Disclaimer: I own not a thing except for OC's, and some original plot of mine.
Tower of Fate, Louisiana; 11:38 pm, October 28th 2016
"Not this one, could blot out the sun, too many sacrifices." Naruto ducked his head as Kent carelessly tosses and banishes various books in his direction. After wandering around this 'tower' Naruto was convinced that he should have chosen to either ignore the old man or stayed in bed. "I think this will do just fine." Kent motioned the two over to a small coffee table in this nearly endless library. He had explained to them earlier that the tower was like an anchoring point in their dimension that could connect to others. In other words, it was magic just like the old man.
Kent placed the tome down on the table. The girl, Katana, was clearly more interested than her companion in the mystic arts though that may be due to her needing it more than him. Said blonde was a bit skeptical as to him being a sorcerer but Kent found that this one would be fun to enlighten.
"What did you find?" Naruto asks a hint of curiosity in his voice.
"Nothing a man of your background would be interested in." Kent teases lightly "I have good news and bad news for you both, which do you prefer hearing first?"
Katana skims over the page as Naruto asks "bad news first."
"We are going to need to find one of the most well-hidden secrets in this world."
"And the good news?"
Kent gave a grin "I know just how to perform the ritual needed."
He motioned Naruto over to the book. The blonde hesitantly did as instructed, looking over Katana's shoulder at the tome he scanned the pages displayed. It all looked like gibberish to him and yet Katana was attentively reading each word slowly. He mentally scratched his head (had Kurama give his opinion) and found that there was something off with this book. The words that stood out were 'Lazarus', 'Death', 'Summoning', 'Exchange' and 'God'. Best that they could figure out was that they would need to summon the Shinigami and thus sacrifice themselves. Not an option that either wanted to explore.
"Could you explain this to me?" Naruto asks as he leans back from the tome "I can't speak for Katana but I hardly understand what it is that is being said in this thing."
Kent nods his head "The ritual that we are to perform is tricky. It requires us to make contact with a Death God, Anubis, Thanatos, the Shinigami, and deities like them. To do this properly we must only summon them when we have something of equal or greater value for them to claim as a…sacrifice."
"So a human soul?" Naruto hesitantly asks as a weight settles in his stomach.
Kent shakes his head while Katana turns to give Naruto a curious look "Nothing of the sort. As you read there are several things that could be of value and used in exchange. People who have become immortal, objects of immense power, beings who have escaped Death, horcuxes, and the Lazarus pit."
"I understand most of those, but what are those last two?"
"Horcruxes are a dark magic from another world. The ability to kill someone and split your soul to become immortal. Horrible creations but fortunately not found here." Kent explains "A Lazarus pit is more like a small pond of a special kind of liquid that rejuvenates, heals, and corrupts a mortal's body and mind. In theory you could use it to live forever. They are found all across this world but yet they elude even me."
Naruto narrowed his eyes slightly at the longing in his voice "Hoping to live forever?"
He got a humorless chuckle in response "No," Kent opened his locket and gave it a longing look "I once wanted the magic of those pits for my own selfish desires but they were never meant to make myself immortal. But now, seeing what you two want to use one of them for…I find that I have a chance to help you both and find one of them before my time comes."
"Watashitachi ga nanika dekiru koto ga aru baai, watashitachiha, anata no tasuke ni kansha shimasu-" (1) Kent holds up his hand to cut Katana off.
"That won't be necessary. Given my age, you'd be happy to help without needing a reward."
Naruto couldn't help but snort at the old comment. The old men he knew had certain traits that he believed were true tests of their ability to not die so easily. Kakashi, Jiraiya, even the old man had one thing in common besides their strength, age, and love of the village: a love for anything involving Icha-Icha. Naruto shook his head with a fond smile, silently thanking Kami and any other gods out there that he had not inherited that quality. Especially with his current partner/babysitter present.
"Let's stay focused here you two," Naruto says getting a chuckle from Kent and a glare from Katana "You wouldn't happen to have some way to locate the nearest one, would you?"
"A location spell would work, and would be needed if I hadn't already located a few over time." At the curious looks he explained "I have encountered a few individuals who have required either the Pits to heal themselves of something not normally encountered or have been using their magic to prolong their life span," At the suspicious look that Naruto was giving him Kent elaborates "Yes I have not actually seen a Lazarus Pit but I have located them in the past. Satisfied?"
'I get the distinct feeling that we won't like the sounds of this' Kurama speaks up having gone through the fine details that Naruto seemed to have overlooked 'This Kent is not one to underestimate nor should he be an enemy of ours kit. Old geezer knows more than he has shared.'
"What's the catch?" Naruto asks for his unseen partner.
Kent gave a shrug "I do not know if we will run into any form of 'interference' on our journey. The Pit that I know of is located in Asia, in the Himalaya's to be precise. And if I am not mistaken this one in particular is monitored, or at least the trail up the mountain is, from a nearby village."
"So all we have to do is scale one of the most dangerous mountain ranges on the planet, not be spotted by anyone, survive the terrain, and locate a pool of magic water…." Naruto gave Katana a nervous glance as he finished listing off their to-do list "Sure, sounds simple enough."
"Splendid." Kent grabbed his walking stick "Just put your hand on my shoulder and for your safety do not let go."
"What happens if we do?"
Kent looked thoughtful for a moment, like he was contemplating just what crazy thing could happen to Naruto in the next few seconds "You'll just have a pleasant date with gravity I suppose."
"Wait wha-" Kent cut off Naruto's question and future protest by slamming his cane down. The spell he used for their transportation engulfing the trio in light before they vanished in a flash.
Nepal; 12:05 am, October 29th, 2016
"-t." upon arrival Naruto, having already begun to move on instinct, slipped and fell into a pile of snow. When he stuck his head out and had to shake his head to get rid of most of the snow Katana and Kent chuckled at his predicament. "Very funny, so where are we now?"
"Nepal, I put us just off the beaten path and closer to the actual Pit." Kent checked his watch "I'd say it should be spring or summer here now. Sorry if I don't know for certain, never had much reason to research this region of the world. Shame that, we might run into a blizzard or a yeti up here."
"Yeti?" Katana asked as she helped Naruto to his feet.
"Yes, big white furred monster, pity that they are seen as vicious though. They are mostly reclusive in nature."
Naruto dusted himself off, Kurama still howling in his head "That's great old man, but can we focus on our job here?"
"Right, right, if you both will follow me?" Kent motioned to a slightly visible path in the snow "I have a heating spell on my clothes that extends just a bit away from the body, stay close and you both should be warm enough."
"Should be?" Katana gave Naruto a look to which the blonde shinobi shrugged in response.
"Don't look at me," he says as the pair follow the old magic man "I won't tell anyone about this if you don't."
The trio walked for what felt like hours in the snow. Naruto was starting to wish he were in the Land of Spring before it had spring. No evil shinobi, warlords, trains, or life or death battles to be fought. Just snow, wind, and more snow.
"If I never see snow again it will be too soon" he grumbles as he tries to keep up with Katana and Kent. The old man was having no trouble trudging through the snow it seems-probably due to a spell-while Katana was able to just stay within range of his heating spell.
'You could always try using some of your chakra.'
'I could, but then I might spoil the surprise.'
'So you do sense them…are they Wallers?'
Naruto looked up ahead at his companions 'If they are, Katana and I are going to have a long chat about backstabbing team mates.'
Kent stopped by a small cave. The aging magician looked back at his unofficial 'sidekicks', if that is what the young and new heroes call them, as they huddled around him for warmth. "This is as far as we can go I'm afraid. Any further and we run the risk of revealing our intentions to outsiders."
"So I was right," Naruto's statement got a confused glance from Katana "We were being followed."
Kent gave a slight nod "Indeed. If you wouldn't mind, I think that our guests are preparing something for us."
Katana drew her sword as Naruto pulled out a kunai. The pair turned their backs to Kent and scanned the area for movement. Due to his heightened senses and training Naruto could pick out three...no, four individuals. They were spacing themselves out not unlike some shinobi cells would in this situation. Perfect.
"They aren't used to us it seems."
"Oh? And just why is that?"
Naruto spun the kunai in his hand "Four of them against the three of us. If they knew anything about Katana they would have brought more and if they knew about me, we wouldn't be seeing as much snow y'know."
'You are doing it again'
Naruto thumped the side of his head. The motion was only understood by his tenant but provided enough of a perceived opening for their four followers. The four assailants vanished from their positions in the snow. Kent didn't bother turning around as he erected a bubble of energy around himself and Katana as several kunai and shuriken bounced off it.
"Looks like your friend is quite the character." The grin on his face threw Katana off "I think it best if you just look for yourself."
Outside of their little bubble one of their four attackers lay in the snow with a kunai sticking out of his back. To the right Katana could see two Naruto's fighting against the other three ambushers. A third burst from the snow behind one of their attackers, dragging the poor individual down under the white blankets.
"Hmm…is he usually this aggressive?"
Katana shook her head as Naruto or his clone shoved a hand encased in electricity into his opponent's chest. "He is…calm?"
"I hope for the future of your relationship he is, Inza would have my head if I were ever this aggressive with my enemies."
Kent chuckled "Inza was my wife. Spirited even in her old age," he gave a sad sigh "I do miss her dearly. You remind me of her in a way, you don't look the type to let him get away with anything."
She looks away, focusing on the fight and thankful for the mask and years of hiding her emotions. Watching her blond partner's movements in battle was interesting as always. This time however he appeared to be bored with his opponents. Granted they were of a higher caliber than Poison Ivy but compared to Naruto they were most likely…Genin.
Naruto yawned as he blocked a strike on his right then kneed the so called assassin in the chest with enough force to break a few ribs. The precise blow was more than enough to leave a sizeable dent in the ribcage, puncture the lungs and possibly have stopped the heart but Naruto and Kurama were not the best medics.
'Still think that they are simple pushovers?'
Naruto rolled his eyes, dispersing his clones so he could try and enjoy what was left of his assailants 'Hardly, they barely have the speed of an experienced Genin, and their taijutsu is lacking.'
'Something doesn't feel right about this,' Kurama grumbles in his mind 'Four guards for something like this? Whoever is protecting it is either distracted, overconfident or an idiot.'
Naruto shrugged jumping over his opponents he nails each one like the first in the back with a kunai. He sighs as the snow and wind picks up around them "Nothing for it now…except to move forward."
Kent raised his cane and brought it back down, the winds receding with the motion. "If you are done enjoying nature we have a job to do." He reminds the shinobi "Or would you rather stay here and freeze?"
Entering the cave Kent lead his two companions deep into the dark depths. Naruto felt like a cornered animal as they got deeper. It was quiet, and wet—he slipped slightly and had to stab a kunai into the frozen wall beside him to steady himself—but it was a relatively short trip. Besides the constant sound of water dripping from the ceiling.
"If I go crazy in here I blame you." He grumbles covering his ears. Kent just laughed, the shinobi growling out curses under his breath which in turn had Katana reprimanding him.
'Keep it up, she might just be your new Sakura.'
'Like I need that.' He thought unsettled by such a thought 'Last thing I need is a girl to worry about.'
'Oh? Are you sure that isn't the other way around? After what happened with your most recent relationship…'
Naruto gripped the kunai in his hand tightly, knuckles turning white. Even when Katana elbowed his side to get his attention he showed no sign of his true emotions. Just a mask.
"Here we are." Kent scans the edges of the pool "If you have any idea what it is that you need to do best get to it, I do not think it wise to stay longer than is required."
Naruto steps towards the pool of green. Pulling out a small scroll he unseals a brush and ink. Using what he can spare of his focus Naruto begins creating the seals they will require: barrier seals for when they leave, a partially complete Reaper Death Seal to call forth the Shinigami while working with a modified chakra suppression seal that should hopefully deal with the Lazarus Pit's rejuvenation effects.
"This should work," he says handing the finished seal to Kent "I'd suggest not pissing off this particular Death God, we have…a history, you could say."
"Have a knack for annoying Gods?" Kent asks with a chuckle as he begins to channel his energy into the seal "Interesting system here… Oh yes, this will do just fine for our goal." He levitates the paper in the air, raising his cane then bringing it down once against the cave floor. The sealing paper burns up but the symbols remain, growing larger in the air as the ghostly shape of a demonic spirit emerges from the center. Head full of white shaggy hair, body covered in purple skin and two red horns poking out through his hair.
Naruto tensed slightly at the God's appearance. He felt its eyes on him, narrowing his own as the god removed its tanto from its mouth revealing the sharp teeth inside. The Death God raised its head to look at the aging magician "Why have you summoned me here, mortal?" it's voice was like gravel, col enough to freeze the air around them, yet rough enough to keep them from drifting into a death-like trance "You are not my favored…nor are you from my domain."
Kent cleared his throat "I apologize Lord Shinigami; my name is Kent Nelson, I am the last bearer of Doctor Fate, my companions and I are honored to be graced by your presence."
The God scoffs at the placating manner "Mortals!" he growls "Always quick to butter us up, speak your desires lest I feed on your souls for this."
Naruto gave a growl of his own, Kurama holding him back both mentally and physically. The Shinigami was a cruel god to be sure. Payment for summoning him always being the soul of the Summoner but given that they didn't technically use the full seal he would starve tonight.
Kent tugged at his shirt collar. Past dealings with godly entities were usually more pleasant and not so…blunt. Then again the Shinto side of the pantheons had rarely been heard of in this world, and Doctor Fate despite his long existence had only had dealings with the Goddess Amaterasu and she at least was kinder than the Shinigami appeared to be. "You see my Lord, we seek your help with a small task and in exchange we will help you as well."
"You wish to serve me?"
"Not serve," Kent shakes his head "Merely…assist in the capture of certain souls by removing their methods of life."
Kent motions Katana to step forward. The swordsman does so with slight trepidation before unsheathing her blade and presenting it to the god. "In that blade, are the souls of its victims, dead to be sure but not at rest. What we ask is that you remove just one soul in particular."
The God laughs "And in exchange for this you help me hunt down souls who have escaped their judgment?"
"Precisely, though it is our intention to do so by handing over something of equal value to this one life," Kent gestures to the pit behind the Death God "A Lazarus Pit here for starters, then the rest as we find them."
Shinigami turns to admire the pit. One Lazarus pit would wreak havoc on the living world, thus is why they were cursed gifts for mortals foolish enough to use them for too long. Rejuvenation almost so perfect that it could revive the dead…of course no one had been foolish enough to test it out just yet but the madness that would follow with repeated use and exposure was something few had withstood throughout history.
"I shall agree with the terms" Shinigami says rather composed "However, I believe that for this endeavor to be prove fruitful for both parties involved I ask that you offer a single soul to the Collective as an added bonus."
Naruto clenched his fists tight, knuckles turning white as his eyes became slits. Of course there would be a catch with this God. "What do you want?"
The god's eyes bore into the shinobi with an intense ferocity behind them as he pierced Naruto's body down to his very soul "Uzumaki." The single word chilled the air "You of all should know what I can do to mortals who offend me. I am only here because you have given this old man my seal, if you speak out of turn again I will accept your soul as payment along with your tenant."
The threat while held with little real weight was enough to silence the blonde from any more outbursts lest he find himself needing to be revived by the pit. He backed off, begrudgingly, from the god.
"I shall accept the Pit as payment for what you want, but future assistance from the Collective will require more in addition to the soul of one particular troublemaker."
"And who might that be Lord Shinigami?"
"Ra's al Ghul."
The name didn't strike anything to Naruto or Katana. Kent however seemed grim, a serious look on his face as he frowns in thought "Yes, that can be arranged though it may take some time to achieve with him. We humbly accept those terms."
Shinigami holds a hand out towards Katana. "Give me the blade, and I shall remove the soul that you so desperately wish to save."
Naruto had to bite his tongue to refrain from snapping at the god of death to be a little politer. He hated working with this god. In his home world the gods were revered for great reason, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Shinigami etc. His problem with the three mentioned was that two were only truly mentioned as techniques of the Uchiha clan and had been a pain for him to deal with earlier in life while the death god was the only true god to piss him off. His parents, Lord Third, the bastard was used most recently a few months before his departure.
As the blade is grasped in his hand the god admires it for a moment. Feeling each soul that lay unclaimed by a member of his collective for so many years. The woman wanted one soul in particular, that of her deceased husband. It was a simple matter for a ghostly hand to reach inside the blade and remove the soul in question. "The deed is done," he hands the sword back to its owner "I shall inform the collective of our new partnership, do not fail us mortals for we will not be so forgiving of a failure of this level."
They watched, some in awe others in silent rage, as the god's appearance fades into nothing. Growing clearer in a way, transparent, before fading from view. The once green water of the Lazarus Pit slowly changes into blackness. The magical properties corrupted by the Death God. Their mission was complete it would seem.
"I think it best that we finish up here and then return to the Tower." Kent says finally composing himself enough after meeting with a Death God. "What say you kid; think you can wrap this up?"
Naruto gives a roll of his eyes. He didn't need to be told what to do now, clones were easy to make for him and they too knew to get to work quickly. Within minutes of finalizing the sealing array preventing anyone from entering or leaving by normal means Kent brought his cane down once more.
Tower of Fate, Louisiana; 5:15 am, October 29th 2016
Naruto was prepared this time for the teleportation. He didn't stumble or fall, though he did have to steady Katana as she was ported with an armchair in her way and nearly fell upon arrival. That was one event that had Kurama howling with laughter in a way for the position the two were now in, the samurai held in the shinobi's arms as if he were dipping her during a dance. Even the old fossil of a man was chuckling as they stood up and separated themselves for the time being.
"One of these days I am going to kill that man." He grumbles as Kent keeps chuckling at them.
"Oh come now, would you two really want to hurt a defenseless old man?"
Naruto gives the sorcerer a dry look "You are far from defenseless, personal experience says you are highly capable despite your age."
Kent gave a shrug. Kids these days could learn a thing or two about respecting their elders. The blonde in particular would need several life time's worth of training in that regard. He checks his pocket watch, smiling as his two guests have slightly settled down before opening his mouth to speak again "You both may want to get back to your own homes, given the time and that you haven't called any friends or relatives I can assume that they might be upset with you both for this."
Naruto gave a careless wave of his hand, for which Katana elbowed him sharply. "Right…we'll get going now."
"Sometimes I think you live to punish me." He grumbles to Katana as they are escorted out of the Tower of Fate.
"You make it too easy." She replies in her accented English.
Naruto crosses his arms, pouting though he would deny it. 'Make a mental note Kurama: Get her a translation seal and set it to small child voice.'
'She will murder you for that kit.'
'Still would be worth it though.'
"You summoned me?"
The speaker was shrouded in shadow. The room itself cloaked in perpetual darkness as the only light came from two burning torches hanging on the wall on either side of a kneeling man. The man was well built, wearing a green ornamental ensemble with a pair of curved swords by his side. This man was Ra's al Ghul, the literal head of the demon and the League of Shadows.
"I did, assassin." He regards the man before him "I have received word that one of my Lazarus Pits has been found, and…sealed. In addition, a small group of my own assassins have been killed in battle. You wouldn't happen to know who did this, would you?"
The man gives a dark chuckle and pulls out a PDA, handing it to a servant he replies "Yes, his name is currently unknown to me but I believe you will find what he can do to be most intriguing."
Ra's accepts the PDA with a raised brow, the servant stepping away from his master as he watches several short clips of what this newcomer can do "He is clearly an assassin but these moves…. how long have you been watching him?"
"Since his arrival in Jump City. He has already proven himself to be a professional, none of his moves show any sign of weakness however…his most recent venture that I witnessed in New Orleans was intriguing due to the restrictions he was clearly operating under."
"So he is a 'hero' then? A pity, for one so gifted to be restrained in such a way."
Ra's hands the PDA back to his servant "Now, this changes things, at first I wanted to know if it was you who killed my own but after seeing this…assassin, I wish for you to do something for me."
"Of course, what does the Master wish of me?"
"Find this assassin, recruit him if you can into our fold by any means," Ra's orders.
"And should he refuse?"
Ra's grins at the man as he steps into the light "Terminate him."
The man bowed his head. Body covered in metal armor plating a sword sheathed on his back, two pistols located at the waist. He wore a black and orange mask with a single hole for his left eye to see through "It will be done."
Ra's watched the Terminator as he left his chamber. Centuries of planning was about to come to fruition in a few short years, but this new piece on the board could be a problem. Neither black or white, good or evil, the new player could tip the scales for and against both sides. With the snap of his fingers his servant stepped forward. "Send out a message to our agents, they are to return immediately, all current missions are to be either completed in a swift manner or dropped for the time being."
"Where shall they assemble Master?"
"Have them meet in our base in Kyoto, at the seat of the emperor." Ra's gave a slight pause "And arrange a meeting with Mr. Savage. We have much to discuss."
AN: I know this is not the best work for a chapter. That is my fault, some things came up that I could not prevent and others that I should have were not. About the 'Collective' I have taken the liberty of not seeing if this exists as I was more focused on the story itself and not the continuity for once, the Collective is essentially a council consisting of the Death Gods of every religion. Hades, Shinigami, Anubis, Hel, etc. Thanatos is also on this list as would any grim reaper. What I did with the soul in the sword, freeing Katana's husband, I intended to do from the start of the idea phase for this fic. Doing it now seemed logical as it provided me with a way to set up for the first major clash for Naruto vs Deathstroke along with setting up the ground work should the majority want Katana/Naruto…. or however you write the pairing. Fights won't be as dull or one-sided in the future. Hint for the next few chapters: I intended to bring in something big, and at least a bit challenging for the League to beat as we have seen once or twice in the cartoon….gl. Oh! And now we have our first main villain for Naruto introduced officially.
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