“What?! These three are matched in the three way battle?!”
“Did I hear wrong? Right from the second round they are going to create such a ferocious fight?!”
“But selection of participants is random. The judges won’t cheat. This just must be these three’s bad luck…”
Remark after remark of disbelief resounded after Talhera summoned Silvia, Zax and Woren to the first fighting stage.
“Zax”, Don turned to him solemnly. “Don’t be complacent like in the first round. Although Silvia and Salin are twins, Silvia is many times stronger. I reckon that if she was to fight Ragu Zin, the battle would have ended in mere seconds. And that Woren also isn’t a walk in the park. He is an independent expert without a backing, but his reputation precedes him. He should be in his late thirties, but his cultivation is already in the Intermediate phase of the second Core Master’s level and very proficient in crowd control martial techniques”.
Zax obediently listened to Don’s consultation. He was not planning on taking Silvia and Woren lightly. He saw them in the first round and neither was forced to reveal his and her true strength. Moreover, not counting his advantage that sprout from the use of Kinetic Force, his physical strength is only about strong enough to match a Peak second level Core Master. His two opponents should also have the similar battle powers, so underestimating them would be bad, especially if the two will decide to side against him, if only to push him out of the fighting stage.
Atop the fighting stage, Zax, Silvia and Woren stood in a triangular formation. The other six participants to start the second round also entered the fighting stages, but in terms of the spectators’ concentration, not even their backers and supporters paid attention to them. To be honest, even the six were more interested in the three way fight than their own battles.
On the stage, due to his brawny physique and height, Zax appeared as the most dominant of the three.
Silvia was older than Salin in couple of seconds, but the two, nevertheless, looked the same, around twenty centimeters shorter than Zax, with delicate features, short hairstyle and assertive disposition. She was holding the same type of crescent blade sword as her younger twin sister.
Woren’s gaze calculated in all times. He was not using weapons. His arsenal was solely dedicated to Martial techniques that are comparable to his mist refinement technique and personality.
The three did not trade words. They recognized each other strength and were already engrossed with intent to battle that anything else would have just hindered their mental preparation.
“…Begin!” Talhera gave the order for the second round battles to start.
The participants in stage two to four were already a bit familiar with their opponent from the observation in the first round. Per Talhera’s command, six auras manifested and three intense fights began.
Only the status of stage one remained static.
“Senior Silvia, cut these two brutes!” The two juniors who accompanied Silvia and Salin from Crescent Arms, Shitou’s top Martial school, cheered loudly.
“Woren, you got the support of the Rendevar cooperation!”
“Tongguo’s Art Of Destruction give our full support to Woren!”
“The Zein family and the Zein association hail the definite winner of the three way battle, Woren!”
Groups that had their representatives failing to pass the first round, ignored the shamelessness of their behavior and started to draw Woren, the only participant among the three without a power behind him, to their circle.
“Big brother Zax, don’t hold back! Show them your-” Before Susuya could finish her sentence, Anet rested her hand on her mouth.
“Junior Susuya, you can’t say things that Zax might want to keep secret”.
“I’ll say it so it would be clear to the two of you, I’m going all out”. The long robe, bleached hair Woren was the first to speak, but he used the opportunity only to warn Zax and Silvia.
In response to him, Silvia raised her sword. Instead of words, she used her azure aura, which flattered her blue school uniforms, to convey her intention to also take the fight seriously.
‘If they go all out right from the beginning, I really should be careful, but to reveal my accomplishment in the bodily maneuvers in the second round would be too soon’. Zax glanced at the two. He really felt impishly eager to challenge them both, but at the same time was aware of the difficulty they presented if he was not planning to use Kinetic Force.
‘…Woren!’ He could not tell what strategy they had in mind, so he ended up compromising on first beating the one who seemed more capable of threatening him.
The three pounced at the same instant.
Inauspicious azure glow conjured from the sleeves of Woren’s robe, as if four azure translucent huge snakes were hiding underneath it.
The crescent blade of Silvia’s sword doubled in size, but the increase was in pursuance of the manner in which she utilized her mist energy, and a white hue solidified at the crescent edge.
Zax’s control of the body was something his opponents could not rival. Moreover, the speed and strength he could generate were enough so long Woren and Silvia could not exhibit attacks beyond the capacity of a second level Core Master.
As the three were on direct course of collision, Woren rotated his arms and legs. The four azure snakes split, two toward Zax and two toward Silvia.
Unwilling to retreat, Silvia slashed with her sword. Her expanded blade, as if capable of taking the initiative to strike without the need for its mistress’s command, cut two white rings that decapitated the azure snakes, however, not completely dissipating the mist energy they consisted from. The mist energy reassembled to target her again.
Zax extended both of his palms. The upcoming long range mist attack was something he determined within the scope of his physical ability to withstand.
Two snacks heads slammed against the palms of his hands. The impact steadied Zax in his place, restraining him from taking another step forward, but the two snake heads were not better off.
Zax clenched his fingers, crushing the snakes into a mush of mist energy that dispersed and gathered once more. A bit of disappointment reflected on Zax’s face, but not because the failure of completely eradicating the mist energy constructs. The Soul Binding formation he transmitted through the bodies of the snakes did not even make it halfway to Woren before dissolving. From this Zax gathered that unless he will make a physical contact of Woren, he will not be able to make use of any type of soul attack like he did years ago against Eden Formation’s Disciplinary Class and their Hydra formation.
Woren halted, took a step back and a turn, his movements were in coordination with his four snakes. He claimed to go all out, but his conduct gave the impression that as fierce as his attack was, he was still moderating himself.
In the span of time the two snakes reassembled, Zax kicked the ground, seizing the chance to arrive next to Woren and deal him a heavyweight punch.
‘Not good!’ An ominous feeling at the back of his neck caused Zax to abruptly shift his posture in evasion.
A white ring flew in a blinding speed, hitting the stage’s floor where Zax was intending to step on. White spark exploded from contact with the floor, the protective formation activated and brightened all the bricks of the fighting stage, and after a second of weathering, the light dimmed down and the white ring vanished.
‘Her sword can cut me’. Zax silently confessed.
Silvia maybe was the quiet type, but much like her sister, her temperament when fighting was unruly and dangerous. With Woren thinking that he can afford fighting both Zax and her, and Zax downright disregarding her, the glowing enlarged crescent blade issued three cries.
One, to shred the two snakes obstructing her.
Second, to cut the back Zax dared turning to her.
Third, to finish Woren.
The white ring caught up and struck at Woren’s chest. His defensive mist energy sustained for a breath before it was minced. The four assembling snakes dispersed and brutal mist energy erupted from Woren’s dantian.
“Graaah!” He let out a scream; the white ring pierced his chest but stopped at his ribs. Woren’s eyes reddened, a savage expression plastered on his face. The long robe torn apart and over twenty red eyes mist snakes burst from his slim torso.
All of this happened at the same moment the first ring cut the two snakes and Zax avoided the second one.
Most of the spectators watching the events following Silvia’s attack unfold, believed Woren was doomed and a one versus one battle is about the begin, but as they heard Woren suddenly roaring and saw the over twenty mist snakes emerging with terrifying killing intent, all their speculations crumbled and their cheering subdued as fear replaced the excitement.
“Eh?” Zax could not help but dumbly stare.
Woren went mad and unleashed his full power, but was actually only targeting Silvia. And the tomboy girl in response displayed a hint of satisfaction. Facing twenty four snakes surging toward her, her aura discharged a sharp dominance.
Silvia’s sword split and a duplicate appeared in her left hand, but despite the division, the power she emitted only augmented.
Silvia charged into the myriad of snakes. Her twin sword technique danced in a dazzling performance. Every swing of her arm, every nudge of the crescent blade cut one snake after the other. Nevertheless, the snakes reassembled ceaselessly, making it impossible for Silvia to reach Woren at the end of their tails.
‘Mist Users are truly flashy’. Zax sighed inwardly. It seems like not just the two, but even the spectators have forgotten him, but the fact was that he could not approached Silvia without risking getting cut, or get close to Woren at the expanse of not knowing what more does he hide.
‘If the fight could extend beyond the circumference of the stage, it would have been a playful battle for me; however, if I’m bent on not using Kinetic Force, I should take this fight more seriously…’
Till now Zax was not concerned from getting hurt, but being unable to stand his ground when confronting his opponent’s attack. Although he was agile enough to avoid the two, he did not want to resort to running around from attacks that cannot take his life.
Zax’s speed spiked, his body was accelerating toward Woren.
Whatever state of mind Woren was in, even though it was difficult for his inner mind to keep up with Zax, his mist energy reacted instinctively.
A swarm of finger size snakes was shot from his hand, hundreds in number. The little snakes had red eyes much like the twenty four large snakes and the one who conjured them. They crawled on the stage and pounced at in the incoming Zax in a form of an azure tide.
Zax retracted his arms to his waist. His biceps bulged, becoming prominent underneath the sleeves of his shirt.
Two punches were thrown successively against the tide of little azure snakes, blasting a passage for Zax to go through.
The savage light in Woren’s eyes flickered, he did not expect for his attack to practically be dismissed in such a simple manner. He knew that Zax was a bodily cultivator, but they were too scarce to meet, much less have a fight with, and so even his cautionary assessment turned out insufficient.
Five of the closest large snakes holding Silvia in place, separated from their group to stop Zax.
The five huge snakes viciously hissed their way to halt Zax. The summoning technique Woren utilized to conjure them, clearly was superior to the initial four snakes. The initial power of each of the new ones was equivalent to an Advanced phase second level Core Master and only after getting destroyed will their strength slowly deteriorate.
The first two, Zax blasted with his fist, but that only pushed them back and made them reassemble. Two more Zax kicked, sending them flying. The last one opened his jaw and bit Zax’s neck with its greenish fangs, getting past his skin, yet stuck in his trapezius.
“Futile!” Zax’s eyes shone with their own vicious light. He grabbed the snake head and flung it away as a few drops of blood dripped from the wound in his neck before healing.
If he had to tangle with all twenty four snakes like Silvia, then using the Kinetic Force would have been unavoidable, unless he choose to evade, but since Silvia roused Woren’s killing intent, she had to deal with this problem.
Traversing the remaining meters, Zax made it behind Woren and placed his hand at the right side of his head.
Woren was startled. He could not protect himself due to the grueling manipulation of his mist energy.
Seven Soul Binding formations flown to his sea of consciousness, one for each giant snake that assaulted Zax.
The redness in his eyes lessened until they resumed the healthy white, but his snakes technique dissolved and his body fell like a log on the stage.
Silvia was drenched with sweat and panting. No matter how many times she slashed with her swords or white rings, the mist snakes could preserve for a long time, and Woren gave the impression that he could maintain his technique even long enough for her to make a mistake before him. Luckily, Zax incapacitated him before Silvia sustained any wounds.
Regrettably, as she laid her eyes at Zax and then Woren at his feet, one look was more than enough for Silvia to realize that even if she will be able to match Zax for a while, in the end she will end up in the same unsightly conclusion as Woren and the earlier fallen Elita.
Such a loss would be too shameful for someone proud like her.
Silvia sighed, the sword in her left hand disappeared and the one in her right hand was lowered.
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