"Ah! It's you!" the Saint, Eko exclaimed when he noticed who his next opponent was. "Thank you! Really, if it weren't for your aura or whatever you did back there, I would still be stuck as a C-Ranker, but thankfully I'm now a B-Ranker. From what I've seen in your fights, you like people to go all out, yeah? I'll try my best without killing you, as thanks for the enlightenment you've graced me with," Eko said before he joined his hands together and bowed slightly towards Lone.
"Thank you; I'd appreciate that," Lone genuinely responded. He was getting tired of having to force his opponents to show their best, so he was thankful that this one would do so from the get-go.
Eko then bowed once more before he stood with his knees slightly bent and he started slowly pulling back one of his open palms to be parallel with his shoulder. This set of actions confused Lone slightly. However, he had a stinking suspicion of what was going to happen next, so he crossed his arms over his chest and prepared for the worst.
Lone heard an incredibly deafening sound that was clearly the air being torn apart by some sort of pressure. He cocked his head to look behind him and was astonished.
A humungous palm-shaped hole had appeared on the wall of the arena. Lone didn't even see Eko's arm being pushed out before this hole had appeared. A few of the employee mages quickly sealed up the hole using some sort of earth magic.
"Ah! My bad. I only just became a B-Ranker, so I'm struggling to control my power a bit. Haha!" the monk claimed. He was quite embarrassed that he had missed, but happy overall that his power had increased so much. That was the entire reason for him being here after all, just like Lone.
"Please, miss a few more times? It would help me out a lot," Lone replied. 'If I can watch you do that several more times then maybe I can learn it too and also maybe learn earth magic from the staff members fixing the walls,'° Lone selfishly thought. He indeed was being rather greedy today, but what could he do? When so many skills were being presented to him, it was only right to claim them as his own.
Eko only laughed a little bit in response before he retook his bent-kneed position. It would appear that he had assumed Lone had spoken those words sarcastically in something akin to fear. Clearly, he hadn't noticed how eager Lone was to learn such a destructive skill, thinking it was a skill and not some form of bloodline or other power.
Lone was vigilantly watching Eko's every movement now. Lone was determined to dodge it for several reasons; one, to see the skill in its entirety, two, to witness the mages fixing the wall again, three, increase his agility and lastly, he wanted to get a movement related skill.
He had failed to gain one thus far, even though the pirate captain from over a month ago apparently held some sort of skill that boosted his movements. Lone was also hoping to earn maybe some kind of dodging skill in tangent with the movement one, assuming he managed to learn either.
Lone continued to watch. In the process of watching Eko's every movement, Lone could tell that his Good Vision Skill was increasing in mastery due to his absurd concentration, but before he could marvel over this or further investigate, he sensed something.
'Now!' Lone exclaimed in his mind as he tried to quickly move his body to the right to avoid the incoming palm projectile. Lone could barely even see it and was unfortunately clipped by the ability.
"The victor of this fight is-" "UNDECIDED!" Lone screamed while he coughed up a few mouthfuls of blood. He had interrupted the judge despite the fact that half of his body was missing, and blood was pouring out of the spilt. He was slumped on the ground with only half of a face, half a torso and only a single leg and arm.
Just before the judge could voice his complaint, he and everyone else present saw just how powerful Lone's healing abilities were. His missing left side started to fill in with more muscle and flesh quickly. It was honestly quite disturbing, to say the least. Eko was the most shocked. He had seen Lone heal before during his fights, but this? This was ludicrous! How was he to win, if Lone would do something like this? Surely there was a limit, mana, stamina, a strict number of usage per day, or maybe Eko simple had to obliterate him completely, but regardless, Eko thought that there was a path to victory somewhere. There had to be.
Unfortunately, due to being a monk and saint-in-training, his morals would allow no such thing. He deemed himself lucky for not accidentally killing Lone with that first successful hit.
Lone's body had soon healed. However, it had cost him half of his mana. He quickly restored his bone armour, and it was similarly several times denser-looking, just like with his fight against Ella, the knight.
"That hurt. A lot. Continue. I think blocking one might be possible now, maybe, anyway, if I can't, I'll probably have to change forms and if that happens, I may kill you. Which honestly, I'd rather not do since you're giving me such a thrilling experience. So let's continue," Lone said. He was concerned that he would run out of mana before he got any results and would be forced to activate one of his trump cards, Blind Control.
Eko briefly looked at Lone before he nodding at his request. It would seem that he had acknowledged Lone's resolve and trusted him not to die if he was successfully hit. Eko did indeed not want to kill him, but he could certainly admire his fighting spirit and who was he to deny Lone of his heartfelt request? Eko quickly re-entered his bent-kneed position and drew back his hand once more.
'Watch him... carefully... you can do this Lone... come on... now!' Lone exclaimed in his mind while he tried to observe every minute movement that Eko was making. Lone quickly stepped to the side in an effort to avoid the deadly palm that he ultimately failed to do so last time. He shuffled to the left only to see his right arm getting absolutely obliterated into nothingness. However, Lone could tell that had he not moved, his entire body would have shared the same fate as his now non-existent arm.
Lone also noticed that it took a very slight, almost unnoticeable longer time to break past his bone armour. This pleased Lone. It would seem that his bones were the evolving type and the more they got destroyed, the harder they came back upon each creation. He had thought this was the case during his fight with Ella, but it was nice to receive proper confirmation. Lone remoulded his arm and armour before once more taking up a defensive position.
'What a dangerous beastman. It's a good thing he's not being openly aggressive to us humans, eh? I wonder why he's flaunting his racial features, though. Does he have a massive backing? I guess I really need to make sure I don't kill him,' Eko thought to himself before he once again entered his bent-kneed position.
Six palm strikes. That was the number of hits Lone needed to endure before he could barely dodge them fully. He had also learnt the earth magic skill the mages were using. However, he obviously ignored that for now as he was clearly busy concentrating.
"There isn't much of a challenge now. Do you have a more powerful move, Eko?" Lone said while he wiped the sweat from his brow.
Eko took a moment also to wipe his sweat. He had used up about half of his stamina during those nine palm strikes.
"I do have a stronger move. It's about five times more powerful, and I can only use it roughly two times on the stamina I have left. I really respect you, Lone Wanderer. Do you think you can survive those two blows? If so, I will surrender, if not, I will take full responsibility for killing you. This I swear on my honour as a trainee saint," Eko claimed with a smile. He was very pleased with his battle partner this fight. Not only had Lone shown him the way to becoming a B-ranker, but he had also survived the move that he was so proud of which subsequently enlightened Eko even further.
"I can endure. Thank you Eko. I really respect you as well, as a fellow man who enjoys exciting battles," Lone said with a nod of the head. He felt something inside of him changing. Shifting. Lone ignored it for now and decided to leave it for after the fight.
"Very well. Prepare yourself," Eko replied with a bow before he once more entered his bent-kneed position. The difference this time was that he pulled back both of his arms simultaneously instead of just the one. This attack was clearly going to hurt. It was going to hurt a lot, or so Lone thought.
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