Book 2, Chapter 63

Gamble(2)

Richard turned to look at the people behind him, asking, “Who wants to go down and play?”

Waterflower, Gangdor, and the trolls had no intention of moving. This battle posed no real challenge for them, and the girl additionally didn’t like to put on performances. If anyone wanted to watch her perform, she would gouge out their eyes.

One of the footsoldiers took a step forward, saying in a low voice, “I’ll go.”

Richard nodded and said, “Don’t end it too quickly.”

The foot soldier immediately understood what Richard meant, and in a confident and cruel way stated, “Don’t worry, my Lord. I will ensure the battle goes on long enough!”

This was a battle without requirements or restrictions. Both sides could use their own weapons and armour. The Black Reaper chose two axes, while the much smaller soldier chose light armour, a small square shield, and a dagger. This immediately gave rise to hisses of displeasure from the audience. The ring preferred blood to the clash of metal, and warriors with such complete defensive equipment were rare.

Regardless of how the audience opposed this, the match officially began with the roars from the host. The Black Reaper pounced at the soldier from the start, his axes hacking down like a gale as he showered the man with successive strikes. The soldier was like a boat in a storm amidst his resounding roars, seemingly about to capsize at any moment. However, while he was constantly pushed back and seemed to be on the verge of reaching the end, he was always able to narrowly get through the attacks.

The storm of attacks had left the steel shield completely deformed, and his armour had a couple of cracks as well. Unlike the Black Reaper’s axes, the dagger was so small it looked like a toy. Thankfully the two weapons never clashed, so it was still intact.

However, his opponent had suffered quite a few injuries as well. The footsoldier had constantly managed to find the time to counterattack from the midst of his defence, using extremely tricky angles that left long, thing wounds on his target’s body.

These tiny injuries did nothing to affect the Black Reaper’s battle capabilities. On the contrary, they only made him more fierce. The powerful movements and heart shaking bellows would make anyone feel restless as they felt their blood pumping.

Even Mark, who’d already lifted his pants back up, had thrown himself at the railing, waving his arms with full strength as his roars resounded even louder than his fighter’s own!

All he wished was for himself to be in the ring, using his heavy scythes to chop that footsoldier into pieces and throw them at Richard’s face. Seeing the Black Reaper losing golden opportunities to thoroughly defeat his opponent time and time again, his anxiety peaked repeatedly.

Mark had already immersed himself in the battle, unable to see many details. It couldn’t be helped, however— Richard had taken out a staggering 50 gold coins, and those were church coins at that! While he wouldn’t have to lose his pants for this, it still was comparable to a few months of his income. Folks like him who’d only risen up in the past few years had pitifully meagre savings.

In the meanwhile, Chiron shifted to Bowen’s side. Practically stretching his head over the viewing platform, he asked, “Hey old man, do you see anything with that Richard’s subordinate?”

Bowen answered with another question, “What have you discerned?”

Chiron chuckled, knowing that this was the man’s typical behaviour, “His movements are short and effective, not sloppy in the slightest. He’s firm and radiant, and doesn’t seem to feel anything at the sight of blood. That’s completely different from our guys who go crazy with their bloodlust.”

Bowen looked at the noble youth viewing the match with interest, saying slowly, “He’s a true veteran. If he was in an army, he would have at least five hundred soldiers under him.”

Chiron twitched his lips, looking in Richard’s direction, “You can’t judge a veteran’s power from their rank. Take a look, it isn’t just one fellow like that next to Mr. Richard.”

Bowen looked to be deep in thought, “It seems like Mark will be in trouble soon.”

Chiron nodded, “Whatever it is, this is good. However, this Mister Richard really doesn’t know how to hide his wealth. Even I’m feeling something after seeing all those gold coins.”

Bowen, however, sneered, “But what if his original intention was for you to feel something?”

Chiron’s expression changed, and he silently thought it over for a while. He then glanced over, finding that many people’s gazes were filled with fervour and greed as they watched Richard. However, the man himself seemed oblivious and merely watched the battle keenly.

The match had gone on for a whole ten minutes, and by now the Black Reaper was panting hard. His roars had dulled and he’d grown dispirited, and although his axes were still powerful his quivering muscles were proof that he was nearing his limits. He blocked fewer and fewer attacks, the dagger increasingly making contact with skin and leaving behind wound after wound on his body.

Mark suddenly stopped shouting, because even he had realised something was off here. The Black Reaper was showing even more of his weaknesses, but the footsoldier still was as guarded as he had been at the beginning, finding opportunities to retaliate and keep leaving little wounds behind on his body. There were a few opportunities to send his dagger in to the hilt, but he gave them up and chose to pare off some skin. The Black Reaper already had tens of wounds on his body, and every one of them continued to bleed. He left behind bloodstained footprints with every step he took.

All of a sudden the footsoldier quickened the pace of his attacks, and the style kept changing. Each time the dagger attacked, a thin layer of flesh would be skinned off from his opponent, leaving the man howling in agony. The bloody footprints on the ground soon grew more pronounced, and a mist of blood dispersed in the air.

Such brutal tactics immediately gave rise to a new merriment in the match. By the time the footsoldier swept at the Black Reaper’s throat to end his drawn out misery, the ring was burning with energy once more.

He then straightened his body, loudly striking his shield with the dagger before he turned to Richard, arms raised high to proclaim victory. There were a few injuries on him as well, and some were even long and deep, but none were fatal. They wouldn’t even affect his abilities— receiving injuries properly was a basic yet important element of experience. The footsoldier’s eyes were clear and direct, seemingly unperturbed by the cheers. The reason he had showed a victor’s pose was actually merely to match with Richard’s aim of suppressing Mark.

Just as the foot soldier accepted the cheers for the victor, he suddenly sensed a trace of danger. Richard’s own expression rapidly changed, mouth opening and closing as if yelling something to him. An instinct borne of years in battle instantly surfaced, and he went low and covered his back with his shield.

A heavy force rammed into the shield, a short steel spear! The thing had so much force behind it that it made its way through the metal, burying itself deep into the soldier’s shoulder and re-emerging from his chest.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA