Sorry! My bad folks! I was updating the newest chapter, Chapter 10, which I released yesterday and accidentally posted a new one by mistake! Sorry for the false update you all got!


Chapter 10: Unexpected

Many didn't know how to react the moment they heard both Naruto, the former Dead Last, and Sasuke, the top of the class and shoo-in for Rookie of the Year, were to face off against one another.

On one hand, Naruto had shown incredible improvement, evidence by him defeating Hibachi with a single blow to the head and then defeating Kiba, who was number two in Taijutsu in their year. On the other hand, Sasuke was a prodigy and never lost a single Taijutsu fight in his entire time at the academy. Coupled with his speed and ability to counter virtually any strike thrown at him, Sasuke's fighting style was no laughing matter. And Naruto knew this.

"Gaki, Uchiha, front and center," Anko ordered the two boys.

Both Naruto and Sasuke entered the fighting ring and stared at one another. The moment their eyes made contact the world outside the ring ceased to exist. They were in their own world now, and it was one where only two fighters, and ultimately one winner, resided. Making the Seal of Confrontation, both fighters then backed away and got into their respective stances.

"Ready, fight!" Anko shouted.

"Go, Sasuke-kun!" the boy's fangirls cheered.

Deciding to make the first move, Naruto launched himself at Sasuke and appeared at the Uchiha's side. Lashing out at the dark-haired academy student with a kick, Sasuke managed to duck and roll just in time. Within a second the Uchiha then performed a spinning jump kick towards Naruto, only for the blond to block the attack by crossing his arms.

When the tactic failed, Sasuke backed away only to become surprised as Naruto appeared in front of him and threw a punch at the Uchiha's face. Sasuke managed to bat away the fist that had been a breath away from striking him, an action Sasuke normally would have no trouble dealing with, and threw a punch of his own. The significant difference in speed allowed Naruto to move his head out of the way and he quickly countered with another punch. The fist came in faster this time and Sasuke's block fell short. Unable to block the second one from striking him, the impact to his chest had enough force in it to send the air out of his lungs. Grunting, Sasuke clenched his teeth together and clutched his chest with one arm while the other kept him from falling face first to the ground.

"Point, Naruto!"

"Fast," Sasuke groaned as he got back up and winced. The stinging sensation from the blow had begun but Sasuke forced himself to ignore the pain and focus on the fight. The boy knew that Naruto had improved and gotten faster in the last month and a half, but the Uchiha honestly hadn't expected this. Sasuke had better reflexes and knew how to read body language to an extent, but the problem with such a fighting style was being able to know what was going to happen but not having the necessary reaction speed to do anything about it.

Getting back into position, Sasuke decided to make the first move this time the moment Anko shouted 'Fight!' and Sasuke took off like a thrown kunai! But Naruto merely met the boy head on and then ducked low. The Uchiha realized that the boy was performing a swipe in the hopes to trip him up and send him tumbling.

Sasuke leaped forward, Naruto's extended leg meeting the air below his body, and went into a roll. The Uchiha then planted his hands firmly on the ground and in a display of incredible gymnastics the boy pivoted and righted himself. With Naruto's back turned to him Sasuke took the advantage, pounced on the blond, and lashed out with a punch at the back of his head.

But what the Uchiha didn't expect was the sudden donkey kick from the blond that struck Sasuke squarely in the face. The force behind the kick along with the Uchiha's speed made the impact much more painful than what was originally expected and a painful crack was heard amongst the crowd.

"Ghaaaaa!" Sasuke yelled in pain. His nose felt horrible and bloody from the blow and many who couldn't stand the sight of it looked away or winced upon seeing the broken appendage. It wasn't a pretty sight.

"Point, Naruto!" Anko said before moving into to check up on Sasuke, "Normally, I'd leave you like this cuz in the battlefield there are gonna be moments where you'll be forced to fight in this sort of condition. That being said, if your nose is broken, we're gonna need to stop. Can't risk it getting worse or you may need surgery."

"I'm not quitting!" the boy grunted but winced despite trying to ignore the pain he felt, having done something worse at a young age during a failed training session. Anko had to admit the kid had balls. Looking it over for a moment, the kunoichi finally came up with a diagnosis. Despite the fact that she wasn't a medic, Anko had a good deal of understanding and knowledge on the human anatomy.

"You'll still need to see the school medic after this but luckily for you this is fixable. It's gonna hurt though," she told him and placed her thumbs on the side of his nose.

"I don't care just fix ARRRGHHHHH!" the agony he felt had Sasuke howling like a wounded wolf at the sudden jerk Anko performed. The woman was physically realigning the boy's nose. Many cringed even more and several of Sasuke's fangirls were distraught or fainted upon hearing and seeing what was happening to the object of their affections. The process was quick, relatively speaking of course, as Anko had done this sort of thing countless times in the field to herself and friends. However, the procedure was by no means painless, especially for first timers

"There you go, Duckbutt. Good as new," Anko slapped the groaning Uchiha on the back, nearly making him fall over. "You good to go?"

Breathing in as best he could to try and dull the pain, Sasuke gave a curt nod and got back into position, "You'll pay for that, Dobe," the boy scowled as he saw the blond.

"You're the one that ran into my foot, Duckbutt," Naruto countered.

"Ready and fight!" Anko shouted.

Both combatants met each other in the middle of the ring and began throwing blows at one another. None made contact except with the occasional block or being batted away. At the moment, Sasuke's anger, both at the pain and the fact he was losing, was fueling his strikes. However, unlike Kiba's sloppy ones, Sasuke's strikes were faster and slightly more focused. Both boys threw punches, kicks, elbows, even knee strikes at the other in the hopes of landing a hit.

Finally, Sasuke caught a break when Naruto made a mistake when he overreached on a punch. The Uchiha was quick to take the opportunity to grab hold, drag the blond across his leg and effectively tripped him. With no balance holding him up, Sasuke countered with a vicious front kick on Naruto's side and sent his opponent outside the ring face first into the dirt.

"Go, Sasuke-kun!" the fangirls cheered along with several of the students who didn't care for Naruto.

"Point, Sasuke!" Anko shouted once again. "Come on, Gaki. Show them you can go all the way."

"You can do it, Naruto-kun," Hinata mentally cheered the boy on. Seeing him get this far astounded the pale-eyed girl. Naruto certainly came a long way from being Dead Last, but seeing him fight Sasuke and actually beating him was inspiring. If Naruto could do this, what's to say she couldn't do the same?

Naruto merely scowled as he got off the ground, his fists, clenched in anger for making such a mistake, "Ready, fight!"

Once more did the two decide to get in close. The two throwing a flurry of blows at one another with Sasuke performing counters that proved almost futile thanks to Naruto's superior speed or the blond blocking just in time.

"It's over!" Naruto declared as he threw in punch only for it to be caught by Sasuke, much to his embarrassment.

"Well, that was lame," were the shared thoughts of many, Anko included.

Throwing in another punch, Sasuke caught Naruto's wrist and smirked. Kicking out at his locked and immobile opponent to get in a point, Sasuke and many others were caught off guard when Naruto jumped and wrapped his legs around Sasuke's torso. The sudden move sent both boys to the ground.

Anko saw both boys struggled and grappled in the hopes of getting on top to try and get into a better position. With his greater strength Naruto managed to get on top but the boy's hands were still locked in front of Sasuke. But Anko knew that the boy wasn't bugging either and with his arms in front of his face the woman also knew that Naruto wouldn't be able to perform a head-butt like he did with Kiba.

"What are you gonna do now, gaki?" she wondered how Naruto was going to get out of this. When she saw Naruto smirk the woman guessed the boy was about to do something. And Anko guessed it was going to be something sneaky and underhanded, too.

When Naruto opened his hands, Sasuke felt a sudden, unexpected, and painful sensation in his eyes. On reflex the boy released Naruto and brought his hands up to his face to wipe it away. By the time his mind realized what he had done it was too late and the boy felt a punch on his chest. A moment later her processed something even worse: he had lost.

"Point, and winner of the match, Uzumaki Naruto!" a shocked Iruka announced at the unexpected outcome.

"That's my Gaki!" Anko whopped at her ward's victory.

"Win!? He cheated!"

"Yeah! We all saw it! He threw dirt in Sasuke-kun's eyes!" another student shouted.

"Dirt? It was dirt?" Sasuke had been defeated because dirt had gotten into his eyes? The boy continued to try and rub said dirt out of them in the hopes of seeing his opponent and pay him back for the underhanded move.

"He only won because he fought dirty and-"

"SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU BRATS!" Anko bellowed and many were now shaking. Iruka had often yelled during class whenever it got too loud but this was on a whole different level. This woman was radiating anger upon them like a cloak.

"You think this is a game? You think an enemy you face is gonna play fair? Hell no!" Anko shouted. Her announcement made them stop their ranting and pay attention. Sasuke stopped his internal one too and listened to the woman.

"Anko," Iruka was quickly silenced by the look the woman gave him.

"Shut it, Umino, these little shits need to hear this," she rounded back on the academy students who flinched at the woman's gaze. "To start, I was here at the beginning of this whole thing along with a few others and saying we weren't impressed by some of you is sugar coating it," most future Jounin sensei's candidates did the same when looking for potential students, "Umino said you couldn't use Ninjutsu, Genjutsu, or Bukijutsu. Last I recalled, throwing dirt into someone's eyes had nothing to do with chakra."

"It's still cheating!" someone said and Naruto thought whoever did that was either very brave or very dumb to defy Anko. He was leaning more towards the latter.

"Who the fuck cares. So, what if the Gaki cheated. We're ninja! Cheating and playing dirty are what we do. We do everything and anything to win. We're not training you to be samurai here if you're wanting a fair fight. And besides, Umino never said anything about not playing dirty now, did he?"

The students all blinked at that and looked at their teacher who merely nodded, "It's true. All I said was no Ninjutsu, Genjutsu, or Bukijutsu. I never said you weren't allowed to play dirty," truthfully it was a hidden test the academy had that many never accomplished. Most had forgotten about the test actually because of it rarely being figured out. For Naruto, the former Dead Last, to figure it out meant something about his skills.

Sasuke scowled. Both at the fact that he had lost and having not realized that bit of information and the fact that Naruto did. What Naruto did was legal and despite wanting to dispute it, Anko's words were true. A ninja was meant to fight dirty, many of his family members such as his mother having said so he recalled. While pissed at the fact he lost in such a way, Sasuke begrudgingly acknowledged that what Naruto had just done was to be expected in the future.

"You win this round. But the next time we fight your tricks won't work on me twice, Dobe," loathed as he wanted to admit it though, Sasuke had to give it to Naruto for his quick thinking. But the Uchiha vowed not to lose next time.

"Hell, out of all the students here only a few of you have what it takes to be ninja, the Gaki here included. You think that the enemy you'll face will fight fairly? You think they'll give you time to recover? Hell no! You're either a dumbass or gonna be pushing up daisies if you think so otherwise. An enemy that surrenders can easily stab you in the back the moment you let your guard down. A person will do almost anything to survive or win. For example," here she appeared behind Iruka with two serpents poised to strike at his jugular, and tossed Naruto a kunai.

"Gaki, take that kunai and slice the Uchiha's throat or else Umino dies," she threatened and using its fang one of her serpents drew a slight amount of blood from Iruka's throat. Much to the horror of students for how callously she said it and the sight of precious life fluid slithering down his neck.

"I can't," Naruto said.

"Why not?"

"Because even if I had the intention of killing the Teme," here Sasuke's fan girls scowled at him, "What's stopping you from killing, Iruka-sensei? As much I don't want Iruka-sensei to die, you have all the leverage. On the upside at least this way we don't get to hear his history lessons anymore," Anko smiled for the reasons given and the comment.

The academy instructor, however, didn't share the same sentiment, "Naruto!" Iruka shouted at the little shit.

"Other than the history bit, good answer," Anko released Iruka. "Naruto's right. Even if he killed the Uchiha there's nothing that prevents me from killing Umino anyway. Were this in the battlefield, instead of facing three Genin and a Jounin, I'd now have two Genin at my mercy because two members of their team are now dead. With three members left you have a better chance at survival, slightly better but it's better than nothing. That was one thing he did right, can anyone tell me what was the other?"

The academy students were left stunned by the question and when it looked like no one was about to answer Anko took matters into her own hands, "Oh, for the love of," she sounded off a string of colorful swears, "Bubblegum! What did he do right?"

"Um, not kill Sasuke-kun?" she answered.

"Besides that," Anko asked once more.

"Uh, he didn't charge in?"

"Good answer, still wrong. Big Bone!" Anko shouted at Chouji, "Same question."

"Um…" Chouji honestly didn't know, "He thought his actions through?"

"Yes, but wrong! Pale Eyes!" she called Hinata out, earning an 'Eep!' from the girl, "What did he do right?"

"A … ano," Hinata stuttered from being put on the spotlight but answered still, "He stalled for time?"

"Bingo! Someone gets it. Thank you," Anko was happy to see at least one of them get it and the praise caused Hinata to blush, even more so when Naruto grinned at her.

"Stalling for time. Believe it or not a single second in the ninja world can make a world of different such as if someone lives or dies. By stalling for time as much as he could, the Gaki could have given another shinobi the opportunity to arrive, and either distract or sneak up and stop me from being a threat. Letting Umino go free and allowing the whoever is available to come in and land a blow that could either kill me or knock me out."

Many actually began to contemplate her words, and some even began glancing at Naruto. It wasn't in awe though, more curious and confusing really. For so long many had thought Naruto to be a talentless loser who got bad grades at everything he did. Some still did even when his grades started getting better. Now though some began to think that maybe it wasn't the case.

"All right, enough about that. Put his name back and let's get on with it," Anko announced.

"Wait, you're putting his name back in?" a student asked.

"Damn straight," Anko nodded, "When you're in the field anything can happen. You may have won the first fight but you can just as easily find yourself facing off against someone else," the woman parroting the words of their instructor.

While Iruka wouldn't have gone about it in this manner, the man couldn't fault Anko's reasoning. In less than three months the students would graduate – should they pass that is – and it was his job to make sure they were prepared as best as he could. From what he observed, it was apparent many had a lot to make up for because they weren't ready at the moment.

"Next we'll have … … Haruno Sakura and … … Uzumaki Naruto!" several students cringed upon hearing that. It was no secret Naruto was infatuated with the pink haired academy student. Too bad for him it was completely one-sided seeing as how she was one of Sasuke's fangirls.

"… Shit! It just had to be Sakura-chan," Naruto thought. Fighting against Sasuke was one thing as Naruto had been wanting to fight him for a long time since he lost against him years ago. Fighting Sakura on the other hand was a different matter all together.

"Gaki, if you throw a match or go easy on her because of a fucking one-sided crush you're gonna regret it," Anko's harsh words made him cringe.

The woman had taken to know as much as she could about her war and found out about his crush on the pink haired girl. The woman wasn't impressed with the boy's choice. Not only was his affections one-sided, to which the pink haired civilian had made her intentions clearer than crystal, but the boy had no tact and could not take a hint. Persistence was good and all, but at some point, one needed to take a hint or back off rather than fan the flames.

Anko would freely admit that the girl was very intelligent for someone her age, smarter than even some Chunin. Her chakra control was phenomenal as well, even if part of the reason was because of how small her reserves were. However, Anko knew that intelligence alone meant nothing on the battlefield, especially when hampered by emotions. Physically the girl was lacking. Her stamina and chakra levels were noted to be below average, even with her father being a former career Genin, and her speed wasn't all that impressive either compared to the Yamanaka and Hyuga. They were still much better than the rest of the civilian academy students, but low still. Unfortunately, the academy now placed a higher emphasis on academics than the practical aspect.

"If I ever find out who's responsible," she mentally snarled. Needless to say, Anko's fury would make them wish they hadn't been born should she catch them. Shaking her head of such thought, Anko said, "To your positions!"


[QUEST ALERT!]

Tough Decisions!

Main Quest 1: Win the Fight!

Main Quest 2: Take a Dive!

Main Quest 1: Completion: +1000 Reputation [Anko], -1000 Reputation [Sakura], ?

Main Quest 2: Completion: +1000 Reputation [Sakura], -1000 Reputation [Anko], -500 Reputation [Sasuke], [Iruka], [Hiruzen], [Yugao], [Extend List], ?

Quest is mandatory


Naruto honestly never felt more conflicted than he did right now. If he lost the fight Sakura would be happy and he'd get reputation points with her but would lose some major ones with Anko and others for whatever reason, and vice versa if he won. There was also factoring in the "?". Naruto didn't know what it was and was almost afraid to find out.

Breathing in Naruto thought about this logically, most likely it was his [Gamer's Mind] and the increased INT and WIS kicking in. If he won, Naruto would merely lose reputation points that he could get back with Sakura. If he lost purposely not only would he be unable to continue the other quest that would increase his Taijutsu, but there was a good chance he'd be unable to continue the quest associated with Anko. With his current performance and stats, it wasn't possible for Naruto to lose without looking like he took a dive, and it wouldn't look good on his part for doing so. What respect he earned today would be shot back down to hell.

When he weighed the pros and cons, much as he didn't want to admit it, Naruto realized he'd essentially get even more if he won the fight. Naruto hoped the girl would forgive him and got into fighting position, "Sorry, Sakura-chan."

"You'll pay for what you did to Sasuke-kun, Naruto!" Sakura's scowl only served to make the boy feel worse.

Anko and the two academy teachers could clearly see that the girl's anger was getting the best of her and clouding her common sense and judgement. Anko could only look on in disbelief, "I was right. The girl's smart but she's letting her emotions get the better of her in a critical moment."

"Begin!" Anko shouted.

Sakura's charge at Naruto was, in one word, terrible. While she was one of the better academy students and her speed was much greater than a civilian, it was evident that Sakura was physically lacking among ninja standards. Her form was flawless, of that there could be no dispute. But that was it. Nothing in her movements proved to be threatening to her opponent, and when she was but a few steps away from him, Naruto dodged her punches with ease.

Had this been nearly a couple of months ago the outcome would be different. His hesitance to go against Sakura and his poor combat style despite the better stats playing against him. Now, however; Naruto saw her punches as if they were coming at him in slow motion. Rather than hit her, Naruto grabbed Sakura's extended leg and pushed the girl out of the ring with it.

"Point, Naruto!" Iruka said and Anko smiled whilst he saw Sakura scowl.

"Darn it," the scowl she directed was one of pure anger. But despite pang of guilt he felt, Naruto had made his decision. He couldn't let up or let Sakura win.

"Begin!"

Sakura didn't charge in again like she did before. Instead, she opted a defensive stance. Anko had to admit that it was a pretty good one, "The girl's certainly got the academy kata down," but it wasn't enough against a physically superior opponent, nor did it actually impress the older kunoichi.

Her point was proven when Naruto suddenly appeared on Sakura's left and pushed the girl out of the ring once again before she could react to his presence. The match was clearly one sided. That much was evident. Unlike, Ino who would use her feminine charms in a fight to help her win, Iruka knew well enough that Sakura was only flirty outside of combat. The man had seen enough.

"Winner, Naruto!" Iruka announced, and both students were shocked that the next round wasn't declared.

"Iruka-sensei? But we still have one more round!?" Sakura stated.

"Girly if this were a real fight, I'd have killed you in several ways before you had time to blink," Anko answered before Iruka could respond.

"Sakura-chan-" Naruto went to help his crush only to get an angry and sad look from the girl. Naruto felt the words die in his throat as he saw her get up and move as far away from him as possible. While he wanted to go after her, the boy knew better.

Sakura was angry and emotional. When that happened, she stopped thinking rationally and got physical. Both he and Kiba were often on the receiving end of her fist when they pissed her off.


[QUEST COMPLETED!]

Tough Decisions!

Main Quest: Win the Fight! (Accomplished)

Main Quest: Take a Dive! (Failed)

Rewards: +1000 Reputation with Anko, -1000 Reputation with Sakura.

For not taking a dive, any Anko centered quests remain unaffected and your relationship remains strong. However, actions have consequences, and your reputation with Sakura has decreased. Your reputation with Sakura will not go beyond [Neutral] for the foreseeable future. As a result of your reputation level, you will be unable to undertake any quests associated with [Sakura] and any current quests centered on this character has been deemed [Failed]!


|Warning! Warning!|

|Due to your actions, your reputation level with Sakura is now [Disliked]!|


"Are you fucking kidding me!" Naruto couldn't believe it getting any worse, yet was proven wrong. A simple fight such as this wrecked any chance he'd have at a relationship with Sakura-chan. It was bullshit really.

"Fan-fucking-tastic!" Naruto was glad his relationship with Anko was still intact, but the blond was still angry about what just happened regardless. Actually, now that he thought about it, Naruto realized something.

"I was right. Taking a dive would have been bad," if his relationship with Sakura was currently in the toilet, how badly would his relationship with Anko have suffered? The mere thought of it actually gave him pause.

Out of all the people in Konoha, Anko was one of the few who had actually taken the time to teach him and do things properly. The woman had actually helped him. Instead of casting him aside or think him to be nothing more than a loser like the vast majority of Konoha.

"Though she did say some of my skills sucked," he recalled, but even then, she helped improved them. "Ah, damn it! This it too freakin confusing," Naruto was conflicted.

"Oi, Umino, take over. Looks like the Gaki needs a pep talk," Anko took a hold of her pupil by the shoulder and both went away for some privacy. Iruka nodded once his gaze locked on Naruto's form. The man knew the boy had a crush on the pink haired girl. Fighting and defeating her probably wasn't an easy decision despite the fight clearly being one-sided.

"How are you feeling, kid," Anko finally asked him when they were a good distance away.

"Like crap," Naruto told her.

"Crushes come and go, Gaki. Believe me."

"It's not a crush! It's love," Naruto said but Anko released a large snark.

"Love? That's a laugh! Kid, you're twelve," Naruto would have corrected her but she continued, "And as harsh as it sounds, your background doesn't exactly make you an expert on what love is," it was harsh and blunt, but it was the reality of it all. Naruto's understanding of love was flawed, very flawed. The boy knew kindness, yes, but love was completely different and the boy was confusing the two.

Naruto scowled at the woman for that, "It's love… and it's not just that."

Anko rolled her eyes at his stubbornness but listened anyway, "Go on."

"My ability said that because I didn't take a dive my relationship with Sakura wouldn't go past a certain point," to Naruto it felt like something was being taken from him without the ability to fight back or do something about it.

"Ah, I see," Anko now understood, "Gaki, let me ask you this. What did you see in her in the first place?"

"Huh?"

"I mean what made you attracted to her? From what I've seen it was pretty clear she had no intention of dating you, or have any association with you, really," Naruto scowled when he heard that.

"You can give me the evil eye all you want, Gaki, but it won't change the fact that she has her eyes all over the Uchiha like the rest of those fangirls of his. And, no offence to you, but you can do a hell of a lot better than her," Anko said.

"What!" Naruto was now angry that she said such a thing. "Sakura's the best!"

"Academically, yes. As a kunoichi to be she wouldn't be my first choice, nor my second, third or fourth. She's piss poor and needs to shape up before I even consider calling her one," seeing him flare up Anko decided to go with another tactic, "But you still haven't answered my question. Why are you attracted to her?"

As he went to respond, Naruto couldn't find the words to say how felt, and Anko took a shot, "Did she do anything to make you crush on her?"

"Ah...well... She..." he tried to answer but for the life of him, Naruto couldn't think of anything good.

"Has she ever said anything nice to you before?"

Now that he thought about it, "Not really. I mean during our first year she was nicer but then she– "

"Ok, now I get it," Anko understood, "Gaki, hate to break this to ya, but what you feel isn't love or really a crush. It's a desire for something you lack. Let me guess. During your first year when you all started you wanted to prove you were all hot shit, right?"

"…Yeah," Naruto nodded.

"But it didn't really work out and before you gained a rep as the class clown and loser, she probably said something nice to you, right?" again Naruto nodded.

"But then you gained the rep and as Sakura got older, she stopped being nice and her attention was more focused on the Uchiha, right?" another nod on his part.

"Don't you fucking see?!," Anko nearly exclaimed, "The girl was one of the few to give you positive attention and you didn't want it to go away! Just like with Konoha you resorted to pranks to get attention, you went and got her attention by starting to annoy her to try and make her like you to get it back. But you kept fucking up. In your mind, you thought maybe it was okay so long as she spoke or paid attention to you, but it doesn't work that way, kiddo."

"…"

"Gaki, I'm gonna be honest. Your affections for her are pathetic and non-existent," Anko ignored his hurt look, "It is. You're trying to get negative attention from a girl who doesn't want it and you're just making it worse! You don't care anymore if the attention you get from her is good or bad. The only attention you should be getting is good and it ain't happening. Love doesn't work that way."

"Stop," he thought.

"Do you know what she likes?"

"Stop."

"What's her favourite color? What she likes to eat?" Anko continued.

"Please stop."

"What are her favourite activities? Her pastimes? What does she want to do in the future?"

"Stop it!" this time Naruto was vocal.

"Does she even believe you can become Hokage?" the last one was the final nail on the coffin and Naruto fell to his knees, tears stung his eyes and threatened to fall. The boy's head felt heavy for a moment before his [Gamer's Mind] kicked in and took a load off. He didn't want to admit it, but it was true. He knew none of those things, and Sakura didn't believe he could become Hokage.

"I know you don't like hearing this, Naruto, but it has to be said. If you can't accept the reality of it it's not going to end well. It's obvious that deep down you know it won't work out," the woman said.

"Why…why the hell do you think that?" Naruto wondered where she got that from.

"Because you wouldn't have chosen me over her if you thought otherwise," Anko finished. "If it truly was love or infatuation, I can tell you from personal experience that you would have chosen the girl. Honestly, I'm touched. Hardly anyone's ever picked me over someone else. Usually it's the opposite."

"…Does it get any easier?" Naruto asked. "What I'm feeling."

Anko looked at him and gave him an honest no-nonsense answer, "At times it does, and at times it doesn't, Gaki. Crushes come and go, and opportunities to love and fall in love are the same. But sometimes realizing the reality that your love may or may not happen or even work out is something that may never go away. I know it hurts, I've been there, and it'll take a while, but in time you'll realize that you and Sakura weren't meant to be," Anko also thought the boy could do a hell of a lot better than Sakura. Anko knew that the girl could potentially come around, but that remained to be seen at the moment.

"Besides, just because you're not together doesn't mean you can't be friends, ya know," here she smiled, "Some people just ain't meant to be together and are better off that way. You want to be in a relationship, go ahead. Baby steps first though. Become friends and get to know em. And I mean truly know em. Besides, you may be a Genin in a couple of months but lay off the boyfriend/girlfriend crap till you get older and focus on the here and now. Who knows what the future has for you? Anything can happen."

As she finished, Naruto wiped away his tears. The pain was still there, and while the speech helped, it would take a while to truly get over it, "Thanks, Anko-sensei."

"Bah! Enough of this mushy feely touchy crap! It's gonna ruin my reputation!" the woman proceeded to give him a noogie, and Anko could honestly say she was just pulling some of this stuff out of her ass. The woman had never really comforted someone like this before.

"Tch," Naruto lightly chuckled and returned to the ring in time to see Hinata being declared the winner lose against Shino. The match had been close, as while Hinata had the upper hand in Taijutsu the Aburame had more confidence and precise strikes.

When both Naruto and Hinata faced off against each other, Hinata's performance became sloppy. The boy had managed to land a blow on the girl, even if it was a light one. It was obvious the girl had difficulties concentrating and while she managed to block, and evade his strikes as best she could and shoot in some of her own, none made contact with him.

"Begin!" Iruka declared on the potential final round. Naruto was the superior fighter but Hinata could surprise them. Her strikes and shots were much more precise and fluid that Sakura's and she had done much better in her other matches according to Mizuki. It was only because of her crush on Naruto that prevented her from fighting properly.

"At least the girl's actually fighting who she's attracted to instead of given up," Anko knew about the crush through Kurenai and while Anko didn't care much for them at least the girl was willing to fight. It was a plus in her books.

Iruka watched as Naruto appeared at Hinata's side and made to strike. However, the Hyuga stumbled on her foot and bumped into the blond. Both Naruto and Hinata fell over on top of one another and the next thing he knew the man heard Anko laughing at their predicament. Both academy students' lips were pressed against one another.

"Ahh! Sorry," Naruto apologized, got off her and hoped the girl didn't hit him for the accident. To his surprise though Hinata remained still, "Uh… Hinata?"

Appearing in the ring and still laughing, Anko clicked her fingers in front of the girl's eyes. When that didn't work, Anko poked the girl and was shocked to discover she not only had gone stiff as a marble countertop and realized the Hyuga had fainted with her eyes open, "She's out, Gaki. Gotta say this win's one for the books."

"She's out? Did she hit her head?" Anko and many others shook their heads or groaned. While he improved, Naruto was still Naruto it would seem.

"Lovely, that's one more thing I have to teach him," there was no way in hell she was going to have Naruto remain a clueless idiot. But before she could tell him, an Anbu appeared on the field and called her out.

"Mitarashi-san, the Hokage request your attendance immediately," the bird masked Anbu informed her.

"Yeah, I'll get right on it," the moment she finished did the Anbu flicker and disappear. "Well, that's a wrap, kiddos. See ya, Gaki. Oh, and congratz on the win," Anko smirked before she flickered away like the Anbu.


[QUEST COMPLETED!]

Ready, Fight!

Main Quest: Become one of the Top 3 Fighters (Accomplished)

Side Quest: Become the Top Fighter (Accomplished)

Hidden Objective: Pass Hidden Test! (Accomplished)

Total Rewards Earned:

(1950 +10%) = 2145 EXP, +350 Reputation [Iruka], [Advanced Academy Taijutsu Scroll], + 1 STR, +1 Attribute Point


|Congratulations! Your level has increased by one!|

Status Window

Name: Uzumaki Naruto

Job: Academy Student

Level: 18 Next Level: 897.5/14,240

HP: 6125 + [350] + Vigor Affinity: Basic Rank ~ 6798.75?

CP: 10775 + [625] + [Chakra Affinity: Basic Rank] ~ 11970?

STR: 28 ~ 28?

VIT: 177 + [10] ~ 187?

END: 252 + [15] ~ 267?

DEX: 49 + [1] ~ 50?

INT: 40 ~ 41

WIS: 18 ~ 18

CHA: 10 ~ 10

LUK: ? ~ ?

DEF: 23 ~ 23

Attribute Points: 30

Ordinary Perk Points: 1


"Anko's right, Naruto. You won the tourney," Iruka smiled and handed the boy a scroll, "You've earned this."

It took a second before Naruto realized he had done it. He had won the fights. "Yeah!"

"Arf!" Hottomaru barked at his partner's happiness.

Many in the training area still couldn't believe it though. The Dead Last had been the one to win the fighting tourney and made it look almost like child's play.

"Can this day get any better," the blond wondered. Apparently, it could as Iruka announced that was the end of it for the day a few moments later. Grabbing Hotto, Naruto and his ninken left the academy without looking back, and unaware of the eyes that followed him.

"How is this happening?" were Mizuki's thoughts. If the demon could improve in such a short amount of time what's to say the other lagging students wouldn't? Worse yet, his meeting with the informant was coming up soon. "They're not going to like this."

(A Few Minutes Later)

"Welcome to Higurashi's Shinobi Arms. How can I help?" a voice Naruto didn't recognize asked him.

"Huh? Who are you?" he asked the twin bun haired girl.

"Ah, here for your order, kid. Good timing, we were almost ready to close up shop for the day. See you've met my Ten-chan," the voice of Tetsu boomed through the shop and the appearing man had to duck as steel whizzed by his head.

"Damn it, missed," she cursed.

"You're his daughter?" Naruto had no idea how someone like Tetsu, a mountain of a man could have such a small offspring.

"I get that a lot," Tenten muttered and gave him a look over, "Academy student, right?"

"How'd you know?"

"No headband," she pointed to his lack of metal headpiece, "And your outfit is covered in cuts from shuriken and kunai and rips from grapples. Only a ninja in training or a ninja would have that on them… unless you like being someone's punching bag," she smirked.

"Funny," he deadpanned. "How long you've been a Genin?"

"A few months," Tenten shrugged. "Pretty boring at the moment, nothing but D-Rank missions and training. Oh, God, so much training," her head hit the countertop with a resounding thud. Training was good and all but the insane man that was her sensei more or less took it too far most of the time and then there was the D-Rank missions. "I don't envy you newbies when you start doing D-Rank. And when it happens, you'll know," her tone of voice left much to be desired.

"I already do know," Naruto very well knew the pain of D-Rank missions. Stupid exploited loopholes.

"Ah, cheer up, Ten-chan," Tetsu dodged two kunai this time, "At least Gai deemed your team ready to take on your first C-Rank mission."

"Yeah, escorting civilians from here to somewhere else, real fun," sure there was the prospect of encountering bandits but with a powerful Taijutsu virtuoso, his up and coming mini-me, a Hyuga prodigy and her ranged proficiency, it wasn't going to be that exciting.

Escorting civilians was one of the worst C-Rank there was due to being forced to go at a slow pace. When he was younger, Gai told them he once carried a client and ran off at top speed to get it finished earlier. He succeeded but the client had connections with some of the influential nobles of Hi no Kuni's capital city and almost cost Konoha quite a bit of clientele had the Sandaime not managed to placate them.

"Eh… right," Tetsu didn't have fond memories of such missions either, "Well, here's your order, kid."

"Thanks," Naruto grinned as he saw the piece of armour.


Custom Ninken Armor - Uncommon Quality

Item Type: Armor

Durability: 45/45

Description: Body armor made from leather derived from boar hides specially made to be used by a ninken. Offers protection from fists and basic weaponry such as kunai and shuriken.

Defense: 10


The order of this had cost a pretty ryo, close to five thousand really, but Naruto hadn't cared all that much for the price considering his auction items sold for a huge bundle. The boy cared more about making sure Hottomaru didn't get badly injured due to lack of defense. Hana had mentioned that ninken preferred going without body armour as it impeded their movement but it wasn't uncommon to see some wearing it.

"Ok, boy, here you go," Naruto strapped the brown leather armour to Hottomaru, "Hey, not bad."

Hottomaru, however merely sniffed at the armour he wore with intrigue. While it might be a tad heavy, once the ninken levelled up a few more times and got a decent boost in STR the weight likely wouldn't bother him any longer, "You'll thank me later."

Saying their goodbyes to Tetsu and Tenten both Naruto and Hottomaru made their way out of the closing store and headed towards the next dungeon: Training Ground 2. Upon arriving, Naruto glanced around before he took out the [Advanced Academy Taijutsu Style Skill Scroll] and absorbed the power it granted him. It wasn't much, but at least his STR would increase by ten percent during combat. However, before he could enter the field, Naruto was greeted to a different pop up.


|Warning! Nighttime Effect in Play!|

Nighttime Effect

Many dungeons can be entered during both cycles of the day. However, during the night the enemies encountered during the night are not only different than their diurnal counterparts, but come in greater numbers, and are stronger as well. A bonus to this, however, is that the monsters encountered also give an additional 15% of EXP upon defeat. A downside is their attributes being given a boost of the same amount and unless certain circumstances are met, will cause a decrease in effectiveness for certain skills and your accuracy.


"Ah, crud," Naruto had seen this before in his old games, specifically Dragon Warrior. At times, stronger or certain types of monsters only came out at night in the game. It was likely based off of real life as some of the deadlier creatures slept during the day and came out at night.

Though seeing as how his level increased to level eighteen, Naruto doubted it would be too bad a challenge, "Ah, who cares if it is. Enter Training Ground Two!"

Like before with the first training area dungeon he entered, Naruto found himself enveloped in a flash of bright light. When it faded away Naruto was left momentarily stunned upon finding where he was.

"I'm underground?" it made sense really when he recalled the black tunnel from the Boar Dungeon.

"At least there's light down here," Naruto noted the bright green glowing moss that provided him with a good amount of illumination. Their glow would be enhanced even further when Naruto took out Seishoyo, "Light On!"

The command did its purpose and Naruto was granted even greater vision than before and could now see well beyond a dozen meters down the dark caverns. True to form, Naruto's [Detection Skill] kicked in and Hotto began growling. The weapon's [Moth to a Flame] flaw attracting nearby enemies.

Sensing four enemies coming his way, Naruto got into a defensive stance and from the sound of it they were coming in quick. While they were too far out at the moment Naruto could see their forms and knew they were small compared to the other enemies he faced.

As the sound got louder and the enemy neared, Naruto finally got a better look at what he was about to face, "Rats?"


Mutant Rat - Level 11

HP: 350

CP: 300

STR: 15

VIT: 14

END: 12

DEX: 40

INT: 4

WIS: 14

LUK: 30

Defense: 5

Specialization:

None

Special Perks:

Nighttime Effect: +15% towards Attributes, +15% Power, Speed, and Effectiveness towards Skills, +15% Increase towards movement speed in and out of combat, [Perks] and [Specialization] enhanced by additional 15%

Perks:

Nimble [Lv 4]: +60% Increase to movement speed in and out of combat, and +60% Increased Effectiveness towards [Evasion]

Keen-Senses [Lv 2]: +50% Effectiveness towards [Detection Skill], -30% Effectiveness towards enemy [Henge Skill]

Disease-Ridden: +25% chance of causing [Poison] and [Disease] status effect if struck

Flaws:

Minor Light Sensitivity: -15% Power, Accuracy and Effectiveness towards Skills when [Light] based items or skills are used against it, 15% increased chance of being affected by [Dazed] Status Effect

Description: Rats are often seen as pests by many, these rats more so because of their larger size and greater number. Past attempts at eradicating them to contain these plague and disease ridden pests have all met with failure due to their astonishing and frightening ability to adapt and reproduce. Their sense of smell allows them to find food even deep underground and the ability to detect invaders who come too close to their nest. Though weak and small individually they make up for it in large numbers and they are very quick and difficult to deal with, especially when they run for reinforcements.

EXP Earned: ?

Drops: ?, ?, ?


"Great," Naruto muttered. The little vermin weren't going to pose much of threat in terms of power but speed wise and their large numbers. Naruto was quick but with their higher DEX and their [Nimble] Perk they were quicker than him and Hotto.

"But damn if I don't like a challenge," he grinned and allowed the two rats to get in closer. When they were close enough, Naruto told his ninken to close his eyes and called out 'Hikaru!'

"Keee Keee!" were the rats' response to the blinding light.

Then the fight began!


Well, here it is folks! As promised! Next chapter will be out next week and will be more action filled with even more revised fights and enemies! Don't know when but I'm hoping Tuesday or Wednesday. Be safe, review tons, check out my poll on my profile and Happy Halloween!