Winds of Change Chapter One- The Opening

A/N: And so I begin a new fanfic today. For fans of mine that followed me over from ANL, I welcome you on this new journey of mine. Before I begin though, there are several things that I wish to establish first.

Firstly, you'll note that this fic has been categorised as dark, while I did not bother doing so for ANL. Readers from ANL should know what that means.

Secondly, unlike with ANL, I can make no promise this time that I will be able to finish the fic. What I can promise though, is that I will inform my readers if I plan to discontinue the fic and will not leave you hanging so please do not bombard me with PMs regarding updates even if it has been a long time since I updated. On a good day, I will ignore these. On a bad day, well, you do not wish to see me on a bad day.

Thirdly, I will be retconning the canon events and timeline as and when I feel like it. The changes should not be too major but even so, I do not want any reviews screaming at me telling me that something I did was not canon. I will scream back at you and delete the review.

Fourthly, I might or might not be starting up some side projects in the future so keep an eye out for them!

Finally, get on to the fic and I hope that you enjoy it.

Fuujin Kiri. He is easily the most prominent figure in recent history but where did his legend begin? Many historians claim it to be his international debut at the Ichimon Island underground tournament. Others believe it to be the day he stumbled upon the sleeping village of Tosai. The truth is actually much simpler, and much further back than these events. It all began with a wrong turn in an alley.

-Unknown, Chronicles of a Legend, Year 214 AS, Foreword

"Little wind, little wind, run around!"

"Middle wind, middle wind, get those who don't want to be found!"

"Heavy wind, heavy wind, turn it all around!"

Naruto hummed along with the children playing in the park a distance away while he sat on a huge metallic box situated at the mouth of an alley. He knew the rhyme by heart now and even all the rules that the children had created from the numerous times he had watched them play.

There would be one child who would be chosen to be the wind right at the start of the game. When the children chanted out the first line, the wind would then chase after all the kids until he had touched another playmate and 'tagged' the playmate. The tagged child would then stand still until the next part of the game.

When roughly half of the children playing had been tagged, the wind would then chant the second line, after which all of the tagged children would hold hands and chase after the untagged children. When there was only one left, all of them would chant out the last sentence and after the last child had been tagged, the game would start anew with the last one to be tagged as the wind.

Of course, children being children, they would sometimes create rules on the spot or change the rules as when they liked it and Naruto knew all of those rules too. But then again, even if he did know all the rules, there was no point when he would never be able to join their games, right?

The blond child sighed dejectedly as he rocked back and forth, drumming his feet on the metallic box that he was sitting on. As he rocked though, his shirt got caught on a small spike and the sound of tearing cloth could be heard distinctly.

Naruto groaned as he looked at the new hole in his shirt. It was big, too big to go unnoticed by the matron at the orphanage and that meant she would force him to wear a new shirt. He hated wearing new shirts. They were always so stiff and itchy and made him sweat a lot when the weather was hot. He had finally worn his current shirt until the cloth was smooth, thin, and generally very comfortable and now he had gone and ruined it.

Not wanting to dwell on the state of his shirt, Naruto decided to turn his attention to the streets instead, where families walked hand in hand, chatting happily with each other. He didn't know why he did this every day. Every time he looked at a happy family, his chest hurt so much and his eyes would sting as he wished desperately to be able to have a family like that as well. But his wishes never came through no matter how many shooting stars he wished upon. It hurt. It hurt so much but he continued watching anyway.

"Mummy! Mummy! Why is that boy sitting there alone?" a small little boy roughly Naruto's age asked as he tugged on his mother's hand with one hand while he pointed at Naruto with the other.

His mother turned her head and opened her mouth to answer before she saw whom exactly her son was talking about. Her eyes visibly hardened and her mouth tightened before she looked down at her son.

"What are you talking about, dear? There is no one there."

Naruto's heart panged upon those words. It never changed. People always treated as though he was invisible. Many times, he had wondered if he was actually and not just a ghost but the matron and that old man with the funny hat had always convinced him otherwise.

"Mummy! He's right over there, on that metal box!" the boy insisted as he tugged on his mother's hand with more force.

"Yamada Gin! I see nothing over there and you had better stop lying before I tell Daddy when we get home and we'll take your ice-cream away!"

Unwilling to risk losing his ice-cream over a boy that he did not even know, the newly identified Gin simply shut up and continued to walk away with his mother.

All of the other children that Naruto met had been like this. They would try to make friends with Naruto until their parents scolded them and they got the message that they were supposed to ignore him if they wanted to be able to continue to go to the playground. Children are inherently selfish and unintentionally cruel creatures. Their own needs are always placed before concern for others. The information spread around and soon, the children were imitating their parents in their behaviour towards Naruto; ignore him and hope he goes away by himself.

Naruto had been lost in his thoughts when something collided against the metal box that he was sitting on, startling him so much that he almost fell off his precarious perch.

What in the world had happened?

Kishi and Moto were your average teenage bullies. They swaggered around Konoha as if they owned it, spoke obnoxiously and rudely to everyone they met, and fled with their tails between their legs whenever they saw the headband that denoted a shinobi.

In other words, they pushed the weak around and avoided people that they knew to be stronger than them like the plague. It was thus no surprise that much of their daily activities consisted of tormenting small, helpless animals or bullying orphans. They would have gone after all children instead of just orphans if not for the fact that they lived in a ninja village. All too often, one of the kids that they might decide to bully would be the child of a shinobi, or the child of a parent who knew a shinobi. Either way, the result was the same. Kishi and Moto would be strung by their balls on a lamppost as an example to all future bullies. They were not smart, but they were not dumb or suicidal either.

This one day, however, the two bullies were not engaged in their usual activity. The animals had caught a whiff of their scent and fled so fast that the duo could not even hope to catch their shadows. The orphans that they normally pushed around were nowhere in sight either, leaving them with nothing to do.

As such, the duo wandered down the streets of Konoha, generally making a nuisance of themselves while they tried to think of a way to entertain themselves when Kishi caught sight of something that sparked an idea in his head. Nudging his partner in crime, he pointed a small blond child sitting on top of a mailbox.

"Hey, what about that kid?" Kishi whispered.

Conditioned for years to simply ignore Naruto, Moto's eyes slid over Naruto, not even registering his presence.

"What kid? I don't see anything." Moto replied, confusion and exasperation evident in his tone. If this was a prank by Kishi, he swore he would alert the girls in the hot spring the next Kishi peeked on them and let him get beat up.

"That kid, the one sitting on the mailbox. You know, the one that we're supposed to ignore?"

Now that Moto knew what he was looking for, he spotted the kid easily enough. Even so, years of conditioned reflex were hard to ignore and he felt uneasy about going after the kid. After all, nobody even looked at the kid. He voiced his thoughts to Kishi, who simply grinned and clapped on the back.

"That's the whole point of it! Nobody looks and nobody cares, so we can just do whatever and they won't even think about stopping us! Come on, it'll be fun!"

To emphasise his point, Kishi kicked a rock at the mailbox that the kid was sitting on, the reaction of the village pariah making him chortle. Moto had to admit, the kid's reaction was pretty funny. So, he joined Kishi in marching towards the kid, making himself look as menacing and terrifying to a kid as possible.

Naruto looked up to see two older boys walking towards him. Concluding that they were the ones that had probably kicked the rock to make that loud sound and deciding that he really didn't like the looks on their faces, Naruto quickly hopped off the metal box and scurried into the alley behind him.

He had seen bullies before and he knew that he didn't want to be bullied. It looked decidedly horrible to him. He also knew that bullies got bored easily if their prey managed to escape for a long enough time, which was why he had chosen to run into the alleys. After all, he had explored the alleyways so many times, imagining that he was exploring one of the mazes that was in the bedtime stories that the matron told to the orphans, that he knew them better than he knew the back of his hands.

Hmm. That actually didn't sound very convincing. After all, he didn't know the back of his hands that well. Who actually paid attention to that part of their body anyway? Why did anyone even create that phrase? It really didn't make sense to him. Adults, he decided were dumb. Like those two idiots chasing after him. Speaking of the bullies, they should have given up by now, which meant that he could move to a different watching area.

To his surprise though, they were still chasing after him. Naruto decided to pick up speed and actually start running instead of the trot that he had been going at. This only caused the bullies to pick up speed as well.

Terror filled Naruto's heart and soon he was speeding through the alleys, toppling convenient boxes to try and obstruct the bullies but they easily jumped over the boxes and continued chasing him, letting out whoops and cackles in the meantime.

Naruto soon reached a T-junction, where the left turn would lead him down a path to the orphanage and thus safety. In another life, he would have run down the left path and escaped the bullies. He would lived a tough life filled with trials and tribulations, but eventually obtained his happy ending, his name resounding through the Elemental Countries.

Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Just as Naruto started to turn to the left, there was the sound of multiple objects crashing and falling to the ground. Fearing that it was another bully headed his way, Naruto instead turned on his heels and sprinted down the right path, weaving through the passages in desperation.

Kishi could not help the wide and slightly insane grin when the stupid kid turned to the right. The path was one of several paths that would lead to the fence surrounding That Forest, otherwise known to the shinobi as Training Ground 47, the Forest of Death.

Signalling for Moto to continue chasing the kid down the main path and not let him deviate from it, Kishi took a shortcut, hoping to reach the fence before the kid arrived there. This would be so much fun!

The left path that Naruto would have taken was eerily silent, with nary a soul in sight. The alleyway seemed to unnaturally dark even though it was six in the evening. From amongst the collapsed boxes a black cat emerged, revealing it to the cause of the loud sound that Naruto had heard.

Its eyes glinted with an alien intelligence as it padded forward, checking to make sure that no one had entered the alley. Once it had confirmed that, the cat's mouth widened into an unnatural, sinister grin as it walked into a pool of shadow. It then started to sink into the shadows, it's alien eyes and malevolent grin being the last to vanish, leaving the collapsed boxes the only evidence of the black cat's presence.

Hearing a loud commotion from the alleyway below him, ANBU Agent Owl paused in his patrol as he took in the situation before he pressed on his earpiece.

"Owl to Squad Commander."


"Disturbance noted in between checkpoint 5 and 6. It seems like a few bullies are chasing a kid, presumably the Uzumaki kid."

"Noted. Will inform the Uchiha Military Police. Continue your patrol."


Owl hated patrolling but more than that, he hated to leave the kid alone when he was in a position to help but ultimately, the squad commander had made the right call. After all, the village was in high security now and the safety of the entire village far outweighed the distress of one kid.

Hoshigaki Kisame had done the impossible by assassinating the Daimyo of Mizu no Kuni, and escaping successfully. As a result, the Hokage was now travelling towards a meeting with all the other Kages and the new Daimyo to hash out treaties or something like that.

Owl didn't really care about politics. He was a soldier, not a diplomat. He would leave that to those more qualified.

The key point though, was that the Hokage had left the village along with the top ANBU and Jounin the village as his bodyguards, leaving the village extremely exposed and vulnerable, which was why the ANBU in Threatcon Charlie-enhanced, the highest state of alert that the village could be in without being in outright war. Owl was but one of the many ANBU out this evening prowling through Konoha and searching for any threats.

Putting the incident of the blond child behind him, Owl continued jumping through the roofs and focused on the task at hand.

Several years later, he would deeply regret following protocol and leaving the child to his own devices. But, that was a story for another time.

Kishi grinned as he realised that he had arrived at the fence before the blond brat. Knowing that the kid could come rushing here at any minute, he quickly took out a pair of wire cutters that he always kept in his pocket should he want to trespass on some property and cut a hole small enough for a kid to crawl through, and then stacked nearby creates close to the hole. Job done, he retreated down the path he had come from and waited for his prey to arrive.

He didn't have to wait long. The blond child soon came barrelling down the road, the look of sheer terror on face making it hard for Kishi to rein his laughter in. He jumped out of his hiding spot, roaring at the kid and sent him scurrying to the fence, where he noticed the hole and immediately crawled through it.

Kishi sprinted forward and immediately pushed the crates he had stacked earlier, causing the boxes to fall down and block the little hole he had made. By this time, he could not contain his laughter anymore and sat down on the floor, laughing hard while Moto caught up with him and joined him in his laughter.

That Forest was filled with gigantic spiders and other creepy crawlies that would give an adult nightmares for weeks. He would let the kid stew in there for a while and then let him out after being suitably scared. The thought of the look on the kid's face when he saw one of the monsters in there caused him to break out in greater peals of laughter.

The sound of approaching footsteps and multiple voices caused him to sober up and stop laughing. Kishi cursed at the sight of the red and white fans. The Uchiha Military Police! Pulling up his friend by the arm, the two of them sprinted away from the police.

Focused on their pursuit of the two miscreants, none of the Uchiha present paid any heed to the pile of crates lying on the floor.

Naruto raced down the alleyways, the bully hot on his heels. He was surprised that the bully had not caught him yet, seeing as the bully was much older than him and could thus run faster but it wasn't important anyway. The important thing was he had not been caught yet.

Looking ahead, he saw a huge forest looming behind a metal fence surrounding it and Naruto broke into a relieved grin. Once he reached the fence, all he would have to do was follow it and avoid capture for several more blocks and then he would be out in the central district of Konoha where there many people to hide among.

He should have known that he would not be so lucky. The blond child got the scare of his life when the bully that he thought had given up suddenly popped up from a hidden nook in the alley and roared at him.

Panic driving his body, Naruto bolted towards the fence where he saw a hole that was just the right size for him and too large for his pursuers to go through. Without a second thought, he dove into the hole and scrambled through it with all haste before they could do something like grab onto his legs.

It was only when the boxes collapsed, blocking the small hole that he realised that maybe going through the hole was not such a good idea after all.

Naruto looked at the foreboding forest and gulped nervously. He really, really did not want to be here right now. This seemed like the kind of place where monsters and big bad wolves jumped out from the shadows to eat cute, young boys like him.

He turned back to where the boxes blocked the hole and tried to push them away but they were too heavy for his small body to move. He shouted out for help then, pleading for someone to help him but unbeknownst to him, the last possible rescuer had already left the area quite some time ago.

After several failed attempts at shouting for help, Naruto gave it up as a hopeless attempt and focused on getting out of his current predicament. After all, this wasn't the first time in his four years of life that he had been stuck somewhere frightening. Actually, this wouldn't even be the twentieth time.

There was the time when he had fallen into a dumpster when he was two, even though he couldn't remember it anymore. Well, the matron could remember it and never failed to bring it up when he got all dirty from his explorations again. Then there was the time where he had gotten the brilliant idea to explore the sewers and been hopelessly lost in the twisting tunnels and ended up on the other end of Konoha when he had finally located a manhole that was not closed.

As he recounted his various misadventures to himself in his head, Naruto started to walk along the fence line, hoping to eventually reach a gate or something that he could use to get home. After all, the fence had to lead somewhere, right?

The skies were rapidly getting darker though and the strange sounds emanating from deep within the forest were making Naruto more nervous. He wiped his sweaty palms on his pants as his eyes darted around rapidly. The matron always said that one day he would be eaten by monsters if he did not act like a good boy and stay in the orphanage. He should have listened to the matron.

Suddenly, his body stiffened as he felt something watching him. Slowly turning his head back, he was greeted by the sight of impossibly huge, impossibly bright eyes that stared at him unblinkingly. Those eyes belonged to a head that possessed a gigantic maw which contained teeth that Naruto was sure were longer than his arms.

He barely managed to muffle the terrified shriek that he wanted to let out as he sprinted into the forest, not caring where he was heading as long as it was away from that. He really, really should have listened to the matron.

It was pure instinct that saved him as he rolled to the side just as a gigantic paw slammed down on where he had been previously.

He took off immediately, diving straight into the forest where it suddenly turned darker than night. He stumbled upon hidden roots but never stopped running, always mindful of the gigantic tiger that was chasing him. It seemed like even the forest had come alive and was trying to trap him as low hanging branches and twigs would claw at him, tearing clothes and skin while vines would threaten to ensnare him if he was not careful.

His breath came in short, painful gasps and his lungs felt like they were burning, but his legs never stopped moving. At least he was able to see better now, as everything in front of him seemed brighter now. In fact, it was almost like there was a red glow to everything around him that let him see better.

He tripped on another treacherous root and fell down to the ground again. This time, he didn't bother getting up on his feet and instead ran forward on his hands and legs. Surprisingly, it was much easier for him to run like this but he never dared to slow, the sound of a huge mass crashing through the branches telling him that the tiger was still pursuing him.

Spotting a hollow in between the roots of a tree, Naruto sprinted towards it with increased speed, seeking a safe haven from the terrifying predator behind him. If he was older, and possessed a larger vocabulary, the words 'déjà vu' would have come to mind.

Entering the hollow, Naruto scrambled to the far end of the tree trunk and pressed himself against it as the tiger shoved its paw into the hollow before it got stuck, its vicious looking claws mere centimetres away from Naruto. The tiger struggled to get its paw in further into the trunk but that was evidently its limit. Eventually, the tiger withdrew its paw and padded away, presumably to chase less bothersome prey.

Naruto waited for several minutes to make sure that the tiger was not returning before he let out a sigh of relief and slowly crawled to the entrance of the hollow and poked his head out to check to see if the area was clear.

That was when a gigantic head slammed into the tree trunk as the tiger let out a ferocious roar before it snapped its jaws shut. Naruto frantically backpedalled, pushing himself with his hands as well as his legs, cutting his hands open once more and causing them to bleed.

The tiger seemed to have gone berserk with rage, slamming its titanic body against the tree that Naruto was hidden under, causing great tremors to travel through the trunk. Naruto started to cry and scream with fear, certain that he was going to die as he wished with all his heart that he would be able to escape from this.

For the first time in his life, Naruto's wish was answered as the hollow was suddenly lit up with bright blue symbols that seemed to be etched into the inner side of the tree trunk and the ground before the ground suddenly gave way below him.

Having fallen silent when the strange symbols had appeared, Naruto started screaming anew, only for it to be swallowed by the abyss as he continued to descend into the bottomless pit.

The Sandaime Hokage could not help but smile fondly as he flipped open the locket he carried and viewed the picture of Naruto happily gorging himself with ramen on his birthday while waving cheekily at the camera.

He had initially viewed the Jinchuuriki as a duty for him to keep an eye on for the safety of Konoha; as an obligation to Minato to look after his legacy and as a reminder of his guilt and impotence. However, over time, all of these labels had been slowly shed after exposure to the sunny blond. In the end, he was simply Naruto, the child who braved his painful life with a bright smile on his face.

"That your grandson?"

He looked to the side at his fellow Kage before shaking his head genially.

"No, but I suppose he could be considered an adopted grandson of sorts. My own daughter is currently pregnant with her own child though. I'm personally hoping for a daughter but my daughter wishes for a son instead."

Oonoki grunted in response before he sighed wistfully. "Should have built a family when I had the chance to, then I'd have my own little brats running around but it's too late now, hmm?"

"It's never too late to change something as long as you realise that something has to be done."

"Ha! My back'd never be able to take it." Oonoki scoffed before looking around irritably.

"Damned whippersnappers. Youngsters nowadays have no manners at all, keeping their elders and betters waiting for them."

"Now now, it's not their fault, really. After all, we were the ones that arrived early and besides, you cannot blame them for not wanting to be here early. It is not for a joyous occasion that we meet." Sarutobi placated.

At this, the Sandaime Tsuchikage calmed down a little, although the mood at the table that they were grew grim. There was never good news when the five Kages assembled at a single table. The last time had been with the infamous S-ranked shinobi Akasuna no Sasori assassinated the Sandaime Kazekage. This time, it was because Hoshigaki Kisame had assassinated the Daimyo of the Mizu no Kuni, which was no mean as the Daimyo always had a guard of elite shinobi guarding him at all times.

While the purported reason for gathering was to renew contracts and treaties with the new Daimyo, the actual purpose was to gather information. After all, it might be a village's responsibility to hunt down its own nuke-nin but a S-ranked nuke-nin was a menace to all of the Elemental Countries.

The Hokage sighed despondently. Each time the Kages gathered it felt like more of his life was sapped away. It was only by thinking of the village and its inhabitants that awaited him that kept him going. Looking down at the locket in his hand again, he could not help but flinch when the glass protecting the picture suddenly cracked.

" not a good omen." Oonoki murmured and the Hokage could not help but agree in his heart. Being veterans of two wars, both Kages had developed a healthy reliance on their gut feelings on omens as well as their tactical minds.

Wherever he was, Sarutobi hoped dearly that Naruto was safe and that this would prove to just a silly superstition of silly old men.

Naruto woke up to the feeling of pain. Sheer mind-numbing pain. He tried to move his head only for his vision to swim. He dry-heaved but nothing came out. After all, he had skipped lunch to sneak out of the orphanage when the caretakers of the orphanage would be occupied with hordes of hungry children demanding food.

After his stomach steadied and it no longer felt like the entire Akimichi clan was dancing in his head, he tried to push himself off the ground with his right arm only for him to gasp in pain while stars twirled in front of his eyes. An attempt to use the other arm resulted in the same result. However, he knew that he could not simply lie there and wait for help. Would people even know where to find him?

Gritting his teeth, he pushed off against the floor, and against the pain, and brought himself up to a sitting position. From there, all he needed to do was use his legs to stand up straight. Thankfully, it seemed like his legs were not injured as he felt no pain when he stretched them out experimentally.

With a grunt of exertion, he tensed his leg muscles and stood up, his body wobbling unsteadily as he stumbled to a nearby rocky wall, leaning against it to keep himself from falling. It had been hard enough getting to his feet. He definitely did not want to repeat the entire thing over again.

When he finally felt strong enough to stand without aid, Naruto looked around himself and observed his surroundings. He seemed to be in some sort of tunnel. A large wall blocked the way behind him and he seemed to have fallen from a hole in the ceiling. With only one way forward, Naruto decided to trudge forward in the hopes that the tunnel would lead him to somewhere that he was familiar with.

After an indeterminate amount of time, Naruto pushed a thick clump of tall grass away from his face and emerged onto the surface. He was once again in a forest but he could tell immediately that it was not the same forest that he was trapped in earlier. It was much more peaceful and quiet, with none of the bloodcurdling howls that perpetuated the night air of the previous forest.

Naruto frowned as he scratched his head. He was somewhat safe now but he had no idea where he was supposed to go. The bedtime stories had told of adventurers that used the stars to find their way but Naruto had no idea how to do so. Eventually, he simply picked a random direction and walked.

And walked.

And walked.

It never seemed to end and Naruto was soon reaching his limits. The cold night air lashed cruelly at his exposed skin, his torn clothes too damaged to protect him from the harsh elements. His legs that had originally felt like jelly now felt more like lead and it took a herculean effort to lift them up. His eyelids felt like weights had been tied to them and he struggled to stay awake for even a second more. He had never stayed up this late before. He had never missed the orphanage so much in his life.

Eventually, he stumbled and crashed onto the floor. The grass felt so comfortable and he felt so tired. He would just take a short nap for a while...

As the boy slept, his temperature plummeted sharply and his pulse slowed with every passing second until it stopped.

There was a gate before him. A gigantic gate that rivalled the size of the Hokage Monument, with multiple pictures carved onto its metal surface. It looked so grand and wonderful but Naruto did not want to go near it. Something about it scared him deeply.

However, no matter his thoughts on the matter, his feet brought him closer to the gates. He tried to force himself to stop but his traitorous feet never stopped their slow march. The closer they got to the gate, the greater the sense of wrongness and fear that he felt. He bent down and used his hands to pull at his feet but it achieved the same result as trying to push the Hokage Tower down.

After some time, he stopped in front of the gates. It was then that the gates opened slightly, revealing a black void within. Naruto could hear voices too, though they were so faint that he could not hear them clearly.

Craning his head forward, his curiosity getting the better of his fear a moment, Naruto tried to hear the words better only for the gates to suddenly slam open, revealing a gigantic eye staring down at him. Hundreds, thousands, no, millions of eyes then blossomed like demonic flowers within that one giant eye, whereupon black humanoid figures that looked 'flat' started to push themselves out from the irises of the eyes. Their mouths opened in a grotesque mimicry of a smile as they stretched their arms out to Naruto.

Screaming in fear, Naruto's feet finally obeyed their master's command as they carried him as far away from the gate as they could, but it was to no avail. The arms of the figures stretched out like noodles and grabbed onto Naruto, reeling him in like a fish while the delighted screeches that emerged from their mouths drowned out his screams of terror.

He screamed and struggled and prayed for a saviour but nothing happened until a deep guttural voice resounded throughout the space that he was in.

"Do you fear death?"

Death? Was that what this was? Did dying meant being pulled into the gates by these monsters where unknown horrible things would be done to him? If so, yes, he feared death. He screamed it out, shouted it out but the monsters were so loud that he could not even hear his own words.

It seemed though, that the strange being could hear what he said.

"Would you like to escape death?"

Yes, yes, oh god please help him! He was getting closer and closer and the voices were getting louder and louder and he was scared and didn't want to die!

"Would you do anything to escape death?"

Yes, yes he would oh gods he was inside and the gates were closing and oh god please save him he didn't want to die no he could feel the monsters crowding around and HEDIDN'TWANTTODIE and then he was out of the gates and staring up into a pair of eyes that were darker than the abyss itself.

"I grant you your wish, mortal. You shall live, and each time you approach my realm you shall continue to live and grow in strength but in return, I claim your happiness and future for myself."

Suddenly, Naruto felt something grab his right arm before the edges of his sight to started to darken and he then fell unconscious but not before hearing one last statement that seemed to echo around him.

"Dance for me, my little pawn. In return for the gift of life, I curse you with misery and sadness. Entertain me, Uzumaki Naruto!"

In a forest in Hi no Kuni, a pulse started beating in the body of a blond child where there had been none before, while a black skeletal handprint appeared on the child's right arm and then faded away.

The legend had begun.

A/N: And that's the end of the chapter. It's rather short because it's still the beginning. In fact, chapters will not be very long yet until quite a few chapters away when fight scenes start happening.

Please tell me your opinions of this chapter. Review, review, review! =D