"Normal speech"

Thoughts/Sound Effects/Emphasis of words

MECHANIZED COMMUNICATIONS

MECHANIZED TECHNIQUES

"Flashback dialog/Japanese/French/Emphasis of words (speech)"

"Demon speak"

Inner Sakura


Seasons Don't Fear

Chapter Four:

Preludes and Nocturnes; Dream


And Naruto was worried this assignment was going to be dull! Sakura thought as she retreated from the first strike in the next flurry of blows her hulking opponent levied against her. Somehow, the irony failed to amuse her.

The clumsy but enthusiastic diagonal slash was easily avoided as she withdrew quickly beyond the blade's range, which caused the weapon to once again embed itself into the hard-packed clay-like earth of the courtyard.

Honestly, this guy's fighting style is as subtle as a Jiraiya at a slumber party! Sakura thought with irritation at the amateur abilities of her opponent. Why even bother with the sword? The way he swings it, it may as well be a board with a nail in it.

The following stroke was a direct inversion of the last motion that was really just wrenching the blade out of the ground coupled with a step forward to aim it towards her. Sakura parried just before it could dig into her left shoulder by the kunai held in her right hand in a reversed grip she had come to favor for knife work.

Using chakra to keep her footing against the greater mass of the larger blade and that of the swordsman behind it, Sakura idly wished not for the first time that she had but in the basic weight and endurance training most taijutsu users needed. Tsunade's techniques were an end run around physical limitations; they required only the knowledge of the forms and the ability to release waves of chakra in precise timing with the moment of impact. The results spoke for themselves, and obviously surpassed human physical limits on muscular strength.

But the downside was that for all her power, she still massed the same as a normal teenage girl, if a fit one. In addition, her endurance in both chakra and physical ability was still lacking because between her medical training, missions, working at the hospital and drilling with what she already knew so she was combat ready, there weren't enough hours for the physical basics and still have time for enough rest to stave off chronic exhaustion. The strain on her body had she tried would have been worse than not training at all.

So Sakura was forced to merely stop her opponent as her pressed her, divided as her efforts were between holding her ground and his blade, instead of driving him back with the ease of her inhuman strength's limits. Large as he was, he was still stronger then he looked.

After a moment, when she managed to get proper leverage so the motion wouldn't cause her to loose his blade, she slid her left arm across her body to the kunai holster on her right leg and drew another knife. Holding it in the same grip as its partner, she drove it into the unguarded chest a few inches in front of her own and then pulled with all the force she could muster, scoring a savage slash that scoured deep in the armor. Though didn't penetrate, the attack did give the swordsman reason to stay out of close range. He quickly disengaged with a jump back covered by a dismissive sweep of his sword.

Sakura followed through with the slash's momentum, stepping forward in a twisting motion that had her back turned half the time. Not that it mattered. Her kunai were grating against the larger weapon; the left on the reversed position, the right in the forward, each describing a spiral pattern that advanced quickly forward. After a few slashes had been deflected by the over-sized blade she slowed to a stop and ended the fruitless tactic.

The swordsman responded to the kunoichi ending her assault by releasing one hand from the blade to strike her solidly with a closed fist in the jaw. As she staggered back, stunned, he gripped the blades in a classic swordsman's stance, with a third of the blade held under the gripping hands. Sakura, anticipating another powerful yet clumsy overhand strike, took a step into a fighting stance, primed to guard with the leading blade while the trailing could be used to strike once his weapon was engaged.

Only to be forced to cross he blades to intercept the rising slash delivered by the lower tip of the blade as she was occupied with the upper. Keeping her arms locked against the jarring impact lest the blade slice her in half up the middle, Sakura was surprised by the strength of the swing; indeed, it was slowly lifting her feet from the ground as it continued inexorably upward, trying to cut into her but succeeding instead of slowly taking her weight off her feet as she held her arms and crossed knives rigid between her thighs. Marshalling his strength, all at once her massive attacker delivered a massive heave upward sending her airborne.

Unbalanced, she flew through the air in an ungraceful motion and barely managed to roll on her hip at impact to prevent a fracture from the awkward, limbless landing. Coming to rest in a low kneeling crouch, she was faced with her opponent charging her. His legs were blurring with motion and the staccato rhythm of his footstep coupled with the lance-like spearing position of his blade brought her to mind of a cavalry charge. It looked as though he intended to impale her through her torso and out her back, pinning her to the ground like a butterfly in a collector's case.

But cavalry has never been really effective against shinobi. She though, waiting for her armored enemy to commit himself to a killing thrust, (a pause that descended into a crouch unleashing a downward spearing motion, probably to get more accuracy and power behind the tip) before leaping back past his range and waiting for him to again drive his blade into the ground with his clumsy motion. Their tactics always depend on the high ground and mobility. And neither they nor he really measure up where it counts.

Sakura was surprised then as the tip of his weapon changed coarse, somehow still traveling at the downward angle its user's arm followed, while simultaneously shooting strait at her, forcing her to jerk sideways or get skewered. As it was she got a shallow scratch on her ribcage; nothing threatening, but a definite wake up call.

What the hell was that? Genjutsu, like before?

Tuning her senses to see if she was being manipulated showed her the cause of her near miss. His arms… they had extended.

Before almost dwarfish in proportion, now the true purpose of their deformity became clear. They were mechanical… or at least mostly so. The armor, tightly overlapping on the shortened members now had considerable space between the plates. Enough space to see the brass framework that held the armor over a thick screw mechanism inside of the forearms and upper arms that filled all of the volume under the armor instead of flesh. The hands, elbows, and shoulders appeared normal, but that could be deceptive. Through some artifice, his limbs had been replaced with these mechanisms, as she now noted, were his legs. Now at last he stood at the imposing two meters and change that his twisted proportions would have demanded in their foreshortened position.

Their short length in the retracted position was to cause misjudgment in an enemy, or as a setup to a surprise driving thrust. Both tactics that had almost cost her dearly for being unprepared. Sakura had seen more extensive body modifications before, (Sasori came to mind) but the complexity and strength of the mechanisms was definitely considerable.

"Maybe you are a shinobi after all." She idly mused to herself on the deception as the next attack came on.

As he drew back the blade, attempting to slice her along the way with a tip of the blade to the side that she easily sidestepped, she ran through her alternatives, finally coming to a decision. As he tried a backhand for decapitation, she ducked slightly and stepped inside the sweep of the blade, to try to disarm the brute from the inside out. Coming to stand just behind his right shoulder, (his sword arm) she promptly kicked out her right leg, hobbling him and forcing him to kneel as the blow struck behind his knee. stepping backward to grab his arm as it flung forward in an attempt to catch himself, she obliged by providing balance. Wrapping her right arm around his as he fell to her eye level, she drove the kunai she held in a reverse grip into his shoulder, seizing the apparently mechanical joint and providing a point of leverage for her next maneuver. Now next to the behemoth, facing directly the opposite direction he was, she flipped the other knife in her left hand and used it to reinforce the jam she had caused by using it like its partner.

"You've already shown me that your armor can repair itself." She stated, almost conversationally, making contact with one narrowed jade eye over their shoulders. "I wonder if the same is true of all the clockwork in your arms?"

With that she flexed her arm. With her elbow pointed perpendicular to her captive's and her arm trapping his that meant his arm bent too, just not in the direction its designer intended. First the elements in the elbow blew out, cracking as iron, aluminum, bronze and brass shattered, impacted, bent and fused under the pressure. After the joint had jammed into itself to the point that it had more structural strength than the straight length of the arms, those began to warp as well. As Sakura strained to twist the arms enough that they would be inoperable, the other arm had begun beating at her, trying to stop her from doing more damage. The tiles that made up its armor dug into her and shattered violently, as did some of the smaller components of the mechanism, but all that did was annoy the girl even more. But persist she did, not stopping the inexorable wrecking yard contraction of her arm until she was damn sure the limb she had was uselessly twisted.

Then the bubble gum haired teen pulled out her knifes, waggled the arm she had twisted into a ruin to disarm it, disengaged her arm and planted a sidekick that could shatter concrete into his ribs. He went skipping bonelessly along the ground before coming to rest on his belly. Sakura was on him before he could use his three functional limbs to lift himself, shattering the ceramics protecting his back with a double fisted blow to his spine.

After her prey was down she began tearing into him, crushing plated and tossing the shard out of the way like a jungle cat tearing through a turtle's shell to get at the succulence inside. And for much the same reason.

She wanted satisfaction dammit! She'd had to dance around with this punk for too long while getting more and more frustrated by all his damn sloppy, amateur, gimmicky fighting. She wanted to shuck him like the lobster special and show him how a real shinobi fights, make him think twice before trying something like this. Then she'd find out anything he might know about the Akatsuki.

If she didn't decide to execute him on the spot. She'd play it by ear.

Only once she had shattered and scattered the armor covering him, what she saw just made her angrier. There was no one in the armor! It was hollow inside except for some bits of esoteric electronic equipment, a tempered steel reservoir in the torso that stored chakra is the slight aura it emitted meant anything, and multi-metallic skeleton that held everything together. Still, she still cracked open the helm like a walnut to confirm what she already knew. The soulless (and probably sightless and superfluous if the lack of eye holes meant anything) eyes she had expected stared out at her. It was a puppet.

Inner Sakura was incensed. You have got to be kidding me! All that for just one flipping puppet! That's it, I'm going to rip whoever was working this thing a new one!

Only if I don't get him first. Sakura agreed, trying to mollify her shadow, if only so she cold hear herself think. But who the hell was working it?

Looking around for a vantage point from which a puppeteer could have operated, she eventually saw Naruto, still on the ramparts of he defensive wall. He was currently engaging two opponents; the one she had seen earlier, and another that defiantly didn't look human.

I should get over there and help Naruto. But first… looking down at the exposed workings of the puppet, she decided to disable it with minimal damage, the better for research. So she only ripped out its spine before moving to assist her teammate.


Sirens blared miles away as the monitoring device tuned to observe the battle received the damage report forwarded by the flying drone from the puppet flashed across the screen.

CRITICAL DAMAGE DETECTED: SANSORA01(TSUKIKEN)

One of the machines' number had fallen. And their master was to be informed.


As Sakura enaged in deadly combat in the courtyard, Naruto was up on the defensive battlements struggling just to survive.

Left

Right

Sidestep

Duck

Twist

Jump!

Naruto was desperately contorting himself on the suddenly much too narrow walkway, dodging the vaporal blades his opponent was sending cresting towards him through the air every half second or so.

Apparently, whoever this guy (girl?) was, he knew a futon technique that allowed him to send the air disturbances caused by his arms as wind blades of the same size. Now he was using it in conjunction of a goofy windmilling motion that reminded Naruto of the flexibility exercises from when he was six to launch a legion of blades at him. With the leather armored ninja madly spinning his arms at the shoulder at directly opposite positions, an arm reached the twelve o'clock position every second, sending out a scything wind as it did.

I can't keep this up! Naruto thought as he felt fatigue catching up to him after several minuets of unsuccessfully trying to gain while dodging. It's only a matter of time until he manages to hit me. I have to stop the jutsu if I'm going to have a chance.

Thinking fast, Naruto readied a kunai and waited for the right moment. On the next attack he pulled some wire from his pouch and fastened it to the ring with one hand and his teeth as he evaded with a leap to one side, careful to make it look like he was guarding his eyes from debris. As he ducked another he surreptitiously wrapped the exploding note he held in his other hand around the hilt within a two handed slash that would have achieved nothing but a shift in balance to avoid the following blade aimed to sever his arm. With a spinning sidestepping around a last shock wave, he let fly with the throwing knife aimed dead center in the figure's glass visor.

As it flew through the air its lazy corkscrew motion further scarring the wooden floor they stood on as the blond ninja transformed its natural slipstream into a cutting edge with elemental chakra. It dispelled the wind-blade attacks that crashed into it, its spinning motion deflecting their force.

But that didn't prevent it from being caught. The three leading fingers of the right hand had stopped the blade before impact, and were angled properly so that the air disturbed by its passage through the atmosphere was unable to slice the leather clad androgyny. He showed his contempt by snapping his arm, driving the kunai into the deck behind him with a dull thunk, before reaching to draw his cannon from his back Apparently in the dark he hadn't noticed the fine wire Naruto had used fastened to the ring.

Perfect.

"Hey! Pinwheel!" He called drawing attention from the knife as his attack took affect. He held up the length of wire so that the ambient light would reflect into his opponent's eyes. As he saw the wire, the gunner waved his arm to sever it mostly on principle. But the gesture was too late.

"Boom" Teh blond's grin was as wide and mirthless as a shark's

As the concussion threw the thin figure towards him, Naruto crossed his fingers and created a handful of clones, which he sent to restrain the gunner. No point in giving him a chance to counter, after all. With a clone on each arm and another anchoring his ankles, even someone with his dexterity was not getting away easily. All while Naruto held back with another clone, deep in concentration as he slowly gathering his finishing technique:

Fuuton: Rasenshuriken

Reaching some critical point in the formation of the highly volatile energy weapon, he accelerated to a run within a few strides. Making good use of the mobility afforded him by having been able to remove one of the cumbersome clones needed to perform the technique, he closed the distance quickly, unmindful of the copy flanking him close enough that their legs could easily tangle.

Cocking his arm when the unstable wind blades began to jet out from the core of the technique and forcibly dispelled the clone, he leapt above his transfixed foe and naturally struck a pose as he fell. The attack held high over one shoulder; his body twisted like the rope coils at the heart of a catapult; his leading leg bent at the knee and out of the way while the other trailed behind like the tail feathers of a stooping bird of prey; he was the image of an epic hero, about to vent his bile in a way that couldn't help but bring to mind the word "smite".

At least, until the rain of stainless steel needles descended from behind and above him, somewhere in the watchtower affixed to the castle walls.


Perched upon the tiled pagoda roof of the tower crouched a dully gleaming metal gargoyle. As Naruto fell upon the raised walkway below its bulbous steel carapace slid along its back to rest upon its squat, toad-like haunches, shifting the remaining needles so they reversed angle in their slots in the shell, and eased from their forward attack positions. The retreating armor plate revealed a short but sinuous neck and wide, eyeless reptilian head dominated by jaws of over sized steel fangs. Bringing its sightless gaze to the disabled teen below, it rose from its awkward position half hanging over empty space by virtue of its massive claws embedded within the roof's structural members. As the teen below managed to gain his own quadruped position on his hands and knees with his head hanging weakly, it observed in ways beyond the human condition, its head cocked like an interested bird.

"Ya know," Naruto shouted as best he could between wheezing breaths that may well have indicated major damage to his lungs, " I've been made into a human pin cushion before, but at least the last guy could aim worth a damn."

He brought up his gaze up and had the monster vision it may well have quailed in fear at what it saw, soulless machine or not. Naruto gave his attacker a good look at his trademarked shit eating grin before a blast of smoke revealed a rolled up tatami mat beset by needles.

With a sweeping motion of its head and neck the reptilian puppet scanned the courtyard and walls looking for its target. With every completed sweep it would readjust its forelimb's grip upon the roof's edge, supplying itself with an ever-increasing number of alternate angles. The silence at that altitude only enhanced the sense of trepidation the automaton's neurotic search for its hidden enemy. But persist it did in its mindless behavior, like a dog more frightened of his master than the man trying to harm it.

As it set itself upon the upturned corner of the roof in its mindless observation of its surroundings, the metal beast was torn from its perch by an explosion of orange-clad ninja from below. Splinters and shattered slate accompanied Naruto as he shot through the roof like a loosed arrow. He came feet first with straight legs right impacting right in the gut of the beast. His feet gripping the oddly concave underbelly with a little chakra, Naruto planted an arm on the side and used his weight to turn the monster over as their momentum ran out and their ascension turned into a fall. The claws of the beast raked at him mercilessly as they fell, but they were not meant to strike so close to the abdomen and weren't able to score more than a few scratches. Naruto held onto that upturned shell until they re-impacted the walkway where he had been fighting, with the needles embedding into the wood deep enough to transfix the machine in its stranded tortoise pose.

Quickly disregarding the disabled enemy, Naruto leapt off as soon as he was sure it was trapped to reengage his previous opponent. The genderless figure had in the meantime destroyed the clones restraining one arm and its legs and was even now dispensing with the last. Which was why when Naruto rebounded up into a rising uppercut from his dismounting leap he was met with the ready barrel of the weapon on his back.

The blast of albino flame sent him flying right back over the trapped puppet and skimming upon the walkway before he slammed into the wall of the tower, buckling the plaster used to facade the wall in a crater spider webbed with fractures. The weapon's wielder followed at a deliberate pace, unconcerned by the possibility of recovery as he stepped over his struggling upturned comrade. The cannoneer lowered the tip of his weapon as behind him the upended quadruped jettisoned its quills with a sound like a blowgun and a shutter before rolling backwards and regaining its feet.

I may not have seen this coming, Naruto thought, grinning through bloodied lips as he stared up the muzzle of the weapon. But the don't call me Konoha's number one most surprising ninja for nothing.

Naruto, being Naruto, hadn't planned any specifics for how to deal with the incendiary wielding assassin until he absolutely needed to. Instead he had employed his usual fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants style of combat, consisting of tried and true techniques and wholly unexpected new tactics. Tactics like the kunai with the explosive note and the "fuse" wire to set it off.

The same wire that he now held in his hand.

The same wire he had used to remove the knife from the wooden plank it was embedded in with enough force to end over into a flight straight towards the wall behind him.

The same wire he was now using as a channel for his wind techniques, turning it into the leading edge of an unstoppable cutting force that was its own slipstream.

By the time the knife had passed into the gunner's field of vision, the trailing wire had already cut its way through his left shoulder with frictionless ease. Once the knife embedded itself into the wall, Naruto pushed himself to his feet and whipped the wire around, forcing his dismembered foe back or face decapitation.

Drawing in some of the wires unruly length, Naruto left enough loose that he could swing it freely before cutting the rest with the kunai and proceeding to do just that. Spinning it at his side in a showy but easily maintained circuit, he was sure to get a feeling for the weapon before he pressed too much. If he wasn't careful with a weapon with wind chakra at close range he could end up missing some of his favorite body parts. He had had to work with wind chakra and a focus before, (a weapon only half mastered is a danger to everyone, even he knew that) but not nearly enough for this sort of thing to be part of his usual haphazard array of techniques. Best to ere on the side of caution, then. Once his trained instincts had given him the basics of how it would behave in the air, he moved forward, ready to use the added range to his advantage.

Falling behind the sightless gargoyle, the cannoneer seemed unconcerned by him, sparing not a glance as he commenced to tinker with the now defunct left-side handle awkwardly with his remaining arm. The shelled combatant had responded to its new position by sliding his shell forward, as rows of needles that had replaced the ones it had launched to release itself were leveled on the blond. All at once it launched its imposing wall of spikes. As the myriad needles flew through the air; sometimes three or four from the same oblong slot in the otherwise featureless shell; they curved through the air and towards their intended target. But Naruto was not overcome by the river of piercing metal that unnaturally curved and maneuvered to strike at him, instead he used the kunai and line to defend himself, deflecting some needles but mostly shaving them layer by layer into harmless hardened steel chips as it spun before him.

The shell reiterated once more, this time revealing a new weapon as it left the sightless metal skull exposed. Arcing electricity danced along the concave belly under the shell and out onto the barracuda fangs within the gaping jaws. Before Naruto could react and discard the yard of metal he was wielding, it had become a lightning rod that channeled the shocking force down his arm and through his body even as his air chakra as disrupted. As his convulsions caused him to loose the weapon in an interesting but useless display of wire dynamics, his legs gave out with the uncontrollable seizures brought on by the electricity. He lay there, ozone wafting off of him as it ionized from his flesh and clothing, in a daze as he waited for the fatal blow.


(The following is a technical note for the purposes of explaining the physics of the Rasengan and its derivatives. Read or ignore at you leisure.

It should be noted that this task, performed as it was by Naruto and his clone, was at a level of mastery without peer. No one was ever as good with the Rasengan as he was, period. Not Jiraiya. Not the Yodaime Hokage. He was it. Only he could even begin to use the wind release variations, and he needed help from his clones.

This was because the Rasengan was such a difficult technique to master. The first stage is simple enough; all you do is pour chakra into a balloon, then use it to spin the water until it pops. Naruto, instead of learning the control needed to do this strait, had instead decided to generate the necessary turbulence with his unused hand as an expedient, moving it rapidly and randomly around the outside to generate turbulence. And it worked.

The second step was to ramp up the power until you could pop a rubber ball. This requires you concentrate to the point of nearly shredding you chakra coils until you become properly conditioned, and with Naruto's control was all but impossible. By concentrating all of the energy his body could muster upon a single point in his palm, he was ably to get the proper concentration of chakra within the spiral to burst the ball. If used on someone, this would cause middling serious surface damage but nothing that would cripple or kill.

The third and final step required the creation of a sphere of chakra to contain the turbulent spinning force of the attack. This he did by using his own hand to stabilize the energy, and the clone's two to push it to speed and contain it. When you slammed this completed Rasengan it into someone, their organs got feng shui'd and they were hurled through the air as all the kinetic energy of the spiral was released inside of the body. It was almost always a knock out punch, if not fatal. And that was in a nutshell, the Rasengan as Naruto learned it.

But the technique got exponentially harder from there as you tried to add an elemental affinity.

First, of coarse, you actually had to be able to use the nameless, instinctive jutsu that don't require hand seals. Techniques that were never farther away than the earth, air, or water, or else could be generated from the user's body directly. Learning to use his air affinity was a major pain in the ass, simply because he had never done a jutsu higher than academy level stuff without hand seals except for the kage bushin. That and the fact that he never knew that he had an elemental affinity before.

Wind wasn't an easy one either. Of all the elemental affinities it was the only one to require such a high level of technical skill. It broke down like this: most elemental techniques were either an ignition of a natural process like fire and lightning using chakra, or else they used chakra to bind matter together to form great honking objects to attack someone with, like water and earth jutsu.

Wind jutsu however, are a mix. It was possible to use chakra to bind air molecules together loosely to create huge gusts, but not terribly profitable as a whole as getting enough power to do physical damage is difficult. Where the wind jutsu come into their own is by using chakra to create blades.

Basically, that consists of pouring energy into the air, then splitting the air into two masses of gas. After that, you accelerate them into each other at high speed on a molecular level, usually while each mass draws in more air from the environment to sustain itself. Between the chakra, the kinetic energy and the friction, the air particles create a very thin, very high-energy patch of air. The air particles being pressed together between the two masses of air are so energetic they'll slice right through molecular bonds without slowing down. It's completely unblockable unless you know the proper chakra techniques. All you have to do is generate the effect in a given direction and you have an attack that flies through the air. There are exceptions and elaborations to these basics, but that's the groundwork.

As if that wasn't difficult enough by itself, the Rasengan has dubious compatibility with wind jutsu. On the surface, they seem fine. Both use air as a medium, both use high-energy air particles to do their job. The Rasengan even looks like a whirlwind. But the Rasengan requires a single unified chaotic energy storm and a confining wall. Wind techniques by definition require at least basic organization and open space to act as an outlet for the techniques, as they could only be sustained with constant airflow.

After god knows how many hours of practice, he finally got enough control over both source techniques to mix them. Judging by the effects observed this is my interpretation of how. Taking the Rasengan as a template, he then tried the first any way he could think of to throw wind effects into it.

Eventually I believe he came across the idea to create two exactly similar Rasengan(s) over top of one another. By creating two, then aligning each stream of chakra so that it impacts its counterpart and generates a wind-blade effect, when it impacts the target it would release all of the knives inside of what it hits. By then modifying the shell so that on impact it reflexes upon the person it hits, you effectively trap the person within a hurricane in glass factory.

The "shuriken" effect was in my observation, either an embellishment or a side effect. The degree of damage caused to Naruto by errant blades that escaped confinement suggests the latter. If that is the case, it is most likely caused by air molecules within the spiral's center expanding due to their energy level and forcing each other out of the jutsu. They form streams at a point of weakness and the spiraling causes them to form into blades, as the same hole in the underlying technique forms multiples holes in the shell at extremely high speed, much like the formation of volcanic island chains by lava pushing up through the earth's crust as it shifts over a single upward stream over time.

The technique required another clone because except for the creation of the shell, it was another Rasengan over top of the first. That meant another two hands of work to generate the spiral and give it proper force. Let alone the additional control demands to hold it together and generate the blades.

The fact that her he has forgone one of the clones is indicative that he is now able to perform a Rasengan single handedly (though that may not be strictly literal). This is mast certainly due to his considerable experience with this high maintenance jutsu.

I have to remind the reader that little of the technical information provided is courtesy of the original material, having been obtained from various fanfictions and Internet references. As such all conclusions are subject to reexamination and should be considered as a hypothesis at best. I beg you indulgence in this matter, as there seems to be little information to be had on the subject of the mechanics of the techniques discussed that has a reputable source, and even fewer that I am able to access.

Thank you for your attention and I hope this exercise has been enlightening and enjoyable.)


Sansora (revisited)- the designation of three puppets modified for autonomy. The first of their kind, they employ not only the construction techniques of Sunagakure, the nation most noted for its puppetry, but several other ninja village cultural technologies, integrated to maximize their combat potential in a specific area. Each unit has and internal chakra supply, control system, skeletal system and a transponder that reports location and unit damage. All other equipment is specialty specific. Programming is still at its most basic level, requireing a puppet to be guided through motions manually before it can perform them itself. Thus the puppets' capabilites are dependant upon its puppeteer.

SANSORA01(TSUKIKEN)- the first of the Sansora self-manipulating puppet units to be constructed. Designed for close combat against non-ninja combatants and taijutsu types, it has several features to this end. The cloaking device, a chakra obscuring technique anchored within an actual cloak affixed to the armor, was designed to obscure the movements of the puppet to make it harder to defend against. Its weapon, a two and a half meter double-edged sword with no hilt and a stabbing tip at each end, was created using forging techniques stolen from the Village Hidden in the Mist and was created to resemble their seven swordsman's blades. The blade was created I such an unusual shape both to prevent its use by any opponent able to bleed, but also to render every part of the blade as deadly as possible. The armor plating, a ceramic infused with a doton jutsu from the Village Hidden in the Stone for self repair, was meant to absorb any damage that may be done to vital internal components and wearing an opponent down. The extending mechanism in the limbs (a male/female screw and socket which takes up mot of the internal space in the arms and legs) was meant to give immediate bursts of power and increased reach for thrusting motions, as well as giving an element of unpredictability to the exact swing of the blade. When coupled with the obscuring aspect of the cloaking technique, even experienced swordsmen are easy prey to this unit's abilities. However, it should be noted that the designer had little knowledge of the intricacies of swordsmanship. As such, the puppet tends toward raw speed and power rater than skill.

A/N) Well, I hope you liked this chapter better than the last.

I wan to speak to those of you still reading and ask you to do something for me. Review. I need feedback to improve; I can only self evaluate so much. Give me something to work with. If I do a good job, tell me what you liked. If something was awkward or unpolished, it something brought you out of the story, tell me that too. I need any constructive criticism you can give me.

Not only do I want to know what you're thinking, I know from experience that the number of reviews in a fair informer of the draw of the story. Stalling at 20 after getting to there in the first two chapters is disheartening. I'm starting to think there is something wrong with my writing, especially considering some of the badly written stories that get dozens of reviews based on a cliché concept, with or without a slight twist, and a summery that explains most of the story in its two or three lines.

I realize that chapter three was a throw away. I put it in for reference, and seeing the lack response I would remove it if it weren't important. But it is, at least potentially.

But there was nothing wrong with the last chapter whatsoever. I know some of you are still reading. 256 people read chapter three so far, and 217 have read chapter four, with two and three reviews consecutively. Out of that many hits, getting only three reviews is fairly disheartening. While on the subject thank you to LonewolfBloodstorm for being the only person to review the last chapter.

I'm trying not to be too much of a nag, and I will continue to write regardless of whether I get reviews or not. But I could use the feedback, and would be grateful.

I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm bitching about everything, but I'm getting frustrated. I'd even welcome flames on this rant just to make it seem like I was getting reviews. I'm desperate.

Please review if you have any interest in this story. It will continue either way, but I could use the support.

As for the chapter, it was originally meant to be as one piece with the others of the arc.

The puppet opponents were an idea I had when I was trying to find away to justify the events of the next chapter, which required a fight sequence for a set up. The Sansora puppets were my first try at an OC in a Quasi-published work ever, which was great because besides their combat traits, they have no personalities. The personality of their creator, introduced later in the arc, was considerably more difficult, and thinking of his personality, appearance, speech patterns, and history were all sticking points to the refinement of both him and his puppets. The work took forever, but on the plus side the mental muscles I built up are helping tremendously in the planning of future chapters.

Tell me what you though about Sakura's combat style, as I improvised most of it based on what I'd do if I were a teenage girl with the strength of heavy machinery, so it probably needs refinement. Also, it was hell working on her trash talk.

The technical description of the Rasengan was a pet project I went through when the re-aired the find Tsunade arc on CN. I did it because it becomes vital that Naruto fully completes the Rasengan later in the story, so I had to have a working model of how it works in all of its stages in my head. I passed what I could figure out on to you so that we were on the same page when the time comes.

I'm changing the summery again. I think what I had before was either too intimidating, or too boring.

That's it. The end. No more. I had a lot to say directly to any of you who bothered to read all this and I did it. I'm sorry that the Author's note is so damn long.

necro-wulf