Ever since the Three Battles entered its latter half, the public murmurings started to veer towards a certain topic —would the previous champion be able to defend her crown? Who was going to be the new king of the Three Battles.
Every other topic was merely an accessory to that topic; something you touch on summarily and move on.
“This year’s forfeiture rate is really high, looks like a lot of the contestants have already decided on a king in their hearts.”
“Up till now, the biggest dark horse has to be Double Seventeen of the Battle of Purity, right? To think he was even able to defeat the previous champion of Purity, his strength has grown a lot this year.”
“What about Di Qi Ju from the Death matches, I still don’t see how anyone can defeat him, I wonder what would happen when he encounters Sword Soul.”
Of course, the whole process of this competition or even victory had never once been my focal point. Rather, I should say they weren’t even able to become a highlight in my life.
These past few days, all I had on my mind was one thing: getting out of this mess as soon as possible and abandoning this lifestyle.
Today was the deciding match for the top eight for Purity. Dragging myself out of bed earlier than usual, I hurried off to school to meet Poppy.
Di Qi Ju: Morning. Want to head to the Grand Coliseum together?
Perhaps it was because there so happened to be no one around, Poppy seemed a lot more intimate than usual. Eyes narrowed into slits as she beamed, she instantly pressed herself against my face.
Poppy: Hmm, let’s see…today should be the Battle of Purity, right? Weren’t you kicked out long ago?
Di Qi Ju: Ah haha…I have a friend participating today so I’m heading there as well.
Poppy: Is it that friend who defeated you? Well, aren’t you big hearted, I still remember how you lost so badly that day that you had to bury your head in my breasts.
Di Qi Ju: Err…sorry about that.
Poppy: It’s alright, you can stay by my side all day long if you want…
Poppy: [Assuming you sincerely want that].
Di Qi Ju: Ah, of course.
At that time, I still didn’t understand the meaning behind her words.
Di Qi Ju:Honestly…Hilda Karlyle’s test should end pretty soon.
Di Qi Ju:I met with her recently and discussed my theories with her along with the corresponding evidence.
Di Qi Ju: Even though the Three Battles is already nearing its completion, the fact that the sinner still hasn’t shown up means that the likelihood of him appearing in the following matches gets higher with every passing match.
Poppy: …so you’re saying he’ll appear today?
I shook my head lightly.
Di Qi Ju: Well, at the very least, all the following matches are worth paying attention to, that’s why I hope that you’ll be by my side.
Di Qi Ju:If something were to happen to you in the meantime, wouldn’t that mean that all my work had been for naught?
Di Qi Ju:The only way I’ll find any peace of mind is if you are by my side.
Poppy:Truly…I didn’t expect you to become such a clingy person.
Having said that, she then buried her head into my chest and I hugged her in response.
Even though the weather was so hot today, I still could clearly make out her body temperature.
That warmth, it was something I would never forget.
Poppy: —alright, then I’ll just have to stay by your side forever.
MC: Ladies and gentlemen of the audience, subjects of our beloved kingdom, faithful of Westrealm!
MC: For the opening match of our quarterfinals today, we have, on one hand, a familiar warrior and on the other, we have a lively new contender!
MC: First off! We have the top sixteen of the previous Battle of Purity, “Double Seventeen”!
MC: He is the biggest dark horse in the Battle of Purity right now, having defeated the previous champion of Purity not too long ago to enter the top eight! Without a doubt, he is one of the hottest prospects to win this year’s Purity!
MC: However, against his opponent today, can he still claim supremacy?
MC: —will his opponent, Halfmoon Leak’age, please come on stage!
MC: Halfmoon Leak’age comes from a distant kingdom in the south and using his amazing physical abilities, he battled through the matches of Purity and Righteousness!
MC: While we don’t know the reason why he gave up on the Battle of Righteousness, we know for sure he hasn’t given up on the championship title for Purity! Not only that, his battle style is a perfect fit for Purity!
MC: Based on that alone, we can tell that he has steeled himself for a big showing today! Today’s match is bound to be an exciting battle between titans!
MC: And now, will both parties exchange their opening words—
Double Seventeen: ……
Double Seventeen: I’ve seen your matches so far. Compared to them, you seem more relaxed today.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Ah, it’s not like there’s anything to be anxious about. I merely have to fight according to my instincts.
Double Seventeen: Oh? Don’t you wish to defeat me and become the champion?
Halfmoon Leak’age:Champion huh…
Halfmoon Leak’age:Sounds meaningless, that isn’t what I’m after,
Double Seventeen: Haha…you’re joking. There’s no person in the Three Battles who joined without a goal of some sort.
Double Seventeen: There must’ve been some desire that led you here.
Halfmoon Leak’age: A desire…
Halfmoon Leak’age:—shut it, we’re done talking.
Double Seventeen: Huh…
Double Seventeen: I guess that’s true as well.
In front of the colossal Double Seventeen, Halfmoon Leak’age looked more like a child than anything.
Even so, Halfmoon Leak’age didn’t gaze at his opponent’s face at all and merely maintained his eyes at chest level.
At the same time, his opponent didn’t look down at him either.
Seeing that, Halfmoon Leak’age was suddenly struck by the strangeness of this situation. Why did he keep looking over his head as if there was something in the distance?
What kind of strange battle tactic was this? He never knew that Double Seventeen had such a strange tactic.
Double Seventeen: …
Double Seventeen: It’s you…
That’s right, his eyes were already focused elsewhere outside of this battle as if they had been entranced by some distant existence.
He wasn’t able to avert his eyes at all…from those blood red eyes…
Those were a pair of terrifying eyes, eyes that he had never forgotten since those years ago.
It was those eyes that destroyed his future.
As those unfulfilled goals shattered before his eyes, a strange sense of vulnerability overtook him after which his mind collapsed without any warning whatsoever.
Double Seventeen: No…it’s not true…
Halfmoon Leak’age: …huh??
Double Seventeen: It’s not like that at all…it’s not my fault!
Halfmoon Leak’age:What are you mumbling about? I’ll just help myself then—
Halfmoon Leak’age:You brat…
Even from the audience stands, I could see that something strange was going on.
Di Qi Ju:…what happened?
Poppy: I’m not sure.
MC: —what is going on here? Ever since they exchanged words, they’ve been in a daze.
MC: Are they still sizing up each other? No, it doesn’t seem like that at all!
MC: For some reason Halfmoon Leak’age seems livid even though Double Seventeen hasn’t even said anything particularly offensive yet!
MC: As for Double Seventeen, he seems to be terrified of something!
MC: Exactly what is going on here…Ah! Halfmoon Leak’age has made his move!
It wasn’t the sound of a fist hitting something but rather it was the sound of a blade swiftly slicing into flesh.
In that moment of astonished silence, Halfmoon Leak’age’s hands which were straightened out as if they were blades viciously sliced into Double Seventeen’s waist and drew blood.
One after the other, lines of red started appearing all over Double Seventeen’s body. However, he had no intention of fighting back at all and merely huddled up with his hands wrapped around his head.
Even though this was supposed to be a battle of punches, each and every swing of his hands easily sliced apart Double Seventeen’s flesh as if they were a pair of razor sharp blades.
Halfmoon Leak’age wanted to murder him; he truly wanted to murder Double Seventeen!
Exactly what happened down there?? How did the two of them suddenly end up like that!!
Double Seventeen: It’s not my fault…really…it’s not my fault…
Halfmoon Leak’age:You brat—you bast*rd—what did you do to this master!?
Halfmoon Leak’age:You actually dared to take away this master’s chance at redemption!?!?
Poppy: That…Little Ju, what should we do?
Di Qi Ju:…I don’t know but should I stop him?
This sudden development had the entire coliseum in a panic, back on the stands, a number of audience members were already tossing whatever they could get their hands on at the contestants.
As for the staff members of the Three Battles, they were already rushing onto the scene to try and stop the berserk Halfmoon Leak’age.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Scram–!
*bam bam bam bam*—Four nearly invisible kicks later, the four staff members could be seen flying out of the arena stage having just been dealt a bunch of flying kicks from Halfmoon Leak’age. Looking at the force he used, those four staff members probably wouldn’t be getting up any time soon.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Double Seventeen, this master wants you dead—!
??: How about you sleep for now, kid.
*poof* A wisp of smoke shot out from behind him and enveloped his head. Out of pure instinct, he turned around to try and face this sudden intruder but just as he did so, his world went black and his body fell to the ground.
At that, a couple of people dressed in the garb of a clergyman appeared out of nowhere in the center of the ring. One of them gave Halfmoon Leak’age a light kick after which she walked up to the cowering and still bleeding Double Seventeen.
Di Qi Ju:—it’s Hilda Karlyle and Conney.
Di Qi Ju: Don’t tell me, Double Seventeen he…
Hilda Karlyle: Raise your head, Double Seventeen.
Double Seventeen: …huh?
As he did so, there was nothing reflected in his eyes at all.
His consciousness had long since left his body.
Hilda Karlyle: In the name of the Divine Hall, you’re under arrest, Double Seventeen.
Hilda Karlyle: You’ve employed a wish ability that goes against the ironclad order of God. You’re a sinner before the eyes of the faithful.
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Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.