Humming softly, she scanned over the few titles of the nearly empty shelf of books.
Her eyes were fiercely digesting every word on the aged bindings. This was her territory, her domain. She knew everything in this particular section of the guild.
She was the ruler here.
Yet, even so, there was a single complication in her kingdom. A few of her subjects were wrong. They were all assigned a specific section, but there was a discernible cabal – a few neatly stacked books that held no place.
The queen's cheerful melody ended as she frowned at them.
These rebels, defying their queen's presence, disrupted the order. They laid in the farthest corner and the highest rim of the grounds, silently conspiring against her.
A few of them, such as the great tomes of Fairy Tail's archives and the rare books on the ancient world, were welcome in the histories; but they refused the calling, as if saying that their jurisdiction was beyond her.
There were, however, two books of the same title that she suspected of misdeed within the faction. Only judging by the name, the queen could instantly extradite these outsiders – for they lacked the status of the aforementioned – to their legitimate branch, the fictional novels.
She would, too, but she feared them immensely; she feared the repercussion that would follow their severance.
The congregation had associated in this such manner before she was instated as queen and even prior to her admission into the Fairy Tail empire.
The queen sighed softly, her short blue hair flailing as she leaned forward, reaching for the newer, reprinted twin.
"Levy-chan!" The queen yelped at the call, her ladder rebounding against her startled body. "We found a job, are you ready?"
"H-hai!" she cried out, eying the book longingly as she retracted her hand and carefully crawled down the supporting structure.
"Huh, you're still in the library?"
The queen didn't respond as she walked past all of her rigid subjects. She stopped at the exit and turned to glare at the tantalizing twin, engraving the title into her proficient memory as she had done times before:
"Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi"
Arashi no Ko
Chapter I: Existence
"For ages, people have fought to create peace – countless numbers have died for this 'dream'. Today, another life will be added to the infinite list; today, the Nations will be one step closer to peace!"
-Rokudaime Hokage of Konoha
Distant roars rang in his ears as he clambered to a standing position. The searing pain that surged in his body threatened to induce a wail that collided with the sounds of whatever forest he was in.
Caressing his head in an attempt to ebb the splitting ache, he loosely stumbled forward. His clothes, torn and fraying, were a testament to the events that had just happened, but the aftermath was absent.
Grains of dirt and rock fell from his murky blond hair as he examined his surroundings, resulting in a dusty discoloration forming on the shoulders of the remnant of his orange on black sweater.
He let out a low growl as he glanced down to his attire and tore off the whole right arm of the tattered article. He didn't even bother with the left side, seeing as how the black fabric only began existing above his forearm, and offered no service to his tearing sandals and shredded orange pants.
As far as he knew, this place – wherever it was – was not where he had been just minutes prior. He could only hope that he succeeded with his plan.
Suddenly, an influx of memories awakened in his weakened mind. From his expired clone, he realized, once the information was retained.
"..the Nations will be one step closer to peace!"
I guess the great Uzumaki Naruto had to go with a bang.
Naruto just hoped that whatever idiotic dramatics his clone pulled weren't for naught. If he really did fail and everything his clone said was just some exaggerated garbage, then, even if he were anywhere close to the Elemental Nations, he would keel over and die of embarrassment.
After Sakura pummeled him to the ground, that is.
She probably would have done it anyway, had she found his dead body.
Can't blame her, either. I'd want to kick my own ass.
A small smile flitted to his face as he breathed in the soft air of the forest. That was the first hint that something was horribly wrong: the air around him was too wrong. Being a master of Senjutsu, Naruto could feel the changes in the world around.
Everything was saturated with some sort of strange energy. It was like a warm blanket permeating the world.
And, apparently, it was somewhat soothing to his soul.
Or maybe that was the very temporary euphoria from his latest attempt at mass distribution of peace.
While even the best men fell to solitude and pressure, Naruto never thought that he would be one of them. The people didn't believe in him, they expected of him.
From a nuisance, he became a hero; from a hero, he became a leader; and from becoming a leader, he was treated discordantly.
Before, his friends would idly converse with him, share a few disconnected words, or challenge him to a spar.
Now, they only offered him respect, just as everyone else did. Naruto never would have imagined that something like a title and power would just throw him back to the days of his childhood.
Back to his loneliness.
There was little solace to find in Sakura, since she probably needed it just as much as he did. She started working even harder to replace Tsunade in the medical field once she died.
Maybe he was wrong: maybe this place was the same as the Nations.
Maybe I'm in some dead shinobi haven. Maybe I'll finally get some peace.
He noticed, absently, a large build up of the strange energy further into the forest. Coincidentally, the roars were proportionate to the growing power.
This isn't ending well.
Out of nowhere, two white-haired girls appeared from the wooded area, followed by a thick tree stump flying at them. There was a second tree stump being swung at them, but that one was connected to the maroon arms of a beast.
A very large beast.
The older girl that had what Naruto assumed to be her sister draped across her back was obviously tired. Her steps were shaky and her movements disoriented.
The pain in his body was still burning him from the inside, but Naruto could tell that he had to do something, or the girls would be smashed by the monster.
With a strained grunt, Naruto launched himself at the horned giant.
He sent a powerful kick at the monster's green chest, but all it accomplished was the dropping of the tree that his enemy was swinging.
Naruto jumped back, narrowly avoiding the swipe that was directed at him.
The beast's glowing yellow eyes glared at him and it let loose a giant roar that caused a slight distortion of wind in the area. With no restraint, the monster charged at him, its five talons digging into the ground and its arms raised high.
When the escaping girl chanced to inspect the distance from her brother, she was startled to find that he had set his sights on some blonde kid in rags. "Watch out, idiot!" she screamed desperately, an unfamiliar knot forming in her stomach.
Naruto almost wished he could send the girl a dark glare, but that would probably result in him being a broken heap on the ground. Naruto quickly surveyed his options – judging by the response he got from his kick, he doubted weapons would work, and he was also questioning the identity of the attacking creature.
Ducking a slash that nearly grazed his shoulder, Naruto formed two clones and ran toward the girls.
The beast, unmindful of the duplicates, chased after him.
Naruto swiftly appeared before the sisters, gently sliding one arm around both girls and poising both pairs of legs in his other arm. Before the beast had a chance to grab them, Naruto propelled himself forward, turning his head to eye up his clones.
Instantly, one clone, wind bending about him, flew at the weakest parts of the red and green monster – its legs. The clone disappeared upon contact with the back of the giant's ankle, but managed to cause it to stumble backwards. Its head fell back, and the only thing it saw was the grey sky.
That is, until the second copy appeared in his view. In this duplicate's hand was a blue orb that was aimed at the beast's face.
"Rasengan!" the clone shouted as the swirling ball procured contact with the beast's cheek.
An erratic swat managed to hit and destroy the second copy, causing a small cloud of smoke and the destabilization of the existent Rasengan.
The explosion that followed effectively threw the beast to the ground.
"H-hey! Watch the hands, asshole," the white-haired girl choked out, glaring at Naruto as he let her and her sleeping sister down. "Anyone ever teach you manners?"
He snorted in response. "You one to talk?"
A small silence reigned as the girl's eyebrows furrowed in frustration. "Who are you?" she asked, biting her lip.
"Just a guy offering to help," he stated with a sigh. "What was that thing?"
The sleeping short-haired girl stirred and hazily opened her eyes. She hesitantly spoke, "Mira-nee.. whe-where's Elf-nii?"
Naruto's eyes widened marginally, recalling the beast's white mane of hair. "That thing's your brother?"
"Y-yeah," the girl identified as 'Mira-nee' spoke, "we had some problems and Elfman lost control."
"Mira-nee?" The younger girl was still waiting for an answer.
The sister in question glanced at Naruto, who finally spoke, "I think he's out. I hit him pretty hard."
Of course, at that moment there had to be an enraged roar that rumbled throughout the forest. Cursing slightly, Naruto turned glanced at the girls. "You guys get back, I'll make some kind of plan."
"No way! He's my brother, I'm gonna stop him!" The older girl's eyes were shining with resolve, and she confidently said, "This is my responsibility."
"You should've done it sooner, then, because I know that you're running low on energy." Naruto then harshly added, "Plus, with your arm like that, I doubt there's much you can do." True to Naruto words, her limp forearm had an unappealing, large bump that was nothing less than a fracture.
He could see some spite piling up in her eyes, but that was nothing in contrast to the growing sounds of rustling leaves and snapping branches.
Naruto turned to the direction with the sounds and walked forward. His body had been hurting ever since he arrived to this strange forest, and a deeper pain raced through him ever since he made those Kage Bunshin. He didn't even understand how one of his clones could form a Rasengan with his current condition.
It really felt as if some sort of caustic chakra was poured through his tenketsu…
Well, that explains a lot. You alive, Kurama?
Would you be alive if you had to roast the chakra of seven tailed beasts?
Should I answer with a yes, since you survived?
You should answer with a 'no', actually. Maybe even add an 'I am a giant idiot'.
That's the second time someone's called me an idiot today. I haven't even been an idiot in Konoha for some time now.
There was no response from the giant fox within his stomach.
Did it work?
This time, Naruto's echoing voice was somber. There was no hint of amusement hidden beneath his words, there was only a desperation that the Kyuubi had seen once before – the time that Naruto nearly removed his seal.
Yeah. As far as I know, the tailed beasts are forever gone from the Elemental Nations.
I wonder, where does that put us?
The reply was once again mute, and for a reason. He could feel the creature approaching, the snarls were almost palpable, and the raw rage was threatening to wrap around his very body.
Naruto had no way to restrain the prodigal brother – his tenketsu were damaged at the least and he couldn't mold chakra at this point. He wasn't sure how well, if at all, Sage Mode would function with this quirky energy.
There only one option.
He hoped that his body would be salvageable after this.
The berserk Elfman finally appeared, dashing at Naruto with his outstretched fist, intending to smash. Its body was larger, its horns sharper, and its muscles firmer.
Naruto sedately observed the thin stream of blood the flowed down the right side of the beast's face as he reached for his power.
A small smile etched onto the face of the demon fox, whose head was raised as he calmly stared through the exposed cage.
Naruto could hear twin sets of cries emanating from behind him, but he paid them no mind. His eyes met with the creatures and, once the colossal arm obscured his sight, he let free.
Maroon chakra burst forth, fencing the attack and fully enveloping its host.
The beast subtly retreated, as if instinctively fearing this new foe. The cylinder of chakra started to take form, six distinct threads spiraled from behind the black silhouette in the red curtain.
Two elongating red ears were situated atop the head of the burning teen, who had fallen to a quadruped position. The six coils, now fully-formed tails, swayed behind him as a white, bone-like substance began forming on what was Naruto.
A jaw materialized; next, a skull; then, a spine; and finally, erratic boney limbs that stuck to the radiating red monster, oddly reminiscent of a fox.
Low growls were emitted from the six-tailed fox as it slowly advanced toward the still-larger beast, who had been receding at an equal pace.
It was somewhat cognitive, if the parallel fists attempting to assault the fox indicated anything.
Naruto, disinterested in prolonging the fight, shot a tail out, wrapping it around either arm and quickly replicated that for each leg while the remaining two tails bound the horns of the flailing head.
The fox reclined as far back as it could and began creating an uncompressed black sphere from its mouth, visible perforations appearing on the dark ball as much of its power spilled out.
Just enough to make him sleep.
In an instant, the fox brought its head and the sphere into the beast's chest, generating an outward blast that sent both combatants flying into their own respective trees.
The bipedal beast was unresponsive, but his inhumane qualities slowly began receding until an unconscious human frame was revealed.
The fox, removing itself from its tree, rose to two legs once the maroon energy started dissipating. Ragged breaths escaped from the reverted blond while he tried to walk forward, succeeding only in collapsing face-first into the ground.
The two sisters viewed the concluded display in awe, inspecting every splintered branch and all of the displaced gravel.
Lethargically opening his eyes, Naruto noticed two things. First, he was wrapped in a thin sheet with a small, soft pillow beneath his head. He assumed he was lying on his back, if the grey sky and towering trees that came into vision were any clue.
Secondly, and possibly more importantly, his body felt like it was sent through a shredder, multiple times. Naruto wasn't sure if this was a result of using the Kyuubi's chakra or the just the aftermath of that.
He craned his neck and looked to his right, noticing the young girl and who he assumed was Elfman asleep a slight distance away; both of them were covered in a manner similar to his and both of them appeared equally spent.
Then he looked to his left, spotting the elder sister perpendicularly situated to him with her back against a fallen tree that ran parallel beside him. Her head was leaning back against the stump, and her knees were tightly tucked in. At a glance, she seemed to be close to his age and wearing clothes that Ino probably had stored in her closet.
Naruto continued watching her – his eyes sifted over her sullied pale skin; her black thigh-high boots; her short, purple miniskirt; her provocatively small top of a darker shade of purple, sustained only by a crossing strap that went around her neck; her long, flowing white hair, most of which was braced by a ruffled maroon ribbon; and her soft face, overlaid by two thin asymmetrical streaks of dried tears.
It was somewhat hard to believe that this seemingly angelic girl had called him an asshole.
Naruto finally focused in on her wistful blue eyes. They reminded him of the eyes he kept seeing in his mirror when Jiraiya was killed by Pein, when Jiraiya was killed because of him. Naruto was so caught up in his memories that he never even noticed that the world around him started fading away.
"You plannin' to say something or are you gonna keep ogling me?"
Snapping out of it, Naruto rolled his eyes and dropped his head back to the pillow, angling himself in such a way that he could still see her. "Are you letting me choose? Because you're actually kinda pretty when you don't talk."
She finally stopped watching the sky and leveled Naruto with a dark glare. His blank stare was meeting her angry one until he could recognize the melancholic look returning to her face.
Naruto, deciding that he didn't want to recall more of the pain of losing Jiraiya, settled for as close to a amiable conversation as could be achieved. "I never did catch your name, you know."
She narrowed her eyes subtly and softly chewed the inside of her lip. "Mirajane Strauss. My siblings," she deftly nodded toward them, "are Elfman and Lisanna." She added an expectant gaze when she finished.
Naruto offered a friendly smile, "Uzumaki Naruto, no siblings."
Mirajane's lips quirked upward from the introduction. "You're from a backwater village, aren't you?"
Had he not been lying on his back, Naruto's mouth would have hung open. He was preparing a vehement refute, but she spoke again, "Like, you talk differently: the way you enunciate some of your words isn't common, and you also introduce yourself backwards. Not to mention, we took this mission, and people don't just wander around here for no reason, so you're either from one of the scattered communities," at this, her eyes sharpened, "or you have something to do with the Beast's appearance."
Naruto was at a complete loss in every sense of the word – on one hand, she was accusing him of something and on the other, he felt that she had somehow called him weird. He wanted to respond, but his heart started racing when she didn't comment on his introduction. He already had some sort of obscure assumption with the strange energy, but her lack of recognition upon hearing his name (not that he was being cocky about it!) all but confirmed it: he wasn't anywhere close the Elemental Nations anymore.
"I am from a village… but it's not backwater!" he exclaimed impetuously. "And you said that thing was your brother!"
Naruto groaned in exasperation. "So that's why they're," he nodded at the two sleeping figures, "away from me. So I guess you're sitting beside me as a guard, huh?"
Mirajane didn't give him a response, but some of her suspicion remained. Seeing this, Naruto, still wrapped in the sheet, leisurely sat up despite his body's protesting. He twisted his body, and squirmed to the open space next to her. His back aligned with the tree and slumped back, roughly hitting the log as a pained grunt left his lips.
"Look," he gazed into her narrowed eyes as she turned toward him, "I don't know what you're talking about. I just randomly found myself on the ground; I don't even know where I am!"
She let out a soft sigh, intuitively accepting his allegation. "East of Clover Town." She acknowledged his confused stare and clarified, "That's where we are. In the forests east of Clover Town."
Well, he had no clue what Clover Town was, but by the way Mirajane said it, it possessed some sort of importance.
"So, can you tell me what happened, exactly?" Naruto asked unsurely, catching the frown that marred her face.
She leaned forward, digging her face into her knees. She loosely wrapped both arms around her legs, but Naruto marked that the damaged one was on the top, the swelling gone but still frail and bruised.
"I took an S-class mission at my guild, but I didn't want to bring anyone else with us," her voice came out muffled while Naruto began noting the foreign words. "The mission was to stop some beast that had been killing some of the wildlife and scaring the people around, and I thought that we could handle it. I didn't know that it was the Beast until we finally met it… We couldn't get away and… it was too strong for us to handle, so we had to try to fight it," Mirajane's voiced cracked as let out a soft sob, "Elfman said that he'd tame it, but his Take Over failed. He lost control and nearly killed Lisanna. We barely got away from him."
Mirajane raised her head, two renewed streams of tears breaking free, and looked at Naruto's whiskered face. "Then you showed up and stopped him with your magic."
Inadvertently, Naruto echoed, "Magic?"
Confusion spread over her face. "You're not a mage?" she asked, smudging some of blemishing dirt as she dried her eyes and cheeks.
Again, his curiosity slipped free, "Mage?"
Mirajane stared at him in disbelief. "You seriously don't know?" At his affirmative nod, she muttered, "I guess you aren't from a backwater village; you were obviously under a rock your whole life."
Well, maybe if the Hokage Mountain counted as a rock, then yes, he was.
Despite his vexed look, she continued speaking, "Magic is the connection of the spiritual flow of nature to the physical embodiment of a human's spirit; there are many different forms of magic, but some people are attuned to specific ones." She paused momentarily to smile at his perplexity. "Mages are people who are able to use magic, but only about ten percent of the population can successfully use it."
Naruto groaned in frustration at the textbook definition of 'magic' – a connection between nature and a physical spirit? What did that even mean?
Mirajane said no more once she noticed his speculate expression.
Something like Sage Mode was a connection to nature; the Bijuu could be considered physical spirits. Could something like those be combined?
Wait, no, Bijuu weren't spirits. They were living forms without definite bodies.
Thanks for noticing.
Shut up! You guys are close enough to spirits that it's hard to make a distinction!
The connection to the "spiritual flow of nature" makes more sense to me; from my studies with Senjutsu, I know that nature isn't only physical, because, in a sense, I absorb the spiritual portion of it – natural energy.
But it isn't the same as Sage Mo– that's it!
Despite being engrossed in his thoughts, Naruto could hear his heart pounding in his ears. This Magic was so intriguing because it was possibly in no way related to chakra; this was much, much different than what he had expected.
A part of Senjutsu training involves the sensing of natural energy, in other words, a connection to nature.
The "physical embodiment" of the spirit seems to be impossible; it can't be chakra because that stems from the physical and spiritual energies of the body.
Shaking out of his stupor, Naruto leaned his head back, harshly hitting it against the tree. Ignorant of the negligible pain, he was somewhat disappointed that he couldn't fathom how Magic was used.
He suddenly realized that he'd been conversing with the girl before he lapsed into his musings. Naruto timidly gazed back at her, catching the sparks of amusement dancing in her intense blue eyes. He hadn't even noticed when she turned to fully face him.
Mirajane's arm was now loosely draped atop one rigid leg, and her mouth was hidden in the groove of her elbow. Her other leg was flat on the ground, her feet crossing over and barely touching; and her impaired arm was adeptly anchoring her short skirt so that nothing was exposed.
Naruto couldn't help but feel a bit self-conscious with her staring at him so intently. "Err, sorry, did you say something?" he asked nervously, unsuccessfully trying to free his hand from the confines of his covering to rub his neck.
A thought that brought a gentle smile danced in his mind, whispering, "You totally just pulled a Kakashi."
Naruto shifted, unsure of what to say. There had been a lingering question in his mind and this moment was obviously the best to ask it lest there be awkward silence. "So what happens when you guys, you mages, run out of this Magic?"
"Magic Power," Mirajane keenly corrected. "And nothing, it just takes some time to recover. The Ethernano in the air refills a mage's body and he's as good as new."
At Naruto's blank countenance, she spontaneously figured the problem area. "Ethernano is the source of Magic Power."
"So, there's no danger to one's body," he murmured in insight. "Is there," his eyes gleamed fervently, "any physical exhaustion?"
She raised a brow at Naruto's peculiar inquiry. "Generally, no. Although, some forms of Magic do cause the body to tire, depending on what they involve, but it's almost never dangerous."
Magic suddenly became lucid to him; it all started to fall into place.
I was wrong, on two accounts. Mages do use chakra, but only the spiritual portion. Mages don't die as shinobi do when they run out because the physical energy is still there – their lives are not depleted.
I could even go so far as to say that the foundation of Magic lies in Senjutsu and Inton. If this be the case, then there is a chance that...
...the Elemental Nations still exist in some form.
Senjutsu - Sage Techniques
Inton - Yin Release
Beta-read by Lanky Nathan
AN: I found out the interesting differences between 'blond' and 'blonde' while writing this. I suggest you check 'em out, google "grammar girl blond or blonde".
By the way, that was one of the first real fight scenes I've ever written.
And lemme tell ya, it was a giant pain in the ass.
The pairing is Naruto x Mirajane. I will absolutely clobber you if you ask me for a harem (not really, but this is to express my dislike).
Tell me how you liked them theories, yo. I actually sat down to think about it. I thought. Hard. Probably a bigger pain in the ass than the fight scene.
And remember, tell me if there are any flaws in my writing style, any comments on it will be greatly appreciated!
I made a few minor edits to this chapter that bugged me/were out of place.