~ Chapter 57: Duel (Part 1) ~
[Alkelios' point of view]
The last time I stepped on the training grounds was when I had my first duel with Sir Draejan. Back then, because of my immaturity and lack of skill, I found myself disgraced and humiliated despite my high Luck and outstanding stats. It didn't really matter that I could summon a level 999 Phoenix or that I was friends with Kataryna Greorg. What mattered was my ability to fight using everything I had up to the last drop of strength I could muster.
Regarding this humiliation I suffered, I was in a way thankful towards Sir Draejan because it made me realize that just having power was meaningless if you were unable to use it properly. Kataryna also helped me a lot to understand and accept this fact.
True, I had a lot of stat points, but I never was able to exert them completely. They sort of represented the maximum I could achieve, but even if I could theoretically lift one tonne in one hand, I didn't believe I could do this nor did I know how exactly I could exert that amount of force to begin with. While this was something easy, natural even for the people of this world, Earth's inhabitants had other thoughts on the matter.
In essence, it was all about how your mind perceived things, and at that time, I had a lot of mental blocks and fears that kept telling me it was impossible.
During my time in the Seculiar Forest, one of the biggest challenges I faced wasn't reaching level 1000 or achieving my Half-Dragon form. No, the biggest challenge I had to face in there was to accept the fact that my body was indeed capable of exerting the amount of force and speed displayed in my Status Window.
This was the thing, the trick behind this unique ability of the Human Heroes. This was what was never explained to us by anyone, including the God-like.
Even if you suddenly gained a boost of 100 points in Strength, then on the first go, an earthling was most likely to use only a maximum of 16-20 points. When we ran, our average speed wasn't 100 km/h as it was displayed there. No, it was a maximum of maybe 30-40 km/h. Maximum usage of stat points occurred when we were really putting in effort, when we struggled and tried to push ourselves to reach or surpass our limits.
That being said, it was impossible for the me back then to fight Sir Draejan who constantly trained and kept pushing his limits. When he was using 1000 points in Strength, I barely stumbled around 800. That was the truth of that past battle.
I had moments of instant bursts of both speed and strength, but I could neither control nor use them properly, thus I only appeared like a bumbling amateur who lacked both skill and coordination in the eyes of a trained warrior. Kataryna showed this to me quite clearly during our little scuffle.
However, I was different from the me back then. I could fully control my power, my stats, and every skill I had acquired throughout my days in the Seculiar Forest. More so, I had surpassed Draejan in everything. Of this fact, I was certain.
“Are you sure about this, Alkelios?” Kataryna asked me with a smirk.
“I still have something left to show you, so yes.” I nodded as I prepared myself to enter battle with the dragon in front of me.
“As King of Albeyater Kingdom and the one who approved of this duel, I request both duelist to step forward.” Feryumstark announced while standing straight on the podium reserved for him.
Both me and Draejan approached the center of the training ground.
“Both of you desire this duel, correct?” he asked.
“Yes.” we replied one at a time.
“Based on what rules do you wish to fight against each other?” he inquired.
“With our best weapons and armors.” declared Draejan with a confident smirk on his lips.
“I'm fine with that.” I replied with a shrug.
Even if he wanted us to do a mud wrestling competition in bikinis, I still would have approved of it, but more to see Kataryna and Seryanna drooling over me or laughing, depending on the case, rather than seeing Draejan wearing that. The image of the dragon in THAT sort of outfit was rather... disturbing.
“Very well. You will be granted half an hour to equip yourselves. Return here after you have donned your best armors and equipped your best weapons!” the King declared in a commanding tone of voice.
As usual, his intimidating and imposing aura was as strong as ever no matter where he stood or what he said.
I nodded in confirmation, then I returned to my side of the field where my friends awaited me.
“Do you have an armor and weapon you can use?” Seryanna asked in a worried tone of voice.
“I do. I have acquired a blacksmithing skill called [Rock Hard!]. It's at maximum level and advancements. I can quite literally make any type of armor and weapon.” I nodded.
“Hm, Dregarya will be quite interested in this.” Seryanna pointed out.
“Who?” I asked a bit confused.
“My blacksmith friend.” she showed me a smile.
“I see.” I nodded.
“Erm... You said you have a weapon and an armor, but are they in your [Purse] ring?” Kleo asked.
“No, they are in my storage skill. I'll take them out now and equip them.” I told her and then began to take off my current armor.
“Out here? In public?” asked Kataryna.
“Besides you and Seryanna, who's going to get excited over seeing me half naked?” I asked her with a raised eyebrow after taking off my chest armor.
I had a long sleeve shirt underneath enchanted to act as a softener between the armor's part and my skin. One thing I noticed after wearing armor in this world was the fact that it ITCHED everywhere! It was a nightmare...
“Aw... You are still wearing clothes...” Kataryna said disappointed.
“You pervert.” I squinted my eyes at her.
“Me? What about her?” she pointed at Seryanna... who was drooling.
“Erm... Are you OK?” I asked her.
“Huh? Yeah... I'm fine... just thinking... about... stuff...” she replied and quickly wiped off her drool.
“You should be careful tonight. Lock the door.” whispered Kleo.
I only let out a sigh in reply.
Note to self: make a contraceptive wish for tonight... I thought while glancing at the embarrassed Seryanna.
With this armor unequipped, I activate my Storage Skill named [Black Hole]. The name suited it because it literally created a black hole in the middle of the air in front of me. It didn't suck in matter or anything like that, it was just a big black orb that popped out of nowhere.
When I first acquired it, I was really nervous about using it because I was thinking about the black holes found in space and as a result of a star collapsing on itself. However, the mouse trap that laid hidden inside it wasn't funny. It went 'SNAP!', and I went 'YEOUCH!' the moment I placed my hand in there. Of all the free items it could have come with, why did it had to be an ARMED mouse trap?
Anyway, I activated the skill and stored the armor I unequipped, then I took out the one I planned to use in this training duel. What came out of the black orb was a sleek looking armor that covered my body from head to toe. It used composite armor technology, meaning that each plate was designed out of multiple different materials, all with the purpose of enhancing one attribute or another. The first one was a dampener of physical shock, the second one an absorbent of Magic Energy, the third one used Magic Energy Circulation to further enhance and improve the existing enchants found on each individual plate or scale as I called them, this one was the matrix of the material. The inner layers enhanced movement and reduced friction between certain elements, making the use of physical skills feel more easy and natural. There was a thermal layer as well that maintained the inner temperature to a fixed 24 degrees, which could be adjusted anytime I wanted. The outer thermal layer was found underneath the scales and could withstand an oven's cooking temperatures. Enchants allowed me to further improve it's abilities, but overall, it was a genuine Magic Enhanced Powered Armor, the type I often saw in Sci-Fi movies or games. It was awesome, and it could even change its shape and morph into a bigger version when I changed forms.
“That's impressive.” said Brekkar from behind me.
“Gya!” I jumped when I heard him.
“What's wrong?” he asked a bit confused.
“You startled him, grandfather.” said Kleo trying to abstain from laughing.
“Yeah... Don't sneak up on people like that, you old man! You're going to cause someone a heart attack!” I retorted.
“Hey! That's rude! I'm still considered a handsome dragon!” he snorted.
We all squinted our eyes at him, a proof that we didn't really believe his words.
“Ahem! Anyway, what about your weapon?” he asked curiously, changing the subject.
“Oh, I'm going to use these two.” I said and then activated [Black Hole] again.
From within, I pulled out a pair of twin longswords. One was black as charcoal and the other was white as snow. The blades were sharp and gleamed in metal luster, showing off the quality of the material they were made out off. Small runes glowing in an emerald light were carved within their fullers, and a black crystal was placed within the pummel, encased in the same gleaming metal the sword was made out off. The hilt was covered in a layer of tough monster skin, which offered a good grip as well as a better Magic Energy flow from the user towards the sword itself.
Upon taking them out, a black aura appeared around the black blade, while a white one appeared around the white one. They hummed in a delighted tone at my touch, happy that I picked them up again.
“This one is Hell. It controls the Darkness Element.” I said lifting the black sword up. “And this one is Heaven. It controls the Light Element.” I lifted the white one up.
“Impressive... But two opposing elements? Won't it be difficult to control?” asked Brekkar.
“Not at all.” I replied shaking my head.
“Who made them?” asked Kataryna with a curious gaze.
“I did.” I replied with a smile.
“If I'm not mistaken, these two are powerful enough to be called legendary weapons or even priceless artifacts... Isn't it a bit too much to use in a duel against that fellow?” asked Kataryna, tossing a finger over her shoulder at the other camp.
“I'm just going to ask this once. You really don't wish to see them in action?” I asked her.
After a moment of thinking about it, the silver-scaled dragoness replied “Please unleash their full might against that dragon.”
“I thought so.” I laughed.
“Will you be alright?” Seryanna asked a bit worried.
“If I'm careful and don't let my guard down, I should be alright.” I replied with a nod.
“Are you going to rely on your Luck?” asked Kataryna raising an eyebrow.
“Not as much as I did before.” I said shaking my head “I learned my lesson. Luck is a terrifying weapon if used properly, but I shouldn't become dependent on it.” I replied.
“That's good.” she nodded.
After I properly equipped my armor and weapons, I stepped back into the circle marked with stones in the middle of the training ground, the arena meant to serve as our battle terrain for our duel.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
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