Chapter 64: "Hokage’s Message" – Now in the right place at the right time, the team opens the scrolls

and Iruka is summoned, explaining the riddle is related to their strengths and weaknesses. Anko meets with the Hokage, alerting him to the presence of Orochimaru as he fixes her up from the battle. It is then announced that due to too many passes, a preliminary exam must take place. Chapter 65: "Life-Risking Battles" – Introduces Hayate. With all the winners assembled, the Hokage explains the true purpose of the Chuunin Exam. Although a substitute for war, battles will allow lethal force to show off a shinobi’s power. Hayate then explains that a quick one-onone tournament will be held to cut the number of winners in half. Kabuto quits at the final hurdle. Chapter 66: "Sakura's Request" – Kabuto leaves to save his own life, but is still hiding his true mission of being Orochimaru’s spy. Sasuke’s Cursed Seal begins to trouble him. Sakura begs him to quit in case he ends up hurt, but Sasuke bluntly refuses. The examiners know of the seal, with Anko especially worried, but Kakashi reassures her. The first fight is then decided; Sasuke VS Yoroi. Chapter 67: "Opposing Ability" – Kakashi warns Sasuke to avoid using

Sharingan. Sasuke gains the upper hand with taijutsu alone, until Yoroi reveals his ability to directly absorb Chakra! Orochimaru, disguised as a Sound Jounin, watches hoping Sasuke will use the seal. Sasuke pulls out his trump card, mimicking Lee’s Konoha Kage Buyou starting kick. However, Sasuke then promises something completely different… Chapter 68: "The Uchiha Blood" – Even with his nagging injuries and the seal’s threat looming, Sasuke defeats Yoroi with his own adaptation of Lee’s Initial Lotus, the Shishi Rendan (Lion Combo). Everyone is amazed, especially Orochimaru. Sasuke advances, but Kakashi decides to suppress the Cursed Seal first. The next fight is announced then; Shino and Zaku. Chapter 69: "The Terrifying Visitor" – While Shino and Zaku fight, Kakashi applies a suppressor to the seal, based on Sasuke’s willpower. Unaware to him until he makes his presence known, Orochimaru has been watching him and reveals his purpose of being there is for Sasuke, with the Sound Trio meaning nothing to him. Zaku ends up ruined as Shino’s tactics cause

him to permanently lose his forearms.

Chapter 70: "The One Who Will Die Is..." – Kakashi threatens Orochimaru with the Raikiri, but Orochimaru leaves calmly and laughing. Kakashi realises he is nowhere near Orochimaru’s level. Another of Orochimaru’s spies, Tsurugi, battles Kankurou in the meantime. Although Tsurugi’s constriction seems to kill Kankurou, he doesn’t realise he was tricked until he lays on the floor breathless from Kankurou’s secret weapon, the war puppet Karasu. A shocker then comes with the next match-up. Chapter 71: "A Wall Too High" – Sakura and Ino are placed against each other, igniting their rivalry again. Despite their close friendship in the past and current personal issues with each other, both girls decide to first and foremost fight seriously as ninjas instead of squabbling rivals. Chapter 72: "Rivalry" – The kunoichi are evenly matched, with Ino even slicing her own gorgeous long hair off to show her seriousness. However, Ino

then reveals the real reason, using the strands and her Chakra to create a special technique to tie Sakura up and set her up for the Mind-Body switch. In the end, Sakura falls victim to it as Ino takes over her body.