Island Kuraigana Island

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Kuraigana Island #19
@kakashi19283

Akira banked on the fact that Mihawk would clash with the boken once more though not before hitting away slightly first. The master swordsman is aiming for what seems to be the weakness of Akira’s move – the inside arm exposed as he took a step but bend his body forward. And from that instant he did Akira took a step towards the left and Mihawk would suddenly notice the boy completely moved his body to the other side at incredible speed much like he did with a Soru-esque speed as he spun back to the other side through the pivot of his foot, his hand wielding onto the boken immediately let go while at the same time his free hand would slam the boken from the other side of the boken with an open palm towards the frontal part of the stick, acting as the leverage to prevent ensure Mihawk’s boken continues to glide past the clash. But this time Akira’s body is no longer within the boken’s trajectory, and the leverage immediately shifts towards Mihawk’s already secured advantage even further by allowing him to glide through with even less resistance – the boy would then quickly grasp the tip of the boken that is originally used to attempt to hit Mihawk in reverse grip and swung downwards against the clash – this time aiming to hit Mihawk on his shoulders through the other end of the boken as the boy dashes past Mihawk once more without hesitation, decreasing the chance of Mihawk of counter-attacking.

The attack aims to be swift, encouraging Mihawk to aim for what seems to be the exposed hand – a feint that is only possible if Mihawk decides to clash against the Boken once more. By using the weapon in reverse grip, swinging is much faster as compared to the wielding the boken normally and swinging. Should the boy succeed, he may be able to one-up Mihawk in score, giving him the advantage needed to beat the master swordsman.

Name: n/a
Rank: n/a
Description: The user plants a foot forward, bends a little and uses force to dash forward, which allows the user to propel slightly forward for the next step but with increased momentum, allowing one to strike with greater intensity which forms the basis for the fighting style. It can also be used in tandem to spin by twisting the body, resulting in a quick spin or two to create momentum. This technique can be used in conjunction with any basic attacks or certain techniques. [Pic 1][Pic 2] (Follows Soru rules: 11 Shuurin, 21 Movement Speed; The user's movement speed is increased by Mastery/5; 1 turn cool down at 100 mastery)
 
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With both swordsmen having scored one point, things were getting heated now. The one to score the next point, would only be one point away from winning the match, which put immense pressure on the exchange. Exploiting that, Mihawk, the experienced sword master that he was, decided to play some mind games by attacking with the exact same idea as how Akira had attacked earlier. When Akira came in with a fencer's stab, Mihawk's boken would come forward, hitting Akira's boken from the side to redirect it slightly and parry. Simultaneously, Mihawk would step forward, driving his boken down the length of Akira's in order to hit his sword wielding hand, which was exposed due to the nature of the boken's construction.

What Akira did next was a surprise. He let go of his boken, avoided Mihawk's attack, and then aimed to grab the boken back in midair with a backhanded grip and drive it down to strike Mihawk.

It was a manoeuvre that was undoubtedtly impressive, hard to see coming, and proof of Akira's mettle as a combatant. But, there was a lesson in here for the young man. One had to decide. Would they fight as an assassin? Or as a swordsman? As a resourceful assassin, Akira's move made sense - for in a real fight, he could afford to let go of his sword, and then use a different weapon on his persona for the counterattack. But, Mihawk and Akira were fighting a straight up, swordsman to swordsman match. And in that setting, Akira miscalculated. One does not let go of their sword in the middle of a clash, especially when the two swords were touching.

The moment Akira let go of his sword to avoid Mihawk's attack, Mihawk, making use of his incredible attack speed, would swipe with his sword, knocking Akira's boken out of the air and away from them. The boken would land on the ground a few meters away, and Akira had no weapon to attack with. Mihawk stayed on edge in case Akira, an assassin, would succumb to his instinct and pull out a second weapon - but that was against the rules of the match, so he figured chances of that happening were low.

Letting go of your sword right in front of me. That was a bold move, young man.

So, how do we score this? One point for me, and you get to pick up your weapon?


Mihawk asked, proposing a way to keep the match going.
 

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Kuraigana Island #20
@kakashi19283

Akira’s attempted a bold move, risky yet as the saying goes – high risk high reward. However, the boy wasn’t as fast as he would hope for – Mihawk’s stronger physicality in both speed and strength prevented Akira from effectively following through his plans, this led to the man simply swinging the boken away and deflecting the unhanded boken. Akira’s move has one weakness as Mihawk has managed to do uncover with his faster swing, the time between letting go of the boken and the thrusting palm at the tip of the boken, Akira only has less than a split second to do so. The move would have worked, just that Mihawk is simply faster at that point. However not all is lost, for using such experimental and on-the-fly techniques is what the boy figured he would have to use in order to beat Mihawk – and techniques are thought of completely out of nowhere and utilized immediately.

With the boken flew out away, it was Mihawk’s victory – as the man would question on the scoring which he would assume to be of his point, that much is correct. However, Mihawk would find the boy genuinely smiling at the prospect of his loss. A smile not of mental breakdown in regards to the idea of losing – no, the idea that the boy is simply learning, adapting and using whatever he could think of. It is mere reminiscence of his young days in a dojo. The circumstances are obviously different considering that Mihawk isn’t teaching Akira much like of a teacher teaching their students within a dojo. But a similar prospect is happening, the boy is having fun – possibly the only fun he could have. Victory. Defeat. These are secondary to experiencing the fun of swordsmanship. And the boy’s answer would definitively answer his strange smile.

“Yes. You are right. It’s your point.”

The boy spoke as he turns his back towards Mihawk to retrieve the boken from the ground, stuck onto ground. Even for an Assassin, to turn one’s back towards their enemy is foolish. A death sentence. But they are not fighting as killers or murderers, but a duel between swordsmen – both of them would not throw away a good duel like this, after all this is not the first time that the boy has turn his back for a mere moment. Picking up his boken once more. The boy closed his eyes for a moment, a deep breath to calm his nerves and excitement. He would poise a
different stance, a strange one for a boken – his eyes opened. He would wait for Mihawk.
 
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Akira conceded a point to Mihawk as the latter disarmed the former. This brought the score to 2-1 in favor of Mihawk, and only one point away from claiming the match.

Akira, however, did not show any lack of motivation - instead, he seemed even more eager than before. He wanted to improve, he wanted his swordsmanship to grow, and what better way to do that, than to be fighting Mihawk, and to be backed into a corner by him? With those thoughts perhaps going through Akira's mind, he entered a different stance, prompting Mihawk to sharpen his eyes, analyzing what Akira was up to.

You will grow stronger yet.

Mihawk said, entering a normal stance. He bent his knees and pushed off of the ground, charging toward Akira. As he was approaching Akira, Mihawk wielded his boken with both of his hands, raising it overhead and readying himself for a vertical downward swing.

Suddenly, just before Mihawk would reach Akira, two meters or so in front of him, he would come to an abrupt stop and then swing his boken downward. Mihawk would unleash a flying slash that aimed to strike Akira by surprise. After all, generating a flying slash with a boken that did not have a sharp edge, was without a doubt something that Akira would not have on his mind. The flying slash was not too strong, but in this case, a hit was all that was needed - the two swordsmen were not going for blood.
 

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Kuraigana #21
@kakashi19283

The boy waited for Mihawk to go on the offensive, for they have been switching between their aggression for a short while now. As the swordsman charges head on towards him, the boy readied himself – yet just a few short metres would the swordsman suddenly stop – his hands still wielding onto the boken overhead. It did not take even mere seconds for the boy to quickly react – after all he too, have thought about it but choose not to use it – as they both have not used such move since the start of this match, it would be prudent for the boy to not use it out of fear of being unfair. But as Mihawk has decided to use it, him being the setter of the rules would make it easier for the boy to determine his next move. Just as Mihawk would fire an air blade, the boy quickly moved but perhaps unsurprisingly, rather than moving away, the boy move diagonally inwards towards the air blade and Mihawk, but with his diagonal movement, would allowed him to close the distance while away from the air blade trajectory at the same time.

Once the air blade has barely pass behind Akira, the boy increased his speed with the same Soru-esque technique. The boken of Mihawk has dropped to the ground with his vertical downward swing, which would likely be the target of a clash. But instead – the boy moves past Mihawk, but at the same time he spun in a complete circle, his boken not touching Mihawk – through his spin, the boy swung diagonally upwards to a side, unleashing what he sees with Mihawk, an air blade, but this time a circular one generated around the boy and angled diagonally to make it harder for the swordsman to dodge. Much like Mihawk’s air blade, there is little to no possibility of getting hurt seriously.
 
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Mihawk stopped in his tracks, swinging his boken vertically downward and unleashing a flying slash. The flying slash did not have as much power as Mihawk's flying slashes usually do, due to the fact that it was created by the swing of a boken - but in this match, that did not matter. He simply tried to catch Akira off guard. However, Akira, having thought about doing the same, saw it coming and managed to avoid while also closing the distance.

Accelerating with a Soru-esque movement technique, Akira ''flew'' past Mihawk, spinning around and unleashing a spinning flying slash at an angle. Mihawk's eyes widened in surprise as the flying slash hit him. A drop of blood ran down his cheek. He was barely injured, but it was marked as a hit, naturally. The two swordsmen were now at an equal score of 2-2, and both of them were only one point away from scoring the winning point.

Mihawk wiped away the blood using his free hand, while still holding his boken in his other hand. He would turn to confront Akira, the two only a few meters away from one another.

I guess this brings us closer to the end of our duel. It is time to see which of us is better at this moment in time.

Given your age, your potential is undoubtedtly higher than even mine. And so I will take it upon myself to win this... to give you a ghost to chase after. That will surely help you reach even greater heights.

COME, YOUNG ONE!


 

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Kuraigana #22
@kakashi19283

The boy moved at incredible speed, but rather than taking the fight directly to Mihawk – he instead used what he learned at that point, an air blade for an air blade. A less direct manner of hitting Mihawk yet his more ‘unorthodox’ methods to say the least have proved to be at least useful. The air blade hit Mihawk, though nothing more than compressed wind at best hitting someone in the face. Blood would seep from his cheeks, a small cut superficial but nothing worth concerned about. Yet Akira’s attack has hit Mihawk, evening up the score. The next strike would bring about the end of the duel. Yet this only serves to heighten the tension between the both of them – there is no bloodlust between the both but anticipation instead runs within their blood. Mihawk would speak once more upon wiping away the blood on his cheek. A speech is made, respect from Mihawk is given – that he has managed to reach an incredible score of 2-2 against Mihawk. Declaring his intention to win, in order to ensure the potential of a young blood does not end in this fight – only response that Akira had nothing short of heightened senses. Words came into his ears but also left quickly. The boy slipped fully into a zone, temporarily removing himself from reality as he closed his eyes once more, a couple of deep breaths were made done as he did prior. Sweat, the cold breeze of Kuraigana, the sounds of breeze swaying the trees, chirping and sounds made by the local fauna. His heartbeat would not stop beating; it is loud as his ears drummed with the sound of his heart. The boy opened his eyes.


A face with absolute seriousness, he no longer smiled – for a second the boy put his all into his own swordsmanship. The last strike, he would show Mihawk his yet another new move. Grasping the boken with both hands but this time slightly closer to the centre of the boken which shortens the range of his strike compared to Mihawk’s, one of Akira’s hand would suddenly be partially let go, only the thumb circling the boken as the remaining four fingers were temporarily free and resting upon it. The boy run forward to Mihawk until he is less than a metre away, just in range to strike with the tip of a boken. But instead of diving straight to Mihawk, the boy stopped as he swung his boken towards the back two-handed before using his body to rotate – hip swinging along with Akira’s strike as the boken moves diagonally upwards towards Mihawk’s boken trying to match a clash once more. But unlike most would expect a full swing, the boy’s arms are not fully extended and his body completely rotates like swinging a golf club except that it would seem to completely swung the other side into a spin of sorts yet as his back seems to start to face Mihawk. Here the boy waits for Mihawk to clash once more, and react immediately when he would swing his boken.
 
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Mihawk challenged the young man to one final clash, promising that he himself, the greatest swordsman in the world, would be the victor, giving the young man a ghost to chase after - a reason to keep getting stronger, and greater. Akira, facing the challenge, fell into a zone, his eyes in complete focus. The corners of Mihawk's mouth curled upward into an ever so slight small. Akira pushed off of the ground and charged Mihawk, holding his boken in a strange manner. Once in range, Akira swung the boken diagonally upward like a golf club. Mihawk took a step backward, avoiding the slash. As the swing took Akira into a spin, Mihawk attacked the weakest link of Akira's position. His feet, which he was spinning on. Utilizing enormous attacking speed, something that only a true swordsmanship master (120) was able to achieve, Mihawk stabbed with his boken at a downward angle, going for Akira's feet.

Naturally, the stab was not strong enough to damage Akira's feet, nor was the tip of the boken sharp enough to pierce. But, landing a hit was all that mattered, and Mihawk's counterattack prioritized that.
 

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Kuraigana #23
@kakashi19283

Akira swung his boken quite similarly to a golf club, but as he did – Mihawk immediately took a step back, avoiding the attack. Mihawk stepping back was a surprise to the boy, for he thought the man would have met the clash. But no matter, Mihawk backing off was a slightly delay in his attack, which allowed Akira to move to a position that he actually desired. When Mihawk moved in to attack, he would notice Akira already would not complete his body movement, despite the motion would indicate so. The boy never has an intention to go into a spin with that attack. Him not fully extending his arms allowed him to almost immediately change the way he would utilize the boken as he would do so the moment Mihawk took a step back. Twisting his body back the other way round, Akira positioned his boken into a vertical downwards position as if aiming to stab the ground. With Mihawk’s incoming attack, despite the overwhelming speed – is prepared for. As Mihawk’s attack aims for Akira’s foot, the boy immediately drove down boken to meet Mihawk’s boken.

If successful, Akira’s boken would force Mihawk’s boken to miss the stab due to its thrusting motion, allowing Akira to redirect his weapon to the side missing the foot. And with Mihawk driving his body forward to such a stab, it means that both duelists are even closer than ever – which puts the final attack for Akira to try and go for strike. It may or may not work, but Akira have put forth a new counter technique, and is willing to risk it all to test it out. With the boken clash, Akira body have contorted to a very awkward position, as his body no matter how flexible is stretching out the muscles, the original idea of the technique wouldn’t have required him to twist his body in such a way, but with the downward thrust of Mihawk, the boy would have no choice but to further twist his body down to match it. With that, the boy would pivot his feet around for a spin – using the contorted position and already sort of twisting motion to finish the whole set of actions into a 360. The boy would reverse his boken to continue sliding against Mihawk’s, but instead of sliding inwards to the man’s hand, the boken was slide away as the boy would quickly spin counter-clockwise. Through the spin, the boy would move his arms in accordance to the boken as he finally extends his arms into an overhead swing aiming down onto Mihawk’s chest, making use of the shorter range of his boken to quickly land a hit. It was their last clash, and the boy puts his all into it, even going as far as giving a kiai whilst performing the technique.
 
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Mihawk took a short step back, getting just out of range of Akira's boken. When Akira was finishing his swing, Mihawk went for the weakest point in his stance - Akira's legs. With a quick and very direct downward stab, Mihawk aimed to strike Akira for the winning point. Akira, however, saw the attack coming, and managed to strike Mihawk's boken away just enough to avoid getting hit. From there, Akira transitioned into the remainder of his technique, which involved him spinning 360 degrees, bringing his boken overhead, and then strinking vertically downward.

As soon as Akira's spin began, Mihawk's mind took him to his past. The setting was an unknown island in the New World. Mihawk was but a young man at that point in time. It was a long time ago, so Mihawk could barely remember his own appearance - he was a silhouette in his memory. He was alone on the island, and the only thing that was with him, was his trusted sword at the time. Mihawk spent his waking hours with the sword, inseparable. He spent his sleeping hours with the sword, dreaming of becoming the world's greatest swordsman one day. Later in life, Mihawk went on to achieve this title.

.
..
...

He was not ready to let go. He wanted to remain the greatest swordsman in the world. That was his life. His very essence. The core of his soul. If he wasn't the greatest swordsman in the world, then he was nothing at all. Mihawk would relinquish his title on his death bed. As such, a fight that was not to the death, was not acceptable for Mihawk to lose his title. He would not be able to live with it.

He wouldn't have to.

Akira, in his relative inexperience, when compared to Mihawk, made one fatal mistake. Swordsmanship was a game of reach and timing. It was not a fist fight, where one could get punched, and keep fighting. One strike of the sword, and it was over. It was a much more dangerous game. And so who reached their opponent faster, was always the winner. Akira, in point blank range, resorted to a spin. A maneuver that, while quick, would undoubtedly take a few moments longer than it had to. The spin also left Akira's legs vulnerable yet again. And Mihawk's boken, while it had been parried earlier, was still close. His muscles twitched, Mihawk summoned all of his speed of sword to strike. He swiped with his grounded boken sideways, aiming to hit Akira's lower legs. In a real fight, that would get one's legs cut off under their knees, but here, it was nothing but a shin strike.

With Mihawk's superior attacking speed, and his knowledge to look for the shortest possible path to strike, something Akira was lacking in his maneuver, Mihawk was likely to strike first.
 

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Kuraigana Island #24
@kakashi19283

The boy utilizes his speed, or rather as much speed as he could gather – against Mihawk he would need to be fast. In order to compensate. The boy knew his technique has a flaw in it, the moment in which he spun is the moment where Mihawk would counter. He is well aware of this fact. Yet for the boy, he chose to continue doing it. Perhaps it is a form of ego, to utilize only of what he learnt from his earlier youth and what he has been through, or that the boy simply put his own faith into himself – that his ideals, his life and more importantly in this particular moment his fighting style. As he made the overhead spin, a thud – not one of any serious force, but enough to indicate what has happened. His leg was hit by the man. Surprised, Akira stopped the attack mid-swing to Mihawk as his eyes veered down to where he was hit.

In such few moments, the boy would finally let out a deep sigh. He was aware of the flaw in the technique, but it would turn out that Akira simply isn’t fast enough with the spin. Perhaps he could have driven the boken inwards. But the boy was trusting his movements but alas it was simply not enough. Dropping his arms down to the side, the boy quietly positions his boken to the side. The sigh was not just of disappointment, but also a release of his current state of mind – no longer is he hyper focus, his eyes are much more mellow as a result.

“Seems like you are the winner of this battle. I lost, Mr. Mihawk.”

The boy spoke, his voice much more quiet – his politeness kept on point. The result of the battle has finally concluded. The boy would take a few steps back, before sitting down with his boken stabbed onto the ground once more. Finally, he drops to lie on the ground. Breathing becomes slightly more erratic. Looking up to the sky, the boy could finally take a breather from the tense situation since the start of his journey to Kuraigana. Sweat, bruises, even small cuts and injuries became more apparent, sensations of pain would linger around his body yet not an ounce of complaints were made. He has failed to defeat Mihawk, but did he learn more about himself? Self-reflecting at this time is difficult, perhaps as time goes by such reflection upon this battle will be more clear. For now, the boy abandons all forms of safety precautions – unwise of an Assassin yet a state of reprieve is what the boy would need for the time being,
 
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Mihawk's boken connected with Akira's legs. Akira's rapid movements came to an abrupt and complete halt as he realized what had happened. He had lost. And Mihawk had won. Akira sighed, the hyper focus that surrounded his persona up until now, gone. It was as if all of the tension had just left his body, and he immediately relaxed. Perhaps, Akira relaxed upon realizing that his progression was not over - that there was still more he could strive for. Perhaps, Akira didn't even realize that that might have been pestering him deep down. What was next? How much stronger could I get? Now Akira had that answer. He was free. He was free to experiment and grow, and think about the future. There was a future, he had not hit a plateau yet.

Mihawk was experiencing similar thoughts at this moment in time, but from a different angle. He had already hit a plateau. He was already the greatest. But, there was now a new light at the end of the tunnel. There was a person that could, maybe, just maybe, show Mihawk a greater height. The potential of the new generation. That was what Mihawk had been looking for.

The corners of Mihawk's mouth curled into a barely noticeable smile. He spun the boken into a reverse grip and stabbed it into the ground with force. There was precise technique behind it, for the boken did not break - but instead smoothly pierced the ground. Like the legendary sword, stuck in a boulder. Mihawk would leave the boken there until next time. Turning around and showing his back, and the Yoru that was mounted on it, to the assassin, Mihawk started to walk away.

I can see it in your eyes, young man. You have a tough goal set out for yourself. Before you tackle your final goal, come back here. We will settle our score. Then, and only then, will you be able to go and tackle your greatest battle.

Mihawk said, before pushing off of the ground and disappearing from the scene. Mihawk was gone. But these two swordsmen would be back to this exact place in the future. For the greatest fight of swordsmanship that the world has ever seen.
 

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Kuraigana Island #25
@kakashi19283

The boy breathed hard. Tired, but rather than physically his tiredness seems more on the side of his mentality. Even though the battle with Mihawk isn’t long by any means nor incredibly strenuous that would be comparable to the last person he fought with all his might, King. This fight was different. A fight not to the death but one with skill and mind. Unlike those death battles Akira thrusted himself into, this state of incredible concentration and focus – to overcome a wall. A vast difference – his heart beat at an incredible rate. Nervous, anxiety, disappointment, joy. The boy self-reflected for a moment. It is then the man, Mihawk would spoke.

A short speech, the man has managed to catch on to Akira’s goals. Though the boy himself has mentioned it once before. Mihawk perhaps notice the mental struggle of the boy where it is not just about killing one physically but the act of killing one in cold-blood, ‘tough’ is a word where Mihawk could have meant slightly differently, but as the man did not explain himself further. One would have to assume perhaps in a physical sense that it is what Mihawk would be referring to – La Spada, killing her would be an incredible undertaking, perhaps even nigh impossible to achieve. Yet it is of Akira’s end goal. His life goal one may even conclude to be. Here Mihawk would finally mention about a rematch, the last match – a proper duel when Akira is ready to truly achieve his goal of killing La Spada that he should return here. Leaving, the man would disappear off from the scene. All that remains are silence, the wind would breeze through the island once more, birds chirping – animals are once again back to their natural activity though quieter for they have escape from the duel between Mihawk and Akira.

The blue sky remains of all Akira sees. Can he overcome the wall that is Mihawk? Replaying the entire battles, from the start to the end over and over again in his head. The boy closes his eyes for a long period of time. And soon he would open them. His powers are not yet complete, not just his Devil Fruit, but his own swordsmanship – he would need to vastly improve, not necessarily to change but to be even stronger. There is more to be done. And one day, not just Mihawk, but even La Spada herself would be taken by surprise. A smirk would stretch across the boy’s expression timidly. His goals are still far from completion. Immediately getting up from the ground – the now-messy boy would notice the stabbed boken, left by Mihawk. Perhaps he should return here. And it would be his final test, not for and by Mihawk, but for his own.

TCSK


Another boken stabs the ground, mirroring Mihawk’s boken. A gesture that no one, only of Akira and Mihawk would understand – that they would battle once more in the future. To determine the winner once more. The boy would gaze at the scene for another moment before he would finally turn his back to his own weapon, Twilight’s Edge. The sword of legends. Those elders in the Valley said he perhaps is meant to hold on to this weapon, to see his own legends created. But what is his destiny exactly? To kill La Spada? Or to change the world as his previous predecessors did so? Such is not answered for him, but for now – he would only look forward and await the future, the promised rematch of what has been ordained.
 
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