"For this Exam, you are allowed to fight. Only two-thirds of you all will continue to the next round.", the proctor announced to the around seventy Genin gathered in a room on the sixtieth floor. It had a huge glass front and a metal door. The walls and floor were wood-planks clad concrete.
"You have four hours. Time starts now!", and with these words he flickered out of the room, leaving the gathered Genin behind.
"Wait. What is the Task?", someone asked, only for mumbling to start.
With no clue what was about to happen all villages gathered together in their groups.
For ten minutes nothing happened apart from mumbling and looking around. It was then that shouts of pain started.
Genin fell to the floor left and right, clutching their stomachs and heads. Soon it was apparent that it always happened to ONE Genin of each team. Often it was the kunoichi that was affected.
"Why always the Kunoichi?", Ria, one of the other Konoha Kunoichi cursed.
"Probably because you are easier to target. If this is poison they needed a way to affect only one of each team. Every team has only one girl. So if they spread the poison through the bathwater it would be rather efficient. Like they were able to affect multiple people with one try. Gave them more time to poison the others in the teams without females.", The Nara-Boy answered. He had already concluded what had been going on, "I assume the test will be to find an antidote and to get out of the room. The exclamation of only two-thirds passing will give enough stress to get us to fight and make the escape harder for everyone. Furthermore is often the girl the medic."
"It is poison.", Kuma declared, she started to be affected as well, "The Pain is burning and coming in waves."
"If you are affected, how come you are not laying on the floor withering in pain?", Ni wondered, staring Kuma down.
"I had worse.", she simply answered, but couldn´t suppress a flinch and small groan when a hot wave of pain crawled up her spine.
"Nara, do you have a plan?", Raidon asked, his eyes looking around the room. A certain kind of anxiety and panic had started to spread.
"First we should find an antidote or at least a way to treat the symptoms. Then we can find a way out. Poison is not my strength. Anyone?", the boy answered.
"Are the symptoms similar to when you bleed?", Kuma asked the other affected girls within their group who nodded.
"Though never this strong.", Ria groaned her affirmative and the others nodded again.
"Eyes, Lightning. I need your pouches with herbal tea for my bleeding. We also need hot water for brewing. I do not have enough for all of us to drink."
"You think we all were poisoned?", Raidon frowned, all the while searching his pouch for the right scroll.
"Could be a possibility. Maybe the others got served a different concentration.", the Nara boy nodded.
"What else do you need?", Ni asked, he still thought of Team four as childish, but he knew in case of need, every single one of their comrades was able.
"Allies. As soon as the others realize we have something they will attack."
"Who do you have in mind?"
Instead of an answer, Kuma looked over towards the team they had shared the floor with. Suna.
"You want us to ally with them? They tried to kill you not too long ago."
"Yes. The one with the markings smelled of herbs. He might have something that can help as well."
"She is right. He reeks of plants and other shit like that.", the only Inuzuka piped up, "And remember a few years back? His sand is hard to beat. If they are on our side, our win is almost certain."
"Who is going to ask them?", Someone asked in the round making everyone share a look.
"My idea. I will ask.", Kuma offered with a shrug. If anyone was to be injured because of her idea, it should be her.
"And how do you want to do that Pity? They don´t know about your way of communication, do they?", Raidon growled, "I will go with you. I can zap them if they are stupid."
"If you are sure about that.", Ni nodded.
With their weapons on the ready, the two friends made their way to the hopeful allies to be. The ten meters they had to cross felt like a kilometer and when they reached their goal without being attacked, they let out a small sigh of relief.
"What do you want?", the redhead greeted them, his sand dancing threateningly around the others of his village.
"Greetings., Kuma signed, her eyes trained on him. He seemed to be the one everyone would follow, and if only to not piss him off.
Kuma had taken a prepared sachet of her remedy with her to offer it to Temari.
"What is that?", the one that was called Kankuro wondered.
"Tea.", this time it was Raidon who answered.
"This is not one of your girly private lessons. This is a test. ", the idiot from the other morning mumbled, only to curse at his teammate to whimper quieter.
"Pity isn´t offering it to you but to her. Now shut up before I zap you.", Raidon squinted. A shiver went down his spine when he remembered that he once was very similar to him in his beliefs. He had been an idiot.
"And what kind of tea might that be?", the redhead, Gaara demanded to know.
"It's what she drinks when she has her monthly bleeding. Seeing that the symptoms are similar to what the poison is causing we are certain it will help.", Raidon answered with a neutral face. The ones listening in though could not keep their faces from twitching in discomfort.
"And you are offering it to us because?", Kankuro asked this time.
"As soon as the others realize we might have a solution they will attack us. Suna and Konoha have a peace treaty. That and Pity says you smell of plants and stuff, so you might have something that we all could use to brew more tea. The three of us might carry enough tea to last three months, but that is for one person only. So what do you say, you in or not?"
"Let me see the herbs first. Don´t think we trust you just because you are from Konoha."
"Feeling is mutual. But we are not the ones who used Chunin exams to try and take over another village.", Raidon almost growled.
"These Herbs are not poisonous, but this is the first time I see them in this combination.", Kankuro answered, "What do you say Gaara?"
The boy in question nodded and Suna got ready to join Konoha.
"Don´t think you will be spared just because you are teaming up with another Village, Monster. Pathetic that the great village Konohagakure has to rely on something like you.", a boy sneered and Kuma froze in her steps.
Raiku wanted to give the assailant a piece of his mind but was beaten by his teammate, "Hello Cousin.", she spoke without turning around, far too often had she been on the receiving end of his ire and knew who it was.
"You dare to speak to me you useless piece of space? I will kill you. I will kill you and bring your hair back to the clan. I will be celebrated as a hero.", he laughed menacingly.
"Listen here you-", Raidon growled, his chakra forming small sparks within his blond hair, that´s how angry he was.
"You should leave.", Ni, stated, he and the others of Konoha had noticed the interaction and body postures of their comrades.
"Or what?", Kuma´s cousin laughed.
"Or you learn why Suna decided not to stay on our bad side."
"Whatever. For now, I will allow you to live. Next time you won´t be this lucky.", the cousin laughed full of himself and the group watched him leave.
"You good?", Raidon whispered, his voice filled with worry for his friend.
"Yes. A bit shook but I am alright. I did not think I would ever meet one of the Clan being another Ninja."
"Good. Let´s get our plan on the way and get the tea cooking.", the oldest of the Konoha Genin nodded, "Kuma, you, and Kankuro-san will be in charge of the tea. The others, who are not affected -yet- will take on the defense. If that is alright with Suna."
"It´s acceptable.", Gaara nodded and so the plan began.
"The tea needs thirty minutes to be strong enough to fight these strong symptoms.", Kuma explained to the marked Suna-nin.
"Understood.", he nodded, his voice sounding interested. As a poison master, he loved to gather information on plants. And whatever helped him (and his sister) once a month was happily accepted.
"Thank you for back there.", Kuma whispered to Ni who just gave her a reassuring smile.
It took ten more minutes for the first fights to start, though they were only contained between the smaller villages that had only sent three teams or less.
Kiri, Ame, Kumo, and the Alliance of Suna and Konoha, as well as Iwagakure, seemed to have decided to stay back and rather gather Intel and tend to their teammates than fight. Each of them had sent five or more teams, so the biggest threat was from the other bigger villages.
Explosives went off everywhere and Kuma was glad to have Gaara on their side, for he could use his sand to shield them all and she would not have to stop making tea to create her earth wall.
Once the drink was finished, Kuma took the first gulp, then gave it to her Comrades from Konoha first, to prove it was indeed harmless, before the rest of the alliance took their fill.
"In ten minutes the symptoms should regress enough to be only minimal. It will be different for anyone though."
"Thank you, Kuma.", Temari smiled, "Now does anyone have an Idea how to get out of here?"
"The windows are rigged with seals like explosives and some that traps the target in a Genjutsu. I assume the front door is also rigged, if not worse.", Ria stated, the tea already had started working for her, "The one that almost caused the blond idiot to snap is caught in one. And one of his team was blown up at the same window. Not very smart to test the same place twice."
"Then what do you suggest we do?"
Silence hung between the allies, only interrupted by the sound of fighting around them.
"How thick do you guys think these walls are?", someone from Suna asked after another ten minutes or so, staring at the wall a mere two meters away from them.
"Let´s find out.", Nistated and nodded at Hiraku, who activated his Bijakugan.
"They are thick, at least a meter with chakra residue in it. I cannot say if those are traps or left behind after building this room. They won´t be easy to breach.
"Gaara?", Kankuro asked his younger brother, who did not answer, instead a second later a sand spear exploded against the wall. It only damaged the wooden planking in a circle of around one meter in diameter
"The chakra is not left behind. It repairs the wall as soon as it is damaged.", the redhead stated.
"An ongoing jutsu then. How long do we have left to get out?"
"One hour, twenty-three minutes, and sixteen seconds.", the Shadow user answered.
"It is still a wall and should have a weak spot, right?", someone threw in.
"How do you suggest we find it?"
At once Hiraku and Raidon looked at their female teammate. They remembered the training sessions with Daisoku sensei.
Stepping closer to the wall, she let her eyes and fingers roam across the freed stone.
"No stone. Clay. It only looks like stone or cement.", Kuma stated and let a small pulse of chakra flow into it. Just like she did when moving through the ground.
Slowly the tips of her fingers disappeared within the wall, then the palm of her hand, and her wrist. It was then that she believed to feel something wrap around her wrists. There was no time to alert the others because once she felt it, she was already pulled within the wall by an unknown force.
Pure darkness and silence surrounded her. She was within the wall and knew she had to get out of it soon, otherwise, she would suffocate painfully.
"Raidon! Hiraku! Can you hear me?", she called out while moving through the strange darkness. But no answer reached her.
Not knowing what else to do, Kuma gathered chakra in her muscles and punched the clay around her. She could feel the clay crack and punch again and again until her hand breached free.
Grabbing the edges of the crack, she pulled herself free and immediately got into a defensive stance. But there was not need for it. The floor behind the wall was empty.
Only a big green arrow with the word "EXIT" was drawn on the opposite wall.
Looking back at the crack she had just exited from, she believed to see two yellow eyes staring back at her, with one seeming to have no pupil. She blinked and they were gone.
There, right next to the crack were lines edged into the wall. A seal. An explosive seal.
Not knowing what else to do, she took one of the senbon out of her hair needle, charged it with a bit of her chakra, and through it at the seal hoping to make it blow up. Though not before creating a wall of earth to protect herself from the blast.
Kuma prayed that Gaara was quick enough with his sand to protect those on the other side from the blast. If it were to destroy the wall at all.
And it did. But not only the small section of wall she aimed at blew up. No, when the dust cleared, only the doorway was still standing, everything else was gone.
Whoever created this wall for the test must have been a firebug that enjoyed blowing up things a little bit too much.
"When I suggested finding a weak spot, I did not mean to blow it all up.", the same Suna-genin coughed.
"Bit extreme. Don´t you think?", another groaned cracking his back.
"Yeah, without Gaara-sama we would all be in huge trouble.", the idiot stated accusingly.
"Sorry. Wasn´t me.", she answered, "The chakra you saw must have been an explosive seal."
"Looks like it.", Ni hummed, "What now?"
"I say we get out of here.", Raidon shrugged, pointing at the sign on the wall.
And that was what they did.
AN: Thank you very much for reading. I hope you enjoyed it! (though I am honest, I am not 100% satisfied with how it turned out).
I have planned for the Exams to be planned/ created by the Akatsukimembers, or for them to participate within them. SO who can find who was responsible for what? Not only in this, but also the upcoming chapters?