298 Second Chance
For Sam, Zac, and the other teams standing by the sidelines, it came as a surprise for them as to who was volunteering. The two people going at it this time were both Level 1s. If this was an ordinary team, then Zac wouldn't have thought too much of it. After all, it made sense to allow the weaker one to go first. However… Level 1s couldn't just be considered 'weak'.
They were beyond that. From the beginning, the only two people that the group focused on were Vorden and Sam. They even thought that the other two would have forfeited after knocking them out. Playing against Level 1's was just a waste of time.
But still, it looked like Fex willingly stepped back, allowing Quinn to take the stage. Vorden, on the other hand, didn't bat an eyelid at the Level 1 making his way into the arena.
Sam felt that maybe they were just letting everyone have a go at the thing, or perhaps allow Vorden more chances to see how the machine worked. Although their chances of winning were slim but from the looks on their faces, they hadn't given up yet.
Meanwhile, Zac was taken aback at the sudden situation. The very same student who emanated a huge amount of confidence before was still displaying that exact same amount of confidence right now. For some reason, he felt that it was natural that he tried his best in avoiding eye contact with Quinn.
For a moment, he gave in to his urges and looked up. When his eyes met with Quinn's, he instinctively knew that this was a bad idea. A tingling sensation could be felt at the back of his brain, it was almost as if it was trying to burst out of his skull and run away.
'What's wrong with you, Zac? Get it together.'
Quinn entered the game zone and took a relaxed stance while in the circle. The others felt like it was all a show. They simply couldn't believe why he was extremely calm.
"He'll be out in ten seconds," one of them said.
"Oh, yeah? Do you want to bet for it? I reckon thirty seconds, for ten credits," another replied.
"He should be confident for a reason, right? I think forty-five, just before things start speeding up."
"Zac, do you want to get in on this bet?"
Zac didn't respond to them. Truthfully, he didn't want to tell the others his answer, something was telling him that Quinn would be able to clear the entire thing.
The game began and the other group was carefully watching the timer instead of Quinn himself. They were all hoping to cash in their winnings.
Once the timer went past the ten-second mark, a moan could be heard since one of them lost the bet. The seconds continued to pass by as it eventually crossed the thirty-second mark.
"I can't believe it."
The game entered the final fifteen second, now that all of their bets failed, they decided to look at Quinn.
However, as they observed him, they found things to be quite odd. It still looked as if he was just casually standing in the same spot. The bars came swinging out at him, and just as one of them was about to him at the very last second, he would be able to block the attack with his arm, he would retract his limb and then repeat the same thing at the rest of the bars.
Watching Quinn do this was painful for Sam's heart. It was as if someone was walking on a tightrope. Every single attack seemed to have been barely blocked at the last second.
Sam watched at the very beginning of the round. Even when the machine moved at a slower pace, the attacks still looked as if they were just about to hit Quinn. Because of how things were going, he expected that Quinn would lose in the final fifteen seconds.
"Beep!" The sound of the game ending and the level being completed was heard. Sam's prediction was completely wrong.
"Whoa! Will you look at that? He actually did it! Well, good news, there's no way he's getting past the next one. Right, Zac?"
Once again, Zac didn't respond. What the others failed to realise was that Quinn wasn't even out of breath, in fact, he didn't have a single sweat on him. Although the game was only a minute long, but with the unusual amount of intense concentration and fast movements, it was still similar to someone doing a sprint.
The next participant from Zac's group entered, it was time for Level 4 to begin. All six compartments started moving at a faster pace than the previous Level. Not only that, but the machine also seemed to be doing more double attacks, it was attacking at two different places at once.
Even though the student was doing well, everyone could tell he was barely hanging in there. When the machine entered the final quarter, the first strike struck his foot, knocking him out of the game. There were now three contenders left, including Zac on the other team.
Just the same as before, Quinn entered the game and started off in a similar way he left things. It even seemed like he never left the game. Quinn continued blocking each strike just before it would hit him, he would lift his limbs to block and simply place them straight back down.
'The reading on his watch... It has to be a fake! Or maybe he's some sort of martial art expert or something... No wonder he's so confident, he's going to complete this, isn't he?' Zac's thoughts were screaming in his head.
The timer continued going up and entered the final quarter like before.
But suddenly, a strange feeling rushed through Quinn's head, and at the same time, an abrupt pain in his stomach.
"Not now!" He groaned out.
It had been an hour since the last message had appeared, the shooting pains in his body could be felt. Instinctively, Quinn grabbed his head and leaned forward. This resulted in the bar striking him both on the head and stomach simultaneously, thus eliminating him from the game.
Fex quickly rushed out to see if Quinn was okay, he realised what the problem might have been.
"Hey, why don't you just rest? It must be tough going through what you're feeling right now. Just leave it to me, I can handle these guys."
Upon seeing Quinn lose, it was a relief to Zac. He didn't know what just happened, but someone must have wanted him to win this game. It was clear that Quinn was going to pass it the same way he did on the previous one.
"I knew he would eventually lose, it was only a matter of time," the others commented.
They misinterpreted the situation and simply thought that the game was too much for Quinn to handle.
With Quinn knocked out of the game, it was time for someone from Zac's team to enter again. This time, the person managed to clear the Level 4 stage.
"Well, who's next?" Zac asked.
Fex stood up and took the mantle, this time, he felt someone tug on his sleeve. When he looked down, he noticed it was Quinn. "You're going to do it again, aren't you?"
"One of us can go twice, remember?" Quinn said.
"Fine," Fex responded as he sulked his way back to the rest of his team.
After feeling like he suffered an unjust loss, he wanted to finish what he started. Since Zac and his group decided to target him and had even gone as far as trying to snatch his newly bought equipment. If anyone was going to show them their place, it was going to be Quinn.
When they saw who was walking up to the stage, they all started to laugh. Everyone else apart from Zac, that was.
'I forgot about that stupid rule! Why didn't we just make it a 4 vs 4?' He quietly complained in his mind, but things were too late now.
This time, when the game started, Quinn chose to take on a fighting stance. It was the first time he had done so since he started playing the game. Before, he merely treated this game as a type of practice, trying to see how much he could block things before the very last second.
Now that he had no second chances and the will to win rose from his heart. He chose to properly block everything. Even before the machine was able to move, Quinn could already hear the sound of each section activating. With the slightest movement from the contraption, Quinn placed his hand out. To the others, it almost looked like he was attacking the machine.
Before the bars on each section had the chance to fully move, Quinn had already hit them. The machine would slightly nudge in certain sections, but it never had the chance to perform a full strike. If he was to hit one section of the machine before it even moved, then the game would have been declared as a loss for the player.
This was done like this so people would stop using this type of tactic. However, the game over sound never appeared. Instead, the beeping sound that indicated a completed stage resounded out.
"Who the hell is this person?" Sam muttered out. At the same time, he also wished Nate was here to witness what he had just seen. Not even Nate would have been able to display something so great.
'If you were here, Nate, I think you would have found a new person to be excited about.'
After witnessing such a display, Zac figured out something. If he wanted to win, then he needed to do something drastic...
For MVS artwork follow on instagram: jksmanga