Dale watched as the two Steel Core cultivators finished their fight. He still didn’t really know who they were or why they were fighting, but it didn’t bother him too much. Their fight had been interesting at first but had quickly bored him. The level of techniques and the way they attacked was way weaker than Feng. Dale would have no trouble taking them both on at once.
Soon the arena cleared and the kindly looking Claire Family member walked on to the floor. His brown hair swished as he turned around, waiting for Dale to come. He was wearing a long brown suit, making him look like a wise scholar.
As soon as the Claire Family member walked on the floor, whispers broke out among the audience.
Dale walked on to the floor, taking a stand at the opposite end.
The kind looking expert looked at Dale and smiled, saying,
“Good, good! Now, let’s introduce ourselves, shall we?” He gestured at Dale to go first.
Dale complied, saying, “Sure. I am Dale Wensworth, 11 years old, a Steel Core cultivator.”
The crowd that had been whispering stopped for a moment, in shock. An 11 year old Steel commander?! Many whispered, unbelieving. They could tell he was young, but to be at the Steel level by the age of 11 meant he was a genius.
The kind looking youth didn’t bat an eye.
“I am Lyre Claire, 17 years old, a Gold Core cultivator.” He kept smiling at Dale.
The crowd exploded in conversation. Many of them were astonished as to why they were fighting, assuming the Claire family must have been angered by Dale’s previous battle. Still, to send a Gold Core cultivator to fight a Steel Core cultivator? Wasn’t that a bit much? Many in the crowd thought this, shaking their heads. However, none of them acted, refusing to become involved with the powerful Claire Family. To help Dale would be to make an enemy of the Claire’s and that was something no one wanted to do willingly.
Dale swallowed quietly, slightly nervous. A Gold Core cultivator! He thought, immediately planning. He would have to be completely serious if he wanted to stand a chance in this fight. He kept his eyes on Lyre.
His opponent smiled,
“Well then, let’s begin exchanging pointers shall we?”
Lyre seemed to shimmer and disappeared from Dale’s view. Dale immediately tapped into his Core energy, drawing deeply. A powerful Steel Aura surrounded Dale, emanating off of him. Dale converted all the energy he could immediately into Aura, surrounding his body. Thick strands of Aura covered him, layering him in protective energy.
A split second after Dale covered himself in Aura Lyre appeared, casually swiping his hand across at Dale’s chest, imitating the attack Dale had used on Yoric. Lyre’s fist, however, was covered in a heavily powerful Gold Aura.
Despite Dale’s reinforced Aura the difference in energy was too much. Lyre’s arm connected with Dale’s chest, blasting into him. Dale felt his bones creak as he was thrown across the arena. Dale smashed downwards, bouncing off the arena ground once before he managed to flip over and regain his balance.
Dale felt that his ribs were bruised, but not broken. His chest felt like it was on fire, a large arm shaped bruise spreading. He gasped for breath, concentrating on the enemy before him.
Lyre smiled his kind smile, looking for all the world like he was sad that he had injured Dale.
“Are you alright? Do you want to continue?” He said, looking down at Dale as if he was concerned. However, a sinister light had started gleaming in his eyes, and the corner of his mouth was slightly turned up, as if he was holding in laughter. Dale noticed all of this, enraged.
The surrounding audience, however, agreed with Lyre. From their point of view, Lyre had returned onto Dale what Dale had hit Yoric with and was offering to let Dale go. Many of the surrounding nobles commented on how forgiving and kind the Claire family was. Even for such a large slight as injuring one of their young geniuses, they were willing to be fair.
Dale had finally discerned his opponents true nature, recognizing Lyre for the bully he truly was. The attack Lyre had used on Dale had seemed to be weak enough to not have injured him to the audience. However, after suffering the full force of the attack, Dale knew that if he hadn’t been wrapped in the Aura energy as he was, he would have died, his chest ruptured by the powerful blow.
Dale decided then and there that he would rather die than give in to Lyre. He stepped forward, putting all of his strength into slowing time. The world slowed to just above three quarters time, everyone moving in slowed motion. Dale entered his Perfect Balance mode.
Dale began performing the kata for his Fallen God's Lance technique, the Time energy writing in the grasp of his Core’s energy. Lyre watched Dale perform his technique contemptuously. A sickening smile covered his face as he stepped forward, blurring in Dale’s vision.
However, thanks to the combination of Dale entering his Perfect Balance mode as well as time slowing, Dale was able to discern exactly where Lyre was. He found that Lyre was using some type of extremely fast movement technique. When he stepped forward, he vanished as if he was teleporting. Dale picked out his Gold Aura a moment before he reappeared, directly behind him.
Dale launched out with his Fallen God's Lance using his full power without holding back. A brilliant lance of silver energy shout out from Dale’s palm, speeding forward at an incredibly fast and powerful pace. Lyre looked supremely unconcerned, raising his arm to block the attack.
However, as soon as the glowing lance of energy crashed into him, the look on his face rapidly changed. Energy began to swarm around Lyre as the lance of power forced him backwards. One meters.. two meters.. five meters… Lyre smashed through the air, almost falling off the arena. The shirt of the suit he was wearing was torn to shreds by the merciless energy directed at him.
However, at the last moment, Lyre roared out and threw his arms forward, exploding energy outward. The powerful Fallen God's Lance was reflected upwards to crash through the air before eventually dissipating.
Lyre stood at the edge of the arena, breathing heavily. His shirt was in ruins, with small cuts covering his chest. Heaving heavily, he turned to look at Dale with rage in his eyes. Lyre had come here to humiliate Dale and restore the honor of his Family. Instead, he too was humiliated by this brat. Lyre was the second most powerful genius in the Lyre family youth as of right now. It had been an honor for him to accept a mission to restore his Family’s standing. Now, however, this job had become personal.
While Lyre’s clothes had been shredded and several small cuts appeared, he was, for the most part, uninjured. Dale watched him stalk closer to him, consternated.
“It seems the difference between the Steel level and the Gold level is truly too much for me to surpass with energy.” He said out loud, preparing to receive Lyre. His mind was moving at a break neck speed, trying to come up with a way to fight against Lyre.
Dale dropped his time art, switching his energy over to create a layer of Aura around him. A split second later Lyre appeared next to him. This time, however, Lyre was attacking Dale in full seriousness.
Lyre practiced a mysterious Art know as the Space Slipping Art. By manipulating the energy in his Core, Lyre was able to move his body short distances instantaneous. Using this, he can take his opponents by surprise and launch extremely powerful attacks seemingly instantaneously.
Dale, however, had enough time to prepare a powerful Aura Wall around his body, lessening the impact of Lyre’s punch.
However, Lyre was still a Gold Core Commander, though a new one, and his punch smashed through Dale’s defenses as if they weren’t there. Dale was thrown across the arena, smashing down and bouncing off three times before rolling to the edge. He clutched at his chest, coughing up blood. He tried to stand, dazed.
Lyre moved forward again and appeared next to Dale instantly, kicking out with his leg in a gold streaked arc. Fortunately for Dale, he still remained in his Perfect Balance mode and was able to predict the attack angle, letting him manipulate his Aura to create a thick shield where Lyre would hit. Again, however, Lyre smashed through his Aura wall, sending him flying back the other way on the floor. Dale crashed into the ground, blood spattering out of his lips. He felt his ribs crack as he landed on the ground, injured. He coughed up some blood, heaving.
The crowd had gasped in horror the first time they saw Dale get punched, flying across the floor. Many of them thought that Lyre had gone insane with rage at the state that Dale had driven him through. Many of the members of the crowd assumed Dale was already dead, watching him be kicked around like a rag doll.
Dale forced himself to rise to his feet, glaring at Lyre. Lyre smiled back, a kindly look returning to his face as he rushed forward, not wanting to let Dale have a chance to speak. He didn’t want Dale to be able to forfeit before he was properly punished for the state Lyre had been reduced to.
Dale had never felt so angry in his life. He hurt, everywhere on his body hurt. His chest was aflame, his shoulders felt crushed, his arms like lead. Yet, he would not give up, he refused to stand down. As Lyre rushed at Dale with death in his eyes and a powerful Gold Aura intensifying around his arms, Dale did the only thing he could think of that could possibly save him.
Dale dug deep into his Core, grasping the power of his small Dragon Sea, exploding his energy outward.
Immediately, a Draconic Aura blasted outwards, smothering everyone within the vicinity. Lyre took the brunt of the force, thrown completely backwards through the air to crash on the ground ten meters away. The air crackled and shook as waves of Aura burst out of Dale to shake the cavern. The audience watching gasped in awe, amazed at the raw Draconic strength pouring out of Dale’s Aura. It was as if they were watching a Dragon itself do battle.
However, Dale knew his Draconic Aura had a limit, especially with how his Dragon Sea was only partially formed. He had, at most, three or four seconds before his strength ran out. Dale launched himself at Lyre, dashing forward. Lyre saw him coming and tried to flee, terrified by the enormous power inherent in Dale’s current Aura.
Dale decided to activate his Shatter Steps, trying to give himself a speed boost to catch up to Lyre before his Draconic Aura ran out. However, when Dale went to activate his Shatter Steps technique to move, something odd happened.
In the split second that Dale used to activate his Art, Dale felt his Draconic Aura energy move completely into his legs, powering his Shatter Steps. Instead of him using his own Core energy, the Draconic Aurablasted into the ground, accelerating him forward at an enormously fast speed.
Dale cut through the air, smashing into Lyre and throwing him over twenty meters through the air to crash off of the arena. Dale gasped as vision swayed, the strain on his body having been too much. However, Dale managed to keep standing, and looked around with a victorious look in his eyes. By throwing Lyre outside of the arena, he had won the match. Silence greeted him as he wobbled victoriously.
Dale looked around at the audience, not understanding why they were staying silent. Everyone in the audience was either staring at Dale or staring behind him in awe. Dale turned around, seeing what everyone else had been captivated by.
In the arena ground where Dale had activated his Shatter Steps was an enormous crater of shattered stone. Massive cracks spread throughout the arena, all originating from a single footprint he left in the stone. The cracks from the massive impact spread over fifty meters long, covering nearly half the supposedly invincible arena.
The audience stared at Dale in awe.