The next morning, Thomas awoke a bit earlier than he usually did to get ready for his duel. He took his shower and enjoyed using the soap he'd bought previously to get himself nice and clean. After he dried off he started getting dressed. He wore one of his older outfits, expecting that his clothing would take some damage and not wanting to ruin one of his brand new outfits. After that, he wore his leather armor, iron bracers, and iron greaves. He strapped his kukri to his hip and contemplated using his wrist crossbow. He decided against it though, he felt that his modified metal bolt spell would be more powerful and more of a surprise.
Once he was suited up and armed he stepped out of his dorm and made his way towards dueling ring three. He'd asked about it after his dinner last night so he knew exactly where it was. The dueling rings were all fifty by fifty meters and made of solid stone. When he arrived at the dueling field he was surprised to find that he was the last person to arrive. Selena was already standing on one side of the ring while Brao and two others stood on the other side. The last person stood off to the side of the ring and Thomas was surprised to recognize him. He was the stereotypical looking wizard he'd first seen when going for his assessment to join the academy.
The wizardly looking man could have been pulled from any media source if you just looked for 'wizard'. He had a long white beard going all the way down to his waist, a tall pointy hat with no brim, and loose robes draped over his body. All he was missing was a wizards staff. After looking the wizard over for a moment he turned his eyes to the three people on the 'opposing' side of the duel ring. He recognized two of them. Brao was there as expected but next to him was that annoying noble teacher that had tried to recruit him the first day, Jeren-something or other. Next to those two was a third man that Thomas didn't recognize at all.
Thomas walked up to Selena and gave her a smile, "Thanks for being my witness."
Selena nodded but before she could say anything the wizard looking man spoke up, "It appears that everyone has arrived." He looked over in Thomas's direction, "Unless there will be any others joining your side?"
The wizard spoke in a normal tone but even so, his voice easily carried over the distance between them and resonated with power. Thomas had no doubt that this man was exceedingly powerful. He shook his head and spoke with a bit of respect, "No sir, just myself and my witness."
The wizard nodded and looked between both parties, "We have gathered this morning for a duel of honor. Sir Brao Dueldrid has challenged Thomas Darkrose on the ground that Thomas has besmirched his honor. Before the duel begins I will go over some information so that both parties may duel to their heart's content without worry. First and foremost death is not something either of you needs to worry about within this ring. I, Dean Zorzic Rezum shall be the witness for the Reykhoten Academy of Magic and will be responsible for powering the enchantment on the dueling ring. There are three conditions for victory. First, if your opponent admits defeat. Second, if your opponent is rendered unconscious. Third, during the fight, I will be assigning points to both parties based on their performance. If the duel goes on for more than five minutes I shall call the duel to an end and determine the winner based on the points accrued."
Zorzic looked between the two parties before asking, "Do both parties agree to this duel of honor?"
Thomas nodded as he said out loud, "I agree."
Brao also said, "I agree."
Zorzic nodded and gestured to the ring, "Duelists, please enter the ring. You may use any weapons or spells that you know but any use of consumable items will result in your forfeiting of the duel."
Thomas glanced at Selena and she gave him a small nod of encouragement before he stepped up to the duel ring. He looked over at Brao as he still stood on the ground with a mocking smile on his face. Brao spoke again, "As a noble of the Kingdom of Reykhoten I exercise my right to use a champion in the duel."
Thomas, Selena, and Zorzic all stared at Brao. Zorzic frowned deeply as he said, "There is no point in a duel to restore your honor if you do not participate in it."
This time it was not Brao who spoke up but Jerendalv, "With all due respect Dean Zorzic there are no rules in the academy that say a noble may not use their right to select a champion to fight for them. The right for nobles to use a champion is granted by the King and he is the only one who may say that a champion cannot be used on academy grounds."
Zorzic looked furious, "This is a sham! There is no point in a duel that is not between students!"
As if expecting that rebuttal Jerendalv pointed to the third person in their group, "Jeko here is a student of the academy in good standing and shall be Brao's champion in this duel."
Zorzic looked even more enraged, the visible parts of his face turning red, "You would pit a third-semester student against one that has barely been here for a week? What kind of shameless act is this? This is supposed to be a duel of honor and I see no honor on your side!"
Jerendalv just shrugged his shoulders, "We are only following the rules provided by the King and the academy. The duel has been accepted by both parties and you do not have the authority to stop it. If Thomas was a noble he could have named his own champion."
Thomas couldn't see it but behind him, even Selena looked furious at the clear exploitation of the rules going on. Zorzic looked like he was searching his memory for anything he could use to refute them but was clearly coming up blank. With a frustrated sigh, he turned to look at Thomas, "I am sorry but there is nothing I can do to keep this shameful display from happening. I am afraid that you only have two choices now. You can forfeit the duel and apologize to Brao for your disrespect to him or you can fight his champion. I do not hold much hope for you to be able to win and if you do not you will still have to apologize to Brao. Whatever you choose know that after this I will send a letter to the king to prevent something like this happening again. I've never heard of someone being so lowly as to use a champion in a duel at the academy."
Thomas took a moment to think over the situation. He was pretty confident in being able to beat Brao, which was why he accepted the duel in the first place. But the champion, Jeko, was a complete unknown to him. Dean Zorzic didn't seem to think he stood too much of a chance and without anything to refute that Thomas was forced to agree with him. There was also the quest to consider. The rewards were unknown and he would get a reward whether he won or lost so there was no negative there.
Thomas decided to participate in the duel. Forfeit or fight and lose the results would be the same, apologizing to Brao. However, if he fought he would get a reward regardless of the outcome of the fight. There was also a very small chance that he could win if he got in a lucky hit or a surprise spell. Though he placed the odds of that as being pretty low. He was certain Brao would have told Jeko as much about him as possible to give Jeko as much of an edge against him as he could get. He looked over to Zorzic and nodded, "I'll fight."
Zorzic nodded and said, "At least one of you has some honor."
Zorzic turned to look at Brao and company, "The duel shall commence now."
The dueling ring was about half a meter higher than the ground so Thomas hopped lightly to jump into the ring. Jeko also leaped into the ring on the opposite side. Jeko was wearing nothing but some comfortable clothing and a robe, there were no visible weapons or armor on him. Jeko looked slightly older than Brao and had blonde hair and green eyes. Thomas eyed him up and down as he unsheathed his kukri and held it at the ready. Seeing Thomas's action Jeko just smirked derisively.
Zorzic looked between the two participants of the duel, he clearly did not like the situation but there was nothing he could do to prevent it. He could only keep his promise to Thomas to prevent something like this from happening again in the future. He looked between Thomas and Jeko before speaking, "The duel will commence when you hear the ring of a bell. Any actions performed before then shall be cause for forfeiture by the offending party."
After he finished speaking a massive amount of mana erupted out of his body. Thomas could feel the mana weighing down on him making him feel pressure until it started to sink into the stones of the dueling ring. The stones greedily absorbed the mana and caused the pressure to fade away. After a few moments, there was a loud ringing sound coming out of the center of the ring. The duel had officially begun!
Thomas wasted no time at all in beginning his offensive. Wind blasted out from his legs as he leaned forward and charged at Jeko. His speed was astonishing, especially to himself, as he rapidly closed the distance between himself and Jeko. The instant he was within range he slashed from right to left with his kukri aiming at Jeko's waist. With a casual flick of his wrist, Jeko caused a pillar of ice to sprout out of the ground to intercept Thomas's kukri slash with a loud clang.
Unperturbed, Thomas immediately leaped backward and up into the air. He pointed his finger at Jeko and fired off an iron bullet at his full power, not holding back in the least. Jeko simply flicked his wrist again causing his pillar of ice to become a thick wall of ice. The iron bullet slammed into the ice with a loud crack and caused it to fracture but that was all. The ice wall completely stopped the projectile with relative ease.
Thomas grimaced as he landed on the ring once again. He'd been right, Brao had to have told Jeko what he was capable of for Jeko to respond so efficiently to his attacks. Either that or Jeko was just that much better than him. Just as he landed Jeko lifted his hand and fired off a spear-shaped piece of ice directly at Thomas. Thomas reacted by spinning to his left to dodge the spear before crouching down and charging forward with the assistance of his wind spell again. He needed to find a way to break Jeko's defense if he wanted to deal any damage to the man.
The usual counter to ice was fire, so as he closed in toward Jeko, he summoned a ball of flames above his left hand. As he came in front of Jeko he swiftly changed his direction and circled around to Jeko's left side. He lifted his left hand and sprayed out a stream of scorching flames directly at Jeko. For the first time, Jeko actually moved. With a strong burst of wind, Jeko leaped directly up into the air. As Thomas cut off his flames and looked up, Jeko was already aiming a hand at him and firing off another thick spear of ice.
Thomas blasted wind out of his legs and jumped to the side to dodge the ice spear. He hit the ground on his side and quickly rolled away before hopping back up to his feet. Jeko was slowly descending to the ground so Thomas pointed his finger at him and fired off another iron bullet at him. Before Jeko could respond the bullet slammed into and pierced completely through his left shoulder leaving a bleeding wound behind. Jeko grimaced at the pain inflicted by the wound but then grew enraged.
As he landed on the ground, Jeko's entire attitude changed. His entire body emitted a prodigious amount of mana that quickly hardened into a suit of ice armor that covered him from head to toe. Aside from a splotch of red at his shoulder, the entire suit of ice armor glittered brightly in the morning light. Jeko went on the offensive immediately by charging directly at Thomas. Thomas took on a slightly crouched stance that would allow him to dodge and counterattack Jeko's charge.
As Jeko closed in rapidly, Thomas felt something was off. It took him a brief moment to realize that his feet were getting cold. He quickly glanced down and saw that both of his feet had been completely encased in ice, locking them to the dueling ring. He looked up in time to see just how screwed he was. Jeko had a mocking smile on his lips as he punched forward with his right fist. Mid-punch a huge jagged spike of ice formed on his fist. Without enough time or mobility to react, Thomas could only watch as Jeko punched him right in the heart with the jagged ice spike on his fist.
Thomas felt a brief spike of pain as Jeko pierced his chest before his vision went completely black and he got notices from the system.
|System Notice: You have been defeated. If you are not revived within five minutes you will die.|
|System Notice: Due to being defeated in a special area you will not die at the end of the grace period but will instead be revived in five minutes.|