Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Duesal_Bladesinger would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Gilded

By Duesal_Bladesinger

Mystery / Drama

Shukaku

Summary: With loving parents and plenty of friends, unease is the last thing that Naruto should be feeling. But it lingers in the back of his mind, clouding his sight with suspicion and paranoia. Why do his dreams feel so real? Why does he remember things that never were?

Disclaimer: The Naruto franchise is owned by Masashi Kishimoto, Shueisha, Studio Pierrot, TV Tokyo, and Viz collectively. Please support the official release.

Gilded

Chapter 1

Shukaku


~o0O0o~


People live their lives bound by what they accept as correct and true. That's how they define "reality". But what does it mean to be "correct" or "true"? Merely vague concepts . . . Their "reality" may all be a mirage. Can we consider them to simply be living in their own world, shaped by their beliefs? — Itachi Uchiha


"Naruto~!"

The sheets were sinfully soft as they cocooned him, sheltering him from the outside world. It was like sleeping in a giant bowl of ramen, with the broth warming him up and the noodles cushioning his body. Somehow, the thought wormed its way into his dream, and Naruto believed with all his heart that he actually was sleeping in his favorite food.

It just couldn't get any better than this. It didn't even matter that someone somewhere in RamenLand wouldn't stop calling his name. Naruto wasn't about to answer, though. They could go find their own ramen.

"Naruto!" The annoying voice that kept calling him was slightly strained now, increasing in volume and pitch.

Naturally, it went ignored.

"Mmmm . . . Miso . . ." The boy sprawled haphazardly in the ramen-broth pool, licking his lips at the thought of his favorite flavor. The way it coated his tongue, the tang against his taste buds, the satisfying slurp.

His door slammed open with an almighty kick.

To say that Naruto jumped out of bed wouldn't even come close. An impala couldn't have topped what he did in his moment of panic, as he ended up on the ceiling in the far corner like some crazed bat.

Kushina looked on with a satisfied gleam in her eyes. "Oh, look at that. You're already awake! Silly me." She chuckled to herself as her son glared daggers at her, his chest heaving and his eyes wide in absolute panic.

With a flip of her long, red hair, she turned and exited the room, not even bothering with the door she'd kicked open.

"Breakfast is ready," she called over her shoulder. "Come down and eat while it's still hot."

Grumbling obscenities under his breath, Naruto dropped down from the ceiling and began stumbling towards the stairs before skidding to a stop at his mother's sudden shout.

"And don't you dare come downstairs without brushing your teeth!" It wasn't a warning so much as it was a death-threat.

Naruto blanched and immediately changed course, heading straight for his bathroom.

Several minutes later, teeth brushed and face scrubbed clean (just in case his mom told him to do that too), he plopped down in his usual seat at the breakfast table.

"'Morning," he moaned in greeting, looking for all the world like a walking corpse.

Minato barely even looked up from his newspaper and coffee, snorting, "What'd she do this time?"

"Kicked my door open," was the muttered response. "Scared the crap out of me."

"That's it?" Minato remarked, turning the page as his eyes took apart the crossword puzzles on the fly. "That's pretty tame for your mother."

"Not tame enough if you ask me . . ."

Minato scoffed at his sixteen-year-old's complaining before returning to his newspaper's puzzles.

I really wish they wouldn't make these so easy. I mean, third fire-shadow, eight letters? Come on!

Naruto was too busy despairing over the loss of his sleep to notice his dad's frustration with whoever was making the crossword puzzles. His head was placed firmly between his arms, only lifting as a heavenly scent lazily drifted in through the kitchen entrance.

Kushina waltzed into the dining room, her hands laden with pancakes and strawberries. "And how are my two lovely men this fine, wonderful morning?" Her answer was a dazed groan and an absent-minded 'good, good'.

She set the food down in the middle of the table, not quite able to hide her smile at the way her husband and son were suddenly drooling over her cooking.

At an unspoken signal, they both pounced on their breakfast, letting out identical whimpers of satisfaction at the rich, delectable fluffiness of the pancakes and the cool sweetness of the maple syrup.

"So," Kushina began, "what are the two of you planning for today?" She proceeded to take a bite of her own as she waited for an answer. She couldn't help but close her eyes and moan at the taste.

Naruto drowned his mouthful of food with some of the orange juice already at the table before answering. "I'm supposed to meet Sakura-chan at the hospital so we can go visit Kakashi-sensei."

Minato sighed at that and picked up his newspaper again, turning to the sports section. "That man never did know how to hold back in a mission. On his first D-rank, he tried to use kunai to herd a runaway cat. Can you believe it?"

Kushina burst out laughing, but Naruto paled, knowing exactly why Kakashi-sensei would have used those kunai. He had his suspicions that Kakashi-sensei wasn't 'herding' that cat at all.

"Tora was alive back then?!"

Minato merely flipped another page, stopping to read a report on Konoha's budding banking system. "I believe so," he remarked absently.

"But that was ten years ago!" Naruto exclaimed, eyes wide with disbelief.

"So?" Kushina interjected, spearing a strawberry with a fork before popping it into her mouth and speaking between chews. "Maybe he's just a really healthy cat."

Now Naruto was just embarrassed. He and the rest of Team Seven had been shown up repeatedly by a cat that was supposed to be on its last legs.

Shaking the thought out of his head, he wolfed down the rest of his pancakes, chugged his glass of orange juice (freshly squeezed, because his mom wouldn't settle for anything less), popped a few strawberries into his mouth, then headed out the door.

"I'm heading out," he called over his shoulder.

"I just wish . . . that someone would be there to tell me 'work hard at school' and 'have a nice day'. I hate being alone, Iruka-sensei."

"I know exactly what you mean, Naruto. It's tough."

Naruto stood shock-still at the doorway.

"Have a nice day!" Kushina said, jarring him from his stillness. "And tell Sakura-chan and Kakashi we say hi!"

He breathed in long and deep, a chill running down his spine.

Who's Iruka-sensei?

Kushina tilted her head with a small confused frown as she looked on from her seat at the table. "What are you standing there for? You're going to be late, and you know Sakura-chan hates it when you keep her waiting."

Naruto's eyes widened before he sprinted out the door. It was probably nothing anyway.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Carolyn Hahn-Re: I really liked this story! The writing was well done, and the plot was suspenseful. I couldn't stop reading chapter after chapter, on the edge of my seat! The characters were well developed, and true to form. Thank you so much for this wonderful read.

Jordan Young: *ALERT FOR POSSIBLE SPOILERS* Where to start? I don't know how to sum up this review, this story was absolutely sensational. Brilliant. Flawless. I loved every single bit of this story, it is truly amazing. I read this story in fifteen hours, it is magnificent. I loved everything about it, the p...

Deleted User: (A review in progress). I like this. It's sparse, gritty and atmospheric - reminiscent of the classic Golden Age of American detective fiction of the Thirties. I've only read the beginning, but I'll definitely be back. This writer knows their stuff and has done their homework on detective work. T...

JanThompson: This book gives a beautiful description of a country which one rarely gets to see. The contrast between rich and poor is very evident too.The storyline actually sheds a compelling light on why women in certain countries sell themselves just to help their families or even to survive themselves. I ...

C J Lawson: Nicely done. Good story with good characters, as well. I was very entertained by the story line, from beginning to end. I would definitely read more of this author's work.

Atractivo Sumit: The story is an amazing blend of what we call natural, plain romance along with subtle emotions and interesting twists. The plot is so beautifully interwoven.

Lea Sutherland-Doane: I love this story and it hurts me that it is on a cliff hanger. Please write the next story fast so I can enjoy more of your wonderful writing skills. Your writing skills are amazing and I cannot wait to read the sequel, I promise that this is the best book I have ever read and I love it will al...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!
King's Lament

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!
Spectra

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."