Undying C84: Cascading Vengeance (draft)
The vast arena grounds was demarcated into ten smaller arenas by white lines formed out of powder. Each section was or was going to be an arena stage for a match.
As the various combatants entered the arena grounds, the clamor from the audience stands reached a feverish level.
Di Qi Ju:...
I couldn’t decipher what those shouts meant at all, however, the faint rumbling in the air began to reverberate within my head as well, it was slightly unsettling.
Come to think of it, I didn’t take too well to such scenes even back on Earth.
Whenever I entered a sports meet or some similar event, I always had that unsettling feeling that someone was watching me. And those events were much smaller than today’s too…
Normally, this pressing pressure should’ve robbed me of my breath, but right now…
Di QI Ju:...
All the pressure I felt stemmed from the person standing before me.
Every bit of attention I had was completely drawn to that expression she had right now. Beneath her outward expression, I could almost see a raw fury that had been hidden under a layer of frosty ice.
Beneath that, there was an undercurrent of sadness that seemed like it was trying to breakthrough that layer of anger but was instead, sealed beneath despite its efforts.
Other than that, I could vaguely sense a feeling of despair and helplessness from her slumped shoulders.
Bailey...what was she doing in the Three Battles? Why was she looking at me like that? It’s like I was the cause of all this.
Her appearance and dressing was the same as always but somehow, I felt that the Bailey today was completely different. In a sense, the stark contrast made her seem like an innocent kid who was in the midst of giving me the cold shoulder.
Di Qi Ju: !?
It was only when she raised her head to look at me that it finally dawned on me that I had entered the competition grounds.
Standing before me was Bailey Estrange as well as another man who was probably the judge.
Judge: Di Qi Ju and Bailey Estrange, right?
Di Qi Ju:...mhm.
Bailey maintained her silence and pointed stare. Once again, I confirmed that those emotions I saw just now wasn’t a misconception on my part.
Judge: Both parties are first timers to the Three Battles so I will start off with a run down of the rules of the Battle of Righteousness.
Judge: I will only say this once so please pay attention. There won’t be such an explanation in any of your subsequent matches if any.
Di Qi Ju: ...alright.
Judge: Before that, there’s something I need to clarify: Contestant Bailey hasn’t reach the age of 16 yet, according to the rules, you must have a keeper registered in order to compete.
Judge: Di Qi Ju is already 16 so there’s no such requirement.
Judge: Bailey, is your registered keeper here right now?
Judge: Oh, where is he?
The judge glanced around to show that he didn’t see her keeper anywhere.
Bailey: He’s already here and he’s somewhere where he can interject at any time.
Bailey: If you have any doubts about this, please check my registration info.
Judge: Alright then...my duty is only to remind you, as long as you know what’s good for you, it’s fine.
Bailey: ...thank you.
A cold, emotionless reply and a lifeless stare; her condition was getting more and more unsettling by the second.
Judge: ---I’ll begin the rules explanation for the “Battle of Righteousness”.
Judge: First, will both of the contestants please reveal all your combat tools and techniques.
Judge: Whether it’s a weapon, hidden weapon or some mechanism on your clothes, you have to reveal it beforehand as long as it has some sort of offensive purpose.
Judge: The premise of this battle is that both sides know the other’s methods.
Judge: The moment you use an undeclared attack, you will immediately be disqualified.
Bailey: My methods…
Bailey reached for her waist and pulled out a small knife.
It was an ordinary knife, the kind you could pick up at any roadside store.
Judge: A dagger, right?
Bailey: That’s right, that’s all I’m using.
Judge: What about your technique? Are you using one hand or two? Will you be using any kicks or body slams?
Di Qi Ju:...
You’re even going to that extent, won’t a contestant’s techniques be completely exposed then?
Bailey:...I’m only going to use my two hands.
Judge: Alright. Then onto the second point, armed contestants aren’t allowed to attack every part of a person’s body.
Judge: You can select an allowed strike zone: either “above the thighs” or “below the breasts”.
Bailey: ...above the thighs.
Judge: Any attacks that strike below the knee will result in a disqualification, understand?
Judge: Attacks against certain locations above the thighs are prohibited as well. The heart, the neck and any other area that could potentially result in death are prohibited as well.
Judge: also, should your keeper appear on scene, that will count as a loss as well.
Bailey: ...ah, got it.
Bailey: You’re really naggy…
Judge: Di Qi Ju, what about you?
Di Qi Ju:...
Di Qi Ju:......
Di Qi Ju: I won’t use a weapon and I’m planning to use every part of my body as a means to attack.
Judge: In that case...alright, you have permission to attack every part of your opponent’s body.
Judge: Now, we’ll move onto how victory is decided.
Judge: One, the opponent admits defeat.
Judge: Two, one side breaks one of the aforementioned rules, that will immediately result in a loss.
Judge: Three, once one party has accumulated a certain degree of damage or hits, the judge will determine that that person is lacking in skills and declare his defeat.
Di Qi Ju: Understood.
Bailey: ...got it.
Judge: Before we begin, please give your opening speech.
Di Qi Ju:...what?
Judge: You can say anything you want, taunting words, probing words, anything, you can even try to negotiate with your opponents.
Judge: However, this is a merely a part of the process and neither side has any obligation to listen or follow what the other side says.
Judge: In some cases where both sides have a history with each other, this portion ends up being the highlight of the match.
Judge: ---please, go ahead.
Di Qi Ju:...alright.
Blocking out the long winded judge, I focused my attention onto Bailey. At that same moment, I saw that she had done the same as well. Without a doubt, whatever we were about to say wasn’t going to be said lightly.
Di Qi Ju:...Bailey, why did you join the Three Battles?
Bailey: Because of you.
Di Qi Ju:...
Di Qi Ju: Why is it because of me?
Her fingers tightened around the dagger in her hands and her shoulders began trembling as well.
Bailey: My family member died because of you.
Di Qi Ju: ...what?
Bailey: Di Qi Ju, you’re a soldier of Faith’s Expeditionary Forces aren’t you? Your superior should be one of the officers right?
Di Qi Ju:...
I don’t remember telling all these so exactly where did she learn that information from…
Bailey:...recently, I received a letter.
Bailey: My brother...my only family member, that idiot…
Bailey: He actually went and became an adventurer and ambushed one of the logistics crew of the Expeditionary Forces…
Bailey: ... then, during the ensuing scuffle, he got shoved into the ravine and died from the fall.
Di Qi Ju: ---!?
That’s the time when we got ambushed and Mo Chuan knocked that adventurer into the ravine with a punch…
That was...Bailey’s brother??
Di Qi Ju: Then...why did you say that you joined the Three Battles because of this?
Bailey: Attached to the letter was an execution notice that listed the names of the laborers who died.
Bailey: You, and one other person.
Bailey: But...you aren’t dead.
Di Qi Ju: …
Bailey: I know...I’ve witnessed it myself; you can’t die.
Bailey: I also know that if the other side didn’t injure or anger you, you wouldn’t kill them…
Bailey: So I’m absolutely sure that you weren’t the one who killed my brother…
Bailey: That idiot, was always a coward even when he was young. Whenever he dirtied the laundry, he didn’t dare to admit it and would always say that I was the one who did it.
Bailey: No matter how much pressure the person who roped him into being an adventurer, placed on him, my brother wasn’t the type of person to actively try and kill a man.
I heard the sound of sobbing.
Bailey raised her head once more and I saw that same complicated expression again.
That sealed up sadness, that anger which had just broken through the icy layer.
Bailey: ...tell me, who is “Mo Chuan”?
Bailey: The person who killed my brother, it has to be him, right??
Bailey: Right...right? RIGHT???
Hah...it’s all my fault. That’s right, it’s all my fault. If I had just spoken up when my wish ability activated, we could’ve avoided that ambush and Bailey’s brother wouldn’t have died so tragically.
That truly was my mistake...since it’s my mistake...what can I do in front of this innocent child?
Di Qi Ju:...
Di Qi Ju:......
Di Qi Ju: Even if you find out who he is, what do you plan to do then?
Bailey: I want to…
Di Qi Ju: You want to take revenge?
Di Qi Ju: Is that the reason why you joined the Three Battles?
Di Qi Ju: ---because you don’t know who he is so you turned your sights onto me.
Di Qi Ju: So you transferred that grudge onto me.
Di Qi Ju: If that’s what you want, then go ahead.
Bailey rubbed her face, revealing a shocked expression.
Di Qi Ju: Just...take me as that “Mo Chuan”.
Di Qi Ju: If you want to take revenge, just bring it on.
Di Qi Ju: I promise...I won’t resist.
Bailey: Is there even a point? I can’t kill you anyway…
Di Qi Ju: There is, there definitely is.
Di Qi Ju: Just let it all out…
Di Qi Ju: At least what you plan on doing now won’t turn you into a different person.
Di Qi Ju: So just let it all out.
Di Qi Ju: You can vent until you feel satisfied…
Having made that decision, I approached and tried my best to put on a savage look.
Di Qi Ju: Look here...I’m the person who caused your only family member to die.
Di Qi Ju: Think about what you came here to do, think about what you wanted to do.
I gripped the dagger in her hands and raised it.
Di Qi Ju: ...if you can’t even do that, what good are you?
That’s right, that’s the look.
Bailey: Di Qi Ju---!
It was a swing that could only be described as childish, a swing so full of weaknesses even I could avoid it.
However, I had no such intention.
All I did was stare mutely at the dagger rushing straight for my chest.
If such a matter was able to make you let go off that vengeful heart of yours, then this is nothing but a small matter, one that won’t even raise an eyebrow.
Strange, that was definitely the sound of two metallic objects clashing.
Suddenly, a towering silhouette appeared between me and Bailey.
He extended his razor sharp claws and so happened to block the dagger in Bailey’s hands.
Di Qi Ju:...
Bailey:...Mister Seasonal Wolf?
Di Qi Ju: What are you…
Mo Chuan: Di Qi Ju, I’m this little lady’s keeper.
Mo Chuan: Also, Lady Bailey…
Mo Chuan turned and straightened his back.
Mo Chuan: ...I’m Mo Chuan.
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Special thanks to Kaung Thant Win Naing!!