Welcome, one and all, to the epilogue chapter of Eleven Fifty-Four. Like I said in the last chapter, it's been a fun ride. But all good things must come to an end, and I don't want to stretch this story thin with mediocrity like I almost did with trying to push a Sasuke v. Kiba angle. I really think that this is a good point to end the story and, I'm very proud of how it ended.
So enjoy this, my own personal retelling of Sarada's fight in the Chunin Exams, from Boruto: The Movie. Very disappointed that the Chunin Exams in general didn't get shown in the movie as much as I wanted them too! But alas~
On the brink of total darkness and crippling pain, a burst of stubbornness and will sent the sensations rushing back to Sarada's head. The roaring crowd filled her ears and the sight of the bright morning sky filled her wide, bruised eyes behind their cracked lenses.
She gasped for breath just as Rock Lee, the proctor standing above her, knelt to examine her condition, and as quickly as her aching body would allow her, she rolled over and pulled herself shakily to her feet, her chest burning with every pant for breath.
"I'm still in the fight!" Sarada snapped before Lee could ask, and he nodded with a proud, stern understanding and leaped away back to the sidelines. "Then the battle between Sarada Uchiha and Tarui of the Hidden Cloud Village continues! Fight!"
Sarada was dazed, and took a brief moment to reconnect with her surroundings, what she was doing and why she was here. She was standing in the arena of the Leaf Village's Grand Stadium, in the finals of the Chunin Exams, fighting and currently losing against the long-haired Cloud kunoichi, whose first teammate had already fought and lost against Mitsuki.
This one seemed a lot more competent. Even though she was almost as cut up and bruised as Sarada was, she was still standing smugly, her blonde, animate hair shifting tauntingly around her head like snakes.
"Haven't had enough yet? What's the matter, I thought you Uchihas were supposed to be stronger than this, yeah?"
Sarada grit her teeth at Tarui's taunted, but allowed her powerful red eyes to drift briefly to the stands. Himawari, who hadn't participated in this year's exams, but wore her headband proudly around her neck, was screaming desperately for Sarada to win, and Hinata watched with a hopeful expression. Naruto sat amidst the other four Kage in the highest booth, his expression also laced with concern and hope. Her eyes drifted toward where she saw that her mother had was sitting, watching the fight with her eyes wide and worried. Held in her mother's lap were Sarada's two twin brothers, Sasoku and Usoku, two years old now and unbothered by the noise around them. Sarada looked over at the empty seat beside her mother… The seat that had been empty since the start of the final exam.
Sarada's moment of distraction was all the opening Tarui needed. With a held hand sign, her hair extended and shot out toward Sarada, wrapping tightly around her leg and yanking her right off her feet and into the air, to the surprise of some of the audience in the stadium, and the overwhelming applause of others on Tarui's side.
"This is what happens when you look away from me!" the Cloud kunoichi taunted as she began to whirl Sarada around in the air like a ragdoll, throwing her glasses right off her face and causing the edges of her vision to begin fading to black with the amount of force and speed she was experiencing.
"Now fly!" Tarui yelled before her hair flung Sarada into the air, spinning helplessly head-over-heels and unable to orient herself or defend at all. Tarui allowed Sarada to hang in the air for a brief few moments before her hair shot up to grab around her waist and bring her down for one last swing before tossing her as hard as possible across the grand arena to slam brutally into the wall.
Everything went white, and everything was once again muffled and echoed in her ears. She was on the brink of total collapse. Her Sharingan gave out, and her sore body was pleading for surrender. After coughing wetly and feeling the sticky warmth of blood trickling down her chin and tasting it in her mouth, she was moments away from gathering up enough strength and breath to forfeit before she was even more seriously hurt or worse.
She slumped against the wall and looked up at the stands again, a solemn apology in her eyes as she finds where her mother was sitting… but Sarada's eyes widened and her jaw dropped when she saw that the empty space had finally been filled. Her father had arrived, just as the clock looming above the rim of the stadium changed over to 11:54.
Both of her parents were on their feet, Sakura holding one twin while Sasuke held the other, and both of them gripped each other's free hand as they both watched Sarada. She and her father locked eyes, and with the help of her Sharingan, even despite the loss of her glasses, she was able to see him with enough precision to read his lips.
Don't lie down and give up.
You're stronger than that.
Push on like your Uncle Itachi.
"And fight…" Sarada murmured to herself at the same time he mouthed it to her. Lee had approached once again to see if Sarada was alright, but he stepped back as he suddenly felt that the air was alive with energy, and Sarada was slowly rising to her feet once again, to the roaring support of the Leaf Village crowd.
Electricity surged through her body crackling slightly off of her form. She charged her muscles willing them to work faster and harder. She shocked her nerves, to dull and numb her pain. She raised her hands, electricity dancing between her fingers, and with one hand sign, her eyes opened wide and her Sharingan returned, with a new tomoe in each eye.
"Want some more, yeah? Come get some!" Tarui taunted, before immediately pausing in shock at how quickly Sarada began to charge from the arena wall back toward the center. In only a moment, Sarada had cleared nearly half the distance between them, and even as Tarui attempted to stall or intercept her approach with her snaking whips of hair, Sarada seemed to effortless dodge past them, vault over them, and whirl right around them with inhuman grace and reflexes.
Tarui could not stop her approach, and as Sarada came into close range, their faces inches from each other, Sarada could see the surprise and fear in her opponents eyes and grinned, before running right past her, stopping to pick up her discarded glasses and set them back on her face before turning back toward Tarui.
"You ready? I'm about to knock you into next week," Sarada grunted, aiming one arm at the ground and steadying it with the other as lightning chakra began to gather into her gloved hand, like a Chidori. Sarada's hand trembled and seized, but despite the electricity making her arm stiff and burning with excited energy, she managed to clench her hand into a fist, looking right at Tarui and charging forward at blinding speed once again.
"You really think you're coming near me with that?" Tarui scoffed, her hair extending to attempt to grab Sarada as she charged. What Tarui saw, however, was the tip of one of her snakes of hair stabbing straight through Sarada's gut, soaking the tips of her blonde locks bright red as Sarada's eyes widened and even more blood retched forth from her mouth.
Tarui's eyes widened in sudden shock and horror, especially as the gasps and screams from the audience rang out in her ear. "W-What the hell?! How did- I-I didn't…"
Just as quickly as the shocking and confusing scene played out, the sights and sounds she was experiencing quickly faded away, revealed to be a Sharingan-induced genjutsu that gave Tarui enough pause to stop her hair right in its tracks and allow Sarada to get in close. By the time Tarui regained her bearings, Sarada was in mid-swing, and it was far too late to dodge.
The Chidori punch was reinforced just as strongly with chakra-enhanced strength, and the impact of the solid, clean punch not only produced a loud blast of thunder through the arena, but was powerful enough to send Tarui and her hair spiraling through the air to smash a crater into the arena wall, before falling down to the ground, completely out.
The entire arena roared with excited applause at the rousing comeback, and as Sarada relaxed her body, she felt the pain and weakness rush back upon her like a tidal wave. Her legs wobbled and her arm crossed over her stomach, but she lifted her other arm and smiled a victorious, bloody smile, waving to all her friends in the stands and on the sidelines as she limped off with the help of a couple of medical ninja on the scene for as much treatment as possible for her injuries before her next match.
Right before she stepped out of sight, she looked toward the stands and saw her family. Her mother was hopping up and down, screaming louder than every other person in the whole arena, and her father stood with both of her twin brothers in his arms, giving Sarada a proud nod and a proud, warm smile. A smile which she copied perfectly before she moved out of sight.
And with that, Eleven Fifty-Four is complete. Thanks once again to each and every reader and each and every wonderful person who's left a kind review! I hope you'll all continue to follow me and the Naruto stories I plan to make in the future, and keep an eye out for Boruto: Online. I'm not going to start it immediately. I'm going to give myself a bit of a breather to unwind a little bit and maybe work on a few oneshots. But I'll be starting on it soon, so once again, stay tuned and put me on Author Alert, dammit!
May all your~
Hearts beat with~
Until the next story, guys! ;3