Metro Labyrinth Chapter 133.i6.2: Underground Tournament 4

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3rd Person Perspective



 In the center of the boiling gazes, the two men brace themselves, staring at each other.



 As usual, Kure puts his hands loosely out in front of him and lowers his center of gravity. He is poised like a cat, ready to pounce on its prey.



 Tommy, on the other hand, lightly clenched both fists in front of his chest, half-crouching and swaying his upper body.



(His stance hasn’t changed.) (Kure)


(No, he seems to have become more forward than back then—) (Kure)



“What, why are you not coming? Then I’ll go my way–” (Tommy)



 He takes advantage of the moment when the opponent’s words are at the middle of his delivery, when he is most vulnerable. It is the usual method of Kure.



 Jumping close to the chest with minimal movement—He was going to do it, but before Kure knew it, his eyes were shaking, and his head bent greatly by the impact.



“–!” (Kure)



 Before he can even think about what was happening, his body reflexively forms a defense stance. Numerous gravels are thrust into his arms, shoulders, or through them, into his head. He backsteps to distance himself and wipes the blood from his numb nose.



“Just now, it’s just a greeting, nephew.” (Tommy)



 Tommy chuckled, his loosely clenched left fist swinging.



 Just when he thought his hand has disappeared, it’s close enough to block Kure’s view. He pulled his head back slightly just before he was struck, but still felt the impact as if a white light was exploding behind his eyes.



 While desperately holding his guard,



(He’s faster…) (Kure)


(Twice from ten years ago.) (Kure)



 All that comes to Kure’s mind is praise and admiration.



 The Kure-style Martial Arts originated from the idea of building a new integrated martial art by “combining the best of” the martial arts and weapons arts of the Senju territory. Among the many techniques incorporated in this art, Tommy excelled in the “Kento-style,” or “boxing,” as he called it.



 This style, which specializes in nimble footwork and fist strikes, was popular in Senju a decade ago, but its users are few and far between these days. The reason is simple: the techniques and philosophies are too much focused on the human body. In order to deal with Metro Beasts, whose body shape and physique differ greatly from one species to another, the “Karate-style,” which uses various means of attack such as kicks and hand chops, is considered more effective (in fact, “fake karate” like Koichi’s is in overwhelming majority).



 Even Tommy’s signature fast-fist jab would only serve as a check against a Metro Beast if used by a normal user. However—



(Hard.) (Kure)


(Heavy.) (Tommy)



 The fastest fists that pierce Kure’s body are heavy and fast as if he was throwing iron balls. It’s powerful enough to make him wonder if Tommy is using [Iron Fist]. Even Metro Beasts tougher than humans may be knocked out with that alone.



 The physical ability of Level 63, the high level of skill in adding his own weight on each shot, and the sophisticated repetitive movements that enable him to strike in an unimaginable barrage of blows.



(This…) (Kure)


(…is this person’s ten-year growth?) (Kure)



 The fists raining down like rain, smashing Kure’s body little by little. He feels a heavy weight accumulate in the core of his body, though it is not on a vital spot. Behind him, Koichi is yelling something, but he can hardly hear it due to the whooshing of the fists.



“Izuho! This is the end!” (Tommy)



 “Smack!”, and Tommy’s fist is repelled with a hit. Kure’s parrying, swiping with the palm of his hand.



(Fast and heavy…) (Kure)


(I’ve seen that trajectory.) (Kure)



 With a click of his tongue, Tommy fires a follow-up right jab–but it, too, slips past Kure’s face.


 Kure slipped down and grabbed Tommy’s ankle and twisted it up with an upward momentum.



“Kuu!” (Tommy)



 But just in time, Tommy twists and shakes him off with a spinning kick.



“On second thought, I won’t use that old man’s tricks!” (Kure)



 The rain of quick fists resumes immediately. Kure tried to keep his guard up, but he was hit from above, and as he backed away, his back hit the wire fence.



“Mr. Kure!” (Koichi)


“Here, I’ll return the favor.” (Tommy)



 Koichi and Tommy’s voices overlap. Tommy’s kick with all his weight hit Kure in the side of the head.



(Kure-style Life or Death Technique, [Dragon Whirl].) (Kure)



 —The next moment, Tommy was the one who was blown away spinning.



 Just before the opponent’s kick hit him, Kure slipped through past the skin-deep impact, grabbed the kicking leg, and threw Tommy into the air with a spinning throw. Although he could have predicted the kick, it was literally a hair’s breadth away, and had he been hit a few millimeters deeper, the match would have been decided.



 Tommy was knocked onto his back, but he still absorbed the hit and quickly got to his feet. Kure approaches him in a low tackle position.



 A counterattack knee thrusts up from below. A swinging right hand is deflected to the side and dodged. He can’t evade in time and takes it with his left arm. The bone in his forearm creaks.



 Once again, a punching distance is reached, and at the same time, a quick jab attacks Kure. Hardening his guard and handling it carefully to brush it off from the side. Kurem aiming for a tiny space between blinks, his outstretched fingertip caught Tommy’s collarbone.



([Rake Drop].) (Kure)



 The [Rake Drop] is a technique that involves grabbing Tommy’s collarbone, pulling his head back, and then choking him at the side or holding him around the waist for a throw.



“——!” (Tommy)



 Tommy’s head, which was about to be greeted with a chock, sinks just before that. His body rotates forward, and his heels fall above Kure’s head.



 Kure guarded himself by moving his left arm just in time, but his left arm screamed from the weight of what felt like a blow from the [Warhammer]. From the pain, it seems that the bone has cracked.



(This man–) (Kure)


(I knew it–) (Kure)



 Tommy stood up immediately and waved his left fist in a curve. The knuckles of his fist carve Kure’s skin and smashed his flesh. Finally, his upper body is drenched in blood.



 One of the hits grazes the tip of his chin, and Kure’s body shakes unsteadily–he dared.



 A big swing from the right roared. Kure snatches it away with his hand and takes the wrist at full extension. Tommy’s elbow remains vertical and swings at the back of the head.



 From this back-to-back position, Kure swings down with his arm and pulls the back of his opponent’s head down to his feet in a [Four-way Throw]—



“–I know that!” (Tommy)



 Tommy squeezes his body tightly and shakes off the grabbed arm.



(Damn.) (Kure)



 He couldn’t backstep in time. Tommy’s left elbow, which was brought out from a close contact, pierced into Kure’s side.



“Guu–” (Kure)



 Kure jumps back with momentum and falls on his buttocks, then falls backwards to one knee. He realizes with a sharp pain that his bottom ribs are broken.


 Tommy, on the other hand, does not immediately come after him. He is probably trying to avoid taking the fight to the ground.



 The two men stand still for a moment, and when the dizzying attack is interrupted, the cheers swell as if the audience had just remembered themselves. Through Tommy’s eyes, Kure could see the audience on the other side of the room excitedly flailing their arms in the air. “Kill them!” “Die!” Kure believes that such cheers are only allowed in the Underground Tournament.



“You’ve gotten stronger, Izuho. I am happy for you.” (Tommy)


“Uncle is twice as strong as he was back then.” (Kure)



 There is no trace of those days when he was treated coldly by his grandfather, when he was his frustrated self. The shackles have been lifted, his talent has blossomed, and he has sharpened his skills. He is truly worthy of being a ring champion.



 But–that’s not all.



“But–I’m only going to fight with my father’s skills.” (Kure)



(I knew it.) (Kure)


(This man knows.) (Kure)


(He knows my father’s techniques.) (Kure)



 The grappling technique is a relic technique that is rarely used in Senju these days. Furthermore, [Dragon Whirl] and [Rake Drop] were close to the original Kure-style Life Or Death Technique. Even though he was his uncle, there was no way he would be able to handle them so well on the first try if he did not know them beforehand.



 It was five years after his father’s death that Kure learned Kure-style Life or Death Technique from Hijiki. It was after his grandfather died in the presence of this uncle.



 Kure found his father’s voluminous will and testaments in the storage room of his parents’ house; they were his secret book of techniques and principles that he had developed. His son, Izuho, who had read the book in one night and memorized it all in one reading, hid the book (along with his own treasured books) in a place where no one would find it, and left Senju to master the techniques.



 There is no way Tommy could have found that book after that. In all honesty, Kure doesn’t think his uncle could have read and understood such a long book.


 If so, it means that he had direct contact with his father and saw his techniques before that.



(I didn’t know that.) (Kure)


(That they had a connection.) (Kure)



 His uncle is furrowing his brow in a sloppy manner as he rewraps the bandage on his knuckles tighter.



“…your right arm, the one that was cut off the other day.” (Tommy)



 He seems to have noticed. Kure doesn’t change his expression, but inwardly realizes that the odds of winning this bout have changed.



“Izuho, you—your grip of your right hand, it is dead, isn’t it?” (Tommy)



(……yeah.) (Kure)



 Now it’s settled.


 Unable to hold back, Kure’s lips loosen.



(—I am going to win.) (Kure)



A/N: I’m really sorry for the cliff-hanger baits every time.

This time it’s settled (I won’t assure you it’s over).



I want to write about squirrels.



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