The Next Ace of Aces

Chapter 3

Well time to keep the story going on our future Ace of Aces! As you know Naruto and Nanoha aren't owned by me!

Chapter 3

With the Chuunin Finals in three days, Hinata was doing some final training with Tenten. She had still yet to master the Hyuuga Clan techniques her father wanted her to learn, but she did impress Hiashi with how much she improved her speed and stamina over the past few weeks. Hiashi had even taken notice of how fluid and flexible she was, which led him to more research on how the clan techniques could truly benefit her. For now she simply trained more with Mach Caliber especially since Tenten could do a lot more with her.

Speaking of Tenten, in just a few days of learning about Hinata's new abilities, Cross Mirage had finally woken up and began to sync with his new master. It amazed Tenten to find out that he was designed to work in mid to long range combat, which suited her just fine. She learned about his previous master Teana Lanster and how she specialized in strategic mid range combat. The biggest thing she had to learn was how to handle him, since handguns haven't been seen in over 10,000 years. She immediately began to practice with him and her long range weapons style and noticed that Cross Mirage made it easier for her to carry and use her weapons. After explaining that some devices had a storage feature, Tenten quickly figured out that she could use her Device to store her weapons as well. Then there was the issue with her Barrier Jacket…

"Now this is so much better. I know it was still set to Teana's default Jacket, but I could not deal with that at all!" Tenten stretched out as she was now in her new Barrier Jacket. Instead of a black mini dress, she now wore a black sleeveless bodysuit that ended just below her knees, with a full white mini skirt instead of a mini cape. There was now a holster on the side and one inside her vest for Cross Mirage as well. She still kept the sleeveless vest and had two black ribbons now tied to the buns in her hair.

"You don't like wearing skirts?" questioned Hinata.

"Not open like that! Let's just say I had too many bad run with boys always wanting to look at my underwear when I was growing up." Tenten replied while she stretched out. "Plus I think the tights are much better for me. It was good that Cross Mirage said mages could customize their Barrier Jackets as needed, depending on how much defense they wanted."

"I guess so." Hinata didn't really care. She was fine with what Mach Caliber had for her Barrier Jacket. "So, what did you want to teach me today?"

"Well, we only have three days left. I had hoped to get you some weapons training in, but it might not help you in three days. So why don't we just spar." Tenten said as she set Cross Mirage into One Hand Mode and had just one handgun. "This way you can work more on your dodging and defense in case Naruto has something big planned. Also it gives me more time to work on mastering shooting."

"You're doing just fine Master. I am glad I can help. I will record data for you if you would like?" asked Cross Mirage.

"That's ok Cross Mirage. Today Hinata and I are just gonna go for it and see what happens." Replied Tenten.

"Very well. When you are ready, Master." Cross Mirage made sure all settings were in the green.

"Are you ready Mach Caliber?" Hinata asked of her partner

"Ready when you are Hinata! All systems in working order." Mach Caliber confirmed everything was good.

"Then here we go!" Hinata took off at full speed towards Tenten. Tenten anticipated this and immediately returned Cross Mirage to its holster. Thanks to her knowledge of seals and Cross Mirage's help, she was able to create two link seals in her gloves in order to summon weapons from Cross Mirage's storage unit. She quickly summoned a set of tonfa and immediately engaged in melee combat with Hinata.

"Wow, you're definitely a lot faster!" Tenten was doing her best to block each of Hinata's strikes. She could tell that Hinata's hard work was paying off. "But you still have a way to go!" She knocked Hinata's hands out of the way at the same time she sealed her tonfa. Before Hinata could react, Tenten grabbed her arm and used her own momentum to throw Hinata airborne. "Guess being on Gai-sensei's team does have some benefits."

"And my partner has benefits of her own!" Tenten looked to see Hinata back in balance as a blue chakra path appeared under her feet, allowing her to coast back to upright. Hinata kept going and this time she had her Revolver Knuckle adding to it. She tried to land a hit on Tenten, but missed when Tenten jumped out of the way. However…

"What the…where did you learn that trick?" Tenten saw Hinata do a smooth bank turn and immediately come back in her direction. Her movement was so fluid when she saw the chakra path appear and guild Hinata.

"It's Wing Road! I can create a path of chakra anywhere, even in mid-air! Normally it takes a lot of chakra, but if I use it for short burst like turns or recoveries, it's not as bad." Hinata continued her assault as Tenten kept dodging.

"Nice, but let's up things shall we?" Tenten stood there and allowed Hinata to strike her, however Hinata just passed right through her.

"A clone? But…" Hinata quickly activated her Byakugan and started scanning the area. She had no sight of Tenten but saw a concentrated burst of chakra headed right for her! "Gotta think fast…I know! Protection!" Quickly Hinata threw up a shield in front of her in order to block Tenten's blast. It knocked her back a few feet but she took no damage from it. However Tenten wouldn't stop there. More shots came flying full speed and Hinata knew that she could either be hit or dodge.

Tenten actually took the time to keep Hinata on her toes. One of the first things she learned from using Cross Mirage was the Fake Silhouette spell that allowed her to create illusion copies of herself. Being a weapons user, she never had time to put more focus into her clone jutsu. However this spell turned out to be more effective because the silhouette couldn't be detected as fake, even to Hinata's Byakugan. That in turn gave her time to move back and hide in a secure spot.

"Ok Hinata, let's see what you got." Tenten was hidden away in some trees that gave her some good cover. She could easily see Hinata and started firing away, hoping to help Hinata with her detecting skills. With Cross Mirage's help, Tenten was able to shoot in different directions and cause her shots to hit as to not make it obvious where she was.

Hinata had upped her game a bit and kept up her dodging. She was doing fairly well, but still got hit by some shots, and blocked the rest of the shots. "I have to find out where she is, but with all these directional shots, it's making it harder." Hinata avoided another shot and quickly scanned the area. Things were getting tougher trying to keep up while scanning but she finally found Tenten. When she did find her…she also found two more things…namely two shots coming in together! "Oh no!" She couldn't do much of anything except take the hits. Luckily Tenten didn't use much power so the damage was minimal.

"Hey, not bad." Tenten came out her hiding spot to check up on Hinata. "You've got some pretty nice moves."

"I should have been able to dodge those two shots, or at least get a Protection barrier up." Hinata sighed heavily. "I'm sorry I let you down Mach Caliber."

"You did no such thing. Do not belittle yourself Hinata." Mach Caliber could sense her doubt and knew Hinata shouldn't feel this way.

"She's right you know. In just a short time, you've made a lot of progress. Be proud of yourself." Tenten gave her a pat on the back as she deactivated her barrier jacket. "Why don't we finish up here and go get something to eat."

Hinata deactivated her own barrier jacket as well, "Maybe you're right. But do you really think I'm ready to face Naruto-kun?"

Tenten put her arm around Hinata's shoulder, "Of course you are! You just have to remember that he wants you to give him everything you've got. Don't think that if you utterly kick his butt, he'll stop being friends with you."

Hinata knew Tenten was right. She hadn't led her wrong at all. "Yeah you're right. I'm just still really nervous!"

"Then that is the next step in our training program, 'How not to be nervous around Naruto!'" Tenten laughed as the two left the training area. They didn't pay it much attention when Neji saw them in the distance.

"Just what is that failure doing with Tenten? Does she actually believe she can learn anything to defeat Naruto? He's a failure as well, but at least he's not a cowering wimp like she is." Neji thought to himself as he went the other direction away from the two kunoichi.

For the last two days Hinata and Tenten were pretty much inseparable. Tenten continued to work more on her shooting magic while helping Hinata with her evasion and attack. Whenever they had time, their Devices would explain about different spells that were available to them. They would work on different types of attack and defense spells to increase their knowledge of their Devices.

The day of the finals soon came and Hinata was going through her final preparations with Tenten at her apartment.

"Ok, I can do this." Hinata was breathing slowly to keep herself calm. "I promised I'd give Naruto everything, and I meant it. I'll be sure to…oh no!"

"What is it? What's wrong Hinata?" Tenten hoped it wasn't major.

"I can't let people know about Mach Caliber. Not yet! How will I be able to activate her?" Hinata still wasn't ready to reveal her Device to the world, especially since she was afraid someone might take it.

"Well if there was a way you could change the activation code then maybe that would work?" Tenten proposed.

"It is possible Hinata. You can temporarily bind a shortcut command to my activation code." Mach Caliber replied.

"See, there you go. Now people will think you're just using a jutsu for your Barrier Jacket." Tenten replied. Hinata felt much better hearing that.

"Ok, that's better." Hinata took a deep breath to calm herself. "So should start using Mach Caliber as soon as the match starts or wait? I mean I don't want to tire out too fast, but I don't want Naruto to think of me as weak."

"Hinata," Tenten turned Hinata and stared straight at her, "Listen to me. Calm down! Just show Naruto some of your normal skills and then later use Mach Caliber. That will really get him going, and may cause him to underestimate you. But just go out there and have fun. You've trained hard. You're going to be fine." She went and grabbed Cross Mirage from her desk. "Now let's go. You're gonna do awesome!"

Hinata felt a little better with Tenten's support, "You know you're a great help Tenten. Thanks so much."

The duo left and made their way to the stadium. As they got there, the two saw most of the Hyuuga clan enter, including Hiashi, Hanabi, and Neji. Neji simply stared with cold eyes at the two girls, just throwing out uncalled hatred and jealousy. Tenten saw Hinata immediately start trembling and she didn't want that at all.

"So Neji, come to see your cousin possibly make Chuunin today?" Tenten said with a smirk. "Or do you still believe all that fate and destiny crud?"

Neji turned his eyes away, "As I said before. A worthless failure has no reason to be in these matches. She will lose to Naruto like the coward she is." Hinata cringed at his cold words while Hiashi actually reflected on what he said. He had known of Neji's uneasiness with the Main House, but never had he been so cold.

"Really now? Hey did you ever think, if she loses to Naruto, and you lost to her, doesn't that mean you'd technically have lost to Naruto? And isn't he supposed to be a bigger failure than Hinata?" Tenten wasn't going to let him win. He crossed the line with her when he questioned her ability as a kunoichi and she'd had enough. "And need I remind you…Hinata didn't even use that one move against you. You know the one that you know you can't beat?"

"Shut your mouth Tenten before I shut it for you!" Neji snapped back. If there was one thing that infuriated him more than his loss to Hinata, it was the Caged Bird Seal.

"Hinata, now's your chance. Prove to Neji that you aren't weak. Go ahead and scare him a bit." Since synchronizing with their devices, both Hinata and Tenten now had the ability to communicate telepathically. Tenten figured that if Hinata was going to break her fear, now was the time. "Just put your hand in the sign to activate the seal. That will show him not to look down on you."

"But…no you're right. I need to stop being afraid of him."Hinata's trembling eased up as she slowly held up her right hand in the one sign Neji never wanted to see. "Neji-nii-san, I think you need t-t-to be more respectful of m-me."

"You really think you have the nerve to activate that seal on me? Even your own father looks down on you!" Neji boasted. He felt no fear as he believed that Hinata would never activate his seal. "You really are…ugh!" In seconds he was on his knees as a sharp pain rushed through his head. Hinata didn't know it, but secretly Hiashi activated the seal just enough to send a warning to Neji.

"Tenten, I…I didn't do that! I didn't activate his seal!" Hinata's thoughts were shaken up and the situation.

"Don't worry about it. Just go with it and make him start to look at you differently." Tenten replied.

Hinata took a deep breath and activated her Byakugan for effect. "I said you need to b-be more respectful. Next time I won't hesitate to use it all the way."

Hiashi heard his daughter's words with a straight face, "So that little bit of confidence just wasn't a onetime thing. And you're right Hinata; Neji does need to start looking at things a little differently."

"Looks like she put you on the floor again Neji. That's twice. I wouldn't attempt to make her do it a third time, because you might not get up from that one." Tenten turned her back to him. "Come on Hinata; let's get you ready for your match."

"Yes." Hinata bowed to the elders and her father, and took her leave with Tenten as Neji slowly rose to his feet. Neji was still holding his head from the shock.

"That worthless piece of garbage! She'll pay for this, I swear it." Neji's anger was seething, though he didn't show it before the elders. He was out to make Hinata pay for actually testing the water with his seal.

With Hinata and Tenten…

"Whoa, I cannot believe Neji got dropped like that. I wonder who activated his seal?" Tenten questioned. "But boy did he deserve it!"

"I just feel bad that happened. He probably felt a lot of pain." Hinata did show a little concern for him.

"You know, you really are too nice Hinata. Neji had that coming to him for the way he talked to you. You have feelings just like him and they need to be respected." Tenten definitely didn't care for what happened. "Maybe now he'll start thinking about talking bad about you."

"I guess so." Hinata was a little happier that she could show some confidence. "Well, I guess this is it. Wish me luck?"

Tenten quickly hugged Hinata, "You know it. My best friend is definitely gonna show out."

Hinata slightly blushed, "I…I'm your best friend?"

Tenten released her embrace and looked at Hinata, "Yeah you are. We just have that connection, you know. That and you're not a raving fangirl like Sakura and Ino."

Hinata let loose a small laugh. "I hope I'd never be that way."

"So go on, I'll be cheering you all the way." Tenten said confidently.

"As will I, Lady." Cross Mirage added.

"Well looks like someone's finally up from a nap." Tenten took hold of her device. "Now go out there Hinata and show Naruto just what kinda ninja you are!"

Hinata felt happy that she had the support of her new best friend. She simply slowed her breathing to keep herself calm, knowing that win or lose, she was going to give Naruto her everything in the fight. She did get one final set of words before she had to go to the stadium.

"You are trying hard to relax, aren't you?" Hinata turned to see her teammate Shino coming from the waiting area.

"Shino, how did…oh your insects." Hinata forgot that Shino kept a special kikai on her and Kiba, so that if anything happened to them, he could know how to reach them quickly. "Can you really sense my tension?"

"Yes, but I can also sense you are doing a great deal to overcome it." Shino remained motionless as he spoke. "You have grown much since our time of becoming Genin."

"You really think so?" Hinata always felt soothed by Shino's words. "I have been training hard."

"You train harder than both myself and Kiba. I know this match is of great importance to you. Remember that Kiba and I are proud to have you as our teammate and you have our full support." Shino replied calmly. "And know that Naruto will be one person that will not think less of you if you lose to him. You need not worry about disappointing him. He has more confidence in you than myself, Kiba, and Kurenai-sensei combined."

All that ran through her mind was Naruto's reaction. Tenten and now Shino both said that he wouldn't look down on her. It gave her comfort to know that she had strong support. "Shino, all this month I've been worried about fighting Naruto-kun. But both you and Tenten are right. He's the one person that won't look down on me. I said I would give him my all, and I will stand to it, for that is my nindo!"

Shino could see her confidence increasing and felt her happiness, "Then I look forward to a great match Hinata."

The two walked out to the main arena and lined up before the start of the matches. The crowd was in an uproar over the battles and couldn't wait for the start. Hinata noticed that Naruto had yet to arrive, but soon saw that change as he came crashing into the stadium after being chased by a herd of bulls! Quickly dusting himself off, he got to his feet and took notice of the crowd. It surprised him just as much to think this many people were cheering for him too.

Not wanting to delay much longer, Genma called Naruto and Hinata forward to begin the match and send the others to the waiting area. "Alright you two, the rules are the same as the prelims. Anything goes and you win when your opponent can no longer fight. You can go as far as to kill, but try not to ok."

"Got it!" Naruto said proudly.

"Yes, of course." Hinata replied politely.

As the two were headed to their respective corners, Naruto stopped Hinata. "Hey, like I said, we give it everything we've got. And I stand by my word, win or lose, we're still friends." He held his hand out in sportsmanship.

Hinata could see his intentions were true and honorable. She felt some slight nervousness, but knew this was it. Slowly reaching out, she took his hand and shook it. With a deep breath to calm her, "I promise I will give you everything I have Naruto-kun. And win or lose, we will stay friends."

"I can tell this match is gonna be a good one with this much honor and sportsmanship. Alright, let the first match get underway!" Genma stepped back as the two were in position. "Now, let the match begin!"

Naruto immediately activated his trademark Kage Bunshin and summoned 10 clones to the area. He wasn't planning to make things easy for Hinata. They all rushed in and started attacking her from all sides.

Hinata wasn't surprised that Naruto would use his clones. They were his strongest weapon and she knew he could make hundreds of them. She planned to keep her promise to give Naruto everything she had, but for now she'd follow Tenten's advice and ease into it. She also had Mach Caliber on standby for later. "Byakugan!" Quickly activating her doujutsu, she immediately scanned the approaching clones, but saw they were all the same. However she wouldn't be attacked so easily. The clones approached from all sides and started attacking her, but she entered a graceful dance of taijutsu, nimbly evading his attack and striking the clones one by one.

"I can tell she's just getting started. Alright Hinata, show me just what you can do!" Just as the last clone was struck and dispelled, Naruto summoned 100 more clones. This time he had them all surround her and prepare for another attack. "You may have beaten 10 clones, but see if you can stop this!" He had all the clones jump toward her at the same time.

"What is he planning? He must be trying to distract me. Well I won't be distracted Naruto-kun!" Hinata kept her Byakugan active as the clones were quickly approaching, however Naruto used his unpredictable nature to throw her off. Instead of having the clones strike her, he dispelled all of them at once! The result created a massive smokescreen of chakra, completely blinding her! "I…I can't see! There's too much chakra!" Hinata quickly disabled her Byakugan as the chakra was much too intense to see at once. She tried to fan the smoke away but soon felt something grab her arm. In seconds she felt like she was flying before she hit the ground hard. She then felt herself airborne again and hit the ground hard another two times.

"Not too bad huh?" Naruto said with a huge smile. "So was that a good warm-up Hinata?" He had secretly kept one clone from dispelling in his technique. It was a clone that was right near Hinata, so when she was blinded by the smoke, his clone could easily grab her and throw her.

Hinata got back to her feet and shook her head. "That was really good. I should be careful." She dusted herself off and got back into fighting stance. "I won't fall for that again."

Meanwhile up in the stands Hiashi looked upon his daughter in a much different light. He knew her confidence had been improving since she spent her time practicing with Tenten, but it reached this level? He also knew of her infatuation with Naruto but the Hinata he was looking at wasn't some timid girl, but a girl looking to prove her worth. Of course he also knew that Hinata simply wanted Naruto to acknowledge her and that she wanted to show that she would never give up. "Hmm, I think it's time I had a good discussion with her to find out just what is sparking all of this confidence. Seems that when she's around a lot of positive influence, she does better. Maybe she is worthy enough to become a Clan Head. That and I may need to have a talk with Minato's kid as well, just in case he tries to get a little 'fresh' with Hinata."

Neji was still seething after his embarrassment in front of everyone before the match began. "There is no way that failure would have the gall to use the seal on me. I swear I will break her for this!"

Back to the match, Hinata went on the offensive with Naruto. She knew that her physical strength wouldn't be able to match his, but she did have one ace, speed. She remembered from her academy evaluation that she was ranked as the fastest kunoichi between herself, Sakura, and Ino. The only reason she seemed slower was because of her confidence issues and that hindered her from doing her best. However this time Naruto would see just what kind of trouble he was getting into. Naruto did what he could to avoid her strikes but she was relentless. What he did notice was her hands starting to glow…white?

"Alright, time to return the favor Naruto-kun! I won't give up, that's our nindo, our ninja way!" Hinata reactivated her Byakugan as she continued her attack. She got a few grazes in on Naruto but she needed to make a big move and now was the time. "Here goes! Hakurō Tenbu! (Heaven's Dance of Hazy White)" In a matter of seconds, Hinata added some chakra to her step to speed her up just enough to catch Naruto off guard. She moved her hands as if she was swiping through Naruto, cutting him with the chakra. Naruto could feel each strike going through and it was painful! Hinata quickly finished up by bringing her palms together and thrusting her chakra through, creating a mild explosion that sent Naruto flying back! As Naruto was tumbling along the ground, Hinata quickly pursued him and when he finally stopped he was lying on his back. She did a quick somersault and stomped on his chest before jumping off. She backed away to see what he was going to do for his next move. "It worked! The Hakurō Tenbu worked! OK can't stop now. I know I'm nowhere near finished learning this move, and I probably never will, but I have to try something."

Naruto really felt the pain from Hinata's attack and was slow getting back up. "Oh man, that really hurt!" He rubbed his chest slowly to take his mind off the pain. "Hey Hinata, that was pretty good! I knew you were good, but yeesh!" He got up and saw Hinata in a strange stance with her Byakugan active. She wasn't finished attacking at all! "Oh crap."

"Juuken: Hakke Juurōku Shō! (Gentle Fist Art: Eight Trigrams Sixteen Palms)" Hinata dashed in once again and started a relentless torment of strikes. "Two strikes…four strikes…eight strikes…sixteen strikes!" Naruto felt each jab strike him, sending a painful chakra strike through him each time. It left him slightly off balance and when he saw Hinata pull her hand back, he knew there was more. "Now the finisher. Juuken: Shukūken! (Gentle Fist Art: Palm Heel Strike). Hinata focused everything she could into her palm and slammed it into Naruto's chest, forcefully thrusting him back and knocking him to the ground. The entire assault actually left her a little winded.

Tenten had been up in the stands watching. She was surprised that Hinata had this much skill at all. "I was right! Hinata really is the best kunoichi of her class! I bet Naruto will definitely see her differently now.

Back on the field, Naruto slowly got back to his feet. He had some good spars and matches, but this was probably the best one he'd ever had. "You know something Hinata…you're good. I'm not gonna lie. You're really good!" He was breathing hard after her bombardment. "I gotta say, this is exactly what I wanted in a match." After a few deep breaths he got back into battle position. "You told me you were gonna give it your all, and you did. Now it's time I do the same."

Hinata saw him put his hands together in a seal. "He was holding back! Oh, well…I guess it's ok. I was holding back something too. Ok Naruto-kun, you're gonna show me your secret ability, and I'll show you mine." She saw him gathering chakra but noticed it was much different. The chakra wasn't blue like normal chakra. It was red and it was stronger than his other chakra. "What's this chakra? It feels strong…too strong. Naruto-kun, what are you doing?"

"Hinata, his energy is very strong. The last time I felt something like this was around Lady Nanoha or Lady Hayate when their limiters were released." Mach Caliber chimed in. "You may not be able to face this alone."

"I know. Naruto-kun said this was his best that we would be facing. Let's see what he does and then counter." Hinata replied back while trying to assess the situation. She continued to watch as red tendrils of chakra swirled around Naruto before being absorbed into him. She looked upon him as he now stood cloaked in a red aura.

"That's better. Now let's kick things up a notch!" Naruto rushed in and started attacking with a flurry of punches and kicks. Hinata barely saw him move as his speed increased greatly. She did all she could to block and evade, but it was proving to be ineffective. "Heh Ero-sennin was right. Having the fox in me does pay off when I collect what is due to me. This match is mine for sure…unless she uses that jutsu that beat Neji, and then it's a different story!"

Hinata knew she was in trouble if she didn't activate Mach Caliber. But she barely had time to do anything while Naruto was attacking. She needed an opening and had to find one fast. Seizing the opportunity, she jumped just as Naruto threw a punch and used her momentum to propel herself upward. "It's now or never!" Hinata made three hand signs to make people think she was using a jutsu. Earlier she secretly programmed a temporary code to Mach Caliber so no one would become questionable. "Barrier Jacket Jutsu!" Upon hearing those words Mach Caliber went online, encasing her in a cloak of white and lavender energy. Naruto looked up and saw her transformation as she landed; now wearing her Barrier Jacket.

"Barrier Jacket…so that's what that jutsu is called? Well I can't wait to see it again." Naruto said in excitement.

Hiashi watched as Hinata completed her transformation, "Barrier Jacket jutsu? When did she learn something like that? And this was the jutsu that defeated Neji? I will observe things and assess later."

Naruto started a new attack with his new speed but instead of making contact, he was met with something new. "Protection!" Hinata held her hand out as Naruto connected with her Protection barrier. He continued pounding on the barrier, doing what he could to chip away at her defense. Hinata on the other hand could feel the barrier starting to weaken.

"Mach Caliber, what's happening? The barrier is getting weaker!" Hinata started to slowly panic.

"Remember, you're using your own chakra to power the barrier. You had used up some of your chakra earlier. Until we build your reserves up, your barriers won't last as long. You're going to have to counter attack him." Mach Caliber explained. "You need to load a cartridge and attack him with Divine Buster."

"Divine Buster? Cartridge? What are those!"

"I am equipped with a cartridge system. A cartridge is simply a compressed shell of mana, or now chakra. See once we synchronized, some of your chakra was slowly siphoned from you constantly. That chakra was channeled into me and I compressed it into cartridges for you." Mach Caliber told her. "Do not worry. The chakra drain is so minimal that it cannot be detected even by your eyes, and it causes no harm to you."

"I guess that works. Now what about using these cartridges? How will they help me?" asked Hinata. She didn't have much time so she needed to know ASAP!

"Simply command me to load a cartridge. Eventually you will be able to do this mentally in more heated situations. Once a cartridge has loaded, you will feel a surge in power in your Revolver Knuckle. Channel that energy and thrust it forward. That is the Divine Buster spell."

"Ok, if you say so. Do I have a limit on cartridges?"

"For now you do. I have stored up 8 cartridges for you since we synchronized. Given time, I can store up to 30 cartridges for you. Be careful as the Divine Buster spell takes 2 cartridges, so you will only have 4 uses of it."

"I hope this works!" Hinata turned her attention back to the battle. Her Protection barrier was almost at its limit. But now was the time to go on the offensive. "Alright, here goes…Cartridge Load!"

"Cartridge? What in the…" Naruto saw something happen to her gauntlet and saw two puffs of smoke come from it. He then saw it started glowing intensely.

"Time to show you what I can do Naruto-kun!" She pulled her fist back as her Revolver Knuckle started spinning intensely. A circle of chakra encircled a concentrated lavender ball of energy. Time seemed to slow down as she thrust her fist at Naruto and dropped her barrier at the same time. "Divine Buster!" The energy exploded right in his face, sending him careening back into the walls of the stadium. It even put Hinata on her knees as well. "Mach Caliber was right, that was intense!"

The entire stadium was in uproar as Hinata's attack hit. Naruto on the other hand was busy cleaning out his head from that hit. "Whoa…what hit me?" He was slowly getting his bearings back as he looked and saw Hinata getting to her feet. "She did that? Oh man, she is definitely hardcore." He dusted himself off to get a look at things and saw how crazy the crowd was. This fight really was a good one. He saw Hinata breathing a little heavy after her attack and figured that took a lot out of her. This was a good a chance as ever for him to finally end the match. "Hey Hinata, that was a good one. I'll say this; Neji was an idiot with the things he said to you. There's no way anyone weak could fight like that! You are one hell of a fighter and you deserve to be in this match!"

Hinata took the words to heart and knew he was honest, "Naruto-kun, thank you so much. You don't know how much that means to me. I wanted to prove to you that I could be a good fighter. Thank you for believing in me."

"Well, just because I said all that, it doesn't mean I'm gonna let you win. It's time I end this match." Naruto summoned ten more clones, all powered with the Kyuubi chakra. "Alright guys, give her a finish worthy of her skills."

The clones ran at Hinata at full speed, aiming to end the fight. Hinata was slowly losing more chakra by the minute and she was running out of ideas to use against Naruto. The only option she had was to get in close and hit Naruto with everything she had. She forced as much chakra as she could into her skates and dashed through the clones, taking them out one by one until she was faced with the original Naruto. She unleashed every strike she had against him but he matched her strike for strike and even tried another Divine Buster, but that didn't work. The two came to a standoff, with Hinata almost at her limit.

"I don't know what else to do. That red chakra is too strong. It's like it's giving him unlimited stamina. But what could be that strong?" Hinata tried thinking of everything possible that could give her one final edge over her crush. She even started scanning the spell database inside Mach Caliber for a spell that might help her win. There wasn't anything that she thought would work until she came up to one final spell. "What's this? Starlight Breaker? Mach Caliber, is this one of the spells you were talking about that a mage could use as a last resort?

"Yes. It is an extremely powerful spell created by Lady Nanoha when she was very young. It uses the principle of gathering excess mana in the area, then focusing it in one final bombardment strike. But you haven't attempted this spell and it could backfire if you're not careful."

"It's all I have left. I want to win just as much as Naruto-kun does, and like him, I'll never give up. Ok, the spell takes 4 cartridges and that's just what I have left. I hope this works."

"Use a bind spell to hold him. That will give you just enough time. Be safe Hinata, and know I am with you until the end."

Hinata prepared herself for the end of the battle. This was her last chance to win. "Naruto-kun, thank you for giving me such a challenge and pushing me to a brand new level. After this match, I know I can continue to get even stronger than I am now. Let's end this once and for all on a good note."

Naruto looked at her and knew she had given him one of the best matches ever. The only other match he could ask for would be against Sasuke, but now he was starting to think that wouldn't compare to this one. "Anytime Hinata. I hope we can do this again. This match was a blast! We should celebrate with some ramen after it's over. My treat." He gave a big smile then cracked his knuckles. "Well, here goes…huh?" He was about to rush in for his final strike but noticed four purple circles of energy around his arms and ankles. "What's this?"

"It's a bind technique. I had to use it to hold you off just enough for this." Hinata flipped back and gave herself enough room. She held her Revolver Knuckle towards Naruto and loaded the remaining cartridges. She began to summon every ounce of loose chakra that flooded the arena into a ball. Everyone could see droplets of blue and red chakra gathering, combining into a concentrated purple ball of energy.

Tenten looked at the arena and couldn't believe what she saw. "She's going to try that? Cross Mirage, when did she learn Starlight Breaker?"

"I don't believe she has actually learned it. She's using it as a desperation move to try and win the match. Mach Caliber told me she explained the principle of gathering mana or chakra from a battle to use as an attack." Cross Mirage replied back. "But something doesn't feel right. This energy is way too strong. That red chakra is too strong. It may be too much for Lady Hinata to handle."

"You mean it could backfire? Will Hinata be ok?" Tenten was worried that her friend may be in over her head.

With the Hyuuga, they all looked on as they saw Hinata prepare for her final attack. All of them were in shock at the match as Hinata gave an unbelievable performance in combat. "Father, what's she doing?" Hanabi asked when she saw her sister in preparation. "What kind of jutsu is that?"

"Not even I know Hanabi. It seems there is a lot about your sister that not even I know about." Hiashi replied. "And the fact that she has Naruto in some kind of a bind makes things even more interesting. I'm surprised she could actually hold her own against a Jinchuuriki and now it looks like she may win. This is definitely a call for investigation. Just where did she get all of this new power and ability. But something isn't right. Why is she absorbing the chakra? She doesn't know just how potent the fox's chakra is."

It was now or never for Hinata. If this spell was successful, then she'd win. She would actually defeat Naruto and show everyone just how strong she could be. She already knew that she had his praise and had really impressed him with the match. However she felt a little strange. As she was gathering the chakra, it felt like it was going through her as well, and her body started feeling hot. She kept watching as Naruto was trying to break her bind spell, but it was no use. "Thank you again…for everything Naruto-kun." She finished gathering the energy but her entire body was quivering like something was seriously wrong. "I…end this now! Starlight Breaker!"

In a split second Mach Caliber realized that the spell wouldn't work. There was too much power in it for Hinata to control. "Hinata, NO!" Unfortunately it was too late. Just as Mach Caliber's words came out, Hinata struck the ball of chakra with her fist to send it towards Naruto. The moment it connected, the entire sphere backfired and exploded, sending her careening back into the arena walls. The entire crowd was speechless as a huge cloud covered the area. Naruto felt his bind release and ran full speed to check on Hinata after he dispelled the fox's chakra. Luckily for Hinata, Mach Caliber used the very last of her chakra to protect her from too much damage, but had since shut down, leaving Hinata back in her normal clothes. She was now on the ground trembling in pain and her skin was red like she was sunburned. Tenten also saw this and hightailed it down to get to her as well.

"Hinata, are you ok?" Naruto looked and saw her crying in pain. He reached out and barely touched her arm when she jerked it back in pain.

"That burns!" Hinata cried out. She tried as hard as she could to suppress the pain, but she was past her limit.

"Hey Genma-sensei, go ahead and call it. She's hurt really bad and I'm not gonna fight her when she's down like this. She threw everything she had at me. We gotta get her to the medics." Naruto said as he wanted to end things before they got bad.

"You're right kid. That looks like some pretty tough chakra burns. You do know if she was an enemy ninja, you couldn't end it like this. "Genma replied.

"I know that, but she's a comrade and this wasn't a match between enemies. It was a match between friends and that's how it's gonna stay." Naruto snapped back. "So are you gonna call it or what!"

"Very well. Hinata Hyuuga can no longer continue the fight. The winner is Naruto Uzumaki!" Genma announced. The entire crowd went into an uproar at the fight's conclusion. As for Hinata…

"Naruto-kun…I'm really…sorry it ended like this." She cringed in pain once again.

"You kidding? What did I tell you? We'd have the crowd going nuts! That was one hell of a fight Hinata, and I gotta say I wanna do it again sometime." He reached down and carefully picked her up off the ground. "You're an awesome ninja! Believe it!" He started walking towards the infirmary with her in tow.

"Thank you so much Naruto-kun! I'm glad I made you proud of me. I hope I can keep doing that and prove that I won't ever give up, just like you." Hinata let out a small smile and let herself rest after the match. Tenten just made it down to meet up with Naruto.

"That was an awesome match you guys!" Tenten congratulated both of them. "So Naruto, what do you think of Hinata?"

"What do I think? She's an awesome shinobi! I bet if she had completed that final jutsu, she would have won hands down!" Naruto replied back. "I knew she was a good fighter, but man! She is seriously hardcore! Not even Sakura could stand up to her!"

Tenten took note that it was the very first time she heard Naruto not address his teammate by 'Sakura-chan'. Seems Hinata may have accomplished just a little more than she wanted. "Well, trust me, anytime you want to fight her, she'll definitely give you her all."

"I wouldn't have it any other way. Believe it!" Naruto replied back.

"You hear that Hinata? Looks like you did a lot more than you set out to. You may get him sooner than later." Tenten said telepathically. "But I told you he'd be impressed." Hinata didn't reply, but she got the message. The only thing that mattered to her right now was the fact that she kept her promise to Naruto and impressed him.

As for Hiashi, he felt the need to have a little talk and headed to the infirmary. The elders were already giving him an earful about Hinata's loss, saying that it brought disgrace to the clan and that an heir should not have failed like that. Neji was silently laughing to himself because he stood fast in his conviction that Hinata would lose and was still a failure. Hanabi's view changed, making her start to wonder just what her sister was capable of, and why she never showed this level of skill in their spars. It made her wonder if Hinata was holding back on her on purpose.

"She fought Naruto and really pushed him to the edge. Not only that but where did she get those powerful jutsu from? I think that everything Father says about her being weak is a lie. Maybe I need to talk to her about this stone too. It looks a lot like the one she has on her neck." Hanabi thought to herself as she secretly played around with a purple crystal that looked just like Hinata's blue crystal. Without her knowing, the crystal let off a soft glow, then went dormant again.

Well unfortunately for our future Ace, she lost her first true match with her partner Mach Caliber. But she actually gained more than she lost. She may be on the path to getting Naruto to really notice her. Not only that but she now has Tenten and her new partner Cross Mirage to help her on her path. And what's up with Hanabi's crystal? Could it be a link that would add another bond with her sister? What about Mach Caliber's earlier statement of Naruto soon being able to hear her and the other Devices? All will be revealed in due time.

And now another segment to reveal two new devices!

Device: Cross Mirage

Device Type: Intelligent Device

Magic Style: Mid-Childan

Cross Mirage is a device belonging to Teana Lanster, leader of the Riot 6 Ground Striker quartet. In his released form he takes the shape of two handgun pistols that can be used for midrange shooting combat. Later on he gets a second mode which converts him to a pair of energy daggers, allowing Teana to fight up close if she needs to. Cross Mirage also gets a final upgrade called the Blazer Mode Full Drive. This is primarily used for long range combat and allows use of the powerful Starlight Breaker spell. Cross Mirage can also shift into "One Hand Mode" allowing use of one handgun instead of two. In addition, Cross Mirage has a built in Anchor Wire system which fires a laser targeted grappling hook of chakra onto any surface. Cross Mirage is also exceptional at augmenting illusion type spells as well.

Device: Bardiche

Device Type: Intelligent Device

Magic Style: Mid-Childan

Bardiche is the device belonging to Enforcer Fate Testarossa Harlaown, once Nanoha's rival and now best friend (And apparent lover in the eyes of some Nanoha fans.) Bardiche normally is in the Standby Form of a yellow triangle, but becomes a halberd upon activation. He was later augmented with the Belkan Cartridge system to become Bardiche Assault. His specialty augmenting Lightning type magic. In addition he has the Haken Saber, which changes him into an energy scythe that can be thrown, and the Zanbar form, which converts him into a large energy sword. Later on he is able to change the Zanbar form to the new Riot Blade/Riot Zanber form, which is more condensed and more powerful. As an auto feature, Bardiche will autocast the Defenser protection spell when his master takes an attack. Bardiche is also capable of sealing spells as well. As opposed to Raising Heart, Bardiche is more suited for close combat.

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