Recca and Kurei now face each other in a decisive showdown. Both armed with the incredible power to control flames, they are locked in the final battle of the deadly assassins' tournament. Worn down from the fight, they both unleash one fantastic final blow that destroys the massive coliseum they battle in. From the rubble the winner will emerge... but who will it be?

Above from volume's back cover
First released in English: January 2006
Characters featured on cover: Recca and Homura

Chapter 148: The Final Karyu

Recca summons Madoka to trap flame Jisho and immediately calls on Nadare to blast him while inside Madoka. Kurenai appears after flame Jisho is extinguished and grabs Recca, holding him as Jisho reappears and starts punching him. Recca manages to get free and Kurei comments on Recca's improvement. However, he goes on to say that Recca is still a loser and his dragons are nothing to fear. The crowd watches in fear as Kurei takes Recca down, believing that he's lost. Yanagi yells at them to never say that and that Recca will win. At that moment Recca gets back on his feet. The old man returns, stating that Recca has great mental strength and he'll need it to beat Kurei. The old man jumps towards the arena and transforms into a one eyed dragon.

Chapter 149: Koku's Flame

The old man is really one of the Karyu, known as Koku. He tells Recca that he seems to be in trouble, to which Recca replies with a growl that he isn't. Recca demands to know where he's been and Koku jokes that the star only appears when things get interesting. Koku's kanji appears on Recca's arm and the dragon disappears inside him. Recca says that Koku might have only just gotten there but he's going to use him right away. A sphere of flame appears and grows in front of Koku's mouth and Recca commands him to hit Kurei right between the eyes. Raiha senses the power of the attack and shouts for Kurei to run. Kurei, however, just stands frozen in place as Koku unleashes a laser beam of fire. The beam destroys part of the roof of the dome, completely missing Kurei. Everyone, including Team Hokage, are in shock at the power of the attack. Tokiya comments that Koku's flame is a laser cannon. Recca yells out to the crowd that if they don't want to die they need to get out now. The crowd doesn't understand why until Kukai shouts to them what they think would happen if Recca combines Koku's laser cannon with Nadare's ability to shoot multiple times. Taking the hint, everyone panics, rushing for the exits. While everyone is leaving the dome, Recca grins and tells Kurei to give him a minute, then they can kill each other in private. Yanagi refuses to leave and Recca throws a shuriken at her, which she catches. Recca tells her it's a genuine Hokage shuriken that his mom gave him. He asks her to keep it safe for him, saying that it's his most prized possession. Kurei gets angry, saying that Recca had Koku miss him on purpose, calling him arrogant. Koku warns Recca that he's reaching his limit to use the Karyu.

Chapter 150: Conclusion

With the building clear, only Recca and Kurei remain inside. Kashamaru and Tsukishiro think Recca was exaggerating about the building getting destroyed in the fight. Gashakura warns them that they should worry about protecting themselves if it collapses. Mori's guests question the outcome of the match but Mori reassures them that Kurei will win before making a quick exit. Back inside the arena, both brothers are sure of themselves and Recca starts the fight up again by summoning Nadare. Kurei summons Jisho and Kurenai. Outside, Domon wonders if Recca will be okay and Fuuko say Recca promised he would be and he never lies. Raiha tells Neon to keep an eye on Kurei. She asks him where he's off to and he jokes that he needs to use the bathroom before rushing off. Recca uses Koku to enlarge Nadare's fireballs and Koku tells him to brace himself because he might be the last Karyu Recca can summon. Recca acknowledges that he understands. He then orders Koku to fire and each of Nadare's super powered fireballs shoot towards Kurei. The power of the fireballs destroys the entire building, horrifying the onlookers outside. Joker uses his Madogu to protect some members of the crowd from flying debris, as does Gashakura. Mori is getting ready to release something, saying that he no longer cares who wins the fight.

Chapter 151: Out of the Rubble

Everyone wonders where Recca and Kurei are. Domon starts digging; calling for Recca saying, "the Recca Hanabishi I know wouldn't let a little old collapsing coliseum kill him!" Fuuko joins him in saying that Recca has to be sleeping somewhere safe and sound. While digging she notices Yanagi digging too. Kukai orders everyone to help out. Almost immediately someone spots a hand, Kurei's. Neon cries in relief while Kurei yells for Recca to come out, that he can’t die because he wants to be the one to kill him. Some onlookers wonder why, thinking that Kurei should be happy either way as long as Recca is dead. Yanagi, breathing heavy and hands all bloody from digging, says that Recca is alive because he promised her that he'd see her later. As she speaks, Recca uses his bombs to free himself from the rubble. Everyone is relieved to see Recca is okay. He waves to Tatsuko, the dragon referee, who is crying. She announces that both fighters are alive and to continue the battle. Recca and Kurei throw equally strong punches, sending each other falling back. Kagero says that the power used to destroy the dome "depleted their powers," forcing the brothers to fight using hand-to-hand combat.

Chapter 152: Hand-to-Hand Combat

Joker notices that Recca isn't moving right, meaning he has some broken bones. Kurei tells Recca that he has no right to call himself a ninja. That he'd never understand because he doesn't know loss. He asks Recca if he knows how it feels to lose a loved one. Kurei stomps on Recca's head while ranting about how good a life he's had. He brings up Recca's fight with Kukai, that when he had asked Recca if he'd kill to protect Yanagi, Recca said he'd do things his own way. Kurei says that that is a child's answer. Kurei hits Recca on the head with a rock, angering the crowd. Mokuren asks them what's not fair about it. He says that all weapons are allowed so a rock is no different. Mokuren knows that Kurei is going easy on Recca, that he's trying to show him that happiness and anguish exist side by side, that he'll know hell. While Kurei speaks he thinks about all the people he loved that he couldn't save, and the people that killed them. He says that he won't kill Recca yet; he wants him to see Yanagi taken from him first. Kurei goes to hit Recca again with a pole, but Recca catches it in time. Recca calls himself an idiot and admits that he doesn't know if he's right or wrong, that he isn't trying to be a hero. Recca delivers a powerful punch that knocks Kurei down.

Chapter 153: A Burden of Sorrow

Recca admits that he's impressed by Kurei's will after suffering so much. That after Neon told him about what happened he wasn't sure if he could fight him. Kurei says that the fact he hesitates is proof of his weakness. Recca goes on to say that he's over that hesitation because he's got his own burden. Kurei becomes enraged, asking him what he could possibly have that's such a heavy burden. Kagero, he says, his mother can never die because of the Jikuu Ryuuri spell she cast to send him into the future. That she's cursed to watch everyone she loves grow old and die, including himself eventually. Kurei is shocked that the spell has that kind of power and that that's the power Mori has been searching for. Recca continues, saying that he wants to break the spell so she'll be free. He also wants to free the eight dragons’ souls from being sealed within him by fulfilling his duty to protect his master. That would erase the eight Enjutsushi of their regrets and they could pass on. But if he fails, he’ll become the ninth Karyu. He never wanted to be the leader of Hokage, but he has to, as the Karyu are the essence of the old Hokage. Meno asks Kukai how Recca can shoulder a burden like that and not run away. He says it's because of the blood of the Hokage ninja. Kurei yells that Recca doesn't deserve the title, as he's never suffered a great loss. Recca demands to know why he thinks that gives him the right to take away the lives and happiness of others. That Kurei is nothing more than a bullied kid who's decided to bully others. He punches Kurei hard enough to shatter his mask. Recca tells him to stop bringing up the past and how bad he's had it. That their fight is about the here and now, not the past. Kurei smiles, saying that idiots like Recca have it easy. Recca just grins.

Chapter 154: Shinobi of Flame

Kurei engulfs himself in flames, Kagero thinks that he shouldn't have that much energy left. Kurei says that all members of Uruha Kurenai hide behind masks because they've all got secrets to hide. Joker jokingly tells Neon that he's hiding his true identity. She asks him what he's trying to say. He says that Kurei hides behind a mask so no one can see his heart. He says that Kurei ordered him to cut Kaoru, but not to kill. Kurei didn't want Kaoru dead, he just wanted him injured to he'd be safe in a hospital bed away from danger. Neon asks him if he targeted Saicho instead because he wanted to fight Kaoru. As for Recca, Joker says that Kurei showed his human side to him, that Recca is the only one he can be his true self around. Kurei summons Kurenai and Jisho, asking them to give him their strength to beat Recca. Recca shouts that he'll protect his princess. He hits Kurei hard, knocking him out. Recca is declared the winner.

Chapter 155: A Wildly Spinning Cog

Yanagi hugs Recca as the crowd cheers for Recca's win, including many of their former enemies. Circus thanks Team Hokage before they pass on. Mokuren calls Mori to deliver the news of Kurei's loss and leaves. Yanagi returns Recca's treasure to him and cries in happiness that he's safe. Tokiya hits him in the head for making her cry and admits to being worried about him. Recca starts hitting him back while onlookers comment on how Tokiya was digging through the debris harder than anyone. Joker approaches Kaoru and suggests that Kurei acting so cold towards him was just an act. This causes Kaoru to look towards the area Kurei passed out, only to find him missing. Others look and notice too, saying that he ran away in shame. Recca yells to shut up, saying that none of them knows what Kurei had been through. He comments that Kurei might anger him, but he can't be written off as a bad guy. Recca thinks about how for a second he saw Kurei's human side, and hopes that he can still be a good guy someday. Recca asks Tokiya where Fuuko and Domo had disappeared to; he says they needed to blow off some steam. The scene changes to Fuuko and Domon beating up the spectators in Mori's lounge that were betting on their deaths. One of them says it was all Mori's idea, but that he disappeared. The scene changes yet again to Kurei standing on a cliff, thinking over his fight with Recca, wondering why Recca of all people has brought him peace. An unknown attacker then attacks him from behind.

Chapter 156: True Evil Awakens

Kurei's attacker is revealed to be a woman, along with Mori and some of his men. Mori taunts him, asking him if he sensed their presence. Mokuren attacks him only for Mori to order him to restrain himself, as he'd like to talk to Kurei. Mori introduces the woman as Renge, a clone he created using genes from both Kurei and Kurenai. Enraged, Kurei moves to attack him, only for Renge to use arrows made of fire to stop him. She calls him big brother with a smile on her face as Mori tells her she's a good girl for protecting daddy. He explains to Kurei that her mind is only as advanced as that of a newborn. She only does what he says, and doesn't plot against him like he knew Kurei was. Mori admits that he has feared Kurei, so in order to change that he had Genjuro create a doll with Kurei's powers that he could easily control. So when Kurei came to him about starting another Urabutosatsujin to fight Recca he agreed. When he saw the powers of Team Hokage, he knew that in the end they would beat Kurei. He reveals that while he wanted Yanagi, the true purpose behind the tournament was always Kurei’s death. Kurei says that Yanagi will never be his now at least, because Team Hokage will always protect her. Mori kicks him, saying that he no longer needs him as his goal now is to get the ultimate Madogu, the Tendo Jigoku (Heaven Shrine Hell). Kurei is shocked, saying that he read about it. It must not be awakened, as it is unstoppable, that it would kill Team Hokage. Mori takes out a hand held device and pushes it, saying that his adoptive mother is no more. Enraged by grief, Kurei attempts one last attack, only for Renge to step up. Recca suddenly gets a bad feeling at the very moment Renge makes a move to kill Kurei. Neon saves him at the last moment, only for them to fall into the ocean down below.

Chapter 157: The Third Urabutosatsujin Ends

The Zodiac Girls hold a final ceremony to honor those that died during the tournament and to give out awards to the winners. Uruha Ma getting third, Uruha Kurenai getting second (though none are there), and first place is Team Hokage… with only Domon on the podium. The rest of Team Hokage stands in the crowd, Recca saying that podiums aren't their thing. Tokiya suggests dragging Domon off the podium because he's embarrassing them. Kukai appears and agrees with Recca on not caring for this type of thing before telling them it was fun fighting them, but the next time Team Ku will win. On his way back to the team, Domon trips and drops their trophy, breaking off its head. Fuuko demands Domon pay them 600 million yen and Tokiya asks her how she knows its worth. Recca looks on before getting a bad feeling. He turns to see a man with white hair watching him before disappearing. Kagero asks him if something's wrong, to which he says it's nothing. A shadowy figure approaches the mysterious man, asking him if he's so interested in Recca then why didn’t he enter the tournament too. She admits to being shocked that Kurei could have lost and asks if he'll kill them all. She laughs and says, "I see…" As everyone leaves the ceremony, Domon enjoys the attention; Meno thanks Recca; Fuuko hangs with Team Uruha Ma plus Fujimaru; Saicho gives Kaoru a shattered piece of Kurei's mask, to which he smiles; and Tokiya pays his respects to Kai. Yanagi approaches Recca and says that now they can return home and go back to school again, he agrees. Tatsuko congratulates him and says that she hopes they'll see each other again soon. She turns to Yanagi and orders her to hang onto him, that good men are hard to find. Yanagi agrees and the team heads off home again.