The moment the match began Suji leapt forward with his Purple Dragon Crescent Blade in hand, as thousands of lightning coils enveloped its edge. The Guandao swung in a huge arc, slicing the air and drastically shaking its surroundings.
‘Tiger Leaps across the Great Wall! Isadore was right about Suji opening with this move!’ Shin grinned and coated his left foot with a tremendous amount of mana. After seeing this move dozens of times in the training yard, Shin knew exactly how to deal with Suji’s potent attack.
Pivoting his ankle, Shin quickly shuffled to the side using his Lightning Swallow Steps and found the sole weakness of the massive attack. When Suji was flying in the air, his left side was left heavily unguarded, giving rise to a golden opportunity for Shin to counter. Mana strengthened and enhanced by The Sovereign Koi’s scales, Shin’s leg contained an astounding amount of force, and the boy wasn’t shy to use it.
“Whipping the Crocodile’s Tail!” Shin abruptly turned his body and extended his coiled up thigh like it were a serpent striking its prey. The roundhouse kick landed right at Suji’s left ribs, sending the skilled martial artist flying in the opposite direction.
Suji’s body tumbled through the arena, like a cartwheel set on the loose, and only stopped after the youth slammed the blade of his Guandao firmly onto the floor. Nonetheless, the damage was done, both physically and mentally.
‘What?! How did he counter Tiger Leaps across the Great Wall?!’ Suji mentally exclaimed. In his entire life, this opening movement of his had always been avoided, since no one was crazy enough to counter it. ‘Tch, if that move doesn’t work, how about this?!’
Turning the Purple Dragon Crescent Blade until it was hanging over his back, Suji crouched down and assumed a different battle stance. To be safe, he created dozens of lightning coils and formed an electric field to act as the first line of defence. Following that, he increased his mana strengthening to the limit, especially at the areas surround his eight greater and twelve lesser meridians. Knowing that Shin could end a match using the Divine Needle Binding alone, Suji had to take additional precautions.
With his preparations complete, Suji acted like a bull and dashed forward with all his might, leaving a trail of lightning in his wake. Closing in at a blinding speed, Suji saw that Shin was merely standing there as if he were unaware of the raging blitz that was headed his way, which gave Suji an opening to end the match right there and then. The Guandao in his hands spun around in two smaller circles to gain momentum before its final swing, which contained his strongest offensive martial art.
“DIIIIEEEE!!!” Suji hollered out as the sabre edge continued straight at the pristine white neck of Shin’s. However, just as the move before, Shin found its weakness almost immediately and dropped his body at the precise moment, opening Suji’s vulnerable body to a potent counter-attack.
Shin targeted the greater meridian located on Suji’s chest using his outreached leg while taking out one silver needle to pierce through the descending youth’s meridian located on his calf. In that one move, Suji had opened himself up to two strikes from Shin without even realising it. Fortunately for the Son of War, his lightning field barred any metallic objects from harming him, rendering Shin’s attempt to seal his calf meridian obsolete. However, unfortunately for Suji, his lightning field didn’t protect him from Shin’s heel strike.
Striking the location where Suji’s chest meridian was, Shin’s altered seismic kick, sent shockwaves pulsating through Suji’s body, but it wasn’t sufficient to seal the meridian altogether. Choking on his breath, Suji withstood the pain as his face turned crimson. Countered again, Suji flew backwards in a similar manner as before, making the audience feel like they were experiencing deja vu.
“The Son of War’s martial arts are being neutralised?!”
“Black-Haired Tyrant’s combat techniques surpasses that of the Lasgeor family’s?! How’s that possible?!”
It wasn’t just the students who were stunned, but also the majority of the VIPs. Being part of High Society, they all knew how dangerous the Lasgeor family martial arts were. The Lasgeor family came from a lineage that was no strangers to warfare, and they had perfected their polearms martial arts to an exceptional degree. One might even argue that it was the best in the Empire. Yet, Shin was capable of countering two of Suji’s techniques with relative ease.
Of course, Shin couldn’t take all the credit. It was Isadore who had shown him the techniques and had even pointed out how to neutralise each strike so that he could lead into a counter-attack. All of Shin’s counters were moves that Isadore had personally analysed and gifted upon the black-haired youth.
If he were frank, Shin didn’t believe that the counters that Isadore developed would work against a true-blood Lasgeor. After all, Suji had years of experience perfecting his craft. However, based on the effectiveness of the first two moves, Shin realised that his worries were unfounded. In fact…
‘Why is Suji so much slower than Isadore?’ Shin pondered to himself. When he was training with Isadore, the Lasgeor family martial arts were much more potent, and one false calculation would spell the end of Shin’s happy life.
In comparison, Suji’s movements were much less refined and sluggish. Even though the Son of War’s physical power was there and his lightning coils posed an ever-dangerous threat, compared to Isadore’s spear arts which had almost no flaws, it was akin to heaven and earth. During training, Shin would only land his counters one out of four times, but against Suji, Shin believed that he could counter his moves as long as he could see them.
On the other side of the arena, Suji was trying his best to comprehend what had just happened.
‘Once might have been luck, but two consecutive times?!’ Suji was in absolute shock. In all his years practising the Lasgeor martial arts, there has never been case where he was countered so badly twice in a row. ‘Looks like fighting with martial arts won’t get me anywhere… Damn it! I’ll electrocute you to death then!!!’
Realising that martial arts weren’t going to work, Suji amped up his lightning field to the maximum as the mana flowing out of his body far outmatched that of a regular Rank 19 Spirit Apostle. The stage trembled as the heavens began to darken.
Pitter patter, pitter patter…
Dark, effervescent clouds dominated the skies above as the sweet nectar of rain filled the vicinity. Crying out at the battle below, a tropical drizzle dipped down from the heavens, wetting Lucha Amphitheatre instantaneously. Was it because of Suji’s discharge of lightning elements, or was it because of Shin’s Sovereign Koi? Or perhaps it was a combination of the two? Nonetheless, having it rain in the middle of Shin and Suji’s match was quite fitting. A clash between the Son of Lightning and the Child of Water.
“Shin, I’m impressed that you have made it this far.” Now that the essence of the battle had shifted, Suji relaxed his posture as he walked towards Shin with his lightning covered body.
“…” Shin didn’t dare to drop his guard down for even one second. Creating three spheres of water, the black-haired youth changed his stance in preparation for the expected onslaught.
“You have come from being a complete nobody to becoming one of the academy’s most elite fighters. I must admit, as a warrior, I admire how far you have come.” Suji continued to move forward.
Even though it seemed like the Son of War was filled with openings, Shin knew that the electric field he created would dissolve any of the attacks that he had and entering Suji’s target area without a plan was a terrible idea. Furthermore, since he was trained in dealing with the Lasgeor martial arts, it was best to wait for Suji to launch a telegraphed and colossal attack, so that Shin had the best chance to counter. Hence, he allowed the tanned, muscular teen to continue on rambling.
“Unfortunately, the world is a cruel place. A place where the strong eats the weak, and a place where the weak submits to the strong.” Closing his eyes, Suji felt his mana surge as the electric coils surrounding him intensified. Driven by the desire to prove himself, driven by the desire to avenge his friend, driven by the desire to become the best… Suji decided to lay down all of his cards.
“Hence, to prove that I’m not the weak one, I’ll have you grovel at my feet!!!”
The moment he reached the centre of the arena, Suji opened his arms wide and released all of his lightning coils, allowing them to wreak havoc all over. The enchanted stage, which should have been sturdy enough to withstand the damage from Spirit Core cultivators, started to rip apart as bits of debris flew all over.
To escape the carnage, Shin leapt into the skies and used the Dance of the Valkyrie to remain airborne. With the three water spheres orbiting around him, Shin glanced down at the decimated arena, and a nervous mouthful of saliva gulped down his throat. Rather than looking like a standard square where students could showcase their abilities, Lucha Amphitheatre had turned into a nesting ground of lightning, where only maniacs who didn’t care about their lives would even consider stepping foot on the arena.
Like a lightning rod, Suji continued to conduct electricity at an astonishing rate and showed no signs of slowing down. The amount of mana being released was so tremendous that it made Shin question if Suji was truly someone at the Spirit Apostle realm.
‘Looks like I can’t let this continue on further… It’s time…’ Shin thought back to the conversation that he had with Isadore as they were training and knew that he had no choice but to implement the risky plan he formulated.
Shin raised his hands above his head and merged the three water spheres together, forming a colossal sized one as a result. Treating it like a basketball, Shin threw the gigantic orb straight to the sparkling Suji.
“You underestimate me, Shin Iofiel!!!” Suji furrowed his brows as a vein popped in his forehead. Slashing his Purple Dragon Crescent Blade, Suji instantly dispersed the humongous orb of water, allowing it to fall down to the ground around him. At the same time, dozens of lightning coils flowed out from his body and conducted themselves onto the slippery floor, creating an electrified surface that would fry a normal human being within seconds.
However, Shin’s attack wasn’t done. Immediately after Suji sliced through the water sphere, Shin threw all of his silver acupuncture needles at the compromised youth. Thinking that the grey clouds and continuous downpour would mask his needle throw, Shin hoped to end the match by piercing through Suji’s greater and lesser meridians all at once. Unfortunately, Suji’s electric field proved to be too potent.
Instead of piercing its targets, Shin’s silver needles all dropped onto the electrified pool of water beneath Suji, leaving the sinewy youth completely unharmed.
“If you think that lazy attack could work on me, you’re completely mistaken, you asshole!!!” Angered that Shin launched such a predictable assault, Suji congregated his mana once more and leapt high into the air, where Shin was waiting.
Stunned by Suji’s new approach, Shin exploded the orb of water on his left feet to propel himself in the opposite direction, hoping to evade Suji’s telegraphed attack. However, just as Shin thought that he was in the clear, the leaping Suji suddenly changed directions midair and directed his bloodthirsty Guandao at the black-haired youth’s neck.
‘Tch, he can fly as well?!’ Shin spat on in shock. With little time to think, Shin somersaulted in the air and performed the Dance of the Valkyrie to the best of his abilities. Noticing the change, Suji adjusted as well and kicked the air in pursuit of Shin. Swinging the Purple Dragon Crescent Blade in a huge arc, Suji attempted to end the match with that one final attack.
“BAAANNNNNGGGG!!!!” A thunderous clap reverberated out, sending out ripples in the fabric of spacetime.
Knowing that there was no escape, Shin used the strongest kick he had to meet Suji’s Guandao head on. The resulting force pushed the lightweight higher into the air, while Suji came crashing towards the ground.
Spinning like a tabletop for three seconds, Shin reached a height of over fifty metres above the stadium, before he could stabilise himself. In the midst of the pouring rain, Shin felt his body trembling as the water elements that surrounded him rushed inwards, providing the youth with the mana and vigour that he needed to recover.
On the ground, Suji basked in the electrified pool underneath his feet as flashes of lightning fell from the firmament above. Even though he had spent a significant amount of mana, Suji still had plenty left in the tank to fool around with.
“Wh-what… Are we watching?” A student spectator unknowingly mouthed out.
The battle between Shin and Suji was on such a high level that many among the audience didn’t believe what they were witnessing. Even some from the VIP stands couldn’t comprehend how two students were able to reach such a level at their tender age.
It wasn’t a match between two fifteen-year-old freshmen, but a war between two Gods…