To those of you upset that my poll mentioned last chapter may have not include your favorite author's name in it, here's what I'll do. For this chapter only, I'll allow each person to leave one AND ONLY ONE write-in vote for someone not currently in the poll. I would prefer it if you left a review too, and write-in votes will only count if left for this chapter. If a person leaves more than one name as a write-in for whatever reason they have, only the first name written will count.

On a similar note, writer Zentary has also created a poll much like my own if you wish to vote for more writers.

Ch. 62 Finals 2

Down in the arena, Temari and Haku stood facing each other, both looking like they could take on the world and still have enough energy to take their man to their bedroom.

"Ready?" Genma asked.

"Just remember our little wager Momochi-san." Temari stated.

Haku smirked. "Oh I remember it, because I'm the one who's going to win it Sabaku-san."

"Uh, what are they talking about?" Naruto asked no one in particular.

"Oh, Haku-chan told me she and Temari-san made a bet for their match." Fuu told him. "The winner here gets to have you first between the two of them when it's their turn."

Hinata whistled, impressed. "This should be interesting then."


"Otokage-san, I'm quite curious. Could you tell me why one of your ninja bears the same name as a missing nin listed in the bingo book?" Sarutobi asked Yamato.

"The ancestry of my shinobi is not public knowledge Hokage-sama." Yamato replied diplomatically. "But rest assured she is no relation to the man you're thinking off."

'Not by blood at least.' Tsunade thought snidely. 'But that missing nin is more family to her than her own biological father had been.'

"Perhaps it's just coincidence." The kazekage stated. "Strangers can have identical names you know."

"I suppose so." Sarutobi said, still not convinced but knowing he couldn't push the issue. "What say you regarding your daughter, Kazekage-sama?"

The kazekage smiled. "I have faith. I trained her well."


"Begin!" Genma called out, officially starting the match.

'As long as there's distance between us she's got the advantage.' Haku told herself, pulling out a few senbon but not throwing them yet. 'If I can get close enough then she loses that, but not so close she can hit me with her fan directly.'

Temari held her fan out like a bat, keeping it closed for the time being. 'She's fast and deadly accurate, but as long as I make sure she can't get closer I'll have plenty of room to keep her from hitting me.'

The two girls stood facing each other without any further movement, both waiting for any sign to attack.

"Come on! Do something already!" A kid in the stands shouted, expecting more action than this.

The professional ninja knew exactly what was going on though. Both girls were diligently standing each other down. It was a use of psychological warfare combined with a display of stamina and endurance. The first one to make a bad move showed they were weaker than the other and thus more vulnerable and likely to run out of energy sooner. But if one attacked too soon, that showed they were reckless and impatient, which would make it easily to deceive them or exhaust them. Overall, it was practically a test all in its own to see what would happen.

Haku suddenly smiled at Temari, confusing the Suna kunoichi. 'What's she got planned?' Temari looked extra carefully at her, and noticed her left hand was moving. 'One-handed hand signs? No way!'

"Ice Style Blizzard Mist Jutsu." Haku aid before exhaling a cloud of cold fog that covered the entire arena area.

Temari felt the fog and her skin went numb from the chill rather quickly. 'Nice try, but not nice enough.' She opened her fan to the first moon and swung it around to get rid of the mist. It was gone but Haku didn't look like she minded or even had been affected by the wind from Temari, which made Temari uncomfortable. 'Damn. I'm not sure what she's planning, but I can't let her get an attack in.'

"Try this! Wind Style Great Breakthrough Jutsu!" Temari said as she swung her fan, now open to the second moon, sending a devastating amount of wind scythes grouped together to create maximum damage.

"Ice Style Protective Dome Jutsu." Haku said as a curved wall of ice that looked much like the side of an igloo formed in front of her to take the hit and shield her from it. It took many gashes but remained upheld.

'Where'd that ice come from? From what I know of her skills, she needs water to make ice but there's none here.' Temari asked herself. She felt her skin go very numb and looked to see frost forming all over it and her clothes in random locations. 'Oh no. The moisture from the mist clung to my skin and is freezing. If she does this enough, I could get frostbite or hypothermia.'

From behind the ice wall it appeared even more mist was being made and would reach Temari soon. But there was no way the blonde kunoichi was going to let that happen.

'At least I can't run out of wind, but she's gotta have a limit to how much ice she can manipulate.' "Wind Style Hammering Tornado Jutsu!" Temari swung her fan and a tornado formed from it. It headed up and above her before directing itself towards Haku's side of the field. The force of the impact made everyone fell a surge of wind blown against them, making many spectators struggle to not fall backwards. Even Temari herself had to use her fan as a support to keep herself up.

When the dust cleared, Haku's ice dome and cold mist were gone and she herself couldn't be seen. Genma came up to Temari. "You okay miss?"

"Yeah I'm fine. No need to wor-" She was cut off when she felt a kunai pointed at her neck, then 'Genma' turned into Haku. 'Crap, I dropped my guard and let her get close.'

"Looks like I win Temari-san." The ice wielder said.

"Not yet you didn't." Temari said, swinging her fan to make Haku move back. It worked, but Haku's outfit took a hit, cutting the front of her battle kimono open and revealing her ice-blue lacy bra and panties.

'That's a girl?' Sai asked himself, genuinely surprised. He was also probably the only male his age not getting a nosebleed from the free show.

Naruto leaned in to Hinata. "Hina-chan, is it okay for me to be enjoying this?"

"Actually, yes it is Naru-kun. She's one of the nine so she'd appreciate you enjoying her body. And no, I'm not bothered by it anymore, I've made peace with the fact you need to be with more than me. Just promise me I'll be your first."

Naruto gave her a quick kiss on her cheek. "I promise, Hina-chan."

Haku briefly looked at the stands, aware that she was being eye-humped by many men, but looked to see Naruto in particular. He sent her a thumbs up and his trademark grin with a small blush, making her pleased before she looked back at Temari. "Thank you Temari-san, now Naruto-kun's going to be more interested in me than you. Especially if he sees more he likes." She then shedded her torn outfit entirely, standing unashamed in just her underwear.

Naturally a few hoots and hollers and even a 'Take it off' or two came from the crowd. But who could blame them? This was unexpected for the exams but not unwelcome and Haku was a lot more developed than she usually looked when dressed in her normal attire. Not as developed as Hinata but a close second.

"Oh yeah? Well two can play at that game!" The wind wielder said before stripping herself down to just her purple pastel bra and panties, earning a lot of cheers. With this exposure, Temari looked like her bra size may in fact match Haku's.

Haku chuckled but did nothing to interfere right then. "Oh this is going to be really fun now."


The kazekage covered his eyes when he saw his daughter take off her clothes in broad daylight. "This cannot be happening. Please tell me this is not real."

"Sadly it is real Kazekage-sama." Tsunade said sympathetically to the leader of Suna.

Eyes shielded from the fighting grounds, Kazekage glared at Sarutobi and Yamato, who both felt his KI. "If either of you ever say a word about this, I'll kill you." Rings around his eyes formed as he made this threat.

Sarutobi and Yamato fearfully nodded. "We won't, but we must still watch the match to judge it correctly."

The kazekage did not look anymore settled, but his professional side made sure he did not push the issue further.


"Too bad you don't have any weapons on you anymore, but I still do." Temari taunted, showing off her fully opened fan.

"Who said I needed weapons?" Haku replied before making two hand signs and whispered a jutsu name.

Right below Temari, ice formed at her feet and swiftly encased her all the way up to her neck. She struggled but couldn't move. 'It's... like an ice version of Gaara's Sand Coffin technique.' When she looked in front of her she saw Haku had disappeared, but a shadow behind her revealed Haku was striking from behind, with senbon in her hands. 'Wait, senbon? Why would she... oh wait a minute.' Temari then released a large amount of chakra and broke free of her bindings, just in time to avoid getting hit by her opponent.

"Clever trick Momochi-san. You used a genjutsu instead of a real ice jutsu to trap me."

Haku smiled. "Oh, what gave me away?" She asked playfully, like she wasn't really bothered Temari had gotten out of her trap.

"Your senbon. Had it been real ice, you would have had to use a stronger weapon than that to make a mark on me. But with a genjutsu, all you needed was for me to hold still while you hit my pressure points."

"You're pretty smart, I'll give you that. But I'm more creative and I'm not dependent on a weapon for my jutsus to work." Haku calmly stated.

"No, you're just dependent on water, which isn't here. But I have all the air I need." Temari swung her fan. "Wind Style Cyclone Shuriken Jutsu." A number of small whirlwinds formed and flew at Haku like frisbees.

Haku quickly rushed to get a waterskin she had kept on her kimono and opened it to spill out its content, using her free hand to make hand signs. "Ice Style Rushing Ice Wall Jutsu." The water formed a giant wave that solidified and moved forward to crush Temari, but her wind attacks cut thru it and shattered the ice wall like glass, covering the entire area between them.

"Weak move Momochi-san. Although I am impressed you were able to block my attack so quickly." Temari complimented.

"Wasn't trying to block your attack." Haku said, confusing the wind wielder. "I was trying to get myself something to work with here." She then made four hand signs. "Ice Style Cold Shrapnel Storm Jutsu." All the pieces of broken ice on the ground suddenly fired at Temari and cut her good. Fortunately for her, her underwear stayed on and covered everything, but her left bra strap did snap.

"Heh, not bad Momochi-san, but not good enough." Temari said after the attack ended. Using her thumb, she took some blood from her cuts and wiped it on her fan, creating three lines with it. "Wind style Swift Weasel Jutsu." Swinging her fan, she summoned three weasels that rode the wind towards Haku.

Unable to block, Haku had to carefully dodge the animals as they came at her, showing just how nimble she was in the process. One of the weasels did hit her and put a few cuts on her left leg. And since it was a summoned attack, it could cause continous damage as long as the weasel stayed there.

Haku batted the weasel off and it disappeared, but the other two turned around and came at her from behind, giving her a few more cuts. While Haku was getting rid of them, Temari ran up and started fighting Haku directly, using what little taijutsu she knew. With the weasels gone, Haku retaliated with some taijutsu of her own.

'Alright! Catfight!' predictably went thru the minds of several men and even a few women.


Away from the stadium, Jiraiya suddenly got rigid and looked up. "I'm sensing something in the Perverseness." He said quite sagely.

"Not now Jiraiya, we've got work to do." Orochimaru told him.

"Fine, but I know I'm missing something good." The toad sage said before going back to the task at hand.


Back with the girls, a few fists were thrown and some kicks were made, and some acrobatic jumps and dodged gave everyone a good show of their skills, especially the men. But Temari backed off and grabbed her fan again and got ready to do another jutsu. Everyone could tell it was about to end really quickly, but they still couldn't tell just who would win.

"Proctor, I give." Haku called out while panting and sweating, catching Temari off guard. "I've had enough, I give."

"Okay, winner by forfeit, Temari Sabaku."

The crowd cheered, most of the loudest ones being men who also got hit by the girls around them, as Temari and Haku put their damaged clothes back on. 'I'm glad I brought a spare set.' Haku told herself. As they walked away, she smiled friendly at the Suna kunoichi. "Good match, Temari. Had I not dropped out, you probably would have crushed me."

"What do you mean 'probably'? I so would have won for sure."

Haku playfully shrugged. "Go ahead and tell yourself that. And yes, I remember the deal. You can have your turn with him first."

"I'll hold you to that." Temari replied happily. "But I promise you won't have to wait too long, if I can help it."


"So... what do you think of that match?" Yamato asked, almost like he was afraid to ask.

"Yes, what does everyone think of that match?" The kazekage repeated in a dangerous tone, validating Yamato's anxiety.

"I'd say they both showed a lot of talent and diligence if not a lot of modesty." Tsunade stated, being the only one here who could provide a safe answer since she was a woman.

"I must admit, the ice user looked like she had a lot more variety in her skills than your daughter did Kazekage-sama." Sarutobi told the leader of Suna.

"My daughter didn't want to reveal too much so she'd have some secrets in her next fight." The kazekage answered.

Tsunade struggled to not laugh. "If you ask me, the only secret she's got left is whether or not she's wearing Victoria's Secret." Yamato couldn't help but laugh a little with her, but wisely shut up before the kazekage did anything.


Down in the infirmary of the stadium, Kiba was laying on a bed being treated for burns. The medic ninja had already used several burn relief jutsu and applied gauze to his tender skin. Now he just had to wait for his body to recover on it's own.

Akamaru sat down on his lap being petted while licking Kiba's other hand. Kiba himself was looking out the window. Next to his bed his father sat down with his partner Shiromaru, a large white wolf-like dog.

Gao Inuzuka was not exactly what most people expected when they thought of Kiba's father, at least not at first glance. Like how Kiba took after his mother appearance-wise, Gao actually looked more like a bearded male version of his daughter Hana. He was also a veterinarian who was teaching Hana all he knew about his work. Kiba and his father did have the same eyes and their voices were similar, but aside from that they barely looked alike at all.

"You okay son?" Gao asked.

"Yeah, I guess. I'm a bit sore that I lost, but he did it fair and square. And I'm glad Akamaru got out of it unharmed."

"That's good. So you're not going to challenge this guy for a rematch after the exams?"

"Doesn't seem to be a point. I can't beat any of these music note guys except for one girl and she was on her cycle at the time."

Gao arched an eyebrow. "Why does that matter?"

Kiba shrugged. "I dunno. What exactly is the 'that' you're referring to?"

"The fact that you mentioned her cycle. It sounds like you felt you only won because of an arbitrary reason rather than your own strength. That's no different than saying you lost because you had something in your eyes. It's just an excuse." Gao told him. Shiromaru nodded in agreement.

Kiba sighed. "I just wish there was someone I could feel I was stronger than in a fair fight where a technicality can't be used."

"Why?"

"Because you, Okaa-san, Nee-san, those music notes guys, my team, all seem to be able to either beat me and make it look so easy, or say there's something that hindered one of us so it didn't count as a real victory." Kiba explained. "You guys are older and more experienced than me, Sasuke had his bloodline than lost it so now he's weaker and that gives him a technicality if he loses, and Sakura is so feeble it's no challenge at all. I had hoped that these music note guys would put up a good fight and I could win and show everyone I don't need a loophole to do so, but the one time I do win, the girl's got an excuse for losing so I still achieve nothing I'm trying to."

"I see. Now tell me son, why is this so important to you? Is this how you want to measure your strength?" Gao asked.

"That, and I want to impress others." Kiba admitted.

"Impress others?"

"Yeah. You always said you were able to beat dozens of guys in one-on-one matches and could count the number of times you lost on one hand. I wanted to be able to claim that too. And since Okaa-san always said that was one of the things she liked most about you, I figured it would attract girls for me too."

Gao just sat their silently for a few seconds, wondering what to say here. "Son, I think I see what you're getting at. You want others to respect you as a great warrior, right?" Kiba nodded. "You think if you can prove your strength men will respect you and girls will want to date you, right?" Kiba nodded again. "Sure, it sounds like a good idea, but there's one problem with that."

"What's that?" Kiba asked.

"Son, I was much like you when I was younger. We may not look alike but I see a lot of my younger self in you. When I was your age, I was a bit of a show-off and flirt myself. I wanted to be seen as top dog too by my peers. I thought I'd have them looking up to me the way a pack looks up to its alpha. But after a while, I discovered I was making a big mistake. You see, that's how it works within the Inuzuka clan. It doesn't however work as well outside it."

"It doesn't?" Kiba asked.

Gao shook his head. "Nope. In fact, sometimes it often has the opposite effect we aim for. In our clan, you earn the respect of the men by proving you're a more effective combatant, and you earn the admiration of the women by proving you're a good provider and defender. But people outside the Inuzuka live by different rules and customs. Most men see a guy who wants to show off his strength as just a show-off, and most women see that same guy as a narcissist."

"But... you did manage to get Okaa-san so it must work right?" Kiba asked.

"Sure it worked, but your mother is a member of the clan so she was looking for someone like me. But the other girls I was trying to woo before I got together with her weren't Inuzuka so they didn't have the same standards she did." Gao told him. "Take it from my experience Kiba, don't go thru life expecting everyone to live by your rules. If you want to have a girlfriend from outside the clan, try not to act like she should have to give you her attention. That's not how I got your mother. Would you like to know how I did get her interested in me?"

"Wasn't it your winning streak?" Kiba asked.

"Nope, she actually didn't learn that until after we started dating." Gao corrected. "You know how her partner Kuromaru needs an eyepatch? Who do you think treated his wound?"

Kiba gasped. "You did?"

Gao nodded. "Yep. Before then, your mother actually thought I was a wimp. After all, I may have been a good fighter, but she didn't know that and only saw me as the man who's rather tend the injured rather than go out and fight. But Kuromaru had been hurt and he needed help right away. I tended his eye and a few other wounds he had too and she was very grateful to me. After that she accepted an offer to go out and have fun with me then found out I was stronger than she gave me credit for."

Kiba was aghast. He had always assumed that his father had to be quite a ladies man to attract the attention of a woman like Tsume Inuzuka. And he assumed if it worked for his father, it would work for him too. To hear this... blew his mind.

Gao placed his hand on his son's shoulder. "You'll find the right girl when the time comes son, and you'll gain respect for your strength and victories too as you gain more experience. Just try not to have such a one-sided view on both and you'll do fine."

Kiba slowly nodded, still looking like he had a lot to think about. "Thanks Otou-san."


"Next match, Isaribi Meikai versus Shino Aburame." Genma called out.

In no time the young bug user and the swimming enthusiast were down in the arena awaiting the signal to begin. But not without her giving Naruto a hug and hearing him wish her good luck.

Shino offered no pre-battle words or claims to his opponent, just stood there with his hands in his pockets. Yet the way he stood showed he was not taking this lightly. This was the girl who took down his class's Rookie of the Year without even using jutsu after all. Sure, Sasuke was at a big disadvantage and maybe he didn't truly deserve that title, but the fact remained that Sasuke was not powerless and this girl could easily make several of Shino's methods ineffective if he didn't act quick enough.

Isaribi got into her Assaiotaki stance armed with a trench knife in each hand. Her arms were crossed in front of her making an X shape and her left leg was in front of her right, which supported most of her weight. The stance made it very easy for her to spring forward to attack or to the side to dodge as well as attack in either case. Shino's one comfort was that she didn't have a scroll in hand to flood the arena with, but he did see one hanging on the right side of her belt.

'If I can just get that away from her, I have the terrain advantage.' Shino thought.

"Ready? Begin!" Genma called out.

Shino immediately sent out a swarm of his insects to do something about Isaribi's scroll. The purple-haired girl responded by throwing her trench knives to the ground by her feet and performing four hand signs then placing them flat on the ground before her. "Earth Style Inverted Earth Dome Jutsu."

The ground between the two genin suddenly sank and turned concave, like a meteor had hit it and left a crater. It wasn't too deep, by Shino's estimation the center of it was no deeper than twelve meters, yet he was fairly confident on what she had made this for. Fortunately for him, his bugs were unaffected by this since they were in the air and just about to reach her.

'What kind of defense is that?' Many in the stands were thinking, not seeing the purpose of making a shallow pit that bugs could just fly over.

Isaribi unhooked the scroll at her hip, but rather than open it, she just tossed it over the pit towards Shino. Since the bugs were ordered to get to the scroll and destroy it before it could be used, they turned around and went right to it, catching it in the air and attempting to tear it to pieces. While this went on, Isaribi pulled out a scroll that had been in her pocket, unseen until now.

'It was a decoy. She knew what I would do.' Shino thought. He tried commanding his swarm to ignore the scroll they had and return to get her, but it was too late.

Isaribi opened her scroll and unsealed a large amount of water that began to quickly fill up the pit she had created. Shino did manage to get his swarm to ignore the scroll they were destroying and head to her, but she countered that by jumping into the water. And as she expected, Shino's insects had many uses, but they couldn't swim.

Shino looked at her while his swarm hovered over the rising water, trying to see how he could salvage the situation. 'Okay, she's got to come up for air sometime, but when she does she's going to be completely wet and if my beetles get their wings wet they won't be able to help anymore. Maybe they'll have some time to consume a bit of her chakra, but in that amount of time she could attack me directly. It all hinges on whether or not her ability to actually attack me depends on if I'm near the water or not. If it is, then as long as I stay away from the water she can't harm me anymore than I can harm her. But if it isn't and she can use water jutsus to attack me from her position, then I'm not going to do well here.'

Underwater, Isaribi stopped the seal from releasing any more water once the pit was full enough. After that, she unsealed an oxygen mask and put it over her mouth and nose. Oxygen masks designed for aquatic ninjas never came with air tanks like scuba divers used. Instead, they came with several small seals on the inside that periodically released bits of air for the diver's convenience, usually good for a consecutive time of thirty minutes. Now Isaribi was completely at her leisure to fight without Shino's bugs getting her.

Now Shino may have been at a disadvantage here, but he wasn't without idea. He saw her fight in the preliminaries and thus spent the past month working on a way to get around her water methods. 'If I could just get her out of the water, then I'd stand a chance. So how do I do that?'

Shino saw one obvious option, and knew it was a risk, but it was his best shot. Shino ordered his swarm to leave the air above the makeshift pond and he himself walked out onto it. Once in the center, he just stood there, but his hands were no longer in his pockets.

'What's he planning?' Isaribi and several watchers asked themselves.

Shino suddenly raised his arms, then thrust them down back at his sides quickly. No one else could see a purpose to this, but Isaribi saw two objects descending down at her into the water. She tried to back away, but being in water meant she had some resistance to sudden movements. Fortunately that same resistance applied to what Shino threw at her so she got away with only some cuts rather than real wounds.

A quick look showed Shino apparently had a set of larger than normal kunai hidden in both sleeves that were now embedded in the ground where Isaribi had been. Both missed her but cut her legs when she got out of the way. 'Clever trick pal. Now it's my turn.' Isaribi pulled the kunais out, clasped her hands together with them both pointing forward, and crouched down. "Tactic Three Dolphin Bite." She then sprang up with a lot of speed, rushing at the Aburame heir.

She burst out of the water right in front of Shino, looking like she was about to stab him. He defended himself by ducking towards his right side in a flexible way most never would have expected of him. As Isaribi dove over where he had been, he straightened up with his left elbow pointed out and hit her in the ribs quite hard. The purple-haired girl winced and her trajectory was affected, making her land with a belly flop on the water. Even for her that hurt.

During her brief moment of incoherency, Shino grabbed ahold of her arms and held them behind her against her back while he pulled out a short sword his sensei had given him and held to the back of her neck. "Had enough?" He asked. 'My bugs may not be able to effectively harm her anymore, but I still can.'

With only one of his hands holding her own in place, Isaribi managed to struggle enough to get one of her hands free and into her supply pouch. Shino couldn't stop her without releasing her and his swarm couldn't reach her in time. She pulled out a small black ball and threw it in his face. The ball broke and ink sprayed all over his high collar, glasses, and some skin too, effectively blinding him. "Tactic Four Octopus Bite." In his confusion, Isaribi struggled completely free and swam to the side of the makeshift pond where she left her trench knives earlier. She grabbed them and came back to Shino, who had removed his glasses to see better. She used her knives to cut his legs before diving back underwater. The cuts stung but they wouldn't hinder him.

Shino sheathed his sword but pulled back the sleeve on his left arm, showing he had a senbon launcher concealed as well. Pulling the trigger, he set off a wave of needles into the water that flew with a lot more force than his sword attacks from earlier had too. Many hit Isaribi, none in lethal places, but the water around her became a bit red.

Isaribi ignored the pain as best she could, put away her trench knives, and made three hand signs. "Water Style Seas at Storm Jutsu." all of a sudden the water in the basin became turbulent and constantly waving and splashing around, as if a large amount of wind was brewing overhead. And it got worse as it continued, until it truly resembled a sea during a storm.

With that, Shino found it difficult to remain standing on top the water and fell in before he could get away. And if that wasn't bad enough, Aburames were not the best swimmers around, due to the unique physiology of their bodies. Under the water, their was a current he struggled against to get back to the surface, and he couldn't see Isaribi. When he did, she was apparently going along with the current until it took her to him, her trench knives back in hand ready to cut him again.

The current soon brought her towards him, and as she approached she stretched both arms out with her trench knives pointed inward, as if she planned a pincer move with them when he was in her range. "Tactic Five Crab Bite." Shino heard her say. With only one idea in mind, Shino gathered all the chakra he could for the water walking exercise and practically rocketed himself out of the water and back onto the land. Once on Terra Firma he coughed and was surrounded by his swarm, concerned for their host.

Isaribi's pond calmed down and she stuck her head out of the water to see what Shino would do next. After a moment to compose himself, Shino stood back up. "Proctor, I surrender. I can do no more to her now."

Genma accepted this. "Winner by forfeit, Isaribi Meikai." Several cheers went out for the swimming enthusiast, the loudest being from her team. Isaribi sealed away her water and even unsealed two towels to dry off with, one of which she gracefully handed to Shino. "Here you go. No hard feelings right?"

He nodded. "Yes. To be honest, I never really thought I would win against you. I just wanted to see how well I could do before I couldn't do any more. Now I know my limitations. Thank you."

"No problem. And I must say you have pretty eyes." Isaribi added, giggling when she saw he was blushing. "Don't think about it too much, I'm seeing someone anyway. But for a moment there, when you had me pinned down, you actually might have won."

"Too bad I didn't." Shino said without regret.


"I personally wasn't that impressed with either of them, if I do say so myself." The kazekage told his fellow village leaders.

"I can understand regarding the girl, but I saw a good deal of improvising from the Aburame." Sarutobi politely countered. "Most members of his clan use only clan methods to do their obs. He knew that wouldn't work here so he tried something new. Which is important for our young shinobi to learn and grow into stronger fighters."

"I'll concede that to you Hokage-sama, but he didn't seem to really put up much of a fight in my opinion. It felt more like he was just winging it since he couldn't use his specialty." Kazekage replied.

Sarutobi made a thoughtful hum in response. "I'm actually more bothered by the girl. Sure, she proved to be exceptional on her own turf, but so far she looks to be completely dependent on the presence of water in order to fight. Hardly chuunin material if you ask me."

"We'll find out later if she can handle fights outside of water." Yamato commented. "I have a feeling that after fighting this match this way, her next opponent will be prepared for that and she knows that, so she'll have to try something new."

"We'll have to see about that then." Sarutobi stated.