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Chapter 21: a glimpse into the past
When the world before the two faded to black. Cinder did not know what to expect.
Then it slowly came back into focus. Then the two were underground, looking at a blonde man that could only be Naruto's father. Aided by a pair of medics help a heavily pregnant woman with locks of crimson like blood.
They were at the woman's feet, aiding in the delivery. While the man had his hands over her stomach.
"This is where my story begins, but to understand what is about to happen, then you need a bit of background information," Naruto said with almost a dead tone.
Naruto knew that to explain what was to happen, then she needed to truly understand his people.
The people froze as Naruto began his explanation. "Unlike in remnant, the world I come from is one without the creatures of Grimm. One forged in the blood and violence. My people called ourselves Shinobi. And at the beginning of our history, there was a woman who came from the skies. And for a time, she lived with the people of the land. In the era before Shinobi."
As he continued his tale. A rift opened in front of them, giving Cinder a glimpse of what was going on.
She had witnessed the woman claim the power of the shinju to end wars and bring peace. Have two children. Who would be named Hagoromo and Hamura. And as the two grew, she watched as their mother slowly went mad. And her subsequent sealing as the Jūbi.
The next memory she saw was of the boy now an old man. Hagoromo separates the power of the Jūbi into nine separate beings of transcendent power. Calling his creations Bijū. And soon, he died, leaving his clan to his youngest son, Ashura. This one act would anger his eldest Indra. And spark a bloody conflict that would span generations.
She witnessed the founding of his village by two men, once boys and enemies. One from the line of Ashura by the name of Hashirama. The other, a man from Indra's lineage by the name of Madara.
Then the climactic battle between the two that would create the first Jinchūriki. After that battle, time moved on, and they too witnessed more of his history, the first, second, and third shinobi world wars.
She shuddered at witnessing destruction and devastation on a scale that only hoards of Grimm had produced until recently. Then she saw the havoc a person with the title of Kage could wreak upon their enemies. As that same blonde man slaughtered an entire battlefield of enemy Shinobi, killing at least a thousand shinobi.
Then, like it was never there, the rift closed, and the scene resumed. As Cinder watched as the woman she now knew to be Kushina, delivered her baby, and her husband Minato managed to keep the glowing red seal on her abdomen closed.
Cinder briefly looked at the fox in Naruto's lap, now knowing just what it was. And what it meant for the people they were watching. When the first body fell to the floor and Minato pleaded for the life of his son. Only for the masked man to throw the infant into the air. It was only the beginning, she knew. As the night played out and the tragedy of Naruto's birth that night ended with half of his home destroyed by the very being he held within himself. And the death of his parents. Kurama's sealing making him a Jinchūriki and thus a weapon for his village.
Her only solace was because of the man who took over for Naruto's father. Was the third Hokage Hiruzen Sarutobi.
The year's speed by as Cinder listened to his tale of isolation and discrimination. That shaped Naruto into the man she was sitting next to. A man that swore to never give up or go back on his word. Despite his many disadvantages, she watched as he eked out victories. Even if sometimes he failed, he always got back up.
Witnessing his first mission was rather funny. So much Cinder giggled a bit.
"You know I did not think the great Naruto Uzumaki would have been bested by a cat." Cinder teased.
"That goddamned cat is still alive, you know..." Naruto snarked
"Sheer determination and rage."
Cinder blinked blankly and turned back to watch as he went on his first C-rank mission. And the utter nightmare that was fighting Zabuza Momochi. Then the sad death of who they had thought was an enemy. Haku, the girl who had been Zabuza's partner. She had sacrificed herself to save Zabuza. Who died soon after her. That was where Naruto learned what it truly meant to be a shinobi. And the code he lived his life by.
Time sped up once more as she witnessed the chunin exams. The journey into the forest of death. The chunin exam finals.
And so many more points in his past until it came to the most prominent period in his life. The second battle with the man that would be his best friend.
It was more a battle of ideas than anything else, and in the end, the two young men ended the fight with Naruto as the victor. And there was peace for a time he grew older, yet it did not last. It was then the Shinobi before her was made.
It was during a battle that had ravaged the village. And to win, they paid a price. And the price was a steep one.
To restore Naruto to his prime. Now whole and with the chakras of Indra and Ashura within him, it was a simple matter to best those enemies. But it came with a cost.
Immortality had set him apart from everyone, yet he was not the only one with this gift. Not long after, they won the battle. And with his daughter, who lay dying, knowing of only one way to save her with the last of his chakra, he restored her aided by Naruto. Thus making the second immortal.
It was ironic that the actions taken would mark the slow decline of the shinobi era. And the dawn of the use of ninja-tech.
As the years passed them by Cinder came across the moment in time that would mark the end of his time in his own world.
With a flash of light, they were back in the shrine, sitting next to a tree.
"So, now you know everything about me," Naruto said.
"Yes, and now it's my turn." Cinder said, now getting the hang of how this world works.
Concentrating on her earliest memories, the world slowly faded around them.
"My name is Cinder Fall. I know it was not the name I was given at birth, but it is the one thing that I can claim I chose for myself ever since I set out on this path. And this is my story."
As the world came into focus, they looked upon a moonlit sky in a settlement outside of the protection of the kingdoms.
"The earliest memory that I can remember is of my mother and I gazing at the moon outside of our home. I also know that while we were not wealthy, I know we did not need money. Even if my mother did not work."
As the pair sat and watched Cinder's mother and her younger self gaze at the moon In the comfort of her home.
"What I remember most about my mother is her crimson locks with hints of black at the tips and soft amber eyes. Her eyes were so bright they seemed to glow in the dark. And her name, her name is something I cherish above all else, Cristel, that was her name." Cinder said as the scenes began to pick up in pace. As the sands of time rapidly flowed ever forwards.
"For years in this little town of Gaoling. Life was so peaceful that even if my father had to work far, far away, we were still happy. At least until the Grimm came."
As time slowed to a particular day, Cinder continued her tale. Even as tears flowed.
"It was a hot summer day when they came.it was why I remember I wore my favorite summer dress. I remember it being especially hot, and the first signs that something was wrong was the sudden quiet that filled the air. Unlike a normal day, there was no background noise that you would expect. No birds, no insects, and the animals were acting restless. Then, from the forest, they came in droves. In a matter of minutes, the Grimm swarmed the village. Killing everything they came across. I remember running panicked home as fast as I could."
During the pandemonium, the younger Cinder ran as fast as she could home. Holding on to the small hope that her mother was at least safe.
Unfortunately, by the time she had made it home, the house was on fire. She collapsed in front of the burning house. Tears flowing down her cheeks from despair. Not noticing the Beowulf stalking up behind her.
It raised its claws high into the air. Letting out a menacing growl as it prepared to maul the small girl to death as she turned her head to face it.
To her shock, a fist burst through its chest. And it flung the beast into a pack of its fellows where it exploded into dust. Its life force extinguished. Her mother, Cristel, had just dispatched the Grimm.
To her great shock, her mother quickly scooped her up and ran. Unfortunately, this had caught the attention of the more avian of the Grimm.
As a large Nevermore shot its barb-like feathers in their direction. Pinning them down as more came at them. A feather struck her mother in the back, and to her amazement, it merely bounced off her now blackened skin as she ran clutching her child.
Naruto observed the fall of this city. The struggle of Cinder's mother knowing that with the child in her arms, it was only a matter of time before the end.
"It was only a matter of time, and the Grimm seemed driven. To kill the two of us, no matter what my mother did. She fought her way with me in tow for six hours, trying to make our way out of the city. We headed to the northern gate. As more and more of the monsters flooded into the city. Eventually, exhausted and with her aura fading, we came across a drake."
It was a massive bipedal grim with a lizard-like appearance. Rows of razor-sharp teeth and claws.
Cristel set the young girl down as her hands turned black. Determined to make this a quick fight against this beast. As she rushed in, her foe charged her as well with a roar of its own. It lunged at her neck only to be met with a fist of diamond-like quality. As she bashed away, its maw with strength belying her frame. She traded blows with the creature, and just as she was about to subdue it, a shot rang out.
Blood pooled from her torso as the Grimm did not hesitate to latch onto her arm. About to rip into her with its claws.it only paused in this action as someone called out. "wait!"
A young man with dark skin and glowing red eyes stepped from the shadows.
Oddly, he pulled out a scroll and nodded his head, pocketing the device. He withdrew his gun and shot the pinned woman repeatedly.
Hidden and watching the scene, Cinder saw red. Letting out a scream of agony and despair, her powers were let loose for the first time, and I turned the city of Gaoling into a tomb as the very earth responded to my chaotic will.
"The next thing I knew, I woke up with Salem. I was told I was the only survivor. Nothing other than me made it out of Gaoling alive. It was the only solace I could take. The next few years were a fuzzy blur. But what I know is that I found a new purpose to live. Even if I knew nothing else, I knew her enemies were mine..." Cinder trailed off as they were taken back to the shrine, her story done.
It was something that struck Naruto as strange because of this loyalty to the very woman who could control Grimm. Naruto felt it odd she was not hiding anything or lying, that much he could tell. "Cinder, if you'll let me, I would like to check something out."
With a nod of approval, Naruto deepened their current bond using his chakra. And he delved deep into her mind and her very soul.
The moment their bond was deepened, he knew that there was something wrong. He was getting flashes of repressed memories.
A sense of deep-rooted fear and pain. A man with red eyes and a sadistic smile. Then he found a block on her power that acted similarly to a suppression seal.
It was forged with an ancient old power. Not only did it act to stem Cinder's abilities, but it also served as an anchor for the fall maiden power.
Through the bond, Naruto could feel her shock and horror. He made his best effort to send positive emotions through the link. Along with his intent to remove this barrier.
He knew it was doing more than just blocking her power; it was likely manipulating her.
With a careful application of his chakra to form a counter seal of his own. Naruto began the tiring process of overlaying his seal over the existing one.
As he was laying out his own seal, Naruto had to remark that it was odd. Whoever placed this seal on the girl to have gone through all that trouble. Just to let her die.
Once his work was finished, he primed his seal and watched as the seal slowly broke down before his eyes.
And as the world around them faded. The maiden power Naruto had been trying to absorb all this time was finally freed. With the seal anchoring the power no longer functioning, it responded to Cinder's will as she let it go.
After making it back to Beacon, Sarada knew she was not looking forward to all the questions. All she wanted to do was shower and go to sleep. However, the Headmaster was waiting for them at the airship docks with a somewhat miffed Naruto clone at his side.
Taking a sip of his coffee, Ozpin let a smile grace his face.
"I see that you all have had a rather eventful night. So I will keep this brief. For your extracurricular activities, I expect a detailed after-action report and an incident report from each of you. On my desk by tomorrow evening." Ozpin said.
With a few groans of disapproval and sighs, the girls let out a chorus of, "yes, sir."
The group then made their way to their dorms as the Headmaster headed back to his office with Glinda in tow.
His aloof air of the Headmaster of beacon only faded once he and Glynda had entered his office. Pulling out his scroll and placing it on the console in his desk, he pulled up a video of the docks in question.
As it appeared on the screens in front of the pair, Glynda spoke up.
"So, what do you think?"
Taking a sip of his ever-present coffee, Ozpin pondered that exact question. As he watched, the mystery fighters wielded the elements as if they were maidens. It was troubling if these masked huntsmen were with Salem. Even if the four differently dressed masked figures. Where clearly against the lone warrior. For the first time in a long time, he was at a loss on what to do next.
"I don't know. I will let the others know. But I think we will have to see how this plays out..."
It was rather easy for the Naruto clone and Sarada to make a pair of shadow clones and slip away.
After making their way to Naruto's room, Sarada immediately locked down the hall.
Rubbing his head in frustration, Naruto let out a sigh. Before relaying his message. "Well, the boss is pissed. Whoever these people are. They are apparently Shinobi, who bear the crest of the Uzumaki."
It came to no surprise when Sarada heard about Naruto's current temperament. It was rare that he ever got mad. And it was likely that it was the interference from the Shinobi that angered him.
"I see, I had a bit of a problem on my end," Sarada said as she paced the room. "Whoever I was fighting, they were definitely not recruits, and they coated their weapons in a poison that reacted with the venom they injected me with. I would hate to think of what would happen if that had happened to anyone else. From the symptoms I experienced it acted like a paralytic with all the properties of an anticoagulant and neurotoxin. I would like to bet it also suppressed a person's aura."
Despite her speculations, they both knew it paled compared to the Anbu Naruto faced. Even if it was information that had to be noted.
"Right, I will dispel and let the boss know we will let you know if anything happens." the clone said.
With a puff of smoke, it was gone, and Sarada slipped out of his room and seamlessly rejoined her friends.
Soaring through the air, Raven watched the Uzu Anbu race across the rooftops. Knowing that they let her trail them until they made it to a small commercial building.
They waited there on the roof. It was apparent who the Anbu were waiting for. As raven made her landing. Shifting into a human form, she approached the group with a bit of caution.
"Well?" raven asked.
With a sigh, Bakeneko took the lead. "Well, you were right, and we will hold up our end."
With a single ram seal and a pulse of chakra, she freed Raven of her seal.
Without hesitation, Raven turned and opened a portal to leave.
With their deal with the Brawen leader done, they left for their safe house.
Once inside, a message popped up on Bakeneko's scroll.
~bakeneko: mission successful, left a detailed description and sample in a dead drop."
~tenko: understood. Begin the next phase of the mission.~
end notes/ i hope everyone liked this chapter and dont forget to follow me on twitter. if you like my work please feel free to donate to me on (p) atreon. don't forget to drop a reveiw favorate and follow.
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