Chapter 54

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The five-minute bonus time had ended, and in the end, I wasn’t able to get through Kohaku’s defenses and ran out of SP.

「Regen is cheating…..its cheating….」

「A-ha-ha-ha! Ah, sorry sorry, I also forgot about that.」

I, who was collapsed on the ground due to my emptied SP bar, glared bitterly at Kohaku.
Unlike me, Kohaku was laughing as she spoke.

No, really, Kohaku was cheating, okay? She hid the fact that she had a passive skill with a regen effect, you know? When I damaged her HP, it regenerated, so I couldn’t even depend on my heightened, but still lacking, firepower.

As I complained to her like a kid, Kohaku was in a really good mood.

Just what was so fun about that? She was in such a good mood that I didn’t think I had even once seen her look this happy.

Although, it had only been two days since I became acquainted with Kohaku.
That sure was short.

「Uhee….It finally recovered.
I can’t really get used to the feeling of running out of SP…..」

「Well, it certainly is not something that would feel good.
When I was young, I was the same, you know?」

「So it’s a problem with no end, is it….」

As you levelled up, your SP increased, but the stronger you became the more arts you would be able to use, and in the end your SP would still be easily used up.

That was why you had to master the basic arts.

Just like the art 《Strike》from the skill 《Blunt Weapon》.
Although it was simply a stronger attack, it had really low SP consumption.

Although in my case, I felt like I was also moving around too much.
Even though you could say that my SP had doubled, it was not like it was infinite, so I wanted to think up a new, more efficient way of attacking.

「Okay then, next is my turn.
Sukuna, stand right here.」

「Yeah, I understand.」

As Kohaku said that, she took several tens of meters in distance.

「I’ll come straight at you and punch, so properly evade it okay!」

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Imitating Kohaku’s loud call from afar, I also replied loudly.

It was not on the level of just being a telephone punch.
Or maybe this was supposed to be the true form of a telephone punch?

As she properly conveyed what she was going to do, bringing her fist up past her ear, I slowly readied my stance.

「U, ooh.」

Kohaku was not seriously going for it, and she wasn’t thinking of defeating me at all.

But still, the moment Kohaku shifted into position, a chill ran through my spine as if freezing it.

Focus, focus, just focus.

Right now, my opponent was not Kohaku, the carefree kijin.

My current opponent was a person that had an anti-castle power classification.
She was a monster who owned the strongest offensive power in the world, after all.


I didn’t lower my guard.
And I was even focusing with everything I had.

But still, before I knew it, Kohaku had shown up right before me, so quickly that I couldn’t even react a bit.

The distance between me and Kohaku was dozens of meters.

Even during the battle with Aria, if there was this much distance then I could have at least predicted its movements.

In just an instant.
Barely seeing her do her preparations, most of it was pure instinct.
In the blink of an eye, the attack from Kohaku had already slipped through my guard and closed in on my chest.
With all my power, I jumped aside to evade it.

The sound and the impact that were delayed came.
Because I jumped from an unreasonable position, I couldn’t bear the shockwave that blasted out from around Kohaku and got blown all the way to the edge of the arena.

I was able to fix my posture in the air, and seeing Kohaku, who had already entered her stance for the next attack, I kicked off the wall of the arena to avoid her once again.

As I was able to avoid her attack, Kohaku’s fist hit the wall of the arena.
The barrier-like thing that was covering the arena had a crack that looked like it came from a nuclear explosion.

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The second attack hadn’t been as fast as the first attack and I was even able to track it–it was a normal punch.
Even so, just a normal punch from her was strong enough that the arena’s defensive barrier was about to break.

「Well done evading it.」

Kohaku lowered her fist, the one that nearly broke the barrier, unable to hide her astonishment as she said so.

Although it was mostly just a coincidence, I was at least able to avoid being killed mercilessly.

If I had received that attack, it wouldn’t have been weird if I just instantly burst into polygons.

While feeling as if I was playing an impossible game level after just two attacks, my heart felt like it was going to give in, but still I moved my eyes around to look for a way to get through it.
It was then that I noticed something weird.

Although it was slowly recovering, for some reason, Kohaku’s HP had been reduced to half.

It was not like I had damaged her.
Rather, I had no methods to reduce her HP that much, after all.
The only thing I could think of was that it was self-induced damage.

The question was, what had caused it?

As we were both members of the same race, kijin, and as Kohaku had gone for a pure strength build, I could roughly guess what Kohaku’s stats were.

Since a race’s stats always had the same growth rate, after all.

When attacking her earlier, I guessed that she was over level 200, but even if I rounded it up to level 300, Kohaku’s unbuffed agility shouldn’t be far from my agility when I used all my buffs.

However, that meant the speed of Kohaku’s first attack was totally out of place.

Its speed was fast enough that if you told me she had warped, I would have agreed.

But at the very least, I wouldn’t be able to reach those speeds even with all my buffs.
In that case, one conclusion I came to was that it had been a skill, some sort of technique that I didn’t know about.

Considering the initial shock, the explosion, and the shockwave from the attack, Kohaku hadn’t warped at that time.
It had really just been her closing in at super high speeds and punching at me.

It had to have been like in reality, where if you moved faster than sound, a shockwave occured.
Wasn’t it something like that?

With that in mind, using up more than half of your HP and closing the distance between you and your opponent absurdly fast, was that a skill, or maybe an art?

Certainly, it might be a useful skill for Kohaku to have since she had the power to one-hit her opponents, but was there even a skill that you needed to pay such an enormous amount of HP just to close a distance of dozens of meters?

The only other thing that I could come up with was that she just had an agility buff skill.

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If it was Kohaku, who certainly had way more skills than I, it was totally possible.

As she had a regen type of skill that was always active, that meant that there were skills that directly reinforced status.

Since NPCs couldn’t freely change skills, then you could also say that this meant that Kohaku’s agility was naturally this high in the first place.

Things like these, I couldn’t understand them as I was now.

It was just that, even if it was like that, there was one more point I was wondering about.

That was why there was a huge crater on the ground where Kohaku had initially stood.
It looked as if a bomb had gone off there.

Properly looking at it, there was also a smaller crater where I had been standing.

Hmm, maybe it was because Kohaku pressed her foot so heavily into the ground that it caved in?

That crazy thought, I thought that it might not have been completely wrong.

After thinking about various things, I stumbled upon the conclusion that the self-inflicted damage was from recoil.

It was also the answer to Kohaku’s high-speed movement from earlier.
It seemed「she attacked the ground and used the recoil to move.」

Before, when I researched 《Ten Point Cherry Blossom (Toezakura)》, I learned that the recoil damage was pitted against Toughness, or rather, the recoil damage changed depending on your physical defense power.

If your combined strength, weapon attack power, and magnifications from arts, and your attack power went over your defense power, then a recoil effect would occur, at least in theory.

Kohaku had all her bonus points in strength.
It was natural, but her stats were set up to have an overwhelming amount of attack power.

No matter what you said about how high the physical abilities of the kijin were, in Kohaku’s case, between her strength and Toughness, there was just too big of a gap.

Of course, if it was just a normal attack then recoil wouldn’t happen, but…..if you thought about the method she used to move, then she would have inevitably taken some recoil damage.

But this was all just a guess.
However, if this hypothesis was correct, then there would be one thing that would become an important point.

Certainly, that attack had been so fast that I couldn’t even react, but on the other hand, as long as Kohaku had her HP reduced by a certain amount, she shouldn’t be able to use that move.

If Kohaku’s second attack had been her normal attack, then the damage she had taken should have been enough to show that I was correct.

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In a way, this was a big chance, wasn’t it?


「Fufufu, your look has changed.」

This time, I was going to pay her back.
Seeing me getting fired up, Kohaku happily said that.

「Then I guess I’ll do it like this.」

Continuing on while wearing a bit of teasing grin, she tapped her feet on the ground and ran.

It was terribly fast, but even so, if it was me right now then I could deal with that speed.

Remembering my fight with Aria, what I would be carefully aiming for was a counterattack.

As both of our fists were about to reach each other, evading Kohaku’s fist and about to put all my strength into my blow, I noticed it.

Kohaku’s fist wasn’t aiming for me.

The moment a grin appeared on Kohaku’s face, I understood my mistake.

At that moment, “ZUDDDDOOOOON!!” that sound resounded the same time Kohaku’s foot trampled the ground.

An unbelievable shock travelled through the ground of the arena as it shook.
It was shaking as if a huge earthquake happened, and so strongly that the surrounding barrier had completely crumbled away.
Moreover, being closest to the epicenter, it became difficult for me to even stand properly.

And as the ground shook, just one person, Kohaku, was able to move freely.

While I was faltering from the vibration, suu….with a quiet movement as she pulled back her fist, showing that an art was being used, a blue light started shining from it.

Ah, I was done for.

「It’s alright.
I’m pulling my punches.」

「You’re absolutely lyin-…..gOOeeeee!!????」

Kohaku, who was smiling as she said that, didn’t even wait for me to finish my words as she put all her weight behind her palm and drove it into my stomach.

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