A Dialogue with a Fox

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PostSubject: A Dialogue with a Fox   A Dialogue with a Fox Icon_minitimeSun Dec 15, 2019 1:33 am
Kazetora paced his room, he had been feeling for now the anger bubbling deep inside of his body, he did not know quite why but he knew from where it had come. He knew deep down that inside of him was a being of such pure rage and hate that he could seemingly never hope to turn that, hell the legendary Naruto Uzumaki apparently could not do much for him that seemed to last long. He knew that something needed to change, that he needed to do something about this if he wanted to achieve some sort of peace in his life.

Kazetora decided he would go to the training grounds near his home, it was just far enough away that if something went wrong with what he was about to do that the village might have some time to mount a defense against the consequences of his decision. It was a beautiful day in the village, the sun was shining, a light cloud cover floated over the greenery of the tree’s that lent to the villages name. However, despite this, the young Uchiha seemed to be upset, anyone who saw him could tell that much and he knew this attitude was a symptom of the issues he was going to try to resolve.

Once he had gotten to the training ground, he sat down right in front of one of the training logs; once he had sat down he crossed his legs and slowly closed his eyes. His hands were placed on his knees as if to prepare himself for what was to come soon. His mind was racing along with his heart, he was not sure if this was because of his own fears of failure or because of the excitement of what he was doing or if it was just the Nine Tailed Demon Fox trying to ward the Uchiha away.

Taking a few deep breaths the Uchiha would begin trying to center himself, he was preparing himself to meet the creature that helped ostracize him from not only the village but the members of his clan. Well, the he had already met with the being once before but this time he was deciding to go meet with him. He was deciding to bring himself before Kurama for a chat with the creature. He was as ready as he could be, at least he had hoped.

Kazetora then felt the world around him fall away, he even felt as if he were falling himself. This was not a new sensation he had felt this before. He was not sure if all those who were blessed or cursed to carry a tailed beast within them felt when they went to go speak to the mass of chakra with in them or if this was wholly unique to him. However, when all was said and done the Uchiha found himself in the mental landscape of the creature known as Kurama, the Nine Tailed Demon Fox Spirit that was the Ninth Tailed Beast.

The mental landscape was a strange combination of things, it was both old and new, on fire and yet flooded. Walls were made of concrete with large metal pipes running every which way, rust covering them and water...or was it oil, it was hard to tell, dripping from the pipes. The floor was covered in a good three inches of water, easily going past his ankles, meanwhile at seemingly random points were small fires raging, occasionally there would be a brazier or a sconce holding the fire but those seemed to be few and far between them.

As Kazetora walked through the passage way that he had landed in, he saw the lights of the flames growing brighter and brighter until he reached a large open area, easily big enough to fit a house designed for four people plus a decent sized lawn if not bigger. As he lacked any sort of means or really inclination to measure the space, he decided to not pay it much mind. Though it was in this room that the true danger laid. The reason he had come to this place.

Within this room stood, or rather laid, the large orange fox with black fur around his eyes. The red eyes of the Fox were closed as he slumbered, apparently not at all concerned with the Uchiha’s presence. This angered Kazetora greatly, but he knew that he would need to let that feeling go quickly if he was going to have any luck discussing with the beast what he wanted. He knew that if he approached with the strength of anger he had in him at that moment the tailed beast would likely try to mock him and say that the anger was his, that puberty was a difficult time for humans.

Stopping several feet away from the cage, the Uchiha took a look at it, made of red wood with a paper tag that read “seal” on its face, on the exact middle portion of the cage where the two sides of the door came together. The Uchiha knew that what he was doing was ill advised, even after the first time he had met with Kurama he was advised by his family to not do it again lest the creature be free once more. He knew that but still he needed to have this discussion with the being that he shared a body with.

Once he had centered himself somewhat, the Uchiha let out a long held breath both inside of the mental landscape and with his physical body. Kazetora then slowly approached the wooden gates and looked at the large fox, easily ten times the size of the boy, he knew that if the creature ever got free he was a goner, that he would cease to exist as Kazetora. “Hey Fox! We need to have a chat about something!” Shouted Kazetora at Kurama. They both knew that Kazetora knew the name of the Fox but this was part of a plan.

The plan was to throw Kurama off of his game to allow Kazetora the chance to get the best of him with his words, to make the Fox slip up in some fashion to allow Kazetora to gain leverage in the discussion should a compromise need to be made. He watched slowly as Kurama lifted his head and half opened one of his large eyes, almost as big as Kazetora was tall the red eye with a single black slit was massive to say the least. Kurama looked nonchalant laying there to say the least.

“And what do you want Uchiha-brat? Did you come to complain about your teenage problems? Did you come to beg for mercy from me and to loan you power? What do you want.” The Fox was easily older than anything else one could imagine, likely from within the body of one host or another he had seen just about all there was to see in this world, several times over. However, Kazetora ignored his insulting name that the Fox had given or the mock tone to his voice when he made mention of the possible reasons for Kazetora to come before him.

No, Kazetora was not here for any of those things and that much was clear. “No Fox, I’m not here for those reasons, I do however have a question for you. One that I need an answer, one that requires a solution to!” Kazetora’s voice slowly and steadily rose until at the final word he simply shouted it. The Fox still kept a half lidded eye focused on the boy, not even turning his head to fully face him. Kazetora however had a stern look on his face, one that he needed to wear to help keep himself sane.

“I need to know, why is your anger flooding into me more and more each day...I need to know if there is a way we can stop this unrelenting rage and anger I feel. This is not my anger, that much I know and I do not wish to keep having this anger boiling within me. To know that there was nothing I could do about it, to always be raging at something and to be a pin drop away from snapping. So Tell me Fox, what makes you so ANGRY?!” Kazetora put emphasis on the Fox and the mere mention of anger.

Kazetora could feel even now that anger building inside him without wanting it to, he could feel deep in the pit of his stomach pure rage building in him. He hated it...He hated the life that he was forced to live thanks to the decisions of others. This needed to stop, the cycle of anger and hate needed to end if he was to live any sort of normal life. Kazetora was ready to listen to the words of Kurama now unlike when he had first met the tailed beast a few months earlier.

Kazetora expected to hear the Demon instantly start to mock him, to belittle him and put the emotions hew as feeling off as simple hormones or something. What he did not expect but should have expected was the laughter. The Deep and elderly sound of his voice laughing was somewhat spine chilling to hear for the young Uchiha. However, Kazetora stood his ground staring at the beast, the rage was however palpable and visible in his black eyes as he continued to stare him down. The laughter would soon subside as Kurama now slowly turned his head to stare straight at the young man, both of his large eyes fully open now.

“You blame me for the rage you feel?! YOU JEST CHILD! I might be the Embodiment of hatred but this rage is all your own. It comes from your accursed bloodline that you people are so fond of. The Uchiha and the Sharingan. I have seen many of your kind come and go. Madara. Itachi. Sasuke. Each of them did great things but always allowed their own hatred, their own anger to envelope them at some points in their lives or to be used by others to fuel their own angers and hatred.

You think this anger is wholly mine? No. It is not child. You are but a puppet to your own clan’s destiny. Your people have been cursed with a deep ability to love, but yet that love can easily be turned against them with very little effort. You, Uchiha-Brat, are no different than any of your greatest members. Why should I be happy to be in a creature of pure hatred? My last vessel of mention was the great Naruto Uzumaki, he eventually made a friend of me. You? You will likely abuse my powers much akin to how Madara did so many years ago.”

The Demon Fox never once broke eye contact with Kazetora. He may have hated the fact he was stuck in this child, may have hated the fact that he was inside of an Uchiha a clan that had a bad track record of abusing his powers. All of these things may have been true but he was willing to at least he would do the child the respect of looking him in the eyes so that he would know that the words he spoke were true enough to him.

Kazetora however disliked hearing the comparison to Naruto. He wanted to not be compared to the Seventh Hokage. No, this was something that he needed to hear and he knew it. Though the curse of hatred was something he had not heard of before, he figured that the elders of the clan kept it a secret to themselves if they even knew of such a thing. Kazetora stared at the tailed beast, letting his words seep into not only his mind but his soul, taking it as a subtle hint about what all was going on with him.

Closing his eyes, Kazetora let out a deeply held breath that he had taken at some point. He was taking a moment to try to come up with his argument to the old man’s words. He wanted to argue every last point, to prove the Fox wrong. He wanted to rush into the cage the beast was sealed inside of and punch it in the face. He wanted to do many things, but he let those desires go. He let them flow with the wind, like a piece of paper or a feather that had fallen from a bird. That anger would do nothing for him at this point besides prove Kurama right.

“You might be right about me not being like Naruto. You might be right about many things that you say, but I am not any old Uchiha. No, I am Kazetora the vessel of Kurama the most powerful of the Nine Tailed Beasts. I have pride in that fact. Yet I also feel rage, great anger deep within me. This anger is focused at the source of that pride it seems: You. I don’t want to feel such anger at you Fox, I would rather work alongside you much like...Much like Naruto once did.”

The mere fact that he was mentioning that he was doing something similar to Naruto seemed to cause Kazetora some hesitance and some discomfort, but he knew that doing what he wanted would be doing just that: being like Naruto. Though deep in his heart of hearts he knew that he was nothing like the blonde haired Hokage. He needed to gather himself to continue this conversation, but knowing that Kazetora was attempting to gather his thoughts, Kurama attempted to break him a bit by letting out a loud laugh, loud enough to disrupt the Uchiha’s thoughts.

“You are proud to have me sealed within you? Do not make me laugh boy or I might end up dying finally within you! You are but a mere portion of my hatred at the end of the day even if part of that is from a curse of the bloodline. I am not proud to be sealed within you remember that well! You are a fool to think yourself worthy of even attempting to compare your desire to that of Naruto. Do not make me kill you before you’ve released me child...”

Kazetora’s eyes then shot open as he stared down the Fox once more. “You think I intend to ever let you out of my body? I already know what will happen when that happens and I would rather avoid that fate.” Kazetora interrupted Kurama suddenly. The idea of letting Kurama out of his body as he implied he would eventually do was something that he would rather not do. He knew that if he suddenly let the mass of Chakra that was Kurama out of him it would also take with it all of his own Chakra and cause him to die one of the most painful deaths a shinobi could imagine.

“No, I won’t ever let you out of my body until my dying day Fox...Not because I think you’ll take your revenge out on the village for insulting you by putting you into a child once more but because I am rather attached to my life. No...The only way you get out is if I am about to die with no chance of surviving. Know that now.” Kazetora could feel the hatred and vitriol boiling up within him as he spoke, the last few words being hissed out more than anything else.

It was then that he realized that Kurama was right about the Uchiha Clan’s Curse of Hatred. With how fast his mind went from peaceful to one of pure rage, he realized that it was likely not all done by Kurama. No, he realized how much he loved being alive even if he was cursed with the burden of carrying Kurama within his body. He knew that if that life was in danger he would do anything that he could do to protect it. He loved spending time with his team despite how much stress they put on him with their silly antics.

His eyes smoldered with pure rage, that rage currently directed at the nine-tailed fox spirit. The spirit in return let out another hearty laugh at the boy. “SEE! There it is! There is that famous hatred of the Uchiha Clan in action! I knew it! You are almost as full of hatred and rage as I am! Yes! You are a true vessel for my power! Together we can do great things...Yes, you will be the instrument of my revenge on this cruel world that we were both cursed to reside within. All you must do now Uchiha-Brat is release me from this seal!”

As he spoke the Fox brought up its front left index claw and tapped on the cage just behind where the seal tag was to illustrate his point. “Take out your rage and release me! Together we shall burn this world to cinders! We’ll turn those who ignored you into mere shadows on the ground! YES WITH YOUR FIRE WE HAVE THE STRENGTH TO DO MANY GREAT THINGS TOGETHER! RELEASE ME NOW! COME CHILD AND BECOME THE TRUEST AVATAR OF MY POWER!” Kurama let out yet another bone chilling laugh, this time full of his malice and hate as he stared down at the Uchiha whose fists were now balled up.

Anyone who looked at the boy could tell that he was considering doing just that. Yes, he had in him a great rage that meant that he would want to see those who had hurt him by turning their backs on him for not only daring to be born an Uchiha but also having the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed within him. These were things that he had no control over when they happened. No one asked him if he wanted to be born into a bloodline.

No one asked him if he wanted to have Kurama sealed up within him. No, they made those choices for him and he was forced to live with them. As he stood there in front of the large red cage, his breathing slowed. The rise and fall of his chest became more pronounced. As he did the flames around the room began to slowly diminish and grow as if they were breathing with him. These fires were an extension of his own Fire Release it seemed.

The flames would slowly become bigger and bigger as if he were feeding it chakra. He wanted to see those fools burn. He wanted to take everything that Kurama promised him and use it to its fullest. He wanted to destroy it all. He wanted to bring his holy vengeance down on those imbeciles. To teach them that they should not have shown him such ire and distrust just because he existed. He wanted to hear them lament their poor choices of their lives. To beg for their very lives, to hear them beg to be spared by him only to feel the true fear of having their very lives snuffed out by the object of their hatred.

The rage was becoming more and more immense as he thought back on every moment of his life. All the torment he had faced as new things to hate about him were foisted onto him. He wanted nothing more than to see such things be burned away. ‘Maybe...maybe letting the fox out would not be such a horrible thing after all...especially if he at least if he makes suffer those who had tormented me so for things out of my control..maybe...maybe I can have the last laugh as me and the fox switch places and my body becomes his...he might even let me retain my body afterwards….’

That was the thought pulsing through Kazetora as his body began to move closer to the cage of the Fox. His body seemed to be moving without wanting it to. Meanwhile in the physical world his hair began to become spikier, more like that of how a wild animal experiencing great rage’s hair would stand up and the marks on his face that denoted his being the Jinchuuriki of Kurama would be more pronounced. The birds in the trees around the training grounds would soon take flight in an attempt to flee the natural danger that this child now represented.

If his eyes opened, one would be able to see the black iris’s would become more gray with a red tint and the dead center to the iris, the pupil, would become more fox shaped. His body was already becoming tainted by the chakra of the Nine Tailed Fox, all part of its plan, the plan that Kazetora was seemingly walking right into as he sought to free himself from the anger. Back in the mental landscape, Kazetora was staring down at the ground, his eyes shut tightly and his face contorted into one full of anger.

Kazetora could feel the water at his feet beginning to boil and bubble as the flames around him were now steadily growing larger and larger as if in response to his anger. Slowly the water swirled around his lower half and brought him up, up high enough to be within grabbing range of the seal on Kurama’s cage. His anger was blinding him to the truth of the situation, to the fact that Kurama was manipulating him without even the smallest amount of difficulty. If Kazetora was able to think straight at this moment, he would recognize that fact.

Slowly his right hand reached out towards the seal. “Good! Good, let the hatred flow through you. With one action, one small action you can gain enough strength to see to it that all those who you hate are removed from this world. To see that they are wiped with the purifying fire of the Uchiha Clan! You will have all you want and then some child! ALL IT TAKES IS RELEASING ME FROM THIS INFERNAL CAGE! NOW WITH THAT HAND OF YOURS RIP THE SEAL FROM THE CAGE AND LET ME DO WHAT YOU CANNOT!”

His hand would reach up slowly, grasping the corner on the side closest to Kazetora’s right hand. He would grip it tightly, wanting to pull it off. Knowing he could easily do it. Knowing that once he did all his fears and worries would fade away. Fade into the nothingness from whence they came much like he himself...much like what made him would do. He would fade from this world, replaced instead with Kurama in his entirety. Destroyed. Dead. His legacy that he would be remembered for would be that he was just a beast.

That in the end those who he wished to destroy were right. That he should have been locked away where he could hurt as few people as possible. Freeing Kurama would give him a moment’s rest for a lifetime of pain and suffering for any unfortunate enough to be in the path of the creature. Though he would get his revenge his spirit would never know rest as he would never get to see his tormentors brought to the justice they so badly deserved. All it would do is make Kazetora cease to exist. Even if his body remained in the form of Kazetora it would be Kurama in the pilots seat.

No, that was not what he wanted. Not at all. He wanted to make the rage in him subside, that was why he had come to speak with Kurama in the first place. He wanted to gain the peace of mind he would need to play the long game and make his detractors come to him. To make them apologize to him for all they had said to him. To make them realize they were wrong. The path he was on at this very moment? That would not go over the way he wanted it to.

Slowly the water around him brought him down, as he released the seal a small rip in it, almost invisible to the naked eye, appeared. He might not have released Kurama but he did something else that could help him in the future. Slowly the water placed him back on the ground, as the rage within him began to die away so did the massive flames that were representations of his anger. As he breathed, in and out, slowly but surely the flames receded to a smaller size.

By the time he reached the ground and the water that had wrapped around his body had flowed away from him, the fires had returned to their normal size. His eyes were still shut but no longer was he squeezing them shut tightly, there was a calmness to them now. As he opened them he looked at Kurama, his eyes filled not with rage and hatred but regret and remorse, but also of a yearning to see the future. Also within his eyes was a sort of pity for Kurama. A pity that Kurama had not seen since he was sealed in Naruto but before he was friends with the boy.

In the real world Kazetora’s body was covered in a strong and cold sweat, his eyes were returned to normal along with all other physical manifestations of Kurama’s will and Chakra acting upon the boy. The birds and other animals of the forest surrounding the training area all would return slowly over time, the sense of danger no longer there for them. Kazetora’s emotions were back under control it seemed. Though it was always possible for his rage to get the better of him again in the future, in this case alone he managed to bring himself under control.

Back in his mind, Kazetora stared into Kurama’s eyes as some tears welled up in his eyes. The two stared at each other for a few moments, exchanging not a word between them. They both had a sense of failure running through them. They continued to stare for a moment that seemed to stretch on through eternity and to the end of the universe. Both had much to say it seemed but knew not when to speak. Though they both knew that in but a moment one of them would speak and break this pregnant silence betwixt them.

“YOU DARE DISOBEY ME BOY!” Shouted Kurama as he slammed an open and furry paw against the cage as if to try and grab Kazetora. “DO YOU NOT WANT REVENGE?! DO YOU NOT WISH TO LET FORTH ALL THE ANGER WITHIN YOU?!” The rage that Kurama was exuding was all but palpable at this point. His movements making waves and ripples within the water, though he tried now to frighten Kazetora, the Uchiha would not budge or show fear in this instance. No, the Uchiha was still angry and still wanted revenge, both knew that easily enough.

There was not even an attempt to hide his desire to still have revenge, it was a pointless thing to even attempt to do. “Yes. I do want that revenge. I want to destroy them still, to see their faces contort with fear.” Began the Uchiha softly, this lead to Kurama laughing loudly once more. “SEE! THEN RELEASE ME! LET ME OUT AND I SHALL GRANT THAT WISH BOY!” Kurama attempted once more to light the fire of hatred in Kazetora, to make him dance as a puppet on strings would for its puppetmaster.

However, Kazetora did not budge. He did continued to stare at Kurama whom stared back at Kazetora. A look of pure rage on the beasts face said that he did not like being disobeyed by his host in this manner. Kazetora slowly let the hands he had unintentionally balled into fists return to just hanging open. Slowly he walked towards Kurama’s cage once more. This act was met with trepidation and pleasure by the Nine Tailed Fox. Thinking that Kazetora would do what he wanted finally, he could not help but let his happiness flow through him. That elation would only grow as Kazetora placed his right hand against the wood of the cage.

“You is such a shame that you are so full of anger and hate and want only to take me over so you can let loose that anger and hate. No...You were right when we began this discussion. I do have a hatred deep inside me that is all my own. A hatred that is strengthened by your hatred it seems. That gives you purchase in my soul. Talking to you about releasing the hatred you push into me is pointless. I don’t even think you do it on purpose...No, you don’t do you?”

As he said this, Kazetora looked up at the beast who was seething with rage. He wanted to lash out at the Uchiha and tear him asunder but could not thanks to the infernal seal. Kazetora then removed his hand and took a few steps away from the cage. “No, you don’t. You are but a mass of Chakra given form and some ways you are much like me in that regard only on a scale I could never even hope to imagine. You wish to see this world burn and be destroyed for forcing you into two small children, Naruto and me don’t you?”

Kurama did not even speak a word, he merely stared, seething in rage quietly. “You want to see the day you get released from me don’t you? Yet...if I were to die prematurely what would that mean for you? I suspect that you might die in some fashion too...or at least return to the ether of being pure chakra given no form for who knows how long, am I right?” Kurama stared at Kazetora and spoke not a word. Both of them knew that neither knew what would truly happen should Kazetora die, it was theorized but never spoken about.

“You want to live as much as I do, I can tell...Yes, so how about a compromise? I will work on both of our curses of hatred and you? You will loan me enough strength to survive anything issue that should arise, but not enough strength to take over my body. That strength will let me make sure that we both survive, hopefully to live a nice long life. On my deathbed I shall release you willingly in exchange as well and you can do as you see fit with the corporeal body you are given at that time.”

The two continued to stare at each other, one full of rage and the other a sadness giving way to hope. Kazetora hoped that Kurama would be willing to at least consider his idea even if he outright rejected it. As long as Kurama considered it then the Uchiha would consider it a win for him in this discussion for today. As the silence between them began deeper and somehow quieter, they stared. Both of them contemplating options at this point. However, it was not long before the Demon let out yet another loud roar of laughter.

“I like you Uchiha-Brat! You have potential as a host! So be it! You want some of my power? You truly do think as Naruto did once! He did a similar deal with me during our first conscious meeting! You will be given access to my Chakra!” As Kurama spoke, Kazetora began to feel the elation that would come with such a boon of luck. He could not help but feel the pride of the matter well up within him. Kazetora would let a large smile slowly creep onto his face.

However, that smile was not to be had for too long. “BUT! Listen well child, if you draw too much of my power through this...” With yet another tapping of a claw against the cage door where the seal was, now noticing the small rip in it, and realizing what that meant. “If you draw too much power through that know that I will not hesitate to take you over. Know that I will do everything in my power to take you over.” The demon then let out yet another loud laugh. It seemed that he enjoyed these sorts of games of yin and yang deals.

Sure Kazetora had a benefit to gain here but he also knew that he had to be careful. Kurama laughed for a few moments before he continued. “You also need to work on your ability to summon my Chakra before you can reliably use it in the real world of combat. I would suggest you take some time to completely drain your own chakra from your body to practice summoning mine forth safely, after all you don’t have the natural reserves of someone like Naruto. Or don’t. Thats up to you if you wish to be a foolish child, though if I had to guess you are just as much a fool as I suspect as you came to me and nearly let yourself be taken over.”

Kazetora smiled once more, he looked up at Kurama in a silent thank you and decided to not push his luck further with discussion at this time. Kazetora then walked back towards the hallway he had entered the room from when Kurama’s voice pierced the silence once more “Remember, always be on guard for if you use too much of my Chakra I WILL take over your body Uchiha-Brat!” there was a menace to Kurama’s voice that made Kazetora shudder visibly before he walked back down the tunnel.

As he walked down the tunnel he slowly realized his consciousness was returning to his body and before he knew it he was back to his real body. His body was covered in a cold sweat as he suddenly lurched forwards. He let out a body wracking cough as he opened his eyes. He panted a bit and slowly stood up. He realized he was a bit unsteady, likely all that he had done had caused a massive adrenaline surge to go through his body. That almost the entire time he was talking with Kurama his physical body must have been in a sort of flight-or-fight mode.

He sighed a bit. Then the words of Kurama let themselves back into his skull. Telling him he should train a bit to pull the chakra safely in a trained way. He decided the best way to do that would be to train a smidge. He then formed a single handseal in the form of a cross. As he did he pushed every last bit of chakra out of his body as he could. Then with a mighty shout he yelled “SHADOW CLONE JUTSU!”

Then in a series of loud pops and many more puffs of smoke a small army of clones appeared. Each one taking half of his Chakra with it...well, half of his chakra at the time of their creation. He easily created about twenty before he was starting to feel a bit woozy. However he continued to push harder and harder until his chakra reserves were nearing their absolute limit. Once each clone was summoned, they began to pant hard. It was clear they were all seemingly as tired as their creator was now.

However, he needed to keep pushing. Harder. Faster. Stronger. Being able to use Kurama’s chakra would enable all three of those very things to become realistic. The original Kazetora shakily stood up after having doubled over after creating all the clones. He brought himself to his full height and shouted a simple order “LINE UP!” without a word all the clones got into a line of five clones wide and five clones long. Each one looking around before the original snapped his fingers to once more get their attention. He had a fun idea in mind for how to train himself in this regard.

“Ok all, we know why I am doing this. We know that in order to best use Kurama’s chakra its best that we push ourselves to pull the chakra out as we want. As such I used as much chakra as I could to summon you all. Now its your turn! you’re to push yourselves to the max. You’re to fight each other in a round robin tournament, hopefully by the end we shall be able to pull Kurama’s chakra! Do you all understand this? The rules..No rules, go all out but only one on one fights.”

The clones all nodded in unison. They seemed to understand, they had all heard of this sort of thing in the martial arts world being known as a Kumite. Slowly all of the clones formed a large circle, enough to give the two starting clones room to fight. Almost without word, the two began to fight. It was a quick fight as it was one of the first clones summoned against one of the last. They went at it hard but fast. The clone that won the match was obviously the one with more chakra. Just as suddenly as the fight had begun it had ended with the losing clone disappearing in a puff of smoke.

A roar of cheering had emerged from the remaining clones as the first of them had fallen. The fight would continue though with another clone, it was impossible to tell if it had more chakra or less at this point, suddenly charged the ring. The two clones would duke it out hard, kicks and punches flying. A loud chanting of the clones could be heard, almost primal in nature. They were going to watch the two Kazetora’s duke it out in honorable combat. It was not to find which Kazetora was strongest, they were all equally as strong.

No, this series of fights was simply to try to draw more and more chakra from within them. They wanted to be truly stronger fighters down in the core of their beings. They all knew what was at risk in this small but fun...but equally dangerous sparring session. They all understood that if they were not careful in how they pulled at the chakra of Kurama that something bad could happen. They all knew right away that if they were unlucky and one of them began to transform into Kurama that not a single one of them would be strong enough to stop it.

Part of Kazetora had wished he had brought a village elder with him before moving on to this, to help him should he need it. But that was the past now. They had already begun the fights and they could not stop. Nor would they have wanted to. This was a risk he had accepted when he had decided to come to the training grounds. He knew that there was a real possibility that Kurama could have taken him over before.

That he could have lost the moment he went to go speak with the beast. He nearly had after all during the conversation with Kurama given in and released the seal fully. Now that there was damage to the seal, he knew that if he was not careful that he would do what he did not want to do on purpose...on accident. Each clone and the original Kazetora watched the fight or participated in the fight with that knowledge in their mind. Each one knew that going forward at this point that they would need to be careful in combat.

They knew that they would need to be careful lest they accidentally draw on too much of Kurama’s power and end up shredding the seal. He also knew that likely that seal at some point would need to be repaired one day or else he would destroy it simply over time. He had no clue when that would be but hoped that he would have the foresight to be able to know when it was time later down the road. This was all something that all the Kazetora’s were thinking of during the fights.

As the thoughts flashed through their mind, another of the clones had fallen to the ground and then disappeared in a large puff of smoke. The crowd let out a roar of cheer congratulating the winner. Though soon another clone charged in. The fighting would continue he realized. Not the kumite that he had set up, no that would end eventually. The fighting he was thinking of was his constant struggle with Kurama. The fight for control over his body was just beginning he realized. With each passing moment he would be closer yet to an inevitable confrontation now. That thought scared the Uchiha.

He knew. He knew that one day he and Kurama would need to settle the differences between them. Only one of them could truly control Kazetora’s body. Kazetora knew he would need to grow stronger in order to have even the slightest chance of this. His thought processes continued to focus on the issue as another clone disappeared. This time there were fewer cheers, not just because there were less clones now but also because many of the clones were contemplating the very same things that the original Kazetora was considering at this point. The mood was slowly turning somber.

They all realized slowly that if they were doomed to a certain cycle. Doomed to eventually fight with a massive beast of Chakra. They all knew that this would be something that even Naruto would have had difficulty with. However, he also knew that Naruto had managed to do it somehow, how he would love to sit down and talk to the man who had once not only tamed Kurama but befriended him. He needed to know how he had managed it, he did not want to die. He did not want to remain just an outlet of hatred for Kurama himself.

No, he would not let that fate become true. If it came down to it, he would rather destroy Kurama and himself fully then to let the cycle of hatred continue in such a way. He wanted nothing more than to see to it that he was saved from this fate. He wanted to save himself. But, he knew that at this point it would be a long shot. Though he also realized at this time that his mind was beginning to simply drift into the negative thoughts. He was dwelling on a future that might not yet even need occur.

No, he would do what he could to make that future never happen. He would push the thoughts from his mind. Watching as yet another clone fell and disappeared in a puff of smoke. No cheers erupted from the remaining clones. They were all simply staring at the fights as they occurred with a grim determination on their faces. They would not let the dark future that they could envision come true. The fights continued though.

They were all scared. But the fighting continued.

They were all worried about the future. But the fighting continued.

They were all wondering who would win: Kazetora or Kurama. But the fighting continued.

They were Shinobi through and through. They would not let the fact that they could die stop them. They would do whatever they could to gain victory. They would lie, cheat and steal until their last. They would put up a desperate fight if need be when the time came. They would use every trick, dirty or not, to gain the victory they needed. When the dust was settled and the outcome determined...Kazetora knew that he would be the one to stay standing. He knew that he was destined to gain the victory in the fight.

Losing was not an option for him. Losing was never to be an option. Losing meant losing all that made him him. Losing all that was truly good in the world as far as he knew it. He would not let that happen. He would not let Kurama win in such a way. No. Life was precious to him, well his life and the lives of those he cared for at least. Slowly but surely as the fighting continued the chanting and cheering resumed. With each punch that landed a resounding cheer of primal elation would rise from the group.

Soon there was a full on primal chant rising from the Uchiha clones and even the original himself. Each one watching as with elation and fear and excitement as the fights continued. They would continue to be a brutal bloodbath. But Kazetora and his clones cared not. Not they were now fully enraptured by the sport of it all. Watching the battles as they put their lives on the line. An ancient desire boiling in all of them to see themselves victorious. The fights became more animalistic as the progressed. More than half the original clones were gone by now.

The fighting was progressing in in an almost haphazard way as each clone pulled out all the stops. They were fighting as if they were the original and their lives depended on it. With each clone that disappeared, Kazetora could feel something building within him. It was more than just the unspent chakra returning to his body. It was growth. It was learning. It was pure progression. Progress for the sake of progress sake. Unabated power would flow from the Uchiha and yet back to him with each clone that had fallen.

With each clone, a sense of purpose growing more and more. With each clone a stronger will to live. With each clone a larger retention of chakra. His body was seemingly modifying its ability to hold chakra to hold onto the chakra that Kurama was leaking into him. It was happening faster, faster than one could think of since so many versions of him were undergoing the change and then returning to Kazetora as they were defeated. He could feel himself growing more powerful, slowly but yet faster than he had ever noticed before. He knew that he would be forever changed at this rate.

He knew deep down that he was to become stronger. He knew that he would soon be someone different than he was when he woke up today. Soon the last four clones and the original began to chant something with meaning. “Stronger than before. Powered up for more. Victory beyond all else.” over and over they would say these words. Not a one of them knowing where the urge to say it came from. Not a single one of them seemed to care about such a thing. They all continued to chant and fight to their utmost.

Soon though, all the clones would find themselves shattered against the ground. Every last one except for the final one disappeared in a puff of smoke. It had taken roughly an hour to get to this point, though how long he had been out there total he was unsure of. Staring at the last clone standing, the two knew that they would need to fight. To finish the Kumite. Only one of them could be left standing. The two Kazetora bowed respectfully to one another before squaring off with each other. The last one standing had some Chakra left and the real Kazetora had rested long enough and had enough clones returned to him that he had about an equal amount of Chakra himself.

The two then suddenly charged each other. Testing the waters the two would through a few quick jabs. Each dodging perfectly. Their actions were mirrors of one another. They had the same minds and same experiences to draw from. This made the fight much like someone fighting a mirror. Each punch that was thrown was perfectly caught by the others fist. Each kick that was shot forth met the other’s leg in a perfect block.

They knew that this would be a more difficult fight than any of the last ones. They both continued to punch and kick. Each grapple attempt was quickly broken by the other. They were perfectly matched. Sure, Kazetora could have simply dispelled his own Jutsu if he wanted, but that would be cheap and an insult to himself. He would not do that. He would fight just as hard as any of the clones had done so. The two Kazetora’s would grunt as their attacks began to find purchase on the other Kazetora’s body.

The two doppelgangers fighting. Well, only one of the two Kazetora’s was a doppelganger, the other was the genuine article. The two were fighting harder than Kazetora had ever fought before when it came to an evenly matched opponent. Yet both of them had a massive smile on their face. They were enjoying themselves. They were happy to be fighting a strong opponent, not just physically but tactically. Because they were both Kazetora they were evenly matched in every way imaginable. One would normally expect that to cause them stress and anger, but no this caused the two no end of enjoyment.

To be able to fight a strong opponent, to pull out all the stops, to see where they could gain even the smallest advantage. They were fighting now not just to train their ability to retain chakra by draining their supply as much as possible and slowly pulling out Kurama’s but they were also doing all that they could to simply beat the other. They held no malice, but instead pure enjoyment of the fight now was what drove them. Pure Progress. It was such a strange thing, most people struggled, hell even Kazetora often struggled, to make any sort of progress.

But now? Now Kazetora could feel himself growing with each punch thrown. Growing with each kick that he took. He knew that he would grow even more once the clone was defeated. He knew the clone would be defeated because he had no intention of losing to the copy. The Genuine article could never lose to a copy. That was what he was telling himself at least. He continued the fight, both of them now scoring hit after hit with a different strategy each time. Though the fight did not last for too much longer. Eventually the real Kazetora was able to put the Kumite to an end.

With a mighty roundhouse kick to to the head of the clone it flew into the nearby training log and exploded in a puff of smoke. Panting hard, the Uchiha child could not help but look out at the field, almost disbelieving what all had happened. How he came here wanting to talk to Kurama in peace and try to stop his anger from leaking into him. How he nearly had lost himself to the anger that was buried deep in his genetics and amplified by the tailed beast.

How he had somehow managed to talk the creature into loaning him some chakra. The fight of the Kazetora’s that began soon thereafter. The long thought process he had gone through, how angry he had grown with himself, how despondent he had grown during the battle. The peak highs and the peak lows. They were all there. He had put himself through a thorough self examination and found that he both disliked what he had seen and yet he also liked what he had seen. His body covered in bruises and even a bit of blood, he realized just how hard he was throwing punches.

The soreness and exhaustion of all the clones had built within him. He was at his limits even considering the slow trickle in of Kurama’s chakra to help build up his reserves. He was almost completely out of his chakra. He knew he had one final push left in him. He knew that he could barely move as well. He decided that he would put that last push in. He would try his best lest he just be the laughing stock he knew himself to be in the eyes of many of the villagers.

He refused to be the punk that could not see through even this basic form of training. He was fighting himself both literally and figuratively. He would not let himself lose this fight even now. No, he was going to keep going. Bringing himself back up to his full height, Kazetora closed his eyes and began to slowly breathe in and out. He was going to let himself slowly do this final part as if he were trying to prove himself to his family once more. He was going to perform the Great Fireball Jutsu and push himself through the final parts of the training he ended up doing out of nowhere.

Slowly he would begin to form handseals. Each handseal formed with purpose. Each handseal made slowly as if he were learning it for the first time. He knew that if he made a mistake at this point he would could use too much chakra up or not enough and the Jutsu would instead simply explode in his face. He refused to let that happen. No, he was going to take his time and do everything perfectly for this Jutsu. It was going to be textbook in execution. Beautifully formed handseals flowed with the grace of an expert.

As he formed his handseals, he would slowly begin to breathe in and out of his nostrils, slowly molding his fire chakra. As he breathed in and out he mentally pictured the brazier’s in his mental landscape when his rage was building earlier. The flames would shrink with inhalation and grow on exhalation. Slowly as he molded his chakra the flame would begin to grow in the pit of his stomach. In. Out. In. Out. He would continue the breathing, slowly building up the chakra. Slowly showing the beauty of the flames first to himself as if he were special.

Then. When he had built up the chakra and finished the handseals he took one final massive gulp of air, building up the oxygen in his body. He then let the fire chakra he had molded interact with the air and expand upon its own power exponentially suddenly. He could feel the warmth of the Jutsu deep within his chest now. He felt the power within him. He felt the danger of the fire. He felt the danger of Kurama at the back of his mind. He knew that this would be the last moments of consciousness for him.

Then he threw his right hand, slightly cupped, in front of his mouth and let loose a massive blast of fire. The stream of flame would shoot forth, soon curling around itself and quickly forming a large ball. The ball would soon expand and grow more and more. Kazetora watched the ball grow until it reached its maximum size in terms of its diameter. He could feel the heat coming from it as he continued exhaling. Pushing forth the oxygen in his body and the fire chakra he had molded just for this purpose.

He soon found himself more exhausted than ever before and the jutsu was cut short. The world spun as he reached almost absolute zero in terms of his chakra reserve. His body was in self-preservation mode and the young Uchiha passed out. He had fallen on the spot as the ball of fire suddenly sputtered out and died, small flames licked at the ground but were soon snuffed by some force unknown to the now sleeping Uchiha child. He had done more than enough for one day it seemed, at least to him. Anyone looking upon him would see a large, somewhat goofy, smile on his face.

How he got home, Kazetora was not sure. All he knew was that he had woken up in his bed. His body was covered in bandages. He attempted to sit up but found himself still exhausted and sore. His body refused to move as he wanted it to at fist. So for several minutes the shinobi simply stared up from his bed at the ceiling. Wondering who had brought him home. Wondering who had bandaged him. Had he been followed to the training ground? Was someone watching him the whole time?

It was something that would be left unclear as slowly darkness encroached upon him once more. His brief lucidity was soon stolen from him as he had fallen back to the state of unconsciousness. His body deciding that it still needed more time to rest. More time to recuperate. His body had a larger chakra reserve now and as such he needed more time to rest and restore that reserve more. His body knew that he would need to rest more at least even if he himself refused it. He would continue to slumber until his chakra reserves were fully replenished or at least mostly replenished and his body had healed mostly from its wounds.

This took no time as thanks to Kurama he had a much faster healing factor than most normal people and soon awoke once more. His body was still sore and still tired but he found that it finally was reacting to his desires to move. Though, it was also telling him something: he was hungry. His stomach was growling loudly and annoyingly at this point. Slowly he rose from his bed, wincing in pain as he had done so, he regretted the kumite a bit since he had not expected this to be the result of such a hard method of training.

Slowly the young man made his way out of his bed, moving slowly so as not to anger his muscles which were still quite sore and recovering. Shakily Kazetora began to walk from his room and down the stairs of his home. His mother, whom had been cleaning the kitchen at the time, nearly fainted when she saw Kazetora out of bed. She ran to him and wrapped her arms around him and then helped him limp over to the kitchen table. Once he was sat down she could hear his stomach growling.

She immediately set off to start cooking him some food, explaining that his father had been out on a mission for the first time since he was brought back bandaged up. “Where were you Kaze? What were you doing that got you so banged up like that! You had us worried! We didn’t know if you were going to wake up!” The look of worry on her face was immense and he immediately realized that he was sleeping for longer than he had thought he might have been. “Mom...How long was I asleep for? I figure it was a while but...”

She didn’t let him finish his sentence before she cut him off “You were asleep for a week! We had to make sure you drank daily just so you would have a chance of waking up, any longer and we were going to bring you to the hospital to be tube fed or something!” Kazetora blinked a bit surprised then let out a small chuckle at the end of her statement. “Sorry to have made you worry so much mom, I didn’t mean to, really...” He then gave her as big a smile as he could to let her know he was alright now.

After a few minutes she brought him the first of several bowls of food that he would need to eat “So, what were you doing that lead you to get so badly hurt? You weren’t on a mission, at least not an official one, we asked the Village elders about that much...” She still had a look of concern on her face. But Kazetora simply scarfed down the food she had put in front of him. He decided she should know what had happened, and as such began to explain everything even talking with Kurama between bites of food...
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A Dialogue with a Fox

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Naruto Night RP :: Land of Fire :: Konohagakure :: Primary Training Ground-