Naruto: Tales of a Ninja Magician - Chapter 1023 - CptClaymore (2024)

Chapter Text

Ryoku Genshi's fiendish samurai mask let out a whiff of steam from its mouth, like a demon digesting hellfire and exuding sulfur. The six-armed puppet goliath took off with a wild slam of its upper right limb that had a spiky mace end equipped to it. Yoibetsu-N flickered off to the side. The smash of the metallic ball equipped with kunai tips caused a concussive pulse, making the whole arena quake and tilting the bystanders' seats.

The six-armed puppet tilted its mace arms up and thrust its middle arms out, letting armored compartments around its thick wrists open up and reveal dispenser barrels. However, instead of a flurry of kunai, the tips of the barrels ignited with a subtle lighter flame while the barrels blew a burst of gas, which ignited in contact with the flickering lighter and sent scorch beams outward. Only then came the kunai, riding the intense stream of flames and turning red hot from the rampant flamethrowers.

Yoibetsu-N engaged in evasive action, vaulting over the flamethrowers, but the Kumogakure ninja caught a bunch of stray, hot kunai in random spots all across his body, purely because of how widespread the kunai blizzard was. The sudden jolt of pain made the nimble ninja collapse on one knee and wince in pain while Ryoku Genshi leaned forward and blasted off with a chakra jet booster on his reinforced leg parts.

While Yoibetsu-N expected a painful blow, Genshi exceeded even those expectations by splitting his kunai morning star upper arms and then slamming them together, merging them into one big limb that then traveled across the body in lightning-shaped ridges before it relocated to the center position. After extending horizontally, the merged, gigantic mace arm spun around with the closest equivalent to a double ax handle slam that the armored behemoth could pull off.

A red-hot kunai pierced the atmosphere and shot off into space like a reverse comet. Despite expecting a deafening thud, Genshi stopped, stunned, as he only heard a meek clank. At that point, it hadn't occurred to the Fusion Ball player that his opponent had substituted with one of the countless thousands of kunai that Genshi had cluttered the arena with after a burst of kunai dispenser flamethrower gatling fire. While Genshi was shifting his morning star upper limbs back into their place overhead, Yoibetsu-N whizzed in out of nowhere.

"Rolling Leg Drop!" Yoibetsu-N chanted while rolling through the air at breakneck speed like a human cannonball. Because of the cluttersome configurations that were necessary before Genshi could move and fight at peak efficiency, the armored puppetry goliath was stuck in place and had few options but to take the lick and expect his armor to hold.

It was no surprise to anyone that Genshi's outer puppet armor more than held its own against the rushing leg drop, even though Genshi's upper morning star arm shrieked with a sad sound of denting metal put to a grisly stress test. In fact, Yoibetsu-N's pro-wrestling move was so ineffective that, after splitting its mace-like limbs, the armored puppet turned around and had a free shot at the suspended-in-the-air Kumogakure ninja.

The audience gasped in fright when Genshi slammed both its upper limbs together. While Yoibetsu-N spread his arms to the sides to catch the incoming elements of the world's most devastating slam, his hands splattered blood on contact with the sticking out points of kunai that stuck out from the round steel hammers. Yoibetsu-N winced in pain, but he'd prevented being mashed by two sides of the spiky side of an oversized meat tenderizer.

With a sweaty and pain-ridden expression, Yoibetsu-N swung his feet out and slammed his soles against Genshi's helmet, kicking off of it and back-flipping out of the beastly armor's range while the Kumogakure ninja collapsed to his knees to try and shake off the calamitous damage he'd suffered in the early stages of the match.

"Wow! Becoming the final pro-athlete in the competition has turned Ryoku Genshi into a sponsor-favorite as well! The Fusion Ball ace is rocking superior gear than the one he started the Succession Tournament with!" Rajul proclaimed, pointing out the obvious escalation of the heavy-duty arsenal that Ryoku Genshi rocked compared to his measly equipment in the last round.

"I agree, Genshi's current gear is nigh unstoppable in battle, but… He still hasn't learned the lesson from the first match…" Damisan nodded to himself with a sullied look on his face. The puppeteer of the Stars was looking at his protégé, almost as if Genshi had spat in the face of Damisan's mother.

"He's still abusing the same couple of parts, instead of spreading the workload across all of his vast arsenal, isn't he?" Shige-H sighed in second-hand disappointment. "He's bound to wear them out and break them that way."

"Who cares?" Endo scoffed. "His new sponsor buddies will just buy him new toys to play with and he's got his own personal mechanic to make his shiny toys work."

"I bet you feel like a sucker, don't you, Mana? Spending your chakra on this guy when he's got friends flushed with cash, supplying him with more weapons than he's got ideas about how to use them," Asuka teased Mana, who stared at the show with moderate disgruntlement.

"I'm not going to lie, I am cheering for Yoibetsu-N-san," Mana mumbled, somewhat embarrassed to admit it.

"Wait, what?" Damisan turned to Mana. "Genshi is our friend, you helped him bolster his defenses with your own chakra!"

"True, but I can't help but cheer for the person fighting with his own strength and putting the human body to the test against some stacked pile of weapons. I can't see Genshi's headstrong spirit of the underdog from behind that haunting metal mask and shoulder guard stacked with stocked ninja scrolls…" Mana admitted hesitantly.

"Well, there's no chance for Yoibetsu-N to win," Damisan vehemently disagreed with Mana's take. "In his current state, Genshi is nigh unstoppable as a war machine. An immovable, heavyweight juggernaut with flawless offensive and defensive military power. It's Genshi's performance long-term I'm worried about. He's got three rounds of fights ahead of him if things go well. I won't be able to repair his armor modules that are completely broken, meaning that the parts he loses–he loses for good unless his new sponsor friends cover for him."

"Who knows how well that'll work?" Asuka wondered. "Who knows how many toys they brought along? There's a chance they already handed everything they had and meant to dole out to their other favorites to Genshi. They won't have the time to receive massive shipments of new gear from all across the globe here in the deepest heart of the desert."

"Lightning Armor: Level One!" Yoibetsu-N clenched his right fist by his chest and swiped his hand to the side, erupting with yellow sparkles while making his hair stand up and bulking up underneath the yellow robe and the standard Kumogakure flak jacket.

Like a light-ray arrow, Yoibetsu-N clutched and put his dukes up, becoming a shooting star with a lightning bolt for a tail while shooting straight for Genshi. The cumbersome titan of excessive arsenal extended its twin gatling kunai dispensers on the middle pair of arms and unleashed a hail of blades, trying to catch his opponent and skewer him some more, in addition to the few painful obstacles Genshi had stuck in him.

The limited success of his earlier barrage had done its work, slowing Yoibetsu-N down compared to the unmanageable speed he'd have reached normally, but Genshi still struggled to dance to the pace set by his nimble opponent. With a baseball slide, Yoibetsu-N crashed into the right leg of the giant puppet armor, buckling it over its weight on one knee.

Yoibetsu-N stopped straight in front of the humbled titan of steel, flinging kunai of his own in every direction. Mana's eye squinted with focus as she recognized the reflected glints of sunlight seemingly stuck in the air–steel wire. After creating a confusing weave of steel wire behind him, Yoibetsu-N pushed his hand against its center.

"Lightning Style: Lightning Web!" he chanted out, sending a surge of Lightning Release chakra across the steel wire that lit it up, matching yellow to the electric glow of the electrified surge of the Lightning Armor Yoibetsu-N was encased in. Leaning forward, Yoibetsu-N took off, rushing toward his opponent. Led by pure vanity, Genshi tried slamming his hammer arms and crushing his opponent, but he missed Yoibetsu-N by a mile.

Just when it seemed like Yoibetsu-N had a clear opening to strike, the Kumogakure ninja repeated the Lightning Web trick on the other side of the arena. Genshi aimed at Yoibetsu-N with his upper arms, shooting the tenderized arms attached to a chain with a ranged attack, only for Yoibetsu-N to vanish without a trace and appear before the first Lightning Web.

"Rebound Dropkick!" Yoibetsu-N raised his index finger and aimed it at the sky before vaulting back and bouncing off the Lightning Web, launching himself with a reckless and head-first bullet-like charge forward. Genshi hunkered down and lowered his head, ready to test the sturdiness of his puppet's design against Yoibetsu-N's attack, but Yoibetsu-N didn't attack Genshi at first. Instead, the Kumogakure ninja shot and rebounded off the second Lightning Web, then the first, then the second again, accumulating speed and momentum ad infinitum and baffling Genshi with the impossible task of keeping up.

Yoibetsu-N turned into a sewing stitch, stretched across the arena. A solid beam of light that was more a ray of sunshine than a lightning bolt. At some point, the Kumogakure ninja must have accumulated enough speed to be forced to attack, lest any successive rebounds would begin wasting his momentum instead. That was when all time appeared to freeze and the static image of electrified Yoibetsu-N with his knees tucked in, ready to stomp with both his feet against Genshi's steel mask manifested before the stunned athlete.

"The mask!" Damisan exclaimed. "That asshole! He's targeting the mask!"

Before Damisan could explain why the mask was so sensitive, Genshi surprised the crowd himself by resorting to something incredible. Just when it seemed like a mother of all dropkicks would shatter his fiendish samurai mask to pieces, a howling sphere of Wind Release chakra surrounded the cumbersome piece of armor, absorbing Yoibetsu-N's dropkick and deflecting the Kumogakure ninja into a slide across the arena floor that left a black smear across the cracked tiles, as if a scornful thunderbolt ravaged them.

"He used out one Magic Bubble stock…" Mana gasped. "That mask must have meant a lot to him."

"It damn well should!" Damisan gnashed his teeth. "That mask's equipped with the best radar technology and sensor systems available, relying on the Kumogakure's own incorporation of computers into tracking and radar systems. If it breaks, Genshi might as well be blind, deaf, and helpless."

"Interesting, this Yoibetsu-N is no knucklehead," Endo noted. In the first match, it became painfully apparent that Yoibetsu-N was careful with how he used his Lightning Armor and when. Seeing him ramp it up and accompany it with Lightning Release ninjutsu targeting Genshi's mask showed just how important breaking it was for the Kumogakure ninja.

With Yoibetsu-N having been tossed aside by the Wind Release ninjutsu that neutralized his Lightning Armor for a blink and absorbed all the pent-up Lightning Release charge in his dropkick, Genshi now had an opening to attack his opponent with all his strength. The armored goliath did just that, raising his upper arms equipped with morning-star-style maces and aiming them at Yoibetsu-N, who still reeled and panted after suffering a great deal of blowback from his hefty dropkick attack.

Genshi's morning star arms released a booming thud of vertical, compressed air shockwaves, propelling his steel spheres with kunai edges sticking out from them toward Yoibetsu-N. The Kumogakure ninja braced for impact and covered up. Lightning Armor surged to peak efficiency to dampen the incoming damage as best it could. Despite that, Genshi's morning star projectiles exploded with devastating fireballs that hurled kunai shrapnel in all directions.

"That idiot!" Damisan exclaimed, lamenting the fact that the flashing light of the firestorm didn't blind him and that he truly saw what he saw. "He blew up his weapon! He should have pressed advantage with what he has!"

Mana's eyes raced across the spectator stands. Unwillingly she perked up and hesitated to rush out and try to erect some kind of protective ninjutsu to protect whomever she could from the senseless hail of shrapnel coming the audience's way. Before she could do any of that, however, men and women clad in hooded robes and veiled like the white-robed healers, jumped up on the protective walls separating the spectator stands from the artificial lake and the fighting stage, and raised their arms, forming barrier ninjutsu that deflected the incoming hail of blades and protected the audience.

"That's an incredibly destructive attack, though I suppose exploiting the opening was the intention," Mana noted after settling back in her seat and wondering if any of her squad mates saw her get startled.

"That he would win this fight was never in question," Damisan grabbed his head and shook it in disappointment, glancing at the arena occasionally through his fingers. "His task here is to preserve as many of these weapons as he can for the following matches. All those fancy military secrets will mean nothing if he wastes them all before the most important match."

"Though any match might end up being his last if he doesn't strike when an opportunity presents itself," Endo argued.

"Even if he wouldn't have been as overwhelming with his offense, Genshi should've attacked close range, battering his opponent while switching between the weapons in use. What's the point of coming up with a game plan if he won't use it?" Damisan lamented in disappointment.

"You did it all the time too though," Mana cupped her cheeks in her hands while glancing at Damisan. "You detonated your own limbs back when you still used prosthetic ones and puppeteered your own body."

"That's because my parts were expendable and easily replaceable," Damisan replied before crossing his arms.

When the smoke cleared out, Yoibetsu-N laid sprawled out at the edge of the arena. His standard, one-strap white flak jacket had been blown off his body. The explosion ripped and incinerated the yellow robe worn underneath too, leaving just fit muscles and damaged, dirty bandage straps from the battle royale and the previous match. Despite the visible tremendous damage suffered by Genshi's opponent, the lightning still crackled around him. That meant that Yoibetsu-N still had enough consciousness rustling to sustain his Lightning Armor. As close to the edge as Yoibetsu-N was–the match still wasn't over.

"Whoa!" Rajul exclaimed. "That was a gamble, and now pro athlete Ryoku Genshi has fired and blown up the knuckles of his upper arms! Can he keep up this dominant performance with two fewer mechanical limbs, I wonder?"

"That weapon…" Yoibetsu-N spoke up before peeling his back off the ground with visible pain and wear on his expression. "It's the Exploding Sphere used by Konoha ninja."

"I couldn't tell you, even if I knew," Genshi admitted. "It kind of came along with the sponsor package. I wasn't going to look in the mouth of a gifted horse."

"I see…" Yoibetsu-N stood up, still clutching his wounded shoulder. "With you being a civilian and all, you probably wouldn't know if your sponsors gave you any Kumogakure secret weapons too?"

"You're right, I wouldn't know for certain, though they probably did. I am aware Kumogakure is the strongest military force in the world," Genshi examined his still very fresh and dangerous amalgam puppetry suit, equipped with countless weapons from all around the world and used by different breeds of warriors.

"If I defeat you, could you tell me who your sponsors are, at the very least?" Yoibetsu-N inquired with an honest look on his face. "The military secrets of my village, nor those of any other village, should not be for sale. These benefactors of yours and their representatives must face justice for peddling them."

"Sorry, that's not the kind of relationship we have. They just kind of unloaded their gifts on my doorstep, expecting me to win this tournament for our mutual benefit. We're not really allies, I'm more of an agent of theirs," Genshi replied.

"I see. I'll need to report this to my village either way. I wonder what the Allied Ninja have to say about you abusing the military secrets of their homelands and exposing them to danger? While I cannot vouch for all of them, I know of at least one of that group who still cares a great deal about the state and security of her home village," Yoibetsu-N said, allowing himself the luxury to let his glance wander off to the spectator stands and brush against Shige-H.

"These weapons are much better off in the hands of my sponsors and athletes like me!" mechanical fists slipped out from the holes where the exploding spheres popped off, forming a new type of weapon to take the place of the mace-like hammers. "In my hands, they fight for the establishment of the World Sports Games! An event that will unite the world to admire the athletic prowess of the world's athletes and the spirit of fair play. In the hands of a ninja village, these weapons can only bring about loss and conquest."

"Now do you still overlook Genshi?" Damisan turned to Mana.

"He is growing on me. Though I wish he wasn't parading around in a giant suit of armor…" Mana sighed with her arms crossed, rolling her eyes, even though the tips of her lips turned upward a bit.

"I know that you're no ninja, so it's understandable that you would fall for the elementary delusions that many inexperienced ninja fall into. Plenty of fools declare they do something as ridiculous as fight for peace. However, in truth, there can be no such thing. People who claim that much merely delude themselves about why they fight, ultimately making them much more dangerous because their true goals cannot be explained using reason," Yoibetsu-N replied before extinguishing his Lightning Armor aura.

"I know all too well what I am fighting for!" Genshi aimed his middle left and right arms at Yoibetsu-N, who seemingly depowered himself and resigned to his defeat. "Even though violence isn't in my nature, and I don't much care for it, I accept the role of a warrior if it will bring about acknowledgment of athletes around the world and help them be treated with the respect and adoration they deserve!"

Genshi's upper arms grabbed hold of the handles of his middle arms, unleashing fiery jets from their barrels while they spun and created drilling waves of howling flames. Yoibetsu-N's body flexed up in an instant, despite the kunai and shrapnel still sticking out where Genshi had stuck them earlier, the persistent Kumogakure ninja bolted to the side, outracing the obliterating flamethrower wave. Just when it seemed like the wave would engulf and devour the Kumogakure ninja, Yoibetsu-N skidded behind an invisible barrier and pressed his hand against it.

"It's the Lightning Web!" Mana gasped.

The web of steel wire ignited with Lightning Release chakra, creating a sort of barrier for Yoibetsu-N to clutch behind for safety. With his teeth gnashed and greatly struggling against the force of drilling jets of flames, Yoibetsu-N used the webs as shields, with two neutral chakra natures competing against one another for a while before the flames died out and the Lightning Webs ran out of juice while the scorched weave of steel wire burnt down to charred crisps and sprinkled in the wind.

Against all odds, Yoibetsu-N was still in the match, avoiding ring out.

Naruto: Tales of a Ninja Magician - Chapter 1023 - CptClaymore (2024)
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