Chapter 77: The Last Four
Sila was staying in the resting room alone. He had sat and circulated qi for five minutes but no one had yet to come into the room. Thus, he looked at the battles on the monitor. It didn't take long for Sila to find the screen of Ginny's duel.
The monitor seemed to recognize that Sila wanted to watch Ginny's match in the first arena. The size of the screen expanded so that it showed the birds-eye-view image of the match. Then many small screens appeared and showed images of this showdown from many angles.
Ginny's arena was more chaotic than Sila's. The black muddy swamp flooded the ankles of both contestants. Obviously, both players would have a harder time moving in this kind of field. Ginny stood while grabbing one sword in each hand. Solaria Sword was still hanging on her back. Her body was covered in wounds. She was staring at her opponent with a stressful expression.
Ginny's opponent was a skinny man with a goatee. His hair was short and his eyes looked devilish. His armor was a light armor in pale green color with a snake pattern. In his hand was a two meter long black cane with a snake's head. His body had no wounds at all.
The commentator's voice could be heard after a long silence. Once Sila's match had ended, their attention shifted to the other fights.
"One fight has ended. We better take a look at another match. The match that is quite interesting to watch is the match in the first arena. One of the combatants is Player Ginny, a guildless player and one of the only two females among the top eight. This is her first time participating in the tournament but she managed to pass through the preliminary round. As for her opponent, he is the person that everyone must already know. That person is Venom the Poison Master, one of the vice-leaders of Royal Armament Guild," said Noppakorn.
"It is worth noting that there are many players from Royal Armament Guild participating in this month's battle tournament. For example, among their guild's four vice-leaders, there are three of them competing," Rattana added.
"Many of you probably know this, but please allow me to explain. The Royal Armament Guild consists of Sword Emperor Cross as the guild master. Their main forces consist of four vice-leaders; Silver Knight Shueria, Poison Master Venom, Berserk Warrior Fargo, and Monster Queen Francine. In this battle tournament, except for Silver Knight Shueria, the remaining three of the vice-leaders have taken part in it."
"If I were to guess, it would be because Royal Armament Guild intends to use this battle tournament to re-rank their battle prowess."
"But I personally don't think so. Firstly, Shueria doesn't take part in it. In addition, there should be no need for them to re-rank their peers within a public tournament. That would unnecessarily help the other guilds obtain their data. I think there must be another reason."
The real reason behind why Royal Armament Guild had to send three of their vice-leaders to partake the battle tournament was mainly because of their hunger for the reward. From this month onward, Royal Armament Guild planned to be a victor of all the monthly battle tournaments to obtain the first place prize. Moreover, there was a secondary reason that everyone had yet to realize. That reason was Sila.
Cross had a personal grudge against Sila. Hence, he planned to use this chance to vent his anger at Sila. Better yet, knowing that there was a high bet on Sila, Cross had even more reason to defeat Sila. However, Sila had won against Shueria before, even if it was a fluke. Thus, Cross decided to place his best three cards on the table.
"It is a pity for Player Ginny. Her luck is really bad," Noppakorn said.
"Oh, don't underestimate women, there are a lot of strong guildless players in the game. Even Venom should be wary of her," argued Rattana.
"No, I don't doubt her ability. She has passed through the preliminary round so her ability couldn't be weak. However, fighting against Venom in a poisonous swamp is equal to suicide."
"For those who don't know, the poisonous swamp is one of the Colossia's fields of battle. The muddy swamp covers the combatant's ankles and causes them to suffer from the poison status condition. The poison is not deadly, but it causes your movement speed to become slower and your health points to decline over time. Anyway, the antidote for this kind of poison could easily be found in almost every Item Shop."
"That's correct. However, the rules of the fight clearly state that no medicine can be used during battle. Thus, Player Ginny can't treat her status condition. As for Venom, his race is the poisonous cobra, so he has a very high immunity to the poison. Plus, his venom ability is on par with the medicine ability of Medicine Master Hermit from the Victorious Wolves Sect."
"Oh, so she is indeed unfortunate to get this field as her battle arena."
Noppakorn wanted to point out that the field might not be randomly selected as everybody had thought. However, he didn't say it as there was no evidence.
Ginny reinforced her magic power within both of her swords. Her health points were continuously decreasing so she needed to end this fight as soon as possible.
As for Venom, he was smiling casually. There was no need for him to do anything. With his high tolerance against poisons, he just needed to prolong the fight to win this match without any difficulty.
Ginny was a damage dealer. Her battle style was to inflict high damages with her dual swords and her quick movement. Thus, she was somewhat lacking in defense and stamina. To make things worse, she was a magic-type player. So, even though she was Marquis Rank, she had less health points than Sila.
In fact, magic-type players who excelled in direct confrontation were few in number. That is because, given their relatively low health points, it is too risky for them to be counterattacked when fighting in close range. There were only a handful of players who chose this style and were able to become exceptional.
Even though the playstyle had such a serious disadvantage, that didn't mean they had no upsides. Their vulnerability due to their health points was compensated by their variety of attack skills. If they could be proficient in executing the right skills at the right time, they could be as strong as other playstyles.
"Wandering Gales," Ginny cast middle-tier wind-elemental spell to speed up herself and ran at Venom.
Even if her speed was increased, running on the muddy swamp was too much for her speed to be much use. To make things worse, her opponent was Venom who specialized in defense. He was also a magic-type like her and had chosen the earth element, the most defensive element, as his main element.
Venom only needed a second to cast a spell, "Muddy Wall."
The mud on the swamp moved as if it was a living being. It rolled itself and became a thick wall between the two.
Ginny struck the sword in her left hand at the muddy wall, but her sword sank into the mud. The terrifying aspect of this wall wasn't a strong shield like Earth Shield but it was difficult to be damaged. Sometimes, a soft yet flexible texture was harder to destroy than a solid defense.
Ginny gnashed her teeth. She activated her delayed spell she had prepared, "Frozen Flash," while twisting the sword in her left hand. Sky blue magic power was released from the blade and froze the muddy wall. The wall then broken into pieces. Ginny quickly stomped her foot on the dirt to jump at Venom with her increased speed.
Magic Delay was a basic skill of magic-type players. The number of skills and the time one could postpone the emission of spells depended on the ability of the individual. This skill isn't very useful compared to skills that reduce the time it takes to cast a spell. Nevertheless, there were some players who mastered the use of this skill to be able to delay the spell's activation for an entire day.
Ginny's body could approach the opponents for the first time in the match. Her dual swords slashed in a cross-shape.
"Twin Slaughtering Fangs." Both of the swords radiated a sharp magic power while cutting Venom into multiple parts.
Several people exclaimed with surprised, but Ginny furrowed her brows.
That was because the sensation felt through the swords that cut through her enemy was not right.
The split body parts of Venom exploded and mud flew in all directions. Ginny was in melee range so she was unable to dodge. Though, she did her best by raising her hands to guard against the explosion. Upon touching the exploding mud, she clearly sensed that her opponent had used Muddy Body skill. In addition, Venom's Muddy Body was imbued with poison.
Suddenly, Ginny felt her body ache and tingle. Her legs were rigid. She gritted her teeth to tolerate the pain. Meanwhile, Venom's body emerged from the nothingness, about ten meters away from her.
This was the result of Venom's racial skill: Concealing Cobra. It was a skill specifically designed for ambushing. Although the user's body didn't disappear completely, it merged very well with the environment, causing people to have a difficult time sensing the user.
"Kiki, unfortunately, pretty girl, that one was a fake," Venom spoke for the first time since the start of the match. In fact, it was due to his Muddy Body that he was unable to speak.
Ginny gnashed her teeth. It seemed she was also infected with poison that prevented her from speaking.
"Oh-oh, you don't need to say anything. You have been infected by my special poison and will die in another... ten seconds."
Ginny reinforced her entire body with magic power. However, her magic power decreased rapidly.
"Sadly, pretty girl, you almost gave me a wound. Now, bye bye." Venom waved his hands at Ginny who was leering back at him fiendishly.
Soon, she spat out blood. Her skin's color changed into dark brown. She felt pain all over her body. Finally, she turned into light and disappeared.
"Oh, she did a very good job not writhing in pain. People usually feel very tortured. Such a strong-willed girl," Venom said to himself.
A system announcement let everyone knew that Venom had won in this match and had advanced to the semifinals.
Sila watched the match with a vague expression. He wasn't familiar with Ginny, but seeing her die in front of his eyes caused him to feel a little sad. Nevertheless, this was natural for the battle; there was always a winner and a loser.
Unbeknownst to Sila, this match wasn't as fair as he had thought. However, someone else knew this and was now suppressing his anger.
*Bang* The sound of a table being slammed rang out from the commentator room. Noppakorn gritted his teeth and looked at the fight that had just ended, his eyes filled with anger.
He was an expert in player skills. Naturally, he could see through the skills that Venom had used and their abilities. He was mad at the fact that a famous player as the vice-leader of the Royal Armament Guild had to play dirty in a match against a woman despite it being unnecessary. He had heard some of the Royal Armament Guild's story from Bluebird but he couldn't imagine that this guild was this ugly.
"What's wrong, Nop? Are you okay?" asked Rattana.
"Oh, I'm fine. I'm just too immersed with the match. Please let me get some outside air for about five minutes. Could you handle the analysis alone for the time being?"
Rattana looked into Noppakorn's eyes. "Of course, but are you sure you're okay?"
Noppakorn got up from his seat and walked outside while replying, "I'm fine."
Noppakorn walked along the corridor of the stadium. There were few people walking nearby, shopping for food to eat. He stood still in the hallway and took a deep breath. Then, he opened his system window.
What Noppakorn had seen from the match was cheating that was very hard to spot if you didn't specialize in player skills. It was clear that Venom had activated both Muddy Body and Concealing Cobra since the start of the match without anyone noticing. Well, Venom could have delayed the spells while he was in the resting room. Although that was quite unfair, this act didn't break any rules. However, it was the restriction of these skills that made Noppakorn realize that Venom had played dirty.
Muddy Body was a skill that made an exact copy of the user. It could only be used in muddy areas, however, so it was not very popular.
As for Concealing Cobra, it was a racial skill that completely merged the user into the environment. However, the user needs to know the surrounding environment when using this skill. For Venom to be able to delay this spell while he was in the resting room, the only answer to his victory was that he had known his field of battle prior to when the match even started, which meant this battle tournament was not fair. It was exactly like Bluebird had told him.
The system window was opened to send a secret message. Noppakorn quickly typed some texts and immediately pressed the send button.
I agree with what you have suggested. Our plan will be executed when the tournament ends.
He closed the system window and then quickly went back to the commentator room. Their guild was always neutral and had never acted against other guilds, but this position was about to change. It was as Bluebird had said. The world of Monster Soul was about to change. If a player didn't adapt to it, they would only end up as someone else's prey.
The next announcement boomed throughout the Colosseum. Hearing it, Noppakorn realized that his choice to agree with Bluebird was indeed correct.
"Now we have all four victors. They consist of Sila, Poison Master Venom, Berserk Warrior Fargo, and Monster Queen Francine. The next round will start in fifteen minutes. By the way, please note that there are some changes in the rules."
Noppakorn frowned. He had never been informed about the changes in the rules before.
"What trick is the Royal Armament Guild trying to pull next?" He exclaimed and immediately rushed inside the commentator room.