55 3.17

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We rushed at Hanzo, Yahiko and Nagato covering their faces with torn pieces of cloth they found on the ground to protect themselves from the poison.

But even as the three of us attacked him together, Hanzo proved himself to be a formidable opponent as he managed to hold the three of us alone.

Actually, and more worryingly, he seemed to be getting better as we fought. Yahiko and I managed to get a couple of licks in the beginning, but as a minute passed, we were actually starting to get overwhelmed by him!

With a twirl of the weight attached to his kusarigama, Hanzo forced all three of us back as he laughed, "Ibuse! It's been a while since we've had this much fun, hasn't it?!"

I looked at the salamander from the corner of my eye, as it roared in response, I saw it slap the paper construct away. It was starting to dominate the fight.

Standing bare-chested in the mud, Hanzo raised his weapon and looked at me with a grin as he asked, "Did you really think you could defeat I, Hanzo the Salamander?"

Then, he shouted, "How long will you be making me wait, Danzo?!"

I felt my heart skip a beat as my eyes widened, and wishing from the deepest of my soul for this to be a bluff, I looked around.

Unfortunately, it wasn't.

My instincts and my danger sense… felt nothing. Yet, the Force sent me a warning as I moved as fast as I could.

I still felt the cold kiss of steel as a kunai pierced through the muscles in my back, barely missing my heart as it was slightly deviated from my movement, and instead got to my lung.

Whipping my leg around, all I hit was Danzo's shadow as he retreated, his one eye locked onto me. He looked quite different from how I knew him, as he was fully dressed in battle gear, a Leaf headband covering his forehead. He also had a respirator, showing that he had prepared for the battle.

At the same time, hundreds of additional troops appeared from nowhere, joining the battlefield as the balance of the battle tipped in their favor.

We were still outnumbering them, but it was Konoha's elite who had joined.

Several shurikens fell from Danzo's sleeve as he commented, "It has been years since someone spotted my attacks."

Coughing a mouthful of blood, I groaned, "You weren't supposed to be here."

Danzo's face remained blank as he said, "Because we did not attack for the past week? While killing the leaders would be fine, since you would gather your troops by yourselves, I figured you would earn us some time. Looks like I was right."

I spat down some more blood, anger rising within me. I had been played by the old fucker. I took his absence for granted, and now I was paying the price. We all were.

Side eyeing Nagato and Yahiko, they both looked panicked now. For a good reason, as things were, we stood no chance.

But I didn't need to win. All I needed to do, was to either kill Hanzo, or Danzo. Either would do.

So I said, "There's still hope! For as long as I stand, we shall not lose!"

I screamed as loudly as I could, raising my sword. Useless as it might be, it was in the darkest hours that light shone the brightest.

Danzo knew this too, as he immediately stopped the conversations and threw his shurikens at me. Although they looked like normal shurikens, my senses told me they weren't.

Parrying with my sword, I did not parry the shurikens themselves, but instead several centimeters away from them. And I did hit something.

This was Danzo's technique, he had mastered Nature Manipulation well enough to seamlessly coat his weapons, not only making them multiple times sharper but also granting them a greater range.

But the moment I parried the shurikens, Danzo was right in front of me, and moving faster than I could follow, he rapidly punched my liver, my chest and my throat, completely incapacitating me as he swung his sword for my neck.

The gap was… tremendous.

But as I felt my life was about to end, Danzo suddenly jumped back, barely dodging a slug bullet.

Falling to the ground in pain, I saw Danzo continue retreating, before he managed to find Chris, and so did I as I followed his gaze.

With this, I got to fully witness Danzo's speed as he covered the distance between them in an instant, not even using the Body Flicker as he reached Chris in an instant.

But before he could strike him down, I used Force Pull, dragging Danzo towards me as I jumped from the ground, rushing at Danzo.

As I ran, I touched the hole in my armor with my hand, and used Force Healing, temporarily shutting the wound. It wasn't perfect, but it should allow me not to drown in my blood or have my lungs collapse for now.

Chris somehow managed to disappear from where he was, blending in the battle with skills I did not know he had, making Danzo fully focus back on me.

He moved just as fast as before, but now that I was prepared for it I managed to react in time, swiping wide in front of me to force him back, before kicking dirt towards him. Then, following with a stab behind me, I blocked his sword.

I couldn't follow him, but as we fought, I felt my instincts sharpen as I started being able to tell his presence.

However, that didn't mean I was winning. Danzo was so far above me it was unfair. With every clash, another injury was added to my body, and quickly enough, even raising my sword became hard as Danzo circled me like a hunter, about to end his prey.

Locking my eyes on him, I coughed and asked, "Aren't you afraid Konoha will gain another ally?"

Danzo's steps seemed to multiply, and after a moment I realized they did as he started multiplying. It wasn't clones however, or speed mirages… no, it was Genjutsu.

Well, at least I could confirm Genjutsu works on me, despite not possessing Chakra.

His voice came from all around myself as he replied, "From the way I see things, I am earning myself an ally."

As he said that, all of his images ran at me. Apparently, he was good enough at Genjutsu to even fool my instincts and the Force, as I felt danger from every direction, despite knowing they were illusions.

On my last leg, I dug deep inside as I released an Almighty Push.

But as I did, I smiled wryly at the result. As it turned out, not a single one of them was real.

Danzo once again revealed himself as I looked up, and saw him falling down towards me. This Almighty Push had used the last reserves I had, and I could barely feel my connection to the Force anymore.

I had pushed the Midi-chlorians in my cells, and I needed some time for them to recover.

Rooting myself into the ground, I strongly swiped my blade. He was in mid-air, so I had the strength advantage.

Yet as my sword clashed with his… it snapped in half.

Most of the force behind his sword had disappeared, but its cutting power did not diminish in the slightest as it clashed against my armor.

The Elven armor looked like paper as it was slashed open, and although the sword itself did not cut into my flesh, the air Chakra around it did.

Danzo was ruthless though, and barely did he land that his body sprung back as he kicked me in the chest, sending me flying.

I rolled miserably across the ground as I held my chest. I tried to get up, but I only managed to get back on my knees. I didn't have enough strength in me to get to my feet.

As for Danzo, his single eye remained focused on me, cold as ice. In his eyes, I was barely an opponent.

Leaping from his spot, he crossed the distance between us in an instant, once again swinging his sword to end my life.

The difference between myself and a Kage was… large, to say the least.

Yet, I smiled, muttering, "She did manage to bring the advantage…"

Danzo's eye widened a little as someone suddenly appeared in between us, and a sword clashed against Danzo's. A samurai's sword.

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