Chapter 13 – The Bloody Ring
By wastelands standards, the woman on the platform was absolutely a great beauty. Although her skin was rather coarse, she had a superb figure, and the cleavage she was revealing was enough to drive any man wild with fantasies. She wore very little, just enough to cover her most sensitive parts while occasionally revealing them, and her slender legs were just barely covered by ragged silk stockings. From top to bottom, she was one hell of a treat for the eyes.
Her eyes were beguiling, while her movements were teasing and seductive. When she walked, she swayed her hips in a very exaggerated fashion, causing those who saw her to follow her with their gazes.
With someone like her standing on the platform, everyone’s attention was drawn to center of the room.
“Sorry for keeping you all waiting for so long! The next duel for today is between Benson of the guard forces and the famous hunter Tram. Both of them are proud warriors of our base. Who will be the one to win? Let’s watch and see!”
After giving a brief introduction, the seductive woman hurriedly retreated from the stage as animalistic cries began to ring out from throughout the room.
Two muscular men dressed in briefs who were surrounded by a retinue of others made their way out from the crowds. Each wore ragged caped cloaks, and neither of them was carrying any weapons or defensive items. They used neither boxing gloves nor boxing helmets. After moving to stand atop the dueling ring they simultaneously cast off their tattered capes, revealing their tough muscles and chiseled physiques. The two looked quite similar in size and shape, but one was white while the other was black.
The two bowed slightly to each other, but both stared unblinkingly at the other as they entered combat stances. The dangerous auras emanating from the two of them spoke plain as to what type of people they were; not only were they highly experienced warriors who had experienced many battles, they were also both the type of person to take the other’s life if the opportunity arose.
Cloudhawk watched all of this, rather dazed. Right at this moment… clang! A copper gong was suddenly struck, scaring Cloudhawk out of his wits. Right at that moment, those two muscular warriors let out bestial growls as they charged towards each other like a pair of stampeding rhinos.
The black man was the first to deliver a heavy blow. Whoosh! The white man had feigned an opening to lure in that attack, only to ensure that it missed. The white man then delivered a crushing knee-strike to the black man’s gut, and the black man instantly hunched over, curling up like a shrimp. The white man then delivered a right elbow to the black man’s back.
The two consecutive strikes caused such heavy internal injuries that blood instantly came flying out from the black man’s mouth. One could imagine how heavy these two blows had been! One final elbow knocked the black man to the ground.
“YEAH!” The white man let out a furious howl as he lifted up his leg, then slammed it downwards. The black man hurriedly flipped backwards to dodge, and the tough wooden boards right in front of him were caved in by the force of that stomp. The white man didn’t halt his attacks; after missing with his first stomp, he kicked straight out of the caved-in floorboards and struck the black man, knocking him into a corner of the ring with splinters all over his body.
The white man pounced forwards, about to press the attack, but the fallen black man actually hooked his leg, catching the white man off-guard and knocking him to the ground. The black man hurriedly flipped up and rose to his feet, then pounced towards the white man like a leopard. He grabbed the white man, then rammed him into one of the dueling ring posts like a monk beating a gong.
Boom! The entire ring shook, and a large amount of blood began to pour out of the white man’s head. The black man seized the opportunity to kick the white man into the ropes, causing even the tough ropes to bend backwards. Just as the white man was about to bounce off the ropes, the black man delivered another vicious kick.
Bang! Blood poured out of the white man’s mouth, spraying the faces of those beneath him with a bloody mist. This seemed to energize and excite the crowd, making them scream even more excitedly as frenzied roars swept through the crowd!
The screams of the crowd seemed to help the dizzied white man come to his bearings. He shook his head hard, then let out a guttural, inhuman scream from his blood-flecked lips. Turning, he used the ropes to slingshot him forwards like an arrow. As the black man charged towards him with yet another kick, the white man suddenly grabbed the black man’s leg with both arms and then threw him down onto the ground… then gave the leg a hard twist. CRACK!
The black man let out an agonized scream as his leg was broken. The white man then reached out and grabbed the black man’s head, then slammed the back of his head into the ground. Once, twice, thrice… the black man’s eyes rolled up as he lost consciousness, with blood pouring out of his every orifice.
A tidal wave of screams swept across the room, and all of them were chanting the same thing! “KILL HIM! KILL HIM! KILL HIM!”
The wave of cries seemed to serve as a catalyst, spurring the white man onto even greater savagery. His punches flew out like raindrops in a storm, striking the black man on the face nonstop as though he was giving vent to some hidden rage. It was like the black man had killed his father or something! Blood splattered everywhere, bringing an exhilarating, sickening brutality to this fight.
Just a few seconds later, the black man had already been beaten into an unrecognizable pulp! The white man lifted up the half-dead black man over his head, letting out a series of growls from his blood-covered mouth. He was like a victorious lion proclaiming dominance over his domain.
“TRAM! TRAM! TRAM!” The entire room exploded with cheers of celebration! The white man brought the black man’s back down across his knee, hard. The terrifying sound of bones splintering could be heard as the black man’s spine was broken. The white man then casually tossed the black man out of the dueling ring.
Once again, everyone let out celebratory whoops of joy. As for those who had lost their bets on the black man, they began to let out curses. Some of them began to paw at the waitresses, dragging them off into nearby private rooms to give vent to their frustrations.
“That was truly an exciting battle!” An alluring voice rang out as that seductive woman dressed in silk stockings once more stepped into the ring. “Next, we have a very special program for you. Let’s welcome our latest newbie into the arena!”
By now, Cloudhawk had a completely dazed look on his face. Oh, fuck… was this his job? No wonder no one wanted this job. This was suicide! Cloudhawk immediately cried out, “I quit! I’m going home!”
“Quitting? Not your call!” The black bouncer by his side snickered, a detestable look on his face. “Rules of the inn say that if you break your contract, you lose your hands.” He pulled out a machete, then leered at Cloudhawk menacingly. Several other burly bouncers walked over as well.
This time, he was in serious trouble! Cloudhawk never imagined that something like this would happen. The black man who had been fighting in the dueling ring was now lying right next to Cloudhawk. His face had been completely destroyed, with his nose broken, his teeth shattered, his jaw dislocated, and his spine severed. Even if he survived, he’d be nothing more than a useless cripple.
He had been a very skilled combatant, but he had still ended up being beaten into such a state. How could a small guy like Cloudhawk possibly endure a punch from that big white man?
“NOOB! NOOB! NOOB!” Everyone around him was shouting with increasing excitement.
The black bouncer grabbed Cloudhawk, then tossed him into the dueling ring. Cloudhawk landed on the blood-soaked wooden boards with a thudding sound, then frantically clambered to his feet. The lights above him were dazzling him, and the cries of the crowd were truly thunderous.
“SMASH HIM! SMASH HIM! SMASH HIM!”
Fuck, the two of us are in completely different weight classes! It was like a giant gorilla battling a skinny monkey! Was there even a point to a battle like this?
Of course there was!
There was entertainment in watching a fight between two equally-matched opponents. There was also entertainment in watching a fight in which one opponent was overwhelming stronger than the other. Everyone wanted to hear the sound of bones crunching! They wanted to smell the blood, to bathe in it, to hear the weak newbie scream in agony. This was the point of entertainment!
The woman clad in silk stockings watched as Cloudhawk was tossed into the arena, not an ounce of pity in her eyes. She was all smiles as she said, “The time for our next performance has come! An even more exciting, even bloodier, and even more delightful feast for your eyes awaits you. Are you all ready?”
“SMASH HIM! SMASH HIM! SMASH HIM!”
The arena was surrounded with frenzied, twisted, yet faceless faces. No hint of human decency or rationality could be seen in those eyes. They were like wolves who wanted to drink blood, wanted to slaughter, wanted to give vent to their own frustrations.
Several machete-wielding bouncers were standing below the ring, glowering menacingly at Cloudhawk. If Cloudhawk dared to escape from the dueling platform, the end result would be that they would hack him to death with their machetes.
Shit. I was tricked again! But it was too late for any regrets.
Tram glanced at the small figure disdainfully. This kid was probably an entire generation younger than him. How could he possibly be interested in a fight against someone like this? And judging from the kid’s youthful features and the look of terror in his eyes, he probably had never even experienced any actual combat before. The battle had yet to begin, but the kid was already at the point of collapse. For Tram to battle someone like this was actually rather embarrassing and disgraceful!
Still, the man had to eat. Tram had to kill the kid, and would do so using the most brutal, the most sickening, and the most entertaining methods that he could. This would be one of the most exciting performances the inn would hold today, and it was performances like this which the inn relied upon to draw in more customers!
Tram wiped the blood from his face, but only succeeded in making himself look even more menacing. He chuckled. “Hey kid. I’m gonna break your bones, one by one. Enjoy the next few seconds of life!”
Cloudhawk had been enduring all types of abuse during the past month. Although he felt rather scared, he felt even more rage at the unfairness of it all, and he glared right back at Tram and screamed, “Go fuck your mother!”
Instantly, everyone around him exploded with cheers. Hey, the newbie seemed to have a bit of a temper! This made him a bit different from the kids who were usually sent up to be killed.
“Place your bets, everyone! Place your bets on how long this newbie will be able to last. One minute, two minutes, or even three minutes!?” The red-nosed proprietor beamed merrily as he kicked off the betting. Each time he held one of these spectacles, he was able to rake in large amounts of cash. The inn patrons all began to place their bets, causing the scene to grow increasingly lively.
“Are you all ready?” The seductive woman dressed in silk stockings licked her lips in a tantalizing fashion, then announced, “Let the performance begin!” Swaying her hips, she left the ring. Clang! The bronze gong was struck once more.
Cloudhawk suddenly shot forwards like a leopard, landing a kick directly center on Tram’s chest and sending him staggering backwards. This strike contained much more force than anyone would’ve imagined, and even someone as tough as Tram found it hard to bear.
A collective ‘oh’ rang out from the crowd.
Tram never imagined that this would’ve happened. His eyes bulged out with shock as he staggered backwards, nearly falling to the ground. He hurriedly propped himself up with one hand, only to realize that a fist was right in front of his face.
The kid possessed astonishing speed and strength. He looked so weak that a strong wind could blow him away. How the hell was he this strong? The most surprising thing of all was, just a few moments ago the kid had a look of utter terror on his face, almost as though he was a helpless little kitten. Now, he seemed to have transformed into a leopard!
Tram was able to avoid this strike, but was only able to do so in a very awkward fashion. Upon missing with his first punch, Cloudhawk leapt upwards and used his own head to headbutt Tram on the bridge of his nose.
Cloudhawk had spent every day of the past month being used as a punching bag by the mercenaries, but he had learned a few things as well. He had already learned some of the most basic fighting techniques, at least!
Tram could feel his nose splintering, and tears couldn’t help but begin to pour out of his eyes. Cloudhawk didn’t give him any chance to recover at all. Cloudhawk lifted up his right arm, then delivered a powerful punch to Tram’s lower jaw. His skinny little arm contained an unbelievable amount of force, damn near breaking Tram’s jaw entirely!