AN: Before you start reading the chapter, I want to express my appreciation for supporting my story until now. I've checked some impressive milestones until now - such as reaching over 4k followers and favourites for example - and now it's time for another milestone to be checked off: this fic has gotten 1 million hits. Thank you!
Chapter 49 - Great Naruto
A large city that spread over 20k square miles could be seen even from space. It had a rough, circular shape and the streets and avenues had been designed in a spiderweb pattern. Four enormous towers stood at the edge of the city like faithful guardians. They were space terminals, a sort of airport but for spaceships. Tens of thousands of spaceships could be seen landing or departing from those four terminals on a daily basis.
The most peculiar thing about this city besides its enormous size was the fact that there were not any buildings with more than 9 floors - and that was probably also why the city had extended on a horizontal scale that much. Furthermore, a lot of green could be seen as trees and parks were everywhere. Nonetheless, transportation from one side of the city to the other was not an issue due to numerous flying buses and cars.
GREAT NARUTO CITY
"He named the capital city after you?" a white-haired woman said in surprise and laughed when she saw the large hologram in the sky, at the entrance of the city.
"He must've done it as a joke," a reddish-blond haired man laughed. "In my first serious mission as a shinobi when I was a kid, we saved an island country from a local mob boss. The locals named the bridge they had built to connect to the mainland after me: the Great Naruto Bridge."
The man and the woman were none other than Naruto and Diana. However, they were wearing civilian clothes rather than their combat suit or armour; they had no masks and no weapons visible on them either. They had come to planet Karna, in the Vega System, as tourists, to visit an old friend, not to fight.
All of a sudden, a chorus of gasps came from the other passengers in the flying bus. When Naruto and Diana also turned their heads to their left to look through the window, their reaction was not much different than the others.
In the middle of the city, a grand and imposing castle-like building dwarfed everything in its surroundings. It was a temple of massive proportions; its height alone was over 600 feet. Compared to the rest of the city's buildings which had, at most, only 9 floors, the temple appeared like a behemoth.
In the wide plaza in front of the temple, an almost-lifelike statue had been erected. It was over 100 feet tall and it depicted two beings, both equally tall: a fearsome ten-tailed demonic fox... and a young man with spiky hair, slit eyes, and whisker-like marks on his cheeks.
Tens of thousands of people belonging to dozens of different races from the Vega System (and not only) were spread all over the large plaza, snapping pictures and shooting videos. However, there was a certain sense of order despite that they were complete strangers. Nobody was pushing or shoving others, no thieves were trying to pickpocket other people, and nobody was shouting or behaving inappropriately. A feeling of reverence and a sort of holy fear and respect could be sensed from everyone.
"Are these...pilgrims?" Diana was the first to realize.
In front of the large and life-like statue, there were long pathways divided by golden ropes where thousands of people stood orderly in queues, waiting for their turn to arrive at the very wide brazier burning in front of the majestic statue with a magical golden fire. Those at the head of their lines were throwing pieces of paper with small, personal prayers written on them, into the golden fire on the brazier before putting their hands in prayer and closing their eyes for a few moments. Then, after bowing deeply at the statue, they would leave, letting others get their turn to pray at the statue too.
The guide belonging to the touristic agency that had organised the trip, a human-like being with copper skin and yellow hair, started to inform the passengers of the flying bus about the city and various other things:
"With a population of over 50 million, Great Naruto City has been built only two years ago at the orders of our Lord and Saviour, the Ten-Tailed Fox God, Kurama, in honour of his lifelong friend and brother, Uzumaki Naruto. It's the capital city of planet Karna and it became the capital city of the entire Vega System as well after Lord Kurama annihilated the Psion Monarchy and the Citadel Empire. This planet used to be the base of the Gordanian Empire but they had been wise enough to run away for their lives just before our God's return to the Vega system."
The copper-skinned man was almost fanatic in his speech about Kurama. He ended up describing the feats of his god rather than giving his clients more information about the city.
After they got down from the flying bus, Naruto and Diana followed the group to the enormous statue depicting him and Kurama. On the pedestal of the statue there were two lines written with gold letters:
KURAMA, GOD OF DESTRUCTION, TRUTH, AND JUSTICE (left)
UZUMAKI NARUTO, BEST FRIEND AND BROTHER OF GOD KURAMA (right)
However, now that they were right in front of the statue, the group with which Naruto had arrived in the city abruptly turned their heads at him. Wide-eyed, the guide was the first to throw himself to the ground, on his knees.
"Lord Uzumaki!" he shouted in both fear and excitement.
"There goes our peaceful trip..." Naruto muttered under his breath.
In a matter of seconds, hundreds and then thousands of people proceeded to throw themselves on their knees and start shouting his name once they realized that the man in their midst was none other than the person in whose honour the statue, the entire city, had been built.
"What the hell..." he whispered, freaked out by their over the top behaviour.
Even as he said those words, a strange sensation washed over him. Hot and cold chills travelled down his spine and his skin started tingling. A reinvigorating feeling coursed through his veins. He began to feel so powerful in his regular body that he momentarily thought that he had entered his Sage Mode by mistake...
"It's the power of Faith!" Diana said startled. As she was a goddess, she could sense clearly the psychic energy that was coming from the thousands of people in the plaza and converging on his body.
All of a sudden, a human-sized missile burst through the enormous and intricately-ornated gates of the Temple and slammed into Naruto. With his reflexes, he could have easily dodged it but he did not. That's because the one that had burst through the gates of the Temple and crashed into him was a human-sized golden fox with ten tails.
"Naruto!" the bijuu's deep voice was trembling with emotion as he tackled him into a bear hug. His tails also grabbed Diana and pulled her into the hug as well.
If the power of Faith had been gathering on Naruto like a small mountain creek before, this time, it was like an ocean. But he could not bring himself to care about that in the present. He was also hugging Kurama for all he was worth. His red eyes became misty in happiness at finally seeing his best friend again. They had been apart for only two years but for them who had been together for more than a century, those two years felt much longer.
The inside of the grand temple was as luxurious as one would imagine by looking at its external appearance. Extremely spacious halls with very high ceilings supported by enormous but exquisitely carved golden pillars, red carpets on the white marble floors and walls painted with various scenes from God Kurama's feats in battle. Every here and there there were life-like statues of various persons. Naruto saw the 9 Tailed Beasts and he even saw a statue of Hagoromo, the Sage of Six Paths. To his and Diana's hidden surprise, there were also statues of Diana. They both knew that Kurama liked Diana but Diana herself had not been aware of how deep ran the fox's affection for her. It looked like the fox god had truly come to see her as a family too - because there were only statues of people that Kurama considered his family: his creator, Rikudo Sennin; his siblings, the bijuu; Naruto, his former jinchuuriki and brother in all but blood; and lastly, Diana too.
As for Kurama, he could not quite control his happiness. He had reverted to his form as a tiny fox cub and was jumping from Naruto's shoulder to Diana's and talking excitedly about what he had done over the last two years. He was acting completely unbecoming of someone his stature: he was a god that ruled over a system with 23 inhabited planets, something that even the King of the Olympian Gods had never been able to achieve. He was not supposed to lose his composure like that and make a fool of himself...but Kurama could not care less about such norms at that moment.
"I saw people lighting up their written prayers in the brazier's fire outside. How does that work? Is it just a scam or you're really getting everything they're saying?" Naruto asked in curiosity after the fox's excitement had settled down for a bit.
"Godhood is amazing," the golden fox said while taking on a tiger-sized form (it was his preferred size nowadays) and sat on the throne-like large, red divan of his throne room.
A boy and a girl with golden skin and red hair - of Tamaranean origin if Naruto had to guess - started to softly wave their large feathery fans, cooling the fox god and his guests.
"After you've chosen your domain and created Karma with the people that put their faith in you, you can create a set of laws, a system that will automatically reject anything that clashes against your will. For example, someone praying to win the lottery or asking for other people to meet misfortune for no good reason will naturally get ignored. But say that someone is asking for justice or vengeance, I will naturally hear his plea. Just today I killed a corrupt lawyer that had taken a bribe to fail his innocent client on purpose. His client would have been sentenced to life in prison for a crime he did not commit... A mere thought from me and both that lawyer and the real criminal died of a stroke. Even as we speak, a section of my mind is listening to my followers' prayers and solving them."
Naruto and Diana looked at each other speechlessly. Diana was a goddess too but when she compared herself to Kurama, she realized just how far below him she was. To kill someone just with a thought, through Karma! That difference in power between a stray god like her and a god that was being worshipped by hundreds of billions of living beings was sky-high.
"What if you kill someone by mistake? Did it happen before?" Naruto asked.
The golden fox wagged his fluffy ten tails lazily and grinned smugly. "That's impossible. I'm the God of Truth and Justice."
"What do you mean?"
"It's very simple. People believe that I'm the personification of Destruction, Truth, and Justice. They believe that I am omniscient...so I became almost omniscient."
The two of them did not even try to hide their shock at his words.
"The Power of Faith is a scary thing," Kyuubi said seriously. "It can even change a god's nature if left unchecked. My Negative Sensing Emotions has evolved to untold levels. I can't claim to be omniscient but nowadays, I can tell anything about someone's past and even what they are thinking, just by looking at them. I can even peek into their future. For example. I know that you've been trying to make a child for nearly 2 years and have seen multiple medics but none could find a solution. I also know that Diana is hoping for a blue-eyed blond-haired boy with whisker-like birthmarks on his cheeks and that you're imagining a little girl with long black hair, blue eyes, and no birthmark on her cheeks. Now that you are in front of me, I know everything about you two. I am a God."
Though he was rather startled by the fact that Kurama appeared to have become almost omniscient, Naruto chuckled a little at his manner of speech. If there was one thing that had not changed at his dear friend it was his pride.
"How has life been for you after you finished off all your enemies? Isn't it boring to just sit in this Temple and listen to people's prayers? Don't you miss going to bounties together with me?"
"I miss wreaking havoc with you like in the past, I will not lie, but I wouldn't change my current life just for that. Countless living beings depend on me now. It's a nice feeling... being needed. Being respected. Being worshipped. Being loved by so many souls. Even after 2 years, I sometimes find myself sighing in amazement: a dangerous beast that had been feared, hated, and imprisoned, had become now a god whom billions worship."
Kurama looked at Naruto and Diana with a gentle look in his golden eyes.
"You should settle down somewhere too, Naruto... are you not tired of roaming the Universe like a vagabond? I would love to have you here with me, both of you. Find a nice place, build a home, root yourself in a place. You have a family to think about now. You're not by your lonesome self anymore."
Naruto did not simply dismiss Kyuubi's words. He took Diana's hand and their gazes locked as they communicated through their eyes.
"I can't wait for your little girl to be born. Uncle Kurama will spoil her rotten!" Kurama spoke about himself in the third person and grinned widely.
Naruto chuckled at him but Diana perked up at his words:
"You said you can peek into our future...is that our future? We will get a child?" she asked hopefully.
"Ups, that was a slip of a tongue," Kurama said and chortled.
"No, no, don't you dare! Tell us everything you know!" Naruto said, taking her side.
"So you two are a package now? I am outnumbered...looks like little Thea and Uncle Kurama will have to team up against you in the future~" the fox said teasingly.
But he stopped poking fun at the two of them. He knew very well just how much both Naruto and Diana wished to have a child. For thousands of years, Diana had never even seen any children at all, until she left Themyscira and came to the Man's World. She also wished to have Naruto's baby, to have a family. As for Naruto, as an orphan, as someone who had lost his homeworld, having a family of his own was the one thing that he had always wanted the most. Especially after experiencing the decade-long dream world of the Black Mercy.
The ten-tailed golden fox god stood up from his red divan and walked towards Naruto.
"You've stopped ageing about 90 years ago when you were nearly sucked by that Supermassive Black Hole. We both almost died back then..." Kurama said, a thoughtful look on his face. "You've become immortal but you lost your ability to procreate. It was an equivalent exchange."
"Is there anything you can do about it?" Diana pressed on.
"But of course. Have you forgotten? I am a God." Kurama said proudly again.
As he raised his clawed hand and put it on Naruto's chest, a golden light started to glow around his claw and engulfed Naruto's entire body. Kurama's divinity was being infused into him.
Two years after the disbandment of the Justice League or one year after the death of Superman, a new organisation of metahumans had appeared. Like a phoenix that resurrected from its ashes, the Justice League of America had been born from the ashes of the Justice League Unlimited. What was the difference between them though? Besides the several notable absences - Superman, Wonder Woman, and Hawkgirl, three of the original seven - the Justice League of America (or shortly said JLA) only handled the crimes within the United States' territory. This new Justice League no longer protected the entire planet like before.
The reason for that was that, after Superman's death and Supergirl's subsequent killing of the Joker after the massacre that he had committed, most of the countries in the world had taken a page out of Japan's book. They started to follow its example. Especially in Europe and other democratic countries from the rest of the world, numerous Hero Agencies had been created. Though they had a fancy name, they were simply nothing more, nothing less than professional guilds. They were regulated by the government and they also paid taxes from their profit, taxes to social insurance and so on.
For the world at large, the apparition of Hero Agencies had been one of the best things to happen in decades. The crime rate amidst the metahumans' ranks had declined steeply as most metahumans had an easy and legal means of making an honest and easy living with their gifts - which in turn led to a much safer society as regular criminals stood little chance at escaping the countless heroes that seemed to have popped out of nowhere (many metahumans had been keeping a low profile before, hiding their superpowers). In the present, many heroes had risen to prominence within their countries, with some of them even becoming renowned worldwide, alongside other famous members of the former JL. For example, All-Might, a metahuman with a very powerful body, from Japan; Caesar, a metahuman capable of conjuring and controlling any bodies of water, from Italy; Sheyar, a metahuman capable of flight and telekinesis from Egypt; and so on.
That being said, once a model of democracy and free will, the USA was very different nowadays. The Justice League of America ruled the country from the shadows with an iron fist. While the government still appeared to be in power, various members of the JLA had infiltrated many of its key positions. Even the current president was a puppet that listened to every word that the JLA's council said. Another big difference between the former Justice League and the current JLA was that JLA's members were allowed by the law to use deadly force against criminals.
The average Americans were torn, not knowing what to think. On one hand, they felt stifled by the martial-law like environment and by the fact that their free will and rights were restricted, but on the other hand, never before had there been such a low crime rate in the history of the federation. Whereas Superman had been seen as a gentle giant, a symbol of hope, the current figurehead of the JLA, Supergirl, was a far cry from that. Violent and ruthless, many heinous criminals had been lobotomised or even killed by her. Even corruption was at an all-time low because any officials suspected of corruption would be directly interrogated by Martian Manhunter. Nobody could hide their secrets from the powerful telepath. Some people hated the current state of affairs while others embraced it. The population's opinions were split.
A young woman in her late teens or early twenties was flying at a moderate speed above Metropolis city. She was of average height, blonde and blue-eyed, and with a rather sweet and cute face. However, her black cape, black mini skirt and her black t-shirt with the red S symbol on her chest had become a symbol of either fear or veneration for most people. She was none other than Supergirl or, how she called herself nowadays, Superwoman.
The past year had been very difficult for Supergirl. It had not been an easy task to fight off her former friends and teammates who had wanted to 'set her straight' after what she had done during Superman's funeral. However, much to her surprise, public opinion had supported her actions from back then. It had been to the extent that the Supreme Court of the United States had been forced to drop the trial that they had intended to put Supergirl through. Too many innocent people had been massacred by the Joker. It had been like a wake-up call for the population. Instead of being vilified as they had done with Wonder Woman, Supergirl had been called a hero, someone who had had the guts to do what had to be done...
...It took the Joker and his gang of criminals to violently murder over a hundred innocents for the world to finally understand that some beings were too dangerous to be kept alive. That some humans did not deserve second chances.
With public opinion on her side and with Batman's unexpected offer to support her with his wisdom and wealth, Supergirl had come into herself. Nowadays, Supergirl was no longer just the cute side-kick of Superman who played around and fought crime out of boredom, just to escape being stuck at a farm in Kansas. Nowadays, Supergirl had become Superwoman. A fierce defender of the innocents and a wrathful vigilante against criminals. She had become the leading figure of the Justice League of America, supported from the shadows by the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman.
Flying above Metropolis City was a habit she had developed a few years ago. She used to patrol the large city and help Superman to maintain peace and order. But these days nobody was crazy enough to try anything in Metropolis anymore. Everyone knew that if Superwoman caught them, at best they would be lobotomised and then imprisoned or, at worst, they would be killed. These days, Superwoman was still patrolling the city mostly as a means of relaxation and to help with any spontaneous hazards she might encounter such as a house on fire or some serious accidents that regular people would find it challenging to handle by themselves.
That day, however, the usual peace was interrupted by Martian Manhunter's telepathic message. His voice was filled with urgency when he said:
"Superwoman! Batman's Brother AI has detected HUNDREDS of time-space irregularities in the exosphere of the planet. Boom tubes!"
No sooner than his telepathic message ended, a wormhole was ripped into the sky above Metropolis. A bone-chilling cry was heard over all the noise of the large city. Savage screams and bloodthirsty shrieks. The skies had turned grey as a swarm of winged demonic beings darkened the light of the day. Hundreds upon hundreds of Parademons were flying from the enormous boom tube in an ending stream.
A massive being radiating an aura of power walked slowly from behind them, stepping on air as if it was solid ground. Over 40 feet tall, extremely muscular, grey-skinned, red-eyed, and wearing purple-black armour - it was none other than the God of Apokolips, Darkseid.