The dust started to clear out and the audience waited with bated breaths, wanting to see Kimimaro"s state when...
Kimimaro burst from the dust cloud in a powerful leap, instantly dispersing it due to his speed as he flew straight at Tayuya like a bullet.
Tayuya was forced to throw herself to the side in order to avoid him. She barrel rolled on the ground before using the momentum of her body to spring back to her feet, inwardly prepared to fend Kimimaro off once again.
As she predicted, Kimimaro landed in a crouch on the side of the wall and used his chakra like a spring, propelling himself into another powerful leap as he aimed the trajectory of his jump to lead him towards Tayuya.
She was a long-range fighter while he was a close-quarters combatant. It was only natural he had to be aggressive in this exchange if he wanted to win.
This time, however, he did not have the advantage of surprise, and Tayuya was prepared for him. The second he heard the flute melody, he knew he was too slow even before the shockwave hit him.
Tayuya watched as Kimimaro twisted mid-air, "kicking" straight at her shockwave... in a way absorbing it with his kick.
"Friggin bone armor!" Tayuya inwardly groaned.
Any normal person would have their muscles shredded by such a shockwave but not Kimimaro. He just had to have an ability that could completely counter her Jutsu.
Kimimaro finished "kicking" the shockwave, which completely stopped his momentum and made him fall back onto the ground. He wasn"t given enough time to start rushing at Tayuya again. Instead, he had to spin and punch forward, intercepting another shockwave sent at him by Tayuya.
Tayuya started to create an onslaught of shockwaves with her flute, sending them at Kimimaro from all around him, forcing him to spin and twist, sometimes intercepting them, other times weaving in between them but he was avoiding almost all of the damage which was definitely pissing Tayuya off.
The shockwaves were pretty much invisible and Kimimaro had to depend on his chakra sensing to locate the direction from which Tayuya would attack... to the audience it seemed as if he was fighting some invisible foe and some civilians looked at him funny as they thought he simply went mad.
The ninjas suspected genjutsu for the most part, mostly because of Tayuya"s weapon of choice. Only very few noticed a hint of what she was doing.
Orochimaru, on the other hand, couldn"t help but frown as he witnessed the technique to make shockwaves with chakra in the sound waves. This was the reason why he so quickly retreated when he tried to attack Tayuya"s team. The Jutsu was very interesting but he had a hard time coming up with a way to replicate it. Hence, the frown.
Poor guy... there was no way he would realize he first had to learn sound-based genjutsu and then alter it into ninjutsu. After all, most ninjas believed that genjutsu and ninjutsu were not "mixable".
It didn"t help that he was successfully misdirected into thinking Tayuya needed her flute for her Jutsu.
Down in the arena, Kimimaro had had enough of this irritating work-out but he had a hard time finding a way out without showing more of his abilities than he was allowed.
He knew causing this level of shockwaves was effortless for Tayuya and she could continue for hours on end. During their spars in the Village on the Other Side, she usually leveled a small forest from the collateral damage of all her shockwaves.
These shockwaves had the power to barely crack the ground... there was no way they could affect his body through his bone armor. Tayuya clearly knew that too and was only trying to annoy him.
She knew full well that he hated moving around more than necessary during fights, yet, here she was forcing him to "dance" with her attacks in order to not give away an indication of just how durable his body is.
This continued for a few minutes, Tayuya trying to lock Kimimaro into defense while Kimimaro tried to find a way out of his predicament.
The audience absolutely loved this fight. They were not loud, instead, their attention was fully grabbed as they watched the redheaded girl playing her flute and the white-haired boy trying to defend from some kind of invisible foe.
The only clue that Kimimaro did not, in fact, go mad, was how the ground underneath him cracked whenever he clashed with... whatever was attacking him.
One would think the spectators would get quickly tired of this display but, on the contrary, they watched with bated breaths to see who would fall first.
Will the girl make a mistake and let the boy out of this deadlock or will the boy run out of his stamina first? They couldn"t wait to see!
They had no idea the two combatants in the arena could go at it in this manner for hours...
Kimimaro finally decided to "bend" the rules a bit in his favor. He let one shockwave "slip" his attention, causing it to harmlessly glance his shoulder, using it to break Tayuya"s pace.
She had it all calculated to a genial degree, every attack covering for another and they all weaving together in one massive "symphony", as she liked to call it.
But Kimimaro fought her enough to discover a small flaw in her ingenious technique. Now that one of these coordinated attacks was disregarded, it was ever so easy to just weave through the remaining ones since their tempo was out of sync with Kimimaro"s movements.
Kimimaro knew quite a few of those powerful ninjas watching this fight would notice his body withstanding the shockwave with no trouble at all but he didn"t care anymore. Tayuya"s shockwaves did not feel like a massage to him. Every hit felt like being violently shoved and while it was harmless to him, it felt extremely irritating.
It was as if he was being bullied without the ability to "hit" back and the thought made Kimimaro grit his teeth in frustration.
Tayuya was clearly using his emotions against him because she knew exactly how he felt about being in this kind of situation.
Kimimaro finally escaped Tayuya"s onslaught. From experience, he knew this would mean Tayuya would have to change her melody, which brought him a few vital moments.
This time, he would not be too slow!
Tayuya"s eyes widened as Kimimaro increased his speed to the allowed limit in one big burst.
Her mind blanked and her body reacted instinctively... she didn"t have the time to think about a counterattack anyway. She swiped the flute away from her mouth and since it was the only durable thing she had on hand, she used it to block Kimimaro"s sword that aimed at her neck.
Flute locked with a sword made of bone as Kimimaro and Tayuya"s arms shook with exertion. Tayuya pushed more and more chakra into her arm, visibly losing this match of strength as Kimimaro"s sword was pushing her flute back, nearing her neck.
She snarled in frustration and shock at how bad her situation suddenly became.
Escaping backward would hinder her movements give Kimimaro the much-needed advantage and would most likely end the match.
Evading right was no option because of the strength she had to exert on her right arm. If she tried, Kimimaro"s sword would simply cleave through her.
Trying to flee underground would be a gamble. In any way, she would need to stop pushing against Kimimaro"s sword for a second, and there was the chance a part of her head would get chopped off.
Fleeing upward... that required more skill than she was allowed to show in this match.
Frankly, if she could show her full power, this deadlock would be an easily solvable inconvenience at best. But she was not.
Her only feasible escape route was to the left but she couldn"t really jump to that side because her opponent was clearly expecting it, if not outright welcoming that outcome. Only a bone bullet would await her if she tried and she liked her body without unnecessary holes.
"Fine." She discontentedly grumbled through her gritted teeth with annoyance written all over her expression. "I give up."
It was ever so obvious she hated to say these words but there was nothing she could do. She couldn"t use her flute and she had orders to not show too much of her abilities.
Showing a strong Jutsu dependent on her flute was acceptable. Showing that she didn"t really need her flute and could cause shockwaves... much stronger shockwaves than she showed in the match... with any kind of sound was definitely not acceptable.
That said, Kimimaro was holding back a lot too so there was nothing Tayuya could complain about.
Or so Kimimaro thought, too satisfied with his victory to notice that....
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