I will go very slow in updating the chapters, because my Beta readers are busy with their own things. But do not worry, this story is far from being abandoned.
Hagoromo slowly open his eyes as he started to regain consciousness; he raised a hand to cover his face from the blinding light. It beat down on his face like a physical weight and the wind carried with it grains of sand that infiltrated his clothes and hair. Though still suffering from fatigue, the Sage began to rise from the ground into a sitting position.
When he started to focus and roam the new landscape with his eyes he was amazed by what he saw. It was a city, or rather the ruins of what was once a huge city, decorated with massive colonnades of stone and giant arches. Rough stone sculptures, carved with such meticulous precision that they seemed to exude the emotions of the artist that created them, adorned the streets. The houses were made of bricks with several floors; many of them had their roofs collapsed, now adapted to accommodate only animals and climbing plants.
Hagoromo had never seen this type of architecture and wondered what kind civilization might have built this city but the time and the sand seems to have eroded away the ancient beauty, leaving nothing more than piles of rocks, climbing trees and debris scattered on the ground.
When he put his hand on the ground he felt something unusual under his fingers; turning his gaze to the odd soil he froze; Hagoromo stood in the middle of a small crater three meters in diameter, the earth of which was scorched black from the sheer heat of whatever collsion caused it.
The wise man collected his thoughts and then remembered, he remembered his battle against the Bijuu, his sudden arrival in the white limbo; the deity and its sick grin and how the God, using a cunning ploy, snatched the Juubi out of him and throw him into this world.
He then immediately began to check the flow of his chakra in the seal, the Ten Tails chakra was gone, taken by the God of Truth.
Hagoromo sighed heavily and gave one more look at the ghost town ."I hope there are still people here" He whispered to the sand.
The sun was high in the sky and the heat at that time of day reached prohibitive temperatures, forcing the crawling animals like lizards and insects to hide in the sand and under the rocks. The wind sometimes broke the silence by giving a minimum relief from the scorching heat of the desert.
The ghost town in the middle of the desert was a hostile place for every creature, whoever might try to penetrate it unprepared might die from heatstroke without fist aid; but for the Sage of the Six Path was a mere walk, accustomed to many kinds of desert given his many pilgrimages.
Hagoromo walked through the deserted and dilapidated streets, sometimes stopping to admire the artistic but faded murals throughout the city. He came to what seemed like a large square where two rows of columns were arranged perpendicular to the sides of it with a short flight of steps that led to what he recognized was a throne room of an emperor or ruler of some kind.
But what caught his gaze was the mural on the wall at the end of the room, completely different of the others he saw. It was a design composed of a circle surrounded by the writings of a language that he could not understand; inside the circle there were three Suns in the angles of a pentagon or hexagon and in the centre of it all towered the depiction of a fearsome two-headed dragon.
"It's almost looks like a seal." Thought Hagoromo to himself as he rested a hand on his chin. Even if the other half of the wall was missing, probably eroded over time, the Sage could clearly see the similarities. Having himself created the art of fuinjutsu, he knew well the fundamentals of building a sealing array.
Firstly, It was important to always start from a circle, which symbolized the circle of power and allowed the circulation of chakra; a seal built without it was dangerous because it would eventually lose its control and decay. After establishing the foundation the next step was to create the anchor, the template that defines the use of the chakra as either conversion into elemental chakra, establishing control of some kind, suppression or many others. The last and the most important part of the construction was the meaning given to the seal. The seal of the Juubi for example was made of nine base circles, thirty six different anchors and in his heart the meaning 'Keimusho', or prison.
His thoughts were interrupted when he heard the sound of quick footsteps behind him. A man with dark skin and red eyes was running towards him brandishing a stick, for some reason attempting to hit him over the head with it. Hagoromo easily avoided the blow by simply leaning slightly to the left; he then raised his right leg and tripped the assailant who made four steps forward before falling to the ground shamefully.
Soon Hagoromo found himself surrounded by a small crowd, all people with red eyes and dark skin. He remained un-intimidated by them though as they barely had enough chakra to live. Maybe they were the locals?
"Sir, would you mind being our hostage to redeem our Promise Land Army of State?" Spoke a man who stepped forward from the crowd; the left side of his face was horribly disfigured but apparently he did not seem to bring any bad intentions.
"The war has taken everything from us, we're just trying to get it back what's ours" He spoke again.
The wandering sage would certainly have listened to the proposal from the person in front of him; his mother taught him the kindness while the head-monk and master Iwao taught him tolerance towards others as well as seeking peaceful solutions from conflict if possible. There was only one small problem … Hagoromo didn't understand a word of what the scarred man had said.
"I'm sorry ... but I did not understand anything of what you said." Hagoromo replied with an apologetic smile.
The scarred man raised his eyebrows and the single eye that remained blinked in confusion; it seemed that not even he understood what Hagoromo had said. The crowd exchanged glances with one another equally puzzled. "Are you a foreigner?" Asked one of the braver amongst the crowd of people.
"Stop it Ryan. This is a disgrace!" Shouted an elderly woman who emerged from the crowd, holding up a stick with a young boy holding onto her left arm.
"Idiot. Can you not longer distinguish pilgrims from the Amestrisiani? Do you want to bring shame to the name of Ishivala?" Scolded the woman; the young boy quickly lowered his head, clearly repenting his actions.
The nun turned her gaze toward the Sage, studying him carefully. The man was wearing sandals and wore a white tunic with long sleeves that hung down to his knees; his under clothes were blue with a belt on the waist and he had silvery-gray hair just like his people, but what stood out among all of it were his eyes. The elderly woman's eyes met those of Hagoromo and by a strange feeling she thought those purple-rimmed eyes not only saw her but through her as well.
"Can you understand my language pilgrim?" Questioned the elder woman staring at him.
The Sage raised an eyebrow and suddenly broke eye contact with her and turned toward the disfigured man. Then he motioned to the Ishivalan to get closer with his hand; Ryan shyly stepped forward. The crowd that had previously been whispering amongst themselves quietened, all of their eyes turning to the man as he gestured again to the young boy.
Hagoromo touched the man's forehead and began to massage the point of the third eye that existed in every human. Between all of his Six Paths the 'Human Path', or Ninegendou was one he used the least, he didn't like to steal the knowledge of others but he had little choice in this situation; the Sage was in a world completely unknown to him and he needed a minimum of information. He decided to 'borrow' only the native language and apologize after that.
Ryan was unsure of what to do, not wanting to invite the wrath of the elderly nun Shan again. Then, as if a great hand had grabbed him and took control of his body, he felt his essence be torn away; completely paralyzed, he could not do anything except stare up into those violet rimmed eyes and that seemed to peer through the maze of his soul.
The process lasted only a few seconds, acquiring knowledge about the English and Ishivala language; Hagoromo quickly broke the connection before it went any further, not wanting to damage his mind. Ryan suddenly felt incredibly tired, as if he had climbed a mountain with his bare hands, and would have fallen from exhaustion when he suddenly felt an arm support from his waist. He immediately noticed that it belonged to the sage who smiled kindly.
"I'm sorry for the intrusion." Hagoromo spoken in perfect Ishivalan.
Shan was taken by surprise, a moment ago they could not understand each other and then, after just touching Ryan, he spoke in their native tongue. She was not the only one to be shocked and soon everyone was watching the monk with baffled expression. "What have you done to him?" Asked Jeshin, her nephew beside her.
"I took a bit of his knowledge; he will have a headache but nothing more. You needn't worry."
"You touched his mind?" Now the old nun was visibly shocked; whoever this person in front of her was, he was definitely out of the ordinary.
"Are you a State Alchemist?" One of Ishivalan raised his voice to shout, causing the crowd around him to begin staring threateningly in his direction; However the Sage, unaffected, continued to smile politely.
"No, I'm not an…Alchemist; just a travelling monk."
"And Why there is a monk in the ruins of Xerses in the middle of a harsh place like the desert?" The nun spoke again. Realizing that the old woman was testing him to see if he was a threat to the people here, Hagoromo tried to be as convincing as possible.
"I'm lost, I have no idea where I am or where this place is, but I do not want to create problems or harm anyone." The others seemed rather doubtful of his testimony, but the old woman decided to give him a chance.
"What's your name monk?" Asked Shan, her polite tone easing some of the tension that had built up over the encounter.
"My name is Hagoromo Otsu-tsuki; it's a pleasure." He answered, still smiling. Shan observed the sage for a couple of seconds before releasing a slightly amused laugh that continued to diffuse the situation.
"What a polite man. My name is Shan and I'm the nun protector of the Ishivalan people here. Now follow me, I'll take you to the curtains."
"Mrs Shan! Is it really safe if…" The nun stopped the voice that spoke out by holding up a hand, knowing what he was going to say.
"Don't be stupid! Don't you see that he doesn't have even a bottle of water? If we leave him to himself he will die. Do you want his death on your conscience?" The man fell silent, knowing full well that they could not contradict the old nun Shan. She was one of the elders before the war of extermination and she even made them leave the country, bringing them to safety in the midst of these ruins.
The wise man followed the woman who started to walk towards the west part of the city. The other villagers around him sulked and stared at him occasionally with curious or suspicious glances. Hagoromo consequently began to analyze them; each one of them had an emotionless look on their face, sure this gave nothing away to the inexperienced eye, but the Sage saw a lot of anger and hidden sadness deep underneath their cold exteriors. Whatever had happened to them had led them to be wary of anyone and everyone.
The group went through several houses until they got to a building larger than all the others; the columns that adorned the entrance lay on the steps, too heavy to be removed. Once inside the group broke apart and each individual headed straight for their wives and children.
Inside it there was a huge room full of large tents made of arranged fabrics and in the middle of it there was a fountain. Each tent had a conical shape with a wide base large enough to accommodate six people and all the tents were secured with sturdy wooden stakes. It was not the most comfortable of places to live but it was one of the few with a domed roof still intact.
"Welcome to our humble abode pilgrim."
The sage looked at the people; the children were playing about, chasing one another around the tents, naturally irritating the elderly as children tended to do. Mothers tried to look after the household chores and were out washing clothes in buckets of water while their husbands helped them as much as possible.
"Were you the native people of this city?"
Shan saddened suddenly, her wrinkled appearing to deepen. "No, we are what remains of the people of the village of Ishival, after the war of extermination forced us to flee and come here."
So they were refugees; each one of them probably having seen some of their loved ones die because of the war. Hagoromo took pity on them; it seems that even in other worlds people could not live with each other peacefully. Then he turned around, attracted by the cries of a child who he recognized as one of those who played a while ago; his mother was beside him trying to comfort him as the boy had fallen and injured his knee. It was nothing serious, just a surface scratch.
Hagoromo came over and knelt in front of the mother with a kindly smile. "Hello ma'am, would you mind if I took a look?" He asked politely to the dark skinned woman, drawing her attention.
"You're a doctor?" Asked the woman, turning to the white haired man; when she met his eyes she winced at seeing his abnormal rippled orbs.
"Not really, but I know how to treat superficial wounds." Said the Sage, ignoring the stare of the woman. He made a short sequence of hand seals, causing his hands to light up in an emerald green glow.
The boy stopped crying and gasped, attracted like a moth to a flame to the almost magical green light surrounding the hands of Hagoromo. He was not the only one as he also had the incredulous stares of other people who were looking closely at the scene. As soon as his hands approached the wound it healed in an instant without even leaving a scar.
"Look Mom! The cut is gone!" Cried the little boy happily.
"I-It's a miracle!" The woman was literally petrified by the shock, staring at the knee of her son while the child smiled at the stranger who had helped drive away the pain.
"Thanks grampa!" A large metaphorical boulder fell on the head of Hagoromo that caused him to immediately fall into a depression due to the many times people confused him for a senior because of his hair. "I'm not old! I'm in the middle of my thirties!" He screamed in his head.
He recovered quickly, noting he was surrounded by curious people.
"Tell me sir, can you cure diseases as well as wounds?" Said a woman with a red fular around his neck, looking at him with hopeful eyes.
The Sage of The Six Path sighed, knowing full well how this was going to end. "Yes, I can do that too."
"Please, my father is confined to bed for three days and did not recover"
"My eye is itching and I don't know why!"
My knee makes a strange clicking sound!"
"I have a terrible back ache, can you take a look?!
"My sore throat is killing me!"
Hagoromo was sitting on a rock near a meagre little fire, gazing up at the stars in the night that dotted the sky like little pinpricks of light. He was relieved to see the trail of lights that marked the Milky Way and that the constellations were the same as in his world. Observing a stellar body very familiar to him dominate with its silvery light the sky, he could not help but question whether all the worlds were equal between them. Perhaps, the differences of his world were only the history and culture and maybe the genes and yet they have the same problems of race, hatred and war, perhaps those concepts are simply inevitabilities for humanity?
Looking away from the sky, the Sage glanced over with a slight smile to where the Ishivalani were gathered to eat next to a big bonfire; later they brought him food to eat in order to thank him for the care offered to all the people of the village.
"You are just a travelling monk huh? Eh eh." Laughed a very amused old Shan who sat next to him, watching the fire that crackled and burned the wood slowly.
"I'm glad to help in any way I can." Hagoromo said with a peaceful smile.
The old woman turned her gaze toward him with a radiant grin. "People like you should be more numerous; lord knows how this poor world needs them." Said Shan with a hint of regret in her features; she turn to the fire after another moment.
The two ate silently, enjoying the company and the warmth of the fire, which had now completely carbonized the wood.
"Can you tell me what happened to your people? this isn't your home i presume" The wise man asked cautiously, knowing that it was a delicate matter for the woman but he wanted to understand the history of the world he had landed in.
Shan remained silent for a brief moment, looking at her bowl. "We come from a country called Amestris, located beyond the desert." Said the woman "Our village was placed in the south-east area of the country; it's an arid place like this refuge. We lived divided by the state and the presence of the soldiers was unwelcome to many people but at least they tolerated each other." She continued.
"But one day an Amestrisian soldier killed a little girl, we do not know if it was intentional or an accident, but that caused the discontent of the people towards the state and that in turn changed into revolt against the army and soon become the war of extermination Ishial." Hagoromo listened carefully, his Rinnegan eyes glowed in the dark as he observed the old nun.
"Clashes with the army continued for many months, until the supreme commander of the army, King Bradley, decided to send his dogs into the field, the State Alchemists" Her hands started to clench firmly around the bowl.
"It was a massacre." At that moment neither of them dared to say anything, they sat in silence for a moment looking at the fire, which had now burned itself out, until the facial features of the elderly visibly relaxed.
"However, I learned that not all the Amestrisiani are bad people. In fact, thanks to a couple of their doctors we came out alive from that hell; they were good people even though they died by the hate of mine. They were the Rockbell family, may they rest in peace." Concluded the aged woman.
Hagoromo crossed his arms and go back to look at the stars and quickly made a decision. "Can you lend me a map of the continent?"
The woman raised an eyebrow, obviously confused. "What's on your mind young pilgrim?"
Hagoromo returned the gaze and smiled back.
Hagoromo gratefully took the shoulder strap and put it on his shoulders, inside there was a map of Amestris, a water bottle filled to the brim and a bit of food for the journey; he turned to the crowd of ishivalan that has gathered to greet him.
"Are you sure you want to go to Amestis young pilgrim? If you head west you will come to Xing and they are more tolerant towards immigrants."
"I'm sure. Thank you for your hospitality though." He raised his hand and waved to the survivors of ishival in parting before walking towards the end of the ghost town.
Hagoromo walked through the streets of the city before coming to a stop for a moment to observe the landscape.
At the border of the city with the desert, the streets were almost completely covered with sand, small debris was scattered everywhere and you could see on the horizon a nearly endless sea of sand.
The sage of the six paths was not a person who turned his back to the difficulties or ignored the pain of others. Since he became a monk and began his pilgrimage, he helped everyone who needed it and has spread the teachings of his master.
This world was not the one where he was born and grew up, but he could not ignore it as it was his responsibility to bring the bond of love that his mother started to the whole world. Before leaving however, he needed a crucial thing for his journey. The Sage held up both hands, smiling as the familiar feeling of his Chakra flowing through his body warmed him. He moulded it, separating Yin and Yang as his hands lit up in blue and red flame. Finally he called out the name of a technique he had been famous for in his own world.
"Bambatsu Souzou: Shakujou!" What was merely chakra in his hands quickly congealed, becoming solid and forming a long, sturdy Shakujou out of nothing more than the energy in his body. It was the twin sister of what he left behind in his own world and would be the witness of his journey in this.
Deep down, Hagoromo was thrilled at the chance to explore unknown places and cultures before finding a way back to his home. The wise began to walk deep into the desert while the tinkling golden medallions of his staff echoed across the shifting sand.