Chapter 15: The Second Exam

"Long time no see, Yuki."

"Master!"

"I've seen you've been promoted while I was gone," Naruto commented.

"Naruto? Who is this?" Hanabi asked.

"She's my sleeper in Iwa."

"Wait a second…wasn't she in the chuunin exams back in Konoha?"

"Yeah," the blond undercover agent replied. "She answers to me now."

"Naruto-sama! I have urgent news for you!" Lowering her voice so as to not be heard, Yuki told him, "There is a radical group within Iwa that is planning to overthrow the current Tsuchikage and take over during the third exam. The group is full of shinobi who hate Konoha due to the Yellow Flash's massacre during the second war! They're going to kill all of the foreign nin during the third exam, as well as kill the Tsuchikage and all of his followers."

Taking a moment to digest this new information, Naruto asked, "But won't they be afraid of the consequences of their actions?"

Yuki shook her head. "They've somehow acquired some kind of ultimate weapon that they plan to use if the other nations declare war on them."

"Do you know what the weapon is?"

Naruto's undercover agent shook her head fervently.

"How reliable is this information?"

"My whole family belongs to this radical group, so we know directly."

"Very well. This will require meticulous planning..."

Once all of the participants had signed the waiver, Yuki left the area. In a few moments, a circular wall of earth rose up, encapsulating all of the genin inside, leaving only the top unguarded so that light could be let in.

The Konoha teams stood together near the northern part of the circle, while the Iwa teams took up the southern part. The remaining teams, two from Suna, one from Kusa, and one from Taki, were split among the western and eastern parts of the circle.

The Kusa genin who had spoken up earlier about taking down more genin before the walls were completely gone stepped into the center of the circle.

"Well?" he asked. "Let's get this party started!"

He threw two kunai towards his three o'clock and his nine o'clock, totally missing all of the teams.

"Is that all you got?" a member of the Suna team returned cockily. Suddenly, two explosions rocked the area. Two Suna genin, including the one who spoke, were thrown off balance.

A second Grass nin leapt up and shouted, "Kage Shuriken!" His three shuriken became dozens and impaled the two stumbling Sand nin, leaving only 37 genin inside.

A pillar of earth rose from the ground and smashed the second Grass nin into the wall, making a Grass sandwich...with lots of ketchup.

"Holy shit! You fuckers!" the first Grass nin exclaimed. Turning his attention to the perpetrator, a Rock genin, he engaged the poor boy in a taijutsu match.

While all of this happened, six of the other Rock genin disappeared underground, hoping to make quick work of other unsuspecting people.

Shikamaru noticed this and shouted to his comrades, "They're below us!"

The entire Konoha contingent scattered in different directions, avoiding the lethal strikes that came from below.

A ball of flame smashed into three of the genin from Iwa as they appeared, causing them to unleash horrible cries of pain.

Soon, it degenerated into one massive ninjutsu battle. Balls of fire, spouts of water, bolts of lightning, and pillars of earth were flying every few seconds in every direction. It was horribly difficult to tell who was friend and who was foe. For some, it didn't even matter.

Within minutes, the number of 33 was cut down to 26. Of the villages represented here, only Konoha was left unscathed. They had no casualties so far, while everyone else had at least one dead member. Besides the twelve Leaf genin, there were six Rock nin, one Grass nin, two Taki nin, and five Sand nin remaining. Only six more needed to be eliminated to pass the exam.

They were at a brief impasse. Everyone's eyes were darting from one person to the next, trying to pick out the next person to kill. They also used this time as a quick respite, hoping to catch their breath or regain as much chakra as they could.

The impasse ended when one of the six genin representing Iwa appeared from the wall and grabbed Sakura. The girl let out a surprised shriek, causing all to look her way. With a powerful yank, the genin dislocated Sakura's shoulder. The surprised shriek turned into a strangled sob of pain.

"Sakura!" Ino yelled frightfully. She ran forward to try to at least avenge her friend with naught but a kunai in hand, only to be stopped by a kick in the stomach from the Grass nin. Bending over due to the force of the attack, her attacker grabbed her by the back of her shirt, flinging her at the rest of the Konoha nin. With them occupied about making sure their teammate was alright, the Grass nin turned to the Rock genin that had just dropped Sakura to the side. With two steps, he was in the air and shooting water projectiles at his enemy.

A blur sped past the flying genin and deflected the water projectiles away, while the original target disappeared under the earth.

"You ok, Sakura?" Naruto asked.

All he got in reply was a weak moan.

The moment the Kusa genin landed, Naruto landed his flaming fist into the other boy's stomach, sending him flying into the wall.

"Whoa!" Kiba exclaimed. "Your arm is on fire!"

Naruto leveled an annoyed glance at him before taking off to finish up the injured genin from Grass.

As he ran towards his opponent, he unleashed a barrage of weak fireballs. They smashed into the other boy, who then turned into mud. The blond leapt to the left right away, avoiding a slash from behind that would have bisected him if he had not moved. As his body moved to the left, his arm swung back, hitting the Grass genin with a backhand that rocketed him right towards Kiba's waiting claws. The Kusa genin, digging the tips of his feet into the ground, slowed himself from being impaled, and used his built up momentum to launch a massive side kick at Kiba, who took it with a surprised look in his face. With such a powerful attack, Kiba could do nothing to stop himself from smashing into his teammate Shino and hitting the wall. The two slumped down and didn't get up.

Without a moment's pause, Naruto appeared behind the Grass nin, bent down in a leg sweep. His danger sense tingling, the older man jumped over Naruto's leg and brought his leg down on Naruto's knee, trying to snap his leg. In response, Naruto used his pivoting leg to kick out at the side of the attacking leg, sending the drop kick off target and into the ground instead. As soon as the man's leg hit the ground, the blond ANBU pulled a kunai out with a reverse grip and stabbed it in the calf, causing the man to yell in pain. Naruto then followed the attack up with a slice at the neck. The throat was successfully slit, and the Kusa genin, who had put up a valiant fight, had finally been defeated.

While Naruto had been engaged in combat with the man from Kusa, the Rock nin who had fled earlier returned to finish off Sakura, who was not yet unconscious (and thus, still a participant).

This time, the Uchiha, whose eyes were spinning with the Sharingan, disappeared in a burst of speed, and buried his foot into the other boy's stomach. As the boy bent over, Sasuke fired a single fireball at his back. Feeling the heat from the attack, the other boy formed a few hand seals while curling up in a ball, making the earth rise and form a protective cocoon around him. The fireball splashed against the cocoon and dispersed, protecting the boy completely. However, Sasuke realized that the inside of the cocoon would be unbearably hot by now. So, he spat several more successive fireballs and numerous gouts of flame. It wasn't too long before the ball of earth dropped and the boy collapsed, dead from the insufferable heat.

Unluckily for Sakura, the cooked genin fell right next to her, his burnt face less than a foot away. With a loud squeak, she fainted.

By now, three Suna genin were dead. The ones from the Country of Wind had decided to take on the weak-looking Taki nin five versus two, only to be shocked at how powerful they actually were. They definitely learned that looks can be deceiving.

There were five remaining Iwa genin. Each one had a target, and each target was from Konoha. As one, they rose from the earth like divers emerging from the water, and struck.

Of their five targets only two remained unscathed. The other three, Ino, Chouji, and Hinata, suffered wounds. Ino had the worse, having been pierced in the lung. She collapsed to the ground and started coughing up copious amounts of blood. The two who were unharmed, Hanabi and Madoka, had disposed of their attackers as soon as they had left the ground, leaving only three Iwa genin.

Naruto, seeing three of his fellow genin injured, hurriedly shouted to the outside. "We're below twenty now! Bring down the wall!"

As soon as he finished yelling, the massive earth walls that had surrounded them retreated back into the ground.

A group of medics, along with the jounin senseis, who arrived several minutes after the battle royale started, rushed in.

One medic appeared at Ino's side almost immediately. Within a few minutes, her pierced lung was fixed.

"She just needs a few days of rest, and she'll be fine," the medic stated to Shikamaru, before moving off to tend to some of the other combatants.

When all of the genin were healed enough to be conscious, Yuki, the chuunin residing over this exam, cleared her voice to capture everyone's attention.

"With the conclusion of the second exam, we have a total of sixteen participants remaining. Of this number, three are from Iwa, nine are from Konoha, two are from Taki, and two are from Suna. You now have one month to prepare for the third exam, which will take place back inside our village. Until then, you are free to do whatever you want. Good luck."

"Failures! All of you!"

The tall and bulky Tsuchikage's face was red with anger. His thick mustache, normally tame and combed, was wet with sweat.

"We had the numbers. We had the element of surprise. We had everything covered! And still, you useless shits messed everything up!"

He was screaming at the genin who had survived the two exams and several members of his council. Their plan to wipe out as many enemy genin (focusing mainly on those from Konoha) had failed epicly, seeing as how only three of the original twelve were defeated. They weren't even killed!

Yamashiro, the Tsuchikage, continued his rant on their stupidity and uselessness, while his audience listened with bowed heads and anxiety. At the peak of his rant, the Tsuchikage grabbed his spear, which was propped up against his seat, and threw it at the closest person. The spear pierced the person's stomach and continued on, stopping only after smashing into the thick earthy walls. It was Arisawa, the Hattori member who had originally expressed his disbelief and denial of Naruto defeating Hanzo. Arisawa coughed twice and spat out the blood in his mouth on the carpeted floor.

"W-...w-...w-"

"Get this useless trash out of here! And the rest of you, get out of my sight!" Yamashiro bellowed.

The Tsuchikage, having lost control of his anger, spent the next few minutes calming himself while his people departed. In his mind, he went over contingency plans and what-if scenarios of what would happen during the third exam. His mind finally went back to his secret weapon. It was all he needed if his village was to come under attack.

Unfortunately for him, he did not realize that the man he carelessly killed in cold blood had a family member in the crowd that had been in his office only minutes ago. A family member who had loved the now deceased Arisawa.

Mika returned to her clan compound immediately after leaving the Tsuchikage's office. With a hurried gait, she approached her aunt, unshed tears in her eyes.

"Chikara-sama!" she called out.

Turning around, the head of the Hattori clan noticed that her niece was in turmoil, something uncommon for the young girl.

"What's wrong?" Chikara asked as she led Mika into a nearby room.

"The Tsuchikage..."

"Yes? What about him?"

"He killed Arisawa!"

"What?!" Chikara questioned in shock.

"He killed him! For no reason whatsoever!" Mika shouted.

Pulling the young girl closer, Chikara held her silently in a hug, allowing the younger girl to release her tears.

"Don't worry, my dear. Don't worry. Shushhhh," Chikara said in consolation, rubbing her niece's back gently.

Mika's tears soon turned into snarls of hatred. "That bastard! He doesn't deserve the title of Tsuchikage! What kind of Kage kills his own people for failing?"

"I know, dear, I know."

"We can't continue to stay here in Iwa, Chikara-sama. Not with a leader like him!"

"You know I agree with you, but what can we do?"

"This is one thing I don't know, Mika. But we'll do what we must to survive. It's what we've been doing, and it's what we'll continue doing."

A/N: Who knew that writing a battle royale like this would be so hard?