A/N: Well….it has been a while…yes, I am not giving up on this story. Just a warning, though, that since it has been…what? several months? since my last update, so I don't really know what I have written before. (not sure if I want to know. Pretty sure it is crap, though). Therefore, there might be places that are inconsistent. In fact, I don't remember the characters' personalities anymore…. so don't be surprised if Minato becomes Naruto-like…..and…what is her name? Oh yeah, Kushina, becomes cynical and fastidious, or is she already like that? I don't remember anymore….Unfortuantely, I don't have time to stick all that I wanted to write in this chapter.

Chapter 15 ~ Silver: The Second Moon

Being a genin, being with your genin team, is the best time you could ever have as a ninja.

As soon as you take the first step towards chunin, death awaits you.

Not just death, but a life of pain and suffering, of separation and conflict.

To sacrifice so much to gain something, only to lose it again.

To watch the people you love die before you, doing nothing.

To turn against someone you trusted, respected, loved like a brother, due to your alliances to different villages.

Chunin is the milestone in the life of ninja. It is from there that everything goes up rapidly, and then crashes down.

~ Team J.

Jiraiya turned his head and saw the figure of a boy running towards him. The boy's golden hair is evident even across the distance that separated them.

In his mind's eye, however, Jiraiya saw something different. The boy's strides slowed, becoming larger and more fluid.

As the figure approached, Jiraiya could see that Minato had an easy smile on his lips and was tucking the Hokage robe cautiously under one arm. Near him, moving so much like his shadow that Jiraiya didn't notice them at first, were Mikazuki and Hoshibiki.

Mikazuki was yanking off her mask in the most undignified manner, as if afraid to let people see her wearing it. She grimaced as her hair entangled with the strings that tied the mask in place. Dried blood adorned the handle of the sword strapped to her back.

Hoshibiki was quickly taking off his gloves, but not before Jiraiya saw the bloodstains.

Jiraiya sighed. He still could not get used to the sight of his students staining their hands with blood.

He studied Minato appraisingly, glad that at least the blonde is free of stains. As if reading his mind, Minato removed the cloak from underneath his arm and unfurled it with a great flourish.

In everyplace where the cloak is meant to be white is now red with blood.

Before he could comprehend the sight before him, blood seeped out of the clothing of his two other students.

The redness ran down from their forehead protectors, oozed out of their sleeves, and even spilled out of Mikazuki's sword sheath.

Minato, a red haze clouding his clear blue eyes, said in a calm voice. "Don't worry sensei, we did not commit meaningless murder," he explained casually.

"The blood is our own."

For the fifty-fifth time, Jiraiya set down his telescope with a sigh. He had meant to do a little exploring, or rather, research, while his students are at the exams, yet the repeated appearances of his most recent hallucination would not let him concentrate.

A dark foreboding passed through him.

Is this how they will die?


With painstaking care, Minato spread apart the tall grass in front of him and stepped forward, carefully.

A twig crunched underneath his foot.

Cursing, he flipped backwards and sped back into the forest as a rain of shuriken struck where he had just been. After gaining momentum from a flexible young sapling, he propelled himself, with a bit of chakra, into the foliage of a sturdy oak. He watched moodily as a team of chunin ran past the tree.

Letting out a frustrated sigh, Minato leaned back against the trunk to weigh his options.

Alone, he was able to escape the notice of most sentries without falling in their traps. He had arrived at a dense forest directly facing the mountain of bamboos, separated only by a lake, which the main examiner said not to swim in, and a low hill. However, the hill was heavily guarded, and so desolate that the merest difference of colour in clothing will be spotted immediately.

That may be a good thing as well, as Minato could clearly see that there are exactly ten chunin on the hill, each watching a different direction.

Groaning, Minato sank further back into the tree.

A dilemma.

He could either reach his destination by land or by water. By land means going through a mob of ninja whose abilities are obviously equal, if not above, Minato's own. He would be eliminated within seconds.

By water may or may not be safer, considering whatever may be in the lake. There must be a reason that Kumo decided to neglect guarding it. If he chooses to go by water, he needs a distraction so he will not be studded with kunai before he even reached the other side. In addition, travelling by water gives a disadvantage, as it is lower than the hill, which will make him an easy target.

Minato squinted at the sky. He has only one day left. Having only a little food left, he would have only enough energy to run high-speed past the hill, and maybe two major jutsu, in addition to small exertions of chakra. They are not enough to take on ten chunin. He may be able to eliminate three at most, given the advantage of surprise.

Might as well give it a try. He thought.

Decided, he gingerly slid down the tree, not wanting to draw upon his limited chakra.

Suddenly, something whizzed past him from below, nearly slitting his face. Spinning around and attaching his feet firmly to the trunk, Minato caught the object between his fingers, and almost dropped it due to its unexpectedly sharp edges.

It was a slice of metal. Moulded as thinly as paper, it is in the shape of a perfect circle. The weapon, if it is indeed one, has a diameter of the length of his thumb.

Warily, Minato looked around. Someone in possession of such insidious weapons must be a dangerous opponent. If thrown horizontally at high speed, it would literally vanish, like the needles used by medic-nin.

But these are much heavier, and therefore, much more dangerous than needles.

"I am surprised it did not slit your throat," a mocking tone said from the other side of the tree.

Instantly, Minato jumped to the ground, sliding a few feet away from the source of the voice.

I must be losing my mind, he thought.

A girl, wearing the traditional garb of Iwagakure, stepped from behind the tree. Her hands were concealed by wide sleeves that no doubt concealed weapons.

Her jet-black eyes are cold.

"Meigetsu Mochizuki," she said in a quiet yet menacing voice. Her forehead protector glittered around her neck.

She pointed at his forehead protector. "Are you an ally or an enemy?"

Minato scowled. He did not like the fact that this strange girl is using weapons he had never seen before.

Furthermore, she is from an enemy village.

"If you will not answer me," the girl said, pulling up her right sleeve to reveal her hand, grasped around another circular metal disk. "You will be eliminated."

Minato shifted into a defensive stance, eyeing her warily.

"Or," she was in front of him in an instant. Minato, not anticipating her speed, jumped back, startled. "We form a temporary alliance to reach the destination we both desire."

"Why me?" Minato narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "There are other genin due to arrive soon."

The girl smiled. "I followed you. You are the fastest and strongest out of everyone else. I have eliminated all others near us. Less competition."

She seems to speak with nothing but short, monotonous sentences, and with such a queer accent that Minato has trouble understanding her immediately.

"An alliance?" Minato repeated disbelievingly.

Mochizuki remained smiling, sending a chill up Minato's back.

Minato forced himself to think quickly. Weakened as he is, he would not be able to finish the fight quickly should the girl decide to attack. Should he be forced to use jutsu, he will risk attracting attention from the Kumo guards.

"I accept," he said finally, with slight difficulty. Will I be branded a traitor? he wondered.

To his surprise, Mochizuki held out her hand. In between her fingers were four more round metal disks. Slowly, she spread the disks in her hands, like a deck of cards.

"Don't move," she warned, eyes narrowed.

Before Minato could respond, the weapons were out of Mochizuki's hand, speeding towards him. Minato was about to reach for a kunai when he realized that the weapons were not aimed at him, but at something behind.

All he saw was the flash of unmistakable red hair before the weapons sunk into their target with a sickening crunch.

The body fell to the ground, limp.

"Che. Whirlpool," Mochizuki scowled.