I’m the Boss
The defeat of Jared, the alliance’s strongest contender, cast a shadow of despair over the Balerno martial arts alliance. Disbelief, frustration, powerlessness, and even resentment intertwined among the martial artists as they grappled with the reality of their consecutive losses.
In previous years, both sides had fiercely competed on even ground, turning the tournament into an exhilarating spectacle for the audience. Regardless of the outcome, they had earned each other’s respect with their dedication and skill.
However, this year’s tournament proved to be a stark contrast. Balerno’s four consecutive losses tarnished their pride and reputation. A sense of shame and humiliation loomed over them.
The Boulderthorn disciples were particularly disheartened. Jared’s defeat was a hard pill to swallow, considering his reputation among them as a top-tier fighter. Their expectations had been high, making his loss difficult to accept.
Yet, amidst the disappointment, the Balerno martial arts alliance clung to a faint glimmer of hope. Dustin remained their last contestant, the sole remaining chance to salvage their pride. However, the odds seemed insurmountable, especially since Dustin was pitted against four top-tier Glenstead martial artists.
Ronald and Paul exchanged concerned glances. Jared’s defeat had dealt a heavy blow to their morale, but they couldn’t afford to give up. Paul’s voice held a determined tone, “We still have one more fighter, Rhys. Let’s not lose hope just yet.”
“But sir, facing the remaining four aces of Glenstead… It’s a near-impossible task for Rhys alone,” Ronald voiced his reservations.
“Remember, even if Oscar is wounded, Glenstead still has four formidable opponents,” Paul reminded.
However, Ronald’s doubts remained. Going up against four opponents from the top ranks of The Heavenly Immortals, even for Dustin, seemed like an overwhelming challenge.
Paul’s expression reflected a mix of hope and realism. “Let’s give it a shot. We’re running out of options. At least Dustin has proven himself against Terry Doyle.”
As Jared was assisted out of the lake, his wet appearance did little to hide his dark mood. He felt the weight of humiliation, intensified by the gazes of the onlookers. He had entered the arena with confidence and left with defeat, a bitter pill to swallow.
His fellow disciples from the Steeljaws Fellowship rushed to his side, expressing concern for his well-being. Jared tried to put on a brave face despite his injuries, dismissing his condition with a forced nonchalance.
Azalea, standing behind Dustin, couldn’t resist mocking Jared’s situation. The taunts fueled the fire of discord between the two factions.
“Enough with the excuses, Jared. Accept your defeat,” Azalea retorted, her words laden with disdain.
Others chimed in, defending Jared, citing his potential victory if not for the unexpected turn of events. Tensions escalated as accusations flew, deepening the animosity between the two groups.
Amid the heated exchange, Devon’s anger flared, but his intention to strike was thwarted by Azalea’s dangerous companion – a venomous snake. Devon quickly withdrew his hand, mindful of the threat posed by the snake.
Azalea’s provocation continued as she confidently linked arms with Dustin, showcasing her allegiance. The boastful display added fuel to the fire, further igniting the rivalry between the two factions.
As the Balerno martial arts alliance faced their fifth and final match, the odds were stacked against them, and their hopes rested solely on Dustin’s shoulders. The outcome of this final clash would determine the fate of their alliance’s honor.