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The Last Shinto Kami

Chapter One: Son of the Sun

Amaterasu had the chance to do many things in her immortal life. Not everything she did was right, but she tried her best to stay on the path of a benevolent ruler. She learned quickly that not even a goddess was immune to errors in judgment. There were times when she wanted to blame the power she held, but the raven-haired goddess knew the fault started and ended with her.

Contrary to the overwhelming amount of tales about her shining splendor, these days, Amaterasu only remembered her failings. Inevitably, the goddess thought about her family. She thought they'd be together forever. After all, they were a clan of immortal deities. They fought, bickered, and held grudges- some more than others, but the sun goddess always believed there'd be time to reconcile.

That sentiment was shattered when her brother, Tsukuyomi, faded. The losses didn't stop there as one after the other, her subjects were lost. Humanity left them behind in their drive for power. And it was poetic that as the Shinto leader, she survived the longest to live with the guilt of her failures.

During this period of solitude, Amaterasu did the unthinkable. She took her dwindling power and turned it into a miracle, a child. Doing so cost her a tremendous amount of her lifeforce, but Amaterasu didn't care.

When most gods and goddesses were born, they came out with fully-developed bodies. However, Amaterasu wanted to carry her child before she departed this world.

The rigors of pregnancy were rough on her weak body, but the solar deity cherished the process. She carried her baby for an entire year to make sure he came out strong and healthy. And for the first time in over a century, Amaterasu wasn't alone. She had a son, Naruto.

On cue, the cry of her baby godling broke the pensive peace Amaterasu was sitting in. Naruto's cry traded the past for the present in a flash. Swaying with the babe in her arms, Amaterasu shone with motherly pride as she smiled at her precious child. "Shh, my sunshine. Don't spend your tears. Kaa-chan is right here."

The familiar sound of his mother's soothing voice got Naruto to open his eyes. With the appearance of his golden orbs came an innocent warmth. Naruto could look at her a million times, and Amaterasu's heart would soar a million times. One look is all it took for her baby to cement his place as the most important person in her life, past or present.

Amaterasu held her emotions together until her baby boy reached out with his tiny hands. It ended up being her who was crying as she offered a finger to Naruto's chubby hands. "My sunshine, I love you more than words can explain. If only I could watch you grow into the wonderful man I know you'll be."

There was no escaping that she was fading like her family before her. It was only her tremendous power that kept Amaterasu alive this long. Her number one goal with the time she had left was securing a future for her son.

Thankfully she found a family suitable for her child. A woman named Uzumaki Kushina and her husband Namikaze Minato would make excellent parents in her stead.

But this knowledge didn't quell the pain in Amaterasu's heart. The only thing that could lift her spirits was Naruto's soft smile. When he did that, suddenly the pain wasn't so bad. Kissing Naruto tenderly on his forehead, the misty-eyed mother laid her forehead against a giggling Naruto.

"Congratulations on the birth of your son, Amaterasu-Omikami."

Reacting to the uninvited voice, Amaterasu released a ripple of divine power. The wave of divinity swept across the room, igniting every available surface with pitch-black flames. "Who dare invades-" Her holy ire and fire flickered out when the maternal goddess saw who she was speaking with.

First, she checked on Naruto, who appeared hardly bothered. The only thing her flare of power did was make his eyes glow. Otherwise, the babe seemed unaffected by her explosive reaction. "Chaos? What are you doing here?"

Chaos created all things. This included the universe Amaterasu called home. It was well-known that anyone and everyone feared Chaos' anger.

However, Amaterasu never expected Chaos of all entities to show up in Takamagahara. Truthfully, this was only the second time Amaterasu met Chaos and the first time seeing Chaos in a physical form.

Chaos chose a feminine form for herself with purple hair so dark it looked black. She also had pale skin sitting under a pedestrian dress for someone of the creator's stature. And a blindfold of all things pulled taut over her eyes.

"I am aware of what has befallen you and your kin. That is the reason I'm here, Amaterasu-Omikami." Chaos held a voice so calm that it sounded cold. Despite not seeing emotions of any kind, the sun goddess felt like she had disappointed the creator of universes.

Readjusting a squirming Naruto in her arm, Amaterasu turned her child and allowed his golden eyes to land on Chaos for the first time. "You must be disappointed in how things turned out, Chaos. I certainly deserve your ire." As the leader of the Shinto pantheon, all failures fell on her shoulders.

Chaos spent a second inspecting the curious baby Naruto before shaking her head. The true primordial then explained why she wasn't disappointed. "When I create these universes, I do so free of expectation. I will not blame you for the path humanity has chosen for itself. There are things even gods can't control, Amaterasu-Omikami.

Having received a pardon from the ultimate authority, Amaterasu felt a weight lift from her shoulders. She breathed a large exhale without even realizing she'd done so. "However, I have come with an offer for you."

With a surprising handful of words, Amaterasu found her reprieve dashed by curiosity. In its place, the Kami wore a scrutinizing gaze one should expect from a divine leader. "What are you proposing?"

"Your son, I am offering to take him to another universe where I shall nurture him. He will learn of his origins and be taught how to harness his divine energies. You have my word." Chaos glanced at Naruto playing with the folds of Amaterasu's elegant kimono. The sight put the smallest of smiles on the stoic woman's face.

"You want to take Naruto?" Legitimately stunned, Amaterasu didn't know what to say. She had her plans, yes, but this was an unheard-of opportunity. When Amaterasu looked at Naruto, it drew the godling's attention. In the moment their matching golden eyes met, she knew her answer. "You'll protect him?"

"Like he is one of my own." At this time, Chaos knew what Amaterasu's answer would be. However, she wasn't so cruel as to rush a mother through her goodbyes. She wasn't that cruel.

The deep breath was to calm herself as Amaterasu held Naruto in front of her. One glimpse of his happy face and her tears flowed with renewed vigor. She must've looked like a mess, but Amaterasu didn't care. Her whole world was Naruto. Then. Now. Forever.

"I'm afraid this is goodbye, for now, my sunshine. Circumstances may keep us apart, but I will always be with you, and you with me, Naruto. Never doubt that I loved you, my sweet child. There will be tough times... however, I'll always love and be proud of you. More than you could know. I... I..." When Naruto reached for her tear-stained cheeks with a frown, Amaterasu didn't know if she laughed or cried harder.

"Oh, I wish we had more time. There is so much I want to share with you. But thank you... thank you for being my son, the sunshine that healed my broken heart..." Physically unable to say anymore, she held Naruto under her chin. Amaterasu could've stayed like this for a hundred years, and it still wouldn't be enough, but the time had come.

Even Chaos was moved by the tearful farewell, shedding a single tear herself as the goddess walked Naruto over. There was an understandable reluctance in Amaterasu as she placed Naruto gingerly in Chaos' arms. "Please take care of him."

Both powerful women looked at Naruto, who Amaterasu put to sleep to make things easier on her. Being a baby didn't stop Naruto from being acutely aware of when his mother was upset. Her sunshine was perfect like that.

"Would you like to meet Naruto again in the future?"

Amaterasu's dimmed eyes shuffled from Naruto to her son's new adoptive mother. Well, that's what she did after wiping her face on her kimono sleeve. "I want that more than anything, but time won't be kind to me."

"There is a way around that. I can harness what's left of your divinity and store it in Naruto's soul. I can't tell you when, but it will allow you to meet your son again." When someone possessed reality-warping power, they could afford to offer the spectacular. And only Chaos could do it so casually.

It was no surprise that the solar woman jumped at the opportunity. Amaterasu didn't know how such a thing was possible, but it was better than doing nothing. "I'll do it! Thank you, thank you so much! Wait... I have something for Naruto!"

What started off as a golden shine between Amaterasu's hands changed into something else entirely when she pulled her hands apart. The object pulsated twice, and the luster faded to reveal a spear. But this wasn't just any spear... it was Amenonuhoko.

A myriad of emotions went through Amaterasu's smile as she stared at the spear once belonging to her father. It was an heirloom entrusted to her by Izanagi, and now she would give it to her son. "This is Naruto's now."

Chaos regarded the legendary weapon for a moment before the spear of Izanagi was sucked into a purple-black vortex. "I will see Naruto receives it when he is ready. But now it's time. Close your eyes, Amaterasu-Omikami. When you open them again, you will see your son."

Amaterasu took a deep breath and closed her eyes. With a nod of consent, the dark-haired goddess offered herself to the machinations of Chaos. No sooner did a pillar of primordial power erupt from under Amaterasu's feet, trapping the Shinto Kami in the center. The force behind the black twister roared so forcefully it blew Chaos' hair back as she shielded Naruto with her powers.

When the tunnel finally simmered down, there wasn't anything but a resplendent golden orb. Floating toward Chaos and her charge, the creator held the sphere in her hand and pressed it gently against Naruto's chest. It submerged into the baby's chest and left a sun mark over Naruto's heart.

Watching the sun throb with gilded light, Chaos spoke. "From this day forth, you are Naruto-Omikami, the son of Amaterasu-Omikami. You are the god of harmony, life, and heavenly light. You are the hope of your people and the sum of their legacy. You are the last Shinto Kami."

Five Years Later

"Where did you run off to this time, you little chaotic maelstrom?" A voice steeped with wisdom and culture called out to their target, playful yet light. This was Nyx, the primordial goddess of night and elder sister of the aforementioned chaotic maelstrom.

Her dark-themed dress flowed and shifted in rippling fashion as she moved down the hall. Nyx wasn't as lost as her words suggested. It was all part of the game. She saw and followed the tracks left by her target... a trail of burning footsteps.

"You can't hide from me forever~! I'm coming for you!" Her dark painted lips quirked into a smirk set against pale skin. When the goddess saw the footprints end behind a long set of drapes, she knew she had found him.

Throwing the curtains apart for dramatics and nothing else, Nyx let loose with her proclamation before she saw who was hiding behind it. "I've got you now, you little mischief-maker." And there he was, Naruto, the latest and last son of Chaos. Unlike Nyx's other siblings, Naruto was a still-growing child. That alone made him precious to Nyx.

Their game of hide and seek was done and dusted, settled in favor of the older deity. Seeing how Naruto lost, he responded like any child would... with a disappointed pout. "Awh, no fair! How'd you find me so fast, big sis?" Naruto's golden eyes stared at her, intent on learning how his elder sibling found him.

Nyx guided Naruto with a simple pointing gesture, chuckling at her brother's endearing reaction. "Your footsteps give you away, Naruto. Take a look." Together the siblings watched as Naruto's footprints stretched down the hallway. Some of the older imprints were fading, but the path was clear.

Naruto moved his rich eyes back and forth between his feet and the treacherous trail. The gold in his gaze only amplified the annoyance he exuded. "Blast it! I thought I stopped doing that! Stupid freakin' shiny footprints." Initially, Naruto thought his fire imprints were sweet. Now they were getting annoying.

"That means you have more training to do. Isn't that right?" As someone who knew more about Naruto's problem, Nyx was aware of the origins behind Naruto's blossoming gift. The son of a sun, his raw power would be deadly and required training to fully control. However, they lucked out since Naruto actually enjoyed going out and training.

The same could not be said for other gods and goddesses out there. Naruto was a strange boy like that.

Naruto didn't complain about putting the work in, no matter how it took. He loved training with his gifts, and Naruto loved reading about Greek culture and history. Honestly, the blonde child enjoyed everything about life with his family. "You got it! I'll be the strongest, even stronger than you and mom! Wait- hey! Put me down; I'm too big to be carried like a baby!"

Okay, so maybe he didn't love everything! Naruto couldn't comprehend why Nyx kept treating him like a baby. He was already five years old! Definitely not a baby!

Nyx allowed Naruto's frustrations to pass over her like a light drizzle. It was just a matter of sharing her news with Naruto. Once she did that, he'd give up his fight for self-dependence. "Hush, you hellion. The longer you fight, the longer it takes to reach mother. We don't want to keep her waiting. Do we?"

Just like how the sun rose in the east, Naruto's brilliant eyes widened in excitement at the mention of their shared mother. Chaos wasn't always around for obvious reasons. That made any time Naruto spent with her noteworthy, hence his reaction. "You mean it? Mom's back? Yes! I haven't seen her in five hundred years!"

His childish enthusiasm was curbed by a flick to the nose. Unprepared for the move, Naruto yelped and rubbed carefully at the afflicted area. During this time, Nyx turned her physical chastising into vocal correction. "Do not exaggerate, Naruto. It is unbecoming of someone of your stature. Chaos is waiting to see her son... but only if you let big sister carry you."

"Fine..." Nyx was already walking with Naruto in her arms, but the godling consented nonetheless. It didn't happen often- however, his big sister knew how to win an argument when she wanted.

When they reached the room, Chaos was sitting behind a table. She looked out of place doing something so pedestrian, but this had become Chaos' life since Naruto's adoption. Nyx greeted her creator and mother with a respectful smile. "Here he is, mother, as requested. Your chaos raiser."

"Mom!" Naruto showed none of Nyx's restraint as he bolted out of the goddess' hold and right into his mother's welcoming embrace. He buried his smiling face against her shoulder and squeezed her tight.

"It's wonderful to see you, Naruto." Chaos took a moment to properly bask in her son's affections. Once she did that, the first turned her concealed gaze onto Nyx, delivering an answer. "And thank you for your help, Nyx."

"Spending time with Naruto is always a pleasure." With a parting nod, the night goddess took her leave. Nyx knew what Chaos had to say to Naruto and hoped things went well.

The silence wasn't long-lasting. Leave it to an energetic, happy child like Naruto to fill the dead air. "Big sis said you were waiting for me, mom! What are we going to do? Oh! Maybe we can go play in the void again! Please, mom!?"

Naruto really loved floating around the void, defying all rules of the universe with the aid of his mother's bottomless powers. If he could learn how to do it himself, Naruto would be all set! He'd probably even beat Nyx at hide and seek then!

"Naruto..." Chaos' soothing yet stern voice pulled Naruto out of the rabbit hole of his own creation. Naruto's beaming smile became a tight frown when he realized how serious his mom was. "I have something important to share with you. I want you to sit and listen closely. Do you understand?"

It's easy to forget because of his size and demeanor, but make no mistake, Naruto was a god. As such, his mind handled information much faster than a human child. That gave him a maturity beyond his years and a keen awareness of body language. "What is it, mom?"

Chaos recited this conversation in her head at least a thousand times. Through repetition, she decided it was best if she gave Naruto the information plainly. Then it was up to Naruto to react as he deemed fit. "Naruto, I am not your real mother. Not the woman who gave birth to you."

His confusion began with a gradual tightening in his brow. Then Naruto's glittering eyes squinted into a pensive stare that tried hiding his turmoil. A handful of times and then some, Naruto attempted to speak but found himself with a distinct lack of words. What?

There was one benefit to running this conversation beforehand, It allowed her to anticipate the many reactions Naruto might have. Instead of sitting there in an awkward silence, Chaos had the foresight to keep the conversation moving forward. "I promised your mother and myself that I'd share the truth with you when the time was right. Today is that day... if you are ready to hear me, my son."

"Explain... please?" There were too many things Naruto wanted to ask Chaos about, but for now, those were the only two words he could muster. His brain was too preoccupied trying to make sense of what he heard to do anything else.

"You haven't gotten this far in your studies, but there is a way for gods to die. It's called fading. This is when the belief in a god or goddess is abandoned. Unfortunately, your mother suffered this fate. And instead of sending you to the mortal realm as she planned, I convinced her that I should raise you in her stead."

No. Nyx most certainly didn't get to the concept of gods dying in their studies. Not even close. "So what? I'm the son of a Titan or some Olympian in Greece?" The slow delivery of his questions underlined the belief-rattling shock circulating through the Shinto godling.

"No, you were mothered by a goddess from an entirely different pantheon." She shook her head and caused her pitch-black locks to shiver against the bindings she used to keep it up.

"You mean... like the Egyptians or the Norse? Big sis- Nyx didn't talk about them much." No matter how much he tried to get the information out of Nyx, the goddess was never interested in talking about the other cultures more than necessary.

"Like them, but also different." This was it, the moment of truth. With her honesty came the dreadful creep toward the thing Chaos feared most. "You are a Shinto Kami, Naruto."

Having no clue who or what the Shinto were helped distract Naruto from the turmoil happening in his soul. However, it'd only last for so long. "Shinto? But... I've never heard or read anything about a Shinto Pantheon! Who are they? Where are they?"

The best way to explain to Naruto what happened to his people was to tell him about their history. It was a tale few people knew the truth about. "The Shinto gods and goddesses originally hailed from the far east, where I intended their domain to be. However, several factors changed those plans. Some were minor, and others were major, but they all led to the same destination. While the rest of the world believes they faded millennia ago, the truth was they migrated."

"What do you mean migrated?" It just didn't make sense! Gods and goddesses weren't a herd of animals! They don't get up and leave for no reason. Such a thing happening was laughable due to the raw amount of power most major deities had at their disposal. Why? Why would they ever want to abandon their home?

"The entire story is far too long and complicated to cover now. The Shinto pantheon moved to a different universe with my blessing. From there, they ruled alone for some time until the world of man developed past the need for gods. Without a foundation of belief to anchor them, the Shinto Kami faded one after another until only a single goddess remained."

Naruto connected the dots, and the realization that dawned on him was enlightening and painful. "That goddess was my mom. Wasn't it?" No, this wasn't hurt. It was unbridled yearning. What an awful feeling...

"Yes, your mother, Amaterasu-Omikami, was the chief deity of the Shinto realm. The goddess of the sun, ruler of Takamagahara, and your true mother... Naruto-Omikami." Chaos manifested an image of the departed sun goddess for Naruto. Selfishly, she did this to delay the moment she feared most.

Chaos didn't fear any form of physical harm from Naruto. Her worries circled around the emotional pain she'd suffer if Naruto chose to push her away. Their time together was short, but Naruto had become an irreplaceable part of her life.

Amaterasu said it years earlier, Naruto was truly the embodiment of sunshine. He brought life into Chaos' existence and dragged out an aspect of the reclusive primordial that Chaos hadn't experienced in her long lifetime.

"Now it makes sense. The fire footprints... the accidental toasting of the furniture. I-" Naruto could've gone on to say any number of things if not for the sudden urge to cry. He tried forcing it back. He tried telling himself this was no reason for tears. However, tears still built up over his golden irises.

"Don't hold it in, Naruto. Say whatever you want to say; you deserve as much." The blonde youth surprised and brought relief in one gesture when he threw himself into Chaos and cried silently into the crook of her neck.

'You truly are a kind child, Naruto.' Part of Chaos accepted she wasn't worthy of Naruto's love, but the selfish section of her soul was over the moon that Naruto didn't push her away. 'This is a good place to stop. There's no need to rush him through this.'

Ten Years Later

Now sixteen years of age, Naruto stood on an artificial training field across from his mentor in tactics and combat training. He'd developed a toned musculature since maturing. Alongside that came a change in Naruto's hair. No longer was it pure blonde. The spiky tops of his golden locks turned black, like the sun bringing light to a dark sky. But otherwise, everything else was the same, including his golden gaze.

"Are you ready to begin, Meg?"

"I should be asking you that, Naruto. This is possibly your final test. Don't hold anything back." Meg, or Megaera, was not only his trainer but a Fury from the Greek Underworld. She worked for both Hades and Nyx. It wasn't until Nyx had Meg swear on the Styx to secrecy that Naruto and Meg met. [1]

Naruto and the ashen-skinned Fury sister had become fast friends. Meg had no qualms pushing his limits in the early stages of their training, and Naruto never wanted to stop at the first goal. Sure, there were a few instances where her sadistic tendencies bit him in the ass, but there was no denying the results.

At least nothing she did left scars. Naruto came out of the partnership better than he entered, and that's all he could ask for.

"You don't have to tell me twice." His ready proclamation came with a shift in stance. Naruto opted for a style focusing on defensive maneuvers and counters. However, there was a look in his eye that Meg recognized right away. She knew he was up to something. The question was what.

"Start!" Naruto opened the festivities right by blasting a cone of flames at Meg. The ground instantly charred under the intense heat of his golden flames. But this was the only damage Naruto inflicted as Meg swung right, avoiding the flame burst by half a foot.

Meg rolled her piercing gaze onto Naruto as he lifted his left hand. His palm was still glowing hot from his last attack. That's when Naruto snapped his fingers. "Hotaru." (Fireflies.)

The Fury first disregarded the scraps of fire in the air as inconsequential, assuming they'd vanish with time. It ended up being a mistake on her part. Because, instead of disappearing, the bits of flame formed into glowing spheres. The orbs reached critical mass and went off in a series of chain explosions around Meg.

Using the smoke to her advantage, Meg turned the resulting plume into cover for her trademark whip. The cold steel lashed out from the cloud and went for Naruto. He tried blocking the chain but found her weaponized tendril wrapped around his arm. The blonde god grunted when Meg started dragging him toward her.

She stepped from the smoke sporting singe marks on her clothing and heat bruises on her skin. However, it appeared she avoided anything debilitating. "I have you now. What will you do, little godling?" The question came hand-in-hand with a forceful tug on the whip. The pressure exerted on him tightened Naruto's jaw into a grimace.

Naruto's response was less of an answer and more of a reaction. Because without warning, his body burst into a dazzling pulse of light. Unlike his flames which ranged from orange to gold, this was pure light, and it burned the unfortunate Fury that took the explosion point-blank. That was the Stellar Projection Clone.

The Shinto son wasted no time grabbing Meg by her bicep. He transitioned into an over-the-shoulder throw that slammed Meg into the ground at his feet. Her lithe body bounced off the ground with a strained gasp. But even without her sight, she landed a jab kick on one of Naruto's shins.

Both fighters were moving but in opposite directions. Meg was trying to rise back up while Naruto hit a knee. He tried to prevent her rise by placing a hand on her forehead. Meg just ended up knocking his hand away.

The wings on Meg's back flapped a few times in preparation. She used the extra force generated to double kick Naruto in his chest. Propelling him back with the soles of her feet, she sent the sun scion tumbling across their artificial training ground.

Meg used the time Naruto spent ragdolling to stand up. There was still the occasional dot in her eyes, but she more or less stabilized after Naruto's quick start. But this wasn't just a fight. She also had a responsibility to teach the young Kami. "You shouldn't have wasted time when I was blinded. You should've finished the fight."

Naruto was chuckling to himself as he pushed himself off his chest. Her kick might not be strong enough to leave a bruise, but it sure smarted. "Yeah, you're probably right. Go on, do your worst, Meg."

"I intend to..." Since Naruto was keen to use so many of his godly powers in this fight, Meg thought it was about time she did the same. While not as potent as his powerful presence, Meg could definitely make Naruto feel the pain. Her eyes were just starting to glow when her attempt ended prematurely. "What did you do?"

Naruto didn't sport some nefarious grin or smug smirk. However, the mischievous twinkle in his affluent gaze gave him away. So was the bane of all flamboyant tricksters. "Sometimes, all you need is a single hand to change the flow of a fight. Who needs stupid amounts of power when the simple route is so effective?"

"Your sealing techniques?" Even after all this time, Meg still had trouble wrapping her mind around the intricate art Naruto called Fuinjutsu.

"Yup. You got it." Naruto willed a symbol Meg couldn't make heads or tails of onto his palm. As if he needed to validate it when the proof was currently glowing on the Fury's forehead. Naruto never got tired of shutting someone down with a mere suppression seal. It was so simple it was beautiful.

"I can still fight." The fuming daughter of Nyx did just that as she shot toward Naruto with her wings beating behind her. There was a nearly silent boom as she drove toward the golden-eyed god.

She only made it half the distance before the ground under her began to shift. That's when Meg saw another Naruto rise out of the soil. But it was too late to stop her momentum, which led her directly into a breath-wrenching knee.

Aside from ripping the air from her lungs with his bone-clenching blow... Naruto also killed all of her momentum with a single strike. Meg fell to the ground in an undignified heap. This time, the Fury wasn't allowed to stand. Not with Naruto holding a fiery hand over her face. "Yield."

"Earth? Since when?" Seemingly unconcerned by the imminent threat of immolation, Meg posed her question through a heaving breath. Her ribs hurt, but she wouldn't let that stop her from getting answers.

Although Naruto showed the beginnings of a smirk, he still refused to drop his guard for even a second. He might be in the dominant position, but the fight wasn't over yet. "It's something I picked up after furthering my connection with the spear grandfather left behind." When Naruto thought about Amenonuhoko, there was a warmth in his heart. And it wasn't because of how strong the jeweled spear made him.

Amenonuhoko was one of the only tangible connections to his family and ancestral home. Not to mention the last gift his Kaa-chan gave him. That alone made the emotional value of the spear infinitely more valuable to him than a simple power boost.

"I concede." Naruto nodded his head and turned the looming threat into a helping hand. Once he hoisted her back to two feet, Meg kept their conversation moving forward. "I still find it strange there is a god who fights with subtlety, finesse, and strategy over raw power."

The response? A simple if not disingenuous wave of Naruto's hand. His face also showed a stark lack of interest in the idea as he explained his mentality toward the subject. "Meh. Big showcases of power are for people with egos and something to prove. As far as I'm concerned, I don't have to prove anything to anyone. But should it come to that, I'll turn my full power on someone, but not unless it's necessary."

Meg stuffed a small breath of relief when she felt the seal on her flesh fade with the faintest of shivers. "Then you're well on your way." She wouldn't say it aloud because it wasn't her style, but she was immensely proud of Naruto. He transitioned from an energetic boy to a noble, reasonable man. He was every bit the Shinto Prince he was born to be.

She couldn't say the same for most of the gods she knew.

"Thanks to you and a lot of other people, Meg. Thank you." Naruto respected Megaera too much to understate her role in his development. His humble diversion did the impossible. It made the tough woman smile. It was a small one, but a smile nonetheless.

The barrier containing their latest spar came down, allowing the regal presence of Chaos onto the simulated field. She had nothing but good things to say. "Well done, you two. Megaera, I believe Nyx requires your services in the Underworld. You're dismissed."

Any pretense of being relaxed vanished under a stiff wave of professionalism. As most did when crossing paths with Chaos. Not only did Meg's back straighten, she also offered a silent nod before she was sent back to the Underworld by Chaos.

"So? What did you think, mom?" Just knowing Chaos watched his latest spar put a beaming smile on the young deity's face. It didn't happen often, so Naruto cherished it when it did happen.

"I am a proud mother, and I know Amaterasu would be too." The warmth pumping through his heart increased exponentially at her praise. Her approval meant the world to Naruto, who only wanted to make her proud. Oh yeah, he already felt the grin spreading across his tanned face.

Naruto's hand was already up in his hair, scratching the back of his scalp as he tried to respectfully rebuke the praise Chaos gave him. "Thanks, it means a lot. I still have a way to go before I reach Kaa-chan's level. But I won't stop until I surpass her flames. That's a promise."

"Huh? Mom, what's wrong?" His serene expression and the easy-going smile settled on his face turned into bewilderment. She definitely surprised Naruto when Chaos caught him in a warm embrace. She usually wasn't one for blatant showings like this.

"Today is the day you leave and see the world through your own eyes. I wish to hug my son one more time before that happens." Chaos would've never pictured herself doing something like this. However, that just goes to show how unpredictable life can be. Not even Chaos was immune to its twists and turns.

Golden eyes softened and took an understanding look before the blonde closed his eyes and melted into the loving embrace of his adoptive mother. "I am more thankful than you'll know for your guidance. No matter how far I go or how long it's been, I will always be your son."

There was only one thing left for Naruto to say.

"I love you, mom."


[1] This is the character from Super Giant's rogue-like Hades.

Writer's Note I: Here it is! The Naruto x Percy Jackson story I spoke about earlier. As you can see, I combined elements from both franchises to make Naruto's backstory.

There will be no harem this time. Since most gods sleep around, Naruto won't. Simple as that. I went back and forth between Artemis, Leto, and Hestia for the pairing. Artemis ended up edging out Leto. I still might make a Leto & Naruto one-shot.

For those of you who read my other stories... I don't know which will get updated first. Both Archangel and A New Game are at the same point in development. So, who knows! But until then, goodbye.