Chapter 1 – Flipping Pages
Naruto had, during his 20 years of living, never, not even once, been to Konoha's library.
He had walked passed the building many times, but he had never really noticed it. It had somehow just managed to melt into its surroundings and disappear from his comprehension. Like an old trinket that had been lying around the house for ages until you no longer bothered to recall its presence anymore. It had just been there.
Therefore he had been a bit stunned to find out that the library was, as a matter of fact, quite big.
It was, to put it in a simple word; H-U-G-E!
He had never seen such an amount of books in his entire life!
The shock had been so sudden that he had frozen dead in the middle of the doorway and made Sakura bump into him from behind.
A hard punch at the back of his head later, he awoke from his amazement and silently followed his pink haired team mate in between the rows of books, staring at the spines of thousand and thousands of books as he walked passed.
Now, one might wonder what it was that had finally made him break his 20 year-old absence to this place, and the answer consisted of two, intimidating words;
Now, first it should be said that Naruto was not nervous about the exam itself. He had completed all the missions and rankings necessary to take it and he had probably been through more in the past four years then any of the other exam takers had together.
The chase after Orochimaru, the defeating of the Akatsuki and then the final retrieval of Sasuke to the village had been evolving, to say the least, so as far as his physical skills concerned, he was not worried.
He had been so convinced that he was going to pass without any trouble at all.
So completely sure!
Then Sakura had unconsciously given him the most unpleasant surprise of his entire life, when she asked him if he had finished his studying for the theoretical test already?
Nobody had told him that there would be a theoretical test!
Why would there be a theoretical test!?
He thought there would just be a display of their skills and ability to handle themselves in battle!
Sakura had patiently explained to him that since the theoretical test during the Chuunin Exams had been a fake one, the real test would be taken during this exam instead.
The despair was a fact.
After much fawning and begging, mostly on his knees, Sakura had agreed to help him with his studying, which had led to why he was now spending his afternoon sitting at a table in the library, hunching over books and scrolls, while Sakura helped him take notes on things that might turn out to be important.
She had told him that he could ask Sasuke for some pointers as well, since Sasuke had already passed his exam the year before, but Naruto refused.
The bastard would probably just make fun of him for not knowing about the test in the first place and then leave him to take care of the problem by himself. So, thank you, but no thank you…
However, it was common knowledge that Naruto wasn't exactly the kind of person who was famous for being able to sit still during an extended period of time, and after two hours of intensive studying; his entire body was itching to get out of the wooden chair he was currently sitting in.
With a lame excuse about going to find some book about the history of the five great Ninja countries, he got up from the table and quickly walked off, disappearing behind a bookshelf.
He wasn't really looking for anything special; he just wandered around, sometimes pulling out a book somewhere, eyeing it, flipping through the pages and then putting it back.
The long corridors of books seemed to have no end, and he thanked whoever it was that had come up with the idea to put up signs pointing towards the entrance, as he realised that his sense of orientation had completely abandoned him. By now he had wandered far away into the library and the books and scrolls in the shelves around him showed evident proof of that they had not been handled in a very long time.
As he passed one of the shelves, he noticed a faint glistening in the corner of his eye and turned towards it.
There, in eyelevel with him was a black leather book with golden kanji-symbols imprinted on its spine. The sun shining in through the windows above made the letters glisten and shimmer, sending their reflection into his eyes.
He reached out and pulled the book out from the shelf. The texture against his fingers was rough and he could feel the light bugles in the leather where the kanjis had been printed.
A thick layer of dust covered the top of the book and he dusted it of lightly before turning it over and reading the title of the book.
Jutsus around the World.
Underneath the text there was also a golden imprint of the ANBU-symbol.
Curious he opened the book up on a random page and began reading.
There was something called "Levitation no Jutsu" that was supposed to make things float in the air, though it took an incredibly large amount of chakra, since you literally had to lift the entire object with it, keeping it steady.
And then there was another one that could manipulate time, but directly underneath the name of the jutsu there was another, larger text, warning you from using it unless you had a very high chakra-control. Apparently, even the slightest disturbance in the chakra-flow while time-shifting could cause you to split up, sending your body three years back in time while your heart was left to beat alone in the presence, leading to immediate death.
Naruto shuddered at the thought and continued to flip through the pages.
Suddenly an image flashed past before his eyes, catching his attention and he stopped, slowly turning the pages back until he found what he was looking for.
The image covered almost half of the page, showing something that looked like a chibi-plushie, only it was made from some kind of leather pouch with rough strands of hair sticking up from it. The plushie was dressed in a rag of some kind that looked as if it had been ripped off from a bigger piece of cloth.
Above the image there was three words written in big, black letters that were basically screaming up at him to look at them.
He read the bold letters silently to himself.
"'Voodoo no Jutsu'…"
The word had a certain ring to it, almost forbidden, and his eyes slowly trailed past the picture down to the description of the jutsu.
Apparently, this jutsu's efficiency wasn't based on how much chakra you had or how well you were to use it. The difficulty of this particular jutsu was to collect the items necessary to perform it. Since it was designed to be used on enemies, the most important thing needed was discretion and stealth-skills.
He was just about to continue to how the jutsu was performed when suddenly Sakura appeared around the corner.
"What are you doing, Naruto?"
"Nothing, I was just reading." he answered and closed the book.
"Well, c'mon then, you still have a lot left to go through. Don't wander off and waste time like that!"
He put the book back into the shelf and followed Sakura back to the table, continuing his studies underneath Sakura's watching eyes.
Naruto dodged Sasuke's fist and quickly spun around to deliver a kick against the raven's stomach. Sasuke blocked it with his left arm, grabbing hold of the leg with his right, twisting it so that the blonde was forced to spin around again. Naruto took the opportunity and sent another kick with his free leg against Sasuke's head as he came twisting around, but missed and was roughly thrown down onto the ground, face first, loosing his breath for a second as it was knocked out of his chest.
He rolled over to his back and was faced with Sasuke's fist coming flying down towards him and rapidly moved out of the way. The fist hit the ground only centimetres from where his head had been, sending up a cloud of dust into the air.
"Stop moving around so much, Dobe." He snorted and straightened up again.
"And let you hit me? Are you stupid?"
Naruto launched forward and delivered a four-hit combo against the other boy, which, to his annoyance, Sasuke blocked perfectly.
"Hn. You talk as if I wouldn't be able to unless you did."
As if proving a point, the palm of Sasuke's hand suddenly got roughly shoved against Naruto's chest, sending the blonde flying backwards.
Naruto stumbled, but managed to keep his balance. He looked up and saw Sasuke standing there calmly, smirking at him and as always that mocking sneer made him grit his teeth in frustration, pissing him off.
He dashed forward again, but this time he didn't even have time to make a proper aim before Sasuke's arm suddenly flashed out and grabbed his, spinning him around, pinning the limb to his back. Then he felt a leg get pushed in between his and with a gasp his feet got swept of the ground when Sasuke tripped him.
After that his vision got blurry when his body and head connected with the earth underneath him, once again face first, and once again his breath got knocked out of his lungs.
He felt Sasuke straddle him from behind and how both of his arms now were held captive in a firm grip, locked against his back.
"You give, Dobe?"
Naruto couldn't turn around, but he didn't have to do that to be able to tell what the expression on Sasuke's face was at that moment, and he let out a frustrated groan as his arms were pushed higher.
"All right, I give, damn it!"
He felt the weight of his team mate leave his body and how the grip around his hands loosened and he quickly stood up.
He didn't want to increase Sasuke's victory by staying on the ground longer then necessary.
Sasuke was also standing, leaning against the trunk of a tree with his arms folded across his chest.
"Tch, you've got to stop hanging around the library soon. You're slacking off, Dobe." He commented, still with the same smirk on his face.
"I will, as soon as the exams are over." Naruto replied dryly, dusting of the front of his jacket.
"Hn, so you still intend on taking that test?"
"Of course I do!" Naruto glared at him. They had been over this before. Every time Sasuke won a sparring there would be the same story, as if his victory was proof that Naruto wasn't ready for the rank of jounin yet.
And sure as that, Sasuke answered the glare with a sneer and a raised brow.
"And how do you expect to make it through the exams when you can't even beat me in a one-o-one fight?"
"Shut up, Sasuke. Or I'll come over there and wipe that smirk off your face!"
"Hn. Give it up, Dobe. I told you before, if you want to beat me, become stronger then me."
Sasuke nonchalantly turned around and started walking away. His voice leisurely came drifting back over his shoulder as he added in a mocking voice;
"Or learn how to use mind control or something."
Naruto's fists clenched at his sides and he almost opened his mouth to holler back an insult to the other teen, but shut it again. Resolutely he spun around and stomped off down the road heading back to the village with his hands angrily shoved into his pockets.
Damn Teme! Who the hell did he think he was?!
Naruto could beat him; they both knew that, it wasn't as if it hadn't happened before.
He maliciously kicked a rock lying in his path, sending it flying down the road in a wide arch.
"Become stronger then me…" he mimicked in a girlish, squeaky voice and kicked another rock.
"I don't need to become any stronger to beat you, Teme, I'll kick your ass any day!"
He could hear the other teen's mocking voice ring inside his head and his glowering at the ground intensified.
Learn how to use mind control or something.
Use mind control or something…
He froze, his foot hanging in midair for a second before he placed it back on the ground. He blinked once, twice, and then a familiar, smug grin slowly spread itself across his face.
"Yeah... I guess I can do that…"
So, whaddaya think? Something worth continuing with?
Review and tell me, k?