Author's Note: So yeah, MK/KM dropped a bombshell in chapter 367, even though I haven't yet to read it.
Warning: SPOILER! Skip the next part if you don't want to know…though I find that most Naruto writers and readers in have no problem with spoiler, considering not many put warning for spoiler or anything. Very different when you read the summary for Harry Potter. There, several readers will be pissed off if you don't put the spoiler warning.
Yondaime's true name is Namikaze (roughly translated into WindWave) Minato, and his wife is Uzumaki Kushina, and they're Naruto's parents. Hm…get the name wrong, but at least Naruto is truly his son.
Anyway I'm NOT going to change Kazama Arashi into Namikaze Minato (hey, those names are both related to wind). I like Arashi better than Minato (even though I have no problem with Namikaze, and it even coincides with Wave/Nami country), and I think Minato is kinda plain compared to Arashi (I apologize if anyone who read this has Minato as his name) and much more common. I found out from dictionary that Minato means harbour/port/dock. But does that mean something? Did KM use it because of the element Nami used in the name or just because he felt like it? Hm…I wonder.
Sorry that it took so long to write this update, but my assignments made my life hell. Plus it's now entering final exam.
Status: Edited by KarinMS
Chapter Twenty Two – The Exam Commences
After the first exam was over, the twenty six teams who had passed were being led to a location outside training field 44, known to many in Konoha as Hellish Ground, Terror-Filled Nightmare, The-Place-Not-To-Be-Spoken-Of, Enter-And-Die Place or just simply plain Forest of Death.
They were not allowed to go anywhere else to get supplies, so whatever they currently brought would be whatever they could take with them. So whoever unlucky enough not to prepare for something like this realized they were in a deep shit.
Right now the Sky teams were separated from each other as they mingled with the crowds to put chakra tracers on their opponents as secretly as they could and unless people paid attention or had high chakra sense they wouldn't suspect anything. All genin watched as Anko explained the rules of the exam for the participants and told them to sign their names on the designated waiver.
After they received one of the Heaven or Earth scroll, all genin teams were led by Leaf chuunin to different gates which would be their starting points. When the chuunin looked at their watches and noticed that it was time, they opened the lock and told the genin they escorted that the exam had just started. Some genin teams immediately dashed through the gates, while others chose to simply walk into the forest.
After making sure that no one else was nearby, Ryoga switched on the special ability of his glasses. Those who were tagged by tracers were represented as red dots, while their Sky comrades were blue dots. The range of the radar was 25 kilometers, enough to cover the area of Forest of Death. Unfortunately since they had no map of this forest they knew nothing of its terrain, only the locations of the tracers.
"We got all of them, except one which I'm sure was Gaara. His sand protects him from foreign substance after all," Ryoga counted the dots. He frowned when several red dots vanished. "Wait! Several of them were damaged. Either they malfunctioned or someone noticed and broke them. Most are still working though."
"Do you know which teams?" Shugo asked, wondering inwardly if it was a good idea to rely on a piece of electronic. He might not be as bad as his father with electronic, but he knew none of the advanced stuff and wasn't bothered to learn either.
Ryoga shook his head. "No, but I have a way to find out," he took out his black laptop and a small black chip from his backpack. After he switched on his laptop, he inserted the chip into his small computer. "Come on, we can do this while we search for our operation base," his two teammates agreed and searched for the highest tree they could find, omitting caves for their obvious use of hiding place. They found a huge ancient red oak tree that dwarfed other trees and immediately climbed it until they were sure they wouldn't easily be seen from below. To make sure none of their opponents would notice them, they cloaked their chakra as best as they could.
In the laptop screen, there was the same map with the one on the brown haired genin's glasses, only in bigger scale. Tapping one of the red dots nearest to their location twice with an electronic pen, there appeared several commands that could be done. Ryoga picked the 'camera and microphone' option. Immediately the small group could see what the tiny built-in camera in the tracer could see.
They saw a genin with Leaf hitae-ate and he was jumping through the trees. There were only two genins there, the one they saw in the camera, and the one planted by the tracer. They noticed that their last teammate wasn't with them after they switched on the camera from the one they first saw and looked through it. Ryoga referred to his database of the chuunin exam participants and quickly found out that their names were Akado Yoroi and Tsurugi Mitsumi. Their teammate who wasn't with them was Yakushi Kabuto.
The brown haired genin didn't blink when he received a notice that he got a message from Towa who wasn't on his team on the screen. He clicked open the message and found out that Towa sent him the data of the teams near his own group. It seemed the blue haired genin had done the same as Ryoga, not that it was any surprise they had decided to do so. Not even a minute later, another notice was received that he got a report from Momoka's team.
Forty five minutes later they had finished their research and found out who still had their tracers on them and who didn't. Four of twelve Cloud genin didn't have tracers on them or their tracers were broken. Three of the five were from the same genin team, so they were pretty sure that team somehow found out about the tracers. They found the last genin whose tracer was broken came from a clan whose body occasionally let off electrical current, so that might be the reason the tracer was broken.
One of the two Grass genin teams could be traced. They others were completely invisible on the screen. From the Sand, only Gaara had no tracer and because of that they could still trace him via his siblings. The Sound team still had their tracers and so were the Rock teams. For Mist, one of their genin dropped of his tracer unknowingly on the forest floor. It seemed whoever planted the tracer on him didn't do their job properly. Rain genin teams still had their tracers. And for Leaf…let's see the display on the screen shall we?
"Hm? What did you say, Akamaru?" the puppy gave one last look to the tiny tracer and then barked to its master. "Eh? Suspicious thing?" he searched for the tracer and immediately picked out the device after Akamaru showed him. "What's this?" he growled angrily, his eyes narrowed.
"My bugs told me the same thing," Shino spoke quietly. A swarm of his bugs held the tiny gadget out in the open.
"If the two of us got it…Hinata, what about you?" Kiba asked. Akamaru whined. "She has it too?" he frowned.
The three Sky genin sighed. Of course, animals had better chakra sense than humans. Looking at the three camera displays on the screen, Ryoga typed a command. A moment later the camera displays showed nothing but blankness.
"What did you do?" Yukito asked his friend accusingly.
"I commanded them to self-destruct. It was nothing big, just a small explosion. Maybe not even as strong as the weakest explosion tag. Still I hope they would injure that team enough to hold them back." The Sky team didn't know it, but they did blew up a chunk of Shino's bugs, injured Kiba's hand pretty bad and gave Hinata a third degree burn on her back and ruined her jacket and clothes. None of the Leaf genin thought the devices were tracers. They thought it was another version of exploding tags planted on them before the exam was started, for that was the only explanation as to how they got the small bombs planted on their clothes, when they hadn't met with any opponent yet in the forest. The injuries did hold Leaf's Team Eight back. They had to treat their injuries first before they could attempt to get the opposite of their scroll. And for that they had to search for a safe hiding place.
Kabuto was nowhere to be found. He was one of the few genin who got the tracers on them broken.
Team Ten still had their tracers with them and they never noticed anything amiss.
Team Seven and Gai's team also never noticed the tracers on them. If only Hyuuga Neji and Hanabi (and Hinata) used their byakugan on their teammates and themselves instead of only their surrounding, they would notice the tracers planted on them. Unfortunately for them, they weren't bothered to do so and so never notice the tracers.
The other Leaf teams weren't important enough to talk about and needless to say they still had tracers on them, except one who broke the device accidentally when he tripped on a tree and crushed it.
Because of request from Ryoga, Shugo summoned five small sharn'gotti which they used to plant tiny webcams near the tower and various other places. Since the devices weren't chakra tracers, just 'normal' cameras, even high chakra senses couldn't find them. They hoped with them in place, they would be able to find even those whose tracers were broken or dropped off. Before the blond released the demon birds, he put them under henge so they looked like local wild birds.
"So…which one should we assault?" Shugo questioned the other two. Since they had Earth scroll they would need the Heaven one and they already knew most of which teams had which, thanks to their tracers. Of course, they wouldn't refuse an Earth scroll if they could find it, because Momoka's team had a Heaven scroll and the fewer teams who passed the exam the better.
"Well, the nearest team was that Leaf team whose teammate was off of our radar. Fortunately they have their team scroll with them. Their teammate must be scouting or something."
"Hey look, it seems that Towa is going to move against Rain team. Come on, we shouldn't let them be the first one to reach the tower!" Shugo pointed at the blue dots who moved fast to reach the nearest red dots.
"I was not aware there's a competition for that," Ryoga watched his blonde teammate jumped to a lower branch. "And where is he going? I'm the one who has the map!" the brown haired genin growled, as he followed his wayward teammate. Yukito could only shrug.
"Oey, Shugo, don't move on your own and leave us in the dust like this!" the white haired Kaguya growled into his earclip. "Who's our target anyway?"
"That Leaf team, who else?" was the answer coming from the blond via the earclip.
"We don't even know their scroll yet!" Ryoga stated exasperatedly.
"Man, if we wait until we know which scroll they carry, we'll be old men by the time it happens!" needless to say it was easy to say that Shugo wasn't the most patient person around.
"Yeah, yeah," the spectacled boy grumbled, as he caught up with his teammate. He wondered how the other teams fared.
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"Man, if only we knew where that Leaf team is right now, we could take them out. They're ripe for picking. Too bad that Ryoga had to use the self-destruct command," Akira bemoaned. Not even a day here, he already wanted to go back to a comfortable bed instead of roaming through this forest.
"Are you stupid or what? It was the self destruction that hurt them," his friend, Suou, pointed at the blood and burnt bugs on the ground. They had come to the last place the Leaf genin were seen, but the group was nowhere to be seen anymore. "Rather than complaining, you should check the camera displays, maybe we can find them!"
"Or,"the only female in the group cut off, "We can track them ourselves. Honestly guys, are you ninja or not? Past ninjas didn't have the benefit of this kind of technology and they were okay with that."
"Which is why we as the next generation ninja should utilize every advantage we have, including technology. 'Sides it does cut down on the number of casualties," Suou pointed out.
"…That's like saying that you don't believe in your own power thus we have to rely on technology," the red haired kunoichi replied. The two went on a staring contest.
"GAH! Why don't you two shut up and just do both of them? We're wasting time here!" Akira grumbled. The red head looked at the laptop sitting in his arms with irritation. A laptop, even if the size was already reduced like this, was still a pain in the ass to use while running, especially in ninja speed.
He hoped the technology department back home was able to better this piece of electronic. He heard that a relic hunter group had just recently unearthed another buried ancient place. The rumor was that the people who built the place were the latest ancients, so had better technology than their predecessors. He was sure that Weapon & Technology Department would be able to reverse engineer some intact relics, providing there was any. He heard stories of old that the ancients' kind of computer was very thin and transparent and could even follow its owner around. It was also said that they could work just by voice command alone. No need for typing. Man, if it was true, that would be a convenient thing to have.
The genin group was still searching for Leaf's reconnaissance genin team when Suou suddenly stopped. The black haired genin whose ponytail was swinging in the air gestured his teammates to stop.
"There are three people coming," he warned them. Among them, Suou was the best one in chakra sensing.
Akira turned to the screen, but couldn't find any red dot nearby. "Part of the ones who got their tracers broken, huh? Three, you say? Then it's either a Cloud or Grass team. So, we're fighting them?"
"Why not?" Momoka voiced out her opinion, ready to cast genjutsu or ninjutsu at any moment. Beside her, Suou fingered his weapon pouch. Akira put the laptop he was holding in his backpack for he wouldn't be able to fight at his best while holding it.
"Ah yes, I can sense them now. Should we act as if we don't know they're going to ambush us, or not?" Akira asked the tactician of the group.
"Act like we're arguing," was the reply from the black haired genin.
The team was pretty stealthy for a genin team, careful not to make any noise. Unfortunately for them, like in Mist, the ninjas in Sky were also taught about silent killings. And because of the fox seal, their senses were heightened above normal humans.
"I'd say that we should go to the tower and wait for the teams that are bound to come there," Suou started up the conversation, he was careful to put the right emotion on his face.
"I think that's too risky. I'm sure that several others are already thinking about the same idea," Akira shook his head, appearing like he disagreed with his teammate. "What about you, Moka?"
"If we're too close to the tower, we can loose them if they escape. Not to mention that the weaker teams will be weed out in the forest far from the tower."
"Why my dear, you sound like you don't believe in your own strength," the red haired girl glared at the smirking black haired genin. Akira was wondering if they were too into the act and had forgotten about the soon-to-to-be-attackers. He was secretly hoping they would attack soon. To his surprise, instead of ambushing them like any sane ninja would do, their shadows exited their hidden spots.
The Sky team was at loss right now. They didn't know what to do. Continuing as if they still hadn't seen them was out because they already saw their followers who turned out to be the Cloud team. Should they act scared and ran away?
The decision was out of their hands, however, when the Cloud team, without hesitance, started to attack them. They didn't even give any winding speech like the arrogant would do. Maybe there was a reason why none of the tracers planted on them were working.
Suou sighed and turned to face the Cloud-nins. "Guess the plan is tossed out of the window now," the black haired genin muttered. He grabbed the handle of his katana on his hip. Beside him, his friends followed his lead.
Momoka fingered her red hair; all the while discreetly opening the channel of her transmitter earclip. "Team 3 engages one of the lost teams. It's the Cloud one," she muttered softly, intending to tell the others the news. Closing the channel, she was determined to voice up her complaint and a suggestion to the Weapon & Technology R&D division to create another method to use the earclip aside from tapping the earclip itself. It was hardly a discreet gesture. People would soon notice the Sky-nins often playing with their hairs and would wonder about it.
"Understood. Be careful!" Towa of Team 2 replied. Thankfully they had set the earclip to accept any transmit from the others, so none of them needed to tap their earclip twice to receive the reply.
"Team 1 is going to engage a Leaf team in a minute," came the voice of Ryoga.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't the genin team from the infamous Sky," a black haired Cloud genin clucked. He was the one who didn't give a damn to be seen cheating in the First Exam. "It must be our lucky days, isn't it, guys?" he asked his brown haired teammates. "For such a small and newly founded village you guys are too arrogant and grating on our nerves if you think you can beat any major village, much less Cloud," he smirked. "I'll have fun playing with you."
"Boast after you manage to beat us, instead of saying things like a loser who pretends to be brave and tries to intimidate others with words. And 'arrogant'? Puh-lease, you should try a mirror sometime!" Momoka scoffed.
"My, such a feisty girl! I like you already!" the Cloud genin grinned.
"Can we just beat the crap out of each other instead of having a verbal match?" Suou was ticked off.
"Very well, wouldn't want to disappoint you after all," and the Cloud team attacked them.
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Shugo leapt swiftly behind the two Leaf genin and caught one of them in the neck with his kick. The genin was thrown to a nearby tree with a crunch. The young blond ducked to avoid a punch from the Leaf-nin's teammate. Planting his hands on the ground, Shugo swung his body and kicked his opponent's knees hard enough to drive him to the ground.
Yukito immediately went to assault the first genin with bone bullets from his fingers. The Leaf nin's body acted like it didn't have bones and avoided the bullets.
"Whoa, are you rubber man or something?" the Kaguya boy blinked when this time he saw the genin curled around the tree like a snake.
"I'm not rubber! I'm elastic!" the Leaf genin was indignant.
"I don't see the difference," Yukito's answer infuriated him further. When he prepared himself to attack the white haired boy, he heard the pained cry of his teammate.
… … …
Shugo was fighting hand to hand against his opponent who it seemed was determined to catch him. The genin did manage to catch his wrist, but Shugo managed to shake him off and delivered a strong thrust to his throat which caused the genin to choke and cough painfully.
Shugo flicked a glance to his wrist and then at the coughing genin. Even if it was a short time, he felt like his chakra was drained. "You can leech chakra by touch, huh? Nice to know," and with that he sent a wind blade to his stomach. The wind cut him deeply in the belly and blasted him off to the ground. "Sky One! Leaf Zero!" he cheered.
"Shugo, watch out!" the teammate of the one he had just blasted off was in the air with the intent to attack him with kunai on his hand. Yukito's bone bullet managed to pierce his shoulder, but the genin wasn't deterred. The blonde genin was ready to defend himself when a steel net captured his opponent and brought him down to the ground, trapping the squirming elastic genin there.
Ryoga came out of his hiding place and pushed the red button on the black tube he was holding in his hand. Immediately there was a cry of pain from the one trapped inside the net as he was electrocuted.
"Ouch, that looks painful!" Yukito commented at the smoking black lump inside the net.
"Electric Steel Net v.2, guaranteed to render people trapped inside knocked out," offered Ryoga even though no one asked.
They searched for the defeated team's scroll and found it inside their pack. Unfortunately it was an Earth scroll. "Aw sucks! And I was hoping to break the time record too! Oey Ryoga, what are you doing?" Shugo sent an odd look to his teammate who had jabbed a needle into the electrocuted ninja.
"Just making sure they won't be able to pass the exam. It's a strong sedative that even managed to knock out the E-class demon Threon for a day. Never been used on humans before and I have hope that I can gather some important data from him." He then jabbed another needle with brown liquid into the other genin. "And this one is a time delayed laxative. I got it from Netto who got it from his friend who got it from his relative who works in Poison R&D. Pretty strong according to him. Why not just give him another sedative? Because it's fun of course," his teammates gave him funny looks.
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Momoka hated to say this but this guy was tough. He was fast even if he wasn't stronger than her. He didn't allow her the time to use ninjutsu and genjutsu, and instead engaged her in a direct fight. His taijutsu skill wasn't that good, only slightly better than herself and she wasn't much of taijutsu user, but it was problematic because he incorporated lightning element into his taijutsu. With a touch he would be able to electrocute her, shocking her nerves. And because he was faster than her it was hard to avoid his strike.
"Guys, I really need your help, right now!" she stumbled after he put a light tap on her thigh. She hissed in pain.
"Sorry, but I'm in a bind!" was Suou's answer, who was busy fighting his opponent.
"Give me a minute and I'll help you!" was Akira's shout.
"Don't talk as if you will win this, you bastard!" Akira's opponent yelled angrily.
"Ah geez," she clutched her wobbling leg, thinking of a way to escape. She sent a kunai with a tag to her assailant. He dodged the explosion, which gave her a time to use ninjutsu. Most of her techniques were suiton, which was weak against raiton, so she was careful to choose. "That's it! Kirigakure no jutsu!" immediately mist covered the area.
"Thanks, girl!" her teammates were now given advantage. They were used to fighting blindly for it was part of their training.
"You bitch!" Momoka's opponent shouted angrily.
"Hah! Let's see if you can win now!" she created five mizu bunshin.
"Raiton: Static Wave!" It was a wide area attack. He might not be able to find where she was exactly, but he would be able to shock her senseless if she entered his field.
"Uh-oh!" Momoka backed off as fast as she could, which was difficult because she was impeded by her weak leg. One of her bunshin caught her wrist and threw her off to avoid the static wave, but not before the wave reached her ankles and rendered them useless. She cried in pain, as she landed on the forest floor.
"Momoka!" Suou left his blinded opponent to reach his wounded teammate.
The Cloud genin grinned in success as he followed the source of the noise. He was halfway toward her when he unexpectedly tripped on a small stone and kissed the ground. He growled in embarrassment and swore to kill her painfully.
In her desperation, the red head sent a bunshin to act as a decoy, while she stayed as silent as she could.
"It's no use trying to escape me!" Unfortunately mizu bunshin's intelligent wasn't high enough to carry out a conversation, so it stayed silent. It threw kunai toward him; one of them grazed the Cloud genin on his cheek. "I'll get you for this!" he knew something was wrong when she didn't reply to his barb. "Raiton: raitoradan!" a lightning tiger roared and attacked the ground opposite the direction of mizu bunshin, which was the place she was thrown at. He grinned when he heard the shriek of pain coming from her mouth. She might not be hit by the jutsu directly, but he was able to hurt her. "If you think your bunshin will help you hide, you're mistaken, girl!"
"I've got the scroll!" Suou shouted from wherever he was. The Cloud genin who attacked Momoka turned in shock.
Akira appeared beside his wounded teammate. "I've got her!" he picked her up roughly, causing her to moan. "Let's go!" the Sky genin faded.
"Hakou! Rikou!" the Cloud genin called his friends. With no one to maintain the technique, the mist was starting to fade. He found his unconscious teammates five minutes later. Fortunately none of them was wounded harshly, but he couldn't find their team's scroll. He gritted his teeth and punched a nearby trunk, only for him to retract and rub it in pain as he grimaced. "I'm so going to bury them alive!" he swore. Unfortunately he had to treat his teammates first, so the promise would have to be withheld for a moment.
… … …
"Stupid scroll!" Suou muttered at the Heaven scroll in his hand. "It isn't the one we needed and Moka is hurt!" Right now they were heading toward Team 2. Among the nine genin, Towa was the best when it came to medic jutsu.
"Towa, we need your help. Aa, Momoka is hurt. It's Cloud. We were able to escape. We have their scroll though, but it's Earth." Akira reported to his fellow comrade. "Team 1 got Heaven scroll? That's great then. What about your team? Really? Then can we rendezvous somewhere? Okay, we'll head there." The red headed male turned to his black haired friend. "We can exchange the scroll with Shugo's Earth scroll. They have two of them. Team 2 already got their own scrolls. We have to meet them at the huge tree we passed on our way here."
"That place? Alright." They took a route where they wouldn't meet up with other teams.
After patching up the wounded girl, Sky teams headed to the designated tower deep inside the forest. Meanwhile Shugo sent his disguised summoned sharns to collect all transmitters and mini cameras from the forest, with the exception of those which were carried unknowingly by other contestants.
When they arrived at the tower, their escorts were already there to greet them.
"—Basically those words mean you should have both brain and brawn. The Leaf-nin who told us the meaning—even if we didn't need his explanation by the way—used big words and long sentences. He should just get to the point," Aiko grumbled, recalling the event that had been played not even an hour ago.
"Hey, what should we do with these?" Shugo looked pointedly at the scrolls.
"Open it. With the combination of both Earth and Heaven, someone will be summoned to tell you that you've passed. No need to wait for him. They already knew that you guys had arrived here and passed. Hearing some dumb lecture isn't one of the conditions to pass the exam." The genin did as they were told and left the place before the smoke of summoning dissipated, leaving a confused summoned proctor in their wake.
All Sky teams were accounted for and passed the second exam.
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The citizens were awakened from their slumbers by an earthquake, the heavy chakra that washed through the island and the heart-stopping noise. They immediately dashed out of their houses in panic. When they got outside they were greeted by a breathtaking view, causing them to forget the earthquake for a moment. A strong bluish light reached the sky and illuminated the world. For a moment the night was the day. The moonlight was beaten by this blinding beam.
"APOCALYPSE!! God is punishing us!" someone shouted in fright and prayed right where he was standing. That shout broke the people' astonishment and they ran like headless chicken. They only stopped when the light was gone and the earthquake stopped.
"W-what happened?" someone voiced up, but no one there could answer it.
Those who could answer the question were cheering in happiness and satisfaction. After years of hard work and research they succeeded in creating a chakra barrier to protect their home village from intruders. With the exception of Fune Island and several smaller islands surrounding it, the others were protected by the newly erected barrier. Only those who had the fox seal could pass through it safely. Others would spontaneously combust. The invisible barrier was anchored into six shuseki spheres, of which one was the biggest. The perfectly round spheres were heavily covered with interconnected seals. People would need magnifying glasses to be able to read the seals.
The plan for the barrier was first developed ten years ago and was done in six years, but there were glitches that needed to be ironed out. For example, animals and plants would also combust on contact. Since people needed food, the barrier was deemed unsuccessful. They had perfected the seals in another four years which allowed normal animals to enter and exit the perimeter, but would attack summoned animals on contact. Of course since some ninjas raised unsummoned animals such as Inuzuka and Aburame, their hounds and bugs would be able to enter this place without repercussion, but it was deemed the best one they could come up with.
One of Naruto's worries about last night's operation was that someone saw the flying islands. The chakra beam last night had parted the clouds for a moment before it turned dark once again, providing temporary cover for Sky. The cloud making machines were working full time to create enough cloud to hide Sky from prying eyes. But so far no rumor about it had appeared, so he could breathe a sigh of relief at the moment. Now he was back to his usual job: overseeing Sky. Right now he was reading the trading files. So far it was good, which alleviated one of his worries.
If Sky had an income source other than payment from missions, they would not need to rely on clients. They wouldn't be forced to accept a client to make money and thus would be able to choose whether to accept a mission or not. This way they could reject unsavory missions. It would do no good to create this village because of moral reason and then threw out said moral because they had to make money to survive. He hoped that Sky's trade would give more than half of Sky's entire income. He had to be careful regulating said trade because he didn't want civilians to have more say than ninjas in the system. Sky was a hidden village and thus it was the military who was handling the village. He didn't want Sky to turn out like Konoha, where the civilians had considerable weigh in its decisions. Not that he didn't appreciate civilians, but he thought they would just complicate things in a hidden village. Civilians just weren't trained to see things in a ninja's way.
Naruto stamped an approval to demolish a part of the forest in Amefuru Island to change it into farms. He wanted to expand Sky's agriculture to make sure the village was self sufficient and would not need to import most of its food like most hidden villages did. The blond was hoping that Sky could enter a contract with several farming villages nearby to supply them with fresh food. With them no longer staying permanently in Aoigetsukai, the hunt was cut down considerably and meat stock had started to dwindle. Maybe it would be a good idea to turn several lands Sky owned outside the country into farming and industrial villages. That way it was assured that even if other countries banned their products from entering Sky market, the village would still have a running supply. The problem was Sky didn't have a sufficient number of people to make this idea a reality. Perhaps he could propose the idea to the council. Maybe one of them had an idea how to go on with it.
Everything else had been going well, but he had a hunch that something was going to happen, something big. Naruto shook his head, trying to clear it from unpleasant thought. He wondered how his son was faring in Konoha.
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"ACHOO!!" Shugo sniffed.
"God blast you," Yukito offered his best friend who was glaring daggers at him.
"Don't you mean bless me?"
"I don't see how He could bless you with a sneeze," the white haired boy replied without missing a beat. "Beside you think God is going to bless those who worship a demon of all things?" he remarked.
"I bet someone is talking about you, Shugo-kun!" Suou grinned from his seat.
"If I sneeze every time someone is talking about me, I would have to spend my day sneezing every second," Naruto's first son said grouchily.
"Man, aren't you vain. You're not that popular," Yukito sniggered. Shugo sent him an evil eye that promised him pain.
"You think it's Kazuhi?" Noa piped in.
"Oh please, that boy is always talking about him, and not in a good way. He's complaining about Shugo all the time. Man, that guy really needs a hobby," Momoka flipped the magazine in her hand from her bed. Her twisted ankle was already healed, so she could move fine. She suddenly threw the magazine at the wall. "Dammit, I'm freakin' bored! Bored! Bored! Bored!" she repeated it like a mantra.
"It's not like we can train here. And there are still four days left. Hm…anyone bring cards?" Noa's twinkling eyes dimmed when the others shook their heads. "Damn!"
"I have this game installer. You can install the game to your computer," Ryoga offered.
"Fine, it's not like we have anything else to do."
When the jounin entered the room they found their genin were watching their laptop screen intently.
"This game sucks! If it's a reality I would have been able to track on the rooftop instead of scouring the ground!" Momoka had half the mind to throw the laptop in her hold, but there would be repercussion for that, so she held back.
"Doesn't change the fact you're dead," Suou pointed out. The red head snarled, her hand inching toward her weapon pouch.
"You. Are. Dead! You hear me!? DEAD AS IN DEAD DEAD!" the other scrambled to their feet and ran away from the fuming kunoichi, as she threw her kunais around the room.
"I say we leave them alone," Shouji suggested. The other two jounin sweatdropped at the sight.
"Yeah. That would be a good idea," Aiko agreed. Kaguya Kimimaro looked on in concern as his son barely dodged a kunai thrown by his mad comrade, before shaking his head incredulously.
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Haku was happy. At last he was freed from his crazy cousin and his infuriating manner. Haru had a mission that would likely last for two weeks. That would mean two weeks without the chattering box and his grating smile. Unfortunately his aunt was still his neighbour and didn't plan to move anytime soon, especially when her nephew was there. While she wasn't as bad as her son, his aunt was a wee bit affectionate. Too much affection from her did him no good at all.
She was also weird. She always spouted of how manly her son and her nephew were. Perhaps that was why her son turned out loony. Haku wondered if he should tell her he was often mistaken for a woman—a pretty one at that—if only to have her off his back. But he had a feeling that particular nuance would result in her being more clingy and tried to convert him back to the rightful way. Haku shivered just from the thought of it.
The young man spent his days adjusting to this strange place. After his shock at the revelation that he was standing on a hovering island and much recently; that the people here seemed to worship a demon of all things, and not the normal demon, but honest to goodness the friggin' ninetails, the strongest out of all bijuu, Haku was dragged by his relatives around the place so to speak. Haku believed that if he had a faint heart he surely would have had a heart attack by then.
Still, no matter how displaced he was feeling, he knew that it was a good place. The people were nice and in good health. Apparently Naruto or Sora as he was occasionally called, had saved the people from poverty and death. He kinda reminded him of Zabuza-san with the way his people idolized him and thought he could do no wrong like Haku was to Zabuza. In fact he was sure that if the blond had been the one to save him instead of Zabuza, he would've joined their groupie. Well, groupie or not at least they weren't rabid like those mad fangirls.
One of the few flaws he could find about Sky so far was that the people seemed to be too idealistic. He would like to say they were naïve, but that wasn't true. Maybe it was because Zabuza didn't coddle him and thus he had to face the truth the hard way, but the fact was that these people often saw things in black and white. Unfortunately real life wasn't black or white. Sometimes you had to make an alliance with an enemy, and someone you trust could turn traitor in a heartbeat. Then again Sky had solved the traitor problem with the fox seal. He had to admit the seal was ingenious and a real state of the art, but he wondered if in the future the seal would be abused just like the Hyuuga did with their cage seal. The seal still took away free will, if you saw it from a certain viewpoint and wanted to get technical, but it wasn't like he could complain about that. Shinobi was a tool after all.
Haku couldn't help but wonder why they didn't make Zabuza a Sky ninja too. While he was a missing-nin, he had great skill. He didn't think there were many kenjutsu specialists and Zabuza was clearly one of them. And with the fox seal Sky wouldn't have to worry about him turning a traitor.
"Hiyaa, coz! Miss me already?" Haku didn't dare to turn around to face the source of the voice. It couldn't be. The man was supposed to be on a mission for at least two weeks, starting yesterday. Unfortunately his cousin didn't give him a choice to make, because he suddenly stood beside Sky's latest resident, and wrapped an arm around Haku's shoulder. "You look kinda pale, are you alright?" Haku wondered if his cousin was being sarcastic.
"H-how? I thought you were given a two weeks mission at minimum?" the black haired male stammered.
"Oh that? Turns out the mission was accidentally completed by another jounin team when they were doing their mission.
God, no! He wouldn't last another day without a break from his cousin! Haku despaired. Deep in his heart he wondered if suicide would be preferable, if only to get away from this leech.
Yup! Suicide did seem wonderful right now.
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"CEIL!!" Mamoru laughed as he launched himself at the bird.
The white feathered demon bird sighed. "How many times have I told you, brat, that it's Sheil're and definitely not Ceil nor Ree!" He was proud of his name, dammit!
"Ah poo," the red head pouted, then grinned widely. "You're just being silly, Ree. It's an easier name, see?" the bird squawked indignantly. He opened his beak to say something then suddenly clamped it shut.
"Guh, Never mind, it wasn't like you're going to listen anyway."
"See? You can be taught!" the child grinned in victory.
"Annoying brat!" the bird mumbled.
"Aw, but you love me anyway." The bird rolled his eyes, as if saying 'yeah, right!' "Ne ne, I want to go to the meadow. Fly me there?"
"What do I look like for? A transport bird?" he grumbled. "Get one of my brethren! Now be gone, I was enjoying my sunbathing when you interrupted me."
"You know if you laze around like this you're going to become fat," Sheil're choked. Him? Fat? Him? No fuckin' way! "And what better way to stay fit other than spread your wings?"
"You're not going to go away if I don't do this, are you?" the bird sent a suspicious look at the kid.
"Yep!" Mamoru nodded enthusiastically.
The bird scowled. "You don't have to sound happy. Fine kid, I'll transport you, but you'll have to find a ride back yourself."
"Yay!" the youngest son of Naruto cheered. Of course he planned to have him as his next transport too, but for now 'Ree' didn't have to know that. Mamoru grinned mischievously.
Sheil're grumbled. "This is so degrading. I, Sheil're, son of Kielle, had to turn into a lowly transport of all things! Mother must be laughing her ass off right now." To follow the whim of a human child, even if he was Naruto's youngest was too embarrassing.
Naruto observed the scene with a small smile. Mamoru was too intelligent for his own good and had wrapped the sharn boss around his finger and he wasn't even five years old yet. Naruto was so proud.
The man continued his walk to his office, occasionally nodding to the villagers who greeted him. He had a meeting with several academy teachers and jounin instructors over their chuunin exam. He had planned to get the genin months of intense training and study before the exam start to prepare the young kids and this meeting would decide what they planned to teach to the kids.
Unlike other exams where hidden villages used them as another way to wage war without political repercussion by having their own genin compete with others'. Sky didn't see the need to do so. This exam was private and no other village was invited. This exam was not to cull the number of chuunin hopeful, but to prepare them for their future job, thereby cutting down the number of casualties in real life. Rather than exam, Naruto preferred to name it intense base camp. It wouldn't be much different from what they usually did. The genin would have to perform their best in a test and then the instructors would later show them where they got it wrong and how to improve themselves. The difference was that it would be much harder and longer and there would be a rank rise, which meant pay rise too.
He hummed happily, eager to hear what the others had concocted for the next generation. Grinning, the leader of Sky walked faster.
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"Hey Ryoga, what's this red button for?" Shugo fiddled with a rectangular gadget curiously.
"Be careful, that's fo—" it was cut off when he saw the gadget slip away from his teammate's hold. Yukito who was hovering behind Shugo caught the thing reflexively, but not before he accidentally pressed the button on the gadget.
"GYARGHHH!!!" they were interrupted by loud screams from the forest.
"Whoops! It has nothing to do with this, right? Right?" the white haired boy nervously asked, handing the device to his geeky friend.
"…Actually it activates the self destruct system on the transmitters we put on the other genin. The difference with what I did this morning is that it activates all of them, not just selected ones."
"…oh," was the only thing the Kaguya boy able to say.
"Chill out, Yuki! It's not like those people are our allies. 'Sides maybe it will cut down the number of participants!" Shugo patted his friend's shoulder reassuringly.
Yukito opened his mouth to disagree, but then closed his mouth, as he was thinking. He then shrugged. "If you say so," and went back to his bed.
"A pity," Ryoga muttered. "I would've liked to learn more about the others first before I activated the self destruct system, but maybe this is for the best," he sighed as he threw the now useless detonator in the bin.
Those who had the transmitter on them exploded would not agree with Ryoga's assessment of what was the best, but it wasn't like they knew the culprit or even understood exactly what had just happened. The next day was pretty quiet for most of the genin had to lick their wounds and retreat to fix their burns.
At last the barrier to shield Sky's non-hovering island is online. At first I was writing the details of the process, but then scrapped the idea. This chapter's purpose is to make it clear for readers about Sky's advancement in technology.
Poor Haku is making an appearance too, even if it is brief :D