Lone was sweating. Eko was sweating. The judge was sweating. Everyone was sweating.
Lone wasn't sure if he would survive this move, but he knew he had to because if he didn't, Lone would lose his chance to fight the remaining contestants and that was something he dearly hoped wouldn't happen.
This would only occur because the chances were that if Lone died, he would have to resurrect using a life stat point if he was to be hit directly by whatever Eko was currently charging up.
Lone wasn't sure how his revivals worked just yet, but he figured he'd have to play dead until someone had brought his corpse to a secluded location before he started to walk amongst the living again merrily.
Eko was sweating purely because the move he was attempting was impossible even to try before he became a B-Ranker. His master had told him never to use it, even if he became a B-Ranker, but Eko was never the most responsible saint-in-training.
Eko felt that Lone deserved no less than his best, so Eko had decided to break his promise never to use this skill just this once. It was, however, still very taxing to even attempt to use it. Eko wasn't sure he'd even be able to use it once, let alone twice, hence his copious amounts of sweat.
The judge was sweating because he wasn't sure if he could stop, block or get Lone to evade Eko's move in time. He could intervene right now if he really wanted to, but where would the fun in that be? He was as immersed in the fight as the crowds were.
The judge could only hope that a little bit of sweating was the only punishment he would have to face for acting so whimsically. It was his responsibility to look after all of the participants after all. However, right now, he really wanted to see exactly how Lone would deal with this situation.
The crowds, Grimsley and Sophie included, were sweating out of either pure excitement or utter fear. In excitement that the next clash of moves was bound to be a spectacle to witness.
It was rare seeing two people of such high power levels duking it out so seriously in such a small scale event. Quite a few people voiced fears that Eko might break the stadium and hurt civilians. However, this fear was quickly washed away when the barrier from Lone and Emma's fight was quickly erected just in case such a situation were to pass. Now the audience could breathe a breath of relief and continue immersing themselves in the show they paid to see.
"Come on, lad. Show us what yer made of," Grimsley mumbled while he squeezed on Shana's hand a little bit. She had shown up at some point during Lone's fights, and she had quickly found her uncle after paying for a seat. The two were watching Lone's fights in worry. Neither of them knew about his most recent power that changed not only him, but Grimsley too. So they could only pray that Lone's healing or dodging capabilities would pull him through here.
'You can do it Lone!' Sophie shouted in her mind while she had her face practically glued to the screen in her summoning room. She had taken a break from her sword practising only to find Lone to be in what could only be described as his hardest fair fight yet. Sophie had chosen to not cheer him on telepathically just in case that would startle him and throw off his concentration which was the last thing she wanted. So Sophie just chose to cheer him on in her heart for now.
Lone was very carefully watching every single little move that Eko was making in hopes that he could move at just the right time. Lone figured that if he just chose to run around mindlessly, he could probably avoid Eko's attack altogether, but he didn't think that would be any fun at all.
Lone wanted to push himself, not win by luck and exploits. If Lone did decide to use this apparent flaw in the saint's move then why would he have so heavily limited himself when he could have theoretically become the ruler of everything in existence? Lone was determined to block this move and to do so; he had a plan in place that would hopefully increase his chances.
Everyone in the stands gasped in shock upon witnessing Lone's bone armour stretching and growing in density by several folds. A massive shield of black and blue bones had appeared in front of Lone. It was quite clearly connected to the main body of his armour. This shield was roughly two meters in height and one in width. It completely covered the front side of Lone's body.
'Twenty percent of my mana, huh? I guess it is pretty thick,'° Lone commented in his mind. The bone shield had been created on the spur of the moment. Lone wasn't sure if he could handle it, but apparently, it didn't cost him too much to extend his bones by this much. Now all he could do was wait and hope this would be enough to defend himself from the attack that was sure to be exceedingly strong.
Eko ignored Lone's bastion of bones because he was far too busy focusing his energy into his palms. It took him another minute or so of standing still like that before he began slowly inching his arms and palms forward. This action confused Lone. Lone had created a small peephole in the shield for him to see Eko's movements with and Lone was quite clearly shocked by what he was seeing.
During each of the initial attacks Eko had launched his palms forward in a very swift single movement, but now, each palm was moving no faster than a turtle's pace. However, this wasn't what had shocked Lone. No, what shocked him was how the air around Eko's palms was shuddering, almost as if it was quaking in fear at the sheer pressure emanating from the saint's hands.
Lone steeled himself in preparation for the attack's eventual arrival. He knew it was more than likely going to the hardest hit he had ever tried to deflect.
Slowly, but surely, Eko's palms made their way forward until they stopped when they were fully outstretched. The crowd held their breath and peeled their eyes in anticipation of the coming clash of offence and defence.
Suddenly, a roaring sound of the air being torn asunder was issued from both of Eko's hands as he quickly slammed them together. Then a humongous and visible palm that seemed almost illusionary, started to charge towards Lone.
"Fuck me," Lone muttered before he closed the peephole and tried to pour the remainder of his mana into increasing the size of his shield. It managed to reach a size of two and a half meters by one and a half meters before the palm met it.
Lone was almost knocked unconscious the moment the two collided. That was just how fierce the power that this monstrosity of a palm, held. The mages were struggling to keep the barrier up, since they were merely a collection of D and C-ranker mages. That only served to show the audience how incredible this one move was.
Lone's shield was gradually being torn apart. However, Eko's palm was similarly losing it's earlier momentum as it continued to hammer the bone creation.
Suddenly, several cracking sounds could be heard. Everyone took a brief moment to carefully inspect Lone's shield only to find it was riddled with cracks all over its surface. The shield them suddenly shattered, creating several splinters that rocketed through the air only to hit the magical barrier.
Everyone then saw as Lone weakly slumped to the floor and the armour that also covered his body cracked and broke to reveal Lone's bloodied body that was held within it.
Thankfully for Lone, Eko's attack dissipated once it had slammed into him. The time it had actually hit Lone was no more than one second and luckily about 80% of its previous power had been used on the bone shield, hence why Lone got away with only a huge amount of injuries and not instant death.
Eko was happy that he had managed to win without killing Lone, but before he could celebrate, he too fell to the ground and unconsciousness welcomed him into its warm embrace.
"This fight is a draw!" the judge had declared before two teams of healers moved to relocate both Lone and Eko. It was the first draw of the entire tournament, and it was also the most exciting fight as made evident by the roaring shouts and applause of the crowds.
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- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
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