The Path You Should Take...!!

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"You... were watching us this whole time...!?" Naruto asked Kabuto, completely taken aback by this revelation.

"Yes," Kabuto replied without apology. "Don't think badly of me... I needed to know wether or not I could trust you. There's four of you, and I'm out here on my own. To covertly hide in the shadows and gather valuable intel... even if it means spying on someone who trusted you... That's a ninja," he said, adjusting his glasses.

"...!!" Sasuke frowned. He understood what Kabuto was saying. He probably would have done the same... but that didn't mean he had to like it.

'... Hmm... Things seem complicated...' Naruto thought, a bead of sweat sliding down his face. Was it his imagination, or did things just get more tense?

"..." Sakura and April were concerned. If Kabuto could sneak up on them without them knowing, then who else might have overheard them?

"I don't dislike you..." Kabuto told them. He really wanted to see the full extent of their abilities. "You seem like you would make good allies, so... I'll tell you the path you should take."

"!" Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke, and April were all surprised by the offer.

"But... I'll tell you as we move," he said, turning to start walking in the direction of the tower. "The smoke from the fire and the smell of cooked fish can be sensed from far away. Wild beasts and enemies could be on the way." He glanced at the rain ninja's hiding spot out the corner of his eyes.

"Yes, that's right..." April said, also glancing subtly in that direction. She may not have sensed Kabuto, but someone was doing a poor job of masking their ill will towards them.

"Damn..." the rain ninja cursed, quickly fleeing the scene when he realized that he had been spotted.

The five leaf ninjas leaped from tree to tree at a great speed while keeping their eyes peeled, aiming to get to the tower as fast as possible without allowing any enemies who might be watching to get the drop on them.

"Are there really enemies left?" Sasuke asked Kabuto.

'Didn't Sakura and I already go over this...?' April thought, sweat-dropping.

"Yes, no doubt about it," Kabuto replied. "Just think about it... Do you know the smartest fighting tactic... in a large area like this jungle?"

"... Hmm...?" Sakura said.

"In an area this spread out, it can be difficult to locate or predict an enemy group's movements, but... the goal for this test is the tower, so we know everyone will have to head there eventually," April said. She was sure she knew the answer, since she had listed it as a possibility earlier, but since it didn't seem to stick the first time around, maybe helping the others reach the conclusion themselves this time, instead of just handing it to them, would be better.

"Correct. So, when there is only one day left, the easiest place to get a scroll is... near the tower," Kabuto finished.

"Oh!!" Sakura said remembering what April told them before. "I see... an ambush!!"

"...?" Naruto frowned, still processing the idea.

"..." Sasuke furrowed his brow.

"Heh," Kabuto smirked.

"So, basically, for the enemies without scrolls... the plan is to go after a team that has assembled both the Heaven and Earth Scrolls and is heading for the tower!" Sakura concluded, also frowning and furrowing her brow.

'Oh! I get it! I get!' Naruto thought excitedly. "I see!!! So there are already tons of enemies near the tower... just waiting to ambush us!! That's what you were trying to say earlier, right April!? Hah!! It's more exciting with a handicap!!"

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