When Damien opened his eyes, he was in the middle of a large flatland. He immediately activated his vector field as an attack headed his way. It was a line of earth spikes that would have caught any normal person off guard and immediately eliminated them.
But Damien wasn’t a normal person. When the earth spikes were within range, they were suddenly crushed under their own weight and dissipated. When he turned to look in the direction the attack came from, he saw a skinny man with panic in his eyes.
Damien didn’t even pay attention to this man. Directly teleporting past him and making his way out of the flatlands. The man was confused as to why the kid he had attacked didn’t retaliate, but he didn’t get the chance to think farther as spatial light covered him and removed him from the small realm.
Damien easily took the bracelet of the man as he passed by. He mused that even though the man made it past the comprehension test, he was in the lowest tier of people competing.
Killing was strictly forbidden within this competition, but severe injury of any kind was permitted. Due to this, Damien didn’t spend too much time on weaklings. If he saw one, he’d quickly eliminate them. His targets were the other supreme geniuses and maybe the hidden tigers who had entered normally.
It was below him to bully those weaker than him in a friendly competition. This wasn’t a life or death battlefield where slaughter was his best option.
He moved quickly and efficiently as the flatlands slowly began sloping into a mountainous region. This was where Damien would hunt for the next day before he measured the rate of shrinking of the small realm.
Artifacts were also banned for the first phases of the tournament, leaving Damien with only his fists as weapons. This tule was put in place to guarantee fairness in that people won’t move further in the competition by simply relying on their status and wealth.
This was another reason why dwarves never participated in the event. Artifacts were their main strength, so the rules were against them even if it was done so unintentionally.
Though, artifacts would be reintroduced into the event at later stages
This rule left Damien with a smaller arsenal of tricks up his sleeve, but he wasn’t defenseless. His body was always his strongest point, and he had developed a solid level of destructive power through his affinities while training with Malcolm.
His sword art was useless, but there was still one move he could use. Bladeless was designed in such a way that even his arm could be used as a blade. He could also mimic the effects of spatial collapse simply with his spatial magic, but the damage was much smaller.
On his way up the mountain, Damien encountered many weaker participants who didn’t even notice as their bracelets were stolen. Sadly, he wasn’t able to find anyone who could truly fight him. Nevertheless, Damien continued on, hoping to find a worthy opponent soon.
In a huge desert spanning the majority of the west side of the small realm, Katherine was having a much more fun time than Damien.
With the desert being relatively flat beside the various sand dunes strewn along its surface, the participants within it were engaged in a small battle royale. Katherine quickly joined this battle and started amassing points.
Similar to Damien, she felt it was below her to bully the weak, so she simply used illusions to manipulate them, grabbing their bracelets while they assumed nobody was around them.
When this didn’t work, she would shoot compressed air bullets that instantly knocked out most of her opponents, granting her more points.
As she continued this cycle, she ran into a human youth that blocked her path. He pulled out a table, two chairs, and a tea set. “Miss Hart, why don’t you put away your hostility so the two of us can have a chat over tea?” The youth said while scanning her with a lewd gaze.
Katherine immediately felt disgusted. She knew who this youth was. His name was Evan Lockheart, one of the supreme geniuses from the Stanton Empire. Even within the penthouse where all the geniuses were mingling, he was constantly attempting to woo the female geniuses.
None of them gave him the time of day with him not even attempting to conceal his indecent intentions. It was obvious that certain people didn’t choose their participants based on character, but only strength.
Without a single word, Katherine flicked her wrist as a massive sword made of wind flew towards Evan, however, he just smiled and lightly stepped out of its path, allowing it to decimate the table he was previously sitting at.
“My my!” He exclaimed, “it appears that you’re quite the feisty one! Well, no matter. Taming your type is my favorite pastime.”
As he spoke, the earth around him began to vibrate. The Stanton empire was known for its talented earth affinity users, so the element didn’t surprise Katherine.
If it was 6 months ago, she’d slightly panic about how to deal with the present situation. After all, neither her wind nor illusion affinities were effective counters for earth. But now? She didn’t even bat an eye at what Evan was doing.
This confrontation was naturally witnessed by the countless spectators within the arena. Within the cacophony of cheers and boos, the announcer’s voice rang clear.
“Here we have it, ladies and gentlemen! Our first confrontation between supreme geniuses is about to begin! Place your bets at the betting booth and see if you can win big!”
Many people were already headed to the booths before the announcer’s words even fell. The betting booths were a way to enhance the audience’s experience during the tournament. It was both a way to make money and support their favorite competitors.
Although they couldn’t hear what was being said within the small realm arena, the audience could clearly see Evan’s lewd stare and Katherine’s evident disgust through the projection.
The women in the audience and quite a few of the men didn’t like this type of disgusting character, and so they immediately put bets on Katherine, while those of the Stanton empire were the majority of those who bet on Evan.
The Stanton emperor sighed helplessly as he received more than a few sidelong glances from the others around him.
“You know how the world works. Strength speaks louder than character. Besides that, his family is one of our 4 major clans. Even if I decided to reject, there would’ve been a large uproar over my decision.”
He was right. Although it wasn’t too exaggerated on the surface, the world truly was one where strength is king. The one with the bigger fist could twist things as they pleased as the losers wallowed in self-pity.
Meanwhile, Katherine’s first major clash of the Nexus Event finally began. She concentrated wind below her feet and retreated to a distance while constantly firing air bullets and wind blades in Evan’s direction.
These were all met be earth walls. Although they could mitigate the damage from the wind blades, the bullets were specifically built for penetration. Holes began forming in the earth walls, forcing Evan to dodge.
He stomped his foot on the ground, resulting in a disruption of the sand he was standing on. The sand billowed out in waves as it attempted to swallow Katherine.
Even though it was a rare subset, sand was still within the boundary of earth, making it something those with immense control over their affinity could manipulate. Being a supreme genius, Evan met this standard of control.
Sensing danger from the wave of sand, Katherine used her propulsion to fly above its range, creating massive gusts of wind that threw the environment into a flurry.
But to everyone watching, it was clear that she was on the losing end. Evan was in an environment that perfectly suited his abilities, allowing him to gain the upper hand.
Realizing this, Katherine went on a full offensive. Her speed increased fivefold, making her figure blur as she darted around the battlefield. From every direction, countless bullets and swords of compressed wind rained down.
Only about a third of them were real though. Evan clicked his tongue. He knew that Katherine possessed an illusion affinity, but he was still forced to defend against every attack, not knowing which were real or fake.
Katherine’s new strategy was wholly focused on explosive power. Each bullet that hit the ground caused a massive eruption of sand, clouding the atmosphere and hiding her position as she continued her assault.
“Dammit!” Evan cursed as he became annoyed. With another stomp of his foot, he increased the gravity around him in hopes of dragging her to the ground, but this was the wrong choice.
The increased gravity accelerated Katherine’s attacks and made their power even more explosive as they crashed into the ground. Evan was flung backward as he coughed blood.
His gravity control was still in its beta phase, so he didn’t know the specifics of how it worked. The only reason he used it was in hopes that it would slow her down. And in truth, it did.
Katherine slammed into the ground as her assault came to a pause. Without warning, several earth spikes emerged around her, cutting off her escape routes. The power of these spikes vastly outstripped the ones Damien deflected earlier, posing a serious threat to Katherine.
Since she just plummeted to the ground and had yet to recover, she wasn’t able to put up a proper defense or counter. It was clear that she had lost this match.
The audience was on the edge of their seat, paying rapt attention to see if Katherine could work her way out of this perilous situation when all of a sudden…
A resounding clap was heard, followed by a huge shockwave that even disrupted the viewing devices slightly, causing static to form for a split second before it returned to normal.
When the screens came back on, the scene in front of them left the audience stumped. Gone were the residual effects of battle, gone were the massive walls of earth and waves of sand, and gone was Katherine who was previously stuck in a perilous situation.
In front of them was Evan, who had blood leaking from his ears and a horrified look on his face. And behind him stood Katherine. Nobody could make heads or tails out of the situation besides a few powerhouses who had noticed from the start.
A voice rang out in the stands. “It was all an illusion!” Causing a tidal wave of discussions to erupt.
Katherine watched with a malicious grin as Evan fell to the ground unconscious. Grabbing his bracelet off his wrist, she spoke.
“On to the next target.”