can recall is saving Ojou-sama from that lady, but after that…' Setsuna frowned in annoyance, 'I should see what Negi-sensei and Asuna-san remember. If I woke up unhurt, I can't imagine much more happened, but I don't remember my sword being broken in the scuffle.'
Caught in her thoughts, Setsuna never noticed the nervous and blushing Nodoka, who was slowly but surely making her way to Negi's table. Yue and Haruna had been urging her to personally invite Negi to accompany their group today and, with everyone now asking, it was either now or never. Taking a deep breath, she shakily approached the table.
'I-I can do this! I p-p-practiced this! J-Just go up to Negi-sensei and ask!' Nodoka nodded slightly to herself as she prepared mentally, 'You don't even have to look at him when you say it! J-Just bow your head and you'll be fine!'
With a few more nervous steps, she now found herself only a few feet away from Negi, who was too busy dealing with the invitations from his other students to notice. Blushing madly, Nodoka quickly turned to her group's table—Yue was nodding at her and Haruna was giving her a wide grin and two thumbs-up. Taking a deep breath, Nodoka bowed her head.
"M-M-My group has f-f-free activity t-time today, so I…i-if it's o-okay with y-you, w-would you p-please come with us?"
If Nodoka could describe herself at the moment, she would have beamed a proud and victorious smile and say she had never felt so good in her life. Her heart soared and bells rang cheerfully in her head—she was so happy she couldn't move. She had said it, she had actually said it! Loudly, she might add—no one in the room was talking, perhaps too stunned to see such a courageous action from one so shy.
'W-Well, I'm a bit surprised at myself, too…' Nodoka finally raised her head, a relieved smile on her face, 'I really said that to Neg—'
Her eyes met a pair of sunglasses and her heart dropped into the pit of her stomach—standing between her and Negi, Naruto stared at her, his smile almost mocking her. She quickly turned her head to her friends—they were sighing, shaking their heads. The reason that everyone was so quiet, the reason the noise had ceased, was that the shyest student in the class, Miyazaki Nodoka, had just asked the weird new kid, Naruto, to hang out with her.
'H-He must have moved in between us when I bowed my head!' Nodoka cried mentally. Naruto grinned happily.
"Of course I'd be happy to join you, To-Love-Ru-chan!" Naruto laughed boisterously, "I never refuse the offer of a pretty girl!"
Nodoka, caught in a slight panic attack from the sudden turn of events, paid no mind to the compliment, instead choosing to glance between Negi and the approaching Yue and Haruna, her gaze begging for rescue. Yue stepped forward, lowered her juice and sighed, "Actually, Nodoka wanted—"
"That's great, Nodoka-san!" Negi smiled, catching the group off-guard, "It's so nice of you to invite Naruto-san to join your group for the day! I'm sure Naruto-san appreciates it!"
Naruto nodded, feigning the look of a kicked puppy, "It's so nice of you to want to be my friend! I've been having trouble making friends, you know—all I have is a really mean and emotionally-distant childhood friend who forgot all about me!"
Nodoka looked to Haruna and Yue as Naruto dodged a shoe that was thrown at him by an angry Setsuna. The two pointed to the Negi, who was practically soaked in a naïve sort of happiness and pride. Nodoka sighed—there was no way to take anything back now.
"Y-Yes, we're v-very happy to h-have you, Naruto-san…"
Evangeline stifled a yawn as she sat up and stretched. Mumbling something incoherently, she kicked off her covers and pushed herself to the edge of her bed, setting her feet down on the cool wooden floors. She stumbled her way into the bathroom, not bothering to remove her sleeping gown. A few minutes later, she exited with a toothbrush sticking lazily out of the corner of her mouth as she managed to stay awake long enough to get to the door.
She exited her bedroom and followed the smell of bacon down the stairs and to the kitchen, where she took a seat at the table and allowed her head to slump against its cool surface. The sound of someone sipping a drink slowly and flipping through the paper across from her caught her attention, and she raised her head to glare at Poyo. Poyo sipped her coffee once more and set the paper aside as she stared back at Evangeline.
"What're you looking at, midget?"
"Nothing, you damn freeloader."
"Girls, girls! No fighting at breakfast! Poyo-san, don't pick fights with Evangeline-san. Evangeline-san, you shouldn't let Poyo-san get under your skin so easily."
Both turned to glare at Wilhelm, who was standing in front of the stove with his pink apron on as he pointed a finger at them. Beside him, Chachamaru stood at attention, jotting down notes as Wilhelm coached her in cooking. Evangeline turned back to Poyo.
"Is he always this infuriatingly motherly?" Evangeline muttered.
"You should've seen him when that blond idiot and I first met. I'm still beating that "Prim-and-Proper Princess" crap outta him," Poyo replied in the same annoyed tone Evangeline had.
"Language, Poyo-san," Wilhelm frowned as he set several large plates of food on the table that he balanced expertly on his two arms. He took a seat next to Poyo while Chachamaru took the seat next to Evangeline. As the three people at the table that actually had stomachs to feed began to pile their plates with food, Chachamaru spoke.
"Wilhelm-san is a very accomplished chef it seems, Master. Naruto-san must very thankful to have him," Chachamaru complimented the food before them. Evangeline simply hummed in response as she ate her meal while Wilhelm laughed.
"You flatter me, Chachamaru-san! I'm just thankful to be of use to Naruto-dono," Wilhelm grinned, before turning to Evangeline and bowing his head, "Making breakfast is the least I could do for Evangeline-san, considering she was thoughtful enough to let us into her home, even if we'll only be staying for a week or two."
"You're just lucky it was an order from that old bastard or you'd be out on the streets," Evangeline muttered.
Poyo snorted, "A puppy can't disobey its master, huh? For all the stories about you, you're just a joke."
"I'd rather be the puppy of that geezer than the puppet of that idiot!" Evangeline glared over the brim of her own coffee mug, "I don't know what power that idiot got into these last few years, but that doesn't change the fact that a dumbass is a dumbass!"
Wilhelm stared at Evangeline evenly for a moment, before sighing and nodding, "I see…I had my suspicions before, but I never thought I would be right. Evangeline-san…you speak with such anger at Naruto-dono's person, but the only thing I can think of to provoke you this much is that…he broke up with you, didn't he? I see it all now—the tragic story of a young girl's maiden heart being stolen away by the suave and cunning young man that is Naruto-do—"
As Wilhelm began to weep what Naruto had dubbed his "Tears of Manliness" years before, he found Evangeline's coffee mug, with much of the coffee still in it, colliding with his left eye. As Poyo got a small laugh from the way Wilhelm fell to the floor clutching his eye, she also noted that an angry and blushing Evangeline now sat before her, swearing at the floored Wilhelm.
"Like that blond dumbass could ever get any woman, let alone me, to ever fall for him! The last man on Earth doesn't even begin to describe how desperate I would have to be to ever think of even touching him!" Evangeline roared, much to Chachamaru's confusion.
"Master seems to be getting overly worked-up about the matter of dating Naruto-san…"
"Shut up, Chachamaru!"
"Oh, I see…" Poyo smirked, "An old flame of that idiot's, huh? Cute. The Dark Evangel is lonely because her boyfriend left her."
Chachamaru had to physically restrain Evangeline as she stood up, kicking her chair to the floor as she attempted to leap over the table and strangle Poyo, "Let me go, Chachamaru! I'm going to murder that little brat!"
Wilhelm sat back up, placing his hand on the table for support, "Now what did I say about—"
"SHUT UP!" Poyo and Evangeline roared at the same time. The two girls stared at each other for a moment before growling and turning away with a pout. After they had both calmed down, breakfast picked up once more in silence, with the occasional questions or comments being thrown around. Eventually Wilhelm turned to Evangeline with a curious look on his face.
"Ah, I've been meaning to ask this for awhile now, but how did Evangeline-san and Naruto-dono meet, exactly?" Wilhelm questioned, "Naruto-dono had mentioned that you two shared quite a bit of history before we came here."
"Yeah, how did you find that idiot attractive enough to date when you first met him?" Poyo scowled as she ducked to dodge a plate that was hurled at her head. Evangeline growled but continued to pick at her meal.
"I was assigned to watch that little bastard when he first showed up because the old man was afraid of a seven-year-old. I met him the second day he was here," Evangeline grumbled, "The brat was nothing but trouble from the first day."
"That is your next assignment."
"…You do realize that that is a seven-year-old brat playing in the sandbox alone because he's too big a failure to make friends?" Evangeline gave an annoyed glance to Konoemon as he stared across the park to the boy. It was a sunny spring day in Mahora Academy, the perfect day to relax and do nothing, which was why Evangeline was annoyed to have been called on by Konoe for what looked to be a glorified babysitting job. The two stood on the outskirts of a local park, observing a small boy try to build a sandcastle without water. Overall, Evangeline had been more impressed with insects than the "threat" she was currently looking at.
"Don't underestimate him—in fact, I'm sure he already knows that we're watching him. He engaged me in quite the little conversation the other day," Konoemon muttered, "He's the type that likes to toy with his food. He's a lot like you, now that I think about it."
"I'm sure," Evangeline stated sarcastically. Konoemon gave a tired sigh.
"All I ask is that you watch him and make sure he doesn't try anything funny. If he's as ordinary as you say, then it should make for an easy task," Konoemon replied as he turned to leave the park, "I have some more work that needs to be done. I'll say it again—don't underestimate him."
"I'll try my hardest," Evangeline was already laying on the grass, trying to catch a quick nap. Konoemon sighed once more, shook his head, and left the area. Evangeline allowed for the slow breeze blowing through the park to wash over her as she fell closer and closer to a wonderful nap. She did not allow the noise of the people in the park or the occasional passerby to bother her—she simply let herself relax entirely.
"Oi, how long are you going to sleep?"
Evangeline's eyes snapped open to meet two empty blue ones. She sat up as the boy—her current target—simply stood there and watched her with a smile on his face. She glared, "You dare to wake me, you little brat? Do you have any idea who I am?"
The boy tilted his head curiously as his smile stretched just a bit, "…The residential flat, gothic lolita?"
The petite girl's attempted strangulation of the boy that followed was the first time Evangeline A.K. McDowell met the enigma that was Naruto.
"…Not very glamorous, but I can't say it's something the idiot wouldn't say," Poyo commented as she watched Evangeline tremble in rage from the memory. Chachamaru recorded the story to her memory banks while Wilhelm nodded in deep thought.
"I see…" Wilhelm muttered to himself, "So, Naruto-dono is the type to tease his girlfrie—"
A plate collided with his forehead and knocked him to the ground again.
"I don't like that idiot!"
Yue sighed, moving down one of the paths in Nara quietly. In the end, Haruna had managed to convince Asuna to have her group join up with them—this at least meant that Nodoka would have some chance to salvage her failure this morning, as Negi had ended up going with Asuna's group that day. Quick to get the romance between their friend and teacher rolling, Haruna had split up the groups further. This left Nodoka alone with Negi and, in a poorly veiled attempt of Haruna's to tease her, Yue was left alone with Naruto.
The duo was currently just enjoying a quiet, uneventful walk throughout Nara Park…at least it was quiet, until Naruto began to talk endlessly about the joys of manga and ramen.
"…And so my goal for the year is to taste the famous ice-cream ramen! What do you think, Yue-chan? Aren't you going to say something, Yue-chan?"
"There's no point in commenting on it, Naruto-san—everyone in our class has weird traits. Yours, apparently, is an obsession with ramen," Yue mumbled her reply.
Naruto blinked, his grin never fading in the slightest, "I see Cha-chan has a rival for the stoic girl, eh? Well, that's fine too, Yue-chan~! I will, of course, be working for the harem ending, so there's no need for a rivalry between you two!"
"I don't have any kind of rivalry with Chachamaru-san," Yue sighed, giving Naruto a glance, "Do you always try to blend the lines of reality and fiction?"
"Does it bother you, Yue-chan? You seem a bit distant~!"
"Hardly. I just am curious, is all," Yue replied, "I don't know anything about you, after all—you didn't really tell anyone the truth during your introduction. I apologize if I seem cold to you, Naruto-san, but I can't stand liars."
Naruto laughed, "Well, you should absolutely hate me then, Yue-chan! I've never told the truth once in my life~!"
"Funny, Naruto-san," Yue sighed, finishing her juice and tossing the box in a nearby trashcan. Yue fumbled around in the pocket of her blazer for some spare change as she left Naruto to approach a vending machine that was a bit further down the path they were on. Naruto chuckled, "Yue-chan, has anyone ever told you that you—"
"Drink too much juice? Yes, many times," Yue cut in, placing her coins in the machine. She passed her gaze over the assortment of flavors as Naruto approached behind her. Just as she was about to choose the flavor she wanted, Naruto's hand reached out and pressed a random button on the machine. The machine hummed slightly for a moment before a can of juice fell out with a loud clunk. Yue turned to Naruto with a frown.
"Why did you do that?" Yue asked pointedly. Naruto smiled.
"Because I'm evil."
Yue sighed, grabbing the can, 'This is going to be a long afternoon.'
As the two continued down the road, Yue began to get lost in her thoughts while she sipped her juice—surprisingly, Naruto had chosen one of her favorite flavors that she hadn't noticed was an available option. How was Nodoka managing her time with Negi-sensei? Had she finally confessed or was she still beating around the bush? Yue sighed, remembering her job of keeping Naruto away from the pair so that they could be alone—her new classmate wasn't really bad or "evil" as he claimed, just very annoying. The worst part about it was that it was the type of annoyance that Yue hated the most—the type that was done intentionally. Naruto seemed to thoroughly enjoy teasing just about everyone. Her thoughts drawn to the boy, Yue looked up to find that he was nowhere in sight. Glancing around the immediate area, she found Naruto had wandered off the road into the grass and was now standing in the center of a large crowd of Nara's famous deer, pointing at each of them and mumbling to himself as he did so.
"And I'll name you Chopper-kun, and you are Luffy-kun, and you're going to be Zoro-kun…" Naruto mumbled as he pointed at the deer that surrounded him. Yue sighed once more.
"Naruto-san, we can't take live animals with us, so don't name them."
"Can't hear you, Yue-chan! I'm busy amassing an evil army of deer! Now, you're going to be Usopp-kun…"
Slapping her forehead, Yue took a seat on a nearby bench as she waited for her companion's attention span to run its course. As she quietly savored her juice, the girl had to let out a small smile as she watched her classmate try to befriend the deer—it was rather adorable, if not very weird to see Naruto try and start a conversation about the latest manga with the newly dubbed "Luffy-kun".
Negi walked stiffly back into the hotel, Naruto observed from his seat in the lobby. The young sensei was blushing something fierce and his mind seemed to be just about anywhere but with him at the moment. Grinning slightly, Naruto waved his hand enthusiastically in the air, "Yo, Negi-chan! What're you up to?"
"N-Naruto-san!" Negi leapt up in surprise as he finally noticed the other boy. His eyes were still wide as he looked to his student, "N-Nothing's wrong! W-Why do you a-a-ask?"
"…No reason!" Naruto smiled, "You just seemed to be a bit out of it, that's all. As the new student in class, shouldn't I have a natural concern for my sensei's health? Shouldn't we all, as a race, try to look after each other? To help each other? To be there for one another? Now, are you really alright, Negi-chan?"
Negi blinked, slightly moved by his student's words, "W-Well, I—"
"Excellent!" Naruto immediately interrupted, causing Negi to sweat-drop. Naruto stifled a yawn next, stood up and stretched. Grinning, he looked to Negi, "It's almost time for the chaperones to use the onsen, so you'd better hurry, Negi-chan."
"Right…" Negi sighed, turning to walk to the open-air hot spring.
"Ah, Negi-chan, one more thing."
"What is it, Naruto-san?" Negi blinked, looking over his shoulder.
"Outside just now, you flipped over a van to save a cat, didn't you?"
Negi stiffened. He had been walking into the hotel when he had noticed a kitten about to get run over by a car outside. Using his magic, he had indeed flipped the van into the air and made it land safely past the feline to save it. Negi's heart dropped, 'N-Naruto-san saw that? I-I-If I get exposed here before I can search for clues about father, t-then…'
"N-Naruto-san, it's been a long day!" Negi turned, smiling a sweet if not strained smile, laughing a bit forcefully, "You're tired, so I guess it's natural that you're j-just seeing things! There's no way I could do something like that, of course!"
Naruto smiled his usual smile in turn, "Of course, Negi-chan. I'm just being silly. I'll see you later."
As Negi left, Naruto sunk back down into the comfort of his chair. Taking notice that no one was in the lobby with him, he began to shake his head disappointingly with a sigh, though his smile was still ever-present, "You should never disregard what the villain says in a story, Negi-chan. It might just cost you your life…and I believe I told you not to insult my intelligence. I'll have to punish him for that one…it's the only way he'll learn, after all."
"Of course it is."
Naruto blinked, looking up to see another one of his classmates approaching him. Smiling, Naruto jumped out of his seat and knelt down on one knee, holding one hand across his heart and the other towards the girl. He grinned.
"It seems that this lobby has a lot of flag events—so many cute girls want to meet me here! Anyway, I won't beat around the bush! Would you go out with me?" Naruto questioned. Chao Lingshen looked at the boy oddly for a moment before laughing. She grasped the offered hand and shook it before taking another seat in the room.
"If it's you, I would go out with you in a heartbeat, Naruto-san…but I'm afraid I don't have time for dating-ne!" Chao smiled. Naruto sighed, standing and falling back in his chair.
"The harem ending is a long ways off, eh?" Naruto smiled, "So, to what do I owe this unexpected visit, Miss…?
"My name is Chao, Naruto-san. I just thought I'd introduce myself-ne," Chao smiled.
"I see…and your real reason for seeking me out?"
"Eh? Can't one classmate come see another without any hidden motives? Am I not allowed to—"
"Don't think it's smart to lie to a demon—it's just a good way to dig your grave," Naruto's smile stretched just a bit thinner as Chao felt a chillingly cold stare directed at her from beneath his sunglasses. Chao smiled in turn, and that was how the two sat for a moment, an almost visible tension and silence between them. Finally, Chao giggled into her left hand, breaking the silence.
"My, how rude, Naruto-san—threatening me?" Chao spoke softly, "Even if I was lying to you, it's still very odd of you to be smiling. Most people don't smile when they are being lied to."
"Isn't strength measured by how much one can go through and still keep smiling?" Naruto tilted his head, "I am both the strongest and weakest man in the universe, Chao-chan. I don't know if you really care, but please say whatever you want to say quickly. I don't have a lot of time and I don't care much for people who waste it."
"Even if you say you're the strongest person, the weakest person, or whatever…" Chao smiled, "The reason I'm here is because you shouldn't be here."
"Yes. 'Naruto-san' should not exist here—no one like you should. I know this for a fact-ne," Chao replied, "I don't know who you are or what you are, but you are not supposed to be here. Negi-sensei should not have thirty-two students. He should not have a male student at all, in fact."
"And how exactly do you know this?"
"You have no intentions to reveal yourself to me, so why should I reveal myself?"
"Maybe you should, maybe you shouldn't—I don't know, like you do apparently. Even I've picked up a few things in my short time here, Chao-chan—you're a genius, I hear. I guess if there was anyone to have figured out what should exist and what shouldn't, it would be you, but, even if shouldn't exist, I'm here. What's the point of arguing about it?" Naruto grinned, "As for revealing ourselves…well, we can both clearly see that we have our plans. I'm not a genius like you, though, so I might end up failing. But Chao-chan, geniuses are only different from idiots if they can succeed. My point being…what if I am the reason you won't succeed, you damn idiot?"
"Why don't you tell me what will happen?"
"Well, it'll be just like Weekly Jump," Naruto smiled, "Regardless of if you're good or evil, happy or sad, friendly or cruel…all that matters is power. And the stronger one is deemed "right" in the end. That's how life works, right?"
"Life can be surprising sometimes, you know," Chao answered, standing, "Well, this isn't going anywhere, is it? After all, we both won't be figuring the other out tonight, it seems-ne."
Naruto laughed, "Don't insult me so easily, Chao-chan! Someone like you will never figure me out~!"
"Is that so? But I already know what you're thinking, Naruto-san."
"Please enlighten me," Naruto pressed.
Chao giggled as she turned and walked away, sending her reply lazily over her shoulder as she left the lobby, "You're thinking that my panties are probably black—and you're correct-ne."
Naruto leaned back in his chair quietly for a moment, his smile unwavering on face. After a few minutes past, his smile finally cracked as he burst out into a thunderous laughter. He slapped his knee and threw his head back as he laughed, attracting the occasional odd look from guests as they walked through the hotel lobby. Finally relaxing, Naruto whistled to himself as he rested his head back against the chair.
'Smart girl,' Naruto hummed to himself quietly. He lost track of time as he just sat back and relaxed, staring into space, so he wasn't sure how long he had been sitting there when the company of Kaede, armed with two fluffy pillows arrived. Next to her was a much shorter girl by comparison, also with two pillows in hand. Naruto smiled and waved.
"Evening, Kaede-chan! Who's the girl next to you and would she be willing to go out with me?"
The girl in question blushed slightly while Kaede laughed, "This is my friend and your classmate, Ku Fei, and she probably won't—sorry. Naruto-san, you wouldn't have happened to see Negi-sensei anywhere around, have you?"
Naruto held his heart as if it had been shot, "Asking for Negi-chan? Am I not good enough for you, Kaede-chan? Alas, I have fallen victim to the seductions of a temptress! And to think, I gave everything to you!"
Ku Fei blushed a fierce red as she turned to Kaede, who was laughing even harder, "E-EH? I-Is that true-aru?"
"Of course it isn't-de gozaru," Kaede smiled, waving her hand dismissively, "So, have you seen him?"
"So cold, Kaede-chan~!" Naruto sighed, "The last I saw of Negi-chan, he was going to take a bath, but that was probably an hour or so ago. I don't know where he is now, but why do you need to know so badly?"
"It's not important, really-de gozaru," Kaede smiled as she and Ku Fei turned to leave. Naruto laughed.
"C'mon, Kaede-chan, don't just leave me hanging! I'm inquisitive! Curious, even! If I don't get an answer, I'm likely to go crazy!" Naruto grinned, "Well, at the very least, crazier."
"If you really must know, it's part of a game that Asakura-san came up with-de gozaru. There are a few teams running around, but the winner is the first one who finds Negi-sensei and kisses him," Kaede shrugged, "Apparently, there's some special prize involved."
"But if you get caught by Nitta-sensei, it's all over for you-aru!" Ku Fei added, "His punishments are inhumane!"
Naruto gasped, grasping his heart again and falling out of his chair, "Going after the lips of another young man when you already have me? Say it isn't so, Kaede-chan~! Ku-chan, will you abandon me as well? After all the time we've spent together?"
Ku Fei blushed slightly again while Kaede giggled into her palm quietly.
"Sorry, Naruto-san," Kaede spoke, "But it seemed interesting, so I decided to join. No hard feelings-de gozaru?"
"A Fei won't back down from a challenge-aru!" Ku Fei nodded in agreement. Naruto sighed, lying flat out on the ground of the lobby floor, though his smile still never left him.
"Well, I'll guess you'll just have to leave me here to rot then. Go on ahead without me and all that jazz," Naruto made a shooing motion with his hand, "I'll just be here picking up the pieces of my shattered heart if you need me."
Bidding their goodbyes, the duo left and Naruto stood, dusting off his clothes as he did. Grinning lightly to himself as he hummed a soft tune, Naruto made the prominent decision that he was, in fact, very bored. Heading out of the lobby and out onto the dimly lit streets, Naruto quickly decided to rectify this the only way he knew how—causing trouble. Nodding to himself, Naruto hummed in thought, 'Well, whatever the hell is going on in there, it looks like Konoe's watchdogs are going to be distracted by it for quite a bit. Might as well do a bit of talent scouting while I have the time…'
'Worst…mission…ever!' A boy groaned, walking down the side of an empty road, running his hands through his spiky brunette hair and over the two pointed dog-like ears that sat on his head. Sighing, his brown eyes scanned the street—Kyoto, despite being such a big place, didn't have much of night life, at least from what he saw. He subconsciously patted the orange cap in the back pocket of his black pants, which he was using to cover his ears from view of the common folk, though there was no need for it currently.
Why was he the only one out here? Why was he the lone wanderer of this tired trail?
Because his partners were a crazy yandere and a boring asshole.
Kotaro Inugami was not one who was able to sit still for long periods of time just doing nothing—he was a man of action! He needed excitement, damn it! A fight, a spar—hell, a death match would be preferable to nothing at all! But no—he been here for about two weeks and nothing! He wasn't even going to meet the targets until the next morning! At the very least, throw him a bone and give him an interesting conversation! Talking to Tsukuyomi, all you were going to get was a never-ending rant about some chick named Setsuna. His other partner had outright refused to give his name—not like it mattered, because the bastard was completely emotionless and silent. He might as well have been a statue!
"It's Kyoto, damn it! There's supposed to be something interesting!" Kotaro growled, shoving his hands into the pockets of his black jacket. Out of sheer boredom, he had left the "hideout"—a simple hotel room rented under a false name by their employer—to go on a stroll to look for anything to do, but had so far been unsuccessful in doing so. Kicking a pebble as he continued down the road, he continued to grumble as he passed by a nearby alley.
"Being bored is the absolute worst!" Kotaro grumbled, "Something, anything—just let it be interesting!"
"Being bored is the worst? I absolutely agree, my friend! Quite the interesting set of ears ya got there, if I don't say so myself!"
Kotaro instinctively whirled around and ripped his hat from his pocket, slapping it on his head sloppily as he glared into the darkness of the alleyway. Sniffing the air, Kotaro frowned—he couldn't smell anyone there. He couldn't sense anyone there. Yet, unless he was starting to go crazy and hear voices in his head, someone was there.
"Alright ya bastard, who the hell are you? Show yourself!" Kotaro barked out.
"No need to be so alarmed and certainly no need to wear that silly hat of yours. There's no need to pretend that you're human with me. Be yourself—don't hold back. Suppose I might as well introduce myself while I'm at it—call me Naruto," the voice spoke out from the cover of the darkness. Kotaro kept his frown stretched across his face as he heard a slow set of footsteps from within the alley. The first thing that popped into his field of vision was a wry smile, followed by the rest of this "Naruto" person.
Kotaro growled, "What the hell do you want?"
"Just to talk, my little friend. Got a name?" Naruto tilted his head.
"Alright, Ko-chan, I understand that you're bored! How about I help with that?"
Kotaro snorted and began to walk away, "And what the hell can you do?"
"Well, a lot of things really. You're an easy guy to understand—just from lookin' at ya, I've got a pretty good idea about you."
"That so? Alright then, wise guy, tell me about myse—"
"You're the runt of your litter, ain't ya? Got abandoned by your clan, probably because of it, too. Been on your own since then, working to prove them wrong and to keep living in a survival-of-the-fittest world, but you're finding that you're not going anywhere fast and you haven't proven anything to anyone, especially not your family or yourself. Your family issues are probably the reason you always itch for action, too—all that pent up anger and self-pity manifests in a desire to prove yourself to the world and the second you come to a wall in that plan you try to punch through it like an idiot. Despite being so headstrong, you're still just a weakling though, aren't y—"
"Bastard!" Kotaro roared, pulling his fist back and charging towards Naruto. Leaping up, he started to throw his punch forward when he was within striking distance of Naruto, who was completely unmoving in every sense of the word, right down to his infuriating smile.
Kotaro froze, mid-air.
'W-What? Why can't I—'
Before Kotaro could even finish the thought, as he struggled to move his fist forward, the sensation of being frozen had left him and he was thrown back. His back collided with the cold pavement of the street about fifteen feet back, causing him to let out a gasp of pain. He immediately sat up, ready to scream at his opponent and attack once more, but an immense pressure struck him and he was once again hit with a different yet similar sensation of being unable to move.
"That, my friend, was a love-tap compared to what I can really do," Naruto spoke as he walked casually over to the boy, "I can read you because we're similar in some ways, Ko-chan. I was weakling like you, just trying to survive in a hellish reality around me. I clawed my way to where I am now and there's a trail of about a thousand corpses behind me to prove it. It takes a misfit to see a misfit, to see the things that the privileged and lucky can afford to just ignore."
Kotaro felt his rage subside slightly to a mix of confusion and understanding, though the pressure did not let up to allow him to speak. He could only sit and listen.
"Seeing those happy people in this world…it makes you just a bit sick, doesn't it? How much they take for granted and how quick they are to pity you…when they, who've been handed everything, are so much more pathetic. It stinks, it's frustrating, but you, unlike them, have nothing to help you when you fail or mess up—you can't afford to step out of line," Naruto muttered, reaching up to adjust his sunglasses, "I know it angers me. I can't stand it! That's why I'm gonna knock the bottom right out from under this world…that's why I am going to change this world! And I would like you to join me when I do."
Naruto fell silent as he finished his short rant and Kotaro felt the pressure let up—he could stand and speak again. Shakily, he got to his feet, staring at Naruto. Kotaro frowned, his glare never leaving his face.
"Even if you say all that…I'm going to get my life back! I'm going to make it to the top with my own power!" Kotaro growled out.
"And do what? Live with those who ignored you? It's been ten years of surviving…how close are you? How far have you progressed towards your goal? Who has acknowledged you? Who has truly seen and looked at you?" Naruto questioned.
Kotaro flinched. He didn't answer.
"I'm probably the first person you've ever met that could understand you—for all you know, I may be the last. Join me—don't be satisfied with just making a life around those who don't see you! Let's change this world!"
"...So, you're asking me to be your ally, huh? And if I say no?" Kotaro, despite himself, allowed a small, challenging grin to slip across his face. Naruto matched his smile with one of his own.
"Then I'll force you to be my ally. Of course, you know how we scum of society work…if you aren't useful, of course I won't want you as an ally. Make me acknowledge you, Ko-chan—now's your chance."
Without warning, Naruto found himself surrounded by six large, black dogs, each bearing their fangs and letting loose low, guttural growls. Naruto's eyes drifted lazily to glance at the dog spirits before turning back to Kotaro, who had fallen into a fighting stance with a wicked grin on his face. Naruto smiled and placed his hands into his pockets.
"Don't get upset when I kick your ass!" Kotaro smirked.
Naruto chuckled, "Confidence is good and all, Ko-chan, but don't get your head in the clouds now—you'll just be disappointed in the end."
The dogs each leapt up, poised to sink their fangs into Naruto's throat. Naruto, in turn, effortlessly jumped into the air a good ten feet, easily out of the range of the dogs, which quickly leapt up the walls of the alley to reach the blond. Naruto grinned and nonchalantly removed one hand from his pocket and pointed his palm outward, "Shinra Tensei!"
The dogs each felt as if the weight of the world itself had suddenly been chained onto them as they were unmercifully rocketed back to the ground below them. Where normal dogs would have been flattened from the sheer force of the impact alone, the spirits simply evaporated in dark plumes of smoke as they collide with the ground in a dull thud. His eyes quickly scanned the area as Naruto noticed the lack of a Kotaro.
A mocking whistle sounded above him.
Twisting in mid-air, Naruto brought his foot up to block a punch from Kotaro, who grinned at him.
"Interesting…!" Kotaro grinned madly, excitement rushing through his veins. Naruto smirked.
"You're gonna love this, then…!"
Naruto outstretched both hands as glowing, silvery chains appeared in them. As the two fighters allowed gravity to take its effects and began to fall back down, Naruto grave a sharp, whip-like motion with the chains. With a violent lash, the chains struck and wrapped around Kotaro, binding his legs and arms. Before Kotaro could process what had just happened, he felt a powerful tug on the chains as he was slammed into the ground by Naruto, who landed gracefully on his feet a few seconds later.
Groaning, Kotaro got to his feet quickly, "You…what kind of mage are you? You obviously aren't a western mage—which I like—but you sure as hell aren't using any ki techniques that I've ever seen. What gives?"
"Hm? Oh, of course I'm not gonna use magic or ki, Ko-chan~!" Naruto smiled, "Because I have absolutely no access to either of those things."
"E-Eh? Quit screwing with me! Of course you do!" Kotaro yelled, "How else did you do all that?"
"Believe what you want, Ko-chan."
Thoroughly thrown for a loop and not about to let it show one bit, Kotaro rushed forward as three more of him appear, "Eat this!"
"Four times zero is still zero, Ko-chan," Naruto taunted as the boy growled. The four rushed into striking distance and each let out a flurry of attacks—in a storm of punches, kicks, sweeps—Kotaro was sure that there was no blind-spot, no room to dodge other than to fall back. He thought so, until Naruto ducked and weaved through each and every attack so skillfully that he made it look like child's play—to Naruto, Kotaro realized, it probably was.
Naruto made his way out of the barrage and past the group of clones. Without turning to look back, he held out an arm behind him, "Banshō Ten'in!"
The real Kotaro was once again stunned with confusion as he felt a strong tug on his frame before he was flung forward at an alarming speed. His clones vanished behind him as his throat slammed into Naruto's open palm and he hacked up saliva. In a dash, Naruto brought his arm and Kotaro around in front of him and delivered two strong and deep punches to Kotaro's stomach, forcing up more saliva and blood from the boy. Naruto then tossed him into the air and held out his other palm, "Shinra Tensei!"
Kotaro's back collided with the back of the alley as he fell into a crumpled pile among the trash that was placed back there. He felt his stomach wretch and the world around him was blurry, as more blood escaped his mouth. Shakily, he lifted his gaze to Naruto, who stood waiting for him a few feet away. Growling, he launched three punches into the air, sending blasts of pure ki towards his opponent. Naruto smiled and outstretched his palms to catch the blasts. As the attacks collided with them, they were sucked into his hands, leaving no trace behind.
"Non-physical attacks won't work on me, Ko-chan," Naruto interrupted, "It was a nice attempt though."
Kotaro stared at Naruto in bewilderment for a moment, before grinning wildly, "Heh…Hahahahaha! Yes! This is what I'm talking about! You—you're the real deal! You're strong! Power like yours…this is what I've been waiting for!"
Naruto grinned, "Interested in my strength? Go all out. I'll show you more of it. I told you, Ko-chan, there's no need to pretend to be human with me."
"…Heh. Just remember…you asked for it," Kotaro chuckled as his hair slowly began to turn blond as it grew longer and wilder, falling down his back. He grew a good two feet and his muscles bulged out on his arms, legs, and chest. His arms and legs became animal like appendages, covered in fur and with each finger and toe gaining long, razor-sharp claws. Ignoring the fact that now both his shoes and shirt were completely wrecked, Kotaro was about to charge forward and revel in the rare time he got to use his real strength. He made three steps forward…
"Oh—Ko-chan went Super Saiyan. Interesting."
He found himself cracking against the brick wall of the alley again, Naruto's hand wrapped around his throat once more. Weakly, Kotaro glared into Naruto's covered eyes—he could feel a mocking gaze from behind the sunglasses meeting his own eyes. With an almost lazily draw, Naruto spoke again.
"The second I remove my hand, I am going to take with it your soul—it is well within the realm of my powers to do so. You'll be left an empty shell, with no capability of moving, speaking—even thinking a single thought will be impossible for you. From there, I will use these…" Naruto lifted his other hand and produced a black rod, "…to control your every movement and action. You'll quite literally become my puppet and lose all free will…so, please understand that it is my victory at this point."
Naruto dropped Kotaro, who coughed and rubbed his throat gently. Kotaro frowned at the blond, reverting back to his normal form, "So…this entire time, you were just toying with me, then? Holding back that much?"
"I wasn't toying with you, Ko-chan…rather, I was testing you," Naruto replied, pocketing the rod, "I could make anyone I want my servant that way…but I don't have any interest in mindless subordinates. You're useless unless you have the capability to one day be on par with me, so why not walk the same path a little, Ko-chan?"
"So…I passed this little test?" Kotaro gave a small grin.
"You're a little rough around the edges, but you certainly got a passing score for potential," Naruto offered, returning the grin.
"And if I'm still not convinced I want to join you?"
"Tell me so," Naruto shot back, "And we'll fight again."
Kotaro paused, looking at Naruto for a moment, sizing the teen up…before he burst out laughing, "Looking forward to it, ya damn bastard!"
"Good choice, Ko-chan. Well then…" Naruto nodded, his smile still ever-present, "I'll be seeing ya around, I guess."
Kotaro blinked before springing to his feet, ignoring the stinging pain as he did so, "H-Hey, shouldn't you give me some way to contact you or…I don't know, something? I'm supposed to be working with you, right? How the hell am I gonna find you again?"
Naruto waved Kotaro's worries off with his hand as he continued to walk out of the alley, "Oh, we'll meet again, Ko-chan, so don't worry about it. For now, just do whatever you were planning on doing. When we next meet…I don't know, I guess I might have a plan for you then! These things take time, Ko-chan~!"
"Y-You're pretty laidback about this whole "changing the world" thing…"
"Meh. I'm mostly just lazy."
And that's a wrap! Sorry about the…damn, three months? I didn't think it had been that long. Senior year got kind of hectic with all the projects they tried to throw at me last year, finals, and I finally got my first job…it's mostly manual labor, so any free time I've had lately has been devoted to sleeping. But now, summer is here and I finally have time to write again, so I do apologize for the long wait, but I had my reasons.
Naruto got a bit serious in the end of this chapter, didn't he? Well, the main villain has to act serious sometimes. On that note, how did the fight scenes go? Were they good? I'm never sure how well my fight scenes are, so please leave a comment about them! It would really help me out a lot!
Now, to answer some of the comments from last time!
Why not just make a Medaka x Negima crossover and use Kumagawa? Good question! I actually had originally planned to do so, but I couldn't come up with a good plan for Kumagawa as the main villain—I just couldn't think of an overall goal for him to be in Mahora for, for him to jump through all these hoops for the Negima storyline, when he could just make it all disappear and when all his goals—i.e. Medaka—weren't even at Mahora—I was just at a lost on what to do with him. Naruto has other villains that I can and will be bringing in and has a world that I can easily fit in the magical world while completely changing how he grew up to make him like Kumagawa—it just seemed like a good alternative. Plus, I have the entire plot set out in my mind and I really, really like it. Furthermore, Kumagawa is really the only character that I really, really like from Medaka Box. Other than him and sometimes Medaka and Shiranui, I just can't find myself rooting or wanting to write about the other characters. I hope this kinda clears up why I did what I did.
That Flashback… I know the italicized words may have annoyed some people, but I just honestly can't write "FLASHBACK" and "END FLASHBACK"—my pride won't let me. It's like an actor reading that stage directions in a script, "I'm Batman…now it says I walk five steps to the left and punch the Joker." It just feels weird to me. As for transitions, yeah, I'll admit that was one of the sloppier ones, but I think it was still clear enough—I mean, there were only two characters in the flashback and when it ends, the next scene immediately begins with one of them.
Wilhelm and Poyo's powers... Yes, they do have more than I showed off there. They will retain all of their powers from the cannon series, but I will have to branch out a bit more since Poyo was basically completely glanced over and Wilhelm really only showed that he could "shoop-da-woop" and turn people to stone. Someone asked if Poyo was at Theodora or Negi's mom's level, being a princess too and all. She's not quite there yet, mostly because she is still considerably young.
Shouldn't Naruto Be Able to Pick Negi Off as the Hero Type? Keep in mind, this is a world with people like Rakan, Nagi, Konoe, and Evangeline. Compared to powerhouses like those, no one, no matter how much potential they have, would be labeled the "Hero" character quicker than they would. Furthermore, Naruto just really doesn't like Negi as was seen in this chapter and as I will explain in future chapters why he doesn't. I don't really like Negi either, so believe me, I will explain why Naruto hates him.
Pairing? Yes, there will be a pairing. I debated on whether it should be a single or a harem and, in the end…if I want to do a Negima story justice, I feel like it has to be a harem. I know it annoys some people, but I'm going to keep it small and I'll try to do it as realistically as possible—none of the girls are ever going to say "I don't mind sharing" because I hate it when they say that. It belittles the characters so much. It will definitely be more of the whole "rivalry" thing. I'd rather not say flat out what the pairing is and instead let it develop naturally in story.
Can Naruto use the Sharingan powers? As Naruto is now, he cannot use any of the Sharingan abilities, only the Rinnegan. I know Madara can still use them and the Rinnegan abilities in cannon, but Madara started out with the Sharingan which then evolved—Naruto started out with normal eyes, he has never had the Sharingan, which I why I'm thinking Pein didn't use any of them in cannon either. Basically, Pein and Naruto are in the same pool of abilities. Now might I have some plans in the future that might make Naruto branch out his doujutsu abilities? Maybe, maybe not. If anything happens, it won't be until at least late Mundus Magic arc.
Once again, sorry for the very overdue update, folks! Please leave your criticisms/praise in a comment! Have a nice day everyone!