A/N: I've been forgetting to add this in my other notes but, please stop saying "Update soon" or something to that meaning. I put in the description "will TRY to update FORTNIGHTLY" meaning I will update very two weeks or as soon as I can afterward. I don't mean to offend anyone and I'm glad you guys took the time to reveiw but seriously, I put that there for a reason.

With that said, as an answer to isseixrias' review/question: …maybe, but that would mean corrupting an innocent child/teenager…by that I mean I could, but I'll need to see if I can fit it somewhere. Seeing as I'm plenty corrupted as are my friends it shouldn't be a problem…I think.

Black Flame of Destruction: I call jutsu by their names when they're not being used, eg. "I only know how to use the Daioppa", releases I only mention when they're being used.

Friaku: Glad you liked my Kyuubi, I wanted to make it more realistic, and yes I know it's a FF and an anime to begin with but that's beside the point. It was so troublesome to do, I haven't managed to find a good description of a non-over-curvy (definitely not a word but you get the idea) female Kyuubi so I had to do my own.


Chapter 4: Ten Questions.

"And then Jiraiya-sensei found out that the hotsprings were being used byTsunade-sama!" The laughter of the Gennin sounded out in the ramen stand, even the stoic Hiashi cracked a small smirk. Team Sakumo and Team Jiraiya had just gotten back from their C-Ranks and met the other rookies for some Ramen at Ichiraku.

Well, everyone except Fugaku who was off brooding, even Hiashi came along; and it had nothing to do with Tsume and Hizashi dragging him there. Currently, Minato was regaling them with the tale when Jiraiya went peeping at the hotsprings at the closest town to the frontlines near Rice and Hotsprings country, only to find out that the hotsprings were being used by some of the Kunoichi who had off time. Needless to say, Tsunade was unamused that her perverted teammate peeked on her, not that that made her hit him any softer though.

As Minato finished the tale, Chouza decided to speak up and asked, "So, did any of your sensei tell you guys if you're participating in the Chunnin exams the day after tomorrow?" Scowling, Tsume gave a short growl before answering, "We're not participating, Hitomi-sensei thinks that we aren't good enough to participate."

Looking around, Naruto noticed the slight tensing of Hiashi's jaw and a slight buzz coming from Shibi, indicating that they too weren't pleased either. Yawning, Shikaku decided to voice his own complaints, "Well, our troublesome sensei decided to get us to participate, all because Jiraiya-sama and Sakumo-san were bragging in the Jounin lounge about their students," shooting Team Sakumo and Team Jiraiya a half-hearted glare, he mumbled into his arm, "thanks you guys, this is too troublesome."

Sweatdropping, Inoichi turned to Naruto and asked, "How about your team Naruto-san?" Scratching one of his whisker marks, Naruto gave them a slightly sheepish expression before answering, "Sorry Inoichi-san, Sakumo-sensei told us not to tell anyone." Shrugging, Inoichi turned to Minato who simply said, "Jiraiya-sensei said the same thing," before going back to devouring his bowl of ramen.

Sighing in resignation, Inoichi gave them an exasperated expression before saying, "you know, you guys never tell us anything, we didn't even find out about Minato-san and Naruto-san's apprenticeship to Jiraiya-sama until we saw you guys training." Before they answered, Shibi looked up from his insect catalogue he was filling out and replied, "It's quite logical actually, Inoichi-san," pausing, he pushed his sunglasses up his nose and unknowingly caused them to glint for a moment he continued, "We never asked, so they never told us." With that he turned back to his catalogue.

Sweatdropping, Chouza decided to try and break the silence that had settled after Shibi spoke and said, "You know, that's the longest I've heard you speak for in the years that we've known each other Shibi." When he failed to reply or even show an outward reaction, Chouza sweatdropped even more and went back to his unofficial eating contest with Minato and Naruto.

After she finished her second bowl, Kushina turned to Mikoto and asked, "Ne, Mikoto-nee, have you managed to finish the third dance yet?" Nodding, Mikoto swallowed some of the tea she was drinking before replying, "Sort of, I have the stances figured out, but I can't seem to make them flow properly. Perhaps we can work on it later after lunch?" Shrugging, Kushina shot Naruto a glance which he managed to see even though his face was deep in his ramen bowl.

Never taking his face away from his ramen, Naruto made a dismissive hand gesture and replied, his words getting garbled slightly because of the noodles hanging out of his mouth, "Sure sure, you girls go and have some fun. Me and Minato-nii have to go for fuinjutsu lessons with Jiraiya-sensei and then some weapons training with Sakumo-sensei. So you and do whatever it is you girls do."

This, coupled with the disgust at him talking with his mouth full, prompted Kushina to bash him on the head with her strength which while not as much as Tsunade's was enough to cause his head to hit the table, bounce up and hit her hand, and hit the table again. Cradling his head, Naruto groaned and nursed his lumps in the "tower of pain" formation, meaning they were stacked one on top of another.

Crossing her arms and pouting, Kushina was oblivious to the sweatdrops of the other Gennin, being too absorbed in her own thoughts. 'Honestly…sometimes he's the biggest charmer I know and makes me feel funny, other times he's a complete idiot and I wonder why I even talk to him…'

Several hours later, Naruto was sparring with Minato, the former using two Boken to replace ninjato and the latter using two kunai in a reverse grip. Naruto was trying to actively push Fuuton chakra into his fighting style, passively slowing his opponent down by increasing air resistance and speeding him up by reducing it.

Minato on the other hand, was desperately trying to nick Naruto with his Raiton-infused kunai, the advantage of this was that they were sparring to first blood, meaning that the many bruises and general blunt trauma Naruto inflicted on him did not count. So the only way for Naruto to actually win was by knock-out, Minato giving up which he knew he wouldn't, and by some miracle, making him bleed.

In this aspect, Minato would normally have the advantage in this spar, having cutting weapons as he did. Unfortunately, Naruto wasn't known as the most unpredictable ninja for nothing, he quickly learned the range Minato could extend his kunai with Raiton chakra and danced just outside that zone, his range with ninjato coming into play.

Currently, Minato knew that Naruto was just playing with him, if he did nothing, Naruto would just beat him into the ground, and attacking wasn't working. Because of Naruto's infuriating fighting style he would just dance out of the strike and start pummelling him. Thinking back to what Naruto said prior to the match, Minato realised that in retrospect, he really should have either forced Naruto into a match with just their kunai, or just taijutsu.

Seeing an opening where Naruto made a slice, Minato decided that some desperate moves were in order and threw one of his kunai at Naruto's kidney. Just as the kunai was about to connect, Naruto spun and dropped the boken he was holding in his left hand, grabbed the kunai and used his wind affinity to neutralise the electrical charge. Immediately, Naruto charged straight at Minato. Caught off guard by his sudden aggressive tactics, Minato instinctively went to counter Naruto's remaining Boken that was heading for his forehead and would certainly knock him out if the strike connected.

Just as the strike was about to hit Minato's kunai, Naruto twirled and spun away from him, allowing Minato an excellent view of a kunai heading straight for his face. 'Crap! My kunai, he threw it at me!" Frantically trying to move his head out of the way, Minato managed to prevent the kunai from burying itself in his forehead but still received a scratch on his cheek.

Straightening, Minato sighed in resignation before turning to Naruto and giving a smile and looking over to Sakumo and Jiraiya who were keeping time. Sweatdropping, he realised that during their spar Sakumo fell asleep and Jiraiya took advantage of that and left. Turning to Naruto, he noticed that he was holding a clock and asked, "So, how long was that?"

Showing Minato the clock, Naruto sweatdropped and replied, "Oh, around three hours or so…" Rubbing the bridge of his nose, Minato gave an exasperated sigh before saying, "Jiraiya-sensei and Sakumo-sensei were supposed to stop us after an hour." Sighing, Naruto chucked a stone at Sakumo, bouncing off his headband he immediately bolted upright and looked around.

Seeing Naruto and Minato glaring daggers at him, he sheepishly rubbed his head and said, "Um, sorry about that, well you're dismissed for the day. Get some rest for tomorrow, now, I have to go and find Jiraiya; that ass. Meet at the Academy at nine at room 301. Jiraiya that bastard, when I get my hands on him…" Leaving Sakumo to his thoughts, Naruto and Minato went to get Mikoto and Kushina, and hope that they were not too mad since they were supposed to meet over two hours or so ago.

Luckily or unluckily for them, depending on your point of view, they found Kushina and Mikoto shopping near their training ground. Apologising for their lateness, Mikoto gave them a sickly sweet smile with a glint in her eyes and told them that they were forgiven, if they paid for the girls' shopping spree. Kushina heard this and her hair started waving in nine segments as she cracked her knuckles. Nodding quickly and ignoring the looks of pity from the male onlookers, Naruto and Minato were basically dragged away by their respective partners.

At the end of the day, Kushina waved goodbye to Mikoto and Minato, who were followed by several Naruto clones that resembled pack mules. Once they were out of sight, she left with the original Naruto and several clones trailing along, similarly laden down with a variety of objects.

Upon reaching their apartment, Naruto immediately flopped onto the bed and waited for his clones to dispel. Suddenly exhausted from the combined fatigue of the clones, he struggled and failed to keep his eyes open and immediately fell asleep. The sight of Naruto snoring lightly as he lay spread-eagled on the bed was the sight that greeted Kushina when she walked into the room to put away some clothes and books she "bought".

Smiling, Kushina finished putting away the books and gave Naruto a gentle shake. When he failed to wake, she sweatdropped and shrugged, before changing into her sleeping clothes and snuggling up next to him. 'Well, I suppose he doesn't need to shower anyways. Clones don't transfer physical changes like sweat and wounds thank Kami, and his clothes can be used to sleep so I suppose there's no need for him to wake up.'

The next morning, Naruto and Kushina woke up especially early, at six in the morning, so they could get dressed at their leisure. As they walked over to meet Minato outside the Academy building, they took inventory of the things they brought in sealing scrolls. Finding Minato already waiting outside the Academy, they walked inside and went over to the classrooms.

Walking up the staircase, they passed by a room that was marked 301 with a few Gennin standing outside of it. Rolling his eyes, Naruto turned to Minato who nodded to him and Kushina who gave him a look that plainly said, "We are not amused." Cracking a small smile, they bypassed the door and continued down the corridor to the staircase to the nest floor. As they walked past the door, Naruto thought to himself, 'These examiners…no imagination. If the tests are the same ones as my original time I'll just not bother with the written test and sleep.'

Arriving at the third floor, Naruto noticed that the room they were supposed to go into for the exam was marked 401. Sweatdropping, Naruto walked into the room with Kushina and Minato. 'Y'know, one would think that if we weren't fooled by the genjutsu downstairs, why we would be fooled by this one…' Opening the sliding door and stepping inside, Naruto noted the large number of Gennin in the room. 'Around 300, most of which look like those "eternal gennin" Sensei told us about. Kami, they even look his age. If they weren't my competition I'd actually feel sorry for them.'

As they entered the room, Kushina noted that almost all eyes were on them. Scanning the room using both her Akuma Bijon under a henge as well as her sensory skills, she noted a couple of people who had threatening levels of chakra as well as trace amounts of residue on the walls that Shibi informed her previously were the chakra signatures left behind by kikaichu.

Minato was nervously looking around the room before spotting some friendly and familiar faces. Grabbing Kushina and Naruto by the arm and knowingly disrupting their observation of the competition much to their hidden ire, he bodily dragged them over,

"So, this is the reason why you couldn't tell us whether you were participating? With the three of you on one team we're so screwed, troublesome…"

Letting out a long-suffering sigh, Inoichi shot Chouza an exasperated look before he turned to Minato and said, "Catch you guys later, if we pass." With that they followed Inoichi to a slightly less crowded area in the room. As they reached one of the room's corners, a man appeared in the room via a soundless and smoke-less shunshin.

Being a sensor, Kushina picked up on him first and allowed her eyes to linger on his location for a moment longer than normal, Naruto picked up on it and turned slightly to look at the man. Seeing him standing in the front of the room, he came to the conclusion that he was the proctor and gave Minato a slight nudge. Seeing the man, Minato came to the same conclusion as Naruto and raised his eyebrows slightly at the man.

The man in question was quite obviously an Aburame. With the baggy forest-green hooded trench coat with a high collar that covered his face from below his cheekbones and shaded lenses he was wearing, one had to be either quite dim or simply extremely ignorant to not notice it. Other than his trench coat, he wore grey pants that went to the middle of his calf with the standard blue shinobi sandals. The rest was covered by his coat.

Nodding back at them, the man turned to look at the other teams and saw that only their team and another picked up on his presence. Giving and almost imperceptible sigh, the man walked over to the front of the blackboard, he raised his arms and immediately a dark cloud came out from his sleeves. As they swirled unnoticed around the Gennin, they suddenly let out an ear-piercingly loud and shrill screech. The sound was like the scratching of nails on a chalkboard, unfortunately for the Gennin since the insects were all around them it was like being treated to surround-sound version.

The Aburame stood seemingly unaffected by the insects' screeching and the screams of the Gennin. Waiting a moment for the noise to subside, he spoke with a smooth tone, radiating the logical and emotionless mind-set his clan was so famed for, "Right, now that you've all noticed my presence, I've been instructed to welcome you to the first exam and I will ask all of you to take a seat. I will not tell you my name nor will I bother to explain why I sent those kikaichu out as it is of no importance, logic dictates that since it is highly unlikely any of you will ever see me again there is no point.

Now I shall explain the rules, I suggest listening. The test is made up of questions, you will each have ten; however there are twenty in all. For each question wrong two marks are deducted, for each question right a single mark is given. You all start with five marks but you will need 12 to pass. You will have an hour to finish the test. I will say this now and only one, cheating is not allowed. Once you are caught cheating three times you, and your team fail." As he paused for a moment several shinobi, probably the invigilators, walked into the room. With them they each carried a clipboard and some papers on top of it. As they went around the room. After all the papers were given out, the proctor spoke again, "Now that the papers have been given out, we may begin. It is now nine 'o' clock in the morning, the test will end when that clock at the back of the classroom strikes ten.

Oh and another thing," pausing, the proctor gave them a malicious grin that was masked by his collar, "I strongly suggest not moving, my kikaichu are hungry and they're attracted to movement." Immediately after finishing his sentence, an immense amount of kikaichu flooded out from the man's sleeves and quickly blanketed the whole room. The closest Naruto had ever seen to the lack of visibility was when he got caught in a blizzard in Yuki no Kuni in his own time while escorting Kazahana Koyuki.

Attempting to stem the panic of being surrounded by so many insects, Naruto heard the stories of the horrors of the kikaichu. Apparently there not only the chakra draining ones but just about any type you could think of that were useful. From flesh-eating ones to those that could be remotely detonated into an electric charge, if it was deemed useful, the Aburame had a colony with that ability. Now, the panic came more from knowing that one false move and there would be no hope for him more so than the feeling of many little legs moving all over him, although that's not to say that that did not contribute.

Taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, Naruto looked over to his paper and nearly lost it. 'The hell?! "There is an easterly wind, you are to hit a target with a kunai from 50 meters out from a vantage point of 3 meters. Explain the technique, angle and force used to throw the kunai and its flight path." How in fuck's name do they expect us to answer these?! …oh yeah…cheat. Duh.'

Scanning the room, Naruto noticed two people who were filling in their tests with ease, although rather slowly because of the kikaichu. Using one arm to prop his head up in a "thinking pose" and allowing the other to rest on his knee, Naruto quietly unsealed some pellets from the seals that littered his armguard. Discreetly tossing the pellets one by one to the other desks, since everyone was so focused on not moving because of the kikaichu, they never noticed the small black pellets sailing through the air to some of the desks.

Once all of the pellets had landed, Naruto allowed a small smile to grace his features before forming a handseal under his desk. Immediately the pellets exploded into clouds of noxious purple smoke. Once the smoke covered the room, he made a clone to swap out his paper with one of the examinees who had answered his questions and cast a genjutsu over his original paper to keep the examinee from noticing the switch.

Meanwhile, Kushina noticed something odd, the smoke should have disorientated the kikaichu, yet she still heard the obnoxious buzzing. Puzzled, she decided to do a scan of her chakra system for any irregularities. When she finished, she wanted to smack her head on the desk. Genjutsu, it was always genjutsu. Yet she would have noticed if a genjutsu was cast on her, sending out a small pulse through her chakra network, she noticed small anomalies. Almost like little blips, figuring it out, she sent out pulses of chakra into the kikaichu and overloaded them with the sudden chakra surge.

Suddenly, the scene changed; instead of the oppressive cloud of Kikaichu from before, there were none. Also, there was a noticeable amount of Gennin who were slumped forward in their seats. 'Those unconscious Gennin, they're the failures. I see, that Aburame proctor cast a double-layered genjutsu on us. He used the visual one to impede our vision and the sensory one so that we wouldn't notice the actual kikaichu who were the ones creating the genjutsu. Smart, use a genjutsu to cover itself up. Lucky I got sensor skills from Kyuubi-sensei. Now, to get the answers and tell Naruto-kun and Minato.'

Activating her Akuma Bijon under another Henge, Kushina saw the answers on another candidate's paper, there was just one issue. 'The questions aren't the same, the hell?! Let's see…the proctor is an Aburame, so he wouldn't waste his words. There must be a clue in what he said. "You will each have ten, but there are twenty in all." …What would-oh that sneaky son of a bitch! There are twenty questions, but we each will get ten in a random combination. Dammit, so we can't copy. Or rather it would be nearly impossible to do it without getting caught. There are so many different combinations of questions that it is really improbable that there would be someone with the exact same questions as me. And near impossible for them to have the answers...Dammit'

While Kushina was trying to find a way to cheat and Naruto was taking a nap, Minato was struggling. Scanning the room for answers, he quickly came to the same realisation as Kushina moments prior. Attempting to think of a way to pass, he recalled what the proctor said and came to the same realisation as Kushina who was also looking for a way to pass. 'The proctor said, "You all start with 5 marks but you will need 12 to pass." There's a loophole in that. 5 marks, plus 10 if we get all of our questions right. That makes 15, but we only need 12, so I only need the answers for 7 of the questions. That's not so bad.'

While Kushina used her Akuma Bijon to find and copy her answers, Minato decided to go with Naruto's plan and performed the Kawarimi with his paper and a fully answered one, after he erased his name of course.

After half an hour, Naruto woke up again and quickly checked the time with was 9:50. Sighing in relief, he turned to check for his teammates, he noticed Minato doodling and Kushina daydreaming. Turning to the front of the classroom, he noticed that the proctor still hadn't moved an inch from when the test started. Quickly sending out a small chakra pulse, he noticed that there was no genjutsu, at this point he was seriously impressed with the patience of the Aburame clan members.

Exactly nine minutes later, the proctor cleared his throat and dispersed the genjutsu. Once all of the remaining gennin shook off the effects of the genjutsu, he spoke, "The first test is over, those of you here who are still conscious, logically that means you pass. I was instructed to tell you the purpose of this test at the end so here it is. The reason for this test is to test your information and analysis skills because as Chunnin you will be required to go on information gathering missions, as well as being the squad captain so logically you would be tested on both traits in a written test. Now, the first test is over. The next proctor will be here in…exactly 10 seconds. Good day."

The moment he finished speaking, the first proctor and the Chunnin assistants used the shunshin and left the room. A few moments later the distinctive smoke that signalled a shunshin appeared in the front of the room. After the smoke cleared, the Gennin could see their new proctor and in a word she looked…cold. She had slightly odd pale grey eyes, sort of like the colour of snow you wish would simply melt away. Her hair was jet black in colour with flecks of white here and there, like snow falling across the night sky. She wore a modified Konoha flak jacket which was a pale-ish lavender like the ones worn by the ANBU operatives.

She did not seem to be wearing any cloths underneath her jacket but Naruto was convinced she was wearing a sleeveless fishnet shirt underneath, at least that's what he hoped. She wore the black gloves worn by ANBU operatives that went up to her elbows with lavender armguards over it, leaving her upper-arm and ANBU tattoo exposed. She wore the navy-blue pants that was worn by most Chunnin level and above, the edges of the pants legs were secured by white tape with was tucked into her black shinobi sandals.

Scanning the room, she gave a positively icy scowl before muttering, "So, Aburame-san has gotten softer." As she continued to scan the room, she locked eyes with Naruto for a moment. In that moment, Naruto could see that despite her cold exterior, this woman did in fact have a warm side. No matter how deep it was buried. Similarly, he could instinctively tell that she also saw past his barriers.

Giving him an almost imperceptible smirk, she muttered again, even softer than the first time, "Perhaps not as soft as I thought, we shall see eh, Gennin-kun?" The sinister undertone in her comment sent chills down Naruto's spine. And suddenly she turned away and the sinister aura she was giving of disappeared. Looking at the Gennin again, she gave tiny huff in resignation before speaking in an emotionless tone, "I suppose congratulations are in order, after all, you passed the first exam. However," giving them a smirk that toed the line on psychotic she continued, "MY exam will cut your numbers into thirds, at least."

Noting the nervous fidgeting, her eyes seemed to gleam for a moment in what Naruto assumed to be self-satisfaction before speaking again, "My name is Fuyu, I am the proctor for the second phase of the Chunnin exams and as of now, the second stage has begun! You all have five minutes to meet me at training grounds 46. If not you, and your team, will fail." Smirking, she proceeded to vanish in a shunshin before they could react.

Predictably, Shikaku and his enormous intellect were the first to recover, for the first time in the year Naruto knew him he actually straightened his slouch and grabbed his teammates before vaulting out of one of the open windows. Next were several of the senior Gennin who left via shunshin. After watching some of the other Gennin vanish, Naruto's mind managed to reboot itself after experiencing the frigid gaze of their proctor. Grabbing Minato by his collar, he put his hand on Kushina's shoulder before leaving in a Konoha-style shunshin he learned from Sakumo.

Using Kushina's ability as a sensor nin, Naruto allowed her to guide the shunshin by tracking the chakra signature of their proctor. It actually wasn't that hard, the Kyuubi explained to Kushina some days prior during their C-rank mission that every single person, be it civilian or Kage, had a unique chakra signature that more often than not coincided with either their personality or their affinity. While most signatures were a pale blue in colour, the same as chakra, those that awakened their elemental affinity had a light shading of their primary affinity around the edges of their chakra. Those with wind natured chakra had a pale blue, almost grey colour. Earth natures were a dull brown like a stone, while fire natures had an orange tinge. Water natures had a deep royal sapphire while lightning was a bright yellow.

While Kushina openly admitted that currently the only people in Konoha she could track were Minato and Naruto because of their wind natures sticking out from the many fire natures, she had no trouble following the signature of their proctor. It was the strangest signature she had ever felt.

Naruto's nature was often tame and calm but was prone to bursts of irregularity much like himself and her own was wild and untamed like her fiery personality that she showed to those she was not close with, Fuyu's chakra was not only an icy blue but gave off a cold feeling like being drenched in cold rain. Arriving in front of her along next to the Gennin who left earlier, Naruto let go of Minato and Kushina and proceeded to gap at the location of their second exam.

Training ground was, for lack of a better word, intimidating. While training ground 44, known as the "Forest of Death", was located outside the walls of Konoha in an area predominately filled with meadows and a river running through the forest itself; it gave of a decidedly ominous air, making those close to the forest uneasy, almost as if they expected something horrible to happen which considering the name of the place was quite appropriate.

Training ground 46 however, was different. While it was also located in a forested area, it had the marks of the Shinobi battle. Boulders and various other rock formations showed evidence if Doton ninjutsu and the jagged troughs, worn smooth by time, threaded through the area like scars. The forest that was behind the chain link fence that Fuyu was currently standing in front of held an oppressive aura. The aura was so strong that Kusina actually had to forcefully supress her sensory skills due to the immense amount of depression, fear and a subtle ominous air.

After a few minutes, the remaining Gennin had assembled and were also gaping at their exam location. Fuyu chose this time to speak, breaking everyone out of their trance with her voice, "Now that everyone is here, we officially begin the exam. But first a little lesson on this forest behind me. This forest is a twin. To be precise its twin is Training Ground 44, more commonly known as the Forest of Death. These forests were created a long time ago by the Shodaime Hokage. Training Ground 44 was the site of a fierce battle between Hashirama-sama and Uchiha Madara before Konoha was even founded. It is said that the amount of chakra those two released during their battle soaked into the ground and is the cause of the immense flora and fauna inside the forest.

This place on the other hand, as I said before, is Training Ground 46, but those in T&I and the tracking division call it The Forest of Hungry Ghosts. They gave it that name because this place was the site of an ambush on a young Konoha by Iwa after Madara defected. Or rather, I should say that this was the site of a failed ambush, as Hashirama-sama ambushed them as they slept and slaughtered them.

The rocks and cracks in the land are products of the Doton jutsu that some of the Iwa nin used while the immense trees are from Hashirama-sama's jutsu: Mokuton Hijutsu: Jukai Kōtan. Now, the reason for the name of this place is that people have been known to…disappear…while in the forest. The bloody history of this place made people believe that the disappearances were the work of the vengeful spirits of the Iwa nin, slaughtered in their sleep, taking revenge on the living."

Pausing, Fuyu seemed to relish the sight of fear on the faces of the Gennin. Minato and Shikaku had gone pale, while Inoichi and Naruto's hands were twitching in anxiety. Chouza nervously swallowed his mouthful of chips and was looking from left to right as if he expected something to jump out at him. Kushina on the other hand had the least obvious reaction, but Naruto could see that she was a scared as the rest of them, her pupils had contracted in fear and she was nervously fingering with the flap of her kunai pouch.

Shooting the Gennin a smile that appeared to be a mix between amusement and slight exasperation, Fuyu decided to help calm down the Gennin. It would do them no good if the Gennin were too scared to take the test, then there would be no Chunnin for the next 6 months until the next exam. "Well, if you believe such tales that is, then again nobody has been able to find any bodies so…um…" Seeing the Gennin who now went from looking scared to positively petrified, she allowed a small sweatdrop to appear on her head before coughing lightly and produced some odd-looking pieces of metal from her pocket.

Palming the trinkets, she proceeded to lightly toss them up and down as she spoke, "Now then, you are to all come up to me and receive one of these pieces. There are three types that make up a coin. A hexagonal frame, and the Yin and Yang pieces," as she explained about the pieces, she showed them a golden hexagon with a circular indent and a yin and yang shaped piece that she joined together before putting it in the indent.

"As you can see, this is the completed coin. See it's quite simple, each team will receive one of the pieces before entering the grounds. The fence behind me was designed by Jiraiya-sama himself, it prevents anything from passing through the fence. On the outside, the locks on the doors of the fence are unlocked by keys. Unfortunately for you guys, the lock on the inside has to be opened by a completed coin. So you guys enter, complete your coins and get out in 1 week, if you cannot do so by the end of the week, the coins will no longer work. And you'll be stuck inside."

Grinning at their faces when faced with the possibility of being trapped in the forest, Fuyu continued, "Have no fear, on the morning of the eighth day, we'll get those who failed out, that is…if you're still around." With that, she had each team come up to her to receive a piece, a slip of paper with their gate number and a key for their designated gate.

Several minutes later, an extremely pale Naruto and his team were standing outside gate 3. As they were waiting by the gate for Fuyu to begin the exams, Kushina noticed that Naruto was still pale from earlier and Minato was shaking. Putting her hands on their shoulders, she whispered with noticeable concern, "You guys alright?"

"Y-yeah…it's just…"


Sweatdropping slightly, Kushina gave them a sympathetic pat on the shoulders. 'Naruto can face off against Jounin level enemy nin and Minato can fight him with no fear. And they're both scared of ghosts…geez…' She was forcefully brought out of her thoughts when she heard a shrill bell sound out. 'Well, let's hope that our fears are unfounded.' Unlocking the door, they stepped into the Forest and leapt off.

Jumping through the enormous trees, Naruto made some shadow clones to encircle them with a radius of 500 metres. After he was done, Minato made some clones that repeated the action with a radius of 100 metres. Noticing Kushina's curious expression, Minato simply said, "Jiraiya-sensei."

As they kept moving, Naruto turned to look at Kushina and said, "Ne, Kushina-chan, do you sense anybody?" Closing her eyes and forming a half ram seal, she fell silent for a moment before shaking her head with a worried expression and replying, "I can't sense anything. There's something blocking my range. But how…impossible!" Sending out a burst of chakra, Kushina's frown grew increasingly pronounced, "The trees, they're giving out chakra. I can't sense anything because the chakra signatures of the others are being hidden by the trees' chakra."

Furrowing his brow, Minato decided to speak, "Jiraiya-sensei told me about something like this. He said that the reason Sanshōuo no Hanzō is so feared is because he uses the chakra signatures of his subordinate's to hide. While normally his immense chakra capacity would make him stick out like a sore thumb, when he has multiple subordinates with him, he suppresses his chakra just enough so that their combined signatures can mask his. So I suppose that's why your sensing got blocked, Kushina."
Frowning, Naruto decided to add his two cents in, "But that still doesn't explain how the trees have chakra. Just what it's doing to us." Looking back at Naruto from her place at the front, Kushina replied in a curt tone, "We don't need to know why it's doing this just that it is. Now we have to find teams the old fashioned way, by searching."

Making a disapproving clicking sound with his tongue, Naruto sighed and said, "Guess we have no choice, but searching on our own will take too much time. This place is huge and there's only 30 teams left including us. So…Tajuu Kage Bunshin no Jutsu." With that around 100 clones shimmered into existence. Frowning from his place next to Naruto, Minato turned to him and asked, "So many clones, how is it you're not dead or dying from chakra exhaustion?!"

Hearing Kushina's tinkling laughter, Minato turned to her and said nothing but the question in his eyes was unmistakable. "Minato, Naruto-kun as enough chakra to rival me. And with the natural Uzumaki's immense chakra resevoire, on top of my status as a container of a Bijuu, that's not something to be sniffed at."

Suddenly reminded about Kushina's status, Minato remembered his reaction when he was told, he actually thought he took it rather well. After all, fainting was a much better reaction than going ballistic and trying to kill her. Suddenly, Naruto's head perked up, "Found some, 3 clicks west of here, all boys. Two teams fighting. If we hurry we can take out the victors."

Nodding, Kushina turned to Minato and said, "We'll go via shunshin, Minato, when we arrive I want you to take on the ones closes to the defeated ones. I mean no offense but you just don't have the destructive jutsu that Naruto-kun does, and besides, you are much better at single combat. You can take out any stragglers and search them while Naruto-kun and I take out the others."

Nodding, Kushina turned to Minato and said, "We'll go via shunshin, Minato, when we arrive I want you to take on the ones closes to the defeated ones. I mean no offense but you just don't have the destructive jutsu that Naruto-kun does, and besides, you are much better at single combat. You can take out any stragglers and search them while Naruto-kun and I take out the others."

Nodding, Minato vanished in a shunshin along with Naruto and Kushina. Several kilometres west of their location, two teams were fighting. Just as they were wrapping up, one of the Gennin sensed danger and leapt into the air, and a good thing too. As he was airborne, he saw both his other teammates and the remaining member of the team they were fighting get encased in spheres of water, unfortunately for him because he was airborne he could not stop himself from getting blasted into a tree by a gust of wind drifted off into sweet unconsciousness as his head hit the tree.

Appearing on a branch overlooking the clearing where the fighting was taking place, Minato noted the dead bodies and unconscious Gennin who was slumped against a tree. Sweatdropping, he said, "Um…do you think you went a little overboard, Kushina? I mean there was no need to kill them." Scowling at the team who was trapped in her Suiro no Jutsu, Kushina replied, "They killed them, not us." Sending the trapped Gennin an angry scowl, she continued, "Let's just go, before I lose my temper and allow them to suffocate in there."

Nodding quickly, Minato decided to change the subject, while he quite liked Kushina he had absolutely no desire to have her anger directed on him, he saw for himself the kind of pain she inflicted on her bullies at the academy and now she not only had jutsu but was allowed to kill. "Where's Naruto-nii, I don't see him."

"Right here."

"Gah! Don't do that!"

Laughing from his place behind Minato, Naruto patted him on the back and said, "So…what pieces did they have? I want to get out of here. Preferably before nightfall." Nodding, Minato held up his hand and showed the piece he found on one of the bodies, "A Yin piece, we have the frame so that's good, I'm not sure about the other team, Kushina is checking them." Turning to Kushina who was searching the bodies of the other team who passed out from oxygen deprivation, Minato turned to Naruto who was going through the corpses of the fallen Gennin for equipment and said, "Naruto-nii, where's the frame? We passed it to you."

Straightening from his searching, Naruto simply tapped the middle of the symbol of Uzushio on his left armguard. Nodding, Minato extended to pass his piece to Naruto before Naruto pushed his piece back into his hand, "Keep it on you, this way if one of us gets captured we won't lose all our pieces." Nodding, Minato slid his piece into a pocket on the inside of his jacket. Hearing footsteps, they turned to Kushina who was walking over to them.

Seeing their questioning looks, Kushina sighed before holding up the piece she found, "Yin piece, I heard Minato saying that he also got a Yin piece to let's go." Just as she was about to leap off, Kushina spared one last contempt-filled glance toward the fallen Gennin, "Idiots, fighting over something you both have, what a stupid way to die."

A/N: Short chapter, apologies but I figured that I would be stretching the chapter too much if I kept going.

In other news, I'm currently Beta-Reading for StormyRebel's story, The Red Tempest of Konoha, which is a fem!Naruto story. Good story, nice to read but…unfortunately he is also swamped with schoolwork as I am so don't expect updates very often, from either of us, but more so me.

Revised Version: Nothing much changed, just little things that I can't be bothered to say now.

Translations: Fuyu: Winter