Ay, DiOs Mío! - Karol G
Sasuke didn't know what he had originally been expecting when stepping foot into Takamagahara but he had been expecting something... more.
Takamagahara resembled what Japan looked like nearly 12 centuries ago. Kilometers upon kilometers of rice fields, binding rivers, and archaic architecture that had all but been erased from the modern Japanese aesthetic, save for the ruins of old monuments and shrines.
While it didn't necessarily surprise the Uchiha, it left him feeling some form of disappointment. This was the home of the Kami. So, forgive him if he expected something a little more robust.
"Neh~... Why the long face, Sasuke-kun? Isn't Takamagahara beautiful?"
Mismatched orbs met silver as the teen met the Goddess's gaze. "I expected more."
Blunt as ever.
The Goddess then proceeded to pout and if Sasuke was being honest, it nearly caused him to falter. It should be a crime for something to be so cute.
"C'mon Sasuke, I think it's nice. It's real traditional that's for sure. Reminds me of Ta No Kuni..." Naruto's cerulean orbs traveled along the, in his opinion, beautiful landscape with an appreciative gaze.
There was an ethereal energy that practically saturated the very air that wafted in this... plane? Dimension? Whatever it was, it possessed nothing but this specific energy.
It was so very similar to chakra but at the same time, wasn't. If Naruto had to actually put a feeling to it he'd say it was similar to the mode he'd be in when harnessing Natural Chakra in his Rikudou Cloak.
And that observation nearly caused Naruto to blanch. Descendants of the Rabbit Goddess herself, transmigrations of the most powerful humans that had ever walked the Elemental Nations and were the precursors to end a war that would end all wars.
It was something Naruto didn't want to even entertain and if he didn't want to tackle the subject then he could almost guarantee that Sasuke would flip out.
"You're not gonna like this but... The Chakra here feels eerily similar to the Chakra I use in my Rikudo Cloak."
"Quit speaking." The Uchiha hissed out, closing his eyes and taking a deep breathe.
"Think of your happy place Sasuke. Just think of your happy place."
"Those breathing techniques ain't working Sasuke and you know it." Naruto responded bluntly, crossing his arms against his chest.
"Shut the fuck up. Keep talking and the Heavenly Flames of Amaterasu will rend your flesh from your body."
"Wow. That is actually the most edgiest thing I've ever heard from you." Naruto joked good-naturedly, trying to diffuse the situation. "Your growth and character development has been amazing to watch."
Sasuke's frustrated visage bled away to confusion. "My what...?"
"Nothing." Naruto was quick to answer, dismissing his friend's question.
"Neh neh~! What were you two talking about a second ago?" Amaterasu asks curiously.
The two Shinobi glance at one another, silent for a couple of moments before Naruto eventually responds.
"The Chakra that I can sense here is similar to the Chakra that myself and Sasuke can use..." He explains slowly.
The Goddess tilted her head cutely, eyebrows furrowing. "What's so unique about that?"
"From our world, the only individuals that were capable of harnessing this Chakra was the progenitor of it and her children." His facial expression began to slowly shift, lips pulling down into a frown. "The man who gave us this power was known as the Rikudou Sennin, or The Sage of Six Paths. With just half of his power, we were able to defeat a Goddess with the power to annihilate our home world. Which can really only lead to one conclusion... Or atleast, the only conclusion myself and Sasuke can realistically come up."
Sasuke takes over, finishing what Naruto was going to say. "There are more beings like Kaguya, capable of traveling through universes and or dimensional planes with ease... And while I'd prefer it to just be a coincidence that the Kami are capable of using Rikudou Chakra, I cannot ignore the possibility that more of those beings exist, spreading their influence on multiple worlds and planets."
Amaterasu's eyebrows had begun to slowly rise throughout Naruto and Sasuke's words, slightly surprised at how serious they were being. The two teens had a rather unique dynamic that reminded her of the relationship she had with Susu-kun. To see them so on edge about this was interesting.
"Was this Kaguya mortal, like you two are?" She asked curiously.
"No." Naruto shakes his head negatively. "Sasuke and I know little about Kaguya save for the information that Super Gramps left us. But there was zero possibility of her having been a human. You can kill a person but our only option was to seal her away."
Amaterasu makes a quiet noise of acknowledgement before speaking once more. "What did she look like?"
The two Shinobi glance at one another for a moment, having a silent conversation. Naruto eventually just shrugs his shoulder before being engulfed in a small cloud of smoke. When it clears, a pale skinned woman is now standing in his place.
Amaterasu's head tilts nearly ninety degrees as she studies the... woman? that Naruto transformed into. Her skin was as white as snow and atop her head sat a pair of horns that resembled rabbit ears. She possessed three eyes upon her face, with her main ones being pure white with no pupils. In the center of her forehead sat another unique looking eye that resembled the one in Sasuke's left socket, save for the fact that it was red instead of violet and had double the amount of the Tomoes.
"I... cannot recall ever seeing an individual with these physical attributes." The Goddess slowly admits, eyes still studying the woman.
In a voice that baffled Amaterasu, Naruto spoke elegantly and softly, mimicking Kaguya's own. "Kaguya Otsutsuki was the strongest being to walk on our world. She was able to not only create any dimension she wished to but was also able to control any aspect of the environment in which she crafted. Chakra induced Jutsu had no effect on her and only strengthened her. Kaguya was only sealed away because she was desperate and made mistakes during our battle. She lacked true combat experience and it showed, for if she possessed the experience we had, Sasuke and myself would not be here today."
The Goddess stared at the pale woman Naruto was masquerading as before frowning lightly. "And you two believe that there may be more of these beings? Possibly stronger than her?"
Kaguya, or Naruto, nodded their head.
"And because of Kaguya's ability to create dimensions, you also suspect that these beings could potentially teleport to different dimensions and universes all together?"
Sasuke nodded his head while speaking. "We can't ignore the possibility. Hagoromo Otsutsuki informed us that his mother came from 'The Stars.' There is no true way of knowing if they exist in this universe but it is something to be wary of."
A poof of smoke surrounded Naruto, his transformation disappearing. "Imagine if Kaguya was considered weak amongst her people... I can't fathom fighting multiple individuals on her or above her level." He shook his head as he did so, frustration bleeding into his voice.
"For something to unnerve the both of you..." The Goddess spoke seriously. "Ahh~! It'll be okay!" She exclaimed, tone shifting into child-like nonchalance.
Sasuke just stared at the woman as if she had lost her mind. "Did you not just hear what we said?"
"Ohh, I heard it." She replied, nodding her head with a smile. "But I don't think you two should worry about it."
"And why wouldn't we?!" The Uchiha questioned with a heavy amount of annoyance, fingers clenching in frustration.
"Because you two have help now." She smoke with a simple smile, much like a child.
"Oh, and that help is you?" Sasuke questioned snidely, crossing his arms against his chest.
"Well, duh~!" She replied loudly, mimicking Sasuke and crossing her arms below her breasts, pushing them up. "I'm not weak! And neither is Susu-kun or Tsuki-kun. These dumb aliens won't know what hit em~!"
Sasuke, once again, just stared at the Goddess as if she had lost her mind. His unique eyes slowly strayed away before focusing on Naruto. "We're so fucked."
Naruto's obnoxious laughter only further grated on Sasuke's already thin patience.
"What?" Amaterasu questioned curiously. "You think I'm weak?" Her bottom lip threatened to push out, a cute pout painting her face.
Sasuke glanced back towards the woman, speaking as he did. "Naruto took you out with one ability..." He explained in a dull tone. "What real help will you be?"
There was an odd silence that reigned between the trio after Sasuke's question. It was slowly becoming an uneasy one.
Where there had once been the idle noise that one would expect when standing amongst nature, there was now nothing. An eerie silence that pervaded the world causing the hairs on the back of Naruto and Sasuke's neck to stand on edge.
The familiar feeling of danger resonated through their sixth sense causing their blood to boil. The telltale sign of adrenaline surged through their veins, eyes growing and chakra exploding.
"If you think that I took that fight serious for even a second, then you are a foolish man." Amaterasu spoke blandly, silver eyes dull and lifeless. "I am the Ruler of Takamagahara and Japan's sole protector for a reason. Had I used the full force of my power then Japan would cease to exist." She stated firmly, silencing Sasuke and Naruto.
"We Gods are bound by rules and adhere to these so as to not usurp the delicate balance that exists on Earth. Should we Gods just walk amongst the land with our full powers bearing down upon humanity, the world would end as we know it. And though you two are incredibly powerful and gifted, you are only human. You will peak and stagnate and eventually, you will die."
"Do not think that we are equals for even a second." She continued as her form began to glow a heavenly golden color, becoming nearly as bright as the sun itself. "Naruto merely defeated the mortal form I possess. The Gods of this world operate on a different plane and should you wish to test it, I will allow you to do so."
Naruto and Sasuke shield their eyes as the blinding light emanating from Amaterasu glowed even brighter. An enormous amount of pressure descended upon their shoulders and they were forced to tense their shoulders due to it.
Opening their eyes, they gazed upon a woman who shared the same physical traits as Amaterasu but yet... There was something off about her. The amount of power that was currently rolling off the Goddess was something to behold.
Sasuke could see the differences whereas Naruto could feel them. It was similar to the feeling they had during their fight with Madara when he possessed the Juubi and had obtained the Limbo ability.
Amaterasu's power had just increased nearly ten-fold. And what did she mean when she spoke about her 'mortal form'?
"Whoa... You just got way stronger." Naruto admits with raised eyebrows. "Where was this power during our fight in Kyoto?"
Amaterasu's features remained mainly the same, that being her facial structure and silver eyes, but her essence just seemed to reek of Natural Chakra and some unknown energy. The pores of her skin seemed to radiate and pulse with ethereal golden energy, blazing like the sun.
The Goddess turned her gaze upon Naruto, silver eyes taking on a softer tone. "It is like I said Naruto... I appeared before you in my Mortal Form. I am stronger in my Divine Form. The same goes for any God through any religion."
A small frown found its way on Sasuke's face as he stares at the woman. "Any God?"
"Any." Amaterasu confirmed with a nod.
That certainly changed things now didn't it? This meant the Gods of other factions and other religions were even more powerful than originally assumed.
"Sooo..." Naruto tilted his head, sensing other Gods slowly edging their way towards their position. "If we fought again and I beat you in that form, then it's safe to say I'm stronger?"
A bemused smile formed on Amaterasu's face as she tilted her head, sword and shield materializing at her side. "I shall let you know that my strength is at its most powerful right here in the heart of Takamagahara... Do you still wish to test your mettle, mortal...?"
There was a condescending tone to her voice near the end of her statement, alluding to the fact that she was poking fun at his mortality. It didn't take a genius to know that regardless and while Naruto wasn't the type of individual to allow petty insults to get to him, something about how she said it bothered him.
"She's packing some ridiculous power in her now... Why do you always want to cause problems?" Kurama questioned in an annoyed tone. "Do not take this fight. She holds the entire deck of cards in her hands... We're also on her home turf. I'm sure she's got even more of a boost in power due to that considering how this God shit works."
"Yeah, but... I wanna fight her."
Naruto replied mentally, a small smile beginning to make its way upon his face.
A smile Sasuke didn't like seeing.
"Don't even think about it." He warned with a scowl.
"Already thinking about it." Naruto replied with a grin while grabbing the hem of his hoodie and pulling it over his head. "Why not? I haven't been able to cut loose in a long time..." He turned towards his best friend, staring at his annoyed expression. "Ahh, c'mon Sasuke. Don't you want to do the same? We always hold back against each other... Lemme fight her."
Sasuke just stared at the teen, watching as his friend began to flex his Chakra pool. The air began to ripple and distort as Naruto continued to flex the absurd amount of Chakra that was crammed in his body.
The Uchiha released a heavy sigh, eyes roaming along the rice fields and spotting several unique looking Gods and creatures. He even spotted a few Gods that he recognized due to studying about the Shinto Pantheon.
Sasuke sighed quietly before glancing back towards his friend and shaking his head. "If you get your ass kicked, don't come crying to me." He raised a lazy salute before disappearing in a burst of speed, appearing on one of the various mountain ranges that overlooked the area Naruto and Amaterasu were standing in.
Why? Just why? All Sasuke asked for when he woke up today was for a single day of normality. Just one single day. But noooooo... The Fates told him to go fuck himself. Having to deal with an annoying ass Kami who spoke about some ritual and now he was going to watch his friend either get destroyed or come out victorious against the strongest Kami that belonged to the Shinto Pantheon.
"Your friend is an idiot." A gruff masculine voice resounded out from beside Sasuke.
The Rinnegan wielder glanced to the man that stood beside him, recognizing him. "A powerful idiot but an idiot nonetheless."
Susano'o bowed his head, strawhat hiding his face. "To challenge Sister in the heart of Takamagahara while in her Divine Form..." A gruff chuckle escaped the man as he continued. "He's either suicidal or extremely confident... For a human, it is impressive."
Sasuke side eyed the God that stood beside him, noting the amount of derision that the man used on the word 'human'. Did all Gods look down upon humans? Did they all see themselves as superior just because they were a God?
"You look down on humans." Sasuke stated rather asked, watching as Naruto began to go through several stretching exercises.
"Astute observation." Susano'o mockingly replied, not bothering to glance towards Sasuke.
That rankled Sasuke's pride something fierce.
"As astute as that loss you received? Or did I fry your memory with my lightning?" He spoke in a condescending tone. "I remember defeating you with relative ease. Mortal Form or not, you still lost." He scoffed in disdain, turning his nose away from the prideful Kami. "You Gods need to relearn what hubris means. Or does prancing around like the false protectors of an entire society and country make you feel better? Insecurities you can't seem to overcome? Please, interrupt me if I've spoken out of turn, oh Great and Almighty Kami. Don't speak to me like you're my better. If you want a fight then I'll give you one."
Sasuke's Rinnegan flared to life, glowing a dark purple as his Mangekyou Sharingan spun hypothetically. His blood surged beneath his veins as a miasma of purple Chakra began to bubble up from beneath his skin nearly forming the Susano'o upon his body.
A cruel smirk formed on Susano'o's face as he began to flex his own power, kimono flapping wildly. His silver eyes began to glow bright as lightning began to crackle off his body and his sheathed sword.
"You are powerful for a human but can you back up those words?" Susano'o unsheathed his sword as an explosion of lightning struck down upon his position, forcing Sasuke to evade the explosion. A smokescreen covered the area before a shockwave of power blew it away, revealing Susano'o's Divine Form.
Sparks of lightning crackled off of Susano'o's body and the distinct smell of ozone wafted in the area. The Kami placed one hand upon his sheathed blade, taking up a simple Iaido stance.
Sasuke scoffed at the display before unsheathing his own Kusanagi and tensing his body. His knees bent and his Chakra rolled off his body in waves, crashing down into the mountain, cracking it and sending chunks careening off the edge.
"Show me, human! Show me your Warrior Spirit!" Susano'o cried as he disappeared, the sound of thunder following his movement.
Sasuke's eyes dilated as the Kami appeared directly in his face, Divine Blade en course to blaze a bloody path through his stomach. His own Kusanagi met the man's blade as a shock wave of energy detonated out from their clash, causing a torrent of electricity to explode outwards from their position.
Sasuke's expression shifted viciously as he met Susano'o's unique, gray eyes. His Rinnegan flared as a force of energy slammed directly into the Kami, causing his eyes to momentarily widen as his feet began to dig trenches through the hardened earth.
The Kami managed to dig his heels into the ground, momentarily fighting against the behemoth force of nature that was trying to whisk him away. It was all for bought though as Sasuke flexed the entirety of his Chakra pools upon Susano'o's shoulders.
With a flick of the wrist and the aid of his Rinnegan Ability, Susano'o practically cannoned through the gigantic mountain, meeting the floor of it near instantaneously.
Not even allowing the Kami to right himself from his abrupt departure, Sasuke performed a single handsign, spewing an enormous fireball that rivaled the size of the mountain he stood upon, covered in the flames of Amaterasu.
"Enton : Goukakyu no Jutsu!"
The spiraling ball of flames descended upon Susano'o's position a moment later, absolutely decimating the mountain and causing several massive quakes to the environment.
Sasuke descended shortly afterwards, not wanting the God to even catch his breath. If Susano'o was a warrior then he would adapt. And if he couldn't adapt then that was his own incompetence in battle.
But he had an advantage here where he hadn't had during his fight with Kaguya.
Elemental Ninjutsu could cause actual damage and elemental Jutsu was his forte.
Naruto had a carefree smile upon his face as he stretched his joints, humming quietly to himself. "It's been way to long since I've able to let loose."
Amaterasu's bemused expression maintained itself as she stared at the mortal who had claimed Kyoto as his home. She didn't show it outwardly but the boy had left an impression on her when they first met. Of course, the circumstances in which they had first met was anything but positive, it didn't deter her from learning all she could about the odd little quartet.
Prying information out of Yasaka had been relatively easy considering the group hid nothing. They came from an entirely different universe with the aid from Ophis of all creatures. One of the most powerful beings in the entire universe...
These four clearly attracted the worst of luck but according to Yasaka, they were on good terms with the Dragon God. Even on a first name basis. Which was... Well, words didn't really capture how ludicrous and amazing that was.
Amaterasu loved to play the ditzy sibling and she believed she played it very well. Of course, it wasn't that hard to play considering she kind of was a ditz at times. Her brothers believed she was too soft on the Mortals she protected. She however, would disagree.
She did not look down on humans like those of her kin. Humans were a fascinating creation and the few times that humans rose to the heights of a God was a sight to see. Many a human had done what the Gods thought to be impossible : Slaying a God.
And though the Biblical God had created the means for humans to achieve this feat, it still did not discredit their achievements. However, a mortal with no Sacred Gear did not possess the power to slay a God.
Only a God could kill a God after all, regardless of how powerful the human was. It was just a fact. Only the power of another God could eradicate the Divine Power that coursed through her veins. Gods slaying their own kin was seen as taboo.
Slaying a God had consequences. And the humans that had done so had learned of them. You cannot just kill that which controls aspects of life with no repercussions. And while Amaterasu highly doubted that Naruto wanted to kill her, it was best to err on the side of caution.
He did possess some ridiculous power in him after all. And if he had the capability to eradicate her Mortal Form with relative ease, then she was excited to see how far he could truly go. Just what did he have stored up for her?
Amaterasu's smile slowly grew as she watched the boy speak aloud to himself, seemingly talking to someone(s) that weren't there. He was an odd boy that was for sure.
"Just what does Yasaka-chan see you in, little one?" She mentally questioned, curiosity growing as time passed by.
"Yosh!" Naruto exclaimed excitedly as he punched his open palm. "I'm ready to go, Ama-chan!"
Ama-chan? How cute. He was so adorable.
Amaterasu allowed her smile to soften as her Divine Katana slowly rotated in the air, hovering next to her palm. "I look forward to our battle then. I hope your power isn't just for show then."
"Oh, I can promise you that I'm about that life." He affirmed with a smirk, Chakra rippling and distorting around his body. "Don't cry when you lose, Ama-chan!" He added in cheekily, placing both of his palms together in a prayer-like motion.
Despite herself, Amaterasu found herself matching the teen's smile and tone. "I will make sure to remind you of these words, Naruto-kun."
As Naruto was about to power up using Kurama's Cloak, he sensed Sasuke's power spike followed by the spike of another Kami. It caused him to pause, head swiveling towards the vast mountain range that loomed over them.
A second passed by before a powerful shockwave detonated through Takamagahara. A nano second passed by before the mountain practically exploded, causing several quakes to spread throughout the rice fields. Naruto sensed a build up of Chakra before seeing an enormous fireball that rivaled the size of a Bijuu, coated in the flames of Amaterasu speeding down towards the ground.
The subsequent explosion that followed was nothing short of spectacular. Ash and cinder painted the sky, blanketing it in a smog of smoke as Naruto watched the exchange.
Why was Sasuke fighting? What had happened?
"Uhh... Should we stop them?" Naruto questioned, watching with heightened vision as Sasuke and Susano'o traded blades. Several sonic booms rocked Takamagahara with each swipe of the sword, lightning striking various random locations.
Amaterasu scoffed quietly, a small pout bleeding it's way upon her gorgeous face. "That's not fair! I was supposed to be showing off! Me! Not Susu-kun! He always ruins my fun!"
Naruto glanced back towards the woman, noting her adorable pout and physically struggled with the urge to comfort her. He laughed awkwardly as he spoke. "Uhh.. It's going to be okay... W-We can still fight, Ama-chan..."
The Goddess vehemently shook her head, hands balling up into fists and coming to rest in front of her breasts. "No! I don't want to anymore! Susu-kun ruins everything!"
Naruto blanched as fresh tears began to pool in the woman's silvery eyes. He raised his hands, shaking them aide to side as he tried to ignore the vicious tremors emanating from Sasuke's fight.
"Don't cry! Why are you crying?! Ahhh! How do I fix it!?"
Naruto succumbed to the Goddess's tears, panicking as she threw a childish tantrum.
It was a peculiar sight for all the Kami to witness, watching as a clueless, mortal teenager tried to console the most powerful Goddess in the Shinto Pantheon. And while peculiar, it was not completely unexpected. Amaterasu was known to act like a child even on the best of days.
What an odd day in Takamagahara.
Sakura released a heavy sigh as she bid her goodbyes to the Devil Heiresses. Several hours of detailed documents, conversations about how things should be run, and any other political jargon that existed when involving two separate factions on the cusp of violence.
She held no ill will towards the young women and truly wished to see them flourish and blossom in their roles. They were after all, in seated positions of powers for their respective clans. The girls were also decent enough if not a bit naive about their life.
But that could be Sakura's own perception on life that allowed her to view them as such. They lacked the experiences she now had and to her knowledge, they had been relatively sheltered. They hadn't been put in dozens of life or death situations like she had at the tender age of 12. And that wasn't their fault. That was just life. Some individuals get dealt good hands and others bad.
As she walked through the school grounds, emerald eyes occasionally trailing over various windowed cabinets, filled with various trophies, medals and other things revolving around academics and or sports, she was reminded of the childhood she didn't really have. It was an odd feeling, seeing things like this.
Kuoh Academy was very prestigious, or so it appeared. Wouldn't have anything to do with the supernatural, now would it? Surely not.
As Sakura exited the Academy Doors, pushing them open and gazing at the setting sun, she's drawn from her thoughts by the sound of rushed footsteps behind her.
The pinkette furrowed her eyebrows before turning around, watching as the Gremory Heiress jogged her way through the halls, right hand waving in the air.
"Sakura-san!" The redhead called out, coming to a stop with a minor huff. "Thought I wasn't going to reach you in time... Phew."
Sakura rose a curious eyebrow at the girl before turning around and giving Rias her full attention. "What did I say about formalities?"
The Gremory seemed to blanch before coughing into her hand and straightening her back. "S-Sorry! It's a force of habit... Japanese culture and customs and whatnot."
Sakura didn't really blame her. Japanese etiquette was far more formal and professional than Konoha had been.
"Did you need something Rias?" The medic asked curiously, leaning against the open door of the Academy.
Rias perked up cutely, as if suddenly remembering what she had called Sakura for.
"I just wanted to properly thank you..." She expressed gratefully with a demure smile. "And to apologize. To you specifically..." Her expression lowered, demure smile being replaced with shame-filled one. "If I hadn't gotten distracted you wouldn't have been injured and this entire situation would have been prevented."
Rias proceeded to place both of her hands at her sides before bowing to Sakura, long red hair cascading down her face. "Please, forgive me for the trouble I have caused."
Sakura herself then blanched, placing her hands upon Rias' shoulders and forcing her back to a standing position. "Hey hey hey! There's no need to bow! I accept your apology, now please. Refrain from doing that. You don't need to apologize in the first place."
Rias allowed Sakura to move her, not really fighting the woman's action. Her expression remained downtrodden as she spoke with her hands crossed in front of her waist.
"I disagree, Sakura." She shook her head, red tresses flinging to and fro. "Sona wouldn't been in this position if I had just done my job. I guess... Nevermind." She shook her head slowly. "It would just be another excuse for my incompetence. I didn't realize just how important my role would be..."
Sakura sighed quietly before placing her index finger on Rias' chin, slowly pushing upwards. "Chin up, Rias. There's no need to dwell on it. What's done is done. The important part is that you learned. Mistakes and failures are a part of our lives. Everyone has to lose at some point and no winner can continue winning."
Rias' blue eyes glance down at the finger upon her chin before rising to meet the pinkette's emerald orbs. "You make it sound so easy..."
Sakura relinquished her hold upon the woman, chuckling quietly at the woman's response. "Well, I speak from experience. I've failed plenty of times in my youth. Even seeing myself as a burden to those I love and care for. But at the end of the day, who doesn't feel that way at some point in their life?"
Rias' lips part at the woman's words. "Does... Does it ever get easier to deal with? Failing, that is. Do you ever expect to fail?"
"Once you fail enough times, that sting slowly begins to disappear. That's not to say the feeling fully disappears or anything but it just affects you less so. Now, do I ever expect to fail? All the time." Sakura answered with a simple nod. "Failure is always there and it's natural to fear it. But you can't allow it to control you and dictate what you do in life. Take risks. You're young and have a full life ahead of you. Make mistakes and then learn from those mistakes. No one is perfect. Not even Gods."
The Gremory Heiress stared at the pinkette with a hint of admiration in her blue eyes. "But... Do you ever get scared of the potential repercussions that could follow should you fail?"
Sakura crossed her arms against her chest, shifting her weight on her right leg and unknowingly accentuating her curves. "Nah, not really." She chuckled good-naturedly, smiling in amusement at Rias' baffled expression. "I usually solve all my problems with my fists. Annnnnddddd... I fancy myself as a winner when it comes to hand to hand combat. I'm no slouch and can pull my own." She takes a boxer's stance, punching at the air with a force that surprised Rias.
"That's... Well, I expected you to be really strong considering you know... Him." She grimaced at the memory of Sasuke before shaking her head, ridding herself of that terrifying experience. "Uhh... Well, thank you Sakura. For all the advice and help you've given me today. You didn't have to even acknowledge me but you chose to do so. I appreciate it. Really, I do."
Sakura offered the redhead a small smile as she waved off the woman's gratitude. "Don't mention it Rias. If you ever need to talk about anything, then feel free to reach to me." She pulled out her phone, handing it to the woman to put in her contact information. "Just because we belong to different Factions doesn't mean we have to be at odds every step of the way. My best friend believed that our... home was capable of uniting together. I... have started to appreciate his philosophy and way of thinking alot more nowadays."
Rias' eyebrows furrowed at the past tense usage of her words. "Believed?" She questioned with a minor amount of concern. "Did something happen?"
Sakura tried to hide the pain-filled expression but wasn't successful in her endeavor. She was silent for a few moments before sighing quietly. "I'd rather not speak about it."
Rias nodded her head in understanding, offering her condolences. "I'm sorry if it seemed like I was prying. It's none of my business."
Sakura, once again, waved off the woman's reply. "It's fine, Rias. You didn't know. I'm... mostly over it. I have a new home now and I'm finally happy."
Sakura's words caused a small smile to form on the redhead's face. "Finally happy?" She questioned curiously, crossing her arms beneath her breasts.
The Medic released a quiet sigh, shaking her head. "Ugh... It's a long story..."
Rias stared at the women for a few moments before shrugging her shoulders with a smile. "Well, I got time."
Sakura stared at the Heiress for a moment or two before smirking. "Hmm... Perhaps I could be persuaded to tell you, if you treat me to dinner. I am starving after all."
Rias grasped her chin with her left hand, blue eyes narrowing in thought. "Hmm... I think I can work with that."
The Medic smiled as she stepped out of the doorway of the Academy, motioning for Rias to lead her. "Well then, lead the way Princess."
The Heiress made a noise of annoyance at the title. "Ugh... Please don't call me that. I'm not a Princess."
Sakura snorted as she followed behind the Heiress. "Could have fooled me."
"Stop it!" Rias whined with an adorable pout.
"I'll think about it."
Kakashi huffed quietly to himself as he summoned Divine Dividing once again. He was standing shirtless in an open field, sweat dripping down his body as he flexed his impressive Chakra pool.
He had been training for several hours, calling upon Divine Dividing and maintaining the form for as long as he could. Having never been a stamina juggernaut during his time as a Shinobi, working purely on stamina was a challenge in itself. He was not Gai and he certainly wasn't Naruto.
He was a tactical fighter, meant for short and quick battles. His speciality lied in his wit and immense talent in the Shinobi Arts. And while he had fought for several days during the War, he had also been given Chakra several times throughout the war. Fighting multiple powerful Shinobi and then going on to fight multiple Jinchuuriki, Obito, Juubi monster-like creations, Madara, and then Kaguya.
So it's not like he didn't possess stamina but unlike Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura, who all had gifted levels of stamina, he was pretty average. Or as average as one could be when fighting in a 3 day long war with no food or rest.
Kakashi held himself to a high standard. He was a perfectionist and anything less than perfect was a failure. It didn't matter if he could stay on his feet for three days straight, fighting for his life against multiple world ending threats. He wouldn't have been able to do it for four days and that's what really mattered here.
"Your drive is admirable but even you need some rest, partner."
Kakashi huffed, sweat dripping down his features. "Not good enough, Albion. I need to... master this power." He stood to his full height, turning his gaze upon the multiple Yokai lined up to aid him. "Again!"
The dozen or so Yokai nodded their head before performing several Youjutsu attacks and allowing the techniques to merge together. The amalgamated Youjutsu technique rocketed towards Kakashi's position a second later.
"Divide!" The masked Jonin cried, dividing the attack, expelling the excess energy and causing several shockwaves to detonate form his position.
"You're a true natural, partner..." Albion comments respectfully. "However, if you continue on this path then you will only hurt yourself. You need to rest partner. There will be plenty of time to master my abilities. There is no need to rush."
Kakashi huffed once again, hands coming to rest upon his knees. His Sacred Gear flickers before disappearing back into his body.
"Dammit..." He muttered frustratedly. "I need to get stronger."
"Why, partner? For what reason are you pushing yourself so far for?"
Kakashi's eyes narrow as he thinks about his three students that surpassed him. How they had put their lives on the line during the fight with Kaguya and how he had been forced to sit on the sidelines, watching as they struggled. He had only been able to aid once during the fight, using both of Obito's Manhekyou's Sharingans to summon a perfect Susano'o.
And though he had aided in the defeat of the Rabbit Goddess, he couldn't help but feel inadequate when compared to his students. He didn't envy them or feel resentment or anything of the sort. But he just felt... Useless.
Kakashi had felt like a burden to them during the war, as if he was only in the way. He knew it was illogical to compare himself to someone like Naruto and Sasuke but even when paired with Sakura, her mastery of the 100 Healings Jutsu allowed her to surpass her limits, rivaling Tsunade and even surpassing the woman's strength.
"I don't wish to be a burden to my students... I want to help them." He revealed quietly, dropping to his bottom with a quiet grunt. "I need this, Albion... If only for my own sanity."
The Dragon was silent for several seconds before eventually grunting quietly. "Very well... Let us continue, partner."
Kakashi sighed quietly, a small smirk forming on his masked face. "Thank you, Albion."
"Do not thank me." The Dragon grunts quietly. "Get stronger. For your family."
The Jonin chuckles, rising to his feet and flexing his Chakra, summoning Divine Dividing. "Let's go!"
A melodious giggle escaped Rias as she dipped a french fry into ketchup. Her other hand was covering her mouth desperately attempting to reign in her laughter.
"Wait, wait wait wait!" Another giggle escaping her. "So you're telling me that he not only managed to incapacitate the leader of your village but he did it while transforming into a naked woman?!"
Sakura tried to staunch her laughter as she took a sip from her cup. She failed, obviously, but managed to prevent anything embarrassing from happening.
"Yes, yes he did." A fond smile overcame Sakura's features as she continued. "Naruto is an interesting man... I've known him for most of my life. He's a brother to me. I would go to hell and back for him. But there are times where I just want to wring his neck."
Rias giggled once more, taking her french fry and placing it in her mouth. "He sounds like a good guy."
"Yeah." Sakura agreed quietly, nodding her head and lowering her gaze to her food. "Yeah, he is."
Rias was able to catch the slight change of mood her statement brought. A small frown formed on her face as she spoke. "Hey, did I... Did I say something wrong? I'm sorry if I overstepped any boundaries or anything."
The pinkette shook her head, waving off Rias' apology. "You sure do apologize alot, Rias." She smirked at the girl's adorable pout. "No, it's not that it's just... I wasn't the greatest friend to Naruto despite our long history together and I'll be the first to admit that. I've grown alot since being that immature child I was years ago but sometimes, I can't help but lament on my past. It's a bad habit of mine."
The Gremory was silent for a few moments, twisting a french fry between her fingers. "Well, what matters is that you're a good friend right now, right? From how you speak of him, he sounds like a really good guy... Maybe he sees it differently."
Sakura cracked a crooked smile. "I'm sure he does... Naruto has a unique outlook on life and is a rather pure man. The compassion he has... It's something that many of us lack. We could learn a thing or two from him."
Rias dipped another fry in her favorite condiment, placing the food in her mouth and idly chewing away. A comfortable silence descended between the two women as they continued to eat their Western inspired meal. It was apparently a very popular fast food chain that had spread across America before going international after major success, now being nearly a trillion dollar corporation.
"So, what do you think of the food?" Rias asked curiously, eating another fry.
"Greasy." Sakura answered simply, taking a bite out of her burger. "I mean, I guess it's okay. Terribly unhealthy that's for sure."
Rias snickered quietly as she popped a chicken nugget into her mouth. "It isn't supposed to be healthy. It's marketed as being convenient and what's more convenient than a full meal made in less than 5 minutes?"
Well, the redhead made a good point with that.
"True." Sakura acquiesced simply. "Could be a bit healthier though..." She grumbled quietly, taking another bite of the burger.
The Gremory Heiress snickered once again. "You're really adamant about this aren't you?"
A small pout made its way unto her face. "I was studying to become a doctor in my old home." A small lie, but a relatively harmless one. "It's habitual of me to critique things like this... I can't help it."
Rias smiled as she wiped her fingers clean with a spare napkin. "I think it's cute."
"Cute...?" The Medic questioned with a strange expression upon her face.
"Yeah, cute!" Rias affirmed with a nod. "You're a very cute woman."
Such simple words. Words Sakura had never really heard before. Having grown up her entire life with a twisted view on not only herself but of her surroundings, it was... different. Especially by a woman of all things.
Rias didn't really strike her as the type to play for the other team but she also didn't really know her either. And she could have just been calling her cute to tease her. It didn't necessarily mean anything deep. But still, Sakura found it nice to be complimented, even if the manner was that of a teasing nature.
"So, I'm cute then, yeah?" Sakura questioned with half-lidded eyes, placing her elbow on the table and leaning her head upon her hand, staring directly into Rias' eyes.
Two could play at that game.
The Gremory Heiress stared at Sakura's expression with widened eyes. "Uhh... W-Well, you know..." She awkwardly explained. "You just have that aesthetic, ya know? Ahem. Yeah." Her eyes strayed away from the woman, not entirely used to such displays, less so from a woman.
"Hoooh?" Sakura hummed with a smile. "I'm an aesthetic now, am I? Please, continue. Pamper me, Rias. Speak more about me." She spoke haughtily, nose turned upwards.
Rias puffed her cheeks out, embarrassment prominent through her features. "Mou~! Why do you have to tease me?"
Sakura just laughed quietly, grabbing a napkin and wiping her hands clean. "Why not? Maybe I want to see your reaction? Maybe I have an ulterior motive? Who knows?"
"Why would you want to see my reaction?" Rias asked curiously, crossing her arms beneath her generous chest. "You play for the other team?" She asked while wiggling her eyebrows.
Did she? It wasn't as if she looked at other women in her spare time. All her focus had been on Sasuke and that was a can of worms she had yet to address with the man himself. Getting drunk and trying to speak with him those couple of days ago probably wasn't the best option.
But Sakura had long since let go of her romantic feelings for Sasuke. She had been obsessed with him for unhealthy and toxic reasons and no amount of reconciliation between the two could transpire into a romantic relationship. It was just a pipe dream and one Sakura fancied no longer.
Her happiness was her main priority and she only wished the best for Sasuke himself. And it wasn't as if he wasn't happy. Sasuke had been less tense with Kuroka now roaming the compound they stayed at and he seemed more at ease with the woman around. If she made him happy then that's all really mattered.
She and Sasuke may never have had a true future together but he was still family as far as she was concerned. She loved him just as she loved Naruto and Kakashi. Only less so romantically and more platonically.
"Well..." Sakura started slowly, genuinely thinking about Rias' question. "I can't say that I do but I also wouldn't rule out the possibility... I guess I'll just have to experiment then, won't I?"
Rias ignored the woman's rather suggestive tone about 'experimenting'. "You don't have a preference?" She asked curiously.
Sakura furrowed her eyebrows, leaning back into her chair. "Well, I'm pretty sure I lean towards men more but the idea of being with a woman doesn't really bother me, per say. I mean, at the end of the day all that really matters is if I'm happy with the person I'm with."
The Heiress nodded her head at the answer. She wasn't necessarily wrong. If the person made you happy then why did gender matter? Of course, there was always an extent to these levels. Such as if a child made you happy and that was just outright disgusting and vile.
"You raise a good point..." She mumbled quietly, eyes narrowing in thought. She was quiet for a few moments as she debated her next question.
It was a stretch and could completely backfire, upending this new friendship. And while that would suck considering Sakura was her superior to some degree, she needed help.
"Sakura..." She finally spoke, gaining the necessary courage to speak up. "Is it okay if I tell you something personal about myself?"
The Medic furrowed her eyebrows at the abrupt change. "Sure, Rias. What's up?"
Rias took a deep breath, calming her nerves. "I want to preface what I'm about to say first. That being that in no way, shape, or form am I trying to manipulate you or lead you on or anything like that." She placed her hands on the table, staring down at her conjoined fingers. "What do you know about Devil Marriages?"
Sakura furrowed her eyebrows, slightly taken aback by the statement. "Uhh... Well, not that much to be honest. I do know that alot of pure Devils died during their civil war... So, to prevent their bloodlines from dying out, Ajuka Beelzebub created the Evil Pieces system that allowed individuals of any race to become a reincarnated Devil... But I'm guessing that isn't really relevant to your question?"
Sakura however, was surprised when Rias shook her head. "It is relevant. To keep the Pure Blood from dying out, many Heirs and Heiresses were forced into marriages at a young ag, bound by a contract signed by the parents. In doing so, it prevents us, the Heirs and Heiresses, from finding someone we wish to be with."
The Medic furrowed her eyebrows at the redhead's explanation. This was very similar to the marriages of clans back in the Elemental Nations. While it wasn't as prominent, considering many of the clans preferred to inbreed, a topic for another day, it was still a reality. Some clans wished to keep their blood pure, like the Hyuga while others, like the Nara and Inuzuka, did not mind mingling outside their clan.
"I'm going to assume you're in one of these contracts then?"
Rias released a pitiful sigh, nodding her head. "Yes. I have been fighting against this arrangement since I was a child. Searching for loopholes, negotiations, anything that would allow me to break free from it... But I've come up empty every single time. It's so frustrating!" She banged the table loudly, anger forming upon her beautiful face. "Why?! It isn't fair! Every time I bring the issue up to my father it's 'This is for the greater good of our people.' I'm sick of hearing it!"
"I deserve better than to be wed to some arrogant jackass with zero social etiquette! How can any parent stare into the faces of their children and tell them they aren't allowed to do what they wish to in life?" Her hands balled into fists as tears coalesced in her eyes. "I haven't made the best decisions as a child but I don't deserve to suffer through a loveless marriage, bound by a piece of paper and stripped of my own personal desires... I don't deserve that..."
Sakura's features softened as she stared at the Heiress. Rias was right. She didn't deserve what was happening to her. No one did, really. But there was nothing that she could realistically do for her.
Sakura placed a gentle hand stop Rias' own, stroking the back of it with her thumb. "Are you positive that there is no alternative? Have you exhausted every available option?"
The redhead used her other hand to scrub at her eyes, ridding herself of her tears "There are only two options I can really do... The first one is to just kill myself." She shrugged with a self-deprecating laugh. "I've entertained the idea of doing so..."
A grimace set its self upon Sakura's face. For her to be so desperate that she'd resort to suicide just to prevent this marriage from occuring...
Rias shook her head sadly, blue eyes falling to the hand atop her own. "I can't do that though... My peerage means the world to me. I can't abandon them... I love them like family." She released a heavy sigh, placing her other hand atop Sakura's own. "My only other option is a Rating Game... And while I'm confident in my peerage, I know a losing battle when I see one. My fiance has a full peerage on top of being one of best fighters of our age group. He has dozens of Rating Game matches under his belt and my Peerage lacks experience. It'd be suicide... But it's currently my only option now. I can't run from this anymore."
Sakura continued to stroke the woman's hand, providing what little comfort she could. "Why tell me this?" Not that it really bothered her but she could sense that there was something Rias obviously desired from her.
The Gremory Heiress was silent for several moments, staring at their conjoined hands. "Can you help me?" She raised her eyes towards Sakura, desperation and hope evident. "Please?! I'll do anything! Anything! Just please, help me!"
Sakura grimaced at the request, knowing a problem when she saw one. Nothing good could from her aiding Rias in this endeavor. This was something between two Pure Blood Devil Pillars. She was a member of the Yokai Faction. A Yokai Faction that was currently at odds with the Devils.
"Rias..." She spoke softly. "What can I do to realistically help you? We're from opposing Factions and you're in a binding contract. If I even entertained the thought of helping, it'd cause nothing but problems... Rias, I feel for you. Truly, I do. But there is nothing I can do to aid you out of this. This issue is bigger than you realize."
Instead of being discouraged by Sakura's words, Rias' resolve only seemed to get stronger. "You think I don't know that, Sakura? I've read every single line of those documents more times than I can even count! I can recite it word for word to you right now. But... But I have an idea... It's a long shot and it could totally fail... But I have to try! All I ask is that you hear me out... Please? Will you please just hear me out, Sakura?"
Sakura's uneasy expression only seemed to grow deeper as she stared into Rias' eyes. Was she really entertaining the thought of helping Rias through this?
Curse her damn bleeding heart! Why did she have to be such a good person!?
"Okay..." She bit out in exasperation. "I'll... I'll hear you out. But the second this starts to go down hill, I'm out Rias. Do you understand me?"
Rias nodded her head rapidly, a fresh set of tears forming in her eyes.
"Say it! Say that you understand! I want to hear you repeat it to me." Sakura stated firmly, glaring at the Heiress.
Rias, once again, nodded rapidly with no hesitation. "I understand Sakura! I promise!" A mixture of hope and gratitude surged through Rias' veins as she stared at the pinkette. She allowed her emotions to overwhelm her, leaping across the table and grabbing Sakura into a fierce hug. "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
The Medic blanched at the sheer amount of gratitude being shown, not used to having people act this way towards her. She returned the hug, albeit very awkwardly.
"H-Hey! Calm down! W-We haven't even talked about it yet!"
Rias ignored Sakura's protestations, squeezing her as if her life depended on it. In which case, it kind of did. Sakura could be the key to her happiness. She could solve everything!
What a joyous day!
"Rias! C'mon now! I need to breath!" She huffed, trying to push the redhead off her. Kami! She was stronger than she looked! "You're giant ass boobs are suffocating me!" She cried angrily, cheeks coloring a soft shade of pink.
And once again, Rias ignored her.
AN: This chapter was incredibly annoying to write. I dislike the first half of it but I just couldn't go back and rewrite 4k words. I don't have it in me. Too much work.
Enjoy the chappy little mongos.