It didn’t matter who Lacey’s opponent was. What Ethan told her remained constant.
Ethan would have said the same thing if Cid had stepped into the arena.
But of course, Lacey wouldn’t stand a chance if Cid did decide to take her on personally. Ethan was the one who was confident of winning, not Lacey. If Cid did step into the arena, Ethan wasn’t going to just sit there and do nothing about it.
Lacey took a deep breath. A look of determination gradually settled on her face.
She made her way slowly to the arena. Something about her had changed.
The atmosphere had transformed.
The entire crowd was watching her.
“I can’t believe they allowed this to happen. Lacey isn’t going to stand a chance.”
“It’s Senior Marcel. Anyone who fights him is going to lose.”
“Seems like Third Miss is going to be sent to the Outer Court. Hahaha!”
“Keep it down. You’ve got some nerve to be laughing out loud like this.”
No one believed in Lacey. They had no reason to at all.
Lacey’s opponent was Marcel.
He was the strongest disciple in the Inner Court.
This was Marcel, Cid’s best student and the one who was going to enter the Portico and become the disciple of the Senior Elder.
“Hello, my dear junior,” Marcel said with a faint smile. There was no hint of mockery in his smile because he didn’t care at all. “You could yield now. It’ll look better for you.”
How could yielding look good in any way?
How could surrendering in a fight while so many people were watching look better for her?
There was no hint of emotion on Lacey’s face. She would rather roll off the arena before she yielded.
She lifted her arms gradually and got into position. Marcel burst out into laughter.
“I guess I’ll play along since my dear junior doesn’t wish to give up. I won’t go too hard on you.”
Marcel’s words dripped with unconcealed belittlement. His brand of indifference was different from Ethan’s. He didn’t respect Lacey at all.
Lacey didn’t say anything. With a light tap of her foot, she charged forward at her top speed.
She swung a fist out in her usual style. Her attacks had become faster but they were still slow in Marcel’s eyes.
Marcel blocked her attack effortlessly without budging a single inch. He simply raised his arm. His defensive move nearly sent Lacey stumbling backward.
“You’ve shown some improvement,” said Marcel with a smile. “But you should have aimed three inches lower. That would have been a better attack.”
He pointed at the place where his heart was and invited Lacey to hit him there. They both knew that she wasn’t going to get any chance to land a blow on his weak spots.
A stormy look appeared on Lacey’s face as she remained silent.
She would have flown into a rage if someone had mocked her like this in the past.
She might have even thrown a tantrum, exploited her privileged status and tyrannized the other person.
Now, she merely kept quiet, regained her footing and charged again.
Her fists kept flying. She was giving her all as she attacked Marcel in a frenzied manner. It didn’t matter that her every attack was blocked by Marcel and that the impact from his defense sent her stumbling back every time.
“The difference between them is too big.” Standing some distance away, Helis sighed silently.
He could tell that Lacey had made great improvements. But she had started training too late.
It didn’t matter if Ethan was some kind of prodigy. There was no way he could turn trash into gold and allow Lacey to surpass Marcel in such a short period of time.
The gods themselves couldn’t promise that.
They were leagues apart. Lacey was like a kid in front of Marcel. Her defeat was guaranteed.
He glanced at Ethan unintentionally to find that the man was sipping his tea leisurely. Helis frowned.
How could he drink tea at a time like this?
That was some impressive composure he possessed.
Liam couldn’t help himself as he shook his head lightly.
He was consoled by how much Lacey had improved. He had witnessed with his own eyes the hard work that Lacey had poured into improving herself. She had given her all.
But you couldn’t count on talent alone. To develop your innate talent, you need hard work and time.