I Don't Own Naruto or Attack on Titan!
Royal Redemption - Chapter 8
The dark midnight sky was extremely dark tonight, but the full moon illuminated the beautiful and serene forest. It was the only source of light in the forest, and it was enough to expose many animals dwelling in the forest late at night. A lone owl cocked its head to the side as it called out its hoot, and it was the melody in front of a harmony of the gentle humming of cicadas. A lone figure sat on one of the top branches of the tree closest to the top of the hill, and his fingers gently traced the cold bark as he looked up at the beautiful moon.
'Wow…it's almost three years since I left home', thought the Prince of Humanity as he gazed up at the infinite sky. 'I wonder how everyone is doing…Hikari-chan is six years old now…and Konohamaru is ten.'
It was a wonder to Naruto that so many things can change so much in three years. When he left the palace he only thought he would be helping his people through punishing criminals who he deemed guilty, and gradually improve the living conditions of citizens. The last thing he thought he'd be doing was protect mankind from annihilation.
The trainees were already a year into their training; in two years they would all become a member of one of the three branches, and he would be in the main force of the Scouting Legion. The prince would occasionally find himself pondering about the future…imagining scenes where he would reclaim human lands from the Titans with his comrades, days when everyone would be able to laugh and enjoy life freely without being paranoid about the Titans attacking, and even having children of his own in a peaceful land.
Naruto would sometimes ask his students about their future, and they would usual have bright and happy outcomes. Everyone knew full well that many people would die in the future, especially those who were planning to join the Scouting Legion, but nobody would ever bring it up. It was just a way of increasing optimism; it was better to thrive for a better future than to burn out and prepare for death.
Naruto knew it was just a false sense of security, but he embraced every dream that came into his mind because he knew that the more he wanted the impossible, the more probable that he will defy everything to achieve it…
'Just wait…I know one day humankind will become stronger than the Titans…and we will reclaim this world as our own!'
"What are you doing here?" said a sudden voice that sliced though all of Naruto's thoughts. "I thought tonight was my night here?" Annie Leonhart used her gear to pull herself up to the branch next to Naruto's own. She had her hands on her hips as she looked out at the night sky…
Naruto smiled and looked over at the girl. "It is your night here, but I wanted to come by just a little bit before I take my vacation."
Annie had her usual emotionless face on her as she sat down on her branch. "I thought your vacation was only for two days…at least that's what we students have been hearing?"
"Yes, but it has been a long time since I've been home, so I'm a little nervous about it."
The blonde girl was surprised at how timid the child prodigy looked at the moment; he was clearly not his usual confident self. In the year that Naruto had been training the students, Annie had spent a lot of time analyzing him, and she came to notice his minor facial changes and expressions. The girl found that she would be able to read Naruto's mood quite well during his lessons, but she had never seen him look nervous before…
"Where is your home, anyway?" asked Annie with her eyes still looking up at the sky. "I thought you were from Shiganshina like Eren and Mikasa?"
Naruto sighed and shook his head. "No…I originally came from within Wall Sina."
"Wall Sina?" asked Annie with much more curiosity than before. "Then why are you even here?"
The prince chuckled and looked over at her. "What…people from Wall Sina can't join the military?"
Annie regained her normal composure and slowly shook her head. "No…but most people here are trying to achieve the top ten places so they could go in to Wall Sina." The girl had never heard of anyone coming out from the inner walls before. "It's strange that someone would move away from peace and solitude."
"I don't think living inside a cage is peaceful solitude…" muttered Naruto softy. "So many people wish to live inside Wall Sina…but almost nobody knows that one day these Walls would no longer defend us from the Titans…" Annie turned over and looked at her teacher. "The only way for mankind to survive is to become stronger than the Titans, and take back their place as the ruler of this world."
"Do you really think that is possible?" asked Annie with a slight glint in her eyes.
Naruto smiled and nodded. "Definitely…I strongly believe in the potential of human power, and one day the Titans will be the ones running away from us!"
"I see…" muttered Annie as she turned her gaze back to the sky.
The blond heard the skepticism in Annie's voice and jumped over to her branch. The girl was surprised at the sudden movements from the man and scooted over a little as he sat down right next to her. Naruto was truly the strangest person Annie had ever met in her life; he was extremely spontaneous; he could be the kindest person in the world in one second, and a serious and ruthless instructor in the next. The girl just couldn't figure out what Naruto's true personality was like.
"You don't believe me?" asked Naruto with a smirk on his face.
Annie stared at him for a few seconds before she sighed. "No…the Titans are monsters with incredible abilities, and we are all only human." The girl fiddled with her gear as she looked down at her hands. "We created these machines to help us fight the Titans because they are strong…if we don't have our technology then we are nothing."
"Well…" started Naruto with a smile on his face. "Human technology is a part of our strength, and can make us strong." Annie continued to listen to Naruto, but her eyes were still staring at her own hands. "But either way, I think that one day; our physical abilities will evolve into something much more powerful than what we have now!"
Annie shook her head with a sigh. "How can you possibly say that so easily…you don't have anything to support whatsoever?"
"I don't know…but I have this gut feeling that tells me we can get stronger, and I will find a way to prove it." The prince had an exciting smile on his face as he looked over at the girl. "I read from some old books that some people of the past could do amazing things!"
Annie was rather amused with Naruto enthusiasm and looked at him through the corner of her eyes, "Oh yeah…like what?"
"Records showed that there was a man who could deadlift a bull and throw it ten meters away, or a woman who was able to kick through the trunk of a tree, and a child who was able to float in mid-air for the first five years of his life." Naruto looked down at his opened palms with a smile. "Humans have incredible latent potential that can defy our current limitations, and when that day comes, we will be able to take back our world!"
"You really are an optimistic man, aren't you?" asked Annie with a slight sigh.
Naruto chuckled and once again looked over at the girl. "Yes, but also a realist." The teacher pointed off into the distance where the light silhouette of Wall Rose could be seen. "Humankind has never been a people to remain stagnant in one place; in the last one hundred years we have been living in a fake peace, and with the fall of Wall Maria, I believe people will understand that we need to fight in order to survive."
Annie shook her head and rested back against the tree. "I don't think so…if what you say is true than everyone in the training camp wouldn't want to hide in the inner walls."
"That is because we all still think humans as incompetent when facing the Titans, but sooner or later everyone will see that we are able to defeat them." Naruto turned more serious and crossed his arms together. "The day when people see that we are superior to the Titans is the day when we will truly start to progress."
The blonde girl chuckled softly and shook her head. "But what if there isn't?" she said as she looked at her teacher directly. "What if we continue to be normal and weak?"
"We won't…" Naruto smiled over at the girl. "I promise." With that, Naruto stood up and jumped down from the tree. Annie's eyes followed the blond man as he looked back up at her with his usual smile. "I have to turn in for the night, and as your teacher I advise you to at least get six hours of sleep tonight!" The blond turned and started his way back to the camp. "See you in a few days!"
Annie's eyes discreetly lingered on Naruto's back as his image slowly disappeared into the darkness…
'You are so naïve and strange…but you are the most interesting person I've met so far…'
"I'm only leaving for a couple of days, Mikasa-chan, you don't have to come see me off…" said Naruto with a smile on his face as he patted his favorite student on the head.
Mikasa gave Naruto a small smile back. "I wanted to say goodbye…"
It was still very early in the morning and the sky was still a dark blue. Naruto had decided to make his way to his home early in the morning so he would be back sooner in the day, but he didn't expect to see Mikasa waiting for him at the entrance. The girl's constant concern for him was both cute and endearing, and Naruto really liked it.
The small girl he saved a few years ago had turned into the most promising trainee in the entire camp, and Naruto was very proud of her. Mikasa had become more than just his student; she was also one of his few best friends. Naruto felt very comfortable around Mikasa, and he would enjoy her company very much. Some of the other students have seen them hang around each other a lot, and some weird rumors had been floating around about them…
"Well you should have just slept more; you have a test today and need to rest." Naruto ran his fingers through Mikasa's silky hair just as he would every day. "If you start to slack, Reiner is going to catch up to you."
"No he won't…" muttered Mikasa with a small grin on her face.
Naruto laughed softly before he leaned in and planted a small kiss on Mikasa's forehead. "Don't worry about me…I'll be back in a few days."
The girl had a small blush on her face as she looked up. "Okay…" With a bold thought, Mikasa tipped her toes and kissed Naruto softly on his cheek. Her blush intensified ten folds as her heart threatened to jump out of her chest. "Be careful…I'll miss you, even if it is only two days."
Naruto looked down at the girl, who had become very pretty in his opinion, and blushed; he would be lying to himself if he said he didn't have any feelings for Mikasa. He would enjoy flirting with her and occasionally tease her, but he'd never thought that she would actually kiss him. The sensation he felt from her lips on his cheek was beyond friendship; it felt very endearing and affectionate, and it made his heart flutter.
Mikasa was still looking up at her crush with a huge blush on her face, but she made sure to keep eye contact with him to force a response out of him; it was embarrassing for her, but she needed to know how he would respond.
"I'll miss you too, Mikasa-chan." The prince had on a sincere smile as he leaned in and kissed Mikasa tenderly on her cheek.
Mikasa froze the instant she felt Naruto kiss her on the cheek; he had never kissed her there before. She had grown used to being kissed on her head or forehead, which felt more familial than romantic, but being kissed on the cheek was completely different. The lingering sensation of his warm lips touching her cold cheek felt amazing, and it made her feelings for Naruto grow once again.
Naruto pulled back from the brief kiss and stepped back. "I have to go now; I'll see you again in a couple of days." With a bright smile, Naruto turned around and walked out of the camp, leaving Mikasa alone and motionless at the entrance.
Slowly, some rational thought returned to the girl's head as she reached up and touched her cheek. A sweet smile slowly emerged as the happiness swelled up from within her heart…
'Come back soon, Naruto-kun.'
"Please, Princess Hikari; come back before you catch a cold!" cried a middle aged woman dressed in a maid uniform.
It was almost winter and the weather was getting very cold. The sun was covered by a shroud of dark clouds and the wind was starting to pick up in speed. Much to the frustration of several maids in the palace, the six years old princess wouldn't listen to any of them and insisted on standing out in the open near the entrance of the palace. There was a tall steel gate blocking people from the outside, but it was still dangerous for the little princess to be out in the open so much.
"I am staying here!" cried the girl as she tipped toed to get a better view of the long bridge that connected the palace with the mainland. "I asked Otou-sama last night and he said I can wait here for Onii-sama!"
"Princess, Prince Naruto had been away for three years already, and no one knows when he will be coming back." Everyone in the palace thought Naruto had been away on an education trip for the past three years with his teachers, and only the King knew what his son was actually doing.
"Onii-sama left three years ago today!" The girl had finished her last piece of chocolate in the morning and she knew her brother wouldn't break their promise. "He promised me he would be back by today, and I am going to wait for him here!"
"Hikari-chan!" exclaimed a sudden voice from behind the girl. "What are you doing out here?"
The princess looked back to see her second oldest brother and pouted at him. "Kono-nii, Onii-sama promised me he would be back today, and I want to wait for him here!"
Konohamaru, like Naruto, was Hikari's half-brother. Both their mothers were the King's lower concubines so they hold lower statuses compared to their older brother, whose mother was King Jiraiya's lovely Queen. Hikari looked up to Naruto like a hero, and look up at Konohamaru like a best friend; she could be much more casual when talking to her second oldest brother.
The maids all bowed at the prince when he walked up to his sister by himself. "Onii-chan has been gone for three years already, maybe he forgot about coming back today."
Hikari pouted and shook her head. "No way, he'll come back!"
The sounds of marching would occasionally be heard as squadrons of Royal Guards did their rounds around their assigned areas, and all of them would bow when they see their prince and princess standing at the front entrance. Konohamaru would nod back at some of the police guards, but Hikari would straight out ignore them; she was too excited to see her big brother, so she couldn't care less about the guards.
The Royal Guards were in charge of the security of the palace and the royal family. It acts by the order of the imperial commander, Mifune, who was handpicked by the King himself twenty years ago. Although he was past his prime, Mifune continued to serve the King as a loyal servant, and vowed to protect the royal family with his life. At forty years of age, the imperial commander had authority over the other legion commanders, and would report straight to the King. In fact, it was Mifune who looked monitored Prince Naruto after he left the palace three years ago.
"Princess, how about we escort you to lunch and we'll come back in a little while?" asked Hikari's nanny, who was an old lady hired by the princess' mother.
Hikari looked up at the kind lady and frowned. "I don't want to…"
"But it's already past your lunchtime, and Natsume-sama wanted me to make sure you eat on time." Namikaze Natsume was one of the few women the King married after the Queen died, and she was Hikari's mother. Natsume was a timid woman who was kind to all her subjects, but tends to be overprotective of her daughter.
"Yeah Hikari-chan, let's go get something to eat!" Konohamaru was getting hungry and his brother was nowhere in sight.
Hikari turned to her brother and pouted, about to give in…
Some giggling and laughter were heard as a crowd of women, all dressed in fine clothing walked by the two royal children. Konohamaru sighed and shook his head at the sight while Hikari didn't know how to respond. The group was a part of their Father's harem; the lowest of all concubines that probably hadn't seen the King for a long time already. Hikari's mother Natsume and Konohamaru's mother Tsubaki were the only two women the King officially married since they gave birth to his children, but all the other women were only there for the King's random enjoyment.
"Good afternoon, Konohamaru-sama, Hikari-sama!" exclaimed one of the women as she waved over at the children.
"Hello…" replied Hikari softly as the group of women walked over to them.
"What are you two standing out here for?" asked another woman wearing an elegant blue dress.
Konohamaru sighed and crossed his arms. "We think Onii-sama is coming back today and we are here to welcome him home." The young prince had always found his father's harem to be very annoying and loud; they were all very different from his elegant and classy mother.
"Really?!" cried another woman in a purple gown. "Naruto-sama is coming back today?"
Hikari's nanny bowed to the mistress and nodded. "Yes, Hikari-sama said that Prince Naruto promised her to be back by today, three years ago, so we are here to wait for him."
"I see…" replied a blond haired woman as she looked over at the large gate. "I haven't seen Naruto-sama for a long time already, I wonder how grown up he is now?" The woman looked back at her fellow concubines. "He should be about fifteen or sixteen years old, right?"
"Yes, Naruto-sama should be fifteen years old."
Another woman with red hair giggled as she covered her lips with her sleeve. "I wonder if he has a girlfriend yet; maybe he'll come back with a bride or something?" The round of women giggled and started conversing about Naruto starting his own harem like his father.
Suddenly, a very loud blare sounded through the area, silencing everyone near the gate. It was the guard standing on the tower overlooking the gate, and he was blowing through his battle horn. He waved his arm at two other guards standing down below, signaling them to open the gate.
"OPEN THE GATE!" cried the guard loudly.
"Hai!" The two guards on the ground immediately started to crank the large gear attached to the chain that was connected to the gate, and the large steel structure slowly parted in between.
People inside could see the silhouette of the person standing at the gate, but still couldn't make out their face. Hikari squinted her eyes to get a better look at the person; she couldn't see their face, but she saw one thing that made tears form in her eyes. It was her brother's Lion Medallion.
Ignoring everyone around her, including her nanny who was calling out for her to stop, Hikari ran towards the gate was fast as she could. The princess missed her brother very much in the past three years, and she wanted to hug him close again. The little ran over to the gate with her smile brightening every second, and then she finally saw the person at the gate…
It was a man, and he was tall, much taller than her memory of her brother. Hikari stopped for a few seconds to get a better look at the man. She still couldn't see the person very well because it was brighter behind the gate than inside, so the man was still shrouded by shadows, but soon she began to see a shade of blond hair. What appeared to be a menacing frame turned out to be a muscular young man wearing a black button-up shirt and simple white pants; he had a smile on her face and a pair of blue eyes that she found very familiar.
"Onii-sama?" muttered the girl softly.
The man looked surprised as he smiled down at the small girl and stepped forward, "Hikari-chan?"
The girl's smile grew even brighter as she staggered forward, "Onii-sama!" Hikari cried as she once again ran towards her brother and jumped into his arms as soon as she was close enough.
The eldest prince and future King picked up his sister and held her tightly in his arms. Even after three years the girl was still only a child and could still fit comfortably in his arms. Naruto had missed the darling little girl a lot during his time away from home, and would often think about her. He knew she would be very safe in the palace, but he would still worry for her, his baby sister.
"How great of you to welcome me home, Hikari-chan…" muttered the prince against the girl's white hair. "So you did have one chocolate everyday…"
Hikari nodded against her brother's chest. "Yep…I missed you, Onii-sama."
"I missed you too, my cute baby sister."
"ONII-SAMA!" cried a different voice that brought a smile to Naruto's face. "YOU'RE REALLY BACK!" Konohamaru jumped towards his older brother and wrapped his arms around his waist.
Naruto chuckled and ruffled his little brother's hair. "Hey little guy, I missed you."
"Welcome back, Naruto-sama." The maids along with all the guards in the vicinity all fell to their knees and gave their future King their utmost respect. Unlike Hikari or Konohamaru, Naruto was older and had always been a very serious person, even in his younger days, so everyone made sure they followed the appropriate procedure.
"Be at ease."
"Wow…that's Prince Naruto?" one of the King's concubines asked. "I thought he was supposed to be a kid, who would have thought he'd look so…" The woman had a blush on her face as she brought a hand up to her cheek, "So handsome."
At the age of fifteen, Naruto looked perfect in most women's eyes. He was tall, almost as tall as his Father standing at six feet, and his spiky blond hair and blue eyes made women swoon. He had an angled face that resembled the King, but also sharp eyes that reminded people of their late queen, who was said to have been the most beautiful woman in the world. Then, unlike the rest of the royal family, Naruto's body was very muscular, even with his shirt on people could still see the creases of his pectorals and abdomen.
"You both have grown a lot since three years ago…" Naruto said as he knelt down to the children's height.
"You're the one who changed a lot!" exclaimed Konohamaru as he looked at the man in front of him. "You look old, Onii-sama!"
Naruto chuckled and patted his brother's head. "Inside, you're still the same little monkey as three years ago, aren't you?" The blond looked over to his cute little sister and kissed her forehead. "And Hikari-chan is just as cute as before."
Hikari giggled and leaned into her brother. "I love you, Onii-sama!"
Naruto smiled happily as he lifted Hikari into his arms and held Konohamaru's hand. "Tell Otou-sama that I have returned." The prince ordered one of the guards, who had his head down the whole time, which was different from what Naruto was used to in his classes.
"There is no need…" said a sudden voice that made Naruto's eyes widen. "I'm already here."
King Jiraiya walked out of the main hall and everyone in sight fell to their knees, with Naruto bowing his head down. The prince placed his younger siblings back on the ground and walked over to his father, who he had missed during his time away. Regardless of what Naruto thought about his father's ability as a King, Jiraiya was a great and loving father, and Naruto loved him very much.
"Welcome home my son!" The King pulled the prince into a hug and immediately noticed that Naruto was almost as tall was him. "You've grown up so much!"
Naruto pulled away from the hug a smiled at his father. "It feels good to be home."
"Come, let's go inside." The King had his arm around his son's shoulders and led him into the palace; Hikari and Konohamaru didn't want to be left out and quickly ran over and held onto Naruto's hands.
'Well, I'm home!' thought Naruto as he followed his family inside the palace with a smile plastered on his face. 'I wonder what's gonna happen in these two days?'
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