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A Twist in Fate: Nico's Story

Chapter Text

Nico runs through the forest. Tears stream down his pale face which has a slight olive tint to it. His black hair is becoming slightly messy due to how fast he is running. His dark eyes are slightly red due to his crying. He wears his orange camp half-blood shirt and black pants. His black jacket is tied around his waist. Eventually he stops and falls to his knees. Through his sobs he utters one word.

“Bianca…..” Nico says. He continues to cry. Nico’s thoughts are a whirlwind of emotions. Percy Jackson was such a liar and he had been a fool to trust him! Percy had failed in his promise to protect his older sister, Bianca! Bianca had died on their quest and now she was gone forever! Bianca was never going to come back, no matter how much Nico wished that she would!

Nico slowly straightens himself. He runs his fingers through his black hair, straightening it. However, tears continue to stream down his face. His thoughts turn to his new situation. He was all alone in the world now. He was a ten year old without a family. The only family that he had known was gone. He didn’t even have any memories of his mother. His father was Hades, god of the underworld. However, Hades, had come only once to see Nico while he was at camp. Hades, told Nico about his heritage and then left never to be seen again.

Nico frowns and looks at the ground. Nico's thoughts then turn to his father. Why didn’t his father try to save Bianca on that quest? Why did his father just leave him all alone at that camp? Hades is some father!

Nico sighs as he stands back up. All of the sudden a loud thud comes from behind him. He turns around. Standing above him is a large and tall one eyed creature!  

Nico gulps. “C...y...c...l..o..p..s…” Nico says as he stutters a little. He can absolutely not believe his luck! Standing above him is a Cyclops! The other campers at Camp Half-Blood had told him about all of the dangerous creatures that eat demigods. Cyclops happen to be one of those creatures!  

The Cyclops looks down at Nico. The Cyclops then licks his lips. “Yum ,a demigod,” he says. “Time for dinner!” The Cyclops starts to move one of his huge hands towards Nico.

Nico’s eyes widen in horror. “NO! DON’T EAT ME,” Nico yells. He quickly gets to his feet and dodges the Cyclops’s huge hand.

“Come back, little demigod!” The Cyclops says. The Cyclops chases Nico around the forest. The Cyclops keeps trying to grab Nico. Luckily, Nico manages to dodge the Cyclops’s hands each time. Nico tries to hide behind a tree. The Cyclops rips it out of the ground and throws it far away. Nico begins to think about a way to get himself out of this mess. Maybe he could summon some skeletons like he did back at camp! Then he could make the skeletons fight the Cyclops! However, as Nico tries to summon skeletons from the ground, he realizes that there is a problem. He can’t focus long enough due to repeatedly dodging the Cyclops hands!

Oh, great! Now what do I do?  Nico thinks to himself.

“Come here, little demigod,” the Cyclops says. “I am so hungry!” The Cyclops continues to chase Nico around the forest. However, Nico and the Cyclops are so absorbed in the chase that the two of them don’t notice the strange phenomenon in the sky. It is a swirling blue mass of energy that appears to be descending from the sky. The swirling blue mass of energy eventually forms into a tornado. The trees in the forest begin to sway violently and shake in the wind. Leaves are ripped off of branches and sucked into the vortex. It is only until then that Nico and the Cyclops notice the strange phenomenon. The Cyclops stops running and stares at it confused. Nico tries to use this opportunity to escape. However ,the wind is so powerful that it lifts Nico off of the ground. He lets out a gasp as he is pulled into the vortex. The blue vortex eventually ascends back into the sky. It disappears completely.

“Blue tornado,” the Cyclops says to himself. “Never seen that before!” He scratches his head. All of the sudden a growl comes from the Cyclops stomach. He looks down and grimaces.

“The blue tornado took my dinner,” the Cyclops whines. “I am so hungry!”

*****************************************

….In the Naruto World…

The blue vortex descends from the sky. An unconscious Nico is deposited on the ground. The blue vortex ascends back into the sky and disappears completely. Nico is left lying unconscious on the ground. His orange camp half-blood T-shirt is wrinkled. His black pants are wrinkled to. His jacket is still around his waist. He is in a forest. A few forest animals come to investigate. However, the animals lose interest rather quickly and leave Nico alone on the ground.

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Nico Awakens with a start. His dark eyes scan his surroundings.

“What happened?” Nico mutters to himself. The last thing he remembers is running away from camp and then getting chased by the Cyclops. Nico lets out a gasp. He wonders where the Cyclops is. Nico quickly sits up. His eyes scan his surroundings. However, the Cyclops is nowhere to be seen. All that Nico see’s are trees and shrubs. A few birds fly overhead. Nico lets out a sigh of relief.

At least that Cyclops is gone! Nico thinks to himself. However ,he notices something odd about the forest. It appears to be different than the one he remembers. How could he be in a different forest? All of the sudden he remembers the blue tornado sucking him up. Nico then grimaces. He also remembers being tossed around like a ragdoll. It was not pleasant!

“That blue tornado must have sent me somewhere,” Nico mutters to himself. He frowns when he thinks of the new problem at hand. He now has no idea where he is!

Oh, great! I have no idea where I am, Nico thinks to himself. He is annoyed by his new problem. I could be in China for all I know! Nico then begins to rub his temples, trying to dispel the growing headache. He needs to focus on a plan to get himself out of this mess! After a few minutes of thinking really hard Nico comes up with a plan. He would focus on finding civilization. He will follow a river downstream until he reaches the ocean. Then he may be able to find a town or city. Nico then realizes that he should probably get to his feet. He wasn’t going to get anywhere just sitting down! Nico then wills himself to stand up. His entire body hurts! He grimaces. He remembers how he was tossed around in the blue tornado.

“Considering how I was tossed around in that blue tornado it shouldn’t be surprising that my body hurts!” Nico mumbles to himself. He slowly moves all of his limbs. Luckily ,the pain subsides after a few minutes. After the pain subsides Nico starts concentrating on finding a river. However, Nico then realizes that he has a very big problem. It is nighttime and the forest is very dark! He would probably have trouble navigating the forest.  

“I guess that I will have to find a river in the morning,” Nico mumbles to himself. “Now I need to find a place to sleep.”

Nico then looks at his surroundings. His eyes land on a very large tree to his left. The tree’s base is hollow and the opening looks large enough for him to squeeze through.

“I could probably sleep in there,” Nico says to himself. He approaches the tree. He gets down on all fours and crawls inside. The inside feels roomy enough. He will have to curl into a ball though.

I just hope that I will be warm enough. Nico thinks to himself. He slowly curls into a ball. After a few minutes ,Nico falls fast asleep inside the tree.

Chapter Text

Nico wakes up. Light streams in through the opening in the tree’s base. It is morning. It is time to get up and look for civilization. He slowly uncurls himself and crawls out through the hole. He grimaces as his back aches a little bit.

“Note to self: never sleep like that again!” Nico says to himself. He stands up and takes a few steps. Slowly but surely his back slowly begins to ease up. Now it is time to focus on finding a river. Nico quickly looks at his surroundings. He sees a family of raccoons playing by a tree. A mother and two little babies. The mother is sniffing around the base of a tree. The two little babies are romping around and jumping on each other.

Seeing the happy raccoon family makes Nico smile to himself. Those raccoons sure seem happy, he thinks to himself. Seeing the happy raccoon family suddenly makes Nico think of Bianca. He frowns. He still misses Bianca. Bianca is gone forever, Nico inwardly reminds himself. Bianca is never coming back. Nico shakes his head to break himself out of his thoughts.

He turns his attention back to the raccoon family. However, he notices that the raccoon family has stopped playing. The mother seems to be leading her babies toward a path through the brush. Nico is wondering where the raccoons could be going. Suddenly an idea comes to mind. Maybe the mother raccoon is leading her babies to a river to get a drink! Nico then thinks about following the raccoons. If the raccoons lead Nico to water then he will be one step closer to finding civilization!

Nico carefully follows the little family of raccoons. He is practically tiptoeing as not to make any noise. I can’t spook them, Nico thinks to himself. They will probably run away if they see or hear me.

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The walk through the forest is very slow. However ,Nico’s patience and effort is rewarded. His guess had been right! The raccoon mother was leading her babies to a stream! Nico watches the raccoons drink from the stream. However, Nico quickly notices something. The stream is crystal clear! Nico had never before seen such a clear and clean looking stream. Nico then watches the raccoons slowly waddle back into the forest. Nico uses this opportunity to investigate the stream. He walks up to the stream and carefully bends over. He then gives a deep sniff. The stream also smells very clean! After a few moments of careful consideration Nico cups his hands together and scoops up some water. He takes a tentative sip. His eyes instantly widen.

This is the best water that I have ever tasted! Nico thinks. It’s even better than bottled water! Nico gulps down the rest of the water in his hands. He quickly scoops up some more water and gulps it down just as fast. Before Nico knows it he has gulped down nearly five handfuls of water!

“I must have been thirstier than I thought,” Nico says to himself. With his thirst satisfied he stands up and looks downstream.

Civilization here I come! Nico thinks to himself. He then begins his journey downstream. However, Nico fails to notice a pair of blue eyes watching him from a patch of thick brush. The eyes carefully watch Nico walk along the stream.

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“Man,” Nico mumbles to himself. “I have been walking forever!” Nico has been walking for awhile. However, he has not come across any civilization yet. Nico has only stopped a few times since beginning his journey downstream. The first time was to take a bathroom break behind a tree. The second time was to get a drink of water from the stream. The third time was to tighten his shoe laces.

I have been walking for hours but I haven’t made any progress, Nico thinks to himself. I am starting to wonder if I will ever find civilization. A small rumble comes from Nico’s stomach. Nico grimaces. He has not eaten since he ran away from camp!

Man, I am so hungry! Nico inwardly thinks to himself. I just hope that I find civilization before I starve to death!

However, Nico soon reaches a small overgrown path that looks like it has been lined with stones. Someone made this path, Nico thinks to himself. That must mean there is civilization nearby! Nico looks at the path. He slowly follows it through the forest. He soon reaches a break in the trees. Nico see’s what he has been looking for! Houses and Buildings!

Civilization! Nico thinks excitedly. However, that excitement diminishes once he notices something peculiar. There appear to be no people around and the houses look run down. The place is totally abandoned!

“Oh, great!” Nico mutters to himself. “I found civilization but it’s been abandoned!” However, as Nico looks closer he notices something odd. The houses and buildings look as if they are from medieval times!

“Where in my father’s name am I?" Nico asks himself. Did I time travel or something? He is very confused.

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After doing some thinking Nico decides to investigate the abandoned houses. Even if they are abandoned they may provide some clues as to where he is. Nothing else they may provide a cozy shelter for the night. Nico scans each house and building carefully. A few are not to run down. However, some appear to be so run down it looks like they could collapse at any minute.  

I may want to stay out of those houses, Nico thinks. If I go inside those houses the roofs may fall on me!

Nico slowly approaches one of the better looking houses. The front door is ajar. Nico slowly pushes the door open. The inside is dark and dingy. There is hardly any furniture except for a small table that is low to the ground. It looks kind of like a coffee table. Nico is pretty sure that he has seen a table like that before. However, he can’t seem to remember where he has seen such a table. Nico then notices a square depression in the middle of the floor. Nico enters the house and investigates the depression. The depression contains sand ,and what looks to be bits of burned wood and ashes. Suddenly it occurs to Nico that the depression in the floor may be a hearth of some kind. Nico looks up. There is a small hole in the roof right above the depression in the floor.

It probably is a hearth. Nico thinks to himself. All of the sudden Nico thinks of something else!

“I can build me a fire!” Nico says to himself, excitedly. “I won’t have to freeze tonight!”

However, Nico soon realizes that he will have to gather firewood. He also doesn’t have anything to light a fire with. Nico suddenly wishes that he had some matches. However ,out of the corner of his eye ,he spots something on the floor next to the hearth. Actually, it is two things. A small stone and a piece of metal. Nico picks them up. An idea comes to mind. He rubs the stone against the metal. Tiny sparks fly from the metal and stone.

“Yes!” Nico says. I shall have a nice warm fire tonight!

However ,his joy is short lived again. His hunger pains return with a vengeance. Nico grimaces. Man, I am so hungry! He thinks to himself. I sure wish that I had some food!

Nico looks out a window. The sun is already starting to set. Nico realizes that there is nothing he can do about his hunger pangs tonight. He will have to look for food in the morning.

"I guess that I should start looking for firewood." Nico says to himself. He exits the house. However, he soon realizes that he does not have much daylight left. If he doesn't hurry he will be looking for firewood in the dark!

“I better hurry!” Nico says to himself. He practically runs into the forest.

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Nico makes it back inside with his arms full of branches and twigs just as the sun is giving off it’s last bit of sunlight. Nico quickly sets the branches and twigs in the hearth. He grabs the stone and piece of metal and rubs them together. Sparks fly and land on the wood. A small fire erupts and steadily grows as the branches and twigs catch fire. Nico sighs.

The fire sure does feel nice! He thinks to himself. However, just as Nico is about to lie down for the night he realizes that there is something around his waist. He looks down. It’s his black jacket! It’s tied around his waist! Nico feels like slapping himself.

“I can’t believe that I forgot about my jacket!” Nico mumbles to himself. Nico then gets a brilliant idea. He can use his jacket as a pillow! Nico quickly takes his jacket and rolls it up. He sets it down on the floor. He lays his head on it.

Nico sighs. He is very comfortable. However, a growl erupts from his stomach, reminding him of his problem. Nico grimaces. I guess that I am going to be dreaming about food tonight, he thinks as he drifts off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Nico awakens to sunlight hitting his face. He stretches and sits up. It is now morning. He yawns. However, a loud rumble from his stomach makes him frown.

“Man, I am so hungry,” Nico says to himself. “I am so hungry I could eat a house!” Nico had spent the night dreaming about food. He had dreamt about hamburgers, french fries, and milkshakes. Nico is now thinking about breakfast food. Some pancakes sure sound good for breakfast! Nico thinks to himself.

However, Nico tries to forget about his hunger for the moment. He needs to focus on finding food! After that he can focus on finding civilization.

Nico stands up. He quickly ties his jacket around his waist. He then looks at the hearth. The fire is out. Only ashes remain of the firewood that Nico had put in the hearth the night before. I guess if I don’t find civilization I can always come back here to sleep. I will have to gather more firewood though.

Nico walks out of the house. He looks around. He is wondering which direction to go. However ,something catches his eyes. To the left ,a little ways from the group of abandoned houses is a small path leading into the forest. Nico looks to his right. The path he had followed to get here is in that direction. Nico looks back to the left where the other path is. He had never noticed that path yesterday. Maybe it will take him to food! Nico quickly starts down the path.

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It doesn’t take long for Nico to reach the end of the pathway. He is ecstatic when he does! The pathway ends in a clearing. In that clearing is a grove of apple trees!

“Apples!” Nico says excitedly. Nico rushes over to an apple tree. He jumps up and down trying to get an apple. However ,the apple tree is too tall! Nico can’t seem to reach a single apple. Nico’s hopes are dashed.

No! Nico thinks. I can’t reach them! I am so hungry! Nico slumps to the ground and puts his head in his hands. He’s lost in the wilderness and the only food option he has found is out of his reach. He sure has terrible luck!

“Why me?” Nico asks himself. However, out of the corner of his eye he spots something on the ground. It is a fallen branch. Seeing the fallen branch gives Nico a brilliant idea! He can use that branch to knock an apple down from the tree! Nico grabs the branch and begins hitting an apple with it. The apple drops to the ground!

“YES!” Nico yells. He drops the branch and begins to devour the apple. Before he knows it all that remains of the apple is the core. Nico picks up the branch and begins the process of knocking down another apple.

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Five apples later Nico is completely satisfied. The pains in his stomach have disappeared. Nico sits down to relax. However, he realizes that he still needs to find civilization. Nico groans and stands back up.

I should at least have the energy to walk. Nico thinks to himself. He looks at his surroundings. He notices a pathway to his left. It appears to be man made. Nico thinks that it is kind of strange that he keeps finding manmade paths, but there still no sign of people.

“Well,” Nico says. “I suppose that pathway might lead me somewhere.” He walks up to the pathway. He then begins his journey back into the forest.

However, Nico doesn’t notice the pair of blue eyes watching him from a dark area of the forest. The blue eyes disappear as Nico’s form recedes into the forest.

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It isn’t long before Nico comes across a dirt road. However, the road appears to be very old and it has weeds growing in through cracks.

“This road doesn’t look like it has been used in a long time.” Nico says to himself. He is now very confused. Why can’t he find any people? Did he time travel to a post apocalyptic World? All of the sudden though, a voice catches his attention.

“Well, what do we have here?” The strange voice asks. Nico quickly turns and sees two men standing a few feet away from him.

People! Nico thinks excitedly. However, he notices something strange. The two men are clothed very strangely and they have weird aura’s surrounding them.

“Well, Karou, I think we have a lost little boy.” One of the men says to the other. The man who spoke has brown hair and black eyes. He wears a black shirt and black pants. He also wears weird looking shoes. They kind of look like sandals. The man also wears a headband on his forehead. Attached to the fabric is a piece of metal with a strange symbol engraved on it.

“I think you are right, Riku.” The man, known as Karou says. He has black hair and brown eyes. He wears a sleeveless white shirt with long black pants. He also wears weird looking shoes and also bears a headband. However, Nico then notices something about the headbands. The symbols appear to have slashes across them.

Nico just stares at the men. These guys are weird! Nico thinks. They wear such strange clothes. Those headbands are also weird. Who wears a headbands with metal on them, and why are those symbols slashed?

“Hey!” Riku says. “Are you gonna just stand there or are you going to say something?”

He must be talking to me, Nico thinks to himself. He gulps.

“Hello, my name is Nico.” Nico says. “I am lost. Can you tell me where I am?” Riku and Karou laugh.

“Well, Nico,” Karou says. “You are in the Land of Fire.”

“Land of Fire?” Nico asks. “Never heard of such a place!” He is telling the truth. He has never heard of such a place. I am so confused! Nico thinks. Where is the ‘Land of Fire’ supposed to be? I have never heard of such a place!

Riku and Karou laugh again. They appear to be amused by Nico’s ignorance.

“Hey, Riku!” Karou says. “I’ve been itching for some blood. Since this kid is lost why don’t we just kill him?”

Riku looks at Karou. He laughs as he nods his head in agreement.

Nico gasps. His eyes are filled with horror. They’re gonna kill me! Why? Nico quickly starts running in the opposite direction.

“Come back here!” Riku yells. Riku and Karou begin chasing Nico.

Nico runs as the two men chasing after him. He then comes up with an idea. Maybe he should summon some skeletons to scare Riku and Karou! Nico quickly turns back to his pursuers. He tries to focus really hard. As long I don’t have to repeatedly jump or change direction, like I had to do when I was dodging that Cyclops hand’s, I should be able to summon skeletons! Nico thinks to himself.

“Come on!” Nico whispers to himself. “All I need is a few skeletons to scare these two maniacs!”

Nico’s persistence pays off. The earth below begins to rumble. A hole opens up in the earth. Skeletons rise up from the hole. Riku and Karou’s eyes are wide.

“WHAT IN THE WORLD?” Riku yells. “SKELETONS!”

“I KNOW!” Karou yells back. “I DON'T KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN THIS!” The skeletons approach the two men. Riku and Karou back away.

Nico smirks a little bit. These two maniacs are afraid of a few skeletons, Ha!

Riku notices Nico’s smirk. Riku gets a very shocked look on his face as he points a finger at Nico.

“IT’S THE KID!” Riku yells. “HE SUMMONED THE SKELETONS!”

“HOW?” Karou asks. “I’VE NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A JUTSU!”

Nico is confused by what Karou said about his powers. What is jutsu?

However, Nico’s little display does not last very long. Riku draws out a sword.

“Maybe I can cut these skeletons down!” Riku says to Karou. Riku then slashes all of the skeletons in half with his sword. The skeletons all fall in to pieces!

Nico gasps. He cut down all of my skeletons! Nico thinks. He tries to summon more but no more come out of the hole! Nico panics.

Riku and Karou notice Nico’s panic. They laugh wickedly.

“Aw, what’s the matter?” Riku mockingly asks. “Little boy can’t summon anymore skeletons to protect him?”

“It appears so, Riku!” Karou says. He laughs hysterically. Riku soon begins laughing along with Karou.

I have to run now! Nico thinks to himself. He starts running. However, Riku manages to  notice through his laughter. He stops laughing.

“HEY, KAROU!’ Riku yells to his companion. “HE’S GETTING AWAY!”

Riku and Karou take off after Nico.

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Nico runs through the forest. He had hoped running through the forest would slow down his pursuers. However, it sounds like they are still on his tail! All of the sudden Riku and Karou jump down in front of Nico! Nico looks up to see a sturdy tree branch above them. Karou and Riku had jumped down from that tree branch!

How did they do that? Nico inwardly asks himself. It’s like they have special powers!

Riku approaches Nico with his sword. Riku smiles a sinister smile. Nico quickly jumps out of the way just as Riku brings his sword down. Nico starts running in the left direction. Riku and Karou laugh.

“YOU CAN'T ESCAPE FROM  US, KID!” Karou yells.

Nico continues to run. Riku and Karou continue to chase him. However, Just as they are about to catch him, Nico reaches a break in the trees. However, the break in the trees ends at a cliff. Nico falls over the cliff, into the raging river below! Nico closes his eyes and holds his breath as he is pulled under.

I can’t breath! Nico thinks. The current then carries him to the water's surface. He manages to catch a  breath. However, he is pulled under again just as quickly. Nico spends the next few minutes bobbing up and down in the river. Nico see’s a rock in the middle of the river. He reaches and grabs it. However, the rock is so wet that he can’t keep his grip on it very long. He is pulled back into the raging current!

So this is how I am gonna die then? Nico thinks sadly to himself. No one will ever know what happened to me! Nico then thinks about something else. But it’s not like anyone would mourn over me! No one cares about me! The only person who cared about me is dead!

Nico slowly stops fighting the current. He is ready to give up. However, the current slows down and becomes calm. Nico slowly drifts towards the river bank. He slowly crawls up the embankment and collapses from exhaustion. The last thing Nico see’s before he passes out is a pair of bare feet approaching him.  

Chapter Text

Nico awakens to shimmering moonlight hitting his face. The stars glow brightly in the night sky. Nico sits up and looks around.

“I’m alive!” Nico whispers to himself. A strange voice suddenly startles him.

“You’re awake!” The voice says. Nico looks to his left. Sitting by a fire is an old man. The old man has short gray-white hair and a short gray beard. His blue eyes shimmer slightly in the moonlight. His eyes also appear to hold much wisdom. The old man also wears a long brown shirt and brown pants.

Nico is slightly suspicious of the old man. Where did he come from? Why did he save me?

“Who are you?” Nico asks the old man.

The old man just looks back at the fire. His eyes are slightly downcast as he speaks.

“My name is Jarou Kirai,” The old man says. “I brought you here after you washed ashore on that embankment.”

“I am Nico di Angelo.” Nico says to Jarou. “Thank you for saving me!”

“I already know your name ,Nico di Angelo.” Jarou says. “I know all about you.” He continues to look at the fire.

Nico is stunned by this statement. He already knew about me before he rescued me! How?

Jarou looks over to Nico. His wisdom filled eyes seem to hold a mix of emotions.

“There is much to explain.” Jarou says. “I should probably start from the beginning.”

Jarou lets out a long sigh. He looks up at the sky. He then turns to Nico. “First off, what do you remember about how you got here?”

Nico looks at the ground. “I was sucked up by a blue tornado,” Nico says. “Then when I woke up I was in a forest. After that I wandered around trying to find civilization. I then ran into two creepy guys who wanted to kill me! I ran from them and I fell off a cliff into the river.”

Jarou nods and looks back to the fire. “The blue tornado was a dimensional rift.” Jarou says. “It sent you to another dimension.”

Nico’s eyes widen. His heart skips a beat. Another dimension? Nico looks at the ground. He must mean another world!

“You mean another world, right?” Nico asks, tentatively. Jarou only nods in response.

Nico looks at the ground again. I suppose that explains why the forest looked different. Nico thinks to himself.

“This world is different than your own.” Jarou says. “It is inhabited by ninja.”

Nico’s eyes widen. “Ninja’s?” Nico asks. Jarou nods.

“I shall explain everything that I know about this world,” Jarou says. “However, it shall take awhile. Please sit down while I explain.” Jarou points to a spot across from him, on the other side of the fire. Nico obliges and sits down in front of the fire.

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It takes nearly thirty minutes for Jarou to explain everything that he knows about ninjas. Jarou first began with the ninja world in general: ninja villages, economy, and warfare. Jarou then explained about chakra, and how ninja’s manipulate it in order to produce jutsu. Jarou also told Nico about ninja clans and Kekkei Genkai. At the end of Jarou’s lecture Nico is left speechless.

I can’t believe that I am in a world full of Ninja’s. Nico thinks to himself. This is incredible!

“The two men that tried to kill you were rogue ninjas.” Jarou says. “Rogue ninjas are ninjas who abandon their villages. Rogue ninjas are considered criminals by their villages. For a ninja, deserting your village is the equivalent of a soldier deserting his/her unit, in your world.”

Nico nods in understanding. However, he has one burning question in his mind.

“Why did those rogue ninjas want to kill me?” Nico asks. Jarou just looks at Nico. He shrugs.

“I do not know.” Jarou says. “Rogue ninjas usually don’t bother anyone. However, some have a lust for blood. Sometimes rogue ninjas abandon their villages to escape punishment for crimes such as murder. I guess those two rogue ninjas are ‘bad apples.’ I wouldn’t be surprised if those two rogues have bounties on their heads.”

Nico looks at the ground. I can’t believe that I was almost killed for ‘sport’!

Nico stands up and walks away for a moment. He spots a small pond nearby. He looks at his reflection in the water. His black hair still looks a little damp. His dark eyes stand out against his pale-olive tinted complexion. His orange camp half-blood T-shirt is slightly dirty and tattered. His black pants are ripped as well. His black jacket is still around his waist. I wonder why those rogue ninja’s wanted to kill me. Nico thinks to himself. Was it because of how I look?

Jarou looks up at the sky. He sighs.

“Now it is time that I tell you about your connection to this world.” Jarou says.

Nico looks at Jarou when he hears this. My connection to this world…?

“What do mean by ‘my connection to this world’? How am I connected to this world?”  Nico asks. He is very confused at this point.

Jarou lets out another sigh. “It is a very sad and complicated story.” He says.

Jarou stands up. He puts water on the fire. The fire goes out. He beckons Nico to follow him. Nico hesitantly follows Jarou down a small path. Once the two of them reach their destination, Nico is surprised by what he sees. In a large clearing is a burned village. The wood framing of each house is black and charred. Some are just piles of rubble. However, there is one house that is not in too bad of shape. Jarou goes and sits down on it’s porch. Nico stares at the destruction around him. He then turns to Jarou.

“Why did you bring me here?” Nico asks. “What is this place and what happened to it?”

Jarou sighs. “It is your mother’s birthplace.” Jarou says.

Chapter Text

Nico stares unbelievably at Jarou. My mother’s birthplace?

“What do you mean by this is my mother’s birthplace?” Nico asks. Jarou sighs.

“Your mother was born in this world.” Jarou says. “As a matter of fact she was born right here in this village. That was before it was destroyed of course. When your mother was a baby she was sent to your world through a dimensional rift, just like the one that brought you here.”

Nico looks at the ground. My mother was born in this world! Unbelievable!

“How do you know all of this?” Nico asks. He is suspicious about how Jarou knows all of this.

“My clan specializes in dimensional rifts.” Jarou says. “We can sense when people are sent from this world to other worlds. We can also sense when people are sent to this world. We can also see into other worlds. The job of some special members of my clan is to keep an eye on people from this world who have been sent to other worlds.”

Jarou looks up at the sky for a minute. He then looks back at Nico.

“I happen to be one of those special members.” Jarou says. “That is how I know all about you, Nico di Angelo. I kept an eye on your mother. I watched her grow up. I saw her give birth to you and your sister. I saw your mother die. I also saw your sister die.” Jarou's eyes become downcast. He looks at the ground. He closes his eyes.

Nico looks back at the ground. So Jarou knew about Bianca as well. Jarou opens his eyes.

“I also know that you and your sister were born demigods.” Jarou says. “I know that your father is Hades, god of the Underworld.” Jarou closes his eyes again.

Nico looks at Jarou. He can tell that Jarou is hiding something, but he can’t quite put his finger on it! Nico watches Jarou open his eyes. He looks back up at the sky.

“The reason that I kept an eye on your mother is because your mother was born with a Kekkei Genkai.” Jarou says. He looks at the ground.

Nico is surprised by this information. Jarou had told him all about Kekkei Genkai earlier. Kekkei Genkai are abilities passed down through ninja clans. Nico then thinks of something. If my mother had a Kekkei Genkai that means I have it to! That must mean that my mother was from a ninja clan!

Jarou looks up from the ground. “I should start from the beginning.” Jarou says. “You see, time passes by at a much faster rate in your world than it does here. When one year passes in this world, fifteen years pass in your world.” Nico looks at Jarou.

“Fifteen years!” Nico says. He is very surprised at the time difference between the two worlds.

Jarou looks at Nico. “Your mother was born seven years ago in this world.” Jarou says. “That means one-hundred and five years passed in your world.”

Nico looks at the ground again. I suppose that makes sense.  

“Your mother was born to a fourteen year old village girl.” Jarou says. “Teen pregnancy is common in this world. Your mother’s father was the same age. However, he never knew that your mother was born. He was a young ninja who was just passing through. Your grandfather and grandmother were together one night. Your grandfather left the next morning, never to return. Your grandmother was heartbroken. She had grown to like your grandfather. She had hoped that he would stay.”

Nico looks at the ground. Many emotions run through his head. Sadness and anger are two of them! So my mother was the result of a one night stand! My grandfather just used my grandmother for pleasure and then he broke her heart! Some guy he must have been!

Jarou sighs. “Your grandmother’s name was Luna.” Jarou says. “She was a beautiful girl. She loved babies. She always wanted to be a mother. Even though Luna was young, she was thrilled when she eventually learned that she was pregnant! However, she was still heartbroken over your grandfather leaving her.”

Nico looks at the ground. At least my grandmother loved my mother… even though she was young.

Jarou sighs. “However, that heartbreak turned into absolute despair when your grandmother learned what your grandfather did just a few months after they had been together.” Jarou says. His voice is sad as he speaks.

Nico looks at Jarou with a very concerned look. “What did my grandfather do?” Nico asks.

Jarou looks at the ground. “I should start with your grandfather’s history.” Jarou says. “Your grandfather’s name is Itachi Uchiha. He was born into the Uchiha Clan. The Uchiha clan hailed from the Hidden Leaf Village, otherwise known as Konohagakure. The Uchiha Clan was a very powerful clan, feared across the elemental nations for their Kekkei Genkai. Their kekkei Genkai is called Sharingan. The Sharingan is a powerful ocular jutsu that can cast very realistic illusions. The Sharingan also allows the user to copy any jutsu, except other Kekkei Genkai.”

Nico looks up at the sky. My grandfather’s clan is powerful! Jarou looks down at the ground.

“The Uchiha’s were also known for their incredible stamina, agility, and genius.” Jarou says. “Itachi Uchiha was no exception. He was what you could call a ‘prodigy’. Itachi graduated the ninja academy at the age of seven. He then attained his Sharingan when he was eight. He became a chunnin when he was ten. Then when he was thirteen he became captain of the Anbu Black Ops.”

Nico is absolutely stunned. He stares wide eyed at Jarou. “My grandfather was the captain of the Anbu Black Ops!” Nico says. Jarou had told Nico that the Anbu Black Ops were the police force of the Hidden Leaf Village. Jarou just nods.

“However, he was not captain for very long.” Jarou says. “He became a rogue ninja after doing…… something terrible.” Jarou’s voice falters as he speaks.

Nico narrows his eyes a little bit. Jarou sounds like he is hesitant to tell him something.

“No one knows why he did it.” Jarou says. His voice is sad as he speaks. “One night Itachi returned home to the Uchiha clans compound after a mission with the anbu. Itachi apparently started killing his fellow clan members one by one!”

Nico gasps, horrified at this revelation. My grandfather killed members of his own clan! That’s terrible!

Jarou sighs. “By the end of the night only three Uchiha remained. Your grandfather, your grandfather’s younger brother, and your unborn mother.”

Nico gasps again. My grandfather practically wiped out his clan! That’s even worse! How could someone do something like that? Nico then stops to think about something. If he wanted to wipe out his entire clan then why did he leave a survivor? Something just seems off about the whole thing.

Jarou sighs. “Luna was absolutely heartbroken when she heard about Itachi’s crime.” Jarou says. “Luna cried for days! The only thing that kept her together was the fact that she was going to be a mother. Later your mother was born. Luna loved her to bits! However, a week after your mother’s birth, something terrible happened.”

Nico looks at Jarou. “What happened?” Nico asks. However, Nico has the feeling that it has something to do with the village being burned. Jarou sighs.

“I was a member of Luna’s village.” Jarou says. “I was there when your mother was born. I also witnessed the events that transpired the night your mother was sent to your world.” Jarou looks at the ground. He slowly tells Nico the tale of how Nico’s mother was sent to his world. Jarou’s mind wanders back to the memory of that night as he does so.

.....Jarou’s flashback…

Smoke and screams fill the night air. Flames dance up from the burning houses and buildings. Rogue ninja attack the screaming villagers. The villagers run, trying to escape. A girl no older than fourteen clutches a small wailing bundle in her arms. The girl has long wavy black hair. Her skin is light with an olive tint to it. Her blue eyes are bright, but they are filled with horror, due to the situation. She stares at two bodies lying in front of her. The bodies are of a man and a woman.

“Father….Mother…..” The girl says as tears stream down her face.

Jarou and many other men are fighting the rogue ninja. Jarou turns when he hears the baby wailing. He looks right at the girl.

“LUNA!” Jarou yells. “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!” The girl, Luna, gives a small nod and starts running towards the forest. However, a rogue ninja spots her and takes off after her. Jarou runs after him.

“LEAVE THEM ALONE!” Jarou yells.

However, a swirling mass of blue energy descends from the sky and forms a tornado, just at the forest line. Luna stops running and clutches the bundle closer to her. The rogue ninja stops and stares for a second. However, the rogue ninja slowly approaches Luna, ready to strike. Jarou has stopped running due to shock and surprise at seeing the blue tornado.

“Dimensional rift!” Jarou whispers to himself.

Luna clutches the baby close to her as the wind picks up. However, she turns to see the rogue ninja approaching her. She gasps and looks down at her baby. The rogue ninja stops right in front of Luna. He laughs as he lifts his sword, ready to strike. Luna closes her eyes. She turns. The wind is pulling at the baby in her arms. Luna opens her arms and lets the wind take the baby, just as the rogue ninja swings his sword. Luna falls to the ground, dead.

“LUNA!” Jarou screams. He watches as the baby is carried up into the air by the wind. The baby disappears into the tornado. The tornado ascends back into the sky and disappears completely.

.....End of Jarou’s flashback……

Nico looks sadly at the ground. Jarou has just finished telling Nico the story of how his mother was sent to his world.

Poor grandmother….she didn’t deserve to die like that, Nico thinks to himself. She let a dimensional rift take my mother in order to save her from that rogue ninja. She must have really loved my mother.

Jarou looks up at the sky. “Our village was totally destroyed.” Jarou says. “The survivors scattered to find new homes. However, I stayed. I decided to inhabit a cave nearby. I took it upon myself to find out which dimension your mother was sent to. When I did I was pleased to find that your mother had been adopted by a family in your dimension. After that I continued to check up on her every now and again.”

Jarou then clears his throat. He looks at Nico. “I am afraid that your arrival is going to stir things up within the Elemental Nations.” Jarou says. “Many ninjas will want you for the powers that you possess. You are a demigod with uchiha blood. You are extremely powerful.”

Nico looks at Jarou. Jarou continues on. “You namely have to avoid a group of rogue ninja’s called the Akatsuki.” Jarou says. “Your grandfather is actually a member of the Akatsuki.”

Nico’s eyes widen. My grandfather is part of an organization made up of rogue ninja?

Jarou sighs. “The Akatsuki wear black cloaks with red clouds.” Jarou says. “Avoid anyone wearing a cloak like that at all costs! You also need to avoid a rogue ninja named Orochimaru. He is formerly of the Hidden Leaf Village. He uses a jutsu in which he transfers his soul to another body in order to live forever. He is very interested in attaining an Uchiha body.”

Nico suddenly realizes where this is going. Orochimaru will want to take my body!

Jarou sighs. “A few years ago your great-uncle, Sasuke, went rogue and joined Orochimaru.” Jarou says. “You see, Sasuke swore to kill Itachi in order to get revenge for the rest of the clan. He went to Orochimaru in order to gain the power to do so. However, Orochimaru intends to take Sasuke’s body. I am sure that he will want your body after he takes Sasuke’s!”

Nico’s face pales a little bit. I knew he would say that!

“I am afraid that you are in terrible danger as long as you are in this world.” Jarou says. “In order to avoid being captured by the Akatsuki and Orochimaru you must stay hidden. Try not to linger too long in places. Do not tell anyone about your heritage. However, there are others in my clan who know about you. You can trust a few. However, I am afraid that some will try to sell you out in order to get a reward.”

Nico pales even more. Oh, great! People who know about my heritage may try to sell me out! Jarou looks towards the forest.

“I am afraid that you cannot stay here.” Jarou says. “You run the risk of being captured if you stay in one place too long. However, I will let you sleep in my cave tonight. Then in the morning you can leave.”

Nico nods in understanding. At least I will have a place to sleep tonight!

Jarou stands up and beckons Nico to follow him. Jarou begins walking towards the forest. Nico silently follows him.

****************************************

Nico settles down comfortably on an old futon. It’s better than sleeping on the ground. Nico thinks to himself. 

Jarou is tending to a fire in a hearth nearby. Jarou’s cave is surprisingly cozy. The cave floor is flat due to rocks being removed and a clay based adobe like material being placed on the cave floor. The cave walls have metal hooks bored into them. Gourds and various other objects hang from the hooks. The hearth is in the middle of the room. The heat from it’s fire radiates throughout the room. The cave walls have been whitewashed which gives the cave a bright and airy feel. The cave actually feels like a real home.

Nico looks at the various treasures hanging from the cave walls. Jarou sure does have a lot of stuff. Nico thinks to himself.

Jarou looks over at Nico. “Please get some rest!” Jarou says. “You have a long day ahead of you tomorrow. Travelling by foot in this world is not easy!”

Nico just nods. He yawns as he slowly drifts off to sleep.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Nico awakens to the smell of food cooking. Nico looks over at the hearth. Jarou is cooking food. Jarou notices that Nico is awake.

“Good Morning!” Jarou says. “Did you sleep well?” Nico nods. He sits up and stretches.

Nico crawls over to the hearth. He is thinking about everything Jarou had told him last night. He has many questions to ask Jarou. There's so much that he want's to know.

“Jarou,” Nico says. “I have a few questions.”

Jarou looks over at Nico. “What is it?” Jarou asks. Nico looks at the hearth.

“I want to know more about my grandmother, Luna.” Nico says. Jarou’s eyes soften. He closes his eyes. He smiles to himself.

“Luna was a sweet girl,” Jarou says. “She loved babies and small children. Luna would babysit while mother’s worked. Luna also played with the village children.”

Nico looks at the hearth. My grandmother sounds like she was a very nice girl, Nico thinks to himself. I just wish that I could have gotten the chance to meet her.

Jarou sighs. “Luna would have been a wonderful grandmother.” Jarou says. “She would have loved you and your sister.” Jarou then closes his eyes.

“However, if your mother had never been sent to your world, then you and your sister would have never been born!” Jarou says. Nico looks at the glowing wood in the hearth.

“I suppose you’re right.” Nico says.

Jarou takes the food off of the hearth. There is rice and fish. On the side is a bowl full of chopped greens. A teapot full of fresh tea leaves sits next to the hearth. Jarou takes a tea kettle full of hot water and pours some over the tea leaves in the teapot. Jarou then takes a small cup and fills it with tea. He stirs a little honey into it. He then hands it to Nico.

“Thank you.” Nico says. He is actually quite thirsty. He takes a sip. It actually tastes pretty good! Nico has tasted tea a few times before. However, it has always been strong and unpalatable. This tea has only a mild tea flavor and it is slightly sweet due to the honey.

Jarou grabs two wooden plates. He fills each plate up with fish, rice and greens. He hands one to Nico. He also hands Nico a small fork.

“Thank you!” Nico says. He is really hungry. Nico takes a few bites of his food. The food is good! It is warm and has a freshness that Nico has never tasted in any other food in his life, except for raw fruits and vegetables.

“I mostly live off the bounty of the land!” Jarou says. “I catch fish from a stream everyday. I manage a small plot of rice nearby. I plant my own vegetables and fruit. I also gather wild greens, fruit, and nuts. I also gather honey from wild beehives.”

Nico then spots a bowl filled with chopped fruit nearby. The fruit has been drizzled with honey. Nico’s mouth waters.  

“I always have fruit with honey after I finish my breakfast!” Jarou says with a smile on his face. “It is a nice treat!”

Nico and Jarou continue to eat their food. However, Nico still has a few questions to ask Jarou. I will ask Jarou after we are done eating, Nico thinks to himself.

**********************************************

Nico and Jarou finish their breakfast. They move onto the fruit and honey. Nico and jarou finish off the fruit and honey quickly. There wasn’t a lot, but it was a nice treat. Nico then decides to ask Jarou some more questions.

“Jarou,” Nico says. “I have a few more questions. Can you tell me about Orochimaru? What is he like? I mean if I am to avoid him I should probably know what he is like!”

Jarou’s eyes widen a little bit. However, they soon soften a little.

“Well, I suppose that you are right.” Jarou says. He looks at the fire. “I suppose that you could say Orochimaru is a creepy guy!” Jarou says. “Orochimaru acts kind of like a snake. He even hisses when he speaks! He even has yellow eyes!”

Nico’s eyes widen. He makes a face full of absolute disgust. Orochimaru sure does sound like a very creepy guy!

Jarou sighs. “It is rumored that Orochimaru is a former member of the Akatsuki!” Jarou says. Nico’s eyes widen.

“Really?” Nico asks. Jarou nods. Jarou lets out a deep sigh. 

“Of, course... it is only a rumor.” Jarou says. Nico nods in understanding.

“I also have another question,” Nico says. “What do you think that the Hidden Leaf Village would do to me if they ever found out about me?”

Jarou seems taken aback by this question. However, he sighs and decides to tell Nico what he is thinking.

“I can’t say for sure….” Jarou says. “I am sure that they would be shocked when they learn about you.” Jarou looks at the ground.

“However, I can imagine one of two reactions!” Jarou says. “Either the people would want to protect you and be your friends, or they may want to kill you for being Itachi Uchiha’s grandson!”

Nico looks at the ground. I guess I need to be careful around Leaf ninja’s. Nico thinks to himself. I may not be able to trust them! Nico looks up at Jarou.

“What do you think my great-uncle would do if he found out about me?” Nico asks. Jarou looks at the ground. He sighs.

“I do not know that answer either!” Jarou says. “I am sure that he would be hostile towards you. After all, he wants to kill your grandfather!”

Nico looks back at the ground. I guess that can be expected. Nico thinks. My grandfather killed the entire Uchiha clan. That’s the reason that my great-uncle wants to kill him. My great-uncle has no reason to like me!

Jarou sighs. “Your great-uncle may even want to kill you for just existing!”

Nico gasps. He looks at the ground again. That’s a depressing thought! Nico thinks to himself.

Nico looks at the hearth. He then thinks of something.

“Jarou,” Nico says. “I have also been thinking about what my grandfather did. I just think it’s kind of strange that he managed to wipe out a clan full of elite ninja in one night.” Jarou narrows his eyes. He looks at the hearth.

“Itachi was a prodigy.” Jarou says. “He was extremely skilled!”

Jarou lets out a sigh. “This is all that I know about the massacre of the Uchiha Clan.” Jarou says. “It happened at night. Apparently many of the ninja of the clan were at a meeting at the police headquarters. It appears that Itachi went after them first and killed them all while they were caught off guard. Then he went to the compound and killed the rest of the members of the clan. They were caught off guard too. Many were actually asleep!”

Nico gasps. Then he frowns. I wonder why non uchiha villagers didn’t hear anything! I am sure there would have been screams! I also wonder how some people didn’t escape from the compound!

“I just wonder why villagers that lived close to the uchiha clan’s compound didn’t hear any screams.” Nico says. “I am sure there would have been a lot of screaming coming from the compound! Why didn’t anyone hear anything? And how come no one managed to escape? I mean how could my grandfather have killed everyone without a few trying to escape?”

Jarou narrows his eyes. He looks back to the hearth. He understands where Nico is getting at. However, he doesn't have any clear cut answers for Nico.

“That is a good question!” Jarou says. “However, from what I heard, it appears that some did try to escape! A few bodies were found near the entrance into the compound! Some bodies were found near the outer wall of the compound. Apparently some had tried to scale the wall but your grandfather caught them! As for no one hearing any screams that is still a mystery. I suppose many non uchiha villagers were simply getting ready for bed and they weren’t paying attention to what was going on outside.”

Nico’s eyes widen when he remembers something else. My grandfather left my great-uncle alive!

“Why did my grandfather leave his younger brother alive?” Nico asks. “If my grandfather truly wanted to ‘wipe out’ his entire clan then why leave a survivor?” Jarou sighs.

“No one knows exactly why he decided to let your great-uncle live.” Jarou says. “Apparently your great-uncle was late coming home from school. He came home and found everyone dead!”

Nico looks down. I can imagine how my great-uncle felt. Nico thinks to himself. I know how grief stricken I was when I found out Bianca was dead. Nico closes his eyes. But to come home and find everyone you ever loved dead…..that must have been awful. Then you find out that someone you loved and trusted was responsible….that must have been worse.

Jarou looks down for a minute. “When your great-uncle found the bodies of his parents your grandfather was standing over them. Your grandfather then used his sharingan to show your great-uncle the entire massacre!”

Nico gasps. His grandfather had shown his own younger brother the entire massacre of their clan!

Now that’s truly psychotic! Nico thinks to himself. Jarou sighs.

“That is all I know regarding the Uchiha clan massacre.” Jarou says. “After that your grandfather fled the village and joined the Akatsuki.”

Nico holds his head down. He closes his eyes. Everything seems to point to his grandfather being a true psychopath! Why grandfather? Nico thinks to himself. Did you not care about your family? Would you even care about me if you ever found out about me?

Jarou slowly takes his hand and places it under Nico’s chin. He slowly lifts Nico’s head up. Nico opens his eyes. Jarou looks into Nico’s eyes.

“You may have a tragic family history.” Jarou says. “You may have bad relatives who have done terrible things…. but that does not make you who you are! You are who you want to be!”

Nico just looks at Jarou. He closes his eyes again, deep in thought. I wish it were that simple. Nico thinks. I am the grandson of a psychotic, clan killing ninja! I have to carry this knowledge with me for the rest of my life! How can I overcome something like that?

Jarou blinks a few times. He seems to sense what Nico is thinking about. “Do you want to be evil?” Jarou asks. “Evil like your grandfather?”

Nico gasps. “Of course not!” Nico says. Jarou smiles.

“Then you won’t be!” Jarou says. “You said that you didn’t want to be evil like your grandfather. As long as you keep telling yourself that then you won’t be!”

Nico closes his eyes. I hope he is right. Nico thinks to himself.

Jarou looks at the cave entrance. “I suppose it is time that we part ways now.” Jarou says. He stands up. He puts dirt on the fire to smother the flames.

Nico stands up as well. He watches as Jarou grabs a net and a spear.

“I need to catch fish for my dinner tonight.” Jarou says. Jarou walks up to the cave entrance. He opens the wooden door and steps outside. Nico follows him. The sunshine is bright and warm. Jarou closes the door behind him. Jarou turns to a small path to his right.

“I am going to my fishing spot deep in the forest.” Jarou says. He turns back to Nico. He then points to the left.

“There is a road a few mile to the left.” Jarou says. “Just walk and you shall reach the road. Then go right, following the road. You should reach a small town in a day or so. Depends on how fast you walk.”

“Thank you!” Nico says. Nico is about to head off when Jarou stops him.

“Hold on!” Jarou says as he fishes something out of his pant pocket. It is a piece of metal and a small stone.

“Here is a piece of metal and and some flint!" Jarou says. "This is so you can make yourself a fire. That way you will be able to keep yourself warm if you ever find yourself out in the wilderness again!”

Jarou holds the metal and flint out for Nico to take. Nico graciously accepts the gifts.

“Thank you!” Nico says. “Thank you for everything! I shall miss you!”

“I shall miss you as well, Nico di Angelo.” Jarou says. Jarou begins walking towards the small path. He turns and looks at Nico.

“Remember what I told you!” Jarou says. “Stay away from the Akatsuki and Orochimaru! Be careful, especially with who you decide to trust! Don’t tell anyone who you are!”

Jarou closes his eyes for a moment. He reopens them. “You are among the last of a once great clan!” Jarou says. “Always remember that!”

Jarou turns and starts down the path. He disappears into the forest. Nico is left alone by the cave.

“I’m on my own now.” Nico says to himself. He turns and looks to his left. Jarou said that there was a road in that direction. Nico thinks to himself. At least if I follow a road it will take me to civilization. Nico looks down at the metal and flint in his hands. He decides to put them in a special pocket in his jacket. The special pocket actually zips up so there is absolutely no chance of Nico losing his metal or flint. Nico closes his eyes.

Well, here goes nothing! Nico thinks to himself. He opens his eyes. He then starts walking in the left direction, to find the road that Jarou told him about.

Chapter Text

Jarou sighs to himself as he reaches his fishing spot. I sure hope that I made the right decision by sending the boy away. Jarou thinks to himself. Jarou’s thoughts wander back to Luna, his distant cousin.

What would you have done, Luna? Jarou inwardly asks himself. He sighs.

He knows that if Luna was still alive, she would have loved the boy. She would have showered him with love. Jarou slowly dips his fishing net into the water.

He knows that Luna would have been concerned for the boy’s safety. However, Jarou is unsure what Luna would have done to keep Nico safe. Jarou, knows that deep down, Luna would have been reluctant to let Nico leave. She would have wanted him to stay forever!

Nico needs to keep moving in order to avoid anyone that may come after him. Jarou thinks to himself. A moving target is very difficult to catch! It is in Nico’s best interest to be a nomad. However, I know that Luna would have been reluctant to send the boy away. She would have wanted him to stay with her!

Jarou sighs. He would think some more on the subject later. He needs to focus on catching dinner!

*****************************

Nico silently walks through the forest. His mind is a whirlwind of emotions.

Jarou seems to believe that I can be better that my grandfather. Nico thinks to himself. I just hope he is right. I don’t want to be like my grandfather either.

Nico soon reaches the road that Jarou told him about.

I found the road! Nico thinks to himself. He steps onto the road. The road appears to be new and has no cracks in it.

“At least this road looks like it may take me to civilization.” Nico says to himself.

He looks back at the forest. Nico’s sadness returns. He realizes that he may never see Jarou again. He had grown to like Jarou. Jarou had treated him so kindly. However, Nico quickly shakes his head trying to forget his sad thoughts.

Jarou told me that I had to stay on the move! Nico thinks to himself. I have to do this for Jarou!

Nico then turns to the right. He briskly walks down the road, just as Jarou told him too.

************************************

The night sky is filled with stars. The moon is a crescent shape tonight. It gives off a very light glow. This makes the stars appear to be even brighter.

Jarou sits outside his cave. He has just eaten. During his dinner, all he could think about was Nico. Jarou sighs.

All I want is for the boy to be safe! Jarou thinks to himself. He looks up at the stars. He closes his eyes. He starts to whisper a plea from the heart, up to the heavens.

“If you can hear me, please hear me out,” Jarou whispers. “Luna, watch over your grandson. Guide his way through this world. He’s going to need it! Do it for your daughter...for Maria. Do it for your granddaughter...for Bianca.”

Jarou looks at the ground. He is unsure if any spirits in the afterlife can hear him. However, it wouldn’t hurt to try and plead with them to protect Nico. Jarou closes his eyes. After a moment of consideration he whispers another plea.

“If any Uchiha’s are listening, please hear me out,” Jarou says.

He opens his eyes. He then looks up at the stars.

“I know that most of you may hate Itachi Uchiha for what he has done,” Jarou says. “But please, hear me out! It is not the boy’s fault for what happened! He is innocent! He has done you no wrong! Please, don’t curse him just because of his connection to Itachi! Guide him through this dangerous world. Please, don’t turn your backs on him! He is your blood!”  

Jarou’s voice trembles. A few tears fall from his eyes.

“It was long ago in his world. A...terrible...tragedy! Maria fell in love with a god. Hades, the god of the underworld! From that union Nico and his older sister, Bianca, were born. However...when the children were young…. a prophecy was made regarding the children born to the big three. The next child of the big three...who turned sixteen...would either save or destroy the world!”

Jarou pauses for a moment. His voice cracks as he speaks.

“Zeus,....... Hades brother was one of the big three. He...got...paranoid.”

Jarou erupts into sobs. He looks back up at the sky.

“Zeus...tried to….kill...Bianca and Nico!” Jarou says. “However….he….killed….Maria….instead!” Jarou sobs silently as he looks at the ground.

He then looks back up at the sky. He then cries about how Hades erased Bianca and Nico’s memories and placed them in the Lotus Casino for nearly 70 years. He also explains how they got out and how Bianca joined the Hunters of Artemis, and then was killed. Jarou’s body is wracked with sobs as he says every word. He lets his grief flow freely.

“Bianca is gone too!” Jarou cries. “I couldn’t do anything! All I could do was watch as she got crushed to death!”

Jarou continues to cry as he remembers how he watched Bianca die through his inter dimension viewing jutsu. It was actually with this same jutsu that Jarou witnessed the death of Maria long ago.

Oh, Maria….Bianca. Jarou thinks. I wish I could have done something to save both of you! The Fates are just too cruel….

Jarou looks up at the sky. “Nico is utterly alone now! He needs guidance! Please, he is nothing like that evil man! Itachi may have done evil things but Nico is nothing like him!”

Jarou looks at the ground. He sighs. “That’s all I have to say.”

Jarou wipes away his tears. He hopes that his plea has reached the afterlife. Jarou sighs. He enters his cave and shuts the door.

In the night sky a star lights up and glows brightly for several minutes. It’s glow slowly diminishes and returns to normal.

********************************

The sun is starting to set when Nico reaches a clearing. The road continues in a straight line. The clearing lies to the left of the road. Forest lies on the right side of the road. However, Nico squints his eyes and looks in the distance. The forest seems to reemerge on the left side of the road. It’s almost as if the clearing is U-shaped.

The sun is about to set! Nico thinks to himself. I need to gather firewood and make a fire. I suppose that I can build my fire and sleep in this clearing tonight.

Nico looks at the surrounding forest.

“I better get to work!” Nico says to himself. He runs into the forest.

*************************************

Nico has an arm full of branches and twigs when he makes a discovery, not to far away the clearing. It is another clearing! However, it has a small stream running through it! There’s also another bonus! Standing within the clearing are a few pear trees!

Pears! Nico thinks excitedly. Forget that other clearing! I’m sleeping here tonight!

Nico quickly finds a suitable looking spot in the clearing. He sets down his arm load of wood and takes out his metal and flint. He sets the metal and flint down while he arranges the wood. Once he is satisfied that the firewood is arranged perfectly he grabs the metal and piece of flint. He rubs the two objects together. Tiny sparks land on the firewood. Within minutes Nico has a roaring fire.

Nico then goes over to a pear tree. The pear trees are not as tall as the apple trees that he encountered earlier. He is able to reach the fruit without any difficulty!

Yes! Nico thinks to himself. He devours the pear in his hands. After it is gone Nico grabs another one. He then goes and sits by the fire. The fire warms Nico as he munches on his pear.

This clearing is great! Nico thinks. He smiles to himself. Despite his situation, it appears that things may be looking up for him. For the moment at least.

After finishing off his second pear Nico throws the core away. He grabs his jacket and rolls it up. He lays his head down on it. Nico notices how bright the stars are.

The stars are very pretty tonight. Nico thinks. He then spots a star that appears to glow brighter than any of the other stars. As Nico looks at the star he suddenly gets a strange feeling. However, he can’t seem to put his finger on it!  

What is this feeling? Nico thinks to himself. Something about that star makes him feel...well...uneasy.

However, his thoughts are interrupted by the need to yawn. Nico lets out a loud yawn.

Man, Nico thinks to himself. I am so tired! Nico yawns again. He soon falls asleep.

A ghostly shimmering silhouette stands close to Nico’s sleeping form. However, only the legs and feet of the shimmering silhouette can be seen as Nico lies on the ground. Ninja sandals adorn the silhouette’s feet. Pant’s cover the silhouette’s legs. However, this gives no clue as to the silhouettes identity. The ghostly silhouette just stands there as Nico sleeps peacefully.

Chapter Text

Nico awakens to warm sunlight hitting his face. He slowly sits up and stretches.

I slept well. Nico thinks to himself. Even though I didn’t have a nice cozy bed like I did in Jarou’s cave.

Nico gets to his feet. He then narrows his eyes. He looks over to a spot next to him. He then gets an indescribable feeling. Nico then puts a hand on the spot. His senses pick up the remnants of a strange aura.

Someone was watching me sleep last night. Nico thinks to himself. The thought actually creeps him out!

However, Nico shakes his head. He reminds himself of his current situation.

I need to find civilization! Nico thinks to himself. He looks over to where he built his fire last night. The fire is out.

“I guess I better get going.” Nico mumbles to himself. He looks over to the pear trees. He walks up and picks a few.

However, I shall have some breakfast first! Nico thinks.

Nico quickly devours one pear. He throws away the core. He slowly starts munching on a second pear. Within minutes he finishes the second pear. He throws away the core. Nico starts munching on the third pear. Within a few minutes it is gone as well. He throws away the core. Nico lets out a sigh.

Those pears were very good! Nico thinks to himself. He then walks over to the stream. He bends down and gets a drink. The water makes Nico feel refreshed. He stands back up. He walks back over to his sleeping spot. He picks up his jacket. He ties it around his waist. He spots the metal and flint near the fire. He picks them up and puts them into a pocket in his jacket.

Don’t want to forget these! Nico thinks to himself. He looks at the tree line. He slowly begins walking into the forest.

*****************************

Nico reaches the road. He turns to the right and resumes his search for the town that Jarou told him about. While he walks he thinks about many things.

I wonder what other powers I have besides summoning skeletons. Nico thinks to himself. The truth is, Nico barely knows about the depths of his demigod powers. When he had summoned the skeletons back at Camp Half-Blood it had been unintentional. Then when Nico had needed the skeletons to defend himself from Karou and Riku, the skeletons had been of no use! Riku had cut them down with his sword!

I still can’t believe that maniac managed to defeat my skeletons! Nico thinks to himself. That fact really bothers him.

Jarou said that I need to hide in order to avoid getting captured. Nico thinks. However, there will probably be a time when I may need to defend myself!

Nico sighs. He looks up at the sky. I am just not sure that I can defend myself. Nico thinks. That maniac cut down my skeletons very easily. My skeletons were useless! If I had other powers I could have used them. However, I don’t even know about any other powers that I may have.

Nico sighs again. He looks at the ground. I am just a weakling. Nico thinks to himself sadly. A weakling with an evil grandfather!

Nico looks back up. He closes his eyes. If my grandfather ever finds me and captures me he will probably just be disappointed. Nico thinks to himself. He would probably hope for a grandson with strong powers. However, I can’t even defend myself!

Nico sighs. He suddenly thinks of something horrible! If grandfather captures me then he will definitely see how weak I really am! Nico thinks. He may decide to kill me just to save himself the embarrassment of having a ‘weak’ grandson!

Nico closes his eyes and gulps. He is actually terrified of the idea that his own grandfather may kill him for being ‘weak’!

However, Nico quickly gets a look of determination on his face.

I must learn to summon ‘useful’ skeletons! Nico thinks. If I am to survive then I must strengthen my powers! I could even try to learn ninja techniques! Then when the time comes when I need to defend myself, I will be ready!

Nico then thinks back to his time at Camp Half-Blood. A part of him actually wishes that he was still at Camp Half-Blood. Then he wouldn’t be in this situation! However, he suddenly remembers something. He had actually overheard Chiron and Mr. D talking about the children of the Big Three and their respective powers. They had mentioned the children of Hades! Nico closes his eyes. He thinks very hard about the conversation.

Ok, Chiron and Mr. D did say that the children of Hades could summon skeletons! Nico thinks. I already know how to do that! I now remember that they also mentioned ‘shadow manipulation’ and even ‘shadow travel’! Nico opens his eyes. He looks over to the shadowy forest nearby.

I wonder how shadow manipulation is supposed to work. Nico thinks. Do I just concentrate really hard on a shadow or what? I suppose that I should give it a shot! I will never know unless I try!

Nico looks at the shadow of a nearby tree. He imagines the shadow moving towards him. All of the sudden, the shadow begins to slowly move towards Nico! Nico gasps in shock. However, this breaks Nico’s concentration and the shadow slowly recedes. However, Nico is so proud of himself. He actually made a shadow move on his first try!

“I did it!” Nico says to himself. “I made a shadow move!”

However, two very familiar laughs make Nico recoil with horror! He turns around. It is Riku and Karou!

“Hello, there!” Karou says with a wicked grin on his face. “Remember us?”

Riku laughs evilly. “The kid sure looks like he remembers us!” Riku says. “He looks absolutely terrified!”

Both men laugh together. Nico just stands there. He can’t believe his luck!

These two again! Nico thinks. I can’t believe this!

“This kid sure is something!” Riku says. “First he summons skeletons and now he is manipulating shadows!”

“He sure is a strange little boy!” Karou agree’s.

Riku grabs his sword. “However, I think it’s time we killed him!” Riku says. “We failed to do so the other day, but fate has given us another chance!”

Karou laughs. He smiles wickedly.

Riku swings the sword. Nico dodges it just in time. He begins running down the road. However, Riku and Karou jump in front of Nico. Riku swings his sword again. Nico dodges it again. He turns and runs in the opposite direction.

Maybe I could manipulate the shadows enough to confuse these two maniacs! Nico thinks. He tries to concentrate really hard. However, he can’t seem to focus long enough to make the shadows move! He is too busy running for his life!

It’s just like with the Cyclops! Nico thinks sadly. I can’t concentrate long enough to use my powers!

Nico continues to run. Riku and Karou chase after Nico. They are hot on Nico’s tail! Nico then looks at the forest. He suddenly gets a brilliant idea. He grins to himself. He then makes a U-turn and runs into the forest. He spots a low tree branch. He looks at the two men.

“Come and get me!” Nico yells. He quickly ducks and rolls under the tree branch. He quickly gets to his feet. Riku ends up hitting his face on the branch. Riku, yells and clutches his nose. Karou, stops beside Riku.

“Are you ok?” Karou asks Riku. Riku uncovers his nose. Blood is coming out of his nostrils.

“I THINK MY NOSE IS BROKEN!” Riku yells. He looks at Nico’s retreating form. Riku’s face is full of absolute rage!

“I’M GONNA KILL YOU FOR THIS, BRAT!” Riku yells. He takes off after Nico. Karou follows him.

Nico chuckles lightly to himself as he runs. One of the Maniacs broke his nose! Nico thinks. I am so glad that I did that!

Nico then comes up with another idea. He stops for a minute and turns to face Riku. Riku swings his sword. Nico dodges it and runs in the left direction. However, Karou doesn’t stop running in time. He crashes into Riku. Both men fall to the ground. Karou falls on top of Riku!

“GET OFF!” Riku yells. Karou quickly gets off of Riku. Riku’s face is livid now! Karou seems to be enraged as well!

Nico laughs to himself. I can’t believe that this is working! Nico thinks to himself.

“YOU ARE SO DEAD, KID!” Karou yells. Karou and Riku take off after Nico again. Nico starts to zig zag through the tree’s. He then stops. Karou approaches and reaches to grab him. Nico kicks Karou’s crotch. Karou gasps and clutches his crotch. Nico takes off running again. Riku stops.

“WHAT HAPPENED?” Riku yells.

“The...brat...kicked….me….in….balls…” Karou says. He is hyperventilating. He continues to clutch his crotch. He then falls to his knees.

Riku’s eyes widen. He then chuckles a little.

“I guess you are not going to be having any dates with pretty women for a while!” Riku says with a teasing voice.

“IT’S NOT FUNNY, RIKU!” Karou yells. He slowly stands back up. His face is full of rage!

“COME ON!” Riku yells. “LET’S GO GET SOME REVENGE!”

Karou smiles wickedly. “Of course!” He says.

Riku and Karou take off after Nico.

**********************************

Nico has been running for at least a half hour. He is starting to get tired. He looks behind him. Riku and Karou are still hot on his tail!

I wonder how much longer I can outrun these two. Nico thinks to himself. His legs feel so heavy! It won’t be long before he cannot run anymore!

Nico then comes to a road. It is new looking and has no cracks in it. He steps onto the road and begins running in the left direction. He looks behind him. Riku and Karou are still chasing him!

“Don’t they ever give up?” Nico asks himself.

However, since Nico is not looking ahead of him he ends up crashing into something. Or rather someone!

Nico falls over onto his back. He moans ands turns a few times. He then manages to sit up. Nico can see the bottom halves of two figures standing in front of him. However, The mysterious figures are wearing black cloaks with red clouds. Akatsuki! The hairs on the back of Nico’s neck stand straight up.

AKATSUKI! NO! Nico thinks to himself. This day just keeps getting worse.

“Hey kid!” One of the Akatsuki members says with a gruff voice. “Watch where you are going!”

“WE FINALLY HAVE YOU!” Karou’s voice suddenly yells.

Nico gulps. Oh, no! Nico thinks. I am so dead!

Gasps erupt form both Riku and Karou.

“Akatsuki!” Riku says with shock.

“Why yes! I see that our reputation has spread.” The Akatsuki member with the gruff voice says.

“The two of you are missing nin from the Hidden Grass Village!” The other Akatsuki member says in a monotone voice. “Why are you chasing a child?”

“HE MADE FOOLS OUT OF US!” Karou yells.

“We ran into him a couple days ago.” Riku says. “He looks like an orphan without a home so we decided to just kill him.”

“HE SUMMONED SKELETONS TO TRY AND DEFEND HIMSELF!” Karou yells. “However, my friend here managed to cut them down! We then chased him some more. He then fell into a river. We thought that he had drowned. However, we ended up finding him this morning!”

“HE WAS MANIPULATING SHADOWS!” Riku yells.

“This puny little runt summoned skeletons?” The Akatsuki member with the gruff voice asks. His voice sounds disbelieving.

“And he manipulated shadows?” The Akatsuki member with the monotone voice asks. His voice sounds disbelieving as well. However, there is also a hint of interest.

“IT’S TRUE!” Both Riku and Karou yell at the same time.

“We chased him today and he made us look like fools!” Karou says.

Nico turns to look at Karou and Riku. He can sense the anger in their voices as they speak.

“HE MADE ME RUN INTO A TREE BRANCH!” Riku yells. He points to his nose. “MY NOSE IS BROKEN!”

“HE KICKED ME IN THE BALLS!” Karou yells.

One of the Akatsuki members begins laughing hysterically. Nico is pretty sure that it is the one with the gruff voice.

Riku then smiles evilly. “Maybe we should kill these two Akatsuki members after we kill the kid, Karou!” Riku says. “I am so frustrated by the whole thing I need to take it out on someone! I don’t think that the kid alone will do it!”

“I agree!” Karou says.

The Akatsuki member with the gruff voice starts laughing hysterically again.

“The two of you will not be able to beat my partner and I!” The Akatsuki member with the gruff voice says. “We are S-Class Criminals.”

Riku narrows his eyes. Karou does so as well. “Really?” The two of them ask at the same time.

“I am Kisame Hoshigaki!” The Akatsuki member with the gruff voice says. “My partner is Itachi Uchiha!”

Nico’s heart nearly stops. His eyes widen in absolute horror. He looks up at the Akatsuki member in front of him. The Akatsuki member looks like a shark! He has blue skin, blue hair, black eyes, and gill marks on his face! Nico then looks at the other Akatsuki member. The Akatsuki member is a young man in his twenties. He has long black hair tied back into a ponytail. Bangs of black hair hang down over his face. His skin is very light. The man also has line like birthmarks under his eyes. His eyes are red with three black tomoe in each eye. Jarou had told Nico what the Sharingan looked like. There is no mistake! The man is Itachi Uchiha, Nico’s grandfather! Nico gulps.

Grandfather! Nico thinks. Before he knows it he has gotten to his feet. He slowly backs away from the two Akatsuki members.

Itachi narrows his eyes a bit. This makes Nico gulp.

I need to run! Nico thinks. He takes off running.

“HE’S GETTING AWAY!” Riku yells.

“WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?” Karou asks. “LETS GET HIM!”

Riku and Karou get ready to take off after Nico. However, Kisame stops them.

“The two of you challenged us!” Kisame says grinning. “I am afraid that I cannot let the two of you go without a fight now.”

Riku and Karou both gulp.

******************************

Nico runs through the forest. He can absolutely not believe that he met his grandfather!

Grandfather didn’t seem to know who I was so that’s good. Nico thinks. However, it seemed like he could sense that something was off about me. The way he just looked at me when I finally met his eyes….it was weird.

Nico looks at his surroundings. All he can see is forest. He then looks behind him. He doesn’t see his grandfather or the other Akatsuki member chasing him. However, he doesn’t see Riku or Karou chasing him either!

Why aren’t those two maniacs chasing me? Nico inwardly asks himself. However, he shakes his head in order to try and forget about Riku and Karou for the moment. He needs to focus on running! He needs to put as much distance between himself and his grandfather as possible!

***********************************

The bloodied bodies of Riku and Karou lay in the road. Kisame puts his sharkskin sword, Samehada, back on his back. He looks over at Itachi.

“These two were not even a challenge!” Kisame says with annoyance. “Pathetic!”

Itachi doesn’t respond. He continues to look over in the direction in which Nico went.

That boy is not normal. Itachi thinks to himself. The boy's clothes were so strange. I have never seen clothing like that before. he also had a strange aura. His aura just seemed to radiate great power. When I looked into his eyes....I also got this feeling...such a strange feeling. There was something about that child that made me feel...uncomfortable. He almost seemed familiar in a way. However, I just can’t put my finger on it!

Kisame looks over at Itachi. “You’re interested in the kid, I see!” Kisame says. He then huffs. “He just ran away and didn’t even thank us for saving his life! Some kid!”

Kisame then thinks of something. “However, he did seem to be afraid of you for some reason!” Kisame says. “The moment I said your name his eyes widened. He looked as if he was absolutely terrified!”

Itachi’s eyes narrow. The boy was terrified of me! Itachi thinks. I wonder why.

Itachi looks over to Kisame.

“Let’s just get back to base.” Itachi says.

Kisame nods. He looks up at the sky. The sun is in it’s one O’clock position.

“We are already late.” Kisame says. “Let’s go.”

The two men continue down the road, leaving the bodies of Riku and Karou in the road.

Chapter Text

A young man with brown hair and blue eyes approaches a tall metal building. Rain pours down around him. However, the mans white cloak keeps him dry. The man knocks on the door. A blue haired, amber eyed woman opens the door. She wears an Akatsuki cloak.

“Hello, my name is Kiyoshi Kirai.” The young man says. “I know that you are an Akatsuki member! I have some interesting information about a source of power that your organization may be interested in. I shall share this information in exchange for 3000 ryo.”

The blue haired woman eyes the man suspiciously. However, she eventually nods and lets the man enter the building.

*******************************

Nico awakens to sunlight hitting the left side of his face. He turns so that he is laying on his side. All he can see are mountains and trees.

What happened? Nico thinks to himself. All of the sudden it comes back to him. He had been running and then he collapsed due to exhaustion. After that is a big blank. Nico sits up.

I must have blacked out after I collapsed! Nico thinks as he gets to his feet. However, Nico’s legs are so sore he can barely walk without wincing!

I guess that I’m not going to be doing any walking today! Nico thinks. I need to let my legs rest.

Nico quickly looks at his surroundings. He then remembers something. He doesn’t see the road that he had been following. He is now totally lost again!

Oh, great! Nico thinks to himself. Looks like I am not finding the town that Jarou told me about!

Nico sighs. He starts to rub his temples to ease the growing headache. He slowly comes up with a plan.

Ok, I will find some shelter and rest today. Nico thinks to himself. Then tomorrow I will start looking for civilization again.

However, Nico soon hears a noise above him. He looks up. The clouds are dark and small flashes of lightning light up the sky. Thunder booms in the distance. Nico grits his teeth in annoyance.

Great! Nico thinks sarcastically. I really have to find shelter now! It’s going to storm! Then Nico spots something. It is a cave in a nearby mountain!

Yes! Nico thinks. Shelter! He forces himself to run. He manages to reach the cave just in time! Rain starts pouring down.

I am so glad that I made it! Nico thinks to himself. However, a rumble from his stomach makes him frown.

I haven’t eaten since yesterday. Nico thinks sadly. He then shakes his head.

However, there is nothing that I can do about it right now. Nico thinks to himself. My legs are just too sore to go looking for food today! I will just have to wait until tomorrow!

Nico continues to watch it rain, safely tucked away in his little shelter.

*****************************

An orange haired man with purple ringed eyes and many facial piercings sits on a sofa. The blue haired woman sits beside him. The brown haired man, Kiyoshi, sits in an armchair opposite the sofa. The orange haired man looks at Kiyoshi with an interested face. He is slowly absorbing everything that Kiyoshi has just told him.

“Interesting indeed!” The orange haired man says. “A demigod with Uchiha blood! The grandson of Itachi Uchiha, one of my organization members! Incredible!”

“My 3000 ryo now, please!” Kiyoshi says with an impatient tone of voice.

“Ah, yes!” The orange haired man says. He turns to the blue haired woman.

“Konan! Go fetch the money for Kiyoshi!”

“Yes, Pain!” The blue haired woman, Konan says. She walks into a room. She comes out seconds later with a small sack. She hands it to Kiyoshi.

“Thank you!” Kiyoshi says. He walks out of the room. He holds the small sack in his hands.

The orange haired man, Pain, looks over to Konan. Konan nods. She puts her hands together. A few moments later, an explosion can be heard. Pain, turns to Konan.

“Well, done!” Pain says. Konan only nods.

“We must assemble everyone right away!” Pain says. “We must find the boy!”

“Actually Pain,” Konan says. “We have a scheduled meeting for today. Everyone should be here in an hour.”

Pain shrugs. “I suppose we can wait until our scheduled meeting to tell everyone.”

“Pain…,” Konan says. “How do you think Itachi will react?” Pain sighs.

“I do not know.” Pain says.

*********************************

An hour later, seven other figures soon appear in the room. They all wear Akatsuki cloaks. Among them are Itachi and Kisame.

“Ah, leader!” Kisame says. “I am sorry that Itachi and I are late! We ran into a little problem along the way!”

“So what are we discussing today?” A silver haired and lavender eyed man asks. He has a three bladed scythe strapped to his back.

“We are reviewing our assignments.” Pain says. “Then we shall go over a new assignment!” Pain says.

It takes nearly 10 minutes for everyone to go over their assignments and targets. After that everyone is silent for a few moments.

“Alright, now it is time to state our new objective!” Pain says. “Today a man came to Konan and I about a new source of power that we can acquire.”

Everyone, except Konan, looks at Pain suspiciously.

“A new source of power?” Kisame asks.

“A demigod from another dimension!” Pain says. “The man came from a clan which specializes in dimensional rifts. A few days ago, a young demigod was sent to our dimension.”

Everyone, except Konan, looks at Pain with wide eyes.

“Uh, Leader…..what is a demigod?” Kisame asks.

“Half-human, half-god.” Pain says. “There is a dimension that is ruled by gods and goddesses. They sometimes have flings with humans. Thus, demigods are created. Demigods have great power, especially those born to the three brothers: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades.”

Everyone just looks at each other. They all seem to understand why Pain wants to acquire a demigod.

“There’s another little twist to all of this!” Konan says. All of the other Akatsuki members, except Pain, give Konan questioning looks.

“Apparently, our dear Itachi got a girl pregnant eight years ago.” Konan says. “The girl then gave birth to a baby girl.”

Everyone’s eyes widen. However, a few Akatsuki members start laughing hysterically. The one’s not laughing are Pain, Konan, and Itachi.

Itachi just stands there. He blinks a few times. However, his face remains emotionless.

“Oh, man!” Kisame says as he laughs. “Itachi’s a daddy! The guy killed his own clan, but he has been a daddy the whole time! This is just hilarious!”

“Silence!” Pain yells. Everyone quickly quiets down.

“A week after the baby’s birth her mother’s village was attacked!” Konan says. “The mother died and the baby was sent to another world through a dimensional rift. The baby was eventually was found and adopted by a family. She was named, Maria di Angelo.” Konan says.

Itachi closes his eyes for a minute as if deep in thought. However, his face still remains emotionless.

“Time passes by much faster in that dimension than it does here.” Pain says. “One year in this world is equivalent to fifteen years in the other world.”

“Wait!” The silver haired man says. “That means Maria would have aged 105 years in the other world!”

“Yes….Maria is dead.” Pain says. He closes his eyes. “She actually died too young.”

“When Maria grew up she fell in love with Hades.” Konan says. “From that union two children were born. A girl named Bianca and a boy named Nico.”

Many Akatsuki members start laughing. The only ones not laughing are Pain, Konan, and Itachi.

“Itachi’s a grandpa!” Kisame says while laughing. “This is so hysterical!”  

Itachi rapidly blinks a few times. His eyes narrow for a minute. Then he closes his eyes as if in deep thought again. However, his face still shows no emotion.

“However,” Konan says. “When Bianca and Nico were young something happened. A terrible war broke out! Then the oracle delivered a prophecy. Basically the next child of Zeus, Poseidon, or Hades would either save or destroy the world, when he or she turned sixteen.”

The eyes of the other Akatsuki members widen slightly. They start to whisper among themselves.

Itachi's eyes narrow a little bit. However, he says nothing. His face still remains emotionless.

“Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades swore an oath to sire no more children in order to keep the prophecy from coming true.” Pain says. “However, Bianca and Nico were under sixteen so the prophecy would have come to pass anyway.”

The other Akatsuki members shift a little bit. Their eyes widen slightly. They all seem to understand where this is going.

Itachi's eyes narrow again. However, he still says nothing. He still shows no emotion.

“Zeus decided that the only way to prevent the prophecy from coming true at that point, was to kill Bianca and Nico!” Pain says.

Many of the other Akatsuki members eyes widen. They start to whisper among themselves. They all look over at Itachi, as if wondering how he will react. However, Itachi says nothing and his face remains emotionless.

“Hades tried to protect Maria and the children." Pain says. "Hades wanted to take them to his realm, the Underworld, where he could keep them safe. The Underworld is the afterlife in that dimension. Hades promised Maria everything that she could ever want. Hades even promised to build her own palace in the Underworld! However, Maria refused! She didn’t believe that Zeus would hurt the children.”

“Zeus ended blowing up the hotel in which Maria and the children were staying!” Konan says. “Hades was there with them. He had tried again, to convince Maria, to let him take the children to the Underworld. However, Hades was unsuccessful. Hades barely had enough time to erect a shield around the children before the hotel exploded. However, Hades hadn't been able to erect a shield around Maria. Maria died!”

The eyes of the other Akatsuki members widen a bit. A few even gasp. A childlike man with an orange swirl mask starts crying over dramatically.

“THAT’S SO SAD!” The childlike man sobs. “ZEUS IS SUCH A MEANIE! ITACHI”S POOR GRANDCHILDREN! LOSING THEIR MOTHER LIKE THAT!”

“Silence, Tobi!” Pain says. The childlike man, Tobi, stops crying.

Many Akatsuki members look over at Itachi. Itachi just stands there. He closes his eyes for a minute as if deep in thought. However, he still shows no emotion on his face.

“Hades erased Bianca and Nico’s memories and placed them in the Lotus Casino.” Konan says. “The Lotus Casino is a special place where time passes by much slower than the rest of the world. Eventually, Hades did bring them back out into the world. The children thought that they had only been inside the Lotus Casino for a month or so. In reality, it was nearly 70 years!”

Other members of the Akatsuki gasp. They begin to whisper among themselves.

“Zeus and Poseidon broke the oath and sired children.” Pain says. “Hades wanted either Bianca or Nico to fulfill the prophecy instead. He brought them out of the casino and back into the world. However, Bianca took a different path. She joined the Hunters of Artemis, a group of virgin girls who follow and hunt with Artemis, goddess of the moon. The hunters of Artemis must swear an oath to never fall in love. They must swear off all boys! As long as they keep their oaths they will be immortal and will hunt with Artemis for eternity. That is unless they are killed in battle!”

“Bianca and Nico were taken to Camp Half-Blood, the training place for demigods.” Konan says. “However, Artemis was captured by Titans. The Titans are the deities who ruled before the Olympian gods and goddesses. The Titans have been wanting to take back control ever since! Bianca and a rescue team were sent on a quest to save Artemis. However, things went terribly wrong! Bianca died!”

Other members of the Akatsuki gasp. Tobi starts crying over dramatically again.

“OH, NO!” Tobi sobs. “ITACHI’S GRANDDAUGHTER TOO! ITACHI’S POOR GRANDSON, LOSING BOTH HIS MOTHER AND SISTER!”

“Silence, Tobi!” Pain says. Tobi stops crying.

Itachi closes his eyes again. However, his face still remains emotionless.

“Nico was so upset he ran away from camp!” Konan says. “He ended up being sucked through a dimensional rift. He ended up in our world.”

“A demigod with Uchiha blood!” Pain says. “Just think of the power that we would have if we were to capture him!”

The other members of the Akatsuki whisper among themselves.

“How are we supposed to find the kid?” The silver haired man asks. “We don’t even know what he looks like!”

“Our informant used a special genjutsu to give Konan and I an image of the boy.” Pain says.

Pain puts his hands together. A mist image forms in the center of the room. An image of Nico appears. Kisame gasps. Itachi’s eyes widen slightly.

“Itachi and I saw the kid yesterday!” Kisame says. “He was being chased by a couple of rogue ninjas. I ended up killing the rogue ninjas. However, the kid ran away. He seemed to be afraid of Itachi for some reason!”

“The boy must have somehow found out about his heritage!” Pain says.

“That means he must also know what Itachi did!” Konan says.

“Probably explains why he ran away!” A blonde haired man says, snickering. He looks over to Itachi. “The kid probably thought that his grandfather would kill him!”

“Well, then!” Pain says. “This is going to make our task even harder! It appears that the boy will not come quietly when we find him.”

“I guess that means we are going to have to chase him when we find him!” Kisame says.  

“Everyone head out now!” Pain says. “The sooner we start looking for him the sooner we shall catch him! We shall still complete our assignments, but keep your eyes out for him!”

Most of the Akatsuki members disband and leave the room. The only ones left in the room are Pain, Konan, Kisame and Itachi.

Pain looks at Itachi. "You didn't say anything at all, Itachi." Pain says. "Do you have anything to say at all about this situation?"

"None." Itachi says, emotionlessly. "What is important right now is finding the boy and capturing him! We must find him before anyone else does! I do not wish for my bloodline to be stolen!"

Itachi walks out of the room. Pain, Konan, and Kisame watch him leave.

"Well, Itachi doesn't seem to be thrilled by the situation." Konan says.

"No, he doesn't." Pain says, agreeing with Konan.

"Don't worry Leader!" Kisame says. "I think that Itachi is just a little caught off guard by the situation. He is only in his twenties after all! However, I am sure that Itachi will take responsibility for the boy once we capture him!"

Kisame quickly leaves the room. Konan and Pain are left alone in the room.

Chapter Text

Nico silently walks down a worn down path. It took an entire day for Nico's legs to stop being sore. Now his legs are well enough for him to walk. However, he has still not found any food. Nico frowns as his stomach lets out a loud rumble.

Man! Nico thinks. I am so hungry I could eat a house!

Nico looks at his surroundings. There certainly has to be some kind of fruit trees nearby! Nico thinks to himself.

However, as Nico looks at his surroundings he notices something odd. There seem to be more valleys and rivers than what he is used too.

I wonder where I am now! Nico thinks to himself. My earlier surroundings were not like this!

After a few minutes of thinking it over Nico comes to a stunning conclusion.

I am in another land! Nico thinks to himself. Jarou had told Nico about how different lands have different geographical features.

Judging by the rivers and valleys I would have to say that I am in the land of Rivers! Nico thinks to himself.

Nico stops walking for a minute and considers his new situation.

I am in another land! Nico thinks. I can’t believe this!

Nico looks down. However, after some internal debating he looks back up.

Maybe it’s for the best… Nico thinks. Maybe if I keep crossing into other lands the Akatsuki will have a hard time finding me!

Nico takes a deep breath. I guess it’s time to see what the Land of Rivers has to offer! Nico thinks. He then resumes his walking.

*************************

Nico looks at his surroundings again. He has been noticing a few things. It seems like the surrounding area is getting drier the further Nico goes. The air even seems to be getting drier!

Hm, I wonder why everything seems so dry now. Nico thinks to himself.

Nico eventually stops at a small stream. However, it appears to be very low. The water appears as if it is barely flowing. Nico narrows his eyes at the sight. However, Nico’s eyes immediately widen once he remembers something that Jarou told him.

The Land of Rivers lies between the Land of fire and the Land of Wind! Nico thinks to himself. Jarou said that the Land of Wind is a huge desert!

Nico looks back at the stream. I must be approaching the Land of Wind! Nico thinks to himself. That must be why everything seems to be getting drier by the minute!

Nico looks ahead of him. He then looks back down to the stream. He narrows his eyes when a thought suddenly comes to mind.

I don’t like the looks of this stream! Nico thinks to himself. It’s so low! I am not even in the Land of Wind yet! If the Land of Wind is supposed to be a desert then I will probably have a hard time finding water!

Nico looks back in the direction from which he came. Maybe I should turn back…. Nico thinks to himself. If I go to the Land of Wind I may die of thirst!

All of the sudden Nico feels a chill go up his spine. A mysterious voice suddenly speaks to him. It is as if the voice is being carried on the breeze.

…...Turn back now…..before it is too late…. The mysterious voice says.

Nico looks around. However, he does not see anyone. He shakes his head.

What was that? Nico thinks to himself. I could have sworn that I heard someone speak!

Nico quickly shakes his head again. Never mind….I need to focus on turning back. Nico thinks to himself.

However, just as Nico is about to turn around and go back the way he came he hears something above him. He looks up. There are birds desperately flying away from the direction that Nico was originally heading. Nico then hears another noise. He looks behind him, confused. A bunch of forest animals then run past him.

What’s wrong with them? Nico thinks. He is very confused. However, that confusion turns to terror when he gets suddenly smells a familiar smell. Burning Wood!

Nico looks up. On a mountain ridge, a mile away, Nico can see a large plume of smoke rising into the air. Flames jump from tree to tree.

Forest Fire! Nico thinks to himself. Nico just can’t believe his luck! However, Nico hears the mysterious voice again!

….Run…..Run now….before it is too late…! The mysterious voice says.

The fire slowly begins creeping forward, right in Nico’s direction!

MOVE! Nico thinks. He then begins running in the opposite direction.

I should have stayed in the Land of Fire! Nico thinks to himself, as he runs for his life.  

**************************

Nico runs as fast as he can. However, the fire is faster! As soon as Nico passes a group of trees or shrubs they catch fire. The fire is hot on Nico’s trail. He just can’t seem to outrun it!

Run! Is all Nico thinks as he runs. Smoke fills his lungs. Sweat runs down his face. Nico coughs violently.

What am I going to do? Nico inwardly asks himself. I can’t outrun it!

Nico quickly finds a dirt path. He runs along the path. Trees above him burn. Ashes fall from the burning trees onto Nico. This makes Nico cough even more.

Keep moving! Nico inwardly tells himself. He coughs violently.

Nico then spots a break in the trees. There is a small ravine in front of him! The gap appears small. Small enough that Nico might be able to jump! Nico then hears the mysterious voice again.

…..Jump… The mysterious voice says. The mysterious voice is encouraging Nico to jump!

Here goes nothing! Nico thinks. He musters all of his strength and energy and jumps. He flies across the ravine, the fire behind him. Nico holds his arms out and catches the ledge. He then has to muster all his remaining strength to keep himself from falling. Nico hears the mysterious voice again.

….Don’t let go….Don’t give up! The Mysterious voice says.

Nico pulls himself up over the ledge. He looks back. The whole forest behind him is alight with flames! However, he notices that the wind is picking up. Sparks are being carried across the ravine. Nico coughs and looks forward. The trees on his side are starting to catch fire!

Seriously! Nico thinks to himself. I just can’t catch a break!

Nico coughs again. He gets to his feet and starts running again.

**************************

Nico runs along a dirt path. The fire follows close behind. There seems to be no stop to it!

Nico climbs over a fallen log. The heat from the fire sears his back. However, Nico keeps running.

I have to keep running! Nico thinks. He starts coughing violently again. Sweat runs down his face. Ash covers his clothes. All of the sudden the path ends at a large rock wall. Nico is trapped!  

NO! Nico thinks. I'm gonna die!

The mysterious voice speaks again.

…..Look to the left…. The mysterious voice says.

Nico looks to his left. There is another dirt path!

Yes! Nico thinks. Another path!

However, Just as Nico is about to run he hears a strange noise. He looks down. There is a small basket lying on the ground. Inside the basket is a small swaddled baby!

Nico's eyes widen. A baby! Nico thinks to himself. What is a baby doing out in a forest?

Nico looks behind him. The fire is getting closer! He looks down at the baby again. I can't leave it! He thinks to himself.

Without a second thought Nico picks up the baby. He then starts running down the path, the fire hot on his heels!

********************************

Nico runs down the path. He holds the baby securely in his arms. The fire just keeps following Nico! tree's all around him are burning. 

When will this fire end? Nico inwardly asks himself.

However, he notices that he has run into an open field with small boulders, and pockets of grass. The pockets of grass catch fire as the wind carries sparks from the forest. Nico runs, However, he has to change direction due to a pocket of grass suddenly catching fire and blocking his path.

Nico coughs violently. The smoke is very thick now. The smoke is even making it hard to see.

I can’t see! Nico thinks as he coughs. He grimaces as the heat slowly gets to him. The baby lets out a small cry.

“HELP!” Nico screams. He doesn’t know what else to do!

“HELP! ANYONE! PLEASE!” Nico screams again. He suddenly trips over a rock. He carefully shifts his body to prevent himself from falling on the baby.

NO! Nico thinks. He quickly gets back up. However, he collapses due to exhaustion.

Nico then hears the mysterious voice again.

…..Get up… The Mysterious voice says. ...Get up now...Or the two of you will die!

Nico frantically tries to get up, but it’s no use. Nico coughs violently. The little baby cries softly in his arms.  

….Get up! The mysterious voice says again. ...You must get up!

“HELP!” Nico screams as he lies on the ground. He is becoming light headed now.

So this is how I am going to die then? Nico thinks sadly to himself. I’m gonna burn to death in a forest fire!

Nico looks down at the baby. I'm so sorry little one... Nico thinks. I tried to save you.....

Nico coughs. Small patches of burning vegetation surround him. The only reason that Nico and the baby are not dead yet is because Nico is lying on a patch of bare ground which is free of vegetation. However, the smoke is still thick. Nico coughs violently. The little baby cries sadly in Nico's arms. The baby seems to know that the situation is dire.

I guess the two of us are going to die of smoke inhalation instead. Nico thinks sadly to himself. he looks back down at the baby. At least it's better than burning to death! He lays his head on the ground. He is ready to give up. Just before Nico passes out he hears a swish and he feels himself being lifted off of the ground.

Chapter Text

Nico awakens to sunlight hitting his face. He stirs.

I’m alive! Nico thinks to himself. He slowly sits up. He suddenly remembers the baby. His eyes widen.

The baby! Nico thinks. Where is the baby?

Nico then begins searching the ground around him. However, an unknown voice startles him.

“You’re awake!” The unknown voice says. “I was getting worried!”

Nico quickly turns to see a young black haired man sitting on a rock. His brown eyes look at Nico with a look of relief. The black haired man’s clothing is very similar to Riku and Karou’s clothing. However, he does not wear a ninja headband. Nico then notices that the man is holding the baby. Nico breathes a sigh of relief.

“Your sister is alright if that’s what you are wondering!” The mysterious man says. “She is just sleeping!”

Nico is confused by the man’s statement. However, Nico then realizes what the man is thinking.

He thinks that the baby is my sister! Nico thinks to himself. I guess he has his reasons for thinking that. I was holding her after all!  Wait, He said ‘sister’! The baby must be a girl then!

Nico looks down.

“I am afraid that you are mistaken, sir!” Nico says. “The baby is not my sister! I found her when I was running from the forest fire. Someone had left her in a basket in front of a rock wall! I just couldn’t leave her so I picked her up and ran!”

The man’s eyes widen in surprise.

“Oh,” the man says. “I am sorry that I jumped to conclusions!”

“It’s ok!” Nico says. “Anyway, thanks for saving us!”

“No problem!” The man says. “I heard you yelling for help. I decided to investigate. I found you lying on the ground. I grabbed you and the baby and managed to escape the fire!”

“Thank you so much!” Nico says. “If it weren’t for you I am certain that the baby and I would be dead!”

The man only nods in return. He then looks at Nico.

“By the way, what is your name?” The man asks.

“I am Nico di Angelo.” Nico says.

The man narrows his eyes. “Strange name…” He says. However, the man just lets out a sigh.

“Well, my name is Kiseki Akiyama.” The man, Kiseki says.

Nico nods in return. He is so grateful to be alive.

Kiseki then narrows his eyes. “If I may ask what were you doing in the forest anyway?” Kiseki asks.

Nico looks down. I wonder how much I should tell him. Nico thinks to himself. He saved my life! He seems trustworthy enough.

Nico lifts his head up. He looks at Kiseki.

“This may sound unbelievable but I am actually from a different world!” Nico says. “I was sent here through a dimensional rift.”

Kiseki’s eyes widen. However, his eyes slowly soften.

“I probably should have known by your clothing.” Kiseki says. “I actually met a guy who claimed that he was from another world. He said that he was just minding his own business when he was sucked up by a blue tornado that came down from the sky!”

Nico’s eyes widen. Kiseki probably believes me then! Nico thinks.

“That’s what happened to me, except I was running for my life at the time!” Nico says.

Kiseki blinks a few times. However, he just shrugs.

“I suppose there is truth to your story then!” Kiseki says. “I didn’t believe the guy at first! However, he convinced me when he showed me his powers!”

Nico is stunned by this revelation. The guy Kiseki met had powers? Nico thinks to himself.

Kiseki soon narrows his eyes. “He also had an aura similar to yours!” Kiseki says. After a few minutes Kiseki’s eyes widen. He looks at Nico’s camp Half-Blood shirt.

“The guy actually wore a shirt exactly like yours!” Kiseki says. “Are you a demigod?”

Nico’s eyes widen. Kiseki knows about demigods as well! Nico thinks to himself. This is incredible!

“Yes, I am!” Nico says. “My father is Hades, god of the Underworld!”

Kiseki’s eyes widen again. “You are a son of one of the Big Three!” Kiseki says. “No wonder your aura is so powerful!”

Nico’s eyes widen. “You know about the Big Three as well?” Nico asks.

Kiseki nods. Nico looks down. So I am not the only demigod that has been sent here! Nico thinks to himself.

All of the sudden the baby, whom is still in Kiseki’s arms, begins to cry. Kiseki quickly rocks and shushes it. The baby soon calms down.

Kiseki looks at Nico again. His eyes narrow again. “You seem to be hiding something!” Kiseki says.

Nico’s eyes widen. He is very perceptive! Nico thinks to himself. I wonder how much I can tell him without giving away to many details.

Nico then closes his eyes. “I have a very complicated family history.” Nico says. He sighs.

“A few days after I was sent here I was almost killed by two maniacs named Riku and Karou!” Nico says. “I ended up falling into a river! I nearly drowned but I was saved by a man calling himself Jarou Kirai. Jarou told me that my mother was actually born in this world and was sent to my world when she was a baby.”

Kiseki’s eyes widen. “Oh, my!” Kiseki says. “That is very complicated!”

Nico turns his head to the side. “My grandmother died during an attack on her village.” Nico says. “That’s when my mother was sent to my world! Jarou was a part of my grandmothers village. He saw the whole thing!”

Kiseki’s eyes quickly become saddened. “I am sorry to hear that!” Kiseki says. “What about your grandfather?”

Nico’s eyes widen. He just had to ask! Nico thinks to himself.

Nico frowns and looks away. “My grandfather is not a good man!” Nico says. “He is nothing but a psychotic clan killer!”

Kiseki’s eyes widen. Then his eyes narrow. “Itachi Uchiha?” Kiseki asks.

Nico freezes. He figured it out! Nico thinks. I guess grandfather’s reputation is known throughout the Elemental Nations!

“You figured it out.” Nico says. “I had hoped you wouldn’t! Jarou told me to hide my identity to avoid getting captured by bad ninjas!”

Kiseki looks down. “I am sorry but it was easy to figure out!” Kiseki says. “Itachi Uchiha is the only ninja known to have killed an entire clan!”

Nico looks away. So grandfather is the only one to have done such a thing in this world then! Nico thinks to himself.

“Itachi Uchiha is only in his twenties right now!” Kiseki says. “How can he be your grandfather?”

“Time passes by much faster in my world than it does here!” Nico says. “1 year in this world is equivalent to 15 years in my world! My mother was born 7 years ago in this world. That means 105 years passed in my world!”

Kiseki does the math in his head. “But then that means your mother is over a hundred years old!” Kiseki says. “You only look to be about ten at the most!”

Nico sighs. “Everything will make sense once I start from the beginning!” Nico says. “Everything that I am about to tell you is all that I know so far.”

Nico sighs and then begins his story. Nico figures that he should just tell Kiseki everything.

************************

It takes Nico nearly an hour to tell Kiseki everything about his arrival to this world, and everything that had happened afterwards. After Nico is done Kiseki is left wide eyed.

“Incredible!” Kiseki says.

Nico sighs. “I don’t know what to do!” Nico says. “I am the grandson of a clan killer! Ninja’s will come after me once they find out! My own grandfather is gonna come after me! I may even be killed just for existing! I have to live the rest of my life knowing people will hate me for who I am! How can I possibly live a good life?"

Kiseki frowns. He closes his eyes. After a few minutes he opens his eyes.

“Let me tell you something, Nico!” Kiseki says. “I do actually understand how you feel! My father was a rogue ninja who did some awful things! Everyone in my village didn’t like me for that reason!”

Nico looks at Kiseki. He is very surprised by this revelation. Kiseki knows how I feel? Nico thinks to himself.

Kiseki then tells of his father’s many bad deeds. Nico is very disgusted by the ‘evil deeds’ being described by Kiseki.

Kiseki sighs. “My mother was the only one who really loved me.” Kiseki says. “However, she died from an illness that swept through the village. I was actually about your age. No one would take me in!”

Nico looks down at the ground. That’s so sad! Nico thinks.

Kiseki looks down. “I then decided to leave my village.” Kiseki says. “Since I had not become a ninja yet I couldn’t be declared a missing nin. I wandered from village to village trying to find a place to call home. However, I realized that I liked the freedom of being able to move from place to place. I decided that my place was on the road. I would stop at villages along the way to rest. Sometimes I would do deeds which earned me the respect of the villagers.”

Kiseki smiles. He then recounts many of his good deeds. After Kiseki is finished Nico is left stunned.

Wow, Kiseki did all of those things! Nico thinks to himself. He’s practically a hero!

Kiseki sighs. He then smiles. “When I was a child I always worried that I would become like my father!” Kiseki says. “However, I proved myself wrong when I performed my good deeds. I realized that I wasn’t like my father at all! I could be better than him!”

Nico looks down. Kiseki’s father did some pretty bad things! Nico thinks. However, Kiseki overcame his heritage and proved himself to be a hero. Nico closes his eyes. However, my grandfather has done worse! I probably can’t overcome my heritage like Kiseki did.

Kiseki notices Nico’s downcast eyes. He sighs.

“I can tell that you are afraid of becoming like your grandfather!” Kiseki says.

Nico closes his eyes. "Of course I am!" Nico says. "I don't want to be a cold hearted killer like my grandfather! I don't want to kill anyone!"

Nico turns and realizes that there is a small puddle of clear water next to him. He looks at his reflection in the water. Nico then realizes that he has some of his grandfathers features. Nico has Itachi's hair bangs, even if they are shorter than Itachi's. The feature that stands out the most is Nico's eyes.

My eyes are exactly like my grandfather's! Nico thinks. Nico closes his eyes. When he opens them he realizes that it is not his face in the water. It is his grandfather's! Nico quickly shudders and closes his eyes. When he reopens them his grandfathers face is gone. It is Nico's face in the water again.

"Are you alright?" Kiseki asks. He had seen Nico's reaction.

Nico lets out a sigh. "I just realized that I have my grandfather's eyes." Nico says. He looks at the ground. "It really is hopeless! I have the eyes of a murderer!"

Kiseki closes his eyes. After a few minutes he opens them.

“Well, let me share some words of wisdom with you." Kiseki says. "There are many things that I have learned throughout my life. There are many things that my mother taught me as well. Everything that she taught me has stuck with me even after all these years."

Kiseki sighs. He looks up at the sky. He then looks back at Nico. "I hope that what I am about to tell you will bring you some comfort."

 

Chapter Text

Nico watches Kiseki take a deep breath. Kiseki then looks up at the sky.

“People are evil by choice!” Kiseki says. “To do evil things is a choice that people make. My father chose to do his evil deeds by his own accord! To kill the Uchiha clan was Itachi Uchiha’s choice!”

Kiseki sighs. “However, children and relatives of evil people don’t have to be evil!” Kiseki says. “Evilness comes from the heart and mind of a person. It has very little to do with blood. Just because you are related to an evil person does not mean you are destined to be just like them!”

Nico blinks a few times. He sounds just like Jarou! Nico thinks.

Kiseki takes another deep breath. “A person be anything he or she sets his or her mind to! It has nothing to do with family history or blood ties.”

Kiseki looks at Nico. “I already know that you are nothing like Itachi Uchiha!” Kiseki says. He looks at the baby in his arms. “The fact that this little one is still alive is proof of that! You saved her life! I doubt that your grandfather would have done the same!”

Nico’s eyes widen at the statement. I suppose he is right! Nico thinks. I could have chosen to leave the baby, but I didn’t. I saved her life!

Kiseki looks at Nico again. “It may be true that people will judge you for your heritage.” Kiseki says. “However, if you stay true to who you are then others will eventually see you for who you are.”

Kiseki sighs. “As long as you prove yourself to be a good person to others they will be good to you.” Kiseki says. “You do this through good deeds! Just as I did!”

Nico looks down. I wonder if I could really be a hero like Kiseki? Nico thinks to himself.

Kiseki closes his eyes. “Through good deeds you also earn respect!” Kiseki says.

Kiseki opens his eyes. “Let me tell you something that my mother used to say to me!” Kiseki says. “When you first meet a person they don’t respect you right away. You have to earn respect through actions. These actions can include good behavior, politeness, good deeds, and showing respect to others. Respect from other people has to be earned!”

Nico looks at the ground. That’s something Bianca would probably preach! Nico thinks to himself. Thinking of Bianca makes Nico feel sad. Kiseki notices Nico’s sad eyes.

“Are you alright?” Kiseki asks.

Nico sighs. “I am just thinking of Bianca.” Nico says. “What you just said sounds like something that Bianca would have told me.”

Nico sighs again. “I miss her!” Nico says. “Yet...at the same time….I kind of resent her for joining the Hunters of Artemis! She practically abandoned me! Then she went and got herself killed! Percy Jackson failed in his promise to protect her!”

Kiseki looks away for a minute. The baby starts to fuss. Kiseki quickly rocks the baby to calm her down.

“Let me tell you something about sorrow.” Kiseki says. “Sorrow over a loved one’s death can stick with you for a very long time. However, even the deepest of sorrows will eventually fade over time. Broken hearts will heal over time.”

Kiseki sighs. “I was upset over my mother’s death for the longest time.” Kiseki says. “However, over time I realized that she wouldn’t want me to wallow in my misery forever. She would want me to live and eventually find happiness.”

Nico looks away for a minute. I suppose that Kiseki has a point! Nico thinks to himself.

“It sounds like your sister was a good person.” Kiseki says. “You said that she gave her life to save others. That is one of the best deeds anyone can do!”

Nico sighs. “I just wish that she hadn’t gone on that quest!” Nico says. “If she hadn’t then she would still be alive!”

Nico looks down. Memories flood his mind. A few tears fall from Nico’s eyes.

Kiseki looks away for a minute. He then looks back at Nico. “People make choices based upon their feelings and what they want.” Kiseki says. “To join the Hunters of Artemis was your sister’s choice. It’s what she wanted! In the end you have to respect your sister’s choice!”

Nico looks up at Kiseki. I suppose he is right! Nico thinks to himself. Bianca made the decision to join the hunters on her own!

Kiseki looks up at the sky. “Your sister sounds like she was a good person.” Kiseki says. “She was clearly not like your grandfather! She was good like you!”

Kiseki sighs. He looks down at the baby. “I am sure that your sister would be proud of you for saving this little one!” Kiseki says. “I am sure that your mother would be as well! I can just imagine what kind of woman she must have been like. She gave birth to two amazing children!”

Nico looks down. I suppose Bianca would be proud of me for what I did. Nico thinks to himself. However, it’s not like she will ever know.

Kiseki looks back up at the sky. “I am sure that your sister would want you to live!” Kiseki says. “She wouldn’t want you to wallow in misery! She would want you to fight with everything you have in order to survive!”

Nico blinks a few times.

“I am sure that your sister would also want you to be a good person!” Kiseki says. “Your sister would want you to do good deeds! I am certain that she would not want you to be like Itachi Uchiha!”

Nico’s eyes widen. Kiseki is right about that! Nico thinks. Bianca would not want me to be like our grandfather!

Kiseki sighs. “You have to survive for your sister!” Kiseki says. “You have to get stronger in order defend yourself!”

Kiseki looks at Nico. “Have you thought of learning jutsu?” Kiseki asks.

Nico blinks a few times. Actually, I have!” Nico says. “I have also thought about trying to strengthen my demigod powers!”

“I would definitely try to practice using your demigod powers whenever possible!” Kiseki says. “You could also try to sneak into villages to learn jutsu!”

Nico looks down. He then gets a look of determination on his face. Kiseki’s right! Nico thinks. I must get stronger! I need to practice using my powers! I need to learn jutsu as well!

Kiseki looks up at the sky. It is starting to get dark out. The sun has just gone down.

Kiseki turns to Nico. He then looks down at the baby. “I think that we need to rest for tonight.” Kiseki says. “Then tomorrow we can head to a nearby town. This little one needs to be given to someone who can take care of her!”

Nico nods. He knows that Kiseki is right.

The baby lets out a small wail. Kiseki tries to shush the baby to no avail. All of the sudden Nico’s stomach growls. A thought then occurs to him! The baby might be starving!

“I wonder..." Nico says. "How long has it been since she has gone without a feeding?"

Kiseki raises a brow. “That’s a good question!” Kiseki says.

After a few minutes of listening to the baby wail, Kiseki gets an idea. He looks at the baby’s mouth.

“She has a few teeth!” Kiseki says. “She should be able to eat solid food!”

Kiseki then hands the baby to Nico. Kiseki quickly grabs a pack next to him.

**************************

Nico watches Kiseki feed the baby mashed apple. Kiseki, as it turns out had a few apples in his pack. He was able to peel one with a knife he had in his pack. Then Kiseki was able to mash up the apple using some stones.

“Come on!” Kiseki says. “Just one more bite!”

Kiseki holds a small spoon to the baby’s mouth. The baby opens her mouth and accepts the last spoonful of mashed apple. She chews for a few seconds and then swallows. The baby then yawns and closes her eyes.

Kiseki and Nico share a sigh of relief.

“She’s calm now.” Kiseki says. “She should be calm now for a few hours at least.”

“That’s good!” Nico says. “At least the two of us should be able to get some sleep.”

Kiseki looks at the sky. It is nighttime. The stars shine brightly in the sky. Kiseki then looks over at Nico.

“I suppose that we should get to sleep then.” Kiseki says. “We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow!”

Nico only nods in response. He takes his jacket from around his waist and puts it on. He then lays down on the grass.

Kiseki lays down with the baby in his arms. He sighs. However, he then spots Nico laying on the ground alone. After a few moments of consideration he calls Nico to come over.

“Nico, come lay next to me!” Kiseki says. “If you try to sleep there alone you will catch your death! It can get pretty cold in the Land of Rivers at night!”

Nico’s teeth chatter slightly. He shivers. After a few minutes of consideration he nods.

Nico gets up and walks over to Kiseki and the baby. He lays down next to Kiseki.

I already feel warmer. Nico thinks to himself as he slowly drifts off to sleep.

Kiseki looks at the surrounding forest. He is making sure that all is sound before he goes to sleep. After a few minutes Kiseki is satisfied that it is safe to fall asleep. He slowly drifts off to sleep.

A ghostly silhouette stands close to the sleeping figures of Nico, Kiseki, and the baby. The ghostly silhouette shimmers in the darkness. However, only the bottom half of the ghostly silhouette can be seen. It is the same ghostly silhouette from the clearing where Nico slept after leaving Jarou! The ghostly silhouette wears the same pants and Ninja sandals. The ghostly silhouette simply watches Nico, Kiseki, and the baby sleep.

Chapter Text

Nico awakens to Kiseki shaking his shoulder.

“Come on, get up!” Kiseki says. “We should get ready to head out.”

Nico just nods. He sits up and yawns. He then stretches. He then spots the baby lying in the grass, wrapped in a towel.

Nico then looks over to Kiseki. He is by a small stream washing what looks like a cloth diaper. Kiseki turns to Nico.

“The baby needs her diaper washed.” Kiseki says. “I had a little bit of soap in my pack so I washed the diaper. I wrapped her in the towel in case she has an accident before the diaper is dry.”

Nico only nods. He gets up. However, he freezes as a chill goes up his spine. He looks over to a spot on the ground nearby. It’s that aura again! Nico thinks to himself. However, he just shakes his head. Just forget about it! Nico inwardly tells himself. I am sure it’s nothing!

Nico goes over to the baby. He finally takes notice of her features. The baby has light brown hair and blue eyes. Her skin is light.

She is very pretty! Nico thinks. I wonder why her parents left her in that basket?

The baby is playing with her hands when Nico approaches. The baby looks up at Nico and smiles. Kiseki notices this.

“She really likes you!” Kiseki says. Kiseki walks over. He sits down by Nico.

“I was wondering….” Kiseki says. “Do you have sharingan?”

Nico is taken aback a little by the question. He sighs. “No!” Nico says.

Kiseki frowns. “Well, that’s too bad!” Kiseki says. “You would have no trouble defending yourself if you did! The sharingan can copy any jutsu, except other Kekkei Genkai.”

Nico’s eyes widen. “Jarou never told me that!” Nico says.

Kiseki sighs. “I suppose that he never told you about Kakashi Hatake then either?” Kiseki asks.

Nico narrows his eyes. “Kakashi Hatake?” Nico asks. “Who is he?”

Kiseki sighs. “Kakashi Hatake is a non-uchiha sharingan user.” Kiseki says. “The story basically is that he had an Uchiha team member who died on a mission. Apparently, Kakashi suffered an injury which caused him to lose an eye earlier that day. The Uchiha team member, as he was dying, gifted one of his eyes to Kakashi to replace the eye he lost! A medical ninja team member performed the transplant.”

Nico is taken aback by this information. An eye transplant! Nico thinks. Gross!

Kiseki sighs. “Kakashi is very skilled.” Kiseki says. “His copying of jutsu has earned him the nickname ,’the copycat ninja.’ However, since he is not Uchiha by blood, his usage of the sharingan wears him out very quickly!”

Nico looks at Kiseki. I wonder why he is telling me all this? Nico thinks to himself.

Kiseki sighs. “What I have heard is that any sharingan user can become fatigued due to overuse of the sharingan!” Kiseki says. “When you do eventually awaken your sharingan you will have to be careful on how often you use it!”

Nico looks at the ground. He then narrows his eyes. I did notice that my energy was drained a little bit after I summoned the skeletons back at camp. Nico thinks. I guess that demigod powers can drain energy levels as well.

Kiseki then frowns when he notices Nico’s face and eyes. “Are you alright?” Kiseki asks. “You seem a bit withdrawn and pale!”

Now that he mentions it I am feeling a bit tired, Nico thinks to himself. I also notice that my muscles seem weak and sore.

“I feel tired!” Nico says. “My muscles also seem a little weak and sore!”

All of the sudden, Nico’s stomach growls. Kiseki raises an eyebrow.

“When was the last time you ate something?” Kiseki asks.

“A few days ago.” Nico says. “All I have really eaten is wild fruit.”

“That explains it!” Kiseki says. “You are starting to experience protein deficiency!”

Protein deficiency? Nico thinks.

“Protein deficiency is caused by a lack of protein in the diet!” Kiseki says. “It can cause tiredness, and muscle weakness.”

Nico closes his eyes. I definitely have tiredness and muscle weakness! Nico thinks.

Kiseki looks at the stream nearby. “You need to catch fish!” Kiseki says. “You also need to hunt!”

Nico sighs. “I don’t know how to fish or hunt!” Nico says.

Kiseki’s eyes widen. “You don’t?” Kiseki asks. “Well, that is a shame! If only you could catch fish and wild animals then you wouldn’t have a protein deficiency!”  

Nico looks at the ground. I can barely take care of myself! Nico thinks to himself.

Kiseki closes his eyes for a few minutes. When he opens his eyes he sighs and looks at Nico.

“I will make you an offer!” Kiseki says. “After we drop the baby off at the town nearby I will teach you how to fish, hunt, and forage for food. I will also teach you how to control your chakra and basic jutsu!”

Nico gasps. “You would really do that!” Nico asks.

“Yes!” Kiseki says smiling.

The baby lets out a small cry. Kiseki quickly picks her up and begins rocking her. The baby soon settles down. Kiseki goes to check the diaper. It is dry. He then puts the diaper back on the baby. He grabs the blanket and wraps the baby back up. Kiseki stands back up, the baby in his arms. He then hands the baby to Nico. Kiseki then picks up the towel and shoves it into his pack. He then puts the pack on his back.

Kiseki looks at Nico. “Come on!” Kiseki says. “Let’s go!”

Nico nods and follows Kiseki down the stream bank. Then Kiseki leads Nico to a small path that runs through the forest.

“It will take about half a day to reach the town!” Kiseki says. Nico only nods in response.

Nico and Kiseki quietly walk down the path, leaving the little clearing behind.

***************************

The sun is in it’s noon position when Nico and Kiseki reach the town. Nico stares at all of the buildings. They remind him of row houses. People walk through the street busily going about their day. Kiseki turns to Nico.

“I have been to this town before!” Kiseki says. “There is an orphanage here. It isn’t too bad. The people who run the orphanage will take good care of the baby.”

Nico nods. He looks down at the baby. She is better off in an orphanage! Nico thinks to himself. I can’t take care of her!

Kiseki and Nico approach a large clearing at the edge of the town. Nico soon hears laughter and giggling. He looks the right. There is a large building sitting in front of a forest. The building is a wooden building with many windows. A vegetable garden sits to one side. A small clearing sits on the other side. Older children are picking vegetables. The children laugh and talk to one another as they work. In the clearing younger children laugh and run around. A few are playing with a ball. Clothes lines sit to one side of the clearing. Some children are running around the clothes lines. They giggle and hide behind hanging sheets. It appears that the children are playing hide and seek.

A woman soon appears at the door. She rings a bell. All of the children stop what they are doing. The older children grab their baskets full of vegetables and head inside. The younger children quickly follow. Older children soon run out of the forest carrying baskets filled with fruit, nuts, and greens. The children run inside. The woman closes the door behind them.

Nico and Kiseki soon notice that there is smoke coming out of a chimney. The smell of food makes Nico’s mouth water.

“It must be lunch time!” Kiseki says. He looks around. He motions for Nico to follow him. Nico follows Kiseki to a cluster of trees. Kiseki takes the baby from Nico. Nico realizes that they are very close to the door. However, they are well hidden.

“I am afraid that they may not take the baby if we try to give her to them!” Kiseki says. “They may think that I am her father! I will put the baby in front of the door and then knock. I will then come and hide behind the trees so that the orphanage staff will not see me!”

Nico nods. He watches Kiseki tip toe towards the door. Kiseki gently lays the baby down on the ground in front of the door. He quickly knocks and then runs back towards the tree’s. He hides behind the trees with Nico.

Moments later a woman opens the door. The baby lets out a small cry. The woman looks down and gasps. She picks up the baby. She looks around. However, she does not see Nico or Kiseki behind the trees. The woman just sighs. She steps back inside and closes the door behind her.

Goodbye, little one… Nico thinks to himself. I hope you have a good life!

Kiseki looks at Nico. “Come on!” Kiseki says. “It is time that we go! I shall buy some supplies and then we will head back out into the forest. We will then set up camp.”

Nico nods. Kiseki then motions for Nico to follow him. Kiseki and Nico quietly walk past the building. They soon reach the street that had lead them to the orphanage. Kiseki and Nico walk down the street. Kiseki stops at a building. He motions for Nico to follow him inside. Nico walks into the building. Nico soon realizes that it is a shop. There are boxes and barrels filled with food items. He takes out a small bag filled with money. He begins counting money as he picks out items.

Nico looks at all of the food items. There are different varieties of apples, fruits, and vegetables. There are boxes filled with rice and other grains. Seeing all of the food makes Nico’s stomach rumble. He inwardly grimaces.

I sure hope that I will be able to eat soon! Nico thinks to himself. I am starving!

However, as Nico looks at all of the signs labeling the containers of food he realizes something! Jarou had told Nico about the system of writing in this world, kanji. Nico realizes that the kanji don’t seem to be confusing him. He looks at the different varieties of apples. There are red, green ,and yellow apples. He can actually make out a similar kanji on all three signs! The kanji are not becoming jumbled up, unlike english letters!

That kanji must stand for ‘apple’! Nico thinks. He then blinks a few times. Hey! I can actually tell the difference between the different kanji! But I am dyslexic, how is that possible?

Nico thinks it over for a few minutes when he comes to a conclusion. I am hardwired to read ancient Greek because I am a demigod! Nico thinks. Maybe because I have blood originating from this world I can actually learn how to read kanji!

“Nico!” Kiseki calls. “Come on! We better get going!”

Nico quickly follows Kiseki out the shop entrance.

“Hey, Kiseki!” Nico says. “You know how I am hardwired to read ancient Greek?” Kiseki only nods in response.

“I was looking at the signs for all of the apples and I could actually make out which kanji stood for ‘apple’ based on it’s similarity on all of the signs!” Nico says. “I think that I may be able to learn to read kanji! I think that it is because I have blood originating from this world!”

Kiseki raises a brow. “Well, that is an interesting theory!” Kiseki says. He then grins.

“I remember that the demigod I met years ago could not read a single kanji!” Kiseki says. “When he got frustrated enough he would just throw himself on the ground, roll around and scream! He would say things like ,’the gods have cursed me’ and ‘why, why, why’! It was embarrassing...yet hilarious at the same time!”

Kiseki laughs a little. Nico can’t help but laugh a little as well. The demigod Kiseki met must have been a ‘drama queen’ to do that! Nico thinks to himself.

Nico and Kiseki eventually reach the path that they had followed earlier to reach the town. The two of them then walk into the forest.

**********************

The sun is setting when Nico and Kiseki stop and make camp in a small clearing. The two of them sit around a small fire. Kiseki grabs his pack and pulls out some bread, dried meat and two apples. Kiseki hands Nico some bread, dried meat and an apple. Nico scarfs down the bread quickly. Nico then begins eating the dried meat. It is a little tough but Nico manages by taking small bites and chewing slowly. Once the dried meat is gone Nico starts munching on his apple. The apple is sweet and juicy. Nico savors every bite.

I am starting to feel a little better now! Nico thinks. My hunger is gone.  

Nico finishes his apple. He throws the core away. Nico then notices that Kiseki is done eating as well. Kiseki looks at Nico.

“As soon as it is dark enough we shall go to sleep.” Kiseki says. “Your training starts bright and early tomorrow!”

Nico just nods and lays down on the grass. He looks up at the darkening sky. He closes his eyes. He soon falls asleep.

Kiseki looks at the fire. He then starts looking at his and Nico’s surroundings. However, he sees nothing amiss. Satisfied that there is no danger lurking, Kiseki, lays down on the ground next to Nico. He soon falls asleep as well.

**************************

Jarou holds a hand over the pool of water in front of him. An image of Nico and Kiseki sleeping is visible in the water. After a few seconds Jarou moves his hand away and the image disappears.

“The boy has found a friend…” Jarou says to himself. “That is good!”

Jarou thinks back to everything that has happened since Nico left him. With his special viewing jutsu Jarou had seen Nico’s run in with Riku and Karou, and subsequently the Akatsuki. However, afterwards Jarou had a bad feeling and decided to track the Akatsuki with his jutsu. Jarou ended up witnessing the betrayal of his relative, Kiyoshi Kirai. Whenever Jarou thinks back to that moment he always trembles with rage!

“You were such a fool, Kiyoshi!” Jarou whispers to himself. You betrayed Nico to the Akatsuki for money! Jarou thinks to himself. However, they ended up betraying you by killing you! You wasted your life!

Jarou sighs. Now the Akatsuki know about Nico! Jarou thinks. This is not good! I just hope that Nico’s new friend, Kiseki, will be a good teacher! Nico needs to learn to defend himself. He also needs to learn how to take care of himself.  

Jarou sighs again. He looks up at the sky. It is dark.

I should be heading back to my cave! Jarou thinks to himself. He then turns to walk back to his cave. However, he looks up at the sky again.

“Stay safe...Nico di Angelo…” Jarou whispers. He then tilts his head back down and sighs again. He then looks forward and begins walking towards his cave.

Chapter Text

Pain stands outside the base. Rain pours down around him. All of the sudden Konan appears.

“I am sorry, Pain!” Konan says. “I couldn’t find any trace of the boy in the Land of Fire!”

Pain sighs. “Don’t worry about it!” Pain says. “I think we all knew that this would not be an easy task! However, I am sure that we will find him eventually!”

Konan nods in agreement.

“Lets go inside.” Pain says. He turns to go inside the base. Konan quietly follows him.

Once inside the two Akatsuki members head toward a small room with a sofa. Pain sits down on the sofa.

“Pain, I was just thinking about something.” Konan says. “The boy is so young. According to the informant he barely know how to use his powers. The boy doesn’t even know any jutsu. Someone will have to train him!”

Pain narrows his eyes. “I suppose that you are right!” Pain says. “However, he has the potential to become a valuable asset! He will eventually learn about his powers! The informant said that demigods learn how to use their powers through trial and error!”

Pain closes his eyes. “If we can teach him jutsu then he will be an even greater asset!” Pain says. “He has Uchiha blood! The boy has the blood of the best!”

Konan closes her eyes. “Who shall train the boy once we find him?” Konan asks.

“Itachi of course!” Pain says. “The boy is his grandson afterall! The boy is his responsibility!”

Konan narrows her eyes. “Itachi didn’t seem to be very thrilled when he learned of the boy’s existence!” Konan says. “Do you think that he would be willing to train the boy?”

“I am sure that he would train the boy if I told him to!” Pain says. “Especially if the boy has sharingan!”

Konan sighs. “Whatever you say!” Konan says. “However, I don’t think that it will be very simple! The boy may refuse to cooperate, due to his fear of Itachi!”

Pain narrows his eyes. “Then we will force him to cooperate!” Pain says.

All of the sudden a human sized venus flytrap emerges from a wall. The venus flytrap opens up to reveal a man. The man’s face is divided into black and white halves. His hair is green and his eyes are yellow.

“I am sorry Leader!” The black half of the man’s face says. “We could not find the boy anywhere!”

“We could not find a single trace of him!” The white half of the man’s face says.

“That’s alright, Zetsu!” Pain says. “I knew that this would not be an easy task! Just keep looking!”

“Yes, Leader-sama!” The man, Zetsu says. The venus flytrap closes. The venus flytrap then disappears back into the wall.

********************************

Two Akatsuki members walk through a forest. The first Akatsuki member has grayish silvery hair and lavender colored eyes. He has a three bladed scythe strapped to his back. The second Akatsuki member wears a full head mask that only shows his eyes and part of his face. His skin is tanned and his eyes are green with red sclera.

“Where is our assigned Jinchuriki supposed to be located again?” The gray haired man asks.

“Well, Hidan…,” The green eyed Akatsuki member says. “Our target is Yugito Nii. She is the host of the two tails. She is a kunoichi from Kumogakure.”

The gray haired man, Hidan, shrugs his shoulders. “Whatever, Kakuzu!” Hidan says. “I just want to find our host and get it over with!”

The green eyed man, Kakuzu, eyes Hidan with annoyance. “Remember, Hidan!” Kakuzu says. “We still have to find Itachi’s grandson as well!”

Hidan’s eyes widen. “Oh, yeah!” Hidan says. “I almost forgot about that!”

After a few minutes Hidan lets out a small laugh.

“What’s so funny?” Kakuzu asks.

“Itachi’s only in his twenties but he’s already a grandpa!” Hidan says laughing. “It’s just hilarious!”

Kakuzu’s eyes narrow. However, he lets out a small laugh as well. “I know!” Kakuzu says. “It’s just crazy!”

The two men then share a laugh.

“I sure hope the kid won’t be too difficult to catch!” Hidan says.

“I hope so as well!” Kakuzu says. “However, the kid is more than likely going to run away when we find him!”

Hidan just grins. “Then we will chase him!” Hidan says.

**********************************

A blond haired man wearing an Akatsuki cloak walks through a forest. His bang of blond hair covers one of his blue eyes. The child like Akatsuki member, Tobi, runs up to the blond haired Akatsuki member.

“DEIDARA SENPAI!” Tobi yells. “I CAN’T WAIT TO FIND ITACHI’S GRANDSON! IF I CAPTURE HIM LEADER WILL BE SO IMPRESSED!”

“SHUT UP, TOBI!” The blond haired man, Deidara yells. “I CAN’T HEAR MYSELF THINK!”

Tobi sighs sadly. “Sorry, Senpai!” Tobi says.

Deidara huffs. “I hate the kid!” Deidara says. “He can die for all I care!”

Tobi gasps. “That’s mean, Senpai!” Tobi says.

“I actually wouldn’t mind blowing the kid into a million pieces with my art!” Deidara says. He looks at one of his hands and grins evilly.

Tobi gasps again. “BLOW ITACHI’S GRANDSON INTO A MILLION PIECES!” Tobi yells. “THAT’S VERY MEAN, SENPAI!”

“Who cares if that is mean!” Deidara says. “I hate the kid!”

“I don’t think that Itachi would appreciate you blowing up his grandson!” Tobi says.

“I don’t care!” Deidara says. “I hate Itachi! It’s because of him that I am in the Akatsuki! He also made my ‘art’ look bad!”

Tobi just sighs. The two Akatsuki members quietly walk through the forest.

******************************

Zetsu’s venus flytrap emerges from a tree. The venus flytrap opens up to reveal Zetsu. The surrounding forest is quiet and peaceful.

“I just hope that we find the kid soon!” White Zetsu says. “I am tired of looking for him!”

“I agree!” Black Zetsu says. “Looking for him is tiresome! However, we are in no position to disobey Leader-sama!”

“I suppose you are right!” White Zetsu says. After a few minutes the White Zetsu’s eye looks over at Black Zetsu.

“What is the matter?” White Zetsu asks. “You seem to be thinking about something!”

“I was just wondering what a demigod is supposed to taste like!” Black Zetsu says.

“Whatever do you mean?” White Zetsu asks.

“We have never had demigod before!” Black Zetsu says.

“No, we have not!” White Zetsu says, agreeing. “But what makes you want to try one?”

“Monsters in the boy’s world seem to enjoy eating demigods!” Black Zetsu says. “They must taste very good!”

“I am sure that a demigod would taste very good!” White Zetsu says. “However, I don’t think that demigods would be easy to find here!”

“Itachi’s grandson is a demigod!” Black Zetsu says. “I wonder what he would taste like?”

“We cannot eat Itachi’s grandson!” White Zetsu says, annoyed.

“Why not?” Black Zetsu asks.

“It will defeat the very purpose of trying to capture him!” White Zetsu says. “Leader-sama wants to use the boy’s powers to help achieve the Akatsuki’s goals!”

“I don’t think that the Akatsuki needs the boy to achieve its goals.” Black Zetsu says.

“Well, Leader-sama thinks that the boy can be useful!” White Zetsu says. “Eating the boy is disobeying leader-sama!”

“If we find him before anyone else no one will know!” Black Zetsu says. “We make sure to leave no evidence then no one will know what happened to him!”

“If we don’t find him first then someone will bring him back to base.” White Zetsu says. “If the boy mysteriously disappears then everyone else will suspect us, especially if we were the last one’s seen with him!”

“How do you know that everyone else will suspect us?” Black Zetsu asks.

“I just do!” White Zetsu says. “I can already picture Leader-sama face if we were to eat the boy! I can picture Itachi’s as well! I am sure that Itachi would not appreciate us eating his grandson!”

“Itachi acted like he didn’t even care about the boy when leader-sama told us about his existence!” Black Zetsu says. “He may not even mind if we ate the boy!”

White Zetsu and Black Zetsu continue to argue in the tree.

******************************

Itachi and Kisame stand in a small clearing at the edge of a forest. They are both looking out over a ravine with a river at the bottom.

“I am tired!” Kisame says. “We have been looking for the boy for nearly two days!”

“Looking for him has been troublesome!” Itachi says in his monotone voice. “I can’t believe that he got so far in such a short amount of time!”

“Well,” Kisame says with a grin on his face. “He is your grandson afterall. He must have inherited your speed!”

Kisame then chuckles lightly to himself. “It’s so funny to think that you killed your entire clan, but you are a grandpa now!” Kisame says. “It’s just so hilarious!”

However, Kisame notices Itachi glaring at him. Kisame frowns.

“What?” Kisame asks. “You don’t find this hilarious at all?”

“No!” Itachi says in his monotone voice.

Kisame looks away for a moment. “Look!” Kisame says. “I am not calling you old or anything! The situation is just so….unique!”

Itachi just looks at Kisame emotionlessly. Kisame frowns.

“It’s a shame what happened to your daughter and granddaughter!” Kisame says. “If your daughter had lived then the boy probably wouldn’t have been sent to our world! He probably would have grown up along with your granddaughter! The two of them probably would have probably had children and grandchildren!”

Kisame then grins. “Then you would be a great-great-grandpa!” Kisame says. He laughs. However, he notices that Itachi is glaring at him. Kisame then decides to change the subject.

“I am going down to the river to get a drink and wash my face a little bit!” Kisame says. “Want to come with me?”

“No…” Itachi says, emotionlessly. “I’d rather sit down for a while.”

“Suit yourself.” Kisame says. He starts for a small man made path that leads down to the river.

Itachi turns and walks over to a tree. He prepares to sit down when he notices something underneath the brush. He carefully parts the foliage. Underneath the overgrown brush are strange shoe impressions. The shoe impressions appear to have been made by child sized shoes.

Itachi narrows his eyes. He steps back for a minute to think. He then closes his eyes. After a few moments of consideration he opens his eyes. He then carefully spreads dried foliage that has piled up on the ground, over the shoe impressions, concealing them. Itachi then sits down at the base of a tree. Itachi leans back against the tree and closes his eyes. About ten minutes later Kisame returns. He approaches Itachi. Itachi opens his eyes.

“Are you ready to head out?” Kisame asks.

“Yes…” Itachi says in his emotionless voice. He stands up.

The two Akatsuki members silently walk out of the clearing.

Chapter Text

A black haired and blue eyed man approaches a busy looking brothel. The man wears a gray cloak and ninja sandals. He enters the brothel. Men and women sit at tables eating food. The men and women at the tables also have cups filled with alcohol. Many men sit at the bar and drink. They laugh and talk as they do so.

The black haired man scans the brothel. His eyes land on a young gray haired man with dark eyes and glasses. The gray haired man wears purple colored ninja attire.

The dark haired man sighs. He goes to the counter and takes out some money. A bartender approaches him.

“I’ll take a cup of sake.” The dark haired man says.

The bartender nods and takes the money from the dark haired man. The dark haired man watches the bartender pour some clear colored sake into a cup. The bartender hands the dark haired man the cup. The dark haired a takes a sip. He sighs.

“Ah, that’s the stuff!” The dark haired man says. He then looks over to the table where the gray haired man is sitting. He casually walks over to the table. The gray haired man looks up.

“May I help you?” The gray haired man asks.

“Yes.” The dark haired man says. “My name is Hiro Kirai. I know who you are, Kabuto Yakushi! I know that you are Orochimaru’s assistant!”

The gray haired man, Kabuto, narrows his eyes.

“I wish to make a deal with you!” Hiro says. “I have information about something that will interest Orochimaru greatly!”

Kabuto’s eyes widen. However, he then smirks.

“Oh, really!” Kabuto says. “Well then, tell me what it is so I can relay it to Lord Orochimaru!”

Hiro looks around at all of the people in the brothel. “I am afraid that there are too many people around at the moment. The information that I am about to tell you is very sensitive! We will have to go elsewhere to discuss the information!”

Kabuto narrows his eyes again. However, he shrugs. “I suppose that we can go somewhere more private.”

Hiro smirks and takes a sip of his sake. “No rush.” Hiro says. “I would like to get acquainted first. I can also discuss how I came to find out about this information without discussing the information itself.”

Kabuto smirks. “Alright!” Kabuto says. “Talk!”

“However, I shall expect something in return for giving this information to you!” Hiro says. “Money will suffice!”

Kabuto narrows his eyes. “How much?” Kabuto asks.

“1000 ryo!” Hiro says.

Kabuto smirks. “Deal!” Kabuto says.

Hiro smirks. He then begins to tell his tale.

****************************

Jarou is cleaning his cave when he gets an odd feeling. He looks towards where his special pool of water is.

“I better check to see what is going on.” Jarou whispers to himself. Nico may be in danger! Jarou thinks to himself.

Jarou walks over to the pool of water. He closes his eyes and waves a hand over the water. An image suddenly forms in the water. Jarou opens his eyes.

Jarou looks intently at the image in the water. Voices can soon be heard. After a while Jarou gasps. His face then becomes red with rage.

“HIRO, YOU TRAITOR!” Jarou yells. You have betrayed me…..you have betrayed Nico! Jarou thinks.

Jarou closes his eyes and takes a few deep breaths. He opens his eyes. His eyes are filled with sadness. Oh, Hiro! Jarou thinks. You have betrayed the boy! As a member of the Kirai clan it’s your job to help protect his secret! However, you ignored your duty all because you wanted a little bit of money! Now Nico is in even greater danger than he was before! You are just like Kiyoshi!

Jarou takes another deep breath. He continues to watch the image in the water, trying to see what will happen next.

********************************

Kabuto and Hiro sit in the brothel. Hiro has just finished telling Kabuto about his clan and dimensional rifts.

“So dimensional rifts can send people to different dimensions, how interesting!” Kabuto says.

“It is time for me to reveal my true reason for being here.” Hiro says. He then looks around. “However, I cannot reveal it here! Do you know of a of place where we can speak in private?”

“Yes!” Kabuto says. He then grins. “You know what, just come with me back to my masters hideout and tell Orochimaru yourself! I am sure that Lord Orochimaru would love to have a visitor.”

Hiro narrows his eyes. However, he eventually just shrugs.  

“Sounds good to me!” Hiro says.

“Good!” Kabuto says. “Follow me!”

The two men put their empty cups on the table. They both stand up and leave the brothel.

*******************************

Kabuto and Hiro arrive at Orochimaru’s base. Kabuto opens the doors to Orochimaru’s meeting room. Orochimaru is sitting in a throne like chair. A teenage boy soon appears by the chair. The teenager has jet black, duck butt styled hair. His sharingan eyes glow in the darkness.

“Lord Orochimaru!” Kabuto says, cheerfully. “I have brought a guest! He says that he has interesting information for us. He says that he will divulge all he knows for 1000 ryo.”

Orochimaru’s yellow eyes narrow slightly. “It better be worth my time and 1000 ryo!” Orochimaru hisses.

Hiro bows down. “My name is Hiro Kirai.” Hiro says. He then stands up. “I come from a clan who specializes in seeing into other dimensions and sensing dimensional rifts.”

“Other dimensions and dimensional rifts!?” Orochimaru says. He practically hisses.  “How interesting!”

Hiro looks over to the teenage boy. “You are Sasuke Uchiha, Am I correct?” Hiro asks.

The teenage boy just glares at Hiro. “Yes...” The teenage boy, Sasuke Uchiha, says. “What does it matter?”

Hiro smirks. “The information that I bring regards your brother, Itachi!” Hiro says.

Sasuke’s eyes widen. With a swish Sasuke stands in front of Hiro. Sasuke has his hand on the hilt of his sword.

“TELL ME!” Sasuke yells.

“Now, Sasuke, calm down!” Orochimaru says. “Let the man finish. If you kill him then we will never know what he has to say!”

Sasuke narrows his eyes. However, Sasuke obeys Orochimaru. He goes back to stand by Orochimaru’s chair.

Hiro smirks. “It is true that Itachi Uchiha wiped out the Uchiha Clan nearly eight years ago.” Hiro says. “However,... Itachi made a mistake!”

Sasuke’s eyes widen. He grabs Hiro by his shirt.

“A MISTAKE!” Sasuke yells. “TELL ME!”

“Now, Sasuke, calm down!” Orochimaru says. “Let our guest finish!”

“Itachi unintentionally sowed the seeds for the revival of the Uchiha Clan many years ago!” Hiro says.

Sasuke’s eyes narrow. “ITACHI KILLED THE ENTIRE UCHIHA CLAN EXCEPT FOR ME!” Sasuke yells. “ITACHI WOULD NEVER TRY TO REBUILD THE UCHIHA CLAN!”

“That’s why I said ‘unintentional’!” Hiro says. “Itachi never meant for it to happen.”

“What do you mean exactly by ‘unintentionally sown the seeds for the revival of the Uchiha Clan’?” Orochimaru asks. He leans forward in his chair.

“I am sure that, Sasuke, wanted to be the one to revive the Uchiha Clan.” Hiro says. “However, Itachi has already beaten him to it! Itachi has an heir!”  

Sasuke’s eyes widen. His sharingan glows even brighter. He lets go of Hiro. Sasuke backs away. His mind slowly processes this information, trying to decipher its meaning.

“You mean that Itachi has a child?” Orochimaru asks.

Hiro smirks. “Itachi had a child, a daughter!” Hiro says. “She was sent to another dimension as baby. Time flows faster in the other dimension than it does here. One year in this world is equivalent to fifteen years in the other world!”

“Oh,my!” Orochimaru says. “How interesting!”

Kabuto narrows his eyes. “How long ago was Itachi’s daughter born?” Kabuto asks.

“About 7 years ago in this world.” Hiro says. “That is equivalent to 105 years in the other world.”

Sasuke’s eyes widen. Orochimaru narrows his eyes. Kabuto narrows his eyes as well.

“So, if Itachi’s daughter is dead then how does he have an heir?” Kabuto asks.

Hiro smirks. “Itachi Uchiha….has a grandson!” Hiro says.

Sasuke freezes. His eyes are wide. His sharingan glows brightly.

“A grandson!” Orochimaru says with wide eyes.

“Itachi also had a granddaughter, but she died!” Hiro says.

After a while Sasuke blinks a few times. He opens his mouth to say something.

“WHAAAAAAAAAAAT!” Sasuke yells. He runs from the room. Soon, loud crashing can be heard.

“Well…,” Kabuto says. “That could have gone better!”

“Indeed!” Orochimaru says, agreeing with Kabuto. However, Orochimaru looks at Hiro with a very interested look.

“Once young Sasuke calms down you shall continue with the story.” Orochimaru says in his creepy voice. “You seem to act like you know more that you are letting on! There must be a very interesting story behind this!”

Hiro smirks. “Oh, yes!” Hiro says. “There is a lot more to tell! I am sure that you will not be disappointed!”

***********************************

Sasuke thrusts his chidori into a boulder. The surrounding area is littered with pulverized boulders!

Sasuke’s eyes blaze red with his sharingan. He breathes deeply. Sweat runs down his face. He then closes his eyes and lets out a yell of rage.

“THAT BASTARD!” Sasuke yells at the sky. “HE DOESN’T DESERVE AN HEIR! NOT AFTER WHAT HE DID!”

Sasuke blinks a few times. I can’t believe this! Sasuke thinks to himself. I was supposed to revive the Uchiha Clan after I killed Itachi. Itachi was supposed to be wiped from the face of the Earth. Itachi was not supposed to have any descendants!

Sasuke blinks a few times. However, I suppose that there is nothing I can do about it now. Sasuke thinks. What’s done is done!

Sasuke then thinks of something. Wait a minute! Sasuke thinks. That man said that Itachi had a granddaughter as well, but she died! My niece, their mother, is supposedly dead as well! I wonder what happened?

Sasuke looks back towards the hideout. I suppose I will never know unless I go back. Sasuke thinks. He starts walking back towards the hideout. At any rate...At least I am not the last Uchiha left besides that bastard!

*************************************

“Then the Olympians defeated the Titans and came to rule the world!” Hiro says. “The Olympians have ruled over the other world ever since. They have flings with humans and create demigods, half mortal and half god, beings. Demigod children possess an array of special powers and abilities. There is even a camp just for demigods to train. It is called camp Half-Blood!”

Sasuke, Orochimaru, and Kabuto look at Hiro with very interested faces.

Once Sasuke had come back Hiro had begun telling the tale of how the other world was created. Hiro had promised that this little history lesson was crucial to the rest of the story. Sasuke, Orochimaru, and Kabuto had obliged.

“Incredible!” Orochimaru says. He has an evil smile on his face. “Demigods must be very powerful!”

“The most powerful demigods are sired by the Big Three: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades!” Hiro says.

“But why is the history of a bunch of gods and goddesses important for this story?” Sasuke asks, impatiently.

“Itachi’s daughter was named Maria.” Hiro says. Then he smirks. “Maria’s children were actually demigods!”

Sasuke’s eyes widen. Kabuto gasps. Orochimaru’s eyes narrow.

“Demigods!” Orochimaru says stunned. “Who was the father?”

Hiro smirks. “Hades!” Hiro says.

“HADES!” Orochimaru says. He smiles evilly.

“Maria and Hades loved each other!” Hiro says. “They also loved their children, Bianca and Nico. However, something ended up happening. Actually, it was a chain of events.  However, those chain of events changed everything.”

Hiro sighs. “Please get comfortable!” Hiro says. “It is a long...and tragic tale!”

*************************

Hiro had told everything that he knew regarding Maria and her children. He told of how WWII had begun and the great prophecy regarding the children of the Big Three. Hiro then told of how Zeus had tried to kill the children, but ended up killing Maria instead. Hiro told of how Hades erased the children’s memories, placed them in the Lotus Casino, and then brought them back out after almost seventy years. Hiro then explained that Bianca had joined the Hunters of Artemis instead of going to camp Half-Blood like Nico. Hiro then explained about how Artemis had been captured by the Titans and that Bianca had volunteered to go on a quest to rescue her with other demigods.

“Bianca ended up being killed on the quest to save Artemis!” Hiro says. “Nico was so upset that he ran away from camp! Then he got sucked through a dimensional rift and ended up in our world.”

Sasuke’s eyes widen. Orochimaru’s eyes widen as well. Kabuto’s eyes also widen.

“You mean that the boy is in our world now?” Orochimaru asks.

“Yes!” Hiro says with a smirk. “I have a feeling that the Akatsuki and Itachi are already looking for him! I am certain that they will want his powers!”

Orochimaru then gets an evil smile on his face. “I have been thinking about which body to inhabit after Sasuke’s body is no longer useful to me! Itachi’s demigod grandson shall make the perfect vessel!”

Hiro smirks. “I thought that you would like this news!” Hiro says. He then puts his hands together. A mist image forms in front of him. An image of Nico soon appears.

“Nico di Angelo!” Hiro says. “Itachi’s grandson! Just so you know what he looks like! That way you can find him!”

Hiro then holds out his hands. “My 1000 ryo now please!” Hiro says. The mist image dissipates.

Kabuto hands Hiro a stack of cash. Hiro carefully counts it. He then nods, satisfied that he isn’t being cheated. He walks out of the room. This leaves Orochimaru, Sasuke, and Kabuto alone together in the room.

Sasuke turns to Kabuto. “What are you waiting for!?” Sasuke snaps. “Go get the kid!”

Kabuto smirks. “Oh, you want to meet the boy now do you?” Kabuto asks.

Sasuke grits his teeth. “I want to use the boy to lure Itachi out so that I can get revenge on the evil bastard!”

Orochimaru smiles evilly. “I knew that you would think of a way to use the boy to your advantage Sasuke!” Orochimaru says.

Sasuke just glares. He turns back to Kabuto. “Go get him!” Sasuke says. He leaves the room.

“Go on now Kabuto!” Orochimaru says. “It is imperative that we find the boy before the Akatsuki do!”

“Yes, Lord Orochimaru!” Kabuto says. “I shall go at once!”

Kabuto leaves the room. Kabuto smiles to himself as he thinks of ways to capture Nico.

********************************

Jarou sighs as the image in the water dissipates. He looks up at the sky.

“Oh, Nico!” Jarou says. “I hope you grow stronger! So much danger is coming your way!”

Jarou closes his eyes and sighs. I just hope that you have found a good teacher. Jarou thinks. Stay safe, please!

Jarou sighs again. At least the boy’s great-uncle didn’t act like he wanted to kill him. Jarou thinks. However, it appears that the boy’s great-uncle still has sinister intentions!

Jarou then turns back towards his cave. Jarou then begins his silent journey back to his cave.  

Chapter Text

Nico awakens to Kiseki shaking his shoulder.  

“It is time for you to begin your training!” Kiseki says.

Nico nods. He yawns and slowly sits up. He then stretches. He blinks a few times. The sun is starting to rise over the horizon.

Kiseki wasn’t kidding when he said ‘bright and early’! Nico thinks to himself. He yawns again. He blinks a few times to get rid of the last bit of sleepiness in his eyes.

“So what are you gonna teach me first?” Nico asks.

“First I am going to show you how to fish.” Kiseki says. “Then I will show you how to control your chakra.”

Nico nods. I hope that chakra control is not very difficult , Nico thinks to himself. I really need to learn how to use my powers and learn jutsu! I need to learn fast!

Kiseki looks over the horizon. “There should be a small lake over the horizon.” Kiseki says. “Follow me!”

Nico silently follows Kiseki.

************************************

Kiseki and Nico arrive at a small lake. A small river empties into the lake from the right side of the forest. Kiseki turns to Nico.

“Look closely at the water and tell me what you see.” Kiseki says.

Nico raises a brow. I wonder why Kiseki wants me to look at the water, Nico thinks to himself. How is this important for catching fish?

However, Nico does as Kiseki says and looks down at the water. Nico sees fish swimming around in the water.

Nico looks up at Kiseki. “I see fish swimming around.” Nico says.

“Right!” Kiseki says. “You never mentioned seeing fish when you would stop at streams to get a drink! Do you want to know why?”

Nico blinks a few times. That is right! Nico thinks. I never saw a single fish!

“Sure!” Nico says.

Kiseki looks down at the water. “You see,” Kiseki says. “Fish can’t properly swim in streams that are low. They need the water to be at a certain level in order to swim!”

Nico then thinks of something. The water in the streams that I drank from were not that deep , Nico thinks. The water must not have been deep enough for fish to swim.

“The streams that I drank from were not very deep!” Nico says. “That means fish could not swim in them!”

Kiseki nods.

Nico looks back down at the water for a minute. He then looks back up at Kiseki. “So I need to find rivers and streams that are deep in order to find fish?” Nico asks.

“That is correct!” Kiseki says.

Nico’s stomach rumbles. He frowns. That still doesn’t explain how I am supposed to catch a fish!

“Ok, I know how to find fish now, but how do I catch one?” Nico asks.

“There are many ways to catch fish!” Kiseki says. “However, when you are out in the wilderness many of those options are not available to you!”

Kiseki puts his hand over the water. “If you are patient and swift enough then you can catch fish by hand!” Kiseki says.

Kiseki eyes the fish swimming in the water carefully. Then as swift as lightning he thrusts his hand in the water and grabs a fish. Kiseki carefully lifts the struggling fish out of the water and throws it on the bank.

Nico’s eyes are wide with amazement. That was really fast! Nico thinks.

Kiseki turns to Nico. “Your turn!” Kiseki says.

Nico turns back to the water. Nico carefully lifts his hand over the water. He then carefully eyes a fish. However, the fish just looks up at Nico. The fish then squirts water at Nico’s face. Nico manages to close his eyes just in time. Nico opens his eyes and looks at his reflection in the water. His face is wet.

Kiseki laughs lowly beside Nico. “Well,” Kiseki says. “That was unexpected!”

Nico narrows his eyes. He looks at the fish. The fish blows bubbles in the water and swishes its tail. It’s like the fish is mocking him! Nico’s eyes are alight with determination.

I’m not gonna let a fish make me look like a fool! Nico thinks to himself. He then thrusts his hand into the water. He grabs the fish and tosses it on the bank. When he looks at Kiseki, Kiseki’s eyes are wide.

“You got one on your first try!” Kiseki says. “You were even faster than me!”

Nico narrows his eyes. “I was?” Nico asks.

Kiseki nods. “You sure were fast!” Kiseki says. Kiseki then narrows his eyes as if he is thinking about something. He then turns to Nico.

“I have heard that Itachi Uchiha is supposedly inhumanely fast.” Kiseki says. “He is supposedly so fast he perform hand signs for a jutsu in the blink of an eye!”

Nico’s eyes widen. Jarou had told Nico about hand signs and how they are important for performing most jutsu’s. “Wow!” Nico says. “My grandfather is really supposed to be that fast?”

Kiseki nods. “It looks as though you have inherited his speed!” Kiseki says.

Nico looks down. Another way that I am like my grandfather! Nico thinks to himself.

Kiseki quickly smiles. “You inherited a good trait from your grandfather!” Kiseki says. “Extreme speed can serve a person well, especially out in the wilderness. You caught a fish on your first try. That is something to be proud of!”

Nico’s eyes widen. Kiseki is right. Nico thinks to himself. I need to catch fish to survive. Inheriting my grandfather’s speed is beneficial to me. It will help me survive.  

Kiseki looks back at the fish. Both of the fish are flopping around on the bank. Kiseki quickly grabs a rock and strikes each fish on the head once. Both of the fish stop moving. Kiseki turns to Nico.

“We better hurry and make a fire to cook these fish before they turn rancid.” Kiseki says.

Nico nods. He quickly stands up. He then follows Kiseki into the forest.

*****************************

Nico and Kiseki finish off their fish just as the fire is starting to go out.

That fish sure was good! Nico thinks.

Kiseki cups his hands together and gets some water from the lake. He pours it over the fire. The fire hisses and sends out a large cloud of steam. Kiseki looks over to Nico.

“We need to find a quiet place for the first stage of your training.” Kiseki says. “Learning chakra control requires concentration.” Kiseki walks to the tree line at the edge of the forest.

Nico quickly walks up to join Kiseki. The two of them then quietly walk through the forest.

************************************

Kiseki and Nico arrive at a small meadow that sits on the edge of a rock wall. Kiseki stops and looks around.

“This place will do!” Kiseki says. He turns to Nico.

“The first step in chakra control is to feel how your chakra flows throughout your body.” Kiseki says. “Chakra flows through your body like blood flows through your circulatory system.”

Kiseki then makes a hand sign. “Find a comfortable spot and sit down.” Kiseki says.

Nico does as Kiseki says. He sits in front of the rock wall.

“Now make this hand sign and close your eyes.” Kiseki says. “Sit like you are meditating.”

Nico makes the hand sign and closes his eyes.

“Now…” Kiseki says. “Visualize your chakra flowing through your body. Focus entirely on that! Now, this will take time and practice so be patient!”

Alright, Nico thinks. Visualize my chakra flowing through my body.  

Nico sits very still in his position. He breathes slowly focusing entirely on visualizing his chakra.

Kiseki sits down further away. He looks around, looking for any signs of danger. Seeing no danger, Kiseki watches Nico focus and control his chakra. Kiseki takes a quick glance at the sky. The sun is in it’s ten O’clock position.

At noon I shall show the boy how to forage, Kiseki thinks. Afterwards, I shall show the boy how to hunt.

Kiseki continues to watch Nico control his chakra.

******************************

The sun is in it’s noon position when Kiseki calls out to Nico.

“You can stop now, Nico!” Kiseki says. “It’s time that I showed you how to forage!”

Nico opens his eyes. He then stands up.

“What are we gonna forage for?” Nico asks.

“Edible plants and fruit.” Kiseki says.

Nico nods. He silently follows Kiseki into the forest.

After a few minutes of walking Nico and Kiseki reach a berry bush. The berries look like blueberries. Kiseki examines the leaves. He even runs his fingers over a leaf. Kiseki then grabs a berry and pops it in his mouth. After slowly chewing the berry he swallows and nods, satisfied.

“These berries are edible!” Kiseki says. “Dig in!” Kiseki then starts to carefully pick the berries off of the bush.

“How do you know that they are edible?” Nico asks.

Kiseki takes one of the leaves in his hand. “Most edible berries will have rounded leaves.” Kiseki says. “The leaves will also be smooth to the touch. Poisonous berries will usually have pointed leaves and the leaves will have a fuzzy feel to them.”

Kiseki then looks to the berries in his hand. “Poisonous berries will also be bitter.” Kiseki says. “Edible berries will be sweet.”

Nico quickly picks a berry and pops it in his mouth. He chews slowly. His eyes widen.

Wow, this berry is sweet! Nico thinks to himself. He quickly grabs more berries and quickly devours them.

“Another thing that you should do is fill up on anything edible that you can find when you do come across it.” Kiseki says, as he eats more berries. “When you are out in the wilderness, you will have days where you can’t find anything edible!”

Nico nods. I suppose that Kiseki is right, Nico thinks. I may have days where I can’t find anything to eat! I should probably fill up on whatever I am able to find.

Nico eats another handful of berries. Before he knows it all of the berries on the bush are gone!

Kiseki sighs. “Ok, we have eaten all of the berries off of the bush!” Kiseki says. “We now have to look around and find other edible plants!”

Nico nods in agreement. He then follows Kiseki through the forest.

****************************

The sun is in it’s two O’clock position when Nico and Kiseki stop at a stream to get a drink of water. Kiseki looks up at the sky. He then looks at Nico.

“Once we are done getting a drink, I shall show you how to hunt!” Kiseki says.

Nico only nods. He stoops down and scoops up some water with his hands. He gulps the water down. He scoops up more water. He gulps down the second handful just as fast. Man, I was really thirsty! Nico thinks.

Kiseki then motions for Nico to follow him. As the two of them walk through the forest, Nico thinks back to his foraging lesson.

I can’t believe at how many wild plants are edible! Nico thinks to himself. I can’t believe that some flowers are edible either. Who would have thought that flowers could be edible?

Nico then looks down. However…, Nico thinks. That means I have more food options than I previously believed.

Kiseki suddenly stops walking. Nico stops as well. Kiseki then points to a flock of large birds pecking at the ground. The birds remind Nico of grouse.

Kiseki motions for Nico to be very still and quiet. Kiseki quickly grabs something out of his pack. It looks like a small thin dart, carved out of wood. Kiseki points the sharp end towards a bird and swiftly throws it. The wooden dart hits the bird in the neck. The bird lets out a shriek and falls to the ground, dead. The other birds fly away. Kiseki goes over and picks up the dead bird.

Nico’s eyes are wide with amazement. Kiseki didn’t even miss! Nico thinks. Incredible!

Kiseki turns to Nico. “We only need one bird!” Kiseki says. “Hunting like this is usually a hit or miss thing!”

“How did you make that thing?” Nico asks. He points to the little wooden dart as Kiseki pulls it out of the birds neck.

“I made it by taking a thick tree branch and sharpening it with a stone!” Kiseki says. “I will show you how to make one while the bird roasts.”

Nico nods. He quickly assists Kiseki in gathering firewood.

****************************

Nico and Kiseki sit quietly by the fire. The smell of the roasting bird makes Nico’s mouth water. However, Nico pays close attention to what Kiseki is showing him. Kiseki is currently using a stone to smooth and sharpen a piece wood from a small tree branch. He then hands it to Nico.

“Now,” Kiseki says. “You try it!”

Nico nods and starts to carefully run the stone over the wood.

This is easy! Nico thinks. I just hope that throwing it won’t be as difficult!

Nico starts to sharpen an end of the piece of wood. Once it looks sharp enough Nico hands it back to Kiseki. Kiseki looks at it. He then nods, satisfied.

“Good work!” Kiseki says. “I am sure that you will have no problem hunting!”

“Is there anything special that I have to do when I throw it?” Nico asks.

“You have to make sure that you throw it forcefully enough!” Kiseki says. “You also have to be quick!”

Kiseki then looks at the roasting bird. “I think that the bird is ready to eat.” Kiseki says.

Kiseki grabs a fork from his pack and pokes the roasting bird. Kiseki shakes his head.

“Perhaps another few minutes or so!” Kiseki says. He sets the fork on a cloth.

“Kiseki, are there other ways to hunt besides using that?” Nico asks, as he points to the wooden dart. “I mean, what if I can’t find wood to make one?”

Kiseki raise an eyebrow. “Well,” Kiseki says. “You could always try to chase and grab an animal! You would have to be incredibly fast to do that!”

Kiseki then smiles. “However, I think that with your speed, you would be able to pull it off!”

Kiseki then looks at the roasting bird again. He grabs the fork and pokes the bird. He then nods satisfied.

“It’s done!” Kiseki says. He lays the fork back on the cloth. “Now we have to wait for it to cool down some!”

Kiseki grabs a plate from his pack and sets the cooked bird on it.

Nico’s mouth waters with anticipation. His stomach rumbles. I can’t wait! Nico thinks.

**********************************

The sun is in it’s four O’clock position when Nico and Kiseki finish off the roasted bird. Nico is full and satisfied.

That was delicious! Nico thinks to himself.

Kiseki looks at the sky. He then looks at Nico. “It looks like we still have some time left before the sun sets!” Kiseki says. “How about a quick round of exercise!”

“Exercise?” Nico asks. “What kind of exercise?”

“Basic running and stretching!” Kiseki says. “Back at my village, the teachers in the academy had the other students and I do physical exercises everyday. Physical exercise builds up strength and endurance, which is very important for a ninja. Running builds up speed and agility as well.”

“I suppose that makes sense!” Nico says.

“Well, then let’s get started.” Kiseki says. He looks over to a large clearing.

“Stretch for a few minutes.” Kiseki says. He points to the sky. “Run laps across the clearing until the sun is in that position. Then you can work on chakra control some more until it’s dark.”

“Alright!” Nico says. “Sounds easy enough!”

Nico begins stretching his limbs. After a few minutes of doing that Nico takes off across the clearing. Nico is running across the clearing as quick as lightning!

Kiseki’s eyes are wide. Wow! Kiseki thinks to himself. Not only is Nico swift with his hands he is also a fast runner!

Kiseki then smiles to himself. Maybe Nico will advance faster than I thought! Kiseki thinks.

*************************************

The sun is about to set over the horizon. Kiseki tells Nico to stop running.

“Alright, time to stop running now!” Kiseki yells.

Nico stops running. He breathes heavily and sweat runs down his face.

I am so tired! Nico thinks. Running laps sure is hard work! However, I must work on my endurance! I must get stronger!

Nico slowly walks over to the stream beside his and Kiseki’s campsite. Nico gets a quick drink. He then looks at Kiseki. Kiseki is grinning.

“You are not only quick with your hands, but you are also fast on your feet!” Kiseki says. “You were faster than lightning!”

Nico raises an eyebrow. “I was?” Nico asks.

Kiseki nods. “You ran really fast!” Kiseki says. He is grinning. “I have seen boys your age run races with each other. Trust me, I have seen boys your age run really fast. However, I am sure that if you ever ran a race with them, you would leave them all in the dust!”

Nico’s eyes widen. “Really?” Nico asks. “I am truly that fast!?”

Kiseki nods. “Yes!” Kiseki says. “You are really fast!”

Nico closes his eyes. I sure hope that my speed serves me well in the future. Nico thinks to himself. Especially if I have another run in with the Akatsuki!

Kiseki looks at the sky. “Alright, it’s time to work on your chakra control some more.” Kiseki says.

Nico nods and sits down in front of the fire. He makes the hand sign that he made earlier during his chakra control lesson and closes his eyes. He visualizes his chakra flowing throughout his body.

Kiseki watches Nico control his chakra. I can already sense the boy’s chakra getting stronger! Kiseki thinks to himself. The boy is progressing really fast!

*********************************

Jarou looks at the image of Nico controlling his chakra in the pool of water. Jarou lets out a sigh.

Nico seems to be progressing with his training much faster than I anticipated. Jarou thinks to himself. I just hope he will be ready for the challenges ahead!

Jarou sighs again. It is great that Nico has inherited his grandfather’s speed!. Jarou thinks. He is going to need it!

Jarou keeps looking at the image in the water.

**********************************

The stars shine brightly in the night sky. The moon glows brightly alongside the stars. Kiseki looks over at Nico. Nico is still sitting with his eyes closed, trying to control his chakra.

“Alright!” Kiseki says. “It’s time to go to sleep now. It’s dark!”

Nico opens his eyes. Nico stretches his limbs for a bit before standing up. He walks over to the stream to get a drink. After quenching his thirst, Nico lets out a loud yawn. Nico’s eyes droop a little as he walks back to the campsite. He sits down in front of the fire. After a few seconds he lays down and lets out another yawn. Within minutes Nico is fast asleep.

Kid must be exhausted! Kiseki thinks. He did a lot today! He now needs a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow will be another bright and early day.

After a few minutes Kiseki goes over and lays close to Nico. Kiseki looks at his and Nico’s surroundings, checking for any danger before going to sleep. Seeing no danger, Kiseki just blinks a few times and lays his head down. Within minutes he is in a light sleep.

*********************************

Jarou watches Kiseki and Nico sleep. Jarou sighs.

Nico shall have another long day ahead of him tomorrow…, Jarou thinks to himself. I hope that he sleeps well.

Jarou closes his eyes. When he opens them he is alarmed to see a shimmering figure standing close to Nico and Kiseki!

What in the world!? Jarou thinks. What is that? Who is that? He looks closely at the shimmering figure. He waves his hand over the pool of water, trying to zoom the image in, so that he can get a closer look. A thought soon crosses Jarou’s mind.

A spirit! Jarou thinks. What is a spirit doing watching Nico and Kiseki sleep?

Jarou blinks a few times. An idea suddenly comes to mind. Maybe it’s Luna! Jarou thinks. Maybe Luna has come from the Pure Land to watch over Nico!

Jarou zooms the image in more. However, Jarou is surprised to see that the shimmering figure does not look like Luna at all! In fact, the shimmering figure wears ninja attire!

A ninja! Jarou thinks. He zooms the image in closer. Jarou soon notices that the shimmering figure looks like a man. However, Jarou does not recognize the man as anyone he knows of. However, Jarou does see something familiar on the man’s clothing. It is a clan crest. It is a fan. It’s the clan crest of the Uchiha Clan!

Jarou gasps. The spirit of an Uchiha! Jarou thinks. The Uchiha’s in the afterlife must have answered my plea to watch over Nico!

Jarou takes a deep breath. He closes his eyes for a minute. However, when he opens them the Uchiha spirit has disappeared from the image in the water.

Jarou frowns. Well, the Uchiha spirit decided not to stick around very long! Jarou thinks. Then, Jarou notices that Kiseki is awake. Kiseki is staring wide eyed at the spot where the Uchiha spirit was just moments ago.

Kiseki must have seen the spirit as well! Jarou thinks.

************************

Kiseki’s eyes slowly flicker open. He blinks a few times, adjusting his eyes to the darkness.

Such a strange feeling…., Kiseki thinks. I just have this feeling that something is not right!

Kiseki quickly looks over to Nico laying close to him. Nico is fast asleep. Nico twitches a little bit. Kiseki blinks a few times and takes a few quite breaths. He is slightly relieved that Nico appears to be just fine. However, Kiseki still can’t shake the feeling that something is off.

It is only when Kiseki tilts his head slightly that he notices a shimmering figure standing close by. Kiseki is slightly alarmed.

What is that!? Kiseki thinks to himself. Who is that!?

All of the sudden Kiseki thinks of something.

A spirit! Kiseki thinks. What is a spirit doing here? Why is it watching us sleep?

Kiseki suddenly notices something. The shimmering figure is wearing ninja attire!

The spirit is a ninja! Kiseki thinks. However, before Kiseki can look at the spirit’s face, the spirit’s form dissipates. The spirit disappears right before Kiseki’s eyes! Kiseki shakes his head and blinks a few times.

This is just unbelievable! Kiseki thinks. I have never been visited by a spirit before! Why would a spirit visit me?

Kiseki’s eyes soon fall upon Nico’s sleeping form. His eyes widen. I think the spirit was actually visiting Nico! Kiseki thinks to himself. His eyes then narrow. I wonder why?

Kiseki closes his eyes for a minute. He then thinks of something. I remember now! Kiseki thinks. Nico had told me that when he was running from the forest fire a voice spoke to him. It was as if the voice was being carried on the wind. It must have been the spirit that I saw just now! The spirit was trying to save Nico from the forest fire!

Kiseki blinks a few times. He then smiles. Nico is incredibly lucky despite his circumstances! Kiseki thinks. He actually has a guardian angel watching over him in this world!

Kiseki closes his eyes and lays his head back on the ground. He soon drifts off to sleep again.   

Chapter Text

Nico awakens to Kiseki shaking his shoulder. The sun is about to rise above the horizon.

“Get up!” Kiseki says, cheerfully. “Another day has begun. Time for more training!”

Nico nods and sits up. Nico stands up and stretches. He notices that his legs are a little sore, but he just decides to shake it off.

“Oh, I almost forgot!” Kiseki says. He turns to Nico. “After you went to sleep last night I woke up. I felt that something was off! I then realized that there was a spirit watching us.”

Nico raises an eyebrow. “Spirit?” Nico asks. “You mean a ghost right?”

Kiseki nods. “I actually think that the spirit was visiting you!” Kiseki says. “You said that when you were running away from the forest fire you heard a voice speaking to you. I think it was actually the spirit that I saw last night. The spirit was actually trying to help you escape the fire!”

Nico blinks a few times. His eyes suddenly widen. I wonder if the spirit has anything to do with the strange aura that I have been feeling lately? Nico thinks.

“I have actually felt a strange aura lately.” Nico says. “Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I feel an aura on the ground close by!”

Kiseki narrows his eyes. “Do you feel that aura now?” Kiseki asks. He looks over to a spot on the ground.

Nico follows Kiseki’s eyes. Nico walks over to the spot and puts his hand on the ground. A shiver runs up Nico’s spine as he feels a familiar aura.

“I feel the same aura!” Nico says.

“That’s where the spirit was.” Kiseki says. “The spirit was actually wearing ninja attire!”

Nico’s eyes widen. “Really?” Nico asks. The spirit of a ninja has been watching over me! Nico thinks. Why?

“Why a spirit would choose to help me?” Nico asks. “I mean, I am the grandson of a psychopathic clan killer! A spirit has no reason to want to help me!”

Kiseki smiles. “The spirits in the afterlife must see something within you!” Kiseki says. “Whatever that something is, it is obviously enough to make a spirit decide to help you. I think that you are lucky despite your current circumstances. You have a guardian angel!”

Nico’s eyes widen. I suppose Kiseki is right. Nico thinks to himself. The spirit tried to help me run from the fire. The spirit must think that I am worth protecting!

Kiseki looks up at the sky. “We must get going.” Kiseki says. “We still need to catch breakfast!”

Nico nods. He silently follows Kiseki through the forest.

***********************************

The sun is in it’s ten O’clock position when Kiseki pours water over the fire. Nico sits on the ground nearby. The two of them had eaten fish for breakfast again along with some berries and greens. Now Nico is ready to start another chakra control session. Kiseki looks over to Nico. Nico nods. Nico makes the hand sign for chakra control and closes his eyes.

“Nico, I want to ask you something.” Kiseki says.

Nico opens his eyes. He looks at Kiseki.

“You said that you summoned skeletons to protect yourself from Riku and Karou, but Riku cut your skeletons down, Am I right?” Kiseki asks.

Nico narrows his eyes. “Yes!” Nico says.

“I was just thinking….” Kiseki says. “Did your skeletons even try to fight Riku or Karou?”

Nico narrows his eyes even more. Now that I think about it, my skeletons didn’t even attempt to fight those two maniacs. Nico thinks. His eyes then widen. Wait, I remember now! The skeletons at camp didn’t attack Percy because I told them not to! I didn’t command the skeletons to attack Riku and Karou!

“I actually didn’t command my skeletons to attack Riku and Karou.” Nico says. He then thinks of something else. “The skeletons that I summoned to protect myself from Karou and Riku didn’t have any weapons! The skeletons probably would not have been able to fight those two maniacs anyway!”

Kiseki nods. “I suppose that sounds right!” Kiseki says. “You have to learn how to command the skeletons that you summon effectively. You also have to summon skeletons with weapons so they can fight!”

Nico looks down. He closes his eyes. Kiseki is right, Nico thinks. I need to practice using my demigod powers. I need to get better at using them.

Kiseki looks at the sky. “You should get started on your chakra control session.” Kiseki says. “The sooner you get done doing that the sooner you can begin practicing summoning skeletons!”

Nico nods. He quickly closes his eyes and begins concentrating on controlling his chakra.

Kiseki sits down on the ground nearby. He simply watches Nico control his chakra.

*****************************

The sun is in it’s noon position when Kiseki tells Nico to finish up his chakra control session.

Nico opens his eyes and stands up. “So where are we gonna go to do my training?” Nico asks.

Kiseki looks to a large open field to the left of the stream.

“Over in that field.” Kiseki says as he points to the field. “However, we shall forage for a bit and then come back.”

Nico nods and slowly follows Kiseki into the forest.

*********************************

The sun is it’s two O’clock position when Nico and Kiseki arrive back at their camping spot. Kiseki quickly leads Nico to the field.

“Alright!” Kiseki says. “When you prepare to summon skeletons what do you usually do?”

Nico closes his eyes to think for a minute. “Well...,” Nico says. “I suppose I think about summoning the skeletons. I kind of imagine the skeletons coming up from the ground!”

“Start with that!” Kiseki says. “Try to imagine the skeletons with weapons!”

Nico closes his eyes. He thinks of skeletons coming up from the ground. He also says mentally to himself ‘skeletons with weapons’!

All of the sudden a small fissure opens up in the ground. Four skeletons emerge from the ground. Each skeleton holds a sword!

“Yes!” Nico says. I did it! Nico thinks.

“Well done!” Kiseki says. “Now comes the challenge. Command your skeletons to fight!”

“How should I do that?” Nico asks.

“Command them to do stuff first.” Kiseki says. “Why don’t you have them raise their swords? They will need their swords raised in order to fight!”

Nico turns to the skeletons. He closes his eyes. I hope just shouting commands will be enough! Nico thinks. Maybe I should also try to imagine the skeletons doing what I say!

“GET READY!” Nico shouts. As he does this he imagines the skeletons raising their swords and fighting one another. “RAISE YOUR SWORDS AND FIGHT!”

The skeletons do as Nico says. All of the skeletons raise their swords. They all start fighting one another!

Nico’s eyes widen. It worked! Nico thinks.

“Good!” Kiseki says. “Try running around the field like you are being chased! Command your skeletons to follow you! Command them to fight! Imagine that they are protecting you from your pursuers!”

Nico blinks a few times. He runs around the field and imagines himself being chased. As he does this he flashes back to when he was being chased by Riku and Karou.

“SKELETONS FOLLOW ME AND PROTECT ME!”   Nico yells . He imagines his skeletons protecting him from Riku and Karou. Nico inwardly groans. That should have happened when I actually needed my skeletons to do that!

However, Nico just blinks a few times. Oh, well! Nico thinks to himself. At least I got away from those maniacs! Now I have the chance to practice commanding my skeletons! That way I can defend myself should I ever run into anymore ‘bad ninja’.  

Nico narrows his eyes. Bad ninja’s like my grandfather! Nico thinks to himself. However, Nico again shakes his head. He concentrates again on commanding the skeletons!

Attack my pursuers! Nico thinks to himself. He makes sure to vividly imagine his skeletons defending him!

“ATTACK MY PURSUERS!” Nico yells.  

Nico briefly looks behind him. His skeletons are following him and attacking thin air! It is just as Nico is imagining it in his head!

Yes! Nico thinks to himself. My skeletons are doing exactly what I am telling them to do. They are also doing exactly as I imagine it in my head. This is incredible!

Nico grins to himself. “YOU ON THE LEFT SWING YOUR SWORD A LITTLE FASTER!” Nico yells. He vividly imagines a pursuer trying to escape from the skeletons to get at him, but a skeleton on the left swings it’s sword very fast to cut the pursuer off!

Nico looks behind him. The skeleton farthest to the left does exactly as Nico says! Nico then turns his attention to a skeleton on the right.

“YOU ON THE RIGHT, SWING YOUR SWORD HARDER!” Nico yells. Nico vividly visualizes a skeleton swinging really hard at a pursuer!

Nico looks behind him. The skeleton on the left swings its sword really hard!

“Great!” Kiseki says. He is watching from the tree line. “Your skeletons are doing exactly as you say!”

Nico stops running.

“STOP!” Nico says. The skeletons stop and stand in the field. Nico looks over to Kiseki.

“I’ve got that down!” Nico says. “What should I try next?”

Kiseki closes his eyes to think for a minute. He opens his eyes.

“Practice commanding your skeletons some more.” Kiseki says. “However, let me give you some advice!”

Nico looks at Kiseki. Advice? Nico thinks to himself.

“Imagine that you are on an actual battlefield!” Kiseki says. “The skeletons are under your control! It is basically like a general commanding an army!”

Nico narrows his eyes. He turns towards the skeletons. He imagines the skeletons marching forward.

“MARCH FORWARD!” Nico yells. The skeletons begin marching forward. Nico takes a deep breath.

“NOW RAISE YOUR SWORDS!” Nico shouts. He mentally visualizes the skeletons raising their swords. The skeletons raise their swords.

“Good!” Kiseki says. “Now remember, you are the commander! Act like a general! Command your skeletons like a general!”

Nico takes another deep breath. “TURN!” Nico shouts. He mentally visualizes the skeletons turning to face each other. The skeletons turn to face each other.

“NOW, ATTACK!” Nico shouts. He mentally visualizes the skeletons attacking each other. The skeletons begin to attack each other!

“Good!” Kiseki says. “Keep it up. Act like you are in a real battle!”

Nico narrows his eyes and shouts more commands to the skeletons.

Kiseki watches from the tree line. Nico is doing well! Kiseki thinks to himself. He is commanding those skeletons like a pro!

Kiseki blinks. He then looks up at the sky. The sun is almost in it’s three O’clock position. We should probably wrap this up by the time the sun is getting ready to set, Kiseki thinks to himself. We won’t bother hunting today! I want Nico to spend as much time as possible on his training as possible!

*****************************

The sun is in it’s five O’clock position when Kiseki tells Nico to stop commanding his skeletons. Nico yells at the skeletons to stop fighting and looks at Kiseki.

“It’s time we wrapped this up!” Kiseki says. “We still to make a fire for tonight. We won’t bother hunting today. We will eat the provisions in my pack.”

Nico nods. He is prepared to command the skeletons to go back into the ground when Kiseki stops him.

“Keep one of the skeletons out for a minute.” Kiseki says. He then points to a fallen tree. “Make one of your skeletons chop up that fallen tree a little bit. That shall be our firewood for tonight!”

Nico nods. “Alright!” Nico says. He focuses on one skeleton and commands it to walk up to the tree. The skeleton approaches the tree.

“SWING YOUR SWORD AND CHOP UP THAT TREE!” Nico yells. He mentally visualizes the skeleton chopping up the tree with it’s sword.

The skeleton swings the sword and hacks at the end of the tree. Pieces of wood fly off and land nearby.

After awhile Kiseki tells Nico to command the skeleton to stop.

“You can tell the skeleton to stop now.” Kiseki says. “We should have enough firewood.”

Nico nods and commands the skeleton to stop chopping up the tree! The skeleton stops. Nearly one-quarter of the fallen tree has been chopped up. Pieces of wood surround the fallen tree.

“ALRIGHT!” Nico shouts to the skeletons. “RECEDE! GO BACK INTO THE FISSURE!”

The skeletons all crawl back into the fissure. After a moment of consideration Nico mentally visualizes the fissure closing up. The fissure closes up!

“Good work!” Kiseki says. “Now, let’s gather up the wood.” Kiseki starts to walk towards the fallen tree.

Nico silently follows Kiseki and begins helping him gather up the chopped wood.

*******************************

The sun is just about to set over the horizon. Kiseki and Nico quickly get the wood set up in a compact pile.

“Alright!” Kiseki says. “We still have some time before the sun goes down.” Kiseki turns to Nico.

“Do some stretching and run a few laps.” Kiseki says. “Then as soon as the sun is completely set we will start our fire and eat.”

Nico nods. He quickly starts to stretch his limbs. He then takes off running across the field.

*******************************

The sun is completely set over the horizon when Kiseki tells Nico to stop running. Nico stops running and slowly walks back to the campsite. He quickly stops at the stream to get a quick drink. He then sits down and watches Kiseki use flint and metal to start the fire. Within minutes the pile of wood is a roaring fire.

Kiseki quickly grabs his pack and opens it up. He takes out some bread, dried meat, and apples. Kiseki turns to Nico and hands him some food.

“Thank you!” Nico says. Nico quickly devours the bread. He then slowly takes small bites of the dried meat. He carefully chews.

“I see no problem in you being able to summon and control your skeletons!” Kiseki says. “Your skeletons did everything that you told them to do!”

Nico smiles. “I actually visualized in my head what I wanted my skeletons to do!” Nico says. “My skeletons did exactly what I imagined in my head!”

Kiseki raises an eyebrow. “Oh, really!” Kiseki says. He smiles. “Well, it worked! Your skeletons obeyed your every command! That was some amazing work you did! You commanded your skeletons well!”  

Nico smiles. “Thank You!” Nico says. Nico takes another of his dried meat. He chews carefully. After a minute he swallows.

“Tomorrow, I thought that you could work on manipulating shadows.” Kiseki says.

Nico nods. He puts the last bite of dried meat in his mouth and begins chewing carefully again. However, as Nico chews he thinks back to his first attempt at shadow manipulation.

I concentrated really hard on a shadow and imagined it moving towards me! Nico thinks. The shadow ended up moving towards me just as I imagined it. However, I let my concentration slip. The shadow only made it halfway to me. Then it receded. I sure hope that I will be able to do even better tomorrow! Nico swallows the last bite of dried meat. He then grabs his apple and bites into it. He savors the sweetness.

“We shall have another early day tomorrow!” Kiseki says. “I also want to introduce you to taijutsu.”

Nico raises an eyebrow. Taijutsu? Nico thinks. What is taijutsu?

“What is taijutsu?” Nico asks.

“Physical combat, such as punches and kicks!” Kiseki says. “It is basically a lot like martial arts, just very intense!”

Nico’s eyes widen. Physical combat! Nico thinks.

“All ninja use taijutsu at some point in their lives!” Kiseki says. “It is useful in situations when the user is low on chakra. Taijutsu does not rely on chakra to be successful.”

“I suppose that makes sense.” Nico says. “Jarou told me that draining your chakra levels to zero results in death!”

“That is correct!” Kiseki says. “Chakra is part of a person’s life force!”

Nico then thinks of something. The other demigods at camp said that demigod powers are tied to the lifeforce as well. Nico thinks. If you use your demigod powers too much then you die!

“The demigods at camp said that using demigod powers too much can also result in death!” Nico says. “Demigod powers are tied to a person’s life force as well!”

Nico quickly looks at the ground. “When I summoned the skeletons to protect myself from Riku and Karou I did notice that my energy was drained a little bit!”

Kiseki raises an eyebrow. “It appears that you will need to be careful when you use your demigod powers!” Kiseki says. “If your demigod powers are connected to your lifeforce then they will also be connected to your chakra! When you are in a battle you may have to decide whether to use jutsu or your demigod powers!”

Kiseki then looks at the sky. “You will need to analyze the situation.” Kiseki says. “Look at your surroundings. Use your surroundings to your advantage. A skilled ninja always uses his or her’s surroundings to their advantage when in battle!”

Nico’s eyes widen. I did go into the forest to slow down the two maniacs when they were chasing me. Nico thinks. I did use the forest to my advantage!

Kiseki looks over at Nico. “You should also observe your opponent.” Kiseki says. “Try to find a weakness and use that to your advantage!”

Nico raise an eyebrow. Weakness? Nico thinks.

“Even the most powerful ninja have weaknesses.” Kiseki says. “Not all jutsu is created equal! Some types of jutsus are inferior to other types. Analyze what jutsu your opponent is using and make a decision on whether to use jutsu or your demigod powers!”

Nico looks down. I suppose that makes sense, Nico thinks to himself. When I need to defend myself I may need to decide what would be best to use: jutsu or my demigod powers. Kiseki is right, I will need to analyze what my opponent is doing!

Kiseki sighs. “However, you may not make the best decisions regarding a battle!” Kiseki says. “Certain powers may not work against a certain jutsu that your opponent is using! When that happens do what you can to escape the situation. Then, when you are safe, think about what went wrong. Think about your mistakes. When you do that you will think of ways to prevent yourself from making the same mistake twice. Learn from your mistakes!”

Nico closes his eyes. I suppose that makes sense. Nico thinks. I may make mistakes when I need to use my powers. I will have to learn from any mistakes that I make.

Nico frowns when he thinks of something else. “What if my mistakes get me captured?” Nico asks. “What do I do then?”

Kiseki sighs. “Then you will have to figure out a way to escape!” Kiseki says. “Then, when you escape you will think about your mistakes. The experience of getting captured will motivate you to learn from your mistakes even more.”

Nico closes his eyes. I sure hope that I can come up with good escape plans if I ever do get captured! Nico thinks to himself.

Kiseki closes his eyes. After a few minutes he opens them. Kiseki looks at Nico.

“Let me give you some advice.” Kiseki says. “These are things I have heard about the Sharingan! The Sharingan can copy other jutsu’s. The Sharingan also lets the user see chakra.”

Kiseki sighs. “However, the Sharingan is known for casting powerful genjutsu!” Kiseki says. “Genjutsu is basically jutsu that cast’s illusions. Genjutsu can actually put people to sleep!”

Nico’s eyes widen. “The Sharingan can put people to sleep?” Nico asks.

Kiseki nods. “The Sharingan is an ocular jutsu, which means you will have to avoid looking your grandfather in the eye if you ever encounter him again. I suspect the first thing he will try to do is put you to sleep so that you cannot escape!”

Nico blinks a few times. I may have to avoid looking my great-uncle in the eyes as well then. Nico thinks.

Kiseki looks up at the sky. “It’s getting late.” Kiseki says. “We should wrap things up and get to sleep.”

Nico slowly nods. He then looks down at his apple. The apple is starting to turn a little brown.

I better finish this! Nico thinks to himself. He takes another bite of the apple.

Nico quickly finishes off his apple. He throws the core away. He then walks over to the stream. He bends over and gets a quick drink. Nico then yawns. His eyes are starting to droop a little.

Man, Nico thinks. I am really tired!

Nico walks back over to the fire. He lays down a few feet away. He yawns again and closes his eyes. Within minutes he is asleep.

Nico sure does fall asleep easily! Kiseki thinks to himself. Kiseki gets up and goes to lay over by Nico. Kiseki looks at his and Nico’s surroundings, checking for any danger. Seeing none, Kiseki blinks a few times and sighs to himself. He lays down. Within minutes Kiseki is asleep as well.

***********************************

Jarou holds his hand over his special pool of water. Jarou watches as Kiseki and Nico sleep. Jarou sighs. He pulls his hand away which dissolves the image in the water.

“Nico’s control over the skeletons was very good!” Jarou says to himself. He smiles to himself.

As Jarou walks back to his cave he thinks of Nico and Kiseki.

Nico is getting better at using his powers, Jarou thinks to himself. That is good!

Jarou sighs. Kiseki has turned out to be a good teacher! Jarou thinks. Despite not being a ninja he is quite knowledgeable about certain things. Kiseki is also very wise for his age! I hope that Nico can learn a lot from Kiseki!

Jarou reaches his cave. He opens the door. He looks at the sky. He then takes a deep breath. Jarou slowly enters his dwelling and closes the door behind him.

*****************************************

…….dreamscape…..

Darkness surrounds Nico. He looks around.

Where am I? Nico thinks to himself. He looks around some more. Where is Kiseki? The last thing I remember is falling asleep!

It suddenly hits Nico. This is a dream! Nico thinks to himself.

All of the sudden The darkness dissipates and Nico realizes that he is in a room. He soon see’s an orange haired man with purple ringed eyes sitting on a sofa. The man also has many facial piercings. However, it is not the piercings that make Nico cringe. It is the fact that the man is wearing an Akatsuki cloak!

Why am I dreaming about an Akatsuki member? Nico thinks to himself. I haven’t even met that member!

Suddenly, it occurs to Nico. The demigods back at camp told me that demigods have prophetic dreams. Nico thinks. This dream must be trying to tell me something important!

Soon a woman with blue hair and amber eyes enters the room. She also wears an Akatsuki cloak. However, another person enters the room. It is a man wearing a plain white cloak. The man has brown hair and blue eyes. The man actually reminds Nico of Jarou a little bit.

“Pain,” the blue haired woman says to the orange haired man. “We have a visitor!”

So his name is Pain, Nico thinks to himself.

“A visitor, Konan?” Pain asks. The blue haired woman, Konan, nods.

So the woman’s name is Konan, Nico thinks to himself.

The brown haired man bows. “Hello, my name is Kiyoshi Kirai!” The brown haired man, Kiyoshi says.

Nico’s eyes widen. Kirai! Nico thinks. That means he is related to Jarou!

“Why have you come?” Pain asks. Kiyoshi.

Kiyoshi smirks. “I have come to tell you about a source of power that you can attain!” Kiyoshi says. “I will tell you all I know for 3000 ryo!”

“Power source?” Pain asks.

Kiyoshi smirks again. “Would you be interested in a demigod from another world?” Kiyoshi asks.

Nico goes pale. Oh, no! Nico thinks. Someone must have sold me out!

Nico is suddenly surrounded by darkness again. However, the darkness dissipates very quickly. Nico is now in a dark room. He spots a creepy looking man sitting in a throne like chair. The man has long black hair and yellow eyes. Nico soon see’s a man with gray hair and glasses standing a few feet away. A man with black hair and blue eyes stands next to the gray haired man. Nico suddenly sees a teenage boy standing close to the creepy looking man’s chair. The teenager has duck butt styled black hair and pale skin. However, Nico soon realizes that the teenager looks a lot like his grandfather, Itachi Uchiha! That’s when Nico notices the teenager’s Sharingan eyes!

He must be my great-uncle, Sasuke! Nico thinks.

Nico then looks back at the black haired, blue eyed man. The man actually looks kind of like the man who sold him out to the Akatsuki, just with a different hair color!

Nico then gasps. The pieces suddenly fall into place!

That man must be from Jarou’s clan as well! Nico thinks. He is going to sell me out to Orochimaru and my great-uncle!

Nico looks over to the creepy man in the chair. He must be Orochimaru! Nico thinks. Man, he sure does look creepy! 

The gray haired man’s eyes are narrowed. “So, if Itachi’s daughter is dead then how does he have an heir?” The gray haired man asks.

Nico freezes. Oh, no! Nico thinks. I was right!

Nico watches as the black haired and blue eyed man smirks. The smirk makes Nico feel sick to his stomach.

“Itachi Uchiha….has a grandson!” The black haired man says.

Nico blinks a few times. He then looks over at his great-uncle. His great-uncle’s eyes are wide and his sharingan is glowing brightly.

By the way great-uncle’s eyes are glowing I would have to say that he is not very happy! Nico thinks.  

Darkness surrounds Nico again. Nico then arrives in a forest. Pulverized boulders are scattered everywhere!

Nico’s eyes widen. What happened here? Nico thinks. He then sees his great-uncle. Lightning is coming out of his great-uncle’s hand! His great-uncle then thrusts his hand into a boulder. The boulder breaks into a million pieces!

Nico’s eyes widen. Nico is certain that if he was actually witnessing this in real life, his heart would be racing!

His great-uncle drops to his knees and lets out a yell of absolute rage!

“THAT BASTARD!” Nico’s great-uncle yells. “HE DOESN’T DESERVE AN HEIR! NOT AFTER WHAT HE DID!”

Nico’s eyes widen even more. He wants to run and hide! However, his feet hold him in place.

………..end of dream………..

“NICO! NICO WAKE UP!” Kiseki says. Nico is tossing and turning. All of the sudden Nico opens his eyes. He breathes heavily.

“What is wrong?” Kiseki asks. “You kicked me! I woke up and you were thrashing around!”

Nico’s eyes widen. “I was?” Nico asks.

“Yes!” Kiseki says. Nico looks away. Nico suddenly remembers that he had told Kiseki about his time at camp and that he had mentioned ‘demigod dreams’.

“Remember when I told about how demigods can have prophetic dreams?” Nico asks.

Kiseki’s eyes widen. “Yes!” Kiseki says. “Were you having a dream?”

Nico nods. He closes his eyes. “A MEMBER OF JAROU’S CLAN SOLD ME OUT TO THE AKATSUKI!” Nico cries. “ANOTHER SOLD ME OUT TO OROCHIMARU AND MY GREAT-UNCLE!”

Kiseki’s eyes widen. “Tell me all about it!” Kiseki says.

***********************************

It takes ten minutes for Nico to explain his entire dream to Kiseki. When Nico is all done Kiseki just sits there. Kiseki frowns.

“Well,” Kiseki says. “This is not good!”

“I know.” Nico mumbles. He holds his head down.

Kiseki closes his eyes for a minute. When Kiseki opens his eyes he looks at the sky. The sun is just starting to rise over the horizon.

“This is even more reason to continue your training like we have been doing!” Kiseki says. “However, I think that we should try to quicken the pace. You need to learn very quickly!”

Nico nods. He slowly stands up. He then goes over to the stream top get a drink. As he drinks he thinks back to something.

When my great-uncle was ranting he said ‘that bastard!’ Nico thinks. He must have been referring to my grandfather. Makes sense since my great-uncle hates my grandfather!

Nico then frowns. My great-uncle also said ‘he doesn’t deserve an heir’! Nico thinks. My great-uncle had to be referring to me!

Nico closes his eyes. After a few minutes he opens his eyes. His eyes instantly widen.

My great-uncle was actually referring to me as my grandfather’s ‘heir’! Nico thinks. He then frowns. Nico knows what ‘heir’ means. My great-uncle made it sound like I am destined to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps and become evil!

Nico looks at his reflection in the water. A frog suddenly jumps into the water, distorting Nico’s reflection. However, as Nico’s reflection slowly becomes undistorted he soon realizes that the reflection in the water isn’t his face but his grandfather’s!

Nico blinks and shakes his head. He looks back down at the water. His grandfather’s face has disappeared. It is Nico’s face in the water again. Nico closes his eyes. However, when he opens them he has a determined look on his face.

No! Nico thinks. I will not be my grandfather’s heir! I will not be a little brat that he can ‘groom’ to be evil like him!

Nico stands up. He looks at Kiseki. “Let’s get going.” Nico says. “I want to get started on my training as soon as possible.”

Nico quickly walks past Kiseki. Kiseki sighs.

Well, at least Nico seems more determined than ever to train! Kiseki thinks. He then frowns. I just hope that he can focus today.  

Chapter Text

Nico and Kiseki arrive at the field where Nico had trained yesterday. The two of them had fish for breakfast again. Now it is time for Nico to begin the days training!

Kiseki looks up at the sky. The sun is in its eight O’clock position. Kiseki then turns to Nico.

“Alright!” Kiseki says. “We shall begin with Taijutsu!”

Nico nods. Kiseki looks at their surroundings.

“I shall show you the moves!” Kiseki says. “Then I want you to try them out!”

Nico nods again. I wonder what kind of moves he is talking about! Nico thinks to himself.

“Taijutsu consists of kicks and punches!” Kiseki says. “First test them out by pretending that you are in a real fight.”

Kiseki then raises his hands. He makes punching motions with his hands. He then turns to Nico.

“Now you try!” Kiseki says. “Practicing the moves like this gets your muscles used to the movement.”

“...Alright….” Nico says. He copies Kiseki and lifts his hands. He makes punching motions with his hands.

“Good!” Kiseki says. “Keep doing that for a few minutes! Then try to speed up your punches! When you are in a real fight you will need to punch hard and fast!”  

Nico nods. He continues with the punching motions for a few more minutes. He then slowly begins to speed it up.

“Great!” Kiseki says. “Keep it up for a few minutes! Then we will move on to the next move!”

After a few minutes Nico is done with his rapid punching motions.

“Now,” Kiseki says. “Practice trying to do an underhand punch!” Kiseki says.

Kiseki lowers his arms to his sides. Then he lifts each one like he is punching someone under the chin!

“Same as the last move!” Kiseki says. “Practice doing this motion for a few minutes! Then try to speed it up!”

Nico lowers his arms to his sides. He then starts making underhand punching motions. After a few minutes he speeds up the motions.

“Now try to do side punches!” Kiseki says. Kiseki moves his arms like he is punching at someone coming at him from the side.

Nico begins doing side punches. After a few minutes he speeds it up.

This is easy! Nico thinks to himself. He grins.

“Alright!” Kiseki says. “You have the punches down! Now let’s move onto kicks!”

Nico nods. Kiseki slowly begins moving his legs like his kicking someone!

Nico blinks and copies Kiseki’s movement.

“Good!” Kiseki says. “Now speed it up!”

Nico nods. He speeds up the kicking movements.

“Great!” Kiseki says. “Try to do side kicks!”

Kiseki balances himself on his left leg. He moves his right leg like he is kicking someone on his right side.  

Nico carefully balances himself on his left leg. He quickly moves his right leg like he is kicking someone.

“Good!” Kiseki says. “Now try it with your left leg!”

Nico then balances himself on his right leg. He makes kicking motions with his left leg.

“Great!” Kiseki says. “Try to speed up your kicks!”

Nico nods. He speeds up his kicks.

“Very Good!” Kiseki says. “Now we shall move onto the most difficult kick to master!”

Nico stops his kicking motions and straightens himself. Most difficult kick to master? Nico thinks to himself.

Kiseki moves his body like he is going to get down on his knees. However, he lifts up one leg and moves it up like he is kicking someone above him. He moves his other leg slightly as he does this. However, Kiseki manages to straighten himself before he can fall.

Nico’s eyes are wide in amazement. Wow! Nico thinks. I have never seen anyone do that before!

Kiseki straightens himself and stands back on his feet. He looks at Nico.

“This kick requires very good balance!” Kiseki says. “Almost everyone who tries to learn this kick falls down on their first try! If you fall over don’t be discouraged! Just get back up and try again!”

Nico closes his eyes. Here goes nothing! Nico thinks to himself.

Nico gets into the same position that Kiseki had shown him. Nico slowly lifts his left leg and moves it up swiftly like he is kicking someone. His right leg moves slightly as well. However, Nico does not fall over!

I didn’t fall over! Nico thinks to himself. He looks over at Kiseki. Kiseki’s eyes are wide.

“You did not even fall over!” Kiseki says. “That is amazing!”

“I can’t believe it either!” Nico says.

Kiseki blinks a few times. “Now try it with your other leg!”

Nico nods. He quickly tries out the kick with his other leg. He does not not fall over!

“Excellent!” Kiseki says. Kiseki then looks up at the sky. The sun is halfway past the eight O’clock position. He then looks at Nico.

“Alright!” Kiseki says. “Summon a skeleton! Have it fight you! That way you can practice being in an actual fight!”

Nico nods. He thinks of summoning a skeleton. A fissure opens up within the earth. The skeleton rises from the fissure.

“Try to think of it attacking you!” Kiseki says. “Then try to use an appropriate punch or kick to block the attacks! Once you block the attacks you can try to land a hit!”

Nico closes his eyes. Here goes nothing! Nico thinks to himself. Nico opens his eyes. He thinks of the skeleton coming at him and trying to punch him.

“COME AT ME AND TRY TO PUNCH ME!” Nico commands the skeleton.

The skeleton runs at Nico and attempts to punch him. Nico blocks it with a kick. Nico then quickly punches the skeleton in the face! The skeletons face cracks.

“Good!” Kiseki says. “Now try to have it kick you! Block that as well and try to land a hit!”

Nico then thinks of the skeleton trying to kick him.

“COME AT ME AND TRY TO KICK ME!” Nico commands the skeleton.

The skeleton tries to kick Nico. Nico blocks the skeleton’s kick with a kick of his own. Nico swiftly kicks the skeleton. The skeleton breaks in half and falls to the ground!

Nico’s eyes widen. Oops! Nico thinks. Didn’t mean to break my skeleton in half!

“Well...that was unexpected!” Kiseki says. “Try to imagine the skeleton reforming! If that doesn’t work then just summon another skeleton!”

Nico nods. He thinks of the skeleton reforming. The skeleton reforms and stands back up, whole again!

Yes! Nico thinks. The skeleton reformed!

“Good!” Kiseki says. “Now try to think of the skeleton trying to jump on you! That is where the upper kick comes in handy!”

Nico nods. He then thinks of the skeleton jumping forward and trying to grab him.

“COME AT ME AND TRY TO JUMP ON ME!” Nico commands the skeleton.

The skeleton jumps up in the air. The skeleton lurches itself forward with it’s arms outstretched, ready to grab Nico! Nico takes a breath. He then lifts his left leg and kicks the skeleton. The skeleton falls to the ground and breaks into a million pieces! Nico then straighten himself. He then imagines the skeleton reforming. The skeleton reforms.

“Very good!” Kiseki says. “Now try to imagine the skeleton trying to hit you with a bunch of attacks very quickly! Use a combination of blocks and dodging to avoid getting hit! Whenever possible look for an opportunity to land a hit of your own!”

Nico nods. He then imagines the skeleton trying to hit him with a bunch of attacks very quickly.

“ATTACK ME!” Nico commands the skeleton. The skeleton lurches itself forward. It makes rapid punching motions. Nico takes a deep breath. He swiftly dodges every punch! He then lands a swift kick to the skeletons chest. The skeleton stumbles back for a minute before it resumes attacking Nico. Nico swiftly dodges every kick and punch. Then Nico blocks a punch. He uses this opportunity to punch the skeleton in the face. The skeletons face breaks, leaving a hole in the skull, where the left cheek is. The skeleton attempts to jump on Nico. Nico uses an upper kick and sends the skeleton flying back into a tree! The skeleton breaks into a million pieces. Nico straightens himself and looks at Kiseki. Kiseki’s eyes are wide!

“Incredible!” Kiseki says. “You didn’t even get hit once!”

Kiseki looks at the sky. The sun is almost in it’s nine O’clock position. Kiseki looks at Nico.

“Why don’t we start on manipulation of shadows!” Kiseki says.

Nico nods. He makes the skeleton reform and crawl back into the fissure. Nico claps his hands together. The fissure closes.

“Alright,” Kiseki says. “What do remember doing when you first manipulated the shadows?”

Nico blinks a few times. “Well, I imagined the shadows moving towards me and then they did exactly that!”

“Alright!” Kiseki says. “Start with that!”

Nico looks towards a shadow being cast by a nearby tree. He slowly imagines the shadow moving towards him. Slowly but surely, the shadow starts creeping forward.

Yes! Nico thinks. I made the shadow move! However, it seems to be moving very slow. Maybe I should imagine it moving faster?

Nico then imagines the shadow moving a little bit faster. The shadow’s pace picks up and soon it is right at Nico’s feet!

“Very good!” Kiseki says. “Now try to imagine the shadow moving in certain ways! Have it move to the left and see what happens!”

“Alright!” Nico says. He then imagines the shadow moving to the left. The shadow moves to the left! Nico then imagines the shadow moving to the right. The shadow moves to the right!

“Good!” Kiseki says. “Now try to make a bunch of shadows move at the same time!”

Nico blinks. He then imagines the shadows of all the nearby trees moving towards him and Kiseki. The shadows of all the nearby trees start moving towards Nico and Kiseki!

“Alright!” Kiseki says. “Try to manipulate the shadows so that they make a shield around you!”

Nico blinks a few times. He imagines the shadows surrounding him like a shield. The shadows quickly surround Nico. All that Nico can see now is darkness!

It worked! Nico thinks to himself. He then imagines the shadows receding. The shadows slowly recede. Nico can see daylight again. He looks over to Kiseki. Kiseki is grinning.

“Well done!” Kiseki says. “I think that you have ‘shadow manipulation’ down now!”

Nico then imagines the shadows moving back into their proper places. All of the shadows move back towards the trees, back into their proper places.

Kiseki looks at the sky. The sun is just past the nine O’clock position. Kiseki looks at Nico.

“You are progressing faster than I thought that you would!” Kiseki says. “You already have taijutsu and ‘shadow manipulation’ down and it isn’t even noon yet!”

Kiseki closes his eyes for a minute. He then opens his eyes.

“We shall take a quick break!” Kiseki says. “Then we shall work on your chakra control some more!”

Nico nods. Kiseki motions for Nico to follow him. Nico slowly follows Kiseki towards the stream.

**************************

The sun is halfway past the nine O’clock position when Nico and kiseki arrive at the stream. Nico quickly bends over and scoops up some water with his hands. He then gulps down the water. Nico then scoops up more water. He gulps down the second scoopful of water down just as quickly as the first one.

I was really thirsty! Nico thinks to himself. He then quickly goes behind some trees and bushes to relieve himself. After a few minutes he emerges. Nico then rinses his hands with some water a little further downstream.

Kiseki sits down. Nico gets done rinsing his hands. Nico then sits down a few feet way. Nico gets ready to start his chakra control session when Kiseki speaks to him.

“Nico....,” Kiseki says. “After your chakra control session I want to see if you are capable of hunting by yourself!”

Nico narrows his eyes. “You mean that I will catch something without your help?” Nico asks.

Kiseki nods. “That is the true test as to whether you will be able to make it on your own!” Kiseki says. “The two of us will eventually have to part ways!”

Nico’s eyes widen. He had never thought of leaving Kiseki until now!

“I am slow when I travel.” Kiseki says. “Due to your situation you have to be fast while on the road! It’s not in your best interest for us to stay together!”

Nico’s eyes become downcast. He gets a sad look on his face. Kiseki is right, Nico thinks. Jarou told me to stay on the road. I have to be fast while I travel. However, it’s sad to think that Kiseki and I can’t stay together forever. I have really grown to like him!

Kiseki sighs. “I just want to make sure that you are ready to survive on your own.” Kiseki says.

Nico closes his eyes. I hope that I am ready to survive on my own, Nico thinks to himself. Just thinking of being without Kiseki to help me scares me a little bit!

However, Nico blinks a few times to get the thoughts of doubt out of his mind. I can’t think about that right now! Nico thinks to himself. I am sure that I will be able to survive on my own. Kiseki has taught me a lot!

Nico closes his eyes again. He makes the hand sign for chakra control again and begins controlling his chakra.

************************************

The sun is in it’s noon position when Kiseki tells Nico to finish up his chakra control session. Nico opens his eyes. He looks at Kiseki.

“It is time we begin looking for something to hunt!” Kiseki says. Kiseki stands up.

Nico nods. He quickly stands up as well. Kiseki quickly looks around.

“We should go into the forest!” Kiseki says. “That is the most likely place to find animals!”

Nico nods. He slowly follows Kiseki into the forest.

***************************

The sun is in its two O’clock position when Nico and Kiseki find a flock of large birds. They look exactly like the birds Kiseki had hunted a few days ago! Kiseki looks quickly to Nico. Kiseki quietly hands Nico a small wooden dart.

Nico carefully holds the little wooden dart in his hand. He looks at the birds.

I wonder how you single a bird out to throw the dart at, Nico thinks to himself. What do you need to look for?

Nico closes his eyes for a few seconds. When he opens them he starts scanning the flock.

Which is the closest? Nico thinks to himself. His eyes scan the flock. He eyes a few birds that are just a few feet away from his and Kiseki’s hiding spot.

Kiseki aimed for the neck when he hunted that one day, Nico thinks. He eyes the three closest birds again. There is one bird whose neck seems to in good range.

Nico looks down at the wooden dart again. He closes his eyes for a few seconds. Nico opens his eyes and gets a look of determination on his face. He carefully holds the wooden dart in his fingers. He slowly lifts his arm aiming the wooden dart at the neck of the bird he has chosen.

Here goes nothing! Nico thinks. He swiftly and forcefully throws the wooden dart at the bird. The wooden dart hits the bird right in the neck! The bird lets out a shriek and falls over. Startled, the other birds fly away.

Nico blinks a few times. He got a bird on his first try!

“Amazing!” Kiseki says. He nods at Nico to go pick up his prize. Nico quickly walks over to pick up the bird. Nico removes the wooden dart from the birds neck. Nico carefully lifts the bird up by its feet. Kiseki walks over.

“Let us gather wood and start a fire.” Kiseki says. “When you are on your own you will need to hide your catch from other wild animals while you gather firewood! There are many places that you can hide your catch. You just have to look at your surroundings and see what options are available!”

Nico looks around. He soon spots a tree that has a hole in it. Nico walks up to it. He looks inside. The space seems big enough to hold the dead bird. Nico carefully places his catch in the hole.

“Excellent!” Kiseki says. “Most wild animals won’t be able to get your catch there! You will just have to remember where you put your catch, that way you can find it afterwards!”

Nico looks at Kiseki. “How much firewood should I gather?” Nico asks.

“Try to gather as much as you think you will need!” Kiseki says. “However, I would go find a camping spot first! That way you can just put all of the wood you gather into one spot! If you have to keep setting down armfuls of firewood to gather more you may lose track of where you put your firewood!”

Nico nods. “What if I have trouble finding firewood?” Nico asks.

“If nothing else, just summon a skeleton and have it chop down a tree for you!” Kiseki says.

Nico nods. “At least my skeletons can be even more useful to me!” Nico says.

Kiseki then narrows his eyes. He closes his eyes to think about something. He then opens them.

“I actually think that you should take your catch with you to find a camping spot!” Kiseki says. “That way you can hide it near your camping spot! Less backtracking you will have to do in order to find it!”

Nico’s eyes widen. “I suppose that makes sense!” Nico says. “Who knows how long it will take me to find a camping spot? By then I may even forget where I put my catch!”

Kiseki nods. “That’s exactly what I thought!”

Nico quickly walks back up to the tree where he hid his catch. Nico reaches into the hole and grabs the bird. He then sets out to find a camping spot. Kiseki follows him.

**************************

The sun is in its three O’clock position when Nico finds a suitable camping spot. The camping spot is in a small clearing next to a stream. There is also another bonus. There is an apple tree nearby! Nico even finds a tree with a hole in it. He sets the bird within the hole.

“Excellent!” Kiseki says. “You picked a good camping spot! There is a source of water nearby and there is even a fruit tree! You also found a great place to hide your catch! Now, all you need is some firewood!”

Nico quickly begins gathering any twigs and fallen branches that he finds on the ground. Once Nico has gathered an armful of twigs and branches he sets them all down in a spot within the clearing. Nico looks at the pile and frowns.

“I think that I need more!” Nico says. He then looks at the forest. He quickly walks into the forest and begins gathering more twigs and branches.

**************************

The sun is halfway past the three O’clock position when Nico finally gathers enough firewood. He quickly sets about the task of arranging the wood in a circle. He keeps a small pile of wood set out to the side. That way Nico can add more firewood to the fire if needed. Nico also keeps out  two thick sticks with Y-shaped ends and one long stick. The long stick will be the spit for the bird and the two sticks with Y-shaped ends will hold the spit above the fire. Kiseki watches a few feet away. He nods in satisfaction.

“You are doing good!” Kiseki says. “Now you need to use a flint and metal to get the fire started!”

Nico grabs his jacket. Nico quickly unzips his special pocket and takes out the flint and metal that Jarou had given him. Nico then quickly pushes the two Y-ended sticks in the ground on each side of the circle for the fire. He then tests out the long stick by setting it carefully in each Y-end. The Stick doesn’t quite fit right so Nico adjusts the Y-ended sticks by taking them back out of the ground and moving them. After a few minutes Nico finally gets the placement just right. Nico then goes over to the tree with the hole and grabs the bird. Nico walks back over to where the firewood is and sets the bird down next to him. Nico grabs the flint and metal. Nico starts rubbing the two objects together. Sparks fly onto the wood. Within minutes Nico has a roaring fire. Nico then begins plucking the feathers off of the bird. Kiseki nods in satisfaction.

“Good idea to pluck the bird while the fire dies down just enough to where you can put it on the spit and then set it over the fire!” Kiseki says. “If you were to try and set it over the fire now it would literally be in the fire, because the fire is so big! The bird would catch fire and burn!”

“That exactly what I thought!” Nico says. He continues to pluck the bird. Once the bird is completely plucked Nico sticks the spit through it. Nico then carefully sets the spit with the bird over the fire. Kiseki smiles.

“You will have to turn it every once in a while!” Kiseki says.

Kiseki looks up at the sky. The sun is almost in its four O’clock position. Kiseki looks at Nico.

“I would say that the meat should be done by the time the sun is half past the five O’clock position!” Kiseki says.

Nico nods. “What should I do until then?” Nico asks.

“There is not much you can do!” Kiseki says. “You have to stay nearby to keep an eye on the meat!”

Kiseki looks around. He suddenly gets an idea.

“There are a bunch of shadows being cast by trees!” Kiseki says. “You could practice shadow manipulation some more!”

Nico shrugs. “Sounds good to me!” Nico says.

Nico focuses on a shadow of a tree nearby. The shadow starts moving towards him. Nico imagines the shadow forming a narrow line. The shadow forms a long thin line. Nico then imagines the long thin line moving around the trees like a snake.  The long thin line starts slithering around the trees like a snake.

Nico grins. The shadow did just as I imagined it! Nico thinks to himself. I wonder what else I can make the shadow do?

Nico starts thinking of other things he can make the shadow do. When he gets an idea he quickly tests it out.  

**************************************

The sun is half past the five O’clock position when Kiseki says the bird should be done cooking. Kiseki hands Nico a fork for him to test the meat. Nico sticks the fork into the meat. The juice from the meat runs clear!

“It is done!” Kiseki says. He quickly grabs a plate from his pack. Nico carefully lifts the spit and sets the cooked bird on the plate to let it cool down.

“When you are on your own you won’t need to catch as big a bird.” Kiseki says. “If you catch a small bird or animal you will be able to eat it directly off of the spit!”

Kiseki grabs one of his wooden darts. “You can actually make a sharpened stick, a lot like this, in order to test the meat while it’s cooking.” Kiseki says. “You will have to make sure that the stick is longer than this.”

Kiseki looks closely at the wooden dart. “I would say about twice as long as this!” Kiseki says. Kiseki puts the wooden dart back into his pack.

After a few more minutes Kiseki and Nico dig into the roasted bird.

“Tomorrow we shall test out your foraging skills!” Kiseki says. “However, I am certain that you will be able to survive on your own!”

Nico suddenly becomes sad again at the thought of leaving Kiseki. However, Nico forces the sadness from his mind. Kiseki is right, Nico thinks to himself. Going our separate ways is probably the best thing for me. I will move faster if I am by myself!

Nico and Kiseki continue to eat the roasted bird.

*****************************

The moon is high in the sky when Nico and Kiseki are ready to retire for the night. A pile of bones is all that remains of the bird. Nico and Kiseki even treated themselves to some apples after they finished eating the bird. Four apple cores lay near the pile of bones.

Nico gets a drink from the stream. He lets out a loud yawn. He slowly walks back towards the fire. Kiseki tosses a few more sticks into the fire. He looks over to Nico.

“I suppose that the two of us should get to sleep!” Kiseki says. “It shall be another early day!”

Nico nods. He yawns again. Man, Nico thinks. I am so tired!

Nico slowly walks over to a spot on the ground, close to the fire. Nico lays down. He closes his eyes. Within minutes Nico is sound asleep.

Kiseki chuckles lightly. It is amazing at how fast this kid can go to sleep! Kiseki thinks to himself. Seems like the minute Nico lays down and closes his eyes he is out cold!

Kiseki stands up and slowly walks over to Nico’s sleeping spot. Kiseki lays down close to Nico’s sleeping form. Kiseki quickly looks at his and Nico’s surroundings checking for any danger. Seeing no danger Kiseki blinks a few times and lays his head down. He slowly closes his eyes. A half hour later Kiseki is sound asleep.

*****************************

Jarou watches Nico and Kiseki sleep through his special jutsu. Jarou lets out a sigh. He retracts his hand from the pool of water. The image in the water disappears.

Nico sure is a very fast learner! Jarou thinks to himself. He nailed taijutsu down very quickly!

Jarou sighs when he thinks back to all of Nico’s achievements. Nico also caught onto chakra control very quickly as well! Jarou thinks to himself. Nico’s speed is also incredible! Nico’s mastery with summoning of skeletons and shadow manipulation was also amazing! Within a day Nico was able to command his skeletons like a pro! Nico also learned how to create a shield around himself using shadows!

Jarou sighs again. With the way Nico seems to be mastering skills, I truly believe that he could learn even more complicated jutsus very quickly! Jarou thinks. Jarou looks up at the sky. Jarou closes his eyes.

Who knows, Jarou thinks. Maybe Nico has the potential to be a prodigy, just like Itachi Uchiha!

Jarou then frowns when he thinks of something. That is if the boy can survive the challenges ahead! Jarou thinks. Kiseki has been a good teacher. It is sad to think that Kiseki and Nico will have to go their separate ways eventually. However, that may be the best thing for both of them! Kiseki even said himself that he ,’does not move very fast when travelling’! Nico needs to keep on the move to avoid getting caught by the Akatsuki or Orochimaru! If Nico and Kiseki stayed together and they ended up encountering the Akatsuki or Orochimaru I am sure that Kiseki would not willingly hand Nico over! However, Kiseki would certainly be killed if he tried to defend Nico!

Jarou opens his eyes. I just hope that when the time does eventually come Nico is truly ready to survive on his own! Jarou thinks.

Jarou gets ready to head back to his cave when a sudden noise startles him. Jarou quickly looks around.

“Who’s there?” Jarou asks. “Show yourself!”

Jarou is met with complete silence. Jarou narrows his eyes and looks at his surroundings. However, he sees no one. Jarou sighs. Jarou then starts walking towards his cave.

Once Jarou has completely left the clearing a figure emerges from behind a cluster of trees. It is Hiro Kirai, Jarous relative! Hiro is the one who betrayed Nico to Orochimaru and Sasuke!

Hiro narrows his eyes as he stares down the path that Jarou used to leave the clearing. Slowly Hiro walks into the forest, his form disappearing into the darkness.

Chapter Text

The moon glows brightly in the sky above the Hidden Leaf Village. In the Hokage’s office a blonde haired and brown eyed woman sits at a desk. The woman bears a purple diamond shaped mark on her forehead. The woman wears a light grey blouse with a dark grey colored wrap around it. The woman also wears dark grey pants. The woman wears a green haori over the blouse.

The woman sighs deeply. The woman is going through a pile of paperwork in front of her. The woman carefully reads each paper and signs it. Within a few minutes she signs the last paper in the pile in front of her. She sighs and leans back in her chair.

“Thank goodness...I am finally finished!” The woman says. She then grins.

“I know what I am going to do!” The woman says to herself. “I shall reward myself with some sake!”

However, the door to the office opens. A young woman walks into the office. The young woman has black hair and onyx eyes. The young woman wears a bluish-black kimono with a white sash. The woman carries a stack of more paperwork. A small pink pig wearing a red vest walks next to her.

“Hold on, Lady Tsunade!” The black haired woman says. “I have more paperwork for you!”

“Oink.” The pig says.

The blonde haired woman, Tsunade, jumps out of her chair. Her eyes are as wide as saucers. However, after a few seconds she blinks and sits back down. She then sighs and puts her head in her hands. The black haired woman sets the pile of paperwork down in front of Tsunade.

“The paperwork is never ending.” Tsunade says. “All I want is just a few minutes to enjoy myself.”

Tsunade blinks and sighs. “I have been in need of some sake lately!”

The black haired woman frowns. “Lady Tsunade, we have been over this discussion before.” The black haired woman says. “You cannot drink sake and sign paperwork at the same time! Remember when you accidentally assigned a genin team to an S-Rank mission?!”

“I know Shizune.” Tsunade says. “It’s just lately I have had a bad feeling. Like something bad is going to happen.”

The black haired woman, Shizune, raises an eyebrow. “A bad feeling...Lady Tsunade I don’t understand what you are getting at.”

Tsunade sighs. She reaches down and puts her hand into a pocket in her haori. She takes out two pieces of paper. “These are the last two drawings for the lottery.” Tsunade says. “Look at them.”

Shizune carefully takes the pieces of paper from Tsunade. Shizune scans each piece of paper carefully. Within seconds Shizune’s eyes widen and she lets out a loud gasp.

“AIYEE!” Shizune squeals. “YOU WON THE LOTTERY TWO TIMES IN A ROW!”

“I KNOW!” Tsunade yells. “SINCE WHEN AM I THAT LUCKY!”

Shizune sweat drops. “How long have you been worrying over this?” Shizune asks.

Tsunade sighs. “Just over a week.” Tsunade says.

Shizune just stands there and watches as Tsunade sighs and leans back in her chair. Tsunade rubs her temples to dispel the growing headache.

***********************************

A teenage boy with spiky blond hair sits by a campfire. The boy wears an orange and black jumpsuit. The boy wears a Konoha headband made with black cloth. The boy is eating a rice ball. All of the sudden a noise catches his attention. The boy looks to his left. A teenage girl with bubblegum pink hair and green eyes approaches the campsite. The girl wears a red top with a white apron skirt. Underneath the apron shirt are black shorts. The girls also wears black boots. The girls red Konoha headband rests on top of her head. The girl carries a basket in one hand. A teenage boy with black hair and black eyes follows closely behind the girl. The black haired boy wears all black clothing.

“Oh,” The blond haired boy says. “Hi Sakura! Hi Sai! What are you two doing here?”

The girl, Sakura, sets the basket down in front of the blond haired boy.

“I thought that I would bring some more food by.” Sakura says. “I didn’t know how much food the three of you had. You can’t train on an empty stomach!”

Sakura looks over to the right. Two men sit by a tree. One of the men has spiky silvery-gray hair and wears a mask which covers most of his face. The man also wears a jonin outfit. The man wears a Konoha headband made with blue cloth. The second man is also wearing a jonin outfit. However, the second man has brown hair and black eyes. The second man also wears a Konoha headband made with blue cloth. Sakura takes a few bento boxes out of the basket. She hands one to the blond haired boy.

“Naruto!” Sakura says as she hold out a bento box to the blond haired boy. The blond haired boy eagerly accepts the bento box.

“Thanks Sakura!” The blond haired boy, Naruto, says. Sakura then walks over to the two men with the remaining bento boxes.

“Kakashi Sensei!” Sakura says as she holds out a bento box to the silver haired man.

The silver haired man, Kakashi, graciously accepts the bento box. “Thank you!” Kakashi says.

“Captain Yamato!” Sakura says as she hold out the last bento box to the brown haired man.

The brown haired man, Yamato, graciously accepts the bento box. “Thank you!” Yamato says.

Naruto, Kakashi, and Yamato open up their bento boxes and begin digging in. However, Sakura notices that Kakashi’s visible eye seems to be narrowed a little, like he is thinking about something. Even though Kakashi’s face is covered by his mask, Sakura can tell that his lips are tight.

“Kakashi Sensei, is anything the matter?” Sakura asks. “You seem to be worried about something!”

Kakashi sighs. “Lately, I have had this weird feeling.” Kakashi admits. “I feel like something is going to happen!”

Yamato’s eyes widen. He then sighs. “Actually Kakashi, I have had a weird feeling as well.” Yamato says. “Lately, I feel like something is going to happen!”

Kakashi’s visible eye widens. “You as well?” Kakashi asks.

Naruto then looks down. “I have actually had a weird feeling lately too!” Naruto says. “I feel like something big is going to happen!”

Sakura then looks down. “I have had a weird feeling as well.” Sakura says. “It’s just... I have been so busy I haven’t had time to think about it much!”

The black haired teenage boy, Sai, blinks a few times. “I have had a weird feeling as well.” Sai says. “I just don’t know whether it is a good feeling or a bad feeling!”

Kakashi sighs. “Since we have all had a weird feeling as of late it must mean something is going to happen!” Kakashi says.

Sakura sighs. “I just hope that it is nothing bad!” Sakura says.

*****************************

A teenage boy with black hair tied back into a pineapple shaped ponytail sits in a garden. The boy wears simple ninjas attire. The boy’s black Konoha headband is tied around his left arm like an armband. The boy is staring up at the stars with dark eyes. He narrows his eyes. After a few minutes the boy closes his eyes. He then shakes his head. A voice then catches his attention. The boy looks to his left. An older man who looks just like the boy, except the man has scars on his face, is standing on the veranda of a house. The man wears simple dark colored clothing.

“Shikamaru.” The man says. “You are staring up at the stars again! Is everything alright?”

The boy, Shikamaru, sighs as he stands up. Shikamaru walks over to the veranda and sits down. The man quickly approaches.

“I have had a strange feeling lately, dad!” Shikamaru says. “I almost feel like something is going to happen!”

The man, Shikamaru’s father, sits down next to Shikamaru. Shikamaru’s father sighs.

“I have actually had a strange feeling lately as well.” Shikamaru’s father says, admittingly. “I often get the feeling that something is going to happen as well!”

Shikamaru’s eyes widen. “You have had a strange feeling as well?” Shikamaru asks his father.

Shikamaru’s father nods his head. All of the sudden a feminine voice shouts from inside the house.

“SHIKAKU!” The feminine voice yells. “I NEED SOME HELP IN HERE! THE SINK WON'T DRAIN! I NEED YOU TO FIX IT!”

Shikamaru’s father, Shikaku, groans. “Troublesome woman...troublesome sink.” Shikamaru’s father says. Shikamaru’s father stands up and walks inside the house. About that time there is a knock at the front door.

“SHIKAMARU!” Shikamaru’s mother yells. “GET THE DOOR!”

Shikamaru groans and stands up. He walks inside the house and walks down the hallway towards the front door. Shikamaru slides the door open.

A teenage boy with spiky light brown hair, dark eyes, and red swirl marks on his cheeks stands just outside the door. The boy wears a red suit with light gray armor. The boy wears a red forehead protector on his forehead. A teenage girl with long platinum blonde hair and blue eyes stands beside the brown haired boy. The girl wears a purple top and purple skirt.  

Shikamaru’s eyes light up. “Choji! Ino!” Shikamaru says. “What are the two of you doing here?”

“We came by to ask if you wanted to hang out!” The light brown haired boy, Choji says. “The two of us were planning to get some sweet dumplings! Wanna come?”

“Sure!” Shikamaru says. He turns towards the kitchen. “MOM! DAD! I AM GOING OUT FOR A BIT WITH CHOJI AND INO!” Shikamaru yells.

“JUST BE BACK BEFORE MIDNIGHT!” Shikamaru’s mother yells back. Shikamaru quietly walks outside and closes the door behind him. Shikamaru, Choji, and Ino quietly walk down the street.

“Hey, guys.” Shikamaru says. “I have actually had a weird feeling lately. Kind of like something big is going to happen! However, I just can’t think of why I have this feeling. My dad just told me that he has had a similar feeling as well!”

Ino’s eyes widen. “Actually...I have had a similar feeling!” Ino says. “My father told me that he has had a similar feeling as well!”

“I have had a weird feeling as well!” Choji says. “My dad also has had a similar feeling!”

Shikamaru’s eyes widen. “The two of you as well!” Shikamaru says. He then breathes a sigh of relief. “Now I know that I am not crazy!”

Shikamaru then looks around. “Wait...no Asuma Sensei tonight?” Shikamaru asks.

“No!” Choji says. “I think that there is something going on between Asuma Sensei and Kurenai Sensei!”

“Asuma Sensei and Kurenai Sensei have been spending a lot more time together lately!” Ino says.

Shikamaru just shrugs. “I am sure that if anything is wrong Asuma Sensei will tell us!”

Ino sighs. “I just hope that you are right.” Ino says.

“I hope so as well.” Choji says.

The three teenagers quietly walk down the street.

******************************

Two teenage boys and one teenage girl walk down a street together. A large white dog walks beside one of the teenage boys. The three teenagers and dog stop outside a gate that leads into a neighborhood full of houses.

“Kiba…Shino!” The girl says. “Thank you for walking with me. I enjoyed your company very much!”

The girl has long indigo blue hair and white eyes. The girl wears a cream and lavender jacket with long blue pants. The girl wears her black clothed Konoha headband around her neck.

“No problem, Hinata!” One of the boys says. The boy has spiky brown hair, dark eyes, light tan skin and red fang markings on his cheeks. The boy wears a black leather jacket and black pants. The boy wears a forehead black Konoha headband on his forehead. The dog stands beside him.

The girl, Hinata, looks over to the other boy. However, Hinata frowns when she notices the other boys face.

“Shino, is everything alright?” Hinata asks. “You seem a little worried!”

The other teenage boy, Shino, is looking up at the stars. Shino has bushy brown hair and wears his forehead protector on his forehead. Shino’s black sunglasses hide his eyes. Shino wears a black jacket whose neck covers most of his face. Shino also wears black pants. Shino also wears a green jacket over his outfit. Shino’s head is tilted in a way that his face shows. Shino’s mouth is set in a tight frown.

“I have just had a strange feeling lately.” Shino says. “Almost like something is going to happen!”

“You mean...something bad right?” Hinata asks.

Shino sighs. “I don’t really know!” Shino says. “All I know is that I have had a strange feeling lately! Even my insects seem a little tense!”

Kiba looks down for a minute. “I have actually had a strange feeling as well.” Kiba says, admittingly. Kiba turns to the dog. “Even Akamaru has been acting strange lately!”

The dog, Akamaru, whines a little bit. Kiba reaches over and begins petting Akamaru.

Hinata looks down. “I have actually had a strange feeling as well.” Hinata says. She then looks up at the stars. “Lately when I look up at the stars...I get the feeling that something has happened!”

Kiba’s eyes widen. “You have had a strange feeling as well?” Kiba asks.

Hinata nods. “Not only that...I told my father and Neji about my strange feelings lately.” Hinata says. “My father told me that he has had a strange feeling as well! Neji too!”

Kiba’s eyes widen even more. “Both your father and Neji have also had strange feelings lately?” Kiba asks. “Man, this must mean something bad is going to happen!”

Hinata looks down. “I am also worried about Kurenai Sensei.” Hinata says. “She has been acting strange lately. She has also been spending more time with Asuma Sensei!”

Kiba’s eyes widen. “Yeah!” Kiba says. “You are right! Kurenai Sensei has been spending a lot of time with Asuma Sensei!”

“I am sure there is nothing to worry about.” Shino says. “I am certain that if anything was wrong Kurenai Sensei would have told us!”

Hinata sighs. “I hope that you are right!” Hinata says.

****************************

A spiky black haired man with dark eyes and tanned skin sits at a table. The man wears a standard ninja outfit outfit. A woman about the same age walks into the room. The woman has long black hair and red ringed eyes. The woman wears a short white dress. The woman sits down at the table opposite the man. The man looks seriously at the woman.

“The doctor is absolutely certain that you are pregnant?” The man asks the woman. The woman nods.

“Absolutely positive!” The woman says. She blinks a few times and looks out the window to the left of the table.

The man blinks a few times. “Well...how far along are you?” The man asks.

“No more than a couple of weeks Asuma.” The woman says. She continues to look out of the window.

The man, Asuma, sighs. He looks out the window. “I can only say that I am surprised.” Asuma says. “I never imagined myself as a father!”

“I never imagined myself as a mother!” The woman says. She continues to stare out the window.

Asuma sighs again. “I suppose that we will learn after the baby is born.” Asuma says. However, Asuma notices that the woman has a distant look in her eyes.

“Kurenai, are you ok?” Asuma asks the woman.

The woman, Kurenai, looks at Asuma. She sighs. “Lately I have had a sense of foreboding.” Kurenai says. “It’s almost as if something is destined to happen. It makes me worry about the baby!”

Asuma’s eyes widen. “I have had a strange feeling lately.” Asuma says. “I have just had this feeling that something is going to happen!”

Kurenai’s eyes widen. “That sounds exactly like the feeling I have had!” Kurenai says. Kurenai then closes her eyes and puts her head in her hands.

“Oh, Asuma!” Kurenai says. “What if there is something wrong with the baby?”

Asuma blinks. “Now Kurenai…” Asuma says. “It is still a little early to jump to conclusions. I am sure that everything is ok! I have been having this feeling since before we found out you were pregnant. I am sure the feelings that we have been feeling lately have nothing to do with the pregnancy.”

Kurenai blinks a few times. “You are right!” Kurenai says. “I have had this feeling since before I even suspected that I was pregnant! The feeling is probably not pregnancy related! It must be something else!”

Asuma nods. He leans back in his chair. “You must not worry yourself too much.” Asuma says. “Everyone says that too much worrying is bad during pregnancy!”

Asuma takes out a cigarette and a lighter. “I will be back.” Asuma says as he stands up. “I need to go smoke!”

Asuma walks towards the door. Kurenai frowns.

“That will be a bad habit to have when the baby is born!” Kurenai says. “You will not be able to slip away to have a cigarette when we have a crying infant in need of soothing!”

Asuma just chuckles and walks out the door.

******************************

A man with bowl cut black hair, bushy eyebrows, and dark eyes sits at a table with three teenagers. The restaurant that they are in buzzes with activity. The man wears a green jumpsuit with a green colored ninja vest. The man also wears orange leg warmers. The man’s headband is tied around his waist like a belt. The man sips a glass of sake. A plate of food is in front of him.

The teenager sitting beside the man is a mini version of the man. The teenager is a boy with the same black hair, bushy eyebrows, and same bowl hair cut. The teenager also wears a green jumpsuit with a green ninja vest. The teenager also wears orange leg warmers. The teenager’s headband is tied around his waist. The teenager sips a glass of water. A plate of food is in front of the teenager.

On the opposite side of the table are a teenage boy and teenage girl. The teenage boy has long brown hair and white eyes. The teenage boy wears a long sleeved white kimono top and white pants. The teenage boy also wears a gray apron around his waist. The teenager’s Konoha headband is made of black cloth. The teenage boy has a glass of water in front of him along with a plate of food.

The teenage girl has medium brown hair tied into two buns, along with brown eyes. The girl wears a white long sleeved blouse and maroon pants. The girl wears a Konoha headband made of black cloth. The girl also wears black fingerless gloves on her hands.

“Thank you, Gai Sensei, for this meal!” The mini version of the man says.

The man, Gai, flashes a bright smile. “It’s my pleasure, Lee!” Gai says with enthusiasm. “I hadn’t seen the three of you for a while so I thought that we could enjoy some time together!”

The mini version of Gai, Lee, flashes a bright smile right back at Gai. “Gai Sensei!” Lee says. “The three of us have been very busy doing missions! What have you been doing?”

“Oh, I have been really busy with missions as well!” Gai says. Gai looks over to the brown haired boy only to notice something odd. The brown haired boy has his eyes narrowed. He is looking out the window of the restaurant.

“Neji...is something wrong?” Gai asks the brown haired boy.

The brown haired boy, Neji, looks at Gai. Neji bows his head down.

“My apologies Sensei,” Neji says. “It’s just...I have had a weird feeling as of late. Almost as if something is destined to happen!”

Gai’s eyes widen. “I have actually been experiencing a similar feeling lately.” Gai says.

Neji’s eyes widen. “You have been having this same feeling Sensei?” Neji asks.

Gai nods. Neji looks down. “The concerning aspect to this is that Lord Hiashi and Lady Hinata have also been having similar feelings!”

The girls eyes widen. “I have been having similar feelings as well.” The girl says.

Neji’s eyes widen. “You as well TenTen?” Neji asks.

The girl, TenTen nods. Lee looks down. “I have been having similar feelings as well!” Lee says.

Neji’s eyes widen even more. “You as well Lee?” Neji asks. Lee only nods in response.

“Well, this is concerning!” Gai says. “All four of us are experiencing the same feeling of foreboding. Even Neji’s uncle and cousin have the same feeling!”

Lee flashes a smile. “Now come on everyone.” Lee says. “I am certain that there is nothing to worry about! Let us enjoy our meal!”

Lee reaches to pick up his glass of water. However, he mistakenly picks up Gai’s glass of sake. Lee takes a sip. After a few moments Lee’s eyes become droopy and his cheeks become flushed.

Gai, Neji, and Tenten quickly notice this. All three of them sweat drop.

Outside the restaurant people walk quietly in the street. All of the people stop when they hear loud shouts and crashes coming from inside the restaurant.

*******************************

The village entrance is buzzing with activity. The shops around the entrance glow with light. People walk around the street, laughing and talking.

Two men sit at a desk by the village gate. One man has spiky black hair and dark eyes. A white bandage is over the man’s nose. A dark mark is on the man’s chin. The man wears standard ninja attire. The man wears his Konoha headband on his forehead. The man’s companion has neat brown hair that covers his right eye, and dark eyes. The man wears his Konoha headband like a bandanna. The man also wears standard ninja attire, like his companion.

Both men have bored expressions on their faces. The brown haired man reads a book. The man with spiky hair leans on the table with his head resting in his right hand. The spiky haired man taps his fingers on the desk. The brown haired man takes notice. He gets an annoyed look on his face.

“Kotetsu, would you please stop doing that!?” The brown haired man asks his companion.

The spiky haired man, Kotetsu, sighs. “I am just so bored, Izumo!” Kotetsu says.

The brown haired man, Izumo, sighs. “I am bored too!” Izumo says. “However, we have been assigned to guard the gate. We cannot shirk our duty!”

Kotetsu sighs again. “I know.” Kotetsu says. “It’s just...I am getting bored with these mundane duties.”

Izumo blinks a few times. He then looks up at the sky. He frowns and shakes his head. He then turns to Kotetsu.

“Hey Kotetsu,” Izumo says. “Have you had a strange feeling lately? Like something bad is going to happen!?”

Kotetsu’s eyes widen. “Yes,” Kotetsu says. “I have had a bad feeling lately! Why do you ask?”

Izumo sighs. “Lately, I have had a bad feeling.” Izumo says. “I was just wondering if you have been having a similar feelings.”

Kotetsu’s eyes widen even more. “Oh, man!” Kotetsu says. “If both of us are having the same feeling then that means something is going to happen! Probably something bad!”

Izumo narrows his eyes. “Due to the recent movements of the Akatsuki the potential ‘disaster’ will probably be Akatsuki related.” Izumo says. “More than likely the Akatsuki will try to infiltrate the village, like they did years ago.”

Izumo’s eyes narrow even more. “Lets just hope that if an Akatsuki related disaster does come the village, we are not the ones on gate duty!” Izumo says. “I can just imagine Lady Hokage’s face if Akatsuki members infiltrated the village and we were the one's guarding the gate! It would be all our fault!”

Kotetsu’s eyes widen. He shudders a little bit. “I know!” Kotetsu says. “Lady Hokage would explode! She may even throw us out her office window, like she does her chair sometimes!”

Kotetsu and Izumo both shudder at the thought.

********************************

A white haired man with dark eyes walks down a road. The man has fair skin and a wart on the left side of his nose. The man wears a green shirt with matching pants. The man wears a red haori over his clothing. The man also has red line marking on both sides of his face.

The white haired man stops walking and turns to the left. A small path leads to a clearing. A young man with short brown hair and brown eyes stands in the clearing. The young man wears a gray shirt and gray pants. The young man bows.

“Lord Jiraiya.” The young man says as he greets the white haired man.

The white haired man, Jiraiya, nods in response. “Ryuu.” Jiraiya says. “Have you found out any more info regarding the Akatsuki?”

The young man, Ryuu, closes his eyes. “I have none for you.” Ryuu says. “However, I heard a rumor about a clan that may have information about the Akatsuki!”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. “A clan?” Jiraiya asks.

Ryuu nods. “The clan is called the Kirai clan.” Ryuu says. “According to the rumor, the Kirai clan possesses a lot of knowledge about one Akatsuki member in particular. Itachi Uchiha!”

Jiraiya narrows his eyes. “It looks like I may have to pay the Kirai clan a visit!” Jiraiya says. “Do you know where I can find them?”

Ryuu sighs. “The Kirai clan is supposedly scattered.” Ryuu says. “The village that the clan used to reside in was destroyed by bandits years ago. However, there is supposedly a small group of Kirai clan members living nearby.”

Ryuu points to a mountain range a few miles away. “That mountain range is supposedly where the Kirai clan members reside.” Ryuu says.

Jiraiya nods. “Thank you, Ryuu!” Jiraiya says. “I appreciate it!”

Ryuu nods. Ryuu then frowns and looks seriously at Jiraiya.

“Are you ok, Lord Jiraiya?” Ryuu asks. “When you greeted me you had a distant look in your eyes, like you were worried about something.”

Jiraiya sighs. “Lately I have had a weird feeling.” Jiraiya says. “I feel like something is going to happen!”

Ryuu frowns. “I have no idea what could be making you feel like this!” Ryuu says.

Jiraiya sighs again. “I think that I am just worried over the Akatsuki.” Jiraiya says. “This feeling that I have been feeling lately must mean that the Akatsuki are going to strike again very soon!”

Jiraiya’s face becomes serious. He looks over to the mountain range where Ryuu said that members of the Kirai clan reside.

“This is why it’s important for me to figure out what the Kirai clan know about the Akatsuki!” Jiraiya says. “Every bit of intel is crucial to stopping the Akatsuki’s plans!”

Ryuu nods in agreement. “I suppose that we should part ways now.” Ryuu says.

Jiraiya nods. Ryuu nods back. Jiraiya then turns and walks towards the road. Jiraiya is headed in the direction of the mountain range. Ryuu turns and walks towards a path leading into the forest. Ryuu walks quietly into the forest and disappears into the darkness.

Jiraiya walks onto the road. He then looks up at the sky. He then sighs.

It’s kind of late , Jiraiya thinks to himself. I better talk to the Kirai clan tomorrow. They will probably not appreciate me interrogating them about the Akatsuki this late at night. They may even be asleep!

Jiraiya looks around. He closes his eyes. Now I have to find a good camping spot, Jiraiya thinks to himself. Jiraiya slowly walks down the road.

Chapter Text

This is not a chapter! I wanted to inform all readers that I will be taking longer to update the story. Here are the reasons for this:

 1. Future chapters will go into depth about the Kirai clan and their powers. I wanted to take the time to create an interesting backstory.

 2. Not only is Nico related to the Uchiha Clan, he is also related to the Kirai clan through his grandmother, Luna! This fact will actually determine how Nico eventually gets back to his own world!

 3. The Kirai clan will have an interesting family history. That is why I want to take the time to create a family tree. That way when the Kirai’s family history is revealed later in the story I don’t accidently mess any family relations up and leave the readers confused.

 

The backstory will also explain many things. These things shall include:

1. How the Kirai acquired their powers and how they used them in the past!

 2. The Kirai’s family history and their dark past!

 3. How Nico is connected to the Kirai clan!

 4. The true reason as to why Luna’s village was destroyed!

 

I hope that you will all be patient while I work on the backstory and family tree! I have no idea when I will update, but I promise that I will try to update as soon as possible!

Chapter Text

The moon shines brightly over a village hidden within a valley. Many villagers walk around, trying to get last minute chores done before bed. A brown haired man stops in front of a house. He looks towards a plateau on one side of the valley. A large group of people wearing white cloaks stand around a large well full of water. A black haired man suddenly walks up to the brown haired man.

“The Kirai’s are still trying to find Luna’s grandson.” The black haired man says.

“They have all been at it for a week.” The brown haired man says. “For all we know the boy could be dead!”

“That is very possible.” The black haired man says. “I sure do hope that is not the case!”

The brown haired man sighs. “I sure hope so as well.”

**************************************************

An assembly of people stands around a well full of water. Each person wears a white cloak. A gray haired man holds his hand over the well of water. His eyes are closed in concentration.

The other individuals present stand quietly to the side. A few look worriedly at each other.

All of the sudden the gray haired man opens his eyes, revealing blue irises. The man lets out a groan and stumbles back, removing his hand from the well of water in the process. A younger man, looking almost identical to the gray haired man rushes over to keep the gray haired man from falling.

“Father!” The younger man says fearfully. He slowly lowers the gray haired man to the ground.

“Akio…,” The old man says slowly. The old man takes deep breaths. A young man looking to be in his twenties slowly approaches. The young man has dark brown hair and blue irises. He looks almost identical to the old man’s son, Akio.

“Father...is grandfather ok?” The young man asks.

Akio looks at the young man, his son.

“I do not know, Karasu.” Akio says.

“Could Seiji be ill?” Someone suddenly asks.

Akio’s son, Karasu, frowns. Many of the people present get horrified looks on their faces. Karasu slowly approaches his father and grandfather. Karasu places his hand on his grandfather’s forehead. After a minute, Karasu, removes his hand from his grandfather’s forehead.

“No fever...I think that it is just exhaustion.” Karasu says.

Everyone present sighs in relief.

Akio looks at Karasu. Karasu nods his head. Karasu places a hand on his grandfather’s back, steadying him. Slowly Akio and Karasu help the old man, Seiji, to his feet.

“Easy there, father!” Akio says. The old man ,Seiji, just breathes heavily.

“Well, at least Seiji is not ill.” A middle aged man with light brown hair and blue eyes says. “We don’t need him dying like Old Rina did. Especially with the current situation at hand!”

Everyone present slowly hangs their heads down. They are remembering Old Rina Kirai, the Matriarch of the Kirai Clan. Old Rina passed away nearly a week and a half ago from a mysterious fever.

An old woman with gray hair and blue eyes looks over at Seiji.

“Brother...did you find the boy?” The old woman asks.

Seiji’s eyes become downcast. He then lowers his head.

“No, Korra… I did not.” Seiji says. He keeps his eyes downcast. “Young Nico is being very difficult to find!”

Everyone else present groans. Seiji looks up.

“I am sorry.” Seiji says. “I just don’t have the skill with the dimensional tracking jutsu like Old Rina had.”

Seiji’s sister, Korra, holds her head down. She looks up at the sky.

Oh, Rina, my dear cousin….Why did you have to die. Korra thinks to herself. We really need you right now!

Akio gently pats his father’s back, trying to comfort him.

“You did your best father.” Akio says, reassuringly. “You always give it your best when using the dimensional tracking jutsu. It’s all anyone can ask for!”

“It is truly a shame that Old Rina died.” A man with brown hair and brown eyes says. “Especially at a time when we need her skill the most!”

Everyone holds their heads down. The matriarch of the Kirai Clan ,Old Rina, died just over a week ago from a mysterious fever.  Everyone has grieved ever since.

Rina’s granddaughter, Amaya, holds her head down. Amaya’s hair is light brown and her eyes are a turquoise color. Amaya blinks a few times. A few tears fall from her eyes.

Amaya’s older brother, Aizen, quickly puts a comforting hand on Amaya’s shoulder. Aizen appears to be in his late twenties. His hair is dark brown. However, Aizen’s eyes are a turquoise color, just like Amaya’s.

Everyone else present begins to get sad eyes as well. They are all thinking back to the day Old Rina fell ill. Coincidentally that was the day Nico’s older sister, Bianca died.

…...Flashback…..

A large group of people stand around the well of water. An old woman with gray hair and blue-green eyes holds a hand over the water. Everyone watches the scene before them. Many have sad looks on their faces. Amaya sheds a few tears.

“I can’t believe that Bianca is dead!” Amaya says. A few tears run down her face.

“Luna’s granddaughter is dead!” Another young woman says. She is about the same age as Amaya. The girl has long black hair and brown eyes.

“First Luna got killed by that bandit!” Another young woman says. She is also the same age as Amaya. The young woman has brown hair and apple green eyes. “Then Luna’s daughter was killed by Zeus! Now Luna’s granddaughter is dead as well! OH, WHY?!”

“Why….Why…?” Another young woman says. The young woman has light brown hair and blue eyes. The young woman sheds a few tears.

“This is very tragic indeed….” Seiji says. “However, Luna’s grandson is still alive! We must hope that he does not suffer a similar fate.”

Amaya’s eyes widen. She gulps.

“Zeus will kill the boy if he finds out that the boy is alive!” Amaya says with panic.

“Zeus will kill Nico!’ Seiji says, agreeing with Amaya. “We can only hope that Zeus does not find out that Nico survived!”

All of the sudden the image in the water disappears. Everyone looks at Rina only to realize that something is terribly wrong. Old Rina is breathes heavily. Her cheeks are flushed and sweat runs down her face. Old Rina then closes her eyes and stumbles. She starts to fall over. Seiji’s son, Akio, manages to catch Rina, before she can hit the ground. Amaya and Aizen run over to their grandmother’s limp form. A woman with graying hair and a more youthful looking face runs over as well. She kneels beside Rina.

“Dear, Sister!” The woman says. “Please, speak to us! What is the matter?”

However, the woman receives no response from Rina.

“Great-Aunt Atsuko,” Aizen asks the woman. Aizen’s voice is mostly calm, but there is a hint of panic to it. “What is wrong with grandmother?”

The woman, Atsuko, then notices Rina’s flushed cheeks. Atsuko’s eyes widen. She places her hand on Rina’s forehead. Atsuko gasps.

“She’s burning up!” Atsuko says.

Everyone else gasps. Expressions range from disbelief to absolute horror.

“We must get her to our village healers right away!” Korra says.

“I will go inform them now!” A man says. He quickly runs towards the village.

Many people help carry Old Rina down the plateau. Many others follow. Some just mumble “oh no”, over and over.

…..End of flashback…..

A few days later, Old Rina, died of her illness. The village healers had done everything that they could to save her. The village healers tried every medicinal that they could think of. However, none of them seemed to have an affect on Old Rina’s fever.

Atsuko, looks at the ground. The days during her older sister’s illness had been very rough. Old Rina had lied in her bed burning up for three days before she passed away.

Korra looks up at the sky. Her cousin had been very incoherent during her illness. Occasionally Rina would mumble things like, “the boy” or “Nico….trouble”. Old Rina had even mumbled these phrases during her last few minutes on earth. Korra remembers that day like it was yesterday.

….Flashback….

Korra stands in a large room. Rina lies on a bed with the headboard against a wall. Many healers surround her. Amaya sits next to the bed and holds her grandmother’s hand. Aizen stands nearby. Seiji, Akio, Atsuko, and Korra’s daughter, Kori, are also in the room.

A village healer sighs.

“I am sorry,” The village healer says. “We have tried every medicinal that we know how to make. However, it appears that none of them are working.”

Amaya lets out a few choked sobs. Aizen, closes his eyes and holds his head down.

Old Rina’s eyes flutter open. Amaya leans in closer.

“Grandmother…,” Amaya says.

Old Rina’s eyes keep fluttering. She starts to mumble.

“The…..boy...the…...boy……run...away…..,” Old Rina mumbles.

Atsuko walks closer.

“The boy?” Atsuko asks. “Run away?”

Everyone begins looking at each other.

“That certainly does not sound good!” Seiji says.

“......Nico…danger…….terrible...danger…danger…….trouble…….must...run,” Old Rina mumbles again.

Everyone looks at each other again. Many try to piece the words together in their heads.

“Nico...terrible danger?” Amaya asks.

“Trouble…must run?” Aizen asks.

All of the sudden, Old Rina’s eyes widen. She takes deep breaths.

“Grandmother!” Amaya cries.

“Rift….rift…..the boy…...here…..here…..must..find….,” Old Rina says with a haggard voice. Old Rina’s eyes flutter.

Seconds later Old Rina takes a sharp breath. Her eyes close and she becomes still.

Amaya’s eyes widen. A few tears run down her cheeks.

“Grandmother….?” Amaya asks.

Old Rina does not respond.

“GRANDMOTHER!” Amaya cries. Aizen’s eyes widen. He quickly walks over and takes his grandmother’s other hand into his own. His eyes widen even more.

A village healer quickly walks over and puts two fingers on Old Rina’s neck, checking for a pulse. His eyes widen and then become downcast. The village healer closes his eyes and shakes his head. He then steps away.

Everyone else in the room immediately realizes what this must mean.

“Is...she…?” Atsuko asks with a broken voice.

The village healer nods.

Amaya lets out loud sobs. Aizen closes his eyes.

Others in the room hold their heads down in silence.

….end of flashback….

Everyone grieved very deeply. However, they were also troubled by Old Rina’s last words. After Rina’s funeral everyone gathered immediately to check on Nico. However, they could not find Nico in his world. Soon, they located traces of Nico’s essence in a part of the forest surrounding Camp Half-blood. However, they sensed traces of something else. A dimensional rift!

Korra closes her eyes. Rina, even in her illness must have sensed what had happened to the boy, Korra thinks to herself. She could sense things like that even when not using kirai Clan jutsu's. she was a very sharp woman indeed!

Korra sighs. She remembers the panic that had ensued once everyone realized what must have happened to Nico. The worst part is that no one has been able to track Nico down using the dimensional tracking jutsu. The dimensional tracking jutsu allows members of the Kirai clan or those with Kirai blood to track certain individuals through different dimensions. It requires a lot of special training and skill to perform it. Old Rina, had been especially skilled with this jutsu. Many people considered her a prodigy when it came to the Kirai clan jutsu’s.

Korra sighs. None of the other Kirai clan members present has the skill level that her cousin had. That is why the task of finding Nico has been so difficult. Many end up like Seiji. They exert themselves so much they end up collapsing from exhaustion. The dimensional tracking jutsu requires a lot of chakra. The jutsu also requires great chakra control. Many of the Kirai clan members present do not have the chakra control that Rina had. The only other Kirai clan member that had the skill close to Rina’s is Jarou Kirai. However, Jarou, does not live in the Kirai’s current village. In fact, no one has seen or heard from Jarou since the attack on the Kirai clan’s old village seven years ago. Not even Jarou’s sister, Hoshiko, has heard from him.

Korra sighs again. Oh, if only Jarou was here. Korra thinks to herself. Jarou could find the boy. Jarou’s skill level with the Kirai jutsu’s closely matched Rina’s skill.

Korra then frowns when she thinks of something. However, Jarou was always the type to work by himself. Korra thinks. Jarou probably knows where the boy is. Jarou just doesn’t want to come and tell us!

Korra looks over at Hoshiko. Hoshiko is an old woman with gray hair and light blue eyes. Korra quickly notices that Hoshiko seems to be deep in thought. Hoshiko then frowns.

I wonder if Hoshiko is thinking the same thing as I am. Korra thinks to herself.

Korra hears a few sniffles. She looks over to Amaya. Amaya is still sobbing. Korra then watches as her granddaughter ,Katara, walks over to Amaya. Takara Ishikawa quickly walks over as well. Yuzuki Yamauchi quickly follows. The three young women try to comfort Amaya.

Korra closes her eyes. There are six clans that reside within the Kirai Clan’s village. There is the Kirai Clan, who are the leaders of the village. Then there are the other five clan’s; Fujioka, Ishikawa, Kita, Mori and Yamauchi. Korra’s daughter, Kanami, was actually married to a man from the Mori Clan. Kanami’s husband died in the village attack seven years ago.

Korra sighs. She holds her head down. So much death had occurred that night. Korra had lost her husband in a hunting accident when her children were very young. Then her only son, Takeru, died during the village attack seven years ago. Takeru’s wife and their children managed to survive. Korra’s daughters, Kori and Kanami, also lost their husbands. Kori had lost her oldest son, Tadashi, as well. Katara is Kori’s daughter. Katara actually has a twin brother named Kohaku.

Korra looks over to her brother, Seiji. Seiji lost his wife and all three of his daughters during the village attack seven years ago. Seiji also lost a few of his grandchildren. Seiji’s son ,Akio, managed to survive. Akio’s wife and children also survived. Now Akio and his wife are helping to raise Seiji’s other grandchildren, Akio’s orphaned nieces and nephews.

Korra then looks over at Atsuko. Atsuko’s husband, Mamoru, died in the village attack seven years ago. Atsuko also lost her son Ichirou, and daughter Amara. Ichirou’s wife and two youngest children also died in the attack. This left Atsuko to raise Ichirou’s older two children ,Eiji and Nan. Amara’s husband, Saburo Yamauchi, also died in the attack. Amara and Saburo’s son also died. This left Atsuko to raise Amara and Saburo’s daughter ,Akina. Atsuko’s other daughter, Etsuko, managed to survive. However, Etsuko lost her husband. Now Atsuko has to help Etsuko raise her children as well. However, The two women are receiving help in raising little Akina from Saburo’s younger sister, Ameyuri. Saburo’s parents also died in the village attack, leaving Ameyuri, only thirteen at the time, an orphan. Ameyuri decide to move in with Atsuko in order to help take care of Akina.

Korra then looks over at Aizen and Amaya. Amaya is still being comforted by her friends. Rina had lost her husband Kisho, son Hajime, daughter in law, and granddaughter in another village attack. That particular attack happened before Amaya was even born. Then, Rina lost her remaining three children during the village attack seven years ago. Rina’s oldest child, Hanako, was Aizen and Amaya’s mother. Hanako’s husband, Akito and younger son Haruto also died. This left Aizen and Amaya to help Rina raise their younger sister, Yuri. Aizen and Amaya also had to help raise their orphaned cousins.

Korra manages a small smile. Aizen’s wife Taki and infant son Hajime, managed to survive the attack seven years ago. Taki is actually Takara’s older sister. Aizen had named his son after his deceased uncle. It is a Kirai clan tradition to name children after deceased relatives. A few months ago Taki gave birth to another child, a boy. Aizen and Taki named their second child Akito, after Aizen and Amaya’s father. Korra’s grandson Kohaku and his wife are currently expecting a child. That is why Kohaku is not among the ones searching for Nico. A lot of Kirai Clan women are not present tonight because they are pregnant. A lot of Kirai men are not present because their wives are close to giving birth.

Korra looks at the sky. Even though the Kirai Clan may lose a lot during tragedies, we always pull through. Korra thinks to herself. We even manage to create new life.

Korra then frowns. However, Aizen is now in a very complicated situation. Korra thinks. Aizen and Taki not only have to raise their own children, they have to raise Yuri and Aizen’s young cousins.

Korra sighs when she thinks of something else. Maybe I should bring it up now. Korra thinks.

Korra clears her throat.

“I was just thinking of my dear cousin.” Korra says. “My dear cousin was the Matriarch of the Kirai Clan. She was our leader. This brings me to a discussion that cannot be put off any longer.”

Atsuko narrows her eyes. She then gasps.

“Do you really think that this is a good time to discuss something so important?” Atsuko asks her cousin. “We are in such a stressful situation!”

“Which is why we need to discuss the Kirai Clan’s future.” Korra says.

“The Kirai Clan’s future?” Aizen asks. His face holds a very curious yet suspicious look.

“Since Rina is dead the Kirai Clan along with the village needs a new leader.” Korra says in a very serious voice. “Traditionally, when the clan and village head dies the title is passed down to the oldest son or child.”

“But all of Old Rina’s children are dead!” Akio says.

“If the clan Head has grandchildren then the oldest grandchild becomes the next clan head, and subsequently the village leader.” Korra says. “That is if the grandchild is old enough to lead the village.”

Korra takes a deep breath. She then turns to Aizen.

“Aizen….,” Korra says. “Since you are Rina’s oldest grandchild, you are now the Head of the Kirai Clan….. and the leader of the Kirai village!”

Aizen’s eyes widen. Many others gasp. Amaya stops sobbing. She looks up and begins looking back and forth between Aizen and Korra.

“M...e…?” Aizen asks. “Me! I am the leader of the Kirai clan and village!?”

Korra nods. “You are Rina’s grandson.” Korra says. “It is your birthright and duty.”

Aizen doesn’t say anything. He just stands there and blinks.

“Korra,” Takara’s father and Aizen’s father-in-law, Tarou, says. Tarou’s hair is brown and his eyes are an apple green color. “Do you really think that my son-in-law is ready to lead our entire village?”

Korra frowns. “Don’t you have faith in your own son-in-law?” Korra asks.

Tarou blinks. “I do have faith in Aizen!” Tarou says. “It’s just...I am worried about him being thrust into such a position. Especially with the current crisis at hand!”

Many others start to voice their opinions. Soon, the discussion turns into a full blown argument between the older members of the group. The younger members just stand and watch with wide eyes.

Takara gulps. She turns to Katara.

“Oh, man!” Takara says. She has the same brown hair and apple green eyes as her father. “The older members of our clans are really ‘talking’. “

“I’ll say!” Katara says. Her hair is light brown and her eyes are blue, like her grandmother’s. “They are practically yelling at each other!”

“Look at Aizen!” Yuzuki says. Her black hair is long and her eyes are brown. “ Aizen is just standing there. He looks as if he is staring at blank space!”

“I think that he is just in shock.” Takara says. She looks at her brother-in-law very concernedly. “Maybe Amaya should try to talk to him.”

Takara turns to say something to Amaya. However, Amaya is gone.

“Hey,” Takara says. “Where is Amaya?”

“There!” Yuzuki says. She points to a small path leading to down the plateau.

Takara and Katara look down the path. Amaya is silently walking down the path.

“Where is she going?” Yuzuki asks.

“I know that sometimes she goes and sits by the stream in the meadow when she needs to be alone for awhile.” Katara says. “I think that she is just overwhelmed by everything that has happened lately. I think that we should leave her alone for a little while!”

Yuzuki turns and looks at Aizen. Aizen is still has a blank stare.

“What about Aizen?” Yuzuki asks.

“I know!” Katara says. She turns and looks at Takara. “Takara, go get your sister. Surely she can get Aizen out of this state.”

Takara nods. “I will go get her!” Takara says. She then starts down the main path.

********************************

Amaya look back towards the plateau. She then holds her head down. She continues to walk.

This is just too much, Amaya thinks. I need to be alone for a little while.

After a few minutes of walking Amaya reaches a small meadow with a small pond on the edge of it. Amaya sits down next to the stream. She looks down at her reflection in the water.

Amaya closes her eyes and sighs. I don’t like there being to much change all at once. Amaya thinks to herself. This is just too much change.

Amaya then looks up at the moon and stars. Amaya suddenly remembers all of the good times she had with her best friend, Luna. The two girls used to sit out at night before bedtime and look at the stars.

Amaya blinks as more memories fill her head. Amaya starts to sob again. A few tears fall into the stream.

“....Luna…..” Amaya whispers as she sobs.

Chapter Text

Nico slowly opens his eyes. He is lying on his side. Nico shifts his legs a little.

My legs feel a little funny. Nico thinks to himself. Nico shifts himself so he can get a better look at his legs. Nico soon realizes what the problem is. Apparently, while tossing around, Nico ended up shifting his legs so much that his legs became twisted. Nico shifts his legs until they are untwisted.

Much better . Nico thinks. He rolls over onto his back. Maybe I should lay on my back for a while.

Nico turns to look at Kiseki who is sleeping close by. Kiseki is in a deep sleep.

Good, Nico thinks. I didn’t wake up Kiseki.

Nico blinks as he stares up at the night sky. The stars are very bright.

The stars are very bright tonight. Nico thinks to himself. Nico then suddenly remembers something that Jarou told him about his grandmother, Luna.

Jarou said that my grandmother loved to stargaze at night with her friends. Nico thinks to himself. Nico closes his eyes. It is times like these when he wishes that he could have the chance to meet his grandmother. Nico is pretty sure that he would like her.

Nico closes his eyes. Jarou also said that Bianca and I inherited our olive skin tone from our grandmother. She also had dark eyes and dark hair.

Nico blinks a few times. He tries to form a mental image of his grandmother based on what Jarou told him about her. Nico tries to imagine a girl with dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin. However, the face remains blank. Nico inwardly sighs.

I wish I had a picture of my grandmother so that I could see what her face was like. Nico thinks to himself. I am sure that she must have been very beautiful. However, I sometimes wonder if I inherited more than just olive skin tone, dark hair and dark eyes from her.

Nico blinks a few times. So many unanswered questions plague his mind.

What was my grandmother like before she met my grandfather? Nico inwardly asks himself. What was my grandmother like as a child? What was her life like? What were her parents like? How did my grandmother and grandfather meet? What attracted my grandmother to my grandfather?

Nico inwardly sighs. He sometimes wonders what exactly transpired the night that his mother was conceived. Why did my grandmother sleep with my grandfather? Nico inwardly asks himself. Did my grandparents even realize what they were doing?

Nico closes his eyes. I suppose that I will never know. Nico thinks to himself. It’s not like I can ask my grandmother. She’s dead.

Nico blinks a few more times. He looks up at the stars. I suppose that I should get back to sleep. Nico thinks. I have a long day tomorrow.

Nico turns to his side. He closes his eyes and slowly drifts off to sleep.

 *********************************

Amaya stares at her reflection in the water. She thinks about Luna.

Luna….I miss you so much, Amaya thinks. You were my best friend. Why did you have to die?

Amaya looks up at the starry sky. She manages a small smile. After dinner, Amaya and Luna would often meet up and look at the stars together, before bedtime. The two girls always had so much fun making out shapes and constellations within the sky of bright stars.

Amaya looks back down at the water. Not only did Luna love babies and young children, she also loved nature. Luna, especially loved flowers and butterflies. Amaya, also has a deep love of nature. That is how the two girls became friends.

Amaya smiles as she remembers the day she met Luna. The two girls were both four years old at the time. They met in a beautiful meadow with lots of wildflowers and butterflies. Amaya and Luna had discovered the meadow by accident. No one knew that the meadow existed, until that day.

Amaya looks at the sky again. That day, Amaya, was bored and decided to go exploring. Her mother had just given birth to Amaya and Aizen’s little brother, Haruto. Amaya’s mother, Hanako, was so busy taking care of the new baby, that she didn’t have time to devote to Amaya. She told Amaya to go play. Amaya closes her eyes as old memories come back to her.

Little Amaya watches as her mother tries to soothe baby Haruto. The baby is in a sling that Amaya’s mother, Hanako, has strapped to her. However, despite her efforts, the baby continues to cry and fuss.

Hanako sighs. Her light brown hair is long and her eyes are blue. Hanako wears a simple light blue dress.

A young boy looking to be about ten approaches. The boy has dark brown hair and turquoise colored eyes. The boy is frowning and he is dripping wet. Hanako looks at the boy. Her eyes widen.

“Aizen!” Hanako says. “Why are you all wet?”

The boy, Aizen, sighs.

“Some boys and I were tasked with gathering fish from the lake. ” Aizen says simply. “Apparently, someone decided it would be funny to push me in!”

Hanako sighs. She looks at a house to the left.

“Go inside and dry off.” Hanako says. “Then put some dry clothes on. You don’t need to catch a cold.”

Aizen nods. Aizen then begins walking towards the house.

Little Amaya frowns. She is very bored. Little Amaya then pulls on her mother’s dress to get her attention.

“Mama...I am bored.” Little Amaya says. “Can you play with me? Please!”

Hanako looks sadly down at Amaya.

“I am sorry Amaya.” Hanako says. “I cannot play with you. Why don’t you go and find something to do.”

Little Amaya looks at the ground.

“...ok.” Little Amaya says simply. She walks away.

Amaya looks at the water. After leaving to go find something to occupy herself with she got curious and entered the forest surrounding the village. Amaya ended up wandering farther than she should have. However, that is how Amaya discovered the entrance into the meadow. Then she met Luna. Amaya smiles when she remembers that moment.

Little Amaya is amazed by the sight in front of her.

It is a beautiful meadow with a stream. A very tall embankment sits on the edge of the meadow, across from where Little Amaya is standing. A small waterfall cascades down the embankment, feeding the small stream.

Little Amaya enters the meadow. The meadow is actually quite large. The meadow is also full of wildflowers. Many butterflies fly around and land on flowers.

“So pretty!” Little Amaya says to herself. She carefully begins walking around the meadow. Suddenly, Little Amaya, hears giggling. Little Amaya looks around. She then sees the source of the giggling.

On one side of the meadow, a small girl around Amaya’s age, is running and giggling. The girl has olive skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. The little girl is trying to catch a butterfly.

“Such a pretty butterfly!” Little Amaya hears the little girl say. “Come back! I just want to get a closer look at you!”

The little girl gets closer and closer to little Amaya. The little girl is so focused on trying to catch the butterfly she doesn’t notice Little Amaya standing there. The little girl cups her hands together and manages to catch the butterfly. The little girl ends up stopping a few feet away from little Amaya. The little girl giggles with delight. She soon opens up her hands to reveal the butterfly sitting in the palm of her hands. The butterfly gently flaps its wings. The little girl giggles with delight again. However, she ends up noticing little Amaya. The little girl gasps.

“...Hello…,” The little girl says tentatively. “Who are you?”

“My name is Amaya Kirai.” Little Amaya says.

“Oh,” The little girl says. “I am also from the Kirai Clan. My name is Luna Kirai.”

Amaya smiles to herself as she looks down at her reflection in the water. After the two girls introduced themselves, they began talking. The two of them realized that they shared many of the same interests. This led to them becoming friends.

Amaya closes her eyes. The two girls had played together in the meadow so long they lost track of time. Then the two of them decided to take a nap. When Amaya and Luna awoke, it was nearly sundown! Then a group of men, led by Amaya’s uncle, Raiden, found the girls. The girls were taken back to the village where they were greeted by their distraught and slightly angry parents.

Amaya manages a wry smile. Her parents as well as Luna’s parents had freaked out when they realized that the girls were missing. Amaya’s uncle, Raiden, and a few other men had been sent to search for the girls. The men had apparently searched for hours before the two girls were found. To say the adults were relieved...yet angry at the same time is an understatement.

Amaya closes her eyes again. She slowly remembers the scolding that her and Luna got when they were returned to their parents.

Little Amaya sighs as she is carried into the village by her uncle, Raiden. Raiden’s hair is brown and his eyes are blue. Amaya’s uncle, Raiden, is Hanako’s younger brother.

Little Amaya then looks over at Luna, who is being carried by a man older than Raiden. Luna’s eyes are downcast. Little Amaya realizes that Luna is probably dreading the scolding that she is going to get from her parents as well.

All of the sudden, Little Amaya hears crying and a happy scream of relief. She looks to see the village center. Her parents, grandmother, and Aizen are standing in the village center. Her mother, Hanako, runs towards the men. Amaya’s father, Akito, quickly follows. Amaya’s grandmother, Rina, slowly follows Akito. Aizen follows his grandmother. Aizen is holding baby Haruto. The baby wails loudly in Aizen’s arms. Aizen has an annoyed look on his face.

Hanako, takes Amaya from Raiden. Hanako hugs Amaya tightly. Then her face turns serious.

“Your father and I were worried sick!” Hanako says sternly. “We thought something bad had happened to you!”

“That’s right!” Akito says sternly. Akito has dark brown hair and turquoise colored eyes. “Don’t ever scare us like that again, Amaya, got it!”

Little Amaya holds her head down.

“...I’m sorry…,” Little Amaya says. “I was just so bored. The forest looked so interesting. I didn’t mean to go farther than I should have.”

Hanako and Akito both sigh.

All of the sudden Amaya’s grandmother, Rina, approaches the man holding Luna.

“Jarou…,” Rina says. She then eyes Luna. “I see that all of you found Takeo and Toshiko’s daughter as well.”

Jarou, only nods his head. He turns to another man.

“Go fetch Takeo and Toshiko!” Jarou says to the man.

The man nods and runs off to another part of the village.

“Did you find the girls together?” Rina suddenly asks. “Where were they?”

“Yes,” Raiden says. “We found the girls together. Apparently they found a meadow and decided to play in it.”

“A meadow?” Rina asks her son.

“Yes, mother.” Raiden says. “I never knew that meadow was even there. I even pass by that trail all of the time to go hunting!”

All of the sudden, happy cries fill the air.

Everyone turns to see a man and woman running towards the group. The woman has long black hair, dark eyes, and fair skin. The man has shaggy black hair, dark eyes, and olive skin. The woman takes Luna from Jarou.

“OH, LUNA!” The woman cries. The woman hugs Luna tightly. The woman then begins kissing Luna all over. “Your father and I were so worried! We thought something terrible had happened to you!”

The man looks at Luna very sternly.

“That is right, Luna!” The man says. “Your mother and I thought you were dead!”

Luna, looks down.

“Mama...papa...I am so sorry.” Luna says.

“Sorry is not enough!” The man, Luna’s father, says.

The woman, Luna’s mother, gets a serious looks on her face. She looks at Luna.

“Your father is right!” Luna’s mother says. “You have no idea of the agony your father and I were in when we thought you were dead!”

“Now, Takeo,” Rina says as she looks at Luna’s father. Rina then looks over at Luna’s mother. “Toshiko. Luna was safe and sound when our village men found her. She found a sheltered meadow to play in. Apparently my granddaughter, Amaya, found it soon afterwards. The two of them decided to play together in the meadow. That’s where our men found the girls.”

Luna’s mother, Toshiko, just sighs. Luna’s father, Takeo, sighs as well.

“That does not change the fact that Luna had Takeo and I scared half to death!” Toshiko says. “We thought that she had suffered some terrible accident! We even thought that bandits had killed or even kidnapped her!”

“That is right!” Takeo says. “We were worried out of our minds!”

Toshiko looks at Luna with a serious look.

“Please don’t do that ever again!” Toshiko cries. She hugs Luna tightly, as if she is afraid that the girl will disappear again. “Your father and I love you so much! We just can’t lose you! Not like…like...like.”

Toshiko then begins to sob silently. Takeo puts a hand on his wife’s shoulder.

“Not like what mama?” Luna curiously asks.

Toshiko, gets a pained look on her face. She continues to sob. Takeo sighs.

“Anyways,” Takeo says. “We need to go home.”

Takeo then looks at Luna and frowns. He looks her sternly in the eyes.

“And when we get home, we need to come up with a fair punishment for you, young lady!” Takeo says.

Luna holds her head down.

“Yes, papa.” Luna whispers.

Luna gives Amaya one last look as Toshiko carries her away. Takeo follows closely behind.

Akito gives Amaya a stern look.

“We also need to get home and come up with a punishment for you, young lady.” Akito says.

Little Amaya holds her head down.

“Yes, papa.” Little Amaya whispers.

Amaya stares at her reflection in the water. The Kirai Village has many deep rooted traditions. Some of these traditions revolve around the discipline of children. All of the clans residing within the village believe in, ‘setting fair and reasonable punishments’. The clans also believe that, ‘punishments should be learning tools’.

Amaya closes her eyes. The traditional punishment for children who wander off has two stages. The first stage of her punishment was being forced to skip dinner that night. Then her father took her outside and gave her a small lecture. Since it was dark outside it was a tad bit chilly. Amaya remembers her stomach growling and being cold while her father gave her the lecture. The whole idea behind the child experiencing being cold and hungry is to give the child the idea of what it would be like to spend the night in the forest alone. The second stage of Amaya’s punishment began the next morning. The second stage of the punishment for children who wander off is too not be able to leave their parents sight. However, every parent can decide on the duration. For Amaya, it was three days. For Luna, it was five days.

Amaya looks up at the sky. She remembers her father’s lecture very well.

Little Amaya stands outside beside her father. Little Amaya’s empty stomach rumbles. She frowns.

“Amaya…,” Akito says as he looks at his daughter. “What’s important is that you are safe, along with young Luna. However, you need to understand that things could have ended very differently today.”

Little Amaya looks up at her father with a confused look.

“The two of you could have ended up in serious trouble.” Akito says. “The forest can be a dangerous place for young children. Especially at night! A lot of dangerous predators come out at night! Bandits also patrol forests surrounding villages, waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack. You and Luna could have been found by bandits. The two of you could have been kidnapped, or worse….killed. There is also the possibility that you and Luna may have never been found. Our men were actually lucky that they found you and Luna. However, our men could have never even found the meadow.”

Akito looks back at the woods. He then looks back down at little Amaya.

“Amaya….do you understand what I am saying?” Akito asks.

Little Amaya looks down at her feet, slowly thinking about her father’s words.

“You mean that if uncle Raiden and the other men hadn’t found the meadow, then Luna and I wouldn’t have been brought back to the village?” Little Amaya asks.

“Yes!” Akito says. “You and Luna could have very well spent the night in the forest.”

All of the sudden, Little Amaya’s stomach rumbles again. Little Amaya frowns. She then starts to shiver slightly, finally noticing how cold the night air is.

“Amaya….if you and Luna had spent the night in the forest, then the two of you would have been hungry and cold, just like you are now!” Akito says.

Little Amaya’s stomach rumbles some more. Little Amaya also shivers some more.

Akito bends down so he is at eye level with Little Amaya.

“I brought you out here so you could actually get the idea of how miserable you and Luna would have been out in the forest.” Akito says. “Being cold and hungry is not very pleasant, is it?”

Little Amaya shakes her head.

Akito looks back at the forest. He sighs.

“It is also incredibly difficult to see in the forest at night.” Akito says. “If you and Luna had tried to find your way back to the village yourselves, in the dark, you two could have suffered an accident! Then the two of you would have hurt yourselves very badly!”

Little Amaya holds her head down. Akito puts his hand under Amaya’s chin and slowly raises her head up. Akito looks sternly at Little Amaya.

“Amaya...I want you to understand that it is safest to stay near the village.” Akito says. “The world can be a very dangerous place for young children.”

Akito then stands straighter. He gestures for Little Amaya to look at the surrounding village.

“Amaya…,” Akito says. “Do you know why the clans in the Kirai Village live and work together?”

Little Amaya shakes her head.

“The clans in the Kirai village are all friends.” Akito says. “We all live together. We work together in order for the village to be a safe place for our children to live and grow up. We all help one another in times of need. We all defend the village together from anyone who would wish to end the village. We all look out for one another. It’s what we do!”

Little Amaya blinks a few times. She is finally starting to understand her father’s words.

“However, we also experience loss together.” Akito says. “The Kirai village has a long history of suffering attacks from enemies.”

Akito closes his eyes for a few moments. He then looks down at Little Amaya.

“Your mother and I thought we had lost you today.” Akito says. “The two of us didn’t know if you were dead or alive or even injured. It was absolute agony not knowing where you were!”

 Little Amaya closes her eyes.

“Losing a child is a loss that leaves a permanent hole in your heart.” Akito says. He looks towards one end of the village. He stares in that direction for a few moments before turning his attention back to Little Amaya. “There are people in this village whom have lost children. Your mother and I have witnessed their pain and suffering. Amaya, your mother and I love you and your brothers so much. The thought of losing any of you is unbearable!”

Akito takes a deep breath.

“Amaya, please try not to scare your mother and I like that ever again.” Akito says.

Little Amaya blinks a few times.

“Yes, Papa.” Little Amaya says. “I won’t ever wander off like that again!”

Akito manages a small smile.

“Good!” Akito says. After a few moments he takes another breath.

“However, I am afraid that your punishment is not over yet.” Akito says. “It would give your mother and I peace of mind if we could keep you in our sights for awhile. So, starting tomorrow, you are not allowed to leave your mother’s sight. You must tell your mother when you need to use the restroom so that she will know where you are. Tonight, after you go to bed, your mother and I will talk and decide how many days should be sufficient enough.”

Little Amaya looks at the ground.

“Ok.” Little Amaya says simply.

Akito smiles. “Good.” Akito says. He looks up at the sky. “Now, time for us to get back to the house. It is time for you to go to bed.”

Akito and Amaya begin walking towards the house. However, midway there, Akito stops.

“Amaya…,” Akito says. “Since we had the discussion about the forest I have a point to make. It is true that the forest can be a dangerous place. However, the forest may also save your life! When the village is under attack by enemies, the safest place is the forest. The only time you should go into the forest without our permission is when the village is under attack. Do you understand?”

“Yes, papa.” Little Amaya says.

Amaya blinks as she looks up at the sky. Her father’s lecture has stuck with her, even after all of these years. Amaya learned her lesson. She never wandered off like that ever again.

Amaya looks at her reflection in the water. Since Luna could not leave her mother’s side for five days, Amaya, wouldn’t be allowed to interact with Luna until Luna’s five days were up. However, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Even though Aizen dried off and changed his clothes after the group of boys pushed him into the lake, he still caught a cold. A bad cold! Aizen was not able to get out of bed for a week. Hanako, was so stressed out. Even though Amaya’s punishment ended after three days, she decided to stay near her mother until Aizen’s cold was gone. Amaya, at that time, felt very guilty for wandering off. Amaya thought that staying near her mother would help alleviate some of her mother’s stress. That way, Hanako, would not have to worry about Amaya while Aizen was sick.

Amaya looks up at the stars. Amaya and Luna did not see each other for seven days. However, when they finally saw each other again, they were very happy. Their parents even let them go to the meadow where they met, as long as they told their parents where they were going. Eventually, the two girls met Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki. This began the friendship of the five girls. However, Amaya and Luna, were the closest out of the five girls. Amaya smiles as she remembers the good old times.

Young Luna and young Amaya lay on the grass in a small meadow next to the village. The two girls giggle as they look at the stars. The two girls are five years old.

“Look!” Amaya says, as she points to a cluster of stars. “Those stars look like a tree!”

“Wow, they sure do!” Luna says. Luna then points to a cluster of stars.

“Those stars look like a frog!” Luna says.

“Yeah!” Amaya says.

The two girls giggle.

Amaya smiles to herself. Sometimes Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki would stargaze with Luna and Amaya.

Luna, Amaya, Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki lay in the grass. The five girls have formed a circle in the grass. The five girls are six years old.

“Look,” Takara says as she points to a cluster of stars. “Those stars looks like a dog!”

The five girls giggle.

“Look,” Yuzuki says as she points to a cluster of stars. “Those stars look like a flower!”

The five girls giggle again. All of the sudden a yell catches the girls attention.

“TAKARA!” The voice yells. It is Takara’s father. “IT’S GETTING LATE! COME ON!”

“That’s my father!” Young Takara says. She looks back at her friends. She then stands up. “Goodbye. I’ll see you all tomorrow.”

Soon enough, the rest of the girls soon hear their parents calling for them. The five girls all bid each other goodbye and head off towards their houses.

Amaya smiles to herself. The five girls also liked to pick flowers and make flower chains and crowns. Amaya and Luna even showed Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki the meadow. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki absolutely loved the meadow.

Little Amaya and Luna are picking flowers in the meadow with Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki. The five girls are five years old. The five girls are in the process of making flower chains. Each girl already wears a crown of flowers on their foreheads. Now, they are all in the process of making necklaces. The five girls talk and giggle as they work.

“I love pink and red flowers!” Little Takara says. She has a pile of pink and red flowers next to her. Her crown is made of pink and red flowers.

“I love orange and white flowers!” Little Yuzuki says. She has a pile of orange and white flowers next to her. Her crown is made up of white and orange flowers.

“I like purple and pink flowers!” Little Katara says. She has a pile of purple and pink flowers next to her. Her crown is made of purple and pink flowers.

“I like white, blue, and purple flowers.” Little Amaya says. She has a pile of white, blue and purple flowers beside her. Her crown is made up of white, blue and purple flowers.

“What about you Luna?” Little Yuzuki asks. “Which flowers do you like best?”

Little Yuzuki turns to look at Little Luna. Little Yuzuki lets out a surprised gasp. Little Amaya, Takara, and Katara look at Little Luna as well. They all gasp.

Little Luna’s crown is a rainbow of colors. There are pink and red flowers. There are orange and yellow flowers. There are blue and purple flowers. There are even white flowers.

Little Luna giggles. “I don’t have a favorite colored flower!” Little Luna says “I love all flowers!”

Amaya laughs to herself when she remembers that particular day in the meadow. Luna always made the most colorful flower chains.

Amaya closes her eyes. Most of the girls early childhood was spent playing, learning Kirai history and traditions, and learning to do chores. The girls learned Kirai history and traditions through storytelling by the elders. Amaya’s grandmother, Rina, and Luna’s grandmother, Aiko, were the best storytellers.

Amaya and Luna sit next together on a floor made of tatami mats. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki, sit close by. The five girls are five years old. Other children of various ages also sit close by.

Rina stands in front of the group of children. Another woman stands close by. Jarou, Korra and Seiji are also in the room. Today, the children are learning of how the clan’s in the Kirai Village overcame a severe drought, centuries ago.  

“It was nearly 200 years ago.” Rina says. “The Kirai Village was strong and prosperous. However, that year the village went through a tough dry season. However, the villagers were not overly concerned. They knew that the wet season would come. So, the villagers did what they could to conserve the water they had, and waited patiently for the wet season to come.”

“However, the wet season came, but there was barely any rain” The woman next to Rina says. The woman has dark eyes, black hair and light skin. The woman is Luna’s grandmother, Aiko. Aiko is Toshiko’s mother.

All of the children gasp.

“What happened then?” Little Katara asks.

“The creeks and rivers remained low.” Aiko says. “The lake that was close by even started to become low.”

“The villagers were now very concerned.” Rina says. “They all realized that they were getting low on water and fast! However, they could not think of a solution to the problem.”

“The villagers also realized that they had a serious problem.” Aiko says. “There was not enough water to irrigate the rice patties, or their other crops.”

“The villagers realized that they would soon face starvation if they could not think of a solution.” Rina says. “The heads of each clan got together to come up with ideas on how to irrigate their crops. A man came up with the idea of using the inter-dimensional viewing jutsu to learn how people in other dimensions irrigate their crops. Every user of the inter-dimensional jutsu gathered together. They used this jutsu to learn as much as they could about irrigating crops. However, even when the villagers applied all of the techniques that had been learned, it still wasn’t enough. There still wasn’t enough water to irrigate the crops.”

The children all gasp again.

“What did the villagers do then, grandma.” Little Amaya asks, with wide eyes.

“The villagers were desperate.” Rina says. “However, one man noted how the mountains in the far east seemed to be receiving rain. Curious, he decide to travel there and see if he could find an alternate water source for the village.”

“When the man reached the mountains, he was amazed by what he saw.” Aiko says. “Hidden behind the mountain range was a huge lake! The man knew that this lake could save his village. However, there was still a problem. The village was far away. How could the water get to the village? So, the man went back and told of what he found. The heads of each clan debated on what to do. They soon came up with a solution.”

“All of the men from the village gathered together and traveled to the lake.” Rina says. “Slowly, the men began digging a trench, leading from the lake behind the mountains, to the lake by the village. Once the trench was finished, the men began the process of digging a hole in the embankment. Soon enough, water flowed from the lake into the trench.”

“The water from the lake in the mountains slowly flowed into the lake by the village, keeping it from drying up.” Aiko says. “The villagers rejoiced. However, the villagers, realized that they still needed to use water conserving principles, since they did not know how long the drought would last.”

“Even though there was enough water to irrigate the rice patties there was still a problem.” Rina says. “The heat and sunshine seemed to dry the rice fields up very quickly. It seemed like the villagers were having to fill the rice fields up nearly three times a day. That year the rice crop was very poor. There was just barely enough rice to feed everyone”

The children all gasp again. They all look at one another.

“What happened then?” Little Yuzuki asks.

“A man decided that drastic measure must be taken.” Aiko says. “The man took a horse and travelled to notoriously dry countries, in search of answers. The man explained the plight of the Kirai Village to anyone who would listen. Eventually, the man found a village willing to help him. In exchange for work the village gave the man seeds. The seeds were of grains that could survive drought conditions. The man packed up all of the seeds and headed back to his village.”

“The next wet season, there was still no rain.” Rina says. “However, the man came back, leading the horse. On the horse’s back were the bags of seeds. The villagers eagerly planted the seeds. The seeds thrived, so the villagers did not have to go hungry that year!”

All of the children’s eyes widen. They smile.

“Alas, the drought lasted for three years.” Aiko says. “However, due to the dedication of the villagers the village managed to survive.”

Amaya smiles. Listening to the elders stories was some of the best times the five girls had.

Amaya then looks back up at the sky. The village women also worked together to teach the young girls of the village basic homemaking skills. These skills consisted of cooking, cleaning, sewing, and childcare. The village women also taught the young village girls how to tend gardens, and how to gather wild edibles.

Amaya sighs. Amaya and her friends were taught all of these things from a very early age. When Amaya and Luna were young they found sewing to be tedious work. However, the two girls found sewing to be more enjoyable as they grew older. Luna and Amaya enjoyed tending gardens and gathering wild edibles the most. Amaya smiles. Amaya and Luna especially enjoyed picking berries.

Amaya and Luna are picking berries from a bush. Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki are picking berries from nearby bushes. The five girls are six years old. Since they are still young, the girls need to stick close to their mother’s and other adult women. However, Takara’s sister, Taki, is old enough to work without adult supervision. Taki, is currently picking berries with girls her age, in another part of the forest.

“Remember, girls.” Hanako says to all of the young girls present. “Pick only the berries that are fully ripe. Ripe berries will not have any white discoloration.”

“We know, Mama.” Little Amaya says. She picks a few berries and tosses them into a little basket that is attached to a belt around her waist. All of the other little girls wear similar baskets. The adults have larger baskets.

Nearby, Rina and Aiko stand with a gentle black and white pack horse. The horse carries two large baskets, both of which are halfway filled with berries. The goal for today is to fill up the two large baskets. There is a wedding coming up and the women want there to be enough food for the wedding feast.

Little Amaya and Little Luna are very busy picking berries. Sometimes, they will pop a few into their mouths as a little treat. It is okay, as long as they still fill their baskets.

Little Amaya and Little Luna talk to each other as they work.

“I love berries.” Little Amaya says.

“I do too.” Little Luna says.

However, the two girls are so focused on their work they don’t notice that they are starting to wander too far from the group. However, a panicked shout catches everyone’s attention.

“LUNA!” It is Toshiko. “WHERE ARE YOU?”

“AMAYA!?” Hanako yells.

“We are over here!” Little Luna says.

Little Luna and Little Amaya look up from their work. The two of them soon realize why their mothers panicked. The two girls ended up moving to another bush, where their mothers could not see them. Not only that, but the girls were also getting too close to a cliff. Oops.

“Sorry, mama.” Little Amaya says. “Luna and I were so busy picking berries that we didn’t pay attention to how far we were going.”

“Sorry.” Little Luna says.

Hanako sighs. She looks over at Toshiko. However, Toshiko is staring at the cliff edge. Toshiko looks at a spot that looks as if part of the cliff crumbled, and fell into the river below. Toshiko closes her eyes as if trying to forget something. Toshiko shakes her head. She opens her eyes and looks at Luna.

“The two of you need to stay close.” Toshiko says.

“Just don’t move onto another bush until Toshiko and I are ready.” Hanako says. “Do the two of you understand?”

Little Amaya and Little Luna hold their heads down.

“Yes.” The two girls say together.

Amaya sighs. Whenever Luna would start to go too far when gathering food in the forest, Toshiko would go into full blown panic mode. Most of the time, Luna, didn’t even go that far, maybe only a few feet at the most. However, it seems like Toshiko would freak out the most when berry picking by the cliffs.

Luna’s parents were so overprotective over Luna . Amaya thinks to herself. I just can’t understand why. It’s not like Luna was prone to wandering off all the time or anything. Luna was a very obedient child. It just seems like they were always afraid something bad would happen to Luna, no matter how careful she was.

Amaya looks down at the water. Well, Amaya thinks. Luna was their only child. The very thought of losing your only child must have been very scary!

Amaya sighs again. When the girls were seven they began their formal education in Kirai clan jutsu’s. All children who inherit blood from the Kirai clan are given this education. Even though Takara and Yuzuki were from different clans, they shared blood with the Kirai clan. So, Takara and Yuzuki were given the same education as Amaya, Luna, and Katara.  

Amaya sits beside Luna on a tatami mat floor. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki sit close by. The five girls are seven years old. Other children, all the same age, sit nearby.

Rina and a few elders stand in front of the children. Rina holds her hands up.

“Now,” Rina says. “In order to learn Kirai Clan jutsu’s, you must be able to manipulate your chakra. Sit and hold your hands together like this.”

Rina puts her hands together and forms a hand sign. The children quickly copy her.

“Good!” Rina says. “Now, close your eyes and focus. Imagine your chakra flowing through your body.”

The children all close their eyes. However, Amaya and Luna spare a quick glance at each other. The two of them smile. The two girls are excited to finally begin their training.

Amaya sighs. Amaya and her friends enjoyed their training. Things were great. However, when the girls were eight, tragedy struck. Aiko, Luna’s grandmother, suddenly fell ill and died. Poor Luna was absolutely devastated. Luna had been very close with her grandmother. Amaya remembers Luna’s grief like it was yesterday.

Amaya watches as Luna cries under a tree. Katara, Yuzuki, and Takara stand close by. The five girls are eight years old. Aiko died a week ago.

Amaya slowly approaches Luna. Amaya puts a hand on Luna’s shoulder. Luna looks up at Amaya. Luna’s eyes are red. Tear stains streak Luna’s cheeks.

“I miss your grandmother too.” Amaya says. “However...your grandmother would not want you to grieve forever. She would want you to be happy.”

Luna sniffles.

“I know.” Luna says. “I just..can’t believe that she’s gone.”

Luna breaks down again. Amaya hugs Luna tightly.

It almost seemed as if Luna would never smile again. However, with the help and support of her friends and family, Luna eventually recovered. However, Luna had forever changed. Luna, wasn’t quite as lively as she used to be.

Amaya sighs. As the girls got older, their chores became more and more advanced. When the girls were ten they began babysitting the village children without the help of the adults. Amaya smiles as she remembers the first time the girls babysat without the help of the adults.

Amaya and Luna are in a room with Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki. The five girls are surrounded by babies and toddlers.

Young Amaya holds a small baby. The baby giggles and pulls on Amaya’s hair.

“OUCH!” Young Amaya says. “LET GO!”

Young Luna sits on the floor nearby. She is playing with a small toddler. Luna looks over at Amaya. Seeing Amaya’s predicament, Luna tries to think of a solution. Luna then spots a toy that the toddler has lost interest in. Luna then gets an idea. She looks at the toddler.

“Can you sit here and play while I help Amaya?” Luna asks the toddler, in a sweet voice. “I won’t take very long.”

The toddler just smiles and gives a little nod. Luna smiles back and then grabs the toy. Luna stands up and walks over to Amaya. Luna holds the toy out so that the baby can see it.  

“Look, at this!” Luna says to the baby, getting it’s attention. Luna starts moving the toy in front of the baby. Luna moves the stuffed dog like it is walking. Then, Luna lifts up the stuffed dog to make it look as if the stuffed dog is jumping up and down. The baby giggles in delight. Luna then turns to Amaya. Luna gestures to Amaya to take the stuffed dog.

“Here,” Luna says. “Just move the dog around like I just did.”

Amaya does as Luna says. The baby giggles with delight. Amaya breathes a sigh of relief.

“Good!” Amaya says. “The baby is not interested in my hair anymore!”

Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki watch the scene a few feet away. The three of them are also trying to entertain babies and toddlers.

“Playing with the babies and little ones is kinda fun.” Katara says. “However, dealing with crying and tantrums is no fun at all!”

“Yeah!” Yuzuki says. Yuzuki then narrows her eyes. She looks down at the baby she is holding. Yuzuki sniffs the air and gasps. She gets a disgusted look on her face.

“And changing dirty diapers is absolutely the worst thing ever!” Yuzuki cries.

Yuzuki gags as she carries the infant into another room to be changed.

Amaya manages a small laugh as she remembers that day of babysitting. Out of the five girls, Luna had the most patience when it came to babysitting. However, as time passed, babysitting became more of an enjoyable chore. Each day of babysitting was unpredictable. Some days, the girls would babysit only a group of infants. Sometimes, the girls would babysit only toddlers. Sometimes, the girls would get infants and toddlers to babysit. When Amaya and her friends would get only little girls to babysit, they would go and teach the little girls how to make flower chains in the meadow.

Amaya sits with a little girl in the meadow. She is teaching the little girl to make a flower chain. Luna sits nearby. She is also teaching a little girl how to make a flower chain. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki are also nearby. They are also teaching little girls how to make flower chains.

“Ok,” Luna says to the little girl beside her. “Take a flower and make a little hole with your fingernail. Make the hole in the thickest part of the stem.”

The little girl does as Luna says.

“Good!” Luna says. “Now, take another flower and thread the stem of that flower into the hole.”

The little girl does as Luna says. The little girl smiles when she realizes what she has accomplished.

“Great!” Luna says. “Now you have to keep repeating what you just did until you get a long chain. Then, you can attach the two ends together. You can make either a bracelet, a crown, or a necklace.”

“I think I want to make a crown.” The little girl says. “My older sister is getting married soon! My parents say that she will wear a crown of white flowers. If I get good at this my parents might let me help make my sister’s crown!”

Luna smiles. “Oh, how sweet of you!” Luna says. “I am sure that your parents would be very proud of you!”

Amaya smiles as she looks up at the sky. Luna especially liked teaching the little girls of the village to make flower chains.

Amaya closes her eyes. She misses Luna so much. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki miss Luna dearly as well. Luna’s death has left a huge void in the girls lives.

Amaya stares at the water as more memories come back to her.

Amaya and Luna run around the village. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki are following close behind. The five girls are five years old. They all giggle and laugh as they run. Many villagers smile as they watch the girls play. Among the villagers are the girls parents. The girls parents all smile at the sight.

Amaya blinks a few times. Her eyes begin to water.

Amaya, Luna, Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki all play in a cluster of trees. The girls are six years old. The girls all run around the trees. The five girls all giggle and laugh.

Amaya closes her eyes. Tears begin to stream down her face.

Amaya, Luna, Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki dance around their special meadow. The five girls are seven years old. The girls giggle and laugh as they dance.

Amaya slowly blinks as more tears stream down her cheeks.

Amaya, Luna, Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki all walk around a meadow next to the village. The five girls are nine years old. It is dusk. Fireflies fly around the meadow. The girls laugh and giggle as they try to catch fireflies.

Amaya closes her eyes again. A few tears fall from Amaya’s eyes. A few tears fall into the water.

Amaya, Luna, Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki are busy getting toddlers ready for a nap.The five girls are eleven years old. Luna gently rocks a small toddler in her arms. She then gently places the toddler on a futon. Luna smiles as she places a blanket over the toddler. Luna then begins to hum a lullaby.

Amaya opens her eyes. She looks up at the sky. Amaya sniffles. She can almost see Luna’s face in the sky. Amaya imagines Luna looking down at her from the afterlife. Amaya lets out a few sobs.

“....Luna….,” Amaya says as she sobs. “I miss you so much.”

Amaya breaks down. She begins to sob her heart out.

Chapter Text

Amaya stops sobbing. She sniffles.

Luna...I wish you were here. Amaya thinks to herself. She looks up at the sky. She manages to smile when she sees how pretty the stars are tonight.

The stars are so pretty tonight. Amaya thinks. If Luna was here she would agree that tonight would be a great night for stargazing.

Amaya lets out a sigh. As the girls grew older they were expected to take on more responsibilities. This meant the girls had less time to spend on enjoyable activities such as going to the meadow or stargazing. The girls always cherished any time they could have to stargaze together.

Amaya closes her eyes. Once the girls were twelve their lives revolved around chores, training in the Kirai Clan jutsus, and family life. Many of the new chores the girls started doing were preparing lodging for village guests and caring for the village animals. The girls especially liked caring for the village dogs. The village dogs guard and protect the village from intruders. The dogs work together as a pack and are always led by a dominant male dog. The dominant male dog that Amaya and her friends grew up with was a large dog named Yori. Yori, was a large black dog with a white muzzle, white tipped ears, a white tipped tail, and white paws. Yori, died in the village attack seven years ago.

Amaya sighs. Amaya and her siblings actually owe their very existence to Yori’s great-grandfather, Akito. Amaya’s father was actually named after that dog, for a very special reason. Amaya’s father was actually not born into the Kirai Clan. Amaya’s father, Akito, had been adopted. The Kirai Clan has a habit of adopting orphans. Amaya’s father had been found abandoned by some village men while they were out hunting. One of the hunters and his wife were actually childless, so they decided to adopt Amaya’s father. However, Amaya’s adoptive paternal grandparents had a hard time agreeing on a name for Amaya’s father. Then, three days after Amaya’s father had been found, the village was attacked by bandits. Amaya’s adoptive paternal grandmother tried to escape into the forest with Amaya’s father. However, a bandit cornered her and was prepared to kill her and Amaya’s father. Then, Akito, Yori’s great-grandfather jumped in and attacked the bandit. Akito, thus saved Amaya’s father and adoptive paternal grandmother. However, the brave dog lost his life in the process. So, Amaya’s adoptive paternal grandparents decided to name Amaya’s father Akito, after that brave dog. Amaya’s father always told Amaya and her siblings that story. Amaya’s father also reminded them that without that dog’s sacrifice, he would have been killed by that bandit, thus Amaya and her siblings would have never been born.

Amaya smiles. Yori, was always Amaya’s favorite village dog. Amaya can remember many of Yori’s deeds.

Amaya, Luna, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki are playing in a field next to the village. The five girls are seven years old. Yori, and a few other village dogs are patrolling the edge of the village. All of the sudden, Yori, growls and runs into the field. Yori, gets in front of Takara, and starts nudging her back. Takara’s father, Tarou, notices and quickly walks over. Tarou, lets out a horrified gasp. He snatches up Takara.

“SNAKE!” Tarou yells. “Girls get back!”

Amaya, Luna, Katara, and Yuzuki do as Tarou says. There curled up in the grass, just feet away from where Takara was just standing, is a large snake.

Tarou, still holding Takara in his arms looks down at Yori. Tarou, holds Takara with one arm as he pats Yori’s head.

“Good boy, Yori!” Tarou says.

Amaya smiles. There is one incident that Amaya will never forget.

Amaya and Luna run frantically around the village. The two of them were babysitting with Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki. The five girls had put the children down for a nap. While the children were napping, the girls decided to clean the babysittting house. However, after naptime was over, the girls went to wake up the children, only to discover that one of the little girls was missing. It looks as if the little girl woke up during her nap and somehow managed to slip out of the house without anyone noticing. Now, Amaya and Luna are searching for the child.

“SARI!” Amaya yells. “WHERE ARE YOU?”

“WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?” A voice suddenly yells.

Amaya and Luna quickly turn to see a group of men approaching them. Among them is Akito. Sari’s father is also among them. Amaya gulps.

“Why are you shouting my daughters name?” Sari’s father asks. His hair is dark brown and his eyes are blue green. “Is everything ok?”

“No!” Luna says. “We put the children down for a nap earlier. While the children napped we decided to do some cleaning.”

“However,” Amaya says. “It appears that little Sari woke up during her nap. She managed to get out of the house without anyone noticing!”

Sari’s father gasps. He hold his head down.

“Apparently my wife didn’t tell you….” Sari’s father says. “Sari, has a bad habit of doing that.”

All of the sudden, everyone hears barking from the edge of the village. Everyone quickly runs to see what is wrong. Yori, is standing in front of a tiny girl. The tiny girl looks to barely be two and has brown hair and blue green eyes. The tiny girl is attempting to waddle into the forest. However, Yori, is preventing her from doing so.

“SARI!” Sari’s father yells. He quickly runs and snatches the girl up. Akito, walks up to Yori, and pats him on the head.

“Good boy, Yori!” Akito says.

Amaya smiles. Yori, was such a good dog.  

Amaya looks up at the sky. When the girls were twelve, Aizen and Taki got married. That was a very excitable time for everyone.

Amays smiles. She remembers getting ready for the wedding. Amaya and her friends spent most of the time gathering food for the wedding feast.

Amaya, Luna, Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki are picking berries from bushes. Many women, including the girls mothers are also picking berries. Many other women are also gathering wild edible greens. Amaya and her friends listen as the women talk about the upcoming wedding.

“Oh, Hanako!” Amaya hears a woman say. “You must be so proud of Aizen! He has chosen a wonderful girl to spend the rest of his life with!”

“Yes!” Hanako replies. “I am very proud.”

Amaya and her friends all look at each other. They smile. However, Luna soon notices that her mother, Toshiko, has a distant look in her eyes. Toshiko, is staring at the cliff edge. Not only that Toshiko, is staring at the edge where the cliff edge looks like it broke and crumbled. Luna turns to her friends.

“My mother is staring at the cliff edge again.” Luna says worriedly.

“Your mother does that everytime we come to pick berries.” Yuzuki says. “I wonder why?”

Amaya shakes her head.

“Let’s just focus on picking berries right now.” Amaya says. She looks down at her basket. “We have been out here for an hour and our baskets are not even full yet!”

Amaya closes her eyes. Everytime the women and girls would go berry picking, Toshiko, would stare at the cliff edge. It always looked as if Toshiko was remembering something unpleasant everytime she looked towards the cliff edge. However, the girls could never think of what it was.

Amaya frowns. During the preparation for Aizen and Taki’s wedding, Toshiko, did act very strangely. Amaya clearly remembers many of those instances like it was yesterday.

Amaya walks towards Luna’s house. Amaya carries her baby sister, Yuri, in a sling. Amaya and Luna are going to babysit some of the village children. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki will be joining them. The village women are trying to plan Taki and Aizen’s wedding.

Amaya reaches Luna’s house. Luna opens the door and steps outside. Luna smiles when she sees Amaya and baby Yuri.

“You ready?” Amaya asks. Luna nods. Amaya then notices that Toshiko is sitting under a tree next to the house. Luna soon notices as well.

“Mother, I am going now.” Luna says. “I am going to babysit with my friends.”

However, Toshiko, does not respond. Toshiko has a distant look in her eyes. Luna and Amaya quickly notice a small pale blue baby hat in Toshiko’s hands. Luna and Amaya look at one another, confused.

“Mother?” Luna asks, concernedly.

Toshiko looks up at Luna.

“Oh, Luna.” Toshiko says. “I didn’t see you there. Where are you going?”

“Mother, I told you that I was going to babysit with my friends.” Luna says. “Did you not hear me?”

Toshiko looks down.

“I am sorry my dear,” Toshiko says. “I just want to be left alone today.”

Luna raises an eyebrow. However, she just sighs. She looks over at Amaya.

“Come on, let’s go.” Luna says. “Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki might be waiting for us.”

Amaya nods back. The two girls head off, leaving Toshiko to sit under the tree.

Amaya sighs. Toshiko, would be caught doing that a lot during the girls childhood. Sometimes, Toshiko, would be holding something other than the baby cap. Sometimes, Toshiko, would be holding a small baby blanket. Sometimes, Toshiko, would even be holding a small stuffed dog. Takeo, even acted weird sometimes. On occasion, the girls would catch Takeo staring in the direction of the forest. Coincidentally, that would be the direction where the berry bushes by the cliffs were.

Amaya sighs again. Despite Toshiko and Takeo’s bizarre behavior, Aizen and Taki’s wedding was still a happy occasion. Then, six months later, Taki found out that she was pregnant. Amaya and Takara were excited to become aunties. Luna was also excited. Luna couldn’t wait for the baby to be born so she could help Amaya babysit.

Amaya sighs. For a while it was a happy time. However, an event changed everything. That was the day Anbu Black Ops from the Hidden Leaf Village visited. With them came, Itachi Uchiha, the man responsible for the life altering event.

Amaya closes her eyes. Amaya begins to think about the day the Anbu Black Ops arrived. That day, Amaya and Luna were babysitting along with Katara and Yuzuki. Takara’s mother was suffering from a terrible headache that day so Takara stayed home to take care of her mother.

Amaya frowns. That day of babysitting did not get off to a good start. Just an hour into the girls task one of the children, Hachirou Kita, began complaining of a stomach ache. Luna ended up taking Hachirou home. Then, after Luna returned the girls had to deal with another situation. A young boy named Yuuta Fujioka, took a toy from a little boy named Souta Ishikawa. Yuuta refused to give the toy back. The girls tried to convince Yuuta, to give the toy back. However, Yuuta, absolutely refused to give the toy up. When Amaya tried to take the toy from Yuuta, the young boy ended up running away. Amaya and Luna had to chase, Yuuta, around the village. The chase finally ended when Yuuta, ran into a mysterious anbu wearing a weasel mask.

Amaya and Luna chase a small boy around the village. Amaya and Luna are thirteen years old. The small boy has black hair and dark brown eyes. The small boy holds a stuffed tiger in his arms.

“YUUTA!” Amaya yells. “STOP THIS BEHAVIOR RIGHT NOW!”

“NO!” Yuuta yells back. “THIS IS MY TOY NOW!”

“THAT IS NOT YOUR TOY!” Luna yells. “THAT TOY BELONGS TO SOUTA! YOU NEED TO GIVE IT BACK!”

“NO!” Yuuta yells again.

Amaya breathes heavily as she runs. Luna breathes heavily as well.

"Yuuta’s worse than Haruto was at that age!” Amaya says.

“You are right on that one!” Luna says. “Haruto was pretty naughty when he was Yuuta’s age!”

All of the sudden the girls hear a thud. They looks to see Yuuta sitting on the ground in front of a mysterious person. The mysterious person wears ninja attire. A weasel mask conceals the strangers face. The weasel masked stranger has black hair, tied back into a ponytail. Amaya and Luna then notice that there are more masked strangers behind the weasel masked stranger. Amaya feels herself tense up. She looks over to Luna. Luna also has a puzzled look on her face. Amaya then notices that the mysterious masked strangers are standing a few feet away from the village entrance. Amaya narrows her eyes. Strange ninja have entered the village! Why?

Amaya tenses up again when she remembers Yuuta. Yuuta is staring at the strange weasel masked individual with wide eyes. Yuuta could be in danger! No matter how angry Amaya may be with the young boy, Yuuta is her charge for the day. She has to ensure Yuuta’s safety!

Yuuta gets to his feet. He slowly backs away from the weasel masked stranger. All of the sudden a growl is heard. Amaya and Luna turn to see the village dog pack approaching. The pack leader, Yori, is at the head of the pack. Yori, is a very fierce and protective dog. However, at the same time, Yori can be very gentle. Yori is especially popular with the children.

Yori, quickly gets between Yuuta, and the weasel masked stranger. Yori, stands bravely in front of the young boy and growls. The weasel masked stranger does not say anything. However, the weasel masked stranger holds his hand out. Yori, growls as he sniffs the strangers hand. After a few minutes, Yori, stops growling. Yori, backs away from the stranger and leads the rest of the dog pack away.

Amaya’s eyes widen. If Yori, trusts the weasel masked stranger then the weasel masked stranger must not be a threat.

“Please...do not be alarmed.” The weasel masked stranger says. The weasel masked stranger removes his mask, revealing a teenage boy with pale skin and red eyes with three black tomoe in each eye. Amaya suddenly gasps. Sharingan! The teenage boy is from the Uchiha Clan! The teenage boy wears a Hidden Leaf Village headband on his forehead.

The teenage boy bows his head.

“My name is Itachi Uchiha.” The teenage boy says. “I am the captain of the anbu Black Ops of the Hidden Leaf Village. My squad and I need to see the village leader.”

Amaya’s eyes widen. These ninja want to see her grandmother!? Amaya quickly regains her composure.

“The village leader is my grandmother, Rina Kirai.” Amaya says. “May I ask why you Leaf Shinobi want to see her.”

“A member of our squad was severely injured on a mission.” Itachi says. “We heard that the Village belonging to the Kirai Clan has amazing healers. We came to request help for our injured squad member.”

Amaya quickly looks over to the other masked strangers to see a few of them supporting a masked individual with a severe wound on his shoulder. The wound is very bloody.

Amaya closes her eyes. These ninja are not here to do any harm to the village. They are here in need of help for their friend. Since Itachi, the leader of the anbu squad, is being respectful and polite the village is obliged to help them. Yori, even trusts Itachi. The anbu are not a threat to the village. Amaya opens her eyes.

“My grandmother is with the other village elders.” Amaya says. “I will take you to her.”

Itachi bows again. “Thank you!” Itachi says very respectfully.

Amaya nods. She then notices that Itachi is now looking past her. Amaya turns to look over her shoulder. Amaya notices Luna standing not too far away. Eventually, Itachi and Luna make eye contact. Luna, immediately blushes and turns her head a little. Amaya blinks a few times. However, she decides to turn her attention back to young Yuuta on the ground. Amaya frowns as she walks up to Yuuta and Itachi.

“Now, Yuuta.” Amaya says. “You have been causing a lot of trouble today. That is not your toy. It belongs to Souta. You need to give it back!”

“NO!” Yuuta yells. “IT IS MINE NOW!”

Amaya grits her teeth.

“That is not your toy!” Amaya says again.

“Yuuta...so that is his name.” Itachi says. “He actually ran right into me.”

“I am very sorry.” Amaya says. “My friends and I were put on babysitting duty this morning. Young Yuuta here decided to take another child’s toy and he absolutely refuses to give it back. We tried to take it from him but he ran away.”

Amaya then looks back at Luna. Amaya sighs.

“My friend, Luna, and I have been chasing Yuuta for quite a while.” Amaya says. “Yuuta is being very stubborn!”

Amaya frowns and looks Yuuta right in the eye.

“Yuuta….give me the tiger!” Amaya says.

“NO!” Yuuta yells again.

Amaya takes a deep breath. Amaya reaches for the toy. Yuuta snarls and slaps Amaya’s hand away. HARD! Amaya clutches her hand.

“Amaya!” Luna says. “Are you ok?”

Amaya grits her teeth. She has had enough of Yuuta behavior! Amaya turns to Luna.

“Luna…,” Amaya says. “I want you to take these Leaf ninja to my grandmother. I am taking Yuuta home! Since Yuuta has struck me I wish to tell his parents about his awful behavior myself!”

“...Ok…,” Luna says. Luna meets Itachi’s eyes again. Luna blushes again.

“Come with me.” Luna says. She gestures for Itachi and the rest of the Leaf ninja to follow her. Itachi and his squad begin following Luna. Amaya grabs Yuuta’s arm and begins pulling the young boy as she walks.

“Wait until I tell your parents about your behavior!” Amaya says. “They will be so disappointed!”

Amaya sighs as she looks up at the night sky. Since she was the one who greeted and talked to the Leaf ninja it should have been her job to take them to her grandmother. However, Amaya was so angry with Yuuta, she let Luna escort the Leaf ninja to the village elders instead.

Amaya looks back down into the water. The discussion with Yuuta’s parents was very long and unpleasant. Yuuta’s parents were absolutely appalled by their son’s behavior. They tried unsuccessfully to make Yuuta hand over the toy to Amaya. After a while, Yuuta’s parents decided on a solution. Since Yuuta was bent on keeping the toy, he should have to give Souta one of his own toys in return. Yuuta’s parents actually brought out Yuuta’s basket of toys in order for Yuuta to look at every toy he owned. That way, Yuuta, could see exactly he would have to give up in order to keep the stuffed tiger. In the end, Yuuta, gave up the stuffed tiger to Amaya. Amaya then walked back to the babysitting area with the tiger, only to discover that Luna had not returned yet.

Amaya sighs. Luna eventually returned thirty minutes later. However, all Luna could talk about was Itachi! It turns out that Itachi and Luna had struck up a conversation after Itachi’s injured teammate was delivered to the village elders and healers.

Amaya sighs again. The rest of the afternoon, Luna seemed to be distracted. Amaya and the other girls would catch Luna glancing towards the village center on occasion. Sometimes, Itachi Uchiha, along with a few other anbu would pass by the babysitting area. Luna would always blush when Itachi would walk by or even glance at her. Amaya, Katara, and Yuzuki took notice and would often look at each other. Takara, actually arrived later since her mother was feeling better. Takara, was very confused by Luna’s behavior until Amaya filled her in on what had happened that morning.

Amaya, Luna, Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki are busy entertaining toddlers in the yard of the babysitting house. The babysitting house is a house designated for babysitting. There are actually multiple houses like this set up around the village. This particular house is one that Amaya and her friends use all of the time. The house contains a kitchen, and a bathroom. The house also contains a very large living room that can be used for multiple purposes. These purposes include napping and playing. There are also a few private rooms for children who need a more quiet place to sleep and play.

Amaya looks at the sky. It is almost noon. Time to put the children down for a nap. The other girls also look up.

“Ok, kiddos.” Takara says. “It’s time for your nap.”

All of the children look up. They all blink sleepily. A few of the children even yawn.

“You’re right.” A little girl says. She lets out a yawn. “I feel sleepy.”

The children all stop playing and quietly follow Yuzuki into the house. At that moment, Itachi and a few anbu walk by.

“It’s those anbu again.” Katara says to Amaya.

“Yes.” Amaya says. Amaya then notices that Luna is blushing again. Itachi glances at Luna. Luna blushes even more.

Eventually, all of the children were picked up by their parents. The village elders then requested the girls help in preparing food and lodging for the anbu. It turns out that the injured anbu’s injuries would require some rest before he could travel. This meant that Itachi’s anbu squad would have to stay overnight. Amaya and her friends did as requested. However, Luna actually spent most of her time staring and blushing at Itachi, which the village elders took notice of.

Amaya and Katara are preparing some rice. They dish the rice into little bowls. They put the bowls on a tray. Luna grabs the tray and walks over to the table where the anbu are all seated with some of the elders, including Rina. Amaya watches as Luna puts bowls in front of all the anbu. All of the anbu thank her. Then, Luna reaches Itachi. Luna blushes as she sets a bowl of rice in front of Itachi.

“Thank you.” Itachi says.

Luna slowly walks away. She blushes hard.

Takara and Yuzuki now have the grilled fish ready. Luna grabs the tray. She walks over to the table again. Luna sets a plate of grilled fish in front of each anbu. Luna blushes again when she reaches Itachi. Luna sets a plate of grilled fish in front of Itachi.

“Thank you.” Itachi says.

Luna carefully walks away. She blushes even harder.

All of the elders look at one another. Some even whisper to each other. A few of the other anbu even look at one another.

Amaya sighs. After the anbu were served food, the girls all ran home to join their own families for dinner. After dinner, the five girls had planned do some stargazing together. However, Hanako, and Takara’s mother had requested that Amaya and Takara help them prepare baby things for Taki. That meant no stargazing that night. However, Luna didn’t seem disappointed. In fact, her mind seemed to be elsewhere. Amaya and Takara helped make the baby things and went to bed when it was bedtime.

Amaya sighs again. Amaya and Takara met up with Katara, Yuzuki and Luna the next morning. Itachi had left earlier with his anbu squad. The other girls could tell that Luna was visibly upset due to Itachi leaving without a goodbye. After a while, Luna eventually spilled the beans on her night with Itachi.

Amaya and Luna are picking berries in the forest. Yuzuki, Katara, and Takara are nearby. The three of them are also picking berries. The five girls talk as they work.

“Did you really expect him to stay forever, Luna?” Yuzuki asks as she drops some berries into a basket strapped to a belt around her waist.

“...No…,” Luna says. Her eyes are red from crying. “It just hurts that he left without saying goodbye!”

“The two of you only knew each other for a day!” Katara says. “It’s not like the two of you had known each for a long time.”

“You don’t understand!” Luna cries. She stops picking berries and puts her face in her hands. “Itachi and I….were intimate.”

The other girls immediately stop working. They all stare at Luna, completely surprised.

“Intimate?” Takara asks. “You mean that the two of you kissed?!”

Luna shakes her head. “More than that…” Luna says.

Katara’s eyes widen.

“You and Itachi had sex?!” Katara asks.

Luna nods her head.

“LUNA!” Amaya says, aghast. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki just stare at Luna.

“..I don’t know what I was thinking…” Luna says. “Since the five of us couldn’t stargaze like we had planned, I decided to see what Itachi was doing. I found him sitting by the waterfall. He told me that he wanted a peaceful place to relax. I immediately thought about the meadow in the forest. I told him that I knew of a great place to relax. I led him to the meadow.”

“The meadow!” Amaya says. “You took him to our meadow!?”

Luna only nods. “When we got there we just started talking.” Luna says. “One thing led to another and the next thing I know...we are having sex. I immediately realized what we were doing. I knew I should have stopped, but...it felt so good.”

Luna chokes back a few sobs. She looks at her friends.

“Please, you cannot tell anyone about this!” Luna says desperately. “My parents will explode!”

Amaya looks at Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki. They do not want Luna to get in trouble. The four girls sigh.

“We promise not to tell!” Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki say together.

Amaya sighs. Her, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki kept their promise and did not tell anyone for two weeks. However, in the end it didn’t matter. The adults found out eventually, all because of an event that happened two weeks after Luna’s confession.

Amaya and Yuzuki are playing with a group of toddlers. Takara is rocking a fussy toddler in her lap. Katara and Luna are in the kitchen of the babysitting house, preparing lunch for the toddlers. Luna stops working and sits down at the table. The other girls quickly take notice.

“Luna...are you alright?” Katara asks.

“I don’t know.” Luna says. “For the last week I have been feeling very strange. I feel so tired. I also feel sick to my stomach.”

All of the sudden, Luna’s face goes pale. Luna abruptly gets up and runs out of the room. Soon, the other girls hear the sound of vomiting coming from the bathroom. Amaya looks at the other girls.

“I’m gonna go and make sure she is ok!” Amaya says.

Amaya quickly gets up and walks towards the bathroom. The door is slightly ajar. Amaya can now hear sobs coming from inside the bathroom. Amaya slowly pushes the door open. Luna is sitting on the floor, next to the toilet. Luna looks over and see’s Amaya. Luna’s eyes are filled with tears.

“Amaya...I think I know what is wrong with me.” Luna says while choking back sobs.

Amaya slowly enters the bathroom and shuts the bathroom door behind her. She looks at Luna questionly.

“I just realized….,” Luna says. “My period is late!”

Amaya’s eyes widen. She immediately realizes what Luna is trying to say.

“Oh no….” Amaya says. Amaya walks over and sits down by Luna.

“What am I going to do?” Luna asks through sobs. “My parents will be so disappointed!”

Amaya sighs. “You won’t be able to hide it.” Amaya says. “Things will be worse if you try to hide it.”

Luna sniffles. She holds her head down.

“You’re right.” Luna says. “I do need to tell my parents. I am just so scared on how they will react.”

“Don’t worry.” Amaya says. “I will walk you home. I will be right there with you.”

Amaya sighs. After finally coaxing Luna out of the bathroom, the two of them went home to Luna’s house. Luna’s mother was there. Amaya sat next to Luna just as she promised. Luna tearfully explained to Toshiko, what her and Itachi had done in the meadow. Toshiko was so shocked and angry. Then, Luna, had to tell her mother that she thought she was pregnant. Toshiko, actually cried when Luna told her that. Right after that, Toshiko took Luna to the village healers, just to confirm Luna’s suspicion. Of course, Amaya went as well. She was not prepared to abandon Luna.

Amaya sighs. She clearly remembers when the village healers confirmed that Luna, was indeed pregnant.

Amaya stands next to Luna, who lies on a bed. Toshiko, stands on the other side of the bed.

A village healer gently examines Luna’s abdomen. The village healer is a woman with brown hair and brown eyes. The village healer’s hand glows brightly with chakra as she examines Luna’s abdomen. After a while the village healer closes her eyes in concentration. A few minutes later, the healer’s hand stops glowing. The healer opens her eyes and removes her hand from Luna’s abdomen.

“Well?!” Toshiko asks impatiently. “Is my daughter pregnant or not?”

The village healer closes her eyes. “Young Luna is indeed pregnant.” The village healer says.

Toshiko rubs her temples. Amaya grabs Luna’s hand. Luna’s eyes travel towards her abdomen.

“I can’t believe it.” Luna says. “I am going to be a mother.”

Toshiko grabs Luna’s hand.

“We need to get home.” Toshiko says. “We need to figure out how to break the news to your father.”

“Yes, mother.” Luna says.

Amaya and Toshiko quickly help Luna off of the examination bed.

“Since Luna is so young I would recommend that she avoid overexerting herself.” The village healer says. “I would also recommend that Luna get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water and eat right.”

Toshiko, just nods in understanding. Amaya, Luna, and Toshiko walk outside the building.

Amaya sighs. Toshiko took Luna home after that. Amaya walked back to the babysitting house without Luna. For the rest of the day, the other girls kept asking what was wrong with Luna. However, Amaya, just kept silent and told the other girls that Luna would tell them when they saw her again.

Amaya and the other girls did not see Luna until the next day.

Amaya and Katara are busy entertaining babies in the living room. Yuzuki and Takara walk into the living room. Both girls carry babies in their arms. The two girls just got done changing the babies. Takara and Yuzuki set the babies down on the floor. The babies immediately start to crawl around. Yuzuki lets out a sigh.

“Where could Luna be?” Yuzuki asks. “She is usually here by now.”

All of the sudden the four girls hear the door open. All four girls turn and look towards the door. Luna walks into the house.

“Where have you been?” Yuzuki asks.

“What’s wrong with you?” Takara asks. “Why didn’t you come back yesterday?”

Luna sighs and closes her eyes. “I’m pregnant.” Luna says.

Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki all gasp. Their eyes widen.

“....You’re...pregnant?” Yuzuki asks.

Luna only nods in response.

Katara looks over at Amaya.

"You knew didn’t you?!” Katara asks Amaya.

“Yes.” Amaya says. “I found out yesterday, when Luna found out. It wasn’t my place to tell the three of you the news. It was for Luna to tell.”

Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki nod in understanding. Amaya approaches Luna.

“How did your father react?” Amaya asks Luna. Luna closes her eyes.

“My father was so mad!” Luna says. She starts to sob. “My father didn’t even eat dinner. He just sat outside. He was still outside when I went to bed. Breakfast was so silent this morning. After breakfast my father left to go work in the fields. He didn’t say a word!”

Amaya puts a comforting hand on Luna’s shoulder.

“Don’t worry too much.” Amaya says. “I am sure that your father will accept the situation eventually. Your mother will to. It will just take some time.”

Amaya sighs. She looks at the sky. It took a few days for Takeo and Toshiko to come around. The two of them let Luna know that they were disappointed, but that they would help her raise the baby. Eventually, Luna, became excited at the thought of becoming a mother.

Amaya smiles slightly. During Luna’s pregnancy, Takeo and Toshiko, constantly fretted over every little thing that Luna did. Toshiko, constantly worried about Luna’s food intake.

Amaya, carries her little sister, Yuri, in her arms. Amaya approaches Luna’s house. Luna steps out and greets Amaya. Luna, is two months pregnant.

“Are you ready to go?” Amaya asks Luna. Luna nods.

“Yes.” Luna says. She shuts the door behind her. Luna walks up to Amaya.

However, just as the two girls prepare to leave with little Yuri, Toshiko, suddenly opens the door. Toshiko, has a basket in her hands.

“LUNA!” Toshiko yells. “DON’T FORGET THIS!”

Luna, raises a brow. She goes to take the basket from her mother. As Luna takes the basket, her eyes widen and then narrow. Luna, walks back to join Amaya. However, Luna, decides to look inside the basket. Amaya, peeks inside as well. The basket is filled to the brim with food! Luna’s eyes widen at the amount. She turns back to her mother.

“Mother….this is a lot of food.” Luna says. “I don’t think that I need this much!”

“OF COURSE YOU DO!” Toshiko cries. “YOU HAVE A BABY GROWING INSIDE OF YOU!”

Amaya looks into the water. Despite Toshiko’s constant fretting, the first few months of Luna’s pregnancy went by smoothly. However, three months into Luna’s pregnancy, another squad of Leaf Village anbu came to the village. With them. they brought terrible news. Itachi Uchiha, had murdered his entire clan except his younger brother. The elders found out first when the anbu met with them. A member of their squad had been injured so they came to the Kirai Village for help. One of the elders mentioned Itachi’s anbu squad. That’s when the anbu told the village elders of what Itachi had done. One of the elders, Jarou, quickly recognized two of the anbu. The two anbu had been in Itachi’s squad when they visited the Kirai Village! Jarou quickly slipped away to find Luna.

Amaya sighs. Jarou found Luna babysitting with Amaya and the other girls. Luna was absolutely devastated when Jarou told her the news.

Luna sobs silently in a small room. She is three months pregnant. Her friends surround her. The children are napping in the living room. Jarou stands in front of Luna. Jarou puts a hand on Luna’s shoulder.

“I know that you really liked Itachi, Luna.” Jarou says. “However, what I tell you is the truth. Itachi is a murderer. A kin slayer!”

"I...just don’t understand...why he would do such a terrible thing.” Luna says between sobs. “He was so kind. He was so gentle when we were out in the meadow and did...well,...you know what.”

Amaya puts a hand on Luna’s other shoulder.

“Luna...I am sorry that you are having to go through this.” Amaya says. “I know that you really liked Itachi. However, I don’t think his feelings for you were genuine. Itachi, fooled you!”

“That’s right!” Yuzuki says. “Itachi used kind words to fool you into thinking that he was a great person. However, what Jarou is telling you proves that Itachi is not the person that you thought he was!”

Luna, continues to sob. Jarou sighs.

“Luna,” Jarou says. “I recognized two of the anbu. They were a part of Itachi’s squad. Those two anbu know that you were attracted to Itachi. I fear if those two anbu see that you are pregnant, they will immediately assume that Itachi is the father.”

Amaya’s eyes widen.

“Oh no, that would be very bad for Luna and the baby!” Amaya says.

“My thoughts exactly.” Jarou says. Jarou then turns to Luna. “Luna, you need to stay inside. Do not let those anbu see you!”

“...Yes,....Jarou.” Luna says between sobs.

Amaya sighs. She looks up at the sky. The rest of that day, Luna, stayed inside the babysitting house to avoid the anbu. The other girls took turns going to the elders meeting place to see if the anbu had left yet. Finally, the anbu left, just after sundown. Luna and the other girls went home to their families.

Amaya looks down at the water. Luna’s sadness over Itachi’s crime continued for weeks. Everyone else in the village could barely believe the news either. Itachi, had been such a gentleman when he was in the village. He had been so kind and polite to the village elders. Before the news of the massacre arrived, no one would have believed Itachi was capable of such a horrific act. Even Yori, the village’s best guard dog, had trusted Itachi! Itachi had fooled everyone, including Yori.

Amaya looks up at the sky. It took some time for Luna to pull herself together. A month later, Taki and Aizen’s son was born. They named him Hajime, after Amaya and Aizen’s late uncle. Life was good after that. The girls spent their days babysitting baby Hajime, and making baby clothes for Luna’s baby. Toshiko, fretted over that as well. She was always afraid that Luna, would poke herself with the sewing needle.

Luna and Amaya sit under the tree outside of Luna’s house. They have a basket full of cloth scraps and worn baby clothes that people in the village have given Luna. The used baby clothes need to be mended. Luna, steadily holds the needle and thread between her fingers. She slowly stitches up a rip in an old baby gown. Luna, is now four months pregnant.

Toshiko, walks around from the side of the house. She carries a basket full of vegetables, that she has picked from the garden.

“Now, Luna, be very careful!” Toshiko says. “You may poke yourself with the needle!”

Luna, narrows her eyes.

“Mother...I am always careful.” Luna says. “You need to stop worrying so much!”

Amaya sighs. Toshiko and Takeo constantly fretted over Luna’s chores, afraid that she would overexert herself. Toshiko, also worried constantly when the women and girls would go pick berries by the cliffs. It seemed as if Toshiko, was convinced that Luna, would suffer some terrible accident and fall over the cliffs.

Luna and Amaya are picking berries with Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki. Other women and girls are nearby. Luna is now five months pregnant. Luna, carries a small basket. She cannot carry large baskets due to her pregnancy. Luna pops a few berries into her mouth.

“The baby sure likes sweet stuff!” Luna says. “I am always craving berries, honey and dango!”

“Luna!” Toshiko says with alarm. “Be careful! Don’t get too close to the cliff edges! Since you are pregnant you are more likely to fall!”

Luna, gets an annoyed look on her face.

“Mother!” Luna says. “I am always careful! There’s no need to worry. I will be fine!”

Amaya smiles as she looks up at the sky. The most exciting part of Luna’s pregnancy was feeling the baby move for the first time.

Amaya and Luna are sewing baby diapers inside Luna’s house. Luna, is now six months pregnant. Amaya and Luna sit at the dining room table. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki sit nearby. The three of them are sorting through cloth scraps to make more baby clothes. Toshiko, is in the kitchen. Toshiko, is busy preparing lunch.

Luna, puts down the diaper that she is busy sewing. She prepares to grab a glass of water to take a drink. However, her eyes widen. She puts a hand on her swollen stomach. Luna, lets out a surprised gasp. Everyone in the room stops what they are doing to look at Luna.

“Mother...I think that I just felt the baby move!” Luna says.

Toshiko’s eyes widen. She rushes over and puts a hand on Luna’s stomach. After a few minutes, Toshiko gasps.

“Yes, Luna!” Toshiko says. “Your baby is moving!”

Amaya, reaches over and puts a hand on Luna’s stomach. Amaya, suddenly feels a light kick. Amaya’s eyes widen.

“Amazing.” Amaya whispers.

Amaya sighs. Between chores and preparing things for Luna’s baby life was very busy. However, the five girls still found some time to do enjoyable activities. Sometimes, they would go to the meadow or stargaze. The girls also found enjoyment in talking about the baby. Amaya and the other girls all agreed that they wanted Luna, to have a girl.

Amaya, Luna, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki, are busy cleaning the babysitting house. All of the children have been picked up by their parents. Luna wipes down the table and countertops in the kitchen. Amaya is busy putting toys back in their rightful places. Katara, is sweeping the floor. Takara and Yuzuki are wiping down the bathroom.

The five girls finish up. They all sit at the table.

“Phew, we are finally done.” Yuzuki says. “We even have an hour to spare before it’s time to go home!”

Luna, rubs her stomach. She smiles.

“My little one is certainly very active today.” Luna says. “I have a feeling that this little one is going to be a very lively child.”

“I want your baby to be a girl!” Yuzuki says. “It will be so fun to teach a little girl to make flower chains!”

“Yeah!” Takara says. “It will be so fun to make little dresses as well!”

“Yes!” Katara says. “It would also be fun to do a little girl’s hair all pretty!”

“It would also be fun to make dolls and doll clothes!” Amaya says.

Amaya manages a small smile. It was so fun to talk about the baby. However, there were some challenges. Luna, did not have as much energy as she used to have. She also couldn’t move like she used to. Luna, also couldn’t stand for long periods of time or her feet would swell. The foot swelling was the worst during Luna’s last two months of pregnancy. The heat also made the foot swelling worse. Luna was also temperature sensitive during her entire pregnancy. However, during Luna’s eight month of pregnancy, there was a heat wave. The weather was so hot, Luna, could not go comfortably outside. She mostly stayed inside her house during that time. However, even Luna’s house offered only a little bit of relief from the heat outside. Amaya remembers that very clearly.

Amaya sits inside Luna’s house. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki sit next to her. Luna, is propped up on some pillows in the living room. She sweats slightly. Her feet are swollen. Luna is now eight months pregnant. Toshiko, comes into the room, carrying a bowl full of white cloths and cool water. Toshiko, sets the bowl down next to Luna.

“Oh, my poor girl.” Toshiko says. “You are even sweating inside the house!”

Toshiko, takes a cloth out of the bowl and squeezes the water out. Toshiko, applies the cloth to Luna’s forehead. Luna, lets out a sigh.

“That feels so good!” Luna mutters.

Amaya sighs. However, the heat wave passed and Luna was able to comfortably go outside again. Then, nine months after Luna found out she was pregnant, she went into labor. The girls had been stargazing when Luna, abruptly said that she did not feel right and decided to go home. That was the last night that the five girls would ever stargaze together.

Luna lays on her back. Luna gently rubs her swollen belly. Amaya lays to the right of Luna. Takara, lays to Luna’s left. Katara and Yuzuki lay in the grass opposite the three girls. The five girls have formed a circle in the grass.

“Look,” Yuzuki says as she points to a group of stars in the night sky. “Those stars look like a fish!”

“You’re right!” Katara says. She giggles.

Yuzuki, Takara, and Amaya giggle as well. However, Luna, stays silent. Amaya, looks over at her friend, a little worried. Luna, blinks a few times. She rubs her belly. Her eyes narrow.

“Luna...are you alright?” Amaya asks.

Luna sighs. She slowly sits up. “I don’t feel right.” Luna says. “I think that I need to go home.”

“Oh, ok.” Amaya says. “I guess that we will see you tomorrow then.”

“Yeah.” Luna says. Luna slowly gets to her feet. She slowly walks away.  

Amaya sighs again. Amaya, and the other girls went home right after that. The next morning, Amaya woke up and came to the table for breakfast. That’s when Hanako, told Amaya that Luna had given birth.

Amaya stretches as she makes her way down the hallway towards the kitchen. She blinks a few times as she enters the kitchen.

Hanako, is busy making breakfast. Hanako, wears a simple pink dress, and an apron. Hanako, turns to look at Amaya. Hanako smiles.

“Good morning, Amaya!” Hanako says. “Did you sleep well?”

“Yes, mother.” Amaya replies. Amaya then quickly turns to head into the dining room, adjacent to the kitchen.

A large table sits in the dining room. Akito, sits on the floor at the head of the table. He sips a cup of tea.

Amaya’s younger brother, Haruto sits on one side of the table. Haruto’s hair is dark brown and his eyes are blue, like Hanako’s. Amaya’s two year old sister, Yuri, sits close to Akito. Yuri’s hair is light brown and her eyes are blue. Yuri is a miniature version of her mother.

Amaya sits down next to Haruto. Aizen then walks into the room. His eyes look slightly sleep deprived. Akito, quickly notices.

“Aizen, you look a little tired.” Akito says.

Aizen just nods. He sits down at the other side of the table.

“Hajime, kept Taki and I awake all night.” Aizen says. “Taki is nursing him right now. Hajime sure has an appetite!”

Hanako, quickly comes into the dining area. She carries a tray with cups of tea. Hanako, hands Aizen a cup of tea.

“Thank you, mother.” Aizen says. Aizen slowly sips his tea.

“Babies don’t have a schedule.” Hanako says. “They eat when they are hungry.”

Hanako, suddenly stands straight. She smiles.

“Speaking of babies…,” Hanako says. She turns to Amaya. “Luna, had her baby.”

Amaya’s eyes widen. “When?” Amaya asks.

“Early, this morning. Just before the sun came up.” Hanako says. “Luna, was in labor for nearly ten hours! Poor girl.”

Amaya starts to get up from the table. However, Hanako stops her.

“Now, Amaya.” Hanako says. “Labor can be very exhausting! I am sure that Luna is very tired. You should let her rest for a little while before you go and see her and the baby.”

Amaya frowns. However, she knows that her mother is right. Amaya sits back down.

“Can you at least tell me if it is a boy or girl?” Amaya asks.

“I think that it would be better if it is a surprise when you see Luna and the baby.” Hanako says.

Amaya sighs. While Amaya ate her breakfast that morning, all she could think of was Luna. After her breakfast was finished, Amaya, decided to make a little gift basket for Luna. Amaya, grabbed a basket that was rarely used and filled it with food. Amaya packed apples, berries, bread, rice dumplings, dango, and little honey cakes into the basket. Amaya then quickly headed out the door and went straight to Luna’s house.

Amaya carefully carries the basket as she walks. Luna’s house soon comes into view. Takeo, sits outside in the grass. Amaya smiles as she approaches.

“Hello, Takeo!” Amaya says. “I have come to see Luna and the baby!”

Takeo manages a small smile. His eyes are very tired looking.

“I am sure that Luna will appreciate your visit.” Takeo says. “Toshiko is taking a nap. It was a very long night. I decided to come out here and sit in the sun for a while. I was hoping that a little sunshine would wake me up.”

Takeo, then gestures towards the front door.

“Go on in.” Takeo says. “Luna will be in her room.”

“Thank you!” Amaya says. However, she soon notices that Takeo, seems to be deep in thought. Takeo, stares towards the forest, where the berry bushes by the cliffs are. Amaya, then notices that Takeo is holding a small green hat in his hands. The little green hat has little flap on the sides, which are meant to cover the ears.

“Takeo….are you ok?” Amaya asks. “You seem to be thinking about something.”

Takeo, blinks a few times. He doesn’t respond. He continues to stare in the direction of the cliffs. Takeo, then looks at the little hat in his hands. He holds his head down. All of the sudden, Toshiko, steps out.

“....Toshiko…?” Amaya says, surprised. “Takeo said that you were taking a nap.”

“I tried.” Toshiko says simply. “However, I have so much work to do I just couldn’t settle down long enough to sleep. So, I decide to just get up.”

Toshiko, quickly notices her husband sitting by the door. Toshiko, then sees the hat in Takeo’s hands. Toshiko’s eyes suddenly become sad as she looks at the hat. Toshiko, turns to Amaya.

“Go on in.” Toshiko says. “Luna shall be in her room.”

Toshiko, slowly steps outside. She then sits by Takeo.

Amaya, quietly walks into the house, a little confused. However, Amaya just tries to forget about Takeo and Toshiko’s strange behavior. What’s important is seeing Luna’s new baby!

Amaya slowly walks down the hallway towards Luna’s bedroom. Amaya, knocks on the door.

“Luna!” Amaya says. “It’s me, Amaya.”

“Come in!” Luna’s voice says from the other side of the door.

Amaya, slowly slides the door open. Inside the bedroom, Luna, lays on her futon. A basket sits on the floor, next to the futon. Luna, smiles as Amaya walks up to her futon.

“She fell asleep a few minutes ago.” Luna says. “I was holding her for hours. Since she finally fell asleep, I decided to give my arms a little break.”

“..She…?” Amaya asks. “It’s a girl?”

Luna nods. “I have decided to name her Aiko, after my grandmother.” Luna says.

Amaya slowly sets the basket of food down. She carefully peeks into the basket.

Inside the basket, the baby, Aiko, sleeps soundly. Baby Aiko’s skin is olive, like Luna’s. Baby Aiko’s head is covered with black hair.

“She is so beautiful.” Amaya says. “She looks just like you.”

Baby Aiko moves slightly in the basket. Baby Aiko’s eyes flutter open. Baby Aiko’s eyes are just like Itachi’s.

“Aiko has Itachi’s eyes.” Amaya says.

“..Yes..she does.” Luna says. She closes her eyes.

All of the sudden, Takara, enters the room. Katara and Yuzuki enter as well. Luna quickly opens her eyes and greets her guests.

“You had a girl!” Yuzuki says.

Luna nods. “I named her Aiko, after my grandmother.”

“Oh, she is so beautiful!” Katara says.

“She is going to be such a beauty when she grows up!” Takara says.

Amaya sighs. Amaya and the other girls could have spent all day cooing over baby Aiko. However, they had chores to do. So, eventually Amaya and the other girls left. However, after their chores were done, they came to visit Luna some more. Then the girls went home and had dinner with their families. Amaya and the other girls did that for two days. The third day, Luna was well enough to resume her chores with her friends. Luna, wore a baby sling and carried baby Aiko, as she did her chores. Sometimes, Luna would let Aiko sleep in a hanging basket cradle in the babysitting house.

Luna sits by a little basket cradle that has been suspended from the ceiling of the babysitting house by ropes. She slowly hums a lullaby as she gently moves the cradle, rocking it. baby Aiko is asleep inside the basket. Baby Aiko is now five days old.

Amaya and the other girls are busy entertaining a group of toddlers nearby. Luna, checks to make sure that Aiko is sound asleep before she stops rocking the basket. Luna, slowly gets up and goes to help the other girls with their task. However, just as Luna sits down by her friends, baby Aiko lets out a shrill cry. Luna, jumps up and runs over to the hanging basket. She gently picks Aiko up. Luna’s eyes widen.

“Oh, dear!” Luna says. “Aiko’s diaper needs to be changed. I will be right back.”

Luna, quickly leaves the room with baby Aiko.

Amaya smiles. Luna absolutely adored baby Aiko! Toshiko and Takeo also adored baby Aiko. Even though Luna was very young to be a mother, Toshiko and Takeo were happy that Aiko was so healthy and beautiful.

Luna, carries baby Aiko in her baby sling. Amaya walks beside Luna. The two girls have just gotten done babysitting with Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki.

The two girls reach Luna’s house. Takeo, as it appears, has just gotten home from the fields. He turns and sees the two girls walking up to the house. Takeo smiles.

“Hello, Luna.” Takeo says. “Hello, Amaya. Did the two of you have a good day?”

“Yes, father!” Luna says. All of the sudden, Toshiko, comes out of the house. She sighs.

“Dinner will be ready very soon.” Toshiko says. “I unexpectedly had to get another potato from the garden. I started cutting up a potato only to see that it was no good.”

Baby Aiko begins to coo inside the sling. Toshiko smiles and looks at baby Aiko in the sling.

“Aw,” Toshiko says. “You just get more adorable as each day passes!”

Takeo, smiles as well.

“Aiko is going to be such a beauty when she gets older.” Takeo says.

Amaya looks up at the sky. Before everyone knew it, a week had passed since baby Aiko’s birth. Everyone was pleased with how baby Aiko was growing. When Aiko was eight days old, the girls took a group of little girls to the meadow. That day would be the last time the five girls would ever go to the meadow together.

Amaya sits with a small girl in the meadow. Luna, with baby Aiko in her sling, sits with another small girl. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki are also nearby. The three of them also sit with little girls. The five girls are teaching the little girls how to make bouquets.

“Alright,” Luna says to the little girl next to her. “You need to pick some colors you want for your bouquet.”

“I like purple and white flowers.” The little girl says.

“Alright,” Luna says. “That means you need to pick white and purple flowers.”

All of the sudden, baby Aiko starts to fuss inside of the sling. Luna, looks down at her baby. Luna, gently removes Aiko from the sling. Luna, then looks up at the sky.

“It’s time for Aiko’s feeding.” Luna says. Luna, then grabs a thin shawl out of her bag. Luna quickly positions the sling so that baby Aiko can reach her breast without difficulty. Luna uses one hand to hold the shawl over her chest while she unbuttons the top part of her dress. Soon, baby Aiko’s fussing is replaced with suckling sounds.

Amaya sighs. The next day, the girls, stayed in the village to babysit. The day had started out like any other. The girls played with the children under their care and fed them lunch. Then, after naptime, the girls took the children outside to play some more. However, little did the girls know, that was the last day that they would babysit together.

Amaya gently rocks a small baby. Luna is sitting on the veranda of the babysitting house. She is nursing Aiko. Katara, is supervising a group of toddlers playing with a ball. Takara, is supervising a group of toddlers playing in a sandbox. Yuzuki, is keeping an eye on a group of little girls that are playing with their dolls under a tree.

The village dogs are nearby. The dogs are resting under a tree. All of the sudden, Yori, lifts his head up. Yori, lets out a fierce growl as he stands on all fours. The dog growls as he stares at the forest. The five girls quickly take notice.

“What’s gotten into Yori?” Takara asks.

“I don’t know.” Amaya says.

Luna, clutches Aiko a little closer to her. “It obviously has to be bad.” Luna says. “Otherwise Yori wouldn’t be growling like that!”

Amaya sighs. She clenches her fists. Little did the girls know, Yori’s odd behavior was a warning for what was to come later that night.

Amaya awakens to her mother shaking her shoulder. Hanako’s face is absolutely frantic.

“AMAYA!” Hanako screams. “GET UP NOW! THE VILLAGE IS UNDER ATTACK!”

Amaya gasps, horrified. She quickly pushes the covers off of her body. She then gets to her feet. Hanako, then grabs Yuri off of her little futon. Yuri, whines at being woken up unexpectedly. Amaya, follows her mother out of the room. In the living room Aizen and Akito have their swords ready. The two of them are ready to fight to the death to defend their families and village.

Taki, Aizen’s wife stands close to Aizen. Taki, holds baby Hajime in her arms. Taki’s light brown hair is long and her eyes are apple green. Taki’s eyes are wide with fright.

“Where is Haruto!” Hanako cries. She looks around the room with frantic eyes.

“You did get him up didn’t you?” Akito asks.

“I shook him awake and told him the village was under attack!” Hanako says. “He must not have heard me!”

Hanako, then hands little Yuri to Amaya. Hanako, runs back down the hallway. Amaya, turns to see Akito and Aizen standing outside the door. Amaya, walks over to the window to look outside. The southern side of the village is alit with flames. Smoke billows into the sky. Amaya gasps. Yuzuki and Katara live at that end of the village! Amaya, fears for her friends safety. Amaya and Taki walk outside to stand next to Akito and Aizen. Aizen turns to Taki.

“You and Amaya need to take the children and run.” Aizen says, seriously.

“Your mother still has to get Haruto up.” Taki says. “We still have to wait for them!”

Amaya quickly notices that the other end of the village is dark and quiet. The villagers that live on that end of the village must not hear what is happening. Amaya, gasps when she remembers something. Takara, and the rest of her family live at that end of the village! Luna’s house is at that end of the village as well!

Amaya turns to look at her sister-in-law. “Taki, go and warn your family.” Amaya says. “I will wait for my mother and Haruto.”

Taki’s eyes widen. “Are you sure?” Taki asks. Amaya nods in response.

Taki turns to Aizen. They share a kiss before Taki runs off towards the north end of the village. All of the sudden, Hanako runs out of the house, pulling Haruto by his arm. Haruto huffs in annoyance.

“Haruto!” Hanako says, with a hint of frustration in her voice. “The village is under attack! What part don’t you understand?”

“I want to go back to bed!” Haruto says, angrily.

Amaya frowns. Haruto is being a brat!

“Haruto!” Amaya says. “The village is under attack! We must run!”

“That’s right Haruto!” Akito says. “Listen to your mother and sister.”

Hanako, turns to look at the south end of the village. She then turns to look at the west side of the village. She gasps.

“Oh, no!” Hanako says. “That part of the village is still quiet. Everyone must still be asleep!”

Amaya suddenly gasps. Her mother’s younger sister, Sayuri, lives at that end of the village with her family! Her Aunt Sayuri has been sick for the last few days. It may be hard for Sayuri to run away from the attackers! Hanako, turns to her husband.

“I must go and help Sayuri!” Hanako says. She turns to Amaya. “Amaya, get your brother and sister to safety!”

“Yes, mother!” Amaya says obediently. Amaya turns to look in the direction of Luna’s house. “I think that Luna’s family may still be asleep. I must go and warn them. The forest is especially think behind Luna’s house. We shall all be safe there.”

Hanako nods. She runs towards the west of the village. Amaya shifts Yuri in her arms so that one of her arms is free. Amaya, grabs Haruto’s arm with her free hand.

“Come on!” Amaya says as she pulls Haruto’s arm, trying to pull him along. However, Haruto stubbornly refuses.

“NO!” Haruto yells. “I’m not afraid of any bandits!”

“Haruto, go with your sister!” Akito says. “NOW!”

Haruto, lets out a huff. However, Haruto eventually relents. He lets Amaya pull him in the direction of Luna’s house. Amaya, turns to look back at her father and older brother. Akito and Aizen have their swords ready. The two of them run in the direction of the chaos. Amaya can now hear blood curdling screams coming from the southern part of the village. Amaya, closes her eyes as she thinks of Katara and Yuzuki. However, she has a job to do. Amaya then starts running, pulling Haruto along with her.

***********************

“EVERYONE, GET UP!” Amaya yells as she runs. “THE VILLAGE IS UNDER ATTACK! RUN AND HIDE!”

Amaya, watches as lights turn on in many homes. Men run out of the houses with swords in their hands. Amaya, points them in the direction of the southern part of the village. Many of the men run in that direction. However, blood curdling screams from the northwestern part of the village can soon be heard. Amaya and many others turn to see what is wrong.

Strange men are pouring out of the forest bordering the Northwestern part of the village! More bandits! The bandits start to kill anyone they catch running onto the forest to hide!

Amaya gasps with absolute horror. Not even the forest is safe! What are the villagers going to do now?

A man from the Ishikawa clan looks Amaya straight in the eye.

“GO!” The man says. “Run for your life!”

Amaya nods. She holds Yuri tightly in her left arm. She holds Haruto’s arm firmly with her right hand. Amaya, takes off running, pulling Haruto along with her.

As Amaya runs the smoke starts to get to her. Many houses in the Northern part of the village are now on fire. People scream as they run run past Amaya. All of the sudden, Amaya, hears a soft whimper to her right. She turns to see a little brown haired boy with blue eyes, carrying a stuffed tiger. Amaya gasps. It is little Souta Ishikawa! But where are his parents? Amaya lets go of Haruto’s arm. Amaya, quickly goes over to little Souta.

“Amaya….” Little Souta says. Tears stream down his face.

Amaya looks Souta in the eye.

“Souta….where are your parents?” Amaya asks.

“Bad man hurt mama and papa!” Little Souta says. More tears stream down his face.

Amaya’s eyes widen. Oh no! Souta’s parents must have been killed by the attackers. Amaya, grits her teeth. Now she has to get Souta to safety as well. Amaya turns to say something to Haruto, but finds him walking away from her.

“HARUTO!” Amaya yells. “GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!”

“NO!” Haruto yells back. “I don’t have to listen to you!”

Amaya, grits her teeth. She can’t take Haruto’s disobedience right now.

“Haruto...I am going to count to three.” Amaya says deathly. “If you you are not back here when I get to three there are going to be serious consequences!”

Amaya narrows her eyes. She starts counting.

“ONE!” Amaya yells. Haruto does not budge.

“TWO!” Amaya yells. Haruto still does not budge.

“THREE!” Amaya yells. However, Haruto, still does not budge.

Amaya, is now fuming. She closes her eyes. However, she soon hears a scream. A loud thud soon follows. Amaya opens her eyes, only to see horror.

Haruto, lays on the ground, unmoving. Blood pours out of a wound in the boys neck. Two strange men stand over Haruto’s lifeless body. The two men laugh with glee. However, the two men soon see Amaya, Yuri, and Souta. The two men grin.

“Look, Karou.” One of the men says. The man has brown hair and black eyes. “We have three more to go.”

“It looks like we do, Riku.” The other man, Karou says. Karou, has black hair and brown eyes.

Amaya’s eyes are wide. She stares at Haruto’s body with absolute disbelief. Amaya, falls to her knees.

“H...a..r..u..t….o.” Amaya whimpers. A few tears stream down her face. Sure Haruto was a brat, but Amaya still loved him. “HARUTO!”

“So, that was his name then?” Karou asks mockingly. “Don’t worry, you and the two little brats will see him again very soon.”

Riku and Karou laugh as they approach Amaya, Yuri, and Souta. Amaya is frozen with terror. Little Yuri, hides her face in Amaya’s shoulder. Souta, hides behind Amaya.

Riku and Karou both lift their swords, ready to strike. Amaya, shifts her body so that Yuri and Souta are underneath her. Amaya, closes her eyes, prepared to take the first strike. However, it never comes. Amaya, hears a vicious snarl. Riku and Karou soon start yelling. Amaya, opens her eyes.

A large black and white dog is attacking Riku and Karou. Amaya lets out a gasp. It is Yori!

“STUPID DOG!” Riku yells. Yori, bites Riku’s leg. Riku, swings his sword. However, Riku misses Yori by mere inches.

“GET AWAY YOU STUPID MUTT!” Karou yells. Karou, kicks Yori. Yori, lets go of Riku’s leg momentarily to yelp. However, Yori, quickly regains his composure. Yori, then starts attacking Karou.

“RIKU!” Karou yells. “DO SOMETHING!”

Riku, swings his sword. He ends up slashing Yori’s shoulder. Yori, lets out a yelp and quickly gets away. Yori, slowly walks towards Amaya and the children. Yori, turns his head and looks at Amaya and the children. Yori, then turns back towards Riku and Karou. Yori, growls and gets into a fighting stance.

“Look, Riku!” Karou says. “The stupid mutt still wants to fight!”

“He sure is stubborn!” Riku says.

Yori, lets out a vicious snarl. Yori, charges the men and resumes attacking them.

Amaya watches the entire scene with wide eyes. All of the sudden, Amaya hears a familiar voice.

“LUNA, RUN!” The voice yells.

Amaya, gasps at hearing her friends name. Amaya, turns to see Jarou, her grandmother’s cousin, running after a bandit. Amaya, then realizes that the bandit is chasing Luna. Luna, is carrying a wailing Aiko in her arms. Amaya’s eyes widen with absolute horror. Oh, no! That bandit is after Luna and Aiko!

Amaya’s eyes widen. Where are Takeo and Toshiko? Then, out of the corner of her eye, Amaya sees two lifeless bodies laying meters away. Amaya lets out a horrified gasp. The bodies are Toshiko and Takeo! No! More tears stream down Amaya’s face.

All of the sudden, Amaya, feels the air start to become thick. The wind blows slightly. Amaya, turns her head to see a blue vortex touch the ground, a few feet away from the forest line. Amaya’s eyes widen. A dimensional rift?! Amaya then hears a yelp. Amaya turns her head.

Yori, staggers away from Riku and Karou. The dog is bleeding heavily from a chest wound.

“Yori!” Souta and Yuri cry. Tears stream down their faces.

Yori, pants heavily and shakes as he tries to walk. Yori, then collapses a few feet away. The dog becomes still.

“Yori!” Amaya cries. Souta and Yuri wail beneath her.

Amaya turns her head only to see Luna, staring at the dimensional rift. The bandit is getting dangerously close to her! Luna, turns and sees the bandit. Luna, gasps and clutches Aiko close to her. Just as the bandit is about to swing his sword, Luna, turns and lets the wind take Aiko. The bandit brings his sword down. Luna, falls to the ground, dead.

Amaya’s heart almost stops. She just stares at Luna’s body with absolute disbelief. Amaya, quickly looks to see baby Aiko disappear into the dimensional rift. The dimensional rift soon disappears back into the sky. Amaya, looks back towards Luna’s body.

“...No..it can’t be.” Amaya whispers to herself. Amaya, blinks a few times, hoping that this is all just a terrible nightmare. However, Amaya, realizes that this is not a dream. It is all very real.

Amaya, starts to sob uncontrollably. She fails to notice Riku and Karou approach her. The two men prepare to bring their swords down. However, someone interferes. It is one of Yuzuki’s uncles! Another man soon joins in the fight. Yuzuki, soon runs up and starts to shake Amaya.

“AMAYA!” Yuzuki cries. “ARE YOU OK?”

“Luna….Aiko….” Amaya says. “Luna….Aiko…dimensional rift.”

Yuzuki, follows Amaya’s eyes. Yuzuki, gasps when she sees Luna’s body on the ground. Yuzuki, begins to sob next to Amaya.

“Luna...Aiko…” Amaya says. Amaya sobs uncontrollably. She even screams a few times.

Amaya sobs. Tears fall into the water.

“Luna...Aiko..” Amaya says. “Why?”

Amaya looks up at the sky with her tear stained face. So much death had occurred that night. Amaya’s father, Akito, had died fighting the bandits. Amaya’s mother Hanako, died trying to get Amaya’s sick aunt, Sayuri, and Sayuri’s children to safety. Sayuri’s children Kisho and Mio, managed to survive. Hanako and Sayuri managed to shield the children from the bandits swords. Sayuri’s husband ended up dying fighting the bandits. This left Kisho and Mio orphans. Rina, had to take Kisho and Mio to raise. Amaya’s uncle Raiden and his wife also died, along with their daughter. This left their twin boys, Arata and Arashi, as orphans. Rina, had to take Arashi and Arata to raise as well.

Yuzuki, Takara, and Katara’s families also suffered great losses. Yuzuki’s father died fighting the bandits. Yuzuki’s mother, died trying to get Yuzuki and her siblings to safety. Luckily, Yuzuki and her younger brother managed to survive. Yuzuki and her younger brother had to move in with Yuzuki’s married elder brother. Takara’s mother died trying to shield two of Takara’s younger brothers. Takara, had been carrying her youngest brother at the time. Sadly, the two brothers Takara’s mother had tried to protect, did not survive the attack. Takara and Taki’s father, Tarou, was absolutely grief stricken. If it wasn’t for his daughters, grandson and surviving son, Tarou probably would have committed suicide. Katara’s father and older brother died fighting the bandits. Katara’s uncle Takeru, also died fighting the bandits. Katara’s aunt Kanami, lost her husband as well.

Amaya sobs some more. The funeral for all of the fallen villagers was depressing and mournful. Rina, then decided that the surviving villagers needed to move to another area. Rina, was afraid that if another attack came, no one would survive. Rina, sent out scouts to find another area to set up another village. The scouts eventually found the valley.

Amaya sighs. While the scouts did their job, Rina and the elders tried to locate baby Aiko. The elders eventually found baby Aiko in the dimension ruled by the greek gods. Baby Aiko, as it turns out, had been found and adopted by a wealthy Italian family. Aiko’s new family named her Maria di Angelo. The fact that Luna’s baby was safe and being cared for brought some peace to Luna’s friends.

Eventually, the day came for the surviving villagers to pack up and move. Amaya remembers that day clearly.

Amaya carries flowers in a basket. Amaya, looks down at the graves of her loved ones. Amaya, turns and looks at her friends. Her friends are also placing flowers on graves. Amaya, places a flower on Akito’s grave. Amaya moves to the left and places a flower on Hanako’s grave. Amaya, moves to the left some more and places a flower on Haruto’s grave.

Amaya sighs. She begins placing flowers on the graves of her uncles, aunts and cousins. Amaya then walks past a few graves. Amaya places a flower on Takeo’s grave. Amaya moves to the left some more and places a flower on Toshiko’s grave. Amaya, eventually reaches Luna’s grave. Amaya, sniffles as she places a flower on Luna’s grave. Amaya’s friends quickly join her. Tears run down their faces.

“Why did Luna have to die?” Yuzuki asks between sobs.

“I don’t know.” Takara says. Tears stream down her face.

“My grandmother said that things just happen.” Katara says. Tears stream down her face. “However, it doesn’t mean that everything that does happen is fair. Life is just so unfair sometimes!”

“That’s what my grandmother said.” Amaya says. She places a hand on Luna’s headstone. “However, that doesn’t mean dealing with death is easy.”

The four girls stare at Luna’s grave for a few minutes. Takara, then notices that there is one more flower in Amaya’s basket.

“Who is that flower for?” Takara asks.

Amaya turns and looks towards a group of trees overlooking the burial grounds. The group of trees is where the burial grounds for village dogs is.

“For Yori.” Amaya says. “He gave his life to save Yuri, Souta, and I from those two bandits. It’s only fair that I give him a flower as well.”

Amaya slowly walks towards the dog burial grounds. Amaya eventually reaches a fresh grave. The stone reads:

Yori

A good dog

Amaya places a flower on Yori’s grave. A small stone statue of a dog is on the headstone. Little dog statues are placed on the graves of dogs who died defending the village. Amaya, places her hand on the little statue.

“Thank you, Yori.” Amaya whispers.

Amaya turns and heads back to where her friends are. All of the sudden, Amaya and the other girls hear voices calling for them. Amaya, sees that all of the pack horses appear to be loaded up. Many Villagers carry baskets and bags. It is time to go. Amaya turns to her friends who all nod in return. The four girls prepare to join the villagers. However, Amaya, stops momentarily to glance at Luna’s grave one more time.

“Goodbye Luna.” Amaya whispers. “All of us shall watch over Aiko. Always.”

Amaya turns and quickly runs to catch up with Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki.

Amaya sobs silently as she looks up at the sky. Amaya’s eyes are red from crying.

“...Luna….” Amaya whispers.

Chapter Text

Amaya looks up at the sky. She sniffles some more. It was nearly two days after the attack that the elders located baby Aiko in the other world. The elders discovered that baby Aiko had been adopted by an Italian family that lived on a beautiful little villa, just outside of a city called Venice, in Italy. Baby Aiko, had also been renamed. Baby Aiko’s new name was Maria di Angelo. Many of the older villagers were content to call Luna’s daughter by her new name. However, Amaya and her friends would continue to call Luna’s daughter by her birth name, Aiko.  

Amaya sighs. Aiko/Maria’s adoptive family was very nice. Aiko/Maria’s adoptive father, Vincente, worked for the Italian government. Vincente, also managed his own little orchard and made his own wine. Aiko/Maria’s adoptive mother was named, Alessandra. Alessandra stayed home and managed the family’s home. However, Alessandra, had several hobbies which she used to generate more income for their household. Alessandra, did seamstress work for women in the city. Alessandra, also taught piano and violin lessons during certain times of the year. Alessandra, was also a fantastic gardener and grew many different types of flowers. Alessandra, would use many of these flowers for bouquets, which she would then sell. Vincente and Alessandra also came from wealthy families. Vincente and Alessandra were not super wealthy, but they could afford many luxuries. Aiko/Maria also had two adoptive older brothers, named Antonio and Emanuele. Aiko/Maria made her new family very happy, for a very specific reason. The Di Angelo’s had very bad luck when it came to baby girls. Alessandra, had given birth to four baby girls prior to finding Aiko/Maria. However, none of the babies survived past six months of age. In fact, Alessandra, had just lost a baby girl five days before the Di Angelo’s had found Aiko/Maria. To say that the Di Angelo’s were elated to finally have a baby girl, even though it wasn’t biologically theirs, was an understatement.

Amaya sighs again. While the villagers buried their dead loved ones and packed up to move to the valley, Rina, continued to use the interdimensional viewing jutsu to keep an eye on Aiko/Maria. Then five days after the attack, the surviving villagers left to move to the valley. However, one villager decided to stay. That villager was Jarou Kirai, Rina’s cousin. Jarou decided to settle down in a cave that was close to the old Kirai Village. Jarou, never gave a reason why he didn’t want to move. However, many of the other elders were convinced that Jarou was ridden with guilt over failing to save Luna.

Amaya looks back down at the water. When the villagers arrived at their new home, they discovered a surprise. One of the scouts had already built a well for the elders to use the interdimensional viewing jutsu. When the interdimensional viewing jutsu is used with a well of water or even a large mirror, people other than the user of the jutsu can see what is happening in another world. The scouts also marked the best spots to build homes and plant crops. All the villagers had to do was pick a spot and start building or planting. By morning and day, the villagers would build and plant new crops. By night, the villagers would sleep until a new day began. However, the elders, other select clan members, and Luna’s friends would use the new well to see how baby Aiko/Maria was doing. They usually did this for a few hours every night.

Amaya lets out a deep sigh. Since time flows faster in the other world than it does in this world, baby Aiko/Maria had grown a lot since the village attack. Amaya remembers the first night the elders used the new well. By then, baby Aiko/Maria was already two and a half months old.

Amaya and her friends stand with older village members. Everyone is peering into the well of water. Amaya’s grandmother, Rina, holds her hand over the water.

The image in the water is of baby Aiko/Maria. The little baby is lying in a small wooden cradle. A woman with olive skin, dark eyes and dark hair sits on the edge of a large bed, next to the cradle. This woman is Alessandra, Aiko/Maria’s adoptive mother. Alessandra, gently rocks the cradle and softly sings a lullaby. A man with olive skin, dark hair, and dark eyes stands on the other side of the cradle, opposite Alessandra. The man is Vincente, Aiko/Maria’s adoptive father. Two young boys with olive skin, dark hair and dark eyes sit quietly on the floor, close to the bed. The two boys are Antonio and Emanuele, Aiko/Maria’s adoptive older brothers. Antonio, is older than Emanuele.

Baby Aiko/Maria blinks sleepily inside the cradle. The baby lets out a small yawn and closes her eyes.

The Alessandra, Vincente, Antonio, and Emanuele all look up from the cradle. They all smile contently at one another.

Amaya and her friends watch the scene with slightly sad eyes. The elder village members present watch the scene with slightly sad eyes as well.

“Little Maria is being cared for.” Seiji says. “That is the only good thing about the situation.”

Soon, sobs can be heard. Everyone present turns to see Amaya sobbing.

“Luna...should be the one….rocking Aiko to sleep.” Amaya says, between sobs. “Life is just so unfair!”

Amaya sighs. Watching scenes like that could be very heartbreaking. Amaya always felt that it should have been Luna, caring for and loving baby Aiko/Maria like that. Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki felt the same way. However, Amaya, did agree that Aiko/Maria ended up with a wonderful family.

Amaya looks down at the water. The elders knew a lot about the world that baby Aiko/Maria was sent to. The elders also knew about the Greek gods. Everyday, while using the interdimensional viewing jutsu, the elders and Luna’s friends would send prayers to the other world. The interdimensional viewing jutsu allows the user to form a mental link with the world in which they are viewing. Mental links can also be formed with anyone viewing the jutsu from the well. So, everytime the jutsu was used, everyone gathered around the well would pray for Aiko/Maria to have good health, in hopes that the gods would hear them. No one could stand the thought of baby Aiko/Maria becoming ill or suffering a terrible accident, and dying as a result. Not only would everyone watching over Aiko/Maria from the well suffer, Aiko/Maria’s adoptive family would suffer as well. Luckily, baby Aiko/Maria was very strong and healthy, just as she had been in her birth world. Baby Aiko/Maria also fit right in with her new family. Baby Aiko/Maria had the classic Italian look to her, even though she wasn’t truly Italian. The baby had olive skin, dark eyes and dark hair, which is what her adoptive family had.

Amaya sighs again. It seemed like time passed by so quickly. Within six days of being sent to the other world, baby Aiko/Maria was already three months old.

Amaya and her friends are gathered around the well with elder members of the village. Rina, holds her hand over the water.

The image in the water is of a now three month old Aiko/Maria. The baby is lying in a sling that is strapped to Alessandra’s chest. Alessandra, is walking around the garden, picking vegetables to use for dinner.

Amaya and her friends watch the scene sadly. The way that Alessandra is carrying Aiko/Maria reminds the girls of how Luna, used to carry baby Aiko/Maria.

Amaya closes her eyes. With each day that passed, Aiko/Maria got so much bigger. By the time eight days had passed after the village attack, Aiko/Maria was already four months old. It was around that time when Aiko/Maria began to roll over.

Amaya and her friends are gathered around the well with elder village members. Rina, holds her hand over the well.

The image in the water is of a now four month old Aiko/Maria. The baby is lying on her stomach, on a blanket that has been spread out on the floor. Antonio and Emanuele sit close by. Alessandra, is in the kitchen, preparing food.

Antonio and Emanuele are playing with baby Aiko/Maria. The baby girl giggles as she moves around on the blanket. All of the sudden, baby Aiko/Maria rolls from her stomach to her back. The baby giggles.

Antonio and Emanuele gasp. They call for Alessandra. When she comes into the room, the boys tell of baby Aiko’s/Maria’s accomplishment. Alessandra, smiles and coos over baby Aiko/Maria.

Many people gathered around the well smile, happy at baby Aiko/Maria’s accomplishment. However, Amaya and her friends only half smile.

Amaya blinks a few times. When Aiko/Maria was five months old she began rolling from her back to her stomach. That was ten days after the village attack. When Aiko/Maria was five and a half months old, she began to learn how to sit up. That was eleven days after the village attack.

Amaya and her friends peer into the well. Elder members of the village are also gathered around the well. Rina, holds her hand over the water.

Everyone watches the scene before them carefully. In the water, is an image of baby Aiko/Maria. Baby Aiko/Maria is lying on a blanket, spread out on the floor. Baby Aiko/Maria is now five and a half months old. Alessandra, sits in front of Aiko/Maria. She is helping baby Aiko/Maria to try and sit up.  

“Oh, how precious!” someone says. “Baby Maria is learning how to sit up!”

“She is getting so big.” Someone else says.

Many people gathered around the well smile. However, Amaya and her friends only manage half smiles.

Amaya blinks a few times. Her eyes are starting to water. Baby Aiko/Maria began crawling when she was six months old. That was twelve days after the village attack.

Amaya and her friends are gathered around the well. The elder members of the village are gathered as well. Rina, holds her hand over the water.

The image in the water is of baby Aiko/Maria, whom is now six months old. The baby is lying on her tummy. Alessandra, sits in a chair. Antonio and Emanuele sit on the floor, across from baby Aiko/Maria.

“Vieni, Maria!”Antonio says. “Vieni da Noi!”

Baby Aiko/Maria shifts around on the floor. The baby manages to pull herself to her hands and knees. Slowly, but surely, the baby starts to propel herself forward. Baby Aiko/Maria is crawling!

“Mamma!”Emanuele says. “Baby Maria sta strisciando!”

Alessandra lets out a surprised gasp. She smiles.

Many people gathered around the well smile with absolute delight at Aiko’s/Maria’s latest accomplishment. Amaya looks at her friends. The four girls only manage half smiles.

Amaya closes her eyes. Tears run down her cheeks. The time that Aiko/Maria started crawling was also the time when the baby was introduced to solid food.

Amaya and her friends look into the well, watching the scene carefully.

Six month old Aiko/Maria sits in a wooden high chair. The baby is fingering some finely chopped cooked vegetables. Slowly, Aiko/Maria picks some up and puts some in her mouth. The baby slowly chews. The baby soon smiles and lets out a laugh.

Amaya blinks slowly as tears fall from her eyes. Aiko/Maria actually proved herself to be a prodigy when it came to important milestones. Aiko/Maria was also a quick learner. When Aiko/Maria was seven months old she was already a pro at crawling and sitting up.

Amaya and her friends watch the scene before them carefully.

Seven month old Aiko/Maria lays on the floor. The baby slowly brings herself to a sitting position. The baby then giggles. The baby then starts to crawl across the floor.

Amaya blinks as tears run down her face. When Aiko/Maria was eight months old she could stand with some support.

Amaya and her friends watch the scene before them carefully.

Baby Aiko/Maria sits between Vincente and Alessandra. Vincente and Alessandra are gently holding baby Aiko/Maria up by her hands. The two adults are helping the baby to stand. The baby giggles. The baby even takes a few steps.

Then, when Aiko/Maria was eight and a half months old, she began standing up all by herself.

Amaya and her friends are looking into the well of water.

Baby Aiko/Maria sits on the floor. The baby is now eight and a half months old.

Baby Aiko/Maria pulls herself up by holding onto a chair. The baby lets go of the chair. Baby Aiko/Maria does not fall over. The baby giggles with delight.

Then, at nine months old, Aiko/Maria took her first steps all by herself.

Amaya and her friends look into the well of water. Many others stand nearby.

Baby Aiko/Maria is holding onto a chair as she waddles around a room. Alessandra, is sitting in a chair nearby. Alessandra, is knitting.

Baby Aiko/Maria giggles with delight. Baby Aiko/Maria then lets go of the chair and starts taking steps forward. The baby does not fall over. Little Aiko/Maria has just taken her first steps without support!

Alessandra, looks up from her knitting, and gasps. Alessandra sets down her knitting needles and runs over. Alessandra, picks Aiko/Maria up and begins praising the baby.

“Hai fatto i tuoi primi passi!” Alessandra says, happily. “Una ragazza così!”

Everyone viewing the scene from the well gasp and smile. Amaya looks at her friends. The four girls all close their eyes.

Amaya sobs silently. Witnessing such accomplishments was very bittersweet for Luna’s friends. Amaya and the other girls were always so proud when Aiko/Maria would accomplish such important milestones. However, the four girls were saddened at the same time, because Luna, was not there to witness the milestones.

Amaya stops sobbing for a minute. She looks up at the sky. Before everyone knew it, Aiko/Maria was walking like a pro. By the time Aiko/Maria was ten months old she could run across a room. And boy, was she fast!

Amaya and her friends look into the well of water. Many others stand close by and watch the scene as well.

Baby Aiko/Maria is running across a room. The baby is now ten months old. Alessandra is chasing her.

“Maria!” Alessandra says with exasperation. “Vieni qui!”

Many of the older village members stifle little laughs. Amaya and her friends manage only half smiles.

Amaya looks down at the water. When Aiko/Maria was eleven months old she spoke her first words! However, this milestone was very heartbreaking for a very specific reason.

Amaya and her friends peer into the well of water. Many older village members also peer into the well. Rina, holds her hand over the water.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, whom is now eleven months old. Alessandra and Vincente are also in the room. Antonio and Emanuele are playing with toys on the floor close by.

Baby Aiko/Maria is walking around the room. The baby is babbling to herself.

“...Ma…..mu….ahh…,” Aiko/Maria babbles. “Ma…..ahh...ahh…pa”

Aiko/Maria then approaches Alessandra.

“...Ma….ma…..ma..,” Aiko/Maria babbles. “Ma….ma...ma…”

Alessandra looks up from what she is doing. She looks down at the baby.

“Maria?” Alessandra asks.

“Ma...ma….ma….mamma!” Aiko/Maria says.

Alessandra, gasps. She picks up the baby. Vincente, looks up from his paper. He is sitting in his armchair.

“Mio caro,” Vincente says with surprise. “Che cosꞌè?”

“Maria, mi hai appena chiamato mamma!” Alessandra says, happily.

Vincente, gasps. He gets up from his chair. Antonio and Emanuele look up from their toys. Their eyes are wide.

Everyone gathered around the well, gasps. Everyone’s eyes are wide.

“Maria, just said her first word.” Rina says.

All of the sudden sobbing can be heard. Everyone looks to see Amaya sobbing her heart out.

“..Aiko...should be calling Luna mama...not that woman!” Amaya says between sobs.

Aizen, hugs Amaya. Everyone else present looks back down at the water.

Aiko/Maria’s adoptive family has gathered around her. Baby Aiko/Maria then looks at Vincente.

“Pa...pa….pa...papà!” Aiko/Maria says.

Everyone gathered around the well stands silent. Their thoughts immediately turn to Itachi.

Amaya sighs. Before everyone knew it twenty-four days had passed since the village attack and Luna’s death. It was at that time, Aiko/Maria, turned a year old. Aiko/Maria’s adoptive family held a little celebration. Since they did not know the day Aiko/Maria was born, they decided to make her birthday the day that they found her. As always, the members of the Kirai village watched from Aiko/Maria’s birth world.

Amaya and her friends peer into the well of water. Many elder members of the village also peer into the well. Rina, holds her hand over the water.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, sitting in her wooden high chair. The baby is now a year and one week old. Her adoptive family is holding a birthday celebration.

Alessandra, brings out a cake. Alessandra, cuts out a small piece of cake. She puts the piece of cake front of baby Aiko/Maria.

Baby Aiko/Maria looks at her piece of cake. She then uses her fingers to take a small piece of cake, and put in her mouth. Baby Aiko/Maria grins and slowly chews the bite of cake. Baby Aiko/Maria swallows and lets out a laugh.

Everyone gathered around the well just smiles at the sight. Amaya and her friends just look at the scene with slightly sad eyes.

Amaya holds her head down. Watching such scenes could be very heartbreaking at times.

Amaya sighs and looks back up at the sky. Little Aiko/Maria grew more and more beautiful everyday. One of the pastimes that Little Aiko/Maria seemed to enjoy was spending time in the garden with Alessandra.

Amaya and her friends stand around the well. Many others are also gathered around the well. Everyone is watching the scene before them carefully.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, and Alessandra. Aiko/Maria is now fifteen months old.

Alessandra holds Aiko/Maria’s hand as the two of them walk through the garden. Alessandra picks flowers, and places them into a basket hanging from her arm as they walk. Occasionally, Alessandra will hold a flower out for little Aiko/Maria to see. Little Aiko/Maria sniffs each flower presented to her. She giggles with delight.

Everyone gathered around the well smiles. However, Amaya and her friends only manage half smiles.

Amaya sighs. Little Aiko/Maria was also very smart for her age. By the time little Aiko/Maria was two years old, she could name objects in both Italian and English.

Amaya, her friends, the village elders, and many others are gathered around the well.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, whom is now two years old. The little girls is walking in the garden with Alessandra.

Aiko/Maria’s adoptive mother is picking vegetables, fruit, and flowers. Aiko/Maria’s adoptive mother grabs a lemon off a lemon tree. She holds it out to Aiko/Maria.

“Cosꞌè questo?” Alessandra asks little Aiko/Maria.

Little Aiko/Maria smiles. “Limone!” Little Aiko/Maria says.

“Sì, è giusto!” Alessandra says. “Cosꞌè limone in inglese?”

Little Aiko/Maria smiles. “Lemon!” Little Aiko/Maria says.

“Sì, è giusto!” Alessandra says. Alessandra picks a flower and holds it out for Aiko/Maria to see.

“Cosꞌè questo?” Alessandra asks.

Little Aiko/Maria smiles. “Fiore!” Little Aiko/Maria says.

“Sì, è giusto!” Alessandra says. “Cosꞌè il fiore in inglese?”

Little Aiko/Maria smiles. “Flower!” Little Aiko/Maria says.

Alessandra smiles. “Sì, è giusto!” Alessandra says. “Sei una ragazza così intelligente!”

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, all of the elders gathered around the well smile at the scene. Amaya looks at her friends. They all close their eyes.

Amaya sighs. Amaya leans back and lays on the grass. Amaya stares at the stars and moon before closing her eyes. Aiko/Maria’s childhood went by so fast. Memories flood Amaya’s mind like a sequence of events.  

Aiko/Maria is now three years old. The little girl giggles as Alessandra, shows her how to dance.

Aiko/Maria follows every move that Alessandra shows her.

“Bene, Maria!” Alessandra says. “Ora, fallo!”  

Alessandra, steps forward and then twirls. She does this three times.

Little Aiko/Maria copies her adoptive mother’s moves.

“Ottimo Lavoro, Maria!” Alessandra says.

Little Aiko/Maria smiles and giggles at her adoptive mother’s praise.

**************************

Aiko/Maria is now four years old. The little girl is sitting on Alessandra’s lap. The two of them are sitting on a bench, in front of a piano.

Alessandra taps a few keys with her fingers. Alessandra, looks down at Aiko/Maria on her lap. Alessandra nods.

Aiko/Maria slowly begins playing a few keys herself. She smiles. Alessandra congratulates Aiko/Maria for doing such a good job on her first try.

************************

Aiko/Maria is now five years old. She is standing by the doorway. Vincente, has just returned from a business trip in France. Vincente, brought home gifts for his family. Aiko/Maria is waiting for her gift.

Vincente, smiles as he reaches into his suitcase. Vincente, pulls out a beautiful porcelain doll. Aiko/Maria gasps. Vincente, hands the doll to Aiko/Maria.

“Per te, Maria.” Vincente says.

“Grazie, papà!” Aiko/Maria says. “È molto bello!”

********************

Aiko/Maria is now six years old. The little girl laughs and giggles as she plays in the garden.

A blue butterfly flies around Aiko/Maria’s head. Aiko/Maria swiftly catches the butterfly, by cupping her hands together. After a while Aiko/Maria opens up her hands. The butterfly sits in her hands and gently flaps its wings. Aiko/Maria giggles.

****************************

Aiko/Maria is now seven years old. Today is her first day of school.

Aiko/Maria is dressed up in her best dress. The little girl carries a basket filled with bread and fruit. A fine shoulder bag is slung across her left shoulder.

Alessandra walks beside Aiko/Maria. Antonio and Emanuele are ahead of them. The two boys laugh and talk as they walk.

Alessandra and Aiko/Maria talk quietly as they walk. Alessandra, gives Aiko/Maria advice, encouraging words, and reminds her of proper manners.

****************************

Aiko/Maria is now eight years old. She is sitting under a tree with other little girls her age. It is break time at school. The little girls are eating their lunches together.

The little girls talk and laugh as they eat and enjoy each others company. Soon, their lunches are finished. The girls rush back inside the building to put their lunch baskets away. Aiko/Maria and her friends then go back outside. Now, it is time to play.

*****************************

Aiko/Maria stares out her bedroom window at the starry night sky. It is almost time for her to go to bed. Aiko/Maria smiles as she looks at the twinkling stars.

***********************

Aiko/Maria is now ten years old. She is just learning how to play the violin. Aiko/Maria smiles as she plays. Alessandra, congratulates Aiko/Maria on a job well done.

**********************

Aiko/Maria is now eleven years old. She is eating dinner with her adoptive family. Aiko/Maria sits next to Alessandra. Vincente, sits at the head of the table. Antonio and Emanuele sit together, across from Aiko/Maria and Alessandra.

The entire family smile as they eat together. Everyone takes turns talking about their day.

***********************

Aiko/Maria is now twelve years old. She sits at her school desk. Today, each member of her class is supposed to recite poems. Each member of the class has an assigned poem. The teacher gave them all one week to memorize their poems.

A boy quickly finishes his poem. The boy sits down, slightly embarrassed. The boy made many mistakes while reciting his poem. The teacher sighs.

“Maria di Angelo!” The teacher says. It is Aiko/Maria’s turn now.

Aiko/Maria slowly stands up. She takes a deep breath. She begins to recite her poem. When she is finished, the entire class is amazed. Aiko/Maria did not make a single mistake!

**********************

Aiko/Maria is now thirteen years old. She is in the kitchen, learning how to cook from Alessandra.

Alessandra shows Aiko/Maria how to chop vegetables perfectly. Aiko/Maria then starts to chop her own vegetables. Aiko/Maria chops up the vegetables perfectly! Alessandra, praises Aiko/Maria for her skill. Then, Alessandra, shows Aiko/Maria how to saute the vegetables in a pan of olive oil.

**************************

Aiko/Maria is now fourteen years old. Alessandra is teaching Aiko/Maria how to do fine sewing.

Alessandra, shows Aiko/Maria how to properly stitch a seam with a needle and thread. Alessandra, is using red cloth.

Aiko/Maria carefully copies her adoptive mother’s technique with her own needle and thread. Aiko/Maria is using blue cloth.

Alessandra, quickly examines Aiko/Maria’s work. Alessandra, praises Aiko/Maria for a job well done.

*******************************

Amaya opens her eyes. She sits up and looks at the stars. Amaya lets out a deep sigh. Before everyone knew it, a year had passed since the village attack and Luna’s death. In the other world, Aiko/Maria, turned fifteen! On the one year anniversary of Luna’s death, Aiko/Maria’s adoptive family held a birthday celebration.

Amaya and her friends are peering into the well. Many others are peering into the well too. Rina, holds her hand over the well.

The mood is very somber. Today is the one year anniversary of the village attack. This day is also the one year anniversary of Luna’s death.

Tarou sighs. “It’s hard to believe that Maria is fifteen now!” Tarou says.

“I know,” Seiji says. “Time flew by so fast!”

“Shh,” Rina says. “The celebration is about to begin!”

Everyone immediately becomes quiet.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria’s adoptive family. They are all dressed in fine clothes. They are waiting for Aiko/Maria to finish getting herself ready for the celebration.

Aiko/Maria soon appears on the top of the stairs. Aiko/Maria slowly and gracefully descends the stairs.

Everyone gathered around the well in Aiko/Maria’s birth world smiles.

“Maria, has grown so much.” Tarou says.

“Maria, has grown to be so beautiful, just like Luna.” Korra says.

Amaya smiles sadly. “Aiko….looks almost exactly like Luna.” Amaya says sadly.

It is true. Aiko/Maria has Luna’s figure, smooth olive skin, pink lips, and thick eyelashes. Even though Aiko/Maria’s eyes are like Itachi’s, Aiko/Maria’s eyes have the same liveliness that Luna’s eyes once had. Aiko/Maria’s black hair is long flowing ringlets, which is just how Luna’s hair grew.

Aiko/Maria finally reaches the bottom of the stairs. Aiko/Maria is wearing a beautiful blue and white dress. Vincente, gives Aiko/Maria a big hug.

“Maria, sei diventata così bella!” Vincente says.

“Grazie, papà!” Aiko/Maria says.

Everyone gathered around the well just smiles, glad that Aiko/Maria is leading a happy life.

Amaya and her friends all look sadly at the image of Aiko/Maria in the water. The four girls think of Luna. Amaya, closes her eyes. A few tears run down her cheeks.

Amaya sighs and looks up at the sky. Even though Aiko/Maria’s childhood went by quickly, everyone had time to think about the possible future. During Aiko/Maria’s childhood everyone shared one fear. That fear was that Aiko/Maria would awaken the sharingan! Amaya clearly remembers talking about that with Luna once, before the village attack.

Amaya is sitting beside Luna. Baby Aiko is sleeping soundly in her basket. The baby is two days old. Luna, is busy getting some last minute sewing done.

“Luna….I was wondering.” Amaya says. “What will you do if Aiko awakens sharingan?”

Luna, looks up from her sewing. Her eyes are wide.

“....I...never...thought about that.” Luna says. She looks over to the basket. Luna, then sighs.

“I suppose that I will have to figure that out, when it actually does happen.” Luna says. She holds her head down.

“In any case, if Aiko does awaken the sharingan, I may need to take her to the Hidden Leaf Village.” Luna says. “....I remember...Itachi….telling me about the sharingan. Apparently,....over usage of the sharingan…..can lead to blindness!”

Amaya, gasps and looks at baby Aiko’s basket. The very thought of baby Aiko losing her eyesight in the future is absolutely horrifying!

Luna, blinks a few times. “I won’t be able to teach Aiko, how to control the sharingan, if she does awaken it.” Luna says. “She would need to be trained in the Hidden Leaf Village. Kakashi Hatake, the copy ninja, has sharingan in one eye. He will be able to teach Aiko how to control the sharingan.”

Luna, closes her eyes. She puts her sewing down. She puts her head in her hands.

“However,....I am afraid of the Hidden Leaf Village finding out that Aiko, is Itachi’s child.” Luna says. “My biggest fear is that the Hidden Leaf will hurt Aiko! I can barely stand the thought of it.”

Luna begins to weep silently. Amaya, puts a comforting hand on Luna’s shoulder.

“There are many people in this village who love Aiko, just as much as you do.” Amaya says. “Myself included! If you ever have to take Aiko to the Hidden Leaf, we will all vouch for her.”

Amaya sighs. Even after Aiko/Maria was sent to the other world, that fear remained. However, Aiko/Maria never awakened the sharingan. The village elders had a theory as to why this was. In most cases, the sharingan awakens in time of great stress or there is an emotional trauma. At least, that’s what the Kirai elders heard anyway. Aiko/Maria never went through times of great stress nor did she ever suffer an emotional trauma. Aiko/Maria had a very calm and relaxed childhood.

The Uchiha were also a ninja clan. Uchiha children were expected from an early age to train in ninja arts. Aiko/Maria did not grow up like Uchiha children before her did. Uchiha children, learned how to control their chakra, form jutsu, and throw kunai knives. However, Aiko/Maria learned to do very different things. Aiko/Maria learned how to read, write, play musical instruments, and recite poems. Aiko/Maria didn’t even know what ninja arts were! Aiko/Maria sure did grow up very differently from her biological parents.

Amaya sighs. Aiko/Maria’s later teenage years passed by just as swiftly as her childhood had. Aiko/Maria continued to be an excellent student in school. Aiko/Maria also became a part time actress for a theatre in Venice. When Aiko/Maria graduated school, she continued acting in the theatre. However, Aiko/Maria would also work with Alessandra in her spare time. Aiko/Maria, loved to help Alessandra teach piano and violin lessons. Aiko/Maria also became an excellent seamstress, and bouquet maker.

Amaya looks up at the sky. She then looks towards a plateau to the east. This particular plateau leads to a memorial site. The surviving villagers built the memorial site to honor their dead loved ones, especially those killed in the village attack years ago.

Amaya blinks a few times. She slowly gets to her feet. Amaya slowly begins walking towards the memorial site.

*****************************

Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki quickly head towards the meadow by the stream and pond. The three girls have decided that Amaya has had enough time alone.

The three girls reach the meadow. However, Amaya, is nowhere to be seen.

“Oh, no!” Yuzuki says. “Amaya is not here!”

“Where could she be?” Katara asks.

Takara, suddenly notices that a grassy area by the stream appears to have been sat on for a long time.

“Amaya, was here.” Takara says. She points to the worn down grassy area. “However, she has decided to move on.”

Takara, sighs. “There is only one other place Amaya could have gone.” Takara says. “The memorial site.”

Katara and Yuzuki gasp.

“You’re right!” Katara says. “Amaya, does go there sometimes after clearing her head.”

Takara sighs. “Come on, we better get going.” Takara says. “The memorial site is a long walk from here.”

Katara and Yuzuki nod. The two girls follow Takara, towards the memorial site.

*******************

Amaya walks slowly towards the memorial site. Many thoughts run through her head.

It is just not fair! Amaya thinks. Aiko, never got to know Luna. Luna, never got to be the mother that she always wanted to be. Oh, the world is so cruel!

Amaya’s eyes begin to water. She begins to think of all the things that Luna, missed out on. Luna, never got to see Aiko, take her first steps. Amaya thinks to herself. Luna, didn’t even get to hear Aiko, call her mama!

Amaya, starts sobbing. She often tries to imagine what life would have been like if the old Kirai Village was not attacked all those years ago. Then, Luna, would not have died, and Aiko, would have stayed in this world.

Amaya opens her eyes. She is back in her old village. Amaya, sees a little Aiko, running towards Luna’s home. Luna, who is older, is hanging up laundry with her mother, Toshiko. Little Aiko, runs up and hugs Luna. Luna, just smiles and kisses Aiko on the forehead.

Amaya continues to sob. Imagining what could have been is actually even harder than thinking of actual memories!

Amaya looks up at the sky.

“....Luna…..Aiko.” Amaya whispers to herself.

Chapter Text

Amaya sighs as she looks up at the sky. Aiko/Maria’s later teenage years were very calm and happy times. However, it was during Aiko/Maria’s teenage years that Vincente, was offered a more serious diplomat job. However, this new position would take Vincente, away from home more often and for longer periods of time. So, the family began traveling with Vincente, when he would visit other countries. Vincente and Alessandra rented out their villa during the times that they were away. The family actually spent a lot of time in english speaking countries. Aiko/Maria developed the habit of using English and Italian words together in a sentence.

Amaya looks at the sky. When Aiko/Maria was twenty-one, the family visited the United States. Aiko/Maria, and her adoptive family stayed in Washington D.C. That particular trip changed Aiko/Maria’s life forever. Aiko/Maria, ended up meeting and falling in love with Hades, Greek god of the Underworld.

Everyone is gathered around the well. They are looking at the scene before them very carefully.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, now as an adult woman. Aiko/Maria is walking through a museum. Vincente, is at a meeting with other diplomats. Alessandra, is at the family’s rented home, resting because she woke up with a headache. Antonio and Emanuele, are out doing who knows what. Aiko/Maria decided to come to the museum to give herself something to do. Aiko/Maria, has just reached the ancient artifacts portion of the museum.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, the elders that are gathered around the well just smile. Amaya and her friends also manage to smile at the sight.

“Maria, has grown into a beautiful young woman.” Seiji says with optimism.

“..Yes...Aiko has grown to be a very beautiful woman.” Amaya says. “I just wish that Luna, could see just how beautiful her daughter has become.”

“Aiko, is beautiful indeed.” Takara says. “Luna, would be so proud.”

As everyone gathered around the well talks about how well Aiko/Maria is doing, Amaya, notices that her grandmother has a confused look on her face.

“Grandmother, what is wrong?” Amaya asks.

Hearing Amaya’s question to her grandmother, everyone else gathered around the well turns to look at Rina. They all grow concerned when they see Rina’s face.

“Rina,” Korra says. “Is there something wrong?”

Rina, sighs. She focuses the image in the water on a man. The man has oily black hair, dark eyes, and pale skin. The man wears a black pinstripe suit.

“That man has a strange aura surrounding him.” Rina says. “I am trying to figure out who he is.”

Everyone holds their breaths. Rina, concentrates very hard on the strange man. After a few minutes, Rina, gasps. Her eyes widen.

“Rina,” Seiji says. “What is it?”

“That man is a god!” Rina, says. Her eyes are still wide.

“A GOD!” Everyone else shouts. Everyone soon begins whispering to each other.

“Do you know which god it is?” Korra asks.

Rina nods. “It is Hades,” Rina says. “The god of the Underworld.”

Everyone else gathered around the well just gasp.

“What is Hades, doing?” Seiji asks.

Rina, narrows her eyes. “Hades…,” Rina says. “appears to be watching, Maria.”  

Amaya’s eyes widen. Why would a god want to watch Aiko/Maria? Amaya, soon brings her attention back to the image in the water. Rina, has shifted the image back to Aiko/Maria.

Aiko/Maria is looking at some ancient pottery. Aiko/Maria, then spots a bench nearby. Aiko/Maria walks over to the bench and sits down. However, a few minutes later someone sits down next to her. It is Hades! Aiko/Maria takes notice.

“Hello, miss.” Hades says. “Do you mind if I sit here?”

“No, not at all.” Aiko/Maria says. “I was just resting myself.”

Over the next few minutes Aiko/Maria and Hades talk about the museum. Every once and a while Hades, will complement Aiko/Maria on her beauty.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone gathered around the well just looks at the scene, very taken aback.

Amaya, sighs. She looks up at the sky. As time passed, Aiko/Maria kept having run ins with Hades. With each run in, Aiko/Maria, grew more and more attracted to Hades. It also seemed as if Aiko/Maria could sense that Hades was not normal. Rina, explained that the gods in the other world as well as other divine creatures and even monsters surround themselves with a mist, to keep mortals oblivious to the divine world. However, some mortals are able to see through that mist. Aiko/Maria, as it seems was one of those special mortals. Then, Hades, finally revealed his true nature to Aiko/Maria. Rather than run away, Aiko/Maria, embraced Hades divine nature. Aiko/Maria, had already fallen in love with him. Even when the di Angelo’s went back to Venice, Hades continued to see Aiko/Maria.

Amaya closes her eyes. Hades, would do anything to make Aiko/Maria happy. Hades was always giving Aiko/Maria gifts. Hades, would also use shadow travel and take Aiko/Maria to distant lands and have romantic evenings with her. Amaya clearly remembers watching many of those instances with her fellow village members. Amaya, closes her eyes and lets all the memories come back to her.

Amaya, her friends, the elders, and other villagers are standing around the well. They are all looking at the scene in the water.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria. Aiko/Maria is in her bedroom, in the di Angelo’s rented Washington D.C. house. Aiko/Maria is reading a book. It is late at night. Alessandra, is asleep down the hall. Vincente, is having an overnight night meeting with other diplomats. Antonio and Emanuele are out with friends.

Aiko/Maria lays is sitting on her bed, propped up on pillows. She is engrossed in her book. However, Aiko/Maria soon notices dark shadows streaming in through an open window. The shadows slowly form a silhouette. It is Hades! Aiko/Maria smiles.

“Hades, my love.” Aiko/Maria says. “You have come to see me.”

“Yes.” Hades says. Hades holds out his hand. A bouquet of red roses appears in Hades Hand. Aiko/Maria gasps and smiles even more.

“For you, Maria.” Hades says. Hades, hands the roses to Aiko/Maria.

“Oh, Hades, my love.” Aiko/Maria says. “They are molto bello.”

Aiko/Maria sniffs the roses. She smiles even more. “These roses also smell absolutely meravigilioso” Aiko/Maria says. “I have never smelled roses like these before, ever in my life!”

*****************************

Amaya, her friends, the elders, and other village members are staring into the well. They are all looking at the scene before them carefully.

Aiko/Maria is sitting in an outdoor chair. The di Angelo’s are still living in their rented Washington D.C. house. Aiko/Maria’s adoptive family are all asleep upstairs. It is late at night. Aiko/Maria could not sleep so she came outside to get some fresh air.

The backyard is very still. A few crickets chirp nearby. Aiko/Maria, smiles as she stares up at the stars. All of the sudden, a voice catches her attention.

“Maria….” The voice says. Aiko/Maria, turns to see Hades standing by a tree. Aiko/Maria smiles.

“Hades, my love.” Aiko/Maria says.

Hades, walks up and takes Aiko/Maria’s hand and kisses it. Hades, then holds out his hand. A gold chain necklace appears in Hades hand. Aiko/Maria gasps and smiles. Aiko/Maria slowly takes the gold necklace into her own hands. A gold charm in the shape of a star is attached to the chain.

“Oh, Hades.” Aiko/Maria says. “It is bellissimo. A gold star!”

Hades smiles. “I know that you like stars.” Hades says.

Aiko/Maria, quickly puts the necklace on. Hades, caresses Aiko/Maria’s cheek.

“It is perfect on you my dear.” Hades says.

Hades, looks up at the sky. He smiles.

“I know of a place where the stars are especially beautiful at night.” Hades says. “Would you like me to take you there?”

Aiko/Maria’s eyes widen. “Oh, yes!” Aiko/Maria says.

Hades, smiles. He gestures for Aiko/Maria to hold onto his hand. Aiko/Maria and Hades then walk into a shadow and disappear. After a few minutes, the two of them arrive at their destination. Aiko/Maria, gasps and smiles.

The night sky is filled with bright stars. Mountains surround Aiko/Maria and Hades. Hades turns to Aiko/Maria.

“The Rocky Mountains.” Hades says.

“Oh, you were right my love.” Aiko/Maria says. “The stars are absolutely bellissimo here!”

Hades, waves his hand. A blanket appears on the ground. A bottle of wine, two wine glasses, and a box of chocolates also appear. Aiko/Maria gasps again. Hades, turns to her.

“Let us sit and enjoy the stars.” Hades says.

“Oh, yes my love!” Aiko/Maria says. She smiles.

Hades and Aiko/Maria spend the next hour sitting on the blanket. The two of them sip wine, eat chocolates and talk as they gaze up at the stars.

********************************

Amaya, her friends, the elders and other villagers gaze into the well. They all carefully view the scene before them.

Aiko/Maria walks out of her private bathroom. Aiko/Maria wears a red bath robe and has a towel wrapped around her head. Aiko/Maria got back a few hours ago, after a performance at a Washington theater. After her adoptive family went to bed, Aiko/Maria, decided to take a bath.

Aiko/Maria sighs as she sits down on her bed. However, Aiko/Maria soon notices the shadow cast by her bedroom door appears to be moving. A figure steps out of the shadow. It is Hades! Aiko/Maria smiles.

“My love.” Aiko/Maria says.

“Maria….” Hades says. He holds out his hand. A pearl necklace appears. Aiko/Maria gasps. Hades, holds out the pearl necklace to Aiko/Maria. Aiko/Maria takes the pearl necklace into her own hands.

“Oh, Hades.” Aiko/Maria says with beaming eyes. “I love it!”

*****************************

Amaya, her friends, the elders and other villagers look into the well. They all analyze the scene before them.

Aiko/Maria sits with Hades, on a blanket. Earlier, Hades, came and told Aiko/Maria that he had a special evening planned for the two of them. Hades, ended up bringing Aiko/Maria to watch the sunset in the Swiss Alps. Hades, of course, used his powers to set up a little picnic.

Aiko/Maria and Hades sit on the blanket together. A spread of delicious treats, along with some wine is spread out before the two of them.

Hades, suddenly holds out his hand. A pair of gold earrings appears. Aiko/Maria gasps and smiles.

“For you my dear.” Hades says.

“Oh, they are lovely.” Aiko/Maria says.

****************************

Amaya, her friends, the elders, and other villagers stare into the well, carefully analyzing the scene before them.

Aiko/Maria walks through the di Angelo’s garden. The di Angelo’s are now back in Venice. Today, Aiko/Maria has the house to herself.

Aiko/Maria is picking flowers to put into a vase. All of the sudden, a voice catches her attention.

“Maria….” The voice says. Aiko/Maria turns to see Hades, standing by a tree. Aiko/Maria smiles.

“My love….” Aiko/Maria says. “It is so good to see you!”

“Yes….” Hades says. He holds out his hand. A gold ring with a ruby appears in Hades hand. Aiko/Maria gasps.

“For you, my love.” Hades says.

“It is very lovely.” Aiko/Maria says.

***************************

Amaya sighs as she looks up at the sky. At first, Amaya and the others watching over Aiko/Maria could not understand why Aiko/Maria was attracted to Hades. The Kirai elders were familiar with the world that the greek gods inhabited, and of Hades fearsome reputation. However, as time passed, it became clear that Hades had two sides. One side was a dark and fearsome ruler of the underworld. However, Hades had a gentler, and very generous side.

Amaya, stops walking for a minute and sighs. Nearly ten months after Aiko/Maria and Hades met, the two of them made love for the first time.

Amaya and her friends are looking into the well. The Kirai elders, and other villagers are also looking into the well. Rina, holds her hand over the water.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria and Hades. The two of them are sitting on Aiko/Maria’s bed. Aiko/Maria is admiring Hades latest gift.

Aiko/Maria holds a little white porcelain jewel box with a gold rose on top of the lid. She smiles.

“Oh, Hades,” Aiko/Maria says. “It is meravigilioso!”

Hades smiles. “I am glad that you like it.”

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone that is gathered around the well just looks at the scene. However, Amaya, sighs.

“Hades, certainly spoils Aiko.” Amaya says.

“Hades, is very generous indeed.” Aizen says. “Hades must really love Maria.”

“Hades gifts are also amazing.” Takara says. “Aiko, must have more jewelry than Alessandra!”

“The jewelry is also of the finest gold, silver, and jewels.” Seiji says.

As everyone else talks, Rina, concentrates on using the interdimensional viewing jutsu. Suddenly, Rina’s eyes widen and she gasps. Rina, looks up from the image in the water. Rina, has an indescribable look on her face.

“Rina, what is the matter?” Korra asks.

“Maria….and Hades…. are making love….on Maria’s bed.” Rina says, bluntly.

“Making love?!” Amaya asks. “You mean sex right?!”

Rina sighs and nods. Everyone else gasps. Rina, dispels the jutsu.

“We should not view such an intimate act.” Rina says. “We shall resume tomorrow night.”

Amaya sighs. The next night, everyone planned to gather around the well. However, an unexpected emergency prevented them from doing so. Two whole days passed before Amaya, her friends, and the Kirai elders checked on Aiko/Maria again. In the other world, nearly thirty days had passed since Aiko/Maria and Hades made love. That’s when everyone received the shock of their lives.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gathered around the well. Everyone is carefully observing the image in the water.

Aiko/Maria is sitting on her bed, propped up on pillows. Aiko/Maria is quietly knitting. All of the sudden, a stream of shadows slowly pours in through an open window. The Shadows form a silhouette. It is Hades! Aiko/Maria smiles and puts her knitting down.

“Hades, my love.” Aiko/Maria says. “How good of you to come!”

Hades, smiles and walks up to Aiko/Maria’s bed. Hades, takes Aiko/Maria’s hand and passionately kisses it.

“Maria…,” Hades says as he looks at Aiko/Maria. “I have been watching from the underworld. You have been in bed for the past three days. Are you not well?”

Aiko/Maria smiles and looks Hades in the eye. Aiko/Maria clasps Hades hand with her own.

“My love…,” Aiko/Maria says. “I am with child. I am going to have a baby. Our baby.”

Hades, stands straighter. His eyes widen.

“You are pregnant with my child?” Hades asks.

Aiko/Maria smiles and nods.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone who is gathered around the well, gasps and step back a little. Everyone’s eyes are wide with absolute shock.

“..Aiko….is pregnant?!” Amaya says with utter shock. “How is this possible?”

Rina sighs. “Demigods, or half-god and half-human children, are born all of the time in the other world.” Rina says.

Rina, sighs again and begins to explain to the younger generation about demigods. Amaya, her friends, Aizen, and many other young Kirai listen with wide eyes.

“Gods can impregnate humans….unbelievable.” Takara says.

“But what does this mean for Aiko?” Amaya asks. “I mean….Aiko’s baby will be born with demigod powers and the powers of the Kirai clan.”

Amaya, looks down. “Aiko’s baby will also have Uchiha blood.” Amaya says. “Aiko’s baby has the potential to activate sharingan.”

Aizen’s eyes widen. “Of course!” Aizen says. “Especially if Aiko’s baby grows up and attends Camp Half-Blood. Demigod training may make Aiko’s child awaken the sharingan!”

Many other people gathered around the well gasp. Rina and a few other elders narrow their eyes.

“I suppose that is a possibility.” Rina says. She sighs. “However, We should not jump to conclusions yet. Maria’s child has not even been born yet.”

“However, that day will come sooner than we expect.” Korra says. “It was two days since we last checked on Maria.”

Korra, looks back down at the image of Aiko/Maria and Hades in the water. “In that world, that would equate to thirty days or a month. Average gestation period is 36 to 40 weeks, or 9 to 10 months. Maria, is already one month pregnant. In retrospect, we should expect Maria’s baby to arrive 16 to 18 days from now.”

Amaya and her friends gasp. Such a short time!

Amaya blinks a few times as she walks down the path, towards the Village memorial site. Aiko/Maria’s pregnancy went by so quickly. Every night, when Amaya and the others would gather around the well, it seemed like Aiko/Maria’s stomach grew so much bigger every time.

Amaya, stops walking. It was actually heartbreaking for Amaya and her friends to watch Aiko/Maria’s pregnancy progress. Watching Aiko/Maria’s pregnancy progress was almost like reliving Luna’s pregnancy. However, Aiko/Maria was so happy during her pregnancy. She was always smiling, and lovingly rubbing her stomach. Seeing Aiko/Maria’s happiness was the only good aspect of watching Aiko/Maria’s pregnancy.

Amaya and her friends are looking into the well. The Kirai elders and other villagers stand nearby. Everyone is watching the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, now two months pregnant. Aiko/Maria is sitting in a rocking chair, reading a book. She is smiling ear to ear. Aiko/Maria momentarily sets her book down to take a drink of water, from a glass that is sitting next to her. Aiko/Maria looks down at her stomach. She smiles and gently rubs her stomach.

Amaya, smiles. Aiko/Maria also craved a lot of sweet food during her pregnancy, just like Luna did.

Amaya and her friends are standing around the well. The Kirai elders and other villagers are also standing around the well. Rina, holds her hand over the water.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, now four months pregnant. Aiko/Maria is walking down the hallway of the di Angelo’s villa, a candle in hand. It is late and everyone else in the house is asleep.

Aiko/Maria, reaches the kitchen and goes straight for the oil lap on the table. Aiko/Maria, sets the candle down on the table, and removes the glass cover from the lamp. Aiko/Maria then carefully uses the flame from the candle to light the wick for the oil lamp. The wick from the lamp lights up and begins to slowly burn. A warm glow fills the kitchen. Aiko/Maria, then gets down to business.

Aiko/Maria, walks over to the wooden countertop by the pantry. A plate with a cake sits on the countertop. Aiko/Maria grabs a plate from a nearby cupboard. She then grabs a knife and slowly slices off a piece of cake for herself.

Aiko/Maria sits down at the table and slowly begins eating her slice of cake.

Amaya, smiles and looks up at the sky. Aiko/Maria spent most of her pregnancy, making baby things, just as Luna had done.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders and other villagers stand around the well. Everyone is carefully observing the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, now six months pregnant. Aiko/Maria is laying on her bed propped up on Pillows. Aiko/Maria, is busy finishing up a baby gown that she has been working on.

Aiko/Maria finishes up the gown and holds it up. She smiles, satisfied with her work. All of the sudden a stream of shadows enter the room through an open window. The shadows form a figure. It is Hades! Aiko/Maria, smiles.

“My love, you have come.” Aiko/Maria says.

Hades, smiles and walks over to the bed. He kisses Aiko/Maria on the cheek. Hades then notices the baby gown that Aiko/Maria has just made. Hades, smiles and praises Aiko/Maria’s work.

Amaya, sighs and looks up at the sky. Aiko/Maria’s pregnancy went by so fast. Just as Korra had anticipated, Aiko/Maria ended up giving birth 16 days after the Kirai’s found out about the pregnancy. Amaya, remembers that night well.

Amaya and her friends are standing around the well. The Kirai elders and other village members are also gathered around the well. Everyone’s eyes are filled with anticipation as they observe the scene before them.

Aiko/Maria is laying on her bed, a thick sheet beneath her. Sweat runs down her face. Aiko/Maria’s is wearing a short and simple gown. A midwife, stands on the edge of the bed. Alessandra, stands next to Aiko/Maria, and holds her hand.

“Spingere!” The Midwife says. “Solo spingere, amore mio. Stai andando bene. Basta spingere!”

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone gathered around the well keeps looking at the scene with anticipation. Amaya sighs.

“We have been watching for nearly thirty minutes!” Amaya says. “With my calculations, that means Aiko has been in labor for almost 8 hours!”

Everyone sighs. The thing with the inter dimensional viewing jutsu is that the jutsu allows the image being viewed, to be slowed down to allow the user to capture every moment. However, time still flows in the world being viewed, at the rate it always does. This means that the images being viewed are actually from the other worlds past. In reality, Aiko/Maria may have already had the baby! The thing with the inter dimensional viewing jutsu is that once a user stops using the jutsu, the image that they were viewing has already past. That means they have to begin a new session. This allows time to jump between sessions. Earlier, Rina, could have stopped the jutsu and allowed some time to pass before using the jutsu again. Then, when Rina resumed the jutsu, time would have jumped. This means that everyone would have been able to see if Aiko/Maria had the baby or not. However, everyone agreed that they wanted to witness the birth of Aiko/Maria’s child. As a result, everyone has been waiting patiently. Once the baby is born, Rina will stop the jutsu and then resume it. Then, everyone can see the baby after the birth.

Everyone continues to observe the scene in the water. They all watch as Aiko/Maria lets out a scream of agony. Amaya, shudders.

“Oh, poor Aiko.” Amaya says. “Being in labor for nearly 8 hours must be very painful!”

Korra, just gives a wry smile. “Do not forget,” Korra says. “Luna was in labor for 10 hours!”

All of the sudden, the midwife says something else. Rina gasps.

“The midwife says that she can see the head!” Rina says.

Everyone gathered around the well gasps. They all lean in closer in anticipation. All of the sudden Aiko/Maria lets out one final scream. Soon, the cries of a baby can be heard. Everyone witnesses the midwife lift up a small naked baby.

“Hai una bambina, mio amore.” The midwife says.

Rina, looks up from the well. “It is a girl!” Rina says.

All of the older members gathered around the well smile at the news. Amaya, and her friends just look at one another.

“Aiko, had a baby girl!” Takara says.

“I know right!” Yuzuki says. “Incredible!”

“To think that it has only been a year and a few months since Luna’s death.” Katara says. “If Luna had lived, she would have been a grandma at only fifteen!”

“Yes…” Amaya says. She closes her eyes. “I am sure that Luna would have loved to see the birth of her granddaughter.”

Rina, dispels the jutsu. After a minute Rina, resumes the jutsu. The image in the water is now of Aiko/Maria and her new baby. Alessandra and the midwife have left the room. The thick sheet has been removed from the bed. Aiko/Maria’s baby has also been cleaned and wrapped in a blanket.

Aiko/Maria holds her new daughter in her arms and coos softly at the baby. All of the sudden, a stream of shadows enter the room through an open window. The shadows form a silhouette. It is Hades! Aiko/Maria smiles at the sight of her immortal lover.

“Hades, my love!” Aiko/Maria says. “We have a beautiful daughter! She is absolutely perfezionare!”

Hades, smiles and approaches the bed. Aiko/Maria gently holds the baby so that Hades can see her better. The baby opens her eyes, as if sensing that her father is near. Hades, smiles and takes the baby from Aiko/Maria. The baby gazes up at Hades with dark eyes. The baby’s skin is also olive, like Aiko/Maria’s. Tiny wisps of dark hair lie on top of the infant’s head. The baby’s tiny mouth also resembles Aiko/Maria’s. Hades smiles even more.

“She is absolutely beautiful!” Hades says. “I have a feeling that she is going to have your smile when she gets older.”

Hades, then looks at Aiko/Maria. “Have you decided on a name yet?” Hades asks.

Aiko/Maria smiles. “Yes.” Aiko/Maria says. “Bianca. Bianca di Angelo.”

Amaya manages a small smile as she looks up at the sky. Aiko/Maria loved baby Bianca to bits.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders and other villagers stand around the well, carefully observing the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria holding baby Bianca. Baby Bianca is now fifteen days old.

Aiko/Maria gently rocks the baby and sings a lullaby. Baby Bianca, blinks tiredly in her mother’s arms. Aiko/Maria smiles and places the baby in her cradle. Aiko/Maria then begins to rock the cradle. Baby Bianca falls asleep within minutes.

“Mamma, ti adora.” Aiko/Maria says.  

Amaya sighs. Bianca’s infancy went by just as fast as Aiko/Maria’s had. It was like watching Aiko/Maria’s infancy all over again. Of course, Hades, was also in the picture. He visited Aiko/Maria and little Bianca whenever he could.

Amaya sighs. Before everyone knew it, Bianca was a year old. Then a few months after Bianca’s first birthday, Aiko/Maria found out some exciting news. She was pregnant with hers and Hades second child!

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders and other villagers are gathered around the well. Everyone is carefully observing the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria and little Bianca. Aiko/Maria is cooking dinner for her and Bianca. Little Bianca, is playing with toys on the floor nearby. All of the sudden a knock is heard at the door. Aiko/Maria stops what she is doing and goes to open the door. Aiko/Maria, opens the door to find Hades, standing outside. Aiko/Maria smiles and lets Hades inside her little house. Aiko/Maria has just moved to her own house.

“My love, it is good to see you.” Aiko/Maria says. Hades smiles and gives Aiko/Maria a kiss on the cheek.

“Maria,” Hades says. “You are glowing today!”

Aiko/Maria smiles and puts a hand on her stomach. “Hades….,” Aiko/Maria says. “I am with child again!”

Hades, eyes widen. “We are going to have another baby?!” Hades asks.

Aiko/Maria smiles and nods.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone gathered around the well gasps. Everyone looks at one another. Aiko/Maria is pregnant again?!

Amaya sighs. Then, sixteen days later, Aiko/Maria gave birth to her second child.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders and other villagers are gazing into the well. Everyone is observing the scene before them with anticipation.

Aiko/Maria is laying on her bed. Alessandra, stands next to the bed and holds Aiko/Maria’s hand. A midwife is standing at the foot of the bed.

“Spingere!” The midwife says. Aiko/Maria lets out a scream of agony.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world everyone who is gathered around the well just looks at the scene. All of the sudden, the midwife says something else. Rina gasps.

“The midwife can see the head!” Rina says.

Aiko/Maria lets out another scream. Soon, the cries of an infant can be heard. The midwife holds up a naked baby. It is a boy!

“Maria, has had a son!” Rina says.

Amaya, and her friends all look at one another.

“Aiko, had a baby boy!” Yuzuki, says. “Incredible!”

Rina, dispels the jutsu. After a few seconds she resumes the jutsu. The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, her new son, and little Bianca. Alessandra and the midwife have left the room.

Aiko/Maria holds her new son. Little Bianca, is sitting on the bed next to Aiko/Maria. The little girl looks curiously at her new brother. Little Bianca, gently pokes the baby’s cheek. The baby lets out a small cry. All of the sudden, the shadow of a nearby door begins to move. A silhouette soon steps out of the shadow. It is Hades! Aiko/Maria smiles. Little Bianca smiles as well.

“Papà!” Little Bianca says. Hades smiles.

“Bianca.” Hades says. Hades, then looks at Aiko/Maria holding the new baby. Aiko/Maria smiles.

“My love,” Aiko/Maria says. “We have a son!”

Hades, walks over to the bed. Aiko/Maria holds the baby boy so that Hades can see him better. The baby boy has olive skin and little wisps of dark hair on top of his head. Hades, takes the baby from Aiko/Maria, and gently holds the baby in his hands.

“My son….” Hades says, with pride in his voice and eyes. Hades looks over to Aiko/Maria.

“Have you decide on a name yet?” Hades asks.

Aiko/Maria nods. “Nico.” Aiko/Maria says. “Nico di Angelo.”

Baby Nico opens his eyes. The baby looks at Hades with dark colored eyes. Aiko/Maria’s eyes. Hades, smiles.

“He has your eyes, Maria.” Hades says.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, all of the Kirai gathered around the well, just sigh. They know who Aiko/Maria and baby Nico inherited those eyes from. All of the Kirai think of Itachi.

Amaya sighs. Aiko/Maria was an excellent mother. Little Bianca and little Nico were the apples of Aiko/Maria’s eye. Of course, Hades, also visited when he could.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are standing around the well. Everyone is looking into the water, carefully observing the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, little Bianca, and baby Nico. Baby Nico is ten months old. Little Bianca just turned three.

Baby Nico is practicing standing up and walking using a table for support. Aiko/Maria and little Bianca are watching him. Aiko/Maria has a proud look on her face.

“Look Bianca.” Aiko/Maria says. “Your baby brother is learning to walk. Isn’t that meravigilioso?”

“Yes, Mamma.” Little Bianca says.

All of the sudden, Baby Nico, lets go of the table. The baby boy slowly begins waddling towards Aiko/Maria. Aiko/Maria’s eyes are wide. She crouches down and holds her arms out. Baby Nico, waddles right into his mother’s arms. Aiko/Maria picks baby Nico up and praises him.

“Such a big boy!” Aiko/Maria coos. Little Bianca, claps her hands and giggles, knowing that what her little brother just accomplished is important. Baby Nico giggles in delight. Baby Nico then looks back down at the floor. Baby Nico starts to wriggle around in his mother’s arms.

“I see that you want to walk around some more.” Aiko/Maria says. “Alright then!”

Aiko/Maria sets baby Nico back down on the floor. Baby Nico giggles as he begins waddling around. Sometimes, the baby boy even starts to run. Baby Nico, begins waddling towards a shadow that is being cast by a door. A leg soon steps out of the shadow, which baby Nico waddles into. Baby Nico falls lightly onto his bum. Baby Nico looks up and starts to smile and coo. An entire silhouette soon steps out of the shadow. It is Hades! Aiko/Maria smiles when she notices. Little Bianca also notices and smiles.

“Papà!” Little Bianca says with excitement.

“My love!” Aiko/Maria says. “Our baby boy just took his first steps without holding onto anything!”

“He did?” Hades asks. Hades looks down at baby Nico and smiles.

Baby Nico smiles right back at his father. Baby Nico then slowly brings himself to his feet. The baby boy giggles with delight.

Amaya sighs and looks up at the sky. Even though Aiko/Maria was very happy with her beautiful children, little Bianca and little Nico could be a handful sometimes. Little Bianca and little Nico also had demigod powers, which complicated matters even more.  Amaya, smiles lightly to herself. Whenever, the children had tantrums the shadows around them would go berserk! Amaya, looks up to the sky as she remembers a few of those instances.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gazing into the well. Everyone is carefully observing the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria and little Bianca. Little Bianca is eighteen months old. Aiko/Maria is now three months pregnant.

Aiko/Maria is busy in the kitchen, making dinner. Little Bianca, is waddling around in the dining area. The little girl walks over to the table. The long cloth table runner catches her attention. Little Bianca, begins pulling on the table runner. A wooden bowl full of fruit is sitting on the table runner. The bowl of fruit is slowly being pulled along with the table runner.

Aiko/Maria turns just in time to see the bowl of fruit topple over the edge of the table. The fruits within the bowl all fall out. A few of the fruits hit little Bianca on top of the head. Aiko/Maria gasps. Little Bianca whimpers a little. Within moments, little Bianca, is screaming at the top of her lungs. The shadows all over the house start moving wildly.

Aiko/Maria’s eyes widen at the sight of the shadows moving. However, she takes a deep breath and quickly rushes over to comfort Bianca. Aiko/Maria quickly picks up little Bianca.

“There, there.” Aiko/Maria says in a soothing voice. “It’s ok.”

Little Bianca sniffles, but she stops screaming. Slowly, the shadows within the house stop moving until they are all completely still again. Aiko/Maria breathes a sigh of relief.

*************************

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gazing into the well, carefully observing the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, little Bianca, and little Nico. Little Bianca is almost four. Little Nico is almost two.

Aiko/Maria is busy sorting through a basket full of laundry. Little Bianca and little Nico are chasing each other around the kitchen. The two of them laugh and giggle as they do. Aiko/Maria is carefully looking over the soiled laundry, looking for stains, when she hears a strange sound. Aiko/Maria looks into the kitchen to see that the pitcher full of water has fallen over and has spilled over the side of the counter. A giant puddle of water now sits on the floor. Before Aiko/Maria can yell out to the children, to warn them about the spilled water, Nico steps into the puddle. The little boy slips and falls. Little Nico begins screaming at the top of his lungs. The shadows all around the house begin to move wildly. Little Bianca, gasps and watches the shadows move with wide eyes.

Aiko/Maria immediately sets down the piece of laundry that she is holding, and runs over to Little Nico. Aiko/Maria, picks up little Nico, and begins to comfort the child.

“Shush,” Aiko/Maria says soothingly. “There, there. It’s ok.”

Within minutes, Little Nico, calms down. The shadows stop moving. Aiko/Maria breathes a sigh of relief.

Amaya sighs. Little Bianca and little Nico did eventually grow out of tantrums. However, the children would still occasionally manipulate the shadows. The two of them mostly did this out of boredom.

Amaya stifles a little laugh. Little Bianca and little Nico also had other powers. One of these powers was the summoning of skeletons. Little Bianca and little Nico had the habit of summoning skeleton animals. Amaya, looks up at the sky as she remembers some of these instances.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are looking into the well. Everyone is carefully observing the scene in the water.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, little Bianca, and baby Nico. Aiko/Maria is sitting in a chair overlooking the garden. Baby Nico, whom is now four months old, is laying in a sling, tied to Aiko/Maria. Little Bianca is now just over two years old.

Aiko/Maria leans back in her chair. Aiko/Maria smiles as she watches little Bianca play in the garden. Little Bianca, watches as birds fly above her. She giggles.

“Birdies!” Little Bianca says. The little girl giggles some more.

Baby Nico, begins to fuss inside the sling. Aiko/Maria slowly takes baby Nico out of the sling. Aiko/Maria holds the baby Nico up and begins bouncing him on her knee. Baby Nico laughs. However, Aiko/Maria soon hears a strange noise. She stops bouncing Nico and narrows her eyes. Out of the corner of her eye, Aiko/Maria spots what looks like a white bird sitting on the ground, at her feet. However, as Aiko/Maria looks closer, she notices something odd. The bird, does not seem to have any feathers.

Aiko/Maria studies the bird closer and gasps. A skeleton bird!? How?

Aiko/Maria soon hears little Bianca giggling again. Aiko/Maria looks up and gasps at the sight in front of her.

Little Bianca is sitting in front of a little hole in the ground. Skeleton birds are flying out of the hole! Little Bianca laughs.

“BIRDIES!” Little Bianca cries.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone gathered around the well watches the scene with wide eyes. A few people stifle laughs, slightly amused at little Bianca’s antics.

*************************

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gazing into the well, carefully observing the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria and little Nico. Little Nico is now two and a half years old. Little Bianca, is now four and a half years old. Bianca, is in her bedroom, resting due to a severe cold.

Aiko/Maria is in the kitchen making dinner. Aiko/Maria is making a chicken based soup, due to Bianca being sick. Little Nico is playing with wooden blocks in the living room.

Aiko/Maria gets done stirring the soup. She is gets ready to cut up the bread, when she hears little Nico laugh.

“MOUSEY!” Little Nico cries.

Then, Aiko/Maria hears the family cat hissing. Aiko/Maria turns to see a small brown mouse running across the kitchen floor, the cat right behind it. The mouse runs in front of Aiko/Maria’s feet, the cat following close behind it. Aiko/Maria just watches the scene before her. Unlike other women, Aiko/Maria, does not feel inclined to run and scream at the sight of a mouse.

Aiko/Maria just sighs and resumes what she is doing. Then, Aiko/Maria suddenly hears a loud squeak. Aiko/Maria turns and sees the cat walk by. The mouse is in the cat’s mouth. However, the cat stops walking and just stands there. All of the sudden, a small white object scurries into the kitchen. The cat just looks at the object, as if it is confused.

Aiko/Maria narrows her eyes at the small white object scurrying across the floor. All of the sudden, she gasps in realization. It is a skeleton mouse! But where did it come from?

All of the sudden, Aiko/Maria hears little Nico giggling in the living room. Aiko/Maria looks into the living room and gasps at the sight before her.

Little Nico is no longer playing with his blocks. In fact, Little Nico, is sitting in front of a hole in the floor. Skeleton mice are crawling out of the hole, one by one! Little Nico, laughs and claps his hands.

“MOUSIES!” Little Nico says as he laughs.

All of the sudden, a shriek is heard from Bianca’s bedroom.

“EWWWWW!” Little Bianca cries from her bedroom. “MICE!”

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone gathered around the well watch with wide eyes. They all look at one another. Just how many skeleton mice did little Nico summon?

Amaya sighs. However, shadow travel was one of the scariest powers that the children had, and for a very good reason. When the children used shadow travel, they would end up disappearing from the house! This would leave Aiko/Maria searching for them in a panic. Aiko/Maria would have to pray to Hades, telling him of the situation. Then, Hades would have to leave the underworld to search for Bianca and Nico. However, the Kirai’s in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, would find the children first using the interdimensional tracking jutsu. Sometimes, the children would nearly suffer deadly accidents. Amaya, remembers some of those instances very well.

Amaya her friends, the Kirai elders and other villagers are gathered around the well. They anxiously watch the scene before them.

Aiko/Maria is running around the house. Two month old baby Nico, is in his cradle, sound asleep. However, two year old Bianca is nowhere to be seen. Little Bianca, used shadow travel and disappeared from the house! Now, Aiko/Maria is in a complete panic. Aiko/Maria falls to her knees. She starts crying Hades name and begins to pray to her lover, hoping that he will hear her.

Meanwhile, in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone gathered around the well just looks on with sad eyes. Everyone looks anxiously at Rina. Rina, has been using the interdimensional tracking jutsu simultaneously with the interdimensional viewing jutsu, trying to locate little Bianca. All of the sudden, Rina gasps.

“I found little Bianca!” Rina says. Rina, then begins refocusing the jutsu. An image of little Bianca soon appears in the water.

Little Bianca, is walking through a forest. The little girl struggles due to it being so windy. It is obvious that a storm is close by. Everyone gathered around the well looks at the scene with concerned eyes.

“Those trees could fall down any minute!” Amaya says with wide eyes.

All of the sudden, everyone hears the dreaded sound of a tree uprooting out of the ground. A tree is starting to fall, and it is going to fall on top of little Bianca! Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all close their eyes. The four of them do not want to see the inevitable. However, a shriek is soon heard, followed by a crash. The four girls open their eyes. The tree is laying on the ground. However, little Bianca, is safe in the arms of a strange woman. Rina, gasps.

“It is Alecto, one of Hades Furies!” Rina says. Everyone gasps.

Alecto, soon disappears with little Bianca. Rina, refocuses the jutsu, following Bianca’s aura. Alecto and little Bianca soon appear in a dark alley. Hades, is standing there, waiting. Alecto bows.

“Milord, I found your daughter.” Alecto says. Alecto, holds out little Bianca to Hades. Hades, takes Bianca from Alecto.

“Good job, Alecto.” Hades says. “You can go back to the underworld now. I must take Bianca home.”

“Yes, milord!” Alecto says. In a blinding flash. Alecto disappears. Hades and little Bianca are left alone in the alley. Little Bianca smiles up at her father.

“Papà!” Little Bianca says.

However, Hades, does not smile back. He has a frown on his face. Little Bianca’s smile fades. Little Bianca, holds her head down, now knowing that her father is not happy.

Hades, snaps his fingers. The shadows envelope the pair. Hades and Little Bianca soon reappear in the living room of Aiko/Maria’s house. Aiko/Maria is on the floor sobbing her heart out.

“Maria….” Hades says. “Alecto, found Bianca. I have brought her back.”

Aiko/Maria looks up and gasps. She runs over and takes Little Bianca from Hades. Aiko/Maria hugs and kisses Bianca’s face all over.

***************************

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gazing into the well. Rina, is currently using the interdimensional tracking jutsu. Little Nico, now one and a half, disappeared from Aiko/Maria’s house using shadow travel. Now, the Kirai’s are trying to find him. All of the sudden, Rina lets out a gasp.

“I have found little Nico!” Rina says. Rina, then begins to refocus the interdimensional viewing jutsu. An image of little Nico soon appears in the water.

Little Nico, giggles as he chases a butterfly. However, little Nico is heading straight for a cliff! All of the people gathered around the well gasp in absolute horror.

“NO!” Amaya cries. “Little Nico needs to stop chasing that butterfly or he’s gonna fall off of the cliff!”

“Yes…,” Rina says. “And unfortunately….the fall will most certainly kill him.”

Little Nico, then reaches the cliff edge. Little Nico, then slips and goes over the cliff. The boy cries as he falls through the open air, and rapidly descends towards the ground.

Amaya, and her friends all hold back sobs and close their eyes, not wanting to see the outcome. However, a screech is heard, along with the sound of flapping wings. Amaya, and her friends all open their eyes. Little Nico is safe and sound in the arms of a fury. It is Alecto! All of the Kirai gathered around the well breathe sighs of relief.

“That sure was close!” Amaya says.

All of the other Kirai gathered around the well agree with Amaya. Everyone then begins focusing again on the image in the water.

Alecto, has lowered herself to the ground. Little Nico is in her arms. Hades, then appears out of shadows. Alecto, bows to her lord.

“Milord, I have your son.” Alecto says. She holds little Nico out to Hades. Hades, takes little Nico from Alecto.

“Good job, Alecto.” Hades says. “You can go back to the underworld now.”

“Yes, Milord.” Alecto says. Alecto, then disappears in a flash of light. Hades and little Nico are left alone.

Little Nico smiles up at his father. However, Hades, does not smile back. Hades, has a frown on his face. Hades, sighs and steps back into the shadows. A few minutes later, Hades and little Nico appear in the living room of Aiko/Maria’s house. Aiko/Maria is curled up on the floor, sobbing her heart out. Little Bianca, is standing next to her mother. Little Bianca, just looks at her mother crying on the floor, as if unsure of how to comfort her. Little Bianca then looks up and sees Hades and little Nico. Little Bianca gasps.

“Papà! Nico!” Little Bianca cries happily.

Aiko/Maria immediately stops crying and looks up. She gasps and quickly gets up off of the floor. Aiko/Maria takes little Nico from Hades. Aiko/Maria hugs, and kisses little Nico all over his face.

“Alecto, found Nico.” Hades says simply.

Amaya just looks up at the sky. Despite the trouble that the children gave her sometimes, Aiko/Maria loved them.

Amaya, then looks ahead of her. The glow of the fires that illuminate the village memorial come into view. Amaya, grits her teeth. Just seeing fire sometimes makes her think of the injustice of what happened to Aiko/Maria. However, Amaya, just sighs and continues walking.

Amaya, looks up at the sky again. For a while, everything was great for Aiko/Maria and her children. However, an event changed everything. That event was the beginning of WWII in Europe. It was because of that, Hades, could no longer visit Aiko/Maria and the children as much as he used to. Things were so bad in Italy that Aiko/Maria’s adoptive family fled Italy. Aiko/Maria decided that she would follow her adoptive family. Aiko/Maria packed what she could, took her children and fled Italy. Aiko/Maria and the children first settled down in Split, Croatia. Then, the three of them moved to Washington D.C. However, they were not very safe, all because of a prophecy made by the Oracle of Delphi.

Amaya, grits her teeth again. The prophecy stated that the next child of Zeus, Poseidon, or Hades, who turned sixteen would save or destroy Olympus. So, the three brothers took an oath to never sire anymore demigods. However, little Bianca and little Nico were under sixteen at the time. Amaya, sighs again. The Kirai’s kept an eye on all of the trouble that was brewing. Then, the day came when Zeus told Hades to hand over little Bianca and little Nico to camp Half-Blood.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders and other villagers are standing around the well. They are carefully gazing into the well.

The image in the water is of Hades in his pinstripe suit. Hades, is walking down a secluded alleyway. It is nighttime.

Hades, eventually finds who he is looking for. It is a man wearing an all black suit. The man has alabaster skin, electric blue eyes, and black hair. Hades, walks over to the man.

“Zeus.” Hades says simply.

“Hades.” The man, Zeus says.

Hades, then sneers. “I should have known that when you summoned me to meet with you, that you wouldn’t have us meet on Olympus.” Hades says. “You have never accepted me on Olympus!”

Zeus, does not respond. He continues to look at Hades.

“Why have you summoned me?” Hades quickly asks.

“I am sure that you remember the prophecy.” Zeus says. “It has come to my attention that you have two children under sixteen.”

Hades eyes widen. “I will not deny that.” Hades says. “However, I do not understand why you want to know about my children.”

“The prophecy can apply to those two children.” Zeus says. “I have decided that it would be best if they were handed over to camp Half-Blood, for proper training.”

Hades, eyes widen. Then, Hades narrows his eyes, as if suspicious of Zeus’s motives.

“You have one week to hand over the children.” Zeus says.

Zeus, turns to walk away. However, he turns to say something else.

“However, if you fail to hand over the children, there will be consequences!” Zeus says. Zeus, turns and walks away.

Hades, eyes widen. He just stands there as if thinking really hard about something. All of the sudden, a voice can be heard.

“Do not trust Zeus!” The voice says. The voice is feminine. “Hide your children!”

Hades turns to see a girl wearing a colorful dress. The girl appears to be no older than twelve, and has dark hair and dark eyes. It is the oracle of Delphi!

“I know that you can sense deception in Zeus.” The oracle says. “Zeus will not allow your children to live. He will attempt to destroy them. Your mortal lover will die with them if she is near them. The only way to prevent this is to hide the children from Zeus.”

Hades, gasps. His eyes are wide with horror. “NO!” Hades yells. “I cannot allow this. But where can I hide them?”

“You must pick a place where Zeus cannot sense the children.” The oracle says. “However, you must hurry!”

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, all of the Kirai gathered around the well just stare at the image in the water. Everyone has looks of absolute horror on their faces.

“No!” Amaya cries. “This is so unfair!”

“Little Bianca and little Nico are innocent!” Takara cries. “So is Aiko!”

Amaya, sighs sadly. She looks up to see the steps leading to the memorial. Amaya, slowly climbs the steps. Amaya, reaches the top of the steps. Amaya, walks a few paces until she reaches the large metal dishes full of oil.The oil in each dish burns slowly, giving off light.

Amaya, blinks a few times as she stares at the flames. Immediately after the oracle gave Hades last minute advice, Hades went immediately to Aiko/Maria to tell her the news. However, Aiko/Maria refused to be separated from her children. She didn’t believe that Zeus would be so cruel as to destroy her innocent little children. Oh, how wrong she was! Amaya, closes her eyes. The flames remind her of that awful day. The day that Aiko/Maria died.

 

(Underlined parts are from The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan)

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gathered around the well. Rina, holds her hand over the water. Everyone is anxious as they observe the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Aiko/Maria, Hades, little Bianca and little Nico. The four of them are in a fancy hotel. Aiko/Maria is sitting on an elegant sofa. Hades, sits in a chair next to the sofa. Bianca and Nico are chasing each other around the marble columns in the room. The children giggle as they do.

Hades, is looking at Aiko/Maria anxiously.

“Please, my dear,” Hades says. “You must come to the underworld. I don’t care what Persephone thinks! I can keep you safe there.”

“No, my love.” Aiko/Maria says. “Raise our children in the land of the dead? I will not do this.”

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, all of the Kirai gathered around the well just watch the scene with sad eyes. They all understand why Aiko/Maria does not want to raise her children in the underworld. However, they do not want Aiko/Maria and the children to die either. Everyone watches as Hades, reminds Aiko/Maria of the oath that he and his brothers took.

“What good will the oath do anyway?” Amaya asks bitterly. “Gods are not good at keeping oaths. Zeus is a womanizer! He will break the oath eventually.”

“The oracle’s prophecies always come true!” Seiji says. “By taking this oath, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades are only delaying the problem.”

Everyone else gathered around the well just nod, agreeing with Seiji’s statement. Everyone watches as Aiko/Maria tries to argue with Hades statement about the oath.

“But you already have Nico and Bianca.” Aiko/Maria says. “Surely-”

“No!” Hades quickly says. “The prophecy warns of a child who turns sixteen. Zeus has decreed that the children I currently have must be turned over to Camp Half-Blood for proper training, but I know what he means. At best they’ll be watched, imprisoned, turned against their father. Even more likely, he will not take a chance. He won’t allow my demigod children to reach sixteen. He’ll find a way to destroy them, and I won’t risk that!”

“Certamente,” Aiko/Maria says. “We will stay together. Zeus is un imbecile.”

All of the Kirai gathered around the well tense.

“Did Aiko just call the king of the gods an imbecile?” Amaya asks. She wants to make certain that she heard that statement correctly.

“Yes, she did.” Rina says simply.

Everyone gathered around the well just watch as Hades nervously glances at the ceiling.

“Maria, please.” Hades says. “I told you. Zeus gave me a deadline of last week to turn over the children. His wrath will be horrible, and I cannot hide you forever. As long as you are with the children, you are in danger too.”

Aiko/Maria just smiles. “You are a god, my love.” Aiko/Maria says. “You will protect us. But I will not take Nico and Bianca to the underworld.”

Everyone gathered around the well just watch as Hades, wrings his hands.

“Then, there is another option.” Hades says. “I know a place in the desert where time stands still. I could send the children there, just for a while, for their own safety, and we could be together. I will build you a golden palace by the Styx.”

Aiko/Maria gives a gentle laugh. “You are a kind man, my love.” Aiko/Maria says. “A generous man. The other gods should see you as I do, and they would not fear you so. But Nico and Bianca need their mother. Besides, they are only children. The gods wouldn’t really hurt them.”

Hades looks Aiko/Maria in the eye.

“You don’t know my family,” Hades says with a dark tone of voice. “Please, Maria, I can’t lose you.”

Everyone gathered around the well watch as Aiko/Maria, gently touches Hades lips with her fingers.

“You will not lose me.” Aiko/Maria says. “Wait for me while I get my purse. Watch the children.”

Aiko/Maria gives Hades a kiss and gets up from the sofa. Hades, watches his mortal lover walk away with sad eyes.

All of the Kirai gathered around the well, just watch with sad eyes as well. However, little do they know, those are the last words that Aiko/Maria will ever say. Amaya, closes her eyes for a moment.

“Aiko, should really consider Hades offer.” Amaya says. “Aiko, doesn’t understand the danger that she and the children are in.”

All of the sudden, everyone watches as Hades tenses up. Little Bianca and little Nico stop playing. The children must sense something as well. A chill goes up Amaya’s spine.

“No….oh please no!” Amaya thinks to herself.

“No!” Hades shouts. Hades, erects a wall of black energy around his children. Right after that, the hotel explodes!

All of the Kirai gathered around the well gasp with horror. The force of the explosion is so violent, that Rina, almost loses connection. However, the old woman gives it her all, to keep the jutsu from dissipating.

“NO!” Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki cry. “AIKO!”

“MARIA!” All of the older Kirai clan members shout.

The image in the water comes back into focus. The hotel is totally destroyed. Hades, is kneeling in the ruins, holding Aiko/Maria’s body.

Amaya, is completely numb. She just stares at the scene in front of her. Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki stand beside her. The three of them all choke back sobs.

Little Nico and little Bianca stand in the ruins of the hotel, both unharmed. The two children just stare at their mother’s body.

“Poor children….” Aizen says sadly. “They don’t even understand what just happened.”

All of the sudden, Alecto, appears behind the children. Lightning flashes across the sky above them. Thunder rumbles in the distance. Fires still burn all around them, in the ruins of the hotel.

“Zeus!” Hades yells as he shakes his fist at the sky. “I will crush you for this! I will bring her back!”

“My lord, you cannot.” Alecto says to her master. “You of all immortals must respect the laws of death.”

Everyone gathered around the well close their eyes. Even though everyone wishes that Aiko/Maria can be brought back to life, they all know that would violate the laws of death in that world. Amaya and her friends just choke back sobs.

Hades glows with absolute rage at the death of his lover. However, within a few minutes, he manages to calm down a little.

“Take them,” Hades says to Alecto. He chokes back a sob. “Wash their memories clean in the Lethe and bring them to the Lotus Hotel. Zeus will not harm them there.”

“As you wish, my lord,” Alecto says. “And the woman’s body?”

“Take her as well,” Hades says. His voice is very bitter. “Give her the ancient rites.”

In a flash, Alecto, the children, and Aiko/Maria’s body disappear. Hades sits alone in the ruins of the hotel.

Amaya grabs on to the sides of the well. She can’t take it anymore. She lets out a scream of absolute grief. Amaya, then starts to run away. Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki follow her.

“GIRLS!” The older Kirai clan members yell.

However, the four girls just keep running. They soon reach the meadow with a river running through it. The four girls all collapse and start crying their hearts out.

Amaya just continues to stare at the fire in the metal dishes. Silent tears run down her cheeks. Amaya, looks up at the sky. She closes her eyes. Remembering that day is so hard. Every time Amaya thinks of Aiko/Maria's death, she remembers Luna's death.

“.....Aiko……” Amaya says to herself. Amaya, then crumples to her knees and starts to cry her heart out.

Chapter Text

Amaya stops crying momentarily. She sniffles as she gets to her feet. Amaya, then starts walking down the path towards the memorial stones. Each clan residing in the Kirai Village has a section full of memorial stones. The memorial stones actually act as a huge family tree. Each stone contains names of village members, dating back to the beginnings of the village. All of the stones are placed in a certain order. The names of family members are usually placed together. Usually, the names of children are placed under their parents names. A name is only placed on a stone until an individual dies. This means that many stones have blank spaces next to and under names, leaving places for names to be added accordingly.

Amaya, silently walks down the path into the Yamauchi clan memorial. Each stone is rectangular in shape. Each stone stands six feet high, and is seven feet in length. Each stone is six inches thick. Names are carved on both sides of each stone.

Amaya, reaches a stone. The stones with the names of people dating back hundreds of years are the furthest from the entrance. The stones with more recent deaths are closer to the entrance. Amaya, stands in front of the stone. The names of Yuzuki’s mother and father are carved on the stone. The names of Yuzuki’s paternal grandparents are carved above her father’s name. Yuzuki’s maternal grandparents names are on a stone in the Kirai clan memorial. That’s because Yuzuki’s mother was from the Kirai clan. The names of Yuzuki’s deceased siblings are carved under her parents names. Amaya, lightly runs her fingers over each name. Amaya, closes her eyes. She then opens her eyes and slowly walks away.

Next, Amaya heads to the Kita Clan memorial. Amaya, approaches a stone. The names of many family friends are carved into this stone. Amaya, lightly runs her fingers over the names. She closes her eyes and slowly walks away. Amaya, then walks into the Fujioka clan memorial. Amaya, approaches a stone and lightly fingers the names of family friends. Amaya, closes her eyes again. She walks out of the Fujioka clan memorial. Then, Amaya, enters the Mori Clan memorial. She approaches a stone and lightly fingers the names of deceased family friends. Amaya, closes her eyes and walks away.

Amaya, enters the Ishikawa clan memorial. Amaya, approaches a stone. The names of Takara’s mother and younger brothers are carved into the stone. Amaya, lightly runs her fingers over the names. As Amaya does this, she thinks of Takara and Taki’s surviving brother. Takara’s youngest brother, Takuma, was practically a baby when the attack happened several years ago.

Takuma, will never remember his mother or older brothers, Amaya thinks to herself. It’s so unfair!

Amaya then thinks of Bianca and Nico. Because of being bathed in the river of Lethe, Bianca and Nico will never remember their mother either. Amaya thinks to herself. Amaya sighs and remembers watching that scene through the well, long ago.

Amaya and her friends are gathered around the well. Their cheeks are all stained from the tears that they all shed earlier. The Kirai elders managed to coax the girls back to the well.

The Kirai elders and other members are gathered around the well. Rina, holds her hand over the water.

The image in the water is of Alecto, chanting something in ancient greek. Aiko/Maria’s body is in front of her. Little Bianca and little Nico sit nearby. They are in the underworld.

The clothing that Aiko/Maria was wearing when the hotel exploded, has been removed. Aiko/Maria is now wearing an ornate white dress. Aiko/Maria’s hair has been smoothed out and her body has been cleaned.

Little Bianca and little Nico sit nearby. They stare at the scene, uncomprehendingly.

Alecto, chants some more ancient greek. Alecto, then, picks up a funeral shroud. The funeral shroud is white with gold trim and many symbols. The symbols that are on the shroud include roses, and gold stars, things that Aiko/Maria liked.

Alecto, then gently wraps Aiko/Maria’s body in the shroud. Alecto, picks up Aiko/Maria’s body and places the body on a waiting funeral pyre. Alecto, chants some more ancient greek. Alecto, then, lights the bottom of the the funeral pyre with her hand.

As the funeral pyre slowly begins burning, Alecto turns to the children.

“Don’t worry,” Alecto says to the children. “Neither of you shall remember any of this.”

All of the sudden, Hades, appears. His face is very somber. Alecto, bows to her lord.

“Milord,” Alecto says. “I have given the woman the ancient rites, just as requested.”

“Thank you, Alecto.” Hades says. He looks at the children. “Change of plans. I want to keep an eye on the children for a while. I want you to wash their memories clean in the Lethe, and then take them to a boarding school. They shall stay there until I tell you to put them in the Lotus Hotel. Tell them that they are orphans. Tell them that their parents left a bank trust for them.”

“Yes, milord.” Alecto says. Alecto, picks up the children and walks away. Hades, stays and watches the funeral pyre burn with somber eyes.

Back, in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone whom is gathered the well just watch the funeral pyre burn as well. Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all choke back sobs.

Rina, switches the image in the water. The image in the water is now of Alecto and the children. Alecto and the children are standing near a river in the underworld. Alecto, picks up Bianca, and dunks her into the river for a few seconds. Bianca, then falls asleep. Alecto, takes Bianca out of the river and sets her down on the ground. Nico, watches with wide eyes. Before Nico can protest or try to get away, Alecto grabs him. Alecto, dunks little Nico into the river Lethe. Little Nico falls asleep. Alecto, takes Nico out of the river with one arm and then picks up Bianca with the other arm. In a flash, Alecto and the children disappear.

Everyone gathered around the well just look into the water with sad eyes.

Amaya, stares at the memorial stone. Just like Takuma, Bianca and Nico would never remember just how much their mother loved them. Bianca and Nico would never remember how Hades used to visit and play with them. Fate is just too cruel!

Amaya, just sighs and prepares to exit the Ishikawa clan memorial, when a voice catches her attention.

“Amaya?” The voice says with a questioning tone.

Amaya, turns to see a young man about the same age as her, standing by a memorial stone nearby. The young man wears simple village clothes, and has cerulean blue eyes and short brown hair. Amaya, blinks a few times.

“Daniel.” Amaya says simply.

The young man is Daniel Kingston. Daniel Kingston, was sent to this world through a dimensional rift years ago. Daniel, found the Kirai village, and the village took him in. Daniel is actually a demigod, just like Bianca and Nico. Daniel’s father is Hermes.

Daniel slowly approaches Amaya. “What are you doing here?” Daniel asks.

Amaya, holds her head down. “I needed to clear my head.” Amaya says. Amaya, looks at the memorial stone that Daniel was standing in front of.

“Are you paying respects to Noboro?” Amaya asks.

Daniel, closes his eyes. “Yes.” Daniel says.

Noboro Ishikawa, was Takara and Taki’s cousin. When Daniel arrived at the village years ago, him and Noboro became friends. A year ago, Noboro was killed in a hunting accident. Daniel, comes and pays respects to Noboro at least once a week.

Amaya sighs. “We tried to find young Nico again, but had no luck.” Amaya says.

Daniel nods. Since Daniel is a demigod the Kirai’s let him in on the secret about Luna, Aiko/Maria, and Bianca and Nico.

“I am sorry to hear that.” Daniel says.

“That’s not all.” Amaya says. She closes her eyes. “Korra, sprang a shocker on all of us. Since, my grandmother is dead, Aizen, is now the leader of our village.”

Daniel’s eyes widen. “Oh….wow.” Daniel says. “That is certainly a surprise.”

Amaya, looks down at her feet. “So much change.” Amaya says. “I can’t take so much change at once. That’s why I decided to get away and clear my head.”

Daniel nods. “I understand.”

Amaya, looks towards the Kirai clan memorial. “Well,” Amaya says. “I am going to head to my clan’s memorial.”

“You know what, I will come with you.” Daniel says.

Amaya’s eyes widen. “...Ok…” Amaya says. As she looks Daniel in the eye, she resists the urge to blush.

Amaya, walks out of the Ishikawa clan memorial. Daniel follows close behind her. When Daniel, is not looking, Amaya blushes.

Gosh, Amaya thinks to herself. He is certainly very handsome.

************************

Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki walk quickly towards the village memorial.

“Come on you two!” Takara says to Katara and Yuzuki. Katara and Yuzuki just pant as they walk.

“We are tired!” Yuzuki complains.

“We are almost there.” Takara says. “Don’t give up now.”

Katara and Yuzuki look at one another. They both sigh. The two of them hope that Amaya is at the memorial when they get there. Katara and Yuzuki don’t know if they will be able to run and search for Amaya anymore if she is not.

****************************

Amaya and Daniel walk into the Kirai Clan memorial. Amaya approaches a stone. She places a hand on the stone. Daniel blinks a few times. He looks at the writing on all of the stones around him. He just sighs.

“Even though I have been in this world for a few years, I still can’t read the writing in this world.” Daniel says. “I hate my dyslexia! School was an absolute nightmare for me! The only way I can find the stone with Noboro’s name is because I was there when they carved his name into the stone.”  

Amaya, blinks and sighs. Just the mention of school makes Amaya think of Nico and Bianca. The children had a terrible time at the boarding school that Alecto took them to. Amaya, closes her eyes and lets all the memories come back to her.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gathered around the well. They all carefully observe the image in the water.

The image in the water is of little Bianca and little Nico. The children are at the boarding school that Hades had Alecto take them to.

Bianca is wiping Nico’s face with a cloth. Little Nico fell during recess and got mud all over his face. All of the sudden a woman wearing fancy clothing approaches the siblings. The woman is frowning.

“Can the two of you tell you me why you didn’t come in when I rang the bell?” The woman asks.

Bianca gasps. “I am so sorry Mrs. Brown!” Bianca says. “Nico, fell and got mud all over his face. I was so busy cleaning him up that I didn’t hear the bell!”

The woman, Mrs. Brown, just glares at the children.

“Not a good enough excuse!” Mrs. Brown snarls. She grabs the children by their arms and begins dragging them inside.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, a lot of people whom are gathered around the well just watch with sad eyes. However, Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki are all raging on the inside. How dare that woman treat Aiko/Maria’s children that way!

*************************

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gathered around the well. They are observing the scene before them.

The image in the water is of little Nico in his math class. His classmates laugh as he tries to read words and numbers on the blackboard in front of him. Little Nico tries to read but stumbles over every word and number. The teacher, an old woman frowns.

“Nico di Angelo.” The teacher says with a stern voice. “You missed every single word and number!”

Little Nico holds his head down in shame. A single tear runs down both of his eyes. His classmates continue to laugh.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone gathered around the well just stare at the scene with sadness. Rina, changes the scene. The image in the water is of Bianca. Bianca, is in her class, trying to read words off of a blackboard as well. However, she misses every single word. The teacher frowns.

“Miss, di Angelo,” The teacher says. “We have gone over these words many times! If you would just pay attention, you would get them right!”

Little Bianca, holds her head down.

“Mrs. Greyson, I am trying to read.” Little Bianca says. “The writing just confuses me so much. I don’t know how to explain it.”

The teacher, Mrs. Greyson, just frowns.

“Well, try harder!” Mrs. Greyson shouts.

Many other children in the classroom snicker. Little Bianca, closes her eyes. A few tears roll down her cheeks.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, people gathered around the well just watch with sadness. Amaya, closes her eyes. If only the teachers knew that the children have dyslexia due to being demigods.

Amaya sighs. Daniel, blinks a few times.

“Amaya?” Daniel asks. “Are you ok.”

“I was just thinking about Nico and Bianca’s time at that boarding school.” Amaya says. “The children had such a horrible time there.”

Amaya sighs and begins to tell Daniel all about the children’s time at the boarding school. When Amaya is finished, Daniels eyes are wide.

“Ouch, that is terrible!” Daniel says. “The poor kids.”

Amaya, sighs again. “The children were at that terrible school for two years.” Amaya says. “However, Alecto eventually came and got the children out of the boarding school. Alecto, was disguised as a lawyer of course. Alecto then took them to the Lotus Hotel. The children seemed to really enjoy their time at the hotel.”

Amaya, smiles and begins telling Daniel, of the children’s time at the Lotus Hotel. Amaya, lets all of the memories come back to her.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gathered around the well. All of them are carefully observing the scene in the water.

The scene in the water is of little Bianca and little Nico. The children are playing with a board game in their hotel suite. Numerous toys are scattered across the room. All of the sudden, little Bianca, gets up from the table.

“I am tired of playing this game.” Little Bianca says. “I am going to take a bubble bath.”

“Suit yourself.” Little Nico says. Little Nico gets up from the table and grabs a toy off of the floor. “I am going to play some more.”

Little Bianca, does not say anything. She simply goes over to her closet and begins to pick out an outfit. When she does, she then goes into the bathroom and picks out a bottle of scented bubble bath from a cabinet. Little Bianca, then goes and grabs a fluffy white towel and sets it down next to the tub. Rina, then shifts the image back to Nico. The little boy laughs and giggles as he plays with his toy.

Amaya, sighs. “At least the children seem to be happy.” Amaya says.

*************************

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gathered around the well. All of them are observing the scene in the water.

The image in the water is of little Bianca and little Nico. The children are looking through a huge toy and game store in the Lotus Hotel. Of course, everything is free for any child in the Hotel, courtesy of the Lotus Eaters.

Little Nico points out a toy pirate ship to little Bianca.

“That looks so cool!” Little Nico says. “I think that I want that.”

A Lotus Eater, disguised as a bellhop, walks over to the children.

“Good choice little guy.” The Lotus Eater says. “That toy is brand new to our collection!”

Little Bianca, then spots a toy bow and arrow. Her eyes widen. She picks it up.

***********************

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are staring at the scene in the well.

The image in the water is of little Bianca and little Nico, eating breakfast in a restaurant style room in the Lotus Hotel. A large TV sits at one end of the table. The children are watching a movie. They quietly eat their breakfast as they do.

Little Nico, has a plate of pancakes topped with fruit and whipped cream. A side of eggs and hash browns sits beside the plate. A cup full of chocolate milk sits beside the plates. Little Bianca, has a plate full of french toast topped with fruit and whipped cream in front of her. A side of sausage and hash browns sits beside the plate. A cup full of orange juice sits beside Bianca’s plates.

***********************

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are watching the scene in the well.

The image in the water is of little Bianca and little Nico sitting in a restaurant style room in the Lotus Hotel. The children are sitting at a table with a tv. The children are eating slices of pizza. The children smile as they eat.

“This pizza is yummy!” Little Nico says.

“Yes, it is!” Little Bianca says.

**************************

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are watching the scene in the well.

The image in the well is of little Nico and little Bianca. The two children have just finished eating dinner. They had spaghetti with meatballs and breadsticks.

A Lotus Eater, disguised as a waiter, walks over to the table.

“Did the two of you enjoy your food?” The Lotus Eater asks.

“Oh, yes!” Little Bianca says. “The food was very delicious.”

“Are the two of you ready for dessert?” The Lotus Eater asks.

“Oh, yes!” Little Nico says. “I want a slice of chocolate cake!”

“I want chocolate cake as well!” Little Bianca says.

“Two slices of chocolate cake coming up then!” The Lotus Eater says. The Lotus Eater walks away.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone gathered around the well, just looks at the scene. Korra sighs.

“At least the children are being fed.” Korra says. “However, they are being fed very unhealthy food. They are also eating dessert every night. If Hades does not get them out soon, the children will grow as big as houses!”

*********************

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are watching the scene in the well. Rina, holds her hand over the water.

The image in the water is of little Bianca and little Nico. The children are playing video games in the lobby. The children laugh and giggle as they do.

“I won again!” Little Nico cries.

“So did I!” Little Bianca cries.

Amaya manages to smile as she recounts the children’s time in the Lotus Hotel to Daniel.

“Wow.” Daniel says. “Compared to the boarding school that they went to, that place must have been paradise.”

Amaya, laughs a little. “I suppose you could say that.” Amaya says. “However, there were moments in which little Nico annoyed or scared Bianca half to death.”

Amaya, then begins telling Daniel about some of those moments. As she does, Amaya, remembers those moments.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are watching the scene in the well.

The image in the water is of little Bianca and little Nico. The children are playing video games. At least Bianca is. Little Nico stopped playing a few minutes ago and disappeared. At last, Bianca, notices her brother’s absence. Bianca, looks around.

“NICO!” Bianca shouts. “WHERE ARE YOU?”

All of the sudden, little Nico’s voice can be heard.

“BIANCA!” Little Nico cries. “LOOK AT ME!”

Little Bianca, turns and gasps. Little Nico, is standing on top of the bridge with the bungee jumping cords. Little Nico, is wearing a bungee jumping outfit. Little Nico waves to his sister. Little Nico, then jumps off of the bridge.

“NICO!” Bianca screams.

Little Nico descends towards the ground. When, Nico is almost to the ground, the bungee cord stops stretching. Little Nico, then bounces and is sent flying up into the air. Little Nico laughs and giggles.

*************************

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gathered around the well. They carefully observe the scene before them.

The image in the water is of little Bianca. Little Bianca, is walking around the Lotus Hotel, looking for Nico. Little Bianca, huffs to herself, annoyed by the situation.

“Where could he be?” Little Bianca asks herself.

Little Bianca, then reaches a room with an indoor amusement park. Little Bianca, carefully looks at all the rides that she passes, looking for any signs of Nico. All of the sudden, Little Nico’s voice can be heard.

“BIANCA!” Little Nico yells. A laugh soon follows.

Little Bianca, turns and gasps. Little Nico is sitting in a compartment attached to the ferris wheel. The ferris wheel then starts moving. Little Nico’s little compartment starts to ascend into the air. Little Nico laughs.

“BYE, BYE!” Little Nico shouts.

“NICO!” Bianca yells. “COME BACK HERE!”

Amaya, stifles a little laugh as she finishes telling Daniel about that part of the children’s time in the Lotus Hotel. Daniel, bursts out laughing.

“Oh, my!” Daniel says. “Little Nico must have such a handful. Poor Bianca.”

“Yes,” Amaya says. “Little Nico could be a handful sometimes.”

Amaya, looks up at the sky. “The children were in the Lotus Hotel for nearly 70 years.” Amaya says. “However, to them, it felt like only a few weeks. Then, Alecto, came disguised as a lawyer, and got them out.”

Daniel nods. “I remember you telling me about that.” Daniel says.

Amaya sighs. “Then, Alecto, took the children to a military school in Maine called Westover Hall.” Amaya says. “The children were there for a year and a half. It was at that time that monsters began stalking them.”

Amaya, blinks as she remembers one of those instances.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are carefully watching the scene before them. They are gathered around the well.

The image in the water is of Bianca and Nico. The two of them are walking through an alleyway. All of the sudden three men step out of the shadows. The men quickly corner the siblings. Bianca and Nico’s eyes are wide.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, Rina, gasps.

“I think that those men are monsters!” Rina says. “However, I cannot tell what they are.”

Everyone else gasps. They are looking into the well with anxiety.

Bianca and Nico back away from the men. The men laugh diabolically as they approach the children. However, Bianca, blinks and gets a determined look on her face. She grabs Nico’s arm and looks for an opening. When Bianca, finds a good escape path, she quickly whispers something in Nico’s ear. Nico’s only gives a little nod. Bianca, then pulls Nico along as the two children make a run for it. The men give chase.

“Run….run…..” Amaya whispers to herself as she watches the scene.

Bianca and Nico, eventually reach a busy street. The children quickly blend in with the crowds. The children look back at the alley. The men have disappeared.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone gathered around the well watch with eyes full of relief. Amaya, sighs.

“Oh, thank goodness.” Amaya says to herself.

Amaya, sighs as she finishes telling Daniel about the children’s encounter in the alley.

“Dealing with monsters is part of being a demigod.” Daniel says. Amaya sighs.

“I know.” Amaya says. “However, it was still scary to watch all of those monsters attempt to attack the children.” Amaya, sighs again.

“It was also during the children’s stay at Westover, that Nico, became obsessed with a card game called mythomagic.” Amaya says.

Daniel nods. “I remember you telling me about that.” Daniel says.

Amaya, quietly walks up to a stone. She then remembers when Bianca bought Nico’s first mythomagic cards.  

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gathered around the well. Everyone is carefully observing the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Bianca and Nico. The children are busy walking around a store near Westover Hall. The two of them are on their way to a register after picking out clothes. Nico and Bianca pass by the trading cards. Nico, suddenly becomes interested in one of the card games being displayed. Bianca, notices her brother’s interest in the game.

“Nico?” Bianca asks. Bianca, picks up one of the card packets. She carefully tries to read it.

“M..yth...o….ma...gic?” Bianca asks. “Mythomagic!?”

Bianca, gives Nico a questioning look. Nico, just gives Bianca a pleading look. Bianca sighs.

“Alright.” Bianca says. Bianca, places the pack of cards in the cart. Nico, smiles as he follows Bianca, to the register.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone gathered around the well, just look at one another. They all look questionly at each other. Mythomagic?  

Amaya, sighs. She then begins to tell Daniel about how a satyr finally discovered the siblings at Westover. The satyr, then sent for a group of demigods to help him get the siblings to Camp Half-Blood. However, a manticore, disguised as the vice principal, Dr. Thorn, stalked the siblings.

“The scariest moment had to have been watching Bianca and Nico get dragged away by the Manticore, Dr. Thorn.” Amaya says. “Luckily, the demigods sent to retrieve the children, managed to hold off the manticore, until the hunters of Artemis arrived.”

Amaya sighs as she remembers watching Bianca and Nico being dragged away by Dr. Thorn, the manticore.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gathered around the well. They all carefully observe the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Bianca and Nico. The children are sitting in the gymnasium bleachers. Today, is the last day of the semester. There is a dance in the gym. However, the di Angelo siblings don’t feel inclined to join in with their classmates. Nico, would rather play with his mythomagic cards. Bianca, just seems to be anxious today. She is wearing a floppy green cap, trying to hide her face. Nico, laughs as he sorts through his card collection. Bianca, quickly scolds her brother, telling him to be quiet.

“Bianca, you are being mean today!” Nico says.

Bianca, looks around nervously. “I am trying not to be mean!” Bianca says. “However….I just feel like something is not right. I don’t want any unneeded attention.”

Nico then gulps. He points to a man standing near the exit. The man’s eyes are fixated upon the siblings. The man then points to the siblings and then gestures for them to come.

“I think that we are in trouble!” Nico says, with a small voice. “It looks like Dr. Thorn wants to see us.”

Bianca’s eyes widen. However, she just sighs.

“Come on.” Bianca says to Nico. “Let’s go see what he wants.”

Bianca and Nico get up and carefully descend the bleachers. The two of them arrive in front of the man, Dr. Thorn. Dr. Thorn, looks coldly down at the siblings.

“Dr. Thorn…,” Bianca says. “Why do you want to see us?”

“Come with me!” Dr. Thorn says with a cold voice. He then grabs Nico and Bianca by the backs of their shirts. This causes Bianca’s cap to fall off. Nico, drops his cards. Dr. Thorn begins pulling the confused siblings out of the gym.

“Dr. Thorn?” Bianca asks, with a very confused voice. “Have my brother and I done something wrong?”

“Keep walking!” Dr. Thorn orders. “Don’t ask anymore questions!”

Bianca and Nico look at one another. They are very frightened and confused.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone who is gathered around the well watch the entire scene with absolute horror. Amaya, starts to hyperventilate.

“No...no...no…,” Amaya whispers to herself. “No...please.”

Amaya, sighs. She closes her eyes.

“It was lucky that the children got saved when they did.” Daniel says. “However, Bianca, ended up joining the hunters of Artemis. Am I right?”

Amaya sighs again. “Yes.” Amaya says. “Bianca, decided to join the Hunters of Artemis.”

Amaya, grits her teeth and slowly starts to remember watching Bianca join the Hunters of Artemis.


(underlined parts are from The Titan’s Curse, by Rick Riordan)

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are carefully observing the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Bianca. She is standing next to Zoë Nightshade, Artemis’s lieutenant. Artemis, has just finished taking to Percy, the son of Poseidon. The fire in the brazier fills the tent with a warm glow.

“And now there is one last decision to make.” Artemis says. She turns to Bianca. “Have you made up your mind, my girl?”

“I’m still thinking about it.” Bianca says in a hesitant voice.

All of the Kirai gathered around the well just narrow their eyes.

“Wait,” Percy says. “Thinking about what?”

“They...they’ve invited me to join the hunt.” Bianca says.

All of the Kirai gathered around the well gasp. They all look at one another. Did they just hear that right?

“What?” Percy asks. “But you can’t! You have to come to Camp Half-Blood so Chiron can train you. It’s the only way you can learn to survive.”

Zoë narrows her eyes. “It is not the only way for a girl.” Zoë says.

Percy looks at Bianca. “Bianca, camp is cool!” Percy says. “It’s got a pegasus stable and a sword-fighting arena and...I mean, what do you get by joining the Hunters?”

“To begin with,” Zoë says. “Immortality.”

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, all of the younger Kirai turn to their elders. Their eyes are wide.

“Are the Hunters of Artemis really immortal?” Takara asks.

Korra nods. “Yes...they are.” Korra says.

“The Hunters of Artemis follow Lady Artemis around.” Atsuko says. “They fight monsters and stay immortal, as long as they keep their vow of virginity, and do not fall in battle.”

“Every hunter has to swear off boys, men, and marriage.” Korra says.

“I was just wondering...are all Hunters of Artemis half-bloods?” Yuzuki asks.

“No…,” Atsuko says. “Any virgin female who worships Lady Artemis may join. All they have to do is pledge themselves to Lady Artemis and then Lady Artemis accepts their pledge.”

“Do you really think that Bianca will really join them?” Amaya asks with wide eyes.

“We shall see.” Rina says.

Everyone whom is gathered around the well turn their attention back to the scene in the water. They all watch as Percy tries to argue with Bianca.

“Bianca, this is crazy.” Percy says. “What about your brother? Nico can’t be a Hunter.”

“Certainly not.” Artemis says. “He will go to Camp. Unfortunately, that’s the best boys can do.”

“Hey!” Percy says with a very offended tone of voice.

Artemis turns back to Bianca. “You can see him from time to time.” Artemis says assuringly to Bianca. “But you will be free of responsibility. He will have the camp counselors to take care of him. And you will have a new family. Us.”

All of the Kirai gathered around the well just watch with narrowed eyes. They all know that camp counselors can’t replace blood family. A bunch of virgin girls and a goddess don’t replace blood family either.

Bianca gets a dreamy look in her eyes. “A new family.” Bianca says dreamily. “Free of responsibility.”

All of the Kirai gathered around the well gasp. Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki just watch with wide eyes.

“She’s gonna do it!” Katara cries.

Percy tries to argue with Bianca again. “Bianca, you can’t do this.” Percy says. “It’s nuts.”

Bianca looks at Zoë. “Is it worth it?” Bianca asks.

Zoë nods. “It is.” Zoë says.

“What do I have to do?” Bianca asks.

All of the Kirai gathered around the well hold their breaths. Their eyes are wide.

“Say this,” Zoë says. “I pledge myself to the goddess Artemis.”

Bianca quickly repeats the line. “I...I pledge myself to the goddess Artemis.” Bianca says.

“I turn my back on the company of men, accept eternal maidenhood, and join the Hunt.” Zoë says.

Bianca repeats the lines. “That’s it?” Bianca asks.

Zoë nods. “If Lady Artemis accepts thy pledge, then it is binding.” Zoë says.

“I accept it.” Artemis says.

The fire in the brazier glows brighter. A silver glow fills the room. Bianca, takes a deep breath. Her eyes are wide.

“I feel...stronger.” Bianca says.

“Welcome, sister.” Zoë says.

“Remember your pledge.” Artemis says. “It is now your life.”

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, all of the Kirai gathered around the well just stand there. The eyes of every Kirai are wide.

“The girl actually did it.” Korra says. “She is now a Hunter of Artemis.”

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki just frown.

“It is a foolish decision if you ask me!” Amaya says.

“Yeah!” Takara says, agreeing with her friend.

“It is also a very selfish decision!” Katara says. “Bianca, has abandoned poor Nico.”

“She is running away from her responsibility as an older sister!” Yuzuki says.

“Girls…” Rina says. “I am afraid that it is Bianca’s decision. There is nothing that we can do about it.”  

Amaya and her friends just look at each other. The four of them start running away from the well.  

“GIRLS!” All of the older Kirai shout.

The four girls do not listen to the elders. They keep running until they reach the meadow by the stream and pond. The four girls sit down and begin sharing their thoughts on the whole situation.

Amaya, closes her eyes. Daniel, narrows his eyes, a little confused.

“Amaya, are you alright?” Daniel asks. Amaya, opens her eyes and sighs.

“I was angry when Bianca joined the Hunters of Artemis.” Amaya says. “Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki were all angry as well. At the time we all thought that it was a foolish decision.”

Daniel, puts his hand on Amaya’s shoulder.

“It was her decision.” Daniel says. “There was nothing that you could have done.”

Amaya, sighs and takes a few steps forward. “I know.” Amaya says. “However, it does not mean that I accept her decision.”

Amaya, sighs. Then, her and Daniel begin discussing the events that lead up to Zoë and Bianca, along with the satyr Grover, and the daughter of Zeus going on the quest to save Artemis.

“All of us were very worried about the prophecy that the oracle delivered.” Amaya says. She closes her eyes and begins to recite the lines of the prophecy.

 (Lines are from The Titan’s curse, by Rick Riordan)

Five shall go west to the goddess in chains,

One shall be lost in the land without rain,

The bane of Olympus shows the trail,

Campers and Hunters combined prevail,

The Titan’s curse must one withstand,

And one shall perish by a parent’s hand.

 

Amaya finishes reciting the prophecy. Daniel nods.

“I remember you telling me about that.” Daniel says. “It is quite foreboding.”

“Yes…,” Amaya says. “After hearing that prophecy, we all knew something very bad was going to happen.”

Amaya sighs. “Zoë, Bianca, the Satyr, and Zeus’s daughter headed out.” Amaya says. “The son of Poseidon, decide to follow. He ran into Nico, whom he caught spying on Zoë and Bianca, before they left. Nico made Poseidon’s son promise to protect Bianca on the quest.”

“It was a promise that he was unable to keep.” Daniel says.

“No…,” Amaya agrees. “He did his best though.”

Amaya sighs again. She slowly begins to remember watching the conversation that Nico had with Poseidon’s son.


(All underlined parts are from The Titan’s Curse, by Rick Riordan)

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers gaze into the well. Everyone is carefully observing the scene before them.

The image in the water is of Nico and Poseidon’s son, Percy. The two of them are standing near the pavillion. The two of them are talking about Percy following the others on the quest.

“The Hunters don’t like boys,” Percy says. “If they find out–.”

“Don’t let them find out.” Nico says. “Follow them invisibly. Keep an eye on my sister! You have to. Please?”

All of the Kirai gathered around the well just watch with solemn eyes. Even though Bianca practically abandoned him, Nico still worries for her safety.

“Nico–.” Percy says.

“You’re planning to go anyway, aren’t you?” Nico asks.

Percy blinks a few times. He then takes a deep breath. “Yeah,” Percy says. “I have to find Annabeth. I have to help, even if they don’t want me to.”

Nico looks Percy in the eye. “I won’t tell on you,” Nico says. “But you have to promise to keep my sister safe.”

“I...that’s a big thing to promise, Nico, on a trip like this.” Percy says. “Besides, she’s got Zoë, Grover, and Thalia–.”

“Promise.” Nico quickly says. His eyes are pleading.

Percy takes a deep breath. “I’ll do my best.” Percy says. “I promise that.”

“Get going then!” Nico says. “Good luck!”

Percy looks towards the big house. “Tell Chiron–.”

“I’ll make something up.” Nico says with a crooked smile. “I’m good at that. Go on!”

Percy quickly takes off running towards Half-Blood hill.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, everyone gathered around the well just watch the scene with solemn eyes. They all have a feeling that the quest is not going to end well.  

Amaya sighs. “Then, Percy, the son of Poseidon caught up with Bianca, and the others.” Amaya says. “Bianca, ended up destroying a bunch of skeletons very easily. The skeletons had been summoned by the Titan Army.”

Daniel nods. “I remember you telling me that.” Daniel says. “It seems that Bianca was using her inherited godly powers without even knowing it.”

Amaya sighs. “During the quest, Bianca and Percy became close.” Amaya says. “Bianca, revealed to Percy, that she joined the Hunters because she wanted to have friends and not have to worry about taking care of Nico. I can understand wanting some freedom, but still...it was incredibly selfish of her to just abandon Nico like that. Then, after some more conversation, everyone realized that Bianca and Nico were in the Lotus Hotel and Casino for over seventy years. To say that Bianca was bewildered and shocked was an understatement. However, I think that she eventually got over it, and decided to focus on the quest.”

Amaya, looks up at the sky. “We also kept an eye on Nico.” Amaya says. “Nico, tried to fit in at camp. However, Nico, found it incredibly difficult.”

Amaya, closes her eyes and slowly remembers Nico’s difficulty at camp.

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are gazing into the well.

The image in the water is of Nico. Nico is in the javelin throwing field. Nico, has been throwing his javelin for nearly ten minutes. However, Nico, can’t seem to hit the target correctly. The Ares Camper in charge of practice, just laughs.

“Man, kid!” The Ares Camper says. “You absolutely suck at throwing javelins.”

The Ares Camper then looks Nico in the eye.

“Maybe you should concentrate more on practice!” The Ares Camper says. “And stop playing with your silly little card game!”

Nico holds his head down.

Amaya sighs. “Poor Nico!” Amaya says. “The only thing that Nico seemed to be good at was sword fighting. However, whenever Nico would try to actually fight another camper for practice, he would always be hesitant. It was almost as if Nico was afraid that he would accidentally hurt the camper. A lot of campers would call Nico a ‘wimp’ or ‘too soft’. All of the other campers also mocked his obsession with mythomagic.”  

Daniel frowns. “Poor kid.” Daniel says.

Amaya closes her eyes. “Then, when Nico was alone one day, Hades came.” Amaya says. “Hades told Nico that he was his father, and then left.”

Amaya, takes a deep breath. “Then right after that….,” Amaya says. “My grandmother shifted the image back to Bianca and the others. That’s when they arrived at the junkyard.”

Amaya, resists the urge to cry. “And then….Bianca got killed.” Amaya says. “Right after that...my grandmother fell ill.

Daniel narrows his eyes. “I remember you telling me that Bianca died in the junkyard.” Daniel says. “However... you never really told me exactly how she died.”

Amaya, holds back a few tears. “It was absolutely terrible to watch.” Amaya says. She slowly begins to tell Daniel about that fateful day.


(Underlined parts are from The Titan’s Curse, by Rick Riordan)

Amaya, her friends, the Kirai elders, and other villagers are carefully gazing into the well.

The scene in the water is of Bianca, Zoë, Thalia, Percy, and Grover the Satyr. The Five of them have just reached the highway after travelling through the junkyard.

“We made it out,” Zoë says with relief. “Thank the gods.”

However, the horrible sound of crushing metal can soon be heard. Ten toes suddenly tilt over in the mountain of garbage. A huge figure soon rises from the pile of garbage. The figure is a giant bronze robot wearing greek battle armor. The giant’s face is deformed.

Zoë gasps. “Talos!” Zoë says.

Back in Aiko/Maria’s birth world, all of the Kirai gathered around the well gasp. They know all about Hephaestus’s creations and how dangerous they can be.

“Who—who’s Talos?” Percy quickly asks.

“One of Hephaestus’s creations,” Thalia says. “But that can’t be the original. It’s too small. A prototype maybe. A defective model.”

All of the Kirai gathered around the well gasp again. Their eyes are filled with horror. A defective model of Talos!? Oh, the group is in big trouble now!

The metal giant, Talos, pulls a giant sword out of a metal belt. The sound of screeching metal makes all of the Kirai want to cover their ears.

“Somebody must have stolen something from the junkyard.” Korra says.

“I think you are right.” Seiji says. “But who?”

All of the Kirai gathered around the well just narrow their eyes.

“Someone took something,” Zoë says. “Who took something?”

Zoë gives Percy an accusing look. Percy just shakes his head.

“I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a thief.” Percy says.

Amaya, soon notices that Bianca has a guilty look on her face. Amaya’s eyes widen.

“Bianca has such a guilty look on her face.” Amaya says. “She must have taken something.”

The giant steps closer to the group.

“Run!” Grover says with a yelp. The group runs but it is hopeless. The giant is too fast. Thalia, runs towards the highway with the giant following her. Zoë, tries to shoot the giant with arrows, only to have the arrows bounce right back off of the giant.

“Not good.” Atsuko mutters.

Grover, brays and starts climbing up a pile of junk. Percy and Bianca quickly get behind a broken chariot. Percy looks at Bianca desperately. He then looks at her bow.

“You took something.” Percy says. “That bow.”

“No!” Bianca says with a quiver in her voice.

All of the Kirai gathered around the well just look at one another.

“I swear that I saw Bianca put the bow down!” Amaya says. “She could not have taken the bow.”

“But she did take something!” Aizen says.

“Yes, but what?” Someone else asks.

“Give it back!” Percy says to Bianca. “Throw it down!”

“I...I didn’t take the bow!” Bianca says. “Besides, it’s too late.”

“What did you take?” Percy asks.

However, before Bianca can reply, the giant finds the pair. Talos, looms menacingly over the children.

“Move!” Percy yells.

Bianca and Percy get out the way just in time. The giant’s foot crushes the very spot where Bianca and Percy were hiding.

All of the Kirai just breath sighs of relief. That sure was close!

“Hey, Talos!” Grover yells, trying to distract the giant from Percy and Bianca. However, the giant just keeps looking down at Percy and Bianca.

Grover, then begins to play his pipes. The downed power lines in the highway lift up and start to dance in the air. A few of the power lines wrap around Talos’s leg, sending jolts of electricity into the giant. Talos, whirls around and begins creaking. Sparks fly around the giant.

All of the Kirai manage to smile. How clever of Grover! He managed to buy Percy and Bianca some time.

Percy, gets ready to run. “Come on!” Percy says to Bianca.

Bianca, just stands, frozen in her spot. Then, she slowly reaches into her pocket and takes out a small metallic figurine. All of the Kirai gasp, when they realize what it is. It is a mythomagic statue. It is the statue of Hades!

“It...it was for Nico.” Bianca says. “It was the only statue he didn’t have.”

“How can you think of Mythomagic at a time like this?” Percy asks.

Bianca, looks down. Her eyes are starting to fill with tears.

“Throw it down.” Percy quickly says. “Maybe the giant will leave us alone.”

Bianca, reluctantly lets go of the statue. The statue falls to the ground. However, this does nothing to stop the giants attack. Talos, continues to attack Grover. Grover, ends up getting buried under an avalanche of junk.

“No!” Thalia shouts. She raise her spear and sends a bolt of lightning into one of Talos’s knees. Talos, collapses. However, Talos, gets right back up.

All of the Kirai gathered around the well watch with wide eyes. Amaya, grits her teeth.

“Oh, Bianca has really screwed up now!” Amaya says. “She just just put herself and the others in terrible danger.”

“Yes, she has.” Korra says agreeing with Amaya. “However, you have to admit that Bianca’s decision, even though it was stupid, was an act of love. She didn’t take anything for herself, when she had the opportunity. She stole that statue for Nico! It shows how much she really cares for him.”

“But what good did she think that stealing the statue would do?” Takara asks. “Did she really think that would make up for her joining the Hunters of Artemis?”

Korra just shrugs. “I am not sure.” Korra says. “Unfortunately, we cannot read the minds of those we watch.”

Everyone looks at Rina, surprised that she hasn’t said anything at all about this situation. Rina’s eyes are tired looking but she maintains the jutsu. All of the sudden, Seiji, narrows his eyes at the image in the water.

“The giant’s foot...I think that I see something on the bottom of the giant’s foot.” Seiji quickly says. “It looks like a hole with writing around it!”

Everyone else’s eyes widen. Korra begins focusing on the giant’s foot. She gasps.

“Seiji is right!” Korra says. “There is a hole at the bottom of the giant’s foot.”

The giant raises it’s foot again. Now everyone can see the hole and writing. The writing reads: FOR MAINTENANCE ONLY . Everyone gasps. Maintenance!? If the giant has to be maintenanced, then that means you can control the giant from the inside!

Everyone soon notices that Percy is looking at the giants foot as well. He must see the hole as well. Percy turns to Bianca.

“Crazy-idea time.” Percy says.

Bianca’s eyes widen. “Anything.”

Percy, quickly tells Bianca of the hole in Talos’s foot.

“There must be a way to control the thing.” Percy says. “Switches or something. I’m going to get inside.”

Bianca’s eyes widen even more. “How?” Bianca asks. “You’ll have to stand under it’s foot! You’ll be crushed.”

“Distract it,” Percy quickly says. “I’ll just have to time it right.”

Bianca, tightens her jaw. “No.” Bianca says. “I’ll go.”

All of the Kirai gasp. Is Bianca serious?

Percy’s eyes are wide. “You can’t,” Percy says. “You’re new at this! You’ll die.”

“It’s my fault the monster came after us.” Bianca says. It’s my responsibility. Here.” Bianca quickly picks up the little gold statue of Hades. She presses it into Percy’s hand.

“If anything happens, give that to Nico.” Bianca says. “Tell him...tell him I’m sorry.”

All of the Kirai gathered around the well gasp with absolute horror.

“Bianca, no!” Percy yells.

Bianca, quickly takes off running towards the giants left foot. Bianca, gets close. She carefully balances herself on a piece of metal by the giants foot.

“What are you doing?” Zoë asks.

“Get it to raise it’s foot!” Bianca yells.

Zoë shoots an arrow at the giants face. The arrow goes into the giants nose.

“Hey, Junk Boy!” Percy yells. “Down here.” Percy stabs the giants left big toe. The giant looks down and raise it’s foot. Bianca acts quickly. As quick as lightning, she crawls inside the hole.

There is a line of handle bars that lead up the leg. However, the handle bars are placed in a circular pattern over inside of the leg. The handle bars look like a circular staircase.

Bianca, gasps. However, she gets a determined look on her face. Bianca, begins climbing up the leg using the handle bars to grab onto. She uses reflexes that she has never used before.

All of the Kirai look up momentarily. Their eyes are wide.

“Look at Bianca, move!” Yuzuki says. “She has never moved like that before.”

Amaya, narrows her eyes. It looks as if Bianca is tapping into her shinobi heritage. Bianca is moving like a ninja!

Bianca, continues to climb up the giants leg. Sometimes, the movement of the giant’s leg nearly cause Bianca to lose her grip on the handle bars. However, Bianca, keeps climbing up the leg like there is no tomorrow. Every once in a while, Bianca’s eyes widen in horror as she hears the others yell outside. All of the sudden, the handle bar that Bianca, is holding onto creaks and starts to come loose. Bianca, acts quickly. She flings her body over to the side and quickly grabs onto another bar. All of the Kirai gasp.

“Did you see what Bianca just did?!” Katara asks.

“Yeah!” Takara says.

Bianca, finally reaches the giants torso. Bianca, keeps on climbing until she reaches the giants head. Wires and many parts are scattered around the giant’s head. All of the sudden, Percy and Thalia shout from outside.

“Grover!” Percy and Thalia yell.

Bianca’s eyes widen. She then closes her eyes for a few seconds. Bianca opens her eyes. Bianca’s eyes are no longer black. Bianca’s eyes glow red with one tomoe sharingan. All of the Kirai gasp. Everyone’s eyes are wide.

“Sh….shar...sharingan!” Korra says.

Bianca, with her newly activated sharingan, gets down to business. She quickly pulls on a lever.

The image shifts to the others, whom are outside. Talos, cocks his head. Talos, begins moving his arms and legs wildly, like he is dancing. Talos, then makes one of his hands into a fist and punches himself.

“Go, Bianca!” Percy yells.

Zoë looks at Percy, horrified. “She is inside?” Zoë asks.

Talos, continues to move around wildly. The giant is staggering around. Percy and Thalia quickly drag Grover over to the highway. Zoë is already standing in the highway.

“How will Bianca get out?” Zoë asks.

The giant punches itself again. The giant begins to stagger towards the downed power lines.

“Look out.” Percy yells.

However, it is too late. The giant steps on the power lines. Electricity, shoots up the giants leg. The giant shudders and staggers back.

“BIANCA!” All of the Kirai gathered around the well yell.

The image in the water shifts back to Bianca inside the giant. Bianca, is hyperventilating, as if she is trying to catch her breath. It looks as if she is stunned and dazed by the shock of the electricity. Sparks fly from many of the electrical cords. All of the sudden a creaking sound can be heard. Bianca’s eyes widen. Everything inside the giant is going haywire! Then, pieces start to fall all around Bianca.

The image shifts back to outside. Talos, is running away. Pieces are falling off of the giant, one by one. Talos, is falling apart!

“Wait!” Zoë shouts.

The image in the water shifts back to Bianca. Bianca closes her eyes as the head starts to move. All of the machinery inside the head falls down on top of Bianca. The image goes black.

“NO!” Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki scream. Many others gasp with absolute horror.

The image suddenly comes back into focus. Bianca’s figure appears as a ghostly mist. She is in the underworld.

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all gasp. Many others do as well.

The image in the water shifts back to Zoë, Percy, Thalia, and Grover. The giant has now completely fallen apart. Bianca’s friends search the wreckage, screaming Bianca’s name as they do.

“Bianca!” Percy yells frantically.

All of the Kirai gathered around the well watch with sad eyes. They know the search is futile. Bianca is gone...forever.

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki watch the scene with silent tears. Amaya, sniffles as tears run down her cheeks.

“...Bianca…,” Amaya whispers.

Amaya, opens her eyes as she finishes telling Daniel about Bianca’s death. Silent tears run down Amaya’s cheeks. Daniel’s eyes are wide.

“Wow…,” Daniel says. “Bianca activated her sharingan...and then died a hero.”

Amaya sniffles. “Yes…” Amaya says. Amaya, then looks up at the sky.

“The prophecy.” Amaya says. “One shall be lost in the land without rain. That line was about Bianca. Oh, fate is just so cruel!”

Amaya, sniffles a little bit.

“Then, after that,” Amaya says. “We all realized that my grandmother was ill. We all took her back home.”

“Then she died a couple of days later.” Daniel says sadly.

Amaya sniffles again. “Yes.” Amaya says. “I now think that her using the interdimensional viewing jutsu so much took a toll on her. She wasn’t young...and the interdimensional viewing jutsu uses a great deal of chakra.”

Amaya, sniffles and looks at the sky. “However…,” Amaya says. “She was absolutely dedicated to her work and the Kirai clan. Even though she was old and tired...she used the Kirai clan jutsu’s to the best of her ability. She never complained once.”

Daniel approaches Amaya. He puts a hand on her shoulder. “I held a lot of respect for your grandmother.” Daniel says. “Her death hurt me just as much as it hurt everyone else in this village. She accepted me into the village. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know what I would have done. The moment I met her, I knew that she was someone that I could trust and look to for guidance. I knew that she was a strong woman who would do anything for the people she cared about.”

Amaya, sniffles. “Thank you,” Amaya says. “For speaking so highly of my grandmother.”

Amaya sighs. “After my grandmother’s funeral, we all gathered around the well again.” Amaya says. “We wanted to check on Nico. However, we soon realized that he had been sucked through a dimensional rift and sent here. We all panicked of course. Now...here we are trying to find him with no luck so far. Oh, my clan and village are so unlucky!”

Amaya, then turns toward a stone. The names of her grandmother, father, mother, and younger brother are carved into the stone. The name of Amaya’s grandfather, is carved next to Rina’s name. Amaya, lightly fingers all of the names. Amaya, then lightly fingers the names of her uncle, Hajime and his family. People that Amaya never got to know. Amaya, then fingers the names of her other aunts and uncles and deceased cousins. Amaya, closes her eyes and walks over to the next stone.

Amaya silently stares at the stone. She quietly runs her fingers over a name. The name reads:

 Aiko Kirai

Amaya, slowly closes her eyes as she thinks of Luna’s grandmother. Amaya, looks to the left of the name. The name next to Luna’s grandmother’s name is the name of Luna’s grandfather. Luna’s grandfather, died before Luna was born. Amaya, then moves her fingers below the two names. The writing below the two names reads:

 Toshiko Kirai

Amaya, closes her eyes. She gently touches the name with her fingers. She thinks of Luna’s mother. The name next to Toshiko is that of Luna’s father. The name reads:

 Takeo Kirai

Amaya, sniffles as she gently touches the name. The name below Takeo and Toshiko’s names reads:

 Luna Kirai

Amaya, sniffles as more silent tears run down her face. She always tears up like this when she reads Luna’s name on the stone. The writing below Luna’s name is actually two names, one of them being written in a foreign language. The two names are connected by a dash. The writing reads:

 Aiko Kirai—Maria di Angelo

Amaya, blinks as more tears run down her cheeks. Since, the elders of the Kirai clan know how to write languages from other worlds, they decided it would only be right to add the name that Luna’s daughter went by.

Amaya, sniffles even more. There is a name now written below Aiko/Maria’s name. The name reads:

 Bianca di Angelo

Amaya, collapses to the ground. She begins to sob. Even though Bianca wasn’t born in this world she still had Kirai blood. However, just seeing her name carved on the stone is too hard sometimes.

First Luna…, Amaya thinks to herself. Then Aiko. Now Bianca. Oh fate is just too cruel!

Daniel slowly approaches Amaya. Daniel kneels down next to Amaya and tries to comfort her. However, Daniel soon notices something strange on the stone. On one end of the stone, tall grass covers part of the stone. Through the grass, Daniel can see what appears to be writing on the stone. The grass is obscuring the writing.

“Amaya…,” Daniel says. “Do you see that behind the grass? It appears to be writing.”

Amaya stops crying. She narrows her eyes. She carefully moves the grass. There is indeed writing hidden behind the grass. Amaya gasps.

“It...it is a name.” Amaya says. The name is actually directly across from Luna’s name, underneath Toshiko and Takeo’s names. The name reads:

 Hikaru Kirai

 Amaya just stares at the name. Only one thought runs through her head at this point.

Who is Hikaru? Amaya thinks to herself.  

Chapter Text

Amaya just stares at the name on the stone. Daniel, just stands beside her.

“Hikaru?” Amaya asks. “I have no idea who that is!”

“Well,” Daniel begins. “The name is placed right across from Luna’s name, and underneath her parents name.”

Amaya gasps. “But...,” Amaya says. “As far as I know, Luna was an only child.”

All of the sudden three voices catch Amaya’s attention.

“AMAYA!” All of the voices shout. Amaya, turns to see Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki running up to her. The three girls suddenly spot Daniel.

“Oh…,” Takara says. “Hello, Daniel. What are you doing here?”

“I was paying respects to Noboro.” Daniel says. “Then, I saw Amaya. She looked like she could use some company, so I tagged along.”

Takara, nods. She then looks at Amaya. “Amaya, we went to the meadow and you were not there.” Takara says with an exasperated voice. “We then walked all the way here!”

Amaya, does not respond. Her eyes turn back to the stone.

“Uh…I have something to show you.” Amaya says. She uses her hand to keep the grass down, revealing the name to her friends. “Tell me...what do you see?”

Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all gasp.

“It’s a name.” Takara says.

“And it’s right next to Luna’s name!” Katara says.

“But...Luna was an only child.” Yuzuki says.

A voice suddenly interrupts. “No….” The voice says.

Everyone turns to see Korra, walking towards them.

“Move the grass some more.” Korra says.

Amaya does as Korra says. Amaya gasps when she does.

Toshiko’s name is to the left of Takeo’s. To the left of Toshiko’s name is a symbol. Amaya frowns. The Kirai village records everything. They record all births and all marriages. They also record when a villager has a child with an outsider. The symbol to the left of Toshiko’s name means ‘outsider’. The exact same symbol is beside Luna’s name, because she had a child with an outsider. Amaya, then looks below Toshiko’s name and the symbol. She gasps. There is a name carved into the stone. The name reads:

Ikeri Kirai

Amaya, frowns when she sees a symbol beside the name. The symbol means ‘lost’. The lost symbol is used when a village member is lost and no one knows what happened to them. Amaya, frowns when she realized that the ‘lost’ symbol is also beside Hikaru’s name. Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki all gasp when they see this too. Katara, looks at her grandmother.

“Grandma, you have some explaining to do.” Katara says. “Who are Ikeri and Hikaru?”

Korra, takes a deep breath. “Toshiko…,” Korra says. “Had much misfortune when it came to children…before she had Luna.”

Korra sighs. “Let’s just say that Toshiko, got herself into the exact same situation that Luna got herself into.” Korra says. “When Toshiko was thirteen, she got seduced by an outsider by the name of Shin, and became pregnant.”

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all gasp. Their eyes are wide. Toshiko, got pregnant as a teenager too?

“Toshiko, had a baby girl.” Korra says. “Like Luna, Toshiko, loved babies. Toshiko, always wanted to be a mother.”

Korra sighs. “Toshiko, named the baby, Ikeri.” Korra says. “Ikeri, was beautiful. She inherited Toshiko’s eye shape, mouth, and black hair. However, Ikeri’s eyes were a beautiful dark teal color, like Shin’s eyes. Ikeri, also inherited Shin’s face shape, and peachy skin.”

Korra, closes her eyes. “However…” Korra says. “When Ikeri was six months old, the village was raided by bandits.”

Korra opens her eyes. “It was nighttime.” Korra says. “All of the villagers were just cleaning up dinner when the bandits snuck into the village. Aiko, had gone to treat a sick villager on the other side of the village. Toshiko, had to get some water from the well, so she left baby Ikeri asleep in her basket. Toshiko, soon heard the chaos. She dropped her bucket and ran back to the house as fast as she could.”

Korra, closes her eyes again. “I lived a few houses down from Aiko and Toshiko.” Korra says. “I had just gotten my own children to safety so I came back to see if I could help anyone else get to safety.”

Korra sighs. As she tells the story her mind drifts off to that fateful night.

Korra, runs through the village. Villagers scream all around her as the bandits attack. Many house are now on fire. Korra soon sees a young teenage girl with dark eyes and black hair, struggling to reach a house. The girl looks and sees Korra.

“Toshiko!” Korra yells to the girl.

“Korra!” The girl, Toshiko, yells. Toshiko, looks towards her house. Loud wailing is coming from the house.

“Ikeri, is inside!” Toshiko yells. “Please, save her!”

Korra, nods. She quickly runs and reaches the house. Korra, swings open the door. She runs down the hall towards where Ikeri’s crying is coming from. Korra, reaches a room and gasps at the sight in front of her.

A strange man is standing over Ikeri’s basket. The strange man is holding a sword over the basket. Baby Ikeri continues to wail. The strange man just stares at the infant. The man just holds his sword in place, as if he is hesitant to kill Ikeri. All of the sudden, the man looks up and sees Korra. The man has black hair and dark teal eyes. The same dark teal eyes as Ikeri.

Korra’s eyes widen. Why does this bandit have Ikeri’s eyes? All of the sudden, Toshiko, runs into the room. Toshiko’s eyes widen when she sees the man.

“Sh...Shi….Shin?” Toshiko says with shock.

Korra’s eyes widen even more. This bandit is Ikeri’s father?!

“Toshiko…” The man, Shin, says with little emotion in his voice. He looks back down at baby Ikeri. “This baby is mine...isn’t she?”

“Yes, and her name is Ikeri!” Toshiko says. Her voice holds a little bitterness to it. “Now, get away from her!”

Shin, narrows his eyes.

“How could you betray me like this, Shin?” Toshiko asks with a hurt tone of voice. “You come here and attack my village. Why?”

Shin, does not respond. However, the smell of smoke soon enters the room. Toshiko and Korra look outside to see smoke coming from another room. The house is on fire!

Toshiko and Korra turn back and gasp. Shin, has removed Ikeri from her basket and is now holding her. Shin, just looks at Toshiko and Korra. Then, Shin pushes past Toshiko and Korra, knocking them over in the process. Shin, then takes his sword and stabs both Toshiko and Korra in their sides. Toshiko, gasps and clutches her wound.

“Shin…” Toshiko says with a very hurt tone of voice.

Shin, runs out of the room, taking Ikeri with him. Toshiko, swiftly gets back up, despite her wound.  

“WAIT!” Toshiko yells. Toshiko, quickly runs after Shin. Korra, is right behind Toshiko.

Shin, dodges flames as he runs towards the door. Shin, turns and gives Toshiko a cold look before he runs out the door, and disappears.

“NOOOO!” Toshiko screams. She starts to sob her heart out. Korra, quickly grabs Toshiko by her arm.

“Toshiko…” Korra says softly. “I am sorry but there is nothing that we can do now. We must focus on saving ourselves!”

Korra, starts to pull the sobbing Toshiko, towards the back exit.

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all gasp. Daniel’s eyes are wide.

Korra sighs. “Once, Toshiko and I got out of the house, we were immediately treated by a village healer.” Korra says. “Luckily, Shin missed our vital spots, so our wounds were relatively minor. However, the stab wound was nothing compared to the emotional pain that Toshiko endured.”

“Shin, kidnapped Ikeri!” Amaya cries. “Oh, that is terrible! Poor Toshiko.”

Korra nods. “Toshiko, fell into a deep depression that lasted for a long time.” Korra says. “Toshiko, also hated Shin for his betrayal. Toshiko, vowed to never blindly trust and fall in love with a man ever again! Especially an outsider!”  

Korra, sighs. “However, Toshiko, did eventually meet a man that she felt a true connection with.” Korra says. “That man was Takeo, Luna’s father. Toshiko, could tell that Takeo was nothing like Shin. Takeo, was honest, caring, and humble. Eventually, Toshiko, decided to give love another try. Toshiko, would always grieve for her stolen child, but Toshiko knew that she needed to move on. Toshiko and Takeo married. A year later, their first child was born. A little boy that they named Hikaru.”

Korra looks up at the sky. “Takeo and Toshiko adored little Hikaru.” Korra says. “Hikaru, was a mini version of Takeo, except he had Toshiko’s eyes. Life was good for the three of them.”

Korra, closes her eyes. She begins to remember little Hikaru.

Korra, is talking with Toshiko, whom is hanging up laundry. Takeo, is busy doing some woodworking in the yard. All of the sudden, A little boy no older than five runs out of the house. The little boy looks almost exactly like Takeo. However, the little boy has Toshiko’s eyes. The little boy wears an olive green shirt with black pants. The little boy wears a small green hat with ear flaps on the sides. The little boy runs up to Toshiko, who gasps. However, Toshiko, manages a wry smile.

“Well...Hikaru found his birthday present.” Toshiko says with some amusement. “I knew that we should have hid it somewhere else.”

“Oh, that’s right!” Korra says. “Hikaru is going to be a big six year old in a few days.”

Hikaru laughs and smiles. Takeo, walks over and playfully begins messing with the cap.

“It is not your birthday yet!” Takeo says with amusement.

Hikaru, laughs again.

Korra sighs. “However…,” Korra says. “When Hikaru was six, misfortune struck again.”

“What happened?” Yuzuki asks.

Korra closes her eyes. “It was the attack that killed Amaya’s grandfather, uncle Hajime, and Hajime’s wife and daughter.” Korra says. “Takeo, was fighting with the other men. Toshiko, had taken Hikaru to hide in the forest. However, a bandit ended up chasing  them. Toshiko, decided to send Hikaru ahead, while she tried to distract the bandit.”

Korra takes a deep breath. “However, it was storming.” Korra says. “Toshiko and Hikaru were near the berry bushes by the cliffs. While Toshiko tried to distract the bandit, Hikaru, tried to run away. However...Hikaru had nowhere to run when he reached the cliffs. Then, the area in which Hikaru was standing gave way, sending Hikaru into the river below!”

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all gasp with absolute horror. Daniel gasps as well.

“About that time, Takeo, arrived and managed to kill the bandit.” Korra says. “The attack was over as well. Once word got out, all of the surviving village men, went out with Takeo to search the river. Toshiko, was too hysterical to even walk. She just sat and sobbed her heart out. Takeo, and some village men had to carry Toshiko back to the village before they went out to search for Hikaru.”  

Korra closes her eyes. As she continues to tell the story, her mind drifts off to that day.

Korra and a few other women sit near a sobbing Toshiko. They try to comfort her but to no avail.

“Hikaru…,” Toshiko says as she continues to sob. “...Hikaru….Hikaru…”

“Takeo and the other men are out looking for him.” one woman says.

All of the sudden, a man yells out.

“OUR MEN HAVE RETURNED!” The man yells.

Toshiko, stops sobbing momentarily. Takeo, and the rest of the men walk up to the women. Takeo’s face is solemn. Korra, soon sees that Takeo is holding something. Korra, gasps when she realizes that it is Hikaru’s hat. Toshiko, notices as well, and gasps. More tears fall from Toshiko’s eyes.

“...This...is...all we found.” Takeo, says with a broken voice. A few tears fall from his eyes.

Toshiko, loses it. She breaks out into loud sobs. She just lays on the ground and sobs her heart out.

Amaya, and the other girls just sit there. Their eyes are wide. Daniel’s eyes are wide as well.

“That day was the only time that I ever saw Takeo cry.” Korra, says with a solemn voice.

“They never found Hikaru’s body?” Katara asks.

Korra, closes her eyes. “...No…,” Korra says with a solemn voice. “Takeo and the other men searched and searched. However….all that was found was Hikaru’s hat.”

Amaya gasps. She suddenly remembers something.

“Sometimes, I would see Takeo or Toshiko holding a little green hat.” Amaya says.

Korra nods. “Yes.” Korra says. “That little green hat was Hikaru’s.”

Korra, sighs. “Toshiko and Takeo were absolutely devastated.” Korra says. “However, Toshiko, found out that she was expecting a month later. When Luna was born, Toshiko, was very protective, as was Takeo.”

“That certainly explains why Takeo and Toshiko were so protective over Luna.” Takara says. “To lose one child is bad enough. But....Toshiko actually lost two children. First Ikeri, and then Hikaru.”

“Toshiko’s first child was stolen from her.” Katara says sadly. “Then, her second child fell into a river and was never found. Oh, that is just horrible! Poor Toshiko!”

Amaya, then remembers something else.

“I remember…,” Amaya says. “Toshiko, always acted so strange whenever the women and girls would go berry picking by the cliffs.”

Korra nods again. “Yes.” Korra says. “Toshiko, would always remember what happened to Hikaru, whenever she went to those cliffs.”

Korra, takes a deep breath. “As far as I know…,” Korra says. “Takeo and Toshiko never told Luna about Ikeri and Hikaru. Most of the time...it was too painful for Takeo and Toshiko to talk about Hikaru. It was too painful for Toshiko to talk about Ikeri as well.”

Amaya, looks away and closes her eyes.

“...Why…?” Amaya slowly asks.

“What?” Korra asks surprised.

“I have heard so many stories about our village being attacked.” Amaya says. “Why is our village constantly being attacked? Why is our village so unfortunate?”

Korra sighs. “The village of the Kirai clan has a long history of village attacks.” Korra says. “The Kirai clan and Kirai village have actually been nearly annihilated on several occasions.”

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all gasp. Daniel gasps as well.

“Why would anyone want to annihilate your clan and village?” Daniel asks with wide eyes.

Korra sighs. “Mostly, it is due to the Kirai clan’s history.” Korra says.

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki just stare at Korra. All four girls are confused. Daniel, is confused as well.

“The Kirai Clan’s history?” Amaya asks. “What does the history of the Kirai clan have to do with our misfortunes?”

Korra sighs. “The history of the Kirai clan is very long and complicated.” Korra says.

Korra then looks up at the sky. “Do you know how the Kirai Clan acquired the power to see into other dimensions?” Korra asks.

All four girls shake their heads. Korra sighs.

“The Kirai clan possesses many powers and abilities.” Korra says. “Since none of you know the full story of the Kirai clan and its powers, I shall tell you now.”

Amaya, and the other girls all look at one another, and then at Daniel. Daniel nods.

“Alright..,” Amaya says. “The five of us are up for a story.”

“Alright then!” Korra says.

Amaya, Takara, Katara, Yuzuki, and Daniel all sit silently. They are prepared for what Korra, has to tell them.

Chapter Text

Korra, takes a deep breath. Amaya, Takara, Katara, Yuzuki, and Daniel all sit patiently.

“There are two parts to the history of the Kirai clan.” Korra says. “When, the Kirai’s were nearly wiped out the first time, they didn’t have the power to see into other dimensions. That power wasn’t introduced to the Kirai Clan until afterwards.”

Amaya, and her friends all look at one another.

“The power to see into other dimensions didn’t actually originate with the Kirai Clan?” Amaya asks.

Korra nods. “Yes.” Korra says. “The power to see into other dimensions didn’t actually originate with the Kirai Clan. I shall start with the origins of the Kirai Clan. Then...I shall tell of how the power to see into other dimensions was introduced to our clan.”

Korra sighs. “The History of the Kirai Clan goes back over a millennium.” Korra says. “Even before the beginnings of ninjutsu.”

Amaya, Takara, Katara, Yuzuki, and Daniel all gasp.

“Really, grandma?” Katara asks with wide eyes.

“Yes.” Korra says. “Back, then, the Kirai wasn’t even a clan. The founders of the Kirai clan were just a simple group of people. Many were related by blood, but not all of them. The founders of the Kirai clan had to flee their home, due to violence. They stumbled upon a very large valley.”

“A valley?” Amaya asks.

“Yes.” Korra says. “According to all of the stories that I have heard, the valley was very beautiful. The valley had many rivers, ponds, and waterfalls. The valley also had plenty of fruit trees. The valley also held a very large tree at its center. The founders of the Kirai also discovered that the soil was very rich and fertile. The founders of the Kirai were able to grow food very easily. They soon formed a village, which flourished.”

Korra, takes a deep breath. “However, over many generations, the founders of the Kirai discovered that they were starting to change.” Korra says. “Everyone who lived in the valley, developed a heightened sense of awareness of their surroundings. They were in tune with nature and could sense natural energy from the earth. They could even sense the energies of living things around them, including animals, and even plants. They could sense when things were about to go wrong, such as storms. They could even sense when an earthquake was about to strike!”

Amaya, and her friends all gasp. Daniel gasps as well.

“Why did the founders of the Kirai develop those abilities?” Yuzuki asks.

Korra, just shrugs. “No one knows.” Korra says. “It must have had something to do with the valley itself.”

Korra, looks up at the sky. “Over many more generations,” Korra says. “The Kirai’s grew stronger. Even, before their arrival into the valley, the founders of the Kirai had very sharp memories, longevity, and good fertility. After their arrival into the valley, the Kirai’s grew to have even sharper memories, even greater longevity, and even better fertility.”

Korra sighs. “A thousand years ago, the ability to use chakra was introduced to the world.” Korra says. “Then, ninjutsu was introduced. After ninjutsu was introduced to the Kirai’s, they grew even stronger. The Kirai’s developed the ability to absorb natural energy from the earth and form it into chakra.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp.

“The Kirai’s could use the absorbed energy for many purposes.” Korra says. “They could heal themselves and others. They could even heal animals, and even make wilting and sick plants bloom with life again.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp. Their eyes are wide.

“Incredible!” Amaya says.

Korra, smiles. “Even today,” Korra says. “The Kirai Clan is known for their amazing healing abilities.” Korra, then takes a deep breath.

“The Kirai’s also developed a very unusual ability.” Korra says. “They could also absorb energy from storms, even lightning.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp with shock.

“How did they absorb energy from lightning without getting electrocuted?” Yuzuki asks.

“All they had to do was stand outside during a storm and hold up a hand toward the sky.” Korra says. “The energy from the lightning would travel down and hit their hand, but they never got electrocuted. It’s almost as if they had a shield over the rest of their body. At least...that’s what all the stories say.”

Korra sighs. “Eventually, outsiders, began calling the people the ‘Kirai’s’.” Korra says. “People called them that because of their affinity with natural or spiritual energy, and their ability to absorb energy from lightning. ‘Ki’, means spirit, or even tree. The people also lived around a lot of trees. ‘Rai’ means lightning.”

Amaya tries to put the meanings together. “Spirit lightning?” Amaya asks. “That’s what the Kirai name means? That does not make any sense.”

Korra shrugs. “Initially, the name was supposed to mean the Lightning Spirit People.” Korra says. “Some people even used the term ‘Tree Lightning People’. I guess ‘Kirai’ was easier for people to say. Eventually, all of the people in the valley started going by the name Kirai. Thus, the Kirai Clan was created.”

Korra sighs. “The Kirai Clan also had many traditions.” Korra says. “The Kirai’s had a good understanding of genetics and the negative effects of too much inbreeding. Thus, incestual marriages were banned in the village. The Kirai’s then got into the habit of adopting orphans from outside the village. The orphans would marry Kirai’s which ensured the continuation of the Kirai lineage without too much inbreeding. The Kirai’s also adopted the habit of naming children after deceased loved ones. The Kirai’s also raised a dog pack which helped to protect the village. The Kirai’s took great pride in the animals that they raised.”

Korra, takes a deep breath. “The Kirai’s lived peacefully in their valley for many generations.” Korra says. She then looks up at the sky.

“Now…,” Korra says. “I shall begin the second part of our story.”

Korra, takes a deep breath. “No one knows exactly where the origins of the power to see into other dimensions originated.” Korra says. “This is all we do know. Nearly 950 years ago, an orphan girl, named Toshiko, worked in the palace of a feudal lord.”

Amaya, gasps. That was the name of Luna’s mother!

Korra closes her eyes. “Toshiko, had the power to see into other dimensions.” Korra says. “However, she kept her power a secret. When the feudal lord of that land died, his son took over. The late feudal lords son was named, Garou. Garou, had always been smitten with Toshiko. He asked Toshiko to marry him, which Toshiko accepted. A year later, their son, Aizen, was born.”

Amaya’s eyes widen. Aizen, is her older brother’s name!

Korra sighs. “Toshiko, soon discovered that Aizen also had her power.” Korra says. “Fearing the reaction of Garou, Toshiko, did everything in her power to hide this. However, when Aizen was seven years old, Toshiko, fell ill and died. In the end, Garou, discovered what his wife had hidden from him. Garou, went ballistic! Young Aizen, only eight years old, was disowned and banished! Garou’s younger half-brother, Ketsurou, tried to vouch for Aizen. However, this resulted in Garou, disowning and banishing Ketsurou as well!”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp. Their eyes are wide.

“Garou, banished his only son because he had a unique ability?” Takara asks.

Korra nods sadly. “Yes.” Korra says.

“And then Garou banished his own half-brother, because the man tried to vouch for Aizen?” Amaya asks.

Korra nods sadly again. “Yes.” Korra says.

“Wow!” Daniel says. “Garou, must have been one messed up guy to do that!”

Korra sighs. “Young Aizen, and Ketsurou were forced to leave the palace.” Korra says. “The two of them even had to leave the land! Ketsurou’s lover, a servant girl, named Amari, secretly followed them. So, Aizen, Ketsurou, and Amari left Garou’s land. The three of them crossed into the land where the Kirai’s lived. Aizen, Ketsurou, and Amari, eventually settled into a village. There, Ketsurou and Amari were married. A year later, Amari gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. The new babies were named Anya and Kenshin. Over the years, Ketsurou and Amari had two more children. Ketsurou and Amari raised their children, and Aizen peacefully in their new village.”

Korra looks up at the sky and smiles. “When Aizen grew up he met and fell in love with a village girl named, Rina.” Korra says.

Amaya gasps. That was her grandmother’s name!

“Aizen and Rina married.” Korra says. “The first child they had was a girl named Reika. Then, they had twin boys, Arashi and Hideaki. Life was peaceful.”

Amaya, gasps again. Arashi, is the name of one of her cousins!

Korra sighs. “However…,” Korra says. “An event changed everything for the people of the land. The lives of everyone who lived in that land were turned upside down.”

“What happened, grandma?” Katara asks.

Korra closes her eyes. “A group of marauders who used ninjutsu invaded the land.” Korra says.

Korra, looks up at the sky. “They were a lot like the Huns, from young Nico’s world.” Korra says.

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp. Amaya and her friends have been told many stories about the happenings in other worlds, by the Kirai elders. Amaya, and her friends know all about the Huns.

“The marauders were very skilled horsemen.” Korra says. “They were also skilled with weapons, such as bow and arrows, and swords. The marauders were also skilled at using various ninjutsu. The feudal lord of the land and his army tried to hold off the marauders, but it was futile. The marauders were too skilled and powerful.”

Korra sighs. “The marauders were absolutely ruthless!” Korra says. “Any village in their path was destroyed! They killed anyone that they caught!”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp with horror. They can imagine just how horrible this must have been for the people living in the Kirai’s homeland.

“The marauders eventually reached the village where Aizen, Ketsurou and their families lived.” Korra says with a sad voice. “Ketsurou,...Amari,...Ketsurou and Amari’s younger son,...Anya,...Anya’s husband,...Kenshin,...and Kenshin’s wife were all killed. Aizen,...Rina,...and Reika were killed as well.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp.

“What about Arashi and Hideaki?” Amaya quickly asks.

Korra sighs. “Arashi and Hideaki managed to survive.” Korra says. “Ketsurou and Amari’s young daughter Sara, Anya’s little son Tadashi, and Kenshin’s little daughter, Akari also survived. Arashi and Hideaki’s best friend Naki, and Naki’s cousins Aina, and Miko also survived. However, the eight children were now orphans.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all look at one another with sad eyes.

“Oh, the poor children.” Yuzuki says.

Korra looks up at the sky. “Arashi, Hideaki, and Sara led their little group of orphans across the border, back into Aizen’s birth land. They hoped that Aizen’s father would have mercy and take them in. However, Arashi and Hideaki had Aizen’s power. Garou, angrily sent his grandsons, niece, great-niece, great-nephew, and the other orphans away. He told them that if they ever came back, he would have them killed!”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp. Their eyes are wide.

Korra sighs. “So, the children, bitterly went away.” Korra says. “They crossed back into their birth land, even though it was dangerous with the marauders still ravaging the land.”

Korra looks back up at the sky. “The marauders eventually found the Kirai’s valley.” Korra says. “The Kirai’s fought bravely, but even they were no match for the marauders. At the end of the attack...only four children survived. The village leaders daughter, Tomoko, The village leaders niece, Kameko, and two orphans that the Kirai’s had adopted, Yuri and Arata. A few puppies from the dog pack also survived.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp. Amaya’s eyes are wide. Yuri, is her younger sister’s name. Arata, is the name of one of her cousins. Arashi and Arata are twins.

“Oh, the poor children.” Takara says sadly.

Korra, sighs. “The children and surviving puppies left the valley.” Korra says. “They came across other destroyed villages and other orphans. The orphans seemed to gravitate towards the Kirai’s and began following them. Eventually, Arashi and Hideaki’s little group crossed paths with the Kirai’s group. Arashi and Hideaki’s little group followed the Kirai’s as well. The orphans eventually found a sheltered valley. The valley was actually a network of valleys. The valleys would hide the children from the marauders well. So, the orphans settled down and tried to create a life for themselves.”

“How did a bunch of orphans manage to survive without adults?” Daniel asks.

Korra manages a smile. “The children were able to hunt, fish and gather edible wild plants.” Korra says. “There were many cave systems that the children could hide and sleep in. Many of the orphans would go out and steal food and clothing from the marauders. It turns out, the marauders were not very good at guarding their stuff. Life was hard, but the orphans managed to work together to survive.”

Korra, closes her eyes. “The orphans actually stole plant seeds from the Marauders.” Korra says. “Soon enough, the children were growing crops and growing plants for fiber to make clothes with. The children also stole animals such as horses, chickens, and goats. And so, the children grew up together, safe from the marauders. Over the years other orphans would stumble across the valley and would join the Kirai’s and other orphans.”

Korra, gives a small smile. “Many of the orphans that the Kirai’s met had pet dogs and puppies as well.” Korra says. “The Kirai’s puppies and the other dogs and puppies formed a pack. Our village dogs are descendants of those dogs.”

Amaya, closes her eyes. Thinking of the village dogs makes her think of Yori.

Korra sighs. “It took many years,” Korra says. “But eventually the marauders were driven out of the land. It took the combined effort of many feudal lords and their armies to do so. With the marauders gone, the orphans in the valley, began traveling outside the valley more. They began trading with newly formed villages. In time, the orphans were able to create their own village.”

Korra smiles. “Eventually, Arashi and Tomoko fell in love.” Korra says. “Hideaki and Kameko fell in love as well. Sara, fell in love with a fellow orphan.”

Korra looks up at the sky. “Since, Aizen, had been disowned by his father, he didn’t go by his last name after he was banished.” Korra says. “Ketsurou also didn’t go by his clan name after his banishment. Arashi, Hideaki, and Sara, didn’t want anything to do with Garou and the rest of Garou’s clan. Arashi and Hideaki took the Kirai name after they were married to Tomoko and Kameko.”

Korra takes a deep breath. “Tomoko and Arashi had four children.” Korra says. “First they had a set of twins. A boy that they named, Aizen, after Arashi and Hideaki’s father. The other twin was a girl, whom they named, Aiko, after Tomoko’s deceased twin sister.”

Amaya gasps. Aiko, was Luna’s grandmother’s name! It was the name that Luna, chose for her daughter.

“After the twins were born,” Korra says. “Tomoko and Arashi had a daughter, whom they named Etsuko, after Tomoko’s deceased mother. Then, they had a boy, whom they named Takeo, after Tomoko’s deceased father.”

Amaya’s eyes widen. Takeo, was Luna’s father’s name!

“Kameko and Hideaki had five children.” Korra says. “First, they had a girl, whom they named Rina, after Arashi and Hideaki’s mother. Then, they had a boy, whom they named Eiji, after Kameko’s father. Then, they had a set of twins, a boy and a girl. The boy was named Haruto, after Kameko’s younger brother. The girl, was named Korra, after Kameko’s mother. The last child they had was a girl named, Reika, after Arashi and Hideaki’s sister.

Amaya, gasps. Haruto, was her younger brother’s name!

“You mean, that you were named after Kameko’s mother, grandma?” Katara asks.

Korra nods her head. “Yes.” Korra says. “I was actually named after my great-grandmother, but she was named Korra as well. Over the centuries there have been many Kirai women named Korra. Kameko’s mother’s name is my namesake.”

Korra sighs. “All nine children inherited Arashi and Hideaki’s power, as well as the Kirai powers.” Korra says. “All of the Kirai alive today, can trace their ancestry back to those nine children.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all look at one another.

“So that is how the Kirai Clan acquired the ability to see into other dimensions?” Takara asks. “Arashi and Hideaki had the power to see into other dimensions, and then they married Tomoko and Kameko, the last of the Kirai clan.”

Korra nods. “That is correct!” Korra says. She then looks up at the sky.

“The orphans all formed little groups and settled down into different areas of the central valley.” Korra says. “Since, Tomoko, had been the daughter of a village head, the orphans decided to make Tomoko and Arashi the leaders of their new village. Tomoko, Arashi, Kameko, and Hideaki all settled down in the southern part of the valley. Yuri and Naki, along with Aina and Miko, and Aina and Miko’s husbands, all settled down near a grove of wisteria trees, located along many hills and ridges. This group of orphans became the Fujioka clan. Arata, fell in love with a girl named Kin. Arata and Kin, and Kin’s brother and sister-in-law, and Kin’s sister and brother-in-law, all settled down near a stream. The stream banks were littered with many stones. This group of orphans became the Ishikawa clan. Sara, fell in love with an orphan named Jin. Sara and Jin, along with Tadashi and Akari, settled down in the northern part of the valley. They became the Kita clan. A group of orphans settled down in a forested area of the valley, and became the Mori Clan. A group of orphans settled down in a cave system and became the Yamauchi clan.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all look at one another.

“So, that’s how the five ally clans of the Kirai’s were formed?” Amaya asks.

Korra nods. “Yes.” Korra says.

Korra looks up at the sky. “The newly rebuilt Kirai Clan, and newly formed Fujioka, Ishikawa, Kita, Mori, and Yamauchi clans, all lived peacefully together in the valley for nearly two hundred years. They all lived and worked together. Many people would intermarry into the Kirai Clan, and many Kirai women intermarried into other clans. This strengthened the relationship between the six clans. The village became very powerful. However, an event changed everything.”

“What happened?” Takara asks.

Korra sighs. “It was nearly 600 years ago,” Korra says. “Almost 200 years after the formation of the village. The current leader, Shinji Kirai, died. This left his oldest son, Gaburo, to lead the village. However, Gaburo, would turn out to be a terrible leader!”

“Why was Gaburo a terrible leader?” Yuzuki asks.

Korra narrows her eyes. “Gaburo, was incredibly selfish and greedy.” Korra says. “Gaburo also wanted power. Lots of power.”

Korra sighs. “Over the course of 55 years,” Korra says. “Gaburo, waged war on neighboring villages, lands, and even feudal lords, trying to increase his power.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp.

Korra sighs again. “Gaburo, also ruled the village with fear.” Korra says. “He promptly executed anyone who went against him. Gaburo, also practiced polygamy, even though it had been forbidden by the ancient Kirai’s. However, Gaburo, was also a terrible husband and father. Gaburo, actually beat many of his wives to death, because they displeased him!”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp. Their eyes are wide.

“Gaburo, also made his sons fight in the conflicts that he started.” Korra says. “Many of his son’s actually died on the battlefield. Many of Gaburo’s sons actually died very young. Any son that survived to adulthood was forced to marry in order to give Gaburo, grandchildren. Gaburo, also forced his daughters to give him grandchildren. Once Gaburo’s daughters started their menstrual cycles, he forced them to have sex with soldiers of his choice. Many of Gaburo’s daughters actually died during childbirth, because they were so young.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp.

“What a terrible man!” Katara says, angrily.

Korra takes a deep breath. “Gaburo’s, terrible reign lasted for 55 years.” Korra says. “By the end of it, the village had nearly been wiped out due to all of the conflict.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp.

Korra, closes her eyes. “Ever since the end of Gaburo’s reign, it has been forbidden in the Kirai clan to name a child, Gaburo.” Korra says. “All because of Gaburo’s terrible reign over the village.”

Korra, sighs. “The Kirai Clan,” Korra begins. “Suffered tremendously. Only 25 members of the great Kirai Clan remained. Many of them were Gaburo’s children and grandchildren.”

Korra sighs. “Among the survivors were Gaburo’s twin children from his tenth wife.” Korra says. “Their names were Katashi and Katara.”

“Katara, is my name!” Katara says.

Korra nods. “Yes.” Korra says. “Since Katashi, was Gaburo’s oldest living son, the responsibility of leading the Kirai Clan and Village fell to him. Katashi, knew that his father had many enemies. Katashi, knew that those enemies would try to annihilate the remaining Kirai Clan and Village, even with Gaburo dead. So, Katashi, led the remaining Kirai’s and the rest of the Kirai village to a new home. They, eventually found another valley, and settled down. Katashi, eventually married and had four children. Their names were, Aizen, Satsuki, Takeo, and Yuri.”

Korra sighs. “Eventually, the Kirai Clan and Village rebuilt itself.” Korra says. “Katashi’s children grew up and all of them eventually married. Aizen, married a girl named Kimiko and had four children. Aizen and Kimiko’s children were named Aiko, Arashi, Kenji, and Kumiko. Aiko and Arashi were twins. Aizen and Kimiko also adopted several orphans.”

Korra, closes her eyes. “That brings me to another power that the Kirai Clan acquired.” Korra says. “Actually…,two powers.”

Korra opens her eyes. She looks down at Amaya, her granddaughter, Takara, Yuzuki, and Daniel. “The Kirai Clan were able to see into other dimensions...but they could not actually sense when dimensional rifts would occur.”

Korra, looks up at the sky. “Aizen, found an abandoned baby boy.” Korra says. “Aizen and Kimiko adopted the baby and named him Kai. As Kai grew, everyone realized that Kai had a special ability. Kai could actually sense when dimensional rifts would open up in the surrounding area. Aizen and Katashi urged Kai to use his power for good.”

Korra, closes her eyes. “Around the time that Aizen, found Kai, a baby girl was born to a woman from the Ishikawa clan.” Korra says. “The woman had been impregnated by a mysterious man. The woman, named her daughter, Luna.”

Amaya, and her friends gasp. They all look at one another.

Korra, blinks a few times. “As it turned out,” Korra says. “Luna, had a special power. Luna, could share memories, just by looking into a person’s eyes.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp. Their eyes are wide.

Korra, smiles. “Kai and Luna grew up.” Korra says. “Even though they had been raised in the same household, Kai and Aiko fell in love. Aizen, recognized that it was true love, so he blessed the resulting marriage. Luna and Arashi fell in love and married as well. Kai and Aiko had four children, all of whom, had Kai’s power. Aiko, actually developed the interdimensional tracking jutsu. Kai and Aiko’s children actually inherited Aiko’s unique ability. Luna and Arashi, had five children, all of whom had Luna’s power.”

Amaya and her friends all look at one another.

“So,” Katara begins. “The power to sense dimensional rifts, and the interdimensional tracking jutsu are powers unique to Kai and Aiko’s descendants?”

Korra nods.

“The power to share memories is unique to Luna and Arashi’s descendants?” Amaya asks.

Korra nods. She then sighs.

“Aiko and Kai’s son, Kaito, developed a unique jutsu.” Korra says. “Kaito, learned how to actually open up dimensional rifts!”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all gasp.

“However,” Korra says. “Kaito, couldn’t hold open the dimensional rifts in order to travel to other dimensions. It was Kaito’s grandson, Seto, who developed that jutsu. Seto, discovered a stone, which could react with chakra. Seto, made special amulets from the stone. Seto, also developed a special seal to use with the jutsu. Seto, first had to paint the seal on the ground in front of him. Using one hand, Seto, would activate the seal. Seto, with the other hand, would hold the stone and run chakra through it. Then, Seto, could open up a dimensional rift that would allow him to travel to other dimensions. Actually...it was more like a portal. Seto’s descendants, inherited his special ability.”

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all look at each other.

“Through the centuries,” Korra says. “The Kirai Clan, have helped people sent to our dimension. The Kirai clan have also kept an eye on people from our dimension, whom have been sent to other dimensions.”

Korra, says. “However, the Kirai and Kirai village have suffered much tragedy through the centuries as well.” Korra says. “Sometimes...the descendants of Gaburo’s enemies find the location of the village, and nearly annihilate the village. The Kirai Clan and other clans in the Kirai Village have moved several times, in order to escape our enemies.”  

“That’s why our village suffers so much?” Amaya asks. “Because, Gaburo’s enemies were not able to let go of the past? They passed on their hatred of our clan and village to their descendants?”

Korra, nods sadly. “However, our village is strong.” Korra says. “Through every tragedy, we emerge stronger than ever.”

Amaya, her friends all look at one another. Daniel, is silent.

“If we do find Nico…,” Amaya says. “What will we do with him? If he stays in the village forever, he will suffer through our tragedies as well.”

Korra, walks up and puts a hand on Amaya’s shoulder. “There are options.” Korra says. “There are descendants of Kaito, living in the village. I am sure that we will be able to send Nico back to his own world. However, there is another option.”

“...Another option?” Katara asks.

Korra sighs. “We could find the descendants of Seto.” Korra says. “They decided that they didn’t like this valley and left to find another home nearby. Takeo...was a descendant of Seto. The remaining descendants of Seto, could teach Nico how to use an amulet and open up a dimensional rift.”

“Wait!” Daniel says. “That means Nico, would be able to travel to other dimensions!”

Korra nods. “Yes.” Korra says. “Nico, would be able to travel back and forth from this world, and his birth world. Nico, would be able to embrace both his demigod heritage and his ninja heritage.”

“Nico...could be apart of our world,” Takara says. “Yet still be apart of the demigod world.”

Korra nods. “That is correct.” Korra says.

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel all look at one another. This is just so much to take in.

Korra, looks up at the sky. “Let us get back to the well.” Korra says. “Then, we shall all go back to our homes and try to get some sleep. It would do us all some good to try and get some sleep, before the day begins.”

Amaya, and her friends all nod. After such a long night, sleep sure does sound good. The four girls and Daniel all follow Korra out of the village memorial. After they descend the steps, Amaya, decides to ask Korra something.

“Korra,” Amaya says. “I know that Luna had the power to see into other dimensions and use the interdimensional tracking jutsu to some extent. But, her namesake had the power to share memories. That must mean Luna, was a descendant of the original Luna. But...I never saw Luna use that power. Nor did she ever use Seto’s power. Why is that?”

Korra sighs. “Descendants of the original Luna don’t begin their training with that ability until they are at least fourteen.” Korra says. “The same goes for the power to open dimensional rifts. Both jutsu’s require very good chakra control.”

“Luna, got pregnant and gave birth when she was fourteen!” Takara says, with realization.

“Yes.” Korra says. “Since, Luna, just had a baby she would have been unable to learn both jutsu’s safely. Her body had already suffered a lot of strain from the birth of her child.”

Korra, then looks at Amaya. “Amaya,...your grandmother was also a descendant of the original Luna.” Korra says. “Atsuko, Seiji and I are as well.”

Amaya gasps. “Really?” Amaya asks. “That means that I am as well!”

“Yes.” Korra says.

“That means that I am as well!” Katara says.

“Yes.” Korra says. Korra, looks over to Takara. “Takara....you and Taki are descendants of the original Luna as well.”

Takara gasps. “Really?” Takara asks.

“Yes.” Korra says.

“What about me?” Yuzuki asks.

“Yuzuki...you are a descendant of Kaito.” Korra says.

Yuzuki, gasps. “Really?!” Yuzuki asks.

“Yes.” Korra says. Korra, then looks up at the sky.

“We were never able to give the four of you your special training due to the village attack,” Korra says. “And spending most of the time looking after Luna’s daughter, and grandchildren.”

Korra sighs. “Girls,” Korra begins. “Your training is long overdue. Starting tomorrow, we shall begin your training. Amaya...Katara...Takara, the three of you shall learn the sharing memories jutsu from me, and other descendants of the original Luna. Yuzuki...your older brother and other descendants of Kaito shall teach you how to open dimensional rifts. Your training shall be done in spare time. The rest of the time shall be spent looking for Nico.”

Amaya, and her friends all look at one another.

“And tomorrow…,” Korra says. “Shall begin Aizen’s training as the leader of our village.”

Korra, smiles. “The Kirai clan and Village has a long history of village leaders with the name, Aizen.” Korra says. “All of those leaders were excellent leaders. Aizen, will be a good leader. I have faith in him.”

Amaya, closes her eyes. I just wonder if Aizen, has faith in himself. Amaya thinks to herself.

Amaya, her friends, and Daniel continue to follow Korra back towards the well.

Chapter Text

Itachi sits in front of the campfire that him and Kisame made. Kisame, is sleeping close by. Kisame, snores lightly.

Itachi, closes his eyes. He then silently stands up and begins walking away. A few minutes later, Itachi arrives near a stream. Itachi, sits down on the side of the streambank.

Itachi, looks down at his reflection in the water. Itachi’s mind is filled with turmoil over everything that has happened in the last week. His thoughts turn to the situation at hand. Itachi, then closes his eyes. Itachi, slowly remembers how he got himself into this situation. He thinks of Luna, the girl that he had sex with.

Itachi and Luna walk into the meadow. Itachi is thirteen. Itachi, just blinks a few times.

“You were right.” Itachi says. “This meadow is very beautiful. No wonder you and your friends like to come here.”

Luna, smiles. “I am glad that you like it.” Luna says. She then look over to a spot on the ground. “Would you like me to show you my favorite spot to sit?”

“That’s fine.” Itachi simply says.

Luna, takes Itachi further into the meadow. She then motions for him to sit down. Itachi, sits down. Luna, sits down next to him.

Itachi, inhales deeply. Just sitting here is very relaxing. This is the first time that Itachi has been so relaxed in months.

Luna, smiles. “Do you feel relaxed?” Luna asks.

Itachi, sighs. “Yes.” Itachi says. “Thank you for bringing me here.”

“You’re welcome.” Luna says with a wide smile. Itachi, lays down on the ground. Luna, lays down next to him.

“I am curious about your life in Konoha.” Luna says. “How did you become the captain of the Anbu Black Ops at thirteen?”

Itachi, sighs. He begins telling Luna, about his life in Konoha. Of course, Itachi, leaves out a few things. Luna’s eyes are wide.

“Wow…,” Luna says with a blush. “You are a prodigy?!”

“I guess that you could say that.” Itachi says.

Itachi meets Luna’s eyes. A feeling soon comes to him. Itachi, blinks a few times. Itachi, caresses Luna’s cheek. Luna, blushes even more.

“You are very beautiful.” Itachi says.

“...Thank you…,” Luna says. She blushes even more.

Itachi and Luna start to passionately kiss

Itachi, blinks a few times. Then, the next thing Itachi knew, him and Luna were naked and having sex. Itachi, even knew back then that he had taken things a little too far. Itachi, hadn’t meant for things to go beyond kissing. He had only been intimate with Luna for one reason. It was because he didn’t want to be intimate with Izumi, the Uchiha girl whom he had been attracted to, before the massacre. Izumi, had been very flirtatious with Itachi, in the months leading up to the massacre. Itachi, did not want to reciprocate her feelings. Itachi, did not want to have to live with that guilt, up until Sasuke got revenge for the clan. Then, Itachi, met Luna, on that mission. Luna, was very beautiful, and she reminded Itachi of Izumi a little bit. So, while in that meadow, Itachi, decided to be intimate with Luna. Itachi, hoped that if he was intimate with Luna, he would feel too guilty to be intimate with Izumi.

Itachi, close his eyes. While Itachi and Luna had been passionately kissing, things turned very serious very quickly. The next thing that Itachi knew, him and Luna were taking their clothes off. Then, the two of them made love in the meadow. Itachi, knew that he should have cut it off once he realized what they were doing. However…, even though Itachi felt guilty about doing it...at the same time...it felt good. Then, afterwards, Itachi and Luna got redressed and left the meadow. Itachi, went to the cabin that him and his anbu squad were staying in. All that night, Itachi, barely slept, due to the guilt eating away at him.

Itachi, opens his eyes and looks up at the sky. His plan to be intimate with Luna, had kept him from being intimate with Izumi. When Itachi and his anbu squad got home after that mission, Itachi, felt too guilty to even look at Izumi. Then, three months later, Itachi, completed his mission to massacre the Uchiha Clan, except for Sasuke. Itachi, looks down at his hands. He had spilled so much blood that night. Whenever he looks down at his hands like this, Itachi, can still see the blood stained katana. Itachi, quickly shakes his head.

Itachi, looks down at the water. Itachi’s plan was that after the massacre, only three Uchiha’s would be alive. Itachi himself, Sasuke, and ‘Madara’, whom had helped Itachi massacre the clan. Then, after Sasuke killed him, Sasuke would revive the Uchiha Clan. However, Itachi, had made a grave miscalculation. Itachi, had not thought of the possibility that Luna, would become pregnant from their little one night stand.

Itachi, looks down into the water. Lately, Itachi, has felt like slapping himself for making such a foolish mistake. Itachi, just wishes that he could pretend that he never did what he did. If he could, Itachi, would take it all back. However, Itachi, knows that is impossible. Even powerful shinobi cannot turn back the time.

I should have never had sex with Luna. Itachi thinks to himself. If I had not, then I would not be in this situation.

Itachi, sighs. If he had not had sex with Luna, then his daughter would not have been conceived. Thus, his grandchildren would not have come into existence either.

Itachi, closes his eyes. Grandchildren . The word seems so strange to Itachi. Itachi then thinks of another word. Grandfather . After the massacre, Itachi, never imagined that word would ever describe him. After the massacre, Itachi, was supposed to work as a secret spy for Konoha, keeping an eye on the Akatsuki’s plans, until Sasuke killed him. Then, Sasuke was supposed to single handedly revive the Uchiha Clan. Itachi, was not supposed to become a father...or a grandfather for that matter. However, here he is, looking for his grandson, along with the rest of the Akatsuki.

Itachi, looks into the water. Itachi, thinks of when he first saw his grandson. When, Itachi, first laid eyes on the boy, back on that road, Itachi knew that something was off with the boy.

Itachi and Kisame are walking down a road. Itachi’s mind is elsewhere when he soon hears the sound of running feet. Then, a thud is heard, along with a grunt from Kisame. Itachi, looks down. Sitting in front of Kisame’s feet is a young boy, about ten. The boy has black hair, black eyes, and olive tinted skin. The boy is also wearing strange clothing.

“Hey kid!” Kisame says with his gruff voice. “Watch where you are going!”

All of the sudden, an angry voice catches Itachi’s attention.

“WE FINALLY HAVE YOU!” The angry voice yells.

Itachi, looks up to see two men running towards him, Kisame, and the boy. The two men are rogue ninja from the Hidden Grass Village! Itachi, inwardly frowns. The two rogue grass ninja must be chasing the boy.

When the two rogue grass ninja see the two Akatsuki members, they gasp.

“Akatsuki!” One of the rogue grass ninja says with shock. The rogue grass ninja has brown hair and black eyes.

“Why yes! I see that our reputation has spread.” Kisame says.

“The two of you are missing nin from the Hidden Grass Village!” Itachi says with his monotone voice. “Why are you chasing a child?”

“HE MADE FOOLS OUT OF US!” The other rogue grass ninja says. The rogue grass ninja has black hair and brown eyes.

“We ran into him a couple days ago.” The rogue grass ninja with brown hair says. “He looks like an orphan without a home so we decided to just kill him.”

“HE SUMMONED SKELETONS TO TRY AND DEFEND HIMSELF!” The rogue grass ninja with black hair yells. “However, my friend here managed to cut them down! We then chased him some more. He then fell into a river. We thought that he had drowned. However, we ended up finding him this morning!”

“HE WAS MANIPULATING SHADOWS!” The rogue grass ninja with brown hair yells.

Itachi’s eyes widen slightly. Kisame’s eyes also widen.

“This puny little runt summoned skeletons?” Kisame asks with a disbelieving voice.

“And he manipulated shadows?” Itachi, asks with his monotone voice. Itachi’s voice is also disbelieving. However, he is also interested. Itachi, has never heard of such powers.

“IT’S TRUE!” Both of the rogue grass ninja yell at the same time.

“We chased him today and he made us look like fools!” The rogue grass ninja with black hair says.

“HE MADE ME RUN INTO A TREE BRANCH!” The rogue grass ninja with brown hair says. He points to his nose. “MY NOSE IS BROKEN!”

“HE KICKED ME IN THE BALLS!” The rogue grass ninja with black hair yells.

Kisame, starts to laugh hysterically.

The rogue grass ninja with brown hair gets an evil smile on his face. “Maybe we should kill these two Akatsuki members after we kill the kid, Karou!” Riku says. “I am so frustrated by the whole thing I need to take it out on someone! I don’t think that the kid alone will do it!”

“I agree!” The rogue ninja with black hair, Karou, says.

Kisame laughs hysterically again.

“The two of you will not be able to beat my partner and I!” Kisame says. “We are S-Class Criminals.”

The two rogue grass ninja narrow their eyes. “Really?” The two of them ask at the same time.

“I am Kisame Hoshigaki!” Kisame says. “My partner is Itachi Uchiha!”

Itachi, looks down at the boy. The boy is looking up at Itachi with horror filled eyes. The boy slowly gets to his feet. The boy then starts backing away from Itachi.

Itachi narrows his eyes a bit. This boy actually reminds him of someone. Itachi, knows that he has seen that shade of olive tinted skin before. There is also a strange aura surrounding the boy. The boy’s strange aura radiates great power.

All of the sudden, the strange boy, takes off running.

“HE’S GETTING AWAY!” The rogue grass ninja with brown hair yells.

“WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?” Karou asks. “LETS GET HIM!”

The two rogue grass ninja get ready to take off after the boy. However, Kisame stops them.

“The two of you challenged us!” Kisame says grinning. “I am afraid that I cannot let the two of you go without a fight now.”

The two rogue grass ninja gulp.

Itachi, closes his eyes. After the boy ran away, Kisame, killed the two rogue grass ninja. Itachi, thought that would be the end of it, and he would never see the boy again. When, Pain, told the entire Akatsuki, the news, Itachi wanted to believe that it was all a lie. However, Pain, then showed the image of Nico, Itachi’s grandson, to the entire Akatsuki. Itachi, could not deny it. The boy that he had seen was his grandson.

Itachi, blinks a few times as he looks into the water. The feeling of familiarity that Itachi had when he first saw his grandson makes sense now. The boy has his black hair and black eyes. The boy also has Luna’s olive tinted skin. Itachi, blinks a few more times. The boy has my eyes, Itachi thinks to himself. There is no denying that.

Itachi, then begins to think of his grandson’s godly heritage. The boy certainly has a lot of power at his disposal. The boy has godly powers, Uchiha blood, and Kirai blood. Itachi, slowly imagines his grandson with sharingan eyes, shadows moving around him and skeletons surrounding him. Itachi, shakes his head. That is quite a lot to imagine!

Itachi, looks up at the sky. Why did the boy have to exist? Itachi inwardly asks himself. Why did the boy have to be sent here? Even if he could have just stayed in his own world, then things would be fine. But no, the boy just had to let himself get sucked through a dimensional rift, and then end up here!

Itachi, sighs. Itachi, then thinks of his daughter. His daughter had died such an unfair death. Then, his granddaughter, had died on a quest to rescue a goddess. Maybe, if his granddaughter had not died, then maybe his grandson would not have been sent to this world. Itachi, closes his eyes. Or, maybe both of them would have been sent here. Itachi, decides to not dwell on that possibility.

Itachi, closes his eyes. Even though Itachi wishes that the boy never existed,...deep down...Itachi, does not want anything to happen to the boy. He thinks of what would happen if Sasuke, was to ever find out about the boy. Itachi, can imagine one of two scenarios. The first is that Sasuke, tries to kill the boy. Itachi, frowns when he thinks of that scenario. Itachi, knows that Sasuke, is deep in darkness. However, is Sasuke, really sick and hateful enough to kill the boy? Itachi, certainly hopes not. Itachi, then thinks of the second scenario. Sasuke, may even want to capture the boy to lure him out. Sasuke, would certainly do his best to make the boy hate Itachi, if that was the case.

Itachi, then thinks of Konoha. Itachi, knows that Konoha will be shaken up by the boys existence, if they ever find out. Itachi, frowns when he thinks of Danzo. Danzo, will certainly want the boy dead. And...Orochimaru...will want the boy as a vessel later on, after he is done with Sasuke’s body.

Itachi, looks up at the sky. This little situation certainly messes up all of Itachi’s plans. He is going to have to improvise in order for his planned end to be the same. All of the sudden, Itachi, coughs up blood into his hand. His illness is not going to make things easy, that much is certain. Itachi, quickly washes his hand and mouth off with water from the stream.

Itachi, closes his eyes. Itachi, knows that one thing is certain. When the Akatsuki do capture his grandson, Itachi cannot allow the boy to become attached to him. No matter what. The boy can also not find out the truth about the massacre. If both the boy and Sasuke find out and seek revenge against the village, the Hidden Leaf would certainly be crushed!

The boy cannot become attached to me, nor can he ever find out the truth. Itachi thinks to himself. This will only complicate matters. If it means that I must make the boy hate me, then so be it.

Itachi, stands up and prepares to head back to camp. However, the sound of footsteps catches Itachi’s attention. Itachi, turns to see the masked Akatsuki member, Tobi. Itachi, frowns. Itachi, knows Tobi, as ‘Madara Uchiha’.

“Hello there Itachi.” Tobi/Madara says.

“What do you want?” Itachi asks.

“I just want to talk.” Tobi/Madara says. “You know...about your grandson.”

Itachi narrows his eyes.

“As you know,” Tobi/Madara says. “I agreed to help you massacre the Uchiha Clan, as long as you only spared your younger brother. In turn, I would leave the Hidden Leaf Village alone, and leave your brother alone as well.”

Itachi, narrows his eyes.

“As far as I’m concerned,” Tobi/Madara says, sneering behind his mask. “Your grandson is not part of our agreement.”

Itachi’s eyes widen slightly.

“However, since the boy has such a unique heritage,” Tobi/Madara says. “And he can be a great asset to the Akatsuki, I shall spare him.”

Tobi/Madara sneers under his mask again. “However,” Tobi/Madara says. “If the boy proves to be weak or too troublesome...I shall dispose of him!”

Itachi’s eyes widen even more. Tobi/Madara, walks away. Itachi, is left alone by the stream, thinking about Tobi/Madara’s words.

Chapter Text

Nico, awakens to Kiseki shaking his shoulder.

“Come, on.” Kiseki says. “Time to get up.”

Nico, nods. He slowly gets up and stretches. Nico, then walks over to the stream and gets a drink of water.

Kiseki, looks up at the sky. The sun is just beginning to rise. “We shall begin by foraging.” Kiseki says.

Nico, quickly nods. He follows Kiseki into the forest.

About ten minutes later, the pair spot a bunch of vines climbing up a tree. The vines have a bunch of red berries. The berries remind Nico of raspberries. Nico, carefully examines the berries. He gently feels the leaves.

“These leaves are smooth to the touch, yet they are not shiny.” Nico says. Kiseki, had told Nico, that he should also avoid plants with shiny leaves.

Nico, then, feels the edges of the leaves.

“The leaves have smooth and rounded edges.” Nico says. Nico, takes a deep breath.

“More than likely...these berries are edible.” Nico says. “However, just to be on the safe side...I should probably try one.”

Nico, carefully, picks a berry off of one of the vines. Nico, pops the berry in his mouth and slowly chews. After a few minutes, Nico, swallows. He nods to himself, satisfied.

“These berries taste sweet, with just a little bit of tartness.” Nico says. “However, a little tartness is ok, as long as they are not bitter.” Nico, looks up at Kiseki, for confirmation. Kiseki nods.

“Yes, these berries are edible.” Kiseki says. “Great job. You remembered everything that I told you!”

“Thank you.” Nico says.

Nico and Kiseki soon begin plucking berries off of the vines.

**************************

Amaya, steps out of the bathroom. She heads back towards the bedroom. Takara, is up and has just put her bedding away into the closet. She looks at Amaya, whom nods. Takara, then steps out of the room to use the bathroom. Amaya, gets to work, packing her bedding away. After that, she steps behind a moveable screen to get dressed.

After Amaya, is dressed, Takara, comes back into the room. The two young women, check to make sure that Amaya’s younger sister and cousin are still asleep. The two children, are still sound asleep on their futons. The two young women step out of the room. Amaya and Takara quietly walk into the kitchen. Taki is already up. She is getting things ready to prepare breakfast. Taki, looks to her younger sister, and sister-in-law. She just nods.

Little baby Akito, is in a baby sling, strapped to Taki. Baby Akito coos and giggles.

All of the sudden, Hajime, Amaya and Takara’s seven and a half year old nephew, enters the kitchen. Hajime, is a mini version of Aizen. The only difference is that Hajime, has Taki’s apple green colored eyes. Hajime, has always been an early riser.

“Morning mama!” Hajime says. “Morning Aunt Amaya, morning Aunt Takara!”

“Good, morning.” All three women say at the same time. Taki, then, hands baby Akito and the sling to Hajime.

“Can you hold your brother while your aunts and I make breakfast?” Taki asks Hajime.

“Yes!” Hajime says with a bright smile. Hajime, leaves the kitchen to go sit on the veranda.

Taki, Amaya, and Takara, all get down to business. Taki, starts measuring rice, to make rice porridge. Takara, and Amaya head outside. Takara, goes to pick some greens to make steamed vegetables. Amaya, heads over to the chicken coop to get some eggs.

Amaya, opens the door to the chicken coop. The chickens all walk out lazily. Amaya, then quickly opens up the nest boxes. Amaya, carefully picks up each egg that she finds and places them into her basket. When she is done, Amaya, closes the coop. Amaya, then heads inside. Taki, has a pot of water ready. Amaya, checks all of the eggs for dirty spots before putting them into the pot. Amaya, turns on the stove. Taki, pours some rice into another pot. Taki, pours water over the rice and sets the lid on the pot. She turns the burner on for that pot.

Takara, comes back in with a basket filled with greens. Takara and Taki, carefully wash the greens. While the two of them are chopping up the greens, Amaya, goes to wake up the rest of the household.

Amaya, first passes by the room that her grandmother used to sleep in. Amaya, sighs. Amaya, then heads to Tarou’s, room across the hall. Amaya, carefully opens the door, a little bit. Amaya, sticks her head in. Tarou, snores slightly as he lays on his futon.

“Tarou, it’s time to get up.” Amaya says. Tarou, grunts as he opens his eyes.

“Such a long night.” Tarou mutters. “I hope that I am not too tired today.”

Amaya, closes the door. After, the attack, seven years ago, Tarou, Takara, and little Takuma, moved in with Amaya and her family. Tarou, was severely depressed over the loss of his wife and two older sons. Everyone knew that young fourteen year old Takara, would not be able to handle taking care of a household and look after a severely depressed father, and a baby boy. So, Rina, invited the three of them to live with her family, so that Taki, could help them. Besides that, the two families living together saved resources, since the village didn’t have to build a separate house for Takara’s family.

Amaya, sighs as she heads over to Aizen and Taki’s room. She sure hopes that Aizen, will be in a good mood today.

***********************

Jiraiya, slowly sips his tea. He is at a restaurant in a town close to the Kirai’s valley.

A pretty young waitress brings Jiraiya his food. Jiraiya, gives her a cheeky smile.

“Thank, you...beautiful.” Jiraiya says.

The waitress, doesn’t respond. She just quickly walks away. Jiraiya, sighs.

Oh, well. Jiraiya thinks to himself. Sometimes, I wonder why I even try.

Jiraiya, slowly begins to eat his breakfast. As he does, he occasionally looks in the direction where the Kirai’s valley is.

I sure hope that the Kirai clan doesn’t mind talking to me about the Akatsuki. Jiraiya thinks to himself as he eats.

***********************

The sun is in its seven O’clock position. Kiseki and Nico are sitting in a meadow. Kiseki and Nico, have just finished their foraging session.

“Alright.” Kiseki, says. “I want you to do a quick practice session with chakra control. Then, run a few laps. I have decided to teach you a new skill. Think of the chakra control session and laps as a warmup.”

A new skill! Nico thinks excitedly to himself. Nico, quickly nods. He quickly crosses his legs and makes the hand sign for chakra control. Nico, closes his eyes and begins to concentrate.

***************************

Amaya, rinses off a plate at the sink. At the other end of the sink, Taki, washes dishes in soapy water. Takara, takes dishes from Amaya, and dries them with a clean towel. Takara, neatly stacks plates and bowls next to her.

In the entryway, Aizen and Tarou are making sure that the children are ready.

Aizen, looks Hajime in the eye. “Be good for your mother and babysitters.” Aizen says.

Little Hajime, holds baby Akito in his arms. “Yes, papa.” Hajime says.

Aizen then looks at Yuri, Mio and little Kisho. “That goes for the three of you as well!” Aizen says.

“Yes, big brother.” Yuri says simply. She is now nine years old.

“Yes, Aizen.” Mio and Kisho say together. Mio is also nine years old. Mio, has light blue eyes and long caramel colored hair. Kisho, is seven and a half years old. Kisho, has short black hair and dark blue eyes.

Aizen, then looks at Arashi and Arata. “The two of you be careful while hunting.” Aizen says.

“Yes, Aizen.” The two boys say together. Arashi and Arata are both ten years old. The two boys are practically identical, except for their eyes. Arashi, has blue eyes. Arata, has amber colored eyes.

Tarou, looks at Takuma. “Be good for Taki and the babysitters, alright.” Tarou says sternly.

“Yes, papa.” Takuma says. Takuma, is seven and a half years old. Takuma, is a mini version of Tarou, except for his eyes. Takuma, has dark pine green eyes. Takuma, inherited his eye color from his mother, Reika.

Taki, Amaya, and Takara, are all done with the breakfast dishes. The three of them, grab their cloaks.

“It looks as if we are all ready now.” Tarou says. “Let’s go.”

Everyone exits the house. Taki, and Aizen share a passionate kiss, before Taki, leads the children towards the southern end of the village. Aizen, Tarou, Amaya, and Takara, begin walking towards the western end of the village.

***********************

Jiraiya, walks down the road. As he does, he thinks of how he should approach the Kirai Clan.

Ryuu, didn’t mention how the Kirai’s act around outsiders. Jiraiya thinks to himself. I may need to be careful. They may act very hostile towards me.

Jiraiya, sighs as he reaches the spot where him and Ryuu met last night. The spot where Ryuu first told Jiraiya about the Kirai Clan.

Jiraiya, looks towards the mountain range where the Kirai’s valley is supposed to be. Jiraiya, quickly deduces that it is a ten minute walk. Jiraiya sighs again.

Here goes nothing. Jiraiya thinks to himself. He starts walking towards the Kirai’s valley.

*************************

The sun is in its eight O’clock position. Nico, is running laps. Kiseki, tells Nico to stop. Nico, stops.

“Very good.” Kiseki says. “Now, we shall begin with the jutsu that I want to teach you.”

Nico, nods. Kiseki, points to a tree.

“You told me that the two rogue ninja who chased you, appeared in a tree, with no explanation.” Kiseki says.

Nico, nods. “That is correct!” Nico says.

Kiseki, then points to his feet. “Shinobi,” Kiseki begins. “Focus chakra to the bottoms of their feet to help them climb trees.”

Nico’s eyes widen. “Really?” Nico asks.

Kiseki, nods. “This jutsu requires good chakra control.” Kiseki says. “I believe that you can do it. What you need to do first is focus your chakra to the bottoms of your feet.”

“...Alright…,” Nico says. Nico, makes the hand sign for chakra control again. Nico, imagines his chakra flowing down to his feet.

“Now,” Kiseki says. “Run at the tree and put one of your feet on it. Then, climb it without using your hands.”

Nico, narrows his eyes. Here goes nothing! Nico thinks to himself.

Nico, takes a deep breath and gets ready to run at the tree. However, Kiseki stops him momentarily.

“Hold, on.” Kiseki says. Kiseki, hands Nico, a kunai knife. “When, you feel like you can’t climb the tree anymore, slash the tree with that, and mark your spot. The goal is to get to the top of the tree.”

Nico, carefully holds the kunai knife in his hand. “Ok.” Nico says. Nico, turns and runs at the tree. Nico, begins climbing the tree. He is halfway to the top, when he feels himself slipping. Nico, carefully marks his spot. Nico, then jumps down.

“Good!” Kiseki says. “Try again!”

Nico, takes another deep breath. He climbs the tree again.

*************************

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all watch as the elders try to locate Nico again. Everyone has gathered around the well for a morning session of trying to find Nico.

The elder, who is performing the, interdimensional tracking jutsu, collapses. People rush to help the elder up. Everyone groans.

“We are done for right now.” Korra says with sigh. “We shall resume at noon.”

Everyone nods. Many of the people gathered around the well scatter to do chores. However, Korra, gestures for the girls to come to her. Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all walk up to Korra. Amaya, notices that Atsuko, has taken Aizen aside.

“The other elders and I are going to go over some things about leading the village with Aizen.” Korra says. “Here is what I want the four of you to do in the meantime.”

Korra looks at Yuzuki first. “The jutsu to open a dimensional rift requires a great deal of chakra control.” Korra says. “Practice controlling your chakra for awhile.”

Yuzuki nods. Korra then looks at Amaya, Takara, and Katara.

“The three of you will also practice controlling your chakra.” Korra says. “However, there is also something special to do. When you are first learning the sharing memories jutsu, the jutsu works best with emotional memories. I want the three of you to think about a specific memory. It can be either the happiest or saddest memory you have.”

Amaya, Takara, and Katara, all look at one another, then at Korra They nod in understanding.

“Good.” Korra says. She walks away.

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki, all look at each other.

“Where should we go to do this?” Takara asks.

“I reckon that we should pick a very peaceful spot.” Katara says.

“Well…,” Amaya says. “There is the meadow with the pond and stream.”

“Good idea.” Yuzuki says.

The four young women, head down the path towards the meadow. About ten minutes later, the four young women arrive at the meadow. They all sit down and make the hand sign for chakra control. They close their eyes and begin concentrating.

***********************

Jiraiya, steps out of the forest. He walks up to the rock wall.

Well...I finally reached the mountains. Jiraiya, thinks to himself. Now, I just need to find a way into the valley. Jiraiya, looks around. He sighs.

I guess that I should scan the perimeter and try to find an entrance. Jiraiya thinks to himself.

Jiraiya, gets ready to walk around the perimeter, when he senses two chakra signatures nearby. Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. Jiraiya, quickly hides himself in the trees.

Out behind a boulder, emerge two boys, around ten years old. It is Arashi and Arata.

“Arashi…,” Arata says nervously. “You know that we are not supposed to go outside the valley.”

Arashi, just scoffs. “Come on, Arata.” Arashi says. “We have been outside the valley before!”

“Yes, but we were with adults!” Arata says, trying to argue with Arashi’s statement.

Arashi, scoffs again. “We are not babies!” Arashi says. “We can take care of ourselves!”

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes at the two boys. They must be from the Kirai Clan! Jiraiya thinks to himself. Or, at least they are from the Kirai Clan’s village. Jiraiya then notices that the two boys are carrying bows and arrows.

“We searched all inside the valley, but couldn’t find anything to hunt.” Arashi says to Arata. “I don’t want to come home empty handed!”

Arata, sighs. “Ok,” Arata says. “But, I am gonna blame you when we get in trouble.”

“The adults don’t have to know we went outside the valley.” Arashi says. “Now, come on!”

Arata, sighs and slowly follows his brother into the forest. Jiraiya, watches from the trees. He gets an idea.

If I follow them, Jiraiya thinks to himself. They will eventually lead me to the entrance into the valley.

Jiraiya, quietly follows Arashi and Arata into the forest.

***********************

The sun is in its ten O’clock position. Nico, continues to climb the tree. Many marks are slashed into the tree. Nico, looks up at the sky.

I have been at it for two hours already. Nico thinks to himself. Sweat runs down his face. However, he just shakes his head. Nico, looks at the slashes on the tree. The latest slash is just three quarters from the top.

You are almost there! Nico inwardly tells himself. Don’t give up now.

Nico, takes another deep breath and climbs the tree again.

***************************

Amaya, opens her eyes. She looks up at the sky. The sun is just past the ten O’clock position.

We have been controlling our chakra for two hours. Amaya thinks to herself. Amaya, then notices that her friends have opened their eyes as well.

“Wow!” Yuzuki says. “We controlled our chakra for two hours straight!”

Katara, looks towards the plateau, where the well is. “I wonder if they are ready for us yet.” Katara says.

“Only one way to find out.” Amaya says. “Come, on!”

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all get up and start walking back towards the well.

*********************

Jiraiya, carefully watches Arashi and Arata, drag the carcass of a deer. Jiraiya, has been watching the boys for two hours.

“Such a big deer.” Arashi says. “I am sure that everyone will be happy.”

“I hope so.” Arata says. “Maybe, this make up for us going outside the valley to hunt without permission”

“Hey!” Arashi says. “I already told you. The adults don’t have to find out where we got the deer!”

Arata, sighs. “I think that they will figure it out.” Arata says. “There are no deer as big as this inside the valley.”

Arashi, scoffs. “Stop being such a baby.” Arashi says. “Now, come on!”

Arashi and Arata eventually arrive at the mouth of a cave. Jiraiya, watches carefully from the trees.

So, Jiraiya thinks to himself. The entrance into the Kirai Clan’s valley is a cave. Interesting.

Arashi and Arata prepare to drag the deer inside the cave. However, Arata freezes.

“What’s wrong?” Arashi asks his twin, annoyed.

“It...it feels like someone is watching us.” Arata says with apprehension.

“Stop being a baby!” Arashi says. “Just help me carry this deer through the cave!”

Arata, and Arashi start carrying the deer into the cave. Jiraiya, watches from the trees.

Oh, great. Jiraiya thinks. One of the boys can sense me. I will have to be very careful, as not be seen.

Jiraiya, carefully exits the forest and silently enters the cave.

*********************

The sun is in its eleven O’clock position. Nico, is still trying to climb the tree. He is almost to the top.

Sweat pours down Nico’s face. He breathes heavily.

Just a little more. Nico tells inwardly tells himself. You can do it.

Nico, takes another deep breath. He runs up the tree again. This time, Nico, reaches the highest tree branch. Nico, climbs up onto the tree branch.

“Great job!” Kiseki yells from the ground. “You did it!”

Nico, smiles. He is so proud of himself.

“Stay up there for a few minutes and rest before you try to climb back down.” Kiseki says.

Nico, nods. He sits on the tree branch and breathes heavily.

************************

Amaya, and her friends watch as Korra and the other elders finish telling Aizen about how to be a good leader. When they are done, they turn their attention to the four young women.

“Now,” Korra says. “It is time for the four of you to begin your training.”

One of Yuzuki’s uncles walks up to Yuzuki. He takes her to the side.

Korra, then shows Amaya, Takara, and Katara a hand sign.

“Practice making this hand sign.” Korra says. Amaya, Takara, and Yuzuki all make the hand sign.

“Good!” Korra says. “Practice making the hand sign for a few minutes.”

Yuzuki’s uncle, looks Yuzuki in the eye.

“Now…,” Yuzuki’s uncle says. He makes a hand sign. “Practice forming this hand sign for a few minutes.”

Yuzuki nods. She forms the hand sign.

***************************

Arashi and Arata continue to drag the deer. They have made it out of the cave. Arata huffs as he struggles to drag the deer.

“You are such a baby.” Arashi says with annoyance.

“I am tired!” Arata says.

Arashi, scoffs. He rolls his eyes.

All of the sudden, a voice catches their attention.

“ARASHI!” The voice yells. “ARATA!”

The boys turn. Taki, comes walking up to them. The two boys then realize that the path they chose goes by the babysitting house. Oops.

Taki, eyes the deer. Baby Akito, is in his sling. Other women and teenage girls just watch from the babysitting house. All of the children, that the women and girls were watching stop playing.

Taki, narrows her eyes. “Arashi,” Taki says with a deathly tone of voice. “Arata. Where did you get that deer? I have never seen such a big deer in the valley.”

Arashi, tries to think of an explanation. However, Arata’s quilty face tells Taki everything.

“The two of you went outside the valley without permission didn’t you?” Taki asks.

Arata, holds his head down. Arata, slowly nods his head. “It was Arashi’s idea.” Arata says.

“We couldn’t find anything to hunt inside the valley!” Arashi says. “I...I didn’t want us to come home empty handed.”

Taki, sighs. “I can understand wanting to make sure that you didn’t come home empty handed.” Taki says. “However…,we have been over this before. Going outside the valley without an adult is dangerous!”

“But we are not babies anymore.” Arashi says. “We are big enough to take care of ourselves!”

Taki, places a hand on Arashi’s shoulder. “Arashi…,” Taki says. “You and Arata are still too young to go outside the valley without an adult.”

Arashi, hold his head down.

Yuri, Mio, Kisho, Hajime, and Takuma all watch the scene with the other women, children, and teenage girls.

Yuri and Mio’s friend, a little girl from the Fujioka clan, looks at Yuri and Mio.

“I think that your cousins are in trouble.” The girl says.

“Yes…,” Yuri says simply. “Yes, they are.”

“Indeed.” Mio says.

Kisho and Hajime’s friend, a little boy from the Mori Clan, turns to them.

“Kisho, I think that your cousins are in trouble.” The boy says.

“I think so too.” Kisho says.

Hajime’s best friend, a boy from the Kita Clan, turns to Hajime.

“Hajime,” The boy says. “It sounds like your papa’s cousins are in trouble.”

Hajime, just nods his head sadly. “Yes, they are.” Hajime says. “Papa, is not going to be happy.”

Takuma’s friend, a little boy from the Yamauchi clan, looks at Takuma.

“Your big sister seems to be very upset with Arashi and Arata.” Takuma’s friend says.

Takuma, nods. “Yes, she is very upset.” Takuma says.

Taki, sighs. “I will have to tell Aizen about this.” Taki says. She looks down at Arashi and Arata. “Come with me.”

Taki, turns to say something to the other women, when loud barking breaks the silence.

************************

Jiraiya, watches the scene from the trees.

That woman is very upset over those boys leaving the valley without adults. Jiraiya thinks to himself. That must mean this village is very cautious about going outside the valley.

Jiraiya, close his eyes. This also means that they probably don’t like outsiders. Jiraiya thinks to himself. I will have to be very careful about how I approach them. They may freak out when they realize that an outsider has infiltrated their home.

Jiraiya, blinks. As he tries to think of a way to introduce himself without the villagers freaking out, a menacing growl comes from behind him. Jiraiya, sweat drops. He slowly turns, and sees a very large and angry looking dog growling at him. The dog soon starts barking very loudly. Before Jiraiya knows it, more dogs surround him.

***********************

Nico, slowly climbs down the tree.

“Good.” Kiseki says. Kiseki, then looks up at the sky. The sun is almost in its noon position.

“We shall take a little break,” Kiseki says. “Before, I show you the next jutsu that I want to teach you.”

Nico, nods slowly. Nico, quickly walks over to a stream to get a well deserved drink. After that, Nico, sits down by Kiseki. Kiseki, reaches into his bag. He takes out some apples that him and Nico had picked from a tree while they were foraging.

Nico, hungerily bites into his apple. Nico, savors each juicy bite.

*************************

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki have been forming hand signs for nearly twenty minutes.

“Good.” Korra says to Amaya, Takara, and Katara. “It is now time for the three of you to add chakra in order to form the jutsu.”

Yuzuki’s uncle, looks at Yuzuki. “We will form this jutsu in an empty area.” Yuzuki’s uncle says. “We don’t want anyone to accidentally get sent to another dimension!”

Yuzuki, nods in understanding. She turns to watch her friends try out their jutsu.

“Now,” Korra says. “Form the hand sign and focus your chakra. Then, look me right in the eyes. Think of the memory you have chosen to show me. Think solely of that!”

Korra, turns to Katara first. “The only way for me to truly know if all of you are doing this correctly is for each of you to show me your memory one at a time.” Korra says. “Katara, you shall go first.”

“Ok…,” Katara says slowly. She forms the hand sign and focuses her chakra. Katara, looks her grandmother in the eyes. She begins to concentrate. Katara, thinks of her chosen memory.

Katara, is five years old. She is playing with her friends in the meadow, back in their birth village. The five girls laugh and giggle as they play.

Luna, spots a butterfly sitting on a flower. Luna, carefully puts her hand down, so that the butterfly crawls onto her hand. Her friends all look in awe at the butterfly in Luna’s hand.

Katara, ends her memory. Korra, smiles. “Good.” Korra says. “I saw your memory as clear as day.”

“You did…?” Katara asks with a blush.

Korra, nods. She then turns to Takara. “Takara,” Korra says. “You’re next.”

“Alright.” Takara says. She forms the hand sign and focuses her chakra. Takara, looks Korra in the eyes and concentrates. She thinks of her chosen memory.

Takara, is six years old. She is stargazing with her friends. All of the girls laugh and giggle.

“Look!” Little Luna says. “Those stars look like a kitty!”

All five girls laugh.

Takara, ends her memory.

Korra, nods. “Good job.” Korra says. “I saw your memory as clear as day.”

Takara, blushes. Korra, then turns to Amaya. “Your turn, Amaya.” Korra says.

Amaya, close her eyes. Amaya, takes a deep breath. Amaya, then opens her eyes. Amaya, forms the hand sign. She concentrates her chakra and looks Korra, in the eye. Amaya, thinks of her chosen memory.

Amaya, is four years old. She is in the meadow, back her birth village. This is the day that she met, Luna.  

“So pretty!” Little Amaya says to herself. She carefully begins walking around the meadow. Suddenly, Little Amaya, hears giggling. Little Amaya looks around. She then sees the source of the giggling.

On one side of the meadow, a small girl around Amaya’s age, is running and giggling. The girl has olive skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. The little girl is trying to catch a butterfly.

“Such a pretty butterfly!” Little Amaya hears the little girl say. “Come back! I just want to get a closer look at you!”

The little girl gets closer and closer to little Amaya. The little girl is so focused on trying to catch the butterfly she doesn’t notice Little Amaya standing there. The little girl cups her hands together and manages to catch the butterfly. The little girl ends up stopping a few feet away from little Amaya. The little girl giggles with delight. She soon opens up her hands to reveal the butterfly sitting in the palm of her hands. The butterfly gently flaps its wings. The little girl giggles with delight again. However, she ends up noticing little Amaya. The little girl gasps.

“...Hello…,” The little girl says tentatively. “Who are you?”

“My name is Amaya Kirai.” Little Amaya says.

“Oh,” The little girl says. “I am also from the Kirai Clan. My name is Luna Kirai.”

“How did you find this meadow?” Little Amaya asks little Luna. Little luna shrugs.

“I was just exploring the forest when I found it.” Little Luna says.

“You like butterflies.” Little Amaya says. “I like butterflies too!”

Little Luna, smiles. “You do!” Little Luna says. “Do you like flowers?”

Little Amaya, smiles. “Oh, yes!” Little Amaya says. “I love flowers!”

Amaya, blinks as the memory fades. She holds back tears. This memory is a happy memory. However…,at the same time...it makes her sad.

Korra, smiles. “Great job.” Korra says. “I saw that memory as clear as day.”

Amaya, manages a smile. “Thank you.” Amaya says.

Korra, prepares to say something else, when all of the sudden, loud barking comes from the southern end of the village. Everyone turns and looks in that direction, confused.

“That sounds like Tai!” Yuzuki’s uncle says.

Tai, is Yori’s son. Tai, became the leader of the dog pack after Yori’s death. Tai, looks almost exactly like Yori, except for a few differences. Yori, had yellow brown eyes. Tai, has blue eyes. Tai, has gray markings where his white fur meets his black fur. Tai, is also a very big dog, just like Yori was. Tai, also has the same fierceness and protectiveness that Yori had.

“There is only one reason that Tai, would bark like that.” Korra says with a deathly tone of voice. “There must be a stranger in the valley.”

Everyone gasps. Aizen, suddenly gasps with horror. The babysitting house is at that end of the village.

“The babysitting house is at that end of the village!” Aizen says with alarm.

Everyone gasps again.

“What do we do?” Yuzuki asks.

Korra, looks at Aizen. “Aizen, this is your first test as a village leader.” Korra says. “A village leader always goes to see what is wrong, when there is a disturbance. If there is an intruder, you must confront them!”

Aizen’s eyes widen. He then closes his eyes. “I understand.” Aizen says. He opens his eyes. He turns to an elderly man.

“Go round up the rest of the village men!” Aizen says with authority. “If there are multiple intruders then I must have back up!”

“Of course!” The elderly man says. He runs down the path. Aizen, turns to everyone else.

“Everyone follow me!” Aizen says.

Amaya, and everyone else follow Aizen down the steps.

*************************

Jiraiya, steps back as the village dogs growl and snap at him. The one that first growled at him is a huge black dog. The dog has a white muzzle, white tipped ears, white paws, and a white tipped tail. Where the white fur meets the black fur, there are gray markings. The dog also has blue eyes. The dog growls fiercely at Jiraiya. The other dogs growl as well.

Jiraiya, holds out his hands in front of his face. I sure wish that Ryuu had told me about the Kirai Clan, having guard dogs. Jiraiya thinks to himself.

“Nice dogs.” Jiraiya says. “Nice dogs.”

The dogs just continue to growl at Jiraiya. Jiraiya, then realizes that the dogs have forced him out of his hiding spot in the forest. The women and children are now looking at Jiraiya, with dumbfounded looks.

“Please,” Jiraiya says. “Call off your dogs. I don’t mean you any harm.”

All of the women just stand there. A few of them get the children behind them.

They don’t believe me! Jiraiya thinks to himself with alarm.

************************

Taki, does not know what to make of this mysterious man. She isn’t sure if she can believe his claim that he doesn’t mean them any harm.

Taki, takes a deep breath.

“Who are you?” Taki asks the strange man. “How did you even get inside the valley?”

The strange man, blinks. “I...came in through a cave.” The strange man says.

Arata, gasps. He looks at Arashi. Arashi’s eyes are wide.

“I told you that someone was watching us, and you didn’t believe me!” Arata says. “Now look at what has happened! We showed a stranger how to find the village!”

Arashi, looks down, ashamed. Arata, has tears in his eyes.

All of the sudden, Aizen’s voice can be heard. Taki, turns to see Aizen, running up to them. Many others follow him. Among them are Amaya, Takara, and Tarou.

“AIZEN!” Taki yells out. She is so relieved to see her husband.

“Taki!” Aizen says as he hugs Taki gently, being careful not to squish Akito. “Are you alright?”

“Yes.” Taki says simply. “But a strange man has found his way into the village!”  

Aizen, gasps, when he sees the strange man. Aizen, then notices Arata and Arashi’s faces. Aizen, notices the deer, and puts the pieces together. Aizen, frowns.

“Boys.” Aizen says sternly. “The two of you went outside the valley to hunt, didn’t you?”

“It was Arashi’s idea.” Arata says. “The whole time, I felt that someone was watching us, but Arashi didn’t believe me. The strange man followed us in here!”

Aizen, gasps. He just sighs.

“We will talk about this later.” Aizen says. “Now, just get behind me, while I talk to this stranger.”

Arata, and Arashi quickly comply. They get behind Aizen, and Taki. Aizen, takes a few steps forward.

****************************

Jiraiya, watches as the brown haired man, Aizen, steps forward. Jiraiya, carefully looks at the the faces of the villagers who arrived with Aizen. All of said villagers, look very unhappy to see Jiraiya.

Just as I suspected. Jiraiya thinks to himself. This village does not like outsiders.

“Who are you?” Aizen asks.

Jiraiya, gulps. Just play it cool, Jiraiya thinks to himself. He looks down at the dogs. One wrong move, and this guy could sick these dogs on me!

“Excuse me,” Aizen says with an annoyed voice. “I asked you a question, Sir. Who are you?”

Jiraiya, takes a deep breath. Here goes nothing. Jiraiya thinks to himself. I just hope that they are willing to tell me about the Akatsuki.

Jiraiya inwardly cringes. I also hope that they don’t sick these dogs on me either! Jiraiya thinks to himself.

Jiraiya, sighs as he gets ready to explain himself, and the very reason that he is here.

 

Chapter Text

The sun is just past its noon position. Nico and Kiseki have just finished their apples.

“What jutsu do you want to teach me now?” Nico asks.

“Just like the climbing trees jutsu,” Kiseki begins. “Shinobi, can focus chakra to the bottoms of their feet, in order to walk on water.”

Nico’s eyes widen. Walk on water! Nico thinks. Amazing!

Kiseki, smiles. “Being able to walk on water would be a good skill for you to have.” Kiseki explains. “If you you were being chased and you came to a body of water, you could just go straight across. If your pursuers were not ninja, then you would get away from them.”

“If my pursuers were ninja though,” Nico says. “They would be able to follow me.”

Kiseki nods. “That is true,” Kiseki says. “However, if you couldn’t walk on water then you would have to stop, which would make it possible for your pursuers to capture you!”

Nico closes his eyes and tries to imagine this.

Nico, is running from his grandfather, Itachi Uchiha. He comes to a body of water. Nico, stops and turns. Itachi, proceeds to capture Nico.  

Nico, opens his eyes and blinks a few times. He tries to imagine himself with that same scenario, except that he can walk on water.

Nico, is running from Itachi. He comes to a body of water. Nico, runs across the top of the water. Itachi, pursues him across the water. However, Itachi, does not capture Nico.

Nico, blinks again. “I guess that makes sense.” Nico replies.

Kiseki, looks up at the sky. “I thought that we could do some chakra control” Kiseki says. “Then, we will begin your training for the walk on water jutsu.”

Nico, nods. “Sounds good.” Nico says.

Nico, makes the hand sign for chakra control. He closes his eyes and begins to concentrate.  

***********************

Jiraiya, takes a deep breath. Aizen, and the rest of the Kirai’s look like they are getting impatient. The big black, white, and gray dog growls at Jiraiya again.

“My name is Jiraiya.” Jiraiya says. “I am one of the legendary Sannin of Konoha.”

Aizen, and all the other Kirai present gasp. Many begin whispering to each other.

A Sannin! Aizen thinks to himself. However, his eyes soon narrow. Why did he follow Arashi and Arata in our valley? What does he want with our village?

“Why did you follow my cousins into the valley?” Aizen, asks. “What do you want?”

“Your cousins?” Jiraiya asks, as he looks at Arashi and Arata.

Aizen nods. “Yes.” Aizen simply says. “Now, I will ask again. Why did you follow my cousins into the valley?”

Jiraiya, close his eyes. “Please,” Jiraiya begins. “I mean your village no harm—”

“Then, why did you follow my cousins into our valley!?” Aizen asks again, cutting Jiraiya off. Aizen, then narrows his eyes. “The fact that you secretly followed my cousins in here is very suspicious. Why did you feel the need to sneak into our valley?”

Jiraiya, sighs. “I followed your cousins,” Jiraiya begins. “Because, I knew that they would eventually lead me to the entrance to the village.”

Aizen, narrows his eyes even more. “Why did you even want to find our valley?” Aizen asks.

Jiraiya sighs. “I don’t know much about your clan.” Jiraiya begins. “However, I have heard that the Kirai clan possess a lot of powers. I don’t know about your powers and I didn’t know if you would be hostile towards me. I wasn’t sure if I could trust that you would not attack me!”

Aizen, narrows his eyes. “I will ask again.” Aizen says. “What do you want with my village? How did you even know where to find our valley? Not many people can locate it, let alone find the entrance.”

Jiraiya sighs. “I have informants.” Jiraiya says. “An informant of mine told me about your clan. He told me where to find your valley.”

Aizen’s eyes widen. Many of the other Kirai, begin whispering to each other.

“Who is the informant who told you about us?” Aizen asks with a deathly tone of voice.

Jiraiya sighs. “Look,” Jiraiya begins. “I help to run a spy network for Konoha.”

Aizen, and all of the other Kirai gasp with horror.

“You mean that you came to spy on our village!?” Aizen exclaims more than asks. Aizen’s voice is full of rage.

As if sensing Aizen’s distrust of Jiraiya, the big black, white, and gray dog snarls at Jiraiya. Jiraiya’s face pales a little.

Things are really going downhill, Jiraiya thinks to himself.

**************************

“Nico,” Nico hears Kiseki’s voice say. “You can stop your chakra control exercise now.”

Nico, opens his eyes. He looks over to Kiseki.

“It is time that we begin your training for the walk on water jutsu.” Kiseki says.

Nico, nods. He stands up and stretches. Kiseki, points to Nico’s shoes.

“Take your shoes and socks off.” Kiseki says. “When you are first learning the walk on water jutsu, it is best to start with bare feet.”

“Alright.” Nico says. Nico, prepares to take off his socks and shoes. However, Kiseki, stops him.

“Wait!” Kiseki says. He looks at the stream. “When first learning the walk on water jutsu, the jutsu works best with very calm and still water. I think that the stream is too fast moving for you to learn the jutsu.”

Nico, looks at the stream. The water is moving a little fast . Nico thinks to himself.

Kiseki, then points to the North. “There is a small shallow lake about five miles from here.” Kiseki says. “I think that place would be perfect for learning the walk on water jutsu.”

Nico, nods in understanding. Nico, then begins following Kiseki north, where the shallow lake is.

***********************

Jiraiya, takes a deep breath. The big black, white, and gray dog continues to growl at him.

“Please,” Jiraiya says. “This is all just a huge misunderstanding! I am a spy for Konoha, but my intent wasn’t to spy on your village. I mean your village no harm!”

“Then,” Aizen begins. “What do you want with my village?”

“I just came here to talk.” Jiraiya says.

“Talk?” Aizen, asks with a questioning voice. “Talk about what?”

Jiraiya, sighs. Now, Jiraiya thinks. Is the time to explain about the Akatsuki .

Jiraiya, looks down at the dogs. The dogs are still growling at him. “I was wondering…,” Jiraiya begins. “Could you call off your dogs?”

Aizen, narrows his eyes. “And why should I do that?” Aizen asks. “I still don’t know your reason for being here. I will only call off the dogs, once I feel that you are no threat.”

Jiraiya sighs. They are so distrustful of outsiders. Jiraiya thinks to himself. Why?

All of the sudden, Jiraiya, gets an idea. Maybe I could try to ask about their village, Jiraiya thinks. And maybe if I ask them enough questions I could learn more about them. Then…,maybe we could all develop an understanding.

“Please,” Jiraiya says again. “I have told you that I do not mean your village any harm. Yet...you still distrust me. Why is that?”

Aizen, narrows his eyes. “Our village has many enemies.” Aizen says. “Our village...and clan has been nearly wiped out several times!”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. “Who would want to wipe out your village?” Jiraiya asks.

Aizen, closes his eyes. “It all began 600 years ago,” Aizen says. “With a man named Gaburo Kirai.”

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. “I am certain that I have heard that name before.” Jiraiya says. All of the sudden, it hits him. “Gaburo Kirai, waged war with many villages and even feudal lords to increase his power. Am I right?”

Aizen, nods. “Yes...Gaburo was a leader of the Kirai Clan and village.” Aizen says. “An evil and absolutely horrible leader! The constant conflict nearly wiped out our clan and village. Yet...even today...the descendants of the people whom Gaburo wronged, still hold a grudge against our village! We are attacked...again and again...with a lot of innocent lives lost each time!”

Jiraiya, closes his eyes, finally understanding the Kirai’s distrust of outsiders. How is he going to earn their trust?

Just play it cool. Jiraiya inwardly tells himself. Keep trying to build an understanding with these people.

Aizen, narrows his eyes even more. “The latest attack was seven years ago.” Aizen says. “So many lives were lost that night.”

Many of the Kirai and other villagers present hold their heads down, remembering their lost loved ones.

“My father…,” Aizen begins with a solemn voice. “My mother...my younger brother...my aunt and her husband...my uncle and his wife and their daughter...all died that night. My wife also lost her mother and two of her younger brothers.”

Aizen, blinks a few times. “And,” Aizen says. “Years before that...a village attack killed my grandfather...older uncle...and my uncles wife and daughter.”

“I...I am so sorry to hear that.” Jiraiya says with sympathy. “I can certainly understand now why your village distrusts outsiders.”

Jiraiya, then takes a deep breath. “Please,” Jiraiya says. “Believe me. I do not wish to harm anyone in this village. I just came here to talk. Let me start from the beginning. Maybe, then will my intentions become clear to you.”

Aizen, close his eyes as if to think about Jiraiya’s words. After a few minutes, Aizen opens his eyes.

“Alright,” Aizen says. “You may explain yourself.”

Jiraiya, sighs. “Thank you.” Jiraiya says.

Jiraiya, takes a deep breath. “As I said,” Jiraiya begins. “I am one of the legendary Sannin of Konoha. I also help to run a spy network. For the last seven to eight years or so, I have been gathering intel on a group called the Akatsuki.”

Aizen, and all of the other Kirai are silent. They know about Itachi, being a member of the Akatsuki.

Amaya, and her friends just stand there with absolute shock. Why is Jiraiya here to ask about the Akatsuki? What does he think they know?

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. “I can assume from your silence,” Jiraiya says. “That you know about the Akatsuki.”

Jiraiya, sighs. “My informant also told me that your clan supposedly knows a lot about one Akatsuki member in particular.” Jiraiya says. “Itachi Uchiha.”

Aizen, and all of the other Kirai gasp with horror.

Amaya, and her friends just stand there, shell shocked.

Oh, no! Amaya thinks. Jiraiya, must know about what happened when Itachi visited our village!

However, Amaya, soon dismisses that possibility. If Jiraiya knew all about Itachi and Luna, Amaya thinks to herself. Then he would have no reason to ask about it. I...just wonder what the informant told him.

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. “I can tell by the looks on your faces that you know exactly what I am talking about.” Jiraiya says. “You are hiding something from me, I just know it.”

Aizen, close his eyes. “Please…,” Aizen says. “We would rather not talk about it.”

“Talk about what?” Jiraiya asks with a curious tone of voice. “What are you hiding from me?”

Aizen, takes a deep breath. “It would be better if you just leave.” Aizen says.

Jiraiya narrows his eyes. “Aizen...that is your name right?” Jiraiya asks.

Aizen, opens his eyes. He looks at Jiraiya, with narrowed eyes. “Yes.” Aizen says.

“By the way you have been asking me all these questions,” Jiraiya says. “I can assume that you are the leader of this village. Am I right?”

Aizen, blinks a few times. He thinks of his grandmother, Rina. “Yes.” Aizen says.

“Please, listen to what I have to say.” Jiraiya says. “I can tell that you would do anything to protect your village. Even, though I wander around a lot, I am still loyal to Konoha. Everything that I do is to protect Konoha. The Akatsuki...are a real threat.”

Jiraiya closes his eyes. “The information that your village withholds from me,” Jiraiya says. “Could possibly help protect my village...or put it in even greater jeopardy.”

Aizen, bites his lip. He balls his hands into fists.

Jiraiya, opens his eyes. “Please,” Jiraiya says. “My intentions when I came here were not to harm any of the villagers. However, if you don’t tell me what you know...then I will have to get Konoha involved. Trust me...Konoha will not be very understanding, if you keep refusing to reveal what you know.”

Aizen, opens his eyes. He begins to pace.

What do I do? Aizen inwardly asks himself as he paces. If I keep refusing to tell this Sannin, about what our village knows, I will put the entire village in danger. However, if we tell this Sannin about Nico...we will end up putting Nico in danger.

Amaya, closes her eyes. She thinks of Luna, Aiko, Bianca, and Nico.

Korra, and all of the other elders look at Aizen, with sad eyes.

Poor Aizen, Korra thinks. It’s his first day on the job, and already he has to make a difficult decision.

“Please,” Jiraiya says with a stern voice. “Just tell me what you know regarding Itachi Uchiha.”

Amaya, grits her teeth. Just the mention of Itachi’s name makes her have flashbacks of Luna, Aiko, Bianca, and Nico. Before she knows it, Amaya, starts crying. All the while, Amaya, mutters Luna, Aiko, Bianca, and Nico’s names.

“Luna…,” Amaya mutters as tears run down her face. Amaya, has a flashback of Luna’s death.

“Amaya?” Takara asks with wide eyes. She puts a hand on Amaya’s shoulder.

“Luna?” Jiraiya asks with confusion. “Who is Luna?”

“Amaya!” Aizen says with concern. He rushes over and tries to console Amaya.

“Aiko…,” Amaya mutters. The tears flow faster and harder. She flashes back to Aiko/Maria’s death in the hotel.

“Aiko?” Jiraiya asks with confusion.

“Bianca…,” Amaya mutters. She remembers Bianca’s death in the junkyard.

“...Bi...an...ca...Bianca?” Jiraiya asks with confusion. He has never heard of that name before.

“Nico…,” Amaya mutters. She remembers the panic that ensued after everyone realized that Nico, had been sent to their world.

“..Ni...co...Nico?” Jiraiya asks. He is very confused now.

Amaya, cannot take it anymore. She bursts out into loud sobs. She falls to her knees. Aizen, envelopes her in a hug.

“Shhh…,” Aizen says. “There, there. I know...it hurts. Just let it out.”

Jiraiya, is very confused by Amaya’s breakdown. However, he is also intrigued.

That woman, Jiraiya thinks. Broke down after I mentioned Itachi Uchiha again. Not only that, she uttered four names. I wonder if those names are somehow connected to Itachi .

“Who are Luna, Aiko, Bianca, and Nico?” Jiraiya suddenly asks. “Why did that woman break down and cry those names after I mentioned Itachi Uchiha?”

Aizen, narrows his eyes as he looks at Jiraiya. “Leave.” Aizen says with a deathly tone of voice.

Korra, closes her eyes. She makes a decision. She opens her eyes and looks at the other elders. They all nod in understanding. Korra, walks over and puts a hand on Aizen’s shoulder.

“Aizen,” Korra says. “Would you mind talking to the other elders and I...in private?”

Aizen, narrows his eyes. “...Sure…” Aizen says. He gets up and looks at Jiraiya again.

“The elders wish to speak to me privately.” Aizen says. “I will be back.”

“Alright.” Jiraiya says.

Aizen, Korra, and the other elders head inside the babysitting house to talk.

***************************

Aizen, Korra, and the other elders are standing inside the babysitting house.

“Aizen…,” Korra begins. “I think at this point...it is useless to try and hide Nico...from the Hidden Leaf.”

Aizen’s eyes widen. “Korra…,” Aizen says. “Are you sure that you want to reveal what happened all those years ago?”

Korra, sighs. “I think that we have no choice.” Korra says. “At this point...Jiraiya, knows that we are hiding something. I think that we can all agree...that the Hidden Leaf was destined to find out about Nico sooner or later.”

Aizen, closes his eyes. “I suppose that you are right.” Aizen says. “But...what if the Hidden Leaf tries to harm Nico?”

Korra, closes her eyes. “Aizen…,” Korra says. “It is no use. Bianca...activated her sharingan. Remember?”

Aizen’s eyes widen. “Yes,” Aizen says. “I remember.”

Korra, closes her eyes. “Nico…,” Korra says. “Will awaken his sharingan at some point...that much is certain. Once he does...word will reach the Hidden Leaf. If we tell the entire truth, then there is a possibility that the Hidden leaf will have mercy on him.”

Aizen, blinks a few times. He knows that deep down Korra, is right about the Hidden Leaf, eventually finding out about Nico. It’s just...Aizen doesn’t want to make the wrong decision.

“Alright.” Aizen says. “We shall tell Jiraiya about Itachi’s visit to our old village years ago.”

Korra, nods. “However, we shall have one condition for Jiraiya.” Korra says. “We shall let Tai, sniff his hand. If Tai, deems Jiraiya to be trustworthy, then we shall trust him.”

Aizen, sighs. “Alright.” Aizen says.

Korra, nods. She gestures for the other elders to follow her and Aizen. Aizen, Korra, and the other elders walk back outside.

**************************

Aizen, Korra, and the other elders walk back outside. Jiraiya, and all of the other Kirai’s are waiting for them. Aizen, Korra, and the elders all stand before Jiraiya.

“We have reached a decision.” Aizen says. “We shall tell you all we know regarding Itachi Uchiha. On one condition!”  

Amaya, and her friends all gasp. Are Aizen and the elders seriously going to trust Jiraiya, with such a secret?

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. “Alright,” Jiraiya says. “What is that condition?”

Aizen, looks at the dogs surrounding Jiraiya. His eyes land on the big black, white, and gray dog, who won’t stop growling at Jiraiya.

“The lead dog of our dog pack has a special ability.” Aizen says. “This ability has been passed down through the centuries with each new lead dog. The lead dog can sense an individual’s intentions just by smell.”

Aizen, narrows his eyes. “The big black, white, and gray dog, is the leader of the dog pack.” Aizen says. “His name is, Tai. Hold out your hand and let Tai, sniff it. We shall let Tai, be the judge of your intentions. He will either trust you, or he will not trust you.”

Jiraiya’s, face pales a little. “What will happen if Tai, does not trust me?” Jiraiya asks.

Aizen, narrows his eyes. Tai, lets out another growl. “I think that you know that answer.” Aizen says.

Jiraiya, pales even more. He thinks of what he he would have to tell Tsunade, if he had to go back to Konoha, if he fails to obtain the information about Itachi Uchiha.  

Jiraiya, stands in front of Tsunade’s desk. Tsunade, has an annoyed look on her face.

“Why didn’t you obtain information about Itachi Uchiha from the Kirai Clan?” Tsunade asks.

Jiraiya, sighs. “The Kirai’s did not trust me.” Jiraiya says. “They made me let one of their guard dogs sniff my hand, so that the dog could could determine my intentions.”

Jiraiya, holds up one of his hands. The hand is all bandaged up.

“As you can see,” Jiraiya says. “The dog and I had a misunderstanding!”

Jiraiya, blinks as Tai growls at him. Calm down. Jiraiya inwardly tells himself. My intentions are not bad, so the dog should have no reason to bite me.

Jiraiya, slowly puts one of his hands forward. Tai, stops growling momentarily. Tai, then slowly sniffs Jiraiya’s hand. Tai, stops sniffing and back off. Tai, barks and leads the other dogs away. Jiraiya, sighs with relief.

Aizen, and the elders all look at each other. They nod.

“Alright.” Aizen says. “Since Tai trusts you,” Aizen says. “We shall trust you.”

“However,” Korra says. “The information that we are going to reveal is very sensitive. If it gets in the wrong hands, there will be terrible consequences!”

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. “Alright.” Jiraiya says. “Tell me all you know about Itachi Uchiha.”

Aizen, and the elders all look towards the well. “Come with us.” Aizen says. “We shall reveal all we know in a better location.”

Jiraiya, nods again. Aizen, then looks at many of the other Kirai.

“All of those whom have been part of our gatherings shall come as well.” Aizen says.

Amaya, her friends, and many others nod. Aizen, gestures for the group to follow him.

Jiraiya, Amaya, her friends, and many other Kirai, follow Aizen and the elders towards the well.

 

Chapter Text

The sun is in its one O’clock position. Nico, and Kiseki finally arrive at the shallow lake.

Wow, Nico thinks to himself. That was a long walk.

Kiseki, turns to Nico. “Here we are!” Kiseki says. “You can take your shoes and socks off now.”

Nico, nods. He slowly removes his shoes and socks. Nico, looks down at his pants. After a moment of consideration, Nico, begins folding the ends up so that his pants only come up past his ankles. Nico, looks at Kiseki.

“In case the jutsu doesn’t work and my feet end up sinking into the water.” Nico says. “At least my pants won’t get too wet if that happens.”

Kiseki, nods. “Good idea.” Kiseki says.

Nico, looks at the water again. “What do I do first?” Nico asks.

“Go right to the edge of the water.” Kiseki says. “Then, concentrate some chakra to the bottoms of your feet.”

Nico, nods. He makes the hand sign for chakra control. Nico, slowly imagines his chakra flowing to the bottoms of his feet.

“Now,” Kiseki begins. “Step forward and try to walk. We shall see if there is enough chakra to keep your feet from sinking into the water.”

Nico, takes a deep breath. He puts one foot forward and places it on the water. The foot does not sink into the water.

Yes! Nico thinks. My foot did not sink!

However, when Nico, places his other foot onto the water, the foot ends up sinking. This causes Nico, to almost lose his balance and fall. This causes Nico’s other foot to sink. Now, both of Nico’s feet are in the water.

No…, Nico thinks to himself, deflated. I really thought that I would get it the first time.

“Step back out of the water and try again.” Kiseki simply says.

Nico, steps back out of the water. He makes the hand sign for chakra control again.

**************************

Jiraiya, slowly follows Aizen and the other Kirai’s up some steps. They arrive at the well.

Jiraiya, looks around. I wonder why they brought me here? Jiraiya thinks to himself.

Aizen, turns to Jiraiya. “Before we begin,” Aizen says. “We shall tell you a little bit about our clan and village. This is very important for what we are about to tell you about Itachi Uchiha.”

Jiraiya, shrugs. “Alright.” Jiraiya says. “I am listening.”

Aizen, takes a deep breath. He turns to Korra. “I just became leader of this village.” Aizen says. “I took over after my grandmother unexpectedly passed away. Korra, is my grandmother’s cousin. She is more knowledgeable about Kirai clan history than I am. I shall let her tell you.”

Korra, takes a deep breath. She slowly begins to tell Jiraiya of the Kirai Clan’s history, and powers.

Amaya, and her friends just watch as Korra explains the Kirai Clan’s history to Jiraiya.

Please, Amaya thinks to herself. Let this be the right decision.

******************************

The sun is now in its two O’clock position. Korra, finishes telling Jiraiya, all about the Kirai clan’s history. Jiraiya’s eyes are wide.

“Incredible…,” Jiraiya says. “To think that other dimensions actually exist...and your clan can actually see into these other dimensions. And to think that some of you actually have the ability to travel to other dimensions.”

Jiraiya, takes a deep breath. “And…,” Jiraiya says. “To think that dimensional rifts exist and can occur spontaneously, yet some of you can actually open a dimensional rift. Absolutely amazing!”

Jiraiya, then narrows his eyes. “However…,” Jiraiya says. “I am now very curious as to why a clan like yours holds information about Itachi Uchiha.”

Korra, sighs. “It is a very long…,” Korra begins. “Complicated...and sad story. It is a story full of poor judgement, and death.”  

Korra, sighs again. “It all started eight years ago,” Korra says. “In our old village...with a girl named Luna Kirai.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. Luna, is one of the names that Amaya, uttered during her breakdown.

Korra, looks at Amaya and her friends. “Amaya, Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki,” Korra says. “Were all best friends with Luna.”

Korra, takes a deep breath. “Luna, was such a sweet girl,” Korra says. “Luna, loved babies and children. She loved to babysit. She also loved flowers and butterflies. Amaya, Luna, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki all loved to go to a meadow, hidden in the forest. Luna, was also a very beautiful girl. She had long wavy dark hair, dark eyes, olive tinted skin, and pink lips.”

Jiraiya, closes his eyes as he tries to imagine what Luna, was like. Jiraiya, also wonders why this is all related to Itachi Uchiha.

“One day…,” Korra says. “When the girls were all thirteen, a squad of Leaf Village anbu visited our village.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen even more. He suddenly thinks of something.

“Was…,” Jiraiya begins. “Was Itachi Uchiha, the leader of that anbu squad?”

Aizen, nods. “Yes.” Aizen says with a grave voice.

Korra sighs. “One of their squad members had been severely injured during a mission.” Korra sighs. “They had heard of the Kirai Clan having healers, so they came to our village to ask for assistance. The leader of our dog pack at the time, was a dog named, Yori.”

Aizen, blinks. “Yori,” Aizen says. “Was Tai’s father.”

Jiraiya, blinks. “You mean the dog that you ordered me to let sniff my hand?” Jiraiya asks.

Aizen, nods in confirmation.

“Yori,” Korra begins. “Trusted Itachi, so we let the anbu enter our village. Our healers healed the anbu. However, the injured anbu would require rest before he could travel. So...we let Itachi and his anbu squad spend the night in our village.”

Korra, sighs. “It was during the anbu’s stay,” Korra says. “That young Luna, became smitten with Itachi.”

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes.

“Luna,” Korra says. “Would blush every time that Itachi, would look at her, or even speak to her. We could all see the attraction that Luna, had towards Itachi. Of course...all of us were concerned about it.”

Korra, sighs. “This is all I know regarding that night.” Korra says. “This is what Luna, told all of us later.”

Korra, closes her eyes. “Luna and the other girls had planned to spend the night stargazing.” Korra says. “However, they had to change their plans. Luna, decided to spend some time with Itachi instead. Luna, decided to take Itachi to the girls meadow. Luna and Itachi got to talking. However, Luna, had poor judgement. Things crossed the line very quickly.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen, when he realizes what Korra is saying. “Itachi and Luna...had sexual intercourse?” Jiraiya asks with wide eyes.

“Yes.” Korra simply says.

Jiraiya, gasps. His eyes are wide. Itachi Uchiha, had sex, with a girl!? Jiraiya thinks to himself. Oh, my. This is very unexpected.

Amaya, sighs. “Luna and Itachi,” Amaya begins. “Left the meadow after that. Luna, went home. Itachi, went back to join the rest of his anbu squad in the lodging we had prepared for them. The next morning...Itachi...and his anbu squad left. Luna, was very hurt by the fact that Itachi, didn’t bother to say goodbye to her.

“However,” Korra says. “A broken heart was the least of Luna’s problems. Luna...had gotten pregnant from her and Itachi’s little tryst in the meadow!”

Jiraiya’s eyes are wide. “Itachi...got Luna, pregnant?” Jiraiya asks.

All of the Kirai’s nod. “Yes.” Korra says.

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. “Did Luna, keep the baby?” Jiraiya asks.

Korra, nods. “Our village does not believe in abortion.” Korra says. “Besides, Luna, had always wanted to be a mother. Luna, absolutely loved babies. In time, Luna, became very happy about her pregnancy, despite the fact that she was very young to be a mother.”

Aizen, sighs. “However,” Aizen says. “Three months after Luna, found out that she was pregnant, another squad of anbu black ops visited our village. With them...they brought news of the Uchiha Clan massacre. Luna...was devastated. However, she tried to remain positive about the upcoming birth of her child. Luna, eventually gave birth to a healthy baby girl.”

Jiraiya, blinks a few times. A girl...Itachi had a daughter!?

Aizen, sighs. “Luna, absolutely adored her new baby.” Aizen says. “Luna, named the child Aiko, after her late grandmother.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. Aiko!? That is another name that Amaya, cried during her breakdown.

“Baby Aiko,” Aizen begins. “Was absolutely beautiful. She had Luna’s olive tinted skin, black hair, and mouth. However, baby Aiko, had Itachi’s eyes and face shape. But Luna, still loved the baby to bits.”

Everyone holds their heads down. Aizen, sighs. “However…,” Aizen begins. “About a week after Aiko’s birth, our village was attacked.”

Jiraiya’s eyes narrow. “From what you told me,” Jiraiya says. “I would place Aiko’s birth around seven years ago. You said that your village was attacked seven years ago. Am I right?”

Aizen and the other Kirai nod. “Yes.” Aizen says. “That was the very attack that killed my parents and younger brother.”  

Aizen, looks at Amaya. “Amaya…,” Aizen says. “Witnessed the events of what transpired that night. However, it is too emotional for her to talk about it most of the time.”  

Amaya, chokes back a few sobs.

Korra sighs. “This is all that Amaya, told us about that terrible night.” Korra says.

Aizen, holds his head down. “Takeo and Toshiko got killed by a bandit, who then went after Luna, and baby Aiko.” Aizen says. “A dimensional rift opened up in front of Luna. The bandit, caught up to Luna, and was prepared kill her and baby Aiko. As if realizing that Aiko would die with her, if she didn’t do something, Luna, practically threw Aiko towards the dimensional rift! Alas, baby Aiko, was sucked into the dimensional rift.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen even more. Luna...threw her baby towards the dimensional rift! Jiraiya thinks to himself. She must have been very desperate.

“Then…,” Amaya, says as she chokes back sobs. “The bandit chopped Luna down as if she was an animal! Luna...died...and I witnessed the whole thing.”

Amaya, sobs as she ends the story. Yuzuki, sobs as well. Takara, and Katara hold their heads down. Silent tears run down Takara and Katara’s faces.

Jiraiya, then narrows his eyes. “You said that the baby was sucked into the dimensional rift.” Jiraiya says. “That means she would have been sent to another dimension.”

Korra, nods. “Yes.” Korra simply says.

“And I assume that you know which dimension that she was sent to.” Jiraiya says. “Your clan does specialize in looking into other dimensions and tracking people in those dimensions.”

Korra, sighs. “After the attack ended,” Korra says. “Rina, my cousin, learned what had happened to Luna and baby Aiko. Even though she was in grief over losing her three remaining children, Rina, immediately used the interdimensional tracking jutsu to find baby Aiko. Rina, did eventually find baby Aiko...two days later.”

Korra sighs. “Baby Aiko,” Korra begins. “Was found and adopted by a family called the di Angelo’s. This family lived in a country called, Italy. This family had much misfortune with baby girls, as we found out later. The woman, Alessandra, had given birth to four baby girls. However, none of them survived past six months of age. In fact, days before they found Aiko, the di Angelo’s had lost a baby girl.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. His eyes then narrow. “I was just wondering…,” Jiraiya says. “Didn’t you try to get Aiko back? I mean...some of you can open up dimensional rifts. Couldn’t you have opened up a dimensional rift and retrieved Aiko, from that dimension.”

Korra, closes her eyes. “We did think about that.” Korra says. “But..you must understand something. Time does not flow the same in all dimensions. In the dimension that baby Aiko, was sent to, time flows especially fast. When one year passes in this world...almost fifteen years passes in the other world.”

Jiraiya, gasps. “...Seriously...fifteen years!” Jiraiya says with shock. “That is fast!”

Korra nods. “Do you understand now?” Korra asks. “By the time we found baby Aiko...she had already been in that world for a month. The di Angelo’s had already grown attached to her. To take Aiko back...would have meant taking her away from the di Angelo’s. Again, they would have to suffer the loss of a baby girl, even it wasn’t their own. We...just couldn’t do that to them.”

Jiraiya, closes his eyes. He can understand why the Kirai’s had decided to leave the baby in the other world. Jiraiya’s eyes widen when he thinks of something.

“You said that when one year passes in this world,’ Jiraiya begins. “If Aiko, was sent to the other world seven years ago...then..that means she would have aged one-hundred and five years in the other world.”

“Yes.” Korra says. “Aiko, is dead now. She has been dead for a long time. She died too young.”

Korra, sighs again. “There is also something else you must understand.” Korra says. “The di Angelo’s gave baby Aiko a new name, since they did not know her birth name. They named her, Maria. Maria di Angelo.”

“Ma...r...ia...Maria.” Jiraiya says as he mulls over the foreign name.

“Many of us were content to call Luna’s daughter, by her new name.” Korra says. “However, my granddaughter and her friends, still insist on calling Luna’s daughter, Aiko.”

Jiraiya nods. “I understand.” Jiraiya says.

Korra, takes a deep breath. “Maria’s childhood went by so fast.” Korra says. “Maria, led a very happy childhood with her adoptive family.”

“In case you are wondering…,” Aizen says. “Maria...never awakened the sharingan. You see, the people in that dimension, are not ninja. They do not use chakra. They don’t even know how to use chakra, and they don’t even know about chakra. Maria, did not have the training that Itachi Uchiha had. Maria, spent her childhood, learning fine sewing, cooking, and how to play musical instruments. Maria, also went to school and learned academics.”

Seiji, manages a smile. “Maria,” Seiji says. “Was always an excellent student. She was always at the top of her class.”

“Maria,” Korra says with a smile. “Also loved flowers and butterflies, just like her mother, Luna.”

Korra, holds her hand over the well. “Those of us who are advanced in the sharing memories jutsu,” Korra begins. “Can project those memories into water, just like the interdimensional viewing jutsu.”

Amaya, and her friends gasp. They did not know that.

Korra, looks at Jiraiya. “I would like to show you what my clan has been doing for the last seven years.” Korra says.

“Alright.” Jiraiya says. Jiraiya, carefully looks into the water. He is curious as to what Korra, wants to show him.

An image soon appear soon the water.

The image in the water is of a small baby with black hair, black eyes, and olive tinted skin, laying in a wooden cradle. The baby has Itachi’s eyes.

Jiraiya, looks at Korra. Korra nods. “Yes, the baby is Maria, or more formerly known as Aiko.” Korra says.

Wow, Jiraiya thinks. She sure does have Itachi’s eyes.

The image in the water changes to a small toddler, a little girl. The little girl has black hair, black eyes and olive tinted skin.

A woman with deep olive skin, dark hair and dark eyes, holds the toddlers hand. The two of them are walking through a garden.

“Maria, and her adoptive mother, Alessandra.” Korra says.  

Within a few minutes, the image changes again. The toddler has been replaced by a young girl about five years old. Alessandra, is nowhere to be seen.

The little girl is sitting in the garden, under a tree. The little girl giggles as she plays with a doll.

“Maria,” Korra says. “When she was five years old.”

Within a few minutes, the image changes again. Five year old Maria, has been replaced by a seven year old looking Maria. Maria, is sitting outside a building with other little girls. Maria, and the little girls giggle and chat as they eat.

“Maria,” Korra says. “When she first started school.”

Within a few minutes, the image changes again. The seven year old looking Maria, has been replaced by an eleven year old looking Maria. Maria, is sitting at a dining table. She is eating with Alessandra, a man, and two teenage boys.

“Maria,” Korra says. “With Alessandra, her adoptive father Vincente, and her two adoptive older brothers, Antonio and Emanuele.

The image in the water changes again. The eleven year old Maria, has been replaced by a teenage Maria. Maria, sits in a chair. Maria, is sewing on some bright red cloth. Maria, slowly hums to herself as she sews.

“Maria,” Korra begins. “When she was fourteen.”

The image in the water changes again. Maria, still looks like a teenager, yet she looks a little older. Maria, is wearing an ornate dress. A cake sits in front of her with fifteen candles. Maria, closes her eyes for a few minutes. When she opens her eyes, she blows out the candles.

“Maria,” Korra says. “On her fifteenth ‘birthday’. Since they did not know her birthdate, Maria’s, adoptive family, made her birthday the day that they found her.”

The image in the water changes again. Teenage Maria, has now been replaced by a young woman. The now adult Maria, is in the kitchen with Alessandra. The two of them happily talk as they cook together.

Korra, pulls her hand away from the water, ending the jutsu. Jiraiya, just stands there, trying to comprehend everything that Korra, showed him.

“Every night,” Korra begins. She looks at all of the other Kirai present. “All of us, would gather together, and check on Maria. We watched her live her life. We watched her grow up.”

“You all gathered together like this every night?” Jiraiya asks. He looks at all of the other Kirai’s. “To watch Maria?”

Korra, nods. “That is correct.” Korra says.

“You…,” Jiraiya begins. “You all must have really cared about her.”

Everyone holds their heads down. “Yes.” Korra says. “Yes, we did.”

After a few minutes, Korra, takes a deep breath. “There is also something else you must understand.” Korra says. “The dimension that Luna’s daughter was sent to is ruled by gods and goddesses. Unknown to most humans of course.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. “Gods and goddesses?” Jiraiya asks.

“Yes.” Korra says. “The most powerful are the big three. The big three are brothers: Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. Zeus, is the king of the gods and rules the sky. Poseidon, rules over the sea. Hades, rules over the underworld, the afterlife in that world. Sometimes, the god and goddesses have children with mortals. These children are demigods, or half-bloods. There is even a camp for these children to train in.”

Korra sighs. She then begins to tell Jiraiya all that she knows regarding the Greek Gods, Goddesses, and their world.

*******************************

Korra, finishes nearly thirty minutes later. Jiraiya’s eyes are wide.

“Absolutely amazing.” Jiraiya says. “But how does all of this pertain to Maria?”

Aizen sighs. “When Maria was twenty-one,” Aizen begins. “Vincente, went on a business trip to a country called the United States. He would have to stay there for six months, so the family traveled with him. They rented a house, in the capital, Washington D.C. It was in Washington, where Maria, met Hades.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. “Hades, the god of the underworld?” Jiraiya asks.

Aizen nods. “Of course,” Aizen begins. “Hades, kept his true identity and nature a secret from Maria. However, as it turns out, Maria, could see through the mist. Maria, realized that Hades, was different from other men. Hades, quickly realized this, and decided to reveal his true nature to Maria. Maria, actually accepted Hades, true nature. Underneath all of that dark persona and exterior that most people saw, Maria saw something else. Maria, saw Hades, as a kind and generous god. Maria, was already in love with Hades.”

“Eventually,” Korra says. “Hades and Maria’s romantic relationship led to Maria, becoming pregnant...with a demigod child.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. Maria...had a child...a demigod child. That means...Itachi Uchiha is a grandfather!

“Maria…,” Korra says. “Gave birth to a baby girl, named Bianca. Then, two years later, Maria, had a little boy, that she named Nico.

Jiraiya’s eyes widen even more. Maria had two children?

“Little Bianca and little Nico were so beautiful and adorable.” Korra says.

“For a while...Maria was happy.” Seiji says.

“However,” Korra says with a grave tone. “An event changed everything.”

“What happened?” Jiraiya asks.

“A World War broke out.” Aizen says. “It is known as World War II, in that world. It was basically a war between demigod children of the big three.”

Aizen, sighs. He quickly explains about the holocaust, the Nazi party, and how many of Hades adult children were involved in that.

“It was because of the carnage in Europe,” Aizen says. “That the gods turned against Hades. Things were not easy for Maria or the children either. The rise of a fascist dictatorship in Italy, forced Maria, to take her children and flee with her adoptive family. They first settled down in a town called Split, in a country called, Croatia. Then, Maria and the children moved to a country called the United States. They settled down in the capital, Washington, D.C., where Maria and Hades first met.”

“While Maria and the children had been living in Croatia,” Korra says. “The Oracle of Delphi...delivered a prophecy.”

Korra, takes a deep breath. “I shall recite the prophecy.” Korra says. She begins to recite the prophecy.

(Lines are from The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan)

“A half-blood of the eldest gods,

shall reach sixteen against all odds.

And see the world in endless sleep.

The hero’s soul, cursed blade shall reap.

A single choice shall end his days.

Olympus to preserve or raze.”


Korra, finishes reciting the prophecy. Jiraiya’s eyes are wide.

“So,” Jiraiya says. “A child of one of the big three, when he or she turned sixteen, would either save or destroy the world. Yikes!”

Korra, sighs. “So,” Korra says. “Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades...swore an oath...to sire no more demigod children...in order to prevent the prophecy from coming true. However, Nico and Bianca were both under sixteen at the time...so the prophecy could have pertained to them.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. He has a sickening feeling as to where this is going.

Korra, holds her hand over the water. An image forms in the water. Jiraiya, leans in, curious as to what, Korra is going to show him.

Two men stand in a secluded alleyway. One of the men has dark hair, dark eyes, and pale olive skin. The man wears a pinstripe suit. The other man, has black hair, electric blue eyes, and alabaster skin.

“Zeus.” The dark eyed man says to the man with electric blue eyes.

“Hades.” The electric blue eyed man, Zeus, says.

Jiraiya, raise a brow. So, Jiraiya thinks. Those two men are gods. Hades and Zeus.

The dark eyed man, Hades, then sneers. “I should have known that when you summoned me to meet with you, that you wouldn’t have us meet on Olympus.” Hades says. “You have never accepted me on Olympus!”

Zeus, does not respond. He continues to look at Hades.

“Why have you summoned me?” Hades quickly asks.

“I am sure that you remember the prophecy.” Zeus says. “It has come to my attention that you have two children under sixteen.”

Hades eyes widen. “I will not deny that.” Hades says. “However, I do not understand why you want to know about my children.”

"The prophecy can apply to those two children.” Zeus says. “I have decided that it would be best if they were handed over to camp Half-Blood, for proper training.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen and then narrow. Why would Zeus, have Hades send the children to Camp Half-Blood, when there isn’t even a cabin for them? Jiraiya, is now suspicious about Zeus’s motives.

Hades, eyes widen. Then, Hades narrows his eyes, as if suspicious of Zeus’s motives.

“You have one week to hand over the children.” Zeus says.

Zeus, turns to walk away. However, he turns to say something else.

“However, if you fail to hand over the children, there will be consequences!” Zeus says. Zeus, turns and walks away.

Jiraiya’s eyes widen.

Hades, eyes widen. He just stands there as if thinking really hard about something. All of the sudden, a voice can be heard.

“Do not trust Zeus!” The voice says. The voice is feminine. “Hide your children!”

Hades turns to see a girl wearing a colorful dress. The girl appears to be no older than twelve, and has dark hair and dark eyes.

“I know that you can sense deception in Zeus.” The girl says. “Zeus will not allow your children to live. He will attempt to destroy them. Your mortal lover will die with them if she is near them. The only way to prevent this is to hide the children from Zeus.”

Jiraiya, gasps. His eyes are wide.

Hades, gasps. His eyes are wide with horror. “NO!” Hades yells. “I cannot allow this. But where can I hide them?”

“You must pick a place where Zeus cannot sense the children.” The girl says. “However, you must hurry!”

Korra, ends the scene as she removes her hand from the water. Jiraiya’s eyes are wide.

“Who was that girl?” Jiraiya asks.

“The Oracle of Delphi.” Korra, says. “The oracle had come to warn Hades about what she had foreseen.”

Jiraiya, thinks about what he heard the oracle tell Hades. “What did Hades do?” Jiraiya asks.

Korra, closes her eyes. “Hades…,” Korra says. “Wanted to hide Maria and the children in the underworld. However, Maria, refused to take her children to the underworld. She did not believe that Zeus, would hurt her innocent little children. It was very bad judgement on Maria’s part.”

Jiraiya, blinks a few times. “Oh no…” Jiraiya says. “Zeus killed the children, didn’t he?”

Korra, holds her head down. “He tried to.” Korra says. “Maria, and the children had been staying at a hotel, when it happened. Hades, went there to try and convince Maria, to let him hide the children again. Of course, Hades, failed. Maria...was just too stubborn.”

Korra, holds her hand over the water. Another image soon forms in the water.

(Underlined parts are from The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan)

The image in the water is of Hades, sitting in a chair. A woman sits on a sofa, across from Hades, chair. The woman, has wavy black hair, black eyes,  olive tinted skin, and pink lips. The woman wears fancy black clothing.

Two little children run around marble columns inside the room. One of the children is a girl, with black hair, dark eyes, and olive skin. The girl has the woman’s smile. The other child is a little boy, younger looking. The little boy, has black hair, black eyes, and olive skin. The little boy has the woman’s eyes. Both of the children laugh and giggle as they play.

Hades, looks at the woman with anxious eyes.

“Please, my dear,” Hades says. “You must come to the underworld. I don’t care what Persephone thinks! I can keep you safe there.”

“No, my love.” The woman says. Raise our children in the land of the dead? I will not do this.”

“Maria, listen to me.” Hades says. “The war in Europe has turned the other gods against me. A prophecy has been made. My children are no longer safe. Poseidon and Zeus have forced me into an agreement. None of us are to have demigod children ever again.”

Jiraiya, watches the scene before him. So, Jiraiya thinks as he looks at the woman. That is Maria di Angelo, Itachi Uchiha’s daughter. She certainly is very beautiful.

Jiraiya, then remembers the children. The children must be Bianca and Nico, Jiraiya thinks. I do have to admit...they are adorable.

But you already have Nico and Bianca.” The woman, Maria, tries to argue. “Surely-”

“No!” Hades quickly says. “The prophecy warns of a child who turns sixteen. Zeus has decreed that the children I currently have must be turned over to Camp Half-Blood for proper training, but I know what he means. At best they’ll be watched, imprisoned, turned against their father. Even more likely, he will not take a chance. He won’t allow my demigod children to reach sixteen. He’ll find a way to destroy them, and I won’t risk that!”

“Certamente,” Maria says. “We will stay together. Zeus is un imbecile.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. He is pretty certain that Maria, just called Zeus, an imbecile.

Hades, looks up at the ceiling, as if he is nervous.

“Maria, please.” Hades says. I told you. Zeus gave me a deadline of last week to turn over the children. His wrath will be horrible, and I cannot hide you forever. As long as you are with the children, you are in danger too.”

Maria, just gives Hades a smile. “You are a god, my love.”  Maria says. “You will protect us. But I will not take Nico and Bianca to the underworld.”

Hades, wrings his hands.

“Then, there is another option.” Hades says. “I know a place in the desert where time stands still. I could send the children there, just for a while, for their own safety, and we could be together. I will build you a golden palace by the Styx.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen again. Hades, would have built Maria, a palace? Jiraiya thinks. Wow, he must have really loved her.

Maria, gives a gentle laugh. “You are a kind man, my love.”  Maria says. “A generous man. The other gods should see you as I do, and they would not fear you so. But Nico and Bianca need their mother. Besides, they are only children. The gods wouldn’t really hurt them.”

Hades looks Maria in the eye.

“You don’t know my family,” Hades says with a dark tone of voice. “Please, Maria, I can’t lose you.”

Maria, just smiles and gently touches Hades lips with her fingers.

You will not lose me.”  Maria, says with a confident voice. Wait for me while I get my purse. Watch the children.”

Maria gives Hades a kiss and gets up from the sofa. Hades, watches his mortal lover walk away with sad eyes.

All of the sudden, Hades tenses up. Little Bianca and little Nico stop playing. The children must sense something as well.

No!” Hades shouts. Hades, erects a wall of black energy around his children. Right after that, the hotel explodes!

Jiraiya, gasps with horror. Zeus, blew up the hotel!

After a few moments. The image comes back into focus. The hotel is totally destroyed. Hades, is kneeling in the ruins, holding Maria’s body.

Little Nico and little Bianca stand in the ruins of the hotel, both unharmed. The two children just stare at their mother’s body.

All of the sudden, a woman with leathery wings and yellowish eyes, appears behind the children.

That woman looks like a Fury. Jiraiya thinks. The Kirai’s had told Jiraiya, all about furies, the servants of Hades.

Lightning flashes across the sky above them. Thunder rumbles in the distance. Fires burn all around them, in the ruins of the hotel.

“Zeus!” Hades yells as he shakes his fist at the sky. “I will crush you for this! I will bring her back!”

My lord, you cannot.” The Fury says to Hades. “You of all immortals must respect the laws of death.”

Hades, trembles with absolute rage. However, after a few minutes, he calms down enough to speak.

“Take them,” Hades says to the Fury. He chokes back a sob. Wash their memories clean in the Lethe and bring them to the Lotus Hotel. Zeus will not harm them there.”

“As you wish, my lord,”  The Fury says. “And the woman’s body?”

“Take her as well,” Hades says. His voice is very bitter. “Give her the ancient rites.”

In a flash, The Fury, the children, and Aiko/Maria’s body disappear. Hades sits alone in the ruins of the hotel.

Korra, ends the jutsu. The image fades. Jiraiya’s, face is very solemn as he thinks about what he just witnessed.

“That…,” Jiraiya begins. “That was awful. Poor Maria.”

Korra, sighs. “Yes, poor Maria.” Korra says.

Seiji, clears his throat. “Alas.” Seiji says. “Hades was absolutely grief struck. After, the Fury, Alecto took the children and Maria’s body, Hades, was left alone in the rubble to grieve. However, he wasn’t truly alone.”

Amaya, and her friends all look at one another confused. They then remember that they ran away to grieve right after Alecto took the children and Aiko/Maria’s body. Did something happen while they were gone?

“The oracle of Delphi,” Korra says. “Appeared in the ruins of the hotel. This made Hades, absolutely furious, for he blamed the prophecy for causing Maria’s death. The oracle kept saying that she had nothing to do with what happened, and that it was partially Hades fault for not hiding the children like he should have. Every statement that the oracle said, just made Hades, angrier and angrier! Eventually...Hades lost it...and did something terrible. Hades...cursed the oracle!”

Amaya, her friends, and Jiraiya all gasp. Their eyes are wide.

“What...what did Hades do grandma.” Katara asks with wide eyes.

Korra, sighs. “I shall repeat the very lines that Hades uttered,” Korra says. “In order for you to understand the severity of it.”

 

(Underlined parts are from the Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan)

 

Korra, takes a deep breath. “These are the exact words Hades, uttered.” Korra says. “I swear, as long as my children remain outcasts, as long as I labor under the curse of your Great Prophecy, the oracle of Delphi will never have another mortal host.”

Amaya, her friends, and Jiraiya all gasp with horror. They all know why this is bad.

“You will never rest in peace.” Korra continues. “No other shall take your place. Your body will wither and die, and still the oracle’s spirit will be locked inside you. You will speak your bitter prophecies until you crumble to nothing. The oracle will die with you!”

Amaya, her friends, and Jiraiya all gasp. That is truly a horrible thing to curse someone with.

“The poor oracle.” Takara mutters. “Even though her prophecy led to Aiko’s death...she didn’t deserve to be cursed like that. Foreseeing the future was her job!”

Amaya, Katara, and Yuzuki, all stand silent. They don’t even know what to say about the whole thing.

Jiraiya, closes his eyes. One thing’s for certain, Jiraiya thinks. Getting on the wrong side of a god is very bad.

Aizen, takes a deep breath before continuing the story. “After cursing the oracle,” Aizen says. “Hades, eventually went back to the underworld. There, Alecto, had prepared an elaborate funeral pyre, to give Maria, a greek style cremation ceremony. While Hades, watched the pyre burn, Alecto, took the children to the river of Lethe. Alecto, dunked both Bianca, and Nico, into the river, wiping away their memories forever.”

“Why did Hades want to erase his children’s memories?” Jiraiya asks.

“More than likely,” Aizen says. “Hades, didn’t want his children to remember their mother’s death.”

“Alecto, disguised as a lawyer.” Seiji says. “Dropped the children off at a boarding school. Alecto, was ordered to tell the children, a cover story. Basically, both of their parents were dead, and their parents had left a bank trust for them. The children, having no memories, believed the story of course. And so, the children spent two years at the boarding school.”

“Their time at that boarding school was absolutely awful!” Amaya says. “The teachers were mean and the other students picked on them for being orphans and being dyslexic.”

“However,” Korra says. “The time eventually came that Hades decided to place them in the Lotus Hotel.”

Jiraiya, raises a brow. “The Lotus Hotel?” Jiraiya asks.

“A place where time stands still...or at least flows very slowly.” Korra says. “The place is run by a group of people called the Lotus Eaters. They lure people into their lair with amazing food, games, and entertainment. Their goal is to make the people that they lure into the hotel, want to stay there forever.”

“Alecto,” Aizen begins. “Disguised as a lawyer, took the children to the Lotus Hotel.”

Aizen, sighs. “During the children’s stay inside the Lotus Hotel,” Aizen says. “Zeus and Poseidon broke the oath. Zeus, sired a daughter...while Poseidon, sired a son.”

“After, Poseidon revealed that he had broken the oath,” Korra says. “Hades decided to take Bianca and Nico out of the hotel. Alecto, again disguised as a lawyer, came and removed the children from the hotel. The children thought that they had only been in there for a few weeks. But...in reality...over seventy years had passed in the outside world.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. “Seventy years!” Jiraiya says. “And they didn’t age?”

“Like we said,” Seji says. “Time stands still inside the Lotus Hotel and Casino.”

“We believe that Hades brought the children back out into the world,” Korra says. “So that one of them could possibly become the hero of the prophecy. Hades, had them taken to a military school, Westover Hall. The children were there for a year. A satyr, found them and attempted to take them back to Camp Half-Blood. However, a manticore tried to kidnap the siblings in order to bring them to the newly formed demigod and titan army, in order to overthrow the gods.”

Aizen, sighs. He begins telling of how Kronos began stirring, and how many demigods became disgruntled with their immortal parents, and began a rebellion with the titans. The satyr, had to summon a team of demigods to help him. Zeus’s daughter and Poseidon’s son were among them. Then, there was a battle in which the demigods almost lost. However, the the Goddess, Artemis, and her hunters arrived and saved the day. Then, the hunters invited Bianca, to become a hunter.

Aizen, sighs. “Bianca...accepted the hunters invitation...and became a hunter of Artemis.” Aizen says.

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. “Wow.” Jiraiya says. “Bianca, chose to join a goddess and a bunch of virgin girls, instead of going to camp.”

“Yes.” Amaya says lowly. “And in the process, she abandoned her little brother!”

“Yeah!” Takara says. “She chose to run away from her responsibility as an older sister!”

“Now, girls.” Korra says. “It was Bianca’s choice. We have to accept that.”

Amaya, Takara, Katara, and Yuzuki, all hold their heads down.

“I know…,” Amaya says. “But we still don’t like her decision.”

Aizen, sighs. He decides to continue the story. “Artemis,” Aizen says. “Decided to hunt down a beast capable of destroying Olympus. So she sent her hunters to stay at camp for a little while. However, Artemis, got captured by the titans. Zoë Nightshade, Artemis’s lieutenant, decided to lead a rescue mission, due to the oracle giving a prophecy. Zoë, chose to take Bianca, with her. The group also consisted of the satyr whom had found Nico and Bianca, and Zeus’s daughter. Poseidon’s son later followed, despite Zoë, not wanting him to come, due to him being a boy. Nico, made Poseidon’s son promise that he would protect, Bianca.”

“Even though Nico,” Seiji says. “Was upset with Bianca over her decision to join the hunters of Artemis, he still loved her.”

“Then,” Aizen says. “While Nico, was alone at camp one day, Hades came. Hades, told Nico, that him and Bianca were his children, and then left. Never to be seen again.”

Jiraiya, closes his eyes. Hades, Jiraiya thinks. Is some father to erase his children’s memories, and then just appear one day to tell his son that he is his father, and then just leave.

Aizen, clears his throat. “While the group was on their quest,” Aizen says. “They realized that Bianca and Nico had been in the Lotus Hotel for seventy years, because Bianca, recalled some things that had happened in the past. Too say that Bianca, was shocked was an understatement. However, she pulled herself together for the sake of the quest.”

“The quest was going great,” Korra says. “Until...the group came across the cursed junkyard of the gods.”

Aizen, says. “Nico…,” Aizen says. “Was obsessed with a card game called mythomagic. The cards all came with little golden figurines. Nico, had almost the whole collection of statues, except for one. Bianca, ended up finding the statue that Nico was missing in the junkyard. As if wanting to restore Nico’s faith in her, and a little bit of bad judgement, Bianca, took the little figurine without anyone noticing. However, things eventually turned dangerous.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. “What happened?” Jiraiya asks.

Korra, takes a deep breath. She holds her hand over the well. An image soon forms.

(Underlined parts are from The Titan’s Curse, by Rick Riordan)

The scene in the water is of a junkyard. Five children, mostly teenagers, are walking through the junkyard. The teenager leading the group, is a girl, with dark eyes and dark brown hair, a slightly upturned nose, and light coppery colored skin. A silver circlet, runs through the top of the girls hair.

“The girl leading the group is, Zoë Nightshade, Artemis’s lieutenant.” Korra says to Jiraiya, who nods in understanding.

The girl walking beside Zoë, looks to be about twelve. The girl, has dark eyes, dark hair, and olive skin.

Jiraiya, knows exactly who the girl is. The girl looks just like Bianca, as Jiraiya, remembers from the memory scene, just older.

“The girl beside Zoë, is Bianca.” Korra says.

“I pretty much figured that out.” Jiraiya says. “The girl looks just like the younger Bianca, from that one memory you showed me. Just older.”

Behind Zoë and Bianca, are three teenagers, two boys and one girl. The girl, has electric blue eyes, spiky black hair, and pale skin. The first boy, has curly brown hair, brown eyes, and a small goatee. The boy also walks with a slight limp. The second boy, has black hair, sea green eyes, and tan skin.

“The girl with blue eyes is Thalia, Zeus’s daughter.” Korra says. “The boy with the brown eyes is Grover Underwood, a Satyr. He is the one who found Nico and Bianca, at Westover. The boy with the sea green eyes is, Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon.”

Jiraiya, nods in understanding.

The group eventually reaches the end of the junkyard. A dark road lies before them.

“We made it out,” Zoë says with relief. “Thank the gods.”

However, the horrible sound of crushing metal can soon be heard. Ten toes suddenly tilt over in the mountain of garbage. A huge figure soon rises from the pile of garbage. The figure is a giant bronze robot wearing greek battle armor. The giant’s face is deformed.

Jiraiya, gasps at the sight of the metal giant. What is that!? Jiraiya thinks to himself. A giant metal robot. That world is crazy!

Zoë gasps. “Talos!” Zoë says.

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. The Kirai’s told him all about Hephaestus and his creations. Talos, is supposed to be one of Hephaestus’s most deadly creations!

“Who—who’s Talos?” Percy quickly asks.

“One of Hephaestus’s creations,” Thalia says. “But that can’t be the original. It’s too small. A prototype maybe. A defective model.”

Jiraiya’s, eyes widen even more. A defective model of Talos! Oh, great. Looks like the group is in real trouble now.

The metal giant, Talos, pulls a giant sword out of a metal belt. The sound of screeching metal is very loud.

“Someone took something,” Zoë says. “Who took something?”

Zoë gives Percy an accusing look. Percy just shakes his head.

“I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a thief.” Percy says.

Bianca, just stands there. A look of guilt is evident on her face.

Jiraiya, blinks a few times. He knows exactly why Bianca, looks so guilty. It’s because she is guilty.

The giant steps closer to the group.

“Run!” Grover says with a yelp. The group runs but it is hopeless. The giant is too fast. Thalia, runs towards the highway with the giant following her. Zoë, tries to shoot the giant with arrows, only to have the arrows bounce right back off of the giant.

Grover, brays and starts climbing up a pile of junk. Percy and Bianca quickly get behind a broken chariot. Percy looks at Bianca desperately. He then looks at her bow.

“You took something.” Percy says. “That bow.”

“No!” Bianca says with a quiver in her voice.

Jiraiya, gives Korra a questioning look. Korra, sighs.

“Bianca,” Korra says. “Had her eye on a bow while the group was in the junkyard. She was about to take it, but Zoë, stopped her and explained the curse of the junkyard. Bianca, put the bow back. When, the giant came after the group, Percy thought that it was the bow that she had taken.”

“But it was the mythomagic figurine for Nico, that Bianca had stolen, right?” Jiraiya asks.

Korra, sighs. “Yes.” Korra says.

“Give it back!” Percy says to Bianca. Throw it down!”

“I...I didn’t take the bow!” Bianca says. “Besides, it’s too late.”

What did you take?” Percy asks.

However, before Bianca can reply, the giant finds the pair. Talos, looms menacingly over the children.

“Move!” Percy yells.

Bianca and Percy get out the way just in time. The giant’s foot crushes the very spot where Bianca and Percy were hiding.

Jiraiya, winces. That sure was close! Jiraiya thinks.

“Hey, Talos!” Grover yells, trying to distract the giant from Percy and Bianca. However, the giant just keeps looking down at Percy and Bianca.

Grover, then begins to play his pipes. The downed power lines in the highway lift up and start to dance in the air. A few of the power lines wrap around Talos’s leg, sending jolts of electricity into the giant. Talos, whirls around and begins creaking. Sparks fly around the giant.

Percy, gets ready to run. “Come on!” Percy says to Bianca.

Bianca, just stands, frozen in her spot. Then, she slowly reaches into her pocket and takes out a small metallic figurine.

So, Jiraiya thinks. That is a mythomagic statue.

Jiraiya, looks closely at the figurine in Bianca’s hand. Jiraiya, gasps. The statue...is of Hades.

“It...it was for Nico.” Bianca says. “It was the only statue he didn’t have.”

“How can you think of Mythomagic at a time like this?” Percy asks.

Bianca, looks down. Her eyes are starting to fill with tears.

“Throw it down.” Percy quickly says. “Maybe the giant will leave us alone.”

Bianca, reluctantly lets go of the statue. The statue falls to the ground. However, this does nothing to stop the giants attack. Talos, continues to attack Grover. Grover, ends up getting buried under an avalanche of junk.

“No!” Thalia shouts. She raise her spear and sends a bolt of lightning into one of Talos’s knees. Talos, collapses. However, Talos, gets right back up.

Jiraiya, closes his eyes for a minute. Things sure are looking grim for the group. How can they possibly defeat this thing?

The giant raises it’s foot again. At the bottom of the giants foot is a small hole, just big enough for a person to crawl inside. Strange writing surrounds the hole.

Jiraiya, raise a brow. He looks at Korra. She quickly nods.

“The writing around the hole means: for maintenance only.” Korra says.

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. “If the giant has to be maintenanced,” Jiraiya says. “Then, that means the giant can be controlled from the inside!”

Korra, nods. “Exactly!” Korra says.

Jiraiya, then notices that Percy, is looking at the giant’s foot. He must notice the hole as well , Jiraiya thinks.

Percy, continues to look at the hole. He then turns to Bianca.

“Crazy-idea time.” Percy says.

Bianca’s eyes widen. “Anything.”

Percy, quickly tells Bianca of the hole in Talos’s foot.

“There must be a way to control the thing.” Percy says. “Switches or something. I’m going to get inside.”

Bianca’s eyes widen even more. “How?” Bianca asks. “You’ll have to stand under it’s foot! You’ll be crushed.”

“Distract it,” Percy quickly says. “I’ll just have to time it right.”

Bianca, tightens her jaw. No.” Bianca says. “I’ll go.”

Jiraiya, gasps. His eyes are wide.

Percy’s eyes are wide. “You can’t,” Percy says. “You’re new at this! You’ll die.”

“It’s my fault the monster came after us.” Bianca says. It’s my responsibility. Here.” Bianca quickly picks up the little gold statue of Hades. She presses it into Percy’s hand.

“If anything happens, give that to Nico.” Bianca says. Tell him...tell him I’m sorry.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen even more.

“Bianca, no!” Percy yells.

Bianca, quickly takes off running towards the giants left foot. Bianca, gets close. She carefully balances herself on a piece of metal by the giants foot.

“What are you doing?” Zoë asks.

“Get it to raise it’s foot!” Bianca yells.

Zoë shoots an arrow at the giants face. The arrow goes into the giants nose.

“Hey, Junk Boy!” Percy yells. “Down here.” Percy stabs the giants left big toe. The giant looks down and raise it’s foot. Bianca acts quickly. As quick as lightning, she crawls inside the hole.

The plan worked! Jiraiya thinks .

There is a line of handle bars that lead up the leg. However, the handle bars are placed in a circular pattern over inside of the leg. The handle bars look like a circular staircase.

Bianca, gasps. However, she gets a determined look on her face. Bianca, begins climbing up the leg using the handle bars to grab onto. She uses reflexes that she has never used before.

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. Those reflexes remind him of those a ninja would use. Could Bianca, be tapping into her shinobi roots?

Bianca, continues to climb up the giants leg. Sometimes, the movement of the giant’s leg nearly cause Bianca to lose her grip on the handle bars. However, Bianca, keeps climbing up the leg like there is no tomorrow. Every once in a while, Bianca’s eyes widen in horror as she hears the others yell outside. All of the sudden, the handle bar that Bianca, is holding onto creaks and starts to come loose. Bianca, acts quickly. She flings her body over to the side and quickly grabs onto another bar.

Jiraiya, gasps. That was truly amazing! Jiraiya thinks.

Bianca, finally reaches the giants torso. Bianca, keeps on climbing until she reaches the giants head. Wires and many parts are scattered around the giant’s head. All of the sudden, Percy and Thalia shout from outside.

“Grover!” Percy and Thalia yell.

Bianca’s eyes widen. She then closes her eyes for a few seconds. Bianca opens her eyes. Bianca’s eyes are no longer black. Bianca’s eyes glow red with one tomoe sharingan!

Jiraiya, gasps. His eyes are as wide as saucers. He nearly staggers back from shock.

Bianca...activated her sharingan. Jiraiya thinks. She truly is Itachi Uchiha’s granddaughter.

Bianca, with her newly activated sharingan, gets down to business. She quickly pulls on a lever.

The image shifts to the others, whom are outside. Talos, cocks his head. Talos, begins moving his arms and legs wildly, like he is dancing. Talos, then makes one of his hands into a fist and punches himself.

If the situation wasn’t so dire, Jiraiya, is certain that he would be laughing his head off at the sight of the giant moving around like that.

“Go, Bianca!” Percy yells.

Zoë looks at Percy, horrified. “She is inside?” Zoë asks.

Talos, continues to move around wildly. The giant is staggering around. Percy and Thalia quickly drag Grover over to the highway. Zoë is already standing in the highway.

“How will Bianca get out?” Zoë asks.

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. That is a good question.

The giant punches itself again. The giant begins to stagger towards the downed power lines.

“Look out.” Percy yells.

However, it is too late. The giant steps on the power lines. Electricity, shoots up the giants leg. The giant shudders and staggers back.

Jiraiya, lets out a horrified gasp. His eyes are wide.

The image in the water shifts back to Bianca inside the giant. Bianca, is hyperventilating, as if she is trying to catch her breath. It looks as if she is stunned and dazed by the shock of the electricity. Sparks fly from many of the electrical cords. All of the sudden a creaking sound can be heard. Bianca’s eyes widen. Everything inside the giant is going haywire! Then, pieces start to fall all around Bianca.

The image shifts back to outside. Talos, is running away. Pieces are falling off of the giant, one by one. Talos, is falling apart!

Jiraiya’s eyes widen even more. Oh-no!

“Wait!” Zoë shouts.

The image in the water shifts back to Bianca. Bianca closes her eyes as the head starts to move. All of the machinery inside the head falls down on top of Bianca. The image goes black.

Jiraiya, gasps. Bianca…, Jiraiya thinks. Did..did she?

The image suddenly comes back into focus. Bianca’s figure appears as a ghostly mist. She is in the underworld.

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. His eyes then become sad. Bianca...died.

The image in the water shifts back to Zoë, Percy, Thalia, and Grover. The giant has now completely fallen apart. Bianca’s friends search the wreckage, screaming Bianca’s name as they do.

“Bianca!” Percy yells frantically.

Jiraiya, just watches the group frantically search for Bianca. Knowing that she is indeed dead, makes watching the scene even more depressing.

Korra, dispels the jutsu. The image fades. Korra, looks at Jiraiya’s sad face.

“The prophecy given to Zoë,” Korra says. “Contained a line. One shall be lost in the land without rain. It was about, Bianca.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen, in realization of what Korra is saying. “So…,” Jiraiya says. “Bianca...was destined to die on the quest.”

Korra nods. Jiraiya, closes his eyes. That is even more depressing.

Aizen, takes a deep breath. “After Bianca’s death,” Aizen says. “My grandmother, Rina, fell ill with a mysterious fever. She died a couple of days later.”

Jiraiya’s, eyes are filled with sympathy. “I am sorry to hear that.” Jiraiya says.

Aizen, closes his eyes. “Thank you.” Aizen says.

Seiji, sighs. “During her illness,” Seiji says. “Old Rina, kept mumbling disturbing things.”

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. “Disturbing things?” Jiraiya asks.

“Old Rina,” Seiji begins. “Would mumble things like…Nico...dimensional rift...danger.”

Aizen, sighs. “After, my grandmother’s funeral,” Aizen says. “We all gathered together to check on Nico, because we were concerned about my grandmother’s words. However, we could not find Nico, at Camp Half-Blood. We checked the forest surrounding the camp, figuring that he had wandered off. We did find traces of his aura, in an area of the forest. However, we found traces of something else. A dimensional rift!”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. He realizes what Aizen, is trying to say.

“You’re saying that Nico, got sent to another dimension?” Jiraiya asks with wide eyes.

Aizen, nods. “Our dimension to be precise.” Aizen says.

Jiraiya’s eyes widen even more. “You mean...he is here?” Jiraiya asks.

Aizen, sighs. “Yes...but we do not know exactly where he is.” Aizen says. “We have been searching for him for almost a week now. Nico, is being very difficult to find.”

Aizen, then grits his teeth. “Don’t you get it now?” Aizen asks. “We are in the middle of a crisis! We need to find Nico, so we can send him back home! We were all about to search for Nico, again, when you arrived.”

Aizen, looks up at the sky. The sun is in its four O’clock position now. Aizen, grits his teeth even more.

“We wasted hours talking to you!” Aizen, says. “Now, please, just leave! We have work to do!”

“Wait!” Jiraiya says. “Please, just hear me out!”

All of the Kirai’s give Jiraiya, curious looks.

“Let my village help you search for Nico.” Jiraiya says. “I am certain that once I explain everything to them, they will gladly help search for the boy.”

Aizen, narrows eyes. “And why should we trust your village?” Aizen asks. “Nico, is the grandson of Itachi Uchiha! How do we know that the ninjas of Konoha, won’t murder Nico in cold blood!”

“I can assure you that will not be the case.” Jiraiya says. “My former teammate and fellow Sannin, Tsunade, is Hokage. Nico, is innocent of Itachi’s crimes. I know for a fact that Tsunade, would not condone the execution of an innocent child.”

Aizen, closes his eyes. He thinks carefully about Jiraiya’s words.

“I know that you distrust outsiders.” Jiraiya says. “But, you can trust Konoha. Please, let us help you!”

Aizen, opens his eyes. He looks at his fellow Kirai’s. Many of the elders, have indescribable expressions on their faces. After a while, Korra sighs. She walks over and puts a hand on Aizen’s shoulder.

“Aizen,” Korra says slowly. “I think that it is time to admit that we need help looking for young Nico. Face it...we have been at it for a week now...with no success. The longer it takes us to find and retrieve him...the more opportunity that Nico, can get himself into trouble. Just think of the consequences, if the Akatsuki, or even Orochimaru, were to discover Nico’s existence!”

Aizen, closes his eyes again. “I know…,” Aizen says slowly.

After a few minutes, Aizen, opens his eyes. “Alright.” Aizen says. “We will accept help from Konoha.”

Jiraiya, nods. “I assure you,” Jiraiya says. “You are making the right decision.”

Aizen, closes his eyes. “Thank you.” Aizen says.

As all of the other Kirai, talk about Konoha helping the village, Jiraiya, thinks about the situation.

This is a very bad situation indeed, Jiraiya thinks to himself. The boy...has the powers of a god...the blood of the Kirai Clan, and the blood of the Uchiha Clan. If all of that power fell into the wrong hands...I dread to think of the outcome.

Jiraiya, looks up at the sky. He tries to imagine Tsunade’s, reaction to all of this, when he eventually tells her.

Jiraiya, stands in front of Tsunade’s desk. Shizune, stands close by. Jiraiya, quickly finishes telling Tsunade of what the Kirai’s told him.

Tsunade, just sits in her chair, silent. Her eyes are wide from the information, just given to her. Tsunade, then starts to rub her temples.

“Shizune…,” Tsunade says slowly. “Go get me a bottle of sake. You know what, go get me two bottles!”

“Lady Tsunade,” Shizune says slowly.

“NOW!” Tsunade yells.

Jiraiya, sighs to himself, when he finishes thinking about that. I just hope that Tsunade is not in a terrible mood when I tell her all of this. Jiraiya thinks.

*********************

Nico, grits his teeth. The sun is in its four O’clock position. Nico, has been at it for hours now. However, he has made some progress. Nico, can now take ten steps without sinking into the water. Now, Nico, has to try and learn to run on water, and stay on top of the water after he stops running.

Just a little more, Nico inwardly tells himself. You can do it!

Nico, takes a deep breath. He makes the hand sign for chakra control again. Nico, takes a deep breath and take off running across the water. Of, course he stays along the edge of the shoeline, so he doesn’t run too far out into the lake. Nico, stops running. He stays afloat on top of the water, and his feet do not sink.

Yes! Nico thinks. When I stopped running I didn’t end up sinking!

“Very good!” Kiseki says. “Just keep practicing, and eventually it will come naturally to you.”

Kiseki, then notices Nico’s tired face. “You should probably stop now.” Kiseki says. “You have probably exhausted most of your chakra reserves by now. You will need to let your body recharge before we train again.”

“Alright.” Nico says. Nico, steps off of the waters surface and sits down on the shoreline. Nico, is very tired, but satisfied with his work today.

Chapter Text

The sun is now in its five O’clock position. Nico, and Kiseki are now gathering firewood to make a fire with. Nico, carries an armful of twigs. Kiseki, walks ahead. He carries an armful of twigs as well.

Kiseki, looks at the amount of wood that the two of them have gathered.

“This should do it.” Kiseki says. “Let’s find a place to set up camp. Then, we shall go hunting.”

Nico, nods. He prepares to follow Kiseki into the forest. However, Kiseki, looks towards the east and frowns. He shakes his head.

“No hunting today.” Kiseki says. He points towards the west. “Look!”

Nico, looks towards the west. Dark gray clouds are gathered in the distance. The clouds light up a little with flashes of lightning. Low rumbles of thunder come from where the gray clouds are gathered.

Nico, frowns. “It’s gonna storm.” Nico says.

“Yes.” Kiseki says. “Bummer.”

Kiseki, then looks towards the shallow lake. He then looks towards the north.

“If we are quick, we may be able to catch a few fish.” Kiseki says. “I also know of a great place to take shelter towards the north.”

Kiseki, then sets down his wood and reaches into his pack. Kiseki then takes out some rope. He motions for Nico, to set down his wood. Nico, sets down his wood. Kiseki, then points to a deeper part of the lake.

“Fish,” Kiseki says. “Like to gather in that area over there. Go catch a few fish, while I tie up all of our wood. The wood will be easier to carry this way.”

Nico, nods. He quickly goes over to the deeper portion of the lake. Fish, swim about in the water. Nico, crouches down and holds his hand over the water and eyes a fish. As quick as lightning, Nico, grabs the fish. Nico, sets the flopping fish down behind him, that way the fish does not flop itself right back into the water. Nico, eyes another fish and repeats the process. After two minutes of doing this, Nico, has four fish. Nico, quickly grabs a rock and strikes each fish on the head. All of the fish stop moving. Nico, then grabs a stick. Using the pointed end of the stick, Nico, takes each fish, and feels for the thinnest parts of the mouths. Nico, sticks the pointed end of the stick into each of the fishes mouths. Nico, can now carry all of the fish conveniently. Kiseki, walks over with the tied up bundles of wood in his arms.

“Good idea.” Kiseki says, approving of Nico’s idea to carry the fish. “Come on, let’s hurry!”

Nico, gives another nod and begins following Kiseki towards the north. The two of them practically run.

***************************

Jiraiya, sits in the Kirai elders indoor gathering place. The indoor gathering place is a large house, in the center of the village. The central room is for gathering together for meetings.

Jiraiya, and the elders are all seated around a table. They are currently discussing how they should approach Konoha.

“I know that Tsunade, will want to believe me.” Jiraiya, says. “However, I feel that I will still need proof. Maybe...one of you should come with me.”

Aizen, nods. “I was just thinking of that.” Aizen says. “However, I will have to decide on who would be the best to send. I know that I cannot go myself, being the leader of the village.”

Jiraiya nods. “I understand.” Jiraiya says. “I was actually thinking of one of the elders.”

Jiraiya, looks at Korra. “I am sure that if you could show Tsunade, what you showed me,” Jiraiya says. “Tsunade would be very convinced by your story.”

Korra, manages a nod. “I may be old but I still have good health.” Korra says. “Most of the members of the Kirai Clan, live very long lives. We have always had excellent health. The oldest living Kirai, lived to be a hundred and two years old!”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. “Really?” Jiraiya asks.

“Yes,” Korra says. She smiles. “Like I said, I may be old...but I still have some life left. Besides...I can always take a horse. Kirai’s are also excellent horse riders.”

Jiraiya, nods. “Alright.” Jiraiya says.

Amaya, and her friends all look at one another. They nod.

“I request that I go!” Amaya says. “Luna, was my very best friend. I feel obligated to share with others about what a wonderful person she was.”

Aizen, blinks a few times. However, he just nods. He can tell that his sister is serious.

“I request that I go as well!” Katara says. “Luna, was my best friend too!”

“I want to go as well!” Yuzuki says. “Luna, was my friend too!”

Takara, sighs. “I would like to go too.” Takara, says. “However…, I know that Taki, would not be able to manage the house with both Amaya and I gone. Besides...I did sprain my left ankle as a little girl. Every now and again...if I walk too much...the foot will swell up and ache. The trip to Konoha, would be too hard on me. I know that I could take a horse like Korra, but looking after two horses would be too much of a hassle.”

Aizen nods. “Alright.” Aizen says. “Lord Jiraiya, will take Korra, Amaya, Katara, and Yuzuki to Konoha, to explain our situation. Any other volunteers?”

Many of the people gathered just look at one another. Eventually, Tarou, sighs.

“I will go!” Tarou says.

Aizen, nods. He looks around the room one last time to see if anyone else wants to volunteer. No one else volunteers.

“Alright.” Aizen says. “Korra, Amaya, Katara, Yuzuki, and Tarou, shall go with Lord Jiraiya to Konoha.” Aizen says.

Jiraiya, nods. “Alright.” Jiraiya says. “I think that it would be best if we leave first thing in the morning. I estimate that it will take two days to get to Konoha.”

Aizen, nods. He looks at everyone going with Jiraiya, in the morning. “Remember to pack tonight!” Aizen says.

Everyone going with Jiraiya nods. All of the sudden, Amaya, gets an idea.

“Aizen,” Amaya says. “I was just wondering...maybe Daniel, should go with us to Konoha.”

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. “Daniel?” Jiraiya asks. “Who’s Daniel?”

Aizen sighs. “Daniel Kingston.” Aizen says. “We took him in after we found him wandering around the valley, trying to find shelter from a storm. Daniel, was sent through a dimensional rift to our world many years ago. Daniel, is actually from Nico’s world!”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen. “Really?” Jiraiya asks.

Aizen, nods. “Yes.” Aizen says. “Not only that...Daniel is actually a demigod...just like Nico.”

Jiraiya’s eyes widen even more. “Really?” Jiraiya asks again.

Korra, nods. “Yes.” Korra says. She looks at Amaya. “Good thinking. Maybe if we actually introduce a demigod to the hokage, the hokage will be more inclined to believe our story about Nico’s godly heritage.”

Amaya, nods. “I will go get Daniel, and introduce him to lord Jiraiya.” Amaya, says. Amaya, then gets up from her seat and runs out of the room.

As the others wait for Amaya, to come back, Aizen notices that Hoshiko, has a look of deep thought on her face.

“Hoshiko,” Aizen says. “Are you alright? You seem to be thinking about something.”

Hoshiko, sighs. “I was just thinking about my brother, Jarou.” Hoshiko says.

Aizen, looks over at Jiraiya. “Hoshiko’s older brother, Jarou, does not live in our village.” Aizen says. “When we moved to this valley, Jarou, decided to stay behind. The last we knew, he made a home in a cave close to our old village.”

Korra, sighs. “On the night our village was attacked,” Korra begins. “Jarou, tried to save Luna and baby Aiko, from the bandit. Jarou, failed to save Luna. A lot of us think that Jarou, was too ridden with guilt over his failure to save Luna, to move with us.”

Jiraiya, nods. “I understand.” Jiraiya says.

Korra, then narrows her eyes. “I do remember that Jarou’s skill with the interdimensional tracking jutsu,” Korra says. “Was quite comparable to Rina’s.”

Hoshiko, sighs. “Yes.” Hoshiko says. “I am beginning to wonder if Jarou, could possibly know where young Nico is at.”

Korra, narrows her eyes. “It is a possibility.” Korra says. “We definitely need to go talk to Jarou.”

Hoshiko, nods. “I will go and talk to, Jarou.” Hoshiko, says. “I will take my son, Michiru, and Michiru’s son, Kaiza.”

Seiji, sighs. “I will go with you.” Seiji says. “Jarou, and I were such good friends. It would be good to see him again.”

Yuzuki’s uncle, Setorou, lets out a sigh. “I will go with you as well.” Setorou says. “All of you will need protection.”

Hoshiko, nods her head. “Thank you.” Hoshiko says.

Aizen, nods his head. “Alright.” Aizen says. “Hoshiko, Michiru, Kaiza, Seiji and Setorou, will go talk to Jarou, in the morning.”

All of the sudden, Amaya, and Daniel enter the room. Amaya’s face is solemn.

“I just heard from a group of hunters who returned that there is a huge storm system heading this way.” Amaya says. “They heard from some people in the town close by that the storm apparently stretches all the way from the northern part of the Land of Rivers, all the way into the Land of Earth! We may be lucky to leave in the morning!”

Everyone present just groans at the news.

****************************

Nico, and Kiseki sit in their shelter. Their shelter is an old village carved into the side of a cliff. Kiseki, told Nico, that the site is ancient and was built by a group of people, many hundreds of years ago. According to stories, the people had to leave due to warfare. However, the site is still a good resting place and shelter, for people traveling this way.

Nico, and Kiseki just sit by the fire that they built. The fish that Nico, caught slowly cooks on the spit. Nico, and Kiseki look outside at the storm raging outside. Rain pours down from the sky. Thunder booms in the distance. Lightning flashes across the sky.

“I am sure glad that we made it in here when we did.” Kiseki says. Nico, nods in agreement.

Kiseki, watches as oil starts to drip from the fish. The type of fish that Nico, caught are know to be oily. Oil dripping from the fish while its cooking, is usually an indicator that it is done. Kiseki, sticks a stick into each fish. All of the fish are tender.

“The fish are done.” Kiseki says.

Kiseki, takes out two plates from his bag and places two fish on each plate. Kiseki hands a plate to Nico.

“Thank you.” Nico says.

Nico, and Kiseki wait a few minutes before digging into their fish.

***************************

Jiraiya, stands in the Kirai’s meeting room. Everyone is concerned about the storm that is heading their way.

“If it is still storming in the morning,” Katara, begins. “Then, we will not be able to leave.”

Korra, sighs. “I know.” Korra says. “It is another terrible setback.”

All of the sudden, Aizen notices, that his great-aunt, Atsuko, is pacing around the room. She has a look of deep thought on her face.

“Great-aunt Atsuko,” Aizen says. “Is everything alright?”

Atsuko, sighs. “I was just thinking of something.” Atsuko says. “Dimensional rifts not made by a member of the Kirai Clan, are incredibly rare. What are the chances of baby Aiko, being sent through a dimensional rift, and then many years later, her son is sent through a rift?”

Everyone in the room gasps, when they all realize what Atsuko, is saying.

“You don’t think the dimensional rift that sent Aiko to the other world was ‘natural’?” Katara, quickly asks.

“Or the dimensional rift, that sent Nico here?” Amaya asks.

Atsuko, nods her head. “My thoughts exactly.” Atsuko says.

“But...who would do such a thing?” Takara asks.

Korra, narrows her eyes. “The only Kirai’s capable of opening a dimensional rift would be descendants of Kaito or descendants of Seto.” Korra says.

Atsuko, narrows her eyes. “Now that I think about it,” Atsuko says. “I don’t recall any descendants of Kaito or Seto living near Luna or her family...And Takeo, was already dead when the dimensional rift opened up in front of Luna. The descendants of Kaito, and other descendants of Seto, would not have know that Luna and Aiko, were about to be killed by the bandit. I at least think that the dimensional rift that sent Aiko, to the other world, was natural. But...I don’t that the dimensional rift that sent Nico here was natural.”

“But…,” Aizen begins. “Who would want to send Nico, here?”

“That is a good question.” Atsuko says.

Many of the elders give accusing looks to descendants of Kaito in the room. All of them shake their heads.

“I swear that didn’t do it!” One man says.

“I didn’t do it either!” Another man says.

“I had nothing to do with it!” A third man says. “Why would I do such a thing?”

“I absolutely swear that I didn’t do it!” Setorou says.

“Don’t look at me!” Yuzuki’s older brother, Yuudai says.

“Don’t look at me either!” A woman says.

Korra, sighs. “We can rule out, Yuzuki,” Korra says. “Because she didn’t even know that she was a descendant of Kaito until last night. However, that still leaves Masaru, Misaki, and Misaki’s family.”

“And the descendants of Seto.” Seiji says. “However, all of the descendants of Seto, are directly related to Takeo...and Nico is Takeo’s great-grandson. I can’t imagine them wanting to put Nico, in danger like this.”

Korra, sighs. “We shall go ask Masaru and Misaki about this.” Korra says. “If we don’t find any answers then we shall go find the descendants of Seto.”

Everyone else nods. The elders, Aizen, Amaya and her friends, and Jiraiya, all head out the door.

****************************

About ten minutes later the group arrives at a house. An old woman and a few middle aged men and women are making last minute preparations for the approaching storm.

“Misaki.” Aizen says to the old woman. The old woman, Misaki, looks at Aizen. Misaki, has grey hair and blue grey eyes.

“Aizen,” Misaki says with surprise. “How may I help you?”

“As you know,” Aizen begins. “We have been looking for Nico, Luna’s grandson, since he was sucked through a dimensional rift and sent to this world. We now think that the dimensional rift that sent him here was not ‘natural’.”

Misaki’s eyes widen and then narrow. Misaki’s children all narrows their eyes.

“You think that one of us had something to do with what happened to Nico?!” Misaki’s son, Jin, asks. Jin, has black hair and blue grey eyes.

“Please, Aizen.” Misaki says. “None of us had anything to do with it!”

“Absolutely not!” Misaki’s daughter, Mira says. Mira, has long black hair and grey blue eyes.

“What about Masaru?” Aizen quickly asks.

Misaki, Misaki’s children, and Misaki’s oldest grandchildren, all narrow their eyes.

“My brother?” Misaki asks. “Well...none of us see him very much. As you know, Masaru, has isolated himself in a cave.” Misaki, points to a visible cave, on the valley wall close by.

“Uncle Masaru,” Jin says. “Isolated himself in that cave after he pretty much lost his entire family in the attack seven years ago. All except for...little Masaomi.”

“Yes we know.” Korra says with a solemn voice.

Masaru Kirai, is Misaki’s twin brother. Masaru, lost his wife, two adult sons, all three of his daughters and practically all of his grandchildren, in the attack several years ago. The only survivor of Masaru’s family, was his infant grandson, Masaomi. Masaru, was absolutely grief struck. So grief struck...that he could not properly care for baby Masaomi. So, Misaki and her family had to step in and raise baby Masaomi. Masaru, then isolated himself in a cave. They all seldom hear from Masaru. However, little Masaomi, now seven, will sometimes go and visit his grandfather.

“Has little Masaomi, seen Masaru lately.” Aizen quickly asks.

Misaki, narrows her eyes. “Yes,” Misaki says. “I am sure that he has. Let us ask him.”

Misaki, walks towards the door to the house. “Masaomi,” Misaki calls through the door. “Can you come here for a minute?”

A few seconds later, a little boy with dark brown hair and blue grey eyes, appears in the doorway.

“Yes, Great-aunt Misaki,” The little boy, Masaomi, says. “What do you want?”

“I need to know,” Misaki says. “Have you seen your grandfather lately?”

Masaomi’s eyes become a little sad. “I tried to visit him about a week ago.” Masaomi says. “However, he sent me away. He said that he had important work to do and that it was critical.”

Misaki’s eyes narrow. “Important work?” Misaki asks. “Did he say what it was?”

Masaomi, shakes his head. “No,” Masaomi says. “But he was holding his hand over a well full of water and looking into it, as if he was looking for something.”

Misaki’s eyes widen. She looks over at Aizen, who nods. Aizen, quickly gestures for the others to follow him to Masaru’s cave. Misaki, follows the group.

**************************

The group eventually reaches Masaru’s cave. Misaki, and Aizen go in first.

The cave is very clean and airy. The walls have been whitewashed. The floor has been smoothed out with dried mud, almost like adobe. Torches line the entrance.

In the middle of the cave is a hearth, the hearth’s fire glows brightly in the cave. To one side of the cave is a bed. A huge wooden cabinet like object wraps around a smooth wall that juts out like a peninsula.

On the other side of the cave is a man made well of water. An old man stands in front of the well. The old man’s hand is hovered over the water. The old man’s blue grey eyes look carefully into the water.

“Masaru.” Misaki says, getting the old man’s attention. “What are you doing?”

“Misaki!” The old man, Masaru, says with surprise. His eyes then narrow when he sees who his sister has brought with her.

“Aizen,” Masaru says. “Korra...Seiji...Atsuko. What do all of you want?”

Aizen, narrows his eyes. “We want to talk to you about Nico.” Aizen says.

Masaru’s eyes widen. He then sighs.

“Look…,” Masaru says. “I know what you are thinking, since I am a descendant of Kaito.”

“Well,” Aizen says with narrowed eyes. “Did you send Nico here?”

“Look…,” Masaru says with desperate eyes. “I...I...I.”

However, the guilty eyes and the stutter in Masaru’s voice tells everyone exactly what they need to know.

“It was you!” Korra says with anger.

“Oh, brother!” Misaki cries with despair. “What have you done?”

Masaru, grits his teeth. “I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO!” Masaru yells. “I had to do something. I did what I had to do!”  

“What do you mean?” Aizen says with narrowed eyes.

Masaru, sighs. “It would make more sense if I showed you.” Masaru says. He makes a hand sign and puts his hand back over the water.

Amaya, and her friends look at one another. Masaru, must also be a descendant of Luna. Amaya thinks to herself.

An image soon forms in the water. It is of Nico and Percy Jackson. They are in the pavilion at Camp Half-Blood.

“This happened when Percy Jackson,” Masaru says. “Had to tell Nico, that Bianca, had died on the quest.”

(All underlined parts are from The Titan’s Curse, by Rick Riordan)

Nico and Percy stand in the pavilion. The wind blows lowly inside the camp.

“And then…,” Percy says with a sad voice. “The giant...Talos...fell apart. We looked in the wreckage for Bianca...but we couldn’t find her. I am so sorry. We looked until sunrise.”

Nico, just stands there in silence. He only blinks as Percy finishes telling him about Bianca.

The Kirai’s present look at the scene with sad eyes. Jiraiya, looks at the scene with sad eyes as well.

“Bianca,” Percy says. “Sacrificed her herself to save all of us, knowing that it was her fault that the giant came after us. She was really brave.”

Nico, is still silent as he takes in Percy’s words.

All of the Kirai, are now a tad bit concerned. Why isn’t Nico, saying anything?

Jiraiya, narrows his eyes. I don’t think that Nico, being silent is a good sign. Jiraiya thinks.

She wanted you to have this.” Percy says. Percy then fishes the gold statue out of his pocket. Percy sets the statue in Nico’s hand. Nico, just holds the statue in his palm and stares at it.

“You promised you would protect her,” Nico says with a slightly broken voice.

Percy’s face is ridden with guilt.

“Nico,” Percy says. “I tried. But Bianca gave herself up to save the rest of us. I told her not too. But she—”

“You promised!” Nico says, cutting Percy off. Nico’s eyes are now rimmed with red. He glares at Percy. Nico, close his fist around the statue in his hand.

All of the Kirai’s and Jiraiya, just watch the scene with sad eyes.

“I shouldn’t have trusted you.” Nico says with a broken voice. “You lied to me. My nightmares were right!”

All of the Kirai’s and Jiraiya, narrow their eyes. Nightmares?

“Wait.” Percy says with a confused tone of voice. “What nightmares?”

Nico, flings the statue to the ground. The statue clatters as it hits the icy marble below.

“I hate you!” Nico finally says.

“She might be alive,” Percy says with a desperate voice. “I don’t know for sure—”

“She’s dead.” Nico says. His body trembles with rage. “I should’ve known it earlier. She’s in the Fields of Asphodel, standing before the judges right now, being evaluated. I can feel it.”

All of the Kirai and Jiraiya, gasp. Nico, can seriously sense that?

Percy’s eyes are wide with confusion. “What do you mean, you can feel it?” Percy asks.

However, before Nico can reply, a hissing and clattering noise comes from behind Percy. Percy’s eyes widen. He draws his sword and Nico lets out a gasp. Percy turns. Standing there, are four skeleton warriors.

All of the Kirai and Jiraiya gasp. Their eyes are wide. They all look at Masaru. Masaru, shakes his head. He doesn’t know how this happened either.

“They look like the skeletons that worked for the titans.” Korra says. “But how did they get past the camp boundaries?”

Everyone gasps again. Their eyes are wide. They have a gut feeling as to how the skeletons got into camp.

“Oh no!” Amaya, says. “Could Nico have summoned those skeletons into camp by accident?”

Masaru, sighs. “My thinking is that the skeletons were patrolling the camp boundaries.” Masaru says. “The skeletons sensed Nico’s anger, and with Nico being a child of Hades, his anger ‘accidentally’, summoned the skeleton warriors into camp.”

Everyone just looks at one another. They all continue to look at the scene in the water.

Percy, continues to stare at the skeleton warriors. Nico’s eyes flash with anger.

“You’re trying to kill me!” Nico screams at Percy. “You brought these...these things?”

“No!” Percy says with desperation. “I mean, yes, they followed me, but no! Nico, run. They can’t be destroyed.”

Nico, continues to glare at Percy. “I don’t trust you!” Nico yells.

A skeleton charges at Percy. Percy, knocks aside the skeleton warriors blade. However, the other three skeleton warriors charge. Percy, manages to cut one in half. However, the skeleton warrior quickly starts to knit itself back together. Percy manages to cut another skeleton warriors head off. However, this does nothing to stop the skeletons attack. The now headless skeleton warrior, continues to attack Percy.

All of the Kirai gasp. So does Jiraiya. Things are not looking very good for the son of Poseidon!

Percy continues to fight the skeleton warriors.

“Run, Nico!” Percy yells. “Get help!”

“No!” Nico yells. He presses his hands to his ears.

Percy continues to bravely fight the skeleton warriors. However, it is futile. Any minute now and he will be overpowered.

“No!” Nico yells louder. “Go away!”

All of the sudden, the ground rumbles, and the four skeleton warriors stop dead in their tracks. Percy manages to get out of the way, before a crack starts to open up beneath the skeleton warriors. Flames erupt from the fissure. Within seconds the skeleton warriors are swallowed up by the flames and earth. The fissure closes up. A moment of silence follows. Now, a huge scar runs across the pavilion, right where the fissure opened up.

All of the Kirai gasp. Did Nico...just...send the skeletons back to the underworld?

Jiraiya’s eyes are wide. He is amazed by the power that Nico, just displayed.

Percy, quickly looks at Nico, with an awestruck look on his face. Percy opens his mouth to speak. “How did you—”

“Go away!” Nico yells, cutting Percy off. Nico’s eyes are filled with hate. “I hate you! I wish you were dead!”

Nico, then turns and runs down the steps of the pavilion. Nico, runs towards the woods. Percy, tires to follow but he slips on the statue. Percy, picks up the statue and looks carefully at it. His eyes soon become wide. He looks towards the direction in which Nico, ran. Percy, then gets a look of dread on his face.

All of the Kirai’s gasp. Jiraiya’s eyes become solemn. Percy...must have realized that Nico, is Hades son.

The image in the water soon switches to Nico. Nico, runs through the forest. Tears now run down Nico’s face.

Korra, gasps. “Nico ran outside the camp boundaries!” Korra yells.

Nico continues to run through the forest. Tears stream down his pale face. Eventually he stops and falls to his knees. Through his sobs he utters one word.

“Bianca…..” Nico says. He continues to cry.

All of the Kirai watch the scene with sad eyes. Jiraiya’s eyes are sad as well.

After a few minutes, Nico slowly straightens himself. He runs his fingers through his black hair, straightening it. However, tears continue to stream down his face. Nico, then  frowns and looks at the ground. Nico's, eyes look as if he deep in thought. However, after a minute or so he just sighs. Nico, stands back up. All of the sudden a loud thud comes from behind him. Nico turns around. Standing above him is a large and tall one eyed creature! A Cyclops!

All of the Kirai’s and Jiraiya gasp with horror. A Cyclops!

“Cyclops…,” Jiraiya begins. “Eat demigods...don’t they?”

All of the Kirai nod in confirmation.

Nico gulps. “C...y...c...l..o..p..s…” Nico says as he stutters a little.

The Cyclops looks down at Nico. The Cyclops then licks his lips. “Yum ,a demigod,” he says. “Time for dinner!” The Cyclops starts to move one of his huge hands towards Nico.

Jiraiya and all of the Kirai’s gasp with horror

Nico’s eyes widen in horror. “NO! DON’T EAT ME,” Nico yells. He quickly gets to his feet and dodges the Cyclops’s huge hand.

“Come back, little demigod!” The Cyclops says. The Cyclops chases Nico around the forest. The Cyclops keeps trying to grab Nico. Luckily, Nico manages to dodge the Cyclops’s hands each time. Nico tries to hide behind a tree. The Cyclops rips it out of the ground and throws it far away.

“Come here, little demigod,” the Cyclops says. “I am so hungry!” The Cyclops continues to chase Nico around the forest.

All of the sudden, a swirling blue mass of energy starts to descend from the sky. The swirling blue mass of energy eventually forms into a tornado. A dimensional rift!

All of the Kirai’s gasp. Jiraiya, gasps as well. They all look at Masaru, who has his head down.

The trees in the forest begin to sway violently and shake in the wind. Withered leaves that have remained on the trees, despite the winter are ripped off of branches and sucked into the vortex. It is only until then that Nico and the Cyclops notice the strange phenomenon. The Cyclops stops running and stares at it confused. Nico tries to use this opportunity to escape. However ,the wind is so powerful that it lifts Nico off of the ground. He lets out a gasp as he is pulled into the vortex. The blue vortex eventually ascends back into the sky. It disappears completely.

All of the Kirai’s gasp. Jiraiya gasps as well. They all look at Masaru.

“So,” Amaya begins. “You brought Nico to this world to save him from being eaten by a cyclops?”

Masaru, slowly nods. He holds his head down.

Korra, frowns. “It may be true that you saved Nico, from the cyclops.” Korra says. “But you put him in even greater danger by bringing him here.”

“I know,” Masaru says slowly. “I passed out from the chakra usage. When I awoke, I tried to find Nico, using the interdimensional tracking jutsu. However…,I cannot find him!”

“You can’t find him either?” Aizen asks.

Masaru, nods slowly. Aizen, sighs. He quickly introduces Jiraiya, to Masaru, and explains Jiraiya’s offer.

“You,” Aizen says to Masaru. “Are going to go to Konoha with Lord Jiraiya and the others and explain what you did to the Hokage!”

Masaru, closes his eyes. “I understand.” Masaru says. “However, there are a few things that need to be discussed.”

“Like what?” Aizen asks.

Masarus sighs. “I have been looking for Nico.” Masaru says. “But due to the prophecy, I have also been keeping an eye on the happenings in Nico’s world.”

Masaru, sighs. He begins telling of how the quest to save Artemis panned out after Bianca’s death. He tells of how Zoë, died at the hands of her father, the Titan Atlas. Then, Masaru, tells of how the Olympians gathered together after the rescue of Artemis. Then, Masaru, finally tells of how Thalia, joined the hunters of Artemis, to avoid turning sixteen.

“Since Poseidon’s son is physically older than Nico,” Aizen says. “He will be the hero of the prophecy.”

“That is unless he is killed before then.” Korra says with a solemn voice.

“However,” Masaru says. “Me opening the dimensional rift may have shifted things in our favor...and perhaps...the Olympians favor.”

Aizen, all of the younger Kirai, and Jiraiya, all look at Masaru with confused looks. However, the eyes of all the elders widen. They seem to know what Masaru is talking about.

Korra, notices the confused looks on the younger Kirai’s faces. Korra, sighs.

“There is something that we have never discussed before.” Korra says. “You see...when a dimensional rift occurs...the time between the dimensions that it is connecting...slows down, for no apparent reason.”

The eyes of all the younger Kirai, widen. They never knew this.

“However, when a dimensional rift is created by ‘unnatural means’, time slows down the fastest.” Korra says.

The eyes of all the younger Kirai, widen again. Amaya, looks at Masaru.

“You’re saying that after you opened the dimensional rift,” Amaya begins. “The time flow between our world and Nico’s world slowed down?”

Masaru, nods his head.

“How much did time slow down?” Korra quickly asks. “Do you even know?”

Masaru sighs. “I have a confession to make.” Masaru says. “I sent Nico, to our world, about thirteen days ago. During this time frame...I have actually been periodically...opening dimensional rifts between our world and Nico’s world. Trying to slow time down.”

“You have been doing what?” Misaki asks with wide eyes.

Everyone’s eyes are wide. Why would Masaru do this?

“Why Masaru?” Korra asks. “What is your purpose for slowing down the flow of time between our world and Nico's world?”

Masaru sighs. “I have actually kept an eye on Hades.” Masaru says. “I overheard him talking to one of his furies. Hades...thinks that the titans may awaken, Typhoon, in order to take down the gods and Olympus.”

Everyone else in the room gasps, horrified. Everyone knows about Typhoon.

Masaru, lets out another sigh. “However,” Masaru says. “Hades, told the Fury, that when the time comes...he will not fight with the other gods to defend Olympus.”

Everyone gasps, horrified by Masaru’s words.

“But if Hades doesn’t help defend Olympus when the titans do eventually strike,” Amaya says. “The more likely the Olympians will be crushed...and the more likely that Percy Jackson, will end up destroying Olympus...instead of saving it.”

“But why would Hades just stand back and let Olympus fall?” Katara asks.

Masaru, closes his eyes. “I am sure that you all know why.”

Amaya, suddenly gasps when she thinks of the only possible reason that Hades, would let Olympus fall.

“Hades...doesn’t want to help the other Olympians,” Amaya says. “Because that means helping Zeus...and Zeus killed Aiko.”

Everyone’s eyes become solemn. They all realize that Hades, grudge against Zeus, could possibly get Olympus destroyed.

Masaru, sighs. “However,” Masaru says. “I think that Nico, could change Hades mind. Young Nico, even if the prophecy isn’t about him, may actually turn things in the Olympians favor.”

Masaru, sighs again. “From what I have gathered,” Masaru says. “Percy Jackson was fourteen when I brought Nico to this world. That means that world would have two years before Percy turns sixteen. From what I have gathered...Percy Jackson’s birthday is on August 18. If the time between worlds had stayed the same...we would have had at least forty days before the boy turns sixteen.”

Everyone gasps. Such a short time! And thirteen days have already passed since Nico, was sent to this world.

“However,” Masaru says. “Due to my constant opening of dimensional rifts, only 150 days have passed in the other world, since Nico has been in our world. The current amount of time that now passes between the two worlds is now ten years.”

Korra, quickly does the math in her head. “With the new calculations that I have figured,” Korra says. “We have at least forty-seven days to find Nico, before Percy Jackson turns sixteen.”

“But what if we don’t find Nico before then?” Amaya quickly asks. “What if Olympus gets destroyed before we can send Nico back?”

Everyone stands silent. Amaya, is right. What if they don’t find Nico, and send him back within forty-seven days, and his world gets destroyed?

Jiraiya, closes his eyes. Such little time. Jiraiya thinks to himself. And if we don’t find the boy and send him back in time...his world may be destroyed.

“If we don’t hurry up and find Nico,” Takara says. “There may not be a world to send him back too.”

Everyone is silent. Takara, is right. If the Nico’s world is destroyed before he can be sent back, then they won’t have a world to send him back too. What would they do with Nico, then?

***************************

Nico, and Kiseki both sit by the fire. The storm rages on outside their shelter.

“You are doing very well.” Kiseki says to Nico. “I think that I can at least teach you a few more things and then you will be ready to go off on your own.”

Kiseki, sighs. “You see…,” Kiseki says. “I left my village when I was very young, so I didn’t really learn too many ninja arts. Most of the stuff I am teaching you is stuff I picked up from others during my years of traveling.”

“What kind of stuff can you not teach me?” Nico asks.

Kiseki sighs. “There are many basic jutsu’s that one must learn in order to graduate from a hidden villages academy and become a genin.” Kiseki says. “One of them is basic chakra control, which I have showed you. You also learn to use basic weaponry, which I cannot really teach you since I don’t have many weapons. All I have is one kunai knife. I can at least teach you how to use a kunai knife, but that is it when it comes to weapons. There is also the shadow clone jutsu, which I cannot teach you.”

“Shadow Clone Jutsu?” Nico ask with wide eyes.

Kiseki, nods. “Using purely chakra,” Kiseki begins. “A ninja can create a clone of his or herself. This can especially be useful if you are trying to distract and confuse an enemy. However, I cannot teach you that.”

Kiseki, then looks at the fire. “Besides the sharingan,” Kiseki begins. “The Uchiha Clan is also known for their amazing skill with fire type jutsus.”

Kiseki, looks at Nico. “I cannot teach you these things, but others can!” Kiseki says. “After we eventually go our separate ways, maybe you can travel and meet people who could teach you how to use more advanced jutsus.”

Nico, narrows his eyes. He hadn’t thought about that. However, he knows that Kiseki is right.

Kiseki, is right. Nico thinks to himself. If he cannot teach me certain things then I will have to learn those things from others.

Kiseki looks outside. “I think that we should retire for the night.” Kiseki says. “It may be early, but we can’t really much with it storming like this.”

Nico, nods. He then lets out a small yawn. He sure is tired from all of the work he did today. Nico, slowly lays down on the ground. Within a few minutes, Nico, is fast asleep.

*****************************

Jiraiya, sits down on the futon that the elders prepared for him in the lodge. The lodge is for when outsiders stay in the village, which is very rare. The lodge, is connected to the elders meeting house.

Jiraiya, winces as he listens to the raging storm outside. After Jiraiya, and the others left Masaru’s cave, the storm arrived.

Jiraiya, helps himself to some fruit that the elders had given him. Due to the storm, the elders were unable to actually fix a meal for Jiraiya, due to them needing to be in their own homes before the storm let loose.

Jiraiya, slowly munches on the fruit. Jiraiya, also thinks of the situation at hand.

We need to find the boy, and we don’t have very long to do so. Jiraiya thinks. This situation is just so complicated.

Jiraiya, finishes off the fruit and lays down on the futon. He should probably get some rest and think about everything tomorrow. It will be a very long journey to Konoha. The sooner, Jiraiya and the others get help from Konoha, the better their chances at finding Nico, before Percy Jackson turns sixteen. Jiraiya, closes his eyes and slowly falls asleep.

**************************

Masaru, stands in his cave. He listens to the storm outside. Masaru, looks down into his well of water.

Masaru, closes his eyes. He thinks of the happenings in Nico’s world. The titan’s sure are getting more and more powerful as the days go by.

We still need more time to find Nico, Masaru thinks to himself. Forty-seven days is not enough time.

Masaru, looks back down into the water. He knows what he has to do. He has to slow down the time flow between the worlds some more. Even if Korra, does not feel that he should be doing this.

Masaru, holds his hand over the water. An image of an isolated forest soon appears in the water. Masaru, quickly forms a hand sign.

“Dimensional rift jutsu!” Masaru says.

Chapter Text

Masaru, blinks slowly as he focuses his chakra. A blue vortex soon touches down in the isolated forest.

I need to hold open the dimensional rift open for only a few minutes. Masaru thinks to himself.

Masaru, just looks at the image of the forest in the water. He is ready to close the dimensional rift. However, he soon sees something fly into the vortex and disappear. Masaru, quickly realizes what it was. It was a person.

Masaru, gasps. However, he soon succumbs to fatigue due to chakra exertion. Only one though runs through Masaru’s head as he ends the jutsu and passes out. He just screwed up...big time.

**************************

Kiseki, awakens to the feeling of a bright aura next to him. Kiseki, blinks a few times he prepares to look for the aura, when it suddenly disappears. However, Kiseki, soon hears a strange noise. It almost sounds like a voice.

Move...move now….before it is too late. The strange voice says.

Kiseki blinks. He tries to find the source of the voice, but he sees nothing out of the ordinary. Kiseki, looks over at Nico. Nico, is still fast asleep. Suddenly, Kiseki, hears the voice again.

Move...higher ground...before it is too late. The voice says.

Kiseki, narrows his eyes. However, a very loud rumble of thunder, startles him. Kiseki, looks towards the entrance. The storm is still raging outside. In fact, it looks as if the storm has gotten worse.

Kiseki, soon gets a sickening feeling. He remembers that a creek is nearby.

Maybe, I should go look outside. Kiseki thinks. Kiseki, carefully gets up from his sleeping spot.

Kiseki, slowly walks over to the entrance. He looks outside. His eyes widen with horror.

The peaceful little creek is now a raging river. And it looks like the water is still rising. Kiseki, looks towards the mountains nearby and realizes where the water is coming from. The creek flows from the mountains. All of the rain from the mountains is flowing into the creek, making it rise.

Kiseki, blinks when he notices that the distance between the creek and the shelter is slowly decreasing. If the storm keeps going like this, the shelter will end up flooding!

Kiseki, closes his eyes, and thinks very hard. Kiseki, then remembers that the cave dwellings extend all of the way to the top of the cliff. Kiseki, opens his eyes and looks to his left. A carved out staircase on the outside of the shelter, leads towards another set of cave dwellings, on the far left of the cliffs. However, these cave dwellings are high off of the ground.

Kiseki, blinks a few times. He looks over at Nico, who is still fast asleep.

We have no choice, Kiseki thinks. If the shelter floods, the two of us are doomed.

Kiseki, looks over at the fire. The fire is slowly starting to die down. Kiseki, quickly runs over and grabs the remaining bundles of wood and sticks them into his pack. Kiseki, secures the bag to his back. He then goes over to Nico. Kiseki, begins to shake Nico’s shoulder.

“Nico,” Kiseki says. “Wake up! We need to get to higher ground, now!”

Nico’s eyes flutter open. He blinks sleepily.

“What...higher ground?” Nico, says slowly. “Why?”

“The creek is rising.” Kiseki quickly says. “There is a chance that the shelter will flood. I don’t want us to be in here if it does!”

The urgency in Kiseki’s voice, makes Nico, realize that Kiseki is serious. Nico, quickly gets to his feet. Kiseki, and Nico walk over to the entrance. The creek is still rising!

Not only is it raining very hard, but the wind is very intense. The winds almost remind Nico, of hurricane force winds.

Nico, shudders a little. Oh man, Nico thinks. This storm is really bad.

Kiseki, points towards the higher cliffside dwellings to the far left.

“We need to reach those cliff dwellings!” Kiseki says.

Nico, nods his head. Nico and Kiseki, slowly walk outside in order to reach the stone steps. Nico, falls over due to the strength of the wind. Kiseki, grabs Nico, and stands him back up. However, after a moment of consideration, Kiseki, decides to just carry Nico.

Kiseki, holding Nico, in his arms, slowly walks up the stone steps. However, the wind is so strong it nearly knocks him over. Kiseki, grits his teeth and keeps on walking.

Kiseki, is halfway up the steps, when a ferocious gust of wind almost knocks him over. Kiseki, tightens his grip on Nico, and continues on. All of the sudden, a large branch, breaks off of a nearby tree and comes flying in his direction. Kiseki, quickly dodges the tree branch. The tree branch misses Kiseki and Nico by mere inches.

That was close. Kiseki thinks. He looks up towards the cliff dwelling. At least ten more steps to go. Kiseki, takes a deep breath, and continues walking up the steps. Another gust of wind nearly rips Nico, out of Kiseki’s arms. Kiseki, just tightens his grip on Nico.

Just a little further. Kiseki thinks to himself.

At last, Kiseki makes it up to the cliff dwelling. He walks inside.

Kiseki, breathes a sigh of relief. However, he soon notices something. There is a hearth in the floor of the dwelling. Against the wall, are stacked supplies. There is a wood box with a few pieces of wood in it. There are stacks of folded blankets, and pots and pans scattered across the floor. An old tea kettle sits on the floor near the hearth.

Kiseki, frowns. He picks up one of the pots. There is a fine layer of dust coating the pot. It looks as if this place was used by someone recently, but they hastily abandoned the dwelling. Kiseki, shakes his head. He can’t focus on that right now. Him and Nico, are both soaking wet now. He needs to build a fire quickly.

Kiseki, sets Nico, down on the floor. Nico, shivers violently. Kiseki, grabs the bundles of twigs, and his piece of flint and metal, from his bag. Working quickly, Kiseki, soon gets a roaring fire started.

Kiseki, eyes the stacks of blankets. He walks over and picks one up. It is a little dusty, but it seems clean enough. Kiseki, grabs all of the blankets and carries them over to the hearth. Kiseki, looks at Nico.

“You need to get your clothes off.” Kiseki says. “It is the only way that you will warm up. Once you get your clothes off, wrap yourself in one of these blankets.”

Nico, slowly nods as he shivers. Nico, starts by taking his shoes and socks off. Then, Nico, pulls off his pants and his shirt. Nico, then starts to wrap himself in a blanket. Kiseki, hands Nico, another blanket. Nico, is now wrapped head to toe in blankets.

While Nico, sits in front of the fire, Kiseki, takes off his wet clothes and wraps himself in blankets. Kiseki, sits down in front of the fire.

Nico, stares at the fire. He then slowly lays down. Nico, closes his eyes as he listens to the storm outside.

This is going to be a long night, Nico thinks to himself.

**************************

Jiraiya, awakens to the howling of the wind outside. Even though the village is in a sheltered valley, it is still being affected greatly by the wind. This may be because the valley walls are not very high.

Jiraiya, then hears shouting from outside. He narrows his eyes. Jiraiya, gets up from his futon to see what is going on. Jiraiya, walks over to the entrance and slides open the door. His eyes widen as he slowly walks outside.

The wind has damaged many homes. Many homes have holes in their roofs. Many glass windows have been broken out. Twigs and tree branches fly through the air. Low lying areas are starting to flood. The creek nearby is overflowing its banks.

Aizen, and many other men are helping people get to higher ground. Aizen, and the men lead the people to the elders meeting house. Aizen, looks over to Jiraiya. Aizen, is wearing his cloak. Aizen, carries a small girl in his arms.

“We have never had a storm this bad in all the years that we have lived in this valley.” Aizen, says solemnly.

Aizen, quickly hands the small girl off to her waiting mother. The mother carries the girl into the elders meeting house.

Aizen, looks over at Tarou. “Is that everyone who lives by the creek?” Aizen quickly asks.

Tarou, shakes his head. Tarou, is also wearing a cloak. “No.” Tarou says. He points towards the southern end of the valley. “The creek flows all of the way to the southern end of the valley. There is also the pond.”

Aizen’s eyes widen. “Alright.” Aizen quickly says. “We shall go and evacuate everyone who lives near the creek, at the southern end of the valley!”

Jiraiya, approaches Aizen and Tarou. “Is there anyway that I can help?” Jiraiya asks.

“Just come with us and help us move villagers to the meeting house.” Aizen says.

Jiraiya, nods. He follows Aizen and Tarou towards the southern end of the valley. Within ten minutes they reach the southern end of the valley. Just as expected, this portion of the creek is overflowing its banks too. Many homes beside the creek are beginning to flood. However, it looks as if everyone living beside the creek has evacuated their homes. All of the villagers are huddled together. Aizen, Tarou, and Jiraiya, run up to the villagers. A few other men join them.

“Is this everyone on this side of the creek?” Aizen asks.

A middle aged man nods. “Yes,” The man says. “We just need help with the small children. They can’t walk due to the wind.”

“Of course.” Aizen says. Aizen, quickly picks up a small boy. He holds the child tightly.

“Let’s go.” Aizen yells. The group follows him towards the elders meeting house. Within ten minutes the group reaches the elders meeting house. Aizen, hands the little boy back to his parents, as the rescued villagers head inside the meeting house. Aizen, turns to look towards the eastern end of the village.

“There is a cave system on that side of the village.” Aizen says to Jiraiya. “The men on that side of the creek know to rally the villagers up and take them to that cave system when there is danger. We can’t cross the creek to help...unfortunately.”

All of the sudden two men appear, across the creek.

“We have everyone who lives near this side of the creek evacuated!” One man yells from the other side of the creek. “They are safely inside the caves. We also evacuated those who live near mudslide prone areas! All of the other villagers are safe inside their homes...hunkered down in their safe rooms.”  

“Good job!” Aizen yells back. “Just stay in the caves until the storm is over!”

The two men, nod and run towards the valley walls on that side of the creek. Just then, a group of villagers comes up to the elders meeting house. A man walks up to Aizen.

“This is everyone on the northern side of the village...on our side of the creek.” The man says. “We also evacuated those in the mudslide prone areas. Everyone else is hunkered down in their safe rooms.”

Aizen, nods. “Any injuries?” Aizen asks.

The man shakes his head. “None.” The man says.

Another man walks up to Aizen. A group of villagers follows the man.

“I have everyone who lives near mudslide prone areas.” The man says.

Aizen, nods. He looks at both men. “Good job!” Aizen says. “Now get everyone inside. I have to go check on my family.”

The two men nod. They lead all of the villagers that they evacuated inside. Aizen, and Tarou, look at Jiraiya.

“Thank you.” Aizen says to Jiraiya. “Tarou and I have to go home and check on our families. You may go inside and dry off.”

Jiraiya, nods. He heads inside. Aizen, and Tarou quickly head home.

*********************

Aizen, and Tarou arrive at the house. They take off their muddy shoes once they get inside. They quickly head towards the safe room. A safe room is a room in the middle of a house that has no windows, and stronger walls. A safe room is for a family to take shelter during a severe storm.

Aizen, slides open the door to the safe room. Taki, Amaya, Takara, and all of the children are safely inside. They have brought all of their futons inside the safe room. The children just blink sleepily as they listen to the howling of the wind outside. Amaya and Takara just stare at the ceiling.

Taki, is sitting on her’s and Aizen’s futon. Taki, is nursing baby Akito, under her shawl. Taki, looks over and sees Aizen, walking towards her. She also sees Tarou, standing in the doorway. Taki’s eyes widen.

“Aizen…,” Taki says with a concerned voice. “You and my father are all wet!”

Aizen, looks Taki, in the eyes. He just caresses Taki’s cheek.

“Our cloaks may be wet but our clothes are nice and dry.” Aizen says. “What’s important is that everyone in the village is safe. How have the children been?”

Taki, sighs. “They have been quite so far.” Taki says. “I just think that they are a little annoyed that they can’t sleep due to the storm.”

Aizen, just nods his head. “Your father and I are gonna grab a few bags,” Aizen says. “And grab some towels and blankets. The villagers who had to be evacuated to the elders meeting house are pretty soaked as well.”

Taki, nods her head. “Take as many as you need.” Taki says.

Aizen, nods and shares a passionate kiss with Taki, before leaving with Tarou.

Aizen, and Tarou go into a small storage room. They grab a few bags and start to fill the bags with towels and blankets. Aizen, and Tarou carry the bags towards the entryway, where they momentarily set the bags down in order to get their shoes back on. After, that they walk outside, and run towards the elders meeting house. When they arrive they see that other villagers are bringing blankets and towels as well. Aizen and Tarou hand the bags of blankets and towels to the elders to be distributed out.

Two men walk through the door. “We have all of the horses, goats, and sheep secured in the barns.” One of the men says.

“The dogs are in the kennels...all except for Tai.” The other man says.

“We can’t find Tai.” The first man says with a sigh. “We have looked everywhere for him.”

Aizen, narrows his eyes. “That is very strange.” Aizen says. “Tai, always goes to the kennels during a storm. I will go look for him.”

“I will go with you.” Tarou says.

An elder quickly hands Aizen and Tarou lanterns. The two of them head out the door.

****************************

Aizen, and Tarou walk around the valley. They shout Tai’s name as they do.

“TAI!” Aizen yells. “COME HERE BOY!”

“TAI!” Tarou yells.

All of the sudden, the two men hear loud barking coming from the southern end of the village. Aizen, narrows his eyes. It sounds like it is coming from the entrance into the valley. What is Tai doing near the valley entrance? Aizen looks at Tarou, who nods. Aizen and Tarou take off running towards the valley entrance.

Within a few minutes, Aizen and Tarou, reach the valley entrance. Tai’s barking is even louder now. Aizen and Tarou walk into the cave. The light from both lanterns illuminates the cave. The two men start looking around for any sign of Tai.

They soon find Tai, sitting by an object on the cave floor. As Aizen approaches, he gasps.

Laying on the cave floor is a small boy no older than seven. The boy is curled up in a fetal position. The boy hugs his knees as he shivers.

Aizen looks at Tarou. Tarou’s eyes are wide. Aizen, slowly crouches down to get a closer look at the boy. The boy is wet, so he must have been out in the storm at some point. The boy has short brown hair and wears strange clothing. Aizen’s eyes widen when he finally sees the child’s shoes. The boy is wearing sneakers! Just like those in Nico’s birth world.

Aizen, immediately frowns. He realizes what this means. Masaru, has screwed up...again. Aizen, looks at Tarou. Tarou, is frowning. Tarou, must also realize that this is Masaru’s fault.   

Aizen, sighs. They will deal with Masaru, later. What is important right now is getting the boy back to the village. Aizen, hands his lantern to Tarou. Aizen, slowly reaches to pick up the boy. The boy, as if sensing Aizen’s presence, opens his eyes, revealing blue irises. The boy only stares as Aizen, picks him up. Aizen, inwardly frowns. He actually expected this child to recoil or even cry at the feeling of a stranger picking him up. That’s when Aizen, sees the backpack next to where the boy was just laying. Aizen, adjusts the child so that he is holding the boy with one arm. Aizen, grabs the backpack with his free hand.

Aizen, holding the eerily silent boy, follows Tarou, out of the cave. Tai, follows close behind.

**************************

Nico, and Kiseki just lay by the fire. The two of them are still wrapped head to toe in blankets.

Kiseki, sighs. “I don’t think that we should attempt to try to leave in the morning.” Kiseki says. “It is probably going to be extremely muddy. Trees are also liable to fall. I think that we should wait until the ground dries up some before we try to move out.”

Nico, nods his head. Kiseki, then looks at his bag.

“I actually have a few books.” Kiseki says. “I was thinking that having the ability to read would help you a lot in this world. Since we can’t really move around for a while, I was thinking that I could teach you to read a little bit.”

Nico’s eyes widen. He hadn’t really thought of learning to read this worlds writing. He knows that it is possible, since he could tell the difference between those kanji on the signs, back at that market. However, he didn’t really consider the benefits of being able to read before. However, Now that Nico, is thinking about the benefits, he realizes that reading would be a useful skill to have.

“I agree that reading would be a very useful skill.” Nico says. “It would be good if I could read signs. That way, I know if I am crossing into another land or not.”

“Alright then.” Kiseki says. “Starting tomorrow, I shall teach you how to read.”

Nico, smiles to himself. At least if the two of them cannot travel for a few days, they still get something accomplished.

Nico, then yawns. He sure is tired. Nico, slowly closes his eyes and falls asleep.

Chapter Text

Masaru, slowly regains consciousness. He slowly tries to remember what happened.

I accidentally sent someone to our world. Masaru thinks. This is a disaster!

Masaru, closes his eyes trying to think of what he actually saw. The figure appeared to be small, probably a small child.

Oh no, Masaru thinks. I sent a child to our world. Now there is another child lost out there somewhere.

****************************

Aizen, stands near the doorway leading to a small room. The elders, Tarou, and Jiraiya, stand nearby. They are waiting for the village healers to get done examining the mysterious boy that they found. It is so strange. The boy has not fought them once. However, the boy, has not spoken a word to any of them. The boy, kept shivering the whole walk to the elders meeting house, which made the village healers suspect hypothermia, so they took him away to be examined.

Korra, and Seiji, stand together. Korra, has a deep frown on her face.

“Masaru, has certainly messed up now.” Korra says with a frown.

“Yes,” Seiji says. “Indeed he has. This is not the thing that we need to be dealing with right now.”

“Masaru,” Aizen says. “Has made things even more complicated. However, There are things about the situation that need to be studied in detail.”

Aizen, takes a deep breath. “First off,” Aizen begins. “There are many unanswered questions. Masaru, told us that he was opening the dimensional rifts in an isolated forest.”

Aizen, closes his eyes. “Why was a young boy,” Aizen begins. “Probably no older than seven at the most, in an isolated forest by himself?”

Tarou, the elders, and Jiraiya, all narrow their eyes.

“That is a good question.” Atsuko says. “From what Masaru, told us, there are no campgrounds near that forest either. So, we can rule out the possibility that the boy was camping with his family and got lost.”

Aizen, opens his eyes. “I also noticed a few things,” Aizen says. “While Tarou and I were bringing the boy here. The boy...seemed to be very dirty, and thin. His clothing was also very worn and dirty.”

Everyone else narrows their eyes.

Aizen, shows everyone the boy’s backpack.

“Tarou and I found this,” Aizen says. “With the boy.”

“We should look through it.” Seiji says. “We may find clues as to exactly where the boy came from, why he was in the forest...and his identity.”

Aizen, nods. He slowly unzips the backpack. The first thing that Aizen, pulls out of the bag is a tattered blue baby blanket. He hands the blanket to Korra. Korra, frowns as she examines the blanket.

“This blanket is old,” Korra says. She quickly wrinkles her nose. “And it could use a good wash too.”

The next thing that Aizen, pulls out of the bag, is a stuffed green stegosaurus. The stuffed stegosaurus, is slightly tattered and very dirty. Aizen, hands the toy to, Seiji. Seiji, narrows his eyes as he examines the toy.

“This could also use a good cleaning.” Seiji, says with a frown on his face.

Aizen, then pulls out a small sack filled with toy cars. Aizen, hands the sack of toy cars to, Atsuko. Atsuko, examines the toys.

“All of these…,” Atsuko says. “Could use a good wipe down with a cloth.”

Aizen, then pulls out a short book about dinosaurs. Aizen, hands the book to, Tarou. Tarou, flips through the pages of the book.

“A few pages have rips at the edges,” Tarou says. “But otherwise...it is in decent shape.”

The last few things to be pulled out of the backpack, include a small plastic triceratops, and a spare change of clothes. The spare change of clothes are just as dirty and worn out as the clothes that the boy currently has on.

Everyone examines the collection of stuff.

“I suppose that it is obvious that the boy,” Aizen says. “Has been without proper care for a while.”

“However,” Korra says. “We still have no idea of the boy’s name, or where exactly he came from in that world. If we are going to send him back, then we need to know where he came from.”

All of the sudden, one of the healers steps out of the room. Her face is unreadable as she looks at everyone gathered.

“We have a lot to discuss about the child,” The healer says. “Please come in.”

Everyone slowly follows the healer into the room. Another healer sits by a small futon that has been placed in front of a fireplace. The mysterious boy, lays on the futon, sound asleep. The healer sitting by the futon, gestures towards the boy.

“We took off the boy’s wet clothes.” The healer says. “We managed to wash him up.”

“It took a whole jar of shampoo to get his hair clean.” The healer, who led everyone inside says.

Aizen, then notices that the boys hair is no longer brown. It is black. His hair must have appeared brown because of all the dirt and grime in it.

“However…,” The village healer sitting by the futon says. “When we took the boy’s clothes off we discovered something.”

The village healer who sits by the futon, slowly grabs a corner of the blanket covering the boy. She slowly begins to lift it up, exposing one of the boy’s legs. Aizen’s eyes widen with shock. All over, the boy’s leg are bruises. The village healer shows Aizen, the other leg. There are bruises all over the other boy’s leg as well. The village healer quickly covers both legs up.

“We also discovered similar bruises on the boy’s arms and back.” The village healer who led everyone inside says. “A lot of them actually appeared to be at least a few days old.”

“So…,” Aizen says. “You’re telling me that this child was probably abused back in his own world.”

Both of the healers nod sadly. Aizen, closes his eyes.

“I am beginning to think that this boy ran away from home.” Aizen says slowly. “He must have somehow ended up in the forest, where he got sucked into Masaru’s dimensional rift.”

“I also think that this is probably the case.” Atsuko says with a solemn voice. “The question now is what to do with him? If we send him back into the forest, where he was before, he may not be able to find his way out of the forest...and will thus perish. However, if we try to pinpoint where he came from, and send him back there—”

“Then we may end up sending the boy right back into the hands of his abusers.” Korra says with a solemn voice. She looks closely at the boy and then at the healers. “Has he spoken at all?”

Both of the healers shake their heads. “No.” The healer sitting by the futon says. “We did ask him his name and where his home is...but he never responded to any of our questions.”

Seiji, closes his eyes. “The boy is probably very confused by the situation.” Seiji says. “I think that it would be best if we all retired and tried to get some sleep before sunrise. Perhaps the boy will be more willing to talk in the morning.”

Korra, nods. “That sounds like a good idea.” Korra says. “However, I think that one of us should stay here. That way in case the boy wakes up he won’t feel inclined to run off.”

“I will stay.” The healer who sits by the futon says. “I shall go grab a futon now.”

“Alright, Mairu.” Korra says.

Aizen, walks out of the room and walks over to a window. The storm is starting to die down now. Aizen, closes his eyes.

I can’t believe that this happened, Aizen thinks to himself. We are already stressed enough over Nico, being here, but to have this boy here as well...it’s stressful. We don’t even know if we should send him back to his own world now...with this new development.

Aizen, opens his eyes. Even they were to keep the boy, who would raise him? Who could they even ask?

Aizen, sighs as he views the damage done to the village through the window. Cleaning up the aftermath of this storm is going to be such a job. First Nico, then this storm, now this boy! Why does life have to be so complicated?

Aizen, blinks and turns back towards the others. He looks down at the boy. A thought soon crosses his mind. He knows that many demigods make perilous journeys when they attempt to find Camp Half-Blood. What if the boy is actually a demigod, and he was actually trying to find Camp Half-Blood when he was sent here?

Aizen, walks up to the others. “I was just thinking…,” Aizen says. “There is a possibility that this child could be a demigod...just like Nico and Daniel. Maybe he was actually trying to find Camp Half-Blood when he was sent here.”

Everyone present just narrow their eyes. Aizen, is right...that is a good possibility.

“If he was a demigod…,” Atsuko says. “I would expect him to have a powerful aura...like Daniel.”

Korra, narrows her eyes as she looks closer at the boy. “The boy actually does have a slight aura.” Korra says. “It’s not as powerful as Daniel’s...but there is an aura.”

Another thought soon crosses Aizen’s mind.

“Maybe the boy is not a true half-blood, but he is still related to the gods” Aizen says. “Demigods do manage to survive into adulthood, and have children. Maybe the boy is not a true demigod, but rather a descendant of a god.”

Everyone narrows their eyes. That is a good possibility.

“I am sure that we will find answers when he wakes up.” Atsuko says. “However, we must all get some rest. It has been a long night.”

Everyone else just nod. They leave the room. However, Aizen, spares one more glance at the boy before he leaves. Aizen, thinks really hard about the boy’s features. For some reason, the boy’s features...almost remind him of...Hades.

******************************

Kiseki, adds a few more twigs to the hearth. He looks at Nico’s sleeping form. He inwardly sighs.

The two of us sure had a close call tonight, Kiseki thinks to himself. If that mysterious voice had not woken me up...I dread to think of what would have happened.

Kiseki, thinks back to that voice he heard. It must have been the spirit that has been watching over, Nico. but if the mysterious spirit, is watching over Nico, then why did it choose to wake him up instead of Nico. Perhaps the spirit, realized that Kiseki, would know exactly what to do in that kind of situation. Kiseki, closes his eyes. He supposes that he will never know for sure.

Kiseki, looks towards the entrance. The storm is finally beginning to die down. However, Kiseki, realizes that the ground outside is going to be a muddy mess, guaranteed. Kiseki, closes his eyes.

We won’t be able to move for a few days at the most. Kiseki thinks to himself. I just hope that I have enough food to last us for the next few days. Things sure have gotten very complicated.

*****************************

Mairu, has turned out the lights to the room. The only light is the fire in the fireplace, and a lamp on a table, which sits by a rocking chair. A basket full of knitting supplies sits beside the rocking chair. However, Mairu’s main focus right now is the boy on the futon.

The boy breathes softly as he sleeps. Mairu, gently caresses the boy’s cheek, checking to make sure that he is not getting too warm. All of the sudden, the boy’s eyes flutter open. Mairu, retracts her hand and smiles warmly at the boy. The mysterious boy looks around the room.

Where am I? The mysterious boy thinks to himself. How did I get here?

“Hello there…,” Mairu says with a warm smile. “You fell asleep after your bath.”

The mysterious boy blinks a few times. “I...I remember.” The boy says slowly. “You...and another lady took my wet clothes off...and gave me a bath.”

Mairu, holds back her surprise. The boy actually spoke to her! “Yes!” Mairu says.

“I suppose that you and the other woman saw my bruises?” The boy asks.

Mairu, closes her eyes. “Yes.” Mairu says with a solemn voice. “Yes, we did. Can you tell me where you got those bruises?”

The boy closes his eyes. “My parents.” The boy simply says. “That’s why I ran away.”

Mairu’s eyes darken. I see , Mairu thinks. The boy’s parents gave him those bruises. He mentioned both of his parents, so he must not be a demigod. But he could still be a descendant of a god.

“I see.” Mairu simply says. “What I would like to know now is your name...and perhaps your age as well.”

The boy closes his eyes. “Brandon.” The boy says. “Brandon Pierce. I am seven.”

The boy, Brandon, then opens his eyes. He looks at Mairu, with pleading eyes.

“Are you gonna send me back to my parents?!” Brandon asks. “Please, don’t!”

“Shh, there, there.” Mairu says. “If you don’t want to go back to your parents, no one in this village will force you too.”

Brandon, narrows his eyes. “Village?” Brandon asks.

Mairu, sighs. “There is much to explain.” Mairu says. “I can explain everything once you tell me what you remember after running away from home.”

Brandon, blinks a few times. “I…,” Brandon begins. “I packed a bag and snuck out my bedroom window. Then...I ran until I ended up in a forest. All of the sudden, I remember it becoming really windy. Then...I was in the air...flying towards this blue tornado. I flew into the blue tornado and just floated in the air...surrounded by blue swirling energy. Then, I was dropped on the ground, and it was storming really bad. The blue tornado disappeared. I got up to go look for shelter. It was so windy...I thought that I would blow away. However, I found a cave. I layed down in it for a while. Then, this dog found me. After that two men...wearing white robe thingies found me. One of the men picked me up and—”

Brandon, stops mid-sentence. He looks around the room. “And brought me here.” Brandon says finishing his sentence. “Then, you and another lady gave me a bath and I fell asleep.”

Mairu, nods. “Yes.” Mairu says. “The man that carried you here was our village leader, Aizen.”

Mairu, sighs. “Brandon…,” Mairu begins. “Would you believe me if I told you that other dimensions exist?”

Brandon’s eyes widen. “I can’t see why you would lie about something like that.” Brandon says. “I think that the existence of other dimensions would be cool!”

Mairu, sighs. “You see Brandon,” Mairu says. “The blue tornado...was what you could call a dimensional rift. It sent you to another dimension...here.”

Brandon’s eyes widen. “Wh...what?” Brandon asks.

Mairu, sighs and begins to explain about the Kirai’s village, dimensional rifts, and about the world in general. Mairu, even tells Brandon, that the dimensional rift that sent him here was actually created by a Kirai. At the end of it all, Brandon’s eyes are wide.

“Another dimension.” Brandon says to himself, in an attempt to absorb everything that Mairu just told him. “A world full of ninjas. Sent here because a Kirai opened a dimensional rift.”

Mairu, nods. Brandon, closes his eyes.

“You said that people in your village could send me back to my own world.” Brandon says. “But...maybe it would be better if I didn’t go back.”

Mairu, is taken aback by Brandon’s statement.

“No one loves me in my world.” Brandon says with a solemn voice. “Maybe it’s better this way...staying here. It’s not like anyone would miss me back in my world.”

Brandon, closes his eyes and turns on the futon. All of the sudden, Brandon, gets a panicked look on his face.

“My dinosaur and my blanket!” Brandon says with alarm. “Where is my backpack? My dinosaur and my blanket are in it. I sleep with them every night!”

Mairu, manages a smile. “Don’t worry,” Mairu says. “Aizen made sure to grab your backpack. Him and the village elders looked through it...thinking that it contained some clues about you. My friend...the other lady that bathed you, actually cleaned your toys off.”

Mairu, fetches a nearby basket. She pulls out a now clean and mended stuffed green stegosaurus, along with a now clean and mended blue blanket. Brandon’s eyes widen instantly. Mairu, hands the stuffed dinosaur and blanket to Brandon.

“I can’t believe how clean they are.” Brandon says. “My dinosaur and blanket have not been this clean in a long time.”

Brandon, hugs both the dinosaur and blanket. He then closes his eyes and falls asleep.

Mairu, slowly gets up and walks over to her own futon. Boy she is very tired.

*********************************

Aizen and Taki lay on their futon together. The entire household is still holed up inside the safe room, because many windows in certain bedrooms have been blown out.

Aizen and Taki, whisper to each other about the events of the night.

“So…,” Taki whispers. “What are you gonna do about this boy?”

“Truthfully…,” Aizen whispers. “I don’t know. I really need to think about this really hard.”

“If we do keep him and make him apart of our village,” Taki whispers. “Then we will need to find adoptive parents...or at least foster parents to raise him.”

“I don’t even know how to decide something like that.” Aizen whispers.

“You know what, let’s just get some sleep.” Taki whispers. “I am sure you will be able to think more clearly after some rest.”

“Good idea.” Aizen whispers. “Besides, we have a long day of clean up ahead of us.”

After sharing a quick kiss, Aizen and Taki, settle down on their futon and fall asleep.

Chapter Text

Nico, awakens to Kiseki, shaking his shoulder.

“Nico, wake up.” Kiseki says. “It is time that we get our day started.”

Nico, nods his head and slowly brings himself into a sitting position. Kiseki, brings Nico his clothes. They are dry. Nico, unwraps himself from the blankets and puts his clothes on. Kiseki, puts his clothes on as well.

“Well,” Kiseki says with a sigh. “It is a muddy mess out there. We will ruin our shoes if we go outside.”

“I was just thinking.” Nico says. “If we can’t go outside how will we get water?”

“Come with me,” Kiseki says. Nico, gets up and starts following Kiseki towards the entrance. Kiseki, gestures to a porch like area on the outside of the dwelling, carved out of the rock wall. Kiseki, leads Nico, down a small path. In an area that looks like it was a garden, a small spring, flows through it, and cascades down the rock wall, creating a tiny waterfall. The water coming from the spring is crystal clear.

Nico, walks up to the spring. He slowly takes a drink. The water tastes good.

“At least we have water.” Kiseki says. “Food may be an issue though. We cannot hunt or fish so we are stuck with the provisions I bought in town and some of the food we gathered the other day. The food, may at least last us two days.”

Nico, nods in understanding. He then looks outside at the forest below. His eyes widen.

Trees, lay all over the ground. It is absolute devastation.

“Wow,” Nico says. “The storm was really bad.”

“I’ll say.” Kiseki says. He looks up at the sky. “Well, let’s get back inside and eat. Then we shall begin your reading lesson.”

Nico, nods and follows Kiseki, back into the cliff dwelling.

********************************

All of the adults in the Kirai’s valley are gathered together. They are surveying the damage.

“Oh, just look at the valley.” Korra says with a solemn voice. “It is a disaster area.”

Aizen, sighs. “The sooner we start cleaning up,” Aizen says. “The sooner it will look better.”

Aizen, looks at all of the houses. “First off,” Aizen says. “We should start by seeing which houses need to be repaired, or rebuilt.”

Aizen, then looks at at the fields. “We also need to inspect our crops and see how the storm affected them.” Aizen says.

Aizen, then looks at all of the debris laying on the ground. “After we are all done inspecting the valley,” Aizen says. “We shall begin cleanup.”

Aizen, then looks at the elders meeting house. “The little ones shall stay here while we go about our work.” Aizen says. “We have no idea of the condition of the babysitting house. I shall choose a group of older children and teenagers to take care of the little ones.”

Aizen, then starts to divide all of the men into groups, to inspect different parts of the valley. Aizen, then looks at all of the women.

“Gather up all of the children and bring them here.” Aizen says to the women.

The women all nod and head out to gather the children. Aizen, sighs. He looks at all of the men.

“I must go and check to see how our little guest is doing.” Aizen says. “All of you report back to me once you are done inspecting the valley.”

All of the men nod and walk off, scattering into groups as they do. Aizen, turns to the elders and they nod. Jiraiya, stands with the elders. Aizen, Jiraiya, and the elders all head inside the meeting house.

************************************

Nico and Kiseki finish off their breakfast. Kiseki, reaches into his bag and pulls out a book.

“This is a dictionary of kanji, and what they mean.” Kiseki says.

Nico, quickly nods. Kiseki, opens up the book to the first page. “This dictionary is very simple to use.” Kiseki says. “Everything is divided into chapters. The most basic stuff, like colors and shapes are in chapter one. The second chapter is everything number related, including numbers, directions, times, and measurements.”

Nico, nods again. Kiseki, flips the page. On the second page, are kanji with colored boxes next to them.

“This kanji means red.” Kiseki says, as he points to the kanji next to a red colored box.

“That kanji means blue, right?” Nico, asks as he points to the kanji next to a blue colored box.

“That is correct!” Kiseki says. Kiseki, then points to a kanji next to a yellow colored box. “What is the color next to this kanji?”

“Yellow.” Nico says. Nico, begins moving down the page, pointing to each kanji as he says the color next to them. “Purple...orange...green...white...black...gray...pink...and brown.”

“Yes.” Kiseki says. Kiseki, then looks at the top of the page.

“When you have a color like red orange,” Kiseki says. “You combine kanji. So, to write a color like red orange, you place the two kanji together, and you put the red kanji first, and the orange kanji second.”

“So,” Nico says. “For a color like yellow orange, you place the yellow kanji before the orange kanji?”

“Correct!” Kiseki says.

Nico, then begins naming off all of the color combinations that he can think of and what kanji need to be placed first for every combination.

“Excellent!” Kiseki says, after Nico is all finished. “Now, to describe a color like light blue, you would use the kanji for light and the kanji for blue. The kanji for light and dark are not with the colors, unfortunately. However, the same principle applies with combining kanji. You place the kanji for light before the kanji for blue.”

“So,” Nico says. “For dark blue, you use both the kanji for both dark and blue, and you place the kanji for dark before the kanji for blue?”

“Correct!” Kiseki says. “For colors such as indigo, there is one kanji. We shall go over these as well.”

Kiseki, turns the pages to a page with kanji and shapes.

“Now,” Kiseki says. “Let me show you the shapes really quick.”

Kiseki, points a kanji with a circle next to it. “What is the shape next to this kanji?” Kiseki asks.

“A circle.” Nico says.

“Correct!” Kiseki says. “Now, to describe a circle with a color, you place the appropriate color kanji in front of the circle kanji. An example of this would ‘red circle’. You place the red kanji before the circle kanji.’

“So to describe a ‘blue circle’,” Nico says. “You would use both the blue and circle kanji, and place the blue kanji in front of the circle kanji!”

“That is correct!” Kiseki says. For the next ten minutes, Nico and Kiseki, go over the kanji for colors and shapes, and how to combine kanji for phrases.

******************************

Aizen, Jiraiya, and the elders stand outside the room that the mysterious boy, Brandon, is. Brandon, is in the room, getting dressed. Mairu, stands outside the door. She is discussing the conversation that she and Brandon had, with Aizen.

“The boy says that his name is Brandon Pierce.” Mairu says. “He ran away from home, because his parents were abusive. He apparently found himself in the forest, where he got sucked through Masaru’s dimensional rift.”

“I see.” Aizen says. “Has he told you where he is from?”

Mairu, shakes her head. “No.” Mairu says.

“Did he tell you how he exactly ended up in the forest?” Korra asks.

Mairu, shakes her head again. “No.” Mairu says again.

“Have you explained what exactly happened to him?” Seiji asks. “And have you told him about this world?”

Mairu, nods her head. “I explained as much as I could.” Mairu says. “I explained that the ‘blue tornado’ was a dimensional rift and that it sent him to another world. Brandon, was surprisingly calm about this. I also explained about ninjas, chakra, and about our clan and village. Brandon, actually thought that it was kind of cool to be in a world full of ninja. I also explained about how the dimensional rift that sent him here was actually created by a member of our clan. However, I didn’t go into detail about why the dimensional rift was created. Brandon, was also surprisingly calm about this.”

Aizen nods. “I suppose that I should speak to him.” Aizen says. “I would like to know more about him.”

Mairu, nods. “I shall go see if he is ready to speak with you.” Mairu says.

However, just as Mairu, is about to tap the door to see if it is ok to go in, a group of men walk through the front door. Aizen, looks at Mairu.

“You can wait a minute.” Aizen says. “I think that all of the men are done inspecting the valley, and are ready to give me their reports.”

One of the men steps forward. “Aizen,” The man says. “All of us have inspected the valley. So far, there are at least ten homes that need to be rebuilt, and nearly twenty to be repaired.”

Aizen, closes his eyes. He knows that is going to be a lot of work. Aizen, opens his eyes. “What about the fields?” Aizen asks.

“The rice fields appear to be ok,” The man says. “Rice is a very thirsty crop so we should not have any problems as far as that goes. Most of the wheat, barley, millet, and buckwheat, on higher ground appears to be fine. Most of the leafy green vegetables, and root crops, that were planted on higher ground also appear to be fine. However, all of the crops that were planted in flood zones have been lost.”

Aizen, sighs. “We will just have to ration what we do have for a while.” Aizen says. “We can also send more hunting parties out of the valley to hunt. We can also fish more than normal to make up for the lack of other food sources. We will get by.”

All of the men nod. “There are also downed trees everywhere.” A man says.

Aizen, closes his eyes. “We can use the downed trees to build new homes for those who lost their homes.” Aizen says. “Also, comb the river bank and see if you can salvage any items that were washed into the flood waters.”

All of the men nod.

Aizen, takes a deep breath. “We should begin by repairing major damage to homes, and then rebuilding homes.” Aizen says. “People who lost their homes, can stay stay with family members who didn’t lose their homes, while they rebuild. Anyone who doesn’t have anyone to stay with can stay in the elders meeting house.”

All of the men nod. They head out to begin giving orders to everyone outside. Aizen, turns back to, Mairu.

“Alright.” Aizen says. “I am ready to see Brandon now.”

Mairu, nods. She taps on the door. Brandon’s voice comes from the other side of the door.

“Yes?” Brandon asks.

“It’s me, Mairu.” Mairu says. “Aizen and the village elders are ready to speak with you.”

“You can come in.” Brandon’s voice says from the other side of the door.

Mairu, slides the door open. Brandon, is sitting on the floor. Aizen, and the elders walk into the room. Jiraiya, follows behind the elders.

“Hello.” Aizen says. “My name is Aizen Kirai. I am the leader of this village.”

“You were the one who carried me here.” Brandon says.

“Yes.” Aizen says. “I heard that you have already spoken to Mairu. Your name is Brandon Pierce, am I correct?”

Brandon nods. “Yes.” Brandon says.

“And Mairu,” Aizen begins. “Already told you about the circumstances that brought you here, am I right?”

“Yes.” Brandon says. “Mairu, says that I was sent to another dimension, because a member of your clan opened up a dimensional rift.”

Aizen nods. “That is correct.” Aizen says. “Now, I want to ask you a few questions. I would also like to get to know you better. Is that ok?”

Brandon, shrugs. “That is ok.” Brandon says simply.

“Alright.” Aizen says.

Aizen, is about to say something else, when Brandon’s stomach suddenly growls. Brandon, grimaces.

“I suppose that means you are hungry?” Aizen asks.

“I haven’t eaten in a few days.” Brandon says.

Aizen, sighs. “Well,” Aizen says. “We can feed you...but it will not be a feast. I am afraid that the storm has affected our crops. The whole village is going to have to ration food so we don’t run out.”

Brandon, nods. “I understand.” Brandon says.

Mairu, immediately leaves the room to go see what is in the kitchen. Aizen, just looks at Brandon. Aizen, looks at Brandon’s eyes. Brandon’s eye shape reminds Aizen, of Hades, eye shape.

*********************************

Nico, and Kiseki sit down by the hearth. After a quick bathroom break, a quick drink and a quick lunch, they are ready to look through the dictionary some more. They have finished going through colors and shapes. Now they are ready to start on chapter to, which is everything number related.

“Alright.” Kiseki says, as he points to a kanji. “This kanji stands for zero.”

Kiseki, then points to the kanji below the first kanji. “This kanji stands for one.” Kiseki says.

“The one below that one is two right?” Nico, asks.

“Yes.” Kiseki says.

“And the one below that one is three right?” Nico asks.

“Correct!” Kiseki says. “Now, the next one?”

“Four.” Nico says. Nico, then starts counting down the page. “Five...six...seven...eight...nine...ten.”

“Correct!” Kiseki says. “Now to get numbers higher than ten, you need to combine kanji.”

Kiseki, points to the ten kanji. “We write numbers higher than ten as ten plus a number.” Kiseki says. “To get eleven, we put the ten and one kanji together. We put the ten kanji in front of the one kanji. Basically, you are almost writing the number as ten plus one.”

“So…,” Nico says. “To get twelve you basically combine the ten and two kanji, and place the ten kanji in front of the two kanji?”

“That is correct!” Kiseki says. “To get twenty we combine the two and ten kanji. We put the two kanji in front of the ten kanji. Basically, we are writing the number as two times ten. The same goes for thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, and ninety.”

Kiseki, sighs. “To get twenty-one, you combine the two, ten and one kanji.” Kiseki says. “You write the two kanji first, then the ten kanji, and then the one kanji.”

“Wow,” Nico, says exasperated. “Large numbers in kanji are very complex!”

“Yes,” Kiseki says. “Yes they are. These days most numbers are written in numerals. However, most old writings will have numbers written in kanji. All you have to do is memorize the kanji and the rules when combining kanji.”

Kiseki, then points to a series of kanji under a dotted line. “These kanji are used for numbers higher than a hundred, thousand, million, billion, and trillion.”

Kiseki, points to a kanji. “This kanji means a hundred.” Kiseki says. “To get a number higher than one hundred, you place the hundred kanji first. To get two hundred, you place the two kanji in front of the hundred kanji.”

“To get a number higher than two hundred,” Nico says. “You place the two kanji first, then the the hundred kanji, and then whatever kanji are supposed to come after that. Right?”

“Correct!” Kiseki says. “Why don’t we practice combining kanji for a while?”

“Alright.” Nico says.

For the next half hour, Nico practices combining kanjis to get numbers. After that, Nico and Kiseki, start going through times, and measurements.

Chapter Text

Aizen, sighs. He watches as the women try to get the small children settled down in the elders meeting house. Taki, is among them. She carries a basket of toys into the room. The toys belong to Hajime, Takuma, and Kisho. Takara, follows Taki, into the room. Takara, carries a basket full of toys belonging to Mio and Yuri.

“Now,” Taki begins. “Remember to share all of the toys. We have no idea of the condition of the babysitting house, so all of you are going to play in here while the adults clean up the valley.”

Taki, looks at Amaya, Katara, Takara, Yuzuki. “Amaya,” Taki begins. “Katara, Takara, and Yuzuki shall supervise you.”

Taki, then looks at two teenage girls. “Koyuki and Maira shall supervise you as well.”

Taki, then looks at five pregnant women, sitting in a cozy little nook. The women are sewing and knitting baby clothes.

“Nita,” Taki says. “Yaiko, Alani, and Yukiko, and Zuri cannot work, so they shall be staying in here as well. Please, be good for them, and do not stress them out.”

“Yes, mama.” Hajime, says. He holds baby Akito in his arms.

“And please…,” Takara, says with pleading eyes. She glances at Aizen. “Behave yourselves! Aizen and the elders have a very important matter to attend too. They shall be in the next room. All of you need to play very quietly, so you do not disturb them. This a very stressful time for all of the adults in the village. The last thing we need is bad behavior from any of you! Do all of you understand?”

All of the children present, bow their heads. “Yes…,” All of the children mutter.

“Good.” Takara says.

“Alright.” Taki says. She looks at all of the other mothers and older women. “All of us shall leave now.”

Taki, and the other mothers and older women leave the room. Aizen, sighs again. There had been no bread in the kitchen, so Mairu, had to cook some rice for Brandon. While Brandon, ate his food, Aizen decided to get some things done. Aizen, organized some men, teenage boys, and older boys into hunting and fishing parties. Aizen, can only hope that all of them will be successful. With the villages crops reduced, the villagers need fish and meat more than ever.

Aizen, slides open the door and heads back into the room that Brandon, is currently in. Brandon, should be done eating now. Aizen, walks up to Brandon, who has an empty plate in front of him. Mairu, takes the plate.

Aizen, sits down in front of Brandon. The elders are gathered as well. Jiraiya, sits off to the side.

“Alright,”Aizen says. “I suppose that we should start with where you are from.”

Brandon, closes his eyes. “I am from the US. I am from a town called Chelan, Washington State. I lived there with my parents.”

“Your parents were not ‘good parents’.” Aizen says. “Am I correct?”

Brandon, sighs. “Yes.” Brandon says. “My parents were not kind to me.”

“May I ask why?” Aizen says.

Brandon, closes his eyes. “They never wanted children.” Brandon says. “They said that I was a ‘mistake’ and that I should have never been born.”

Brandon, closes his eyes as he remembers hearing his parents say this many times. Mostly his father.  

Brandon, creeps into the kitchen. A man with dark hair and dark eyes sits in the living room nearby. A woman with pale blue eyes and dark brown hair sits next to the man. The man turns and sees Brandon. The man frowns.

“We told you to stay in your room, little brat!” The man says angrily. He gets up from the sofa. The woman turns but just scoffs and goes back to watching TV. She ignores the situation.

Brandon, gulps. “I...I just want a glass of water.” Brandon mutters.

The man, just glares at Brandon. “I don’t care!” The man says. “Just go back to your room!”

“But, father…,” Brandon says.

“NOW!” The man, Brandon’s father, yells. “Or I will make you wish that you never came out of your room!”

Brandon, gulps. He slowly starts walking back down the hallway. However, this is not fast enough for Brandon’s father. Brandon’s father, grabs the back of Brandon’s shirt, and picks him up. Brandon, is practically thrown into the hallway. The boy lands with a loud thud.

“ALL YOU ARE IS A MISTAKE!” Brandon’s father yells. “YOU SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN BORN!”

The woman, Brandon’s mother, just continues to watch TV. She just scoffs.

“Stupid little brat.” Brandon’s mother mutters.

Brandon, quickly gets to his feet and runs straight to his room. Brandon, lays down on his bed and curls into a ball. Silent tears run down his face.

Brandon, blinks a few times as the memory fades.

Aizen frowns. “So,” Aizen begins. “They mistreated you right from the start.”

“Yes…,” Brandon says slowly. “For as long as I can remember. They hardly bathed me, which is why I so dirty when you found me. They also barely fed me, which is why I am so skinny. When my mother cooked dinner, I would only be allowed to have what was leftover. Most of the time...there would hardly be anything leftover.”

Brandon, closes his eyes as a memory comes back to him.

Brandon, stands in the hallway. His parents have just finished dinner. They leave the table. Brandon, makes his way over to the table. Only a small dinner roll, a few vegetables, and a piece of chicken are left. Brandon, sits down at the table. He slowly starts to his ‘dinner’. Brandon, eats slowly, savoring every bite.

Brandon, blinks as the memory starts to fade.

“They also hardly ever bought me clothes.” Brandon says. “They would only do so if I didn’t have anything to wear.”

“You told Mairu...that your parents gave you all of the bruises that she found on you.” Aizen says.

“Yes.” Brandon says. “...With a...leather belt.”

The eyes of Aizen, the elders, and Jiraiya, all widen instantly.

Aizen, blinks a few times trying to imagine this. He has heard stories of people in that world, using leather belts to punish a child. But for someone who grew up in a close knit village, like Aizen, that is very hard to actually imagine. Abuse is unheard of in the Kirai’s village. Sure, children are disciplined if they misbehave, but discipline is used as a learning tool, not to inflict trauma or injury. Everyone in the Kirai village view all children as gifts and blessings, and children are treated that way.

“They hit me over every single mistake.” Brandon says. “If I didn’t speak right away when they spoke to me, I would get hit with the belt. If I spoke when I wasn’t supposed too, I would get hit as well. If I didn’t do my chores right, I would also get hit. If I accidentally, tracked dirt into the house, or broke something, I would get whipped with a belt.”

Brandon, closes his eyes as a particular memory of this comes back to him.

Brandon, is trying to reach a shelf, to put a drinking glass away. He has just finished washing the dishes. Brandon, tries to set the glass on the shelf. However, the glass slips from his hand, and falls to the floor. The glass cup shatters as it hits the floor. Brandon’s father runs in. He grabs Brandon, and walks over to a set of wall hooks by the door. Brandon’s father grabs a leather belt which hangs from one of the hooks. Brandon’s father then begins beating Brandon’s back and bottom with the belt.

Brandon, blinks and winces as he remembers that particular beating.

“Did you go to school?” Aizen asks. “Did the teachers know about the neglect and abuse?”

Brandon sighs. “I did.” Brandon says. “The school actually called CPS several times over me being dirty and my clothes being old. But...my parents found out everytime that a social worker was due to visit. They would immediately clean me up and try to make me look normal. Each time a social worker visited the house, they could find nothing wrong with the house and I would be clean. So, all of the social workers left without finding anything to make them think that my parents were not being ‘good parents’. After each visit from a social worker, my parents treated me worse.”

Aizen, frowns. “Didn’t your teachers notice your bruises?” Aizen asks.

“My parents made sure to hit me in places that are normally covered by clothes.” Brandon says. “Even though my parents didn’t care about me...they knew that they would get in big trouble if the teachers saw bruises on me.”

Brandon, looks down. “I didn’t have any friends.” Brandon, says sadly. “No one wanted to be my friend...because I was always dirty and smelled.”

Brandon, closes his eyes as a memory comes back to him.

Brandon, watches as a group of boys plays with a ball. It is recess, and Brandon, is looking for someone to play with.

Brandon, walks up to the boys. “Can…,” Brandon, slowly says. “Can...I play?”

All of the boys stop playing. They narrow their eyes and then wrinkle their noses.

“No,” One of the boys says. “Just go away and leave us alone.”

Brandon, hangs his head down, deflated. He slowly walks away.

Brandon, closes his eyes as the memory fades.

“The only joy I had was my toys.” Brandon says. “My parents lived next to this dump site for unwanted stuff. I would sometimes go outside and look through piles of junk. That is where I found my toys. Whenever I found something that I liked that wasn’t broken...I would take it and sneak it into my bedroom. I kept everything in a box, under my bed.”

Aizen, closes his eyes. “Brandon…,” Aizen begins. “When exactly did you run away from home? How long were you out on the streets?”

Brandon, starts to think hard. “I ran away from home a day before I was sent here.” Brandon says. “The night I ran away, my parents had beaten me really bad. After my parents went to bed...I packed up my toys...a pair of clothes...and snuck out my bedroom window. I walked for a long time. I then found a forest.”

Brandon, then closes his eyes. “I was going to sleep in a hollow tree,” Brandon begins. “When the wind started to blow really hard. Then, I was sucked into a blue tornado. After a few minutes the blue tornado dropped me on the ground. It was storming really bad. I got up to find shelter...but the wind was so strong...I could barely walk. I thought that I was going to blow away. Then, I found a cave. I got inside and I was so cold...I curled up into a ball. A few minutes later...a dog found me and started barking.”

“And then I found you after that,” Aizen begins. “And I brought you back to the village.”

“Yes…,” Brandon says slowly.

Aizen, blinks a few times, as his mind mulls over everything that Brandon, just told him. Aizen, and the elders sure have a lot to discuss.

What am I going to do? Aizen thinks to himself. If I send the boy back and he gets picked up by the police, he will get sent to social services. Then...if social services track down his parents...and do an investigation, but still don’t find anything...he will be sent right back to his parents.

Aizen, looks at Brandon’s face. Every time that Aizen, looks at Brandon’s face...he thinks of Hades eye shape and facial structure. Aizen, then remembers Brandon’s slight aura.

Brandon…, Aizen thinks. Just reminds me of Hades, slightly. Brandon has a weak aura, but it is slightly reminiscent of Daniel’s. Brandon, has to at least be a descendant of a god. I wonder...could Brandon...be a descendant of Hades? What will this mean for our village if he is?

All of the sudden, a man walks into the room, breaking Aizen out of his thoughts.  

“Aizen,” The man says slowly. The man’s face is pale. “You sent the other men and I to hunt. Well, all of us were prepared to leave the valley...but...you have to see this.”

Aizen, looks at the man with narrowed eyes. Aizen, looks at Korra, Seiji, and Atsuko. The three elders nod. Aizen, Korra, Seiji, and Atsuko get up and follow the man out of the room.

*************************

Aizen, Korra, Seiji, Atsuko, and the man arrive at the cave. The man slowly leads them inside. A group of men is gathered a few feet away from the entrance. They all turn and see Aizen.

“Aizen!” A man says. “It is a disaster!”

Aizen, narrows his eyes. “A disaster?” Aizen asks. “What do you mean?”

“Look!” Another man says. He points to the other side of the cave.

Aizen, walks forward. All of the men make a path for Aizen, to walk through. Aizen, gasps at what he sees.

Many huge trees are laying in front of the cave entrance. One has even fallen vertically, into the cave. The large branches of the tree are scattered all around the entrance. Aizen, then realizes that the branches are right where Brandon, was laying last night. Aizen, shudders to think of what would have happened to Brandon, had him and Tarou not found the boy.

“The entrance…,” Aizen begins. “It...has been blocked off.”

“How are we supposed to go out and hunt?” A man quickly asks.

Aizen, sighs. “We need to find a way to remove these trees.” Aizen says.

“How do we do that?” Another man quickly asks. “We have already tried but it is impossible. They won’t budge!”

Aizen, sighs again. “We will have to take axes and chop up the trees.” Aizen says. “I know that it will take a while, but...it is our only option.”

“But what are we gonna do if we cannot hunt!?” Another man asks.

“There is still the pond, stream, and river.” Aizen says. “We can still have fish. We will just have to ration everything for a while. We will make do somehow.”

Aizen, looks at all of the men. “Come…,” Aizen says. “We must grab some axes and start chopping up the trees. The sooner we get it done...the sooner that we can send hunting parties out to hunt.”

All of the men nod. They begin walking back into the valley. Aizen, walks up to Korra, Seiji, and Atsuko. All three of the elders look unhappy about the situation.

“Well…,” Seiji begins. “This is quite the complication. Not only can we not send out hunting parties...but we also can’t send Korra, Amaya, Katara, Yuzuki, and Lord Jiraiya to Konoha. This sure does set us back when it comes to finding the boy.”

Aizen, grits his teeth. “I know.” Aizen says. “I am so frustrated over everything. Ever since I officially became the leader of our village...it has been one complication after the other!”

Atsuko, puts her hand on Aizen’s shoulder. “Being a leader is not always easy.” Atsuko, says. “Your grandmother struggled sometimes, but at the end of the day...she always did what she thought was best for the village. That is what you have to do. Things are not always going to be easy, but you will always find a solution.”

Aizen, sighs. “I know.” Aizen says. “But still...why does everything have to be so complicated?”

Korra, sighs. “We shall never know that answer.” Korra says.

Aizen, blinks a few times. The problems just seem to be adding up faster than Aizen can deal with them. First, Nico. Then, the storm and the valley being half destroyed. Then, Masaru, screwed up and sent Brandon, to this world. Now…the only way in and out of the valley has been blocked off. Could things get any worse?

Chapter Text

Aizen, Korra, Seiji, Atsuko, and all of the men return to the elders meeting house. Jiraiya, and all of the other elders are waiting for them. The other elders all frown when they see Aizen’s face.

“Aizen…,” An elder begins. “What is wrong?”

Aizen, sighs. “There are a bunch of uprooted trees blocking the entrance into the valley.” Aizen says.

All of the other elders gasp.

“You mean…,” Another elder begins. “That we are practically trapped inside the valley?!”

Aizen, sighs. “Yes.” Aizen begins. “That is until we unblock the entrance. All of the men and I are going to have to take axes and chop up all of the trees.”

“But…” An elder says. “That will take at least a whole day!”

Aizen, sighs. “A least a whole day.” Aizen says. “Maybe even longer.”

All of the elders blink a few times. “But…,” One of the elders says. “How are our men supposed to go out and hunt?”

“We have to rely on fish from within the valley until we can get the entrance cleared out.” Aizen says. “We will just have to make due with what we have.”

“That also means the group that you were going to send to Konoha with Lord Jiraiya,” Another elder begins. “Cannot go until the entrance is cleared. That sets us back in finding young Nico.”

Aizen sighs. “I know.” Aizen says.

Jiraiya steps forward. “I can help you clear out the entrance.” Jiraiya asks. “I have a special jutsu which may chop up the trees.”

Aizen and all of the men look at each other. Aizen nods, accepting Jiraiya’s offer.

“Instead of axes…,” Jiraiya begins. “I would bring shovels and buckets.”

Aizen, and the other men narrow their eyes. However, they just shrug and walk towards a huge shed like building next to the elders meeting house. All of the men grab shovels and buckets. Aizen, then leads the men and Jiraiya towards the southern end of the valley, where the valley entrance is located.

The elders watch the group leave. Brandon, watches from the door, unbeknownst to everyone. Brandon’s eyes are narrowed.

Who is Nico? Brandon, thinks to himself.  

**************************

Aizen, the men and Jiraiya, arrive at the valley entrance. Jiraiya, narrows his eyes at the uprooted trees.

“Alright.” Jiraiya, says. “Everyone, stand back!”

Aizen, and the men do as Jiraiya says. Jiraiya, holds out both of his hands. Blue swirling balls of chakra soon form in each hand.

Aizen’s eyes are wide. He has never seen such a jutsu.

“Rasengan!” Jiraiya says.

Jiraiya, thrusts both of his hands towards the downed trees. Pieces and splinters of wood fly everywhere. The sound of splitting wood fills the air. Aizen, and the village men cover their faces with their arms. Once the sound of splitting wood stops, Aizen and the men, uncover their faces. Their eyes instantly widen.

The pile of downed trees are now nothing more than splinters and pieces, laying all over the entrance. Jiraiya, stands there. His hands don’t even have a single splinter.

“...Amazing…,” Aizen whispers.

Jiraiya, turns to Aizen.

"Will this work?” Jiraiya asks.

“Yes!” Aizen says. “Now all of the men and I can just shovel up all of the wood, without having to chop it all up first!”

“And just think.” A man says. “We can use all of this wood as mulch!”

Aizen, bows respectfully to Jiraiya. “Thank you so much.” Aizen says.

Jiraiya, smiles. “No problem.” Jiraiya simply says.

Aizen, turns to all of men with him. “Let’s hustle!” Aizen says. “The sooner we can get all of this wood shoveled up, the sooner we can send out hunting parties.”

All of the men nod. They soon begin shoveling wood into their buckets as fast as they can. Many of the larger pieces of wood, are simply picked up and carried outside the cave.

******************************

It takes Aizen and the men an hour to get all of the wood cleaned out of the cave.

"Alright.” Aizen says, wiping sweat from his face. “That should do it.”

Aizen, turns to all of the men. “We shall carry these last buckets of wood back to the elders meeting house.” Aizen says. “After that, all of you shall get back into your assigned hunting parties, and head out to hunt.”

All of the men nod. They grab their buckets and shovels, and follow Aizen, back to the elders meeting house.

It takes ten minutes for the group to reach the elders meeting house. A huge pile of wood chips and slivers sits off to the side. The men dump their buckets of wood on the pile. Aizen, clears his throat.

“Alright!” Aizen says. “Everyone group back into your assigned hunting parties and head out!”

All of the men nod. The men get back into their groups and head off towards the southern end of the valley, their bows and arrows strapped to their backs. Aizen, turns to the elders who stand in front of the elders meeting house.

“Once all of the women are done cleaning up around the houses,” Aizen says. “We shall check to see what plants need dry mulch. Then we will go from there.”

All of the elders nod. Aizen, and the elders head back inside. However, they see Brandon, standing by the door.

“Brandon?” Aizen asks.

Brandon, just looks at Aizen. “Who’s Nico?” Brandon asks.

Aizen’s eyes widen. “You were listening to us talk earlier?” Aizen asks.

Brandon, nods his head. “Who’s Nico?” Brandon asks again.

Aizen, looks at all of the elders. The elders just look at Aizen, with uncertain eyes. The elders don’t know what to do either. Aizen, closes his eyes.

Should we really tell Brandon, everything? Aizen inwardly asks himself. How much of it would he really understand?

Aizen, blinks a few times. However, Aizen thinks. It is because Masaru, sent Nico, here in the first place, that Masaru, began opening up dimensional rifts in order to slow down the time flow between our world and Nico and Brandon’s world. This situation is partly why Brandon, got sent here in the first place. I suppose...that Brandon, deserves to know exactly why he was sent here.

Aizen, sighs. “It is a very complicated story.” Aizen says. “Please, come with me and I shall tell you.”

Brandon, narrows his eyes a little bit. “Alright.” Brandon says.

Aizen, turns towards the elders. “All of you go check and see if the women are done cleaning up the houses.” Aizen says. “Then, all of you plus the women can lay down some ‘mulch’ around the valley.”

The elders nod. They walk out of the meeting house.

**********************************

Nico, and Kiseki lay down the dictionary. The sun is now in it’s noon position. Time for another break.

Kiseki, pulls out a jar full of berries. Kiseki, and Nico had gathered the berries while they were out foraging the other day. Kiseki, puts a small handful of berries into Nico’s hand. Nico, eats the berries one by one, making them last.

“You are doing good.” Kiseki says. “You seem to understand the rules of combining kanji very well already.”

“Thank you.” Nico says.

“Once we are done going through the dictionary,” Kiseki says. “We shall start on how to make sentences.”

Nico, nods. Nico, and Kiseki spend the next five minutes eating their berries.

*************************************

The elders stand by the pile of wood chips and slivers. The women have gathered as well, Taki, among them.

“Alright.” Korra says. “We shall begin by mulching all of the plants and trees that need dry mulch.”

Korra, and the elders start filling buckets with ‘mulch’. Taki, grabs a filled bucket. She is wearing gloves as not to get a splinter, when she spreads the ‘mulch’.

Taki, heads over to her family’s house. She heads straight for the garden. She comes to an apple tree. Taki, sets the bucket down and takes handfuls of ‘mulch’, and spreads it all over the base of the tree. Using what is left in the bucket, Taki, mulches a few tomato plants. Taki, sighs, and heads back to the pile of ‘mulch’ to fill her bucket refilled.

**************************************

The sun is now in the one O’clock position. Aizen, and Brandon are sitting in a room, overlooking a large egawa. Brandon’s eyes are wide at what Aizen just told him.

“So,” Brandon begins. “The reason that I was sent here was because, this Masaru guy, was trying to slow down the flow of time between this world and my world? All because he sent a ‘demigod’ here?”

Aizen, nods. “That is correct.” Aizen says.

Brandon, narrows his eyes. “And this boy, Nico…,” Brandon begins. “Nico is a member of the Kirai Clan, through his mother, who was sent to my world as a baby? And her father is a rogue ninja, who killed his entire clan?”

Aizen nods his head again. “That is correct.” Aizen says.

“And Nico,” Brandon asks. “Is the son of the greek god Hades? And a prophecy was made that foretold that a child of either Hades, Zeus, and Poseidon, would save or destroy the world?”

Aizen, nods again. “That is correct.” Aizen says.

Brandon, blinks a few times. “Such a complicated situation.” Brandon says.

“Yes, it is.” Aizen says. “Your arrival has made the situation even more complicated.”

Aizen, blinks and gets a strange look on his face. “The thing is…,” Aizen says. “I actually think that you are a descendant of a god.”

Brandon, narrows his eyes. “Descendant?” Brandon asks.

Aizen, nods. “Think of a demigod having a child,” Aizen says. “And then that child having a child, and so on. You actually have a strange aura. It reminds me of Daniel’s, a little bit. However, your aura is weaker, so I don’t think that you are a ‘half-blood’. I think that you may be a descendant of a demigod.”

“Oh,” Brandon says. After a few moments, he looks up at Aizen. “Do you have an idea of who my godly ancestor could be?”

Aizen, closes his eyes. “Well…,” Aizen begins. “A few of your facial features...kind of remind me of Hades.”

Brandon’s eyes widen. “Really?” Brandon asks. “If I am a descendant of Hades...then...Nico and I are ‘related’.”

Aizen, nods his head. “That is correct.”

Brandon, holds his head down. He then remembers something.

“A few things happened when I was a baby.” Brandon says. “That my parents could not logically explain.”

Aizen, raises a brow. “Like what?”

Brandon, sighs. “Well,” Brandon begins. “My parents hardly ever wrapped me up when I was a baby. I would lay in my crib all night...cold. I would scream and cry but they would just let me cry. There were a few times though...when they would get up the next morning...I would be sound asleep in my crib...and I would be ‘magically’ wrapped up.”

Aizen, raises a brow. That is very strange indeed.

Brandon, takes a deep breath. “My parents would sometimes shut me in a dark closet if I would not stop crying.” Brandon says. “Sometimes, they would come back to get me...hours later...I would be sound asleep...and I would covered with something, like a shirt. If there had been a blanket in the closet...I would be wrapped in it.”

Aizen, raises a brow again. Night. Aizen thinks. Dark closet. I wonder...could Hades have been doing that?

“How strange.” Aizen simply says. Aizen, then looks towards the door.

“I have work to do.” Aizen says. “Feel free to go back to the room you slept in, or you can stay here.”

Brandon, blinks. “I…,” Brandon begins. “I would rather go back to the room I slept in.”

Aizen, nods. Aizen, and Brandon, then walk out of the room and down the hallway.

*****************************

Aizen, walks outside. Brandon, has settled down back inside the guest room. Now, Aizen, must see how things are coming as far as clean up goes.

The elders stand near what remains of the ‘mulch’ pile. They see Aizen, walking up to them.

“Well,” Aizen says. “I explained the situation about Nico, as best as I could to Brandon. Which actually brings me to something that needs to be discussed.”

All of the elders narrow their eyes.

“Remember Brandon’s aura?” Aizen asks. The elders all nod.

Aizen, sighs. “I actually think that…,” Aizen begins. “Brandon...may actually be a descendant of Hades.”

All of the elders gasp. “What makes you think that?” Korra asks.

Aizen, sighs and begins telling of Brandon’s slight resemblance to Hades. Then, Aizen, begins to tell of the conversation that he had with Brandon, and about the strange occurrences during Brandon’s infancy.

“What does this mean for our village, then?” Seiji asks with wide eyes. “I mean, a son of Hades...and now a descendant of Hades in our world at the same time. This is not good!”

Aizen, sighs. “I know.” Aizen says.

However, before Aizen, can say anything else, Taki, walks up to Aizen.

“Aizen…,” Taki begins. “The other women and I went through the houses to see what everyone had in the way of food. I am trying to think of ways to feed the entire village with what we have. Do you have any ideas?”

Aizen, narrows his eyes. “Can you show me what there is?”

Taki, nods. She leads Aizen, towards the elders meeting house. They walk inside and head for the kitchen. There are sacks filled with many different grains.

“So far,” Taki says. “We have two ten pound sacks filled with rice. We have four ten pound sacks filled with wheat. We have two ten pound sacks filled with rye. We have three ten pound sacks filled with millet. We also have one ten pound sack sack with some barley in it.”  

Aizen, narrows his eyes. “That came from all of the households and the storage house?”

Taki, nods her head. Aizen, closes his eyes. There isn’t a terrible lack of grains but distributing all of it will be tricky. Soup would certainly be a very good way to use some of these grains. However, a lot of people have been displaced by the storm, and have lost everything, including their dishes. There may not be enough dishes for everyone.

Aizen, starts to pace a little, trying to come up with a solution. Aizen, suddenly remembers the grain grinders. A brilliant idea suddenly comes to mind.

“The grain grinders!” Aizen says. “We can grind all of the different grains into flour. Then, we can make bread by combining all of the different flours. We will be able to distribute bread very easily.”

Aizen, then, comes up with another idea. “We can make bamboo skewers and make meat and vegetable skewers.” Aizen says. “We can distribute meat skewers very easily as well.”

“Good idea!” Taki says. “We just have to hope that all of the men will be successful on their hunts.”

Aizen, nods. “Let’s go see what the elders think.” Aizen says. Aizen, and Taki walk out of the kitchen, and out of the elders meeting house.

Aizen, and Taki very quickly tell the elders about the idea. The elders like the idea.

“Grinding all of the grain like that will be very hard work.” Seiji says. “However, nothing in life comes easy.”

“Alright.” Aizen says. “Everyone who can manage a grain grinder will grind up the grain. All of the other adults shall gather and pick vegetables and greens. When the hunting parties return, we will all work together to skin the catches and prepare the meat. We can also divide everything up according to needs. We can make small meat and veggie skewers for the children, so that nothing is wasted. We can make larger portions for pregnant women and nursing mothers.”

Taki and the elders nod in agreement. Taki, then walks off to gather up all of the women and older girls to begin grinding up all of the grain. Korra, manages a smile.

Aizen, Korra thinks. Is doing very well leading the village, despite all of the setbacks the village has suffered. Taki, is also being very supportive and helpful. The two of them are handling leadership very well.

Chapter Text

Nico and Kiseki, finish up with the dictionary.

“You will have to spend a few days memorizing the kanji.” Kiseki says. “However, you seem to understand the basic rules when combining kanji and creating sentences, which is great.”

Nico, only gives a nod. Kiseki, then looks towards the entrance. He gets up and walks over to the entrance. Kiseki, glances outside.

“The sun has been shining all day.” Kiseki says. “If the sun shines all day tomorrow, then the ground should be completely dry in two days.”

“That’s good.” Nico remarks. Kiseki, walks back over and sits down.

“The sun is actually beginning to set.” Kiseki says. “We should probably get ready to make a fire for the night.”

Nico, nods. Kiseki, gestures for Nico to get up. Nico, stands up.

“We should probably start with a quick bathroom break and a drink of water.” Kiseki says. “After that, we shall get a fire started. Then, we will eat.”

Nico, nods and follows Kiseki, out of the shelter. The two of them head towards the spring.

******************************

Aizen, carefully observes the work in the kitchen of the elders meeting house. Women, are quickly rolling out dough to make flatbreads. Other women are preparing meat and veggie kabobs. Aizen, sighs. Most of the hunting parties that he sent out were successful. All of