Ending the long chase after the Sand ninjas, Sasuke and Gaara finally faced off in the middle of the forest as Shino and Kankuro started their match which should have occurred during the Chuunin exams. Before finally battling with Sasuke, Gaara is having difficulties in controlling the sand demon within him. Sasuke watched in astonishment as Gaara finally turns into his half-sand demon form. Naruto, Sakura and Pakkun are almost near Sasuke and the other Sand ninjas when Pakkun sensed that there is a fight that is about to begin. They've decided to take an alternate route in order to avoid getting involve with the fight and reach Sasuke.
Meanwhile, Sarutobi is still fighting off the difficulty of extracting Orochimaru's soul as Orochimaru urges his sword to dig thoroughly into his teacher's aged body. Outside their battleground, the academy teachers and other ninjas are guiding the academy students into safety towards the Hokage Mountain. Suddenly, the engraved face of Sandaime Hokage (Sarutobi) had a crack, sending a bad omen in the eyes of the shinobi.
Kankuro and Shino had an extreme fight wherein both tricked each other towards defeat. Tactics and a showcase of techniques emerged but Shino became the victor. Although he promised that he would back Sasuke up, Shino realized that he could not do so for his body is affected by the poison smoke bomb Kankuro's puppet Karasu blasted towards him during their clash.
Slowly transforming into the Sand demon Shukaku, Gaara turned wild and vicious, aiming to kill Sasuke in an instant. Sasuke is stunned by Gaara's change in appearance that he tried minor attacks in order to see what is the latter's strength. Gaara, with his mind only towards Sasuke's destruction, chased Sasuke nonstop.