Chapter 8: Finals and invasion.
When everyone began to leave for a well earned rest, Anko walked up to Naruto and took him to the Hokage for a meeting concerning a certain rouge Sannin. When both of them entered Naruto could see Kakashi, Asuma, Gai, Kurenai and Ibiki in the room, they were quickly ushered to their seats so that the meeting could begin.
"Good you're here. Now Naruto, I need you to give a report about your encounter with Orochimaru. Anko informed me about her run-in with him and the state he was in after, as he told Anko, his battle with that cursed blonde demon brat. Please tell me what happened."
"After we entered the forest we defeated a lone rain ninja that went ahead to scout out for potential victims. He didn't have a scroll so we went on to the tower. After a few hours we were attacked by a wind jutsu that separated me from the rest of my team. When I got my bearings I was attacked by a large snake, that I killed with one of my doton jutsu. After that I ran to join up with my team. Once I got there Sasuke and Sakura were engaged in a fight with a 'Kusa kunoichi' who was winning. I interfered when Sasuke was about to hand over our scroll. Since Sasuke managed to inflict some damage so part of his face was exposed. We fought for a short while, though he was underestimating my abilities. That gave me an opening I needed to hit him hard and evacuate the team as far as possible before he realized what happened. When he wanted to summon a snake I 'Jumped' behind him and kicked him in the back with full force. Afterwards when he lunged at me I threw some shuriken and used the "Shuriken Kage bunshin no jutsu" and "Shuriken Daibakuha" to create a large explosion that threw him away, afterwards I used the "Katon: Karyu Endan" to pin him down while I knocked Sasuke and Sakura out and escaped the area. When they woke up I had to explain that to save time, which they would probably waste by asking questions, I had to disable them and get them to safety. We took turns in keeping watch, got attacked by the Oto team, who work for Orochimaru, took their scroll and got to the tower. "
"That is most disturbing. From what we learned, he is after Sasuke and his Sharingan. It's good that you saved your team and retreated as quickly as it was possible, though there may be problems since Orochimaru witnessed your ability. Hopefully he will think that it was just a jutsu and nothing more."
"He does. He asked me himself about the 'Jutsu' I used to attack him from behind."
"That's good, if he is willing to attack and mark Sasuke with a curse seal to get his hands on the Sharingan than he would most likely do the same with you." Sarutobi said, "We need to take percussions in case he tries it again. I'm going to have you Kakashi keep him safe in the month between the second and third part of the exams. Since Jiraiya just returned with a report, he will help Naruro when he won't be searching the village for threats."
"You should also have someone keep an eye on the Suna and Oto teams. There's something strangely familiar about that Gaara. There is no way a jutsu that uses sand as an element would work completely without the user ordering it to defend him. Than there is that bloodlust and immense killer intent, that even some Jounin cant generate with such ease, feels unnatural. The only thing close to that, that I have encountered was that one time when I accessed the Kyuubi's chakra for a short while two years ago during training."
"If what you're saying is true than I fear that this boy Gaara may be like you Naruto. I know that one such person lives in Kumo, Suna is rumored to have dealt with the one tail, if we put one and one together than Gaara may be a container for the one tail. The only question is; why are they and Orochimaru here at the same time. We have been getting more missions from Kaze no kuni, but are they that desperate to curse a child with such a burden and go to war with us? I fear that if they are working together, than they may be planning an attack on us, the Chunnin exams are a good opportunity to strike. Our forces are spread thin because of security issues with all the foreign ninja and delegates along with our normal activities."
"What are your orders Hokage-sama?" Gai asked.
"You all have Gennin participating in the finals so you have to help them during this one month. If Orochimaru decides to attack than he will go for me personally while others engage our ninja as well as try to inflict as much damage as they can to weaken us."
"Most of their forces will no doubt be located outside the village walls, some may enter or even have entered the village disguised as civilians. They will most likely be Gennin and rookie Chuunin who will have an easier time blending in because of lower chakra levels. They will target the village's vital areas or be in the Arena where many civilians, nobles and ninja will be; watching the fights." Asuma said.
"True, by starting a fight in the Battle arena or hitting some critical points, they will draw our forces away from the walls where the majority of their forces will be. The gates will be closed but snake summons can break threw them without much problems. We will need something to take them our before they get in or some secondary defense line in case they get in." Kakashi stated.
"Jiraiya will be responsible for the main gate. He will be able to intercept the attacking snakes and allow our forces to repel the offensive. The Jounin-sensei and a contingent of Chuunin and Jounin along with a squad of ANBU will be in charge of protecting the arena while the rest of the forces will engage the attackers and ensure the safety of the civilians." Sarutobi said.
"Not that it's a bad plan or anything, but what about the Kazekage. He will be sitting next to you and since both he and Orochimaru will most likely be after you. Than again, if what you and Anko told me about him is that accurate, than he will most likely be somewhere near, disguised as the Kazekage's bodyguard or something like that." Naruto spoke up.
"Naruto does have a point. What happens when both of them decide to strike some time during the final fights. We need some trick to stop them from doing that or separate them somehow. Than there's the matter of the invasion force outside. What do we do to find out their location, strength and possibly try to weaken them before the actual fight in order to gain an advantage before the fight breaks out. The snake summons won't be called to fight at the gates by Orochimaru so that means that they will need some form of seal array to call them. It's either that or that 'Snake' found himself another apprentice who will summon the snakes and lead his forces while 'He' engages you at the battle arena Hokage-sama." Anko joined in the planning.
"Ohh, I have a good one. How about we have one of the attendants for the Kage's give the Kazekage some sake that has a drug in it that will make fighting and using chakra very difficult or impossible for a few hours or some other way to limit their use of chakra." Naruto explained his crazy idea.
"I don't know, that could be very hard for us to achieve since Tsunade-sama would be best suited for something like making a chakra blocking drug that is tasteless and undetectable to a Kage level shinobi." Kakashi thought.
"Than how about we set up explosives in the Kage booth to blow them up if they try anything. I could just 'Jump' in grab the old man and 'Jump' out before the bomb goes off." Naruto said, "We should place bombs on the roof as well. Orochimaru will want a fight, an unfair one but a fight non the less. Once the fight starts on the roof, which is the best place for such a fight by the way, we could use that tactic to beat him. We know he is a very skilled fighter and likes to cheat and have all the advantages he can get, so he may have some way of preventing reinforcements from coming to the Hokage's aid."
"That won't be necessary Naruto, but I'll agree with you on the fact that he may try to isolate me from the rest of our forces, so it will be a good idea for me to have a way of contacting you in case I need to get out of whatever trap Orochimaru may have planned." Came Sarutobi's reply. "Everything will be explained in greater detail one week before the finals. As of right now Kakashi will be guarding and preparing Sasuke for the finals, Naruto will be training with Jiraiya and helping in gathering important information. Your variation of the "Kage bunshin no jutsu" the 'Shadow crow jutsu' will be of great use in airborne patrol around the village. It's a good method of finding the location of the enemy forces, afterwards we will have some of the Aburame clan members unleash their Kikai bugs and weaken the attacking forces on the day of the finals before they begin their offensive. Half of our ANBU forces will be ready to engage the Suna and Oto ninja and either kill Orochimaru's men and try to disable Suna-nin before being forced to kill. If they were tricked by my treacherous student than this situation can lead to strengthening our position in negotiating a new alliance treaty with Suna. Weakening our ally isn't in our best interest, especially if Orochimaru manages to escape. The Aburame will take care of draining the strength from their men and ANBU and the rest of our forces will eliminate the threats."
"Especially if I use my 'Shadow crows' as explosive projectiles that will blow up inside their forces and cause confusion among their ranks." Naruto said.
"Now that everything is clear everyone is dismissed. Good luck in the preparations."
The month passed slowly, though the ones taking part in the final battles would say otherwise. For Shikamaru that month could be described as the most troublesome period in his life up to date. His mother Yoshino threatened him with a whole years worth of early waking up and hard work with no time to indulge in his favorite pastime, namely cloud watching, if he doesn't train seriously for the final round. The second troublesome woman, Ino, decided that she will be helping him in his training, motivating him to show some effort and giving daily reports on his activities to his mother. This of course led to another Nara clan member finding himself in that troublesome situation. Shikaku Nara was appointed by his wife to train Shikamaru for his fight with the 'sand chick Temari'. The two poor Nara's had a month from hell ahead of them.
Shino like every member of the Aburame clan was very secretive about his training and practiced the family jutsu he was taught by his father Shibi. Anything else is, like always when dealing with an Aburame, an enigma.
Lee and Gai went at their training like crazy. First they increased their weights, before beginning a series of repeated exercises that were supposed to increase Lee's speed and the strength behind his punches and kicks, while they kept spewing all that 'youth' crap all the time. All this resulted in many more of Konoha's citizens going to the hospital to get help from over exposure to the green clad duo's "Youthful flames of training hysteria" as the patients described it. Since Lee was limited to Taijutsu only, Gai stepped up Lee's training with weapons. Surprisingly Lee chose something that looked like a combination of a double-bladed pile and axe. The weapon had a 1 ft. blade that could be used to stab and cut with both edges and below that were two axe like blades only they looked like a single edged sword or katana blade that had an elliptic shape when you looked at the blades on the left and right side of the stabbing blade. Since Lee's weapon of choice had such blades on both ends it could also separate into two shorter axe like weapons, each a meter long without counting the stabbing blade. When combined they made up an over 2,5 meter weapon that was deadly in the hands of someone as fast as Lee, and since Lee was quite skilled in the use of kunai and shuriken for someone without a Doujutsu or such talent as Tenten, he was most certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Neji Hyuuga, who was Naruto's first opponent in the finals, underwent a very exhausting training regime he set up for himself. He spent the entire month practicing the Juuken techniques reserved for the Main branch, that he saw and recreated for his own use, and increasing his speed that would be necessary if he was to beat Naruto. Neji is called the Hyuuga prodigy for a reason after all, he noticed that to reach him from the balcony and draw his sword Naruto would have to be as fast if not faster than Lee during their spar two months ago. His speed combined with the jutsu he knew and his apparent sword skills made Naruto a formidable opponent, albeit a foolish one in Neji's eyes. When he was practicing the Kaiten Tenten had been his training partner, and when he was working on other aspects of his training alone, Tenten was helping Lee master the use of his exotic weapon.
Kakashi and Sasuke decided to train in a secluded location where they won't risk an attack from Orochimaru. Since Sasuke had awoken his Sharingan two weeks before the exams Kakashi focused on helping his student improve his abilities in the use of his eyes, as well as improve the young Uchiha's speed. The first person that Sasuke will be facing is Gai's pupil, who will no doubt be well rained in Kakashi's 'Eternal Rival's' Taijutsu style, and that means that Lee is much faster than what he had shown in the preliminaries. Kakashi spent days beating the young Uchiha senseless until he couldn't move anymore. That was a good preparation for what Sasuke will be facing in the finals, it also was great entertainment for Kakashi. When he wasn't beating the shit out of Sasuke, Kakashi was teaching him a few useful Katon and other elemental jutsu that will make his student stronger and increase his chances in the fights against opponents he will be facing as well as the invasion. All in all, the month was rather uneventful but there was that one time when Gaara showed up and threatened that he will have the Uchiha's blood once they fight.
Speaking of Gaara and his siblings, they weren't training all that much for two reasons; the first and most important one being the upcoming invasion. There is no sense in getting worked up too much if you won't be fighting in the finals. They concentrated mostly on their orders for the invasion. The second reason: they thought that they were strong enough to take on the weak Konoha Gennin, and there is no way that they could stand up to Gaara. After the display during the preliminaries they could feel confident in their abilities, since all the kunoichi were easily beaten in their fights and the boys showed some skill. Even if they were holding back they couldn't be holding back that much, nor could they improve so drastically in just one month.
Dosu Kinuta was pissed that Orochimaru wanted to use him as a mere tool. He decided to track down the ones that had embarrassed him in the forest of death. He tried to track down the Uchiha that he was ordered to kill in the Forest of Death, but was unable to locate him. The damn blonde that had beaten him so badly was much easier to find. Dosu was able to find Naruto a week after the preliminaries near the hot springs, where said blonde was walking around and waiting for his perverted trainer.
" How hard can it be to find one old Super pervert in the bath-house of all places." Naruto said, clearly pissed.
Just as Naruto was about to yell 'PERVERT' as loud as he could so that every female in the hot springs would hear and hopefully alert him to her discovery of Jiraiya's whereabouts, he was interrupted by shuriken flying his way.
"O.k. that's it, now I'm pissed off. Come out now or I won't be kind in a few minutes." Naruto yelled.
" Now you'll pay for humiliating me in our last fight, and since you're going to be dead than there will be less competition in the finals. After I finish you off I'll take out a few more obstacles, than Orochimaru-sama will see that I'm more powerful enough to be more than a tool that he can throw away when he feels like it."
"You really are pathetic, aren't you?" Naruto said.
"What did you say?"
"I said that you're pathetic if you really think that Orochimaru cares about you and your strength or that of your teammates. All he cares about are his own sick ambition and personal grudge against his sensei, who didn't appoint him as Yondaime Hokage because of his twisted nature. And just to make it perfectly clear; you wont beat me, to do that you would have to be a Jounin not a strong Gennin who could become a low Chuunin. You lack the required skills and jutsu to do it. The only weapon you have is that device on tour right arm and some low level jutsu." Naruto said with a tone meant to infuriate the Oto gennin.
"You're too arrogant, that will be your downfall. You overestimate your abilities, just because you won our last fight doesn't mean you will win this time. Prepare to die!"
With that Dosu began his attack by throwing some shuriken to make Naruto dodge to the side so that he could get in close and use his melody arm to disable his opponent. Naruto, however used two kunai to deflect the shuriken and threw the kunai at Dosu, who jumped away. After gaining a few seconds Naruto made the hand seals for the "Kanashibiri no jutsu" and paralyzed his attacker once he landed on the ground. Once the Oto gennin was frozen in place Naruto got behind him and knocked him out. Just as the blonde had finished tying the gennin up Jiraiya decided to show up.
"Hey brat, what're doing with that guy, don't tell me you gave up on women, that would have been a disaster. Who would I use in one of the books I'm going to write in the future. You're going to be a babe magnet in a few years, think about the inspiration I'd lose if you won't get down with some ladies." Jiraiya joked.
"Dammit ero-sennin, where the hell have you been. I've waited almost as much as I would have if it was Kakashi of all people. Than this idiot decided to kill me and a few more of the finalists to improve his chances at getting Chuunin and show your snaky teammate that he's more than just some tool and all that bullshit." Naruto ranted.
"Calm down brat, will ya. With the way you're talking one would think that the old man banned Ramen from Konoha. Since he attacked you during the one month intermission, he gets disqualified from the tournament. That means we can interrogate him for even the smallest amount of information about Otogakure and Orochimaru's forces. Do you know that waterfall outside the village?"
"Yeah, that's where I trained with 'Azuma' and Haku before the exams, though I've still got plenty to learn about that "Silent homicide". Why do you ask?"
"Good since you've been there before you can get us there in no time. Hopefully the place will be abandoned today, if not than let's hope that there will be some hot babes swimming in the pond there."
"You just don't want to walk all the miles there you lazy perv. O.k. grab him and hang on tight." Naruto said clearly annoyed.
The trip to the waterfall was a short one and unfortunately for the mega perv there were no girls in bikinis swimming in the pond. Seriously upset Jiraiya woke Dosu up and began the questioning. While the Toad sannin may not be Morino Ibiki he too knows how to mess with a persons head until they give all the information they know like good little children. Most of the information they gained was already in their possession and that what they didn't know was provided by a very willing Dosu Kinuta. What they learned confirmed their suspicions about the invasion. According to Dosu Orochimaru wants Sasuke for an immortality jutsu he developed and the invasion will begin some time during the Uchiha's fight or the Kazekage's son's namely Gaara's fight. Dosu overheard rumors that that sand kid is a demon or something like that and that he was instrumental to the success of the invasion. He also told Jiraiya and Naruto that the only reason they passed the forest of death after their fight was because one of the snakes agents in konoha gave them the scrolls. The description sounded awfully like Kabuto. What surprised them even more was the fact that Dosu suspected that Orochimaru may sacrifice both him and his teammates to use some jutsu, that is supposed to give him a tactical advantage over the Hokage, along with the information that the Kazekage may be dead or will die during the finals, since Orochimaru doesn't like to share. Clearly the Snake-sannin greatly underestimated the data gathering abilities of his subordinate. Once they finished with Dosu Jiraiya summoned a toad that acted as a prison while Jiraiya and Naruto informed Sarutobi about their findings. When the Sandaime heard the latest news he ordered that the two Oto gennin be hidden away with Dosu in one of the Perverts safe houses in the village and the capture of Kabuto and his teammates.
With the information hunting out of the way Jiraiya proceeded to teach Naruto the Rasengan and toad summoning. While the blonde was busy with those two jutsu and his kenjutsu training with 'Azuma' Jiraiya worked on a seal that would suppress demonic youkai in Gaara to subdue him as quickly as they could before he inflicts damage to the village. There's no need to take risks when they can be avoided. Some time during the last week before the finals Anko decided to drop in and spice up Naruto's training a bit. She had just finished a new paralyzing poison that lasts approximately 24 hours before losing it's properties and just couldn't wait to show it off to her favorite blonde moving target. Naruto was not pleased but Jiraiya got a nose bleed when he saw Anko wearing fishnets. Since She ruined Naruto's day of training she gave him some of that poison but he still had to buy her Dango. Naruto spent lots of time improving his speed and sword skills along with the jutsu Jiraiya showed him. When they brought the information from Dosu the Sandaime gave Naruto the scrolls, books and sword his father left him before he died during the sealing. Needles to say when the young blonde received them he was acting as if he just got a yearly supply of ramen for free, and eagerly went at his training with his new sword. Both he and Jiraiya had went threw the books on sealing and though he didn't understand much of the advanced stuff, Naruto found the basic parts to be quite easy to understand.
By the time there were two days left until the finals Naruto had been a force to be reckoned with when it came to swordsmanship. The basic training he had practically mastered before graduation and than over half a year of learning and perfecting higher forms with a former Mist-nin and his acquaintances among the Jounin of Konoha made him one hell of a fighter with his new blade. Though it was unheard of to teach a Gennin the aspects of element manipulation, Naruto had finished both the basic and advanced exercises on Suiton nature manipulation with 'Azuma'. Luck would have it that the ex-mist Jounin didn't give a damn about stupid regulations when it came to talented Suiton users. For 'Azuma' things were rather simple; if the brat can make hundreds of shadow clones and had both the skills, chakra levels and affinity, than why the hell should all that go to waste. If you learn something sooner the greater advantage you have over a potential enemy who may underestimate you just because of young age. The Wind nature chakra manipulation was easy to learn once you actually got the required information on how to perform the exercises from a certain wind using Sarutobi. Naruto knew that one day that photo he had taken of Kurenai and Asuma kissing in an area hidden from prying eyes, though quite close to one of the blonde's favorite training spots, would come in handy. Thank god Anko introduced him to the fine art of blackmail. With all the things he needed and lots of clones the elemental affinity training took two weeks to get sufficiently down. Now Naruto's sword would be much more dangerous to an opponents health, especially when the sword was made of chakra absorbing and conducting materials. Adding a wind nature chakra blade enforcement made the thing a one hit kill weapon if used properly, and Naruto knew all too well how to use it.
The last day before the third round of the Chuunin exams Naruto sent out two hundred of his "Shadow crows" to scout the forests outside the village walls. He located the invasion force a few miles outside the village. In the clearing he could see that preparations for some kind of seal array were nearly done. Naruto guessed that it may be used to summon the snakes and rest of the invasion force, since the numbers close to the village were nowhere near to being sufficient enough for an assault on a major ninja village. When he reported his findings, the Sandaime sent out a task force composed of Aburame and ANBU to silently take out the enemy contingent. As they suspected there were mostly Oto-nin with only a few squads of Suna Chuunin and Jounin in the area. The seal array Naruto described must have been intended to summon the rest of the invasion army and not just the snake summons. The Konoha strike force was ordered to attack at dawn on the day of the finals to avoid detection from Orochimaru. A chance to take him down when he least expects it may not come so soon in the future.
Finally the day everyone had been waiting for had come. Many had come to witness the fights, from ordinary civilians and merchants that were curious about the abilities of the next generation of ninja they may be hiring in the neat future, to the many Daimio and their advisors. Many had placed bets on who would win the respective fights and most had placed their bets on the Hyuuga and Uchiha geniuses as well as the Kazekage's son Gaara. Naruto used some of his Jounin friends to place bets on his and Lee's victory in their respective fights. Most of the Jounin who know Naruto placed their bets on him, most notably Anko, Asuma, Ibiki even Genma, Hayate and what surprised everyone: Gai. At first he said that such behavior was 'very unyouthful' but after being coaxed by Anko and Naruto that it would mean his firm belief in both Lee's and Naruto's abilities and 'flames of youth' he joined in the bets.
Naruto stood in the middle of the arena with the rest of the chunin hopefuls, all except for Sasuke, who was no where to be seen. Up in the Kages box sat the Hokage and Kazekage who were discussing the upcoming fights and trying to predict their outcome. The elderly Hokage stood up and began his speech.
"Welcome everyone to this years Chuunin selection exam finals." His voice boomed. "Standing before you are the best of this years candidates that have entered this exam a month ago. Today, they will fight here before you all to prove their worthiness for the rank of Chuunin. I sincerely hope that all of you, who have gathered here to witness the fights, will find the performance of this years finalists satisfactory."
A roar of approval and cheers erupted from the crowd as the much awaited finals began. When the roars of the crowd died down Genma the proctor for the final matches spoke up.
"First of all I must announce that there will be a slight change in the fights due to the disqualification of Dosu Kinuta for assaulting another contestant during the one month intermission. As of right now the fights will be look like this." Genma spoke as he pulled out a scroll from his vest. "The first fight will be between Uzumaki Naruto and Hyuuga Neji."
"Second fight: Aburame Shino against Sabaku no Kankuro."
"Third fight : Nara Shikamaru against Sabaku no Temari."
"Fourth fight" Rock Lee versus Uchiha Sasuke."
The winner of the fourth fight will face Sabaku no Gaara in the second round of the fights. Now will everyone who is not fighting right now please wait their turn in the viewing lounge over there."
When the only ones remaining in the arena were Naruto and Neji, Genma spoke up again.
"Alright, the rules are the same as in the preliminaries. There are no rules and the match will continue until one of you gives up or dies. However, if I decide that one of you is done I will call the match. Failure to abide by this rule will result in your dismissal. Am I clear?" Both Naruto and Neji gave him a nod. "Good. Now begin!"
Naruto and Neji jumped back and took up battle positions. Both fighters eyed each other for any weak spots and openings when Neji, confident in what he had learned during this month replayed the information he had about Naruto in his head. Naruto used a wide range of both elemental and non-elemental Ninjutsu as well as kenjutsu. He was clearly a close range fighter. Activating his Byakugan, Neji saw calm and confidence in himself.
"Naruto," said Neji in a calm tone. "I suggest that you give up now. Fate has already decided that I will be the winner of this match. Your efforts will gain you nothing so I suggest that you forfeit now and save yourself the embarrassment."
Naruto stood there for a moment before he began to laugh.
"You think that I'll just give up like that and leave you unpunished for your actions. Don't make me laugh. You really are as limited and misguided as I suspected." Naruto let Neji have a taste of his own medicine. "You have to be one of the greatest fools I have met. You are an arrogant bastard who looks down on others like they're trash. What has Hinata ever done to you that you would go so far as to kill her? She is one of the kindest people I have met and there is no way she would have harmed anyone intentionally or not."
"You have no right to judge me dead-last. What do you know about my life. Every member of the branch house is effectively a slave to the main branch. It doesn't matter that I have talent, I will always be just a slave while a weakling like Hinata is a member of the main branch simply because of the fact that her father was born mere minutes before mine." At this point Neji tool off his headband revealing the cured seal on his forehead. "All members of the branch house have to serve the main house and even die for them just to preserve the secrets of the Hyuuga bloodline. It is our destiny and there is nothing we can do to change it."
"That is where you are wrong Neji. I know all too well how it is to live a life marked from birth with something I had no control over. Maybe some day I'll tell you what it is but right now you don't deserve it. For someone who believes in fate and destiny so firmly you sure put a lot of effort into fighting it. Didn't you say it's your fate to protect the main house with your life…" Naruto said trying to get under the Hyuuga's skin "…and yet you did your best to take away Hinata's life. Looks to me like you're one hell of a hypocrite Neji."
That got the desired effect. Neji became angry and activated his Byakugan. Naruto made a dozen 'Kage bunshin' and had them engage the Hyuuga prodigy while he stayed back and observed the fight. Even though Neji had the superior taijutsu style he had much trouble in beating Naruto's clones. They were fast and very skilled in hand to hand combat so it took lots of effort from Neji to take them all down. It was like fighting Lee during their spars only Lee usually blocked while the clones were very good at avoiding hits. Fighting one opponent with such skills is an annoyance for the Hyuuga prodigy but fighting multiple opponents with these skills is a risk that can not be taken. Neji had heard the rumors about Naruto: that he could use and make hundreds of shadow clones, and it looked to him like these rumors were true. Unless he thinks of something quick Neji is certain that he will lose if only because he will be too exhausted to continue.
Having disposed of the last clone Neji made a run for Naruto, hoping that once he gets close enough to the blonde he will be able to stop him from creating any more of those damn clones and cut off his opponents chakra system. But by this point Naruto had analyzed Neji's attack patterns and was sure that as long as he managed to avoid the Hyuuga's strikes he could win this fight. There was also the tiny problem of the proctors, who were taking notes on the performance of the combatants to determine whether the candidate deserved a promotion or not. And if there was one thing Naruto wanted more than anything, a promotion to Chuunin was it. Not only will he have to do less of those blasted D-rank missions, but he will also get a pay increase and more C-rank missions along with the complementary green vest.
Naruto got close to Neji and deflected or avoided the young Hyuuga's palm strikes. He got lots of valuable information about the danger those strikes presented. Jiraiya told him about the Hyuuga clan's ability to shut down their opponents chakra system and Naruto definitely didn't want to be left helpless in a fight. Speeding up his movements even more then before Naruto started hitting Neji in his upper body around his arms and rib cage before he hit Neji square in his chest with a strong open palm thrust. That attack had knocked the wind out of the Hyuuga prodigy and sent him staggering back several feet.
"This can't be all you have Neji." Naruto kept up the mind games that Neji so eagerly used during his fight with Hinata. "I came here expecting a good fight but I can't even call this a warm up. Please try harder than that or I will have to cut our little chit chat short."
That riled up the young Hyuuga even more. Neji lost a great deal of his calm and collected mask to the blonde's taunts and sharp remarks. Neji charged at Naruto with his palms clearly charged with chakra and ready to inflict massive internal damage. Naruto made the necessary hand seals and called out his jutsu "Fuuton: Daidoppa" and sent the pride of the Hyuuga clan flying. Neji twisted his body so that he landed on his feet and skidded back several feet. By this time, Naruto had drawn his sword indicating that he means business.
Up in the stands an eight year old girl with pale eyes spoke up.
"Father, do you think that Neji can win?" Hanabi asked.
"Yes, but it will be difficult," said Hiashi. "I didn't know that Uzumaki knew that jutsu. With that wind he can blow Neji away so he can't get in close for a Juken strike. But, Neji will figure a way to counter this. His eyes are the most powerful among our clan in a few generations. They are even more powerful than yours or Hinata's."
Naruto proceeded to attack Neji with the "Katon: Hosenka no jutsu" to distract him while Naruto used his unique Bloodline ability to gain a short burst of speed, by channeling the Hiraishin chakra threw his body, to appear right in front of Neji. The spectators as well as Neji were stunned by that display due to the after images that were left behind Naruto. Making use of the Hyuuga's momentary lack of focus Naruto was able to inflict some shallow cuts on the young prodigies arms legs and torso. Once Neji was wide awake Naruto summoned some more shadow clones that kept making hit and run attacks on the Hyuuga prodigy.
"Let's see what you can do Hyuuga Neji" Naruto thought as he kept his hands behind his head to allow everyone know which one is the original.
When all the clones were in range Neji made his move: "Hakkeshou: Kaiten" Neji said as a wall of chakra formed around him before beginning to spin and destroying all the clones.
"Father is that...?" said Hanabi in the stands speechless just like her father was since what Neji had done was only supposed to be done by the Main Branch of the Hyuuga Clan.
"Yes. It seems the Branch Family has been doing more learning of the Gentle Fist style then I thought," said Hiashi calmly knowing that Naruto could win this fight, but was just as surprised that Neji learned how to do the Kaiten.
The Chuunin proctors made note of all of the fight's developments.
"Not bad. That Naruto kid just sent his clones at Neji and force the Hyuuga prodigy to use his trump card," said one of the two Chuunin proctors clearly impressed with the boy's strength.
"Yeah it would seem so. Not only that, but had Neji not used it the beating from the boy's clones would have greatly injured or possibly defeated the Hyuuga," said the second Chuunin proctor nodding his head in agreement.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking Izumo?" asked the first Chuunin.
"Yeah, sure do Kotetsu. That Uzumaki Naruto is a potential candidate for the rank of Chuunin," said the second Chuunin before they both smiled knowing that the ninja keep on advancing at a younger age every year.
Down in the arena Naruto looked impressed and even gave out a whistle at Neji's display. Once the Hyuuga stopped spinning Naruto charged him and continued pressing his onslaught of dance like steps and sword strikes. During the fight the blonde used his sword to guide Neji right where he wanted him and blocked some of the Hyuuga's Juken strikes with the flat side of his sword. Naruto didn't bother using his swords ability to extend or the wind chakra blades that he could fire at his enemy with each swing of his weapon. When they arrived at the desired place Naruto left a subtle opening in his defenses that Neji could use and not suspect any foul play. When Neji saw the opening he smirked in realization that he saw threw that fake gap in the blondes defense, but when he saw that it was just big enough for him to get past he understood that it was no trick but a gap that separated a Master of the blade from a student, or at least that's what he thought. Quickly Neji performed a strike at the chakra point near the right shoulder. When the hit connected Naruto dropped his sword.
"Now it's over… you are within the field of my divination…"Hakke: Rokujuuyonshou" he shouted as he performed his most powerful offensive attack.
"2 strikes, 4 strikes, 8 strikes, 16 strikes, 32 strikes, 64 strikes!" Neji yelled.
"Damn! Did Naruto let that happen on purpose or did he get too overconfident?' thought Genma hoping it wasn't the later or else it could go bad with the Judges.
"It's over proctor. I hit his chakra points. He's not going to get up." As Neji said those words Naruto turned into mud. Everyone looked in disbelief at the spot Naruto was a minute ago when several fox jaws erupted from the ground and clamped on Neji's legs, arms and one big earth fox jumped on the Hyuuga's shoulders in a similar way to Kakashi's "Doton: Tsuiga no jutsu-Tracking fang Technique"
"What the…" Was all Neji could say before Naruto burst from the ground.
"How do you like my new trick Neji? Works great, hugh?" Naruto said "I call it my "Fox bind technique", hope you approve?"
"How did you get down there?" Neji asked "I didn't see you change places."
"That's quite simple really. When I created the first of my clones there was lots of smoke that I used to cover the Mud clone I made within that smoke. I had the clone burrow into the ground and tunnel into a specific location." Naruto explained "Than when we were fighting and I forced you to use the Kaiten, you were temporarily blinded by the chakra saturated smoke left by the destroyed Kage bunshin. At that time everyone's attention was focused on you and your technique, I switched places with the mud clone that continued the fight and lured you into position. Once you used the opening I gave you it was all over." Said Naruto as he brought the tip of his sword to Neji's artery. "Surrender or die, what will it be Neji?"
Seeing no way to escape from the jaws of the earth foxes and Naruto's sword Neji spoke up.
" Proctor, I forfeit."
Hearing that Genma spoke up: "Winner, UZUMAKI NARUTO!" And the entire stadium roared in cheers.
"You know what the irony of your situation is Neji?" Naruto asked, but seeing Neji's confused expression he continued; "You tried to kill the one person who actually cares about you and couldn't stand to look at your suffering. I knew about the division in your clan from her when we talked in the academy. All Hinata ever wanted was to be seen as something else than a clan failure, to receive some encouragement for her efforts and to unite your clan, and you nearly killed her."
With that said Naruto left the arena and went to the waiting area, leaving Neji to ponder.
Up in the stands there were all kinds of reactions to the fight. The many Daimyo's, who placed their bets on Neji were shocked to the core by the fact that a clan less orphan defeated the genius of the Hyuuga clan. The Jounin, Hokage and Jiraiya who placed their bets on Naruto had Ryo marks in their eyes: due to the fact that so many placed their bets otherwise the winnings from Naruto's victory will be colossal.
"Did you guys see that!" Kiba opened his big mouth "Naruto just made Neji look like an Idiot with those tricks of his."
"Yeah, who knew Naruto was that good." Ino said.
"I'm glad he went easy on me. Otherwise all that would be left of me would look like Korean Barbecue." Chouji said.
"Who would have thought that that guy could beat Neji. You're something else Uzumaki Naruto." Thought Tenten.
"YOSH!! THE FLAMES OF YOUTH BURN BRIGHTLY IN THIS ONE" Yelled Gai.
"Ough, could you keep it down Gai? We're sitting next to you, you know!" Asuma said while holding his ears.
Up in the Kage box the Kazekage turned to the elderly Hokage.
"You have a very promising young shinobi there Hokage-dono."
"Thank you Kazekage-dono. Naruto-kun is a rather tricky but very determined young ninja. I have no doubt that he will go far."
In the waiting area for the competitors everyone was also analyzing the situation.
"That troublesome Naruto, now everyone will expect a similar performance from the rest of us." Shikamaru muttered under his nose.
"It would seem that Naruto-san had been in control of the fight the whole time. He managed to show a lot of his skills in that fight and still kept some of his abilities a secret to have the element of surprise in his next fight. Very intriguing." Shino commented.
"Don't forget that you're up next Shino and if you win than Naruto will be your opponent in the second phase of the fights." Shikamaru said.
Down in the arena Genma announced the second fight.
"The second fight is about begin. Will Aburame Shino and Sabaku no Kankuro come down."
Up in the waiting area Kankuro was thinking over his options.
"Damn if I fight this bug freak right now he will drain my chakra and I won't have any left for the invasion. Gaara looks like he's nearly ready to begin his killing spree. There's no choice I have to throw the fight."
"Hey proctor I give up." Kankuro yelled.
Genma was surprised but he called the fight. "Winner Aburame Shino."
"All right onto the Third Round of the Chuunin Exams. Nara Shikamaru and Subaku no Temari get down here for your match," said Genma ignoring Shikamaru's face paling, as Temari smirked at him.
Temari seeing that the crowd wasn't happy with the stunt Kankuro pulled glided down into the arena on top of her fan. Shikamaru thought it would be a good idea to throw in the towel early but than he remembered what his mother would do to him if he did. Deciding to have this troublesome thing over with he went down to face another troublesome blonde- a woman at that: that's troublesome times three because A: she's a woman, B: she's blonde and finally C: she wants to fight.
Unfortunately for the lazy Nara he opened his big mouth and seriously pissed off the proud Suna kunoichi who started swinging her battle fan sending powerful gusts of wind towards his persona. The only thing left for him to do was to avoid getting hit by using the terrain for cover and think up a plan of action that could get him out of this mess.
"Damn she's spunky, I hate spunky. She has me pinned down good, and it looks like she's quite good when it comes to forming strategies. Looks like I've my work cut out for me."
When he found an opening Shikamaru used his "Kagemane no jutsu" in an attempt to capture Temari but the sand maiden was agile enough to jump back and avoid the shadow creeping her way. Once Shikamaru was certain of her reactions he proceeded to use his shadow and steer Temari in the desired area.
"If you don't want to come to the shadow the shadow will come to you." Thought Shikamaru. "You may have more fire power and a decent strategy on your side but in some cases it's not always healthy, especially when you're facing someone who is the opposite in stature."
As the fight took place in the arena, up in the stands a discussion took place about the outcome of the fight.
"Do you think Shikamaru stands any chance in this fight?" Asked Kurenai.
"Don't worry about him Kurenai. He may be a slacker but when the situation calls for it you can count on him." Asuma spoke.
"He may not look like it but the kid's a real genius. Since he never bothered with the tests in the academy I had to disguise an I.Q test in the form of puzzles and games we played aside from Shougi."
"And what did the tests show?" Kurenai asked clearly interested.
"That he has an I.Q of over 200."
"200, you cant be serious."
"I'm afraid that I am Kurenai. Don't worry he probably has a plan that is twenty steps ahead of his opponent by now."
Down in the arena Shikamaru had Temari on the run from his shadow and though she found the limits to the length it could extend the Nara genius managed to lead her into his trap. When Temari landed from another effort to escape the shadow and used her fan as a shield she looked at the shadow that stopped 4 feet away from her. Than suddenly she felt her body stiffen and than begin to move against her will.
"Kagemane success. Looks like I win."
"But how, the shadow never got near me. I made sure to stay out of range." Temari said.
"Than look behind you." Shikamaru said as he turned her around.
She felt her body turn and than she saw the shadow emerging from a hole in the ground.
"I used the tunnel Naruto made during his fight with Neji to allow my shadow to extend a bit longer than normally and attack you from behind."
"Looks like you win than." Temari said.
"Not really. I don't have much chakra left. In fact I only have enough for a few more seconds." With that said Shikamaru's shadow receded back. "Proctor I give up."
"WHAT!!" Yelled Ino "How can that lazy bum give up when he had the victory in the bag?" She asked completely confused.
"What did you expect. He did what he had to do but advancing further is too much of a hassle." Chouji said.
Many of the spectators were outraged at the performance and started throwing things into the arena.
"Winner of the third match Sabaku no Temari." Genma called out.
Why did you give up? I know perfectly well you could have knocked me out with my own fan to get the win," said Temari, as the two went up the stairs.
"I was telling the truth and it did cross my mind, but if I did I would have to face the ever troublesome wrath of your brother Gaara in ." said the lazy Nara.
"All right I believe you...for now," said Temari like an afterthought making Shikamaru wonder if it was wise to lose like he did.
Indeed Nara's were too smart and lazy for there own good.
"Will Rock Lee and Uchiha Sasuke please enter the ring for the next match," Genma called out.
"Looks like you are up Lee. Now you get to show the teme what it means to be a 'genius' of hard work," said Naruto sitting on the railing with his arms folded.
"YOSH! Time for Kohona's Green Beast to show his 'Flames of Youth' ," said Lee before leaping over the railing and onto the ground with a loud "THUD".
"It's bad enough we have one Maito Gai to deal with, but I don't think we can handle his mini-me of a clone when the kid gets older and wears the vest to go with the Green Spandex." Thought Genma.
"YOSH! Bring on Uchiha Sasuke so I may show him that hard work always beats a genius. ," said Lee enthusiastically waiting for Sasuke to show up. But the Uchiha was no where to be seen.
"Sasuke Uchiha come to the arena now or you will forfeit the match with Rock Lee," said Genma looking around for Sasuke and Kakashi finding that being late was a serious point against them.
"Lord Hokage, surely you can let this match be postponed for a later time? After all it's the last survivor of the Uchiha Clan from what I understand, and many have come for the sole purpose of seeing him fight." said the Kazekage as he looked at the Hokage not knowing that the Hokage suspected who was underneath the disguise.
"I'm sorry Kazekage-dono but we can't have one of our ninja be late. What would happen if a ninja is late during a mission? It could result in his or her comrade's life being forfeit at the hands of an enemy. We will not postpone the match just for your amusement and will continue should he not show up in the next 2 minutes," said the Hokage knowing that the Kazekage would be seriously displeased.
After 2 minutes had passed Genma shook his head and mentally shamed Kakashi for being so late to the Exam. "As a result of Sasuke Uchiha not being here..." said Genma raising his hand to declare Rock Lee the winner even though the kid looked disappointed at not being able to fight the Uchiha.
"Sabaku no Gaara please come down into the arena. The next fight will be between Rock Lee and Sabaku no Gaara."
The Suna-nin used his "Suna Shunshin" to appear in the center of the field.
"BEGIN" Yelled Genma and stepped back.
As soon as the proctor called the fight Lee rushed his opponent and threw a vicious kick to the head but was pushed back by Gaara's sand shield. Lee tried a few more times to pierce the sand but his efforts gained him nothing. It didn't matter if Lee used kunai, his special staff weapon or explosive tags; the sand absorbed all the attacks, though the explosive notes were the most effective. Seeing no alternative Lee took off his weights. When he resumed his attack everyone's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets at how fast the green clad gennin became. From the looks of it the move paid off since Lee was able to land a powerful punch to Gaara's head.
"I'll have to thank Naruto-kun after the fight. The advice he gave me for a fight with Gaara has proved most useful."
"Hey Lee you've got a minute?" Naruto asked as he walked up to the green Gennin during Shikamaru's fight.
"Why yes Naruto-kun, Do you need something?"
"Since they changed the order of the fights you'll be facing Gaara first so I thought I'd give you some heads up beforehand."
"That's very considerate of you Naruto-kun, thank you."
"What ever you do Lee be very careful when fighting that guy. Remember what he did to that guy during the preliminaries? I've seen him do the same to a team from Ame in the forest of death, so did Shino. What ever you do don't get caught by the sand. Luckily for you you're really fast so you have that advantage. His sand won't be able to raze the defense in time if you attack with enough speed and most likely won't be able to return in time if you separate them."
"Thank you for your advice Naruto-kun, I'll keep that in mind."
"No way, he hit Gaara." Kankuro said.
"He got past his sand shield, that's impossible." Temari said dumbfounded.
"It's very much possible, if you're as fast as Lee that is. Now Lee will soften him up some and when your little invasion begins Gaara will be easy pickings." Naruto said.
"What did you say?" Asked a shocked Temari who grabbed hold of her fan.
"You heard me. We know all about your little team up with Orochimaru to raid Konoha, and the fact that your brother is the host of Shukaku." Naruto smirked as he watched the expressions on their faces change from shock to panic. "Our forces probably secured the gathering point outside the village by now, not to mention all the ANBU, Jounin and Chuunin hidden in the stadium. The only thing that still puzzles me is whether or not that is the Kazekage and Orochimaru disguised himself as one of the bodyguards or did the treacherous snake kill that idiot Kage and took his place."
"How the hell do you know all this, and what do you mean the Kazekage being an possibly an imposter." Temari asked all the while shaking because they were discovered.
"I know because I've sent my clones after we first met. The reason I did it was that I may have been nominated myself so I decided to scout the competition, well that and the fact that Gaara made me feel uneasy. My clones simply overheard you talking about something big, so I simply had clones trail you the entire time you spent in the village. Once Orochimaru showed up in the 'Forest of death' and I discovered some of Gaara's abilities my mind began to piece things together. We weren't certain if there would be an invasion or just an assassination attempt on the Hokage but we decided to keep our eyes and ears open. Since I discovered the location of your forces rally point we had our ninja keep guard and attack today at dawn. As for the Kazekage, well lets just say that Orochimaru likes to screw people over. It wouldn't be that big of a surprise if he decided to kill the Kazekage before or right after your arrack on Konoha."
"What happens now?" Asked Kankuro as he reached for his puppet.
"Don't bother trying to use your weapons." Naruto told them, "Remember how I bumped into you on my way here?" He asked, "That's when I gave you a special poison that will limit your chakra use and make you pass out within the next half hour's time. I would advise you to lay down your weapons and surrender. The Sandaime will try to negotiate a new treaty with Suna after this mess is over in order to avoid such things in the future."
Temari and Kankuro did what they were told. With what they have seen Naruto do during his fight, an Aburame who could drain their chakra in moments and a Nara who had regained some of his chakra they were outmatched.
Meanwhile down in the arena Lee was running circles around Gaara and periodically threw a punch or kick that went past the sand shield. When he softened his opponent sufficiently enough Lee proceeded to send the sand user into the air with a "Kage buyo" and than used the "Omoto renge" to crash Gaara into the ground. This didn't have the desired effect and a large wave of sand was launched at Lee, who dodged it skillfully. Seeing no other way Lee opened the first Gate in his chakra pathways to gain greater strength and speed with which he pummeled Gaara into the ground. Gaara got back up but felt something wet on his head. When he ran his hand thru his hair and looked at it he could see blood; his blood. Than all of a sudden he grabbed his head and screamed in pain. Unfortunately for everyone that's when Gaara began undergoing his partial transformation into Shukaku.
When everyone looked on with interest at the site before them white feathers began falling from the sky making all the civilians fall asleep and a smoke bomb went off in the Kage box.
Kabuto watched as everyone began to succumb to his technique and smirked behind his stolen ANBU mask at the Kage box where his master was implementing the final phase of his plan.
"I have waited for this moment Sarutobi-sensei. Though I would prefer for this to be just a fight between the two of us without anyone interrupting our little reunion." said Orochimaru, as his Sound Four had created the prison to contain them that was the "Four Flames Formation Jutsu".
"I have to admit that it has been indeed a long time since we last saw each other face to face my OLD student and there is no denying I have become what you considered old as well. Still...that does not mean I am not strong enough to best you in combat like I did when you were younger!" said Sarutobi removing his Kage robes revealing he was ready for combat.
Up in the stands the Jounin sensei of the rookie 9 saw all the civilians fall asleep.
"Genjutsu?, so they made their move."
"It looks like Kurenai. Prepare yourselves, they're going to start coming out any time now." Asuma said.
"Yo, what did I miss?" Said Kakashi as he appeared in the stadium.
"Kakashi do you know how late you are, and where the hell is Sasuke?" asked Kurenai.
"Well you see, I had to make sure that he's knocked out for the entire day before I could come here."
"Why is that 'Eternal rival'?" Gai asked perplexed at his rivals actions, "Surely you would want him to participate in the finals that he worked hard to advance to."
"Not really Gai, I talked this over with the Hokage and he agreed that having Sasuke not show up here and keeping him hidden would be the best course of action given that he is Orochimaru's target along with Sandaime-sama."
"I guess that is a good idea given that Sasuke can be rather impulsive at times," Asuma said, "He could have used this situation as a means of testing himself thereby placing either himself or others in danger. Good thinking Kakashi."
"Since you're here my rival why don't we test our 'Flames of Youth' by seeing who can beat the most enemies." Gai proposed.
"Prepare to lose Gai because I seriously need to unwind after having to put up with the Uchiha pride for the entire month."
"There's that hip attitude of yours again Kakashi. I'll walk up the Hokage monument thirty times on my hands if I don't win."
"I hate to break up your conversation but our guests noticed us and I think they want to play." Asuma said.
Naruto had seen what was happening to Gaara and the strange barrier that formed on the roof of the V.I.P section of the stands. Coming to the decision that Gaara is the larger threat at the time Naruto jumped over the railing and went to give Lee a hand while two of his clones went to observe the situation behind the barrier. Once he got there he could see Gaara grabbing his head in pain and a dumbfounded Lee standing a short distance away who was trying to make heads or tails of the situation. Naruto walked up to the Taijutsu user and slapped him in the face lightly.
"Lee snap out of it. We have to stop him before he causes any damage or hurts the spectators."
"But Naruto-kun what's happening to Gaara-san and what do you mean by stopping him." Asked a confused Lee.
"Listen there's no time for explanations now. We must stop him or many innocents will get hurt. Do you understand?" When Lee nodded his head in confirmation the blonde explained his plan. "I got these special seal tags from Jiraiya. What we have to do is slap them onto Gaara's forehead and he should return to normal, but we have to be very careful with this. One wrong move and we'll be in big trouble, got it?"
"Hai, Naruto-kun I understand." Lee replied.
"Good now lets go we cant waste time."
With that they proceeded to assault Gaara at their top speed. The Suna Jinchuuriki wasn't able to defend himself against such speed and any attempts he made to stop the konoha gennin with his sand attacks proved to be futile. Every time he tried to snag one of the assailants the other would connect a powerful hit. What made the Suna-nin's situation even more dire was the fact that he had used a third of his chakra reserves and he kept loosing more at an increasing rate. What he didn't know was that Shino had sent some of his bugs to help Naruto out. They were the reason why Gaara's chakra levels kept decreasing so rapidly. It didn't help any that Naruto made frequent attacks with either one of the many Fire jutsu's he knew, Doton techniques that seriously strained his sand shield and made him use up his chakra even more or the Suiton techniques that made his sand heavier and forced Gaara to use even more chakra to reanimate his sand. Then there came the powerful physical attacks of the green clad Taijutsu master. Each of those made his "Suna no yoroi" crack and fall off. It was another large chakra drain that kept weakening Gaara. Since those punches and kicks were so strong that he could feel them threw the armor Gaara didn't want to find out what their effects on an unprotected body were.
To the side Genma was engaged in a fight with three Oto shinobi, though they clearly were not enough to make him worry about his life. They couldn't be more than barely Chuunin in strength and most definitely not strong Chuunin by Konoha standards. It took him only a few minutes to dispatch them into the afterlife. Once that problem was out of the way he went over to help Naruto and Lee but they were close to wrapping things up. When Naruto came to the decision that they had weakened Gaara sufficiently enough the blonde used a burst of speed by channeling Hiraishin chakra threw his body to appear right in front of the Suna Jinchuuriki's face and slapped one of the suppressor tags onto Gaara's forehead, cutting off the flow of Shukaku's Youkai and making him pass out while simultaneously breaking the sand demon's grip on Gaara's mind. With one crisis out of the way Naruto could rest a little before heading to the barrier and leaving Gaara in Genma's hands with Lee and one more suppressor seal in case Gaara woke up. Naruto was able to rest only a little before one of his clones dispelled itself and the information about the Sandaime's fight with Orochimaru came back to him. Wasting no time Naruto 'Jumped' to the location of his other clone near the edge of the barrier.
Throughout Kohona battles were going on between the small contingents of Oto shinobi who infiltrated the village before the finals began and the Konoha shinobi assigned to defend strategic points in the village.
"He, he. Looks like the old INO-SHIKA-CHO strikes again, huh guys." Inoichi Yamanaka said as he made one of the enemy ninja attack his comrades with his mind jutsu.
"As far as I'm concerned they could have left us alone instead of ruining our little party in the Korean BBQ. Just think of all the food that got wasted." Said Chouza Akimichi.
"If you ask me this whole situation is far too troublesome for it's own good." Nara Shikaku spoke.
Kohona's shinobi were fighting the combined force of Sand and Sound Ninja that managed to sneak in some how; the work of the snakes spies no doubt while the rest of their forces evacuated the civilians to the safety of the shelters within the Hokage Monument. The students within Kohona's Ninja Academy were escorted by their Chuunin teachers, who took the less dangerous route even though it was the longer path taken.
Konohamaru was nervous along with the other kids because they had never understood the sounds of the fighting with the explosions and thought it was some festival involving the Exams. Such thoughts were stopped when two teams of Sound Ninja surrounded the group ready to annihilate them. "What do you want to do with these brats' sir?" said a Sound Ninja to his Jounin squad leader.
"Kill all those who don't fight back and those who do I want restrained to take back to Sound Village so Orochimaru-sama can experiment on them," said the Jounin squad leader with the added support of the second group.
"Konohamaru I'm scared we can't fight them. We're going to be killed." Moegi said while the Chuunin teachers tensed knowing the situation was not looking too good.
Just as the Sound-nin were about to advance they were cut down by a team of Konoha ANBU returning from their raid on the rally point. Throughout the entire village Konoha shinobi were isolating and killing off the small groups of the invasion army. And they were winning without sustaining many causalities.
(Kohona Stadium-Kage Stands)
Sarutobi engaged his old student in a Taijutsu match that lasted barely three minutes before they began to use jutsu to gain an advantage over one another.
"Shuriken Shadow Clone Jutsu!" Sarutobi called out sending a few shuriken at Orochimaru that soon turned into many heading like the original to their intended target. The snake managed use his flexibility to avoid getting hit before sending a pair of snakes from his sleeve at his old sensei. The aged Hokage performed some hand seals and called out "Doton: Doryuu Taiga" creating a river of mud that made Orochimaru lose his balance, afterwards Sarutobi used "Katon: Ryuuka no jutsu" to turn the heat up a little for the rouge Sannin. The robes of the Kazekage that he was currently wearing caught fire and Orochimaru was forced to discard them before his clothes caught fire as well. That managed to seriously piss off the Snake-sannin who returned the favor with a "Goukakyuu no jutsu" toward the old Fire Shadow, however it was blocked by a "Doton: Doryuuheki".
The whole situation was getting on his nerves; just his luck that he chose to fight one of the men who knew the most Jutsu on the planet. While he was making hand signs for a technique that change all the broken bits around him into snakes, the old man summoned Monkey King Enma to help him out. Seeing his snakes obliterated like they were nothing Orochimaru summoned his sword Kusanagi the Grass cutter and engaged Sarutobi in armed combat. This proved to be a stalemate since once in his staff form Enma could change size and length and still retained the ability to have his eyes open arms grab the Snake-sannin's arm and bite him while the Kusanagi could extend and still had the power to injure Enma, and let's not forget the deadly poison that coated the sword. Seeing no other way Orochimaru turned as many broken roof fragments as he could into snakes and had them attack the Sandaime to overrun the old fool. What he didn't count on was for Sarutobi to take out grenades and throw them at his snake army.
Some of them exploded, others froze the targeted area within a few feet while the last kind sprayed some sort of corrosive liquid that dissolved the snakes.
"Looks like I broke your toys my misguided pupil. I hope you have more." Sarutobi taunted.
"That's it you old fool, I'm thru playing prepare to die a painful death."
(Kohona Stadium- Spectator Stands)
"Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen. Hope you can keep up 'Eternal Rival' because I just got warmed up." (You know who.)
"Sixteen, seventeen Eighteen. Huh, Did you say something Gai?"
"Ohh, there's that hip attitude again."
"Hate to spoil your fun but I just took out no. twenty and were running out of enemies." Asuma said.
"Looks like I got here just in time. They seem to be really going at it like there's no tomorrow. Just look at that mess, it looks like a training field after my spar with Anko."
Naruto observed the fight from the other side of the barrier waiting for an opening to 'Jump' inside the barrier and make a surprise attack when Orochimaru least expects it. He could see that Sarutobi noticed his arrival and made preparations so that Naruto could hit the rouge sannin with a "Rasengan" and tip the balance of the fight. When Sarutobi blocked another strike from Orochimaru's sword and had Enma hold down his hands Naruto made his move. He instantly appeared behind the Snake-sannin and before Orochimaru could react Naruto slammed his "Rasengan" in his back. Enma quickly let go and Sarutobi jumped back to avoid getting hit after Naruto released his jutsu and sent Orochimaru flying. The pain he felt from the chakra sphere grinding into his back was enormous and when it was released he was sent flying into the barrier created by the Sound four.
The Snake-sannin slowly got up still feeling great pain that sneak attack was able to inflict upon him. He began to seethe when he saw that annoying blonde rat that foiled his plan of capturing the Uchiha and his Sharingan. That fox-like grin reminded him so much of the blonde bastard that took the title of Konoha's Yondaime that was rightfully his. Than he could conduct his experiments without problems and become even more powerful. Than there was that strange jutsu that held great similarities to the Hiraishin. There has to be some explanation to this. The damn demon brat looks like him and uses techniques that are similar to those used by that bastard Minato so there has to be some connection. He knew Minato didn't have any kids and the name indicates that the little rat is the son of that redhead Kushina that annoyed him so much. Even his personality resembles that of that annoying bitch. That's it he remembered some hints from years ago, about how Kushina told Minato that she was already seeing someone. Most likely Minato gave her son his techniques so he could use them and improve them since he was going to die without an heir. It's soo like him to give his creations to one of his friends, he did teach that idiot Jiraiya the Rasenga so he would definitely leave his best Jutsu to a trusted friend. Since the technique used by the blonde doesn't need the special kunai it has to be an improved version or some variation of the "Hiraishin no jutsu". I can probably only be used to travel within a certain radius of the users location. That would explain many of his observations. The blonde used this jutsu only when he was near him so it has to be it. Probably some new seal Minato invented that allowed the user to perform the jutsu and travel instantly a certain distance. To use it for long range travel the kunai still have to be used but short range teleportation is only limited by chakra and some factors.
"I have to congratulate you Naruto-kun. You certainly have mastered the Jutsus Minato left you quite well. Tell me did he place another seal on you to allow you to use a short range version of the Hiraishin without the special kunai or is there some other means that allows you to use it. I seriously doubt that you created it since you don't have the required knowledge of Seals to do so, even if you are a gifted child. That's quite ingenious of him actually. Normally the kunai limit the jutsu since an enemy may try to avoid them or set an ambush but this new form of it makes it impossible to predict where you'll appear. Care to share Naruto-kun."
"Not on your miserable life Snake shit."
"Well than it looks like I'll have to rip its secrets from your dead body." Orochimaru said right before he lunged at Naruto. Before they could react Orochimaru's sword pierced the blonde's right lung. When Naruto burst into smoke the sannin's eyes went wide. To his right a roof tile transformed into Naruto.
"You didn't think I'm that stupid did you. I made a clone and turned into a roof tile while you couldn't see me. I know that you're faster than me so I took defensive measures." Naruto said as he threw a ball at the rouge sannin. The ball burst into smoke right in front of Orochimaru's face who used his hands to shield his face. What happened next was by all means bizarre. The Snake-sannin screamed in pain and as the smoke cleared revealing the sight of Orochimaru reeling in pain and his hands, arms and parts of his torso and face were covered with some kind of jelly substance.
"How do you like my present snake-teme. I hope you like jelly." Naruto said. "Let me introduce you to the 'Cuboza Jellyfish' also known as the 'Box Jellyfish'. It's one of the most lethal sea creatures in existence. Its venom is more complex and toxic than that of any snake or plant. You see normally venom or toxins have only one effect. They either destroy blood cells and vessels, Neurotoxins paralyze the bodies muscles and heart and others just dissolve body tissue but it is possible to make an anti-venom to stop them from killing you. This thing on the other hand is a really complex mix of all those toxins the Cuboza makes naturally. The mixture is so complex that it's nearly impossible to create an antidote. I had to travel all the way to Tea Country to get them since they like warm waters. You don't have to thank me, I was glad to get you this going away gift. Judging from the area of exposure I'd say that you'll be extremely lucky to survive this. If somehow you manage to pull it off than you won't be able to use your hands ever again since they were the most effected. The toxin will destroy the muscles and blood vessels in your arms leaving them useless for the rest of your life," Naruto looked at the Snake sannin with the corner of his eye, "…if you live that long."
"I'm sorry it had to come to this Orochimaru but your sick ambitions led you to this pathetic end." Sarutobi spoke up, "It's time I fixed the mistake I made al those years ago." Sarutobi began making hand seals for a powerful Katon jutsu to finish off his one time prized student. Just as the Sandaime finished the long chain of seals Orochimaru managed to throw an exploding tag with his already stiffening hands between himself and his opponents and called out to his men.
"Sound Four retreat now." He called out.
He jumped to them and Sakon and Jiroubou helped him evacuate while Kidoumaru stopped the pursuing ANBU with his chakra enhanced webs.
Yay another chapter finished FINALLY!!
Sorry it took two weeks but I got sick before Easter and the Easter Bunny was supposed to bring me my medicine. Unfortunately there was snow in the area I live in and the Bunny had his schedule full so he asked Kakashi of all people to fill in for him in East European deliveries; You can probably guess what happened than right. The dumbass got lost on the road of life and arrived on Tuesday after Easter. Since than I was working on this chapter and decided to combine two chapters into one. The first about preparations and the fights and part of the second about the invasion and left out the Tsunade Arc for later. As for the whole Cuboza Jellyfish let me explain it like this. You've got to love the Discovery channel. I saw a documentary on Jellyfish killings and decided to use this to take out Oro-teme's arms and keep the Sandaime alive since I think it was really stupid to kill off people who could help Naruto get stronger. These Jellyfish exist and have such a kick-ass venom that currently is impossible for scientists to make an anti-venom but he can try to have Tsunade cure him or something. Canon sucks if you ask me; Did you see how they made the fight between Sasuke and Itachi? I can understand Itachi having such jutsu he does have the Mahgakyou but I don't believe Sasuke could make so many new jutsu in under 3 years. Canon is complete BULL!!