An Understated Dominance
by Marina Vittori
“You’re asking for death!” Incensed, the King of Kicks finally decided to give it his all. He leaped into the air and served multiple flying kicks as he landed in Dustin’s direction. This time, he did not only attack Dustin point–to–point–he was undiscerning in his moves, offering no escape for his opponent.
“You punk! Let’s see how you’re going to dodge this!” He laughed maniacally as the number of kicks increased and covered a wider scope. Dustin, who was targeted, stood there without fear.
“It’s clear who’s the winner here.” Maximus shook his head and stood up to leave. He was initially surprised by Dustin’s agility, but even that was no match for the King of Kicks. No level of agility could save the young man from the indiscriminate attacks by the King of Kicks. In the face of actual talent, Dustin’s tricks would be of no use.
All of a sudden, they heard a deafening explosion from the ring. The kicking legs in the air were nowhere to be seen. Instead, The King of Kicks stopped his leg right by Dustin’s ear, but it wasn’t an attempt to show mercy to Dustin. Unfortunately, his shin was locked in Dustin’s grip, immobilizing him.
“Did I ever say I’d dodge your attacks?” Dustin grinned as he grabbed the leg of the King of Kicks.
“Did he block the kick?” Maximus, who was ready to leave, stood still, looking astonished. Not even he would think of blocking a full–strength attack from the King of Kicks, but Dustin seemed to have grabbed the opponent’s leg with much ease. Maximus wondered what had happened. Was the King of Kicks conserving his energy on purpose, or did he underestimate Dustin’s capability?
“H–how is that possible? How did you block that move?” The old man widened his eyes in utter disbelief. knowing he had not held back on the attack. Even though the kick wasn’t his most fatal move, it was more than enough to fight against most martial artists in the field. Therefore, he was shocked to see Dustin holding his powerful leg with one hand. It was too eerie a scene to make sense of.
“Is there even anything great about that kick of yours? It’s so weak that even a three–year–old could block it,” Dustin remarked, looking unbothered.
“Nonsense!” The old man was a ball of rage as he leaped into the air and struck again with an earth- shattering force.
“Hey! You used up your three moves! You lost!” Ruth yelled at the old man, but he ignored her reminder and capitalized on the force of gravity to strike Dustin on the head. This time, he was confident that Dustin wouldn’t be able to fend it off.
“You never learn, do you?” Dustin snorted and lifted his arm to block the kick without as much as moving aside. The collision between the leg and arm resulted in an explosive sound. An invisible blast wave spread across the space from the core of the collision while strong gusts of winds roared. Dustin stood on the ground without moving an inch. He looked poised and unhurt, but multiple cracks had formed underneath his feet.
On the other hand, the old man had placed one leg on Dustin’s arm as he mustered up all his energy in an attempt to press his opponent onto the ground. No matter how much force he exerted, Dustin’s arm remained motionless, like it was made of metal.
“Is that all?” Dustin raised a brow, looking disdainful. “Is that all the King of Kicks have to show?”
“No! This can’t be! How could you possibly block that attack? You aren’t even tanked on The Hundred Immortals!” The old man had shock written all across his lace. He was sure that Dustin wasn’t ranked because he had fought the top ten in the ranking.
“The Hundred Immortals?” Dustin chuckled and whispered, “Let me tell you a secret: I made it to The Heavenly Immortals ten years ago.”
“The Heavenly Immortals?” The old man was stunned by the revelation. The Heavenly Immortals were levels above The Hundred Immortals, and those ranked on that list were the creme de la creme. It sounded impossible that a twenty–something like Dustin managed to make it to that list. One must know that the martial artists who made it to The Heavenly Immortals were the ones who achieved divinity, at the very least!
“No! Impossible! You must be bluffing!” The old man refused to believe Dustin’s words. It was rare to run into martial artists ranked on The Heavenly Immortals, and a ranked martial artist wouldn’t have lived in a small town like Swinton, to begin with.
“Look out for my Phoenix Kick!” The old man put a distance between them, followed by kicking himself off the ground and launching himself into the air. Through consecutive kicks that morphed into shadows, he initiated a crazed attack on Dustin.
“All show and no go!” Dustin scoffed at the move and sent a punch into the sole of the old man’s fool. Following another explosive sound, the old man was sent flying across the air like a soccer ball. With another thud, he collapsed underneath the ring, bleeding from the orifices on his face and suffering from fractures in his legs.
The crowd went dead silent at the sight of the lifeless King of Kicks on the ground. People were gaping with alarmed looks. They could not believe that the King of Kicks, from the top ten of The Hundred Immortals, had lost a battle in record time and without warning. Some of the spectators had not even recovered from the blow.
More importantly, Dustin seemed to have attacked only once throughout the fight, apart from all the defensive moves and the dodging. That was the scariest observation of the night. Had the crowd not witnessed it with their own eyes, they would have scoffed at the idea of the King of Kicks losing to an obscure young man.
“Has the King of Kicks lost?” Brody’s mind went blank. He could not comprehend the situation and even went as far as to suspect the King of Kicks of staging the loss.
“My lord! Where did that guy come from?” Otto swallowed hard as his disrespect for Dustin was replaced by shock and fear, Dustin defeating the King of Kicks was a testament to his capability. At the thought of his previous provocations toward Dustin, Otto suddenly felt a prick of fear. Thankfully, Dustin did not take the remarks too seriously. Else, Otto might have ended up as dead meat.
“Im—impossible!” He’s just a good–for–nothing! Since when has he become a master? Julie was both dumbstruck and doubtful. She refused to believe that Dustin was capable of such powerful moves. The only possible explanation was that the two men in the ring were putting on a show. The King of Kicks must have been bribed by Dustin and played out his part as the loser. Right! That must be it!
“Haha! He won! We won!” Ruth squealed in excitement and showed off to the others, “See that? That’s my brother–in–law in the ring! Isn’t he amazing?”
“Wait, he won? How did he do it? Quentin stared on, eyes widened into saucers.
“Never have I thought that he was a hidden talent. Since he’s beaten the King of Kicks, I believe he is capable of being ranked within the top eight in The Hundred Immortals, Jessica mused. She admitted that she had missed the unpolished gem. Dustin Rhys was more remarkable than she had assumed.
“He’s my man! So impressive!” Natasha’s lips curled into a dazzling smile. Her lovely eyes were filled with affection. Curiosity grew in her–she started wondering about Dustin’s real identity.
An Understated Dominance by Marina Vittori
Author: Marina Vittori
Artist: Dahlia Nicholson and Dustin Rhys
Released: July, 9, 2023
Native Language: English