A Fox's New Skulk

Chapter thirteen: Snake in the grass

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

The assembled genin waited at the back of the classroom. Naruto had expected to see Ibiki waiting for them, instead the room was empty. The other teams seemed just as confused. They had formed into groups by their village and were all alert. Minor flares of killing intent broke out from the more hostile villages.

"Wait for use!" Another genin team raced down the hall. The classroom door slammed shut right before they reached it. They pounded on it in an attempt to get in. Sakura, being the closest person to the door tried to open it for them. It was stuck fast. She braced her foot against the door frame and pulled. The door didn't even shake.

"What are you doing?" The entire collection of genin had been so focused on Sakuras spectacle that they had failed to notice Ibiki appear, along with two dozen Chunin. He waited a moment for Sakura to respond. "I said, what are you doing?"

"There, there's a team out there trying to get in." She explained, or tried to.

"That team was not in the room as instructed by the appointed time. Therefor they have already failed this exam. Now the rest of you have two minutes to draw a number and take a seat. Anyone still standing at that time will fail along with their team." Ibiki walked to the front of the room. One and a half minutes later everyone was seated. Ibiki pulled out a stack of papers and glared at them.

"Alright listen closely and no interrupting. Your first exam is a written test. Not a word! There are ten questions. This test is different from others you may have taken. You start with ten points and lose one for every wrong answer. If you lose to many points you fail along with your team. Also at the end of the test your team will be assigned a score based on the total point left to all its member, if this score is to low you will also fail."

"How many do we need to pass?" The speaker was a genin from a minor village, Naruto didn't recognize her headband.

"I believe I said no interruptions. A point from you. As to your question, it doesn't matter. Because you are supposed to do your best on each mission the numbers for passing or failing are not important. Now on to the last rule, if you are caught cheating three times you will be removed and failed along with your team." Ibiki handed the papers to a Chunin who began passing them to the students along with pencils.

Naruto was sure that Shino was right and the entire point of this test was to see how well they could spy. The rule about being able to be caught twice before failing seemed to assure it. Though there also seemed to be a deeper level to the test, Naruto had been on the receiving end of enough psychological abuse to recognize it. Ibiki was trying to make them crack, not telling them how many points they needed meant they'd agonize over each answer even more. And even if you passed, if you were the lowest scorer on your team you could still fail them.

He quickly read over the paper, thankfully the questions were all the same. Including the tenth one which none of them had been able to figure out. He wrote down the answers, changing the wording to sound more like him, and waited.

The Jonin instructors sat in a meeting room reserved for them, far from the first test. The pressure in the room was almost enough to crack the windows. An Iwa Jonin sat in the corner glaring at Kakashi and fingering his kunai pouch.

Zabuza releasing killing intent randomly wasn't helping the situation. He appeared to only be doing it to watch the less experienced Jonin jump. Those that had lived through actual war were shamed by the level of the newer Jonin.

Asuma was the last to arrive; he was carrying a large bag. "Alright everyone let's get the first round wagers going."

The Jonin began pulling out 500 Ryo apiece. Zabuza watched curious. "What's this?"

"Tradition. Every Jonin puts in 500 Ryo, the pot is split among those whose teams make it to the second exam." Kakashi said, he had stuck close to Zabuza since he had found out his former opponent was in the village. Waiting for the sword user to do anything he could be charged with.

Zabuza tossed in his Ryo. "I don't suppose you ever get to real betting?"

"Never on the first exam, but afterwards. I'll introduce you to my guy." Asuma said.

Sakura was shocked, the test made no sense. Not knowing how many points you needed was a huge amount of pressure. She was sure she could keep all of hers, and so would Sasuke but if Naruto lost too many he'd fail them all, regardless of how well she and Sasuke did.

All of her self-confidence evaporated when she saw the test. Looking through all of them she could only guess at how to solve half. She began to sweat, if she missed even three she could fail, even one wrong answer could doom them. Her pencil shook, he mind went black. This was impossible. Unless, could Naruto have really gotten the answers? No that was cheating, but she could be caught cheating twice. If Sasuke found out she had to stoop to cheating, but if she failed them.

With a shaking hand she carefully pulled out the answer sheet. The answers looked right, at least they all fit without any glaring mistakes. How long did she have left? There was a clock on the wall but Sakura realized they had never been told how long they had. It had only been a few minutes but that could already be most of their time.

She had to at least try. Carefully she copied the answers, not happy at how shaky her handwriting was. When she finished she sighed, if nothing else she had tried. She never noticed the several moments when her old friend and rival took possession of her mind and memorized her answers.

Naruto was bored; he had begun drawing on the back of his test to pass the time. He was pretty sure the clock on the wall was broken; it seemed to slow down and skip ahead randomly. Or maybe that was intentional. Naruto flipped his test back over and stared at the tenth and final question.

The tenth question will be administered by your instructor

Follow all instruction

Despite more time then he would have liked thinking about it he still couldn't figure out what type of question it would be. A kunai sailed past Narutos head burring itself in the paper of a genin down the row. The Chunin who had thrown it jerked his thumb towards the door; silently the boy and his teammates stood and walked out. The first few to fail had tried to argue; now everyone knew better.

Ibiki stood and cleared his throat. "Time for the tenth question. Anyone who has not finished the first nine questions now would be wise to leave."

The classroom stirred but no one left. "Before we start this last question I will tell you the special rules. Regardless of the rest of the test if you fail this final question you will fail this exam. Quiet! These are the rules. This is your last chance to withdraw, because if you fail this one question you will also be barred from all future Chunin exams and never again be eligible for promotion."

The classroom exploded. Ibiki slammed his hands onto the desk. "I said quiet! Next person to make a sound flunks! A shinobi must have confidence at all times. If you are not confident then leave now and try again at another time."

Slowly several people stood and left the room with mumbled apologies. "That's bullshit!"

There was complete silence as everyone turned to face Naruto. Ibiki gave him a sadistic smile. "What was that? You want to leave too?"

"No way! This whole test has just been a trick. But you went too far. A good prankster knows when not to over extend themselves."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"You backed yourself into a corner when you said we'd never be able to take the test again. Do you expect us to believe you got every other village to agree to that? Or that you even got the old man to agree to it?"

"Are you prepared to risk your career on that? And those of your teammates."

"Every time we go on a mission we risk our lives, what's a promotion to that. Besides I know you're lying." Naruto stuck his tongue out at the proctor.

"And do your teammates fell that way?" Ibiki said glancing at Sasuke and Sakura.

"He is an idiot but he is right." Sasuke said.

"And the rest of you are willing to bet on this failure as well?"

Hinata was the first to nod, then Shino and Kiba. Tenten and Lee. "Don't call me a failure or when I become Hokage I'll fire your ass and stick you on permanent Tora duty."

The tension in the room snapped. Ibiki sighed. This kid was a lot of trouble. He had undermined the pressure the Ibiki had built. "Very well, you have all officially passed the first portion of the Chunin exams."

The classroom erupted into cheers, all except Naruto. "What the hell are you talking about? What about the tenth question?"

"That was the tenth question. Be glad I don't throw you out for the heck of it."

The window exploded, Kunai embedded themselves in the ceiling, a black curtain blocked Ibiki from the classroom. A woman in a tan coat and mesh bodysuit stood in front of it. "Shut the hell up! You have nothing to cheer about yet! The real exam starts now! I'm Anko and why are there so many of you?"

Ibiki walked out from behind the curtain. "They are an exceptional group this year." He leaned in so the genin couldn't overhear. "Watch out for the kid in orange. I would have gotten rid of at least a dozen more groups if it wasn't for him."

"Really? Interesting. Alright! Everyone head to training ground forty four. You have two hours to get there, bring your equipment, this will take several days." Anko said, the class emptied in record time.

Naruto was one of the first to arrive at training ground forty four, thanks to already being packed and ready. Hinata, Shino and Kiba arrived soon after. Naruto walked over to join them. "Glad you guys made it through."

"I'm glad you made it too Naruto." Hinata said.

"It's a shame though; we never got to find out if Shinos answers were right."

"As long as we passed I am not particularly concerned about the validity of the answers I provided."

"Oh before I forget I got you guys these." Naruto pulled out three large bundles of explosive tags.

Kiba pulled out one of the tags. "These look kind of weird, are they safe?"

"Of course I made them myself!" Naruto said proudly.

Kiba dropped the tag and jumped back. Naruto glared at him. "They are safe! Tentens father sells them for me."

Carefully Kiba poke the tag. "You're sure?"


The clearing in front of the training ground was filling up, Naruto spotted Sasuke and Sakura. "Well I better go join my team, oh Hinata, do you remember who was it in our game of tag?"

"I'm not sure."

"Oh well." Naruto leaned in a kissed her softly. "Now you're it."

He ran off to meet up with his team while Kiba and Shino tried to keep Hinata from completely fainting.

Sakura ran to her home, thankfully she had the foresight to pack for a mission beforehand. She was sure Sasuke would get to the training ground early and she wanted to be with him before Naruto showed up. She snickered as she imagined him running around trying to grab everything.

By now she had convinced herself that Sasukes actions at the festival had been meant to inspirer her to work harder so they could both be promoted. She grabbed her pack and was about to leave when her mother grabbed her arm. "I have something for you. I know the second part of the exam is in a forest. This is in case you see a chance to move on Sasuke."

She handed Sakura a vial. "It's a powerful sleeping drug. Give it to your teammate if you think you can be alone with Sasuke; if he isn't interested slip him a little too. Go get him."

Sakura was pushed out the door, with instructions to drug Naruto and possible Sasuke too. She almost threw the vial away, but decided to keep it. She wouldn't use it like her mother wanted but she might find another use for it.

To her disappointment when she arrived at the forest of death Naruto was already there. He jogged over to her, and Sasuke who had arrived right behind her. "You guys set?"

"Of course we are. I'm surprised to see you here though; I figured you would still be trying to find all of your supplies." Sakura said trying to cover her nervousness.

"I was already packed. I've got something for both of you." Naruto pulled out two small stacks of explosive tags.

Sakura looked them over with doubt. They weren't the normal design she had seen used. He probably got then second hand or something. "These things will probably blow us up."

An arm draped over her shoulder, Anko gave her a creepy smile. "If you don't want them I will take them. These are pretty hard to get, and worth a small fortune. How'd you have to kill to get them?"

"I, I'm friends with Tenten, her father sells them. He got us all some."

"Well that's not as fun." Anko gave Sakura a wink before walked towards the front of the clearing. Sakura shuddered.

"Alright brats! Time's up, here are the rules. This is the forest of death, that's not just a name either. Your goal is to reach a tower at the center of the forest. It's about ten miles from the gate to the tower but chances are it'll take you most of the test to reach it if you live."

Anko snickered at the sick look on several of the genins faces. "Now then that would hardly be interesting so you also need a set of scrolls to enter the tower. Both the Heaven and Earth scrolls. You will get one before you enter, you will have to get the other one while in the forest from another team. All members of your team must reach the tower to move on. I think that's everything."

A Chunin whispered something to her. "Oh right you guys need to sign disclaimers saying we can't be held responsible if you die. This is only to save me from paperwork."

The disclaimers were passed around. Naruto frowned as he tried to work out the second exam. At best half of them would pass. But realistically maybe a third of them or less.

A tent had been set up so that no one could see which scroll each team got. When it was their turn Naruto noticed seals sown into the fabric. Probably meant to keep people from seeing in somehow, they were powerful. That meant he couldn't ask Hinata who had gotten what scroll.

As each team exited the tent a Chunin escorted them around the perimeter of the forest of death to a gate. He kept an eye on his watch and at the appointed time made a hand sign, the chain holding the gate closed fell to the ground. Naruto Sasuke and Sakura jumped into the trees. As soon as they entered the forest they were overwhelmed by the smells of decay and growth.

"So what's the plan Sasuke?" Sakura said after several minutes.

"Find a team and take their scroll, repeat until we have the set. Which one do we have?"

"Heaven. So we have to find an Earth scroll."

"That won't be a problem."

Naruto almost laughed, Sasuke was in for a rude awakening. "So what's our strategy?"

"I take them down you try not to get in my way." Sasuke said.

"Fine but if we fail because of your ego." Naruto couldn't finish because he missed the next branch and stumbled.

"Looks like you're the bigger liability." Sasuke smirked landing next to him.

Naruto stifled a yawn. It was ridiculous but he actually felt tired. "I'm fine."

To prove his point Naruto took out a Kunai and began flipping it. Then he missed a catch and the kunai buried itself in the ground several feet away. Well almost.

"Damnit!" A genin jumped out of the ground, the kunai planted firmly in his butt. "What the hell!"

"Ok I know what this looks like but that was a complete accident." Naruto said.

"Yeah right!" The rain genin pulled out the kunai with a grimace. "We were just going to take your scroll. Now I'm going to kick your ass!"

"Better let me handle this." Sasuke said drawing a kunai.

Naruto nodded and stepped back; he was more concerned about the rain genins teammates. "Sakura keep your eyes open, there's still two of them out there."

"Don't tell me what to do. Sasuke doesn't need your help."

Naruto was tempted to smack her. But there wasn't time. "Imagine how impressed he'll be if you have his back and get one of them."

Sakura drew a kunai and examined their surroundings. Remembering what Sasuke had said, if he didn't have to save her once. She threw the kunai into the trees. There was a muffled yell and a rain genin fell out of the tree. He climbed back to his feet, like the other he wore some kind of breathing mask over his mouth. "How did you find me?"

"Your Genjutsu sucks, those leafs you made weren't moving with the breeze."

Naruto really wanted to hit her now, that was how good she was when she tried? The rain genin mumbled something, Sakura glared at him. "What was that?"

"He said he can't wait to get a piece of Sasukes ass for himself." Naruto said. An obvious lie but it worked, Sakura charged the rain genin with a ferocity that caught him off guard. She began slashing at the rain genin. Almost knocking his kunai away.

Naruto looked back at Sasuke; he smirked when he saw that the amazing Uchiha was being forced into close range combat with no opening for a jutsu. Now that just left one rain genin unaccounted for. The ground under Naruto collapsed. The last rain genin sprang out of the ground and grabbed Naruto.

Before he could do anything more the second rain genin ran into him. The three of them tumbled. "What the hell get off of me. You're supposed to be taking out that girl."

"She's a monster!

"Use a Genjutsu they're your specialty!"

"She isn't giving me the chance." He rolled to the side as Sakura drove her Kunai into the spot his head had been.

"Stay. Away. From. Sasukes. Ass!" Each word was accompanied by another slash.

Sasuke was getting pissed; the rain genin wouldn't let him get enough distance to use a jutsu. They were evenly matched without using jutsu. Then the rain genin flattered when he heard Sakura screaming something about Sasukes ass. Sasuke had learned to tune her out, he hadn't. It was the opening he had been waiting for. Sasuke activated his Sharingan and kicked the rain genin using chakra to spring board away onto a tree.

His hands flashed and a stream of fire shot towards the rain genin. The rain genin barely managed to escape without being burned. He didn't have time to recover as Sasuke used fire jutsu and kunai to drive him towards his teammates. Planning to take them all out at once.

The three rain genin found themselves pressed back to back, surrounded by Naruto Sasuke and Sakura. One of them pulled out a paper ball and threw it to the ground.

Naruto almost laughed, it was a horrible smoke bomb. He could still see them. Then he found himself collapsing to the ground. He could barely move. Sasuke and Sakura seemed to be in worse shape gasping for breath.

The rain genin laughed. "Don't worry that wasn't a poison it'll just paralyze you. However if we leave you here you might get a big enough dose to paralyze you completely. I hear suffocating to death isn't pleasant."

"Let's get their scroll."

"Hang on I owe the blond some payback for stabbing me."

Naruto waited, he'd only get one shot. Thanks to numerous poisoning attempts and his own remarkable healing he could still move his hands and arms. While they talked he grabbed several explosive tags and a kunai. As one of the rain genin walked towards him he threw it.

The kunai just missed the rain genins head but exploded right behind him. They were all throw around. It took several moments for Narutos hearing to return, by then the paralyzing agent was weak enough that he could crawl. Only one of the rain genin was still there. The one that had been closest to the explosion. Part of his head was burned and his mask was askew.

Naruto pulled off the mask, since it didn't cover their noses they were exposed to the paralyzing agent. It made sense that they had an antidote in their masks. He took several deep breaths and shuddered as he regained control of his muscles.

He took the mask and held it up to Sakuras nose; she seemed to be in the worse shape. She began to couch and sat up. He handed her the mask. "Go help Sasuke."

While she did that he pulled out a roll of ninja wire and secured the rain genin. By the time Sasuke was up he had their prisoner secure and he had come around. "Alright where are your friends?"

"Like I'd tell you." The rain genin spit at Naruto.

Naruto got an evil idea. "Hey aren't you the one that wanted a piece of Sasukes ass?"

"No! No that was Kagair I swear!"

"I don't know, sure looked like you."

"I don't know where they went! Those bastards just left me! I don't even have the scroll!"

"Sasuke?" Naruto said.

"He's telling the truth." Sasuke said. "You caught him so you figure out what to do with him."

"Might as well just string him up from a tree and leave him. Let's see if he has anything good on him first." Naruto raided the genins pockets and found a pack of kunai, a spare mask, another paper ball and a very graphic love letter. Naruto left the letter.

They strung the rain genin from a high branch with his mouth gagged. Naruto left a small explosive tag trap on the branch. He stretched as they walked deeper into the forest. He couldn't figure out why he was so tired. The scuffle with the rain genin wasn't that bad.

"Can't you act more professional." Sakura said. Naruto wanted to remark that she had no room to speak but yawned instead. Much longer and he'd be staggering. Something was wrong. "That move with the explosive notes was stupid. What would have happened if you had hurt Sasuke? And I bet you think you look so cool with the design on your jacket. Orange on orange isn't cool it's just idiotic."

Naruto stopped. "What design?"

"The one on your jacket." Sakura said unable to believe how stupid he was being.

He pulled off his jacket and examined it. "Where?"

Sakura pointed out where a slightly darker shade of orange thread had been woven into his jacket. He pulled out a pocket ink and brush set and began tracing the threads so he could see them better.

Sasuke looked on with mild interest. "What are you doing?"

"I think someone tagged me with a seal." Naruto said, he didn't have to complete the seal to recognize what it was, even if he couldn't make that seal himself. "It's a chakra suppression seal."

"So someone put a seal on you big deal." Sakura said. She blushed when Sasuke began taking off his shirt.

"We all need to check our clothes." Sasuke said scowling. The idea of someone messing with his equipment infuriated him.

After a check of all of their clothes, and a good deal of blushing by Sakura only Naruto had seals on his clothes, unfortunately all but one pair of pants and two jackets were useless. Thankfully he was feeling fully awake now.

They proceeded further into the forest, it wasn't until Naruto realized he couldn't hear Sakura, rather than having just been tuning her out, that he knew something was wrong. Naruto had been sure that he was following Sasuke and Sakura a moment before but they were no were in sight. Looking back there were only his footprints.

"Well demon, alone in the forest. No traitors to hide behind. I'll do what should have been done at your birth." A man stepped out from behind a tree. He was thin with a greasy complexion. Naruto immediately noticed he didn't wear a headband and had no visible mark for any village. He was twirling a three pronged kunai.

"Who are you?" Naruto asked, the man was clearly not a shinobi.

"I am a voice for all those you have terrorized Demon. Die!" He threw the kunai; he was quick but not quicker than a normal Genin. It was easy for Naruto to get behind him and deliver a strike to his neck, knocking him out. Naruto was glad Gai had thought him that strike.

"You bastard! You killed Lenny!" A fat man charged Naruto who easily side stepped the attack and delivered the same strike. This was ridiculous. A quick search of the men revealed several more of the three pronged kunai and identification for the fat man. He was a restaurant manager, not a shinobi.

Naruto wondered what the two men were doing there, they weren't part of the exam, and he doubted either had cast that Genjutsu on him. Well he could figure that out later, right now he needed to find Sasuke and Sakura.

"What do you think happened Sasuke?" Sakura had been the first to notices Narutos absence. They had back tracked until the found where his prints split from there's. It seemed he had taken a sharp right turn.

Sasuke didn't like it, Naruto might have been an idiot but this was beyond his level of stupidity. There was no reason he would wonder off, and there were no signs of a struggle. So either this was planned or a Genjutsu, neither was good. Before he could answer a kunai with an explosive tag struck the ground between them. They jumped away in opposite direction. There was no explosion.

"Good reflexes. Room for improvement though." A grass genin stood on the path they had taken.

Sasuke didn't wait for him to attack again, with a quick hand sign he released a jet of flames at the grass shinobi. Shockingly he didn't move but allowed the fire to engulf him. Then reached up and pulled off their burning face. Tossing it aside.

Underneath was a face every genin knew from the academy. Orochimaru, considered the worst missing nin from their village. The horror stories of what he had done to civilians were enough to turn any shinobi stomach. Sasuke glanced at Sakura; she had covered her mouth with her hands and was shaking.

Orochimaru laughed. "I see they still teach about me. Tell me do you know what my favorite kind of venom is? The kind that eats away at you from the inside, liquefying the organs and flesh while leaving the skin intact."

He stretched his mouth, Sasuke could see two fangs. Then Orochimaru struck, but at Sakura. Sasuke leapt to intercept the attack, his sharingan spinning. She couldn't move, and he wouldn't make it in time. Images of the Uchiha massacre flashed through his mind. Not again. A pain flared in his eyes as the third and final tomoe appeared.

Still he wasn't fast enough, there was one chance, he threw a kunai with one of Narutos explosive tags. It flew through Orochimarus mouth, and exploded. The missing nin reeled from the shock. Sasuke didn't hesitate, without stopping he grabbed Sakura and dashed into the forest. Every thought was to flee.

Snakes as big as him began crashing into branches. He stopped and tossed Sakura into the air, he prayed that she snapped out of her fear before she landed. Turning Sasuke made several hand signs for a jutsu he had designed for the Chunin exams, the sage pinwheel.

A wall of fire spun from his mouth incinerating snakes. Sasuke didn't notice Orochimaru appear behind him until the missing nin kicked him into a tree. Thankfully none of his ribs cracked.

"Impressive, you have my interest young Uchiha. You want to kill your brother don't you; you'll never manage that here. Come to me and I will give you all of my power, with it your bastard of a brother will fall." He spoke with a slur because his teeth were cracked and bleeding.

Orochimaru raised his hand and caught Sakuras hand an inch from his head, a kunai aimed at his eye. "So you can still fight?"

Sakura jumped back, dropping the kunai which exploded knocking Orochimaru from the branch. A snake shot out and pulled him back up. Sakura stood with Sasuke. "I'll make sure Sasukes dreams come true, he doesn't need your twisted help."

"More explosive tags? Your generation lack creativity."

Sakura began the hand signs for the strongest Genjutsu she knew; a spike of killing intent from Orochimaru broke the half formed Genjutsu and drove them to their knees. "I don't like Genjutsu."

"How about Taijutsu?" Naruto appeared below Orochimaru and delivered a chakra powered uma strike to his leg. He flew back.

Sasuke climbed back to his feet. "About time dobe, what took you?"

Naruto couldn't miss how bad of shape they were in. Sakura looked like she was barely keeping down her lunch. "Sorry, some civilians got in and tried to kill me."

Insane laughter drew their attention back to Orochimaru. Narutos strike had driven him into the trunk of the tree making a large crater around him. Now he hopped out, the leg Naruto had struck was twisted behind him, his foot stuck next to his head. But instead of being in pain he seemed, pleased. "So much power. Tell me how would you like vengeance against those who have wronged you?"

"I'll have my vengeance by becoming the greatest Hokage every."

"A shame, you are a hindrance then."

Naruto pulled out a large paper ball; it was made of dozens of seals stuck together. "Run."

He threw it; the area was covered in a thick, fowl smelling smoke. Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura ran. They moved as fast as they could but they knew Naruto's trick had only bought them a few minutes at most. Sasuke spotted a hallow in a tree, they dove into it to regroup. "Do you guys know who that was?"

Sakura and Sasuke nodded. Sakura was almost in tears and Sasuke had bags under his eyes. Naruto didn't want to know how bad things had gotten for them. "I have an idea to beat him."

"You can be serious! That thing is a monster! We have to run." Sakura said.

"Running will just get us killed. If this works we'll have enough time to run. But it comes down to you Sasuke."

"I can handle it." Sasuke said.

"Alright, then watch closely." Naruto began making hand signs.

Orochimaru was marginally annoyed, he was having fun hunting Sasuke. Then the container of the nine tails had arrived and slowed him down. He hated being forced to move slowly. Despite losing countless experiments to rushing them it was something he had never mastered. Now he was delayed not only by this smoke screen but by a secondary seal in the smoke bomb that had released dozens of kunais. Then propelled them with a small explosive. It was crude, and lacked any form of elegance.

Then there were the several moments it had taken to molt his injured body. Now he began the hunt again. It only took a moment of searching to find them. Before they were covered by an incredible number of clones. He stopped to watch.

The sheer number of solid clones made was staggering. They split into groups of three and fled into the forest. Orochimaru snickered. While the number of clones would have made it difficult for him to find the original the clones were molded after he could easily see through the henge.

There, two of the nine tails containers clones and Sasuke. He dealt with the clones easily and pursued the Uchiha. More clones saw that he had found Sasuke and dropped to try and intercept. Orochimaru smiled, he spun several times and poisoned snake fangs pierced and dispelled them.

The chase lasted less than a minute, Orochimaru amused himself by launching attack Sasuke was barely able to dodge, until Sasuke stumbled and barely caught himself. He crouched on the ground, panting, then rolled to the side to avoid Orochimaru.

The missing nin had had his fun. Now it was time to work. "Come Sasuke, I will give you all the power you desire."

Sasuke stood and slowly walked towards Orochimaru. Then collapsed and grabbed his leg. "What are you doing? Get off!"

Orochimaru never saw the explosive tags covering the area, all focused to the spot where he was standing.

The Hokage was enjoying one of his many breaks from the breeding paperwork of his office. He stood on top of the Hokage tower letting his mind drift to the second part of the Chunin exam. The explosion took him by surprise.

He saw the flash and shockwave race towards the village and braced himself as it hit the Hokage tower. Windows shook but this far from the point of detonation there was no damage. At least not physically. ANBU were rushing towards the source of the disturbance, the forest of death. He watched the debris cloud for a moment before joining them. He hadn't seen an explosion this large since the Third Great Shinobi War.

(A/N: I hope everyone enjoyed, as always review with what you liked or didn't.)