As the battle continued, Beren revealed more of the variety of techniques from the different clans. Some were skills or maneuvers only taught to those who were masters of their crafts, one of them, was one that Mei Fong had not seen since that fateful day when her monastery was consumed in flames and ruin. Beren was cloaked in a mantle of flames, like a rising phoenix, the warrior stood against Shiro, the Black Frost for could possibly be their final clash. 

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The cindering flames quelled and formed into a bright cloak on Beren’s shoulders, Jade and Mei Fong knew he wasn’t stopping there. The two watched as Beren conjured a spear made of light. Most likely a powerful technique from the Golden Spear clan, they thought.

“Today, I will avenge those people, and the many others you’ve slain. I will fulfill my oaths and defeat you.” Beren pointed the spear at Shiro.

The Black Frost smirked, a spark of life seemed to dance within those ice-cold eyes. Was it excitement? Perhaps he finally found a worthy opponent, one that challenged him regarding skills.

“Show me yours, and I’ll show you mine. I believe that is how the saying goes?”

Ice formed around Shiro’s body, shaping along his limbs and even around his head until it appeared like a suit of armor. The dark robes underneath refracted the illusion that the ice was black like obsidian. A large icy blade extended from his hand, the mist began to drift from him and envelop the arena again. Jade Tiger and Mei Fong were mesmerized by the two’s display, they were not holding back any longer. The next clash would be their final one, a victor will emerge to fight in the final round.

The two charged at the other, ice formed a path in front of Shiro while Beren’s visage became a blinding light. When they clashed, silence fell as all the spectators waited for the outcome to resolve. Though it seemed obvious, as the golden spear had pierced through the Black Frost’s armor. The armor began to crack, Beren scrutinized his foe before realizing the ploy. Dodging a giant icicle erupting from the arena floor, the visage of Shiro could be seen within the frozen spire. He emerged from it, still encased in his armor of ice, almost anticipating Beren’s dodge and backstep.

“Impressive, you dodged my Steps of the Frost King. Not many are smart enough to recognize the decoy.” Shiro readied himself again for another attack.

Beren charged forward, dodging the barrage of ice thrown at him before going into melee with the Black Frost. The Two exchanged a series of blows, parrying some while trying to gain the advantage. Thunder sounded with each clash, the mystical energies the two emitted would make even the prominent sages blush. Beren managed to block the ice blade with his bare hands, melting it down from his fiery mantle. Beren did not hesitate with his counterattack, he jumped into the air and hurled his golden lance onto the arena. The weapon slammed into the stone floor within a blink of an eye. The impact devastated the area as divine light consumed every corner of the stage.

Once the dust settled, Beren noticed a series of ice blocks were erected between him and his presumed target. Each block was nearly two feet deep, there were at least five such blocks in a row. A puncture mark could be seen in their centers, penetrating deeper and deeper until it found its target. The awe-struck Shiro remained in disbelief, before looking down to find a large gap at the center of his chest. Eventually, death finally found him, and its embraced arrived quickly as the warrior collapsed onto the shattered ruins of the arena.

Beren landed and inspected his opponent, taking note of the Black Frost’s lifeless eyes. A few nudges from his foot to confirm that it wasn’t another frozen doppelganger. He looked up at the elven moderator, who approached him and confirmed his suspicions. His arm was raised high, and Beren was declared the winner. He closed his eyes and released the mantle’s power; a great weight seemed to have lifted from his shoulders. Beren stepped down from the arena, which the moderator began preparing with his magic and met with Jade Tiger and Mei Fong. Before he could utter a word, Mei slapped him across the face which left a loud echo across the room.

The two contestants walked to the stone arena as the repairs continued, both took the opposite corners and mentally prepared themselves. Mei would have to deal with Beren later, she had to now. There were many questions, and he had the answers. But that upset her the most was the feeling of betrayal she felt, for such a secret to having been kept from her. As if he was mocking her the entire tournament, but she pushed the thoughts to a corner of her mind while she readied herself against the tabaxi warrior.

“I know you wish to ask him many questions, I will permit you to do so. But before that, I want to have an honest duel between us. I respect your abilities as both a friend and fellow warrior” Jade Tiger spoke calmly.

Mei Fong replied with a determined stare and nod. She unsheathed her twin blades, igniting both with flames. The two warriors poised to strike as soon the elven moderator stood between them.

“This match will determine who shall move onto the final round. Fight!”


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