Rowen was unaware that a monstrous opponent was about to arrive. His Kenbunshoku Haki (Observation Haki) had a vast coverage area, but the aftermath of the attacks covered an even larger area!
Moreover, with Zero leading CP0 in response to Lirisk’s defiant challenge, security measures were already in place.
Submarines hidden beneath the sea and Aircraft Forces concealed high in the sky were enough to launch a war capable of wiping out an entire country… the firepower was so formidable it could raze a large-scale nation like Alabasta!
Anyone foolish enough to cause trouble now would surely meet a grim fate. Though, after the previous conspicuous altercation, it was unlikely that anyone would be so foolish… probably.
The high temperature of the lightning roasted pebbles into glowing orange orbs. When the seawater surged and struck the stones, a rapid hissing sound filled the air as the water swiftly vaporized.
This island, renowned for its resilience, would have to be struck from the list of inhabited places after today. Not only was it split into two parts, but it also left behind a crater in its center that was thirty centimeters below sea level!
The surging seawater flowed in, smashing into the crimson-hot pebbles, creating a scene of billowing steam and scorching heat.
The seawater collected in the crater formed a lake, surrounded by a cascading waterfall-like scene. Rowen stood at the dry edge of the crater, releasing his Kenbunshoku Haki (Observation Haki) and an expression of astonishment appeared on his face.
“Are Zoan Awakening users this terrifying after skin molting?”
“You’re not dead?!”
As if in response to Rowen’s words, the broken stones nearby trembled, and a wet, scaled claw emerged from below.
Lirisk sat up from among the rubble, gasping heavily, his face displaying undisguised fear and bewilderment.
He looked up at Rowen, laboring to steady his breathing, then got to his feet.
A layer of what used to be a “skin-tight suit,” now melted and fused to the orange pebbles, peeled away from his body as he moved.
The tattered remains of the “skin-tight suit” finally fell to the ground. Its appearance was eerily similar to the astonishingly shocking appearance of Lirisk himself! It resembled a human skin coat!
Lirisk rose to his feet, his fists swinging to dislodge the remnants of the substance from his body. He regained his posture, facing Rowen head-on.
“So, it’s the lizard’s skin molting.”
Rowen raised an eyebrow and he felt as if he had grasped something.
Awakening abilities of Zoan users, which already had strong restoration powers, had the additional monstrous power to heal injuries through skin molting. It now made sense that neither Meteor Shower nor Qilin could kill him.
However, what left Rowen somewhat frustrated was that “Meteor Shower · Gungnir” was one of his ultimate moves. Yet, Doflamingo had managed to block it with his special strings, and Lirisk had used skin molting to withstand it.
Was he cursed by something? Or was it only against the Celestial Dragons’ Undying effect?
In the distance, Zero watched Lirisk with joy, feeling both relief and astonishment.
He knew that the Green Iguana Devil Fruit possessed the ability of skin molting. Almost all Lizard-Lizard Fruits had this capability. But this was merely a means of compensation, enhancing their resilience with the added recovery capacity of Awakening.
Yet today, Lirisk had shattered his understanding. Judging by the condition of that tattered “skin-tight suit,” it was evident that both the Meteor Shower and Qilin had dealt him fatal injuries!
To counterbalance injuries of such severity through skin molting, this was an unprecedented, unparalleled talent!
‘Perhaps… he could win!’ Zero excitedly thought.
He had to retract his previous evaluation; he had contradicted himself.
Because time and time again, Lirisk had broken his expectations. Now possessing a speed comparable to Blink’s explosive velocity, he could completely keep up with Rowen’s attack rhythm.
As long as he slowed down and found a way to restrain Rowen’s Over-The-Horizon strike, relying on his martial skills would undoubtedly lead to victory!
The seawater continued to pour in, rising up to their knees.
However, at their level of strength, such coverage of seawater merely caused a slight discomfort. It didn’t render them powerless. Lirisk looked solemnly at Rowen, and with a touch of emotion, he said, “You’re indeed very strong!”
Whether it was “Gungnir” or “Qilin,” the destructive power that could annihilate everything exceeded his understanding of the word devastation!
“You’re no less…”
Rowen chuckled lightly, took a step back, and assumed a fighting stance.
The two of them vanished on the spot, leaving behind nothing but the white mist that emerged from the splashing seawater, bearing witness to the events that transpired.
In the air, the sound of muffled thunder reverberated, whipping up fierce winds that pushed the seawater away.
Unlike their previous encounter in the water, both opponents now shared the constraint of the sea, granting each other openings. Yet, their respective strengths negated the gap as they engaged in a fierce battle.
A fist covered in ink-green scale armor shot towards Rowen’s right side from an unexpected angle. There was no hint of sound as it approached. By the time Rowen detected it through his Kenbunshoku Haki (Observation Haki), it was already dangerously close.
“Another one of these peculiar fists!”
Fortunately, Thunder-Lightning Human’s speed was exceptional. Confronting an attack that was nearly at zero distance, Rowen ruthlessly slammed his elbow downward, thwarting the attack.
Soon after, another fist struck him on the bridge of his nose, eliciting a muffled sound.
Rowen spat out a puddle of clotted blood. In an instant, like a cannonball, he was sent flying, leaving an exaggerated trail through the water that lingered without healing.
Just as Lirisk was about to press his advantage, a sudden unease seized him. He swiftly used his limbs to execute Soru!
From a distance, an array of lightning spheres rushed at him, evaporating the spot where he had stood moments before.
Rowen suddenly appeared behind Lirisk, traces of blood still evident on his nose. However, the wound had mysteriously vanished. Clenching his fist, he unleashed a violent explosion of electrical energy, sending a fierce hammer blow toward his opponent.
In this critical moment, Lirisk neither advanced nor retreated. Engaging Geppo, which left no visible traces, he erupted with tremendous energy. His hardened occiput brutally collided with Rowen’s attack.
Rowen’s punch brushed against Lirisk’s shoulder and sailed past. Although it exposed a burn scar the size of a bowl, Lirisk suffered no significant harm. On the contrary, Rowen was struck by Lirisk’s headbutt, causing him to arch backward. Lirisk then grabbed Rowen’s extended arm, spun on the spot like a top, and ruthlessly smashed him down.
Thunk… Bang Rumble!!
Once he was sure he had sent Rowen flying, Lirisk was about to catch his breath when a sense of danger loomed behind him.
The transformed electromagnetic sharp blade of Rowen’s lightning-clad clone arm outlined like a blue crayon, as he thrust it forward at high speed!
Lirisk pivoted and tore the lightning clone apart with a swipe of his claw. Emitting a cold snort, he suddenly doubled over from intense pain in his abdomen. A puddle of blood mixed with viscera spilled from his mouth. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the world spiraling rapidly as he was catapulted high into the sky.
“Don’t get too complacent!”
Rowen grinned wickedly as he inserted one hand into Lirisk’s abdomen. His robust muscles contracted incessantly, preventing Rowen’s progress. However, Rowen had a contingency plan, a true trump card!
His other hand, empty and suspended, gradually formed a dense black electric sphere that twirled like a deep cosmic vortex. The ferocious power awaited only a trigger to unleash its might.
Raigo – Thunder Greeting Rasengan!
Suddenly, Lirisk gripped the arm that Rowen had plunged into his abdomen and pulled ruthlessly.
Bloody flesh scattered, forcibly extracting the arm from Lirisk’s belly. Then, he planted a foot on Rowen’s neck, and his thick, strong tail entwined around Rowen’s arm. Lirisk flipped backward like a spinning top.
At that moment, Rowen’s Raigo – Thunder Greeting Rasengan was pushed away by Rowen’s palm. It nearly zero-distance exploded against Lirisk, producing a resounding blast!
(End of Chapter)
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