Blacksmith of the Apocalypse - Chapter 286

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"A big applause for our four semifinalists!
Marcel, the magic swordsman of the Volcano Guild,
Elza, the ice queen of the Mountain Guild,
Duhu, the ferocious Tigerman,
and Derog, the self-proclaimed Adventurer King. "
The four semifinalists entered the arena under the roaring cheers if the audience. On the big screen around the arena, their matchup was decided like on a slot machine.
"And we have our Matchups! In our first fight, the Ice Magician Elza must deal with the explosive power of Duhu! Will the tiger freeze or can he break the ice?
And in our second match, Marcel will fight Derog. Fire versus fire! Who will have a burnout first? If I may ask Marcel and Derog to leave the arena now so that the first match can begin?"
Once the two had left the arena, the Ice Queen and the Tiger stood alone. Facing each other they waited for the judge to announce the start of the fight.
As Duhu transformed into his frenzy mode the whole arena was covered with ice in the blink of an eye. Elza was not called the Ice Queen for nothing, and ice crystals already started to form in the tiger's fur before he even had a chance to move.
With a tremendous roar, Duhu released his power in an energy blast that blew away the frost surrounding him. He smashed his fists together and chanted something after which a red aura enveloped his body and protected him from the cold.
He wanted to charge at the magician but had to evade several icicles shooting down from above. She didn't just cast her magic quick, but also chantless. Rows and rows of cold spikes kept the tiger at bay and hindered him from drawing closer.
Duhu growled in frustration decided to charge through. He accepted some damage to break through the Ice Queen's defense. With a massive speed boost, he shot past all the spikes and icicles, leaving a trail of red aura.
Some managed to hit him, but most ended up being too slow or too fast to strike the furry giant. He simply rammed through those in his was.
A moment later his powerful fist descended onto the surprised Elza but was barely stopped by a thick ice shield. The shield was broken below his fist, but Elza was still unharmed.
His charge was not without cost. Blood seeped from the many smaller and bigger wounds where his skin was exposed, or the armor was pierced. The ice shield was so hard that the skin on his knuckles had split open and was bleeding, too.
Still, the petite female was now directly facing the wrath of the beast. With over 2,5 meters Duhu towered over the woman with over a meter in height. But before he could strike down the caster, she had already finished a sequence of hand signs and blinked away.
With a smirk, she stood at the opposite end of the arena. She finished a chant sequence. The tiger had actually stepped into her trap. Duhu was surrounded by walls of ice and above his head had formed a giant iceberg that fell down like a frozen meteor.
There was no way he could escape in time, everyone thought at this moment.
The ice meteor crashed onto the arena and filled it with a cloud of snow, dust, ice boulders, and splinters. When everyone thought it was over and brilliant shine of golden eyes pierced the frosty mist and petrified every spectator.
"I give up!" the ice queen pressed out between her clamped lips. Her eyes were pressed shut and she could not move her body even for a twitch.
She noticed with surprise that she was still alive. When she opened her eyes, her heart fell as she saw how close she had been to death.
Huge, pearly-white claws as big as scythes had stopped just centimeters away from the woman's fair face. Had the paw the size of a big manhole cover not stopped in its track, it would have cut her into ribbons.
Her eyes followed the paw back to a gigantic tiger. At least 5 meters tall, even bigger than in the previous fight. Its golden eyes fixated her with human intelligence. Prompting her to repeat what she had just said.
"I-I admit defeat!" she repeated loud and audibly with a slight stutter.
The tiger nodded in satisfaction and slowly turned back into the tall Duhu. The Tijaahk had a hard time steadying his breath but smiled. The judge officially announced the winner, and the stadium broke out into cheers.
"What an exciting performance by both participants! I'm sure nobody will forget this fight any time soon. But there is more to come. We will take a short break while our technicians repair the arena."
"Are you okay?" Seth entered Duhu's break room. The tiger was slumped into a corner and still breathing heavily.
"It's okay. I will recover in time."
"Geez. You Tijaahk are really stubborn. Here try this. It's a high-quality recovery potion." Seth lent him a rare potion made by Evee. Its effects were quick and powerful. The only drawback was that the usage was limited to one a day. A second one would simply have no effect.
The tiger was a little suspicious but he recovered at a visible speed once he drank the potion.

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"Why are you helping me?"
"Well...erm. I like you. You call a friend of mine uncle and to be honest, it would be awesome if I could gain you as an ally."
"Hmm, I see."
A signal notified them and the audience that the break was coming to an end and the second match would soon commence. The second fight was between Derog and Marcel. One thing was assured, it would be a heated battle.
The two already stood in the arena when Seth came to the private booth. Upon the judge's signal, they charged at each other and collided in the center of the stage.
Neither of the two held back and an explosion of golden and red flames flooded the arena. The shockwave shook the whole stadium, but the barriers kept the audience out of harm's way.
Successions of explosions kept rocking the stadium.
After a few moments, the flames cleared and the two combatants became visible. They were visibly confused. The Audience followed them in beeing confused as the explosions did not stop.
The source was not within the stadium but seemed to be coming from the city outside. What was going on? Suddenly the screens in the stadium changed to an emergency broadcast. Pictures of smoke and broken buildings were shown.
"Several big explosions have occurred across Delta. Citizens are advised to stay where they are until further notice from the authorities."
They had not much attention to spare for the broadcast as a giant vortex formed in the sky above the stadium. It grew bigger and bigger, faster and faster, and finally broke. It turned into a giant flaming gate that opened in the sky above Delta.
~Resistance is futile!~ and a mechanic voice echoed through the minds of everyone present.
Humanoid creatures left the gate. Their bodies were covered in pitch-black skin with a metallic sheen. Featureless blank faces and too-long limbs that ended in delicate hands. They just stood there in the air, no floating, no wings, they stood there as if on solid ground.
"Oh, shit..." Seth mumbled.
"Oh, shit..." Simon mumbled beside him.
"Oh no..." thought Yulecat's Fur who had been present when those things appeared in Ora.
A thing different from the others descended from the gate. It was twice as big and the leathery metallic folds looked like a priest's robe.
~Rejoice! The Bringer of Chains has come to release you from your suffering! The burden of choice will no longer be yours! We will free you from the Empire's tyranny.~
Giant black chains shot down from the gate in the sky and pierced the stadium walls and arena grounds and locked the space in the region.
People had just started to react when torrents of thick chains rained from the gate and snatched them from the crowd.

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