Many of the readers have complained about "info dumps", the first two chapters especially, however, don't worry. Once these few things get established once and for all, for the story, there will be fewer and fewer of them in the future. Additionally, I don't have any editors, so please leave a paragraph comment for me in a place where you see a writing mistake. Happy reading!
The Hyuga clan's residential area was located somewhere on the outskirts of the renowned Konohagakure. It was also surrounded by a vast forest that spread outwards all until those high man-made, enormous walls, that guarded the whole village since its founding, came into view.
To the other three directions of this spacious Hyuga clan's compound, and the vast forest, was that famous mountain that guarded Konoha, with four distinctive Hokages' faces carefully carved onto it, the center of the village and the civilian area, and the equally illustrious Uchiha clan's previous living compound that was now empty thanks to the aftermath of that terrorful beast's attack.
The Hyuga clan's compound was now the nearest occupied clan compound to the Hokage's building in the entire village after the Uchiha were relocated away from their long-term residence.
This current location spoke of the present status of the Hyuga clan inside the village perfectly.
The closer you are to the power center of the village, the more respected you were.
Uchiha clan was now the opposite of that. They were relocated to the edge of the village near the main gate. Far away from the Hokage's residence, the village's civilian-dominated center, and all the other important buildings of the village. They were now like some kind of outsiders living inside.
A young kid with lengthy scattered black hair, wearing an elegant blue kimono, was sitting on the wooden floor inside a semi-large traditional Japanese-like room.
One wall inside the room could also function as a large movable window, which was fully opened.
The cold, night wind blew all over the peaceful-looking, sitting boy, scattering his hair even more.
The boy looked at the outside scenery while deep in thought. Endless trees outside swirled around with the night cold wind, and the eternal moon above shone brightly.
A green-colored swastika symbol on his forehead, the so-called caged bird seal, reflected gloomily by the moonlight.
The boy's name was Neji Hyuga. He was now six years old, but his cold and serious expression currently was somehow like that of an adult who experienced wind and rains and all the cruelty life had to offer before.
It was because he was not really six years old as his childish appearance suggests. Another soul occupied this body around three years ago and fused with the soul of the child named Neji Hyuga.
That soul came from another world also named the Earth. However, it was, most definitely, not the same planet Earth. This Earth was also called the "Ninja World", by its inhabitants, and was a world of strange magical powers, called chakra, natural energy, and weird techniques, not the world of technology and science like his previous world was. Maybe it was not even the same universe.
This world was also like that fictional world, from his previous life, he was very familiar with, called Naruto or Narutoverse. The world where the strongest fist rules, not the money or the rule of law.
'Six years already passed by in a blink of an eye, and tomorrow morning I'm entering the Ninja Academy. This means I'm one step closer to breaking out of my cage, but it also means I have to work even harder.', Neji thought while looking melancholically towards the unusually bright Moon.
Three years ago, young Neji Hyuga's father tragically passed away, on the same day he was marked by that evil curse mark, the secret juinjutsu of the main branch of the Hyuga clan, he now also likes to call the 'slave mark' instead. His father died because of a stupid decision of his brother, Neji's uncle, and the current clan head. In a moment of anger, he killed someone that he shouldn't have.
While Kumogakure and Konohagakure, two great shinobi villages, were at war, in an attempt to put an end to their fighting, they agreed to a peace treaty to be signed. However, the treaty was soon revealed to might be nothing more than a cover when the person who was the Head Ninja of Kumogakure at the time, who was in Konoha to sign the treaty, attempted to kidnap Hinata, the Hyuga clan's young heiress, in order to obtain the Byakugan and its secrets. The shinobi was recklessly killed in his attempt by Hinata's father, angered Hiashi Hyuga, the patriarch of the clan.
However, that was Kumogakure's plan all along. Later they denied all accusations of the kidnapping and demanded the body of Hiashi as compensation for the death of their Head Ninja as per the stipulations of the treaty. Weakened Konohagakure, with indecisive Hiruzen, as their leader at the time, after losing the Fourth Hokage, the Jinchuriki, Kushina Uzumaki, and economically destroyed by the Nine-Tails attack, eventually complied with their unreasonable demand, chickened out, and put pressure on the Hyuga family, who also chickened out in front of the old Hiruzen themselves.
However, Hiashi was the esteemed patriarch of their clan and a member of the main branch side of the family, so his father was decided to be used as a scapegoat in his place instead, as an identical twin, born just seconds later. Also, that choice had another advantage, Hizashi was a member of the sidebranch, and his Byakugan would be sealed away upon his death, safeguarding its secrets.
Even though Hiashi protested it strongly and wanted to give his own life instead, as he rightly should, for recklessly killing that intruder, in a fit of anger, without even thinking anything, their father, the previous head of the family, alongside all the elders strongly urged Hizashi to give his life.
Hizashi knew, that in the end, there is no way Hiashi would be able to go against their father, and all the elders, so as to escape reality, cope with his inevitable death easier, make his brother's situation less difficult, or most likely make his son Neji's situation less difficult in the future, Hizashi himself volunteered to give his life away for the clan.
Also writing some kind of a message for future Neji, confronting him, and urging him to not blame the family in the future. Probably not wanting him to turn towards a path of hatred and torture with that curse mark, knowing there's no way to escape that fate or fight against the main branch side.
This cursed seal is nominally used by the Hyuga clan in order to protect their kekkei genkai, the Byakugan. Members of the clan's main house brand members of the clan's branch house with the cursed seal so that, when they die, their Byakugan would be sealed away, preventing its secrets from being learned by enemies.
The cursed seal can also be used by the main house to discipline branch house members: if the main house member uses a special hand seal, the branch house member will experience intense pain, discouraging them from disobeying the main house again. If the pain is great enough, it can even kill the branch house member, destroying their brain cells.
Hizashi Hyuga knew perfectly well how painful it was, even for a seasoned shinobi to experience the activation of the curse seal. So. it's understandable as to why he didn't want to turn Neji against the main branch, and experience that same kind of pain in the future, and even death if he defies them.
And his bet paid off. After some initial discomfort and coldness, later after Hiashi gave Neji Hizashi's final message, Neji had better feelings towards the family again and became obedient till the end.
"But, I'm not that same Neji anymore!", Neji coldly exclaimed all of a sudden. How could he, a seasoned writer of many online Naruto fanfictions from his previous world, not understand such simple truth? He knew very well the dark and sinister nature of this cruel, dog-eat-dog, world.
Not to mention he, himself, saw everything with his very own eyes,
His soul from the previous life was, in fact, inside Neji's body from the moment he was born!
However it was only on that day, when Neji's soul was damaged the most from all the pain of getting branded by the slave mark, and his own father dying, that he managed to sneak attack, defeat, and completely devour this kid Neji's soul, effectively occupying this body all for himself.
His previous soul lay low inside Neji's body for three years, waiting for that exact great opportunity, when Neji's own soul would be shaken enough for him to successfully take over, by all that happened on that day. And yes, the souls of this world are that much stronger than the souls of his previous world. Neji's baby soul was much stronger than his eighteen years old soul from that life.
So much stronger, in fact, that he didn't even dare to reveal the slightest bit of presence, all those three years, for fear that Neji would notice his presence and tell it to adults around him, that would be disastrous. And so much stronger that he only managed to defeat it with a devious sneak attack.
Currently, he is truthfully a twenty-four years old person, in mental age and experience, inside the young body of a six-year-old child.
The only thing that surprised him back then, was that he also inherited the same pain of losing a father as Neji, after devouring his soul, it was that strong of a crack inside the three-year-old's mind. He now also gets sorrowful from time to time when Hizashi's name pops up, and he gets furious once he sees Hiashi or any other main family member, but he manages to hide it well like in the original.
Neji's mother died when giving birth to Neji. He doesn't know if it was the same in the original Naruto universe or if it was somehow caused by his previous soul also invading this body at that time.
He had to take over Neji's body, at that time, and devour his young soul, he doesn't regret it a bit.
Neji's soul was getting stronger and stronger, on daily basis, at that time, and three years old soul of Neji was the limit for what he felt he could take on and actually win, the older he got the harder it would be.
Not to mention that an opportunity like that and the mental damage that happened to Neji, during that day, probably wouldn't happen ever again, so he would be destined to be confined in that dark-like gloomy place for the rest of his life until Neji died by the Ten-Tails while saving Naruto like in the original series, and dying himself. Not to mention, he wants to live, not die as Neji did then.
He already got nearly insane from those three years, in such solitude, not to mention fifteen more years spent like that. The only thing keeping him sane, during that time, was his hope for a takeover one day and recollection of all the Naruto-related knowledge he had from his past life's memory, all the while devising a dozen of plans and routes he would perform once he got to Neji's body finally.
He decided at that time he would also adopt Neji's name, and make it resound through this whole Ninja World in the future, like should honestly be in the original if Byakugan wasn't so shelved, by the author, in a favor of Sharingan, he already thought of many ways on how should he try and develop his future Byakugan and fighting strength, during all those lonely years he spent before.
He will also give a final resolution to all of Neji's lingering emotions, like taking revenge against the whole main branch in the future, for the enslavement of himself and the sad death of his father.
That would also be Neji's original wish, at least before the Chunin Exams, in the original, had he not accepted his "bird in the cage" fate, and instead tried to fight back against it and even change it.
Knowing much more information, than the original Neji did, at that time, about this universe and different means in it, and coming from a totally different point of view, as a complete bystander, not brainwashed by the "destiny" bullshit since he could basically think, the current "Neji" will definitely try to fight his fate and get past the curse mark later, and he also thought of many possibilities on how to, even incorporating some advanced knowledge, from his previous world, into his next plans.
"It's time for today's Byakugan exercises.", Neji's young face suddenly turned serious and he took a deep breath as if preparing to do something important and crucial for him right in the next second.
Even though it was the admission day for the Ninja Academy tomorrow, it still didn't cross his mind to slack off, even a little bit. Therefore, he woke up earlier once again, after just eight hours of sleep.
In this dangerous world, every single day is very precious, and should be spent on training, or else you would die young, someone else will train harder than you, get stronger than you, and kill you.
That was Neji's current philosophy, he always motivated himself by visualizing some kind of imaginary enemies killing him on a mission, or some main branch member stomping on his head hard with his foot and humiliating him, after activating that curse mark. If he wants to escape that fate for real, then he must train. It wasn't easy, that curse mark was one of the strangest and most mysterious things in the whole original Naruto universe, he was miles away from getting rid of it.
That was the difference between Neji in this universe and Neji from that other universe. The original Neji believed in that "destiny" bullshit, that he is a god-gifted genius, who doesn't need to train as hard as Lee, and that he will always naturally be stronger than him. But the current Neji doesn't think like that. In fact, Neji, in his past life was such a genius, that some wooden spikes killed him in the end. Not even close to the level of Rock Lee who even helped in the battle against Madara Uchiha. If he trained a bit harder from his young age, then maybe he wouldn't have been killed embarrassingly like that and became the only one from the Konoha's younger generation who died.
Children of the Konoha's influential clans all start doing chakra control exercises by the time they were three years old. Hiashi personally explained to him the leaf concentration technique soon after he got this body. He personally taught him the other two exercises for building chakra control as well. It was not that surprising, after all, their Hyuga clan fighting methodology is basically founded upon the chakra control ability. So it was not that surprising for young children of their clan to learn it. What was surprising, however, was that Hiashi personally taught him, so it must've been the guilt.
But he didn't forget to always remind him on how should he always protect his Lady Hinata, and how it's his "destiny". So if it's not the guilt, then the brainwashing should be the second reason.
The leaf concentration technique is the most basic chakra control exercise usually taught first to someone who wants to improve chakra control, even to most of the shinobi clans' kids, before the academy, and to civilians at the Academy.
An object, such as a leaf, hence the name, is tied to a person's forehead by focusing their chakra there. It is a slow but proven method of building a person's chakra control and aids the user's concentration by having all the attention focused on a single point.
Another is the ability to walk over vertical and horizontal surfaces in defiance of gravity. By creating and maintaining a set amount of chakra to the soles of the user's feet, they are able to cling to solid surfaces and walk across them no differently than if they were walking across the ground. Too much chakra causes it to repel them from the surface while too little means you can't adhere to the surface at all. And the more precise the individual's chakra control then the better grip they can have on their surface.
And a similar skill is walking on water or liquids in general as the ninja continually emits a tiny amount of chakra which is constantly adjusted to allow them to float on its surface, teaching them to regulate their expenditure of a fixed amount of chakra. With this skill mastered it is even possible to stand upon a raging waterfall without losing their footing.
The hands are the most common part of the body for chakra to be channeled to. And the feet are the one of most difficult places to manipulate chakra for most chakra. Chakra is kneaded in the stomach and the feet are the body parts furthest from it, meaning that the chakra has to travel furthest to reach them.
Hiashi also theoretically explained him the basics of chakra, chakra control, chakra pathway system, and tenketsu points. That was the basic knowledge that is taught to every child of the Hyuga clan. Together with the theoretical knowledge from his previous life, Neji immediately got the gist of it.
Chakra is essential to even the most basic jutsu. Through various methods, the most common of which is hand seals, chakra can be controlled and manipulated to create an effect that would not be possible otherwise, such as walking on water, exhaling fire, or creating illusions.
The two components of chakra are physical energy and spiritual energy. Since being spread by Hagoromo, better known as the Sage of Six Paths, chakra has become a form of life energy that all individuals produce to some degree, those who run out of chakra will die.
Produced within and manipulated by organs such as the heart, the energy circulates throughout the body in a network called the Chakra Pathway System, which is similar to the cardiovascular system.
Groups such as shinobi have learned to generate more chakra and release it outside their bodies through pressure points called tenketsu in order to perform jutsu.
Chakra is created when two more primal energies, known collectively as one's "stamina", are molded together, inside the body. Physical energy is collected from each of the body's cells and can be increased through training, stimulants, and exercise. Spiritual energy is derived from the mind's consciousness and can be increased through studying, meditation, and experience.
Physical energy is produced by the trillions of cells of the body and spiritual energy is produced by the will and experiences of the mind, or what current Neji speculates is actually the "soul".
These two energies becoming more powerful will in turn make the created chakra more powerful. Young children have more room for improvement in the maximum amount of chakra they have.
That's why all major Konoha clans start teaching their kids, around three years old, various theoretical knowledge and giving them physical training to improve their maximum amount of physical and mental energies. So they would have more when they grew up and hit the wall.
The same is true for Konoha's official Ninja Academy which accepts kids from five-six years of age, in times of relative peace like this, and even from four years old at times of major Ninja World Wars.
At any given time, a ninja will have a "maximum" amount of chakra that they can form and use before it runs out and they need to rest to replenish it. With practice, this maximum amount could be increased, but to a certain extent as they are limited to the quantity and strength of chakra that their genetics grants them. And the ones who could increase it the most were only young children.
Chakra control can generally be defined as one's ability to create chakra, from their stamina, and then channel it through their body and transform it into a technique.
When one converts stamina to chakra, they unconsciously swirl those energies around inside them as they mix them together.
Some people are inclined to spinning them clockwise and others spin them counter-clockwise. Swirling them in the opposite direction to their type would disrupt the build-up of chakra, but by consciously swirling those energies together in the correct direction and focusing on the speed of that spinning, they can increase how quickly they can create chakra and thus cast their technique.
A ninja should only create and use exactly as much chakra as they need. If they try to cast a technique without using enough chakra then the effects are going to be significantly weaker than desired at best or likely just fail outright.
The effect of casting techniques using more chakra than needed can vary depending on the type being used,
For offensive and defensive ones, adding more chakra will serve to increase their power and scale which is naturally very useful for attacking their enemies or defending themselves. The trick is that the more chakra they use, the more control is required to compensate to ensure that it is all applied to the technique without waste and without making it unstable.
However, for support techniques, using more chakra can often just be a waste of stamina or actually cause more harm than good such as using medical ninjutsu on a patient.
That said, the mind and body limit how much chakra a person can produce in one go as a self-defense mechanism, preventing them from accidentally dying from chakra exhaustion. It is one of the reasons that the average, the rookie ninja doesn't learn more advanced and costly techniques.
Because of that self-preservation instinct, they must gain the stamina and resolve needed to overcome that limitation to freely create as much chakra as they need.
The more stamina one has in the first place the more chakra one could create from the beginning but it would still only be a fraction of what they are truly capable of. That's where resolve comes in.
The chakra pathway system is enmeshed within the body, transporting the chakra through the body and each organ as the circulatory system does blood. The system is in some way involved in the creation of the chakra itself as well, as every cell in the body is connected to this pathway system by a capillary which draws out the cell's physical energy and is refined into chakra by several organs, such as the heart.
If the chakra flow to a section of the body is blocked by such techniques as the Gentle Fist, of their Hyuga clan, then that portion of the body will be unable to release any chakra from any of the tenketsu.
Understanding this system is the key to the Hyugas' fighting style which forces chakra into an opponent's chakra pathway system. The proper application uses the system as a conductor sending harmful chakra directly to vulnerable vital organs.
As there is no way to train a person's organs to resist physical or energy attacks this method of fighting is extremely effective.
Tenketsu are nodes from which chakra can be released. The human body has more than three hundred tenketsu points, each of which is located along the chakra pathway system. Most ninja, even experienced jonin, are only able to release chakra from the tenketsu on their hands or feet in order to perform jutsu.
Only the members of the Hyuga clan are uniquely able to expel chakra from any or all of their tenketsu, and have created jutsu such as the Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven to specifically take advantage of that.
Tenketsu are the size of the tip of a needle, too small for even the Sharingan to see. Only the Byakugan is able to see another person's tenketsu, enabling a Byakugan-user to attack the tenketsu directly in order to block them, disrupting the flow of chakra and preventing their opponent from using chakra, the Gentle Fist style of combat is focused around doing this.
After learning all of that general and Hyuga-specific theoretical knowledge from Hiashi, as well as mastering those three previous chakra control exercises, in the previous three years, tomorrow after the Academy, Hiashi will officially start teaching him and Hinata practical Hyuga clan techniques.
His first cousin Hinata learned all of the above at just five years old, while he did it at six years old,
However, Neji didn't just exercise his chakra control abilities during all that time like Hinata. It was just one part of his overall daily training routine. He also vigorously trained his physical prowess during the entire past year, far more than Hinata, not to mention that personal exercise model for his Byakugan, which he will perform next. It was a cornerstone for everything he did currently, and all of his future plans depend upon that.
For improving his physical abilities, he trained mainly using the various knowledge from his past life, high-intensity training, heavy weight lifting, targeted muscle exercises, training to failure, and training his ligaments and tendons with yoga. Training his reaction time, the speed with running, and strength with those weights. Everything was incorporated alongside the appropriate nutrition.