After entering the cafeteria, Thomas looked around for a bit for Selena. It was a little late for dinner so the place wasn't completely packed, but it still had quite a few people within. It took a few minutes but he finally found her sitting at a table with Treena and Essa, the other female students in the class. Thomas walked over and sat at their table to speak with Selena, "Selena, I was wondering if you were interested in being my witness at another duel."
Selena stopped eating and turned to stare at Thomas for a moment before asking, "Who did you piss off this time? Or is it Brao again?"
Thomas laughed and presented the duel notice to Selena, "I'm the one picking the fight with Brao this time. Before I did I checked to make sure he couldn't use a champion again. This time it will be just me and him."
Selena took the duel notice and read it over. It was clear from the wording that Thomas was the one to initiate the duel. Selena handed it back and gave Thomas a radiant smile, "I would love to be there to watch Brao get what he deserves. After what he did last time, be sure you give him a good beating!"
Treena and Essa watched the two curiously until Essa spoke up, "So you're going to have a duel with Brao? When?"
Thomas looked at Essa and had a brilliant idea. When things started he had no real grudge against Brao. Sure he was an annoying entitled noble but Thomas was used to that. If Brao hadn't pulled the underhanded trick at their duel Thomas would have no reason to go after him in return. With that in mind, Thomas answered Essa, "Tomorrow morning at dueling platform two. You and Treena can come and watch if you like." His lips curled into a grin, "If you see Fuller you should invite him as well. We can make it an event for the whole class."
If he had thought of this earlier he would have invited Fuller when he saw him just a few minutes ago. He really only wanted to give Brao a good beating. However, since Brao was such an asshole he decided to embarrass him as well. After all, that was clearly Brao's intent when using a champion to defeat him in the first duel.
Essa and Treena both nodded. Neither of them had witnessed a duel in the academies dueling rings so they were curious. Neither of them were really fond of Brao either. Thomas stood from his seat as he said, "Alright then. I will see you guys tomorrow morning. I'm going to see if I can catch up to Fuller. I saw him just before I came in here."
The three girls nodded and Thomas quickly left the cafeteria and headed back to where he'd found Fuller reading. Fortunately, Fuller was still sitting in the same spot reading the same book. As Thomas approached Fuller looked up and asked, "Did Selena leave the cafeteria already? I didn't see her come this way."
Thomas smiled at Fuller's attempt to be helpful while shaking his head, "No, she was in the cafeteria along with Treena and Essa. I actually came back to talk to you again. Tomorrow morning I'm having a duel with Brao on dueling platform two. I invited Selena to be my witness. Treena and Essa are going to come and spectate. I wanted to invite you to come and spectate tomorrow morning as well."
Fuller thought about it for a while before giving a nod, "Sure, I can come and watch."
Thomas chuckled before saying, "Well, now that everyone will be there I should put on a good show."
Fuller chuckled as well, "I should hope so. It would be rather embarrassing for you to lose after inviting the whole class to watch your performance."
"Alright then. I'll see you tomorrow morning Fuller."
Thomas left the area and made his way towards his dorm room. He had confidence that he could easily defeat Brao in a duel. If Brao thought he could easily defeat Thomas then there was no point in him using a champion in the last duel. This time Brao only had two choices. Show up and fight or don't show up and risk it all with an assembly. Thomas was confident that Brao knew he would lose if an assembly was called. His action in challenging Thomas to a duel and then using a champion was clearly not how a noble was meant to behave or how that particular right was meant to be used. He only needed to see how Dean Zorzic had reacted to know that Brao had crossed a line.
Thomas returned to his dorm and went through his new nightly routine of practicing 'Transmutation' and 'All Seeing Eyes' before letting himself drift off to sleep with 'Serenity'.
The following morning, Thomas awoke early and dressed in his full battle gear. His leather armor still had rips on the back from a kobolds claws but it was otherwise in good condition. He'd just not gotten around to repairing it and intended to find some high-quality leather to make his own armor later anyway. Once he was dressed and fully geared up he made his way to the dueling platform. Today he was going to beat the shit out of Brao.
When Thomas arrived at the dueling platform he saw that he wasn't the first, or last, to arrive. Dean Zorzic was there once again to referee the duel. Selena was standing off to one side with Treena and Essa next to her. Brao and Fuller had yet to arrive. Dean Zorzic looked over at Thomas and gave him a slight nod. Though Dean Zorzic knew Thomas was in the right for challenging Brao to a duel of honor, as the Dean of the academy he could show no favoritism toward any student. As such, he maintained a calm demeanor and intended to be completely impartial.
Everyone waited in silence. After a few minutes had passed Brao showed up with his witness, Jerendalv. Dean Zorzic gave a little huff at seeing one of the teachers acting as a witness to a student duel. It wasn't strictly against the rules but it clearly showed favoritism. Zorzic was once again determined to get the staff together and make sure they all understood that showing favoritism was detrimental to the growth of the students.
Just after Brao arrived, Fuller came jobbing up to the dueling platform and smiled at Thomas, "Sorry. I'm not late right?"
Thomas grinned at Fuller while shaking his head, "Nope. Right on time."
Dean Zorzic cleared his throat and announced loudly, "We have gathered this morning for a duel of honor. Thomas Dakrose has challenged Sir Brao Dueldrid on the grounds that Brao 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. Lastly, the King has determined that champions may not be used in duels on the ground of the academy."
The speech was almost verbatim what Dean Zozic had said the first time. Thomas expected that it was standard and part of the ceremony surrounding the duels. Dean Zorzic looked between Brao and Thomas as he asked, "Do both parties agree to this duel of honor?"
Thomas smiled broadly as he replied, "I agree."
Brao looked frustrated but said, "I agree."
Dean Zorzic nodded and gestured to the center of the platform, "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 forfeiture of the duel."
Thomas hopped up onto the dueling platform and immediately began to stretch. Brao slowly climbed up and stood stoically as he stared at Thomas with hatred. Zorzic looked between the two competitors, "Begin!"
Thomas instantly stopped stretching and leaped into motion. He pressed his legs into the stone of the platform and instantly accelerated. His speed was slightly higher than the day before but not enough to throw him off. Before Brao could even raise his hands to begin casting a spell, Thomas was already in front of him. Thomas's hand clenched into a fist that shot out at a low angle to slam into Brao's unprotected stomach. There was a distinct metallic clang as Thomas's fist impacted hidden armor covering the front of Brao's chest and abdomen.
Even with the protection of the armor, Brao ended up clasping his stomach and bending over from the force of the impact. Thomas quickly retreated with a grimace on his face. The armor was hard, far harder than he would have liked. His fist throbbed and he worried that he might have broken a finger or two from the hit. As Thomas was still nursing his throbbing hand, Brao recovered and with a flick of his wrist retrieved a longsword from his inventory. With a burst of mana, flames wrapped around the blade.
Brao grinned mockingly as he asked Thomas, "Did you think that just because your attributes were higher, that you would be able to defeat me in a duel?"
Brao flicked the wrist of his other hand and a helmet appeared. Brao placed the helmet on his head to completely cover it. The metal making up the helmet was bright silver with specks of black that could be seen when light reflected off of it. Seeing the helmet Selena gasped and exclaimed, "He's wearing Adamantine armor!"
Instead of being frustrated, Thomas was actually intrigued. He'd suspected that mythological metals would exist within AoG and then read about them in the books on alchemy. However, this was his first time seeing one in person. It was rather exciting to him. Part of him wanted to stop the duel just so he could examine the armor and get a feel for the metal. He knew that was impossible though. Brao had clearly tapped into the resources of his family and come prepared to win the duel by any means necessary.
Thomas's first thought was to start using fire to heat Brao's armor and burn him. He discarded this though because he had no idea what temperatures it would even take to heat Adamantine or how thermally conductive it was. There was one thing all metal was good at conducting though. Thomas summoned his mana as Brao charged towards him with the flaming sword in his hand. Brao was significantly slower than Thomas so it was a simple matter for Thomas to dodge to the side and avoid the downward swing of the flaming sword.
Thomas thrust his hand out and sent a thin bolt of lightning into Brao's side. He didn't spend too much mana on the bolt and was merely using it to test the waters. He had no idea what sort of enchantments or properties the Adamantine armor had and couldn't risk spending too much mana on a bad assumption. The bolt of lightning struck Brao and danced on his armor burning holes in his clothing. Brao jerked a bit but it seemed to Thomas that the majority of the attack had been mitigated by the armor.
As Brao lifted up his sword to recover from the downward swing, Thomas stepped forward and kicked the back of Brao's knee with the entirety of his Power. Brao immediately crumpled to the ground with a loud clanging of metal on the stone floor. Thomas had already thought of several ways he could instantly incapacitate Brao, such as hitting his head hard enough to give him a concussion and knock him unconscious. Helmets would protect from damage on the exterior of the head, but there was no helmet that could protect the brain from impacting the skull.
Thomas simply wanted to duel to last a little longer so he could give Brao a good thrashing. Thomas had started this by being rude to Brao and he intended to take responsibility and finish it. Whether that made sense or not didn't matter to him in the least. Thomas stood off to the side and watched as Brao scrambled to his feet. The hard inflexible armor made the sight one to behold.
As Brao struggled to stand, Thomas summoned up his favorite greatsword using his metal magic. Seeing Brao holding his flaming longsword at the ready, Thomas charged forth at full speed while swinging the massive weapon he'd conjured. He deliberately aimed for Brao's right hand and smashed his unarmored fingers with the flat of his blade. Thomas wanted to punish Brao a bit, not disfigure or dismember him. Regardless of whether or not the dueling ring would restore Brao's fingers, he had no intention of really torturing the young man.
As the flat side of the heavy greatsword smashed into Brao's fingers, Brao let out a scream and the flaming longsword went flying out of the dueling ring. Once it left Brao's hand the flames immediately extinguished. Brao cradled his hand as he screamed in agony. Looking closer, Thomas noticed that Brao's fingers were a little crooked and blood was dripping from them. He may not have cut Brao's fingers off but he had definitely broken several of them rather badly.
Thomas lifted his greatsword and prepared to charge Brao again but before he could Brao lifted his head and screamed, "I FORFEIT!"
Thomas paused and frowned. Brao's shouting was... really unexpected. Dean Zorzic immediately raised his hand and shouted, "The duel is finished! The winner is Thomas Darkrose!"