Book 2: Chapter 187
Bargan sat in the stands of the arena and looked down at the field.
It was really large.
It hadn’t been this big when he left. By the looks of it, the arena was at least 10 times larger than when he last saw it. It had probably taken hundreds of architects from Peace Island to build it.
Now, the arena had become a symbol that represented Lirua and had become its pride at the same time.
Bargan suddenly realised that it had been 30 years since he’d left the city.
It had clearly been a long time, but even when he thought back to that time, no memory really stood out. All he had were desolate feelings and a body that was steadily growing older.
Such was the life of a wanderer.
That’s why the week or so that he’d spent with Lukas had become a powerful memory for him.
“Dammit. He still hasn’t shown up yet?”
“He really just does whatever he wants.”
“Can we get ticket refunds?”
There were spectators sitting here and there in the mostly empty stands. And the ones sitting behind Bargan constantly muttered in a dissatisfied tone.
He understood them.
It was already past the time for the fight to start, but only one Fighter stood in the arena.
Even the Fighter’s expression showed displeasure and irritation. Anyone in his position would probably have had the same expression if their opponent still hadn’t appeared ten minutes after their fight was supposed to start.
Bargan’s expression was also not good, but for a different reason. His face didn’t show any irritation or impatience with the current time-wasting situation.
To put it simply, he didn’t look upset, he looked extremely serious.
“Dammit. If it wasn’t for the fact that Padudu is fighting in the next match, I wouldn’t have come to see this one.”
“What are you talking about? Kingtan’s matches are all worth watching.”
“That’s only when the opponent is also competent! If the opponent is a loser who lost 12 consecutive matches then he won’t even break a sweat!”
Most of the spectators usually didn’t care which side won as long as they could watch them fight. Unless they were a big fan of that Fighter.
What the spectators were enthusiastic about was a thrilling battle that made their hands sweat.
A battle where, after hundreds of clashes, the winner was decided by a paper-thin advantage.
Those were the famous matches.
And Dragon Hunter Lukas, who was currently the most criticised Fighter in the entirety of Lirua, had never shown such a match.
Bargan bit his lip as a feeling of anxiety welled up within him.
The reason he was sitting in the stands was, of course, to watch Lukas’ match. He’d told him to not come to him, but he hadn’t said he couldn’t watch him fight.
But even though he’d used such a cowardly excuse to buy a ticket, Lukas hadn’t appeared even after 10 minutes had passed.
This had never happened in any of his 12 fights.
‘Did something happen?’
Just as he had this thought…
One of the officials entered the arena and walked to the referee before whispering something in his ears. The referee’s expression hardened, and he let out a soft sigh, though he tried his best to hide his reaction.
Then, he raised his hand and shouted.
“Kingtan wins by default due to the absence of Dragon Hunter Lukas!”
Winning by default was one of the most humiliating ways for a Fighter to win a match.
In a way, it was much worse than directly losing. Because of this, Kingtan’s expression twisted fiercely and he simply turned around and left the arena without saying a word.
The crowd booed, but they weren’t booing Kingtan.
Instead, they were booing Lukas, who had failed to appear.
“Is it because he didn’t want to take part and directly lose in 13 consecutive matches?”
“He really is creating history in the arena in a different way.”
“Mm. Maybe something happened?”
“Ha! If something did happen, it was probably that he couldn’t walk to the arena because his legs were shaking too much! He’s just a disgusting, cowardly bastard!”
One of the audience members spat on the ground.
That remark caused Bargan to turn around. When his eyes met with that audience member, they flinched back. This was because the fierce look in his eyes was truly frightening.
“D-, do you have something to say?”
Bargan realised that he was just childishly venting his anger, so he turned away and got to his feet.
“What the hell was that…?”
“Is he crazy?”
Bargan heard the voices coming from behind him, but he just ignored them and continued walking to the lobby.
Then, he headed towards a free receptionist.
Looking at her, Bargan spoke in a blunt tone.
“Please set the match as soon as possible.”
The receptionist blinked.
“Yesterday, I registered as a Fighter for this arena. I didn’t pick a time for a match then, but I’ve changed my mind.”
“…ah, I see.”
It was only then that the receptionist smiled and nodded.
Then, after Bargan told her his personal information, she checked the schedule and nodded after a while.
“A match can be scheduled for tomorrow morning. Would you like to do it then?”
“Can’t it be sooner?”
“It’s not possible to reserve a match for the same day.”
The receptionist spoke in an embarrassed tone, but Bargan continued without hesitation.
“Didn’t Kingtan’s match end up as invalid? Looking at the schedule, it doesn’t seem like he has another match for a while.”
“If it’s Sir Kingtan… Yes. He doesn’t have any matches scheduled for next week.”
“He’s probably pretty heated right now. There is still a while till the next match. What do you think?”
Bargan pointed to himself.
“I’ll fight him on behalf of the Dragon Hunter.”
* * *
In the end, Bargan’s coercion worked.
A middle manager who seemed to have some authority had taken the place of the disgruntled receptionist.
His attitude was pretty lukewarm at first, but it quickly changed after he learned of Bargan’s identity.
“Headsmasher Bargan. You were originally from Lirua.”
This was why Dragonmen risked their lives for fame.
Even if it was in a major city like Lirua, one was still able to receive a certain degree of recognition with a reputation like Bargan’s. If one managed to become the Champion of a city, they would be well received no matter what city they went to.
Of course, Fighters who didn’t fight didn’t receive the same treatment.
Most Dragonmen didn’t have identification cards. This didn’t just apply to wanderers like Bargan.
So if people were killed or eaten by Dragonlings while traveling between cities, no one would remember them.
And that was something that the Dragonmen living on Combat Island feared the most. To be completely forgotten after their death.
For no one to remember they’d existed in the first place.
Because they didn’t want that, the Fighters fought.
They all wanted to become legends that would be remembered for decades and centuries, not forgotten after a year or two.
In other words, even after death, they wanted to be talked about by many Dragonmen.
That was the ultimate goal of the Fighters who risked their lives in every battle.
“This is interesting. The return of Bargan, a former Lirua Fighter.”
The manager said this with a bright smile.
“I’ll give you 30 minutes to prepare.”
“No need. If he’s ready to fight, we can start immediately.”
“Huhu, you really are a role model for other Fighters.”
He smiled in satisfaction and beckoned to his subordinate.
* * *
Bargan stood in the arena for the first time in decades.
There weren’t many spectators in the arena. Since the match had just ended anticlimactically, most of them had left or gone to watch another match.
“I think you’ve long passed the age to be running around in the arena.”
There was a sneer on Kingtan’s lips as he said this. He looked like he was in a much better mood. Perhaps he was happy that he now had someone to vent his anger on.
“I’ve heard the rumors about you. 30 years ago, you were pretty famous in the arena.”
“But this place is completely different from back then, so you better be careful. Well, you don’t have to worry too much. Since you’re my senior, I won’t-”
“You talk a lot. Is that tongue of yours your weapon?”
Kingtan’s expression immediately became hard.
“…of course not.”
He squeezed the handle of his mace. His mace, which was covered in ferocious spices, seemed like it would shred Bargan’s skinny body to bits in an instant.
He spun his mace in his hand.
Bargan looked at him for a moment before he slowly raised his club.