“What was that? What the hell was that?!” Ten screamed, realizing he was going to have to face Vorelando next.
One, the only one amongst them remaining truly calm, asked Vorelando a question.
“Who are you?”
“I’m nobody, don’t worry about me.”
Vorelando wiped his mouth clean of blood with the back of his hand and then beckoned Ten forward.
“Come on now, I want to get out of here.”
Ten looked up towards One for assurance who gave it to him with a nod. He stepped out from under the tree and stood across from Vorelando.
“On my count!” One boomed.
“1, 2, 3!”
On the third count the match started with a bang, Vorelando took a step back as Ten activated his signature move. Across his back of his body, from the top of his neck to the bottom of his ankles, teeth sprouted outwards. He curled up into a ball like a hedgehog and then started charging a spin dash.
While this was happening, One beckoned Three to him.
“I want you to observe this guy, find out if he’s got any weaknesses. You should be able to do it before he gets to Eight.”
“On it!” Three replied.
Three sat down against the tree with a pad and paper and watched the match intently. Three was the analysis God, he had no signature move of his own, that’s why he’d spent his life learning how to exploit the weakness of others’. Normally he would be using his laptop but given the circumstances, this was the best he could do.
As Ten continued to charge up, Vorelando kept his gaze trained firmly on him. He didn’t want to rely on his signature move if he didn’t have to, he’d never had to use it at youth level, he’d been an expert vorer way before playing his trump card.
As he ended this thought, Ten made his move, racing towards Vorelando while tearing up the turf underneath. Vorelando pirouetted around the oncoming ball of teeth, quickly turning to face it again. Ten swung back around and charged at Vorelando once more, who jumped straight over him and turned to face it again.
From the side-lines Three noted down that Ten’s mystery opponent wasn’t using his signature move right from the off. There was something preventing him from using it, it just wasn’t clear if that was some kind of limitation or a self-imposed restriction.
Back at the battle, Vorelando dodged Ten for the 5th time. He was beginning to figure him out. Ten had trouble taking sharp turns so every time Vorelando dodged, it took him a moment to readjust his angle of attack. This gave Vorelando time to think.
He needed to attack Ten's soft underbelly, there was no way he was getting through those razor sharp teeth on his back. If they were in a regular arena, there might be no way for Vorelando to counter him without using his signature move but the environment they were in gave him options.
As Ten swung back around to attack once more, Vorelando got into his stance, one foot in front of the other, left hand behind his back, right one out in front, beckoning.
Seeing this taunt, Ten increased his already relentless speed towards Vorelando. This time though, Vorelando made no attempt to move, by the time Ten realized the mistake he’d made, it was too late.
Vorelando slammed his foot into the ground, forcing the turf upwards into the shape of a ramp. Ten went over it, flying up into the air and spiraling far away from the tree.
While he was up in the air, he didn’t panic. He knew what his opponent wanted to do, exploit his underbelly. Knowing this he shifted his body in mid air, staying in ball form and angling his back towards the ground. All he had to do was hit the soft ground and spin dash instantly, there was no way for that shirtless shrimp to crack his outer shell.
Ten’s hubris was ended with a crack. He felt an impact on his back but it wasn’t the soft one of soil, it was something much harder. It made him crack, he unfurled back into human form. He couldn’t see what was below him because of the way he was facing but the visage of the tree missing a section in the distance made it clear what had just happened.
Vorelando, instead of rushing Ten down immediately, had backed his pace. He’d run over to the tree, torn off a particularly sturdy branch and then double timed it over to where Ten was going to land, swinging the branch upwards and shattering every vertebrae in Ten’s body with the force.
To add insult to injury, Vorelando didn’t even let his defeated opponent land gracefully, he twisted the branch around and swung it overhand down on Ten’s torso, sending him flying into the ground below and creating a cloud of debris that obscured the rest of the Scorpion Boys’ vision.
Three was baffled. Ten had been manhandled, babied, given the whole continental, how was it that Three had never heard of the guy that had just destroyed him so easily? Without his digital database to cross reference against, figuring that out from fighting style alone was going to be difficult. And he relished that challenge, he began drawing a mind map on his pad to scour through the possibilities.
The rest of the Scorpion Boys, apart from One, were not so giddy. It was natural that Nine was now bricking it, being next up but even Eight and Seven were getting worried, unsure if their previous number would be good enough to even slow down the mystery opponent.
As they were all running through what they were planning to do in their respective fights, Vorelando emerged from the cloud of dust, his face covered in blood and both fists clenched. He marched right up to the remaining Scorpion Boys and threw the teeth he had been holding in his hands at their faces.
“I said, who’s next?!”