Although the situation was growing dire, Temari still had enough faith in her and Hinata's skills that the two of them could pull through and bring back the Behemoth's Tongue intact.
"Hinata," Temari said. Hinata turned towards her and Temari could see she was a bit rattled by what had just happened. "Don't let her get to you. We can beat her. Right now we need get the Behemoth's Tongue from her so she can't do that again. Then we can rescue Ino."
"R...Right," Hinata replied, not entirely confident, but feeling a bit reassured.
Temari paused for a moment as she thought of a plan. "Okay, here's what we'll do..." she said.
Unable to hear Temari giving the details of her plan to Hinata, Marunomi grew increasingly restless. Even after being fed Ino, her stomach began to groan; it ached to be filled with more chakra.
"Okay, that's enough plotting," Marunomi said, interrupting their conversation. "My belly is hungry!"
Marunomi rushed towards the two girls, ready to attack. She took a swipe at Temari, but the Sand ninja dodged and gained some distance from her. With Marunomi's eyes turned from her, Hinata took the initiative and lunged at her with a kunai. However, Marunomi turned towards her just in time and dodged the blade. She backed away from Hinata who did the same in return. The two stared each other down for a moment.
"Well, aren't you a cutie," Marunomi said. "I can tell you're going to be delicious."
Hinata scowled and tried to block out Marunomi's words. She sheathed her kunai and then put her hands together, forming a ninjutsu sign. Veins bulged out on the sides of her head as she activated her Byakugan.
Marunomi cocked her brow in mild surprise. "Ooh, Byakugan, huh?" she said. "I should've known from those pretty little pale eyes."
With her Byakugan activated, Hinata surveyed Marunomi's body. Her chakra network appeared the same as anyone else's, but, of course, the big thing that stood out was the glowing orb that had once been Ino that lied squarely in Marunomi's stomach. It was unsettling sight, but Hinata tried to stay focused. Once again, she took the initiative and began her attack.
Activating her gentle fist technique, Hinata took several swipes at the rogue ninja. But, Marunomi, evasive and agile as ever, dodged all of her attacks. Undeterred, Hinata kept at it and picked up the pace of her attacks. Eventually, she was able to make contact and struck a chakra node on Marunomi's shoulder. She expected some sort of reaction from Marunomi, but, strangely, nothing came. Marunomi simply responded with a jab from her right arm that Hinata dodged just in time. Hinata continued her assault and managed to strike a node on Marunomi's left forearm. Again, nothing happened. She then struck a node on her leg, but again, nothing. Marunomi, however, managed to land a hit on Hinata's abdomen, causing the girl a great deal of pain and sending her flying. After landing on the ground, Hinata landed on the ground, she tried to pick herself back up as she clutched her stomach in pain.
"Aww, seems your little technique isn't working," Marunomi said tauntingly. "I wonder why that is."
Cruel as her words were, Marunomi was right. Hinata's gentle fist wasn't working and she had no idea why. With her Byakugan still activated, Hinata took another look at Marunomi's body. Again, everything appeared normal, but then she noticed something she hadn't before. She had never seen anything like it and it was barely visible, but it was almost as if there was some sort of barrier surrounding her body. A barrier that, to her best guess, must have prevented the gentle fist from working.
"Well, care to go for another round?" Marunomi asked. "If not, I could just gobble you up now."
However, there would be no need; Temari had begun her attack, just as planned. Hinata looked up and saw Temari leaping through the air, just above Marunomi. She pulled her fan back and then swung it downwards, releasing a veritable tempest that bore down on Marunomi.
*What happens next?