Chapter 16 - The Five Generals
Their reactions to Draco's words weren't exaggerated. The gauntlet wasn't a mode that most chose for good reason. A young lad like this choosing such a method was the equivalent of jumping off a bridge to catch a passing sparrow.
"Young boy are you certain? If you die, no one will compensate your family." The Fatty tried to persuade Draco with a look of ridicule on his face.
He assumed from Draco's attire and body that he was a broke lad who hoped his death could force the Cartel to compensate his family to keep them silent.
Unfortunately, the Cartel couldn't care less about some meager family. Chances are they would follow Draco to the afterlife if they even thought about reporting the Cartel's activities.
"Do I look like I'm joking to you? Are you going to register the match or do I have to see someone competent?" Draco replied with a cold tone.
Chloe gave Draco a thumbs up mentally. With people like this in the Cartel, you have to be forceful and dominant, or you'd be stepped on continuously. Only the strong have the right to argue for fairness in everything. The weak were destined to accept their abuse in this futuristic world.
The Fatty displayed a wary expression. Normally, kids like Draco would be hesitant to speak like this to him due to his affiliation to the Cartel, but this lad even gave him an unfeeling look as if his mere existence were similar to that of an ant.
Being a bookie, he was well versed in behavioral ticks and habits, easily able to read people's thoughts through their body language. However, all he could see from Draco was dominance and superiority.
What even terrified him the more was that this disposition was natural, not forced or even recently acquired. It was something this scrawny lad had possessed for a long time. Just who the hell was he? And he had Chloe following in his footsteps too.
"No need, I can set you up. Your match will be next, since gauntlets are always given priority in the arena. If you manage to win up to every tenth match, the multiplier for your winnings doubles linearly."
With a harrumph, the Bookie arranged for Draco's match before heading off to register it with the announcer and the fighters. Since Draco already knew the procedures, he walked over to the waiting area for combatants with Chloe in tow.
When they arrived, the benches were all full of either men or women who gazed at Draco with either interest, disdain or killing intent. Draco ignored all of this and walked to a spot near the edges of the front, which seated two men.
Before they could even get into an unnecessary back and forth talk where he'd be looked down upon and bullied, Draco kicked out to the two of them. He caught both them and everyone else by surprise due to his suddenness and the two fellows were blown away before they could even protest.
Draco went over and crippled both of their arms and legs before beckoning to a shaking Chloe to sit down with him. Everyone stared at this brutal lad who had immediately established his disposition towards everything and everyone here.
Most of the gazes directed towards him shifted from disdain to wariness and some felt outright fear. He was so skinny, but hit so hard. Those two he kicked were twice his body mass but he was able to knock both of them away with a single kick which they couldn't even respond to.
A woman near the back who wore a long red dress that revealed s.e.xy legs and a mesmerizing thigh gap hummed internally when she looked at Draco, interest forming in her eyes. A thick fellow with a long scar on his right eye covered by an eyepatch simply scoffed at Draco's antics before looking away.
These two were the only ones who caught Draco's attention in the crowd. He knew them from his past life because they were his right hand men in Hellscape, Rina and Boyd. The two were only arena fighters in this life, but Draco would go on to promote them after finding out that Rina was an excellent mage and Boyd was an apex berserker.
Still, he knew for a fact that no one was his match in the whole of the arena. He even had ways to avoid gunshots, hence his laxness towards Chloe's threats. This was common to the experts of his future life, hence the reason Draco's assassin didn't use a sniper or a gun to kill him.
Soon, another match came to an end, though a bloody one and the crowd went wild from it. Thankfully, this one was limited to two males, so no unnecessary events occurred.
In no time, the announcer called for Draco's match and the crowd got hyped when they heard it was a gauntlet.
"Who would be stupid enough to initiate the gauntlet mode?" Rina murmured with shock in her features.
"Another dumbass here to die." Boyd sneered when he heard the announcement.
Draco stood up and entered the arena, to the surprise of the fighters seated at the bench. When they saw who entered the ring, their eyes narrowed and they felt an unseen pressure envelop them.
Even Boyd and Rina's slightly disdainful expressions vanished and was replaced with solemnity. All the fighters on the stands had a slight fear of Draco, because it was obvious this lad was an expert with his level of control when he beat two others in one hit.
There was no doubt he could fight quite a few matches and win, but whether he'd live to see the end of the gauntlet was up in the air. In the Arena, there was nothing like quitting or forfeiting, or you think the woman earlier would've allowed herself to have been assaulted?
Once you're in, you either knock out your opponent if you're feeling merciful or you kill them. Either that or you get knocked out or killed yourself.
To win a gauntlet, Draco essentially needed to defeat quite literally every fighter in the Arena right now. This was a feat that many believed to be impossible.
"For the first match, we have this lad Draco going up against Garin the Wicked!" The announcer bellowed with a bit of sarcasm in his tone.
The crowd got hyped up when Draco's opponent entered the ring. It was essentially the same fellow who just laid waste to the woman earlier. He came in with abundant fanfare and a disdainful smirk on his face.
Naturally, upon entering the ring, he started talking shit. "Haha, Lad. Why don't you do this? Break your arms and legs and castrate yourself and I won't have to-"
Before he could finish, Draco had already leapt forth to assault him. He had no patience for trash talking when he was on the clock. Every second was valuable until he built a solid foundation in this life.
Garin was startled but revealed a sneer. "Brat, I gave you a chance! Don't blame me for being nasty!"
The fellow let out a bellow as he opened his arms wide and charged towards the speeding Draco. Draco himself laughed internally from the fool's actions, sliding under his grapple and tripping his opponent.
Garin fell face first to the floor and grabbed his broken nose in pain, but quickly attempted to get up. Draco didn't give him the chance as he flipped onto Garin's back and stood right atop his center of gravity.
The crowd gulped as they came to the realization that Garin was finished. He couldn't even extricate himself from the position he was in and he himself realized this. His face drained of all color as he realized that death stood right over him.
In Garin's eyes, Draco's scrawny and young body morphed into a monster with a wide smile and sharp teeth.
"P-P-Please…Spare me and I'll… I'll serve you for life…!!" Garin pleaded as his mind began to break down from fear.
However, Draco wasn't even looking at him. He eyes were trained towards a certain person standing near one of the exits. It was a woman with bruises all over her body, and blood dripping between her legs still. She was helped by two scantily dressed women who watched the match with fear on their faces.
However, the woman stared right into Draco's eyes expressionlessly. Even thought that was what was on the surface, Draco could see the sadness and anger deep down.
Draco raised his leg and stamped down on the nape of Garin's neck with full force, killing him instantly, all the while keeping eye contact with the Female Fighter.
The crowd became silent due to Draco's sudden kill. They all thought Draco would spare Garin, as he had some pull in the Cartel as a fighter and a member.
The Female Fighter nodded towards Draco and left the scene. She etched Draco's features in her mind before she left, never to forget him again.
Draco wouldn't see her again until one of his most desperate moments.
"Who is next?"
Draco looked away once the woman left the building, satisfied with what he wrought. He didn't do it out of sympathy or any heroic feeling, but the simple belief in one good deed deserved another.
Who knew, she may help him in the future thanks to this.
Draco's c.o.c.ky words made the crowd go into an uproar as excitement filled the venue. This was too much! How could this scrawny fellow even compete against a heavyweight like Garin? And even killing him in one move?
This was too exaggerated!
The fighters in the waiting area felt their hearts go cold. They dreaded facing this fellow in a one on one fight. Most of them couldn't even fill the gaps between Garin's teeth, much less the monster who killed him easily.
The Bookie felt the onset of a headache. Why did this farce have to occur during his shift? Now he was going to have to find a way to get people to fight and kill this lad, but could they even? Most of the fighters in this particular branch of the Cartel might not even be his match in a one on one…
Hm! That's it!
The Fatty slapped his palm together as he came up with an idea. If he couldn't get someone to defeat him in a one on one, he could swarm Draco with enemies until he dropped!
But of course, he couldn't just arrange something like that out of the blue. Putting aside the nature of the gauntlet, he didn't think he could get the fighters to agree to that without proper compensation.
The bookie walked over to the announcer's booth and snatched the mic from him.
"Lad, I have to admit, you have some crazy skills. None of the fighters here are your match so pitting them against you is a waste of time for all of us."
Draco agreed with the Fatty. This was a waste of time.
"So why don't we do this. You will fight five of our best fighters at once. Of course, I won't let you do this for free. If you win, your payout would be ten times higher than if you had won by defeating every fighter in this branch."
The crowd become as shocked as they could be. This was maddening! The payout for completing the gauntlet was already extravagant, but ten times that!! Draco would become someone they could only see in their dreams.
The Bookie then turned to those in the waiting area. "Of course, the fighter that manages to defeat this fellow will be paid very, very handsomely."
Those who were previously hesitant felt a spark of bravery due to greed. If they could defeat this fellow, they would be set for a long time. Of course, they didn't think they had any hopes of killing him, but defeating him was a whole different ballgame.
Immediately, quite a few of them stood up to take Draco on but he ignored them. They were just motivated by greed and weren't even worth his time.
Draco pointed to five people including Boyd and Rina. "These five might be able to get me to exert myself. Any other combo and you'll never have a chance."
His words made those who wanted to fight him feel anger but they dared not show it. Draco was directly stating that they were naught but cannon fodder to him… which was true.
The five he chose as well as the fatty felt their hearts go cold. They were the undisputed best fighters in the group and they had even hidden their exploits to lay low. They only fought in matches that the Cartel needed to be won at all cost.
Yet, this fellow was able to point them out so easily. This showed that he had almost inhuman senses and an especially sharp perception.
The five Draco picked out entered the ring and surrounded him with caution in their eyes. Their superior skills and experience told them that this fight wouldn't be a walk in the park. If they wanted to win, they would have to put in their hundred percent effort plus one more.
Draco smiled menacingly as he leapt towards one of the fighters, a fellow named Cobra. He was a skinny fellow, even scrawnier than Draco, and had a weird posture that fit his name.
Draco knew Cobra as well, him being Hellscape's best assassin player due to his absurd and unpredictable movements. Cobra tensed due to Draco's sudden charge but didn't back away. His pride as an expert wouldn't allow him to.
Yes, he recognized Draco as an almost insurmountable wall, but he would still scr.a.p.e his palms and knees to climb it! This was the mentality of an expert, one who would climb higher and higher till they hit the very roof. This was how he could rise to be one of the top thirty players in Boundless in the past.
Cobra moved agilely, swaying on the spot like a snake moving forward. His every step was made while swaying in such a manner, giving onlookers a creepy and mysterious feel. It felt like one would find it hard to tell where he would attack. Is he going for the right? Or for the left?
Draco thrust out his left leg in a roundhouse kick, aiming towards Cobra's left knee. Cobra panicked and cursed in his heart when he saw Draco's move.
Cobra's movement wasn't a learned technique, but rather a strange natural occurrence due to a misalignment of ligaments in his knee. As such, attacking that spot would limit his movements severely, as he needed to focus on it to defend his source of combat capability.
It was the equivalent of someone being fast enough to attack Draco's sword arm. He'd have to retract his offense to defend this point, as injury there would cripple his combat capability for the fight.
Still, at the end of the day, Cobra was an expert. He dived towards Draco's right, where his back would be open to attack. Here, it was obvious that Cobra was the type of person that believed in a strong offense being the best defense!
Draco commended Cobra in his head. He had found Cobra far too late in his past life and could only bring the fellow to the top thirties. If he could rein him in this early in this life and in Boundless' growth, he could place him in the top five.
The same went for each of the fighters arrayed before him. Apart from Cobra, there was Kiran who was a tall and lanky fellow with a large Adam's apple and Uno who was a caramel skinned fellow with a thick mustache and beard as well as large muscles.
Kiran was a peerless monk and Uno had been Hellscape's best paladin.
Rina the Mage Queen.
Boyd the Mad Berserker.
Cobra the Reptile Assassin.
Kiran the Dark Monk.
Uno the Godless Paladin.
The five future generals of Hellscape face off against their very own reincarnated leader.