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Chapter 1: In the beginning...
Six-year-old Naruto slumped against the wall in an alley holding his side. He had been walking home after eating ramen with Hokage-jiji when he was ambushed and stabbed multiple times. Struggling to keep upright, he looked at his attacker. A tall man with pink hair sneered at him with alcohol on his breath, speech slurring.
"You're dead, you demon! You'll pay for killing my son!" He raised a long, bloody kunai in his hand.
Naruto closed his eyes and waited for the end, but when nothing happened he opened them. Standing in front of him was an ANBU, with a sword stabbing through the pink haired man. The man gurgled and fell to the ground, then the cat-masked ANBU turned to Naruto. Before he passed out, he felt a hand on his wound and a soft voice in his ear. "It'll be okay, Naruto-kun. I'll get you to help."
Deep inside a sewer, a crimson-haired woman with nine tails floating behind her sat, helpless to intervene. Ruby lips curled back from vicious fangs. "Those damn monkeys! How can one village be so blind!" An ominous groaning sound filled the air and baleful, red eyes widened. "...oh, shit. No! No, no, no, no, NO! You can't have him, Kami-baka! I will NOT let this one die!" With that, the women flared with colossal power and forced the blood-red energy against the bars of her cage.
Neko burst into the hospital with the comatose boy in her arms. "Medical emergency! This boy need help right now!" One of the nurses stepped forward, but stopped when she recognized the child. "Good riddance. Let the thing die."
Neko's eyes narrowed behind her mask and the air around her grew cold. "What did you just say?"
The nurse sneered. "Just let the demon filth die! That thing is stain on ou-urk!"
A trio of kunai buried themselves in her chest with enough force to pin her to the wall behind her and a pool of blood collected under the body. "Does anyone else want to break the third hokage's law?" Neko hissed viciously. The other nurses backed away in fear before an elderly female doctor showed up. "what's going...Naruto! Hurry, come with me."
One of the nurses spoke up. "But, what about Akane?"
The doctor glanced at the bleeding body and said coldly, "Take out the trash."
Neko clenched her hands in worry as the doctor scrubbed up. "Chitose-san, will Naruto will be okay?" The doctor smiled. "He will if I have anything to say about it. Don't worry, Neko-san, I'll take good care of him." With a few hand signs, her hands glowed with green light and she started working on the small body before her. All Neko could do watch and pray.
In the sewer, the woman fell to her knees as the cage slowly collapsed inwards, sweat dripping from her forehead as she strained her power against the walls. Glaring at the hated cage, she screamed. "YOU WILL NOT TAKE ANOTHER OF MY KIN FROM ME, KAMI! NOT THIS TIME, YOU BITCH! DO YOU HEAR ME?! NEVER AGAIN!" With an earth-shattering roar, her aura exploded like a super-nova and crashed into the walls. The tortured groans of shifting metal reverberated in the air until she heard the sound of a almighty, thundering crack, and the pressure on her power weakened. A victorious grin on her face, she gathered her power and PUSHED.
Chitose gasped and pulled her hands away as a complex seal on Naruto's stomach suddenly glowed with sinister red light. She observed as the life-threatening wounds started steaming and closed up with a hissing sound. Sharing a look with the ANBU, the two of them could only watch with baited breath.
The red-head smiled as she felt the damage being healed. Suddenly, her gaze snapped to the side as the screech of metal was heard. The massive bars of the cage started to crack and fall apart. Her eyes widened in fear. "...no...Oh please Kami, NO! KIT! Don't give up! PLEASE! DON'T GIVE UP!" Tears fell from her eyes. "...please, Kami...don't let my kit die..."
Naruto opened his eyes. All around him was a grey misty fog. "Hello?" He looked around. "Is anybody there?" Silence answered him. Suddenly in the mist, he could see a massive silhouette getting closer, twisting and turning as it moved. He gulped as two great eyes appeared, each bigger than himself, and focused on him. "W-w-who are you?" The being observed him for a moment, then spoke in a deep, rumbling voice. "DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE, LITTLE ONE?" Naruto shook his head. "YOU ARE AT THE EDGE OF ASTRAL PLANE. A CROSSROADS TO MANY WORLDS. DO YOU KNOW WHY YOU ARE HERE?" Again, he shook his head. "IT IS BECAUSE YOU ARE DYING. YOUR SOUL IS AT THE BRINK OF DEATH AND SOON, YOU WILL PASS INTO THE NEXT LIFE."
Naruto's eyes widened. "What?! I don' wanna die! I wanna live so I c'n be da hokage!"
The being quirked an eyebrow. "IS THIS...HOKAGE...A RANK OF POWER?"
Naruto nodded. "Yea! Da hokage is da stro'gust pers'n in da hole village!"
"WHY DO YOU DESIRE THIS?"
"WHY DO YOU WISH TO BE THE HOKAGE? DO YOU DESIRE POWER? GLORY? RICHES?"
Naruto frowned. "...well...I don' wan none of does fings. I jus' wanna make hokage-jiji proud of me! An Iruka-nii an Neko-nee an Chito-baa-san an da nice peaple at da wamen place, I jus wan alla dem ta be proud of me an happy! An...I wanna make da villagers ta stop being so mean ta me. If I'm hokage, den none of dem would ever be mean or call me a demon or monster or freak! Den deyd all hafta ak...akno...deyd all know I was a nice guy!"
The being's gaze seemed to pierce right through him and it gave a slow nod. "I SEE NOW. THAT WHICH YOU DESIRE MOST OF ALL. SUCH A SIMPLE WISH." The great being drew closer, showing Naruto it's true form. A massive horned head with glittering scales and giant fangs framed luminescent eyes, while a colossal, twisting serpentine body seemed to stretch on forever. "I SHALL GIVE YOU A BOON. A GIFT THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR DESTINY FOREVER. IN RETURN, YOU SHALL BE A BEACON, A EXAMPLE TO ALL THOSE THAT WILL FOLLOW YOU." An enormous claw appeared from the mist and gently touched Naruto's navel. "MANY PATHS SHALL BE LAID OPEN TO YOU AND MANY TRIALS SHALL TEST YOU. AS FOR YOUR WISH..." Huge fangs widened in a fearsome grin, "YOU MUST FIND THAT ON YOUR OWN. FAREWELL, LITTLE ONE. MAY THE PATH YOU FORGE BE ONE OF LEGEND." Naruto gasped as something sparked deep inside him and he faded away. The great being stared at the place he was. "A SIMPLE WISH, FULL OF HOPE AND SADNESS. TO SEE THAT WISH IN THE HEART OF A CHILD BRINGS PAIN TO MY SPIRIT." He glanced to the side, "I CAN SENSE YOUR PRESENCE. YOU CAN NOT HIDE FROM ME."
A humanoid figure in a dark cloak appeared from the mist. "You should know, more than anyone, that there are rules for a reason."
The great serpent glared at him. "I GAVE THE CHILD MY BOON FOR HIS SAKE. HE HAS A GREAT DESTINY, AND I WOULD SEE HIM FULFILL IT."
"You will alter the balance of our plane! Events will unfold that cannot be undone! You should not have brought him here!"
"He did not bring the child here, Brother. I did." The great serpent and the dark one turned to see a lady of light, dressed in shimmering white, appear before them. "I allowed his spirit to cross the great divide and appear in this place."
The dark one scowled. "Why, Sister? Why did you break the greatest law we have? And why did you allow Zangarath to mark the child?"
The woman closed her eyes. "Because, dear Bogan, the events you so fear have already begun." she opened her eyes and gazed at the dark one. "Events are unfolding that will threaten the very fabric of our plane. I allowed the child to be marked because he will need the power it will grant him if our plane is to survive the coming storm." She smiled, "Besides, he is My chosen one."
The dark one, Bogan, jolted in shock. "You have chosen him as your herald? That boy?"
"Yes. He will be My Hand and lead his world into an new age."
"AND WHAT OF YOUR HERALD BEFORE HIM, ASHLA?" The great serpent, Zangarath, spoke. "WHAT OF...HER?"
Ashla smiled. "SHE will be the child's guide. His teacher, friend, and mother. SHE will keep him safe, and help him grow. It is what SHE does. SHE cannot deny HER nature, no matter what HER form."
With a snort, Bogan shook his head. "Only SHE could curse your name and still hold your favor. Why you ever chose HER is still a mystery to me."
"SHE was the right soul. After all, SHE was and still is a nexus, and the only one who could hold My power. Without HER, the Destroyer would have consumed their world, and It would have moved on to others." Ashla replied with a shrug.
"I hope you know what your doing, Sister." Bogan vanished into the mist and Ashla watched as he left. "So do I, Brother. So do I" She turned to Zangarath. "I thank you for your gift, Great One. I will see that your kin are honored once again in Our domain."
The great serpent smiled. "IT WILL FILL MY SPIRIT WITH JOY TO SEE THE DRAGON CLAN WALK AMONG THE WORLDS AGAIN. THEIR EXILE WAS DESERVED, BUT PAINFUL TO ME." He brought his eyes level to her. "I PRAY YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT THE CHILD, ASHLA, AND HER...IF YOU ARE WRONG..."
Ashla gave him a sad smile. "Then Our plane is doomed. And then all the planes will be at risk."
"...AND IF THAT HAPPENED?"
"The Chronicler will step in and the entire sector would be shut down, wiped, and rebooted. It was part of the deal I made with him. He allowed the dimensional breach to occur as long as I did everything I could to fix the problem. If I or the child fail..."
Zangarath nodded solemnly. "SO BE IT. I WILL DO WHAT I CAN ON THIS SIDE. BE WELL, KAMI."
Ashla bowed, "Be well, Great One." With that, she vanished into the mist. The great serpent-dragon stared into the distance. "...SUCH A SIMPLE WISH...TO BE LOVED, TO HAVE A PURPOSE, AND TO KNOW YOUR EXISTENCE MATTERS...SUCH A WISH SHOULD NOT BE FOUND IN THE HEART OF A CHILD." he shook his head and glided off into the mist.
Naruto woke up with a gasp. Looking around, he could see the white walls of the hospital. Sleeping at the side of the bed, Neko sat with her head on her arms, purple hair spilling from her hood. Naruto reached over and shook her shoulder. "Nee-chan. Nee-chan!" Neko shook her head grogily and looked up. "N...Naruto-kun!" She grabbed him in a tight hug, "Oh, thank Kami! I thought you were dead!"
Naruto grinned. "I'm fine, Neko-nee-chan! But, How'd I get Here?"
"I carried you here, Naruto-kun. I got you here as fast as I could so Chitose-san could fix you up."
"Oh? Chito-baa-san's here?"
"Yes, you little pipsqueak. I'm here." The Doctor walked in. "You gave us a very big fright, young man." Naruto ducked his head bashfully. "Sowwy Baa-san." She chuckled as she ran a few chakra scans. "Don't worry, dear. I'm sure it won't happen again."
Naruto looked up. "Wat about dat mean guy? Da pink one? Will he..."
Neko and Chitose shared a quick look and the ANBU answered. "No Naruto-kun. He...he left Kanoha and went far away. I'm sure he will never hurt you ever again."
After several minutes of happy chatter, Naruto got tired and fell asleep. Leaving the room, Neko gently closed the door and turned to Chitose. "Tell me what you found. I need to know."
Chitose hesitated, then sighed. "He fully recovered from fourteen stab wounds that should have been lethal and his heart was stopped for four minutes. Despite that, I can't find any abnormalities of any kind. As far as mine scans show, He is a healthy six-year-old boy with minor malnutrition issues." She scowled. "Damn villagers. Can't ever tell the difference between a scroll and a Kunai." She turned back to Neko, "Don't worry. I'll keep the little squirt under observation, but he should be back on his feet in a day or so."
Neko nodded, "Thank you, Chitose-sama..." The old woman waved it off. "Don't mention it. The boy is a joy to be around. That smile of his makes this old bag of bones feal thirty years younger. He's going to be a real heart-breaker, that one." She grinned, "...or is he already?" The doctor laughed at the sputtering ANBU.
Nobody asked little Naruto what happened because there was no outward sign, and Naruto himself forgot all about his otherworldly experience. The events of that day would be completely forgotten by all...except for one...
The red-haired woman paced back and forth in her cage. Glaring at the bars, her eyes were filled with a mix of anger, worry, and confusion. "...What the hell just happened? The kits heart stopped, but he wasn't dead!" Sitting down with a huff, she tried to study the seal that bound her here. Something had changed...She could feel a very small pull on her power. Somehow, the seal was draining a tiny fraction of her power and..."Arrg! Why can't I figure this out! What the hell was that energy surge?!" She snarled viciously, "Damnit! It's gotta be that bitch, Kami! Only she would pull something like this." With a sigh, she settled in to wait. "...This is gonna take forever..."
End of Chapter 1
AN: I can't believe how fast I got this out. Don't expect any new chapters for at least a few weeks.
AN 2.0: Updated 11/11/13. Just some minor changes. We'll see how it plays out. Still working on chapter 2, so no worries! :)