Shinku was getting slightly worried. He knew he had gone ahead of Sasuke and his team, but it had been a while since then. No matter how long their stupid shenanigans with that Rock Lee fellow, they were cutting it a bit too close. It was then that the door opened and the three walked through, prompting a sigh of relief from the red-haired Uchiha, though he didn’t miss that Sasuke was wearing a few new bruises.
“Sasuke… What happened?” Shinku questioned.
“Nothing.” He answered dismissively
“Heheh. This guy got beat up by bushy eyebrows!” Naruto ridiculed.
“So did you!” Sakura punched him the back of his head.
Shinku shook his head. He would heal Sasuke’s small injuries, but not only did he know Sasuke wouldn’t want him to, he also didn’t want to reveal that ability here. He wondered when the exam would start when Ino suddenly jumped on Sasuke’s back, putting her arms around his neck, before starting to flirt with him. Sakura didn’t take kindly to this and they immediately started fighting as always. Ino’s teammates followed behind her, Shikamaru mentioning how much of a bother this was, Shinku sharing the sentiment.
Team 8 arrived at the scene next, Kiba taking the lead with his dog, Akamaru on his head and Shino, who barely ever spoke and Hinata, who barely ever spoke and spoke in whispers whenever she did, behind him.
“Looks like this year’s rookie genin are all participating eh? Shinkumaru, where’s your team?” Kiba spoke up.
“Don’t got one. Taking the test alone.”
“Huh? The test is supposed to be taken in teams of three though.” He retorted.
“Ah. Kakashi-sensei said something about that a minute ago. That this year there was one exception.” Naruto added.
“What’s with that? That’s totally unfair!” Kiba cried out, prompting a shrug from Shinku.
“W-Well… the test is probably going to be hard without a group too… so…” Hinata tried to calm Kiba down. Her attempts at being the voice of reason in her team at least, Shinku thought to be admirable. He promised himself not to judge her shyness anymore.
“Ah. Whatever. Whether you’re here alone or with a team, it doesn’t matter. We’ve trained quite a lot so we’re not gonna lose to any of you guys.” Kiba announced.
“They say the weaker the dog the louder they bark. You sure that isn’t about you and your big mouth, Kiba?” Sasuke shot back.
“What was that?!” Kiba, howled, causing Hinata to try and calm him down. Choji approached Kiba only for Shino to step between them, warning him not to step on a bug on the floor. Shinku brought the palm of his hand to his face. This was chaos.
“Hey, you guys.” A konoha shinobi with grey hair tied in a ponytail and wearing glasses approached them, causing everyone to turn their attention to him. “You should be a little quieter. You guys are the rookies, straight out of the academy, right? This isn’t a field trip, you know.” ‘Yes, please tell them. The glares from everyone are starting to hurt.’
“Who are you to be acting all high and mighty?!” Ino yelled, causing Shinku to return his palm to his face.
“I’m Yakushi Kabuto. Anyway, take a good look around you.”
Everybody turned to look around them, finally noticing almost every eye in the room being on them, sending them death glares. No matter how you looked at it, they’d attracted the attention, of everyone in the room and by extension, were possibly picked out as targets already. Shinku was with them too, so perhaps he was as well, but in his case, he didn’t mind. In fact it would only make things more interesting for him. The others… well if they said the same thing Shinku wouldn’t be able to say for sure that they’re not overestimating themselves.
“Everyone’s tense with the exam coming up.” Kabuto continued “I thought I’d warn you guys before you got into trouble with someone.” Everyone turned back to him. “I guess it can’t be helped.” Kabuto showed a wry smile “You’re rookies that don’t know left from right. You remind me of my old self.”
“Kabuto-san… Was it?” Sakura asked.
“Then is this your second time?” She continued.
“No… It’s my seventh. This exam is only held twice a year and it’s now my fourth year.”
“So you know a lot about these exams?” Sakura questioned further.
“Kind of.” Kabuto said, causing Naruto to exclaim how impressed he was and Shikamaru to point out that he hasn’t passed despite it. Shinku had to agree with Shikamaru, but he didn’t say that out loud. That didn’t mean that Kabuto wasn’t a good source of information. Kabuto rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment.
“Then maybe I’ll share some information with my cute juniors…” Kabuto said as he rummaged through his tool pouch, pulling out a deck of cards “With these Ninja Info Cards.”
“What the hell are those…?” Shinku finally spoke up, never having heard of something like that before.
“To put it simply, they’re cards that have information burned into them and coded with Chakra.” He crouched down and placed the deck on the floor. “I spent four whole years gathering information on this exam.” Something sounded off about that statement to Shinku. Weren’t these things even held in different villages? How do you gather information on that? It can’t be that they’re the same every time. If it was a true statement, then Shinku had no choice but to admit he was impressed. This kind of information isn’t shared with genin lightly, after all.
“I have nearly two hundred of these cards.” Kabuto continued. “To open the data on them.” He put a card on the ground and started spinning it with a finger. ‘Is he putting chakra into it? What’s the point of spinning it then? Showoff…’ This caused a few people to question it, causing Kabuto to explain that the information can’t be seen without his chakra. ‘Like I said. Showoff.’ The card poofed into a screen that showed a world map with some of the village symbols under it and numbers under those. Shinku guessed it’s a graph of how many shinobi are attending the exam from each separate village. Hmm? What was that last one with only one team? A musical note? Shinku had never heard of that village before.
He looked around attempting to find where these three are, but with so many people in the room it was practically impossible. Meanwhile Kabuto explained what Shinku had already understood as well as asking some questions about the purpose of the chunin exams which Shinku thought the answers were obvious enough to. When he was done the card poofed into being pure white again. Sasuke stepped forward.
“Of those cards are there ones that hold detailed information on individuals?”
“There are.” Kabuto simply answered. “Are there any that hold your interest?”
“Oh oh! IS there one of me?” Shinku intervened.
“There is, in fact.”
“Can you show me?” Shinku asked with shining eyes.
“Just so you know, the information isn’t perfect, but even then I still have it saved on the cards.” Kabuto put the deck together and picked it up, swiping his hand over it quickly and retrieving a card. ‘Show. Off.’ He placed the card on the ground and put his finger on it. ‘What you’re not gonna spin it like you’re doing a card trick this time?’ Then he spinned it while putting his chakra in it and it revealed the information on it once more. ‘Spoke too soon.’
“Uchiha Shinkumaru, also known as Shinkumaru of the Eternal Sharingan. 15 D-rank and 1 C-rank mission complete. Incredibly impressive for someone fresh out of the academy. Your abilities are all high, but it’s unknown exactly how much since you’ve never been part of a mission that challenged you. A favorite for being promoted in this year’s exams. It’s rumored that you always have your sharingan active, but…” He looks up at Shinku. “It looks like that one’s false.”
“Today’s special, after all.” Shinku grinned, not failing to be impressed at the amount of information Kabuto had gathered on him. Still it was all the public stuff. Nothing about his medical abilities which he’d never used outside of personal training and nothing about his advanced sharingan’s abilities which he hadn’t revealed to anyone.
“So? Can I ask next?” Sasuke asked, a bit irritated because of Shinku cutting him off.
“Ahaha… sorry. Go ahead.” Shinku moved away apologetically.
Sasuke asked about Rock Lee and Gaara. Rock Lee had a high score in Taijutsu but nothing else was special. Gaara’s scores weren’t known, but apparently he had come back from every mission he’d completed unharmed, even the one B-rank. That was impressive, but there was always the possibility that the B-rank mission he was sent to was an easy one. There is a wide range to B-rank missions. You could be facing other genin or even a jonin. It all depended on circumstance and how accurate and detailed the information about the mission is.
Being done with handing out personal information, Kabuto next started explaining about the villages participating in the exams. Six in total, which, with the exception of the sound village, Shinku had confirmed all of earlier. Apparently Sound was a new village in a small country so there wasn’t much information on it. This explained why Shinku knew nothing about it. Everyone talked some amongst themselves, discussing all the new information that was shared with them. Shinku was about to leave, starting to get bored when suddenly Naruto yelled out.
Shinku, turning to him saw him pointing at the crowd of people, that were about ready to tear each other to shreds at any moment.
“My name’s Uzumaki Naruto!” Shinku distanced himself discreetly, not wanting to be associated. “I won’t lose to any of you!” Naruto continued as Shinku entered the crowd and blended in while they were distracted. “Got it?!” he finished. Though it was hilarious to hear one of the sand ninja use the exact same line Sasuke had used on Kiba only a few minutes ago to describe what Naruto’s actions. Sakura grabbed Naruto, trying to appease the crowd by apologizing, though how effective it was was… questionable. It was as she was yelling at the idiot that suddenly three people jumped out of the crowd.
The sound genin attacked Kabuto, one of them throwing kunai at him while another threw a punch at him, which kabuto dodged, through whatever sort of trick they used it still seemed to have done damage. It was then that at the front of the room a large shroud of smoke suddenly emerged.
“Silence! You degenerates!” The smoke cleared up revealing about a dozen Konoha shinobi, the one in the middle standing out as by far the tallest, wearing a black coat and with two long scars on his face.
“Looks like I made you wait.” That person spoke out. “I’m the proctor for the first test of the Chunin exam. Morino Ibiki.” He said almost as if to announce the official beginning of the exam. ‘Finally!’ thought Shinku. He was tired of waiting.
“You from the hidden sound!” Ibiki pointed at them “Don’t be doing whatever you want right before the exam! You want to be failed from the get-go?!”
The guy from the sound wrapped up in bandages apologized… in words at least. It didn’t sound like a real apology at all.
“Hmph. This is a good opportunity so I’ll say this.” Ibiki began again. “There will be no battles between participants without the proctor’s permission. And even if you get permission, actions that could lead to the death of an opponent will not be permitted. Any pig that dares disobey me will be instantly disqualified. Undestood?!” Silence overcame the room for a moment before the another of the sound nin, one who’d thrown the kunai spoke up, calling the exam easy. Mmm. Shinku wondered if he’d get to fight these guys. If he did he might want to teach them not to go dissing other people before they know anything about them. That could be dangerous. They could piss off someone they don’t want to mess with, you know? Having manners was important. Shinku nodded to himself.
Ibiki ignored them “Then, we will now start the first test of the chunin exams. Turn in your applications and take one of these number cards in exchange.” He held up something like a numbered badge. “And sit in the seat matching that number. After that we’ll distribute the papers for the written test.” ‘Seriously? A written test?’ Shinku thought in disgust and utter disappointment. Naruto seemed to feel similarly as he shouted out in pure distress.
Everybody started moving, giving their applications and taking their numbers in exchange, then heading to their seat. The process took a while but eventually everyone was in their seat and they started handing out the papers for the test.
Ibiki attracted everyone’s attention, tapping a piece of chalk against the blackboard and started explaining the rules. They start with ten points. Each wrong question takes off a point. Each time they’re caught cheating two points are taken off. If they’re caught five times they’re instantly disqualified. Pass or failure is also determined based on a team’s total value. If even one of the team gets a zero, they instantly failed. Those two didn’t even apply to Shinku.
“Furthermore!” Ibiki continued. “In accordance to an exception in the rules for participation…” Ibiki glared straight at Shinku, causing him to gulp deeply. “I’ve made an additional rule. Listen well. For those who don’t have a team with them today to pass, you must finish with ten points!” Shinku sighed. OF course there’d be a catch. “Finally, the last question will be given forty-five minutes after the start of the test. Begin!”
Shinku flipped his paper and went through the questions. ‘Wow these are actually damn difficult. There shouldn’t be many people that would be able to solve these themselves…’ The way Ibiki worded it “Know that those who perform clumsy cheating will bring ruin upon themselves.” Made it sound like this whole thing was made with people cheating in mind. That being said, unlike everyone else, Shinku needed all ten points to finish. He needed to solve all the questions and not be found cheating once. Now. He could just solve all the questions in time if he pushed himself… but that would be such a waste of effort and watching everybody else freak out and get caught cheating sounded so much more fun.
Like the guy who added his puppet amongst the proctors. Who the hell would think nobody would notice? Is this guy an idiot? These people are chunin or jonin, not four-year-olds. Scratch that, Shinku wouldn’t have fallen for that even when he was four.
Or the guy who literally had his dog look through other people’s sheets from on top of his head. Shinku had to admit it was impressive Kiba can speak dog… but impressive in the party trick sort of sense.
Shino… was probably using bugs. If Shinku turned his sharingan on he could probably notice them, but he was gonna go through this without that. Sasuke was… using his sharingan to copy someone’s hand movements. Not bad. Naruto… is an idiot. Sakura is probably solving them herself. She at least has book smarts. Hinata… probably the same as Sakura? Either that or she was using her byakugan. Fuck the byakugan might as well have been made for cheating on stuff like this.
Through most of the exam Shinku was just watching other people. When people started getting dropped because they were found out too many times it really got funny, but at one point he got bored so he started actually solving the problems. Only he started from the last backwards. As for the rest. The crow outside the window would tell him all he needed to know. The crow observed the papers of people throughout the whole exam. At the point where it found someone who had every answer solved, it flew off, landing on top of the academy building and poofing into a cloud of smoke, revealing Shinku’s shadow clone which then released itself, transmitting the answers into the original’s mind. Just filling those in took him no more than two, three minutes and he was done. That being said the forty-five minutes were almost up.
He had spent most of the time doing nothing until his shadow clone managed to find someone with all the questions. Or, he guessed it was more of it waiting for all the questions to be filled in by someone who obviously knew them. Even if they saw the crow and figured someone was using it to cheat there was absolutely no way they’d discover it was Shinku. And they wouldn’t just stop it. I mean they obviously noticed the puppet guy’s cheating, but it’s not like they told him to stop or destroyed his puppet or whatever. Speaking of, he was in the toilet? How long’s he gonna stay there for? Forty-five minutes are up, already.
“Alright!” Ibiki suddenly called out “I will now present the tenth problem!” He paused some, letting the test-takers process this. “But before that… I’m going to add some rules to the last problem.”
Suddenly the puppet guy entered the room, returning from the toilet.
“It looks like playing with dolls wasn’t a waste, after all.” Ibiki pointed out ‘No, what are you looking all surprised for? Did you really seriously think they hadn’t noticed?’ Shinku had at some point started believing he had done this with the intention of sacrificing two points. “Well whatever. Sit.” Ibiki waited for him to walk over to his seat. “Now then let me explain. These are… the hopeless rules! First, I’ll have you choose whether or not you’ll take this tenth question.”
“What happens if we don’t take it?” Asked the female blonde sand ninja.
“If you choose not to take it, then at that point your score will become zero. In other words, you fail. And of course so do the accompanying two from your team.” Everyone pointed out how there’s no reason not to take it, which caused Ibiki to speak up again. “And… one more rule. If you choose to take it and are unable to answer the question correctly… Then you will henceforth relinquish your right to take the chunin exam forever!”
‘Is this guy kidding? There’s no way that’s the case. The villages want people to participate in these exams and perform well. Taking away someone’s ability to take it forever would mean that even when they become a much better ninja they still wouldn’t be able to participate in the chunin exam and raise their villages reputation, neither would they be able to take missions pertaining to their increased ability. It’s a squander of human resources.’ Shinku doubted. Then again. He looked closely at Ibiki… if it’s him he might do it.
People spoke out. Mostly calling it bullshit. Ibiki only laughed at them, telling them he’s the one who makes the rules. Yeah. If it’s this guy it’s possible. Still there was no way Shinku was quitting here. Not when he hadn’t even done anything fun yet. The exams were only just starting and quitting here would be a huge disappointment. If he’s unable to answer it and has to remain a genin for the rest of his life… then he’d just have to operate outside of the villages normal rules in order to accomplish his objective. As much as he wanted to be loyal to Konoha if they would do something like this for real, there was no reason to be loyal to them in the first place.
“Now then. Those who won’t be taking the tenth question, raise your hands!” ibiki commanded.
After a minute or two of hesitation one person managed to work up the courage to raise his hand and was sent out together with his team while apologizing to the two in tears. This opened the flood gates as more and more people started raising their hands and being disqualified. Shinku even saw that Naruto was struggling with the idea. Yet as soon as he raised his hand, he slammed it down onto the desk, crying out that he won’t run and he’ll take it, that even if he remained a genin for the rest of his life he’d become Hokage no matter what.
Well. That was to be expected out of Naruto for Shinku. It seemed like his little speech also allowed the remaining people some courage as nobody else dared to leave after it. Ibiki asked one more time, but nobody else raised their hands. He waited a minute before speaking up.
“I like your determination! Then… For those who remained here… I declare… that you have passed the first test!” Shinku sighed in relief. Thank goodness. He was right.
Ibiki further explained that there was never a tenth question to begin with and if there was then that’d be the question of whether to remain or not and that the test was mostly a test for their information-gathering capabilities. That there were people planted within the test-takers who had all the answers in advance. That in a mission information is something you’ll have to fight to obtain with your life, taking off his headband which covered the whole top of his head and revealing the scars of various injuries on his scalp. Scratches, nail punctures, burns. Signs of torture. ‘Not a pretty sight.’ Shinku noted. The purpose of the tenth question was to test people’s determination. A real shinobi doesn’t get a chance to refuse a mission simply because it might endanger them or their comrades.
The lengthy explanation having barely finished, the window suddenly broke as something jumped inside two kunai flying out of it to attach a cloth’s sides to the ceiling and revealing a busty, scantily clad kunoichi, who didn’t waste any time in announcing herself the proctor of the second phase of the exams, Mitarashi Anko, leaving everyone in the room absolutely speechless. Only Ibiki who peeked his face from behind the cloth was able to speak up, telling her to read the atmosphere.
After a small conversation between the two proctors and Anko announcing that the genin should get the information for the next stage from their respective jonin teachers, they were dismissed and Shinku was only glad for it. The whole day had been a huge disappointment to him. In the end the only thing the first phase of the exam managed to test him for… was his patience.