Naruto: Tetsuden - 006
Alright, it took a while to get this one out, cause I wanted to get the next three chapters all out at once, so I can head straight into the written exam. The next two shift over to what Naruto’s doing at the moment, which should also give some insight into the ending I gave the original series. For now, though, hope you enjoy
Here’s my previous chapters, for those who missed any:
Chapter 006: Analyzing the Competition
Kei: (After watching his brother and Manako stare each other down for almost a full minute on end, his impatience quickly began to emerge.) Well, are you guys gonna stand there all day or you gonna shake hands and go about your business!?
Looking over at him with the same cold eyes they had been staring at one another with just a moment ago, they turned back to face each other again and, after a little more time passed, allowed the smirks they had been holding back to surface and moved forward to do as he had suggested.
Airon: Hmhmhm, I never get tired of seeing you, Manako, whether it’s socially or on the battlefield.
Manako: Neither do I. …I just hope that you plan to hold nothing back, just as I do.
Airon: Heh, well, if we were to do that, we would probably destroy the stadium.
Manako: Hm, …yes, that’s probably true.
Looking over Manako’s shoulder, Airon took notice of his two cousins for the first time. Akame merely stood there resting her right hand against her hip, while Katsuto stood beside her with both hands in his pockets. They both appeared aggravated, as if they felt that they were too good to be seen around this particular group of genin, …which was probably the case.
Airon: Hey, Akame. Katsuto. You two seem eager to get started.
Though they wouldn’t dare procure a verbal attitude towards the only one who gave their cousin a hard time in combat, the pride that Akame and Katsuto held dear was clearly present in their reply to Airon’s greeting, …which was to not reply at all, but rather to direct their attention towards Manako.
Akame: Are you done, Manako? We should get going.
Katsuto: (He repeated his older sister’s actions, …albeit with much less subtlety.) Yeah, we’ve got no business hanging around these trashy ninja.
All speech being exchanged by members of their group immediately came to a halt and all eighteen pairs of eyes shifted in Katsuto’s direction. No more capable of restraining his emotions than he was, Kei was the first to speak up to him.
Kei: Grrrrgghhh, you little punk, I’ll show you who’s the-
Airon: (Kei, stop talking.)
About ready to tell him off, as well, Kei stopped upon noticing that his hand was raised and there was a wicked grin on his brother’s face.
Airon: (Save it for the one-on-one matches. …You’ll enjoy it so much more then.)
Though obviously still wishing to deal with him now, Kei was ultimately intrigued by Airon’s logic and fell back into place, while everyone else continued to stare at Katsuto, who was rapidly becoming annoyed himself.
Katsuto: What the heck are you all staring at!?
Manako: (Having had enough of his cousin’s antics, he swiftly put them to rest.) Why don’t you be so kind as to tell them, Katsuto, …since you obviously know everything?
He didn’t respond, …but then again, how could he, when it seemed that everyone had turned against him? Even Akame, who was far superior to her brother in intellect, was shaking her head in disappointment at his stubbornness, a trait that she shared, albeit to a lesser extent.
Manako: Just go find a place to sit down…and don’t open your mouth again until the first exam is over.
Though not without reluctance, Katsuto did as he was ordered, trying his best to remain quiet to avoid the fury of his cousin. Watching as he walked towards the front of the room and grabbed an empty chair, his sister sighed deeply in frustration before deciding to find a seat herself.
Akame: Just hurry up, Manako. …We don’t have all day.
Manako: (Taking a moment to watch her walk away, he turned back to Airon, agitation still present in his face.) My apologies.
Airon: Hmhmhm, no worries. …I found it amusing, to be honest.
Manako: Hm, you do have an odd sense of humor, Airon. …Well, good luck to each of you.
Airon: (As Manako began turning around to walk away, he held out his hand in an effort to stop him.) Actually, Manako, you might prefer to stick around a moment longer. …You’ll probably want to hear this.
Manako: Hm? Hear what exactly?
Turning around and giving a nod of his head, Irezumi and Hitomi stepped forward while everyone else shifted their attention towards them, much to both Manako’s wonder and Kei’s utter confusion.
Kei: Hey, what the heck’s going on!?
Shikaru: (Rolling his eyes, he gave Kei the answer he was looking for, much to his own reluctance.) Huhhh, your bro asked the two of them to do some scouting of the competition this morning. They’re about to tell us who’s a threat and whose not.
Kei: (Huh, so Airon was actually doing something besides standing around all night. Well, how about…) Wait a second, how do YOU know that, Shikaru!?
Shikaru: What? Did you think Airon and I were just standing there against the wall this whole time not speaking to each other?
Kei: What are you talking about!? I saw you two! Of course, you weren’t…oohhhh.
His confusion now cleared up, Airon and Inase exchanged amused expressions before the former returned to the topic at hand.
Airon: Hmhmhmhm, …now then. Irezumi?
Irezumi: (Lost in all the hostility…or Kei’s hostility, to be more specific, he seemed almost surprised when he was called on to speak at long last.) Oh, uh…right. Well, there aren’t too many worth looking into, from what I’ve seen. I’d be surprised if more than twenty teams remain by the end of the first exam.
Hitomi: (Nodding in agreement, he activated his Byakugan and looked around the room before he began speaking in Irezumi’s stead.) The chakra levels aren’t very impressive, either. Over twenty percent of the chakra in this room resides in just you, Manako, and Nakama alone. I only spotted four other teams that had decent chakra levels, one from each of the other Great hidden villages.
Airon: …Hm, alright. I heard the Kazekage’s grandchildren were competing this year. Did you happen to find them?
Irezumi: Yes. They’re right over there.
Following the path of his extended finger, the others laid their eyes on a trio of genin standing beside a window. The first was a young girl with shoulder-length hair of an auburn color, who wore a fishnet shirt beneath a blood-red blouse that revealed her shoulders, a dark-grey skirt, fishnet stockings, a pair of black, fingerless gloves and arm guards, and her forehead protector, which rested around her neck. The first of her male teammates wore a cream-colored head-wrap and neck-cover over his head, a tan coat which he kept zipped up, dark-grey pants, and his forehead protector in its proper position. The last member of their team wore a black hood, pants and a shirt of the same color, and his village’s standard flak jacket, along with three large scrolls that were strapped to his back. His distinguishing feature, however, was the purple paint that he used to decorate his face, arranged in the pattern of six small triangles that pointed inward towards his nose. They continued to stare at the trio a moment longer before Minto questioned their heritage out of curiosity.
Minto: Are all three of them his?
Irezumi: Um, no. Those two there are his grandchildren. They’re supposed to be twins, from what I’ve heard. The one with the face paint is his…grandnephew, I believe.
Airon: …Okay. Just give us a quick analysis.
Hitomi: Why ask us? …Aren’t you fully capable of finding out yourself?
He understood what Hitomi was applying, merely smirking in response before looking in his direction.
Airon: Now where’s the fun in that, Hitomi?
Respecting his decision not to…“cheat”, Irezumi and Hitomi looked at Airon for a moment before chuckling softly and following through with his request.
Hitomi: Hmhmhm, your call. …Well, the girl is definitely the most powerful member of the team. Her chakra levels are rather high.
Irezumi: From what I’ve gathered, …she may possess a kekkei genkai.
Manako: (Rather surprised by this information, he couldn’t help but join in on their exchange.) A kekkei genkai? …I was unaware that the Kazekage possessed one.
Irezumi: He doesn’t. …This one’s allll hers.
Inase: (Intrigued by this, she shared her own thoughts on the topic.) A non-hereditary kekkei genkai. They’re even rarer than bloodline techniques. …What type is it?
Irezumi: Hmmm, it’s difficult to say. …It’s undoubtedly very powerful, though.
Airon: (He spent another moment staring at her before chuckling to himself out of sheer enthusiasm.) Hmhmhmhm, I’m looking forward to the challenge. …What about the others?
Irezumi: Their cousin appears to be a puppeteer. That could explain the scrolls that he’s carrying on his back.
Airon: (…Sounds about right.) And her brother?
Hitomi: His chakra’s not nearly as strong as his sister’s, …but he certainly has a large supply of it.
Irezumi: Hm, his abilities are said to be somewhat similar to those of his grandfather.
Intrigued by this news, Kei butted in, as well, taking the opportunity to express his bold intentions, in a rather loud manner, no less. …Out of all three triplets, he certainly bore the greatest semblance of Naruto’s personality.
Kei: Hehe, awesome! This’d be a nice chance to see how well I’d fair against the Kazekage!
Airon: (In spite of shaking his head in disapproval of Kei’s outburst of confidence, he found himself unable to suppress his smile as he turned back to Irezumi.) Hmhmhm, okay, then. How about the other genin you-?
Before this could carry on any further, three ripened shinobi stepped through the doorway, causing most of the conversations in the room to die down. After one last short exchange, one of them exited the room once again and the other two proceeded past the large crowd of genin, all of whom now had their eyes fixed on the proctor for the first exam. As most of them began taking their seats, Hitomi and Irezumi moved to do the same, though the latter quickly found himself stopped by a hand resting on his shoulder.
Airon: Hold on. Just one more thing, Irezumi.
Looking around at the rest of their group, who had already left to find their own seats, Airon turned towards Manako and held out his open hand as a silent request that he stay a moment longer. After receiving a nod to confirm his compliance, he turned once again to Irezumi, lowering his voice so that only the two of them could hear him.
Airon: Was there anyone that you found…terrifying?
He paused, seeming almost reluctant to identify anyone of such a nature. …This was sure to provoke both Manako and Airon’s curiosity. After a moment of silence on Irezumi’s part, he finally looked across the room at a genin still sitting atop one of the tables. He wore an open, high-collared, red overcoat, beneath which was a cream-colored shirt, as well as black pants and a red bandanna that rested over his shoulder-length, white hair. Sewn into the front of his bandanna was his forehead protector, which bore the symbol for the Hidden Stone Village. Airon and Manako took a moment to size him up before turning back to Irezumi.
Airon: Well, he certainly gives off the right aura.
Manako: What are his abilities?
Irezumi: I can’t say for certain. …I don’t know what it is that makes him so frightening, …probably his eyes.
Airon: (His eyes…a dōjutsu user, perhaps?)
Irezumi: (He seemed almost hesitant to ask the question drifting through his mind, as though he already knew the answer he would receive.) Do you suppose you could…you know…?
Airon: (Understanding what he was attempting to touch upon, he simply shook his head in refusal.) I’m not gonna start relying solely on that for information, Irezumi. …I’ll keep an eye on him for the time being. If he’s as dangerous as you make him out to be, then just hope that he either gets taken out in the Forest of Death or that Manako or I end up facing him in the one-on-one matches.
Irezumi: (Airon’s assertion gave him some reassurance, which his expression quickly made visible.) Alright. I appreciate it. …Good luck.
Airon: Hm, you too.
Watching as Irezumi left to find a seat, he turned back to the Stone village genin he had pointed to earlier, who had now taken his seat. Staring at him another moment longer, he turned to Manako to hear his opinion.
Airon: Your thoughts on him, Manako?
Having been looking at him the entire time Airon and Irezumi were speaking, he removed his hand from his face to reveal his cold, black eyes, hinting to Airon that he had been using his Sharingan no more than a few seconds ago.
Manako: It’s hard to say. His chakra is strong, …very strong, actually. But, I can’t say much more without prior hand-to-hand combat.
Airon: …Fair enough. (Where is it strongest?)
Manako: (…The eyes.)
Airon: (I thought so. So, he does have a dōjutsu.)
Manako: (Hmm, but what kind?)
Airon: (Hmhmhm, that’s the fun part. …We get to find out through some first-hand experience. …I’ll be sure to let you know anything I find out about his abilities.)
Manako: (Hm, same to you.)
????: Hey, you two in the back. We’re about to begin, so I’m gonna have to ask you to be seated.
Acknowledging the proctor’s orders, the two nodded to one another one final time before sitting down in the last two available seats.
A short distance from the Academy, Naruto and Suzaku climb the steps leading to the top floor of the Jōnin Standby Station, where their fellow sensei surely await them. Sure enough, upon entering the lounge room, they find themselves greeted by an all-too-familiar voice.
????: Naruto! It is so good that you two could join us!
Naruto: Hehehehe, glad to see you too, …Bushy Brow.
The village’s sensei patiently await their students’ results!!!