17 Third Round
Yugao was a bit surprised seeing him, but quickly got her senses under control.
Just as she recovered, Hayate started speaking.
"Everyone, welcome to third round of the exams. All you have performed exceptionally during the first two rounds and we hope you would continue to so."
Taking a slight pause, and looking over everyone present on the grounds, he continued, "Now, in this round, you will participating individually, which means out of the 20 teams qualified, each and every member will be going solo from here on."
The students seemed to have been already aware of the rules, hence it did not create any disturbance.
"Now I will start calling out names of two persons. Those two, would be fighting against each other to secure a spot in the final examination held next week."
"After a 15 minutes break, we will start with the first match. Let me tell you the participants beforehand..."
He paused, and then opened the a file he was carrying. After looking through the file, he continued.
"The first match, after the break, would be between Sasuke from Hidden Leaf, versus, Yoroi Akado from Hidden Leaf."
... .. ...
Reo, Hanabi and Yugao went towards Team 7 to wish them all the luck in the first match of the Third qualifier.
"Sakura, how's it going? Why is the atmosphere so tense?"
Sakura hesitated a bit, but as soon as she saw Reo walking besides Yugao, her eyes lit up and she said with a grateful tone, "Thank you so much, Reo-kun. You and Hanabi really did help us back when we were in a stalemate against Orochimaru. If not for you guys, I really don't know what would have happened?"
Reo shook his head as he denied, "No, it was not us, instead you guys who were brave enough to take on that beast head-on. Specially Naruto, he did not back down even when he was facing him all alone. I really do admire him for his guts."
"Anyways, can you tell us what's happening? We were here to wish good luck, but the atmosphere does not suit."
Sakura sighed as she answered, "The thing is that after parting form you guys, a team, probably from Hidden Sound Village came to challenge us. But during the fight, they used underhanded means and put on a curse seal on Sasuke."
All three; Yugao, Hanabi and Reo were shocked to hear the news.
"What!" exclaimed Reo and Hanabi together, while Yugao looked over at Kakashi and Sasuke with pity.
"You see, the curse seal gets activated whenever Sasuke uses 'chakra' or any techniques related. Kakashi sensei and Sasuke, both are discussing on the battle plan going forwards into the trials."
"You don't need to worry, Sakura-chan. I know Sasuke will be fine. He not only would think of a way out, but also defeat that Yoroi guy." said Naruto coming out from behind Sakura.
Reo nodded, "Yeah, Naruto is right. I too believe Sasuke will not stop at such a problem. I just know."
"Thanks, Naruto. Thanks, Reo."
Sakura had tears in her eyes. She too, like Naruto and Reo believed that Sasuke would come out of the trouble.
Just then, Kakashi and Sasuke came out from their heated discussion. Kakashi sighed whereas Sasuke was deep in thought.
Kakashi was surprised to see Reo and his team, same could be said for Sasuke.
"Sasuke, you choose whether you want to take it on or not. Believe me, nobody is going to say anything, even if you forfeit." suggested Kakashi.
"I will think it over. But I would like to give it a try. I also want to know my current capabilities. As for the fight, I will forfeit, if the seal tries to interfere in between."
Sasuke finished, and walked over to the stage. While passing beside Reo, he stopped and whispered loud enough for him to hear, "Better be ready, I am not going down till I fight you."
Reo was confused as to how did he spark the rivalry between him and Sasuke. He did not even had a battle of words against Saskue, leave apart normal one on one fight.
Seeing him confused, Kakashi and Naruto only laughed, while Sasukra smiled at his innocence and answered his query.
"You might not know it, but the spirit you showed up against Orochimaru was truly magical. Not even Sasuke, even I was affected and started admiring you. The thing with Sasuke is that he, takes it to another level, forming a rivalry with the one he sees better than him, in one way or the other. So, in this case, you outdid him. Congrats!"
"Damn! What trouble have I got myself into." shrugged Reo.
... .. ...
"Attention everybody! The time is up. Now the Third qualifiers will begin."
"First match! Uchiha Sasuke, Hidden Leaf versus Yoroi Akado, Hidden Leaf!"
A loud voice rang out, leaving the noisy atmosphere dry out in an instant.
Both the participants walked up to the stage and were ready to begin the battle.
... .. ...
# Fights, not involving Reo would be short and up to the point.