In the falling rain, two fighters were shifting back and forth on the back alley like a pair of dancers.
“Kid, you might as well give up now. Cut your losses. Your fist cannot reach me.” the Egalitarian said with a confident look on his face.
Although it sounded as if he was taunting Mwana, this was not the case. He was completely confident in his defense. After-all, the [Law of Equals] was a form of martial arts that controlled combat rhythm. Both the fighter and their opponent’s rhythm were restrained to the same tempo and synchronized creating a strange illusion as if the fighters were dancing together. However, this meant that while Mwana found it hard to land a blow on Code E – the Egalitarian, the latter also could not harm Mwana using this fighting style. Nevertheless, Code E did not have much to worry about as he was with fellow gang members who would back him up while he tied Mwana down. He was sure victory was his.
He could not have been more wrong!
When Mwana was still engaged in the fight against the Egalitarian, a knife swiftly and silently approached him from where his blind-spot should have been. It was Skylark’s attack. However, with Mwana’s perception, how could he not sense it? It was nearly impossible to catch him off-guard and this time with a sideways spin, Mwana dodged the knife easily.
After dodging it, the knife was on the trajectory to land on Mwana’s opponent who was in front of him. As Mwana had only dodged the knife by a hair’s breadth at the last instance, the Egalitarian had not even seen the knife before it was already at his chest! ‘Skylark, are you trying to kill me too you bastard! But I can still…’
The Egalitarian’s thoughts were interrupted by a sharp pain on the right side of his chest. ‘What?! How?!’ His body had only started dodging the knife yet it was already halfway in him. In front of him, Mwana’s body was like an outstretched spring, coiled, twisted but still hitting the mark. His attack was a long range 360 degree kick that had been launched even when Mwana was twisting sideways without any leverage. The kick had landed right on the knife handle driving it into his opponent’s right shoulder-to-chest area. While the Egalitarian had been out of Mwana’s kicking distance all along, the range of this kick was extremely large as it was augmented by Mwana's massive spring-like power.
Even when the opponent was out of Mwana’s effective range by over a meter, the kick still landed.
This specific attack combined the spring-like power learned through Dambe training and the striking power of the 100 Iron Breaker Kicks thus Mwana aptly named it:
[Iron Breaker – Dambe Spring Kick].
“Aaaaaaaah!” The pain hit the Egalitarian all at once and he could not stop himself from screaming as he fell in the mud.
“E!!!,” Code F - the Forlorn Knight screamed out towards the Egalitarian who seemed to be falling in slow motion as he charged at Mwana. Although he was wearing a hooded cloak, the Forlorn Knight was a man with blonde hair which peaked out from under the dark hood. His hair looked like dirty and uneven straw. Further, his face was thin, sickly, and pale with an overall lanky appearance. As his black cloak had been torn apart by Mwana’s blows at certain sections, a silver knight’s armor was slightly visible underneath all the black. As he charged at Mwana, he swung one of his swords at Mwana’s side while pushing the other forward in a thrust aimed at Mwana’s center-mass.
‘[Gemini Guillotine], with my two swords, I can defeat anything.’ Since he learned martial arts, the Forlorn Knight had always been a dual wielder: a long sword on one hand and short sword that was pretty much a knife on the other.
“I cannot miss at this range. Huh!…” Although his attack had already reached Mwana, things did not go the knight’s way.
With someone attacking him head on, Mwana did not have any trouble avoiding this two-pronged stab and slash attack. His figure suddenly vanished like a ghost right in front of the knight’s eyes with the latter’s weapons tearing through Mwana’s afterimage like smoke. In the same motion, the long-sword was violently pulled from his hand flying away into the air while spinning madly. It had been kicked! But he did not see the kick itself.
‘Too fast! Where did he go?!’
In an instant, Mwana had already moved behind the knight and attacked swiftly with Skylark’s knife that he had pulled from the Egalitarian’s shoulder. The knife headed towards the knight’s waist at striking speeds as Mwana knew that would be one of the joints or weaknesses of the armor.
However, while Mwana was too fast for his opponent's eyes to capture, the Forlorn Knight was quick to react to Mwana’s instantaneous movement. With a simple yet elegant flip, the knight threw his own knife behind him and performed a blind catch with his free arm that had just lost the long-sword. The entire time, the knight’s body was still facing away from Mwana. Nevertheless, he caught the knife and managed to block Mwana’s incoming blow from behind without even looking back! It was pure warrior instinct.
With the force and momentum from Mwana’s knife thrust, the knight borrowed that power to pull away from the boy and in the same motion he managed to catch his long-sword which was coming down from the sky. When his feet landed on the ground, he did not pause to recollect himself but instead attacked right away, ‘This is the knights’ way.’
The attack was a straight sword thrust headed towards Mwana’s stomach. This time, Mwana did not even step away or step back. Instead, he dodged the sword by simply leaning sideways. In that moment, time seemed to have slowed down as the knight’s sword and body flew by Mwana’s body as he charged forward. For a moment, the 2 opponents locked eyes in this frozen world and both knew that the victor had already been decided.
Mwana responded to the sword thrust by grabbing his opponent’s wrist in place. When the knight finally stabilized himself from missing the blow, Mwana had already leaned back with one of his legs stepping on the knight’s knee. Like a released spring, Mwana’s body rotated backwards as he delivered a knee to the knight’s chin with one leg followed by a kick that sent his opponent flying upwards with the other leg. It was a back-flip that incorporated a flying knee and kick.
This attack sent the Forlorn Knight high into the sky before his body came crashing down and barreled through the muddy back alley. By the time he came to a stop, a long trench had been dug on the ground and a pile of mud was covering him. It was unknown whether he would wake up to fight again or not. The Forlorn Knight was down for the count!
Seeing others dropping like flies, the remaining gang members were like a berserk swam of flies as they threw themselves at Mwana. Even if they got injured in the process, they had to hold the boy down and tire him out otherwise they would lose this battle completely. Mwana found himself contending against Code C, Code I, Code M, Code S, Code W, and Code Z all at the same time. While most of them were injured, the 6 men threw all caution to the wind and attacked Mwana relentlessly.
“A battle of attrition?! I cannot continue this way.”
While it had only been a few minutes since the fight started, battling against many strong opponents was very draining to Mwana especially as it was a battle of physical might under the town’s normalization magic. Even though each person here had superhuman strength and stamina, it was still straining to fight without the ability to mobilize natural energy, magic, spiritual power, or other special powers.
Before Mwana could plan out his next move, a strong blow to his back sent him flying but he still managed to turn in midair and land on his feet. However, things were not so simple with this blow.
Although, the punch hit the shell of the tortoise on Mwana’s back (Jumatatu’s defensive spirit pet), it still reverberated through Mwana’s body. In fact, it created a tingling sensation throughout his body almost making him almost puke.
For an instant, Mwana’s body was wracked with deep nerve pain. Worse of all, in the chaotic scuffle, Mwana could not exactly pinpoint who the attacker was out of the 6 men but they were a total danger.
‘Whoever it is, they are absolutely dangerous! What if that attack landed directly?’ With this thought, Mwana turned towards the 6 men before coming to a decision, “Aiya! I cannot continue like this at all. Looks like I have no choice but to use ‘that’…”
[Build up the power. Cycle it through your body, flesh, blood, muscle, skin, and bones. Let the fire rise within you, consume you, empower you, drive you. Ignite!]
With this mantra, everyone watched as steam started to rise from Mwana’s body even amidst the contrasting falling rain.
“Quick, stop him!” Sensing danger, Code C – the Cipher quickly instructed the other men as he rushed to interrupt whatever Mwana was doing.
However, they were too late. The moment three of the men reached him, they were blasted back by a strong concussive force that seemed to have emerged from thin air.
At the same time, a drunken euphoric feeling arose in Mwana’s mind almost overwhelming him.
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Heheee!” The boy could not help but let off a crazy drunken laugh as he settled in this state. To everyone else he looked manic!
A strong power filled Mwana’s entire body creating vague sounds of blood rushing, crashing waves, and roaring creatures. It was draconic power!
This was the first time Mwana activated the power of his bloodline in battle!
However, as he was still inexperienced in utilizing bloodline power, the power of his bloodline muddled his mind almost consuming most of his rationality. This led to a state akin to drunkenness. This was because even when compared to Maji 1 who could use bloodline-specific martial arts such as [Heart Burning Ice] and freely utilize some of the Pweza (Octopus) bloodline’s innate abilities such as the [Ink Dark Domain], Mwana was still very green when it came to using his bloodline in combat.
“The kid is out of it. Attack all at once!” The Cipher took charge once again commanding the men as he rushed towards Mwana spear in hand.
The Cipher’s weapon was a long red metallic spear the size of two men with a giant spearhead. Even when he was more than 5 meters away from the dazed-looking Mwana, the tip of the spearhead was already poking Mwana’s forehead!
Chapter 86.1: Bonus Chapter 4 – the Codes
The Codes of the 15 Red Hawk gang members that Mwana battles are:
A – Apotheosis
B – Barracuda [Storm Barracuda]
C – Cipher
D – Demon [Demon Hand]
E – Egalitarian
F – Forlorn [Forlorn Knight]
G – Grappler
I – Iron [Iron Jaw]
M – Machete [Papa Machete]
P – Phantom [Phantom Hands]
R – Raze [Raze-fire]
S – Skylark | Scorpion (a unique shared code)
T – Time-bolt
W – Willow [Willow Battle Wizard]
Z – Zero
There are other Codes who are not present as there are 26 Codes in total. The letters do not represent strength; instead, they represent rank. In terms of strength, each Code has their own specialty.
Apart from the Codes, The Red Hawk Gang also has other squads such as the Numbers, the Bandit Unit, the Irregulars, and the Beasts of Burden among others.