Chapter 736 - The Finalists...
Tilgron never let up. He carefully watched the crane's every move. The tiger mercilessly began to follow the crane's path but on the ground, hurling lances of ice with each step of his four paws.
It wasn't too difficult for the crane to keep up, but one suspicion of many spectators had become clear. And Tilgron made sure to announce it.
"Can you attack me? If not, won't I win by default?"
In response, the crane chucked his own wind blades. Some sliced through the lances while others aimed for the dashing tiger. Yet none managed to get close to their main target.
"Are you sure you want this to continue?" questioned Tilgron, laughing as he did so.
The crane shouted, "If you can't hit me, then you can't win either."
"Maybe… Then you don't think I can hit you?"
Suddenly, lances stopped being made. However, Tilgron never stopped moving or laughing. A slew of icicles shot took to the sky with incredible repetition. Each swipe of the tiger's claws would create five small icicles in the shape of knives, or more specifically, throwing knives. At one end, there were makeshift handles designed to easily hook onto Tilgron's claws. On the other end, the blue, curved blades out-weighted the handle.
In a split second, the crane's evasive maneuvers became far more erratic and ill-timed. Spinning daggers flew every which way the bird could imagine.
"Ready for more?"
Still laughing, Tilgron roared and swung his tail. And to the crane's surprise, the largest icy spear was created with a small hooking area along the base. Tilgron's tail became a makeshift atlatl as that giant spear was launched. A shrill whistle sounded as it streaked through the air with indifference.
The crane ducked and managed to evade the speeding spear. However, a small bloodstain appeared on one of the crane's wings.
In disbelief, the crane needed a second to realized what had happened. But Tilgron offered no free time.
More and more glacial blue knives were hurled and curved at the crane. A second giant spear was thrown soon, again whistling and warning of what would come. And again, the crane dodged the spear but received two more cuts upon his wings. That was when the crane figured out the trick.
It wasn't the case for nearly all of Tilgron's ice knives, but they would rarely split in two. It was the rare splitting knives that had caught the crane off guard under the loud whistling of the giant spear.
The crane didn't announce anything, but it had realized the pattern nonetheless. It quickly began reviewing the knives with more detail as they zipped past him.
"Figured it out, huh?" Tilgron chuckled. "Then have some more!"
Suddenly, almost all of Tilgron's knives began splitting in two. However, they all scattered and divided at random times. This meant that it wasn't as accurate as before. But with all of the knives splitting and threatening the crane in random directions, it also became far harder to predict.
With full attention on the knives, the crane tried to use wind blades and tempests to slow the knives. However, those tactics had hardly any effect. The wind blades were instead cut by the icy knives. And the tempests were unable to alter or impeded any of the knives' random trajectories.
Too focused on the knives surrounding him, the crane failed to anticipate what came next. Another long, icy spear had been launched with even more power. Tilgron was suddenly far quicker at hurling the spear that time, and the spear no longer whistled in the air. By the time the crane had noticed what was going on, the spear was less than a krin away.
"The match is over."
All at once, the many knives still air-born were scattered and deflected to the ground. Lady Inka was suddenly in the air, as if standing there before the injured crane. But she was only there to stop the attacks and grab the crane as it began to fall. Inka landed softly and let the crane down slowly. She removed the long spear from the crane's shoulder and immediately used light essence on the wound.
"Zelsh is the clear victor."
"Great job!" laughing, Zelsh gave the tiger a big thumbs up.
Yet Tilgron only smiled and bowed in return. Then, the tiger approached the crane with a lowered head. "Sorry, but that was the only way to get you back on the ground."
"It happens…" the crane grunted, not wanting to accept his stark loss so easily.
"You're quite powerful and more than worthy as an opponent. Thank you." Tilgron bowed one last time, turning and leaving up the steps. He was uninjured. It would've been a streak if it hadn't been for the jaguar earlier.
"This concludes our semifinal round. Seeing how neither finalist was dealt an injury, the break will be half the usual length. Use the time to recover and don't waste too much time chatting. You'll both need it," advised Inka, helping the crane back onto its feet.
Tilgron took the advice and wasted no time. He laid down and began recovering essence as quickly as possible.
"What do you think?" Oli quietly asked, looking to Vant.
"I'd guess… 70/30…"
"So Tilgron should win?"
But Vant shook his head. "Seventy percent chance of receiving major injuries and thirty percent chance of receiving critical injuries."
"It's that bad?!"
"You saw Drogat fight Korvik. You should understand those odds," claimed Vant.
"Oliver doesn't know Korvik," Kraz stated, reminding Vant.
"That's right…" Vant then clarified, "If Korvik lost so badly, Tilgron's odds aren't much better. They usually fight to a draw when they spar."
Oli looked across the stands, letting his gaze linger on the large, golden dragon. He was unsure how long he was staring, but it only felt like a moment when the dragon blinked and returned Oli's gaze. Grinning madly, the dragon's stare didn't waver as the great beast licked his lips and eyed up Oli.