“You have attitude kid, I like it!”
The man on the middle, that at this point Mares assumed was the leader, laughed while giving him a thumbs up.
“Who are you?” He asked while looking around, and seeing a small cube that he could use as a seating. He put his sword lying against his right leg and used his knees to support his elbows as he crossed his. Looking at all three of them with some curiosity, he also seemed extremely relaxed.
The woman seemed a little annoyed with his display, the lizard tilted his head curious and the man gave a friendly smile and also sit down.
“I am Elaso, she is Madera and he is Glarto.” The leader said, presenting all the group.
“Mares.” The silver eyed replied raising one hand as a compliment. Then an awkward silence fell the room.
‘Hmm, you have no social skills at all.’ Esen had her arms crossed and an unsatisfied expression in her face.
‘I know…’ Mares had to admit defeat at that point. He had no idea how to keep the conversation going.
“Don’t you know more words kid?”
Glarto’s dry voice suddenly took Mares out of his daze.
“Ehh… I don’t have much to say I guess.” He answered scratching his right cheek, still expressionless.
“Argh! Fuck, why did they send a monster to us?”
Finally, the people Mares beat were now getting up again. This time no one tried their luck and they all went behind Elaso, Madera and Glarto.
“You guys attacked first.” Mares said, acting once more like the one that had being taken advantage of. Now even Elaso had a drop of sweat running through his forehead.
“Fuck off! You attacked me before I could even finish talking!”
That was naturally the first person the long haired had attacked. The man had some status on that small group so being beaten so easily by a novice was quite the blow for him. Also, his nose was still broken so his voice was a little weird, and above that, Mares’ attack made him daze. He tried to point to the silver eyed, but instead ended up talking to the wall.
Seeing that, the main trio got even more surprised. They didn’t expect Mares’ strength to be on the level to make even one of them dizzy like that.
‘And he looks so young…’ All three of them thought at the same time. They couldn’t be sure of his exact age. Their thoughts also weren’t because of how he looked, in reality was a simple feeling that he was much younger than everyone else on the room. Though his figure wasn’t too big, but still relatively high, and his muscles seemed well developed, but not to the point to have the strength to dizzy someone to the extend he did.
That’s it, if they simply were to judge by appearance. In this universe, this was one of the biggest mistakes one could commit. Most of the times, it was better to trust feelings and intuition, like they just did about his age.
Currently, the silver eyed had his right hand on his chin in a thoughtful appearance.
“Yeah, now that you say so, I guess I did attack first. Either way, let bygones be bygones.”
He shrugged and nodded his head, seeming satisfied with how he dealt with that.
The other gladiators however didn’t know if they should laugh or cry.
‘Mars, don’t worry, I will always be by your side.’ Esen sounded like she was holding back her tears.
‘I know… thanks, I also will always be by your side, but… where the fuck did this came from?’
‘No, is just that…’ If she could turn her head to not face him, she would, but it was impossible to do so in the space of his mind. ‘Your social abilities are completely crippled. I fear is beyond hope for anyone that is not me or my future sisters… hmm, suddenly this sounds quite appealing...’
He made no expression and said nothing, deciding to ignore her for now.
“You guys should give up; the brat already beat you so what’s the point in insisting on this? Unless you want to be beaten a bit more.”
Glarto had a smile on the corner of his mouth as he said that.
“Tsc, we are not so petty to keep fighting. If we were stronger, he is the one that would have got beaten after all, so we can count as even.”
The first man that spoke now said that, nodding with himself, acting like a grand man, forgiving past grievances. Even the silvered eye couldn’t hold back a chuckle.
“If the time you spent learning how to be so shameless was spent training, you probably could have competed with him.” Madera was shaking her head. She seemed used of this type of behavior.
The others, that were already all up, also seemed used to it and were all laughing, Elaso and Glarto included.
“Aham, there is no need to try to embarrass me more. Hey, boy, you are good. No resentment, right?”
Though his skin was slight pink it was noticeable that his cheeks got redder.
“If after beating you I couldn’t even forgive you, I would be the bad guy.”
Mares had to look up to talk to him. Even if he was not small, that guy was almost double of him.
His reply made all the others laugh even more, while that guy clenched his teeth in a comical way.
“Good to know you at least has a sense of humor. Name is Naal. 7603.”
That made Mares raise another eyebrow.
“You guys sent the fourth strongest? You really wanted to bully me, huh?”
“Heh, of course, if it had worked, I wouldn’t have gone too far. But, fuck, with how strong you are I am sure you will be ranks above me soon.”
Naal said somewhat serious. He was still shocked with Mares’ demonstration.
“Climbing the ranks fast, huh? Yeah, I hope to be able to do so.”
His voice seemed calm, though he was giving the others the impression of being weirdly tired.
‘Yup Mars! I am sure you will beat everyone!’ Esen cheered him, punching the nothingness around her.
‘Hehe, if little bunny is going to cheer for me, of course I won’t lose.’
‘Huh, you bet I will.’ She said, trying to faint arrogance. A small smile scaped her lips though, it seemed that each time Mares called her by the tender nickname, she enjoyed it more and more.
Turning his head to Elaso, Madera and Glarto, Mares asked.
“And you guys are the top three, right?”
Elaso opened his mouth to answer, but Naal was faster.
“You have good eyes! Boss is the number one here, 7060. Madera is second and Glarto in third, but even if I am just fourth, I have no chance against any of them.”
Naal crossed his arms and was moving his head up and down with closed eyes. Just by his voice, the admiration that he had for them was noticeable.
“The only reason this place is calm is because of boss. The upper floors and rankings are brutal.”
One of the gladiators said, both grateful but also scared.
Mares nodded, that was inside his expectations. There was just no way a place like this would have a friendly environment for long. But he didn’t care about that for now.
"You are a technique user, aren't you?"
Mares’ sudden words didn't startle them. Elaso laughed and the others had similar reactions, making the long haired raise an eyebrow.
"You are not wrong, but everyone makes the same mistake when first fighting boss."
Naal explained only to make the long-haired even more confused, though they mistake the reason for his confusion. Having copied Elaso’s powers he knew what it was, but it wasn’t the stretching capabilities he showed few moments ago.
"A demonstration is better than any explanation I could give." Having said that Elaso put his left hand in front of his face and then put his right hand around it. Making a movement up with his right hand he made the left arm stretch like an elastic. "When you punched me, you felt my hand stretching, most people assume that's my technique." He had no idea that the reason Mares knew he was technique user was actually because he copied his actual technique. The silver eyed was already aware of Elaso's actual technique but he couldn't expose himself. At the same time, he was also curious to watch was this stretching ability.
"This the innate characteristic of my species, our bones and skin are elastic when we activate a certain hormone in our bodies. This, and our capacity to use astral energy are the only things that differentiate us from humans. Anyone from my species could go to a human planet and pass unnoticed."
Hearing that Mares had to let out a whistle. Esen had explained innate characteristics to him, he just didn't pay much attention to it before. With an almost infinity number of species on the universe there was uncountable amounts that had powers originated from their biology and usually were not dependent on Astral Energy. Just like techniques, there were different levels of powers and tiers that such characteristics possessed, however they were still considered behind techniques, with some exceptions.
The main reason Mares didn't keep them in his mind is that, since they don't depend in Astral Energy, he couldn't copy them.
"I see. What's the name of your species?"
A trace of sadness appeared in Elaso's face.
"We are called Fintas. Actually, is not a particularly famous species, and my home planet is far from here."
He smiled, this time with a trace of defeat. Mares knew that feeling, of missing home. Though in his case, there was no more home.
"It's ok. I bet you are not much better off than me."
Elaso waved his hand to make Mares not worry and looked at him with a trace of pity. For the boss of the room, the incredible strong man in front of him was probably just a boy, only a kid. Still, they gave that kid a weapon and put him in a place to fight for the death. His pity was not fake.
Mares opened his mouth; however, he couldn't reply. Those words, involuntarily, triggered some memories, it reminded him, that he wasn’t better off than any of them.
Various scenes started passing through his mind.
A living room full of blood and unrecognizable corpses, a cold place full of unimaginable pain, a sensation of death and despair that would never leave him, and a feeling of losing himself.
He felt like his body was slowly thorning apart, while also, paradoxically, putting itself together.
'MARES CALM DOWN!'
Esen's voice was what took him out of his stupor. And after strongly blinking several times, he noticed Glarto in front of him, shaking him while everyone else looked at him with some worry. Even Madera showed concern.
"Boy, are you alright?"
"I... I am, sorry, I..."
"It's ok kid." Elaso put a hand on his right shoulder to calm him down. "You should sleep, you... doesn't matter, go to sleep, tomorrow they probably won't call you, so we will show you around."
Mares didn't need to observe himself to know he probably didn’t look to good.
"Yeah. Where's my... box?"
He took his badge out and looked for the box that had the same number. Once finding it he got inside and a wall covered the borders of the box, they no longer could hear or see Mares.
Not long after everybody else also entered the box, only Elaso, Madera and Glarto were out of the room, at the end of the hallway, watching through a window that showed a good part of the underground.
"What they did with that kid?" Madera asked with clenched fists.
"That moment, fuck, I felt chills. The boy seemed to turn into something else."
Glarto was shaking his hand, his body unconsciously trembling, he still seemed to be feeling some cold.
Hearing them Elaso could only sigh.
"It's better if we forget that. He obviously doesn’t want to talk about it. And even if he did, nothing would change either way. We can't help ourselves; how would we help him?" His voice contained some self-mocking.
The other two looked down, knowing that their boss was right.
"Do you know his species? I never saw eyes like those. And his strength and speed are also above our expectations." Madera asked while playing with her hair.
Her question was the same everyone on the floor had. Mares was humanoid, but also were Elaso and Madera, so that alone was the same as nothing. Ironically enough, because of his eyes, Elaso looked much more human than Mares.
They also wouldn’t ask, otherwise could be uncourteous from their part.
Elaso didn’t answer for a long time, he was simply staring at the void that was the ceiling, neither Madero nor Glarto could tell what he was thinking.
“You probably heard the stories.” He suddenly started talking, and the other two paid attention. “Maybe for us this sounds ridiculous, but for millenniums, no, probably even more, it’s said that the universe has been in a state of peace.”
“Hmph, isn’t that just the talk of those drunk priests?” Glarto seemed annoyed and retorted.
Elaso simply shacked his head and continued.
“Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. We probably will never know. Either way, the period that is actually said to have been a period of bloodshed was another one. I don’t know if gods really existed back then, but I am sure one thing did. The ancient races.”
It was two simple words, but they shacked Madera and Glarto to the core, they trembled and took a step back.
“You mean…” Madera couldn’t even finish that line of logic.
“You can just take it was an old man’s rumbling, I probably just spent so many years here that I am going crazy. It’s practically impossible that Mares is one, but since he is strong and none of his characteristics fits into the species that I know, this crazy thought came into my head. But it’s practically impossible.” Elaso said, shaking his head. He didn’t mention, but Mares’ eyes also were a reason that he thought so. If a race or clan had such eyes, they would probably have some amount of fame, and still, nobody had ever heard of shining silver eyes like those.
“Hahaha, fuck boss, don’t scare us like this.” Glarto laughed, all the tension was broken. Madera sighed also shacked her head and Elaso laughed. Without saying anymore words they went back inside.