Groans of several men echo throughout the surroundings of a courtyard, if someone didn’t know what the facility was beforehand they could easily mistake it as several ghosts haunting a graveyard. The perpetrator to this mess stood firmly before these poor folks as she said, “All right, get up now this was our last lesson. There still some room for improvement. However, this is it according to the contract.”
Slowly Luon, Tyron, Bendan, and Gizmo lined up before Instructor Lin who had just beaten them to a pulp as their final class. Combat level wise she was higher than them by a mile, with their abilities even scratching her would be a humongous amount of effort.
Lin, after making sure everyone was in order said, “The NG-Arms foundation development week is over, now it’s time to test your strength against other combatants in the arena. If you wish to step out now, come forth and pay me the fee to break the contract.”
To her remark, nobody made a move, for one the amount listed was ridiculously high, and another they felt confident that they could obtain 5 consecutive wins.
Seeing how none of her students paid her to escape the second half of the program, she was happy and at the same time disappointed. If they left early then she would have gotten her money easier and faster too, on the other hand, there was a chance that she could earn more money if they battled in the arena.
After confirming their resolves, she said, “It’s good to see that you guys are mentally prepared for this. Let me repeat the condition again, for you to graduate from the program without any repercussions, each of you must obtain 5 consecutive wins. Don’t worry about facing each other, I have some connections with the organizer so it wouldn’t happen. Unless you guys want to stay here forever, do your best in the ring, your life will depend on your results.”
“So does your wallet,” Gizmo silently added on as he muttered enough so that Luon was able to hear his words.
Luon chuckled inwardly before asking, “Are we allowed to hide our identities by changing our avatars?”
Lin nodded to his remark and said, “You can change your avatars, but will you change your gear too? Even though you can change your image, you won’t be able to change your weapons that easily, especially if they are customized. Using something that you aren’t used to would make it harder for you to win. Remember this fact before considering arsenal changes.”
Her words made a lot of sense to Luon. He didn’t know how strong his opponents were, it was a much safer choice to use his original weapons. However, if he did that, then there was a small chance that he may be traced back by perceptive viewers.
In the end, Luon and the others decided to use female avatars with downgraded, generic looking weapons based on their main type of weapon. Although they were several hundred points weaker, they were still better than average.
As for their NG-Arms, these ‘men’ painted it over with bright colors. Luon was pink, Gizmo was light blue, Tyron had orange, and Bendan colored his green.
After they were ready for action, Lin lead Luon, Gizmo, Tyron and Bendan outside of the facility and they went towards the battle colosseum that could be seen from anywhere in town.
Upon entering the building, with Luon and the others in tow, Lin walked towards the reception desk and requested to meet with someone. The receptionist who bowed towards Lin kindly asked her to wait a minute before long a plump looking man came out. It was the first time Luon had seen a person so fat and ugly, in this utterly beautiful world.
‘How is this physically possible?’ Luon thought as the man started to discuss with Lin about a few things.
After a minute or so the fat plump man made his way towards the party, he motioned for a handshake and said, “Hello ladies, my name is Frank Nebrian, and I am the organizer of the arena.”
Luon and the other exchange glances, breaking out of the mental exchange, Luon represented the group and said, “We ‘girls’ are glad to be here. As for names, are we allowed to use fake names when we enter the arena?”
Understanding the emphasis that Luon used when he said that they were girls, Frank said, “Oh, girls (Guys in real life) is it? Yes, you can use fake battle tags for your introduction. As long as you continue to battle in the arena, my staff members and I will do our utmost best to ensure your identity are protected, and your safety is secured on the premises.”
“As long as you continue to battle in the arena… is that so?” questioned Luon.
Frank nodded as he emphasized, “Yes, as long as you battle in the arena. You see, we can’t protect our contestants outside of our zone of influence.”
Luon nodded as he continued to walk up to Frank and accept his handshake, he said, “Alright then, I look forward to the matches you will set up for us.”
Frank smiled and said, “Great! According to Lin over there you guys will have at least one match a day for this entire week. I’ll have you ‘girls’ matched up with an opponent today. Millie, show our guest their lodgings.”
The receptionist nodded at his remark and said, “This way, please.”
“Don’t worry about me, you guys go on ahead,” said Lin who waved towards Luon and others. Following the receptionist, the group was led into a fancy suite room that had plenty of services, from showers to food delivery, if it wasn’t for the arena battles this kind of lifestyle was luxurious.
After settling in, several hours later the receptionist knocked on the door and entered politely. Luon asked her, “Is it time for our first match?”
She nodded and said, “Please select the first person to go up and register a name within the next 20 minutes. Once chosen, I will guide the contestant to the waiting room.”
“Alright, the first one to go up is me, and the name that will be used is Saiko,” said Luon.
During their waiting time, the group discussed what kind of names they will be using for the ring. Using several examples that they had seen before Luon decided to derive the name Saiko from the pronunciation of Psycho.
After confirming Saiko’s registration, Millie led Luon to the waiting room where he sat in anticipation. It was an empty room with a bench and a monitor displaying the current battle. As Luon was evaluating the capability of the ones shown on the screen, Millie gave Luon a tablet with the details of his first opponent.
It was a veteran fighter at the combat level of 58 that had a win rate of 55% over 175 matches. There was nothing particularly special about the opponent, so Luon decided just to continue watching the current match.
Soon enough it was Luon’s turn to fight as the arena announcer said, “In the Blue corner, we have a first-time female contestant Saiko! In the other corner, it’s the battle veteran, new player killer, Zorock!”
Luon elegantly entered the ring earning several hoots, whistles, and cheers for his aesthetic design of a female character. On the other hand, Zorock received several boos and hateful messages once he had entered the ring.
Zorock grinned devilishly in front of Luon and said, “Little missy, I love to beat new people like you. I hope your dreadful moans and screams can excite me.”
Luon body shook as he felt a tingling sensation after hearing Zorock’s voice. Luon said, “Scum, you should clean your mouth, hearing you talk is disgusting.”
Everyone who heard his remark laughed, in fact, halfway during Zorock’s battles one of his opponents had cursed him similarly and caused him to overreact. Both the guest and other combatants realized that he may have had some kind of trauma regarding bad breath in reality. So most of his future opponents had used the same cursing method to tick him off.
Zorock was enraged from Luon’s display, in fact, he was more enraged than ever because the main reason he had this trauma was that a beautiful woman walked by when he was talking and said the same words. His opponent now was a female, although he couldn’t verify the authenticity of their avatar, it still reminded him of his trauma. Zorock said, “You bit-”
“Alright contestants, you may begin now!” said the announcer interrupting Zorock’s words.
After the match officially started both Luon and Zorock equipped their NG-Arms causing Luon’s combat level to reach 77 while Zorock hit 75. Luon flew elegantly, he felt the changes in the after-effects of his training. It was like he became a veteran driver who could drift and manipulate his car to do tricks, unlike his new driver experience he had a week ago.
Luon’s speed, ability to predict movements, and skills were just overwhelming. Within a few seconds from the start of the match, he ended Zorocks life with a single slash ejecting him from the ring. Because the world was virtual, it was designed to evict contestants after they take a lethal amount of damage creating an ideal competitive environment.
Due to Luon’s elegant, swift and beautiful display, the crowd cheered loudly with his victory. The announcer shouted out, “This is an unexpected result! A new contestant had eliminated one of our old-timers with a single move in only the first 10 seconds of the match! Those of you who bet for Zorock, too bad, because the multiplier for Saiko was 10 to 1!”
The cheers of the audience became a mixture of despair, groans, angry yells, boos, and happy cheers. As a myriad of emotion poured over the crowd, Luon hurried off the stage. However, this wasn’t the only sad people of the day, after Luon’s match, Gizmo, Tyron, and Bendan had caused a significant portion of the crowd to lose their bets. It was known later that day that these female newcomers were strong, terrifyingly strong.
Days passed, and some disbelieving people continued to bet against them causing them to lose tons of money. Their supporters, however, were either fanboys, smart gamblers, or people who had lost their money to them.
It was soon the fifth day they had arrived, and an unexpected matchup appeared in the arena. Saiko versus Ozmos, it was Gizmo versus Luon. The two culprits who had arranged this match stood before the group.
Lin smilingly said, “We had numerous amount of guests wanting to see who would win between the girls. Although I promised not to have you guys fight each other, I don’t guarantee it, after all, promises are made to be broken.”
Luon sat with an emotionless face and asked her, “Just tell me the truth, how much money were you paid.”
Hearing his deadpan, monotone voice with a blank expression, Lin turned her face away with guilt. At this moment Frank coughed and said, “Don’t mind it, here, how about I give you some Galaxia coins as well?”
“20%,” said Luon.
“What?” questioned Frank.
“I said, give me 20% of the match earnings, and we’ll do it,” said Luon as calculated it to be a reasonable amount.
“You… That’s too much!” cried Frank.
Luon laughed and said, “If Ozmos and I decide not to battle, you’ll be losing face, money, and popularity. Think about it, just offering 20% for a large amount of income or face the discrimination of your guests because of your false promises.”
“Alright, you win. 20% it is, but I expect a good show!” yelled Frank as he angrily left the room.
After Frank left, Lin asked, “So who’s going to win this match?”
Luon smiled at her and said, “Why don’t you guess? After all, you made a giant killing from our previous matches.”
Lin began to sweat bullets as she excused herself out of the room by saying, “Ahh, I think Frank needs to discuss a few things with me about the future matches. I’ll see you guys later.”
The room became silent without the two troublemakers, at this moment, Gizmo asked, “So how are we deciding who wins the match? If one of us wins the other has to stay longer to get 5 consecutive wins again.”
Luon sighed as he said, “It doesn’t matter, as long as we don’t face each other in the future, we can easily leave the arena with 5 wins. All of our opponents are pathetically weak. It’s our 5th match, so one of us will just graduate earlier than the other.”
“Oh, then why not just let me win? I think you’ll have an easier time getting 5 in a row again,” Gizmo said.
“Fat chance, I’m not staying here any longer. It’s a waste of time here, although she said it was combat practice the opponents can’t even hold a candle to our strength,” Luon sighed and said.
“Besides… I am interested to see how strong you really are,” Luon faced Gizmo with a bright smile.
“I’ll wipe you out, no doubt,” said Gizmo as he motioned his hands as if he was holding an invisible rifle and pointed it to Luon.
“Real weapons?” said Luon.
“Real weapons,” Gizmo confirmed.
The fifth match for both Luon and Gizmo’s started with the both of them using everything in their arsenal.
The winner was decided in a matter of minutes.