Opening Notes

Personal Comments: Sorry I was so late with this one, I've just been busy with a whole lot of stuff (I've tapped into my truly artistic side, and now I'm focusing attention in multiple areas in addition to my schoolwork and social life). I had to type this chapter on my iPod because of how little time I actually got to use on my laptop, so if you notice errors and such that I missed while proofreading, let me know, because there were a LOT before I imported it to my laptop. Also, since it did take so long to write, the mood might go all over the place when it really shouldn't, so if you notice parts of it that seem out of sync with the rest of the chapter, again, let me know! Actually, maybe I should just grab a beta-reader, I've been relying on my own perfectionism for far too long xD Any takers?

Pre-Reading Explanations: Sasori gets a bit out of character here and there (hey, he's gone insane), so I decided to come up with a logical explanation for it before you guys get into reading more. Reasons that Sasori went insane: 1) He could see people, but they didn't acknowledge him. If you remember, one of his life goals was to get a hug. 2) He couldn't make more puppets. Dude's an artist; not being able to make art is bound to be torture. 3) He was sealed inside a scroll. I would assume being sealed inside a scroll would be like being put in an infinite void, which tends to get to people. 4) With all of that alone time, he probably turned to a different form of 'permanent' art, poetry. Sasori-fans, assume that he's a far better poet in his native tongue than in English so that it doesn't feel like I'm insulting his intelligence with some of his crappy lines.

Disclaimer: I own neither Naruto nor Fairy Tail.

Chapter 6

Auditions 4

Arts of Life and Death

Kankuro slowly manuevered his body so that he could dodge in any direction if need be; after all, he was staring straight into the jaws of death, or rather, the eminent threat of such. Sasori had so many weapons pointed at him, even he couldn't laugh; rotating blades, pointed knives, kunai launchers, poison gas bombs, his stinger, and then there were the hordes of miscellaneous weapons that he could bring to bear if he so much as thought about it.

After a moment, Sasori seemed to realize something, and looked up at all of the puppet parts around himself. "Oh, what do we have here? More of my toys for you to fear! Crow and Black Ant, Salamander too! All the more to help me kill you!"The puppets reassembled themselves in front of Sasori, but now that their weapons were all brought to bear, they were even more imposing than before.

Makarov's voice boomed over the microphone, trying to sound as disarming as possible. "Everyone, please remain calm! We have barriers in place to prevent you from being harmed, so please leave in an orderly fashion! We'll handle this incident ourselves!"

Kankuro noticed several of the mages looking ready to go into battle, and tried to discourage them. "Stop! Those three hundred puppets were all powerful mages, killed by Sasori himself! He's slaughtered whole Guilds before; hell, his freaking specialty is taking on large groups! Let me and my siblings take him on, we know his every trick!"

Natsu stepped forward, his fists aflame. "Oi, oi! I think you're underestimating us because we were going easy on you! Come on, everyone, let's show them how strong Fairy Tail really is! " He was the first to charge, apparently propelled through the air by flames emanating from his feet. Naruto was surprised by his speed.


Lucy nodded as she watched him prepare a spell. "More than anything, Natsu takes fighting a strong opponent seriously."

Sasori extended his left hand towards Natsu, followed by turning his head to face the Dragon Slayer. "Oh? A flame wielding clown? Be careful now, don't drown!" A small cloud of smoke exploded from his hand, and a small nozzle appeared in his palm. A moment later, and a veritable geyser burst forth and hit Natsu at full force, pushing him straight into the wall.

The water splashed onto some audience members, and the realization hit them rather quickly that the barrier wasn't protecting them. It only took a few more seconds for panic to spread throughout the crowd like wildfire, causing a stampede as they attempted to evacuate.

Makarov was obviously quite upset, as well as surprised. "How did his magic pierce Fried's barrier?! That shouldn't be possible with such an ordinary spell!"

As Mirajane tried to get him to calm down, it was Sakura who offered a logical explanation. "He uses the same magic as Kankuro- strings and scrolls. That was ordinary water that you could probably get at the lake. That is what is so deadly about Sasori- if you go in expecting the norm with magic... You'll get killed. His body is literally a walking arsenal, as all puppets are; and we're fighting four at once!"

A voice came from her side. "A walking arsenal, you say...? He's not the only one here." Sakura turned, and saw Erza stepping forward, a sword in her hand that hadn't been there a moment ago. "Gray, back me up; Lucy, you rest."

Lucy seemed a bit too eager to sit down next to Sakura. "Thanks, Erza! I'm exhausted..."

Erza charged the evil red-head, her equipment gleaming in the sun as she ran through a puddle. Sasori, however, was none too impressed. "You're only going to fight me with a sword? Come, now, you're going to make me bored!" His stinger lashed out at the woman, but she deflected it with the flat end of her sword, and ran the blade down the length of the cable.

Her eyes narrowed as she glanced at the liquid that flew off of the cable along with the sparks of the two metals' friction. (Oil? No... Poison!) As she charged, the stinger itself tried to stab her in the back, but a large block of ice appeared between it and Erza, and the stinger lodged itself in it. Grey smirked as he stood by where Natsu had been knocked down, his hands in the water. "You've only made this fight easier for us by spraying water everywhere!"

Sasori looked mildly annoyed as Erza reached him, and he casually parried her blade with one of his bladed wings. She reached behind herself with her free hand, and a second sword appeared in her grasp; however, it was just as easily parried, and Sasori brought up his left hand again, a small puff of smoke escaping from the nozzle. "Water isn't all I've got! Things are about to get hot!"

Erza saw a small glow in the nozzle, and immediately jumped over Sasori's body as a stream of flames burst forth. She attempted to slash at him mid-flight, but he had apparently used the stinger in Grey's ice as a leverage point to swing himself through the air, towards Bixlow's unconscious body- and Kankuro, who had escaped to his side, apparently trying to administer an antidote. "It's his technique that keeps me alive- all who try to take him from me must die!"

Another burst of flames appeared from his left, and he spun one of his wings like a fan to deflect them. Natsu was right behind them, his fists ignited as flames poured from his feet. "Keep your priorities straight! You have to go through us first!"

Sasori's eyes narrowed. "Shoo, fly! Don't bother me! Why don't you just go die, and just leave me be?" Suddenly, the other three puppets began moving again, and Crow opened his mouth wide in Natsu's direction. Immediately, several kunai knives launched straight towards the Dragon Slayer at high speeds. "You can't dodge in mid-air; didn't they tell you? I don't fight fair!"

Natsu smirked as he twisted his body to face upwards. "You obviously don't know me!" He inhaled deeply, puffing his cheeks more than a human ought to be able to. "Karyuu no... HOUKOU!" The force of his fire breath slammed himself into the dirt, and the kunai flew over him, embedding themselves where a few mages had been standing a moment before.

Sasori expressed some surprise, and his voice returned to a far less insane tone as he stopped swinging towards Grey and set his feet on the ground, retracting his stinger as well. "Oh? You speak that tongue? So I'm not too far removed from home... Your strange techniques are all very different from what I'm accustomed to. I'm going to have to dissect you and see what makes you tic!"

Bee let out a sigh of relief as he stood and watched. "Thank you! His rhymes were so awful, they ought to be unlawful!"

Kakashi seemed to be taking the whole thing in stride. "Do you think we ought to help...? He is an S-Ranked criminal, after all..."

The Raikage was posed as if he had crossed his arms, but with only one-and-a-half arms, the effect was diminished. "If they can't measure up to my standards, I don't see much point in joining them!"

Yamato whispered into Kakashi's ear, so that the Raikage wouldn't hear him nor be able to read his lips. "Does anyone measure up to his standards...?"

Natsu, however, was very confused, and turned his head to the mages on the sideline for an answer. "That 'tongue'? Huh?"

Lucy rolled her eyes as she cupped her hands together to shout at him. "Tongue means language, Natsu! He knows the language you're speaking!"

Natsu's eyes were noticeably wider when he processed her definition. "But... That's Ancient Draconian..." He seemed to be so surprised that he didn't even hear Black Ant approaching him, and had to be given a flying tackle by Happy so that he wouldn't be captured. The cat lifted Natsu into the air, acting as the Dragon Slayer's wings, and began shaking him from behind.

"Natsu! Snap out of it!"

Natsu shook his head by himself, and glanced at Naruto before he looked down upon Sasori with determination in his eyes. "...well, I'll just beat the answer out of him, then!"

The blond ninja, in the meantime, was getting slightly irritated. "I don't feel right, letting you guys handle this..."

Makarov shrugged, apparently far more relaxed than he had been before. "While, yes, you brought him here... We were the ones who cast that spell. Just calm down, and relax. With those guys on the job, you could probably meditate without fear of the enemy. Besides, we all need to focus our magic for if they fail..."

Mirajane gave the two a warm smile. "The only failing those three will do is keeping the property damage to a minimum."

Elfman, who had been quiet for quite a while, seemed to suddenly realize something. "...Aren't we still inside the barrier?" All but Makarov and the shinobi suddenly seemed quite concerned for their lives. Makarov merely laughed it off, which Naruto found odd.

"How come you're not freaking out anymore...?"

Makarov smiled, seeming almost sleepy. "I took my medicine. It calms my soul, makes sure I don't get a heart attack from running this Guild."

Naruto nodded in hesitant understanding, and turned back to the fight. After a moment, he sat down next to Makarov on the ground, and took up a meditative position. Elfman saw this, and suddenly his fears were abated. "Such manliness, to sit still so near to their battle!" He sat down next to the blond, staring intensely at the life and death battle before them.

Naruto didn't pay him any mind; instead, he was trying to see if his Sage Mode would work here. If he could bring it out, Sasori wouldn't stand a chance. The moment he reached his senses out to the world, however, he was overcome by the sheer amount of energy that was flowing in this area alone. His eyes shot open, and he was visibly pale. Makarov noticed his change in demeanor, and spoke. "Is everything alright?"

Naruto took a calming breath, and regained his focus. "...It's nothing. I just tried to do something that I wasn't prepared for, that's all."

The Guildmaster shrugged as he took a swig of some bottled substance. "Really? It felt like you were just trying to replenish your magic."

The blond tried to shake suspicion off of himself. "It was a bit more complicated than that..." He turned his thoughts inward again, closing his eyes and letting himself feel the world. These people... They all have natural energy flowing through them! Why aren't they affected like I am...? He sharpened his senses a little, and what he felt surprised him. Their chakra is missing physical energy...? That explains why it's so 'wild and untamed' like Hinata said... Natural energy is more powerful than physical energy, enough to create Sage Mode. Removing physical energy from the mix probably removes the risk of transforming entirely, leaving only the powerful techniques while they stay normal humans...

...It's amazing how well I think when I'm calm. Was I always so smart? Maybe Sakura would've actually liked me if I had made good grades. Oh, but would Hinata like me? Maybe I would've been placed on her team... But then I wouldn't be friends with Sasuke. And I probably wouldn't have met Ero-Sennin... Oh! And no Kakashi-sensei either! And, and...

He was snapped from his daydream when someone grabbed him by the neck and pulled him to the side rather roughly. His eyes now open, he could see that a large burst of flames had scorched where he had been sitting a moment before. His eyebrow was twitching in annoyance as he turned to Makarov. "...I thought you said I could meditate without fear of the enemy?"

Makarov took another swig of his bottle, and laughed for a second. "I did say that, didn't I? Well, Natsu isn't the enemy, so there! Besides, I said 'probably'."

Naruto swore in his native tongue under his breath before speaking. "With friends like those, I'm surprised you even have enemies." He turned his attention back to the fight, and saw that Sasori had started using his puppets instead of himself; Natsu was fighting Salamander, Erza was fighting Crow, and Gray was fighting Black Ant.

Natsu was trying every spell he could against his opponent, but it just wasn't working; all of his attacks seemed to just bounce off or go around it, but fortunately, Salamander was too big a puppet to truly fight back. Erza, having an opponent that had four arms that each had their own blades and gas cannons, seemed to be having a little difficulty keeping up with only two swords. Gray seemed to be having the easiest time, having created an ice sword that could easily block the assassin puppet's attacks, and was too nimble to be captured in its body.

Sasori, however, seemed most interested in Gray, as his eyes were locked on him. "It's been quite a while since I last saw someone who could use Ice techniques... It was such a shame that I couldn't add their eternal frost to my collection. One of the few people I wanted to keep that I didn't get to."

Gray seemed mildly offended by the words, as his tone was slightly venomous. "Your 'collection'? How many people have you killed who weren't 'worthy' in your eyes?"

Sasori seemed to consider how to answer for a minute, as his puppets slowed in their intensity. "How many... Do you mean that I was paid to kill, who were being paid to kill me, that I just felt like killing, or who were stupid enough to get in my way? It doesn't matter to me, I stopped keeping track of who wasn't in my collection well over twenty years ago- killing was a daily occurence by then. Some people appreciate such fine distinctions, and I sympathize- as an artist, attention to detail is very important to me. One tiny slip of my hand, and I might accidentally kill the puppet I'm making."

Each of the mages seemed ready to launch themselves towards Sasori. Even Mirajane was rolling up her sleeves, ready to strike at a moment's notice. "Master? It's your call."

Makarov took one gulp of his drink before staring at the battlefield. "Wait for it..."

Meanwhile, Kankuro had been able to neutralize the poison in Bixlow's body, and the soul mage was waking up. "Ugh... What happened? Anyone get the number on that horseless carriage...?"

Kankuro sighed in relief. "Good, you're awake. Now you can undo whatever the hell it was that you did!"

Bixlow sat up and took note of the chaos now being inflicted upon Kankuro's- no, now they were Sasori's- puppets; Natsu was now ruthlessly pummeling Salamander, albeit still with no real damage, Gray had frozen Black Ant in a spire of ice, and Erza was now wearing armor that seemed to be made of blades while more blades danced around her, slicing Crow into his component parts within moments. When Erza and Gray turned their attention to Sasori, Bixlow suddenly remembered what was happening, and wasn't too pleased about it. "Uh, no can do, pal. Physically binding a soul to a doll is a lasting process- you'd have to dismantle him to force the soul out, especially since he managed to break free of my control."

Kankuro was about to reprimand the Mage for being careless when he thought of something. "And you put souls in my dolls knowing that?!? Why I oughta..." Again, a thought struck him. "Wait, that means that the other souls are still in the other puppets, right?"

Bixlow stood up, and dusted himself off. "You dismantled them enough to force the souls out earlier, remember? Lucky guess, by the way. If you can force his body apart, it should cancel the spell, though I've never had to deal with this before."

Kankuro raised an eyebrow ataz his wording. "'Should work'... I hate those words. Usually means that it won't."

Some cheer returned to Bixlow's face as he turned his head towards Natsu and Salamander. "I can think of something to better the odds..."

By now, Sasori was so focused on Erza and Gray that Salamander wasn't even moving anymore. Natsu stamped his foot on the thing's forehead, his entire body quite literally burning with passion. "Haaaaaa! Victory! Eat that, faker!"

Even Naruto couldn't help but roll his eyes at the boy's single-track mind. "...He completely forgot about the actual danger because of some personal grudge..." Suddenly, he felt several tugs on his body from above, as if he were suddenly a marionette attached to several strings. A moment later, he was soaring through the air, pulled by those same strings. "H-hey! Put me down!"

He landed roughly, besides Kankuro, who had already moved towards Salamander, and was pointing at the strings that attached it to Sasori. "Hey, blondie. Cut that with your wind technique."

Naruto was understandably upset. "You could've ASKED! Or, better yet, gotten your sister to do this!"

Kankuro merely laughed at his expense. "This way was funnier. I'd get that pink-haired girl over here to help out, but you can understand why I can't do that right now."

Naruto sighed, and went to his task- he created a few clones so he could do the work more quickly, putting his hands to the strings and slicing them with pure manipulation. It was only a few moments until Salamander was free. "Anything else I need to do? 'cause I'm starting to get pissed off at that guy still being alive. I never did get to properly thank them for what they did for Gaara."

The puppeteer looked at the battle Sasori was currently engaged in. Sasori was near completely on the defensive, because Natsu had joined the fray; Kankuro knew that if he could, he'd have started really cutting loose with some of Kankuro's personal modifications. "Use that Sage mumbo-jumbo, cause otherwise there's not much point arriving this late into the story." When he got no response other than a clenched fist, Kankuro attached his own strings to Salamander. "Alright, then! Yo, mages, get outta there! Time to close the curtain on this freak show!"

Salamander had opened its mouth, and a glow had appeared at the tip of the nozzle where its tongue ought to be. The mages, including Natsu, recognized what was happening and vacated Sasori's surroundings. The puppet himself, however, was merely intrigued. "Oh? I don't recall Salamander having such a function..." His expression and tone seemed to be slipping towards insanity once more. "Truly, puppets are the greatest art! They live on forever, never aging, always evolving!"

Kankuro had an extremely serious expression on his face as the very air grew heavy with anticipation, in addition to the chakra being focused in Salamander's mouth. "Haven't you ever heard that expression? An artist is never truly appreciated until they're dead. To me, that says that true beauty... is death."

Without warning, large walls of sand erected themselves around Sasori on three sides, leaving only his line of sight with Salamander. A moment later, a large red beam shot from Salamander, far wider and taller than the puppet itself. Sasori seemed to stare in wonder as it headed for him, its brightness threatening to consume his entire field of vision. "Such beauty..."

The red-head was swallowed by the blast, which continued beyond Sasori's position and into the sand walls, turning them into molten glass as the beam died down. Kankuro turned to his brother for but a moment, showing his thanks. He quickly glanced at where Sasori had been standing- a roughly human-sized pile of molten material lay in the center as the melted sand slowly slid downwards and apart. His eyes widened as the implications hit him- after all, wood didn't 'melt' like that. "I have one word for this: SHI-" He didn't even get to finish his curse before his entire being felt the shock of Sasori's stinger bursting through his abdomen, a mix of poison and blood dripping from it as Kankuro stared downwards in horror.

The stinger had come from underground behind the puppeteer, and soon enough the ground bulged, Sasori emerging as Kankuro had done earlier. "If death is so beautiful... Then why don't you go first?" He withdrew his stinger, causing more blood to pour from the wound. Kankuro, his own poison already running through his veins, could do nothing but take a gasp for air before collapsing.

Each of the mages looked ready to burst into action when a large gust of wind blew a good half of them off of their feet. Those still standing could see that Temari had brought out a fan nearly as large as she was, and though her face was calm, the tone of her voice revealed the tempest beneath. "Someone get Kankuro out of there. I'll kill that monster myself, he doesn't even deserve hell at this point."

Makarov knew better than to cross an angry woman; as much as he wanted to do the deed himself, there would be no stopping her. "Mira." The white-haired girl nodded, and within moments an awful power filled the atmosphere, emanating from her body. Seconds later, she had visibly transformed from a cute waitress into a winged demoness from hell, with the clothes- or rather, scales- to match.

Sasori turned to face her, his body quivering with excitement- apparently, the magic gave him greater motor control than usual. "Such beauty... Such strength! To make you mine... I'll go to any length!"

Bee groaned from where the older ninja had moved to, a fair bit closer to Sasori should they be needed. "He's busting out those awful rhymes, I want to see him do time! Yeeeaaaah!" Kakashi and Yamato slowly stepped away from the man who had obviously 'lost it' a long time ago, as overtly powerful shinobi were prone to do.

After a moment, Mira flew through the air towards Sasori, and he prepared himself for a fight. However, she veered off her direct course with him, and before he could even react she had already grabbed Kankuro. He turned to face her, but within moments she was gone, flying far away with the ninja. Temari had stepped forward, prepared to swing her fan at a moment's notice. "Eat this! Great Whirlwind Scythe!" She swung the fan, and instantly a great gust of wind blew through the entire arena. Within moments, Sasori had been sliced to pieces, falling apart in the dust. Temari looked satisfied for a moment, until she realized that the puppet that lay where Sasori was supposed to be was not Sasori at all, but a different puppet altogether that had his red hair.

She could hear Sasori's voice coming from behind her. "Your techniques all rely on your fan... You might as well fight me with a crayon!" She jumped into the air, hoping to escape any blow he was about to land, but as she twisted in midair she realized that strings were attached to his fingers, leading into the air. She turned her head, and saw a female looking puppet in a long brown robe, sword in hand. She suddenly felt the fan yanked out of her hands, and she realized with horror that Sasori had picked up Kankuro's little trick of attaching strings to inanimate objects.

She had braced for the inevitable, as she didn't have enough time to counter, but instead the puppet got smashed by Mirajane's punch. Mira then grabbed her, and took her away from Sasori, landing her by Kankuro. Sakura had walked over, a determined look on her face. "Temari, how much antidote does Kankuro carry on his person?"

Temari shook her head in anger. "Kankuro keeps an antidote for all his poisons, in case he accidentally hits... something he's not supposed to." She mentally cursed her hesitance- a lot of factors combined were now making her suspicious. "His poisons aren't lethal, but a wound like that is. He needs medical attention. NOW."

Sakura knew just as well as Temari that a medical ninja was needed for this sort of wound, or the patient wouldn't survive long. "Alright, then. Guess my cover's as good as blown." She ran her hands through some signs, placed them over Kankuro's wound, and immediately they began glowing with a green energy. Even with his medicine in effect, Makarov looked ready to have a heart attack.

"What kind of magic is this, young lady?!"

Sakura didn't divert her attention from the wound, her face beginning to sweat. "Healing first, questions later."

Makarov wasn't stupid by any means; throughout the whole auditions, he hadn't felt these people connecting to the world in order to use their magic but once- when Naruto had started meditating. Whatever sort of techniques they were using, it wasn't magic, and they considered their one magic user their trump card. Thinking back on it, it was easy to see that only Naruto had used magic unaided- everyone else had some sort of tool they used, except Sakura, whose body might've just been exceptionally well-trained. Seeing her perform a spell right in front of him all but confirmed in his mind that they used a third energy of sorts that combined with their spirits in place of the world's energy, and as old as he was Makarov knew what it probably was from experience- the energy of the body, of life itself, something added only to the most powerful of spells.

He decided that questioning could be done later. For now, they still had Sasori to deal with, and he could feel the army coming. "Everyone! Take him out!"

Immediately, all of the mages began charging Sasori, who was standing by the remains of the red-headed puppet, the female brown-haired puppet's head having blown over to its side. "Haha... They killed Mama and Papa... I guess it's time to say 'tata'!" The round compartment where his heart ought to be opened, and he reached into it while side-stepping Mira's charge. He took out what appeared to be a large ball made of paper strips, each inscribed with similar sealing patterns as had been seen inside the storage scrolls. "You know, I think Deidara was right! I've finally seen the light!"

It took Temari a moment to realize what the ball was; Kankuro had never shown it to her in it's complete form. "Everyone! Get out of there! That thing will kill us all!"

The ball was tossed into the air, exploding into a cloud of smoke. From the smoke came several kunai, with long strings attached to them, flying straight in every direction. The shinobi realized with horror that the strings were lined with both paper bombs and scrolls that unfurled and shot more kunai in every direction, each lined with more bombs. Sasori jumped high into the air using his stinger to lift him, and then he jumped onto Temari's unfurled fan, using it as a glider of sorts. Sasori's face seemed like that of a sadistic child's as he looked down on them. "'Art is eternal'? How lame! I see now, true art is..."

The papers all began burning from the bottom up, at a rapid pace. Every mage tried throwing spells at the papers to try to disarm them, to varying effect. Natsu's attack caused a chain reaction of explosions that was cut short by Gray's ice magic. Salamander, apparently now under Bixlow's control, had taken several strings into its mouth and tried to take them away from everyone else. Elfman, like his sister, had changed into a demon, though he was far larger, and was attempting to throw the kunai anchors as far away as possible, while Mirajane was doing the same as Salamander and trying to fly into the sky with them, towards Sasori. Erza had equipped armor that looked highly defensive in purpose, and had stepped in front of the mages who had stayed behind.

All of this happened in the precious few moments they had before a giant explosion enveloped the arena, and Sasori finished his partner's catch phrase as the force of it propelled him away. "...A BANG!"


Ending Notes

Personal Comments: Haha, I said 'extent' of Sasori's madness last chapter, but maybe it was all just an act? After all, he was still thinking like a ninja, even if he was acting like a madman. Then again, he seems pretty ADD, doesn't he? His priorities keep shifting from survival to art and back, and I'm imagining him with this creepy smile the whole time.

I really should plan out what I do more, but it makes it exciting to continue writing. I ended up thinking of so many future possibilities for Sasori that I ended up changing my original ending of him committing suicide by explosion as Deidara did, and instead escaping into the magical world and coming back to haunt our heroes another day. Plus, it gives me chances for fanfic-original arcs, so that'll be nice.


Why didn't Mira just smash him? I would think she hates actually killing people, and Sasori was too lifelike for her to just up and smash him.

Makarov's medicine: This takes place after Fighting Festival, so Makarov now has stress-relief medicine in case something like that ever happens again.

Nature of magic and chakra: This will be put into more detail later, but essentially magic is supposed to be the combination of the energy of the world and the energy of your mind, while magic is the energy of your living body with the energy of your mind. Naruto's Sage jutsu uses all three, which I intend to put to interesting use later.

Killer Bee's and Raikage's shallow personalities: Please be patient- they'll begin to develop by the end of the 'Auditions' arc, I promise! I've been making them purposefully shallow so it will seem like a much better improvement when they do develop (How soon that is depends on whether I decide to go for a quick ending due to Sasori or give everyone a fight like I had originally intended; if nothing else, I want to do Raikage VS Elfman, as he's the shallowest of all).

Konan and Yamato's lack of screentime: ….okay, I have no explanation for this. I think this calls for character-centric omake segments, based on whoever I feel (and you feel, of course) has been getting left out! These will start next chapter, look forward to it~

Salamander: Salamander is supposed to be a defensive puppet, which you don't get to see in the manga. I'd assume that it could take a lot of damage. The Wave Motion Gun (Hello, tropers!) is from the games.

The sand wall/Sasori's escape from death: It was 'normal' sand that Gaara made using a jutsu; long story short, Sasori used it to create a sand clone and escape.

How did Sasori even gain control? For one, I would think that he's a powerful soul. Two, I would think that dying and losing the power of your body makes you more receptive to the power of nature, which might be why Sasori can affect Bixlow's magic (after all, it's Fairy Tail canon that ghosts can still use magic; it's been done twice!).