21 First Exam Ends

Shino Aburame sat at his desk, pen poised over the blank page of his Chunin exam written test. He had prepared for this moment for months, memorizing every aspect of the test material, and training his mind to recall everything he needed to know - So, he called out to Alina in his mind.

"Alina, analyze the test questions and fill in the answers… set the result to an 80% accuracy."

[Affirmative, Overmind. Analyzing… searching database… matching… 100% of data found – modifying temporary data to reduce accuracy… generating answers… Overmind, the 80% correct answer sheet has been completed. Please review.]

A visual image of the test paper appeared in Shino's mind, completely filled with answers. The power of an agile artificial intelligence was impeccable.

With a smile, Shino calmly filled in the wrong answers. After filling in 20% of the test paper with wrong answers, he completed the rest of the paper with short, random answers that could easily be changed later. Afterwards, he paused.

He looked around the room, he could see that not everyone had prepared as diligently as he had.

There were students staring at their test papers with looks of shock and despair, others frantically scribbling answers down before the examiners could catch them. Then, there were some – confidently sitting in their seats and waiting for others to fill out their answer sheets.

Adjusting his glasses, a sly smile appeared on his face. The pit had been dug - Shino wonders who would cheat off him.

In the meantime, Shino hesitated for a bit before commanding Alina to send bugs over to secretly help Kiba as planned. Although Akamaru was smart, he couldn't expect a dog to accurately explain the answers to every one of these complex problems.

Naturally, Shino won't give Kiba the wrong answers, despite the tempting allure to give him retribution for all his interruptions.

He couldn't afford to play a prank here – lest he shoots himself in the foot and end up being disqualified. Turning Konoha 11 to Konoha 8... Now that would really cause a big butterfly effect – something he didn't want to see.

As for Hinata, an occasional checkup revealed she had no problems. The shy lady had an outstanding mind. It was only her hesitation holding her back her growth.

The rest of the time, he focused his attention on Alina's reports.

[Target 19 has discovered the marker- marker has been eliminated…]

[Target 43 has crushed the marker through her unintentional movement. Expected Reason: Anxiety…]

[Scent of target Sand Ninja Temari gathered. Establishing index in database...]

[Marker 32 has been discovered by examiner and obliterated…]

[Target Kiba Inuzaka had failed to comprehend the provided answer – simplifying answer… rearranging bugs…]

[Marker 9 infiltration success. Target, disguised puppet of Sand Ninja Kankuro, has been marked. Implementing second infiltration...]

[Attempt #4 in establishing a marker on Sound Ninja failed. Implementing attempt 5…]

[Marker 12 has been obliterated by unexpected sand. Suspected to be Sand Ninja Gaara – executing avoidance protocol...]

Shino had a stoic face, not showing any emotions despite the many failures in his plan. He innocently looked down at his paper, as if he was just an innocent scholar doing a test and the sneaky actions of planting bugs had nothing to do with him.

Of course, Alina was still extending the tentacles of his Zerg army outwards. At the same time, he received feedback from his bug's surveillance of the exam room, looking out for cheaters of interest.

As the time ticked, it didn't take long for Shino to discover the first cheater. This was never a paper exam in the first place. It was a test of intelligence gathering, and the real test had now begun.

As the exam progressed, Shino noticed that some of his fellow students were getting more and more creative with their cheating methods. Some were easy to discover, such as using ninjutsu to peek over their neighbor's shoulders.

Others were more discreet such as spawning an eye of sand in the air or using their special eyes.

Then, there were some Shino could probably guess, but couldn't see, such as Ino who was probably using her Yamanaka clan ninjutsu to communicate with her team, most likely to get the answers from Shikamaru and share it with Choji.

As for stealing answers from Sakura like in the original anime, that was only used to verify answers for some questions - ones Shikamaru was too lazy to answer.

Shino watched as one student summoned a tiny insect that crawled along the desk and whispered answers into their ear. Um? Was there another Aburame clan in here?

Another used a transformation jutsu to make themselves look like the examiner and casually walked around the room, checking other students' answers… Not long later, an examiner patted him on the shoulder.

"Even a six year old can think of this - Be more creative next time," the examiner then dragged the shocked examinee out of the exam room.

Hey! Did you miss the other brat who did the same with his puppet?! Even when caught in the act, the puppet master oddly didn't get disqualified, but others weren't so fortunate.

Despite their ingenuity, the examiners soon caught onto their tricks – or maybe, it was just simply time for elimination. The atmosphere in the room grew tense, with students glancing around nervously and trying to avoid the gaze of the examiners.

One examiner walked up to a student and snatched a tiny insect from their hand. "Nice try," he said, a stern expression on his face. "But cheating won't get you anywhere in life… unless you do it right."

Shino adjusted his glasses. Perhaps his camouflaged bugs set the standards too high? Why else would the other bug users get sent out?

Another student was caught using a jutsu, clearing displaying his hand signs, to copy their neighbor's answers onto their own paper. "You're lucky we're only disqualifying you from this exam," the examiner said, shaking his head in disappointment. "If you're caught out gathering intelligence behind enemy lines, the consequences will be much more severe."

Shino felt a sense of satisfaction watching the cheaters getting caught. After all, he knew it had nothing to do with him.

Shino also discreetly glanced at the few unlucky fellas who were copying from his paper. He knew that hard work and dedication were the only true paths to success, and cheating that relies on others was a deep pit that placed the cheater at the mercy of others.

As the exam approached the 15 minute mark, Shino finally began to fill in the rest of his paper, changing the fake answers he had written. It wasn't difficult with his hand speed, and he was just directly copying from the answer sheet in his mind.

As he completed his answer sheet, he looked up and found some examinees around him staring at him in disbelief while some were scribbling furiously. Well, it seems they won't have time to copy.

As the 15 minute mark arrived, the proctor of the exam, Ibiki, stood up and began his speech. "There is 15 minutes to go, I now inform you that you've made it to the final question of the first exam. But before we get to that, there are some more rules that you need to be aware of."

Shino Aburame sat with a stoic expression on his face as Ibiki began his intimidating speech. The proctor's words echoed through the cavernous room, his voice carrying a menacing tone that sent shivers down the spines of many of the examinees. Shino, however, remained unmoved, knowing full well what was to come.

With a serious face that enhanced the fierceness of his scar, Ibiki began in a solemn tone. "Now that we've weeded out most the useless cases, but now we'll see who truly has what it takes to become a Chunin. Listen carefully. You have a choice to make: attempt the final question, or fail the entire exam…"

The examinees exclaimed in shock and disbelief. A ruckus of noise arose in the room as some examinees loudly questioned Ibiki in anger.

"… If you choose to give up, the rest of your team will also be disqualified! If you choose to answer the question but get it wrong… you will be barred from taking the Chūnin Exams forever. Think carefully before you decide."

Several teams hesitated, but eventually stood up and left, unwilling to risk their chance at becoming Chunin. However, it was unknown if these teams were true Genins or actors inserted by Ibiki, the mind game master.

Shino calmly remained seated while observing the other examinees with interest. He had foreknowledge – so he was like an outsider watching the show.

Noticing the fidgeting Hinata, Shino didn't remind her because he knew the true proagonist will jump out soon, radiating his confidence to all despite his own lack of. However, someone else on the team couldn't hold back-

Bam. Naturally, the aggressive Kiba couldn't stand it.

Pointing his finger at Ibiki, Kiba complained in angrily, "Hey! That's bull man! That's ridiculous! What kind of bogus is that?"

Shino adjusted his glasses. Sorry, but he doesn't know that guy.

Well, at least it made Hinata less nervous. It had some effect? But too bad Kiba, you'll still lose to the protagonist's mouth no jutsu.

Sweeping his eyes over to Naruto who was next to Hinata, Shino's eyebrow imperceptibly twitched. With his face showing intense struggle, the poor boy seemed to have lost his soul as he sweated and frantically tugged on his own hair.

A sly smirk appeared on Ibiki's face, one that Shino would definitely feel like smacking had he not known of the jerk's motives.

"If you don't feel confident, you can skip it and come back to try again next year."

As the pressure mounted, the exam room descended into silence.

Shino silently adjusted his glasses. The pressure was daunting for others, but he knew what was coming. So, he commanded Alina to prepare for the final infiltration.

[Affirmative, Overmind. Markers have been deployed near unmarked targets - awaiting signal for action...]

"Just a couple more – and the game will be complete..."

Suddenly, everyone's attention was attracted to an orange jumpsuit boy who was slowly raising his hand. Just when Shino thought he caused a butterfly effect that made Naruto not play his role, the orange jumpsuit boy slammed his hand down onto the table, and with a determined face, he delivered his speech filled with confidence.

"Don't underestimate me! I don't quit and I don't run!"

Standing up aggressively, his charm seemed to radiate the exam room as he declared, "I don't care if I get stuck as a Genin for the rest of my life. I'll still be Hokage, dattebayo!"

Meant to calm and encourage himself, Naruto's outburst also radiated to the rest of the teams, removing all traces of wavering.

Honestly – it's amazing how his emotions flip from despair to courage, and how just simple words can infect everyone's mood. As expected of Mouth no Jutsu, the most powerful technique in the ninja world.

This technique was also a powerful distraction, one that served as the perfect assist for Shino. With Naruto drawing the attention of every Genin, Alina was successful in marking a couple of Genin who were particularly difficult to get close to, including the Sound Village Genin, Dosu Kinuta.

Thanks for the assist, Naruto!

Unaware of his role in completing a sly boy's plan, the innocent Naruto sat down, arms crossed with a face of confidence, deepening the admiration of the cute Hinata next to him. Shino glanced over at Kiba and noticed his stiff face. Welp, at least he won't become a dog-licking man in the future, right?

Meanwhile, Ibiki couldn't help but curse inside. Remarkable… but the orange jumpsuit boy just made his job that much harder. There were much more than he expected. Now, his colleagues would mock him for having such a low elimination rate.

"This decision will change your life. If anyone wants to quit, this is your last chance."

Ibiki continued to pressure, "The tenth and final question, those who don't want to take it – raise your hands!"

Man, this guy never gives up till the last moments. Props to him for trying so hard.

Needless to say, the group had passed, but this was only the beginning.

As the real intentions of the exam were divulged, with a thunderous crash, an unassuming young woman with a slender frame, bursts through the window, defying all expectations.

She boasts piercing, pupil-less eyes the color of light brown. Her signature violet hair is styled in a spiky, fanned-out ponytail that would intimidate any foe.

She adorns a custom-made metal mesh outfit that fits her body like a second skin, covering her from neck to thigh. Her outfit also includes a tan overcoat with a purple in-seam and a pocket on each side, a dark orange mini-skirt, a dark blue belt, and pale grey shin guards that scream warrior.

Not content with just a typical forehead protector, she also dons a small pendant fashioned to look like a snake fang, hinting at the dangerous secrets she may hold.

Confidently standing in place after her dynamic entrance, she grinned and announced, "You guys, this is no time to be celebrating. I'll be your next proctor – Anko Mitarashi!"

Adjusting his glasses, Shino knew the real test was about the beginning. He had prepared for months just for this. It was time to survive like true ninjas – through cruelty towards fellow ninjas.

And it was time to harvest the fruits of his labor.

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