Hinata, Miku and Sasuke are tested by Kakashi with the threat of being returned to the Academy if they fail. All they need to do is steal a bell from Kakashi but there is a problem, there are only two bells.
Volume 1: The Girl with Two Names
Chapter 6: Silver Bells
They had already been when Kakashi Hatake finally showed up at at the designated training area. A clearing not terribly far from the Konohagakure memorial certainly large enough for any survival exercise with a large wooden area surrounding it. The three Genin didn’t say anything but Kakashi could see doubt from each of their eyes.
“this alarm is set to go off at noon, you’ll have an hour to accomplish this exercise.” He placed a large alarm on a nearby tree stump. “Now the exercise is simple. I have these two silver bells.” He opened his hand allowing the two bells the size of his pinky to dangle by a string. “All you need do is to take one from me before the timer sounds. Anyone who fails in this won’t get to eat and since there are only two bells at least one of you will be tied to this stump. One of you will be returning to the school in disgrace. You may use any weapon or technique you choose… but I warn you when you go after the bells attack as if you mean to kill me otherwise you won’t stand a chance.” The Genin didn’t speak up so he continued “the exercise will begin… now” the Kakashi standing before them exploded in a puff a smoke as the three dodge backwards for a brief second then dived for cover. A clone? Where was the real Kakashi then?
Hinata wasn’t certain where Sasuke dived to when Kakashi-sensei’s clone was dispelled by she could hear Miku following her. They had trained together so often neither of the two girls needed to say anything to the other, all that was needed was a look to communicate and a secret sign language the two girls had developed with Ino. It was a code within a code anyone who could figure out what they were signing to one another would also have to understand what they really were saying and they only signed flower names. Black Daisy… Purple Lilac. Hinata signed with her right hand as she hide in the bushes not that far from a stream. Miku vanished behind her. If they worked together they could manage to get the bells, but what to do about Sasuke? Something was wrong with this exercise. It seemed like it would create a situation where they wouldn’t work together and they would certainly need all three people to get those bells. Black Daisy… to mean something is wrong we need to buy time to figure out what to do next. Purple Lilac… was a signal to Miku to find Sasuke, although the original signal would have been to find Ino, she was certain Miku would translate it properly.
Kakashi watched the genin dash for cover as he dispelled his clone. The two girls dived into cover together Miku slightly behind Hinata, was that from slower reflexes? No Miku was physically stronger than Hinata, oh wait she’s covering for her allowing Hinata to take the lead. Miku could be clever he noted but she wasn’t well known for tactics, Hinata, on the other hand, was fairly decent. She might not be at the top of her class, but she was very talented at getting information and passing it along. Wait her hands moved in what was clearly a pattern but that wasn’t a ninja sign, what was it? Was it some sort of secret hand signal? Whatever the sign was Miku dashed off to the side disappearing into the brush. Hinata gave her an order, he was certain of it. Those two girls wouldn’t have a problem with teamwork, they were already grouping to gather information to see what was going on, and he wondered what message Hinata gave to Miku. Did his threat actually backfire on him? Every time he had performed this exercise before all three Genin turned on one another as quick as you could expect from scum… sometimes two of them would team up on the third expecting to send him back to the Academy. He had failed them all for their behavior. Would they work together? That much would depend greatly on Sasuke.
He focused on the area around him, oh wait there was Sasuke well hidden but with a good view of the battlefield. A much better view than Hinata had chosen but Kakashi knew about the Hyuga secret techniques so seeing through rock and tree trucks wouldn’t be much of a problem for her. With the ocular technique called the Byakugan, she would be able to see through obstacles allowing her to take even safer hiding places than usually available. Kakashi walked steadily into the open area keeping an eye on both Hinata and Sasuke, he had temporarily lost track of Miku but he would quickly find her again. He turned his eye back from checking Sasuke’s position when he heard someone put their foot down loudly in front of him.
“Time to begin this exercise isn’t it… sensei? Why don’t we cut this short and make it a match worth watching.” Miku held her hand loosely near her Kunai as she faced down her team leader.
“I think… you might have the wrong type of exercise in mind.”
From his hiding spot, Sasuke felt like he was paired up with an idiot. What had possessed that girl to go out in the open and confront Kakashi sensei like that? At least Hinata had the good sense to stay hidden and wait for the right opportunity to strike.
He watched the girl dash forward stopping several feet short as Kakashi quickly shoved his hand into a pocket of his backpack. At least she had the sense to not dive into what was certainly a weapon.
“Allow me to teach you the first Shinobi battle skill Taijitsu” Kakashi spoke in a tired sort of way that made Sasuke certain that he felt whatever the genin would try wouldn’t be enough to even bother him, is this a test or a training mission? He wasn’t expecting Kakashi-sensei to pull a book from his backpack. What on earth was he thinking? Make out Paradise?
“Is something wrong, Miku? I thought you were after these bells?”
“… But that book sensei…”
Even from his hiding place, he could see Miku blushing deeply. Well, it wasn’t really the kind of book you would pull out in front of a girl. It certainly accomplished the job of disturbing Miku, couldn’t she see that Kakashi was toying with her?
“Of course, it’s a book. I wasn’t able to finish reading it last night and I’m dying to know how it will end. Carry on; it won’t make a difference in the outcome considering who I’m up against. Oh my, that is an interesting position”
The look of embarrassment left Miku’s face as she charged forward, a look of pure rage replacing it. “You pervert!” she screamed as she leapt into the air a few feet from Kakashi bringing her foot around to strike at the book he was holding. But something was wrong with her attacks. She wasn’t fighting like the Miku he had watch training… was that? Gentle fist? That isn’t Miku, it’s Hinata and he could tell that Kakashi was just figuring it out. He could have sworn he saw Hinata go in the opposite direction. The first strike missed but the second one didn’t, Kakashi raised his arm to block the strike and it would have worked, had it not been the Gentle fist technique, an open-fisted way of fighting that the Hyuga clan used. With it, they targeted the chakra network of their opponent seeking to disrupt it and do internal damage as opposed to the more external damage of the closed fist techniques many ninja employed. She connected with his arm and for a brief moment, he saw surprise and a pleased look on Kakashi’s face as the book returned to its pouch.
Hinata? I didn’t see that one coming. He stole a glance to where he was originally certain she was hiding to see a puff of smoke. A clone? He dodged another of Hinata’s attacks and was about to reach up to push her off balance when someone grabbed him from behind latching her feet around his waist, the bells there striking one another, two sets of arms grabbing hold of his legs, shadow clones? That was the technique that Miku had used to defeat Mizuki. Hinata made a single-handed attack to Kakashi to distract him as her left hand snaked towards the bells at his waist, moments before her hand struck her transformation technique dispelled tossing a puff of smoke around the combatants.
Kakashi was already gone and in a new hiding place as he watched Hinata’s hand strike Miku’s shoulder staggering the girl and her clones. The clones vanished in a puff of smoke leaving Hinata in a brief cloud bank of dispelled clones, where was the real Miku? They came dreadfully close to getting those bells, Kakashi thought as he took pride in their attempt. Their teamwork was well honed. Somehow one of them created a clone of Hinata and hide in the bushes making him think that she had taken the safer route, all the while the real Hinata broke off in a run to get into position and taking on the image of her best friend. Hinata disguised as Miku had tricked him into letting her get close enough to employ the gentle fist technique, something he wouldn’t have risked so easily with the real Hinata. Taking a punch was one thing, you could recover easy enough, but If Hinata hit you in the right spot she could shut down the body’s ability to produce chakra for a time. He wasn’t certain if she had mastered that side of the technique but one couldn’t be too careful, still, the hit he took stung and he knew that the muscles deep in his arm were damaged. Not enough to keep him from using hand signs but it would slow him down a bit. Using a dispelling technique to partially blind an opponent was an interesting move as well. Perhaps he should deal with Sasuke first and see what happens then.
Sasuke watched as the two girls nearly had the bell. Those clones that Miku created, they were solid and not just illusions, what was going on? He didn’t know she had that ability. Hinata’s trickery had amazed him. He wasn’t certain which of the girls thought of that but it nearly worked. He cursed himself for not thinking of it. How would he avenge his clan if he couldn’t pull off the same trickery as those two? He was certain he saw where Kakashi hid after using a substitution technique to replace himself with one of Miku’s clones causing Hinata to hit her own friend. He was about to attack Kakashi from his hiding place when he felt a small hand on his shoulder. What? He stole a glance to his side to see Miku making a hush sign. She leaned closer than Sasuke was comfortable with and whispered in his ear.
“We could use your help. Our first try didn’t work but if we work together, I’m certain we can get the bells.”
“Work together? You can start by not slowing me down or giving away my position, baka” He pushed against her hearing a gasp from her as his arm connected with her chest sending her off balance. Sasuke immediately attacked Kakashi’s last position certain that Kakashi had heard her gasp and was rewarded with the sound of shuriken striking wood. Dammit, Kakashi heard her, he stole a glance at Miku who was being strangely silent to see her sitting nearby a stunned look on her face. She is trapped in a genjitsu. He abandoned her dashing to another hiding spot to see Kakashi in a smaller clearing not too far from the main one.
“The second Shinobi battle skill, Genjitsu. Miku just fell to it. Although you did push her right into it, didn’t you Sasuke?”
“I’m nothing like those two” a bit of anger was in Sasuke’s voice as he turned towards Kakashi who stood not far away leaning casually against a nearby tree.
“True they did nearly get the bells whereas you opened one of your own teammates up to an attack. If I were you I would save your boasting until you do something to actually impress me.”
Anger pulsed through Sasuke as he quickly moved through several hand motions. Ever since the death of his parents, he had practiced this particular jutsu and only recently had mastered it. “Fire Style, Fireball technique. “ He completed the signs and drew in a deep breath moving one hand in front of his mouth as if it had been a lighter. His Chakra gathered in his mouth and he blew out as hard as he could. Flames escaped lashing out as if he had been a dragon right at Kakashi Sensei.
Kakashi blinked as he watched the ninja signs that Sasuke quickly made. wait, that technique? That is a technique is beyond the skill of a novice, he shouldn’t have a developed his Charka network enough for it. Yet flames lashed out at him while he used yet another substitution technique leaving behind log which quickly burst into flames. The sounds of Kunai flying through the flames quickly followed with the deeper sound of metal striking wood. Well, Killer instinct enough to take this seriously.
The flames evaporated leaving an almost empty area, only a still burning log with knives buried deep into it. “where did he go.. above?” Sasuke scanned the trees looking for his opponent.
“Below.” The ground by Sasuke’s foot crumbled as a hand reached out grabbing his ankle “Earth Style Groundhog Technique decapitation.” Sasuke screamed as Kakashi dragged him underground burying him up to the neck in the hole the more experienced ninja had created with his chakra. “Now that, Sasuke, Is the third shinobi battle skill; Ninjitsu. Better luck next time” with that Kakashi vanished again.
By the time he had escaped the trap Kakashi had buried him in, the bell had rung. None of them had gotten a bell in time. The three Genin gathered at the meeting place again, each a bit upset and a little chest fallen.
“Well none of you got a bell in time, but I think two of you understood the meaning behind the exercise. Which one of you did and what did you suspect was the reasons?” Kakashi sat nearby holding on to two bento boxes he had used as bait.
Miku motioned towards Hinata and she coughed, “I … suspected that the real reason why you only had two bells was to create dissension among us. To see if we would work against each other, or perhaps work together… that maybe teamwork might get us through this. I calculated that even If I didn’t get a bell my father would put in a word to pass me anyway. So I signaled for Miku to find Sasuke and she created a few shadow clones to help me get the bells. If it worked we would have won, but if not you might be distracted long enough for Miku to find Sasuke and convince him to help us.”
“Your signals? I saw them and they were interesting. Not enough to know what you were saying to each other, but it’s clear you two have worked with it long enough to refine it. I saw no hesitation in giving or receiving the signal.”
“It’s something that Hinata, Ino and I came up with for training.” Miku spoke up. “we knew that we might someday need to pass messages so we have wordless signals we could use. Hinata can see through walls so it does make passing quick messages easier, but sometimes it is limited”
“Your use of the transformation technique was skilled, Hinata, if I had known it was you I wouldn’t have let you get in that close. It looks like you found Sasuke. But things didn’t go to plan, did they? You thought you could go at it alone didn’t you Sasuke? Thought they were dragging you down but if you ask me it is the other way around. Because you impressed me with your teamwork I’ll give you another chance, but there is a penalty. Sasuke you pushed Miku into a trap. I’m certain you didn’t realize I was so close at the time, still to abandon a teammate and go for cover… what were you thinking? You genin are put on a team for a reason because the sum of your skills is more valuable than your individual skills. Had you worked together you could have helped the two Kunoichi and gotten the bells.”
“But one of us…”
“Teamwork is important in this line of work; if you go at it alone you could put yourself and worse your team in danger. What will you do if your actions get your team killed? Or captured? Had you worked together you would have all likely passed. I’ll give you another chance, but I warn you that this next test will be far worse than the one this morning. You two may eat these bento.” Kakashi handed the lunch boxes to the girls. “But Sasuke is not allowed to eat and if either of you attempt to feed him… you will all fail. My word is law on this and I will ensure that you won’t go to the Academy, you’ll wash out completely.
With that Kakashi vanished taking up a hiding place far closer to the genin than even they suspected. What would they do? He watched as the two girls nervously took bites of their food. Would they pass this next test?
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