Leguna used Shadow Blink when the fist was only a centimeter away. Even so, the blast from the impetus surrounding the fist caused his face to feel struck.
He also committed another mistake: he didn't understand how much stronger Legg actually got.
He didn't blink too far away from Legg, choosing instead to appear behind him for another crippling strike to the legs to slow the barbarian even further.
While Legg wasn't thinking clearly in that state, he turned around to face Leguna without hesitation and gave his chest another kick. Leguna flew off like a kite with a broken line.
That wasn't the end of it. Legg used his gift after the kick and manifested a stone pillar below Leguna that smashed into his back. He felt as if his waist was about to snap.
[Don't go hard against him! You'll only risk being broken given your physique!] Gahrona reminded.
[What would I do then?] Leguna struggled and slipped off the pillar, but he was 20 meters high up in the air by then.
Legg wouldn't give up on a chance like that. He gave a kick, and a frozen piece of rock about a hundred kilograms heavy shot up. With a single hand, eh flung it towards Leguna.
[Holy hell! His strength at least doubled after going berserk!] Leguna swung Lighteater a few times and cut the rock into pieces before landing haggardly on the ground and spitting out another mouthful of blood.
He looked up at the nearby Legg. His skin was entirely red like blood. It was far deeper than the barbarian child's skin. His expression still seemed contorted and his mouth mulled incoherently. It was now that Leguna truly understood how wide the gap between the two of them was.
Even with the advantage of his equipment and the night, it still wasn't able to let him compete on even ground with Legg. Leguna suspected that even if he used Host of Darkness even more, he wouldn't fare much better. It was a fundamental gap between the human and barbarian physique. Even with training, it was still hard to catch up to.
[Just hold on for a bit more! That's all you need to do!] Gahrona said.
[Why?] Leguna had considered surrendering because he knew he wasn't a match. Instead of risking his life on this duel, surrendering sooner was the better choice. He didn't want to lose his life for the sake of the empire!
[Don't ask. Just drag it on for ten more minutes at most!] Gahrona hurriedly said, [It's pointless if you surrender. He can't be stopped in this state. You should know better!]
[Alright!] Leguna felt rather frustrated. He didn't think Legg wouldn't mind killing him for the sake of his tribe. And to think he hesitated to use underhanded methods like assassination to deal with him!
Legg bellowed once more before charging. Barbarians in the berserk state would not only lose most of their emotions, they'll also gain a huge physical boost in strength, reaction and speed.
In that state, Legg was just able to match Leguna's speed. Coupled with his terrifying strength, Leguna stood no chance.
He listened to Gahrona's suggestion and gave up on attacking, focusing instead on avoiding the incoming attacks. It was far less stressful that way.
Though, it didn't help that Legg's battle prowess was terrifying. He was able to grasp Leguna's movements well. Even though Leguna was the slightest bit faster, Legg's predictive abilities allowed him to land a few strikes.
It should be about time… Leguna was already feeling despair. He looked around and saw quite a number of barbarians excitedly cheering for their king. It was one thing for the barbarians to not care about Leguna's life, but Arikos and the others didn't seem too anxious about it either.
Is someone plotting for his life?
He was shocked at arriving at that thought, but Legg didn't give him much time to think. He charged once more and broke the ground apart to hamper Leguna's speed.
"Darn!" The ground suddenly giving way made it hard for him to keep his balance. He had no choice but to blink away.
But that didn't escape Legg's notice. The barbarian exploded his impetus in all directions and made a turn mid-charge.
Just as Leguna's legs touched the ground, Leg manifested two rocks to trip him. Usually, it would take more than cheap tricks to get Leguna, but they had been fighting for a whole hour and his stamina was pushing its limits and he stumbled.
That was the crucial moment between life and death. Legg closed the gap in an instant and sent his fist flying downwards on the back of Leguna's head.
His head crashed into the ground like a rubber ball. That strike caused him to lose consciousness.
How laughable… Dark Requiem, the bureau head, actually tripped to his death, was Leguna's final thought.
Seeing Leguna flat on the ground, Legg gave his victory cry. He then raised his right leg high to prepare to squash Leguna's head for good.
But right before it landed, a look of pain appeared on Legg's face. Then, blood spurted out from all his wounds. The barbarian king then collapsed just like that.
Arikos's lips curved into a smile. He said to the shadows behind him, "Now!"
The barbarians were fraught with confusion. They didn't even notice death approaching.
A cry of pain broke the silence around the arena. Then, chaos ensued. Amidst all the confusion, nobody noticed the yellowish light leaving the back of Legg's head.
"He actually didn't die? Now that was a miscalculation. What a shame…" said a faint voice in the night sky.
Searing pain sent Leguna back into the world of consciousness. He gasped involuntarily.
"Are you awake?" a voice said.
He struggled to open his eyes and saw Arikos standing beside him. He gave his surroundings a look and saw that he was still in the barbarian settlement.
"I'm not dead?" Leguna muttered. He recalled being knocked unconscious. Did Legg manage to exit the berserk state to spare him? Or did Arikos save him?
"You're alive of course." Arikos shrugged and handed Leguna a bottle of high grade potion. "Drink this. You'll feel better."
Leguna downed the bottle despite the pain all over his body. The medicine the court magi association made worked like magic. He felt his pain subside considerably the moment he downed it.
"What in the world happened? Who won that duel? What about Legg?"
"Kid…" Arikos's face stiffened. He bowed to Leguna and said, "I have to apologize to you on this matter."
"What in the world is going on?"
"Basically, I used you. I covered your weapon in poison and used that to kill Legg," Arikos said.
"Poison?" Leguna was shocked. How could that be? Putting aside whether poison could kill a high-order fighter like Legg, Gahrona was inside his sword. She should've known about the poison! Why didn't she tell him?
[Ley, it's true,] Gahrona said, [Both Ebony and Lighteater were poisoned by Arikos.]
[Impossible! Why didn't you tell me?!]
[If I did, could you have fought Legg? You only got your weapons back right before the duel. That wasn't enough time to wipe it off. You can't call the duel off either. Are you not going to fight just because your weapons were poisoned?]
[At least tell me about it, dammit!]
[Tell you? Don't you know yourself? Could you have attacked without hesitation if I did? I can tell you for sure that Legg fully aimed to kill you! If you hesitated the slightest bit, the one who would've died was you!] Gahrona scolded.
Leguna kept silent. He wouldn't mind killing Legg if it came to it, but he couldn't do it without the slightest hesitation.
Gahrona had hid the fact in consideration of his safety in the end. While that wasn't a duel to the death, they were both high-order fighters. If they didn't hold back properly, one of them would surely die. Hesitation was the biggest taboo in a fight of that caliber.
"What about you?" Leguna asked Arikos, "Didn't you say you would negotiate it properly? Why did you plot to have Legg killed?"
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