Previously, the quarter-finals of the Chromo Gyamdre had begun. Shiro of the Black Forst and Beren were the first pair to start the road for the semi-finals. Beren revealed much of his mysterious past to Jade Tiger and Mei Fong, as the last student and inheritor of the Golden Spear’s martial arts. But to further complicate matters, Beren reveals that he and Shiro of the Black Frost were present the day Mei Fong’s monastery was attacked; its students and masters slain amongst the burning ruins. What other secrets shall be unearthed in this match? Find out!
Shiro, the Black Frost clashed with Beren of the Golden Spear; the two exchanged a series of blows of ice and golden light danced across the stone arena of the octagonal room. They both separated, landing on opposite sides, though they were not evenly matched. Small pockets of frost formed along Beren’s arms and legs, the warrior managed to scrape some off, but much of him had become frozen.
Curse of the Black Frost, eh? Beren thought. He definitely grew stronger since our last encounter.
A sharp, pointed blade made of ice formed over Shiro’s right hand; a soft mist began to swirl outward from the dark-haired warrior.
Just like his first fight. Beren changed his stance, poised to accept the incoming fog cloud. Jade Tiger took notice right away to the familiar pose, Mei Fong watched with anticipation.
“How did he learn that stance?” Jade pondered.
Mei Fong turned to the tall tabaxi warrior. “Is that technique you’re familiar with?”
“Yes, it’s a stance from the Emerald Conclave. The Perched Heron, used to widen offensive capabilities in all directions of the user. It’s mainly used defensively to guard against multiple enemies, keeping them out of range. I never recalled him learning it.”
“Perhaps he learned it from watching you?”
“I doubt that. While we had journeyed together, we rarely showcased any of our actual skill. I never knew he was the last scion of the Golden Spear. He was there when one of the Emerald Conclave’s instructors gave me their blessings.” Jade Tiger wondered how his friend and travel companion could have acquired a skill that even he barely mastered, but he did not wish to share that with Mei Fong.
“Do you think he learned it from them?” Mei glanced to see the fog completely cover the arena.
Beren’s silhouette was masked by the veil of dense mist and an unnerving silence. None of the Chromatic Lords, who sat high in their makeshift thrones made any movement. Like statues etched out of stone and metal, they remained silent and awaited the results. Even the elf moderator stepped closer to the edge of the square, to avoid being trapped in the fog.
The sound of an impact echoed out from the cloud, like striking an iron bell. A soft glow began to part the fog to reveal Shiro with his iced blade trapped between Beren’s wrists which were enveloped in light. Shiro looked surprised, Mei thought. Upon closer inspection, the blade made of ice was in fact suspended between where Beren’s wrists met to form an apex; in reality, the blade was trapped between the back of his hands. Mei had heard of such a defense trick, but she only heard of it from the Adamantine Dragon clan.
“Jade, Beren said he had been on a pilgrimage to other monasteries, did he ever say which ones?” Mei refused to turn to the tabaxi, but instead, keep her focus on the match.
“No, but I’m beginning to wonder the depths of his skills and the journey he must have took to reach this pinnacle.”
The two continued to look onward, uncertain what to make of these displays of skill and techniques.
“You seem so surprised,” Beren goaded.
Shiro stared at the display, his arm completely immobile from the vice grip of the golden lit arms.
“Lotus of the Iron Tortoise, an Adamantine Dragon counter. I had only seen it once, to think I would find myself caught between it again in my lifetime.”
Beren grinned. “Trust me. You have no idea.”
“No, you shouldn’t underestimate me.” Shiro countered.
Beren noticed that the ice on his arms only continued to thicken, he released his grip on the ice blade, and the two stood in front of the other again. More of Beren’s arms were covered with ice, more likely he needed to beat his opponent unconscious to subvert the effects. But the young warrior had another trick up his sleeve, one that would surely shock all present in the room. He could not afford to prolong the fight, that would be the Black Frost’s advantage.
“I never doubted your skill, I doubted mine. I thought I was strong enough to defeat you without relying on this power, but it would seem that I was foolish.” Beren admitted. He closed his eyes, imagining the darkness and a single spark of light. The light was small but vibrant, he willed it to grow. It grew, larger and brighter. He willed it to grow more, it continued to grow. In the darkness, the light began to worm itself into the cracks of the dark, finding purchase in the emptiness. Now, he willed it burst out from the light, a flame of absolute purity and divinity. The light heard his call, breaking forth a majestic figure with a mighty cry against the remanent shadows.
The ice began to melt and even shatter from his awakening, a fiery aura of golden light and crimson flames. Powerful wings of fire bursting his back, forming a blazing shroud. Mei looked in disbelief and contempt. Only once, when she was younger, did she ever see the master from her monastery give a similar display. But it was lost now, none of the other monasteries had mastered this skill. She thought it was lost forever, until today. Today, she felt pride and joy, but disbelief and anger.
“I remember that technique, so that old master managed to pass it down to you before he perished. I cannot wait to encase you in your icy tomb. Not even those phoenix flames can save you from my ice.” Shiro promised. A smile curled along his cold demeanor, his snide remarks were made beyond a guarded frozen face. He was going to enjoy this rematch, the Black Frost never believed in finishing anything halfway.
Jade Tiger realized that he was the only outsider, he mustered the courage to ask Mei Fong. “I’m assuming it’s a Crimson Phoenix technique?”
Mei Fong continued to stare at the spectacle, her voice distant and bewildered. “Yes, the Mantle of the Phoenix. Channeling the divine light to form wings of fire, a cloak of divine flames. No one has mastered it since…”
Beren reopened his eyes, consumed by bright light and flames. The wings faded by the fiery shroud remained, bellowing as if against a great wind.
“Now, we finish this fight.”
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