It was five minutes into the exam when the screaming began.
Sakura shivered and moved closer to Sasuke in an attempt to comfort herself. "Was that...?" she began.
"Yep," Naruto said.
"Do you think they're okay?"
"Should we be worried?"
Sasuke did his best to comfort Sakura and she seemed to be less skittish, but very shortly after she had calmed down the screams of another team was heard. "Are you sure that we shouldn't do something?"
"I'll do something if it makes you feel better."
"What are you going to do?"
Naruto turned to look at her. "You see that tree over there?" She nodded. "I'm gonna go take a piss over there." He grinned and made a Kage Bunshin. "I'll leave this guy here for you. If I die he'll disperse, and you'll know that I'm not the Naruto you know if someone else comes up."
'You really shouldn't tease her like that...'
'Where's the fun in that?'
Shisui seemed to have no answer, so he skipped away into the forest laughing after he looked at Sakura. Needless to say, she was furious with him. But he needed to relieve himself and he wasn't about to do it in front of her. That would have made her even more angry than he had just left her. He moved a reasonable distance away from his team in the general direction of the tree he had pointed to and began to do exactly as he had told them.
The sound of a twig breaking under someone's foot made him sigh. "At least let me finish," he said. He knew that they wouldn't, but he would have left them alone if they had. Hearing them get closer made him angry. He stopped and turned to look at his prey.
A pale yellow jumpsuit stitched up the middle, a sash around his face with two eyeholes cut out, a rebreather, and a forehead protector from Amegakure. That was what greeted Naruto. That was what interrupted him. That was what was going to die.
Naruto made two Kage Bunshin that were immediately next to the shinobi, holding him down. The real Naruto walked around his prey, stabbing kunai into the ground. "Want to give me your scroll or rat out the whereabouts of your team?"
The boy was putting up a fight, but couldn't overpower the clones. So he started screaming for help.
"I guess that's a no then. A shame, really. It would have put me in a better mood." Naruto worked through a few seals and channeled lightning chakra into the kunai. "Raiton: Denkai." The lightning arced up and created a net around him.
"What is this?"
"Oh, nothing. It's harmless unless you try to get out of it. As for the next part... Well, let's just say you should have given me the location of your team." He worked through a few more seals and looked at the shinobi. "Last chance." His tone must have done the trick, as the shinobi started shouting for him to stop and that his team was watching Naruto's team. "Thank you for your cooperation. I'm not going to kill you now." He made the last seal of his jutsu. "But this is going to hurt. A lot. Maybe next time you'll think twice before you interrupt someone relieving themselves. Raiton: Kaminari Meppou (Chaotic Lightning)."
True to the name, in a seemingly random pattern lightning was passing in a much lower arc through from kunai to kunai. Each that passed through the shinobi felt more painful than the last, but in reality Naruto was easing the amount of chakra every strike. He stopped after he watched the boy collapse, moving forward to check his pulse. Relieved that he hadn't killed the boy on accident, Naruto moved in to capture the teammates of the unconscious shinobi.
After he finished taking his piss.
He made a dozen Kage Bunshin to assist, but they were more overkill than anything. It wasn't that Naruto was strong, though he was stronger than a few months ago. They looked older than him by a few years and were absolutely pathetic. With their skills he wouldn't be shocked if it was their fifth time trying to pass the exam without any luck. But Naruto didn't have any luck either, because he found another Heaven Scroll.
He began moving to where he had left his team, but stopped. 'Should there be anyone in this exam that could beat the shit out of me?'
'Theoretically, no. But that doesn't mean there aren't people who could beat you. I doubt any team or person would be able to win against you with extreme ease, if that's what you're asking.'
'It was. Thanks Shisui.'
Naruto created a few hundred Kage Bunshin and they scattered, except for one. One moved to where Sasuke and Sakura were waiting, assuming the role of Naruto. The clone nodded to the other and watched the clone dispel. "So. We need a password."
Nodding at Naruto's words, Sasuke piped up. "It should be something easy, so we can change it if we get separated multiple times. In case someone is listening in we shouldn't say the answer out loud while choosing, only the question. So... how about what Kakashi-sensei's first lesson was?"
"Easy enough. Do you want me to answer it or are we good for now?" When Sakura gave Naruto a suspicious look and he sighed, Sasuke was convinced that it was Naruto. So they pressed on, in search of an Earth Scroll.
After his clones had thoroughly surveyed the forest they dispelled. For the most part it was only one at a time, but every once in a while Naruto was forced to stop moving and sort through the information so he had it right. One of those times involved Samui's team. It seemed nearly a dozen of his clones had sought her team out.
Which was perfect for him, because he wanted as much information on Samui as possible. Samui's team. Not Samui. They were a threat to his own team. That was the only reason. He certainly had no intention of stalking her... Naruto sighed, giving up on fooling himself. He wanted to see Samui and what she could do. There really wasn't any other reason for what he was doing.
He could probably beat any of the other teams from Konoha by himself and go scroll hunting, but then they wouldn't like him very much... Though he probably would need help with Lee's team if they were all about the same strength. But he wasn't about to go and make the test more difficult for any of his friends. Sure he didn't really like Ino that much, but on her team was Shikamaru and Chōji. And as much fun as it would be he wasn't about to go and pick a fight with Kiba. He didn't really know any other team besides them and wasn't about to test his luck. With his luck every other team could kick his ass.
And when picking a fight for a scroll was out of the question, all that was left for Naruto was observing. Unfortunately that also meant that he needed to do it by himself if he didn't want to be immediately caught. Sasuke had some idea of stealth, but Sakura probably didn't. Her idea of being stealthy was discreetly staring at Sasuke rather than doing so openly. Well... at least that was what Naruto had last seen. She may have improved, but from the way she walked - stepping on leaves with no regard for the sound it would make - it just didn't show. Better for him to be wrong and move by himself in near silence than for him to be right and in the middle of a bad fight.
Though he may have been silent, there was one thing that he had difficulty concealing. It was a massive pain in the ass when he wanted to be stealthy, or so Shisui had told him it would. But he only really had to worry about it if there was a sensor. So he hoped that if his chakra gave him away then it might also scare people off. If there wasn't a sensor he would only be found out if he decided it would be a good idea to channel ridiculous amounts of chakra.
When he finally found Samui's team again they were exactly where he wanted them. Staring at another team who had no idea they were being watched from above. 'So at least one of them had figured out the concepts of stealth and surveillance and had impressed it upon the other two. Good to know.' He had already seen them waiting and watching once before, but it could have been a spur of the moment 'let's do this once' kind of thing. Seeing them to it twice made Naruto much more sure that they knew what they were doing.
Samui pointed down at the other team, who Naruto happily saw was not a team from Konoha, and Karui and Omoi nodded. They each made a clone and sent them down to the other team. With a startled jump the other team reacted very sloppily and one of them took a kunai to the head. It passed right through the boy without any resistance, but it was harmless to him. Such were the limitations set on the basic clone technique. It didn't matter though, it had caused the team to panic even more than they already were, and the actual trio from Kumogakure leapt down to meet them.
All it took was a few seconds of taijutsu and the other team was done for. Naruto couldn't quite tell if the other team was just pathetic or Samui's was overly strong, but settled on it being both. It was difficult to tell from where he was - hundreds of feet above them - but he thought he saw Samui frown when she found the scroll the other team had. Naruto almost threw caution to the wind when he saw that - thinking he would jump down and see for sure. Thankfully Kurama was paying attention.
'Keep it in your pants, kit.'
He blushed the slightest bit before nodding and sending down a Kage Bunshin instead.
The clone saw Samui's team tense on his arrival, but he held up his hands in mock surrender. What he did had lessened the tension but did not eliminate it. Se the clone took off his weapons pouch and kunai holster and put them on the ground. "Would you like to tie me up? Would that make you more trusting?"
Samui shook her head, a smile gracing her face for a moment. "Did you enjoy the show?"
Naruto laughed, remembering that he had asked her the same thing after he had fought only a little bit ago. "That wasn't really much of a show. That was as close to a slaughter as I've ever seen." Naruto nodded to her other two teammates after he responded, trying to recall their names.
"So why are you here if you're surrendering? In case you've forgotten, the point of this second examination is to set the teams against each other for two scrolls. And unless you think that we're going to just give you our scroll, you're not as smart as I thought."
Naruto nodded, hoping that he was right in what he thought earlier. "I'm almost positive that I saw you get a scroll of the same type just now. I was hoping that we might be able to trade."
"Oh? What makes you think that we have two of the same?"
"I can't be sure - I was a few hundred feet above you - but... I thought that I saw you frown when you found the scroll the other team had."
"So you surrendered yourself to us on the possibility that I frowned when I found the scroll?"
Naruto looked pained. "Am I right or wrong?"
Samui looked at him for what felt like an eternity, but eventually confirmed his belief. "We have two of the same. But it would only matter if you also had two of the same and if the doubles that we each had were opposites. So unless you have two heaven scrolls, you just surrendered yourself to us for nothing."
Naruto all but jumped for joy when he heard that. "I do have two heaven scrolls actually. So can we make a trade?"
Samui considered the idea for a few moments, before looking to her team. Karui and Omoi had been watching in mild fascination, not really knowing her to be one to be social with other people, but both of them nodded when she looked at them in turn. "Alright."
Naruto grinned. "Sounds good. Oh, and one more thing."
Samui tilted her head to the side slightly, trying to predict what the other blonde would say.
"Surrender is a relative term." With that, the blonde popped out of existence, replaced by smoke. Samui was confused for a second before remembering how he had escaped her back near Kumogakure. And another smile graced her lips. This one lasted longer, until real the blonde had descended.
"And how do we know that this is the real you?"
Naruto nodded to himself, expecting the question. "Very fair. This is how." He made another shadow clone and it held out its hand. Naruto scratched it with a kunai and it disappeared. He scratched his own hand with a kunai and blood was drawn. "They're great but not very durable."
Naruto reached into his pouch and pulled out one of the two scrolls. He walked to Samui and held the scroll to her. She took out the scroll she had just found and took a few steps forward. Each took the other's scroll at the same time, not letting go until they both had a firm grasp on the scroll that they wanted. "It was a pleasure doing business with you." Naruto said.
"Likewise," Samui said.
Naruto grinned and was about to say more, but his face paled. Samui heard him say "No..." under his breath and he bit his thumb. He slammed his hand onto the ground and was on top of a fox. "I have to go. Sorry." Rakurai raced off in the direction that his team now resided after Naruto pointed the direction. The fox didn't ask a word until they were well on their way, sensing the panic of the one who had summoned him.
It took watching his best friend die to get Sasuke to move.
They had run across a shinobi from Kusagakure who had tried to split them up using a gust of wind. Naruto had grabbed both of them and held them down until the end of the technique so that they were together for the coming fight. Then when the killing intent released by the grass shinobi had frozen the rest of the team in fear, Naruto charged. He had done well for a little while, but after hitting the shinobi with his drilling air bullet he saw Naruto be skewered. The shinobi's arms were clearly broken but from his mouth was a blade that went straight through the blonde.
"Shit..." the blonde managed to squeeze out.
"Naruto!" Sasuke leapt to his feet, roaring the name while his sharingan kicked into action. He didn't even notice the puff of smoke after the blonde was tossed to the side. Immediately his hands were full of kunai and shuriken, each with string tied to them. He threw one after the other, predicting the movements of the enemy shinobi much more easily than before. He hadn't really been able to keep up with Naruto and the other shinobi before, but it was different this time.
The other shinobi seemed to look on at him in mild amusement, dodging the projectiles without seeming to think about it much. He watched Sasuke pull his left hand back and whipped his head around, grinning at the sight. While he stood still to catch the only weapon that would hit him, with his mouth, Sasuke worked through some handseals and lit the string on fire. The shinobi turned around saying, "Better luck next time," before his face was aflame.
Sasuke stared at the fire for a few more moments before he looked to where he saw Naruto was tossed. Before his head could whip around again Sakura called out to him. "It was just a clone."
He sighed in relief. "Then where's the real one?"
"Who knows? At least he's not dead."
Sasuke took a few steps towards Sakura, pulling her into a hug. "I thought we were going to die... I thought Naruto was already dead..."
Sakura pulled him closer and rubbed his back a bit. "We're fine. You saved us. And I'm sure Naruto is out there somewhere doing something stupid, but he's stronger than I thought. He won't go down so easily."
"Yeah... I'm sure he's fine."
"Worrying about your teammate before making sure I'm dead? That's not so wise on the battlefield." Sasuke's heart nearly stopped when he saw the burnt face of the shinobi falling away. The charred skin gave way to new soon enough, but it didn't make it any less horrifying as it happened. "But you did make me have a bit of fun. So I'll give you a little gift before I leave."
The shinobi worked through some seals before ducking, dodging a sword that would have cut his head off.
"Get the fuck away from my team."
Naruto saw the clearing his team was in before and leapt off of Rakurai to a nearby tree, flashing through seals and tapping into Kurama's chakra. "Raiton: Sei Denka (Static Charge)." Feeling the lightning chakra pour into his skin he continued to put in more, hoping to kill anyone who touched him. He kicked off the tree, splintering it, and drew his chakra blades. He coated them in wind chakra and slashed at the freak who was staring down his team.
"Get the fuck away from my team," the blonde said, his voice deeper because of Kurama's influence. He kicked off the ground again, this time even faster. He didn't really have a strategy anymore. He just wanted to kill this person. Not thinking about a single slash, he attacked as quickly as he could. The shinobi was unable to counterattack, so Naruto's brain wasn't distracted coming up with a plan B.
Eventually however, the enemy shinobi frowned. Naruto's mind being blank, he didn't think anything of it. So he was extremely surprised when he felt his ribs being broken and when he crashed through a tree.
"So the Kyuubi brat has stayed alive all this time? Interesting." His fingers were aglow with chakra when he seemed to teleport in front of Naruto. He didn't expect to be knocked away from the boy with nearly as much force as he had sent him flying. And he certainly didn't expect it to be because of a fox hitting him with its tail.
Rakurai looked down at Naruto, who was fading from consciousness. "You have the start of a very good foundation," the fox said to him. He was left looking at Rakurai in utter confusion as he passed out. Rakurai took a few steps towards the shinobi, allowing his chakra to flare up and surround him. He walked by Sasuke and Sakura, nodding to them when he saw them back away. "Would you mind checking his injuries? I'm afraid I'm currently unable to do so."
Rakurai slowly paced towards the shinobi who was cracking his neck. "Interesting. I can only assume you belong to the container." Instead of replying, Rakurai was in his face and nearly gouged out his eyes with his claws. 'Fast.' He didn't quite react quickly enough after leaning back and was sent airborne again by Rakurai's tail. 'Dealing with this will make too much noise. I'll give Itachi's brother that gift and get out.' He made a few shadow clones to distract the fox, a little surprised when the fox did the same and without seals.
Each of the clones paired up, each knowing that only one needed to get by for the shinobi to be on his way. It seemed to happen in the blink of an eye, all of the shinobi's clones dispelling and one of Rakurai's gone. But in the confusion the shinobi was next to Sasuke and biting his neck. The Uchiha fell to the ground in agony, writhing until he passed out from the pain. Cursing, Rakurai sent his clones after the shinobi and moved to check up on the two boys.
When Naruto finally came to Sakura nearly wet himself. The blonde had jumped up and created a couple hundred clones, thinking he needed to help Rakurai fend off the shinobi. When he saw Rakurai's head tilted to the side he scratched the back of his head, clones dispelling left and right. "What happened?"
"He seemed unwilling to fight. So he ran off after putting a seal on your friend. One I've never seen before, and one that seems to be causing his body great pain. I suggested getting him medical attention, but the girl said that your team would be disqualified."
"Well... we would have been if you didn't check my pockets. But if he needs medical attention as soon as possible then we need to move him. Can you make sure nobody tries to kill us on the way?"
Rakurai nodded, expecting more to be asked of him than that. "Very well. Shall we?"
Naruto nodded, making a clone to carry Sasuke and grabbing Sakura against her will. They were at the tower shortly after, and the real Naruto stayed behind with Rakurai as his clone brought Sasuke and Sakura inside. Naruto looked at the white fox, bowing slightly. "Thank you." Being so formal wasn't usually his style, but Naruto thought that Rakurai would appreciate the gesture - assuming the fox even noticed the change.
Rakurai lowered his head for a moment as well, returning Naruto's bow in his own way. "You're most welcome."
He rubbed the back of his neck after he straightened himself. "I'm not sure what would have happened if you weren't there. Well, I am, but I don't want to think about it. So again, thank you."
Rakurai nodded, again accepting the thanks. "It is what I am here for, so think nothing of it. In all honesty, it was a welcome change of pace. Very beneficial as well, I might add."
"I was able to see what I had to work with. We are supposed to help the one that Kurama chose. I found it much easier to know what I had to work with after seeing you in combat. While you may not see it as much, I did see all I needed in those few moments. So it is really I who should be thanking you. For making the first part easier."
Naruto was more than a little bit confused, but he understood that he was graded when he was fighting that freak. "How did I do?"
"Do you not remember? I said that you have the start of a very good foundation."
"Just the start?"
"And here I thought that I was doing pretty good..."
"Yes. Well. Another time we should fix your perception of doing good. Perhaps the next time that you have a few weeks. For now however, tend to that boy. And remember that you needn't hesitate to ask me for help."
With a puff of smoke, the fox was gone. And with a sigh, the blonde followed his team.
Well, I apologize to everyone for the wait. With a bit of luck their won't be a two year delay between this chapter and the next. While I can't promise frequent updates I will be writing almost every day now.
I'd also like to mention that I went through the other five chapters and fixed a few things. No major changes though - just grammar for the most part. And on the topic of changes, my style of writing may have changed as well... so... yeah. Still pretty much the same (as far as I know) but a year and a half break will do that. I would really appreciate it if you could tell me how it changed (if it did) in reviews so I can update the other chapters so they aren't so drastically different stylistically.
Thanks for reading and (hopefully) reviewing.
New Jutsu List (Both mentioned and used)
Raiton: Kaminari Meppou (Chaotic Lightning) Offensive. B-Rank (Ninjutsu) Short Range - After catching the target inside Raiton: Denkai, the user channels lightning chakra between the kunai in a controlled pattern. Depending on the situation they can allow the lightning chakra to build and eventually explode (resulting in Raiton: Denki Bakuha), or ease the lightning chakra to torture.
Raiton: Sei Denka (Static Charge) Defensive. C-Rank (Ninjutsu) Short Range - The user channels lightning chakra into their skin, shocking anyone who touches them. Though the shock is not particularly strong, it will stun/shock most shinobi for a moment, giving the user ample time to strike. The more chakra put into the technique the more powerful the shock, but the amount of chakra must be enormous to make a noticeable difference.
Raiton no Yoroi (Lightning Release Armor) Defensive/Supplementary. A-Rank (Ninjutsu) Short Range - The user coats themselves in lightning chakra, enough so that their nerves are stimulated by it. The more chakra is put into the technique, the further the nerves are stimulated. Stimulating the nerves allows the user to react quicker and through doing this allows them to move faster. The technique has different levels of activation, and there is a maximum to the amount the user is able to increase their speed in using the technique (though to get faster the user need only train their muscles more).