Here it is…. Enjoy
Disclaimers: Didn't own them… and never can.
Chapter 9: Revealing: Rescue
'I should have known it wouldn't have been that easy.' This was what Starrk dryly thought when he flew over to see only a mound of clay. The first sign should have been that owl that was still flying. It suddenly headed straight for him, and then detonated which he was able to evade. The former Jinchuriki began to worry for his friend, but he sensed something from behind. He took a quick glance and quickly dodged some more bird-shaped bombs. He caught sight of the bomber, now on a larger bird with Gaara being gulped down by the clay construct.
Another downside was what the Primera had been feeling lately. After using Sonido to travel, he noticed something was off. He suspects it was the Garganta's fault, but that had to wait. It was a good thing that Hollow skills were instinctual, because the Arrancar is using every bit of it to fly, dodge, shoot, sense, and occasionally…, curse the infuriating blonde. It was an alternating game of cat and mouse because he refuses to let the terrorist get away with his friend.
"You know? Our little bout here reminds me of one with my old sensei. He never did appreciate my art, un." Deidara casually said as he lazily threw out bombs at his persistent opponent.
In the midst of the noise, Starrk was still able to hear that remark and a groan cannot be helped. "Oh no… Another blond artist."
With a narrow gaze, the blonde growled. "Have a problem with that, un?"
Even though the Shinigami were a pain, there wasn't any real grudge between them. "Not really. It's just the last one blasted my wolves."
His mood quickly made a turn as the artist laughed hysterically. "Hahaha…! Interesting! That makes me want to meet this fellow, un!"
Flying passed another explosion, the Primera commented. "Well… he's in… another life if you want to know." 'Sort of.'
"What a shame, un." sighing with real disappointment. "Oh well…" Another flock homed in on his victim. "Just tell him that Deidara said hi, un! KATSU!"
They surrounded the swordsman and detonated as one. "Blasted!" was heard before he was eclipsed by the explosion.
"Hahaha…! I'm starting to like you already, un!" Deidara cheered as the guy in white zoomed out of the smoke, sooty but otherwise unscathed. Then he gave chase again. "Take pride that you will be one of my great masterpiece, un!"
The battle below was more straight forward as Ameyuri was facing one of Sasori's greatest weapon, which brought recognition and dread to Kankuro; the puppet made from the very body of their strongest Kazekage. The bystanders can feel the fury each strikes landed, yet the swordswoman's movement still held swiftness and restraint knowing that she cannot afford a single mistake. She already tore of both arms and was now aiming for the head. But she quickly abandons the tactic as black substances were spew.
"THE SATETSU!'* Kankuro shouted. The technique that was aided by the Sandaime's magnetic bloodline in life, Ameyuri too was familiar but had no time to ponder as the iron particles shot towards her. She dodges each tendrils and projectiles of sand that came after her. She was at the disadvantage as she cannot augment her techniques with lightning as it will only draw the sands fasters towards her.
But the mask hid her distress as she realized she was led into a trap. Ameyuri was fenced by the iron sand that branched out into a cage as more collected above her.
"To lead a play is the true measure of the skills of a puppeteer. You'll make a fine addition. Satetsu Kaiho!" The iron sphere branched out, forming irregular spikes that were approaching in alarming speed.
Knowing she would die even if she lives through this assault, the Kiri kunoichi braced herself for a technique. "Rai- Oomph!" She was suddenly tackled and all she saw was black…, literally. After regaining herself from the roll, Ameyuri looked beyond the shoulder to see the spikes in their wake. She quickly looked back and became troubled as the one who shielded her was Fu. By seeing the shreds in her clothes, she strongly doubts that any of the strikes missed. But she quickly calms down to remember that the girl has near impenetrable skin thanks to the Nanabi. That and Fu used a technique that further hardens her skin.
"Oooh… you owe me big time." the Jinchuriki grumbled as the discoloration receded.
"Why?" That was the question as Ameyuri knows that her first impression to the girl was anything but pleasant.
Fu looked at her as she got up. "Don't get any ideas! I still don't like you but Starrk said to help, so I did." Then she quickly pointed out something. "And I'm not having that stunt you did this morning! Got it?!"
Shocked, all she could do was nod. But still, Ameyuri gave her gratitude. "Thank you."
But they were interrupted as various shapes started crashing around them. This brought back their focus to the problem. When they got close to each other again, the more experienced of the two voiced her plan. "I know you don't trust me, but please do." She got a mumble as an affirmative. "Run and don't stop!" she ordered as they charged towards Sasori.
The iron tendrils surged towards them. But Ameyuri changed course, leaving Fu to face the mass. Nevertheless, the girl continued running as it drew closer. Then suddenly the sand veered, missing her. What little Sasori can express, looked to where it went. As the sand drew closer, she jumped out of the way, leaving a sword to continue charging electricity. This was all Fu needed as she smashed the now defenceless puppet. Shocked for the loss of his favourite puppet, it was too late when a blade pierced his chest.
They almost let down their guard but were mortified to see the arms jerked out. Ameyuri quickly let go of the blade before a hand of the supposedly dead puppeteer could grab her. "You caught me by surprise there, well played. A little bit more and it would have been all over." They watched in horror as he took out the sword and tossed it a distance away. Removing the cloak, they morbidly realized how he survived.
"You turned yourself into a puppet…"
"Ingenious isn't it, baa-chan?" He made contact with the one who he once shared blood with. Behind her was a group from the same village he left. All stared in horror of what had become of one of their greatest. "Now, I am no longer bounded by human limitation. With this…, I can immortalize my art!"
Taking out a scroll, Sasori declared. "Bear witness to my greatest performance…, my art that took down a country! Akahigi: Hyakki no Soen!" Hanging overhead was the reason for the techniques name. Everybody stood armed, one puppeteer handed Kankuro a scroll to draw out his own weapon. The most notable was the Shirohigi: Jikki Chikamatsu no Shu summoned by Chiyo. Ameyuri retrieved the remaining sword that was close by while Fu stood nearby, prepared to continue the assault.
Sasori unleashed the army he had summoned and a small scale war had commenced. At first a considerable amount were taken out by his adversaries. However, it only serves as an advantage as the lesser numbers became more coordinated with their attacks.
But as he fought, the living puppet realized that he was not entirely in control of the battle. His puppets and mastery was far superior and he believed that these alone can overwhelm the battalion…, if it weren't for the key players.
Chiyo, his grandmother, was a formidable battle puppeteer alongside with the one he fought earlier.
Then there's that tanned girl who was immune to his poison…, or at least impenetrable to the blades coated with it.
Finally…, the swordswoman. With her lightning speed, along with the enhancement of said element, she evades and slashed everything in her path.
Sasori suspected that the one who is dealing with Deidara is of considerable skills for him to keep his partner busy. This incited him to end his battle quickly. He stopped his musing when he saw the two females rushing towards him; one speeding and the other barrelling through.
From the cavity in his stomach, Sasori shot a cable with a pointed tip, no doubt coated with his special poison. They easily dodged it, but they were blindsided by a torrent of water that was shot from his hands. He made some adjustments and the flow turned to a faster, pressurized stream. The shot hit the girl first who tried to block it by erecting an earth wall, but it was broken through and she was carried away screaming in pain. When she settled, he was pleased to see a gash on her arm, implying that her impenetrability can only take so much.
With the wound still open, Sasori once again launched the cable with as much force as possible. The swordswoman appeared in front of her. She was able to deflect it, but in turn lost her grip on the remaining blade as it flew to the side. An opportunity presented itself as the hands now spewed fire.
Believing that they were trapped, Sasori was mentally shocked by the woman's saving grace. "Raiton: Sandafensu!" Lightning generated from the one sword shot out and crossed over to its pair which he spotted was at a distance adjacent to it. He could make out a screen of lightning separated them before they were engulfed by the flames.
Even with the former head of the Puppet Brigade having summoned her legendary puppets, Kankuro was aware that they were slowly being overwhelmed and it's only a matter of time. Suddenly, all the puppets in red started dropping. No one was more shocked than Sasori, even if it cannot be determined physically. The flamethrowers stopped and his arms fell stiff. His eyes roamed down to see a thin handle sticking out of the compartment that held his last remaining human part. He quickly recognized it as the sword he desired to incorporate with his art. "The Nuibari…"
A figure dropped down before him. "I made a vow that this blade will avenge its master." Then the girl dug out from the sand. He looked beyond to see a hole behind where the shield should have been. That would explain how they escaped the inferno, the barrier was only to buy them enough time.
"I guess this my end." he blankly stated. Sasori caught sight of his grandmother's sorrowful gaze and if he still had a proper heart, he would have felt it too. His immortality is slowly passing, so he turned his attention to the one who made it possible. "But before that, I have something to ask of you…"
Ameyuri gave a glare and asked in a low voice. "What makes you believe I'll do it?"
If he was still able to move, a shrug would have happened. But he settled to just continue staring. "I don't. But whatever you do with what I say doesn't matter since I'm dead anyway. I'm asking you because I bet you can relate to it." This finally piqued the masked kunoichi's interest to even offer the value of a doubt.
That was all the distraction the Espada needed to knock the blonde off his ride. He tore the head off until Gaara was free. Suddenly, shock was etched on his face.
"FU!" Starrk yelled as he haphazardly threw the body out. No sooner than he shouted that what was left of the bird exploded.
Fu turned her frightened gaze at the blast when she landed with her fellow Jinchuriki, ignoring the other shinobi as they surrounded the Kazekage.
"Spectacular!" She glared at the cause, who was once again airborne. "It's wonderful that an audience was able to witness my great art, un!" Then a manic grin crossed the terrorist's face as he threw something towards them.
"But why not be one as well, un?" Everyone watched in fear as a bomb was dropped. When it grew, so did their horror as they recognized it as the one that could have torn down Sunagakure.
"Get me outta here! Come on! I'll tear that blonde bomb apiece!" The holler was magnified by the pounding as Gaara was standing on a wooden grate in a middle of the desert. The aged and deteriorated appearance signified how fragile the seal was. It was his task to keep the prisoner below from escaping. This was the task he bounded himself to do whenever he falls unconscious.
"Shukaku!" The struggle stopped as they both looked up to see a shadow growing larger towards them. It kicked up sand as it came closer, but one quickly recognized it.
"Chomei?! Bro!" If he can only make a decent conversation, Shukaku would have mention that the Nanabi was his most favourite sibling. He may dislike the concept of superiority based on the number of tails, but Chomei was the most fun out of the elder ones. The first two were too moody at opposite extremes.
"Hey, Shukaku! It's been a while! Hahaha!"
"It's good to see ya! Now get me outta here!"
The beetle only shook his head as he landed. "Sorry! No can do!"
"What?! Oh, Come on!" the whine echoed from the cell. But the warden wanted answers. "Who are you?!"
Ignoring the rude outburst, the Nanabi cheekily replied. "Yoh! The names Chomei! The Lucky Seven! And this here is Fu, the container of the Lucky- Ow..!" A yelp was heard as Chomei's head tilted a little. Gaara was able to make out a person with green hair standing on the beetle's shoulder. "Hey! How come that's what I get? Better yet, why are you doing the introductions?"
Gaara had enough and called out to both of them. "What are you doing here?!"
Turning serious, Fu answered back. "A bomb is coming our way! I can get out but the rest won't! You have to get out there and do something!"
"Then go and wake me up! It's the only way I can leave while keeping him locked up!"
But someone decided to intervene. "You just got blasted the other night! You need my power!"
Gaara glared down and voiced his conviction. "I won't listen to you!" And their quarrel continued again.
"Hey Shukaku!" This silenced the tanuki once more. "Give him a hand, will ya? It may be a rocky start but you gotta help the kid out if don't wanna get caught."
"What?!" Gaara was about to let out a protest till he heard something impossible.
"Fine!" The disbelief on the Jinchuriki's face implied the need to elaborate if he wants to get anywhere. "I'm not going down if I have any say in this! If it means working with you to save MY ass…, THEN I'LL DO IT!"
His glare returned as he questioned the being who was the cause of his past suffering. "Why will I believe you? You tried to take over by deceiving me as my mother!"
"HA! If I had my way back then, I would have driven you crazy myself. I would have crushed anyone with my sand! But since she is stopping me, I have to trick her to my way of thinking! Make her think all around were a danger to her… baby! Hahaha!"
"Alright already! Oi woman! I'll give my words now!"
Suddenly, a bright red seal glowed on where Gaara stood. Then the surrounding sand started to whip around the prison, but the whirlwind did not obstruct his careful assessment. He was shocked that it was the same kanji that he had on his forehead! Sands started to gather in front of him, slowly shaping into a figure. He wasn't aware that he was holding his breath as it took a feminine form. Tears for various reasons slowly slid down his cheek as he is looking into the face of the woman he thought he left in the past. "Wh…Who…?"
"Don't you recognize?! That's your mother! Or at least a part of her!" He kept quiet for it to sink in and then continued. "Before that woman died, she left this to keep watch! Regarding your safety, she decides everything! She's the one keeping me at bay, so don't get ahead of yourself!"
The sand replica's gaze was turned towards the Ichibi, looking expectant. Giving a heavy huff, Shukaku finally relented. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'll help protect your son!"
The grates started to rattle, until pieces were lifted by the wind. Gaara ignored this as he was reaching out to the one who, after all this time…, had loved him. Kagura smiled as she took his hand as everything became hazy.
"Just remember! I'm only doing this for my bro!"
"Everyone! Run!" Temari ordered as she prepares to knock back the projectile. But she knows that it was only so much she can do.
But Gaara suddenly bolt pass her and the desert came to life. A form that all feared rose up from the sand and slammed its massive arms on its body, shooting out a concentrated ball of air. The collision threw up a sandstorm. They realized that the action was meant to push the explosion away from them.
"GAARA!" The explosion no longer reached them, but it still engulfed where their Kazekage was.
Once the sand settled they were frightened of the sight before them. The looming form of the Shukaku has shielded them from the blast. But Temari caught something peculiar at the base. She wasn't surprised that the sand wrapped around him. What confused her was that it took shape… that of a woman. Like a mother protecting her child in a loving embrace. As they approached him, she noticed Gaara's peaceful expression.
"You were always there to protect me… kaa-san." he whispered as he fell into a blissful unconsciousness. Both sand figures began to dissolve, but Temari could have sworn that the feminine one smiled at her.
High above, Deidara watched with nothing less than frustration as the bomb failed to fulfil its purpose. And seeing them regrouping after Sasori's defeat, he realized that the mission too was a failure. If he was going to leave, he might as well hand over a parting gift. But before he can cast the technique, he was stopped by a sudden impending doom from the corner of his eyes. He turned in time to see a large bright beam heading towards him, too fast to be avoided. In the midst of the dread he felt, a small part of the artist regret that he can never appreciate the full beauty of the blast.
Those below watch in awe and fear as the beam left nothing of the blond terrorist. They followed where it came from to something white high in the sky. A heavily panting Starrk lowered the outstretched finger he pointed the Cero with. This finally made his fatigue evident as he already poured as much Reiryoku for his Hierro and Regeneration. He realized that the blast could give him a really serious injury, if not outright kill him.
'Looks like I need to be more careful now.' He finally made this decision as he was plummeting down to earth. Starrk didn't worry about this as he felt Fu clutched him. How did he know? The buzzing sound was a dead giveaway, unless some big bug caught him. The Hollow watched with gladness and a tinge of envy as Gaara was tended by the people who valued him. A medic soon appeared before him and was about to start healing, but a voice stopped her.
"He doesn't need treatment." The medic was about to protest, but Ameyuri continued as she kneeled besides the downed man. "As we speak, he is already using a technique to heal himself. Allow him to rest and he will quickly recover." The medic left, giving the opportunity for Starrk to give a silent thank for he feared what they may discover.
Then they saw the eldest sibling approaching them. She offered them a small bow. "In behalf of Sunagakure, I thank you for your assistance in rescuing our Kazekage. For this, we accept to hear your proposal to forge an alliance between our villages."
But she looked up with a puzzled expression, one more directed at Starrk. "Your support is appreciated, but it was beyond the line of duty." As much as she was grateful, she can't help but think that there was more to this. "What did you risk your life for?"
"For a friend…" He didn't realize that they heard his whisper as he fall unconscious, which only puzzled Temari more.
'I'm starting to regret that wish.' The lazy Espada mused as he got up from bed. His joint was a bit sore, but he was otherwise fine. He found his clothes were in order, including the jacket which he remembers took the brunt of the explosion. Starrk ignored this as he caught sight of a note addressed for him which he quickly read.
The Kazekage wished to speak with you. Fu is with me. We will be waiting.
'It has only been a day and she isn't wasting time to put it to use.' This earned him a sweat drop. He knew it wasn't forged if he guessed her reason for using the title. Nevertheless, he left as soon as he got dressed.
"Now behave and start getting along with the kid…"
"Yeah! Yeah! Stop bothering his beauty sleep! Got it!"
"I find this new development very… peculiar."
"Hey, I'm just as new to this as you are."
Others would find this broken yet vivid conversation… disturbing. But those present knows that these two are also talking with another pair in their heads. But the ones from Suna still can't shake the feeling of unease. After all, their brother still holds the bloodthirsty legend of the desert.
Deciding to think of something else, Temari turned to the other envoy from Kiri, who already took off her mask. "You said he hasn't been in Suna. How is he going to get here?"
"He has a way." Ameyuri reassured.
45 minutes later…
The talk between the Jinchuriki (and Bijuu) finished a while ago and now they are still waiting for the last member. "Are you sure?"
'Have I thought wrong?' Before Ameyuri's mind could wonder of his whereabouts, a knock got all their attention. This then revealed the topic of their discussion.
"YOU'RE LATE!" Discipline was one of the building blocks of being the best of Kirigakure, of any shinobi village!
Confusion was mixed in the Primera's shocked expression. "Really? What time was it then?"
What more she had to say was stopped that instance, embarrassed when she remembered what she forgot in that note. To save a bit of grace, Ameyuri calmly schooled her features to an understanding one. "May we know what took you to get here?"
She wasn't sure if it was a good thing that he was sheepishly scratching his head. "Well… I immediately sensed you, but decided to walk here. But along the way, I came across a group from yesterday. You can say they took some time to thank me. I was about to leave, but some insisted to treat a meal. I guess I was hungry so… I accepted. They even gave take-outs to bring along." gesturing the wrapped parcel in his hand.
"Ah… Want some?" He didn't know where he got the talent to whip up a tale, but it was all true and the lazy bum felt that someone could have done worse. That someone was unfortunate to be drinking something hot at the time.
After handing it to Ameyuri, the Primera then respectfully addressed his friend in one life. "Good morning. Was there something you need?"
Gaara nod and gestured to the remaining vacant chair. "Yes. Please have a sit."
After Starrk had taken his sit, he noted how Gaara's aura shifted to a person worthy of his current rank. "First of all, I wish to thank you all for saving my life. I know that your mission was only to extend an alliance, but your assistance will ensure that whatever we'll discuss will be merited."
To the shock of the Sand siblings, the swordsman stood up and was preparing to leave. "You're welcome. If that is all, then we better go now."
"Why? Weren't you here for an alliance?" Temari asked.
Starrk turned back and pointed to the one wearing the forehead protector of Kiri. "Well… That's her mission. We just tagged along." Later they would have found out that it was the other way around.
"Wait!" Starrk let go of the doorknob and turned back to the Kazekage. "Forgive me. I appreciate your help, but there is something you are not telling me."
"If it wasn't your mission, why did you risk your life for him?" Kankuro then asked. Before Starrk could make any excuses, Gaara verified that statement. "Temari told me that you did this 'for a friend'. Who are you referring to?"
The Hollow stood there having an internal debate on what to answer. After moment of silent, he yielded, damning the risks. "Sigh… You."
Shocked once more, Gaara's mind was racing. "I will apologize again, but I have never met you."
Shaking his head, Starrk further elaborated. "I guess it can't be help, 3 years can do that to you. You and I were a lot different back then, more so if compare me now. But…, we were so similar too. In fact, I could have been like you... You asked what I fought for. I did say it was for my precious-…"
The Espada was suddenly slammed into the wall, sands restraining him in a crushing grasp. Regaining his bearing, he looked back at Gaara's angry face. "YOU'RE LYING! HE DIED AT THE HANDS OF THOSE HE SWORE TO PROTECT! HE DIED ALONE!"
Both of his companions were prepared, but they haven't yet acted. What was stopping them was the calm demeanour that Starrk showing. Deciding to trust his words, they waited with bated breath on how he would deal with his… friend.
Gaara was about to apply more pressure when he spoke once more. "It's almost unbearable, isn't it… the pain of being all alone." He was stopped cold, remembering where he heard that. "I know that feeling; I've been there, in that dark and lonely place." His siblings were unsettled as the sands were shifting, as if conveying one who is stifling a reaction.
The sands loosen and Starrk landed on his feet. They looked back to Gaara, whose blank face showed more emotions in a minute compared to a lifetime. "That's had become of me. But you…," They looked back at the speaker, who now held a small smile. They wondered how it was possible that it held both sorrow and joy. "I'm glad you had found others that save you from the loneliness."
After shocked silent, Gaara was able to regain his voice. "Bu-But… How?"
"Like I said, 3 years can do that to you. Better have everyone take a sit. I'm not sure if you're going to believe any of this." The former Jinchuriki gave a short explanation of his situation, going as far as to show the hole. The tension was replaced with an uneasy confusion as they tried to take it all in. But Gaara decided to ignore this for the fact that his friend, although changed, was back. They were about to catch up when Temari anxiously revealed distressing news. Once she was done…
"They're going to do WHAT?" He held a deep frown which everyone (not only those present) can feel. A very powerful and frightening pressure crashed on them that even made the Ichibi do an imitation of a turtle. Gaara tried not to tremble by the force that struck him, but the sand seems to convey his discomfort. Those who had first-hand in this stood better, but it was still a terrifying experience.
Regaining control, they saw him stand up while emanating an air of seriousness. "Sorry to cut our reunion short, but I must be going now."
"Yes, we shall aid-…"
"No! You'll not get involved in this!" Shocked were they when he raised his voice. But the Kazekage quickly realized the severity of what he said. "Why?!"
"Anything you do with me will be nothing less than a declaration of war. Officially, I have no ties with anyone and that stays that way in getting into troubles." It was then they realized the weight his actions will bear and as much as they hated to deny, the consequences is very heavy if they provided assistance.
As much as he wanted to help, the village greatly needs him. He looked back and was able to recognize the resolve he faced 3 years ago. The same conviction he saw in a different, but the same eyes that changed his life. Resigning to his friend's logic, Gaara decided to trust in him. "I understand. Be careful…, my friend."
And then he left…, with Fu following immediately. Gaara thought back on much his friend has changed. If that was a fraction of the power he understood, then…
"He-… Hey, Gaara! We're buds now, righ-… right?!"
The Jinchuriki still finds it awkward to have a decent conversation with the demon that tormented him till now. 'Why…?'
"Let's not make him mad!" He can even feel the quakes that the tanuki was doing to his mindscape. And he found it hard to believe that he agreed with him on something positive.
"Excuse me..." And the closing of the door made the Sand siblings aware that the Kiri Swordswoman also left.
If anyone noticed, then yes: It's time. Now who will be in the pack? Have already, but still open to SUGGESTIONS (anything else will be taken to considerations… or I'll do what Starrk do to troublesome things.)
*(1) - Translations:
Satetsu = Iron Sand
Satetsu Kaiho = Iron Sand: Needle Sphere
Akahigi: Hyakki no Soen = Red Secret Technique: Performance of a Hundred Puppets
Shirohigi: Jikki Chikamatsu no Shu = White Secret Technique: The Chikamatsu Collection of Ten Puppets
Raiton: Sandafensu = Lightning Release: Thunder Fence (Made it up)
Alliance 101: "Where?"
Although those from (or who came from) Kirigakure left, the tension still haven't. Gaara was deep in thought, probably having a talk with his tenant. And since Temari seems to be also distant, it was left to the middle child to take charge. "Ok… Now let's see the terms for the alli-…"
"Done!" They both looked baffled at their brother's sudden verdict.
"Why so fast?"
Looking a bit embarrassed for his impulsive outburst, Gaara did not relent on his decision. "I could say it was because of Nar-, I mean Starrk, which I agreed for a possible alliance. That and it was a major village that extended the offer."
'Well, he did ask for it.' The puppeteer had a sweatdrop when he remembered their discussion not so long ago.
But Gaara quickly changed his demeanour, fitting of a Kage. "Kankuro, you'll be in charge for negotiating the terms."
"Ah… Ok." Kankuro answered, wondering why he was given the responsibility.
Opening his desk and unlocking a seal, the Kazekage handed his sister a scroll. "Temari, you know what to do." And she very knows what to do, since this scroll was reserved for such time.
"Understood." A brief smile was wiped off her face when she wondered what her brother would do next. "Now, what will you do?"
His expression then slowly soften, which put both siblings at unease. "Now… if you will excuse me…, I desire to do something." The serenity that their youngest sibling is showing is ironically scarier than a bloodthirsty one. It wasn't comforting that he held a small smile. As if some foreboding calm before a storm…, or something had finally snapped. "Something I wanted to freely try for a long… long time." They let out a cold sweat in fear of what he wanted to do.
The cold frightful tension was seemingly ignored as the swordswoman returned. She was however followed by some Suna shinobi who seemingly empathized with the sibling's distress. "Kazekage-dono. We can now discuss the…"
All but one had gone completely pale and stiff. No one wants to break the silence in the course of something breaking loose. But… "Zzz…"
"AAAHHH…! HE'S ASLEEP!"
"NO! THE SHUKAKU WILL BE RELEASED!"
"LET'S GET OUTTA HERE!"
"QUICK! GET LADY CHIYO!"
"RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!"
Half an hour later, Lady Chiyo confirmed that the seal is still in place, though it baffled her how it held strong with some missing pieces. It would later become an inside joke that no one can fault Gaara for sleeping on the job. After all, he was working overtime for nearly all his life. Till then, Sunagakure was in a state of panic, with only one watching the chaos with unreadable expression.
'This is our ally?'
"I AM SHUKAKU! THE ICHIBI NO TANUKI! THE FEARED FORCE OF THE DESERT! THE SANDS ARE MY WEAPONS AND MY SHIELDS! AND I WILL NOT HAVE THEM TURNED TO ANYTHING ELSE! YOU HEAR ME?! I STOMACHED THE PILLOW AND BLANKET, WOMAN! BUT I WILL NOT HAVE THEM TURNED INTO A PLUSH TOY! OI! WOMAN! ARE YOU LISTENING?!"
Though that seal was no longer needed, the wooden barrier was still used…, in a more unexpected way. It was now reconstructed to a small wooden cottage which let the tanuki rant all he wants without causing a problem. This advantage was used in full as Kagura's essence tucked in her baby (no matter how old he is) as he was finally able to get a well-deserved nap.