Chapter Two: The Effect: The First Movement
The Night before the Chuunin Exams:
"So, who are you betting on the chuunin exams this year?" Asked Kamizuki Izumo, known as one of the judges that was proctoring the Chuunin exam. The one who he had spoken to, a jounin that adjusted his sunglasses, merely leaned on the bar table and gave an amused grunt.
"Now why would I do that? And why would you ask that? You're not exactly part of this current betting pool to begin with due to your part in the exam." Yamashiro Aoba asked with a simple mirth. He had known that Izumo and Kotetsu were significantly irate that they couldn't be part of this betting pool, what with the emergence of the rookies making it into the finals this year and all, the betting pool that at least one of the senior genin making it completely blowing things out of whack and the decidedly talented pool that circulated within it.
"It's just that I'm saying that this year's batch is interesting. I never expected genin fresh out of the academy making it in the exam finals let alone being nominated for the rank just a few short months after their graduation." Izumo defended, beside them, a rugged jounin gave a laugh as he lit up a cigarette and smirked.
"It goes without saying that I'll be betting on my student of course." Sarutobi Asuma, son of the Sandaime Hokage, said as he took a drag. The two men beside him thought the man was just biased and that the Nara kid, despite his lack of skill, could definitely be in for chuunin promotions.
"Shino has a better skillset and a much more serious attitude when it comes to shinobi lifestyle. He has no delusions in thinking that shinobi life is all amazing and knows the truth that we live in. He's pragmatic at times and he can plan ahead. Out of the chuunin hopefuls from our village. He has a better chance at passing than Shikamaru."
"Sounds like it's a little biased for me. It's understandable, what with being a new sensei and all." The masked jounin known as Hatake Kakashi said as he turned a page from his most favourite book. Not minding at all at Kurenai's glare.
"As I recall, you're a first time sensei too, Kakashi. I wouldn't expect you to not have a good assessment to anyone of your students or to those outside your team." Kurenai retorted as Kakashi shrugged it nonetheless.
"Of course, but I expect at least one of my little scamps to have the promotion. They are, after all, more battle hardened than any of the current batch of genin to ever come out this year or last year's." He replied, simply taking a glass from the bar table and taking a swig, all the while his nose was buried under his book.
He was pertaining to the mission to Nami no Kuni. How could anyone forget about that? A genin team fresh out of the academy had their first C-ranked mission turned A-rank due to the unforeseen circumstance of facing off against a missing nin. And not just any missing-nin, it was Momochi Zabuza, a highly dangerous figure to one of the most prolific groups of the shinobi world.
"That's a pretty high standard for your genin considering one of them got lucky twice during the exam, Kakashi. And aren't you supposed to be training Sasuke right now?" Asuma was pertaining to Naruto. The cycloptic jounin merely chuckled at that statement.
"Ah but Asuma, if there's one thing I've learned about Naruto is that conventional knowledge doesn't apply to him. You can place him as the very last of the current genin right now, but you only see the current standards placed on him. Once you get to spend time with him, he'll more than likely surprise you. Plus he's currently being trained by Jiraiya-sama, there's no doubt that Naruto has possibly upped his game within that current period. Oh, and I've just finished training Sasuke, he's currently asleep, my clone is keeping an eye on things." Kakashi replied and Asuma raised an eyebrow at this, the bearded man turned back to Kurenai who was chatting with Anko right now and then back at Kakashi whose attention was currently glued to the book he was reading.
"Naruto may have surprises up his sleeve, but against Neji, it'll be hard to even find something that will catch him off guard, Kakashi. But say I believe you and he does catch my student off guard, it'll be harder for him still. With his current skill set, I doubt he can beat Neji at his own game especially since Naruto relies heavily on his Taijutsu and Kage Bunshin." Gai said as he grinned when Kakashi raised his visible eyebrow and looked at Gai. That got a response.
"You have just made this bet double or nothing, Gai. I'm adding another bet to my student just in case and an additional stipulation." Kakashi said as he smiled beneath his mask.
"And what's that?" Gai asked, a challenge being presented to him. There was no way he was going to let this up and back down against his eternal rival!
"Loser has to do what the winner has in mind after the finals. My stipulation is that you will read this certain passage of 'Icha Icha Paradise' in front of a large crowd complete with voice acting." Kakashi showed Gai the passage and the jounin almost visibly shook from the raunchy lines that the Jounin had given him.
"Very well my eternal rival, as for my stipulation, you will have to wear my uniform for a week and must be publicly visible everyday as you were this!" Gai pointed to his leotard as the jounin all around them visibly flinched. There was already enough eyesores to go around the village, adding another would make their sockets bleed profusely.
As if to egg everyone on, Anko cut off her conversation with Kurenai and shouted, "Alright, guys! We have a taker here! Kakashi doubles his bet to his own student and adds a condition! This is going to be a hilarious week for either of those two nutjobs!"
Said nutjobs looked back at Anko with incredulous expressions and wondered how the woman saw herself on the mirror.
"It's just too bad that Yuugao couldn't come up and take a bet with this. Not with the whole Orochimaru thing." Aoba added and soon, the whole mood around the bar changed from relaxed to gloomy.
"Indeed, Hayate's fate was a terrible one. Though we can't be lax in our security tomorrow, the possibility of Orochimaru making a move tomorrow would be high with what he said." Gai said this while Anko shook her fists in frustration. Kurenai simply shook her head and told the woman to calm down. There was no need to let tensions rise any further as it is.
"To Hayate, everyone." Asuma raised his glass and all of the jounins followed suit. As a tradition of rebuking vengeance against one of their fallen comrades, all of the patrons inside the bar took one full swig of their glass and smashed it down on the floor, signifying their right to avenge Hayate against the one who had ended his life.
"Tomorrow, we battle against the unyouthfullness of our foes!" Gai said as another toast was then raised. The jounin of Konoha were getting antsy and the exams tomorrow would signify a turn for the bloodiest if ever it comes to pass.
The next day:
Naruto woke up, feeling the fatigue of not having any sleep since last night. He was nervous, the thoughts of battling against his opponent swam in his mind for the entire evening, scenarios running through his mind a mile a minute and the thought of sleep escaped his mind soon after.
Groggily, Naruto got up from his bed and prepared himself some ramen in order to have energy against his opponent. This was no time to feel tired, he needed to concentrate.
As the blonde ate his meal, the lingering thoughts about his opponent came to mind. Today, he would prove to Neji his conviction and his version of reality. That he can escape the notion of failure and rise above it and everything else. Today, he would beat everyone and become chuunin.
As he prepared himself with all of the equipment he will ever need, Naruto got out of the apartment, making sure that he had all of his equipment set. As he locked his door, the blonde jumped to the rooftops and looked over to the stadium where the matches were supposed to take place.
"I've got some time to kill, I might as well enjoy the scenery a little more." With that, Naruto jumped from the roof of his apartment and on to another familiar place, to the training grounds.
The scenery changed from round buildings to lush green trees quickly as Naruto landed on the familiar grounds where he became genin. A look of curious wonder and melancholy escaped his eyes as he surveyed the area with his vision.
'You're a curious one, aren't you?' That voice reminded him of the day that Kakashi had gave them a thorough trashing about the importance of teamwork. Naruto flinched at that painful memory, where he was embarrassed right out of the bat by a jounin of Kakashi's calibre with little difficulty.
'Can you honestly say that you will fulfil your duties as shinobi when the time comes?' Kakashi asked when he bore his weight down at Sasuke who grunted from Kakashi's sadistic attitude and tossed Sakura a kunai.
'Sakura, kill Naruto or Sasuke dies.' He threatened, a visible look of horror struck Sakura's face, all color vanished from her skin as she shakily grabbed the kunai with her hands.
'Yet you fail this test once more. In a three man cell unit, it's always the team that has to be important. Remember that those who obey the rules are trash, but those who abandon their comrades are worse than trash. This is the simple rule of all teams that they must learn prior to becoming genin. Those very words were spoken by a friend of mine, who died in a line of duty. I will never forget those words, because they meant something. It means that you all have to survive and rely on each other.'
That was the lesson of cruelty that was thrust upon them. One that Naruto could never really forget. He looked at his right hand and flexed it a little. Just a few months ago, they were smaller than he remembered. Could have time really flowed that fast?
He looked back, a familiar voice echoing out to him. He saw the one person that he had an honest time to enjoy with, it was Hinata.
"Oh, hey Hinata. What are you doing here?" Naruto asked out of the blue as he grinned at the girl with an honest smile.
"I-I would like to ask you that, myself. S-Shouldn't you be at the stadium by now?" She asked, rather worried that he might not make his match. The blonde gave a small chuckle as he scratched the back of his head.
"I just thought that I take a detour and see these training grounds before I head to the arena. This is the place where I became a genin, a true shinobi of Konoha." He answered with asmile as he looked around. Hinata then answered him, "K-Kiba-kun asked me to wait here so that we could go see the matches at the same time, we're cheering for Shino-kun and I was hoping to cheer you on."
Hinata answered that last statement with a blush. Naruto's smile grew wider, "Thanks Hinata, you don't know how much that means to me. Though I don't understand why you always have my back."
'Because I like you…' "Because you were there for me to cheer me on when I fought against Neji-nii-san and I-I knew that you could win."
Now it was Naruto's time to be taken aback by Hinata's statements. Indeed he was grateful and somehow, he wanted to get more of the same, especially if there were more people like Hinata. Wonder turned into a smile, Naruto simply smiled at her, with a true one as he said, "Well, if you have that much confidence in me, then it's pretty inexcusable that I lose this fight. Thanks Hinata, for believing in a failure like me."
"BUT YOU'RE NOT A FAILURE!" Hinata refuted, she refused to let Naruto have this moment of self-doubt right before his match.
"B-Because I've seen you fall, I've seen you try so hard to get up and try again. To have that will to take a step forward even though other people try to put you down! I don't believe in you're a failure, Naruto-kun! You try so hard to push yourself and prove to everyone that you're something! And you got somewhere because you continue to try! If you were to be called a failure then I would gladly take it with you as well! Because even through all that, you still walk proud! You stand tall even after every setback!"
Realizing that she had spoken her mind so suddenly, Hinata gave a small gasp and blushed at the thought of her boldness. Naruto's wonder once more, turned into a smile, and then a laugh, an honest one. How could he be so honest to this one girl? He didn't know but he felt like Hinata was such a great friend because of this!
"You know, Hinata? You're an awesome friend. If it weren't for you I'd be feeling awful just before I fought your cousin. You're one of a kind, you know that." Naruto turned his back to her as he began to walk away.
"You're not weird at all, you're just really shy. And I'm sorry for ever thinking of that of you. I'm no better than any of the people that I actually don't get along with, and when I finally got a chance to talk to you, all I can say is that I like you, quite a lot." Naruto turned his back to her and gave her a thumb up.
"I'll definitely win. For your sake." A page right out of Thick eyebrows' book and with that, Naruto vanished from Hinata's view, a longing stare was left at her expression as he left.
"Hey, Hinata, I hoped you didn't wait too long. Mom was a little more overbearing than usual this morning and… Hinata?"
Kiba looked back at his friend who continued to stare at particularly nothing. Kiba shrugged, Hinata was just one of those people that surely kept their thoughts to themselves and didn't want to divulge them to anyone else, so he didn't pry any further.
A few minutes later, Naruto arrived at the center of the arena, another proctor waiting for the rest of the participants as people began to assemble and sit down on the bleachers above. Naruto had to admit though, the arena was quite a spectacle to behold and now seeing that they were the centre stage for this particular event, he couldn't help but be excited.
"Take a good look around you. Those are the people that came to see a good show. In them, you have noblemen coming from all corners of the world, just to see you fight."
And the tension around the chuunin hopefuls grew except for one particular red head.
Up above, towards the seats of the revered Kage, the Sandaime Hokage sized up each of the genin that laid before his very eyes and were staring at the crowd. A vindictive yet proud smile escaped his lips.
'Konoha stands tall once more in this year's exams.' He thought and noticed one particular blonde genin that was watching the people that came to see them fight.
'Naruto has the shoulders of a confident warrior. I daresay that he looks quite better now than he was about a month ago. He's a little changed.' He thought with a smile. Hiruzen had to marvel at Jiraiya's teaching methods. Trust him to nurture the future of Konoha's finest and he will deliver, more than your expectations. If Orochimaru was his prized student, then Jiraiya was his most praised one. Out of the three Sannin, Jiraiya was sure to work his magic on to the future of his beloved village. As a testament to this, the toad sage produced his successor who then produced legends of his own.
"I do not see the presence of your famed Uchiha, Hokage-dono. It would be terrible for Konoha if the last of the Uchiha would miss out on his match against my child." The Kazekage beside commented beside him as Hiruzen gave a chuckle.
"I assure you given that he is currently under the tutelage of Hatake Kakashi that they will arrive shortly." Hiruzen replied but inside, he was scowling at the man's statements. A kage of another village would not dare take interest in one of his shinobi if it weren't about them gaining something. And the Sandaime Hokage saw this act in full force.
'Laying it a little thick there, Kazekage-dono, if that is even your true identity.' Hiruzen thought, all dark thoughts he shuffled aside as he began his speech in welcoming the audience and the participants for the finals.
'We'll find out soon enough.'
On another side of the bleachers, Ino and Sakura sat next to each other as they saw the candidates that weren't in the first battle began walking away leaving behind only Naruto and the Hyuuga prodigy, Neji. Ino noticed right away that Sakura's mind was elsewhere and quickly spoke to her rival/friend.
"Hey, Sakura, I know you're concerned about Sasuke-kun and all, but you should at least cheer for your teammate."
Sakura's thoughts were quickly cut short as she looked at Ino in surprise and then looked back at the field below. Naruto was now facing Neji.
She couldn't even begin to notice the match was already starting when Ino had brought her out of her funk. It must have meant her concerns for Sasuke really drove her crazy inside. With a deep breath, she looked back at Ino and then smiled.
"You're right, I should be focusing on the match right now."
"Take a good look Hanabi. Above all else in this generation, there is no Hyuuga who carries the blood strong in our clan like no other." Hiashi said to his youngest, pertaining to her first cousin. The girl watched in fascination as she saw the eldest of the current generation of Hyuuga going for the standard Juuken stance.
Down below, the proctor of the current exam, Shiranui Genma told the examiners except for the first two combatants to leave the area while they wait.
"Let me explain the rules first. This is a no holds barred one on one match. Anything is allowed. You win if you knock out your opponent or make him forfeit, obviously. Killing is not allowed as much as possible." Genma looked at the two competitors and noticed that neither really paid much attention to his words. Both fighters were solely focusing on the match at hand. The jounin shrugged it off, at best that was simply protocol. The genin were supposed to know these rules from the start.
"You look like you have something to say." It was the first time Neji spoke since their gathering earlier. Naruto simply raised an eyebrow at this and replied.
"I'm done with words with you. Whatever there is left to say, I'll do it after the match… After I smash your face in." Naruto drew his hands back as Genma raised his right hand.
"Bold words coming from a nobody." Neji retorted as he smirked while he prepared himself into the Juuken stance.
Surprsingly, that didn't rile Naruto up at least one bit. In fact, the blonde smirked at this insult.
"Just make sure that you don't cry after this match is over." Naruto charged his statement right back at Neji.
"The first match between Uzumaki Naruto and Hyuuga Neji, BEGIN!"
Immediately as Genma brought his arm down, Naruto quickly threw two shuriken at his opponent in rapid succession and began running sideways. Neji reacted, deflecting the two spinning stars with his right hand and catching them before dropping them off as nothing. Quick to react, Naruto started going for another set of weapons.
Drawing two kunai from his pouch, the blonde threw the blades once more and followed it up with another set of shuriken. Neji simply deflected them like they were nothing with his hands and used one of Naruto's kunai to parry an oncoming hail of shuriken, Byakugan still inactive.
"This… Isn't the Naruto I know. This is someone different, it's as if he's trying to see what Neji's capable of without resorting to infighting. Naruto's too headstrong for something like that." Sakura said this as Ino was bewildered as well. For a time, she knew Naruto to be reckless and had this posture that screamed 'balls-to-the-wall' type of persona. But this? This was completely different.
As Naruto threw another set of weapons come Neji's way with the Hyuuga prodigy deflecting them and even making him dodge a blade that went for his face by tilting his head slightly, the Hyuuga prodigy found it mildly amusing.
"Not getting close to my range are you? Well then, I'll just be the one on the offensive then!" And with that Neji charged. Not really caring that Naruto might have something up his sleeve. The blonde jumped back as Neji began his assault, putting as much distance between them as possible all the while throwing shuriken after shuriken. This bastard just wouldn't stop belittling him.
"Don't get cocky, ya' prick!" Naruto shouted as he performed a middle-index cross seal and pronounced his favourite technique.
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Shadow Replication Technique)!" Four more Naruto's popped out all around him in a cloud of smoke as Neji didn't care while he finally activated his Byakugan. Seeing the chakra flowing throughout each of the clones' body evenly, he resisted the urge to stop, knowing that his opponent was completely horrendous with Taijutsu.
He reared his left hand back and struck!
Only to find nothing as another clone intercepted his attack and narrowly missing him with a spinning kick on his left arm. The Hyuuga spun, turning his attention to his interceptor and this time used his right arm to strike his foe. He was stopped once more when a clone had managed to appear from below and swept the ground with his right leg forcing Neji to jump back twice with the clones performing a very chaotic formation around the blonde who merely stood there as if he too, was a spectator.
"Attacking me just when I am about to perform an attack myself. I would take that you learned that from copying your teammate?" Neji asked pertaining to Sasuke, now the battle, which had seemed so easy earlier on, suddenly changed. He had realized he was at a disadvantage.
"I'm not going to answer your question." Naruto replied as this time, it was he who initiated the offensive now.
Naruto and his clones ran at Neji in intersecting paths, trying to confuse and break down the Hyuuga's guard. The Hyuuga scoffed. Such tricks would never work on him!
When Naruto got within his range, Neji ignored the one coming to him headfirst and instead, went to the Naruto that was making up the rear guard. Neji rolled over the clone before him in midair and went to strike it with a swipe of his hands while in the air. The clone below him simply rolled forward as Neji wove through each and every clone in his path and went straight towards the rear Naruto. His palms were now closed except for the middle and index fingers and struck the blonde boy straight to his solar plexus. Naruto stood up in surprise as Neji landed, back against him.
The Hyuuga smirked.
The first clone did as well.
Realization hitting him, Neji turned around and saw a shuriken flying right at him, larger than normal but definitely not like a windmill shuriken almost as if it was the size of a boy's palm.
Neji evaded in time, but not before one of the blades grazes his left cheek and cutting a few strands of hair along the way before embedding itself into one of the trees behind him.
Blood dripped from his left cheek and surprise once more dawned on him.
Up above the stands, Kiba stood up from his seat and leaned closer with a shout, "HOLY SHIT! Naruto just drew first blood!"
It was an unnatural feeling right now that shook Kiba to his core. This was the same blonde who fought him in the preliminaries just a month ago. And he struggled to think how good he has become with just that month long time period. Just how good was he now that he can stand toe to toe with last year's valedictorian?
And the whole crowd was stunned. How was that even possible? The Hyuuga were supposed to be unbeatable in a battle of close range! Yet, Naruto was able to nail the Hyuuga prodigy first!
Up to where Sakura and Ino were, they too were taken off guard with Naruto's manoeuvre.
"H-How did that even happen?" Ino asked out of nowhere to Sakura who could only answer with a nod, as she too was taken for a loop with that exchange.
In the eyes of a skilled and experienced jounin, realization dawned on them.
"Neji-kun… Might possibly be in a tight spot." Gai uttered in disbelief. He knew not to underestimate Naruto but conventional wisdom told him that it was not simply imaginable that Naruto would best the Hyuuga prodigy with his current skill set and behaviour, there was just no possible way! But here was the boy, who had suddenly had the battlefield advantage, using his clones to a maximum effect and actually controlled the entire exchange between the two. Not only that, the timing of these clones were just too perfect in setting up and countering Neji's blatantly superior Taijutsu skill!
It was for the first time that Rock Lee had heard that Neji was the one at a terrible disadvantage. For years, he had come to know that Neji had always been the one to be able to top any opponent in his age bracket. A genius of his calibre suddenly found being cornered by Naruto was new to his ears.
"Why do you say that, Gai-sensei?" He asked, his fists shaking with excitement, frustration and curiosity, mixing up very well at this point.
"Naruto, ever since he performed the Kage Bunshin, has been controlling the battle between them. Indeed, Neji has a far superior skill but Naruto has outmanoeuvred him with mixing himself with the clones easily blending him in with his style and further add it with throwing weapons. His timing and reactions to Neji's skill is absolutely impeccable, it's almost as if his mind has grown several years in a span of one month! He's using Neji's own arrogance against him, by underestimating Naruto, Neji is prone to commit mistakes that Naruto wants him to." Gai said this as Rock Lee looked back to Naruto who was standing up with a smirk on his face, one that showed great confidence in his own abilities.
"At first, I didn't notice it, because I thought that Naruto's strategy of sticking to long range weapons and discarding it when Neji went for the offensive to be a grave mistake. He had everyone fooled when Neji began attacking, and Naruto began to spread his clones little by little and putting them in strange formations that didn't seem to make sense at first, but gradually came to light when Neji couldn't push through with his attacks. I think we'll be having the first chuunin in these exams right at the beginning." Gai continued as he shook with absolute excitement at this. It seemed the match was more interesting than what it was hyped up to be.
On the waiting lounge below the bleachers, Shikamaru analysed the current battle with much interest
'That blonde is a crafty bastard, alright. Tch, it'd be a real pain to face someone like him.' Shikamaru knew that Naruto wasn't that smart when going with conventional knowledge, but he made up for it with his ingenuity and on-the-fly tactical changes. But this? This was utterly insane!
Down below on the battlefield, Neji's look of disbelief turned into contempt as he stared back at his opponent.
"Are you proud with this wound, trash? You should be, because this is the last time you will be able to pull of something like this." Neji turned serious now.
As if the tides of battle were changing, Neji charged with cold and vicious fury. Naruto may have the agility, but he had the superior speed.
Neji attacked the first clone, aiming for a palm strike straight to his face, another clone intercepted the attack, this time, with a kunai in hand. Neji expected this as he feigned the strike and tripped his interceptor before driving his palm straight to his skull. The clone dispersed as Neji grabbed the kunai and turned to his original target before firing it to the one behind him. The clone vanished as Neji spun and weaved around the clone before facing at its back and plunging his chakra enhanced palm straight to the clone's back.
It all took no less than five seconds.
Naruto grit his teeth as he jumped back, performing three more clones around him while simultaneously grabbing another set of shuriken from his pouch and a clone at his front transforming it into a windmill shuriken. The blonde fired the set of small stars at Neji who ducked underneath them as the giant windmill shuriken began sailing towards him. The Hyuuga had raised an eyebrow at this but jumped up as to avoid any more surprises. Grabbing the gigantic weapon by the ring in its middle, the Hyuuga turned it back towards its sender that was intercepted with the same shuriken he had earlier dispelling both in a cloud of smoke.
'So he can change the property of his clones to any object that he so desires. A nifty trick, but a useless one.' Neji thought as Naruto ran at him with his clone. The hyuuga thought it was Naruto's grave mistake.
The Hyuuga slapped the first Naruto's hand away and aimed for the tenketsu near his axillary region. The clone flinched as it vanished in a cloud of smoke before grabbing the right hand of the assumed real Naruto with his right hand and pulled him closer.
'it's over…' Neji then slammed his left palm on to Naruto's chest as the blonde lurched forward and slumped.
His moment of victory died however, as the orange clad genin gave a weak laugh.
"You got the wrong one." Was all he could say when he heard a loud hissing noise as if he had stumbled upon a den of poisonous snakes.
Neji had jumped. That Naruto was actually a damn clone!
A clone that had explosive notes stuck underneath his jacket to be given as a human bomb. Neji grunted as he had managed to escape from the worst of it but nonetheless, slightly injured with his ears ringing from the blast. He stood slowly, seeing Naruto standing before him without as much as a scratch on him.
'Damn him… He used his own clones as a decoy while he hid in plain sight, but he had no more clones after I dealt with the last one! So how was that possible?' Then he recalled being thrown by a giant shuriken and then a slightly larger than average one earlier on.
'That odd shuriken he had thrown earlier… It was a Shadow clone!'
"Even titans can fall." Naruto said this in a flat tone before he took a step forward, kunai twirling at the ring with his index finger before grabbing the hilt in a reverse grip and performing his signature jutsu once more.
This time, nine more shadow clones appeared before him and all of them didn't went subtle this time, and surrounded a disoriented Neji from all sides. This was Naruto's chance.
"No matter how good you are, you only have four limbs. So let me say this now…" The clones all jumped at him at the same time as they all charged at Neji in every angle. Three steps later all of the clones four of the clones jumped and slashed down at the Hyuuga who gritted his teeth.
'I was supposed to save this against my next opponent, but to think this fool pushed me up to this point.' There was a sudden out flowing of chakra from out of Neji as he began spinning, his whole body become a blur as he was suddenly enveloped in a dome of blue light and spun at incredible speeds.
"Kaiten (Whirl)!" All of the clones were suddenly pushed back by the force as they were instantaneously obliterated with Neji's jutsu.
Naruto's gave a disappointed click with his tongue as he was forced to jump back from the force of the technique and recovered. Neji wasn't going down without a fight.
"Know your place, fool. You haven't even begun to understand the power of the Hyuuga." Neji said this as Naruto quickly jumped back and put a distance once more between them.
"You are a talentless loser, you serve as nothing more than a stepping stone for others. You are weak, insignificant, nothing in the eyes for those who have a greater destiny." Neji then performed a single handseal, and the Byakugan flared once more. The veins bulged even further as Neji looked down on the ground and prepared to attack.
"No matter what you do, no matter how you struggle, in the end, you are nothing." It was then that Neji attacked Naruto like a rabid bloodhound. The Hyuuga prodigy performed one of the most basic techniques he had in his arsenal, the Shunshin no Jutsu (Body Flicker Technique).
Naruto was quick to act, performing his own Shunshin no Jutsu as he too became a blur and began to clash with Neji. He couldn't let Neji touch him, that's why he always held a kunai, this time it was no different.
Commonly, Shunshin battles were precise, chaotic and very quick. Two indescribable blurs clashing at random places short of a second. But normally, those who had a better grasp of the Shunshin fare better in fighting in them. As another clash happened, Neji had deflected Naruto's kunai with his left hand and with his right hand, quicker than Naruto had realized, struck him square on the abdomen.
The palm strike really hurt! The pain was like prickling a thousand needles endlessly as he stumbled, but not before the Hyuuga kicked him straight at the area he had struck sending Naruto skidding away and rolling on the ground hard. Cursing, Naruto got up as Neji performed another Shunshin, this time, appearing on his back.
Naruto turned and slashed. Neji had ducked, with both hands reeled back, Neji struck the blonde once more this time, with twice the hands and twice the pain sending him careening to the other side of the battlefield leaving no room for Naruto to perform the Kage Bunshin. Naruto could taste his own blood as it dripped from his lips but he would not be deterred. The blonde threw the kunai in his hand at Neji and quickly performed the Shadow clone technique once more. Five more clones appeared between them.
'I need to use that jutsu.' Naruto thought as four clones appeared this time, all of them forming a defensive perimeter around him.
"Adding zero with zero will change nothing." Neji said those words as he prepared himself when he saw all six of Naruto's charged at him in different angles.
Neji remained calm as a Naruto clone appeared above him with a knife. Neji sidestepped the attack, as he began his counter by grabbing the back of the clone's jacket and raised him up before striking him, ending its life. A cloud of smoke enveloped them as Neji jumped from it and landed directly in front of two more clones, ducking and weaving before leaving each other with a palm strike to their sides effectively dispelling them. Three of them switched to long range attacks and began peppering him with knives and shuriken. Neji simply evaded them like it was a dance. He jumped back as he got close when another windmill shuriken had missed him by a narrow margin when Neji stopped. Naruto then threw a flurry of weapons at the Hyuuga this time, coming from all directions.
Kunai and shuriken littered the air in a swarm of metal. Naruto knew he had cornered Neji by then.
"Kaiten!" Another whirl had been conjured and all of Naruto's weapons bounced off like they were nothing. He was about to stop when the kunai transformed into explosive notes.
'He can transform any object at will as well?' Shocked at this newfound revelation, Neji found himself suddenly at the epicentre of multiple explosions as the fuda exploded simultaneously.
'Useless' He thought. The kaiten not only protected him from any sort of physical damage such as burns, but also against impacts. The smoke rose of in the air but Neji's rotation hasn't stopped. He had immediately noticed that Naruto was directly above him.
"Fuuton: TENRIN (Wind Release: Providence Wheel)!" His hand glowed with blue chakra, a spinning blur circulated it with the force of a roaring gale and shockingly, Naruto smashed his fist directly above and in the middle of the Kaiten's spin.
A grinding sound can be heard as the smoke instantly cleared between the two of them, sending smoke and debris flying away. Up on the stands, Hiruzen had stood from seat at Naruto's feat. It had been a long time, far too long, to have seen his jutsu at work since he was young. He could see it, he just didn't have an easy time in believing it. For too long he had thought the jutsu was nothing more than an experiment to him, a jutsu that didn't even come up in his writing as one of his arsenals in the jutsu archive. This simple jutsu, the Tenrin, was created to counter the Hakkeshou Kaiten in mind. But seeing as the Hyuuga were members of his village, he had found it completely useless in the battlefield nowadays. But now, seeing it at work once more, one of his beloved creations spring to life once more, he couldn't be any happier.
A small tear escaped from his weary eyes and promptly wiped them off, the fondness of youth and nostalgia welling up inside him like a gentle breath of a mother.
'I hope Naruto is prepared for the potential that this jutsu has.'
Down below, the Kaiten suddenly began to lose form while Naruto's jutsu started growing stronger. The rotational forces lost ground and then Naruto's entire being was suddenly wrapped in a blur of force. Jumping to his side, Neji failed to predict of what came next.
A shockwave had blasted him away and sending him stumbling on the ground as Naruto made contact with the earth beneath him earlier. Neji's headband had been torn from the blast revealing the cursed seal from the Hyuuga clan as he struggled to get up once more. From the smoke appeared Naruto, orange jacket in tatters and headband thrown away from the blast, only his black shirt and orange pants remained. The blonde looked at himself in astonishment and then spoke.
"Woah… I never knew that this Jutsu could do that. I guess C-rank shouldn't even be its real rank at all."
Up in the stands, Hiruzen was smiling, much more than usual. The Tenrin, originally, was a two part jutsu. It was meant to absorb forces in circular motion and use that force against the user's opponent by absorbing and redirecting it around the user's body. Since the kaiten had a lot of spinning power with it, it made perfect sense that the jutsu could absorb that much force from the jutsu to Naruto's own. And to target the area where the spin was weakest… Amazing indeed.
'I think we have no qualms over this as to who's our first chuunin of this match.' Hiruzen said this as he eased his back into his chair.
At the bleachers, several people were shocked at the sudden development of the match.
"To think that Neji's Kaiten would be countered with something like that… This guy isn't as bad as what the rumours make him out to be." Tenten had commented as she too was at edge of her seat. This was something else! Never had she seen Neji be put into a corner against someone close to their age. Today was a first for almost everything about this match!
"Wow, I never knew Naruto would be so capable of being this good. He looks pretty cool right about now." Ino said, almost standing from both the excitement and intrigue. The match was going either way with Naruto gaining back an upper hand after practically dismantling the Kaiten.
'Naruto-kun… You're amazing!' Hinata thought to herself, seeing with her very own eyes, Naruto had breathtakingly overcame the prejudiced thoughts of every single person within these walls that didn't believe in him. It was stunning to say the least.
"I think I'll call it, Fuuton: Ura Tenrin Kazahana (Wind Release: Providence Wheel Windmill Flower Reversal)!" Naruto said this as he then began to walk towards Neji. Who felt absolutely disillusioned after what just happened.
'Impossible, for the Kaiten to be rendered useless like that… It's impossible!' Neji, for the first time ever, lost his cool and felt his whole belief beginning to shatter one by one.
"In the eyes of everyone right now, do you see yourself as the one holding the greater destiny, Neji?" Naruto asked out of nowhere. He clenched his fists once more as he spoke to Neji once more.
"Me? They're telling me how I'm wiping the floor with you, right now]."
Neji's scowl turned deeper. His anger and frustration finally showing.
"Insolence! Don't you dare speak of destiny as if it favours you!"
"Now that your 'fate' has put you in this place what does that say about you?" Naruto asked as he then mocked Neji with a smirk like none other before he continued.
"Your 'fate' has abandoned you and left you in my hands now, Neji." Naruto then surged forward, in speeds Neji had not prepared for before being blasted back by a force so strong that it felt like ten rampaging bulls slamming on to him full speed. Neji was blown back by the force of the attack, stumbling on the floor and crashed into one of the trees effectively destroying it as it fell down. Neji slammed into a wall and was embedded in it. Naruto was looking at him before he said, "Do you know why I was deadlast of the genin this year, Neji?"
Neji pulled himself out and attempted to attack Naruto in a struggle. As Neji whipped out an open palm at him, Naruto performed a timely spin move as Neji moved past him and being slammed with a strong backhand that sent Neji skidding on the ground.
"Aside from not having the patience to read all those books, I also had one major problem that I couldn't do concerning one of the basic three jutsus required for the minimum. I'm talking about the fucking jutsu that the academy was forcing me to do even though my chakra doesn't allow for small scale jutsu, that stupid bunshin no jutsu just didn't work out for someone like me, who has a lot of power and less control. Do you know where I'm going with this, you stupid prick?"
Neji simply ignored Naruto as he activated shunshin no jutsu once more to get away and regroup but Naruto wouldn't let him who performed the same jutsu. This time however, Naruto won that battle with a punch to Neji's cheek, rendering years of training under the Jyuuken style completely useless.
"I have so much fucking chakra that I could literally do any kind of jutsu that I'm allowed to know. I'm not limited to these simple jutsus that Genin are either required or optional to know. I can do a technique meant for jounin and I'm so close, that I could feel that I can do more BEYOND that." Naruto then slammed the ground with his fist sending another shockwave to the ground and sending Neji who manoeuvred around him away when the Hyuuga chose to strike where Naruto's back was turned.
"Compared to your ideas of fate and destiny, you'll only live in that shell, you're only going to be a crutch compared to Lee, Sasuke AND me. In the end, you'll only amount to nothing compared to us. The one who looks down shouldn't be so high and mighty if the people find a way up."
"SHUT UP! YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW THE FATE OF ONE WHO PERPETUALLY BEARS A MARK OF HATRED FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE- "
"DON'T TEACH ME SOMETHING I ALREADY KNOW!" Naruto had cut him off there.
"You come here babbling about your shit like fate and you lash out your anger to Hinata for something she too had no control over! Get over it you self-important jackass! This is here and now and we're duking it out, you have all the time in the world to be fate's bitch after I stomp my foot way up yours, buddy!" Naruto pointed towards Neji as the power of his Jutsu slowly died down.
"Don't be too sure, trash!" Neji then assumed a much different stance as an imaginary symbol of the eight trigrams appeared below him.
"You are within the range of my Divination. Hakke Rokujyuyon Sho (Eight Trigrams: Sixty-Four Palms)!"
In alarming level of agility, Neji spun once more, but not much like the Kaiten, but in one swift move, he got within Naruto's range. Surprised by the sudden approach, Naruto quickly jumped back and on reflex, performed the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu that intercepted Neji just as his jutsu died down. The Hyuuga quickly moved around them as he seemingly danced between two clones before going for their progenitor.
"Four strikes!" And Neji struck true, he had closed four tenketsu points in a flash. But the one he had managed to hit vanished and turned to smoke.
'another clone… But it doesn't matter.' Neji quickly turned around and slammed both of his hands on two clones simultaneously.
"Eight strikes!" Both clones vanished in a cloud of smoke. Neji quickly saw his enemy and dashed towards him like a shark smelling blood. Naruto once more spammed his clones and looked around to see any more opportunities that he might have. None seemed viable for him at the moment.
"Sixteen strikes!" Three clones vanished in less than a second. Neji was closing in. Seemingly with no other option, Naruto corrected himself with a dodge but it was too late.
"Thrity two strikes!"
Thirty-two needless seemed to have pierced him continuously. Each poke of the finger felt like his teeth were being pulled out painfully and he had to endured it thirty two times!
With Neji closing in with what seemed to be his final strike, and Naruto now left wide open, Neji went in for the kill. But not before Naruto could pull out one more desperation effort.
In his right hand was a kunai and Naruto held it in a reverse grip. Neji chose to ignore it for a moment and instead focused on Naruto. The boy may have a weapon on his hands, but in his state he wouldn't be able to swing it properly.
"Sixty four strikes!"
Right hand lashing out at the last sixty four strikes towards the blonde, Neji suddenly felt something painful in his hand as he went for the chest. His right hand was stopped, his middle finger was inside the ring of Naruto's kunai while his index finger was bent in an interesting shape. Naruto smirked at him when his other arm was blocked with Naruto's right hand that was inside of his range while his other arm simply brushed through. Naruto's punch was on his face in mere centimetres before Naruto could say to him, "You lost."
And a face shattering punch was met as Neji's whole world was spun out of control before a ferocious uppercut made itself known to his chin and finally being slammed once more with a tremendous kick to his face that sent him flying away and stumbling on the ground.
'I… can't move.' Was all he could say before looking at the one who stood before him, his shadow blocking the view of the sun.
"To my eyes, Neji, you're strong. Really strong. If someone like you has the power to learn things beyond what people expect of you, then you have the power to change things within your own two hands."
Genma looked at the display with nothing but apathy but inside, he was in astonishment.
'That kid… For him to have caught Neji's hand like that and without a sharingan. This kid is pretty damn good!'
"You might think it is stupid now. But in the end, it's you who decides on what to do. Me? I decided long ago not to wallow in the pity party you like to make of yourself. I'm done with that, nothing ever happens with it. You may not forgive the people who wanted your father dead instead of Hinata's dad, but you can't ever dwell in that thought alone. You'll never grow as a shinobi because of that and you'll die with not even a dream of your own to fulfill."
With that, Neji lost consciousness, an image of a bird soaring above his head was the last thing he saw before his vision was swallowed in darkness. Genma smirked at this as he said while he looked at the blonde who had raised his fists to declare his win.
"Even a bird will continue to peck at its cage in search of its freedom." The proctor raised his hand and pointed to blonde whose fist still raised while looking down at his fallen opponent.
"Winner of the first match, Uzumaki Naruto!"
And the boy was met with roaring applause.
To be continued…
A short chapter since I didn't have time in doing so for the past few days (Got the comprehensives like you wouldn't believe. Six major subjects tackled from first to second year examined for three god-awful days.)
Thank you all for the positive reviews that's been given in this sight as well as the critical ones. Yes, I already had planned on something for different characters especially those that I've mentioned in the last chapter. This will be a multipart saga separated by three books with the shortest being the transition to Shippuuden as each character will have a chapter or sub-chapter of their own making up six or nine chapters in all aptly named, "Team Gaidens" Part 1 would be named "Childhood years" With part two "Chronicles of Legends"
Character Development has now started with Naruto and will grow with the next subsequent chapters. After that would be Sasuke's but I honestly don't know how to make it less dramatic and more an actual self-realization, it's really heavy , well, at least for me it is. Just imagining it brings a lot of congestion and tears with me. Sakura starts hers when Sasuke starts his. Remember that Sakura's whole character basis since the start of the series revolves around Sasuke who must evolve from beyond his thoughts of vengeance and hatred. Likewise, Sakura has to understand and know the life of a shinobi at its cruelest and darkest in order for her to have a metaphorical slap to the face. I didn't like how her characterization was done in part one and I certainly grew to hate her development as the series progressed probably because Kishimoto focused solely on two equally opposing characters instead of an entire cast that had the potential to be great.
Also, yes, writing fight scenes are difficult, the intricacies that come with them involve a lot of things, first of all, character behavior. How a character behaves decides how he executes his moves. Second is abilities, how many abilities should a character have and how will it factor in a battle? This is probably the most difficult part of writing fight scenes as with this alone, it becomes a crazy multi-factorial element in fights and how the character in question should use them. For example, Naruto, as stated and made canon in the series, is brash and obnoxious, his fighting style is direct balls-to-the-wall head first fuck the consequences kind of fighter, he's a front line full assault guns blazing kind of guy that occasionally has tactical prowess that leaves his opponent blindsided in most of his fights. That's how he fights without his en masse of shadow clones. When he fights with his shadow clones, it gets tricky. He has a lot of potential strategic moves with this jutsu alone. But he foregoes that FUNDAMENTALLY HUGE ADVANTAGE by throwing it all at his opponent. It's probably why it's hard writing fights with abilities like that it alters a lot of fight logic that I've ever seen. It's probably also the reason why I'll never write a fight scene for a series like To Aru, it's so freaking complicated that you have to hit a lot of books and research material more AND I don't think written material is the right medium for it. Third is how to make it intriguing. It's a pitfall that a lot of writers fall into (I occasionally fall into this as well). The occasional godstomp battles are entertaining once in a while but when it becomes a thing and a theme in an entire story then it bores me out. There are fight scenes that I've read in this site that I literally slept through because, well, it got boring real fast.
E.G. Oh look a main antagonist with a formidable ability is challenging Naruto (Who has the blessing of God to kick the shit out of anyone without blinking an eye) to a fight. *Naruto godstomps* villain breaks down or dies in a ditch. Battle over
Fights are there to replace dramatic tension. It has to be enjoyable and has to make victory/climax a worthwhile effort. Like say, how a person who has to experience hardships in order to attain freedom, a protagonist MUST struggle, it's why it's a story, you don't make stories wherein the character doesn't have any of that tension by letting that protagonist have little to lose. Godstompping throws ALL of that out of the water and makes it less entertaining.
Anyway, that's enough of that rant.
Jutsu library Originals
Futon: Tenrin (Wind Release: Providence wheel)- C-Rank- a jutsu that increases punching power and absorbs circular forces and redirect back to its enemy. The sandaime discarded this jutsu for being unrealistic, unneeded and frankly inappropriate due to the Hyuuga being their allies. There is however, a potential in absorbing rotational forces of other jutsu (hint, hint)