Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or this story idea.

Chapter 14 – Prelims

"Now then, please begin" Hayate says before leaving the arena floor.

"I'll bring this to an end, quickly" Kankurō asserts.

He removes the large bundle from his back as it slams down against the concrete floor of the arena making a heavy thud sound.

"Kugutsu no Jutsu – Puppet Technique" Kankurō calls out.

He then rips the cloth off of the bundle revealing a puppet. It resembled a human but had three eyes, four arms, jagged teeth, and spiky brown hair. It also had a tattered dark cloak covering most of it's torso. It was hanging on the Suna puppeteer and making some eerie mechanical like sounds.

Tomaru took out a scroll from his pocket and unraveled it to show the kanji for sword as he poured chakra into it. A poofing sound was heard before the smoke cleared showing Tomaru handling a wakizashi. The blade was close to twenty-four inches in length or sixty centimeters with an all black plain tsuba that had the hole punched close to the guard of the sword and a plain grip. The only thing decorative about the sword was the scabbard or saya which was made of a dark wood and held the kanji for wind largely embossed in black on both sides.

Unsheathing the sword he held it at an angle towards Kankurō and took a few swings before lowering his body slightly getting into his stance.

Up in the stands the waiting participants commented amongst themselves.

"What is that idiot doing now? I bet he doesn't even know how to use that sword!" Ino exclaims.

"I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss him" Naruto says gaining the attention of those around him.

"Why not?" Sakura asked bluntly.

"Team Ten is a recon and interrogation team, Team Seven is ninjutsu and possibly an assault/demo squad, Team 8 is genjutsu and reconnaissance, and Team Nine is a tiajutsu and primary assault squad. Team 4's focus believe it or not is kenjutsu and assault/demolition. Sensei is one of the strongest kenjutsu users in the village after Hayate-sempai and his fiancé.

So few ninja dedicate themselves to the art of kenjutsu or even use a sword believing it to be a weak art better used by samurai and civilians. Sensei wants to change that and show that kenjutsu is a legitimate shinobi art worth studying. As a team we practice kenjutsu every day. Of the three of us Tomaru is the one who has taken to sensei's lessons the best" Naruto answers.

The sensei's looked at the blond teen impressed by his words none more so than Hayama as he puffed out his chest a little. He really was glad he decided to take a team on this year. However, the genin weren't easily sold.

"Still Tomaru might be better than you, but he's nothing compared with someone like Sasuke-kun"Ino retorted.

Naruto didn't bother to reply and instead focused back on arena floor.

"Not going to say anything"

"My name is Minakura Tomaru member of Konoha's genin squad 4. Surrender now and I won't destroy your little doll" Tomaru taunts with a smirk.

"Grrr … you little punk this isn't some doll. This is Crow created by Sasori of the Red Sand and S-ranked ninja passed onto me. I'll show you just how deadly Crow is when I wipe that smirk off your face" Kankurō returns.

Tomaru had to jump back as Crow flew at him fast with what looked to be a punch, but the hand flipped up at the last second revealing a hidden blade. The blade skidded off the concrete floor digging a very shallow trench and creating an awful racket as it continued it's chattering.

In retaliation Tomaru turned and then spun bringing his sword around fast to slice the puppet in half, but only met with air before he slid to the side as the puppets other arm tried to jam another hidden blade into his thigh. Lunging forward he moved to stab the puppet only for it to swipe at him with blades on both it's wrists forcing him back.

Tomaru jumped back to create some distance, but before he could think about his next move the puppet raised it's arm and fired a smoke bomb at him that detonated obscuring the floor and the fight.

Up on the balcony with the waiting genin they all watched the fight unfold. A few watched with disinterest not really caring about any fight but their own. Others watched intrigued by the Suna genins use of puppets having limited or no previous knowledge of the art. Puppeteering was pretty much exclusive to Suna although some of the concepts had been adapted for other uses, and therefore even an ally like Konoha had limited to no knowledge of it. Even at the academy level they had merely glossed over the increasingly obscure art as it was even becoming a rarity in Suna for someone to choose to be a puppeteer.

"He's done for. He can't even hit that Suna kid" commented Ino.

"Just wait. We haven't practiced long enough to learn some of the stronger sword techniques, but there is one Tomaru knows very well that will shake things up" Naruto says causing everyone to focus harder on the match below.

Tomaru gathered his chakra and remembered the elemental training he had done so far. He and Naruto were still perfecting the second level of wind nature transformation training, but he had made significant progress. Focusing his chakra into his blade and raised it high above his head. Gripping the sword with both hands and maintaining the flow of his chakra Tomaru breathed in deeply before exhaling and bringing the blade down quickly in a slashing motion.

The result was the chakra coating the blade cutting through the cloud of smoke and slicing clean through Kankurō's puppet and nearly cutting off the arm he was using to control it before he jumped away in surprise as Crow fell apart, but this time not in anyway Kankurō would be able to control. Not wasting a second Tomaru closed the distance between him and the puppet user and hit him with his sheath before bringing the butt of his sword down on the back of Kankurō's head.

"Winner Minakura Tomaru" Hayate announces after checking Kankurō.

The medics quickly came out and took the unconscious Suna genin somewhere he could rest and recover. Tomaru meanwhile bound up the stairs to join his teammates with a big grin on his face. He had done it and was one step closer to becoming a chūnin and then Hokage.

"Congratulations Tomaru" His sensei says giving him a smile.

"Yeah way to go Tomaru. You totally showed pajama boy who's the boss" Naruto comments.

"Great job" Fuki says simply.

"I was great wasn't I" Tomaru boasts with a goofy grin.

Meanwhile the other teams regarded Team 4 with closer scrutiny. None of the other sensei's could believe that a genin barely a few months removed from the academy could do such an advanced move as the one he pulled off. Chakra Flow techniques were something generally learned by jōnin or experienced chūnin. They were all anxious to see the rest of the team in action.

For the other Konoha genin the reactions was more of shock.

'When did that idiot get so strong' was the general thought.

The Suna team also looked more closely at Team 4 not believing Kankurō could loose to a rookie genin like that. They knew Kankurō was holding back due to the planned Invasion, but there was no way he should have lost his match like that. Something was definitely different about that team.

Soon it was time for the next battle and Hayate got the show on the road calling for the next competitors.

"Will Uchiha Sasuke and Akadō Yoroi please come down" Hayate announces.

As the Uchiha passed them Team 4 swears they hear him say, 'watch how a real ninja fights'. Team 4 didn't let it bother them though as they watched the fight. The fight wasn't much of one in Naruto's opinion, but something seemed off with the Uchiha.

At one point in the match he was exuding a strange dark chakra that felt positively evil. In the end the Uchiha won, but was quickly taken away by Hatake-san before anyone could ask him about it. After both combatants were off the field the names were cycled again before revealing the next match.

"Will Tsuchi Kin and Yamanaka Ino please come down"

Naruto watched the Yamanaka girl saunter down towards her opponent. No one on her team wished her good luck or anything and the other genin save for Haruno Sakura, whom stuck her tongue out at Ino, said anything either. Yet the girl walked down there as if she was the strongest ninja in the room.

"She's a Yamanaka, watch for her mind transfer jutsu. We wouldn't want you to be caught with the same technique twice" Dosu tells her before she headed down the steps.

'Baka, as if I don't know that already. I'll make her pay for that bit of humiliation' Kin thought.

Kin just walked down the steps turning away from her team leader and stopping when she was in front of her opponent. When Hayate began the match both girls ran at the other as fast as they could. They both reached each other at the same time with Kin still being able to get inside Ino's guard and knocking her to the ground where she then kicked the Yamanaka heiress in her stomach hard forcing the blonde to skid roughly across the floor a few feet.

"Heh, your faster than pinkie over there but your still weak. All you Konoha kunoichi are the same, just a bunch a weak sluts looking for some man to save you" Kin says admonishing the downed girl.

Of course this earned her glares from Kurenai, Anko, Tenten, and Sakura but she didn't even feel their heated gaze. Ino struggled to stand up, but was immediately kicked in the stomach once again by Kin and then hit in the back of her head knocking her out quickly. Kin had learned her lesson from the incident with Team 7 in the forest and wasn't about to lose and face their 'sensei's wrath.

"Sousha Tsuchi Kin" Hayate called as medics came and took away the downed Yamanaka.

Sakura watched as her friend was carted away feeling a little worried for her. They had been able to reconnect a little in the Forest as Ino helped her with her hair. She still wanted to fight her former best friend fair and square to show she wasn't the same little girl anymore, but that could wait. She just hoped she was okay.

Everyone focused back on the board as the remaining names were cycled. The next match was Hyūga Neji versus Tsurugi Misumi. The beauty yet fierceness of the gentle fist was put on display as Neji quickly dispatched Mizumi with little effort.

Misumi's ability to soften his body with chakra was eliminated by Neji's precise strikes. The loud screams of pain Misumi unleashed from a few simple touches told the remaining genin all they need to know about Neji. They were all wary of perhaps fighting him in the finals although a few look forward to the challenge.

The names were cycled again revealing the next match. It turned out to be surprisingly one sided. The Suna kunoichi Temari faced off against Team Guy kunoichi Tenten. Tenten showcased some nice skills that involved sealing jutsu and weapons along with being very fast in Naruto's opinion. Unfortunately Temari's wind jutsu rendered all of Tenten's attacks useless and the match was ended painfully by the Suna kunoichi.

The next fight was between Inuzuka Kiba and Akimichi Chōji. It was a decent fight as both were strong fighters. Unfortunately for Chōji Kiba was much faster and unlike in the academy he had Akamaru fighting with him making it essentially two on one. The finally happened after the Inuzuka and his ninken ingested a military ration pill raising their chakra levels sky high then threw down some smoke pellets obscuring everyone's view.

Chōji did manage to momentarily escape using his human bullet tank technique after he also ingested a pill. Kiba nor Akamaru could stop the rolling ball of flesh, which Kiba countered by using his clans Fang passing Fang jutsu. Being repeatedly buffeted by the dual drills of the Inuzuka pair Chōji was knocked out of his jutsu after several attacks and then unconscious by Akamaru clipping him.

The medics came taking Chōji away on a stretcher, which they struggled to load him on and then move to the medical bay. Kiba of course strutted back up the steps with Akamaru barking away happily as they went back to their team.

Naruto really didn't care much for the Inuzuka. He was brash, rude, and seemed to have an over inflated opinion of himself. Naruto did feel bad for Chōji. Everyone knew he would lose the fight as fighting wasn't really in the chubby boys heart. Naruto decided he would take the Akimichi out for barbeque some time when this was all over not knowing that his friend's sensei was planning to do the same, feeling bad that he had goaded the boy using food.

With Chōji and Kiba off the floor the board began to spin again. The remaining contestants were staring at the board anxiously for different reasons.

'I hope I'm not paired against that freak from Suna. That team is way too mean' Thought Sakura.

'I hope I fight soon' Thought Naruto.

'Troublesome, as long as Naruto is my opponent I don't care' thought Shikamaru.

'Anyone but the red head' were the thoughts of the remaining Sound participants.

'Soon … I will kill you all so mother can feast on your blood'

Of course one competitor was not waiting as quietly so everyone had to suffer the shouting and idiotic rants of Rock Lee and his sensei. Thankfully for everyone he was next. The screen revealed the fight to be Rock Lee versus Abumi Zaku. Everyone was shocked when Lee quieted down and gained a serious look in his eye as he gazed towards his opponent who just smirked before jumping down on to the arena floor with Lee following suit.

Unfortunately after the intense stare down and a few words about some encounter during the second stage that seemed to involve nearly half the remaining genin teams the fight was over quickly and brutally. Rock Lee immediately charged his opponent giving no time for his injured competitor to remove the sling holding up his damaged arm.

He just seemed to move right in front of the guy as soon as Hayate gave the go ahead and then connected with a painful looking roundhouse to Zaku's temple that sent him flying backwards. Before the injured boy could even land Rock Lee seemed to just materialize over top of him and delivered a drop kick right to his temple. Zaku landed roughly bouncing off the hard concrete floor before his feet were grabbed by Lee whom then spun around with increasing speed before releasing Zaku sending him flying into the statue at the other end of the arena.

All the contestants merely watched in awe as Hayate checked on Zaku and declared Lee the winner before gesturing to the medic crew on stand by. The medic-nin quickly picked the boy up and left. All watched the broken boys figure as he disappeared from the arena.

They all made a note to not piss off Lee if they could help it. No one said a word as the boy made his way back to his team until he made his way by Team 7 where Sakura thanked him for some reason and then everything was back to normal. As the boy happily declared his love for the blushing pre-teen and skipped back to his sensei where he was further congratulated everyone else just shook their head and tried their best to ignore them.

When the board began cycling through names again the tense atmosphere quickly returned. Thankfully the board revealed the next match to be Fuki and Sakura. When the names appeared Sakura couldn't stop from shouting out in joy.

"Yes! I'll show Sasuke-kun I am the only one for him!" Sakura shouted while pumping her first.

In Sakura's mind this was the perfect fight for her. She remembered back to her childhood when Fuki lead by Ami and that other girl would pick on her and roughed her up until Ino came along. Sakura had never gotten a chance to get any revenge on them even in the academy as she never spared against Ami or Fuki, but she remembered that they weren't that good. Honestly it was a surprise that Ami and those two losers had passed.

'I can do this. I can beat her' Sakura chanted in her mind.

Making their way down to the arena Fuki didn't even give the pink haired girl a glance as she continued forward only stopping to look at her opponent when she stood across from her in front of the proctor. Sakura for her part tried to glare at her opponent the whole way down her anger increasing as it seemed Fuki wasn't even paying her any attention.

"This won't be like when we were kids!" Sakura shouted as she clinched her first.

"I will defeat you and repay you for everything you put me through!" The pink haired genin continued.

As soon as Hayate gave the go ahead Sakura ran at full speed towards Fuki and threw a roundhouse kick at her. Fuki instead of dodging simply caught the kick firmly gripping Sakura's calf muscle before squeezing hard causing the pink haired kunoichi to scream in and pain and kick out her other leg to kick Fuki away.

Instead of letting go Fuki caught the other leg and then lifting the still screaming kunoichi in the air before slamming her hard on the floor of the arena. Luckily for Sakura her back hit the hard floor just before her head did allowing her to stave off a concussion and to stay in the fight. Knowing she couldn't do anything to shake the girl off her as Fuki still held her grip and was preparing to lift the pink haired kunoichi for another slam.

'I can't … I won't loose … not like this' Sakura thought.

Willing herself to move Sakura reached for a hidden kunai and grasping it as firmly as she could threw it up at Fuki. Fuki saw it coming in time to jump away giving Sakura the time to scramble up to her feet and move away to give herself some space.

"I won't … I won't lose … not to you!" Sakura shouted.

Sakura took off running towards Fuki again as she went through hand seals quickly. Fuki recognized what jutsu she was using and almost scoffed as two clones came into view running beside Sakura. Fuki saw through what Sakura was doing easily as the girl tried to confuse her by running in a strange pattern using the clones to mask her approach. Unfortunately for Sakura Fuki could easily solve the problem.

"Earth Release : Earth Shaking Palm technique" Fuki called out as she slapped the ground.

Just like the name suggested the arena began to shake enough that Sakura tripped and fell as the clones passed right through Fuki. Sakura slowly rose to her feet a bit shaken by the technique but other wise fine. However, with her being disoriented Fuki would cast her next jutsu before she could completely recover. She went through the hand seals Snake – Ram - Dog - Rat - Snake - Tiger …

"Doton: Kengan no Jutsu – Earth Release: Stone Fist Jutsu" Fuki called.

Running at Sakura faster than most thought she could Fuki delivered a straight punch that connected with Sakura's jaw dropping her once again to the Earth. Sarutobi was shocked that the girl knew that technique as it was a favored technique of the Tsuchikage. One thing was becoming certain for everyone and that was that Team 4 was a lot stronger than anyone thought.

Sakura struggled to get back to her feet.

"I … I … won't … lose … I won't … give up" Sakura says as she slowly rises to her feet.

"Woohoo! Go Sakura! You can beat her!" Cheered Rock Lee.

If Sakura could have looked up at the balcolney she would have smiled at the boy. Despite how weird he dressed and looked Rock Lee had been there when she needed him and fought and bled for her. Resolving herself Sakura moved to confront her enemy again.

"I won't loose!" She shouted as she threw several kunai at Fuki.

For her part Fuki didn't even dodge as she caught each of them with her stone encased hand. Dropping the Kunai she engaged Sakura in a short and brutal tiajutsu bout where thanks to the stone fist jutsu the pink haired genin once again found herself being knocked to the ground. Fuki didn't allow her to get back up dropping her knee on Sakura's stomach and then delivering another punch to her head driving it back into the stone floor.

Everything quieted down as Hayate checked the girl to make sure she was okay.

"Winner, Fuki" Hayate announces before motioning to the medics.

As they carried the girl out Fuki looked in her direction hidden from those watching above as she mouthed 'sorry' to the girl not that she thought she could see her. Unbeknownst to her Sakura did have an eye slightly open and caught the gesture. She would have smiled if she wasn't in so much pain.

When Fuki rejoined the team she was of course congratulated.

"Awesome fight Fuki, those jutsu you used were awesome!" Tomoru shouted.

"Good job Fuki-chan" Hayama says smiling at his female student.

"Great job Fuki" Naruto says with a smile as well congratulating his teammate.

Fuki just smiled as well and accepted the congratulations from her team mates. This left four opponents. All four looked at one another as the names cycled through. Hayama and the other Konoha inhabitants looked at Naruto and wondered what he was capable of.

Of course some knew or suspected and were hoping the boy would be paired against the Sound kid. Not that they wanted the Nara heir to have to face Gaara, but they felt he would probably give up anyway given who the other three he would have to face were. Nara's were notorious for their laziness after all and the boy had spent the entire time complaining about the whole affair.

However Team 10 and Naruto knew different. Asuma watched out of the corner of his eyes as his favorite students entire being seemed to be focused on the enigmatic blond. Asuma tried to recall what he knew of the boy, but found he was lacking for answers except for his not so secret, but still secret status as Konoha's jinchūriki.

For Shikamaru this whole thing had been one big pain. If it wasn't for Ino he and Chōji never would have got involved. First it was that lame test, then it was that stupidly dangerous forest. He hadn't been able to sleep more than a few hours at any one time during the second stage of the exam and he had passed cranky days ago. The only thing keeping him from unleashing his anger on everyone was that it would be too troublesome to do so, but now …

The board stopped flipping through names to reveal Uzumaki Naruto versus Nara Shikamaru. Hayama stopped Naruto before he could depart.

"Watch the shadows Naruto and you should be fine" Hayama instructs.

Naruto nods and heads down, but not before smiling and giving a small wave as his teammates wished him good luck. Naruto looked for his opponent too finding him standing lazily at the steps like he was waiting on him. When Naruto reached the stairs the Nara moved in step with him until they were both standing in front of Hayate.

The Nara just stopped closer to the steps so Naruto continued to the other side of the proctor unfazed. Both boys stared at one another as Hayate looked at both before giving the signal to start and jumping away.

For a minute nothing seemed to be happening as neither boy made a move. However to those above they could see a thin tendril of Shikamaru's shadow slowly stretching across the floor to reach the Uzumaki.

"Why isn't Naruto moving?" Doesn't he see that shadow?" Tomaru questions.

Fuki and Hayama though continued to focus on the match ignoring the question. They and everyone else watched as just before the shadow could latch onto his Naruto took several quick steps backward. The shadow followed and he took several more steps back successfully evading the slower moving tendril.

Now knowing that his technique was spotted Shikamaru ditched all stealth as his shadow widened and moved to capture the Uzumaki, but Naruto just took several quick hops backwards thus forcing the shadow to come to a stop as it reached it's maximum length.

"I didn't think you would notice in time" Shikamaru says in a casual tone.

"We're fighting on a perfectly flat lit stage. You are going to have to be a little cleverer if you plan to win" Naruto taunts.

"I will defeat you Uzumaki"

"I don't think so" Naruto says before throwing down a smoke bomb.

Shika didn't have a chance to respond before three more smoke bombs went off around the arena almost simultaneously obscuring the whole floor from view. Soon several clanging sounds, ripping sounds, sound of pain, and more tearing sounds were heard.

When the smoke dissipated there stood Shikamaru and Naruto in the same places they were before the smoke screen enveloped the floor. The only difference Shikamaru had several cuts one on his cheek, another on the outside of his left pants leg, and one near the wrist of his right arm. Naruto didn't come out completely unscathed as he had a couple of rips and tears on his clothing, but no visible marks on his skin.

"I didn't think a lazy bum like you would be able to keep up like that" Naruto says.

"I may be lazy, but …"

"But what?" Naruto asked after several second of silence.

"It's too troublesome to say" Shikamaru responded.

Asuma couldn't stop himself from face palming. Others just shook their heads at the typical Nara response.

Shikamaru didn't waste the time he was given as he threw a flash bomb towards Naruto that blinded him and allowed Shikamaru to extend the length of his shadow capturing Naruto. Naruto didn't even have time to rub his eyes before he was captured. The unusual speed was partly due to the shadow already being out and extended to reach Naruto and the fact Shikamaru dumped more of his chakra than usual in the technique, which left him feeling a little winded.

Feeling secure that Naruto was caught and wouldn't be able to escape easily Shikamaru took a few seconds to gather himself. It was a few seconds to long as Naruto also gathered himself namely his chakra internally. He began to move his hands slowly fighting Shikamaru's jutsu.

Shikamaru had been caught off guard by the resistance Naruto put up as no one his age had been able to fight off his shadow possession technique. However, he was able to feed more chakra into the technique slowing, but still not stopping Naruto who flared his chakra even higher as a slight haze began to form around him.

Shikamaru strained to keep the blond bastard from forming any hand seals, but the Nara was running low on chakra and the blond seemed to be a never ending fountain of the stuff as his hands formed the boar hand seal. The next second everyone in the room stood shocked as Shikamaru was sent flying into the statue at the end of the room and knocked unconscious.

Everyone stood in shock at the sudden ending even the proctor before Naruto cleared his throat and the man checked the downed Nara.

"Nara Shikamaru is unable to continue the fight, winner is Uzumaki Naruto" Hayata calls.

Naruto calmly walked back up the steps to the congratulatory exclamations of his teammates. He smiled and accepted the praise although he hoped Chōji would not dislike him after he beat up his best friend. He tried to end the match sooner, but the Nara was good. Naruto didn't like that he had to use his kekkei genkai to win the match especially with so many spectators to view him doing so.

For the Sandaime he had been impressed by both boys, but he was particularly impressed with Naruto. He had never seen the Swift Release bloodline and their was little known about it, but the speed Naruto had attained using it for that scant second was unreal. Even to his experienced eyes the boy was little more than a blur.

Kakashi gave an eye smile to his sensei's son when he caught his eye as he returned to stand with his team. Like the Sandaime he saw little more than a blur, a faint one at that. He was proud of how strong his sensei's son was.

'Just like Minato-sensei' Kakashi thought about the boys speed.

The other Jōnin and participants eyed Naruto warily. They hadn't even been able to see what he did or how he did it. To break through the Shadow Possession technique of a Nara was one thing. Shikamaru was a rookie genin after all and as was the norm with his clan he was quite lazy. One could assume the Nara heir just didn't have that good a grasp on the technique yet, but Asuma knew that wasn't the case.

The main concern was the amount of speed he displayed. If they didn't know any better one might assume it was on the level of the Yondaime Hokage or the current Raikage. He would be a difficult opponent in the next round.

The only ones not affected by the display were Lee and Gai as Lee ranted about how youthful the blond was and how he wanted to fight him in some epic battle to prove himself. Of course the way he said it was a lot more annoying, which wasn't helped by his sensei egging him on. Thankfully they didn't hug this time.

Finally it was time for the last match. It was brutal and bloody as the Sound shinobi Dosu tried to use his melody arms to attack Gaara, but the sand dampened the attack to the point it didn't even bother the Suna shinobi. At least not enough to stop him from sending a wave of sand, which quickly caught the surprised Oto shinobi and then dispatched of him brutally.

Unfortunately Hayate had been slow to call the match and as a result Dosu was dead his blood absorbed into the sand before Gaara unceremoniously dropped what remained of the body. After the remains were cleaned up the winners were called down to join Gaara. They all gave him a wide berth.

The Hokage congratulated them and then gave another brief speech before giving them some instruction on what to expect. Then they had to pick a number out of a box that would determine whom they would face.

The first match would be Neji versus Kiba, the second match Tomaru versus Temari, the third match Naruto versus Lee, the fourth match Fuki versus Kin, and the last match would be Sasuke versus Gaara. The competitors looked at their competition with only Lee shouting in joy at getting to fight Naruto.

Naruto looked at his opponent as he exclaimed how youthful and epic their fight would be. The blond genin knew he would have to train hard during the month. He knew he could keep up in the speed department even if that meant he might have to resort to his bloodline, but he was mostly worried about Rock Lee's strength. The excited older genin showed in his brief fight to have incredible amounts of both speed and strength that Naruto wasn't sure he could match.

He decided he would have to up his strength and maybe learn a few jutsu that could give him an edge. He also wanted to contact the Cheetah clan during this month as he felt bad for not doing so since he signed the contract months ago. But as the genin were dismissed Naruto couldn't help, but feel proud and excited about making it this far. He couldn't wait to get started training for the Finals.

Thank you for reading this chapter of Speed Unmatched. I hope you enjoyed it. And I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.