Now it's time for the masks of all those in the inner circle to be dropped. It's also time for the preliminaries for the third exam. This fic is brought to you by a twenty-three and nineteen year old Christian.
Ch. 8 The Preliminaries
Team seven was told by Iruka what the meaning of the scrolls were in the mission. After that, Katusmi got the five prong seal off of Naruto, and they prepared for the task ahead of them.
"Are you sure that goes with the seal?" Naruto asked.
Katsumi took one look at it and realized her mistake. "You're right. It has to be this. Oh I hope I don't screw this up if the time comes."
"Relax, you'll get it. Just like you got everything else." Naruto said to comfort the girl.
"Which seal are you two going over?" asked Sakura.
"The seal to replace Garra's. His seal is incomplete. It explains his lack of sleep." The redhead girl replied.
"Really? And why work on it now?"
"Because we don't know who's gonna face him. If it's me, it's gonna be tricky for me to have him stay still. But if it's Katsumi, then she'll have to make sure that she get this right. If not then the seal will end up being worse, but that's not going to happen, because I know you're gonna pull it off if the time comes. Plus we might not face him at all." The blond said to assure her that she would be able to do it.
"What about Dillon?" Sakura asked. "What are we gonna do about him?"
"I don't know. I just hope that he never told that snake about my home. I don't know what I would do to him." she growled.
It was time for the preliminaries and while there were many who complained about it. Katsumi was worried. Could she be able to pull of the switch on the seal in time? And that's if she had to face him. She had been working on that nonstop for the last four days, only stopping to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. And sure she had gotten a lot better, but she still felt nervous. Naruto had a natural ability with seals. Then again he got that from his parents. She had to learn with Naruto telling her how. She loved it, but it was so stressful sometimes.
"Is there anyone who wishes to quit?" The aging Hokage asked.
"I'm out." Kabuto said. He was unable to complete his assignment on gathering information on Sasuke for his lord. Same with Katsumi. They left the Forrest A.S.A.P after confronting Sasushi's team.
"Coward." Katsumi growled. She never wanted to see him again, but knew that you can't always get what you want. She'd see him again. And it would be too soon for her taste. Even if it was twenty years from then it wold still be too soon.
"It's time for the selection process." Gekko said. Soon two names came up on the screen. They were Sasuke and Kabuto's Yoroi.
"Careful Sasuke. He might have an ace up his sleeve." Katsumi said quickly to warn him.
"Thanks, I'll keep in in mind." He said making his way to Yoroi.
"Begin!" Gekko shouted and the match ended without Sasuke using his cursed seal. All thanks to the seal Katsumi placed around it keeping it from being set loose.
"That was close Sasuke." Kakashi said. "Had it not been for the seal you might've gone mad, and I'd have to stop the fight.
"I know. I just want the other seal so I don't have to worry about that monster trying to take control of me." The boy said with worry.
"It's time for the next match." It was Zaku Vs Shino.
"So far they seem to be canon." Katsumi said to Naruto.
"Yeah, except Zaku's arms are fine and aren't in slings." He replies, and despite this difference it still ended the same.
"He should've stepped down." she said. "Now his injuries will prevent him from resuming his career."
"Not to mention the you-know-what." Naruto said causing Katumi to shutter. She did not want that to happen.
Once again things stayed the same with Kakuro beating Misumi. That was not a pretty sight.
"Now for the next battle." Gekko said. Once again staying cannon, but this time the ending would change.
"Now I get to show you that I'm better for Sasuke than you forehead." Ino said with a sneer.
"Not this time Ino. Unlike you I've been training nonstop and I'm going to win. Plus it's Sasuke's choice anyway on who he wants. Not us." They then went down and Gekko gave them the command to begin.
"You're going down billboard brow!" Ino shouted only to be knocked out by a chop to the neck by Sakura.
"You were saying?"
"Winner Haruno Sakura." the proctor said.
"Good work Sakura." Katsumi called out. Then the next set of names were seen. Tenten and Dosu.
"Things are changing now, aren't they?" Sakura asked.
"In the match ups yeah. Let's see how this one goes. My money's on Dosu." Katsumi said. She was never given the chance to train Tenten so knew that she would loose. She lost but not without a fight. At the end of the fight she was lying on the floor with blood coming from her hears. She was taken to the medical wing.
Next fight was Kin and Shikamaru. Things were about to get interesting.
"Hey Shikamaru, it's time to drop the mask. Show them what you can do at the last second. Make them calculate for what they cannot see." Katsumi said to her Nara friend.
"Will do." he smirked. The boy went down and protected his ears from Kin's own sound attack with chakara.
"Why aren't you being effected yet?" She growled when she saw it was not working. She had set it up so that he would be disorientated with the sound of her bells.
"Why should it? I'm protecting my ears just like Sakura did when you fought her outside a few days ago." He then used a the Shadow Possession Jutsu and made her punch herself and while he had a black eye, she was out cold.
"He did it." Sakura said.
The next match up was set. Naruto VS Kiba. This was going to be an interesting match.
"I'll make you pay for the embarrassment from team placements." Kiba said.
"Wow I'm surprised you're still mad when it was not my fault someone slammed you in the back and got you to kiss Sasuke." He said trying not to laugh. Everyone else was though. Except Shino. He never laughs.
"Begin." The protector said trying to keep it together.
"I'LL KILL YOU!" Kiba screamed. Naruto dropped the coat showing his toned mussels, and punched Kiba so hard he hit the wall.
"And it's over. Call it Hayate." Naruto said, and he did making Naruto the victor.
'So this what he's capable of is he? If he wasn't a jinchuriki, then I would've taken him instead. But still his 'sister's' skills with that jutsu. I've never seen anything like it. Not even from the Fourth Hokage could launch his attack like that.' The snake sannin thought to himself where he was standing.
"The next match will be Neji VS Hinata." Gekko said.
"Fate declared me to be the victor today." Neji said.
"Hinata, time to drop the mask and show the world what you can do." Katsumi whispered into her ear.
"I will. He'll soon change after this. Make no mistake." Hinata replied to her friend. She made her way down and got into a stance that Neji did not recognize.
"Just give up now, and you won't be humiliated in front of everyone here. I'll win no matter what. You know that."
"You're wrong Neji. I won't loose today. You will. I have been holding back when I trained to make it appear that I was weak. I know why you hate the Main House. It's because of your father's death."
"Begin." Neji was coming in for a kill strike. When Hinata vanished into thin air.
"Up here!" She called out from above. She then slammed her fists into his skull knocking her out.
"Winner, Hyuga Hinata." the proctor said.
"Way to go Hinata!" Naruto called out. Causing the girl to blush.
"Time for the next match." It was Sasushi VS Lee.
"Lee don't hold back. Not even on ki attacks." Katsumi said the teenager.
"I will not fail you." He said ripping of the spandex to reveal a gi of the same color with an orange undershirt.
"Kamehameha!" Lee called out. Sasushi quickly substituted himself with some rubble from Naruto and Kiba's match, and used a jutsu that used the earth to grab him, and send electricity through his body. The match ended quickly, and not in a way Katsumi thought it would.
"Winner Takata Sasushi." Gekko said. Lee was healed by Sakura. She received many thanks from her and Gai as well.
"He had expected the attack, and countered accordingly. Then he ended it quickly with that jutsu of his. Looks like he has earth and lightning natures. He's smart. We'll have to be careful with him. He has more tricks than his fellow genin of the Sound Village."
The next match frightened her more then the fight she had just seen for one reason only. It was now her turn, and she had to face Garra.
'Oh no! What if I mess up on the seal? I might not get another chance like this!' Katsumi thought to herself. She was afraid about the seal more than the fight itself. But she had to put on a brave face. Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Don't worry sis. You'll fine." Naruto said giving her a reassuring smile.
"You're right. But I've never fought anyone quite like Garra before. Even if you and him do share similarities."
"You'll still do great, no matter what." He said giving her a thumbs up.
"Thanks." She went down there passing Kankuro as he went up. "When this is over, you're brother won't be the same."
'What did she mean by that?' he asked himself mentally.
"Begin." Gekko called out. Garra lashed out with his sand and Katsumi dodged. She got passed his defense and got in several good hits. But he still had that armor that protected him form close ranged attacks.
"If I'm gonna win this, I'll need to go all out." She said pulling off the gi top, the shoes, and the wristbands. When she got back into the fight she was dealing more damage to Garra with tijutsu alone. She used ninjutsu as well, but not too much. She didn't want to loose all her chakara lowering his defenses.
"KATSUMI! I'LL KILL YOU!" Garra screamed, but he froze. He couldn't move. Not even his sand moved.
"You know, after all these years. I still don't know what to call it." She said her eyes on him. Orochimaru would've had to move and thus look suspicious if he wanted to see what was happening.
"I could look away and you'd still be stuck. Even Karuma had trouble moving while under my dojutsu." she boasted. "So do everyone a favor and stay still. I have something that I need to do. Don't worry, it'll be real quick."
"You can do it sis." Naruto said.
"What's she doing?" Kankuro asked.
"She's making a seal to replace the current one he has now. It's risky, but it's worth it." Naruto said to Garra's older brother.
"How is she keeping him still?"
"Glad you asked. You see she's not my sister by blood. She took the Uzumaki name so she could be closer to me. Her kakigekai can have people move if she wants them to move. Like your thing with the puppets." he said to the boy.
"Amazing. But how is she going to fix the seal?"
"By replacing it with one that will make him calmer and able to sleep at night instead of having his soul eaten by the demon if he tried to rest. We did research on the demon, and the seal used to contain it. And we created the seal that will soon be on our your younger brother."
"I'm done. Now to put it on." She said making several handseals. "Ninja art: Seal replacement jutsu!" She called out slamming the seal on his stomach.
Katsumi found herself in a strange place. It was filled with nothing but sand. "This must be Garra's mindscape." she said quietly to herself.
"You little brat! I'll kill you!" called out the voice of the one tailed demon. His head came out of the sand and a collar could be seen around his neck with a the kangi for 'seal' as the tag.
"Shikaku, so nice to meet you. Now hold still, I'll put this on, and be on my way." she said with a smile.
"I know what you're up to! You'll make sure I can't have my fun!"
"Exactly what I was planning. Oh how did you ever find out?" She asked with cheesy acting.
"I know what that seal can do I saw it through the boy's eyes. Get out now, and I won't kill you." he threatened.
"No one threatens me and gets away with it. Not even Karuma gets away with that!" She shouted pulling off the old seal, and replacing it with the new seal. 'Please work right.' she thought to herself. She then felt pain shoot through her, and she felt something warm escaping her body.
She found herself back at the arena where she just fought Garra. He was out cold, and nothing was happening to him.
"Winner of this match, Uzumaki Katsumi." Gekko called out. Then she felt something at her left shoulder. It hurt so much. She placed her hand on her shoulder, and she saw blood.
"Katsumi!" Naruto called out. He ran to her hand healed her injuries before the medics could take her.
"Thanks bro." She said giving him a hug.
Temari and her brother ran up to Garra's sleeping form. They couldn't believe it. Garra wasn't being taken over by his demon.
"How did you do that?" Temari asked.
"I had to practice that seal over and over again. It took awhile, but I was able to get it to where I could execute it without any mistakes... Most of the time..."
"Most of the time?" they both asked.
"And you did it right. I don't see any errors. I should know. I'm an Uzumaki by birth." Naruto said proudly.
"Let's let the medics take him for further examination." Katsumi said. The sand siblings nodded in agreement.
"Now for the final match." the proctor said. It was Temari VS Choji.
"Don't call him fat. You'll end up regretting it." she whispered to Temari.
"You know what to do Choji." Naruto said.
"Time to remove the mask." the fa... I mean the big boned ninja said. He got down and prepared for battle.
"Begin!" he shouted one last time. The battle began. Choji attacked with everything he had, but it wasn't enough in the end. He thought he had her on the ropes when she revealed the third moon on her fan. It ended so quickly after that. He slammed straight to the ground after his face slammed into the sealing. That damaged his spine.
"Choji!" Katsumi screamed. When Temari was declared the winner she jumped out and healed him as quickly as possible.
"You alright big guy?" she asked.
"I'm good. I could go for an all you can eat barbeque right now." he said making her laugh.
"Alright it's time for everyone to find out who'll they'll be facing in one month's time." Hiruzen said.
"A month? What gives?" Kakuro asked.
"We know what everyone can do to an extent. Some of us went all out, so we know their moves. This will give us time to prep for the finals. Not to mention this will give all the people who may want to hire our villages for our services. Am I correct Lord Hokage?" Katsumi asked.
"Yes you are Katsumi, as sharp as always. Now it is time for the drawings. We will see who will face who right now." the old man said.
The end result match one was going to be Hinata VS Sakura. Match number two was Kasumi VS Sasushi. The third match was Naruto VS Sasuke. Match number four was Shino VS Kankuro. The fifth match was Temari Vs Shikamaru. And Dosu faced no one that round.
'So this is how our rivalry ends huh? During the Chunin Exams. But why are you with Orochimaru?' Katsumi asked. She was determined to find out.
"I look forward to seeing you all in one month." the third said.
'I will do everything in my power to insure that you do not die.' Katsumi said to herself.
"Hey what's that?" Naruto asked looking over her shoulder. They arrived home a short time ago and were going to rest up for the rest of the day. Tomorrow, they would start training.
"It's something that I've been working on in my head since we left the tower." Katsumi replied.
"'In the event of my death I Uzumai Katsumi will'-" Naruto began to read aloud with the scroll in his hands only for it to be torn from his hands.
"Naruto this is not for you to read unless I die during the Sound and Sand Invasion. Okay?"
"But why? Why now?"
"Because I don't know what's going to happen at 'Zero Hour'. Not since Dillon arrived. And he's with that no good snake sannin."
"I see your point. What are we gonna do about him?"
"Leave him to me Naruto. I'll talk to him on one of our rest days." she said surprising him.
"Because I wanna know what he's been up to, and I wanna know why he's following him."
And you'll find our next time! I know I'm evil right? Well I hope you enjoyed this. Please review and God Bless you.