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Seven Colours (Naruto)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Planeshunter, May 29, 2020.

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  1. TheGrog

    TheGrog In the number mines

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    I'm kind of hoping for an interlude where Karin's team considers abandoning her before remembering that Ran is waiting on the other side.
     
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  2. Izicata

    Izicata AE ALTADOON GHARTOK PADHOME

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    He knows you have zero actual loyalty to Grass and would be very willing to follow Karin to Konoha, so he's just being friendly and getting to know his new prodigy. Grass and Konoha are even allies, so it probably wouldn't be too much of a political clusterfuck to make it happen.
     
  3. etulauna

    etulauna I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Boss dude might even go 'fuck it sure, orochimaru was your problem in the first place.'
     
  4. saylin021

    saylin021 Getting sticky.

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    Honestly 75% of anything Sarutobi does at this point is probably fucking with people. I know that's what I'd do if I reached his age in the world of Naruto
     
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  5. V01D

    V01D Autistic lover of LOLz

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    Especially
    sweep

    you have some swaps from first person, or wrong genders, earlier on...


    i do hope Ran causes some BSoD by making a comment about ‘I wonder what [the kyubii’s] name is”
    I have this SI idea where they focus on an autistic person’s greatest joy - UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE (via Ninshu) and helping out Zetsu’s biggest victims, the Biju. During Clan War era.
    they’d refuse to call Kurama by his title, so everyone’s reaction when they find out exactly who ‘Fluffy-sama’ is would be PRICELESS.
    (he gets called that as a way to not spread his name around to those who haven’t earned the privilege to use it.)
     
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  6. Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

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    Fixed, thanks!
     
  7. V01D

    V01D Autistic lover of LOLz

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    What about the earlier cases of odd perspective?
    (I had quoted them, not for some reason they got erased from my Multi-Quotes storage...
     
  8. Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

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    I think they're fixed on the FF.net version, but the move over was a bit of a mess and I never got around fixing it back here. I have some days off later this week, so I might take the chance to go over them again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
  9. Threadmarks: 036 - Ophid Interruption
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

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    036 - Ophid Interruption
    (or ‘at this point any distraction is welcome’)



    Now, here’s where I would like to tell you about all the badass shady antics that took place during the time everyone was busy with the exams but I can’t, because I wasted the morning being a useless lesbian fretting about Karin up on the cliff and the evening walking around the village trying to distract myself in vain familiarize myself with the street’s layout.

    Funnily enough, I’ve been catching ANBU going around to do their business all the while, which feels freaking weird for someone born and grown in Kusa. Damn but the average ANBU is trash, no wonder Kabuto slaughtered them en masse.

    The morning of the second day isn’t much different from the first. Once I get back to my room after a long session of trying to stalk Karin hiking around the village again, there’s a knock at the door and someone trying to enter my room through the window.

    Like the civilized person I am, I throw a kunai towards the window -fuck, right in the knee!- and answer the door. There’s a certain purple-haired dango-addicted sex bomb waiting for me. There are bags under her eyes and her skin looks a bit pasty, and I almost offer a glass of water and an aspirin on reflex. Then I remember what’s supposed to be happening during the second test and realize that it’s not because of a hangover that she’s looking like shit.

    “Yes?” I ask instead. “May I help you with something?”

    “Shimada Ran from Kusa, right?” She asks with a raw voice that speaks of an abused throat. It must suck to have a sadistic snake man hold the controls of the pain trigger tattooed into your neck. “You’re coming with me to T&I. If you want to try and resist, be my guest, I need to blow off some steam.”

    I don’t answer immediately. On one hand, fighting the scary snake lady sounds like a bad idea. On the other hand, it’s bound to get my head away from my troubles for a while, so there’s that.

    “Squirt?” She drags my attention back to the present, incredulity painted all over her face. “Are you volunteering?”

    “... Nah. I’m on vacation, don’t want to sweat.” I finally decide with a shrug. “T&I, huh? You can’t get in there with a tourist pass. I tried.”

    Interrogation is also a way to distract myself, and they won’t pull the torture tools on a harmless innocent collaborating allied shinobi. I think. Not that trying to resist would’ve improved my situation any, so whatever.

    T&I Headquarters is kind of underwhelming from outside. Just one of those plain and uninteresting grey buildings, with windows so full of dust they may as well be part of the wall, and that run down atmosphere that makes one have trouble remembering, even if they walk past daily. Which is the point, I’d bet.

    The interior is a whole different can of worms. Dark rooms, winding corridors and looming walls that seem to lean over you as you walk past. Have you ever been inside a submarine? Space is at a premium down there, and comfort is hardly a priority. The experience is oppressive, claustrophobic and overall disturbing.

    This place goes out of it’s way to evoke those feelings, and then crank them up to eleven. I’m pretty sure their staff is trained to look menacing too. There are some points of failure though, the very nature of the place makes evacuation difficult and escape even harder, so they’re done for if they get trapped inside. Or in case of fire. Or in case they get trapped inside and then set on fire.

    Unless they have secret passageways, in which case the place won’t be as secure. Catch 22 if I ever saw one.

    … Why am I even bothering with how to escape or set the interrogators on fire? This is none of my business.

    Stupid Shimada blood.

    Of course, nobody reads me my rights -mainly because I have none- nor offers an attorney -what are those? Are they tasty?- Instead I’m unceremoniously shoved into an interviewing room that seems taken straight from a crime thriller. It has everything, the square desk, the creaking door, the plain metal chairs, the one-way mirror, the naked lightbulb… you name it. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how all over the place the technology level is in the Elemental Nations.

    There’s also the sexy but hard-ass interrogator, though she still looks hungover and that detracts from the picture.

    “Let’s go straight to business.” She opens up, slamming a palm on the table. She’s not even pulled out a kunai, I get the PG-12 interrogation, apparently. Good to know. “What can you tell us about a fellow Kusa-nin going by the name Shiroe?”

    “Sorry, it doesn't ring any bells.” I shrug. Names, why did it have to be names? I think this is about Team Deader Meat, but I’m not actually sure. Wouldn’t want to mess up by assuming. “Do you have a picture or something?”

    She grumbles a little, but pulls out a picture of a bunch of faceless bodies from inside her jacket. As expected, it’s the leader of Team Deader Meat.

    “Oh, that’s Whatshisface!” I nod in relief. “He was my team leader for a short while. I guess he's Whereshisface now.”

    ...Wait, if they were attacked within the walls of Konoha, doesn't that mean it was the real Whereshisface that I met at the gates the other day? Or maybe Orochimaru dragged their corpses inside in some sort of messed-up psychological warfare?

    That actually makes sense, I nod to myself, patting my head at having dissected the evil plans concocted by his twisted mind. It would've been embarrasing if I had somehow misread the situation back then.

    “What can you tell me about them?” I don't start at the impatient voice, but it's a near thing. To be fair, I kind of zoned out in the middle of an interrogation, that was terribly rude of me.

    “They’re kinda rude, but less lazy than my first team. And that’s pretty much it.” I shrug again. “We were only matched for a couple of months.”

    “Let me make sure I’m getting this straight.” She enunciates slowly, “You trained, fought and bled together with these guys for months. And all you can say about them is that they’re ‘rude’ and ‘less lazy than someone else’? Not even their fucking names?

    “Yes?” I shrug. “Why?”

    “Nevermind.”

    She sighs. dragging a palm from her forehead all the way down her face. Migraines? Maybe she’s actually hungover, after all. I mean, I would want to drown my sorrows in alcohol too after my traitorous master kicked my ass three ways from Sunday and then laughed in the face of my suicide technique. Heck, I doubt anyone would blame her for it, that shit has to be traumatic or something.

    “We’ve already determined you last met them right before the exam.” She continues after taking a couple of deep breaths. “Did you notice them acting strange in any way?”

    “Sister, the only thing I noticed about them right before the exam was that they were not Karin. Not that I knew them well enough to tell if they were acting strange. Them or anyone, really. As far as I’m concerned it’s normal for people to act strange.”

    Where’s… where’s that grinding sound coming from? Under the table? Are there cockroaches on the underside of the table? Kikaichu maybe? I want to bend down to check, but that could be taken as a disrespect, and the poor woman has enough problems already. I’m not entomophobic anyway, it’s just curiosity.

    If I feel anything touch me or my chakra getting drained, I’m drowning the fucking room in chlorine.

    “You’re not involved in the Exam, so why are you in Konoha?”

    “I’m in Konoha on vacation, since it was a good chance to take it easy while cheering on my fellow Kusa-nin.” And Karin is taking the Exam, of course I’m involved. “Gosh I can’t wait for the finals they promise to be epic.”

    “Did you just deadpan 'gosh' to me...? Pipsqueak, I don’t think you’re taking this interrogation seriously enough.” My eye doesn’t twitch at the moniker, so her face doesn’t deform into an ugly shit-eating grin at my reaction. Because I didn’t react. “You know I have the authority to throw you into the torture chamber if I find you suspicious, no matter how tiny you are, don’t you?”

    So that’s how you want to play, eh?

    “Yeah, you are plenty intimidating. That pasty skin and the bags under your eyes are downright scary. Excuse me if I’m not looking very shaken, I think I’m still in shock about three Kusa-nin being assassinated and then impersonated by a Konoha renegade and another two unknowns. A renegade you guys don’t seem capable of catching or even inconveniencing in any meaningful way. Or at all.”

    “How did you even know about...”

    “Seriously? You are aware Kusa is specialized in intelligence gathering, right?” That and I have metaknowledge, but that’s a bit harder to explain. “There aren't that many people who know how to even use the [Vanishing Facial Copy Technique] nowadays, and only one of them would’ve left the otherwise badass and vaguely terrifying Mitarashi Anko, infamous apprentice of Orochimaru, shaken as if she’d seen a ghost from the past. Was it even supposed to be a secret?”

    For a moment, it looks like she’s going to retort, frowning at my rant and leaning forwards as if to rebuke me, but at the last second she stops herself with a long-drawn sigh.

    “You know what? I don’t care anymore.” She faceplants into the table instead, raising a hand to make some sort of sign without even looking up. “You’re clear. Or something. Why don’t you kindly piss the fuck off? ”

    “Oh, the interview is over already?” I stand up, hearing the door open up behind me . “Good, you should be out there trying to catch the bastard, not wasting the time of paying customers.”

    “If I find you’re even slightly involved in anything funny, I’ll make you confess even the last time you wet your bed.”

    I leave without looking back.

    … Bitch.

    After that more than infuriating conversation with Konoha’s security, I leave the T&I building fuming. I’m pretty sure I’m not being followed, which is pretty scary since I know I have to be being tailed. Stupid stealthy ninjas, you never know where they are…

    I catch myself walking towards Training Ground 44, and convincing myself that there's nothing I can do to interfere is a real struggle. After Orochimaru’s infiltration, the security has been kicked up three or seven notches, so the only way I’m getting there is by blasting my way in, and that’s not really an option.

    Unless I… No, there’s no way they’d fall for it.

    The most infuriating part is knowing that, in spite of all the added security specifically against him, Orochimaru will be strutting around during the preliminary matches with a different face. How’s this fair?


    The rest of those five days is kind of a blur. A long, unending blur of me restlessly walking all around the village only to suddenly change my mind and getting into any open training field I could find to vent out my frustrations. Then, just as suddenly, I’d start feeling lonely and miserable and barely manage to drag myself to the hotel’s spa, where I would waste hours letting myself be pampered into oblivion. I think I left more money there than they make on an average month by myself.

    At this rate, I won’t be swimming in money much longer. To say I didn’t enjoy those five days, is an understatement.

    Finally, in the evening of the fifth day. Karin steps out of the restricted area. I really should’ve called for her or at least checked her body language before doing anything dumb, but I pounce on her like a tiger on a stalked prey instead. In hindsight, that might not have been the best thing to do to a nerve-wracked killer recently out of a deadly survival exercise.

    With a surprised squeak, Karin turns towards me, eyes widening in something I’m pretty sure is not recognition as her hand goes to her kunai pouch. A shadow from my left is the only warning I receive before an axe-kick shatters the concrete at the position where I would’ve been if I didn’t dodge.

    At this point, I really should be aborting my charge, but I’m already committed, and Karin is right in front of me, so I dodge and weave through far too many eye-searing orange limbs to belong to a single person and emerge right in front of a kunai firmly held with two hands aiming straight at my left eye.

    Next thing anyone knows, I’m hugging Karin from behind, rubbing cheeks with her and ignoring the dumbfounded looks of a Sakura with a leg buried in the ground, a gaggle of Narutos tangled with each other on the floor and the embarrassed groan from Karin.

    “Ran?” She whines adorably, putting her kunai back into her pouch.

    “Hmm?” Ah… pure bliss.

    “Are you… purring?” And she smells so good~

    “I can neither confirm nor deny such claims.” And her hair is so soft~

    “Can you unhand me at least?” And she asks such stupid questions~

    “Mmmm… Sure.” I could spend the whole day like this~

    “Ran?” And her voice is so nice~

    “Hmm?” And her reddening ears are so adorable~

    “You aren’t unhanding me.” And her embarrassed voice is so cute~

    “No, but I totally can.” And her body is so huggable~

    “Ran!” … And she’s getting angry.

    “Fiiiiiine!” I guess it must’ve been a pretty embarrassing thing to go through in front of your friends. I magnanimously unwrap myself from her, taking one of her hands into mine instead. “But we’re going somewhere warm and cuddly and you’re telling me when you became so close to these two and everything else I missed. Stupid big-ass trees didn’t let me see anything...”

    “Ran?”

    “I’m not glomping you anymore!” I protest while entwining my fingers with hers. “You won’t get me to make more concessions!”

    “No, not that.” Her cheeks heats up when she realizes what I mean, but she doesn’t try to get away. “Please tell me you didn’t spend all this time somewhere high trying to spy into the forest.”

    “Uh… I didn’t spend all this time like that?”

    “Ran!”

    “Ehehehe~”

    “They are in their own world, aren’t they?” A disembodied orange-colored voice comes from somewhere.

    “I’m kind of jealous.” A disembodied pink-colored voice answers

    There’s no room in my world for anything beyond Karin at this moment.
    You were expecting Orochimaru, but it was her, Anko!
    Anyway, next will be a Karin PoV recounting the first stages of the exam.
    A friend explained to me in small words how stupid it was to have a Patreon and not use it, then proceeded to threaten bodily harm if I didn’t at least insert a plug on my stories so… Here’s my Patreon. It’s not much, but it’s mine. Don’t feel obliged to anything but maybe consider a small pledge if you enjoy my work?
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  10. Ayashi

    Ayashi Well worn.

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    Ran isn't a useless lesbian, I'd say she's pretty useful... so long as she isn't suffering from a vitamin K deficiency...
     
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  11. Kotawa

    Kotawa Cat ears.

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    Hiruzen Sarutobi is one scary old man indeed. Anko was never part of T&I and he still knew that sending her after our favorite useless lesbian had a higher chance of success at getting something out of her than anything else short of bringing the Karintonite along, and so he did. Scary, scary.
     
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  12. Organmonkey

    Organmonkey Versed in the lewd.

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    Anko now has to deal with the frustration that is telling the Kage that his intelligence operations are leaking. Also the fun revelation that the other villages at the moment may assume Orochimaru is a leaf black operation commander. (He kind of is actually given the whole root thing.)
     
  13. Inbetweenaction

    Inbetweenaction Know what you're doing yet?

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    Konoha Anbu sure is shit compared to Kusas... Unless that is what they want you to think, and have a shit ton of false ANBU dressed up pretending to be anbu to draw away the attention from the real anbu...

    Damn, that is a convincing amount of fakes, Konoha sure is dedicated to this ruse, having two entire departments for fake anbu and fake ROOT... that can't be cheap...
     
    zaraza, Hypervane, Meordan and 23 others like this.
  14. guisniperman

    guisniperman Pregnancy Fetishist

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    Once again, Shimada-mama makes other look extremely incompetent. Those poor ANBU. Also nobody commented about the would've been home intruder that took a Kunai to the knee. That sure put a damper on his day.

    Anko need to have a day to kick back and relax while watching Orochimaru's corpse burn to ashes. That'll fix her right up.

    Lol, Sakura and Naruto are so outclassed that Ran outright didn't notice their attempts at stopping her from tackle-hugging Karin. Speaking off, I wonder what was their bonding experience? I also hope her team managed to reach the Tower with both Scrolls before the 2 morons got crushed by future competitors. Karin's surprise win (compared to her teamates) must've been schocking.
     
  15. Risen Ire

    Risen Ire Making the rounds.

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    So the Saga of Ran the Useless Lesbian continues with a special guest on the show of Team 7 Not Even Getting Recognized As a Threat lmao

    She's not exactly wrong, but not for the reason she think she is. Later in the series ANBU do get absolutely clapped, but Kabuto is another genius and prodigy who retaught himself to control his body well enough to fight Tsunade after the controls got scrambled and rewired in a hand full of seconds. Also, I don't think ANBU were meant for front line combat, considering they're, ya know, the fucking black ops teams.

    Blow off some steam
     
  16. V01D

    V01D Autistic lover of LOLz

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    really, there’s no point to ANBU always being hidden - the main thing is that they need to ensure no one can prove the connection between both identities.
    especially within Konoha. There’s even LESS reason to hide themselves while traveling. It’s a reminder of how many skilled shinobi Konoha has!
     
  17. etulauna

    etulauna I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Meanwhile Sasuke is by the side giving Ran considering looks due to how effortlessly she dealt with both his teammates.

    Also, Ran heard Naruto's voice in the colour orange. :D

    Kusa anbu are the best anbu bar none.
     
  18. WeissSaber

    WeissSaber Know what you're doing yet?

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    Lol, love how she sees other people as disembodied colored voices when she’s focused on Karin.
     
  19. WeissSaber

    WeissSaber Know what you're doing yet?

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    Huh, now that I think about it, did Karin help Sakura figure out how to use her chakra control or something?

    Edit: Welp, I guess we’ll see next chapter
    since it’s Karin POV in the exam
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2021
  20. cs0492196

    cs0492196 Know what you're doing yet?

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    Fixed.
     
  21. LurkingInTheDeceit

    LurkingInTheDeceit “Brave” explorer treading “New” land

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    on the cliff*

    is kind of underwhelming*

    Comma?

    to evoke those feelings*

    are trained*

    none of my business*

    how all over the place*

    I would want to drown my sorrows*

    at least checked her*

    weave through far too many*

    in the ground*
    Only the mornings as far as I can tell, though you spent the rest of the time moping.
     
  22. Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

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    Shame I can't really do that without some sort of theme-conditional tool. That pink wouldn't be legible on white background.
    Fixed, thanks!
    Please confirm this one, I could've sworn my way is the correct one...

    'The staff' singular: 'is'
    As opposed to.
    'The members of the staff' plural: 'are'
     
  23. Sceptic

    Sceptic Critical Irrationalist

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    That's a difference between US and UK English. In UK English groups are often referred to in the plural, from what I'm given to understand.
     
  24. TheQwertyOne

    TheQwertyOne ЙЦУКЕН

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    Wha?.. Where did this come from? Zetsu is a plant-like spawn of the Important Wooden Statue Madara has. He was never ever presumed to be a shinobi.
     
    Ajlove likes this.
  25. Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

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    Pervasive fanon from before he had an official backstory. Ran's memories from her past life don't benefit from her Shimada genes, so they're as vulnerable to it as anyone else's.
     
  26. JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

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    I don't think this is a UK/US difference actually, I think this is just a case of both are correct. At least I wouldn't think twice before or after using either one.
     
  27. Threadmarks: 037 - Karin Interlude: Ran was right all along
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

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    037 - Karin Interlude: Ran was right all along



    Walking into Konoha’s Academy building, Karin was ashamed to admit she’s feeling somewhat jittery. In her head, she knows she’s ready for this test, but this is still her first time taking the exams, the first time visiting a foreign village, the first time around so many potentially hostile shinobi. Confidence is a work in progress.

    The huge building making Kusa’s Academy look like a sad joke isn’t helping her feelings of adequacy, either.

    Still, appearances must be maintained, so she puffs up her nonexistent chest, channels her inner Shimada-mama and power walks through the corridors and into the meeting room. She doesn’t really have any idea where that room is supposed to be and gaping around like a country bumpkin would ruin the immersion in the role, but the place’s architecture is straightforward and she’s a fecking sensor. It’s just a matter of looking like she knows what she’s doing and following the biggest concentration of signatures.

    There’s the monster Ran warned her about, blood-soaked and still bloodthirsty, all jagged edges and sharp thorns. A redheaded boy from Suna, who doesn’t look like much otherwise. Karin frowns a bit when she can’t find any other ‘monstrous’ presence around. It doesn’t sound like Ran to make a mistake on this sort of thing, and ‘monsters’ implies more than one. Unless she means whatever it is that comes out of Naruto-san and is making its way towards the building at the time.

    … She’ll keep an eye on her cousin, just in case, but doesn’t think that’s what Ran meant.

    The first stage of the test comes and goes, and Karin can honestly say she’s a bit disappointed about the whole thing. There’s a lot of posturing both from the hopefuls and from the staff, a lot of clues given that nobody would miss unless they somehow forgot this is a shinobi test, some very basic attempts at artificially raising the stakes and the security of the test proper leaked like a sieve… All for a written test that wasn’t actually all that difficult in the first place

    When the second examiner erupts into the room it's a welcome relief. It’s one thing to bluff them with a tenth question that doesn’t actually exist, but why the heck would that invalidate the written parts? Making them go through it only to handwave it later on is a waste of an opportunity and nothing else.

    They’re shinobi for Kami’s sake! Passing someone who couldn’t answer the questions just because you said you would is nothing more than weak, uninspired reasoning. She’s pretty sure Shimada-mama would’ve given them a piece of her mind and the whole thing is giving her migraines.

    At least that nonsense allowed Naruto-san to pass the exam, so there’s that.

    While they were gathering for the second test, Shigeri-san clasped her shoulder and reluctantly thanked her for ‘catching the genjutsu trap at the fake door and saving them from making a fool out of themselves’ before walking past her.

    What? There was a genjutsu trap somewhere? Is this how Ran feels when she misses something?

    It was a bit of a bizarre feeling, but she shook it quick enough when the new examiner decided to make an example out of Naruto-san. As the suddenly not so welcome woman turns her attention towards Shiore-san, Karin’s eyes narrow. She might not be capable of gouging an eye out of the woman like Ran would’ve done, but she can easily figure out where she lives. And furniture can’t dodge explosive tags.

    The second part of the exam starts soon afterwards, and they have a clear if not very inspired action plan. They’ll rush towards the goal as fast as possible, doing their best to dodge other groups in favor of reaching the vantage ambush point around the center of the grounds as fresh as possible.

    If required, they’ll even give up their own Earth Scroll to avoid combat. Once in position, they’ll simply pick off the weakest or more exhausted teams until they find the required Heaven Scroll or, if they had to give up their own first, the full set. Simple, effective, and yet just contrived enough to be above more hot-headed teams. Just the way Kusa is supposed to do things likes to do things.

    Any pretense of normality goes down the gutter pretty much as soon as they are given the go ahead, though. An oppressive feeling even worse than the bloodsoaked boy erupts from the Eastern area, where she’d been keeping track of the other Kusa team.

    “Something wrong, Uzumaki?” Shigeri calls for her when she stops her march, annoyance clear in his voice.

    “I think so?” Theoretically, this might be some plot she doesn’t have the clearance to know about, so best to ask, just to be safe. “Was Shiroe-san secretly an S-rank shinobi infiltrating the exam to give us a leg-up?”

    “Are you high?”

    “Then he’s been replaced by someone with Kage-level chakra reserves.” Who feels really unpleasant to her senses. And is closing in to Naruto-san’s team really fast. But she doubts that’ll mean anything to her teammates. “We might be better off avoiding him or his team altogether.”

    “Well… shit.” Kannagi-san swears, as both of Karin's teammates regroup on the same branch she’s standing on. “Can we still pull it off? Risking your life is one thing, commiting suicide by Kage is another.”

    “Depends. How good are your senses, Uzumaki?” Well gee, this is the first time in months they take an interest in her [Mind’s Eye of the Kagura] beyond acknowledging its existence and promptly ignoring it. “Can you tell what’s going on?”

    “He’s closing in on another team of examinees.” Hell if she was going to tell them this was her new cousin’s team. “But that’s about— No, wait, he’s spending chakra like crazy. I think he’s engaging them.”

    “Engaging?” Shigeri-san asks with an arched brow. “Did the other team even survive first contact?”

    “One of them was blown away, we’re talking about half a mile, but seems to have survived more or less safely.” Karin answers, before continuing narrating real-time. “The other two are fighting him. Looks like he’s toying with them.”

    “Great. Who the heck is this guy?” Kannagi-san whines. “How many S-class would even bother infiltrating an exam to bully a group of Chunin hopefuls in the first place, anyway?”

    “Grab your bingo book and take a pick.” Shigeri-san shrugs with a frustrated sigh. “Who knows what goes through the minds of those psychos? They’re all crazy, Kages included.”

    “Then… what are we going to do now?”

    “That’s the question, isn’t it? We turn around and get closer to the exit.” He points the way they arrived before nodding at Karin. “Uzumaki, give us a warning if looks like he’s going after us and we run the hell away. Better to fail the exam than to die for nothing.”

    “What about the plan?” Kannagi-san protests. “If we lose too much time here...”

    “The plan is busted, but we don’t really need it anyway. Uzumaki here turned out to be more than a med-nin.” Karin puffs up a bit with pride. It’s not like she cares about this team’s opinion, but a bit of recognition is always welcome. “Maybe enough to not be a dead weight after all.”

    She takes back anything nice she thought about Shigeri-san so far, he’s still the same jerk she’s got to know these last months.

    The team retreats back to the fence of the area, and spends a very tense while as Karin narrates what she can tell about the situation. To make things even worse, she also picks up on the Suna kid eradicating a whole team in a matter of seconds during the same timeframe, which doesn’t really help settle minds.

    “The exam proctor has engaged the monster.”

    “Which monster?”

    “The first one.”

    “Kami, this is bizarre.”

    “They’re fighting… No, it’s done already.” Maybe ten seconds of combat, that’s how long the proctor had lasted against the monster. And Karin gets the feeling it wasn’t taking things seriously. “The proctor was rendered immobile, and the monster is leaving the field in a straight line. It’s either using [Hide Like a Mole] or running right through the trees.”

    “Either or, really.” Shigeri-san mutters sarcastically. “Is it coming anywhere closer to us?”

    “No, it’s leaving eastwards, it’ll be out of grounds in a matter of minutes.” There’s another tense pause, where everyone seems to hold their breath as Karin tracks the monster on it’s way out. “Alright, it’s finally out and... Immediately [Shunshined] away, it left my range.”

    Her team breathes in relief, while Karin bites her lip worriedly. She hasn’t told them much about the state Naruto-san’s team is in. The confrontation happened far enough away they considered it not worth taking the detour, but that would change in a heartbeat if they knew exactly how bad off they are.

    Only Haruno-san remains conscious at all, and the other two look worse for wear. Naruto-san’s chakra comes out erratically, spiking and spasming in a way she’s never seen before and doesn’t herald anything good. But it’s the third one, the one she’s never personally met and has only briefly seen here and there during the exam that worries her the most.

    His body oozes something dark and foul, that she can’t look too closely at without her stomach churning and having to hold back the urge to retch. His chakra is slowly but steadily weakening, and she doesn’t think he’ll survive another twenty-four hours if things keep going like that.

    A chunin exam is not a good place to be with two members down. Forget other teams these grounds are dangerous enough without adding a human factor.


    When they camp for the night, Karin’s team is much closer to Naruto-san’s, not that her two teammates have any idea about it. It has been a nerve-wracking day, guiding her team through the Forest of Death in such a way they’d wander closer to them without putting themselves at risk from the other teams.

    Of course that means they haven’t found any other team either, but she can’t risk them actually pulling off an ambush and getting the Heaven Scroll so soon. Shigeri-san would insist on making a beeline towards the tower. As sound as that strategy would be if the only goal was to pass the exams, Karin is hoping to help out her new cousin.

    Finding family only to immediately lose it again is an idea that has her in a cold sweat.

    Of course, she gets the middle turn to stay awake and keep watch, because of course she would. Shigeri and Kannagi are the big strong useful combatants who actually have a chance of being promoted, and she’s just the barely useful fill-in medic who happens to be convenient in some other way.

    So the worst turn goes for her.

    Taking a deep breath, Karin makes sure her team is actually asleep, and casts around with [Mind’s Eye of the Kagura] one last time. No team anywhere remotely close, except Naruto-san’s. There’s a team she doesn’t recognise making a beeline towards them, but they’re far away and, unless they can increase their travel speed somehow, won’t arrive until the morning.

    This is her chance. It only takes a quick series of hand seals for the [Transparent Escape Technique] to meld her frame into the background.

    With a last apologetic thought towards her teammates -but not too apologetic, because seriously, they’re jerks of the highest order- Karin takes into the night, leaving them as defenceless as two chunin aspirants asleep in a refuge trapped to the roof can be.

    She takes into the night like a shadow escaping from yomi, jumping from branch to branch with a speed and stealth taught to her by Shimada-mama and drilled into her body by repetition after repetition after repetition after repetition. It’s been a while since she’s had the chance to practice, but some experiences are never forgotten.

    No matter how hard you try.

    Ironically, the chakra-infused fauna of the Forest of Death has an even harder time ambushing her than normal animals, their empowered bodies shining like bonfires to her [Mind’s Eye of the Kagura] and thus she doesn’t have to even break step to dodge the few predators that decide to take their chances with her.

    With a last check to make sure nobody is approaching her sleeping team under the cover of the night, she descends onto the ground.

    She’s still some distance away from Naruto-san’s team signatures. There are some traps she’s spotted, and giving someone the chance to guide you through instead of risking triggering something is just good manners. Plus, everything she’s seeing is pretty basic, there’s a good chance they are just a distraction to keep one’s attention away from the real traps.

    That’s how Ran and Shimada-mama do things, after all. Even if she usually can catch at least some of Ran’s actual traps, and she has a hard time believing Haruno-san can outtrap her. There’s just no point in risking it.

    “Haruno-san?” She calls into the night, her voice causing a figure to start in surprise in front of her. Poor form, revealing her position like that. “It’s me, Karin.”

    “Uzumaki-Shimada-san?” Haruno-san’s faintly trembling voice calls back after a short while. “What are you doing here?”

    “I’m a sensor.” She explains, trying not to make any move that can even remotely be construed as threatening. This girl is tenser than a bowstring. “I noticed your fight earlier today and how your team came out worse for wear and thought I could help? I’m a bit of a medic-nin.”

    “Oh, thank the kami! Naruto isn’t waking up and Sasuke-kun’s fever keeps getting worse. I didn’t know what I was going to–” Her relieved tone cuts suddenly, and when her voice sounds again it’s dripping with suspicion. “No, wait! How do I know it’s really you? How do I know you want to help even if it’s really you? You are a competitor in this exam, you might take the chance to take out the competition!”

    It’s frustrating to be doubted in this situation. Whatever she tells herself to quiet her conscience, she’s left her team asleep and unguarded and should get back as soon as possible, so this delay isn’t something she can afford. She has to admit Haruno-san’s reluctance is warranted, though.

    She’s trying to think out how to solve the situation when she hears her last sentence and almost collapses in a fit of giggles.

    “Oh, Haruno-san. You don’t know much about either Uzumaki nor Shimada if you think I’m going to backstab family.” She wipes a tear from the corner of her eye, too amused by the idea to really feel insulted. “Still, there isn’t much I can do to prove my good intentions, is there? What do you want me to do?”

    “I… Don’t know.” The girl hesitates. “We had a passphrase for our team, but we never discussed anything about approaching other teams.”

    “Maybe I can tell you something from our meeting? Something nobody else would know?”

    “That would prove your identity, yes.” Not really, a real infiltrator might’ve listened to that conversation too, but she’s not going to tell her that until she’s done healing her team. “The problem is that I still can’t trust your intentions. As you said, I know nothing about either the Uzumaki nor the Shimada.”

    “Back to square one, then. If I could at least show you that I’m not a danger…” There is nothing that she can present as guarantee. In fact, there’s nothing that can guarantee your safety against a sufficiently motivated shinobi. But maybe she can offer a compromise. Taking a deep breath to steel her resolve, Karin makes her choice. “Are the boys unconscious?”

    “Yes?”

    “Blindfold them.”

    “Sorry?”

    “So you can see I’m carrying no weapons, or poisons or anything else...” Karin swallows with difficulty, scanning feverishly with her [Mind’s Eye of the Kagura] once again to make absolutely sure there’s nobody else around. “I’ll strip. But you have to blindfold them!”

    “You what!?”

    “Not so loud!” Dear kami, she’s not going to ever live this one down is she? “If I take off my gear and clothes here, so you know I’m not carrying anything dangerous, will you let me examine your team?”

    Stripping in front of a near stranger, even if she’s another girl, is maybe the most embarrassing thing Karin has done in her life. But she grits her teeth and forces herself through it, slowly undoing clasps and removing clothes in spite of her burning cheeks. For family.

    She’s already hooking her thumbs around the band of her panties, taking a deep breath to remove that last piece, when Sakura interrupts her with a flustered squeak.

    “Stop, stop!” She cries out. “You have convinced me! Put your clothes back on, I’ll guide you through the traps!”

    It’s with great haste and even greater relief that Karin puts her clothes back on. Things are rather straightforward from there. Haruno-san proves incapable of looking her in the eye, apparently even more mortified than Karin herself by the situation, barely uttering a word as she leaves her safe spot to walk her through the trapped field.

    Poor form, that. Shimada-mama would’ve verbally guided her from safety instead of needlessly exposing herself.

    It’s a relief when she finally gets to the two unconscious boys. Naruto-san doesn’t look physically hurt, and up close it’s clear that the strange chakra spikes and spasms don't actually come from him, but from whatever that other thing is. Still worrying, but less so.

    The other boy (Sasuke-kun?) on the other hand, looks even worse up close. There’s something malignant nestled in his neck, that’s slowly pervading his chakra system. The process isn’t actually malicious as far as she can tell, but it’s very stressful for his body. She’s never seen anything like it and honestly hopes to never see it again. Whether he’ll survive the process by himself is honestly up in the air, and she can’t help directly. What she can do though, is bolster his body and chakra reserves, so he has a better fighting chance.

    Usually, having someone unconscious bite her takes some work, but the two boys are going through a restless sleep, and their teeth clench by reflex, activating her [Heal Bite].


    “Wait, you showed them your [Heal Bite]?” I cut into her story in righteous indignation. Or at least slightly betrayed shock. “What the frick, Karin? You promised!”

    “Naruto-san is family!” She defends herself, staring at me with those round, soulful eyes of hers. “I wasn’t going to let him die!”

    I take a glance at Naruto and Sakura at the other side of the table, Naruto looks confused and sheepish, and I guess he’s not the sort of person to realize why it’s a bad idea to publicize that sort of special ability. Sakura on the other hand is palming a kunai under the table of all things. How rude, I don’t think she’s actually paying attention to the story.

    I take a deep breath and exhale slowly, forcing myself to think with the brain that actually has neurons. He wasn’t going to die anyway, but Karin had no way of knowing, and I can get behind the ‘family’ reasoning. Fair is fair so I reluctantly let the matter go.

    But I’m not going to help him with the [Five Elements Seal], he can damn well wait until Jiraiya does it for him.


    The healing was… underwhelming. Naruto-san woke up briefly and managed to mutter some more or less intelligible words, but sleep claimed him back immediately after. The other boy didn’t even manage that. He stopped shivering, so Karin would take that as a win.

    “That’s everything I can do for them.” Karin whispers while bandaging her own wound bites. “I’ll try to guide my team away from here, but I can make no promises, Shigeri-san barely tolerates my presence half the time, I won’t be able to change his mind if he decides on a course of action.”

    “No… you have done enough, Uzumaki-Shimada-san” Karin still has to fight down a dopey smile each and every time she hears that name. “Will you be alright?”

    “I should be.” She nods, taking another peek into the distance. “Nobody has approached my team so far and I can get back to them before my shift is over, so they won’t even realize I’m gone.”

    “I see.” Sakura-san seems unsure of how to continue, but that’s fair. It’s not everyday that a shinobi from another village offers you assistance in the middle of a competitive survival test, after all. “Ummm… Thank you for everything and… Good luck in the exam?”

    “Likewise, Haruno-san.” Karin pauses right as she’s leaving, remembering the other team coming here. “A last word of advice, there’s a team coming this way. At the rate they’re moving and assuming they don’t change their route, they’ll stumble into your encampment at around dawn. Make sure you’re ready for them by then or out of the way.”

    With that last warning, Karin departs. She would’ve loved to stay with Naruto-san’s team and lend a hand during the exam, but she has her own trials to overcome, and her own team to see succeed.


    Things have gone well for team Shigeri ever since. With Karin’s sensor abilities, ambushing a wounded team was a trivial matter. As luck would have it, their victims had managed to hold onto their own Heaven Scroll in spite of the wounds obviously caused by an enemy team.

    They were easy pickings for Shigeri and Kannagi, who were admittedly experienced shinobi competent enough to have a solid chance in this exam anyway, so beating up a bunch of wounded hopefuls wasn’t exactly a challenge. That put their team at the top of the race, gathering their scrolls in less than half their allotted time.

    It also made them prime targets, so they understandably decided to head straight towards the goal. They’re something about two-third of the way there, crossing through a wide clearing, when Karin suddenly stops in her tracks for the second time this exam. This time, Shigeri-san and Kannagi-san immediately take their position around her without complaint.

    “What’s wrong, Uzumaki?”

    “The path is blocked. Not enemy shinobi, some sort of beast." Karin chews her lip, focusing her [Mind’s Eye of the Kagura] to get as good an image as possible. The feedback she gets sends a shiver down her spine. “Four legged mammals. Judging by their shape, most likely bears.”

    “So? We are on a timer here. Let’s just cut through.” He replies impatiently. “They’re only animals.”

    “Animals in this place are extremely dangerous.” Karin protests hesitantly, already knowing her opinion on the matter would be dismissed. She has to try, though. Ran’s strange fixation with bears got even worse upon reaching Konoha, and she has a feeling this place has something to do with it. “Maybe it would be best to...”

    “Best to nothing. We’ve handled giant leeches and even bigger centipedes without trouble.” Shigeri-san dismisses her worries with a handwave. “Unless those bears are building-sized, we’re not going to take a detour just to avoid them.”

    “No, they are… only slightly bigger than average.”

    “Then we keep going.”

    “Think chakra-reinforced bears taste anything like regular ones?” Kannagi-san wonders out loud. “I haven’t had bear meat in forever.”

    The two of them charge ahead, and Karin follows them with a sigh. Reminding herself that no, she can’t pass this exam by herself. Still, the idea of poisoning them in their sleep and dragging their unconscious bodies through the gates of the tower is starting to look more and more appealing by the minute.

    As she expected, it was bears. They rose from the ground, nine foot tall beasts somehow managing to hide in the tall grass of the clearing. As she feared, they are bullshit. Fast enough to block their path, tough enough to shrug off their shuriken, and strong enough to send Shigeri-san flying all the way out of the clearing with a single swipe.

    At that, Kannagi-san hesitates, standing in guard with his weapon in hand, but warily alternating nervous looks between the slowly encroaching bears, Karin herself and the point where Shigeri-san disappeared. That hesitation ends soon though.

    “Run you idiot!” Shigeri-san’s voice comes from beyond the treeline. “Ditch the bitch!”

    At those words, all hesitation leaves him. Without giving Karin time to react to the words, Kannagi turns around to flee, shoulder-checking her hard enough to send her to the ground in the process.

    As Karin watches her ‘team’ disappear between the trees and the bears focus on her, she can only think that the maneuver was too well-executed to be a heat of the moment thing. They had to have this eventuality planned from the start.

    Those… Saddle-gooses! They had acknowledged her skills! She thought she was getting to them, even if they still behaved like coxcombs most of the time! She should’ve let Ran hang them by their… parts! Then they wouldn’t dare do something like this! Now she’s surrounded by super-bears, sacrificed so the rest of her team can escape. It brings to mind a morbidly fitting saying she heard from Ran once.

    “You don’t need to be faster than the bear, just faster than the other guy running from it.” She laughs bitterly into the dirt. “Isn’t that right, Ran?”

    It was only then, alone against the danger, that Karin finally realized the truth. Ran was right all along.


    “Bears, I knew it!” I cheer in vindication, before realizing what exactly I’m cheering about, and sheepishly sitting back on my chair. “What happened next?”

    “What do you think? I drowned them in bear mace.” Karin smiles nastily. “And then I set it all on fire. You never told me it could explode if ignited while suspended in the air.”

    “Well, yeah, dust explosion. That’s obvious. I mean, oops. I hope you didn’t get caught in the blast.”

    “Oh, no I was hoping it would. I did pick the concept from your hobbies, at least. I just wasn’t sure it would work. The fight would’ve been less nerve-wracking if I had known beforehand my plan would work.”

    “That’s my Karin.”

    She then proceeds to tell me about the rest of their test after that, but it wasn’t all that interesting. Without a team to call her own anymore, she rejoined Team Seven. Apparently Sasuke tried to give her some grief, but for once Sakura backed Naruto in an argument and she was accepted amongst them. Nothing else of note really happened, except that Kabuto never joined them.

    Whether it was because the team was almost guaranteed to pass and Orochimaru didn’t feel the need for a backup or because it would’ve looked suspicious if a second shinobi separated from his team joined them, I suspect I’ll never know, but it’s not really all that important.

    I was too busy feeling vindicated to pay close attention. That and trying to figure out how to show Broody McBroodypants my displeasure at his deplorable behaviour. How does he dare bully my Karin?

    At some point while Karin is explaining the preliminary rounds in the tower though, my brain re-engages higher functions on its own initiative and points out a certain obvious detail I had managed to miss.

    “Wait, you didn’t pass the test?”

    “Shigeri and Kannagi managed to get themselves killed at some point. I’m pretty sure they stumbled into a nest of jumping leeches. And they had the scrolls, so…” She doesn’t sound terribly sorry about it, in fact seems to be struggling not to smile. “It doesn’t matter, my promotion always was a long shot. And Shimada-mama cleared things up with the Boss Dude so I’d stay here until the end of the Exams, anyway.”

    How can one react to such good news, except by wrapping a hand around her waist and pulling her closer? I have a month-long vacation with Karin! And then we dine in hell, but that’s a problem for Future Ra–

    ...

    Crap.
    This one has given me some trouble. Trying to compress the whole first+second test into a single chapter, even reducing it to the highlights, was a bit of a challenge. I could’ve written three or four chapters with this alone, easy. But I didn’t want to dwell for too long, the Chunin Exams have been done ad nauseam and I’m sure most regulars to Naruto fanfictions are as sick of them as me.
    On the other hand I’ve had some trouble slipping into Karin’s mind for this PoV. She’s no longer the scared little girl from her first interlude, having been raised by Mother alongside Ran for years, and I wanted to reflect that without turning her into a copy of Ran. Not sure how well that went, to be honest.
    A friend explained to me in small words how stupid it was to have a Patreon and not use it, then proceeded to threaten bodily harm if I didn’t at least insert a plug on my stories so… Here’s my Patreon. It’s not much, but it’s mine. Don’t feel obliged to anything but maybe consider a small pledge if you enjoy my works?
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
  28. Organmonkey

    Organmonkey Versed in the lewd.

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    Aww, mom is helping them defect. They should probably spill what they know and prep for the crush.


    On an unrelated note I was always surprised that leaf didn't do more with the forest if death. They just sort of allow other villages to have better poisons when they have stuff that would be as good or better right there. Also the exoskeletons of giant insects would make for good lightweight armor and if giant spiders are around silk. Why does leaf not use the unique opportunity they have?
     
  29. One-who-reads

    One-who-reads Illuminatus

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    Excellent chapter. I appreciate how you didn't rehash the-exams-that-have-been-done-to-death.
    Also nice to see Ran's character development isn't backsliding.
     
  30. The_GrandMage

    The_GrandMage Know what you're doing yet?

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    I'm pretty sure they ran away, got settled, immediately realized what they'd done, and in a panic committed to a suicide pact to avoid Shimada's retribution.

    There was no solution for them. What are they going to do, confront Ran? Avoid Ran and head back to Kusa?
    Go Nuke-nin and let Shimada hunt them down?

    No, there was only death.
     
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