LTBE - Chapter 397: The Third Meeting (1)
The next two challengers had already entered the colosseum while Roel was still in the midst of his medical check-up. By the time he was done with his check-up and returned to the colosseum, the crowd had already gone wild.
It was normal for the colosseum to be noisy. The Challenger Cup had always been an exciting event, and the betting houses often tried to drive the atmosphere up in order to encourage bets. However, there was something different about the commotion this time around.
The crowd was protesting against something, and Roel soon found out the reason behind that.
<30th Field, Colosseum>
Roel widened his eyes in surprise upon seeing the words on the projection, and he immediately understood why the crowd was so disgruntled.
The Challenger Cup had a diverse selection of dungeons for the challengers to use as fighting grounds, but there was also the traditional colosseum too. The colosseum was definitely not small in size, but it was insufficient for a fight between two powerful transcendents.
There were also challengers who picked the colosseum in previous iterations of the Challenger Cup, but the crowd didn’t mind it much since those challengers were weak and the space was ample for them.
The main problem here was that the field was grossly disadvantageous to Lilian, who was known for her ability to summon armies. The limited space severely restricted her strategic maneuverability.
On top of that, the organizing committee had set a clear boundary for the fight, and any challenger who stepped out of the boundary would be immediately disqualified. This limitation was imposed in order to protect the spectators. There was a protective barrier erected around the colosseum’s dueling ring, but the organizing committee couldn’t eliminate the possibility of the challengers bringing the fight to the spectator stand.
Since the limitation was imposed out of safety concerns, it naturally applied not just to Lilian but to her summons too.
The situation was overwhelmingly disadvantageous to Lilian.
That was also the reason why a portion of the crowd, especially those from the Austine Empire, was unable to accept the situation. Even Lilian couldn’t help but reveal a slight frown.
Infuriated shoutings could be heard from the spectator stand. The organizing committee was in an intense debate with those from the Austine Empire, who strongly insisted on drawing a new field for their imperial princess.
Due to that, the fight between Lilian and William was delayed.
After a lengthy discussion, the organizing committee chose to go with the original field they had picked.
“The Challenger Cup is built on the foundations of fairness and equity. The rules have been made clear beforehand, and we can’t arbitrarily change them due to an unsatisfactory situation. The organizing committee has emphasized time and time again that we view luck to be a part of a transcendent’s strength. As long as there’s no evidence of tampering in the selection process, we will refrain from intervening in the tournament.”
The crowd fell silent. No one dared to utter any words of rebuttal as the one announcing the verdict was none other than Antonio.
As an Origin Level 1 transcendent, Brolne’s speaker, and Saint Freya Academy’s principal, Antonio was far too powerful and respected for anyone to dare question him in public, not to mention that his verdict was based on confirmed rules.
William’s supporters broke out in gleeful smiles whereas those from the Austine Empire and the Purplerose Faction frowned in exasperation.
Moments later, the battle between Lilian and William officially commenced. The two of them had to drastically alter their fighting strategy due to the unexpected terrain choice.
Due to the limited space, Lilian’s spellcasters were practically crippled and her knights wouldn’t be able to build up momentum for a sufficiently powerful charge. Left with hardly any choices, she could only summon smaller army platoons who were skilled in small-scale skirmishes.
William’s battle plan was even simpler—chase Lilian out of the boundary.
Defeating Lilian in a proper battle would have been difficult for William, but pressuring her was a different story. Lilian was more of an army commander than a physical brawler, so she tended to avoid frontal confrontations. She would usually engage in defensive maneuvers while her army continuously wore down her opponent.
It just so happened that William was extremely strong in frontal confrontations that Lilian struggled to receive head-on. Given the limited space of the colosseum, as long as she played her cards right, she could slowly corner Lilian before sending her out of the battlefield.
On the dueling ring, William channeled her mana and released it as light arcs through her Swordheart. These light arcs wielded destructive prowess equivalent to the one she had unleashed on the Splitting Goose, but the downside was that they consumed a tremendous amount of mana. As fact would have it, William’s mana was indeed swiftly draining out.
Lilian was forced to continuously retreat under the barrage of light arcs, but her repositioning did little to improve her situation. The colosseum was only this big, such that William’s attacks could reach her no matter where she escaped to. Her army wasn’t able to do much to protect her from the light arcs either, especially since any spellcasters she summoned would be decimated before they could channel any useful spells.
After facing dozens of waves of light arcs, she finally slipped up and exposed an opening.
Without any hesitation, William exploited the opening and directed her strongest attack over.
Lilian was forced to unleash Ten Fortresses to protect herself, but she still ended up getting pushed out of boundaries and was eliminated as a result.
With this, the battle was concluded.
The crowd began discussing the battle amongst themselves. There were many complaints since they had expected the showdown between the two Origin Level 3 transcendents to be the highlight of the Challenger Cup, but it wasn’t even half as thrilling as the battle between Roel and Teresa.
In particular, the spectators from the Austine Empire were livid.
With a sigh, Roel made his way over to the challengers’ resting area. He was able to quickly find Lilian, who was sitting on a chair with a face colder than ever. The atmosphere she gave off was so forbidding that not even the medics dared to approach her. Clearly, she found it hard to accept losing in such a manner.
She was momentarily stunned for a moment when she caught sight of Roel, and her forbidding expression mellowed down a little. She told the medics to leave the room for a moment before walking over to Roel with an apologetic look on her face.
“I’m sorry. I lost the battle. It looks like I won’t be able to meet you in the finals.”
“It isn’t your fault that you lost. You were just unlucky with the field.”
“That might be the case, but as Principal Antonio said, luck is also a part of a transcendent’s strength. I was careless. I failed to consider and prepare for this situation. How embarrassing.”
Roel fell silent. He had no idea how he could console the downhearted Lilian. It took him a while before he finally spoke up.
“Luck might be a part of a transcendent’s strength, but there’s much more to a real battle than just luck. That’s why I don’t see any shame in your defeat. At the very least, it wasn’t luck that you saved my life back in the Witness State. It was through your sheer willpower and strength that you were able to held back Priestley and teleported me to safety.”
Lilian’s amethyst eyes widened. She thought about the difficulties they had gone through together, and her expression slowly softened.
“You sure know how to find reasons in my stead.”
“I’m merely stating the truth. Let’s not get too caught up by this, alright?”
Lilian’s lips curled into a smile. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath to compose herself. Then, she looked at Roel and gave him some words of advice.
“William has held back in the earlier battle. The terrain was more disadvantageous to me, but I could feel that he was also being restricted by the limited space too. You need to be careful during your battle with him. He’s not as simple as he seems.”
Roel nodded in response to Lilian’s advice.
As the medics were still waiting outside to bring Lilian to her medical check-up, the two of them could only exchange a few words before parting ways. By the end of their short conversation, Roel noticed that Lilian looked much more relaxed than before, and he heaved a sigh of relief. He thought that it was a wise decision for him to look for her after the battle.
Due to the unstable political situation over at the Austine Empire, Lilian had many political enemies to deal with. It was likely that she was in the same position as Charlotte. It was just that Roel’s sphere of influence didn’t include the faraway Austine Empire, so he was unable to offer her any help on that aspect.
It was fortunate that there was great contention about Lilian’s fight, and she had a tighter grasp over her subordinates. The fight for the throne was already an open secret by this point, and most of the nobles had already chosen their side. It was unlikely that Lilian’s supporters would turn their backs on her at this juncture.
Not to mention, the other two princes were known to be weaker than Lilian. Making a huge fuss over this matter would likely drag their reputation down as well.
Such thoughts put Roel’s mind at ease.
He returned to the colosseum and saw the disgruntled crowd leaving the premises. Most of them were still voicing their dissatisfactions about the earlier battle.
However, Roel’s thoughts were on the upcoming battle. He knew that everything would be decided the next time he stood up here.