After two elimination rounds, the seeded challengers had pretty much cleared away most of the weaker challengers. Roel was also about to face a previously agreed-upon battle.
Selina Bess was one of the competitors Roel had encountered in the preliminary round. The Saint Beast Bloodline she had inherited granted her great power, but at the same time, it condemned her to be in a constant state of bloodthirst.
As someone who was tortured by the problems arising from his bloodline, Roel could personally relate to Selina’s plight, but he opposed the way Selina tried to resolve her problems.
Those who quelled their bloodthirst through indiscriminate combat rarely ended well. They would either become feared slaughterers or end up decimated by a stronger opponent. Overwhelming bloodthirst could also interfere with her ability to gauge her opponent’s strength, making it even more likely for her to die in combat.
It was possible for the Bess to tame their Saint Beast Bloodline, but the impetus for it was different from individual to individual. Some naturally gained the ability to do so as they advanced in age. Some received an epiphany in the midst of an intense battle.
Considering Selina’s extraordinarily powerful bloodline, it was likely that she belonged in the latter category.
With that, Roel had a good idea of what he had to do.
The best way he could help her was to properly defeat her in battle, and this tournament was a good opportunity to do so. Thanks to the substitution magic tool, challengers could go all out against each other, making it no different from a life-and-death battle.
The substitution magic tools used for the elimination rounds had a damage threshold five times greater than the preliminary round. It was not just to ensure the challengers’ safety; it was the winning criterion too. It could be somewhat thought of as a health bar.
In the crowded colosseum, Roel and Selina stood at opposite ends of the field. Between them stood a referee holding onto a crystal ball. As soon as the referee infused his mana into the crystal ball, the scenery reflected on it projected outward and began changing.
The crowd stared at the changing scenery intently, knowing that it could easily make the difference between victory and defeat.
Selina had shown exceptional prowess in jungle warfare and night fights. On the other hand, Roel’s straightforward offensive means made flat and open terrain more advantageous to him.
It was as if the heavens were playing a joke on Roel.
The scenery was still projecting a fairly advantageous hilly terrain in the last few seconds, but at the final moment, it suddenly switched to a dark rainforest.
“14th Field, Forest of Eternal Night. Challengers, prepare yourselves.”
The crowd roared in a mixture of excitement and delight when the referee announced the result. Selina widened her eyes in surprise, not expecting her luck to be so good. The gamblers quickly moved in to place their bets.
“50 gold coins! I’ll bet on that young miss!”
“Me too! There’s no way she’s going to lose the match now!”
Thanks to the massive contribution by the gamblers, the payout for Roel’s victory swiftly rose.
On the spectator stand, Alicia turned to Chris beside her and asked with a worried frown.
“I remember that Lord Brother has learned the Night Vision Spell. Why is everyone betting on Lord Brother’s loss?”
“The darkness of the Forest of Eternal Night is infused with mana. Normal Night Vision Spells don’t work well against it. Tsk, of all places…” murmured Chris with an annoyed frown.
She instinctively reached for a cigar in her pocket, but when her eyes fell on Alicia, she found herself hesitating for a moment before putting it back down.
On the stage, Roel let out a helpless sigh.
“Looks like today isn’t my day.”
While he was dismayed by the selected terrain, he didn’t lose hope as others expected. On the contrary, he looked confident.
Had it been several months ago, Roel would have surely felt hesitant to fight against Selina in such an environment, but things were different now. The number of ancient gods he had on his side was no longer two but three.
“The terrain has been successfully replicated. The challengers will be teleported into the battlefield now.”
Roel found himself shrouded in brilliant light. By the time he opened his eyes again, he found himself surrounded by darkness.
With a quick scan of the battlefield, Roel found that the Forest of Eternal Night’s terrain was worse than he had expected.
The bits of starlight in the sky were the only light source in this dungeon. The surrounding trees were of average height, but there were a lot of bushes and shrubs. It was the ideal environment for wild beasts to hunt in.
He tried infusing his eyes with mana to better perceive his surroundings, but it was to no avail. All he could hear was the occasional ‘scritch scritch’ sounds coming from the beasts prowling the land.
In this unfavorable environment, Roel decided to release the Nine-headed Serpent Staff right away.
It was his philosophy to never recklessly charge into things. The first thing he would always do in a foreign environment was to assess his surroundings.
He had watched Selina’s previous fights, and that had given him a rough idea what her abilities were. She wielded supreme offensive prowess that could penetrate any barriers, such that it was nigh impossible to put up any meaningful defense before her. Both of her opponents were decimated in a single strike.
However, after analyzing the properties of her supreme offensive prowess, he deduced that the Nine-headed Serpent Staff was useful against her.
Both Peytra’s rock shield and his mana barrier were manifestations of mana, which meant that Selina could slice through them as easily as butter. However, the Nine-headed Serpent Staff was made out of the cells of an ancient monster. The Nine-headed Serpent was summoned through its ‘Relentless Regeneration’ ability, so it was not just a manifestation of mana.
Selina’s attacks wouldn’t be able to pierce through it as easily.
Roel infused his mana into the Nine-headed Serpent Staff, causing it to glow faintly. Nine terrifying serpent heads gushed out from the staff and coiled around him, reminiscent of royal guards protecting their king.
Following that, he emanated pale yellow mana and formed a rock dome at the outermost perimeter.
It was only when his defenses were up that he closed his eyes and started perceiving his surroundings.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the forest, Selina started to channel her mana too.
She was taking this battle dead serious. Her beastlike instincts were telling her that Roel was the strongest enemy she had encountered thus far, and she could lose her life if she were to take it lightly.
Part of the reason why Selina had been seeking out strong opponents was due to the side effects from her Saint Beast Bloodline, but more than that, she also knew that she needed the stimulation from combat in order to find the impetus required for her to grasp control of her bloodline… as well as her life.
Others thought of her as a deranged berserker out for blood, but the truth was that she was seeking defeat. She was looking for a person who had the power to thoroughly crush her.
It hadn’t been long since they met, but Roel was one of the rare few whom she had been able to talk to with a calm mind. She was glad when Roel understood her thoughts and promised to fight her with all he got. What was even rarer was that this terrain was practically made for her.
Regardless of whether she overcame the odds and triumphed over Roel, the strongest enemy she had encountered thus far, or fell in defeat despite her advantageous position, there was no question that this was a rare opportunity for her.
She had to make full use of it and give it her all.
In resonation with her determination, her heartbeat hastened and she could feel her blood swiftly pumping to every corner of her body. Popping sounds echoed as beast ears and tail grew out of her body. Her eyes shone brightly like a wild beast, and her mind started to be filled with all sorts of dissonant noises.
Her bloodthirsty nature urged her to hunt down her prey and tear him into pieces, but holding onto a rare sliver of rationality, she did something that she rarely did—assessing her enemy.