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31 Confrontation

 Bam!

By the time he was done Ranga's face was swollen but to the middle aged man's surprise the boy just kept on laughing whilst spitting venomous words out of his mouth. "Haha... my mother punches better than you shitty old geezer. You can go ahead and kill this King whilst you still have the chance, because once I escape I will hunt down your family and **** your wife and daughters!"

The middle aged man's expression stiffened when he heard Ranga's words. He could only tremble at these words as he turned around and left the tent. He was given strict orders not to kill the three or cripple them until they got the information that they wanted. So he could only swallow his anger as he left the tent.

The middle aged man left the tent with the captives and walked straight to the next tent.

Their campsite was not big since they were just a scouting group. The group at the beginning consisted of ten people, but after fighting with the three they had lost four of their comrades.

If they had gone with everyone when they wanted to collect the tohwe fruits, then they would not have lost so many people. The middle-aged man entered the tent and saw the rest of his teammates.

"Haha... see even Bruce failed! That Fat bastard talks too much. Why can't we just cripple one to scare the other two? " another middle-aged man asked.

Bruce, the man who had just come from the trio had a solemn expression when he entered. "I completely agree with Glenn. Why should we be this nice to a bunch of enemies? I say, let's just kill one and we will see if they talk or not."

"You two are just brutes..."A sweet voice sounded out. "If we kill or cripple one of them then the others could potentially commit suicide. If that happens then we are the ones who will get into trouble. We were told to return with those fruits at all costs."

Hearing this Glenn snorted and asked. "What is so special about those fruits anyway?"

"Well..." another melodious voice sounded out. "The tohwe fruits are rumoured to be able to strengthen the skin. We are facing the Gutu and we need to have powerful bodies in order to do that. Even though we don't know whether they will work for us or not, we can still stop the Gutu from getting any. And we are also going to use this batch in order to determine whether we can use them or not."

The rest could only sigh after hearing this. The Gutu were feared for their physical strength. And some of the people in the tent had experienced that first hand. The fact that the tohwe fruits could temper the skin was alluring to anyone who fights the Gutu. Even though it might not make them as powerful as the Gutu it would at least raise their defensive.

"Anyway..." Glenn started as he stared at one of his teammates who had blue hair, whilst grabbing his sword. "You and I should go out scouting now."

**

About a mile away from the camp, the two teenagers were still following the footprints. The two were surprisingly calm despite their lack of experience. Even though they were a bit excited at first by the prospect of fighting, they had quickly calmed down.

They had been following the set of footprints for half a day now and they were surprised to find that at some point the number of different prints had risen. It seemed as if the party had met some of their comrades on their way back and this cause the two youths to raise their vigilance.

They walked for another half hour before they began seeing the outline of tents. Just as they were about to move forward another step Taku grabbed Tino and hid behind a tree. He had noticed that two silhouettes had exited from one of the tents. The two hid behind the tree and peeked at the two figures.

"Judging from how they are acting I think the two are about to go out scouting." Tino spoke.

The figures that they were watching went their separate way and at this moment Taku's eyes lit up. "It is best if we take these two out, even though they are a level above us, they should not be an issue because of our body strength. I'll take the guy with the sword and you go get the blue haired guy."

Tino nodded and just as they were about to go their separate ways, Tino grabbed Taku and handed him a pair of gauntlets. "It would be hard for you to face a sword. So I believe that these will help somewhat."

Taku nodded and wore the gauntlets, then proceeded to follow the man who had gone east.

He followed from a safe distance whilst waiting for the man to lower his guard. But after following for an hour he noticed that the man never dropped his awareness, not even once. This made him impatient. At some point he almost just rushed out and attacked, but he managed to calm himself on time.

On the other side Glenn felt as though he was being watched. He was feeling a faint sense of danger, yet when he looked around he saw no one. He kept his guard up as he began walking towards a cliff that was some distance away. On his way he looked at every tree and bush but still could not figure out why he felt like he was being watched.

He stopped when he was a couple of meters away from the cliff, and here he shouted. "It is not very honourable to sneak up on someone! Please show yourself!"

Taku could only sigh as he climbed down from the tree and faced off with Glenn.

Glenn threw off his dark cloak and revealed a man clothed in a black tunic and long tight fitting tan pants, bound together with a rope at his waste. His face was scrunched up in anger. He slowly drew a long sword from his belt, the blade made a hissing whisper as it was removed from its sheathe. All the while, Glenn was holding Taku firmly in his gaze.

"Don't hold back or I am going to break you." Glenn snarled at Taku.

Taku shrugged his shoulders, smiled, and slowly brought one foot behind his back. He put his weight on it and brought an open palm up, "Wait." he said and put his hand up to say "stop".

Glenn rushed towards Taku. He dipped and weaved right as he was about to reach him and slashed downwards with the sword. Taku parried with one of his gauntlets and the blade clashed against the metal strapped to Taku's arms with a shriek that sent sparks flying into the air. The swordsman was quick and uppercut slashed at the hand to hand warrior, attempting to catch Taku from stem all the way to stern.

Taku sidestepped to the right just enough and the blade passed a hair's breath from his face.

Quickly, before Glenn could respond with a follow-up, Taku swiftly punched Glenn in the solar plexus, knocking the wind out of the swordsman, and stunning him for a brief moment.

The fight had taken Taku and Glenn dangerously close to the edge of the cliff and Taku had his back almost to the wall, despite his counter offensive.

Glenn was still open for more attacks though and Taku was not done.

The quick blow had opened Glenn up for another attack and Taku obliged him, putting a simple sidekick into the swordsman's stomach, doubling him over. Taku followed that up with a quick rising uppercut.

Taking the opening and using the environment to his advantage, back flipped onto the tree and pushed off towards Glenn. The manoeuvre sent his front flipping towards Glenn and just before he reached the swordsman, Taku flattened his body out, feet first. Instead of colliding with his adversary though, Taku opted to wrap his feet around Glenn's neck instead.

The manoeuvre caught Glenn off guard as he was recovering his wits, once again.

Taku gave him an apologetic shrug, mid-air. As if to say, "sorry" for what was going to come next.

Taku used his momentum in a creative, instead of piling into his opponent; instead, he jerked to the right and swung around Glenn. Then, when he was directly behind his opponent, Taku curled his legs into his body and angled his body towards the ground, changing the direction of his fall, putting the weight of his jump into a powerful throw.

Glenn was pulled off his feet violently and was thrown across the ground. He skidded and tumbled along the ground, uncontrolled. He was stopped by the other end of the dance floor, about five feet from the wall at the back of the dance floor... A groan escaped his lips as the pain from the attack started setting in. Glenn looked up and his eyes opened with surprise.

As Taku was about to let go of Glenn, during the throw, he had planted both hands on the ground. When he completed the attack, Taku sprang off his hands, throwing himself into a quick back spring, followed by another, another, and another to build momentum. When Taku was almost to Glenn, Taku bounded off the ground and threw himself into a spin that would have made an expert gymnast jealous. Flattening out in the air like a sideways whirling tornado, so that his body was perpendicular with Glenn's as he neared the fallen swordsman, Taku's spin got increasingly fast as he whipped his arms in and out, efficiently putting Taku into an almost uncontrollable rotation, arced at Glenn.

Just as Taku was about to reach Glenn, the warrior threw one of his legs out, shin angled down. The entire force from the spin was pushed into his leg.

The entire forest was silent and it was as if time itself was holding its breath as Taku descended.

Glenn barely had time to breath, let alone dodge. But, it was a testament to his experience in battle that Glenn kept the presence of mind to roll to the right in a desperate attempt to dodge this deadly attack. Just in time.

Taku's leg smashed into the ground, slamming into the ground with his knee and shin flat into the dirt, crushing the ground into a torrent of fragments that rose up around him in the air.

Seeing Glenn dodge, most warriors would have allowed their opponent to stand up. That was the honourable thing to do. But, there are no rules in a life or death fight.

With the speed of a cat, while the fragments were still hanging mid-air, Taku spun his body around and swept his foot towards his opponent's head. The attack was so quick that Glenn wasn't hurt; it actually pushed the assassin a foot and a half into the air.

Glenn was curious, why had that not hurt?

That was Taku's intention.

Swiftly, Taku rolled forward and halfway through, slid straight, so that he slid under Glenn and stopped facing the rising assassin's back.

Taku cocked both arms back and double punched upwards into Glenn's back. Air whooshed from the swordsman's lungs as he was pushed even higher into the air. The impact from the attack gave Taku a couple feet between him and Glenn.

Taku looked to his right and saw a huge sturdy tree, just an arm's length away now, "This is going to hurt you, just as much as it is going to hurt me." Taku promised Glenn with a forewarned wince.

Taku quickly performed a handspring to his feet, crouched just under Glenn with his legs coiled underneath him. Taku exploded from the ground towards Glenn's rising form. He grabbed the enemy around the waist, twisted mid-air, and arched the two of them towards the tree, easily angling Glenn head first, towards the raised lip of the dance floor.

Glenn collided with the raised floor and his head ploughed through the bark with a painful cracking and crunching sound as the tree shattered under the enormous pressure from the attack.

Taku let go and managed to aim himself towards the level below. He landed with ease and rolled to his feet.

Then, Taku looked back at Glenn and a look of brief chilliness flashed across his face.