Saburo's Tournament

CHAPTER 18

A Villain's Invitation

Intermission


"You are right. I'll declare the match a victory for Gildarts Clive." Saburo announced, standing before the red-headed mage and looking him in the eyes. Both of the men stood firm, but Saburo had a rough inch or so on Gildarts. There was another wave of immense pressure exuded from both of the men as if it were a silent battle between auras. It only lasted a moment, but everybody could feel the heaviness of their power even when a good distance away.

Saburo released a stout laugh followed by a smirk as he let his aura die down. He then reached for Gildarts' shoulder and as he grabbed it, his hand was repelled by Crash quite violently.

"I'll walk myself to the cube, there's no need for you to place your hands on me." Another harsh remark from Gildarts. In response, Saburo let the most sinister grin thus far ease onto his face as the powerful mage walked past him.

"You would think a warrior of your caliber would display a morsal of respect for the conspirator and host of this tournament," jested Saburo, however, it received no response from Gildarts. The red-headed mage found himself easing up to the orange cube that contained his allies, not quite knowing how to enter the strange contraption. He pressed his palm flat against the surface of the transparent cube, its coldness reaching through his skin.

"What are you doing?" Natsu asked, observing as his senior guildmate ran his fingers along the outside of the containment cube with a serious expression across his face. The large man went on to repeatedly tap the glass-like wall with his thick finger.

"Stand back," warned Gildarts starkly. With little hesitation, every figure within the cell obeyed, taking a large step backwards in unison. The seven Fairies huddled together within the very center of the cell, each of them skeptical about what Gildarts was planning. It came to them as a surprise when thousands of orange shards came flying to their feet, accompanied by the sound of glass being smashed. The orange tint quickly vanished from their vision, night air quickly greeting them, and a feeling of renewed energy washed over them.

"Y-you destroyed the damned thing!" Gajeel blurted out, reeling back in shock and slight amazement. The expression on the Iron Dragon-Slayer's face eagerly swapped for a smirk, as the realization hit him that Fairy Tail still had three monsters left in this...ordeal. His shifty eyes moved from Gildarts and glided over to the Guild Master, Makarov, marking the second "monster" left. The third? Well, he considered himself as such.

"That guy is full of surprises."

A familiar voice said calmly from within Konoha's still intact cube. Though familiar, the voice took the shinobi of Konoha off guard, especially Tsunade. She flinched, nearly flinging the source of the sentence into the wall. Her kneeling thighs bounced, jerking Kakashi's head after he spoke, but her arms quickly drew him back in.

"Kakashi...are you alright?" She asked first, before any of the other shinobi could say anything themselves. To this, he simply nodded, leading Naruto to pose another question.

"Kakashi-sensei, just how much did you see?"

"Frankly, not enough. As it is right now, I can't see a way past that man's jutsu." The Jonin admitted honestly, pushing himself to a seated position so that his back was perpendicular to his legs. "And I see that I missed Hinata's fight, so I have no idea what her opponent's capable of."

"Summonings." This time it was Shikamaru that spoke. "Her opponent, Lucy Heartfilia, used a unique form of summoning, from what it looked like. They weren't typical shinobi summonings, and were more...human-esque. One even summoned itself of its own free will."

"I see..."

"I'll fill you in completely later, Kakashi." said Tsunade, getting to her feet, relinquished of her job to keep an eye on the veteran shinobi. "For now, we should pay attention. I have no idea of what comes next."

A majority of the shinobi that hadn't participated in the conversation were already locked in on what was going on outside of their containment cell. The rest of the group's attention followed suit. The tournament host had began to stride towards the Fairy Tail gang, moving slowly albeit.

"Gildarts Clive, I don't quite appreciate you vandalism," stated Saburo, his eyes unwavering and cold. There was no smirk on his face. The animosity between he and the powerful Fairy Tail mage was continually growing and it was obvious. And then there was a calm voice that diffused the expanding tension.

"What do you believe that you can do now that there is no contraption holding us within it?" Behind the question stood the tiny figure of Makarov, his hands clasped behind his back. Backing him were the angry expressions of Natsu, Gajeel, and Cana. The spiteful glares of Wendy and Lucy didn't hurt either.

"You should already know the answer to that, Makarov." A smirk pulled at the corner of Saburo's lips, but he forced it away for the time being. "I am not so foolish as to fight you all, therefore, I now have insurance. The eliminated combatants' lives now rest in my hands. I don't believe you would care to throw that away now, would you... Makarov? Tsunade?"

Silence was the response.

"As I thought."

"What do you want, Saburo? Why go through all of this just to watch us fight?" A shout escaped from the mouth of Naruto Uzumaki, but the tone was shaky. Perhaps a hint of anger within the words. The youth's fists were clenched, physical proof that he was indeed livid.

"If you manage to win this little tournament of mine, I'll be more than willing to inform you of my motive."

"You bastard..." Naruto cursed, his fist rushing to meet the wall before him. The thud rang through the containment cell, and it echoed. Or so the blonde originally thought, before noticing the fist parallel to his. Its owner was none other than Konoha's current Hokage, and its impact rocked the cube considerably more than Naruto's had.

"Strong words will not get you out of my prison. I, however, will allow you to roam free for now." This statement was followed by the elevation of Saburo's right arm towards Konoha's containment cell. The orange-tinted cube shimmered in a bright light before slowly fading from existence. The soft kiss of wind pecked at the shinobi's skin, and they felt much more in their element than before. The deep forestry made the area even darker, even though the sun had already retired.

"You will rest for the night, if you so choose to. However, I will not allow you two factions to interact with one another for the time being. No need for you all to become friendly, I prefer the animosity." A smile cracked on Saburo's face.

"What a jerk..." Lucy spat, but not loud enough for the tournament host to hear. Or at least she had hoped so. Seeing as the raven-haired man didn't give off any signs of hearing the taunt, she let out a sigh. Instead, the tall man strode towards the huddle of shinobi, all of their eyes glaring at him. Saburo's focused remained on a single target all the while.

"Tsunade," he called out, stopping in front of said kunoichi. She eyed him with disdain on her face, and waited for him state his business. "I have an inquiry for you as the leader of Konoha. In the coming round, Fairy Tail's Juvia Lockser will need an opponent due to the draw of the first match."

He glanced at the blue-haired woman as he spoke, the woman currently within a conversation with Gajeel.

"Is there a shinobi in particular that you wish for me to retrieve from your era?"

Tsunade's brain quickly began to take in information and process it as she thought. She took note of Saburo's mention of an "era"; perhaps a hint at where they currently were. The Hokage also took her sweet time thinking of an answer for the question that Saburo had posed. Finally finding a satisfactory reply, she spoke.

"I'd prefer not to drag anybody into this situation...but if you insist, I do have a shinobi in mind."

...

The evening sunlight fought against the darkskinned man's face, forcing him to shield his eyes from the rays. His gloved hands acted as a rather half-assed deterrent against the light, but it was no biggie to the man. He did have a nice pair of oval-shaped shades on after all.

"Where did Naruto Uzumaki go, Bee-san?" A rather unimportant looking shinobi asked, his voice seeming a bit panicked. To this, the man with white hair seemed slightly taken aback.

"Why're you asking me like I know? He straight up vanished, yo!"

"You were the last person seen with him! We also received word that many of Konoha's elite forces vanished as well, including the Fifth Hokage herself!" A different shinobi who looked awfully similar to the first stressed.

"Even the Hokage's gone missing? Man, you guys need to do a better job, but I'm not dissing!" The muscular shinobi's rhymes were simply met with "what is he talking about"s and "I don't know what he's saying"s. The man referred to as "Bee" didn't seem to bothered by the matter at hand as he started to scribble something in a notepad. It obviously wasn't about the disappearance of the Konoha Shinobi.

"I don't think this is a good time to be rapping, Bee-san! What if the missing people have been captured by enemy forces? The alliance is in danger at this point, and you're really not helping."

"What do you expect me to do, yo? I'm not in a scouting division, fasho!" At this point, darkskinned rapper's tone was growing stressed as well. However, his head shot to the right, noticing something out of place.

Standing upon a thick tree branch, a rather tall man stood proudly. The rest of his feature's could not be seen through the shadows of the leaves however, all but his piercing yellow eyes obscured.

"Who is that muhfucka? Sure ain't nobody I recognize, sucka." Another verse from Bee, however, this one carried a much more serious tone. He tilted his head up in an attempt to get a better angle of sight, his white forehead protector shining brightly.

"He's not wearing the attire of an Alliance member...he must be an enemy, a pawn of Madara!" The first of the fodder shinobi yelled, retrieving a kunai knife from his pouch. The other followed his lead, glaring at the suspicious man.

"I am neither a pawn, nor an enemy of you two." The man declared as he leapt from his post on the tree branch. He landed rather gracefully, his white jacket buttoned only at the neck flapped as the wind pulled at it. The tall figure had hair as dark as obsidian, two strands falling towards his chest on either side of his head. "I am only here for Killer B."

"I don't know if my reputation proceeds me, or if you're just a total creep! But either way, I suggest you back up if you don't want to end up getting smacked up." The newly arrived man suddenly found a very odd weapon aimed at his chest. It was a large weapon concealed entirely in bandages, save for the long handle gripped by the dark-skinned shinobi.

"I did not come for a fight, but if that's what it takes, then I'll oblige." The stranger lifted his right arm high and bent his elbow, reaching for the handle behind his back. However, one of the allied shinobi rushed towards him with apparently little regard for his own life. "Fool."

One swift motion and the attacking shinobi was stopped in his tracks. A well-aimed foot was currently planted in his diaphragm, stopping the man in his tracks. He did manage to mutter something through thick gasps for air; "Who..are you?" The reply was quick and directly to the point.

"I am Saburo."

However, it was unsure if the shinobi had actually heard the answer as he fell over and collapsed as the newly named "Saburo" withdrew his foot. Watching his victim's face hit the floor, Saburo shook his head briefly before changing his focus to the second of the unimportant shinobi duo. He was attempting to save Killer B for last, and the said man knew this.

"I don't know who you are or what you want, but you will be stopped!" The generic hero declaration was said by the measly shinobi. Saburo frowned slightly as he eyed the man, who had begun his charge.

"But I just told you who I am," Saburo replied, his hand suddenly wrapped around the poor shinobi's neck. The struggling man tried to pry the enemy's hand open, but it was completely in vain. As he faded from consciousness, the kunai he held dropped to the ground solemnly. The shinobi quickly followed its lead, dropping to the earth as Saburo let go of his death-grip.

"I see that you're no pushover, fool, ya fool." Killer B admitted, his eyes locked onto the strange man. He was now aware that a rather powerful foe stood before him, yet he felt no fear.

"I'd rather not fight you, and I insist that you just come along with me, no questions asked."

"We both know that ain't happenin' muthafucka!"

"What if I told you that if you come with me, you could rescue the missing Konoha shinobi?" Saburo smirked, hoping that Killer B would gain a bit of interest in that. The swordsman did not respond, and his shades hid his telling eyes from view. Within seconds, a notepad was within Killer B's grasp and he had began to scribble on it while mumbling to himself.

Saburo watched for only a moment with a very rigid face before demanding that Bee "quit that." The dark-haired man's indec finger pointed towards the rapping shinobi before him as if aiming a child's finger gun. With a loud crack, Bee's notepad had been completely vaporized in an instant. For a moment, Killer Bee stood there watching as the charred pages fell through his fingers. His head finally shifted upwards to stare at Saburo behind his obscuring shades.

"Where's your manners, mothafucka?" Killer B cried as he flicked his wrist, a brightly illuminated object flying towards Saburo with the motion. The villain quickly discerned it to be the utensil Bee was using to write, but it seemed to be coated in chakra. Chakra that cracked like lightning.

Saburo leapt backwards, narrowly avoiding the electrifying projectile. However, his opponent wasted no time in spiraling towards his legs in an attempt to dissect him. In an instant, Killer B had two red-hilted blades poised behind Saburo's right knee.

"You move well."

An enormous claymore pierced through the ground where Saburo's leg had been a moment before. The blade was as black as the night, with intricate patterns of golden waves scaling it. Beyond the hilt of the sword, Saburo stood with one foot, his extreme balance evident. "But you cannot compare to me, Killer B."

"That's Jinchūriki-sama to you, fool, ya fool!"

Bee's response was met with a swift motion from Saburo as the tall man leapt upwards as he ejected his broadsword from the earth cleanly. He quickly positioned the blade high above his head before taking a powerful downward slash, yet it was easily dodged by a shinobi of Killer B's caliber. However, the villain's follow-up was so smooth and effortless that it managed to slice clean through Killer B's white scarf on the blade's voyage upwards.

"This man is no amateur, B."

A booming voice resided in Killer B's head, and it was odd that such a powerful voice could only be heard by a single man. The image of an ox-like demon projected into Bee's mindscape, yet it didn't frighten the man in the least. He was either used to it or expecting the appearance of the creature.

"I know, his stature ain't just for show." Killer Bee thought to the beast within his head. "We need to find out his motives, and if he knows where the Yellow Leader is -"

Bee's thought process was cut short as another slash aimed for his bare neck, forcing him to retreat a few steps. Though, he switched to an offensive state in a moment's notice, launching one of his blades for Saburo's bicep. The target swiftly elevated his hilt, deflecting the projectile narrowly. Killer B was prepared for this, launching a kick into the opponent's hand. The nightly claymore flew from Saburo's grasp, leaving the man disarmed.

"Tsunade was tactical in choosing you to join her, as I have now seen first hand how skilled you are."

Killer B stopped in his tracks as Saburo spoke again, his words charming the shinobi's interest. He said nothing though, waiting to see if Saburo would attempt to entice him even more. And he did.

"You know, the fate of Konoha's elite could lie in your hands." Saburo started off with a pseudo-ultimatum. He then changed to something that Killer B would know to be true. "And as it seems, without Naruto, Tsunade, Kakashi, and all the other Konoha shinobi, this war will slowly come to a halt with your side's defeat...or at least that is what it seems to me. But what do I know? I'm just a simple tournament host." A malicious grin greeted Bee.

There was a brief moment of silence as Killer B's brain processed the information and weighed his options. Finally he took a step forward and said "let's see then, fool" in a light manner.

"Wait B, this could be a trap, you know? He could truly be a pawn of the Masked Man, it's not too far off to assume that." The thunderous voice spoke within his host's consciousness.

"I know, that's why I gotta do something first. Hopefully it doesn't turn out for the worst."

The blonde-haired shinobi slowly approached Saburo, cautious all the while. Once in arm's reach of the skilled swordsman, B extended his fist towards him. The villain stared at it inquisitively, not quite knowing what was going on. Though Saburo was often considered a bright man, he was clueless about this. This Killer B man was just...odd.

"Yo." Killer B nodded towards his fist, expectant of the correct response. Once again, Saburo stared blankly at the gloved fist, and realized something must have been lost upon him. Though, Saburo hoped that the fist was some sort of late greeting, and decided to mimic it. The two fists met with a bump, and another silence erupted in the forest.

"What's going on B? What can you tell about this guy?"

With his fist still locked in a solid pound with Saburo, Killer B thought to his listening beast.

"This guy gives of a bad vibe, but the shit he was saying weren't lies. I say we go with him and see what he's up to, we could even say a Konoha shinobi or two!" B disengaged his bro-fist with the man across from him, and continued out loud: "I'll take the bait, but I don't like to wait."

"I'm glad that you've come to that decision." Saburo sneered, his chin lifting up as he eyed the Jinchūriki. He didn't waste much more time though, placing his cold fingers on Killer B's exposed shoulder. "In an instant, you shall be in an unfamiliar land surrounded by a few familiar faces. I'm sure someone will fill you in on the situation once you're there. Refrain from doing anything reckless before I arrive, please."

Following the lecture, Killer B's figure was shrouded in a bright, celestial light. When his features were replaced with glares, his silhouette slowly disappeared into nothingness. The man deemed "Killer B" was no longer in eyesight, leaving Saburo standing there by himself.

The raven-haired man's eyes slowly glazed over the patch of forestry, scanning for something. He quickly found what he was looking for: his prized blade. He strolled towards the fine piece of weaponry as it was embedded in the trunk of a tree. He gripped the hilt and gave it a solid tug, yanking it from the bark with little resistance.

His eyes soon averted to something else nearby. The resting body of the first shinobi he had clashed with laid in the dirt, his head nestled against a patch of broken branches. Staring at the unconscious figure for a few moments, he decided to let out a bit of his killing intent that had been building up during the tournament. Stomping on the back of the shinobi's neck, a audible snap resonated in the area. Birds fled the area after hearing the disturbing sound.

"Y-you monster!"

Saburo's head slowly turned to face the shaky voice that accused him of being something he did not believe himself to be. His body straightened at the sight of the other shinobi attempting a backwards crawl away from him. The coward did not get far as a sphere of dark blue water encompassed his head, leaving him gasping for air, only to receive a mouthful of liquid. The man drowned slowly, his limbs flopping around uselessly as he wish desperately to escape. The Heaven's were not on the shinobi's side this day it seemed, his lifeless body slumping to the ground.

Saburo Takumi stood in the ambient forest, a strong breeze pushing through the area with great force. He stared off into the direction that the wave of air had originated from. From there, he saw a bolt of lightning push through the Heavens and embrace the ground.

"It looks like there's a storm coming." He could feel a powerful presence approaching quickly as he hoisted his blade over his shoulder. "I've overstayed my welcome anyway..."

Just as quickly as Saburo had appeared within the war-torn realm of shinobi, he was gone.

...

"Octopops!" Naruto grinned from ear to ear in his typical manner at the arrival of his friend and mentor. The muscular shinobi now dubbed "Octopops" had just suddenly appeared before the tournament combatants in the same manner that Gildarts had. He waddled towards Konoha, taking note of the Fairy Tail combatants as they murmured amongst themselves.

All of the Konoha shinobi had heard of the Jinchūriki of the Cloud Village, but only a few had every interacted with the man. Might Guy and Naruto instantly got to their feet when the skilled shinobi made his appearance. They weren't quite sure how he had gotten there, but they were sure happy to see his face.

Tsunade finally spoke up, greeting Killer B and proceeding to explain that she had recommended him to join their ranks for the tournament. Not just for his skill, but for the fire he lit under Naruto and the trust he had unnoticeably built with the rest of Konoha during their escapade at the Blood Prison.

Killer B didn't seem too bothered by the situation he was currently in as the member's of Konoha caught him up to speed. He even seemed slightly happy at the chance to kick back and have a few lighthearted battles with the members of Fairy Tail.

"They have a few members that have personally impressed me, and should not be taken lightly," confessed Tsunade sternly. She then went on to give her list of opponent's she deemed dangerous. "That female that Sakura lost against, Makarov, and that Gildarts man."

"I would agree on Makarov and Gildarts, but I say that Shino's opponent was skilled too." Kakashi added his input, his eyes glancing at Gajeel, who slept his low amount of time away. They all needed a rest honestly. Yet the day was so packed with excitement and craziness that it would be hard for most to sleep with the way things were. Thus, the conversation continued.

"I think we all agree that Makarov and Gildarts are their top dogs of what's left of their team, but that one guy...Natsu, I think it was. He caught my interest." A smirk spread across Naruto's face.

"Stop that, Naruto. You're look a little too much like the tournament host with that smirk on your face," joked Shikamaru, poking his long-time friend in the arm. "But in all seriousness, that Makarov man seemed to just be toying with Choji. Who knows what he's truly capable of?" A sigh escaped the black-haired teen's lips.

"That Lucy lady seems to have other tricks up her sleeves as well, but I agree with Tsunade-sama. That Juvia woman also poses a serious threat, as well as almost everybody else on their team." This time it was Sai's input.

"I still can't believe that we lost Neji and Yamato." Tsunade shook her head and stared at the ground, thinking calmly to herself.

"I am sorry, Naruto, but it is now my personal goal to best the one that defeated Neji!" Rock Lee vowed, staring intently at the rosy-haired Dragonslayer he spoke of.

"Whatever you say, Bushy Brows!" Naruto laughed lightly at the challenge that had been inadvertently proposed. "Just get through your next fight first before you go and challenge me, the greatest of all time!" Naruto grunted, lifting his chin high and resting his hands on his hips proudly.

"Enough idle chat. I suggest you all rest before the sun rises."

In their midst, the tournament host declared, loud enough for the Fairy Tail member's to also hear it. The only difference is that a large majority of the Fairies were already in the realm of dreams. None of the shinobi's eyes were even closed.

"In the morning, you shall be...'fed' before continuing on with the tournament. You all have eight more hours before the light breaks through the night. Use this time wisely." With this said, Saburo vanished from the combatants premises. Upon further investigation with his Sharingan eye, Kakashi could perceive the chakra of Saburo in the distance, presumably seated on a thick tree-branch.

"I don't know about you fools, but I'm as tired as a ghoul." Killer B announced while in mid-yawn, his hands straddled to the back of his neck. He quickly plopped on to the ground and faded from consciousness.

"He just got here, yet he's the first one to sleep." Naruto grimaced, holding back the urge to kick the rapper in his back as he slept.

"We should all probably follow his lead," suggested Shikamaru, resting his back on the side of a nearby tree. His eyes closed slowly after glancing around at his surroundings once more.

"Good night, my fellow companions," crowed Might Guy before launching himself into the realm of dreams, his student quickly following his lead to the tee.

"Come on Naruto, Sai. Let's get some rest too." Kakashi smiled lightly at his students, patting them on their backs. With little resistance, they also found comfortable places to make their "beds." Kakashi watched them fall asleep as a father would watch their very son rest. Though, he soon turned his attention to his superior. "I think we should rest as well, Tsunade-sama."

She nodded slowly, though her mind fought against her. She fought her instincts to watch over her shinobi as they slept as well. It was currently a war between her mind and body. Though she gave up her internal struggle as she admitted that she would contribute little to the team if she had gone without rest the whole day. And with that, he conscious found itself drifting away on a sea of dreams.

...

The morning came slowly, the sun breaking through the restraints of the night unhurriedly. With the arrival of light also came the awakening of the tournament host, Saburo. It seemed that the man had also decided to sleep through the night despite being surrounded by people that wanted him dead, or severely injured at the least.

"Wake up, cretins." He would howl, and it received the effect that he had hoped for. Resting bodies tossed and turned until their minds forced them up, groaningly nonetheless. As the two separate masses of yawning combatants rose to their feet begrudgingly like the living dead, Saburo stuffed his left hand into a small pocket on his snow-white jacket.

"What are you reaching for, eh?" Gajeel frowned, noticing the minute movement of the tournament host. Saburo stared at the Iron Dragon-slayer briefly before looking down at his hand that hid in his pocket.

"You'll find out shortly, don't worry." He directed towards Gajeel, refusing to remove his hand from the depths of his jacket just yet. He then raised his voice to address the entirety of the warriors in the vicinity. "The Tournament matches will commence in exactly one hour. In the meantime, you will be given something to curb your appetite and have the rest of the time to converse with whom ever you so please."

Following his announcement, a spiky head popped up and voiced the question: "huh, what's going on?" The sleepy voice belonged to Natsu Dragneel, who rubbed his drooping eyes. He was quickly met with a pound to the head by Gajeel, who began to shout obscenities and hurtful things at the young man.

"Idiot! You missed everything he said!" Gajeel continued to torture Natsu with a barrage of punches, much to the dismay of punching bag. Gildarts laughed at the slapstick routine, while Wendy seemed a bit scared, backing away from the beatdown. Makarov let the banter go on for a moment before breaking it up, and proceeded to relay the missed information to Natsu.

It wasn't long before Saburo retracted his hand from his pocket, his hand now full of small, white capsules. He explained them to be pills packed with the needed protein and nutrients for the human body, as well as the feeling of satisfaction that disperses hunger. It took a while before the sixteen tournament participants agreed to digest them, assuming it to be typical villainous ploy. Perhaps poison, or narcotics, or a paralysis-inducing agent, that type of stuff. Seeing the tournament host consume two of them, having the Dragon-slayers smell them, and forcing Shikamaru and Tsunade to inspect them, they finally agreed to take them.

"So who should I be weary of on that squad of theirs?" Gildarts finally spoke up after taking his two pills. It had been plaguing him all night, not knowing what any of the opponent's were capable of. He had only just arrived here, yet he was expected to compete against seemingly skilled foes.

"Definitely that blonde woman," Cana was the first to pipe in, a drop of sweated gliding down her eyebrow as she eyed the Hokage from a distance. "She took out Mirajane."

Gildarts wore an impressed expression as the other members agreed with Cana's acknowledgment. It was then Juvia's turn to speak up.

"Juvia will make that Shikamaru bastard pay for defeating Gray-sama." She grinding her teeth at the thought of dismantling the tactician and drowning him slowly.

"That guy is a skilled strategist, and now he knows all of our abilities for the most part. They might gain an upperhand if he gives his comrades a game-plan to follow." Lucy sighed at the thought. She considered herself pretty smart, but she knew that she paled in comparison to what Shikamaru showed off during his bout.

"My concerns lie with Might Guy, Kakashi Hatake, and Tsunade." Makarov scowled, his arms crossed over his small chest. It was strange to see the Master so serious throughout this whole thing. He had yet to make a single perverted comment.

"Aye, what about you, Natsu? Who do you have your eye on?" Happy asked, poking his partner in the head with his tiny paws. A proverbial fire lit in Natsu's eyes as he thought to himself. Taking a moment to think about all that he had witnessed yesterday, he finally answered with a grin on his face.

"Naruto Uzumaki!"

The exuberant shout was loud, clear, and audible to all. The blonde turned his head and the sound of his name being called out, and noticed that rosy-haired fighter standing proud with a grin on his face. All of the other Fairy Tail members stares burrowed holes into the Uzumaki. It took a moment, but Naruto returned the grin with one of his own, cracking his knuckles as he taunted the Dragon-slayer. Until Natsu ended up face-first in the dirt with Gajeel fist hovering above him, steam seeping from his iron knuckle.

"Back off, Salamander. I want to fight that guy," Gajeel warned the downed ally. He then glared at Naruto before turning his back to the shinobi. Following that, the two factions conversed amongst themselves; discussing strategies, thoughts, and predictions. This continued for a large portion of the remaining hour, until Tsunade finally broke away to speak to the leader of Fairy Tail.

Nobody knew quite what they were talking about, but both of their faces were stern. Saburo watched the conversation more intently than any of the other combatants. There were two things that the man did not want: one, the factions getting too friendly with each other, and two, he absolutely did not want them plotting against him. After five or so minutes of being unable to discern what was being said, Saburo leapt from his spot on a tree branch. He swooped down beside Tsunade and Makarov, nodding to both of them.

"I hate to interrupt your conversation, but it's about time to continue with Round Two of the tournament." By now, the remainder of the two groups had begun to crowd around to listen to the tournament host. The tension that was nonexistent at the start of the morning found its way back into the area like a breeze of air that weighed down on them. They didn't have to wait much longer to find out what was coming next though. "We'll start in Block A once again, with Juvia Lockser versing Killer B, ally of Konoha!"


Previous Match: Yamato vs. Gildarts

Next Match: Killer B vs. Juvia


Author's Note: Here you go, guys. A little character development and story progression for you. Not too much interaction between Fairy Tail and Konoha, not yet at least. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this chapter, it was actually pretty fun to write this one. I had a lot more freedom in a way.

Also, I plan on releasing a new fanfiction sometime during the summer, and it will be much different. If you're interested, just follow me as an author so you'll be alerted when the first chapter hits the site. Hopefully it will be good and won't interfere with the production of Saburo's Tournament.

Lastly, if you guys could review this chapter, I'd appreciate it. This chapter's style was different than the tournament matches I've written, so I'd like some feedback. Oh yeah, and if you could go vote on the poll that's on my page, that'd make me a happy camper.