Book 2 Chapter 139

Fighting Blind

"Since you didn't hurt me just now, I won't hurt you either," Rhodsias muttered in orcish, which Kiranou translated.

"Oh. Nothing sounds more relieving than this," replied Leguna smiling, blindfolded.

The moment Leguna spoke, Rhodsias pinpointed his location. He dropped the weapon in his hand and charged forward unarmed.

Leguna tensed. He could barely feel something coming his way. He tried to duck sideways blindly but Rhodsias predicted his movements. He sent his left leg straight into Leguna's torso.

It almost forced out Leguna's dinner. He rolled on the ground haggardly.

{Pay attention to any movement you notice! Without your eyes, you have to use your ears and nose as well!}

Despite the kid's atrocious performance, Gahrona was decently satisfied. Her initial estimate was that the first attack would end it for him, but he was toughing it out for at least another exchange. Unfortunately, holding out and making a stand weren't the same thing, the brat was being beating like a limp carcass.

His hold-out was again thanks not to his personal skill, but his abilities as a shadow dancer. After using Host of Darkness, he became part of the shadows, so he sensed anything that moved in it. If not for this ability, his skill would have only been enough to lose him the fight in the first exchange.

{I'll try my best!} replied Leguna haggardly.

The odd sensation he felt disappeared with Rhodsias's kick. He could currently only force himself to calm down and find the state again. Rhodsias didn't give him a chance. He used the sounds of his opponent's stumbling to track him and charged in for the next strike.

Leguna couldn't duck in time again. The fist caught his left cheek and sent him flying.

"Ptooey!"

Leguna spat a mouthful of blood.

"You shouldn't go for people's faces... My image will be ruined if you knock out my teeth."

{Are you an idiot? Are you trying to get his attention by making sounds?} rebuked Gahrona.

{I want him to come at me!} replied Leguna.

Rhodsias charged over as expected. He believed his enemy would only suffer his beating when blindfolded. Though he had lost the previous bout, he would win back his honor by beating the human brat in this round.

Rhodsias had a rough guess of the brat's location. He lifted his leg.

"Hraaagh!"

Leguna exploded his shadow impetus suddenly. Rhodsias was blown away. The impetus flooded back into the kid's body immediately afterwards. He used Host of Darkness' third level this time, raising his strength to the 16th stratum.

Not only his ability strengthen him, it also improved his senses. He could now just barely sense his opponent's movements. He charged forward and grabbed hold of his opponent, keeping him from falling off the stage. He didn't want him to regain his balance, however. He shot out his knee and struck the orc in his stomach.

{Oh? When did you get so smart?}

{It's Host of Darkness. The greater the portion of it I use, the greater my senses. I at least know where Rhodsias is now.}

{You used that ability again… You must not rely on it this much, it's becoming a crutch and will keep you from becoming stronger in the future. What will you do then if you can't use it for some reason?}

{I know.}

It was only the third level of Host of Darkness, but it was enough to cause some damage to his body. While it wouldn't be serious, he knew he would get sores all over his body for a few hours after he woke up the next day.

In a fight against Balor, the increased senses wouldn't make much of a difference anyway. Given Balor's speed, even if he used a few more levels of Host of Darkness, he wouldn't react in time when the man attacks. Balor was a shadow dancer like himself, after all, and in terms of raw power, Balor was far superior to him.

He had to learn to fight without his abilities. He had to become someone with actual skill, not just good crutches. He could only be confident in his fight if he could do what he just did, if he could fight like his opponent, without using his abilities. His abilities had to be trump cards that complimented a strength already on part with his opponents, not a crutch used to make up for his weakness.

Rhodsias wiped the blood off his mouth carelessly. Leguna's knee had bruised his innards, but it was still bearable. Orcs had far better physical endurance than humans. He Leguna must be hurt far worse than he.

Though, the kid's sudden counterattack did catch him off guard. He shouldn't underestimate his opponent. Had he been more attentive, he might not have suffered a strike at all. The orc tried to sift out the chatters around him to find his opponent.

At the same time, Leguna also put all his focus into sensing the environment. The reason he raised the level of Host of Darkness was to confirm whether his ability could give him any extra-sensory perception. But now, he was focused on training his natural senses.

Rhodsias pinpointed his opponent first. He tensed his muscles and charged again. But unlike his previous attacks, he was careful to be as quiet as possible. His enemy noticed him only when he was just two meter from him. It was already too late to react.

A punch struck Leguna's chest. A large, rough hand grabbed his arm and yanked him back. A broad shoulder rammed into him where the fist had struck half a moment earlier. He coughed up two more mouthfuls of blood. He knew it would not end here. His opponent was no doubt coming at him with another strike. He unleashed all his impetus with a loud cry. Its sound-waves played fiddle on Rhodsias' nerves. Before he could react, a forehead shoved his nose into his face and send him tumbling across the stage.

Battle cries were not Leguna's style, but they did come in handy from time to time. He was happy Kurdak took the time to teach it to him.

'There's no such thing as having too many skills. Knowing one more or one less can make the difference between surviving and dying,' was Kurdak's reasoning.

The kid could only be grateful for his boss' insistence now. If not for this skill, Leguna would have been pummeled until he fainted.

He wiped Rhodsias's blood from his forehead. The orc's mercilessness angered him slightly. The headbutt he just used was driven by that anger. His head was still tingling, he was certain the orc's nose was faring even worse. Apart from the pulsing pain in his head, he also felt like his cheeks were cut by knives. The orc's tusks had grazed him.

The nose was one of the spots where nerves concentrated, this was true for both humans and orcs. Rhodsias couldn't but groan in pain after suffering such a heavy strike. Bladedge prioritized training their willpower, but this was not a pain he could endure with willpower alone. The groans were reflex. And this reflex would cost him dearly.

Leguna heard them and immediately dashed over. He stuck down at the back of the orc's neck as soon as he arrived. Rhodsias reacted swiftly as well though. He ducked and flung his leg at his opponent's lower body. Leguna was in a rare good form and sensed the attack immediately. He jumped out of the way and flung his own legs at his opponent, connecting with his face a moment later.

The young orc flew with the young human on his tail. Leguna blinked and arrived by the orc's side. He raised his fists and pummeled the orc's torso. The poor green creature could not muster any resistance until he crashed into the stage again.

Leguna grabbed the leather covering his chest and flung his small fist at Rhodsias' face.

"Enough! You've won, stop now!" Kiranou intervened.

His voice revealed his sour mood. He had no choice but to stop the duel. If it were allowed to continue, Rhodsias might suffer permanent injuries or even die.

His mood was understandable, Rhodsias one of their tribe's most accomplished youths. Yet he was instantly defeated in two consecutive duels. Though he had advantage initially in the second match, the human mastered enough of the technique in a few moments to fight back and win.

He had defeated their challenge twice in a row and done so in front of everyone. They lost their idol's weapon, and to a filthy human. This was a humiliation no-one could stomach.

Leguna removed his blindfold and saw Rhodsias's bloodied face. His nose was also displaced and he looked to be in a sorry state. He checked his own condition. He had suffered quite a few injuries as well, there were traces of blood on his armor. But though he looked haggard, his condition was far better than his opponent's.

Since Kiranou had declared Rhodsias's loss, he had no reason to continue his attacks. He stretched out his hand to help the orc up.

It was swatted away and the orc stumbled upright on its own.

"Thirr, ei kenn sthil faiht!" muttered it.

Leguna's kick had made him bite on his tongue.


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