Chapter 13: Never Simple

"Did you get it?" Mizuki asked.

"Yeah, I got it! Even got them to think it was Naruto," Hibachi said with pride.

Mizuki eyed the foolish boy and couldn't help himself from mentally scoffing. Hibachi was bad at the Henge in terms of the physical transformation's apperance but pretty good at voice mimicry and mannerism. But the Chunin had to hand it to him, the boy knew how to improvise. A wig, bright orange clothes, and some makeup had him looking almost like Naruto. Up close it would be clearly noticeable that it wasn't him, but from behind and at a distance one would believe it was Konoha's notorious prankster.

"So, do I pass now?" Hibachi asked.

"Yeah, you did good, Hibachi," Mizuki smiled. It wasn't friendly.

A shing and a shlunk later and the forest was soon greeted with the sound of a young boy gagging, followed by some gurgling, and a thud as his body hit the ground, "Stupid kid. Wish you were the demon but I had to work with what I got. Thanks for the scroll."

And with that Mizuki quickly set the body aflame and left the scene and Konoha.

xXx

Anko was silent as her mind processed what she had been told, and then just as quickly bellowed so loudly that Iruka believed she could be heard from Suna, "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN HE STOLE THE SCROLL OF SEALS!"

Iruka winced but answered all the same, "Like I said, Naruto stole the Scroll of Seals. We have eye witnesses seeing Naruto jump from the rooftops carrying a large cylindrical object on his back. No one thought much of it at first because we thought he was pranking someone but then twenty minutes later the alarm goes off and many are being told to find him since he stole it," he informed the woman.

Anko frowned and gnashed her teeth as she processed the situation. None of this was making sense, "Umino, you and I know Naruto's a prankster, and slow at times, but why would he want to steal the Scroll of Seals? The kid just became a Genin. Can you honestly say he'd risk that over a prank?"

Iruka wanted to answer but stopped and collected his thoughts. Naruto certainly loved pranking others, and more than once he had been caught defacing the face on the Hokage Mountain. But much of that had simmered down in the last few months and his pranks were usually performed because of a desire for attention or when he was depressed. Or if someone wronged him.

Eyes wide as his mind finally pieced it all together, Iruka paled, "Oh, no. This is a diversion! Naruto's being used as a scapegoat while-"

"While the real culprit probably long gone by now? No shit!," Anko finished for him, "You honestly think a newly graduated academy student could pull a fast one on the Anbu?" Naruto couldn't even do that even before he graduated and this was one of Konoh's most important articles.

"Do you have any idea where he could be?" Iruka asked her. The Chunin considered himself a talented sensor, not the best but not the worse either, but even his sensing abilities had its limits. Luckily the amount of time he spent chasing and finding Naruto over the years during one of his pranks made it so he Iruka knew the feel of the boy's chakra signature instantly. But that was within a certain radius, and Naruto could be anywhere in village and its surrounding area.

"A few but not enough time to search 'em one at a time. Midori!" Sliding out from her trench coat, Anko gave her familiar the quick run down, "We need to find Naruto before anyone else does and fast!"

While some ninja would follow protocol and capture the boy, neither ninja were blind or dumb enough to know that some were clouded by their emotions. 'Accidents' could happen, as some would say.

"On it!" her senses many times greater than either human, Midori was quick to pick up Naruto's most recent trail in a matter of seconds before he managed to find a trace of Naruto's chakra, "Found it!"

Anko and Iruka ignored the terrified screams and shouts as they followed the swiftly moving green serpent making its way through the nightly crowd. Both shinobi and kunoichi made haste to try and find the blond Uzumaki. Hoping to get there before anything bad happened to the young boy, "Gaki, you'd better be okay."

XxX

"You're here," the adolescent was briefly surprised by the sight of the other two ninja. But he quickly brushed the unexpected event aside. Even a blind chicken could get a kernel every now and then, Kabuto noted.

"Was there any doubt?" Mizuki's smirk didn't last long.

"Much," was the spectacled ninja's reply, "Miracles aside, you succeeded. Any loose ends?"

"None. We're in this for the long haul. Eh, Tsubaki," Mizuki asked his lover.

The woman hesitated for a bit but nodded nonetheless, "Hai."

"Good. Go to the border between here and Oto no Kuni. You'll get further instructions then. Dismissed."

Both nodded and left nothing more than whirling leaves and dust as they disappeared from sight.

"I can't believe that disgrace of a ninja actually managed to pull it off," the informant told Orochimaru's right hand man and second in command.

"Luck was on his side, apparently," both knew it had nothing to do with skill, "Any loose ends?"

"None. Even if I do nothing it'll be a while before the village suspect's anything," Kabuto believed them. The informant was good at that.

"And the scroll?" here the informant scoffed.

"You and I both know this scroll is nothing more than a decoy. A few things here and there but no true noteworthy techniques. And a big surprise at the end," Kabuto shrugged, it was expected. Getting the real scroll had been a long shot anyway. He knew it, the informant knew it, and even Orochimaru knew it. Only Mizuki had been foolish enough to believe he actually acquired the real one.

"Konoha has become lax compared to years ago and thanks to our manipulations the newest generations are weaker and ill prepared for what's to come. But they are still one of the Great Five for a reason," the informant added.

"True," Kabuto would not dispute that fact.

As it was Konoha was currently ranked second in terms of military might among the Great Five. The village was outranked only by Kumo because they had not demilitarize like many of the other villages after the last Great Shinobi World War. An act that caused tension between the other villages. One of the reasons why Kumo was stronger in terms of strength was because while Kumo used to have quality and quantity, the quality of their ninja had risen significantly because of the new Raikage, partially as a result of his father's death in the last war.

But even then Konoha was the more popular of the Great Five. Having won more wars, battles, having four of the ten strongest clans from the Era of Warring States, and having a greater reputation than the others. Therefore, the Village Hidden in the Tree Leaves easily had much more high paying clients than Kumo did.

"But there remains a problem."

"The jinchuriki?" Kabuto guessed correctly.

"Mizuki wanted him for his scapegoat. When the boy passed he had to improvise. I saw his performance during the exams. If we're discounting academics, for all intended purposes the kid's the real Rookie of the Year" Kabuto frowned. That could potentially upset things down the line.

"Continue on with the plan. But lay low for the next little bit before continuing to gather as much information as you can. As it is, Konoha knows that an enemy informant was in the village thanks to the scroll," Kabuto saw the informant nod.

"And the jinchuriki?" seeing Kabuto eyeing the scroll in their hands, the informant got the idea and disappeared.

But even with the order, Kabuto knew all too well it wouldn't stick. It didn't mean it wouldn't make things easy for the boy for the next little while. Would it cause him to finally leave the village? Who knows? Either way, hampering his growth and straining his loyalties to the village had to be done. A few months ago the boy was a shoo-in for the title of Dead Last. Now he was a recent graduate and former low middle ranking student who somehow managed to defeat his master's target.

That kind of growth was both fascinating as it was worrying.

(Sometime Later)

"I didn't do it!" Naruto lost count of how many times he said it in the last twenty minutes. Were they honestly expecting him to change his answer? This was bullshit!

"Then where were you last night?" A blank faced Anbu asked him.

"With your momma!" Naruto didn't care if it was unbecoming or immature. He was pissed and tired.

In another room, Hiruzen frowned. The elderly Hokage honestly didn't want to do this but given the circumstances, his hands were tied. The scroll was found in Naruto's apartment, though the newly made Genin hadn't been there, and dozens of Anbu, and a body burned beyond recognition, were found dead. It would take some time to found out who Hiruzen knew Naruto was innocent and so did many of the more level headed of his forces, even the ones that were indifferent or not fond of the boy. It was obvious that this was a set up. But many more were letting their feelings cloud their judgment.

Being unable to locate Naruto for over two hours and him not telling them where he was played against him. A slap on the wrist or simply declaring him innocent wasn't going to cut it. Him being processed was more so for the boy's safety than anything else. The Jigyaku no Jutsu (Time Reversal Technique) not working was another set back and only added more questions.

"Is it the Kyubi's doing?" had been the unsaid question.

If that was the case, then Hiruzen made a mental note to call Jiraiya back to inspect the seal. If it was compromised or if Naruto had unknowingly made a deal with the Kyubi in exchange for power - Hiruzen of all individuals knew that even the most stalwart characters had their moments of weakness they'd come to regret - then perhaps it could explain a lot of things such as his astronomical growth in such a short amount of time. Trained by Jonin and intense dedication or not, Naruto's growth was too sudden and too quick to be natural.

"Out of the fucking way before I shove yer head up his ass!"

"Not helping, Anko!"

Speaking of which, "Let them in," Hiruzen commanded and the door opened with a resounding 'WHAM'.

"No offense, Hokage-sama, but what the fuck! We both know Naruto's innocent."

"Anko!" her friend chastised.

"Of stealing the Scroll of Seals, I know Naruto is innocent," the scroll that had been stolen was a fake, a decoy. But apparently the thief already knew that given its safety feature never went off and they decided to plant it in Naruto's apartment, "But with his disappearance during that time not going unnoticed, I've been left with little recourse, Anko. Until Naruto tells us where he was for the last hour, and can show me proof that I go with, I can't do anything. And unfortunately, Naruto isn't exactly helping himself."

"Have you talked to him?"

"I was just about to before you arrived," he informed her. The only reason he hadn't at first was because he didn't want any one to potentially use that against them.

Looking at him and then back to her future Genin, Anko said, "Let me talk to him."

Hiruzen fought the urge to rub his eyes, "Anko-"

"Just give me one minute with the kid. Please," the young woman pleaded.

Looking her in the eye, Hiruzen sighed, "One minute. One!"

Anko thanked him as the village leader called off the Anbu in the room and allowed her access to her ward. The Sandaime watched as she entered and told the other two ninja occupying the small space to piss off. What was said went unheard by the man but he hoped she could get through to him.

"You gotta tell him, Naruto," Anko's tone was serious and the lack of her affectionate nickname for him told him she wasn't playing games.

"What? You want me to show him what I can do, too?" he asked sarcastically.

"You'll likely have to do that as well," the look of disbelief pretty much stamped itself on the blond's face, "Kid, I don't see any other way around it. You were gone for an hour, pretty much all of Konoha was looking for you, and we found dead bodies. Now, you might not have taken the scroll but an argument can potentially be made that you were still involved in some way."

"Seriously! How the hell can they come up with that?" He asked.

"It wouldn't be the first time something similar to this happened in the history of hidden villages," she revealed, "Look, Naruto, it's up to you. But if you don't work with me here, I don't know what's gonna happen. I know you have an alibi but if you don't show it to Hokage-sama, you might force the old man to do something he doesn't want to do if it means keeping the peace."

Naruto frowned and gritted his teeth and in his anger he slammed his hands down on the table, "This isn't how I wanted him to know."

"I know, Gaki," Naruto had every intention of telling Hiruzen about it when he was ready. Not doing it on his own terms was very upsetting for the blond, "But you and I both know we sometimes don't always get we want."

Naruto nodded and Anko left the room to get her leader, "He'll talk but only to you, Hokage-sama."

Hiruzen nodded and with a look he dismissed his Anbu and entered the room. Taking a seat across from his surrogate grandson, Hiruzen looked him in the eye but Naruto spoke first.

"I'll tell you what you want to know. But I wanna know something first," Hiruzen frowned and Anko had to admit that Naruto had balls for pulling that stunt.

"And that is?" the Sandaime humoured him.

"Is it true what they said about me?"

Blinking in confusion, Hiruzen asked, "What did they call you?"

"A demon," Naruto elaborated.

"I'm gonna fucking kill 'em," countless ways of doing so and making it look like an accident played in Anko's mind.

"Naruto-"

"I'm not stupid!" Naruto shouted, "All my life I've been hated. People see me as something to be avoided. Some were even scared. Not once has anyone ever called me a demon before and tonight I lost count of how many times I was looked at with scorn and the amount of times I heard them call me that. And I wanna know why!"

Hiruzen sighed, "Naruto… it's not that simple."

"Then simplify it! Tell me and I'll sing like a canary. Don't and you'll get nothing from me. Even if it means I don't become a Genin. I'll find out one way or another. I'll become Hokage even if I don't become a ninja."

Hiruzen knew Naruto was speaking the truth. The look of utter resolution in his eyes reminding him of the same ones borne by the Hokages that came before and the one that succeeded him. Sighing, Hiruzen knew he had no choice. Naruto had regrettably inherited his mother's infamous Uzumaki stubbornness. Better the boy learn it from him instead of putting the pieces together and souring their relationship. He was too fond of Minato and Kushina's son to do so.

"I wanted to tell you when you were older… but you deserve to know. To begin, we have to go back thirteen years ago, whereas you already know the greatest of the Nine Tailed Beasts attacked Konoha without warning."

Naruto frowned, "Yeah, and then the Yondaime Hokage faced it himself and defeated it at the cost of his life, right?"

"Shush," Anko told him.

"That's the story your generations knows about. The truth is a little more complex. The Kyubi was the most powerful of the Nine Tailed Beasts. Its power earning it the Travelling Calamity epithet over the last two millennia. Countries fell before its might and natural disasters followed like a plague. We lost count of how many died that night and the nights that followed. Powerful as he was, the Yondaime was no match for the even more powerful demon. Killing a Biju is said to be close to impossible, and even then it's merely a temporary reprieve, and the more powerful the beast is the more impossible the task becomes. Minato had no alternative but to seal the beast inside a newborn infant. Regrettably, you were that infant, Naruto. And instead of seeing you as the savior of Konoha for holding the Biju inside you like the Yondaime wanted, you were seen as a monster instead."

Floored by the revelation, Naruto looked at Anko who looked straight back, "You… you knew?"

"I did," was all she said.

"Why didn't you tell me!"

"She wasn't allowed, Naruto," Hiruzen interjected, "Nobody in the village was allowed to talk about it and those who did were punished severely."

"Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why me! What wasn't anyone allowed to talk about it!" Naruto elaborated before he whispered, "Why was I hated."

"Honestly, I don't know, Naruto," Hiruzen hated to lie to the boy but thought it was best at the moment. He didn't want to overwhelm the boy with too much too soon, "As for why they hated you, I'm afraid I'm partially to blame. I foolishly believed in Minato's words and it resulted in the village despising you instead. The people were suffering, confused, and angry and unfortunately channeled all those wayward emotions unjustly onto you. Fuinjutsu as you know is an uncommon and very abstruse skill that few know about. To them the thought of sealing a being of such vast power is inconceivable. So, instead they began to think the Kyubi was changed and weakened into something else."

"Me," Naruto concluded and the boy's hand shook before he felt Anko's hand on his shoulder.

"They're ignorant idiots, Gaki," Anko began, "Believe me when I say I know how you feel."

"To protect you and to ensure, or at the very least prevent as much as possible, that the next generation wasn't influenced by those aware of what happened that night, I passed a law. It worked for the most part."

The boy merely nodded before a thought occurred, "Jiji, you said the Kyubi was the greatest of the Nine Tailed Beasts. Does that mean there are others?"

"Unfortunately, yes. Each of the Great Five Villages and Takigakure no Sato has a Biju or two of their own. All of which are either hidden or sealed inside another person called Jinchuriki. Konoha itself didn't have one as the Kyubi remained elusive and stayed away from other settlements. Why it suddenly attacked we still have no idea," Hiruzen lied once more. Only this time he did it to both ninja before him. "Is there anything else you'd like to ask?"

When Naruto said nothing, Hiruzen nodded, "Very well. Now, back to the topic at hand."

Naruto took a brief and by the time he was done explaining, Hiruzen was left speechless. The fact that Naruto, son of the Yondaime and the last Uzumaki, and jinchuriki of the most powerful of the Nine awakened such an ability was pretty difficult to process. Even more difficult was seeing the proof laid bare before him. The elderly Hokage would never forget the feel of the 'pop-up window', as it was called, nor him trying to dispel it with a Genjutsu Kai (Illusionary Technique Release) soon after. When Naruto offered to take him into a dungeon, the man declined. Hiruzen believed him but not only was there only so much he could handle at the moment. But the sudden disappearance of the Hokage wouldn't do either Naruto or Anko any favours.

In the end, Hiruzen had what he needed but advised caution to both of them. For all intended purposes, this was a bloodline of unimaginable potential and benefits. If word got out it wouldn't be pleasant. Wars were started for lesser reasons. Naruto and Anko reassured the veteran ninja and village leader they'd be discreet and both were dismissed soon after. But there remained another matter that needed to be addressed. Who tried to frame Uzumaki Naruto?

But while Hiruzen was contemplating that, "I'll become Hokage even if I don't become a ninja?" Naruto's cheeks burned with embarrassment; Anko merely grinned, "Kinda contradictory. Don't ya think?"

"It sounded good in my head, alright!" in all honestly, Naruto pulled that one out of his ass.

"Should have kept it in there," Anko's laugh only embarrassed him some more, "Come on. Let's go get Hotto. We'll wait a bit before leaving."

(Naruto's Apartment Sometime Later)

As the news had begun to circulate of Naruto's innocence, Anko did not need to look to know many had lingering doubts. Even with his name cleared from stealing the Scroll of Seals, others would potentially look for an excuse or feign ignorance to the order. It was an old tactic many ninja used today. The woman took it upon herself to see her ward and his ninken get home safely. He was strong for a newly promoted Genin, and she had not doubt he'd be capable of taking down certain Chunin if given the chance, maybe even catch the odd Jonin off guard, but Naruto wasn't all powerful and lacked real combat experience against other shinobi. Monsters were one thing, they were limited in what they could do, but people were another. Hayate, Anko, and Yugao didn't count as they were pulling back by a considerable amount.

The first thing both did upon entering the building and his place of residence was checking around for anything out of place. Fortunately, nothing was found out of the ordinary. At least, not with the actual apartment, "What is it, Gaki?" Anko did spot a fleeting look the boy's face.

"…" the boy remained silent.

"Alright," Anko shrugged and made for the door.

"You said you knew how I felt," he began and Anko closed her eyes, "What did you mean?"

"…" Now it was Anko's turn to stay silent. The woman contemplated whether or not she should tell him the truth.

"It's okay. Forget I asked," Naruto said but was stopped by his mentor.

"No, you've earned my trust, Gaki, and that ain't something I give lightly," the woman gave him a look and the message was crystal clear. Betray her trust and he'd live to regret it. "But I suppose you've earned the right to know."

"Arf!" Hottomaru barked.

"You too, Poochie-gaki," the little ninken puffed out.


|Congratulations! You've completed the quest [Trust Earned Quest: Anko] and the challenge [I Really Like You]! You have also unlocked the challenges [That's What Friends Are For] and [That Cherished Someone]|

Special Note: Individuals already at the required reputation level prior to this announcement do not count!

Total Rewards Earned

(13,000 + 15%) = 14,950 EXP, +2 Attribute Points, Character [Anko] History Revealed, Unique quests with [Anko] unlocked and reputation level can now go beyond [Friendly]


|That's What Friends Are For|

Challenge: Increase your reputation level with five individuals to [Friendly].

Challenge Reward: 12,000 EXP, + 1 AP


|That Cherished Someone|

Challenge: Increase your reputation level with one individual to [Cherished].

Challenge Reward: 9000 EXP, +3 AP


Anko leaned back on a wall before she began her tale, "Well, to start we have to go back years ago. Like you I'm an orphan. I never knew my parents and I doubt I ever will but I've made peace with it. Despite it all, I was talented compared to others three years older than me and was I taken under an apprenticeship by Orochimaru of the Sannin," here Anko adopted a look of fury and anger the likes of which neither Naruto or Hottomaru had ever seen. The woman was also subconsciously leaking a small but potent amount of Killing Intent as well.

Seeing their looks, Anko eased up a bit on the scowl and reined in her anger as best she could, "Anyway, as you can imagine being taken under the wing of one of the Legendary Three Ninja came as a surprise. Orochimaru of the Sannin was one of the most powerful ninja of his time and for him to take an orphan as an apprentice was like a dream come true for anyone. He taught me everything I knew. Hell, he even let me sign the summoning contract for one of the most powerful and famous summons known. I saw the man as a father I never had… and the bastard fucking used and threw me away like yesterday's trash!"

The moment she yelled did Anko's anger come back full force and the woman lashed out. The action left a sizeable hole in the wall as her fist made impact. Hottomaru and Naruto both ducked for cover as the woman vented her frustration. It was evident the woman felt strongly about her former master.

"But that's not the worst of it," she muttered. "The worst part is that I helped him despite the village suspecting him of doing horrible deeds. I thought they were idiots and jealous of him. I thought they betrayed him when they chose the Namikaze Minato as the Yondaime over him. I was devoted to the man and he exploited my loyalty," here the woman moved away her hair and neck to show Naruto her mark.

"See this. This is his mark. A cursed seal of incredible dark power, and out of the ten that got it I was the only one who survived. Even then he tossed me aside. When I got back to the village almost everyone saw me as a traitor and spy. Friends I had turned their backs on me and others saw me as nothing more than trash. When I got older several saw me as a whore or slut and made advances on me, willingly or not. Sure, I don't help my case dressing like this but I like the way I look so they can go fuck themselves," Anko stopped as she realized she was getting off key.

"Anyhow to make matters worse this curse seal I have somehow hampers my skills. A little safeguard the bastard put in for kicks or on the off chance I turned on him. I became a Chunin at age twelve, that's pretty young. I could learn and perform techniques a hell of a lot faster than most. All that went away, the moment this number was bitten on me. The only way I'd get access to my former power and then some is if I use the damn thing," she said chuckled darkly at the irony of it all.

"Ever thought of using it?" Naruto asked.

"That would be unwise, Naruto-san," Midori butted in, "Orochimaru of the Sannin has made many cursed seals and the Cursed Seal of Heaven was said to have been Orochimaru's most powerful one at the time. But back then it was incomplete, and by now it has most likely been improved upon knowing him. Anko-chan only ever used it once, unwillingly at that, and it gave her incredible power greater than most Jonin. But it comes at a price. The power is like a drug: addictive and unforgiving. It is in the seal's nature to promise power at the cost of the user's sanity and will until they become unrecognizable. She became a berserker during her fight and could not differentiate between friend or foe. It was the first and only time she used it. Through her willpower and the aid of another sealing technique, Anko suppressed the cursed seal's influence and over time it receded. The dark power is still there but Anko no longer hears the whispers and promises of power like she used to."

"I'm guessing removing it is a no?"

"Believe me, I've tried everything to get rid of this thing but Jiraiya of the Sannin, Orochimaru's former teammate and our only resident Fuinjutsu Master, said that getting rid of something as complex as this was beyond even him. The only person who probably had a chance to remove it was the man's student the Yondaime. But even he doubted Namikaze Minato could have succeeded. With little info on this seal the old perv concluded that there are only three potential ways to remove it. One being I die, and fuck that. The other is Orochimaru himself removing the damn thing, good luck getting that done. And finally, the prick dies since cursed seals are usually tied to their creator, but even that has no guarantee of success," even then, both latter methods were not easily accomplished. Orochimaru was not only a sadist but easily one of the most powerful Kage level nuke-nin in the lands.

"I myself tried to get the seal removed from her by threatening to cancel our contract with the monster. Being a descendent of Hakuja-sama and one of the more powerful summons of the clan I was one of the prime candidates to lead the clan when the previous clan leader passed away. Unfortunately, another and much stronger serpent by the name of Manda was also a prime candidate and had more favor in the clan. Part of his strength was thanks to his own skill but many suspected it had also been enhanced by Orochimaru as well. No one dared to voice it though as Manda could easily crush them," Midori told her part of the story. "In the end we fought and I lost. However, I was loyal to Anko and not Orochimaru and because of my refusal to follow Manda loyally I was banished and had my power sealed. I can only momentarily regain my full strength after I did some tinkering. To add insult to injury Anko has since lost the ability to summon the more powerful serpents of my clan and can only summon the smaller, common fodder variants," Midori scowled.

"And that's our story, gaki," Anko informed her future Genin. "Got anything to add or say?"

"Yeah… Orochimaru and Manda are assholes," Naruto's response made both Anko and Midori blink before they burst out laughing.

"Oh, man, I wasn't expecting that," Anko wiped away a tear. "You really do have balls of solid steel, Gaki. But make no mistake, assholes they are but those two are strong as hell. The man was a candidate for the position of Yondaime Hokage for a reason. Had Minato-sama not done the deeds he did during the war or Hatake Sakumo not taken his own life, Orochimaru would have been a shoo-in for the position," she gave the boy an all-knowing look.

Naruto paled slightly. She did mention that a little earlier. Truthfully the boy had intended to deliver some payback if he saw the man. A fact he didn't doubt crossed through Anko's mind. However, hearing that he was a former candidate for Hokage pushed those thoughts aside. The blond ninja wasn't the smartest individual in the world but even he knew that Hokage candidates were incredibly powerful ninja. Naruto was humble enough to know that despite his increase in strength he was nowhere near that level of prowess. Aside from the Sandaime, Naruto never encountered a Kage level individual, but the boy didn't doubt that people in that power range were possibly in the low hundreds, at worst, or even higher and it would take him some time before he reached that level.

"Listen, gaki, if we ever come across the bastard run as fast as you can and use every trick in the book you have to get away and pray that it works," if there was one weakness she knew about the man it's that he loved toying with those weaker than him. At times he'd let his victims go as a form of mental torture while other times he'd get bored and simply end the whole thing.

"Ditto," now it was Naruto's turn to give her a knowing look. Whether or not she chose to acknowledge it was unknown. Bidding him a good night, Anko left the apartment and Naruto and Hottomaru prepared themselves for bed.

(The Next Day)

The sound of a hammer striking metal was heard as Naruto and Hottomaru entered Tetsumaru's store. Both felt the increase in temperature reach them and assumed the forge was going very strong at the moment.

"Keep hammering! That order has got to be ready by tomorrow!" the boy heard Tetsu yell as he appeared at the counter. "Sorry 'bout that, kid. Backed up like crazy at the moment with orders. What can I do for ya?"

"Is my order ready?" Naruto asked the muscle bound man.

"It's done. Orders like that don't take very long, but your other order's gonna take a few extra days before they're finished. Would have been less but the sudden influx of work I got pushed the due date back. Sorry, kid," the man apologized as he handed the boy his happuri hitai-ate.


Happuri Style Konoha Hitai-ate – Common Quality

Item Type: Head-Armor

Durability: 55/55

A modified, metal, happuri-shaped headband engraved with the kanji for 'fire' symbolizing the wearer's status as a Konoha shinobi. Its modified look offers it greater defence and durability. Forehead protectors are worn by shinobi and are engraved with the symbol of their hidden village to demonstrate their allegiance. Be forewarned, wearing this makes you stand out against enemies of Konoha.

Bonus Perks: +3% Power Increase towards [Head-Based] Taijutsu Skills, +10 DEF, +10% additional REP per successful mission with Konoha (must be loyal)

Flaws: Will cause [Aggro] effect if spotted by enemies of Konoha


Naruto smiled as he put the happuri hitai-ate on his face. Though slightly disappointed that that he wouldn't be able to get his other order, the boy was happy he managed to get his forehead protector. The headband being mandatory for the registration photo he had to take, as otherwise he'd have to wear a spare one. With his task semi-complete, Naruto made his way towards the Hokage building to take his photo.

XxX

"Ughh, when is it gonna start already," Naruto whined as he and others waited for Iruka. The past few hours had been interesting to say the least. Having met and unwillingly gained a subordinate in Sarutobi Konohamaru, Jiji's biological grandson. But the kid was weird.

"What kind a person decides they wanna become your underling after you hit them on the head?" personally Naruto thought the old man's grandson had a few screws loose but either way he had gained an underling and managed to mess with that closet pervert of a teacher, Ebisu. The kid was a decent person he guessed and it could have been worse. Ebisu, however, had a ten foot stick up his ass.

That had been the most eventful part of the morning. Now he was stuck waiting in class as though he were an academy student. Again. Unfortunately, waiting had never been one of Naruto's fortes despite patience being pounded into his head by his teachers. The blond haired ninja considered what was currently happening, or lack thereof, a waste of time.

"Wonder who I'm being teamed up with?" he idly wondered. The boy's face took a sour turn as he didn't see Hibachi or his friends. Hibachi he knew had failed but some of the others had passed the Graduation Exam. Before he could begin looking around some more, the blond and the rest of the class saw the classroom door open.

"Greetings, everyone!" Iruka began quieting the room down, "As some of you might have noticed, we are missing a few students today. Normally I wouldn't be saying this on such a joyous occasion but it's best you know of it now. As you all known, last night someone tried to frame Uzumaki Naruto for stealing the Scroll of Seals, and likely the murder of several of our ninja forces. As you can see, Naruto was able to prove his innocence. Unfortunately, from a recent biopsy, we've just learned that one of the unidentified victims was Hibachi."

The reactions were various: some were stunned silent, others gasped, and some looked ready to cry. Naruto honestly didn't know how to react given his relationship with Hibachi. While he didn't wish the boy dead, Hibachi had done enough to him to justify some ill will. To learn of his death was something Naruto couldn't properly express into words.

"Vigilance!" Iruka announced and all eyes were on him, "Vigilance is what makes a shinobi. To be aware of the dangers and potential dangers that may occur. Without it a shinobi is nothing more than an ordinary individual or dead. I implore each and every one of you to be vigilant. I don't wish to hear that another one of my students is dead for lack of foresight. Now, before we begin I'd like us all to bow our heads in silence for Hibachi."

As the man began, Naruto silently gauged everyone in the room. The reactions had since shifted to many looking as pale as snow, frightened and ready to piss themselves, and others were more worried. Naruto saw that those from purely civilian backgrounds were taking it harder while those from a clan or with shinobi family members took it better. But from those he could see, the worry and unease was still there.

"Alright. Let's begin," Iruka ended the minute of silence as she began listing off the teams. A couple minutes had passed before the man finally announced a name he knew, "Team Seven will consist of Uchiha Sasuke, Inuzuka Kiba, and Haruno Sakura" Naruto heard Kiba groan and the thud as his head made contact with the desk. Sakura as expected cheered and announced, 'True love conquers all!' much to the displeasure of Ino and the other fangirls, "All three of you will be taught by Hatake Kakashi."

Naruto's face furrowed slightly as he recalled the name 'Hatake', "Can he be related to that Sakumo guy Anko mentioned?"

"Team Eight will consist of Yamanka Ino, Hyuga Hinata, and Uzumaki Naruto. Your sensei will be Mitarashi Anko," Iruka wished the former two good luck while Ino groaned upon hearing the names of her teammates.

The blond girl had nothing against Hinata as she wasn't interested in Sasuke but the Yamanaka heiress was hoping to be on a team with Sasuke. Sure, Naruto had gotten better, and he developed an adequate sense of fashion, and he wasn't Dead Last but he could still be an idiot at times. Part of her was also surprised she hadn't been placed with Chouji and Shikamaru considering their family history and how much their fathers pushed them to socialize. Well, childhood friends or not, at least she'd not have to constantly deal with the laziness.

Hinata on the other hand had a different reaction, "I'm on Naruto-kun's team!" the thought of it made her face go supernova as she finally processing those words. The indigo haired Hyuga nearly fainted had she not willed herself not to. Even then it was pretty close.

"Hotto," Naruto began, "I don't know if I should be happy or scared."

On one hand he had Anko as a teacher and two teammates he could get along fine with over time, which was awesome. The only problem was if he excluded Hotto then it meant he was outnumbered three to one on the female to male ration. "This is either really good or really bad," to some being a part of a team of one male and three females was a dream come true. Naruto knew it for what it was. His opinion wouldn't matter if all three girls banded together.

"Hey, what the hell, Iruka-sensei!" Kiba shouted and ignored the man's chastising, "Why's the Dobe on a team with chicks and I'm not!?"

Naruto made a mental note to prank the Inuzuka's ass at an appropriate time for that comment; Ino scowled at him for being referred as a chick.

"The teams are assigned based on balancing of strength and critical thinking, Kiba. For instance it is common practice for the Dead Last and the Rookie of the Year to be placed on the same team," the man sent the boy a look and the majority of the class laughed as they realized what he was implying.

"Moving on, Team Nine is still in circulation from last year so Team Ten will consist of Shikamaru Nara, Akimichi Chouji, and Aburame Shino under Sarutobi Asuma," and with that the man finished announcing the teams, "I wish you all luck with your future teams and as ninja. Your instructors will be here after lun—"

CRASH!

Iruka and the class had little time to react as a window suddenly shattered in a shower of broken glass and wooden frame bits. The Chunin suddenly appeared battle ready, drawing out a kunai and prepared for what was to come. However, the instructor nearly face faulted as a banner began to unfold, and out popped the vivacious Mitarashi Anko.

"Hello, everybody! The Incredibly Hot and Sexy Mitarashi Anko has arrived," Anko cheered as she took a bow in front of the stunned class.

"Of course," Naruto and Hottomaru groaned at Anko's antics. However, the blond shinobi silently admitted that the entrance was kinda badass and made a note to ask for some pointers.

"Team Eight, you guys have ten minutes to get your cute little asses to Training Area Nine! Team Seven … you guys take an extra long lunch. Trust me, you're gonna be here a while. Laters!" the woman announced and then disappeared into a puff of white as she left behind a flabbergasted classroom.

"Okay, I thought she was nuts when I saw her crash the tourney a few months ago but she's like a female version of Naruto!" Ino voiced her opinion and many couldn't help but agree.

"Hey, I'm not that bad!" all the boy got was silence and blank stares, "Besides you'd better get use to it since we're on the same team," Ino groaned as she felt a headache coming on. "Oh, and FYI what happened is pretty tame compared to what she usually does," Naruto shuddered as he and his partner made their way out of the classroom. Hinata followed after her crush and teammate. Ino, however; simply groaned even more.

"Forget the headache, I'm gonna be having a fucking migraine during this ordeal," the blond Yamanaka weeped and had no idea how much her world was about to be flipped upside down. Neither did her other female teammate.

XxX

Naruto, Hottomaru, Ino and Hinata, recently dubbed members of Team Eight, made their way towards the training grounds at varying speeds. Naruto and his ninken partner were making record time and would easily be the first two there. Hinata wasn't too far behind the two males and moved at a decent pace. Ino was last as despite her decent speed she didn't was lacking in stamina compared to her teammates.

All four of them arrived at the training ground with a decent amount of time to spare. But none of them spotted their new Jonin instructor, "She said to get here in ten minutes and she's not even here," Ino frowned at the hypocrisy of it. "Some sensei she is."

"Ano, Ino-chan, you shouldn't talk about Anko-sensei like that," the young girl stuttered.

"Hinata's right," Naruto's agreement made Hinata blush, "Anko may be nuttier than a bat out of hell, but being lazy is something she ain't. Hell, I was honestly-" Naruto stopped as his senses flared thanks to his Detection skills, "Oh, shit! Duck and cover!" the boy suddenly yelled, taking cover behind a tree alongside his ninken.

Ino and Hinata were still surprised by the sudden outburst and had little time to react before a hail of kunai and shuriken made their way towards them. Both newly graduated female Genin dodged and swerved out of the deadly projectiles incoming path as best as they could. Hinata with her clan's training and greater perception managed to dodge most of the air born weapons with relative ease, though the Hyuga felt her clothes being cut in a few places as well.

Ino, while not coming from a taijutsu oriented clan, had natural grace and reflexes that most girls in the academy sorely lacked. The Yamanaka heiress bopped, weaved, and even back flipped under the kunai and shuriken thrown at her. The way she moved made it look almost like a dance. Despite this advantage, the brief breather was not enough, and as such her reaction time was off a few times. Ino felt her clothes and hair being cut as a result.

The flurry of weapons continued for a little over a minute before it finally ended. When it did, both Ino and Hinata stood battle ready with a few cuts but no worse for wear, "Not bad, not great but not bad."

Anko suddenly appeared between the two female Genin and both visibly relaxed…which proved to be a big mistake. Ino and Hinata immediately found themselves wrapped and bound by serpents of various sizes and colors. The two struggled and wiggled as best they could to escape from the confines of the coiling serpents but had no such luck. Each struggling movement they performed actually only resulted in their bindings being tightened by Anko's minor familiars.

"Rule number one, girls; ninja play dirty. Remember what I said how ninja can easily stab you in the back if you let your guard down?" Anko chastised before looking for her senior student. "Gaki! Poochie-Gaki! You pussies! Get out here!" she ordered.

"Hell no!" was the reply, "I'm not falling for that trick!" again went unsaid.

"Arf!" agreed wholeheartedly.

"Damn! I scared those two too well," Anko cursed.

"Don't you mean taught?" Ino asked

"I know what I said, Blondie," Ino's eye twitched at the nickname. Oh, Anko was gonna have fun breaking and remolding her.

However, the Jonin realized she wouldn't be able to have more fun at the moment and sighed before she released Ino and Hinata. Upon seeing this, Naruto and Hottomaru finally made themselves known but it was evident by their body language that they were keeping their guard up. It was a wise and scare-fuelled decision really.

"Anyway, not bad kiddos… however, you three still have a way to go. You two especially," her last comment directed at the two kunoichi, "Now, normally we start off by introducing ourselfs, saying what we like, blah, blah, blah. Well, we're not gonna be doing that so I'll cut right down to the chase. Name's Anko, and I'm gonna push ya. I'm gonna break ya. And I'm gonna make ya puke your guts out and frap your body till your bones hurt. When you squeal, I'm just gonna go faster and harder, till finally you're moulded into proper kick ass ninja. The kid gloves are off, and I'm gonna bitch slap you with 'em," her grin sent shivers down each and every one of their backs.

Because of their time with the woman both Naruto and Hotto were used to it but even then the act made them cringe and flinch back with fear. Ino and Hinata, however; paled considerably to an unknown degree. The two had seen a side of the woman months ago and thought she was strict. Both just now realized that it was only a part of her personality.

"Well... assuming you pass the test, of course," she shrugged much to their confusion.

"Huh?" all three Genin wondered what she was talking about.

"Oh, didn't I say," her tone resonating with sweet and fake innocence, "The academy exam was only to help determine who had the potential to become Genin and weed out the rest. In order for you to become true Genin you all need to pass your teacher's test. And FYI out of all the academy graduates, only thirty-three percent of them have a chance of passing that test."

"What happens if we fail?" Ino asked.

"Pretty short answer: you lose your headband and go back to the academy," technically it was untrue, but Anko wanted them to be fearful. She needed them to give more than one hundred percent effort to accomplish their task.

Telling them the truth would have done the opposite. Technically there were several options that could happen if they failed. The most common occurrence being they went back to the academy as was mentioned. The other was if a Genin's skills were good enough they might get taken on as someone's apprentice, but that was rare and only if they were lucky enough. And lastly, the team was split up but if some had enough of the right skill and mindset they were put in the reserves until a spot became available. At which time all they'd be able to do is supervised D-Rank missions for the next several months or so.

"Oh, fuck me," Naruto cursed at the unfairness of it all. All that hard work and there was a chance that he'd have to wait a while longer. Naruto wasn't stupid to not believe Anko held back from time to time, "Guess this is the reason why. Why train an academy student on everything they knew and then get their hopes when there was such a large chance of them failing in the end?"

"Are you kidding me!" Ino yelled, "That's bull!"

"Tough shit, Blondie. That's the world we live in," Anko didn't care if wasn't fair. Ninja didn't really do fair and the sooner they acknowledged that the better. "Now, I suppose you all want to rest before taking the test?" she asked but Naruto knew better than to fall for that.

"Would be nice," Ino said and Hinata agreed with a nod.

"Too bad! The test starts now, kiddies," Anko cackled.


[QUEST ALERT!]

The True Genin Exam

Main Quest: Pass Anko's Test to earn your right as a Genin

Main Quest Completion: Keep your rank as a Genin, ?, ?

Failure: Lose rank of Genin, ?

Quest is Mandatory


"Now the test is simple, we're gonna play hide and seek," Anko said and though neither Hinata nor Ino thought it sounded that bad, Naruto and Hotto became stiff.

"Oh, no," both female teammates looked at Naruto, "I've played hide and seek with her before. It's only ever been fun for Anko and Midori."

"Midori?" both girls asked before they saw the head of a snake popping out from Anko's clothes. Ino idly wondered where Anko was keeping that thing.

"Someone call me?" the green serpent asked as she slithered out from Anko's trench coat.

"It… it talks," a surprised Hinata stammered, an act that was mimicked by Ino.

"Did you guys already forget?" But then Anko recalled how the academy students had not been taught about summons, "Yes, the snake can talk and her name is Midori. Midori, Ino and Hinata. Ino and Hinata, Midori," she introduced the three to one another.

"Greetings, Ino-san, Hinata-san," Midori bowed to the two-stunned Genin, "Naruto-san, nice to see you again."

"Arf!" was Hotto's balsy reply.

"And you too, dinner," Midori smirked when Hottomaru cowered behind Naruto. Whereas Naruto had a healthy fear of Anko, Hottomaru had a healthy fear of Midori. Especially since Midori could easily swallow the young ninken under a second if she chose to. And she had. Getting the smell of snake juice off a dog was not fun.

"Alrighty! Since that's done, here's what we're gonna do. I'm gonna hide and you three will seek me out. You have about two hours to do so. If the time passes and I've yet to be found, you fail," the woman produced an alarm clock and set it to go off in two hours.

"Wait, two hours?" Ino cocked an eyebrow at the absurdity of it all. "No sweat," sure Anko was a Jonin but half that time was plenty enough to locate her in the blonde's mind.

"Oh, that's not all, Blondie. There's a catch," Anko's grin came back full force.

"Nice going, Ino," Naruto knew the torture was about to begin.

"To make things a little fair, I won't be moving from my spot," the announcement only served to make the Yamanaka a little cockier.

"Wait for it," were the male blond's thoughts.

"However, I will defend myself and Midori will also be there to defend me. Know what that means?" the woman looked at Hinata for the answer.

"Ano, it ... it that means that not only do we need to find you but use all strength to tag you as well?" Hinata slowly answered.

"Her clan really did a number on her," much like Naruto, Anko knew she'd have her work cut out for her with Hinata, "Girl's smarter than she looks. Probably has brains on things she doesn't even realize."

"Correct, good job," she smiled and the girl blushed at the praise, "If you wanna tag me you're gonna need to come at me with the intent to kill. Trust me, you won't get anywhere near me without doing this."

"Won't you get hurt, sensei?" Hinata asked.

Though sweet of her to say that, it was kind of insulting, too, in Anko's opinion, "I may have just gotten promoted to Jonin but the power and skill difference between my rank and yours is pretty damn big. When I say come at me with the intent to kill, I mean go all out and use everything you've got to try and tag me. If you don't you might as well go back to the academy," Anko informed them.

"Oh, and one last thing. Only the first two of you who tag me get to become Genin and stay on my team. The other one is sent back and gets to listen to Umino's lectures for another year."

"Not it!" Naruto yelled.

"What!" Ino yelled while Hinata became as stiff as a tree.

"Ready, set, go!" Anko laughed before she and Midori subsequently disappeared. All that was left in their wake was a white cloud of smoke and kicked up dust. All three Genin were left momentarily stunned by Anko's sudden proclamation before they split up and began to track their teacher.

"Wonder how they'll do?" Anko smirked before she began to relax and wait for her students to find her. It would be quite some time before they did. And much like she predicted, all three were using different methods to try and locate her.

(Twenty-Three Minutes Later)

"Damn it. Where the hell is she?" Ino cursed before she moved on to another location. Ino came from a clan that was quite adept in the use of sensory ninjutsu and was using it to her best ability to locate Anko. The only problem was that Ino had not concentrated as much on her clan techniques as she should have and was now paying for her lack of skill in sensing others.

Hinata wasn't fairing any better either. While the Byakugan was known and feared throughout the Elemental Countries for its ability to see at far off distances, the vital chakra points, and see through virtually everything, the eye was only as good as the one who used it. Compared to the other clan members of the Main Family at her age, Hinata was only capable of seeing forty meters all around her compared to the usually hundred. Her only saving grace was her ability to see even further than most in a singular direction.

"I can't fail," Hinata frantically searched for the location of her teacher. She had come so far, having been teamed up with the one she admired the most even, and Hinata did not to have it all end prematurely or in disappointment.

While the two kunoichi of his team searched for Anko, Naruto opted a more practical approach, "You find her scent yet, Hotto?" Naruto asked his partner. The two had been looking for the woman for a good amount of minutes now and neither one had any luck finding a trace, clue or scent of where Anko could be.

"Arf," Hottomaru whined in response. Naruto frowned as he saw his partner become dejected at the fact that he couldn't get a scent on the woman.

"No prob, buddy. She's probably covering up her scent somehow," the boy frowned as he recalled the humiliation both he and Hottomaru faced some months back thanks to that. "Never did get the chance to give her some payback. Maybe- Gah! No, focus!" Naruto chastised himself as his mind wondered off. Right now he needed to concentrate on locating Anko. He'd be damned as hell if he went back to the academy after everything he did and accomplished so far.

Use of his Detection Skill: Tracking to highlight any clues nearby proved no good. While the skill worked well in dungeons, Anko was a Jonin and knew how to cover her tracks too well for his skill's current level to be of real use.

"Hmm, maybe I can try and find … I know you're there, Ino," Naruto announced, his Detection Skill: Detect Presence coming into play.

"The hell? How'd he know?" certainly Naruto had gotten better in the last four-five months but to be able to know she was there had not crossed the Yamanaka heiress' mind, "Fine, Plan B."

"Guess I underestimated you," Ino revealed herself and began walking towards him in an attractive manner. "So, Naruto-kun what say you and I-"

"Yeah, that little routine worked on Kiba because he's a horn dog but when you're tutored by Anko for a few months you get used to that crap," a barely pink Naruto deadpanned, his words making Ino miss a step and become despondent that her seduction attempt failed. Ino had the looks but her technique was pretty green, which might have worked, if only briefly, had he not been exposed such things thanks to Anko.

"Ugh" Ino groaned and decided to cut the crap. Naruto wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed but he wasn't a total idiot like he used to be either, "Alright, fine. I'll level with you, Naruto. We both know that only two of us will be a part of a team. The way I see it, you and I team up and try to find Anko-sensei before this ends. You win, I win, it's a win-win situation where everyone goes home happy."

"How's it a win-win for all if Hinata fails?" Naruto's glared at Ino for the hole in her logic. Smart and skilled as she was, Naruto had long since noticed that Ino sometimes let her ego get the best of her.

"Hey, I got nothing against Hinata," Naruto could tell that Ino was being honest when she said that. "But like it or not, Anko-sensei said she'd only take on two of us and I for one am not going back to academy! Ninja are supposed to take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves."

Naruto frowned once more. Only this time it was in regards to the current situation. Naruto remembered Hayate telling him about circumstances where teams sometimes consisting of only Jonin and a Genin but that was due to apprenticeships, and that was pretty uncommon. Hayate had expressed interest in taking Naruto on as one, but in Konoha the only ones allowed to take on apprentices were those who attained the rank of Jonin as well as having a certain amount of years teaching Genin teams on a satisfactory level.

As he began putting the pieces together, the lack of response annoyed Ino and caused her to leave, "Fine, whatever. I'll do this by myself."

Realizing what had happened, Naruto called out to her but the girl was already long gone and a good distance away, "Damn it. Hotto, can you find Hinata?"

"Arf!" the playful bark confirmed that he could and both of them made their direction towards their Hyuga teammate.

"Freakin waste of time," already past the half-hour mark and with no luck in finding her teacher, Ino opted for a different tactic. Glancing up at the trees, Ino found what she was looking for and put her plan into motion. With her mind taking over the body of a hawk, Ino soared high into the sky to get a better view of the landscape. Ino scoured the land as best as she could, still getting used to the whole eye sight feature the raptor had, before she finally hit pay dirt.

"Found you," triumphant, Ino willed her mind to return to her body. But just as she was about to head out, Ino found herself immobile and bound to a tree.

"What the hell?" she struggled before she heard a laugh and snicker being held back, "Oh, you bastard," Ino growled as she spotted them. Ino knew that Hinata was too sweet to do something like this so she directed her attention towards a grinning Naruto.

"When I get out of this I'm gonna-"

"Moisturize your skin to deal with the blemishes?" Naruto taunted. Although true, Ino wouldn't give the smug Genin the satisfaction of knowing that.

Before she could retort, Naruto covered her mouth, "Yeah, I'm gonna need you to listen," and then unfurled some duct tape.

"Don't you even –" Ino didn't get the chance to finish and found her mouth taped and her anger flaring. The Yamanaka heiress glared at the boy and if looks could kill he'd be dead ten times over.

"Be happy it wasn't one of my socks," the boy smiled when she turned green but the look of hostility remained, "Okay, first off, lose the glare. Anko's look is ten times worse than yours so all you're doing is giving yourself future wrinkles, grandma," Ino stopped but he'd pay for that last comment.

"Now then, there are two options before you. One, Hinata and I leave you here, bound, gagged, pissed off as hell and very vengeful," he had that last bit right, "While Hinata and me try and land a blow on Anko-sensei and pass. Or two, you can listen to what I have to say and we all pass. Choice is yours, but if you have any plans of escaping I'm letting you know now that wire is designed to mess with your chakra, so the Nawanuke no Jutsu (Rope Escape Technique) won't work."

Ino slumped and there went that idea. Not having any other choice, Ino was forced to go with number two and listened.

(Sometime Later)

"Fifty-nine minutes and counting," Anko frowned. Maybe she overestimated the three of them. Oh, sure Naruto had potential and if push came to shove she'd take him as an apprentice. Wouldn't be easy but an exception could be made. Someone with such gifts and dedication such as his shouldn't be wasted in her mind just because the other two didn't want to work as a team or knew how to find her. As the village jinchuriki, the last thing the heads of the village wanted was a weak ace in the hole. Not that she thought of him as such.

"Then again there's still time left so…Ah, here we go," rising up from her position, Anko spotted Naruto, Hottomaru and Hinata. But Anko frowned when she noticed the lack of Ino.

"At least two of them are willing to work alongside each other," unfortunately all three needed to work together to pass. As it was, Anko would likely be taking on an apprentice while she'd recommend Hinata be put into the reserve. Ino would be going back to the academy it seemed.

"Shame, really. Inoichi's kid had potential, too," but then, so had many others in the past only for them to end up failing, "You guys sure took your sweet ass time. If it takes you this long to find me then how long do you think it will take to touch me?"

Naruto's only response was to make some Shadow Clones and as one they threw several shuriken towards her, "Shuriken Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Shuriken Shadow Clone Technique)!" an apology gift from the Sandaime Hokage after what happened last night. With the technique just learned and with no real time to practice it was nowhere as deadly as it should be. Right now it would serve more as an inconvenience, but that was good enough at the moment.

Soon the shuriken multiplied from nine to a little over thirty, all of which sailed through the air towards the intended victim. It didn't stop there and the original followed up with another technique he learned from the Wind Dungeon, "Futon: Ibuki no Jutsu (Wind Release: Powerful Breath Technique)!"

"Whoa!" Anko's eyes widened as while some were flown off course by the powerful technique, many more of the flying stars gained a considerable boost in speed. But good as he was, Anko was better and got out of the way, only to go where Naruto hoped she would.

"Katon: Inka Hyakki no Jutsu (Fire Release: Shadow Fire of One Hundred Demons Technique)!" while the name was a misnomer, the upgraded version of Katon: Inka did release a considerable number of demonic flaming fox heads per clone. The air became hot. Grass and plants shrivelled, some even caught fire and some spots blackened as they raced towards their target. The intense heat temporarily blinded Anko and she had to admit she was impressed. Naruto kept a few techniques closed to the chest. Smart.

"Dakomaki no Heki (Steel Snake Coiling Wall)!"

The woman soon found herself protected by a coiling and enlarged Midori. And while the technique proved to be very unbearably hot, Midori's enhanced scales were more than up to withstand the technique. It did sting a little though, a fact that irritated the uncoiling summon.

"Damn it, Gaki! When I said come at me with the intent to kill, I didn't mean you should actually kill me!" But she had to admit, she was impressed.

"Oh, bitch, bitch, bitch. Make up your mind!" Anko's eye twitched at that.

"Alright, you wanna play rough? Let's play rough," Anko originally wanted to give them a sporting chance but the kiddy gloves were really coming off now.

Anko blurred through some hand seals before she finally unleashed her technique, "Sen'ei Tajashu (Many Hidden Shadow Snake Hands)!" a large myriad of serpents of various sizes and colour burst forth from the woman's sleeves as they made their way towards Naruto and Hinata.

"…Oops."

The lesser serpents all bared their fangs at the two Genin in intimidation and Anko smirked as she saw them falter a bit. While the technique was a bit overkill, the woman willed the snakes to merely bind them instead of sinking their fangs into their vulnerable bodies. Naruto and his clones and Hinata made a valiant effort to block the snakes but they were too great in number and both found themselves bound by the familiars.

Right before they all went up in smoke.

"A diversion? Or did they switch out when we were blinded?" knowing her ward, Anko half expected such a tactic. Not that it would do them much good with Midori's senses.

"Find them!" Anko ordered the great serpent.

As Midori was about to comply, the summon found herself pelted with countless insignificant weaponry. From the trees the great snake spotted Naruto and Hinata accurately throwing several kunai and shuriken. With her Byakugan, Hinata was able to land the more accurate throws that were aimed at the more sensitive areas of her giant form. Both were wise not to get in close and personal but Midori was starting to get irritated at their continued efforts.

Having enough of this, Midori moved towards them at record speed and just as she was within striking distance did Naruto make his move, "Bakufuin: Akai Kutsuu (Exploding Seal: Red-Hot Hardship)!"

Naruto and Hinata disappear in a puff of white, another distraction, and from multiple spots did the ground explode. Midori quickly found herself enveloped in an oh so familiar red cloud before her senses were set aflame.

"NARUTO!" Midori wailed as she once again found herself the victim of the boy's patented Chilly Pepper Bomb and became incapacitated from the incredibly harmful effects, "YOU'LL PAY DEARLY FOR THIS!"

"Midori!" Anko shouted with worry but focused her attention on a swiftly sprinting sword drawn Naruto. To others the sudden appearance would have left them at his mercy, but owing to her superior reflexes and speed, the boy might as well have been moving at a jogger's pace in Anko's opinion.

With Naruto's superior physical strength, Anko knew better than to block the sword strike with a kunai and merely side stepped out of the boy's way. But Naruto flowed from one strike to another as he was taught and never relented.

But good as his form was, Anko had tricks of her own. Near his feet came two snakes that served to trip him up. It was only for a second but it gave Anko more than enough time to slug the blond hard in the face. Naruto grunted from the blow and was sent tumbling.

Anko then prepared to dish out a little more payback before she was forced to dodge the sudden charge of Hottomaru. While his use of the Senka no Jutsu (Flashfire Technique) gave him quite the boost in speed, she proved too quick and it was a waste of a technique given its chakra flare was meant to blind its target.

"Can't exactly do that when you're not being looked at," Anko made a casual note to get Midori to shape him up for pulling such a stupid move. For now, she merely sent some serpents at him before the Jonin turned around to deal with Naruto.

"Ninpo: Kaiyoken (Ninja Art: Fist of the Sun King)!" the ability from his Crimson Cloak of the Fire Rat caused a bright flash that illuminated the area and served Naruto well in blinding his opponent.

"GAAHH!" Anko recoiled from the bright light, her hands going to her eyes in an attempt to dull the pain. But as he moved in for a strike, the boy was unprepared when she suddenly lashed out and caught him in the chest.

"Psych!" Anko cackled at her downed student being quickly wrapped up in a coat of snakes, the pressure threatening to pop his head off like an unwanted zit.

"Hebi no Me (Snake Eye)," Anko revealed her snake like eyes, "Does nothing for intense heat but does a good job protecting the eyes from very bright lights," having seen Naruto's technique some time ago, Anko knew the pseudo-doujutsu skill would come in handy if he decided to use that against her. With one student down, Anko believed it was time she hunted down the other two. But Anko froze before she could follow through with her intentions.

"Shintenshin no Jutsu (Mind Body Switch Technique) success!" Anko suddenly heard in her mind. Off to the side, Anko saw Naruto smirk and watched as the snakes binding him began to combust. Curtesy of his cloak's other ability, the Hari Hi no Nezumi (Shroud of the Fire Rat), while Hinata suddenly appeared and began dealing with the snakes that bothered Naruto's ninken.

"Oh, you're fucking kidding me! This whole thing was a distraction!" Anko quickly put together what happened. Naruto and Hotto kept her attention with a clone disguised as Hinata so she wouldn't think the other Genin was anywhere else but in front of her. In reality, Hinata, much like Ino, was never a part of the actual fighting.

"She must have let herself be taken over so the Yamanka could maximize her range," Anko would have thought it pretty clever of them if it weren't for the fact that no one would ever let her live it down if they found out about this. Anko cursed herself for underestimating them, "No way am I going down that easily!"

"Argh… Guys! She's fighting back," Ino-Anko grunted as her hold on the body began to wane quickly, "Get a move on!"

Thrashing like a wild caged animal, Anko did her best to free herself but couldn't prevent her Yamanaka possessed body from slapping herself before being struck by Hinata and Naruto. Anko felt herself regain control as her will forced the Yamanaka to retreat back into her body.

(Sometime Before)

"And that's the plan," Naruto said.

"Okay, not as good as the ones Shikamaru would come up with, but not bad, Naruto. But you're forgetting a couple of things. I'm vulnerable when my mind's gone and if I miss it takes a while for me to regain control of my body. And I can't take control over what I can't get a good look at," Ino added her piece.

"Can't you just take over Hinata's body and using her eyes to zoom in on Anko-sensei?" Naruto asked as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"That…Okay, actually, that might work. I'm game if you are Hinata. Going to need your help on this," taking over a person's body, supplanting their mind, and using their bloodline limit was very tricky. Taking over the body and working in conjunction with the other consciousness was a much easier task.

"Ano, there is a potential hiccup," Hinata added, "S-snakes see via thermal radiation. Our body heat will give away our position. I-I can only focus my bloodline to a certain distance."

"She's right. How the hell are we gonna hide from that?" Ino would soon regret asking.

Naruto's only answer was to grin as he pointed towards a mud pit.

"Oh, no! There's no way in hell I'm going in there," Ino was against the idea. But with her body still bound and with Hinata to help him the Gossip Queen soon found herself covered in wet dirt and other substances. While Hinata was reluctant to becoming mud covered, at least she didn't put up a fight like Ino.

(Present)

"Well, shit," Anko cocked a smile. Truthfully she would have passed them even if they didn't manage to land a blow on her. The whole concept had been to see if they were willing to thinking clearing and work together as a team should. She certainly had not expected that combo of theirs. As she was about to congratulate them, Anko realized both kunoichi were still caked in mud and began to laugh.

"So, do we pass?" Naruto asked their instructor, a cocky grin plastered on his smug face.

"Yeah, you pass kiddies," Anko was still a bit miffed but couldn't help but admit she was impressed. "But wipe that smirk off your face, Gaki. We both know if I'd been serious from the get go you three would be in a whole world of hurt and had gotten nowhere near to hitting me."

"Yeah, sure. Keep telling yourself that," Naruto's response got both of his teammates to chuckle and giggle.


[QUEST COMPLETED!]

The True Genin Exam

Main Quest: Pass Anko's Test to earn your right as a Genin (Accomplished)

Total Rewards

Keep your rank as a Genin, Access to new missions, Access to new Natural Dungeons


"Little shit," Anko humphed half-heartedly.

"NARUTO!" the rage filled voice scattered all nearby animals in the area and stiffened the most experienced Genin of the group.

"At least I don't get to deal with Midori when she gets back from the river," Anko grinned as the Genin paled. Revenge was so very sweet it seemed. But thoughts of revenge aside, the woman glanced upwards at the sky and from the sun's position, Anko determined they had a decent amount of daylight left for her plans.

"Well, we've got some time to kill. The day's already half gone so we won't start missions 'till tomorrow," Anko and Naruto mentally groaned. Both knew that was gonna suck. Ignorant as they were now, Ino and Hinata would soon join the club, "So, instead we're gonna be doing a little training to see where your weaknesses and strengths are at. You got ten minutes to catch your breath before the fun begins. Naruto, you sit this one out."

"Why am I getting that feeling again," a still mud covered Ino wondered why she suddenly felt uneasy. Her gut was telling her to run away as fast as she could. But Ino's mind knew that it wouldn't be so simple or successful. Anko and her familiar were fast. She would be lucky to make it a few meters away before she was caught.

"Oh, well, at least we start missions tomorrow," the blonde smiled and idly wondered what her first mission as a Genin would be like. She knew it wouldn't be something dangerous as they were first starting out but the Yamanaka hoped it would at least be something dignified and worthy of the rank of Genin.


Here you go. A few changes here and there such as Mizuki getting away (don't see that very often; actually, I can't recall any story where that's happened?). Enjoy and next chapter will be up on the week of August 9th, maybe sooner if I get a ton of reviews.