~3rd Person Perspective~
When Kure woke up, he found himself in bed.
Kure slowly looks around.
The ceiling is unfamiliar, the mats feel softer than they have in a long time. The curtain partitions, the beds equally spaced, the clean white walls, the smell of disinfectant. He is sure he is in the Martial Arts Center’s infirmary.
“–Oh, you’re awake, Mr. Kure, do you know where you are?” (Nurse)
A middle-aged woman in a white coat called out to him. She was wearing an armband with the red cross mark.
“…the infirmary?” (Kure)
“Yes, it looks like you are fully conscious. How are you feeling?” (Nurse)
He touched his body here and there after being told that.
The numerous wounds from being stabbed, slashed, and gouged are closed, leaving only slight tingling and welt-like scars. His right ear feels numb as if he was anesthetized, and his right arm is numb from the elbow and cannot move properly. A red scar remains as if to indicate where it was joined. Other than that, he is hungry and somewhat light-headed.
“I seem to be fine. There you go.” (Kure)
Flexing his arms and showing his biceps. The female nurse’s eyes widen.
“I’m glad to see you’re doing well. All of your wounds have been healed, and your amputated limbs were successfully connected by [Holy Healing].” (Nurse)
Although [Divine Healing] is required to regenerate a missing part of the body, it is possible to join body parts with [Holy Healing] if the section of the body is joined soon after amputation. It is possible that the blood vessels and nerves will connect.
“It may seem a bit difficult to move… the doctor says, ‘Even if there are numbness or tremors, you will return to normal in a few days.’” (Nurse)
“I see… Thank you.” (Kure)
“I hope you will rest here for a while. There are some nourishing skewers in the basket there. If you get hungry, feel free to take one.” (Nurse)
He took one without hesitation and nibbled on it. It is a nutritious ration for hunters, a long, thin mushroom coated with a thin layer of chocolate. If you eat it with your eyes closed, it might seem like a chocolate banana without the sweetness.
“…I see…” (Kure)
Kure tries to squeeze the tiny piece of food, but he can’t even do that.
Cure rests his head on the pillow and closed his eyes.
The end is in sight.
Until the last moment of the battle, until the moment he collapsed—Kure remembers it vividly.
The five-level difference in physical ability is made up for by the [Herculean Strength] and [Instant Response].
–It should have been.
The moment he passes through the upswing, the downswing is imminent. Evasion is one step behind, and a sound that cuts through the air passes by the side of Kure’s head.
When he steps back and land, he notices that the sound on his right side has disappeared. A large amount of blood spills onto his shoulder in a dribble—he sees his right ear just fall to the ground.
After changing his weapon to [Indestructible Sword], his slash’s speed has only increased.
Kure can’t keep up with the timing correction, and even if he learns it, Yoshitsune can still go past it.
A follow-up diagonal slash, cleave, and a thrust aimed at Kure’s right chest. The right shoulder is shaved off from the top of the [White Armor].
Without care, Kure takes his first step aiming for a tackle–he forcefully pulls his momentum back and backsteps to distance himself.
(He was inviting me to a counter.) (Kure)
(If I had stepped in, I would have eaten a decent knee kick.) (Kure)
Here, his ability to respond to Kure’s body arts–or rather, to Kure’s techniques–is also sharpening.
Without any preliminary movement or sign of movement, the slash comes at Kure with unparalleled accuracy.
A barrage of blows that seem to have read two or three moves ahead, as if to throw Kure off.
The sword art was so complete that there was not a single opening, and it even seemed as if he was dancing smoothly.
Yoshitsune was not handicapped by his broken arm; on the contrary, he had not even shown the depths of his ability yet.
(I didn’t know he was this strong.) (Kure)
There are many sword masters in Senju as well, and Kure has faced them many times.
Even if he puts them all together, they are no match for this man.
(I may be wrong but he may even be stronger than Shuu and Mr. Giran—” (Kure)
Kuré himself thought he had improved his level and skills through his training at Ikebukuro.
Even so, he was not able to reach his target, but only just barely managed to avoid a fatal wound. His breath was a wheeze, his blood was running out, and his energy and stamina were being drained.
—Yoshitsune stopped moving and furrowed his brow.
“…what is it?” (Yoshitsune)
Then Kure finds himself laughing.
“I’m sorry…. you’re so strong. To tell you the truth, I don’t see an acorn’s chance of me winning.”
“Acorn? …If you feel that way, just fight, and do it without any pretense. Otherwise, there’s no more use in going any further.” (Yoshitsune)
Cure let out a big sigh. Letting his arms hang loosely, he leans forward.
“For the weak to challenge the strong—that’s what Kure-style Life or Death technique is truly longing for.” (Kure)
Blood trickles down to his feet. Kure’s life that is steadily draining away—at that moment, it burns brightly.
The body of Kure is bursting at a speed that surpasses anything before it. At such super-speed that it leaves his image behind.
A tackle that floats over the ground, and dodges Yoshitsune’s late-reacting swing.
Just before Kure’s hand takes his ankle, Yoshitsune leaps forward, slamming his broken right arm into Kure’s head. Kure clucks his tongue, rolls up the sand, flips over, and comes at Yoshitsune again, who lands on his feet.
A slash is swung by Yoshitsune, trying to push Kure away. He crouches down like a beast, twisting his body, back and forth, left and right, to avoid the attacks. His hair, skin, and blood scattered. Kure is cut even further.
“–I’m just in time.” (Kure)
It is now the right timing.
He guides Yoshitsune’s wrist as he swings down. Kure-style Life or Death “Empty Throw” technique. With just a push and no force, Yoshitsune’s body flew through the air.
He could not catch himself in time and crashed down on his back. Yoshitsune gasps for air. Kure goes to hold him down from above—and then he stops moving.
His right arm falls off with a thud. From the elbow onward.
(I couldn’t see it.) (Kure)
Had he swung his sword without taking a passive stance while doing a somersault?
Yoshitsune aims at Kure’s leg while lying down. Kure is shallowly cut in the shin, but jumps back in time. If he had been a moment too late, the whole bone would have been cut off.
Blood spilled mercilessly from his right arm. We could hear the groans and screams of the spectators. The referee is yelling, “Do you still want to continue? Are you giving up?”
Yoshitsune slowly stands up and readies his sword.
“…Enough. Match over.” (Yoshitsune)
Kure’s knees shake.
His vision seems to be getting narrower. It’s getting harder to breathe.
Before he knew it, he is no longer sweating. He’s cold.
Kure has long passed the threshold of damage that can be repelled by [Adversity]. Once the fire is extinguished, there will be nothing left but cinders.
Holding the stump of his left arm, he sinks low.
Breathing in. Phew, phew, and he’s ready.
“–this is the last one.” (Kure)
“…got it.” (Yoshitsune)
Both kick the ground. Both of them doing their fastest charge.
Yoshitsune sent a diagonal slash. The tip of the slash is precisely aimed into Kure’s right collarbone—-just before it reaches it, Kure’s figure disappears.
His body rolled over and his left hand is on the ground.
While standing upside down with one arm, he grabs Yoshitsune’s elbow with both feet.
He twists his whole body and spins around. With that momentum, he throws Yoshitsune.
Yoshitsune is blown off his feet and lands with his sword in the ground. He stomps on the sand, and behind his stationary heel is the red rope from the ring.
Yoshitsune steps one step outside the place—and his eyes widen.
There is Kure below him. He is bent before Yoshitsune’s waist.
“–got you.” (Kure)
At this moment, the distance between the two is finally reduced to zero.
This distance is not the distance between the sword, it is the distance between Kure and Yoshitsune.
Kure stretches out like a spring and extends his arm.
His hand grabs Yoshitsune’s right sleeve. He pulls him diagonally downwards, and then meeting him with his body, mowing down his legs from the outside.
The blade is pressed against Kure’s chest, to stop him from pressing down on him, but Kure kept getting closer to him.
It’s not in time to swing the blade through, it’s just being hit. If it were a normal blade, that alone would be meaningless, and moreover, Kure is clad in [White Armor].
However, this is not a common hypha weapon. It is a black iron-colored, dull and shimmering [Indestructible Sword]. If his words are correct, this is the strongest sword in the country.
In an instant, the blade pushes into the [White Armor]. Like butter.
It reaches the skin beneath it, and then into the flesh. Kure realizes it from the pain.
(If only my right arm was still there.) (Kure)
(I could have stopped his left hand, too.) (Kure)
He simply turns his wrist and lowers it, accepting it with the blade.
From his left shoulder to his right hip, blood spurts out from a slanting cut in his [White Armor].
“Thank you for the fight.” (Yoshitsune)
At the same time as Yoshitsune’s line, the fire in Kure is extinguished.
The hand that had been gripping the sleeve is released, and the strength is drained from the shoulder and the knee.
“…yeah, thank you…” (Yoshitsune)
Kure’s tongue is tangled, and he is unable to speak.
Kure then collapses forward.
He kneels down and leaned his head on Yoshitsune.