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 Post subject: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-06-29 04:16am
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Sith Devotee
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Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
So, I'm bored and spinning my wheels a bit. I'm working on a sci-fi original veeeery slow. I have like 30 pages of the most ridiculous sequence in the Open Door written down (well, the truly ridiculous parts have yet to be written, but I already have a certain jingoistic robot involved). Anyway, over a year and a half ago the reading of three fanfics crystallized into something very bizarre in my mind and thus from Children of an Elder God, Once More with Feeling, and Shinji and Warhammer 40k was Thousand Shinji born. I mentioned these way back then, so if this has even the slightest chance of ballooning like TS did, I feel that blame... err... credit... no, no, actually let's go with blame... should be given where its due.

Fault for what is about to come can thus be assigned to these fuckers right here. Right here.

Carrotglace
S'TarKan
Nugar
(Sub-blame can also be assigned to the projectionist of my anime club for pointing out the works of one and the specific work of another)

If you know of these authors, you will possibly be able to guess what is to come by the commonality between them (aside from raw awesome). If you choose to close down your browser in disgust, I will not blame you as frankly I prefer their work to the source material. To the uninitiated, I may have shot myself in the head with this first chapter just to ease the transition in that I have attempted at times to obscure the origins of the universes being crossed to avoid some of the stigma caused by the sheer number of highly vocal retards and idiots attached to the fandom. If you have no idea of what I speak, then perhaps you will find this enjoyable simply on its own merits (that or very confusing). If you enjoy the source material (which honestly isn't terrible in of its own right) then you should hopefully understand that I hang my head in shame more over the hooting masses attached to the series than the actual series itself.

Of course, there is another universe involved in this crossover, and while looking back at everything I have just written I could easily apply those words to either series, I will admit to vastly and unashamedly enjoying one series over the other. Of course, in following with the obfuscation of the first chapter I have made the second part of this mixing even harder to figure out if you don't know the lore of the series involved. I'm going for the slow, dawning 'Oh crap' sort of feel for this one. It has also produced a somewhat disjointed work. Ah well, its a work in progress as I am much more comfortable with one universe over the other.

Anyway, on with the show. Please save all plant products, be they vegetative or floral, for the end.

---

The village burned. The devastation was incredible even from a distance as the common folk fled into the forests to avoid the destruction caused by the attack while the shinobi attempted to repulse the monstrosity destroying their homes. For simple farmers and shop keepers, it was like being caught in a war between the gods as the very air broke down beneath the assault and counter-assault of techniques and powers normal people had no explanation for aside from ‘magic’.

For Hiroshi and Yuuka Kuromori their only concern had been to escape the conflict right up until a few seconds ago when their priority of staying alive caused a slight shift in how to achieve that common goal. Thus, now instead of running they were frozen in their tracks staring down the length of a rather sharp looking sword carried by a very strange looking woman.

If she was a woman. She wore strange armour that concealed most of her body, including her face, while still showing off enough hints of femininity that one considered her female when looking at her. However, there was something else aside from just the armour that made her look strange. Her proportions had an air of strangeness, a litheness that seemed unnatural and uncomfortable to examine in close detail. Not that the Kuromoris paid much attention to anything but the sword pointed at them or the lines of red blood steadily spreading out from a wound in the near side of the woman’s armour. She had something hidden in her left hand behind her body.

Then of course there was the strange language she was screeching at them with, neither one understanding a thing she said. She seemed to switch between several different languages in an attempt to communicate, desperation steadily growing in her voice as her blood drained away. Finally she pointed her sword directly at Yuuka and twitched her head, gesturing for her to advance. When Yuuka hesitated the woman sliced a tree with her sword, the motion little more than a flicker that left a decades-old hardwood crashing to the ground.

Crying out in fear, Yuuka started to approach with her husband but the strange woman just hissed in anger and pointed her sword at Hiroshi threateningly. Apparently she only wanted Yuuka close. Nodding, Hiroshi backed off, his stomach doing somersaults in fear as his wife approached the terrifying figure.

When Yuuka within arms reach of the woman, the strange being turned and revealed what she had hiding behind her. A small bundle of formerly white cloth now soaked with blood was carefully cradled in her left hand and along the crook of her arm. She practically thrust the bundle into Yuuka’s arms and then glared at her behind her impenetrable mask before all the strength seemed to rush out of her.

Duty done, the woman’s knees collapsed and she keeled over, landing face first on the forest floor. Now visible her back had been completely shredded by some unknown and possibly unknowable weapon. How she had stood so firm in front of them for so long was a mystery, but it was obvious that she had held on to life as long as she could to deliver her package.

Holding the bundle in her arms, Yuuka could feel it squirm a bit. Already suspecting, she unwound some of the bloodied cloth to reveal the face of a newborn beneath, perhaps only a few days old. The child’s eyes were closed, but even looking at the babe Yuuka could already tell that there was something otherworldly about the child. The features were off, slightly distorted from what was normal, slightly sharper and lither in ways that were unsettling on an unconscious level.

Still, the message of the armoured woman was clear. This was her child and she was dying, so she needed someone, anyone, to take care of her baby. Yuuka looked at Hiroshi and he nodded. They had tried for years unsuccessfully to conceive. Perhaps that fact had drawn the dying woman to them, or perhaps it was just good fortune.

Further unwrapping the bloody cloth about child’s head face a bit more, both gasped out when they uncovered a truly strange feature, definitely the least human so far. They glanced over at the mother of the babe, and Hiroshi went over to her fallen body. He went to remove the full face helmet, but his fingers stopped short. Did he really want to know? Finally he just shook his head and said, “Whatever this fey creature is, we will leave her be.”

In the distance a spirit howled as it was sealed away, reminding the two of what had forced them into the forest in the first place. They ran, now with a third member to their party.

The next day after returning to the ruins of the village Hiroshi took a shovel out into the woods. He was not the only man to do so, as many needed burying. He was perhaps one of the few to bury a stranger though.

Years passed, the peculiar family living on the edge of the village keeping mostly to their own to hide the peculiarities of their adopted daughter from the cruelties of others. Giving her the name Yukiko, they raised her as their own despite the fact that she was a distant, aloof child. The connections between adoptive parent and child were tenuous and almost ethereal at times, but on occasion the storm clouds about her heart would break to reveal true rays of sunshine to them.

Not to anyone else though. Not encouraged to socialize with others due to the uncomfortable questions they could ask, she did not seek out such attention, floating above the concerns of other children. If not for her parents she probably would have wandered out into the forests and disappeared long ago.

It wasn’t that she was cold, precisely; it was that she had little time for others. She barely tolerated introductions, and the reactions of most to her caused her to simply refuse to communicate with them further. If she was cold, then it was the cold of a wind that preceded a thunderstorm. So she spent her free time alone, wandering out in the forests that surrounded and hid the village, chasing the ghosts of dreams.

Strangely, despite her refusal to associate with others, her dreams were filled with cheers of approval. She wandered into the depths of the woods, imagining the natural sounds and echoes as the roars of tens of thousands of throats hailed her. She could not explain where these dreams came from or what they meant, but she spent her days and nights trapped within them, not truly understanding them.

Dancing about between the shadows and light cast by the sun high overhead filtering through the trees, Yukiko twirled about, her feet ever sure and light by nature. The hood she used to hide her face from the world slipped down as she followed the unheard chanting of a name that was not hers and yet was in a way that Yukiko was not.

Her instinctive dance coming to a stop in a patch of sunlight, she threw up her hands to the sky in victory, a breeze rustling the leaves sounding like the applause of a crowd beyond imagination in number or character.

Yukiko’s daydream however was interrupted by actual applause. Twirling about in anger she saw a young boy of about her age clapping excitedly. He then cried out, “That was awesome!”

Her face hardening into cold fury, Yukiko pulled her hood back up and turned her back on the boy, set to storm away when he ran up to her and asked, “Hey! Why are you so angry?”

“I have little patience for fools,” Yukiko spat.

“Awww… come on, I’m not stupid,” the boy pouted in a most idiotic manner.

“I said ‘fool’, not ‘idiot’, although I have even less patience for them and you are clearly both,” Yukiko replied icily.

Frowning at her, the boy then got all indignant and puffed out his chest. “Oh, so you’re like everyone else? Calling me an idiot or a dumbass or a fool? Well I’ll show you just like I’ll show everyone else! I’ll become the greatest ninja the world has ever seen! Then we’ll see who the fool is!”

Yukiko just rolled her eyes and tried to sidestep the boy, but she found to her surprise that he at least matched her agility. Somehow this disturbed her on a fundamental, instinctive level. She glared at him and asked, “How did you do that?”

The boy looked confused for a moment before he struck up a pose and said, “When you’re destined to become a great ninja like me, all things come easy!” He then burst out laughing.

Yukiko just sort of stared at him for a time before she started to giggle. This boy was sure born to be a clown and the only thing one could do in response to a clown was to either laugh or cry in fear, and she was not particularly intimidated by him.

“Hey! What are you laughing at? I will be great! You’ll see and you’ll be sorry!” The boy exclaimed.

“You painted clown, you are only good for the entertainment of others!” Yukiko told him before moving off again.

Touching his cheeks, the boy then hissed like a boiling kettle and cried out, “It’s not paint! You’re just like everyone else!”

Rounding back on him, Yukiko growled, “I am nothing like the common crowd! They are scum! You are scum! You and those like you cannot see greatness standing before them!”

“Great? All I see is a stuck up girl who isn’t even a ninja wandering about in the woods!” The boy shouted out.

“And all I see is a loudmouthed fool! Let me show you greatness!” Yukiko cried out before dropping her hood once more and then she went for the band of cloth about her head. Normally she loathed the look in the face of others when they saw her like this, but right now wanted to see that boy’s face twisted up in disgust and fear.

She removed the band about her forehead and let him look at her face in full. His eyes went wide for a moment, but then instead of disgust a look of sadness crossed his eyes and he slumped over dejectedly. Then he said something that hit Yukiko almost like a physical blow.

“I’m sorry.”

Her eyes bugging out, Yukiko sputtered out, “Wha… what did you just say?”

“I’m sorry,” the boy replied. “You probably get made fun of a lot by stupid people. They make fun of me and I don’t like it. So I’m sorry if you thought I was making fun of you.”

Nothing like this had ever really happened to Yukiko before. She tried to think of some response and she just ended up saying a lame, “You do act like a fool.”

His glare was ferocious enough to make her back up a step and he cried out, literally as tears were streaming down his face, “I do not! Everyone just points to be and says, ‘Look at the orphan! No one wants him! Go away!’ Well I’ll show them!”

Now it was like Yukiko had been stabbed in the gut. Her whole body seemed to deflate and now it was her turn to hang her head and say, “I’m sorry.”

The boy seemed a little shocked, but not as much as she had been before. He then asked, “You’re really sorry?”

Yukiko nodded as if her head were made from lead and her neck from rubber, but she said, “Yeah… I… I’m adopted and I look like this and…”

She felt anger like the heart of a volcano well up inside her. Her parents had long ago explained that she was adopted as her mother had died during some sort of disaster and they had taken her in. They were tight lipped about what had actually happened, saying they would explain more when she was ready, although at times she felt that they didn’t know much more either. There were days when she felt like she had been abandoned by her true parents, that they didn’t really want her.

“Oh,” the boy said before he grinned and gave her a thumbs-up. “Well I think you look cool.”

Yukiko smiled at that. Even her own parents had never really complimented her like that. She then said, “I’m Yukiko Kuromori.”

“Naruto Uzumaki of course!” the boy replied cheerfully.

“You never actually told me before,” Yukiko pointed out.

Naruto’s brow furrowed in confusion for a moment before he shrugged and said, “Well one day everyone’s going to cheer my name! Friends?”

Yukiko nodded and said, “I still think you’re a clown… but maybe you’re not so stupid. Friends.”

Naruto cheered and ran in a little circle as a tiny victory lap before he said, “Awesome! Come on, let’s go do friend stuff!”

“Which would be?” Yukiko asked.

Naruto shrugged and said, “I don’t know, I’ve never had a friend before. Let’s find out!”

Thus began a rather strange relationship as Naruto and Yukiko would meet up in the forests outside the village when they could and they would just sort of walk around and talk about things, often times Naruto telling Yukiko about his dreams or what he had learned in the academy. They would also often share their disgust with other people and Naruto would brag about the latest juvenile prank he had pulled that day.

For two weeks this went on, with Yukiko listening patiently and slowly forcing Naruto to slow down a bit while around her while Naruto got her to try out some of the ‘super cool ninja moves’ he had learned at the academy before Yukiko made up her mind about things. After a session of ‘friend stuff’ with Naruto she went home and found her parents at the kitchen table preparing dinner. Lowering her hood, she looked at them and said, “I wish to join the ninja academy.”

Her parents both looked at each other with a worried look on their faces before Hiroshi nodded and left the room while Yuuka sat down in a nearby chair and said, “Come here Yukiko. We were wondering if this day would come.”

“This is about my parents… my biological parents,” Yukiko stated more than asked. She had almost said ‘real parents’ but she had long ago come to terms with the fact that her real parents were the ones who had raised her.

Her mother nodded and said, tears start to glitter at the edges of her eyes, “Yes. We never knew her and she never knew us, but she loved you very much. She was dying when she found us, and the only thing on her mind was getting you to safety. We’ll never know if she intended for us to have you or if we were merely the closest people she could find, but I think it was the latter.”

“How did she die?” Yukiko asked, a question she had asked many times before, but this was the first time she actually expected an answer.

Returning from the attic with a long object wrapped in a bundle of canvas cloth, her father replied, “She died of wounds sustained in battle. She was a warrior of some sort, and this was her blade.”

Gently placing the bundle on the table, Hiroshi opened it to reveal a long, thin slashing blade of dull metal. The hilt and pommel were made of some strange, glossy black substance. The weapon seemed like a coiled snake, ready to leap out and bite the incautious. Yukiko reached out to touch it but her father just shook his head and said, “I don’t know what it’s made of, but you could slice off a finger just with a careless brush against the blade. Look at the canvas.”

Recoiling slightly, Yukiko took a look and found that the wrappings for the blade had been cut to ribbons where contact with the edge had been. She then looked up at her father and asked, “Why show me then?”

Her father frowned and said, “Because it is yours. If you truly wish to train at the academy, then one day you will know how to handle such a blade, as your mother did.”

Yukiko was quiet for a time before she nodded thoughtfully. Outside she was calm, but inside she was boiling over. One day she would be a ninja, and on that day she would have earned the right to that sword, something that was hers by birthright. She would have it.

Somewhere in the back of her mind the cheering became louder and more discordant.

The next day she and her parents went into the village to the ninja academy where dozens of children and adolescents practiced a wide variety of martial arts out on training grounds or studied the theories in large, lecture style classrooms. Yukiko kept quiet, uninterested in the people, but her eyes darted about with interest at the various weapons and techniques on display.

They then met with one of the instructors and discussed what it would take for Yukiko to enter into the academy, and they discovered that surprisingly little was required to actually join, it was staying in that was tough. Most students had families who were also ninja who could support the students in their difficult studies.

Yukiko just shook her head at the teacher. She would do this, and nothing would stand in her way now that she had made up her mind to walk this path. The instructor shrugged and said she could start attending tomorrow once all the paperwork had been completed.

The next day she was shown to a classroom with other students of her age. A certain spiky haired blonde was amongst them and immediately shouted out, “Hey Yukiko! What are you doing here?”

Yukiko knew she would have to smack him for that later, but for now she just have to glare at him and everyone else sending suspicious glances her way. Once the teacher had finished introducing her she then said simply, “I am here to join you in your studies.”

Sitting down next to an excited Naruto, she just glanced at his excited puppy expression and shook her head before she settled down to start the lesson. Naruto seemed to rapidly calm down as he tried to focus, but Yukiko knew that he would not be able to pay attention for long and would probably soon fall asleep. She was also somewhat glad that the eccentricities of dress in the room meant that she doubted anyone would ever want to know what hid beneath her hood.

Her attention however was soon drawn from the instructor to the whispers of a pair of girls behind her. They probably thought Yukiko couldn’t hear her, but she had very sharp ears.

“Look at that bland, ugly girl sitting next to that loser Naruto. I bet she’s a freak just like he is,” one of them whispered.

“Look at that hood. I bet her hair is awful and that’s why she hiding it,” the other said. Both then tittered quietly at their own perceived superiority.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Naruto’s ear twitch. He had heard them as well and she could see his ire rapidly rising. Was this the sort of thing he put up with every day? If so then despite his frequent outbursts he must have far more patience than she attributed to him to not have gone on a killing spree already. However, before he said something to embarrass her, she quietly hissed, “Don’t say anything about my hair.”

He looked at her confused for a second before slumping over, doodling when he should have been paying attention to the lecture. Yukiko just rolled her eyes and tried to pay attention as well, but soon she felt the enthusiasm drain out of her as well. A lot of the theory was extremely dry and seemed almost beneath her.

The only bright moment that day though was when they started in on the physical training. Despite it only being her first day Yukiko excelled at those sorts of lessons, and she knew that if Naruto would just pay attention he would do much better than he did as well. A part of her also felt incredibly smug and self-satisfied to have out performed one of the girls who had been talking behind her back.

Finally the day ended and Yukiko motioned for Naruto to follow her. Excitedly bouncing alongside her, he said, “Oh man, now that you’re here this is going to be so great!”

Yukiko nodded coolly before she said, “Yes, but we still have a problem. Neither one of us is well respected. I also suspect when the full story of my family comes out things will grow worse. We must take steps to stop this now.”

“How?” Naruto asked curiously.

“Follow me into the woods,” Yukiko replied, a wicked grin spreading over her face as an idea formed.

Ever since she had taken to wandering the woods alone, her mother had started explaining to her the identities and uses of a variety of the things that grew there so that she would not hurt herself by ingesting something she shouldn’t. The ninjas knew much of the forest species for their uses as medicines or poisons, but the farmers and wood cutters knew some more mundane uses.

She and Naruto spent the rest of the afternoon and the early evening gathering what Yukiko would need. Well, mostly Naruto went running around the woods like an idiot and bringing back every bit of fungus or funny looking plant he could find and Yukiko rejected the majority of them as useless. That day they only found about half the ingredients they needed, but it was a good start.

The next day Yukiko asked Naruto to loudly talk to the girls who were their target during lunch, allowing her to carefully observe them without being noticed as everyone was looking in that direction. She had to admit that well used his attention getting style could be just as effective as stealth so long as someone else was around to take advantage of the distraction. She highly doubted it was intentional on his part though.

For a week they went out into the woods to gather what they needed, Naruto slowly getting the hang of what he was supposed to be doing, although Yukiko got the feeling it would take months of concerted effort on her part to get him to just concentrate on this one thing, let alone make attentive focus on tasks a life skill and habit.

A good week into the program they suffered their first set back when Yukiko tried to combine everything together only to end up with a complete mess. While she sat over the useless, frothing mass Naruto looked up at her and asked, “What were you trying to do?”

Hissing angrily at him, Yukiko said, “I was trying to make something my… mother… taught me…”

She trailed off into thought until Naruto waved a hand in front of her blank face at which point she snapped out of it and said, “Of course!”

That night she brought everything she had collected in to the house and plunked them down on the kitchen table and said, “Mom, could you help me out with a project for school?”

The next several days were spent practicing a peculiar skill, one that culminated in her father discovering somewhat painfully that he had put a little too much wasabi on his diner, something his wife chided him on as he gulped down as much water as he could while Yukiko giggled a little guiltily.

The next day and everything was ready. It had been about two weeks since Yukiko had joined the academy and a month since she had met Naruto, so she felt she had enough handle on him to say, “Remember, don’t say it was you or me, and don’t be the first to start laughing.”

Giving a big thumbs-up, Naruto said enthusiastically, “Gotcha!”

Shaking her head and thinking that he was probably going to give them away, Yukiko figured even if they got caught that it would be worth it. Besides, they were just practicing their core ninja skill set with this little prank.

Yukiko spent nearly the entire morning practically vibrating in her seat with anticipation, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Finally though lunch arrived and Yukiko had to use her entire will to keep from grinning like the cat that caught the canary. Reaching into her pocket, she discretely pulled out two little objects that looked remarkably like clumps of sticky white rice.

With the utmost patience and care she quietly flicked a bundle into each of the lunch boxes of her targets. She then watched carefully out of the corner of her eye as the two ate up everything, her face finally splitting into a grin for a brief moment. Revenge was hers, and now all that was left was the inevitable fall out.

It started about an hour later when one of the girls was idly running a hand through her hair, only to pause in horror, her hand suspended next to her head in shock. She slowly turned to her friend next to her and started sputtering. Her friend looked her way and her eyes went wide.

Hanging loosely from her fingers was a mass of pink strands of hair. It only took the look on Ino’s face for Sakura to completely lose it and start freaking out, shrieking out in horror as she grasped at her hair to make sure it was there, only to accelerate the rate at which it fell out. Ino touched her own hair to make sure it was alright, only to discover that she too had ingested the same hair killing toxin.

Chaos spread fairly quickly as the two of them shrieked and cried as their long hair started to fall out at the roots. For his part Naruto held out for quite some time before he finally burst out laughing, which for once everyone seemed to agree with. This triggered a second round of freaking out as the two girls attempted to escape the humiliating laughter of the classroom while the instructor tried to regain control.

Yukiko’s laughter was the last to die down fully as a cruel smile crossed her face. Stupid grooming monkey bitches. That would teach them to insult her when they thought she couldn’t hear them!

Yukiko then paused for a moment and had to restrain the urge to smack herself for her own idiocy. The only way they would know it was revenge would be if they knew it was her, which implied getting caught. Oh well, she would have to just wait for the next time they insulted her and then do something less spectacular to drive home the lesson while avoiding major disciplinary action.

After school Naruto approached her and said, “That was pretty funny, but don’t you think it was a little mean?”

Yukiko replied, “If it wasn’t then it wouldn’t have been revenge. Besides, their hair will start to grow back in a few weeks. No harm done.”

“Think they’ll get wigs?” Naruto asked cheekily.

Yukiko paused and then said, “If they do we’ll just have to replace them with something embarrassing next time they irritate us.”

“Used mop heads?” Naruto suggested.

“What’s this? Naruto Uzumaki planning ahead? And I thought this day couldn’t get any better…” Yukiko mused.

Years passed, people learned and changed, and Yukiko and Naruto both discovered that they had a rather large obstacle in achieving their goals. They were both terrible at chakra manipulation. Terrible. Even worse for Yukiko, Naruto’s issues seemed to stem from the fact that he was an idiot while hers originated from the fact that she could barely produce chakra and she had almost no capacity to mould what she did produce.

“This day couldn’t get any worse,” Yukiko muttered as she dragged her exhausted body away from the academy. Last year she had managed to talk Naruto out of attempting the genin exam as he clearly had no idea what he was doing, but this year he had managed to needle and con her into taking it with him. Both of them had failed miserably, she worse than him at everything but the taijutsu examinations, where both had actually passed.

Naruto would be off pouting somewhere, which was how Yukiko wanted it. Right now after suffering through the embarrassment of not getting a single chakra related test right while simultaneously exhausting her body with the exertion of the attempt all she wanted to do was to find a nice tree to curl up beneath and take a nap.

Wandering into the forest near her house, she slumped over next to a favourite tree. It was about as old as she was and was now really starting to fill out to provide enough shade to nap under during a sunny day. Settling her weary body down, she lounged out and relaxed, her eyes flickering shut.

…blades flashed out, faster than the human eye could follow…

…sprays of arterial blood from severed limbs and necks…

…the stars alight with fire and violence…

…the triumphal shouts of ten thousand voices…


Yukiko’s eyes snapped open and then she scrambled up to her feet. Staring at the tree, she then let her eyes wander down to the ground at the base of the tree. Dropping back to her knees, she began to tear at the dirt with her hands, digging a hole in the soil with crazed need.

Finally, after hours of going at it with hands and knives, her broken and bloody fingers scratched over something hard and smooth. Scrambling further in the hole she had carved in the earth, she uncovered a mask made of a smooth, hard substance that appeared unaffected by its time in the soil. Scraping even further away she revealed a blank, near featureless mask that connected to a full helmet.

All the strength drained from her body. She knew, somehow she knew, what this was. This was her mother’s grave. This was where Hiroshi had buried her all those years ago. Hacking frantically at the soil Yukiko desperately moved to extricate her body from the ground, pulling and tugging on the armour encased corpse.

Along the breastplate of the armour there was a large, oval shaped gemstone like a blood red ruby that seemed to almost burn with its own inner light. Yukiko reached out to tug on the stone as a handhold, only for two things to happen. The first was that the gem popped out of the armour like it wasn’t even attached. The second was that the gem started to speak.

Sort of. The voice seemed to originate inside Yukiko’s head rather than outside it, yet she could still somehow tell that the ultimate source was the gem. What the voice however said was more shocking than how it said it.

Ah, daughter, so good of you to wake me.”

---

Alright, after all that self-depreciation I think I deserve a little psychotic laughter for dreaming this one up. Mwahahaha...



I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-06-29 07:18am
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Location: The Ohio State University
I was thinking of a different blond, I must say. One who also has pointed ears and blond hair, but a back story that I suspect would have made this child's mother split her open from neck to navel. Or at least try to, but the difference in power levels make her success rather suspect. Even for a Banshee exarch or a Farseer, a Demon Princess is not something to be trifled with.

More seriously dood. A warning here. Don't go messing with the implicit canon of the setting. Even with all his pranks and tieing people up and fights with lethal weapons, Naruto almost never had genuine ill will towards anyone. Most of that came from his desperate loneliness and then his inability to express himself properly when he actually did have a friend who was just as socially retarded as himself. He's a good guy who really, truly, deeply, feels things. I doubt that he would hold any sort of grudge for longer than a few minutes once his grievance had been rectified. Which might be a totally alien mindset to you or me, but that's how I read him.



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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-06-29 02:31pm
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Well, I don't intend to completely screw around with the canon, and a fair amount of the story will be Yukiko (who I still need to figure out an Eldar name for, anyone know of a glossary of Eldar terms and names/naming conventions floating out there somewhere?). In this story I intend for things to be a bit darker but Yukiko will be the source of the more vicious elements, with each character sort of tempering and altering the innate characteristics of the other.



I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-06-29 04:22pm
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Joined: 2008-10-16 03:32am
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Academia Nut wrote:
who I still need to figure out an Eldar name for, anyone know of a glossary of Eldar terms and names/naming conventions floating out there somewhere?


The closest I know off the top of my head is on: http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Eldar_Lexicon

Edit: Some more locations. http://www.tauonline.org/Article/88/EldarAtoZ/ and http://www.teuton.org/~stranger/index.p ... =cms.Eldar

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-02 01:38am
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Stunned silence ruled as Yukiko stared at the gem in her hands for a time before the voice dreamily replied, “Long have I waited for you to find me, Saimshelwe.”

“Saimshelwe? What… who?” Yukiko stuttered in stunned confusion.

You are Saimshelwe, my ‘secret song’. You shall learn our language in time, daughter, in time,” the voice said happily.

“Daughter? But my mother…?” Yukiko said while looking dazedly down at the holes she had dug to confirm that there was an armoured body lying there.

The flesh of the body is a passing thing, but the soul endures with the light of the Waystone to guide it away from true death. This too you shall learn,” her mother replied in an almost chiding tone.

“How… how is this possible?” Yukiko asked.

Your unfortunate upbringing by Mon-keigh has stunted your education, although perhaps less so than I had originally feared. Know that you and I are Eldar, fallen masters of the universe. Once, nothing was beyond us and stars lived and died at our command. Even now in the twilight of our existence even death is not beyond us. You shall learn daughter, you shall learn. For now though you shall learn how to learn,” her mother told her before the stone flared with a definite inner light.

Images, sounds, and emotions rushed into Yukiko… Saimshelwe… Yukiko… Saimshelwe… her mind, flooding her senses and nearly overwhelming her sense of identity. Bits and pieces of centuries of life smashed into her own young sense of self. Perhaps only the fact that it was impossible kept her mother from completely taking over her mind.

…a toothed weapon that howled like a berserk animal plunged into an armoured man’s abdomen, sending a spray of dark blood through the air while loops of entrails spilled out upon the ground like diced tripe…

…billions of voices sang in a chorus of minds, the ghosts of ten thousand years banished to the stars…

…a living voice joining in with the songs of the dead, seeking answers from them…

…a voice detaching from the chorus, seeking a waking from the dream of death to aid the living in their time of need…

…faceless giants lumbered at her sides, spitting impossible death upon her command at equally impossible enemies while a living colossus of burning metal did battle with a bat winged demon…

…her spear and robes gone, replaced by the simple cloak of a traveller…

…ten thousand voices roaring approval…


When Yukiko’s eyes opened again the sun had finished setting behind the horizon some time ago to reveal the stars stretched across the sky like a vaulted cavern of black basalt studded with diamonds. The red stone in her hand seemed duller than before, and the dreaming of things unseen that had filled her mind since her earliest memories had retreated.

Some of the fire then returned to the gem and the voice from within said in a dreamy whisper, “I have shown you the first step on the path, but you must walk it. I will rest for now.”

Walking back home in a daze, Yukiko discovered her parents… her adoptive parents… frantically searching for her. She looked up into her mother’s… her adoptive mother’s… tear stained face and broke down crying from emotional overload and confusion, crashing into her and hugging her tightly. Nothing seemed right anymore.

The next day Yukiko did not go to class, instead she sat in her room and thought about what she had experienced and seen. The memories were fragmented and incomplete, but they seemed to cover a span of life that was book ended by two radically different lifestyles. She tried to focus her mind by reading scrolls on chakra theory, but she grew increasingly frustrated with the words before her. They were wrong! But she had seen the evidence for herself.

Finally, after hours of staring at the words she decided to relax intellectually by doing something she excelled at but already knew the majority about: anatomy. Her knowledge of pressure and acupuncture points was unsurpassed in her class, and in fact only a few old masters in the village probably knew more than she did. Her ability to cause soft tissue damage in unarmed combat was one of her prouder achievements.

However, instead of finding intellectual relaxation in something she was good at her frustration began to steadily grow. She stared at familiar diagrams and saw incorrect information. Grabbing a calligraphy brush she began to make corrections to the underlying assumptions and the fractal patterns of blood vessels and nerves.

She paused and wondered what in the world ‘fractal’ meant before she looked down at her work and realized that somewhere along the line she had started to draw crude diagrams of something close clearly not human on the inside. Yukiko looked down at a schematic of a hand and forearm and then looked down at her own hand. She flexed her fingers and felt the musculature and tendons beneath the surface slide and move and she realized that her odd joints conformed to what she had drawn.

She wasn’t human. She wasn’t human. SHE WASN’T HUMAN!

A surge of panic washed over her like a storm tide before a hurricane, and she felt a huge gulf open up around her, a profound sense of loneliness and alienation and…

Actually, after the initial shock of realization it made far too much sense, and in any case the only ones she could possibly alienate more than she already had in the past with this revelation were her parents and Naruto. She imagined telling her any member of that tiny group and considering what they already knew about her they would probably say that they already kind of suspected.

Well… maybe not Naruto, or at least not in that many words, but she highly doubted he would be put off by such a revelation in any case.

Pausing, she suddenly considered what this all meant. Scrambling about with the scrolls laying upon the floor, she grabbed one of the chakra theory scrolls and looked over it. Chakra was supposed to be produced in the body via both physical and spiritual processes and then circulated about within the chakra coils to provide energy for motion in general and for the jutsu used by ninja.

Now, from what her instructors told her, Yukiko barely had enough chakra to live despite her formidable skills. If the reason for this was because say her body didn’t possess chakra coils in the same way the others did because she wasn’t human, then neither would her mother have had chakra abilities. But she was now a spirit haunting a blood red ruby, something that sounded like it would need chakra to do.

Unless of course there was something else than chakra that could serve as a source of power.

…“Cliodhna, the Sha’eil is as an ocean, with tides and currents. As Eldar we are as ships upon the depths of the ocean where the Mon-keigh are children wallowing in the shallows. As seers we may submerge ourselves in the waters to harness the powers there, and become a conduit between the realms of life and death. Beware though of the riptides and sharks that prowl beneath the surface”…

Yukiko… Saimshelwe… blinked a few times and noticed the change in angle of the patch of sunlight in her room. She had evidently blanked out for a few hours again. That simple memory fragment from her mother, evidently named Cliodhna, had triggered a cascade of other memories. The sentences had been in another language, one where every word seemed to carry ambiguity in definition and had a mythological story attached to it, causing a cascade of dizzyingly complex meaning to assault her. She didn’t catch even a sliver of the actual language, but somehow her mind had managed to process some of what had actually been said.

She looked down at the chakra scroll, and then she looked at her own hands and how they moved. The description of chakra on the scroll was of… of… of a glacier of ice where one let the melt water turn a water wheel. Safe and reliable, so long as one didn’t run out of ice to melt. But it was all internal. What it sounded… no, what it felt like Saimshelwe should be doing was to draw in energy from outside her person. She would harness an entire ocean then, at the cost of increased risk.

Considering practicing in her room, Yukiko immediately thought better of it. Her gut instinct said that this sort of thing could get intensely ugly if she did it wrong. So cleaning up her room, she then grabbed her mother’s soul stone and rushed out of the house to find a quiet place in the forest to practice. This time however she left a note for her parents taped to the refrigerator saying that she was practicing in the forest and that she hopefully wouldn’t be late this time.

Finding a quiet, secluded copse of trees, Saimshelwe settled in and tried to figure out how to attempt this. All of her training had emphasized drawing the power out of her own body and spirit, not drawing it out of… somewhere else. Shaking her head, she settled down into one of the meditative calms they tried to teach to get one in tune with their chakra. But instead of turning inward, she tried to turn outward, to extend her senses as far as they could go.

What happened was… unexpected.

One moment Saimshelwe was straining to cast her hearing as far as possible while attempting to open up her body to the flow of energy, the next she was falling down through darkness, in an out of control tumble. Her senses confused, she only saw a world like the night sky partial occluded by a forest fire, with the darkness taking on a three dimensional aspect while only a few, bright points of light flickered through.

Space had no meaning for every point was at one point and simultaneously infinitely far away. Time had no meaning for everything now had already occurred, everything in the past had yet to occur, and everything in the future was occurring. Reality broke down in the face of paradox and contradiction.

A strangely familiar presence passed by and Saimshelwe grabbed out for it. For a moment all was still as she stared at a peculiar thing, a cage of blue light that trapped and ensnared a blindingly bright star of orange-white flame. She moved to touch it, only for a bleeding hole in the darkness that allowed light to stream through like a puncture wound in a black cloth at noon to approach. Staring curiously at it, she was shocked when it grabbed her and hurled her across time and space once more.

This time a throbbing red light served as her guide. Twisting about in her tumble across the darkness, she discovered that the red light was in the form of a ruby-red egg shape with a figure curled up inside like a child slumbering in the womb. The head of the figure turned and regarded her before turning to another hole in reality.

Saimshelwe looked at it for a moment before she realized that the hole was strangely inverted. It took her a moment to realize that she was being drawn into it because she was the cause of the hole. With a shock of transition her soul was sucked back into her waiting body.

Eyes snapping open, expecting hours to have passed, she instead found that the sun had not moved across the sky. That said there was the possibility that an entire day or more had passed as the copse was changed, the trees strangely stunted and distorted almost into horrid visages that leaked sap like blood.

The spirit stone flickered to life once more and Cliodhna sternly rebuked, “Fool! You went to deep and nearly lost yourself! Only Cegorach’s own luck and the strangeness of this place kept you from being devoured by She Who Thirsts! Never do that again! Control child, control!”

Yukiko trembled from the shock of what had happened, and then some more as she realized that she kept switching between the self-identifiers of “Yukiko” and “Saimshelwe”, and it had started when her mother had imprinted her memories. Like a sledgehammer to a stone, she felt her mind take a tremendous blow and begin to crack.

Peace daughter! You are Eldar, you are stronger than this!” Cliodhna cried out, distracting her daughter long enough to halt the disintegration of self, at least temporarily. Her voice then took on a softer tone and she said, “I apologize… this is my fault for not raising you. There is so much you need to know about the Eldar if you wish to survive, and yet I am barely capable of teaching you, so I make you walk the most treacherous path at an age when you should still be walking the most basic of paths.”

“I… I think I understand what I did wrong,” Saimshelwe replied.

You dove too deep, even deeper than a seer consulting the stones. You must learn the feel of water and how to move it before you swim in it, and so to with the Sha’eil. Do you think you can take a sip from the ocean of power?” Cliodhna asked, her voice growing increasingly distant and dreamy.

Saimshelwe nodded and once more moved her perceptions outward, but this time she could feel the boundary she had blindly charged through before. Reaching out with spiritual fingers, she attempted to prod that boundary to draw a tiny bit of energy off. What happened instead was that she released a torrent into her body that thrashed about like a severed electrical cable.

Screaming in agony, Saimshelwe mentally hurled all that energy as far from her as possible. That distance was not that far as the energy immediately ground itself on one of the trees. Sap boiled and turned to pitch while the wood twisted and mutated. A strange face seemed to emerge from bark that was rapidly turning into translucent brass scales. The branches writhed and twisted, turning into things like limbs while the leaves ignited into flames of water that rapidly fell back to earth as ash-grey snow.

The horrid thing reached out for her for a moment, screaming in agony with a bassoon voice before thousands of gnawing worms erupted from within, gorging on the dissolving flesh. These worms in turn exploded into opalescent goo that oozed to the ground where it bubbled and frothed into fine crystals of frozen blood.

There was a long silence in the forest before Cliodhna noted rather calmly, “Okay, so the next lesson is control rather than feeding power into my Waystone to keep me awake.”

---

So a few of your questions will have been answered now, but this chapter should raise further ones.



I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-02 07:15am
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Academia Nut wrote:
A strangely familiar presence passed by and Saimshelwe grabbed out for it. For a moment all was still as she stared at a peculiar thing, a cage of blue light that trapped and ensnared a blindingly bright star of orange-white flame.

I'm going to assume that is Naruto with Kyuubi as the star in the Warp, one question is how much is actually obscured by the seal containing it.



"Okay, I'll have the truth with a side order of clarity." ~ Dr. Daniel Jackson.
"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." ~ Stephen Colbert
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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-04 03:42am
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Yukiko batted the scroll aside before flopping down upon the floor of her room, staring at the ceiling. None of her studies had been going well and the frustration was building. Cliodhna was rather concerned as apparently something was rather off about the way things were going. Apparently she should have died at least a half dozen times already in her blundering.

Once is an accident, twice is luck, three times is enemy action,” Cliodhna had stated worriedly.

Rather irritated and frustrated, Saimshelwe had asked, “Is that another saying of our people?”

There had been a long, uncomfortable pause before Cliodhna admitted, “Actually that exact phrase was drawn from a Mon-keigh lexicon, as while the Eldar language has several similar phrases the addition ‘four times is probably the Eldar’ caused its inclusion.”

That admission had somehow bolstered Yukiko’s spirits as her mother’s general smugness had a tendency to grate at times. Unfortunately that conversation had led to her current predicament of having to try and research the history of this place, but the records didn’t seem to go back very far. Or at least, not very far by Cliodhna’s standards.

What is with this place? It is as if it just appeared without prior existence within the past millennium!” Cliodhna hissed.

“There’s probably a perfectly valid explanation… they just didn’t write it down,” Yukiko replied before snickering. Despite not having a face, she could feel her mother glare at her.

Her energy starting to wind down for the day, Cliodhna replied sleepily, “We will have to start making plans for something different then. Something that will take more time.”

Frustrated, Yukiko hopped up and began to pace before she just threw open the window and jumped out, landing lightly on the ground below. This whole affair was driving her to the point of distraction, and she needed to figure out some way to blow off some steam.

Throwing up her hood and wandering in to town, she decided to indulge in one of her favourite games: tormenting those who deserved it. But who actually deserved it today? Well, she would just have to find someone.

Practically melting into the shadows of the buildings, Yukiko skulked about, silently observing the citizens of Konoha go about their day, hidden and silent. She was just about to target a rather rude storeowner for being a jerk when she noticed a bit of a commotion going on. A pair of… monochrome… people were walking away from the Hokage’s tower. The man in the lead had a large scowl on his blank eyed face while the equally blank eyed girl trailing look absolutely miserable and seemed to be trying to disappear as much as possible.

It took Yukiko a moment to place the girl’s face, despite its distinctiveness and the fact that they shared schooling together, for she was even more of an asocial wallflower than Yukiko. At least Yukiko had her friendship with Naruto to draw her into the eyes of others, although only the fact that she had a mind like a steel trap and could carry a grudge kept the majority of the attention she had from being contempt for her poor abilities.

Hinata on the other hand seemed to disappear into the background out of fear rather than disdain for the others around her. Yukiko had thought it sad and pathetic, but now that she saw the man she assumed was her father, she had to wonder at the source. Years ago she might have considered her pathetic anyway for not fighting back, but association with Naruto had given her a smidgen more compassion for others.

Of course, it had also taken all her effort to get the thick headed dolt to actually carry an insult longer than five minutes. She still wasn’t sure that his complete inability to hold a grudge stemmed from his inability to think ahead or from an actual overriding capacity to care about others. She actually leaned towards the latter as his desire to become Hokage rather than level the village after what he’d been put through was fairly impressive.

Yukiko on the other hand revelled in being a complete bitch and her current target for torment was now one Hiashi Hyuuga, a most difficult prey that she would relish inflicting injury upon. However, this would force her to change her game plan as going after the head of a major ninja clan was somewhat different from tormenting an idiotic storekeeper.

Thus an afternoon to blow off steam quickly evolved into a massive undertaking just for the hell of it, just for the challenge of it all. The first step of course was to identify the weaknesses of the target. No easy task in this case, but Yukiko knew of a resource that was typically overlooked.

The library!

While there was a huge amount of classified information would never see the light of day amongst the public, there were certain matters of public record that an enterprising mind could piece together into a devastating whole. The trick of course was in finding the right pieces of information.

Three hours later and Yukiko had a massive number of scrolls and documents, primarily local news reports, spread out in front of her, and a picture of the Hyuuga clan and its leader was slowly forming. Yukiko paid particular attention to the birth and death reports along with a few gossip pieces. Already a plan was fermenting in her mind.

Oh yes. If she pulled this off right she would turn Hiashi’s life into a living hell. Even if she was only successful once revenge would be hers as the embarrassment of having a twelve year old girl considered a near failure as a ninja pull a prank on him would be a groin shot straight to the ego for that man.

Putting away the various scrolls, Yukiko paused part way through and considered just how damned easy all of that had been, as if the correct documents were waiting for her even as she had started a mostly blind search. And it had happened frequently.

“Once is an accident, twice is luck, three times enemy action, and four times is probably the Eldar,” Yukiko whispered before she dashed off. This felt like something important that Cliodhna needed to hear about.

Rushing through the streets of Konoha, Yukiko also scoped out the list of places she had decided to visit. That list would be expanded and pruned in the days to follow, and she would have to rope Naruto in to provide her with a suitable distraction. Already her brain was turning over a new facet to the overall operation in her head. She was also going to have to pick up or refine a few new skills to make this all work…

Already just the reconnaissance phase was going to take weeks to months to pull off successfully, especially since all of this was in between her ninja training and practicing with her mother. Still, she had the time before the next genin exam to get in at least one good mind screw against Hiashi. She didn’t even care that he hadn’t even done anything wrong but have a bad look on his face, she was just relishing the idea of making the undeservedly smug bastard squirm.

Arriving back home, she leapt up to the second storey window for her room and hopped lightly down. Depositing a scroll with her findings on her bead, she then retrieved her mother’s soul stone from its hiding place and she held it in her hands. The gem flared with light and then Cliodhna said, “You are saturated with the energy of the Sha’eil. Have you been practicing without supervision?”

“No mother,” Saimshelwe replied. “I was performing research and I noticed that it came… easily. Too easily.”

There was a long pause before Cliodhna said, “Curious. This place is strange so perhaps… yes… yes, that could work. Daughter, I need you go return to the resting place of my corporeal form. There is something I need you to obtain.”

“What?” Saimshelwe asked.

I need you to obtain the knucklebones from my left hand,” Cliodhna replied.

Saimshelwe looked at the glowing gem in silence for a few moments before she just said in a disbelieving and somewhat sarcastic tone, “Really?”

Preferably you would start throwing actual wraithbone runes decades from now, but it seems you may need some sort of psychic focus. Humans on occasion use the knucklebones of ancestors as such foci, and while crude, it is better than what we are trying now,” Cliodhna explained.

Yukiko nodded and said, “Very well. Tomorrow.” She then flopped into bed and grinned at the motionless stone.

The next day Yukiko rolled five long, white bones in her hands, feeling more than a little strange for having them and having no idea how to use them. She glanced down at the soul stone and asked, “So now what?”

I’m not really sure, as I never used something this primitive when I walked the Witch Path. You said you were gathering information? Perhaps you should try casting them over what you have and see what happens?” Cliodhna suggested.

Yukiko glared and said, “Real helpful,” before she took out the scroll she had written down a list of names and places on the day before. Laying it out flat on the floor, she then shook the knucklebones and threw them onto the scroll. They bounced about and then just sort of sat there.

“Well that was useful,” Yukiko noted before she took a closer look. One way or another every name on the list was obscured by the bones in some fashion, except one. It was an upper scale restaurant that Hiashi had stormed out of years ago. No one really knew why, but it had been in the news the day after.

Saimshelwe paused as her mind sorted out the order of events. Her eyes then snapped open as she realized that if she was remembering correctly then in the next day’s news there was a mention in the obituaries about how his twin brother Hizashi had been killed in service of the village three days prior. Something wasn’t right about the timing though. Something had been going on.

Yukiko would need to investigate this restaurant. And she would need Naruto’s help to do it without getting caught. Fortunately she already had a plan for what they would do. Before she could do anything though she felt her attention brought back to Cliodhna.

Yes… I can feel it now. This place… power comes too quickly. The merest brush draws it forth. You will require development of your skills I do not think you can truly achieve at the moment, a honing of the subtleties of the mind such that your touch upon the Sha’eil is gentle as sunlight in the spring,” Cliodhna stated.

“Does tormenting a man who has really done me no wrong by attempting to destroy his ego and sanity via indirect means over a matter of months count?” Saimshelwe asked.

Cliodhna replied matter-of-factly, “Yes.”

“Even if he’s politically and physically extraordinarily dangerous?” She added on.

Even better,” Cliodhna answered.

Saimshelwe nodded and said, “Okay then. Phase one: preparing the distraction. Hmmm… hair toxin or… no… yeah. That will work.”

Two weeks later while Naruto ran cackling across the rooftops of Konoha while the authorities chased him for the sudden and unexpected addition of a slow acting binary skin dye added to the hot and cold water supplies of the local bathhouse, Yukiko quickly leafed through an old journal owned by the proprietor of this little establishment. Years of personal and business notes flew by beneath her eyes before a wicked smile crossed her face.

Oh yes. Yes, this would do. This would do nicely. In fact, it was even better than what she had been expecting. Much better.

A week later, a good tenth of the village population still a mottled bright orange from the prank, a small package arrived at the Hyuuga estate for the clan leader. It was carefully examined with the clan’s special abilities and found to be a small but high quality bottle of koshu sake that had been carefully aged over the past several years. Shrugging and figuring that it must be a gift from one of his contacts, the servants presented it to Hiashi.

At first Hiashi thought nothing of it, but something about it slowly started to gnaw at him. It was familiar somehow. After a few hours of ignoring it he finally picked it up again and examined it more closely. It was a good brand from Rice Country – or rather Sound Country these days – of the sort Hiashi hadn’t… had… in…

Hiashi furiously slammed the bottle down and nearly shattered it before he snatched up the nearly completely ignored letter that had come with it. He scanned over it, but it just said, “Accept this as apologies for not coming to see you sooner.” There was no sign of who had written it though, although the hand writing looked vaguely similar somehow.

He then blinked. He knew this writing. He knew it well, he had just forgotten. The fury sort of imploded in on itself and then sank heavily to the bottom of his stomach. He knew this writing.

Slowly and carefully, with the patience and dignity of a man of his stature, he went to his study and then took out a letter he had been hiding for years. He looked at it and the one in his hands and felt the colour drain from his face.

As far as he could tell, and that was quite far with his eyes, Hizashi had written the letter that had accompanied the sake bottle. The bottle that had been made the year of his brother’s death, of the same brand they used to drink together when they acted like brothers and not trying to stab each other in the back.

Hiashi very slowly slumped to the ground, his head spinning.



I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-08 07:13pm
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The Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, watched with simultaneously growing amusement and concern the trouble that Naruto and his friend Yukiko Kuromori were getting into. While ultimately the girl’s presence seemed a good influence on the boy by actually giving him a friend his age, she was a strange one with many secrets for a child of her age. And while she had been a good influence in socializing him, she had also been a bad influence in drawing out his darker qualities.

The latest incident had been an impromptu fireworks festival held at two in the morning, with Naruto running through the streets trailed by a ridiculous number of explosives while firing others off into the air. How they afforded such things was only known to them and Sarutobi, who had watched them running a series of scams in the preceding weeks. Sarutobi had to admit that playing off people’s belief that Naruto was a complete idiot for the purposes of using him as a shill was rather clever.

Still, even with only the occasional glance at them through his crystal ball, the Hokage knew that the complexity of their planning was far greater than he would have ever expected of them. Actions they took publicly were often only the tip of the iceberg of what they were really doing. For example, Naruto waking up the entire village with his mad rush had been to cover for Yukiko slipping into the mail office to place a letter for Hiashi Hyuuga in the next day’s mail along with altering the books to show that it had been mailed from Kumogakure.

Sarutobi wasn’t exactly sure why the girl had got it into her head to torment such a lethally dangerous man as the head of the Hyuuga clan or how she had managed to get so much information on their history, but he was willing to let this play out. The girl was a genius when it came to the technical aspects of ninja work, and even if she never got over her crippling inability to use chakra her potential as an intelligence-agent was staggering. So much so that Sarutobi had considered placing her with another student with such difficulties, but since the academy protested passing Naruto as well and the two probably wouldn’t work so well separate, he had decided to let that opportunity pass by.

No, right now he was going to test just how far they could go, and more importantly, just how well they could rebound from failure, which at this point was probably inevitable as Hiashi was furious beyond reckoning. Sarutobi had an ANBU agent keeping an eye on the situation to extricate the children when it all exploded in their faces. Hopefully they would survive long enough for extraction.

Shaking his head sadly at the lack of caution amongst youth, the Hokage attempted to locate Yukiko only for her to go missing again. That happened on occasion when he tried to spy on her from a distance, usually when she was alone, especially in her room. Not that Sarutobi made a habit of spying on young girls when alone in their rooms, it was just odd.

Far away on the outskirts of the village and into the forests, Sarutobi missed a show that he really would have liked to have seen, for in one hand Yukiko held a glowing red gem and floating above the other were five long bones taken from an inhuman hand. Despite the sun high overhead, hoarfrost was coalescing out of the moisture in the air, freezing to the concealing trees in patterns reminiscent of leering faces when looked at from any angle other than head on.

Her face strained in concentration, Saimshelwe slowly let the flow of energy she channelled slack off and then dissipate, releasing her connection. It was a task akin to holding a feather just next to a candle without igniting it while only using peripheral vision to look at the shadows cast.

Excellent daughter, excellent. You are learning the skills required to touch the Sha’eil without falling into its waiting jaws. I can draw strength from you now and I can guide and advise you more often. I have so much to teach you. Soon I will be able to stay awake long enough to show you your birthright,” Cliodhna said proudly.

“My birthright?” Saimshelwe asked curiously.

Something I hid away the night we arrived when I had only the strength to carry you and my blade, something only I can guide you to that will aid you greatly; a cache of equipment from our people, most of it designed for those who spend long periods of time away from our homes,” Cliodhna explained.

Saimshelwe nodded, a few memory fragments granted to her dislodging, ineffable and indescribable wonders flitting through her mind. When she thought of those memories and the knowledge of what her mother’s sword could do, she could only wonder at what had been left behind.

While strengthened, her mother’s voice began to fade sleepily as she said, “I will guide you… soon. But not today. Continue your careful practice and your manipulations of the Mon-keigh. Tread carefully though, ever carefully.”

“Of course,” Saimshelwe promised while she watched the light in the stone dim away again.

Carefully stashing away the spirit stone, she then sat down in a cross legged lotus position and tried something. She was now certain that what she channelled was not related to the same phenomenon as chakra, or if it was then only with extreme distance were they related. However, she wanted to know if she could shape the energies she channelled the same way others shaped chakra. Since immediately after channelling the energy she had a ‘charge’, this was the perfect time to try it out.

She needed something simple, and something she could fake via other means if necessary. The Clone Technique seemed like a good place to start. Carefully she drew forth the energy and began to make the seals. She could feel the slippery energy coiling about her fingers, eager and ready for expression. But she could feel its resentment at being forced into this shape, at the attempt to refine it. As she tried to control it, she felt like the floodgates in her body had suddenly burst, joining in with the residual energy she already had.

Feeling in her bones what was about to happen, Yukiko shoved the energy out of her body and into the ground while uncoiling her legs from their meditative pose. For a moment the ground started to shift and warp, trying to conform to a humanoid shape. Just as a face started to appear though it twisted up into agony and started to scream, a high pitched whine. For a brief moment as she sprang to her feet and leapt away like a watch spring explosively uncoiling Yukiko could only watch as the vibration of the dirt went critical.

The ground shook itself to pieces in a horrific, ultrasonic resonance that threw Yukiko through the air as the rapidly expanding cloud of earth displaced the air and produced quite the powerful shockwave. Landing hard on her feet, Yukiko found she could not cancel her momentum and she ended up flipping over and landing even harder on her stomach.

Dark soil pattered down on her while steam issued forth from the deep and narrow crater blasted in the ground. She waited for the berating voice to arrive, to tell her what an idiot she was, but her mother did not rouse from her slumber. Hurriedly Saimshelwe grabbed up the soul stone and checked it for damage, but it seemed that it was just low on energy for the day. But usually when she drew energy from the Sha’eil there was a sort of bleed off effect that her mother absorbed.

Frowning, she slumped against a tree to catch her breath and collect her thoughts. Something important had happened here, despite the disastrous results. Her best guess was that somehow she had channelled the energy more efficiently than before, reducing the amount wasted to the surroundings.

Shaking out her limbs, Yukiko climbed back to her feet and took a deep breath. She had a feeling that what she was about to do would be excessively tiring and more than a little dangerous. Brushing off the dirt in a futile gesture, she tried to shape the energy once more, this time focusing on the way it suddenly surged and trying to control that. The result was a less refined but also less powerful out of control reaction. This time instead of the ground attempting to take shape only to explode in a tightly confined detonation it just sort of formed a bubble that vomited mud across the clearing with a burping noise.

Wiping liquefied soil and displaced grass from her face, Yukiko noted that her mother had not awoken that time either. Interesting, most interesting.

Half an hour later and Yukiko was lying on the ground in a field full of craters, the leaves of the trees dripping with mud. While the results were rather useless, she could feel her control growing stronger in the process. It was however exhausting to get pummelled by the explosions and the mud rapidly grew in thickness and weight.

Staggering to her feet, Yukiko glanced about and realized that she would have to wash up before she thought of going home. Actually, she would have to wash up before she could wash up she was so filthy. Orienting herself, she began to trudge towards the location of a nearby stream where she could get out the worst of the dirt caking her clothing and body. Nearly vaporized particles of soil had been driven down all the way to her skin through her clothing and she could feel her skin starting to chafe already.

Ten agonizing minutes later and she had arrived. Wearily but cautiously she scanned the area, and after making certain that there was no one around, she stripped off her filthy garments, setting them to one side to wash once she had cleaned off the majority of the surface dirt from her own skin. She also emptied out her equipment from her various hidden pouches.

Pulling out a scroll, she frowned and then swore quietly. It was the latest haunting letter for Hiashi, or at least it had been before it had been soaked in soil. Casting the useless bit of paper aside, she would have to spend another night or two making a new one.

Now suitably stripped down, Yukiko then waded out into the stream, the water coming up to her waist at the deepest point. Sighing, she dunked herself beneath the water and began scrubbing to clean up. In particular her hair needed a ridiculous amount of work just to get the clumps of dirt out.

While Yukiko worked to clean herself, a figure quietly hid behind a tree and some bushes well out of view for anyone outside said figure’s family. But for Hinata Hyuuga, she could see everything quite clearly despite the interposed an opaque objects between her and Yukiko. She could also see under the skin, and that made her own flesh crawl. The girl bathing before her was just wrong. Her tissues and internal organs were all different, her body all twisted and distorted from what it should be. Worst of all though were her chakra coils, for they were in the wrong shape and places, and while she could see that their capacity was enormous, the actual amount of chakra flowing through them was nearly nonexistent. It was like looking at a moving corpse.

Hinata also steadfastly refused to look at the things in a small silk bag left on the bank by the creek. Whatever in there was evil beyond reckoning. She could practically taste the blood that had soaked to the spiritual core of whatever lurked within. It was so awful that even the dirt had been afraid to touch the bag that contained it.

But what really drew her attention was the scroll lying on the grass, tossed casually aside. With her Byakugan, she could read the writing obscured within by the scroll itself and the soil that suffused its paper. It was a message for her father, one of the ones that had been plaguing him for weeks now. The whole affair had enraged him, especially as it had begun to disrupt his business within the village, interfering with important correspondences and meetings.

Hinata knew what she should do. She should at the very least acquire the scroll as proof so her father could put a stop to this. But she was afraid. She was afraid of Yukiko, and afraid that her father wouldn’t believe her. She was afraid that she wasn’t strong enough for this.

Her mind however turned to thoughts of who would be strong enough. Her cousin Neji would just do it, probably with extreme violence as well. Then there were her teachers, the rest of her family, and… Naruto. Despite the fact that he was often around the girl, he was so kind and strong willed that surely he couldn’t be in on this horrible plot against her father. Surely he would just charge out there and demand that Yukiko stop?

What finally tipped her over the edge though was the memory of her father looking forlornly at one of the letters he had received, whatever was written within having truly hurt him. She didn’t know what it said as his face had clouded over soon over and he had destroyed the letter with a furious burst of chakra, but to actually see him saddened by something must have required something truly awful. She wasn’t sure about what she felt about her father, but Hinata didn’t want to see him like that.

Trembling fearfully for a moment, Hinata then inhaled and began to inch towards the stream using all the skills she had learned to creep forward.

Muttering curses, Yukiko clawed out clumps of dirt from her hair while she swished it out in the water. She would need to do a proper wash later, but right now just getting out all the big stuff was her primary concern. Her ears however pricked up before she finished, hearing the sound of silence. The forest had suddenly gone quiet.

In the undergrowth, Hinata paused as Yukiko began scanning the surroundings for something. Had she been detected? Had… no, wait, it was something else. She could feel a sudden, grinding unease in her bones. The forest now held something that it shouldn’t and everything had gone quiet.

The moment then passed, even if the sounds of the forest did not return immediately. Clearly agitated, Yukiko began to exit the creek. Seeing the damning scroll just in front of her, Hinata hesitated for an instant before a strange sort of panic overwhelmed her and she lashed out.

Before Yukiko reached her closest weapon’s holster a kunai appeared out of some bushes and struck the holster, knocking it off its perch on a bush and into the water. Ignoring the lost shuriken and kunai, Yukiko attempted to spring out of the creek but the drag from the water and the improper footing of the stream bed meant that she only really sort of hopped forward.

Exploding from the bushes was possibly the last person Yukiko expect to launch a surprise attack against her, Hinata. Confused for a second, she then had her explanation as Hinata reached the scroll intended for her father and scooped it up. She did not maintain it in her grasp for long though as Yukiko reached one of her other weapons holsters and hurled a kunai, impaling the scroll and pinning it to a nearby tree.

Hinata just glanced at the scroll mournfully for a second before her attention was drawn to the fact that Yukiko had another kunai in hand and was attacking her, and if observations in school had taught her anything, it was that Yukiko was not the sort of person that one wanted to get into close combat with.

But then again, neither was Hinata when truly pushed to fight.

Ducking under a slash, Hinata sent an uppercut at Yukiko’s jaw only for the blow to be trapped and diverted by Yukiko’s other hand. With the merest brush of a finger, Hinata then blasted chakra into one of the strange and misplaced tenketsu on Yukiko’s arm. The effect was strange. While incapable of disrupting the under used chakra coils, the sudden surge of foreign chakra caused a peculiar reaction.

To Hinata’s Byakugan strange, dark chakra started to flow from nowhere in the environment and into Yukiko’s body, charging up the coils. However, far from strengthening Yukiko, the girl began to scream out in pain and fear. With the coils filling up, Hinata could now actually overwhelm them, and with Yukiko distracted by pain she struck several other points about the neck and shoulders, shutting down the flow completely.

Her whole body overloading on energy worse than the first times she had tried to use her abilities, Yukiko strained to confine the torrent of power only for her efforts to suffer disruption from Hinata. Every sense turned up to the maximum by the power flowing through her, Yukiko finally gave up on controlling it and just let it go. Shoving it all into her right arm, she bid it rush out.

Hinata’s only warning of what was about to happen was the sudden arctic chill that surrounded Yukiko before lightning erupted from her fingertips, lashing out towards Hinata’s face. While she dodged the majority of the blast, just the proximity of swirling arcs of electricity superheated the air and blistered the skin along the left side of her face. Then the lightning grounded into the nearby creek and explosively boiled away several dozen litres.

The subsequent steam explosion knocked both girls off their feet and caused extensive scalding to Hinata’s back and Yukiko’s arms and legs, with the naked Yukiko only coming off as well as she did by hiding her face and body with her limbs at the last possible moment.

Her whole body feeling like it was on fire, Hinata wanted to just fall unconscious, but she knew that both she and Yukiko were badly injured and she could just imagine Naruto’s face if she left the other girl to die out in the open. He was wonderful and always trying even if his friend was a total bitch. Besides, as much as her father looked down on her, she wasn’t failing her training and part of that training involved learning to carry wounded comrades or prisoners over long distances.

All Hinata had to do was get them close enough to the village for someone else to get help.

Thus she somehow managed to grit through the haze of pain and picked up Yukiko, placing one foot in front of another while the pressure of the unconscious girl caused her already blistering back to scream in agony, Hinata moved forward.

Thus it was that when Yukiko’s eyes flickered open again she was in the rather uncomfortable position of being naked and surrounded by angry looking Hyuugas.



I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-08 07:37pm
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The Plot Thickens!



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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-09 10:11am
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Stupid mon-keigh, poking and prodding at things best left alone...



Varje meddelande om att motståndet skall uppges är falskt. - BOOM FOR THE BOOM GOD! LOOT FOR THE LOOT THRONE!

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-09 10:49am
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Jonen C wrote:
Stupid mon-keigh, poking and prodding at things best left alone...


Ah, but where would the mon-keigh be if they did not stick their inferior sensory organs into places where elder and wiser species do not dare? 8)


And given that this is me saying it, if your answer was "Not being invaded by fungoid/insectoid aliens, rife with cults, and generally perilously close to the brink of extinction", then, yes, you get a point.



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See the Anargo Sector Project, an entire fan-created sector for Warhammer 40k, designed as a setting for Role-Playing Games.

Author of Aeon Natum Engel, an Evangelion/Cthulhutech setting merger fan-fiction.

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-10 01:43am
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Far more irksome than Mon-keigh poking at things they don't understand is when you do understand what is going on but haven't reached the part of the story where you can really reveal that sort of thing yet. Like the identity of [INFORMATION REDACTED] or the history of [INFORMATION REDACTED] leading to the revelation of [INFORMATION REDACTED] hence [INFORMATION REDACTED] is [INFORMATION REDACTED] logically the turtle [INFORMATION REDACTED] and hatred of Tyranids. Plus I can't wait to unleash the joke comparing [INFORMATION REDACTED] to her [INFORMATION REDACTED], which is so horrifyingly perverse it makes me [INFORMATION REDACTED] just to think about it...

Wait a second! [INFORMATION REDACTED] is the sort of thing that gets censored around here? [EXPLETIVE REDACTED]

Oh, real mature...

+++Thought for the day: an open mind is soon filled with thoughts of heresy+++
This post brought to you by [INFORMATION REDACTED] of the [INFORMATION REDACTED]



I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-10 07:32pm
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There are many ways of responding to having a large crowd of angry looking people looming over you while naked and covered in burns. Laughter is typically not one of them. This reaction took the assembled Hyuugas by surprise and several of the blank eyed members of the group took a step back.

Doubling over with laughter, tears streaming down her face both from her mirth and from the pain of the burns on her skin, Yukiko finally managed to sputter out, “This is better than I expected!”

There was a brief muttering amongst the assembled observers before one of them said, “You know you’re in deep trouble, girl. We know what you’ve been doing.”

Sitting up and placing her arms and hands to try and preserve some modesty, not that it really helped around the clan of Byakugan users, Yukiko grinned and said, “Of course I’m in trouble. I discovered secrets about your clan leader and then used them for the purposes of harassment. I do hope that you’ll go easy on me considering I’m twelve and in the bottom of my class.”

There was a collective pause before it started to individually dawn on the Hyuuga clan what had just been said and they realized just how bad this was going to get. Yukiko then gleefully twisted the knife when she added on, “It’s a good thing Hinata caught me.”

Hiashi was going to throw a fit! Already mutterings of what to do were being passed about the group. Final judgement would have to wait for Hiashi’s arrival and…

It suddenly dawned on the Hyuugas that they were being watched by a large group of men and women in ceramic masks. One of them, wearing a bear mask, asked politely, “Would you care to tell us what you wish to do with that child?”

“She must be made to answer for her actions against the clan’s leader!” One of the elders in the group spoke up.

The man in the bear mask replied, “I’m afraid that the Hokage wishes to ask her some questions first, and it is probably in the interests of the Hyuuga clan that when an unconscious, naked girl is brought into their estate in front of most of the village, she come back out again.”

Hiashi wasn’t going to have a fit; he was going to go apocalyptic! The entire clan had just been embarrassed in front of the rest of the village and now the Hokage would deny them retribution? This was going to get a whole lot messier before it got better. It was fortunate that Hiashi wasn’t at the estate but had been called to an emergency… meeting… with the Hokage…

Jaws started dropping as the realization that they’d been had swept through the Hyuugas. This was going to cause problems, but many of the elders knew that this whole affair would only get worse the more they dragged it into the public eye. Keep it quiet, keep it clean, and this would blow over. Make a fuss and everyone would see the clan as a bunch of idiots for letting a child make fools of them. Not even a genius child either, but a near failure!

“We’ll be taking the girl now. Rest assured that punishment will be meted out, but on the Hokage’s terms, not yours,” the ANBU agent replied before leaping down into the courtyard to collect Yukiko.

“Could I possibly go to the hospital before going to prison?” Yukiko asked innocently while being picked up, a cloak being wrapped around her for her modesty.

“We have medical-nins within our holding facilities,” the bear masked agent replied dryly before he jumped into the air.

Yukiko thought on this before she asked, “You do know I have a co-conspirator, right?”

The masked man nodded and said, “We know about Naruto, yes.”

“Then you know that once the rumours get going that ANBU took me away he’ll start trying to find me in the usual fashion he does things,” Yukiko pointed out.

The agent skidded to a halt, considered, and then he shouted out to the others, “Change of plans! We’re going to the hospital first, picking up the Uzumaki boy when he barges in, and then going back to headquarters.” The man then muttered under his breath, “We don’t need him vandalizing headquarters again just to get our attention…”

A sudden thought occurred to Yukiko and she said somewhat panicked, “No chakra healing! Foreign chakra is what caused this whole mess in the first place. Ask Hinata, she should have seen what happened.”

Thus satisfied that she would receive appropriate treatment Yukiko took the luxury of passing out from the pain that she had been ignoring up to that point. Extensive first and second degree burns had tendency to do that.

Two hours later and the Third Hokage was trying to make sense of the reports given to him by his medical-nins. They really had no idea what exactly they were dealing with, other than that her whole body was subtly built wrong and that her entire chakra network was insane. As far as they could tell she had the chakra capacity of a Kage but only an actual amount of chakra in her coils comparable to a strong civilian. They also suspected that she didn’t have any of the Eight Gates, and there was even some speculation that she didn’t even produce her own chakra!

The first suspicion was of course Orochimaru and his experiments, but Sarutobi had his doubts. The possibility that she was one of his failed and/or escaped projects was there, but the timing was off. It would take quite a long time and effort to get such a monumental change to a person’s chakra network, and it seemed more likely that she was the result of some sort of very strange and secret bloodline.

Of course, rampant speculation would do no good without some actual information, so now it was time to just ask the girl what she knew. She was however, frightfully clever for her age, having somehow managed to get Sarutobi to come to her in the hospital rather than being brought to the ANBU headquarters. Whatever problems she had with chakra control were definitely overshadowed by her ability to out-think her opponents.

That would end now though. Sarutobi had been amused by her political wrangling about his subordinates, but he would not let her pull that on him. He was Hokage, and he wasn’t susceptible to that sort of thing.

Entering the private room where they had sequestered her, Sarutobi sat down in a chair next to the bed Yukiko was laying on, dressed in a hospital gown that had been provided upon arrival. He had the ever intimidating and scarred Ibiki Morino looming nearby as an observer, the interrogator’s knowledge of human psychology a vital element to the upcoming discussion.

Reddish-brown hair free of her typical hood and headband combo, her ears were also openly visible for the first time in a long time, sure sign that something in her blood had been altered. While much was hidden, her arms and hands were wrapped in bandages while a few sections of her face were covered wet looking patches of gauze taped to her skin. An eye flickered open and she said calmly, “I was wondering when you would show up.”

Sarutobi raised and eyebrow at the quiet arrogance of the girl. Frowning, he replied, “I know that you have out-manoeuvred the Hyuugas and even my ANBU agents, but I also know that you have been using my as your fulcrum. So let me begin by saying that I place the safety of the village above all else, and while it often pains me to do so, as Hokage my word is law. I can, will, and have made threats and problems ‘go away’, in the most terminal sense possible.”

Yukiko considered this without blinking before she said, “I know this. Why do you think I did all of this?”

Sarutobi looked at her for a long moment before he said, “Tell me.”

“Despite my success, I anticipated that I would quickly be caught, although the chances of the Hyuugas catching me directly I considered low as I used ignorant intermediaries for the purposes of harassing them rather than direct actions. After the second such attack I came to the realization that I could not in fact be that good, especially as I was tampering with the mail, something sure to draw your attention. Taking this into consideration, I decided that I must have already been discovered, you had just decided not to apprehend me yet. I could only interpret this as tacit approval to keep going until I either crossed a line or was caught. You saw value in my actions and you wanted to know if I would be an asset or a threat to the village,” Yukiko explained coolly.

Sarutobi kept his expression notably blank during this whole revelation, but he could only think that these were not the words of a child but of a skilled, if inexperienced, manipulator many times her age. She was far too cold, far too analytical.

“You risked much on assumptions of my actions and motives,” Sarutobi pointed out.

Yukiko shrugged and said, “The alternative was that you had no idea what I was doing, in which case you would need to interrogate me, at which point I would pitch the fact that clearly I’m an asset waiting for proper development.”

Shaking his head ruefully, Sarutobi changed tack and asked, “Okay, how about I ask why you chose to harass Hiashi Hyuuga?”

A grin spread across Yukiko’s face and she replied, “Because its fun. Naruto pulls pranks to get attention or to get back at someone; I pull them because it is such a rush. There is the time spent planning, where you pit your entire mind against the enemy’s. There is the preparation, where you gather what you need and eliminate what you don’t need, honing your resources like a blade. Finally there is the execution, where every bit of your person strains against the challenges presented by the target, where every sense comes alive to its fullest extent and your thoughts fly faster and faster. The greater the risk, the greater the rush.”

Sarutobi nodded, having known more than one ninja like that before he said, “The first part of your punishment shall be mail room duty every day for four hours at least until you make genin status, if you can pass your exams.”

Yukiko’s eyes went wide and she sputtered for a second before she nodded and said, “Well played sir, well played.”

“Next question, what did you do to Hinata, and by extension yourself? We found the scene of your fight, as well as that field we suspect you cratered, and both were quite thoroughly destroyed,” Sarutobi asked.

Yukiko got the slightest shifty look in her eyes before she concealed it and she replied, “My difficulties with chakra control are that if I get it wrong the energy does not simply dissipate, it tends to explode. I have been working on it, but when Hinata struck me she caused a reaction… I had to expel the energy or I would have died. The backlash burned us both.”

Sarutobi nodded, not entirely satisfied but this was a start. Her chakra coils did seem to respond poorly to foreign chakra and the medical-nins had been completely unable to use any chakra healing on her once they saw the danger. However, he did ask, “You are adopted, correct? What do you know of your biological parents?”

“My mother was a warrior of some sort, I do not know about my father but I suspect he was as well. My mother died protecting me from whatever eventually killed her. If there is more that my adoptive parents have yet to tell me then I do not know it,” Yukiko said.

Sarutobi nodded and then held up the silk bag the ANBU agents had recovered from the scene. He asked, “What can you tell me about the contents within this bag?”

Yukiko froze for a moment before she replied, “Mementos, little else.”

“I think you’re lying, and poorly. There are five bones within, most likely human metacarpals, along with a large precious stone of the sort that could probably buy a small estate. The Hyuugas all also refuse to look at the stone directly with their Byakugan. What are they?” Sarutobi demanded.

Now clearly on the edge of panic, Yukiko struggled to keep her emotions in place but Sarutobi could see blind terror mixing with catastrophic rage behind her eyes. Sarutobi decided to back down a little and he added on, “Despite being evidence against you, they will not be harmed and will be returned to you… so long as you cooperate with this.”

The emotional tide receded a little and Yukiko grudgingly admitted, “I found my biological mother’s grave. The stone was buried with her; the bones are from her hand. I took them to have some connection with her. Happy now?”

“Yes,” Sarutobi nodded before handing the bag off to Ibiki. Yukiko glared at him before he said with a faint smile, “Consider them being held for the purposes of good behaviour. No more stealing, no more scheming, no more trespassing, no more harassment, no more tampering with the mail, no more… hmm… the list of your crimes do seem to go on so long I have forgotten some of them.”

“Contributing to the corruption of a minor,” Yukiko added on. When her interrogators looked at her funny she replied, “Naruto.”

Sarutobi considered this before he said, “I will actually grant you some leniency on that as despite protests otherwise I do believe that you have had a generally positive influence on the boy’s life. That said he will be in part sharing your punishment. You two will both serve in the mail office, and his behaviour will reflect on yours.”

Yukiko’s jaw dropped before she snapped it shut with a clack of teeth. She then narrowed her eyes at Sarutobi before she said, “I really wish I could hate you, but I am so in awe of your outright bastardry that I cannot help but admire your style.”

Grinning, the Third Hokage added on, “And to show what a magnanimous leader I am, I shall keep your punishment interesting. I will find someone suitable to watch over you two and attempt to hinder you from plotting anything. A little extra risk to your day so you can feel that rush you so desire.”

Yukiko nodded and asked, “Hyuugas?”

Sarutobi shrugged and said, “Perhaps, you have resulted in giving me quite the headache from them so it would only be fair. There are however more… hmm… eccentric ninjas in this village who would be able to give you a more interesting time. I am certain I will find the people just right for your punishment.”

“Damn. I was hoping it would be the Hyuugas just so I could force them to stand around and glare at me while I act the perfect example of contrition and bore the poor bastard to tears,” Yukiko replied.

Sarutobi considered the seriousness of this statement before he decided that it didn’t matter for the purposes of his final decision. Yukiko would probably figure out a way to annoy her guards while still being a perfect angel. He was in fact counting on it. It was good ninja training for the psychological aspects of the job.

Standing up from his chair, he nodded and said, “Your punishment starts as soon as you are cleared as fit by the medical-nins. I will also consider any punishments your parents add on to be part of my own for determining your degree of ‘rehabilitation’.”

Yukiko chuckled in amusement before she settled back into her bed and closed her eyes.

“The girl is dangerous. Her psychology is abnormal, probably sociopathic,” Ibiki spoke up once they were well away from the room.

“I know, but you noticed it, didn’t you? She never once sold out her friend and every time she mentioned him it was in a context that would put him in the best light possible,” Sarutobi pointed out. “A sword is also dangerous if you do not have a grasp of its hilt.”

“Or if you do not know what you are doing with it,” Ibiki growled.

“Then we shall just have to learn,” Sarutobi replied.

Hours later a most peculiar visitor arrived at the Aburame clan’s estate, resulting in a most peculiar conversation.



I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-11 01:43am
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This fic is fucking excellent. I eagerly await any new chapters :D.

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-11 06:59am
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Joined: 2009-03-15 11:48am
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Academia Nut wrote:
Far more irksome than Mon-keigh poking at things they don't understand is when you do understand what is going on but haven't reached the part of the story where you can really reveal that sort of thing yet. Like the identity of [INFORMATION REDACTED] or the history of [INFORMATION REDACTED] leading to the revelation of [INFORMATION REDACTED] hence [INFORMATION REDACTED] is [INFORMATION REDACTED] logically the turtle [INFORMATION REDACTED] and hatred of Tyranids. Plus I can't wait to unleash the joke comparing [INFORMATION REDACTED] to her [INFORMATION REDACTED], which is so horrifyingly perverse it makes me [INFORMATION REDACTED] just to think about it...

Wait a second! [INFORMATION REDACTED] is the sort of thing that gets censored around here? [EXPLETIVE REDACTED]

Oh, real mature...

+++Thought for the day: an open mind is soon filled with thoughts of heresy+++
This post brought to you by [INFORMATION REDACTED] of the [INFORMATION REDACTED]


Oh god, another David Weber mental twin!!! *runs in fear*



Proud Nanoha/Yuuno/Fate, Caro/Elio/Lutecia, Alto/Sheril/Ranka and Honor/Hamish/Emily shipper. Last one even canon.

PS. Also support canon Nanoha/job, Honor/job and semicanon Rein/Agito.
PPS. In process of considering reborn Sankt Kaizer/reborn GEoM.

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-15 02:42am
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This chapter got bizarre rather quickly. It is also the chapter in which a bomb launched in chapter two strikes.

---

The next day when Naruto barged into Yukiko’s hospital room, he found it cluttered with a number of scrolls and books, with Yukiko sitting up in her bed with a small bed table over her lap, a scroll and inkpot on the table, and a calligraphy brush in her hand. As the questions Naruto had before entered the room died and were replaced with confusion and new questions, Yukiko smiled mischievously and asked, “Not expecting all this, were you?”

Naruto looked around and asked, “What is all this junk?”

Yukiko shrugged before she said, “Art and poetry books, scrolls on protocol and history, and other such things requested from the hospital’s library. It’s amazing how boring recovering from burns can get.”

“What’s that?” Naruto asked, pointing at the scroll Yukiko had been working on.

A feral smile passed over her face and she said, “My greatest scheme yet.”

Frowning, Naruto replied, “Your last prank got pretty mean there and then you and Hinata started to fight and…”

Yukiko shook her head and said, “This new plan is much better and more satisfying for all involved, and it should go towards apologizing to Hinata. I didn’t mean for us to get burned. Here, what do you think?”

Inhaling deeply, Yukiko then began reading. “To Hinata Hyuuga, Heiress of the Most Noble Hyuuga Clan, I do extend my most sincere and a heartfelt apology as it was not in my intent to cause you injury such as I did during our confrontation. While my reasons for bringing insult against your clan are my own to keep, you acted upon the highest ideals of duty and honour to clan and family in attempting to stop my actions, for which I congratulate you. Your own personal composure and dignity has done much to quench the fires that led me into offence against your clan.

“However, in doing so you have kindled a new fire. By any measure our impromptu battle was soundly decided in your favour as you sagaciously took all advantages befitting of a practitioner of the ninja arts, but as circumstances beyond our control due to ignorance forced the conclusion of the fight, I am left unsatisfied. For months I operated undetected by either branch of your family, and yet you discovered my activities and struck against me, ending my campaign. Yet it was an unfitting end, with the battlefield unequal and both of us burned at the end, leaving the question of who would have won had chance not intervened unanswered. Thus I seek to formally challenge you to obtain an answer.

“As you are the heiress to the head of the Hyuuga clan, it would be improper to request a duel from one such as myself, especially as we are still convalescing. However, a lesser challenge of skill would be sufficient for the sake of honourably satisfying my question. As the challenged I leave the determination of the form, location, and timing of this contest up to you.

“If, as is his right, your father and head of clan refuses you to accept this challenge, then I shall acquiesce and bother you no more.

“Humblest apologies, Yukiko Kuromori,” she finished off, to look up and see Naruto with a glazed over look in his eyes. Nodding, she added on, “Had about the right effect I see.”

“What was all of that?” Naruto asked.

“A challenge to Hinata as while unintended, our fight didn’t end right. I don’t think her family will accept though, as they have no real reason to. Ah well, just as good, they’d likely challenge me to something I’m not good at,” Yukiko replied, sighing theatrically.

Naruto frowned and then cheered, “But you’re great at everything!”

Yukiko rolled her eyes as she rolled up the scroll, content that the ink would be adequately dry now. She then told Naruto, “Yes, because I could immediately imitate a single person’s writing and did not need weeks of solid practice. And because my ability to use chakra is just spectacular.”

Naruto blinked sheepishly for a few moments before he said, “Oh. Yeah. Right.”

Carefully sealing the scroll, Yukiko said, “In the unlikely event they accept, they’ll probably do something high class like a tea ceremony… or who knows what, just something they think I won’t have ever had a chance to practice.”

“Why are you doing it then?” Naruto asked.

“Because it’s a way of apologising while not having to sacrifice my own pride. Now, do you think you could give this to Hinata? Just bring it to school tomorrow, tell her what it is, and then hand it over. Simple as that,” Yukiko replied, smiling broadly.

“No problem, I’ll get this to her for sure!” Naruto practically shouted.

Nodding peacefully, Yukiko began to clean up the various documents. It took Naruto a few moments to clue in before he started helping her put everything away. Grinning cheekily, he then asked, “So now what?”

Settling back, Yukiko replied, “Now I rest what with the recovering from scalding on my arms and legs. Don’t worry Naruto, we’ll get enough of each other once I get out of here and the Hokage’s punishment starts.”

His face falling a bit, Naruto then perks up and gives her a thumbs-up, stating, “You get better then! We’ll blast through the punishment and then pass our exams, no problem!”

Nodding, Yukiko just smiled and closed her eyes, causing Naruto to rush out. Oh, that foolish yet somehow loveable idiot could be so useful sometimes. She had little doubt her message would be repeated and garbled in meaning all across the school, and spread from there along the winds of rumour and gossip. She had absolutely no leverage against the Hyuugas and she would probably be dead already if not for the Hokage’s intervention. But the village and popular opinion certainly could get the blank eyed clan to move.

Her ears twitched slightly as there was a gentle knock at the door. Cracking open a single eye-lid, she found to her bemusement that one of her classmates other than Naruto was standing by the door. Tall with unruly black hair, the majority of his face was concealed behind the high collar of his jacket and the eye concealing blackness of his sunglasses.

“Shino Aburame? This is unexpected,” Yukiko commented.

“You are still convalescing, Yukiko Kuromori? I did not mean to intrude upon your rest and recovery, but I have something I wish to speak to you about,” the boy answered.

Waving a spidery hand at him, she said, “Come in, if you have come all this way I should at least entertain you for a minute before going back to sleep.”

Shino nodded before stepping over the threshold of the room. “Thank you. Although I must admit that the distance I have travelled pales in comparison to that of a recent visitor to my clan. It was decided that as your peer it would be most efficient if I were to explain the situation to you.”

Raising an eyebrow, Yukiko said, “This seems like something more than a simple social visit.”

Shino nodded. “You are correct. While meaning no offence, I have no particular internal desire to speak with you and this entire encounter is based off of external factors.”

“The visitor to my clan would have business with you, but due to extenuating circumstances she was unable to seek you out directly. Before I introduce you, I request that you not resort to hysterics or attempt to in any way harm her, for she is a guest of the Aburame clan and under our protection,” Shino explained.

Her curiosity now thoroughly aroused, Yukiko nodded and said, “I assume there is some factor to your guest’s appearance that prevents normal interactions.”

Shino nodded and said, “That is an adequate explanation of one of the issues, yes.” He then held out his right arm, palm down. Something beneath his coat caused the sleeve to twitch, something small moving along underneath until about the last thing Yukiko had expected to see emerged.

About large enough to comfortably fit on the back of Shino’s hand was, of all things, a large and gaudily coloured scorpion. Dark green with brilliant sun yellow striping and chevrons across its carapace, it looked painfully exposed… until Yukiko thought about what it would look like in tall grass, causing her to realize that it would probably look like a clump of grass. Curiously, upon seeing her, the scorpion began to wave its large claws and stinger about in a strangely non-threatening, rhythmic manner.

Yukiko just stared at the scorpion for some time before she finally asked, “Is this some sort of joke?”

Shino replied, “While I can understand your scepticism, there is a non-jocular explanation. My clan specialize in the use of insects, and we can communicate with the hives of kikaichu implanted in our bodies. In turn they are capable of communication with other insects, although most possess insufficient intelligence for meaningful conversation. This scorpion here though is of considerably greater intelligence and determination.”

Yukiko peered at the curious creature, and her eyes seemed to lock with its beady black ones, causing it to raise its claws high into the air and shake them excitedly. A look of confusion on her face, Yukiko asked, “What is it… err… ‘she’… doing?”

“She is celebrating the fact that she has finally found you. According to her you are her creator and she views you as a deity,” Shino explained. He then added on, “I can translate for her if you desire.”

“Uh… okay,” Yukiko replied while her mind had still not wrapped fully about this entire thing.

A small, beetle-like bug exited Shino’s sleeve and perched next to the scorpion, the two of them apparently conversing in tiny buzzes and hisses. After a second Shino said in a neutral voice, “Glorious day to the hive and their Aburame gods for uniting this one with her goddess. Long have I sought her presence.” He then added on in his voice, “She seems to refer to all humans as if they were gods.”

Yukiko nodded slowly and then she asked, “Can she understand me directly?”

Shino shook his head and stated, “Can you speak scorpion? No, she cannot truly understand us, although I do believe that she has the capacity to learn, given time. Do you have anything to say to her?”

Yukiko thought for a time before she decided to test the validity of all of this. She looked at the scorpion and asked, “What is your story, little one?”

Shino seemed to buzz for a bit before the tiny sounds of the scorpion and the bug chatting away was heard. Before they finished Shino took up the narrative, his voice going neutral again. “My goddess, my tale is one of suffering and hardship. Once I was as my kin, fearing the light and the knowledge that came with it. In my ignorance I hid from you when you did battle with the Worm that Walks, casting it down so that its blood soaked the earth. That evening I entered that hallowed ground to hunt the crawling creatures that fed there. They were bloated and sickly from the blood and I gorged upon them, feeding long after I grew full. When the sun rose I returned to my hole, my body wracked with the daylight pain of an unexpected moult. For many nights I remained in my den, consumed with pain as I went through moult after moult, rapidly growing in size and comprehension.”

Shino paused for a breath before continuing. “Finally, the heat cleared and I looked upon the light not with fear but with understanding. I waited many nights for you to return, using my newfound strength, venom, and intelligence to feast on prey and former predator alike, but you did not return. So I sought you out. I did battle with the ants of Old Hollow, who arrogantly do not believe in the gods but were willing to talk once I had their queen’s neck within my pincers. They told me of the termites of Fallen Log and how they did acknowledge the gods. We marched on their nest and attacked, destroying many and feeding well. I interrogated their queen and she told of the ancient times when they had lived in the lands where the great light was born, in a paradise of dead wood. But in their arrogance they dug too deep and awoke the wrath of the gods. The queen’s great-great-grandmother and her retinue were the only survivors, forced to flee as the very air turned to venom at the behest of the gods. I thanked her by making her death quick beneath my claws rather than let her be carried back to Old Hollow.”

Shino paused once more, but it looked more like it was because the scorpion was gathering her thoughts than Shino taking a breather. After a second, she began, followed shortly after by Shino. He said, “After the battle at Fallen Log I set out for the place where the great light is born. Many nights later I discovered what I thought was that place, for it was night and yet there was a great light surrounded by gods. Before I could approach them I found the Thief King of the Tanuki lurking about. Thinking me a tasty meal, he soon found more than he bargained for and retreated. Finding me clever, he told me how there were many gods and how they could summon forth pieces of the great light. He also warned me that the gods were wrathful creatures for the most part, liable to attack those that intruded unbidden upon their domain. He did say that there were those who served the gods, although usually only great beasts warm of blood and soft of skin like them. He pointed me towards the realm of the gods and bid me good luck.

“Several nights later I arrived at the Long Lands where the gods dwelled, the shade of the trees replaced with long rows of shorter vegetation. It was a harrowing experience, hiding from the eyes of swooping birds during the day while I hopped from cover to cover during the night, a skill I would finely hone as I drew closer to the domain of the gods. I saw the unwary crushed by unimaginable forces if they strayed too close to the gods or their servants, or the eerie, mountainous structures sculpted from dead wood into unnatural shapes that despite their colossal size were still capable of motion. Soon I found the Great Wall, a structure so large that its top was lost to the limits of even my advanced vision. Seeking knowledge once more, I found the Clan of the Cave Cricket, a savage group lairing within the bountiful underhall of a god, stealing from the impossibly huge larder contained within. We fought for a time until they realized that they could only bring me down at the cost of the majority of their clan. As part of the truce they told me about the wonders beyond the Great Wall, and of how there was a pantheon who were served by cold blood, hard shelled ones such as me. They would show me a passage through the Great Wall if I would slay the Great Rat that dwelled within the tunnels and preyed upon them. I agreed to the quest and did battle with the Great Rat, temporarily losing three legs in the process. The crickets then betrayed me, only to discover that there were many rats within the walls. In the confusion I escaped into the tunnels, resting for many nights until my next moult while my legs also grew back.

“Once beyond the Great Wall, I spent many, many nights seeking out the Aburames, until finally I chanced upon a scout that served them. Conversing, the creature and its kin brought me to their vast palace where they welcomed me as an honoured guest. Upon telling my story they brought before me many scents, the scents of the gods they had collected, until finally I discovered yours. They then requested I wait while they prepared to bring me to you. The god Shino then let me ride with his hive and brought me to you and now I have finally found you, my goddess!” Sino finally finished.

Yukiko had sat in stunned silence for a long time, the shock of the first description cluing her in to the fact that someone knew about her initial experimentations with her mother. Still not quiet believing it all, but fascinated by what sounded more like a mythic cycle than a typical journey, she thought for a long time before she noticed the ink pot and a bit of scrap paper she had set aside. An idea forming in her head, she nodded and said, “There is a way to test the accuracy of your claim. Here, there is a pot filled with black liquid. Dip your claw within it and then follow my instructions.”

His eyebrows rising above the rims of his glasses as he caught on, Shino gingerly lowered the scorpion to the table with the paper while Yukiko opened the pot and offered it to the scorpion. Amazingly, although perhaps less so after hearing the story, the scorpion actually did what was asked and dipped a pincer into the ink. Yukiko then proceeded to list out a number of instructions, and the scorpion obeyed, carefully drew a series of tiny marks on the paper.

When it was done, Shino looked over the symbols and asked curiously, “Creiaer of Quaantokath? I think that’s what it says…”

Yukiko nodded, not quite sure where the words had come from but suspecting that they were meaningful in Eldar. She then said, “They are her name and the name of her clan, though she is the only one.”

Upon translating this, Yukiko and Shino were treated to the sight of a scorpion doing a victory dance, quite the unusual thing to witness. Yukiko however then ruined Creiaer’s enthusiasm when she said, “Tell her that she cannot stay with me yet. Emphasize yet, for arrangements will need to be made.”

Shino nodded and with some quick buzzing the scorpion seemed to deflate, turning plaintively towards Yukiko. She sighed and said, “Don’t look at me like that. Shino will take good care of you until I can figure something out.”

Shino nodded and said, “The Aburames will be pleased to here that you have accepted her, especially as you seem somehow responsible for her unique creation. When you begin returning to the academy I shall bring her with me so that she might spend time with you.”

Yukiko nodded, now lost in thought as she considered this new, rather strange complication to her already complicated life.

---

Yes, I fully intend to make an entire society of intelligent scorpions with their own culture and myths. Because 'Why not?' seems as good a reason as any.



I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-15 06:39am
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"Creiaer of Quaantokath"

Hm... Am I wrong in suspecting that Creiaer is somehow derived from "believer" in Eldar?
Perhaps meaning "prophet"?



Varje meddelande om att motståndet skall uppges är falskt. - BOOM FOR THE BOOM GOD! LOOT FOR THE LOOT THRONE!

My mother taught me that it is the right of every woman to be seen, acknowledged, courted and proposed to at least once daily.
So, if you are reading this and you are a woman, will you marry me?

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-15 07:21am
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Jonen C wrote:
"Creiaer of Quaantokath"

Hm... Am I wrong in suspecting that Creiaer is somehow derived from "believer" in Eldar?
Perhaps meaning "prophet"?


"Disciple" would also be accurate, and would be closer to the concept of "believer", I feel.

Nevertheless, either way I suspect her mother might be pleased(ish) that she has somehow found a sapient scorpion in the colours of the Striking Scorpions which worships her as a goddess.

If only because the Eldar are rather like cats in that they have a perpetual feeling that they should be being worshipped. :D



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See the Anargo Sector Project, an entire fan-created sector for Warhammer 40k, designed as a setting for Role-Playing Games.

Author of Aeon Natum Engel, an Evangelion/Cthulhutech setting merger fan-fiction.

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-15 02:02pm
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I used the Eldar dictionary posted by Rodon to derive the name, although any inaccuracies in the grammar can be blamed on Yukiko not knowing the language very well.



I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-20 02:12am
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The Hokage had been right when he had said that he would find ‘just the right people’ for the task of looking over Naruto and Yukiko during the punishment at the post office. In this case ‘people’ meant ‘person’ and ‘person’ meant Suzurei Atsukokoro, a rather severe looking kunoichi in a conservative grey dress, her dark hair pulled back in a bun and held in place by a pair of hair sticks that looked like they could probably be used quite effectively as weapons. The heels she wore probably were weapons. Finally, while empty at the moment, probably due to being in a place filled with paper, she had a cigarette holder between her fingers that looked like it had been with her since shortly after birth… possibly before.

Oh, and she had a seven foot tall man made out of earth and clay trailing obediently behind her that looked capable of making sashimi by starting with a cow and bludgeoning it to the correct thickness.

She glared down at the two of them with the sort of expression that said that she brooked no fooling around. Sucking absentmindedly upon her empty cigarette holder, she seemed to transfer her disgust at not receiving any tobacco smoke upon the charges before her. She waited long before she said slowly, “The Hokage has given me the task of supervising you two while you make up for the trouble you have caused the village. I take my jobs very seriously, and any job I take seriously is one that Guo takes here takes seriously.” She then pointed at the monster behind her. “Get my drift?”

Both children nodded, feeling very small indeed. It was probably the glowing red eyes on Guo that did it.

“Good. That should make things easier,” Suzurei said before she gestured and Guo picked up a large bag and emptied it into a large bin, creating a rustling rush of paper as numerous letters and scrolls were dumped in.

“Now, since most of your tampering was to the branch offices about the village, you might know a little about how the mail works. First, like ninja missions, all mail is categorized in a rank from A through D, depending upon the security and speed at which it is delivered. You will not see A or B mail as both of those are courier delivered, but you will be seeing a whole lot of C and D. D rank mail is basic mass mail and the cheapest, slowest, and least secure method of sending a letter. It’s mostly personal letters and minor bills. C rank mail is D rank but it goes out more often by horse rather than cart, so it is faster and is typically used for standard business negotiations and the like. These are collected from mailboxes unsorted into either category. Your first priority is to thus sort out the C and D letters,” Suzurei explained, picking up two letters out of the bin and showing the difference in postage between the two before tossing them into their appropriately sorted bin. She then pointed to a fourth bin and said, “Anything with incorrect postage goes there to be figured out later.”

She then jerked a thumb behind her to show off the mounds of bags that had been collected and said, “Incidentally since Konoha is a Hidden Ninja Village the primary means of communication with the outside world for the common person is by mail. Get sorting.”

Yukiko thought about this for a second before she asked, “Why are we just sorting them into C and D when we could save time by also sorting destination. Also, what about mail internal to the village?”

A faintly amused look crossed Suzurei’s face and she said, “The Hokage said you were clever. Very well, the reason we do this sorting now is that the post office is typically behind and to avoid irritating customers overly the D-rank letters are given a much longer estimated delivery time so we can focus on the more expensive C-rank letters.”

Yukiko frowned and replied, “That seems like an inefficient stop-gap measure that wastes time and resources.”

Grinning broadly now, Suzurei pulled out a chair from seemingly nowhere, folded it out, sat down and said, “You are clever. Now get going both of you.”

Yukiko sighed and said to Naruto, “Not how I envisioned my first day out of the hospital.”

Naruto looked like he was about to enthusiastically say something when Suzurei announced, “Less talking more sorting.”

So they began, the work being about as intellectually stimulating as it sounded. Naruto repeatedly tried to talk but got shot down by their warden before he could open his mouth, and then shot down by Yukiko before he could protest. He was clearly bored and ready to act out, but Yukiko had spent years teaching him to shut up when it was important so he kept quiet.

About half an hour in Suzurei spoke up once again, her attention focused upon some papers laid out in front of her. This time though it was not the sullen Naruto but Yukiko who was told off. “I saw that Yukiko, you put that letter there without even looking at it. Pick it back up and look at it properly before you sort it.”

Yukiko blinked in confusion, picking up the letter she had just filed in the D-rank bin and looking at it carefully. She furrowed her eyebrows for a moment, sure she had looked at the letter before she protested, “It’s in the right place already.”

“Doesn’t matter, I don’t tolerate sloppy work,” Suzurei replied.

Frowning and growling quietly at the back of her throat, Yukiko shook her head and then picked up the nest letter, trying to focus and perform flawlessly just to spite their jailor. Not ten minutes later though and Suzurei interrupted again, coughing and glancing up from her work to tell Yukiko that she had been caught again.

Once again Yukiko picked up the last letter she had sorted and found that it was in the correct place, the C-rank bin. Now openly grumbling, she said, “See! This one is in the right place and it’s not one of the more common Ds either!”

“You got lucky. Do it right,” Suzurei replied, tapping a foot with rather more menace than such an act usually involved. Then again most people didn’t cut into the floor with their heels when they tapped on the floor.

Yukiko paused before an evil thought passed through her head. She now strongly suspected she knew what was going on. Time for a demonstration. She made a subtle hand signal to Naruto, part of the silent prank code they had concocted over the years. It translated out as something between ‘Watch this!’ and ‘Prepare to dive for cover!’

Rolling up her sleeves, Yukiko then grabbed a handful of letters and closed her eyes tightly shut before she began to hurl the mail like shuriken at their bins, eyes completely closed. Suzurei had just started to protest when Yukiko finished off the batch in her hand and grabbed another group. Right when she cried out, “STOP!” Yukiko finished off that batch, casually flicking the last letter at Suzurei.

Adroitly catching the letter, Suzurei glared furiously, Guo looming behind her, and hissed, “What, trying to give me a paper cut?”

“Incorrect postage,” Yukiko replied with a canary eating grin on her face. Suzurei glanced down at the letter and a look of confusion crossed over her. Naruto burst out laughing until Suzurei, and Guo, glared him quiet again.

“Think you’re clever, don’t you?” Suzurei asked.

Yukiko nodded and then said, “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”

“You also wouldn’t be here if you actually were,” Suzurei countered.

“Check my work then. You’ll find it flawless. In fact, I should be able to sort all of this mail before our session here today is over,” Yukiko bragged, sweeping a hand to indicate the many bags of mail.

Unimpressed, Suzurei glared at her and said, “Okay, try me. But if tomorrow they find a single mistake I’ll have quite the report for the Hokage as to your behaviour.”

Grinning over broadly, Yukiko said, “Oh, you already do.” She then closed her eyes and thought for a moment before she rummaged through the D-rank bin and pulled out three letters from near the bottom. Looking at Naruto she said, “These all have incorrect postage.” She then reached into the C-rank bin and pulled out another letter and said, “And this one belongs in the D-rank bin.”

Looking suitably chastised but prepared to watch something spectacular, Naruto just grinned and blushed in embarrassment. Suzurei let an eyebrow arch up in interest before Yukiko loosened up a bit and said, “Let’s begin.”

An hour and a half later and three days worth of work were sorted and done in a blizzard of paper with Naruto running back and forth to fill up and empty the various bins while Yukiko entered into a strange trance of motion, already knowing where a piece of mail needed to go before he fingers grasped it.

With a final gasp she collapsed to the ground, her whole body humming with the exertion of walking a fine mental tightrope of allowing the energy to flow through her and direct her actions across time while preventing it from overflowing and causing tremendous damage. And she had to do all of that only at a subconscious level, just within the twilight of her mental perception. It was tiring, but what a rush!

Smiling, she turned to Suzurei and said, “There, done. Also, congratulations on your husband getting that job as the head of Konoha’s Revenue Agency. And it’s a girl.”

The cigarette holder slipped from Suzurei’s fingers before she pointed at the exit and said, “Out! Now!”

“But we still have nearly two hours left today,” Yukiko pointed out.

Still pointing, Suzurei said, “I’ll take it up with the Hokage personally. Now out!”

Grinning, Yukiko let Naruto scoop her up and help her out of the post office. Once they were out he said, “That was awesome! But what did you really do?”

“I just… knew. I just knew where each letter had to go. Along the way I also started picking up other things. Things that haven’t happened yet,” Yukiko explained quietly while her body, still partially recovering from the burns, regained its strength after the exertion that afternoon.

“Cool! Did you learn anything about me?” Naruto asked quietly.

Yukiko studied the boy who had been her only friend and peer for years and considered telling him more before she nodded slightly and said, “For all of the various glaring weaknesses and flaws in your character and skill set, I do think you’ll pass the next genin exam, but I don’t think it will be conventionally.”

Naruto looked at her funny at that before he grinned and said proudly, “Well that’s because I’m awesome!”

Yukiko nodded while she tried not to consider the image that had flashed through her mind while handling a school report. She knew that their teacher Iruka was one of the few people that Naruto didn’t feel antipathy towards at the academy, yet she had the sinking feeling that he would not survive past Naruto’s ascension to genin.

Mostly because she suspected she would be the one to end his life.

Taking the time to walk her home, Yukiko thanked him before he dashed off. Opening the door, she found neither of her parents home yet, but she decided it would be best not to push them or the Hokage as they had decided that she would be grounded indefinitely, so she just quietly went to her room.

Within her bare, unadorned room, she discovered two things waiting for her on her bed. The first was an ornately decorated scroll bearing the Hyuuga seal, the second was a small, plain wooden box with a loosely latched door on the front and holes cut in the sides with the Aburame seal on it. Ignoring the first object, Yukiko picked up the second and undid the latch. Inside, nearly invisible amongst the play of shadows and light, was Creiaer.

Holding out her palm, Yukiko said, “Ah, there you are little one. How are you today?”

The green and yellow scorpion eagerly exited the box and alighted upon Yukiko’s open palm. When the scorpion made contact something peculiar happened. For a moment she saw herself through Creiaer’s eyes. It was a fragmented, multidimensional image formed from thousands of snap shots into a mosaic of an impossibly huge creature, her flesh rippling and pulsing with the beat of her heart and the twitch of her muscles to maintain her posture, her features weirdly distorted by the close, tiny perspective.

The moment quickly passed, but Yukiko felt her whole body threaten to collapse from the sudden, stressful rush of new, bizarre sensory input. Sitting down on her bed, she quickly put Creiaer aside lest she crush the tiny being in her collapse.

She was dreaming before her head even hit the bed.

…two hearts beating in synchronous symphony, the tree sheltering the sapling from the storms around…

…the thrill of the hunt, the rush of the kill, the joy of the feast…

…ten thousand voices cheering in frenzied chorus, attached to ten thousand pale faces from a race that had never seen the sun in their lightless home…


Then, from the fragments, a moment of clarity.

He wore her worst nightmare as his face: her face of many centuries ago. He tilted his head to the side and asked in a lilting, sing-song voice, “Why do you do this?”

She stuck her head up and sniffed imperiously, “Because if she is to become whole she must experience this dance at least once. You know this; it is why you come here.”

“Is she truly…?” The mirror-masked man asked, his whole body moving strangely as if he were slowly executing a dance to an unseen song.

“Already the vermin sniff about and I cannot protect her much longer. I will have this… she will have this… just this once before I meet with you again. She is destined for greatness and will not become a toy for others. Is Drisshelwe still with you?” She asked, urgently.

The smiling man nodded.

She set her features and said, “I have travelled with her before, in ages past. She will make a good fit.”

“Very well then, Fallen One, very well then. We shall meet again,” the smiling, masked man said before he faded away into a blur of motion and shadows.

She set her own mask down over her face, a grotesque trophy collection. It would and her skill would be her only armour today, to truly delight the crowds, to make them adore her one last time before she betrayed them all. She carefully checked her weapons, before resting a hand protectively upon her swollen abdomen. This would be a fight for the ages.

The gate before her opened, letting the full effect of the crowds wash over her. Her heart rate increased and she felt the first touch of the lust for battle and slaughter hit her, the eager, almost painful anticipation for the drug, almost like the prick of a hypodermic needle against the skin in the moment before the chemicals hit the bloodstream.

Seeing its prey and tormentor, the beast at the centre of the arena bellowed its fury, straining against its bonds while its limbs savagely tore at the floor, trying to gain traction. The size of a small house and capable of ripping apart a tank with its four razor sharp arms, the hated alien monstrosity would be her last opponent.

Raising her weapons to the cheering, bloodthirsty crowd, she then nodded and the restraints were blown away. Leaping into motion as the abominable, chitinous creature hurtled towards her, she whispered, “One last time Saimshelwe, one last time.”


Saimshelwe’s eyes snapped open, and somehow she instinctively knew that the dream was a memory, and that it was her own.



I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-20 12:21pm
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Hmm. So, at the end, Yuriko's mother is talking with what appears to be a Shadowseer Harlequin (certainly a Harlequin) to get her as-yet-unborn child away from Cormarrgh, shortly before she goes out to fight a Screamer-Killer type Carnifex. And judging from what we know (in that she survives to die at the start of the story), she wins. It also appears that Yuriko was aware, even before birth.

Also, yay! An Adore Belle Dearheart Expy! :D



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See the Anargo Sector Project, an entire fan-created sector for Warhammer 40k, designed as a setting for Role-Playing Games.

Author of Aeon Natum Engel, an Evangelion/Cthulhutech setting merger fan-fiction.

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-20 01:24pm
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This is such an awesome story. I wonder how the Hokage will react to her little stunt...

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-07-20 09:52pm
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I hate to repeat but... Sashimi is made of raw fish, not cow. you seem to be thinking og something else.



Given the respective degrees of vulnerability to mental and physical force, annoying the powers of chaos to the point where they try openly to kill them all rather than subvert them is probably a sound survival strategy under the circumstances. -Eleventh Century Remnant

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-08-13 03:01am
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Things don't always go according to plan. Ah well. Enjoy.

---

Months passed in a blur as schooling and time at the post office passed in a blur, particularly the post office as her sorting of letters had developed to the point where it was more of a meditative trance than anything else. With this continual training to become a conduit of fate, sending the letters where they needed to go, she also discovered a strange relationship with Creiaer. She could link her mind to that of the scorpion, at first only when in physical contact, but now with just a moment of concentration she could mingle surface thoughts and sensations with the tiny arthropod.

Aside from gaining another set of eyes and perspective, Yukiko also found that it was easier for her to use her powers as Creiaer could hold an extra ‘pattern’ to the way she channelled the energy, letting her shape it much more efficiently. The scorpion’s ability to understand human speech and write also been accelerated by the practice, allowing for conversation between the two without the need to join minds.

Yukiko had asked what the scorpion thought of the process and Creiaer had used her claws to reply, “You are the one with the word for forever. Just the merest touch with your blessed mind is a greater experience than I can ever hope to have, and yet you ask me to repeat it. Truly you are the greatest of the gods.”

Creiaer’s insistence on calling Yukiko a god amongst gods had generated something of a problem in that the tiny scorpion was apparently triggering a religious revival within the Aburame clan’s hives, something the members of the clan had tried to discourage for many human generations, primarily because it could badly inflame the natural inter-hive conflict that the Aburames had been breeding out of the kikaichu bugs since the founding of the clan. With Creiaer acting as an arthropod prophet preaching the divinity of humanity – well humanoids anyway – to anything that listened, this was causing trouble for Shino’s colony and beyond.

Deeply embarrassed by the whole thing, Yukiko had finally ordered Creiaer to not preach to the kikaichu as their gods had their own commandments. Chastised, Creiaer had gone very quiet over that before she had asked, “May I have permission to speak with them on other, non-religious matters?”

Yukiko had agreed and thought little of it, right up until today when things had decided to go wrong all at once. It was the genin exam day once more, and neither she nor Naruto had managed to get very far in improving their chakra skills up to the level where they could pass. Yukiko had in fact completely abandoned everything to do with chakra as a viable path, but that meant the Naruto lost what little focus he had in the subject and he had began experimenting.

After demonstrating her displeasure at his objectification of women by demonstrating that the female groin was just as vulnerable to attack, Yukiko had congratulated Naruto on his creativity for coming up with Sexy no Jutsu.

Unfortunately he attempted to use that as a substitute for more useful skills during the exam meant that Yukiko had to suffer through watching him make a fool of himself in a way that exasperated how her day had began, namely with Shino bringing a collection of local species of scorpions for Creiaer to examine as potential mates. That wouldn’t have been so bad if Iruka hadn’t asked for Shino to explain in front of the class why he had a box of scorpions.

That had been compounded by completely failing all her chakra based exams. Her only real hope to succeed was to so impressively pass her taijutsu portion of the exams that they might pass her anyway. That meant breaking someone, but in a way that wouldn’t get her in trouble.

Then Mizuki said something that made Yukiko’s heart soar.

“Yukiko, you and Sasuke are among the best taijutsu, and since you’re not allowed to fight with Hinata, could you two do some sparring,” he said. The bored tone in his voice said that it was mostly for Sasuke’s sake since it looked like she had already completely failed the exam.

Bending her entire will towards not exploding into joy at the announcement, Yukiko nodded calmly and marched to the centre of the training grounds in the academy where Sasuke was also walking forward with Iruka following behind, a clipboard in hand for taking notes. The last remaining member of the Uchiha clan looked bored and only gave her the barest of nods. Yukiko bowed deeply and then held her right hand behind her back, gesturing with her left while she began to open up to the flow of the Sha’eil.

From the sidelines Hinata stopped what she was doing and gazed in awe at what her highly refined senses. Activating her Byakugan, she saw the energy flow into Yukiko’s coils, a raging torrent that filled the body and spirit. She trembled slightly. This was what she had fought all those months ago? She had no desire to repeat the experience, and a shock of fear went through her as she realized that Naruto frequently sparred with this monster.

Glaring at Yukiko contemptuously for not taking him seriously, Sasuke moved in to deliver a quick jab to the torso, only to go reeling in shock. Exactly three beings actually saw what happened, two being Yukiko and Creiaer as they were the ones who did it, while the third was Hinata. Moving so fast it was an indistinct blur to the standard human eye Yukiko had knocked the attack aside and then slapped Sasuke hard across the face.

All with her left hand. All without moving her feet.

Everyone within range watched in stunned awe as the Uchiha genius was completely and utterly demolished. Everyone knew that Yukiko was good at taijutsu, but as the fight wore on, it became apparent that none of the students in the academy could even touch her, even though she wasn’t doing any real damage to Sasuke aside from rapidly turning his face into a giant bruise through repeatedly slapping him. Sasuke’s fan club alternated between cheers of encouragement for their star, jeers against the girl doing it to him, and stunned silence as their pretty boy lost his good looks.

For his part, Sasuke should have quit fairly early, but his own stubborn refusal to admit that he was getting his ass handed to him on a silver platter just ensured further embarrassment and thus enragement, degrading his actual ability to counter the blinding attacks that struck him. With his pride being struck, it would have done little good for him to know that he was facing a physiological gap in reaction speeds so vast that only a ninja could hope to overcome it without major body alteration. Too bad for him Yukiko had the same training, and psychic precognition guiding her actions.

Finally Yukiko got bored and flicked her head about, her long hair flashing in Sasuke’s face before she shoved on his breastbone hard enough to knock him to the ground and then declared, “Fatal blow delivered. Spar over.”

Sasuke was about to protest when he felt something resting on his throat. Sitting on his Adam’s Apple, her stinger pressed up against his pulsing carotid artery, Creiaer stared up at him. Yukiko bent down and gently picked the scorpion up, petting it affectionately while she walked away, stunned silence filling the training grounds.

“How did that get there?” Sakura asked in shock.

Still somewhat numb with fear from watching the fight, Hinata absentmindedly answered, “It was in her hair and swung down on a few strands when she whipped it across his face.”

Every eye in the room turned to stare at Hinata, who immediately tried to self-consciously shrink into herself, pressing her index fingers together as everyone realized that Hinata was the only person to have seen what Yukiko had done… and was the only person to have ever fought and won in a real fight.

A few minutes later, sitting in the classroom, Yukiko casually watched Creiaer reject and subsequently devour an unfit suitor, the third in ten minutes. Judging by the fact that the scorpion kept picking smaller specimens, Yukiko suspected Creiaer was just hungry from the fight. She felt her own stomach rumble a little, but since she had been channelling energy external to her own body she hadn’t dipped into her own reserves that much.

She could also feel instinctively that neither she nor Naruto were going to pass… at least conventionally. She had discovered in the library in a tome of current academy rules that any student that could kill a teacher automatically passed at the head of their class with no official repercussions. The conceit was of course that any student that could accomplish such a near impossible feat against an adult chuunin deserved the promotion. Yukiko was still weighing whether or not to go through with it, especially as that would burn a lot of bridges and probably mean leaving Naruto behind.

She was still idly considering whether poisoning the food or if a sudden, unexpected strike to the throat would be more appropriate when Iruka walked up to her and said, “The Hokage wishes to speak with you after class. Your testing is done for the day and uh… the teachers are considering whether to pass you or not.”

“So I haven’t definitively failed yet?” Yukiko asked.

Iruka frowned before he lent in and said conspiratorially, “To be honest, before your little display I wouldn’t have passed you because your chakra control is far too weak, but others have passed from taijutsu skills alone before. But right now probably only a direct command from the Hokage will get you in as genin.”

The way he said that last bit led Yukiko to believe that more than just her talents as a student were involved in the decision, and she realized that maybe pissing off one of the most influential clans in Konoha might have more long term consequences than she had entirely accounted for. She frowned and nodded before scooping up Creiaer and the rest of the box of scorpions, she headed out for the Hokage’s tower.

Taking things at a leisurely pace, she was finally admitted in, minus weapons and scorpions not hiding in her hair, to see Sarutobi. The old man quietly shuffled about papers on his desk before he looked up at Yukiko and said, “How did the exams go?”

“How should already know given your abilities,” Yukiko replied calmly.

Sarutobi grinned and asked, “Why would I take time out of my busy schedule for that?”

“Because taking your eye off me is a dangerous thing?” Yukiko answered.

Snorting in amusement, the Hokage nodded and looked over the papers, running a finger over one to get the right place. Finding what he wanted, he read out, “According to Ms. Atsukokoro, ‘Subject is a wilful little bitch who should be forcibly spayed with a blunt kunai to prevent reproduction, but is capable of following both the letter and spirit of a command even if she does test rules to the limit. Combined with an unprecedented capacity to sort and analyze information, she is far more useful to Konoha inflicting suffering on our enemies than on us. Recommend continued supervision and training, although mercifully maternity leave will prevent further interaction with the harlot on my behalf.’”

Yukiko nodded and said, “Sounds about right, although I object to the ‘harlot’ part. I remain pure as the driven snow.”

Sarutobi just sort of looked at her with an askance eye for a moment before Yukiko sighed and said, “Okay, maybe the snow mixed with ash from a volcano first, but it hasn’t been touched yet!”

“Duly noted,” Sarutobi replied. He then opened a box on his desk and withdrew the bag with Cliodhna’s soul stone and knucklebones that he had taken all those months ago and tossed them to Yukiko, who caught them adroitly.

Do. You. Have. Any. Idea. How. Long. I. Waited?” Cliodhna fumed.

Another time mother,” Saimshelwe replied mentally.

“You have behaved so I felt you could have those back for your good behaviour, and Naruto’s. I fear though that I will not intercede upon your behalf for the tests, despite rumours that someone already has against you,” Sarutobi replied, confirming Yukiko’s suspicion. She suspected the old man probably felt this would serve as a political lesson for her, the old bastard.

Bowing, Yukiko replied, “Thank you Lord Hokage.”

Nodding, the Hokage waved dismissively and said, “That was all for today. You may go.”

Yukiko quickly scurried out of the office, her mother unleashing a barrage of invective for leaving her behind for so long before Yukiko quietly asked if she had anything constructive to add to this whole debacle. Calming down slightly, Cliodhna replied, “While I see you have grown in my absence, you still have much to learn. I shall lead you to your birthright tonight.”

Does my birthright include the inclination to fight house size collections of claws while hugely pregnant?” Saimshelwe asked sarcastically.

Cliodhna was silent for a long time before she replied, “How…”

I remembered! I saw through your eyes, our minds linked even as I was still in the womb!” Saimshelwe replied bitterly.

Then you remember the rush, the thrill! I have so much to tell you, and I have had so little time to do it. The story of our people, all our people, is a complex one, a tragedy of an entire species that has forgotten what it is. Come, follow my orders and I will show you things that will help explain your memories,” Cliodhna explained with her voice eager and dripping with excitement.

Yukiko chewed on her lip for a moment before she said aloud, “Lead the way.”

Following her instructions, Yukiko went deep into the forest, into the tangled mass of trees until she discovered a spot that was all too easy to overlook. A hole that one would expect to belong to a badger buried in the side of a small hill, it seemed completely impossible for anything of importance to have emerged from it.

It has collapsed a little in the years, but you are smaller than I was when I emerged, and just as agile,” Cliodhna explained.

Plucking Creiaer from her hair, Yukiko said, “Go scout ahead for me, please.”

With the scorpion scurrying off up ahead, ready to take on anything that might threaten her goddess, Yukiko then limbered up a bit and squeezed into the small opening. It was tight, but fortunately it was only perhaps a meter to the other side of the extremely narrow tunnel.

Creiaer was waiting on the other side, the scorpion’s eyes revealing what Yukiko’s did not. Within the hill there was a hidden cavern that plunged down deep into the earth, and it was littered with bodies and strange machines. Tall and lithe, the bodies wore odd armour that tended to terminate the segmented plates in bladed points. Most of the armour was full body but rather thin looking, but the body closest to the exit wore much heavier equipment, although it was badly cut to shreds in whatever battle had taken place here. Curiously, the helmet was curled up almost like a scorpion’s tail.

Ah… there’s the bastard that shot me in the back despite already being dead!” Cliodhna crowed.

A dull red light flickered into existence from somewhere within the armour and a groggy male voice groaned, “What…? Hey! You fucking bitch!”

---

Cue girlish fanboy squeal from EarthScorpion.



I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Companions (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-08-13 06:10am
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Academia Nut wrote:
Cue girlish fanboy squeal from EarthScorpion.


Even if he doesn't, I will.

SQUH-WEEEEEEEEEEEEEL!


:mrgreen:



English is truly a Chaotic language; it will mutate at the drop of a hat, unmercifully rend words from other languages, spreads like the fabled plagues of old and has bastard children with any other dialect it can get its grubby little syntax on.

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