CHAPTER 1-A NEW REBIRTH
There was darkness all around as he sank into the abyss of death. It was not an unpleasant sensation, nor was it unfamiliar. It was akin to being lowered down by a mother's arms to be laid to rest for the evening. Soon, he would be laid to rest for all eternity.
Before, he had accepted death because it was part of a plan. A plan he thought he was the author of, but now that he knew the whole truth, he embraced death with resignation and acceptance. Soon, all the pointless battles, struggles, and pain would end and he would be free.
He could not say he had a good life. Not even in the slightest. After all, he was born into a period of war. His very first memories were that of fires, yelling, and blood soaked clansman. Friendship was a fleeting fancy, as at any point a friend could become a casualty, and the only real relationships he tried to hold onto were those of his family. Even then, they were taken one after the other, leaving him with nothing.
No, there was something. A man whom he shared his hopes, dreams, and rivalry. A man he could have called a brother, if not for his own pride, stubbornness, cynicism, and the machinations that ruled his path like unseen puppeteer hands.
That man still regarded him like a brother, despite all the mistakes he made and pain he caused. At least he had the chance to say a few words to him near the end. Although, they weren't all of the words he wanted to say, due to once again his own pride and stubbornness.
Now at the end, as death's embrace takes him down, he cannot even give voice to his regrets. He could not speak, could not move, and even thought itself was being torn away from him. Only the impulse to finally rest remained. And so he closed his eyes, and let himself sink to his eternal rest.
"I am sorry, warrior of shadows, that I must be the one to pull you away. But if I do not, you could still be used to bring further calamity."
A voice called out through the darkness. It was unfamiliar, but soft, kind, caring even, but also filled with regret. It was an emotion he knew all too well as it forced thought back into his mind. Through the darkness, a small light had started to shine down upon him. The light felt warm. It felt like life, and he did not want it.
He tried to pull back from the light. He didn't want to go to the light. The light was and is his enemy, and he would not be pulled into it again. But it was of no use. He could not move as the light pulled him up closer and closer, until all was a blinding white.
A breeze flows through the spring air as warmth fills his body. The first thing that his senses tell him was to breathe. Warm, comfortable, clean air fills his lungs as he takes deep, slow, and measured breaths of air. The next, was to open his eyes as he felt sunshine warming his feet in his open-toed foot-gear. His vision was blurred at first. Everything was out of focus as he struggled to gain an awareness of his surroundings.
After a few moments of focusing exercises with his eyes, his vision finally had cleared, and he saw that he was laying down underneath a tree. Sunlight barely pierced the canopy of leaves as he gazed upward. He lifted his head and saw that he wore a plain brown shirt, black pants, and the open-toed footwear he wore before.
Then he tried moving his body, but it was extremely difficult. His entire body felt like a lead weight, and his joints were stiff and immovable. All that he could move freely at this point was his head, eyes, and neck. With limited mobility, the man resigned to simply lie in place until his body could move again.
Throughout all of this, two thoughts clashed inside his mind for the dominant position in importance. As he looked around with his head and neck he voiced these thoughts with a fairly weak voice.
"Where am I? Who revived me?"
There was no answer to his query as he laid there for what seemed like half an hour. During this time he had regained control of his hands, feet, fingers, and toes. However, the rest of his body was still stiff and uncooperative. He was not bothered by it as he long ago learned the virtues of patience and had resolved to lay in meditation until full control of his body was achieved.
Then suddenly, his senses went on high alert. He felt something in the area with a high degree of bloodlust. It was primal, and almost animalistic in nature. He lightly sniffed the air and caught a foul aroma that he did not recognize. There were six sources in total, and they were close by.
Not only that, he knew instantly that it was not human. With the situation having changed, he tried to force his body to move, but still to no avail. Whatever process that revived him still left lingering traces of shock to his system and his body still hadn't recovered fully.
Before he could try to hide his presence, he would come face to face with the sources themselves as they started to emerge from the bushes of the surrounding trees. They were six hideous, green skinned creatures with warts and callouses all over their skin and faces.
The man kept his calm and breathed in as he gripped the soil under his hands. Once he did his left eyebrow twitched slightly as he realized something important. He kept still as one of the creatures approached him.
"Geh, he. Human? Out here? Good to eat." The creature said with glee in short phrases.
Meanwhile, the man maintained his composure as he spoke calmly, unmoved by the creature's threat.
"Gah! Last words? Then die now!" The creature said as it lifted up a rusted, blood caked sword in preparation to kill the man.
Then in a flash, roots sprang forth from it's body. It was as if they came from the inside out, but upon closer inspection one could see that they came up from the ground, and into the green creature's rectum, and from there the rest of its body.
The rest of the creatures were thrown into confusion as they growled and snarled and remained in place. Then the man they thought to kill slowly sat up, as steadily growing roots propped him up, and spoke in a voice filled with strength and determination as he glared at the vile wretches.
"Filthy creatures, know this. My name is Uchiha Madara, and even at my worst I will not be done in by weaklings like you."
Before the creatures could respond three more became impaled on roots like the first before. One of the two remaining ran away in a panic, while the last tried to charge in a blind rage, armed with only a rusty dagger. The man who called himself Madara glared at the creature and spoke a single word.
Madara's eye color changed from black to red, with what seemed like three black dots to the creature but it did not matter. As soon as it looked into Madara's eyes its advance came to a halt just a mere 31cm away from him. Its toothy facial expression glazed over in blankness as it stared into space. Then Madara spoke in cold tones towards it.
"I had questions ugly one, but you do not seem intelligent enough to answer them, nor am I kind enough to let those who attack me go free. Now then, you shall take ten steps backwards, then you will take your blade, and run it across your throat."
The creature's face twitched and then it contorted into a smile as it responded.
"Yes, my master."
The creature did as it was told as it took ten steps backwards, and then took the rusty dagger in its right hand, and plunged it in the left side of its neck. With all its might opened its throat using both of its hands to do so, given the blade's dulled edge. It gurgled and choked violently and yet fulfilled its order with a smile on its face as it dropped to the ground dead.
Madara's eyes reverted back to normal as he gazed coldly as the corpse of the creature that had opened its own throat by his command. His expression was one that said that he viewed it like an ant that was crushed underfoot.
"Hmph. How ugly." He said coldly.
"My, my. It appears that you did not need my help after all, warrior of shadows."
The sudden voice caught Madara completely off-guard as he swung his head to the left and saw a shape slowly fade into view, as if what was once invisible was now becoming visible. Though he was unsettled, he kept his composure as he saw a man in immaculate brown and white clothing appear before him.
He wore a long coat and pants with intricate designs and held a silver staff with a twin dragon head design at the tip, with the jaws holding a blue jewel in the middle that seemed to radiate with power and energy. Though the new arrival wore a hood, Madara could clearly see the man's face. He was an older gentleman that appeared to be in his fifties, and had a neatly trimmed grey beard with no mustache. He pulled back his hood to reveal his neatly trimmed full head of grey hair and eyes that were silver in color. He then spoke to Madara in soft and friendly tones.
"Please, do not be alarmed. I wish not to harm you, but to help you."
"Your voice... you were the one who revived me." Madara said in a threatening tone.
The older man took a graceful bow filled with respect and elegance. His body language and his mannerisms communicated a sort of refinement and gentlemanly demeanor. He smiled in a soft and non-threatening manner before responding.
"I sincerely apologize for not being in your company for when you regained consciousness, or for being able to adequately shield you from any dangerous elements. However, there were issues I needed to address upon your resurrection that simply could not wait." The man took a sincere, apologetic bow to Madara.
For Madara himself, he carefully and methodically studied the man before him. His extensive life experience could allow him to read and size up people relatively quickly. Everything from his voice inflections, mannerisms, body language, right down to his micro-expressions told Madara that this stranger was not only being truthful and honest, but showed genuine concern for him.
Although he was still suspicious of the man and his motivations, he resolved to hear him out, due to his current weakened and vulnerable state.
"Hmph. Whatever you say. Now stranger, what is your name?" Madara said calmly, but still somewhat agitated underneath.
The man then took a moment in thought, as if he was unsure at how to respond. He then smiled in a way that communicated embarrassment at oneself before speaking.
"My apologies. My original name has long since been lost to me, nor would it truly serve to tell you who I am or the nature of my being. I realize that may seem an unsatisfactory answer, but it is the whole truth of the matter. With that being the case, I will try to explain my nature and how it relates to you, but first I must ask you a question. Will you allow me to fully rejuvenate your currently weakened body?"
At first Madara narrowed his eyes in mild annoyance to the non-answer he had received from the strange man. Still, he also could not fault the logic of his words. After all, what is in a name that was not known to anyone, let alone to oneself? In addition, the man offered him the means to recover from his body's weakened state, but phrased it in the form of asking for his permission to do so. This man was strange, and fairly complex. This much he had grasped as he then spoke.
"Hmph. Very well. Heal me strange one. Then you will explain who you are, and why you have revived me. Am I understood?" Madara said with slight anger in his voice.
"Perfectly. It is only fair after all. Then I shall begin. Please hold still." The man said with a respectful bow.
He then goes down to one knee next to Madara, and places his left hand on his left shoulder. Suddenly, a bluish-white energy that Madara did not recognize fills his entire body with power, vitality, and warmth. It was one of the most pleasant sensations he had ever felt. Through that energy, he could also sense the feelings and emotions of this mysterious man. Although it was not enough to completely allay his suspicions or concerns, it was enough for him to confirm his initial impressions of the man. After just a few moments, the energy fades and the man stands.
"There now. That should do it. How does your body fair?"
Madara moved his joints and discovered all stiffness and discomfort was gone. He stood up and felt that his mobility had been restored to 100% of normal. For a moment, he found himself to actually be impressed by the man's ability as he gave an approving nod to the results. He turned to the man, who once again took a bow to Madara as he spoke.
"I am pleased that you find my work acceptable. Now, if you will please follow me, so that we may have a conversation with more... pleasant environs." The man says as he looks at the corpses in the immediate vicinity.
Madara agrees with a nod and then they both walk away from the scene at a relaxed pace. They walk for about ten minutes into a beautiful, wide open grassy plain. For a moment, even Madara was taken aback by the beauty of his surroundings as they walk towards a lone tree. Once there, the man turns to face Madara with a friendly smile.
"Now then, I believe explanations are in order, but first let us get comfortable."
With a wave of his right hand circles of yellow light, with markings that Madara did not recognize, then materialized and with their appearance, so did two wooden chairs next to each of them.
"Please, take a seat." The man says as he sits in his own chair and releases his staff that then floats behind him.
For his part, Madara was losing patience, but the man was cordial, and pleasant even. So with a tired sigh he took his seat and then glared at the man with both focus and mild annoyance as he then spoke.
"Enough with the delays, old man. Explanations are due. Now." Madara said in a powerful voice as his [Sharingan] flared on with his last, forcefully spoken word.
"Of course. I beg your pardon." The man says with a bow before continuing.
"Now then, first would be who I am. A difficult quandary to be sure. Hmm... well, as my name is lost to time, I go by the title, "The Observer". As it suggests, my function is to watch over and to observe, but what you may ask? This may or may not come as a shock to you, but your world of origin is not the only one in existence."
As the man paused briefly, he allowed Madara time to let his words sink in, and indeed there was a small measure of surprise on his face before he composed himself once again. He had a great number of questions to be sure, but he knew things would go faster and more smoothly if he let this "Observer" speak.
Satisfied that Madara would let him continue, the Observer spoke again.
"I see you understand somewhat. Still, I shall explain further. Your world is only one of a myriad of many others in a long stretch of near infinite possible universes, many of which are quite a bit different and distinct from each other. I watch over the boundaries between these worlds for various reasons. One of those reasons is to ensure that those boundaries are stable and are in balance with each other. Now, this is where you come in, warrior of shadows."
The Observer stroked his trimmed beard with a pause before continuing.
"The one you know of as 'Kaguya' had disrupted these boundaries for a time, by using her great powers and abilities to manipulate dimensions, time, and space. These actions had attracted the wrong kind of attention to your world from others, and moreover even if they did not become an immediate threat, I foresaw that in time there would be others to try to use you to bring about great calamity to your world. Once that had happened, other worlds would also become at risk. So, I had to act quickly to ensure that such events could not come to pass."
The man who called himself the Observer then had an expression of sadness and regret as he paused and then took a bow before speaking in an apologetic tone of voice.
"I am sorry that I had to bring you back to the living without your knowledge or your consent. To protect the balance of worlds, and to prevent the calamities I had foreseen, I felt that I had little choice but to do so. I am truly sorry." He finished speaking as he lifted his head to look directly at Madara.
For a moment, there was nothing but silence between them as Madara had then begun to go over everything he was told in his mind. He studied the old man before him. Indeed, the tale was a wild one, but all the while that the man had been telling it, Madara was using his [Sharingan] eyes to study the man intently. Everything from his voice inflections and body language, spoke true to him, and slowly Madara understood the implications and the actions behind them.
Although, even if he could say that he understood, it didn't mean he approved, and actually held back several impulses to kill the man in front of him. There were only two reasons why he had not given in and done so.
First, the genuine showings of respect and regret the man had shown him. These actions had a small impact on Madara and thus he stayed his hand. Second, as he listened to the old man, he surveyed his immediate surroundings, felt the air around him, and remembered those green, ugly creatures that had tried to attack him. A feeling crept over him that could not be ignored as he then asked a question.
"So then old man, I take it that this world we are in now, is not the one I am from." Madara said as he framed his question in the form of a statement. The man that called himself the Observer, smirked before responding.
"Indeed, warrior of shadows. I knew I could not just revive you and hope for the best. To ensure that you could never again be used to instigate Kaguya's revival, I transported you to this world, which is far removed from the one you knew."
"Hm. So then old man, what is it you intended for me?" Madara said as he mentally prepared himself for some kind of altercation.
He resolved himself to never be used again, and despite all that the Observer had done for him, and how pleasant he may have been to him, he was not going to dance to anyone's tune again. However, the response he received was well outside what he had expected.
"Nothing whatsoever, warrior of shadows. I pulled you from your world to safeguard its reality, and other realities. As far as I am concerned, that task has been completed. As for you, well, your life is your life, free to choose its direction. Do with it what you will."
Madara's [Sharingan] faded as he stared at the Observer in wide-eyed shock. He could not believe his senses. He had expected some sort of duplicity. No, perhaps that was just his long ingrained cynicism at work. After a lifelong path paved in blood, deceit, and machinations, to see genuine truth and sincerity just given to him was almost too much for him to handle. He tried his best to conceal his disbelief as he spoke.
"Are you quite serious?"
"Hm? Of course I am, young man. Not once have I spoken a falsehood during the course of our conversations. Nor will I ever do so. You deserve better than that, don't you think?"
Once again, Madara's mind was thrown into disarray. This was the first time in recent memory he had heard anyone say that he deserved better of anything. Once again, it was the earnest and the sincere demeanor of the old man in front of him. It had a disarming effect on his caution. He felt truly compelled to believe him and trust him.
Madara thought at first he was being influenced by some sort of [Genjutsu], or some other method to alter his perceptions, but the reality was that was not the case at all. The Observer was indeed a sincere man, and Madara could only smirk as it reminded him of one or two others he knew that shared that trait. Before he could say or do anything else the voice of the old man brought his focus back.
"It pleases me that you have understood and have accepted my words. Oh, and do not worry. I have no intention of leaving your here in a foreign world without the knowledge or means to take care of yourself."
As the Observer finished his statement, he lifted his left hand and once again yellow circles of light with mysterious symbols appeared. Under the tree on the ground those same patterns emerged, and a small pile of assorted items appeared out of thin air. No, not thin air. It was a space/time method of some sort. That much was obvious to Madara. Feeling genuine curiosity for the first time in a while, he resolved to ask the old man some questions.
"What type of power is it that you wield, old man?"
"Oh? OH! Pardon me. I am so used to it that I often forget that others may not be familiar with it. What you have witnessed is the application of magic."
"Magic? Like that of children stories?" Madara said incredulously.
"HA HA HA HA! An excellent reaction! Ah.~ No, not quite. As I have stated before, there are many worlds that have distinct differences with each other, and what may be story or myth in one, can be the reality for another. Consequently, the power I used to fully restore you and to materialize those articles over there was that of magic." The man said as he stroked his beard and took on an almost teacherly demeanor as he smiled before continuing.
"In your world, the powers of chakra grew and were developed into methods to be used in various different means, which in this and other worlds could be considered magic in of itself. Here in this world, chakra does not exist, and thus neither does the school of techniques that you use. 'Ninja' do exist here, but not as you know them. It is more of a chosen skill and career path than anything else. No, here one of the dominant powers that took hold and were developed through various means is that of 'mana' which fuels magic. Mana is a type of spiritual energy that normally requires focus, study, and mental energy to wield."
Madara perked an eyebrow as he heard this. A world where chakra doesn't exist and a different power grew in its place? He had to admit that he was intrigued by the prospects. Before he could ask more questions the old man used the same method as before to materialize two thick books in his hands.
"My time here is limited, and as much as I would enjoy teaching you of this world in more detail myself, I am afraid I do not have that luxury. Therefore, I have prepared these tomes to teach you in my place. They are enchanted with magic to bestow knowledge upon the reader, and when used in tandem with the abilities of your [Sharingan], should be enough to fully acquaint you with this world in mere moments. As for the pile I summoned earlier, those are clothes and items you will need in your travels."
"What do you mean that your time here is limited?" Madara asked with curiosity.
"As I said, I am the Observer. It is my duty, and obligation to watch over the rivers that flow into and separate the various worlds and realities. My continued life and existence is tied to that role, and thus I cannot leave it for long periods of time without there being some consequences for myself, and the other worlds I mentioned. I apologize, but beyond that, I am afraid I can say no more on the subject." The old man says as he takes an apologetic bow.
Madara was once again slightly annoyed by the answer, but over the course of their brief time talking with each other, he had a good enough reading on the man's personality and character to somewhat accept his reply.
"Hmph. Very well old man." As he says that the Observer hands him the books with a bow.
"Oh, before I leave, there are two things I need to inform you of on the outset. First, this world uses a magic system that allows people of different places to understand each other regardless of the language spoken. Perhaps you have noticed that my mouth movements do not match the words you hear?" The Observer says as he points to his mouth with a smile.
Indeed, Madara had noticed that small detail, and had deduced as much from their short time together. Still, receiving confirmation of his suspicions was welcomed and he simply nodded for the old man to continue.
"Second, is that in this world, names are used in a different order than what you are used to, with given names first, and family names second. So from now on, I recommend getting used to introducing yourself to others you may encounter in such a fashion."
"Hmph. Saying my name in a backwards order? Just thinking about how it would sound seems a bit ridiculous to me."
The Observer chuckles at the statement before standing up, with his staff then immediately returning to his left hand, and him extending his right hand to Madara. He hesitated for a brief moment as he stood up as well and looked down at the offered hand.
The last time he shook someone's hand, things did not end well. Now however, in this new world, perhaps things could be different for him. No longer was he bound by anyone or anything. There was nothing holding him down anymore. For the first time in his life, he felt truly free. If was a strange sensation to him, and yet a welcomed change, given how his last life had ended. And so as he holds his books under his left arm, and with another brief moment of hesitation he accepted the gesture.
"Live long, and live well, Madara Uchiha." The Observer says with a mischievous smile.
"Hmph. I was correct. It does sound ridiculous." Madara says with an amused smirk of his own.
After that exchange, they release their grips, and the old man walks about 2 meters to Madara's left before he vanishes in a flash of green light. After being left by himself, Madara activates his [Sharingan], takes a seat, and opens the first book, which glows a brilliant yellow light.
"Ah. How interesting."
Some two hours later, Madara was walking down what seemed to be a well traveled path. He wore a brown cloak with a hood, brown pants with leather boots, finger-less black gloves, a light set of leather armor over his upper body, and a [Katana] in a sheath that was on his back. From what he had recently learned, the clothing he received was enchanted with what was referred to as, "magic of the 3rd-tier".
Indeed, he learned of many things thanks to the help of the Observer. Of the magic of this new world, of the surrounding countries, and even how to read some of the various written languages of said countries. Apparently, whatever magic that allowed people to understand foreign speech did not work on writing, so that was very useful.
He now knew that the country he was currently in was call the "Re-Estize Kingdom", and that it was a feudal monarchy controlled by a king, and by groups of noble families. Madara wasn't particularly interested in the country's politics, but the information that had been given to him painted a subtle picture of a corrupt government, and he didn't find it particularly appealing.
As he casually and stoically walked down the dirt path, many thoughts were running through the borders of his consciousness. Even if he still held onto some doubts, the fact that he was now completely free, to do whatever he wished was a completely new feeling for him. In the past, he always worked toward some sort of goal in mind. He had something to work for and to achieve.
Now? He had none of that. No home, no goal, and nothing to strive for. As appealing as his new freedom was at first, the more he thought about it, the more he was unsure of how to proceed with it.
"Tsk. How bothersome." He exclaimed aloud.
For now, he resolved to just travel and explore the new world he was living in. The information he had received held only basic information one would probably find in a library. He did know that this world too suffered from seemingly unending conflict, although for different reasons.
Madara was debating internally about whether he should start there, although he was seemingly dismissive of the idea as he let out an audible "Hmph!" to himself. Why should he go through such troubles again, he began to wonder. He had learned time and again that where there are people, there will also be conflict.
It seemed that only the trappings changed. It didn't sit well with him to be sure, but not enough to try and waste his time on it. Then suddenly, something had caught his attention as he sniffed at the air. Their was the all too familiar smells of fire, blood, and death. For a brief moment, his blood stirred for a battle as he debated on joining the fray.
He had tested his abilities before he had started on his journey, and the results were interesting to say the very least. He found that his chakra was still as potent as ever, although the recovery rate was now at 17% slower than its norm, and he could no longer use his summoning abilities. He attributed both of these issues to the fact that he had crossed over into a new world whose very nature was different from his own.
Still, despite these few issues, the vast majority of his powers were very much intact, and so he debated the merits of getting involved at all. Whether it was out of curiosity or boredom, he suddenly found himself briskly jogging in the direction his senses told him the battle was taking place in.
He arrived onto the scene on top of a hill that over looked the proceedings, and found a slightly different view than what he had initially expected. It wasn't a battle, but an outright slaughter as a small caravan was being attacked by a group of demi-humans he now knew as goblins and ogres.
There were about twenty goblins and five ogres in total, and the scene that was playing out had disgusted him to no end. He saw ogres eating humans, some of whom were still half-conscious and alive, and the goblins were busily violating the corpses of the human women that laid naked in the sun. No, it was more than just disgust, as he could feel the outrage, anger, and the wrath swell within his chest.
"Disgusting vermin." He said as he growled.
Just as he was about to charge in and slaughter the lot of them, he noticed a group of three humans at the head of the caravan that had managed to stay alive and were fending off a group of ten goblins. They had tipped over some wagons and horse corpses in a circle to act as a make shift barricade to hold the ten off, while the rest were too occupied with raiding the rest of the caravan to care. The demi-humans didn't act as a unit, but more like opportunistic animals.
Then he heard a shriek from the sole female within the surviving group as one of the men fell from bloody gashes he had received from a fight with 4 goblins he had been holding off. He was guarded by the other man as the female unleashed a barrage of attacks from the arcane spell [Magic Arrow], dispatching the four that had struck him down. Madara could hear her faint cries as she looked upon the man that had been struck down.
"Gods no! Brother! Please don't die on me! Brother!" She wailed in both anger and desperation.
"Brother? They're siblings?" Madara growled as flashes of his own brothers appeared in his mind one by one, until the last brother he had flashed in his mind.
Acting more on impulse than actual thought, he sprang into action with lightning speed. Just as the last two standing were about to be overwhelmed, six goblins had exploded in a flurry of blood and chunks of meat. All eyes from both sides moved to the newest arrival in surprise and outright shock, as a man covered in blood and gore stood with [Katana] in hand as he spoke in a voice filled with power and venom.
"Now then... shall we dance vermin?"
*Author's Note: Well then people, welcome to my newest project, given birth by a rather persistent friend of mine who wouldn't let this idea go. If it turns out well then I'll continue to put out chapters for it. Just be aware that the releases will be somewhat irregular, since my primary focus will be on my main Overlord series. In any case, feel more than free to post reviews & send PMs as I am always open to a friendly chat. Until next time then!*