A few moments later, Izroth and Kayn reached the Limit Zone section of the Living Forest. The area they were headed for contained numerous plants of various species, most of which looked poisonous by design. However, Izroth was not too concerned when it came to being affected by poisons thanks to his Heavenly Golden Body.
"We've arrived." Kayn said as he landed safely along with Izroth in the depths of the Living Forest. The size of the Limit Zone had shrunk even further being just 50 meters in radius. This meant that it was practically an impossibility that one would not run into another participant in the last 30 minutes. For many participants, this was their last chance to place within the top ten. This was also Izroth's final chance to claim 1st place within the selection.
Izroth stood up straight as he swept his gaze across his surroundings, however, his gaze came to a sudden halt when it landed on a certain individual. It was a woman holding a folding fan that covered the lower half of her face. Of course, this woman was none other than Sage.
Sage looked coldly upon Izroth and it was as if he was nothing in her eyes. She did not know why the third young master would go out of his way to do her this favor and bring that weakling before her, but she was grateful. After all, what right did a piece of trash have to make it this far in the selection?
Sage moved her gaze from Izroth to Kayn and made a polite gesture towards the latter as she said, "We meet again, third young master."
Kayn gave a small nod in return as he said, "Just as promised, I've brought him along with me. I'm looking forward to an entertaining fight."
"I'm afraid I will have to disappoint you. To take care of trash like that, I only need three moves." Sage replied in a nonchalant manner.
Kayn shook his head as he said, "You should not under-"
"Interesting." Izroth said as he stepped out and spoke before Kayn could finish his sentence. He knew what Kayn wanted to say to Sage, however, would someone with such a narrow mindset even heed his advice? In the end, it was not words that worked with people like her, but action!
He then continued, "Then, if you can make me take a single step from this spot in three moves, I'll freely forfeit my life to you. If you need a bigger handicap, I won't even draw my sword. If that's not enough, how about I also close my eyes?"
Kayn was surprised by Izroth's words. Was he trying to anger Sage to death with his words alone? Despite her attitude, she was still one of Zushuatri's students and even possessed a main upper eight Wind Domain. Although his match with Izroth was brief, he watched Izroth's previous battles on the magic screen and combined with that, he believed that he already had a good grasp of his overall power.
Kayn felt that it was not impossible for Izroth to win, but the chances were less than 20% and this was taking into account Izroth exploiting Sage's underestimation of his real strength. However, if he intentionally angered Sage, then even if she did look down on him she would be more overbearing in her actions from the start. This would be a huge disadvantage for Izroth. What was he trying to accomplish? This was the thought that crossed Kayn's mind.
Sage's facial expression darkened and if looks alone were capable of reaping a life, then Izroth would have experienced a brutal death a thousand times over. He dared speak to her so casually?! Not only that but also utter words of total nonsense while looking down on her?
The atmosphere immediately became tense as Izroth stood there with a carefree expression on his face. This was the total opposite of Sage who had an expression that looked as if she wanted to tear Izroth to pieces. Kayn grinned as he retreated to a safe distance as to not intrude upon their battle.
"There are only three possible ways this can end. Old man Zushuatri, she may already be too far gone to save. This is a reality that has always been inevitable to avoid." Kayn said to himself as he observed that vicious look in Sage's eyes. This was not his first time seeing such a look. It was the look of someone who had a twisted rationality.
Sage closed her eyes and when she reopened them there was a strangely calm aura about her as her vicious gaze had disappeared.
"You are unworthy to speak before me. Know your place, trash. Speaking big means nothing when one lacks power. You should feel honored that my words are the last you will hear before your death." Sage said in a calm and steady tone.
However, Izroth knew that while Sage appeared calm on the surface, the same could not be said for what lied beneath it. Izroth had his Energy Vision Sense active, therefore, he was able to track the fluctuation in the flame-like aura surrounding Sage. At the moment, it was agitated and aggressive. This was different from the calm flame that she normally had around her like back on the stage with the other of Zushuatri's students.
"Unworthy? Lacking power? I wonder... Who was it that launched a sneak attack against me while I was in the middle of a battle? Do those with power need to rely on sneak attacks to win? If so, what they have is not power, but cowardice. Who is it that is truly unworthy?" Izroth stated.
"Weaklings sure know how to flatter themselves. When you step on an ant, do you call it a sneak attack? It's just the obvious thing to do. In my eyes, you are just another ant to be stepped on for daring to crawl before my path. Since you seem to be in a hurry to die, then let me grant you your wish." Sage said without mincing her words. She truly thought of Izroth as nothing but a mere ant!
There were other participants who rushed over when they received Izroth's location due to the top ten tracking that was in place, however, they maintained a safe distance and simply observed the battle. It appeared that he had offended one of Master Zushuatri's students. Even if he was in the top ten, why risk his position by offending someone with that much power? He must have a death wish!
"As long as she wants to claim his life, there's nothing we can do about it." One of the participants spectating said with a sigh.
The other participants had similar thoughts. If they dared to interfere, then there was no guarantee that they would be capable of escaping with their lives. Plus, they would risk offending one of Master Zushuatri's students and deemed that it was not worth it. In total, there were only 50 participants remaining. This meant that each region had somewhere between 12 to 13 players residing within the Limit Zone.
The majority of the remaining participants were satisfied with their current position. After all, making it into the top 50 of the selection was a huge accomplishment that would bring honor and glory to an individual, as well as those who were backing them.
In the end, most of them came to take a look because they never heard of anyone named Izroth before, therefore, they were curious about his origins. However, when everyone discovered that he was so weak and yet still dared to boast before one of Master Zushuatri's students, they were dumbfounded.
"How did someone like that get into the top ten? It has to be a mistake, right?"
"This guy talks so much nonsense that it's hard to listen. He wants to close his eyes and not draw his sword? People like that are always the first to die in one move."
"One cannot judge based on what the eyes alone see. There exist many hidden dragons in this selection that have no trouble when it comes to hiding their real power. Someone who has the guts to speak that way is not so simple. Also, you may not know this, but I was in the same region last time as well. That guy clashed with the third young master of the Dragon Palace and managed to survive. Not to mention, he doesn't look injured in the slightest. Tell me, do you still think it's a mistake that he's in the top ten?"
"What?!" The nearby participants were shocked. That weak looking guy fought against that monster and walked away unharmed? Just who was this Izroth and what was his background? Weakling? No, someone like that could not possibly be a weakling!
"If what you speak is the truth, then indeed this Izroth character is not so simple. Now I'm actually interested in who will win between the two of them."
"Look, it's starting." One of the participants said as they noticed Sage making the first move.
The fan in Sage's hand twitched slightly. The next moment, two sharp and deadly blades of wind soared in Izroth's direction. These were different from the blades of wind from Izroth's Tempest Strikes. The wind that Sage released caused the surrounding air itself to split apart and make way for its domineering force.
Izroth closed his eyes and stood there without taking a single step from the spot he stood in. There was a gentle breeze of wind that encompassed his body.
'It looks like we've attracted quite the crowd.'
Izroth could sense that there were numerous watchful eyes on them. However, Izroth understood that no one dared to interfere due to Sage being one of Zushuatri's students, or rather because of her power.
As for the attack Sage just launched, they brushed up against Izroth's body before sliding off and striking the ground next to him.
Sage narrowed her eyes slightly when she watched what had just occurred. The breeze around Izroth was unnatural. For someone with a Wind Domain, such changes were easily noticeable no matter how minor they appeared to be.
"Hmph, you dare use wind against me?! Break!" Sage waved her fan through the air and for the first time the lower half of her face was visible for all to see.
The male participants who set their eyes upon Sage had their hearts stolen away by her beauty. Before, all they could really see were her eyes and it required the use of their imagination to picture her face, but now, they were nearly lost for words.
"So beautiful!" One of the participants exclaimed.
"She must have the bloodline of a legendary fairy spirit. To see a beauty such as this in my lifetime, I can die a happy man." Someone stated as they sighed in admiration.
Izroth, however, remained unmoved by Sage's beauty. During his journey through the Seven Realms, there was no lack of beauties ranging from fairies to goddesses. In his eyes, such beauty was not uncommon. To Izroth, a woman with a vile heart and mind was not worth a single glance.
The skill Sage used this time was at least twice as powerful as that of her last attack. Although the wind was more chaotic and unstable, it seemed to carry with it a shredding and destructive force that wanted to tear through Izroth's protection.
The overbearing and chaotic force of wind crashed into the defensive barrier provided by Izroth's Warpath Blade: Gale Zone Guard. The pressure alone almost caused Izroth to take a step back, however, he reinforced his footing and remained unmoved. Sage had failed her second attack in a row against him!
This time, Sage herself was taken aback. That attack just now was meant to disperse the wind around Izroth. Needless to say, this included the wind that was protecting him. With her deep understanding of the Wind Domain, even if it was not currently active, how could she possibly not break such a fragile-looking thing?
"I must have misheard you earlier. Surely, this is not how you planned to take care of me in three moves, is it? Well, I suppose you still have one move left." Izroth said as his eyes stayed closed with a carefree expression on his face.
"You think I'm incapable of breaking that little thing?" Sage spoke in an ice-cold tone as the surrounding winds began to pick up. She believed that no matter what, that trash had to die!
'Anger makes one predictable. Before this battle even begun... You had already lost.'