darkanomoly: HA! Well, good for you. If you didn't like last chapter because it was "lazily" and "poorly" written, you might as well drop this story because that's just the way I write. K. Bye.
Idk what's with people and insulting this fanfic... But whatever.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
The fight between Kankuro and Misumi had gone just as quickly as the previous fights, with Kankuro winning in no time. The next match, however, had dragged out for far too long for most of the people watching; The match between Sakura and Ino.
Naruto had cheered Sakura on, of course. No matter how much of a bitch she was to him sometimes, he still cared for her and wished for her to win against her blonde rival. But the match had ended in a tie, much to his dissapointment.
And just like the matches before it, the match between Temari and Tenten had also went by in an instant. Temari kicked Tenten's ass brutally. It would have gotten out of hand if Gai had not stepped in and stopped the potential fight between Temari and Lee.
"Alright," Hayate started, "it's time for the next match." His black eyes flickered over to the electronic scoreboard as it began to go through all the potential combatants. It finally landed on the next two people:
Nara Shikamaru vs. Akado Yoroi
Kabuto's teammate swiftly teleported to where Hayate was and waited for the lazy Nara to come down. With a heavy sigh and an audible "troublesome," Shikamaru stuffed his hands into his pant pockets and sluggishly made his way down the stairs and onto the main floor.
The two male shinobi stood in front of each other, one with a pout, the other with no expression evident. Hayate coughed and eyed them briefly before announcing the next match.
Naruto and Kiba were going at it hard. Unforunately, Naruto had been fighting against the ninken user poorly, due to Kiba's Beast Human Clone technique. But towards the middle and end, Naruto made quite the comeback.
Karin intently watched, her bright red eyes never once leaving the orange clad body of Naruto. From the other side, Hinata was, too. Noticing this, Karin couldn't help but glare slightly at the petite Hyuuga.
Why doesn't she just cheer him on already? It's so obvious she wants to. The red haired girl gave a soft sigh, just bareily audible to her oblivious teamamtes, and returned her undivided attention back to Naruto.
The way his chakra fluctuated fascinated her. It was so warm, so gentle, so... memorizing. It was different, and she couldn't figure out why for the life of her. He had so much of it; so much that it actually intimidated her somewhat. There was something unusual about him... and it wasn't just his kindness.
Kiba ran towards Naruto and made a sharp turn, claws ready to stike for the final blow.
"Naruto!" His name left her lips without even thinking.
Suddenly, the ninken user grabbed at his nose as he began to swing back and forth.
...What the...? Did he just fart...?
"Aw, seriously, did he just fart in that guy's face? That's so gross!" Her teammates laughed. "I'm so glad I'm not him!"
Karin's eye twitched.
As Kiba was offguard, the blonde-haired shinobi preformed his signature kage no bunshin jutsu and surrounded him. Then, with the help of his bunshin, he kicked Kiba up into the air and brought him back down with a powerful kick to the face.
The Inuzuka landed hard on his face, blood coming out of his mouth as he painfully smashed his face into the hard ground. Naruto stood over him, panting loudly as he tried to get as much oxygen as possible into his deprived lungs.
Hayate kneeled before Kiba and turned him over slightly. He was unconscious. "The winner is Uzumaki Naruto," he declared, standing back up again as he backed away.
"Yeah! Way to show him, Naruto!" Karin yelled, happiness exploding in her chest at Naruto's victory. Her teammates gave her a strange look, both of their eyesbrows raised, and then exchanged a confused look with each other. They didn't question what her deal was.
The jinchuuriki looked up at her, smiling broadly as he did so. He gave a thumbs up to her as a blush colored his whiskered cheeks. Once he got back up the balcony with the rest of his team, both Sakura and Kakashi congradulated him. As they continued on talking, he couldn't help but let his mind wander over to Karin and her encouragement. He looked over to where she was at and let a smile cross his face.
They had just met, yet she was already giving him so much encouragement. It was refreshing, actually. An almost complete stranger was acknowleding him and his achievements. Naruto felt a swell of pride in his chest at the thought.
"Hyuuga Hinata versus Hyuuga Neji."
At the annoucement of Hinata's name, Naruto's focus went back to down below them.
Now it was his time to give encouragement.
Karin winced as Neji landed yet another blow to Hinata. The poor girl, she thought. Her cousin was going at her without showing mercy. The Hyuuga girl had displayed some impressive skills, but she was definitely no where in the same league as her older prodigy of a cousin. Naruto had been the one to give her support and encouragement. And just as Karin expected, it seemed the dark-haired girl had a crush on the orange clad shinobi, as it seems she had drawn her strength from his faith in her.
After recomposing herself, with a final glance up to Naruto, Hinata charged at Neji, her palm raised in front of her with an aura of determination around her. The two Hyuugas struck each other at the exact same time. They were both still, as were the audience, until finally, Hinata's Byakugan deactivated and she fell to the floor.
Hayate began to step forward. "Since she is unable to continue this match-"
"NO! Don't stop the match!" Naruto yelled.
"Naruto! Can't you see? She's unable to continue-" Sakura began to say, but stopped as Naruto nodded down and gave a smirk.
Hinata started to stand, albeit shakily, as she weezed profoundly. After Hinata spoke of matters dealing with their clan, something she said angered Neji, causing him to run at her. Right before he dealt the final blow, Kakashi, Gai, and Hayate intervened and stopped the enraged Hyuuga from killing her.
Lee and Gaara's fight had been intimidating. Karin couldn't even fathom fighting at the speed Lee was, and Gaara... she didn't even want to think about facing off against him. She felt so bad for the taijutsu user; Gaara crushing Lee's left arm and leg was a scene that will be forever burned into her memory. It was terrifying, Gaara's bloodlust. The red-haired shinobi won the brutal match.
Akimichi Chouji vs. Akiyama Denbei
"Goodluck," Karin said, pushing up her glasses as she did so. He nodded to her in acknowledgement and made his way to the bottom floor.
Denbei had straight dark orange hair that parted in the middle. His bangs were swept to the left and his eyes were a pale green. His left ear was pierced with a simple silver earring. He donned a black track jacket and light brown pants. His shinobi sandals were the standard black. Around his neck was the Kusagakure hitai-ate, it being black like the most of his apparel.
He looked Chouji up and down, seemingly judging him based on his heavyset appearance. An eyebrow came up as he observed Chouji stuff a bag of potato chips in his pockets before a serious expression came onto his round face.
"Now," Hayate glanced at both of them, "let the tenth match begin."
"You can do it!" Shikamaru yelled.
"Go fat ass!" Ino cheered, cupping her hands around her mouth to make herself louder.
Chouji glared up at Ino, his demeaner changing from serious to dark. "You better watch it! I'll win this match quickly!"
The larger shinobi put his hands in front of him in the shape of a triangle. NinPou Multi-size no Jutsu! His body transformed into that of a large ball as he began to roll speedily towards Denbei.
The Kusa shinobi concenctrated chakra into his legs and jumped high into the air right before Chouji would have rolled right into him. Denbei had precise chakra control, much like Sakura, that allowed him to use it to advanced levels. Chouji spun around in an attempt to hit him. Jumping up again, with even more chakra focused into his legs, this time Denbei came down and landed a kick to Chouji's unprotected head. The powerful blow caused the Akimichi to spin out of control and bash into the cement wall.
His jutsu came undone as he crumpled to the floor in a heavy heap. He tried to stand up, but eventually fell back on to the floor, too weak to go on any longer.
"Akiyama Denbei, the winner!" Hayate announced.
A pair of medics came in soon enough and inspected the Akimichi still lying on the floor. Upon examination, it was found he was suffering from a concussion, due to the harsh blow to the head. They carried him off into the stretcher and left the room.
After the medics had left, Hayate waited until the teams calmed down and stopped their chattering. He coughed to gain their attention.
"Well, with this, the preliminary rounds have been completed!"
The finalist of the preliminaries were as follows; Sasuke, Shino, Kankuro, Temari, Shikamaru, Naruto, Neji, Gaara, and Denbei. All of them stood in front of Hayate, minus Sasuke.
"Congradulations to you all," Hayate said before stepping back. The third Hokage came forward and gave them all a stern look, his hands folded neatly behind him.
"As I told you all before, in the main event, your matches will be seen by everybody."
"Each of you will fight to represent the strengths of your countries. I'd like you to show off all your powers with no reserves."
"...Which is why the finals will be held one month from now."
Naruto pointed at the Hokage. "Were not going to it here, right now?" He asked rather rudely. Sarutobi sighed. Naruto clearly didn't understand a word he said. Figures.
"No. This break, you can say, will be for preparations."
This time it was Neji to speak. "What does that mean?"
Sarutobi took the pipe he was holding from his mouth. "In other words..." He struggled internally to find the right words that these younger people could understand. Pausing, he chose his next words very carefully, with the true stealth of an elite shinobi.
"In addition to informing all the various country lords and shinobi leaders, this is the time needed to arrange for the gathering of the event. And this is also the preparation time for you examination students." He mentally gave himself a pat on the back for hopefully choosing the right words for these young people to comprehend.
"I don't understand what you're trying to say! What does that mean?" Kankuro spoke up, just as confused as everyone else.
Nevermind... Sarutobi begrudingly thought.
"Basically, it's the preparation to get to know your enemy and yourself. To make everything fair, the one month should be used by all of you to advance and improve yourselves. Of course, it will be fine to rest your body as well."
During the Hokage's speech, Naruto drowned himself in thoughts of what he had seen firsthand today. He thought of Sasuke, Sakura and Ino's tie, his own fight against Kiba, his promise to defeat Neji for Hinata, the disturbing fight between Lee and Gaara, and of course, Karin's temmates. More specifically, Karin.
He felt his cheeks grow hot at the thought of the girl with the blazing red hair. Her support gave him such an ego booster. Man, she's so... so cute!
His thoughts ran short as he was on the recieving end of a pointed look from Sarutobi. Naruto sighed dejectedly, before trying to focus on the Hokage's boring speech about political stuff.
Before they could officially be dismissed, the winners drew a number which would decide who they would fight against in the finals. Naruto, much to his own surprise and excitement, would go up against Neji. He would be able to keep his promise to Hinata! Then it would be Kankuro against Shino, Sasuke vs. Gaara, and Shikamaru vs. Denbei, the winner going up against Temari.
"Orochimaru-sama, we have a problem." Kabuto bowed, peering up through his glasses into his master's serpent like eyes. He had no fear when dealing with this man. He would always be able to look straight into his golden eyes.
Chuckling slightly, Orochimaru looked down at the silver haired man at his feet, noting how competent a servant he was. "And, what would that be?"
Kabuto hesitated before relaying the information he had gathered.
"The Oto team you dispatched to the Chunin exams has been disqualified. They didn't even make it to the prelims." Kabuto slowly began to stand up and face the man himself. A smirk made its way on to his young face, but he stopped it before it could grow any larger.
Orochimaru, with his arms folded, looked away and gazed upon the village of Konoha. It wasn't any different from when he was a genin. It had always been too tranquil. There wasn't enough death and havoc to satisfy him. "No matter. Those three are worthless fools." He said. Pausing, he began to seemingly think something over before speaking again.
"And which team is it that went into the preliminaries in their place?"
"A team from Kusagakure." Kabuto pulled out three cards from his pockets and studied them over briefly before continuing. "Two males, and one female. They're about the same age as Sasuke-kun."
Briefly glancing over their profiles, Kabuto was quick to answer. "The two males, from what I have gathered, only know the standard ninjutsu of Kusa, plus a few advanced ninjutsu, but nothing special nonetheless. As for the female..." He reviewed one of the cards in his hand in better detail, processing and memorizing the information he was being presented with.
"...She has a peculiar ability; the Mind's Eye of the Kagura. She's a sensor type shinobi."
Orochimaru, smiling to himself, mulled over the newly aquired bit of information. "Ah, well isn't that interesting..."
Perhaps she could be of use to him later...
But soon after, his smile turned into a frown. His expression grew sour as he scrutinized the way this village operated its daily life. He pushed the thoughts of the Kusa kunoichi to the back of his mind as he contemplated his plans for the serene village.
As keen as ever, the Konoha shinobi was aware something was on his lord's mind. "Is there something wrong?" He flashed his steel eyes in the general direction Orochimaru was looking and surveyed the area, finding nothing out of place or in the least bit interesting.
"This village..." He continued to stare off into the depths of the village, watching the birds fly and and hearing the laughter of its ignorant citizens, "is too accustomed to peace, when it is said that the other countries are strengthening their forces."
"Then this is the perfect time and oppurtunity to seize the village, is it not?" Kabuto asked, smirking. "But it seems you are still too hesitant to act, my Lord." This time Kabuto did not hold back on his arrogant bluntness.
Orochimaru's eyes flashed back to him in an instant. His eyes conveyed what he was silently asking; Go on.
"Uchiha Sasuke-kun is the catalyst, isn't that right? You seem anxious about that little fact." The medic nin pointed out. He pushed his glasses up to the bridge of his nose and congradulated himself mentally. Even a legendary sannin like Orochimaru was easy for him to figure out. He was an open book.
"There was something that bothered me a little," The sannin said, closing his eyes and making himself comforable against the pillar he was leaning on.
If possible, Kabuto's smirk grew even larger, and far more narcissitic. "Is it... Uzumaki Naruto-kun?" Yes, Orochimaru really was a simple minded being. He predicted that this would be his reaction to Naruto, after Kabuto witnessed how close the Uzumaki was to the Uchiha.
Orochimaru reached into his pant pocket and pulled out a card. "According to your data, it looks as if his contact with the Kyuubi brat has softened his heart and goals. He's a child that has too much influence on Sasuke-kun." He pocketed the card, saving it for later so that he can examine it even more in private. "The faster we tear them apart the better," he concluded.
Kabuto began to turn away from him before he was stopped by the hiss in the snake-like man's smooth voice.
"Kabuto... If you wish to stop me, then you must kill Sasuke-kun."
The silver-haired man froze, slowly looking over his shoulder and directly into the amber eyes of a madman.
"But, you're too weak to kill me, only about the same level as Hatake Kakashi."
Silence passed over the two shinobi.
"Hehe," Orochimaru giggled, breaking the painful ice between them. "I'm only joking. Go on now. I have faith in you."
The last thing Kabuto saw before he teleported away was Orochimaru giving him a smile coupled with a disturbing wink.
Sorry for the late update. It took me a while to write and edit this chapter. Hope ya enjoyed. Reviews would be appreciated!