Ranker’s Return - Chapter 567

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In the second game, Dwayne showed a different performance from what he showed in the first game. There was no overwhelming appearance. In fact, it seemed difficult for him to even put up a struggle, and only half of his hits were making contact.

“Sergei is great. He has a significant advantage over Dwayne, who beat Karelin.”

“Player Sergei is very good at using the basic reach differences. He isn’t giving Dwayne access.”

“The chances of Player Dwayne stopping here have increased. A smooth defeat will be waiting for him if the fight continues like this.”

The commentators picked up on exactly what was happening to Dwayne. There was one reason why few professional gamers used fists as their weapon of choice. In Arena, if the players involved had the same level of strength, those with weapons would have an advantage. Be it psychological warfare or distance control, they were all problems that people who used fists had to consider, whereas people with weapons just had to think about fighting. In other words, those with weapons were already a step ahead.

‘It will be hard if it continues like this.’ Dwayne knew it as well. He knew this better than anyone else because he was the one fighting. PvP with Sergei was definitely unfavorable to Dwayne.

‘It is a similar style to Daniel, whom I only saw in videos.’

Daniel was a pro player and master of the German Tank Corps. He was considered to be the swordsman who was the most loyal to the basic skills out of all the rankers, with the exception of Hyeonu. Sergei’s combat style was similar to Daniel’s; he fought faithfully to the basics without ever overdoing it. Thus, he took the win step by step.

‘How do I narrow the distance?’ Dwayne thought about it while avoiding Sergei’s sword. What should he do to narrow his distance to Sergei and make the attack successful? Dwayne had experienced this situation when he fought with Hyeonu. Obviously, Hyeonu had used this combat style before, and he did it quite often too.

‘I need to break the standard procedure...’ A faint smile appeared on Dwayne’s face. His heart felt lighter when he thought about all the practice he’d done with Hyeonu. The situation changed along with Dwayne’s feelings. Once he relaxed, his movements changed.

Dwayne moved around Sergei calmly and continued to make great turns, only to suddenly rush at the latter. It was the appearance of the stomping charge Dwayne had used in the PvP game against Karelin. Dwayne shook to the left and right. It was hard to get a sense of which direction he was going.

However, Sergei wasn’t deceived by such an action, and he waved his sword toward the empty air. Dwayne swung his fist to stop Sergei’s sword, but Sergei’s sword naturally blocked Dwayne’s way.

‘As expected, he isn’t an easy opponent.’

However, Dwayne had already anticipated such a response. So he just moved forward again. Sergei’s sword flew toward Dwayne again, with a straight cut down from the top to the bottom. His sword was honest without any variables, but there was no way to avoid tragedy when it fell at the right time.

‘I’ll bet on the outcome.’ At this moment, Dwayne made a choice. Rather than responding recklessly like before, he rushed forward with the idea that it was all or nothing. Dwayne’s movements were rough. These weren’t the orderly actions he had shown so far but the actions of a wild beast, just like from before he met Hyeonu.

The moment Dwayne’s movements changed, Sergei’s movements changed as well. Sergei was a bit flustered and quickly stepped back. The distance between them was too close; it needed to be opened again.

‘Let’s open the distance again...’ Sergei thought.

More variables would be created if this distance were allowed, but Sergei didn’t want to create such variables. Seeing Sergei pull back, Dwayne charged. Simultaneously, Sergei frowned and stopped stepping back. Now he moved to the left and right and observed the gaps in Dwayne’s defense.

‘I don’t know where he will go...’ Sergei commented inwardly. Dwayne’s defense was so full of gaps that there was no need to look for them. Every spot Sergei’s eyes looked at was sloppily defended. There were so many gaps that it was burdensome to choose one.

‘I just have to cut.’

It was too ridiculous. The sight in front of him was something Sergei had never thought of. He quickly threw out his worries, which he thought were a waste of time. Sergei decided the result would be the same no matter where he attacked. His sword cut through the air. He cut nothing but the force from the pure energy from the sword poured exactly toward Dwayne.

Just then, Dwayne’s movements changed. He let out a burst of magic power and rushed at Sergei. At the same time, he quickly crossed his fists and threw out several punches. Dwayne’s fist burst through the space, and a shockwave headed toward Sergei.

Seeing that, Sergei frowned and stomped on the ground. The shockwave struck the place where Sergei had just been standing, kicking up a spray of dust. Dwayne appeared in front of Sergei in an instant and prepared to wield his fists. Once he quickly caught up with the dodging Sergei, Dwayne continued to attack.

His fist, which was wrapped in blue light and seemed like it would strike Sergei soon. However, Sergei swung his sword with such exquisite timing that there was no way for Dwayne to avoid it. Sergei’s sword literally slashed over Dwayne’s shoulder.

Dwayne’s shoulder was cut halfway and his arm started to dangle. The referee saw that and stopped the game straightaway.

“The second game between Crescent Moon and Zenith has been won by Zenith’s Sergei. This makes the score of both teams 1:1. It is a tight balance.”


***


The Crescent Moon players greeted Dwayne as he entered the waiting room. It was a more enthusiastic response than when he won the first game.

“It was very close.”

“Just a bit more, and you would’ve won...”

“Maybe the next time you fight again, you’ll be able to win.”

“Still, you won the first game.”

This wasn’t to comfort Dwayne though. They just felt sorry about his defeat and wanted to celebrate his victory in the first game. In fact, the moment they saw Dwayne win the first game on the television, the shouts of the Crescent Moon players had filled the waiting room. However, they hid their joy out of fear that Dwayne would get intoxicated on the winner’s atmosphere and perform ridiculously in the second game.

“Thank you.” Dwayne bowed to the players. Then he sat down on the sofa. His tension was now finally released.

“Sergei played a big role in Zenith,” Hyeonu said in a voice loud enough for the other players to hear. It was good to rest or celebrate, but that should be done after a series of feedback processes. This was the main thing right now.

“Looking at the results, Karelin is definitely the one who leads Zenith. However, the reason why Karelin is free to rampage is Sergei’s presence. Karelin’s has someone strong behind him, so he is able to move boldly. That leads to a good performance,” Hyeonu explained.

Having other aces in the team and the ability to be confident made a great difference in the players’ minds. They would be able to show a better performance and take bold actions due to not feeling pressured.

“To be honest, I feel sorry, but I hope to go out right away this time,” Hyeonu told the Crescent Moon players in a low voice. Since the beginning of the Winter League, Hyeonu had almost always played as the last player. However, Hyeonu now expressed his desire to go out as the second player.

“Oppa?”

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“Hyung, do what you want. In any case, there are still six matches left.”

Yuri and Lee Hoon, who hadn’t played yet, nodded. The two of them weren’t dissatisfied about Hyeonu’s declaration of battle. They weren’t thirsty to take part in this match, so it didn’t matter if they went out or not. After all, this was only the first match; Crescent Moon still had six more teams to face in PvP.

“By the way, is he so dangerous that Hyung has to go immediately?” Lee Hoon questioned Hyeonu. Hyeonu going out second meant there was no need for Lee Hoon or Yuri to deal with Sergei.

“It isn’t about accumulating experience now. You’ve accumulated enough experience already. It is more important to keep your mood and condition in a good state. Hoon, are you confident you won’t lose your mentality if you are defeated here?” Hyeonu asked.

Hearing that, Lee Hoon shut his mouth. He wasn’t confident at all. If he were to lose to someone other than Hyeonu…

Lee Hoon might pretend, but it was clear that a sense of uncertainty would remain in his mind and hold him back.

“That’s why I’m going out now. It might be different if you encountered him accidentally, but since I know who you’d be facing if you were to go, I have to go instead,” Hyeonu said. If Lee Hoon were to go out as the first representative, he might be unlucky and encounter the aces of the other teams such as Mascherano or Reina.

It didn’t matter if he lost then as it could only be said that he was unlucky. Nevertheless, it was different at this moment. They knew who the opponent was, so it couldn’t be passed off as Lee Hoon having no good luck. IT was a choice they’d have to pay for.

“Since you know this... Take a break. Have some cake and celebrate Dwayne’s win.” Hyeonu smiled as he walked over to Dwayne with a cake and a knife.


***


“The second game between Red Bull America and the New York Warriors has ended with two consecutive victories for Reina of the New York Warriors.”

“Player Reina’s momentum is really up. Her skills are improving every day. It is a very rare phenomenon.”

“For a player so close to the top to improve like this means it must have involved extreme effort.”

The commentators watched the match between Red Bull America and the New York Warriors with excited eyes. Reina’s leap forward in her development was one of the most striking things in this competition. At some point, Reina’s PvP skills had improved greatly. Who could stop Reina’s rising momentum as she jumped forward without knowing the end? This element was one of the many fun things about Arena Week.

After Reina obtained victory, she and Mascherano descended from the stage. They didn’t exchange any words as they walked to their respective waiting rooms. Then Hyeonu appeared in front of these two people on his way to compete in the next game.

“Eh? Reina, Mascherano? Did the two of you fight?”

Hyeonu hadn’t seen the game between the two teams due to Dwayne’s party, so he naturally didn’t know that the two people had faced each other in PvP.

“Yes, that’s what happened. We ended up meeting in the first match...” Mascherano said with a smile.

Seeing Mascherano’s appearance, Hyeonu gave a mischievous smile. “Looking at your expressions... Mascherano must’ve lost again. I feel you will continue to lose in the future... Will you get the wildcard again next year?”

Mascherano looked gloomy upon receiving Hyeonu’s unreasonable attack. Reina ignored Mascherano and turned to Hyeonu.

“You have to win five times in a row. I’ll also get six consecutive victories,” Reina said with a bright expression on her face.

Hyeonu smiled at her. “Of course.”

He held the hands of the two people before waving and passing through between them. However, he soon put down one person’s hand while holding the other person’s hand a bit longer.

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