Turning

Chapter 671
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Chapter 671

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Chapter 671

As the bell signifying the start of the fight rang out, Yudrain slowly raised his hands above his head. Jack, startled, flinched noticeably.

A boy, whose ears sprouted like a dog's atop his head, hastily revealed his claws and teeth, readying himself to attack. However, Yuder paid him no mind. His gaze was fixed not on the boy, but on the sword in his hand, and its blunt sheath pointing towards the ceiling of the fighting arena.

The gamblers who had come to bet, unaware of the significance of this small gesture, excitedly shouted.

"Kill him! Finish him off!"

"Let the beast tear apart and ravage the second gender Awakener!"

"I've staked all my money on you! If you can't cough it up, you won't get off easy!"

The first to notice something amiss in Yudrain's actions was Nukijo.

"That guy, he's a fire user, right? I thought we had gotten rid of his sword. Who allowed him to use it?"

"Well, about that..."

"Wait a moment. That sword... It's the one I told you to sell off yesterday! That red gem!"

Nukijo was shocked to see Yuder holding the tacky, ostentatious sword they had confiscated and ordered to be sold. No matter how much Nukijo rubbed his eyes and looked again, it was indeed the same weapon from yesterday.

Until a moment ago, Nukijo had been quite pleased with Yuder, who had thrown off his hood to reveal his face, transforming from a gloomy, unimpressive figure to a sword master straight out of an ancient painting, dressed in attire reminiscent of the classical Holy Fire style. This transformation was arresting, owing to his unexpectedly well-trained and sturdy physique, with an uncommonly straight posture and body lines. Even to Nukijo, accustomed to seeing all sorts of extraordinary beings, Yuder's physique seemed quite valuable.

People are naturally excited by the sight of a young, strapping body, especially one with hidden, scandalous secrets, soon to be covered in blood.

However, Nukijo was furious that such an unworthy sword would join in on today's historic first performance. It was not meant to be this way. He had envisioned a fiery first fight, a brutal clash between flames and beasts, culminating in the fiery side's defeat and a bloody spectacle of torn clothes and shattered limbs for the excited audience, not a clumsy sword fight.

"What use is a sword he can't even wield! Which idiot gave it back to him?"

The second gender Awakener's secrets, meant to be exposed in a bloody, heated battle, were supposed to be as thrilling and humiliating as possible. Nukijo had meticulously chosen the attire for this provocative performance, and the thought of it all going to waste in a dull sword fight made his blood boil.

"Did I give too much medicine to the second guest yesterday, preventing his flames?"

Even so, it didn't explain how the sword had reappeared. Someone ought to have informed him...

"Who is it! Who brought him that damned sword? Hex and Bout, where are you now? They're in charge of the third basement level today!"

"They haven't returned yet. Maybe they're still backstage?"

"Tell them to come here now!"

Nukijo's subordinates, who had been standing by, hastily ran towards the backstage area. Unsatisfied, Nukijo gestured frantically to others around him.

"Tell him not to use that sword! If he resists, snatch it away by force!"

The bell that had been sounding the start of the competition suddenly ceased. As the announcer fell silent, Nukijo's usually steadfast subordinates, unnerved by his agitated demeanor, began to murmur and show signs of discomfort. The atmosphere around them gradually deviated from its usual state. Jack, who had been hesitating about how to attack Yuder with his ears and claws extended, looked around in confusion.

"What's happening? Why are they acting like that?"

"Isn't it starting? Are we still waiting?"

Just at that moment, when the guests were murmuring their dissatisfaction at the unusual turn of events, Yuder turned his head and looked directly at Nukijo. π”£π–—π”’π”’π”΄π–Šπ–‡π–“π”¬π”³π–Šπ”©.𝔠𝔬𝖒

Then, he smiled distinctly, the corners of his lips curving upwards in undeniable mockery.

"…!"

Nukijo was struck with such a shock that his head reeled.

"Is that bastard mocking me...?!"

As all eyes now focused on him, Nukijo's disarray caused even his subordinates to lose their composure. This small breach was precisely what Yuder had been waiting for.

He gently swirled the sword he was holding, tracing a perfect arc as if from a textbook. The sheathed blade descended gracefully, then rose again, its tip once more aiming at the ceiling. Simultaneously, a spiral of flames climbed from the hilt, shooting explosively upwards along the sword's body.

Of course, the flames could not surpass the height of an ordinary tree. They were suppressed by the translucent protective magic circle that had been activated around the stage.

The entire stage began to shake with a rumbling sound as the two forces collided. Usually, the power of Awakeners is confined to the inside of the stage. When power tries to extend beyond the stage or someone attempts to escape, protective magic circles are designed to stop it.

However, as Elpkins had initially informed them, the magic circle's power could not withstand the strength of a sufficiently powerful Awakener.

And Yuder, naturally, was confident he could break the restraining power of the protective magic circle.

As he gripped the sword handle more firmly, the flames, twisted by the barrier, became more ferocious, thrashing as if trying to break through.

The spectacle was so astonishing that everyone was stunned. When finally the magic circle cracked and burst, spewing out a massive wave like blood, everyone could feel the impact. The obstructed power dissipated, and the liberated flames shot unrestrainedly even higher.

Screams of panic and alarm echoed as the gamblers cried out, "The protective magic has been broken!"

In the midst of the chaos, Nukijo hastily extended his hand to command his subordinates.

"Damn it, someone stop...!"

Boom!

At that moment, the flames finally burst through the ceiling of the auditorium.

Like a light arrow shot by the Sun God, the flames pierced through the ceiling and continued their relentless assault, floor by floor, like a cavalry charging without mercy.

Bang. Bang. Bang. The flames, having penetrated three levels, finally reached the real ceiling.

And then, with a deafening roar...

The flames broke through to the open sky.

A brilliant flame, shooting up from the underground as if to swallow the sky, spiraled around the sword. This awe-inspiring scene, reminiscent of the advent of a divine sword, was recreated by the second guest with his human form.

After witnessing such a tremendous spectacle, people find themselves unable to act.

Nukijo stared blankly at the man standing confidently, his sword entwined with flames.

'Broken? The barrier that no one has breached since we reinforced it with a hefty sum... shattered by mere formless flames? And even the ceiling is pierced... Am I dreaming?'

This was a smaller version of the column of fire Yuder had used to break Nahan's illusion in the East. Though its range was reduced and its size smaller, its power had become incomparably stronger, reflecting Yuder's increased strength.

Yuder, confident that his flames could now be seen from not just around the Black Orca Tavern but anywhere in Charloin, withdrew his power.

Finally regaining his senses, Nukijo shouted, "Protect the guests! Capture him! Stop the match!"

"Understood!"

Nukijo's subordinates, too stunned to move from witnessing the incredible scene, finally managed to stir their trembling limbs and dashed forward.

'Where do you think you're going?'

Yuder began to confront Nukijo's subordinates climbing onto the stage. Armed and trying to look fierce, these back-alley thugs, who had never received proper training, were no match for him.

Every time Yuder swung his sheathed sword without even drawing it, those attempting to strike were sent flying or tumbling with screams. It was inexplicable how the sheath could repel the swords, but this was reality, not a dream.

Yuder struck one man on the head with his scabbard and kicked another charging at him, while with his other hand, he controlled the iron swords of his enemies, flailing them about.

"What, what is this! Why is my sword...!"

"Aaah!"

Those startled by their uncontrollable swords dropped them. Foolishly unarmed, they became easy prey for Yuder.

Having almost dealt with all those who had climbed onto the stage, Yuder was considering moving beyond the surrounding ring when he noticed Jack, pressed into a corner and clueless about what to do. Yuder tripped the last man rushing at him, punched him in the face, and then strode purposefully towards the frightened boy.

To Jack, Yuder's approach seemed like a sentence of death.

"Who are you? I just came here to earn some money... Please don't kill me."

"If you have the mind to say that, then open your eyes wide and go back behind the stage to take care of your friends."

Yuder, clicking his tongue, picked up a sword from one of Nukijo's fallen subordinates and tossed it to the boy. Jack reflexively caught it.

"This place will be closed down after today. Look after yourself, and if you meet any members of the Cavalry on your way up, ask for protection."

"Huh?"

"The imperial army or knights are fine too."

"Huh?"

"If you pass the test and manage to enter the Cavalry, never think of setting foot in a place like this again. You probably won't have the time, anyway."

"…Huh?"

"Go!"

Before Jack could ask anything more, he scurried away, like a startled puppy that had been prodded in the rear.

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