Naruto: Tales of a Ninja Magician - Chapter 1025 - CptClaymore (2024)

Chapter Text

Genshi frustratedly exclaimed over his opponent tricking him again and giving him the slip because of the Substitution Jutsu. He whirled his lower pair of arms until they turned into drills and set off his flamethrower arms, ramming the drills into the ground and causing quaking ruptures while spraying flames into the cracks.

Yoibetsu-N grunted, crossing his arms and hunkering down as blazing pillars erupted from underground, showering him with a heat geyser. In an attempt to elude being completely engulfed and drowned by the flames, Yoibetsu-N let the shooting flames throw him back like a rag doll. Getting flung around by multiple flame pillars felt like a better alternative than letting one engulf him.

"Oh, no!" Rajul exclaimed. "Contestant Ryoku Genshi is continuing his armed offensive against contestant Yoibetsu-N, and, based on what we're seeing, the earlier use of Lightning Armor has had its wear on Yoibetsu-N!"

"That's not entirely right," Mana noted. "Genshi-san's opponent still has some chakra left. Not too much, but it should be enough to fight back."

"Just fighting back won't do," Shige-H replied. "Yoibetsu-N is looking for his opening. He's only got enough chakra for a few precious seconds of Lightning Armor, meaning he has to make them count."

"Not breaking that mask is severely screwing the guy over now," Endo observed, leaning forward with increased investment in the match.

Genshi tilted his heavy right foot and, with a potent clang, opened up thick plating on the foot that began to judder. After slamming it back down on the floor, the vibration caused a tremor that distorted the vision of anyone still grounded anywhere near the area of the fighting stage. The shrieks of women disturbed by the sudden quake and unraveled, lost turbans floating in the air accompanied the grounded calamity.

The rampant earthquake flung Yoibetsu-N in the air, prompting Genshi to dash forward on chakra jets as he wound back his arms for a beatdown. The flamethrower arms turned with a complete rotation, blasting jets of fire on the opposite side and thrusting the back end of the arm for a pummeling wallop. Meanwhile, the lower arms spread the swords comprising its claws vertically, creating deadly chopping fans.

The reverse-flamethrower rocket arms pummeled Yoibetsu-N with vicious battery. Each blow seemed like it would slam its way clean through muscle and shatter bone into dust. Splattering arcs of blood spilled from the wounds of Kumogakure ninja while the chopping fans failed to shred him into fleshy strings, instead, slamming against Yoibetsu-N's augmented skin and causing skin-deep cuts while the adamantine body of the battle-hardened ninja made the whirring blades get stuck on his limbs or chest.

Bloodied and bruised, bare and broken, Yoibetsu-N dragged across the tile set in a smear of dirt and crimson. Despite their favor for the underdog and even the grittier aspects of competitive slobber-knocking, the audience gasped and shivered in the direction the battle had turned to. When Yoibetsu-N's body next fell flat on his back, sprawled out and limp, few thought they'd see the Kumogakure ninja stand back up again while more still would have preferred if he stayed down, even if he could indeed stand.

"There's another weakness with that fancy suit of armor, from the looks of it," Endo whistled in admiration of the wicked violence taking place, crossing one leg over another. "It's like that Kumogakure runt is beating the armor up with his chin, despite not having to do too much."

"It does look like the suit's suffered damage despite taking no hits, even from over here," Damisan acknowledged the truth in Endo's observation. "Still, I think Yoibetsu-N would die several times over before his tough body would break anything I couldn't fix."

"Heard that, Mana?" Asuka smiled in Mana's direction, leaning for her sly smirk to be seen and acknowledged by the disturbed magician. "If you ever take this guy's place and end up fighting Genshi, don't try the "break his armor with your face" strategy. Though I wonder, if Mana was ever to fight Genshi, whom would Damisan cheer for?"

"This is getting ugly," Mana lamented. "There better still be a point to this. If Yoibetsu-N still has a card to play, he better play it now."

"If Yoibetsu-N really has stamina left to counterattack, he doesn't have much of a choice. His heels are at the edge and he can't still be seeing straight…" Shige-H agreed that Yoibetsu-N's last gambit had to come now or never.

From the looks of it, Genshi didn't enjoy how difficult it proved to eliminate an opponent who hardly resisted too. Being the one closest to the action, in fact, being the one instigating most of it, Genshi sensed what the audience couldn't. Every time he attacked, Yoibetsu-N was trying to evade it, he was just too slow. His opponent was still fighting back, it was just that none of his jabs connected and Genshi's devastating blows were first to break his opponent's stance and send him flying or crumble what was left of his bones.

Seeing his opponent shaken but unwilling to surrender, Genshi decided to rely on his old-timey Fusion Ball expertise. He leaned forward, grabbing what looked like an imaginary Fusion Ball and holding it close to the ground. He would make one last charge, one final push, and a mother of all tackles to crumble the last wall of Yoibetsu-N's defenses and send him flying out of bounds. This would be the right thing to do–another power blow risked killing the stubborn fool and Genshi himself could hear the alarming clanking in his armor. All was not good down there and the entire walking armory needed a thorough look of an expert if it was to perform in the next match.

"You're outta here!" Genshi exclaimed, blasting off with horizontal rings of blue flares emitted from his armored boots. Spinning, the suit of armor repurposed its rocket fists into aiding the human-missile-style dash, homing in on the devastated Yoibetsu-N, who still staggered and weaved on his feet.

The sparking and acting-up mask alerted Genshi to something, giving the blinded athlete a jolt and relaying a warning signal that his opponent was doing something. His lips were muttering something and his body exuded chakra. However, with the outcome of this match being at stake, Genshi pressed on and simply doubled the expenditure of his heel jets, making the entire suit of armor rattle with tension.

The image of Yoibetsu-N flickered, becoming just a human-shaped, disturbed field of static electricity that soon jolted after its maker. In an instant, Yoibetsu-N was up close to Genshi, with his whole body tensed up and wound back for a counterattack. Seeing his opponent sparking up and retaliating with force made time stand still as Genshi's mind raced through a thousand thoughts and calculations, while that of his opponent seemed utterly void of any forethought.

Everything relevant to his counterattack was already thought for ahead of time. Thinking during his attack would have only slowed Yoibetsu-N down.

"Lightning Armor!" Damisan grabbed his head in despair.

"Level One?" Shige-H mumbled under her own nose. It was only because the audience was still oblivious to the apocalyptic collision that was about to occur in the middle of the fighting ring that any of her companions in the Stars group could even make it out.

"Lightning Cutter!" Yoibetsu-N exclaimed, piercing the silence. With a dashing neckbreaker maneuver, Yoibetsu-N tensed his upper body, slowing it down mid-flight while bringing his lower body forward and vaulting his body above the brunt of Genshi's tackle. The firm, sparking arms of the Kumogakure ninja grabbed hold of Genshi's head and dragged it on the opposite side, slamming him down while falling backward with so much force that the entire arena drowned out in dust and rubble and a lightning flash temporarily blinded the audience while a thunderous rumble deafened it for a minute too.

"That snake," Endo laughed out with childish glee after everyone's ears stopped ringing. "He figured Level One would be enough to beat the battered armor and it would last him longer, drastically boosting his odds to deal some actual damage."

"sh*t, this is bad… There's no way Genshi's mask could have taken a hit like that, but… What if his body gave way too? It took some pummeling earlier already…" Damisan clenched a fist with his right hand, pressing it to his lips to restrain himself from flipping out.

It couldn't have been helped, however, as when the smoke cleared, Yoibetsu-N stood battered and bruised, but with his back straight and on his own two legs while cerulean lightning crackles danced around him and sizzling out at the pointy tips of his spiky hair. With pouted lips and a mean glare, the pummeled Kumogakure ninja stared at his downed opponent, who laid completely exposed with countless thick armored sheets scattered around him like petals around a shedding autumn tree.

"Oh, no…" Mana gasped, covering her mouth with both hands.

"Everything… He broke everything…" Damisan dragged his hands across his hair with a panicking look in his eyes. "sh*t… With a hit like that, Genshi himself took a mean bump too!"

"Give up," Yoibetsu-N said with a faint trail of smoke puffing from his mouth as he spoke. "Weapons aren't meant for the indecisive hands of civilians. Leave the fighting for the soldiers and leave the arena for the warriors. Take your ball and go home." The Kumogakure ninja uttered a dire warning. Given how Genshi's crippled and wounded real body was now exposed to the elements, the warning had a much heftier ring to it.

Fire burst from underneath the fallen athlete. Genshi shot into the air with a fiery uppercut surprise attack. Sadly, because of the absence of his radar mask, he had to rely on wide-swinging and devastating area-of-effect attacks to keep himself alive in the competition. While such attacks were certainly powerful, they lacked the applied precision and subtlety of direct, single-target attacks, making them more cumbersome, louder, and also easier to avoid.

"You're wrong!" Genshi barked back at his opponent, despite having little clue about his current location. "Anyone can fight for what they believe in, it doesn't matter if they're a civilian, an athlete, or a warrior. Whether it be with their bare hands, their tool of trade, or a weapon!"

In a flash, Yoibetsu-N dashed over Genshi's head and vaulted with an upside-down overhead kick. While Genshi couldn't see or sense his opponent, he could hear the chirping electricity of the static Lightning Armor field and feel the hair on his head and body react to the rampant static created by the ninja technique. Genshi crossed his upper arms which were missing their exploding morning star fists, leaving them the most expendable.

"He still has control over his arms," Damisan sighed easier, realizing that the fight, while taking a rapid turn for the worst, still wasn't over.

"Little good that'll do him. He's blind," Endo scoffed at the reignited hope of his squad mate. "World's strongest punch won't matter if he can't land it."

"Yoibetsu-N still has time with Lightning Armor," Shige-H noted. "He's saved himself plenty by cleverly using Level One instead of Two."

"That might be more of a disadvantage for him now than aid though," Mana observed as Yoibetsu-N whizzed around the battlefield, establishing himself as the new favorite to win the match while beating down on Genshi from all sides. Despite the mounting pressure, the blind and cornered athlete turned and put a block of his mechanical arms up just in time to protect his exposed body. "The Lightning Armor makes sound and there's no way even a blind person can't feel the static in the air."

"That must be how the little bugger's still swinging…" Asuka agreed.

Just as he was rushing up for a devastating haymaker, Yoibetsu-N stopped in place, sweaty, bloodied, and with a look of shock stuck on his face. With a stuttering turn of his neck, the Kumogakure ninja turned to his shaking and frozen right arm, noticing that the sound of electrical chirping was gone, as was the rampant static.

"Already? Even with Level One?" Yoibetsu-N stuttered while panting heavily.

"I think you forgot a little something when you were drafting that battle plan of yours," Genshi smiled, turning toward the sound and raising his flamethrower arms in the air. "Throughout this fight, you've been substituting left and right. It's a low-ranking ninja technique, but when you use it that often, I'm sure even small costs add up. I was kind of hoping you'd screw yourself by going Level Two and shorting yourself out, but… Let's see how accurate a blind guy can make this shot?"

"W-Wait! Wait a second…!" Damisan stood up, noticing the string that Genshi yanked with his teeth. Usually, it would have served as a trigger for an emergency reload of the flame-throwing mechanisms or for a trigger to fire them when the arms were wounded or otherwise occupied to do so. However, when pulled with this much strength…

Fuel began spraying down on the floor and showering like from a hose that got sick of it all and went completely postal. Realizing what this meant, Yoibetsu-N rolled backward and yanked out a cracked and loose floor tile, shielding himself from the spraying fuel. Despite the valiant effort, when Genshi triggered the flare that would've ignited the fuel, the flamethrower puppet limbs blew off the athlete's body with crude violence that flung the athlete backward and would've rag-dolled him out of bounds if he hadn't had those hefty mechanical boots to stay stuck to the floor with.

In that same vein, the detonation of another pair of Genshi's weaponized limbs caused a horrendous firestorm on the opposite side, roaring and whirring with spicy hellfire and a rumbling quake strong enough to quarter a fellow in a snap. As the security staff worked overtime, erecting a barrier around that side of the arena, the rumble still left the spectators screaming and grunting in despair. The rough shove of the shockwave made Damisan flop back in his seat and cover-up, trying to peer through some details about who survived and who perished in the sacrificial pyre.

"Holy sh*t, that's hardcore…" Endo stammered out when the black smoke parted just enough to reveal Genshi standing with only one functional pair of weaponized arms. The burst which he detonated the flamethrower arms with robbed him of his remaining arm, leaving the athlete on shaky boots, magnetized to the floor to keep him standing, with only mechanical katana-drill arms and chunky, metallic rumble boots to fight back with.

"Did I do it…?" Genshi suddenly vomited out a mouthful of blood, as if coming alive for a second wind all of a sudden. His face was swollen and pummeled and his eyes were still missing, with the sockets completely covered by scar tissue from the battle royale. Despite the ridiculous extent of damage he suffered, not to mention that which he already survived in the earlier rounds, the athlete stood in place disarmed, with two broken legs trapped in magnetized boots.

"Sorry," Yoibetsu-N stood behind Genshi with a shaky kunai in his hand, pressed to the back of Genshi's neck. "I seem to have had just enough chakra left for one more substitution with one of your shattered armor pieces. Surrender now or I'll cut your throat. The extent to which you're able to go for the sake of victory has earned you my respect, sportsman. I would hate extinguishing your hardy life."

"I'll take those odds," Genshi's mechanical katana-drill arms and his hefty metallic boots jumpstarted at the same time. Despite having a kunai up to Genshi's throat, Yoibetsu-N seemed frozen in place, struggling against the electromagnetic field that ripped the knife right out of his hand. Meanwhile, Genshi turned around and pointed his katana gauntlets, whirring them into a fan-like spin that lifted Yoibetsu-N off the ground.

"What's wrong? Yoibetsu-N should be tougher than that! There's no way a draft like that should be able to throw him around!" Shige-H objected in disbelief.

"Truth be told, Yoibetsu-N stood little chance. It's as he said–he only had the chakra left for one last substitution to avoid incineration. After that, his only bet to win was if Genshi couldn't see he already won and surrendered. Think about it, why would an incredible taijutsu specialist attempt to sneak from behind and attack Genshi with a weapon? He's all out of strength to fight and all out of chakra to bolster his body with," Damisan explained as Genshi began whirring all the blades on both of his remaining katana gauntlets, causing a gale strong enough to throw Yoibetsu-N into the protective wall out of bounds and flop into the lake. The Kumogakure ninja seemed so exhausted that he struggled to even keep his head above water until the healers rushed to his aid and pulled him into their boat.

"And it's over! The first match of the quarterfinals is over and it's Ryoku Genshi, the Heart of the Underdog, who's moving on to the semi-finals!" Rajul punched the air with both arms in excitement while announcing the official end to the absolutely crazy first match of the quarterfinals. "As is becoming the norm with these two combatants, this was an intense back-and-forth match with plenty of heart shown by both competitors. Unfortunately for Yoibetsu-N, there doesn't seem to be a person alive who wants to win this tournament more than Ryoku Genshi does, no matter how much pain he has to endure and how many pounds of his flesh he needs to sacrifice in the process!"

"I have to hand it to the peasant dweeb," Endo sighed while leaning back in his seat to stretch his back which was beginning to get numb from the tension of being so invested in the match. "His badassery is beginning to grow on me. I'm not sure who I'll be rooting for if he ends up facing Mana in the semi-finals anymore…"

"Oh… That's right," Shige-H turned to Mana with wide eyes. "You're next, aren't you? That whole mess with the mysterious disappearing contestant got the order all mixed up in my head!"

"I am," Mana nodded and stood up. With wobbly lips and butterflies mingling in her stomach, the ninja magician gave the arena one last good as a spectator before beginning to excuse herself to make her way to the backstage area and head for the entryway corridors leading to the arena.

"Do you need help? Getting there, preparing…?" Damisan wondered.

"Don't worry, not my first time competing here," Mana politely refused. "You've done plenty already with the replacement prosthetic."

"I'd ask you to try to have some fun since we don't absolutely need you to win here, but that'd be a fool's errand, wouldn't it?" Asuka shrugged innocently while slipping in one last jab at Mana's expense.

"If you're taking requests though, I'd rather if you win the whole thing though," Shige-H raised her voice, addressing Mana with a jesting tone. "The Allied Ninja wouldn't mind an entire town for an HQ, I'm sure…"

Brushing the jokes aside, Mana allowed the shade of the backstage corridors to swallow her whole as she turned to head toward the arena entryway corridors. She didn't have a good chance to see her opponent compete in the tournament, as she was still unconscious when he won his match. She'll just have to study him and improvise.

One thing was for certain: win or lose, Mana would get the audience dazzled and captivated again. She vowed to herself to make sure to never lose their support again, no matter where she went or what she did. Silencing the symphony of nerves playing inside should be easy. After all, Mana's been attracting and entertaining an audience her entire life, so what's one more?

Naruto: Tales of a Ninja Magician - Chapter 1025 - CptClaymore (2024)

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