And so, this one welcomes you to another fic by J, otherwise known as Jhonie, also known as ME. I know I really should be working on my other projects instead of this one, but for once I actually know where I'm going with this one. But, you didn't exactly click on this story because you wanted to hear little old me rant, huh? So, just sit back and enjoy the fruits of a spark of inspiration and many, many hours of research...

Haters are welcome!

Lesson of the day: don't pick your nose with the same finger you poked dried chili with only a minute earlier. It is an exceptionally bad idea.


Journey of a Lilmothiit
Chapter 1
Trails of a forgotten past


Pain.

In his dazed state of mind, it was all he could register. Pain. His head hurt, his feet hurt, his skin hurt, his arse hurt and his knees hurt. In fact, he was pretty damn sure that even his hair hurt, however that was conceivable.

In a small part of his brain that was not hopelessly preoccupied with the obnoxious amounts of sheer agony that his body was signalling it quite frenetically, Naruto briefly wondered if anyone got the number of that mountain that mauled him, because that sure as hell was what he felt like. Hell, he was hurting in places that he had not been previously aware he even had in the first place.

In hindsight, opening that scroll probably had not been the brightest idea he ever had, but who could blame him? He had been curious, dammit!

Now, if we are to better comprehend our blonde friend's great predicament, we need to go back in time a little bit. To be exact, go back to a few hours earlier that same day, when he and Jiraya had been travelling down the road between one town and the next, except they were not really travelling by the road, per se, but rather through dense forest, mostly to avoid pursuers (who were mostly female, of course, knowing Jiraya). They had just eaten their lunch and Naruto was reading some sealing scrolls while the sage was, as per normal, scribbling away in one of his notebooks. However, there was just something in the air that prevented him from being able to focus properly, but he couldn't put his finger on it. He glanced towards his student, only to find him being uncharacteristically quiet, only semi-focused on the scroll he was studying.

Oh.

That explained it. They had been travelling for a bit over a year now and Jiraya had gotten used to the kid and his antics. Never quite settling down, never entirely quiet. As of recently, he had mellowed down quite a bit, but never completely. That spark, that liveliness was never lessening. The difference was perhaps that these days he had something to focus all that energy on. That something was Fuuinjutsu.

He hadn't really intended to get the kid started on the rather obscure art so early, but a deal was a deal. About two months into their training trip a certain incident occurred, which all parties involved agreed upon to never ever mention to anyone ever again, although Jiraya had to promise to teach the art to the kid to make him agree to keep quiet about it. Damn brat and his accursed penchant for blackmailing...

Now if he was going to be honest with himself, Jiraya didn't really have any high expectations as they started out. As he said, Fuuinjutsu wasn't exactly the most conventional art, but somehow, the brat had taken to it like a fish in the water. Gotta be the blood, he reasoned. He supposed you didn't have a mother who hailed from a clan infamous throughout the nations for their downright fearsome sealing prowess and a father who was hailed as the greatest damn sealing master of all known time without having at least some affinity for it. And while it was true that the kid had yet to go very far beyond the basics, at least as far as execution went, it was a fact that they had begun the training not even eleven months ago. Minding the fact that the brat by nature wasn't a theoretical learner and that he still hadn't figured out the secret to the Kage Bunshin yet, his progress was beyond impressive. In fact, he had gone further in the art than most ninja these days had at Jounin. It truly was an underappreciated art.

Now, the point Jiraya was trying to get to was that while the kid had gained something to occupy his mind with, the moments when he was entirely quiet were still exceedingly rare. Always coming with a new question about this and that and it was a trait the sage encouraged. Being inquisitive was a good thing, especially so when learning. However, today was different. Today, Naruto was quiet. Hell, he didn't even seem focused, something that was unusual for him. However, these moments did happen occasionally, and when they did, it was always the same thing bothering him: Sasuke. Jiraya sighed. He knew very well that the kid viewed the Uchiha as the brother he never had. It had been the same damn story with him and Orochimaru. The sage tucked away his notebook and sat down beside the kid. Keeping that kind of musing to oneself was never a good thing.

"Oi, kid. You're brooding."

"Hm?" Naruto's head snapped up, his eyes not showing any of the usual signs of depression whenever his mind turned to the subject of Konoha's most recent traitor. "Ah, no, I just saw something funny today, 's all."

Well, what do you know? Seems his suspicions were wrong for once. "Funny enough to distract you from your seals, you say? What the hell would that be? Found yourself a pretty girl?"

That earned him a fist in the gut. "Baka-sennin. How would I find a girl in the woods? Besides, I love Sakura. You know that!"

Jiraya mentally rolled his eyes. Seriously, their whole team dynamic reminded him way too much of his own old team for his liking. "I know, kid; I'm just teasing you. But seriously, what's it you saw?"

Naruto shrugged. "Just a ruin, a bit south of here. Seemed a bit familiar, that's all."

A ruin? Here? That was new. While this area wasn't exactly the most frequented, Jiraya was a man who prided himself in his work, and this was a hole in his information. Now, the old sage was by no means a historian, or even a scholar, but it was a fact that he was the resident spymaster of Konoha, and as such, he made it his business to be in the know-how of just about everything he could get his hands on. This was a hole in his mental map that he had to fill in. How old were the ruins? Who had built them? What kind of ruins were they? He needed leads.

"Were there any inscriptions on them? Strange patterns? Pictures?"

Naruto scratched his head. "Well, I didn't really go in there, but..."

"But?"

"I... Well, I saw something. By the entrance. A crest, I think. Can't shake the feeling I've seen it somewhere..." The last part was mumbled mostly to himself, but Jiraya caught it nevertheless.

"What did it look like?"

The blond shrugged. Apart from the odd feeling he got from the ruins, he didn't really see what the big deal was, but if Ero-sennin was interested, then who was he to object? "It was kinda faded, so I couldn't make much out of it, but it kinda looked like a dragon. And something else. A sun, I think. It kinda looked like those... what were they called again? Those old-ass cave-paintings?"

"Petroglyphs?"

"Yeah. Those."

Not exactly a crest many would recognise, no. A crest that exceedingly few would even know of.

As it happened, Jiraya was one of those precious few. How could he not? What his current student had just crudely described was eerily similar to a certain old amulet that his previous apprentice had always worn since before he even first met him.

Namikaze Minato had been an orphan, just like his son now was, left with naught but his name and that amulet of his. The amulet had been lost during the Kyuubi attack fourteen years ago, but Jiraya had still been searching for clues about that crest for what now was nearly three decades during his free time, but nothing had ever turned up. He had almost given up the search after Minato's death, but had pressed on in the end, both as a kind of last favour for his old student, and for the sake of Naruto. And now, that very boy just stumbled upon a lead. The first clue he had ever found.


The ruins were in better shape than Jiraya had imagined. A dome, mostly underground and overgrown by countless plants, but it was still standing proud, with the still relatively fresh-looking stone shining through at some places. Occasionally, a small patch of engravings could be seen, taking the shape of flowing, almost arcane-looking, symmetrical knot-patterns that somehow reminded the sage of the sea.

Time had camouflaged the ruin to look like a grassy hill, hidden unless you squinted. A small, gossamer yet gnarly tree grew just beside the entrance, barely two meters tall, with light grey bark and silvery pines. It seemed to be some variant of Juniper, but nothing like any he had ever seen. Quirking an eyebrow at the odd piece of flora he turned his attention back to the door.

Indeed, he knew that crest. Faded by time, hidden by some crawling, mossy plant he didn't know the name of, but so undoubtedly the same as the one he knew so well. The Dragon and the Sun. The Wind and the Waves. The insignia that was synonymous to the name Namikaze, at least to the few who knew it.

Whatever this ruin was, it had been built by Minato's ancestors. By Naruto's ancestors.

"So... we're going in there?" The kid's tone lacked his usual boundless energy. He had told him that he got a strange sort of feeling from the ruins, but Jiraya chalked it up to some sort of genetic memory. Unless the fox knew of the place and its feelings leaked through the seal of course, which should by all means be impossible, so the bastard furball was unlikely the cause.

The sage nodded to his student and took a second to study the gate itself. It was made of metal, but what kind, he couldn't tell. A rather heavy lock decorated the middle, seamlessly weaved into the crest. The whole mass of the rather small gate was what formed the simple yet elegant insignia. He could sense no chakra coming from the door, but as he reached to open the gate, his fingers was stopped a few centimetres from the surface by what seemed to be a barrier of sorts. What was strange was that he couldn't sense it. He knew it was there. Hell, it was visible, and he could clearly touch it, but his chakra senses gave him nothing. No source, nor any flow. Fascinating... How could it be active after so long, anyway? And wherefrom did it draw its power?

His student didn't seem to notice this and quite simply attempted to open it himself, not stopping for a moment to contemplate why his sensei was seemingly denied access to the ruins.

Needless to say, his touch called forth a vastly different reaction from the metal gates.

The crest faintly lit up, and the circular door just... rolled aside. Quite understandably, Naruto was confused. "Was that supposed to happen?"

Jiraya just shrugged. "Probably. Let's just go in."

And so they did.

The sight that greeted the two shinobi as they walked inside the dome was that of stairs. A corridor of stairs, going downwards, cut in that same simple, yet elegant style that the people who once built this seemed to favour. It was soothing, in an odd sort of way, giving the stone a somewhat... homey feel.

At least, that was how the stone walls felt to the younger of the two.

Jiraya, on the other hand, was feeling edgy, and not just out of habit, either. Anything could rest within these halls, and if the little episode at the gate had been any hint, he wasn't welcome here, and the fact that he couldn't sense that barrier properly didn't exactly calm him down. However, he had made a promise. He would find out what he could if it so killed him, so long it didn't kill Naruto as well.

Pictures were engraved within the corridor walls, each unique, as if telling a story. He could look at them later. His student was almost hurrying down the stairs now and he'd be damned if he left him to his own.

Naruto felt a tug. Not a physical tug, mind, it was more of a... a calling. It had been present ever since he first saw the hill earlier. Hell, if he had not felt the tug, he probably wouldn't have found the ruins in the first place. It had been faint then, like a passing whiff of freshly baked bread, distinct and alluring. It was faint enough to ignore, but still strong enough to attract attention.

The moment he had entered these stony halls, that tug had only grown exponentially. Hell, at this point, he could almost hear it.

No, wait! He could hear something. Faint, but distinct. "Sensei, do you hear that?"

Jiraya tensed. "Hear what?"

"That," the blond tried, striding onwards. "That... chanting."

The sage frowned, his eyes narrowing. He did not like this. "I don't hear anything."

"It's kind of like battlecries," Naruto told him. "Like some people are trying to sing some sort of awesome battle-song, but it never really kicks off."

It all set off one too many alarms for Jiraya's liking, but he knew they couldn't go back now. This was very possibly their only chance to find anything about Naruto's ancestors.

Not that the kid knew that, though. He probably should tell the kid...

Soon, the cave opened up a rather great lot. Light leaked in from an opening in the cave roof, lighting the place up rather effectively for its incredibly small size. Clever design, Jiraya admitted. They knew what they were doing, the ancestral Namikaze.

A relatively large spring sprung forth from one of the cave walls, granting moisture to the plethora of unfamiliar flora that grew down there. Three more of those Juniper trees that stood by the entrance outlined the spring, leaning over it like protective guardians. By their roots grew a few plants with dark, spiky leaves, large, bell-like flowers in a purple-blue shade sticking out here and there. Right by the edge of the water there grew a rather interesting brand of plant. Almost identical to the dandelion in the shape of its leaves, it had a bright blue colouring and to Jiraya's great surprise, they not only emitted a distinct glow, but also a peculiar chime. Could that have been what the kid had heard earlier? Nah, it hardly sounded anything like the chanting he had described. The chime was constant, monotonous, shifting only in its intensity, like a pulse. Like a slow, chiming heartbeat. Nothing like battlecries.

Nevertheless, while the spring surely was quite beautiful, there were other things in the cave that were far more interesting than that, unless you were a botanist, which neither of them was. One of these things was what seemed to be a monument in the very middle of the room, the light from the hole illuminating the thing quite like a spotlight would. It was a sort of wall, carved out of solid rock, curved inwards like a crescent. Naruto decided to take a closer look at it.

Jiraya on the other hand found the cave walls far more interesting. Carved out of the solid stone of the cave there were shelves, filled to the brim. With scrolls. Scrolls meant stories. Information.

History.

Smiling to himself, the sage opened one of the scrolls with great anticipation, only to be disappointed at what he saw. It was written in runes. Not the runes that Yuki had used in ancient times, either, no. Those he could read. But these... these were different from anything he had ever seen. The runes reminded him of cuneiform script, but with a lot fewer lines. Each of the symbols never had more than three lines and one dot each, and not even that, most of the time. It looked simple in its design, but Jiraya had never seen anything like it.

This naturally meant he couldn't read them.

Bloody brilliant...

"Oi, Ero-sennin!" Naruto then called out.

"Yeah?" Jiraya answered absent-mindedly as he carefully rolling up the old, withering scroll, deciding to check a different one, only to find that it, too, was written in the strange runes.

"What is an Elder Scroll?" was his student's rather unexpected reply.

The sage paused. "What's a what now?"

"An Elder Scroll. It's mentioned here, but I don't know what it is."

Jiraya frowned and walked over to where his student stood by the monument, which was inscribed with the very same runes as the ones on the scrolls. "You can read that?"

Naruto seemed quite bewildered. "You can't?"

The sage shook his head. "I've never seen anything like it. What's it saying?"

The boy's entire mannerism exuded pure confusion, but he went along with it, since there wasn't really much he could do except to comply. Perhaps it would shed some light upon the situation. "Well, it goes like this: Mu kos Staadnau. Drun nol strun okaaze. Drun naal faal Kel. Mu kos faal kiire se ven ahrk shul. Hon praan tey."

The blond scratched his head, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he had just spoken an entirely different language. It was a deep and guttural tongue with rolling R's and a strong accentuation on the vowels. It sounded inhuman.

And the kid didn't even seem to be aware that he was doing it.

No, he just stood there in front of the curved wall with crossed arms as if nothing weird was going on, glaring slightly at the text as if expecting answers. "But I still don't get what the hell an Elder Scroll is. The word's a damn mess!"

Jiraya barely listened to what his apprentice said. This... Was it the fox's influence? But how? And why? It should not be by any means possible... The seal's design would not allow it.
Now that he thought about it, the eldritch language brought a fact to light, which he had previously overlooked.

It was faint, barely noticeable, but it was a fact that Naruto had always spoken with a slight accent. Faintly rolling R's, stronger accentuation on A's, U's and O's. It was faint, barely noticeable until one sat down and thought about it for a while, but it was still there. He had never known where it came from, nor had he given it any thought until now.

On second thought, hadn't Minato had that accent as well? Well, at least that ruled out the fox. But were accents inheritable like that? Genetics worked in strange ways at times...

The toad sage shook his head. "You do realise you just spoke a different language, right?"

"What? I did!?"

Jiraya facepalmed. 'He didn't even notice...' "Yes, you did. Could you translate it?"

His apprentice hesitated for a second, before nodding. "I... I'll try." He seemed puzzled, almost apprehensive. Not a surprise, really, given what had just occurred, but he swallowed and turned back to the wall. "Some meanings are difficult to translate, but taken literally, it goes something like this: 'We are the Unbound, brought from storming seas. Brought by the Elder Scroll. We are the children of the Wind and the Sun. Here rests our tale.'"

"Bloody brilliant," the sage muttered. "It's all just lying here, and I can't read it... Damn it all!"

Naruto leaned his head to the side, frowning. "You honestly can't read it?"

Jiraya shook his head. "Nope."

"That's weird..." The boy scratched his head. "But then, there was that light-thing."

"Light?"

"Ah, yeah...Two of the words kinda glowed a few minutes ago. 'Strun' and 'Shul'. They stopped glowing after a few seconds, though. The chanting stopped, too."

The sage crossed his arms. Well, that certainly did not put him at ease. "And?"

"And what?"

"And, did something happen?"

The blonde teen shrugged. "Not really. I get the feeling that those words are special in some way, but other than that... don't think so."

Well, this was just getting better and better... "Alright kid, go seal up those scrolls on the shelves. We'll look through them later. Just make sure to keep your guard up; I'm getting a bad feeling about this whole thing."

Naruto sighed, but complied, albeit grumbling. Just like ero-sennin, dumping all the work on him. But he had to admit it; he was interested in those scrolls too. Who were these people? And why was he the only one who could read that script? Hell, why could he in the first place? He hadn't ever seen script like that before, either. He just knew it. It was as if the words themselves told him what they meant, and it felt... obvious. It was as if he had always known it, which made no sense at all. It was as if whoever built these halls had left these scrolls, these messages, for him specifically.

The question was just, why?

Meanwhile, Jiraya was sending a messenger toad to Konoha to report their discovery. While he didn't believe that anyone who wasn't a Namikaze would be able to open the door, Tsunade would still want to know about this.

The old sage couldn't help but feel a shiver crawl up his spine as he gazed at the odd monument. Four lines of text, written in an incomprehensible tongue. A tongue his apprentice could somehow read.

How?

While it was true that the only person he had ever met, or even heard about for that matter, that came from the Namikaze family line was Minato, so he couldn't really be any sure, but if Naruto's aptitude for the subject was any hint, the affinity for seals ran pretty thick in the family. Could they have left a seal that imprinted the language into Naruto's mind?

Was that even possible?

Not that he knew, it wasn't, but you never knew. No rules or boundaries ever held to enough prodding, after all. But to answer these questions, he needed to find the power source. Taking a deep breath, the Sennin focused outwards, hoping to have better luck this time.

Faint. He had almost missed it, but yes. He did feel something. A few hundred meters below them there was a faint... pulse. What it was, he couldn't tell, but it was undoubtedly emitting energy. Not chakra. It was similar, but... he knew no words that could describe it.

Now, how to find the way down?

Naruto had just sealed the last of the scrolls when the sound of stone scraping against stone echoed throughout the cave, sending him into immediate alert. He pulled out a kunai, ready to defend himself at a moment's notice, only to relax as he saw his teacher standing over a hole that had opened up in front of the monument, stairway spiralling down into the depths.

"You done?" asked Jiraya, appearing calm as a cucumber, but only thanks to decades of experience.

Naruto nodded.

The sage nodded back. "Let's go, then."


It was getting difficult to keep track of time as the two shinobi descended down the spiralling stairway in what would have been total darkness, if not for the fact that the stairway basically was no more than a big hole in the ground with stone plates jutting out of the wall, forming a descending spiral, which allowed the light from above to reach even this far down. Naruto had tried to keep track of how far down they'd walked, but soon found it hopeless. It was simply too far. It was a damn good thing that the opening that let light trough was directly overhead; else they'd be walking in complete darkness. The stairs were quite steep, and if you fell, there would be nothing to stop that fall but the eventual stone floor. It was not a very comforting thought.

Eventually, the downwards tunnel widened, likening the inside of a vase, with a very, very long throat, mind. The stone floor was inscribed with runes, of the same kind as the ones before, only this time they didn't make sense to the blond boy. Naal Sossedov mu fent daal? Dragonblood? Return to where?

Apart from the runes, the room was incredibly... stale. There was no bookcases, no plants, no furniture, not even cobwebs. Nothing. Just empty. Apart from one thing.

At the very centre of the room, standing above a slight elevation in the floor there was a smooth metal sphere, supported by nothing but air. Not floating, standing. It just so happened it wasn't standing on anything. The sphere had a certain aura, an aura of heavy. It wasn't logical by any meaning of the word, but Naruto got the distinct feeling that if he was to try and push the oversized brass marble, it wouldn't budge a damn millimetre.

Despite being suspended in the air.

"What is that?" he couldn't help but ask.

"Hell if I know," Jiraya said, frowning as he walked up to it. "It does seem important, though."

A logical conclusion, since not only was it a flying brass orb, but it also had an entire room for itself. It was obviously important, if not the very purpose this structure was built for, but what it was, well... The inscriptions were most likely a vital piece to the puzzle, but it was too vague to make anything out of it. And besides, Dragonblood? What was up with that?

Naruto walked up to the sphere, as if it in itself would answer his questions, and couldn't help but feel a certain... call, if you could call it that. He reached out to it...

Only for him to immediately pull back as a sharp pain jolted through his hand. It wasn't that bad - he'd had far, far worse - but it was entirely unexpected. It also left a bloodstain on the orb. What the?

"What happened?" Jiraya exclaimed.

Naruto licked the blood off his finger, just as puzzled as his sensei. "It cut me!"

"Cut you? The orb?" The sage threw a wary glance on the big lump of metal, only to turn wary as he saw the blood stain being absorbed by the thing. That probably wasn't a good sign. "Get down!"

A sound decision, as the sphere started hissing, exuding steam, spinning as if folding, yet unfolding itself at the same time. The hissing noise the sphere let out was way too alike that of an exploding note about to go off for their liking.

Only, unlike what the two were expecting, there never was any explosion.

Daring a glance, Naruto turned his head, and saw something quite unlike anything he had ever seen before. The sphere, smooth without even the slightest indentation as it had been, had somehow split, over and over again, yet somehow grown. It twisted, unfolding itself to reveal...

Oh. He knew what that was. That was the Kel - the Elder Scroll - that the stone had spoken of.

The inscription in the elevation beneath the Kel, "Naal Sossedov mu fent daal", and "Drun naal fal Kel," from before... It all suddenly made sense. Whoever these people were, and wherever they had come from, Dragonblood, whatever it was, had been the key.

And the scroll was the Gate.

"Ero-sennin, I think I found something."

Jiraya snorted. "You don't say, brat. You think that scroll could be that Elder Scroll you were talking about?"

"I don't think anything here, Ero-sennin. I know. That is the Kel, no two ways about it."

The sage raised an eyebrow, suppressing a remark about that first part. Rare were the times where the kid acted all dead serious like that. He had no intention to ruin such a moment with lame verbal jabs. "How do you know?"

Naruto scratched his head, breaking the serious mask. "It's... a bit complicated."

"Try."

"It, uh..." the youngster tried to find the right words, but it was not something easily explained. "It's got with the Language in itself to do. It's... The words aren't really... uh... They're ideas. Yeah, that's it, ideas! It's all concepts and meanings, not words, see?"

Jiraya's facial expression told him quite clearly, that on the contrary, he did not see what he meant.

Naruto frowned. He didn't really understand it himself entirely, so explaining it any well was difficult to say the least. Hell, he could barely explain it to himself. "Uh..." he begun, trying a different approach. "Take the word Strun..." Unnoticed by the blond, a small breeze picked up as he uttered this word. "It means storm, aye? But... It's not... Strun isn't the word for storm; Strun is the meaning of storm. It's what a storm is. The idea, the essence of a storm... It's hard to explain, but I think the writer's understanding of a word is carried through the written words. Or something."

His sensei raised an eyebrow. He had seen many strange things in his days, yet this did seem to take the damn cake. "Then what makes this Elder Scroll so special? You didn't know what it was when you read it, did you?"

The boy shook his head. "No, I didn't. I, uh... I don't know; it was just different. I didn't get any proper reading of the word. Almost like..."

"Almost like the ones who wrote it didn't really know what it was, right?"

"Yeah... Something like that. It was fuzzy, like... It felt a bit like trying to divide by zero, you know? I know that that is a Kel, but I have no idea what a Kel actually is."

"Well then, why don't we find out?" He picked up the overly large and admittedly quite impressive scroll, hoping to be able to get a reading of it, since it was obviously different than the other ones. Hopefully, it would be written in some comprehensible language.

What he saw when he opened it was to put it simply, mind-boggling. There was no text, no pictures, it wasn't even much longer than perhaps a feet. But what space there was, was absolutely filled to the brim with what seemed to be some kind of seal, but the matrix was much too complicated to comprehend, even for the seasoned Fuuinjutsu master that he was. Peculiar. All he could get out of the expansive array was that at heart, the seal was most likely of time-space manipulation nature, but what it did, he had no way to tell; the symbols were too alien to him.

He handed it over to his apprentice. "You get anything from this?"

"I think it's some kind of gate," Naruto replied as he received the rather massive scroll without even looking at its contents. "The runes on the wall said they were brought by it from 'storming seas', so I guess they used it to travel here from somewhere."

Jiraya nodded. "That makes sense. Did you find anything else?"

"Aye." The blond nodded towards the runes on the floor. "That one line written there: 'By Dragonblood we shall return.' Hell if I know what it means, though..."

The sage's eyes widened, now realizing what it meant. "Naruto! NO!"

But alas, it was too late; Naruto had already opened the scroll.

The array lit up.

Naruto felt a tug...

And then, Pain.


Elsewhere, yet so very close, in a relatively small pocket dimension, a large, nine-tailed fox seemed to be determined to re-paint the walls using only his head. No, wait. My bad. He was having a mental breakdown.

It was a peculiar sight, really, had anyone been there to see it; the great demon fox, the Kyuubi, hailed as the greatest and most cruel of all the demons, bashing his head against a cavern wall, repeatedly calling himself stupid. The wall was getting increasingly redder. From blood.

He'd screwed up badly, and he hadn't even realised it. For fourteen years... He groaned, and put extra effort into his next bash. It was nearly hard enough to knock him unconscious. How? How could he have missed that? HOW?!

Of course that bastard had survived; he always did. Why, why, why hadn't he had more faith in those idiots? Why?!

He had almost killed off the last remnants of that damn tribe... He had even caused the death of at least one of them! That was simply unforgivable!

The borderline suicidal fox curled up inside his cage, blood flowing steadily from his head. He didn't care.

"I'm so sorry... Captain..."


I really like italics...

Yes, Naruto cut himself on a smooth sphere. Logic? What sorcery do thy speak of?

This chapter is un-beta-fied. Beta requested!