“Hello trash,” Collin sneered, “Ready to die?” he said, as a Steel aura covered him. He gave off an evil aura, one that spoke of barely suppressed rage and arrogance.
“I’m impressed. You reached the Steel Metal Core level, huh?” said Dale sarcastically. “You’re only what, 16? 17? That’s pretty good.” Some people went their entire lives without rising above the Iron Core level. The first bottleneck for most cultivators was the Steel Core level.
“Hmph, your toadying will get you nothing.” Collin said, as he gathered energy in his palm. The wind in the arena seemed to slightly draw towards him.
“I’m just being honest.” Dale shrugged. Some people took things personally; it’s just how it was. Arrogance begets arrogance. Dale kept his eyes on Collin, and slowly began moving forward. Though Dale wasn’t proficient in manipulating wind, he knew better than to take any attack from a Steel Core cultivator head on. While he might be extraordinary for his level, he was still just a Coal Core cultivator. An attack from a Steel Core could easily shatter his bones.
Collin’s arm whipped out, “Swish, Swish, Swish!” Three separate blades of wind tore at Dale, moving at a frightening speed. Several members of the audience gasped, thinking Dale would be torn to shreds. However, a few members watched expectantly, having seen Dale deal with the previous 2 cultivators.
Dale slowed time to 80% for a few seconds, and slipped past the blades of wind, with mere centimeters to spare. As time restored to 95%, the wind crashed into the ground, gouging large chunks out of the earth. Collin had begun gathering energy in his palm and around his legs as Dale was dodging the first wind blades.
“You’re quick to dodge, trash, but it’s not unexpected.” he said, smirking, “However, your speed is nothing to me.” Collin slapped the ground with his legs, as the accumulated energy swept forth, and suddenly, his entire body blurred as he shot towards Dale. Dale backpedaled hurriedly, dodging to the left, and shifted time to 80%. Immediately, Collin’s speed slowed down and his movements appeared exaggerated. However, his speed still exceeded Dale’s by a slight margin.
Collin whipped the air, and several wind blades began gouging through the sky, like blades through butter. Dale dodged again and again, slowly taking note of his opponent’s patterns. Suddenly, Collin blasted through the air at breakneck speed and appeared right next to Dale, before he could react.
“WHOOSH!” “WHAP!” Dale was thrown to the side, flipping through the air, and landed roughly on the ground. His chest was aching, and a dribble of blood leaked out of his mouth, as he swayed back up. He stood on his feet, slightly dizzy, turning quickly and looking for Collin.
“WHOOSH!” Three feet from him, Collin’s fist was blasting through the air, with whips of wind surrounding it, homing in on Dale’s face. Dale had no time to dodge.
Seconds before he was hit, Dale calmed his heart and dropped his time slowing to 95%. He then reinforced the air in front of his head with his Aura.
“FFBOOOOOSSSH!” A massive impact sent shockwaves crashing into the air, rupturing the ground slightly. Collin was blown back a step or two, while Dale was blasted all the way to the edge of the ring. Because of his quick thinking, he had managed to nullify the majority of the impact, but what remained was enough to severely injure him. Dale was panting, clutching on to his side, blood dribbling down his cheek. He coughed up some blood.
“Where’s your confidence now, trash?” Collin yelled, rushing forward once again, covering his legs in wind. Dale glanced up at him, and slowed time to 80%, thinking furiously. In his mind, Dale had already calculated the majority of Collin’s attack patterns. With Dale’s accelerated thinking, as well as the fact that time was slowed to 80%, he was able to calculate and predict attacks at an otherwise impossible rate. Dale, despite being slower then Collin by a large amount, was dodging before Collin even attacked. Because of this, Collin could no longer land a blow on him.
“Stop dodging! Do you even know how to fight?” Collin said, furiously. He whipped out several more wind blades, panting. Sweat had begun to appear on his forehead, and he was clearly tiring. Collin sat still for a moment, then stopped moving, and sat down. “If you aren’t going to fight and let me attack you, then I will let you attack me. Come, trash.” He looked supremely confident.
The surrounding students watched on, curious as to how the fight would develop. From their perspective, it was already quite amazing that a Coal Metal Core user could dodge the attacks of a Steel Metal Core user. Collin’s strength had to be hugely more powerful then Dale’s, yet Dale managed to avoid each of his attacks smoothly, with bare centimeters to spare. However, now that Collin had stopped wasting energy, and was waiting for Dale to engage him, it looked like he had no chance.
Dale put on a worried face, while on the inside he was yelling with glee. Quickly, he concentrated his Aura, focusing all of his will into a mental circle of energy. Then, focusing this energy onto a point, he brought the point of energy to rest just under his fist. Instantly, he felt the large sea of power, sloshing around inside his soul. He attempted to divert a small stream of it into his fist.
Fiery energy blazed into his body, completely contained, and crashed around through his energy veins. He quickly cut off his connection with the sea of energy, and garnered control over the small stream he had managed. Dale began sweating furiously, trying to wrest complete control over this power. He forced his will onto it, refusing to bow, refusing to be defeated. The power slowly came under his control, unruly and unwilling, but without a choice. Dale felt it roiling inside of him, and was astonished at the power. He opened his eyes, glancing at the sitting Collin. He slowly began to step forward.
From Collin’s perspective, his opponent had stood still for a moment, adopted a worried face, started sweating furiously, and then slowly stepping forward. Collin smirked, thinking the battle was already over, and waited for Dale to walk close enough for him to be crushed. He decided against attacking early, not wanting Dale to revert back to his agile dodging.
Dale slowed time to 95% and leapt forward, concentrating his entire mind on transiting the energy from his fist to the force and momentum of his punch. Collin watched, preparing to attack while looked down on Dale. The speed at which Dale was punching led him to believe that the attack was harmless, and indeed, if a regular Coal Metal Core expert attacked like this, it would have no practical effect on a Steel Core expert.
In a few seconds, Dale arrived within a few meters of Collin, swinging his fist at Collin. Collin, who had been concentrating his energy on recovering, let loose with a full force blow from his fist, with a huge amount of energy manipulating the wind around him, creating a huge and strong blow. Dale’s weak looking punch looked like a joke to the various members of the audience.
The ground crackled, and wind whipped through the air, as Dale and Collin’s fists made contact…