Hello everyone. Sorry that life got in the way of this chapter but it is here. Hopefully it was worth the wait and you will enjoy it.
"…and that is why we hold the Chunin Exam." The Third Hokage finished saying to the group of genin in front of him in a giant area inside the tower. While others were listening to the speech, Naruto's mind was elsewhere as he already heard this from Anko during one of their cuddling times. What was on his mind was what Hinata told him about Gaara.
'Why do I have this horrible yet familiar feeling about him?' Naruto thought as a new voice came that got his attention.
"Now is there anyone who thinks they can't continue and wish to quit now? We have a transport that will take you outside the forest and to your apartment or homes." Said the new, abet sickly-looking ninja.
"Yes, I fear I can't continue" Kabuto said from the backline of the group. "I got a few crack ribs from the forest and I can't make excess movement right now."
"Anyone else?" The ninja asked and seeing no one else saying anything continue. "Kabuto leave through that door there."
'Too bad I wasn't able to get any info on Sasuke for Lord Orochimaru, but he won't mind as he will be getting a front row seat of his fight at least.' Kabuto thought as he briefly look to the Sound Nin 'instructor' before leaving the room.
"Everyone who remains, I know this may not be what you wanted to hear, but there are too many ninja here to advance to the next stage." Hayate told everyone with a few coughs.
"Why is that?" Sakura asked.
"Because a lot of people from out of town will be coming to watch the finals. Nobles, other Kages, representatives of other villages, all of them are coming to see how well you perform and get ideas on what villages should be hired. In essence, you will be performing for clients to tell them your village should get their business, and the majority of them aren't patient enough to sit and watch twenty ninja fight until only one remains. So we have to reduce the number to make it more worth their while."
Naruto and a few others were actually rather offended by this, but were careful not to show it. 'So basically this whole test is more about getting money than determining whether or not we deserve to be chuunin. We have to risk our lives just so other people can get paid more?'
"We will therefore hold a preliminary round now, in a tournament style of one-on-one fights." Hayate continued. "Names will be chosen randomly for full fairness. Wait your turns in the alcoves above."
An electronic screen came up, and names started to randomly flash across in quick succession, as if it was trying to list everyone's name possible at once but only had room for two. After a bit it was forced to show only two.
"Sasuke Uchiha and Yoroi Akado remain here, everyone else go wait your turn above." Hayate ordered.
Everyone but the two named genin went to the viewing area. Both Naruto and Sakura considered offering some final words of encourage to their teammate.
"Kick his ass Sasuke." Said Naruto
"Show them which team is the best." Sakura added
"I plan to" Sasuke said back to them.
Kakashi remained with his student a moment longer though. "Sasuke, it might be best to not use the sharingan." Sasuke looked at him as if he had just been told to forfeit. "You don't want to give away all your secrets, save some for the finals. There's an undeniable advantage in surprise."
Sasuke was bothered by this, but didn't look like he wanted to tell Kakashi to take what he said back.
Up in the viewing area, Team Seven, Eight, and Ten were rather nicely sandwiched together, not tightly but it was certainly no coincidence. Hinata and Ino knew they were expected to remain by their teams, so they discreetly led their teams to positions that also allowed them to be close to Naruto too without looking like they were ignoring their teams. All the while, Sakura got to be right next to her blonde lover, trying to avoid directly touching him only to ensure Kakashi didn't ask what was going on between them.
Down in the arena Sasuke stood in his intercepting fist stance against an unrecognized Leaf genin wearing mostly purple with a veil over his face. The first thing Sasuke noted was that this guy was rather old for a genin, if he was still a teenager then he was eighteen at the youngest. To Sasuke that just made him weak, a view that was reinforced by Yoroi taking up no stance.
'Shame, I was hoping to get to use my new sword, but against this guy it would be a waste.' Sasuke told himself. 'If I'm wrong, at least I can use it instead of more chakra or my sharingan.'
Hayate declared the match officially begun, and the two genin rushed to each other. Yoroi had his right arm out like he was trying to grab Sasuke, and the Uchiha decided to hit him with taijutsu first to get an idea where his taijutsu stood with people unfamiliar with his style. Because he didn't have his sharingan active, he couldn't see the chakra gathered around Yoroi's right hand.
Yoroi surprised him by throwing some shuriken with his left hand, but rather than dodge Sasuke took a kunai and in a single sweep defected all three shuriken like he was cutting them out of the air, but didn't notice the hidden 4th one that hit the side of his leg senting a surge of pain through his body, catching him off guard and making him lose his balance, and fall on the ground.
Yoroi capitalized on this opportunity and stood above the younger boy, then brought his right hand down swifty. But not swift enough as Sasuke rolled out the way, making it so Yoroi only broke the stone of the floor. Sasuke positioned his feet to grab Yoroi's legs, and applying pressure the right way was able to knock his enemy off his feet too.
"Not bad." Naruto noted.
Yoroi didn't look to be the least bit bothered being leveled like this, as he reached out and grabbed Sasuke's arm, holding tightly enough to ensure the Uchiha couldn't escape. Sasuke felt something different than a shooting pain this time, it felt more like a vacuum had been attacked to him.
'My strength... what is he doing?'
Yoroi then let go, and pushed Sasuke in the face, who had no chance to deflecting it this time. He laid there on the ground, feeling the effects of the hit he took more than usual.
'What did he do to me? I feel like most of my energy has been taken from me.' Sasuke repeated to himself. He saw Yoroi come back at him, hand aimed for his face again but this time to grab it. Acting on impulse, Sasuke withdrew his sword and held it in front, making the purple-cloaked ninja grab the blade instead of him.
Yoroi didn't seem to mind, let alone get hurt by the sword, at least at first. After a moment he pulled back and grabbed his right hand, wincing as if in utter agony. "What the hell kind of sword is that?"
Sasuke was just confused. 'He doesn't sound like any cut is bothering him, but something else. Hmm... he keeps trying to touch me with that hand, maybe that's his style touch the opponent to weaken them then finish them off with basic hits once they can't fight back. Did touching my sword hurt him instead? Guess it time to try it out.'
With Yoroi's attention diverted, Sasuke came at him with the sword, wanting to see what exactly it did. Yoroi saw it and jumped back, but got a small cut on his left bicep. The cut quickly began to burn, and the pain spread. 'Poison, his sword is covered in poison!' Yoroi thought, realizing that right now not a single one of his tactics would work as long Sasuke had that sword.
"I forfeit." Yoroi announced. 'Better to stop now and get this checked out, then deal with the punk later when he's unarmed. Then I can-!' any thought were silence as the poison started to work "OH GOD IT BURNS!" Yoroi scream and he clutch the wound and it almost looked like he wanted to rip his arm off to stop the pain.
"Very well, winner is Sasuke Uchiha." Hayate announced.
The Uchiha went back up to the others while medics escorted his opponent to tend to his wounds. Yoroi was in no mood to object.
"Good job Sasuke." Sakura congratulated.
"Thanks, though I have to admit I didn't expect this sword could do that." He reply to his teammate. "Wonder what else it can do?"
"Well you are going to have to find out later, next match is coming up." Naruto said as they all turn their attention to the floor.
This time it was Shikamaru Nara versus a girl from the new village Oto. According to the screen her named was Kin Tsuchi. She wore white camouflage pants that almost looked like snake skin without scales, a green sleeveless shirt not unlike a vest, a scarf with the same color scheme as her pants, and long straight brown hair that looked similar to what Ino's hair would look like if she wore it down.
Kin looked eager for a fight, but Shikamaru looked eager for a nap.
"C'mon Shikamaru, at least pretend you give a damn about this!" Ino yelled to her teammate.
"Man this sucks, not to mention I have to fight a girl too." Shikamaru said bitterly.
"Then I'll make it quick." Kin claimed, taking it as a good sign that her opponent barely intended to put up a fight.
"Begin!" Hayate announced.
'Like she said, better make it quick.' Shikamaru told himself, kneeling down and starting his trademark jutsu. "Shadow Possession Jutsu."
Kin saw his shadow extend but wasn't nervous. "I read all about this family justu of yours, it won't work on me." She jumped away from it and threw some senbon quickly with her left hand. "As long as I keep an eye on your shadow, you can't hurt me."
'She read up on our village moves just in case? Smart. that gives her an advantage. Wait a second, she told me she never heard of my clan yet read up on Shikamaru clan? That Bitch unless….SHE WAS LYING! That smart, devious, impressive bitch.' Sasuke thought as he was feeling both happy and mad watch Kin fight.
Shikamaru knelt lower to dodge her senbon, noting that her left arm must not be her strong arm since she clearly missed. 'No, it's too much of a miss, she wasn't aiming for me in the first place.' He noted, glancing behind him and saw the needles embedded in the wall with bells hanging from them.
'Ah, an old trick, the bells make the attack a dead giveaway so next time I know to dodge them, while some other senbon are without bells and thus ones I'm not trying to sense. So this means the best tactic is to block her attacks rather than avoid them.'
Kin pulled out some senbon and held them pointed out between the fingers of her left hand again, making Shikamaru doubt his early belief that she was right-handed. He tried to get her shadow to snare her, but when he tried he felt like his body was fighting him.
'What the heck? My muscles are protesting my commands.' He observed, not truly frozen in place but more like he was having a full-body charlie horse. But his senses were working fight and he could hear some clinging sounds from behind. He looked to the wall again and saw something he had missed. Strings connected to the bells that were being held in Kin's right hand. 'She's using strings to ring the bells and throw me off even when she's not attacking.' He thought, but wasn't bothered.
Instead he pulled out a kunai and slashed at the strings. 'There, now she can't toy with my senses.'
"Nice try, but too late." Kin said before throwing her senbon directly at Shikamaru. The Nara was unable to dodge, causing him to get impaled in non-vital but painful spots.
"Shikamaru?!" Ino and Chouji said, worried for their teammate.
Kin smiled victoriously. "See? As long as I avoid your shadow, you're no match for me." She lost her smile when her body froze up involuntarily. "What?"
Shikamaru struggled to stand up straight and took a few steps back in his effort to get balanced. "Shadow Possession... success."
"What are you talking about? I avoided your shadow." Kin objected. While Shikamaru didn't let her look down, she could see in her peripheral that he made his shadow thin enough that when she tried attacking him it had briefly escaped her notice, long enough to snare her.
"Apparently you don't know my jutsu as well as you thought you did. I can change the shape of my shadow, not just the length."
"You may have stopped my movement but there is one part of your justu you can't control: My voice." Kin said before taking a huge breath of air and let out a high-pitch whistle.
Everyone in the stadium cover their eyes as the sound started to hurt their ears but for Shikamaru the pain was on a whole different level. 'She is using chakra to travel along the sound waves and it attacking my eardrums. I got to do something fast or I am going to black out.' He thought as he tries to work out a plan while he can still think.
Meanwhile Kin was already nearing the limit of her attack 'I can't stop here, I have to keep going. I will win!' she thought as she started to channel more chakra through her windpipe to increase the sound and damage of her justu.
The effect started to take effect as Shikamaru ears started to bleed and just seconds away from losing conscious found how to win. With one swift movement, he lean backwards as fast as possible making Kin do the same due to the shadow possession justu
With her attempt to get out of reach of his shadow and his only maneuvering of her, she was closer to the wall than he had been. In short, she slammed her head against the wall and knocked herself out while Shikamaru was just balancing on hands and feet.
Smiling, he cancelled his jutsu and fell to the ground trying to stay awake for once while Oto kunoichi was collapsed on the floor. "Bit of advice if you can hear me, next time paid a little more attention to your surroundings than just who's attacking with what."
"Winner, Shikamaru Nara." Hayate declared.
"Great job Shikamaru!" Ino yelled in support while medics put Kin on a stretcher.
"I'm just glad she wasn't a taijutsu specialist. That would have been too much for me." Shikamaru groaned.
"Just take the damn compliment Shika." Ino groaned. "You'll never get a girl if you're this quick to find fault."
"By that logic you'll never get a guy if you're too demanding." Shikamaru replied, sitting down and resting now that his role in the preliminaries was over.
'You'll be surprised.' Ino thought but didn't dare say out loud, briefly glancing at Naruto. 'I got the best guy there is, and all because I wouldn't take no for an answer. And at the same time, I don't mind it when he has a few 'demands' of his own for me.'
As kin was put on the stretcher, the medic did a quick diagnostic to see if the head trauma was life-threating before making a discovering. "Can Kin instructor come down here!" the medic called out. Keeping in disguise, Orochimaru came down. "How is she? Will she be ok?" he ask sounding worry for her when he in fact did not.
"She has no brain damage if that what you are asking but I'm afraid the same can't be said about her vocal cords. She sent way to much chakra there and for too long. I'm afraid she has completely destroyed them and with it: her voice." The medic said.
Up in the balcony, Sasuke stiffen upon hearing that.
"I see. Just focus on healing what you can for now. We will have to figure out what to do with her career later." Orochimaru said before walking back up the stairs and waited for the next match to begin.
The next fight was Shino versus one of Kin's teammates, Zaku. This one was over rather quickly. Zaku, in his desire to show up, made the mistake of revealing his trump card right away, taking away any element of surprise he could have maintained throughout the fight. Said trump card were a set of sonic generators implanted in both arms that gave him something akin to an artificial wind jutsu.
Zaku might have won, had he been as eager to win as he was to show off. But because of that, Zaku didn't really bother to aim his attacks, just toy with the Aburame a bit, thinking this would please his master. But Shino was more practical; he used subtlety and strategy to counter the show-off by sending his swarm to clog the tubes in Zaku's arms, causing them to self-destruct from a build-up of internal pressure, and giving Zaku an injury that even Tsunade would have a hard time healing. Not that she would if asked.
"Wow." Naruto said, impressed with how Shino won without having to lift a finger.
Hayate announced the next fight once Shino and Zaku cleared the floor, and this one would certainly have more going for it than Shino's did, for more than one reason.
It was Sakura versus Ino.
The two girls went down to the arena, not sure what to make of this fight. With the rivalry settled, they no longer felt like they had to prove anything to each other, and considering Naruto's nature, making the fight about which one was better for him was completely irrelevant and would only risk in disappointing him.
"Anything you want to get off your chest first?" Sakura offered, in case there was something Ino wanted to say.
'My shirt of course, but I can't do that here.' Ino thought for a moment. "I suppose I do have one thing to say. While we might not be fighting for the old reason right now, I don't think we need a new reason for it here. This is a test of our skills my friend, there's no need for us to make this personal. If either of us are truly ready to be chuunin, then we should be able to fight for duty rather than just because it means something to us personally."
Sakura smiled and nodded. "You're right Ino." With that, she moved her hitai-ate to cover her forehead instead, sending a silent signal to her old rival. Ino nodded, understanding the meaning, and did the same with her own. "But if you want to make this fun, how's this? The winner gets our favorite you-know-what while the loser has to watch."
Ino's expression brightened at the offer. "Deal."
Now for everyone not in the know, they thought they were talking about some kind of food, but for Naruto, Hinata, Kurenai, and Anko they knew exactly what they were talking about.
The loser had to watch Naruto fuck the winner all night while they wouldn't get any.
"Ready?" Hayate asked, hoping they were done with their pre-fight peptalk. He got no objection. "Begin."
So who is going to win with that prize on the line? That is up to YOU to answer. I will be holding a voting on my page. The winner will not only win the match, but get to spend a special chapter with Naruto all alone while the loser will have to watch the whole thing. So leave a review, and go to my page and vote. The winner and the special chapter will be decided by you readers.
Bless be to the Lemons.