Kurdak's impetus gradually became orange-red, a clear sign of the dense fire aspect infused.
Vera looked at her roaring man as tears bubbled out of her eyes. A small hand handed her a handkerchief. She turned and saw Eirinn.
"Big Brother Kurdak is a great man," Eirinn smiled, "You should be proud, Sis."
"Thanks, Eirinn." Vera smiled.
The little elf was ugly, but she was gentle. No wonder Leguna couldn't forget her.
"Yay! Do your best Uncle!" Innilis cheered excitedly.
She did not know how great the gap between Kurdak and Legg was.
"Big Brother Leguna, why did Uncle's impetus suddenly turn red?"
"Because it's infused with the fire aspect," Leguna explained patiently.
"To put it simply, the six great elements form the foundation of the world. They are, wind, fire, water, earth, light, and shadow. Different people have different affinities to them. I match great with shadow, Sis Vera with wind and Boss with fire. Under normal circumstances, it would be really hard to infuse these aspects into impetus if their affinity isn't high enough. But it is possible. Some are born with the natural ability to use aspect-infused impetus while others can only do it with long, grueling training."
"So Big Bro Leguna is natural and Uncle trained hard to do it?"
Leguna stroked the little girl's head.
"Innie is clever. I have really high affinity with the shadow aspect, so I could use shadow impetus the moment my impetus awoke. Boss had to train very long and hard and be under a lot of pressure to learn how to do it."
Kurdak leapt backwards and avoided Legg's slash before he exploded and swung his infernal greatsword at his opponent.
Legg's missed attack made him furrow his brow. He had been fighting Kurdak for five minutes now and had to admit the man was quite formidable. He had Skin of Terra, but still couldn't dare to take the man's greatsword head-on. He had to dodge everything. But if he dodged, his attacks wouldn't be as savage and his opponent wouldn't be struck. Therefore, even though the battle had been heated, it wasn't bloody or painful. Such battles were meaningless to him.
He rushed at Kurdak in a fit of rage, bellowing. The mud-yellow skin changed with his cry. It became even harder, if such knowledge could be gleaned from appearance.
Kurdak's greatsword wasn't small, but Legg grabbed it tightly in one hand. Kurdak pulled back in an attempt to free his sword, but he couldn't match Legg's strength. His sword wouldn't budge.
Legg's hand bled despite his hardened skin. He didn't care though. In fact, pain helped a berserker bring out more of their strength. The pain was a good thing.
Legg didn't wince, he smiled sinisterly instead. The barbarian raised his free hand, clenching it into a fist, and plunged it at his opponent.
Kurdak had two choices. He could abandon his weapon and dodge, if he did he'd lose the match. He had two daggers, but they could not pierce Legg's skin, so losing the only weapon that could do damage meant losing the match.
Kurdak stared at the incoming fist. He calmed suddenly. He watched as the sandbag-sized fist closed in, his hands still firmly clasping his sword.
Bam! The fist struck him in the chest. Both men cried at the same time. Kurdak was blown five meters away. Legg quietly pulled out the dagger plunged into his arm. It had pierced straight through his arm thanks to their opposing forces. His bones must have been cut or chipped.
Kurdak had chosen to exchange blow for blow rather than abandon his weapon.
"Cough, cough!" Kurdak spat out two mouthfuls of blood. He felt as if a gigantic hammer had smashed into his chest. He'd exchanged blow for blow without hesitation, but his gamble hadn't worked out in his favor.
"You're a brave one. This's the first time I've met anyone willing to exchange blows like that."
Legg tossed the dagger aside as he spoke. The damage was not life-threatening, but if he continued to strain his arm, he'd lose all use of it regardless of treatment. The arm was thus out of the fight. Even so, he acted as if he wasn't wounded at all.
"You're hurting," Kurdak spat between ragged breaths. His heavy injuries did not keep him from mocking his opponent.
Legg's offset eyeballs shifted.
"Not bad. Too bad we don't mind pain."
"Then let me give you more!" Kurdak shouted as he leapt at his opponent again.
Still fighting? thought Annelotte.
"Oh? He's still going?" Geoffrey asked, an eerie smile on his face, "Not surprising, really. The top eight get a thousand more gold coins. I'm sure this is enough to motivate him to risk his life."
Annelotte felt her feathers ruffle. She didn't know why Kurdak was trying so hard, but it wasn't for gold coins! A hint of rage burst into her face.
"Shut up!" she barked.
The Annelotte he knew was always cold, but polite. This didn't make any sense.
What? Shut up?
"I said shut up!" Annelotte repeated, "If you want to watch the match, please do. But don't give me your commentary. I'll make sure you won't speak a word for a week!"
Geoffrey looked at the little madame in disbelief. He'd never gotten her to smile, but now a simple comment about some nobody got her to yell at him? Was this really Annelotte?
Annelotte ignored the confused prince and focused on the match.
When Geoffrey recovered, he realized she'd had actually scolded him, a prince. He wanted to explode, but, thinking of her father, he shivered instead. He was an imperial prince, but there were a few people he couldn't offend. Amongst them, the one his father mentioned most often was this girl's father, Marolyt.
"I'd rather lose a son than Marolyt's support!" his father had once told him.
He'd been quite unhappy and had tried to cause Marolyt trouble, but was quickly taught a harsh lesson by the crazy old man. Even worse, his father pretended nothing had happened. The incident drove home to the prince that his father didn't care about him at all when it came to the galestorm swordsaint.
Now it's not just the old man I can't offend, I can't even teach his daughter proper respect! If... if he weren't here, an imperial prince wouldn't have to suffer this kind of treatment!
The humphed coldly before returning to the match. Fortunately, they were in a private room so no one had seen this embarrassment.
The match continued and soon the 15-minute mark passed. Most thought the match would be incredibly one-sided. They didn't expect a 13 strata warrior like Kurdak to last so long. He appeared haggard, but he just wouldn't give in.
A few slowly switched sides and started cheering for this little man.
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