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3 The Old Man's Chunin Team (Part 1)

The lamps lighting the darkroom cast a huge shadow of Jason in Danzo's body. He sat still with a closed eye, ruminating on what to do next after reading the report about the Chunin Exams[1]. It was only two months away, but Jason had a feeling that that something special was going to happen.

It wasn't just a blind assumption as Danzo sent someone to monitor the last 4 Chunin Exams held in other villages. And during the last three, Yakushi Kabuto took the exams but was unable to pass. With Kabuto's skills and smarts, he should have passed on his first try. It became apparent that Orochimaru was planning his move. Knowing his character, it would surely something big.

"Hmm." Jason took his cane, switched off the lamp, and exited his office.

The ominous and dark hallways felt comfortable as he went deeper into the underground. After taking 2 stairways, he took a right and opened the only door revealing what looked to be a laboratory filled with 12 transparent glass tanks. The glass tanks were mostly empty, saved for the one labeled with a number 3.

Jason heard the familiar voice he was expecting to hear. He heard the voice stop when he closed the door.

"Oh, Danzo-sama, you came at a good time!" Jason saw a middle-aged man with shaggy hair that nearly reached his shoulders and his eyes had the same glint as Orochimaru's. This was Danzo's researcher, Shigaraki Tanuki, another mad genius in the field of science. Brainwashed by Danzo to the point of no return.

"Mm. I see that you have lost almost all of your lab rats. But you would have to wait until the teams return to report to refill your tanks. By the way, how is your progress?" Jason answered indifferently.

"Not much. They could not even withstand 30 seconds after coming in contact with the First's DNA, their compatibility did not even reach ten percent. But if you could get more of that arm of yours, then I could probably make a huge breakthrough!" Tanuki replied. Even though he was genjutsu'd into following every Danzo's orders, his personality and emotions were untouched. He also has a wife and was living peacefully while working for Danzo.

"Regarding the kids, they should be good to go," Tanuki replied. Shigaraki Tanuki is a researcher specialized in the field of gene research and a master in fuinjutsu. And he was also one of Danzo's most trusted men.

"Keep up the good work. I will be taking the kids then. Send them to the training ground." Without waiting for Tanuki's response, Jason walked out of the lab. Although he had inherited Danzo's memories, to see a little girl placed inside a glass tank, pierced with hoses, made his guts churn. But right now, for him to survive and live longer, such research was necessary.

"Certainly, Danzo-sama!," came Tanuki's distant response.

...

Only after reaching the training ground did Jason feel better. This training ground was provided for the Root Division's training purposes, connected to another tunnel leading to the underground while also serving as a back door in case of emergency.

Not long after, 9 children with ages ranging from eight to twelve were now standing neatly in front of him. These were the only children left during this year's batch of Roots trainees. Two females and seven males, dressed in similar outfits of a grey shirt and black pants.

One look and Jason could see their emotionless eyes. They were not cold, just dead. They had no hate nor resentment, just straight-up expressionless.

'Even a cockroach has much more life than them...' It was only after a minute that Jason broke the silence. He steeled his heart and opened his Sharingan and willed his chakra.

"Starting today, you are now officially a member of Root! Now, what is the purpose of Root?"

"To protect and eliminate potential dangers that may threaten the well being of Konohagakure! We are the unseen ones who support the great tree of Konoha from the depths of the earth!"

The kids simultaneously replied, their voice sounding pleasant and somewhat robotic.

"Hmm. Now, your training starts officially. And I will be the one teaching you. Is there anyone who has not mastered the water walking yet?" Jason did not even blink as he spoke. He just observed everyone while paying attention to the youngest of the group.

As expected, everyone raised their hands. Even with their tender ages, their muscles were already well-developed thanks to their chakra growth and their previous training that finally led them to be here. They were the best among the 27 other kids that Danzo and his men took in.

"Hmm. Good. Normally, each one of you should have joined a team, but that would have to be postponed. Two months from now is the Chunin exams, and it will be held in Konoha. I am going to divide you into three teams and you will be participating in the exam." The group stayed silent while Jason spoke his monologue.

"Since you should all know everyone's strengths and weaknesses, you should be able to form a three man cell on your own. Although this is only temporary, I advise you to form a group that compliments your abilities. I will give 15 minutes." Jason added and slowly walked away from the group. He wanted to test their decision-making skills with his move.

The kids were all orphans of war took in by Danzo and his men from the previous war. They came from different villages either destroyed, abandoned, and slaughtered. They were survivors. And even though they were trained to become emotionless and severe their ties, does that not mean that they became mindless idiots. As they grow up and see the outside world more, they would slowly develop life skills that would help them survive dangerous missions.

After Jason left, the group immediately formed a circle and started a discussion.

The oldest immediately spoke with a plan in mind. His name was Hide, 12 years old, and he was also the tallest among the group. His hair was black and a little shaggy, covering his ears, and had brown pupils. His looks were quite average and looked to be a normal teen that could blend in any environment.

"I should take Taka and Anji with me. Although I am strong in close combat, my ninjutsu and genjutsu are quite lacking, we should be able to form a good synergy with Anji's Water Release and Taka's quick Lightning Release. How does that sound?" Hide stated. He said it as a matter of fact and because everyone was aware of everybody's skill level, strengths, and weaknesses after living together for nearly three years.

"That sounds good," Anji replied. She was a girl with long brown hair that nearly reached her waist but was tied in a ponytail. She is also the 4th eldest and was 11 years old. Her cold black eyes added more to her charm as she looked like beauty in development.

"Agreed," Taka, the youngest (8 years old) also nodded. He had a semi-bald haircut but his white hair indicated his foreign origin. And in this world, most, if not all of the tanned skinned people with white hair came from Kumugakure, the Village Hidden in the Clouds.

"Okay, since I am pretty well rounded, I would like Toshi to be my teammate as he could read the situation pretty well and make good plans on the spot. I would also love to have Enko, but what do you say?" Hoki suggested. He was the second youngest, also twelve years old, and had an air of pleasant coolness that could be pretty attractive. Just like Hide, he also had brown pupils and black hair but his hair covered his left eye.

Toshi the third eldest, 11 years old, and had the most muscle in the group, he is big but also the best swordsman in the group. He mastered the use of Tanto at 8 years old but he thought it was too light so he now uses a heavier and larger sword.

While Enko, 9 years old, is not much older than Taka, he is also the shortest and the only medical-nin this year.

"That's good too. Enko is the only medical-nin, but he is also a very scary genjutsu user. He should do very well in your team, Hoki." Kana, the last of the two girls was the 5th eldest who recently just turned ten, also spoke. Strangely enough, her voice seemed to carry authority and charm as she spoke. But the burn marks on half of her face made her look quite scary.

"Well, since we're the only ones left, I just want to say that I don't disagree with your decisions." Senpu, the 7th eldest,10 years old, had a deep scar that started from the corner of his mouth that stretched just a centimeter away from his ear. It gave the impression that he was slightly smiling with a terrifying ill intent.

"Mmm..." Last but not least was Mitsu, the 6th eldest. He was the deadliest assassin in the group. A quiet young man who looked weak and frail on the outside but he was the scariest in the group. Quiet, usually overlooked, and had a very weak presence compared to a normal person.

"Since everyone agrees, we should group ourselves and discuss the possible test Danzo-sama might give us."

"Good idea."

Although the description took many words, everything happened in less than a minute. Meaning they still have 14 minutes to spare.

Team Ko: Hide, Anji, and Taka

Team Ne: Hoki, Toshi, and Enko

Team Cho: Kana, Senpu, and Mitsu

[1] After the Third Shinobi World War, chunin exams became open to everyone and was held biannually with each village taking turns in hosting. These shared exams aimed to maintain and improve relations with each village. -Narutopedia