Thank you to everyone who voted on my poll for this story and 'Harry Potter and the Bearer of the Seventh Ka'Kari.' I hope you enjoy them. The Harry PotterXNight Angel story will be out soon... I hope.
Also, I have posted a new story: A self-insert into Dragon Age Origins. If you can, please read and review as I want some feedback on the story.
The Black Rose was a dark inn, hidden away from the main streets of Konohagakure.
The interior was smoky, as if a fire had swept through the room and left a haze of smoke in the room. The patrons, mostly jonin come to drown their sorrows and wash away memories with an ocean of sake or harder alcohol, added to the smoky ambience with cigarettes as they ordered their drinks.
"Kami damn those Kumonin defenses," said one jonin, quickly downing a shot of brandy before motioning to the bartender for a refill. "It's damn near impossible to get past the border without being detected. The STORMs at the border are on par with our ANBU, at least."
Other jonins nodded in agreement, throwing out their own opinions on Kumo's defenses and possible solutions to getting through the border.
"A Dúnedain could get through easily," said a voice, cutting through the multiple conversations like a knife.
The patrons turned as one to the corner where the comment had emanated from. A man sat in the corner chair, his feet up on the table as he tilted his chair back onto two legs, a tankard of ale on the small table to his left and a smoking pipe in his hand. A deep hood hid most of his face from view, leaving only his mouth un-shadowed. As he puffed on his pipe, the glow from the end illuminated his eyes for an instant.
He sighed and exhaled the smoke as he began to speak into the silence. "A Dúnedain would have snuck in past the border, stayed a week right outside the Raikage's office and left with no one being the wiser."
One jonin at the bar scoffed at the idea. "The Dúnedain are nothing but a myth, a superstition."
The cloaked man smiled a wry grin. "That's where you'd be wrong, friend."
He swung his feet off the table, placing them on the floor with a thump. H leaned forward, supporting himself by placing his elbows on his knees.
"The Dúnedain are masters of stealth able to walk through entire armies without causing alarm. They can shoot a fly out of the air at two hundred yards and can cut any of our ANBU units to pieces with their long swords and dual blades… and that's only their students."
The jonin who had spoken last threw back another shot, wincing at the burn of alcohol as he turned. "How do you know all this?"
The man leaned back on his chair, reaching for his pack on the floor. He pulled an arrow from it, displaying it for the whole bar to see.
The arrowhead was razor sharp, glinting in the small amount of light. Golden fletches could be seen at the end of the shaft, contrasting the black coloring of the shaft.
"This is an arrow of a Dúnedain archer," said the man, twirling the arrow between his fingers. "I know they exist because they saved my ass."
Gates of Konoha…
The village of Konoha was usually a nice place, especially on October tenth, the day of the Kyubi festival. Dancing, singing and drinking was customary on that day, everyone talking and laughing as the stores set up colored lights and played music for the crowds. Everyone who had lived their lives in Konoha for any significant amount of time learned that it was the day that the Yondaime Hokage, the Kiiroi Senkō, gave his life to kill the dreaded Kyubi no Kitsune.
Astride his Toad summon, the Yondaime enacted a jutsu that killed the beast, at the cost of his own life.
That was the official story…
The truth was that the Yondaime didn't kill the Kyubi. No human could kill such a being, only seal it away with fuinjutsu. The Yondaime gave his life to the Shinigami as payment for the sealing, locking the Kyubi within a baby, born that very day.
The Yondaime had hoped that the boy would be treated as a hero, seeing as he was the one who ultimately stopped the Kyubi from destroying the entire village, his living sacrifice keeping them all from certain obliteration.
That boy was named Uzumaki Naruto…
"Get out of here, demon scum!"
"Leave before we skin you alive!"
Naruto looked back to his home village, only to receive a bottle to the forehead, effectively knocking him on his ass. The bottle had been broken prior to its flight, its ragged edge leaving a gash on the boy's face that leaked blood down over his eyes.
The crowd cheered as the eight year old child collapsed, blood flowing from his head. More refuse, stones and bottles were thrown at the boy, making him scramble away from the village on all fours, trying with little success to avoid the barrage of thrown objects. Bottles bounced off him, some shattering with explosive force, causing horrible bruising and lacerations.
"Never come back!" called one of the ninja in the crowd, tossing a pair of shuriken at Naruto, sending the gleaming steel stars deep into his flesh, and causing his arm to cut out from under him.
Naruto rolled onto his back as he cradled his arm to his chest as his blood flowed, staining his orange jumpsuit a deep crimson. With a cry of pain, he ripped the shuriken out of his bicep and dropped them on the ground, the steel, four-pointed stars falling easily from his blood slicked hands.
He stood with difficulty, turned, and ran, tears cleaning paths through the blood on his face as he left the place he had called home for so long. Memories of Ayame, Teuchi, his ANBU friends Inu, Neko, and Hebi, and the Sandaime Hokage filled his mind, making his tears flow that much easier.
He never looked back, not even when the crowd's cheers were no longer discernable against the wind whistling past his ears.
Hours later, he could run no longer, finally dropping to his knees, chest heaving in exhaustion. He slumped against a tree, not even caring as the rough bark rubbed his face raw.
He fell asleep in that position, leaning against the rough exterior of the tree. Unbeknownst to him, his wounds closed and healed, leaving no trace of there ever being a wound.
An hour later…
The forest was layered in mist, the soft light of the sunrise flickering through the foliage.
Naruto slumbered on, not aware of the two men standing over him.
The both wore cloaks, made to imitate the undergrowth behind them. If an observer were to look at them, his eyes would make him see a slight shimmer around the men, as if they really were part of the background.
They both wore a quiver of arrows across their backs, golden-fletched black shafts sticking out of the top. One had his bow in hand, an arrow already loaded onto the string. The other wore his across his back, hooked onto his quiver by its string.
A pair of hilts hung at the base of ones neck, pale wooden handles with a small flowing design in gold as a decoration. These were the only blades the man seemed to wear, though others could have been easily hidden amongst his person.
The other had a hand-and-a-half sword, a somewhat ornate yet serviceable hilt sat above a simple leather sheath. A curved knife hung at his side, hanging from a pair of leather straps at his belt.
The sword bearer knelt, peering down at the child sleeping against the tree. He brushed a stray strand of blonde hair out of his face, hooking it behind his ear with the rest of his long hair. He looked back up at his companion, a frown marking his face.
"Have you ever encountered a bloody child in the middle of the forest, Tamilor?" he asked, jerking his head at the boy, an eyebrow raised in questioning.
"I have seen many things, Rikar, but never this," replied the other, also crouching close to the boy. "I don't see any wounds. Perhaps the blood is old?"
The blonde warrior shook his head, leaning closer. "The blood smells fresh," he said, reaching out a hand. He touched the bloody jacket and rubbed his fingers on it before retracting his arm. A quick sniff later confirmed his suspicions. "It is fresh."
Both froze as the boy shifted, rolling away from the tree, his face falling into a ray of sun that managed to penetrate the tree line.
Both gasped, their eyes widening as they saw his face. They glanced at each other, silently asking the other if they were seeing the same thing. They nodded slowly, each thinking the same thing:
Why the hell is Minato's son out in the middle of the forest, covered in blood and sleeping on the ground?
Eight years later…
"Remind me… why are you dragging me to Konoha?" asked one of a trio, calmly walking through the forests.
The three of them walked between the trees, weaving gracefully between them. Even though they knew there was no one around, they made their footsteps silent, quiet as wraiths as they headed for the famous (or infamous) village hidden in the trees.
"We're going because we need to pick up some supplies for the Dúne's," said the one on his right, smiling beneath his hood. "Besides, you needed to get out of the clan for a day or so."
"Shut up, Izic, Orin."
Izic and Orin smiled at each other as they followed their brother-in-arms through the forest, all the while thinking of pranks and tricks they could play on him, should the need arise.
They emerged from the forest, entering the bare area between the trees and the gates of Konoha. Ronyo raised his hand, flicking a hand through several signs, telling his companions to raise their hoods.
Izumo and Kotetsu looked up as a trio of cloaked and hooded men walked down the path, approaching the gates. As they drew close enough, Izumo called out. "Halt! State your business."
The leader held up his fist, causing his party to halt immediately. Izumo and Kotetsu felt a slight twinge of fear as the shadows where the man's eyes should be faced them. "We are simple wanderers," said the man, his voice deadpan. "We simply wish to purchase some supplies, stay the night, and leave in the morning."
Izumo looked them over; noting the dual knives two of them wore across their backs, the hand-and-a-half sword at the waist of the other, completed by the quiver of arrows and bow that they each wore.
"Simple wanderers? You seemed very armed despite your supposed 'simple'-ness."
"Would you wander the roads without bearing weapons, knowing that there are currently more than three hundred nuke-nin from Konoha alone?" asked the leader, crossing his arms.
"I suppose not," said Izumo, writing on a few sheets of paper. Signing each form, he walked out the gatehouse and handed them to the leader.
"These are your visas, allowing you to stay in Konoha until noon tomorrow," he said, holding up the first three papers. He held up a fourth piece, holding it out to him. "This is the address of an inn. It may not look like much, but the owner is a former ANBU and he doesn't charge much."
The leader held out two of the papers to his companions, who immediately took them and tucked them in their belts. The man then turned back and bowed his head in thanks. "Gen hannon, Konoha-nin. Your help will be remembered."
"Uh… your welcome, I think," said Izumo, awkwardly scratching the back of his neck.
The lead man waved his hand and walked into the village, his companions walking right behind him. Kotetsu watched them go, a hand on his chin, thinking. "They seem very… odd."
"What do you think he said, anyways? 'Gen hannon'? What language is that?"
"I have no idea."
The trio of cloaked figures walked into Konoha's market, not used to the crowds. After a moment of observation, they split up and went their separate ways, knowing what was needed for the clan.
"Meet at that store when you're finished," said Ronyo, pointing out a tea shop with a bright atmosphere to it. "See you later."
Ronyo walked into the ninja sector of the market, heading for a store one of the elders had mentioned. Higurashi Weapons was the best source for steel in Konoha, which was one of the things on his list.
He brushed aside the cloth acting as a door, entering the shop.
Racks of weapons filled the store. Maces, swords, daggers, all types of weapons lined the walls, glinting in the light. A large man stood in the back, a forge taking up the back part of the shop.
Ronyo headed for him, watching him pound at a glowing piece of metal with a hammer the size of his thigh. "Mára aurë, shop owner."
The giant of a man stopped, his hammer held high above his head as he glanced at the new customer. He placed the hammer on the metal table with a clank and transferred the red-hot piece of metal to a barrel of water. The metal hissed as it was dunked into the water, a puff of steam rising as the metal was rapidly cooled.
"Well, now," said the man, turning to face Ronyo, a smile on his face. "It has been a long time since I've heard that particular greeting, Dúnedain."
"You know us?" asked Ronyo, leaning on the counter separating the store from the forge.
"It's been a long time… my father owner this shop, like his father before him," said the man, wiping his hands on a rag tied at his waist. "I was but a boy, playing behind the counter when a man walked in, dressed the same as you. He said the same words as you do now, leaning on the counter in the same way."
"If you know us so well," said Ronyo, laying a scroll on the counter. "Then you know what we want."
"Hai, I do indeed." The man went to a shelf, an array of scrolls lying on it, all with little tags hanging from thread. He touched the tags, reading them one by one. Finding the one he needed, he pulled it off the shelf, laying it next to the Dúnedain's scroll. "Two hundred pounds of Mk. III Konoha steel, three hundred pounds of Black Ironwood, and fifty pounds of hawk feathers, assorted colors."
"Fifty thousand," said the Dúnedain, nudging his scroll.
"That is at least double what that amount of supplies usually costs," said the man, shaking his head. "I cannot accept this."
"You can… and you will," Ronyo said, picking up the scroll containing his clan's supplies. "Consider it down payment… for when we return in your grandson's time."
"The man chuckled, waving his hand at the cloaked Dúnedain in acceptance, though what he said was true: the Dúnedain were not likely to be back for a long time. "Very well. See you in sixty years!"
Ronyo nodded, slipping the scroll into his belt. He turned and walked out, heading for the next store. "Fare you well, Higurashi-san."
For the next three hours, Ronyo haggled with the merchants, acquiring more supplies. Food, medical gear, and various plants were collected. Some was technically illegal, forcing him to go through less than reliable sources. One black market merchant had the gall to try and kill him, starting events that, unfortunately, led to his abrupt stay in the hospital.
One does not cheat a Dúnedain.
He approached the tea shop, a homey little place with a sign above the door reading 'The Jasmine Dragon'. He walked in and claimed a booth near the door, awaiting his brothers-in-arms, smiling as the waitress walked over, a smile forming on her lips as he pulled back his hood.
Ronyo had pale blue eyes, almost the same color of the glaciers found in the land of snow. His tanned face bore a few scars, not enough to disfigure but enough to give him an exotic look. This, coupled with his blonde hair pulled back in a simple ponytail and his pointed ears, had the girl feeling very flustered as she approached the stranger. She noted the way he moved as he leaned against the wall, graceful and smooth, like every step was part of a dance that only he knew the beat to, and he performed every step perfectly.
She was not the only one enjoying the view. The young woman was thin, though not the stick thin like the models many women tried to emulate, but rather perfectly proportioned, curves in all the right places. The dark green kimono she wore was well tailored, hugging her curves in all the right places. The dark green contrasted her pale skin, a creamy tone that made many men look up as she passed. She seemed to float rather than walk, her long legs eating the distance in seconds.
She seems very familiar…though Ronyo, watching the woman over the top of his menu.
"Welcome to the Jasmine Dragon," she said, smiling sweetly as she stood by the table, studying his features as he reclined against the wall. "May I take your order?"
"What would you recommend?" he asked, placing his menu on the table, a handsome smirk on his lips. "It's my first time in Konoha, so I'm not sure what to choose."
"Well… the best is Master Iroh's jasmine tea. He makes it himself," she said, gesturing to the back of the shop.
Ronyo leaned forward, seeing the owner happily mixing a pot of tea in the back. A quick sniff had his nose filled with the tea's sweet scent, along with the jasmine perfume the waitress wore.
"Then Master Iroh's jasmine tea it is then," said Ronyo with finality. The waitress nodded and turned on her heel, heading to the counter at the back.
"I gotta say, toror', you move quick," said Orin as he slid into the seat opposite Ronyo, placing a trio of scrolls on the table. "All the gear on the list is accounted for."
"Took you long enough."
"Not everyone is as fast as you are, Ronyo."
Ronyo opened his mouth to reply when the sounds of a fight broke out in the street. Ronyo and Orin exchanged glances before standing, both having a very bad feeling about what they would find outside.
A ring of civilians had formed, impeding the Dúnedain's approach. A few shoves had them inside the ring, both of them watching with disdain as they saw their third companion in an unarmed fighting stance, squaring off against a teen with black hair, coal black eyes, a blue shirt and white pants. The boy wore a kunai holster on his leg and a pouch at his hip, obviously a ninja. A red and white fan stood out on the back of his shirt, making Ronyo sigh as he stepped forward to break up the fight.
"Daro i!" he yelled, jerking Izic out of his stance by his collar. He wheeled him around and grabbed the front of Izic's tunic, pulling him close as he glared. "Man carel le?"
"The amada attacked me," said Izic, defending his actions, raising his hands in surrender. "It was self defense."
With a sigh, Ronyo released his hold, allowing Izic to take a step back and straighten his shirt. Ronyo turned to the boy, whom he recognized as an Uchiha, and asked, "Why did you attack him?"
"I did no such thing," the Uchiha protested. "I was walking along when that idiot shoved me. I shoved him back."
Ronyo looked him over, noting a rip in his blue shirt. Other than that, there were no injuries. Ronyo turned away, a hand on his brother's shoulder.
"I am more inclined to believe my brother over you, edan," said Ronyo, pushing Izic towards the tea shop. "Be lucky you didn't try and attack me, for I would not have been so merciful."
"Where do you think your going?" said the black haired Uchiha, grabbing onto Ronyo's shoulder, stopping him from walking any further. "That bastard wrecked my shirt. I demand recompense."
"Next time, pick on someone you can beat," Ronyo drawled, shrugging off the Uchiha's hand as he continued his walk into the Jasmine Dragon.
"Look out!" shouted the waitress as he walked in, her eyes wide as she looked over his shoulder.
Ronyo spun, drawing an arrow and his bow as he swiveled to find the Uchiha with a kunai in his hand, raising it to throw at him. In a smooth motion, he notched the arrow on the string, drew the bow to full extension and released, ending the Uchiha's attack.
The Uchiha's hand was still in motion as the arrow struck home, punching through the flesh and bone of his hand, making him drop the kunai as the vibrations of the arrow left his fingers numb. He sank to his knees, grasping his hand in shock as he stared at the black shafted arrow sprouting from his hand.
"That was dishonorable, Uchiha," spat Ronyo, a quiet fury in his voice as he walked over to the ninja. "You shame your clan by your actions this day."
With that, he turned on his heel and walked back into the tea shop, Orin and Izic walking close behind. He stopped just before he passed the waitress, saying 'thank you' before continuing to the booth.
"Well done," said Orin, clapping his brother on the shoulder. "Once again, you amaze us all with your skill with a bow."
"I wasted an arrow on a weakling," complained Ronyo, picking up his tea cup. He inhaled, enjoying the sweet aroma before he drank. "Remind me to tip our waitress heavily."
"She seems familiar, you know?" questioned Izic, leaning back in his seat. "Have we seen her before?"
"You know, I was just thinking that before I had to save your ass."
"I had everything under control!" yelled Izic, slamming his palm on the table.
"Whatever you say," said Ronyo, calmly sipping his tea.
And thus ends the first chapter.
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