Chapter 154 – Marcos’s Predicament (Part 2)
Thomas watched them as they made a ruckus in front of the other students. At first he thought they were just more of Alex’s lackeys.
It was only until a slight breeze crossed the court yard that Thomas’s eyes were drawn to the crest on their clothing. Each of them had a small crest at the upper right shoulder. If it weren’t for something drawing his attention in that direction, he would never have noticed as the crest was the same color as their shirts.
The moment he noticed the book parted in the middle with a wing at the corner, Thomas stepped forward.
The moment they crossed the portal into one of the arena areas Thomas continued unabated but didn’t fail to notice the slight surprise in the expressions of the others.
It was surprise at their location, although he couldn’t understand why.
The arenas were a common meeting area for all of the students at Lumea. It was a form of training for those that choose to participate and even for those spectating. At the same time these matches served as a form of entertainment for the students, whether it was watching a mismatched fight or placing bets on the close ones, everyone had at some point visited the arenas.
All the arenas looked the same. A coliseum setting with a an arena at the very center and seating around the entire circular arena for thousands. All over the walls the number of the arena they were at would be plastered, so that every student would know which of the five arenas they were currently at.
Of course it made sense that the trio would be surprised. The moment they had been accepted into the academy they had all been taken away. Until today none of them had left Lydia’s courtyard. How could they have had a chance to visit any one of the many places in Lumia? Even the most popular locations like the arena were completely new and wondrous to them. Leo was the only one who barely took notice, as Marcos was his friend he was the one that was most worried.
It was for that very reason that he was the last one to take notice that Thomas was leading them directly to the center.
In the center of the arena had just begun.
There were quite a few spectators scattered around the seats but no more than a few hundred.
It only seemed like a few, not even worth noting to Daichi and Damien as they made their way down because of the sheer size of the arena and seating, but more than half of the second year class was currently here at this arena at the moment watching the match that had just begun.
Even as they made their way down with haste, they were all being led by Thomas so none of them witnessed the disgusted look on his face as he stopped suddenly “We’re too late… The match has started already…”
Leo didn’t even have the chance to ask what Thomas meant as a few people were already shouting and cheering for one of the people in the arena “You can do it Zachary!!!!”
“ZACHARY IS THE BEST! TAKE HIM OUT WITH ONE HIT!”
They all had a clear view of the arena at this point and noticed two teenagers standing in the arena.
With his fist raised in the air, a handsome and tall youth with blonde hair and blue eyes stood in the arena increasing the cheers, his expression looked jovial but his eyes were focused on his opponent and a small sneer on his face gave away how little he thought of his opponent.
Across from him stood a stout and tall boy with a five o’clock shadow that made him look older than his true age standing with a grimace on his face.
“Marcos!” Leo shouted recognizing his friend in all the commotion.
Taking a step forward Thomas shouted “Stop!”
Leo turned to face Thomas giving him a glare but Damien put his hand on his shoulder to stop him from doing anything rash.
Thomas gave him a weak smile “We’re just too late. If anyone interferes with a match that is in session, the loser and the one interfering will be expelled from the academy.”
Leo’s eyes widened and he gave Damien a look as he shrugged in response.
“The arenas are a place for two opponents to face each other in fair combat. The terms are agreed upon beforehand by the contestants. A teacher is somewhere in this arena even if we can’t see him. The only rule is that they can’t kill one another, and should a contestant try and break that rule the teacher supervising is supposed to step in. I was rushing because I was hoping to make it a 2 vs 2 battle so I could help him… But we’re too late now…” Thomas said still keeping his eyes on Leo.
Leo’s jaw was clenched but after hearing the rules he calmed himself down instead turning to look at the fight.
Only then did Thomas take his eyes off Leo and look towards the fight as well. All of which didn’t escape Daichi’s notice as he took the entire situation in stride.
It didn’t take long for the fight to begin…
Zachary’s cold blue eyes started to heat up… His aim wasn’t to kill his opponent but to hurt him… to embarrass him.
Zachary pulled his standard long sword from his sheath and pointed it at Marcos as a signal he was about to attack and began walking towards him with short and measured steps. It was clear from his expression that he didn’t put Marcos within his sights, in his mind it was a waste of time to be here, but that did not mean he would underestimate his opponent.
Marocs removed his sword from his scabbard and the knicks and scratches evident on the sword gave away its age and signs of use. The sword was in a pitiful state and it made Zachary look down on Marcos even more as he began his attack.
He began using short and measured swings as Marcos parried them with his sword.
Marcos noticed that the strikes held more and more power behind them… He could tell that Zachary was only playing around and wasn’t using his full strength but he continued to barely parry the attacks in the last second with clumsy moves…
Sometimes it looked to the audience that he would just barely dodge a certain death strike by sheer luck. Each parry looked like a wild struggle to maintain his life, and even Zachary began to wonder if his opponent truly lacked any skill.
Zachary was beginning to feel something strange from Marcos’s parrying and so he brought forth a stronger slash with his full weight behind it only to have Marcos defend with his sword horizontally placed above his head… And then maneuver himself to the side letting his sword drop and all of the strength behind it as he maneuvered away from the strike making Zachary almost loose balance!
It was at that moment that both Zachary and Marcos stopped taking the fight lightly.
Zachary noticed that Marcos was not parrying his attacks by chance and Marcos noticed that Zachary would not be the type of opponent to drop his guard due to negligence.
Zachary’s blue eyes seemed to radiate his emotions as anger finally began to surface. The very fact that a first year could defend against him at all was like a slight to his name! He had been unable to land a single hit even if he was playing around and the realization left him angry. No longer were his strikes probing but rather each and every new strike was aimed at a vital spot!
‘No more games it seems… Won’t be able to win this first one easily’ Marcos thought to himself with a serious face.
He could tell the moment that Zachary’s strikes began shifting. Each strike now carried a measured goal behind it, each one not lacking speed or strength.
Zachary’s onslaught of attacks became more measured as his strikes carried the intent to kill without him even realizing it!
Marcos defended, parried, and dodged each strike. His forte had never been sword play and despite all of the recent improvements he was still lacking. He truly was fumbling to stay in one piece. He started getting closer and closer to the edge of the end of the arena near the wall. He then began to feint fatigue in the hopes that Zachary would drop his guard if only a little and breathing more heavily to sell it.
His trick unfortunately wasn’t working as even angry Zachary maintained his composure and pursued Marcos meticulously!
‘Damn it! Why couldn’t Alex have sent me to face some low-quality lackeys!’ Marcos thought with annoyance as he just barely dodged another swing, the sword just barely grazing his cheek leaving a small cut across his cheek as he threw himself to Zachary’s side and rolled away like a turtle.
Realizing that Zachary was not going to fall for any of the small tricks he’d planned before the fight, Marcos changed his point of view completely. The small cut on his cheek hurt more than he cared to admit and it was proof that sooner or later he wouldn’t be able to dodge one of those swings if he didn’t change something now. Without any more reserve he began building up mana into his right leg.
He then began to attack for the first time in the match, strong enough to make Zachary stand guard but not enough to push him back. His swings were too wide and clumsy allowing Zachary to aim at the holes in his swordsmanship, but it was enough for Marcos to force Zachary’s sword up and with all of the built up mana in his right leg he stepped in hard causing the ground to crack and Zachary’s footwork to falter forcing him to lose his balance!
In the stands Leo’s eyes widened and he shouted “NICE!”
Daichi’ had always had a good sense for mana, and using his mana sense he had immediately noticed that the reason the attack seemed so effective was due to Marcos possessing earth-attributed mana.
‘Now!’ he thought as his eyes widened. Seeing Zachary loose balance Marcos pushed off the ground using his mana and weight to launch himself at his opponent sword drawn and ready to stab him in the stomach!
Just as his sword was about to stab into Zachary’s stomach something unexpected happened!
Zachary’s entire body hardened and turned to stone!
The sword in Marcos’s hands hit Zachary and much to his dismay snapped!
Sword broken! Marcos’s eyes widened as a stone-skinned Zachary’s lips turned into a frown as his non-dominant hand reached towards him!
Immediately Marcos jumped backwards but it was too late! Their distance was too close to one another and all of it had happened too fast for him to properly process it as Zachary’s entire palm touched his heart!
A sharp pain coursed through Marcos! UGH
Marcos stayed stock still as his eyes remained calm but his mind inwardly panicked for a moment as he realized he couldn’t control his body. His entire eyesight was going dark as well!
Zachary slowly walked a few paces and whispered in Marcos’s ear “Give up now. Beg for my help and I will save you. Otherwise the only fate left is death.”
Marcos’s eyes started to lose focus but his mind was still alert. He processed the words and a small part of him believed him. ‘I’m going to die… He can save me…’ He could tell what was happening to his organs but he didn’t understand.
The only thing he knew was that if something didn’t change he would die within a minute. As his eyesight went completely dark he fell to one knee.
Marcos managed to open his mouth and mutter something but only Zachary could hear.
Gazing upwards to look his opponent in the eye. Marcos’s lips had already turned grey and his pallor turned completely pale, his body was taut and the pain lines in on his forehead gave away how he was feeling but even still he looked at Zachary like a man who would never relent. The look he gave Zachary made his frown deepen as he toppled over completely passed out.
“MARCOS!” Leo’s shout of concern came instantly as he launched himself down the stairs towards the arena the moment he realized Marcos was in danger.