Chapter 793: This Is It
Sartonilos slowed his attacks, delegated more energy to his defense before finally managing to keep the battle under his control. But soon, he was struck by another piece of bad news. Zhang Heng’s stamina seemed to be better than him. After the two fought head-to-head for so long, Zhang Heng’s breathing rate did not change much. In other words, if he dragged the battle any longer, the situation would become even more unfavorable for him.
Immediately, Sartonilos frowned. He did not expect that Victor Arena had quickly managed to cultivate such an annoying newcomer after Sethnets retired. Since Zhang Heng attacked him first, Sartonilos would not hesitate to get back at Zhang Heng if he could choose again. After all, with so many big shots presented here tonight, backing down would be inappropriate.
Just like how a lion would defend its territory when it saw another lion crossing the line, so would a gladiator. No matter how strong you were before, in this world where the strong preyed on the weak, you would be torn apart by the hyenas that swarmed toward you once you showed your vulnerable side.
And the current battle situation was only slightly disadvantageous for Sartonillos. In his long career as a gladiator, he had fought many battles that were unfavorable to him. He had the most scars on his body among all the gladiators here, and since he was still standing, those scars had become his past glory, symbolizing the epic battles that he had won and completed.
Hence, the battle tonight would be no exception for him.
Just then, Satonilos received another punch in his mouth. But this time, he retaliated with a kick. He then spat out a bloody tooth and sneered, “What now? Is that all you can do?”
At that time, Zhang Heng had also gotten up from the ground. He could have avoided this kick, but after calculating the damage that he would receive, he concluded that he would end up worse if he did not dodge. Therefore, Zhang Heng chose to take the damage. And the reason was that he knew what the audience liked. By avoiding the kick, Zhang Heng would be able to showcase his strength and agility. However, it was still not as attractive as using the blood-to-blood and fist-to-fist fighting methods.
For thousands of years, the spectators’ preference had never changed in whatever competition. Everyone was always more inclined toward the so-called “tough guy.”
Defeating Sartonilos was never Zhang Heng’s goal. All he wanted to do was to attract Commodus’s attention. The young emperor was now watching the battle between the two with excitement. The guests spontaneously formed a circle to surround Zhang Heng and Sartonilos. At first, Commodus seemed a little reserved. After a while, he took the lead to cheer for his favorite gladiator.
And the gladiator that he supported was Sartonilos. After all, he knew the latter before he left Rome, and Zhang Heng was the first to provoke him. In terms of justice, Zhang Heng should not have the advantage here. However, as the fight continued, Commodus’s perception of Zhang Heng had improved to a certain extent. He felt that although this Easterner was reckless, he was still a real man. Hence, when Zhang Heng performed well, he would cheer and applaud too.
And when Sartonilos heard that the emperor was cheering for Zhang Heng, he was triggered. Sartonilos knew that he had to make a decision.
As early as a month ago, the gladiator school and he had begun preparations for the gladiatorial show in the Amphitheatrum Flavium. For this reason, the gladiator school did not hesitate to let him stop fighting for a month, not to mention the tons of money they spent to create the image of a women and alcohol addict. When the spies from other gladiator schools saw what he had become, they would surely let down their guard.
And Sartonilos used this month to heal the hidden wounds on his body and adjusted his mind and body to tip-top condition. Only a few people knew that he was now better than he ever was. Initially, Sartonilos wanted to hide his strength until he encountered a potent enemy. Still, he did not expect that he would be forced into a corner by an easterner that he had never seen before, even before the gladiatorial show started. Sartonilos was not being forced to make an important decision on whether or not to use his trump card.
After all, it was not a formal gladiatorial performance now. If he lost in this fight, it would not affect his odds of winning the grand battle later. But at this moment, the emperor and other powerful individuals were watching the battle. Sartonilos could not imagine the negative impact that might befall him and the gladiator school he attended.
Therefore, he gritted his teeth and decided to tear off his disguise. Anyway, even if he showed his true strength now, he could still win the gladiatorial championship.
The next moment, he wiped the blood from his mouth.
The spectators next to him had a vague feeling that Satonilos’s momentum seemed to have changed, and Zhang Heng, his opponent, could sense the change in him almost instantly. His expressions switched, and he knew that Satonilos was desperate. Since Zhang Heng was one of the few people who knew that Sartonilos was using a disguise, he had been expecting him to reveal his true strength. And he was prepared to deal with it.
However, Zhang Heng realized that he had underestimated Sartonilos. Seeing that his chest was exposed again, Zhang Heng subconsciously punched it. However, Sartonilos blocked his fist with one of his hands. The spectators were shocked when they saw what happened in their battle.
Zhang Heng tried to swing his hand, but he could not retrieve his fist.
“You were jumping up and down like a monkey before. It’s time for you to have a taste of my fist,” Sartonilos said while swinging his other fist to smash at Zhang Heng’s head. However, Zhang Heng managed to squat in time, dodging the attack. Right after that, Zhang Heng hurriedly clamped Sartonilos’s arm with his legs before Sartonilos could throw the second punch.
The two fell to the ground together into a cloud of dust. Unfortunately, Zhang Heng had not learned the locking technique from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Otherwise, he would be able to lock Sartonilos and restrict his movement while the chaos took place. Hence, the two could only step away from each other again.
Sartonilos did not expect that Zhang Heng would almost get to control him. Not too long after they were separated, Sartonilos wanted to use the same trick to attack Zhang Heng again, but Zhang Heng did not go on a head-to-head battle with him this time. Instead, he used the newly learned assassin’s steps and slipped behind him like a phantom.
This change in the rhythm had obviously made Sartonilos a little uncomfortable. After that, he felt a chill under his left neck, but fortunately, he did not suffer any major injuries. Zhang Heng managed to use his nails to leave a blood mark on Sartonilos’s neck. Immediately, Sartonilos turned around and wanted to fight Zhang Heng again. To his surprise, Zhang Heng took two steps back and said, “Let’s stop here today.”
Sartonilos was startled when he heard the words. What did that mean? Did the Easterner just surrender? But the battle was not over yet. He had just begun to use his full force. For now, the two sides were tied.
So Sartonilos said no without hesitation, “It’s still early. Next time, you won’t be lucky enough to escape me.”
But it was then that he heard another voice.
“I think what he said makes sense. Two of you gave us a wonderful performance tonight. Let’s wait until the gladiatorial performance to compete against each other again.”