Captain Blues: I'm back. And better(?) than ever. I've been a very busy boy. My health has been taking some hits, and my job has been….Bad, so it's really impeded on my updating. Not to mention, I just fell out of love with the Naruto Fandom.

It had been dying for a while, but after getting involved with the Supergirl and My Hero Fandoms, Naruto just faded into the background. But, watching Boruto has made me both angry and passionate enough to reignite that flame for the series, which brings me back to here.

I'm sorry I've been gone for so long, and I will try to update all of my fics more often.


Forged in Hellfire: Lost Soul Reborn
Chapter Forty–Six:
Hanare and the Elder Gods


[Village of Hisako:
POV: Hatake Kakashi]

Kakashi exhaled a plume of smoke after removing the cigar from his mouth as he sat in Hisako's park, his eye gazing at the clear blue sky.

Many people didn't know that Kakashi smoked, and on a typical day, he didn't. He hated the taste of cigars and the smoke.

But after the last couple of days that he had endured, he needed this. He needed to blow away the stress he felt and relax before he worried himself to death. Kakashi lifted the cigar back to his unmasked mouth.

"You could have saved him, you know? You let him die…."

Kakashi's movements paused as the image of Shao Kahn ripping through Asuma's body as he charged forward with his Raikiri snapped into his mind.

"Another soul for me to collect…Thank you, Kakashi. How many more will I take by the time this battle is done?"

Kakashi lowered the cigar from his hand then tossed it away in disgust. He didn't deserve to relax. Shao Kahn took so many lives because he wasn't strong enough to defeat him.

Shino.

Kiba and Akamaru.

Chōji.

Karui.

Itachi.

Even Kurenai and Anko, who were bought back to life by the grace of the Elder Gods, were killed.

Somehow, Naruto tapped into the Kyūbi's power and became strong enough to destroy Shao Kahn, free the souls he had taken, and save the world. But it came at the price of Naruto nearly losing his soul to the demon's power.

But in saving the world, Naruto's power had broken the barrier that protected their realm. If Kakashi were strong enough, his student wouldn't have had to risk his soul to save them all.

Kakashi didn't feel like the invincible shinobi that many claimed he was. Kakashi felt as if he was still a genin during the Third Shinobi War, but instead of being saved by his teacher, he was saved by his teacher's son.

He had to get stronger.

He had to be the leader that everyone needed.

Kakashi looked at his right hand and noticed the dried blood of Shao Kahn and narrowed his eye in thought.

"That accursed lightning…You are not that bastard, Raiden. And yet you have his lightning…."

Kakashi closed his fist and closed his eye.

"He is the God of Thunder…A pathetic one at that! He couldn't defeat me without the help of those sniveling worms! I do not sense his presence here, and yet you have the god killing lightning he does…."

After that vision, he was strong enough to defeat Shao Kahn in the brief moments after his awakening.

But how could he get that power again?

Was this Raiden involved?

Did he have to trigger another vision? And if so, how?

"Excuse me," a gentle voice whispered from behind him. Kakashi swiftly pulled up his mask and turned around to face the voice's owner, only to feel his heart skip a beat.

A beautiful, fair-skinned, slender young woman was staring at him, her brown, almost amber, eyes dancing in delight as her abnormally long straight, dull green hair flowed against the breeze.

She wore a red, sleeveless top with fur surrounding the top of her chest and below her shoulders. She also wears a green and blue skirt over a striped blue, orange, and yellow skirt with a pink sash around her waist and black sandals.

Her make-up consisted of red lipstick and red eyeshadow, and she had a beauty spot below her right eye.

And despite her clothes being dirty, she was breathtaking.

"Are you a Konoha shinobi?" The woman questioned.

Kakashi could only stare at her. There was something familiar about this woman, but he couldn't place where he had seen her from.

"Y-Yes, I am," Kakashi replied.

"Wonderful," the woman chirped. "My name is Hanare. I'm a traveling performer. The Sandaime Hokage hired me to perform for the upcoming Chūnin exam." Hanere produced a scroll and handed it to Kakashi.

Kakashi took the scroll and unraveled it, and sure enough, it had the Hokage's seal and the Hokage's handwriting in it. He furled the scroll back up and stared at the woman for a moment.

He had heard some rumors of a semi-famous singer arriving for the exams, but at the time, he didn't pay any mind to it.

Maybe he should have.

"I see," Kakashi murmured.

"Unfortunately, my group was attacked by this woman. My bodyguards were able to hold her back long enough so I could flee," Hanere told him. "I was going to the Mayor's office to hire more bodyguards, but I happened to come across you."

"Funny how that works," Kakashi dryly replied, trying to steady his heart. "Let me guess. You want me and my group to escort you back?"

"If possible," Hanere answered. "I have some funds in Konoha. I could pay once I get there. If not, I could try to…."

"Relax," Kakashi told her. "I think we can spare some room on the road for one more."

Hanere gave him a gentle, relieved smile and said, "Thank you so much. I truly appreciate it."

Kakashi shrugged, stood up, then said, "Don't mention it. I should escort you back to our hotel. You can meet your escorts. Plus, as beautiful as you are, you are quite dirty."

Hanere let out a laugh and asked, "Didn't anyone ever teach you how to talk to a lady?"

"Yeah," Kakashi replied. "She had quite the temper, too, when I didn't take to her teachings."

Hanere's laughter died down into a chuckle as she said, "I look a fright, I know. A shower would do me some good. Why don't you lead the way."

Kakashi nodded, a growing smile on his hidden face.


[Elder Gods Meeting Chambers:
POV: General]

Hinata and Tayuya stepped out of the portal and found themselves stepping onto a white and teal platform in the middle of a wide stone ring.

In the stone ring that surrounded the platform were six oversized stone chairs constructed from the ring itself.

Above them sat vibrant and incandescent blue clouds that gave this place a calm and soothing feeling to the three visitors, and through those clouds, peaks of the galaxy could be seen.

"You know, a long time ago, this would have been very strange to me," Tayuya commented to Hinata, who nodded in agreement.

Behind them, Fujin and Naruto stepped through the portal, his windy form solidifying into his standard human form. Naruto suddenly buckled as he held his chest, wisps of crimson energy flowing from his body.

"W-What is this?" Naruto panted out as Fujin stared down at him. "What is this feel-" Naruto was interrupted by a sharp scream, causing him to fall on his knee.

Hinata and Tayuya turned around and yelled, "Naruto!" The duo rushed over to him as Fujin continued to stare with curious eyes as Naruto's body began to shake violently. "Fujin, what the hell is happening to him?!" Hinata exclaimed as Naruto let out another scream.

"I do not know. No one should be feeling pain in this place. Even the former Hellfire Spawn," Fujin said as Naruto leaned up sharply and screamed as a crimson orb of chakra exploded from his chest and crashed into the ground, where it formed into the dazed-looking Kyūbi in her human form.

Naruto fell forward, but Hinata and Tayuya's arms stopped him from falling completely. Tayuya looked up at Fujin and asked, "Where the fuck are we."

"Welcome, the Elder God's chambers," Fujin announced. "We are sitting at the precipice of Heaven itself."

The Kyūbi groaned as she picked herself off the ground, only to fall on one knee, her skin sickly pale and her eyes weak. "Heaven? No wonder…."

"The Kyūbi no Yoko herself. Your tether to the reborn spectre is the only reason you weren't incinerated upon your arrival to this realm," Fujin told the demoness as Tayuya and Hinata looked on at the regal woman in shock.

"Whoa," Tayuya breathed out. "She's sinfully hot."

"I think that's the point," Hinata murmured.

"Kyūbi?" Naruto weakly questioned as he gazed upon her. "How are you out of the seal?"

"I do not know," Kyūbi answered.

"Uzumaki Naruto, Kyūbi no Kurama, Hyūga Hinata, Cage Tayuya," Five voiced boomed out in unison, prompting the group to look around in confusion. Suddenly, five ethereal blue flames exploded to life on five of the six stone thrones and took on a humanoid shape, each of their eyes glowing white.

Kyūbi screamed as white and gold energy slammed into her body, weighing her down to the floor, causing a massive crater around her.

"Kyūbi," Naruto whispered.

"I'll be fine," Kyūbi hissed out in agony.

Fujin knelt on one knee, prompting Hinata and Tayuya to do the same. Due to his exhaustion, Naruto sat upon two knees as Kyūbi laid in the crater, unable to move due to the divine weight on top of her.

"We have been expecting you four," the voices told them, their voices regal and with power. "Welcome, to our realm. And thank you, Fujin, for bringing them."

"I am glad to be of service, my lords," Fujin humbly replied.

"Due to the weakness of both the reborn Hellfire Spectre and Kurama, we shall keep this brief," The Elder Gods spoke. "We have summoned you four here because of a grave threat to all realms. A Titan plots against us, using that of our fallen champion, Liu Kang."

"This crisis is grave. If Kronika succeeds in her conquest, every being will be erased in a temporal Armageddon. Even we Elder Gods. Our power weakens," The Elder Gods continued. "Had we been at full power, Kurama and her demonic essence would have wiped without a millisecond's thought."

"G-Great to know," Kyūbi said with a strained and trembling voice.

"What must we do to avoid this?" Fujin asked.

"Kronika's Keep must be found, and Kronika's hourglass must be destroyed," The Elder Gods answered. "Only then will we all be safe."

"And where is this Keep?" Hinata asked.

"The Keep is deep within the Netherealm," The Gods answered. "Only those with souls tainted with evil can travel."

"And that is why we are here, isn't it?" Naruto asked. "Because our souls are tainted with evil?"

"That is correct. Kitana. Hanzo, because of your past transgressions, your souls are tainted with evil. Tayuya, Kurama, it is the actions you both took in this life that has tainted yours," The Elder Gods answered.

"So what? Does that mean that no matter what good we do in the world, our souls are damned to the Netherrealm once we die?" Hinata asked with fear tinging her voice.

"You all are superb warriors. Each of you is in control of your own destinies," The Gods answered.

"Was that a 'Yes' or a 'No?' because I don't speak cryptic bullshit," Tayuya spat out.

"That was a 'Yes,' but that is why we have summoned you four here," The Elder Gods answered. "We see the good that you four of done in saving the world against Shao Khan. It is the reason why those that fought him were granted instant redemption."

"Forgive my interruption," Hinata said. "However, the clan killer, Uchiha Itachi, was in heaven from what my teacher told us. Surely his soul should have been sent to the Netherrealm for his transgressions."

"His soul was cleansed enough to wipe away his sins due to assisting in the defeat of Shao Kahn," The Elder Gods answered. "We rewarded all those that fought in that battle purification for saving the realms. Even your souls have brightened considerably for the same reason. For if you all failed, Shao Kahn would have destroyed the barrier the missing Thunder God, Raiden, had created. The realms would have been lost almost instantaneously."

"Well, thank you guys for small miracles," Naruto groaned out.

"Your souls are tainted enough where it can go to Kronika's keep without being thoroughly corrupted, as Bi-Han became. We summoned you four for one reason: To be our champions, to find Kronika and defeat her before her vision can be realized, and to save the realms!" The Elder Gods announced. "If you can do that, your souls will be cleansed of all sins, and Heaven will be your final home."

"And if we fail, our souls are damned anyway because Kronika would have won," Tayuya muttered. "I guess there is no refusing this, right?"

The Elder Gods nodded in unison.

"Well, I guess that answers that…." Hinata whispered.

"We will be your champions," Naruto told them. "But you must promise us that our friends, and our allies, are Heaven bound once we succeed."

"We give our solemn vow that those that stand with you will be welcomed to this realm," The Elder Gods answered.

"Then where do we start?" Naruto asked.

"Fujin," The Gods began. "You will assist those in Earthrealm as its Protector. You will see to their success."

"I understand," Fujin said. "Will I be given a human body then?"

The Elder Gods nodded.

"Forgive me, Elder Gods, but what about Raiden?" Fujin asked. "We will need his help if we are to succeed."

Naruto and Hinata held back their scowls at the mention of the Thunder God.

"Raiden was reincarnated into a mortal and thus, passed on into this realm. His Powers, however, remain on Earthrealm. To his heir. Due to this and some protection on this Earthrealmer, we are blinded from the heir's identity. You will need the power of his heir to strengthen or remove the barrier entirely," The Elder Gods explained. "You are also to locate the Heir to Raiden's Powers and soon before Kronika finds him first."

"Can I speak to him to see if we can discover his identity?" Fujin asked.

"Request denied, Fujin," The Elder Gods answered.

"I understand," Fujin murmured with a bow.

"Kurama. We have granted you a human form as a reward for your deeds. Had you not incited the rage of the spectre, all would have been lost. However, you will not be able to use the horde of chakra you have. That remains in the seal that is your prison. You will be powerless outside of it," The Elder Gods stated. "Spectre, while the chakra of Kurama remains within you, you will not be able to use it without her in the seal. She is the key to the chakra. And if one dies, you both die."

"Understood," Kyūbi gasped out.

"You have your orders. Do not fail us!" And with that yell, the Elder gods dispersed into ethereal particles.

All was quiet for a moment before Tayuya whispered, "Fuck me, this is going to be tough."


Captain Blues: And that is the end of this chapter! So, a lot has occurred and I'm sure most of you will see where I'm going with this. The Chūnin exams are right around the corner and we are building to it, so I hope you guys enjoy!

Also, ya boy has made a P. A. T. R. E. O. N! Thanks to my health knocking me on my ass and my healthcare being no help, I decided to open this up, so go to www .P. A. T. R. E. O. N . COM. / blues the writer 4 hire (without the spaces) and become a member. I also have some nifty tier rewards too! Well, see you next time!