Chapter 16: The Finals Part 1
After receiving rebuke from Georg, I made sure to increase my fighting spirit as much as possible and crush my semifinal opponent head-on.
I immobilized their beak with my tail and then severed their neck.
Although I take pride in my agility over brute strength, Georg insisted that I use strength to crush my opponent.
I promise to kill him someday.
Luckily for me, my semifinals match opponent, the Land Emperor Bird, wasn’t particularly strong or defensively superior.
If it had either of those things or if it had been as strong as the battle doll, I would have had to defeat it using my usual fighting style in order to survive.
“We’ve finally made it to the finals.
You’ll be facing that Rock Dragon next, but I believe…..you can win!”
Woodsorrel encouraged me as I savored the Land Emperor Bird’s flesh stuck to my pincers.
Even though the fight had just ended, the next one was already about to begin.
The reason for the quick cleanup was that I had won using a fighting style that didn’t significantly alter the arena’s terrain or cause blood and flesh to scatter around.
In other words, the short break time until the final match was my fault.
However, I didn’t want to damage the corpses just to drag out the cleanup and delay the start of the final match of the tournament.
Let’s just accept it and move on.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for waiting! We will now begin the final match of the ‘Rookie’s Battle’ tournament! Both contestants, please step forward!”
As soon as the manager spoke, I stepped into the arena with determined strides.
Most of the audience seemed to be curious about how I would be killed by my opponent, while only a few avid gamblers were cheering me on.
Objectively speaking, I knew my chances of winning were slim, but that was just the way things were.
The rock dragon I faced looked even bigger up close, possibly because of its towering posture.
It still seemed to be seething with anger, with its scales raised and its eyes bloodshot.
Oh, how scary.
But really, was losing a bit to the warrior crab such a big deal? I mean, he survived and won, so what was the problem? From my perspective, being unhappy after winning was just a sign of selfishness from someone who was born as a strong person.
I couldn’t help but feel envious.
“Here we have the top contender, the rock dragon, who has shown overwhelming strength throughout the tournament! And here’s our dark horse, the strongest contender who defied expectations to make it to the finals, the dark emperor scorpion! Any further words would be impertinent! Let the final match… begin!!!”
Just as the manager gave the signal to begin, the Rock Dragon roared and charged straight at me, seemingly unconcerned about any counterattacks I might make.
It was a bold and fearless charge that only someone with the power to bend everything in their path could attempt, but it was also a reckless move that showed no thought.
I calmly opened my pincers and charged towards the Rock Dragon.
In an instant, we closed the distance between us, and the Rock Dragon tried to crush me, but I deftly dodged and sliced its ankle with my claw as we passed by each other.
A tremendous sound echoed through the arena as shards of the Rock Dragon’s scales flew into the air.
I had concentrated my fighting spirit to the limit, but unfortunately, I couldn’t penetrate through the scales to the flesh underneath.
If it had been a suit of armor, I could have damaged it, but it seemed that I couldn’t break through the enhanced scales that the Rock Dragon had strengthened after its previous battle.
It’s unfair to have such an already powerful creature become even stronger.
It seemed that winning against the strongest species with only fighting spirit was impossible.
This was the final battle, and I didn’t need to hold back anymore.
Georg had also lifted his earlier restriction from me, and now I could finally use my….spiritual art.
I continued to increase my fighting spirit while refining my spiritual power.
The audience and the Rock Dragon were amazed and confused by the manifestation of my spiritual power, which I had been forced to conceal until now.
The former were surprised to discover that I could actually use spiritual power, while the latter was puzzled by the strange things that this small creature—me—was doing.
Despite its confusion, the Rock Dragon charged at me once again.
While I respected its stubborn refusal to change tactics, I would not show any mercy.
I would use the same level of skill that I had honed in spiritual combat to strike back at him.
The first time I manifested my spiritual power, I created sand.
Which is why manipulating sand was still my strongest spiritual art to this moment.
I whirled the sand I created to manifest a sandstorm that enveloped the Rock Dragon.
While the opponent was still puzzled by the sudden sandstorm, I struck again.
I manipulated the sand, causing it to change shape instantly according to my imagination.
The shape I have chosen was my pincers.
The pincers I held were designed to be an extension of my body, which was why I had chosen this exact shape.
However, they had been much larger than the actual object they were modeled after, even bigger than the head of a rock dragon.
As the pincers floated in the air, they snapped open, trapping the rock dragon’s neck in the midst of a sandstorm.
The dragon panicked and struggled to break free, but the spiritual power infused in my pincers was too immense, far beyond what a mere shake of its head could dispel.
The dragon managed to escape the sandstorm, stumbling and thrashing in agony, but it had been too preoccupied with its own suffering to notice me using my spiritual powers.
It wasn’t prepared for the situation that I had created.
One thing had been clear to me then: the rock dragon was a formidable opponent.
Its latent fighting spirit and spiritual power were enormous, and considering it merely being a juvenile, then it would have become an unstoppable monster when fully grown.
It could have easily destroyed not just an arena, but an entire country with the aftermath of its battles.
However, the dragon species had simply been too powerful as a biological entity.
As a result, any creature that was not of its kind was considered a mere insignificant insect in its eyes.
It had already shrugged off attacks from the beast demon, and accidental stabs to vital points from synthetic beasts had not been fatal.
Furthermore, It had even smashed the warrior crab with brute force despite the latter’s relentless attacks.
Therefore, it did not hone its combat skills because it could handle anything with innate strength alone.
Even when its vision was impaired, it stood still and let enemies attack its body without flinching.
Anyway, this guy’s fighting style was clumsy.
(What a shame to waste such incredible talents of fighting spirit and spiritual power.
I will take advantage of that arrogance to the fullest.)
Taking advantage of the rock dragon’s distraction, I made my move.
I climbed onto its back from its legs and ran towards my destination on its shaking body.
There was only one place I aimed for: the reverse scale that the synthetic beast had inadvertently revealed—the rock dragon’s rare weakness.
When I finally reached my destination, I used my claws to grab onto the scales around it and immobilized its body.
Without any hesitation, I plunged my tail into the vulnerable reverse scale.
Although the wound from the synthetic beast’s fang had healed, I remembered its location perfectly.
My poisonous stinger easily pierced through the soft reverse scale, reaching the flesh beneath it.
From the tip of my poisonous stinger, I injected a potent venom inside the rock dragon’s body.
It howled in agony, unable to endure the poison that threatened its life after being stabbed from within its reverse scale.
Ugh, I am injecting several times the amount of venom that I previously injected into the scarlet-eyed dog, yet it still won’t die.
This resilience is vexing.
I must inject even more poison.
However, the rock dragon was not a fool.
It fell on its back to crush me with its own weight, just like what it did to the synthetic beast.
I didn’t want to be crushed, so I jumped off its back abandoning my previous attack with my poisonous stinger.
It seemed to feel unwell from the effects of the poison, but its eyes were ablaze with fierce anger.
It opened its mouth wide while glaring straight at me, and from the depths of its throat, a dazzling light…a breath was released.
Honestly, I didn’t think it would use it anymore.
However, I remained calm and used spiritual power to construct a wall of sand to intercept its breath without panicking.
Its power was tremendous, enough to break through the wall even if I maintained it with all my might.
I was so focused on maintaining the sand wall that the sand pincers, which were holding down its neck, fell apart.
This was the so called difference in pure strength!
Moreover, the breath of the rock dragon was not just a one-time attack.
It fired repeatedly, seemingly endlessly, using its boundless spiritual power to continuously shoot at me.
Even though it seemed like the poison was working, it could still move like this.
Dragon species were just too sturdy beyond imagination!
“Gaah! Gaah! Gaah! Gaaaah!”
The rock dragon ran towards me while firing its breath.
It seemed like it was going to engage me in close combat along with its breath attacks.
I couldn’t win this by just defending.
I released the sand wall in between the breath attacks and ran along the wall of the arena.
The rock dragon noticed me and stopped, continuing to shoot its breath while chasing after me.
The accuracy of its attacks was not good, so it could not hit me while I was running at high speed.
“(Guuh! Is my reinforced exoskeleton creaking just from the shockwave of the near miss…? What power!)”
However, even if it didn’t hit me directly, it didn’t mean I wasn’t taking any damage.
Sometimes, because of its poor accuracy, the breath attacks unexpectedly hit me in a place I couldn’t dodge.
The shockwave of the impact hit my whole body as the exoskeleton got burnt by the breath that just passed by.
My body was gradually, but surely getting injured.
I was running around and dodging while continuously bothering the rock dragon with my spiritual art attacks.
I kept attacking and interfering by shooting sand bullets, trying to impale it with sand spikes under its feet, and creating another sandstorm.
However, both attacks and interference were futile.
The sand bullets and spikes I fired while running away lacked the power to penetrate its scales, and the sandstorm I created for interference was cancelled out by the explosion caused by the breath landing at its feet.
It was cheating, that defense power!
After running around the arena for about three laps while continuing to evade, the rock dragon stopped its breath barrage and growled lowly.
Had it finally started to tire? I thought so, but I stopped being optimistic when the rock dragon’s spiritual power suddenly expanded.
Instead of getting tired, was it going to unleash an attack that would be incomparable to what it had done so far…!?
Immediately after that, a breath was released from the rock dragon’s mouth.
However, it was not a large ball of light like before.
Instead, it came as a heat ray with the same diameter as the dragon’s mouth.
The heat ray followed me while melting the ground into a gooey mess.
It seemed that the dragon planned to mow me down with a thick beam of light instead of repeating the same ineffective shots.
This was an excessively forceful approach, attempting to solve the problem with brute strength despite the skyrocketing consumption of spiritual power.
(Oh no! Will it catch up to me… wah!)
In desperation, I constructed a wall of sand while running away.
The moment the heat ray touched the wall, a violent explosion turned my vision pure white.
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