Chapter 9-Chuunin Exam Finals
A month had gone by for Naruto sooner than he had expected. So much done each day and not enough time in the day to do the things he really wanted. Training with Karin, preparations for the Chuunin Exam Finals, protecting the women in his life from the greedy Councils, and the Uchiha when he learned of Karin's existence. While Tsunade had kept them under control with the lack of supporters, they still did a lot of whining, and complaining like spoiled children do until the weak willed parents cave. Before, the Sandaime Hokage had caved to their whims after a few seconds of bitching about what they needed, and what they wanted.
Tsunade had no intention of being that way with them. Ever!
"I don't care what the Uchiha wants. He's not getting an arranged marriage with Uzumaki Karin!" declared Tsunade angrily while the said Uchiha in the room scowled at her.
"You can't deny me! I'm an Uchiha! As this is an important union between our clans, you have no right to refuse. It states as much in Konoha's Village Charter!" countered Sasuke with his arrogant smirk appearing on his face.
"Normally that would be true Uchiha. BUT that is only the case IF both clans wished for this arranged marriage you are proposing to happen. The Uzumaki Clan does not wish it. When one clan does not wish it, the Hokage has the power to step in, and support the clan refusing the offer," replied Tsunade with the Uchiha snarling since he had missed that part of the charter when find what he wanted and hoped the woman in front of him didn't know about it.
Apparently she did.
"So make them!" demanded Sasuke with his already short temper running out.
"I don't have to make the Uzumaki Clan do anything! Least of all have them setting up an arranged marriage for a spoiled little shit like you!" exclaimed Tsunade angrily with her own short temper having reached its limits with the brat.
"I'll tell the people. I'll make the village populace protest. You will have no choice but to do what I want," replied Sasuke with Tsunade's eyes narrowing.
"And I'll tell the people how the Uzumaki Clan helped build this village beside my own while yours stayed on the sidelines doing nothing. You think your clan is hot shit?! Its not! They did nothing while everyone else did everything. You claim the blood in your veins is one of elites, but what you fail to realize is that elites are strong Uchiha. You are not. You are weak! Why? Because you don't work for your strength or power. Everyone has handed stuff to you. The strong earn their strength and power!" exclaimed Tsunade with the Uchiha scowling at her with a snarl on his face.
"And how do you explain the freak's power?" challenged Sasuke with Tsunade standing and her form causing a shadow to loom over the Uchiha.
"My Godson earned that power through pain, suffering, and anguish you could not hope to endure like he has for the majority of your childhood brat! While you had a home with family, Naruto had nothing! He was lucky to have the clothes he wore everyday. You were given love. He was given hate. You were given everything while this village nearly took everything from him. Do not talk to me about what Naruto has and has not earned you little shit!" Tsunade practically yelling directly at Sasuke's face with enough force to make the Uchiha fall back on his ass.
'I don't believe this! I was suppose to get the girl I want from the freak's clan and I would get the secrets of his clan through the marriage. How dare the Uzumaki Clan and bitch for a Hokage deny me that right!' thought Sasuke angrily while glaring at the woman in front of him.
"This meeting is over. Everybody get out!" exclaimed Tsunade, as she had enough of the Uchiha for one day, and the same was said about his boot licking members in this room.
As it stood, Sasuke had to let the matter go for now, but he vowed to bring it up again at a later time, and hopefully with someone who would let him have what he wanted. Jiraiya and the Sandaime Hokage seemed to be on board with the idea of Sasuke marrying into the Uzumaki Clan, but were upset to hear Tsunade had shot the marriage down. They had planned to talk to the woman, but it was clear the Senju was in no mood to have any kind of conversation with them during the entire month before the Chuunin Exam Finals.
Speaking of the Chuunin Exam Finals, the ANBU sent after Kabuto had caught the man successfully shortly after the Preliminaries were over. The young Medic Nin, who was clearly Jounin level, had given the ANBU quite the hard time, and nearly escaped if not for the former Yondaime Hokage entering the fray. Kabuto was clearly curious how the man had come back to life, hearing only rumors, and speculations despite the spy keeping his ear to the ground. Kabuto suspected his sources within Konoha didn't know or had been told to keep it away from him to ensure repeated attempts at duplicating the process did not happen until further study in the matter was done to conduct proper experiments. The Medic Nin thought he could defeat the former Yondaime and then study the former dead man's corpse to figure out the process in order to bring about a new body if not breed of soldiers to serve Orochimaru.
However, the idea quickly left, and was replaced by rage when the former Hokage had informed Kabuto of the Sannin's death by Naruto's hands. Needless to say, Kabuto did not take the news well, and tried to kill Minato with his variety of skills.
And failed miserably while losing both his arms at the elbow thanks to the Arrancar's zanpakuto during their fight. After that, the Medic Nin was taken to Ibiki for questioning, and to learn more about the invasion the late Sannin had planned for Konoha. Jiraiya had tried to pry his way into the meeting, in the attempts of preventing Kabuto from telling his interrogators just who was involved in what, and misdirecting information to keep certain...individuals from being mentioned. Unfortunately, for the Sannin anyway, the scarred Leaf Shinobi had orders from Tsunade herself to keep Jiraiya, Kakashi, and even the former Sandaime Hokage himself from interrupting the session.
When it was over, Ibiki took all the information he got out of Kabuto directly to Tsunade, who looked it over with sharp eyes, and glanced briefly back at the Jounin. The report had named names, locations where the enemy would strike, what they would use, and the numbers involved in the attack. All in all, it gave Konoha the advantage in repelling the enemy from their walls.
It also named her sensei, Danzo, and Jiraiya as co-conspirators with Orochimaru when the invasion happened. Not that it mattered with Danzo dead and Orochimaru along with him just recently. However, what concerned her was the plan had a lot of people from the Leaf acting on her sensei's orders to let the fighting get really bad, and Jiraiya would be responsible for causing a lot of damage during the fighting with the Toads. Danzo would make sure the more important areas were secured with Root Shinobi, then the Sandaime would "fight" Orochimaru, literally play the hero, and "die" as one too while being taken away in secret until he could switch into a young healthy body provided by Orochimaru.
While everyone was focusing on repairs from the damage, mostly caused by Jiraiya's Toads, the Sannin was meant use his status as a Sannin to influence Naruto, who was suppose to be weak minded, and easily manipulated to do anything the man wanted for Jutsus. While Naruto studied under Jiraiya, the man would influence the boy to defend the village from the world's "evil", and by "evil" Kabuto had been informed by the snake Sannin that it was the other Shinobi villages. How they were power hungry, wanted to take power that didn't belong to them, and use it to conquer everyone else via war. Jiraiya was meant to mold Naruto into a weapon of the Leaf by making him believe that every single country aside from Fire was not to be trusted.
Again, it was the original plan the group had come up with at the time, and a chance to revise it to match the current date had not been discussed. Even after Kabuto learned of Danzo's and the Shinobi Council's death at the time, he reported it to Orochimaru soon following that event, but the Sannin did not care while saying the plan was still on.
"This report is disturbing," stated Tsunade with Ibiki nodding.
"Which is why that is the only copy and no one has seen it aside from myself and Anko. I didn't know who the trust even among my own division. Some of the guys I work with have been following the Sandaime Hokage for years and have heard the stories about him growing up. The risk of them leaking this report to him were too high," replied Ibiki with Tsunade raising an eyebrow at him.
"So have you," said Tsunade with Ibiki nodding.
"True, but I know when to serve one Hokage, and when to serve the next. My loyalty isn't to your predecessor, Jiraiya, or his plans for Konoha. They insult the very principles that your Grandfather believed in and built into Konoha all those years ago. Not everyone thinks like I do just as I don't think like everyone else does on this matter Hokage-sama," stated Ibiki with Tsunade understanding what he was talking about.
Unlike some people in his division, Ibiki didn't drink the "obey the Hokage currently in office without question Kool-Aid", and was smart enough to keep his mind his own in the process without anyone questioning his loyalty to the village.
"How many Root did we round up and begin reprogramming after Danzo died?" asked Tsunade with Ibiki frowning.
"Hard to say. While Danzo was head of the organization, I wouldn't doubt for a second that Hiruzen took control of them. Or that he might have gotten a sizeable chunk of them out of the village until we caught all of the ones we did within Konoha. Not to mention some of the people Kabuto knows on that list we didn't consider were loyal to Hiruzen or their cause. They need this invasion to happen Tsunade. They need the chaos that would come from this to move undetected to kill you and take control of Konoha. If they do, the Hokage would most likely be Jiraiya, who would put his sensei under an Advisory role, and begin their plan to take back control of Konoha. I can only imagine what they would do to the Namikaze and Uzumaki Clan should they get the opportunity," answered Ibiki with Tsunade frowning since the number of Root they had differed from the number they expected.
That and Ibiki was right about key people in Konoha just itching to pull a coup. on her while using this invasion to pull it off.
"We could warn Suna. Let the Kazekage know he's being played," suggested Tsunade with Ibiki shaking his head.
"I doubt it. The man has been known to be quite stubborn. Not only that, but from what we can gather about his son, Gaara is highly unstable, and the Kazekage helped make that happen. If we go to him about this, it might make things worse, and there are still plenty of agents in Konoha who are loyal to the Sandaime Hokage. We should focus inward with the time left before the Chuunin Exam Finals to prepare our defenses in secret while making sure we can round up the shadowy faction within Konoha that will move against you Hokage-sama," replied Ibiki with Tsunade nodding.
"Sadly, I have to agree. When the fighting starts, I will try to convince him to change his mind. Hopefully seeing Naruto in action when competing will make him call it off before the attack happens," said Tsunade with Ibiki frowning.
"With all due respect Hokage-sama...is the boy really that strong? To do what he did so far, I can understand it was impressive, but...could he even make a Kage, much less the Kazekage call off an invasion?" questioned Ibiki, as he had heard the stories, the rumors, and had felt the power Naruto gave off.
But even still...an entire invasion force and a Jinchuriki to boot?
"That boy has a power exceeding the Kyuubi. The same with his parents. It would be considered merciful to have Minato and Kushina do all the fighting. If and when Naruto unleashes his full power...let's just say death is an absolute certainty," replied Tsunade with Ibiki nodding.
"I see. In any case, it should be interesting to see how the boy's various opponents fight against him," said Ibiki with Tsunade nodding.
"His first opponent is Hyuuga Neji," replied Tsunade with Ibiki wincing.
"Ouch! Is it really true that Naruto can break bones if he chooses to touch and age what he comes in contact with them?" asked Ibiki with Tsunade nodding.
"Yes. And that is IF he let's them land a hit. Neji is fighting an opponent that could hurt him without even trying. Gentle Fist cannot help the Hyuuga Prodigy in his fight with my Godson," stated Tsunade with Ibiki now smirking.
"Poor bastard. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost," remarked Ibiki with Tsunade now sporting a smirk of her own.
"Hyuuga Neji holds a grudge against my Godson. A foolish thing to do when all Naruto has done is improve the lives of those around him," remarked Tsunade knowing Neji had disliked the idea of Hinata being around Naruto and the fact her Godson's teammate had forfeited instead of fighting.
No doubt Neji wanted to hurt young Yakumo just to get to Naruto.
"Foolish indeed. Why Hiashi doesn't tell the kid the truth about that night is only making things worse," said Ibiki with Tsunade frowning.
"You know what happened?" asked Tsunade with Ibiki nodding.
"One of the few who do. The Sandaime made me swear to keep it a secret. Even ordered it. He said Hiashi would tell Neji the truth when the time was right, but I doubt it. I have met Hiashi in private about the matter. The look in his eyes...he's not going to tell Neji when the time is right. Not unless someone or something gives him a kick in the ass hard enough to make the first move. Something I think the Sandaime knew would happen and exploited," said Ibiki with Tsunade frowning.
"For what purpose?" asked Tsunade with Ibiki shrugging.
"Secret political support. The Hyuuga Clan has a lot of sway in the realm of politics in and outside of the village. They've been making sure of that for years in order to keep those outside of the clan from finding a way to gain access to their bloodline. All of the Hyuuga Elders were very insistent in Hizashi taking Hiashi's place when the deal was first made to keep the peace with Kumo," said Ibiki with Tsunade growling at that since those old traditionalists never could get their heads out of their ass.
"All the while, Neji hates his Uncle, and despises his cousin in the process while no one ensures the truth is told to the boy for that very reason," deduced Tsunade with Ibiki just nodding.
"The Hyuuga Elders never really loved the idea of Hinata being the next Clan Head of the Hyuuga Clan. They felt Neji would be their perfect tool or weapon to bring her down to the point where even Hiashi would cave in having her put in the Branch family of the clan. After Hanabi was born, I imagine the pressure over the matter increased greatly, and the Hyuuga Elders kept working the fire that is Neji's hatred," stated Ibiki with Tsunade letting out a groan.
"Let's just hope Naruto doesn't do something that will make him an enemy of the Hyuuga Clan," said Tsunade before looking out the window at the village.
"The invasion is still on," stated Sarutobi Hiruzen to the Suna Jounin in front of him, who was surprised to hear this.
"But Orochimaru is dead. The invasion is compromised. Your successor knows too much and there is not enough time to change the plan to something else," protested Baku with Hiruzen scowling at him.
"Be as that may, I am confident my forces within Konoha, and can do enough damage while your forces outside do the rest. The Sound village is still functional and Jiraiya has taken control of it to ensure there are no deserters among its ranks. All of our forces will be able to do what is necessary when the time comes. Make sure your Kazekage knows that," said Hiruzen with Baki nodding.
"You never did tell me why you are doing this to your village? It is making my Kazekage uneasy and I am starting to wonder as well," stated Baki with Hiruzen frowning further.
"Konoha has shifted away from my vision of what it should become. My successor, who I never wanted to become Hokage in the first place, has ruined it, and setback my plans using the very boy I was molding into the village weapon. She must be removed and the only way is through the chaos of the invasion. Once its over, Konoha will reestablish ties with Suna, and acknowledge its strength in a way that will allow the Wind Daimyo to see he made a mistake in redirecting funds to our village," said Hiruzen while only speaking a half truth to the Suna Jounin.
By the time the invasion was over, Suna would be severely weakened, Sound would be annihilated to cover up the Leaf's involvement in its creation through Orochimaru, and Konoha will be uncontested in its power. The Suna Jounin in front of the former Hokage would not live past the invasion and the Kazekage would meet his end as well without even realizing it.
"I see. I will relay what you have told me to my Kazekage," replied Baki before leaving the room, but still having that uneasy feeling in his body.
"On the day of the invasion, inform Yugao it was Baki who killed her fiancé during this waiting period," said Hiruzen to the ANBU (formerly Root ANBU) standing behind him.
"She'll want to know how we know this Hiruzen-sama," commented the ANBU with the former Kage glancing back at the Leaf Shinobi.
"Just say Jiraiya's spy network discovered the truth. It should be enough," replied Hiruzen with the ANBU nodding before he was gone in a swirl of leaves.
(Konoha Stadium-Day of Finals)
"There is a change in the order of Shinobi competing?" questioned Naruto with a raised eyebrow to the current Jounin Proctor named Genma.
"Yeah. While its complicated, Dosu of Sound will not be competing in the finals due to being killed during the month waiting period. Meaning the order had to be changed, if only slightly," replied Genma with a board next to him showing the others who would be fighting who.
Naruto would be fighting Neji.
Sasuke would be fighting Ino.
Shikamaru would be fighting Temari. (cue Shikamaru groaning)
And Shino would fight Kankuro.
The only real difference now was Gaara would be fighting the winner of the first match.
'So that's the line up. I see. Gaara fights last since his opponent is no longer among the living. And the Uchiha isn't here either. Meaning Kakashi is making him arrive late. No doubt to come here in some fancy impressive way to attract clients to the fool specifically after his 'victory' over Ino. Provided he can win against her,' thought Naruto while he saw the line of contestants standing along side him.
'Damn! I was hoping I wouldn't have to fight a girl. Why couldn't I just fight Shino or his opponent. Even Sasuke! Why do I have to fight a troublesome girl?' thought Shikamaru while the various kunoichi in the village, both native, and foreign too had a sudden urge to beat up lazy men and boys who loved to stare at clouds all day.
At the same time, all said men and boys who were lazy suddenly felt the urge to shiver in fear, and wondered where the sudden sensation came from.
"Nervous?" asked Naruto, who was standing next to Shikamaru.
"No. Just tired," answered Shikamaru with Naruto letting out an amused chuckle.
"I suggest conserving your energy. You will need it for what is going to happen soon," said Naruto while glancing at Temari while making it seem like he was referring to the Nara's match.
Not the invasion.
Fortunately, Shikamaru caught onto what he was saying, and knew something was going to happen soon. With Naruto glancing over at Temari, the Nara knew it had to do with the Suna kunoichi, and anything Suna related in general. This also meant the youngest of the Kazekage's children and Jinchuriki by the name of Gaara was also a major factor, if not THE major factor inside Konoha.
So why did Naruto seem so calm. Granted, Naruto had every right to be calm, but still you would think the former Kyuubi Jinchuriki would sweat a little over this. Glance over at Gaara with a more serious look on his face. Something!
"You guys ready? Its nearly show time," said Genma with Naruto nodding his head.
"Let's get this show on the road. The Hyuuga's not so secret glare is becoming annoying to me," replied Naruto with several Genin looking from him to Neji, who was indeed caught glaring, and with his Byakugan too.
"You will fall this day Namikaze. Fate has assured my victory here," remarked Neji while Naruto glancing at him with uncaring eyes.
"Using fate to cover up your failures, doubts, and weaknesses is a crutch. Perhaps you should learn how walk on your own two feet and not use such an excuse to hide behind," said Naruto with Neji scowling further.
"I have something that will guarantee my victory. Something you can't stop from killing even you," replied Neji with Naruto smirking.
"We'll see," remarked Naruto before Tsunade gave her speech about the Chuunin Exams and to begin with the first match.
"Okay guys. I know killing is allowed, but please...don't kill each other here. It sets a bad precedent for the potential clients," said Genma with Naruto staring at Neji impassively while Neji was in his Gentle Fist stance.
"No promises," replied Naruto while narrowing his eyes slightly at the sight of something that should not be in the Hyuuga's possession.
"He will be begging for death by the time I'm done with him," replied Neji with Genma letting out a sigh.
"I'm going to regret volunteering for this. Ready? Fight!" said Genma before leaping back to see what would happen next.
"You do realize your Taijutsu won't have any affect on me, right?" asked Naruto while looking calm on the outside, but inside he was angry, and knew he had one person to blame for that.
Jiraiya of the Sannin.
"I don't need to hurt you with my Gentle Fist. Just make contact," replied Neji before he moved forward intent on implementing his plan to combat the Arrancar.
"As if I would let you. I know who trained you in secret Neji," replied Naruto, as he used Sonido to keep his distance from Neji when the Hyuuga got too close.
"Then you know I have the power to hurt you," countered Neji while trying to get close enough to hit his target.
"Absurd," answered Naruto before vanishing from Neji's sight via Sonido.
"Then why dodge? Why run like a coward? You claim to be some great entity now, but all I see is a weak fool hiding behind his clan name!" exclaimed Neji with Naruto not rising to take the bait like he hoped would happen.
"Arrogant fool. I don't hurt you because your cousin is watching us. She cares about you and wishes your quest to kill or hurt me would come to an end. I don't hurt you because she asked me not to for the sake of the Hyuuga Clan and for your own sake," countered Naruto with Neji looking angry when hearing that.
"I don't need her protection. I don't want it! What I want is for you to suffer and die while she watches helplessly in the process!" exclaimed Neji with Naruto letting out a sigh of frustration.
"Like you were when your Father died?" questioned Naruto with Neji seething.
"So my cousin told you," remarked Neji while pausing in his attack to gauge how to strike Naruto.
"From what she remembered. How can you justify your hatred for her? How does your mind work in believing a three year old girl could have a chance of defending herself against a veteran Shinobi from another village? One who infiltrated your clan compound, snuck into her room, and nearly got away with it in the middle of the night?" questioned Naruto with Neji snarling angrily.
"I don't have to justify myself to you. Something unnatural as yourself should stay dead and let the living do what they please," retorted Neji with Naruto snorting at him.
"The only unnatural thing I see is what you are secretly hiding and holding within your palms Hyuuga Neji. To think you would lower yourself that you would try to have such a thing on hand to use against another. Your own Father would be ashamed of you," replied Naruto with Neji looking ready to explode with rage.
"Shut up! You are a monster! A freak of nature! Something like yourself and your parents are not meant to walk around freely. Its time you were brought under heel! I will do just that and get my revenge on Hinata-sama by making you suffer!" exclaimed Neji angrily before charging forward to unleash his Gentle Fist on him again.
And striking Naruto on the forehead.
"Leave it to Jiraiya to create another version of the Cage Bird Seal for you to use against me," remarked Naruto calmly while Neji's arm broke within seconds of making contact with him and the seal appearing on the Namikaze's forehead.
"No! Naruto!" protested Hinata in shock and horror along with those that knew him while wondering why he let Neji hit him with the seal.
'That bastard got Jiraiya to help with that kind of seal? On my son? Oh that old pervert is so fucking dead!' thought Kushina and Minato angrily.
"I've won!" declared Neji while leaping back, his one remaining limb going through hand signs.
"Hardly," replied Naruto calmly with Neji's grin never leaving him.
"Holy Life Curse Seal: Submission!" exclaimed Neji, as he activated the seal, and saw it glowing around Naruto's head while fully expecting his opponent to fall to his needs in agony.
Instead, Naruto shocked Neji by just standing there with a raised eyebrow while looking completely unharmed.
"Is that it? Is that what you spent the entire month preparing for? Just some Gentle Fist training and a seal supposedly designed to hurt me whenever you want? You didn't even make the seal. Jiraiya probably gave it to you before coming here, gave a brief half assed explanation, and hoped it would work," replied Naruto with Neji gritting his teeth.
'Why isn't it working?! Jiraiya-sama said it was an altered version of the Cage Bird Seal with more advanced settings and anyone struck by it would be in pain when a hand sign is being made. Why isn't the hand sign working?' thought Neji while seeing the seal on Naruto's forehead being removed by the Namikaze with a small swipe of his hand.
"Let me explain something to you Neji. Something even you can understand in that head of yours. As I am now, sealing doesn't work on me. It never will work. You see Neji, like everything else, seals fade away with time, and they age to the point where their strength is gone. I age anything that touches me that I dislike. From any and all weapons to limbs used in Taijutsu and of course...sealing! Danzo and his Root Shinobi learned that the hard way before they died. What makes you think some pathetic little third rate Cure Seal that was made from a perverted so called Sage for a fool could hurt me?" explained Naruto before he turned his head to look at where the man was watching with nervous eyes.
'Damn it! I thought for sure the Curse Seal would work. I underestimated how quick he would use the aging power on the seal,' thought Jiraiya angrily while knowing Naruto and his parents would soon come after him.
He had spent the entire month researching Curse Seals. From Orochimaru's work to the Hyuuga's Cage Bird Seal. He thought what had been created would be enough to use on Naruto, force the brat into submission, and use the brat's suffering to bring the parents in line long enough to seals on them. With them underfoot, they could get Tsunade kicked out of the Hokage seat, Hiruzen back in office as Hokage again after making Naruto use his reverse aging power, and bring about the Sandaime Hokage's vision of Konoha.
"This farce of a match has gone on long enough. Its clear you don't care about anyone around you Neji. I had hoped you could be redeemed for the sake of your cousin, but its clear someone like yourself would sooner die then admit wrong doing then try to make up for it. Death is the only salvation for you," replied Naruto with Neji scowling at him.
"I'm not done. Fate is on my side. I know it! I can feet it!" exclaimed Neji, his eyes now showing some form of insanity, and it was clear to Naruto that the Hyuuga had slowly lost his mind.
Not surprising really when all things considered. Naruto was considered unnatural, an anomaly in his eyes. Everything the Hyuuga believed in, the Namikaze brought doubt, and disbelief to in an instant. Naruto came from nothing, was raised with nothing, and treated like he was nothing. Only now did he rise above it all, have incredible power, was in the Chuunin Exams, and no doubt would be well on his way to becoming a Chuunin.
It went against the Hyuuga's belief in Fate preordained everything. If you have nothing, then Fate decrees you are nothing. If you have something, Fate decrees you are meant to have it, and so on and so forth.
"No. What you see and feel is death. I just hope Hinata can forgive me for what I am now about to do," replied Naruto before his cane turned into a battle axe and had the red evil looking eye in the center between the blades.
The boy briefly glanced at Hinata, who was looking at him, and gave the slightest of nods toward the Hollow Prince.
She gave her blessing.
"DIIIEEE!" yelled Neji, as he charged forward, intent on crushing the abomination, and enemy of Fate in front of him.
"You first," whispered Naruto before he vanished via Sonido and appeared behind him seconds later.
And seconds after that...Hyuuga Neji was cut in half at the waist.
"I'm calling the match kid. If we're lucky, we can still save Neji with Tsunade's help," said Genma, but the glare, and raised fist from Naruto froze him in place.
"I'll decide whether or not he lives past today. Not you," stated Naruto before he walked over to the dying Hyuuga and turned his weapon back into its cane like appearance.
"What's wrong? Why do you just stand there? Finish it," stated Neji with Naruto looking down at him.
"I did finish it Neji. With the amount of blood loss and the lack of a body from the hip on down I have taken your life in the cruelest way possible. But at the same time, I have the power to make it restart anew with my powers," said Naruto calmly with Neji scowling at him with what little life he had left.
"And what would be the price for such...generosity?" asked Neji with Naruto just looking from him to Hinata and back to him again.
"That when I fix you up again, this silent feud you have with Hinata, this arrogance of yours, and the constant blabbing about Fate dies in your place," replied Naruto with the Hyuuga glancing from Naruto to Hinata while seeing the girl's eyes pleading with him to take the deal.
"Not much of a choice," commented Neji with Naruto narrowing his eyes at him.
"You're lucky I'm giving you a choice at all. I could just let you die here and bleed out while thinking about all the people you've hurt just for being alive. I could leave you here to die while being filled with regret at hurting your cousin for something that was never her fault to begin with," replied Naruto while seeing Neji's pride wasn't willing to let go just yet.
"Like I said...some choice," remarked Neji with Naruto scowling at him.
"I'm giving you a chance at redemption. Choose quickly. Your time is just about up in the next two minutes. Literally," said Naruto with Neji gritting his teeth and deciding on the right course of action he should take.
"I...humbly accept your offer," whispered Neji with Naruto nodding before nodding at Tsunade, who appeared seconds later, and helped aligned the two halves the Hyuuga boy together properly.
Ignoring Genma announcing Naruto's victory over Neji to a shocked crowd.
"Good choice," replied Naruto before kneeling and putting one hand on both halves while Tsunade used her own medical skills to ensure everything was in working order when it was done.
"You should also know that your Uncle has something for you. It was from your Father. He left it for you to read after he died," added Tsunade with Neji looking at her in shock.
"What? Why didn't Hiashi-sama tell me? Why wasn't I given it or told about it until now?" asked Neji with Naruto snorting.
"The Hyuuga Elders forbid your Uncle from giving it to you on the grounds of 'being old enough to understand', which we all know is crap. They wanted you to hate Hinata and everything she loves. To turn you into their weapon against her any friends she may have over the years. They planned to have you be their instrument of destruction in putting her down so they could control her sister Hanabi and keep the idea of changing the Hyuuga Clan from ever happening," answered Naruto he knew enough about politics to know how the Hyuuga Elders acted.
"Hinata-sama did say that once, but...I thought it was an empty promise. Something she came up with to keep the hatred of the Branch family at bay. The Hyuuga Elders had said as much during one meeting they had regarding clan security. How such a declaration would not happen because clan traditions prevent it and Hinata's future marriage to you Naruto," replied Neji with Tsunade scowling at the mention of the Hyuuga Elders.
"Those fools won't live forever and they seem to forget that the Uzumaki Clan originally came up with the Cage Bird Seal years ago at your clan's request. Though based on the design on your forehead, they altered the seal without permission," stated Tsunade with Neji frowning and was surprised by this news.
"The Hyuuga Clan records don't mention an Uzumaki commissioning the seal," said Neji while Naruto snorted.
"As if they would. My Mother told me about this piece of history. The Hyuuga Clan was a traveling clan years ago before the founding of the hidden villages and their paranoia about their bloodline being taken during that time rose in the process. Shinobi Clans were attacking each other, wiping each other out, and things were getting messy with rumors of clans with Dojutsus having their eyes ripped out. The only clan not effected by this warring period was the Uzumaki Clan, as they settled on an island that would be called Whirlpool Country, and setup a defensive position in order to grow. The Hyuuga Clan paid them a visit and requested their help in making a seal to protect their bloodline from being harvested. The Uzumaki Clan agreed and made them the Cage Bird Seal, but back then it was called the Dojutsu Protection Seal. The Hyuuga Clan was grateful for this, but the Uzumaki Clan wanted them to promise them, both on their honor, and in a contract signed in blood that the seal would never be altered," replied Naruto with Neji looking completely floored by this information.
"But Hokage-sama just said the seal the Uzumaki Clan gave mine was altered since that time," replied Neji while Tsunade grimaced.
"Your clan broke their promise Neji. Those present when handed the seal secretly had it altered before placing it on a majority of the Hyuuga Clan. Once that happened, those without the seal, who would become the Main family, had forced those that did have it into submission, and threatened to kill all the children of the now Branch family if they told the Uzumaki Clan about their treachery. The Uzumaki Clan still found out, but by the time they did learn of the Hyuuga Clan's betrayal, the Second Shinobi War had come around, and Whirlpool soon falling afterwards," replied Tsunade with Neji grimacing now.
"The Hyuuga Elders will deny it. They will claim without he binding contract, there is no proof the Uzumaki Clan created it," stated Neji with Naruto smirking.
"The one thing the Uzumaki Clan do above all things when it comes to making binding contractual agreements with other clans...is they make sure they are done in triplicate," said Naruto with Neji looking at him with a frown.
"In triplicate?" asked Neji with Naruto nodding.
"The contract was made in triplicate for record keeping purposes. One from the Uzumaki Clan in Whirlpool, one for the Hyuuga Clan, and one extra to hold onto in the off chance someone tried to screw them over. After the Shinobi villages were founded, the Uzumaki Clan were allies with the Senju, and were even tied together through marriage. As such, one Uzumaki Mito, who was Tsunade's Grandmother, had given her husband, the First Hokage Senju Hashirama the extra copy. She told him what it was and to make sure no one outside of their two clans knew about it unless there was a reason for it," explained Naruto with Neji's eyes widening in shock.
"The extra contract is here in Konoha. In the Senju Clan Compound," whispered Neji, but it did little to keep the words from being heard, and the Hyuuga Elders in the stand were now scowling.
"We must find a way into the Senju Compound. If that damn contract were ever brought to light, the political backlash would cripple our powerbase," whispered one Hyuuga Elder while the second sitting next to him nodded.
"We will send some of our best infiltrators there later while the Hokage is busy in her office. Since its just her, the building will be deserted, and it will be hours before the woman returns to it. Plenty of time to find the contract and destroy it like we did ours once we had no further use for the thing," said the second Hyuuga Elder.
"Done. I wouldn't advise anything strenuous for a while Neji. Even with my power and Tsunade's help, you really can't do anything for the next five months. At least that long before your body is fully recovered," said Naruto with Neji nodding in understanding before Medic Nins waiting for the all clear took the Hyuuga away.
"Begin the next match!" commanded Tsunade with authority and sat down again in her chair while the Kazekage looked down at Naruto's retreating form with narrowed eyes.
'That boy is the main threat to this invasion. Baki said that Jiraiya-sama guaranteed the boy would be neutralized by the time the invasion happened. Could it be a lie?' thought the Kazekage worriedly since he was hoping Naruto would be taken out by the Hyuuga.
"Yamanaka Ino and Uchiha Sasuke, please come down for your match," commanded Genma with Ino coming down first while everyone was waiting for Sasuke.
It wasn't long before the crowd got restless.
"The brat isn't here. Disqualify him," commanded Tsunade before Jiraiya appeared next to her.
"Wait! You want to disqualify Sasuke? The last Uchiha? Come on Tsunade-hime! A lot of people came here to see him compete. Such a decision could cost the village its future clients," protested Jiraiya while Tsunade glared at him.
"Imagine if this becomes a habit Jiraiya. Shinobi who are late to meet the clients or save them when they are in trouble is bad for our reputation. Late Shinobi equals dead clients. Word soon spreads like a plague and all our past and present clients go elsewhere. The Uchiha being among the last of a clan does not give the brat special privileges in being late. He's disqualified!" said Tsunade in an authoritative tone before signaling the Jounin next to her to inform Genma.
"Tsunade please don't do this!" protested Jiraiya with Tsunade's glare intensifying.
"Enough! I am the Hokage here Jiraiya. Not you! Not Hiruzen! Me! And I say the Uchiha is disqualified for his tardiness and that is that!" exclaimed Tsunade with Jiraiya frowning at her words.
'You will come to regret this Tsunade,' thought Jiraiya before left the female Hokage to enjoy Chuunin Exams.
While she still could.
"Uchiha Sasuke is disqualified for his tardiness. Winner is Yamanaka Ino!" declared Genma with many in the crowd booing the decision while many of the nobles and the future clients nodded in understanding.
'Serves the fool and his sensei right. You show up on time for everything. No exceptions,' thought Naruto before the next match started.
"I don't want to fight. I think I will just forfeit my match," mumbled Shikamaru before he felt something small and circular touch the back of his head with the power behind it now sending him over the ledge onto the ground.
"Get up you bum! I've been itching for a fight and you are my current scratching post," said Temari with Shikamaru grumbling while glancing back and saw the end of Naruto's cane retreating back.
"Damn it Naruto," whispered Shikamaru before getting up and wiping the dirt off his body.
"Ready?" asked Genma seeing Shikamaru looking like he hated being there and Temari was looking like she wanted to beat the boy's brain into the ground.
"Do I really have to fight a girl? Can't I just forfeit?" asked Shikamaru before a sudden sense of dread washed over him and looked in the stands to see his Mother glaring at him.
It was a "get off your lazy ass or else!" look that made many Nara males shiver in fear and always giving a high speed "yes dear!" nod for a response.
"Talk about being between a rock and a hard place," commented Naruto with an amused chuckle leaving his mouth.
Either face Temari and get his ass kicked in public OR...face his Mother and get his ass kicked...in public as well.
"Never mind," whispered Shikamaru with Temari smirking.
"Get ready for an ass kicking," said Temari with Shikamaru sighing.
"No matter happens, I'm going to get my ass kicked today. Troublesome. I just can't win," commented Shikamaru with Naruto smirking from his position while finding this to be very amusing.
It was like watching Baraggan's memories of Starrk and that girl who always beats the crap out of him for being lazy.
"Fight!" said Genma with Temari swinging her iron fan open seconds later.
"Time to see if you did more then sleep during the whole month preparing for this," said Temari with Shikamaru groaning.
"I kind of had to or else my Mother would have beat me within an inch of my life. Maybe I should have and hoped my injuries prevented me from competing," replied Shikamaru while thinking if it was possible and he made the wrong choice on how to approach this.
'As if I would let my attacks stop you,' thought Yoshino, as she would have rolled him in his wheelchair, and wearing a full body cast onto the field herself to make sure her son competed.
'At least my son didn't make the same mistake I did at his age. My Mother didn't take my attitude regarding the Chuunin Exams lying down either,' thought Nara Shikaku, as he let out a shudder at the memory, and how his Mother had dragged his body onto the field so he wouldn't be considered late and disqualified.
It was so humiliating. The only person who enjoyed the spectacle was Kushina, who had thought it was hysterical, and laughed herself silly at his situation. She still did actually when brought up when they all got together and made sure to remind everyone just how the Nara women in the clan wore the pants in it.
The only thing more troublesome then women in general were women from the Uzumaki Clan. Hell everyone from the Uzumaki Clan were the definition of troublesome!
"Winner by knock out: Temari from Suna!" declared Genma before he winced at seeing Shikamaru on the ground after being hit over the head with the girl's weapon and sporting one mean lump on his head.
"That will teach you to call women troublesome!" exclaimed Temari angrily.
"But I...never said...that out loud," mumbled Shikamaru with Temari smirking at him.
"But you were thinking it. Women like me have sixth sense about when men talk about us behind our backs. I could sense it was coming off of you," answered Temari with the Nara in front of her groaning.
"I knew it. Dad's theory was dead on," whispered Shikamaru in pain before being carried off the field.
"The next match is Aburame Shino VS Kankuro from Suna," stated Genma while Shino moved to head to the field.
"I forfeit! I forfeit!" exclaimed Kankuro knowing he might have to face his brother if the tournament had to continue as everyone unknowing of the invasion believed it would.
"Fine. Winner by forfeit is Aburame Shino!" declared Genma with the crowd booking at how the Puppet Master took the easy way out while Shino just looked at Kankuro with narrow eyes behind his shades.
"The next match is Namikaze Naruto VS Yamanaka Ino," said Genma with Naruto using Sonido to take to the field while Ino came down a minute later.
"Show off," commented Ino with Naruto smirking at her.
"You liked it," countered Naruto with Ino shrugging.
"True," answered Ino since she always thought him using Sonido was awesome.
"Ready?" asked Genma before a swirl of leaves caught his attention and saw Hatake Kakashi arrive with Uchiha Sasuke right beside him.
"I'm sorry. Are we late?" asked Kakashi with Naruto narrowing his eyes at the man and the arrogant smirk the Uchiha was sporting.
"Actually you are late Kakashi. Sasuke has been disqualified for it," replied Genma with Kakashi looking shocked and Sasuke now looking livid.
"What? On whose authority? Yours?!" demanded Sasuke with Genma looking over at the Hokage.
"Not me. The Hokage. You were late for your assigned match Sasuke. Time does not wait hand and foot to make you happy. Its just like when on missions, you show up for them on time. Failure to do so could get your client or comrades killed. The Hokage knows this, I knows this, and every Shinobi worth their headband knows this. Even all the Missing Nin out there in the world when they were still part of their Shinobi village know this," said Genma with Sasuke frowning.
"Like I give a damn. I'm an Uchiha. We show up when we want. If I want to show up late for the client, then the client just has to suck it up, and deal with it. Hell, the client should be honored I even show up at all," replied Sasuke with Genma frowning at him.
"Your teaching skills leave much to be desired Kakashi," remarked Genma with Kakashi now looking sheepish.
"He's a handful Genma. You know how it is with some of the Prodigies that Konoha has produced over the years," said Kakashi with Genma frowning.
"I wouldn't know. I tend to stay away from them unless absolutely necessary. In any case, your student needs to sit in the stands like everyone else," stated Genma with Sasuke not liking that.
"I have a match with the bitch over there and I will compete whether the Hokage up there likes it or not!" declared Sasuke defiantly before walking toward Ino.
Only for the Uchiha to feel an immense pressure now filling up the arena and many were gasping for air and clinging to someone around them for support. Even the Yondaime Kazekage was finding it hard to breathe and was looking at the source of it all with wide scared eyes. Not surprising when the source of this sudden pressure was Naruto, who had enough of the Uchiha's constant belief of being untouchable, and decided to lay down the law...Uzumaki style.
"Are you done? I am sick and tired of you Uchiha. Strutting around this village much less this arena like a peacock with your feathers out for everyone to see and be impressed by them. Well I'm not impressed and neither are they! You were late for your match, you are speaking with an arrogant tongue, and you currently believe the world owes you all the riches lying deep within the ground waiting to be handed to you. And simply because of the fact you are an Uchiha! Your very presence is a stain on the world. You are filth! A disease! A rotting dead horse with maggots coming out of it had more value than you!" declared Naruto before walking over to Sasuke currently on the ground trying to stare up at the towering Arrancar.
"At least I'm human. What does that say about you? Monster!" accused Sasuke while he struggled to breathe and talk.
"I maybe a monster, but compared to you Uchiha and how you view the world...I'm a far better person than you ever could hope to be in life," replied Naruto kicking the Uchiha in the face and sent him flying into Kakashi with the two hitting the wall hard.
Before Naruto decided to cut off the spiritual pressure.
"Um...not that I haven't trained or anything, but...can I forfeit too?" asked Ino nervously since she knew her strength when training the entire month could never match up to her future husband.
"Of course. Sorry about that Ino. I just couldn't stand the idea of Sasuke getting his way and needed to put him in his place. I also know you trained this entire month because my Mother made it her business to know. She wants have a strong daughter-in-law by the time we marry," said Naruto with a gentle smile with Ino blushing and nodding while thanking him.
"Okay. Yamanaka Ino had forfeited her match. Winner is Namikaze Naruto," said Genma with no one from the crowd booing or cheering since they were afraid Naruto would use his spiritual pressure again.
"Troublesome. As much as I dislike the idea of Ino being allowed to forfeit, I would have done the same in her shoes if I was facing Naruto," said Shikamaru while glancing at the other contestants in the booth with him.
'Such power. Its no wonder people are scared of him,' thought Temari while looking at Naruto before glancing at Gaara currently smiling an evil smile filled with rage and bloodlust.
"Finally. Someone in the world worth killing," said Gaara while everyone else, who did not know the boy currently looking at him in confusion.
'Oh shit,' thought Kankuro knowing that look.
"The next match is Namikaze Naruto VS Temari from Suna!" declared Genma before he saw Temari coming down on her fan, but unlike before with Shikamaru, she was looking a tad nervous, and no one will blame her.
"I don't suppose you would go easy on me," said Temari with Naruto smirking at her.
"That depends. Do you want me to go easy on you? You look like a woman who doesn't like opponents holding back when in a fight," replied Naruto with Temari smirking at that since it was true.
"No. I don't want you to take it easy on me. Forget I said anything," said Temari while getting her fan out and Naruto smirked.
"I already did," said Naruto before turning his cane into its battle axe form.
"Ready? Fight!" said Genma with his hand coming down.
"Daikamaitachi no Jutsu!" exclaimed Temari, as she unleashed her attack on Naruto in the hopes it would hurt him since it was one of her more powerful wind based Jutsus that was capable of cutting things to pieces.
The Wind Jutsu did cut and slice things to pieces around Naruto, as the ground, the trees, and even the boy's clothing was cut up in various places. The violent wind made Genma leap back since he didn't want to be caught in the path of the attack and saw it was a very powerful Jutsu. It was a well known fact Suna Shinobi had a strong affinity for wind and puppetry and this girl was showing she inherited one of those two things.
"Interesting attack Temari-san. You even managed to cut through my clothing. Not many people can say that was possible. Most impressive indeed. Sadly, for you anyway, it did nothing in terms of cutting through my skin," said Naruto knowing her attack would do just about everything else.
'Damn it! I thought my Jutsus could cut through him. I heard rumors about his skin being as hard as steel, but to see my attack did nothing further proves the rumors are correct,' thought Temari before she saw Naruto vanish from her sight, and her eyes widened before she moved on instinct to dodge the attack aimed at one of her legs.
"Good instincts. You were paying attention to my fight with Neji in the hopes of learning of a way to dodge or block such a move even though you saw me do it only once during the entire match," remarked Naruto casually.
"I also saw your speed. When you use that move, there is a static like sound, and it gives me a split second warning needed to move. The trick is being able to hear it," said Temari with Naruto nodding.
"Very true. Not many people know about that since they are either dead or they can't hear it like you do. No doubt it is something related to your strong affinity for wind, correct?" deduced Naruto with Temari nodding.
"That's correct. Now let's see if you can take another hit. There is only so much your skin can take before it finally breaks! 'Daikamaitachi no Jutsu!'" said Temari while the attack once more cut and sliced everything in its path.
"Normally, you would be correct, but my Hierro makes your attacks worthless," stated Naruto before looking down and saw his shirt was in tatters and decided to just throw it off to reveal his well muscled body.
'Damn! He's muscled for a kid his age. Did they put steroids in his milk formula as a baby?' thought Temari while blushing at the sight of her opponent shirtless.
"I knew Naruto was muscular under that shirt, but...damn!" stated Ino, as she had seen signs of it before with his shirt being open, but the girl had never seen him like this.
'It makes you wonder what he will look like when he's a full grown adult,' thought Hana, as she was starting to feel a blush forming on her face, and knew her body was reacting to the sensation of seeing her future husband like that.
'So hot. Must...resist...eye humping...student,' thought Anko, as she saw Naruto was well built underneath his shirt, and wondered if Kurenai knew this too.
'That's right Konoha. That is MY future husband,' thought Hinata at the sight of Naruto shirtless made the girl blush and a small nosebleed forming.
"If I didn't know any better Temari-san, I would think you were trying to get me out of my shirt. If that is true, you have been successful on your part," remarked Naruto with some amusement while Temari was sputtering and blushing at the fact he had seen how her eyes were ogling his body.
"S-Shut up!" exclaimed Temari before she moved to swing her fan one more time, but Naruto moved too fast, and was instantly in the kunoichi's face.
"Boo!" whispered Naruto and was rewarded with Temari letting out a shriek before she jumped back several feet and fell on her butt in fright.
"That was awesome! Nice one!" exclaimed Kankuro before he yelped and ducked when Temari threw some shuriken at him.
"Shut up Kankuro!" exclaimed Temari before focusing on Naruto currently smirking at her.
"Such a quick temper Temari-san. For shame," said Naruto in a scolding tone and the girl looked embarrassed before growling at what he did.
"I'll show you a quick temper! 'Fūton: Tatsu no Ōshigoto!'" exclaimed Temari with one more swing of her fan, pouring all her strength behind it, and launched the swing of her fan into the sky.
Seconds later after nothing happened, storm clouds began to form from above the two Shinobi, and a massive tornado soon followed with form of mother nature violently crashing down onto Naruto. While this happened, many watched with waited breaths, and wondering if Namikaze could withstand an entire tornado being brought down upon his head. When it stopped, the dirt kicked up was preventing anyone from seeing if Naruto was all right, or he was taken down by the Jutsu.
"Impressive. A delayed attack mixed with your temper makes the enemy think the Jutsu failed, but in reality, it was time delayed, and meant to destroy the unsuspecting foe hit with it," said Naruto, who was completely unharmed by the attack, and shocked Temari to no end.
'He just took a tornado and shrugged it off! How is that possible?!' thought Temari with Naruto smirking.
"Care to try again? Or are you out of chakra?" asked Naruto with Temari eyeing him with extreme cautious and glanced at his zanpakuto.
The memory of Neji being cut in half by it appeared in her mind.
"I give up. If you can withstand my most powerful of Wind Jutsus like that, it would be pointless to continue fighting," answered Temari with Naruto turning his sword back into its cane form.
"Winner is Namikaze Naruto!" declared Naruto with many of the clients and nobles now looking impressed by the act.
Only the Fire Daimyo seemed displeased. He had been assured that the former Jinchuriki would be brought to heel and so would his brought back from the dead parents. Unlike the Fire Daimyo's predecessor, this one did not believe any Jinchuriki were deserving of being labeled humans, and it was the same for any other variation of them. This included what Naruto had become what was called an Arrancar and had wished to quash any kind of rights the family may wish to claim on the family holdings. To the Fire Daimyo, all Jinchuriki were considered abominations, tools to be used in war, and only to be used as a last resort when the war escalated. Until then, a Shinobi village could do whatever they wanted to the Jinchuriki, provided it wasn't betraying him, or usurping his rule over the entire country. The only reason Kushina or Uzumaki Mito weren't treated like that was due to the previous Fire Daimyos and the family of both Jinchuriki being their for them while keeping their status as Jinchuriki a secret.
The current Fire Daimyo had no intention of being like them. He wasn't going to embrace Jinchuriki or this Arrancar like his Father and his Father before him would have done in his place. No. He would soon order the boy and his parents be made into weapons of war and be without any rights or freedoms normal humans possess. He would order the clan homes be liquidated or handed over to someone worthy. Like the Uchiha perhaps. Yes. The boy had been slighted by Tsunade and all for being a little late. Bah! Who cares if the boy was a little late. This was only a competition. Not a mission or assignment that was considered "time is of the essence" and not being late was considered bad. Besides, the Uchiha Clan were an important clan in Konoha, and it would be bad to wrong the last one loyal to Konoha.
He would have to make a strong example out of Naruto, his parents, and of course the current female Hokage soon enough while making the Uchiha have their possessions as reparations for the wrong they committed. And if they didn't go along with it? The Fire Daimyo would order their execution and have them be declared traitors of Fire Country.
"The next match is between Aburame Shino and Sabaku no Gaara of Suna," declared Genma with Gaara appearing immediately while Shino didn't move from his spot.
Why? The boy was thinking and thinking hard.
Contrary to popular belief, the Nara Clan was not the only clan to have, and produce the smart tactical geniuses that helped Konoha survive three Shinobi Wars. The Aburame had helped contribute to the war effort in the same way, which was by treating the village like a hive, and the Hokage being the "Queen" that ruled over them. As such, there had been several Aburame who had demonstrated their intellect rivaled the Nara Clan on many occasions. Their only real weakness or rather their inability to surpass the Nara Clan in that field was their inability to think illogically or "outside the box" if you will. When a Nara Clan member thinks up a strategy, he thinks of every possible outcome the enemy might pull when attacking from all angles, all directions, and every way possible. When an Aburame Clan member thinks up a strategy, they think based on logic, and logic only in terms of how the enemy would act in a logical manner.
The only problem with that however, is most of the time, humans do more often then not, think illogically, or think logically at times when planning something out when in battle. The Aburame Clan's ability to outmaneuver someone was limited by that extent since they followed the logical path where people reacted in a logical manner. It was why the Uzumaki Clan was always able to stump them years ago when discussing strategies. The Uzumaki Clan were known for thinking up seals and thinking in an illogical manner that surprisingly worked when the plan was put into effect.
And now Aburame Shino was using his own tactical mindset to find out if he should go through with his match with Gaara? Logically, he had not competed yet against any of the opponents fighting here today so no one knew his skills outside of his clan, and his teammates when they visited. Any information the others had on him was now outdated since it had been a month since the second stage of the Chuunin Exams. But the issue here was not his own skills, but rather the skills of his opponent, who clearly had not qualms with killing anyone that stood in his way, and Shino was told before hand by Naruto that Gaara was a Jinchuriki. Like the Namikaze had been, only with a weaker Biju inside this one, but the problem with that had been the seal Gaara had, which judging from the red haired boy's eyes had been very weak. Naruto had told Shino how the other boy's eyes were baggy from the lack of sleep and clearly Gaara's mentality was lacking just as much.
Shino realized his insects would not be able to handle Gaara at all. From the sand armor to the Biju's chakra oozing out of the boy's body through the pathetic seal holding it in place. Shino knew logically that the best thing to do now was to not confront Gaara, as it would mean the end of his hive, and ultimately...his life.
Not only that, but Naruto had informed him of the impending invasion by Suna, and it was further proven by Kankuro's sudden desire to forfeit. A fight was going to happen soon or later and logically Shino would need all his strength for the real fight that had yet to come.
"Proctor I forfeit. I know from first hand experience my opponent is too strong for me and I will not risk my hive on such a dangerous Shinobi," said Shino with the crowd booing, but the Aburame didn't care about that.
Why should he when they were being illogical?
"Aburame Shino forfeits. Winner is Sabaku no Gaara from Suna!" declared Genma with the crowd booing once more with the exception of some Shinobi who knew the reason why.
"Well...at least I don't have to move," commented Naruto before glancing at Gaara who was grinning a bloodthirsty grin.
"I'm going to enjoy this," commented Gaara with Naruto smirking.
"I was thinking the exact same thing. Let's see how strong you really are Gaara. Let us see if your sand has the power to withstand my power to make things rot and die!" replied Naruto with his battle axe appearing again and it was clear the Namikaze was itching for a fight.
"Our son is going to mess him up," commented Minato with Kushina nodding from their position on either side of Tsunade.
The only reason neither of them stayed their hand in doing anything to Jiraiya when he protested Sasuke's disqualification was A) Tsunade wasn't a push over. B) if they sensed ill intentions when Jiraiya got close they would have stopped the Sannin. And C) the time was not right to show just how powerful they were until the real fighting started.
"Of course! He's an Uzumaki and my son! Dattebane!" exclaimed Kushina while having fire in her eyes while Minato let out a sheepish chuckle.
"Ready? Fight!" said Genma with Gaara launching his sand at Naruto, who used Sonido to dodge it.
"Don't just dodge my attacks. Fight! show me your real power! Show me why Shinobi villages are whispering your name with fear!" demanded Gaara with his sand missing its target.
"Normally, I would not do this considering what it entails, but considering your request, your mental instability, and the events still to come...I will indulge you this one time and one time only," said Naruto before using Sonido to give himself a healthy distance above the entire stadium.
"He can fly?" asked Shikamaru while seeing Naruto hovering high in the air where the cloud were.
That was so unfair!
"This could be either really good or really bad for Konoha," commented Anko while she had heard the rumors about what Naruto looked like when he "unsealed" his true power.
And the damage it could cause unless doing what she knew he was about to do at a safe distance.
"Behold Gaara. Behold the face of death itself! 'Rot: Arrogante!'" said Naruto before just about everyone felt a large wave of power washing over them, a sense of dread filled was now filling their hearts, and minds over this.
While still looking up, everyone watched in horror at seeing Naruto's body being covered in a dark miasma like energy, molding to his form, and it began to grow like a dark fire. Soon, skeletal hands appeared, the dark miasma energy turned into something of dark royal robe, a skull appeared with a crown on its head, and golden chains holding a gold object with an eye like symbol along the neckline.
Namikaze Uzumaki Naruto revealed himself as the true embodiment of death in all of its dark and cruel glory with everyone burning the image of what they saw into their minds to be preserved for all time. Slowly, Naruto descended from the sky, and his skull like form staring at Gaara's fear filled face despite the mixture of an insane smile creeping up into it.
"Mother is afraid of you. And yet...I know I must kill you. If I kill you, my existence will last forever. I must...run...no! I must...fight! Yes! FIGHT!" exclaimed Gaara with his fear and insanity mixing before lashing out with his sand at Naruto.
The sand wrapped around Naruto like a whip and held onto Naruto for a time span of a few second before the sand dissolved into nothing. Gaara was shocked that his sand just dissolved into nothing and tried again with even more sand until he surrounded the dark death incarnate based entity in as much sand as possible.
Only for the sand to decay around the figure of death.
"You see Gaara. Everything dies eventually. Plants. Animals. People. Even elements like sand are not immune to the power of time. My power ages things drastically. Your sand is no different. Or did my little demonstration when we first met not sink into that thick head of yours at the time?" said Naruto with his form hovering slightly in front of Gaara.
"Yeah! That's my son! Kick some ass!" exclaimed Kushina happily while seeing her son showing off his power.
"Your power is great Namikaze, but mine is greater!" stated Gaara before he launched more of his sand from his gourd at Naruto, who summoned Gran Caida, and cut the sand to pieces.
"You have no idea what REAL power is Gaara. I control the one true absolute in this world. Sooner or later, we will all die. Plants die. Animals die. People die. The only question is HOW they die and with a select few having a choice in that matter. Many do not get that sacred privilege when the time comes," stated Naruto with Gaara quickly going through hand signs and formed a ball of sand over his body.
'The time is now! I need to start the invasion!' thought the Kazekage, as he quickly made a few hand signs, and signaled Baki to do his job to make his forces outside of Konoha's walls to attack.
Explosions throughout Konoha erupted, shaking the stadium in the process, and shocking many that something like this was happening. The only people in Konoha who were not caught off guard were those who knew the attack was coming and those who planned it.
"I already know what you plan to do behind that ball of sand Gaara. As such, I am waiting to see your Biju manifest itself before acting accordingly. Though if you do disappoint me when I see the final product, I will kill you right here on the spot," stated Naruto while staring down at the ball of sand below him.
"Tanuki Neiri no Jutsu!" said Gaara from within the sand before letting sleep take him and the Biju sealed inside now getting full control.
"All right! I'm coming out!" exclaimed Shukaku excitedly before the ball of sand grew larger until it showed the One-Tailed Shukaku in all its glory.
"So this is what a Biju looks like when let out. Not bad. Though considering you are the weakest of them all, I was still expecting something more. Its a shame really. In another life time...we could have been Gaara," said Naruto with Shukaku growling at him.
"You punk! You may think you're hot shit, but I'm going to mess you up!" exclaimed Shukaku angrily while the skull face of Naruto seemed to somehow form an evil grin.
"Bring it," was Naruto's response with the two glaring at each other.
The fight was on.
(A/N: YAY! I updated. I hope you liked it. I was conflicted on whether I should kill off Neji or redeem him. I chose redeeming, but cut it a bit close. Was that a pun? If it was a pun, it was unintentional. In any case, I'm happy with what I did, and sticking with it. Until next time...PEACE!)