Chapter 9: First Match of the Main Tournament
After the preliminary rounds were over, I found myself gazing absentmindedly at the arena from within my cage.
Like the other beasts who had passed the same preliminary rounds as me, my cage had not been returned to the storage facility and was instead left near one of the entrances.
I overheard Georg and the staff talking about how the other victorious beasts were each waiting near a different entrance, which was made possible by the numerous entrances and exits.
The handling of the beasts who had made it through the preliminary rounds, including myself, was now complete, and the first match of the main tournament was about to begin.
The first two combatants were the beasts who had survived the first and second matches of the preliminary rounds, and they had been assigned to the tournament bracket in the order of their qualifying rounds.
This meant that I would be fighting in the eighth match of the main tournament.
“Are you ready, ladies and gentlemen? Then let’s begin the first match of the main tournament!” exclaimed the manager, shaking his flabby flesh as he made the announcement.
A beast emerged from the entrance next to mine, walking on two legs like a human and possessing two arms, but being over twice the height of a human and completely covered in blue fur, an attribute that was unattainable for the human species.
Between the wildly growing fur was a single large eye, and between the whiskers was a mouth lined with sharp fangs.
It wore nothing but a dirty loincloth as clothing, and its muscular limbs were covered in thick fur.
Naturally, it had a “binding collar” around its neck, and unlike me, it was clearly a captured wild creature.
As soon as it appeared in the arena, the creature yawned widely while carrying a rough and sturdy club that seemed to have been carved from a log on its shoulder.
Was it a display of confidence or simply a sign of low intelligence…… To my compound eyes, it seemed to be the former.
The fighting spirit emanating from it was extraordinary and could rival that of someone as well-trained as myself.
So, this was the level of the main tournament, huh.
“The winner of the first preliminary round, hailing from the southern continent, is the Ogre Beast! He’s a pure-blooded assassin who killed more contestants than any other in the preliminary rounds, taking out both left and right opponents with a single blow!”
So, that was the Ogre Beast.
It must have been captured alive and brought here after being washed ashore on this continent from the southern continent.
What a stroke of bad luck for it.
Or was it better off than me, who had never experienced freedom since birth?
As the audience buzzed with excitement, the Ogre Beast’s opponent emerged from the opposite entrance.
It was a huge lizard-like creature, standing on two legs like the Ogre Beast but was even larger.
Its entire body was covered in rugged, metallic-like scales and supported by its thick hind legs.
The creature had claws on both feet and teeth in its large mouth that looked sharper than any blade.
The tail, thick to the very tip, was covered in countless spines that could easily crush my exoskeleton if I were to be directly hit by them.
Two magnificent horns protruded from its crown and temples, exuding an intimidating aura.
“On the other hand, this Beast Ogre will be facing off against our previous winner and the top contender for the championship, the juvenile of the rock dragon species, which is considered one of the strongest creatures in existence due to its unparalleled defense! Despite being a juvenile, its defense is absolute, and in the preliminary rounds, it effortlessly crushed other opponents at its own pace!”
Dragon species… so that’s what it is.
My knowledge of living things was not very detailed, but I did know of dragons.
It is said that the one who created this world was a being called the “Nameless Almighty Faceless God” That great god was said to have created the universe and the stars.
But after creating the world, the god lost interest and left.
Although the god had left, its remnants remained in the world.
These remnants were divided into two categories: remnants of the soul and remnants of the body.
The remnants of the soul were divided into six and became the six ancient gods, while the remnants of the body were scattered throughout the stars in countless pieces.
Although part of the almighty god, what remained in the world were just remnants.
If I were to use an analogy, it would be like a piece of shed skin.
Due to the further division, many remnants of the body lost their power at the time of separation.
The remnants that fell on this planet were numerous, and most of them retained their power.
This resulted in the birth of various forms of life, but the ancestor of the dragon species was born from the largest remnant.
From the beginning, the dragon species inherited the most power left by the almighty being.
Half of the remnant left on this world was not as big as that of the six divisions that were known as the ancient gods, and there may be creatures born from even larger remnants on other planets.
However, on this planet, the dragon species were an absolute powerhouse that stood at the pinnacle of all creatures.
Therefore, even as juveniles, they were incredibly strong.
The amount of spiritual power and fighting spirit that one could feel when facing them was tremendous.
Perhaps sensing its strength, the Ogre Beast lost its composure the moment the other party appeared, crouching low while gripping its club.
Were the trembling shoulders and knees a sign of a warrior’s tremor or fear? I couldn’t tell.
“Alright, it’s time for the first match of the main tournament! Begin!”
With the manager’s announcement, the Ogre Beast let out a roar and charged forward, gathering his fighting spirit.
It swung a large club, putting all its strength, speed, and weight behind it, aiming for a blow to the head.
The impact was so intense that it echoed throughout the arena.
Even if I had used fighting spirit, my exoskeleton would have been broken.
However, the beast ogre’s ultimate strike had no effect on the rock dragon.
Without using spiritual power or fighting spirit, the rock dragon did not even flinch, showing no signs of preparation or defense.
Anyone watching could see that there was a significant difference in power.
The beast ogre continued to strike the rock dragon with its club, shouting and roaring repeatedly.
With each blow, the thunderous sound caused my exoskeleton to vibrate, but the rock dragon remained motionless.
For several minutes, the beast ogre swung its club as if possessed, but it was all in vain.
“Gohyuu… Gohyuu… Gooooo!”
The Beast ogre’s stamina was not infinite.
Gradually losing momentum, it could only sway and swing its club while gasping for air.
And when it put all its remaining energy into one final blow, the shoddy wooden club snapped at the base with a loud crack.
The Beast ogre stared in disbelief at the broken club before discarding it and attacking with its bare hands.
As it punched the rough scales of the rock dragon, its own skin was cut and bled with each strike.
Ignoring the pain, it continued to relentlessly attack until its blue fur was stained red with its own blood.
At this moment, the Rock Dragon, which had remained motionless until now, showed signs of movement.
It sniffed the air and blinked its eyes repeatedly, as if trying to endure something.
The Beast ogre must have thought that its attacks were effective, as its let out an even louder roar and increased the pace of its punches.
The thing that the Rock Dragon had been holding back wasn’t pain, but a sneeze.
And with just one sneeze, the air in the arena rattled, and the beast ogre in front of it was sent flying and slammed into the wall.
As the ogre collapsed, bleeding from its head, the audience erupted with excitement.
Were they really enjoying seeing battle beasts bleed? It didn’t matter if they were poor or nobles in the VIP seats, they all reacted the same.
It seemed the Furu race loved cruel sights like this.
The beast ogre, submerged in a pool of blood, showed no signs of getting back up.
It seemed its brain had been rattled, and it had lost consciousness.
The rock dragon approached it and crushed its head with its hind legs.
The once powerful Beast ogre died without putting up a fight and with a disgusting, watery sound of “Splash”.
The Rock Dragon didn’t roar in victory, but simply opened its mouth wide and devoured the corpse.
With every chew and crunch, a raw and gruesome sound echoed through the arena.
“Alright, It’s decided! The strongest species is definitely exceptional! With just one sneeze, It was able to defeat the beast ogre that is known for its toughness and resilience.
The rock dragon of Lord Willibald, son of Lord Danmaren, is strong after all!
The Rock Dragon let out a short burp and obediently returned to its own entrance, likely following its owner’s orders with the “Binding Collar.” How could one even put a collar on such an overwhelmingly powerful creature? I couldn’t help but wonder, as I was left in awe of its strength.
Perhaps there were individuals out there who were strong enough and could manipulate it to their advantage.
From my knowledge, the strength of the Furu race varied greatly from individual to individual.
Maybe the owner of the rock dragoon, Lord Danmaren, had connections to someone with such a skill.
Wait, if I make it to the finals, I might have to fight against that thing.
And if I don’t win, I won’t be able to see tomorrow’s sun… It’s hopeless.
I’ve just realized how much easier it would have been if I hadn’t realized this point.
However, I was well aware that I couldn’t run away.
It would be more constructive to think about how I could defeat that thing.
I needed to use all my spiritual power and fighting spirit and use any means necessary to fight.
Now, how should I approach this battle? I will have two more chances to observe its fighting style, and I must plan my strategy accordingly.
As I prepared myself to fight the rock dragon, a familiar, childlike voice echoed in my head.
“Wow… I’ve never seen a dragon species before, it’s a real monster!” Though I heard a faint but audible sound of a child walking on the floor, I couldn’t see anything when I looked over in that direction.
As I wondered about the mysterious voice, I felt something soft brush against my leg! I was stunned and froze in my place before a cute giggle echoed in my head.
“Oh, are you surprised? Us demon foxes excel at illusionary spiritual arts.
Disappearing is child’s play for us!”
The space near my brushed leg warped like a mirage, and Woodsorrel, the golden-furred demon fox appeared before me.
Her face bore a proud expression, as if showing off her beautiful fur.
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