Village Hidden in the Bay (Worm/Naruto) (Chapter Four)

Story Title: Village Hidden in the Bay

Crossover: Worm/ Naruto

Disclaimer: This is a fanfiction. No profit is made from the story. Just a fan’s way of keeping the fandoms alive.

Summary: She was destined to be the saviour of her world. She was the fated antihero, coming into power on Jan 2011. Yet webs of fate could be altered. Realities away, a forbidden technique was used, and the web of destiny… was shattered.

Chapter Four – Change is Coming

Reality 8757-A41, Brockton Bay, 30th June 2010

Ashley Medina paused at the threshold of the job agency. Feeling weary as she looked at the small ground floor office that she had been in and out of, for the past two weeks. Ever since her husband died after being stabbed by some Empire Eighty-Eight gang thugs, she had been finding whatever jobs she could, just to keep the bills paid, to keep her son fed.

Selling off her two roomed apartment while getting a smaller place downtown had kept the family going for four months, but the funds were running low again, and if she did not find work again, she might have to pull her son Trevor out of school. It was a situation she would rather not have occurring. Her son needed to be educated, so he would have a prospect in future. But a Hispanic women with only High school education, had very few job choices in Brockton Bay.

She had been rejected for jobs more time than she could count, but she had to keep trying, if only for her son. Gathering up her resolve, she stepped into the office. The receptionist gave her a dismissive look after taking down her details. Ashley waited for several minutes on the dusty red couch which had seen better days. Surprisingly, someone came to get her faster than her usual wait.

She was led to an interview room. Her heart sank as she saw the job agent she was paired to, sitting next to a beautiful young white woman who was most probably the employer. She knew what would happen. The young woman would reject her because of her skin colour or some other faults, she would be sent back home to wait for another call…

“Ah so you are Ashley Medina.” The young woman said, getting up, clasping Ashley’s hands with a warm smile. Ashley paused in surprise, usually her agent would introduce her, and she had never seen any of the potential employers being so warm and friendly. Her agent blinked, apparently similarly surprised.

“Ashley, this is Ms. Helena Roberts, she is a stall vendor at Lord Street Market. Her business has been booming in over just a week, and she had decided to hire more help.” The job agent introduced as all of them sat down. “She has finished hiring the help she needed for her new warehouse. You are called here today because you are one of four women Ms. Helen has selected to be her stall assistants.”

“You will be paid fifteen dollars hourly. Eight hours work day, five days a week. Rest days are on weekdays, on rotation with other workers.” Ms. Helen stated, causing Ashley’s eyes to widen at the sum of money offered. On a good day, she might earn five dollars an hour, compared to that, the sum offered was huge. “I will be renting two stalls in Lord Street Market starting tomorrow. You will be managing one of the stalls with another woman I will be hiring. The contract is for one week, but as my business grows, I will be able to offer you a permanent position, with the related medical benefits. Are you fine with this offer?”

“Wait… you are offering the job to me now? Without an interview?” Ashley asked wide eyed, she had never expected the white woman to hire her in the first place.

“I have seen your resume as well as the two commendations your past employers have given you.” Ms. Helen said with a smile. “You are a hardworking worker, I need someone like you. Will you take up the job?”

“I…” Ashley said in surprise before quickly recovering. She needed the job, especially if it paid this well. “Yes! Of course!”

“Good Mrs. Medina, I will need you to sign this contract.” The job agent said pushing a stack of forms towards her. “Work will begin tomorrow at the stated location. As stipulated in the contract, you will be doing the following tasks…”

The agent droned on as she explained the contract to Ashley in detail. In a haze, she signed it at the end.

“Good Ashley.” Ms. Helena smiled at her. “Welcome to the team.”

OoooO

It was afternoon by the time Taylor reached home. After nine days of hectic sales in Lord Street Market and a morning of planning for future, she could finally take a break. Her business had doubled and tripled following the days after her TV interview in Helen Roberts’ persona.

In total sales, she had made nineteen thousand, five hundred and thirty five. It was an unbelievable sum of money that even she had trouble comprehending. But of course, unlike normal businesses, she had no production costs or overheads, which explained her enormous profits. The amount of goods she could make was dependant on her chakra, and her chakra reserve was slowly increasing every day, which meant more goods and more potential sales.

More than half the profits she made were gained once she began fulfilling the furniture sales. “Hand crafted” furniture cost a lot out in the market, and hers were cheaper, yet sturdier and made of quality wood. Once her reputation began to build, more furniture orders started coming in. A portion of her profits had went into hiring a mover truck team of four men and to rent a warehouse near Lord Street Market after the fifth day. The furniture would be deposited by Taylor into the warehouse, after which the mover team would access the warehouse to ferry the furniture to the buyers.

Part of her profits also went into extending her current stall lease. As of yesterday, she had renewed the contract of her stall for another week. She had also taken over the rental of the stall beside hers, renting it for a full week as well. This morning, in her Helena Roberts persona, she had hired four stall assistants for her two stalls. Each of them would work in rotations, with their off days being on weekdays. Thus there would be a minimum of three women working the stalls on weekdays, with all four present on the busy weekends.

By the time she paid off the job agencies, the movers, the rental for the stalls and warehouse, she had ten thousand, seven hundred and thirty five dollars of profits left. That lump sum of cash was sealed into a special seal array drawn onto her left breast. It was easily concealed, yet constantly on her body. Of course, her father would have a coronary if he thought Taylor had started tattooing her body.

Taylor did have to admit that while looking for an easily accessible spot on her body to draw the storage seal, she had chosen her current seal location mostly out of a hint of naughty thrill. The old Taylor would not have been caught dead with a “tattoo” drawn on her breast, but the new chakra wielding Taylor was a totally different girl.

She had changed a lot over the past weeks, becoming more confident of herself, and all of this was because of Hashirama. In over a month, with the awakening of her past self, Taylor finally felt that she had grappled back the reins of her life again. She had powers now, powers that were growing stronger with every day of training. She felt in control of her life. When she was acting as Helena for the past few days, she even managed to break out of her shell of solitude, playing the role of a cheerful beautiful young woman who had the world at her feet.

Hashirama never forced or instructed her to do anything she did not want to do, unless it was related to the training of her powers. Instead for the decisions she made with her life, he was just there to support and be a guiding voice. Sometimes it was like having a big brother hovering at the back of her head. He would be there to catch her if she falls, and sometimes, he could be a pain in the arse as well.

Like now.

You know I have been thinking. Hashirama was saying, as Taylor went over the business plan she had drawn up in her notepad with Hashirama’s occasional help. Now that you have begun your plans for business expansion and have hired more help, you don’t have to be in the market every day. And you have been doing quite well with your chakra training, you should take a few days’ break, go out into the world, find new friends and have a life!

“I do so have a life.” Taylor said mulishly. “Training and running a business is having a life. And I have to be around the stalls for the next few days to settle the new assistants in.”

Well the stall assistants will need some guidance at first, but after that, there’s no reason for you to manage the stalls every day. The whole point of hiring stall assistants is for them to run the stalls while leaving you free to do other things. Hashirama pointed out. And please don’t tell me you want to do more training. Even the Genin in the Ninja Academy have rest days to avoid burning out. You have been training none stop for a month after I gave you your chakra system. You need a break. Surely you have some hobbies other than training and selling things?

Taylor bit her lips. Memories of sleepovers with Emma in the past rised out of the depths of her mind. Emma had been her one and only friend, after Emma betrayed her… well, Taylor had no one else. “I have other hobbies.” Taylor stated, though even in her mind, she sounded uncertain. “I can go to the library.”

No. Hashirama said firmly. No conducting research on rest days. You already spent three evenings in the library researching the parahumans of Brockton Bay. That’s not rest, that’s work. Pick sometime else.

“I thought you said you will let me live my own life and make my own decisions.” Taylor growled.

I did. Hashirama said with the equivalent of a mental shrug. It doesn’t apply to this matter.

“What!” Taylor said narrowing her eyes. “You promised to only guide me except in terms of my training! How can you just change your promise like that?”

This is a unique circumstance. I am breaking the promise. Hashirama said simply in a voice of amusement. You will take a few off days after the sales assistants are settled in and do things that are not related to work or training.

“Or what?” Taylor said with a hint of challenge in her voice.

Or… I will sing in your head. Constantly. Hashirama said in a very smug mental tone. In high notes. I will even whistle. Mito once told me I could crack glass with my whistles.

“Argh! You are impossible!” Taylor said growling, shoulders slumping in defeat. She had never heard Hashirama sung before, but she had no doubt he could be extremely annoying if he put his mind into it. “Fine! I will have a few rest days where I do other things, after I trained up all the sales assistants, and make sure the business can run without me.”

Good. Hashirama said in satisfaction.

Muttering angrily to show Hashirama how displeased she was, Taylor stalked down into the basement, making her way to the underground bunkers. She had a few chakra intensive plans scheduled later during the day, but now that she was fully annoyed, she decided to settle those tasks first.

One of the major task for today was to build a new underground bunker. This new bunker would be her “Cape Cave” a place where she could create armour or weapons for herself, or store any future equipment she would be buying to make her own cape costume. Taylor was not planning to be a Hero, or out her existence to the local cape community anytime soon, but she was going to start preparing for the eventuality.

The cape cave will be constructed on the other end of the training bunker, with a path leading to the surface. Based on her plans, the upward path would be situated between the cape cave and the training bunker. The secondary surface entrance would come out of her own backyard, on the ground right next to her back door facing the side road. It would take several Genjutsu and Protection seal arrays to secure the new entrance from any unwanted sight or entry. The whole project would occupy her for several hours at least.

As she began to work, Hashirama started humming a happy tone.

OoooO

Reality 8757-A41, Brockton Bay, 1st July 2010

The new job was… interesting. May Jihoo thought as she tended to the stall that she and her partner was in charge of. The stall she was handling sold a wide variety of bottled spices, traditional medicines and sweet smelling lotions. She and her partner also had to assist in taking down furniture orders based on a furniture catalogue placed next to the rosewood stall table.

The furniture listed in the catalogue was obviously hand crafted and of the highest quality. May had taken a look at the furniture catalogue during the down times, and had already spotted a few nice pieces she wanted to order for her place.

To be honest, there was no need for the petite dark haired woman to work. Born to a rich Korean-American family, her father left her with quite the inheritance. Her husband worked as an attorney in Leigh and Bayle, one of Brockton Bay’s most prestigious international law firm. Her only son Park Jihoo studied in Immaculata High, a prestigious private school in the nicest part of Brockton Bay. She was basically a rich man’s wife, a rich woman in her own right.

But there had also been a streak of rebelliousness within her. She had been the good daughter, the good wife all her life. The stay at home wife who dolls up, look pretty for her husband, and greet the guests. She gave up her ambitious for a career because that was not “her role”.

Then her father died. She discovered her husband had been having a long term affair with his secretary. Something within her had died. For a period, she had been broken, but she had come out of it stronger. To maintain the appearance of a healthy marriage, for her son’s sake, she and the scumbag of her husband had agreed not to divorce.

Her husband had continued his dalliance, while May had decided that now her son was able to take care of himself, she would begin living her own life, the life she wanted for herself. It was too difficult for her to begin any sort of career at her age with no working experience. Even if she had the capital to set up a company of her own, she had no idea what business she should start-up or invest in. And she was not going to accept any pity favours from her friends by taking up a job at their companies.

In the end, she decided to take up part time jobs that strike her interest, it would occupy her time and distract her from her husband’s affair. Not to mention it would shame her husband once news of her “acting out” spreads. Sure some of high society wives might snub her when they found out about her “eccentricities” but honestly after what she had been through, she could care less. She was going to take charge of her life and do what she wanted. This particular job falls under the category of “very interesting”.

Her new “Boss” the stalls’ owner was in fact getting quite a reputation in the higher echelon of Brockton Bay’s blue bloods. In part, it was because of the super model looks of the young owner. But a large reason was actually due to the quality products the young woman sold. Her beauty creams were rumoured to be one of the best smelling products in the market. Those who used it had claimed that their skin looked healthier and softer. Now that May was selling those products, she could at least attest to the fact that the creams and lotions smelled really good.

When May first met Helena Roberts at the job agency, the middle aged woman had been prepared to hate Helena just on the principles of the woman being prettier than her. But May had never been a petty woman, and when Helena had showed her a display of friendliness and sincerity, May had changed her mind about the young woman. Helena was no blond haired bimbo, in fact May knew that there was a brain in that pretty head, considering the young woman’s business success in a little more than a week since the start of her business.

The morning crowd had stunned May, but she was able to get on with the rhythm shortly after. The goods have been carefully tagged with prices so there was little chance for May to make a mistake. And after a while, May realised she was liking the banter with the customers while promoting her products. Especially since the products she was selling was already well received by the crowd.

Helena in the meantime was running between the two stalls she had rented. She would stay with May and her partner, Leia for a while, before moving to the next stall which was a fruits and flowers stall. There were two other women operating the stall which was doing quite a brisk business as well. May could certainly understand why. The fruits and flowers Helena were selling had a remarkable wholesome and vibrant appearance. In fact all the products Helena put on sale had a certain high quality feel to them.

Though the stall had a shelter, May managed to work up a healthy tan by late afternoon. The crowd might have lessened, but a large number of tourists and locals still dropped by the stalls. A few were apparently regulars, like the stern faced Chinese looking man that just walked up to the stall. The man was tall and lanky, scars decorated his bare arms, and he gave off an intense presence.

“The usual.” The man said, after looking at the stall and its sister stall beside it.

“Oh.” May said quickly taking out a notepad where Helena had written out instructions and orders earlier in the day. Helena had just left for a toilet break, she or her partner would have to deal with the customer. “My apologies, this is my first day here, you are Mr…?”

“Hao. Just Mr. Hao.” The man said curtly.

May quickly glanced down the notepad, finding the man’s name and his regular orders. “Alright 6 bottles of saffron, 10 bottles of pepper, 10 bottles of cinnamon powder and 10 bottles of chilli coming right up.” May said, smiling at the man as she quickly packed his orders. “That’s a big order. You are a cook?” May asked, making small talk as she worked. At the other end of the stall, her partner Leia was attending to someone else, though the woman was shooting skittish looks at her.

“No.” The man said bluntly, seemingly hostile and not willing to indulge in any small talk. He also glowered at her, most probably to shut her up. The look was fierce enough to cause May to stiffen for a moment. Then her hackles began to raise as she glared back at the man. Mr. Hao was acting as though she had offended him or something.

“My sister runs a restaurant, I just help her pick up the spices.” The man finally relented when May refused to back down from the staring contest.

“Well that’s ninety two dollars in total.” May stated as she handed over the package. As Mr. Hao passed her the money, she added candidly. “You might try shaving your eyebrows a little.”

“What!” Mr. Hao said, giving her a stunned look at her off-hand comment.

“You seemed like someone that frowns a lot.” May said, still feeling upset over the antagonizing attitude the man had given her, putting a bit of bite in her comment. “You might want to try shaving your eyebrows a little so that they don’t look like giant caterpillars when you scrunch your face at people.”

“…” The man stared at her wordlessly before turning around and walking off into the crowd.

“Wow May… that was very brave of you.” Leia said, walking towards her, the woman’s eyes were wide as saucers.

“Brave?” May stared at her in confusion. “I was just telling off a rude customer.”

“You were just telling off… didn’t you see the tattoo on his left biceps?” Leia said gaping at her. “He’s from ABB!”

“Oh!” May said, suddenly feeling a little faint. ABB was one of the two most powerful villain gang in Brockton Bay, even the Protectorate had difficulties dealing with them. “Oh dear, I didn’t see that tattoo.”

“Do you think we should tell Helena?” Leia asked nervously. “In case ABB send some of its members to cause trouble?”

“I… I don’t think they would dare do anything here in broad daylight.” May said feeling a chill down her spine. “But yes, I think it is best for me to talk to Helena when she gets back…”

OoooO

Hao Yi, better known to the world as the cape Oni Lee, stalked through the crowd, finally reaching the western end of Lord Street Market, where his siblings ran a small Chinese restaurant. There was a small crowd dining in when he entered. His younger brother, officially the owner of the restaurant, was at the counter when he entered. The two brothers nodded to each other as Hao Yi made way for the kitchen, where his older sister served as the restaurant’s head cook.

“Er Di!” Lai Hua smiled as he entered the kitchen, depositing the package of spices on her table. She put down her ladle as she turned to greet him in Chinese. It was an endearment she had called him by since young, because he was the second child in the family. “Have you eaten? I came up with a new hot and spicy recipe with cubed pork and chicken.”

“I can’t stay.” Hao Yi said, looking around the crowded kitchen. “I need to leave for work after this.”

Lai Hua stilled, the smile dropping from her lips, her right hand latching on his arm tightly. Then without a word, she began pulling him after her, towards the storage room. Pushing Hao Yi in, his sister entered, closing the door, shutting out the noises of the busy kitchen. She stared at the floor, not facing Hao Yi as she spoke with a tone of resignment.

“Can’t you just not go?” Lai Hua asked softly, her shoulders slumping in defeat. “I saw the news last week. Fifteen people. The news were saying fifteen people were killed by your bombs and knives. Please Hao Yi, it has been more than a year. You have helped Lung set up his drug empire. You’ve long repaid our blood debt to him. Please brother… just leave the gang.”

“Those people were from Empire Eighty-Eight, they are white supremacists!” Hao Yi said as Lai Hua glared at him, tears in her eyes.

“They are still people. Living breathing people with families of their own!” Lai Hua hissed at him, anger and a hint of horror at what he had done showing in her eyes. “Why can’t you just scare them off? You are a god damn cape! They are just ordinary people, like me… and Dai Men.” She said sternly as she mentioned their younger brother.

“I am Lung’s main enforcer I have to show our enemies that ABB is not a force to be tangled with. There can be no mercy. Everyone I kill attest to the power of the ABB, it keeps the vultures from targeting the gang.” Hao Yi said, his countenance unyielding. He loved his sister, he would do anything for his siblings, but there were some matters he could not cave in, even for them. This was one of them. “Lung rescued us from China. He kept me free from the Yàngbǎn. Our debt to him can never be repaid. Please Lai Hua, don’t ask this of me.”

Lai Hua shuddered at his words, tears dropping silently onto the floor as Hao Yi moved passed her. Giving one last look at his sister, he walked out of the storage room. He could not afford to be affected by his sister’s conscience or tears, for he had made his path long ago. He had given away his heart and morals, for the safety and freedom of his family. To him, that was a fair trade.

His hands wept with the blood of more than a hundred people by now, but there was no room for regret, for his fate was already set in stone. Lai Hua could not understand that. Once you were in ABB, the only way to leave the gang was in a body bag, buried six feet under. And the families of the gang deserters suffered worst fates than that, not to mention the other threat Lung still held over his family.

Lung held a set of documents that must never fall into any governments’ hands. For should the truth about his family be revealed, he and his siblings would be hunted by all the governments in the world. And there would be no hiding from that.

His siblings were all that he had left. He had to protect them.

In the end, his sacrifice… was necessary.

OoooO

Reality 8757-A41, Brockton Bay, 3rd July 2010

Lisa Wilbourn was intrigued.

She had made her morning rounds, spotting a few rich and careless marks in the crowded Lord Street Market, and lifted enough cash off them to last her for another few days. She had tried getting jobs at first to get some steady form of income, but not many people wanted to hire a sixteen year old for serious jobs. She could not exactly tell everyone “Hey I am a Thinker. Let me work for you! I can tell you everyone’s secrets in less than five minutes!”

Her brief stint as a dishwasher, a newspaper girl, and a cleaner, taught her that it was much easier for her to use her powers to start a thieving career, rather than to do manual labour for a pitiful sum of money. There was also the fact that the more she uses her power to observe and analyse her surroundings for easy marks, the more she had control over her ability. It was as the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

Lord Street Market had been her hunting grounds for the past two week, though Lisa knew she needed to find another area to pickpocket soon. She had been noticing an increased in security officers patrolling the area. A few of them seemed to be specifically looking for someone. Lisa doubted she had appeared on anyone’s radar yet, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

Though she knew she had to stop hunting in the market area soon, the catch had been good while it lasted. The market area was where Lisa first supported the mystery that had been eating at her for the past few days. She still remember what happened clearly. It had been the third day since she came to Lord Street Market to hunt for easy marks. She had been lifting the pockets of a portly young man when she had spotted Her.

Helena Roberts, allegedly a beautiful young stall owner who rented a stall in Lord Street Market. She gained quite an online reputation on the internet after a video of her facing off a rogue cape got onto the parahuman forum. Her business had literally bloomed within a week, and she apparently made enough profits to rent two stalls side by side to hawk her wares. She even hired four assistants to assist her, which spoke of how much profits she had already made.

Fruits, flowers, spices, herbs, traditional medicine, lotions and hand crafted furniture orders. All those were products Helena was selling or promoting, and all of those products were of the highest quality Lisa had ever seen. But things just did not add up. With just a look, Lisa could tell that the row of watermelons on sale were the biggest and sweetest watermelon she had ever seen. She had no idea how she could tell how the watermelons taste with a look, but she guessed that the vibrant colours of the watermelons actually meant something to her power.

The flowers were of the brightest and sweetest smelling bunch Lisa had ever seen outside of a digitally enhanced image. The spices were of the highest quality and cheaper than normal market prices, the bottles that contained them were also made of high quality oak. Who the hell use expensive oak bottles to contain products without taking into account the price of the actual bottles’ production?

And the thing was, all of those products… were uniform, seamlessly uniform. All the watermelons were of the exact roundness and pattern, exact duplicates of each other. The flowers had the same bright colours and petal arrangements, exact duplicates again. The oak bottles were seamless and duplicates of each other. All the other products were exact duplicates of each other except for the spices, medicine and lotions. It was as though someone had invented a plant Xerox machine and had created duplicated copies of almost everything!

Then there was Helena herself. The first time Lisa had set eyes on her, her power had only screamed one word to her. FAKE!

FAKE! what? Lisa had no idea. Her power could tell her if someone had gotten a nose job with a look. She could tell if this guy had liposuction, that woman had breast implants, but every time she looked at Helena with her power activated, there was only one word. FAKE!

The mystery of what Helena really was had eaten at Lisa from the first day she spotted the woman and her stall(s) of Xerox plant goods. Lisa literally could not sleep most nights because she kept wondering what was wrong with the woman. What does FAKE! means?

She could of course let her curiosity go, after all she was trying to keep a low profile. But a part of her wanted to find the real answers. Her powers had never failed her before, this was the first time she actually went up against someone she could not understand instantly with her powers. It became something of a personal challenge to her. After all she had a lot of free time these days, unrevealing the mystery of Helena Roberts seemed like a worthy entertainment for her afternoons.

She perched on a container in a side alley, where she had a clear view of Helena’s stalls while remaining hidden in the shadows. The woman was currently bustling around the two stalls as she and her assistants coped with the lunch crowd. Lisa narrowed her eyes at the woman, eyeing each part of Helena’s body, wondering which part of the woman was FAKE! She could not even read Helena’s body movements with all the FAKE! interference she was getting.

Based on the information she had gathered with her power, Lisa knew that Helena was most probably a cape, a parahuman with special powers just like her. Helena’s powers was most probably plant related if Lisa was to use the stuff the woman was selling as her baseline deduction. Of course, Helena’s powers might have nothing to do with plants, it might be some kind of duplication ability instead.

Then there was the FAKE! response that Lisa’s power kept telling her every time she looked at Helena. That most probably implied Helena was a Changer, maybe she could change her appearance or something? From her online parahuman research ever since she got her own powers, Lisa knew that there were actually records of cape abilities that allows one to transform part of his/her appearance or the whole body entirely.

Of course most Changers tend to be Case 53 as well. Known most commonly to the public as the “monster capes”, they were a group of parahumans that apparently had very traumatic trigger events to the point where they lost all their memories after they triggered. Case 53 had special marks on their bodies, and most of them tends to have some inhuman features. They were classified under Changers not because they could transform their bodies, but because parts of their bodies were permanently altered.

There were a few infamous cases throughout the years, like the pitiful Slug man, the maniac Scorpio lady, the Human Amoeba… but from what Lisa could tell, Helena did not seem to be one of them. Every part of Helena seemed human in nature… just FAKE!

Lisa was sticking to her first Changer theory, that Helena had some kind of body transformation ability. She had actually started trailing Helena after the woman close the stalls for the evening, and was beginning to come to the conclusion that the beautiful twenty year old model look was not Helena’s true appearance.

Trailing capes to uncover their identities was a big No-No in the cape scene, but what she was doing now was just for fun. It was not as though she was going to reveal Helena’s real identity once she figured out the stall owner’s real mystery. Lisa just wanted the sense of achievement when she discovered the answers. Not to mention it would proof that nothing could remain hidden from her power. It was arrogant, but well, she had time to waste, and very little to do for fun.

Time passed quickly at her stakeout, by the time evening arrived, Lisa was ready. To be safe, she trailed a distance behind Helena so that she would not be spotted. As what Lisa had observed of Helen’s pattern during the past two days, the woman would enter the nearby toilet shortly after closing the stalls. A few minutes later, a wizened old lady wearing a solemn dark gown stepped out of the ladies. Unlike the first time when Lisa had trailed the woman, Lisa had kept her power activated the entire duration. The old lady was instantly pegged as FAKE!

A grin tugged at Lisa’s lips. There was no doubt about it, the old lady was Helena. Carefully, she trailed the woman again. Letting the crowd separate them for a distance, Lisa managed to get onto the same bus as Helena this time round. Helena stopped after five stops, close to the eastern suburb of Brockton Bay. The district contains rows of houses that had seen better days. The area was quiet and idyllic almost peaceful. It was obviously not the richer part of Brockton Bay, but it was better than the neighbourhoods in downtown areas.

Helena, wearing the appearance of an old woman, disappeared into a small busy diner, entering the toilet. Lisa waited outside, peering in discreetly through the restaurant windows. She was rewarded when a young girl close to her age stepped out of the ladies. Tall, dark haired, lanky and cute in a lost waif kind of way, the young girl was as different from supermodel Helena, and old grandmamma Helena, the way the sky was different from the ocean. Yet somehow Lisa’s power registered the young girl’s apparent confidence, the way she walked and moved. Somehow Lisa knew, the girl was Helena Roberts.

Age 14 or 15. Body transformation power confirmed. Active transformation hinder analytic ability. Her power whispered as Lisa observed the girl walking through the crowd in the diner. Afraid of attracting attention to herself, shy away from contact with people instinctively. Have been bullied in the past. Stronger now. Changed. More confident. More self-esteem. Has recently gained a friend, or friends, someone she could confide in. Someone that is there to support her.

Lisa blinked, a sly grin appearing on her face. Now that was more like it. Her power was working again.

Movements firm, brisk and concise. Received training, have been training. Martial Arts? Lisa’s power deducted. Poor situational awareness. Mild crowd phobia distracting her. Uncomfortable in her own skin. More confident when she was transformed. Self-confidence increased with the “fake appearances” she wore. Trust in her transformation ability to hide her identity. Guard is down, relaxed. She is on her way home.

The young girl walked out of the diner, down the street, not knowing that Lisa was trailing behind her. At the back of her mind, Lisa knew she should stop. She had proven to herself that Helena Roberts was really a cape with transformation power. She had already proven that her power, as always, had given her the answers again. Although it took more work this time for her to uncover Helena’s life story. There was really no need for her to follow Helena back to her home and uncover her real identity.

But Lisa’s power pushed tantalizingly. There was an urge within Lisa to know more about the strange girl. She had already put so much effort in uncovering Helena’s mystery, surely following the girl some more, getting some more information about her would not hurt? As long as Lisa stay out of sight, there was no cause for the girl to discover that she was being followed, no reason for Lisa to end up in any confrontation with the mysterious cape.

She would just follow the girl back to her home and that would be enough. Lisa promised herself. The cape’s identity and home location would be her little secret. Something which she did not plan to tell anyone, although it was not as though she had anyone in town to tell.

The girl slipped onto a back road where there were less people. She stopped behind a run down two storey house and walked past a row of trees. Lisa picked up the pace. She had found the girl’s home. Reaching the row of trees, she looked past to see nothing…

The back door of the house before her was closed but her power was telling her something else. Helena never entered the house. Rusty hinges on door, should have screeching sound if opened. Heard slight thudding sound before rounding the corner. Wood. Thump. There is a trapdoor. Lisa’s eyes scoured the small and barren backyard of the house. As far as she could tell, there was nothing of interest except for two dried up rose beds. Dirt disturbed to left of backdoor. Faint impression of shoe print leading up to patch of barren dirt next to house. Possible trapdoor location. Trapdoor hidden from normal sight.

Lisa’s eyes widened at the information her power had provided her. What sort of powers did that mystery cape have? Was she a tinker of some kind? Able to create devices that hide things from sight? Or was she able to create illusions?

Illusion based power higher probability. Fits in with the theme of Transformation ability. Lisa’s power provided intuitively. In a way that answer made the most sense. Capes with multiple superpowers always have a “theme”. A cape that could create forcefields might have a secondary ability of energy blast or energy manipulation, while a cape that slow down time, might also be able to hasten time. There were few capes whose main and secondary powers were vastly different, in fact Lisa could not recall any that fit the category.

Curiosity overwhelmed her caution. It was foolish, but with this new mystery presented to her so soon after she resolved the first mystery, she needed to know… more. She needed to know how Helena disappeared. She moved towards the location identified by her power as the most probable position of the hidden trapdoor.

A STRONG URGE TO LEAVE THAT AREA ALONE CONSUMED HER. THERE IS NOTHING THERE. NOTHING TO SEE. WALK AWAY.

Momentarily, Lisa’s mind went blank, her body turned to move, and then her power blared at her, wrestling back control of her body. Mental Compulsion! Mental Influence! Foreign. Artificial. Attack! It cried. It strained. It struggled. Lisa’s head pounded as if she was beaten by hundreds of hands. She gasped, her head was splitting. Trapped in a sea of information she could not comprehend, she froze in place.

A STRONG URGE TO LEAVE THAT AREA ALONE CONSUMED HER. THERE IS NOTHING THERE. NOTHING TO SEE. WALK AWAY.

Her mind went blank again. Her brain throbbed. Lisa whimpered. She could not think. She felt weak, as if her entire body was rebelling against her, caught between two titanic forces. The strange OVERPOWERING URGE was telling her to move away, her power was fighting against that urge, that compulsion. It was screaming danger. She just stood, staring blankly before her, unable to complete any of her thoughts, unable to do anything. Her legs weakened, and suddenly she was falling.

The air rushed passed her as she suddenly found herself collapsing onto the ground… Sensation, wood. Visual, dirt. Trapdoor found. Visual illusion. Mental compulsion! Unable to hide from touch. Mental compulsion! Unnatural. Not comprehendible. Not of this world. Never before encountered. Resist. Fight. Attack!

A STRONG URGE TO LEAVE THAT AREA ALONE CONSUMED HER. THERE IS NOTHING THERE. NOTHING TO SEE. WALK AWAY.

Lisa felt her stomach rebelling, bile raising to her throat. She felt sick, horribly sick. Her mind was a chaos of information that did not make sense. Something within her brain stretched, screamed, and tore

Stars filled her vision. Blackness of space. Large objects. Beings. Sparkles, shards. She could almost understand what was happening… The cosmos infinite… the entities… pulsing crystals…. other worlds…. desert… ocean… mountain… forest… sucking energy… worlds dying… crystals, shards… growing… changing… gestat…

Her mind went blank again. She had no recollection of what just happened. Why was she here lying on the ground again? Her mouth taste sour. What… happened?

She tried to focus, but there was only the mental pain in her head. She felt sick, like dying sick. Vomit came out of her mouth. It was this afternoon’s lunch. She felt hot, as if she was running a high fever. In a confused and sickish haze, she clawed at the wooden surface below her, she felt an invisible latch, almost instinctively she pulled…

Cold harsh energy surged through her body. Her hand let go of the latch as she gave a small scream. Physical pain erupted, adding to her mental agony. Her body locked up and she collapsed onto the wooden trapdoor. She hurt everywhere. She felt like she was dying. Tears formed in her eyes. She was going to die.

HELP! She sobbed, wrecked with physical and mental pain. Her throat refused to work, even though the words were there in her thoughts. For a moment, she felt a vast connection with many… things? Beings? Many felt alien, some were familiar. It was as though she was floating in a sea of darkness, surrounded by pinpricks of coloured lights. Those lights were speaking, but she could not understand them. She felt even sicker as the strange sensations engulfed her. She screamed, her voice refusing to work. PLEASE! HELP ME!

Lost in overwhelming agony, she did not hear the sudden total silence descending in the surrounding area. As darkness consumed her, her last sensation was of herself sliding to the side, as the door below her was lifted. She saw a shadow being cast over her. There was a soft horrified gasp, a scent of roses, firm hands lifting her up…

And she fainted.

Village Hidden in the Bay (Worm/ Naruto) (Chapter Three)

Story Title: Village Hidden in the Bay

Crossover: Worm/ Naruto

Disclaimer: This is a fanfiction. No profit is made from the story. Just a fan’s way of keeping the fandoms alive.

Summary: She was destined to be the saviour of her world. She was the fated antihero, coming into power on Jan 2011. Yet webs of fate could be altered. Realities away, a forbidden technique was used, and the web of destiny… was shattered.

Chapter Three – Trade and Profit

Reality 8757-A41, Brockton Bay, 21st June 2010

In many ways, the Lord Street Market was like a year long bazaar happening in Brockton Bay’s downtown area. Rent was cheap and the market was competitive. Yet those who found the right niche could prosper, making enough that they might even have enough profits to open an actual shop in the Broadwalk.

Even with Brockton Bay’s infamous reputation as a cape heavy city, or perhaps it was due to that reputation, there was always a constant influx of tourists, even after the shipping industry died. Brockton Bay’s weather was mild throughout the year, and summer was the peak tourist season as many come to the city to escape the heat, and maybe get a little sense of thrill from being in “close quarters”, staying within a city populated by known villain capes and Heroes.

As a result, Brockton Bay’s main commerce was the tourist trade, and because of that goods from all over the world could be found in the city’s Broadwalk and Lord Street Market. Lord Street Market further encourage this diversity by having a flexible rental agreement. Someone with the money could easily rent a stall for a few days or weeks in Lord Street Market with no other obligations.

Before Brockton Bay’s shipping industry died, the stretch of property around Lord Street Market was owned by a shipping magnate. The property was then foreclosed by Brockton Bay’s Central Bank after the shipping magnate lost billions of his wealth. The wise business acumen of the Central Bank’s Chairman, the late Raymond Christner, also the father of the city’s current Mayor, Roy Christner, was what turned Lord Street Market into what it was today. A foreclosed property became one of the Bank’s main cash flow assets.

The Lord Street Market consists of shop houses which operates on monthly/ yearly rental basis, and the cheaper road side stalls which had a more flexible rental arrangement.  The road side stalls were basically cheaply constructed lean-tos, with lockable metal shutters to protect the goods at night. Martin Lewis, was a mid-level clerk at the Central Bank, and part of his daily duties was to oversee the side stalls’ rental arrangements.

As per his schedule, every morning he would talk a quick walk around Lord Street Market, to make sure the old and new stall owners did not break any of the clauses of rental agreements, such as selling contraband items or restricted items that should not be found openly on the streets.

A pair of the market’s security detail would follow after him to ensure his safety. Though the security in Lord Street Market was not the top of the line like the Broadwalk, it was safe enough that that someone could walk around without fear of being robbed.

Having been in the job for three years, Martin had seen all sorts of vendors and goods passing through Lord Street Market. It was rare that the display of wares from a stall would make him pause for a second look. The side stall right at the west corner of Lord Street Market did just that to him.

“Oh my… this rosewood table is exquisite.” Martin said pausing at the stall to take a look. The stall owner was a new face in the market, a willowy blond with supermodel curves and looks. Martin remembered signing a three day stall contract with her back at the bank two days ago. Martin could still remember her name because it was not everyday a gorgeous twenty year old decided to rent a stall in Lord Street Market.

“Ah yes, my cousin is a carpenter, he made that for me.” Ms. Roberts smiled prettily, dimples flashing in her cheeks.

“I see you decided not to use the stall table provided to you for your goods.” Martin said as he gave a cursory browse of the goods Ms. Helena Roberts had displayed on the finely made table. The provided stall table was still folded and leaning against the back walls of the stall.

“Ah yes this table just seemed nicer.” Ms. Roberts said even as she busied herself with the arrangement of her wares. The morning was just starting, though the morning crowd would start trickling in within the hour. “I had to hire some help getting my stuff here but it was worth it.”

The right of the table was occupied with stacks of beautifully crafted wooden bottles. Wordings were engraved into the wood of the bottles indicating that they containing certain spices. Martin saw bottles of pepper, saffron, nutmeg, curry powder and ginger slices, with prices ranging from cheap to expensive. If Ms. Roberts could even sell half of her displayed spices for the day, she would be well on her way to netting a tidy profit.

The middle of the table was stacked with baskets of fresh fruits such as Blueberries, Peaches, Raspberries, Strawberries and Rose Apples. The fruits were slightly plumper than their average counterparts Martin had seen in the local supermarts, with brighter colours and a more healthy appearances, looking tantalizingly wholesome.

A smaller section of the table to the left was stacked with wooden bottles containing traditional medicines of some kind, lotions and sweet oils. There was also stacks of sweet smelling incense sticks bind into attractive bundles. Two large covered wooden crates behind Ms. Roberts showed that she had more goods stocked up.

There was also a tiny rosewood coffee table placed next to the larger table. It contained a stack of thin brochures containing pictures of beautifully crafted rosewood furniture pieces. The prices listed for each pieces seemed cheap when compared to market prices. Martin took one, noting that Ms. Roberts’ email was listed as the sales contact. The enterprising lady was also apparently accepting furniture orders, most probably for her carpenter cousin.

“You have a nice selection of goods, Ms. Roberts, I wish you well for your business today.” Martin said, tipping his hat smartly at the young stall owner who smiled at him.

“Thank you, Mr. Lewis.” Ms. Roberts said. She was about to say more but was interrupted when her first customers, an obviously out of town couple, arrived at the stall, looking at the fruits. Giving Martin an apologetic smile, Ms. Roberts turned her attention to the couple as Martin continued his way.

He would drop by tomorrow on his rounds, maybe buy some fruits and spices. He did wonder if Ms. Roberts was still single. If she was attached… well as long as she was not yet married, he might still have a chance at hooking up with the sweet young thing.

OoooO

Reality 8757-A41, Brockton Bay, 21st June 2010

When she began planning to set up a stall at Lord Street Market, Taylor had decided that she needed a more mature looking persona to be the “Stall Owner”. With the Transfromation technique, she could basically change into the appearance of anyone or almost anything, pending time, practice and chakra.

Her own vanity had caused her to choose a supermodel appearance that was a cross between Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore. After being plain and awkward Taylor for most of her life, she wanted to have the chance to feel pretty and confident. It had taken her five days to get the appearance right, and another two days for her to get in enough practice that she could hold onto the Transformation for most of the day.

As the Transformation technique affects anything on her body, it had been easy enough to transform her ID to show the fake details of her “Stall Owner” persona. Helena Roberts, age 20, had thus signed a contract with Central Bank, passing their cursory ID check, and ended up leasing a stall on Lord Street Market for three days.

It had taken her eight days to fully plan and prepare the necessary goods before beforehand. Most of the spices, fruits and wood related furniture could be easily grown within a day or two but medicine, lotions, sweet oils, incense and some of the more labour intensive spices needed a lot more time to prepare, even though she could rapidly reproduce the plant materials.

Once everything was prepared, chakra paper had been used to draw storage seals, allowing the goods to be stored within. At the first morning of her business day, Taylor had arrived in her rented stall as Helena Roberts. Behind the closed shutters of the rental stall, Taylor had released the first batch of her goods. Should any of her goods run low, she could always close the shutters and release or create more goods behind a screen of anonymity.

The careful planning she had done, with help from Hashirama, had come to fruition. By mid-day, she was doing a brisk sale of fruits and spices, with several furniture orders. She had to refill her presentable wares three times during the morning rush hour, and just from fruits and spices sales alone, she had already netted seven hundred and thirty three dollars in profits.

Of course several hours into her new business, Taylor was beginning to realise that looking too pretty had its own disadvantage. Her stall attracted a lot of unnerving male gawkers that were just “browsing” the goods. The stocky looking pet seller from across the street had been leering at her. And Taylor was starting to feel that her appearance was attracting too much attention.

You aren’t the first civilian girl I have seen, that used the Transformation technique to create a more beautiful appearance. Hashirama remarked during a short lull in business. Most civilians living in ninja villages knew at least one of the Academic Three. And the most common Academic Three used by civilians is the Transformation techniques. The mistresses of the Fire Lord were well known for their mastery in using Transformation techniques to beautify their appearances.

So… you are comparing me to the high end prostitutes of your world… Thanks a lot teacher. Taylor said sarcastically in her mind. But from your memories, it seems everyone in your world can use chakra?

No, not everyone, though by my generation, a large number of people in the Elemental nations possess a working chakra system. Old legends did record a period of time when the people of my world cannot use chakra. Hashirama said in answer to Taylor’s question. The First Ninja, the Sage of Six Paths, from which the Senju and Uchiha clans were rumoured to be descended from, found a way to grant chakra systems to ordinary people. As chakra systems are hereditary, with time the descendants of those with chakra systems were born with active chakra systems.

Hashirama’s voice took on a slightly lecturing tone. As for those with no working chakra systems, there is an ancient set of Seal arrays, which according to legends, was passed down from the Sage of Six Paths. The arrays could grant ordinary civilians, even animals with mental processes and physical bodies, their own chakra systems. The process is expensive in chakra ink and lengthy in procedure, but it is the only way to grant ordinary people or animals chakra manipulation abilities.

So you know the seal arrays necessary to grant the people of my world their own chakra systems? Taylor asked perking up at the information. It was close to mid-afternoon and the crowd was thinning under the hot sun. She shot an evil eye at the stocky pet vendor across the street, the man had been leering openly at her for the past five minutes.

Yes, I know of the seals needed. Hashirama affirmed. But the process will take several hours at the very least.

That’s considerably longer than the time I took to get my own chakra system. Taylor replied mentally in surprise.

That’s because your chakra system is soul imprinted into your physical body, not created through seal arrays. Hashirama replied idly. You and I are one soul, one body. Because I have awakened, I am able to imprint a portion of my past life’s essence into your current body. Soul imprint of chakra system is unlike creating chakra systems through seals which… By the Sage, what is that awful noise?

Taylor lifted her head at Hashirama’s words, giving a snort of exasperation as she stared across the street where the pet vendor was struggling with a dog in a cage. The dog had somehow managed to bite onto his trousers and refused to let go. The pet vendor’s struggle caused a few other cages to be knocked against each other, and the wails of panicking animals sounded out from his stall.

It’s that pervert from across the street. Taylor said staring disinterestedly at the commotion. God, the cages he kept those animals in are so small, it is no wonder they are all rebelling.

If the Inuzuka Clan were here right now, they would be fraying that man for the poor conditions he is keeping his animals in. Hashirama said with a bit of heat. The clan might even set their ninja dogs on that man, and those ninja dogs aren’t nothing to joke about.

Taylor shuffled uncomfortably. She felt sorry for the animals as well, but there was not much she could do. The animals belonged to the pet vendor, and it was not as though she was rich enough to buy all of them and set them free. But the sight of them trapped in their small cages and being cowed by the pet vendor, remained Taylor too keenly of how she felt about being bullied by Sophia, Emma and Madison back in school.

Taylor got up, making moves to close the shutters to her stall. There was not much crowd right now, and she might as well spend some time doing a little good deed for the day.

What are you doing? Hashirama asked curiously. Though the powerful ninja might take up residency at the back of her mind, Hashirama had agreed not to go poking around in her thoughts without cause. Unless Taylor told Hashirama what she thought or planned, the ninja would know nothing more than what she let on.

I am going to pay a visit to one of the security guards around here somewhere. Taylor replied, pushing the table with her wares back into the stall so that she could close the shutters. I am going to get them to pass a message to Mr. Lewis, and get him to look into the poor conditions of the pet stall, which is creating a negative image of Lord Street Market. I am also going to strongly hint that I have seen tourists taking pictures of the stall. Pictures which might end up spreading bad publicity about the marketplace.

Ah the art of court politics and subtle human manipulations. Mito tried teaching that to me. I never could quite get the hang of it. Hashirama said sounding impressed at Taylor’s proposed actions. I prefer direct actions most of the time. I wonder if this… art of subtlety, is something all women instinctively know?

This isn’t Konoha, and I am not the revered village founder and respected God of Shinobi. Taylor said dryly. This is Brockton Bay, and I am just a fourteen year old, that currently looks like a gorgeous twenty year old, who happened to be able to manipulate chakra. I can’t bury my enemies under a sea of forest like you can. Neither do I have an army of powerful loyal subjects. We will do things my way here. I’d rather not land into any trouble that I can’t get myself out of.

Are you sure you know what you are doing though? Hashirama pointed out as Taylor prepared to reach for the shutters. Not to rain on you my apprentice, but you are not exactly savvy court politician or manipulator material. Even though you seem to know a bit of theory on that.

I have watched enough spy movies. Taylor said with a mental sniff. I think I can try hamming it up a little, especially with my current looks.

Grabbing the shutter doors, Taylor was about to pull them shut when a series of wild, loud and horrifying barks sounded from the streets. Taylor swung around and could only stare in shock as three… monster dogs, the size of cars, barrelled into the streets from a side alley. The thin crowd of tourists and people at the marketplace scattered in surprised yells and cries as the three dogs ran towards the pet vendor’s stall.

A brutish wild looking girl, most probably around Taylor’s real age, was seated on the biggest sized monster dog. The girl was most probably a cape of some sort, maybe a Master that can control dogs, with some sort of Striker or Trump ability to turn them into monsters. Of course the monsters dogs could also be some kind of Trump projections. With the strange varieties of superpowers out there these days, it was difficult to tell.

Wow… I didn’t know your world have anyone like the Inuzuka Hashirama said impressed as Taylor stood in front of her half closed stall, watching the dog cape sic a monster dog after the pet vendor who had taken off running the moment he saw the three car sized dogs coming for him. The rough looking female dog cape had then ordered the other two to guard the stall while getting off her ride, entering the stall and began opening the cage doors of all the animals, setting them free.

The dog cape was particularly gentle with the caged dogs and puppies, taking care to gather the pet dogs she set free close to her. Taylor frowned when she saw some of the freed animals limping around. She cursed. Some of the animals are hurt. Taylor said angrily. Especially those in the smaller back cages. That fucking inhuman man! I hope the monster dog that went after the man actually got him.

Taylor could sense Hashirama bristling in anger at the back of her mind. Grab some of the healing and pain numbing ointments. They don’t work as well on animals, but they help better than most animal medicines short of those actually brewed by the Inuzuka clan. Hashirama ordered briskly.

It spoke of how much Taylor had changed in the past few days that she had immediately grabbed a large plastic bag and dumped stacks of healing and pain numbing ointments into it, not even daunted by the fact that she would be taking those ointments and going directly to where a rogue cape was lying waste to a stall. With the tricks up her sleeves and her transformed appearance up, she could escape without outing herself if the worse comes to worse.

The streets were cleared by then. The nearby stall owners had either ran or had hid themselves within their stalls. The remaining crowd had done the same. Up at a street intersection, Taylor saw one of the market’s security guard speaking into a walkie talkie, most probably asking for help. With the way things were in the world today, ordinary people knew better than to interfere with a rogue cape. Everyone was most probably waiting for the Protectorate to send some Heroes over.

Cutting across the street in quick strides, feeling the eyes of the remaining crowd hidden in the stalls staring at her, Taylor walked to the trashed pet stall staring calmly at the two monster dogs blocking the way. She stopped directly in front of them, ignoring their loud threatening growls and putrid breaths.

Hashirama was at the back of her mind observing the dogs for signs of aggressions, keeping Taylor aware of whether she should fight, run or stay. The man had been around large ninja dogs most of his life. The Inuzuka clan, a clan of ninjas that took care of large intelligent ninja dogs, had been a close ally of the Senju for generations. Of course the Inuzuka ninja dogs never reached the size of cars, except for the clan’s dog summons which usually reached the towering heights of a building. Hashirama was confident that he could decipher the monster dogs’ intention enough to keep Taylor safe.

“Some of the animals are hurt.” Taylor called out. She could see the dog cape turning to look at her angrily from behind the monster dogs. “I have medicine to help them.”

The dog cape snarled at her. Hashirama’s discerning voice spoke within Taylor’s head, his voice had gone all seriousness instead of his normally jovial devil may care tone. The girl is half feral. She seemed more comfortable with dogs than people. I have only seen this kind of reaction in people who have lived too long in isolation out in the wilds or were seriously traumatized. Just out of curiosity, these parahuman powers of your world, do they negatively impact on the mental and emotional states of the ones that got them?

Taylor hesitated, she was not exactly a cape fanatic and encyclopaedia. I am not sure. What I know of the capes are the basic parahuman stuff from Parahuman history classes, online forums and the news. I know capes normally get their powers from traumatic trigger events. Of course it doesn’t mean everyone who has gone through trauma would become a cape, only a selected group of people actually activate powers.

Taylor continued warily. The scientists still couldn’t figure out the exact parameters needed for trigger events. Because most cape get their powers through the worst points of their lives, the majority of them never fully recovered from their trauma. A lot of villains used their powers to hurt people because of their own trigger trauma. It is the most common theory online about why there are always more villain capes than heroes.

There was a mental sigh as Hashirama considered Taylor’s words, I know I have been keeping you busy practising your Ninjutsu, Taijutsu and Fūinjutsu the past few weeks, but I think it is about time we do more tactical research on the parahumans in your world.

Hashirama continued seriously while keeping a watch on the two monster dogs in front of Taylor. If this city is chockfull of them, you will need to learn whatever flaws and strength they have, in order to better protect yourself if you encounter any of them. Having good intel allows you to win half the battles most of the time.

It is a little too late for research now. Taylor said snippily as she waited before the two monster dogs tensely. But I think I can slot in some library research time if I survived till tomorrow.

There was a short pause as the dog cape just continued staring angrily at Taylor, but the pained whines of a small puppy distracted her. The dog cape picked up the puppy, gingerly holding out one of its paws that was bruised, most probably from the confined space it was stuck in. The feral looking cape snarled in anger, before waving Taylor in, barking out some commands to her monster dogs.

“Come in.” The girl cape ordered as the two monster dogs moved a little further down the road, giving Taylor more space to enter. The female cape glared at Taylor challengingly as she hold up the injured puppy. “You have medicine? Can help?”

Taylor nodded taking out one bottle of pain numbing ointment and another bottle of healing ointment. She then placed the bag on the floor and begin layering the sweet smelling ointments on the puppy’s paw. The result was almost instantaneous on the small animal. The pain numbing ointment was strong enough to release the puppy from its discomfort as it nested tiredly into the dog cape’s hands while Taylor applied healing ointment to the bruise.

Taylor was not that surprised about how effective her ointments were. With Hashirama’s immerse plant repository and her Wood Release bloodline, Taylor had access to many potent herbs in Hashirama’s world. The fact that Hashirama was in her head during the entire ointment brewing process meant that her supply of homemade medicine were of the best quality, maybe even trumping some medicines of her world which served similar functions.

“It helps.” The girl cape said in surprise as Taylor finished layering the ointments.

“I make good medicine.” Taylor said simply. She closed the two ointment bottles she used, placing them into the bag which she handed to the cape. “There are two kinds of ointments in the bag, pain numbing ointments and healing ointments, all clearly labelled. Use only a little spread of pain numbing ointments around wounds to numb the pain. Then apply the healing ointments directly on the wounds three times a day. You should go, the Protectorate would be here soon.”

The brutish girl stared at her for a long moment before accepting the bag with one hand. “Thank you.” The dog cape said gruffly, giving her a curt nod.

Then the dog cape totally ignored Taylor, as she took off an old jacket and gathered the smaller puppies into it, bundling them up and handing the bundle to one of the monster dogs that moved closer. The large dog held onto the bundle gently with its mouth. The dog cape then herd the group of freed dogs out of the stall, while giving a sharp whistle.

The monster dog who had been chasing after the pet vendor lumbered back from down the street, traces of blood around its jaw. Taylor frowned. She hoped the dog had not killed the pet vendor. The man was obnoxious, but he did not deserve death.

She stood watching from in front of the wrecked pet stall as the dog cape and her dogs disappeared into a nearby alley leading into the docks. There was a palpable sense of relief as the dog cape and her animals were gone from sight.

Before Taylor could even return to her stall, people were converging towards her, some asking her what happened between her and the cape, some commenting how brave she was. And in the background, the rest of the freed animals which had included cats and small monkeys left behind by the dog cape, began yowling in panic and frustration.

Rubbing her forehead tiredly, Taylor had a feeling her afternoon was going to stretch out into a long day.

OoooO

“… so there was still no signs of this new cape that Empire Eighty-Eight was after?” Battery asked as she got into the Protectorate for her night shift.

“Nope. Nothing on our radar. Empire Eighty-Eight hasn’t been making any visible moves either. I think our girl has left town.” The brown haired Robin Swoyer aka Velocity, said as he looked at her with concern. “You seemed heavily invested in finding this cape Battery. You going to be alright?”

“I was the one on the shift when Dragon contacted us about a new cape in town. A cape that was being hunted by one of our most notorious villain gang.” Battery said with a sigh. “I guess I feel responsible in a way because of that. That’s why I am trying to find this cape and make sure she didn’t end up dead at Empire Eighty-Eight’s hands.”

“Sometimes you worry too much Jamie.” Velocity said with a smile, letting Battery take over the control station for the Protectorate. “Where’s Assault? He’s supposed to be on standby with you?”

“He is talking to Armsmaster, his armour needed some repair work.” Battery said as she called up the parahuman forums and began monitoring the call logs for the night.

Velocity snorted. “He is going to have to wait in line, Armsmaster got into a skirmish with Skidmark and Squealer this afternoon. Nothing major, but the two methheads accidentally got in a lucky hit and damaged part of Armsmaster’s armoured legs. The man’s been in a mood the whole afternoon.”

“Armsmaster got into a fight with The Merchants?” Battery asked in surprise. “I didn’t hear anything on the news while coming in. What did The Merchants do this time? Sell drugs openly on the streets? Or did Squealer create another crazy vehicle to let her goons use?”

“Hmm… it is a little more embarrassing than that.” Velocity said with a chuckle. He moved forward, taking over the control screen for a moment as he called up some files. “Armsmaster was on afternoon patrol, and he was near Lord Street Market when we receive a call about an unidentified cape causing a disturbance there. From eye witness reports, we deduct the cape is Bitch aka Hellhound aka Rachel Lindt. She has arrived in town recently and is wanted for a manslaughter charge.”

Battery looked at the files Velocity had called up. They were basically information the Protectorate had on Rachel Lindt. “Yeah, I saw the news featuring her rampage through Lord Street Market. She has the ability to enhance dogs, classified Striker 4-5, possible Master or Thinker to be further determined. She doesn’t seems too dangerous, and I don’t understand how her situation would lead to Armsmaster fighting The Merchants?”

“She fled before Armsmaster arrived.” Velocity said with a grin. “Didn’t do much damage except having one of her dogs chew on a pet stall owner. The owner’s injuries are mostly superficial, the guy got to a safe location in time. His wares, the dogs and puppies were stolen by Bitch who escaped into the Docks. Armsmaster followed after Bitch, based on eyewitness accounts of her last location. He chanced upon Skidmark and Squealer who were in the midst of a major drug deal, and both sides ended up skirmishing. The rest as they say is history.”

“Oh… no wonder it wasn’t in the news.” Battery said with a soft chuckle. “Not much eye witnesses in the docks I guess. And Armsmaster is not going to offer that information to the media anyway.”

Colin Wallis, cape name Armsmaster, had a certain stiff pride. As the current leader of Brockton Bay’s Protectorate, it would be a blow to his ego if it was known that the two meth capes had gotten the better of him. Not that there was anything wrong with sustaining light damage from a fight with those two. Skidmark and Squealer would be a terrifying pair in a fight if they could get their heads out of drugs and learn to use their powers wisely.

But Colin most likely would not see it that way. Not to mention the Protectorate’s publicity mandate was to never offer information about failures to the public unless they were already aware of it. Only the victories were to be publicly highlighted. Battery never did agreed with that mandate because it would only enable behaviours of self-importance in Heroes.

“Colin will never willingly make himself look bad.” Velocity said with a snort as he moved towards the couch behind the control station, gathering his stuff. “I admit he’s the most capable of all of us in a fight, but sometimes he’s like this super-efficient well-oiled human machine, with the social skills of one as well.”

“He’s not that bad… sometimes.” Battery said with a grin. She turned to see Velocity slinging on a bag as he walked towards the entrance of the control room. “I’ll see you tomorrow Robin.”

“You too Jamie.” Velocity said waving back at her.

As the door to the control room closed, Battery went back to the control screen, opening up the parahuman forums in one window, the late night news in another smaller window, and also the chat logs from the call center. Seeing nothing of note in the call logs and the news at the moment, Battery moved on to the forum.

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Topic: Villain attacked Lord Street Market

In: Boards Places America Brockton Bay

Marsplanet (Original Poster)

Posted on June 21st June, 2010: 1645hrs

Was in Brockton Bay for vacation and saw an actual villain! The cape was unmasked, seems like a rough looking teenage girl with these giant ugly dogs. She was getting them to attack a pet stall vendor of all things. I managed to take a video with my cellphone. Here is the link.

CapeFanatic

Posted on June 21st June, 2010: 1646hrs

That’s Rachel Lindt aka Bitch aka Hellhound. Her powers have something to do with those giant dogs of hers. She had one charge of manslaughter and is on the run from the law. You are one lucky dude man!

FanboyOzie

Posted on June 21st June, 2010: 1650hrs

The size of those monster dogs look terrifying. Why is she robbing the pet stall? And check out that hot stall owner from opposite the street in the later half of the video. The way she just walked up to two of the monster dogs and stare them down, is she a cape?

Doglover

Posted on June 21st June, 2010: 1653hrs

Hellhound isn’t a villain! She is just a misunderstood Rogue who make it her life’s mission to speak up for the canine race! It’s obvious from the video that she was just freeing the animals in the cages at the pet stall!

FanboyOzie

Posted on June 21st June, 2010: 1650hrs

Oh god… not the she’s a Villain who is just a misunderstood Rogue argument again. That line had been used so many times in other Villain threads that it’s no longer funny.

CapeFanatic

Posted on June 21st June, 2010: 1700hrs

From Brockton Bay’s news report, Hellhound was after the caged dogs in the stall, she left after she got them. As for the hot stall owner, she is just a concerned citizen. Apparently she is some sort of herbalist, with a stall opposite the street. According to the reporter’s interview, some of the caged animals were injured, the stall owner was actually offering Hellhound some medicine for the animals.

NerdFingers

Posted on June 21st June, 2010: 1703hrs

The stall owner’s hot, I just saw her actual interview on TV. That grainy camera phone video didn’t do her justice. Here’s a link to the TV interview.

WhiteBeauty

Posted on June 21st June, 2010: 1705hrs

Oh I visited her stall this morning. She had this whole collection of totally natural products. Medicine, cream, lotions, spices and fruits. I bought a bottle of Rose hand cream which is one of the sweetest smelling product I have ever used. I applied some in the morning and I am still smelling refreshingly fragrant right now. I am definitely going over to get some more tomorrow. She told me she would be around for another two days.

FanboyOzie

Posted on June 21st June, 2010: 1710hrs

Wow… maybe I will drop by her stall tomorrow to get some fruits ;)

Marsplanet

Posted on June 21st June, 2010: 1712hrs

The stall owner closed up her stall pretty quick after her interview. I will probably drop by with my wife tomorrow. Our shopping was interrupted by the attack.

XxxxX

Battery scrolled through the rest of the posts on the attack of Lord Street Market, but most of the post had derailed off the actual topic about some blond haired bombshell. She opened up other threads under Brockton Bay, but nothing major popped up. Someone in the docks did saw Armsmaster facing off Skidmark and Squealer. A thread was created about it, but there was no video.

After a few minutes of browsing, Battery heaved a sigh of relief. At least there were no further threads about sightings of the new cape, or any Empire Eighty-Eight propaganda on the forums about her. Maybe Velocity was right and the girl had done the clever thing and skipped town.

She could only hope. Too many young would-be-Heroes died because they did not know the hidden rules of the parahuman battlefields, lacking the cunning and battle awareness to survive long. Battery could only pray the young cape did not become one of the numerous casualties in their increasingly chaotic world, or become one of the parahuman lackeys among the local villain gangs.

OoooO

Danny looked up at the clock from his seat at the dining table as he heard the front door opened. It was half past eight and the skies were already dark outside. Since it was the school holidays, he had no idea what his daughter was doing out so late. Taylor had always been a quiet child, who had bonded more to Anne then himself. The death of his wife had been particularly tough on the two of them. Even now, Danny had no idea how to really talk to his daughter, to be there for her, not like his wife did.

“Dad.” Taylor called out as she entered the house, her cheeks seemingly flushed. Yet there was a cheerfulness in her eyes that seldom showed during the past half a year.

Even as Danny thought that, he tried to recall when was the last time he had seen Taylor even a little happy. It was distressing that the last true smile he had seen from his daughter was when Anne was still alive. He had been so busy making enough money to pay off the mortgage, to pay the bills and daily expenses in the current economy downturn, that he had truly neglected Taylor.

“Taylor. I made some dinner.” Danny said as he took a few prepared dishes and began heating them up. He chose his next words carefully, not wanting to upset his daughter. “So where have you been? I thought you said you were going to the library… You have been there the whole day?”

“Oh I went there in the morning, to return some books.” Taylor said, before reaching in her wallet and taking out a stack of money. “After that, I went to interview for a part time job as a stall vendor’s assistant in Lord Street Market. The owner hired me on the spot, and wanted me to start work right after that. The stall owner was very nice, I will probably be working for her for the rest of the holidays. She pays a lot per hour too. I know how hard it has been around the house, I want to help out too. Here’s a hundred for the groceries this month.”

Danny felt his throat closed as he looked at his daughter, so young, yet she was already incredibly mature for her age. Shame filled him at not being able to give her a better home life, and not able to provide her with luxuries that the better off teenagers usually have. He tried to push Taylor’s outstretch hand back to her.

“No Taylor, you worked hard for that. Keep it. Save up and use it for yourself. I can still manage the bills on my own.” Danny said, knowing that he was being a little stubborn. If Anne was still alive, she would probably had ribbed him at his bull-headed man pride.

A look of hesitation crossed Taylor’s eyes. “But dad… I want to help. Please…”

Danny crumbled at the pleading look in Taylor’s eyes, accepting the money Taylor pushed into his hands. “Thank you Taylor… So tell me more about this part time job of yours.”

“The stall owner is this very beautiful lady, she sells homemade medicines, lotions and other stuff. Sales is pretty good, and she is confident that the estimated profits she would make every day would be enough for her to book the stall all through the end of the school holidays.” Taylor said as Danny set the heated dishes in front of her.

“Ah… she’s an out-of-towner?” Danny asked.

Brockton Bay’s shipping industry might have died, but its tourist trade was still booming more than ever. The city also had a seedier and much more recent reputation as one of the few places in the U.S.A, where you can get access to rare exotic drugs easier and cheaper than anywhere else.

That was why Danny always make sure his daughter was home before dark. Most of the drug deals were rumored to take place when night falls. Brockton Bay was on a slow decay to death, and Danny had been saving a little on the side, in the event that things got so bad he and his daughter had to leave town.

“She lives in the outskirts of the city, her family owns a farm and she sells products made from plants at the stall.” Taylor offered the information.

Danny nodded, the stall owner Taylor was working for sounded like an alright sort of woman, but maybe he would go down to the market one afternoon, to make sure she was on the up and up. “So where is this stall you are working at?”

“It’s a corner stall, right at the west intersection in Lord Street Market.” Taylor offered. “I wouldn’t be there the whole day though, the stall owner had me getting more goods from her warehouse nearby sometimes. It is nowhere near the docks Dad, so there’s no need to worry.”

“That’s nice.” Danny said nodding as he listened to his daughter talk about her day. For a moment, it was as though they were a family again. It was as though Anne was still around, guiding Taylor out of her quiet shell. It was as though the two of them could talk to each other again, after months of strained silence or awkward conversations after Anne’s death.

Danny could see the sparkle of life in Taylor’s eyes now, as though she was finally growing out of her cloud of silence and isolation, ready to take on the world, just like her mother did. Anne had been like the sun, bright and cheerful, ready to speak out against any injustice. Taylor’s personality had been more like his, quiet, maybe sullen at times, but Anne had loved both of them all the more for it. Now as Taylor talked, Danny was able to see a bit of his wife in Taylor, that his daughter was growing up, growing strong.

Danny wished the moment would never end.

Whatever the case, he was sure tomorrow would be a better day.

OoooO

Taylor stood on the landing, relaxing as she heard the soft snores of her father from his room. It was only a little past ten, but her father had turned in for the night as he usually did. His work was gruelling, Taylor knew considering the numerous times he had brought her to his work place when she was in grade school.

Thanks Hashirama. Taylor thought silently to her past self as she made her way carefully down the basement. Thanks for telling me to talk to my dad… I guess… I never really wondered why we just drifted apart after mom died. And then the bullying at school started and all I could care about that time was how miserable I was.

It always helps to have a second pair of eyes looking at things. Hashirama said warmly. Your father cared for you, he just had no idea how to express it. Unlike my father… your sire cared for you because you are his daughter, not because you are a future asset to the clan.

I guess it must be tough back in your world. I still remember seeing you kill your first man when you are just a kid. Taylor said with a mental shudder. Things might be bad in my world, but at least here, most countries don’t train children to kill before they were even eight.

Well the time when I was born was a time of chaos. The nine tailed beasts roamed the world freely, ravaging the lands like they were unstoppable natural disasters. In a way, they were like the Endbringers of your world, except your world had three unstoppable entities, my world had nine. Hashirama said, his warm mental voice dimming slightly. The ninja clans were at war with each other while trying to survive in a world where the tailed beasts roamed free.

But from your memories, you and your wife found a way to deal with the tailed beasts didn’t you? Taylor asked. She was down in the basement now making her way around with a piece of chakra paper inked with an activated Light seal. She passed through the illusion wall and quickly entered the tunnels.

When Mito married me, I learnt that the Uzumaki clan possessed powerful containment seals created by their Seal masters long ago, to contain the tailed beasts. The Uzumaki clan never used those seals because they require full blooded Uzumaki as containment hosts. Hashirama stated as Taylor made her way into the training bunker, cutting a path straight to her Greenhouse.

Containment seals to trap tailed beasts were quite numerous in my world, but none could ever trapped them for more than a few years at most. The Uzumaki seals were different however, they were made to last a lifetime.

My brother, Mito and I began modifying those seals so that they do not require Uzumaki hosts. By then, I had found ways to exponentially increase the power of my Wood Release bloodline. With a special set of seal arrays inked on my palms, I was able to use my bloodline to subdue the tailed beasts, while my brother and wife sealed each of them away. Hashirama stated wistfully in memory.

I was foolish then, thinking that if I handed out the sealed tailed beasts to other ninja villages as gifts, that they could come together and live in peace. Hashirama continued. I learnt better after the Second Shinobi war. Several of the ninja villages created their own “longer lasting” containment seals, implanting the tailed beasts into human hosts, turning those “demon containers” into weapons that would last until their death. In my attempt to create peace, I created a different kind of war.

That doesn’t sounds like your fault. Taylor said at Hashirama’s words. You can’t predict the actions of people. But you did managed to seal the tailed beasts in your world away. Do you think I can do the same with the Endbringers in my world?

You will need at least Hokage level chakra reserves before you can attempt that safely. With the rate your chakra reserves are growing, and that’s if you continue your daily chakra training, you might reach Hokage level chakra reserves in around two years or so. Hashirama stated.

So you mean I can actually seal away the Endbringers? For real? Taylor asked in disbelief. The Endbringers had been ravaging Earth for decades. Killing thousands of superpowered humans who had banded together to stop them. It was near impossible for her to believe she could really do anything about them. She had only first asked Hashirama about it out of curiosity, not because she really thought such a thing was possible.

Yes it is possible. The most powerful tailed beast, the Nine Tails could cause massive earthquakes and destroy mountains. The Three Tails were recorded to have sank islands. If the containment seals I know of could contain them, they should be able to contain the Endbringers of your world. Hashirama said with the equivalent of a mental shrug. These containment seals aren’t your ordinary run-off-the-mill seal arrays though. You will need at least Hokage level chakra to activate the seals and contain one of your Endbringers, much less three. If you plan to go after the Endbringers one day, try… targeting them one at a time.

Oh wow… Taylor thought stumped. Imagining herself going up against the massive Endbringers just gave her the shivers. I don’t think I am ready to set such a high target for myself right now. You say I will need another two more years to become powerful enough to use those seals right? Let’s set that subject on the back burner for now. Thinking about going against the Endbringers is giving me a tummy ache.

So, you are going to create the new set of goods for tomorrow? Hashirama asked changing the topic obligatory.

Yes, and I am planning to add some new inventory. Taylor said with a grin. Nobody’s selling flowers in our stretch of the street, and the farmer that dropped by the stall this afternoon talked about the prices for good fertilizer. Sounds like good ways to increase our revenue.

You are beginning to get a good head for business. Hashirama said in approval. Once you got more profits coming in, you should think about really hiring someone to help you run the stall. Your cover story to your dad was good, and in terms of practically, hiring help would enable you to spend your time on other critical areas, like training up your Ninjutsu.

Village Hidden in the Bay (Worm/ Naruto) (Chapter Two)

Story Title: Village Hidden in the Bay

Crossover: Worm/ Naruto

Disclaimer: This is a fanfiction. No profit is made from the story. Just a fan’s way of keeping the fandoms alive.

Summary: She was destined to be the saviour of her world. She was the fated antihero, coming into power on Jan 2011. Yet webs of fate could be altered. Realities away, a forbidden technique was used, and the web of destiny… was shattered.

Chapter Two –Beginning

Reality 8757-A41, Brockton Bay, 13th June 2010

Thirteen days had passed since she woke up back in her body. Thirteen days was also enough time for her to begin getting used to and become more comfortable with her chakra manipulation abilities. When Hashirama imprinted on her physical body, some of his chakra control was passed on to her, which meant that she had been able to pull and mould her chakra from the beginning, though her current chakra control could still be improved further.

The speed of her handseals were good enough for the first few tries, but Hashirama had made several comments over the days of how she would need to improve upon them, because if she was back in Hashirama’s world, an academy ninja with less potential then her, but faster handseal making speed, or faster physical speed, would be able to disable her before she unleased any powerful techniques. Making faster handseals might not affect her right now, but if she ever got into cape fights in future, she would need that extra edge to produce fast ninja techniques.

As was becoming routine, her father would left for work early in the morning, while she would stay in for the school holidays. With her limited funds, there was not much places she could go to, and she would much rather spend more time getting used to her powers and building up her underground base.

The moment her dad had left the house, Taylor had washed up the dishes and make her way down the basement. With practiced ease, she walked around the piles of obstacles she had carefully placed to hide the way to the other end. She arrived at the far corner of the basement where to all appearance, it ended up against the wall.

In actual fact, Taylor had reproduced the plant materials needed to produce chakra ink, and was able to begin the Art of Seal making. Taylor had shifted some of the stuff in the basement away from the wall, and applied a specific seal array, under Hashirama’s instructions, in the stretch of cleared floor against the far wall. It had taken seconds for the seal arrays to begin working, and to normal sight, the stretch of cleared floor was now replaced by the basement walls pressing in. Unless someone actually measured the dimension of the basement, or walk directly into the wall, no one would be able to tell that the stretch of wall was actually an illusion.

In Hashirama’s world, there were different categories of chakra manipulation. The first and most common was Ninjutsu, the Art of Ninja Techniques. Ninjutsu used handseals for chakra manipulation to accomplish incredible feats such as changing of appearance, healing someone, short distance teleport, create fire dragons or summon a tidal wave.

There was also Genjutsu, the Art of Illusion. Genjutsu used handseals for chakra manipulations that disrupt the mind and senses, an incredibly subtle and deadly art requiring immerse chakra control.

The third staple of the ninja world was Taijutsu. Chakra was formed by combining one’s own physical energies and spiritual strength. For ninjas specializing in Taijutsu, they only tap on one half of chakra’s aspect, the physical energies. They could use their own physical energies to unleash hidden potentials in the human body, strengthening their body’s endurance, physical power and speed.

The fourth and least common was Fūinjutsu, the Art of Seal making. It was from this art that handseals were born. An incredible and ancient chakra art, there were very few Fūinjutsu users who could claim mastery in the craft. In its raw and most simple form, it requires the use of special chakra ink to channel minuscule amounts of chakra to accomplish incredible feats. Enough knowledge of seals meant Seal Masters with the know-how could replicate any known Ninjutsu and Genjutsu techniques through written seal arrays given time.

Hashirama was considered a master in Ninjutsu, especially with his powerful Water, Earth and Wood Release techniques, a number of the later which were self-created. He had certain skills in Genjutsu due to his incredible chakra control in later years. After he managed to gain the essence of several powerful hallucinogenic plants, he was able to pair his Wood Release Ninjutsu with mid-level Genjutsu to great effect.

What was less known was his powers in Fūinjutsu. The art was a slow form that could not be deployed instantly in battle. This meant that there were little records of his skills with it. Though largely unrecognized by his peers, Hashirama was a Seal Master in his own right. He was in fact the one that got his brother Tobirama to begin learning about seals, though Tobirama soon begin to outstrip Hashirama in seal craft within a few years.

His wife Mito Uzumaki, also possessed incredible Fūinjutsu knowledge. And even though Hashirama could never reach the level of Mito and Tobirama in Seal making, he was aware of the common and major seals, and even some of the rare and more powerful seal arrays created by Mito and Tobirama.

Hashirama also had a distinct advantage over most Seal Masters. The plants needed to created chakra ink were incredibly rare and difficult to grow. One major factor that deterred a lot of ninjas from learning Fūinjutsu was due to how expensive chakra ink were. The moment Hashirama had gained enough control over his Wood Release bloodline, he had recorded and memorised the essence of the plants needed to create chakra ink so that he could regrow them much easily.

Much of the Senju clan’s wealth made during his era was due to his trade and sales of rare plants that he grew with his bloodline. In fact it could be said that Konoha, the village he helped formed with Madara and Tobirama’s help, was largely financed through manipulation of his bloodline to grow shelter, crops, herbs and rare plants for trade.

Hashirama was also known as a Taijutsu expert, Sage and master of many weapons. After all, there was a reason his peers nicknamed him the God of Shinobi for his unmatched ninja might. Though Hashirama did note that he would teach Taylor about Senjutsu, the Art of manipulating nature’s energies, and weapon mastery in future, right now they were concentrating mainly on her Ninjutsu, Taijutsu and Fūinjutsu.

Mastering weapons takes time since muscle memories need time to train. Right now Taylor had an advantage in learning Ninjutsu and Fūinjutsu due to the significant chakra pool, chakra elements, and chakra control passed on to her through Hashirama. A Genin or Chunin level ninja technique which would take most ninjas in Hashirama’s world months to learn, can be accomplished by Taylor within hours or minutes due to her chakra advantage and Hashirama’s nagging guidance.

Having chakra force similar to a Senju meant that she healed faster and was physically tougher. With the techniques Hashirama created for concentrating chakra in parts of the body to enhance speed and strength, Taijutsu was the third viable option for Taylor to quickly master.

Taylor stepped through the illusion wall, feeling the tingle of chakra raising hairs on her body as she appeared on the other side, standing on a long stretch of cleared floor. Turning she could see out into the basement, but all anyone on the other side could see was just a blank wall. The seal array creating the illusion was maintained by nature energies collected from the environment. Theoretically it could continue powering the illusion for decades, provided no one disrupt the array.

She made her way briskly to the left corner of the empty stretch of floor, bending down to lift the wooden trapdoor that covered the entrance to her secret base. One good thing about Brockton Bay was that the water, gas and electricity pipeline of the older buildings such as Taylor’s home, tends to be placed above ground. She basically only had to worry about not disrupting her house’s foundations while creating her secret base with Earth Release techniques.

It had taken her one whole day to craft stairs down the tunnel to what would be her lair. Another eight days to create two large underground bunkers with Lumination seals, as well as enough wooden and stone supports so that they would not collapse in on themselves. It was slow, painstaking affair, but she had to be careful with it because she did not want the neighbour’s house or part of the road outside to collapse into sink holes.

The last four days, once the two underground bunkers were completed, she spent the time practising basic ninja techniques, creating furniture for the two bunkers, and preparing one of the bunkers to be her “Greenhouse”. Each bunker was thrice the size of her living room. The first bunker would be used for training, while the second would be used to grow the plants she needed. She was already growing fruits, carrots and tomatoes for the family fridge the past few days.

Taylor did have plans to go out later in the day to get some fruits and plant seeds that Hashirama did not have access to. It would be nice to have some oranges and sugar beets which surprisingly Hashirama’s world did not have access to. Her funds were currently limited, but she was already thinking of ways to increase her resources given time.

Hashirama, when he was not busy being one of the most powerful ninja of his world, was also a very shrewd businessman. Konoha, the village he founded, had prospered under his rule. The Senju coffers had increased drastically under his careful plant sales and transaction. Hashirama had used his Wood release bloodline to become extremely wealthy, and he was more than willing to share his business acumen and enterprising spirit with Taylor.

Making her way down the tunnel stairs, the walls luminated with a soft white glow from the Lumination seals, Taylor stepped into the first bunker, the training bunker. She had created several chairs, a bed, cupboards and shelves with the Wood Release bloodline the previous day, all clustered near the tunnel entrance. The rest of the bunker was left empty except for the giant wood supports holding up the underground bunker.

The empty spaces were designed for her Ninjutsu and Taijutsu training, but currently she was not here for that. Instead, she made her way across the bunker. There was a wooden door at the other end. Opening it, she entered the second bunker, where the ground was already set with moist rich soil created from a combination of Wood, Earth and Water Releases. As per her original plan, she walked to the middle of the bunker where several plant saplings were already growing. The herb bushes growing at the far corner of the bunker were left alone for the moment.

One of the sapling growing in the center of the bunker was a Sage Wood, a special tree whose bark can be used to produce chakra paper, and its leaves were part of the components necessary to create chakra ink. The other was a banana plant and an apple tree sapling. It would take the trees years to reach their full growth, but with the Wood Release bloodline, Taylor could speed up the process. The only problem right now was her limited chakra reserves.

Taylor concentrated on the apple sapling. Her hands flickering into a Wood Release: Plant Enhancement technique. The technique took form without any flaws, moulding a large amount of her chakra pool into Wood element which sank into the apple sapling. The change was instantaneous.

The sapling burst into growth, thicker bark forming before her eyes. It grew taller, more leafy, with many branches spreading out from it. Then the sudden growth resides as the chakra poured into it was used up. The apple tree was now half grown. In its normal cycle, it would take another one to two years to reach its full growth and begin producing apples. With her Wood Release bloodline, Taylor could speed up the growth in seconds once her chakra pool refills in another hour or two.

Her first task for the day done, she retreated to the training bunker. Finding an empty space, she took out a few crumpled leaves she gathered from the walkway this morning, and settled down to begin training her chakra control, which would over time, indirectly increase her chakra pool.

Taijutsu exercises would be next, and Taylor was well on her way to learning Hashirama’s self-created style of fist and leg movements. She was still trying to figure out the correct amounts of chakra to imbue in her hands and legs for each strikes though. But with her existing chakra control, she did not have to worry too much about destroying her hands and legs if she put too much chakra in them. Her current control still left much to be desired, but if she moderate her chakra carefully, she would be relatively safe.

With careful control, Taylor began the first chakra control exercise. The Academy style leaf floating is basically an exercise of floating leaves over any parts of her body in soft gentle rotation. Right now she was concentrating on focusing control in her palms to float the leaves.

Life was changing for her, and she was determined to become a ninja as powerful as Hashirama, because even though she might be exasperated by her past self at times, she was forever grateful for the opportunity Hashirama had given her.

Deep within Taylor’s consciousness, Hashirama gave a smile as he felt the determination in his current reincarnation. Whether Taylor truly knew it or not, their soul was bound for greatness, especially considering the destinies Fate had woven for all of their previous past lives. If the past cycles of their soul were any indications, Taylor was going to be one of the key pivotal points affecting her world or the fate of those around her.

OoooO

Aisha looked doubtfully at the stack of money her older brother had pressed into her hands.

“It’s just some spending money. I am sure you need to buy stuff during the holidays.” Brian was saying as they browsed the busy street market that was set up in a corner of the Broadwalk. Commonly known as the Lord Street Market, it was a place where street vendors rent stalls to host their wares. The prices of goods were cheaper here, but on the flip side, there was less security around this parts.

“You just give me like five hundred dollars in cash. You gave me more than that in all for the past weeks.” Aisha hissed at her brother, even as she quickly stuffed the money into her wallet, hiding the money from sight. With the numbers of gang members and pickpockets in Brockton Bay, it was common sense not to flaunt that much money in plain sight. “What is going on? What did you do? Rob a bank?”

“Just some part time jobs I have been doing.” Brian said evasively. “It pays well.”

Aisha bit her lips in worry. Brian had changed… after what happened with the bastard boyfriend of mom four months ago. She managed to lock herself in her room after the asshole had tried to molest her. In her panic she had texted Brian for help instead of calling the police.

Brian had rushed over, beaten up that sicko, and gotten her out of her room. The police and social services had arrived after that. Her father was infuriated after learning what happened and made a scene at the police station trying to enter the cells to beat that disgusting man up.

Things had been chaotic for a while. Aisha’s custody was passed to her dad who tried his best but the old man’s bursts of temper could be terrifying. That was a key reason Brian stopped staying with their father after he reached fifteen years of age, preferring to take up part time jobs to pay for a small apartment of his own. But there was no way Aisha could live with Brian, especially with social services on her case.

Aisha knew Brian had changed after that incident. She knew that her brother had tried contesting the rights of her custody from both their parents whom Brian considered to be not fit for parenthood. But a seventeen year old high school drop out with sporadic part time jobs did not hold much weight with social services. Aisha did manage to see her brother more regularly now, as he went out of his way to meet her three times a week, to make sure she was alright back at their dad’s place.

“Well if you are sure. Thanks for the extra cash.” Aisha said, giving in. She wanted to push more, find out what job Brian had taken up now, if it was anything illegal, but with how tight lipped Brian was, she doubt she would get any answers.

“No problem, just don’t spend all of it in one shot.” Brian said with a rare smile. “It might take me a while to get another job.”

“Don’t worry I wouldn’t.” Aisha said as they made their way to a clothing stall. “With how much dad spends on his drinks, I will be lucky to have enough money for dinner next week.”

Brian frowned at her words. “Aisha… if dad’s in one of his moods again, call me immediately ok? I will drop everything and come.”

“You know dad will never hit me, even when he’s drunk.” Aisha said dismissively. “He just shouts a lot, I can take that.”

The two of them walked in awkward silence as Aisha began browsing for some skirts, her old clothing were beginning to be worn out. She had not had a wardrobe change for a while. She was eyeing a nice piece when Brian suddenly stiffened, before turning to Aisha.

“I just saw some people I know. I need to go speak with them. You alright on your own for a while?” Brian asked. Aisha looked up, turning to see what had Brian so distracted. She frowned when she saw two men in suits standing in the distance, dressed like one of the private security guards patrolling the high end shops in the Broadwalk, looking back at her brother. Aisha thought she saw a brief look of anger and fear crossed Brian’s face but it was gone in an instant.

“Yeah sure I will be fine.” Aisha said. Brian gave a nod and quickly made his way through the crowd, to those two men. Wondering what her brother had gotten himself into, Aisha discreetly left the booth she was browsing. Trying not to let Brian know she was following him, she made a detour before mingling with the crowd to try to get towards where she last saw Brian.

She lost sight of Brian and the two men however. They must have walked off somewhere, because by the time she reached where they last stood, there was no one there. There were two alleys in that avenue, did they enter one of them? With a shrug, Aisha picked the one on the left and entered it. It did not take her long to realise the alley was empty and led to the docks, the bad part of the town.

“Okay, wrong turn.” Aisha muttered to herself, quickly turning around to walk back to Lord Street before she ended up in a situation she might not be able to get out of. She paused when she saw that three muscled and tattooed teenagers had entered the alley behind her. Her heart clenched as she saw the markings of Empire-Eighty-Eight on their biceps. Oh god… of all people, why did she had to end up in an alley with those Nazi white supremacists gang members?

“Oh look, a black chick trying to enter our territory.” One of the guy sneered as the other two sniggered.

“Look I am sorry, I didn’t know this alley led to your territory.” Aisha said, keeping her head down as she tried to walk past the three gang members to the alley entrance. She gasped as one of them grabbed her and slammed her against the wall roughly.

“Oh she talks back.” A blond haired gang member said, digging his fingers painfully into her shoulders. “Probably thinks she is better than us.”

“She should really know her place.” One of his partner agreed. “Let’s teach her a lesson.”

Aisha began to struggle desperately. She needed to get free. She had an idea of what those three wanted to do to her especially when the one holding her tried to rip her shirt off. But she had learnt some tricks after nearly being molested the first time. Her hands inched towards the penknife in her pocket, if she could reach it…

There was a meaty thump, as something smashed into the head of the one holding her. The gang member gave a strangled cry as he collapsed bonelessly in front of Aisha, seemingly knocked out. Aisha blinked in surprise as she saw that her saviour was a furious looking white girl around her age.

The girl was tall and lanky, with long red hair, and blue eyes, but she hardly seemed strong enough to be able to knock out a physically stronger guy, even though she might have caught him by surprise. Her slightly broken nose did give her a certain rugged look, if not for the broken shape of her nose, she might actually be pretty.

“You bitch!” The two remaining gang members cried out. One took out a wicked looking switchblade that gang members like to use. While the second took out a gun.

The girl dropped a package she was holding in her right hand, quickly ducking to the side to avoid a gun shot. She skipped back to avoid a knife slash from the second gang member and quickly lashed out a powerful kick that actually lifted the gang member bodily into the air, smashing him into the wall, knocking him out as well.

Aisha’s eyes widened. There was no way that skinny girl had enough strength to actually deliver a kick that powerful not within the realms of possibility, which meant that the girl must be a…

“Cape!” The gun trotting member said in shock, staring at the girl who quickly picked up a stone and threw it at him. He was barely fast enough to avoid the thrown rock which impacted on the pavement before him with a sharp crack. There was a small impact crater where the rock had struck and the rock itself had shattered to pieces. The gang member froze, before quickly running off towards the other end of the alley.

“Are you alright?” The girl asked, relaxing a little now that the threat was gone. She retrieved her package and walked back to where Aisha was still leaning against the wall, her legs feeling remarkably wobbly.

“I… I am fine. I think so.” Aisha managed, trying to get her nerves under control. “Thank you for helping me… oh no! Those three have seen your face! I am so sorry! Now you might get into trouble with the Empire Eight-Eight capes!”

There was a twinge of nervousness on the girl’s face which quickly disappeared. “Don’t worry about that, I can take care of myself…”

Whatever the girl was saying was interrupted by a familiar voice crying out her name.

“Aisha!” Brian called out as he ran into the alley. His eyes were wide as he saw the two gang member lying unconscious in front of Aisha and the girl that had saved her. Aisha could see anger blazing in Brian’s eyes when he took in her dishevelled and slightly panicking state. “Oh god Aisha! What happened? Did those bastards do anything to you?”

“No, no, I am fine Brian.” Aisha said pulling away from her brother’s grasp as he pushed the girl cape aside, in his rush to get to her. “She saved me. They were… there were three of them and they were going to teach me a lesson… and she scared them all away.”

Brian paused, looking incredulously at the skinny girl standing behind him. “You saved my sister from three gang members?”

“I know some material arts, and managed to catch them unaware.” The girl said simply. “The last one ran away when he saw two of his friends were already knocked out.”

“That must have been some martial arts.” Brian commented as he observed the large bruise forming on the face of the gang member slumped unconscious near Aisha. He looked at the second knocked out gang member across the alley, the wicked looking switchblade lying next to his feet.

Aisha wanted to tell Brian that the girl was actually a cape, but that was not her secret to tell. She might be only thirteen, but she knew enough about the cape scene to know that cape identities were highly private. She did not want to anger the cape that just rescued her, by revealing her secrets.

“I am Aisha Laborn, and my brother is Brian.” Aisha said. She quickly took out a piece of receipt from her pocket as well as a pen, writing down her number. “This is my number in case erm… you want to meet out or something. I want to treat you to dinner for saving me.”

“I will consider it.” The girl said accepting the receipt with Aisha’s number. “I need to go now. The two of you should get out of here too before those two wakes up, or the one that ran off came back with more help.”

Aisha nodded as she watched the girl quickly walked back to the alley entrance.

“She’s pretty stuck up isn’t she?” Brian commented as he walked Aisha back to the entrance. “She might have saved you, but she didn’t even give her name.”

“I am sure she must have forgotten it in all the… chaos.” Aisha said, knowing that the cape was most probably protecting her identity. “I hope she calls, she seemed like a pretty cool person to hang out with…”

OoooO

Locking the door securely behind her after making sure no one had followed her home. Taylor finally gave in to the adrenaline pumping through her body. A trip to the marketplace had escalated into something out of her control, especially after she saw a young dark skinned girl wandering into a side alley to the docks, with three Empire Eighty-Eight gang members following soon after.

A hunch had gotten her to walk into the alley after them, where she found the three gang members accosting the young girl. At least Taylor did have enough presence of mind to use the Transformation technique on herself before she inserted herself in the fight to save the girl.

Unfortunately, she did not have much control over the Transformation technique. Even though the chakra technique was considered one of the Academy Basic, and Hashirama had drilled the theory of the technique into her during the journey through the soul tunnel, true mastery of the skill required lots of imagination, planning of the physical change, practice, chakra control and manipulation.

Taylor could barely managed to change her hair, she knew because she saw her thick locks turning from black to red. She did try changing her eye colour, as well as made slight shifts to her facial features, but without a mirror, she had no idea how successful the changes were. Her attempts at creating a mask for her face or even changing her clothes apparently failed, judging by the fact that her clothes were the same and no mask had covered her face.

She did not exactly have time to check if any of the transfromations took hold, before things went south and she had to jump in to save the girl. She could have taken more time to attempt the Transformation technique a few times to ensure its success, but with time running out, Taylor had instead taken a risk.

The rescue was short and chaotic, Taylor barely recalled what she was doing. After the three gang members were beaten and chased away. She had shortly made her escape. She managed to sneak into a nearby toilet to check her appearance in a mirror and discovered that the Transformation technique did work partially.

Her hair and eye colour were different. Her face was narrower, with a sharper chin, there were faint stretch marks on the left side of her face as though the portion affected was drier. Her nose was obviously broken, and her lips were smaller, like the lips of an Asian girl. All in all, the person standing before the mirror seemed like a distant cousin of Taylor. They had some similar features, but were obviously different.

The Transformation technique she used on herself was not perfect, but at least Taylor did not have to worry that she might have ousted her real face to those Empire Eighty-Eight gang members as a cape. She had quickly dispelled that transformation, and spent some time to overlay a more powerful and complete Transformation technique just to be cautious in case anyone followed her.

It took seven attempts for her to make significant alterations to her physical shape and clothing. When she walked out of the toilet, she had the appearance of a dark skinned, busty middle age woman with curly brown hair, blue eyes, and wearing a Pokka dot dress. She had quickly made her way home after that. All in all, it was a hell of an ordeal for her very first fight using her powers.

Hashirama however was in approval over her actions. You pulled off some pretty impressive chakra punches and kicks just now. Your chakra control still needed work however. You pooled too much chakra into your fist during your first punch, which is why your whole hand is going to be bruised for the next few days. There’s going to be deep tissue chakra burns. The chakra enhanced kick however is much more efficient, almost perfect in execution.

“At least my leg isn’t going to drop off just because I saved someone.” Taylor grumbled aloud as she made her way to the fridge. She need to get some ice for her right palm which was already showing dark red bruising. The dull ache coming from it was making her twinge physically. “Injuring my hand is bad enough.”

You did a good thing today Taylor. Hashirama continued. The police of your city should be ashamed of themselves, to let things go so bad, that gang members could go about with their threats in parts of the city. If this was Konoha, the police force would have already caught and jailed those three. Konoha was one of the safest ninja village during my time for a reason.

“Yes well good deed or not, I don’t think I am going to play hero to anyone else until I have more practice over chakra manipulation, and have designed a proper costume for myself. Anyway, it isn’t fair to compare Brockton Bay’s police to Konoha’s police. Your police force are all powerful ninjas. A squad of them can probably take down any of the parahuman gangs here.” Taylor said as she prepared an ice pack for her right hand. It took her several moments to arrange the pack with one working hand.

Taylor wrinkled her forehead as she worked. “And before I can make a proper costume, I need more funds, which means I need to jumpstart our idea to sell plant produce in Lord Street Market. I have three hundred and forty dollars in saving. I checked today, a stall rental down at the marketplace cost a ninety dollars a day. I have enough funds to book a stall for three days, and hope I will make enough profits during then to begin my plant trading business.”

You can try selling spices, not just food crops. Hashirama suggested. Spices, rare plant poisons, healing herbs and chakra enhanced plants tend to be worth their weight in gold back in my world. Luxury plants like cotton are good too, though there were other plants products that could sell more in my world.

“I will try your idea with spices.” Taylor agreed. “Saffron in particular if I can get a sample, it is one of the most expensive spice I know. Pity that the plant doesn’t exist in your world though. The rest of the plants from your world though… I can’t really sell them without having their origins traced back to me. As for cotton or any of the so call luxury plants, I think there’s a market for them here, but only to the manufacturers. I can consider them in future when I know the industries in my world better.”

If you can’t sell the actual plant, how about selling the poison or medicine they produced. Hashirama asked, his mental tone sounding smug. I might not be a medi-nin, but I am pretty good with extracting and creating poisons and healing salves due to my understanding of plant life. And I came up with quite a number of original recipes in my lifetime.

“I guess I could sell the healing salves as traditional/ herbal medicines.” Taylor said in agreement as she checked the awkward bindings around her right hand. “Maybe I can even create some wood furniture to supplement the sales. Hand craft wood furniture are going for a lot these days, and the few chairs and tables I created with the Wood Release bloodline certainly seemed passable enough for high quality hand crafted work.”

Ah you are beginning to think my little apprentice! Hashirama said in delight. Mayhap in time you will even have the chakra and skill to go into construction. I do have a Wood Release technique to construct wood buildings. One of my finest and most useful technique to date, especially when you are stuck in a month long war campaign out in the desert, or forest, or swamp. I will teach it to you one day when you are ready for it.

“Building houses with chakra sounds incredible, but I don’t think I am going to war anytime soon or anytime at all. Not to mention in a city landscape, how am I supposed to hide the fact that I build a wooden house instantly with chakra?” Taylor said dryly. “Anyway, with my hand all bandaged up, I guess we have to skip the Ninjutsu practice for the afternoon. I don’t exactly have two hands to make handseals. What should we do instead? More chakra control exercises?”

Let’s continue with Fūinjutsu, it is about time you learn how to create storage seals. Storage seals are one of the most common set of seal arrays produced by Seal masters. Hashirama decided. It can allow you to store large amounts of goods within a seal array. I have seen some ninjas make very creative uses of storage seals during battle. Those tricks might prove useful to you if you are ever caught in a difficult situation. Especially since with your limited chakra and skill, you can’t just overwhelm your enemies with Ninjutsu like I usually did back home…

OoooO

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Topic: Empire Eight-Eight up in arms! New cape alert!

In: Boards Places America Brockton Bay

BBObserver (Original Poster)

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2200hrs

Just got news from my bro in the Merchants. Apparently Empire Eighty-Eight is up in arms after an unknown female cape rough up two of their gang members in broad day light while unmasked! Apparently the gang members tried to have some fun with a black chick when the cape stepped in.

She is probably some kind of Brute because she allegedly knocked out the two gang members barehanded. Empire Eight-Eight is trying to track down that cape. It is going to be a sorry affair when they caught up with her.

Picachu60

Posted on June 12th, 2010: 2210hrs

WTF?! Is the cape new to the scene? Why didn’t she at least cover her face before she step in to save the day?

SexyBlonde

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2211hrs

That poor girl, she wouldn’t last long with all of Empire Eighty-Eight’s cape looking for her.

BBObserver (Original Poster)

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2212hrs

According to the poster my bro got his hands on, the cape is *** comment deleted ***. With how detailed the description was, it wouldn’t be long to track her down.

*This user has received a 3-days ban for inciting criminal and/or reckless behaviour in endangering a cape’s identity. Brockton Bay’s Protectorate had been contacted of this matter. Do not do it again.*

-Tin Mother

Picachu60

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2213hrs

Holy shit! The poor girl. Didn’t she learn the important history lesson about Brockton Bay Brigade? She’s going to end up dead like most of them pretty soon.

AuzzieBoy

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2215hrs

Who the hell, or what the hell is the Brockton Bay Brigade?

SexyBlonde

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2216hrs

The Parahuman wiki exists for a reason. Just search for it.

LoneCowboy

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2216hrs

They are a disbanded group of parahuman family. They tried to start a movement by unmasking their own identities, trying to promote the idea that Heroes should not hide their identities. Needless to say, things didn’t end well. One of them was murdered in her civilian identity, the group disbanded not long after. But they got back together recently as New Wave, unmasked like their predecessors. At least they have a strong enough reputation now that most villains left them alone.

AuzzieBoy

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2217hrs

Oh! Now I know! I have pictures of Glory Girl from New Wave since her first appearance in March 2009!

SexyBlonde

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2216hrs

Apparently you only collect her photos instead of learning about her family history!

AuzzieBoy

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2217hrs

Guilty as charged =p

TrekkieHero

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2220hrs

Not to derail the thread, but shouldn’t the Protectorate step in by now? Empire Eighty-Eight is going after a cape in her civilian identity. Isn’t that against some kind of cape law?

Battery (Verified Cape)

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2222hrs

Tin Mother and I have already alerted the Protectorate. But to answer your question, there’s a cape law to ensure the privacy of a cape, but none that directly protects a cape once his/ her civilian cover is blown.

I will like to ask those in the forum NOT to post any details of this cape’s appearance publicly. Just PM me or the Protectorate the details if you have any.

A cape’s life is at stake. Please be responsible.

Picachu60

Posted on June 13th, 2010: 2223hrs

Battery! Nice to see the Protectorate is on the ball with this. Hopefully the Protectorate can find this new cape before it is too late for her.

* Brockton Bay’s Protectorate had acquired a court order to lock this thread in accordance to Parahuman Law Code 54, Cape Privacy Law. If you have any information about the unidentified cape, please PM Brockton Bay’s Protectorate directly. Any other similar threads in this forum will also be locked.*

-Tin Mother

In his small rundown apartment, Brian numbly stared at the old computer monitor that was showing the forum thread. The events of the afternoon was still fresh in his mind. It did not take him much to deduce that Empire Eighty-Eight was after the girl who had saved his sister from those gang members earlier in the day.

He did have his suspicious when he arrived at the scene to find two muscled gang members lying unconscious in the dirt, with a skinny blue eyed red head supposedly having beaten them up. Aisha must have been protecting the cape because she made no mention of the girl being a parahuman when he saw Aisha back to his father’s place.

Aisha would probably be in danger by association, but the more immediate danger would be heading in the female cape’s direction. She risked her identify to save his sister, but there was not much Brian could do for her right now. He could only start planning how to keep his sister safe.

A strip of paper containing a phone number was clenched in his fist. It had been given to him earlier today, by two well-dressed goons who had been following him around for days. They had apparently discovered his civilian and cape identity after he committed a few small time burglaries around town.

Brian had triggered four months ago, when he was beating up that disgusting shit of a man who had molested Aisha. When he realised he had parahuman powers a few days later, his first thought had been how to make money off it. His ability to generate clouds of darkness which had the side effect of muffling some electronics had led him to committing small time robberies for quick cash.

He had been spotted a few times, but since he had a helmet and costume on, he was just another two bit villain in Brockton Bay that was still unknown and unidentified. However, he must have slipped up somehow because the two goons he met today had told him that their Boss knew of his “special skills” and would like to hire him.

Brian had been putting off calling the “Boss”. He had been quite content with how much he made off the sporadic robberies. He had no desire to get caught up in something much bigger than he could handle. But with things as they were now, he had to consider other revenues for more resources if he was to keep Aisha from Empire Eighty-Eight’s attention.

He got his phone and dialled the number. There was a short ring before it was picked up. A firm male voice sounded over the phone. “So Mr. Laborn, I presume you are interested in my offer to hire you?”

“I want to know who you are, how much you will be paying me, and what kind of jobs you need me to do?” Brian asked in a calm voice, though his heart was racing.

“You may call me the Benefactor. I am looking to fund a small team of parahumans for several jobs involving theft and robberies, something I am sure you are familiar with.” The man sounded amused. “Should you accept, I will provide you with a monthly stipend of three thousand dollars, not including any mission pays that would be given to you for any tasks I needed you to complete.

“I am also aware of your efforts in getting custody of your sister. I can help you with that, provided you work for me.” The Benefactor said, shocking Brian with what the strange man knew.

“What… what do you mean you can help with my sister’s custody?” Brian asked, swallowing dryly.

“The monthly stipend and any mission pays would be transferred to you through a legal company. You will also receive a glowing commendation from the company’s manager, once you saved up enough, is old enough, and have enough solid backing to begin your custody law suit.” The Benefactor replied. “I can provide you with a stable income and financial background which social services can find no fault with. I can even provide support for your custody trials once you are ready for it.”

“You can do that?” Brian asked in surprise. “But why? What do you need to gather a parahuman team for?”

“Consider this… a small hobby of mine. I am quite wealthy, and keeping a parahuman team seems quite a fad.” The Benefactor said in amusement. “Rest assured none of the mission would be life threatening, just simple robbery heists within your control. You will have the right to accept or reject any missions. Rest assured nothing will happen to you if you refuse. There might not even be missions for months. Whatever the case, once you sign up with me, I will pay you the monthly stipend, regardless of what happened.”

“The offer… sounds quite incredible.” Brian managed as he went through the terms that was offered in his head. Whoever the Benefactor was, he seemed like an eccentric rich man. “But why are you funding what seemed to be a villain cape team instead of a hero cape team? If you are building a team for the reputation, I would have thought most people would go for the white coats.”

“Let’s just say funding my own team of small time cape villains, is my part in keeping the Heroes of Brockton Bay on their toes if things seemed calm.” The Benefactor said with a dark chuckle. “Consider it my contribution to prevent the Heroes from getting complacent. The team I will be gathering is made for stealth and speed. I will not be requesting any of you to engage in cape fights unless necessary. As an additional offer, you can leave the team anytime, no obligations.”

“I… the deal sounds good.” Brian said, biting his lips nervously. “I will take it, on one more condition. I want my sister to be transferred to a safer school with lesser gang member activities. The neighbourhood school she’s in right now has a lot of ruffians from ABB and Empire Eighty-Eight. Can you… can you fulfil this request for me if I work for you?”

“That can be easily done. Getting entry into Arcadia will be difficult, a better choice will be Winslow High.” The Benefactor said simply. “Winslow High is considered quite safe from gang activities especially with the rumours that a ward is studying there. I can get your sister into the school quite easily.”

“Thank you.” Brian said, a weight rolling off his shoulder. With Aisha in a relatively safe school, there would be lesser chance for the Empire Eighty-Eight gang members to find her when school started. He would have to tell his sister to lay low for the holidays.

“Now that we are in agreement, I will wire the stipend for the first month into your account. One of my… assistant will also drop by in the morning to give you a key for your new apartment.” The Benefactor stated simply. “I can’t have my retainer staying in a dump after all…”

Village Hidden in the Bay (Worm/ Naruto) (Chapter One)

Edited 17th May 2014

I am back… after a truly long break from writing. I learnt not to make empty promises I can’t keep. >.<” I promised so many people I am finishing the new chapter for Technological Ninja Naruto Uzumaki soon, but the “soon” stretch into months… then a year… and I realise I have to stop replying those PMs, because during that period, life (personal and work) basically overwhelmed me, and I can’t keep my promises to so many people.

To be honest, for quite sometime, I felt like I was plugging the holes of a sinking ship at work. When I come back home, I basically have zero interest in doing anything stimulating except to veg out and do stuff that have no need for brain power. My downward spiral as a coach potato lasted long after work become manageable, and it took me a while to realise I really need a change, a big one.

So if you are reading this, and you are one of the readers that sent me private messages to my fanfiction.net or wordpress accounts. I apologize for breaking my promises o.O” And to those that left me PMs I never replied, I can only say I am sorry, but I have no idea how to tell so many of you when the next update will be, especially when my own life was going in circles.

I am finally breaking out of the stump in my life. I am rearranging the pieces and fixing them back. I am not going to promise that story updates will come soon, I learn my lesson too well with that.

All I can say is this:

I am going to at least complete 1-2 sections of the new chapter for Technological Ninja every week. (Hopefully the new chapter will be done within two months after spellcheck and stuff.)

As for the rest of my already published stories, I am only going to commit to an answer about their updates, once the new chapter for Technological Ninja is completed and published. >.<” one promise at a time.

I also have some new crossover story ideas as my fandoms of interest have shifted. I will need time to regain interest in my past stories, but in the meantime, I chose this one (Worm/ Naruto) to be my next project.

Yes bad Wraithrune! Starting another project before even completing any of the old published stories. ;) but well, most of the older readers probably know my pattern by now….

All I can promise is I will do my best, pending natural disasters, chaotic work loads, Final Fantasy XIV and my social life, to deliver story update(s).

OoooO

Story Title: Village Hidden in the Bay

Crossover: Worm/ Naruto

Disclaimer: This is a fanfiction. No profit is made from the story. Just a fan’s way of keeping the fandoms alive.

Summary: She was destined to be the saviour of her world. She was the fated antihero, coming into power on Jan 2011. Yet webs of fate could be altered. Realities away, a forbidden technique was used, and the web of destiny… was shattered.

Author’s Note:

Worm belongs to Wildbow (A remarkable grimdark parahuman web story. The whole dark setting of the universe made it an ideal fanfiction project for crossover fandoms, powers mix and match, just to make the apocalyptic universe have a better outcome.)

Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto. One of the best Manga and Anime series. I lost track off it during the Naruto: Shippuden arc. I however still have fond memories of my Naruto manga collection from the first arc.

Chapter One – Awakening

Bureaucracy of Deaths, Multiverse Sector C-13

The universe is in a constant cycle… of order and chaos, peace and suffering, life and death. Each universe is a stream of creation sheathed in reality, and each reality spirals constantly in the near infinite multiverse.

In the great darkness, within the Source of All Origins, the Eternals were born, each governing a Cosmic Aspect, scattered in all the realities of the multiverse, to ignite chaos, to maintain order. Most mortal knew not of their existence, but of the cosmic aspects they represented, a minority were known, and feared by the mortals.

One such aspect was Death.

The Eternals of Death, stewards of souls, would collect the souls of the departed, return them to the Source of All Origins, where one day those souls would be called again into the infinite realities, reborn into new life.

The cycles were never broken, though once in a while, several civilizations or powerful mortals would find a way to place several stumbling blocks upon the cycles of mortality. One such bump, was occurring now, between two far flung realities.

The Eternals of Death situated within that area of realities, froze in their duties as the disruption sent ripples of abnormality through the multiverse. Their All Seeing Eyes found the perpetrator, a powerful mortal, one who called himself a ninja. The ninja had twisted his own soul and body as he continued his quest to gain immortality.

This ninja as of current time, was fighting against his own kind. He was also attempting a ninja technique that was forbidden. The technique would summon the souls of the dead, to place those souls within mortal containers, so that the he could animate three deceased and incredibly powerful ninjas of his world. These reanimated ninjas would be bond to the summoner’s will, placed under his full control.

Two of the souls that were summoned, still lies within the Source of All Origins. The disruption to their soul cycles were at a bare minimum. The third soul to be summoned was however already reborn into another reality, on another world. The powerful reanimation technique would tear a piece of the soul that had been reborn, to summon it into mortal container under the ninja’s control.

The trauma of having a piece of one’s soul torn away, would send the mortal body of the soul’s current reincarnation into shock. Worst case scenario, the current mortal reincarnation would expire before its time, its soul returning to the Source of All Origins to wait out its next rebirth. Best case scenario, the mortal self of the reincarnation would survive, however memories of its previous lives would began remerging, perhaps even altering their physical bodies in ways unforeseen.

The Eternals of Death observed the situation for a long moment, a twinkle in the seas of time, then they relaxed. The reincarnation would survive. The situation would smooth itself out without their intervention, though the Eternals of Fate would be having bitching fits about sorting out the now tangled web of destinies in a far flung reality.

The Eternals of Death took out their blacklist and wrote down the perpetrator’s crime.

Deaths’ Blacklist

Orochimaru Takuru.

Current reincarnation cycle. C Rank. Human.

Current Reality 647-A894. Sector 746. Planet 567.

Current Transgression. Bearing intent to disrupt soul cycle of 3 souls. Successfully disrupted soul cycle of 2 souls. 1 of which was reincarnated. Destiny of reincarnation under peril.

Total Transgression to date. Disrupted soul cycle of 7 souls.

Transgression tolerance has been exceeded.

Punishment to be given. D Rank reincarnation cycle.

To be submitted for Eternals of Fate’s approval. Sending….

OoooO

Reality 8757-A41, Earth, 28th May 2010

The 6 hours ride from Delaware to Brockton Bay was killing her back. Sarah Livsey… no it was Lisa Wilbourn now, stretched lazily on the back seat of the bus, hearing a few bones popping. She could see the morning sun hanging over the highway and turned back to observe the few people that actually took the morning bus into the infamous city she was going to.

Her questing eyes landed on the business man in the front row, dressed in a worn overcoat, carrying a briefcase to his chest. Beside him was a travel luggage. Her mind whirl as she released her power, analysing each detail of the man.

Age 35. Caucasian. Lost his old job, have found new employment in Brockton Bay. Nervous and uptight about soon to be his new life. Not carrying much money, neither does he have much savings.

Lisa blinked at the influx of information, shaking her head. The amounts of analytic info she could glean using her power still felt terrifying at times, but it was also empowering to her own ego. She could tell what someone’s character was and their probably intentions just by looking and observing them. Nobody could hide anything from her.

Using her power too much tends to give her a migraine, but it was not as though there was anything to keep her occupied on the bus after all. Analysing a few ordinary people would not cause her powers any problems so she might as well get in some practice with her parahuman ability. Tilting her head, she observed the two roughly dressed couples snuggling into each other, while an old lady seated across from them was averting her eyes.

Tattooed. Asian punks. Gang markings on forearm. Most probably belong to one of Brockton Bay’s gang. Arrogant in knowledge no one will mess with them. Seeking trill of excitement in public exhibition of their sexuality. Going to be doing more than snuggling and kissing soon.

Lisa snorted, rolling her eyes at the information coming to her. It had been three months since she triggered… since her brother’s death. And there were times she was still astonished about the dirty details she could find out about people. There were times where her power was both a gift and a curse, wrapped in one tidy package. Her thoughts idly wandered to what she knew of her own ability and parahuman powers in general.

Ever since 1982, following the first appearance of Scion, the first known seemingly immortal and all powerful parahuman, ordinary humans had begun triggering in great times of stress, gaining superhuman powers and abilities. The term capes was widely used to describe parahumans, people with superpowers. The name actually came about when a lot of the first generation capes began dressing in costumes to hide their identities.

The 1980s had been a time of great chaos, as a lot of those who gained superhuman abilities used their powers for selfish or evil reasons. It was only when a group of powerful capes and government officials got together, forming an organisation in U.S to combat parahumans who misuse their powers, that order was reinstated.

The organisation became known as the Protectorate, and capes who worked under them were termed Heroes. The capes that actively used their powers for crimes became known as Villains, while those who stayed neutral in the ‘cop and robber games’ became the Rogues.

Then the appearance of three horrifying superpowered and inhuman monsters in the late 1980s nearly broke the tenacious peace. Given the term Endbringers, the three beings known as Behemoth, Simurgh and Leviathan were named due to their appearances and powers. No one knew if they were aliens or they were constructs created by some powerful parahuman. All everyone knew was that they wreaked great destructions across Earth at periodical intervals.

Even till today, no one knew why the Endbringers would attack cities and people. The attacks were so random and powerful that they were treated as natural disasters. Parts of Japan and Newfoundland were totally devastated by their attacks and millions of lives had been lost through the decades. It spoke of how dangerous they were that Heroes, Rogues and Villains would work together under a universal truce when the Endbringers appeared.

Humans however were resilient as a species, and with threat of massive casualties, plans were made to minimize death and destruction during Endbringer attacks. Education on parahuman history and powers were also taught in most school around the globe. Most of the governments in the world wanted their citizens to be aware of the dangers of Endbringers and capes, and how to identify possible parahumans when they came into their powers.

The Protectorate also explored more effective methods to locate the increasingly numerous capes that triggered, in hopes one could trigger a power that could deal with the Endbringers. Of course it took more than mental stress and physical distress to activate a Trigger Event. Even now, the best scientists and Thinkers could not answer exactly what were the criteria necessary to gain parahuman powers.

Considering her own ability, Lisa knew that her own power was some sort of superpowered intuition. It had triggered during the brief interval following her brother’s suicide… when Lisa had been consumed with guilt over why she had not identified her brother’s symptoms much faster and acted on it to stop him. If she was following the Protectorate’s cape power classification, she would label herself as a mid-level Thinker cape.

Her power was actually the deciding factor that made her chose Brockton Bay as her next destination. She was on the run from her own parents, who had been forcing her to use her powers to prosper the family’s business, while blaming her for not stopping her brother from committing suicide. Lisa had needed somewhere she could lay low and hide and her power had told her the city she was approaching was the best place to disappear.

Brockton Bay was considered one the cities with most crimes, especially since the recent collapse of the once prosperous dock areas. Within a year of the docks’ collapse, parahuman gangs had set up bases in the god forsaken landscapes. Within another half a year and Brockton Bay’s underbelly was well known to be dens of sin, with lucrative drug trade and smuggling businesses under control of several parahuman gangs.

Law enforcement was known to be relatively weak in Brockton Bay, especially given the control the established villain gangs had over the city. The more well-known ones like ABB and Empire Eighty-Eight were untouchable since even the Protectorate had problems with them.

It was doubtful any police or investigators her parents hired could find her once she had integrated herself into the city’s backdrop. For the moment, the villain gangs were still reluctant to incite major clashes against the city’s law enforcement and the Protectorate. As long as she played it smart and stay alert, she would be okay and not be trapped in any gang wars.

She had a small bag of clothes, but the money she had stolen from her parents before she had fled from them was almost used up. Fake ID and identity had cost a bomb, and she probably only had enough savings left to rent a motel for a few days. She did learn a lot about computers and programming while watching the hacker create her ID and identity.

But with a reduced funds, she would need to find a job, and failing that, use her powers for petty theft. She should not have any problems using her powers to identify some easy rich marks to lift some wallets.

As the bus rolled past the street sign saying ‘Welcome to Brockton Bay’, Lisa gave a small tentative smile. She had made the choice to run, to cut off all ties to her parents. Now she had to sleep on the bed she had made, and create a whole new life for herself.

Thankfully there was a whole city to hide in, and with her power, Lisa was pretty sure she would be able to look out for herself. After all, words and information would be her weapons, and unless she ended up in a cape fight, everything would be fine… wouldn’t it?

OoooO

Reality 8757-A41, Brockton Bay, 28th May 2010

It was the last school day of May. After which would be a long Summer Vacation until August. For those twelve weeks, she could finally escape from the constant bullying campaign she suffered while in school.

Taylor Hebert fidgeted slightly in her seat. Her clothes still felt clammy from the orange juice Emma had dumped on her after lunch. Taylor had tried cleaning the mess as good as she could manage. But there was still a large stain on her shirt, and the patch still felt slightly moist.

Across the lane, Sophia Hess gave her a smirk. Taylor controlled the fury burning within the pit of her stomach. Since the start of the school year, Sophia, her ex-best friend Emma, and their pet follower Madison had made life miserable for her. The year long torture had been nearly enough to break her.

In the course of the past five months, they had ruined her seat, her homework, stolen her stuff and done much worse. Initially, Taylor had tried going to the school staff for intervention, but nothing ever happened. Taylor soon realised the school board was somehow turning a blind eye to the three bullies’ actions. Whatever Taylor said was useless.

Noone would speak up in Taylor’s defence, they were either too besotted with the three ‘Beauties’ of the High school, or they were too frightened by them. Sophia was athletic, Emma was a part time model, while Madison was the “cute” one. Even the teachers were taken with them, taking their side over Taylor’s. They were the popular girls, they could do no wrong.

Crippled with a weak self-esteem and awkward social skills, Taylor knew that the best she could do was to avoid the bullies, so that they would not have a chance to ruin her day. Not to mention Taylor was still trying to get over the death of her mother that happened near the beginning of the year. With only five more minutes till the last bell rang, Taylor was already planning her exit strategy, so that the three bitches would not have a chance to corner her.

She planned to escape with the rushing crowd of students, go down the side staircase and quickly make way for the school entrance. Her books were already packed. Her bag half slung across her shoulders as she waited for Mr. Gladly to finish talking about his requirements for the winter assignment.

The last bell rang and there was a stampede as everyone began making for the door, even as Mr. Gladly dismissed the class. Taylor made to follow, quickly cutting across a desk lane to avoid Sophia, pushing her way through the crowd to the door. She almost made it…

Blinding pain stabbed through her chest. Her back arching back as she let lose a strangled cry.

Her mind shrilled with pain. A blaze of white light filled her vision. Something within her tore apart, sending her whole body into convulsions.

Distantly, she thought she heard screams, as bright white light burnt her sight.

Pain radiated everywhere, and then there was blessed numbness.

As the light went out.

OoooO

Taylor had no idea what happened. One moment she was rushing to the entrance, trapped within the crowd of her classmates. Then she had something like a cardiac arrest, her body had gone out of her own control as pain wrecked her. She must have sank into unconsciousness, because when she woke, she found herself here…

It was as though she was dumped into another world, in another time. The land before her was rich with life, filled with giant blooming trees, with flowering plants she had never seen before. It however also boiled with war and strife. How she knew about the land being at war, she had no idea, but the world around her began to blur, as if she was moving in a fast motion picture, until she found herself in a warm and shuttered room.

A woman was in labour, aided by a mid-wife. Blood was everywhere… and then the child was born.

He was born during the Warring States Period, where there was no peace, only war between hundreds of shinobi clans. The leaders of the Elemental Nations employed the shinobi, turning clans against clans, all for the rights of lands and property.

During this time of struggle, two clans came to be feared as the strongest. They were the Senju clan and Uchiha clan, both whom developed deep enmity against each other, as they were often hired to oppose one another.

He, Hashirama Senju, lost two younger brothers before he even reached the age of twenty. Together with his last remaining brother Tobirama, and his dear friend Madara Uciha, he sought to unite the shinobi, and bring peace to the land.

Decades of struggles passed before the three achieved their dreams. He became a powerful sage, possessing the most powerful Wood Release bloodline of the Senju. His brother Tobirama was known as the most powerful Ninjutsu and Water Release expert of his time. Madara possessed the Mangekyō Sharingan, the highest level of the Sharingan bloodline, and knew thousands of Ninjutsu techniques.

With the three’s efforts, they formed alliances between the Senju, the Uchiha and various other shinobi clans, establishing the shinobi village of Konoha. Hashirama was made the First Hokage, leader of Konoha, and he brought peace to the village and the surrounding lands .

When Madara turned against him, their epic battle reshaped the landscape of their battle site. The fires of war began to rage across the countries again, and he perished while protecting Konoha from an attack by a shinobi army.

Death had been a release and…

He was revived again, summoned into a body shaped to look like his old physical self. Powerful seals were placed on this body, forcing him to obey the summoner’s command.

Hashirama instantly realised the technique that summoned him as one highly forbidden technique created by his late brother Tobirama. It was the Impure World Reincarnation Summoning technique, which requires a human sacrifice to reanimate a deceased soul and place whoever was summoned under the summoner’s control.

He turned to face his summoner, a pasty faced shinobi that radiates an aura of negative chakra. Hashirama also discovered he was standing on top of Konoha’s shinobi stadium, giving him a clear view of the village he had founded.

Smoke and fires in the distance spoke of Konoha being under attack, and the rooftop he was in was surrounded by a powerful barrier seal, keeping Konoha’s Anbu outside the barrier, while the ninja that summoned him was having a face off with a withered old man that seemed familiar… wearing the hat signifying the Third Hokage of Konoha. It did not take much to deduct that the old man was Sarutobi, Hashirama’s former student and third successor to the village.

Beside Hasirama, two coffins were raising out of the rooftop. One opened fully, revealing his brother Tobirama, also revived by the forbidden technique, the other coffin was stopped half way by Sarutobi, who disrupted the technique.

Though this revived body of his bears only a portion of his original strength, he still had enough power to level the entire village given enough time. Hasirama felt great regret as he and his brother was forced to fight his former student. Yet pride filled him as Sarutobi parried blows after blows, before trapping and sealing him, along with his brother, back into the realms of death.

He walked down the tunnel of light, out of the Source of All Origins, back towards where his true self resides, towards a skinny black haired young girl, who looked at him with awe and fright.

He stopped in front of her, both of them surrounded by the tunnel of blinding light, and chuckled. “So you are my next reincarnation. You are a skinny little thing aren’t you?”

“What happened? What is going on? The things you did… the things I saw… you are more powerful than any parahumans I ever seen… except for Scion and the Endbringers.” The girl stammered in fear.

“I am the past self of your soul.” Hashirama said with a wryly smile. “The previous reincarnation cycle of our soul. Just as you are the present soul cycle, the current reincarnation.”

“I don’t understand.” The girl stammered in fear. Her trembling ceased as Hashirama laid a gentle hand on her head.

“Don’t worry. You will understand in time. With what happened to cleave our soul apart, my consciousness within our soul is awakened. I will… be around now to guide you in a way.” Hashirama said, walking with her towards the other end of the tunnel. “What happened to us is unprecedented but fortunate. Having my conscious awakening in our soul allows me to imprint on your physical body, causing mild changes that will allow your body to take on characteristics of my old physical self.”

“Changes to my body?” The girl asked with wide eyed horror. “Am I… am I going to turn into you?”

“Unless I forcefully imprint your entire body, that’s very little chance of that happening. I have already lived one life, I am content with it. Your Earth, your father, they are your life, not mine, and I will not intrude on that.” Hashirama said with a grin. His current girly reincarnation was just so mousey that the impish part of his self could not help teasing her a bit. “You will still keep your girl parts, I am just going to ‘encourage’ your physical body a little, seed, activate and strengthen your chakra system so you can use ninja techniques, begin encouraging the Wood Release bloodline to blossom in your physical body so you can tap into Wood chakra.”

“But why… why are you doing things like that?” The girl asked, apprehensive as to why Hashirama would empower her in such a way.

“While you were seeing the entire memories of my past, I was seeing the entire memories of your life to date.” Hashirama with a frown, a serious look on his face. “Let’s just say I understand what you have to go through at school, and the threat your world actually faced from parahumans that misused their powers, and those Endbringers of Earth. Having a strong chakra system and the Wood Release bloodline will ensure you recover from physical wounds more quickly. Having the ability to use elemental manipulation techniques means you are more likely to survive the harsh dangers of your world.”

“But… why would you even help me?” The girl asked in confusion, pulling away from him a little.

Hashirama grinned at her. “I am you, just as you are me. We are the same soul, just from different cycle, time… and space. Why wouldn’t I help myself in this strange world of yours? Not to mention, it will be entertaining at the very least to see what a female me can accomplish. Mito will be highly amused at the very least.”

“Mito… you mean your wife? The red haired woman I saw in your memories?” The young girl asked slowly.

Hashirama smiled, looking into the distance. “Yes Taylor. And one day when we return to the Source of All Origins, when our soul regained its entire consciousness, I hope to see Mito’s soul again. Perhaps you might even find your own soul mate before this cycle of ours ends. The wheel of life and death never ends after all.”

The two continued their walk down the tunnel as Hashirama chuckled. “It is going to be one long walk to the other end from the Source of All Origins. Since I am going to imprint my powers on your body, let me teach you a few tricks in how to use them. I will be a guiding voice at the back of your head once you return to your body, but it will still be useful for you to have a few chakra techniques to start yourself off.”

Taylor paused, staring down the tunnel leading before them, and then turning to look at Hashirama wryly. “And how long is it going to take us to reach the other end?”

“Well, time is a little different in the soul tunnel.” Hashirama said, scratching his head as he grinned. “It will feel like months for us to get to the other end, but most probably only days or weeks would have passed back in your Earth.”

“WHAT!”

OoooO

He finished work with a leaden heart. His colleagues looked at him with understanding as he left work right on the dot, quickly making his way to Brockton Bay’s General Hospital. It had been five days. Five days since Winslow High’s Nurse had called him, saying that Taylor had some kind of cardiac seizure and had to be sent to the hospital immediately.

His panic rush to the hospital had only been met with the sight of his daughter lying pale faced on a hospital bed, surrounded by monitoring equipment. The doctors were baffled at what had happened to Taylor. Their scans had apparently found no signs of heart attack or brain damage, yet Taylor had slipped into coma by the time she reached the hospital.

Taylor had been kept in observation for the next five days. And for five days Danny Hebert had sat in vigil beside his daughter’s bed after work, hoping she could wake up one day. His limited funds were running low, work had not paid well these past few years ever since the docks closed. He might have to pull Taylor off life support soon if he could not find a way to continue paying the bills.

Sinking his head wearily on the bed where Taylor laid unconscious, Danny began to drift to sleep, from his seat next to the bed. He had no idea what woke him. He had a vague recollection of a suddenly wave of heat washing over him. The very air seemed to tingle sharply. There was also a presence, a powerful one. Firm and Gentle, the scent of moist earth, the sensation of nature and life surrounding him… Danny lifted his head, blinking in confusion, only half awake.

The hospital windows showed that night had fallen and the patients on the other bed were asleep, only one other patient had family staying for the night, and the fella was already stretched out on a portable hospital guest bed unconscious to the world.

The sounds of heavy breathing drifted to his ears. Turning, he jerked upright, snapping out of the sleep induced blur in an instant as he saw Taylor’s flushed cheeks. Her face and skin were no longer pale and clammy. There were colours in her cheeks, and she seemed healthier… much much healthier than when he saw her a few hours ago.

There was a soft gasp, and then Taylor snapped her eyes open, her body quickly coming up in a sitting position as she grabbed her chest with her right hand, breathing hard.

“You jerk! You didn’t say it would hurt so much!” Taylor cursed in a sharp voice, her eyes still unfocused.

“Taylor?” Danny asked incredulously, grabbing at his daughter’s hand, to reassure himself that Taylor was alright now. Even though what she said did not make any sense.

Taylor froze, turning stiffly, her eyes went wide as she saw who was beside her.

“Dad!” Taylor sputtered, flushing quickly. “Oh god dad I am so sorry! How long was I out?”

“Five days.” Danny said, engulfing his daughter in a hug which she returned. “I got the call from school and when I came down to the hospital, they told me you have slipped into coma.”

“Five days!” Taylor gasped. “But the bills.”

“I will settle it.” Danny said firmly, not wanting his daughter to worry about it. He knew Taylor was aware of how bad their monetary situation was, but his daughter was still a teenager in high school, he would find some ways to take care of the family’s money matters. “Just worry about getting well again, I will get the doctors to look at you, maybe they can…”

“Dad.” Taylor cut in, pulling out of the hug to look him in the eye. “I am fine now, really. I hadn’t feel so much better in my entire life!”

Before Danny could stop her, Taylor had wriggled out of the hospital bed, pulling the various needles out of her arms, causing them to begin beeping furiously. As Danny gaped at her, Taylor walked around the bed, back to him, looking as though she had not been lying unconscious for five days.

“See? I am fine, nothing to worry about.” Taylor said. “I am hungry though. Do you think we can return home dad? I don’t want to spend another night here…”

Taylor never got to finish her words as a doctor and two nurse rushed in, though the three of them stopped at the sight of Taylor standing next to her bed. The doctor however recovered quickly and stalked towards Taylor with a frown. As the doctor ignored Taylor’s protest that she was fine and guided her away to the examination room, Danny resigned himself to staying another night at the hospital, but at least now, his daughter was awake.

OoooO

The city was coming alive by the time the Heberts reached home. Taylor had prepared breakfast while her father had gone to his room after making sure that she would be fine on her own. Her father had called off work, asking for an off day. Having seen the heavy eye bags under her father’s eyes, Taylor knew that he most probably had not had a good rest since she became unconscious.

A bowl of cereal was all it took to satisfy her hunger, even as she glorified in how energized and strong her body had become. Hashirama Senju, her past self had tried explaining things to her through their months long journey back to her body. Taylor had not understood all of the reincarnation stuff, but she understood enough not to panic when she was back in her body. It had been a relief to discover only five days of real world time had gone by while she was trekking across the spirit plane.

This place is cosy, but it could do with some appropriate decorations. Hashirama commented within her head, while she was slurping cereal while snuggling in the living room couch.

Since when are you a fashion police? Taylor snarked back, her body was still aching from the imprint process Hashirama had done to her. According to the powerful ancient ninja, he had to forcibly connect Taylor’s mental energies to her physical lifeforce by creating a whole new chakra system from scratch. Apparently the people of her world do not come part and parcel with a working chakra system.

Getting to really know her past self face to face had been a much different experience then viewing his memories. For all that Hashirama Senju was the most powerful ninja of the Elemental Countries, for all his charisma and fearsome reputation, the man could be incredibly nosy and childish at times.

The time in the spirit tunnel had been insightful yet frustrating. Taylor was nearly driven mad with the way Hashirama injected lame jokes and pranks while teaching her various hand seals for chakra manipulation techniques. Her past self was so different from her that there were times she wondered how they could possibly share a singular soul.

A few flowers will do wonders to liven up the place. Hashirama said goading slightly. Taylor could almost see him grinning as he spoke.

You just want to see if I remember all the practice in the spirit plane. Taylor grumbled, lying the bowl of cereal on the table.

With the changes Hashirama had made to her body, Taylor could easily tap into her active chakra system, pulling out some of her chakra.

Your body currently possessed High Genin level chakra reserves and your Wood release bloodline though potent is very much weaker than mine. There are ways… to focus and enhance the power of our bloodline other than mind numbing practice, but that’s a topic for another day. Hashirama confessed. I have already stressed your body to its maximum with the imprint of my essence on your physical self. Any more alterations will most likely cause detrimental effects on your physical self. You will need to grow stronger through constant practice and training.

Thanks sensei. Taylor sent back mentally. It was a term of endearment that Taylor used ever since Hashirama began teaching her back in the spirit tunnel. Sending chakra to strengthen her fingers, she could feel the warmth of her physical and spiritual energies pooling at her fingers.

Her hands began to flicker into the various handseals needed to utilize a Wood Release technique. Though her finger speed was not as fast as the ninjas in Hashirama’s world, with chakra pooling at her fingers, the handseals making speed she managed was considered respectable for a budding Ninja Academy student. She made a mistake with a handseal, fumbled and had to restart the technique again as she felt the chakra she gathered dissipating.

Giving a frustrated growl, Taylor restart the handseal sequence again, but fumbled again half way through. The third time round, Taylor formed the handseals at a much slower pacing and finally succeeded. The technique took form as Wood Element chakra was formed and moulded into a proper technique. A bunch of beautiful red blossoms from Hashirama’s world grew out of her hands and broke off, lying on her lap.

The Wood Release bloodline is essentially a form of plant manipulation. Any ninja with the bloodline could use Wood chakra to infuse a plant, gather and remember the essence of a plant, regrow the plant essence from Wood chakra, or even modify the plant essence with the bloodline.

Through his long life in his world, Hashirama had built up an impressive plant essence library within his head. He could easily replicate potent herbs or poisonous plants from his world, even many food crops. He had taught Taylor the technique to remember some of the plant essences he remembered. The Summer Blooms sitting on Taylor’s lap was a herbal plant with mild healing properties, this plant essence was handled down from Hashirama to Taylor during their months long journey.

Very good. Even though you need to slow down your handseals making speed at a snail’s pace to accomplish your first ninja technique. Hashirama said with part criticism and part approval. As part of an awakened soul, he could apparently gain access to Taylor’s senses. He was most probably seeing the flowers with Taylor’s eyes right now.

Taylor had set some ground rules when she first found out he could do that. They agreed that there were times when Hashirama would not have access to her senses, like when Taylor was in the bathroom or any of her personal time out.

Your chakra control still needs working on. You nearly drained half your entire chakra pool forming that low level Wood release technique. Good job for a first successful practical try. At least all the theoretical work I have drilled into your head actually works. Hashirama continued his assessment.

Taylor rolled her eyes as she went to the kitchen to get a vase to put the flowers in. Everyone’s a critic. She thought back, but there was a smile on her lips as she arrange the flowers in a vase and placed them on the living room coffee table. Let me have a little more time to settle in, restore my chakra pools, and then we will begin the plans we came up with back in the spirit plane.

The long journey through the spirit tunnel with only Hashirama to talk to and act as her guide meant that the two of them had spent a lot of time plotting how Taylor would use her new powers. Hashirama had known how chaotic Earth had become with the appearance of parahumans and Endbringers, he had wanted Taylor to be able to protect herself and contribute back to her world in some ways.

Hashirama was not going to dictate her life, but he would be around to advise her if needed. As he had succulently said during the long journey. This current soul cycle was not his life, but hers. The decisions Taylor needed to make were hers alone. The purpose of reincarnations was for the soul to grow and mature with each cycle. Taylor would need to grow on her own, albeit with a little help from Hashirama.

Taylor had considered being an independent cape, a rogue of sorts. There was no way she would join the Protectorate, because with her age, she would be dumped into the Wards, and she was not exactly dying to see the parahuman version of teenage angst and drama. There was enough of that going on in Highschool.

As for being a villain, Taylor had not even considered it. Taylor and Hashirama did begin the bare bones of a plan to increase Taylor’s own resources and set up a base where she could begin her ninja training in secrecy. The techniques Hashirama taught her were highly catered to that aspect. Due to Hashirama imprinting on her physical body, Taylor’s chakra became a weaker duplicate form of Hashirama’s own chakra, which in its natural form contains powerful Water and Earth elements, as well as a weaker Wind element which Hashirama managed to cultivate in later years.

This basically meant Taylor would do very well with techniques utilizing Water, Earth and Wind chakra elements. Add in the Wood release bloodline which would instinctively combine Water and Earth to form Wood element chakra, using Wood, Water and Earth Release techniques would in theory, come very easily to Taylor, even if she was a first timer.

As her first test had proven, she could wield Wood chakra easily, now she would have to test Water and Earth. With more practice she might even be able to handle Wind and the rest of the non-Elemental ninja techniques Hashirama had taught her.

It took an hour for her to finish breakfast and rested enough to restore her chakra reserves. Carefully making her way behind the stairs, she opened the door leading to the basement of her house. The basement was one part of the house that she and her father had seldom accessed. When mom was alive, she would make it a monthly family day to clean and maintain the place. But with mom gone, the basement was pretty much left alone, to be accessed periodically for some of the storage archives.

This make the basement the best location to start off her secret base. Closing the basement door behind her softly so as to not wake her father, Taylor descended into the basement, moving past the old washing machine that was spoilt and had been sitting down here for the past year. She maneuvered around the boxes of old photo albums and stuff her mom had collected during her tenure as a college teacher. She finally reached the far corner of the basement and wrinkled her nose at the smell. The walls were leaking again, she would have to do something about them later.

Moving a few boxes around, she began to clear some space on the floor, in the corner of the basement. She then carefully kneel down, avoiding the moist patches of the basement floor, and began making the handseals for Earth technique: Earth Sense. It was basically a High Genin level ninja technique that was used by scouts to sense what was in, on and around a specific patch of ground infused with chakra.

She failed the first attempt because of a wrong handseal, her second and third attempts were similarly duds, she finally got it on the fourth. Feeling the formation of power on her hands, she slammed her palms on the cleared space before her. The Earth element chakra poured from her palms in a controlled flow into the ground, infusing a significant area.

At the edge of her mind, images, like a black and white, grayscale pictures began to form. She could “see” wriggling worms under the ground she was touching. She saw the location for her house’s foundations. She saw stone blocks of past construction attempts before the house was built over. There was even a nest of what looks like rats. The grayscale images of the huge number of bug life and cockroaches was enough to make her skin crawl.

Taylor cut of the Earth element sensor technique, taking a moment to compose herself as the images she saw retreated from the back of her head. Not that she knew where her house’s foundations were, she could try out her next technique. The Earth technique: Tunnel Expansion was basically a mid-level, Chunin level, ninja technique, that was used by ninjas to construct underground tunnels.

The technique could also be used to create underground rooms deep within the earth bed. She planned to try out a weaker version of it first to test the waters before doing full scale earth shuffling underground. A less powerful Genin would need lots of safe ground to test the technique, Taylor had an edge in that area as the chakra control and reserves she now possessed was enough to ensure if things go wrong, she would not end up sinking her whole house.

She failed the first attempt because of a wrong handseal, her second and third attempts were similarly duds, she finally got it on the fourth. Feeling the formation of power on her hands, she slammed her palms on the cleared space before her. The Earth element chakra poured from her palms in a controlled flow. She heard a soft groan as something within the cement floor and earth bed underneath began to move. Then the basement cement floor she was lying her hands on began breaking into dust, sinking into a deep dark tunnel that seemed to stretch all the way down.

Well… it is not bad for the first try. But I think we might have missed some crucial parts in the planning process. Hashirama said after Taylor stared down at the long dark tunnel opening in front of her with a long silence.

You think? Taylor thought back incredulously. Where are we going to get the lights to light the damn tunnel? And how are we going to get down there?

Well I don’t exactly have much experience in building underground bunkers, Tobirama was usually the one that handled that part of the village duties with the help of my clan. There was always a ready supply of clan Genin and Chunin to dump the work on. I was always more of a front line kind of guy. Hashirama defended himself. I guess we could modify the tunnel with another Earth technique so it would not go so deep. As for lights, I know some seals that could produce light, but we lack the materials right now to make chakra ink, which means we will have to grow the plants to make the ink first.

And since I only have High Genin level chakra reserves, and is just starting out using chakra manipulation. With limited reserves on my hands and to carter for my mistakes, it will take days before we can get anywhere with our plans for the underground base. Taylor sent back a mental sigh.

Well this can be a good thing. We all know you will not get things right on every first tries. You have an advantage over most Genin who took years to develop their reserves and control. But in the end, you lack any practical experience in using your power. Hashirama said realistically. Just use the time, make sure you don’t cause any major mistakes with your techniques. We are not in a rush anyway. Better to do things nice and easy, then to end up sinking your own home. On a side note however, we’ll need to hide this dark pit you’ve created. It will be disastrous for someone to fall into it.

OoooO

Ninja Terms:

Chakra: A moulding combination of spiritual and physical energies (mind/ mental energies + body/ lifeforce). Some ninjas are born with certain chakra elemental affinity in their system. Usually these ninjas are born from established clans whose ninja bloodline stretch generations.

Chakra Elements: There were the common five basic elements: Fire, Earth, Water, Wind and Lightning. There were also other rarer more exotic elements (advanced elements) like Wood, Dust or Lava. Having an elemental affinity meant that the user would have an easier time moulding chakra of that element or even using techniques relating to them.

Genin: Academy Level Ninjas

Chunin: Mid-Level Ninjas

Jonin: High-Level Ninjas

 

Notes: This is a “past self” crossover fic between Taylor and Hashirama. Taylor’s body was basically enhanced to contain High Genin Chakra, Genin Chakra Control, with Wood Release bloodline that will increase in strength with practice.

She views Hashirama’s memories as “moving pictures”/ “movies”, much like when someone is learning a new skill from a video. Due to that, she had no emotional attachment to the memories, neither does she have Hashirama‘s muscle memories or dexterity. She needs to memorise the actions and replicate it, and get better through time. Hashirama exists as a voice in her head, providing guidance if needed.

She has strong Earth and Water elements due to the Wood Release bloodline. In this story, (AU) Hashirama managed to train up his Wind element during his past life. His Wind element was weaker then Earth and Water, and it was the third chakra element that Taylor now possessed.

Sage of Origin: Chapter Two: Konoha’s Pact (Part 1) (Draft)

Story Title: Sage of Origin

Crossover: Naruto/ Final Fantasy VIII

Summary: Long before the tailed beasts walk the lands, the Guardian Forces watches over men. Then the cataclysm came and all were destroyed. The world was broken, and its only hope lies in the actions of one living sacrifice. Naruto Uzumaki.

OoooO

Chapter Two: Konoha’s Pact

10 days ago… Land of Valleys, Daimyo’s Castle

Long golden hair swayed around the cold beauty of the woman who got up from her throne, as the guards led a man who had a wide array of seals imprinted on his body into the chamber. She smiled, licking her lips as she surveyed the man with her physical and magical senses. The essence of the man had been boosted to incredible levels, pretty soon even the seals on the man would give out, unleashing his full potential.

She could identify the powerful spells within the man, which had evolved with each of her extraction. Reaching out with her senses, she extracted the magical potential of the man and smiled beautifully as she made the extracted para-magic her own.

“You have remarkable potential. I am sure your offspring will be remarkably useful to me as well.” The women said with a smile. She reached out to touch the shaking and terrified man casting out a complex intricate spell. The man screamed in horror as his body began to dissolve into pure energy.

The woman sucked in deeply, consuming the essence of a man whose potential had been nurtured to superhuman levels. The enormous power flooded her body, causing her to smile in delight, her hunger for the moment had abated.

“Ah, that was a delicious meal.” The woman said to the two guards who remained unmoved by her actions. “Send in Baiza, we can begin discussing the agenda for today.”

“Yes Lady Sairen.” The guards said in affirmative as they walked out of the throne room. Within moments, a white haired tan skinned man walked in, bowing to the woman.

“Lady Sairen.” The man, Baiza said as the woman walked back to her throne. “Our arrangement with the organization that called itself the Akatsuki has proceeded without a hitch. We’ve received the second life shipments of genin and chunin from the different hidden villages. They have been properly sealed and put into the pens.”

“Good.” The Lady Sairen said from her perch on the throne. “I do hope that this Akatsuki does not disappoint… like so many of our previous providers have done. It is so hard to find rogue nins who can get the job done these days. Unfortunately we need grunts to do tasks like this so that those taken into our pens would not be linked to our country.”

“Yes Lady Sairen, we’ll be monitoring the progress of our latest contacts closely. About the shipment, we’ve began breeding programs with the new stock, as per your instructions. Hopefully with this fresh infusion of gene pool into the old stock, it will provide you with more variety for your… consumption.” Baiza noted, keeping his eyes firmly on the floor.

Lady Sairen smiled. “I am sure I’ll find out soon once I’ve sampled the new…”

A wave of faint energy swept through the throne room interrupting her. It was familiar… Lightning… Ancient… Storms…

The Lady Sairen quickly got out of her throne, standing rigidly as her eyes stared into the distance, seeking for something that only she could sense.

“It cannot be… only a handful of us survived… He’s supposed to be dead…” Lady Sairen muttered, her face turning pale in shock.

“Lady Sairen?” Baizen asked, carefully lifting up his eyes to look at the blond haired woman with a touch of fear. The lady however ignored him.

“But that was definitely his call… his elemental signature. For it to resonate over the distance… he must be at full power and in his elemental form. But that’s impossible! Not even I am able to retain elemental form for long now!” Lady Sairen raged, clenching her teeth. In front of her, Baizen cowered in fright but the lady paid him no attention.

“I need to find out if it is really him… He has always been the noble one, if he found me, he’ll probably turn against me like what Shiva and Carbuncle had done.” Lady Sairen said, her face hardening. “He’ll need to be dealt with before he ruins all my plans.”

“Lady Sairen…” Baizen said in a weak voice, causing the lady to turn her attention to him sharply.

“Assemble my SeeDs Baizen.” Lady Sairen said coldly. “I have a task for them. It’s time that they go out into the world once more…”

OoooO

Present time… Outlying forest of Konoha

In order to cut down the time for them to return to Konoha, Kakashi had led them on a route different from the one they had taken to go to Wave country. The new route involved a lot of tree jumping and walking. They have been making good of their time, and by the second day, have already reached the outlying forest that surrounded Konoha. One more day of hard travel through the forest and they would be back in the village. Everything had gone smoothly until Naruto had suddenly stopped during a tree jump, causing Sasuke who was now bringing up Team 7’s rear to crash into him.

“What did you stop for?” Sasuke cursed, rubbing his bruised face which had smashed into Naruto’s head.

Naruto grimaced rubbing his head painfully, though his attention was at a spot near the tip of the tree whose branches they were now standing on. To his vision, a stream of colored light orbs was flowing around the tree top. The light orbs looked like a cloud of colored fireflies.

“There’s something there.” Naruto said pointing to the stream of flowing lights.

Sasuke looked at the spot that Naruto was pointing at and then frowned at him. “Idiot! There’s nothing there!”

What you are seeing is a natural energy convergence. My summoners in the past used to call occurrences like this Draw Points. Quezacotl spoke up in his head. Only those who have formed a pact with a Guardian Force can see them. Draw Points are natural convergence of nature energies in the physical world, and those who have formed a pact are able to extract naturally forming spells from a Draw Point.

“Sweet!” Naruto chortled in delight. Kakashi had made him promise not to draw anymore spells from living beings, but his lazy teacher most certain did not disallow him from drawing magic from natural energy formations. “Does the Draw Point also get more and more powerful with each spell I draw?”

Unfortunately no. Draw Points are a convergence of nature energies, as such, there’s a limited amount of spells you can pull from a Draw Point before it disappears. Quezacotl explained. Some Draw Points will reform again given time if they exist on an energy node or leyline. Others however will simply cease to exist once the magical energies are drawn.

“Energy node or leyline?” Naruto asked in confusion even as Sasuke gave him a look.

“Are you talking to Quezacotl? Did you see something I can’t see?” Sasuke was asking in rapid fire sequence. He was also frowning at the spot Naruto had pointed, as though if he stared hard enough he would see what Naruto had seen. Naruto was saved from answering by Kakashi. Kakashi and Sakura had only just realized that the two boys were not following and were already making their way back towards them.

“What are the two of you doing?” Kakashi called out, jumping to a nearby tree.

“I have a stitch at my side.” Naruto said as he clutched at his waist, trying to buy time while he was trying to make sense of what Quezacotl had told him.

So I just have to pull at the Draw Point and I’ll get some new spells? Naruto thought inquiringly back at Quezacotl.

Yes. And I’ll update you on the actual magical theory once we have the time. For now just draw the spells and be on our way. I can sense Kakashi getting impatient. Quezacotl answered, spurring Naruto into action.

Reaching out, Naruto pulled from the Draw Point. Quezacotl’s mental voice updated him on what spells he had actually pulled. 8 Protect magic has been drawn. Protect, a magical spell that creates an energy shield around targets preventing physical damage. The duration and power of the energy shield is highly based on the amount of magical energy/ chakra used to cast the spell.

“Well catch your breath and we’ll have to get going.” Kakashi was saying, obviously having no idea of what Naruto had just done. “We’re on a tight timeline.”

“I’m okay now, let us continue, we still have a distance to go.” Naruto said, suppressing his elation at getting new spells. The swirling stream of lights near the tip of the tree had vanished after he had finished pulling the spells from the Draw Point.

Kakashi gave a curt nod, jumping away to led the way, with Sakura following wearily after him. With the lowest stamina in Team 7, Sakura had been tired out easily during the journey, and had been too weary to unleash her inner fan girl on Sasuke. After a few moments, Naruto and Sasuke followed, with Sasuke glaring at the blond haired boy.

“So what happened?” Sasuke asked, not at all fooled by the excuse Naruto had given Kakashi. It was doubtful Kakashi would have believed him if the group was not pressed for time.

“Let’s just say I’ve gotten eight new spells.” Naruto said with a grin, causing Sasuke to blink in surprise.

“From who? I thought you promised Kakashi not to pull spells from people?” Sasuke asked as he eyed Naruto.

“It will take a while to explain.” Naruto said. “I will tell you when we set up camp for tonight.”

Sasuke frowned at Naruto as the two boys began running above the trees. Seeing that Naruto was not going to talk, Sasuke gave a shrug as he turned away from Naruto, quickly following after Kakashi and Sakura who were already in the distance.

OoooO

She was tired and drained after the hard journey. Returning from a cold bath in a nearby stream, she paused at the edge of the camp and stared incredulously at the sight of Naruto and Sasuke huddled together like buddies. Kakashi was talking to both of them while shaking his head, but the moment they caught sight of Sakura, they immediately stopped whatever they were going to say.

There’s something going on. Inner Sakura whispered. They are hiding something from us. Sakura blinked as a darker image of herself with flames in her eyes, growled within her mind.

Sakura shook her head. Inner Sakura as she like to call her, was a dark part of herself that had existed since she was young, a representation of her suppressed emotions. She tends to get flashes of Inner Sakura whispering in her head when she was feeling very emotional, but during the past few days, ever since Wave country, Inner Sakura had been constantly present in her head talking to her. With the stress of the journey and the worry of whether she was beginning to go crazy, Sakura was starting to feel very unwell.

“Sakura!” Naruto called up cheerfully, seemingly still full of energy. “Dinner’s ready, I’ve cook up the fish we’ve caught!”

“Thanks Naruto.” Sakura said wearily as she sat down beside the camp fire, taking a spit of a fish that was already cooked. She turned to look at Kakashi and her teammates. “So… what are you guys talking about just now?”

Naruto blinked and began to look uncomfortable. “Ah…” Naruto said but was cut off by Kakashi.

“Naruto was just asking me what Tazuna gave to each of you.” Kakashi said smoothly.

He’s lying! Inner Sakura raged with conviction, but Sakura was distracted when Kakashi took out three small scrolls from his pouch.

“I suppose now is as good a time as any to inform the three of you and pass you his gifts.” Kakashi said with a smile, handing each of his genin a scroll. “Tazuna found many treasures in Gato’s collections. It seemed that Gato was a collector of rare tombs, among which were many ninja techniques. A lot of the content will be generously donated to Konoho. As for the rest of the ‘loot’, they will be given to Team 7. I have helped Tazuna in choosing the gifts for all of you.

“Naruto, inside the scroll is a library containing books on the Art of Sealing. It is a rare ninja craft, but I’ve confidence that you will… have the aptitude to master it if you try hard enough.

“Sakura, your scroll contains a library of Genjutsu techniques, look through them and begin training in them. With your highly refined chakra control, those techniques will be a good match for you.

“As for you Sasuke, the scroll in your hands contains several high level fire and earth techniques even I have never come across. It will be good training for you to begin mastering them… under my guidance of course.”

“Wow!” Naruto said clasping the scroll to his chest happily. “New techniques! Thank you Kakashi sensei!”

“I will be training all of you hard in those techniques once we return to Konoha.” Kakashi said simply. “For now, eat and then turn in for the night. I’ll be taking first shift for guard duty, Naruto second, Sasuke third…”

It was only later with a full stomach, as she lay drowsily in her sleeping bag, that Sakura remembered Inner Sakura’s words, that Kakashi was hiding things from her. But tiredness enclosed her in a warm cocoon by then, and the memory was forgotten as she drifted off to sleep.

OoooO

Sage of Origin (version 3.0) : Chapter One: Awakening of Quezacotl

Story Title: Sage of Origin (version 3.0)

Crossover: Naruto/ Final Fantasy VIII

Summary: Long before the tailed beasts walk the lands, the Guardian Forces watches over men. Then the cataclysm came and all were destroyed. The world was broken, and its only hope lies in the actions of one living sacrifice. Naruto Uzumaki.

Author’s Note: For the past few weeks, this idea has been eating away at me, so I’ve write it down and toss it to the winds. What happen if Naruto was granted the magic system of Final Fantasy VIII, by forming pacts with Elementals which allows him to pull magic from magical sources or magical creatures? What type of magic will he be able to pull from Sasuke who have the Sharingan and fire affinity, or Sakura with her split personality?

And so I’ve started this tale to explore the possibilities. Hopefully now that this plot bunny is written, I can focus on my Technological Ninja fanfic. ;)

PS: Based on feedback from readers, certain portions of the chapter have been rewritten. Hopefully this will make for easier reading.

OoooO

Chapter One: Awakening of Quezacotl

“Before the Age of Ninjas, before men bear the power to manipulate chakra, before the time of the cataclysm, men were but ordinary creatures. To the ancient men, chakra was known by another name, “magic”. Back then, men lacked the ability to manipulate the exotic forces, at least not without help from the ancient Elementals of the World, the Guardian Forces. Then the Sorceress died and with her death she cursed the world. She destroyed the powers of the Elementals, she called down fire and ice onto the world. The world lies broken, the powers of the Elementals formed into a malevolent entity, the powerful world walker known to men as the Ten-tailed beast. The Ten-tailed beast terrorized the land, destroying millions of lives. The Age of Science ended, and legends of the Elementals faded with time.

The rest of the story is then familiar to all ninjas. After what is known as the great Cataclysm, the one known as the Sage of the Six Paths was born. Humans were changed then, having the power to manipulate the chakra within themselves. Some were changed even further, attaining bloodline abilities. The Sage of the Six Paths gathered all those worthy and taught them to wield their new powers in this world. And thus the Age of Ninjas began…” ~ An accounting of the History of the World, by the Sage of Origin, Namikaze Uzumaki Naruto.

OoooO

Hirosou Hills, Northern Lightning Country

Digging carefully through the ancient ruins in the distant north of the Lightning country was hard work, especially when most of the area was a long stretch of hot suffocating desert. If Tashiro did not know any better, he would have thought he was in Wind country. His shovel struck something hard and he paused in his work. Carefully he reached down to blow the sand away and grinned at what he found. A small round crystal ball of what was probably a chakra gem rolled in his palms. Chakra gems were precious, all the more since they were rarely found under the earth, though ancient ruins were known to contain large quantities of them. In long ago history, chakra gems were highly used by the Ancients for some unknown purposes lost to time.

Chakra gems from before the time of the cataclysm were highly conductive with chakra, many carrying special properties. It was a profitable trade for the “Treasure Hunters” who combed the ancient ruins to dig them up and sell them to the various weapons or armor smiths where they would be used to create highly priced weapons or armors for ninjas and wealthy lords. Tashiro observed the small orb of chakra gem in his hand, noting the soft green-blue glow emitting from the blue green crystal. He chuckled. It was a good day to be him, the orb of chakra gem in his hand was most probably one with special properties, which would cost much more to the smiths. He was about to toss the gem into the pile of artifacts he had dug out by his side when a strange feeling swept over him and he…

Tashiro blinked as if he had woken from a long sleep. He looked at the orb of chakra gem with new eyes, the urge to sell the gem was mysteriously swept away.

“What a lovely piece of gem. I should keep it as a lucky charm.” Tashiro muttered to himself distractedly as he pocketed the blue green orb. “I wonder why I thought to sell this lovely piece of gemstone anyway…”

Picking up his shovel, Tashiro continued to work.

OoooO

Within the orb of Elemental ore

He did not know how long he had slept. He felt horribly weak, a pitiful reflection of what he used to be. The mere ethereal essence he possessed barely enabled him to survive. His senses were limited, yet they were enough to awaken him when a human laid his hands on the Elemental ore that was his prison and home.

He accessed the memories of the man in seconds, casting an analysis of the man’s body in minutes, and was shocked at the state of the world. Men now wield magic within them, though apparently they called it chakra in this new world. Even the treasure hunter that had unearthed him possessed the leylines of magic within his body, though he was unable to tap into it. The destruction of the Elemental plane long ago had done more than shatter the powers of the Guardian Forces, they have made men magical.

He shivered as he remembered the Ten-tailed horror that had formed from the destructive energies after the Elemental plane shattered. He remembered how the beast, a mindless Elemental God, had proceeded to hunt down and consume the weakened and de-powered Guardian Forces. None had the power to subdue the beast, all the Guardian Forces could do was to abandon humanity to their fates while they went into hiding, scattering their very essence, hidden within Elemental ores or Junction systems throughout the world in the hopes that at least a part of their essence survived the purge by the Ten-tailed beast.

His essence in this Elemental ore, now in the hands of a treasure hunter was all that had survived. He had no idea if any of his fellow Elementals survived the purge. Using what little magic he had left, he modified the memories of the treasure hunter so that his prison and home would not be destroyed. Instead he would be kept safe by the very man that had dug him out.

Now awakened, he previewed the memories the treasure hunter had of the tailed beasts. There were now nine in all, though the treasure hunter knew nothing of the Ten-tailed beast that had destroyed the world. Neither does the treasure hunter know where those tailed beasts were. It was however common knowledge that these nine tailed beasts were all sealed into objects and people. In fact there were rumors that Cloud village itself bears two tailed beasts sealed into two people whose identities were unknown to others outside the village. All these bear much investigating. It might be that these nine tailed beasts had some relation to the Ten-tailed beast birthed from the destruction of the Elemental planes. Finding out exactly what they were and how they were sealed might be the only way he would ever get his full powers back.

A small manipulating of magic, and a new memory was inserted to the one that now kept him safe.

OoooO

5 years later, Konoha

Berio, a fat bellied merchant who had felt an urge to come to Konoha, rolled the orb of chakra gem in his palm. The chakra gem was his lucky stone, given to him by another of his merchant acquaintance. It had been in his possession ever since.

Even since he arrived at Konoha, he had felt an urge of disquiet, as he took to roaming the busy streets, the chakra gem in his hands. He felt as though he was looking for something, he just did not know what that something was.

A flash of blond hair caught his attention and Berio was overcome with an urge to move forward. Not of his own will, he then grabbed the young boy in front of him by the shoulders. The boy turned around with a cry of surprise, his startled blue eyes looking at Berio in shock, the boy’s whiskered marked cheeks highlighting the difference between the child and others of his age.

Berio’s hand which held the chakra gem moved of his own accord, pressing the chakra gem into the palm of the boy. He then turned and began walking away. He had walked past several blocks of shop houses before his mind cleared and he came to his senses.

The first and foremost thought in his mind was why the hell he had come to Konoha for. The second was the feeling that he had just lost something valuable, though for the life of him, he could not recall what he had just lost.

OoooO

Streets of Konoha

Uzumaki Naruto was an orphan, and at the age of eleven had been living on his own for the past six years. It was probably inhuman to let a child of the age of five to live on his own, but Konoha’s orphanages had refused to take him back after he had proven himself to be self-sufficient. Naruto was used to being treated with animosity by the villagers. The only people that were actually nice to him were old man Hokage, and the ramen stall owner Teuchi and his daughter Ayame. He had learned early on that he could either cry at the unfairness of it all, or approach the world with a smile… and maybe a prank or two. For instance, the old man who owned the grocery store at Oak Pine street was going to be in for a surprise when he opened his store later, of course, that grouchy old man should not have sold Naruto two cartons of sour milk at twice the normal price in the first place.

His hands still had some orange paint from his latest prank. Naruto was thinking about going back home to wash everything off when he was suddenly grabbed from behind. Jerking his head around, his eyes widened in shock as a red faced, big bellied man glared down at him before pressing something round into his hand. Then the man simply walked away without a backward glance. Naruto remained staring after the man for a few stupefied seconds until a tingling sensation in his hand caused him to look down at the object he now held. It was a pretty round crystal of some sort, glowing with a green light. Some of the light seemed to seep into his skin. A chilling sensation swept over him and Naruto shivered.

“Huh… What just happened?” Naruto muttered to himself in surprise as he held up the glowing crystal stone. He wondered why the man had given it to him in the first place. After a while, he gave a shrug. It was obvious the man was not coming back, and the crystal ball was pretty, he might as well keep it.

Tucking it into his pocket, he walked back home.

OoooO

Within the orb of Elemental ore

The moment his carrier had arrived in the ninja town of Konoha, he knew that his long search was over. A thin mist of ethereal essence hung undisturbed in certain areas of the village. Like a starving beast, he had controlled his carrier, making him go to the places where he could absorb the thin layer of ethereal essence in the air, restoring a pitiful amount of his original strength.

Five years he had wandered this new world, and since then he had dug into old legends by controlling his carriers, discovering what had become of the Ten-tailed beast that had shattered the powers of the Guardian Forces. It seemed centuries ago, a powerful ninja known as the Sage of the Six Path was born to the world and had sealed the mindless Elemental God away. With the Sage’s death, he had split the Elemental God into nine lesser parts so that the mindless Elemental God would never again have the chance to reform.

It had taken much effort to hunt down the human containers of the tailed beasts, with him expanding much of his remaining magic to do so. Discovering and visiting the Eight-tailed and Three-tailed beasts’ human containers had revealed to him that they possessed the same ethereal essence absorbing properties of the Ten-tailed beast. Using his then human carrier, he had managed to observe moments when the container of the Three-tailed had tapped into the Three-tailed’s chakra. His weak senses was able to reveal to him that should the tailed beast’s chakra touched his raw essence, he would be absorbed into the tailed beast, like what had happened to the other Guardian Forces when the Ten-tailed beast roamed the world. Seeing that all he had left of his essence was this small spark trapped within the Elemental ore, being absorbed by any of the tailed beasts living in this world now would mean true death for him.

The seal arrays that imprisoned the Eight-tailed and Three-tailed beasts into human containers were useless to him in this aspect, as they did not truly contain the tailed beasts’ power. Being an Elemental Force, he was able to use his keen senses to understand the innate workings of the magical seals on the body of the human containers of the Eight-tailed and Three-tailed beasts. It was a huge disappointment that the seal arrays on the human containers would not help further his plan to regain his true power and essence.

He had traveled the world then, finding and seeking out the containers of the other tailed beasts, switching human carriers like a second skin. He had saw and sensed the human containers for the Seven, Fifth, and Fourth tailed beasts, but all of them were the same as the rest. The seal arrays that trapped the tailed beasts inside their human containers allowed the chakra of the tailed beasts to flow freely in their bodies. Just a touch of the human containers’ hands on his Elemental ore would mean his death. His wish of using the magical sealing methods the humans in this generation had come up with to draw the ethereal essence out of the tailed beasts seemed like a distant goal. He had almost lost hope until he reached Konoha and discovered the young tailed beast container of this village.

The moment his human carrier had arrived near the boy, he was able to sense the near perfect magical seal trapping one of the tailed beasts within the boy’s body. The seal constantly pulled out a small portion of the tailed beast’s chakra into the boy’s body, converting it to a less harmful form, allowing it to merge with the boy’s own chakra. Being an Elemental Force, albeit one that was disruptive in nature, the Nine-tailed beast, was part magic/chakra and part ethereal energies. The seal on the boy allowed the safe conversion of tailed beast’s chakra into human chakra, it did not however, account for the ethereal essence of the tailed beast which it drew out. These ethereal energies were thus infused within the boy’s body which then leaked out into the air. That was the cause of the shroud of ethereal essence he had first sensed and consumed when he had arrived at Konoha.

The Ten-tailed beast was an Elemental God formed from the destruction of the Elemental planes. It was able to constantly generate ethereal energies, energies which sustain life of the Guardian Forces. The nine lesser tailed beasts bear the same properties, and now he found the perfect seal on a young human container which would allow him to “feed” on those energies, to restore himself and slowly build up his power.

The seal was not perfect. There was a magical “hole” for a lack of words that allowed large amounts of raw tailed beast chakra to run through the boy’s chakra pathways when the boy was feeling intense emotions. It would prove fatal to him if he was near when that happened, but he was willing to take the chance, especially since he had a plan of his own.

In ancient days, the Guardian Forces would form a pact with a human, by leaving a small part of their essence in a human crafted system called the Junction system, also known as an artificial construct created based on the structure of Elemental ore. Guardian Forces, as Elemental beings, could only live physically in the Elemental planes which was now destroyed, or survive in the physical plane by inhabiting naturally or artificially crafted Elemental ores. The only exceptions were the tailed beasts that could generate ethereal essence on their own and maintain a solid form in the physical plane.

Some humans implanted Elemental ores, or Junction systems, into their bodies in order to form a pact with any of the Guardian Forces. The Guardian Forces would in turn leave a small part of their essence in the Elemental ores within their body. This small essence would grant the humans magical abilities and the power to call up the essence of the Guardian Force whom they formed the pact with.

The young boy possessed no human crafted Junction system, and there was no way he would allow his current Elemental ore prison and home to be implanted into the boy, there was just too much risk of things going wrong. The seal on the boy however turned him into a constantly generator of ethereal energies. It would be a simple matter to split a small portion of his essence into the boy. His essence would survive in the boy’s body because of the ethereal energies produced within the boy. The small part of his self that he stored in the boy would run the risk of being consumed should the boy tapped into the raw chakra of the tailed beast within him, but he was willing to take that risk especially since with his essence in the boy, he could absorb the constant outpouring of life sustaining energies from the boy. These energies would then be transferred to his main essence in the Elemental ore, allowing his main self to grow in strength.

The Elemental ore storing his original essence would be kept somewhere safe. Should the boy lose control and tapped into the raw chakra of the tailed beast and his small essence within the boy died, he could always implant a new splinter of himself into the boy from his current home and prison. He would bide his time, he would learn more of this world, and he would continue to regain his powers.

His brothers and sisters… Five years of searching and he had not found any trace of them. He hoped that at least some of them survived, until he regained the powers to save them.

OoooO

One year later, Konoha

Naruto stepped back into his apartment, feeling incredibly weary and drained after the night’s event. He had failed the Genin test again and had stupidly believed his academy school teacher Mizuki when the man had revealed an alternative way to pass the test. Naruto was given the plans to steal Konoha’s Forbidden Scroll while Mizuki distracted the guards. He had not known at the time that Mizuki intended to use him as a scapegoat to steal the Forbidden Scroll for himself.

At least the night was not a waste. He had learned a powerful ninjutsu, the Shadow Clone technique, he had also found out the reason why almost everyone hated him. He was the human container of the Nine-tailed fox, a fact which had sent him into momentary mind numbing terror. That horror had quickly faded at the genuine display of care and concern his academy school teacher Iruka had shown him when he had defended Naruto against Mizuki. In a surprising turn of events, Naruto had beaten Mizuki in a fight and Iruka had awarded him with the Genin headband.

Closing the door to his apartment, Naruto went into his room. He opened his drawer, feeling within for a hidden catch which popped open. His hand clasped around a round hard orb and he took out a well-worn crystal ball glowing with a green light. Flopping onto his bed, Naruto held the orb above his eye gazing at it.

“Today is one hell of a day.” Naruto confided to the crystal. If there had been anyone around to hear him, he would have felt a bit silly. Through the one year after he had gotten the stone, he had gotten into the habit of pouring out his emotions to the stone. It was a special stone to him after all, and it was not as though he had a lot of people to talk to. Sometimes he felt as though the stone understood his words, he always felt more peaceful after talking to it. “Mizuki really tricked me. I guess I should not just believe everyone, even if they are teachers…”

OoooO

Within the orb of Elemental ore

He listened to the boy, even though he already knew what had happened. His essence within the boy had observed the night’s happening. Throughout the year he had lived with the boy, he had discovered the child to be a bundle of optimism, a child that never gave up when almost everyone was against him. The child was truly a bright example of the human race. Naruto might be rough around the edges, but that was because he had been surviving on his own all these years. The child’s heart was pure, and if it was the old days, he would not have been averse to forming a pact with the boy. Even now, he was contemplating if he should reveal himself to the boy or to continue being a silent leach within Naruto.

But that would not be truly fair. Because of the boy’s unknowing help, he had managed to regain almost a full quarter of his original powers and strength within this one year. The ethereal energies within the boy was surprising potent due to its condensed state, unlike the mild energies that used to flow in the Elemental plane. By his estimate, in another four to five years of time, he would be back to full strength. And if he continued absorbing the ethereal energies from the boy after that, he might even evolve to the next stage of power. He owned too much to the boy not to reveal the truth to him.

Perhaps soon, he promised himself. He would tell the boy of the old world, of the guardians that once protected the balance of the world. Of the broken past that was.

OoooO

Five months later, Wave Country

Horror gripped Naruto as he stared at the body of Sasuke in front of him. Sasuke’s body was filled with ice senbons sticking out, and the black haired boy just lay on the ground still and unmoving. The C-rank mission his Genin team took had gone badly. They were supposed to see an old bridge builder home, only to ultimately end up in battle against a powerful merchant who had hired an A-rank missing ninja and his ice wielding apprentice to deal with Team 7. Kakashi had left to deal with the A-rank missing nin, one Zabuza. Sasuke and Naruto were supposed to deal with the apprentice who impossible as it seemed, was able to use ice techniques. He had trapped Sasuke and Naruto within a dome of ice mirrors and unleashed devastating attacks against them.

Naruto had always thought Sasuke was a jerk, that the boy did not care about anyone other than himself. But then Sasuke had stood in front of Naruto when he had been unable to escape a hail of senbon needles. Sasuke had defended Naruto from that attack with his body and now he lay unmoving in front of Naruto… not breathing… dead.

Team 7 had agreed as a whole to not abandon the mission when they first encountered the two missing nins. Naruto just never expected that one of them would end up dead in this hopeless mission. A slow burning anger spread through Naruto’s body as heart breaking grief consumed him, his emotions began stirring into a swirling pit of dark turmoil. He glared at the masked ninja hidden within the ice mirror and made a vow. He would have revenge.

Tendrils of red chakra emitted from his body as his anger consumed him.

OoooO

Within the body of Uzumaki Naruto

It was the first time the boy and his Genin team had taken a mission out of Konoha. He had remained a silent observer within the boy’s body, siphoning the ethereal essence the boy produced, back to his main self which was residing in the Elemental ore hidden in the boy’s apartment. He had felt the first tingle of apprehension when the young Team 7 had first encountered the powerful missing nin Zabuza at the start of their journey. A hunter nin had stopped the battle when Zabuza nearly lost, seemingly killing Zabuza and taking away the body. He had gotten the first shock of his new life when his senses picked up the faint essence of his sister Shiva, the Elemental Goddess of Ice within the hunter nin.

When Team 7 had agreed unanimously to continue the mission, after the old bridge builder had revealed the reason why the missing nin was after him, and how he could not afford to pay for a higher grade mission, he had decided to observe the situation a bit more before acting. In another seven to eight more months, his main essence would have regained half of his former strength before the shattering of the Elemental plane. The time was nearing to reveal the truth to young Naruto.

Kakashi, the Jonin teacher of Team 7, had set the team with numerous training exercises the moment they had arrived in Wave country, to prepare the group of young Genin for what was to come. In a solo training exercise, Naruto had unknowingly encountered the hunter nin again in her unmasked state. The girl had introduced herself to the boy as Haku, forming an instance friendship with Naruto. He had taken the chance to cast a detailed magical scan of the girl, which had revealed that she was truly a human offspring of Shiva, who was a powerful Elemental Goddess back in the old days. How Shiva had managed to mate with a human was unknown to him, but the existence of the girl proved that Shiva was alive after the shattering of the world, though where she was now was something he needed to discover.

He had intended to reveal to Naruto his existence the following day. What he had not counted on was a recovered Zabuza and a masked Haku attacking Team 7. Haku had revealed her ice elemental heritage when she had trapped Naruto and his teammate, Sasuke in a dome of ice mirrors. Haku had then strike down Sasuke. His magical scan showed that the Uchiha was in a deep sleep like state, though to all physical appearances, he seemed dead.

That unfortunately seemed to trigger great anger and grief within Naruto. He was alarmed when raw tendrils of tailed beast chakra began sweeping through Naruto’s body. Pain hit him as the raw tailed beast chakra encountered parts of his essence within Naruto and consumed them. He had to act fast before his essence within the boy was totally destroyed.

For the first time since the breaking of the world, he spoke directly to a living human.

OoooO

Unnamed bridge in Wave Country

Uzumaki Naruto. The voice, a deep timbre, intoned within his head, shocking Naruto out of his anger. Hear my words. Uchiha Sasuke is not dead.

“What?” Naruto cried out in shock, looking around him to see who had spoken. But there was no one else around, except for Sasuke lying still on the floor and the masked ninja hiding in the ice mirrors.

He is still alive, but that may change if you cannot win this fight. The voice continued. I can help if you will allow me to tap into your chakra, and to fulfill my one request.

“Who are you?” Naruto asked again, now feeling distinctively uneasy.

Someone who can help if you accept it. The voice said, and this time Naruto’s unease swept away, to be replaced by a calm certainty that whoever the voice was from, he meant Naruto no ill intend. If he had time to think, Naruto might have realized that his feelings of trust for a strange voice in his head were a bit unnatural. But right now, he was in a battle that he most certainly could not win. He had no time to really think things through and could only accept whatever help that was being offered.

“I accept it. Just help me.” Naruto said out loud in desperation, his words causing the ninja hidden in the ice mirrors to observe him curiously.

Then call my name Uzumaki Naruto. Summon me… The voice said as images of graying skies, rolling thunder and flashing lighting filled his mind. The raw power coursing through the skies, the power of storms. Somehow without being told in words, Naruto knew exactly what to say.

“Help me! Quezacotl! Elemental Guardian of Storms! Guardian of the Skies!” Naruto cried out as a massive amount of blue green chakra expelled from his chakra points, wrapping around his body, creating a massive and powerful chakra shroud around his very self.

OoooO

Unnamed bridge in Wave Country

Haku never wanted to kill anyone. But Zabuza was everything to her and he had instructed her to take care of the two Genin of Team 7. So she had chosen the only way out, by sending the boy Sasuke into a near death like state with her senbons, hoping to discourage the blond haired boy from continuing his futile attacks.

She was therefore surprised when tendrils of sickly red chakra began wrapping around the boy, chakra which suddenly vanished as the boy began screaming in the air, as though he was talking to someone Haku could not see. What happened next, Haku did not have a word for. Powerful blue green chakra suddenly expelled from the boy, swirling around his body. Haku had an instinctual ability for chakra sensing and from the powerful blast of chakra, she smell the coming of a storm, she smell burnt air as lightning flickered through the skies, she smell an Ancient being, radiant with Power and encased with great Protection.

Hidden in her ice mirror, Haku looked on in trepidation as young Naruto’s form began to transform, chakra swirling thickly around him, into the appearance of a large green bird like creature with arcs of lightning running through its skin. The eyeless head of the creature turned to face the real her within the ice mirrors, even as it hovered above the ground majestically.

I am Quezacotl. Guardian Force of Storms and Skies. A voice boomed powerfully within Haku’s head, causing her to wince in pain. There was little doubt that the mental voice came from the creature that young Naruto had changed into. Flickers of doubt and fear was beginning to stir within her emotions, Haku was beginning to have a feeling that she had bitten more than she could chew.

Child of Shiva. For your actions against my Summoner, you have been judged. The voice continued. Haku tensed, preparing to use her ice techniques to flee into other ice mirrors if need be… when giant lightning bolts exploded from the creature hovering in the air. The lightning bolts shattered all of her ice mirrors, powerful electricity coursed through her body as she was flung out of the ice mirror. Her body twitched and spasm uncontrollably as she flew through the air before hitting the ground beneath her hard.

Through leaden eyes, she saw the creature continue to unleash the mother of all lightning bolts into the fog surrounding it.

“Zabuza.” Haku whispered through cracked and dried lips as she struggled to get up. “Zabuza… I am sorry…”

Darkness closed in around her vision as she fainted. She never saw the fog beginning to clear, or heard the shocked cries of Sakura and the bridge builder as they saw the majestic flying form of Quezacotl fade and transform back into one Uzumaki Naruto.

OoooO

Unnamed bridge in Wave Country

Kakashi was getting worried. Zabuza was good, too good. If this battle between him and the missing nin had taken place a few years ago, he would have won within minutes. But after the war, after the loss of the Fourth Hokage, and especially after Rin’s death, his last connection to Konoha, he had let his battle skills fell to mediocrity. He had lived each day aimlessly, taking B ranked missions once in a while to cover his expanses. The Third Hokage had left him be for the past few years, perhaps understanding the grief Kakashi had suffered at the loss of his loved ones, until finally the old man had enough and had forced Kakashi to take up his first Genin team.

Kakashi knew it was the old man’s way of trying to get Kakashi to feel connected with Konoha again, and so he had failed all the Genin teams he tested time and time again… until Team 7. Many of the council members had been delighted that Sharingan Kakashi was going to take in Uchiha Sasuke as his student. Surely with Sharingan Kakashi of a thousand techniques leading a team consisting of the last Uchiha, Team 7 would be destined for something great in the future! Even Kakashi had been taken in by all that hype, getting a morale boost from it until he had come up against Zabuza, in a C-rank mission gone wrong.

In the past, Kakashi would have little difficulty taking down an A-rank missing nin. Now however, he was barely matching up against the missing nin. The fog that Zabuza had called up hid the missing nin from sight, compounding Kakashi’s difficulty in the fight. Kakashi took out a scroll and was about to summon his ninja dogs when a powerful chakra presence washed over the entire area. Kakashi was no chakra sensor, but with his elemental affinity, he was able to identify the nature of that enormous chakra source. Lightning, lightning that was wild and untamed, lightning that was now striking powerfully through the fog.

Several cries of pain sounded in the fog, followed by loud thuds of bodies. For a moment, Kakashi felt fear for his students. Was this some sort of forbidden technique Zabuza had up his sleeves? Then the fog had cleared. Kakashi’s eyes had widened at the sight of an unconscious Zabuza lying on the ground a few feet in front of him. He had turned his head and gaped at the sight of a large green bird like creature in the distance, hovering in the air above an unconscious Sasuke. Kakashi was about to rush to Sasuke’s aid when swirls of blue green chakra whirled around the flying creature as it faded and turned into… Naruto?

Kakashi stood stupefied, staring as Naruto’s limp body dropped onto the ground beside Sasuke. The shrill cries of Sakura were what jolted him out of his shock as he rushed forward to check on his students.

OoooO

Within a Mindscape

He stood there, unseen by anyone, in what seemed like a classroom filled with students and a very stern looking woman. Images suddenly flashed on the screen before the woman as she turned to instruct her class.

“Now everyone, this is History 101. The first thing anyone from Balamb Garden must know before they become a SeeD.” The woman said as images of strange creatures wielding powerful chakra techniques filled the screen. There was a demonic humanoid creature that could crush anything in a black ball of energy, there was a large whale like creature summing a giant wall of water. Many more other images of mysterious creatures flashed across the screen.

“Today we’re going to touch on the Guardian Forces, the Elementals that watches over the Balance of the world. There’s the Brothers, dual Guardian Forces whose domain is over Earth. There’s the Cerebus, the three headed Guardian Force who watches over the force of magic, there are many more others, but what you need to know about the Guardian Forces is that they exists in a different plane of existence. Their real bodies lie in the Elemental plane. They can only manifest part of themselves at places in our worlds with highly concentrated ethereal energies or survive in Elemental ores, whether naturally formed or artificially created. Throughout the centuries, human kind have mapped out areas with high concentrations of ethereal energies, Balamb Garden is in control of one such place, the summoning grounds for Ifrit, where most SeeDs from Balamb Garden take their rite of initiation by forging a pact with the Guardian Force of Fire.”

“To forge a pact with an Elemental Force, you’ll need a Junction system or a naturally formed Elemental ore implanted in your body. This allows a Guardian Force to store part of its essence within the Junction system or Elemental ore, allowing you to tap into magic, other special abilities, as well as summoning them.”

“I’ll need to add a note of caution about the summoning part however. Summoning Guardian Forces to aid you is very dangerous business, something a new summoner must never attempt without preparation. As I mentioned, Guardian/Elemental Forces exists on the Elemental planes. They can only manifest themselves in highly concentrated Ethereal Essences areas in the real world, as well as storing parts of their essence in the Junction systems of those they forge a pact with. When you summon a Guardian Force, you become a channel for great magic, and are allowing great shrouds of magic to form around your body, taking on the physical appearance of the Guardian Force. You will also relinquish control of your physical body to the Guardian Force, allowing their minds to take over. Through this new form, the Guardian Force will temporarily strike out at your enemies with their powers.”

“Summoning however incurs a huge strain on the human body because your very body is surrounded by high concentration of Elemental magic, and is taken over by the alien minds of the Guardian Forces. A person with a weak will, would easily be crushed under the powerful minds of the Guardian Forces. The physical and mental strain on one’s body during the summoning is immerse, forcing the summoning to end within seconds. There are even rumors that too much summoning of Guardian Forces will damage the human mind, causing memory loss, though that hearsay is still not scientifically proven. Whatever the case, just be careful…”

The classroom dissolved in a swirl of lights. This time he was standing in a devastated landscape, watching from a high vantage as hundreds of people were crushed and consumed by an enormous creature with ten tails. Even so far away from the creature, he could feel the horrifying killing intent from the Ten-tailed beast.

Something flickered at the edge of his vision, and a green bird like creature came into being. He knew the creature’s name instinctively, just as he knew that what he was seeing now was the creature’s memories.

“Quezacotl.” He said, nodding politely to the creature hovering beside him.

Uzumaki Naruto. The voice boomed in his head. You must understand what I am showing you. You must understand the pact I have forged with you.

Before you walk the Ten-tailed beast, formed from the destruction of the Elemental plane. He was the one that devastated the world, consuming Guardian Forces and humans alike.

Images flashed in front of Naruto as Quezacotl opened up his memories to the boy, his new summoner. Images of Quezacotl hiding and trapped in an Elemental ore for centuries before he was found. Knowledge of the Sage of the Six Path and the fate of the Ten-tailed beast which Quezacotl had discovered in this changed world. Memories of how he had at last found Naruto, the only one who could restore him to health. How he silently listened to Naruto and comforted him empathically over the months as the boy talked to the “pretty stone”. How at last he had revealed himself on the bridge when Naruto was preparing for his last stand with Haku. How he had formed a pact with Naruto to fulfill his last request.

To find his missing brothers and sisters. The rest of the Guardian Forces.

And by forging a pact with Quezacotl, Naruto had unknowingly agreed to that request. However, after seeing Quezacotl’s memories of the creation of the Ten-tailed beast, of the suffering Quezacotl had gone through in the long centuries, Naruto was not averse to fulfilling Quezacotl’s request. There was however another matter that was currently eating at Naruto.

“You could have helped sooner.” Naruto accused, as he glared at Quezacotl. “Before Sasuke was injured.”

I could have, but I did not. Quezacotl admitted, hovering gently in the air beside Naruto. Because I could see that the child of Shiva had no intention of harming any of you.

“I still can’t believe the masked nin is Haku though.” Naruto said, a frown on his forehead as he looked at Quezacotl in doubt. “Or that she’s a girl. The first and last time I saw her, she insisted she’s a guy.”

You will see the truth once you wake up. Quezacotl said as rejuvenating energies flooded Naruto. You’ll need to wake up anyway. Hatake Kakashi is going to kill Zabuza and Haku. Please, if you can, save the Child of Shiva, I have use for her yet. She might be the only link for me to locate my sister, the Guardian Force of Ice.

“What do you mean Kakashi is going to kill them?” Naruto cried out in alarm as everything around him vanished into fog.

Somewhere on the bridge, Naruto’s eyes snapped open.

OoooO

Unnamed bridge in Wave Country

The bodies of Gato and his brigands lay on the far end off the bridge, all of them dead. Kakashi had dealt with them just as the villagers from Wave village arrived to help, led by young Inari who had spurred them into action. Right now, the men of the village and even some of the women were finding joy tossing the dead bodies of the ones who had made their lives a living hell, into the deep waters of the river. Kakashi had turned away from the sight, understanding the villagers’ need to vent their anger on their tormentors.

He had left Sasuke and Naruto in Sakura and Tsunami’s care by the side of the bridge, with a sniveling Inari who was looking at the unconscious Naruto in tears. What had happened with Naruto was still a mystery eating away at him, but it was a mystery he would discover the answers to later. Right now however, he needed to deal with Zabuza and his masked ninja accomplice before they woke up. Drawing out a kunai, he walked to where he had left Zabuza and the masked ninja tied up. He lifted his hand and slashed down at Zabuza’s open throat.

“NO!!!” The scream cried out, halting Kakashi’s strike. Kakashi turned and saw that Naruto was awake. The boy ran and stumbled towards Kakashi’s direction, crying out frantically. “No teacher! Don’t do it!”

Everyone on the bridge had stopped what they were doing to look at what was going on. At the far corner of the bridge, Sakura’s eyes were wide in shock as she tried to get up after Naruto who after his sudden awakening, had pushed her to the side. Naruto reached Kakashi’s side, collapsing to the ground as his new found energies seemingly ran out.

“Please Kakashi, they can no longer fight. We can just let them go.” Naruto pleaded as he kneeled on the ground gasping for breath.

Seeing the condition of his student, Kakashi instantly check Naruto’s pulse on his waist. Naruto’s rapid heartbeats told him all he needed to know. “Your body is stressed out, it needs rest. Running all the way here in your condition and straining it isn’t helping.” Kakashi admonished. “And I have questions for you regarding what had happened. But that can wait until we get back to Tazuna’s house. In the meantime, Zabuza and his accomplice need to be dealt with. We can’t leave a pair of powerful ninjas at our backs.”

“Please Kakashi, there’s got to be some other way. If not, at the very least spare Haku.” Naruto cried out. “She didn’t kill us when she had the chance to, and I have questions for her.”

“Haku?” Kakashi looked at the masked ninja. “How do you know her?” Kakashi turned, seeing the mulish look on Naruto’s face and realized that Naruto was not going to answer him. Rolling his eyes, he gave an exasperated sigh. He would interrogate the boy later. In the meantime, there was another way to deal with these two enemy ninjas, a more troublesome and time consuming way. But Zabuza and this Haku did not seem to be waking up soon, so he did have time on his hands. “Very well, I’ll apply chakra restraining seals and strength sapping seals on the two of them. But I want answers Naruto, the very instant we have some place private to talk in.”

“Okay Kakashi.” Naruto said weakly. Now that Zabuza and Haku’s deaths were avoided, Naruto flopped onto his back beside Kakashi, his eyes closed. Within moments, the blond haired boy was breathing the steady breaths of slumber.

Kakashi looked at his number one surprising student for a moment before shaking his head and took out his sealing kit. Picking up a brush and dipping it in chakra ink, he began crafting powerful seals on Zabuza that would prevent him from using chakra, as well as weaken his physical strength in the foreseeable future.

OoooO

Town Square, Wave village

The celebrations lasted the afternoon and were going strong even by nightfall. A group of villagers had went to ransack Gato’s mansion and had discovered that other than a handful of guards who were easily disposed of, the rest of the mercenaries had followed Gato to the bridge where Kakashi had already killed them off. The food, the riches in the mansion was shared among the villages, and even now groups of villagers were ferrying food and money back into Wave village’s storage houses which had been empty for years. One would have expected a few villagers to run off with whatever riches they could get their hands on. But years of suffering had united them and Inari’s rousing speech to get them to defend their village for the first time in years, had spurred them into action. Gato’s wealth, Gato’s food and treasures, belonged to no single person but to all in village, all of whom that had suffered under Gato’s tyranny.

Tazuna, his whole family and Team 7 were treated like heroes. When Sasuke had woken shortly before they left the bridge, the villagers had pulled him and Sakura to the village square where a celebration had begun to take place. Kakashi had taken over the old village prison, tossing Zabuza and Haku behind bars, where they were constantly watched by a group of angry and armed villagers. Kakashi had then taken over the old Magistrate building which had lain empty for years. A group of villagers had tidied up the place, making it the current residence for Team 7. Kakashi had avoided the celebrations, pleading a need to rest and watch over Naruto. Tsunami and Inari had also avoided the celebrations, tending to the still unconscious Naruto, leaving Tazuna to make sure the villagers did not go overboard with their new found freedom and wealth.

Tazuna and a few others had pulled up a table in the village square where they were planning Wave village’s future and what to do with the wealth and resources they had raided from Gato’s mansion. Off to the side, Sasuke was scowling as he watched the villagers feasting and dancing.

“Tell me again, what happened during the fight.” Sasuke said coldly for the eighth time, with a nervous Sakura seated beside him.

“Sasuke, we should get something to eat.” Sakura tried to distract him, but wilted under the glare he gave her. Despondently, she began to narrate what she had seen in the fight on the bridge again. “Well I could only hear fighting at first… The fog hid everything. Then there was this… powerful presence. Giant bolts of lightning pierced through the fog, people were crying in pain, I heard bodies hitting the ground. Then the fog cleared. The masked ninja and Zabuza were lying unmoving on the ground and there was this large green bird like creature with no eyes, flying over your body… After that, the bird creature just changed into Naruto who dropped to the ground beside you.” Sakura said, disbelief still heavy in her voice even after all the times Sasuke asked her to repeat what she had seen.

“And then?” Sasuke pressed on.

“Gato came with his mercenaries. Kakashi managed to kill all off them, he was saying he was still close to full strength, since he hadn’t use any powerful techniques against Zabuza yet. Then Naruto woke up when Kakashi was going to kill Zabuza and the masked ninja and stopped him from doing that. Naruto fainted again while Kakashi apply seals on Zabuza and the masked ninja.” Sakura said, biting her lips as she saw the dark look in Sasuke’s eyes. “Shortly after that, you woke up.”

“I woke up. After Naruto had somehow transformed into a powerful creature that managed to disable Zabuza and the masked ninja. I woke up after everything is over.” Sasuke growled, his teeth gritted in anger as he got up from his seat. With a leap, he jumped onto the nearest rooftop. “I need to get stronger. I need to get stronger.”

Sakura watched in shock as Sasuke ran off without a backward glance. For a moment, Sakura thought about going after Sasuke. But she was so weary after all that had happened, especially after the way Sasuke had interrogated her about the battle for the past few hours. Not to mention she seriously doubted she could keep up with Sasuke the way he was right now. Getting up, she walked to a table laden with food. Hopefully Sasuke would not get into too much trouble. But right now, she was too drained of energy to care about her emotional prince who did not even return her affections.

OoooO

Within a Mindscape

The three SeeDs faced off against a group of monsters. The girl waved her hands, tapping into the power of the Guardian Forces residing in her Junction system, five magical spells of Aero was pulled from the monsters, to be stored in her body. Aero, a magical spell that allows one to unleash blast of powerful wind. The knowledge of what the spell did appear within her mind, through her link with the Guardian Forces.

At the side of the battlefield, Naruto stood, watching with Quezacotl hovering at his side. All Guardian Forces grant their Summoners the power to pull magic from magical creatures and store those spells within their bodies. Before the cataclysm, men do not possess magic, unlike ninjas in your time period who are able to manipulate magic… or as the humans of this time called it… chakra. Quezacotl was saying even as he gave Naruto a deeper glimpse into the mind of the girl, who was one of his ex-summoner.

The girl arranged the new stock of magical spells in her body. Through her pact with Quezacotl she was able to store those magical spells of Aero in parts of her body that allows her to regenerate much faster. The Aero spells in those parts of her body allowed a magical regeneration boost which would be helpful to her in this coming battle.

Depending on how favored the Summoners we forged a pact with are, we’ll grant them other special abilities or skills such as the ability to store magical skills into parts of the body that allows boost in strength, speed, even luck. Humans after all have an innate ability to affect reality with their belief. Guardian Forces knew which parts of a human body to empower so that one could manipulate the very fabrics of reality, in order to ensure things happen in the summoners’ favor. Quezacotl continued, with Naruto listening attentively beside him. For you Naruto, I would not hide any skills from you. I will instead empower you with all the skills and abilities I possessed in the past and now, so that you can aid me in my quest to find the fates of my lost siblings.

“Thank you Quezacotl. But what skills or abilities will you pass me?” Naruto asked, awed as he watched the magical battle happening in front of him.

They will be quite a lot. Quezacotl said with a mental chuckle. In the past, Guardian Forces limit the powers they grant to their Summoners for fear they will misuse them or cause them harm. But the world is different now, and for you to aid me in my quest, you will need access to all the powers and abilities I can grant you. The only restriction is that most of the skills and abilities require time for the summoners’ bodies to grow acclimated with them, so that their bodies will not be damaged when those new powers are used. Some of the abilities also have limitations, even if they are seemingly powerful. In order that these skills and abilities not overwhelm you, I will currently begin opening the basic skills and abilities to you. I will guide you in how to use them and give your body time to adapt to other advance abilities I will insert into your body in gradual phases.

“I am taking your word for it then. All those years staying within in my body siphoning Ethereal energies… I will consider your help as paying rent for it.” Naruto said in a good natured tone of voice.

Very well. Quezacotl said in a humoring voice. I shall open the most basic ability which you can use immediately. I have already inserted this ability into you while you are recovering. This ability is called Draw. It allows the drawing of “magic” out of others. I will also begin inserting three other basic skills and abilities into your body. It will take roughly around a month before you can use them. One of the three skills is the passive ability to boost your magic/chakra abilities by over 20%. It will mean that your control over your chakra as well as the power of your chakra techniques will increase. I will also give you the ability to stack spells in your body to boost your overall endurance. As well as the “Wind and Lightning Item refine” ability which will allow you to turn items into Wind or Lightning spells.

“Turn items into magic spells?” Naruto asked, confusion already clear on his face.

I will explain in time. That skill, among others, is something that you need to experience for yourself to understand. Quezacotl said kindly. It’s time to wake up young summoner. Hatake Kakashi is getting quite worried.

Naruto nodded as he opened his eyes.

OoooO

Magistrate Building, Wave village

Naruto had been unconscious for eight days. During which Sasuke had gone into a training frenzy until Kakashi had put a stop to it. Then he had to deal with Zabuza who had awaken and tried every attempt to escape. There was also an incident when a few of the village men had attempted to teach Haku some “humility”. That had ended quite abruptly when the women of the village had gotten wind of it. Haku had been bundled out of the prison and taken to the magistrate office where Sakura and Sasuke would take turns watching over her. As for the men involved, after what the village women had done to them, they would not be looking at any women with ill intentions for days to come.

Haku had been surprisingly sweet and docile for an accomplice of Zabuza, Demon of the Mist. It took some coaxing from Sakura before Kakashi got the real story of why Haku was working for Zabuza. Apparently Zabuza had taken Haku in after she had escaped from being killed by her father. It was the same father who had killed Haku’s mother because he discovered that the two of them possessed bloodlines.

The land of Mist was not a land that took kindly to bloodline wielders after the bloodline wars. Haku only escaped with her life when she accidentally used her Ice Release bloodline to kill her own father. Broken and alone, when Zabuza had shown her kindness and taken her in, Haku had sworn her loyalty to him. Yet even the harsh life with Zabuza could not destroy her kind nature, which was the reason why she had not immediately killed Sasuke or Naruto during the start of the battle at the bridge.

Zabuza on the other hand was not as emotionless in his relationship with Haku as Kakashi had first thought. When Haku had disappeared for days after the village men had taken her away to teach her “humility”, he had fallen into a deep rage that only abate when Kakashi had brought Haku to the prison unharmed. Now knowing Zabuza’s weakness, Kakashi had struck a deal with Zabuza, for him to be on his best behavior if Kakashi promised no harm would befall upon Haku.

Kakashi however was uncertain of what to do with Zabuza yet. Taking him back to Konoha would ensure his death. None of the hidden villages take kindly to missing ninjas, but letting such a dangerous ninja lose was like letting lose a wild tiger that might come back to haunt him. At times, he wondered at the wisdom of listening to Naruto. Naruto was still too soft and inexperienced in the ninja world, though how that boy had transformed into a strange bird like creature, which had then taken out Zabuza and Haku was one big unknown.

When Haku had offered to tend to Naruto, Kakashi had conceded. None in Team 7 were trained healers, Haku however was well versed in herbs. Under Kakashi’s watchful eye, Haku had attempted to feed and care for Naruto. Haku had heard from Sakura that the only reason she and Zabuza were alive was because of Naruto, as such, she had viewed herself as indebted to the blond haired boy. It was a debt she tried to repay by tending to Naruto’s needs while he was unconscious. So far she had been true to her words, but Kakashi remained worried over Naruto’s condition. Naruto had seemed physically fine, yet he remained unconscious long enough that the bridge Tazuna was building was nearly completed. Even chakra exhaustion would not have lasted for so long.

Kakashi was planning to send a ninja dog back to Konoha for help when Sakura and Haku’s startled cries brought him to Naruto’s room where the boy was just waking up.

Gulping down a glass of water which Haku handed him, Naruto turned to Kakashi and whined. “I am hungry. Can I have some food?”

OoooO

Magistrate Building, Wave village

“So you’re trying to tell me that you forged a pact with an ancient elemental being, who is older than the Nine-tailed fox, who is older even than the legendary Ten-tailed beast, and who have been living in your body for more than a year?” Kakashi asked with an incredulous tone of voice as Naruto told Kakashi what had happened that day on the bridge, in between bites of food. When Kakashi had insisted on getting an explanation from Naruto about what happened on the bridge, Naruto had requested for some privacy as he could not explain about the Guardian Forces without touching on the Nine-tailed beast sealed within him. That was the reason why Sakura, an unwilling Sasuke and Haku had been sent out of the house while the two of them talked.

“It’s true.” Naruto said with his mouth full. Quezacotl had seen no reason why the origins of the Guardian Forces should be kept secret. The only thing the Elemental being had cautioned Naruto not to tell Kakashi was the location of his Elemental ore. “I can give you proof if you want.”

“I think we’ll skip that idea.” Kakashi said hastily as he thought of how long Naruto had laid unconscious after transforming into a powerful flying creature. “I don’t want you lying on your back for the next few days because you did another of those strange transformations.”

“It’s a summoning Kakashi.” Naruto said indignantly. “I was just lending my physical body to Quezacotl because he could not manifest in the physical plane unless in special circumstances. The summoning basically involves Quezacotl creating a chakra shroud around my body and taking over my mind for a brief period of time.”

“And if that is true, that just makes it worse.” Kakashi said in a fierce voice. “Relinquishing control of your body to some other entity? Especially your body with the Nine-tailed fox contained within you? Naruto, promise me you’ll not do it again until we can get some specialist ninja back at Konoha to check into this.”

“I’ve been telling you Kakashi, Quezacotl and his siblings are the enemies of the Tailed beasts. Quezacotl is a Guardian Force, they watch over the balance of the world.” Naruto said before his forehead crinkled in confusion. “Or they used to. Now Quezacotl isn’t even sure if the rest of his siblings are alive, even if Haku is really the descendant of Shiva, the Ice Elemental.”

“Let’s say I believe you Naruto. That you really forged a pact with an elemental being that suddenly appeared to your rescue. You will need to take its words with a grain of salt. You can’t believe everything it said.” Kakashi cautioned as he looked at Naruto seriously. “The stories it told you might not be totally true. We’ll need the researchers back at Konoha to look into this just to make sure there are no adverse consequences from forging a pact with the creature.”

Your teacher Kakashi is wise to show caution to the unknown. Quezacotl said approvingly, breaking through Naruto’s irritation. I am unable to communicate mind to mind with him. I am unable to show him my memories. Do not begrudge him of his fear regarding the unknown.

“Well I can show you the new ability Quezacotl gave me, to prove he exists.” Naruto said as he reached out with the new gift Quezacotl had granted him. The ability to Draw magic spells out of a magic source or magical creature. Kakashi being able to use chakra, filled the criteria of a magical creature. Reaching out with his new senses, he touched the chakra core of Kakashi. The chakra core glinted with five different colors. Naruto halted at the sight.

What you are seeing now is the chakra core of Hatake Kakashi, separated into spells that are his true core. The colors show that Hatake Kakashi possessed five different types of magical spells. Once you’ve drawn them, you’ll know what they are. Quezacotl advised.

Naruto hesitated, and then reached out with his new senses and touched one of the colors as he Pulled.

Kakashi blinked, glaring at Naruto. “What did you do Naruto? My chakra just spiked up!”

Naruto however was lost in the sudden information that assaulted him. 6 Mimic magic has been drawn. Mimic, a magical spell that allows one to instantly copy any magical technique that a target is trying to cast.

There’s another thing you should know Naruto. Quezacotl cautioned, breaking through his thoughts. Every time you pull magic spells from a creature, you’re actually strengthening the magical aspect of the creature through which the spell was drawn. That’s the reason why in the past, humans draw spells from monsters and kill them immediately afterwards, to prevent them from becoming stronger. There have been cases where too much drawing of magic from a monster caused the monster to become empowered and too powerful to be stopped by ordinary humans.

And you’re telling me that only now? And I can’t kill Kakashi! He’s not a monster! Naruto growled back in his mental voice even as he felt the six spells settling into his body. He turned his attention back to Kakashi who was now glaring fiercely at him.

“Naruto.” Kakashi gritted out. “What did you just do?”

“I told you about the Draw magic ability I got from Quezacotl didn’t I?” Naruto said as he put down the bread in his hand, looking at Kakashi. “Well I have just drawn six Mimic spells from you. Apparently the more I draw on the magic, or in this case, the chakra of someone, the more powerful the person will get in that aspect of magic I am drawing in. Magic is actually chakra. Which means since the Mimic spell is a magic that allows anyone to copy a magical technique a target is trying to cast, I most probably drawn that spell out of you because of your Sharingan.”

“Really?” Kakashi said as his eyes narrowed. “You’ll have to prove that wouldn’t you Naruto? Copy this!” Kakashi waited until Naruto gave a nod to signify he was ready, before his hands flicked into a fast series of handseals as the tea from the teapot rose into a small water dragon, or tea dragon in this case.

By then Naruto had already reached into his reserves of magic spells and cast one out. A strange chakra empowered him, blazing in his eyes. Time seemed to slow as his eyes focused on Kakashi, in particular his hands. Naruto’s hands effortlessly flickered into handseals for the tea dragon, moving as though he had practiced that technique for years. The execution of Naruto’s chakra was precise as the spell heightened his control, and a second tea dragon swirled out of the tea pot, struggling with the tea dragon Kakashi had called out.

Kakashi raised an eyebrow, seemingly impressed. “That’s enough.” Kakashi said as he released the tea dragon, causing the tea to swirl back into the tea pot, watching as Naruto did the same. “That’s enough proof for me. You couldn’t have known the technique for the Water Dragon, and I know of your terrible charka control. The only way you can execute it perfectly on the first attempt is if you have a Sharingan of your own. Since you didn’t, it is proof enough of this so call magic of yours.”

“Great, and I just wasted a perfectly good magic spell just to prove that to you.” Naruto grumbled before brightening up as he realized he could remember the handseals for the Water Dragon quite clearly. “Though I did get a cool technique in exchange.”

“If what you said is true, about the Guardian Forces, the Tailed-beasts, and the new powers and abilities you now have or will have through the pact…” Kakashi looked troubled as his words trailed off. “I can very well imagine the trouble that will come if these news, even the news of your new abilities are leaked out to other hidden villages. Power is the coin of currency in hidden villages. Your new abilities, strange and powerful as they are, will be a threat. The other hidden villages will seek to make those powers theirs and failing that, ensure Konoha does not have access to this power, even if they have to destroy it. Naruto, you have to understand that your new gifts are a double edged sword. You must not reveal any of this to anyone else until we can talk to the Hokage.”

“All right.” Naruto said with a nod. He might be young and brash, but he was not stupid. Even though he might crave attention and approval, years of living alone, sometimes surviving in the streets had taught him one valuable lesson. Never draw too much attention to yourself, especially negative types of attention. Curious, Naruto reached out with his new senses again, touching one of the magic he had yet to draw from Kakashi. He Pulled. Kakashi jerked back with shock.

“Naruto! What did you just do!” Kakashi barked out.

“8 White Chakra Blade spells.” Naruto breathed, his eyes wide as information about the new spell trickled into his mind. Reaching out, he cast out one of the spell. A long white chakra blade formed in his hand, cleaving apart the table in front of him, causing Kakashi and Naruto to jump away from each other instantly. Naruto was looking at his hands in horror, while Kakashi was staring at the white chakra blade in Naruto’s grasp, his face graying in shock.

After a few stunned seconds, the white chakra blade in Naruto’s hands flickered out, disappearing into thin air. Kakashi blinked his eyes, as he snapped out of his shock. He turned to look at Naruto who was still staring at the destroyed table.

“I didn’t mean to do that, honestly!” Naruto was saying when Kakashi cut him off with a wave of his hand.

“Right now I am more interested in the theory of how you can draw these magic/chakra spells from other people. Do different people have different spells? And how do you determine what spell to pull from someone?” Kakashi said in a stern voice.

The core of every magical creature is different. The core shows the true self of the creature, and this core may change and alter with the different experiences and emotions the creature goes through in life. Quezacotl said within Naruto’s head. Tell your teacher this. The spells you are able to pull from him are but the true reflection of himself at this current time of his life. It may all change in the future. And shall you continue pulling more spells from him, he will become more and more powerful in the magical aspects that you are pulling from.

“Naruto I am waiting.” Kakashi said glaring down at Naruto. It was the first time Naruto had seen Kakashi frustrated and he was a bit quailed by the older man.

“Well Quezacotl said that…” Naruto began as he repeated Quezacotl’s words. It was going to be one of those long days.

OoooO

Magistrate Building, Wave village

First Naruto had woken up, and then Kakashi had sent him out with Sakura and Haku to walk the village while he talked to Naruto, treating Sasuke like some glorified babysitter. Well Sasuke was having none of that. The question of how Naruto had defeated Zabuza and Haku had been eating away at him for the past few days, and so he had slipped away from Sakura and Haku with some lame excuse he doubted the two girls actually believed. Sure, he was supposed to watch over Haku, but the girl already had chakra restraining and strength sapping seals on her. Add in the fact that they were walking on a busy crowded village street, Sakura and the rest of the villagers could probably make sure she did not escape.

And so Sasuke had backtracked to the Magistrate building where Team 7 currently made their residence. Creeping to the side of the wall where Naruto’s room was at, he carefully pried open a bit of the windows so that he could hear the conversation within.

Tales of Guardian Forces, Elemental beasts, and Naruto was actually the demon container of the Nine-tailed fox! It all explained a lot, about the animosity the villagers at Konoha had always seemed to have against Naruto. It also explained how Naruto had gained his incredible powers. Kakashi must have been locked in similar feelings of shock and disbelief because the white haired ninja did not seem to realize Sasuke was outside a window listening in.

Then Naruto had shown off his Mimic spell and White Chakra Blade spell, both of which Naruto had somehow drawn from Kakashi. Sasuke had gaped at such a raw display of power. He, Uchiha Sasuke, must have this power! If he was able to get the same power which Naruto now possessed, it would increase his chance to exact his revenge on his murdering brother!

As Sasuke continued eavesdropping attentively, Naruto began explaining how he drew magic from others. How that the more spells he draw from others, the more powerful the person became in that magical aspect Naruto was drawing from. It was in fact a two way symbiotic relationship.

Perhaps it was the soft gasp from Sasuke’s lips, perhaps Kakashi had finally detected Sasuke’s presence by the windows. Whatever the case, the windows were suddenly thrown open and Sasuke stared dumbstruck into Kakashi’s angry face.

“How much did you overheard?’ Kakashi said with a grim voice as he glared at Sasuke. The look on Sasuke’s face must have said it all because Kakashi gave an angry growl as he pointed a finger at Sasuke. “This is an order from me as leader of Team 7. You are not to breathe a word of what you’ve heard in this room to anyone do you understand?”

Sasuke could only nod dumbly, barely preventing his knees from trembling at the killing intent coming from Kakashi.

“I am disappointed in you Sasuke. You’ve left Sakura to watch over Haku alone didn’t you?” Kakashi said, his lips twisting grimly at Sasuke’s nod. “If Haku tried anything, if Sakura is hurt, I will make sure you answer for it. Get in the room NOW Sasuke. Naruto make sure Sasuke does not do anything stupid, we’ll continue our conversation later.”

Kakashi waited until Sasuke scrambled into the room through the window before he leapt out, quickly crossing the rooftops in search of Sakura and Haku. An uncomfortable silence descended in the room as the two boys watched Kakashi disappeared off into the distance. Then Sasuke turned to face Naruto, a resolute look on his face.

“Tell me how I can get the same powers as you Naruto. Tell me how I can forge a pact with this Quezacotl.” Sasuke said, his eyes staring intensely at Naruto.

“It’s impossible unless you can find an Elemental ore or Junction system to implant into your body. I am special because…” Naruto stumbled over his words as he realized what he was about to say.

“I already know you’re the container for the Nine-tailed fox, and I don’t care about that! Just tell me how I can get an Elemental ore or a Junction system.” Sasuke said in exasperation, he was not going to let anything stand in his way of getting more power for his vengeance.

“Well Elemental ores are what is known as chakra gems in the Elemental countries, they are horribly expensive though, since they are very hard to find.” Naruto explained with a frown as if he was listening to a voice in his head. After the explanation Naruto had told Kakashi, Sasuke was inclined to believe there is a voice in the idiot’s head. “As for Junction systems, the Elemental countries do not have the technologies to build artificial Elemental ore. Crafting Junction systems from scratch might take weeks, months or even years, depending on whether we can find the needed resources.”

“Chakra gems! I know chakra gems.” Sasuke said in a voice of excitement. “Several of the heirlooms in the Uchiha compound have chakra gems embedded in them. So if I implant one of the gems in my body, I can form a pact with Quezacotl?”

“Well I guess.” Naruto said a bit unwillingly, seemingly a little put off at thoughts of sharing his own unique summon with his rival. “Quezacotl said he’ll agree to the pact if a chakra gem is implanted in your body, as repayment for saving me from Haku’s attack back on the bridge. However he will not grant you all of his abilities and powers, you will only be given the basics of powers and abilities. More will be granted to you as the bond between you two builds and he trusts in you more. He say from his observations right now, you have serious erm psy… chopathic issues, whatever that means. He just isn’t comfortable with giving you more powers until you prove that you will not abuse them.”

“I will just have to prove myself to him them.” Sasuke said in a fiercely serious voice, gripping Naruto’s hands tight as he stared into Naruto’s startled eyes. “Thank you Quezacotl for granting me this pact. You will not regret it. I’ll be the most powerful summoner you will ever have!”

Quezacotl must have said something to Naruto because the blond haired boy tilted his head to the side before looking at Sasuke with a frown. But whatever Quezacotl had said, Naruto did not share it with Sasuke. Sasuke held Naruto’s stare for a few uncomfortable seconds before the blond boy simply shook his head and walk away.

“Come on Sasuke, help me clear out this mess.” Naruto said as he began cleaning the spilled food on the floor, causalities of the accident when he had cut his table in half with a White Chakra Blade spell. “Kakashi might be in a better mood if he didn’t have to deal with a dirty room when he gets back.”

OoooO

Magistrate Building, Wave village

Haku did entertain thoughts of escaping the village and rescuing Zabuza from the village’s prison once Uchiha Sasuke had left. Of Team 7, only Haruno Sakura was the least threat. She could possibly disable the girl with just her taijutsu, even without access to her chakra and her weakened strength. But through the days she had spent with the girl, she had built up a cordial relationship with Sakura that was less as a jailer and more as a friend. Sakura had been delighted to find a female ninja close to her age, who had no choice but to listen to the pink haired girl talk as Sakura watched over Haku during her time at the Magistrate building.

At first Haku had found the girl’s conversations pointless, Sakura treated being a ninja like a game. Instead all of Sakura’s attention was focused on gaining the interest of one Uchiha Sasuke, the fantasy prince of the pink-haired girl. But Haku shortly realized that there had been hidden depths to the air headed girl. Somehow, through clever maneuvering of conversations, Sakura had gotten Haku to pour her heart out to someone other than Zabuza. It had been so long since Haku had a female friend, years in fact, that Sakura’s simple friendship had caused Haku to acknowledge the girl as another one of her precious person. And she would never hurt any of her precious people.

And so Haku had roamed the streets of Wave village with Sakura beside her. The villagers had been courteous to the two girls. Team 7, inclusive of Sakura, were heroes to everyone in Wave village. Haku was treated politely because for the past few days, other than tending to Naruto, she had brewed herbal remedies for several other sick villagers, as well as guiding the village’s women on how to collect the best herbs to make the most potent herbal extracts. Haku had been accepted by the women of Wave village and to the rest of the village, that was that.

They had only explored half the village before Kakashi had appeared next to them in a swirl of leaves. The white haired man looked highly irritated and frustrated as he took the two girls back to the Magistrate building. Once there, Haku had been greeted by a delighted Naruto who had scolded her for letting him think she was a boy. The powerful blond haired boy seemed to have forgotten that only a little more than a week ago, he and Haku had been locked in serious battle, one that could have cost either of them their lives. Naruto had simply prated on, making small talk as he tried to get to know “the girl he had met in the flower fields” better.

Kakashi meanwhile, after leaving instructions for Team 7 to watch over Haku, left to settle some business. He was still not back even after dark, and so Sakura had bind Haku apologetically as Team 7 turn in for the night, with one of them taking a rotational watch over Haku every few hours.

Haku woke up next morning on the couch, stiff from the rope bindings on her hands and legs. She had known something was going on when Kakashi had untied her, and called Team 7 together, just as Tazuna, the bridge builder, walked in with several armed men who herded an untied Zabuza in front of them. Haku’s eyes had lit up at the sight of her most precious person, the one who had taken her in when no one else had wanted her. Her unacknowledged father who had taken care of her, as well as treated her with kindness in his rough yet seemingly uncaring manner.

“Team 7 will be returning to Konoha this very morning.” Kakashi had announced to the shock of his team, though Tazuna and his men did not seem surprised by the announcement. “There’s the matter of what to do with Zabuza and Haku however. Taking them back to Konoha would be an instant death sentence for them, and after all the trouble Naruto and I have taken to spare their lives, it would be a waste if Konoha was to kill them just like that.”

Zabuza growled angrily, his untied hands already moving when one of the villagers with a pike shoved it in front of his face.

“I’ve talked to Tazuna and we’ve decided what to do with you two.” Kakashi said, nodding to Tazuna.

Tazuna turned to look at Haku and then Zabuza, his next words however stunned Haku into silence. “Wave village would like to hire the two of you to protect our village.”

“What?” Zabuza said in disbelief as he stared at the old bridge builder whom he had tried to kill previously.

“We’ve taken the entirety of Gato’s wealth. It does not take much to deduct that some unscrupulous partners of Gato might come to Wave village to take back those wealth by whatever force necessary. After the oppression Wave village had suffered under Gato’s hands, none of us wants to be without protection again.” Tazuna said resolutely as he stared at Zabuza who had begun laughing. “We are willing to pay highly for your protection Zabuza.”

“And what makes you think I wouldn’t just take that wealth from you.” Zabuza sneered at Tazuna.

Tazuna however was unfazed by Zabuza’s actions and words. “Because those wealth are now separated into various secret accounts tied to Wave village. Certain parties need to be present or agree, in order to draw upon the funds. One of the parties is Hatake Kakashi, who is now a trustee of the village. Should anything happen to the rest of the Wave village council, authority to dispense the funds will fall upon Hatake Kakashi. We trust him to look upon the interest of Wave village.”

“He is a Konoha nin, his only interest is to Konoha.” Zabuza said incredulously as he stared at Tazuna.

“And yet he and his Team offered to save Wave village, even when we only paid for a C-rank mission.” Tazuna said in a voice of steel. “We trust Kakashi, Zabuza. Wave village is willing to pay for the services of you and Haku for 150,000 ryo per month. More if we come under attack. I am also willing to forgive you of your past actions in trying to kill me. Will you agree to these terms Zabuza?”

There was a long moment of silence before Zabuza gave a shrug of his broad shoulders. “I’ll take it. It’s better than dying in Konoha. I expect this agreement is only between those in this room?”

“Correct, we can’t very well announce to the world Wave village has hired a missing nin as its protector. To the public, you will have escaped with Haku once Team 7 left. You will be paid on a monthly basis by the village council, and accommodations have already been prepared for you. There’s an old woodcutter’s cabin in the forest. We’ve repaired and furnished it so that you can move in anytime.” Tazuna stepped forward, passing Zabuza a thick envelope. “We are also returning what should belong to you.”

“What…” Zabuza trailed off as he opened the envelope and saw the wad of cash within.

“I believe that was the amount Gato promised for killing me and Team 7.” Tazuna said as he turned to Haku who was staring open mouth at the scene before her. “Both of you might have failed in your mission for Gato, but Wave village will honor that debt. That money rightfully belongs to the both of you anyway.”

Zabuza’s mouth twisted as he stuffed the envelope of money into his pockets. The look he gave Tazuna this time round was however respectful. “I may be a missing nin, but I also have my own honor. For as long as I accept payment from Wave village, Wave village will stay under my protection. And that is my promise to you.”

“Good, then I’ll hold you to it.” Kakashi said as he walked up to Haku, pressing a finger on the chakra restraining and strength sapping seals on her body which began to fade and disappear. Within moments, she could feel her chakra and strength returning again. Kakashi left to stand by Zabuza’s side, doing the same to him. Zabuza stretched his arm a few times, as if loosening stiff muscles. “Team 7 will be leaving for Konoha now. Zabuza, you and Haku will be taken back to your cells. Break out in the dark of the night. You should be able to figure out the rest on your own.”

Zabuza gave a curt nod to Kakashi before turning away. In the meantime, Sakura had engulfed Haku in a hug, while Naruto promised to come back and see her again. Sasuke simply stood a distance away, glaring at the girl who had turned him into a pin cushion.

“Alright time to go.” Tazuna said as the armed men rounded up Zabuza and Haku and began binding them. “We’re going to put up a show when we march you two back to prison, so act the part. Kakashi, Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura, words cannot express the gratitude Wave village has for the four of you. The villagers will be there at the bridge to say our goodbyes to you when you leave. I have also given Kakashi some gifts that Wave village wishes to pass to each of you. I understand Kakashi will give them to you upon reaching Konoha. I wish you all the best and to come back and visit us again one day.”

“We will old man.” Naruto said giving Tazuna a smile.

“Yes, we’ll definitely come back one day.” Sakura said as Tazuna and his men began marching Haku and Zabuza out of the Magistrate building.

Haku turned to give Team 7 once last wave before she walked out.

OoooO

Forest near the Land of Waves

Team 7 was moving at top speed over the tops of trees after they had said their goodbyes to the villagers, crossing the almost completed bridge back into mainland. They had to water walk for a short distance towards the mainland, after which they had to skim over the trees. Kakashi was hoping to make good on their timing, attempting to reach Konoha within three days. He was pushing Team 7 hard, and it was not too much of a guess for Naruto to realize that reason was probably him, or to be more precise, Quezacotl who resides in Naruto’s body.

At the current moment, Naruto was bringing up the group’s rear as he conversed with the Elemental Force within him. So you’ve found Shiva’s location? Naruto asked mentally. Quezacotl had been quiet the whole of last evening after he had done a powerful magical analysis of Haku while Naruto was engaging the girl in small talk. The pure chaos that was this morning meant that Naruto did not have time to inquire after Quezacotl until now.

In a way. Quezacotl’s voice said in Naruto’s mind. I was able to at last locate and tap into the metaphysical connection which binds Haku to Shiva due to their shared bloodlines. I was able to determine that my sister is indeed alive, though her essence seemed weak and that she is in some kind of slumber. My magic has already picked up that connection, so I will be able to guide you to Shiva’s location once you’re able to leave the village to help me search for her.

That’s good. Naruto said in agreement. I’ll see if I can convince Kakashi to let me have a few days off from the village once we get back to Konoha. I have been meaning to ask. This magical analysis thing you did to Haku, can it be used to find out what magic spells I can pull from a person?

It can be used that way. Quezacotl admitted. However the casting of such a magical scan takes time. The more detailed the scan, the longer the time needed. Usually it will be faster to simply draw the magic from a person, so that I can “sample” it and pass you the information of what the magic spell does.

Well Kakashi gave me strict instructions before we left, not to draw out any magic from anyone else for the time being. Naruto said thinking back on Kakashi’s firm briefing outside the Magistrate building before they had set off. I didn’t tell him I’ve already drawn spells from Sasuke and Sakura while he was away the previous night. Naruto revealed. Sakura had been his unknowing target of spell drawing. It had been an eye opener when he had drawn out two powerful spells from Sakura. One was a spell named “Physical manifestation of alternate self” which could somehow summon the darker part of oneself, the last was a “Quake” spell which could cause a localize earthquake.

Sasuke on the other hand was a willing participant of Naruto’s magic drawing experiment. Naruto had drawn out “Mimic” spells from the boy, “Blaze” spells which could summon blaze of fire, and “Lightning” spells which could cast lightning on a target. What had Naruto curious however were the spells Naruto had yet to draw from Kakashi. So Quezacotl, do you think you can find out what other spells I can draw from Kakashi?

That can be done with a quick surface scan. Quezacotl said with a mental nod. Give me a few minutes.

In the mental silence that followed, Naruto observed his surroundings as he tagged after his Team, speeding across the treetops. They had just passed a familiar road where the group had first encountered Zabuza when Quezacotl spoke up. Magical analysis completed. Hatake Kakashi currently possesses five different magical aspects. The “Mimic” spell, and “White Chakra Blade” spell can be drawn from him. The other three are the “Lightning orb” spell, which creates a powerful orb of lightning in one’s hands, “Dragon flames” spell, which creates fire hot enough to melt metal, and the “Tidal wave” spell which creates a powerful wall of water.

That is so cool! Naruto said in excitement, a grin splitting his face. I can’t wait to draw those spells from Kakashi. Now I just have to find a way to get Kakashi to agree to it.

As Team 7 speeds through the treetops. Naruto was plotting on drawing more powerful spells with his new found abilities.

Alexander, The Warrior Mage (Chapter Four)

Story Title: Alexander, The Warrior Mage

Crossover: BtVS/ Might and Magic VI/ Stargate verse AU/ Ghost Whisperer/ Star Wars/ multiple

Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction for the fans’ enjoyment and to keep the fandoms alive. :) I do not own any of the fandoms that are pieced together in this story, and no profit is made.

Summary: Months on the Hellmouth and Xander wise up. If he was to survive on Hellmouth central he will need magical protection. Unfortunately, he did not count on Halloween night.

Chapter Four: Storm’s Gathering Part 1

Sunnydale

Xander’s mouth hang open as the group now stood before the property Cordelia had brought under his name. It had been a week since she had started the property hunt, and thus when Cordelia said she had found a suitable place, Xander had blinked at the large sum of money she requested and just passed it to her. Giles had been a great help in helping him fence off a lot of duplicated valuables over the week, and what he had saved up had been more than enough to cover the property price. He had signed some papers Cordelia had passed him, and then had driven together with the group to the property itself.

“You bought the old botanic garden?” Xander shouted incredulously at Cordelia as they stood in front of the large walled off property that used to be Sunnydale’s botanic garden. The place had been closed down more than thirteen years ago, and now as they stood in front of the large looming iron gates of the enclosure, overrun with weeds and vines, Xander had a sinking feeling that he should have been more involved in the property hunt. Now… it was a bit too late for foresight.

“The land mass is 32 hectares, with a hothouse and a large building that used to be the administration headquarters of the garden. It’s a steal at what the agent is charging.” Cordelia defended her choice. “I took a look, the hothouse is still working, amazing since it was only maintained every half a year, and the admin building is a mess, but structurally sound, we just need a cleanup and maintenance crew to go over the whole place and you can start planting crops.”

“Herbs Cordelia, they are herbs.” Giles said absentmindedly as he stared in shock at the property that now belonged to Xander on paper.

“The place looks haunted!” Xander protested his eyes wide. “In fact I remembered hearing horror stories about this place when we’re in grade school.”

“Nothing a good cleanup can’t take care of.” Cordelia argued back before giving Xander a look of scorn. “And hello? You’re supposed to be this powerful Warrior Mage guy and you’re scared of ghosts? The ghosts should be the ones afraid of you!”

As Xander begun to bristle, Buffy walked forward peering through the gates. “Actually what Cordelia said made sense, you’re going to need space to plant your magic plants. What better place than a botanic garden with its own greenhouse building?”

“Yes but she brought the whole place!” Xander said waving his arm out. “What am I supposed to do with the rest of the land?”

“We could… grow flowers?” Buffy suggested helpfully.

Xander just slapped a hand on his head and gave a groan.

OoooO

Greenfields Cemetery

With shaking hands, he laid the bouquet in his hands on the tombstone in front of him. Percy West swallowed back fear and horror as he tried to blink back tears. Memories of the night still haunted him… He was Darth Vader, Sith Lord, Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet. He was immersed in the dark side of the Force. He was also the killer of Ronald White and Bart Woods, both of whom had died at the video game festival on Halloween night, sliced in half by a glowing red light saber.

Percy swallowed back bile as memories of the night surfaced. Everything had been so chaotic. One moment he was at the video game booth promoting the new Star Wars game, and then the next moment he had taken a backseat in his own body, watching in shock as a powerful Sith Lord went mad in his body. He could still remember the feeling of the Force. The simmering cesspool of darkness that had surrounded him. The concentration of chaos and the Dark side swirling around the Sith Lord had been so overwhelming in the festival hall that it drove Darth Vader berserk.

Percy could not remember much after that. All he knew was that he returned back to his own body to find two bodies sliced in half scattered around him. The powerful presence of Darth Vader had disappeared, so had his Force abilities. But the memories… oh god, the memories, they had stayed with Percy. Those memories had nearly driven him mad, but he had gotten a handle on them after a few days of locking himself in his room.

The police had been unable to charge him with the murders of the two teenagers since the light saber Percy had been holding had changed back into a prop. In the end the whole thing had been covered up by the police who had remarked that the two had died in a cable wiring accident during the chaos. Only Percy had known better, the memories of Darth Vader had shown him that.

Though he had been consumed by guilt, Percy was too scared to own up. Too scared of what would happen to him, or what his parents would suffer through. He had been a jock at Sunnydale High, one of the star players of the basketball team, though none of that seemed to matter now. It was not his reputation that he was concerned about if he was charged with murder, but his parents’.

And then there was the matter of the memories. Darth Vader, once Anakin Skywalker, had been a star pilot and excellent engineer. The wonders and things he could assemble and built now lies within Percy’s reach. Where Percy once struggled with math and science, he now bears an understanding of higher level algorithms and technologies which no one on Earth could possibly compare to. All those knowledge just cried out to him, asking him to use them, to build them, even though Percy had no idea if they would even work in the real world.

“Percy man what took you so long?” Larry, one of the school’s football player, and his childhood friend called out, causing Percy to jump. “I thought you said you just need a few minutes, it’s already half an hour.”

“Sorry.” Percy said, quickly turning to leave.

“I left the car running. I need to get back to practice in ten minutes. I only waited because you said you needed a ride back.” Larry said as they walked out of the cemetery. “Who are those people anyway? We went to two separate cemeteries in an hour’s time. It’s not your family, and I know all of your friends.”

“Just leave it alone Larry.” Percy said with a sigh as he got into the car, quickly changing the topic. “So I heard Harmony asked you out during lunch today?”

“Yeah.” Larry said derisively. “I heard from the guys on the team that she’s real easy…”

As Percy listened to Larry prattled on, Percy’s mind wondered… what should he do now?

OoooO

Sunnydale Library

Willow admired the gleaming liquid silver ring on her right hand, feeling its powerful enchantments boosting her. With the time available in the past week, Xander had upgraded everyone’s rings into Astral metal rings, which could contain hundreds over different enchantments should there be a need to. For herself, Willow had three enhancement of speed, two enhancement of endurance, and three enhancement of intelligence. It basically meant that she could read and absorb knowledge at a pace she could never before imagined.

Then there had been the magical enchantments which had been pretty standard on everyone’s rings. There had been the magical beacon teleport which could instantly transport the wearer of the ring to Xander’s new apartment. There were the thirty charges of shield spells, fifty charges of lightning bolt spells, the wizard eye passive ability, and the protection spell against the four elements and magic. Everyone in the group was now a magical arsenal, able to take down any supernatural threat on their own should there be a need to.

Willow had already gone through all of the books in the library with her super speed and intellect. She had then turned her focus to her love of computer programming and found a kindred soul in Oz. Apparently Oz had been pretty good with programming and sciences as well. The two of them had been spending a lot of time together as they worked on creating a powerful search engine program that would allow the group to collect information more effectively over the internet.

Buffy had been teasing the two of them about the time they spent together, and Cordelia kept giving her that knowing smirk. At the very least Buffy would be too preoccupied to make fun of Willow today, her ex-high schoolmate, Ford, had transferred to Sunnydale High, and was taking up most of the Slayer’s attention.

“Where’s the rest of the group?” Oz asked as he entered the library after classes had ended for the day. Willow had already been there waiting for half an hour since her lessons ended early.

“Giles’ in his office, I think he’s preparing for his date with Ms. Calendar later in the evening.” Willow said pointing to the closed door of the librarian’s office. “Xander rushed back to his place to brew some potions… which is exactly what he has been doing for the past few days. Cordelia said she needed some shopping therapy after seeing Harmony kiss Larry during lunch, though I have no idea how that is supposed to affect her. Buffy is with Ford somewhere on the school’s campus.”

“Seems like everyone’s busy.” Oz said as the two of them walked to the row of computers recently installed in the library. “So how far did you go with the search engine program yesterday night? I’ve finished the algorithm for running a bubble sort through meta-data by using the Binns-Means theory.”

“I finished my part of the program as well. I created a program that piggybacks multiple IP addresses and retrieved data contained within them for the search.” Willow said as she inserted a disc into the computer in front of her. “It took me the better part of the night, and I think there are still some bugs.”

“Let’s go through the codes together.” Oz offered, sitting down beside her, eyes intent on the codes that pop out as Willow opened the code editor program. Willow blushed as Oz leaned closer towards her as they worked on the codes together.

A slight creaking of the library doors caused the two of them to look up from their work. Willow blinked as a tall well-muscled guy walked in. She had recognized him as one of the school’s basketball players from the neighboring class. The guy looked more like a jock than someone who would spend his time in the library.

The guy paused at the entrance of the library, looking distinctly uncomfortable at the nearly empty place. “I am just looking for books on physics and chemistry.” He said, shifting uncomfortably at the looks Willow and Oz were giving him.

“They’re on the left aisle, third shelf onwards.” Willow offered. The guy quickly nodded his head in thanks before quickly moving to the shelves. Willow and Oz shared a look before Oz shrugged his shoulders. While the high school library was devoid of students most of the time, once in a while they get strays like the guy who came in, though they tend to look more bookish.

Both of them turned back to their codes, and began refining them as Willow merge her program and Oz’s together. They were so engrossed with their work that they did not hear anyone walking behind them until a voice spoke out.

“You should run an ‘if loop’ through those lines of codes instead of using a ‘switch’, it’ll be more streamlined and efficient. Those lines of codes can be cleaned up further too.” Someone said behind them. Willow jumped, turning to see the jock now standing beside her.

“Erm hi, I am Percy.” The guy introduced with a forced smile, clutching several physics and robotics books in his hands. “I was looking for the librarian, and then I happened to see your codes…”

“You’re right, it’ll be more efficient with an ‘if loop’ encapsulating this chunk of code.” Oz spoke out as he gave the codes on screen a second look. “I am Oz and this is Willow. You’re a programmer as well?”

“Not really.” Percy said looking very uncomfortable all of a sudden. “I only started understanding them during computer classes this week. They just seemed to make sense all of a sudden…” Percy said giving an uneasy laugh.

“If you’re looking for the librarian, Giles’ in his office.” Willow said. “I can give him a call for you…”

“Actually you want to look through these codes with us?” Oz offered to Willow’s surprise. “We can always use another pair of eyes. Very few people in high school actually know more than the fundamentals of programming.”

“Well I do have some time before basketball practice.” Percy said in thought before giving a shrug and pulled a chair beside them. “Sure why not. I only picked up programming recently though, so I am not sure how much advice I can give.”

“At the very least this can give you more experience in the subject.” Oz said simply before pointing to the computer screen. “We’re trying to create a semi-intuitive search engine program, sort of a semi-intelligent program that can search for data with specific parameters across the internet…”

OoooO

Watchers Council, England

Demons, magic, aliens were real. Daniel’s head swam with the information he had been exposed to for the past few days. He had never expected that accepting the Watchers Council’s invitation would turn his life view topsy-turvy. Neither would he have imagined the vampire presented to him as his introduction to the supernatural, nor the alien artifact that was currently sitting in the basement of the Council’s headquarters.

And Daniel’s task, along with numerous researchers and scientists hired and accepted into the Council, was to decipher the workings and usage of the device known as the Stargate. Daniel had terminated his tenure at the university, partially on the account that the salary the Council was paying him was twice of his university’s pay. Not to mention the Council had wanted him to start researching the Stargate right away.

He was however having trouble with his head of department, one Mervin Wilson, who was scornful of everyone not born on English soil. But the work was too interesting and out of this world that Daniel simply paid it no mind.

Currently Daniel was in the library of the Council headquarters, and was pouring over an old tomb on ancient Egyptian, hoping to gain insight on the history of the device itself. Not for the first time did Daniel marveled at the Council’s library which contained numerous never seen before written works from ages past. On the table beside him were the strange glyphs found on the metal ring device, somehow Daniel knew that if he could only figure out what those glyphs mean, he would have the key to finding out what the device by itself do.

Someone bumped into his table, jarring his concentration. He looked up into the shimmering blue eyes of a flustered looking blond haired woman. She brushed her long locks from her face, giving Daniel and abashed smile. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to bump into the table. This library is just so… intimidating that I wasn’t looking at where I was going.” The woman apologized.

“Ah it’s quite all right, don’t worry about it.” Daniel said standing up, smiling at the woman. “You sound like an American, I am Dr. Daniel Jackson, from California.”

“Oh! I am from California as well.” The woman said in surprise and relief at finding someone she could relate to. “I am Dr. Samantha Carter. I specialize in Quantum science and Mechanical Engineering.”

“My specialty is in Ancient languages and Archeology, particularly of Egyptian history.” Daniel said as he cleared a portion of his table, offering Samantha a seat next to him. The strikingly long haired beautiful woman smiled as she sat down, looking at the books and papers on his table.

“Those are the glyphs on the Stargate, that’s what the Council brought you here for isn’t it?” Samantha asked giving him a wry smile. “I’m with the science team researching how to actually power the device and get it to work.”

“That must be tough since we only have a rough idea of what the device is used for.” Daniel said in empathy before shaking his head. “Sorry, it has only been my third day here, and I am still trying to get used to things…”

“The induction program huh?” Samantha asked, a haunted look in her eyes. “Did they ask you to stake a vampire as well?”

“Yeah… while it was bonded in chains.” Daniel said, paling at the memories. “It was a bit of a… culture shock, to find that the supernatural actually exists in the darkness and shadows of society.”

“I am sure there must be some scientific explanations for the vampires, demons and magic the Council introduced during the induction program.” Samantha said in discomfort. “But for the moment the Stargate is the priority and it takes up a lot of my time.”

“I guess it does.” Daniel said looking at the jittery woman. “How long did it take you before you can sleep at night?”

“Close to two weeks.” The woman admitted, clutching a small gold cross around her neck. “I’ve been here for a month now, and what I have learnt and seen during the induction program still gave me nightmares.”

“I suppose it’ll be the same for me.” Daniel said in understanding. “You know what? Are you available this evening after work? I hadn’t had time to see the sights around here. Maybe you know of a place to chill out for the night?”

“There’s a place I know of near here. It has a nice atmosphere and a large collection of beverages. I can bring you there.” Samantha offered with a smile. “I go there often with my team, Doctor Covel and Doctor Rush. They are both from California as well. We can go there together after work.”

“That’ll be great.” Daniel said in surprise. “I wasn’t aware there were so many people from the States working in the Council.”

“Actually, aside from you and my team, I hadn’t seen another American around for the past one month.” Samantha confessed uncomfortably. “A lot of the senior Council members are quite insular. I have the feeling that if my team and I were not the best in our fields, we might not even be hired. I did hear that there are a lot more Americans and people of other nationalities in the Council’s demon hunting squads.”

“I see.” Daniel said with a frown, already not liking the picture of the Council he was forming. It was quite easy to get an idea of what an organization was like by the job roles it assigned to different people. Daniel had to wonder if a lot more non-Britain citizens were hired for the demon hunting squads because they were expendable.

As Daniel and Samantha shared news and seek solace in each other’s company, Daniel knew he would have to tread carefully now that he was in the Council. Where once he thought the Council was a prestige blue blood institution and one of the foremost archeology authorities of the world, Daniel now knows that underneath the gleaming shining front the Council presents to the world, its inner workings were full of shadowy agendas.

For instant, Daniel had been harboring a thought since the Council had shown him the Stargate. He could understand the Council’s interest in finding out what the Stargate does and how to operate it. But should the research teams get it to work one day, what exactly would the Council do with it? Because from what he had observed of the Council during the past few days, he doubt that they would share the device with the world.

OoooO

Sunnydale Library

“You are good!” Willow said in surprise as Percy actually recoded the programs Oz and herself had written into a more powerful package, utilizing algorithms and various applications of coding techniques that she had never seen before. “Where did you learn to do all these? I’ve never seen half the algorithms you used in any of the math and programming books.”

“I just picked it up… suddenly I guess.” Percy said looking very uncomfortable. The search engine program had been completed and compiled, and it was also more powerful than Willow and Oz had planned due to Percy’s assistance.

“You just pick it up?” Oz asked curiously.

“Yeah over the week I guess. I can understand them better now.” Percy said evading the question while Willow frowned. She had heard of prodigy programmers, but the complex algorithms Percy had applied in the search engine program was not something someone could just pick up in a week. And what did Percy meant by a week? After all, close to a week ago there was…

“Halloween.” Willow said firmly, causing Percy to nearly jump out of his seat.

“What! I don’t know what you mean.” Percy said quickly, grabbing his books and getting out of his chair. “I should really get the librarian now, I need to borrow these books…”

“Halloween night.” Oz said, seemingly understanding what Willow was trying to imply. “You were changed as well.”

Percy who had been walking towards the counter gave a jerk, pausing stiffly before turning to look at Oz and Willow. “What do you mean changed as well?”

Willow simply raised her hand and swiped the air in front of her, tapping into her enhanced speed. Her hand literally blurred into motion, causing Percy’s eyes to widen.

“Oh my god… you are the same as me.” Percy said in shock.

“Not exactly.” Willow said cautiously as she and Oz got out of the seats, walking towards the stunned Percy. “Who exactly did you dressed as? What powers and memories did you get?”

Her words however seemed to trigger something within Percy as his hands slummed to his sides, causing the books he was holding on to tumble onto the floor. Visible tears shimmered in Percy’s eyes as he began to shudder.

Willow took a step back, unnerved by the sight of a grown man, especially one with Percy’s build holding back tears. Somehow Willow had the sinking feeling that Percy might be more than just changed during Halloween night.

OoooO

Sunnydale Library

“He was Darth Vader.” Xander said wearily as he looked towards Giles’ office where the older man was currently attempting to console a distraught basketball player who had been affected during Halloween night. When Willow had called him about an emergency, Xander had teleported into the library through a magical beacon he had set up previously. “I know who he is. He is the guy in Darth Vader costume at the booth beside mine during the Culture festival. I didn’t see his face under his costume, but I remembered he killed two people while he was possessed.”

“According to him, Darth Vader went berserk once he took control of his body. There was too much darkness in the Force that it drove his Force sense crazy.” Willow spoke up. “When Percy regained control, all he got was the memories.”

“Most probably because he was standing close to me at that time.” Xander theorized. “Whatever happened to enable me to keep my Halloween counterpart’s memories and powers must have only partially affected him.”

“He just fell apart when he realized he could talk to us.” Oz offered, looking worriedly at Giles’ office. “How bad were the bodies of those Vader killed?”

“Sliced into two halves.” Xander said even as Willow blanched.

“That must be horrifying.” Willow said in sympathy. “And he had been keeping it all to himself the past week.”

“Being possessed and forced to kill people?” Xander asked grimly. “I can imagine how traumatic it’ll be. From what I saw, he was already hovering at the end of his line. If he hadn’t known that he can talk to us, he might have done something stupid.”

“But what about the other people in the festival? If you are really the cause of Percy retaining Vader’s memories, how close to you must the rest of the people be before they’re affected as well?” Willow asked, pointing out something important. “There could be more than just Percy who managed to retain memories of their Halloween selves.”

“We’ll have to track down all of the costumed promoters during that night, and whoever went to the festive dressed in costumes from that damn Halloween shop.” Xander said with a twist of his lips. “I still have the organizer’s number from the time I applied for the job, but I’ve no idea how to track the visitors to the Culture festival.”

“Were there security cameras at the place?” Oz asked as Xander turned to look at him in surprise.

“You know, I think I remembered seeing security cameras near the entrance, and I remember seeing people with video cameras in the crowd.” Xander said as he tried to recollect. “Not to mention the whole place only had six sets of entrances, all of which were located in one place.”

“Good, I’ll see if I can track down any video footages of that night.” Oz offered.

“It’ll be a big undertaking though… there were lots of people at the festival that night.” Xander cautioned. “Though the possibility that some of them might retain powers or memories from their Halloween counterparts isn’t something we can overlook. Luckily I’m not tied for money now. I’ve always wanted to see how susceptible to bribes people really are…”

Willow rolled her eyes at Xander’s mock evil look. “Well, while you try throwing money at people to get the information, Oz and I will try to see if we can dig anything out with our hacking skills and the new search program. It’s as good a time as any to test the software out.”

OoooO

Sunnydale Library

An evening at the movies with Giles was starting to turn into something much more. After that nerve wrecking Halloween night when she had been briefly possessed by a gypsy dancer, Jenny had been recalled back by her clan. Chaotic energies had swept across the world and magic users caught in the aftermath of the sweeping energy wave had all sensed it. Some of the old clan talents thought to be long lost also began appearing. Wolf speaking, empathic connections… and it was not just limited to the clan itself, old talents emerging from old bloodlines, believed lost since the Elder demons were sealed away, were rumored to be appearing all over the world.

It was only when she reached the clan ancestral home land that Jenny began having dreams. The Seer gift, the clan elders had told her, a rare clan talent that appeared once in several generations, and Jenny had received an extremely powerful version of it. The dreams had been of mass destructions all over the world, something Jenny just could not comprehend. Dark suffocating shadows and a hail of raging flames falling from the heavens engulfed the whole world, and at the center of all the dreams, she always saw Giles, the rest of the group, numerous strangers she had never seen before, and even Angel, standing unharmed, all glowing in the darkness as beacons of light.

The world was going to go through great upheaval in the future. According to the interpretation of the clan elders about her vision, the world would be destroyed and the dark supernatural forces would reign over its ashes. The small group she had known in Sunnydale was one of the key to countering those events, or at the very least, ensures that the world survives whatever was coming. Jenny had been sent back to Sunnydale to observe and keep an eye on the whole group. She also realized belatedly that Giles and his group might have more information on the night’s events. Jenny had originally intended to ask Giles out and discreetly pump him for any information he had regarding Halloween night, after all if she was going to do the clan’s dirty business, she might as well enjoy it.

It was only when she walked into the library that she realized there was no need to probe Giles for information, because Xander and Willow had provided her with the details of what happened during that night, and why Giles was currently in his office trying to console a traumatized young man who had apparently killed two people while possessed.

“… and you now possess the fictional magic of some game character?” Jenny asked in amazement as she stared at Xander.

“Yeah.” Xander said looking abashed. “We would have let you know earlier, you’ve helped us so much. But Giles had been saying you took a week’s leave from school, and he couldn’t contact you until today…”

“It’s my fault.” Jenny reassured the teenager. “I actually left town for a while. So this magic, what can you do with it?”

“Well…” For a moment, Xander met Willow’s eyes, before flickering to Oz. “I can enchant objects mostly. Embed magical spells in them which can then be cast by anyone, or imbue enhancement spells into items so wearing them will enhance the physical aspects of the wearer. I do have a limited repository of magical enchantments, so it’s not like I am all powerful.”

“Enchantments… that’s a pretty niche field of magic.” Jenny said looking at Xander in surprise. “It’s very power intensive and normally done by the more experienced magic users in our world and usually in organized covens. What enchantments do you know?”

“Physical enhancements and spell enchantments…” Xander trailed off trying to search his mind for an example. “You know like those D&D magical artifacts that spew out spells for anyone that use them.”

Jenny raised an eyebrow, impressed. “That’s pretty impressive. Spell enchantments are one of the hardest enchantment types in the world. Custom works for those artifacts are supposed to cost in the range of thousands.”

“Wow that’s definitely something that’s good to know.” Xander said with a nod. “But I don’t plan to sell any of my enchanted artifacts to outsiders. I have no wish for them to be used against us. I’ll work on something for you however.”

“Oh Xander there’s no need…” Jenny began but Xander shook his head firmly.

“You’ve help us out quite a few times.” Xander said. “I consider you part of the group already. And we can always use another hand to actively keep this town safe.”

Jenny hesitated, thinking about the reason why she was sent to Sunnydale. She looked at Xander, Willow and the new guy standing beside her, her eyes flickering to Giles’ office. A mere moment of hesitation and she made up her mind. She might be responsible for making sure Angel’s suffering continues, but that did not mean that she could not help Giles and his little group keep the town safe. After all, Xander was right, with the strange states of affairs currently sweeping over the world, they need all the help they could get in Sunnydale.

“Alright I’ll help out. But just one little thing, can I watch while you do your enchantments?” Jenny asked, smiling at Xander.

OoooO

Greenfields Lane, Sunnydale

It had been little more than a week since Matthew’s first foster father had died and he had moved in with his second foster parents. It was a very long week for him to come to grips with his new life, as his new foster parents managed to find them a new home in Sunnydale at a very short notice.

His new foster father Roger had gotten them a new home in Sunnydale’s suburb, a two storey house with its own lawn surrounded by white picket fence. They had managed to get the house at a heavily discounted price because the previous owner and his family had been gruesomely killed outside the house a month ago by some gang members.

The rooms had come fully furnished and tastefully decorated, apparently the previous owner had redecorated his place before his death. Since the Carrels were not superstitious folks by nature, they had no problems with the history of the house.

Matthew had gotten the whole basement as his lair, his new foster father had been adamant that Matthew had a room large enough to be comfortable with. The basement room had been the largest in the house. The old owner had apparently set up the basement as a room for his two children, and Matthew had since taken it over.

Matthew had appreciated the gesture. His new foster parents, the Carrels were good people. And after he had gotten over the grief of losing his first foster father, he thanked God that he managed to be adopted by his new foster parents. He might have ended up in foster care or a shelter if the Carrels had not taken him in.

Boxes containing clothes, books and his personal belongings of his old life sat in one corner of the basement, just waiting to be opened. His new room was already decorated with two beds, several drawers and cupboards, two tables and a computer. The entire place was double the size of his old room at the church. It also came with its own connecting toilet, which makes things easier for him.

Matthew had spent most of the day helping his foster parents move things into the house, and now that things had settled down, he was given time to unpack his belongings before dinner starts in an hour. Rearranging his old stuff had prompted a heavy trip down memory lane, but Matthew controlled his emotions with an iron will. He still had a lot to do, and he could not afford to spend time breaking down now.

He had already been enrolled in the public high school in Sunnydale, and his first school day begins tomorrow. There was only one more month before the year end of high school, and Matthew knew that finishing off his first year in a new high school was not going to be a picnic. The only thing going for him was that he was athletic and reasonably good looking. He could be able to fit in to school with no problem if he tried not to stand out too much.

Taking out a well-worn bible from a box, Matthew looked at it with a smile. If his first foster father had been alive, he might have taken the mantle and become a priest. After all, he had been taught most of the holy rites and how to give sermons. But now, things were different. Matthew had to wonder, what would he become in the future?

OoooO

Sunview complex, Sunnydale

It had been a relief to finally be able to confide in someone about his dark secret, to come to terms with what he had done during Halloween night, even if his body was not under his control. To understand what the hell actually happened to make him become possessed by Darth Vader and how he ended up with the dark lord’s memories.

After finally accepting Giles’ reassurance that what happened was not his fault, Percy had been told more of the group itself, and was invited to join the small group of demon hunters in protecting Sunnydale. Percy instantly accepted. He wanted to prove and redeem himself, even if Giles had told him there was no need for him to do that.

When Xander invited everyone to his apartment, Percy had accepted. After all, he had already missed basketball practice, and he did want to see more of Xander’s magic. Percy’s first experience of it had been when Xander effortlessly teleported the whole group to his apartment, much to the astonishment of Ms. Calendar, the computer teacher, who was also apparently part of the group. She began sputtering about the power levels needed for such a spell and had to be taken aside by Giles who tried to calm her down.

Xander had then proceed to take out two pre-created rings made of some silvery liquid metal, that Xander had named Astral metal. Xander had then cast some sort of analysis spell on Percy and Ms. Calendar, before laying powerful enchantments on the rings. The rings had then been given to Percy and Ms. Calendar. The first time Percy had put on the ring gifted to him and accessed the magic now available to him, Percy had felt an incredible sense of empowerment. The feeling had been vastly different from how the Force had felt like during Halloween night. From what Xander had told everyone, he had given Ms. Calendar and Percy the same set of spell enchantments he had given the group.

Xander did seem disappointed that Percy and Ms. Calendar was incompatible to the magic awakening ritual which would supposedly grant anyone compatible the same type of magic as Xander himself. The magically powerful teenager had however taken out a bracelet made of Astral metal, and had asked Percy to hold on to it while thinking of Darth Vader’s vast technological expertise.

“I want to make a copy of what Darth Vader knew of Star War’s technologies.” Xander explained, outlining the memory coping enchantment on the bracelet, which was apparently a general usage spell that all mage apprentices in Enroth knew of to copy and contain memories. “We might find a use for those memories. But the memory coping spell only works if the one whose memories are being copied is directing the spell. I’ve already enchanted the bracelet with the spell, so when you have time, push the memories of the Star Wars technological know-how you possessed into the bracelet. Once you’re done, pass them to me, I’ll make duplicates for everyone.”

“And after that we’ll have access to Star Wars level technologies?” Willow asked breathlessly. “Do those fictional technologies and theories even work in our world?”

“That’s what we’ll have to find out.” Xander said with a grin. “I wouldn’t mind building our own Millennium Falcon.”

Percy frowned, uncomfortable at accessing Darth Vader’s memories too deeply, but he did own it to the group, so he accepted the bracelet and put it around his right wrist. “It’ll take some time to copy all of Darth Vader’s technical knowledge into the bracelet, even with the speed and intellect enhancements you’ve given me.”

“Don’t worry, we’ve time.” Xander said with a grin. “At least now I know what to do with that botanic garden Cordelia bought for us. We can convert part of the land into a working area to test out the construction of Star Wars technologies.”

“Then we’ll have to tell Cordelia fast, last I heard, she’s getting contractors to clean up the whole place.” Oz cautioned. “They’re beginning work in a few days.”

“I’ll give her a call just to update her about what happened.” Xander said as he looked around at the group gathered in his living room. “Willow if you can do the same for Buffy…”

“Sure I’ll do that.” Willow said with a nod. “The program Oz, Percy and I created had already located a few video recordings of Halloween night at the festival hall. One of the video captured a lot of the people in the hall shortly before the Halloween spell took over. We’ve already identified a number of the people at the hall that night who had their face unmasked, using the town council’s database. We’ll need Buffy’s help to hunt them down.”

“We’ll create a list of names and address, then split into groups to observe and maybe question those people.” Giles spoke out with an apprehensive look in his eyes. “If there are more who retain their memories, or even worse, abilities from the night, we’ll need to locate them fast.”

OoooO

Sewer Tunnels, Sunnydale

Angel ghosted through the tunnels, unhindered by the supernatural entities that took up residences in some of the darker depths of the sewers. He had spent most of his time underground, hoping to find news… after what happened during Halloween night.

The supernatural community in Sunnydale had felt it when the dark energies saturating Sunnydale had vanished. Strange things started happening, rumors of demons around the world suddenly having access to new abilities started spreading like wildfire. Demonic clans who had long made their homes in Sunnydale began moving out of town for the past week. There were also tales that old, legendary talents belonging to ancient human bloodlines had also made a rebirth into the world.

After a week of information hunting in the tunnels, all Angel discovered was that the change was world-wide, though it originated from Sunnydale, and that there was a new group of super powered demon hunters in town. Realizing that he would not be able to get any more details of the night’s happenings, he decided to find Buffy as soon as possible.

Change was in the world, and the Slayer needs to be aware of it, or she might be swept away by the chaos that had trampled over the global supernatural scene.

OoooO

Summers Home, Sunnydale

Buffy sighed as she reached home before the 7pm curfew. She had been out all afternoon with Ford. Thankfully the group would be taking over her patrol duties for the night, since there was no way she could escape from her mother this evening. They were supposed to spend some quality family time watching movies.

“Buffy, there’s a parcel for you in your room.” Her mother hollered from the kitchen as Buffy closed the front door behind her. “It arrived in the afternoon.”

“Thanks mom.” Buffy said going up the stairs. She passed Dawn’s room which was thrumming with loud music. Buffy shook her head, the neighbors would probably be complaining anytime soon.

Walking into her room, Buffy saw the large parcel on her bed and ripped it open, wondering who would be sending her things through the mail. From the sticker on the parcel, it had been sent through international air mail, from Tibet.

Her eyes widened as she opened the box cover to see four palm sized, glowing sphere like objects contained within. Two letters were stacked on top of them. Cautiously Buffy opened the first letter, she gave a gasp as she read the two sentences written on a plain white paper.

The Abomination is coming, you must protect the Key. For if it gets the Key, the world will End.

OoooO

Enchanted Items

Cordelia (x6)

Ring – Protection from the Four Elements

           + Wizard Eye

           + Flight

           + Teleport Beacon to Xander’s apartment

           + Shield x 30

           + Lightning Bolt x50

           + Enhanced Speed x 4

           + Enhanced Intelligence

           + Enhanced Endurance

  • Rough gauge.
    • Cordelia now moves and thinks faster than speeding bullets
    • Cordelia now possess above average intellect and memory retention
    • Cordelia will be able to pull through most non-life threatening injuries. Her regeneration level allows her to heal serious injuries within weeks

 

Xander (x8)

Ring -     Enhanced Speed x 2

           + Enhanced Endurance x 2

           + Enhanced Intelligence x 2

           + Enhanced Might x 2

           + Shield x 30

           + Protection from the Four Elements

           + Fireball x 60

           + Implosion x 40

           + Wizard Eye

           + Flight

           + Teleport Beacon to Xander’s apartment

  • Rough gauge.
    • Xander now moves and thinks as fast as speeding bullets
    • Xander now possess drastically above genius level intellect and memory retention
    • Xander will be able to pull through most injuries. His regeneration level allows him to heal serious injuries within days
    • Xander will be able to lift 4 tons of weight

 

Willow (x8)

Ring – Protection from the Four Elements

           + Wizard Eye

           + Flight

           + Teleport Beacon to Xander’s apartment

           + Shield x 30

           + Lightning Bolt x50

           + Enhanced Speed x 3

           + Enhanced Endurance x 2

           + Enhanced Intelligence x 3

  • Rough gauge.
    • Willow now moves and thinks as fast as speeding bullets
    • Willow now possess drastically above genius level intellect and memory retention
    • Willow will be able to pull through most injuries. Her regeneration level allows her to heal serious injuries within weeks

 

Buffy (x11)

Ring – Protection from the Four Elements

           + Wizard Eye

           + Flight

           + Teleport Beacon to Xander’s apartment

           + Shield x 30

           + Lightning Bolt x50

           + Enhanced Speed x 4

           + Enhanced Intelligence x2

           + Enhanced Might x 2

           + Enhanced Endurance x 3

  • Rough gauge.
    • Buffy now moves and thinks at the speed of sound
    • Buffy now possess genius level intellect and memory retention
    • Buffy can now lift a tank
    • Buffy will only get light bruising when shot with a bullet. Her regeneration level is a bit higher than Wolverine’s level (x-men)

 

Giles (x7)

Ring – Protection from the Four Elements

           + Wizard Eye

           + Flight

           + Teleport Beacon to Xander’s apartment

           + Shield x 30

           + Lightning Bolt x50

           + Enhanced Speed x 2

           + Enhanced Endurance x 3

           + Enhanced Intelligence x 2

  • Rough gauge.
    • Giles now moves and thinks as fast as some bullets
    • Giles now possess genius level intellect and memory retention
    • Giles will be able to pull through most injuries. His regeneration level allows him to heal serious injuries within days

 

Oz (x6)

Ring – Protection from the Four Elements

           + Wizard Eye

           + Flight

           + Teleport Beacon to Xander’s apartment

           + Shield x 30

           + Lightning Bolt x50

           + Enhanced Speed x 2

           + Enhanced Endurance x 2

           + Enhanced Intelligence x 2

  • Rough gauge.
    • Oz now moves and thinks as fast as some bullets
    • Oz now possess genius level intellect and memory retention
    • Oz will be able to pull through most injuries. His regeneration level allows him to heal serious injuries within weeks

 

Percy (x7)

Ring – Protection from the Four Elements

           + Wizard Eye

           + Flight

           + Teleport Beacon to Xander’s apartment

           + Shield x 30

           + Lightning Bolt x50

           + Enhanced Speed x 2

           + Enhanced Endurance x 2

           + Enhanced Intelligence x 2

           + Enhanced Strength

  • Rough gauge.
    • Percy now moves and thinks as fast as speeding bullets
    • Percy now possess genius level intellect and memory retention
    • Percy now possess strength enough to lift a ton of weight
    • Percy will be able to pull through most injuries. His regeneration level allows him to heal serious injuries within days

 

Jenny (x7)

Ring – Protection from the Four Elements

           + Wizard Eye

           + Flight

           + Teleport Beacon to Xander’s apartment

           + Shield x 30

           + Lightning Bolt x50

           + Enhanced Speed x 2

           + Enhanced Endurance x 2

           + Enhanced Intelligence x 2

           + Enhanced Strength

  • Rough gauge.
    • Jenny now moves and thinks as fast as some bullets
    • Jenny now possess genius level intellect and memory retention
    • Jenny will be able to pull through most injuries. Her regeneration level allows her to heal serious injuries within weeks
    • Jenny will be able to lift half a ton of weight