Naruto: Shichiyo Gaiden XL
Chapter 40: Kirigakure's Weapon
Ryoko's blades are drawn as she looks into the face of two Takigakure shinobi. Hime's clone has been dispersed and Ryoko begins to pant. The two Taki shinobi smirk as they close in on Ryoko.
“She's a chump, we can easily take her out.” One of them says. Ryoko sucks her teeth and tightens the grip of her blades.
“We'll finish this quick.” The other says. Just then the shinobi launches four kunai, which are easily deflected by her. One of them has a small paper ball at the and and as she hits the kunai it explodes into a large cloud of thick smoke.
“*cough* damn it.” Ryoko coughs as the thick smoke cloud blocks her vision makes it hard for her to breath. She swings her blades focusing her wind chakra through the blades and disperses the smoke. As the smoke clears, Ryoko notices the second shinobi is gone. Just then a large bullet of water approaches her from her right side and she shifts her eyes and moves just before it hits her. Ryoko rushes towards the shinobi at a great speed, noticing him on a tree. She cuts through the shinobi swiftly only to have the shinobi's body materialize into water “Water clone?!”
“Now you're done!” The shinobi yells appearing from the leaves above in the tree. He launches a punch to her face and Ryoko moves her head to the side avoiding it. The shinobi reacts quickly and shoots up his left knee right into Ryoko's stomach and the wind is knocked out of her and she drops her blades. The shinobi does a two jab combo to Ryoko's face and then a powerful round house which knocks her off the tree and she falls to the ground hard.
The shinobi drops down beside his partner and smiles. “Alright, lets take her flag and get out of here.” One says.
“Ryoko.” A voice says. The two Taki shinobi turn to their left and see Koji emerging from bushes with his sling on.
“This guy has a broken arm? I thought we had something to worry about.” The other Taki shinobi says.
“Ryoko what are you doing?” Koji says completely ignoring the enemy shinobi.
“I thought you or Hi would like a chance to fight, every idiot that's came through here has tried to come through me.” Ryoko says. The two Taki shinobi look confused as Ryoko's tone of voice completely changes into a calmed and relaxed, absent of fatigue.
“I actually prefer not to fight in this condition.” Koji says.
“Suit yourself.” Ryoko says picking herself up as if nothing happened and brushes herself off. She walks over to her two swords that are mid-way between her and the two shinobi.
“What the hell?” One shinobi says. “We threw an onslaught at her and she's just—”
“Run before she gets those swords or stand there like fools.” Koji says. The two shinobi draw kunai and get into their ready position. Ryoko bends down slowly and grabs her blades and before she even stands back up, she darts out faster then the two shinobi can comprehend and she disarms them and knocks them out with the butt of her handle by hitting them in the back of the neck. She takes their two flags and walks towards Koji.
“How's everything on your ends?” Ryoko asks as she hands Koji the flags.
“Only three of my traps were activated but none were successfully passed. One team was smart enough to have some of their teammates head out in advance so that when caught they only needed their help to proceed out of it, some flags we choose not to take though. I really hate this feeling in my arm.”
“Sorry about that.” Ryoko says. She turns around to head back to the Taki shinobi only to find that they're gone. “Damn it where did they—”
“The Hokage.” Koji says. Ryoko looks at Koji confused. “The reason he sent all the proctors home was because he became the proctor for every area, watching over everything. He's using the Shadow Clone Technique. He's just picking up those that have been eliminated is all, from what I've seen.”
“Oh, I see. Anyway, you should head back to Hi I can handle this by myself.”
Koji nods and heads back on his way towards his post. Almost 48 hours have passed in this exam as the genin remain stern in their positions as they will themselves to continue on.
~Tower Behind Testing Grounds~
Udon and Hinata enter the room of the tower overlooking the examination grounds. The tower's window is wide across the room like that of the one in the Hokage mansion. As the two jounin enter the room they notice Naruto standing looking outside. Hinata uses her Byakugan and notices Naruto's presence in Sage Mode. She walks beside him as Udon remains back and she notices Naruto's stern face.
“Naruto-kun.” She says softly putting her hand on his shoulder.
“I can't sense that shinobi's chakra anywhere. I've been doing this for half a day at the least my range increases as I draw more energy from around a larger span but his chakra's nowhere.”
“Then we needn't worry, so stop exhausting yourself like this.” Hinata says with worry. Naruto's Sage Mode begins to run out and he takes off the scroll from his back and proceeds to summon another clone from the Toad Village but is stopped by Sai who places appears to his side with his hand on Naruto's arm.
“Naruto-sama, listen to Hinata-sama, as Hokage exhausting your chakra in such a manor for the efforts of one isn't the best thing to do. Put your faith in your subordinates and, should trouble arise, you'll need to be prepared and at full strength.”
Naruto places the strap back on the scroll and allows his Sage energy to run out. “What do you have for me Sai?” Naruto asks.
“I've placed as many scouts as possible around the village, we don't have enough reserves within the village at the moment to expand outwards for a search so I limited ourselves here. Should the enemy be within the village he should be stifled heavily and find it difficult for him to move freely. If he's outside the village then we need not worry too much at the moment.”
“He was one of Kabuto's followers, I could just feel it, those eyes and his skin, it's definitely one of the curse marks of Orochimaru.”
“Kabuto has always been a threat, more so now because we don't know what his intentions are.” Sai says.
“He was going after Mika.” Naruto explains. “I noticed the shinobi the moment I began putting my clones in the area. I was about to confront him but Kurama suggested to let things play out since we both knew he was one of Kabuto's subordinates.”
“Those two genin that were killed.” Hinata says in a low tone.
“I knew he was after somebody from that unit, I couldn't risk revealing myself before I knew who he was after.” Naruto says with slight shame in his voice. “Mika Yuhi was his target and I feel that this means something big to Kabuto if he was willing to interfere during the exams.”
“I'll keep a personal eye on her Naruto-nii.” Udon says volunteering. “At least until the end of the exams, and I assume you'll be calling on Kurenai and Jin-kun.”
“I'll make the call.” Hinata says. “I will say this, the exams are going on and Kabuto knows this is a stressful time for Konoha, which is why he's using this time to make his move. We need to keep our minds clear on our goals and that is the exams. We're in charge of protecting these shinobi and upholding peace between the countries, if we're split in our duties too much we can't assure that.” Hinata and the others begin leaving the room yet Naruto remains looking out the window with the utmost seriousness. He stares for a brief moment and then turns around and leaves the room as well.
Several more hours have passed and the exam has past over it's 48hour mark. Ryoko remains in her position with fatigue beginning to plague her as she's alone on her scouting patrol.
*I let them get by me and take down Hime's clone. It'll be a few more hours before she returns*
Above in a tree overlooking Ryoko, several meters away, three white masks poke out looking directly at her. The three masks all have the Kirigakure insignia carved on the forehead portion of the mask. One of the shinobi hidden tree makes the tiger seal. In a brief moment, Ryoko begins to notice several feathers falling around her and she begins to fall into a daze.
“What is...going...” Ryoko is rendered unconscious and she falls to the ground as the genjutsu cast on her takes full affect. The head shinobi casting the genjutsu signals for his two teammates to proceed onwards and the three of them dart out and head deeper into Violet territory.
“One of them is injured, we should have no problem dealing with the two of them if we follow our formation.” The head shinobi says. The three shinobi leap down hill and cross through the river running through the territory of the shinobi.
“Stop.” The three shinobi stop as their teammate instructs. “We need to detour, there's a trap a few meters ahead of us, it's well hidden, I didn't pick it up when I did my scouting.” The two others nod and they detour to the right as they try to avoid the trap. “Duck!” The shinobi yells. The three shinobi do so as four shuriken speed over their heads at an amazing speed. The shuriken cut through 4 wires and the trap is activated. Several explosions occur all around the three shinobi and the trees around them begin to fall. The three Kiri shinobi leap up doing their best to avoid the falling trees. As they emerge without a scratch they look across the field to see Ryoko standing in front of them. “How can that be I—”
“I know how to fool the sensory technique easily. I figured you three out the first two times you came snooping around, even when I was fighting those Takigakure shinobi.” Ryoko admits. “The three of you aren't going anywhere.” Ryoko says.
“Plan B.” The leader says looking dead at Ryoko. His two teammates look at each other and then back to their leader and nod. The two shinobi dart out towards Ryoko; one throws three kunai towards her and she takes out one of her katana and blocks them with ease. Just then she sees the other shinobi spew out a large field of water down towards her.
“Suiton: Mizuame Nabara (Water Style: Starch Syrup Trap)” Ryoko quickly leaps up into the air and lands on a tree, only to find one of the two shinobi appear behind her, almost instantly after she appears.
*They're fast* The shinobi draws his blade from his back and Ryoko quickly reacts blocking the blade. The second shinobi comes beside Ryoko and goes to thrust his sword towards her. She also sees the leader run across the field, trying to escape. “No you don't!” With her free hand, Ryoko pushes the sheath of her second blade from the bottom at an angle. The butt of her sword's handle hits the shinobi in the neck, knocking him back before his blade reaches her. Simultaneously she kicks the shinobi behind her back and then takes out a shuriken with her free hand. She spews wind onto the blade, causing it to spin and the wind materialized on the shuriken increases its range and she launches it at the third shinobi.
Without even looking, the head Kiri shinobi makes a flurry of quick seals “Suiton: Suijinheki (Water Style: Water Encampment Wall)” The shinobi stops as the syrup field he stands in quickly turns into water and shoots up all around him and makes a wall of water. Ryoko's wind shuriken cuts through the water and it falls and the Kiri shinobi is nowhere in sight. Ryoko shifts her eyes quickly to the right as she locates the shinobi's chakra immediately. She proceeds to head towards the location but she finds her right foot restrained as she tries to move it. She looks down and notices a small wire wrapped around her leg and she sees the shinobi she kicked standing on a tree holding her in place.
*Damn it* Ryoko begins to make hand seals however a whip of water wraps around her hands stopping her. She drops her blade and grits her teeth. Ryoko squats down and using surprising strength she pulls shoots her arms forward, drawing the shinobi holding her with the water whip towards the tree and at the same time, with her free leg, she sweeps the wire causing the other shinobi holding her by the foot to shoot towards her as well. As the one shinobi collides with the tree, his water technique is released and Ryoko's arms go free. The shinobi with the wire comes flying towards her and she simply back fists him in the face, cracking his mask and sending him tumbling on the branch and falls off. Ryoko begins her hand seals again and as she completes them four seals, spread out around the area begin to glow.
The shinobi crosses the seal just as they glow and a bomb within the perimeter of the seal begins to explode. The shinobi is blown forward as and he hits a tree in front of him. He shakes his head and a section of his mask is broken off in the top left corner, revealing one of his brown eyes and some of his hair.
“She's tricky, those two should be enough to hold her off at least.” The shinobi says. The shinobi lifts up the sleeve of his right arm and a seal is revealed on it. He makes the half tiger seal and the seal glows read and begins to spread on his arm. “Now onto the real plan.” He darts off towards the center of the field where the hut of the violet territory is.
“You're leader may have gotten through but he's the only one.” Ryoko says. “Alone there's noway he's defeating our guards.”
“You're such a fool, our intentions never were to get through, only him. If we were to get through we'd only end up dying too.” The shinobi pinned to the tree leaps down and joins his comrade on the ground. Ryoko follows and stands in front of the two shinobi.
“What are you talking about? You're overestimating your captain's powers.” Ryoko shouts.
“To the contrary, we're underestimating him at the least. You Suna shinobi are necessary casualties to test his abilities, that's all.” The shinobi says.
“What do you mean test his abilities?!” Suddenly a mist begins to form around the area and it becomes thick fast. Ryoko eventually looses visual sighting of the two shinobi and she draws her other katana in defense. Ryoko senses one of the shinobi underground and she leaps up as he emerges from beneath her and grab her. *Doton as well?!* Ryoko's eyes widen as she begins to turn her head. She emits a powerful stream of wind from her mouth towards the left and she heads right just as a kunai brushes past her cheek. The blade grazes her cheek and a small tidbit of blood drops down her face. She lands next to her other blade and picks it up *I couldn't sense that other guy's location until a brief moment before. He knows how to hide his chakra too.* Several more kunai and shuriken head towards Ryoko and she swings her blade, releasing a powerful stream of wind which knocks them away. *They're fighting in a completely different pattern now. These guys...they're not here to take these exams.*
~Violet Territory HQ (Hut)~
Hi still sits against the hut focusing his chakra constantly. The Kiri shinobi peers down looking at Hi as meditates. *Not worth wasting the chakra.* The shinobi thinks to himself. A moment later, the shinobi leaps out of the tree as Koji's wooden puppet appears thrusting a hidden wrist blade towards him. The Kiri shinobi drops only to land in a mesh of insects. He finds himself unable to move his feet and he feels the chakra being sucked out of him. He turns his head and sees Hi with both his hands on the ground, the insects leaving his sleeves. The Kiri shinobi drops to his hands and knees as the chakra absorption weakens him and Koji's puppet leaps from the tree and stabs him.
The shinobi suddenly materializes into water, revealing a water clone. Koji appears beside Hi and the two shinobi look out in front of them as the Kiri shinobi steps out from behind a tree. “Expecting me I see.”
“My insects caught you a while back.” Hi said.
“I see then.” The shinobi says.
“That was his intention from the start.” Koji says. “He was picked up on too easily, you said it yourself. He came here looking to fight us.”
“You,” the shinobi turns towards Koji “You'd provide a good challenge for me if you were fully capable.” He says. “I suppose with the assistance of one of Konoha's Aburame shinobi this would pose a suitable test of my abilities.”
Koji's look intensifies looking into the eyes of the shinobi. Koji draws his puppet a little closer to him. The Kiri shinobi darts out towards the two shinobi and Koji begins running towards him as well, having his puppet travel ahead of him. Koji's puppet engages the Kiri shinobi first and the two begin fighting in close range taijutsu. Koji manipulates his puppet masterfully even with one hand, as his puppet demonstrates expert level taijutsu abilities. The Kiri shinobi blocks and avoids all of the puppets attacks with his own level of taijutsu. The puppet launches a kick and the Kiri shinobi leaps up, placing his hand on the puppet's leg to hold his balance. He then launches a kick to the puppet's head but it's blocked. The puppet grabs the shinobi's leg with his blocking arm and then grabs him by the collar with it's free arm and spins around a whips the shinobi away. The Kiri shinobi lands on his feet only to find Hi behind him, launching a head high round house and Koji's on the ground below him going for the sweep. The Kiri shinobi leaps up and spins in between the two kicks from the shinobi. Koji's puppet demonstrates quick reflexes, placing its hand on the ground and pushing up and launches a back kick into the shinobi's ribs launching him back.
“Maybe you're not helpless at all.” The Kiri shinobi said rubbing his ribs. Suddenly a screeching sound comes from the Kiri shinobi's arm and his arm begins to glow red. *It's ready.* With a burst of sudden speed the Kiri shinobi bullets through Koji's puppet and strikes him with his arm through his chest. Koji's body materializes into several hundred insects revealing a bug clone made by Hi. Suddenly a spiral formation of insects rush the Kiri shinobi from behind. The Kiri shinobi turns around quick and holds out his hand and he releases a burst of red chakra that disperses the bugs and hits Hi hard and he's sent flying against the tree. The Kiri shinobi turns and finds the puppet gone from sight and suddenly it springs up from the ground attempting to wrap several wires around him however the shinobi simple back hands the puppet and destroys it. He looks at Hi and sees him propelled to the left as if he were being controlled. “Now I got you!” As Hi disappears into the bushes, the Kiri shinobi darts out fast to their location and launches a powerful fist down onto the ground however Koji and Hi are nowhere to be found. The Kiri shinobi's eyes widen in slight shock and he grits his teeth “Damn it I wasn't paying attention...Release!” The shinobi releases the illusion and he finds himself on the other side of the field from where he thought he went and he turns around and sees Koji helping in holding up Hi.
*That chakra...* Koji thinks to himself. The shinobi stares at Koji and Hi, the shadow of the clouds cover the part of his face revealed however Koji gets a glimpse at the eye of the shinobi and it was different from before.
“Koji-san, I don't have too much chakra left in me.” Hi says. Koji lets go of Hi and then attaches chakra strings to him.
“Just let me handle this.” Koji says. “This guy isn't here for the scroll, he's here to kill us.”
To Be Continued...