Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, The Gamer or any other familiar characters.


Chapter 2 - Arrival

When I looked at my options, some were dismissed instantly.

I wasn't going to try Ame. One word: Pein, or maybe Hanzo. 'Did Hanzo die before or after the Sand-Sound invasion of Konoha?'

The Bloody Mist was neck deep in bloodline-related hate, so that was also a negative. That left the other four great nations.

Suna… it was the place where iron sand was born and the Yondaime Kazekage himself uses the golden variant. But Orochimaru's eyes over the village and the Yondaime's assassination by his hand were not good omens to someone with a rare and locally famous kekkei-genkai. So, I discarded it quickly.

What about Konoha, where the story unfolds? Naruto, Kakashi, Sasuke, the Sandaime, Tsunade and Jiraiya! But then again, an iron release wielder in Konoha under the watchful eyes of both Orochimaru and Danzo? I didn't want to risk being hunted, kidnapped or experimented upon. 'I'll be damned if someone tries to control me,' but I didn't want to discard Konoha that fast.

'I should try to hide my magnet release for as long as possible, to avoid Orochimaru's interest… or anyone like him'

Iwa used to hire the Akatsuki, and naturally I wanted to avoid them until I was strong enough. Sasori also had the Third Kazekage's body as a puppet and I wouldn't appreciate sharing that fate, no sir. Besides, Orochimaru was part of the Akatsuki before Itachi ran him over. So, Iwa was dismissed.

The choice was between Konoha and Kumo.

'Do I want to repeat so many cliches and start in Konoha, along all the known characters?' I wondered. 'I might get to know Naruto and Sasuke, maybe even help them become the monsters they'll eventually grow into.'

All in all, I chose Kumo.

It was the logical answer: away from the Akatsuki, Orochimaru and Danzo, yet a strong village even without most of the main characters of the manga. Kumo looked to be a place where I could learn a lot and stay away from the gaze of the world.

If I recall correctly, Kumo had a magnet release user, a floating shuriken version. It wouldn't be such a horrible thing If somehow my kekkei genkai went public. 'Nobody would believe Kumo stole a kekkei genkai or captured the Third Kazekage for breeding purposes, right?' Well, keep it hidden, keep it safe.

I selected the second choice.

You have selected Kumogakure, the village hidden in the clouds.
Kumo is the hidden village of the Land of Lightning, the current Raikage is A, the Yondaime.

You are now playing Story Mode.

My head began to spin quickly until, suddenly, it stopped. I opened my eyes before picking myself from the floor. I was in a small house, Japanese styled from what I knew.

Rubbing my eyes, there was one thing to do before exploring the house and this new life:

'So, is there a menu or something alike in this game?'

Menu:

Status
Skills
Inventory
Quests
Map
Relations

'Let's go in order... Status.'

Character Status:
Select an item to view additional information.

Name: Kioshi Shirasu

Title: n/a
Age: 4
Level 1 (0/100)

HP: 40/40
SP: 30/30
Chakra: 150/150
Chakra Control: 20%

STR: 2
DEX: 2
VIT: 2
INT: 7
WIS: 7
CHA: 7/10
Points: 0

Money: 0

Well, I got a last name.

'Crap, I'm young.' That was not going to be fun, but at least I would have a lot of time to train.

I selected each item on the list.

Title: Your title might be something you are famous for and might give you bonuses to skills, stats, etc. Currently available: n/a.

Level is your character level. Each level up your mayor stats will increase by one point each and you will be awarded 2 stat points to assign freely.

HP are your health points. When health reaches zero, you die.

SP are your stamina points. When they reach zero, you'll feel lightheaded and might faint because of exhaustion.

Chakra is your chakra pool. Chakra points are used to cast ninjutsu and other skills. If you spend all your Chakra, you will faint because of chakra exhaustion. Chakra depends on your Intelligence, Wisdom and Vitality, and can be trained and augmented.

Chakra Control indicates your overall control over your chakra. It's measured in percentage, with 100% meaning perfect chakra control. Chakra Control depends on your Intelligence and Wisdom, and can be trained and augmented.

STR is your Strength, it affects your melee and weapon damage. It can be trained.

DEX is your Dexterity, it affects your aiming, dodging and general speed. It can be trained.

VIT is your Vitality, it determines your SP and HP directly. It can be trained.

INT is your Intelligence, your ability to resolve complex problems and learn complex jutsu. It can be trained.

WIS is your Wisdom, your decision-making ability and affects related skills. It can be trained.

CHAR is your charisma, measured from 1 to 10. It's a static value and can't be changed by normal means.

Points are the available points to allocate. They are obtained from leveling up or as certain quest rewards.

Money is the amount of cash you currently possess in your person and inventory.

'Okay, I think I get it. Pretty standard RPG mechanics so far. I get points awarded each level up, I can train most of the stats. Are there observation skills and such?'

'Menu?'

Menu:

Status
Skills
Inventory
Quests
Map
Relations

'Skills!'

Skills
Select an item to see additional information

Perks:
Gamer's Body.
Gamer's Mind.
Old Soul.

Skills:
Magnet Release (Iron Sand). Lvl 1.
Observe. Lvl 1.

Jutsu list:
[This list is empty]

'Ok, let's see each of those perks and skills.'

Perks:

Gamer's Body.
- Allows you to feel your body as a gamer's. Death upon reaching 0 HP, sleeping removes most negative status.

Gamer's Mind.
- Grants immunity to mind control, mind reading and mental manipulation. Ensures peaceful state of mind and grants immunity to external phycological status and effects.

Old Soul: You have already lived a life and some things are carried over.
- Protects your knowledge from third party intrusion. Grants +5 to INT and WIS and +100 Chakra points at start. 10% Faster Chakra and Chakra control growth. 1% bonus to Chakra each level up. Birthmarks or other physical conditions might be present.

Skills:

Magnet Release (Iron Sand). Lvl 1.
- The famed Third Kazekage's version of the kekkei-genkai. By controlling magnetic fields, ferromagnetic iron sands obey your commands. Control, sand amount and Chakra costs are level-dependent.

Observe. Lvl 1.
- Observing what's around you is a great way to obtain information. At higher levels, more information is revealed.

As I was expecting, I got a gamer's body and a mind passive. Immunity to mind control jutsu and such was amazing, and that Old Soul perk looked nice too. 'But, what's that about 'some things are carried over'?'

The Magnet Release skill was my overall kekkei genkai level. The jutsu list was empty so I had to come up with iron sand jutsu to start filling it up. I also wanted to level that Observation skill as much as I could.

'Menu, Inventory.' I mentally commanded.

Inventory:
This is where you put things only you can access. There's no weight limit, but you cannot stash over 100 categories. Mental commands are used to store/access any number of items in any slot. Restricted to one type of item per slot.
Money can be kept in your inventory for safe keeping without using an inventory slot.

[Empty]

Nice, I've got my own inventory! And it didn't have weight limit, which made me happy.

'Menu, Quests.'

Quests:
Here is a list of currently active and inactive quests, categorized.

[This list is empty]

Pretty standard. 'Menu, Map.'

Map:
Local maps are shown in detail. Other maps are also accessible.

[You haven't acquired any maps.]

Ok, another mission for the short term: Get a map.

'Menu, relations.'

Relations:
Each person you have some relation with is listed here. Only basic information is presented. You need a real relation with the subject to be listed.

Denji Shirasu. Father, Good relationship.
Denji is a jonin from Kumo, expert in long distance lighting jutsu and shurikenjutsu.

Chijaru Shirasu: Mother, deceased.
Chijaru was a jonin from Kumo, expert in wind release jutsu.

Sadako Hirano: Babysitter,Very Good relationship.
Sadako is a student in Kumo's ninja academy.

'Huh?' My mother in this world was dead and I had a babysitter.

Then, suddenly, the memories of my life here flooded my mind. I lived in Kumo with my father, my birth mother died two years ago from some sort of illness. Dad has been struggling with my mother's death and took up drinking. I'm mostly left alone at home, but Sadako comes twice a day to check on me.

I shook my head clear of the haziness and stood up form the floor.

Our home was a typical Japanese styled little house. A wooden ceiling, white walls with wooden pillars and a tatami floor. At the center was a small low-table with four cushions. To the right, there was a small kitchen and to the left a short corridor which led to two bedrooms and a bathroom. Some drawings hanged on the walls, and some rice paper with Japanese writing hanged over the entrance.

'Shit, I don't know how to read!' I could read and write in English and I learned a little Spanish in school, but I didn't know Japanese. I must have learned it while growing here, right?...

"Hello?"

I spoke! In Japanese!

"Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You've been living in a dream world, Neo. Let's put a smile on that face."

'Hell yeah! I can speak Japanese!' Well, mostly. It sounded somewhat miss-pronounced. Probably because I was four... were kids supposed to speak correctly at four?

In that regard, my body was... small and sometimes non-respondent. I moved my fingers freely, but more meticulous movements needed a lot of concentration. My legs didn't respond that well to simultaneous controlled movement, but it was okay, I could walk and run.

Being four again was bizarre.

My musings were interrupted by the jingling of keys and the front door opening.

"Kioshi, are you awake?" a sweet voice called.

I recognized it as Sadako's. She came to visit every weekday in the morning and in the afternoons after class to check on me..

"There you are!" she said with a cheerful smile, "come here you little chipmunk."

She grabbed me by my armpits and spun me around a couple of times. Her light-golden hair was gorgeous, contrasting with her dark-brown eyes and dark skin.

"Did your dad leave you any snacks? Did he come at lunch time from village patrol? Did he remember to water the plants?" she asked in quick succession, "or do I have to nag him again?"

I just looked with one eyebrow up. She spoke too much and too quickly.

"Yes, no, maybe, I don't know?" I responded.

"You... you spoke?" I was awarded with big brown eyes opened like saucers. "You spoke!"

And I was again spun around the living room.

"Aw honey, I knew you could speak! They were afraid you just couldn't, but I told them you were a smart little cookie and you would speak eventually," she happily continued, "you are such a handsome little man! Oh I'll make you a snack!"

So, I didn't speak before?

Her happy skipping to the kitchen was a perfect opportunity to try the observing skill.

'Observe.'

Name: Sadako Hirano.
Title: Academy student.
Level: 12
Age: 11
Sadako is a student from Kumo's ninja academy
Relationship level: Very Good.

That wasn't a lot of information. Level twelve and an academy student, was that a standard?

After a foul-tasting rice snack and more trying to make me talk while squishing my cheeks, Sadako went home. I practiced the Observe skill on everything I could see: cushions, tables, forks, doors, beds, kitchen utensils and a long etc. Basically, everything could be Observed, and details were also dependent on the object. Knives and forks had a damage description, doors or cushions didn't.

The good news was that the skill leveled. A small gray icon started flashing in the lower-right corner of my vision and focusing on it popped a new window:

Observe increased by one.

Observe. Lvl 2 (26%)
- Observing what's around you is a great way to obtain information. At higher levels, more information is revealed.

The bad news was that it still didn't show any additional information.

From what I could remember about this world, all afternoons were like this: boring and silent, killing time by doodling or sleeping. Mornings were no different. Dad would leave to work and Sadako would come to check on me before academy and return at afternoons after it. Dad would leave a small lunch of rice and other stuff on the table for me to eat -if he remembered- with chopsticks on the side which I couldn't use very well yet.

Why would dad leave a small child like me alone for most of the day? And why wasn't Sadako fazed by that, anyway? It seemed to be a common practice among shinobi parents, from what she mentioned. Maybe to encourage self-awareness or some bullshit like that, or because they were lazy as hell and it was such an ingrained habit that nobody really questioned it.

Nevertheless, I needed a mirror. I wanted to see my face!

Rummaging through one of my dad's bedside table I found a small makeup mirror. Judging by the old and dried lipstick next to it, it was my mother's. I'm too small to see myself in the bathroom mirror, so this had to do.

'What is wrong with my eyes?' One had a dark-yellow iris while the left one was dark green. My father has green eyes and my mother had blue, so the weird one was the yellow eye. Heterochromia, I remembered, was the name of the condition. Was this because of the Old Soul perk?

I also had charcoal-black hair, that grayish black color. Not long, but not short, a little spiky and with a bang falling down my right eye. My skin was a healthy-looking peach color, not the darker color common in Kumo, but not pale white. My face was just the typical face of a small kid, maybe a little lanky.

That was me, a skinny kid with mismatched eyes and black-gray hair.

After walking around the house, I sat down to think about what to do before dad arrived. I was four years old, I was in Kumogakure, in the freaking Naruto universe. I was going to train and learn as much as I could.

'So, I need a plan.' I thought, looking for some pen and paper. I suddenly stopped.

'I can't read or write, can I?'

No, I couldn't read nor write Japanese. So first thing first: learn to read and write.

Quest Created:
A Reading Rainbow

Learn to read Japanese.

Rewards:
50 Exp, a random simple scroll.

Accept?

"Hell yeah, my first quest!" I exclaimed. I would need to wait for dad to teach me how to read and maybe ask Sadako for help. I couldn't think of anything to do at the moment to progress that quest.

So, next on the list: Chakra! Could I feel it? Did I need to unlock it? 'Should I force it to my hands and try forming a Rasengan like Naruto's?'

The last hours before dad's arrival were wasted trying to feel my Chakra. I didn't accomplish anything, not even a blueish hue formed in my hand. I tried screaming, relaxing, flexing my wrist, holding my breath... but, nothing.

I was sprawled on the floor, angry and frustrated when dad returned home.

Dad waltzed into the house with a stern expression, ruffled my hair and went into the kitchen. The sound of a bottle of beer being opened echoed around the house.

After a couple of seconds, I greeted him.

"Hello dad, how was your day?"

A pause later, his head peeked out the kitchen door, one brow raised.

"Kioshi, you spoke" he half-said half-murmured. He took a long breath, calmly walked to me and ruffled my hair again. "About time, son," he added seriously, then chugged his beer and went back into the kitchen.

From what I remembered, that was the biggest reaction I've got from dad in this life. I knew his routine: he would chug a couple of beers or a bottle of sake, read the newspaper in silence, cook a simple dinner for both, clean the kitchen and, finally, he would lock himself in his bedroom with a bottle of anything. Some nights, I could hear him crying.

"Dad," I followed him into the kitchen, "could you teach me how to read?"

He staggered.

"Sure son, I'll buy some books about reading tomorrow," he answered me over his shoulder.

"Dad, what is chakra?"

He staggered again, but this time, a small smirk was present: a reminiscent expression on his face. He looked at me in the eyes.

"I suppose it was expected," he answered slowly, "for you to ask about chakra. Well, your mother and I, we are ninjas. We were nin-" A pause and a pained face later, he continued, "Yes, after dinner I'll teach you about chakra. Now go wash up."

I didn't tell him I still couldn't reach the bathroom sink or that the little stool broke weeks ago. I sat down on a cushion at the table.

"So, chakra," dad said putting a plate of rice and pork and some instant miso soup in front of me, "chakra is your life force, its usage differentiates us from civilians and is what we use to protect the village." He sat down in front of me with his own plate. "Everyone's chakra is the same, but at the same time, it has some aspects unique to each individual," drinking his soup in one big gulp he finished, "oh, and chakra can be made denser, lighter, faster, etc. depending on the jutsu."

"Where's my chakra?" I asked him.

"Well, if you meditate enough, you'll feel it in your gut."

He stood up and went to his bedroom without finishing his meal, a half-filled bottle of sake in hand.

Dad took up drinking as a way to deal with my mother's death, drinking himself to stupor just to sleep. Some days he doesn't even return home until past midnight, smelling of booze and cheap perfume. He usually wobbles around looking for his bed, but most of the times he plops down on the couch.

It looked like I was a neglected kid, but I couldn't blame dad about it.

I didn't know when I would wake up from the coma or if time passed as in the real world, but the same question kept nagging around in my head all day:

How much time do I have?


Author's note:

I know it was obvious he would choose Kumo, it just seemed a decent place to end the previous chapter.

Proof reading and editing take a long time and until I get enough experience, it's easier to go with short chapters. But hey, short chapters mean more frequent updates for now!

Edit: some minor typos and formatting corrections.