Chapter 1197: The Life-and-Death Duel Commences
Under Ronald’s command, a life-and-death contract was presented. Without hesitation, both participants inked their signatures on the contract and pressed their fingerprints onto it.
In ordinary martial arts contests, outcomes often relied on fate, but there was an unspoken understanding that in non-feudal situations, the victor would usually show some leniency. However, this was no ordinary duel. With the life-and-death contract in effect, those merciful conventions were cast aside.
There would be no holding back, no room for retreat—only a battle to the death remained. There were no other alternatives: life or death.
“Dustin, this is the riskiest choice you’ve ever made,” Ronald declared.
As soon as the contract was sealed, Ronald’s entire demeanor underwent a transformation. His earlier grace and composure gave way to a sharp and tremendous power. His presence emitted an overwhelming pressure that permeated the arena.
In an instant, the spectators in the crowd felt their bodies burdened, as if an invisible weight rested on their shoulders, causing their breath to quicken. The less sturdy among them started to breathe heavily, sweat forming on their foreheads.
“What an incredible display of power from a grandmaster. Is this the true might of the Martial Arts Alliance’s leader?”
Their hearts quivered, and their reverence for Ronald deepened even further.
In a single moment, he could exude tranquility like a Bodhisattva (or bodhisatva is a person who is on the path towards bodhi or Buddhahood), and in the next, he could radiate the fury of a raging King Kong, wielding immense power. The grandeur of the Martial Arts Alliance’s leader and the might of Balermo’s top martial artist were now fully on display.
“Ronald, wrongdoers will face their destiny. Today, it’s your day of reckoning!” Dustin declared, taking a bold step forward.
The ground beneath him cracked, releasing a pressure equal to Ronald’s, and the two silently clashed.
Both emitted incredibly potent auras, and their collision formed a translucent barrier.
This barrier acted as an invisible boundary, dividing the arena into two domains: on the left, Dustin’s territory, and on the right, Ronald’s.
Even before direct combat had begun, they were locked in a silent showdown.
“Dustin, I must admit, you are indeed exceptionally strong. Finding a martial arts prodigy like you in all of Balermo, and perhaps the entire world, is exceedingly rare,” Ronald acknowledged as he advanced step by step. His aura continued to grow, resembling a bulldozer relentlessly encroaching on Dustin’s space. “Perhaps, if we waited another ten years—no, even just five—you might be fully prepared to face me. But for now, you are still too young.”
With Ronald’s approach, the translucent barrier began to shift forward, and the two auras clashed, resulting in sporadic bursts of energy. Although Dustin stood his ground, the aura surrounding him was gradually being compressed.
From an outsider’s perspective, Ronald had the upper hand.
“Even before they’ve actually fought, it seems like Dustin is already losing momentum. How can he possibly win?”
“We haven’t even started, and he’s already in this situation. Isn’t this too early to concede?”
“Youth is often marked by arrogance. Signing a life-and-death contract so lightly, it’s as if he’s sealing his own fate.”
“Hmph! People who overestimate themselves deserve their fate.”
The audience expressed a variety of emotions, including regret, pity, worry, disdain, and schadenfreude.
In their eyes, Dustin’s defeat seemed inevitable, and the only question remaining was how long he could hold out.
“Lord Derek, care to make a guess on how many moves Dustin can withstand against Leader Ronald?” Asher suddenly asked in the audience.
“It’s predictable. The outcome will be determined within ten moves,” Derek responded calmly.