Chapter 19:

Emperor’s Day (6)

Mad God


As the rounds’ intensity spread, more and more people started to show up, trying to get a glimpse of the fights. The rumor of their battles spread as the talks about never before seen fighters appearing on the stage captured everyones’ attention. Both emperors were happy to see this and didn’t stop the gathering of the masses. They even issued orders to build more stands so they could spectate and let them up to the walls. When it was Ren’s turn, the curious people almost doubled in numbers, and everyone was excited to see what would happen next.


“Greetings, Young Lady Ren.” Poli greeted her courteously while Ren just blinked her eyes innocently at him.


“Do I know you?”


“Ugh… I guessed you wouldn’t... My name is Poli.”


“Oh, yeah, you are the genius of a son of the Finance Minister!”


“Genius… I don’t know about that. I’m already past 20, yet here you are, only half my age.”


“That doesn’t count. I’m special!” she showed a V with her fingers.


“That… you are.” Poli sighed while Anya just shook her head at the walls, but only Ren knew what she meant by that.


“Anyway! We should have a good fight!” Ren giggled impishly as she cloaked herself with lightning, and in response, Poli pulled out his sword, taking a basic fighting stance. His blade started to shine with blue sparks soon after. “Huh…? Wait…” Ren tilted her head.


But it started as Poli attacked quickly, leaving behind afterimages as his blade, cloaked in electricity, stabbed toward her. Ren was equally fast with dodging and even had the time to do a counterattack, stabbing out with her finger, hitting the blade from the side, and redirecting its course.


“Do you have the same affinity as me? And you can manifest it?” Ren grinned happily. “You are truly a prodigy.”


“No, I can’t. It’s my sword. It acts like a conductor.” Poli added honestly as he followed up his attack with a new one.


The swinging of the sword was fast and lethal. His quickness would stump an ordinary warrior as most of the present people couldn’t follow the trajectory with their eyes and only saw afterimages. On the other hand, Ren got into the fighting rhythm while dodging, constantly having a smile on her angelic face.


“Good! You not only train your body but also focus on swordsmanship. Most experts with the potential for Harmony Realm are only willing to learn a weapon when they advance, but you started early, huh? Is it because of the sword?”


“Yes. Its blade was naturally formed,” he explained truthfully while maintaining his attack speed without breaking a sweat.


“A natural sword that enhances your energies. Not even my Dad has something like this.”


“Do you want it?” he asked with glittering eyes as he disappeared, whizzing by behind Ren, trying to hit her nape with the pummel, but she just let her body lean forward, standing on her hand, directing a kick towards Poli’s wrists like a horse kicking out.


“Not really, my Dad uses a lightning spear. I also prefer to use a pure, elemental weapon!” she giggled after her attack missed as Poli quickly changed his stance, distancing himself.


Ren, after somersaulting, suddenly stretched out her arms like holding a bow, and pure, violet electricity flew out her arms, taking the desired shape. Soon she released dozens of lightning strikes in quick succession, forcing her opponent to dodge and defend with all of his capability.


“Sorry, but I have the advantage.” Ren sighed as the next shot was of a lightning bolt the same size as herself.


When she released it, it was as if a thunderbolt had just struck the arena, but still, his quick reflexes let Poli stab directly into it with his sword. The explosion brought a second rumbling while the young man flew backward, rolling on the floor, losing his sword that tumbled out of the arena as he almost fell off. Panting, he narrowly pulled himself up from the edge, standing back up, but his whole body was flickering with Ren’s violet energies and Poli’s bluish sparks.


“I won.” Ren added, aiming her ‘bow’ at him.


“Yes… yes, you did.” Poli moaned with frustration in his voice.


“I know you are angry at me, but-”


“No. I’m only angry at myself!” Poli cut in, then went to his knees. “Please accept me as your disciple!”


“Huh?” Leinor almost choked on his saliva, down at the sides, while Isha rolled her eyes. Only Zern wore a small smile as he knew what Poli felt.


“Sure!” came the immediate answer from Ren with a happy smile, stunning Poli, who was ready to beg a little more. Also, the spectators were unsure of what face to make. “I’ll make you the number one swordsman! Fufufu, you will have the fastest draw in history!”


“Thank you, Master!”


“Yey, now I have two, no, three disciples, even though one refuses to call me Master. Come, come, I’ll introduce you to your seniors!” she laughed loudly, skipping towards him like a happy little girl as she dragged Poli down from the arena, introducing him to Leinor and Zern.


“If the Forefather doesn’t hurry up, she will form her little sect before we can do it,” Dermitos murmured.


“Agreed.” Carthus nodded. “After the competition, call her and her little group into the palace. We need to talk,” he said as he exchanged a voice projection with his son.


….

…..


When the competition continued, and the final four were decided, in the last draw, Ren’s opponent was no other but the warden from before, while Isha confronted Leinor. On Ren’s side, it was a quick match as the warden from the previous round knew that if he went out in full, maybe has a chance to win… but his heart couldn’t bring himself to try and hurt a little girl, and after only a few blows he just gave up.


“I was angry at you at first, but your words, after thinking it through the whole night, showed my failures that I need to work on.” the warden said with a low, somewhat sad voice as he walked down the arena.


Of course, Ren was fuming, crying for a rematch, but Leinor dragged her down, asking for forgiveness, but the warden didn't seem too bothered by it. When Leinor and Isha walked up, the redhead woman looked excited, while Leinor had a calm expression.


“Are you ready, boytoy?” Isha grinned, stepping onto the arena.


“I should ask you that instead. You used up a lot of energy against Zern.”


“No worries, I had my rest.”


“I see.” Leinor nodded, then, to everyone’s surprise, he was the one who attacked first.


His punch aimed directly at her face, but Isha just met his fist with his own as none of them gave out an inch.


“It won’t happen the same way as before. Don’t even think about that!” Isha shouted.


Her follow-up attack was a kick aimed at Leinor’s groins as her legs were coated in flames, but he caught her leg with his thighs, clamping down before reaching her… initial target. The burning flames immediately released smoke and the sound of sizzling flesh, but Leinor remained indifferent and just aimed a punch at her guts.


“Not a second time!” Isha screamed and just headbutted him.


As they separated, Isha immediately threw another punch, hitting Leinor in the chest, a bit dazed, sending him backward, followed by an explosive dropkick right into his sterna that resounded in a loud crack as he threw up a lot of blood, tumbling back.


“I told you I’ll pay it back!” Isha grinned, quickly getting up, a bit out of breath while watching Leinor, who slowly stood up as a creamy, white aura enveloped him, making his flesh regenerate with a visible speed. “Wha-”


“I was usually hurt much, much more while training with Ren. She always said the only way to draw out the true strength of my affinity is through suffering.” He commented with a calm smile and soon stood there without any injury. “I hate it, but I must admit, she is right. Soon, trivial injuries like this don't even hurt.”


After cracking his neck a little, he attacked again, and a similar fight ensued, but it didn’t matter how many times Isha beat down Leinor; he just got back up, healed from everything as her attacks got weaker by the minute.


“Good boy! Your son has already learned how to use our bloodline to the maximum at his level! He is stronger than I was at his age.” Carthus laughed while Dermitos smiled proudly.


“Times like this, I see why many feared the name Aerthus.” Anya added, “You almost feel like an undead monster that no matter how many times you think you defeated it, it just stands right back up.”


“Are you calling the Emperor’s lineage a monster?” Carthus asked with a stern face.


“Well, she is right, Father, ahaha, don’t be so upset by some words~” Dermitos smiled, trying to signal towards Anya not to anger his father while his back was drenched with sweat.


“The Forefather once said he is not afraid of losing. He is only afraid of giving up. That's why he rose back any time he was beaten down, stronger!” Carthus added, “If that makes us monsters, then others should be ashamed to call themselves humans.”


On the arena, soon Isha was kneeling, panting for air, and wearing a wry smile on her face.


“I can’t beat you… eh?” Isha said, looking up at Leinor, who now wore almost just rags as his clothes were burned away.


“Sorry.”


“Boss told me once if you want to kill someone from the royal family, your only hope is a quick assassination by beheading. Now I see why.” she sighed as she threw up her arms. “I give up! For now.”


That was the moment the people around the arena burst into cheering as this was the second time they saw such a fight after Isha and Zern’s turn, completely mesmerized by the flashy event.


Isha walked down with a tired and slightly disappointed face, only to be met with Zern, who held a jug of wine and new clothes in his hand.


“Hmf… you sometimes act like a butler.” Isha harrumphed, taking the wine first, then almost emptying it in one go.


“Haahh… you’re welcome.” Zern sighed, shaking his head while Ren walked up to the stage.


“Do you need a rest?” Ren asked, sizing him up and licking her soft lips.


“Ten minutes would do.”


“Good. I like that you are honest!” Ren grinned while winking at him, sitting down. “Rest. Then let’s see what you learned, LeiLei. I won’t hold back!” she said while playing with her silvery hair smiling charmingly while Leinor only let out a soft sigh


“Make it into twenty minutes.”