I ran down the street at full tilt, weaving between people without a care in the world. Most got out of the way as soon as try saw me moving from a distance. Those were the ones that only glanced at me and hurried away. Some looked at me in disgust, which was nothing unusual, others with fear, again nothing unusual.
Most tried to ignore my existence, which in of itself was definitely interesting.
From what I could tell, I'd been here for nearly three days, most of which I was unconscious. Until just this morning I was getting used to moving. Going from just above five feet to several short of four was a bit...interesting.
Well, less interesting, more aggravating and annoying. It was only my own abilities at shape shifting that got my muscle memory under control. It was a total pain in the ass but I got myself under control.
When I finally chanced across a mirror I was surprised at my own reflection. I was short, my hair was brighter and my eyes were a lot more colorful. The whisker marks were certainly new.
The biggest surprise though? Actually being forced to breathe again. It was quite the novelty. I was breathing, I had to eat, the sun didn't seem to e so annoying.
I was alive.
I was alive or the first time in...in...
I didn't even know. I'd lost track of the years.
I was alive...
It kind of sucked to be honest. I'd forgotten about all the aches and pains, having to sleep and eat. Yet at the same time it was the most amazing sensation.
Yet I was weak, small. Slightly Underfed and undersized. I didn't know whose body I was occupying or why. I didn't know her name, her age, her personality.
My powers were still with me, though in a slightly diminished way. I could probably find a means to getting just as strong but I didn't want to resort to that method until a very final resort.
I had been given a second chance at life, at redemption. I didn't want to screw it up.
Which all led to me running down the street at full tilt.
I was a kid again which meant I needed to work hard to catch up to something I would call 'okay' or at the very least a semblance of it. Which meant testing my stamina. Which meant running.
I'd been at it for an hour without breaking a sweat. I didn't feel any signs of fatigue, my breathing was steady, and I didn't feel any pain in my legs despite the speed I was going.
Maybe it was my new healing rate?
Running, I concluded, wasn't doing anything. I continued running though, just to test my limit. I ran approximately a five kilometer lap five times in just over half an hour. Fifty klicks an hour wasn't...bad by my usual standards but it certainly wasn't good by any stretch.
It was my current limit for top speed though.
After testing my top speed, I started to jog through a park and decided to test my strength. I doubted that I could heft one if the massive trees and something told me that it would be a bad idea to try and destroy one.
So I found some rocks instead.
I could lift my own body weight in solid stone but it took a little effort.
"This sucks," I mumbled to myself, my voice a bit guttural for my current age. "Really sucks."
I punched the damn thing instead, leaving a faint crack in the boulder and leaving me with a pained fist.
The pain went away in less than a second.
"Well, nothing better to do today," I mused as I took a boxing stance and started to pummel the large rock.
Regular punches did nothing to me or the rock so I started getting more forceful. I could feel the pain that went away before the next punch was thrown so I punched harder. Then I punched faster. My skin broke against the rock a few times, blood splattering a little against it and my hands. Those cuts against the stone healed faster than I had thought. I kept breaking the skin on my fists painfully, punch after punch as I kept a mental tally.
At fifty bloody punches, my skin took a little more force to break, jus the barest amounts but I could tell my body was reacting and fixing itself. Which, considering that should have taken days on a normal person, hours on me, gave me some food for thought.
So I hauled my arm back, ready to punch the rock as hard as I could with a feral snarl escaping my lips.
Before my fist was even halfway there, I felt something, someone appear behind me. Not close enough to determine who though. As my fist reached three quarters of the way to the rock with that angry sound escaping my lips, the person behind me moved.
Just before my hand hit the rock it was intercepted by a man with silver hair and a mask that covered most of his face.
"What?" I asked in annoyance.
"You shouldn't be punching rocks like that, Naruto," Naruto, huh? Was that my current name? Maelstrom or Ramen Topping?
"Why not? If I punch a rock and it breaks bit by bit, a harder punch will break it," I pointed out as I noticed the series of spiderweb cracks on the rock and the dust around our feet. "One doesn't grow stronger if one doesn't strive for it."
The silver haired man stared at me with his one line eye. "Bit precocious of you, don you think? You're almost nine years old. Enjoy your childhood a little, why don't you?"
Nine? I honestly thought I was closer to five. Gods above and Demons below, this body was messed up. I frowned and pulled my hand back.
"Besides, shouldn't you be in the Academy?" His question was rhetorical and I simply snorted. "Do I have to drag you there?"
"It's the only way you're going to make me go," I said. Mainly due to the fact that I didn't know where this supposed Academy was.
"And here I thought learning to be a Ninja was popular with you kids," the silver haired man grabbed onto my shoulder and then we moved.
One second we were at the park and my punching boulder, the next we were on a rooftop overlooking the village. I barely managed to orient myself before we moved again and appeared at the entrance to the obvious Academy building.
That was something much more my speed.
"What, not going to bring me to my classroom?" I asked a little snidely.
"Well, since you insist," the man kept hold of my shoulder and pushed me forward. I kept my feet and just walked along with a miffed look on my face. At least I was learning where to go here so I wouldn't get lost next time.
Through a few winding corridors, I found myself being pushed into a room that was apparently filled with kids my age. "Behave and don't go punching more rocks," these stated, giving the other two adults in the room a single look before looking back at me.
His eye curved upwards into a smile that throughly freaked me out. I don't know why, especially considering my own past, but that? Down right creepy.
I almost missed all the voices that I was used to hearing in a classroom.
"Good of you to join us, Naruto," one of the two men spoke from behind the desk, the other giving me a glare. The sole female didn't have much to say from behind her opaque glasses
"Whatever," I grumbled and took a seat next to a guy with black hair done up in a pineapple of all things. Pausing only to nearly gape at the girl with bright, bright pink hair that was just passed the girl's shoulders.
Pink? Where was I? Some sort of demented anime or manga? Then again, the brat did have two toned red hair...
"What're you staring at, Naruto-baka?" The pink haired girl growled at me.
"An idiot," I replied flatly and glared, pushing a little killing intent into my glare. "Now shut it, I'm in a bad mood."
Amazingly enough, the pink twit managed to do just that.
Several of the other girls stared at me in slacked jawed idiocy. "Tch. Are you all going to just stare at me like morons or are we going to get on with this?"
They stared at me in shock. "Idiots."
"Troublesome," a voice murmured from beside me. That started a cascade of shouts and jeers in my general direction.
"Settle down, everyone!" One of the teachers grew a large head and shouted at the class. "Naruto, please be on time from now on."
"I make no promises," I said flatly and drummed my fingers on my desk absently.
"That's the best you're going to get, Iruka-sensei," Iruka was the brown haired man's name, huh? He had a pretty wicked scar across his face too.
"I figured, Mizuki-sensei," Iruka said dryly to his fellow teacher. Well, at least I had some names to go with the faces.
"Alright," Iruka spoke once the class had settled down. Quicker than I thought too. They must've colored my perceptions. "Now that everyone's finally here, we can get on with things."
"Since this is your first full week of the Academy, we'll be going over what you'll be doing and learning," Mizuki started.
"Aw, come on, we did this last year too," one of the girls in the back complained.
"And we'll do it again next year, Ami," The female teacher barked out. "And the year after that, maybe even the one after that. The courses change and unless you'd like to be going in blind, shut up and listen."
"Yes, Suzume-sensei," Ami whispered sheepishly.
"Thank you, Suzume-sensei," Iruka said with a nod.
Mizuki nodded too and started speaking again. "We'll moving into more physical activities for the boys while the girls will be learning more of the subtle arts."
Some of the girls cheered at that. I could read between the lines. Flower arrangements, things like that. It'd been a while since I held a tea ceremony...
I half droned the three adults out, only partially paying attention and memorizing the fellow classmates I had. Only nine of them stood out, and the last only because she had been scolded. That and the pink haired one was a novelty. The other seven stood out a little more though.
The lazy brat beside me and the fat kid munching on chips despite the teachers speaking. The blonde girl in purple had no pupils, one boy with a dog on his head, while another boy had a buzzing about him and paid no mind to the insects crawling on his skin. One last girl looked blind and kept sneaking glances my way thus disproving that theory, and the last was another boy. I could taste the darkness emanating from him. A cold and repressed fury, disappointment, fear, hate, and a secret longing.
The rest weren't as interesting. They had nothing on them. Then again, some of these intriguing ones were actually male, and the last interesting male I had met was the brat. This class promised to be a whole lot more boring. I'd need to find something to occupy my time.
I might've been given a second lease on life but that didn't mean I was going to spend it being a good person all of a sudden.
Evangeline McDowell was far from a nice girl, after all.
I was actually growing and getting taller.
It was weirder than being alive, weirder than eating actual food too. Not only was I growing up, I was growing out.
Take that you big-chested bimbos!
So, a couple of years had passed. The Academy was boring yet interesting at the same time. I'd learned all of this over the centuries I'd been a Shinso. I was out of shape to be sure but that was because I was alive. That made all the difference. I didn't have to drink blood to be at my peak, though I had the feeling that it would improve my abilities.
I am still me after all.
In the mean time, I got to know my fellow classmates and learn all about this chakra I had.
It sounded like an Internal Kanka, making it rather impressive in it's wide abilities. Thankfully I still had my magic but my magic was also screwy. Something was off with it but I didn't quite know what.
I am the Dark Mage Evangel! I could control the Shadows and the Ice! Yet...something was off. Very off. There was a heat to my magic. The hate was familiar but not the rage. There was an anger in my magic. Well, more than my usual feelings.
It was probably the same reason my chakra was messed up. I had no problems with the Substitution/Kawamiri and once I figured out the quirk in the Transformation/Henge and how it was different from my own spell it was pretty much flawless.
The Clone/Bunshin though? I was horrible at it with my chakra. They came out completely useless. It wasn't as if I needed them, of course not, this is me after all.
But it was still a technique I learned an I couldn't use it! The Baka Rangers would be laughing at me if they knew.
Boyo would just give me that look and that stupid smile of his...
Stupid brat. Stupid smile. Stupid Negi! Stupid Nagi!
It's probably their fault I'm in this mess to begin with!
Stupid brats. They were, they were...!
Oh, he's going to get it if I ever see him again. A right cross straight to the jaw. That'll show that brat, sending his Master into a different body and realm like this! "Bwuahahaha!"
"What?!" I whirled around to see an old man standing behind me. He was dressed in white robes and had, an admittedly, bitchin' hat. "Er, sorry, Old Man. I was thinking about something."
"And the maniacal laughter?" He quirked a brow at me.
"What? You've never laughed lie an Evil Overlord before? It's fun!" What the hell was wrong with me? I was not this, this child! I was a mature, ancient Lady of Evil!
Ugh. This old man brought out the worst in me. And he was smiling at me! Like I was a delight of some kind. Kinda like that Idiot.
"Can't say that I have, Naruto." A smile came with that. "What're you building there?"
I got so distracted by thoughts about the brats I had almost forgotten what I'd been doing. "A doll," I said simply. She was half finished.
"A doll?" He asked.
"Yeah, this is Chachazero," I said. "She's half done." I prodded the torso less doll with a small piece of wood. "Zero, say hi to the old man."
"S'up, geezer?" Zero responded in her normal voice and tried to move her left arm which still wasn't finished. "Aw, come on boss, hurry up! I can't move like this! How am I supposed to threaten people without a knife?"
I rolled my eyes at my first doll remade. "Shut it. I'll finish when I finish."
The old man was looking at Zero with interest an intrigue. "Very well done, Naruto. How'd you manage this? I don't see any Chakra strings or wire. It's very much like a Suna Puppet."
"I'm a doll, not a puppet old man. You better watch your mouth, geezer!"
"Shut it, Zero," I seethed as I glanced between my re-first doll. "Sorry Old Man, she's a bit mouthy."
He just chuckled at that. Probably thought it was just me and I was up to a prank of some kind. That comment about strings did intrigue me though, normally I just imbued Zero with some magic. This meant a backup. "How're things, Naruto?"
"Boring," I responded and put down what I was working on. "Can't get my Bunshin to work, I'm at the top of the class otherwise," I snorted at that. "The only girls that come close are Ino Yamanaka and Hinata Hyuuga. Ino's a chatterbox who doesn't take things seriously an Hinata is probably the shyest person I've ever had the displeasure to be paired with." She was worse than Honya was when we were all in 2-A.
"Truly? Well, you do have to deal with them while you are in the Academy, who knows about after you graduate. You may even be on the same team as them," I stared at the old man flatly for a moment.
"I'd rather be on Sasuke's team. He's neither a blabber mouth or a wilting flower. And at the very least he's competent," I muttered a little. "Whatever, we'll see when I graduate anyway."
"Keep working on it Naruto. I'm surprised you haven't tried to graduate early, you are the Kunoichi of the Year after all."
"Tch, I can't pass with my current Bunshin," I growled out in annoyance. I doubted they'd let me graduate unless mine was perfect. Stupid biased bastards.
"Did you need some help with it?" The ok man gave me one of those grandfatherly smiles that was like the old Headmaster though this one was a lot more sincere.
"No, I've got this. Just taking a break to work on Chachazero. I just need to tweak my chakra output," I pondered augmenting it with just my magic, but that would be a bit to obvious with the spell. I wasn't one to complain after all, it just needed work.
"Just remember to think out of the box," I sighed a little and nodded. "Would you like to go get some Ramen as a further break?"
Ramen, huh? "Sure thing old man, I'll even let you treat me."
He gave me another of those happy smiles, they weren't as disgusting as I always thought them to be. "I wouldn't have it any other way, Naruto."
I was still stuck in Konoha. A twelve year old human girl training to be a Ninja. Kaede and the Twins would be jealous no doubt. I was still having problems with that damned able Bunshin. No matter how much power I put into it, it looked sickly and dumb. Even overloading it as much as I could, they came out like garbage.
What the hell was wrong with this stupid technique? I couldn't even make three of the damn things. I'm also to proud of my own abilities to ask for help. The other Chakra based abilities came out fine when I put more power in them. My spells worked too. Even Kanka worked fine!
Why not this stupid, stupid Bunshin?!
At least I had my dolls to keep me company, Zero was her bloodthirsty self. It didn't feel the same without Chachamaru though.
I was starting to be annoyed come Graduation Day. I knew they were testing on the Bunshin. Why I needed a pointless clone ability to pass I have no idea. Maybe I could just fake it? I could whisper my spells if I really wanted.
Nothing beats chanting outloud, watching my opponents face fall when they realized just who they were dealing with and the fury of my spells raining death down upon them!
"Naruto has that evil look on her face again."
I shot a glare at the boy that spoke. Kiba. He just smirked back at me. Infuriating Dogface. I flipped him and his dog off after leaning in my chair. I should sick Zero on him. That would definitely freak him out.
"Everybody, shut up!" There goes Iruka-sensei with his big head. Mizuki right beside him. Everyone quieted down in front of the minor bit of KI being sent through the technique. "Before we get to your final exams, there's a couple things that need to be said, listen and listen well."
"First, congratulations to Sasuke for getting Rookie of the Year. Remember to work hard and keep progressing," Mizuki said with a smirk on his face. "Second, congratulations to Naruto for coming in a very close second and gaining the top rank amongst the Kunoichi trainees. You already know what you need to work on and why you didn't make first."
"Tch," I grumbled in annoyance. Stupid Bunshin. I could cheat easily enough but even magical clones weren't my specialty. That was something they did. I could do it in a pinch but...
"The final exam is going to be tomorrow. Make sure you practice and be ready for anything. We will be testing your worst subjects so its on you to be prepared," Iruka declared. "Most of you don't know your own weaknesses. So, again, be prepared. You're dismissed for the day. Naruto, if you'd care to stick around for a moment."
"Yeah yeah," I grumbled and slouched over a little with a frown. Maybe I should have taken up the Old Man on his offer if help. If I failed in this class...
I was not going to end up a Baka-Ranger!
The rest of the class meandered out without a care though Kiba gave me a self satisfied smirk. It didn't matter that he was the class Dead Last since that was mostly due to the fact that the damned dog-brain skipped. He was just like the mutt in the end. Mizuki was the last one out of the class and shot me a fake smile of reassurance before leaving me with just Iruka.
"Do you need any help for tomorrow?" Iruka's voice was low and I shot him a raised eyebrow.
"Isn't that showing a little favoritism, Iruka?" I drawled out but I did pause when a look of actual concern appeared on his face. Huh. That upped the number of legitimate people to six.
"I know you're having troubles with the Bunshin no Jutsu Naruto. Admittedly, they're the worst I've ever seen," Iruka-sensei pointed out.
"I know," I grumbled. "I keep putting more and more chakra into them and nothing seems to work at all." I smacked my fist onto the desk in annoyance, it creaking in protest.
"More?" Iruka-sensei murmured softly, I only caught it because my hearing was nearing acceptable. "Naruto, how much do you know about the Bunshin no Jutsu?"
"Just what's in the Academy Books. A D-Rank Technique that would probably be labeled E-Rank if such a thing existed. It, like the other two are Ninjutsu despite some thinking it and the Henge no Jutsu are Genjutsu," I rattled off with a bored expression on my face.
"Exactly," Iruka-sensei said with a faint grin. If there was such a thing, it would be labeled an E-Rank. Why do you suppose that is?"
"Because it barely...uses any...oh Log," I smacked myself in the forehead with a look of pure disgust. "I am a moron of the highest calibre."
"Figured it out, huh?" Iruka-sensei asked. "You've been pushing out more chakra, which is probably fluctuating at that amount to only make three."
"I need to use less chakra and try making more until a suitable compromise is made," I intoned blankly. There went my night. I'd have to work on this until I got it tomorrow. Lovely. "Thank you, Iruka-sensei."
The look impure shock when I called him sensei was totally hilarious, the goofy grin the came with it brightened my day considerably. "Why don't I take you for some Ramen at Ichiraku's before you start practicing?"
"I'll even allow you to pay for me," I offered magnanimously with a grin.
"You're all heart, brat," Iruka-sensei reached down and ruffled my hair. I shit him a look of pure loathing until he hoisted me up onto his shoulders with a laugh.
Cheeky brat. I always wanted to do something like that...
I stared at the Old Man who stared back at me. We were both standing in a hallway late in the evening. "Naruto, why are you here?" He asked with a quirk of his lips.
"Oh, you know. Testing your security, sneaking around, dealing with a potential traitor. You know, Thursday stuff." I replied glibly, hoping he'd let me by without to much of a hassle.
"That's more of a Tuesday thing," the Old Man rejoined. "Walk with me, Naruto." I rolled my eyes as he turned and started to walk at a sedate pace. I moved up next to him as he puffed on his pipe. "So I heard you graduated with flying colours."
"Hah. The best mix I could get was ten, I couldn't get any lower," my voice was disgruntled. "That's not control, nor subtle."
"Some would say it is a boon," Old Man said pointedly.
"Power doesn't solve everything," I mumbled. "It is a great modifier but only idiots rely on just power." Mind you I was one of the most powerful out there, no one could compare to me! Save a few of those idiots...
"A surprisingly mature outlook on life for someone your age," I almost rolled my eyes at that. If only he knew that I was older than him by several centuries. "Ah, here we go."
A door opened before us and I peered around and into the room. Huh. It was my destination after all. "What, you just going to let me take that?" I asked pointing at the scroll Mizuki wanted me to take.
"I trust you, Naruto," I nearly shuddered at that. Dammit. Now I really would have to stick around. It's hard to be an evil undying Mage when one is living and has morales all of a sudden.
"You're a bleeding heart, Old Man. Keep watch on that crystal ball of yours. I think I might just put on a show tonight." I cackled a little and darted forward to the Scroll of Sealing. "Now I you'll excuse me, I'm supposed to learn a technique of this to finish my supposed secondary test for my top Kunoichi spot." I rolled my eyes and gave the Old Man a two fingered salute before racing past him an diving out the nearest window.
I barely managed to catch his last words. "...guess I'll tell her tomorrow."
Huh. Wonder what that's about.
"...You're the Nine-Tailed-Fox!"
I admit, I was a little stunned at that. Momentarily. About a second or so. Enough so that I couldn't contain my laughter.
"You...oh man, that's so hilarious...think I'm a Fox? Oh hahaha. Man. That's the funniest thing I've heard in years!" I couldn't help but laugh. A Fox! A friggin Fox! Me?
The rat bastard was telling a semblance of the truth though. That Fox was the reason my magic was off. That and probably part of the reason for my shift in personality.
"You dirty fox! I'll kill you and be a hero! They'll celebrate this-"
"Did I give you leave to speak, worm?" I asked coldly, my aura of darkness emanating around me.
Mizuki broke out in a sudden cold sweat. I could see his sudden nervousness as I slammed the scroll down on the ground beside me. Dust and sand whipped away at the power I used in that simple gesture. I was mildl impressed that only the ground cracked and not the scroll.
Ah, I almost forgotten about Iruka-sensei. "Don't worry, sensei," I turned and smiled a brief and dangerously fake smile at him. "I've got this."
That, for some reason gave Mizuki some of his spine back. "Hah! A mere pre-Genin beating me? A seasoned Chuunin?"
I rolled my eyes and tossed the large Scroll back to Iruka-sensei. "So I'm a pre-Genin, am I? I thought I was a big scary fox." I pulled a small and mirror bright Kunai up and held it in front of my eyes. Still blue.
Mizuki gulped a little and pulled the large shuriken from his back. "I'll finish this!"
I narrowed my eyes, lowering the Kunai in annoyance. "Be quiet! Li Lac Li Li Lilac!" Ice formed at my mental command with my spell phrase. Floating spears the size of Jack's arms appeared in the air. "Traitors don't deserve to speak." The ice shot forward at a nearly startling speed but the pale haired bastard managed to deflect the ones actually aimed at him with his large shuriken before disappearing in a flourish of leaves.
Or so he thought he did. I could barely contain my laughter as I kicked off the ground to avoid a thrust from a Kunai to the back of my skull. "You're slow, Mizuki! Slow slow slow! You're trying to kill me? Try harder boyo!" As I spoke, I flipped through the air and used a tree limb to push myself off to his former position.
"Shut up, Demon!" Ooh. I could eat the capital in that.
"Demon? You want me to be a Demon? Fine, I'll show you a Demon!" Oh I was loving it. I was always one for theatrics. I raised my arms above my head and summoned up the shadows, twisting and blanketing out the light as it enveloped my still growing body for just a split second until it whirled away to show off just a hint of my former power that I still had access too.
I was taller, filled out. Wearing black with my hair down to my hips. I looked like I did with my last confrontation with Nagi before he left me at Mahora. Gloves decorated my hands and my finger tips glowed with a hint of metal. "You're fighting me in a forest! Me! The Dollmaker! Such hubris! Such presumption!" I twisted backwards, my foot catching on the tree branch to twist me raiser in the air as I launched off another branch towards Mizuki and his open and stunned mouth.
He barely managed to block my elbow to the face with his own. I reveled in the grunt of pain he gave as he skid through the dirt, creating a little path from his two feet.
"How are you so strong!?" He demanded.
"Oh, you poor deluded fool. You think I'm one while declaring me another and yet you're wrong on all counts," I whispered using a small spell to put my voice behind his ear. Watching him spin and swing his Kunai at nothing got a laugh as I stood there, fingers stretched out.
He looked at me as if I was a fool before I dove towards him and yanked both of my hands back swiftly at the same time. The utter surprise on his face as he was jerked off his feet and falling backwards before my fist smashed into his stomach was downright pleasurable.
The sound of his pained moans were even more delightful and they delved into exquisite when I kicked him in the ribs. "Worms stay on the ground and don't speak. Traitors get less than that," I declared an then sat on him while flicking my wrist.
The entire time, Iruka-sensei watched with open mouthed surprised.
"Well that wraps things up," I said with a tooth filled grin.