Disclaimer - I do not own Naruto or anything connected to Naruto. This is a challenge fic.
Chapter 13 - Chūnin Selection Exam Pt.2
The teams that passed the 1st stage of the Chūnin Selection Exams were all gathered in front of training ground forty-four. Most of the genin including those from Konoha stared in a mixture of surprise, awe, and fear.
Surprise that Konoha had something like this and that they had never heard about it. Awe at it's sheer size. It had a radius of 10 kilometers or almost six and a quarter miles with a big fence surrounding it. Fear was due to the vibe the place was giving off and the sounds coming from it. It definitely sounded like multiple large and potentially dangerous beasts were contained by the slightly rusted fence with warning signs featured on the heavily locked gates.
"W-what is that place?" Tomaru says.
The fear in his voice thankfully went unnoticed as everyone was thinking pretty much along the same lines. Only his team mates really noticed, but let it go seeing as a little fear might be warranted. The increasing volume and diversity of the sounds coming from inside the fence made all the genin at least a little tense.
"This place is where the second exam will take place. Also known as the Forest of Death …" Anko announces getting their attention.
"The Forest of Death?" Tomaru questions out loud.
Before anything more can be heard Naruto noticed a box coming towards him. He had only met the kid once, but he could already tell who was underneath the poorly drawn disguise. It didn't help that they had already been there for a bit and a long tan rock would not have suddenly appeared from out of nowhere or the fact he had seen it move.
Seems everyone else noticed as well as the attention of everyone was now focused on Naruto and the box as some how everyone had gotten far behind him even Fuki and Tomaru. Naruto just stood looking at the box waiting for the kid to come out.
'Why me?' He thought.
Realizing the kid wasn't coming out any time soon Naruto decided to call him out.
"Sarutobi-san, what are you doing?" Naruto says.
A few of the genin thought Naruto was an idiot for suggesting the Hokage would be hiding under a poorly constructed box following him. Of course no one would know other than his secretary that the Hokage was spying on the blond in his office using the telescope technique. The moment he saw Konohamaru appear he instantly cut the transmission.
"I should have expected that from the man I look up to. Good job detecting me" Konohamaru responds.
No one in the clearing was impressed. Anyone would be able to see such a poorly constructed and executed disguise. That was when the box began to glow forcing everyone to cover their eyes or look away before it exploded.
"Hey, you used too much gunpowder" complains a coughing Konohamaru.
As the smoke clears everyone sees there are actually three kids instead of one kneeling on the ground trying to recover.
"Who are your friends Sarutobi-san?" Naruto asked the recovering kids.
The three kids quickly perked up a little embarrassed as they quickly jumped up and did a weird introduction.
"The one who possesses the sex appeal of an adult, and the kunoichi from the senior group, Moegi" says the girl.
She had orange hair tied with red rubber bands into two very large pigtails that went up at an angle and two red oval markings on her cheeks. She wore a red tank-top over a pink t-shirt that was layered at the bottom, grey pants, and dark blue ninja sandals.
"The one who loves dividing numbers, Udon" says the other boy.
He looked fairly ordinary with short brown hair and dark eyes. He wore a blue zippered shirt, brown pants, and dark blue ninja sandals. He also had a large amount of snot hanging from his nose, which was kind of disgusting.
"The villages number one genius shinobi, Konohamaru. The three of us make …"Konohamaru says introducing himself.
"The Konohamaru Corps!" They shouted together.
Everyone in the area just looked at the three kids, some were wondering if they had some kind of brain damage. Naruto was just wondering why they were there.
"It's nice to meet the both of you, but why are the three of you here Sarutobi-san? We are in the middle of the Chūnin Selection Exam, about to start the second part of the Exam" Naruto tells them.
"We're here on a story" Konohamaru responds.
"Story?" Naruto asks.
"Yes" Udon responds.
Naruto and everyone else looked at them questioningly, but Konohamaru kept going on.
"Yes, a story. We were asked to do an exclusive story on the Chūnin Selection Exam for our school newspaper" Konohamaru tells him.
"So we came to ask you some questions. Please cooperate" Moegi says giving him a cutesy look.
"Please" Udon adds.
"Look I'm not …" Naruto begins before he's interrupted.
"Hey there! What are you doing!" Anko interrupts.
Naruto found it a little strange that she hadn't reacted before, but let it go.
"He says they are here to do a story on the Exams for their school paper" Naruto tells her.
Anko had a sheepish look on her face as she looked like she just remembered something.
"Yeah … I forgot Hokage-sama mentioned something like that" Anko says rubbing the back of her head with an apologetic smile.
"You … forgot?" Naruto questions.
Anko just plows on ignoring the question and the looks the surrounding genin were giving her.
"Alright, we're having a ten minute break. If you are asked any questions, just concede and cooperate quietly" Anko orders everyone.
"Naruto, I'm counting on you" Konohamaru says.
The three kids look at him expectantly and with Anko's proclamation and this seemingly being the Hokage's idea … Naruto really didn't feel he had a choice.
"*Sigh* Alright, let's get this over with" Naruto says.
Naruto walked over to a tree a bit away from the other genin and sat against it as the kids also sat and began their questions. They took out a note pad and pencil as they got ready.
"First, introduce yourself please" They asked him.
"Okay … I'm Uzumaki Naruto, age 12 almost 13. I graduated from the Konoha ninja academy about six months ago somewhere in the middle of my class. I am a member of Team 4 led by my jōnin-sensei Shirakumo Hayama. My teammates are Minakura Tomaru and Fuki" Naruto says.
To his surprise the three kids were each writing down in their notepads before looking at him expectantly.
"What?" Naruto asks.
"Tell us about your teammates" Moegi says.
"Oh … well Tomaru comes from a big family. He's the first to actually become a ninja in his family and hopes to set an example for his younger brother and sisters. He also dreams one day to become the Hokage. He's really energetic … maybe a little over the top some times, but he means well and is a fun guy.
Fuki is a really strong kunoichi. She's the calmer and more collected one of us. We're still really getting to know each other, but she takes her training serious and is someone you can depend on in a tight spot.
Shirakumo-sensei is the best. He really helps us get stronger not only physically but mentally as well. In the short time we've been a team I feel like we have seen so much, but he's always there to guide and protect us so we don't mess up. I don't think I could have gotten a better sensei" Naruto tells them.
The three academy students nod writing in their note pads some more before looking at him again.
"What cool ninjutsu do you know?" Konohamaru asks.
"Well … I don't know too many. We're genin that just graduated recently. Hayama-sensei has taught us a few, but nothing really strong yet" Naruto answers.
The three academy students nod and write some more in their notepads. Naruto could tell Konohamaru was disappointed in the answer, but he would be stupid to answer something like that truthfully with the competition close by and maybe listening in.
"What missions have you done so far?" Udon asks.
"As a new genin we don't get the real glamorous missions. We started out with D-ranks doing things like pulling weeds, walking dogs, getting someone's groceries, etc. We have done a couple of higher ranking mission, but I have learned that the rank of a mission doesn't really matter.
Some times the simplest missions can go wrong and then all kinds of things happen" Naruto tells them.
"Like what?" Konohamaru asks.
"I can't go too far into detail, but my team was called to back up another team. They were taking their first C-rank mission that was supposed to be easy and simple. Instead they ended up facing enemy ninja as did we. It was a crazy mission and some times seemed like everything that could go wrong did, but we managed to complete the mission and all come back healthy" Naruto responds.
"Are you happy being a ninja?" Moegi asked.
"Yeah, I really like my teammates and sensei. Its difficult dangerous work at times, but it's worth it" Naruto finishes.
"Alright, thanks boss. We have to go interview more people now" Konohamaru says.
Naruto nodded and watched as they spread out and got the most out of the last few minutes. Meanwhile Tomaru and Fuki sat down beside him and watched the kids as Udon went up to the Sound team and were rebuffed.
"What are they doing here?" Tomaru asked.
"Same as us I suppose" Naruto responds.
"I thought I recognized them yesterday" Tomaru says.
"Hard to miss them after that stunt with Yakushi-san" Fuki breaks in.
"I wonder what that was really about myself" Naruto says.
"Probably just sending a message" Tomaru says.
"We should be careful around them" Fuki says.
Naruto and Tomaru nodded, but each was thinking they wanted another piece of the team from Sound. Of course they weren't the only ones. Thanks to Konohamaru's stunt the Sound team recognized Team 4. They hadn't seen them yesterday amongst the other genins and after beating down that glasses wearing punk they tried to keep a low profile.
Both teams' eyes meet as they stared at one another briefly. If anyone was paying attention it would just seem like they were eying the competition, but anyone that knew better would see the tension between the two teams. Before anything could happen Anko announced the end of the brake and gathered the teams to stand in front of her again.
"Now where was I …" Anko scratches her head trying to recall.
"Umm … you said this place is called the Forest of Death" volunteered an older looking Konoha genin.
"Right, this place is called the Forest of Death. You'll soon realize why" She says ominously.
"Well, before we start the second exam, I have to pass these out to you" She tells the gathered genin.
She reaches inside her coat and retrieves a stack of documents. Before anyone can guess on what they were for she continues.
"These are consent forms. Before you can take part in the test you have to sign this" She tells them.
"Why?" Sakura asked.
"From here on out, corpses are going to come out. I have to get your consent to that! Or it'll be my responsibility" Anko tells them before laughing.
All the genin adopted serious look though some showed a bit of fear at the way Anko phrased that. It left little doubt to what she meant for most of them.
"Well, I'm going to start the explanation for the second exam. In a word, the limits of your survival will be challenged"
She hands the consent forms to the person standing in front of her which happened to be Tomaru who passed them down to Naruto and soon they were passed through the assembled group reaching everyone in the clearing. As the genin examined the form Anko continued. She pulled a map of the area out of her coat before continuing the explanation.
"First, I'll give you step-by-step instruction on the terrain of this training field. Training Field 44 is surrounded by 44 locked entrance gates, there are rivers and a forest and a tower in the middle. It's about 10 kilometers or 6.21 miles from the gates to the tower.
In this confined area, you will go through a certain survival program. The contents of which are …" She says before rolling up the map and putting it back inside of her coat. Then fixes them with a deadly stare.
"Anything goes scroll battle!" She says as she holds up a scroll.
"Scroll" Kabuto questions.
"Yes …" Anko says.
She then pulls out another scroll. In her left is a white scroll with the symbol for Heaven and in her right a black scroll with the symbol for Earth.
"I want you to fight for two scrolls, the Heaven scroll and the Earth scroll" She let that sink in before continuing.
"All together 22 teams got through the first test. Half of them … 11 teams get the Heaven scroll, the other half get the Earth scroll. I'll hand over one scroll to each team. To put it simply, that's what you're vying for" She tells them.
"And the conditions to pass?" Sasuke asks stepping forward.
"Three of you bring both the Heaven and the Earth scrolls to the tower in the center of the training ground" Anko answers.
"That means that of the 22 teams, half of them will fail for sure …" Sakura voices.
"Except it has to be in time. For the second exam, the time limit is 120 hours. Do it in exactly five days!" Anko tells them
"Five days!" Ino shouts.
"What do we do about food?" Shouts Chōji as he dramatically falls to his knees.
"Be self-sufficient! It's a treasure trove in the wilderness. There's more than enough food for …" Anko says before being cut off by Kabuto.
"However … it's teaming with fierce people-eating animals, poisonous bugs, poisonous weeds, and much more" Kabuto says freaking out some of the genin.
"No way …" Chōji complains.
"Fool, that's why it's called survival" Ino says chastising her plump teammate.
"It'll be fine Chōji, there are animals you can catch and eat" Naruto tries to calm his friend down.
Of course Shikamaru stood in his way and glared at him as he approached the chubby genin.
"Besides, it's improbable that 33 people, 11 teams will pass" Neji Hyūga adds.
"The interval for activity gets longer with each passing day, while the time for recovery gets shorter … seems pretty grueling!" Lee adds with toothy smile at the end.
"On top of that, your surrounded by nothing but enemies, even falling asleep will be a problem …" Sasuke tacks on.
"And, besides those injured during attempts to capture scrolls … there will definitely be people who are unable to endure the rigors of the course" Anko adds enjoying the way the genins were freaking each other out.
"Umm … so you can quit in the middle of it?" Asks the Nara.
"According to the rules, you can not give up in the middle of it! I want you to spend five days in the forest" Anko responds.
"Just like I thought … this is going to be such a pain" Mumbles the Nara heir.
"Moving on, conditions of disqualification. Number 1, if all three members of the team can't make it to the tower with the Heaven and Earth scrolls within the time limit. Number 2, if a team loses a member or if a member becomes incapacitated.
There's that and this is a supplement … absolutely do not look at the contents of the scrolls until you have reached the tower" Anko tells them.
"W-what happens if we look at it halfway through?" Asks Tomaru.
"When you look at it you'll find … out!" teases Anko.
"There are times when a chūnin must deal with super secret text. This is to test your reliability. That is all the explanation!
I'll exchange your three consent forms for the scrolls in the hut over there" Anko says.
She points over to the area where three chūnin were sitting in a makeshift hut near the gate looking bored.
"After that, pick your entrance, and all the gates will open simultaneously!" Anko says before letting out a big sigh.
"Finally, just a word of advice … don't die!"
The genin then moved apart into their individual teams as they each looked over the consent form and decided on if they would sign it or not. Of course everyone signed it and were waiting when one of the chūnin called out from the hut, which had a cabin drawn obscuring the view of what was going on inside from the individual teams.
The teams moved one by one to the hut and turned in their forms before taking a scroll. In his excitement Tomaru grabbed the scroll for Team 4 before Naruto or Fuki could. Anko then called out.
"Teams who have taken the scroll, stay with the representative and move to the gate!
We'll all start simultaneously in 30 minutes!" Anko calls out.
As the teams were standing at their assigned gates Team 4 unknowingly became a target of several teams. At gate 27 stood Team 10.
"Life or death … it's a pain but we just have to do this. Since it's come to this Naruto will be our target …" Shikamaru says.
"What? Why him?" Ino questions.
"Yeah Shikamaru, Naruto is my friend. We shouldn't target him" Chōji says making his discontent known.
Shikamaru scowls at his best friend.
"Look I don't want to go after him, but what choice do we have. Looking at the competition Team 4 is our best bet to get a scroll. Everyone else is just too strong for us. Who else do you suggest we go after?" He argues.
Neither Ino or Chōji could argue against that. Fact was Team 4 was an anomaly. Tomaru was a loud mouthed, idiot from a civilian background. Fuki was just an average kunoichi with nothing really standing out about her. Naruto was the mystery after having been the dead last for the first couple of years at the academy he rose up the rankings to slightly above middle of the pack during the last year.
There was nothing special about any of them as far as anyone knew or would tell them. That opinion would soon change for better and worse.
"Good" Shikamaru says when they staid silent.
'Soon Uzumaki' He thought darkly.
At gate 20 a similar conversation although decidedly more sinister was occurring.
"What about the mission?" Kin asked.
"We'll complete the mission like he wants, but first we deal with those punks that messed up our mission and caused us to lose his favor" Dosu responds.
The sound team when they returned were not welcomed back easily. No they faced Orochimaru's wrath before they underwent extreme training in preparation for their part in his plan. They never forgot the team from the Leaf and had searched for them when they first arrived, but weren't able to find them until the Exam started. They would have their revenge if it was the last thing they would do.
At Gate 12 Team 7 was also focused on Team 4.
"We're going after Team 4" Sasuke states.
"Why?" Sakura questioned.
She wanted to go after Ino's team and beat her down. She rightly pegged Team 10 as being the weakest team.
"They are hiding something. During that mission to Wave he did something. I want to know what Uzumaki did to move like that. Aren't you still curious Sakura?" Sasuke responds.
"Well … yeah but …" Sakura starts.
"I don't care who we go after. Me and Akamaru will tear them apart, right boy!" Kiba cheers.
"Arf!" Akamaru barks in agreement.
Nothing more was said as they waited for the gates to open as Sakura let it go. Sasuke smirked at getting his way.
'I'll find out your secret. Nobody hides from an Uchiha" Sasuke thought.
At gate 44 Team 4 stood waiting for the gate to open in silent anticipation. Looking at his teammates Naruto could tell they were both nervous. Tomaru was punching the air saying how he would beat everyone up, but Naruto could see how anxious he was. Fuki's arms were crossed against her chest while she watched Tomaru disapproving of his antics, but Naruto could see her muscles were tense.
And Naruto himself didn't want to admit it, but he was also tense. 5 days on their own in direct combat against enemy squads and Hayama wouldn't be able to bail them out if things got bad. Their lives were literally on the line.
A little after the clock hit 6:10 a.m. the chūnin removed the chains and lock from the gate. They then heard the proctor call out.
"We now start the second test of the Chūnin Exam!" Anko called as the gates opened.
All the teams rushed forward eager to get started, but it wasn't long before screams were heard ringing out through the forest.
"W-what was that?" Tomaru asked as he looked for where the screams came from.
"Seems we're already behind, it sounds like someone is already out of the competition" Naruto says.
"We should keep moving" Fuki says.
They nod and continue further into the forest not knowing that they were being watched. As they were walking the aura of the place seemed to grow darker and darker. They walked by a weird looking plant that was taller than all the members of Team 4. It had a sort of clam shaped bulb that looked lit it might split open when it bloomed. There were also a number of vines with different sized leafy petals attacked lying on the ground.
They went around it being careful not to step on any of the vines or the leaves. Moving past it they paid it no further attention and kept their eyes forward, but suddenly they heard a scream from behind them. They turned to witness a gruesome sight.
"Aarghh!" "Help me!"
It was a male genin that looked to be older than them. His forehead protector show his allegiance was to the Waterfall village. The man was held in the air by his ankle by several of the vines that had been lying on the ground. Looking at the formerly stationary bulb Team 4 noticed that it was no longer drooping downwards, but was now erect and the bulb split open to show rows of yellow stained teeth about as big as a standard kitchen knife.
They watched as more vines rose from the ground to wrap around the genin pinning his arms and holding him and place as the bulb or mouth of the plant opened wider and wider. A black substance began to flow from the mouth of the plant coating the teeth and dripping to the ground.
To Team 4's horror wherever or whatever the black substance hit turned a whitish ash like color before it crumpled to the earth. The bare patches of ground around it looked darker as the substance was absorbed. That was when a green vine like tongue appeared from the mouth and slathered the older genin in the blackish substance.
The effect wasn't the same, but was no less horrific as the genin stilled and his skin seemed to loose it's color and appear cracked. The look on the genin's face as he stared at them with his mouth still open as if trying to scream would plague each of them in their sleep for some time.
The plant then lowered the paralyzed genin towards its mouth, but before it could gulp down the doomed teen a hail of kunai sliced into the monstrous plant. One of the kunai tore through the vine holding the paralyzed teen forcing it to drop him. The thud that sounded out from the body impacting the ground only made the genin of Team 4 cringe as the paralyzed teen's body landed awkwardly not moving any further.
Team 4 was then alerted to two more genin hacking at the deadly plant as it's vines whipped around lashing out at the two genin. They didn't stop however as they kept slicing and hacking at the plant until the bulb was destroyed and the stem looked like nothing more than a blade of grass instead of the almost tree trunk sized thing it had been.
Covered in green, red, and black slime the two waterfall genin turned towards team four and advanced on them. This seemed to knock Team 4 out of whatever trance they had been in as they took a defensive stance to deal with the two enemy genin. The waterfall genin took two more steps towards Team 4 before they fell falling face first to the ground and then stopped moving.
Team 4 held their positions thinking it was a trap for ten minutes before Fuki dropped her stance and walked over to the downed team careful not to get any of the black substance on her.
"Fuki, what are you doing!?" Shouted Tomaru hoarsely trying to keep his voice low.
Not that it mattered. Naruto was sure he was heard from some distance away since the Forest had grown quite after the Waterfall genins savage retaliatory attack on the man eating plant had stopped.
"I'm going to see if they are still alive" Fuki hissed back.
Naruto also moved forward cautiously. He went towards the body of the guy the plant almost turned into an afternoon snack.
"And what are you doing Naruto" Tomaru says turning to him.
"I'm going to check their equipment and see if they have the scroll we need" Naruto tells him.
Tomaru sighed. Naruto had a habit of being a scavenger of sorts. If he saw an abandoned weapon he would pick it up and examine it before sealing it away and taking it home or putting it in his pocket to use later. Fuki had also adopted a similar attitude seeing as they were both orphans and buying tools and weapons was expensive especially kunai and shuriken that were tossed around and tended to get lost, damaged or destroyed often.
Deciding to let it go, Tomaru decided to take up watching for any approaching enemy. With so many mouths to feed the Minakura family was far from rich or wealthy, but he didn't have it in him to do what his teammates did. Also, they were still close to the gate and there was no telling who heard the screams of the dying genin and he needed to get the image of that plant almost eating someone out of his head. He turned away and allowed his teammates to do what they were going to do.
"He alive" Naruto asked Fuki.
She just nodded her head and moved to the other genin. Naruto meanwhile had also checked his guy for signs of life, but it was difficult as he was covered with the black substance and Naruto wanted no parts of touching that. Strangely enough the substance was giving off a sweet smell that was filling his nostrils and trying to tempt him into tasting it, but he resisted and quickly worked on stripping the waterfall genin.
"This ones also alive but barely, what about your guy?" Fuki asked a few minutes later.
"He's dead, but I don't think it was the poison. I think he suffocated. His eyes look bloodshot to me, but I could be wrong" Naruto says as he stands and moves to the two Fuki had been checking on.
"Don't bother. They didn't have much equipment on them just standard shuriken and kunai and a couple of scrolls, but I can't tell what they are for" Fuki says.
Naruto nods and steps away although he did take the two scrolls just in case they held something valuable before heading back to stand beside Tomaru.
"Did they have the Earth scroll?" Tomaru asked.
"Nope" Naruto said showing them the Heaven scroll.
"What are you going to do with it?" Fuki asked curiously.
"Keep it. Never know if we might need a spare" Naruto says.
"Smart decision" Says a voice from somewhere around them.
"Who's there?!" Tomaru shouts.
"Just an interested bystander, don't mind me I have no intention of attacking you" says the voice.
"What do you want?" Naruto asks.
"I don't know. What do you think I want?" It asks.
"Come out and face us!" Shouted Tomaru.
"Now, now there will be plenty of time for that. For now I just want to watch. You are an interesting team. Your records scream average nobodies that will have boring careers with little to show for it at the end of the day" The voice taunted.
"That shows how much you know! One day I will be Hokage!" Tomaru shouts.
"Calm down Tomaru. He's just trying to get under our skin" Fuki says calming him down.
"Look, I don't know who you are but we are leaving. If your smart you won't follow us" Naruto says.
"Come on guys" He says to his team.
They head south east of where they heard the voice hoping to put some distance between them and the entity.
"Hmm … what an interesting team you have Naruto-kun. I can't wait to see what you can do" remarked the voice.
That night Team 4 camped out in the forest. Being prepared and able to seal items, they each had food that didn't require them to cook over an open flame which was a godsend for them and all three thanked their sensei for that before eating. Naruto ate a couple of cold cut sandwiches and drank some water down behind it. Fuki had a sushi plate along with a rice ball. Tomaru's mother gave him a box lunch which he sealed before meeting up with them that morning. Of course she didn't understand or know they were going to be gone for awhile so he only had the one.
When they finished eating they took turns watching over the camp while the other two rested. Fuki took first watch since she never liked to be woken in the middle of the night and the boys didn't want to risk getting punched by her for doing so either. Tomaru took second watch since he was used to being woken up at odd times by his bothers, sisters, and parents. That left Naruto to take last watch, which he was okay with since he was used to getting up early to do his own exercises and workout before team training took place.
The next morning as soon as the first rays of sunlight hit the forest canopy Team 4 had broken down the camp, put out the fire, disposed of any trash, and headed out to look for any teams that might still be sleeping in. Luck was with them as they found a team close to the river that ran through the training area.
Team 4 stalked closer to the slumbering genin. They were from Konoha if the forehead protectors hanging from their bags slightly away from their sleeping bags were true, but they were older not even teenagers. Both Naruto and Tomaru could only shake their heads and vow they would rather quit than be stuck as genin in their twenties or worse thirties.
Team 4 bypassed the three older sleeping genin and went for the packs figuring they would leave the scroll inside one of them as well if they were dumb enough to still be sleeping so soundly out in the open like this. However, as soon as Naruto reached for the bag he felt nothing but air as his hand passed right through it and instead hit a thin nearly invisible wire.
All of a sudden the clearing exploded with traps going off though thankfully not literally and the traps while sufficient enough to be considered done by someone of a higher rank were also still not sufficient enough to trap Naruto or Fuki. Naruto used a burst of chakra enhanced speed to escape and Fuki used a doton jutsu. Tomaru on the other hand …
Tomaru ducked as a wooden log almost beheaded him only to have to roll to the side as ten shuriken flew at him. Then jumped as several kunai launched at his back only to be smacked to the side by a tree branch and then fall into a deep mud pit.
Fuki managed to avoid the shuriken and kunai not jumping like Tomaru, but instead sinking into the ground using the underground projection fish technique. She then used it to reach Tomaru and help him escape from the pit. While she was doing that Naruto was facing down the three older genin who hoped down from the tree they were hiding in by himself.
"This ones fast ain't he Morie" said a 5'7 male with dark hair and eyes and grey camouflage ninja garb.
"Sure is Hama" says the 5'2 female with brown hair and dark eyes wearing green camouflage ninja garb.
"Heh, it won't help him. Your outnumbered punk just hand over your scroll and we'll let you go hide with your team until the test is over" says a 5'11 male with dark hair and eyes wearing all black ninja gear.
Naruto pays no mind to what they are saying and goes over the situation in his head.
'Tomaru's out and Fuki's probably helping him. I could use the diatoppa jutsu and force them back, but Tomaru's better with wind jutsu than I am and I can't be sure I'll get them all. I could also use my kekkei genkai, but that's also risky and I'd rather not use it against them unless things get really bad" He thought.
Unfortunately he was stopped from thinking anymore when one of the older genin attacked. Naruto moved to the side a few steps before jumping and twisting his body to deliver a kick to the attacking mans head. The older teen wasn't able to stop as he moved forward into the attack and then felt the attack hit squarely on his forehead protector. Naruto winced as his foot made contact with the metal, but the older genin was also affected as he was pushed backwards by the force of the kick and his own momentum causing him to fall on his butt and slide back a few feet.
"Haha … what's the matter Daiki. Can't handle a fresh out of the academy twerp like him?" Laughed the other male of the team.
"Shut up Hama, it was just a lucky shot. He won't get me again" Daiki grows back.
"Sure you will. How about we help you out and get this over with?" Hama responds.
"I said shut up!" Daiki yells.
"I can handle him" He says more gruffly.
"Fine, fine, but I won't save your sorry ass if he beats you up again" Hama retorts before sitting back with the girl of their group.
Daiki doesn't respond turning his attention fully on Naruto.
"Let's see you do that again brat" He says.
Naruto pulls out three kunai and places the rings between his fingers and closing his fist making it look like an animals paw as he hold the arm out and slightly up while crouching down a little. The older genin just smirked before taking a kunai out himself holding it in front of him.
Neither genin moved as they stared at each other. Meanwhile, the other two older genin leaned back against a tree making snarky comments.
"Look at him what a show off" scoffed the male.
"Which one?" Morie says.
"Tsch, the idiot of course. We both would have made chūnin a long time ago if we didn't get stuck with him on our team" Hama says rudely not caring to keep his voice down.
Naruto lost his concentration as he looked over the smirking older genin before having to move as Daiki took that moment to start his attack. Naruto swiped downwards as fast as he could to block the kunai aimed at his chest with the three kunai and then pivoted to his left to avoid a punch to his face.
The older genin used his bigger more mature body to push Naruto back as Naruto dug into the earth a little trying to hold his position. It was no use as Daiki had him on both size and strength and kept forcing him backwards. Seeing his position for what it was he pressed forward as hard as he could before quickly moving backwards without turning around making the older genin lose some of his advantage and giving him the time to disengage and retreat a little.
All the while Daiki's team mates continued the negative comments towards both their team mate and Naruto. They were so busy making fun of their fight they never felt the blow to the back of their heads as they slumped to the ground unconscious. Tomaru and Fuki smiled giving each other thumbs up before tying up the two older genin.
Daiki never seemed to notice that his teammates were knocked out and kept attacking Naruto who know kept a little distance between him and the older genin. Whenever Daiki got to close Naruto would lunge striking with the 3 kunai in a punch like manner meant to stab into the older genin. The attack was slapped away each time, but it forced Daiki to be more cautious in his approach, which is what Naruto wanted.
Jumping back to create more room Naruto threw the three kunai forcing Daiki to move instead of trying to defect all of them. Naruto then went through the hand seals Dragon - Tiger - Hare and called out "Suiton: Mizurappa – Water Release: Wild Water Wave".
Water gushed out of Naruto's mouth moving too fast for Daiki to dodge after dodging the kunai. He was impacted square in the chest and engulfed by the technique carrying him into the river. Daiki quickly surfaced thrashing about.
"Help! Help! Help me I can't swim!" He shouted as he continued thrashing.
Naruto wasn't sure what was more pathetic. Him not knowing how to swim or being a genin his age and either not knowing or not being able to do the water surface walking practice. Naruto taking pity on the man strode up to him using the water surface walking practice and then bonked him on the head knocking him out. He then grabbed his shirt and dragged him through the water and deposited him on the ground before tying him up then dragging him to where his teammates also lay.
"Did you find their scroll?" Naruto asked his teammates.
"Yep, the big mouth had it on him" Fuki answered.
"And it's an earth scroll" Tomaru interrupted answering his next question.
"What now?" Fuki asked
"I don't know about you, but one night in this forest was enough for me. We should head to the tower" Naruto says.
"Aww I wanted to find that Sound team and beat them up again" Tomaru complains.
"Maybe we'll run into them on our way to the tower" Naruto offered.
"Then let's get moving! I want to show tunnel boy just how weak he is" Tomaru says before bounding off.
"Tomaru! Your going the wrong way!" Naruto shouted.
He and Fuki took off leaping into the trees using them for cover as they headed further south down the river. Tomaru quickly caught up giving both a glare for moving without him and letting him go the wrong way. They made their way quickly through the canopy avoiding several more teams and a few traps impeding their path, but not for long. The only real trouble they had was when some leeches tried to make them lunch when they got closer to the tower, but they managed to arrive at the front doors and enter safely around mid-day.
"If you do not posses Heaven, gain knowledge and be prepared. If you do not posses Earth, run through the fields and seek strength. If you open both Heaven and Earth scrolls, dangerous paths turn into safe ones. This is the secret of … can't really read that. It shall lead you on your way" Naruto reads out loud.
Upon entering the building they found nothing except for the message up on the wall.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Tomaru asked.
"It means it's safe to open the scrolls now. Remember the proctor, she said not to look in them before reaching the tower. This message is telling us it's okay to do so now" Fuki tells them.
"Alright, how should we do this?" Naruto asked.
"You open the earth scroll and I will open the heaven scroll" Fuki says.
"What about me?" Tomaru interjects.
"Just stand there and be quiet for once" Fuki says angrily.
"Fine, I can take a hint. You don't have to beat me over the head for me to get the point. I won't say anything else. You'll have to beg me to talk and grace you with my perfect voice" Tomaru rants.
He stops only when he notices both team mates are looking at him blankly.
"Are you done?" Naruto asks.
He liked Tomaru a lot, but there were times when like Fuki he also became annoyed with him. Tomaru just nodded not wanting to be hit by both of his teammates. Not that he was scared or anything.
With that done Naruto and Fuki opened both scrolls. They quickly recognized the kanji for person and that it was a summoning scroll throwing the scrolls a little ways from them. Somehow the scrolls managed to land together and the genin noticed it bulged a bit over the kangi before smoke billowed forth from it. Then they heard the distinct sound of something being summoned and as the smoke cleared it revealed a person. A person they were surprised to see.
"Umino-san, what are you doing here?" Naruto asked.
"It's the chūnin's duty to welcome the genin when they reach this point. I just happened to get lucky on drawing the assignment to welcome Team 4" Iruka tells them.
Team 4 just nodded at that.
"Now I have a message to deliver. Congratulations on passing the second exam" He tells them.
"I'd like to treat you to a meal and hear all about your experiences, but the second exam is still active" Iruka says.
"Well … what do we do now?" Tomaru asked.
Naruto and Fuki nodded also wanting to know.
"First, there is a second part to me being here. I am to further explain the message on the wall" Iruka says.
"But Naruto already read it. Didn't it just mean to open up the scrolls?" Tomaru asks confused.
"Yes and no. Yes, it was meant to clue you in to opening the scrolls, but there is more to it. Read it again please. This is the the principle that Hokage-sama wrote that you should keep in mind as a Chūnin.
The 'Heaven' in this text refers to the head of a person and the 'Earth' the body. If you do not posses heaven then gain more knowledge and prepare. That means, for example, if Tomaru's weak point is his mind … that he should study and prepare for his missions
And if you do not posses earth run, through the field and seek strength. For example, if Naruto's weak point is his strength, he should train himself everyday. That is what it means.
And if you have both heaven and earth attributes, any dangerous missions will become safe … it can even become easy" The academy teacher tells them.
For Naruto and Fuki this just served to remind them of the man's lectures. They liked Iruka well enough but his lessons were always dry and slanted towards the obvious. Of course they couldn't help but giggle a little at Tomaru's expense, but Naruto stopped once the focus turned on him.
"There's something missing though" Naruto voices pointing at an obscure letter.
"Yes, that letter symbolizes chūnin" Iruka answers unrolling the earth scroll.
"The human letter that was in here goes there" He tells them before continuing.
"The survival mission you took part in tests the basic abilities of the examinees as a chūnin and you guys completed it. A chūnin is a commander-class and has duties to lead a team. Deeply inscribe into your hearts the importance of knowledge and strength in missions.
Never forgot that principle and move on to the next step. That's all I was ordered to tell you" Iruka finishes the lecture.
"Is it over" Tomaru groaned.
Iruka grimaced, but nodded.
"Umino-san, we have an extra scroll. What do we do with it?" Naruto asked.
"Hand it to me and I'll take care of it" Iruka answers.
Naruto nods and Tomaru hands him the scroll he got at the beginning of the 2nd phase.
"Sensei, what do we now?" Fuki asked.
"There are rooms, showers, a mess hall, and a training ground through out the tower. This place was used in previous wars as a staging area so it's designed to keep and protect many ninja in a fair amount of comfort. Although the beds are a little hard and on the lumpy side. This place really hasn't gotten much use since the 3rd Shinobi World War except for certain instances like this" He tells them.
"Are there any other teams here?" Tomaru asked.
Once he got over not finding the Sound team he really wanted to be first.
"Actually you are the second team to arrive at the tower. I think I heard a genin team from Suna came in a few hours earlier or maybe even yesterday at some point. If so they probably broke the previous record, which you actually beat by half an hour" Iruka tells them.
"Dammit! I wanted to be first!" Tomaru shouts in mock anger.
The others just chuckle at him. Iruka soon left them to explore the tower and find something to keep themselves occupied. It wouldn't be until the next day that Team 4 would see their competition. Team 4 was taking advantage of the unoccupied training ground doing the only thing they could that wouldn't tax their chakra reserves or exhaust them greatly.
They were training in their chakra control by meditation like Hayame-sensei taught them. Fuki was still the furthest along with Tomaru and Naruto still struggling. They had been at it an hour when Naruto heard.
Naruto had no idea where the voice came from or who said that, but it scared him enough to jolt him out of position and open his eyes only to see a wave of sand about to crash down on him and his teammates. He didn't even think before forming the boar seal.
"Jinton: Mueishō : Swift Release: Shadowless Flight" Naruto shouted.
Everything seemed to come to a very slow crawl as Naruto ran grabbing both his teammates and running to the entrance of the room where he saw a team from Suna. Placing his teammates down he ran back to where the Suna team was and hit the red head manipulating the sand in the back of the head. He came to a stop his jutsu ending just as his fist connected.
The red head was sent flying through the training ground, but was caught by his sand that had returned to him before he could hit the wall.
"Gaara!" screamed a blonde with four ponytails on her head.
"Who the hell are you?"a guy wearing a black full body suit and face paint asks loudly.
The blonde hearing that turned towards him as well as she brought out a large fan and he moved for something on his back.
"I should be asking you that. If you wanted to use the training ground you could have asked and not tried to drown us to death with sand!" Naruto shouts back.
At this point Tomaru and Fuki walked to stand beside Naruto confused.
"What's going on?" Tomaru voiced.
"When we were meditating the red head over there tried to bury us in sand. If I hadn't woken up in time to see it we'd probably be dead" Naruto tells them.
Tomaru and Fuki narrowed their eyes as they both took defensive stances. Unfortunately they hadn't brought their swords with them, but they did have their weapon holders both drawing out a kunai ready to attack. Naruto was more focused on the red head as he seemed to be holding his head and not in pain from the blow he delivered.
At the shout Team 4 and the two Suna nin looked to see the proctor of the first exam standing behind them. The red head still seemed unfocused and looked to be muttering about something.
"You have completed the 2nd phase of the Exam and there for fighting is no longer allowed. If you continue your teams will be disqualified and all of you will be sent home" He tells them.
"We're sorry proctor-san … our brother is just a little on edge he didn't really mean to harm anyone" lies the the male Suna nin wearing the full body suit and cat ears.
"Good then get out of here and take your brother over there somewhere he can calm down" Ibiki orders.
The Suna ninja both bow to the man and then carefully lead their brother away, but not before glaring at the Konoha team.
"And you three … be careful" He says before vanishing.
Team 4 nods, but looks back to where the Suna team left. Seems they would have to be more careful and stay on guard until they could leave the tower. Not feeling like training anymore they decided to hit up the mess hall and see if they could get a meal before going back to their room.
2 Days Later
They were standing in a large room with a statue of two hands holding the ram hand seal. The room was full of genin. Naruto could recognize Teams 7, 9, and 10 along with the Suna and Sound team. There was also another Konoha team with that Kabuto guy on it.
The Hokage and a group of chūnin and jōnin stood at the front of the room. Naruto recognized a couple of the sensei's including Hayama stood behind the Hokage. The proctors of the first two exams and some chūnin he recognized from the first exam stood in front to the sides of him in a slanted formation below the slightly elevated portion of the floor. The purple haired examiner wearing wireless microphone clipped onto her head band started off.
"First off, congratulations on finishing the second exam" Anko says.
'There were sixty-six test takers for the second exam. To think 21 have made it this far. I said to make it less than half, but I'd really thought about single digits.
With that said Anko and the other examiners moved back to stand directly beside the old Hokage along with the seven team sensei's. The genins began to talk amongst themselves a little.
"I'm hungry" Complained Chōji.
"There are still this many remaining? This is such a major pain" Grumbled Shikamaru.
"Sasuke and the others have passed, too" Ino commented with hearts in her eyes gazing at the Uchiha heir.
"Of course … we went to all that trouble to save them. It'd be all for naught if they didn't pass" Shikamaru retorts.
"Seems like he made it here as well" He adds with a dark look.
Ino and Chōji wondered who he was talking about before looking to the side of Team 7 and recognizing Naruto. They didn't know what to make of this side of Shikamaru. He was generally a pretty laid back, non-confrontation type of guy, but Naruto seemed to bring something else out of him and it wasn't something good.
Of course the genins weren't the only ones talking.
"Your team didn't do too bad. I guess they were lucky, but as long as my team is around they can't go any higher. After all, whether you like it or not, ability talks at the next barrier.
Well, adolescence can some times be bitter sweet and can some times be harsh … Kakashi" Gai tells his silver haired rival.
"Did you say something?" Kakashi responds casually.
"Oh my god!" Gai freaks out.
'So that's Gai-sensei's eternal rival, eh? Gai sensei totally looses visually …' thinks Gai's female genin team member Tenten.
'Gai-sensei is the hippest of all the teachers! He shines! Okay! Please watch Gai-sensei as I shine too! I won't loose again' Gai's virtual clone and genin team member Rock Lee thinks.
'Sure enough, the other outstanding candidates have gathered. Uchiha Sasuke, eh?' thinks Gai's other male genin team member Hyūga Neji.
'I'll get you back for my arms, Uchiha Sasuke … at any cost' thinks Zaku angrily.
'We haven't forgotten about you either Leaf trash' thinks Dosu as he briefly looks Team 4's way.
'To think a mere seven teams are left of the twenty-two …" Thinks Temari of Suna.
'Sure enough Gaara is unhurt' Thinks the Suna Jōnin Baki.
'I'll kill you' thought Gaara as he stared blankly at Team 4.
"What, most of the Leaf Village rookies are here" Comments Sakura.
"Hmm … seems like everyone is here to watch us" Naruto comments.
"Yeah, I see Hokage-sama and Iruka-sensei … and all the sensei's are here" Tomaru responds.
"Team 8's not here" Fuki says.
"I wonder what happened to them" Tomaru responds.
"Nothing good, I bet" Naruto says.
'To think this many are left … moreover, of all those left, almost all are rookies … seems my plan almost worked, but team eight was too fresh. The Kurama heir just couldn't keep up in the second phase. It is fortunate that their injuries were mostly minor and they will train to improve upon their performance' Thought Hiruzen as he glanced at the remaining sensei's.
"Now then, we will now have the explanation of the third exam from Hokage-sama. If you will Hokage-sama" Anko announces ending all conversations.
The Hokage slowly steps forward moving to the front of the raised platform.
"Before the explanation of the third exam that we will start from now, I have just one thing that I want to tell everyone flat out. About the true purpose of these exams.
Why do allied nations conduct the exams on a conjoint basis?
Raising the levels of the shinobi and the friendship among allied nations. It won't due to have the wrong idea of the true meaning of that statement. These exams are so to speak … A microcosm of battle between allied nations.
If we look back on history … the allied nations of today were once neighboring nations that continued to vie with each other and battle for power. In order to avoid a futile crushing of each others' military strength, those nations mutually selected a place to battle.
And that was how the Chūnin Exams originally began" The Sandiame tells them.
"Why do we have to do this? We're not doing this to select Chūnins?" Naruto questions.
"There is no question that these exams are to select shinobi worthy of becoming Chūnin. But on the other hand, these exams also provide a venue for shinobi who carry their nation's pride on their backs to fight for their lives!
Many feudal lords and those of prominence from many nations who request shinobi for work are invited to this third exam as guests. And the feudal lords and the Head ninja of these nations will watch your battles.
If the gap in national power becomes unbridgeable, the strong nations are inundated with job requests. The request of nations deemed weak, on the other hand, decline. And therewithal, we can exert pressure upon each neighboring nation … that is to say, just how much military strength our nation is developing and has" The old Hokage lectures.
"Even so, why is it necessary for us to fight for our lives?!" question Inuzuka Kiba loudly.
"The Nations strength is the Village's strength. The Village's strength is the Shinobi's strength. And the true strength of the Shinobi is created only in a fight for one's life!
This exam is a place to see the strength of home country Shinobi, and a place to display this as well. It is because it's an exam where you truly fight for your life that this has meaning. It's for this very reason that your forerunners fought in this exam, a dream worth striving for" The Hokage tells them.
"Then why … use the expression 'friendship'?!" Questions Tenten heatedly.
"I said it at the start, didn't I?
That it won't do for you to have the wrong idea of the meaning! It's a custom where balance is persevered by fighting and removing life. This is the friendship of the Shinobi world. This is a fight for life with the pride of the village and one's own dream on the line" The Hokage explains equally heated in his response.
"I'm convinced" Tomaru says with a big grin.
"Anything is fine, just tell us the content of that fight for life test" Gaara says angrily as he was ready to kill.
"Very well, now then, this is where I'd like to explain the third exam. But actually …" The old Hokage starts before coughing.
Soon another shinobi dropped down from above kneeling to the old Hokage.
"Hokage-sama, please allow me, Gekkō Hayate, who was given the task of judge, to speak first" the shinobi says.
"I'll leave it to you then" The Hokage says.
"Thank you" He says before standing and turning his head to address the genin contingent.
"Nice to meet you, everyone … umm, there's something … I'd like you all to do … before the third exam" Hayate says.
The genin are forced to wait while he coughs and gains control of himself before fully turning around to face them.
"And that is a preliminary to the third exam, with participation in the main battle on the line" He tells them.
"What do you mean … preliminary?!" Shouted Shikamaru.
This was the angriest Chōji or Ino had ever seen him not mention the most animated he had ever been. Needless to say he wasn't the only one.
"Sensei, I don't understand the point of that preliminary. Why aren't we doing the next exam with the remaining test-takers?" Sakura questions.
"This time around, perhaps because the first and second exams were easy, there are a few too many people left, you see. In accordance with the rules of the Chūnin Exams, a preliminary will be held in order to reduce the number advancing" He tells them.
"N-n-no way" Sakura responds.
"As Hokage-sama said before, many guests will be coming to the third exam. So we can't have long pointless matches and our time is limited as well. Therefore, those of you not in top physical condition …" He starts.
'Who is he to talk' thought Tomaru.
'He doesn't look to be in top physical condition himself' most thought.
"Those of you who wish to drop out, please speak up now. The preliminary will begin immediately, so …" Hayate says.
"Immediately, you say …?!" Shouts Kiba.
"But we finally made it through the second exam" complained Ino.
"This is a pain …" voices Shikamaru.
"Huh? What about our meal?" whined Chōji.
Others were mentally preparing themselves for battle while others were excited about getting to fight.
"And oh … I forgot to mention this, but it will be individual battles from now on. It is your decision so feel free to raise your hands and drop out" He says.
'Who would quit now?' thought most of the genin.
There were some hushed arguments erupting among the genin of Team 7 and the assembled proctors seeming focused on Team 7. Not that Naruto knew what it was about, but before it could go further someone raised their hands.
"What … the" Kiba mumbles.
"Well …" the Hokage comments.
Even the Haruno girl about to raise her hand stopped in shock at the silver haired genins raising of his hand.
"Excuse me … I'll quit" says the teen.
All of the genin stared in shock of him leaving after already going through so much to get here.
"Let's see … Yakushi Kabuto of the Leaf Village, correct?" Hayate asks after looking through some papers on a clipboard.
"Then, you may step back" Hayate dismisses him.
As he walks out the Hokage and proctors discuss him.
"I have seen that face a few times. As I recall, I think he dropped out of the main battle before, as well" The Hokage comments.
"What in the world is he thinking?" He questions.
"Anko" Ibiki barks.
"Umm … yes" Anko acknowledges before flipping through the documents she had as well on a clipboard.
"Yakushi Kabuto. According to the data, he has failed six straight times" Anko informs them.
"What about his background?" The Hokage asks.
"From his time at the Academy he was a student who did not really stand out, and his grades were ordinary. He finally passed the graduation exam on his third try. After that, as for the missions he's carried out, two C-ranks and fourteen D-ranks.
It's not a battle record to write home about. However …" Anko says.
"However?" the Hokage questions.
"It's about before the Academy" Anko says.
"Hmm …" prompts the Hokage.
"Do you remember the story … about the one boy brought back from the Kikyo Pass battle?" Anko asks.
"I remember, as I recall, I heard an enemy boy survivor at the battlefield was taken back by a Jōnin from the medical unit. So he's that boy …?" the Hokage says.
He gives Anko a nod and she disappears knowing what to do. Once Kabuto leaves the proctor coughs before asking again.
"Now then, there are no others who will quit?" Hayate asks.
After a few minutes and more arguing from Team 7 he begins again.
"Now then, we will begin the preliminaries. The preliminaries to come are to be one-on-one individual battles. In other words, actual battle format. There are now exactly twenty people, so we will conduct ten battles. The winners will be able to advance to the third exam.
There are no rules at all. You will fight until someone dies, collapses … or admits defeat. And … please admit defeat right away if you don't want to die.
However, in case I judge that a match is over … err, I don't want to needlessly increase dead bodies, so I will intervene and stop the match or something to that effect.
What holds the key to your destinies is …" He stops the explanation and gives a nod to Anko whom had returned.
"Open it" She orders over her microphone.
Slowly a panel on the wall to the left slightly above the statue opens up revealing a large black screen.
"This. The names of two foes will be randomly selected and displayed on this electronic scoreboard. Now then, let's get right down to it and announce the two names for the first battle" Hayate says.
Names start running through as they cycle and the genins wait anxiously before it reveals the first two fighters names.
"Now then, the two displayed on the scoreboard, come forward" Hayate commands.
Kankurō's only response was a cocksure grin. Tomaru's response was to hoop and holler, which only increased the smirk the Suna teen sported.
"Yeah, I get to go first. I'm totally going to beat cat ears over there!" Tomaru shouted excitedly.
The other contestants looked at him in annoyance already dismissing him along with Kankurō as just being some lucky punk kid that was in over his head.
"For the first battle, Minakura Tomaru and Kankurō have been selected. No objections right?" Hayate says.
"No way!" Tomaru shouts.
Kankurō just shook his head still smirking at his apparent easy draw.
"Now then we will begin the first battle. Everyone other than the two foes, please move to the upper area" Hayate directs.
"Good luck Tomaru" Naruto says.
Fuki gave him a nod before following Naruto and the rest of the genin teams including their sensei's to the balconies over looking the arena floor. Hayama gave Tomaru one last bit of advice before following his other two genin.
All the Konoha teams seemed to gather on one side while the foreign teams went up to the adjacent balcony. Team 4 ended up standing between Team Ten and Team Seven. Naruto felt like a number of eyes were also looking at him as he focused on his teammate.
When everything settled down the proctor got to work.
"Now then, please begin" Hayate says beginning the match.
Thank you for reading the 13th chapter of Speed Unmatched. I hope you enjoyed it. Next up of course will be the preliminary battles. Some fights will be kept the same, but there will be some original fights. I am interested in hearing if you want Naruto to fight Kiba or someone else and who that might be. Since I have no other updates I'll just add my first inclination was to have Naruto fight Lee.
Anyway thank you for taking the time to read this story. Until next time, dear reader :)