Chapter 14: First Match of the Semifinals
“Ha! It’s settled—settled once and for all! Can you believe it? The underdog, the Dark Emperor Scorpion, has emerged victorious!”
Phew, that was a close call.
The doll’s fist that came at me in the end was still lodged in my mind.
If it had been just a little off, I would have been crushed.
Ow, this hurts.
My pincers were not only cracked but also bleeding.
I was already starving, but now I was injured and bleeding too.
At this rate, I might die regardless of my future matches’ outcome.
I didn’t care if it was rotten, just give me a piece of meat to eat…
The cheering voices of the audience celebrating my victory were irritating.
It would be much better if they gave me even a small piece of meat instead of praising me.
Ignoring them deliberately, I returned to my designated spot, the cage.
“That was an amazing battle! You were so cool! Were you injured? Let me heal you!”
As I stood there, Woodsorrel, still invisible, approached me and used her spiritual powers while licking my wounds.
Gradually, the pain began to subside.
The flesh around the wound wriggled and swelled, sealing the wound, and the distortion in my exoskeleton also began to heal.
At this rate, it seems like I will be in good condition to fight in the semifinals.
I couldn’t help but be impressed by Woodsorrel’s healing art.
Her ability to use such powerful art while remaining invisible was a testament to her skill and expertise among the fox demon race.
It was clear that compassion was not only reserved for others but also for oneself.
Looking back, I knew that my decision to follow my conscience and help her had been the right one.
As Woodsorrel continued to heal me, I had time to reflect on the arena where I had just fought.
In the aftermath of our battle, the slaves were busy cleaning up the remains of the doll that I had destroyed and knocked over.
I watched as a man and woman, who I assumed were the creators, worked on the motionless battle doll.
They touched a certain part of the body, causing an area around the chest to open like a door.
From inside, they extracted a flashing red gem and sighed with relief upon confirming its state.
Based on their reaction, it seemed that the most important part of the battle doll was that gemstone.
The fact that it was even more valuable than the doll’s body, which was made from rare metal, suggested that the gemstone was the central component of the battle doll, and a product of considerable time, effort, and skill.
The light emanating from the gemstone was captivating, with a brilliance that rivaled the previous sudden surge in power of the battle doll.
I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the true fighting style of the doll.
Perhaps it was being controlled by someone for a specific purpose, although I might have been overthinking it.
“Finally, everything is ready! We will now commence the first match of the “Rookie’s Battle” semifinals! Please welcome our battle beasts to the arena!”
With the manager’s announcement, the first match of the “Rookie’s Battle” tournament semifinals was set to begin.
As the rock dragon and the warrior crab faced off against each other, there was an unexpected sense of tranquility in the air.
Despite their impending battle, there seemed to be no tension between the two beasts, creating an almost idyllic atmosphere.
The once violent rock dragon, who had made it through the quarterfinals, now appeared calm and even yawned, demonstrating its regained composure as a formidable fighter.
Let’s hope that it will let its guard down as it did with the synthetic beast and get seriously injured this time.
The warrior crab, on the other hand, was devoid of emotion.
Its round eyes only reflected light, sparkling brightly without giving any indication of its thoughts.
Ah, perhaps my compound eyes were similar in that regard.
“The strongest of its kind, the rock dragon, who crushed its opponents to dust, and the cautious warrior crab, who claimed victory without any danger in its battles.
Which will be smiled upon by the “god of war” and “the goddess of victory”? Now…let the battle begin!” announced the manager.
As soon as the signal was given, it was surprising to see that the warrior crab was the one launching the first attack.
Its previous style had been to defend with its shield-like claw and then strike with its other spear-like pincer when it found an opening.
This unexpected move caught me off guard.
The arrogant rock dragon had let its guard down, and as a result, it received a surprise blow.
The spear-like claw struck the base of the rock dragon’s neck.
Though it only left a scratch on its scales, the pressure on its windpipe caused the rock dragon to struggle in discomfort.
It was a valuable lesson to learn that there were ways to cause damage without inflicting external injuries.
The warrior crab continued to assault the struggling rock dragon without pause.
It targeted the thin scales around the joints, such as the knees and ankles, with its spear-like claw.
Although the scales were too hard to cause bleeding, the attacks on the joints were undoubtedly inflicting damage.
The battered and bruised rock dragon roared and opened its mouth wide before lunging at the warrior crab.
It was clearly furious at being pushed around one-sidedly.
Despite relying solely on brute force without any defensive tactics, the rock dragon’s physical abilities alone were a significant threat.
The warrior crab did not panic, nor did it retreat.
Instead, it struck the rock dragon with its previously unused shield-like claw.
The warrior crab seemed to have predicted the rock dragon’s attack and its shield-like pincer landed accurately on the rock dragon’s nose.
The struck dragon staggered back while writhing in agony.
Blood dripped from its nostrils.
Unlike in the quarterfinals, where it was unclear if the rock dragon was bleeding or not, the audience could clearly see the sight of the rock dragon’s blood, and the atmosphere in the arena reached its climax.
Many may have thought that the rock dragon might lose at this point.
The staggering Rock Dragon lifted its head towards the sky and let out a roar that shook the entire arena.
As its scales stood on end and its muscles bulged, the once stumbling creature transformed into a mighty beast.
With its head bowed and its eyes bloodshot with rage, the Rock Dragon revealed a madness that was palpable.
Despite the discomfort caused by its collar digging into its now larger body, the dragon did not flinch as it fixed its gaze on the Warrior Crab.
It was clear that the Rock Dragon had finally unleashed its full power, the power of the strongest species, despite being still a young creature.
Its fighting spirit and spiritual energy were far beyond anything I or even Woodsorrel could have imagined.
In fact, the pressure it exerted was so great that I couldn’t even imagine the Warrior Crab winning.
The Rock Dragon charged straight towards the Warrior Crab once again.
I thought the Crab would defend itself with its shield-like claw, but instead, it suddenly increased its spiritual power and forcefully expelled a large amount of water from its mouth.
This creature was more versatile than I had anticipated, able to use even spiritual arts!
The Rock Dragon stumbled, as if it was about to collapse under the water pressure, but it kept moving forward steadily, while enduring the high-pressure water jet head-on.
As if it was showing off its own strength, saying that even your spiritual art won’t work on me.
However, the Warrior Crab wasn’t panicking either.
While still shooting water from its mouth, it thrust its spear-like claw towards the weak point it had targeted before, the throat that had made the Rock Dragon faint earlier.
It seemed like its intention was to cause the same pain as before.
In my opinion, the Warrior Crab had good aim, but unfortunately, the opponent was too strong.
The Rock Dragon’s fury seemed to have fortified its scales, enhancing their resilience and effectiveness, enabling them to withstand even the impact on its vulnerable spot.
From then on, it was a completely lopsided assault.
The Rock Dragon latched onto the Warrior Crab’s spear-like pincer and with its formidable jaw strength, pierced through its shell.
When the Warrior Crab attempted to retaliate with its shield-like claw, the Rock Dragon effortlessly brushed it aside with its front paw.
Moreover, the Dragon whirled around and smashed its tail onto the Warrior Crab.
Despite the Warrior Crab’s quick attempt to raise its shield-like claw, the tail, which cracked like a whip, ruthlessly shattered its pincers to pieces.
Despite having its strongest spear and shield pincers shattered, the Warrior Crab refused to give up.
It sprayed water from its mouth again, attempting to push back the Rock Dragon.
However, it was futile.
Though it seemed to increase the water pressure, it was merely a negligible oversight for the Rock Dragon.
The creature casually closed the distance and grabbed the Warrior Crab with its forelegs, easily overpowering it.
The Rock Dragon didn’t stop there.
It flipped the Warrior Crab over and stepped on its hind legs, stomping on it repeatedly.
No matter how sturdy the Warrior Crab was, it couldn’t endure the full force of a dragon’s stomp.
With every crunching sound heard underfoot, the Warrior Crab’s shell, which had reached its limit, shattered completely, scattering its contents.
The Warrior Crab’s legs were still twitching, but it was only due to convulsions.
The creature, which should have been a formidable opponent that made it to the semi-finals of the “Rookie’s Battle” tournament was now nothing more than a pitiful corpse crushed under the feet of the Rock Dragon.
After letting out a victorious roar over the corpse of the Warrior Crab it had just slain, the Rock Dragon began greedily devouring its flesh and shell.
Its actions were brutal, but it was simply nature’s way for the victor to consume the defeated.
While the crowd cheered on, I watched in solemn silence.
If I were to be defeated, would I meet the same fate as the Warrior Crab? That was the last thing I wanted.
I had to survive for at least another hundred years.
I would fight with all my might and do whatever it takes to come out alive.
As I made this resolve, I heard footsteps approaching me.
The distinct rhythm belonged to Georg.
Even Woodsorrel noticed him and stopped licking my wounds, completely disappearing from sight.
Did he come to heal my wounds? As I thought about this, Georg entered my cage with a displeased expression on his face.
Uh-oh, I had a bad feeling about this.
“How could you struggle against such a weak battle doll…and to be overshadowed by the Rock Dragon! You’ve ruined the young master’s mood!,” he grumbled.
Georg not only failed to treat me but also trampled on my head without even trying to hide his anger.
That old man…! He thinks he can do whatever he wants just because I can’t resist him! Someday, I will definitely kill him with my own hands!
After that, Georg began to lecture me on how to fight.
It was all about mentality, and in essence, he told me to be braver and crush my opponents head-on with brute force.
Don’t tell me what I can’t do, you old bastard.
First of all, I’m fighting in a state where I can’t use my spiritual powers because of you.
It’s only natural that I’m struggling.
Don’t you understand that?
“Phew… phew…! Do you understand? Anyway, you have to crush them with your strength!”
Georg said what he wanted to say, gasping for breath, and then left.
It seems he only came to preach to me.
It would be nice if he could at least bring some food or treat my wounds.
This is going to be tough…
“What’s up with that guy? Your master? He’s the worst!”
As I tried to conserve my energy by staying still, the hidden Woodsorrel came up to me again and started licking my wounds.
Oh, she was really helping me by treating my wounds.
She’s so different from Georg.
She was furiously hitting me with her tail while being angry.
Her tail was so soft that it didn’t hurt in the slightest, instead it felt quite pleasant.
Just like how that slave of the Furu race and that traveler of the Popi race were my source of comfort when I was in the mansion, she was now my only source of comfort in this arena.
“Get revenge in the next match! Don’t let the opponent do anything and beat them up! Got it!?”
For some reason, Woodsorrel was even angrier than me as she hit me with her tail, saying that.
I couldn’t ignore her instructions as she was my source of comfort.
I’ll do my best to beat them up.
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