Chapter 1: Always Read the Manual


"What the hell?"

Look up. Look down. Yup, nothing. Same exact grey scenery as the last dozen times I checked. I'm floating in a grey fog, with a pair of giant words bobbing in front of me.

"Really? This is the afterlife? Just a giant stretch of monotony? Dammit, I know I wasn't exactly the best person out there, but I'd figured that I'd at least avoid hell. Whatever, it's not like I have anything better to do than Continue -



"Alright, seriously? Now the giant words are answering me. If I weren't dead, I'd think I was crazy. Then again...
Right, so choices are to continue staring at nothing or do something else. Well, this is a hard one. No."

The world shifts, gray spiraling to black, colors bursting like a psychedelic firework exhibition, shapes pinwheeling around me until -



"So. I finally die after a few decades of boredom, and my reward in the afterlife is...a video game. Lovely. Since load and quit seem to be inaccessible, might as take a look at the Options."



"Well, someone up there must really hate me - let's see, Help On, Map On, Codex On. And now Back. And, with no other choices, New Game."
There we go. More spinning lights, more - oh hey, I'm falling. Wait, what?

What do you do when a giant nine tailed fox decides to rampage towards your village? Well, if you happen to be a civilian, you pray on your knees and hope it doesn't kill you. On the other hand, if you happen to be a highly trained ninja, you throw little bits of pointy metal at it...and hope it doesn't kill you. Honestly, the first method is probably more effective. Or, if you happen to be a genius with a serious penchant for reality defying seals, you call on the almighty power of the God of Death and chop the beast in half, sealing one part into your dying body, and the other into your newborn, and now newly orphaned, son.

Hey, even a genius makes stupid decisions. I'd like to see you do better.

A baby's wails. A dead couple, locked in an embrace above it, blood gushing from a gaping wound in their chests. Shattered trees, scorched earth, cratered ground - this was the scene that faced the Professor, one of the most powerful ninjas in the world, former leader of one of the five great villages, and predecessor to the dead blond male. Words cannot express his grief, for today he has lost a loving wife, the village's brightest light, and many dozens of those that he saw as his children. He also -

"Oh you bastard, you left me with the goddamn paperwork."

Yes, well, people in their grief tend to say the strangest things. Regardless, while he may be a fascinating subject, the old man isn't our hero. Rather, we are concerned with the wailing child, whose cries seem to signify his awareness of his loss. Well, this case may be a little unique - after all, how often are 174 year old men stuck in their newborn body, forced to live out their life from the very beginning?