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94 The Gathering of Experts Part 7

    Once in the city square, Edmund teleported himself in the balconies and sat next to his wife Emelnie, which looked at him and asked in a low voice "You didn't tell me that you had made progress.."

    With an embarrassed expression, Edmund simply said, "It wasn't me.." Edmund was a very prideful person, and yet there was one person he would not be able to lie to. That person was his wife Emelnie.

    Not to say that his daughter had spectated the embarrassing scene of him bargaining with Daniel to teach him the concept of portals.

    Back in the square, right in the middle, a large ring had appeared. Standing onto this stage, was the man hidden under the black cloak.

    He stood immobile, and with a loud and powerful voice he said, "The competition stage has begun. Who is the first one that wishes to compete for the title of Guardian of the Axe?"

    "I am." Responded a young man clad in platinum armor. This young man was the same who had gone second during the presentation stage. His name was Riher, and was part of a school called 'Pantheon of the War Gods'. He had claimed the title of Guardian of the Axe for his master, one of the school's elder that went by the title of 'The Axe Wielder'.

    After jumping over the stage, he waved his double-headed axe in the air and creating powerful winds. He then said, "Who is my first challenger?"

    Another young man within the crowd of disciples jumped over the stage. He was wearing a gambeson that didn't hinder his dexterity in the slightest. In his hands, was a single handed axe and a large shield.

    "I am your first opponent." Responded the young man with a loud and clear voice.

    Both cultivators were at the peak of nigh inhuman stage, and they had both claimed the title of Guardian of the Axe for their respective masters.

    The man hidden under the black cloak looked at the two competitors, and with his usual clear voice, he said, "The rules are as follow. You may not attack with anything but your axe and martial arts. The fight will go on until one of the two will surrender or will be unable to continue fighting. This isn't a fight to the death, and death is the punishment for whoever causes one.. Do you accept the rules as they were described to you?"

    "We accept!" Responded the two young men in sync.

    "Let the battle commence." Said the man hidden under the black cloak before suddenly disappearing.

    The two young men looked at each other for a few moments, before the young man called Riher dashed at his opponent while brandishing his double-headed axe.

    Blow after blow, parry after parry, the two contestants fought brutally. The gamberson wore by the challenger was great at reducing the damage of impact, and his shield was extremely useful for the strongest and most dangerous attacks. Riher's plate armor was also very useful to parry the attacks of the single-handed axe, which were faster and more diverse, but they lacked the strength necessary to go through the plate armor.

    After a few minutes spent fighting intensly, the young man that wore the gamberson was forced to concede due to the state his weapon and shield were currently in.

    Riher had won, but his armor wasn't in the best shape either. A few powerful hits had reached the soft junctions of his armor, and right now he was suffering the muscular pain caused by the impact.

    His overall ki had also been greatly reduced.

    Only ten minutes were given to the winner to recover. During these ten minutes they would be allowed to use anything they thought was necessary to reach their best state. The only limitation, was that the effects of whatever they took had to stop before the ten minutes ended.

    Of course, ten minutes weren't enough for someone at the peak of the sixth rank to recover his ki completely, nor would they be able to stop the effects of a healing pill before the ten minutes ended, so, the winning participants were hardly able to fully recover before the next fight.

    After the ten minutes passed, Riher went back in the middle of the ring and said with a loud voice, "I await for my next opponent."

    During the presentation, not every single one of the disciples would claim a title for their masters. If a master was certain that their disciples would definitely not be able to win against the others, they wouldn't send them to lose face for both of them.

    Out of all the disciples that wielded the axe, only three had claimed the title of Guardian of the Axe for their masters. The platinum armor young man with the double-headed axe, Riher. The young man in the gamberson what wielded the single-handed axe and shield, and finally, a twenty odd years old man in leather armor.

    This third contestant was adept in dual-wielding, and his weapons of choice were two twin hatchets. His style of combat was more oriented in evading than parrying, and his main strength was dexterity.

    The battle started after the man hidden under the black cloak said, once again, "Let the battle commence."

    The young man in leather armor immediately dashed towards Riher, which tried to met his approaching body with a solid slash with his double-headed axe.

    Instead of jumping high in the air, or backing away, the young man in leather armor opted for sliding on his knees.

    Riher's powerful slash broke the barrier of sound and caused a sonic boom. A huge waxing crescent moon-like wave of light green ki was sent in the air, which forced the ever present elements of wind and water to part.

    Avoided just in the nick of time, the young man in leather armor hooked the hatchet he was holding in his right hand into Riher's right greave. Then, he pulled it towards himself, forcing Riher to lose his footing and fall on his right knee.

    Now behind a kneeling Rihel, the young man in leather armor went for the weak spots. He used his second hatchet to cut the leather straps that firmly kept the plate armor on Riher's body.

    More than once did Riher try to pull his leg forward and get back up, but whenever he tried, the young man in leather armor would hit the back of his waist with the handle of the hatchet he held in his left hand.

    In a moment of desperation, he pushed as much ki as possible under his left food, and jumped backwards and against the body of the young man in leather armor.

    The two were on the ground, and Riher was currently lying above his opponent's body. He quickly rolled away from him and while grabbing his large axe handle with both hands, he tried to slash vertically at his lying opponent.

    Before Riher's large axe could hit the young man's stomach, the young man rolled closer to him with such a fast motion, that instead of stopping at Riher's feet, he kept going and made Riher fall on his back.

    It was at this point that Riher's plate armor came fully undone, and covered his face.

    The young man in leather armor immediately got back up on his feet, and sent a powerful blow on Riher's left elbow crevice with one of his hatchets. The blow wasn't powerful enough to do serious damage, and yet, it made him release the grip he had on his double-headed axe.

    He then pointed his second hatchet at Riher's neck.

    Now unarmed and hindered by his own plate armor, Riher had no option but to concede. He knew that if this was a battle to the death, he wouldn't be currently breathing.

    "I concede." He said with a disappointed tone.

    The young man in leather armor moved away from him, and allowed him to fix his plate armor and recover his double-headed axe.

    The two then bowed slightly to each other, before Rihel left the stage in low spirits.

    The man hidden under the black coat appeared once again, and said "The title of Guardian of the Axe goes to The Bloody Axe, master of Hutch."

    Hutch, which had yet to say a word in public, simply crossed his twin hatchets in front of his chest, and shouted "HOOAH!" He then left the stage.

    One after the another, similar scenes took place in the square. Various elimination competition  of which participants were either spiritual cultivators that had comprehended the same essence, or martial cultivators that wielded the same weapon.

    Staves, bows and arrows, greatswords, fire essence, lightning essence.. One after the other these events took place and revealed a different winning contender, along with their masters and rightful owner of the title of guardian of discipline.

    -----

    It was now early evening, and it was finally time for the competitions for the ruler of discipline to take place. Traditionally, the competitions for the titles of guardian of discipline would take place earlier in the day, while the competitions for the titles of ruler of discipline would take place later.

    The first competition to take place, was the one for the title of Ruler of the Spear.

    The competitors for the title of Rule of the Spear were a lot more than the competitors for the previous martial disciplines. No matter if axes, bow and arrow, staves, fans or daggers, the vast majority of the young master in the empire would always try to learn either the use of the sword or the use of the spear first.

    Those who picked different weapons, usually did it in order to respect a tradition within their families or powers.

    The first to enter the stage, was of course, Krim. The current third prince of the Krehan empire.

    It was known that the third prince was a prodigy of spear wielding, as opposite to the crown prince, which was a master of the sword and currently occupied in a military campaign, and the second prince and the first princess, which were both spiritual cultivators and practiced respectively sound and space essence.

    "Krim, third prince of the great Krehan empire. Who challenges me for the title of Ruler of the Spear, and the honor of our masters?" Asked the third prince after making a golden spear appear in his hand, and planting the bottom of the shaft heavily against the ground.

    "I will." Responded a twenty odd years old girl.

    -----

    The third prince was an extremely talented cultivator, and was easily able to overpower the seven different competitors before they could even force him to spend too much ki.

    He was now standing, over a stage filled with shallow cuts, and stains of blood and sweat.

    The tip of his spear was still of a bright golden color. So bright that its shine could not be hidden by the thin layer of blood that covered it.

    The man hidden under the black cloak appeared in the middle of the stage, and said "The title The title of Ruler of the Spear goes to The Phantom Piercer, master of the third prince. The next competition held, will be the competition for the title of the Ruler of the Sword."

    The competition for the title of Ruler of the Sword was the one that had, by far, the highest number of competitors. The sword was a versatile weapon, and it came in many shapes and forms. Therefore, the fights were varied and always different.

    As for a large number of disciples, this was also Alesia's competition.

    She nervously looked at her mother, and after receiving an encouraging smile, she focused on entering the right state of mind for battle, and waited for the right moment.

    Unfortunately for Alesia, the competition for the sword had many cultivators of a much higher level than hers. She was currently at the mid of the sixth rank, while most of the competitors were at the late, peak, and even perfect stage of the nigh inhuman stage.

    If she wanted to have a chance to win the title of Ruler of the Sword for her mother, she needed to find the right timing to join the fight.
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