Chapter 35. A Flamboyant Performance And A Crushing Defeat.
Rulam was waving at the crowd, hyping the spectators even more. It was amusing to watch. It seemed he was popular among people in Saramis. When all cheering quieted down, he took out his sword and pointed it to Mordan. He probably said something, but I couldn’t hear it from where I was.
Kimele stood next to her Master looking relaxed. From both of their behaviours it was evident they didn’t take Mordan and his team mate seriously. ‘Who cares about Silver Rank when you are Gold Rank yourself?’ was probably Rulam’s thinking.
Huh? Kimele is stepping back? Don’t tell me Rulam intends to fight on his own? Pfff... is he trying to show off? Haha, this will be fun to watch.
- I see you find it amusing boy. – Roland approached me.
- Roland? – I didn’t expect anyone would talk to me. – Glad to see you look better. And the name’s TC. You don’t want me to address you as an ‘old man’, do you?
- Haha, I guess not. Ok TC, I apologise. To tell you the truth, it doesn’t feel appropriate to call you a boy anyway, especially after you beat me in a fight. – he said.
- So you came back to watch the rest of the Tournament? – I asked him.
- Sort of. You surprised me with your strength back there. Your magic and fighting style was unusual. I have never met an adventurer such as yourself. – Roland commented.
And you probably never will.
- I’ll take it as a compliment. How is Meera doing? – I was a little worried about her.
- She’s ok. Guild’s healers are looking after her. You didn’t hold back when you fought her. She will need some time to recover. – he replied.
- Yeah, sorry about that. – I said.
- No need to be sorry. Meera is a fighter as well. This will be a good lesson and motivation to train harder. – he added.
He’s not that bad after all. Reminds me of someone I know, haha. But seriously, this is getting annoying.
- Hmph... – I smirked
- Is something wrong? – Roland was confused.
- I just wonder when will that idiot stop making a fool out of himself? – I wanted the fight to start already.
- I see your mouth is as sharp as your weapon. Rulam likes to put on a good show. Despite his flamboyant performance, he’s a tough opponent. You won’t beat him easily. – he said.
- With a bit of luck, I won’t have to. – I grinned.
- What do you mean? – Roland was curious.
- Just a hunch. – I half smiled.
Seriously? Do people in here have no sense of perception? Or magic detection abilities? Even a Gold Rank can’t sense Htilil’s magical energy? Or that it isn’t human?
- It’s time for the match to start! Begin! – Vorin’s patience probably ran out as well.
Rulam was still posing and hyping the crowd. Mordan rushed at him holding an axe in each hand.
- ‘Swoosh!’ - he swung at his opponent, but missed.
Not being fazed by Rulam’s evasive reflexes, Mordan attacked again.
- ‘Swing! Swoosh!’ – but none of his strikes hit the target.
Well ok, I’ll admit Rulam is strong.
Kimele was standing further away and wasn’t interfering with the fight. Mordan was going after his opponent with everything he got. But no matter how hard he tried, each strike hit the air and couldn’t reach Rulam.
Htilil was standing further away, but she wasn’t idle. She was chanting some kind of spell, however nothing was happening. It looked strange, but I knew she wasn’t putting a show like Rulam. At the same time...
- Aaarrgh... – Mordan was blown away and fell on the ground.
Rulam’s single swing sent Mordan flying. The crowd cheered and laughed as Rulam raised his sword to show off again.
Not worrying too much about what happened, or about the crowd, Mordan picked himself up and charged at Rulam again. Swinging his axes again and again, he didn’t stop attacking.
- ’Swoosh! Slash! Swing! – but his attacks didn’t reach the opponent.
As I watched Mordan’s desperate strikes flying around Rulam I noticed something starting to change. It wasn’t the pattern of his attacks and it wasn’t that Mordan became faster, but the swings were getting closer and harder for Rulam to evade. And then, after yet another swing.
- ‘Ding!’ – Rulam blocked Mordan’s attack instead of dodging it.
A lucky swing? Or maybe not.
Rulam didn’t like that at all. He turned around and swung at Mordan with his sword. Mordan was blown away again, however this time, he didn’t fall down. Was the swing weaker this time, I wondered.
Htilil continued to chant some sort of magic and Kimele continued to stay back. Mordan fixed his poise and went after Rulam again. His opponent looked a little confused about what happened. He probably wondered how Mordan’s axes managed to reach him all of a sudden.
But there was no time to wonder. Mordan’s axes were upon him again. As the fight continued, Rulam was forced to block more incoming attacks than he was able to evade. It was odd to see him do that, when just a minute ago, he was easily evading each swing.
It wasn’t that Mordan was weak at the start of the fight and became stronger as the fight progressed. At least I didn’t sense a huge surge of power or magical energy within him. But little by little I started to suspect what was happening.
After another blocked strike, Rulam went for a counter attack again. He swung at Mordan, and everyone thought it was the end of him, but Mordan blocked the attack.
- ‘Ding!’ – and this time he wasn’t blown away.
I could only imagine Rulam’s surprised look. It made me chuckle even. But that wasn’t the end of it. After successful block, Mordan went for a counter attack.
- ‘Slash!’ – and he managed to hit his opponent for the first time.
- Aaaa! – Rulam jumped back.
It wasn’t a deep wound and he seemed ok. However, shocked at what happened, Kimele took out her sword and wanted to join in the fight. It was a little too late however. Htilil raised her hand and chanted a spell. It was different this time and I was able to sense magical energy gathering at her fingertips.
- Soul Needles! – Htilil pointed at Rulam.
A magic circle appeared at Rulam’s feet. Mordan quickly jumped back to not get caught in it. A dark purple light shot from the ground, encircling Rulam. He didn’t have the time run away or even think about what happened. An innumerable number of dark magical needles appeared and shot from each direction within the circle, piercing Rulam’s body.
- Aaaaaaaa! – his scream echoed through arena.
Even after he lost consciousness, the magic attack persisted. After it stopped, people watched in horror as Rulam’s motionless body fell on the ground.
Kimele quickly rushed to help Rulam, but Mordan was faster. He pointed his axe at Rulam’s head and said something to Kimele. Afraid of what might happen to her Master, she declared team fifteen surrenders.
- Winner number thirteen. – only after he heard the announcement, Mordan stepped back.
Kimele ran to Rulam to check on him. She shouted for help and people rushed in to assist her.
- Another unexpected victory against Gold Rank adventurer. – commented Roland.
- Not really. If they fought properly, they might’ve had a chance. That’s what you get for being stupid. Although I doubt they would’ve won anyway. – I said.
- What do you mean? – he asked.
I simply smiled. Roland didn’t say anything else either. Mordan and Htilil came back from the arena. Silver Rank adventurers, who haven’t fought yet, congratulated him. He was definitely strong, but not as strong as a Gold Rank adventurer. At least that’s what I saw in this fight. All the credit goes to Htilil for winning really. I was curious about her. And not only about her magic.
I tried not to stare the first time I saw her. And there were loads more people around to keep my eyes distracted. But now with less people around, I couldn’t ignore her even if I wanted to. Especially not the way she looked.
Htillil’s looked rather provocative to say the least. Extremely short skirt, if you can call it that, barely covered her intimate parts, revealing her panties. The cut outs on each side showed some more bare skin of her curvaceous hips.
Her belly was fully covered with the strips and lines that went all the way up hugging her incredible breasts. If anything else, the outfit looked really tight around her body. Which, incidentally, pushed Htilil’s breasts up even more, making them a real attention magnet for men.
Her neck was completely covered, as if to hide something behind it. She had a small mantle on the back, which was split in the middle. Each side of the mantle gently concealed her shoulders. If it wasn’t part of the outfit, one would think those were small wings, growing from her back.
The real hotness element was Htilil’s cherry, dark hair, which totally matched the color of her outfit. Quite a devilish look indeed.
Despite her looks, and the stares from all men, Htilil felt extremely comfortable with all the attention. And she wasn’t a companion as well, which raised additional question marks on top of it.
She noticed me looking at her and it was too late to pretend I wasn’t staring. Htilil smiled cheekily and approached me with a bewitching look in her eyes.
- Congratulations on your victory my lady. – I remembered I can still talk.
- Ah, such a gentleman. You must be TC. I watched your fight against Roland and Meera. It was thrilling to see such passion and fighting spirit. – she smiled seductively.
- That was quite a spell you used. You surprised everyone. – I added.
- Did I now? – her eyes sparkled. – It’s rare someone would talk to me about... something other than pleasure, if you know what I mean? Usually men have only one thing on their minds when in my presence.
She got close to me, touched my chest with her finger and ran it down my chest. A tingling sensation filled my body, which stirred all kinds of emotions inside.
- I can see why. Your enchanted beauty will melt any man. – it took all I had to keep my cool.
- Such a charmer, hihi. – Htilil giggled. – You caught my interest. Till we meet again...
With that, she turned gracefully and went back to Mordan, walking in such a way, my eyes were forced to follow every move of her hips.
She was... extremely friendly...Brrr... back to reality now.
I had my suspicions who she was, but I couldn’t confirm it just yet.
- Next match! Number four, Garry and Lenia, versus number five, Alaran and Vallery! – I heard Vorin.
Looking at the participants, I had a hunch who will win the next fight. It was again a Silver Rank versus a Gold Rank adventurer. Gold Rank adventurers lost twice already and people were excited to see this next match.
But it also served as a wake up call for higher rank adventurers as well. This time Alaran and Vallery didn’t fool around. As soon as Vorin gave the signal to start, both of them went all out.
Garry and Lenia didn’t expect such relentless attacks from the very beginning. Neither Alaran, nor Vallery didn’t hold back. Their strikes were powerful and precise. Team number four had no chance whatsoever.
They were not fast to evade or dodge the attacks and blocking didn’t help much either. After few more strikes, Garry and Lenia were lying on the ground, barely able to move.
- Team number four is unable to fight! Winner team number five! –and the fight was done.
That was quick. But it was to be expected. No more fooling around. One more fight, is it?
- Last match of this round will commence soon. Number seven versus number eight! – Vorin confirmed it.
I guess I’ll take a nap... and maybe cool my head a little.
I sat back and made myself comfortable. It was another Silver Rank versus a Gold Rank adventurer. I closed my eyes and thought of something... pleasant. I assumed the Gold Rank will win and slumbered into a dream, which I couldn’t remember afterwards.
- Winner number eight! – Vorin’s words woke me up.
Either the fight was really short or I passed out as soon as I closed my eyes. But I was glad it was over. Next round will be where the real fight begins. Not saying I didn’t have to get serious against Roland, but the rest of the fighters will try harder as well. Everyone knows what each participant is capable of by now. More or less at least.
I wondered who will reach the finals. This tournament was taking longer than I wanted to. Or maybe I was simply bored being by myself. Eve always brightened my mood when she was around. And was a treat to my eyes as well.
Treat to my eyes? – I glanced at Htilil. – Back to my nap, shush now.
Talking to myself was one of my privileges I could indulge whenever I wanted. And I used it with honor.
- Pfff, haha. – I laughed to myself from that thought.
Not wanting to look even weirder I shut up and pretended to be asleep. I remembered Vorin said Angel will be watching the fights herself. She must be staying somewhere close to him probably. I didn’t even bother looking when I was in the arena. My full attention was on Roland and Meera, which is how it should be when you fight someone.
I couldn’t even sense Angel’s aura. She must be suppressing it. It made sense from my point of view. She probably doesn’t want to stand out.
- Let’s review our current standings before we start the next round. – informed Vorin. – The first round winners are: first match – Dirk and Randy; second match – TC; third match – Uegi and Sanli; forth match – Rial and Elnara; fifth match – Ron and Nancy; sixth match - Mordan and Htilil; seventh match – Alaran and Vallery; eight match – Stigmarl and Karina! These are the participants who will advance to the next round!
The crowd cheered with anticipation and excitement. Out of eight teams, four of them were Gold Rank adventurers. I couldn’t understand why a Gold Rank would join this tournament. They were strong for sure themselves and their companions were powerful as well. Either people didn’t care much about companions in here or Angel must be so awesome, everyone was drooling to become her Master.
- We will start the next match in a few minutes. Number sixteen, TC... – I jumped from my seat with excitement hearing my name.