As the orb continued to enclose around her, Temari mustered whatever strength she had left to resist it. She knew deep down that it was futile, but her pride just wouldn't allow herself to give up without a fight.
Marunomi, meanwhile, was quite captivated by the Sand ninja's struggles. She found the sight to be utterly amusing and quite invigorating. It was so empowering, after all, to witness this young girl put up such a pointless struggle for her life, knowing that she would soon be nothing but a succulent ball of chakra, ready to be devoured. Marunomi licked her lips at the thought. So enraptured was Marunomi that she didn't even see the chain that was speeding straight towards her.
Marunomi looked down just in time to see the chain coil and tighten around her ankle. The chain then yanked her leg, causing her to fall to the ground as it pulled her away. As Marunomi was dragged across the earth, she saw two figures emerge from the forest. One was a pink-haired girl and the other was a girl with two buns in her hair, the latter of whom was holding the other end of the chain. She quickly recognized them as the other two kunoichi she had met outside the Food village. While the pink-haired girl flew past her, the bun-haired leapt over a nearby tree branch, pulling the chain over. This caused Marunomi to be yanked into the air as she was caught in the bun-haired girl's makeshift pulley system. The bun-haired girl fastened her end of the chain to the ground, finally ending Marunomi's flight, but leaving her dangling upside down by her ankle.
As Marunomi tried to regain her bearings, she saw the bun-haired girl retreat and run off to join the pink-haired girl. She then saw that the pink-haired girl was heading straight towards Temari, her hand reeled back as if ready to deliver a punch. Marunomi was quite amused, believing the gesture to be futile as no mere punch could break Temari free of the orb. But, much to her surprise, as soon as the punch connected, the orb shattered, freeing the Sand ninja. Marunomi correctly assumed that the girl must have a tremendous amount of physical strength; something she would have to look out for. But first she would have to free herself from this trap.
Meanwhile, Sakura and Tenten attended to Temari who had been severely weakened after trapped in the orb for so long.
"Temari, are you okay?" Sakura asked.
"I...I'll be...fine," Temari said weakly. "That orb...it sapped...my chakra."
"Lie down, I'll give you some of mine," Sakura said.
As Temari lied on her back, Sakura placed her hands on her chest and began to transfer her chakra. Once the process was over, Temari's mind felt much clearer and her body more stable, but she was still somewhat weakened.
"Th...Thank you, Sakura," Temari said. "The Food Village. Is...is everyone okay?"
"The Food Village is fine," Sakura answered. "We managed to save everyone."
"Good," Temari said, quite relieved. "But, Marunomi...we can't let our guard down around her."
Sakura and Tenten looked back towards Marunomi and saw the rogue ninja swipe at the chain around her ankle with chakra-infused hands. The chain broke apart instantly, setting Marunomi free as she rose back to her feet. Sakura and Tenten assumed a defensive stance.
"Well, well, seems the rest of the guests have arrived," Marunomi said. "Honestly, I wasn't expecting you so soon."
"Be careful," Temari said. "She's already got Hinata and Ino."
"Got them?" Tenten asked. "What do you mean?"
"Oh, silly girl," Marunomi said. Isn't it obvious?"
Marunomi looked down at her bulbous belly, and Sakura and Tenten followed her gaze. Suddenly, the implication was all too clear.
"You...you ate them?" Tenten said.
Marunomi laughed. "That's right, gobbled them right up," she said as she stroked and smacked her bloated middle. "And I was going to do the same to your friend before you rudely interrupted. Perhaps one of you would like to go in her place?"
Sakura gritted her teeth in anger. She wanted nothing more than to deliver swift vengeance to this monster that had devoured her friends, but she knew she had to be cautious.
"Her body, it's like rubber," Temari said. "She can bounce back any attack."
"Got it," Sakura said. "We'll just have to focus on the Behemoth's Tongue for now. Temari, you rest a bit longer. Tenten and I will take care of her." She turned to Tenten. "Alright, here's what we'll do..."
As Sakura elaborated her plan to Tenten, Marunomi eyed them hungrily and her belly began to grumble. Even with Hinata and Ino in her stomach, Marunomi was still feeling quite ravenous. She had so anticipated devouring Temari, but now she had been denied that meal, which made her all the hungrier. She needed to eat. Now.
"That's it, I can't wait anymore," Marunomi said. She charged straight at Sakura and Tenten. "SNACK TIME!"
Marunomi reached out her hand, pointing the Behemoth's Tongue straight at Sakura. Marunomi's arm and the device with it barreled straight towards the Leaf ninja, but she managed to dodge them at the last minute. It was quite fortunate for her that she had, in fact, as if she had not, the Behemoth's Tongue would have activated, trapping her in the same orb that had trapped Temari and the others.
Sakura considering retaliating, but remembering Temari's advice, she decided to leap back in retreat. However, Marunomi didn't miss a beat and turned towards Sakura charging at her again. She held out the Behemoth's Tongue again, pointing it at Sakura, but this time she was moving so fast that Sakura doubted she could dodge in time. Before Marunomi cold reach her, however, she suddenly stopped as she felt something pull around her chest. Again, she saw she was bound by chains. Behind her was Tenten, who had managed to catch and restrain her.
"Now, Sakura!" Tenten cried.
It wasn't exactly how she had planned it out, but it was quite fortunate that Tenten had managed improvise with Marunomi's unexpected actin. Of course, Sakura knew she would have to act fast before Marunomi broke free. Seeing that the Behemoth's Tongue was open and vulnerable, Sakura leapt into the air, reeled her arm back, and got ready to deliver a devastating punch that would destroy the device.
*What happens next?