Book 1, Chapter 58

A Fateful Battle

This snow rabbit was obviously mutated. Not only did it have sharp fangs and claws, scales had covered many parts of its body. What’s more, the area not covered in scales was protected by meticulously forged scale mail as well.

Blackgold jumped at the sight of it, exclaiming, “What is that? It can use equipment?”

“It’s a snow rabbit! Alright everyone, quiet! Begin quickly!” Sharon yawned with a hand over her mouth.

Steven sent a fervent gaze in the legendary mage’s way, feeling like Sharon was still biased towards him. The Solams had prepared all kinds of explanations in case they investigated into their armoured rabbit, but their participation was still upheld. Sharon just brushed it aside the moment Blackgold brought it up. It was a pity, though; she didn’t spare a single glance at Steven, like something else was on her mind. It was obvious she had no interest in watching this battle.

The winter wolf sent a low howl echoing throughout the arena, crouching towards the ground. This was an enemy it had never come across, so it chose to be both cautious and observant. As a mature male, it was both fierce and cunning.

On the other hand, the mutated snow rabbit was evidently somewhat afraid, even before the wolf released its predatory aura. It jumped around uneasily in circles, attempting to leave the arena. It was this opportunity that the wolf seized to strike.

The wolf threw itself behind the rabbit with a single jump, biting down on the rabbit’s rear end. However, there was armour protecting the backside of the rabbit as well, protecting its vulnerable anus. The bite of the wolf was strong enough to deform the lafite steel, but not enough to kill the rabbit.

The intense pain triggered the ferocious side of the rabbit, and it kicked hard enough at the wolf’s head to leave an unexpected indent in its wake. It let out a beastly howl before jumping on the wolf, taking a large bit of its shoulder flesh. The wolf’s own bestial instincts came into play, however, and it fought back.

The more attentive ones in the audience had already seen the Elementary Agility and Elementary Strength runes inscribed on the rabbit, but it still depended on its scales and armour. Lafite steel was the same material used in rune knight armour, but it was modified here to suit the strength and body of the rabbit. Even so, this was far superior to the natural fur and scales of other beasts, requiring the winter wolf to gnaw at it repeatedly before it wore away.

The rabbits Steven had bred were all as strong as hunting hounds, and this particular one was the best out of hundreds. That was why it could bear two runes on its body, its fighting ability actually slightly at an edge over the winter wolf for the very same reason. On top of that, its scales were bred to be resistant to cold, so the frost breath of the winter wolf was greatly weakened. For a moment, it seemed like both the beasts were equal in strength.

The Solams were all holding their breaths, and Steven was clutching tightly to the railing before him, sweating so much that his palms could slip out under him at any moment. Every bite the wolf took out of the rabbit made him shudder, like the damage was not to the rabbit’s body but to his own.

The winter wolf was already a mess, a large amount of its flesh having been torn off by the rabbit’s incessant attacks. However, its own bestial nature had been pushed to the extreme, its attacks more and more threatening. The contrast between the two creatures began to show, the pure predator that was the wolf dominating the rabbit who’d never hunted in its life. The rabbit was only biting and tearing to survive, but it didn’t know at all what vital areas were. With only two generations of breeding it was impossible to raise a species’ intelligence significantly. Although some runes could indeed increase intelligence, those were all at least grade 4 with few runemasters able to make them. Even an alpha winter wolf wouldn’t be able to bear that, let alone a snow rabbit.

The wolf was exhibiting its vicious cunning. It circled the snow rabbit, each of its attacks aimed at the latter’s vital points. The neck, anus, abdomen and joints were all targeted, and as the wolf grew more familiar with the armour over battle it learned how to tear it apart and aim at the weaker areas. It even managed to rip out many of the rabbit’s natural scales.

Although the wolf was bathed in wounds at this point, the injuries were pretty much all superficial. It hadn’t weakened at all, while the rabbit already had one of its back legs bitten off so its movement was impeded greatly. Most of its armour, especially at the back, was also torn, revealing vital weak spots.

From this, many could already tell the outcome of this battle. As expected, the wolf ended everything by jumping onto the rabbit, using its weight to flip the smaller creature over and take a fatal bite of its tender abdomen.

“Aww!” Steven sighed in disappointment. The rabbit was still not a match for the wolf despite being mutated and having fangs. But he was also in relief, because the wolf was substantially injured as well. If the snow rabbits from both sides could not defeat the wolf, then the outcome would be judged based on the amount of injuries left behind.

Richard didn’t have the kind of mutated snow rabbit the Solams had invested so heavily into, meaning it was impossible for it to carry two runes. If a rabbit with two runes couldn’t beat a winter wolf, then it would be impossible for a rabbit with only one. Saint Klaus had already mentioned that it was impossible for a snow rabbit to beat a winter wolf with only elementary rune slots.

The injured wolf returned to its cage, whereas the carcass of the mutated rabbit was collected by the mages of Deepblue for further examination to ensure that all the runes on it were all made by Steven. After a clean-up, a new mature winter wolf was introduced to the arena. It was Richard’s turn now.

Steven let out a sigh of relief as he saw this wolf, but also felt somewhat downcast. This wolf was almost identical to the one he faced in terms of size and strength, showing the Deepblue’s impartial nature. He felt sad that Sharon’s bias had its limits, and was unpredictable. It could be a source of light when he’d lost all hope, but it could also disappear when he was most expectant.

If a mutated rabbit was still alright, then why not give Richard an alpha wolf?

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