After struggling for a while. Otto gradually regained consciousness. Since he’d fallen face–first. he had lost his front teeth, contributing even further to his disheveled appearance.
“What happened?” He shook his head, confusion lining his features.
He remembered the surge of power he felt as he reveled in his mastery barely seconds ago before weakness
seized him, and he found himself lying on the floo
“Otto, you were knocked out by that guy just now!” Julie told him, her expression strange. She’d initially thought Otto would be able to defend her–contrary to her beliefs, the first punch found him sprawled on the
floor, unconscious the next instant.
“Knocked out?” Otto was slightly taken aback. He touched his throbbing face, an argument bursting forth.
Fuck that! I must have slipped and lost my balance. That brat would never have been able to hurt me
His declaration elicited a flurry of nods through the crowd.
“That’s right! With Otto’s strength, it would’ve been beyond effortless for him to take that guy down. If it hadn’t been for a moment of carelessness on his part, how else could that guy manage to sneak in an attack?”
“Exactly! Otto must’ve been careless and didn’t dodge it on time!”
Otto’s strength and skills were common knowledge among them all. After more than a decade of professional kickboxing training and championship titles under his belt, his capabilities were unquestionable. If it hadn’t been for him underestimating the opponent, he would never have been taken down in just one move.
“Oh, just admit that you lost and move on. What’s the use in trying to make all sorts of excuses for yourself? With your mediocre martial arts skills, you wouldn’t even be able to hold your own against Dustin even if he only used one hand.” Ruth rolled her eyes.
She’d never seen anyone so shameless–his defiance and feigned bravado despite having been taken down squarely by the opponent irked her to no end.
“Hey! Don’t talk to me like that!” Otto glared in response. “People make mistakes. Hell, even the strongest. horses stumble. You think that little brat is impressive? You think he’s better than me? Fine! Let him fight me again–fair and square. I, for one, am interested in seeing what he’s capable of.”
“What he said! If you have the guts, let Rhys fight Otto in the battle ring and see who’s the real man!” Julie and
the others chimed in.
At the end of the day, all of them were convinced that Dustin had only won out of sheer luck. When it came to
strength and pure skill, Otto reigned superior.
“What? Do you not have the guts to face me like a man?”
The longer Dustin remained silent, the more arrogant Otto became. “I knew it! That brat had always been all
talk and no show. He would never be able to stand up to the challenge!”
“He only knows how to attack when someone’s back is turned. He’s evidently too much of a coward to fight.
head–on. Guess that’s the most people like him can ever achieve anyway.”
Disdain took over the room instantly. Any surprise they’d initially felt was soon replaced by contempt. To them. Dustin’s reluctance to rise to Otto’s challenge was the greatest sign of his quilt.
“Look! The Harmons are here!” someone exclaimed out of nowhere.
The rest of them followed the direction of their gaze, only to behold a group led by Natasha entering from the passageway on the left.
The King of Kicks, Mr. Wangley, Stephan, Jessica, and Quentin, among others, were present as well.
“No way! I didn’t think they’d bring Mr. Chapman along today. Now that they did, they must be determined to win!” Otto’s face was a picture of surprise when he caught sight of Stephan in the crowd.
“Who’s Mr. Chapman? Is he a good fighter?” Julie asked tentatively.
“He is much more than that,” Otto began. “Mr. Chapman is the best of the best. He’s one of the best among The Hundred Immortals–skill–wise, it’s hard to find someone in Swinton who can rival his abilities!”
“The best among The Hundred Immortals? No wonder his aura stands out! The way he carries himself is truly remarkable.” A group of disciples watched Stephan make his entrance fervently, their eyes gleaming with
After all, anyone who could make it into The Hundred Immortals demanded every shred of respect they could possibly offer.
Otto, do you know Mr. Chapman?” Julie asked with interest. It was, undoubtedly, an honor to be acquainted with such a renowned master of martial arts in Swinton.
“Do I know him? I don’t just know him–I had the privilege to learn a few tricks from him, and I’m still reaping the benefits from his invaluable lessons today!” Otto’s voice dripped with pride.
“Of course you did! To have learned from Mr. Chapman is such an incredible achievement in itself. I envy you!”
“No wonder you fight so well, Otto. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, indeed!”
The praises lavished upon him made Otto feel rather high and mighty.
As they were still engaged in conversation, Stephan walked over suddenly.
“Otto! Here comes Mr. Chapman! He seems to be walking toward you!” Julie said with excitement.
“Quick! Prepare to welcome Mr. Chapman properly!”
Otto’s face lit up. He adjusted his clothes hastily and went up to Stephan with the rest of his followers.
“Mr. Chap-” he began fawningly.
Unexpectedly, Stephan barely spared him a single glance. Instead, he sidestepped him and, under the watchful and somewhat astonished gaze of the bewildered group, the renowned master walked up to Dustin, raised his arms in the universal gesture of respect, and intoned gravely, “Greetings, Mr. Rhys-“