Shinobi Isekai!: Round Three! @morrowyn
By the Pricking of My Thumbs

We're here! It's begun! This work is my 2020 NaNoWriMo project, and it will be updated every day of November with chapters of at least 1700 words each. (•̀•́)و̑̑ Fighting!

I am saying this here perhaps to the detriment of preserving my narrative, but the OC in this installment of Shinobi Isekai is a Trans Woman. If you have a problem with that, please go elsewhere. If you have insight which you think will improve my characterization, please share! My younger sister is a Trans Woman and I am immensely grateful for all the help she's given me in creating this character and how I've written about her. I asked so many insensitive questions, lol. Love you, Sibling~.

My goal is to write a story anyone can read and enjoy, but which trans women can read and see themselves in. While being trans is a big part of her identity, my character is many other things, too. She will make mistakes and do things not even I really agree with, just like my other characters. I probably don't even need to make this disclaimer, lol, but I wanted to cover my bases. :)

If you want to see what our MC looks like, I suggest going to the Shinobi Isekai!: Artwork work on Archive of Our Own or the shinobi-isekai tumblr. :)


That was the first thing she noticed as she came to her senses, the smell of it permeating her sinuses and bringing up memories of a childhood filled with the stuff.


That was the second thing. Her skin was wet and clammy, chilled but not enough to make her shiver.

Wet dirt.


She was lying in mud, the dry crust of it sticking to her face and cracking off her clothing as she pushed herself up off her stomach. With a grimace, she looked at the cartoony imprint of her body in the soil, wrinkling her nose as a bug crossed the indent with a frantic scurry. She scrubbed furiously at her face and hair, taking simple joy in watching the flakes of filth fall as she took stock of her surroundings.

The mud she kneeled in was nestled between the massive roots of an even massiver tree. The likes of which she had never seen in person before, though there might have been a picture in a textbook somewhere. Were they Redwoods? The big ones with their own National Park? Seemed like it from her place on the ground, looking up, up, up at the impossibly tall tree. It was a nice tree. With pretty reddish bark and cute little bits of lichen and moss clinging to it like any proper tree should. It stood among other trees like it, all of them just as big and fairly nice looking, with wide, shade casting leaves on thick branches high up above her head. The air she breathed was clean but heavy, not quite humid but definitely carrying something more than oxygen, filling up her lungs in a way she couldn't remember them ever being filled before. With every inhale, new colors made themselves known to her, old ones growing in vibrancy until her eyes hurt. It took several minutes before she could look at the trees without picking out every different shade of brown in their bark, but the intensity of it all faded into the background as she found herself facing a very difficult question.

Where the fuck was she?

This was most certainly not anywhere near her family home in Texas, where her last clear memory put her. There was a party for her grandmother's eightieth birthday, and the entire extended family had come to town to celebrate. She'd sequestered herself in her room to escape the army of baby cousins, and then…

And then dirt.

Not Texas dirt, either. This wasn't the sort of thing her cousins could pull off on their own, so it probably wasn't a prank. The idea of those hellions in her room had horrified chills running down her spine, anyway, so she immediately dismissed the possibility for the good of her mental health. So, no pranks. Kidnapping? That was worse and just as unlikely, given how full her house had been. Also. How long had she been asleep? Unconscious? Getting anywhere with trees like these would have taken ages. How on earth did she sleep through that?


No. No, she would remember being drugged, right? All her mother's lectures on keeping an eye on her drink and never taking anything from strangers ran through her mind as she frantically tried to remember just how the hell she went from desert chaparral to ancient forest. She was in her house, though? So, how?

As interesting as that all is, I'm afraid I must interrupt. We need to leave. Now. Unlucky things are coming our way.

Startled, she looked up and around for the source of the voice. There was no one. She sat alone in the mud, with nothing but bugs for company.

"H-hello?" The fuck? That wasn't her voice. It was high pitched and small, like a little kid's. Her hands came up to clutch at her necklace, fingers rubbing the cross which hung there. Wait, where was Jesus?

I'm serious, the voice insisted, oddly reminiscent of...Batman? It was low and rough, like it was trying to disguise its natural timbre with a growl. You're super lucky to be alive, right now, but that can change very fast! We need to move move move!

She pulled up the cross, staring at it in confusion. It was just a cross. Two metal cylinders stuck to each other, the gold chain fastened to the horizontal bar with little metal loops. There was no Jesus.

So, it was a cross, not a crucifix. Not her crucifix.

And those weren't her hands.

The skin was too dark, for one, maybe a shade or five darker than her summer skin tone. The fingers were slender and the nails nicely tapered—except for one, but it was broken, so it wasn't its fault—and they clearly belonged to someone who weighed much less than she did.

Ah. It was a dream.

Of course, it was. What else would it be? She clearly fell asleep and was now experiencing some sort of lucid dream.

What part of move is so hard to understand? Do I need to repeat it in that other language of yours? Muévete, ya! Apurale!

It was awfully pushy for a dream. If she was lucid, she should be able to control it, right? Oh, geeze, she really should have listened to Josué when he tried to teach her how. Maybe she'd internalized his rants and somehow did it subconsciously? It didn't help much, now, though.

Wow. You're ignoring me. So mean. How unlucky I am, being stuck with such a cruel host. I think I liked you better when you were a scared little girl.

Oh, how nice! The dream used the right gender! No matter how weird or scary it got, now, it would be a good dream.

Ugh. We are going to die. People are hunting us as we speak, fully intent on ending our life, and yet! The voice sighed, long and sad. So unlucky.

She slowly pulled herself to her feet, wiggling little toes where they peeked out of weird black sandals. They looked familiar, but she supposed they would, since dreams are made up of things the brain sees in real life, even if the conscious mind doesn't remember it. Right? It sounded right.

She was wearing…harem pants? No, that was wrong, but she didn't have the words to describe them properly. The white fabric was wrapped around her legs, less actual pants and more a skirt folded to act like pants, muddy stains on the knees. Her shirt—dress? tunic?—reached her knees, the dark blue fabric covered in colorful bits of embroidery and held closed by wooden toggles on one side of her chest.

She'd never seen anything like it, except she must have, or it wouldn't be in her dream. Huh.

The brain was pretty amazing.

By all that is holy, would you please run?

Something come over her, a strange heat spawning on her back between her shoulder blades. It spread through her body, a panicked sweat beading on her too dark skin. She had to go. Had to move. Couldn't stay where she was. Nope. Had to go go go!

She turned on her heel and ran, the fire burning inside her driving her forward. Fallen leaves crunched under her feet and she almost slipped from a lack of traction. She had no idea where she was going. There was a destination, she knew there was with the certainty only a dream could inspire, but she didn't know what it was. She just knew she had to get there. Right now.

They're coming.

Who was they? Did she want to know? Wasn't she supposed to be in control of this dream? Had she somehow missed the chance? She should have listened to Josue!

Another giant root rose up in her path, lichen dripping from it like water. In her haste, she made to jump over it, completely forgetting that her legs were much shorter than they should be. She fell, her face hitting the leaf litter with a thud.


Wait, ow? Weren't dreams not supposed to hurt? That was a thing, right? Right?

She pushed herself up on stinging palms, her face throbbing from the impact. She wiped the dirt away only to find blood on her fingers. She'd hurt herself. Really hurt herself. In a dream.

Something snapped behind her and she rolled over onto her butt, looking up with wide eyes through golden ringlets that had fallen into her face.

That wasn't her hair.

The thought was distant and unimportant. Looming above her were three human figures cast in shadow by the sun behind them. They were much bigger than her, and she noticed with a nervous swallow that there were weapons in their hands. Blades, curved and wicked, sparkled in the very sun that hid their wielders' identities.

One of them started laughing, broad shoulders shaking with the force of their mirth.

"Well, then," they said with a rich baritone voice. "This is as far as you go, huh, little bug?"

The fuck kind of messed up dream was this? Her little body was suddenly wracked with shivers, her extremities numb and unfeeling as she tried to scoot away from the large, terrifying figures.

I told you to run,the voice lamented. If you'd listened, we might have gotten farther. Hah,it sighed. So unlucky.

The person who'd spoken crouched down, bringing their face out of shadow. They were wearing a head covering with only their well tanned face exposed. Their shoulders and arms were bare, muscles bulging menacingly as they adjusted their grip on their weapon. On their forehead was…

A Naruto headband?

Wow, her subconscious had dug real deep to build this dream, huh? When was the last time she watched Naruto? Had she even finished it?

How unlucky, to be stuck with someone who doesn't even remember how the story ends. So tragic! So cruel!

Hey, the voice knew Naruto. How nice.

You cannot be serious.

"Poor little bug," the dangerous person crooned, his tone not at all sympathetic. "You tried so hard, but, in the end, this was all you could do. I told the elders it might come to this. Your family has always been good at running."

Now, that was rude. She wasn't sure what 'family' they were talking about, but she'd been around enough racists in her life to recognize the stress he'd put on the word.

"Does your mother know you're out here being rude?" She asked, using her go to response for when she couldn't just walk away from a bad conversation. Her voice was small and trembled with the fear that shook her body. "If I told her what you said, would she be proud of you?"

The expression on their face made it clear they were not expecting that. Bringing someone's mother into the conversation either completely shut them down or agitated them further, so she really only did it when she was desperate to end the conversation. That said, this was a dream so the consequences for engaging with a racist—or a…family-ist…-would only be transient, since she'd wake up and it would all be forgotten.

"Since when can you talk?"


She stared up at the speaker, just as confused as they were. Since when couldn't she talk.

Since ten minutes ago and you were a different person.


Ah, she understood now. You don't. She'd come to her senses in the middle of the dream. You really didn't. So, obviously, she must have forgotten what was going on before it became lucid. I'm telling you, that's not it.

"Well, what is it, then?" She demanded, tilting her head back to look at the patches of sky peeking through the canopy. "Since you're apparently an expert on dreams."

Now you've done it, it lamented, whining like a baby. This isn't a dream, you larva! They're going to kill you!

"Well, that's not very nice," she admonished it. "And how do you know that? Maybe they're here to invite me to a super secret ninja party."

You're…stupid, huh?


"Shit, Takeo," one of the other scary dream generated cosplayers said to the one who'd spoken to her. "She's talking to it! We need to handle this, now!"

"Wait, Katsuya." The leader reached out and stopped their companion from raising their blade with a hand on their arm. "If you kill her it will just dissipate and we'll have to wait for it to reform before we can seal it, again! We need to take her back."

You know,the voice drawled. I can understand why you're avoiding using pronouns for these bozos—I can see they hold great importance to you from your memories—but must you call me an it? I have a name, you know. It's a nice name. My father gave it to me.

She had been a little rude, huh? She was avoiding assigning genders to the people looming over her despite their traditionally masculine appearances and voices, but she'd relegated the voice that had so kindly tried to help her escape to an object.

"You're right," she conceded, more than a little ashamed. "What are your name and pronouns, Comrade Voice?"

Hoho, Comrade? I like that! My name is Choumei, and I am currently in a he/him mood.

"It's nice to meet you Choumei," she cordially. "My name is—."


Her body moved of its own accord again, rolling to the left with a speed that left her dizzy. She stared open mouthed at the cruelly curved scythe that stood embedded in the dirt where she'd sat just two seconds before. The deadly weapon was pulled up with a spray of loam by a chain attached to its hilt, returning to the first speaker's hand like one of Spiderman's webs, the movement unnaturally smooth and swift.

Holy shit. They were actually trying to kill her.

I told you.

"Don't make this any harder than it needs to be," her attacker implored, deep voice saccharine with false pity. "We're not here to hurt you, bug, just take you home."

Where was home?

Nowhere you want to be, trust me. Choumei's words were a growl in the back of her mind, buzzing like a hive of angry bees. I got us out, but it killed the original. If I do it again, you might end up dying, too.


"What are you—eep!"

Again, Choumei—because it had to be Choumei and damn but that name was familiar—moved her body, helping her dodge a genuine ninja kunai. The Naruto theme was still running strong.

We don't have time. I'm sorry, but I promised Hotaru I would save her daughter. I half failed, but half a failure is half a success. Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and she'll come back.

She had no idea what Choumei was saying, but she didn't have the chance to ask. Something on her back began to burn, a fire dancing between her shoulder blades. She grit her teeth against the pain, her too little fingers digging into the dirt as her hands closed around the leaf littler in an unconscious response. She looked up at the people who'd come to kill her, saw the horror in their eyes, and then she blacked out.

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