For The Sake of Gaia
Naruto x Garnet
Once again, I do update and plan on finishing old stories. All of you who keep bitching I don't need to shut the hell up.
Naruto awoke the misty fog of the Evil forest. The atmosphere was just as inviting as its same, the faint glow of the moonlight was the only thing that was remotely friendly in the green death trap. He was uninjured, no signs of cut or tears. He made his way to higher altitude to spot the ship.
He followed a trail of smoke, guided by his nose and the sound of crackling fire. Hopping from a trail of broken and rotten tries he made his way to remained of the Prima Vista.
"Owww … my back is killing me!" Baku lifted himself of the wheel, and turned to where Cinna was strewn over the console. "Are you alright?" Cinna had already pulled himself up and stepped nearer to his boss.
"Yeah, but the Prima Vista's wasted!"
The boss turned his attention to the smashed windscreen where the woods stared hungrily back at him. Figures in the distance moved across the creaks in the glass, strangely illuminated by the blueberry hue.
"Just our luck to crash into this forest…" he commented. "It's gonna get interesting…"
"What do you mean 'interesting' boss?" Cinna replied. "I hear no one's ever made it outta here alive." Like any place, the Evil Forest had its share of legends. Stories of brave adventurers, swallowed up by its depths, never to be seen again. Weary travels stopping for a rest, only to fall victim to the monsters.
"Boss!" Blank hurried in, panicked searching for the man amidst the chaos of fallen objects. "There's fire everywhere! It's outta control!"
"Quit yer whinin' and get it under control!" boomed the leader, un-phased, turning from the window to face both his comrade and the issue. "And get the wounded outta here!"
"Alright!" Blank said, and signaled to his boss in the traditional manner of their troupe before vacating the helm-room to get on with the tasks.
"Get our goods outta here, too: weapons, items, anything we can use!" Baku barked at Cinna. "There's no way we'll survive if all our stuff is toast."
"I'm on it!" and Cinna signed his acknowledgement, which was returned by Baku, before the pop-bellied creature ran after Blank to aid in the emergency.
"Phew…" huffed Cinna, slumped beside inventory he'd managed to save. "I'm beat…"
The injured turned out to be most of the orchestra, who'd fallen through the ship when the stage collapsed, and the backstage teams, who were what the stage had fallen onto. All the Tantalus brothers remained intact.
While the members of Tantalus were trying to minimize the damage Naruto continue his way to the ship. He walked past an ill-fated fern where a Moogle sat on a branch, overlooking the disaster. Naruto spotted one of the members of the band of thieves. "Where's the Princess?" he demanded.
"I don't know," the tailed boy nervously replied. "I didn't see her. All I know is that all of Tantalus is accounted for."
"No one else?" he pressed on as the boy nodded.
A growl escaped Naruto's lips. The Princess was missing? If she had been thrown off the ship during the crash it was likely she was dead. No, he couldn't think like that. He would not fail, he thought as he looked towards the forest. She was out there and he was going to find her.
Garnet and Vivi ran. . A steep hill led them into a clearing where a stony expanse prevented trees from taking root. The slope was angled so it carried up through a hole in higher ground. Vivi caught his foot on a jagged rock where the hill met the flat land.
"Are you alright?" Garnet asked. She'd heard him hit the ground, and turned to ran back and quickly aid him to his feet. This area was quiet void of the grumble of the beast that had been chasing them, but Garnet kept her ears open as she picked the boy up.
"I-is it still coming?" he asked. They turned to face the weird depression from which they had ran, scanning for any sign, but only the glow of the trees returned their gazes.
A thunderous ramble sounded again, but the beast couldn't be seen. Vivi backed away, a tight feeling twisting his stomach, certain the creature would come into view at any moment. Neither saw the shadow as it moved across the ground from the other direction, through the sheeted light of a bioluminescent tree, and stopped beneath Garnet's feet. Only when the darkness spread out like a pool below her boots did Vivi glance up and see it falling from above them.
Naruto continued to search, heading deeper into the forest. Now that he thought about it, it was most likely she was flung like he was. The sound of a roar alerted him and he dashed forward. Leaping over angled rocks he landed on a bit of water, a splash echoed in his ears along the sound of squishing as his feed waded through murky water and soften dirt.
He had come across the little mage. "Sh-she's in trouble…" Naruto's eyes quickly darted to where he was pointing.
The creature was some kind of plant with the shape of an uprooted stump. Whatever it was, the night was fighting it. It had clumsy cuts on its side as the creature tried to attack the night. That was when he set his eyes on her, the Princess was held in what looked like a prison of leaves and vines.
Steiner was shaking his fists at as though it were a child in need of strict discipline. "Release the princess at once!" he shouted.
Naruto ran up, arming himself with two kunai. "It's a monster; I highly doubt it's going to listen." He said, sarcasm dripping from his voice. Inside the mutant's clutches, Garnet was quivering. "Come on!" In response to his war cry, the beast stretched its tentacles.
Seeing the terrified look in Garnet's eyes caused Naruto to snap. A memory coursed through his eyes and the image of a young woman came to mind. 'Naruto-kun.' A surge of blinding chakra suddenly erupted from Naruto. It shrouded him in a near blinding array.
"Wh-what is that light!" Steiner stammered beside him.
An aura of blue, orange, and violet enraptured the blond. Something felt familiar, warm about this power. Naruto didn't answer, doing his best to focus his thoughts. "Could it really be Trance…!" The knight fumbled, quickly cycling through the theories in mind. Recalling what he has heard of this state.
"Now's not the time. We have to save the princess!"
The creature hadn't attacked them throughout this dialogue; instead it was raising its appendages to attack the bound Garnet. Naruto wasn't going to give the creature the chance. He surged forward; the two kunai plunged into its mid-section, causing the creature to let out a shriek as it lashed out as Naruto.
A barb ripped a tear into his cheek, but that didn't deter Naruto. He pushed the attack deeper, halting the creature in place as it tried to flee. While the monster was preoccupied Steiner struck the beast with his sword. The attack wasn't very effective, while the monster winced a little, the knight's weapon became lodged a moment in its sturdy flesh, and Steiner had to summon extra force to yank it back out again.
Naruto pulled back, his hands burning from the acidic like blood of the creature. Injured and outmatched the creature gave out a shriek and curled its appendages around the tree branches above. With a snarl it lifted itself high, into the shadow of the leaves, and disappeared from view taking Garnet with it.
"Princess? PRINCESS!" Steiner called.
The swirling energy began to softly recede. "Calm down, you're wasting your breath. That monster looked like a hive type, a mere minion." Naruto explained as he brought his hand together in a cross. Ten puffs of smoke formed and out of them stood ten identical Narutos. "Spread out and search for the Princess. Dispel once you find her." He ordered as they all went off in different directions.
"By the Queen!" Steiner gasps. "So you're not just a thief, but a sorcerer as well!" he accused.
Naruto ignored him; he turned his attention to the trembling mage. "She's gone," he said, and walked over to where he had tripped, remembering how the princess had returned for him. Ashamed, he turned to the others who were still searching the boughs above for any sign of her. "I was too scared to cast any spells… That monster's probably going to eat her…" and racked with guilt he covered his face, lowering his head to hide himself beneath the brim of his hat.
"How could I let this happen!" moaned Steiner.
"Stop wailing night. Once my copy finds her and dispel I'll get the information, meaning I can lead us right to her."
The knight's face lit up like a freshly sparked candle. "Come! We must go find her at once!"
"Quiet! I need to focus!" Naruto hissed as he closed his eyes. Recklessly pursuing the Princess without knowing the creatures or lay out of the forest was highly dangerous, this way they would have a heads up and know what to expect.
Before any of them could react, another of the plant creatures swung itself down on the mage. Upside-down, its spread leaves fixed themselves over the boy, securing him in a cage like that which had held the princess. Both Naruto and Steiner withdrew their weapons, taken aback by the sudden appearance of the thing. It hung there a moment suspended, and then flipped itself over. Inside its trap, Vivi screamed. With its vines suspended, the beast prepared to swing away as before, but Naruto sliced its vine off with ease, and Steiner followed suit with the other.
"Let me go! Help me!" Vivi cried. He trembled as his captor fell down off the branches.
Vivi saw the two men ready to fight for his freedom, and the moment the creature had landed, he summoned his courage and called upon his magic. Fire ignited underneath the monster, blasting upwards in bright yellow flame, coating the beast in a cloud of heat which reached just below where Vivi sat atop its head.
Naruto watched as the creature squirmed from the assault, the heat of the flames as it licked across its body gave him an idea. "Keep using magic mage! Give me some time and I'll prepare a killing blow!" he spoke to Vivi and Steiner respectively.
Naruto closed his eyes and used Senjutsu to feel the life force around him. Despite the dark nature of the forest, there was still life. There was still nature for him to draw power from. Every time Vivi struck with fire the creature Steiner would carve away the darkened and burn roots and vines. The atmosphere around the battle site began to dry out. Naruto opened his eyes just in time to see the last of the creature's coating to be burned away. Raising his hands he materialized a small sphere of water. Putting some more effort into it the air around him began to chill, sending shivers through his body. With a cry the water shaped itself into a javelin and froze and with a mighty heave Naruto launched the attack, piercing the creature and breaking its hold on the mage.
Fire alone wasn't the enemy of plants, Ice was just as deadly. Naruto's head dropped slightly as he heavily breathed. Despite his great affinity for Wind, his affinity for water was nowhere near as strong and as a result using Ice Jutsu took a lot out of him.
"Phew… Th-Thanks…" Vivi was still gazing at the fallen plant-thing, but turned to face his saviors.
"Are you alright?" Naruto asked him, scanning him for any obvious sign of injury. Vivi could see the mercenary was bleeding on his face and he was exhibiting signs of exhaustion.
"Y-Yeah… I think so."
"That's good to hear because we are going to need you. The Princess has been found." Naruto stated as he turned in the direction of the dispelled clone and began making his way towards where the Princess was held.