The first match of the second round. Balfazar vs. Lantz. Two of the three winning candidates pitted against each other.
The former was an Adamantium ranked adventurer. Having no interest in parties or comrades, it is said that he once single-handedly defeated a large Ancient Dragon that was wreaking havoc in a city. The city he saved that day is now flourishing as the Imperial Capital Sia.
The latter was the captain of the First Order of Knights. The vanguard of this kingdom and the strongest human, it is said that not even the current Hero has been able to defeat him. There are rumours that it was he who defeated the previous Demon King one year ago and paved the way for humanity’s victory.
And these two favourites were now going to duel each other to determine who was stronger. The tension among the crowd was high. This was the match which had the highest bidders. Who would win; the newcomer Lantz or the former champion Balfazar?
It was finally time to decide that.
“Everyone! Are you ready for the first match?”
The crowd shouted in reply to the announcer.
“On one hand is Sir Lantz, the captain of the First Order of Knights, rumoured to have defeated the previous Demon King! His opponent this time is Balfazar, the Adamantium ranked adventurer who protected this city from a great ancient dragon!”
As the announcer announced that, the two participants entered the stage from the opposite ends.
Oh, and this time, we participants were allowed to watch the match from a special room prepared for us. Of course, there was a catch.
“So, who do you think will win?”
Came the question from Cecile, who was sitting in her regal chair and sipping wine, to no one in particular, but it was clear that it was actually aimed at me.
Yes, we were in the VIP room reserved for nobles and royalties. On the balcony for viewing the matches sat the Third Princess of Asmaria, Cecile Constantine. Beside her were two knights for her protection, while we were standing behind her. There were other nobles in the room and balcony too, but they were paying attention to the match instead of us.
“It’s difficult to determine that right now.” The one who replied was Pars. “Both of them are strong. I can’t say anything about Sir Lantz, but I can vouch for the monstrous strength of Balfazar. I was there, you know, when he defeated that giant dragon. The valour with which he faced the dragon and the power with which he defeated it; they have all been recorded in my heart.”
Carlos, my opponent for this round nodded along. Rugtred just stared at us, particularly me, while leaning against the wall. On the other hand, Diana, the female knight, had something else to offer.
“If it’s killing a dragon, then Sir Lantz has also done it. It’s clear that Sir Lantz will win this match.”
“Was that dragon an Ancient Dragon?”
Ancient Dragons. Dragons who have lived for a long time and possess more intelligence and power than a normal dragon.
“No, it wasn’t, but-”
“Then it’s clear. Balfazar is stronger.”
“But he also killed the Demon King!”
“That’s just a rumour, isn’t it? If he had indeed killed the Demon King, then how come we still have to fight this war. A new Demon King is not supposed to appear until a thousand years later, is he?”
“Now now.” Cecile interfered before Diana could say anything unnecessary in her vigour. “There’s no need to argue.” Then she looked at me. “What about you Samael? Who do you think will win?”
“I have no idea.”
I replied with a shrug, though it’s not like I didn’t know who was the potential winner.
I had the results of my ‘Analyse’ after all.
NAME: Johan Lantz
NAME: Balfazar Dess
Lantz is already at the limit of what a human can achieve; 255 is the level cap for humans, faes and demons. Balfazar, on the other hand, is still at level 205.
Assuming levels are absolute, then Lantz is the clear winner here. But the reality is that levels aren’t absolute: what matters more is stats. So we can’t say anything for sure.
However, personally speaking, I think Lantz will win. I’m sure of that.
Well, we’ll find out soon enough anyway.
Using magic to augment my eyes and ears, I decided to listen to the conversation between Lantz and Balfazar.
“You are as leisurely as ever.”
Lantz shrugged in response to Balfazar’s retort.
“I don’t need to be on my guard. In fact, I appreciate your courage for not running away even though you were against me.”
“This time, I’ll make you grovel. Be ready for that.”
Saying that, Balfazar took distance from Lantz. The announcer, seeing that the participants were now ready and at an appropriate distance from each other, announced.
“Without further ado, let the first match begin!”
Judging from the qualifiers, and what they personally knew about the contenders, everyone expected this match to be a long and exciting one. They expected Lantz and Balfazar to be evenly matched and thus show them a good match.
Of course, their expectations were betrayed.
The moment the match started, Lantz took out his sword and Balfazar his spear. An instant later, they both ran towards each other and came upon each other right at the centre, ready with their attacks.
Lantz’s sword was raised overhead. Just before he swung it down, the sword glowed with a bright white hue, and then was enlarged to a frightening degree.
Balfazar’s spear was positioned to lunge from below. Just before he attacked, the spear also glowed in a bright red hue and released an overwhelming amount of crimson mana from it.
Mana clashed and formed a torrent as the giant sword that could demolish mountains and the flaming spear that could cut through everything collided. A blink of an eye later, an explosion followed their clash, going beyond the stage and threatening to engulf the spectators.
“E-Everyone, please calm down! The barrier is made up of several layers, so the explosion wouldn’t reach us!”
The announcer shouted in desperation to calm down the crowd.
As the explosion faded away, a cloud of dust took its place thus obscuring the view of the spectators and keeping them from knowing the result.
Of course, to the eyes of trained, the result was already known.
The cloud of dust was blown away using wind magic by Cecile, and the result of the match was laid bare for all to see.
In the centre of the destroyed stage lay Balfazar. Sprawled on the ground with his eyes rolled back into his skull, his armour was chipped away at various places and blood was flowing from his head. Beside him lay his spear, vertically bisected into two.
The one who remained standing in front of him was Lantz, taking deep breaths. His armour was charred at some places, while what remained of his sword was just the hilt.
“E-Eh?! It’s settled?!”
The announcer voiced what was going through everyone’s minds. Everything had happened in a few seconds after all.
“I-It’s settled! Even though the match lasted only a few moments, the winner of this match is Sir Lantz!”
After the two collided, the spectators were silent, but when the victor was announced, they erupted into thunderous cheering.
From the beginning, both Lantz and Balfazar had aimed to end the match in a single blow. So they used their strongest skills (which could be used in this arena) and clashed right in the centre of the stage.
And in the end, what proved stronger was Lantz’s sword.
While looking at the unconscious Balfazar (who was still somehow alive), Lantz murmured.
“You have been the same since a long time ago. That’s why your spear will never reach me.”
But it was not like Lantz had escaped unscathed. His left arm was broken and bleeding profusely; he needed immediate healing. So, after raising his right hand in response to the crowd’s cheering, he walked back through the gate that he came.
And so ended the first match of the second round.