A - "Yes," Shinji planned to join and get the rank of Chunin as soon as possible. He will train moderately hard during these two weeks as he plans to spend some time with his teammates to make sure they're all for the Chunin Exams.
Chapter 19 - Chunin Exam Rumble
Two weeks passed in the blink of an eye for Shinji and his team. This time, unlike before, Shinji wasn't the only one who worked hard. As a team, their bond became something unshakable, and an unbreakable belief in battle had formed between them. Now Shinji was confident that if it came down to it, his team would have his back, no matter what.
Kota had also somewhat closed the gap that had been created in his skills due to him physically being unable to keep up with his swordsmanship. Now he had grown into someone Shinji could count on in a tight situation. Having discovered his swordsmanship talent had reassured Kota that as long as he worked hard, his dream of becoming an S Rank ninja was within reach.
But even with the progress he made, the one Shinji was surprised by is Sayuri. For some reason, she started working hard like her teammates. Her improvements in such a short time were something that even Shinji wasn't sure he could match, at least in Genjutsu.
Her talent in the Illusionary Arts had also shown itself, as even Yamato commented that her Genjutsu was something that most Chunin would be unable to break through or even notice.
Overall, it had been a fruitful two weeks.
Initially, Shinji had been unsure if they were ready for this exam, but now he was confident. He didn't know exactly how strong the other teams would be but was confident in Sayuri and Kota to pull through.
Also, Kota with Shinji's and Yamato's help had been able to get through the hurdle and understood that killing was just part of his job. If the choice came whether to kill someone for the safety of his teammates, Shinji was certain that Kota wouldn't hesitate.
All three of them casually walked towards the exam building where the first part of the Chunin Exam would take place. Shinji noticed that there were many people waiting around the place, some were laying in the yard around the building, feeling the soft green grass, and relaxing. Amongst them, some had bruises too, showing that they had been in fights.
"Tch, who the hell are those guys blocking the room to Room 301?"
"I don't know but they're strong as hell. Talking about weeding out the weak."
'This is interesting.' Shinji thought, glancing toward Sayuri as she had the better hearing. She got the message and nodded, but decided not to reveal what she heard right now. Since they had so many potential enemies around them, revealing their abilities like this wasn't good as they didn't know who was listening in on them either. It would be naive to assume no one could read lips, had good hearing, or x-ray vision in this exam.
Shinji observed everything around him, any sign of danger, or strong person. Every single detail that might seem useful in the future was stored in his mind. Small details sometimes change the flow of battle.
Being the always cautious person he was, Shinji had prepared a lot for the exam. Though to the naked eye he might seem like everyone else, maybe the sword on his back or the bandages around his arms making him somewhat different from most other Genin gathered here. But… Well, he was more than ready for this.
Walking in the building, on the second floor, he noticed that a crowd of people had gathered towards room 301. Which was clearly on the second floor, and was room 201 instead, though that had been changed through a Genjutsu. In the application, it was stated that they had to go to the 3rd floor.
Even Kota seemed to notice that, whispering. "Let's move past these clowns."
It was clear that Kota didn't think much of these people that were tricked by such a simple thing. A couple of young guys wear weeding out the weak, stopping them from entering the room. If Shinji was a betting man, he would go all-in with those two 'young' guys being Chunin. Especially since they eerily resemble the gate guards he met when going out for the C Rank Mission.
Shinji was of similar thoughts to Kota, he wasn't going to waste time here. But suddenly he stopped at the sight of a familiar green jumpsuit.
That was the first thought that came to Shinji's mind, but such an assumption was dismissed when he saw that it was just a young Genin. He looked like a mini-Guy and got hit by one of the Chunin. He couldn't even dodge… no, more like the Guy-like genin didn't even try to dodge.
'He must be Lee, and I am almost 100% sure that there is no way Guy's protege would get beat up like this. Even a Chunin probably won't be able to beat him. Guy is a monster in Taijutsu, possibly the best currently living Taijutsu master and an amazing teacher. His look-alike student isn't someone I will underestimate.'
Shinji respected Guy, even though he had trained with the man for less than a month. His Taijutsu had grown to levels incomprehensible from before. So Shinji respected Guy quite a lot, someone who only knew Taijutsu, to become such a monstrously strong ninja. It was nothing short of a miracle born due to hard work.
That was why Shinji wasn't convinced at all when he saw Lee getting hit. Whether the 'genin' standing in front of the door were Chunin, it didn't matter.
"Since we have some time until the exam starts, we should observe and see what our fellow Genins can do," Shinji whispered to his teammates. There were some people he planned to keep an eye on, and Lee was one of them. The main one really, as Shinji somewhat knew Guy had some secret technique he only taught Lee.
'Exploding Youth.' That was the description Guy had given, but Shinji knew that anything involved with Youth and Guy would lead to a dangerous move. "But Lee… with how he looks, it's really hard for most people to not underestimate him."
"Here comes the Uchiha," Kota nudged Shinji and pointed towards Sasuke, someone they hadn't seen in a while.
Sayuri narrows her eyes at Sasuke. "He is weak," she concludes, glancing back at Shinji. "He feels weaker than you."
"You should know better than anyone, chakra doesn't necessarily equate to strength," Shinji reasoned, though even he could tell by the way Sasuke moves that he was physically weaker too.
'Strange… in the Academy, it felt like the gap between me and him was insurmountable. An Uchiha, the name alone made it clear that for someone like me it was impossible to catch up.' Shinji thought, wondering how much he had changed in such a considerably short time.
Sayuri of course took this moment to tease him. "You look like a fangirl~"
Shinji though didn't hear her words as his gaze was as intense as ever while staring at Sasuke. He didn't know if what he was reading was right, or maybe the last Uchiha in Konoha knew how to hide his power.
Seeing that he was so concentrated, Sayuri's smirk disappeared and she approached, her lips next to his ear, and whispered. "If you want to test yourself against the Uchiha, I can arrange it for you."
"No," Shinji shook his head, a calm look adorning his face. "We can't allow ourselves to get any kind of injury during this time. Even wasting Chakra wouldn't be smart."
Still, while he didn't plan on getting involved in a physical fight, that didn't mean that he wouldn't observe and see what the likes of Lee and Sasuke were capable of.
"We are just thinning those who fail. What's wrong with that?" Remarked one of the suspected Chunin.
"I agree, but, you will let me pass through," Sasuke intervened, with his hands in his pockets and a small smirk on his face. "And also remove this surrounding created by Genjutsu."
When he heard those words, Shinji wondered whether Sasuke was stupid, arrogant, or maybe both. Was it a part of a plan? But from what Shinji saw, Sasuke seemed to be arrogant and hadn't changed too much from the Academy days. Which was a little disappointing.
Shinji wondered if this was maybe because Sasuke never had a challenge. Someone who would pass him as soon as he stopped working hard. For example, Shinji knew that people with talent would destroy him as soon as he stopped working hard. But he didn't see that as a negative as it constantly pushed him to be better and work harder.
"I'm going to the third floor," Sasuke stated and started walking off. Sakura and Naruto followed after him. The blonde hyperactive ninja looked on with jealousy as he muttered something about Sasuke always acting cool.
"Oh~ looks like we have a bonafide badass," said one of the disguised Chunin in a mocking voice.
One of them, the one with a bandage over his nose and spiky hair moved quickly. But Sasuke was able to react and was about to counter. Within an instant, Lee was between both of them, catching their attacks without difficulty.
Even Shinji was impressed by his speed. Lee was faster than him, which was expected as he had trained with Guy for much longer. But Shinji glanced at Lee's legs.
"So fast, even with weights," while he didn't know the exact amount of the weights Lee was wearing, Shinji was somewhat sure that he probably was wearing some heavyweights. He had heard Guy mention them in a conversation once.
Still, it wasn't just strength and speed that were required to move those weights, but monstrous stamina too. Shinji knew that even though he was relatively fast, keeping up that speed took a huge effort in his stamina. Lee on the other hand was unlikely to have a problem like that, as he had trained for a year with Guy.
'I am still weak, if we fought right now in Taijutsu, Lee would destroy me without much difficulty. Or, maybe I would be able to hold him back a little while until I started getting tired.'
"What happened to the plan?" The white-eyed teammate of Lee came forward. Shinji could tell that he was a Hyuga. "You're the one who said that we shouldn't draw attention to ourselves."
After that, Lee walked towards Sakura and expressed his love for her. Saying that he would protect her until his death. Which Shinji found weird, as they had just met. But decided to ignore that, as he was more interested in their fighting capabilities. Especially Neji, as he had the Byakugan, but Shinji didn't know a lot about those eyes, or what they did. Be only had heard in some lectures that the Hyuga Clan was considered one of the strongest in Konoha and was a rival to the Uchiha before the massacre.
"What's your name?" Suddenly, Naji glanced at Sasuke. His shallow white eyes somehow showed a sign of amusement in them.
"Ah, man, everyone always wants to only know Sasuke's name," Naruto complains.
Shinji on the other hand was observing Lee closely as this happened.
'He has youth in his eyes. Spending so much time with Guy, I can somewhat guess what will happen now. With overflowing youth, he is going to challenge Sasuke. Wait… when did I start referring to certain things as 'youth'?. Jeez, due to spending so much time with him, I have learned some bad habits.'
While Shinji contemplated his existence, and whether Youth was a real tangible energy or if it could be counted. He stood by the sidelines while Sakura took Sasuke and Naruto away, with Lee following them.
Shinji glanced toward Sayuri. "We should follow them."
As a team, they had to take measures and come to an agreement together. While Shinji was still the de facto leader, it didn't mean that he had to act like he was the only opinion that mattered in the team.
"Yes," Sayuri agreed with him. "Sasuke is expected to be good. But Lee… that guy isn't talented in either Genjutsu or Ninjutsu. No, not just untalented at them, he literally can't use either."
"Hmm, but he still seems strong," Kota added. "He isn't like the normal ninja. We have to see how he fights, or that guy… Lee could end up being a tricky opponent to deal with."
Since they were all in agreement, Team 13 followed their fellow Genins, to see what they were going up against. Get a read on how strong their competitors were. There was still some time until the Chunin Exam started.
While Lee followed Sasuke and his team, Shinji and his team were following Lee. They all ended up in a hallway, with Lee above Team Seven, looking down at them from atop the balcony. "Hey, the guy with the dark eyes."
"What is it?" Sasuke glanced up, coolly.
"Fight me, will you…" it wasn't a request. Everyone could tell that.
Lee jumped up, and within an instant landed in front of them. But as he did so, he looked up, and his eyes met with Shinji's. "You're someone I want to fight too."
Sasuke and the rest of his team looked up in surprise, seeing Shinji, Sayuri, and Kota standing on the ceiling upside down. They had used the shadows to hide their bodies, but Lee had noticed them.
"Sorry for the interruption," Shinji smirked. "I and my teammates just wanted to see some entertainment. Not every day you get to see an Uchiha fight."
"Guy -sensei speaks highly of you," Lee nodded, looking back towards Sasuke. "My name is Rock Lee. So you're up for a challenge, Sasuke Uchiha?"
"Heh, you know of the Uchiha and yet you still want to fight me, bushy brows" he exclaimed mockingly.
'What? Why's Sasuke acting arrogant, didn't he see Lee stop his kick so easily? That bushy brow is likely a small beast in a human's body.'
Shinji was confused, while he could understand Sasuke's confidence during the academy, as he was the best back then by a long shot. But that was no longer the case.
"Hey!" Naruto suddenly yelled out, bringing everyone's attention towards him. "Sasuke this, Sasuke that. It pisses me off!" He peered at Lee angrily. "This will be over in five minutes."
He charged at Lee, and the look on Naruto's face was angry as he pulled his fist back.
Shinji… observed with disappointment. 'Slow, Naruto is very slow. That stance is the Basic Academy Style, even that, is very unpolished. Didn't he learn anything as a Genin?'
Then Lee, as if to prove him right, casually pushed Naruto's punch aside, kicking the legs under him and making the whiskered boy's body spin out of control and face slam into a wall.
"You guys cannot defeat me," Lee declared. "Right now, I am the strongest Genin in Konoha."
Sasuke smirked. "Sounds fun, I will fight you."
"Don't," Sakura intervened. "Sasuke, we only have thirty minutes to submit our applications."
Sasuke's confidence didn't falter. "Don't worry, I will take care of this in five minutes."
He charged towards Lee, and once again, Shinji was left disappointed, as Sasuke was able to dodge the first kick. The second one landed to the side of his face.
Slamming Sasuke right into the wall. Blood dripped down from the Uchiha's mouth as his eyes were shadowed by his hair for a split second, but as he looked up, his red eyes became apparent. Two tomoe slowly swirling around his pupil.
'So that's the Sharingan. It looks intimidating.'
Shinji had high expectations for Sasuke Uchiha, the guy that he had been unable to defeat ever in the academy, no one ever had even come close to beating him back then. But the Sharingan was a mighty Kekkei Genkai with the ability to copy Ninjutsu, Genjutsu, and even Taijutsu.
But once again, Shinji was left to be disappointed as Lee was able to easily slip past Sasuke's guard and kick him in the chin. This sent the Uchiha high in the air and disoriented him, as his brain rattled around his skull.
Lee jumped up too, standing behind Sasuke, just like a shadow. Bandages started unraveling and Shinji immediately recognized the technique. Having seen something similar demonstrated by Guy.
'Shit! Is Lee planning to kill Sasuke?! If I don't intervene right now, he will be defenselessly slammed into the ground and his brains will splatter.'
Shinji was about to intervene, seeing that the hit on the chin had immobilized Sasuke. But should he interview at all? This will cause Sasuke's team to be dismissed from the exams, and Lee might be disqualified, which would cause almost all of the strong people in the Chunin exams till now, to thaw out.
But at the same time, he didn't know what kind of monsters this Chunin Exam held. Rather than figuring it out on his own, having some talented Uchiha, or someone like Lee test the waters first would be better.
A - Intervene. Shinji needs some mules to take the burnt of any monstrous Genin.
B - Let it happen. Shinji thinks there is a high chance of Sasuke dying if Lee uses the secret technique. Even at best, Sasuke will probably end up in a coma.
ANNOUNCMENT: For every 100 Power Stones, Shinji gets to re-roll a bad dice roll which usually determines luck.
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