Today, the audience stands were noticeably different than before.
The stands were filled to the brim as always, except for a certain corner which only had two people seated there. Looking at that scene, it seemed like the audience cleared a circular space for the two of them to be alone.
However, it wasn’t that these two people were that hated but rather this action was done out of respect.
Obviously, this show of respect was only targeted at one of the two. As for the other half of the pair, whispers and finger pointing were reserved for him instead.
Carmen: Oh my, the people here don’t seem to like you very much, did you commit some crime in Skills?
One’day High: I’m willing to bet half a wish that they are just jealous of me. (TL: Wish-> currency of this world.)
Carmen: Just half a wish? What a cheap gambler you are.
One’day High: Well, who told me to be a freeloading pauper right now.
Carmen: Hmm? I’ll take the blame for that, so what now?
One’day High: Well..
One’day High: The person who takes the blame should be punished as well, right?
Carmen: Oh, how do you plan on punishing me?
One’day High: Let me think…
Di Qi Ju:—how about you don’t. Aren’t you afraid of getting lynched for flirting in public like that?
Having just arrived not too long ago with Breman, I truly couldn’t imagine what would’ve happened had we allowed them to continue flirting like that.
Breman: That doesn’t matter, does it? Either way, he won’t be one of my men soon.
Carmen: Ah, what a heartless superior.
One’day High: Let’s leave that aside for now. So what are your thoughts on today’s battle?
Breman: Halfmoon Leak’age vs Nine Heaven?
Di Qi Ju:What I really want to hear is Lady Carmen’s opinions.
Carmen:Me huh, in my opinion…
Carmen: They are both evenly matched.
Carmen: I’ve seen all of their matches so far and I have to say, their fighting styles are rather different.
Carmen: Halfmoon is more a stable warrior and will try to maintain his lead till the end without giving his opponents any chance to counter.
Carmen: Nine Heaven ,on the other hand, is a more confident and proactive fighter. While he might seem rough on the surface, there are some nuances hidden within. Schemes and petty tricks aren’t going to work on a fighter like him.
Carmen: My prediction is that it will be a hard, hard battle for both of them.
Carmen: As an obstacle for Nine Heaven, his chances aren’t as absolute as One’day would suggest.
One’day High: Ah ah, revenge huh…all that is just a distraction now that I’ve met you again. I don’t care that much about the outcome of this battle anymore.
Carmen: Haha, you’d better not let Halfmoon Leak’age hear you say that.
Di Qi Ju:…
Di Qi Ju:My views aren’t exactly the same as Lady Carmen’s.
Breman: Hmm? You think there’s a noticeable gap between the two of them?
Di Qi Ju: That’s right. The fact that the current Halfmoon Leak’age chose to continue in the Righteousness Battle instead of giving up straight away like in his Death match shows how well he knows himself.
Di Qi Ju: In other words, he knows extremely well what his current identity is able to do and not do.
Di Qi Ju: So…
One’day High: So?
Di Qi Ju: So his victory is a given. There’s no way Nine Heaven can win.
Judge: —will the two contestants, “Halfmoon Leak’age” and “Nine Heaven”, exchange their opening words please!
Halfmoon Leak’age: How’s that “hot and cold dizziness” working out for you, Nine Heaven?
Halfmoon Leak’age:Oh, seems like it hasn’t been cured yet.
Nine Heaven:…you’re one of One’day High’s companions, aren’t you? Well, what do you want?
Halfmoon Leak’age: Nothing really, we’re just having a match right now.
Halfmoon Leak’age: I’ve already seen all of your moves. If I’m not mistaken, you have a wish ability that allows you to penetrate anything that stands in your way. Even without a weapon, that ability affords you greater penetrative power than those who did.
Nine Heaven: Hmph, I know of your abilities as well—
Halfmoon Leak’age: —oh really?
Nine Heaven: …?
Halfmoon Leak’age: Have you truly grasped all the information on me?
Nine Heaven: That’s right.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Well then, I just have to apologize in advance.
Nine Heaven: Huh? Apologize?
Halfmoon Leak’age: Whether or not you truly understand me, you’re going to have to leave this Grand Coliseum face down.
Nine Heaven: —
There were no more words after that and instead there was a flurry of kicks and punches.
Whoosh, whoosh. That was the sound of two kicks missing simultaneously. The both of them had deftly dodged the kicks of the other.
Immediately after that, Halfmoon Leakage threw a punch at Nine Heaven but it was easily avoided by a twist of his head. Seeing a chance, Nine Heaven tried to grab his outstretched arm but before he could do so, Halfmoon Leak’age retracted it with an unbelievable speed.
A second later, he felt a blunt force strike his abdominal region.
If he was to retreat now, it would undoubtedly create a huge window of opportunity for his to take advantage of. Knowing Halfmoon Leak’age’s battle style, he would definitely chase him down.
Such a thought passed through Nine Heaven’s head in an instant.
He tightened his abdomen and welcomed the punch head on. At the same time, his fist curved around for a quick jab at Halfmoon Leak’age’s waist.
Nine Heaven: (An equal trade. His next move would probably be to distance himself…)
Unfortunately, Halfmoon Leak’age had no such intention at all. Without even retracting his fist from Nine Heaven’s abdomen, he swiftly aimed at the armpits of Nine Heaven’s outstretched arm.
Whenever an attack was made, there was a blank period right after; Halfmoon Leak’age seemed to be unwilling to let his opponent have such an opportunity at all.
Nine Heaven: (He plans to turn this into a trading fight huh…in that case, the odds favor the one with greater strength.)
Nine Heaven: (—in a fight of strength and endurance, can I even lose?)
In the face of Halfmoon Leak’age’s follow up attack, he confidently threw out a counterattack of his own.
Both of them struck out with their remaining free hand without even pulling back with their other in order to avoid that wind down period after each attack. Such a close succession of blows turned this fight into a battle of speed and power.
Seeing his fist about to connect with Halfmoon Leak’age’s, he laughed complacently. He knew that his fist wouldn’t miss while his opponent’s was destined to hit nothing.
*whoosh*—as if he had disappeared into thin air, there was suddenly nothing standing in front of Halfmoon Leak’age.
Less than half a meter behind him, a fist in the midst of punching appeared out of thin air and continued rushing towards his back in a bid to finish its attack.
This teleportation-like ability was the most important skill Nine Heaven relied on for survival.
No one had ever defended against such an attack. Furthermore, once he used it, there would be no second chances for his opponent.
As his gaze locked onto the back of Halfmoon Leak’age’s head, he could almost picture the aftermath of his punch:
— his fist would connect with Halfmoon Leak’age’s back and stun him for a second. Using that opening, he would knock him out with a swift blow to his head and win the match.
Nine Heaven: (Oh right, I need to make sure I hit to the side a little otherwise I might break the rules. Given how fragile the back of one’s head is, l need to make sure not to exert lethal force…)
Now that his follow up plan was set, this match was basically in the bag.
*bang*! A hit!
Behind him, the burning pain left Nine Heaven stunned for moment. At that very instant, his eyes went wide as he stared at the empty space in front of him.
Nine Heaven: How…how is that possible…
Halfmoon Leak’age: I bet your next move would be to knockout your opponent, right?
As Halfmoon Leak’age’s voice echoed in his ears, Nine Haven was struck with a sense of fear he had never experienced before.
Halfmoon Leak’age: However, I won’t do that, I’ll give you another chance.
Nine Heaven: —!
With a forceful roll forward, Nine Heaven immediately widened the distance between the two of them and turned back to face his opponent from a crouched position.
On his opponent’s face was a very familiar expression. It was an expression he saw reflected in Halfmoon Leak’age’s eyes when they met for the first time. In fact, this expression was present in all of the matches he fought…
What was it…
…that’s right, that was the expression he had on whenever victory was in his grasp.
Arrogance, disdain and a hint of maliciousness.
To think the day would come where he would experience it for himself as well. What an agonizing experience it was…
Nine Heaven: You…you have the same ability as well?
Halfmoon Leak’age: If I had it, I would’ve told you at the start in accordance with the rules.
A wide grin crossed the lips of Halfmoon Leak’age. A grin that seemed impossible to retract.
Halfmoon Leak’age: That was nothing more than the result of my hand-eye coordination, Nine Heaven.
Halfmoon Leak’age: This master doesn’t even need a wish ability to accomplish such a feat!
Nine Heaven: (What a joke…such a feat, was it even possible with a human’s reflexes?)
Halfmoon Leak’age: You’d better stand up, Nine Heaven.
Halfmoon Leak’age: This master said he will give you a second chance but that chance isn’t for you to give up…
As Halfmoon Leak’age’s five fingers clenched together, the smile on his face disappeared completely.
Halfmoon Leak’age:—what this master gave you was the chance to fight back!
Nine Heaven: Kuh ugh—!!!
The titanic force seemingly stopped his heart for a couple of seconds and immediately after that, he flew away.
Nine Heaven: (Impossible…how is this possible…)
Nine Heaven: (I already put so much distance between us. No matter what he throws at me, I should be able to react to it…)
Nine Heaven: (All I did was blink so how did he hit my heart…)
Nine Heaven: (This guy…he’s a monster as well…)
Nine Heaven: (A monster like Di Qi Ju…)
Nine Heaven: ….
Unfortunately, Nine Heaven’s consciousness didn’t last to see himself land on the floor. Even up to the very last second, it was stuck in that instant of free falling, of fear, of disbelief and of unwillingness.
The judges immediately rushed onto the stage and after confirming that Nine Heaven’s life wasn’t in danger, carted him off.
That entire battle lasted less than ten seconds; it was an overwhelming victory for Halfmoon Leak’age.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Hah–
Lifting his head to look at the scorching sun, he was oblivious to the frenzied shouting in the background.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Has my wish ability lost its powers….
Halfmoon Leak’age:…no, no it hasn’t.
Halfmoon Leak’age: This was nothing more than a small interlude on my road to redemption, because…
Halfmoon Leak’age:—this master is still this master in the end.
Breman: Nothing new to report on my side. What about yours?
Di Qi Ju:…same, no progress as well.
Breman: The first round between the top thirty two contestants has ended and yet there is still no sign of the sinner. How strange.
Di Qi Ju: Should we consider the possibility that he no longer wishes to use his ability to steal another person’s wish abilities?
Breman: Or perhaps he no longer needs to do so.
Di Qi Ju: If that’s the case, my test can only end in failure.
Breman: Not yet, until the end of the Three Battles, there’s still a chance. I have to think of a contingency plan as well.
Di Qi Ju:Mhm…
Di Qi Ju:Breman, I want to pay a visit to Clergyman Hilda.
Breman: …what for? If it’s just to gripe, I suggest you don’t.
Di Qi Ju: No, I just want to inform her about the matters regarding the first victim.
Breman: The mechanist Naphier? What about her?
Di Qi Ju: I gained some information from her side. Even though there’s still no concrete proof, I have a suspect in mind.
Di Qi Ju: As of right now, that person has the highest probability of being the sinner.
Di Qi Ju: As for the conclusion, I think it would be better if I shared it after running it through Hilda Karlyle.
Breman: …alright then, make sure to watch your attitude, don’t say anything you didn’t intend to.
Di Qi Ju: I understand, I won’t lose my temper.
During the evening….
I made my way, by myself, to the connecting area between Reitdarke’s Corridor and the Divine Hall.
Within the Outer Ring’s guest hall, I informed an unknown clergyman of my identity and purpose after which I was handed over to an acquaintance.
Conney: Di Qi Ju, it has been a while.
Di Qi Ju: Ah, it has been a few days since we last met.
Given how things had worked out, this might be my last opportunity to see this clergyman who seemed to turn her surroundings white just by standing there. Unless, of course, she was willing to maintain contact with Poppy.
…naturally, all that was only true if I was able to successfully complete my test.
Conney: This way please.
That same dimensional door which looked like it came out of some fantasy novel appeared right before us once more.
No matter how many times I looked at it, I just couldn’t picture it fitting into the setting of this world. However, I had a mountain of more important matters to consider now.
Di Qi Ju:…?
Conney: Please enter.
Di Qi Ju:No, not that…
Conney: What are you staring at behind my back? Is there something there?
Di Qi Ju:No, it’s just…
Di Qi Ju: I just felt the existence of something really far away.
Conney: Existence of something?
Di Qi Ju:I don’t know…it just felt like there was something there all of a sudden.
Conney: It’s a [marking], isn’t it?
Conney: Did you use your wish points to leave a marking on someone?
Di Qi Ju:…??
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