Published at 29th of December 2018 09:40:06 AM
Chapter 14

Now it was time for the real counter-attack to start .

"GRARR!!!!" Faced with the bellowing giant before him, Lars readied himself with a flexible light-footed stance .

His eyes widened as Linges swung punches at him - the same orbit, the same paths and the same moves - only much faster this time .

'!!! He was still hiding so much strength . . . ? What are his limits!?' He cursed and leaned back; then pivoted to his left and hopped back; barely avoiding the maiming blows . He saw numerous openings to strike back; but when he was about to retaliate, he suddenly felt a chill up his spine .

So instead of committing for the counter-strike, he feinted to the right; pretending to go in for a slash to Linges' neck . Only for the "slow" beastman to instantaneously slam his palms together - right where Lars' head was supposed to be if he had fallen for the behemoth's trap!

'!!!!!!!' His clothes were by now drenched with sweat . 'If I hadn't sussed out his ploy . . . ' He shivered at the thought but did not back down .

Strike after strike, blow for blow they danced back and forth; twice Lars was almost caught wrong-footed - twice he had to pay for his mistakes with his blood, pulling himself back frantically by his Invisible Ropes .

He only had one more set of ropes ready . This would be his last chance to go for broke .




His heart pumped hard; he forced his shallow breaths into longer, calmer deep breaths .

Then he sped forward; pressing into the brown-skinned champion's chest; avoiding the incoming punches by entering *into* his range instead of away!

The larger boy smiled; then showed unexpected agility, recovering from his swinging punches - and in a flash, he squeezed his arms together in a crushing low bear-hug aimed at Lars' waist; even faster than his earlier speed!

But this time it was Linges' turn for his eyes to widen .

'What the--" Before he knew it, his target performed a graceful back-flip; bringing him up and out of harm's way .

Then as he flipped over in the air, his daggers glinted and traced beautiful and dangerous dagger-lights through the air - straight at the berserker's vulnerable throat and eyes .

Surprisingly, despite the beastman's vitals being wide-open, he showed no sign of consternation . He merely tucked his chin and focused all his mana and blood energy to fortify his defences on his face and head .

'Hmmph! He'll never pierce my reinforcem--'


A gush of blood spurted out of the two parallel slash marks trailing Linges' face - leaving twin valleys of red on the left side of his face .

And blinding one of his eyes; possibly irreparably .

Lars flipped back and scrambled away excitedly; heaving and puffing heavily .

His initial probes had revealed that his enemy's defences were more than 80% based on mana reinforcement, and only roughly 20% by actual flesh-and-blood hardening through cultivating blood energy .

Which meant that he could use his hidden skill Temporary Breach - which momentarily disabled a target's mana reinforcement in the area of contact - to strike a crippling blow on his enemy .

All he needed was a chance; an opportunity born from countless feints, analysis and allowing the "invincible" giant to underestimate him .

The culmination of all his plans put together had allowed him to pierce the impregnable fortress of Linges' defences - the first ever in the Arena to ever do so .

There was yet hope to take down the undefeated minotaur of the labyrinth - maybe, just maybe, there was still a path to life!

Little did he know that he had just stirred up the hornet's nest - and awakened a raging demon no one should have provoked .

* * * * *

[1 minute ago]

"AHHH!!!!" Lars loosed a battle cry and ran towards Linges; who bared his teeth and roared in return; thunderous and overbearing; establishing his dominance as the king of the hill . Then he raised his eyebrows and grinned viciously when he saw the boy repeating almost exactly the same move; aimed at the same place .

Despite his external appearances, Linges was no fool; it was impossible for a fool to survive here . Conversely, it was impossible for one to ascend to the peak of the Arena without incredible insight and wisdom .

Only; who could ever force him to resort to tactics, strategies or wisdom when he could smash them and their defences apart with his direct advances?

The lumbering boy also possessed extraordinary footwork and techniques, but the only time he ever had to use it was when training with the instructors - and against the invigilator, he had crippled .

' . . . ' The barbarous boy had never revealed it, but he had reasons of his own to exact vengeance on that man - reasons he would never disclose .

He maintained either a savage scowl or a brutish appearance to keep his intelligence hidden from the world for almost 10 years now - ever since that fateful day that brought his whole life crashing down around him .

And so he allowed the exact same order of moves to replay themselves; concentrating mana reinforcement on his chest as the thin boy landed an X-shaped pair of slashes on the exact same spot; deepening the gashes on his chest .

'Slightly interesting . . . But I hope that's not all you have hidden up your sleeves . . . Else this will just be a yawn-fest . ' Contrary to his cultured inner speech; the "berserker" bared his fangs and charged as if he were consumed by battle-frenzy as he kept a cool mind; enjoying the mild challenge this soft boy was giving him .

But he had not expected for the boy's trump card to be so incisive; so quick and ruthless - so deadly as to remove one of his eyes forever .

This time; he was well and truly enraged; seething, maddened - a sight that had only been seen once before; when, in his fury, he had ripped off the arms and legs of that paedophile instructor .

He would have finished the job; if not for the fact that he had been forcefully restrained by a good dozen and a half stewards and trainers . Even then, he had wounded and sent half of the interlocutors into the infirmary - or retired them permanently from service .

The memory of that repugnant man riled him even more, souring his mood further . Almost as much as he despised Lars .

This injury . . . To his face of all places . . . He was already intimidating enough as he was; how much more terrifying would he be to his little sister and her friends with one scarred blinded eye?

At that moment; a horror exceeding all before it was unleashed on the Arena; on the tragic Lunatic Deathwish . A calm, scheming and strategising Linges, using all his battle techniques available to crush his foe .