177. The New Hokage
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Six months passes in the blink of an eye.

Tsunade is inaugurated as the Fifth Hokage.

Inside the Hokage Office,

Tsunade is sitting on the Hokage chair as she skims through some paper works.

"Damn… I hate this paperwork. I should have never agreed to become Hokage in the first place."

She clutches the paper tightly.

"Tsunade-sama, the position of a Hokage is a big responsibility. You shouldn't slack while working."

Shizune rebukes her.

"Haah… I need a break. I want some booze."

Tsunade stretches her arms and grabs the paperwork.

"Hmm… chunnin exams are close. Konoha signed a peace treaty with Sunagakure during the Third Shinobi War so it is an excellent opportunity to further improve the relation."

Tsunade takes out a scroll from the drawer and scribbles something.

Snap…

Tsunade snaps her fingers as a messenger eagle appears on the window.

"Deliver this to Sunagakure."

Whoosh…

The eagle disappears in a distance.

Sigh…

"I have to write more letters. If only Izuna was here, I could dump some paperwork on him."

Tsunade stretches her arms and relaxes on the chair.

"Did someone mention my name?"

Whoosh…

Izuna teleports in the middle of the room.

"You are back Izuna-kun."

Shizune grabs all the papers to prevent them from flying around.

Swoosh…

Izuna tosses a scroll to Tsunade.

"It's done."

Hmm…

"That was fast."

Tsunade nods her head and opens the scroll as she reads the content.

"I never expected someone would be gutsy enough to break free a prisoner from the Hozuki Castle."

Tsunade throws the scroll on the table.

Sigh…

Izuna takes a deep breath as he closes his eyes.

'Kara is on the move already. They broke free one of their future inners from the Hozuki castle.'

The scroll rolls open to reveal the picture of the prisoner.

The picture of a tall man with a heavily built frame appears on the scroll. The man has blue eyes and a mustache.

"Boro is a rogue ninja from Iwagakure who deserted the village a few years ago. He massacred a dozen Jounin while escaping from the village. He is an expert user of the Lava Release. That old fool Onoki has to personally make a move to capture him.

Later, he was imprisoned in the Hozuki castle to never see the dawn. I wonder who freed him from the prison. The culprit must be quite skilled to be able to jailbreak Blood Prison."

Tsunade reads the details of the scroll aloud.

"Kusagakure signed an alliance with the Konohagakure during the Third Shinobi War. So, when they requested help, we had to deploy our most powerful shinobi."

Tsunade folds the scroll and places it on the table.

"I will take my leave if there is no mission for me."

Izuna opens the window and jumps out.

"Wait… I have a job for you."

Tsunade stops him.

'I could dump the responsibility of Chunnin exam on him. This way I could take a breather.'

Ahem…

Tsunade clears her throat.

"I want you to deliver this letter to Kirigakure. I heard you are 'quite' close to the Mizukage so it will be convenient for you to deliver this letter."

Tsunade smiles at him as she teases him.

"Yes, I am dating her. It has been one and a half year since we started dating."

Izuna nods his head.

"Tch… you are no fun."

Tsunade clicks her tongue.

"Then I will be on my way."

Izuna grabs the scroll and teleports out.

Haah…

"So much work to do."

Tsunade complains.

"But Tsunade-sama, Izuna-kun has been running lots of errands for you in these past six months." Shizune remarks.

"That's true, if not for him, I would be struggling with this much paperwork. Shizune let's go to Yakiniku Q tonight. I want a break."

Ahem…

"Let me check your schedule first."

Shizune clears her throat as she enters her secretory mode.

"Tsunade-sama, you have to attend the graduation ceremony of the academy in the afternoon. Then in the evening, you have an appointment with the merchants. Later at night, you have a dinner arrangement with the wife of Fire Daimyo.

So, with the schedule in mind. Tsunade-sama you don't have any free time."

Haah…

Tsunade depressingly drops her head as she mumbles.

"It's not fair. I have no free time, why did I agree to this position in the first place?"

"Tsunade-sama, Naruto would graduate today. Don't you want to see him become a genin and take his first step towards his dream?" Shizune asks Tsunade.

"Yes, I would also like to see his growth. If not for him, I wouldn't even agree to this position."

Tsunade stretches her arms and gets up from her seat.

"Let's go."

--------------

Inside the academy,

Naruto is lazily resting on the table with his eyes closed as he listens to the conversation.

"Hey, today is the day we graduate from the academy. I can't wait to become a Ninja."

One of the civilian boys clenches his fist and raises it in the air.

"Yes, I am pumped up. Finally, I will be able to use those cool jutsu and impress some girls." Another civilian raises his fist.

Humph…

Sasuke snorts as he calmly closes his eyes.

"A bunch of delusional kids who think the life of a Ninja is easygoing. Soon, they will understand the harsh reality when they will take their first step outside the village."

"Yes, it is very rough outside the village. Dattebyo!"

Naruto nods his head as he reminisces his experience.

"Last year, I tagged along with Izuna Nii-san on a mission. But I was kidnapped by the enemy ninjas and was held hostage."

Naruto narrates his experience to them.

"Naruto, are you okay?"

A timid and sweet voice asks him.

"Oh! nothing happened to me, Hinata. I beat those bad guys up and escaped from their grasp."

Naruto smugly folds his arms.

"Hmph… who will believe that white lie. Right Akamaru?"

Woof… woof…

Another kid with a small puppy on his head walks up to them.

"What do you mean, Kiba? You want some beating."

Naruto cracks his knuckles.

"Anytime, you knucklehead."

Woof… woof…

"Cut it out, you two. Don't bother Sasuke-kun" A blonde girl pushes them back as she approaches Sasuke.

"Ino you pig, stop hogging Sasuke for yourself."

Another girl with pink hair and a broad head pushes them.

"Damnit… why Sasuke gets all the attention."

Naruto complains.

"Shut up, Naruto." The blonde girl and pink-haired girl shouts at him.

"Shut up, you billboard brow."

The blonde girl shouts at the blonde girl. Both the girls start a verbal fight.

"Calm down, you two… Ino and Sakura."

A fat boy with a rotund build and some markings on his cheeks tries to calm them down.

"Shut up... you fatty."

Both Ino and Sakura shout at him.

"Fa… fatty… did you call me fatty?" Choji enters a trance and expands his body.

"CUT IT OUT… EVERYONE."

A loud voice interrupts them.

"Any more noise and I will kick you out of the classroom."

The newcomer yells again.

"Iruka-sensei… it's Iruka sensei."

The hustle-bustle dies down as everyone takes their seats.

Ahem…

Iruka clears his throat as he takes out a paper from the drawer of the table.

"All of you have been a part of the academy for almost three years. Now the time has come for you to finally graduate from the academy and take your first step as a Ninja."

Iruka pauses as he stares at the class for their reaction.

"I am all pumped up." Kiba raises his fists.

Woof…

"What a drag…"

Another boy raises his head for a second before closing his eyes and resting lazily on the table.

"…"

Iruka silently stares at the boy.

'All the Nara clan members are the same.'

"Ahem… anyway before you take your first step as a Ninja you have to clear the academy's graduation exam and prove your strength. Then only would you be able to wear the shinobi headband."

Iruka shakes his headband.

"Come on… Iruka-sensei, stop with your flexing and start the exam."

Naruto remarks.

Tch…

A tick mark appears on Iruka's face as he clenches his fists.

'Naruto… this boy. Though his grades aren't top-notch… he is still ranked in the top ten. As for his taijutsu and Shurikenjutsu skills, he is only second to that Uchiha boy Sasuke.'

Ahem…

"So… wasting no more of our time. I will start the first part of the exam."

Iruka takes out a stack of paper and places it on the table.

"The first part is the written-exam followed by a test of your Ninjutsu skills."

"Not this again…"

Naruto drops down his head.

"I hate this part."

"But didn't you diligently study for the past few months?"

Sasuke questions him.

"My dream is to become the Hokage and Izuna Nii-san told me to study books if I want to become the Hokage. So, I won't give up… no matter how boring these books are."

Naruto clenches his fist as a fire burns in his eyes.

"…"

"Well... if you say so."

'He is too easy.'

Sasuke nods his head.


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