The Mech Touch - Chapter 2909: Fated Match
Chapter 2909: Fated Match
The ‘rematch’ between Ketis Larkinson and Ivan Reid had become one of the hottest topics in the Omanderie System!
Everyone sensed that a spectacle was about to occur. The battle where Ketis almost lost against Ivan was already so legendary that those who missed it felt endless regret.
If not for the fact that the tickets to the rematch between the two sword initiates were already sold out months ago, a lot of people would have been willing to exchange a seat with enough money to buy a new mech!
Several different narratives formed in the media.
Some pundits predicted that if Ketis had already defeated Ivan once, she could do it again.
Others thought differently.
“Just look at Ivan Reid’s eyes. Those are the eyes of a driven warrior. After suffering a preventable loss, he could have wallowed in self-pity or let himself be consumed by his resentment. Instead, he quickly picked himself up and completely reformed his behavior. He’s no longer as spoiled as before and has truly shown the potential of a future swordmaster!”
The setbacks that Ivan suffered seemed to have served as a wakeup call to him. As a scion of the powerful Cloudstrider Sword School, he was anything but a useless bum. Talent alone was not enough to reach his level of strength. It took a lot of hard work and determination to grasp the essence of a true sword style.
It was just that his long string of successes had caused him to become too full of himself. Swordsmen were human as well, and it was easy for any person to get complacent after enjoying a smooth ride.
Ketis was the first obstacle that Ivan bumped against in a very long time. Although he suffered a disgraceful fall, his accident also happened to wake him up and correct his path.
As she prepared for the next match, Ketis constantly felt troubled by this situation. She felt as if she had become the villain in a budget drama. After beating up the protagonist, the hero of the story reflected on himself and managed to revive his sword heart. Now, the main character had risen up again and sought to vanquish the evil witch!
She shook her head as she made her preparations in the backstage area of the First Sword Arena. “This is not a contrived story. This is the real deal.”
It didn’t matter who she fought against. Anyone who stood opposite to her had to be defeated, even if her adversity happened to possess a familiar face!
Venerable Dise, Commander Sendra, Angelique Harcourt and Fred Walinski had all helped her study her opponent and formulate a strategy.
Despite all of the gains Ketis had made, she was still a power-oriented fighter. A mobility-oriented swordsman like Ivan Reid still enjoyed a significant advantage as long as he stayed on the move.
Ivan’s bionic arm may have forced Ivan to relearn his sword moves, but there was nothing wrong with his legs!
He was just as fast as before. In fact, Ivan had become even more elusive due to his determination not to get hit!
Fred approached her just as she was deciding which weapon to take into battle.
“Go serious.” He spoke. “You don’t have to take Shiva with you if it will only pose a hindrance.”
Ketis turned and raised an eyebrow. “You’re okay with that?”
“A swordsmith specifically forged Shiva for my brother. It fits best in his hand, not yours. Although I am grateful for allowing a piece of my brother to taste battle again, you should not overdo it. Let Shiva take a break this time and start off on your best foot.”
She briefly considered his argument. Although wielding a shorter and lighter blade was more advantageous against someone as fast as Ivan, she didn’t specialize in it. She was much more comfortable with wielding her greatsword.
Although the weapon definitely had its shortcomings, Ketis possessed enough strength and skill to mitigate most of them. With her rapid growth in combat prowess, she did not believe she would end up as sorry as before!
“You’re right. I should bring the only weapon I need.”
Carrying multiple weapons didn’t matter before. The opponents she fought against were still in a tolerable range. If the fight became more difficult, then she could always toss aside Shiva and fight with her first weapon.
However, carrying multiple swords was a sign that Ketis lacked focus. By choosing to bring her main weapon and nothing else, she essentially declared that she wished to rely on her original sword style to win the upcoming match!
Time continued to pass. As the match preceding her own one ended in a dramatic fashion, Ketis and Ivan finally entered the stage.
Both of them ignored the noise in the crowd. They paid no attention to the hype generated by the announcers.
People could say whatever they want about swordsmen, but at their level, their wills were too firm to get affected by external opinion.
As Ketis stared at the dour-faced swordsman who had previously given her a very hard time, her eyes inevitably drew towards the artificial limb.
The bionic arm was mostly covered by the standard protective suit issued to every tournament participant, but Ketis could still observe plenty of details due to her technical background.
It was not forbidden for participants to do what Ivan had done. It was just unusual. Most swordsmen who incurred heavy injuries would usually acknowledge the reality of the situation and drop out of any remaining tournaments.
Yet in order to get a chance to fight against Ketis a second time, Ivan made the difficult and costly decision to fight with a bionic arm!
There were many issues with fighting with an artificial limb. While there were plenty of arm models that were much stronger and tougher than human arms, the tournament did not allow competitors to replace their limbs with stronger versions.
No matter if their arms and legs were biological or mechanical, their strength and other physical properties could not be weaker than their natural state!
Otherwise, everyone who yearned to be a champion would voluntarily amputate all of their limbs and turn themselves into cyborgs in order to compete!
After half a minute of staring, Ivan finally spoke up. “It’s been weeks since you taught me a lesson.”
His voice was much calmer and more measured than before. Ketis could sense the will in his tone. The Cloudstrider disciple had always remained highly focused on his own goal!
“Are you dissatisfied?” Ketis asked as she straightforwardly drew her greatsword.
Surprisingly, Ivan shook his head. “Not at all. I deserved to get vanquished for how lightly I took the group match. I examined my behavior many times after my defeat. I didn’t know how to process what had happened until the swordmasters of my school counseled me. Every victory is precious, but every defeat is even more valuable. It is only when we fail that we have the opportunity to recognize our weaknesses. You have painfully torn off my mask and exposed everything that is ugly behind it. I decided I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, so I changed myself so that I can be proud of myself again.”
She grasped the key point of his voluntary explanation. The swordmasters of the Cloudstrider School played a key role in getting his head back together!
The Cloudstriders invested a lot of attention and resources in him. How could they stand by and watch their costly investment get ruined? It was more than worth it for the aloof swordsmasters to devote their personal attention to fixing Ivan.
“Well, I’m glad you managed to pick yourself up, but why insist on pushing yourself to this point? Do you know that grafting a bionic arm to your body will delay and complicate your real recovery?”
“I’m aware of that, Miss Ketis, but I have already decided to live with my mistake. I won’t be getting rid of this bionic arm.”
Not just Ketis, but the entire audience that listened in on their conversation reacted with shock as well.
Swordsmen always preferred to fight with their own limbs! Even if they augmented it in various ways, they always believed it was best to maintain enough purity to prevent alienation and lack of compatibility.
Yet Ivan resolutely decided to stick with his current arrangement! I seemed as if he wanted to carry a reminder of the consequences of giving in to his arrogance.
Yet as Ketis clearly sensed a spike in his will, she knew that this was not a handicap to him. It was a source of strength. Every swordsman clung to certain rules or principles in order to hone their will. This was another instance of that.
Ketis grew more serious as she discovered the extent of Ivan’s rebirth. Compared to a confident sword initiate like Scipia Pepperin, the man in front of her was much more determined!
She lowered her stance and reconsidered her approach to this duel.
Ivan held his new fencing sword and looked as if he was ready to sprint.
Their eyes met each other and sparked. Their wills flowed from their bodies and ran through their weapons. Neither of them wanted to lose this battle.
For Ivan Reid, it was a matter of correcting his mistake and redeeming himself.
For Ketis, it was a matter of pride and ambition.
[Commence the match!]
No one moved. Even as the people in the vertical stands expected an explosion of action to occur, the two sword initiates didn’t appear to be in a hurry to make a move!
Instead, they kept staring at each other as if they were waging a mental battle.
Eventually, Ketis grew impatient. “You worked so hard to get a chance to confront me in battle. Are you just going to waste this opportunity?”
“What do you fight for?” Ivan suddenly asked.
This question again. Several swordsmen had asked her this question. For some reason, they all wanted to pry into her personal motivations. She didn’t know why.
“I fight for my sisters. I fight to improve my comprehension of sharpness. I fight in order to design better mechs.”
Ivan raised his eyebrow when he heard the latter. “Ah, yes. You’re also a mech designer. It’s difficult for me to equate that to your current appearance. Look anything but bookish.”
“I am a genuine mech designer! I will not allow you to belittle my accomplishments in this field!”
She grew angry at Ivan. His patronizing tone made it sound as if she was merely dabbling at designing mechs. The truth was anything but! She would not allow anyone to question her competence in her primary profession!
“Let’s fight already!” She said and began to step forward while holding her greatsword at the ready.
Right now, she just wanted to chop apart Ivan’s new limb and teach him not to mess with her dreams!
“Heh! That’s the spirit! That is the vanquisher that I was hoping to fight!”
Ivan became more excited as he started to move forward. Though his pace was still slow, every step he took caused his momentum to become more imposing.
Once they came close enough, they sprinted forward and collided their weapons against each other!
Ivan’s body immediately bounced backwards after losing out on their first confrontation.
“Sure enough, your strength is quite formidable!”
They had just been testing each other just then. Ivan confirmed that he would not be able to overpower his opponent by force. Ketis on the other hand saw that the man had regained all of his mobility.
After Ivan recovered his stance, his body began to shake in a peculiar fashion. At some point, sweat began to form on his skin that somehow evaporated into mist.
The nature of this mist looked very odd to Ketis. Baseline humans shouldn’t have been capable of generating so much fog from their own bodies!
As Ivan’s will wrapped around the cloud made out of his own sweat, his body grew more red as if it had entered an overloaded state.
Ivan launched himself forward while dragging his self-generation mist forward. With all of the condensation in the way, Ketis was unable to observe her opponent’s weapon!