“Stima Ndogo, come forward.” Ordered Judge.
“As the highest ranked person in this group, you can choose to either face all nine of your opponents consecutively or take a rest in between. Remember, you will only be awarded one chance to rest and should you take it, the reward you receive at the end of the tournament should you qualify to receive one, will be much less.”
“Junior understands. I will fight it out, no rest needed.”
“OOOOOHH!” The crowd was very much into Stima’s confidence. Some of the members of the audience sheepishly smiling as they felt that their bets were going to yield high returns.
Stima could be considered quite small by male evolved Beast standards, standing at below five feet with a frame that was beyond thin. His features were fairly human and like all Beasts he retained some of his Ancestors defining qualities. In his case, at the top of his head three small protrusions could be seen resembling horns yet not quite exactly like horns. There was also quite a few paint-like markings on his cheeks that made him stand out.
‘Just because of that damn first test I have to sit behind all these half-baked Fire Guardians. Yasen I can understand but everyone else? Especially that Half Breed, who is he to stand above me?’
Stima wasn’t like everyone else. His older brother was an accomplished, decorated veteran Fire Guardian within the Association therefore he was one of the few who knew what being a Fire Guardian actually entailed and what one needed to possess in order to succeed at being a capable, long-living, Fire Guardian.
His opponent walked onto the stage and Judge immediately started the match however, even before the sound from Judge’s authoritative voice faded, Stima’s opponent had already been knocked off the stage, a large hole currently in the place where her chest used to be.
At first there was silence throughout the arena but once the now dead body of Stima’s opponent landed on the floor with a thud, the coliseum instantly erupted with cheers.
These were the best of the best after the top ten but even so, with just a single strike from Stima, one of them was rendered dead.
“Next.” Said Stima, tiny streaks of blue lightning, resembling serpents danced around his body.
The following opponent was similarly destroyed however, when the next challenger stepped forward, the excitement within the audience strikingly increased to an even greater level but for some strange reason the majority of spectators in attendance quieted down, no longer cheering their lungs out.
“Troublesome.” A sharp light flashed in the eyes of the Earthen Wolf as he made his way onto the stage.
Stima similarly focused himself. He understood that the one standing before him was unlike the other trash.
Judge for the first time since the beginning of the tournament smiled once he saw the look on the Earthen Wolf’s face.
‘So he can also make expressions like that. Was he angered by that kid Stima’s actions? Hehe, either way Grandmaster should at least be happy seeing him like this.’
Because he had chosen to jump off the stage earlier, the Earthen Wolf was currently ranked below some of the others in his group thus why he was facing off against Stima so early.
“Domin Erten is your opponent. Begin!”
“What!” Stima’s eyes instantly widened as the way he looked at the Earthen Wolf instantly took a 180 degree turn. He was not alone in his stupor though, the crowd also went graveyard silent as did Zilan.
“Erten, isn’t that the First Elder’s name?” whispered someone in the crowd.
“The First Elder has a son?”
Many within the audience begun discussing this new discovery, almost forgetting that the person they were analysing was currently participating in a tournament.
Stima’s composure quickly returned, his level of alertness incomparable to a minute ago.
“You killed those two, why?” asked Domin. His voice deep and his eyes that were usually stern exuding an extra bit of bone-chilling coldness.
“Kill or be killed. That is the life we lead, to think otherwise is nothing but you lying to yourself. Seeing the world through the eyes of a naïve child.” Stima recited these words as one would an absolute creed.
Domin said nothing in response. He just quietly pondered on Stima’s words, completely unaffected by the stirring audience. In fact, it was more like he did not notice them.
“So the situation and place does not matter?” Although he posed the question, Domin did not require an answer.
The mud brown fur on his body suddenly turned into a mud brown armor. His body that was already exceedingly large, with no prior warning, actually grew wider. The previously curious and questioning look in his eyes was now a thing of the past, replacing them, an untraceable anger with a hint of killing intent.
Lightning surged out of Stima’s body as he coldly observed Domin’s actions. Just with a single look, he could tell that the power contained in that body was something he would not be able to face head on. However, that was not his intention in the first place. With the speed that lightning attribute practitioners were known for, there would be no need for him to face Domin head on.
‘One strike is all I need.’
A clump of electricity that was slowly turning blood red gathered in Stima’s right hand but unfortunately for him, he would never get the chance to use it.
With a seemingly soft yet actually domineeringly powerful stomp, the black metallic stage acted in a way that no one in attendance could predict.
A large hole in the blink of an eye appeared beneath the stage, devoured Stima, and then disappeared. No trace of it ever existing was left behind other than the image that was now burned into the eyes of every audience member that was capable of seeing it.
“What an impressive affinity for Earth.” Exclaimed Zilan.
“He controlled the platform again!” The crowd erupted with mixed emotions.
“Tch, in the end that Stima was just trash. He couldn’t even take one move. F**k me for putting my money on him.”
“Just like that someone in the top five is eliminated? You have to be joking, what were those bloody betting odds then? What greatest potential to cause an upset? I’ve been cheated!”
A small smile hung on Judge’s face as he announced Domin as the winner.
“Next Fujo PurpleSun, step forward.”
With Stima’s disappearance, as the next highest ranked person, it was Fujo’s turn to take the stage however, because Stima killed the two former bottom ranked in the group, his first opponent was going to be none other than Domin.
“I do not wish to harm you, forfeit.” Said Domin, he was clearly still angry since he had yet to change back to his original size.
Fujo took a deep breath before smiling, “There is no way you can harm me, even if you come at me at your full strength, unless I wish it no one can approach me.”
An arrogant, domineering air unlike that of Domin’s could be felt coming from Fujo. In Domin’s case his stature, appearance and sheer power gave others an oppressed feeling however, for Fujo without realising it one would feel like they were being sucked into a world where he was the ruler and whatever he said was law. It was as if every word he spoke was an undisputable fact.
Domin’s expression remained the same, he would not treat Fujo as he did Stima but when everything’s said and done this was still a tournament that determined rank which was more than enough of a reason for a Beast to seriously go to battle.
In almost the exact same way, Domin stomped lightly on the ground yet for some reason it produced an explosive, deafening sound.
The stage quickly responded to his call, morphing into a giant wave whose flow would definitely throw Fujo off the stage.
“You should be more straightforward.” Said Fujo. “If you’re going to attack, you should at least put some heart into it or is that you’re underestimating me…Hehe…I would advise against that.”
As the undisputed, unquestioned, destined heir of the powerhouse Rising Purple Sun Family, he naturally had certain gifts that made him indispensable as well as more valuable to the family than any treasure. Looking down him would only serve to make him angry after all, as a child whose future was pretty much guaranteed to be great, a natural in-born arrogance that only kings possessed definitely resided within him.
Opening his mouth slightly and releasing a barely audible roar, the black metallic wave that was approaching Fujo instantly crumbled.
It did not dissipate returning to its former state as an unmoving, ordinary platform. Oh no, aside from the area that he was standing in, the entire other half of the stage was shockingly crushed, grinded into pieces, before being carried away by the wind in its new dust form.
Domin had jumped high into the air to avoid the crumbling of the stage but unfortunately, as if his connection to his power source was severed, his body, at a speed visible to the naked eye, swiftly reverted back to its original form.
“Hahaha, you’re probably regretting not taking me seriously from the very start. I tell you what though, take this as a lesson and be more straightforward next time.” His laughter died out, slowly turning into a deep, warning tone. “And do not underestimate me next time.”
With his mouth wide open, Fujo’s heart stopping roar was exactly like that of an Ancient Desolate Beast.
The rainbow coloured fur around his neck lit up for an instant before suddenly disappearing. The effect though was there.
While falling to the ground, Domin was already planning on immediately reconnecting to the Earth and regaining his strength however, Fujo had other plans in mind for him.
Following that roar, Domin was blasted not just off of the stage but at an alarming speed, he was actually going to be thrown directly out of the arena.
Judge acted extremely quickly though, extending his aura and grabbing the flying Domin out of the sky.
“You’ve stayed under your father’s care for too long young Master. This is a good opportunity to learn.” Whispered Judge. He had clearly broken the rules by helping Domin but from the way he addressed the young wolf, it was easy to tell why he did it and what kind of relationship the two shared.
Domin silently nodded, his former annoyed gaze disappearing instead an interested look was shot towards Fujo as he smiled.
Flicking his sleeve as he returned the platform quickly started repairing itself, the half that was destroyed, surprisingly growing back as it was soon restored to its former glory.
Seeing this Fujo actually laughed,
“So I didn’t destroy it. Hahaha, I’ll try harder next time. Speaking of which, who’s next.” He licked his lips in anticipation.
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