Hinata's Sensual Adventure

BY : The Feelz
Category: Naruto > General
Dragon prints: 11649
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: Naruto is a Japanese Manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto with an Anime adaptation. I do not claim ownership for this series nor the illustrations used as my profile photo.

Hours Earlier

Northwest of Exzzodia: First District

"Sir — two more missions just came in from the cap'm commander."

The man heaved a long, unpleasant sigh and then veered his eyes to the side to look at his workaholic of a lieutenant. He supposed that was a beneficial trait for himself (less work) — but the kid really needed to take it easy and find himself a good woman to settle down with, while he was still young. In the long run, this line of work wasn't going to make him happy.

"Take it from me…" the man said unconsciously.


"Bring the mission's log up on the monitor," the man instructed with a tedious frown, looking straight ahead upon his conveniently projected screen.

Accompanied by the rest of his division, the captain and his lieutenant were individually mounted inside a massive, mechanical suit with a boxy, humanoid design and embellished with the city's emblem. Their arms and legs were set in sensitive holsters used to control that of the machine's — and the suit's frame was equipped with a vast array of missiles, lasers, machine guns and tracking equipment. This was one of Exzzodia's many cutting edge and state-of-the-art technology; their pride and joy.

The Mecha-Suit.

"Mmm." the captain frowned deeper, skimming through the electronic document.

Regardless, the lieutenant started summarizing. "Apparently, there was a momentary distortion detected in the barrier centered around the northwestern coastal area. The Commander's asked us to check it out."

"Keh!" another soldier exclaimed flippantly via the intercom. "The last time a distortion was reported, it turned out to be a sea turtle trying to enter our shoes to lay her eggs."

The captain looked to the lieutenant with a hint of annoyance.

"I just decided to brief everyone at once," he explained, poking his glasses.

The captain turned his gaze back onto his monitor. "Following the king's death a few days ago, there's been a lot of unrest in the city. This report may as well be another false alarm — but Kisaku's orders are absolute. Plus, I have a gut-feeling there might just be something more this time."

"In the next report," the lieutenant began. "We're to head to the First District and apprehend Takujin. Apparently — along with the news of the king's passing — he's using the mecha-suit as a bargaining chip in his efforts to persuade and rally up the people for a revolt. And, based on the Commander's sentiments, it seems Takujin has already made quite an impression on the people; hundreds have already secretly joined his little rebel campaign."

The captain heaved a wolfish grin in his excitement, eyes popped open with unyielding malevolence. Finally, something he could look forward to. "Curse that Takujin for keeping me in suspense all this time — but I suppose this is an ideal opportunity, what with the king's untimely death."

Suddenly, there was a loud commotion over the intercom; everyone was in high expectations for the impending battle.

"Is it finally time again for us to see the captain in action?"

"I'm definitely lookin' forward to that!"

"Hell yeah!"

"We've just been on patrol duty since recently. It's high time we get to see some bloody action!"

"It's strange, though..," the lieutenant started, and everyone quieted themselves to listen. "Why did the Commander take so long in deciding that we go after Takujin? I mean, he did manage to get his grimy hands on one of our suits in a clever ambush. We should've gone after him before things got so out of control."

"The real question is" — another soldier started — "why does the First District have to be the home of those who were exiled? Why does such disgrace and filth have to be in close proximity to the capital?"

"I agree," another man added sternly. "Shouldn't those dogs be deported from the city, or at least locked away somewhere they can't be seen?"

The soldiers couldn't see their captain's face, but they could sense the seriousness and criticality in the calmness of his tone. "You're speaking to a scenario that's been strategically devised."

"Whatddya mean?" Someone queried.

"The reason for the exiles' close proximity is to ensure that they can be closely monitored. Think about it: which social group in our society are most likely to rebel and cause a problem in the city?"

"That's the reality of the situation," the lieutenant agreed. "Plus, when we know exactly what they're scheming — like Takujin's endeavor to overthrow the kingdom — we can plan accordingly, foil their plans, and incarcerate them."

Sure enough, when the soldiers got there, Takujin was glued to his crudely crafted podium — giving his eloquent afternoon speech to his fellow people. The moment the colossal gates began opening with a thunderous growl, all those who had conformed to the man's words of encouragement to rebel, anxiously fled the scene for cover.

Takujin couldn't believe his eyes; all those long days of persuasion — gone up into flames. The cowards! What about their desire for freedom?

Knowing the tables had turned well beyond his control, the man scrambled to safety inside his stolen mecha-suit, fixated on his ideal of revolution. He didn't need the people — simpletons, cowards — by his side to achieve his goals. With his mecha-suite, he would single-handedly mow down the soldiers and claimed his own freedom. Or better yet, he would extract vengeance on the bastards and then ultimately seize the throne for himself.

Hoping to annihilate the entire division with a preemptive strike, or at least to cripple their forces, Takujin fired off a barrage of deadly missiles onto the advancing troops. The shockwave sent dust and debris flying for yards, and people ran and screamed in a spell of panic.

But, quickly responding by initializing an energy field, the captain was able to protect his entire unit from harm. And he didn't look none too pleased with Takujin's act of cowardice.

"Bastard!" one of the soldiers sneered, maneuvering his mecha-warrior forward. "I'll return those missiles triple fold!"

"Don't be so hasty…" the captain obstructed with an unfurled, mechanized arm. "This might be an asylum for sinners, but it's important that we avoid unnecessary casualties."

The man heeded his commanding officer and, with a snarl, looked around and noted that people were hiding at proximities all around Takujin. If he had launched an attack, the collateral damage would have been enormous.

"I'll take care of this," the captain said in a cool, telling tone, ambling forward in his heavy machinery. "There's more to this situation than just apprehending the target."

The lieutenant pushed at the bridge of his glasses with an index finger, and the lens shimmered as his eyes gleamed with sudden understanding.

Pulling a giant blade from the back of his mecha-suit, the captain ordered the man to be on his guard for projectiles while he engaged the hostile. But Takujin wasn't about to throw down his firearms and confronted the man with a blade of his own — no, he wasn't that of a noble fighter, especially under these circumstances.

Without hesitation, he launched another round of missiles but, this time, the captain was ready; he was well aware of the impending onslaught and was already on his toes in complete readiness. Quickly initializing boosters at his ankles and back, the man whizzed his machine fearlessly into the fray, effortlessly slicing through and destroying the rockets with nimble movements.

Takujin felt an unwelcome spell of panic, and that momentary spasm was all it took for the captain to close the distance between them in a flash.

"Stay back!" Takujin scoffed.

Skillfully bypassing the man's half-assed attempt at retaliating, the captain used his mighty blade to disengage the holster of rockets mounted on the bastard's shoulder — but not without evoking his wrath. Takujin responded with an enraged roar, and then followed up with the louder roar of a powerful machine gun.

The captain teased with a mocking grin, easing backward and rotating the machine's wrist within which it held the sword, deflecting the bullets with a propeller-like wall induced by the spinning weapon.

Once more, Takujin lost his nerve — and however fleeting the moment was, the captain was able to home in close enough to dismember that right arm equipped with the machine gun and then hovered into the man's blind spot to deprive him of his left leg, too.

Screws, pins, pivots and sockets flew forth like tiny explosions from the consecutive assault, and the people looked on in horror as the man they had slowly began to confide in gradually sunk into oblivion with all his glorious ambitions.

Takujin wasn't trying to retaliate from his trauma this time — or rather, he couldn't. He had already lost, and he knew the certainty of it, however deplorable the truth was. Capitalizing on his surrender, the captain began stomping on the chest plate of the mecha-suite with a menacing and boisterous guffaw, threatening to crush the man who resided there.

The people watched in dread as sparks gashed from the steel of the mechanized suit with each time the captain brought down his iron leg of justice — and, with each stomp, the steel cage came down closer to Takujin, threatening to crush him flat. His horror-filled howls echoed throughout the open field, haunting the helpless spectators and breaking their spirt, in return.

The captain ceased his relentless tormenting and stretched the hard features of his face into a devilish grin. "Listen well, you spineless pigs!" He announced bitterly, his tone acidic, venomous. "Despite the plans you may hatch… and no matter how much you squeal and squirm and band together, you'll never escape your sentence. You'll never leave this wretched place!"

Ashamed, dispirited, people began hanging their heads.

The captain then gestured to the spectacle of the capital's skyline above the lofty walls of the district, intent on breaking the people's spirt even more. "One of the reasons why we chose the First District to be your hold is because we want you traitors to be able look upon the sanctuary that was once your home, knowing that — despite how close it is — you'll never have a place there ever again.

Wrap up the rebel and let's pull out!"

The Gang's Arrival!

Eve & the Philosopher Stone!

"That was quite the demoralizing speech you gave there, Cap'm," one foot soldiers said with a hearty grin.

"More importantly," another soldier began, a hint of petulance in his tone. "Why do I get the feeling we're just on another wild goose chase, like a few months ago, with that Tortoise?"

"That would definitely be a pain," another man agreed.

Before the lieutenant could retaliate with a verbal assault to put both men in their place, they felt a sudden tremor and heard a muffled crackling and whizzing noise in the mountain adjacent to them.

Following the ominous sound came a loud explosion — rock, limestone and dust burst forward in a rush of destruction, then spilling out was Naruto, from the dark crevice with a spell of pizzazz that put the men on edge.

How could a human possess such power without the aid of a mecha-suit?

Just who — or what was he?

The Captain didn't intend to confine in mere assumptions. "You there — state your purpose!"

"By the looks of it, they must be the law enforcers in this country," Shion said ambling forward, along with Hinata and a miniature Kurama hidden in her jacket.

"That girl..." the lieutenant began, gazing upon the female with evident curiosity. "She shares a striking resemblance to the women of this land."

"And yet… I don't recall ever seeing her before," the captain replied, then looked to the trespassers and raised his voice and aggression. "I'll ask again: how did you come to find this place — and what is your purpose?'

"I've come to speak with your leader," Naruto informed with such confidence that it masked his humility and twisted the man's favor, in turn.

"Presumptuous brat! I don't know how you found this place, but you're in no position to seek an audience with our king, based on how you decided to enter our territory!"

Shion casted Naruto a wary gaze. He's definitely gotten stronger since the last time I saw him, but I see his communication skills are still lacking.

"I don't know what political strategies you've forged and brought to this place, but our country does not negotiate with outsiders... nor do we let them escape."

By this point, both the infantry and those in mecha-suits had surrounded the gang, and a breath of hostility suddenly arrested the atmosphere.

Diplomacy wasn't an option this time.

The captain frowned. "I can tell this kid possesses a threat based on the gaping hole he left in the mountain face, so our top priority is to get rid of him. As for the females, we can throw them in the First District with all the other outcasts."

Our hero's brows creased, the once calm blue of his oceanic eyes stirred into a wild storm. He didn't mind them attempting to "get rid of him" — but he was definitely aggravated by their intention to bring harm to his woman and unborn child.

"Hinata!" He called in a telling tone, leaping upward and spewing a flood of water from his mouth unto the rocky battlefield. By this point, Kurama had transformed into his second state and made off into the sky with Shion to avoid the raging tides.

Hinata frowned in pure battle-readiness. "Ice Release: Zero Landscape!"

At her will and command, a frigid spell of ice stretched out from beneath her feet, slithering like a serpent in all direction. It held fast to everything it touched — clinging to both man and machine alike. Perplexed and powerless, the men roared in their sudden predicament, bionic and organic legs frozen in cold ice.

"What's with this ice; I can't move!" a soldier complained.

"How is this sorcery even possible?" another man yelled.

"They must be using some kind of machine," a third man speculated, maneuvering his craft's pistol toward their source of imprisonment.

Before he could fire, a pack of ferocious wolves seeped upward from the ice, driving their fangs into the joints, gears, and electrical wiring of the soldiers' mega-suits, rendering the machines immobile, frozen and useless.

Naruto looked from the traumatized soldiers to Hinata. "Damn. I think the writer of this fanfiction made you a bit too overpowered, babe."

"You're not one to talk," she returned with a quiet cheekiness that made Naruto's lips stretched into an amused smile.

Shion pouted in jealousy.

In this particularly sensitive situation, the captain calmly leaped onto the ice from atop a boulder he had found refuge, breaking the thick sheet with the several mega tons of weight that was his personalized mega-suit.

"Cap'm!" the lieutenant called in a telling tone.

"I know..." the man reassured, slowly pulling his blade from its sheath. "The woman could be a great asset to our forces, if we can get her to conform. But we have to get rid of this kid first... no matter what."

With a speed that could potentially elude any eyes but that of a shinobi, the man initiated his boosters and practically teleported into the sky with blinding speed. Using the sun's glare as a cover in his wicked descent, he brought down his massive blade onto Naruto, intent on cleaving the warrior in two. But our hero wasn't about to succumb to such an unfavorable fate.

He raised his arm coated in almost indestructible chakra, shielding against the man's sharp and gigantic weapon. The force of impact echoed in an outward ripple — summoning a vicious gust that assaulted the troops like a steel wall, and a massive, bowl-shaped cavity opened around Naruto. But, while he descended into the indentation, by no means did his advantage sink with him.

With a cool and confident visage befitting our valiant knight, Naruto flashed his arm upward with superhuman force, flicking the blade from the hand of the bionic warrior that collided into the distant barrier and was immediately vaporized.

Following up, he slowly lowered his arm and fashioned his index finger into a pistol. Then, without hesitation, fired two consecutive rounds of high density water droplets just below the cockpit of the mecha-suit. The first round penetrated the hard-outer shell of the machine while the second utterly shattered its core, entirely shutting down the formidable giant.

It fell backwards, like an old door unfastened from its hinges. The sound of the hallow thud reverberated throughout the soldiers, leaving them horrified and in disbelief. They couldn't quite fathom the reality that their captain had actually lost in a fight.

It was unimaginable!

Naruto looked to Kurama who was now a few feet behind him, both Hinata and Shion secured on his back. "You guys are okay, right?"

They nodded.

"Curse you!" a soldier shouted. "How could you do that to the captain?"

"The captain has always been overwhelmingly strong and resilient in battle; there's no way you could've defeated him that easily!" another soldier charged.

"You must have used some sort of trick, you conniving snake!"

Without a word, Naruto summoned a massive frog that appeared with such an explosive entrance you would've thought it fell from a few hundred feet in the sky. The shockwave sent everyone flying and, finally, they were now quiet.

"The reason I could defeat your captain so easily is because I've fought a similar machine before." Naruto was talking to everyone, both the troops and his party. "I studied its movements and eventually found out what its weakness was —" he was pointing now — "the main power supply for these machines are just below the passenger compartment, isn't it?"

Everyone gasped in shock.

"So, that's why it looked like he was struggling…" Kurama murmured.

Shion smiled, impressed. "I suppose he concluded he would be encountering more of these machines, so why not uncover their weaknesses while he could."

Hinata heaved a proud smile.

For a while now, Naruto's eyes were fixed with that of the lieutenant's — the man was sneering at the young intruder, cursing him to death with his cold, dark gaze. But Naruto didn't concede to the man's malice; he sustained his nonchalance, even as he leaped atop the captain's downed mecha-suit and pulled the man from the confines of the cockpit with a single hand to his throat.

Almost instinctively, everyone jolted forward from the blast they endured before. No longer were they terrified by the massive amphibian that inexplicably spawned before them — not when they saw their captain's life in danger. But they all remained still when Naruto pulled a kunai from his pouch and held it steadily at the unconscious man's throat.

"You bastard!" the soldiers began hurling threats and insults at the shinobi.

But the warrior ignored them; lost in his silent communication with the man's lieutenant.

"Na-Naruto-kun!" Hinata called in disapproval; she didn't condone unnecessary violence. Just what was he planning to do?

"I highly doubt he intends to do anything too rash," Kurama reassured quietly. "I just think, at this point, this is the only language that they're going to understand."

Naruto carefully pulled his kunai along the man's neck, inflicting a small cut that immediately began to bleed. Then his eyes were suddenly dark and grave as he looked to the lieutenant. "I need answers..."

"Well, that was a waste of time," Naruto complained in a murmur, dashing toward the city with Kurama and the girls by his side.

Oblivious to the young warrior, however, was the fact that he was the focal point on a man's computer monitor. Cloaked in the darkness of his abode, the stranger pushed at his glasses with an amused smile and then tucked his hands into his lab coat.

"My research may bear fruit, after all..."

With the crisp, afternoon breeze whipping through her hair, Shion gazed ahead at the dazzling metropolis the Exzzodians had created. For a moment, she pushed aside the fact they were criminals — wanted criminals, as soon as word got out about the soldiers — and admired the mesmerizing home the ancient race had created for themselves.

In a quiet corner of her heart, she was a tad disappointed they had flourished this much after abandoning their homeland. She was happy they had thrived upon leaving — but did that mean they were correct in their analogy about the importance of material things? What about training the mind and body for enlightenment — did that ultimately led to the destruction of the Lytharians... and her mother?

"Amazing..." Hinata exclaimed, pulling the girl from the slithering tentacles of depression. "I've never seen anything like this before — as opposed to our tiny village, the buildings here are made from concrete and different types of metal, as opposed to wood and bricks."

"Sure, their technology is amazing," Naruto began. "But have you realized there are no walls that entirely extend around the city? I'm starting to wonder if that's good or bad."

"Why would they need a wall around the city, when they have such a powerful barrier around the entire island?" Kurama added.

Naruto frowned. "If they were smart enough to build such a grand city, then, surely, they were smart enough have a secondary line of defense, too. Just in case their barrier failed... which it has."

Hinata started to feel a bit of anxiety. "Now that you mention it — with each step closer we get to the city, the more trouble we've encountered: the robot, the soldiers. I don't want to imagine the power of the machines they have protecting the inner-city halls."

Considering that horrid thought, the gang looked ahead at the alien but brilliant architectural designs that was Exzzodia, and couldn't help but lose themselves in the obscured spectacle. Each grey, lofty skyscraper had its own unique look and each meticulous detail spoke to the technical prowess of Exzzodian technology.

Straight ahead of them was supposedly the only region of the city secluded behind a wall, and engraved in red were the words: "First District". Closer observation by Hinata revealed a domed-shaped structure fenced within the walls, forged entirely of another transparent energy barrier.

Noting that the gigantic door in the wall was tightly closed, the gang made their way vertically up the side of the wall with Naruto zipping through the barrier with a lethal Rasengan. They all slipped inside before it regenerated, and safely hid behind a tower of rubble, before they were spotted by alerted folks.

"I understand these people secluded themselves for over a century but, to think their society would be so... undeveloped." Kurama looked around with a frown.

As far as the eyes could see — cluttered across the plain — where kilometers of garbage and other wastes, stacked into tall heaps. And, amidst those heaps where crudely crafted tents and shanties that housed many people.

The residents appeared far less fortunate than the environment — most were garbed in clothes tattered and torn by time, their bodies emaciated in their malnutrition, eyes dark and dreary from the desolate void in which they were held captive.

Naruto spoke, but he kept his head straight, silently peeved by the people's suffering. "Kurama... it's not what you think. Why do you think I took the risk of breaking in here? This isn't one of the cities treasured districts; this is a prison for criminals and outcasts."

Shion's eyes quivered. "So, this is the place the soldiers were referring to..."

Naruto's grip tightened so hard around the plywood he was gripping, it burst underneath the pressure. "What the hell is the government thinking?"

"Naruto-kun..." Hinata called, her voice pacifying. She rested an attentive hand over his. "I know this upsets you. It upsets me, too — but don't forget why we came here..."

"Hinata's right," Shion agreed, blinking her eyes closed and turning away from the tragedy before her. "There's so much we don't know about this place, especially about the Exzzodian's technology; we can't afford to complicate things any more than we have already."

Naruto sighed, the tension fading. "I don't plan on doing anything irrational, but we do need to get some information to have better navigation of this place."

Hinata was already using her Byakugan to scout the inner walls and the grounds of the district. "I don't see anyone resembling soldiers..."

"If they're confident no one can escape, then there's no need to spare any troops to stand guard," Naruto informed, nodding at Kurama when he transformed and hid inside Hinata's jacket. "Let's try to get some answers..."

With a leap of faith, the gang took to the open plain without any forms of disguise, trying earnestly to win someone's attention and persuade them into sharing information with them — better yet, they wanted to meet who was deemed their leader. But the people were skeptical about disclosing even a puff of breath in the strangers' company, however polite and honest they seemed.

Eventually, the crowd parted... hesitantly, anxiously, as a blind, elderly man stepped forward to meet Naruto and his party. His brows were white and bushy — a hand fast to a wooden cane he used for support.

Apologizing for his people's less than hospitable welcome, the man then turned to Shion with a peculiar gesture. He was peering at the girl through his mind's eye, silently connecting the spiritual signatures that affiliated the girl to his gene pool.

"Rest assured everyone," he said after a while. "These people can be trusted."

It was visible in the people's demeanor as their anxiety lifted. Some continued with their daily routine while others continued to linger; not readily convinced nor enthused.

Shion frowned, gazing at the man with obvious curiosity — and Naruto's sentiments were exactly the same. Sure they truly meant no harm, but how could this old geezer be so sure?

"I might be blind, but I've gained something else in return..."

"I'm grateful that you believe us, but you're not making any sense, Old man," Naruto charged impatiently.

But the man simply smiled. "We might have separated ourselves from the Lytharians long ago, but the power of the bloodline came with us, as well. Unfortunately, the power wanes with each new generation — and I am one of the elderly few who still possesses a fickle of the ancient power.

Come with me," he instructed quietly. "There was a confrontation here a while ago, and the soldiers might come back at any minute."

"Are these the soldiers you're referring to?" Naruto asked, summoning his massive amphibian partner once more that spat the men to the ground inside the large tent they stood within. The troops were all bounded together by a single rope and perfectly gagged to keep them quiet. They were smeared with frog saliva to boot.


The elder and his attendants gasped in bewilderment.

"…Just who are you people, exactly?"

"As you might have surmised," Shion began. "We're not from this country; we're all from the outside world and have come to Exzzodia in search of something. My name is Shion, and I'm from the land of Demons."

"I'm Uzumaki Naruto from Konoha."

"And my name is Hyūga Hinata," the princess smiled politely. "It's nice to meet you."

Kurama eyed the man warily.

Flattered, the old chief offered a slight bow to the gang, but to Shion in particular. "It's an honor to have you here in our presence, my lady. Here in Exzzodia, it's treason to conform to any religion or even speak about or practice the teachings of our ancestors.

But, since we're already in isolation, I would be delighted if you would share the old teachings of the Lytharians with me. I've always been curious, ever since I was a child."

Shion smiled a wanly smile. "I'm happy that you feel that way... umm—"

"Oh dear me, my apologies — my name is Tier."

"Tier — while I would enjoy sharing tales of my village with you, unless we urgently attain what we came here for, there will no longer be a world for us to converse in."

The man was evidently perplexed. "Whatever do you mean?"

Hinata's eyes were suddenly sorrowful and pleading. "On the outside, there's a world war taking place between the Five Great Shinobi Nations and an evil organization called Akatsuki. There are powerful and influential forces behind this dark organization, and their ambition is to alter the very reality of the world.

Unless we find what we're looking for, we won't be able to shift the tables in our favor throughout the final chapter of the war."

"In that case —" the man began with a small smile — "why don't you all remain here until the war is over? Exzzodia's barrier is impenetrable — and, what's more, the island cannot be seen. As an oppressed old man... that is all I'm capable of offering."

Kurama's eyes fixed in a nasty sneer, and his snout puckered open as words entered everyone's mind. "Keh. If this island was perfectly beneath the radar and its barrier, impenetrable, then how did we get here? I'm sure Naruto could easily destroy this whole country with a simple Rasenshuriken."

Tier and his attendants were flabbergasted.

Hinata looked to Kurama in bewilderment. "I'm sure what he meant to say was: nobody will be safe once Akatsuki decides to get serious."

"Grandpa Tier," Naruto called, his cool, silky voice winning everyone's attention, even the tied-up captain and his crew. "Before, you said you're in isolation — what exactly did you mean by that? What is the First District?"

Hinata's eyes quivered in understanding.

And Tier heaved a sigh. "District One is a prison," he admitted quietly. "Everyone who are convicted with a crime are inevitably sent here."

"But I've seen children and the elderly out there!" Naruto exclaimed angrily, his heart pounding a vicious tune in his chest. "What exactly did you do?"

"...If the convicted has dependents who doesn't have any other caregivers, then they are automatically sentenced, as well, whether it be children or the elderly. Exzzodians treasure convenience above all else — and the government supports this ideal, as well. It's like a religion here."

The gang gasped in shock.

Naruto had his head down, his teeth gritted, his fingers curled into trembling fists. He was vivid. His heart was on a rampage — blood pumping fast and hot through his veins. But, before he could explode with his fury, Hinata lunged at him, curling her tiny arms around him tightly.

"Na-Naruto-kun," her voice was muffled in his chest. "I know you're upset, but you have to think about this entire situation as a whole; if Madara gets to have his way, the people living here are going to suffer either way."

Naruto clasped her arms in his blinding rage, and he all but broke down when he felt her quivering helplessly against him. She was angry, too — and, at the same time, terrified of what could possibly become of her new family, if they were to fail in their trails here.

Naruto felt like an imbecile. How could he allow himself to become so out of control and distant, when she was looking solely to him for hope and equilibrium?

The warrior wrapped his arms around her, pulling the dejected princess into the comfort of his chest. "Grandpa Tier — what can you tell us about a deity that's sealed here?"

The captain gasped in utter surprise, but he didn't allow anyone to catch wind of his suspicious response — nor the fact that he was trying to activate a hidden communicator in his clothes using his well chiseled chin.

Tier pulled at a bushy eyebrow that completely covered his eye. "I have been in this world for many moons, but I'm afraid I have no knowledge of what you speak. The only information I can impart with you is that, Sir. Ragnus — king of Exzzodia, passed away little over a week ago and his daughter — princess Lucari, went missing a few days after.

Perhaps someone with a royal lineage could provide the information you seek. If you find her, just mention my name and she might be willing to corporate."

After instructing the man to look after the soldiers with the promise of freeing them upon his return, Naruto and the gang departed from the First District onward toward the distant capital. There they hoped to find the princess and acquire the information they sought. But already, on the outskirts of the asylum, they were being pulled into another chapter filled with disaster and peril.

Extending out and beyond was a rolling plain with a profusion of greenery, valleys, mountains and a sparking river that twined all the way down to the barricaded prison. Then, beyond the horizon boasted the veiled skyline of the capital city.

Becoming one with the trees to mask their travel, the gang soon stumbled upon a most shrilling cry. It was coming from behind some brush amongst the undergrowth, and as the wails continued, they noted it was suspiciously close to that of a baby's.

Alarmed, Naruto and Kurama leaped from the canopy of the trees and cautiously proceeded toward the rustling bush. But, the moment they got within ten feet of the sight, a mechanical creature swiftly fled from the spot with a bloodied sheet in its jaws. It was a wolf, and it sounded like an infant was wrapped up inside the material.

Without hesitation, Naruto gave chase after the accursed fiend as the nerve-wracking wails continued. But the creature had no need for a scuffle; it focused on retreating — slipping through hallowed tree trunks and bolting through undergrowth as the gang gave hot pursuit.

But, when Hinata summoned a few chakra-forged lions to aid in the chase, the mechanical creature pushed forth a miniature machine gun from a compartment in its back and began firing at its pursuers with alarming accuracy.

Naruto and Kurama evaded.

The lions were hit, but quickly regenerated and ensued their chase, biting and clawing at the creature's hard, cold structure. But that didn't slow it down.

"Naruto-kun, be careful!" Hinata said as he fashioned his hand into a familiar pistol. "The shockwave from your Rasengan could harm the baby!"

"Which is why I'll use water instead of the Rasengan," he reassured, even as he focused on his aim in between the machine's irregular movements.


The water projectile missed its target and pierced clean through a tree and buried deep into the ground. "Damn!"

"If you're going to put that much power behind them, just ensure that you don't hit the wrong target," Kurama warned.

But, no sooner had the telepathic words left his mind, than the water bullet made impact — bursting a massive hole through the creature's mechanical body. Almost immediately, it began short-circuiting, gearing up for an explosion.

"Naruto!" Shion exclaimed.

"Na-Naruto-kun!" Hinata called.

He was already in Nine-Tails Chakra Mode, seemingly teleporting with a mesmerizing golden streak toward the gashing robot. In but a microsecond, he had rescued the supposed child in the sheets and made for safety up a neighboring tree.

Simply awestruck, Shion looked up at the courageous warrior — his victorious grin, his perfectly chiseled jaw line, his silky, oceanic eyes. His brilliant glow almost overpowered that of the sun behind him, and Shion was breathless.

"Why is he glowing like that — and... when did he move?" Shion said in wonder.

"It was when Naruto-kun learned how to control the Kyuubi sealed inside him, that he attained this new power…" Hinata enlightened quietly.

Kurama heaved a wolfish grin. "At this point, we're not quite sure just how powerful Naruto has become — but he's definitely surpassed Hokage level."

Shion gasped in astonishment, gazing up at the dazzling knight once more.

"Guys — I think we've been had," Naruto said with a frown, holding up a tape recorder that he recovered from the bloodied sheets.

While Hinata, Shion and Kurama exchanged their thoughts as to what the situation could mean, Naruto turned on the limb he stood and spied a mansion sitting on the summit of a high hill outside the forest.

Curiously, cautiously, they made their way to the chateau — even more on edge when the double-doors mysteriously screeched open for them. As if they were coaxed by an invisible force, they entered the foyer of the edifice, despite the perils that could be lying in wait inside.

There was only pitch black darkness. But soon a series of lights flickered on to illuminate a hall with a red and brown color scheme. Hung on the walls were creepy wallpapers and tapestries of the human anatomy — and about and around where manikins with their organs bizarrely revealed.

"Welcome-Welcome, Honored Guests," a man said by means of introduction, a perfectly fashioned smile hiding the malice behind his words. He began descending the main staircase from the second floor. "I'm Dr. Yokotsue, and I am the owner of this humble abode."

The gang were on the offensive.

The man raised a gloved hand in an effort to dismiss their worry, his white lab coat complementing the frame of his glasses. "There's no need to be so uptight; I mean you folks no ill-will. I'm but a harmless scientist with a hopeless level of curiosity."

"So, I'm guessing you're the one behind that wild goose chase just now?" Kurama said with customary scorn dripping from his words.

With penetrating eyes, the man looked to the Nine-Tailed Fox perfectly tucked away in Hinata's jacket. "That's a very fascinating specimen you have there," the man mused. "I have many drones scanning the outside world and documenting its wildlife — but never have I seen this creature."

"Cut to the chase, Old Man," Naruto snapped. "Why did you lead us here?"

Hinata frowned. She was ready at a moment's notice to seal the man inside an icy tomb, if he threatened to harm them.

Yokotsue was but three flight of stairs from them now. "I'm the head of research here in Exzzodia — and I am also partly responsible for security." He touched his glasses, centering his attention on Naruto now. "The barrier protecting the city... it derives its energy from a power plant designed and built with high-end technology, as well as ancient magic devised by the Lytharians. Together these energy sources are also responsible for powering the entire country. I'm more than surprised you could make your way past it."

Shion frowned, perplexed. "But I was told practicing the ancient arts here in Exzzodia was forbidden?"

The man smiled, descending the final set of stairs to join them. "I'm a scientist; I wouldn't allow something as trivial as a conceited law to hinder my research.

Naruto. Hinata. Shion. In light of your daring venture into this isolated land, I feel that I must give you all a tour of my laboratory. Perhaps the unprecedented presence of foreigners is exactly what I need to dispel this brick wall I've encountered in my work."

Hinata's frown deepened.

"…How do you know our names?" Shion asked in a spell of surprise.

"So, I wasn't just imagining things, after all," Naruto began coolly. "From the moment we left the cave, I felt that we were constantly being watched — but I just couldn't decipher where those pair of eyes were coming from."

Emotions of shock and excitement flickered over the man's face — and he was gazing at Naruto again, adjusting his glasses. "From the moment you lot set foot inside this barrier, I had a pair of sophisticated aerial drones monitoring you from a few hundred feet in the sky. To think you were able to sense it from that distance…"

"If your drones have been following us around and you even know ours names, then I'm guessing you also overheard the reason why we came here." Naruto was shrewd, crude, and in a hurry.

The man tucked his hands into his pockets. "Unfortunately, I have no intel in regards to what you seek. But, come — I'll show you around my lab, nonetheless."

"Naruto-kun," Hinata called in a hushed tone. "What should we do?"

Shion and Kurama were looking at him curiously now.

Our Golden Knight blinked his eyes closed for a moment, considering his options. "I think we should take him up on his offer," he decided. "We might find some clues inside while we're on the tour."

"Splendid!" Yokotsue gave out exuberantly.

With a gleeful bounce in his strides, the old scientist guided the gang behind the wide staircase in the center of the hall, where they came across a large bookcase with a vast collection of various encyclopedias. With evident familiarity, the man tilted a book backwards on the fourth shelf, which acted like a switch for the piece of furniture to slowly withdraw to the right with a prolonged grumble.

It was a secret door — and it quickly revealed a hidden chamber.

Heightening their senses, the gang followed the eccentric philosopher into the poorly lit room. They were expecting an old, rundown and dusty basement with half-made and failed experiments. But, when the man used a voice command to have the lights automatically switched on, their negative expectations abruptly took a turn up north — Positive Avenue.

The lights came on in tandem down the line with a mechanical echo, dimly highlighting a long path ahead of them — it looked like a futuristic railway tunnel with bright neon lights casting a rusty splash of olive and aquamarine shade on the metallic walls.

Descending a long flight of stairs, they eventually entered an enchanting chamber with a vast expanse of space. It was as if they had suddenly entered into an alien realm far away from home — and it was far larger than the man's mansion above ground.

Soft neon lights were all around — some fading in and out of brightness. A spooky mist hung from the pitch blackness of the ceiling, and strange machinery, capsules and large tubes and cables were everywhere. The most breathtaking was the architecture — every arch, curve, twist and parallel design seemed as though it held a meaning greater than just mere stability. There had to be something cryptic and mysterious here... something that every mind but Yokotsue's, could not comprehend.

As the man toured them throughout his personal haven, he began telling them about his research and what his current project entailed. From the barriers to the robots, Yokotsue's forefathers were solely responsible for all the sophisticated pieces of machinery in Exzzodia — and it was he who refined them to their current glory. He also collaborated with the architects for the current design of their grand city.

But the man wasn't content. In a nutshell, instead of mechanized suits of armor that men could wear and control, he wanted to create an artificial intelligence. It was evident through study that men are flawed: they make mistakes and are swayed and distracted by feeble emotions. Artificial intelligence wouldn't make mistakes — nor would they hesitate or be compromised by the limited capacity of the human mind. These AI Warriors would take care of all the highly dangerous and unsavory tasks that would normally traumatize or over-exert the average man.

Finally, Yokotsue came to a stop before a colossal platform housing a massive orb-like structure. The curious piece of machinery was radiating a tremendous amount of energy and fenced amidst a ginormous oak tree that also glowed and sparkled with life.

The gang sighed in astonishment.

"I can sense tremendous spiritual force emanating from that tree," Shion uttered quietly, gawking up at the marvel before her, feeling some inexplicable sense of familiarity and reverence.

Yokotsue's face was cast in shadow, and he pushed at his glasses ominously, looking at the curious woman before him. "I expected no less from a Lytharian that still practices the sacred arts," he returned slowly, amused.

For a moment, Hinata felt that the man's hospitality deteriorated a tad and, she held herself at the ready, her chakra perfectly molded and held steady to burst forth upon her reckoning.

"I can feel it, too," Naruto agreed with Shion, and then he looked to Yokotsue demandingly. "What is this — and why did you bring us here?"

Turning to face his curious tourist, the man raised his arms, backing what appeared to be his most prized invention. "This amazing piece of technology behind me is a high-end generator called Eve," the man explained with smug pride. "It's a combination of science and ancient magic from the Lytharians — the orb absorbs solar energy from the sun while the tree harnesses energy from the earth. Together, they have been powering Exzzodia and the barrier around it for over a century.

But, unfortunately... as powerful as Eve is, she isn't powerful enough to regulate enough energy to fuel my AI Warriors."

Naruto wasn't enthused. "You've only answered one of my questions."

"Indeed," Yokotsue replied, his features hardening. "...How goes the war?"

Naruto's eyes narrowed to almost dangerous slits.

"District One. Didn't it ever occur to you that you could enter that high-level penitentiary far too easily? That's because I personally disabled the security systems, in order to lure you further into the city. I absolutely needed to meet you."

Naruto's sentiments hadn't changed.

"Naruto. I know what you came here seeking — but, I assure you, you've been misled. If there was anything of the sort here, I would know. Instead," he began enthusiastically, as though the young shinobi would be grateful for the fickle of hope he supposedly introduced. "Why don't you and I form a pact; you help me... and I help you."

Naruto was listening.

"The only thing preventing me from giving life to my AI Warriors is the availability of energy."

Everyone looked to Eve, and Yokotsue followed their eyes.

"Sure, this generator harnesses a vast amount of power — but it's only enough for the barrier and the city's fundamental resources, such as electricity and a source of running water for the people. If I diverted any of that power, even for a second, the barrier would be compromised.

But you, Naruto... I've been monitoring your power output since you got here and, quite frankly, I've never witnessed anything like it before. If you were to share your chakra with my robots, I could have them help you to dissolve this world war that's taking place on the outside."

"Kurama," Naruto called instructively, and the Kyuubi was already out and transformed into his secondary stage, prompting the girls to mount him. "With all due respect, we didn't come here for your help nor your opinions; we were led here by your conniving wolf. And we've wasted more than enough time already."

The gang turned to leave.

Without so much as a peep, Yokotsue took a few strategic steps back; withdrawing up a few stairs of the platform. He was wearing a lean grin, the bright glare upon his glasses concealing the treachery in his dark beady eyes.

Right then, there was a muffled click and a clunk — a sudden shifting and turning of gears below the meshed floor. A few feet before Naruto and the gang, a steel canister pushed forth ominously from below — and steam gushed from tubed valves as the hatched door began sliding open with an automated hiss.

A row of four cold, metallic fingers gripped the side of the capsule. And what slowly scrambled outside was, of course, not a man but a machine. Its anatomy eerily resembled that of a human without skin — the details of its synthetic muscles and veins clearly outlined. Its eye sockets were black and empty, like a soulless void. And, inside its chest was set a large red stone.

Hinata already had her Byakugan activated and the temperature in the immediate area began to drop. But Yokotsue didn't flinch.

Naruto was nonchalant. "Are you sure you should be exposing its weakness like that," he said raising both arms resembling a pistol. Then he fired, targeting both Yokotsue and the heart of the abomination that just surfaced from the meshed floors. But, upon hitting its target, the projectiles proved ineffective.

The conniving scientist heaved a mocking and contemptuous laugh. It was obvious now that he was hiding behind a barrier generated by Eve. "I said I didn't have enough energy to power my AI Warriors — that doesn't mean I couldn't supply enough for just one. Meet P29001 — he's a prototype, but despite how strong you think you are, I know he'll be enough to persuade you to join me."

In his confidence that the shinobi would be brought to his knees — overwhelmed by the might and raw destructive power of his awesome creation — the man prompted his guests that, inside the robot, was a jewel called the philosopher stone. It was an accursed source of power and paranormal anomalies that even he could not comprehend. But, at the very least, he could program the stone as a renewable source of fuel for his mechanical warrior — and it generated an almost impenetrable shield, as well.

Secretly analyzing Naruto's chakra capacity through a scanner installed in his glasses, which he's been doing from the very moment they met, the man watched in amusement as the robot assimilated its target and geared up for a lethal charge.

His legs apart, a battle-ready arch in his back, Naruto clapped his hands together and kept his eyes locked on the emotionless machine before him. "Hinata. Shion. Hold on tighter than you've ever had before," he instructed coolly. "I'm going to destroy that thing in an instant and bust us out of here. Then we'll charge straight for the city; I think the world being on the brink warrants some level of extremity."

"Whenever you're ready!" Kurama exclaimed, exerting his fiery chakra. His legs expanded and became taut with strength and his claws pierced into the thick metal ground. The girls' hair and clothes fluttered in the rising energy, but they clung fast to their furry mount as instructed, their eyes fixed on their orange knight.


Naruto transformed into his Nine-Tails Chakra Mode, brightening the dark abyss with his radiant form. Then, almost instantaneously, he was mere inches away from the vile machine, shoving a Rasengan into its chest plate in an effort to destroy the philosopher stone. But the barrier it constructed was indeed proving indestructible.

"Chou... Ōdama Rasengan!"

Was all Naruto said and the sphere grew more than a hundred times its original size, threatening to shave through the robot's fleeting existence — but the philosopher stone was absorbing the sphere's chakra faster than it could deal damage. However, as soon as Naruto realized what the stone was doing, he snapped open a few of his restraint capacitors and effortlessly wrecked the mechanical fiend. Then he quickly followed up by catapulting into the air, like a bullet, tearing through both the ceiling of the laboratory and that of the mansion — paving a path toward the city.

And Kurama followed suit with the girls in tow.

"Tch! After them!" Yokotsue roared his frustration, dispatching a few dozen aerial drones to capture his humanoid source of power.

The trees and brush blurred into an endless wall of green and brown as the gang careered toward the city's capital. But still the drones were hot on their tail, firing projectiles coated with neurotoxins to incapacitate them in their tracks.

Naruto leaped high, turning his body just enough to throw his arm forward — launching a chakra-forged limb behind him at the drones perusing them. He successfully downed a few, and then a few more falls to the ground with a loud explosion as miniature chakra-based arms branches out from the first one, like wild roots.

Hinata followed up by using her Air Palm, decimating a batch of the machines that flew in single file. Shion decided to pitch in with a helping hand, as well — demonstrating her growth as a priestess by erecting a transparent barrier between two trees and obliterating the remainder of the mechanical pests.

"Way to go, Shion!" Naruto exclaimed with a wild grin, dispelling his transformation. Then, suddenly, his eyes flashed forward and he slowly came to a cautious halt.

Kurama stopped, too; sensing exactly what he did.

Without a word, Hinata abandoned her mobile fortress and made her way beside her alarmed knight, her field of vision already stretching out ahead of them. "...Someone's there," she verified quietly, her eyes unswerving even as Naruto asked why she had dismounted Kurama. "I have to protect my family, too."

He allowed a small grin, but then his face hardened as the suspicious figure a few yards ahead stepped from the concealing shadows of the trees and met with their curious gaze.

The wind gusted.

Then all was quiet.

The man's sunglasses flashed and then he started bolting monstrously toward them with a whirlwind of dust behind him.

Naruto frowned, his eyes ablaze as he raised his arms defensively. But the man with taffy-colored skin simply came to an abrupt stop in front of Hinata.

No one else mattered.

"Waah gwaan, baby!" He said sweetly as a means of greeting, holding the introvert's hands in his own, gazing into her nervous eyes through his dark shades.

"Ehhh?" Naruto squeaked incredulously.

Shion and Kurama's eyes popped.

Hinata broke out into a sweat. "Wha-What did you just say?"

"My bad. My bad," the stranger said stepping backwards, combing a hand through the silver weaved locks atop his head. "I tend to speak in tha' slang of my home country, when I'm excited," he admitted with an embarrassed grin.

"Teme!" Naruto snapped, chibi-rized, stepping in between him and Hinata with a flair that got the man's attention. "Who the hell are you? Are you one of Yokotsue's cronies?"

"Translation: "What's up, Baby!" He responded to Hinata's question. Then he was looking over Naruto's shoulder at Shion. "Raw-tid!" He exclaimed. "She's pretty fine, too. Y'know dis cud be tha' start of a beautiful harem."

Without warning, Naruto delivered a thunderous right hook in his exasperation. But the man defended by raising his forearms into an X — though, the blow was powerful enough to have him skidding a few feet backwards.

He looked menacingly through the crook of his arms.

"We don't have a moment to lose, but I won't be content unless I smack the shit out of this guy. Besides," Naruto's eyes were shrewd, his warrior's spirit flashing with silent hostility. "It's best he doesn't know which direction we're headed."

As if the sensation was contagious, the man slowly lowered his defense and assumed an offensive stance, his dark eyes burning behind his concealing shades. Faded and accentuated with an artistic design, the hair at the side of his head was dark brown, while that atop his head was dyed silver and done in tiny braids — silky locks that flowed down to his back and held together by a yellow, green and black band. And he was wrapped up in long hooded cloak.

"Challenge accepted."

Naruto took off, careful the fasteners were properly secured to the canisters that was his monumental power — sure, he was being challenged. But he didn't want to push too hard and deal irreversible damage to his opponent.


He obviously decided too soon.

The mystery man effortlessly blocked his customary Punch of Pure Recklessness with some alien form of martial arts. Then, in one fluid motion, Naruto received a back hand to the ribs and then thrown onto the ground upon his back with an iron fist dropping dangerously fast toward his face.

Decisively, he squirmed away from another direct hit, bringing up his legs in a successive string of kicks — then he was on his hands with a full air-flare of legwork. The dark stranger blocked them all, and then leaped backwards to avoid the final round of the three-hundred-and-sixty-degree assault.

He grinned, thrilled. Naruto was, too.

By this point, they had clearly read each other's motives through their initial clash; neither one of them meant any harm. But they were already caught up in the rush of their manly duel. Nothing would stop them now; they had to end what they started.

Naruto charged in again, using no weapons or chakra. And the man did the same, leaving his dual blades sheathed upon his back. They exchanged a barrage of fierce punches and kicks. There were aerial dynamics and freestyles in their effort to maintain perfect offense and defense.

Finally, our golden knight got him on the ground, and his fist came down like a jackhammer, shattering the earth where the man was but a microsecond ago.

Still rolling on the ground to make space between them, the man pushed to his feet and gathered his bearings, guard up. And his adversary was already there, smiling... always smiling. The shinobi was getting faster and stronger — no, it was he who was slowing down. Naruto hadn't broken out into a single sweat, and his punches were undeniably getting heavier, more refined.

Suddenly, amidst the heated battle, Naruto spied a disgruntled frown upon Hinata's round face. Just that fleeting instant of distraction costed him a punch square in the face. It sent him flying at Kurama who broke his fall with a wall that was plush nine tails.

And Naruto was still smiling, now grinning apologetically as he cupped the back of his head and approached Hinata.

She began scolding him.

Lost in thought, the man looked from his fist to Naruto with a mixture of incredulity and awe. Sure, he didn't coat his fist with his power, but he gave everything he had into that one punch... and yet, the stranger behind him didn't seem phased in the least.

Just how wide was the gap between them?

"Yo, Mad Dawg," he called out to Naruto melodiously as he ambled toward them. "Where're yuh ahead?"

"Haah?" Naruto turned. "Mad what?"

"It's jus a harmless expression, man," he clarified hurriedly. "More importantly, I wanna know where dis place is located."

"What do you mean?" Shion started as Kurama ambled closer to them. "Aren't you a citizen of Exzzodia, as well?"


"...Who are you?" Naruto asked with a frown.

"Tha' name's Damion," the man returned coolly. "I'm from a small island called Jamaica — nevva heard of it, I'm sure. Long story short: I wuz abducted by aliens a few years ago, 'an brought to a planet called Giggas to fight in a tournament. I've been tryin' to find my way back home 'an was recently caught by a sorceress 'an trapped in dis dimension."

Kurama's expression was weary. "…After learning about Edo Tensei, I'll believe anything, at this point."

Naruto looked like his brain was run over by a steamroller and left for dead. "Okay, I think you're gonna need to run that by me a second time... but with less fiction."

"That'll have to wait," Kurama interjected tellingly. "It looks like the mad scientist had more scrap metals lying around."

Hinata was already remounting their canine safeguard, and they watched as Naruto's brows furrowed in his growing annoyance. It looked like he was weighing both the rationality and morality of destroying this entire stretch of land, including Yokotsue's mansion and his collection of inhumane monstrosities. But it was just a fleeting thought.

"Tink I'm gonna tag along wid you guys," Damion announced suddenly, directing his hand toward Naruto, curling under his fingers. "If only until I can wrap my head aroun' everyting dat's happened up to dis point. Exchangin' fists tells you a lot about a fellow warrior, 'an I feel dat I can trust you, bro."

Considering the truth of it, our orange knight turned so that they could both bump fists. This man wasn't a Jinchuuriki or supposedly even a native to their world, but he reminded Naruto so much of Killer Bee — not the fact that they were both black but, rather... both men a certain charm and vibe about them.

It was peaceful and nostalgic.

Exzzodia. It was going to be an interesting experience in this foreign country.

Naruto grinned.

Heavy boots stomped along the cobblestone streets as dozens of soldiers bustled about in search of the reported fugitives that had invaded. They were tightly garbed from head to toe in slick leather suits and gadgets. From artillery, communicators, remote controls and visual equipment, they were strapped for every occasion. They even had a folded digital monitor on their chest, which also acted like buffet proof vests.

"So… is it really true?" a new recruit asked his supervisor, who was knelt and busy checking coordinates on his chest-monitor. "Has someone really broken through the barrier?"

"I believe so," the man replied without taking his eyes off the monitor screen. "I don't think HQ would've deployed so many troops, if this was just a drill." He frowned. "And these people must be crazy-ass strong, if they were able to break through the barrier."

Unsuspecting to the men were the pair of curious ears that were propped up and tuned into the conversation that was taking place. But, the moment a lieutenant-class soldier appeared with a more well-rounded sense of awareness, the silhouettes quietly vanished from the dark alley within which they hid.

"You two!" the lieutenant called commandingly. "We have a fix on the fugitives' location! Let's go! Let's go!"

Flipping his monitor shut, the soldier kneeling down quickly pushed to his feet and then all three men made haste in joining the marching crowd as they hurried to the source of their city's turmoil.

Tragedy at Exzzodia's Palace & Princess Lucari's Desperate Plea!

Naruto and the gang have been under attack since their travels along the outskirts of the city, and even more so once they had arrived within its heavily guarded walls. Exzzodia's grand capital — this was where all their answers slept, and perchance even that of which they ultimately sought, as well.

Countless drones were still hot on their tail, and they had gone through many cleverly organized blockades amidst the streets. Quite a few soldiers gave chase, too — some perched on building tops manning their snipers, firing electrified nets and pellet-rounds at the alleged criminals.

But shinobi were not easy targets, especially the glorious golden warrior. Naruto was causing mountains of damage to Yokotsue's stock of drones with his Rasengan Refile — Hinata with her Air Palm, Kurama with his pyrokinesis, Shion with her flexible barriers, and Damion with his electricity.

The soldiers saw that, too — which resulted in the mecha-suits being deployed, and in great numbers at that. Sure, they posed no serious threat against our powerful party — but having to deal with that many machines would've been time-consuming. And time was an element they couldn't afford to spare.

Magnificent skyscrapers designed with gold, silver and chrome towered in tandem along the busy capital streets — architectural wonders that held the gang's eyes in prolonged enchantment. And Hinata, Shion and Damion couldn't help but sigh their fascination. But snipers were targeting them from the upper story windows, cutting their amazement short.

Crowds of people screamed and bolted to safety as Naruto and the gang desperately forged ahead. And then, finally, a ray of light!

Beyond a mountain of crystal stairs and the outer greenery of an orchard, they could see the outline of a prestigious edifice — surely that had to be the palace; no other building quite compared to its regal radiance and the precious metals with which it was adorned.

But, looming at the threshold of the stairs, was another effectively devised blockade with layers of armed soldiers backed by men geared in mecha-suites. An equally fierce force was advancing from behind, too — and, sure enough, there were also hordes of Yokotsue's drones in the mix.

The gang was being flanked on all sides in a clever pincer attack, and Naruto was getting desperate. But, just when it seemed all hope was lost, a pair of individuals wrapped in a dark cloak and a mask called out to them from a narrow alley. Having nothing to lose, Naruto led his party to be guided along by the mysterious duo.

The soldiers quickly gave chase with their hand guns, rifles, and swords at the ready. They flooded the alley and frantically explored the curbed route until they came across a statue of the late king, along with two other pathways that they swiftly divided into.

Uzumaki Naruto. Hyūga Hinata and Shion of the Lytharians — these were Code One criminals of the highest rank. These intruders were highly dangerous and urgently needed to be detained, questioned and perhaps executed, to prevent further panic and distraught among the people.

They would be hunted down for as long as it would take!

Kurama frowned as the lack of oxygen and the musky smell of clay tackled his faculties to no quarter. "Where are we?" He already felt a need to retrace his steps and face the soldiers instead of this underground hell.

"There is an underground tunnel beneath this stoned statue that can lead us to a safe haven," a male voice reassured quietly. "Worry not, the soldiers do not know of this hidden passageway."

"Wait," Naruto called, just as calm and collected. "Who are you?"

Hinata's neatly cut brows descended over crystalline eyes. She was on guard, ready at a moment's notice to defend her man.

"Forgive me…" a small, feminine voice rose from the other stranger in front. "We will have a proper introduction once we make it to the safe house."

Naruto thought about that for a while, weighing the honesty of the female's formal tone and the elegance of her voice. "Alright. Lead the way."

With a tinge of unrest, the gang followed their supposed saviors throughout the underground labyrinth until, finally — a velvety wave of fresh air greeted them at its exit, and light streamed into the cave as they strode forth to freedom.

Before them was a beautiful oasis with a wondrous variation of blue and green hues. It held and mesmerized its spectators, but curious eyes soon veered to the small circumference of land around them that nurtured a profusion of greenery and plant life. And, even farther beyond, they realized they were within the confines a most interesting rock formation. The wall of rigid bedrock towered roughly eighty feet high and completely encircled the patch of land. But, at its peak, there was just enough opening to allow a measure of light inside.

Without a word, the woman removed her mask and pulled back the hood from her head to reveal flowing blonde hair, and blinked at Naruto with undeniable sincerity and truth. "I apologize for the secrecy up to this point." She bowed her head repentantly. "Forgive me."

"My deepest apologizes, as well," the man followed suit, revealing his identify — well, not that the gang had the foggiest clue who they both were.

Biting back her fears, the girl pressed a hopeful hand to her chest and held Naruto's gaze with quivering, orchid purple eyes. "My name is Lucari — I am the princess of Exzzodia."

"And I am, Ekodae... the family's personal butler," he said graciously, folding himself into a respectful bow.

Shion frowned with obvious incongruity. "What is the princess of a country doing all the way out here, without her vassels and gaurds?"

"More importantly," Naruto began coolly. "How does the princess get off helping an alleged band of fugitives?"

The young lady looked around nervously; there was so much to say and so little time. She didn't know where to start.

"Princess," the man rested an attentive hand on the girl's shoulder, as if hoping the contact would rinse away her anxiety. This was something they both decided; it didn't make sense to hesitate now. "Why don't we continue this conversation inside. I will brew us some hot tea."

No more than fifteen summers old, the agitated teenager looked to the small cabin beside the oasis and nodded her head in agreement.

Hinata's cheeks brightened with color as she deeply inhaled the sweet fragrance of jasmine. "Ah. This smells heavenly. Thank you…"

"I am glad you like it," Ekodae's big puffy beard twitched as he smiled. Then he joined everyone around the rectangular mahogany table in the middle of the room, looping his index finger around the handle of his teacup.

Shion and Damion were enjoying the hot beverage, too. But, Naruto, on the other hand, had already gulped down his share in the prize and was busy on his feet from the heat the liquid induced in his belly. "Damn, it's hot!"

He was restless. And Lucari watched him with apprehension, knowing well she couldn't keep him without answers for much longer. Even if these people accepted their warm hospitality, it could only be a matter of time before they revealed their evil tendencies. And Ekodae shared the princess's distress in this.

With unsettling familiarity, Naruto unzipped his jacket with a sigh of relief. Then he was pacing up and about, as if he owned the place. Sure this hideaway was beautiful, but it wasn't properly ventilated.

"If you do not mind my asking… what are your names?" Ekodae invited quietly.

"Tha' name's Damion," the newest addition to the gang announced first.

"And my name is Shion. This jasmine is deliciously brewed."

"Thank you."

"My name is Hinata." The Kyuubi popped its head out of her jacket. "Oh. And this is our lovely guardian, Kurama." She smiled.

An arrow suddenly pierced the princess's heart — hot, delightful, intoxicating. He is adorable! She beamed, but quickly shook the creature's adorableness from her mind and steeled her nerves to face the one she found most threatening...in more ways than she wanted to admit.

"Uzumaki Naruto," our hero began with a nonchalance that deceived his impatience. "Thanks a lot for helping us out before. This place is definitely different from the outside world — the buildings, the gadgets, the weapons... I've never seen anything like it before." His face hardened with resolve. "Even so, we have to retrieve what we came for… no matter the cost."

The Exzzodian princess bit her lower lip. "Is it true... that you have been searching for the deity that resides here in Exzzodia?"

Naruto nodded in confirmation, his oceanic eyes curious and disarming. He was suddenly non-verbal when the topic was so important, but then who needed words when you had mesmerizing and soul-stripping eyes like his?

Lucari's eyes quivered.

He was a peculiar and distracting presence, the princess thought, looking down shyly as she tucked loose curls behind her ear. Suddenly, he was much too close beside her, as if he had hovered to close the space between them. She could see the "thick-enough" slabs of muscle that bunched and moved under his black shirt — and, through his jacket, she could tell the fabric clung to his shoulders, chest and arms, as if tailored to fit him perfectly.

She swallowed.

"We were told by Grandpa Tier to find you. He said, if anything, you might know something about the deity, given your lineage." Naruto watched her enthusiastically.

"That's right," Shion began, secretly studying the lines and shapes through his open jacket, as well. "Being a part of the royal family, wouldn't you have knowledge about the country's guardian?"

Princess Lucari and Ekodae exchanged a brief but telling glance. "Naruto. Please answer me this: why are you seeking the deity that resides here?"

A violent storm of emotions played over the blue seas of the teenager's eyes. "There's an evil superpower on the outside that has thrown the world into another chaotic feud. In the last world war, a lot of clans were decimated, including the Lytharians. But, this time around, it's not a matter of probability — this entire world will end, if we don't prevail in this ongoing battle."

Naruto reclaimed the reins of his composure. "We're here to ask the deity for help. I slowed down one of the masterminds behind the war and its army, but they won't stay down for long. I need to equip myself with what's needed to end this cycle of revenge and war, once and for all."

Damion's brows quirked as he processed everything that's been said. Well, dat definitely explains a few tingz...

Lucari and Ekodae scanned the faces of their guests. There lingered notes of distress and frustration, unsavory emotions that stemmed all the way to their hearts. These people were telling the truth; the princess and her attendant could feel it. But could their deity really turn the tides like they believed?

"Naruto-kun," Ekodae began hurriedly. "The truth is—"

"Ekodae!" Lucari interjected hotly. I will ask him..."

The man hung his head repentantly, and the gang stared in curious silence.

With a sigh, the princess blinked up at the shinobi as she inhaled his amazing scent. She didn't detect any perfume, just a natural mixture of fruits dulled only a bit by his own perspiration, and then there was something darker — like an exotic spice she could not name. Whatever it was, it floated her senses in something elemental and primal that drew her closer to him when she probably should be backing away.

But, even if it were to have their beloved guardian taken away, she needed to bargain with this mysterious and powerful stranger, to have their country saved.

"Naruto... you have not only managed to penetrate our barrier, but also eluded our finest soldiers and cutting-edge security systems. And I have a feeling you would have found a way to best the blockade just now, too... even if we did not intervene.

You are truly strong," she complimented quietly, a faint note of flush brightening her cheeks as she pushed to her feet to face him. "The truth is: I need to borrow that power. I need to borrow your strength and courage, Naruto, lest Exzzodia will fall to despair."

The shinobi frowned, looking briefly around as if he could see all the strife and oppression that took hold of the grand metropolis, from where he stood. "What do you mean — just what exactly's happening in this country?"

The princess hung her head, grief-stricken. "My father... the king of Exzzodia, passed away just three months ago..."

Naruto's eyes quivered empathetically.

"I was not ready to accept such a tragedy, nor have I to this day," her voice was low and uneven. "It feels like just yesterday that he was alive and well; he was always fit and full of energy, like a child.

I remember him frequently visiting the farmers by the border and even helping them to till the land — well, the ones that preferred the natural and conventional way of doing things. My father loved animals and nature. He was a kindred spirit and a realist.

But—" her voice collapsed, tears burning the back of her eyes as her fists trembled. She couldn't drive back the swirling downpour of emotions that swelled inside her, and Hinata received the girl in her bosom before she could breakdown.

Ekodae's fists trembled, too, but he held back his grief and sought to enlighten their curious guests. "As the princess said: her father, King Ragnus, passed away roughly three months ago. As if overnight, he grew ill and was diagnosed with a terminal sickness that eventually laid claim to his life."

"That's awful," Shion breathed.

Damion frowned sympathetically.

"Princess Lucari was devastated and, in addition to not being of age, the king's most trusted advisor, Kazemachi, capitalized on the opportunity to seize the throne for himself. And he was able to give the council and the people a convenient speech to have them confide in his coronation, supposedly until the princess was of age.

But," he frowned deeply. "It is already too suspicious how the king suddenly became ill; I will not risk exposing princess Lucari to that man's sinister ambitions. And, we became even more suspicious, when he started reversing a few of the king's honorable laws. For one, there is a mad scientist called Yokotsue that dabbles in inhuman experiments—"

"We already met him," Naruto interrupted, almost robotically. "He wanted me to join him and tried restraining me, when I refused."

Ekodae was evidently impressed. "Considering that man's resourcefulness, I am surprised you managed to escape. Up until recently, he was exiled from the capital and his research budget cut. But, as soon as Kazemachi was in power, he secretly restored the man's authority and gave him whatever materials he needed to work."

Naruto spied as the man's arms began trembling uncontrollably, his words squeezed into a high pitch as he struggled to pronounce them. "But... the evilest thing he has done so far is to make District One a prison for all those that have opposed him and his ambitions — women, children, the elderly — no one is excused from his wrath."

Naruto gritted his teeth, his emotions mostly guarded. But a wild light danced in his eyes. "I've been to the district, too. That's where I was told to seek out the princess, if I wanted to learn more about the deity sealed here."

"If they sought to lead you to us, then you must have been deemed worthy of their trust. Naruto, I implore you…" the man pleaded. "Having seen a portion of this country's misfortune, will you not lend us your power?"

"Please, you must help liberate our people…" the princess cried desperately, lunging before our orange knight to bow her head.

Ekodae bowed his head, too.

And then there was silence.

The gang looked to Naruto with expectations for an answer.

But from his lips came only a disappointing sigh.

The princess's eyes fluttered open upon feeling the warm touch of Naruto's finger beneath her chin. She allowed him to tilt her head until their eyes met, but hers filled with tears as the beautiful and seemingly aloof shinobi shook his head in denial.

Lucari knew she should be utterly devastated by his open rejection but, instead, she felt captivated gazing into the oceanic depths of his hypnotic eyes. It was amazing just how effortless he was able to twist and confuse the emotions that swelled in her heart during this alarming hour.

"...Naruto-kun," Hinata whispered in disbelief.

"But why?" Ekodae demanded.

The warrior sighed once more, then relinquished his finger from the girl's face. "My mentor once told me that, with great power comes great responsibility. Now if you simply take to heart the surface of its meaning, then you would merely aid those in need with your superior strength and abilities. But, if you dig deeper… you'll realize this also means you should always be capable of deducing the bigger picture in every scenario and act accordingly."

"…What are you trying to say?" Lucari requested sadly.

Naruto turned his back and moved to the door. "The world is in a very dark place right now — destructive darkness that will spread across the land and oceans, if nothing is done. It will render this place to absolute nothingness, as well. And every second is precious.

If I can manage to end this war and save the world, then I promise to return here and ensure that the throne receives its rightful heir. And, even if I can't make it personally, then I give you my word that I'll send someone just as good for the job."

The princess slowly sank to her knees, hopelessly gazing up in awe at the dazzling male creature before her. It was just a promise — a sweet and convenient formation of words geared toward her from him, but it filled her with such hope and reassurance. She didn't know him — heck, it had only been over an hour, but she knew with feminine certitude that his words could be trusted. The air around him was just so serene and welcoming — a trait befitting a king!

"Uzumaki Naruto," she beamed, sweeping away the tears from her eyes. Then she smiled warmly. "I will hold you to that promise."

Ekodae heaved a whole-hearted smile.

"But, first thing is first," the girl slowly pushed to her feet, ironing down the back of her dress with her hands. "Let us ensure that you have a fighting chance in this great war. I will personally take you to the sacred sanctum where the deity is sealed."

Damion and Kurama grinned.

"That's great!" Shion celebrated.

"Naruto-kun…" Hinata called cheerfully.

He allowed a smirk, then reached for the doorknob. "By the way… is there any one thing I could do to slow the progress of whatever it is Kazemachi is doing?"

"Destroy Yokotsue's mansion," Ekodae suggested curtly. "Which includes the lab."

"Eh. But wouldn't that destroy the generator that powers the city and the barrier, too?" Shion wondered with a slight frown of her blond eyebrows.

"No, it would not," Lucari explained. "Eve is generally protected by a powerful barrier — even stronger than the one protecting the country.

And, Ekodae is right. Destroying Yokotsue's work is the only way to slow their plans. When my father exiled him, I recall Kazemachi disapproving with the decision. He would frequently entertain the idea of using Yokotsue's technology to take over the world.

Now that they are secretly collaborating, I know world domination is probably what Kazemachi is after again."

Naruto sighed, unimpressed. "Sounds cliché to me. But, I'll do what you ask," he offered them a sidelong glance. "I'm going to get some fresh air. We'll all come up with a plan when I get back, then we'll head out at midnight."

"Yeah, tha' soldiers are bound to be tired, after scourin' tha' entire capital for us," Damion reassured coolly, slumping in his chair.

Naruto grinned, and then turned the nob and pushed the door open. "My thoughts, exactly. Hinata — let's go."


Kurama squirmed from her jacket and leaped atop Damion's head, rendering the man's shades askew. Then they all watched as the couple left.

Without a word, Naruto swept up his Hyūga princess into his arms and bent his knees, almost effortlessly jumping upward from earthen tomb and into the twilight of the setting sun. Even in the darkest of hour, when other vitalities warranted his utmost attention, Naruto always found a moment to make her feel special and needed.

"Na-Naruto-kun! Where are you taking us?"

His eyes where already doing that smoldering thing. "Somewhere that we can be alone," he offered her a neat, suggestive smile, and she hid her heated face in his chest.

Then slowly, Naruto's countenance drifted to anguish. Even though this country is segregated from the rest of the world and the influence of its cultures, it is still faced with corruption and strife. So long as there are people, will the cycle of malice and revenge persist? I can see why Madara has conceded to the extremity of his plan.

With all that's said and done, how am I going fulfill Ero-Sennin's dream?

As the final streams of light from the sun dwindled into the dark of night, Ekodae lit a lamp and placed it in the middle of the table.

Pushing suddenly to his feet, chibirized, Damion retrieved the Kyuubi from atop his noggin and held the canine up at arm's length. "Simba! It is time!" He said in an African accent.

Everyone looked to him, unenthused and confused.

"Wait… you guys can't be serious. Does no one get tha' reference I juz made?"

There was silence.

"You people 'ave nevva watched Tha' Lion King?"

The silence ensued.

"Whatever," he conceded with a pout, ignoring Kurama's frown as he continued to hold the Bijuu up at arm's length. "Maybe I shud get a familiar in my story, too. I'm sure I could find one on Planet Giggas dat won't try to devour me while I sleep — maybe a baby dragon or someting."

A trace of fire escaped from the sides of Kurama's snout, his eyes evidently unfriendly. "Have you ever considered being bald?"

Damion sneered. "Yuh see yuh rass face."

Kurama's eye twitched in his exasperation. Then suddenly Damion's treasured locks was on fire.

"My freakin' do!" He panicked, then both him and the Kyuubi was rolling around in a chaotic ball of kicking and biting. "Dafuq, man!"

"Will he truly be able to succeed?" Ekodae pondered aloud, looking to Shion as if for some measure of reassurance to dose the black flames of his pessimism.

The princess pivoted her head around, curious for the woman's response, as well.

Blinking her eyes closed, the priestess allowed a warm smile, relishing in some sweet memory, they presumed.

"'Dat's a nice smile you've got goin' on there," Damion said from his back on the floor. He and Kurama had stopped fighting, even though the canine was still stuck to his ear.

"When I first met Naruto, I remember we were constantly at each other's throats. I was snobbish, selfish and fast-mouthed, and it made him livid. Him, along with his comrades, were sent to my country on a mission to suppress a looming evil, and I wasn't making it any easier for them."

Intrigued, Damion and Lucari listened keenly as Shion spoke about the very first time she met Naruto — Ekodae was tuned in, too, even while he was by the sink peeling vegetables for a stew. Kurama was curled into a ball by the windowsill, one ear perked up as he listened to the interesting tale.

With a willing heart and a sentimental glow in her eyes, Shion continued her story of a time not too long ago. She told of Naruto's selfless heroism in the country of Demons to protect the world against Mōryō's revival. She told them that, even when her hope and drive were extinguished, Naruto believed and pushed for them both. In that moment of consuming darkness, he tore through the void with a spear of blinding light and ultimately saved her.

He was constantly defying all odds and doing the impossible for others. He was the epitome of miracles, fantasies and fairy tales, all together. He was a dream she wanted to forever be asleep in — to relish in his strength, his love, and his chivalry.

Without realizing her open adulation, the girl continued to speak of her interpretation of Naruto's personality and how she felt about him. Then, she admitted she wanted to bear his child, much to the shock of her attentive audience.

Lucari pouted inconspicuously in that moment. She wanted Naruto for herself, too — sure, she wanted to learn more about him first, but if she expected an opportunity of ample and comfortable development between them, then she would miserably lose to the competition.

Oh, whatever was she to do?

Northeast of the capital, Naruto and Hinata sat side by side on the slope of a rolling greenswards. And, for a moment, there was utter silence but for the croon of the evening's breeze.

The dark, thick clouds slinked across the sky, as if they were alive, inviting the distant moon to be even more elusive than it already was and casting the land in eerie shadows. A dreary scene, for sure, but it would prove convenient this night with the daunting feat the gang had before them.

Gazing ahead, beyond the stretch of land before them, Naruto's eyes settled on the seemingly motionless darkness of the sea. Without the moon's glow, it looked like a gaping void that had consumed everything besides the isle upon which they were missioned. Sakura, Sai, Kakashi, Tsunade... Sasuke — everyone gone, utterly erased by Madara's hate and malice. And as the somber thoughts continued to bury their roots, hard lines of anger slowly etched in Naruto's face.

Hinata must have received the same ghastly message from the spectacle, for she was hugging her knees, failing miserably at hiding the tears that spilled over her eyes. "Naruto-kun," she sniffled, using the back of her hands to scatter the salty flow. "I don't want this to be our final moments together. I want to be able to wear my dress at our wedding. I want to make a family and grow old together with you..."

Without a word, Naruto shifted his body so that he could gently tilt her chin with a curved index finger. The princess gasped, her tears ceasing as she looked up to find his warm countenance directed entirely on her. He didn't say anything, just offered her a sweet smile that she was more than skilled at deciphering.

"...Naruto-kun," she mouthed, accepting his comfort.

Soon, following a few hard pounds of his heart, the far-too-sexy knight's gaze held an animalistic wildness that sent a chill of anxiousness down Hinata's spine. Oh, the delicious familiarity. No longer did her body emanate sorrow, but an ember that was slowly soaring into a wildfire to match his own.

When she finally found her voice, it came out in a small, breathless rasp. "Na-Naruto-kun… should we be doing this?"

That's what she said, and yet her lips drooped in a sultry fashion as she awaited the tender weight of his kiss.

His aquatic eyes stayed rooted on her. "Nothing will ever prevent me from wanting you, Hinata. Besides, how else will I passionately convince you that everything will be alright?"

She blinked coyly at him.

Naruto leaned his head to hers, brushing his lips across her cheek, her chin, her throat. She sighed adorably, and he caught her little gasp with a searing kiss, thrusting the flame that was his tongue between her parted lips. Hinata took him in willingly, knowing there was no turning back... not at this point.

She felt as if his every sense was trained, fixed on her alone. As if there was only her, only him, and this burning thing that existed between them. Had existed, from the very moment she first laid eyes on him.

With a dangerous and sexy growl, Naruto broke his kiss and burned his gaze into hers as he pushed against her with a slow and meaningful thrust. His sex throbbed rigidly at her abdomen. She could feel the solid length of him, could feel the sheer size and strength of his steely shaft, even through the barrier of their clothes. And a flood of moist heat surged between Hinata's legs at the thought of his cock stretching and filling inside of her.

Oh God.

Without a word, Naruto slithered behind her and casted his jacket from her body to the ground. Then his hand was dipping inside her pants. His fingers easily slipped through the narrow patch of curls between her legs, then into her slippery cleft, where his fingers teased the aching flesh of her clitoris. The princess cried out as an insatiable hunger washed over her in a shivering wave.

"So good," her inner goddess confessed, her voice threadbare and raw with carnal desire.

Naruto's body was raging and taut as he eased one long finger inside of her, then another, caressing her from the inside. Hinata whimpered and writhed around that probing, not quite filling caress. "More," she begged endearingly. "Naruto-kun, please... I need more!"

She squeezed her thighs and writhed against him with a heat she had no power to control. Control — the word sounded familiar, but its meaning held no truth nor value in this moment of fiery need.

All of a sudden, Hinata pushed Naruto down into a sprawl, then she was on her feet and effortlessly stepping out of her pants. Soon after, he felt her hand working between them, urgently tugging against the button and zipper of his pants, even as she admired the stiff bump where his erection protruded. Then, finally, she freed him and her eyes gleamed at the strength and beauty of his member.

"So big..."

The princess wrapped her hand around him and gave the velvety shaft a slow stroke. It was brutally strong and hot in her tiny hand, and she couldn't help but be hopelessly intoxicated by the promising length and girth.

"Hinata…" Naruto whispered as she sat above him.

But the princess spared no time to answer or offer him a gaze. She merely tucked locks of her behind her ear and traced her tongue along the lean, veiny length of him.

Naruto trembled and bit his lip, and his masculinity roared a silent curse as the girl took his hard crown into her moist mouth. She coaxed his desire to flames with tongue and lips, and he couldn't help but return the bittersweet torment with the way her plumb and enticing vagina was bursting through her lacy panties.

Hinata twisted and turned in delicious agony, her body hot and burning under the skill of his tongue. She was wet and pulsating for him, out of her mind and burning with desire. Naruto kissed and licked her, his hand fast and unrelenting on her thigh and the other gripping her panties to the side, as he conceded to his carnal desires.

The sensation of his tongue spearing her flesh, and him suckling her deep inside his mouth, had the girl's inner goddesses screaming for more. Then Hinata came swiftly, harder than she could have imagined. Her legs were liquid, but still Naruto kept devouring her core, giving her no quarter, her body quaking and buckling as he lifted her toward the peak of another orgasm.

Before the princess's world could implode in a spiraling vortex of orgasmic waves, she pushed to her knees, shifted her panties to the side, and then secured herself onto his throbbing sex.

Her reality splintered then, and fell apart as the thick, lean, veiny muscle penetrated her deep and hard. The girls screamed as they all fell from their summit into the sweet spiral of another orgasm. And, before their world could right itself again, the princess's hips were rolling — and she tilted her head to the sky, as if chanting a prayer for mercy, as Naruto's sex filled and caressed her with perfect effectiveness and symmetry. Suddenly, his fingers were skimming over her clitoris again.

Release unfurled its downy wings and bore down on her again. It seized her in a fierce but velvety grasp, spun her high into a sensual reverie, then let her go, and she was falling, falling...

No, she was being lifted, she realized from within her amorous daze. Standing upright, Naruto cupped her behind and held her fast against the hard wall of his body, and her legs bounded around him without her even realizing it. He was naked now, and so was she, though she couldn't remember shedding anymore clothing.

Tightening her arms around his neck, Hinata allowed her lips to race over his face in her arousal, fevered with hunger, needing to feel him inside her again.

"Take me…" she whispered in a sweet plea. "Fill me, Naruto-kun. Please. Hurry."

He did not deny her.

The thick head of his cock pulsed, hard and demanding, at the entrance of her body. He was trembling, she realized dimly. His hard shoulders shook beneath her hands in his eagerness to enter her, and she wanted him to come apart like she had. She needed to have him inside her or she would go mad. She needed to be possessed, bruised and destroyed by him. Over and over, she wanted to feel every lean inch and taut vein of him pounding relentlessly inside her uterus, destructive shockwaves that would reverberate inside her belly.

"Fuck me!" Hinata asserted mindlessly.

Then Naruto breached her body with a deep, overwhelming thrust that quelled her dark desire. Hinata couldn't bite back her moan of pleasure as the lean length and width of him filled her, stretched her, impaled her to the core.

"Nnn-ahh!" She bit her lips, neat nails stabbing into his back as she accepted every hard, hot, throbbing inch of him.

Naruto fixed his face to her neck and groaned as he drew back, then plunged farther than before, crushing her backside and pulling her toward him to ensure he did just that. And Hinata couldn't help but cling desperately to him, her insides drenched and tightening as his sex assaulted, overwhelmed and conquered. Naruto cursed underneath his breath, and it was a dark, feral sound. His cock leaped within her, seemingly swelling even bigger with each relentless and delicious flex of his hips.

"So tight!" He breathed huskily, and his words only inflamed the princess even more.

She twined and clutched her fingers in his golden hair, gasping wordless, pleasured cries as his tempo increased. He thrusted and withdrew, he rolled and gyrated his hips, setting the stage for his own inevitable destruction. And, Hinata, too, felt the rush of an orgasm coiling in her belly.

In a gentle and fluid movement, Naruto eased them both down into the cushioning bed of the grassy plain, his length never leaving her center.

"Nnn! Naruto-kun... don't stop!"

The princess spread her legs as far as they could go and held on to him for dear life, as he continued to pump into her. It was all she could do as a raw scream tore from her throat and she was coming and coming and coming again, squirting volumes of liquid, even as Naruto groaned and his body jerked above her. His cock seemed to flail as it throbbed fiercely inside — hot, thick semen spewing into the deepest reaches of her womb. And she couldn't help but heave a smile as the warmth permeated throughout her core, holding her at that familair peak of pleasure.

Final Prophesy Fulfilled?

Enter Coatlicue & the Mystery of the Ring

Stealth and infiltration was a shinobi's forte, and there was no better time to put that skill into play than when an entire country sought to crush and imprison them. The gang had planned on going entirely ahead with their covert operation, given that patrol and surveillance would have supposedly thawed during the early hours passed midnight, but luck wasn't on their side.

Sure enough, the number of human soldiers had dwindled significantly, but there was only more of the robotic kind dispatched, by extension. And, if they sounded the alarm, no doubt soldiers would be teeming out into the streets from every direction.

Luckily, there were contingencies to their plan. As a diversion to lure most of their military might away, Naruto launched a Rasenshuriken toward the western border of the country. It collided into the barrier in a vicious power-struggle between opposing energies, and then the sphere detonated — obliterating the earth, trees and rocks in the vicinity with destructive force.


The diversion worked! The soldiers divided — whether of their own accord or a ranked officer's command, the troops split into many groups and made way for the sight of the upheaval, with only a few remaining at their posts. But, during that instant, even those that remained couldn't reestablish their composure faster than the shinobi could slip pass them within the shadows.

Inside the throne room, Kazemachi finally got to see the deviants responsible for the unrest in their fair city. With but an instructive sweep of his hand, the armed guards flocked down on the intruders, like flies on a cow's backside.

In a heartbeat, the image of Naruto seemed to phase out and then in. There was a sudden burst of gust behind his awesome speed, and then the weapons held fast in the soldiers' hands were destroyed. They were utterly devastated.

Standing, towering over his Jinchuuriki from behind, Kurama unfurled his nine tails and gave a menacing and acidic roar. Frowning deep — cast in the Kyuubi's intimating shadow — Naruto's glowing blue eyes seemed to pierce the man through with a clawing fear that bolted up his feeble spine.


The unspoken threat washed over the him with alarming effectiveness, and he found himself falling backwards and breaking out into a cold sweat. In that threatening moment, he knew with every fiber of his being that the outsider was like a natural force of nature; they couldn't stop or alter his course. Kazemachi could only hope the shinobi would take what he wanted and left without interfering anymore than he already had.

Quickly dismounting the Kyuubi, Princess Lucari accessed an ancient contraption hidden inside the throne chair that only the royal family could. Using the royal heirloom — a brooch — as the key, the golden chair with rose red cushions trembled as it shifted to the side revealing a hidden underground passageway.

And the gang speedily took to the stairs.

To secure their success in procuring what they sought, Shion used her barrier to seal the entrance. But with the soldiers rampaging against the chakra-made obstacle, it would only be a matter of time before Shion was at her limit and the screen shattered, along with their ambitions.

Kazemachi bit down on his fingernail, engrossed in the diabolical schemes that would often invade his mind. Even if the soldiers should succeed in shattering the forcefield, they couldn't possibly win in a fair fight against the group. Instead, the man opted to focus his efforts and resources on erasing those that could be erased. After those elements were eliminated and posed no farther threat to his plans, he would concentrate all his might against the shinobi, if they warranted any further compromise.

Heaving a smile, Shion sighed in astonishment.

Damion looked down as he folded and unfolded his fingers. "Oh shit! For sum reason, I'm startin' to feel rejuvenated."

Lucari nodded gleefully. "Which should be the case for everyone," she explained quietly. "Since we are now inside the sacred cavern where the deity sleeps, we are being affected by its divine powers."

Naruto looked down at his palm, then he folded his fingers into a tight fist.


"Yeah, I can feel both my stamina and chakra being replenished," he said coolly, then casted Lucari a curious gaze in the almost pitch black darkness of the cavern. "I was told to come here and retrieve the deity, but what exactly does it do or even look like?"

Before the princess tackled the question, she clapped her hands thrice and the cave suddenly illuminated to reveal an interestingly tiled floor beneath their feet. Inside the small chamber was a makeshift bed and table, medical equipment and vials, along with other small furniture and wares that made up the mostly contemporary decor.

"Your guess is as good as ours," Lucari responded over gasps and sighs of astonishment. "The only thing we know is that, whenever people enter this place, they are slowly healed. Consequently, at some point, this cave was made into a medical facility that would complement a doctor's work in the case of an emergency.


"But…?" Damion urged.

Ekodae sighed inwardly. "This cave lies beneath the throne room and it is basic social etiquette that the royal halls ought not be frequented by commoners. And then there is the fact that the deity's existence is strictly private, which resulted in the council refusing to commercialize it for treatment. Only certain figureheads were eligible."

Nobody bothered to argue their points about how unfair and prejudice that custom was — after all, they had a hot date with blowing up Yokotsue's mansion later. Now who said destruction couldn't be sweet and rewarding?

Spreading out on their own individual explorations, Lucari found herself tentatively resting her fingers on the makeshift bed and skimming her fingertips along the sheets that were tarnished by age and dirt. Ekodae stood at a distance watching her, knowing quite well what distressed her.

Naruto and Hinata were assessing the wall supposedly blocking their way into the heart of the cavern, while Damion and Shion where inspecting the symbols thoroughly engraved in the walls, which held a close resemblance to the ones they had seen before.

"Everyone," the priestess called, winning the explorers' undivided attention. "Over here! There is more allegory on the wall. But, as much as they are inscribed deeply, there are deteriorations in the wall that make it difficult to read word-for-word. So, I will attempt to summarize.

Give me a moment."

They waited.

Oh. Who would've thought…, she mused to herself. Then everyone fell silent when she sucked in a breath of air. "Okay, so it would seem this is a continuation of the story we learnt earlier today.

It states that, even though the people had left the Land of Demons with the intention of abandoning a life of enlightenment and depending solely on technology, it was ultimately because the leader was relatively enlightened why they thrived.

Apparently, it was the aura of the deity that led the chief to the island they now settled, which had a source of water and food to replenish his followers that were at death's door. However, the man was so ashamed that he still ended up having to depend on divinity, that he ordered a tomb to be constructed around the shrine to hid the truth. Then he colonized the land and from henceforth, it was called Exzzodia.

It also says that, up until about four-hundred years ago, the island of Exzzodia was still connected to the continent where the Cloud Country is located."

"There are so many levels of irony to all dis," Damion began. "On planet Giggas, tha' natives there believe dat tha' sun is a deity, 'an sum spiritualists believe dat all of nature holds individual deities — tha' trees, tha' mountains, tha' rivers 'an tha' lakes. 'An yet, Yokotsue harnesses tha' power of tha' sun 'an divine tree to power tha' city 'an its barrier."

"I was thinking the exact same thing," Shion agreed.

"Region is so complicated," Kurama murmured wearily.

Lucari and Hinata giggled at the truth of that.

"It's amazing just how much people will twist and abandon their own rules and customs for their own convenience — and then they just bounce back, as if nothing happened." Naruto's eyes darkened gravely as he said the words, as if he were caught in a daze. Then he turned his back to the sealed door to face everyone, the light in his eyes rekindling with sudden urgency.

He looked to Shion and Lucari and then, finally, to Hinata. "I left two Kage Bunshin to watch over the cave where I found Kabuto," his eyes narrowed. "Apparently, there's been significant activity underground. It looks like Kabuto cured himself and is up to something, which means that we're almost out of time."

Hinata cupped her hands at her chest and nodded. "Hn. We need to hurry back and warn everyone, before we're at a disadvantage."

Now Naruto was gazing at Lucari with such intensity that the girl's throat went dry in her anxiousness. "How do we get to the deity from here?"

The princess swallowed. "We do not know; no one has ever been able to access the shrine, which is merely another reason why our ancestors decided to seal it away inside this tomb."

"Then… wuz dis all just a waste of time?" Damion asked frustratingly.

Shion shook her head in denial, wondering if Naruto was going to openly ridicule her linked pre-cognition and his prophesy. "As with most sacred caverns, there should be a switch or lever hidden somewhere in the walls or floor that opens the path to the inner sanctum. Let's search."

"Right!" Everyone agreed.

Spreading out once more, the gang thoroughly inspected the walls — skimming their fingertips and palm over the hard, cold concrete and dipping their fingers into cracks and fissures, trying to locate any hidden switches. But it was Naruto and Hinata, who were still standing by the door, who found a suspicious keyhole at its center.

"Can't we just blow a hole through tha' wall?" Damion said in his frustration, unsheathing one of his blades just halfway, electricity flickering violently along the shiny steel frame.

Naruto raised a hand in his disapproval. "How about we just check out this keyhole I found, before we move on to the blasting."

"Besides," Shion added. "I don't know how the deity would feel about you blowing a hole through its front door."

Damion looked disappointed. "'An here I thought I wud finally be able to go wild," he murmured, thrusting his sword back inside.

For closer observation, the gang huddled together at the wall, gazing at the tiny recession in the door — well, they've all been assuming it's a door, because its hue was much darker than the other dimensions of the wall. But there were no hinges, bolts, or visible fissures around it that suggested as such.

Damion made a low hissing sound — the kind that would normally be used in an awkward situation or to embellish sarcasm. "Yeah~! We wouldn't 'ave a locksmith in our midst, wud we?"

Naruto thought about that for a while. "The only thing I can tell you is that this is the weirdest keyhole I've ever seen."

"It's bigger than your typical keyhole, isn't it?" Hinata agreed.

Shion looked to Lucari and Ekodae, everyone else did, too. "I am afraid we are just as clueless as you are," the princess admitted.

"I am sorry we can no longer be of help to you," Ekodae apologized sincerely.

"It's fine," Hinata reassured quietly, her expression warm and true. "You guys have done more than enough."

"She's right," Naruto concurred huskily. "If anything, we should be thanking you both for believing our story and agreeing to help—"

Suddenly, he felt an impulse from his left hand, in his fingers. He cutted his sentence short, glaring down at that hand and tuning into the sporadic echoes that spoke to his mind.

"Yo, Big Man," Damion began. "What's wrong?"

"Naruto-kun?" Hinata reached out to him worrisomely.

"Shh...," he instructed quietly.

Clearing his mind, he allowed his senses to fall — down and even farther then, free-falling beyond the scope of his subconscious and even then, down to his visceral receptors. Allowing his shoulders to sag, he was entirely in tune and sensitive to feeling. It was then that he felt a thread overlapping with his aura, then he suddenly knew what the pulsations meant. It was the Coatlicue Ring — it was resonating with the keyhole and whatsoever was beyond this concreate barricade.

Without a word, Naruto slipped off his engagement ring and set it inside the keyhole. Suddenly, there was a reaction — not a sound, not a tremor, but a spiritual and symmetrical click. Intuitively, everyone knew then, without a shadow of a doubt, what that meant.

Radiant lights of gold and sapphire zipped along the walls — like the invisible electrical signals of a computer chip — gathering at the keyhole. With each beam of light that entered, the door dematerialized until there was only the ring.

And it hovered long enough for Naruto to unfurl his hand.

Then it fell into his palm.


Everyone were flabbergasted.

Instead of questioning the inner-mechanics of the preternatural, Naruto cautiously ambled inside the newly unlocked chamber and began looking around. Everyone shared a gaze and followed suit. With time now running dangerously distant from their favor, there was no longer space for idle.

"Strange," Naruto murmured, admiring the ceramic finish of the walls around them. The smooth texture was of an amber brown, with a spiral ripple effect embossed in a lighter hue of the background color. "Considering the trials Hinata and I have been through in the past, I figured getting in would've been far more challenging."

Shion smiled, relieved. "Perhaps the Great Keeper of Time have realized the urgency of the situation and decided to cut to the chase."

"Really, Shion," Damion glared at her teasingly. "You're tha' last person I expected dat from; being all spirity 'an all." He chuckled.

"What? I'm serious!"

"So, this is the inner sanctum of the shrine…" Lucari uttered, almost in a trace.

"Aye," Ekodae replied, resting a supporting hand upon her shoulder. "This is the truth our ancestors endeavored to seal away centuries ago. I did not think I would live to see the day that, what was meant to be forgotten… is now revealed."

"Hn," Lucari nodded.

Naruto was barely able to sustain his impatience, but he managed to keep his voice and expressions even. "The question now is how do we summon the deity?"

Hinata looked to Shion, evidently for answers or some reliable measure of theory. This was her field of expertise, after all — and she was the one who had the linked-pre-cognition.

The girl didn't wait until Naruto decided to burn his anxious, oceanic eyes into hers, too. She made herself busy, looking passed the illuminated tiled floor and the ripple designs on the walls until, finally, she spotted something promising.

"There's something written on the wall over there," she pointed, even as she made her way across the floor to inspect. "It's ancient hieroglyphics!"

"Will you be able to decipher it?" Hinata queried hopefully.

Shion skimmed her eyes across the age-old imagery, still perfectly engraved in the ceramic, before she recklessly ignited any false hope. "Well, I haven't been neglecting my studies, so I should be able to translate it. Etto…"

Everyone waited quietly, refraining from distracting her. Naruto may have been good on keeping his impatience in check, but they could all still feel the anxiousness rolling off his body, like a deadly miasma. He was like a human bomb that could go off at any second, and no one wanted to be the detonator.

"Simple enough," Shion finally said, looking around the room as she made references to what she was reading. "Naruto, this is what it states:

To lay claim to the power of rejuvenation, stand upon the Blocks of Taxation. But, know that only those deemed worthy will be bestowed with what they seek. If you believe yourself as such, then rise to this moment of truth."

Naruto did so without hesitation nor remorse — he ambled to the center of the room where a massive, cone-shaped crystal jutted downward from the ceiling, stepped atop a low pedestal and rested both hands upon a pair of roughed crystal orbs that flanked him on both sides.

He could feel when an ancient and unrecognized energy invaded him, reverberating back to its source, like a chain reaction, to rekindle all the flames that had extinguished over the span of hundreds of years.

All three crystals pulsated and glowed a bright aquamarine as life returned to the barren shrine. Light played on the ceramic walls, making the ripple effects seem to come alive. But, once the ritual began, it was Hinata who was caught in a pillar of light. It was only then that they realized sections of the tiled floor was imbued in white and some green.

Did this hold any significance?

While everyone was backing away from her, Naruto was the only one desperately proceeding forward. Damion had already unsheathed his dual blades, his eyes snapping from left to right as he tried to assimilate his target. But the kunoichi was already in a bind, her strength slowly leaving her, and she sunk to her knees under the weight of her distress.

"Hinata!" Naruto exclaimed worrisomely, throwing himself down beside her. "Hinata! What's wrong? What's happening to you?"

The princess's cheeks were flushed as she breathed through parted lips, but she couldn't spare enough to respond to his call.

As if a wild and outraged beast, drunk from anger to protect its mate, Naruto joined Damion in attempting to understand their situation in the room. His blood was boiling, pulsing hot and fast through his veins, and he wanted, needed to lash out and utterly obliterate the one responsible for his woman's anguish.

In that instant, as if honoring the shinobi's malicious request, the deity manifested itself in a spiritual form within the crystal protruding from the ceiling. It was a woman. With transparent wings, flowing blue hair and mature features, it looked like a fairy from a fictional novel. But Naruto didn't care.

Before the deity could speak, he spat a feral and acidic curse from his lips that was incorporated into the threat he made. Then he forged a Rasengan that screeched with the ferocity of his rage, intent on using the lethal sphere if he didn't receive answers.

Without flinching or breaking a sweat, the deity simply recited the hieroglyphics that Shion had read aloud, emphasizing three key words as she did, her voice velvety and saturated with magic and majesty:

To lay claim to the power of rejuvenation, stand upon the "Blocks" of "Taxation". But, know that only those deemed "worthy" will be bestowed with what they seek. If you believe yourself as such, then rise to this moment of truth.

The deity continued to explain that the Blocks of Taxation wasn't limited to the pedestal on which Naruto had stood, but the colored cobblestones that all of them were standing on. Hence, the most ideal candidate was chosen to be vested with the power — and that was Hinata.

"There is no need for worry," the entity reassured pleasantly, and with great confidence. "Your fiancée will not be harmed; however, the process of summoning me to this realm from mine is quite taxing, which is simply an offering of spiritual energy."

"Fiancée?!" Everyone, especially Lucari and Shion, looked to Naruto and Hinata in abject shock.

"And forging a contract is also done through an exchange of chakra signature."

"…Does this mean Hinata will be the one to receive your power?" Naruto asked as he held his arm around her back for support, his lips pressed to a hard line.


He frowned inwardly. This arrangement was only going to make it that more difficult to keep her away from the fighting — now, she had more of an obligation to be as involved as possible.

"Hinata… are you ready to forge the contract?"

"Ha-Hai," she nodded with a determined gleam in her eyes.

"Very well, then. Clear your mind and accept my invitation."

Conceding to the final phase of the ritual summoned a blinding white light in the crystal, which seemed to act as a bridge between the two worlds; ushering the deity into the living world, who was now hovering above the room. Next, Hinata began glowing, and Naruto released her as the princess, too, began levitating above them.

The girls writhed and gave an adorable mule as feathery ribbons of spiritual energy ejected from one to the other, filling them both with the essence of the other. It was a natural, almost sensual feeling, and every fiber of their being could establish the symmetrical connection they shared — this was coexistence; this was psynergy; this was destiny.

Soon enough, the lights subsided and Hinata floated back down into Naruto's arms. She was unconscious, but breathing just fine, a neat smile stretching her lips.

"There is no need to worry," a sweet feminine voice came wafting from a dissipating mist. Then a tall, voluptuous woman ambled forward. She was like a mixture between a Greek Goddess and an Arabic Queen. She was garbed in many silky fabrics that wound and flowed about her in regal splendor. She sported many jewelry — from piercings to necklaces to bangles on both her hands and legs, and her makeup was more of a design than to accentuate her already captivating beauty.

"She is merely exhausted," the deity continued, even as she reached for the girl with a mystical glow in her hand. "The contract was a success; I am now a part of her."

With a warm smile, the woman touched the girl's chest, imparting a measure of power inside the her. And Hinata took a deep breath, her back arching in Naruto's arms as seemingly new life, renewed stamina, was breathed into her, reenergizing her entire system.

In moments, Hinata's eyes blinked open. She had a quiet and complacent look on her face but, as Naruto looked deeper into her eyes, he could recognize a hint of grief. Slowly, his eyes changed into a warm sapphire glow that she could more than understand.

"...I'm sorry, Naruto-kun," she apologized meekly.

"…You remember our promise, right?"

"Hn," she nodded reassuringly, resting a hand atop her tummy. "I promise to look after us both. I won't become a burden to you, Naruto-kun," her hand was cupping his face now. "I want you to give it your all, when we get back out there. And I'll be behind you, all the step of the way."

It was only when the couple broke from their trace, that they realized everyone were huddled beside them, openly eavesdropping on their touching moment.

"Well. Well. Well," Damion teased with a smug grin, chibirized.

Lucari had a frown of petulance on her face and a fierce blush in her cheeks, while Shion had her teeth sunk into a handkerchief, pulling the defenseless material with both hands.

"Hinata!" She murmured between her teeth and cloth. "What are you doing to my Naruto?"

Lucari, on the other hand, could only fume inwardly. She didn't have the courage nor the superpowers to compete with her gifted counterparts — and that frustrated her beyond comprehension. She needed to get a mecha-suit of her own.

"Coatlicue…" Hinata whispered, looking to the deity now. The name flowed from her lips, her mind, as if it were imprinted there through their spiritual connection. "Thanks for restoring my energy."

"Coatlicue…" Shion asked questioningly. "Is that your name?"

Everyone looked to the radiant deity, but especially Naruto who knew the appellation is that which was given to the ring he wore — and his engagement ring, for that matter. Was this all just a coincidence, or a play of fate that stretched beyond their scope of understanding?

"Coat-li-cue, eh?" Damion pronounced in a slow drawl. "'Dat's a tongue-twister."

"I'm confused," Naruto said putting Hinata down, then he was looking to the wedding band perfectly cupping finger. "Are you and the Coatlicue Ring somehow connected?"

The deity nodded.

"When I received the ring in the Iron Country," Hinata began. "I was told a seal was placed on it by a smithy's wife — thus, giving the bearer the power to heal and even bring back the dead."

The deity smiled amusingly, intrigued by the tale.

Damion placed a curved hand to his chin. "Hmm. Judgin' by her expression, it looks like you were told a steamin' pile 'a crud."

The Hyūga princess looked to her newly established partner, seeking to be told the truth of it.

"Make no mistake," the deity began, her tender voice seeming to mend the deeply lodged fatigue that no measure of nutrients or sleep could remedy. "You people are not the first to have sought my power, nor the first to succeed. There are many who acquired the Coatlicue Ring and entered this place. And, it is not uncommon for many legends to be borne from a wanted source of power. Over the span of years, information tends to be distorted and changed as it passes through different channels and mediums."

Shion tucked her handkerchief into her coat. "Then it's more than likely a case where the smithy's wife came here with the ring, forged a contract with you, and passed away without ever giving an explanation."

"But then," Hinata began. "Why did I get the impression that anyone with possession of the ring could access its power?"

"The ring acts as both an individual power source and a limiter for my power," the deity pointed to the silver accessory on Naruto's finger. "However, it's power only lasts for several years, before I have to replenish it myself. Whomever holds the ring during this time can utilize its power."

"And what about this current ring?" Lucari asked curiously.

The woman looked to the piece of silver keenly, as if to certify her conclusion. "This ring as long since lost its power. However, since Hinata holds tremendous chakra inside her, I do not need to depend on the use of the ring."

"I see. And… is your name truly Coatlicue?" Hinata wondered.

The deity was silent for a while, as if skimming through the expansive archive of her mind that stretched through to the beginning of time. "I have been asleep for a very long time and, even before that, I was referred to as Coatlicue by my masters. I have forgotten my name..."

"Akiko…" Hinata announced suddenly.

"Uh. What do you—"

"It means bright light," the princess interjected sweetly. "From now on, your name will be Akiko..."

The deity blinked at the sudden import of emotions. For the first time since they all met, she looked truly human — defenseless, self-conscious, even more beautiful. And a smile tugged at her lips as tears burned the back of her eyes. "Hinata. Thank you."

The princess heaved a Naruto-grin, which was quite uncharacteristic of her, but that's how she felt — warm, happy, and truly appreciative of her new friend.

"Akiko…" Naruto was the first to use her newly appointed name.

But the deity didn't give him the chance to continue — after all, she knew they were in a rush against time. Her hand was already on his chest, ushering him into silence. "I know of the questions that lie unanswered in Hinata's heart; I know of the answers you seek."

With that, the woman launched into a brief synopsis to satisfied the shinobi's questions. Apparently, as they had come to prove, the door to the shrine's inner sanctum opens using the Coatlicue Ring. However, if the chosen one (being Hinata, in this case) had simply touched the door, it would have automatically opened, too. If Naruto had come alone and managed to get inside with the Coatlicue Ring, then he would have been vested with the power — although, he would not have been able to exploit it to its fullest potential, as he was not fully compatible.

Hinata was a more suitable host, as she knew the basics — and more — about medical Ninjutsu.

While Naruto being sent here was a journey dictated by a prophesy, she couldn't tell whether being in possession of the Coatlicue Ring and even bringing Hinata here was mere coincidence or just strategically orchestrated moves by the divine hands of fate.

"But one thing is for certain," she said in quiet urgency. "You are the only one capable of stopping the evil that plagues this world."

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