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Chapter 10-Narrowing The Field: Preliminaries To The Third Exam Begin!Edit

The Night The Applicants From The Other Villages Arrived in Hidden LeafEdit

"Thank you for seeing me Lord Hokage. I apologize for the late hour," Hattori said as he stood before the Hokage's desk. "It is an unexpected honor to have you here Lord Hanzo," Lord Hokage replied, "I was very surprised to learn you were coming. I hope your father is doing well?" "He's only rarely been better actually," Hattori said with a smile behind his mask, "In fact that's part of why I was sent to see you."

Lord Hokage tilted his head inquisitively, "Oh?" Hattori nodded, "I've come as an intermediary from the Village Hidden in the Mist. My father has been promoted to Mizukage and wishes to extend Rain's alliance with Leaf to the Mist village." Lord Hokage nearly had a minor stroke, "Hanzo senior is the new Mizukage?"

Hattori nodded, "Yes. As a gesture of good faith, we've found one of your most notorious Missing Nin for you." He held out a hand and the young woman accompanying him handed him a rolled up piece of paper which he handed to Lord Hokage. Lord Hokage opened it and sucked in a startled breath as he saw the picture on it, "Where is he?" "He's holed up with a collection of S-Rank Missing-Nin from various villages. We understand Lord Jiraiya of the Sannin has been keeping an eye on this group for a while now. We thought we would extend you an offer to collaborate with Hidden Leaf forces in our coming attempt to capture these Missing Nin. It promises to be an immensely profitable outing to be sure."

"How many are with him?" Lord Hokage asked, "Aside from the village's worth of flunkies they've assembled, six S-Rank Missing Nin. Two from Rain, one from Mist, one from Stone, one from Waterfall and one from Steam," Hattori replied. He suddenly reached up and shed his mask, revealing the Rinnegan, "I encourage you not to act rashly. Their leader is from Rain, and bears a stage six Rinnegan. It took me and my father together to deal with just him, and there are six more S-ranks including yours."

Lord Hokage nodded, "Thank you for this information. We will certainly be willing to extend our alliance to Mist while Lord Hanzo is Mizukage." Hattori bowed, "Thank you Lord Hokage."

A chunin suddenly poked his head in, "Excuse me Lord Hokage, there is someone here to see you." Lord Hokage looked at Hattori, then back at the chunin, "Who is it? Can't you see I'm a little busy?" Hattori turned and his eyes widened, "Lord Hokage, I would let them in." Lord Hokage looked at him and then nodded, "Very well, show them in."

A few minutes later the doors were flung open by two samurai wearing the colors of the Emperor. An official in similar Imperial garb strode through, "I bear a message from the Imperial City to the Hokage of the Village Hidden in the Leaves." Lord Hokage nodded, "Proceed." "His Imperial Highness Prince Koga Tokugawa, has decided to attend the third round of this year's Chunin Exams between the Villages hidden in the Leaves, Sand, Rain, Grass, Sound and Waterfall. He looks forward to meeting the Hokage, Kazekage and any other Village Heads in attendance. That is all."

He turned smartly on his heel and strode out, the two samurai swiftly following him. Those left in the room stared, "The crown prince is coming?" Hattori said quietly. He turned and bowed to Lord Hokage, "If you'll excuse me Lord Hokage, I must go alert my teams to the higher standard they're going to be held to now." Lord Hokage nodded, "Very well. You will be attending the Third Round I take it?" "Of course," Hattori replied with a smile, "Two of our teams are being led by my former teammates, I wouldn't miss this for the world."

Morning, Day 6Edit

Squad 10 and the Sound Team had been the last applicants to make it in, and now the twenty four remaining applicants stood in the arena in three rows with their teams facing front. Lord Hokage was there, along with all the Jonin instructors, Ibiki Morino, Anko Mitarashi and a handful of other ninja who had been helping proctor the exam.

Anko spoke into a bullhorn, which was unnecessary, "First of all, congratulations on finishing the second exam. Alright, now listen up! Lord Hokage is going to explain the third exam to you, you better listen carefully maggots." Lord Hokage cleared his throat, "Before I explain the third test to you, I want to explain something about the exams to you. It's something all of you need to understand."

"I'm going to tell you the true purpose of these exams. Why do you suppose our country holds this exam in conjunction with our allies?" With no answer immediately forthcoming he answered his own question, "To raise the ability levels of shinobi and increase friendship between allied nations to be sure, but there is also another purpose. It is important that you understand this, the exams are so to speak a representation of the battle between allied nations. These exams allow for a place where shinobi can fight with the pride of their nation on their backs and their lives on the line. Many leaders and people of prominence are invited to these exams as guests, and also to seek shinobi to work for them. Those countries whose candidates do well recieve an influx of business and those who do not lose business. This exam could determine the course of the rest of your careers as ninja."

Naruto grinned, "Well, I'm convinced," he muttered to himself. "Any test is fine, just tell us what we have to do," Gaara said. Lord Hokage nodded, "Very well I will now explain to you the details of the third exam." A jonin suddenly materialized in front of him on one knee, "Lord Hokage, before you do, please allow me, Hayate Gecko appointed proctor of the third exam, to speak first." Lord Hokage nodded and Gecko rose, "It's nice to meet you all. There is something I would like all of you to do before the third exam."

He turned to face them, "We have to have a preliminary exam before we can move onto the real one." There was a wave of questions and protests to which he replied, "You see the first and second exams might have been too easy. The truth is we didn't expect so many of you to make it this far. The rules state that a preliminary can be held at any stage to reduce the number of remaining candidates. You see we're inviting a lot of important people, we can't waste their time. They're coming to see the best of the best. So if any of you feel you're in less than top physical condition, this is your opportunity to bow out. The preliminaries will be starting immediately."

"Oh, one more thing, the winners will be determined by one on one combat, so like I said, if there's anyone who doesn't feel up to it, now's the time to raise your hand." No hands were raised and he nodded, "Alright then. We'll now begin the preliminary round. This round will consist of one on one combat, full battle intensity. This is not an exercise. There are twenty four of you. There will be twelve matches. Surviving candidates will advance to the third exam."

"As for the rules," he continued, "There are none. You will fight until one of you dies, is rendered physically incapable of continuing or concedes defeat. Those who are losing are encouraged to concede defeat promptly so as to avoid a fatal outcome. As proctor, I am allowed some leeway in determining the matches, and if I determine that a match is hopeless I may step in to preserve as many lives as possible. Now it's time to reveal what fate has been chosen for you." He looked over his shoulder, "Anko?"

Anko nodded and raised her bullhorn, "Turn on the projector!" A projector flickered to life somewhere and a panel of the back wall was rendered a screen. "The names of the combatants will be chosen completely at random and displayed on the screen. As there's nothing more to say, let's begin. In a moment the names of the first two opponents will appear."

Hand written names were suddenly placed in front of the projector, showing up backwards at first until the projectionist turned them around. "Naruto Uzumaki and Kiba Inuzuka," Gecko announced, "Will everyone else please clear the arena floor?" Naruto and Kiba strode to face each other as the floor was hurriedly cleared. Gecko looked at them, "You two have been chosen as the combatants for the first match, are there any objections?" "None here," Kiba grinned. "Nor here," Naruto replied. Gecko nodded, "Then if you're ready, let the match..."

Feral Throwdown! Kiba vs Naruto!Edit

"Begin!" Naruto slid into his stance as Kiba immediately activated his All Fours Jutsu, using his chakra to warp his body so that he could move and fight like a wolf. An instant later, Kiba shot forward like a cannon ball, whirling as he flew so that he looked like the business end of an angry drill. Naruto leapt upward and over him. Kiba smashed into the wall and shook his head as he turned back around, preparing for another attack. Naruto landed on his toes, "So that's how you want to play huh? Fine then. Transform!"

Naruto glowed with chakra for a moment and then a blast of smoke later he was a huge fox with nine tails the size of a horse. Kiba's concentration was immediately thrown by being confronted with the Leaf Village's worst nightmare. Then Naruto roared and sprang at him.

Up in the stands, almost every Jonin present had tensed at Naruto's form change. Neji activated his Byakugan instinctively and then crossed his arms, "Naruto's certainly not pulling any punches is he? Taking a form like that. Even if it's not the real thing, that's still very bold." Tenten looked at him, "You mean that's not the Nine Tails?!" Neji shook his head, "No, that's still all Naruto's chakra. He just took that form to freak Kiba out." Guy clapped Tenten on the shoulder, "No Tenten, the real Nine Tailed Fox is too big for this arena to hold. I don't know if this tower would even reach it's knee." Tenten stared then looked back down at the arena, "And Naruto's got that monster inside him?"

Guy nodded, "Yep, I hate to say it, but I don't think poor Kiba stands a chance in this fight." His words were accentuated by one of Naruto's tails connecting with one of the two Kibas now shooting around the room and smacking him into the ground with brutal force. The Kiba exploded into a burst of smoke and was revealed to be an unconscious Akamaru. "AKAMARU!" Kiba yelled only to be back handed by one of Naruto's hand like forepaws.

Naruto growled a warning as Kiba tried to get back up. Kiba stared, could this really be Naruto? "Don't get up Kiba," Naruto warned, "You've lost. If you keep trying to fight me, I won't continue to hold back." Kiba's arms threatened to give out from under him and Naruto looked at Gecko, "Call it ref. I felt ribs crack when I hit him. I have no desire to hurt my friend any more than I already have and I'm going to have to if he gets up." Gecko nodded and raised a hand, "The winner is Naruto Uzumaki." Naruto turned back to himself in an instant and turned to check on Akamaru, "You alright little guy?" Akamaru whined.

Naruto crossed his arms, "Well I'm sorry but you shouldn't have tried to bite me." He picked Akamaru up and carried him over to Kiba as the medics came in. "Thanks Naruto," Kiba said weakly, "Guess I should've seen that coming. When did you get so strong?" Naruto smiled, "When nobody was looking. Good fight. Now go rest up. I'll letcha know how the rest of the fights go." Kiba grinned as the medics carried him out on a stretcher, "Thanks. See ya later."

Naruto jumped up to the upper level where the other Hidden Leaf candidates were waiting with the Sand Siblings, "Well that's my match done." "That was, kind of mean Naruto," Hinata said gently, "Did you really have to hit Kiba that hard?" Naruto smiled, "I didn't hit him that hard. I lied about feeling his ribs break. He'll have some bruises, nothing more." "Oh, that's good," Hinata said, perking up immediately.

"The next match," Gecko announced from down on the floor, "Kankuro Shiroihebi against Teibo Burekano." Kankuro grinned and hefted his bandage wrapped puppet, "Well, looks like I'm up! Wish me luck!" "It's all bad!" Temari teased. "Haha," Kankuro said dryly as he headed for the stairs.

The Puppet Master and The Peril Of The Creeping Shroom!Edit

Teibo Burekano wasn't much to look at. In fact, with his straw hat on, he looked a bit like a chubby little blue mushroom with a brown cap as he hopped down the stairs one at a time and waddled across the arena floor with quick little steps that made his legs appear no longer than fingers.

Gecko looked between them his mouth twitching as he tried not to grin, "Ready? Begin!" Kankuro was having a very hard time not cracking up as he set his puppet on the ground and narrowly resisted the urge to jump for joy, surely this had to be the easiest opponent in the room! He couldn't have been more than three feet tall! He had to hop down the stairs for crying out loud!

Then Teibo opened his mouth and where Kankuro expected a squeak, instead came a voice as large and deep as the ocean, "NINJA ART, DON'T LAUGH AT MY VOICE JUTSU!" Of course, everyone in the arena immediately began snickering and then burst out laughing. Kankuro doubled over and clutched his knees he was laughing so hard. He wasn't the only one either.

Then Teibo jumped ten feet across the arena and hit him in the head with a hammer that was half as big as he was. Kankuro hit the ground hard and stunned as Teibo stood over him, hefting his hammer for another swing. "I told you not to laugh!" Teibo yelled in a voice as squeaky as it had been deep a moment earlier. Kankuro managed to quickly roll out of the way and avoid getting his head smashed in by the immense hammer. Then Teibo went chasing after him, swinging his hammer wildly, "Stop laughing at my voice!"

Kankuro of course could do no such thing. The whole thing was just too absurd. He was however able to easily outpace the surprisingly quick little ninja. Teibo chased him around the arena for almost three minutes, "Come back here you puss filled boil! I'm gonna smash you so hard you'll be asking me how the weather is!" Kankuro kept running, laughing too hard to even think of turning and fighting as Teibo continued to yell increasingly elaborate and hilarious insults an threats at him.

Suddenly he became aware that Teibo had stopped chasing him and was flashing his hands through an activation sequence, "Ninja art spore clone jutsu!" Kankuro suddenly felt something on his back, quickly gaining weight. Kankuro looked up and found a clone of Teibo standing on his shoulder, "Hiya stinky!" POOM!!! The Teibo clone smacked Kankuro right in the face with his hammer so hard that Kankuro actually flew out from under the clone's feet and was knocked backwards across the arena.

Kankuro sat up spitting blood, "Okay, that's it, no more playing around." "I couldn't agree more!" Teibo replied from right behind him. Kankuro tried to leap to his feet and only made it half way before Teibo hit him in the top of the head. Suddenly a dozen more Teibo's appeared and leapt to pile on top of him. "Ha!" one of them exclaimed. "You shall forever more remember this as the day you fell at the hands of Teibo Burekano! Hidden Rain's mightiest mushroom ninja!" The Teibo clones all stood up and raised their hands, "FEAR THE SHROOOOOM!" They yelled.

"Okay, that's enough," Kankuro said. Suddenly there was a whirl of metal that shredded all the Teibo clones away at once. They all exploded into gray powder and the original Teibo jumped up and down angrily, "What is that thing?!" Kankuro sat up in a pile of bandages near his original position, his hand poised like it was operating a marionette, "Mushroom Man, meet Crow, my puppet."

The Crow's many blades retracted as it rose and started to shamble after Teibo. Teibo shrank in surprise for a minute and then his eyes narrowed, "Shredding my spore clones was the worst mistake you've made yet!" He declared in a raspy new voice that was anything but funny. Just as Kankuro's eyes widened, Teibo flashed his hands through another activation sequence, "Ninja Art! Instant Decay!" Mushrooms suddenly exploded all over Crow and in seconds there was nothing left of the Crow but rotted wood and it's metal components in a pile of mushrooms.

"My Crow!" Kankuro shouted in horror. Then Teibo yelled, "Ninja Art Mushroom Champion!" All the mushrooms that had destroyed Crow suddenly moved toward Teibo in a rapid amorphous mass. In an instant they flowed up his body and began to multiply. Before Kankuro could react, Teibo was clad in a ten foot tall suit of mushrooms. "Who's laughing now?!" Teibo yelled as he swung at Kankuro with a huge mushroom fist. Kankuro leapt aside and narrowly avoided the tremendous impact.

Kankuro grinned, "Well now that would be me." Teibo suddenly felt something sharp prick the back of his shoulder. He looked over his shoulder and saw the terrible visage of the Crow leering at him, a long needle retracting into its mouth, "What?! But how?! I destroyed that thing!" Kankuro grinned, "Yeah, but I'm the best there is at emergency puppet repair!"

Teibo's eyes started burning and watering as Kankuro called, "You'd better quit now! That needle was poisoned! You'll be unconscious in five minutes. It'll only be about two if you don't get your pulse down." Teibo growled, "Fine, you win." His mushrooms collapsed and Gecko declared Kankuro the winner. "Alright now where's the antidote?" Teibo declared.

Kankuro smiled, "Well actually I lied about the needle. Normally it's loaded with deadly poison, but I unloaded it for the exam since we're not supposed to kill anybody. You've just got sand in your eyes." Teibo stared and then turned red. He pointed a finger at Kankuro, he started to say something, stopped, then nodded. He put his hands on his hips, "Ve-ry clever. You win this round Kankuro of Sand! But you have not seen the last of Teibo Burekano the Mushroom Ninja!" he added with a shake of his tiny fist before waddling back off to the stands.

Kankuro rewrapped the Crow and slung it over his back with a grin, "I'll keep it in mind!" He called. Then he walked back up to the Leaf and Sand's side of the stands and grinned, "Well I think that was possibly the most bizarre fight I've ever had." He frowned as he heard snickers behind him. He turned around and looked at Teams Guy and Kurenai, "What's so funny?" then he heard more snickering from behind his back and frowned, "He stuck a Kick Me sign to my back didn't he?"


I'm sure you're wondering how Kankuro repaired his puppet like that. There is an answer, and it's a good one. Unfortunately I'm gonna make you wait until Kankuro's fight with Naruto in the first round of the Third Exam to find out.

Next Time! Ferocious Matchups! The Preliminaries Continue!Edit