Wakanda, the southeastern corner of the City.
A massive river cut through the land here, and the cliffs formed a cascade of jagged rocks resembling a descending staircase. Waterfalls plummeted down, and mist filled the air.
On the upper half of the cliffs, where the drop was not too steep, local members of various tribes stood in separate groups. They lined up down to a broad platform jutting out from the middle of the cliffs.
The platform was as large as a basketball court, and it served as the battleground for the Royal Challenge ceremony. The king’s protectors, armed with Vibranium spears, and the ceremonial elders, adorned in peculiar attire, stood at the edge of the platform.
In the center of the platform stood a young man with a strong and dark upper body. He held a Vibranium shield and a Vibranium sword in his hands, his eyes reflecting a hint of wisdom. He looked young yet he had a regal aura as he proudly stood at the edge of the cliff.
Only the royalty of Wakanda’s major tribes were allowed to stand on this cliff. The rest of the citizens crowded outside the cliff area.
The Chief Elder of the ceremony held a Vibranium staff and stepped onto the platform where water flowed, loudly announcing, “I, M’Bach, stand here to introduce Prince T’Chaka to all of you!”
Prince T’Chaka raised his shield and sword majestically, then knelt on one knee on the wet platform, prompting enthusiastic cheers from the royal members of various tribes and the common people.
“In the ceremony battle, only surrender or death represents withdrawal for one side. If any warrior from any tribe wishes to challenge Prince T’Chaka for the prestigious title of ‘Black Panther’…” The Chief Elder cleared his throat and opened his arms. “I will point out the path to the throne for him!”
At this moment, Kyle was following the crowd to find Howard. As he arrived at the edge of the waterfall cliff, he coincidentally saw the beginning of the Royal Challenge ceremony below.
As the Chief Elder’s question ended, T’Chaka solemnly looked forward, and the royal members of each tribe started responding one after another.
“The Merchant Tribe will not participate in the Royal Challenge!”
“The Mountain Tribe will not participate in the Royal Challenge!”
“The River Tribe will not participate in the Royal Challenge!”
Standing outside the cliff area, Kyle shrugged at the scene below. Although this was a local custom, serving as a formal procedure to signal that the royal members of various tribes had no objections, it allowed the prince to inherit the throne without issue.
However, in his eyes, this was the flip side of Wakanda’s advanced hardware, revealing the excessive savagery and backwardness of its cultural software. It was quite different from the incredibly advanced city of the future, which still held ritualistic challenges and upheld the might-makes-right mentality.
“I need to find Howard as soon as possible.” Kyle shook his head lightly as he prepared to leave. At that moment, the Chief Elder raised his voice to inquire the last tribe.
“Is there anyone of royal blood who wishes to challenge Prince T’Chaka for the throne?”
Finally, from within a cave in the cliff, a representative of the Jabari Tribe stepped forward and calmly said, “The Jabari Tribe today—”
In the next moment, a cry of alarm echoed from inside the cave. Then, from behind the Jabari Tribe representative, a slightly smaller figure rushed out in panic.
The diminutive Jabari tribesperson walked onto the platform of the challenge ceremony, causing the festive atmosphere to suddenly quiet down. All that could be heard was the sound of the waterfall.
The entire cliff area was filled with the serious and tense expressions of the Wakanda people. They all stared in astonishment at the Jabari tribesperson.
Someone was actually courageous enough to challenge the Prince for the throne!
Countless members of the tribes looked uncertain. Even the representative of the Jabari Tribe had a slight twitch at the corner of his mouth. Who on earth was this tribesperson?!
One must know that T’Chaka was resolute, powerful, and decisive as a warrior; as a prince, he was benevolent, wise, and responsible. If it weren’t for the doubts about his reign, no one would dare to engage in a throne challenge during such a momentous ceremony.
In fact, at this very moment, apart from the bewildered local residents, two individuals were equally stunned.
One was the Jabari tribesperson on the platform, who looked around with a somewhat dazed expression on his face. With the gaze of numerous local citizens fixed on him, he didn’t know whether to advance or retreat.
The other was Kyle who was standing at the edge of the cliff. As he saw the familiar figure emerge from the cave below and step onto the platform of the challenge ceremony, a headache came over him.
Under the waterfall, atop the platform.
“Warrior, are you sure you want to challenge the Prince for the throne?” The Chief Elder asked sternly.
Before the Jabari tribesperson could finish his sentence, T’Chaka, who was standing nearby, fixed his gaze on him. He casually tossed his Vibranium sword aside and said, “I accept your challenge.”
The Jabari tribesperson instinctively reached out to catch the Vibranium sword. Unfortunately, though Vibranium was not heavy, it contained traces of adamantium in its base structure. Coupled with T’Chaka’s throw, Howard struggled to catch the sword and stumbled back a few steps before falling into the water.
The members of various tribes watching were discussing with peculiar expressions. When did the secluded Jabari Tribe become so feeble?
But what happened next left everyone even more astonished.
The Jabari tribesperson, lying in the water, stood up while holding the Vibranium sword. The dust that had previously disguised his upper body was washed away, revealing his originally fair skin.
“He’s not one of our Jabari tribe!” The representative of the Jabari royal family stared at him, angrily demanding, “Who are you?!”
“I told you that you had the wrong person…” The Jabari tribesperson sighed helplessly and hastily removed his beast-like mask, revealing the gentlemanly European-American face beneath. His small mustache quivered as he said, “I’m sorry, I ended up in the wrong place.”
“He’s an outsider!”
The surrounding tribe members, even the indigenous people outside the cliff area, were in an uproar. An outsider had managed to infiltrate such an important throne challenge ceremony?!
“Damn it, he’s disrupting the sacred ceremony! Kill him!”
Amid a fervent chorus of anger, the first to take action were the female royal guards at the edge of the platform. With the tips of their Vibranium spears, they struck the cliff wall, producing a clear yet muffled suppressed sound.
“This is not a place where outsiders can just come in. You will be executed on the spot for the crime of disturbing the royal ceremony and infiltrating our nation!”
Among them, the Captain of the Royal Guard, dressed in Vibranium red battle attire, lifted her Vibranium spear and coldly aimed it at Howard with full force.
“Wait…” T’Chaka tried to stop them, but it was too late. Without the enhanced physical abilities of the Black Panther Herb, which he had not consumed yet, he could only watch helplessly as the blurred Vibranium spear whizzed past. At twice the speed of sound, it headed straight for Howard’s chest.
Even if it was a distance of a hundred meters, an automobile would have been pierced through by a Vibranium spear and driven into the concrete ground! Not to mention that the distance here was less than ten meters!
At that moment, a shadow of dark color streaked through the midair of the waterfall. With lightning speed, it rushed into the water on the platform and closed in on Howard at an equally rapid pace as the spear!
(End of this chapter)
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