353 Chapter 28: Joshua and an old Acquaintance put on a show
After taking down the mage in record fashion the arena system was clearly put in a bad spot. At this point Joshua had the biggest crowd possible with so many people coming to check his fights out which meant a lot of system points and the arena would clearly want to keep this momentum going, but after Joshua destroyed the mage it didn't know who to bring along for the next match to make things interesting. Joshua hadn't shown nearly enough of his skills in the prior two matches for the system to get an accurate judge of his capabilities in arena matches.
In the end Joshua had to wait a few minutes before the system finally decided on his next opponent. The crowd erupted into cheers the moment the opponent appeared on the arena across from Joshua. They were excited to see what he would do next and they were hopping that the new arrival would be someone that would be able to push Joshua into showing off more.
When Joshua was finally able to see who his next opponent was he found the man familiar and realized right away why that was the case. It was the same gun user that had lost to Aito earlier and Joshua instantly understood why the system had chosen him as his opponent. In the last match the system had chosen a mage because it believed that a mage could fight him from a distance, slow his movements, and slowly wear him down.
That was all avoided because of the simple fact that most mages are stationary in their tactics. They may put up a lot of obstacles in your way, but they usually don't move around a lot. Joshua was able to take advantage of this by just bull rushing through all of the obstacles and taking the mage by surprise. A gun users however didn't have the same tendencies that a mage had when it came to being stationary. Joshua knew this well since he had spent so much time fighting alongside Aito at this point.
A gun user was usually on the move during combat since he never wanted to be the main target of his enemy in dungeon raids and he never wanted to give his opponent time to close in during a one on one fight. The only time a gun user ever stood still was when using a sniper or a charged up shot with a heavy weapon. Joshua knew that after the last match there was no way his opponent would be using such a weapon against him.
The moment the countdown for the match started his opponent dashed backwards to create as much space as possible. Since Joshua couldn't cross the middle of the arena the gun users was able to create quite a bit of space. He then took out what looked like an assault rifle and kept a shot gun strapped to his back while taking aim at Joshua waiting for the countdown to end.
Once the countdown ended Joshua's opponent started firing. The bullet crashed against Joshua's scale blade and he was easily able to tell the strength of the impact of the bullets and figured if he used his aura shroud and aura hardening he would have no problem blitzing right through all of them. Knowing that would be too easy Joshua decided to show off in another way by rushing forward with his scale blade blocking his front. He was able to easily sense where his opponent was even without seeing him do to his aura sense. This shocked the gun users since he was constantly shifting positions to try to keep space, yet Joshua kept following him without even giving any openings to look around his blade and check the gun user's movements.
Eventually the difference in stats showed itself as Joshua was able to chase down the gun user and force him to take out his shot gun. The blast shook Joshua from the impact, but didn't stop his movements as Joshua quickly cleaved his blade from overhead forcing the gun user to block with his shot gun. The weapon was knocked aside but the gun user was barely able to avoid receiving a fatal strike. Instead he had a long cut across his chest with his light armor cleanly cut through.
The gun user smiled happy at the fact that he was able to avoid getting taken out in one strike. He grabbed a smoke grenade from his inventory and planned to use it to create confusion and break away from Joshua, but he was never given the chance. He felt a sharp sense of pain before fading away and getting sent back to the waiting room without even knowing how he lost. Joshua smiled as the echo strike vanished from view and he lifted his scale blade up and waved at the crowd. He only had one match left to go and the crowd was loving every moment of his mad dash through the arena.
This time around Joshua was surprised that it didn't take very long for the arena system to decide on his next opponent. He was expecting it to stall out a bit after he had quickly taken care of two long ranged opponents that the system believed he would have been weak against. Joshua highly doubted the system would stick to that pattern and send out an archer or something. He was soon proven right when a person entered the arena with a big grin on their face.
Joshua's opponent this time was someone that he was actually familiar with. It was a person that was similar size wise to him standing only a couple inches shorter than him at most. He was extremely high level in comparison to the rest of the competitors that Joshua had seen in the arena so far. The man was already level seventy-three which was surprising. After entering the arena the first thing the man did was take out a massive shield that was big enough to cover up to his shoulders without him having to crouch down.
The man that was going to be Joshua's opponent this time around was an old acquaintance that Joshua had met while exploring alongside Adrian, Aito, and Henry. He was Martin, the person who had offered them all a spot in his guild the last time they had met and he had a giant grin on his face that made him seem rather jolly because of his mustache.
"Well I couldn't just stand by and watch you have all the fun now could I." Martin said with a bright smile as the countdown started and the crowd erupted into cheers when it seemed like someone had finally come along that could be a challenge for Joshua. "I thought I would come here to push you a bit and see how strong you really are. Adrian and the other guys talked highly of you so I'm expecting a tough fight."
Joshua smiled at this before deciding to take this match a bit more seriously. He had never faced a shield user before, but he had seen how Jayce preferred to use his shield more than his sword during combat even if he was a knight. He had a good idea of how Martin would fight and knew trying to break through his defenses would be difficult without his aura. Besides he was here to show off and bring attention to his guild. Apparently Martin had the same idea since he came out here to challenge Joshua instead of waiting for him to leave the arena like most of the large guild leaders that were all probably sitting in one of the arena rooms waiting for him and the other members of his guild to all be done.
Right before the countdown was about to end Joshua held up his scale blade and let his aura shroud envelope his body getting looks of shock from the audience. Martin had seen the large subjugation raid so he knew about Joshua's aura. Seeing it in person however was a completely different experience. He could feel Joshua's aura give off a large amount of pressure that made him feel like he was going up against a boss level beast. The only difference was Joshua's felt far more controlled.
The moment the countdown ended Joshua charged forward at speeds far faster than normal. Everyone could see the improvement in his stats just from his speed alone. Martin immediately held aloft his shield as it started to glow brightly. When Joshua scale blade smashed into the shield the force of the blow was rebounded sending him skidding back. Martin smiled a bit at the fact that he was able to hold his ground in their first clash, but he could also feel the brunt of Joshua's strength from that one blow. His arm was still shaking from withstanding the impact long enough for his ability to reflect it.
Martin decided to not rely on frontal clashes seeing as how it would wear him down quickly in comparison to Joshua who had his aura and high regeneration to withstand such injuries. Martin let out a roar as a wave of energy engulfed his body and flowed into his shield. He then slammed it into the ground causing the energy to flow into the surroundings and create a large wave of energy that pushed Joshua further back. If it was a normal explorer they would have been sent flying to the other side of the arena, but with Joshua's rock steady ability he was able to hold his ground long enough to only get pushed back a few feet.
When Joshua moved his scale blade aside to see what Martin was up to he was surprised by the shield user's current position. He stood stout with his shield dug into the ground in front of him. He was hunched over so that Joshua couldn't see his face and so that all of his body was protected by his shield. What was new about the situation was the fact that there were now multiple small shields made out of mana floating around his body in layers. There was around thirty shields all moving around him ready to block any incoming attacks.
"How about we play a little game?" Martin said with a hint of amusement in his voice. "If you can manage to break through all my defenses within a minute then you win, but if I hold out longer than that then I win. From your first attack I can already tell there's no way that I can do enough damage to take you out of commission with that aura around you, but can you take me out."
Joshua grinned at the suggestion. He was going to show Martin why Adrian and the others claimed he was the strongest amongst them. "That's fine with me." Joshua said as he positioned himself to charge in and burst through Martin's defenses in one go. Joshua coated his scale blade in aura and started condense the aura that was already formed inside of his aura shroud. He then held his scale blade aloft before using his will to strengthen the aura around his legs. With that Joshua blasted off towards Martin and pushed straight through the waves of energy he was constantly giving off.
Martin seemed surprised by this fact since he expected the pulses of mana his large shield was giving off would have at least slowed Joshua down, but his aura was cutting through it effortlessly. The first true obstacles that got in Joshua's way were the floating shields that surrounded Martin, but Joshua figured out a way to use them to his advantage. Instead of trying to avoid them and losing his momentum Joshua twisted his body to the side to hit the first projectile shield with his scale blade. Just as Joshua expected the shield was destroyed, but the force was reflected back on him.
Joshua used this reflective force to his advantage by having it send him towards Martin at a faster pace. Each time a shield tried to get in the way he did the same thing until he was able break past the line of defense and position himself directly in front of Martin. If anyone else had tried to do the same thing their body would be an injured mess from all of the reflective damage they would have taken along the way, but Joshua's aura mitigated most of that force while healing any minor injuries he gained.
Joshua then slammed an aura blast filled scale blade into the ground right in front of Martin causing it to cave in and throw Martin off balance. Joshua then grabbed the giant shield and pulled it enough to create some separation between it and Martin. With nothing left to defend himself Joshua was able to place his spare sword across Martin's exposed neck getting the victory.