A/N: Had a blast writing this chapter.
An old friend stopped by to chip in, so the words flowed like wine...
As ever, the Embers rule still persists. If folks don't like this story? Poof! Gone!
Awaaaaay to the void it goes. Gone once and for all. Forever. Completely. That's no joke.
So by all means, speak up! Raise your voice! Make yourself heard! Your reviews matter! Really, they do! I'm literally working every day now, so I have less and less time to write. Daily updates might...slow down for a bit, but I know that would upset a lot of people. Its just hard with two jobs.
Now for your questions, comments and concerns!
Q: Why is Atlas coming for Naruto?!
A: ...he blew up two mountains. Two! The whole world saw that! Of course someone's going to investigate!
Q: What's the pairing?! And if you can't/won't reveal that, can you at LEAST list the ladies you've mentioned thus far?
A: I can grant the former, sure:
At present, those who have noticed Naruto are!
Alesia Amitola (Illia's Mother) Anna Taurus (Adam's Mother) to say nothing of Sienna and Kali. Really, those two don't need an introduction. There you go. Four individuals have shown some manner of interest in him. Do I hear five? Don't think so. I'm going for a unique line of pairing here...
Q: When will you update your Genshin stories?!
A: I have been, though? The chapters for A New Archon are simply much, much MUCH longer than what I usually write. But to answer your question, I'll be updating them in tandem with RWBY. You might even see a few double update days soon.
Father of Teyvat isn't as popular, sadly T_T
Q: ...can we have more Cinder-centric stories?
A: Nope. I saw what happened to Embers at Midnight. All Things Must Die is on its final chapter. Rags to Riches is likewise ending soon. Mama Knows Best and The Gods Must be Crazy are the sole exception, and even those seems to be enjoyed by a handful at best. ANY tale involving Cinder in a significant capacity its often much maligned and I'm accused of enabling her or somesuch, and to be frank, I'm sick of the ridicule.
Ironically, when I update "New Gods" or "Untraveled Road" everyone goes nuts. *shrugs*
Q: Menagerie harem?
A: Suppose that depends on you now, doesn't it?
Q: Any chance you can...ah...put some Genshin characters in this? Just think! One of Sienna's kids could be... *SPOILER* and *SPOILER* would be absolutely perfect for her! Plus Naruto would be a perfect parent for that little bugger. You could even use *SPOILER* as a sister for Blake! Dark hair! Golden eyes!
Go on! Tell me that I'm wrong!
A: Oi! Had to redact the crap outta that! I've had people complain about the influence Genshin is having on me lately. I'm trying to be more tactful about such things. Wouldn't do upset the flow of things...but I'll consider your proposal. I make no promises.
Alright, I think I've kept you long enough.
Hopefully this chapter brings a smile to your face.
And if you laugh while reading this, well, all the better.
As ever, I own no references, quotes, themes or memes. Not a wit or a one! Really, they're just tributes...
"Do you have any idea who I am?! Count yourself lucky that I, an Atlesian captain, graced you with my presence!"
"Alright, pipsqueak. I'll bite. Who the hell are you, and why should I care?"
"Why you cheeky fox! Stop! Stop laughing at me!"
~A Future Scene.
A Stubborn Monster
Atlas had come to Menagerie.
Naruto wasn't much sure what that this sudden arrival meant for those of the faunus -Kali had hardly given him a history lesson after all- but judging by their aggravated looks and bustling bodies it couldn't be good. Many ran to their homes for shelter. Others clutched their children close in a blind panic. Still more went for their weapons, barking orders at one another and running pell-mell for the armory. It was both sad and worrying to see, but this chaos at least, he could contend with.
When people started looking to him for direction...not so much.
Gradually, he became aware of more than a few gazing his way, Kali and Sienna among them.
...was it too late to run away?
"They must've seen your little stunt." Mistaking his silence for anger, Sienna bit her thumb to stifle a snarl and whirled to face the harbor. "Of course they'd come to investigate."
"Stunt? What stunt?" Naruto whistled and straining in vain for innocence. "No idea what you mean."
"No idea?!" Kali flung up her arms, hands splayed. "You obliterated two mountains! Two!"
Kurama offered a long-suffering sigh in the back of his mind. "I did warn you...
To be fair, Naruto really hadn't intended to cause that much collateral damage. It wasn't in his nature to destroy things for the fun of it. Really, this was all just a terrible misunderstanding. How was he supposed to know that damn sea dragon would be so flimsy? He had next to nothing to gauge his strength against here. One might think a giant sea serpent would be just a little sturdier than wet cardboard !He jammed both hands into his pockets, realizing there was no way out of this. Well, there was, but he wasn't about to run across the ocean. He had no idea where to go.
Blast. They were still staring at him, too Time to face the music...but did he have to. "They can't prove we did that."
"Maybe not," Sienna allowed, "But most of the island saw your little bomb."
He cringed and scuffed the dirt with his boot. "I just wanted to help...
"You want to help?! Look at these people!" Sienna flung a hand out at the terrified masses around them, followed by the harbor below. "You see how afraid they are. Do something about it!"
Kali quirked a brow. "And just how, pray tell, do you suggest he do that?"
"Simple." Her smile was all teeth. "Destroy their ship. Easy, no?
Kali hissed. Naruto inhaled nearly choked on his own spit.
"He slew a sea serpent." Provocateur that she was, Sienna took it all in stride as she thumbed her chin, "Surely sinking a ship can't be that hard."
Kali swooped in before he could speak, all but bulling into her face. "Killing a dragon and killing people are two very different things!"
"Are they?" her fellow Faunus leered. "Way I see it, they're both monsters."
A foghorn bleated anew in the harbor below. Naruto risked a glance toward the carrier in time to see a small boat detach from its side. They'd make landfall soon. And he was running out of time. His mind whirled about in a mad frenzy. There had to be a way out of this without violence. There just had to be.
"Now lets be reasonable about this." He came back to himself to find Alesia -Amitola!- interposing herself between the two enraged women. "We don't even know why they're here. It could be nothing."
"Ever the optimist." Anna found her voice at last as she retrieved the broken fragments of her blades. "And what of you?" Naruto stiffened a little as those piercing blue eyes eyes met his own. "You've been rather quiet. Would you rather they kill us?"
Naruto rounded on her. "No one is killing anyone!"
"Why else would they be here?" a scarlet brow arched. "Name one good reason and I'll stop. They never come here for supplies. They haven't since we laid claim to Menagerie; won't even patrol these waters. And yet less than a weak after your little spectacle, here they are." she folded both arms beneath her bosom -make eye contact and nothing else!- then cocked her horned head just so. "If they're not here for you, then they're almost certainly here for us. The war is still a recent memory in everyone's minds."
Naruto felt his hope deflate with every word.
But amidst the death of that hope, an awful idea was born.
"Oh?" Kurama realized it a heartbeat later. "Now that just might work...
"Alright." straightening his back, the wayward warrior plastered a winning smile onto his face that he didn't entirely feel. "Fine. Lets go meet our new...friends."
Alesia frowned. "What're you up to?"
"Nothing." he couldn't quite keep the laughter out of his voice. "Just an idea."
"You really do have one, don't you?" Sienna hummed a little, ears perking up. "Alright. Now this I have to see."
Kali bridled, perhaps sensing some modicum of the madness he'd planned. "Naruto, whatever you're planning...don't."
Anna darted pasted him with a half-hearted apology, muttering something about finding a pair of back-up blades. Naruto let her go -against his better judgement!- and hoped to high heaven she wouldn't be using them on their guests. Or were they invaders...? The distinction troubled him.
As luck would have it, their so-called "friends" had already disembarked by the time they reached the docks.
He took note of four guards and another. Unfortunately...
Someone had found them first.
Easily head-and-shoulders taller than him and then some, the stranger nevertheless carried himself with a dignified mien. Bright golden narrowed intently upon the Atlas envoy from a stern face, framed by dark hair and a striking beard. The deep purple cloak he wore over his bare chest seemed to signify a rank of some sort, and his broad arms remained clasped firmly his broad chest.
Whoever he was, he clearly spoke from a position of strength, if not outright authority.
"Come now captain, surely there's no need for this." his voice itself was a slow moving avalanche, easily audible-yet-affable as they drew near. "Please put your weapons away before you frighten the children. This is all just one big misunderstanding."
"Reasonable fellow." Kurama mused. "Didn't think Menagerie had any of those left. Maybe we let him handle this, yeah"
Naruto shushed him, when in truth, nothing could've made him happier.
"Who's that?" he muttered under his breath.
Kali beamed. "That would be...
"Must we do this dance, Ghira?" the newcomer answered for her, and though he couldn't quite see the owner around of that voice around this great big mountain of a man, they didn't sound much pleased. "I have neither the time nor patience for your word games." her words dashed the blond's hopes just as much as her tone did. "Cooperate, and we'll be gone from your shores. Where is the weapon?"
Ghira offered a slow blink. "What weapon? Whatever do you mean?"
Sienna slapped her forehead. Kali stifled a sigh behind her palm.
Amitola chuckled, even as Naruto died a little inside.
Yup. She was talking about him. He just knew it.
"Secrets will avail you naught. Or do you take me for a fool? Didn't I just tell you?" only a few more steps now and he'd finally be able to see this preening peacock. "Our reports indicate that a weapon of some magnitude was fired from this island. Two mountains in Mistral are gone." she paused, letting the weight of her words sink in. "Gone! The blast came from this direction. There are no other islands on this side of the sea that support life. Well," he heard the sneer in their voice, "Human life, at least.
The insult was blatantly clear even to Naruto.
"Be that as it may," Ghira bore it with remarkable aplomb. "I assure you, we have no such weapon here on Menagerie."
...where is your chieftain? Perhaps he will be more forthcoming with his answers."
At that, the giant winced a little. "He is...indisposed at the moment."
'Oh, right.' Naruto realized. 'That's me now, isn't it?'
No wonder the last guy abdicated for him. Now he knew why. You'd be mad to deal with these shenanigans!
...we really are, aren't we?"
Nevertheless, he strode forward. Kali and the rest hung back, he took the small mercy for what it was.
Credit where it was due, Ghira held his ground as Naruto reached his side. The blond looked around him and found himself looking down at a rather petite young woman clad in a crisp uniform of blue-on-white. Her hands were clasped firmly behind her back; he supposed was meant to make her look imposing. In truth it reminded him of a little girl playing dress ups.. Brown hair framed a face from which keen dark eyes shone. That wasn't the reason why he snorted. Nope. Not at all. Certainly not.
His tongue committed bloody mutiny. "So short!"
The entire island seemed to inhale in a single sharp breath.
Meanwhile, the woman turned a fascinating shade of puce. "Excuse you?!"
"Please forgive him." Ghira clicked his tongue in mild admonishment. "He's rather blunt."
Naruto blinked, somewhat taken aback to find all eyes on him once more; this time for all the wrong reason. Even the soldiers at woman's side were facepalming at the unintentional slight. As far as first impressions went, he'd certainly made a lasting one. What?! He couldn't help himself! Truly she was, so small as to barely reach four feet.
"How dare you!" the tiny officer jabbed a finger up at him. "Do you have any idea who I am?! Count yourself lucky that I, an Atlesian captain, graced you with my presence!"
Her arrogance only made it all the more adorable. Was he supposed to feel threatened? By this? A smile touched the corner of his mouth and he couldn't quite suppress a merry little titter of mirth. Maybe it was the wrong thing to do, but he simply couldn't help himself. Another snort escaped him, echoing into full-blown laughter.
"I can't do it...you're just too adorable...!"
Somewhere in the background behind him, Sienna absolutely cackled, even as Kali groaned.
The little woman snarled. "Why you cheeky animal! Stop! Stop laughing at me!"
...and there went his mirth.
"Alright, pipsqueak." he snickered once more and wiped a tear from the corner of his eyes. "I'll bite. Who the hell are you, and why should I care?"
"Do you not know the name Cordovin?!"
A blink passed between the two of them. Naruto tilted his head. "No...?"
"And who are you, then?!" she stabbed a finger into his leg, the only place she could reach. "Identify yourself at once!"
"Me, I'm no one important." Naruto grimaced. "Lets just say I'm helping out around here." he barreled on before the little braggart could build up steam. "Look, I'll cut to the chase. Whatever you're looking for here?" His head tilted a fraction to the right. "We ain't got it. Don't suppose I could convince you to leave?"
Cordovin met his steely glare with one of her own. Silenced reigned supreme. Neither budged.
"Right, then." he shrugged. "I tried the easy way. Now get off my island."
Rather than retreat, the navy officer took the offensive.
"Greetings, citizens." she clasped both hands behind her back and straightened, straining for extra inches that simply wouldn't come to her, not now nor ever. "I am Captain Caroline Cordovin." her voice rose to address all those who had come to watch. "Rest assured, we're not here to cause trouble. We simply have a few...questions.
"Questions, eh?" Naruto raised a hand almost immediately. "I've got one. If you came in peace, then why are you armed?"
"Insufferable little...enough!" Cordovin's gaze locked on him. "Take the blond one in for questioning."
Kali hissed. "Don't you dare...!"
Naruto blew out a short, sharp breath. This mustn't register on an emotional level. Whoever this woman was, she was clearly an idiot. She radiated contempt. Perhaps that was why he felt so riled up. Maybe it was her all too stubborn insistence on being right. Regardless, he found he'd stomached all he could of her.
Two of the soldiers moved forward to intercept him.
He pivoted to face Kali, but didn't speak. He merely smiled.
Sienna must've read the intend in his face; because she took a hand from her whip.
Even as Naruto looked at them, his right arm blurred. There was no need to look back at his would-be kidnappers. A giant golden arm burst forth from his body, struck them head on, and sent them flying. Unprepared for such an assault Cordovin's guards crashed back into their fellows, left them sprawling into the water. They thrashed about in the shallows, clinging to the dock for safety.
Cordovin recoiled. "Why you...?!"
"You don't seem to understand the situation you're in." Naruto turned back to face Cordovin. Behind him, someone -he never knew who- brought a chair forth for him to sit on, and he did so gladly, happy to rest his aching legs. "If we're going to do things peacefully, that's the way it'll be. Peacefully." he steeped his fingers with a flinty smile. "Because trust me when I say, you don't want the other option."
"You dare threaten me?!" the captain sputtered. "I am the envoy of a nation beyond your comprehension!"
"See, I can comprehend an awful lot." Naruto lounged on the throne, eyes narrowing with passing moment. "I've fought gods and monsters, and even they pale in comparison to the sheer madness I've been dealing with on this island. So unless you're a freaking Ootsuki in disguise," his eyes flicked her up and down, noting the lack of horns or any chakra whatsoever, "Which is very -unlikely!- you can buzz right off!"
She reached for her sidearm. Last mistake.
Ghira heaved a sigh. "Captain Cordovin, was it?"
The proud woman frowned at him, still not quite drawing. "Yes?"
"I suggest you come back another day. It would appear our chieftain is in something of a foul mood at the moment."
"I beg your pardon?" She blinked anew. "Whatever would I do that for?! He will come with, or by the authority given to me by Atlas, I will BURN this island-
"You were warned."
Clenched knuckles burst from the earth and plowed into her chin at speed. The impact was nothing short of spectacular. Caught unawares by the sudden ambush, she never stood a chance. A single punch hurtled her away into the air; she arced out over the bay, struck the hull of the cruisers, tore through it, and crashed into the sea.
Behind her, the ship began to list dangerously in the water.
"Dibs!" Amitola giggled.
Naruto slapped a palm to his face. "Not you, too!
Kali and Sienna rounded on the chameleon faunus as one. "Oi!"
A/N: As ever, the Embers rule persists.
If folks don't like this? Poof! Gone! To the void it goes. Gone once and for all. Forever.
So by all means, speak up! Raise your voice! Make yourself heard! Your reviews matter! Really, they do!
So, in the Immortal words of Atlas...
...review, would you kindly?
And of course, enjoy the previews! Rough, though they are
"You say you answer to some sort of authority." He stood, dusting himself off, and growled as his wounds began to close. "Now you only want me gone because I'm an embarrassment." a hand reached up, cinching his headband back into place. "Because I do what they can't. What kind of authority is that? You'll need more than this to stop me.
"I'm no god, but I'm still here to help." he regarded her with a sunny smile. "Just tell me what needs fixin' and I'll do it."
Kali felt her heart perform a silly little flip in her chest.
Why did he have to say it like that?
"Sometimes you have to fight for what's write."
Had Sienna a tail, it would've been wagging right about now.
"What?" Naruto blinked at her, ignorant to it all. "Was it something I just said...?"
Ozpin regarded the report before him. "Oh, dear...
Salem considred the news. Bemused, she read the headline aloud.
"Menagerie mangles Atlas cruiser? Unprovoked attack?"
She could use this. Oh yes, she could use this...
Ghira regarded him over the rim of his glass. "You're not a god, are you?"
"Finally! Someone who gets it!"
Naruto's jaw dropped. "HA?!"
"How about it?" Anna grinned as she sat atop him. "I'm not picky about kids. We can have as many as you want." a hand ran down their flank and he gulped a little, marveling at the creamy pale skin there. "My family's always slow to show their age. I make a fair wage in my given field. Sounds fair, no?"
Naruto's brain rebooted.
He considered the sandy shoal before him, and the barren desert beyond it.
"Right time to fix this island."
Surely it couldn't be that difficult. Thanks to the Sage, he felt more powerful than ever. He wouldn't allow himself to doubt. He just needed to focus. Concentrate. Where there was a will, there was a way. And he had a lot of the former.
Bending to one knee, he laid his marked palm upon the sand. It sang to him, whispering quietly. He could feel the life there, the once lively paradise had been. Some great disaster had stripped it away. There had been a battle here in the past, a fight so fierce that it bleached the ground on this side of the island and drained the very life from it.
Well, that was an easy fix. He had plenty of life-force to give. If Yamato could do this, surely he could...
Alesia Amitola quirked a brow. "Look pal, you can't just turn a desert into aaaaaaaaaa...
Her words trailed off as grass began to grow. Wood rose. Trees sprouted.
The chameleon faunus blinked. Once. Twice. Thrice.
"I call bullshit!"
"Its really not that hard with the right chakra nature...
"Ghira, I'm starting to think you're the only sane one here."
"There, there." the larger man clapped him on the back. "We all have bad days."
"Bad days?!" Naruto flung up his right arm, sending the amber liquid sloshing about within his tankard. "I'm having a bad month here! Honestly! Its like herding two cats! And a chameleon! And a bull! Not to mention why are you laughing?!"