Ichirou know that she would find him sooner or later since he have a sister who would just do anything to get him hooked up with a girl using "youth" as an excuse, but he didn't expect her to find him this sooner.
He still tried to ignore her like she's someone he doesn't know, "Who? Do I know you?" his eyes had an annoyed look. Akari's character name in EO is "DreamGirl".
She smiled and said, "Don't worry Ich chan, I know it is really you! You can't hide from me after all!". Ichirou felt a deep sense of regret for befriending her all those years ago. He gave up and asked, "How did you know it was me? Did you ask Hikari?".
"Hehehe~ why do you think that way? Do you really think that Hikari chan knows about you playing EO?" Akari was all smiles while speaking. Ichirou's gang know that she's someone who knows him in real life and they felt she's someone who is friends with him.
"Ben, who is this beauty? Won't you introduce her to us?" Luther joked. Ichirou glared at him and said as he got up, "You can introduce yourself if you badly want me to introduce her to you, leave me alone". It was easy for them to spot the annoyance in his tone.
ElvenProdigy said, "Ara Ara, did he get you angry?". Ichirou didn't say anything and walked past Akari but another obstacle stopped him. This time, even his friends got up and stood behind him.
Luther stood before Ichirou and asked, "What do you want? Are you here looking for trouble? If you are then we would gladly give you" he said in a threatening tone. The guy in front of him was taller but his build was slim compared to Luther. He smiled and said, "How could I come asking for trouble when the party of powerful players that no one in whole EO would want to mess with and not too boot that two of them are Kings of strong countries, it would be bad for me don't you think?" unlike Luther, his tone was friendly.
"Of course it will, cause if you are to pick a fight with Yamato or Ben this time, Nazgul will march and not just any normal march with a measly amount of 20,000 or 30,000 men! It will be a Hell march of 200,000 undead!" SanZ said. Vermilion or Koujo raised both his hands till his chest in surrender and said, "Don't worry, I'm not here to wage war or anything! I swear!".
DreamFly said, "But you did once, it was your luck that we didn't participate in that war or else all the troops you marched with would have been completely wiped out! It was Ben's good will that some of your men are still alive today". Koujo didn't lower his hands as he said, "I understand! Can you please hear me out?".
Ichirou moved them aside and stood before Koujo. Compared to him, Kojou was actually a bit taller than Ichirou. His armor also looked like what a Chinese General would wear. (Author: Koujo's outfit in EO is taken after the red commander costume from the movie "The Great Wall")
"What business do you have with me?" Ichirou asked in a annoyed tone. Koujo became serious and asked what he wanted to ask, "Please have a duel with me!". "Huh?" everyone was stupefied, even Akari didn't expect that but Ichirou still looked the same.
What followed after that was laughter of thee people while two others were trying hard to hold in. Luther, SanZ and DreamFly were laughing so hard that DreamFly started hitting SanZ and Luther had to hold the table to stand. While on the other hand, ElvenProdigy was giggling hard and Ezio was trying to hold in his laughter by turning his head to the side and pressed his hand on his mouth. Akari thought that they were being rude but she looked at Koujo and he didn't seem to mind it while Ichirou looked annoyed as always.
"Fine, it's been a while since I stretched a bit anyway" Ichirou answered. Koujo got escalated after hearing his answer while Ichirou's friends got excited. Akari didn't know how to react at all. All she knew about Benkei was that he's the King of a powerful country with a huge military and he fought against Koujo in war and won that war and some word on the street about him being defeated by some big shot and that's all she really knew about him, other than that, she knew nothing of his skills.
"Then let's head to the arena right now!" Koujo said as he exited the Traven immediately. Ichirou also followed him out while his friends did the same, Akari just tagged along with them. The arena, it was located on the eastern side of the city and it was huge. The whole place looked like a roman Colosseum with huge sharp spikes pointing towards the sky on each directional corner.
The group entered the arena, followed by a few players who just happen to be around and got interested as to see what's going on. The entry fee to the arena was 30 ED which is the money used in EO. Those who can make it to Lanox would definitely not lack in financial department as it is like a conflict zone between factions. Light and darkness always fights wherever we go and it's the same for EO.
Koujo was very eager to fight Ichirou in a one on one. Their luck, someone was already having a duel in the arena and not many were watching it. The group entered the spectators area since the fighters area was locked as the fight is still on going. Even the spectators area seating inside looked like a Colosseum.
They received another surprise after entering the seating location because the duel was between the two famous and powerful players in EO. They clearly did not expect Pendragon and Francis to be in Lanox too and fighting dueling against each other on top of that.
Both of them wielded two handed longswords. They had their shields on their back while their one handed swords hung on their waist. None of them used any type of skills and just exchanged strikes after strikes after strikes while pushing and punching and kicking in middle. It looked like a legit fight between Knights, not players.
The group just silently walked towards the seating to get a better view on the fight. They can't see the HP bar of both players since only the players who are fighting can see it.
The two of them didn't notice the group and just focused on their fight. Honestly, both their HP bars were equal and none of them touched the red zone yet, hell! They not even crossed the green zone.
Pendragon blocked another head up strike from Francis and shoved him off using his longsword. Francis lost his balance a bit and knelt down on the ground with one foot and used his sword to balance.
Pendragon used this chance to strike him head on. Francis looked up as he retrieved his sword which was stabbed on the ground and blocked Pendragon's attack while still kneeling one of his leg on the ground. Pendragon helmet looked like a bird peak designed Knight helmet while on the other hand, Francis's looked like a bucket with lines near his eyes and holes near his mouth, a classic Templar helmet.
Either of them looked like giving up. Their was resolution on both their eyes and that was their thirst for victory. Francis pushed Pendragon using his strength and it worked, Pendragon got pushed away for five feet and Francis used this time gap to recover. Both Pendragon and Francis recovered almost instantaneously and charged at each other. Their exchange made sparks flew and both their swords were locked against each other closely, none of the both was will to give up.
Over the audience side, Akari was baffled after seeing the fight between pros. She doesn't know who they are but she knew that they aren't using skills or any other buffs given in the game, they are fighting using their own personal techniques. She does know that in EO, no matter how powerful you are or have how many skills, it doesn't matter one bit. What matters most is that you have your own knowledge about fighting techniques in real life. Your real life knowledge reflects your performance in EO.
Some think this is quite disadvantageous while others think this is really great since no one would get any kind of perks except skills which is common to everyone. Akari was the first to break the ice, "Wow.....these guys are something! You only get physical strength boost up in EO but your stamina will still be the same as you in real world, but these guys are fighting non stop and none of then seem to give up! Are they really knights or something in the real world?".
"Their physical damage and defense is on the same level as each other and their sword techniques are also quite similar, this is a match of endurance" Luther said. Akari then asked, "Say, suppose the paladin guy over here fights either of them, would there be any chance he could win?".
"Probably no, even though his armor is superior and he has a huge shield, their sword techniques are more refined compared to his hammer fighting style! The fight will definitely become a test for endurance and moreover, Pendragon got the "Excalibur" while Francis got the "Executioner", both are legendary grade swords that Luther's armor might just wore off sooner or later, it will be his loss no matter how we look it" DreamFly said.
"Isn't that like, super amazing then! That means they are pros in real world as well!" Akari said, amazed. She turned towards Koujo and asked, "Say, can you fight them on par then? Don't you know spear fighting style in real life?".
Koujo shook his head and said, "It doesn't matter if I know it or not because their style is superior to mine and there is also level gap which in the end would be their victory". "Wow, they are really amazing, aren't they?" Akari said as her eyes fixed on the two fighting.
ElvenProdigy looked at her for a moment and said, "I don't know if you this or not but in EO, there's word on the street that top six players are all on par with each other, it's just that their strength and fighting style differs in point numbers". Akari nodded her head and said, "Yea, I also heard about it! The top six players are the gods of EO and no one can defeat them".
Ezio spoke, "Pendragon and Francis are in the top two spots while Benkei and Lothar are on Top four and DaredToDream and Rose are on top six". Akari got surprised and looked at Ichirou as she asked, "Really!? Is that true!?". Ichirou didn't even bat an eye to her and just continued watching the match.
Akari pouted as he didn't give her attention. SanZ said, "The top four are all Kings while the last two are players, one is a Hero while the other is the head guard for an NPC Kingdom and out of everyone on that list, only Benkei and Lothar can go toe to toe with this Templar and Knight".
"Lothar? Isn't that guy the King of "Winter Country"? The one way up north in the snow territory? Him?" Akari asked. SanZ nodded his head, "Yes, that guy is a tough nut to crack and fighting him would definitely make those two break a sweat".
Akari's eyes glowed as she asked more and more, "These guys are really awesome! But I never heard much about Benkei, why's that?". SanZ smiled as he said, "That's because this guy focuses mainly on defense than offense, why do you think his military is ranked second in numbers? Because he used numbers to make up for the lack of elites but then again, Pendragon is even stronger than him in terms of military! Benkei maybe a powerful player with a strategic mind but the number and power Pendragon possess, he could never beat him in that!".
"But he still won against Vermilion right? He won against an army of elites with normal soldiers! Isn't that itself an achievement?" Akari said. ElvenProdigy said, "That maybe true, but if Benkei didn't have his defense structures and soldiers maxed out, the result would have been different" her eyes were on the duel.
"Then what about others? Isn't their defense maxed?" Akari asked confused. SanZ let out a sigh as he said, "Look here, you are a Hero route player and you would never know how much it would cost for King level players to max out their defenses while on the other hand, this guy here maxed out his everything! Production, mining, training bases, defense tools factories, farming, houses, ports and even the goddamn reserve forces! He has them all maxed out and do you even have an idea of how much ED it would cost? Even I can't fathom it and nor can Pendragon or any other top brass! This guy is filthy rich! That's why he can't lose because he have both the loyalty and the materials to arm anyone in his country!" SanZ let out a breath.
Akari couldn't make anymore comment after hearing all that. She just looked at Ichirou who was heavily focused on the fight before him.
Pendragon slashed his sword horizontally from up while Francis answered with a same horizontal slash from below. Sparks flew as their swords met each other. They were still not willing to give up while they both were nearing the limit of what their stamina can hold.
Suddenly a loud horn sounded and they stopped fighting as they looked up.
The time has ran out and none of them won the fight. They both looked at each other and laughed while panting. "Hahaha! Looks like we are still on par with each other!" Francis said as he laughed. "Give me a break will you? I trained even harder this time and yet we are still the same! I'll definitely beat you next time!" Pendragon said.
"Yea yea, let's see about that the next time" Francis said as he put one hand over Pendragon's shoulder. Ichirou and Koujo already entered the arena while the two of them were chatting.
"Well well well, looks like we had quite the audience eh?" Francis said. "Long time no see, Shogun Benkei, what brings you here?" Pendragon asked.
"This guy here got cocky and proposed to me" Ichirou said. Both Pendragon and Francis gave Koujo a disgusted look. "No! I challenged him for a duel! He's messing with you!" Koujo hurriedly defended himself and gave Ichirou a glare. Ichirou felt a sense of satisfaction inside his heart.
Pendragon sighed and said, "Is that so? Don't take too long Benkei, finish it fast because I want to have a fair fight with no freebies this time" he walked past him as he said that. "Well, good luck you two" Francis said as he followed Pendragon.
Ichirou just smiled at their remarks and nodded at Koujo. Koujo nodded as well then send him a request for the duel. Ichirou looked at it.
[Player "Vermilion" challenged you to a duel, do you accept? Yes/No]
Ichirou selected yes then an announcement appeared.
[Benkei(Samurai) VS Vermilion(Spear wielder)]
Both of them readied their weapons as the countdown started.
3... 2..... 1...FIGHT!
Vermilion didn't waste a second after the bell rang and immediately launched at Ichirou in an unbelievable speed. He reached Ichirou in blink of an eye and horizontally slashed his spear with a spin at Ichirou. *BOOM*. A huge impact that sent shockwaves around and made the dust fill the air.
Akari was shocked by the display of power Koujo showed, she thought that Ichirou might not be able to get up after such a hit. "Hmph, idiot" Luther said.
The dust cleared and the view returned to normal. Vermilion's spear was blocked by Ichirou's katana which he stabbed on the ground while holding the other end. "Going with a skill straight from the start, are you that desperate to get a win?" Ichirou mocked him. Koujo smiled and said, "Well I'm fighting against you! If I have to win then I would have to use everything I have!".
Ichirou grinned then kicked his blade with his right foot. The kick pushed Koujo's spear back and Ichirou returned to his fighting stance. He lowered his body a bit then darted at Koujo in high speed. Koujo expected that as he blocked Ichirou's side slash with his spear's middle part.
Ichirou then didn't wait for him to act and gave him a roundhouse kick right in the stomach just as the blade clashed against the spear. That kick sent Koujo flying in the air twenty feet away. Ichirou didn't waste time and just darted at him again with his body positioned a bit lower.
He reached Koujo within half a second and stabbed his right lung. "Guh!" Koujo spat a mouthful of blood as the blade struck him. He immediately kicked Ichirou in the stomach and made him slide backwards while standing. Vermilion stood back up and took out the blade that was stabbed in his lung. He threw it backside and smiled at Ichirou.
Ichirou just stood there, unarmed. "Hoooo! This is going to get even more interesting!" SanZ jumped from his place and said. "What do you mean?" Akari asked with a questioned look on her face. "Wait and watch" Ezio said. While on the other side of the stadium, both the King players smiled at the turn of events, this is going to be one hell of a fight to watch!