V2 Chapter 134: Genius

Brilliant golden eyes shone brightly, and a steel-like body swelled powerfully.

The body hair that covered half of its body was the color of night, and its protruding nose and pointed ears were unmistakably beast-like. Yet, the way it stood arrogantly on two legs, firmly treading the earth, was reminiscent of a human.

A single horn sprouted from its forehead, reaching towards the heavens. A playful smirk lifted the corners of its mouth, revealing sharp fangs, like miniature daggers extending beyond its lips.

This being that appeared from Kagari could be described in a word as a werewolf.

A werewolf, a blend of the ferocity of a beast and the cunning of a human. I myself had crossed blades with such beings in the past.

However, it was impossible to equate the werewolves I had fought before with the being before me now. It would be like comparing a kitten to a man-eating tiger.

Its presence was no less imposing than Doga’s, who had manifested his soul equipment. Just facing it naturally brought a smile to my lips.

—However, there was something that caught my attention.

I suppressed the excitement in my heart and looked at Kagari and the werewolf standing behind him. The werewolf was probably an Anima. Kagari had called it Taotie.

What intrigued me was the fact that Taotie manifested when Kagari drew his soul equipment.

Unlike me, who manifested Anima as a weapon, or Doga, who manifested it through his own body, Kagari’s method of manifesting the Anima directly, without any medium, was something I had never seen before.

A unique type of soul equipment, perhaps best described as an “embodiment.”

Taotie was much taller than Kagari or myself, rivaling Doga in height alone. Although not as thickset as Doga, its muscular physique exuded the majesty of a war god’s statue.

On closer inspection, the scenery behind it seemed translucent. Initially, I suspected some sort of illusion, but the distinct Kei it radiated separate from Kagari’s indicated it was more than just a mere phantom.

Such an unusual soul equipment. That’s what I thought, but I didn’t delve any deeper into it.

“Soul Equipment Activation—Devour everything, Soul Eater.”

I manifested my own soul equipment in a flash, taking a stance against Kagari. Now was the time for action, not observation. In battle, one could inevitably learn the characteristics of the opponent, so there was no need for overthinking.

As if reading my thoughts, Kagari grinned, lifting the corners of his lips.

“Then, let’s go!”


Responding to Kagari’s roar-like voice, I matched him with equal volume.

In the next instant, Kagari lunged towards me. Taotie, almost simultaneously, kicked off the ground, closing in rapidly. The wolf face, covered in beast fur, fixed its gaze straight on me, and a smile resembling Kagari’s played at its mouth.

Kagari’s method of attack was the same as Doga’s—fistfighting, namely punches.

His clenched fist was smaller compared to Doga’s, like that of an adult and a child, but the density of the Kei in his fist was no less formidable than his brother’s. Consequently, the power of his attacks was comparable to Doga’s.

The moment I caught his right straight punch with my soul equipment, a thunderous impact, like being struck by a hammer, jolted through me. An ordinary sword would have undoubtedly shattered under this initial strike.

Of course, my soul equipment did not break. Moreover, having caught hundreds of Doga’s punches in past battles, I was well-prepared to handle Kagari’s powerful fists. I should have been able to catch Kagari’s attacks with ease.

—However, that was only if the fists came from Kagari alone.

Right after I caught Kagari’s punch with my Soul Eater, Taotie too swung its fist, mimicking its master.

Taotie stood right behind Kagari, almost overshadowing him. Swinging its fist from such a position would likely hit Kagari first before reaching me.

Indeed, Taotie’s fist did catch the back of Kagari’s head squarely—but Kagari remained unharmed. The giant fist of the black wolf phased through Kagari’s body like an intangible phantom and struck my soul equipment directly.


There was no time to be astonished by this trickery.

An impact equal to, if not surpassing, Kagari’s punch hit me, eliciting a foolish cry from me. While I could have caught the impact of one, being hit by two consecutively was overwhelming.

The balance of power was instantly upset, and my Soul Eater was forcefully deflected with a loud noise.

Though I did not let go of the handle, having my weapon deflected left me completely exposed. Seizing the opportunity, Kagari stepped in and aimed his left fist at my abdomen.

Instinctively, I raised my right knee to protect my midsection.

Without pause, his left fist and my right knee collided, and the opposing Kei screeched in protest.

In that moment, I felt something penetrate the inside of my knee, bypassing the defense of my Kei. I knew from Doga’s teachings that this was a Kei strike, or what’s known as a penetrating Kei in martial arts.

A technique where a Kei-enveloped fist is thrust at close range, ignoring the enemy’s Kei barrier and directly damaging the body. It was no surprise Kagari could use it, as Doga could. A direct hit would likely shatter my knee bone into dust.

To defend against this, I needed to release my own Kei at the moment Kagari launched his Kei strike. This would neutralize his Kei. This, too, was a lesson learned from my battles with Doga.

—As I thought this, Taotie’s ominous movements once again entered my field of vision.

The same stance as Kagari, the same left punch from the same advance. The target, my abdomen, was also the same.

Taotie’s position remained the same as before, directly behind Kagari. If it attempted to strike my abdomen from there, Kagari’s body would inevitably be in the way. Indeed, just like before, Taotie’s fist caught the back of Kagari.

However, the Anima’s fist passed through Kagari’s body like an illusion and struck me accurately. Taotie, too, used a Kei strike, and I couldn’t neutralize it in time.

There was a crushing sound as my kneecap shattered. Probably not just the kneecap, but other bones and joints were likely pulverized as well.

Furthermore, standing on one leg to protect my abdomen, I couldn’t withstand the force of both Kagari and Taotie’s attacks and was blown backward with the force of a cannonball.


As I flew through the air, parallel to the ground and writhing in agony, I clenched my teeth and restored my knee in mid-air. Just before crashing, I created a platform of Kei in the air to forcibly regain my stance.

This much was second nature to me, thanks to my battles with Doga.

Seeing me land on my feet after being supposed to be blown away, Kagari opened his mouth in apparent admiration.

“Wow, you really can heal injuries in an instant, Sora. You took two Kei strikes at one point. It’s amazing your knee didn’t tear off.”

Kagari spoke leisurely, with Taotie standing behind him like a guardian spirit.

I snorted and glared at Kagari.

“Stop using terrifying terms like ‘two Kei strikes’ so casually. What exactly is your soul equipment?”

A soul equipment that doubles normal attacks is ridiculous. And in Kagari’s case, his normal attacks are lethal Kei strikes. It’s like fighting both Kagari and Doga at the same time—no, it’s even worse.

If the one standing behind Kagari was the real Doga, there would be a risk of friendly fire, limiting the power and timing of their attacks.

However, since Taotie’s attacks pass through Kagari, there’s no risk of friendly fire. Consequently, Kagari can enjoy the benefits of fighting two against one, ignoring any disadvantages.

I wanted to complain about the unfairness, but I had no right to. After all, my Soul Eater is almost cheating as well. When I clashed with Kagari’s fist at the beginning, Soul Eater didn’t activate. Like Doga, Kagari must have used his Kei to defend against Soul Eater.

To think he’s ten years younger than Doga. The word “genius” naturally comes to mind.

Meanwhile, the genius himself happily patted Taotie’s arm. I suppose Kagari pretended to touch it since he shouldn’t be able to, but perhaps he can touch it depending on his will.

“Hehe, cool, right? Among the four evil deities once called the ‘Four Fiends,’ Taotie is one of them. My Anima is said to be closest to the great Chiyou!”

Kagari rubbed his nose proudly, a gesture of a boy, but the intensity of the Kei emanating from him and Taotie surpassed the demon gods I encountered on Demon Island. This meant that Kagari’s soul equipment possessed at least the power of two demon gods. I assume the demon gods at that time were in an incomplete state as Chiyou, but even considering that, Kagari’s strength is indescribable.

…Wait, isn’t that more of a Void Armor than soul equipment? I remember Gozu once saying that fully drawing out the power of Anima results in Void Armor, but Kagari, who has manifested the Anima itself at the soul equipment stage, what kind of Void Armor has he mastered?

Feeling a chill run down my spine, I continued to question.

“I’ve never heard of a soul equipment that manifests the Anima directly. Is that common among the Kijin tribe?”

“Nah, I don’t know anyone else in the tribe who uses soul equipment like mine. According to my brother Hakuro, if a genius appears once in a thousand people, then my talent is one in a hundred thousand, or something like that. Seems exaggerated to me, though.”

Kagari laughed heartily at this, but his laughter didn’t last long.

After a moment, the laughter ceased, and Kagari, the prince of Nakayama, muttered, “Well, whether I have talent or not, what I do doesn’t change,” and his expression turned serious. He then spoke in a tone I had never heard from him before.

“I am Kagari, the prince of Nakayama, the tip of the sword wielded by the King of Nakayama. My mission is to reach the pinnacle of martial arts and free all my brethren from purgatory.”

Quietly declaring this, Kagari took a stance and then showed his usual fearless smile.

“Iron is best forged when it’s hot, and battles are best fought with the strong. Come on, let’s continue, Sora!”

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