As I promised, here is the new installment of "Konoha's Panther". This will mainly cover the first part of the Chunin Selection Exam, so yeah.
Also... holy balls of Lucifer! My story passed over 100k views! Thank you a lot! Hugs to everyone!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Bleach
A few days have passed since Yugito's arrival and things have been rather quiet in Konoha – or as quiet as they could be, considering that the Chunin exams were starting today.
Right now, Naruto was eating his breakfast while waiting for Tenrai to wake up and Mizuko to finish her bath. It was around two hours before they should meet up with Yugito and pretty much follow her while she did whatever she had to do.
Naruto sighed thinking about the upcoming event. Honestly, he wished that he had been participating in these exams, mostly because he loved to fight – a trait he obviously had gotten from Grimmjow – and what's a better opportunity for a fight than in an exam where candidates from almost every village fought for their lives?
'Calm your tits, brat.' Grimmjow cut into Naruto's train of thoughts, getting an annoyed groan from the younger teen. 'It'd be no fun anyways, you'd outclass everyone there.'
This made Naruto reconsider his opinion a little, before he agreed with Grimmjow's logic. 'Valid point, but I'd like to fight someone other than you and Tenrai for once.' He whined a bit. 'Tenrai's getting owned by me, but when I fight against you it's me who gets the shorter side of the stick.'
Grimmjow rolled his eyes in annoyance. 'Phew! I have hundreds of years of experience in a fight for your life, while you've been training for less than a decade.' The Arrancar mocked his young apprentice.
'You still got fucked up by that guy… what was his name? Ichigo something?" Naruto pointed out in a mocking tone.
'Shut up, it didn't count. I got back stabbed by Nnoitra.' Grimmjow argued, but that only got a short laugh in response from Naruto. 'Shut the hell up already! I'm done!'
Naruto grinned and kept his best to not laugh and choke on the sandwich he was eating. 'Right, do whatever the fuck you want.' The blue haired teen answered, but when he got no response he deduced that Grimmjow wasn't in mood anymore.
"Fucking princess…" He groaned under his breath after he finished his breakfast. Glancing on the clock and then on his sleeping male teammate, he rolled his eyes in annoyance.
"Naruto, can you wake Tenrai up?" The voice of his white haired friend came from behind the bathroom's door.
Without answering, Naruto stood up from his bed and made his way towards the sleeping form of Tenrai. He leaned down to his ear and took a deep breath and in relatively hushed tone, he began waking him up.
"WAKE THE HELL UP YOU LAZY FUCK!" Naruto yelled on top of his lungs, successively making Tenrai's eyes shoot open, jump from the bed and end up in a crashing course with a wooden shelf that was two meters above his head.
"Gah!" The brown haired sleeper shouted as he hit the shelf with his head. "Fuck you, Naruto!"
Naruto gave him a victorious smirk. "Feelings mutual buddy."
"God, fuck my life!" Tenrai yelled and covered his face with a pillow. "I had such a good dream!"
"And pray to tell me what was it about?" Mizuko, who had just left the bathroom asked, twirling her wet strands of hair between her fingers.
Still with his face behind the pillow, Tenrai answered without a second thought. "Yeah dude! Three girls, you know? And it was all about to get fun!" He shouted and then froze when he felt the malicious feeling coming from a certain female in the room.
"Tenrai!" Mizuko yelled and jumped at the boy with no gentle intentions with her nails bared like claws of a predator.
"Not my face!" Tenrai yelled in horror dodging her dangerous claws, but then saw what she was aiming for with her leg. "W-w-wait! Not there!" He shouted desperately, but to no avail.
Not a second later, throughout Konoha resonated the most dreadful, painful shriek of pain that made every man shiver and unconsciously cover their family jewels.
Back on the spot of crime, Tenrai was lying on the ground with his face completely pale, muttering incomprehensible gibberish to himself. Naruto saw the satisfied smirk on Mizuko's face and decided that it was best to keep his mouth shut.
'Karma's going to get me so bad.' He gulped and jumped out through the open window before Mizuko could direct her remaining fury on him.
With a giant smile on her face, Akiho made her way towards Konoha's Shinobi Academy. She was really looking forward to the Chunin Exams that were starting just about two hours.
As much as she was sure she and her team were prepared for it, her mother and father were really worried about her – especially Kushina. Akiho giggled a little to herself when she recalled how Kushina made sure that her little girl was fully prepared. Fifteen times!
She unconsciously checked the straps that held her large utility scroll secured on her back and nodded to herself that everything was fine.
When she arrived at the academy front door, she noticed that Sakura was already there, waiting for the rest of her team. "Sakura-chan!" Akiho shouted, welcoming the pink haired girl.
Sakura's eyes perked up when she heard the familiar voice and her face brightened up with a smile. "Hey!" The pink haired girl welcomed her friend.
Akiho looked around and noticed the lack of her other teammate. "Where is Sasuke?" She questioned the pinkette. "Don't tell me that he chickened out?"
"Like hell I would run from something this easy." Akiho heard a grunt from behind her that was followed by a short giggle. The auburn haired girl turned around and was welcomed by the sight of Sasuke and surprisingly Haku who was standing next to him.
"Haku-san? What are you doing here?" She asked the dark haired girl.
Haku just turned and gave her a small smile. "I'm just bidding you good luck on the exams." She answered and turned around to leave. Before she left though, she whispered to Sasuke's ear. "Just don't get killed."
Sakura's silent curses directed towards Haku were ignored along with the clearly visible face of envy.
Sasuke frowned a little at Haku's whisper, but nodded nonetheless. After Haku left the trio, he turned towards the academy building. "Let's do this." He spoke solemnly and entered the academy, quickly followed by his two teammates.
It wasn't long before they noticed a crowd of a few Genins trying to enter the room number 301, but they were denied entering by two Chunins who stood in front of the doors.
Sasuke scoffed a little when he noticed what was actually going on. 'I don't even need to use my Sharingan on this…' He thought and was about to point out the matter to everyone in the hall, but his shoulder was grabbed by his teammate, Akiho.
"Don't, this will weed out the opposition." The Namikaze girl said, getting a slightly confused look from Sakura.
Before the pinkette could ask anything, Sasuke nodded to Akiho and pointed to the sign above the doors, showing Sakura what was the matter.
Sakura's eyes widened a little when she realized what he meant. The number on the sign above the doors said 301 and they were on the second floor, not third. "But some of them are from Konoha, shouldn't we help them?" She asked.
"No, we won't be allies during the exam anyway, so it's pointless. If they can't detect a pathetic genjutsu like this one, then they'd be dead weight." Sasuke answered and turned around, getting a snort from Akiho.
"And you were the one who wanted to point it out to everyone…" The auburn haired girl groaned and followed the Uchiha up the stairs to the third floor, where the exam room was placed.
When they came up the stairs, they noticed their sensei, Kakashi leaning against the wall reading his book.
"What are you doing here, sensei?" Akiho asked curiously, getting an eye smile in return.
"You hurt my feelings, Akiho-chan, am I not allowed as your sensei to bid you good luck?" He asked with a chuckle, getting a sheepish smile in return from both Sakura and Akiho. "I'm sure that you will blow through the exam easily, now repeat what I taught you and go."
Sasuke rolled his one visible eye and along with his female teammates lazily quoted Kakashi's words. "In the ninja world, those who break the rules are trash, but those who abandon their comrades are worse than trash." The trio said with a monotone voice, getting another eye smile from Kakashi.
"That's the spirit, good luck." The silver haired Jonin finished and left the area with a quick shunshin.
Without another word, Sasuke opened the doors in front of them and entered the room where the first part of the written exam would be held. As soon as he and his team entered, they were bombarded by the looks from pretty much everyone in the Chunin exams. Over two hundred Genins were in the room, and everyone was looking at them deeply, obviously daring them to do anything stupid.
'What numbers… are they all taking the exam?' Sakura thought, suppressing a shiver as few beads of sweat trickled from her face. 'They all look so strong…'
"Sasuke-kun! You're late!" A certain blonde Yamanaka girl shouted, jumping on Sasuke's back and folding her arms around his neck, much to the Uchiha's discomfort. "I haven't seen you for a while, so I've been waiting in excitement…"
Seeing her former friend's actions, Sakura developed a giant tick on her forehead, wanting nothing else than clawing out the blonde's eyes. "Get away from Sasuke-kun, Ino pig!" The pinkette shouted at the Yamanaka, gaining even more attention from everyone gathered in the room.
"Why, if it isn't Sakura…" Ino grumbled in response to the pinkette, slowly letting go of Sasuke's neck. "…big, ugly forehead as always."
"What did you say?!" Sakura shrieked, but was seemingly ignored by everyone.
"You guys are taking this stupid test too?" A voice called from behind them. Akiho turned around to see Shikamaru and his friend Choji with him. "Don't die."
Akiho raised an eyebrow at Shikamaru's statement, and decided to toy a little with him. "Oh, the idiot trio has arrived!" She said with a grin that was slowly becoming like Naruto's.
"Don't call us that!" Choji and Shikamaru said in unison in response to her mocking. "Man… this sucks."
"Yahoo! Found you!" They heard a familiar shout that came from a certain dog-boy, followed by a timid welcome from Hinata and silence from Shino. "Well well, everyone is assembled."
Shikamaru sighed and gave him a narrow look. "Geez Kiba, you guys too?" He asked with a bored voice. Shikamaru didn't even want to participate in this exam. The only reason he did was because his sensei Asuma forced him to. He only wanted to watch clouds all day long.
"I see… not counting Naruto, all 9 of this year's rookie Genin are taking the exam." Kiba pointed out with a smile on his face followed by a bark of agreement from the dog, Akamaru that was seated on Kiba's head. The Inuzuka boy also noticed that he got Akiho's attention when he mentioned Naruto's absence. "I wonder how far we will get… Eh, Sasuke-kun?"
Sasuke rolled his lone eye, mildly surprised that no one questioned his eye-patch - Although, he was thankful for that as he did not want to explain it all. "Pft, you seem confident, Kiba." He answered with a smirk on his face.
"We did a lot of training, we won't lose to you." He answered with a grin on his face and then turned to Akiho. "By the way, where is Naruto? Don't tell me that he chickened out."
Akiho smirked - Oh she would love their reaction when they hear about Naruto. However, surprisingly it wasn't her who answered that question as Sasuke beat her to it, much to her annoyance. "You didn't hear? He's a Chunin already." He answered and almost laughed at Kiba's and everyone else's expressions - Almost.
"What?! That's unfair!" Kiba shouted with an amusing expression on his face.
"Hey you guys, you should be quieter." Someone said and approached them, a teen boy with ash-grey hair and a pair of glasses of his face. Taking into account the headband on his forehead, he was a Konoha Genin just like them. "You guys are rookies just out of the academy, right? Screaming like school girls… geez… this isn't a picknic."
Akiho quickly noticed that he was a Konoha genin, but she felt at unease around this guy. "Who do you think you are?" She growled to the ash-haired teen.
"I'm Kabuto." He simply answered. "But instead of that, look behind you."
'Behind?' Everyone thought as they turned around, only to see three very annoyed faces that screamed danger.
"Those guys behind you are from the Amegakure, they have short tempers . Everyone is nervous about the exam, quiet down before you cause a scene." Kabuto berated them, getting a few nods in return. "Well, I can't blame you. You're clueless rookies after all. You remind me of how I used to be."
"Kabuto-san… right?" Sakura asked, getting a nod from Kabuto. "So this is your second time?"
"Nope, it's my seventh time." He answered to Sakura's question, getting a few ridiculous looks in return from the rookies. "This exam is held twice a year, so this is my fourth year."
"Woah, you must suck." Kiba bluntly pointed out, getting a snort of laugh from Akiho and a deadpanned face from Kabuto.
Sakura was about to ask another question, but she was silenced by Akiho when the auburn girl slung her arm around the pinkette's neck. "Now, now. Let's keep low for now. We don't want any more attention, right?" She said with a smile, dragging Sakura and Sasuke away from the group to a desk.
Before anyone could say anything, a large plume of smoke exploded in the front of the room, revealing over two dozens of Shinobi clad in rather formal uniforms, the exception being the one in front who had a dark trench coat.
"Thanks for waiting…" The man in the coat said in deep voice, so cold and sharp that if it could, it would cut through steel. In this case, it cut through everyone's nerves. "I am Morino Ibiki, the examiner for the Chunin selection exam's first test.
Ignoring everyone's nervous whispers, he continued. "We will now start the first test in the Chunin exam. Instead of your current seating arrangements…" He paused for a moment to pick up a small tab with a number on it. "…you will pick one of these tabs and sit in the seat assigned to you. We will then hand out the exams. "
It only took around ten minutes for everyone to be seated in their assigned seats and another five for the proctors to hand out the paper sheets for the exam.
"Do not turn your tests over yet and listen closely to what I'm about to say." Ibiki announced, getting everyone's attention. "There are many important rules to this first test. I'll write it on the board while I explain, but questions will not be allowed, so listen carefully."
'Rules? No questions allowed? What kind of test is that?' Akiho thought, but her inward ranting was stopped by Ibiki who continued the explanations.
"The first rule. You guys will all start off with ten points. The test is made up of ten questions and each one is worth a point, but this test uses a subtraction system." He explained the rules with his gruff, cold voice. "Basically, if you answer all the questions correctly, you keep ten points. But say if you miss three questions, you lose three points and will have seven."
"The second rule… this is a team test. Whether you pass or not will be determined by the combined score of your teammates." Ibiki's words resulted in a lot of whispers going through the classroom. "So, each team will compete to see how many points they can hold on to from the initial team total of thirty."
Sasuke smirked at this. 'This should be easy. Both Sakura and Akiho are bookworms and I'm not that bad either in the theory.'
"Ok, now for the most important rule. The third rule is that during the exam anyone caught by the testing officers doing sneaky activities, namely cheating…" He paused for the dramatic effect that definitely pressured many Genins gathered in the classroom. "…Will have two points subtracted for every offense. So there will be some who lose all their points during the exam and be kindly asked to leave."
'I see… so there are ways to lose points besides answering incorrectly.' Sakura and Akiho thought at the same time.
"We'll be having our eyes on you guys!" One of the testing officers shouted to the Genins, followed by a set of chuckles from other officers.
"Realize that the pathetic ones that get caught cheating will be destroying themselves." The scarred head-proctor said slowly, putting even more pressure on the Genins. "As shinobis trying to achieve the level of Chunin, be proud ninjas."
Ibiki took a deep breath and continued. "And the final rule, those that lose all their initial points during the test and those that don't answer any questions correctly, will be failed along with their two teammates." As soon as he finished, he and the officers pushed a considerable amount of chakra to intimidate everyone in the room.
Needless to say, it had a great effect as almost everyone started sweating, Sakura, Kiba, Choji, Ino and Hinata being the ones as well.
"The exam will last exactly one hour, begin!" Ibiki shouted, and not a second later the room was filled with noises of papers being turned.
'Alright, let's see the first question.' Sasuke thought as he scanned the words. 'First question is a cryptogram, easy, let's do it.'
'Question number two… "Line B, seen in the picture, is the greatest possible distance a shinobi can throw a shuriken from a tree of seven meters. For enemies who appear within the circumstance of the shuriken's range, explain the attack options using this distance. Show your work."' Akiho read the second question and started laughing inwardly. 'What the hell! This is a ridiculously complicated question that requires a high amount of both book smarts and experience… There is no way Sasuke will be able to answer that… hell I doubt that everyone will be able to answer it… though I and Sakura can.' The Namikaze girl thought as she glanced to where Sakura was seated. The pinkette was heatedly writing on her papers as if it would disappear in the next minute. She sighed and went to filling up the papers, inwardly hoping that Sasuke would manage. Akiho knew that the Uchiha wasn't the one who would read books every day. He was more of a practical experience Shinobi.
'I can't… answer a single one of these…' Sasuke thought hopelessly. 'Plus what's with the tenth question?'
"Question 10: This question will be revealed 45 minutes after the test begins. Listen to the examiner closely before answering."
Sasuke sighed and glanced to the officers. 'What's with this? It's like they assume we'll cheat… what bastards… but all those guys watching us… they are probably marking checks on those sheets.' Just as he thought about that, one of the officers he watched wrote something down. 'Someone just got caught.'
'Hold on… What did Ibiki say? Those pathetic ones that get caught cheating will be destroying themselves. As shinobi trying to achieve the level of Chunin, be proud…' It was then it dawned on Sasuke. 'Wait a second! This isn't a test to just measure our intelligence. This is also a test to see how well we can gather information with our skills.'
Sasuke chuckled to himself, getting a look from the neighboring Suna shinobi to his right. 'A shinobi must read underneath the underneath… so what the examiner meant was… if you're going to cheat, don't do it pathetically, but like a proud ninja and don't get caught. If you look at it that way, the subtraction point system and the fact that they let us get caught cheating four times before failing you makes all sense.' He summed it up and came with the conclusion. 'So basically what is being tested is our ability to gather information without being caught by the testing officers and the person whose test we are cheating off. Screw your mind games, Ibiki!'
The Uchiha's eyes moved to a person two rows in front of him that was writing slowly. 'Alright, time to use my new toy.' He thought and moved his eye-patch away, revealing his lone Sharingan and then closed his lone onyx eye. 'Alright, focus, look at his movements and… copy them!' The Sharingan worked instantly, copying the movements of the hand of the person Sasuke cheated off, a perfect way to cheat and to not get caught.
Akiho had easy time writing her answers. Her studies with her father and Jiraiya really paid off as she blew through the exam like a breeze. She glanced to Sasuke who was writing quickly and smiled, knowing that they had this part of the exam in their pockets.
Suddenly, out of nowhere a kunai skipped next to her face, embedding itself in the paper of a Shinobi behind her.
"Whoah!" The Konoha Genin bolted on his legs. "What was that for?!" He shouted to the officer who threw the kunai.
The officer calmly answered. "You messed up five times, you fail." He stated, getting a shocked expression from the Genin.
"No… no way!"
Ibiki looked at the scene and announced the inevitable. "You and the two on your team, get out of here. Right now." He said and watched the miserable Genins leave the room. "Hurry up!"
Every few minutes, the sound of kunai being embedded in the desks could be heard in the room along with the failed Genins leaving the room.
Sakura smiled when she finished the ninth question without a problem. 'Ok, done! Now I have to wait for the tenth question.' She thought and placed her pencil away.
'This is working well…' Sasuke thought as his wrist moved pretty much on its own as he looked at the wrist of a Genin two rows ahead. 'I was going to copy a few more people, but I hit the jackpot with him.'
Back in the middle of the room, Ino smiled when she noticed that Sakura placed her pencil away. 'Looks like she's done, it's time to finally do it.' She thought and made a ram seal. 'Sakura, I will acknowledge the size of your forehead and your intelligence, so be thankful that you will be the target of this jutsu, here I go…' She thought with a smirk, and a second later her body limply slumped down on the desk.
Shikamaru - who was in the same row as her - noticed her limpness and narrowed his eyes. 'Ino's fallen asleep. She must have begun that jutsu, the one you can't resist.'
Indeed, Sakura winced for a second and then she relaxed, unknown to the presence of another inside her. 'Sorry Sakura, I'm going to enter your spirit for a little while.' Ino thought as she was present inside Sakura's spirit. She picked up Sakura's sheet and started memorizing the answers. 'I have to memorize these quickly… 2-3 minutes is the jutsu's limit. I have to enter Shikamaru's and Choji's bodies to copy these answers for them too… easy.'
Meanwhile, one of the officers wrote something down on the board and stood up. "Number 102, stand up. You fail." She said, getting a pathethic mumbling from the failed Genin in return.
"Number 23, you fail." Another officer announced and was forced to remove the Genin from the classroom by force. "43 and 27, you fail as well, get out!"
'That's 13 teams that have failed already…' Akiho thought and then heard a slam on a desk behind her.
"Do you have to prove that I cheated five times?!" A Suna Genin shouted angrily. "Are you guys watching all-ugh!" His rant was abruptly stopped when he was slammed into a wall by one of the officers.
The exam officer held him propped against the wall by his collar. "Listen, among the Chunins we are the elite that were assembled to watch over this exam. We haven't missed anything you've done." The Chunin explained with a very annoyed voice. "You could say that this strength is our proof. Just be happy that The Panther wasn't chosen to be an officer, or you'd have your pants full a long time ago."
"Achoo!" A loud sneeze broke the silence that Yugito, Mizuko and Tenrai shared. "God damn it."
"You caught a cold, Naruto?" Mizuko asked her friend with a smile.
Naruto rolled his eyes and wiped his nose. "Nah, someone's just probably thinking about me." He answered and yawned.
"Yeah, like anyone except your sister would think about you." Tenrai snorted at Naruto's remark.
"Shut up." Naruto groaned, resulting in a short giggle from Yugito who was lying on the grass. She and her 'bodyguards' - Although, she'd rather call them friends by now, as they were very nice to her - were resting in Naruto's favorite place, waiting for the sun to ease up a bit. "Speaking of which, I wonder how she's doing in the exam."
"I heard there was a lot of competition." Mizuko said. "There might even be preliminary fights to the Finals after the second part."
"You think?" Naruto asked, genuinely interested in the word 'fights', but was met by a shrug of shoulders by Mizuko.
"You think that the Hokage will let me… us watch the preliminary fights?" Yugito asked out of the blue.
"No idea, we might ask him tomorrow." Naruto muttered out and closed his eyes, intent on falling asleep.
Ibiki looked intently at the red head in the third row. 'Hmm… what's that kid up to?' He thought as he watched him. 'Completely calm during all of this… very impressive… if Hokage-sama is right, that's Suna's Jinchuuriki, Sabaku no Gaara… if not for the orders we'd take him down right now, right here…'
While Ibiki was debating over this, Gaara was slowly gathering the dust in his open palm, creating an eye out of sand. He covered his right eye with two of his fingers and then crushed the sand-eye in his palm, causing the dust to wander off around the room.
Eventually, he picked his prey, a Konoha Genin. He manipulated the dust into the Genin's eyes, blinding him temporarily. While the Genin was complaining about the dust getting in his eye, trying to rub it out, a sand eye materialized above his papers.
Gaara could clearly see the answers through his third eye, and without wasting another second he wrote them down and then dispelled the jutsu.
"Excuse me!" A voice sounded in the middle of the room as a Suna Genin stood up.
"What is it?" One of the officers asked, and was quite surprised to hear the matter.
"Ugh… bathroom." The Suna Genin, Kankuro answered with a slight embarrassment in his voice.
Some of the officers sighed in annoyance as one approached the Suna Genin and put handcuffs on him. "We have to follow you to the bathroom."
"I see…" Kankuro nodded and left the room for the bathroom with the officer behind him.
When Kankuro entered the bathroom, he chuckled. "Those testing officers aren't very impressive…" He said while the skin on the officer's face started crumbling. "They didn't notice that there was an extra one, don't you think Karasu?" Kankuro said, referring to the puppet next to him.
"So start telling me from the first question…"
Ibiki scanned the significantly emptier room. 'Heh, so we've gotten rid of the trash, now let's get to the main… it's about that time.' He thought and coughed out loud.
"Alright, we will start the tenth question now!" He shouted getting the attention of every Genin. Some were trembling in anxiety and some were sweating in fear from the tense atmosphere that was in the room. "Right, let's begin the tenth question."
'Damn it, hurry up and return Kankuro! You're supposed to pass the answers to me before the tenth question.' Kankuro's sister, Temari thought nervously.
"Now… before we get to it, I'd like to go over the added rules for this question." Ibiki said, but before he could get to them, the absent Genin arrived.
Kankuro walked in with a smug smirk on his face, but he froze when he heard one of the officers whispering to his ear. "Was your doll playing beneficial?" It surprised him, definitely.
He frowned and not saying a word walked past Temari's seat, discretely handing her a folded paper with answers.
After he seated himself, Ibiki continued. "I'll now explain, these are the rules of desperation…"
Meanwhile in a bar, the three senseis of the rookies were talking witch each other.
"Well…" Kakashi began with bored voice. "It sure is boring without my team. The missions will have to wait…"
Asuma, the sensei of team ten snorted at Kakashi's complains. "Don't worry you'll be busy again soon." He answered with a smirk on his face.
Kakashi raised an eyebrow at Asuma's statement. "Why is that?"
Asuma sighed and took a drag from his cigarette. "I heard that examiner for the first test is Morino Ibiki." He said getting a deadpan look from Kakashi.
"Not that sadist…" The silver haired Jonin groaned, getting a questioning look from Kurenai, the sensei of team eight.
"Sadist?" The scarlet-eyed woman asked.
"Kurenai, you're a new Jonin, so you probably don't know…" Asuma said taking another drag from his cigarette.
Kurenai turned to him with a questioning look. "Who is he?"
Kurenai was taken aback by Kakahi's short response. "A pro? Of what?"
Asuma sighed and rubbed his temple. "Torture and Interrogation." He answered, getting a shocked look from Kurenai. "Lead Assassination squad, torture and interrogation captain, special Jonin Morino Ibiki."
Kakashi nodded thoughtfully. "Well… there may not be physical torture while taking a test, but they must be experiencing mental suffering brought on by his interrogation skills…" He added, getting a hesitant nod of understanding from Kurenai.
"He… Ibiki knows the human mind completely. That's what makes him scary." Asuma spoke solemnly in a voice that sent shivers through Kurenai's backside. "By attacking their mind, he can take control over their spirit. The person's weaknesses will all float to the surface."
Kakashi nodded at his comrade's words. "You can't escape his interrogation, you just can't."
"First, for the tenth question, you must decide whether you will take it or not." Ibiki announced solemnly.
'Choose whether to take it?' Sasuke thought surprised.
"Choose?!" The blonde Suna girl, Temari finally exploded. "What happens if we choose not to?!"
Ibiki sighed at the girl's sudden outburst. "If you choose not to, your points will be reduced to zero and you will fail along with your two teammates." He calmly explained, getting a lot of ridiculous looks in his direction from the Genins.
"What does that mean?!"
"Then of course we will decide to take the question!"
Ignoring the random rants from the Genins who were silenced by the officers, Ibiki continued. "And now, the other rule." He added, effectively silencing the entire room.
'More?' Sakura thought. 'Give it a break already!'
"If you choose to take it and answer incorrectly…" Ibiki was about to drop the bomb onto everyone. "That person will lose the right to take the Chunin selection exam again."
A momentary period of silence caused by the shock was quite an amusing sight in Ibiki's opinion. It was unfortunately interrupted by Kiba's outburst.
"What kind of stupid rule is that?!" He bolted from his seat, pointing at Ibiki angrily. "There are guys here who have taken the exam before!"
Instead of getting an immediate answer, what the Genins got was a chuckle from Ibiki, mimicked by the officers which resulted in a creepy effect. "You guys were unlucky. This year it's my rules." He finished with a cold, deep voice that scared the shit out of Kiba.
"But I'm giving you a way out." If possible, Ibiki got even more attention from the Genins. "Those that aren't confident can choose not to take it and try next year."
Everyone was sweating nervously. Hell, even Akiho and the usually calm and collective Sasuke. 'So basically if one of the three chooses not to take it, everyone fails.' Akiho thought as she bit her lip, almost drawing blood. 'And if you decide to take it and get it wrong you will be a Genin forever… Damn it! Both options are bad!'
"Alright, those that do not wish to take it, raise your hand." Ibiki announced. "Once your number is confirmed, leave."
It didn't take long for some Genins to give up. Around five teams were removed from the classroom in the next two minutes.
"To hell with that!" Akiho suddenly shouted, slamming her fist on the desk and pointing with her other hand to Ibiki. "Don't listen to him. He's just screwing with your minds!"
The Namikaze girl had the entire room's attention on her now. Ibiki gave a slight smirk as he stared down Akiho. "I'll ask you again. Your life is riding on this decision. This is your last chance to quit!" He shouted, trying to force down the Genins' spirits.
Akiho had something else in mind, though as she saw one of Konoha Genin's slowly raise their hand. "So you'll just listen to what he says and behave like a stupid puppet?! He isn't giving you an order, so don't listen to it! I sure as hell won't back down now!" She shouted, getting several looks of approval from her peers.
'Nice one, Akiho.' Sakura thought with a smile on her face.
Ibiki narrowed his eyes at the girl. 'Interesting kid, she blasted away everyone's worries… as expected from Hokage-sama's daughter, definitely a Chunin material.' He thought and then noticed how many people were left, everyone with confident looks on their faces. '78 left, more than I expected. Anko won't be pleased.'
'Stretching this any longer won't make any difference.' He thought to himself and grinned. "Good decisions, now to everyone still remaining…" He paused for the moment, and he could definitely hear several people swallowing in anticipation. "I congratulate you on passing the first test!"
'Wha?' Akiho thought flabbergasted.
"Wait, what do you mean?" Sasuke asked the man. "We already pass? What about the tenth question?"
Ibiki closed his eyes and grinned widely. "There never was such a thing. Or you could say that those two choices were the tenth question." He explained, getting a lot of ridiculous responses from the Genins.
"Hey! Then what were the nine questions for? They were pointless!" Temari shouted angrily.
"They were not pointless. They had already served their intended purpose." Ibiki began. "It was to test your individual information gathering ability. That purpose."
"First, as the rules explained, success on this test is based on the whole team doing well. This put the pressure on each member not to mess up things for their teammates." The head-examiner explained. "But the questions on this test were not the types a mere Genin could answer, so because of that I'm sure that most of people came to conclusion that to score points you'd have to cheat."
The flat look on Akiho's face was priceless. "Basically, the premise of this test is to cheat, and as cheating targets we had two or so Chunins who knew the answers mixed into the crowd to help you guys out." Ibiki explained, getting two short laughs from the set-up Chunins.
"But those that cheat poorly fail, of course." The Jonin said and reached to his bandana, untying it slowly. After a few seconds later, he removed it only to reveal a sick, disgusting sight on his bald scalp - horrible burns, screw holes scars from cutting, obviously effects of torture. "Because at times, information is more important than life and on missions and the battlefield, people risk their lives to get their hands on it."
'Holy shit, his head!' Kiba thought with wide eyes, almost puking at the sight.
"If the enemy or third party notices you, there is no guarantee the info will be accurate." Ibiki added, tying his bandana back on his head. "I want you to remember this. Important information in your hands can be a powerful weapon for your comrades and the village. So we had you gather information through cheating. This clearly separated those that did not have the right abilities."
"But I don't understand the final question." Kankuro spoke aloud, getting a smile from Ibiki in return.
"The tenth question is the true purpose of this test."
"What do you mean?" Shikamaru asked, speaking for the first time during the test.
"Let me explain… the tenth question… the 'take it' or 'not take it' decision… obviously these were painful choices. Those who choose the latter fail along with their teammates. Those who choose to take it could lose the chance to take the test again, a true leap of faith." He began explaining. "Now about those two choices… say you become Chunins. Your mission is to steal a secret document. The amount of enemy ninjas, their abilities, etc. is unknown to you. And of course there will be traps set all around you. Now do you accept, or not accept?"
It wasn't a question he wanted an answer from, as he continued. "Because you don't want to die, because you don't want your comrades hurt, can you avoid this dangerous mission?" He stopped for a second before shouting loudly. "The answer is No!"
"No matter what the danger, there are missions you can't avoid. The ability to be courageous and survive any hardships… this is the ability needed to become a Chunin captain." Everyone held their breaths for a moment as he spoke. "Those who can't put their destinies on the line, those who cling to the uncertain future of 'there is always next year' and then walk away from their chance, those pieces of trash who can only make such cowardly choices don't have the right to become Chunin! That's how I feel!" He shouted the last two sentences, inspiring the gathered Genins greatly.
"Those who choose to take it answered the tenth question correctly. You will be able to survive any troubles you face in the future." He said with a smile on his face as the Genins slowly began to congratulate each other. "You made it through the entrance. The first test of the Chunin selection exam is now finished. I wish you all good luck!"
The class totally erupted into cheers as the teammates congratulated each other and make jokes of it. However, the cheering had to stop eventually when suddenly…
Suddenly, a large, black ball crashed through the window, knocking an officer down to the ground and sending glass shrapnel everywhere. A large banner was embedded in the wall by several kunais and a figure jumped out of it.
'Geez, not this one…' Ibiki though hopelessly.
The intruder skidded into a stop, revealing a violet haired woman clothed in rather… revealing clothes. "You guys! This is no time to be celebrating!" The lady shouted.
The banner finally stopped flapping around, and everyone could read what was written on it…
The second test's examiner, the only one, sexy, Mitarashi Anko!
"I am the examiner for the second test! Miatarshi Anko! Now let's go!" She shouted pumping her fists in the air. "Follow me!"
Unfortunately, she was only met by silence as everyone was too shocked to say anything. "Bad timing…" Ibiki's voice came from behind the banner.
Anko ignored him and scanned over the classroom. "Seventy-eight?! Ibiki! You left twenty-six teams?!" She shouted with disbelief. "The test was too easy this time!"
Ibiki shook his head at his co-worker's rant. "The test was as hard as ever, but his time there is a lot of outstanding ones."
"Bah, that's fine. I'll at least cut them in half in the second test anyways." She announced, getting a lot of scared looks on the Genin's faces, much to her pleasure. "Ahhh, I'm getting excited… I'll explain everything once we've changed places. Follow me!"
"I knew that she would pass! That's my girl!" Kushina shouted as she watched the exam's end through a camera-broadcast. "You saw how she lifted their spirits? She definitely takes it after you!"
"Agreed, she's really a great Kunoichi." Minato confirmed with a smile on his face. "But we'll see how she'll do in the second test, you know yourself that it's a whole new level."
Kushina narrowed her eyes for a moment, reminding herself of the Forest of Death, but relaxed after a second as she believed that Akiho would make it. "She'll manage easily!" The red-head chirped and plopped on the couch in Minato's office with her favorite book The Tale of the Gutsy Ninja, written by Jiraiya.
"You know… if you didn't promote Naruto to a Chunin, he'd blow through the competition anyways, so why didn't you want him to participate?" Kushina asked out of the blue.
Minato stopped his wrist from signing the document he had in front of him. "You said it yourself, he'd destroy the competition. It would be pointless to put him through it as Danzo's training is harder than the Chunin exam itself." He explained and went back to his paperwork.
Kushina sighed. "I guess… but I'd really love to see my son in the exams anyway." She said quietly, returning to her book, not noticing how Minato abruptly stopped his actions.
The blonde adapted a rather sad look on his face. No matter how he looked at it, Kushina thought of Naruto as of her son. He did too to some extent, even though he knew about Grimmjow.
He sighed and rubbed his temples, and as if on cue, he heard a knock on the door. "Come in!" He called.
The doors opened, only to reveal Yugito and surprisingly Naruto. 'Speak of the devil…' He thought.
Alright folks, I finally defeated my laziness and sat down and god damn I wrote this chapter. I took me so long to even begin, but in the end I managed. Hopefully, from now on I will start pumping out the chapters at a relative pace.
About the three questions I asked in my announcement a few weeks back… I won't tell you the first one as it would be a ridiculous spoiler :3
The second one… I will stick to rather canonish Narutoverse, but the Daimyo's will play a larger role. They won't be some uptight assholes who don't care about anything, but some serious players in the story. I will refrain from bringing the big-ass armies of foot troops, but there will be something else.
And finally third one - majority wanted the story's atmosphere to stay as it is (I was kindly surprised to see that you like the way I write it). So it will.
The next chapter will be obviously the five days in Forest of the Death plus some interaction between Naruto, Minato, Kushina and Yugito. Cheers!