She rests the coin on her thumb.
She lets her thumb loose, sending the coin flipping through the air.
"Ser IIyn Payne."
The coin gains altitude, rising high above her head.
The coin begins to reach its apex, slowing in its rise.
The coin reaches its peak, hanging in air as if suspended by some unseen force.
The coin begins its descent, heading straight toward her outstretched hand.
"That red bitch."
The coin cuts through air, catching bits of sunlight as it rotates wildly.
The coin is close to her hand now. If she wanted, she could reach and grab it.
The coin lands perfectly in her hand and she closes her fist around it.
She flips her hand, allowing the coin to do a final tumble in her enclosed palm.
She opened her hand, revealing the face of the coin. She stared at the object, frustration boiling deep within her stomach. It had been days since she had arrived in Braavos. She had immediately found her way to the House of Black and White, intent on gaining entry and finding Jaqen.
She had been shocked when she was rejected. She had the coin. She made the journey. What else was required of her? She had figured and hoped that word would eventually reach Jaqen and he would come to assist her.
"How stupid of me." The Stark muttered to herself while throwing her coin out into the distance. Maybe some beggar would be able to make use of it. Her? She had no need for it anymore. She hadn't come this far by sitting on her ass and waiting.
With a grunt, she stood to her feet. Maybe Braavos would offer her some distraction from her current frustration.
"Hand over your coin!"
"There's six of us so don't try and do anything stupid!"
"Make it quick and we won't rough ya up too badly."
Gibberish. All of it was gibberish to him. These thin and ragged-covered kids, likely a year or two younger than himself, were speaking nothing but gibberish to him.
His head hurt. His body felt it had been forced through a grinder. The boys claimed that there were six of him but with his swimming vision, he could've sworn there were twenty.
The Fox's voice seemed so distant. Everything seemed wrong. What the hell had happened to him?
"We told ya to make it quick!" He felt one of the boys push against his shoulder. The attempt was disturbingly weak. He had been shoved harder back during his first year in the Academy. Were these boys that malnourished?
"Fine! You want to be difficult, we'll get difficult!" He could barely make out one of the boys pulling out what looked to be a dagger. He didn't want to quite call it one since it was in absolutely horrid shape. Rusted and chipped, if they even managed to hit him with that thing he guessed it wouldn't even leave a scratch.
"You mongrels leave him alone!" Another voice, this time a feminine one. His swimming vision could barely make out her form at the entrance of the alleyway. Her features were obscured from him but he could see the thin blade attached to her hip.
"I shouldn't wait and see if she actually knows how to use it." His body felt horrible and he couldn't see shit but he wouldn't let an innocent girl die just because he felt a bit sore. He had felt worse after using the Fox's chakra.
He closed his eyes and began to concentrate.
Six versus one. Perfect. Water Dancing was meant for situations like this. She didn't wait or settle, drawing her sword and leveling it at the small group.
"Drop your shit of a weapon and leave the alleyway." By the tightening of the boy's grip, it was quite easy for her to tell that they had no plan of leaving peacefully. Her own grip tightened as adrenaline flooded through her system.
Maybe beating these boys up would help cure some of her frustration.
It was as she was having this thought did the kneeling male move. In actuality, she hadn't actually seen him move. In the blink of an eye, he was suddenly standing over the downed form of one of the six.
In the next instant, another fell. Arya felt her grip on Needle loosen at the sight before her. One by one, each of the boys fell until there were none standing. The only hint Arya had to their demise was the shifting form of the bloodied blond that she had initially thought was a defenseless vagrant.
Oh, how wrong she looked.
A moment passed before she realized it was just her and the blond standing in the alleyway. The realization snapped her back into reality, her grip on Needle tightening once more. This man, despite how injury riddled he looked, was dangerous. Those six may have been untrained tramps but the speed at which they fell told her enough. She could not take this man lightly.
"Watashi o tasukeyou to shite kurete arigatō."
What in the Sevens had just come out of his mouth. That sounded absolutely gibberish. It was as if he was speaking in tongues. The words he spoke didn't sound like any dialect she was familiar with.
She didn't understand him. He could tell by the look on his face.
That wasn't good. That wasn't good at all. He had traveled to a lot of places with Jiraiya during their training trip and had never come across a group or city that didn't speak the same language he did.
Hell, even the toads on Mt. Myōboku spoke the same language. Where the hell was he!
"Okay, Naruto. Stay calm." Think now. He wasn't the same simple boy from before his training trip with Jiraiya. He was a Sage now. Sages were wise. Use some of that wisdom.
He held his hands up in what he hoped was the universal sign of peace. The girl didn't loosen in her stance, not that he could blame her. She was right to be cautious of him.
With a quick application of chakra, a well of ink, a paper tag and a small brush appeared in hand in a puff of smoke. The utterly shocked look on her face told him everything he needed to know about what she thought about his actions.
He kept his hands raised for a moment before slowly lowering them. The second he moved an inch, the girl tensed but took no further action.
Good. She wasn't going to try and immediately kill him.
Emboldened by her self-restraint, he slowly lowered himself down to the ground. He kept his eyes on the girl for a moment further before focusing on the paper.
With a practiced ease, his inkwell became uncapped, his brush dripped and he went to work. He could feel the girl's eyes on him as he constructed the seal. Luckily, this particular seal was simple and one he had used quite a lot. The younger tadpoles had been his many test subjects.
With a quick bite of his thumb and a few drops of blood, the seal was done. He stood with the paper tag in hand, his eyes meeting with the girl once more. He gave a small wave of the tag before pointing at her.
Now what was he doing?
Arya had been beyond confused as she was watching the boy draw on that piece of paper. She had almost leapt out of her skin when he had made those objects appear out of thin air. Was this boy some type of mage?
Now, he was waving the paper about and pointing at her. What did he want? She watched him take the paper and mimed putting it on his forearm before pointing at her.
Did he want to put that thing on her?
Did he think she was stupid? That was not happening!
Yeah, she was going to make it difficult. Her body tensed once more at his gestures.
Once again, he couldn't blame her. Some stranger wants to stick an unknown seal on her. Of course she should say no! Her logic was sound.
But for now, he didn't need her to be logical. He needed answers. And considering that she had been willing to help him, he figured he could trust her.
For now, at least.
In a burst of speed, he appeared behind her. As he reached, he couldn't help but think … the people here were so slow. She stood no chance. Before she could react, the seal had been slapped onto the back of her neck and activated with a dark blue pulse of chakra.
"What did you do?" Yes! It worked! Thank the Sage for the toads. The translation seal that he had placed on the girl had been the work of some of the toads. Generally, it was used on the younger tadpoles to allow them to learn the world's speaking language easier. The blood served as an anchor, making it so he could only understand her and the other way around.
He didn't have much time to appreciate his work before he was forced to duck beneath a lunge from the girl's sword. She moved fast, faster than the boys before, but much too slow to bother him. He slapped away her followup shot while moving backward, throwing his hands up once more.
"I just want to talk!"
She could understand him. How could she understand him? He had just been speaking nonsense moments before?
"What did you do?" She barked out while moving closer.
"I just made it so we can talk. Nothing else! I swear."
Did she believe him? Not really. This man was running around and attacking people at speeds she could barely see and also had the ability to summon objects and change languages. There wasn't a single thing about that statement that made her want to trust or believe a single thing out of his mouth.
However, a part of her felt the need to at least hear him out. If the boy had wanted to harm her, he could've easily done so. He had proven that. The fact that he seemed so docile at the moment made her hesitate. It made her want to listen.
Plus, no one could ever say she wasn't a curious girl.
"Fine. Speak but do not move!"
"I can work with that." Now that he was talking, Arya could sense a bit of cheekiness to his words.
"Look. My name is Naruto Uzumaki. I am a shinobi from the village of Konohagakure. I mean you no harm. If you could tell me which direction my village is, I'll leave peacefully."
Now he was back to speaking nonsense. Shinobi? Konohagakure? What in the Sevens was coming out of the blond's mouth. She was beginning to suspect that she was speaking to a man who had gone mad.
"I know nothing of what you speak. We are in Braavos, home of the Iron Bank and the House of Black and White." She could immediately tell her words that confused him. The boy wore his emotions on his face.
"Do you know where I could find information about this place and maybe the surrounding area?" She scoffed at this. Yeah she did. Unfortunately, the one place that she knew of wouldn't allow her inside.
"Arya Stark." She turned at her name. Her speaking companion had already noticed the new presence if his shifted attention was anything to go by. At the sight of the presence, her eyes widened. So in shock, she nearly missed catching the coin that was thrown at her.
"Jaqen." She whispered. Her shock quickly shifted to anger at the sight of the man. He had been in the city this whole time and was only now seeing her?!
She bit down on the anger within her. It wouldn't do well to show anger to the only connection she had to this city.
Well, only connection if you excluded the potentially mad blond behind her.
"I'm sorry for my late arrival. I have been occupied with some other unfortunate events." The man spoke with a calm expression while his eyes swept over the two. It took every fiber of her will not to snort at the man's excuse.
"Well, you're here now so I can't complain too much." Arya shot a quick glance over her shoulder at Naruto.
"Does being here mean you're going to take me to the House?" She turned to look at the man. If going with Jaqen meant abandoning the blond then unfortunately, it had to be done. A part of her felt sad at the idea but this world taught her to ignore that part. She owed nothing to Naruto and would not allow him to halt her journey.
"Yes." Jaqen spoke once more. A small smile spread across his face as gaze focused on Naruto once more. "I'm here to take you and your new companion with me."
Shock struck Arya like an arrow. Both of them? She hadn't been expecting that. From what Jaqen had described of his lifestyle, she had always thought the man to be secretive and extremely protective of his personal life. To invite the boy after just meeting him … it felt so odd to the girl.
"Hey you!" But, Hey! It wasn't her place to question the man. She turned to face the boy behind her. "If you want answers, you best come with me and him. He's your best chance at figuring out whatever the hell you're trying to learn."
His face lit up and the boy began to nod at a rapid pace. She had to hold back a scoff at his actions. What a child.
She wondered how long he would last in Westeros.
And so, the trio left the alleyway, unknowingly amongst them all, exposing Naruto to the world of Westeros for the first time.
History would mark this moment as the beginning of the end of the world.
AN: I wrote this for someone. If people end up liking this story, I'll continue writing it. Meanwhile, I'm going back to watching some of the show to re-familiarize myself with the lore, world and Arya. Happy Holidays. Stay safe. Peace.
Discord Code: KmWcBkDmWY