Longer AN at the end. Enjoy!
Shinji sat on the edge of a roof of a particularly tall building in the village with his legs hanging freely as he watched the village gate. Throughout the past week, multiple teams from foreign villages were slowly arriving at Konoha, no doubt to participate in the chuunin exams which would be happening in a few days' time.
A week ago, Asuma had informed his team that they were going to be nominated for the chuunin exams much to Shinji's delight, even if it was a foregone conclusion really. Hinata was slightly more apprehensive, although the girl was content just following Shinji wherever he went. Shino, on the other hand, revealed no discernible emotion to the announcement, merely nodding in acknowledgement at that.
And as part of his preparations for the exams, Shinji decided to conduct some reconnaissance of his competitors. Using his [Observe] skill, Shinji was able to take note of the approximate level of strength from many of his competitors. Though he had a rough idea of who were the true stand outs that would appear in this exam, there was still a possibility of unexpected outcomes as a result of his existence.
The participants were largely from the surrounding shinobi villages, geographically located relatively closer to Konoha. And their levels generally ranged from 25 to 30 on average. There were, of course a couple underwhelming participants below that range, but not many were above level 30.
Shinji wouldn't claim to be an expert in inter-village politics, but he could make an educated guess that foreign villages wouldn't usually send their best and their brightest to chuunin exams hosted by villages that were not their close allies.
Already, he had seen a couple genin teams from Amegakure, Kusagakure and Takigakure who were all rather underwhelming. At this point in time, Amegakure should have already been taken over, with Hanzo being overthrown by Pein, or rather, Nagato. They would likely be wanting to keep a low profile. Even sending a couple genin to Konoha's chunin exams was likely just a form of camouflage for the Akatsuki.
There was no way they were going to send actual chuunin-level genins to take part in the exams so as to not attract attention. Because if these genin actually made it to the final stage of the exams, the leader of Ame, who the world knew of as being Hanzo, would be expected to be in attendance.
From what he knew of the exams, invitations were extended to every hidden village. Although, whether or not the invited would actually send their genin to participate was a different story that heavily depended on the political climate at that time.
Iwa, for instance, a long time and bitter enemy of Konoha would never deign to participate in any events hosted by Konoha and vice versa. They would likely be worried that Konoha might try to do something to their shinobi while they were in their village and Konoha similarly thought the same.
The same went for Kumo, which because of what was now known as the 'Hyuuga Affair' that occurred a couple years prior, had a sour relationship with Konoha. Not to mention their hidden village was simply so far away geographically that it would take weeks of travel just to arrive at Konoha. Being so far removed from their village was a safety issue, especially when they were deep in what could be considered 'enemy territory'.
Kiri, on the other hand, was undergoing a civil war. They were not in a position to be participating in something as frivolous as another village's chunin exams even if they wanted to.
Teams from the same village arrived together in a large group. Normally, silent alarms would have been triggered when Konoha patrols sighted so many foreign shinobi converging on the village all at once. Needless to say, those alarms were not triggered.
However, it would be foolish to assume Konoha's security were at all relaxed because of the upcoming chuunin exams. Rather, they were tightened precisely because of the sudden influx of foreign agents. The entire village was placed in heightened alert, with amplified patrols concentrated around the restricted areas within Konoha.
Shinji suddenly sat up straighter when a large group of Suna shinobi entered the village gates. There were slightly over thirty Suna shinobi of varying ranks. It looked like thirty of them were genin while the rest were their chaperones.
Of course only three of them caught Shinji's eye, with especially one of them of particular interest.
Gaara Lv 45
Gaara is a genin of Sunagakure and the youngest son of the Yondaime Kazekage. Because of his status as the Jinchuuriki of the Ichibi Shukaku, he is widely feared as a monster by the villagers of Suna. Though he appears outwardly calm, Gaara is deeply unbalanced and, in certain situations, driven mad with bloodlust as a result of Shukaku's influence. He hates other people for existing, believing that so long as they are alive, they are a threat to his own existence. His purpose is therefore to kill anyone who is strong or whom he perceives as similar to himself, as only by killing them can he assert his own existence.
He has no opinion of you.
Gaara is stronger than you.
As expected, a Jinchuuriki's HP and CP were simply off the charts, Shinji observed. However, compared to Naruto who was at the moment only level 32 and yet possessed a larger chakra capacity than Gaara. It only goes to show the difference in power between the nine tailed fox and the one tailed tanuki.
His CP was also constantly fluctuating, presumably due to the cost of maintaining his powerful defensive sand ninjutsu but is immediately regenerated from his natural chakra recovery. The other odd point was Gaara's comparatively low HP, which was unlike the overwhelming vitality of Kyuubi's Jinchuuriki.
Shinji couldn't help but wonder how he would fare against Gaara in a battle. If it was in the context of the chuunin exam finals, where they were to fight in the middle of an arena under the watchful gaze of the entire audience, he would undoubtedly lose.
With his self-imposed restrictions on revealing his Sharingan to the world as well as the oddity of his Gamer's Body that was sure to catch the eye of the perceptive, Shinji would have to fall back on the rest of his arsenal, much of which lacked the explosive power necessary to penetrate Gaara's defenses. The highest ranked offensive ninjutsu in his repertoire consisted only of katon and futon B-ranked ninjutsu. The best solution to Gaara's ultimate defense he could think of was using his wind chakra and its sharp, penetrative nature.
In a situation where Shinji could fight Gaara away from prying eyes however, the results would be more uncertain. From what he could remember, the Uchiha clan's Sharingan was able to place tailed beasts under limited control with their ocular genjutsu. The details of which were either never explained or perhaps Shinji just couldn't remember, but it was a definite possibility.
It was also possible that he required the advanced form of the Sharingan, the Mangekyo, in order to control the Bijuu, but it wasn't exactly something he could test out.
Regardless, Shinji did not feel comfortable placing such a large amount of faith in an ability that was only a maybe. He much rather preferred relying on his own strength to overcome the monstrous challenges lying ahead of him. Throughout the months spent training and completing quests after graduating, his level and skills rose at a fast pace. But to Shinji, it was still slightly lacking, especially when he thought about who he might have to face during the exams.
And from his experience, there was only one sure fire way to greatly improve his strength in such a short amount of time. It was time to head back in to the Uchiha Natural Dungeon.
The Rank D Uchiha Natural Dungeon was roughly similar to the previous two dungeons I cleared. Like before, the dungeon featured undead Uchiha clansmen. Only this time around, they were fully grown adults or late teenagers that I had to kill instead. Furthermore, unlike the shambling and stumbling clumsy zombies of the Rank F dungeon, these genin-level zombies were much more agile and strong.
They still lacked the critical element that would have landed me in danger fighting so many of these creatures in such a short time frame which was intelligence.
If the monsters in the dungeon had the mental capacity to team up and work together, my life might definitely have been in peril a couple times. Fortunately, they had no such notion of teamwork. Instead, they preferred only to aggressively attack me when I wandered into their zone of hostility.
The genin-level zombies had levels that ranged from 20 to 30, and their respective combat prowess increased according to their level. Luckily they did not have jutsu in their repertoire, preferring only to attack with their limbs and teeth. With the exception of zombies with levels in the late twenties who actually wielded weapons.
These weapons differed from zombie to zombie, examples included daggers, axes, and swords of various lengths.
Needless to say, the deadliness of the dungeon monsters had increased exponentially as compared to the previous dungeon which only featured undead academy students and clumsy genin. However, my strength had also increased exponentially since the last time I entered one of these dungeons.
Not only were my stats higher than before, the level of my skills, as well as my proficiency in utilizing them had also rocketed upwards. Constant training and sparring against Asuma, a full fledged jounin specializing in close quarters combat, had seen my combat ability similarly improving greatly since I graduated from the Shinobi Academy.
Against mindless zombies who could only rely on their genin-level physical strength and dulled reflexes, it was once against a slaughter.
Though the difficulty of the dungeon had increased, so too had it rewards. Putting aside the EXP gained from each the defeated zombies which was a substantial amount with each individual creature awarding more than one thousand EXP each, the monetary rewards were considerable as well.
Each Loot Orb dropped by the slain zombies held ample ryo, over a thousand each, as well as various miscellaneous items which often included the weapons they had been wielding. Which resulted in my inventory space being filled with rusty kunai, damaged swords or outright broken blades.
I still had my eyes set on the weapons displayed in the lady smith, Masako granny's, weapon shop. Those items may have an exorbitant price tag attached to them, but each one was more than worth its price. So saving up enough to purchase one of those if I ever found myself in the Land of Fire's Capital City was a definitely goal of mine.
One new stand out loot that only started dropping in this Rank D Dungeon were potions.
[Minor Health Potion – Grade: Uncommon]
A low quality concoction that is poorly made.
When consumed, recovers 500 HP instantly.
[Minor Chakra Potion – Grade: Uncommon]
A low quality concoction that is poorly made.
When consumed, recovers 500 CP instantly.
The drop rate of the potions were rather low. About 1 in 10 zombies were drop one of them. But once in awhile an Intermediate Potion would drop as well, which recovered 1500 HP/CP instead.
The health potions were distinctively bright red in colour, a staple sight of just about every fantasy RPG ever, whereas the contents within the chakra potions were light blue and slightly glowing. As interesting as it was to see liquid chakra sloshing around in a bottle, I had no clue as to its production methods. Otherwise, I would definitely have tried producing them on my own. Instant CP recovery sounded extremely useful in the right circumstances.
The true highlight of the dungeon, however, was the 'Boss' fight.
When I entered the Uchiha Clan Cemetery, where the dungeon Boss monster would usually reside, it was empty. That was baffling because I had scoured the entire Uchiha compound killing every single zombie before making my way to the cemetery – as was my usual habit of clearing these dungeons – yet I had not seen hide nor hair of anything that resembled a Boss monster.
Stepping in to the middle of the cemetery, however, was apparently the trigger of the Boss fight.
All at once, zombified arms broke through the dirt and grass of the cemetery as undead corpses burst out of the surface. There was one for every tombstone contained within the cemetery, and there were many tombstones in the graveyard. A cursory count told me that there were at least a hundred of these zombies around me.
I had stepped into a trap it seemed.
What's more, my [Observe] skill informed me that each one of them were level 30 Undead Uchiha Genin. Surrounded by over a hundred of them, I quickly judged that if I bullishly tried to fight against these odds, chances were I would lose and perish.
As a result, faced with imminent peril, I swiftly pulled up my status page and emptied my accumulated reserve of free stat points.
My stats instantly skyrocketed. With survivability as my key priority, I brought my VIT all the way up to 200 without hesitation nor regret. Similarly, something told me that I would require greater reserves of chakra as well as speed and manoeuvrability to survive this ordeal. Thus, I pulled up my INT to 200 as well. Although I did not have enough free stat points to do the same with my DEX, it still increased to a respectable 197 – just 3 stat points shy from 200.
Just like that, 154 free stat points was reduced to zero.
Name: Shinji Ikari
Next Level: 14338/41000
STR: 145 (+5)
VIT: 140 - 200 (+7)
DEX: 143 - 197 (+13)
INT: 160 - 200
CHA: 35 (+21)
Points – 0
Ryo – 1,203,775
The massive investment in stat points consequently granted me several perks as well – four in total as a result of my VIT going past 150 and reaching 200, DEX going past 150 and INT reaching 200. Including the INT perk I received when it had reached 150 a week ago, I ended up with five new perks.
[Greater Physicality] (150 VIT)
+20% increase to max HP
+20% increase to HP recovery rate
-20% to physical damage taken
Greatly increased stamina
[Lesser Regeneration] (200 VIT)
Increases HP recovery rate by 100%
[Greater Agility] (150 DEX)
+30% increase to movement speed
+30% increase to attack speed
Greatly increased expertise in stealth, finesse and flexibility
[Greater Chakra Sensitivity] (150 INT)
+40% to chakra-related skill effects
+20% increase to CP recovery rate
+20% increase to max CP
-20% CP cost to all chakra-related skills
[Mental Skill Proficiency] (200 INT)
Increases potency of mind-related skills
-20% CP cost to all mind-related skills
Both my HP and CP instantly broke past the ten thousand mark, both reaching 13,200. Because the effects of the perks stacked, my HP and CP received a thirty percent boost to their maximum capacity.
Furthermore, my natural HP regeneration rose to a jaw-dropping 1029 every minute because [Lesser Regeneration] literally doubled it. Naturally recovering my HP from zero to maximum capacity would only take a little less than 13 minutes. I was quickly reaching the level of self-regeneration possessed by an average Jinchuuriki.
I could immediately feel the change in my body after emptying all those free stat points in my status page. The strength and vitality coursing through my veins was intoxicating while my chakra reserves seemed to be overflowing.
Such an unnatural and sudden gain in strength and power for any other person might have been hazardous to their health. After all, what I had experienced was akin to a few years' worth of dedicated training for the average shinobi.
The normal way a person built muscle was a complex process of breaking down muscle fibre and letting it naturally heal and grow stronger from this process. One needed time to break it down and heal over prolonged periods of time to achieve discernible growth. The same went for enlarging your chakra reserves.
Yet, I had acquired strength and power that required years of training in a single instant. It was purely because of my Gamer's Body that ensured no drawbacks to this freakishly extraordinary jump in my physical capabilities.
I had little time to continue pondering over this sudden and astonishing growth as the zombies surrounding me had already started moving towards their target – me.
With my newly acquired strength, I was more than confident of slaughtering this horde of zombies who had ambushed me.
I pulled out Kanshou and Bakuya from my inventory, my already enhanced stats receiving another boost from their item effects. The two short swords, one black and one white, with their curved shape glowed from the surge of chakra channelled into the metal that made up their form.
This bluish layer of chakra then sharpened, as the energy wrapped around the two blades was transformed into Wind Nature chakra when I activated a skill I acquired under Asuma's tutelage.
It was a skill I had yet to master, since Nature Transformation training took a long time to become proficient in, yet alone master. As the two skills [Wind Nature Transformation] and [Fire Nature Transformation] levelled up, it became increasingly harder to increase their levels. However, my expertise in Wind Nature transformation was enough for me to learn and create this new skill – [Wind Blade Flow].
Not satisfied with just this skill, I vigorously pumped chakra into my limbs, activating [Chakra Enhancement]. With the [Greater Chakra Sensitivity] perk that increased all chakra-related skills by forty percent across the board, I was eager to see the extent of my strength under this new amplification.
To make up for my disproportionately lower strength, I activated [Bull's Strength], which increased my STR stat by a further twenty percent.
With all of these buffs layered on me, I sprinted towards the closest zombie and swung my twin blades. Kanshou and Bakuya sliced through the creature with ease, meeting little to no resistance even as Kanshou cut through a wakizashi the zombie genin had hastily put up in defense.
Magnificent. (AN: SUBARASHI)
With the Sharingan boosting my visual acuity in addition to my various skills enhancing my speed and strength, [Whirlwind Steps] and [Power Strike] respectively, I proceeded to tear through the rest of the zombie horde with surprising ease.
At times when the Undead Uchiha Genin congregated, I unleashed devastating Katon jutsu to thin their numbers while hastily erecting barriers of wind when I found myself besieged.
It took only a little over ten minutes before the final zombie fell.
A brief examination of my status showed that I received scant injuries, a few bruises and scrapes here and there when I was attacked from my blind spots, but it would only take a few minutes for my HP to naturally recover to its peak. My CP, on the other hand, was reduced to about half its maximum capacity – a consequence of my liberal usage of B-ranked jutsu and maintenance of the various buffs on myself.
Killing over a hundred of these level 30 Undead Uchiha Genin naturally awarded a correspondingly immense sum of EXP – to the point where I was able to level up another three times.
Indeed, entering the dungeon and grinding for EXP was the fastest way for me to gain strength. It would take an all out war in the real world for me to be able to kill so many high levelled individuals and acquire that much EXP outside of quests. Coincidentally, there was actually a war coming my way soon enough, one that I was determined to benefit from as much as I could.
The only strange thing was that no loot orbs were dropped in the process of killing the zombies, which confused me, but my doubt was instantly cleared up when a glowing purple orb suddenly appeared in the middle of the cemetery as well as an announcement from the system that entered within my sight.
Congratulations! You have eliminated the Boss!
Rank D Dungeon cleared!
It seemed that the dungeon system or whatever dictated the happenings within this parallel dimension decided to give me the dropped loot from the hundred zombies all at once. With this phenomenon, I was sure that this horde of zombies was the representative 'Boss' of this dungeon.
Approaching the loot orb and grabbing a hold of it, I could see what I received from slaying the 'Boss'.
Maniac's Cloud Snack (Rare)
Glass Eye of the Prophet (Unique)
[Maniac's Cloud Snack – Grade: Rare]
A cigarette pack with 20 cigarettes. All stats slowly increase from 1% to 20% for five minutes as you smoke the cigarette. Effect is removed if cigarette is removed from lips for more than five seconds or if it is destroyed.
[Glass Eye of the Prophet – Grade: Unique]
User acquires the skill [Clairvoyance] when equipped. Item needs to be implanted into the user's eye socket for item effect to activate.
I was never a big smoker in my previous life. A couple times at parties, but never regularly. With the new item I acquired now, however, it seemed like I was about to pick it up again. I wondered if Asuma would be proud if he saw me smoking. Would he think I was imitating him?
The second item on the other hand had me recoiling when I read the item description. As tempting as the skill [Clairvoyance], meaning precognition or remote viewing, sounded, the idea of removing one of my eyes and shoving a glass eye in it's place sounded horrendous to me.
Though a part of me did wonder if a night's sleep would be able to cure me of any sort of blindness if I removed an eye, implant the glass eye then popped it back out again, thanks to [Gamer's Body] curing all status effects. Still, I would never do something like that… right?
Before I could continue pondering over the myriad possibilities the ability to see the future of which I had changed so drastically would open up, a sudden announcement from the system broke me out of my thoughts.
Congratulations! The Hidden Boss has appeared after becoming enraged!
Warning: You cannot leave the dungeon until after the Hidden Boss has been eliminated!
Goddamn dungeon system is even changing the rules now!
Out of nowhere an even bigger horde of zombies than the one I had just slaughtered came rushing into the cemetery from its sole entrance.
I instantly activated all the various buffs to enhance my fighting ability, preparing myself to once more face a zombie horde. However, contrary to my expectations, the horde of zombies did not rush to drown me in a massive pile of rotting corpses and vile viscera.
Instead, the creatures weirdly began climbing up on top of each other, forming a small hill of zombies that were clambering to get higher and higher, creating some sort of haphazard, undead human pyramid.
But as they continued climbing and eventually started forming a gigantic humanoid shape, I realized this looked a little familiar. The top half of its massive body was vaguely humanoid, with arms, a head, and a torso. While the bottom half of its figure was just a mass of zombies clumped together.
Uchiha Legion Zombie Lv 40
A writhing mass of Undead Uchiha Zombies that have gathered together to eliminate the nemesis of the living-dead. They will stop at nothing to kill you, the one who has terrorized the pitiful restless dead, unable to peacefully pass on without getting killed by a ruthless monster.
Their hatred for you who have killed countless of their kin is immeasurable.
Wait hold up, by ruthless monster did they mean me!? How am I the bad guy here!? Why is the system trying to make it sound like I am invading a peaceful community of farmers and peasants when they are literal zombies! What was I supposed to do, not kill zombie monsters to farm EXP and loot their valuables?
And really, a Legion Zombie? Good grief, the system is really running out of ideas huh? Careful or you'll get sued for copyright infringement!
The Hidden Boss monster was colossal in size, seemingly towering over me like a skyscraper, comprised of individual zombies that looked like they were hanging on for dear life in order to create this monstrous abomination. But you know what they say, 'the bigger they are, the harder they fall'. I would have been more threatened by hundreds of individual, high level zombies, than this giant walking target.
As interesting as it was to see the formation of such a spectacular, albeit grotesque, construct, I subscribed to the notion of 'strike first, strike hard, no mercy'. Hence, my hands immediately flashed through handseals.
I brought my hand up to my mouth, forming an O shape with my fingers and unleashed the accumulated fire nature chakra accumulated in my lungs.
"Katon: Fire Dragon Flame Bullet!"
A flood of liquid flame exploded from my mouth as I manipulated my chakra within it to shape the flames into forms of dragons that rushed forward to coil up and crash into the titanic Legion Zombie as though ramming their heads and bodies against it.
The remnant, lengthy bodies of the fire dragons coiled around the target, forming a vortex made of flame and burning hot wind that was actively burning the Hidden Boss. I wasn't done yet, however. My hands blasted through another set of hand seals as I inhaled deeply.
"Futon: Pressure Damage!"
A tornado-like mass of condensed wind nature chakra was unleashed from my mouth as I slammed against my exaggeratedly inflated chest, which exploded towards the solitary flaming Legion Zombie. The moment the dense cloud of wind nature chakra made contact with the fiery dragons still wrapped around the monster, it exploded into an even bigger storm of fire and smoke.
My mastery in nature transformation was not yet at the point of removing specific elements from the air like Carbon Dioxide but amplifying the concentration of Oxygen in the futon jutsu was well within my ability. This particular jutsu had been modified by me for the sole purpose of increasing the potency of the flames. In other words, it's function in my repertoire was making fire burn even hotter and longer.
The Legion Zombie which had only just completed its construction gave an unearthly roar as the incandescent flames incinerated its body, a freakish amalgamation of arms torsos and legs; its voice an unnatural cacophony of unsettling screams and unnerving shrieks. Everything about its existence was simply abnormal and seemed out of this world – even one as fantastical as the Naruverse.
Thick plumes of smoke were generated from the fire burning the Legion Zombie, and its smell was unbearable. And as the smoke and fire began to subside, I could see just how much damage my strongest jutsu combination had done to the creature.
The outer layer of the Legion Zombie that were made up of individual zombies was charred black, and this 'skin' of zombies began dropping off, smoking and charred beyond recognition. However, that also revealed the relatively healthy and unharmed zombies that made up the insides of the Legion Zombie.
Uchiha Legion Zombie Lv 40
It was no one hit-kill, but there was definitely significant progress being made.
As I readied myself for another burst of katon-futon combination jutsu, I was caught off guard when a wave of zombies appeared out of nowhere, rushing in from the cemetery gates. And to my dismay and horror, these zombies that appeared started climbing up the injured Legion Zombie.
In front of my very sight, the HP bar of the Legion Zombie began regenerating with every zombie that affixed itself into place on the giant body of the Hidden Boss monster. It didn't take long for the Legion Zombie to completely recover to its full HP, looking as though it had not suffered even a single point of damage, making the not insignificant consumption of my own CP wasted.
Seeing the Legion Zombie regenerate brought pause to my actions as I had to change my plans moving forward. If no matter how much damage I dealt, the monster could just recover by assimilating more zombies that appeared when it got injured, would it not be an unending struggle before I exhausted myself?
Suddenly, the Legion Zombie moved, faster than one would expect from its size and with a bizarre fluidity to its movements. The massive monstrosity sped towards me like a torrential flood, it's figure briefly losing its humanoid shape as the creature disassembled itself and instead resembled a cascading tidal wave of decomposing corpses instead.
It's movements actually reminded me of a certain zombie movie that featured zombies with a similar way of crashing against walls like a massive surge of water.
Flowing around the battlefield with the force of a thousand waves, the Legion Zombie quickly reformed back into its giant form and sent a massive fist towards me.
Though I was shocked by its sudden speed and the fluidity of it's motions, I still had enough wits about me to evade the incoming attack. The ground exploded from the sheer force of its fist impacting the earth; my eyes widening from the display of power from the being. I couldn't help but wonder if my 15,000 HP would be able to survive such a force, even with the numerous damage reduction skills in my repertoire.
As my Sharingan spotted the giant preparing for another attack, Kanshou and Bakuya materialized in my hands, being retrieved from my inventory space. I channelled wind nature chakra into the twin blades once more, activating [Wind Blade Flow]. This time however, the sharpened layer of chakra extended up to a few metres long. I figured that I would need swords of such length to carve through the enormity of this abomination before me.
I dashed forward with the help of [Flash Step], and using the elongated [Wind Blade Flow], I swung my twin swords through the freakish amalgamation of undead bodies.
Contrary to my expectations however, the Legion Zombie was actually fast enough to largely evade my attacks. It disassembled itself right before the buzzing edge of my wind blade could actually cut through its torso and moved away.
But I still managed to cut off one of its arms, though it was not as lethal as I had hoped.
The Legion Zombie flowed around me, surrounding myself like water crashing and folding itself against a break water. From my blind spot, a massive fist forms and crashed into my back. The immense physical might of the Legion Zombie sent me careening through the air before my momentum was violently stopped by crashing into a tree.
White spots flooded my vision, and I felt myself slip into unconsciousness for a brief moment before I caught myself and leaped away from my landing zone, right as another massive fist smashed into where I had fallen a moment before.
As expected, the damage incurred from a single attack was massive. Had the fist crushed me into the ground, instead of flying through the air and into a tree, I might not have gotten off so lightly!
I had definitely and severely underestimated the Hidden Boss, taking it as 'just a giant walking target'. It's colossal might paired with its swift and fluid movement made me feel like I was fighting against an ocean instead of an actual being.
In fact, it's fighting style reminded me of Gaara, with his free-flowing control of sand that featured similar liquid-like motions that could also solidify instantly and land a heavy blow at a moment's notice. I guess this might be good practice for if I ever fought Suna's Jinchuuriki.
Through my [Observe], I could see that I managed to deal massive damage to the Legion Zombie. One of its arms were delimbed, but just like before, the zombies that formed the limb stood up and climbed back up on the Hidden Boss, recovering its lost HP instantly as a new arm was created by extending and shaping dozens of zombies.
Facing this seemingly immortal foe, I activated [Quicken Thoughts], the INT perk I received when the very same stat reached 100 and started formulating a plan.
I deactivated my [Wind Blade Flow] and inserted Kanshou and Bakuya back into my inventory. Deadly as it was, it did little to nothing to the Legion Zombie when the zombies removed from its titanic body could simply stand up and climb back up to recover its lost HP.
Large scale and explosive jutsu would be most effective taking down this fiendish monster, I postulated, but at the same time I was cautious that I would simply be wasting CP if more and more zombies appeared and simply took the place of their fallen comrades.
A dozen plans came and went through my head before my eyes lit up and erased the look of worry from my countenance. My pursed lips slowly morphed into a wild grin – why worry about zombies appearing and healing the Legion Zombie when he could just slaughter every single zombie that entered the cemetery instead?
I had not planned on using this skill so soon, what with the chuunin exams coming up and since the skill had a one week cooldown but fuck it.
Wisps of black smoke appeared next to me and condensed into an identical mirror image of myself. There was already a shared understanding of what needed to be done without an exchange of words between us.
The Doppelganger dashed towards the entrance of the cemetery where new zombies would appear from as it retrieved Kanshou and Bakuya from its inventory, settling into a stance and guarding against the gate like a guardian spirit. It had also retrieved Mask of Madness, an item that could increase it's attack speed by 40% in exchange for a penalty to its stats once the duration was over.
With the Doppelganger ready to slaughter any zombie that tried entering the cemetery to heal the Legion Zombie, I could focus all my attention on demolishing the massive monster without needing to worry about wasting my CP. Though half my max CP was needed to summon the Doppelganger, I still had enough to systematically blast apart the Legion Zombie.
I activated the Arcane Ring I wore on my finger, which was able to store CP that could be later reclaimed, and 2000 CP was instantly recovered. I then formed several handseals and proceeded to repeat my previous onslaught of explosive combination of wind and fire jutsu.
As the blazing inferno burnt away the outer layer of zombies that made up the Legion Zombie's 'skin', more zombies appeared at the cemetery gate, rushing forward to replenish the Hidden Bosses' HP.
However, my Doppelganger that was now guarding the gate would not let even a single one step past him. Kanshou and Bakuya shone a luminescent light blue, indicating [Chakra Flow] being activated as my Doppelganger started slicing apart any zombie that approach.
Unlike the level 30 Undead Uchiha Genin that I had previously fought, this new bunch of zombies individually only had single-digit levels, so the Doppelganger very easily intercepted and beheaded them. Their numbers were overwhelming, but that too worked against them. The result of Kanshou's item effect.
[Anguish of Kanshou] increased attack speed by 1% for every attack made, up to an enhancement of 100%. With so many zombies trying to rush into the graveyard, the Doppelganger very quickly reached the cap of attack speed enhancement.
By the time he slayed his hundredth zombie, my Doppelganger looked more like a whirlwind of blades; a tempest of metal that cut down any that dared approach.
In fact, it was moving its arms so rapidly that the Doppelganger's HP even started slowly dropping because of the backlash from the extreme speed and strength it's body was unleashing putting an absurd amount of strain on its body. The backlash was further exacerbated by the activation of Mask of Madness.
The Doppelganger was a good guinea pig for me to observe the side effects of skills and items without using them myself since it could use them as well as I could.
A stray thought popped into my head as I saw it using Mask of Madness – the Glass Eye of the Prophet… if the Doppelganger could equip it by implanting it in his eye, would I not be able to gain the ability of [Clairvoyance] without having to undergo the procedure myself!?
I filed that idea away as I refocused back on to the Legion Zombie who, without the constant regeneration afforded by the mass of zombies, truly was just a giant walking target, even with its swift, fluid movement and tremendous strength.
A few minutes and a few B-ranked katon and futon ninjutsu later, the Legion Zombie was reduced to a writhing pile of zombies struggling to reform with just a tenth of its original number – its HP also accurately reflected the paltry sum as compared to its previous total.
However, with the Legion Zombie's HP reduced to such an extent, the encroaching flood of zombies trying to take the place of their fallen comrade on the Hidden Boss increased proportionate to its HP lost. Now, there was a veritable flood of undead that was barely being held back by my Doppelganger that was unleashing every trick in his book to resist the zombie tide.
Seeing that I had no time to waste, I rushed forward and executed each and every last one of the remaining zombies with swift strokes of my [Shinkyoken] enhanced knifehands. Their putrid viscera stained my hands and clothes with every cranium that were torn apart by my fingers. With the final one killed, the hundreds of undead bodies around and on me dissipated into black smoke as the system announced the dungeon cleared.
Congratulations you have eliminated the Hidden Boss!
You may select a reward from the list below!
Perk: Sharingan Master
Skill: Fire Fist
Item: Badge of Glorious Victory
You have levelled up!
My CP was already dangerously low after that prolonged and tedious battle, so I deactivated all of the buffs I currently had on me such as Sharingan and Chakra Enhancement. Then I took a look at the options presented to me and carefully considered my choices.
I scoffed at the second option, first and foremost. Though I couldn't know for sure what the skill entailed, but if it was something like infusing fire nature chakra into my taijutsu, then it was a skill I could create myself with some time. Furthermore, if it was indeed another taijutsu skill, I already had [Shinkyoken], a martial art that was both deadly and practical and a skill that I already levelled up to quite a high level. Having to get familiar with a whole new taijutsu style starting from level one would be too much trouble.
The best part about System imparted skills were that some of them were impossible to replicate purely with chakra. [Power Strike] for example, was truth be told an illogical skill.
At max level, it could increase physical damage dealt by 200%. That was a percentage increase rather than just a base enhancement. Yet, regardless of how much additional damage it provided, it would always only ever consume 50 CP. Such a thing only made sense with the Gamer System.
As such, skills that I could create with my own experimentation with chakra were only secondary. It was the skills offered by the System that broke logic that were truly valuable.
Similarly, the perk [Sharingan Master] was something I felt like I could eventually develop on my own or receive it as a quest reward somewhere down the line. Furthermore it would not be as useful as it sounded, since I already decided to seal away usage of my Sharingan outside of the dungeon.
There were too many eyes on the event, and with the threat of the snake and his spies lurking around at every corner, discovery of my Sharingan by Orochimaru posed an overwhelming threat to my continued freedom and welfare. Thus, I was resolute in not even activating it at any point in time during the chuunin exams.
The reason I entered the dungeon now of all times was for an immediate power up in response to the upcoming exams and unforeseen dangers. As a result, a perk that increased the effectiveness of my Sharingan which I had already decided not to use would be useless.
With the exclusion of the first two options, the only viable choice that remained was the third one which I selected. Hopefully it would not be an unusable garbage item, I hoped.
[Badge of Glorious Victory – Grade: Unique]
Once a symbol of a renowned hero's illustrious contribution to a long lost empire buried in the depths of history, now merely a decorative trinket.
Item Skill: Sublime Conquest
Increases all EXP gain by 10%
I blinked. Huh. A 10% increase to all EXP gained might not sound like a lot, but in the long run, that slight boost would sure to be insanely useful.
Next, I approached and held the glowing purple loot orb that had appeared in place of the defeated Legion Zombie.
Ancient Weapon Fragment (3/6) - Unique
Intermediate Chakra Potion x50 - Rare
Legion Zombie Heart - Unique
The intermediate chakra potion was one I had already received before, from the mob Uchiha Undead Genin that I had slaughtered before arriving at the Boss fight. But a whole fifty of them were definitely precious loot.
I could only store the Ancient Weapon Fragment with a shrug. Right now, it was completely useless. It's use would only appear once I have gotten my hands on all six of the fragments.
The last item, on the other hand, was something I had never seen before.
[Legion Zombie Heart – Grade: Unique]
The crystallization of the Legion Zombie's essence.
When consumed, permanent +25 to VIT. There is a small chance of developing additional effects when the heart is consumed.
I took out the Legion Zombie Heart, a grey mass of flesh and muscle that vaguely resembled a human heart. Putrid fluids seeped out of the various valves, aortas and arteries protruding out of the organ.
"…I'm supposed to eat this?" I questioned out loud with palpable disgust in my voice as my face scrunched up in revulsion. I inspected the item in my hand, only barely tolerating the slimy texture of it on the skin on my palm.
No fucking way. Nope. Nuh-uh. It's way too fucking disgusting! Just holding it was nauseating to a degree, I couldn't imagine taking a bite out of the damn thing.
The logical part of me argued that it was a free 25 VIT stat points, so what was the cost of a brief moment of disgust? The saner side of me argued back that the cost was my dignity, self-respect and basic human decency.
The two sides went back and forth for a while before I made the decision to store it back in my inventory. I wasn't going to throw it away, but I really couldn't bring myself to eat an actual zombie organ just for some stat points. There was even a small chance of developing additional effects and I did not want to find out what those additional effects were.
With the Boss and Hidden Boss defeated, I was now free to leave the dungeon. However, with an hour left in the dungeon, there was one other thing I had to do.
I called over my Doppelganger, which coincidentally could last for an hour before vanishing. The fight took approximately ten minutes, so I still had some time before the skill duration was over.
I retrieved the Glass Eye of the Prophet from my inventory and looked at my Doppelganger in sympathy, "You know what needs to be done."
The Doppelganger was unfeeling, possessing no human emotion nor desires with the sole exception of following my commands. He already knew what my intentions were, since he was basically me without the individuality.
Without hesitation, the Doppelganger reached up and tore out its left eye with [Shinkyoken] enhanced fingers, the eye socket now devoid of its sight-giving organ and bleeding profusely. Unlike a shadow clone which would poof out of existence once a certain amount of damage was done to it, the Doppelganger shared no such weakness. It was able to take damage equal to my HP without disappearing as long as his HP remained above 0.
I gulped at the unfaltering ruthlessness of the Doppelganger. I was sure that the memory of tearing out my own eyeball would hit me once it deactivated and that was something I was not looking forward to experiencing.
With no time to waste, I popped the Glass Eye of the Prophet into the Doppelganger's empty eye socket before administering medical ninjutsu to staunch the bleeding.
The glass eye had a distinctively different appearance from my own eyes. While mine had black iris and pupils, the glass eye's iris was silver, almost mirror-like in its reflective quality. I could see my own reflection in the glass eye's silvery iris.
"Do you have it? The item skill, [Clairvoyance]?" I asked.
"Yes." It responded curtly.
My expression brightened. This opened up so many possibilities!
"Use it. What do you see? Tell me everything."
Team Ten stepped through the gates of the Shinobi Academy, where the first stage of the chuunin exams would be held. Shinji smiled as he spied the various other genin who were flocking the main entrance of the building, similarly making their way to where they were headed as well. Most of them were from Konoha, and those from other villages stuck to their comrades.
There was a tension in the air, formed from a ubiquity of caution and aspiration emanating from each and every individual. The foreign shinobi were especially on edge, considering the fact that they were in an unfamiliar place surrounded by unfamiliar shinobi.
On the other end of the spectrum, Shinji could hardly contain his excitement. Though there was definitely a hint of unease as well, primarily due to the words his Doppelganger had said to him when it used [Clairvoyance] and when he saw it for himself when the Doppelganger was dismissed.
[Clairvoyance] (Active) LVL: MAX
CP Cost: 1000
When activated, allows the user to see brief glimpses of a possible future. Clarity and duration of vision can be increased using the user's lifespan. Prolonged usage of skill also decreases the user's lifespan.
What he had seen in the visions were, needless to say, disturbing, and they were not something he could easily change even if he wanted to.
Sighing, Shinji continued onwards to the Shinobi Academy, ignoring the look of concern coming from Hinata. Because there was no way she could understand the reasons behind his anxiety nor would he risk telling her about it.
Team Ten entered the Shinobi Academy and climbed the staircase to the classroom where they needed to get to only to find a throng of genin crowding the corridor.
Oh right, Shinji recalled, this was the point where Izumo and Kotetsu would be blocking off the doorway to a second floor classroom while disguising it as a third floor classroom for the purpose of weeding out the unworthy.
How that shallow level of deception managed to trick so many genin was beyond Shinji. The only guess he could make was that there were definitely many others who, like Team Gai, who decided to hide their own strength by acting foolish. That wasn't a particularly bad idea, but Shinji had too much pride to debase himself so. And he was sure that Shino and Hinata was similar as well, even if they didn't particularly portray themselves as being at all prideful.
Scions of large shinobi clans like them all held a certain level of pride and dignity even if they claimed the opposite. And it was especially so for the heirs and heiresses he had graduated with. They couldn't help it. That self-image was one inculcated in them since they were young, being raised in a prestigious clan they were born into.
Shinji spotted a few Konoha genin arguing with Izumo and Kotetsu about letting them through, while Team Gai were in the crowd of genin looking on. It seemed that they were still observing the situation and had yet to make the decision to hide themselves in order to not attract attention.
"Shinji-kun…" Hinata spoke up while tugging his sleeve.
Shinji turned to the Hyuuga and nodded, "Yeah I know. It's an illusion. Let's go around them. No need to make a fuss here."
"I agree." Shino succinctly agreed as the three of them turned around to find another path to their destination.
Unbeknownst to them however, pair of round eyes with thick brows had found their figures as they were walking away.
"That's… last year's Rookie of the Year." Rock Lee remarked, a look of decisiveness in his round eyes.
Tenten noticed her teammate's gaze and heard his comments before rolling her eyes, "What are you planning now, Lee?"
Lee stood silent for a moment, watching the departing Team Ten before turning to his teammate, "You guys go on ahead. I have something I want to check out."
"Huh? What're you talking about?" She questioned, an annoyed frown on her face.
The bowl-haired genin didn't respond, only silently following after Team Ten.
The look of confusion in Tenten's eyes heightened, "What the- Lee isn't usually like this…". She commented to her remaining teammate, only to find that Neji was similarly gazing at the departing Team Ten.
'Shinji Ikari… and her…!'
"You go on ahead. I have something I want to check out." Without waiting for a response, he followed in Lee's footsteps.
"Seriously!? You two are such… urgh! I don't care anymore." She exclaimed before helpless following the Hyuuga as well. "Honestly, you two are more alike than you care to admit…" She grumbled under her breath.
As we made our way through the Academy, we passed by the open area on the first floor, where I remembered Rock Lee challenging Sasuke before the chuunin exams began proper. I felt a weird feeling of nostalgia over an event that I had only ever watched through a screen yet was now standing at.
I wondered how the different Sasuke would fare against Lee. The Uchiha was a completely different person compared to how he was in canon. More patient and composed. His skills and technique were also a few notches above what he was supposed to be at right now, thanks to all the training I had done with him.
Not only was his taijutsu better, his mastery over his Sharingan and control over his chakra was also already at chuunin level. Add to that his proficiency in kenjutsu, honed fight IQ and sharpened instincts, it was uncertain who the victor between the two even if Lee released his chakra gates might be.
As I was flooded with nostalgia, I heard a voice cry out from above.
"Excuse me, hold on a moment please!"
I turned around and was shocked to see Rock Lee standing at the veranda of the floor above us, staring down at us, or specifically me, with a challenging look in his eyes. What was this situation?
"…Yes?" I forced out, past my initial shock. Was he here to ask me for Sasuke's location?
"I would like to ask you for a fight right now." He challenged before leaping down from the veranda and landing with the expected grace and technique of a taijutsu specialist.
"…Me?" I replied dumbly, as I looked around to see if he had actually directed the question to Sasuke who was hiding somewhere around here.
"Yes! My name is Rock Lee," Lee started, gesturing to himself before pointing towards me, "And I challenge you, Shinji Ikari, to a fight!"
"Wait, why?" I asked, still trying to figure out what was going on.
Lee smiled, "To be honest, I have heard a lot about you. Someone of civilian origin who was able to surpass all the clan shinobis in his generation and graduate as Rookie of the Year. And I'll admit, when I first heard of it, I felt angry. Angry at myself for not being able to do what you have done. You see, the strongest genin of Konoha is actually on my team. Hyuuga Neji, a genius of the Hyuuga clan, and someone I have never been able to surpass. Well, not yet at least."
"So I have to confess. The reason why I am challenging you is to verify my ability. Against someone who have already done what I aspire to: surpassing the geniuses from the mighty clans of this village! Which is why… please accept my request, Shinji Ikari. Allow me to test myself against you!"
[Genius of Hardwork]
Spar with Rock Lee
Defeat Rock Lee in a spar
(Bonus) Knock out Rock Lee
(Bonus) Force him to remove his weights
(Bonus) Force him to release his chakra gates
(Bonus 1) +5000 EXP
(Bonus 2) +10 DEX
(Bonus 3) New Skill
REP lowered with 'Rookie Nine'
Perk [Monstrous Talent] removed
Ah the brilliance in his eyes, one of unfiltered admiration, I can't stand it! I'm a cheater, Lee, a cheater! I am underserving of your praise and admiration!
But now I understood why he was challenging me to a fight instead of Sasuke. In Lee's eyes, a genius who have already been surpassed was one no longer deserving of his attention, probably. What he wanted to defeat was the genius that had never been defeated – his own teammate Neji. And to do so, he first wants to test himself against me, someone who was able to overcome his civilian background and defeat Sasuke… or so he thinks.
At the same time, however, I wasn't one who shied away from a challenge, especially one that was declared so openly and directly. It wasn't like I could say no either. Well, I could, and it was definitely tempting to reject his challenge. The failure consequences of the quest were heavy to say the least. My [Monstrous Talent] perk gave him 7 free points instead of 5 every time he levelled up, a definitively beneficial factor that increased my strength.
Even though it would be replaced with another perk, according to the failure consequences listed in the quest alert window, it would most definitely be of a lower standard – perhaps something that awarded 6 free points instead of 7.
Then again… try as I might, I couldn't foresee me losing. Even if Lee unleashed all four of the Eight Gates he had access to and even if I couldn't use the Sharingan to boost my visual acuity.
And besides, his biggest threat to me was his ability to open the first four of the Eight Gates, which massively increased the flow of chakra in his body and consequently massively increasing his speed and strength. However, even if the quest had a bonus objective of forcing Lee to open his gates, I fully doubted that he would ever use it in a friendly spar against a fellow genin outside of the exams.
Thus, I could only conclude that my chances were winning was over 90% if I didn't use the Sharingan, and over 80% if I held back the truly lethal skills in my repertoire. Of course, with the Sharingan, it would be 99% chance of victory.
With these odds, how could I say no?
"I accept." I declared, pushing aside Hinata's look of concern and stepping forward towards the opposing genin. Show me what you got, Lee.
As I was writing the last section of this chapter, I came to a realization which may be bad news or good news to you, depending on what type of stories you enjoy. I realized that based on how my previous chapters have been and what I am planning for this arc, the chuunin exams is going to be a slooooowburn of an arc.
I'm talking about Godfather's 2hr 58 mins runtime type slow burn. I'm talking about Zack Snyder's Justice League's 4hr runtime type slow burn. It's probably going to be a solid ten or so chapters to get through the invasion.
So yeah, you have been warned or teased, depending on whether you like slowburn stories. But if you have made it this far in this story which is 250k words in and the chuunin exams haven't even started, you will likely enjoy this development. If not, well, I still think you should give it a try.
Shinji has finally used up all the free stat points he had been accumulating for such a long time, resulting in a massive boost in strength as well as many new perks.
His current stats if you're interested.
Next Level: 1350/49500
STR: 155 (+5)
VIT: 203 (+7)
DEX: 202 (+13)
CHA: 35 (+41)
Points – 20
Ryo – 1,433,935
He levelled up four more times after using up all his points and killing the 'boss' and hidden boss, which is why he has more free points available. Not mentioned in the chapter as well is that he put in a few points into his STR and DEX, so there are two more perks that will make their appearance in latter chapters.
A large portion of this chapter is dedicated to a dungeon run, which I know many of you won't be happy about, but well, I enjoyed writing it so there.
I was getting sick and tired of the Legion Zombie being a punching bag in many Gamer fanfics, so I upgraded it. My version is inspired by a combination of World War Z's zombie stampede and Sandman-like fighting style of disassembling itself, smoothly flow away like water and then reform itself in another direction. Which I thought was really cool, like fighting a Zombie Elemental.
Also, shout out to anyone who recognizes Maniac's Cloud Snack. You definitely have very good taste.
What did the Glass Eye of the Prophet show Shinji? Why can't he prevent it? Keep reading and find out!
Lee challenges Shinji because he thinks Shinji has done what he never could – surpass a clan genius and overcoming his supposed civilian origins. Unlike with Sasuke, he holds no negative feelings towards Shinji.
In the series, he addresses Sasuke as 'you, with the unpleasant eyes'. He also speaks to Sasuke with a certain level of superiority, knowing he is better than Sasuke and just wants to prove it to the world and Gai.
Towards Shinji, he is actually respectful, and his admiration is evident. Shinji is in fact perhaps even a source of motivation and inspiration for Lee.
I know that Shinji is often described by other characters as someone who is very talented, especially by Asuma who thinks of him as this generation's greatest prodigy (excluding Itachi because Itachi is broken af). But the extent of his talent and ability is not known to many aside from his own team and Team Seven.
So although Lee has likely heard that Shinji is also a genius, the rumours about him is not as exaggerated as what Sasuke, the last Uchiha, might receive for instance. Which is why he still sees Shinji as a kindred spirit – an Eternal Rival, so to speak.
Let me add a disclaimer here: Lee was one of, if not my most favorite character in the series. His whole story is just super inspiring and shounen to the max. When I was younger, after watching the Rock Lee vs Gaara fight scene, I actually went to join kick-boxing classes after getting fired up. It's still something I regularly do even now as an adult, and that's all thanks to watching this one fight scene.
But! I am not Shinji and Shinji is not me. He does not place as much of a significance on Lee's background and his story. To him, Lee is just some dude that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't matter much at all. He's super strong, sure, but he's no Naruto or Sasuke in terms of power levels.
And how does Neji feel about the skilled and confident Hinata whose father thinks highly of her? In the series Neji initially held anger and hatred towards the main branch, because he interpreted Hizashi's sacrifice as one that was forced onto him by Hiashi. He subsequently transferred those feelings onto Hinata, whose perceived weakness was what led to her getting captured and his father being sacrificed for. Then there was that whole thing about destiny and blah blah blah.
So how does Neji see Hinata, a more confident version of herself who has no qualms utilizing violence against those who stand in her way, or as she puts it, 'destroy them!'. Keep reading and find out!
That's about it for this chapter. Up next, Lee vs Shinji!
Like always, thanks for reading my story and if you liked it, smash that like button and hit subscribe for more content!