“You would not uphold your bet?” Vouno spoke with a threatening tone, though the aura he is emitting has not changed in strength.
The guard that heard it, started to give off a threatening presence, instead of being ashamed by his own faithlessness, “And what are you going to do about that? Rules are rules and I cannot break them for a mere gamble”
The amount of respect he has for someone who appears to be only E rank is extremely thin. And, to be threatened by such a person is an insult.
“Yet you accepted” Vouno said darkly and took a few steps forward.
The guard however is glad at the hostility being shown at him now. It would become a good excuse for him to take down Vouno, “This man must be just a low ranker that found a treasure which could protect himself from Ki. Such a thing is wasted on him, I’ll beat him quickly and take it from him before the other guards sees”
“You are looking for trouble that you cannot handle” the guard said even as he unsheathed the sword hanging by his belt.
Kairos seeing how his father is being threatened, instead turned his mind to why they couldn’t detect his rank even with soul perception, yet now it is obvious. It is clear that Vouno had adopted a method that could hide his rank, and even has the control to reveal his presence, but whether it is his true prowess, even Kairos did not know. Until now, no one but Vouno himself, knows of his true ranking. He enjoyed being a mystery, and the inevitable look of shock that the others would take on at the things he achieves.
His martial art enables him access to things that no one else could dream of. Even Kairos who designed the art to his attributes may not have realised just what sort of abilities he had acquired.
In truth, his cultivation ranking is not that high right now, and even though he have a unique ability, he is far from invulnerable. However, he has a very specialised set of skills that made him a terror for some people.
“A Peak D ranker, that’s 6 grades above me, and he has a bracelet that lets him cross levels for a short time. But it looks like the more grades he exceeds using that artefact, the shorter duration he could maintain it. Man, I wish I can take his artefact. Ought to have bet him for it instead.”
He stormed forward fearlessly with a plan in his mind, “Do you dare to take another bet?”
The guard that was about to strike, stopped in his tracks and laughed. In his eyes, the one before him is already as good as dead, and that treasure which can defend against Ki is already in his pockets. In that case, why not allow himself to be entertained by another gamble?
“You’re a bold man. Well, what would you like to bet this time?”
“Your bracelet if you lose, or my life and everything on my person if you win. We will send out 3 strikes each, and the one who is stronger for two attacks win.”
“DEAL!” He almost laughed. He believed that the one before him has become stupid with anger, with such a weak presence yet he dared to challenge him to a duel of power. Even if his opponent has another treasure, it would be difficult to overwhelm him who is so vastly superior. And even, by some miracle, if his opponent truly overwhelmed him with a treasure … Then there is no doubt, it is an artefact from the immortal realms. In that case, even if he is outmatched, the entire undercity would not allow Vouno to simply walk away. And he, the guard who discovered this, would be well rewarded.
“First strike!” Vouno yelled for all to hear. He loves a little bit of drama.
Then the two prepared their move.
For their bet, the both of them could not dodge the coming blow, but they are granted all the time needed to prepare and for the one who is of a higher rank, or has a bigger move, this is a powerful advantage.
The guard took a Ki regeneration pill, and took a while to recover all the energy he used so far. Then, when he thought no one was looking, he activated a hidden talisman on his person.
He stood up momentarily later, and signal their gamble to proceed, and the two square off a distance away from the queue.
“Ready?” Vouno asked nonchalantly.
A nod signified their first strike. The guard quickly gathered his power and then summoned a powerful aura in the image of a bulldog at Vouno.
In response, Vouno formed some clumsy seal symbols with his hand. It was obvious that the symbols he used are completely off and totally useless. But a strange thing happened.
When he threw his hand out, a powerful Ki appeared on the air, becoming a seal symbol of great raging flames. The exact same one that the guard used on him previously.
Then it unleashed the same primal strength of the fire within the air and flew towards the guard at a blinding speed.
The bulldog silhouette crashed into the incoming fire symbol, but it persisted, destroying the fire seal and struck Vouno.
There was a loud applause from him after the attack hit him, but for the rest of them, there was a stunned silence.
Though he lost the first match, but it was clear that he had used the same attack as what the guard used.
“Hey, what just happened?”
“You’re asking me? I’m completely confused. Did he learn that technique from only watching it the first time?”
“But isn’t the seal completely off? Maybe he knows another method to use the skill?”
“It’s possible… But even if this is another way, the result is of the same strength”
At this time, Vouno had stopped clapping and he politely asked with a bow, “Now the second strike?”
A nod from the guard began their preparation.
This time, the guard did not require to rest and he quickly activated his heirloom and readied his secret art. Soon it became apparent that he could no longer summon the same prowess as before. His recovery pills did not enable a full recovery at such a short period of time.
He shouted again, “Cast thine hammer….”
Then Vouno who was watching, now repeated after him, “Cast that bloody hammer and smack him, Vouno’s bash” He pointed at his target.
The guard, wide-eyed and speechless, sent out his attack half a second late just as a powerful ‘Vouno’s bash’ came right at him.
Thor’s hammer crashed against Thor’s hammer. A titanic clang exploded in mid-air, creating a pillar of inferno and lightning. The flames cancelled out each other, until only Vouno’s attack continued its path and struck the guard, sending him reeling backwards.
It was a full force attack worthy of Mid C rank and it almost knocked the receiver unconscious.
This spectacular display floored the audience instantly, and their common sense could not catch up to what is happening in front of their eyes.
The guard had been struck, twice, by his own technique and it has defeated himself.
“Eat your pills and ready for strike three” Vouno promptly sat on the dirt ground and took out a stick of skewered meat from his time-space ring and chewed on it.
Meanwhile, the guard angrily but obediently ate his healing pills and poured a salve all over his body. He taken substantial damage from his own secret art, and his energy is now running low, but still he planned to win. Almost every practitioner, after surviving for a number of years, would have a trump card or two in their hands, though it is not always that they have a chance to use it, and even less at the suddenness that death could occur.
Here, in the midst of their bet, he decided to reveal his trump card and take the win. A talented wanderer who could copy skills and use it to the same effect would be a wonderful battle slave, and if he won this attack, Vouno would serve him! He could imagine the lords and ladies that would come to offer him great gifts in exchange for his new prize, and he licked his lips in anticipation.
“I’m ready for the third, and last, strike. You better be prepared to work from me from now on, ‘cus you have no chance in hell to win”
“Okay, I’m just about to finish my lunch” He chomped down the rest of the skewer and stood up, “Shall we begin?” He smiled with an unnerving confidence.
This time, they readied their attack with a longer preparation period. The guard activated multiple amount of talisman, straining his body for powering them, then he activated his heirloom which once again gathered the heavenly energy around them.
There is a powerful move that no one ever seen him use before. The upgraded version of secret arts. A noble art.
“I summon the might of the lightning god whose strength rivals the height of the heavens. Thor’s smite!”
The air become unbearably hot, and glowing clouds of plasma began forming around Vouno. The air smelled heavily of ion as charged electricity flashed among the clouds, causing enough static to make the nearby audiences’ hairs to stand, before disappearing only reappear closer to Vouno and with greater force each time. Soon, all the electric snakes with gather and smite him with a great pillar of lightning.
Like before, Vouno politely waited before sending his own retaliation, “I summon the ultimate skill to your forceful face planting. Vouno’s smite!”
An image of a heavenly being, looking much alike a war god materialised, towering above everyone. It stood as great as a tall building, had long beautiful wings made of light, and a crown that danced on its head.
It held a swallow within its hand, and then chanted inaudibly. The plasma in the air froze and the electric snakes disappeared.
The very ground surrounding the guard started cracking, as a web-like fissure appeared from underneath his feet. He felt his very being, thrown into a chaotic ocean, and is pulled apart bit by bit. His blood turned cold, and instantly began running in reverse. His skin disseminated into dust. Then he shouted, with all the might he could muster, “I LOST! Mercy!”
However, the attack did not end there. The giant gathered its might into its weapon, then sliced downwards at the helpless guard. It struck him right on his head, then sent him right into the ground at a speed that made his face whistle against the wind.
As Vouno declared, the guard was smashed heavily into the ground, face first. At the very last moment as he connected with the earth, Vouno reabsorbed all the energy, thus sparing his life.
The boys who saw the scene crowded closely to Kairos looking for an answer, who after a brief speechless pause said, “U…umm.. y..yeah, that’s my secret art”