The Faceless Men had been waiting for her. Or them. She wasn't really sure at the moment. She didn't quite know how Naruto fit into this whole entire situation.
"The Many-Faced God decides who dies by whose hand. You have defied their word." Jaqen stepped forward, causing the Stark to tense up.
"The man deserved to die!" She bit deeply into her own cheek after the words left her mouth, nearly drawing blood with the act. She instantly knew she had slipped up. Emotional outbursts were the last thing she needed at the moment. .
"You are not the one who decides." As soon as Jaqen spoke, the Waif seemed to meld out from the shadows and took hold of her. A quick look over to Naruto from her froze him before he could act. It didn't take much for her to know that the strange blond would have attacked the Waif if she allowed it.
"This is for me to deal with." She hoped he could read her thoughts at this moment. She placed herself on this road. And while the blond's presence had been a boon to her enjoyment for the past couple of weeks, he was not the childhood story tale knight her mom would read stories about when she was younger. Her time under the Hound had long since banished any desire for that in her life.
"Only death can pay for life." She felt the Waif's hand latch onto her jar as Jaqen pulled out a vial from his belt. For the first time in a while, Arya felt true fear as the man approached her. Poison was a staple of the Faceless Men and she truly couldn't put it past the assassins to punish her with it.
As the man drew closer, the fear within her grew more and more. When the man got within arm's reach of her, her fear overcame her and she closed her eyes. The Waif's grip on her seemed ironclad. Was this how she was to die? After all she had struggled through, was this how it was going to end? Separated from her family and killed in the darkness where no one would find her?
Her fear had begun it's final spiral just as the sound of a body hitting the floor reached her ears. Her eyes opened just as she felt the Waif's grip on her slack.
Her eyes were greeted with Jaqen laid on the floor, clutching at his shoulder with the vial of poison spilled and broken on the ground. A quick turn revealed to her that the Waif was in a similar position with Naruto standing above them.
"You defy our church and our god after we offer you shelter?" Even though the man's voice was still, the Stark could sense the anger flowing through his words. Her blond companion mouthed some form of apology to her yet the damage had already been done. The Waif had since crawled up to their feet and the dagger held in their hands told the girl enough.
"You boy." The Waif turned to Naruto. "You are immediately expelled from the House. Exit now or perish." It was at his words that the other occupants of the chamber revealed themselves. Dozens of Faceless Men crept from the shadows into the light, daggers and other varieties of weapons held in their hands.
"And you." The Waif faced Arya. "It seems we've made a mistake in allowing your interactions with this boy. Enough is enough. Devote yourself entirely to Faceless Men or leave with the boy."
That had been two months ago. A month since she's faced one of the hardest decisions in her life. Choosing to rewrite her life once more or stand on the foundation that she had fought so hard to get.
"Feel for your attacker's presence. You will not always have your eyes. You may have to fight within it AND night itself."
She followed her teacher's words. Her vision had been stolen from her, forcing her to rely on her ears. This had been her norm since she made her decision. The calmness of her stance spoke volumes of her progress. Previously, the lack of sight would have her rattled.
Now, she was ready.
She struck out with her dagger to her right. She didn't connect but the surge of movement she heard told her that she had forced her opponent to dodge to her right. Her ears guiding her movement, she spun and struck again. Her dagger met metal, bringing a small smile to her face. A quick twirl of her wrist was meant to disarm her opponent yet she did not know the outcome. Her opponent was just as silent as herself.
However, she was not taught to rest so she pressed forward. The sound of feet sliding against grass in front of her led her actions. She threw herself forward, the mental image of a human body projected in her mind. The eight vital points of the human body were highlighted in bright red. Larynx, spine, lungs, liver, jugular, subclavian artery, kidneys, heart. The lungs were the biggest target and so she aimed.
Her smile blossomed into a full grown when her blade made contact. She knew the single strike was lethal, bringing her fight to an end. Now, she only needed to wait for her teacher to announce it's end-
The sound of shuffling coming from behind her snatched her attention. She bent low, ducking beneath the overhead strike she was sure was coming before striking out with her fist. Once more, she made contact. This time, her hit brought forth an audible reaction from her attacker.
"I always forget how hard you hit." She tore off the cloth covering her eyes to level a glare at her teacher. The Stark was greeted with Naruto offering her a sheepish grin while holding onto his stomach.
"Stop your whining. I know that didn't hurt." She rolled her eyes at his dramatics while throwing the cloth away. "And that was a cheap move. I thought I was only fighting one of your clones."
"Sometimes in fights, you never know how many people you'll be facing."
He wasn't the most conventional but Naruto Uzumaki was now her teacher. Or her sensei, as he liked to be called. That night, when she had made her decision, she hadn't known what she would be getting into. Yet, earlier that night, when Naruto had assisted her in the slaying of Meryn Trent, the boy had earned her trust. From stopping her from needlessly throwing herself at the Lannister guards to assisting her in sneaking into the brothel the man occupied, he had shown her he could be trusted.
So, she left. The lack of a guarantee that the men on her list wouldn't die by her hands was a big push. The news of Joffrey's death had only cemented her acceptance of her choice.
Convincing the boy to assist her with her train was simple. She had told him it before but the blond had a bleeding heart. A telling of her story, an admittedly sad one, was all it took to sway her. And sway may have been a bad choice of words. She would've bet all the gold dragons in the world that the moment she left the Faceless Men that the boy would be helping her.
"Horseshit. You just like hitting girls." She spat back at him while taking a seat. The sputtering that came out of his mouth brought her endless amusement. For being such an acclaimed fighter and 'master assassin', he was remarkably easy to tease.
"I don't!" She knew that silence would give her the best response thus she went for it. And, like she had expected, her lack of response sent the boy into a rambling mess about how he didn't like to hit girls and he wasn't that type of guy and how he would never do something like that.
"So if a girl was attacking you and you had to defend yourself, you wouldn't hit them?"
"Well … Well that's different!"
"So you DO like to hit girls."
It took him a few minutes to calm down but he eventually did and the two began the process of making dinner. She had gone out earlier that day and hunted some of the sleepier creatures, gathering a decent amount of meat from them. Naruto had the job of prepping the meat for cooking and storage.
She had yet been able to wrap her mind around those scrolls and 'seals' of his. Her brief time with the Faceless Men had exposed her to the world of the unnatural and magic. The ability to switch faces had surprised her. Naruto's seals astounded her.
With them, she had seen him do wondrous things. Storing meat had been a simple task, according to him. Her ability to understand him and vice versa spoke enough to that claim. His ability to summon weapons to food to clothing made it clear to her that he was not lying.
Of course, she had asked to learn. But, like most of his abilities, that damned chakra seemed to be a limiting factor. The boy had tried to explain it to her but the concept went way over her head. In all honesty, as soon as he said she didn't have it, she lost interest.
But, the ninja could teach her other things. He was a ninja and a damn good one, according to him. And, she had no reason to believe otherwise. In the past two months, she had learned more from him than she could possibly imagine. She was confident she could take apart even the most acclaimed knight in the land. Previously, she had been envious of their massive stature and impenetrable offense. Now, she was disgusted by it all. The lack of mobility went against everything she was taught.
"Any progress with returning to home?" The blond shook his head, earning a sympathetic ping of emotion from the girl. When the boy had broken down his sudden arrival into their world, the Stark had been empathetic to his plight. To be separated from one's home so suddenly was a story she could relate to. His dedication to finding a way home was one she could appreciate.
"My clones aren't finding much. I think it may be time to move on to Westeros. The stories of what's behind that Wall of yours may be what I'm looking for." The grin that statement produced from her could have lit up a tavern. She had been itching to return to her home country but only when ready. She didn't want to return to her home the same ignorant and weak girl that she had left it as. Her training had taught her much yet she still felt she was learning each day. Naruto's statement made her believe that she was ready and that he agreed.
"We can find a transport ship later this week. The dragons that the Faceless Men gave you should be more than enough to cover us both." Naruto nodded at her words and the two proceeded to dig into their meal. Before long, night came and their conversations grew small. It became clear to them both that it was time for them to head to sleep. So, the two teens retreated into their tents and turned in for the night.
A branch broke. She had been sleeping with her head facing to the north and the small sound came from her right. Northeast maybe? The branches surrounding the clearing had been relatively small. Breaking them wouldn't have made too loud of a noise. Whoever had broken them must have been close to her tent. Under ten feet was a good estimate, she decided.
Her hand had already wrapped itself around the knife she had tucked beneath her pillow. Her other hand found Needle to her left. She could hear no further signs but knew she couldn't relax. It may have just been an animal passing through or it could be an assassin coming for her head.
Turns out, it was the latter. Once more, she heard them before she could see them. Their body made so much noise as it cut through the air towards her. She launched herself through the mouth of her tent just as the would-be killer slammed down onto her position.
She didn't wait around to see her attacker. As soon as she popped from her tent, another person was on top of her. There was a brief struggle as her attacker's weight overcame her own. Luckily, she had plenty of experience with that from her sparring with Naruto. A quick strike with Needle's pommel to their throat gave her just enough space to swipe at them with her dagger. The blade hit it's mark, cutting through the larynx of the unknown figure and spraying her with their blood.
A kick with both legs sent the soon-to-be dead man reeling off her. She raised Needle just in time to deflect a blow from her second attacker. She stabbed away at the figure's form, forcing them backward and giving her the space to spring up to her feet. She quickly dragged her dagger along the edge of Needle, throwing sparks into the air and illuminating the clearing for the briefest second.
"Faceless Men." The thought didn't surprise her. There weren't many people within Essos that could move as skillfully as these men and wanted her dead. She didn't let the identity of her attacker disturb her. She simply threw herself forward, leading with Needle as she faced her attacker.
"Fights are usually short. One screw up could mean the end."
Her attacker seemed to expect the attack with Needle and dodged to the weapon's. She attempted to stab underneath her own extended arm but the assassin danced around that blow too, spinning to the girl's backside. The man's attempt to behead her with his sword was easily dodged by a duck from herself. She rose from her crouched position while thrusting her butt backwards, slamming it into her attacker and sending them stumbling backward. A quick twirl and flick of the wrist from her sent the dagger flying through the air toward the stumbling man. Not a moment later, the blade found it's way home, buried right between the eyes of the now dead assassin.
The Stark let out breath as the man dropped dead. Naruto's words could not have rang truer in her head than they did in that moment. The fight had felt like an eternity but had taken all of thirty seconds. Now, two men were dead and she was covered in some of their blood.
"Good job!" She jumped and spun with Needle in hand, ready to slice up yet another would-be assassin. She was annoyed when all she saw was her young teacher. His blond hair stood out in the moonlight-illuminated clearing.
"I almost took your eye out. Don't sneak up on me." All she received was a shrug, which only added to her annoyance. She noticed the teen was carrying a bloody kunai which answered her question concerning his lack of help during her fight. She had assumed he had been handling some other threat and felt some happiness when she was proven right.
"We may need to head to Westeros a bit earlier. I doubt the Faceless Men will be happy with us killing their men. They'll be sending more. And quick." Arya gave a shrug in response. Honestly, she was already awake so she didn't mind the change in plans. Though, a question did hang in her mind.
"We still may have to wait till morning. There are no transports running this late at night." The grin the boy sent her chilled her to the bone.
Why did he look so happy all of a sudden?
"You'll pay for this, you cunt. You're next on my list!"
He couldn't help but laugh at the sound of Arya's voice. It was the only thing he could focus on, despite the fact that he was soaring above a literal ocean of inky water. His momentum had carried him nearly a hundred feet high through the air as his passenger clung onto him.
"We'll be there in an hour. Hang on!" He received nothing but curses in response, drawing another laugh from him. The girl's grip was way too tight around his neck but he couldn't find the will to care at the moment. Just as his feet landed on the water's surface, he pushed upward with his leg, sending himself and Arya soaring upward and forward through the air once more.
The scream of the Stark girl would birth legends amongst the sailors for generations to come.
AN: I like writing this. Can't wait to have Naruto fight a dragon. Enjoy your weekends. Peace
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