Vanex: Hello all! I know the last chapter wasn't as great as the others, but just bear with me. While not much changed in the first exam, the second and third exams, including the prelims, is where most of the changes will happen. This chapter will be the longest, as it will cover the entire second exam, among other things that I can't say for risk of spoiling. You'll see as you read.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Naruto franchise or Guilty Crown, nor do I make any profit on this whatsoever.
"Tailed Beast Talking"
"Tailed Beast Thinking"
Sakura looks up at the Forest of Death. "This is creepy."
Anko smirks. "You'll soon find out why it's call 'The Forest of Death'."
"Now, before we start the second test, there's something I have to pass out." She holds up a stack of papers. "You must sign these agreement forms. There will be deaths in this one and if I don't have you sign these, it'll be my responsibility if you die." She passes out the papers. "I'm going to explain the second test. Then you can sign it afterwords, and then each team will check into that booth behind me. Now then, for the second test. Simply put, you will attempt the ultimate survival."
Shikamaru sighs. 'Survival. Man, this test sucks.'
"First, I'll explain the area behind me, which the test will take place in. Around Training Ground 44, there are 44 locked gates. There's the forest, a river, and a tower that's located at the center. The distance from the gates to the tower is about 10 kilometers. During the survival, you will have to complete a certain task. Using your weapons and techniques, you will compete in a no rules, scroll battle." She holds up two scrolls. "You will fight over these two scrolls. The 'Heaven' scroll, and the 'Earth' scroll. There are 78 people here, meaning there are 26 teams. Half of the teams, 13, will get the 'Heaven' scroll. The other 13 will get the 'Earth' scroll. To pass this test, your team must make it to the tower with both scrolls."
Sakura nods. 'So 13 teams will lose their scrolls. Half the teams will definitely fail, like she said would happen.'
"However, there is a time limit. This test will last exactly 120 hours. Exactly five days."
"Five days?" asks Ino in shock.
Choji is also shocked. "What about food?"
Anko shrugs. "You're on your own. The forest is full of food. Just watch out for the man-eating beasts, poisonous insects, poisonous plants, etc. 13 teams passing is not likely. As the days go on, the distance to the goal will become longer, the time to rest will become shorter, and the area is crawling with enemies, which means you won't get much sleep. So, not only will some fail by losing their scroll, but some will die from the harshness of the course. Now then, there are a few things that can disqualify you. First, those that don't make it to the tower, with both scrolls, in the time limit. Second, those who lose a teammate, or have a teammate killed. As a rule, there is no quitting in the middle of this. You will be in that forest for five days. One more rule, you must not look inside the scrolls until you make it into the tower."
Naruto is curious. "What happens if you do?"
Anko smirks. "There will be a nasty surprise for anyone who does. A chunin will be asked to handle classified information. This is to test your trustworthiness. That's it for explanations. Exchange the three forms for a scroll. Then, choose a gate to get ready for the start. All I have left is a final word of advice: don't die."
The teams sign their forms and get a scroll. Team 7 ends up with a 'Heaven' scroll, while the Uzushio team gets an 'Earth' scroll. The teams head to different gates. Team 8 ends up at Gate 16, Team 10 at 27, Team 9 at 41, Team 7 at 12, Team Uzushio at 11, Team Oto at 20, Kabuto's team at 38 and Gaara's team at 6. At Gate 11, a Kusa team is talking to themselves. "So, first we'll go after the rookies," says one of the two men.
The female one smirks. "We're allowed to kill from here on. That makes things easier."
Anko calls out to them. "The test will start in 30 minutes! Get ready!"
During this time, Mito heads over to Team 7. "Naruto, before this test gets started, I want to finish our talk from before about the Hokage." She holds up the tape recorder. "Listen to this and tell me he is the man you believe him to be."
Naruto takes the tape recorder and presses the play button. He listens to the conversation Kushina had with Hiruzen and his eyes widen as he listens. "But, this isn't possible."
"It's a real recording. He tricked you, Naruto. He tricked everyone."
Sakura and Sasuke also heard the recording. "Naruto," asks Sakura, "what did the Hokage mean about the power of the Kyubi? Isn't the Kyubi dead?"
Naruto shakes his head. "Twelve years ago, the Fourth Hokage didn't defeat the Fox. He sealed it into a newborn infant. The infant was me."
Both Sakura's and Sasuke's eyes widen, now fully getting why the villagers treated Naruto the way they did. They look at each other and come to the same resolve. Sasuke walks up to Naruto and puts his hand on Naruto's shoulder. "Dobe, I know we've never really seen eye-to-eye, but both Sakura and I believe that after these exams, you should go to Uzushio with your family."
Naruto's eyes widen. "Sasuke!"
"If you stay here, there's no telling what the Hokage, or the villagers, will do to you, and both Sakura and I will be powerless to stop them. You are our teammate and we do actually care about you, Naruto. That's why we're standing with you, here and now. I'll be honest, I'm jealous of you."
"You're jealous of me?"
"Yes. You've gotten back the one thing I want more than anything else. You got your family back. I can never get mine back. All I can do is avenge them by bringing the man who killed them to justice. That is why I fight. Trust me, you're place is not here, in Konoha, trying to become Hokage. With what we just heard about the Third Hokage, the honor of the position of Hokage has degraded. Keep aiming to become a Kage, Naruto. Maybe become the Kage of Uzushio. I'll be looking forward to hearing about Naruto Uzumaki, Uzukage of Uzushio."
Naruto nods and smiles at his teammates. "Thanks, you two."
Mito also smiles gratefully, before turning serious again. "Naruto, there's more. Remember that voice the two of us heard back in the test room? The one that helped us with the test?"
"You're not going to believe this, but that person was you."
Naruto is confused. "How could it have been me? I talked with that person."
"Tell me something, Naruto. Have you ever felt any negative emotion? Any sadness? Any anger? Any emotional pain at all?"
Naruto thinks about it. "Now that you mention it, no. Should I have?"
"Naruto, you've lived a lonely life filled with pain. Anyone going through what you did would have felt a lot of negative emotion. The reason you didn't is because you can't. Remember that second card of you and how evil he looked? That's because the other Naruto is your darker side. He is your negative emotions. Your sadness, your anger, your loneliness. That's why you haven't triggered the Power of Kings. You are two people right now."
Naruto is shocked. "But, if that's true, then where is he?"
"Mom is looking for him now. We're going to try to find a way to re-merge you two back into one person."
"Wait, re-merge us? Why would I want to merge with an evil version of me?"
Mito looks up, having heard Anko. "We'll talk later, okay Naruto?" She quickly runs off to rejoin her team.
Konoha chunin walk up to the gates that are being used and unlock the doors.
Anko looks at a clock one last time. "The second test of the chunin exams begins now!"
The teams dash forward into the forest, as ready as they can be. Within a few minutes, a foreign team is caught in a trap and killed, screaming out as they die. Anko smirks. "Sounds like it's started."
Kushina is still trying to locate the Root Facility. "Come on! It has to be around here somewhere!"
Dark Naruto stands up. "It's time. Kurama, I'm going to need your chakra."
"You're going to use my chakra as a beacon."
"Exactly. Mom will recognize it immediately, due to being a previous host. I won't use much of it, otherwise everyone will notice. A small amount is all that is needed. Let's hurry. I think Danzo is on his way here."
Kurama nods as he supplies Naruto with his chakra. Naruto grins as lets it out in a small amount.
Kushina let's out a sigh. "This is ridiculous! How am I going to find it?" She then senses a familiar chakra. "Kurama! But, the chakra isn't coming from the forest, where the one Naruto is." She looks down. "It's coming from below me. I'm right above the Root facility! The entrance has to be one of the buildings surrounding me!" She looks at the buildings around her, before her eyes land a simple-looking building. Too simple-looking. She walks over to it and opens the door. The inside was bare and looked abandoned, but Kushina's ninja skills told her that all was not as it seemed with this building.
Sasuke sighs as he watches Naruto walk away to go take a piss. It's hard to believe everything he's learned at these exams: Naruto' family, the Kyubi, a second Naruto, the Hokage's corruption, etc. He wonders what else people have been lied to about. Maybe there was more to the death of his clan? He looks up as Naruto comes back.
"Man, so much came out! I feel great now!"
Sasuke immediately notices something wrong with this Naruto and quickly attacks him.
Sakura looks at him in shock. "Sasuke-kun, you didn't have to go that far."
Naruto glares at Sasuke. "What the hell are you doing?"
Sasuke just glares at Naruto. "Where's the real Naruto?"
"What are you saying?"
"Your shuriken holster is on your left side. Naruto is right handed. You're a fake loser who's horrible at transformation."
'Naruto' snarls before changing into an Ame ninja. 'You figured it out. Oh, well. Which one of you has the scroll?"
Sasuke and Sakura just glare at him.
"Then I'll just take it by force!"
But before he could do anything, he slumps to the ground, unconscious. Standing behind him is Arashi. "I hope you guys don't mind the help."
Sasuke smirks. "We'll take it, even though we don't need it."
Karin and Mito enter the clearing, with Naruto right behind them. They drag along the two teammates of the Ame nin. Naruto looks at his sister. "So, what scroll do you have?"
"'Earth'. What about you?"
"'Heaven'. We'll have to find one of each scroll."
"Make that just an 'Earth' scroll," says Karin, holding up the 'Heaven' scroll that the Ame team had.
Mito nods. "We'll help you get the scroll you need."
Sasuke looks at everyone. "What happened to Naruto could happen to any of us. We need to make a codeword, in case we get separated again. If someone gets the codeword wrong, assume they are the enemy, no matter what they look like. Listen carefully, I'll only say this once. The nin song, 'Nin-Machine'. When this is asked, answer with, 'A large amount of loud enemies is the friend of the shinobi, hide and remain silent. A shinobi must understand the proper time, when the enemy is tired and ill prepared."
Everyone nods in agreement, except for Naruto. "That's impossible to remember!"
Sasuke stands up. "I'll hold onto the scroll." He walks past Naruto and looks out into the woods. "Let's go this way."
At that moment, a strong wind blows through the clearing, catching everyone off guard and sending them all flying in different directions. A figure, hidden in the shadows, smirks. 'It's finally time for me to claim you, Sasuke-kun.'
In his cell, Dark Naruto is still concentrating when Danzo arrives. Now being just outside the cell, Danzo can sense the Kyubi chakra. "Using the demon's chakra as a beacon, Naruto? Unfortunately for you, I can't permit that." He opens the cell door and a few Root ANBU rush in and restrain Naruto. "Let's go. The Uzumaki woman will discover the entrance soon. We'll escape out the back door."
Kushina is looking around the abandoned house, when Kurama's chakra vanishes. Her eyes widen. "Oh no! Something must have happened to him! I need to find the entrance fast! She looks around again, before her eyes stop on a particular wall. She walks over to the wall, noting the picture on the wall, one of the Hokage Monument. What made it stand out was the fact this was the only wall to have anything on it and it only had one item.
She pulls the picture off the wall, and feels the space that the picture previously occupied. Her fingers press a hidden button and part of the wall slides away, revealing a staircase. Kushina grins, before heading down.
Naruto struggles against the Root ANBU as they drag him down a corridor. "Let me go!"
One of the ANBU smacks him. "Quiet down, you demon brat!"
Naruto growls as he continues to try to break free, slowing down the group as they try to escape before Kushina's arrival. Finally, one of the Root ANBU has had enough and knocks Naruto unconscious.
"Put Naruto down!"
Danzo and the Root ANBU look up to see Kushina glaring at them. Danzo smiles. "Kushina Uzumaki, what a pleasant surprise. Just what are you doing here?"
"Cut the act, Danzo. Give me back my son, now!"
"Forgive me, but I was under the impression that Naruto is in the Chunin Exams."
"Not that Naruto. The one your men are carrying."
Danzo scowls. "Sorry, but Hiruzen says otherwise. I don't know how you found out about this Naruto, but you won't get him back."
Kushina makes a handsign. Chakra chains shoot out from the walls, snaring the Root ANBU that is holding the unconscious Naruto. The ANBU is restrained, losing his grip on Naruto. Naruto falls to the ground. The chains then release the ANBU and surround Naruto, creating a small barrier. Kushina grins. "You were saying, Danzo?"
Danzo growls. "Root! Stop her!"
The Root ANBU charge at Kushina. Kushina quickly gets into her taijutsu stance. "Come and get some!"
Kushina tries her best to fight off the Root ANBU, even retracting the barrier around Naruto so she can use her chains, but more of them arrive, overwhelming and restraining her. "Damn it!"
Danzo grins. "Excellent." He walks up to Kushina, who has been forced on her knees and is glaring at Danzo. Danzo reaches up and pulls away the bandages on his face, revealing his Sharingan eye. Kushina immediately closes her eyes. "Open her eyes." Two Root force her eyes open and she is forced to look into Danzo's Sharingan. She is immediately transfixed. The Root release her and she just continues staring at Danzo's Sharingan. "Now then, I don't think Hiruzen will mind me making you one of my Root. You could also make good breeding stock." He laughs.
Sasuke gets up from where he landed. Brushing the dirt off his shirt, he looks around.
Sasuke turns to see Sakura walking towards him. Sasuke pulls out a kunai. "Sakura, stay away. The code-word. The nin song, 'Nin Machine'."
"Oh, yeah! A large amount of loud enemies is the friend of the shinobi, hide and remain silent. A shinobi must understand the proper time, when the enemy is tired and ill prepared."
Sasuke nods. "Good." He lowers the kunai.
There hear a noise and turn to see Naruto emerge from the bushes. "Ow. You guys alright?"
"Naruto, wait a second! The code-word."
"Oh, I know! A large amount of loud enemies is the friend of the shinobi, hide and remain silent. A shinobi must understand the proper time, when the enemy is tired and ill prepared."
Sakura breathes a sigh of relief, but Sasuke just throws his kunai at Naruto.
Naruto manages to dodge it. Sakura looks at Sasuke in shock. "Sasuke-kun, why? Naruto said the code-word."
Sasuke just glares at Naruto. "So, this time it's someone good enough to dodge my attacks."
"What are you talking about, Sasuke-kun?"
Naruto smirks. "Impressive that you knew." He is engulfed in a puff of smoke and is revealed to be a female Kusa ninja. "How did you know that I was a fake?"
"I knew you were listening to our conversation from nearby. That's why I made the code-word like that. There's no way Naruto could remember a song that long. So, you had to be fake."
The Kusa nin pulls off her hat. "I see. Neither tired nor ill prepared, are we? This will be more fun than I thought."
Light Naruto groans as he gets up from the area he landed in. "Where are the others?" A shadow falls over him and he looks up to see a giant snake staring at him. "It's huge! I've never seen a snake so big! What is up with this forest?"
The snake suddenly attacks, ensnaring Naruto with its tail. But just before it can eat him, a kunai is thrown into its left eye. The snake drops Naruto as it hisses in pain.
"Brother!" Naruto looks up to see Mito. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, for someone who was almost eaten by a snake."
Two more kunai fly out of the woods. One strikes the snake in the right eye, while the other stabs it in its brain, dispelling it. Karin and Arashi emerge from the woods. Karin sighs. "That was close."
Mito nods. "Come on. We need to find Sasuke and Sakura."
Sakura is shocked as she stares at the Kusa nin. "It wasn't Naruto again?" 'Of course, if it had been Naruto, he'd say something like, "I forgot the code-word!"Where is Naruto? This ninja is just too creepy.'
The Kusa nin sticks out her tongue. "You want my 'Earth' scroll, right? Since you guys have the 'Heaven' scroll." Sasuke and Sakura watch in a mix of shock and disgust as the Kusa nin shoves the scroll into her mouth and swallows it. "Now, let's begin the battle for each other's scroll with our lives on the line."
Sasuke and Sakura are overwhelmed with a vision of kunai stabbing them in the forehead. They fall to their knees. Sasuke is horrified. 'Genjutsu? No, this is just fear. The killing intent in her eyes is causing us to see an image of death. Who is this girl?' He turns to Sakura. "Sakura-" He freezes, seeing her crying from the killing intent. 'This is bad! We must run! Otherwise, we'll die!'
The Kusa nin chuckles. "You can no longer move."
Sasuke struggles. 'Just a little bit! Move!' The Kusa nin throws some kunai at Sakura, but Sasuke stabs a kunai into his leg, allowing him to move. With his Sharingan activated, he quickly tackles Sakura, saving her life. Hidden from view, he then pulls out the kunai he stabbed himself with.
The Kusa ninja is impressed. 'To injure his own body and to erase the feelings of fear with pain, as I thought, he is no ordinary prey.'
Sakura is worried. "Sasuke-kun, are you alri-"
Sasuke slaps his hand over her mouth, keeping her quiet. 'We must run before we are found again. But how? How can we run away?'
Sakura is shocked at the look on Sasuke's face. 'For Sasuke-kun to panic this much. I've never seen him like this.' She then notices a snake appearing near Sasuke and forces his hand off of her mouth. "Sasuke-kun! Snake!"
Sasuke is pissed as both he and Sakura jump away from the snake in different directions. 'Damn it! I was panicking so much that I didn't notice the snake!' The snake charges towards the frightened Sasuke. He throws some shuriken at the snake. "Get away!"
The shuriken hit the snake and it falls onto a tree branch. The two relax, but the fear returns when they see the Kusa nin rise from a hole in the dead snake. "You guys shouldn't relax for even a moment. Prey should always be trying their best to run away, in the presence of a predator that is."
Suddenly, some shuriken and kunai strike the snake, causing it to dispel, surprising everyone. "I'm sorry, Sasuke." They all look to see Naruto and the Uzushio team. "I forgot the code-word."
Sakura is happy to see Naruto. "Great job, Naruto!"
Sasuke isn't as happy, knowing that Naruto's life is now at risk, along with the Uzushio team. "Naruto! I know you think you're cool and here to save us! Forget it! Run away! This one is on a whole other level!"
The Kusa nin is amused. "Looks like you successfully defeated that giant snake, Naruto-kun. You must have had help from that Uzushio team with you."
Naruto looks at the Kusa nin. 'This girl sure looks like a snake. I see, so it was her behind that snake.'
Sasuke is still pissed. 'With him coming to save us, doesn't really put us in a better situation. Even with the help of the Uzushio team, it doesn't matter. What to do? This is bad, all six of us will be killed. There is no other choice.' He stands up, deactivating his Sharingan. Everyone looks at him, surprised. Sasuke pulls out the 'Heaven' scroll. "I will give you the scroll. Please, take it and leave us."
Naruto is shocked. "What?"
So is Sakura. "Huh?"
Naruto glares at Sasuke. "Sasuke, what the hell are you talking about? Why would you give the scroll to the enemy?"
The Kusa nin smirks. "I see. That's very smart of you. The only way for prey to escape a predator, is to give the predator a different meal."
Sasuke tosses it towards the Kusa nin. "Take it!" However, Naruto intercepts it in mid-air and lands next to Sasuke. Sasuke snarls at him. "You bastard! What are you doing? Do you understand the situation?" Naruto growls and punches Sasuke. Sasuke quickly flips himself onto a nearby branch. "What was that, all of a sudden?"
Naruto glares at him. "I forgot the code-word, so I can't test it. But, you're Sasuke's fake, aren't you?"
"You total moron! I'm the real Sasuke!"
"Liar! There's no way such a stupid coward like you is the Sasuke I know! I don't know how strong this guy is, but what guarantee is there that he'll let us go if we give him the scroll? You're the one who is too freaked out to understand the situation!"
Sakura and Sasuke stare at Naruto in shock. The Kusa nin laughs. "Naruto-kun, you are correct. Since I can just kill you and take the scroll." She swipes some blood over a tattoo on her arm.
Naruto glares at the Kusa nin and then charges at her.
Sasuke yells out to him. "No! Run away, Naruto!"
"I've lost respect for you, Sasuke!"
The Kusa nin finishes her work. "Summoning Technique!" An even larger snake appears and smack Naruto, sending him flying. Arashi quickly catches him. The snake smack both of them, causing them to go flying. The Kusa nin grins at her snake. "Go ahead and eat them."
Naruto suddenly recovers and punches the snake. "Eat shit!" His eyes have turned red and his pupils have become slitted.
The Kusa nin is shocked. 'This kid! No way! Those eyes, there's no mistaking it! This is getting fun!' She quickly uses a Fire/Wind Combo to knock Naruto away. The snake then slams Naruto with its nose. "Sasuke-kun, it's your turn! What will you do?"
The snake stops in from of Sasuke, with Naruto hanging off the snake's nose. Naruto looks up at Sasuke. "Hey, you alright, you coward?
Outside the forest, Anko is alerted by three chunin about three dead bodies that were found nearby. One of the chunin looks at her. "After examining their papers and personal items, they seem to be the Kusa team who were entered into this exam, but as you can see, they have no faces. They are blank, as if they were melted off."
Anko stares at the bodies in horror, recognizing the technique. 'There's no mistaking it, this technique is his! Why is he in this exam?' She looks at the chunin. "Show me the pictures of these three!" She is handed the I.D. Cards of the three. "This is bad! You guys go report to the Hokage! Send some ANBU captains to the Forest of Death! I'm going after them right now!"
Danzo shuts off his Sharingan, satisfied. "Arise, Kushina."
Kushina stands up, completely under Danzo's power. "What do you require of me, Lord Danzo?"
"You will withdraw your team from the Chunin Exams. You will bring them to me, so I can gain control of them. Then, you and your team will defect from Uzushio and join Konoha. Then, you and the two female members of your team will submit yourselves for breeding stock, so we can create more powerful shinobi. Combining the genes of the Uzumaki and the Uchiha sounds like the most interesting combo."
Kushina nods. "I will carry out your will, Lord Danzo."
It's at this moment that Naruto awakens and sees what has happened. "Shit! He's controlling Mom!"
Danzo notices him. "Actually, Kushina, I have an idea to test your loyalty." A sick grin appears on his face. "Defeat Naruto. Once you have done so, restrain and rape him."
Naruto stares at him in a mix of shock, disgust, and hatred. "You sick bastard! Why would you have her do that?"
"It's the only way to be sure she is under my power. The hardest thing to overwrite is a mother's desire to protect her children. Causing not only physical, but also psychological harm to you will let me know if I have to do any more reprogramming or not of her mind." He turns to Kushina. "Obey me."
"Yes, Lord Danzo." Kushina gets into her taijustu stance. Naruto growls as he gets into his taijutsu stance. The two charge at each other.
The Kusa nin uses her tongue to snag Naruto and bring him so that he's face to face with her. Naruto snarls. "Let me go!"
The Kusa nin chuckles. "So, the Kyubi brat is still alive. When your emotions are heightened, the power of the Kyubi overflows. Very interesting. Oh, my. The seal is visible." Her fingertips start glowing. "Five Elements Seal!" She slams her hand onto Naruto's stomach, where the seal is. She then takes the 'Heaven' scroll and tosses Naruto away, who somehow quickly recovers with no signs of change.
Naruto growls at the Kusa nin. "Was that supposed to do something?"
"Impossible! You should be cut off from that chakra! How are you still using it?"
"I don't know and I don't care! You're going down!"
Sasuke watches in amazement. 'He's able to keep fighting, despite being outmatched! What am I doing, being a coward like this? Look at Naruto! He's standing up and still fighting! I won't be a coward!' Sasuke roars, activating his Sharingan. He then uses some kunai and a windmill triple blade to trap the Kusa nin in some strings. "Fire Release: Dragon Fire Technique!" The flames travel down the string and hit the Kusa nin.
However, the Kusa nin merely walks out of the flames. Part of her face has burned off revealing a serpent-yellow eye and pale skin around it. "To be able to use the Sharingan so well at this age. You truly are the man who carries the Uchiha blood. Just as I thought, I want you." She reaches up to her headband, removing the henge on it and revealing an Oto symbol. "I had fun testing your powers. You really are brothers. I sense power in your eyes that surpasses Itachi."
Sasuke snarls, recognizing the name. "Who are you?"
The Oto nin smirks as she sets the 'Heaven' scroll on fire. "My name is Orochimaru. If you want to see me again, then survive and pass these exams. Of course, defeating my men, the Oto trio, on the way."
Sakura looks at Orochimaru in shock. "What the hell are you talking about? We never want to see your face again!"
Orochimaru chuckles. "It won't go that way." He makes a handsign and his heads shoots from his body, his neck moving like a snake. His head shoots towards Sasuke, before being smacked away by Naruto.
"I won't let you hurt my teammates!"
Orochimaru laughs. "Getting in my way, Naruto-kun, is not a wise idea." Suddenly, more kunai and shuriken rain down at Orochimaru, who dodges them. "Shit, I forgot about the Uzushio team!" The trio jump down and they, along with Naruto, block Orochimaru's path to Sasuke. He growls. "It seems I have to retreat for now, but I will be back for you, Sasuke-kun." Orochimaru sinks into the ground and vanishes.
Karin sighs. "We have major problems now."
Naruto and Kushina are locked in a taijutsu battle, neither getting an edge over the other. Naruto snarls. 'Kurama, there has to be a way to break her free of Danzo's mind control!'
"You can try flooding her system with a mix of your chakra and mine. It might be enough to break her free. My chakra won't harm her chakra coils, as she was a previous host of mine."
Naruto nods. He quickly jumps back from Kushina. Kushina charges at him, and manages to restrain him with chakra chains. Naruto struggles as Kushina approaches him. She stops in front of him and Naruto notices a few things. First off, the chains aren't restraining Kurama's chakra. Secondly, a tear has dripped down from Kushina's eye. Naruto can see she's fighting the mind control and makes his move to save her. Naruto roars as he summons Kurama's chakra, breaking free of the chains. He wraps his arms around Kushina and floods her system with his and Kurama's chakra. "Break free, Mom!"
There is a flash of light. Danzo growls. "What happened?" The light fades and he sees Naruto hugging Kushina, and she's hugging him back, crying. "Damn you, Naruto Uzumaki! Root! Capture them!"
The two quickly end their hug and jump back up to face the Root ANBU. Naruto looks at Kushina. "I suggest that we get out of here."
Kushina nods. "Any ideas?"
"There's another exit. Follow me!" The two take off down the hallway, the Root ANBU right behind them.
Danzo snarls. "Do not let them escape to the outside!"
Mito sits down next to the others. "There's no sign of that guy. I think we're safe for now."
Sakura sighs. "What are we going to do without either scroll?"
Naruto grins. "Actually Sakura, we still have our 'Heaven' scroll!" He reaches into one of his pockets and pulls out the scroll.
"What? But how?"
Sasuke smirks. "When I first came up with the password, I said out loud that I would carry the scroll. Then I walked by Naruto and secretly passed the scroll to him. The one that I had that was destroyed by Orochimaru was fake."
"So, we're right back where we were. We need the 'Earth' scroll."
Naruto shakes his head. "We have that, too!" He pulls out the second scroll. "On our way back here, the Uzushio team and I found a team that had been killed by the wildlife here. We managed to retrieve the scroll before it was devoured by a nasty plant. All we need to do is go to the tower!"
Sasuke nods. "We'll set out tomorrow. It's almost nightfall."
Anko is rushing through the forest. 'It's almost nightfall. I must find him quickly. Once it gets totally dark, I will be at a further disadvantage. But why is he here, at a time like this? What is his purpose here? Well, it makes no difference. If you have come to this village, then we will settle things now. You are now a handbook S-Rank ninja. I must stop you, even if it costs me my life. And if that's not possible, then I must slow you down until the ANBU arrive. I learned everything from you. I was one of your men, and thus..." She trails off, sensing a presence behind her. "That is my job, right Orochimaru?"
"That's impossible." Orochimaru is attached to the tree right behind Anko.
Anko turns to face him, only to see his tongue heading right for her. It wraps around her wrist, but she grabs onto it with her other hand. "You won't get away! Hidden Shadow Snake Hands!" Snakes slither from her sleeves and use their teeth to grab onto Orochimaru's tongue. With their help, Anko rips Orochimaru out of the tree and pulls him right to her. She then uses a kunai to restrain her left hand and Orochimaru's right hand to the tree she has pushed him up against. "I caught you. I'm going to borrow your left hand, Orochimaru."
She uses his left hand and her right to make a handsign. Orochimaru recognizes it."This seal..."
"Yes. You and I will die. Twin Snakes Mutual Death Technique!"
"Planning to commit suicide?" Anko turns to see Orochimaru sitting on the branch of another tree. "Shadow Clone." The clone Anko is restraining disappears. Orochimaru laughs as he reaches up to the remains of the Kusa nin's face. "You are a special jonin of this village. You shouldn't be using all of those forbidden techniques I taught you."
He makes a hand sign and Anko falls to her knees as her Curse Seal sends intense pain into her body. "Why are you here?"
Orochimaru rips off the fake face, revealing his real face. "We haven't seen each other in a while, yet you're so cold, Anko."
"Have you come to assassinate the Hokage?"
"No. I don't have enough men for that, yet. I thought I'd recruit some outstanding ones from this village. I was planning on giving a particular kid one of those Curse Seals, but I was prevented from doing so. I will get him soon, though."
"How selfish. That kid's going to die."
"The chance of surviving is 1 in 10, but like you, he might not die."
"You must really like this kid."
"Jealous, are we? Are you still upset that I threw you away? Unlike you, this one is talented. He's a kid who carries the Uchiha blood after all. He's also very beautiful, a perfect vessel to be my successor. If he survives, things could get very interesting. Please, don't stop the exam prematurely. Three people from my village are also taking part. I'm going to enjoy this. If you try to end my enjoyment, believe that Konoha is finished."
Orochimaru vanishes in a puff of smoke. Anko groans as the pain from the Curse Seal continues to affect her.
Team 7 and Team Uzushio are still recovering from their battle with Orochimaru and don't notice a presence approaching them. Sasuke stands up. "I gotta go use the bathroom." He walks off into the shadows. The presence follows him. After Sasuke finishes relieving himself, he turns to head back, only to come face to face with Orochimaru. Orochimaru quickly bites Sasuke on the neck, causing a seal to appear. Sasuke screams. The scream alerts the others, but by the time they arrive, Orochimaru has already left again, and Sasuke is writhing in pain.
Kushina and Naruto are still running from the Root ANBU. "How far is this exit?"
"It's right through here!" Naruto kicks a door open and the two emerge to find themselves at the Hokage Monument. They quickly turn and slam the door shut. Kushina uses a fire technique to weld it shut. The two quickly run into the village and duck into an alleyway to catch their breath. "I hate Root so much!"
Kushina nods in agreement, before the memories of what had happened come back to her and she turns away from Naruto, ashamed. "I could have raped you."
Naruto sighs with irritation. "Oh, for Kami's sake, you were being controlled. It wasn't you're own fault. If I hated you for that, you would already know." He sighs. "Come on. Let's go find the other me. I want to become whole as soon as possible."
Kushina looks at him as she follows him out of the alley. "But I don't even know how you were split in two! Without that, there's no way I can re-merge you!"
"Then I'll tell you. It was a seal that my 'dear father' used."
Kushina stops in her tracks, not believing what she just heard. "What?"
Naruto lifts up his shirt and wills the seal to appear. "This is the seal the Fourth Hokage used. Look at it for yourself."
Kushina does and is immediately horrified. "But this seal is..."
Kushina sinks to her knees. "How could he? How could Minato do such a thing to you?"
"To be Konoha's weapon. The plan was to manipulate both halves of me until we were both under the Hokage's thumb. Then, we would have been re-merged. It seems the Fourth cared so much about his precious village, that he believed that turning his own son into a weapon was the right thing to do."
Kushina nods. "I'll need some time to come to terms with this, but I do know how to trigger the merging process. We'll wait until after the second exam, okay Naruto?"
Naruto nods. Kushina moves to hug him, but Naruto holds up a hand. "Don't bother."
Kushina feels hurt. "Why?"
"Wait until I'm whole. I can't feel love as I am right now, so showing me any form of love is pointless."
Kushina gives Naruto a sad look, but nods anyway. "Come on, we need to get you some sort of a disguise."
The Shadow Clone of Kushina that is with the other jonin stands up. "Listen, a friend of mine has arrived. I can sense him. Is it okay with you all if he hangs out in here with us?"
The other jonin look at each other and shrug. "Sure," says Kakashi, "why not?"
Kushina grins. "Thank you." She leaves the room and leads to the entrance of the building, where the real Kushina is walking up with a cloaked and masked figure. The clones nods to her, before dispelling. Kushina receives the memories and leads the cloaked Naruto inside. She enters the room with him. "Thanks a lot. I know this is against the rules."
Kurenai smiles. "We don't mind. So, are you going to introduce us to your friend?"
The figure nods. "My name is Sora Namaki. I'm a trader in Uzushio."
Kakashi looks up from his book. "Why don't you remove that mask and hood?"
"There was an accident a few years back that left my head horribly scarred. Trust me, you don't want to see what's under this mask and hood. Plus, I'm not comfortable with showing the scars, anyway. Only a few people have ever seen behind this mask, and Kushina here is one of them."
Kushina nods. "Let's just get back to our previous discussion, okay?"
The others nod.
Morning comes. Team 7 and Team Uzushio are all asleep, except for Sakura. She's sitting there, waiting for the others to wake up.
"Keeping watch for your friends?" Sakura turns to see the Oto team jump out of the bushes. The one who spoke, Dosu, continues. "It's no longer necessary. Wake up Sasuke-kun. We want to fight him."
Sakura pulls out a kunai. "What are you talking about? I know that someone named Orochimaru is pulling the strings from the shadows! What is his purpose?" The three Oto nin look at her in shock. "What is this weird mark on Sasuke-kun's neck? You did this to him, and now you want to fight?"
Dosu ponders. "Hmm, I wonder what that man is thinking."
Zaku grins. "But after hearing that, we can't let you go. I'll kill this girl and I'll also kill this Sasuke guy."
Sakura smirks. "One problem. None of us are really here. By now, we will have reached the tower."
She along with the others, disappears in puffs of smoke. Zaku growls. "Shadow Clones. They tricked us!"
Some time ago, Anko is stumbling through the forest after her encounter with Orochimaru. She ends up running into three giant tigers, but before they can attack her, they freeze, thanks to the two ANBU who finally arrived. "So, this is where you are, Anko."
Anko sighs. "Geez, for the ANBU, you guys sure are slow."
The ANBU laughs. "Hey, don't say that." Anko cries out in pain and falls to her knees again. The two ANBU quickly jump down to her. The one who spoke before notices the Curse Seal on Anko's neck. "The Curse Seal has reappeared? This can't be."
"Damn. We will take you to the Hokage then."
"No, take me to the tower."
"What are you talking about? Martial Law must be implemented the moment Orochimaru appears! The exam is meaningless now!"
"I'll explain everything at the tower. Have the Hokage meet us there."
At the tower, Anko is sitting on a couch, talking to the two ANBU. "Things are getting bad, but we can't stop the exam!"
"What do you mean?" asks one of the ANBU.
A chunin runs into the room. "We've been awaiting your arrival, Anko! There is something I must report!"
"What is it? We are in the middle of an important meeting!"
"Take a quick look at this!" The Chunin holds up a video tape. The four head into a room to watch the tape and the chunin plays the video, showing the Suna team arriving at the tower. "Now here! Please take a look at the time!"
Anko is shocked. "This is..."
"This is the recording of the second test, one hour and thirty-seven minutes into it! The three shinobi from Suna have passed the second test."
"How is this possible?"
"In only 97 minutes. This has never happened before. It is very abnormal. These guys are not at a genin level, to be able to demolish the old record of 4 hours."
"That's not all."
"What do you mean?"
"From the arena entrance to the tower is about 10 km. Wild beasts, poisonous insects, rough terrain, they made it seem like it was nothing. Especially that red-haired kid."
"What about that kid?"
"Haven't you noticed. Take a look at his body."
"Oh, I see.:
"Not a single scratch. Not only that, but you can't spot any dirt on his clothes."
The chunin is amazed. 'For me, no, for any current chunin, getting to the tower unscathed is impossible.'
One of the ANBU shrugs. "It must have something to do with his abilities. I don't like the look of his eyes, though."
The real Team 7 and Team Uzushio arrive at the tower. Sasuke is unconscious, due to the Curse Mark, and is being carried by Arashi.
Naruto freeze for a moment. "My clones dispelled. As we thought, ti was the Oto team spying on us last night. I wasn't able to get any info out of them."
Mito nods. "Let's go inside."
The two teams enter the tower, only to find an empty room. Naruto scratches his head. "There's no one here. What should we do?"
Sakura notices a plague. "Hey, look at this."
"Without heaven. What the hell does that mean?"
"Looks like it's missing words there. This is probably about the scrolls. I think they are telling us to open the scrolls."
Naruto and Sakura take the scrolls for their team, while Mito and Karin do the same for their team. At the count of three, all four of them open their scrolls at the same time. Mito's eyes widen. "It's a summoning technique! Let go of the scrolls!"
They all do so and the scrolls roll across the floor, landing next to each other. Two puffs of smoke appear and when they fade, two Konoha chunin are standing there, one of them being Iruka. Iruka smiles. "Hey, long time no see."
Naruto is confused. "Why were you summoned here, Iruka-sensei?"
"At the end of this second test, it's set up so that we chunin meet up with the exam takers. I was assigned to you guys while this guy was assigned to the Uzushio team."
The other chunin nods his head.
Iruka then notices the unconscious Sasuke. "What happened to him?"
Sakura nods. "We were attacked by someone named Orochimaru. We can't be certain it was because of him, but a strange mark was left on Sasuke-kun's neck."
Iruka and the other chunin are alarmed. "Are you certain you met Orochimaru?"
Iruka nods. "Right. I'll inform the Hokage about this. In the meantime, Sasuke will be taken to a room where he can recover. The rest of you can also rest and recover. There are still a few days left before the test ends. All of you have passed. Congratulations."
In Sasuke's mind, he finds himself in a void looking at someone. "Who is it?"
The person across from him is a crying child. "Mom and Dad, didn't have to die."
Sasuke recognizes the child. "The old me?"
"In the end, if you don't have strength, you can't do anything. Because I didn't have the strength, the clan was wiped out. Everyone was killed. No." The child Sasuke looks at the older one with a manic look on his face. "You. You let them die. All you did was watch." The child reaches up to his face and starts ripping away the skin below his left eye, the eye turning into that of a serpent. "If only you had strength."
On the final day of the test, the Hokage, Izumo, Kotetsu, and Anko are in a private room in the tower. The Hokage steps back from Anko. "Now, does the Curse Seal still hurt?"
Anko shakes her head. "No. Thank you, it's much better now."
"By the way," asks Kotetsu, "Orochimaru is one of the Sannin, right? Isn't he the handbook S-Rank ninja that even the ANBU can't get close to? I had heard that he had already died."
Izumo nods. "Why would he come to this village now?"
Anko looks up. "He probably-"
"Sasuke, right?" asks the Hokage.
Anko looks at him in shock, but they are interrupted by another chunin. "Anko, we have confirmed that 24 have passed the second test. In accordance with the rules, for the first time in five years, we will start preparations for a preliminary before the third test. The second test is now complete."
The Hokage smokes his pipe. "Well, let's continue the exam as planned. We will keep our eyes on Orochimaru's movements."
Anko sighs. "Yes."
Hiruzen sighs as he thinks to himself. 'Things are getting worse and worse. Kushina somehow figured out about the second Naruto and has freed him. I can't do anything against her, as Root was "officially" dissolved and I would get in a lot of trouble with the Daimyo. Orochimaru has appeared and has given Sasuke a Curse Mark. I must figure out a way to gain control of this situation, before it can bring about the end of Konoha.'
Vanex: Writing this chapter was a nightmare. I'm glad I finally finished. Well, now that Kushina has rescued the second Naruto, it is only a matter of time before the two Narutos become whole. Now, if you all excuse me, I'm going to get some sleep after putting myself through a lot of torture to get this chapter done. Let's just say, the summer weather makes me having a desktop computer be a heck of a disadvantage. I really need a laptop. See you all next time!