In lieu of some long note at the beginning of this chapter...all I'll say is 'Ta-da' and let you get on with it.
Disclaimer : I do not own Naruto Nor do I own Kung Fu Panda
Entering the hall of the Jade Palace, Naruto walked to the base of a small pool of water, kneeling before the figure standing before it. Aged, gnarled lips curled into a smile, as the Grand Master of the Jade Palace, the great Turtle Oogway, turned to greet his student. "You've grown since I saw you last, my friend," he said simply, chuckling a bit. Naruto bowed his head in respect. Not many people earned such an honor from fox, but Oogway had done so long ago. Not that he'd ever let Shifu know it. It was too fun watching the red panda seethe in irritation.
"I didn't think I had aged so much, despite the many years I have been away, Master," Naruto replied, with a bit of levity. Just because he respected Oogway, didn't mean he would ever become one of those students who were so uptight they couldn't even speak with their master unless it involved training. Oogway continued to chuckle, stepping forward and tapping Naruto over his heart with his walking stick.
"There are more forms of growth than the mere physical," Oogway said, motioning for Naruto to walk with him. "Did you find what you were searching for in your travels?" Naruto sighed and his master nodded sagely.
"I still haven't found any way to get home," the fox confirmed. "But I decided that if I am never to return to my old life, I should make the best of my new life here."
"You must tell me about your journeys. Between you and me...it has gotten rather boring around here." Naruto laughed at his master, mostly in understanding. Shifu had gotten much more serious over the years since Tai Lung had been imprisoned. He could see that just from what he had seen of the red panda earlier.
"Should I be worried?" he asked, thinking about Shifu's new students, the 'Furious Five.'
"Only that you've been defeated in the one place it really mattered to you," Oogway joked, prompting a quirked eyebrow from his Fox student. "While you were away, Shifu broke your record." Naruto stopped walking, his mouth agape. Master Oogway just smiled as his student sputtered a few incoherent words he was sure weren't very appropriate for children.
"How did someone so small break my Noodle eating record?" he asked, incredulous. "He would have had to eat three times his own weight in Noodles!" Oogway nodded. "How many bowls did he eat?"
"I believe it was eighteen..." the aged turtle announced, and if Naruto's jaw could go any lower, it would have.
"He broke my record by four bowls?!" As his master nodded, Naruto slunk into the corner of the room, mourning his record, while swearing to whatever god would care to listen that he'd take his title back. Oogway just chuckled more.
"Your room is as you left it," the old Turtle announced. "Perhaps Shifu's students can keep you entertained."
"Master..." Oogway turned back to his student with a nod.
"You wished to see me. I could feel it. But for what reason?" Oogway sighed, for a single moment showing his age.
"Let us not worry about such things, my friend. Tomorrow we will take care of them, but today is a grand occasion. It truly is good to see you." Naruto's eyes were etched with worry now. Oogway had always been rather vague and mysterious, but if he wanted to tell you something, he never put it off until later. Something was wrong. "Now then, you must tell me all about your journeys."
Darkness had fallen over the valley, and all but Naruto were preparing for sleep. Slipping out of his room, the fox weaved between the members off the Furious Five, who were calling it a night from their own training. Brushing passed Monkey, he continued toward the exit, but seeing this, Tigress stepped into his path. She had expected to corner him and ask him about his training under Oogway, but was caught off guard as the vulpine fighter, without missing a beat, leapt high and began walking on the ceiling. Defying gravity seemingly without the slightest difficulty, the moment he was passed the stunned Tigress, he flipped back to the floor and continued on. He grinned as he felt the confused, yet amazed stares of the Five on his back as he left the building.
Tigress, Monkey, Crane, Mantis, and Viper shared a look for a moment, and decided that sleep was unimportant right now. The lanterns which lit the narrow hall flickered from the breeze the Five left in their wake as they ran out to speak with the strange newcomer. Silently, they crept to the training field, sure that they would find the fox there. Cracking the gate open, they each took a position to sneak a peak. Mantis took bottom, Viper popping in just above. Then came Monkey, followed by Tigress and Crane.
In the center of the field, they bore witness to the bizarre sight of two identical foxes, staring each other down from identical stances. A sudden war cry was shouted by the Naruto on the left, before he rushed in at his counterpart. Dropping to all fours, he deftly sprung into a cork-screw motion, claws extended. The Naruto on the right had yet to move, and Viper was worried he might end up getting hit. But it was not to be, as the Fox bent back at a bone-crunching angle, allowing his doppelganger to sail over him. It took everything the Furious Five had to keep up with what happened next.
As the spinning Fox flew over his mirror image, the Naruto who stood with his back at an impossible angle snapped his arms around the spinning twin, continuing to twist back, now controlling the momentum of the fox he held in his arms. The situation reached its logical conclusion as the head of the captured Naruto was slammed into the ground, nearly digging in. It was quick, it was decisive, and it was all over. The fox buried head first up to his ears, burst into smoke, just as the other duplicates had earlier when struck by Master Shifu. Jaws dropped, none of the five heard the sound behind them until it was too late.
"Whatcha watching?" Jumping at the whispered voice, each Master leapt into their respective stances. Only to find yet another copy of Naruto leaning in behind them, smiling knowingly at the five Kung Fu Masters. "Do you always do that when you're surprised? Geez, birthday parties around here must be massacres." Stuttering, Mantis felt compelled to look back and forth between the two Fox masters converging on them.
"We should probably have expected it," admitted Tigress. "I suppose we just aren't used to a technique like that. I've never seen anything like that in any of the palace scrolls..." Naruto quirked an eyebrow, staring at each of the Five, getting a similar reaction from each.
"I would figure that you all would have heard about it. Talk about a hit to my ego...I guess Shifu never spoke about me very much," he said. "I would have hoped my reputation would at least precede me..."
"I had heard about a warrior who used to train with..." Monkey was silenced by a strike to the ribs by Crane.
"Tai Lung," Naruto finished for him, a sad smile crossing his face. "Back in the old days, before...well, you know...the two of us were the best of friends. We helped each other train, fought battles together...I trusted him to watch my back, and he trusted me to watch his..." The fox developed a far away look in his eye, as he recalled the old days, before he shook those thoughts from his head. "Anyway, the Shadow Clone was not a technique I learned here. I actually was using it long before I came to learn under Master Oogway."
The other Masters stared at him in curiosity and confusion. "So," he continued. "Anyone care to join me, or would you prefer to get some sleep so as not to get Shifu on your case in the morning. That got the attention of the Five, who decided it would not be a good thing to draw their Master's ire, especially when he was already put in such a sullen mood from the arrival of the Fox. Naruto smiled knowingly, each of the others bowing in kind, before returning to their rooms.
Another three Shadow Clones formed, Naruto dropped into his own stance to continue his training. His eyes darted from one clone to another, meeting each of their eyes, before as one, they rushed him.
Naruto awoke with a start, sitting up with a groan and painful rub of his chest. How long was he out? Last thing he remembered, he and Sasuke were falling...no, Sasuke was the one making him fall. He vaguely recalled the rocky ground coming closer and closer, and then all was dark. "Ugh, how long was I out...?"
"About three days." Turning toward the voice, Naruto yelped in surprise and fright. What had spoken to him was not human. It stood on two legs, and spoke, but it was no person...it was a...Snow Leopard? "Easy!" The leopard said. "It's amazing you've healed as quickly as you have. No need to wreck it all by getting back on your feet too fast." Based on the voice and size, the Leopard couldn't have been much older than he himself, though he wasn't exactly sure on the way these animals aged. "Hang on. I'm going to get Master Shifu and Master Oogway."
It was as the leopard left that Naruto finally realized he was sitting on something uncomfortable. Removing his covers, he was met with another shock, seeing not just bandages covering him - which he was used to at this point - but fur as well. His feet were clawed and he noticed as he shifted that he sported a Fox's tail as well. He managed to prevent himself from screaming, but couldn't help but begin to hyper-ventilate. Seeing a glass of water to his left, he grabbed it and peered into the reflective liquid. It was the muzzle of a fox that looked back at him. Now thoroughly disturbed, he downed the entire glass, before dropping back to the small pillow, covering his eyes with his arm, hoping beyond hope that this was all some crazy dream or hallucination.
But it was not to be, as soon after, the Snow Leopard returned, bringing with him an aged turtle, as well as a small red panda. "Where am I, who are you?" demanded the human-turned-fox.
"Relax, my young friend," the Turtle announced. "You are in a safe place. Our home, the Jade Palace. You may call me Oogway." The red Panda spoke next.
"I am Master Shifu. You've already met my student, Tai Lung." The Leopard nodded at the mention of his name.
"My name is Naruto. I'm...not exactly from around here." As he spoke, the Red Panda, Shifu, grunted, seeming to acknowledge the fact.
"I would hope not," he said. "I would hate to think someone living in this valley did all that damage to you. You're lucky to be alive, what with the state we found you in." Stepping forward, Master Oogway spoke again.
"Yes. And perhaps it would be best to let our guest rest a while longer," he said, making for the exit after giving the ninja a reassuring smile. "When he is ready, we will all find answers to our many questions."
"Tai Lung, when you are not training, I want you to watch over this young fox," Shifu commanded, watching his student bow in reply, before he turned to leave as well."
Eyes snapped open as Naruto's arm extended, twisting through the guard of the clone coming in on his front. Using his tail to wrap around the clone behind him, he twisted to the left, swinging the constricted copy into the attacking duplicate to his right before finishing off by tucking into a one-handed hand stand, bringing the ball of his foot down right between the final clone's furry ears.
Taking a moment to catch his breath, he created even more clones now. This was his usual warm up. See how many clones he could successfully defend against without taking even a single, glancing hit. His record was 15. And with a war-cry, the 6 clones charged at their creator.
The reaction was swift. Ducking under the clawed swipe of clone-1, he immediately flipped back onto his hands, twisting and slamming his tail into clones 1 and 2. Back to his feet, he leapt into yet another flip, this time higher, gripping the heads of both clones 3 and 4, crushing them together, dispelling them. As the first two clones again rushed him, he ducked a hook punch, before springing into a knock-out uppercut, turning clone-2 to smoke. With a spin, he whipped around and struck the first clone across the face using his claws. That just left...
He was grabbed from behind suddenly, Clone-5 wrapping arms and tail around the original. Grunting, Naruto slammed his head back into his clone's face, before repeating the process, but still, his copy held strong. Clone-6 appeared with a fury, landing two body-blows, and a direct blow to the face. Naruto grunted. His clones were beginning to learn. Good, he thought, as with a smirk, he spat some blood. Things were no fun without some form of challenge. "Come on then..." he announced. "Let's see if you're made of anything more than chakra."
With a growl, Clone-6 reared back its fist...And Naruto smiled.
So, bit shorter, and long time coming, but it's done. Hopefully I can get out Multorum Prime next, and then work on that MTG cross I've been promising forever. Or my planned 'Frozen' crossover. Or my Asobi ni Iku yo! Crossover...Damn ADHD. Oh well, I'll muster whatever focus I can and hopefu-Ooooh, Shiny!
Peace to all my Fans
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