5 Battle Results

The battlefield was chaotic, but Shino remained calm and focused, using his bugs to outmaneuver their opponents. He had his bugs burrow into the ground and sneak over to the scroll to maximize the stealth effect. It wasn't until the end of the battle that he summoned a wall to obscure Kurenai's vision and made his move to quickly retrieve the scroll.

He knew he couldn't hide it from the Jonin's eyes for long, but he still didn't expect her to be able to notice so fast. She was one step ahead of him and her counterattack came without him even realizing it. Jonins were truly at a different level.

As the kunai was removed from his neck, Shino let out a sigh of relief and called back his bugs. With a wave of his hand, the swarm of bugs flowed away from the battlefield and back towards his body, leaving a pitiful Hinata sitting on the ground and a Kiba who was frantically waving his hands around in the air.

"Eh? The bugs are gone?" Kiba exclaimed in confusion as he froze in place for a moment before he angrily growled while rushing towards him, "SHINOOOO!!!"

Good news. Kiba finally learned to say his name.

"Bugs are so gross!" Kiba exclaimed, waving his arms frantically as he reached out to feed a piece of BBQ meat to Akamaru.

Shikamaru rolled his eyes. "Kiba, it's not like we didn't know Shino's specialty. You should've been prepared for this."

"Yeah, Kiba. You should've brought bug spray or something," Choji chimed in as he continued to stuff his mouth with BBQ meat that he stacked on the charcoal brazier built in the centre of the table.

Ino giggled. "Or at least a fly swatter."

Hinata remained silent, poking her fingers nervously, but she secretly nodded in agreement.

Shino adjusted his glasses as he glanced at his companions at the restaurant table with a stoic face while calmly placing another piece of meat into his own mouth.

Free biomass. Who wouldn't be happy?

They were now at the Yakiniku Q, a popular BBQ restaurant in Konoha. Kurenai sensei offered to treat them after she had reassured them that they had passed the test. Of course, that was after diffusing Kiba's anger.

Here, they met Team 10, led by Asuma Sarutobi the smoker. So, the group joined together for a meal. As Kiba was friends with Shikamaru and Choji, the two groups of children harmoniously blended together.

Just when Shino thought the conversation was going to continue harmoniously, both Kiba and Choji happened to reach out for the same piece of meat.

"Yo, Choji, that's mine."

"No, it's mine."

Then, the two began to fight over a piece of meat. Moments later, it evolved into an eating competition between the two… plus a dog. As he needed biomass, Shino also secretly joined in, but no one seemed to have noticed his outrageous appetite.

Shikamaru glanced at his rowdy companions and couldn't help but mutter, "What a drag."

He then returned to staring at his thin slice of meat on the grill. He chose a thin slice that could slowly cook on its own. It wasn't because he was on a diet. It was because he felt it would be troublesome to flip it over.

"Boys, ugh- why can't they be like Sasuke?" Ino uttered in dissatisfaction as she crossed her arms and watched.

Hinata was obviously shy and had no comment. So, she can only play her shy role… and secretly stuff herself with meat.

At another table, the secret couple glanced at the children making a ruckus with a smile.

"I have to say, Kurenai, your team seems like a good match," Asuma casually said, taking a sip of his drink.

Kurenai smiled. "They are indeed. Shino's strategic thinking and use of his bugs is unparalleled, and Hinata's Byakugan is a powerful asset. And Kiba, well, he's a bit of a wild card, but his loyalty to his team is unwavering. Well, children, they'll grow. We've still got long ways to go."

Asuma chuckled. "I know what you mean. Choji's appetite can be a bit of a challenge, but he's also one of the strongest members of my team. Shikamaru's intelligence and resourcefulness will definitely come in handy. And Ino is the perfect push for these two boys with troublesome personalities."

"Hey, who isn't troublesome when they were children," Kurenai whispered with a smile as she glanced at Asuma with a mirthful smile.

"Ahem," Asuma cleared his throat as his eyes dodged around, his hand habitually reaching out for his smoke, but awkwardly stopped when his eyes swept over Kurenai.

As they finished their meal and said their goodbyes, Kurenai went to check out with the group. Her face stiffened when she saw the bill. Her eyes swept over the trio.

Kiba was truly innocent as he was playing with Akamaru.

Shino had a stoic face on the outside, but inwardly, he has a sense of guilt wondering if he had overdone it. But wait, there was no way he could have eaten that much alone right?

Meanwhile, Hinata shyly fidgeted her fingers with head bowed and a red blush on her face as her soft voice uttered an apology.

Er. Problem discovered. Scapegoat found. Shino said nothing. He knew that the true gluttony queen had an appetite more outrageous than his current Zerg dominator.

Fortunately, Kurenai could still foot the bill with no problem. However, it seems that the team wouldn't be coming back in a while…

Leaving the store, Kurenai reminded her team to meet up the next day to begin their new tasks.

The BBQ in Konoha had been a lively affair, with the team enjoying their meal and sharing stories about their experiences during the graduation test. But as they left the store, Kurenai's words hinted at a looming challenge.

"Good job today, team," she said, her voice tinged with a sense of seriousness. "But the real work starts tomorrow. We'll meet up at the Hokage's office at dawn to receive our first tasks."

The team nodded, the reality of the situation settling in. Shino's mind was already buzzing with thoughts about what might lie ahead, and he knew that he had to be ready.

As they parted ways, Kurenai sunk into the ground and disappeared like a ninja, leaving her team behind. But little did they know, she was meeting up with Asuma, who had been waiting just around the corner.

"Smoking again?" Kurenai asked in a soft voice as she appeared behind him.

"Ahem, you showed up faster than I thought," Asuma grunted and snuffed out his cigarette before saying with a chuckle, "You sure know how to disappear, Kurenai."

Kurenai rolled her eyes playfully. "I have to keep my ninja skills sharp, you know. Or did you not want me to appear? If so, I'll just go..."

"Ahem. Ahem. That's not what I meant," Asuma stuttered.

Kurenai had a mirthful smile as she stared at Asuma. Her face was serious but her eyes filled with playfulness.

Seeing this, Asuma's embarrassment gradually vanished as a confident smile appeared on his face. He took out another cigarette and lit it. With a puff of smoke, Asuma's eyes flicked up to meet hers as he spoke in a tone laced with rebellion, "How about I take you somewhere... interesting?"

With a serious look, Kurenai takes a moment to consider Asuma's offer.

"Hm, but we can't be out too late. I still have to lead our genin tomorrow."

"I know."

The silhouette of the couple then vanished from the alley. Meanwhile, on a nearby rooftop, a pair of dead fish eyes glanced down at the disappearing couple below before returning his focus to the book in his hands.

It was a ninja with silver hair and a forehead protector covering his left eye. The lower part of his face remains shrouded in a black mask, lending him an air of enigmatic intrigue. Despite this, his words are often delivered with a lightness that belies the gravity of his experiences.

"Maintaining a professional demeanor in public, but when no one is around, there is so much dog food being passed out that I don't even need to buy anymore for Pakkun. But I have to admit, I still think Icha Icha Paradise is the best."

Kakashi went back to his reading, lost in his own imaginary world. Moments later, he seemed to have remembered something and snapped his book shut.

Glancing up at the sun in the sky, Kakashi muttered to himself, "Hm, almost forgot. It's time to go meet those brats. Hm … what excuse should I use this time?"

With a step, Kakashi vanished from the rooftop.

Meanwhile, Shino had already arrived home, his mind already focused on the challenges that lay ahead. He may have passed the graduation test, but he knew that the real test was yet to come.

"The upcoming tasks will probably be simple low-level tasks to build teamwork, such as finding cats and helping civilians. There will not be much improvement in strength outside of training. So, I will have to see if I can find another way. There isn't enough time such that I can waste a couple months purely on basic tasks."

With a thought, Shino brought up his system interface in his mind.

"Jonin guidance is not enough. It's time to see what I can do with the biomass I have accumulated today."

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