Titan’s Throne – Chapter 23: The Smiter Kneels

“The Battle may begin!”

As the announcement rang out across the arena, the expected screams and shouts did not sound out. Instead, there was only silence. It was as if no sound was allowed within the arena.

The contestants were far too baffled to even fight. After hearing what Bastian had just said, they were astonished to the point that a few weak minded people dropped their weapons.

After a few moments, when Bastian’s words had finally sunk in into some of the competitors, a myriad of different expressions flashed upon the many faces in the arena.

“Who the heck do you think you are?”

“Boy you are courting death!”

“Haha a new-born lamb truly does not fear a tiger.”

Many shouts of anger, humiliation and sometimes amusement came out of the mouths of the warriors. Bastian’s words had aroused their ire and sometimes their humour.

All of the people within this arena, had experienced countless life and death battles. To the extent that many had already found pleasure in walking the line between life and death. They were not normal people, and they often took pride in their insanity.

Even though they were about to kill each other, no one held a grudge against the other. The general consensus amongst competitors in high class arenas such as this, was to give face to your opponent, even in victory, as long as they were warriors such as yourself

Yet this teenage boy claimed it would be an honour for someone to die by his hands. Many had questioned in their minds why such a person had been included in that fight.

These men were battle hardened, so they were sensitive to bloodlust. They could tell at a glance that Bastian had never killed anyone before. Not to mention that he was unconscious at the time he was brought to the arena. Thus, his addition to this battle was an insult to the pride of many warriors in the arena. This, followed by his words, started a storm of rage that ran rampant across the hearts of these prideful warriors.

His tongue was like a lit matchstick thrown onto a ground, in a forest covered in petroleum, and as such, it sparked an inferno that turned the skin of many people pink. Eyes became bloodshot. Veins bulged. Fists clenched. Muscles tensed. Chests heaved up and down followed by breathing that was unusually audible.

Even the people who were first amused, started having grave expressions on their faces once they saw the condescending look on Bastian’s face.

Bastian knew full well what he had done. Although he just wanted to be cheeky and anger these walking corpses, he had his reasons.

Firstly he wanted them all to come at him. He wanted to test the limits of this body. A body with an awakened bloodline showed its value in moments like these, where foes were unable to use their cultivation.

The second reason was because Bastian wanted to kill as many people as possible. He knew that to survive, he had to kill many people. So, he wanted to get used to killing as soon as possible.

The third reason was to market himself. A person in such a situation is essentially a slave, thus your life is in the hands of another. Although these warriors were seasoned fighters, none of them were true gladiators. For a true gladiator had a Master who they serve and fight for.

Everyone in there was owned by the establishment itself, thus they were not true gladiators. Bastian wanted to become a gladiator as soon as possible. That way, he would be able to acquire his freedom faster. Not to mention the fact that being a gladiator had many benefits.

The previous league that had been announced had made all the fighters here lick their lips in fervour. It was clearly something important. Although Bastian was not quite sure what it was, if it was a good thing, then having a Master would improve his chances. The best way therefore, was to gain attention is by showcasing one’s strength.

The two warriors closest to Bastian were a pair of axe wielders. They were about to move on him when they heard a loud shout from behind them.

“Stop!”

The two immediately halted in their steps, for they knew very well who this voice belonged to. He was the oldest and most experienced contestant in this round, and arguably the most famous.

Bastian looked to see where the voice came from, curious to see who it was that had stopped the two axe wielders from acting.

It was a very large middle aged man. His upper body was riddled with scars and he had an eye patch on his left eye. His entire head was bald and his stature was very intimidating, so much so that as he walked toward Bastian, everyone made way for him. He had a large sabre in his right hand and it, just like him, had marks everywhere, showing how many battles it had seen.

Chained to the large man was another middle aged man. He was average in terms of build but his body had virtually no visible scars or injury. All he had that made him stand out were his two daggers. He merely followed behind the giant, saying nothing.

Bastian looked on in interest. He wanted to see what this baldy was going to do. As soon as the giant man was only a few meters away from Bastian, he halted. His eye looked at Bastian with a stern expression. Almost as if he was attempting to suppress the boy merely with his vision.

“Sir Tate is angry! This boy is in for it.”

“One strike from Sir Tate is all it would take for the boy to lose his life.”

“How fortunate for the boy to die by Sir Tate’s hand. It is truly an honour too great for that girly piece of crap.”

As he looked at the behemoth in front of him, Bastian ignored all the comments from the other fighters. They did not faze him, until he heard the word ‘girly’. His face almost cringed in frustration.

It’s not like I wanted to look like a woman you bastard!

Bastian wanted so much to see the face of the man who had insulted him but the imposing presence of the giant in front of him made it hard for him to look away. The large man did not say anything. His eye just darted all over Bastian’s body, until it rested on his gauntlets.

When it did this, the giant raised his sword, a smile plastering his face. This only made his imposing presence more imposing. Bastian was very unhappy with what he was seeing

This looks difficult. I’m going to have to go all out if I am going to beat this guy.

Instinct told Bastian that this old man was much stronger than he looked. Bastian did not fear death, but he still feared pain. Not to mention that he had never fought another man in a death match before. But his mind did not let him down. Bastian quickly fixed his mind-set and readied himself.

Bastian took a stance and was about to get ready to counter the large man’s attacks, when all of a sudden the old man flipped his large Saber upside-down and stabbed it into the ground. After he had done this, he immediately knelt down.

“Sir, my humble name is Tate. I humbly ask if you would allow me to have the honour of being the first life you will take with your own hands.”

Bastian opened his mouth, but no words came out. This was a completely unexpected turn of events for him.

The warriors behind the giant and his companion were even more baffled. Some slapped their faces or blinked continuously, thinking that they were perhaps dreaming or they had seen wrong.

Those who had been close enough to hear the giant’s words were at an even greater loss. To them there was an even greater chance of the sky flipping than what they were seeing.
It went against their entire way of life and their beliefs. Bastian did not know how famous and how important the giant man was to these warriors. The shock of seeing their idol kneeling before a youth who they thought was trash was too stimulating for all of them.

These warriors were probably thinking that they were the most shocked people in the entire arena. If they could see what was happening on the spectator’s side, then they would realize how wrong they were.

Tate the Smiter, was his name. He was a very famous fighter amongst those who were involved in such battles. Be it in arenas or amongst spectators, he had quite a reputation. Although he was not a gladiator, he was one of the candidates most likely to be chosen.

He, together with his partner Yahd the Executioner, had started from low class arenas, fighting their way to the top. Hoping to become gladiators. Ever since they had become slaves, it had been their dreams. Yet reality so it seemed, was not so kind to them

Tate had contracted an illness a few months back, one which would get the victim killed unless he or she, took a certain healing dan

No one in their right mind was willing to spend that much money on a slave, let alone one that was not even yet a gladiator. Yahd was a good fighter but he knew that without Tate, he was nothing. Therefore he had also accepted the fact that he would never become a gladiator.

Only Tate’s owners and Yahd knew of his sickness. The arena still wanted to use Tate’s name to rake in spectators.

They could not sell him because he was already a defective product. As a high class establishment, it would sully their reputation if they sold damaged goods.

This encouraged Tate and Yahd to choose to fight to their last breaths and hopefully, fall to a person who would become a great warrior. That was the only honour they could receive.

So far they had not seen anyone good enough to satisfy their standard. That was, until Bastian had showed up, or rather to be more specific, that was until they saw him pick up the gauntlets!

 

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