Zī Zī Sizzle!!
The circular Rasengan buzzed and expanded with a buzz, obliterating everything around it! Even Zero had no desire to come into close contact with the annihilating aura. He stared fixedly at the sky, watching as two figures emerged from behind the Rasengan, descending toward the ground. Only then did he heave a sigh of relief.
Though Lirisk managed to escape the blast radius of the Raigo – Thunder Greeting explosion, the violent electrical currents still ravaged over half of his body. Describing him as riddled with wounds would be an understatement; his survival is now solely dependent on the unreasonable endurance granted by his Zoan Awakening.
However, Rowen was far from unscathed.
As he pulled his arm from Lirisk’s receding form, each sinew, robust and unyielding as steel, snapped one after the other. Bones were reduced to fragments within the muscle’s crevices, generating excruciating pain that seared into Rowen’s very core.
The clash between their strikes resulted in mutual damage. At this moment, both of them simultaneously sighed inwardly: “To use Undying!”
Raigo – Thunder Greeting was too slow, and Meteor Guns’ area of effect was too small. Rowen lacked a move that could break through Lirisk’s surface defenses and simultaneously prevent him from evading, a finishing blow capable of outright eradicating all resistance.
Otherwise, no matter how he attacked, Lirisk could recover using his Awakened fruit’s power. It was akin to being able to bash and dent a baseball bat at will but unable to utterly destroy a bat made of steel.
In this instance, Rowen also understood why, in the original story, Jack had attacked the Marine prison ship captained by Fujitora, Sengoku, and Tsuru to save Doflamingo but hadn’t died. At this level of Zoan, the surroundings were far more brittle than their own flesh and bone.
Sengoku had punched Jack into the seabed like a nail, yet it wasn’t the nail that had broken; it was the environment serving as the nail board!
And Jack was likely a rare Fish-Man, making it unlikely he would drown in the water. He was incredibly difficult to contain!
Furthermore, Rowen possessed self-healing abilities. While he might not be as impervious as Zoan fruits in terms of defense, in terms of restoration power alone, Lirisk could assert that even the legendary “Hundred Beasts” Kaido, known as the true Undying beast, didn’t possess restoration power as unrelenting as Rowen’s.
After the prolonged battle, other than stamina consumption, not a single obvious scar marked Rowen’s skin.
Hence, Rowen had a slight advantage in terms of the specifics of “Undying.”
He had already proven he wouldn’t drown, unlike Lirisk.
Killing him was doable, but using fists to deliver that death was a grossly inefficient method, as it had been throughout history.
But that outcome wasn’t what Rowen wanted.
He aimed to defeat Lirisk, not to kill him.
Defeating a formidable foe and killing one were two distinctly different matters.
Freefalling through the air, Rowen’s fractured arm bones rapidly mended, the regenerated muscles intertwining seamlessly. Agilely flipping in midair, he landed on a conveniently exposed landmass section, now completely submerged by the rising seawater. It was evident that the island had experienced something significant.
Lirisk didn’t possess Rowen’s convenient healing capabilities. After dunking his head into the water, it took him a considerable time to stand up.
Yet Rowen noticed that the cells annihilated by the Raigo – Thunder Greeting Rasengan were rapidly shedding away, replaced by rapidly sprouting new tissue, pushing through the carbonized husk.
With a “Chī La,” another pristine Lirisk emerged from the remnants of his “Skin,” his body covered in a slimy substance, resembling a newborn life hatching from an eggshell.
Both opponents gazed silently at each other. Suddenly, Rowen spoke, “Do you have any new moves left?”
Lirisk was momentarily bewildered, then sneered before he spoke, “Naturally, I do!”
Regaining his composure had not only granted him full control over the primal urges of his Awakened form but had also propelled his Awakening to new heights.
Zero, who had been spectating from the sidelines, had mistakenly believed that Lirisk’s undisclosed power was the capacity to match Thunder’s speed after Awakening. But that was not the case.
He still had an ultimate move up his sleeve!
A transformation of his true Awakening that he would never resort to unless at death’s doorstep!
“Is that so?” Rowen pondered, beckoning his Thunder Cloud Sword wedged between crevices in the bedrock. He said nonchalantly, “Then let’s call it a draw, shall we?”
“Huh??” Lirisk appeared completely baffled!
Wasn’t it supposed to be the start of the third round at this point?
Why call it a draw right away?
“What’s so strange about it… I admit that I can’t defeat you head-on at the moment, but you should know that I still have many abilities I haven’t used.”
Rowen chuckled as he spoke before he shrugged his shoulders, “Do you think I’d use my Violent Ape of Hell transformation and combine it with Fish-Man Karate to create sea currents that would wash you away to the sea, do you think you will remain Undying then? Or do you think I’d shamelessly use my flying speed to fly a kite and you’ll catch up?”
“Heh heh, how would you know unless you try?” Lirisk sneered.
But he truly felt uncertain about it!
The Goro Goro no Mi (Thunder-Thunder Fruit) Ability user flying could be understood; even a fool could see that. The Devil Fruit’s characteristics were evident, and the fact that Rowen had refrained from using it so far was proof of that.
However, being a Devil Fruit Ability user, it was already tough for him to be restrained by seawater and Seastone. Yet he still had mastery over Fish-Man Karate? Could you believe it?!
This was Rowen’s greatest trump card against other Devil Fruit Ability users!
It was like two medieval knights fighting with swords and wearing iron armor. Suddenly, one pulled out a Gatling gun with blue flames spurting out, firing three thousand rounds in a minute!
How could you even fight that?
Weapons were rendered entirely ineffective!
Lirisk couldn’t believe that Rowen, without confidence, would use Fish-Man Karate to drown himself along with Lirisk, especially since the enormous form of Violent Ape of Hell wouldn’t be enough to submerge both of them.
Continuing this fight would only lead to increasing frustration!
At this moment, Zero suddenly appeared beside Lirisk. He glanced at the seawater at his waist, and instead of kneeling, he slightly bowed, “Vice Admiral Rowen’s words make sense. You are at a disadvantage due to the restraints placed on you. Continuing the battle is not advantageous.”
“You think I don’t know that?!” Lirisk was genuinely exasperated by this loyal hound. Fortunately, Zero’s words provided him with an exit strategy. After pondering for a moment, Lirisk let his scales disperse.
“Fine! I agree to this temporary draw!”
“But this is only a temporary result, not the end! When I find a way to counter you, you must continue to fight!”
“Thank you, Lirisk-Sama! I am ready to accompany you whenever you wish!” Rowen slightly bowed and then cracked a wicked smile, “But forgive me for being straightforward: you won’t have that chance!”
“Hmph! We’ll see about that!” Lirisk snorted, his body slick as he waded toward the submerged submarine, Zero following closely as his guard. However, at this moment, Rowen suddenly spoke, “By the way, Zero, there’s a visitor approaching the island. I think it’s necessary for you to attend to that.”
As the words fell, a burst of flames suddenly erupted on the distant surface of the sea!
It was the deathly fireworks of a submerged submarine being detonated, releasing an explosion of fiery light.
Lirisk instantly understood what had happened, turning his head to glare at Rowen, “This is the reason you decided to stop, isn’t it?!”
Rowen’s Kenbunshoku Haki (Observation Haki) range was extensive, and it was also the basis for his Over-The-Horizon strikes!
Regarding this fatal proposition, Rowen smiled without saying a word.
“How wicked!! To dare disrupt this sacred duel!!” Lirisk clicked his tongue in frustration, his Awakening transformation igniting again.
His foot tapped the ground for an instant, then he vanished from his original spot.
It was an ultra-high-speed ground strike that even Rowen couldn’t decipher, just as Rowen hadn’t understood why there was no sound accompanying Lirisk’s attacks. His speed was beyond reason!
The next battle would undoubtedly be even more thrilling!
Rowen thought calmly.
In an instant, Zero exclaimed, “Sir! Please wait for me!”
“It’s fine, leave it to me!” Rowen clapped his hands, bent his knees, then suddenly dashed forward.
The clock struck seven while cooking a bowl of noodles, and I managed to finish two updates in a row. The third one will have to wait a bit as I go out to buy some cigarettes, get some braised dishes, and grab a bottle of liquor before coming back to continue.
(End of this chapter)
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