Yuna ’s group, led by Kakashi, entered the Hokage ’s office. Instead of sitting on his usual chair, a bed was inside the room that was occupied by Hiruzen. Additionally, Jiraiya was in the room as well and was standing next to Hiruzen ’s bed, while Shikamaru also seemed to have entered the room a few moments ago.
As soon as Yuna entered the room, Hiruzen started glaring at her, which she casually ignored. Yuna also noticed that Hiruzen wasn ’t as weak as he pretended to be. His chakra easily contested against Orochimaru ’s poison and it was only a matter of time before it was completely purged from his system. The only long-term injury he got from this fight was the loss of his left arm. Except for that, he would recover without a problem.
As soon as everyone had entered the room, Hiruzen started to speak.
”It is good that everyone is here. There are quite a few things I need to announce. First of all: Zabuza Momochi. ”
Zabuza stepped forwards and bowed towards Hiruzen. He might be just a mercenary right now and originally came from Kirigakure, but there were actually very few shinobi who didn ’t at least respect Hiruzen Sarutobi. No matter who you are in the shinobi world, the strong are always respected.
”Yes, Hokage-sama. ”
”I received multiple reports of you helping Konoha ’s shinobi and civilians alike during yesterday ’s invasion and thus I want to reward you for that. Since you actively helped Konoha, your access to Konoha is no longer restricted. If you desire it, you can even become part of Konoha ’s shinobi force, albeit only at the rank of chunin for now. I do not doubt your strength, but there are more things necessary to become a jonin than strength. Considering almost no one in Konoha is currently aware of your presence, chunin is all I can offer you for now. Whatever you want to do can be discussed at a later date. ”
”Yes, Hokage-sama. ”
Zabuza bowed yet again and left the room afterward.
Seeing that Zabuza understood that he was dismissed, Hiruzen nodded in approval and looked at Haku.
”Haku, just like Zabuza, I got quite a few reports praising you for helping during the invasion. You already have free access to Konoha, but just like Zabuza, I offer you the rank of chunin in Konoha ’s shinobi force. ”
Unlike Zabuza, Haku nodded her head and started speaking.
”Thank you for the offer, Hokage-sama. I would like to accept. ”
”Good, the procedure can be handled later, but for now: Welcome to Konoha ’s shinobi force. ”
A happy smile appeared on Haku ’s face as she answered.
”Thank you, Hokage-sama. ”
Afterward, she left the room and Hiruzen ’s eyes landed on Ino.
”Ino Yamanaka, although you conceded your first match as soon as it started, the reason for that was rather obvious. During the invasion, you formed a team with multiple shinobi from Konoha and each of them praised your ability in combat and adaptability during chaotic fights, thus you will be promoted to chunin. ”
Just like everyone before her, Ino bowed towards Hiruzen…
”Thank you, Hokage-sama. ”
…but unlike Zabuza and Haku, she didn ’t leave the room immediately afterward. Unlike Zabuza and Haku, she was part of Konoha from the start and there was not the slightest doubt about her loyalty towards Konoha, so there was no need for her to leave the room.
Hiruzen gave her a nod of acknowledgment and then moved on to Shikamaru.
”Shikamaru Nara, despite conceding the battle, you clearly showed your capability and intellect during your fight. Your individual strength might not be at the level of a chunin yet, but your fast mind and superior tactics easily make up for that flaw, thus you are promoted to chunin as well. ”
Just like everyone before him, Shikamaru bowed towards Hiruzen, despite it being rather obvious that he would rather refuse the promotion.
”Thank you, Hokage-sama. ”
Now it was time for the last four people, and Hiruzen could already feel his headache making a reappearance just by seeing Yuna, Naruto, Hinata, and Anko innocently looking at him like they had no idea why they were here. Truth be told, Hiruzen really wanted to punish them for hiding their strength to such a ridiculous degree, but that would simply be unreasonable.
He took a deep breath and started speaking with Anko first.
”Anko Mitarashi, during the invasion you played a vital role in helping me repel Orochimaru. Truth be told, without you I probably wouldn ’t be alive today. You will be promoted to Elite Jonin and you are allowed to choose one S-rank jutsu from Konoha ’s Forbidden Scroll of Seals. ”
Anko ’s face lit up in excitement when she heard that.
”Haha, thanks, old man Hokage. Don ’t worry, next time I see Orochimaru, I will finish him off properly. ”
Hiruzen didn ’t even twitch after being called ”old man Hokage ” and simply decided to keep going. Next, his eyes landed on Hinata.
”Hinata, during the chunin exam you demonstrated strength far beyond what a simple chunin should have, and even during the invasion, you kept fighting while protecting Konoha ’s citizens. I have dozens of reports of you defeating enemy shinobi in different parts of Konoha and apparently, you are even responsible for preventing the invaders from entering Konoha ’s shinobi academy.
Additionally, while doing that, you expertly lead a team with you and coordinated your team ’s movement perfectly with your own. Truth be told, from what you have shown, even promoting you to jonin wouldn ’t be weird, unfortunately, you didn ’t have the time to do a lot of missions yet, so you will be promoted to special jonin for now. As soon as you accumulate enough successful mission you will be promoted to a full-fledged jonin. ”
Hinata stepped forwards and bowed towards Hiruzen.
”Thank you, Hokage-sama. ”
Hiruzen almost started crying a little when Hinata actually called him ”Hokage-sama ” properly, but since that would damage his image, he suppressed it for now and simply kept going. Next, his eyes landed on Naruto.
”Naruto Uzumaki, just like Hinata you showed strength far beyond what a normal chunin should have during the chunin exams. During the invasion, you fought head-on against the Ichibi and even defeated it, preventing a lot of causalities from happening. Unlike Hinata, you didn ’t show off your capability in coordinating with a team but instead showed off your overwhelming power. Just like Hinata, you easily qualified for the rank of jonin, while being held back by the number of missions you have done. Just like Hinata, you will be promoted to special Jonin for now and as soon as you accumulate enough successful missions you will be promoted to a full-fledged jonin. ”
”Haha, thanks, old man. Don ’t worry, I will have the necessary amounts of missions done in a jiffy. ”
Hiruzen completely ignored Naruto being even more disrespectful than Anko and started to look…glare at Yuna.
The two looked at each other for quite a while, while Yuna had a happy smile on her face, Hiruzen ’s frown grew deeper and deeper. After around a minute had passed, Hiruzen started to speak.
”Ice style, huh? ”
”Haha, what can I say. I fought Naruto and Hinata and thought: ”man, wouldn ’t it be awesome if I could use ice style just like Haku did? ”, so I tried it out and it actually worked. Isn ’t that an incredible coincidence? ”
Hiruzen, naturally, didn ’t believe Yuna for even a second. His glare only intensified even further, while the pressure in the room increased. A few moments later, Hiruzen shook his head and the pressure vanished.
”Let ’s stop the games. I will make it simple. Are you loyal to Konoha, Yuna Uzumaki? ”
Yuna only shrugged her shoulders when she heard that question.
”I ’m pretty sure you know the answer to that, but let me say it anyway: No, I am not. ”
” ” ”WHAT!!! ” ” ”
Yuna ’s casual statement shocked a lot of people. The most shocked person was, without a doubt, Jiraiya. After all, the daughter of the fourth Hokage just claimed that she isn ’t loyal to Konoha. Hiruzen, however, wasn ’t that surprised. As Yuna already said, he knew the answer to that question and this was exactly what he expected her to say. Now, however, it was time to ask the question that actually was important to him while looking into Yuna ’s eyes.
”Then, who are you loyal to? ”
”To no one but myself. I follow my principles no matter what. I won ’t betray those I consider close. I trust those I consider close unconditionally and if someone betrays that trust or if someone is after the life of those, I consider close, that person will die. I won ’t kill the innocent and to tell the truth, I have a little bit of a soft spot for young children. ”
Hiruzen was currently maintaining eye contact with Yuna and could see the steel-like resolve and determination in her eyes. He really wondered how such a young girl could have eyes like that.
”Then, what would you do if I ordered you to do something that would contradict those principles? ”
”I won ’t follow those orders and if you keep insisting on them, I will, in the worst case, fight you to the death over them. ”
The atmosphere in the room, immediately, grew heavy when Yuna said that. Yuna and Hiruzen were still keeping eye contact, as more and more bloodlust started to flood the room. Moments later, however, the pressure vanished instantly.
”HAHAHA!!! Isn ’t it fine then?! ”
Hiruzen started laughing out loud. The laughter sounded incredibly carefree.
”Hahaha, that means, as long as that doesn ’t happen, you will be loyal to Konoha, right? ”
Yuna nodded her head and answered.
”Haha, good! Very Good! From today on you are promoted to jonin. Good job! ”
Truth be told, Hiruzen felt like a mountain was just lifted off his shoulders. After all, if Yuna were to betray Konoha, Hiruzen did not doubt that Naruto, Hinata, and Anko would follow, no questions asked. All four of them will probably at least reach the strength of an S-rank shinobi. That would be a devastating blow to Konoha. Now, however, he knows that Yuna will at least not betray Konoha on a whim.
’As long as nobody does anything stupid, things will work out fine. I should probably leave a note to my successor about this. ’
”Haha, thanks, old man. I ’ll take it. ”
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