Dark and stormy clouds hugged the skies with bleak indifference over the rocky terrain. Not a very unusual occurrence for the land of earth. The nature of the skies seemed to predict the hassle and torment that was to come to the two beings at the base of the large alp. Standing at the bottom looking up at the rocky, hard place they must venture into. It was not the rocky edifice itself they were looking at but the beautifully, ancient place that was built into it. The place seemed to be built long ago before their civilization was even thought of. Stairs were the only connection from the ground to the tomb. Not liked it really mattered to them since they could jump from ledge to ledge.
One of them continued on the examination of the temple belonging to the dead. Several arched pillars connected the front of the tomb to the sides of the mountain. Many areas of the shrine held deep tribal carvings that were faded away slightly from the time and elements hitting it since it was built. Unfamiliar beast heads hung to every corner of the building; warding the scared land within from evil that dared to enter this tomb to steal and plunder. The thing that stuck out about this area was that ominous humanoid creatures that stalked the various levels of rough, dusty terrain. Standing proud and strong to protect these grounds from the intruders is something the tribal people have always known to do. This seemed not to deter the two humanoid, cloak beings at the bottom of the mountain. One of them was grinning like mad with the possibility of destroying many of these creatures and feeding his living weapon. The other, the smaller one compared to his comrade, just look at the place stoically, unfamiliar with this place despite gathering all the information of it through legends and stories of death.
"Let's get this over with," the smaller one spoke in a bland manner. With that he jumped from ledge to ledge to begin the killing spree against these so called evil creatures. Letting souls of the undead go to a desired dream of ending the unyielding guard they were forced to walk. Too busy were the warriors in the path of battle that they never noticed one of these undead beings leaving these lands. Knowing that protection of this now desecrated tomb would be a fool’s game. The runaway just hoped that it could find a way to stop what is to come.
-Several Weeks Later-
Far from the nation of rock and earth lay a village that holds many a secret. One secret is known and kept from many. The reason for this is somewhat known to the populace. It nearly caused this place to be wiped off the map eleven years ago. Now, even after all that time has passed, the secret was still hated and scorned by the people that knew who carried that burden and secret. As evident by the current situation of a boy running away from a mob of people that’s been chasing him since early this morning. Today was not his day; never was and never will be to the boy being chased. Today was the day his burden attacked by a monstrous fox then sealed into the spindly child. It did not help today was also the day he was born into this world while at the same time losing his parents. It was also the day where many thought it would be fine to kill an innocent child for crimes he never commented.
Someone in nearby tree watched the scene in fascination. Wondering why they would chase after the innocent child when it was clear that he had never done a thing to them. The screams and yells of the crowd could be heard from where the undead man stood. Shinobi soon arrived to the scene when the vile people cornered the boy against a fence. Some were killed while others were taken to prison to be questioned after they tried to run away from the elite.
‘So much has changed since my death,’ thought the man in the tree as he sees someone with short purple hair take the child someone else. He did wonder what has happened to cause so much hatred for the boy. From what he could gather from hiding in this new world; eleven years ago, this village has been attack by a demonic entity in a form of a giant fox with power so great that it could destroy mountains. There was only one being the he knew that had that kind of power. The man knew that being could not fully decimate a mountain if she wanted to.
To make sure if he was right about his hunch, the creature spread out its own power out until he finally felt the ‘chakra’ within the boy as it went farther away. Within the blond boy the man felt the all too familiar chakra that roamed the nations until it vanished. The undead man thought with a smile that quickly turned into a smirk, 'So, you have been sealed away into my bloodline. This is most interesting and can help me immensely.'
The man gave a final look at the boy before leaving. Knowing he couldn’t do a thing now since many unknown variables surrounded the boy. The smile never leaving his face once he vanished from the village.
-One Week Later-
The man returned after going to a nearby village to feed. Now he had enough magick’s to survive without draining someone for several weeks. He did not kill any of those he drained. It would be too troublesome if he did. Such a vile act would only draw attention to him and make it harder to do the things he needed. He looked out to the portion of the village he could see from the trees once again to think, 'Maybe I can feed off these people if I enhance my armor to do an eternal drain.'
Balthier could not but help to think of the main problem of that plan. And that was getting the supplies needed to augment his armor and any future clothing. That thought process was quickly stopped as he could feel the massive chakra of his descendent coming closer to the tree. He sees the boy fully healed from his endeavor, albeit in a depressed mood from trying to figure out why the village hated him so much. The tribal warrior was happy with the beast inside of the boy did her job in taking care of him.
"Soon my child, you will know of the duty that has been bestowed upon you. You are destined for glory and to rule," the warrior spoke as he left the village once more to commence with his plan.
-Two Weeks Later-
Along the main dirt road, a man wearing tattered clothing made his way to a village surrounded by high walls made of reinforced clay and stone. His own village, at least four days’ worth of traveling from here, was destroyed by bandits. A few people from there were able to make an escape from the turmoil to only scatter into the four winds. This man was the very undead tribal warrior that was able to sneak into the village a few days ago. He was currently using his magick’s to hide his true foul form of grey and decaying skin from the world so he could better transverse the world. He took the form of his once living self that consisted with a stature of 6 feet, short brown hair, a lean muscular body, and with hauntingly striking acid green eyes.
At least he enough time to complete the project of armor modification before the village of Pomlo was wiped away. That personal will be helping him find an easy way to access the village without much suspicion. Something he was grateful for since the power he gathered keeps the illusion up. The loot he was able to plunder from the dead was a bonus to the warrior. He had enough supplies too last both him and his soon-to-be-ward for a while. All thanks to the storage rune he had placed on a bag he stole awhile back.
The man could still feel the relics were still hidden in their respected places. Even though he did not know in which burial ground they may lay now since his death eons ago. The creature knew it won’t be long before the next gen would be found by the very men he saw at the earth temple. It was the weakening blessing of the gods that his family saw to it that they kept changing locations so it would harder to find by the worshipers and cultist. The warrior sees a wooden booth with two ninjas inside and a long line of people seeking entry once he passed the overly large gates. He got in line and waited for his turn. He found out many things in his journey to this village. Such as, armor wearing samurai and these so called assassins that have taken over the places of the true practitioner of battle. People that use to be proud that they belong to a class of warriors, mages, archers or pugilist. These classes use to be the staple of the world before it all changed. The only reason he thought of it now was because of the two ninja’s in the booth were average in strength compared to the warriors he once fought against.
"Welcome to Konoha, please state your name and business inside the village," the ninja with a sebon in his mouth stated blandly. The other male inside had the same bored look. They apparently have done this job many times before.
"My name is Balthier Yui. I came from the nearby village of Pomlo seeking asylum here after it was attacked by bandits several days ago," stated the hidden creature, giving his real name knowing no one in this time will know of the name or question it. The two ninjas nodded, having seen many a time a civilian come through these gates seeking salvation once their village has been pillaged. The two of them also seen off a squadron of their comrades to take care of a batch of bandits when a warrior came a few days ago on horse about those bandits.
"To seek asylum go to the large tower in the center of the village. Someone there should be able to direct you to where you need to go" spoke the other shinobi, pointing to the tall red like tower that the village expanded from. Something the creature never truly got. Why call it a hidden village if the place is so open, big and not even remotely hidden at all? Balthier just sighed and thanked the two and proceeded to the tower. Feeling the magical storage feel up again as the will of the seals drains the power from the nearby people. The armor only drained once some of the magick’s is gone from the armor. As the brunette walked the main street of Konoha, it took all of his discipline as a warrior to not sneer at these people for they were all wicked monsters in his hallow eyes. He seen the way they treated the child during his short time here before he went to Pomlo to feed.
Balthier grinned as he stared at the tower. It was going to be his best chance of become a shinobi in order to proceed with what he wanted to do. All the while keeping some of the suspicion off of him that the general populace would shot certain glances that Balthier was all too familiar with. It was also one of the reasons he knew he could not work in a shop. Having to deal with people that view him as unworthy of their trust was going to be a hassle if he wished to go about what he wanted to do. Also as a warrior, Balthier was use to the traveling ways and traversing dangerous lands to fight the good fight in order to help others. Balthier sighed se he decided to let the chips fall as they may. He was the leading man after all.
Balthier stood in front of the Hokage with the hopes that this half-cocked idea would work. That idea being he was one the few surviving warriors of the village who has some skills as a shinobi. Even though Balthier did not revile all of what he did know; the warrior did have the sense to lie about the ones he didn’t have at all. The look on the wizen warrior gave the man the feeling that he had doubts of the story and the reasons to be a ninja under his command. The intelligent old ninja could not doubt the skills of the younger one when it was known that the town of Pomlo had only a few warriors under its command. Sarutobi face change to the look of content as he decided what to do with the homeless man.
“I know you do not have much skills as a shinobi compared to those already under my command but I will give you a chance. Your rank will be decided upon the completion of several test against my ninja. You have a week to get ready for it,” spoke Sarutobi as he took puff from his pipe. Balthier wanted to do nothing but a victory dance at that moment. The warrior contained his joy as he thought of the failure rate of the test he was given. He gave a nod of acknowledgement and spoke, “Thank you Sarutobi-sama for this chance at being a shinobi. It was my dream to be one, but my family was too poor to give me the chance to be one.”
With that said Balthier left the office of the man he would soon being following. Now to look for an apartment with the hope his luck will continue by having enough money for the rent.
-Konohagakure Market District-
This village does have a large market; larger than he expected when he first came to this village to find the boy. Though he really didn’t care at the moment for he was silently hoping that his run of good luck did not vanish any time soon. Like the apartment complex he found on the edge of the red light district was a good example of that luck. It was very cheap because where it was situated, but also of the legend that seem to be attached to his new home. A ghost of a murder and his victim apparently still reside in the building.
The owner of the building was on the very edge of bankruptcy with this place, thus the cheap lodgings he was able to attain. Once he was in the place, he did sense the presence of spirts of both vile and innocence. Thus the reason he was in the market district now. Well, one part, the other part was the deal he made with the owner. The deal consists of him getting rid of the spirits. If it was successful in ridding the place of the apparitions he would get the complex for himself. Minus the money already for the previous month and this month rent. It was also over the fact that if this little endeavor did not work he have to pay the owner an inflated rent that would normally cover three apartment units in the complex.
The old warrior looked through the numerous shops and vendors of the large district until he saw a flower shop. He smiled and proceed to enter the shop. Some plants here would surely helpful to the ancient being in ridding the place of the spirits or at least the evil one if it’s done correctly. It would be nice to talk to someone else who has been dead for a long time even though it did not span the same amount of time he spent of earth.
Balthier looked around the shop, seeing some – if not all – of the plants he needed in his home to get rid of spirits and to keep them at bay. He spotted a blond girl at the cashier counter after taking everything in of the shop. She gave a big smile to the man before speaking, “How may I help you today sir?”
“Well, pretty child, I’m here to gather supplies for my potion making,” answered Balthier, giving the sincerest look he can give to the girl as the lie was spoken, “I am of need to gain new ingredients and seeds.”
Confusion graced the young girl face because she never heard of potion making before. The warrior made a face of ire that the girl did not know what potion making was. It would seem that the alchemist career path no longer exist, was a rare commodity now, or its going by a different name now in this era. The girl unknowingly answered his silent question when she asked him, “Potion making? I didn’t know someone can do that”
His anger seemed to have increase at that statement while praying that the question was out of ignorance or failing to pay attention in lessons. A voice brought Balthier out his anger slightly when the person gave a chuckle as they enter the room. It was a woman of a statue of 5” 4’ that came into the store front. Balthier couldn’t help but to view her as an average looking woman compared to the ones of his time. She gave a tender smile to the girl who seemed to flinch when she came in. It was clear the older women was one of the potion makers that belong to this clan. He thanked the gods for this because it would mean that something he was familiar with still existed in the world.
“Hime, if you had listened to the clan lessons you would know what potion making was. It’s known as Alchemy, the very field I work in,” she stated, feeling slightly ashamed that her child did not know what her clan was infamous fore before their rise in power because of their clan techniques. The brunette woman did take in every bit of pleasure when the child flinched again at the mention of lessons. Looking at the man before her, she smiled happily to see an alchemist that was outside her clan. She spoke calmly to the unfamiliar person, “So you are an alchemist? How long have you been in the village?”
“Yes, I am, but also a warrior from Pomlo. Got here today with a heavy heart to seek asylum in the village,” a sad look graced him to show that he was truly mournful about the events that happened at the village and the people in it but was moving on. The women gave slow nod in understanding to the man for she heard of the destruction of the village. The alchemist had also witnessed the destruction of many a village during her career as a kunoichi.
“Sorry for your lost warrior. Is there a way we could help you?” she inquired to the warrior, truly sad over the man lost. Balthier shook his head even though he needed some help. He just didn’t like handouts without doing something for the item. The brunette can see the man was being prideful and would not take a handout from them. A sly smirk formed on her face as a plan formed to help the man by making him feel like he earned the items.
“I didn’t get your name by the way stranger,” she spoke, changing the subject to something not so depressing. He grinned at that noticeable change and spoke, “The name is Balthier Yui, your friendly neighborhood warrior and soon to be shinobi.”
The women gave out a chuckle at that and spoke “My name is Rin Yamanaka and this here is my daughter, Ino Yamanaka. I think there is way you can earn those supplies you need, Yui-san.”
“Oh, how would I earn these so called supplies beautiful one?” Balthier fired back at Rin, who merely gave out a mighty laugh. The eleven-year-old girl just looked at her mother in confusion, for she never laughed that hard before or over something as simple as a question. Ino looked at the man in tattered clothes to see a sly smirk on his face. Apparently, it was a joke that only grown-ups ever got because she truly didn’t.
“Easy, I have need of a deliverer for our flowers and potions. If you agree; your performance today will tell me how much you can handle on any day I have need of you. It might even get you some new cloths out of this. You will need the gear soon since you are going to be a shinobi here. After all, you did say you were going to be one,” at this Balthier nodded, “Besides, I sure you don’t have much money. Besides, you have more need of food than flowers and herbs with that money,” she explained. The ancient warrior could not fault her reasoning. Since the little amount of money, he had gathered in his plundering went straight to the rent for the apartment. Now he had even less to do anything else with.
“For now I will agree to your terms until I am able to be an active member of the forces,” Balthier said as he gave the women a true smile, plus, it didn’t hurt to at least to have one friend in the village. Companionship was something Balthier already knew he couldn’t fight against. It was also the added benefit that maybe she could get her daughter to be friends with his descendent by the time he graduated. Rin smiled back at him and proceeded to help him get the supplies and seeds he needed for his own personal garden. Never knowing he needed these stuff to rid his new home of spirits. Like he would tell her anyway or would she believe him. Many people today don’t believe in spirits anymore despite the large examples of the supernatural events that happen in the world.
It has been one week since getting his supplies, food, and other essentials to keep up appearances to the masses. Balthier ended up getting the complex once he cleansed the place of the two spirits and starting the slow proceed of renovating the place. The first level will be his and the boy while floors two to four will be rented out. He also got the clothes he needed thanks to Rin and was slowly augmenting those to have the same effect as his armor. It will solve so much of the ‘chakra’ usage problem. Even if his reserves are always full in the village, that doesn’t mean they will stay full in battle.
The less amount he uses to keep up the illusion the more he will have on the field. Balthier did so by augmenting the clothes so he can actually wear them and not create fakes of them. Balthier has plans for the armor but pushed them back since his main focus now was the blond boy. During his deliveries yesterday that warrior was able to finally get a close look at the child. The examination made him realize that the youngling growth was stunted. The damage was still reversible if he got to him now. The problem was making contact with the boy without drawing any attention from anyone when he does. Balthier then remembered he saw the boy at the restaurant, and by the look of it, they were the minority of people that cared for Naruto. Maybe it was time to actually try some food once again since his death.
Getting out of the bed, knocking some of the scroll he got from the library for the ninja forces off of it. He left the messy apartment to end up heading towards a place that sells the favorite food of a certain person.
The stranger of the village, much to gossips glances and his dismay, walked into the ramen establishment and sat at one of the stools in front of the bar. Looking at the menu above him, seeing many of the delicious sounding ramen before selecting what he wanted. As he waited for someone to take his order, Balthier looked around to see no one here except the boy he wanted to teach for the future task at hand. He looked on in amazement at how fast the boy was eating the ramen before him. Not even the men under his command in the past ate that fast when food stuff finally arrived to the starving people. Moments later a teenage girl came to the bar and sees the man waiting to have his order taken. She stood in front of the man to cheerfully speak, “Welcome to Ramen Ichiraku! What would you like to order?”
“I would like to order a bowl of miso ramen, hime,” Balthier order, making the young girl blush at the beautiful comment. She yelled the order to her father before she grabbed the empty bowl from the young vessel. Both of them playfully talked to one another before he asked for another bowl of ramen. By the divine, he will have break that boy of that habit a soon as possible. From what got from the conversation the two had, the girl name is Ayame and her father name is Teuchi. His assumption about these people caring for his soon-to-be student was correct. They care for the boy like he was family even though he was not related to him by blood. Soon the girl Ayame came back with two bowls of hot ramen. With the snap of the chop sticks both patrons devoured their ramen. The long haired brunette asked boy in how he was doing in the academy, in which caused Balthier to inquire to himself, ‘They have an academy to become a ninja? That sound wrong for those who follow the path of shinobi.’
Having a school to become a ninja seemed kind of idiotic to Balthier, but who was he to judge when he had joined a school for magick’s long ago. The warrior could hear Naruto complaining about the teachers and how couldn’t do one of the techniques that caused him to fail twice before. This was the chance he was waiting for.
“Maybe I can help with your dilemma gaki,” Balthier spoke to the boy. The gaki looked at him in shock that someone was willing to help him. Those feelings were soon replaced by confusion on his face as he gave the unknown man the once over. Naruto had never seen this man before in the village. This was good in Balthier case, he will likely to trust a stranger than someone from his village. Wary of the man, Naruto asked, “Who are you? Are you a shinobi?”
“Not yet, but I am an ex-warrior of Pomlo. I’m came here to be a shinobi after learning some techniques from those who passed through my village,” he said to the boy who looked at him excitedly know when he mentioned he was a warrior. Naruto excitable antics reminded Balthier so much of his son before dying by the maw of a dragon during a siege he participated in. The warrior could feel sadness overwhelm him as he thought over his lost family.
“Are you really a warrior?” Naruto asked him, wanted to hear a potential story of heroics, but that was far from the truth in the matter. The warrior just gave the boy a broken smile, seeing the boy didn’t understand the ramification of the words before speaking, “Hai child, I am a warrior. A warrior from a now destroyed village that was raided by bandits."
He had watched the modern day battalion fight bravely against the raiders to only have failed their only mission. In the end, luck was on his side as several people that were able to escape were able to scatter from the village during the bloody battle to keep everyone safe. Fleeing in all direction in the hope that they would not be captured by the bandits to be made into some form of slave or killed if they were proven useless. He sees questions starting to form on the boy lips which caused the man to quickly state a truth that the Hokage told him at the beginning of the week, “There were ninjas sent to the ruins of Pomlo where able to track and get rid of the bandits and save the survivors before something happened to them.”
This made the eleven-year-old happy again, apparently the two ramen cooks were happy as well about the turn of events. Soon the boy spoke again to the ‘Pomloian’, “Why would you train me? Pretty much everyone in this village hates me.”
“Hmm…I may not know why this village may hate you gaki but I know for sure I don’t hate you. I hardly know you to hate you. I also have the feeling that the two cooks here don’t either. I can see it with the way they look at you that the both love as a family member. I happen to think as well that we could be great friends if you wish it,” Balthier stated firmly to the boy, who now had a stunned look on his face. The two cooks had smiles on their faces they looked at Balthier with appreciation that someone might get through the Uzumaki head that there are people that do love him.
I never thought they might actually...love me,’ Naruto thought to himself as he played with his slightly colder ramen. Balthier left the child be to let him think over what the warrior said. The cooks thought the same as they went to prepare ingredients for the food for the day.
The sound of cooking seemed to have grown louder than normal since the ramen chief’s favorite customer wasn’t talking for the first time in the food establishment. Both Teuchi and Ayami hoped the boy would be alright soon. Soon Balthier finished consuming the food while he was contented with the enchantments he placed on himself for converting food had worked. The warrior got up from the stool only to be stop when a small hand grabbed onto his forearm. Balthier could see the boy made his decision when he saw the fierce determination in those crystal blue eyes, “What have you decided child?”
Ayame and Teuchi stopped what they were doing to look to better hear the answer Naruto was going to say. Naruto cleared his throat to answer when they felt his mouth went dry, “Please train me. I want to be stronger. I want to protect the ones that love me and those I considered precious to me.”
It was the answer the old warrior wanted to hear. The words his descendant had spoken with such a ferocity that Balthier felt he had no choice to help the blond now. He could also feel the love coming from the two people in the establishment towards the boy about what he had said. Appreciative and content that Naruto wanted to protect them in any way or form by accepting the help of a stranger when no one else dared to do so. Balthier drew the boy closer and said to him, “Now those are some noble words I am willing to get behind.”
To Be Continued…