115-Battle of the Apostles: Fist Dance

'Ah ......'

 Looking at the four players who had vanished before her eyes, Sukuna felt a chilling chill caress her back.
 The unpleasant sensation of his heart beating loudly, thump, thump.
 A scene that I don't remember flashes back into my vision. Sukuna, who was supposed to be in the scorched city, stood in the snow-filled city.
 Feeling a coldness that shouldn't be there, she unconsciously hugged her body with both arms.

--It's cold. It's cold. It's cold.

It's cold. ......

 My head hurts like it's cracking.
 No, you can't get a headache in VR space.
 It's supposed to be an illusion, but a crippling pain is hitting Skuna.

--No. No! No! I can't lose you again!

 Something inside Sukuna is screaming.
 The memory of that snowy day, which she can't remember, clutches at her heart.


 In the distance of Sukuna's vision, 'Nanaka' wrapped in snow muttered something to the sky with tears in her eyes.


 In the freezing cold world, I stretched out my palm.
 It's not like I can grab anything.
 I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be grabbing, but my palm is being melted by a heat that shouldn't be there.


 It was a familiar voice. A voice he loves more than anything.
 For Sukuna, for Nanaka.
 It's Rinne's voice, a symbol of security.

'...... Lin, Cha'.

'Calm down. Don't worry, I'll be right here.'

 She calls out to Rinne in a trembling voice. Linnea pulls the frail-looking Sukuna into her arms, as if she were handling something broken.

 She's upset. Skuna's heart is shaken far beyond Rinne's imagination.
 Sukuna, who doesn't care if she gets hurt or dies. But now, just seeing the deaths of players she had little to do with, she was this frightened.

 Rinne understands why.
 Sukuna has been traumatized.

 Sukuna has been exposed to death for the first time since he started playing WLO ......, or perhaps since the day his parents died.

 I've seen myself die, but I've never seen another person die.
 Maybe you've seen a player die on the field, but it's really a death of someone you don't know.
 The people you fight with die. Even if it was an instant companion, it must have been enough of a traumatic sight for Sukuna.

 Thinking about it, just as he had been shaken by Toka's injury in the Mount Gorilla battle, Sukuna had rarely even seen his comrades get hurt.
 As you can imagine, a little HP loss doesn't upset her, but even so, Sukuna had never once failed to protect Rinne during their time together in the game.  
 For example, when he had kicked Rinne out of the monster house.

 Earlier, Sukuna had noticed something strange and was screaming desperately.
 She was so blind that if Rinne hadn't yanked her forcibly and dragged her into the barrier he had put up, Sukuna probably would have died.
 Only a few people, including Drago, were able to react to it, but should it be said that they were able to save a few people, or that they were unable to save four?
 At least in Sukuna's mind, he was more inclined to think that he couldn't save them.

 I don't know if trauma is the right word to describe it.
 But at least for Sukuna.
 No, Nanaka Niyado.
 She thought that in her forgotten memories, she must have regretted not being able to save her parents from dying in front of her.
 That's what Rinne thought.

'...... Are you alright now?'

'Yeah ...... I'm fine.'

 Linnea felt the trembling subside in her arms, and Sukuna answered her question with words that still lacked strength.

'Get yourself together. It's not Nana's fault, and more importantly, this is not the time for that. All you have to do is fight for them and win.

 Slapping Sukuna on the head, Rinne released him from her arms.

'We'll beat him, Nana.

'...... Yes!'

 A smile appeared on Sukuna's face as he nodded.
 I'm not sure if it's a good idea or not.
 It was only a stopgap measure, a stopgap measure, but it made Sukuna stand up.

 That's the way it has to be. There is no more room for error in this raid battle.
 He was saved because the giant dragon seemed to be stuck in a recoil, but he couldn't help it if his heart broke every time one of his friends died in the future.
 I'm sure you'll be able to find a great deal of information on this site.


'Oooh ......'

 Zun! The giant dragon reboots with a thud.
 Thanks to the activation after more than a minute of recoil, all the surviving players have already succeeded in getting into position.
 However, that doesn't change the fact that four players have been killed in the previous attack.

'There's no more hate management by the tank from here. We're completely outgunned. Both Tetsuya and Soramaru should be in a form similar to a ranger, preventing attacks on the attackers.'

'Who is Soramaru?'

'The tank from Drago's place. I've even met him, but even if Drago puts him in the vanguard, he must be something.''

 Sukuna looks at the boy Rinne is pointing at.
 The tank boy, named Soramaru, who was staring at the giant dragon with clenched teeth, was dressed lightly, almost without armor, which was unusual for a tank.

'An evasive tank?'

'Yes. As far as gaining hate by hitting, he should have a more attack-oriented structure than Tetsuya, so he's probably a good match for Drago's party, but as a tank for raid battles, he's a bit underwhelming. It can be used as an attacker and a decoy at the same time.

'I see. So what's your plan, Rin?

'How about keeping a high degree of flexibility and being flexible?

'That sounds haphazard. Okay.

 Hearing Rinne's plan announced with a wink, Sukuna nodded in agreement.
 Rinne was a little relieved that she seemed to have recovered enough to be able to joke about it, although it could not be said that she had completely recovered yet.

 Sukuna was convinced that this was a good idea.
 This was a raiding party that had been assembled from scratch, and barely had enough members for each job.
 Perhaps it would have been better if they had made their own decisions from the start.

 I'm not saying it was because we were stuck in a mold, but the fact that the hate was focused on the tank certainly caught all the attackers off guard.
 And even if Tetsuya was the only one, Soramaru wasn't the type of tank who could take the giant dragon's attack head-on, so it was too much to ask Tetsuya alone to take on the hate.

 If that was the case, Sukuna decided to cut off the firepower he had been saving at this point.
 He wanted to use it in a stable situation so that he wouldn't lose hate if he was in the same formation as before. Therefore, Sukuna had hardly attacked up to this point.
 However, in this situation, it would be better for her to gather hate herself.

 Pan! and clapped her hands.
 The dance is the "Demon Dance".
 The "Wailing Dance" to be activated is the "Type 4 Demon Dance".
 What Sukuna is about to do is an attack that will cost her her life.
 She will need all the effects of the "Weeping Dance": damage reduction, sturdiness enhancement, and auto-healing.

'I'll go.

'Yeah, have a good day.

 I'm not sure if it's a good idea for me to go to the gym, but I'm sure it's a good idea for you.
 It's not that I don't like it. It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're looking for.


 Sukuna exhaled heavily and focused.
 Putting all her strength into her weak body, Sukuna slammed both her hands into the giant dragon's back at the same time.

I'm not sure what to do.

 bare-knuckle fighting skill, first strike [SsangYong].

 A small amount of damage, no longer diminished by the giant dragon's long HP gauge, is seared into the giant dragon.
 Ssoryu is merely the starting point for everything.
 The real show is about to begin. Sukuna goes back in her memory and recalls the super-strike that begins here.

 From 《Souryuu》 to the final act of 《Juju Zakura》, there are seven connecting moves: 《Soun》, 《Yonba》, 《Gowa》, 《Rikudou》, 《Seven Days》, 《Eight Rings》, and 《Ninth Generation》.
 Following the SsangYong, the number of numbers in the name from Soun to Ninth Generation directly indicates the number of strikes for each art.

 Normally, you could simply increase the damage by mixing kicks with the strikes, but in this case, some of the kicks will be replaced with punches for the convenience of firing downward.
 A total of 44 fist blows rained down. Sukuna completed it in only 9 seconds.
 The sound of the blows, small at first, became louder and heavier as the blows were repeated.
 Yes, 'as the blows piled up'.

 After a certain level of proficiency, the 《Bare Handed Fighting》 skill can acquire a passive effect called the "Continuous Strike Bonus.
 As the name implies, this adds an attack power bonus to the power of each strike as you repeatedly strike.
 The essence of "bare-knuckle fighting" lies in repeated strikes.
 It was a passive effect that seemed to prove this statement, and I could see my HP, which had initially been only slightly reduced, decreasing in no time at all.

'Ooohhhh, ooohhhh, ooohhhh!

 Sukuna shouts. No matter how fast the barrage was, it was only a prelude so far.
 At the same time as she shouted, the most powerful art of the [Bare-handed Fighting] skill, the [Tenfold Cherry Blossom], was activated.

 Zun! The power of Sukuna's first strike was felt as she sank with a thud, and players who knew the details of this art were without exception surprised.

 The Tenfold Cherry Blossom is a 10-strike art that uses the power of the first strike as its standard, increasing in power with each hit by a factor of 1, 2, or 3.
 The multiplier for the tenth shot is an astonishing 10x, and if you fire all of them, you can inflict damage equivalent to the power of the first 55 shots, even though it's only 10 shots.
 It is undoubtedly one of the most powerful arts, and is the best damage source for raid battles. ......

 In WLO, when you attack an enemy with an attack power that exceeds the sturdiness of your armor, the recoil damage will be returned to the player.
 With a multiplier of 10, the power of the attack is unimaginable. Considering that even the Meteor Impact that defeated Gordo had a raw arts multiplier of over 6x, and that it avoided recoil damage by having the weapon bear all of the recoil damage, you can only imagine its firepower.
 At the same time, if the attack is of such magnitude, the recoil damage can be expected to be tremendous.

 However, as mentioned above, the power of the arts of 《Jyujyuzakura》 depends on the power of the first hit.
 There is a lower limit to the minimum power of the first hit, but even so, if you hit it weakly to the limit, you will not be killed by the recoil even if you hit it for the tenth time, as Sukuna did the first time he used this technique.

 However, what Sukuna was firing now was a fist full of power, with a "Consecutive Strike Bonus" of 44 consecutive strikes counting from the SsangYu, and with a scream.
 I couldn't even imagine the power of that final art, and if anything, I even saw a future where Sukuna would be obliterated before I could finish it.


 Sukuna laughed at the confusion and upset that spread throughout the raid party.
 Skuna knew exactly what recoil damage was. That's why I activated the Wailing Dance for defense instead of the buffs for attack, and raised the durability.
 I'm prepared. That's why Sukuna brought this move as his first move.

'The Tenfold Cherry Blossom. I didn't expect it to be activated in its full form.

 Drago muttered to himself as he watched the giant dragon scream in front of him.
 The sound of the blows was so loud that it seemed as if he was firing a cannon, and the giant dragon's HP was decreasing with each blow.
 It was the fourth shot that caused the change. Sukuna's HP was reduced by the recoil damage for the first time.
 The amount of recoil damage was insignificant, but from here on out, every attack would result in a recoil.
 5, 6, and 7. Drago noticed something inexplicable when he saw Sukuna's HP being whittled down as well as the giant dragon's HP.

(That's strange. Skuna's HP is dwindling fast. At this rate, she'll be dead before the tenth shot.

 The sight of Sukuna with half of her HP gone after the seventh shot brought the phrase kamikaze suicide attack to Drago's mind for a moment.
 At this rate, she won't have enough HP. No matter how hard he tries, he'll die from the recoil damage.
 And yet the Sukuna is smiling. That was strange to Drago.

(...... No, I see! So that's it!

 Drago himself remembered a certain skill he had acquired but had forgotten about.
 It's true that Skuna might be able to survive if he uses it.

 As if in accordance with Drago's prediction, Sukuna activated the last move while hitting the eighth shot of the "Tenfold Cherry Blossom" with a roar.

'Sing, protect! You are the diva of compassion!

 What Sukuna chanted was the activation word for an art skill that she had never had to deal with before.
 The name of the skill was "Diva's Embrace". It was a rare skill that Sukuna had obtained on the second day of the event, as a reward for eliminating the Monster House solo.

 The rare skill "Diva's Embrace" is a passive skill, and its original effect is simple: "halve the recoil damage of the possessor".
 How many players can actually benefit from this effect is beyond Sukuna's knowledge, but most players don't have any skills that cause recoil damage in the first place.
 Even Sukuna doesn't have any other skills or arts that would cause him to take recoil damage, except for this "Tenfold Cherry Blossom".

 However, this skill has another special art that can be actively activated, like 《Starving Wolf》.
 It is called "Hymn of Protection", which uses the activation word mentioned above.
 Its effect is to completely nullify recoil damage for the first five seconds after activation.

 Linnea had noticed the synergy between this skill and the Bare-handed Fighting skill from the moment she first saw the effect of this skill.
 That's why she gave this skill to Sukuna.
 There might come a time when he would need it, he thought.
 Incidentally, Drago decided that it didn't fit his play style, and it didn't fit his party members either, so he still carries it around in his skill book without learning it.

 Free from the chains of recoil damage, Sukuna slams his ninth fist into the ground with a roar that makes me want to say it's no longer the sound of a human fist, and squeezes out the final blow.


 It was now an explosion.
 The fist that plunged into the giant dragon's back shattered its shell, shattered its scales, and scattered red effects.
 The end of the "Tenfold Cherry Blossom" Arts. The second stage of the giant dragon's HP has been reduced by more than 80%, and Sukuna squeezes his fist once more.

''《Ze》...... ugh!

 I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not, but it's a good idea.
 The dragon jumped down before the leap so as not to be shaken off high in the sky, and landed on the ground with a look of fear.


'Thanks for the help. I'll recover.'

'Oh, thank you. Um, ...... Ryu-chan?

'I'm Lü Li. I'm a healer in the ace team of the "Livestock Mobile Unit"!

 The one who called out to Sukuna, whose HP was almost down to near-death, was the healer girl Ryuri, who had been standing by Rinne's side providing support to the other players.
 As she watched her HP recover from the magic, Sukuna took a sip of the potion as well, just in case.

'It's cute, it sounds like a cucumber.

'Haha, I'm often told that.

 It was a very rude comment from Sukuna, but Rüri affirmed it with a smile.
 It was no wonder, since the name 'Ryuuri' was a reference to a cucumber.




 The giant dragon landed on the ground from the sky as if to stop the two of them from having a chat. It seems that it didn't use its wings to fall gently like the first time.
 The dragon's eyes were blazing with anger as it rose slowly and pointed at Sukuna.

'Then, Ryuri, you stay away.

'I will, sir. Good luck.

 With a final push of the candy-type potion, Rüli moved to the edge of the battlefield.
 There were only two healers now. They were probably healing the wounded players on the large field from a safe distance.
 They could no longer afford to stand behind Rinne.

'Well, I guess it's my turn to do my best.

 The amount of hate that Sukuna had bought was enormous, even though he had been letting others take care of it for him.
 As the giant dragon glared at Sukuna with eyes blazing with anger, Sukuna took out a certain weapon from his inventory.

''Night Darkness. It's time to show it off.

 What was pulled out was a night-colored metal rod that was a size larger than Kagewi's.
 It was the second trump card that Sukuna had asked Haruru to create, and the new weapon that was to be unveiled at this time.