Joshua found himself standing outside of the town with everyone standing around a bit away as he faced off with the person that decided to challenge him. He knew that this was most likely going to happen after Madalyn had told the people she was bringing along that Joshua would be leading this expedition. When it came to the guild members that Laura had brought along they had all already known Joshua so they had no problem with him being the leader of this expedition. Especially after knowing that he was the one who had lead Laura and Madalyn through the first phase in the first place. If nothing else they expected his ridiculous luck to make a difference even though that was just a joke floating around their guild at this point.
The person that was standing across from Joshua was of course a woman considering she was a part of Madalyn's guild and she was a rather tall and stout woman at that. She was maybe an inch or two shorter than Amy who was unusually tall in comparison to most women. Thus she stood at just over six feet and carried herself like she was used to being the strongest person in the room. She was well toned, but not to the point where she looked like some sort of body builder, but instead looked more along the lines of an athlete if anything. She had long black hair that went past her shoulders and the entire time they were standing there she was continuously glaring at Joshua.
Based off of the gear that she was wearing Joshua could tell right away that she was a tank, and probably the best one in Madalyn's guild going off the way she held herself. On her back she had a heavy sword strapped and ready to be drawn out for combat. She didn't have a shield so Joshua figured her combat job was most likely a Heavy Swordsman. She was geared up in full heavy armor as she started to put her helmet on and that told Joshua that she was most likely a slow moving fighter that relied on positioning and strength to overwhelm her opposition. The problem for her was the fact that Joshua could do all of that and still move around at a quick pace because of his aura and well-balanced combat job.
When Joshua observed her he saw that her information was blacked out for the moment so that he couldn't tell more about her, but he was certain this was one of her tactics for the upcoming duel. Joshua didn't really care either way since he was confident in himself to take on any opponent at this point, and taking on another tank was probably the easiest thing he could go up against besides a healer. Soon Joshua would be proven right just after the battle started. There was a small countdown by the system to show when the duel would start as it gave each person a chance to observe the other and form a plan for the match.
While the two of them were observing each other the rest of the people there for the expedition stood to the side and discussed who they thought was going to win the match. Most of the people that knew Joshua personally were all in on him winning while some of the people that hadn't seen Joshua fight before were picking his opponent to win since they had either fought alongside her before or they were going based on the level difference. It was one surprising person that spoke up and quieted everyone's chattering with a relatively simple statement.
"It's not really that hard of a question to figure out. Joshua was strong enough to lead us all to completing the first phase without having any special abilities. Now that he does I wouldn't dare to bet against him." Devin said with his usual lazy and tired look as he attracted everyone's attention. "Besides have you been able to beat him yet Amy?"
"Nope, he's still leagues ahead of me in close combat or just combat in general. Even though dad has been back at it as a combat instructor Joshua is still the strongest in our family." Amy said with a smile since she already knew that her brother was going to win. She had sparred against some of the other members in the alliance and outside of Laura and Madalyn she didn't think any of them had a chance at taking on Joshua, and that was even more so when all skills and abilities were allowed.
"Well then if a fast close combat fighter doesn't stand a chance against him, then I highly doubt a tank that's trying to move around in heavy armor will be able to do much more than be a punching bag for him." Devin said before turning his attention back to the upcoming fight. Most people seemed to agree with his sentiment outside of the members from the Serpent Guild. Madalyn noticed the responses from her guild members and just shook her head and decided to watch the outcome. She knew that a lot of the high level members of her guild needed a reality check to keep their mind set the way it needed to be. They were getting to arrogant and in the past she would have Adrian or Aito show them that, but it seems like it was time for another lesson.
The moment the system started the duel Joshua's opponent decided to charge forward to take the initiative. Usually tanks allowed their opponents to charge them in one on one duels, but since it was a battle between two tanks his opponent clearly decided that she'd go on the offensive this time around. When Joshua watched her approach the first thing he noticed was the fact that she was far too slow. There was a reason tanks relied on positioning so much when it came to defending the rest of the group and that was because most tanks were way to slow to chase down enemies. If they didn't have skills that attracted the attention of enemies or skills that allowed them to block off a large area then they would struggle to fill their role in battle. When it came to one on one duels they'd have to rely on their defense to hold on until they got a good enough opening to make their damage matter.
It was clear to Joshua that this tank didn't have a high end movement skill and based off of her armor and heavy sword he was certain that she was used to the enemy coming to her during combat. Joshua just shook his head and blocked her blow head on with his scale blade. From the short exchange he could tell that her strength would normally be a little bit more than his own when he didn't have his aura going to strengthen his body, but their difference in size made it so that he was only slightly pushed back from the exchange. Joshua went on the defense at the start of the battle as he blocked her powerful swings on occasion while dodging the far more obvious swings that glowed with an empowered shine to them. He was certain that she was using some sort of skill whenever this happened so he didn't want to test his luck just encase the ability could either stun him, or cause major damage. He had seen knights in action before with their shields so he knew that shield bash could disorient an enemy for a time and he didn't want to risk one of this girl's skills having the same effect.
After nearly a minute of testing out all of her attacks he could tell that the girl was getting annoyed as she frantically picked up her pace. Joshua could see that she had some pretty good skill with swordsmanship, but it wasn't anywhere near the level of Adrian who he sparred against all the time. The power behind her blows was pointless since he could easily dodge them and Joshua figured it was time to end the underwhelming fight. When she came at him with another overhead swing he stepped to the side while blocking the blow and forcing her momentum to continue forward causing her to stumble a bit. He then kicked her legs out from under her while her balance was off causing her to fall forward on to the ground. Before she could try to get up Joshua had his scale blade at the gap between her helmet and her armor ready to plunge in and kill her proving he was the winner.
"I don't accept this! Fight me head on!" She shouted in anger while standing up and lifting her sword into the air preparing to strike again. Joshua just sighed before allowing his aura cloak to surround him. He felt his strength surge up before he swung his scale blade straight into the incoming sword and the force of the blow sent it flying out of her hand before he once again placed the point of his scale blade at her neck.
"Give up, you aren't stronger than me." Joshua simply said before putting his scale blade back on his back and walking back over to the others. The moment he arrived he could see the look of surprise in most of the group's eyes along with a look of complete shock when it came to the people from Madalyn's guild. They all expected it to be a completely different fight while the people that knew Joshua were still surprised by how easily he handled a top level tank in a one on one duel with no issue. In fact it looked like he was holding back for the people that had seen Joshua fight before.
For the entire start of the fight he was just leading his opponent on while observing her movements and seeing everything his opponent could do. He learned her style and after a while decided to end the fight quickly. It showed that he was well above her when it came to technique since they were fighting at relatively the same strength although Joshua was a bit faster on his feet. The second portion of the fight on the other hand just showed the giant gap between them when Joshua used his aura shroud and took his opponent down in one strike. It was clear who the better fighter was for everyone to see.
"I guess you were right brother, though I did have the sneaking suspicion as well." Dillon said with his usual overly happy smile. His words seemed to knock everyone that was still in a trance in to motion as they started to congratulate Joshua on the victory. The other members of Madalyn's guild were still looking in disbelief, but made sure to walk over to their companion to check up on her. It was good to see that they at least had some good comradery amongst themselves. Joshua just hoped that in the future they'd be able to share the same amount of companionship with the entire alliance instead of just their own guild. For a while everyone seemed to be discussing the brief fight before Joshua decided it was time to head in for the meeting since it was getting dark.
"Alright let's all go to the town hall and discuss what we plan to do for the expedition tomorrow." Joshua said as everyone agreed and started the head back towards the gates at the entrance of James Town. Before Joshua could make his way over he was stopped by someone that surprised him a bit.
"I'm sorry my guild members can be a little too hot headed when it comes to these types of situations, but now that you've proven your strength I'm sure that they will be fine with you being the leader for the upcoming expedition." Madalyn said with a small smirk on her face as if everything had gone exactly as she had predicted. She pointed over to her guild members and Joshua saw them all glancing towards him with a look of respect instead of the neutral look they all had earlier.
"So you wanted this to happen all along then?" Joshua asked with a shake of his head in slight annoyance at Madalyn's antics.
"It was the fastest way to get the message across to them. Besides they were getting a bit too overconfident lately and I wanted them to get a wake-up call. You were the perfect person for the job and this was the perfect situation." Madalyn said with a smile before following the others and Leaving Joshua behind. He just smiled a bit at her retreating figure before heading into the town himself.