Bastian stood at the entrance of the arena, as focused as he had never been before.
Before he had walked into the arena, nothing had felt strange, everything had seemed normal to him. However, the moment he stepped into the arena, the moment he saw his opponent, everything changed.
His opponent was very mysterious. It was a person draped in a hooded, dark cloak from head to toe. The opponent was also quite short. Bastian already knew this much, because, like him, this opponent had been a wild card, an unexpected and unheard of opponent who had cruised through the competition.
Everyone assumed it was a woman, due to the painted fingernails that would sometimes protrude out of the cloak. They had decided to call her the Heavy Flash. The reason for this was due to her particularly odd fighting style.
She was a very quick but abnormally heavy warrior. So far, no one had been strong enough to reveal what attribute she was, but due to her abnormal speed, most were leaning toward water. Bastian thought the same, until he saw her. The moment he did, he activated his e-vision and was surprised. To his surprise she was an earth attribute warrior. A short, female expert with the earth attribute was not something one sees often in the cultivation world, but this was not the reason Bastian was so focused.
Ever since his contract with Kenshin, Bastian has been in a constant state of fear. His senses were always alert, in a seemingly irreversible fight or flight mode. Perhaps it was due to the ghost-like creatures that were now hounding his soul as well as Kenshin’s, whatever the cause, Bastian was now very accustomed to the fear.
Thanks to the darkness he experienced when he made his contract with Kenshin, Bastian was somewhat able to adjust to being in this state. It was very uncomfortable at first, but he got used to it. At some point, being afraid became a part of him, so he had now forgotten what it was like to not be afraid. To Bastian, it was now the most natural thing in the world.
This feeling had never made him uncomfortable again…until this moment. The moment he laid his eyes on Heavy Flash, fear tightened its hold on him and reduced him to a mere shadow of his former self. It made his skin crawl and made his senses go into overdrive.
Yet it wasn’t just fear, there was something Bastian couldn’t quite put his finger on that was disturbing him. Something about Heavy Flash that made his hairs stand on end.
“What’s wrong with Bastian?” said Shasha as he watched the proceedings with the others.
“I’m not quite sure either, but i have never seen Sir Bastian so…focused. It’s almost as if he is-”
Before Guy could finish his sentence, Kenshin interrupted,” Afraid.”
As soon as everyone heard these words, they were astonished. Shasha, Kai, Guy and Tino felt that was an absurd thought. To them, Bastian would never fear anything, Guy and Tino aside, Kai and Shasha believed that Bastian had no sense of fear or danger whatsoever.
To them, he was a person who didn’t take life seriously and was nonchalant about anything he wasn’t focused on. Recently they had seen a change in him but still they had never thought that they would see the day Bastian would be afraid. Whereas Tino and Guy were surprised due to a completely different set of reasons…
Bastian swallowed his saliva and stiffly walked onto the arena. Shouts of ‘Tempest Monk’, which were normally deafening to his ears were completely nonexistent as he stood in front of his opponent.
What is it? Just what is it about her that makes me feel this way?
Bastian was extremely unnerved but he had no way of knowing why. All he knew at that moment was that this woman was strong, far stronger than any other opponent he had ever fought.
With an incredible speed barely visible to the eye, a fist came straight toward Bastian and he side stepped, barely avoiding it. As that fist moved past his face, Bastian pulled together all his mental faculties so he could focus on the fist and the area around it.
Wind, force, speed, temperature, all these details were made clear to Bastian as he focused on her fist, bringing together a single thought to Bastian’s mind.
This woman is dangerous!
After side-stepping, Bastian attempted to jump back, but before he could, his opponent had already retracted her fist and kicked out.
A loud noise echoed as if steel was hitting iron echoed within the arena. The force of the impact made Bastian slide back ten meters, yet his feet stubbornly stuck to the ground.
Hmmm? He withstood that?
This time, it was Heavy Flash’s turn to be surprised. She had seen Bastian cross his gauntlets in front of him to block, but she had expected to see the man fly away and the match finished.
Yet in front of her stood a Bastian who looked even more daunting. Fear of the unknown can be a plague upon one’s mind, but to Bastian this guy was no longer an unknown entity. He had taken her hit and fully nullified it. He had quantified her strength and now knew it had limits. In other words, he had no reason to be afraid!
Yet that feeling of being in danger never left. Nevertheless, Bastian wasn’t going to allow such a trifle thing like fear deter his mind. He manipulated his yuan to course throughout his body as he kicked off the ground.
Heavy Flash was surprised for a fraction of a second, but she recovered quickly and responded in turn. The duo were now moving at a speed the majority of the crowd could barely keep up with.
A flurry of after images were showing here and there, cracks were gradually appearing all over the floor as booming sounds indicating impact resounded throughout the arena. After a few more exchanges, Bastian and the girl separated.
Each had been shocked at the abilities of their opponent.
Heavy! For her tiny size, she is incredibly heavy! Not to mention fast! For an earth attribute warrior she is very unusual. Not to mention that every time she strikes, it’s to kill! I have to get serious here.
Heavy Flash was equally surprised
Impossible! I am at the peak of the fighter stage! He is clearly at a weaker stage than mine yet he has been able to match me blow for blow! Doesn’t that mean if he was at my stage then i would inferior to him? I cannot allow this!
Bastian and his opponent were finally ready to bring out their true weapons. Energy! The World Energy within the arena started to encroach the duo fighting as they got their moves ready.
For Bastian, it was a small purple ball of Mana within his palm. This ball rotated ceaselessly and caused the wind around him to come toward him nonstop, entering the ball. This was Bastian’s first compression spell, Initiato!
Heavy Flash on the other had took a slightly different approach. Her hands formed a few seals and got covered in Earth Qi. This was without any doubt a martial technique, but Bastian and the crowd were not quite sure what it was.
That was when Bastian got a surprise, the girl suddenly appeared right in front of him. Her speed had increased by many times.
Bastian barely had the time to think as one of her Qi-covered fists went for his face. His left hand was currently preparing Initiato, and he was confident that he could block this Qi, so he used his free hand to block her fist. At the same time the ball of compressed air hit her body straight in her abdomen.
“Crescendo Uno!” said Bastian as the fist struck his arm.
A massive blast of air was released and Heavy Flash was sent flying straight into the walls of the arena. The walls were reinforced by magic from scholars, so no one doubted that they would break, but the sheer force of the girl’s impact was felt throughout the stadium in the form of vibration.
The entire arena shook as she fell from the wall. However, to their surprise, she landed perfectly on her feet. Her hood seemed completely undamaged as well and was virtually no different from before.
Bastian was punched back like before, however this time he didn’t merely slight to the back. He reached the end of the arena itself and impacted the wall. Bastian was amazed by her strike, for it had been so heavy that his own hand, which he had used to block, had hit his own face and caused him some damage.
After spitting out some blood, Bastian walked up to the girl to see his work. Crescendo Uno was a spell he had made were the compressed air focuses in one particular direction.
That should have at least caused her to feel something.
As the spell’s creator, Bastian knew full well how powerful that spell was. Yet to his astonishment the girl seemed only somewhat groggy and shook it off.