UPDATE TIME PEOPLE!
*sheepish* Sorry… Got a bit too excited there…
Disclaimer posted in first chapter
A Thief who became a King
Chapter 2: It Begins
The following morning found Naruto seated atop a random rooftop with one leg hanging off the edge while the other was propping his arm. His gaze was unfocused as he stared across the expanse of Kuoh, looking towards the general direction of the school that both Gremory and Sitri were enrolled in.
The sound of flapping caught his attention, finally breaking him from his slight trance as he turned to the source. Landing on a lightning rod near him was a large bird with dark blue and black plumage. Its eyes strangely had three yellow pupils each while red markings were seen on its face, with the mouth being one upper beak and two lower ones forming a single mandible configuration.
"Griffon," the blonde greeted. "Was wondering where you went…"
"Still playing the role of dumb blonde?" the bird replied with some snark in his tone. "Still don't understand why you feel the need to dye your hair."
"To honor the connection," the whiskered Devil explained vaguely. "What have you found during your travels?"
"Got some crows in the city, Whisker Boy. They're occupying that abandoned church near the outskirts."
"Figures they'd commandeer that sort of place. We still don't know their purpose here, though…"
"One of them killed a Human before he was revived into Big Red's group," informed Griffon.
That caught Naruto's interest. "So, the poor boy didn't get a choice in the matter, did he? Typical scenario for many of the Peerage members run by Noble Families…"
Griffon scoffed alongside him, looking across the city just as Naruto did. "Why set up shop here, anyway?"
"Gremory and Sitri hide our power with their sheer presence. So long as we don't cause trouble, we can blend in easily."
"I've seen Big Red's little Peerage when Cream Girl was having her fun. Not impressed with that menagerie of misfits."
Naruto chuckled. "You speak as if my Peerage isn't full of misfits."
Griffon chuckled with him before noting that Naruto was holding a familiar flower. "Still stuck in the past, kid?"
"You could say that…" Naruto replied softly, losing himself to his memories. "It's been so long now since that day… When I was pulled from my darkness…"
The Underworld town of Sheol was one of the poorer settlements that were looked after by those serving House Sitri. It had a reputation for being a tough place to live in, with the denizens preferring to look after themselves than try and help others.
Strolling down one of the streets was a young woman with golden blonde hair that reached just below her waist and equally gold eyes. She had a blue ribbon tied into a makeshift bow near the top of her head and was dressed in dark brown shoes, a dress in a lighter brown shade, and a blue-white shirt with frills and blue straps over it. Finishing off her appearance were her pointed ears and her tail which was reminiscent of a lion's.
She was walking with a small smile upon her face as a basket full of golden lilies had the strap resting on her arm. As she passed others, she offered them a flower for a ridiculously cheap price; nowhere near enough to make a living for herself. She was met with derision for her pricing, but she would always respond with a kind-hearted smile and a repeated offer of a flower.
Few ever bought any.
Despite her questionable choice in career, she was always happy when someone did buy a flower. She worked hard planting and gardening them, hoping to have fields of them spread across the Netherworld someday so that everyone could appreciate their beauty.
After getting denied again, she made her way passed an alley of the city before stopping when she spotted something. Slowly, she made her way down the dark passageway before she reached the end. The sight before her made her golden eyes soften with somberness and pity.
Sitting in a makeshift home of cardboard boxes was a young boy with untamed white hair and dull blue eyes with whisker markings on his cheeks. Dressed in rags and covered in grime and dirt, he looked every bit the sad child she was witnessing before her.
Casting a glance behind her, she noted how nobody else even bothered to look towards his direction and sighed softly. Once again, she found herself bothered by the heritage of her mother and how selfish Devils appeared to act. She was pleased she took after her late father in terms of ideals and personality.
Stepping closer to the boy, she crouched down and offered him a hand with a gentle smile on her face. His near-dead blue eyes stayed upon the ground; his gaze unfocused for a few moments before slowly raising to the hand offered to him. His eyes then slowly moved to her smiling face, seeing a desire to help in her golden orbs.
He had seen such looks before, only to be deceived and hurt in the end. So, expecting no different, he returned his gaze to the ground and ignored the woman before him.
However, when that hand reached forward and gently rested against his cheek, he flinched and darted his gaze to meet hers with surprise. Upon matching her stare, he saw that her desire to help was still there, but there was also a strong measure of sympathy being aimed at him.
She said nothing, letting her actions and expression speak for her.
When he closed his eyes and raised his arm, he missed how her smile brightened at his acceptance. She removed her hand from his face and tenderly grabbed his own, lifting him up and guiding him slowly through the city streets to her small home near the outskirts that was surrounded by the same golden lilies she had been attempting to sell.
He paid no real mind to the flowers, instead being ushered into the home, and led to a washroom. After an uncomfortable period of time spent with her washing him and giving him some slightly oversized clothes, he was led to a kitchen and offered a seat before she moved away only to bring forth a small pot full of slightly warm stew. He watched her fill two bowls before offering him the one that had a bigger serving and setting it before him.
It was too good to be true, and he frowned at her for playing such cruel games on him. However, that frown died when she gave him a gentle smile and placed a hand upon his shoulder. Unexpectedly, she pulled him into a warm embrace that caused him to stiffen up before she finally spoke to him.
"It's alright… You're home, now…"
The sincerity in her voice, the warmth of her embrace, and the feeling of acceptance flooding into him were too much for the boy to handle, and so he gave in and hugged her back as he wept into embrace. She said nothing else and simply held him, being an emotional pillar for him to lean on.
After a while, she softly asked, "What's your name?"
He pulled back and wiped away his lingering tears before offering her a faint smile full of rekindled hope. "I'm Naruto… Naruto Uzumaki…"
She smiled warmly and moved her hand from his shoulder to the top of his head. "That's a wonderful name… My name is Liezerota, but you can call me Lieze or nee-chan from now on…"
"Naruto," Lieze admonished softly, looking at the food in the secondhand fridge she was positive wasn't there that morning. "What have I told you about stealing?"
It had been a few years since she had adopted him into her life as her younger brother. He had grown into the clothes she had given him the day they met, filling out the simple black shirt and brown pants with his now healthier weight.
"But nee-chan," he tried to argue, looking annoyed. "That vendor was overcharging you for the food you bought a few days ago! He was charging twice as much as he was charging others! I was just taking what was owed to us!"
The blonde young woman sighed at his answer. "I don't care about that, Naruto. When you steal, you become a thief, and when you're a thief nobody can trust you. Did you not stop and think about what your actions would create in the end?"
"Create?" he repeated.
"Yes. By this point, everyone in Sheol knows that you and I are living together. If you go around stealing things as a means of comeuppance or justice, people will label you a thief. And if that happens, then they will distrust both of us."
"Why would they distrust you? You're the nicest person in the city!"
She smiled gently at the compliment. "Because they'd see me as housing a thief…"
He winced at that before sighing in defeat. "Okay… I won't steal anymore…"
Keeping her smile, she placed her hand upon his head and ruffled his hair affectionately. "Good boy… Now, wash up for dinner."
He nodded with an embarrassed blush, walking off to the washroom.
"I won't steal," he muttered to himself with a frown. "Unless there's no other choice…"
A now 14yr-old Naruto was seen going through some basic combat patterns illustrated from a scroll gifted to him by Lieze. Her father, a Lion Demon, developed a fighting style that many Demons and Devils would scoff at due to the ideal behind it; but Naruto was inspired to learn it after hearing stories about the man and his character.
A Demon who idealized strength through understanding and the removal of what made them Demons; wickedness and darkness being replaced by goodness and light.
It was obvious that, despite being both a Demon and a Devil, Liezerota had inherited her father's outlook on life as well as his ideals. Sadly, for her, he had had died before he could pass on his skills and teachings to a worthy successor.
Naruto hoped to prove himself worthy of becoming that person; in her eyes, at least. She had pulled him from his personal darkness, offered him a home and a second chance at life. He would do anything to prove that she had made the right decision and make her proud.
She was his sister…
She was his family…
She was his Light…
Despite being exhausted, he kept at it with his exercises and training. He had to get stronger, keep pushing himself towards the goal he had set for himself. The ideals of Lieze and her father would not be scoffed at if he had anything to say about it.
As training went late in the afternoon, he started to grow concerned. Lieze was usually home by this time and was never late. Worried about her, he put away the training supplies and went into the city to find her.
What he stumbled upon was the sight of a rally being headed by the one who overlooked Sheol; a pseudo mayor of sorts. Many of the citizens believed the man was corrupt, despite serving the family that the current Leviathan was from. Rumors had secretly spread about how he was taking bribes and how some of the people had been disappearing as of late.
"My fair people," the man spoke up with a smile as genuine as cubic zirconia, "I promise you that we will find the ones who have abducted our missing citizens. And once we find them, the culprits will be punished, and justice will be served. I promise you in the name of House Sitri!"
Practically nobody voiced any eagerness about the man's promise, with many of them grumbling about the pointlessness of the man's speech. Naruto ignored it all as he searched for any sign of his sister. Passing through various alleyways and visiting the more popular locations where she sold her flowers, he found nothing indicating she was there.
Thinking he must've missed her, he went home with notable concern on his face. He passed the alley where they first met and stopped, remembering that day with a fond smile. Stepping into the alley, he approached where he once called home as his mind replayed the event with mental images taking place before him.
Abruptly, the visions broke apart when he saw a familiar blue ribbon on the ground and poorly covered up signs of a struggle. Fear gripped his heart, and he scowled at the ribbon before sniffing it thoroughly. When he got a scent, his whisker markings deepened from thin lines to jagged scars while his blue eyes changed to crimson red with black slit pupils.
He rushed after the scent, following the trail made by it and being led to the seedier part of the city. Unsurprisingly, this part of the city wasn't far from the so-called mayor's office and he hid behind some rotting crates as he took note of some unknown Devils speaking privately with the man.
"I hope your master will appreciate the haul you got from my fair city," the man said with a chuckle. "I'm sure a few of them will catch his eye."
"And you're sure the Sitri Family won't become aware of this?" one of the men asked.
"Please! I was once offered a position as [Pawn] for Lady Serafall! I only declined because I don't like the idea of being under someone, and I saw more potential lounging on the back of this pathetic place. I may have missed out on a prestigious position, but I'm still living like a [King]!"
Naruto growled quietly at this before his eyes widened at the sight of Lieze, tied up and unconscious alongside other women and some children he had seen before. Just as he was about to rush in and try to save her, the men and their captives vanished in a magic circle, leaving the overseer of Sheol alone with a single black briefcase.
Pure, unfiltered rage filled him to the brim, and he vanished from sight in a blur of deep violet. In the next moment, he had the man by the throat and slammed into the wall with him choking in shock at what happened.
"Where. Are. They?" he ground out as his teeth sharpened to wicked fangs that could rend into anything.
"I-I-I don't know!" the man gasped out, struggling to breath through the iron grip on his throat. "They never mentioned anything!"
"My sister was one of their captives! You let them take her away!"
Regaining some defiant fire, the man gave Naruto a condescending glance. "And if I did? You people only make this place lose value! I'm sick of overseeing scraps when I deserve much more! I was a candidate of Leviathan's Peerage, and yet I'm stuck taking care of worthless shit!"
Rage evolved into something indescribable, and the man realized he had said too much. With a snarl befitting a beast, Naruto pulled his hand away and tore out the man's throat with his new claws. As if the weather hoped to portray how he was feeling, a storm of rain and lightning started as soon as the dead body collided with the ground and blood began to pool around it.
"Fucking bastard… Fucking Devils… Fucking Nobles treating us like this!" he sneered. "You, a Peerage candidate? Apparently, the Nobles have an eye for shit-lickers if that's the case…"
Hoping to find any sign of Lieze and where she could've been taken to, he sank to his knees when nothing was found. Rain poured relentlessly upon him, and each flash of lightning showcased his shadow as he gave a heartbroken roar that echoed across the city.
And to all who heard it, they wondered who would become a victim of such a beast so full of fury.
Almost half a year had been spent traveling the Netherworld and searching for Liezerota. Naruto had packed everything he could, including the teachings Lieze had saved from her father, and set off in search of his sister.
The first two months had been his most determined. Searching any city or settlement he passed through and asking anyone willing to listen if they had seen any sign of her. Nothing…
The next three months had been filled with desperation, and he wound up shaking people down instead of simply asking them. Going back to what he did when he was younger, he snuck into buildings that held various files on the cities in question and neighboring settlements. Still nothing…
This last month had him losing hope as he neared the capital of the Netherworld. It was here that the most noble of the Noble Houses resided as well as the Four Satans; with one such Satan being his next target.
If there was anyone who could have the means of helping him find Lieze, it would be the creator of the Evil Pieces and the Peerage System: Ajuka Beelzebub.
Hopefully, he would finally find something…
It was late in the evening when Naruto decided to act. Using magic to change his appearance, he had his hair change to ebon black and turn wilder as if he were more animal than man. His eyes were red, and his whisker markings looked jagged; though his face was obscured by a porcelain mask that looked like a kitsune with three eyes with ringed markings.
For his attire, he wore a dark bluish-gray robe with gray lining and a fur collar, and a tattered grayish-blue cape emblazoned with an emblem unknown to many of the Devils: a mandala comprised of nine reddish-brown circles of varying sizes atop a larger greenish-gray circle. Beneath it all, he wore no shirt, fingerless opera-length black gloves wrapped in studded reddish-brown leather straps, baggy black pants, and reddish-brown sandals.
He had spent a few days scoping around the capital and locating Beelzebub's laboratory. Under the guise of applying for a servant position of the man's manor, he had used his position to scout out the best way to get into the lab. It was time-consuming, but a necessary sacrifice if it meant he could obtain the means of finding Lieze.
Having vaguely memorized the patrol pattern of the evening guards, he snuck onto the grounds of the manor and slipped passed the security. Using a ward that he had purchased in another city, his energy signature had been reduced to practically nothing; making him nearly undetectable to those trying to sense for an intruder. Only someone with incredible control over their senses would feel his presence.
Unfortunately, the lab was being guarded by two Devils. Cursing mentally, he reached into a pouch hidden behind him and pulled out two metal needles that had a clear liquid dripping from them. It was a venom that would knockout whoever was struck by it, and Naruto put it to use by throwing the needles at the two guards.
While initially on alert from the hidden attack, they quickly started to lose their battle with consciousness and fell over. Blurring into sight between them, Naruto managed to catch them before their fall could create any noise. Gently, he set them both down and crept into the laboratory.
Unknown to him, he had been detected long before he had gotten this far, and the one who noticed him had calmly followed the young man into the lab.
Back with Naruto, he carefully walked through the laboratory of Beelzebub, impressed with the creations and ideas he had witnessed while looking for something to help him. It was when he saw the storage for the man's files that hope sparked within him again.
He moved over to them, pilfering through them desperately in search of anything concerning the unknown group who had kidnapped Lieze and the others. Upon finding nothing, he almost gave into his building frustration; but he restrained himself because he didn't want to be discovered.
Angrily putting everything back, he stood up and started looking around again. If there was nothing on file, then maybe he could find some invention or item that could help locate her energy. Deeper and deeper into the lab he went, passing by older projects that had been gathering dust over the years.
It soon got so cluttered that he had to struggle to squeeze through some spots. But when he got even deeper, a strange blue light hidden by more junk caught his attention. He made his way through, hoping to see what it was, and came across the sight of a katana floating in suspended animation while being snapped in two at the middle of the blade.
The weapon was beautifully crafted despite being broken, and the golden-black handle wrapped in white cloth gave it an almost regal look while the sheathe contrasted the brighter colors by being an ebon black with a midnight blue tassel. What really got Naruto's attention, however, was the latent power calmly emitting from the broken weapon.
Part of him felt a pull towards the sword, as if it were calling out to him. He frowned behind his mask at this, trying to ignore it in favor of resuming his search. When he still found nothing, he was sorely tempted to tear the lab apart in his growing rage.
If only he had more power! The strength to protect Lieze from what had happened to her! Might controlled everything, right? Then was the fact he failed because he didn't have the necessary might?!
Unseen by him, but noticed by his secret observer, the sword pulsed once under the blue light of its suspension, with both halves inching together for a moment before resuming their previous distance.
He took a few deep breaths before sighing in defeat, grief filling his heart as he removed his mask and let the magic hiding his features drop. He didn't care anymore, for he had lost his light; his reason for trying so hard. Without Lieze, he felt as if life had no more meaning.
Dropping the mask, he prepared to leave before he noticed something he hadn't before. There, on a lab table cluttered with old projects, was half a chess set; all sixteen pieces of a single side. Recalling that the scum who had so casually given Lieze away bragged how he was offered the position of a [Pawn], Naruto assumed that this was the fabled Evil Piece Set that Noble Families used to build Peerages.
His unnoticed observer watched him approach the unassigned Evil Pieces, curious about what would happen. Honestly, he had forgotten that there was an old set buried so deep within the clutter of the laboratory; so, he was surprised that the would-be thief had been lucky enough to find them.
Not to mention how that sword reacted to him…
Naruto picked up the case holding the Pieces, grabbing the [King] and turning it over in his hand. "How do these things work, anyway…?" he muttered to himself before deciding to just wing it and inject some of his power into the Piece.
This proved to be the right call, for the [King] lit up a deep violet color before it was absorbed into Naruto's body. Upon absorption, the remaining fifteen Pieces lit up the same shade before the glow faded and the Pieces held archaic markings in the same dark violet shade. However, the [Queen] Piece had changed; becoming a strange shape that confused Naruto before he mentally waved it off and sent the Pieces into a personal subspace.
"Incredible…" a voice gasped out, making Naruto tense before turning to face them with his body ready to react to a hostile presence.
To his shock, the owner of the voice was the last person he wanted to see in this place. "L-Lord Beelzebub…?" he choked out, fearing for his life. He had been caught in his natural look by the very man whose lab he had snuck into.
He was in such deep shit…
Ignoring the shock, the man started to circle the white-haired young man before him. "You managed to get so far into my lab and bind yourself to an Evil Piece Set, and on top of that, you received a [Mutated Queen]… Other Devils have gotten Mutated Pieces before, but never have I seen the Piece in question be the second-in-command. Your potential must be astonishing!"
"Uh… Potential?" he repeated awkwardly. "No offense, but shouldn't you be more upset that I even snuck into your lab in the first place?"
"Bygones! I'll just consider it someone testing my security and giving me ideas to close the gaps. What I'm more interested in is you, my dear boy. It's safe to say that you're not a Noble Born, but I never imagined someone not from one of the 72 Pillars to have your kind of potential. Unless…"
Here, the man turned his attention to the broken katana with Naruto nervously looking as well.
"It couldn't be… But it is possible… To think that…"
'Okay… He's muttering to himself like a cliché mad scientist now,' Naruto thought in deadpan before recoiling when the green-haired man suddenly broke into laughter. 'Aaannd…he's lost it.'
"It all makes sense now!" Ajuka declared with a laugh. "That's what caused it!"
As if remembering that Naruto was there, the man blinked once before turning to him. "You're still here? I would've thought you'd use the opportunity to escape?"
"Seriously?" the Uzumaki deadpanned. "Me escape from you?"
"Anything's possible. You did sneak into my lab, after all," the man argued calmly, giving him an amused smirk. "At any rate, I'll give you some time to get away before I raise the alarm. You deserve it for making it this far and for obtaining your own Evil Set."
Blue eyes blinked in shock. "…You're serious," he noted after a moment to go over what had been offered to him. At the man's nod, he couldn't help asking, "But why?"
"Truthfully? Things have been getting pretty stale lately. You sneaking into here was the most interesting thing to happen for a while, now." He approached the machine suspending the sword and pressed a few keys. "Do me a favor and raise your power, would you?"
"Why…?" Naruto asked with suspicion.
"I want to test something. If you do, I'll increase the time of your head start," he offered.
"Tch… Way to dangle a carrot…" he muttered before complying with the, in his opinion, odd Satan.
Taking a breath, he closed his eyes and focused on his inner energy and spiked it; the sudden increase in output burning away the ward that he had placed upon himself earlier. A faint outline of dark violet energy covered his form before it changed to a flickering aura that went from violet to blue.
Due to having his eyes closed, he wasn't aware of the broken sword resonating with his energy. Beelzebub was, though, and he grinned as the weapon lined itself up and slammed together before becoming fully repaired in a flash of light. It then flew toward Naruto, who snapped his eyes open just in time to grasp the handle and take a ready stance as if on instinct.
When the rush of adrenaline faded, he took a breath before looking at the restored blade in his hand. "What just…?" he tried to ask, unable to find the words.
"As I suspected," Ajuka stated, grabbing the sheathe for the sword and offering it to the young man before him. "That sword is linked to you, waiting for you to come and restore it. It belonged to someone linked to your ancestry, but I'll let you discover just what that link is. For now, keep it. It was never mine to keep anyway, and having it collect dust down here would only be a disservice to you and the original owner."
He stared at the offered sheathe before slowly reaching his left hand to take it, placing the sword within it a few seconds later before it vanished in a blue flash against his left palm. Awkwardly, he reached down and grabbed his discarded mask before regarding the Satan.
"…You're not like how I thought someone in your position would be," he admitted. "I thought all Nobles were the same and lived off the backs of the lower classes; treating us like our lives were insignificant."
"Sadly, many Nobles are like that," Ajuka confessed with a frown. "We Satans are hoping to change that, but it's almost like something needs to set off a spark within the people." He smirked knowingly and finished, "I wonder where such a spark could come from…"
Getting the message, Naruto frowned for a moment before nodding. "I get it… But I need your help, sir."
"Oh? I assume it has something to do with you searching through my files like a man dying of thirst?"
Nodding, Naruto replied, "I was hoping to find the whereabouts of the people who took away someone I loved. She took me in and became family to me… I can't imagine life without her… If you were to find her, I'd be indebted to you, sir."
Ajuka hummed thoughtfully at that. "Where did you come from, kid?"
He winced at that. "Sera isn't happy with that place at the moment… She found out some dirty secrets about the old overseer."
"He was the one who gave my sister away as if she were a gift to the people who took her. Ripping out his throat barely helped me keep from flying into a rage," Naruto confessed with a hateful expression.
Just thinking of that bastard got him riled up.
"I'll look into it with Serafall. You have my word," Beelzebub promised. "However, you now have a role to play: the Criminal turned Rebel who challenged the status quo."
Naruto nodded and replaced the mask upon his face. making his way out of the lab, he stopped and looked over his shoulder at the man. "When you spread the word about me, I have the perfect title, sir."
"And that would be…?" Ajuka asked with a smirk.
Smirking behind his mask, he finished, "Tell them you were visited by the King of Thieves…"
With that, he vanished in a dark violet flash, leaving an amused Satan chuckling at his exit.
"He's right. That is the perfect title…"
Naruto sighed at the memory. "I still can't believe Beelzebub let me go…"
"He ever get back to you about her?" Griffon asked.
"No, but that might be because I haven't been in touch with the Netherworld since I left," he replied, reaching to his side and petting the large, pitch-black panther beside him. The beast purred at his touch while the stray red markings flowed like water through its fur.
"Heh… Furball is like a damn kitten in your hand, kid," Griffon teased, earning a low growl from the panther.
"Easy, Shadow…" Naruto ordered softly before standing up. "At any rate, I have a job to do. Time to poke the hornet's nest."
Holding up his left hand, both Griffon and Shadow disappeared in flashes of darkness before reforming into a sheathed katana. Upon the appearance of the weapon, Naruto's golden blonde hair flashed to a white color for a moment before returning to blonde.
In another flash of darkness, the sword disappeared from sight before Naruto himself left in a dark violet flash. As he said, he had a job to do.
Tada! An update for the lovely people of Fanfiction!
This chapter is only the first of many that will showcase Naruto's origins and the formation of his Peerage! I'm plenty of you can guess what his ancestry is based on the clues of this chapter.
Before I sign off, I wanted you all to know that I took part in a Pokémon Battle on someone's YouTube channel. That person is my sister, and her channel is called Just Ka.
I'd greatly appreciate you guys showing your support to her by watching the video! Fair warning (and she even leaves a disclaimer about the fact), the audio quality for our commentary isn't the best. She's still trying to find her rhythm as a video maker.
Please check out the video regardless. Show my sister some love, please! ^_^
Until next time:
Stay safe! Stay healthy! Stay positive!