In Naruto: Reborn With Talent
Chapter 390 - Ch390. The Finalists

Rei watched as the proctor stepped inside of the arena, followed by the chunin wannabes.

The proctor was surprisingly Hayate Gekko. Since Suna was not going to invade, there was nobody to kill the guy so he got the position.

Of course, with how tight the security was in Konoha and with the number of seals strewn around the village, if any Konoha ninja was attacked in Konoha, the place would be teeming with Konoha ninjas a few seconds later.

Rei really had no idea how Baki could kill Hayate in the middle of Konoha with no one the wiser as to what happened. Konoha was supposed to be a freaking ninja village and they had no one and nothing watching over foreign ninjas in their territory? They allowed a murder of their ninja to happen inside of their village right after Orochimaru killed a team from Taki... inside of their village?

When he saw that scene in his past life, Rei didn"t really care or think about it but now he had a bit more knowledge about how hidden villages worked, or rather, how they should work. He couldn"t comprehend how incompetent Konoha"s higher-ups must have been to allow for that to happen twice in a row.

Once would have been understandable. Especially if the killer was Orochimaru. The problem still was that no one knew about him... which meant there was no sufficient revamp of security after his defection... but it was understandable.

But after that, Konoha"s ANBU should have been everywhere.

How could a guy die in the middle of the village with no one witnessing it?

Rei awkwardly smiled and decided to forego that trail of thoughts as it led to nowhere. He still threw a glance at Hiruzen who seemed frustrated, trying not to glare at Orochimaru sitting in the Kage area.

Looking back towards the arena, Rei noticed the finalists were finally gathered.

There was the entire Team Seven composed of Hinata Hyuuga, Naruto Uzumaki, and Sasuke Uchiha.

This made Tsunade smug and gleeful. The kids had no chance against half of the contestants but the fact they all made it to the finals with this kind of competition was enough for their promotion.

They did not know it yet but they would be becoming chunins after this no matter what. Not because they deserved it but because they pleased their superior.

Pakura, Ringo, and Konan surprisingly found a common front as they quickly told Tsunade it was a disgusting show of favoritism but her answer was simple.

She simply scoffed and said, "I am the Daimyo, I can favor whoever I want."

And that was the end of that discussion.

Not that Pakura could really complain. It was obvious she favored Sabaku siblings heavily.

Ringo might not have favorites nor did Rei think she really cared what Tsunade did with Team Seven. She probably complained just for the sake of complaining.

And Konan... she had that, "I approve but publicly showing it would be beneath me" kind of smile as she verbally dressed Tsunade down.

It didn"t really matter. Tsunade was in the right. Everyone had favorites.

If favoritism didn"t exist, Hiruzen Sarutobi would have never become Hokage. Danzo Shimura would have never gotten a chance to reach so high in the village ranks. Koharu and Homura would have never become the Hokage advisors. Jiraiya would probably still be strong but there was no way he would have been a seal master, and Orochimaru would probably never be a psychopath.

Having talent was nice but it was the resources Hiruzen gave these last two that enabled them to become the powerhouses they were now.

In one way or another, a significant part of the ability to reach so high was due to the favoritism of a kind. But nobody wanted to be called out on it and in some cases, some people loved to use "I can"t favor anyone because of my high position" as a good excuse for the naive folk who actually believed such bullshit.

Next to Team Seven stood Yakumo Kurama as the only finalist from Team Eight. From what Rei heard from Tsunade, Kurenai was a bit disgruntled her boys did not pass but she was equally delighted her favorite student got into finals.

This past month, Yakumo was having an intense training schedule, probably making her berate her past self for passing. After all, Kurenai did learn some extreme yet effective training methods from her apprenticeship under Tsunade.

The last Konoha finalist was Shikamaru Nara who boredly stared at the clouds.

Shikaku couldn"t have been prouder when he saw the expression of utter boredom and disinterest on his son"s face. He was a true Nara indeed.

Then there were the two finalists from Kirigakure. Haku Yuki and Chojuro.

Chojuro had a bountiful month under Raiga"s not-so-tender care because Ringo could not be bothered to train her genins even if she really wanted to win the bets against Rei"s other girls.

As for a Kage training a genin? Ringo was the last person to bother with the opinion of others.

Haku, however, got a teacher in the form of Yuriko Yukimi so there was a chance he would learn Snow Sage Mode from her if he impressed her enough.

Naturally, Yuriko came to teach him only because she owed Ringo a favor. For some reason, Rei doubted Haku got such a treatment for free but he didn"t pry.

Suna was represented by Gaara and Temari.

Pakura had a lot of trust in Temari and Rei had to admit, it wasn"t unfounded. Temari was very strong but he wondered how she would fare against the Uzushio team since they were as young as her but also as talented.

As for Gaara... he was fine. Since there was no Rasa and Shukaku to mentally torture the kid, he was just that. A kid. Pakura did train him to one day effectively wield Shukaku"s power but she wasn"t overdoing it nor was she trying to make him into some kind of weapon.

Hence, his "youth" was preserved.

The last participants were the Uzushio team. Kimimaro was stoic, Tayuya was arrogantly smirking, thinking this would be a breeze, and Karin was nervous because she knew well neither of Rei"s girls were nice people.

She totally expected some kind of "screw you" from this tournament since she doubted Tsunade would allow S-ranks facing genins from her village. Especially since from what she has seen, the Konoha kids were exactly that. Talented but still genins who at best were chunin level.

And while Karin had no idea how Tsunade would deal with this problem, her gut feelings were telling her she would not like it.

Neither Kumo nor Iwa were represented in the tournament but both Tsuchikage and Raikage got invitations to the event because tradition dictated so. Nobody expected them to show up for obvious reasons but... since they did come, Tsunade welcomed them.

If she didn"t know their scheme, she would have been nervous but since Konan was such a good spy, there was nothing to worry about.

Rei wondered what face they would show after seeing these "young talents"...

He looked back at the teens in the arena and smirked. Some were indifferent, some nervous, others looked resigned, a few were all fired up, and one or two simply did not care.

Neither of them knew who they would fight. During the past month, they had to scramble to gather intel on every participant and prepare accordingly for every eventuality. It was an impossible task, which was supposed to put them under a lot of pressure and stress while simulating a situation before a true battle to the death in the field.

The Chunin Exam finals started the second the preliminaries ended. The participants were just not told.


Author Note:

I am sorry if some of you might know this chapter was just one useless filler but I have to think about those who do not keep what happened previously in the story in their brain.. I thought re-introducing the participants would be best for the start of the Chunin Exams arc.

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In Naruto: Reborn With Talent Chapter 390 - Ch390. The Finalists