Chapter 9: Ready, Fight!

"Arf! Arf!"

"Mwwaarrrghhh," was the zombie's moan, and its last the moment Seishoyo struck the decaying torso and stopped the walking corpse in its track. The doubled over undead's head was liberated from its shoulders not a moment later when Naruto plunged a kunai at the back of its skull. The combo was something Anko had taught him until he increased his strength enough to use his newest weapon.

"Oh, thank Kami, they can't talk," if they did, Naruto guessed it would probably be in the stereotypical manner, too, "Who came up with that anyway? Why would zombies want to eat brains?" the blond never understood that logic.

From his ambush spot, Naruto watched as the other zombies moved towards him, only for the horde of undead to trip over the shinobi wire he had placed earlier. The action caused a domino effect as it triggered a nearby exploding tag he put down.

"Well, you're up," Naruto watched as Hotto ran to the downed enemies and went to work. The small ninken bit and scratched as hard as he could. Normally dogs would attempt to go for the throat but not only did zombies leave a bad after taste in ones' mouth, but the damn things didn't need to breathe.

As a ninken, Hotto would normally use the techniques he knew of instinctively but right now they were too taxing to be used repeatedly. A good well-placed Tsuga would likely end the prone foes but even with the combat experience he had gained over the last five days and the levels he had gone through the ninken could only use it eight times. Ten if he pushed it and more than double that if under the effects of the [Inuzuka Clan Military Ration Pills]. Apparently, while the growth rate of skills and level ups for those affected by his perk were much greater than the normal/traditional way, it was still slower than that of the originator.

"Katon: Inka (Fire Release: Shadow Fire)!" were Naruto's thoughts as a series of demonic fireballs reduced another incoming horde to ash.

"God, I love that trick," discovering that he could use his skills just by voicing them mentally was a very welcoming surprise. The fact he didn't have to be vocal when using his technique added the element of surprise that Anko would be pleased with. Sure, it took some getting used to and the boy lapsed at times, but that was a given. Grabbing the loot but still keeping an eye out on Hotto, Naruto used his [Detection Skill] and released a sighed when he learned that every enemy within the radius of a few blocks were gone.

"Time," Naruto called out and chided himself for the slip, "Gotta work on that."

Nearing midnight, and with tomorrow being a busy day, Naruto decided it was time to call it a night, "Hotto! We're leaving."

"Arf!"

"Put the bone down, Hotto," how the ninken could stomach having what came from rotten limb in his mouth had to be due to his Komainu lineage. Leaving the drops behind – having collected enough and they weren't much anyway – Naruto and his ninken left the dungeon world in a brilliant flash.

(The Next Day)

"And so, during the Second Shinobi World War the battle between Ame and Konoha had begun to escalade to its peaking point. While Amegakure had a great advantage over Konoha in the beginning, partial thanks to the village leader, Hanzo-"

"Gotta hit those training ground dungeons fast," were Naruto thoughts while Iruka continued retelling the class about the Second Shinobi World War. The boy would have liked Hotto to be a little more experienced, and have a better level, but time was slowly running out and the zombie dungeon right now wasn't doing much for him. With the amount of training they did and the experienced gained from the zombie dungeon, Hotto was just about to cross the half way point of level nine. Hopefully the protective gear he ordered for the ninken, as ninken armor was a custom specialty job, would help tip the odds.

"Naruto! Pay attention!" Iruka suddenly declared, getting a rise out of the class and waking about Shikamaru from his nap. Likely the other reason why he yelled.

"Sorry," he replied half-heartedly. Naruto never thought it would be possible, but classes at the academy had become stagnant and boring... well, even more so than usual. What with him being taught by Anko, and Hayate and Yugao during Anko's absence, coupled with him actually getting combat experience in dungeons, Naruto felt that the academy had little to offer him now. Even if he wanted to do anything, it was already nearing the graduation ceremony.

Thinking back on it, Naruto realized how naïve his younger self was to think he was prepared to graduate early. Technically speaking an academy student could apply for early graduation if they felt ready and had the approval of the Head Teacher of the academy and one of the Konoha Elders. Why Sasuke hadn't done this Naruto didn't know, but guessed even the so-called prodigy didn't meet the requirements for some reason. The blond had decided to attempt it over the course of his time here. The result was him failing the graduation exam twice now. The upcoming one would be his third. Which worried him slightly.

"Even with my better chakra control I still can't use the Bunshin no Jutsu," Naruto mentally groaned, even with him being part-way through the Tree Climbing Practice after he mastered the leaf balancing one. Regrettably, even then all his attempts at using the Bunshin continued to end in failure. Yugao had made a comment that he'd might fare better after learning the mastering the next chakra control exercise. But with his chakra levels continuously going up and the noticeably uneven ratio between that and his control, Naruto wasn't getting his hopes up.

Even attempting to learn the technique through a scroll hadn't worked, "At the least the scroll gave me a damn explanation. This whole time it was because of my chakra levels," initially he thought it was because his control over his chakra was terrible. In essence, it did play a factor but at least now he knew it wasn't merely just that.

However, while knowing part of the problem was good and all, it still wasn't enough to fix it. For him to graduate, Naruto needed to show that he could make a proper Bunshin. If not, no headband. And no headband meant he remained in school.

"Not gonna happen!"

The blond had no intention in repeating another half year. And what was really unfair was the fact that had it been the old curriculum that Anko mentioned, he most likely would have graduated already, having been made an exception, or been a shoo-in for graduation. He knew four elemental techniques. Sure, two were fairly recent but all of them were C-Rank! And he had a B-Rank technique that strengthened his blows and a non-elemental C-Rank that he learned from Hayate that made his weapons deadlier.

"And that concludes history for today," Iruka finished, to the joy of almost everyone, "Now, as you all know graduation is less than three months away," the man was cut off by the sound of happy and excited students.

"Freedom!"

"No more lessons!"

"No more boring lectures!"

Iruka's right eye twitched at that last comment but he remained professional nonetheless, "Oh, I hope you all enjoy D-Rank missions," except for that last thought.

After getting them to calm down, the academy teacher continued, "Yes, yes, I know. So, to better prepare you all we are going to be doing more of the physical aspects from now on. That doesn't mean you're to slack on your studies!" here he looked at Shikamaru, Chouji, and Kiba.

Usually he'd look at Naruto too but the boy's marks in the last month were improving. He went off on a daze at times but at least he didn't fall asleep like Shikamaru. Hopefully it wasn't a phase and Naruto didn't disappoint him in the end.

"That being said, from now until the second last week of the school year we are going to hold a sparring session every Monday and Friday for the next few weeks to see where everyone stands and what can be improved. If we see you're at an adequate level you'll get these," here he showed a series of scrolls.

"These scrolls demonstrate and have information on how to use the Advanced Academy Taijutsu. Now for those of you who have a clan based Taijutsu this may not seem like much," once more his words were directed at Chouji and Kiba with the addition of Hinata and Sasuke, "However, mastering this will help you better understand and learn other Taijutsu styles Konoha has to offer. Who knows, some of you may even attempt to create your own Taijutsu style. Now head outside and begin stretching for ten minutes while Mizuki and I set everything up."

"Yahoo! Let's go, Akamaru!" Kiba practically blurred out of the classroom with his ninken, followed quickly by the other eager students.

"…I'm starting to think my lectures aren't being appreciated, Mizuki," Iruka speculated.

"You're just figuring it out now?" Mizuki sweatdropped upon seeing Iruka become despondent. Mizuki thought the man a fool before they left to set up the training area.

While the academy teachers prepared for the sparing session, Naruto and the other students took this time to stretch and prepare. After excusing himself briefly, Naruto now sported his combat gear foradded defense. Nowhere did Iruka say that they weren't allowed to wear armor.

Eyeing the competition, Naruto decided to see what he was up against. With his Observe now at a much higher level the Gamer would be able to see more and what they offered in terms of a challenge.

"Observe," he muttered and started with the kunoichi of the class.


Status Window

Name: Haruno Sakura

Job: Academy Student

Level: 10 Next Level: 139/6080

HP: 250

CP: 300

STR: 7

VIT: 10

END: 12

DEX: 17

INT: 63

WIS: 36

CHA: 15

LUK: 15

DEF: 10


Status Window

Name: Yamanaka Ino

Job: Academy Student

Level: 10 Next Level: 1257/6080

HP: 325

CP: 450

STR: 7

VIT: 13

END: 18

DEX: 27

INT: 41

WIS: 28

CHA: 32

LUK: 14

DEF: 10


Status Window

Name: Hyuga Hinata

Job: Academy Student

Level: 9 Next Level: 4165/5400

HP: 375

CP: 500

STR: 8

VIT: 15

END: 20

DEX: 27

INT: 39

WIS: 31

CHA: 11

LUK: 9

DEF: 10


Naruto wasn't surprised that his classmates had managed to level up by a couple of levels. It had been almost seven weeks since he first saw them after awaking his Gamer ability after all.

However, when he looked up the more detailed version of their Status Window that explained the perks and the flaws, it did explain some things. One of them had a perk that allowed her to level up more quickly while the other two were from clans that likely had them do training after school on a daily basis.

For Sakura it also explained why she had the kata for the academy Taijutsu down but was pretty tired afterwards. He was surprised Ino wasn't the same but guessed that coming from a ninja clan meant she knew better. He was very surprised with his reputation level with Hinata and wondered what he could have done for it to be so high. Aside from a few others, Naruto actually realized that Hinata was actually the only female in his class who didn't make fun of him. Why was that?

"Eh, I'll figure it out later," he shrugged and decided to focus on the task at hand. "Ok, next," he decided to scan the Taijutsu oriented male students.


Status Window

Name: Akimichi Chouji

Job: Academy Student

Level: 9 Next Level: 2178/5400

HP: 1000

CP: 650

STR: 30

VIT: 28

END: 26

DEX: 11

INT: 12

WIS: 11

LUK: 4

DEF: 15


Status Window

Name: Inuzuka Kiba

Job: Academy Student

Level: 10 Next Level: 4117/6080

HP: 600

CP: 650

STR: 23

VIT: 24

END: 26

DEX: 37

INT: 15

WIS: 11

LUK: 21

DEF: 16


Status Window

Name: Akamaru

Job: Ninken (Ninja Dog)

Level: 6 Next Level: 234/3600

HP: 275

CP: 250

STR: 5

VIT: 11

END: 10

DEX: 20

INT: 7

WIS: 6

LUK: 15

Defense: 0


Status Window

Name: Uchiha Sasuke

Job: Academy Student

Level: 13 Next Level: 5987/8800

HP: 750

CP: 850

STR: 21

VIT: 30

END: 34

DEX: 33

INT: 34

WIS: 25

LUK: 23

DEF: 20


"What the hell! Why's his level requirement the same as last time?" looking into the more detailed version of the Last Uchiha's Status Window only served to piss him off even more, "Oh, bullshit! A perk that gives him a twenty-five percent chance of keeping his previous level requirement!" sure, that would be awesome to have, but for the teme of all people to have it? Uh-uh! Pure bull!

"Some people have all the luck. Oh, well, at least my level's way higher than his," indeed, impressive as Sasuke's level and stats were compared to the other academy students, they weren't as high as his stats. Sasuke was level thirteen, and Naruto was now only a few hundred points shy of reaching level eighteen. And he had yet to use his Attribute Points.

"Hey, Dobe, what's with the outfit?" Naruto turned around and spotted Kiba and a few others giving him strange looks.

"Added protection," he merely responded. "Iruka-sensei didn't say anything about us not being allowed to wear armor."

"Tch, you'll need all the help you can get, Naruto," Kiba smirked.

"Last I heard I wasn't Dead Last anymore, Dog-breath," Naruto's comment caused Kiba to lose his smirk and others to start laughing. With his better grades the position of Dead Last had gone to Kiba. While the Inuzuka Clan heir was one of the top students in Taijutsu his grades were much poorer in the other subjects. Naruto's grades weren't much better but they were just good enough to beat Kiba's.

"Arf!" Hottomaru laughed at the boy, earning a low growl and bark from his cousin. Hottomaru though promptly ignored it and scratched himself behind the ear.

"Alright everyone, gather around," Iruka called them. "Because of how many students are here, we're going to be splitting this into two blocks. When only three students from each block is left, both blocks' contestants will fight each other. The process of selecting who will be facing who is simple. The box you see before you has all your names written down in it and each one of your names will be chosen at random. We are doing this for a crucial reason. When you all become ninja, you need to expect the unexpected. Some you may face can either be weak or very strong, meaning a fight can be easy or difficult. It may seem unfair, and it is, but that's how the real-world works. Consider this a wakeup call. Better for you to realize it now than when it's too late. Now Block A who will be looked after Mizuki will have-"


[QUEST ALERT!]

Ready, Fight!

Main Quest: Become one of the Top 3 Fighters

Side Quest: Become the Top Fighter

Hidden Objective: ?

Main Quest Completion: 1000 EXP, +250 Reputation [Iruka], [Advanced Academy Taijutsu Scroll]

Side Quest Completion: 650 EXP, +1 STR, +100 Reputation [Iruka]

Hidden Objective Completion: 300 EXP, +1 Attribute Point

Failure: 100 EXP

Quest is Mandatory


Naruto merely grinned at the quest. This was going to be a piece of cake he thought. With his boost in skills and higher than average academy student stats this competition was in the bag. While the experience points were so, so, at least it would be enough to level up.

"Block B will have Yamanaka Ino, Hikari Kasumi, Hokino Ami, Inuzuka Kiba, Uzumaki Naruto, Akimichi Chouji, Hyokan Fuki, Uchiha Sasuke, Oshiro Hibachi-"

Naruto merely drowned out the rest of the calls, but when he heard the name Oshiro Hibachi the boy couldn't help but scowl. Years ago, Naruto had wanted to partake in a contest with some of the academy students, Hibachi however had made sure he didn't get the chance. Needless to say, Naruto got back at the boy and Hibachi wanted payback and pulled a fast one on him by giving him a task that seemed simple at the time. All he needed to do was collect something from what he later discovered to be a hot zone.

Naruto came out relatively fine thanks to Iruka and a Jounin but his dislike for Hibachi had grown because of the stunt. Initially Hibachi and his friends were meant to be expelled from the academy because the prank did put a student's life at risk, but their parents had managed to convince the Head Teacher otherwise. They had still gotten severally punished from what he heard, but to Naruto it felt like it was a merely slap on the wrists.

"Time for payback, asshole," Naruto cracked his knuckles in anticipation of facing the prick.

"Now then, with that settled, some ground rules. One, this is strictly a friendly Taijutsu spar, so that means no Ninjutsu, Genjutsu, or Bukijutsu. If I catch anyone using any you're disqualified, and will be serving detention with me pending what I see. Two, my decisions are absolute and when I say a ruling such as a fight is over, it's over. Failure to comply will result in consequences," here he developed a very stern look that many had rarely seen on Iruka's face.

"Three, unlike the previous spars we've had before we're mixing it up a bit. To win a match you must land three successful blows against your opponent. Sweeping them off their feet and throws do not count as a hit, blocking a strike doesn't count as a hit either. Knocking them out, while not necessary, will result in you winning the match by default. Once a blow has been landed you will separate and get back into fighting position. Each blow represents a level of injury you may face in the battlefield: Minor, Severe and Fatal. In the real world all it takes are a few blows, even a single well-placed blow, to end it all. Yet even someone with a fatal injury can make a comeback and end up as the victor," here the man spoke from experience.

"Four, the white line you see over there is a marked boundary area you cannot cross. Crossing it will result in a point for your opponent. Remember, a shinobi must be aware of their surroundings at all times and use it to their advantage. Finally, before every bout you are to perform the Seal of Confrontation, and at the end you are to perform the Seal of Reconciliation. With that settled let's begin. Block B follow me, the rest of you follow Mizuki-sensei."

Both blocks of students split, with fifteen students in each block. "Hey, Iruka-sensei if the blocks are an odd number doesn't that mean one of us gets a free pass?" Naruto asked.

The man smiled, "Correct, Naruto. Because each block has fifteen students one of you will not need to fight in the first round. While it's unfair, like I said this is to help simulate a real-life scenario. A ninja can be coming back from a mission and won a fight, only to then face someone else at one hundred percent strength. How you deal with it will result in the success or failure of a mission," he told the students as they arrived at their designated area.

"Now then, the first fight will be … Yamanaka Ino vs Hokino Ami. Inuzuka Kiba vs Hyokan Fuki. Hikari Kasumi vs Akimichi Chouji. Uzumaki Naruto vs Oshiro Hibachi-"

Naruto had to restrain himself from shouting out with glee, "Thank you, Lady Luck!"

Hibachi for his part merely smirked. While some believed Naruto had gotten better, Hibachi was from a group of students who thought his success was nothing more than a fluke on the blond's part. Hibachi had been wanted to pay Naruto back too. While his father had managed to prevent him from getting expelled, saying the man had been furious didn't do it justice.

"Alright now, Ino and Ami, enter the ring!" Iruka ordered. Both kunoichi offered the Seal of Confrontation, albeit reluctantly because neither one were exactly friends to begin with. Mostly due to Ino having tricked Ami into thinking she'd been poisoned, and both fought for Sasuke's admiration.

"Ready, begin!" Iruka shouted.

"Bring it, Blon-" Ami's taunt was cut short as she felt a punch to the face and fell back on her posterior.

"Point, Ino!" Iruka announced.

"You were saying," the Yamanaka smirked.

The fight, if one could call it that was one-sided. Ami, like many kunoichi candidates, focused more time on her looks and book skills than her physical education. It didn't help that Ami came from a civilian background with no ninja relatives whatsoever while Ino came from a well-established ninja clan and was also one of the higher students, too. Coupled with her greater flexibility and speed, the civilian born academy student stood no chance. Ami was promptly beaten by the Yamanaka heiress in less than a minute.

"Shōsha, Yamanaka Ino!" Iruka announced. Both academy students exchanged the Seal of Reconciliation, though Ami had a scowl on her bruised face. Ino merely smiled at the purple haired bully. When it was over, Ami was forced to go see the academy nurse while Iruka crossed out her name and started the next match.

Much like the previous match with Ino and Ami, Kiba and Chouji's match against their opponents were relatively one sided. Unlike Kiba whose speed was just too great for his opponent, Chouji had gotten hit once because of his rotund figure and kind-hearted nature. And then knocked out his opponent by using his posterior to send her crashing into a wall.

While others laughed, Naruto twitched at the sight as his mind took a trip down memory lane. The exact same thing occurred to him during his early academy days. It was easily one of the most embarrassing ways to lose. When both Chouji and Kasumi finished performing the Seal of Reconciliation, Iruka announced the next bout.

"Naruto, Hibachi, you two are up," Iruka announced and Hibachi's friends cheered him on.

"Kick his ass, Hibachi!" Hibachi's best friend, Unagi shouted.

"Language!" the academy teacher reprimanded.

"No sweat. This loser's going down," Hibachi grinned.

"Oh, I'm so gonna enjoy beating that ugly mug of yours," the boy could only lament not being able to use Goriki considering it was a ninjutsu, and Naruto didn't want to risk punch with that amount of strength behind it potentially sending Hibachi to the hospital.

"Make the seal," Iruka told them.

"Do we have to?"

"Do it or you're disqualified," was the man's stern response and both males begrudgingly performed it.

"Great, now I gotta disinfect my hand," Hibachi muttered loud enough for everyone to hear.

"Grr," Hottomaru looked ready to teach the academy student a lesson.

"Enough," Iruka frowned as some of the students laughed, "Ready, fight!"

The moment he said fight, Naruto appeared in front of Hibachi before the boy could react. Faster than most could see, Naruto delivered a devastating roundhouse kick on the bandana wearing boy's face, striking the chin first. The last thing Hibachi saw before his vision dimmed and his consciousness left him was the angry look in Naruto's eyes.

Soon his unconscious body was sent flying a good twelve feet away, twirling through the air like a spinning top before finally coming down and tumble limb over limb an additional four or five feet on the ground. The students were left stunned by the act and left in disbelief. Naruto, the Dead Last that many still thought him to be, had sent a student flying with a single kick. Granted, kicks were way stronger than punches but it still counted.

"Hi…Hibachi?" a concerned and shocked Unagi wondered if his friend was alright.

"Wh…What happened!" another student asked.

Checking up on the academy student, Iruka placed his fingers on his neck and sighed a breath of relief, "He's fine, merely unconscious," Iruka's announcement only proceeded to shock them ever further. "Winner by knockout, Uzumaki Naruto!"

Naruto merely smirked and made his way out of the fighting ring, the eyes of the students following him as he did. One in particular was curious. Sasuke knew that Hibachi was one of the weaker students but being knocked out by a single kick was no small feat for an academy student. Sasuke knew that it took a considerable amount of physical strength to perform.

"Guess the Dobe really has improved," the Uchiha muttered and was curious by his sudden increase in strength. That curiosity however was soon replaced by a frown upon seeing the blond's attire. In the end, he didn't let it bother him. At the very least, Sasuke was happy his eyes didn't hurt from seeing the orange eyesore the Dobe usually wore.

The following fight of Shino vs Unagi proved to be one sided once more. Still shocked by his best friend's easy defeat, Unagi was unable to concentrate properly. Despite Taijutsu not being an Aburame's forte, Unagi's lack of focus allowed Shino an easy win. The match that followed, which consisted of two civilian students, Hari and Uzo was sadder that anything. Many that watched the match knew that their blows were very sloppy and not up to par. Instead of continuing the match, Iruka decided to disqualify both academy students and had them go practice the academy kata. The man did it because he knew neither one would be able to defeat whoever they faced. If he were anyone else, Iruka would have taken a page out of Anko's book by mentally calling their performance piss poor.

"Ayane, Sasuke, enter the ring," Iruka announced.

"I forfeit!" Ayame declared.

"…What?" Iruka asked.

"I can't hit Sasuke-kun!" the girl gushed, and Sasuke scowled in disgust.

"Oh, for fucks sakes! I've had enough of this shit!" a voice called out, much to everyone's confusion.

"Oh, no," Naruto and Kiba paled and both of their ninken partners hid behind them. The two boys knew very well whose voice it belonged to and both knew it was angry.

The students and Iruka had no time to react when the body of Mitarashi Anko suddenly appeared in front of them, and the woman's look would make an erupting volcano appear tame by comparison.

"Anko?" Iruka, "What are you doing here?"

"Got relieved from border patrol earlier than expected and wanted to see how the Gaki was doing. Nice win by the way. Wouldn't exactly call it a fight, but the knockout was beautiful," she congratulated her ward before looking at the poor excuse of a kunoichi, "You, girly, have three seconds to get to hell out of my sight before I sick Midori on you."

Normally Naruto and Kiba would feel sorry for the girl, but considering what just happened, not so much. Sasuke was intrigued, however, at what she was doing. With many female followers and him ignoring them several of the boys began to assume that Sasuke batted for the other team.

Sasuke didn't bother to correct them, as he thought they were idiots for spreading rumors that were unbecoming of a future ninja. Truthfully, it was because of girls such as Ayane, who in Sasuke's mind were nothing more than a mockery of true kunoichi. This woman before him he knew was a true kunoichi, despite being eccentric and blunt as she is.

"One."

"Who are you?" Ayane's dumb question cost her.

"Three!" the woman announced and Midori's body slithered out of her trench-coat. The large serpent hissed loudly, frightening the students and caused Ayane to scream her heart out and start running until she was out of the academy yard.

"She's not worth the chase," Midori glared, "Naruto-san. Dinner," she nodded at the boy and his cowering ninken before slithering back towards Anko, who looked at the academy instructor.

"Seriously, what the fuck are you guys teaching these brats?" she asked despite already knowing. "You know what, don't fucking answer, I don't wanna know."

"Anko, langua-"

"Oh, stuff if you pussy!" Anko interrupted the man and glared at the losing academy students. "That had the be the most piss poor display I've ever seen!"

"Called it," three guesses who that was.

"Had that been real life you'd be dead before you could blink. As of now, I'm taking over. To start off, new rule, kiddos. If you lose badly, you answer to me. Otherwise, you're fine. Got it!"

"Anko you can't just-"

"Who's the Jonin here, Chunin," Anko asked him and Iruka stopped the moment she pulled rank, "I thought so. Blondie, Mutt, you two are up!" she ordered the two students to enter the ring.

Much like the previous fights with the civilian born academy students, Ino and Kiba's fight had been one sided in favour of Kiba. Ino had natural grace and speed that allowed her dodge a few of his swipes and blows, but it wasn't enough. Many saw that Kiba was the stronger and faster fighter. His greater reflexes allowing him to dodge Ino's strikes easily or bat them aside and land a blow.

With the match at two to none, Kiba was one more hit away from winning the fight. Thinking fast on her feet, Ino decided to use a different, in this case by showing more skin. "Oh, this heat," she fanned herself and proceeded to take off her top.

"Gah!" Kiba, along with some of the males, was left speechless. Eyes bulging, nose bleeding, and face blushing at the act. Using it to her advantage, Ino threw her purple top at Kiba. The boy instinctively caught the piece of clothing only to receive a harsh kick in return that made every male cringe and cover themselves up. Kiba was left gasping for air by the move and fell to the ground clutching his injured body part.

"Nice!" Anko approved of the move. Ino had no advantage in terms of speed and strength, something the Inuzuka were known for, what she did have were her looks, natural grace, and apparently wit to help create an advantage. Seeing what just happened, Anko knew the girl could use it to deadly effect.

"Ughh," Kiba continued to groan.

"Mutt, if you don't get up in the next ten seconds you're disqualified," Anko threatened. Though it had taken some effort, Kiba managed to get to his feet and glared angrily at his opponent.

"You'll pay for that," the feral boy growled and Ino was now worried. Ino had read how some Inuzuka could lose control of their more feral side when angry, making their blows much more deadly. Her father once commented he had been teamed up with one that fell under a genjutsu user's influence and went nuts.

"Good thing he said it also made them sloppy," Ino thought.

"Fight!"

With a growl Kiba charged towards Ino. The blonde kunoichi in training back-pedaled and ducked under his wild swings. Each strike being closer and faster than the previous one.

"Rhaaaaa!" Kiba's next swipe missed but managed to take a few hairs off Ino's head in the process.

"Ha!" the crouched blonde swept the brown haired Inuzuka's feet from under him. Making him fall and even more angry.

"Point, Blondie!" Anko announced.

"What!? Trips don't count as hits," Kiba argued.

"I know, but look where you landed, Mutt," she pointed downwards and both Kiba and the rest saw that his upper body had crossed the boundary.

"Damn it!" Kiba growled and punched the ground in anger.

"Two-two!" Anko announced, "Last round, kiddos. Ready, fight!"

Instead of charging in this time, Kiba opted another tactic and began to circle Ino like a wild wolf would to their prey. Ino for her part merely kept up her guard, it was anyone's game now and the blonde wanted to come up on top.

Leaping forward in an attempt to rush her, Kiba suddenly sidestepped to Ino's right. A feint, Ino realized and made an effort to keep her guard up and position herself accordingly. Kiba then moved in quickly and swiped at Ino once more, only for her to lash out with a kick at his face to drive him back. Unfortunately, the move proved to be her downfall as Kiba grabbed a hold of her foot, twisted around and threw Ino out of the ring, ending he match.

"Winner, Mutt!" Anko's announcement made Kiba whoop joyfully.

"Damn," Ino cursed but was given help from Anko.

"Not bad, kiddo," Anko was sincere. While Ino still needed some improvement, her wit and ingenuity in the mock fight showed Anko that the girl had what it took to be a kunoichi. Only time would tell if she'd make it.

"Next fight!"

Chouji and Naruto made their way into the ring, though Naruto was annoyed with the constant grumbling that came from the Akimichi's stomach, "Oh, man, I'm hungry."

"Fight first, eat later, brat," Anko shook her head. "Fight!"

Like before, Naruto moved in too quickly for Chouji to react and was struck in the gut. Unlike with Hibachi though Chouji not only was better prepared and didn't underestimate the blond, but the boy was much heavier too and was only pushed back by a few feet instead of flying.

"Ugh," the Akimichi groaned as he got back up.

"Sorry, man, but I ain't going easy on ya," Naruto apologized to his friend.

"No need, I'm done," Chouji announced, much to Naruto's disappointment. The boy then left the ring and proceeded to eat some chips. Chouji knew that without his clan's techniques his fighting style was greatly hampered. Winning against his previous opponent was one thing, fighting an improved Naruto was different. Coupled with Naruto's strength and speed the Akimichi wasn't going to bother fighting a battle he knew he'd lose. An Akimichi was known for their strength, not speed.

"… Well, that sucked," Anko muttered lowly but didn't bother reprimanding Chouji… yet anyways. Anko had an inkling the boy knew he wouldn't stand a chance without using his clan's ninjutsu, which was used to complement their taijutsu fighting style. Akimichi weren't exactly the fastest shinobi around. She didn't like the fact he gave up so easily but brought her attention elsewhere.

"Seeing as how we're at an uneven number you get a free pass, Bug Boy," Anko informed the Aburame heir who merely nodded. "Uchiha, you and the civi are next."

Though he managed to fight someone this time, Sasuke and many would hardly call it one considering how one sided it was once again. Being a prodigy and a shoo-in for the title of Rookie of the Year "Toshi, was it?"

"Hai?"

"Hmm, go join those two pathetic excuses and work on your form and don't bother coming back until you get it down!" Iruka frowned but couldn't really say anything. Her words were harsh but true. It was a pattern really where most civilian born academy students had a disadvantage when learning to be a ninja compared to clan born students. Not all of them were like it but generally the majority of the time these students lagged behind in one area or another. This was especially true for the kunoichi in training when it came to Taijutsu. Not all of them did, exceptions arose every now and then. But statistically they were still in the majority.

"It's a good thing I organized this then," Iruka thought. Better for them to learn about their faults and correct them now before it became too late. Graduation was soon but they still had an ample amount of time to improve.

"Alright, Top four fighters are Bug Boy, Uchiha, Mutt and Gaki," Anko announced.

"We have names, you know," Kiba spoke.

"Don't care, Mutt," was her rebuttal. "Now, seeing as how we need three contestants to go against the other block, two of you will need to duke it out. So, write your names and place 'em in the box."

All four students did so and Anko began to shake it before handing the box to Iruka, "First fighter … Uzumaki Naruto…Second fighter… Inuzuka Kiba."

"Shit," the Inuzuka heir cursed. Had he not seen what the former Dead Last did to Hibachi he'd had thought the match to be an easy one. Before Naruto's sudden boost in strength, which still baffled him, Kiba was easily the fastest Genin in the academy, followed right behind by Sasuke.

One of the main reasons why the Uchiha won every match when they fought was because Sasuke had incredible speed of his own and his fighting style revolved around speed, reflexes and counters. His mother had told that even without their bloodline limit being active an Uchiha was taught to look and gain a sense of what their opponent was going to do based on body language alone. It wasn't as effective without the Sharingan but it was effective still.

Naruto had no such fighting style. The boy's fighting style was basically that of a street brawler, all power and no technique or finesse. But where it was sloppy and unrefined before was now greatly improved. The boy's swings were more precise and balanced and less energy was wasted in them. It wasn't perfect, and it would not help against stronger and more experienced Taijutsu oriented foes, but Kiba knew Naruto's Taijutsu was a hell of a lot better than what it used to be. Factoring in with his speed that was now greater than his own, Kiba wasn't feeling that confident or boastful as he normally was.

"Mutt, quit spacing!" Anko's shout made him jump in the air and fall on his ass. Getting up and glaring at the woman, who merely glared back, Kiba entered the ring.

"Ready, fight!" Iruka announced.

Like before Naruto came in quick and struck out at Kiba with a kick. The Inuzuka heir barely had enough time to block the strike and the boy regretted doing so when he felt his arms tingle.

"Ughh," Kiba groaned, it wasn't painful, but it was discomforting. The kick had enough power in it to force him back half a foot. The action allowing Naruto to sneak in another blow to his upper chest that had Kiba wincing upon impact; the Inuzuka knew he was going to get a nasty bruise.

"Point, Naruto!" Iruka announced and both males went back to their starting positions. "Ready, fight!"

Instead of waiting for Naruto to come to him, Kiba rushed at the blond with the intention to create a feint and make the blond stumble on himself. Rearing his arm behind him and the other upfront with the intention to intimidate his opponent, Kiba smirked when he saw Naruto backpedal. Sidestepping quickly, Kiba then leaped forward slashed out at the blond. Only for Naruto to fall to the ground on his back and lash out with another kick when Kiba appeared above him. The suddenness of the kick along with having no way to defend himself caused the air to come rushing out of his lungs. It was only made worse when gravity took its toll and he landed on the ground with a relatively loud thud, forcing more air out of him.

"Ouch," Naruto winced and felt sympathetic. The boy knew exactly how he felt right now. Today wasn't Kiba's day when it came to nasty blows it would seem.

"Gahh!" Kiba gasped and breathed in as much air as he possible could. The boy felt nauseous and if he was being honest, ready to hurl up the contents of his stomach and then some.

"Mutt, you have five seconds to get off the ground and back to your position or you lose," Anko was doing this because unless your opponent was stupid or cruel, or both, in the real world no ninja would allow another the chance to recover if they had the opportunity. It was either kill or be killed.

Kiba, either through sheer will or stubbornness, or perhaps both, managed to rise to his feet and get to his side. Anko looked impassive as he got ready but the kunoichi acknowledged the fact that he been allowed to use his clan's famed Gijū Ninpō: Shikyaku no Jutsu (Imitation Beast Ninja Art: Four Legs Technique) his physical attributes would be greatly enhanced and the outcome would be much different. She knew Naruto would still have a chance of winning, but the match wouldn't be quite as easy. While clans had many advantages over clan-less ninja, what they were seeing before them was a disadvantage most clan of them had. Take away their ability to use signature techniques, techniques that made up the bulk of their fighting style as most never deviated from it, and they were much easier to deal with.

"Ready, fight!"

Naruto rushed in once more and threw a punch at Kiba's face, rather than blocking it though Kiba grabbed the outstretched limb by the wrist instead and held on tight. Thrusting his other arm out, Kiba grabbed it as well and smirked and prepared to throw his captive.

But Naruto merely grinned and that unsettled him. Twisting his caught hands enough for him to grab a hold Kiba's own wrists, Naruto jerked forward and delivered a vicious head-butt to his opponent's face. Kiba remained momentarily stunned before he felt himself falling to the ground.

"Winner, Naruto!" a stunned Iruka announced, it was a unique way to win to say the least.

"Ughhh," Naruto groaned and swayed a bit. Thick headed as many made him out to be the action still hurt and gave him a headache. "Note to Self: Wear better protective headgear when doing that move," he groaned and watched as Iruka take Kiba to the school nurse.

"Umino, make a note to have the Gaki's headband cushioned. Something tells me this is gonna become a regular thing, unfortunately," the snake mistress informed.

"Noted," was all he said and yet to ensure Kiba was alright.

"You know, when they say use your head, they don't mean it literally, Gaki," Anko chuckled.

"I won didn't I... I did win right? That wasn't just my head playing tricks on me?" his head throbbed so he wasn't certain.

"Yeah, you won. Now, buck up. There are a few more fights before it's all over," she ordered and both proceeded to walk over to the other block of students just in time to hear the next winner.

"Winner, Hyuga Hinata!" they heard Mizuki announce. As she made her way out of the ring, Mizuki spotted the group and cocked an eyebrow upon seeing Anko. "What the?" he muttered before seeing Iruka flicker in.

Looking between the two, Mizuki asked his fellow teacher, "Do I want to know?" to which the man merely shook his head.

"I'm in charge of this little tourney at the moment," Mizuki was familiar enough with Anko's reputation to know she wasn't asking; she was telling him, "Who are the winners?"

"Haruno Sakura, Hyuga Hinata, and Shikamaru Nara. There would have been an additional fight but two couldn't continue and needed to see the nurse while another one was disqualified for attempting to use Ninjutsu," Mizuki informed her.

"Didn't need to know the life story, Mizuki," Anko said and gave the winners a look over, "Alright, we have a Nara, a Hyuga and the Bubblegum my Gaki has a crush on," Anko was surprised seeing a Nara in the final round considering they were legendary sloths.

The Hyuga was not very surprising considering the clan specialized in Taijutsu, "Though if what Nai-chan says is true this kid's got issues," Anko had never met Hiashi before but she had met other main family Hyuga members. Her honest opinion on most of them was that they had a ten-foot pole up their ass. Sakure she believed was either lucky to make it this far or be one of the more competent ones.

Either way it mattered little to her, "Okay, then. Put your names in the box and let's draw," quickly jotting their names down and then mixing up the box they were then put in, Iruka began taking out names.

"Aburame Shino!" he announced as the first contestant before taking out a second, "Shikamaru Nara!"

"How troublesome," Shikamaru muttered. "I forfeit," Shikamaru announced and left to stand by his best friend.

"Huaaah, Naras. Smart as hell but just as fucking lazy," Anko groaned. She should have seen this coming. Whatever she'd let the kid's mother deal with it. Inoichi never let up how Yoshino ruled the Nara household with an iron fist, and cast-iron pan. Speaking of which, "Oi, Midori!"

"Yes?" the talking snake surprised many and frightened a few. Whispering something too low for anyone to hear, Midori nodded and slithered away.

"Right…" Iruka sighed and took another name, "Uchiha Sasuke and…Oh, boy, Uzumaki Naruto!"


Here's the next chapter! Leave tons of reviews, hopefully 50, and the next one will be out by this Friday. Also, don't forget to check out the poll I have posted on my profile afterwards. Have a nice one and be safe.