The Tested Abilities...!!

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"To the eighty who remain... congratulations on passing the first test!!" Ibiki announced again, enjoying the stunned expressions on their faces.

"!!!" the entire room gasped, shocked.

'I see...' April thought with a relieved smile. "Hehe... So, it was like that after all!"

"!" Sasuke furrowed his brow slightly. She had kept her voice down, but he still heard it. 'After all...? Don't tell me she actually predicted this...?'

'Heh, now she really is laughing!' Ibiki thought, smirking. He couldn't hear April as well as those closer to her, but he could see her.

"..." Naruto stared at Ibiki, too stunned by what he had just said about passing to register anything else.

"Wait... what do you mean?" Sakura asked, confused. "We already pass? What about the 10th question?"

"There never was such a thing," Ibiki replied with a cheeky grin. "Or, you could say that those two choices were the 10th question."

"Huh!?" Sakura exclaimed in disbelief, stumped by the surprising outcome and his abrupt change in demeanor.

'Ah, here it is... the emotional whiplash...' April thought wryly with a smile. He did this last time they met, too. The instant the interrogation was over, he suddenly flipped a switch and started acting like a nice guy.  She had also been shocked by the sudden turnaround. It was a jarring juxtaposition. 'Well, I guess that means the danger's really over... for now, at least.'

"Hey!! Then what were the first nine questions for?!!" the blonde girl of the sand ninja trio demanded. "They were pointless, then!!"

"They were not pointless..." Ibiki stated calmly. "They had already served their intended purpose."

"!" the sand girl seemed to run out of steam. "Hn...?"

Ibiki's smile widened. "To test your individual information gathering abilities... that was their purpose."

"?" she furrowed her brow. "Information gathering...?"

"First, as the rules explained... Success on this test is based on the whole team doing well. This put pressure on each team member not to... mess things up for their teammates," he explained.

"I see... I see..." Naruto bluffed with a straight face, nodding his head. "I had a feeling this test was like that."

'Liar!!' Sakura thought.

'He had no clue at all, huh?' April thought wryly, resting her head on her hand with a small smile. Typical Naruto.

"Yup!" Naruto said firmly with another nod.

"Hehehe," Hinata giggled quietly.

"But the questions on this test were not the types a mere genin could answer," Ibiki continued. "Because of that... I'm sure most of you came to the same conclusion: 'In order to score points, I'll have to cheat.'  Basically... the premise of this test is to cheat."

"Heh," Sasuke smirked. He thought as much.

"As cheating targets, we had two or so chūnins who knew all of the answers mixed into the crowd, to help you guys out," Ibiki added, while the two chūnins in question smiled and nodded their heads. One of them was April's studious neighbor.

April smiled at having her suspicions confirmed.

"!" Naruto gasped, clapping his hands on the side of his face like the kid from Home Alone, eyes and mouth opened wide in shock. 'Huh!? I had no idea!!!'

"Man... it sure was tough finding that guy," Naruto heard someone behind him say.

"Yeah, I know," another genin agreed.

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