Chapter 155 – Marcos’s Predicament (Part 3)
A crowd of people began cheering for Zachary as the victor!
“ZACHARY! ZACHARY ZACHARY!” None of them yet quite realizing how bad Marcos’s condition currently was. Only Daichi noticed in the entire arena that by the rules, there was a good chance that Zachary might be expelled unless he made a quick decision in the next few moments…
Not but a moment after Marcos fell to the ground unconscious a man covered in black from head to toe except for his eyes appeared behind Marcos almost as if he’d teleported. He put two fingers to Marcos’s neck and then gave Zachary a thoughtful look.
He didn’t even need to speak for Zachary to walk over to them. Without so much as a glance at Marcos he nonchalantly placed his palm back on his chest. Almost instantly the color on Marcos’s face and skin turned less pale as blood began circulating normally again.
The man surveyed Zachary as his skin went from stone to normal with a look on consternation “That is your first offense. Should you use another show of deadly force like that you will be heavily disciplined; Understood?”
Zachary nodded but his eyes stayed on Marcos.
He acted on instinct when he used his family’s most deadly technique which applied the same principles his mana applied to his skin but to the interior of an opponent’s heart. It was something he did almost on instinct when Marcos took him by surprise.
All of that was less of note to him than the look that Marcos gave him when he looked up at him. It was a look that had made his heart skip a beat.
In that moment there was a slight fluctuation in Zachary’s heart, a sliver of fear appeared and for a moment his instincts screamed at him DANGER!
It was just for a moment before rational thought returned to him… But it was enough to make him reconsider what he thought of Marcos. That look made him look at Marcos with less disdain, but it was the realization that somehow Marcos had made him feel instinctual fear that made him raise his previous evaluation of him.
All of this happened in a few seconds, Zachary’s adrenaline was pumping as he’d been pushed far more than he’d originally anticipated to the point of having to unleash his family’s trademark skill. Thus… He remained completely unaware that within the crowd two people had been ready to move to kill him.
Leo had rushed out and in his panic had already unsheathed his sword as he held it pointing the ground in his right hand, just two rows from the arena staring daggers at Zachary but for a moment before focusing his attention on Marcos’s condition.
It was only as he gathered himself that Zachary took the time to look around at the crowd that was shouting his name. He didn’t so much as get to enjoy the allure of the victory for even a moment as his eyes fell on Leo. Leo was staring at him and sparks filled the air in-between them the moment their eyes met.
A sudden thought entered Zachary’s mind ‘Was that feeling not from Marcos?’ He was staring at Leo but his peripheral vision clearly made out the drawn sword in his hands.
The crowds were still rowdy as they chanted Zachary’s name but a few of them were no longer looking at Marcos like he didn’t belong. Although his swordsmanship wasn’t overly impressive, there had been something about his demeanor as he stared Zachary down and faced off against a stronger opponent with no fear in his eyes that suddenly raised their impression of him. Quite a few of him were even whispering about how he might have some potential in the future and thinking about how to introduce themselves.
Zachary was thinking rationally but he no longer cared about the task he’d been given. In the back of his mind he’d already come to the realization that if he himself had raised his impression of Marcos during the fight then there would likely be several people in the crowd to do the same. He was told to crush Marcos and embarrass him to the point of no longer wanting to show his face, but that was all but a failure. That a junior had managed to put up a struggle against him, someone in the top 10 rankings of the 2nd years only lessened his own reputation in the end.
Instead he was now preoccupied with the man standing in the second row staring right back at him.
Zachary lifted his left hand to quiet the crowd and after a few seconds the cheering and talk dyed down to let him speak.
“My family raised me to understand that only once a warrior has decided to fight then does he draw his weapon. Are you a warrior?”
There was only a moment of silence before the entire stadium broke out into whispers. The eyes of multiple people in the crowd went wild as an eruption of whispers were elicited from various groups.
“What’s he talking about?”
“Is there another challenge?”
“What’re you talkin’ bout’? Who da hell would challenge him after seeing that!?”
“Maybe it’s one of the 2nd year counsel members! Marcos may be a first year but he is on the counsel right!?”
“Yeah you’re right!”
“Fools! There’s no way that would happen!”
“Who’s he staring at!?”
“Look! There’s a guy in the front rows!!!”
While the whispers were going on, people had already begun to look in Leo’s direction as they followed Zachary’s line of sight to find the guy he was staring at.
Leo didn’t respond, instead he jumped over the railing down to the arena making a swift and light landing. His gaze no longer focused on Zachary as he looked towards Marcos who was already sitting up.
Marcos had a defeated look on his face, but there didn’t seem to be a shadow of humiliation. “Took you long enough.”
A smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes filled Leo’s face “Why is it that every time we see each other since we came to this place… You’re looking like the egg that fell off the wall?”
Marcos stifled a laugh as he coughed up a few droplets of blood. His laugh lines turning to pain lines on his face. “Bad timing?”
Leo nodded in thoughtful reproach.
The instructor helped Marcos to his feet and Marcos let him. There was no overgrown pride in his demeanor, he was offered help so he took it. As he began walking out of the arena he walked in Leo’s direction with the instructor’s help and placed his hand on Leo’s shoulder in passing “Don’t over do it.”
Leo didn’t respond, instead he turned his full attention towards Zachary.
“Seems like our parents had some of the same values. Do you need time to recover?” Leo asked with a deadpan expression and a serious tone.
He considered letting things go, after all he noticed that Zachary could have let things get worse by not helping Marcos do whatever it was he did after the fight. Instead he took the high rode and fixed whatever he did, but he couldn’t get past the bullying.
In his mind he didn’t even need to know what the situation was to know that there was no way Marcos had instigated this fight, and if he had he would have been far more upset after losing. Clearly it was a fight instigated by Zachary and it was clear that he was strong. ‘A strong 2nd year student calling a 1st year student to a duel. There is nothing fair about this.’
Zachary’s face turned grim “You ignore me, and now you disrespect me? I have more than enough energy to deal with the likes of you.”
Leo looked around the arena “How does this work?”
Thomas now standing in the first row shouted “Declare a duel challenge, then the terms of the duel!”
Quite a few people were clamoring as they watched the situation develop with keen interest. It was one of the reasons Thomas had been able to make his way down with Damien and Daichi following at a slower pace. Neither of them felt concerned about Leo, but were more intrigued by the show that was about to begin. Damien especially had a smirk on his face considering he saw Marcos as Leo’s sore spot.
A few seconds ticked by and some of the students had begun to snicker and wonder whether Leo had frozen in fear after making the foolish mistake of walking up onto the arena not realizing what he was getting himself into.
Leo waited. Waited until he heard Marcos’s footsteps disappear from the arena being taken away for treatment before he spoke again.
“I challenge you, whoever you are to a duel. The duel isn’t over until I knock you out.” Leo yelled.
Zachary’s expression was turning livid.
Normally he would have had the decorum to ask for the challenger’s name, but after being treated like a commoner. Especially after showing his prowess in a fight just minutes before, he was livid at the continual loss of face. ‘Who the hell does this nobody think he is? I beat up his friend so now he thinks he has the right to challenge me!?’
“Accepted!” Zachary yelled as he bent his knees and sprung off the ground forward like a speeding bullet!
He covered the 10 meters in-between them in less than 3 steps as he clenched his fist and swung with a straight right at Leo’s face!
Leo’s face only slightly wavered at his opponent’s attack ‘No sword?’ but didn’t hesitate as the fist inched closer to his face.
He calmly twisted his body to the side as his eyes flashed a little bloodlust and brought his sword upwards in a slashing motion from bottom to top fully intending on cutting his opponent’s arm off!
Leo’s eyes widened! The moment his sword made contact with Zachary’s arm all his sword managed to do was knock his arm into the air!
Zachary’s entire body seemed to have turned grey the moment before contact!
‘That skill again!’ The surprise only lasting for a less than a fraction of a second as Leo kicked at Zachary’s chest unsurprised to find his chest being as solid as iron and instead using it as a springboard to launch himself backwards and create some distance.
“NOT GETTING AWAY!” Zachary shouted as he sprung forward.
‘IRON BODY!’ Zachary’s mind screamed as he fully unleashed the full effects of his family’s Iron Body skill!