“Look, team Holy Dawn is here!”
“These guys, they’re too arrogant. It doesn’t even look like they have someone frightening like Lotton.”
“I even heard they qualified this year after a preliminary qualification match, but they actually still disregard team Mountain Kings as if they were nothing.”
Third day of the group stage. Ayrin and the others heard many such voices as soon as they came to the Arena of Fire and Blood.
“What’s the matter?”
They were all a little startled. They thought, they’d tried to stay as low-profile as they could these two days. Yesterday they trained all day at their residence, they didn’t go out even to eat. They only heard at night that nothing unexpected happened in group two. Winterfell and the other strong teams all defeated their opponents and advanced to the top thirty-two.
“Breith Trading Company!”
Sophia was the first one to realize when she remembered by association the interview from Breith Magazine after the first day of the tournament. She immediately ran to the nearest magazine stall and bought Breith Magazine’s newest issue.
“Aren’t they a little too good at gossip?” Everyone in team Agate Lake and team Holy Dawn was dumbstruck as soon as they flipped through the pages.
“The God of Death descends, a monster born by swallowing terrifying energies, Lotton!”
“Super Dark Horse born at the start of the tournament. Hornwood’s star fighter Dylan Norton wasn’t a match and died.”
The cover of the magazine and the first few pages were all mostly devoted to reports about Hellfire’s Lotton. They were filled with many people’s guesses about Lotton’s bloodline and his real strength, as well as descriptions of his arcane skills.
But reports on Holy Dawn Academy followed immediately after that.
“The second weeds-level team makes their formal appearance today, will we see another major upset?”
“Pre-match visit, team Holy Dawn’s grand ravings about being champions!”
“Holy Dawn team member claims to be invincible!”
“Holy Dawn team member isn’t even looking at team Mountain Kings, claims he cares nothing about opponents, only free fruits.”
“Holy Dawn team member claims he’ll make team Mountain Kings kneel down and lick his feet!”
“Holy Dawn team member proclaims he’ll be lenient even though the opponents aren’t his match. He won’t kill anyone from team Mountain Kings.”
“Even Holy Dawn Academy’s sparring partners don’t pay any attention to the opponent!”
When he saw these shocking words dyed especially in red, Moss was depressed enough he almost wept. “I only said I hoped the match can stay friendly. They actually made me say that I’ll be lenient even if the opponent isn’t a match, that I won’t kill them.”
“I also only said the fruits were very tasty, they actually said I don’t care at all about the opponents, that I only pay attention to the fruits,” Ayrin said, also very helpless.
Rinloran was even more frustrated. “I didn’t even say anything…”
Chris couldn’t help but laugh. “I understand now why Breith Magazine can sell so well for so many years. Their writing’s even more spectacular than the tournament.”
Team Mountain Kings had arrived in the arena earlier than team Holy Dawn. Their chests were already bursting with rage.
A celebrity contestant of outstanding fame in the national tournament, Wild Battlemaster Werther held Breith Magazine in his hand, so angry his hands kept shaking.
“They actually said even free fruits are better than us…”
“They even want us to kneel and lick their feet!”
As soon as they came into the team preparation area, Ayrin and the others also saw with their first glance team Mountain Kings looking as though they would spit out fire. “They look mad now. Should I go and explain?” Ayrin couldn’t help but turn to Chris and ask.
“Alright.” Chris felt this team was pretty horrid and kept mocking them previously, but she still nodded after hesitating a moment. She followed after Ayrin as they went to team Mountain Kings.
“Why are these two coming here? Do they want to add some provocation right in here?!” For everyone in team Mountain Kings, blue veins popped on their foreheads.
“Sorry.” Ayrin already started explaining very apologetically even from far away. “We never meant what Breith Magazine wrote, these are all words they made up.”
“Is that true?” Team Mountain Kings was rather skeptical.
“Chris, do your best!”
Just then, tremendous cheers suddenly came from the stands behind them.
“This bunch of guys…” Ayrin was dumbstruck as soon as he turned around to look.
He saw Ferdinand leading the other members of team Southern Monsoon, desperately waving their hands at Chris. They clothes read “Chris’ supporters” in big letters, and they were shouting at the top of their lungs.
“Chris is the strongest!”
“An Amazing Girl!”
“Trample flat all your opponents!”
“What, trample us flat?” Everyone in team Mountain Kings suddenly became mad. “You guys really came to provoke us on purpose!”
Ayrin and Chris were immediately speechless.
All of a sudden, Ayrin saw several familiar figures not far away from the Southern Monsoon guys.
“Ivan, Ferguillo, everyone came!”
“Charlotte, you really kept our promise and came to watch my match, you came to cheer for me!”
His happy shouts resonated throughout these stands.
“Ferguillo… Charlotte… the names are really familiar.”
“They’re also very powerful fighters!”
Many people’s eyes fell uniformly on the stands, especially on Charlotte.
“Tsk tsk, your promise.” Several Iron Forest musclemen kept lamenting in a wretched tone.
Whoosh. Charlotte’s face became red just like that. She made a mm in a mosquito-like voice.
“Great! My condition will definitely be even better with you here. I’ll let my opponent have a taste of my power!
“I’ll definitely let you see me defeating them!”
Ayrin shouted excitedly at Charlotte.
“Do your best, be careful…” Charlotte couldn’t stop herself from replying a few hushed words.
“Don’t be so useless, alright?” Ivan glanced at her with disdain. “You talk so softly, are you talking to us?”
“Let your opponents have a taste of your power? Let her see you defeat us?”
Ayrin didn’t notice at all the members of Mountain Kings become all blue-faced behind him.
The way Werther and the others saw it, Ayrin and Chris definitely did it on purpose.
“Are you Chris, the captain of team Holy Dawn?”
When they waited for the referees to take their places and for the match to start, an arcane master acting as assistant referee suddenly walked up to team Holy Dawn and asked Chris a question.
“I am.” Chris nodded. She asked, very curious, “What?”
“Team Mountain Kings raised the issue of your provocation. They want the fight between you and them to happen in the first match, so I came here to ask whether you agree?” This assistant referee sized up everyone in team Holy Dawn. His eyes stayed a very long moment on Rinloran in particular.
“What, according to the draw from the other day, wasn’t the first match today Silver Trout Academy against team Longtable?” Ayrin turned to Carter with astonishment and asked, “Teacher Cater, how can we fight before them?”
“According to the rules of the tournament, all the matches in the same group are equal, there isn’t any special priority. If a team proposes to fight their match in advance because of some particular issue, they can insert the match before the other matches in the group, as long as the other teams agree. They even only need an agreement from the captain and the team members, it has nothing to do with the teachers in charge,” Carter explained patiently.
“Then what about the other teams, what did they say?” Ayrin couldn’t stop himself from asking the assistant referee.
The referee said, also very patient, “The other six teams have also agreed to have your match first. So, we only need your agreement now.”
“…” Moss suddenly sweat. He thought, it was definitely because Breith Magazine made them sound too arrogant, so the other teams also wanted to first have a look at how strong they really were.
“Fight first or fight later, I don’t think there’s any difference.” Chris looked at Ayrin and the others. “What do you guys think?”
Ayrin became excited. “Alright, it’s the best if we can fight first. I’m already itching to get on with it.”
Belo pushed his glasses. “Are they so eager to lick this great lord’s feet… That said, I probably won’t have to come out for this match anyway.”
The referee’s eyes fell on Rinloran.
“I’m only a training partner,” Rinloran repeated, very innocent.
“A high-level elven bloodline is a mere training partner?” The assistant referee stared in a daze.
Everyone else looked at Stingham.
Stingham tossed his hair. “Haha, I’m the most handsome!”
The group almost all fell down with a crash. “He’s asking you if you agree to fight first, it has nothing to do with whatever handsome!”
“I don’t care. Anyway, I’m the most handsome, I’m even the commander in chief overseeing the troops. The next captain.” Stingham laughed out loud.
“You could just have said you don’t care.”
The group looked at him, extremely speechless. Chris looked at the referee and nodded. “It seems none of them have any objection. We agree to advance our fight against team Mountain Kings to the first match of the day.”
“Good. Since that’s the case, get ready to go to the match resting area. Also, handover your fighting order.” The referee increasingly felt this was a team with a very strange atmosphere. It seemed every one of them was different from ordinary folks.
“What’s going on?”
“Why does it look like the first match is team Mountain Kings against team Holy Dawn? They’re already going to the match resting area.”
“Don’t tell me, someone asked the match to be put first, then every team agreed to it?”
When the two teams came into the field, more and more people in the stands noticed that the two teams fighting in today’s first match were team Mountain Kings and team Holy Dawn.
“Firmly remember what I told you today.”
When they came into the field, Carter said against Moss’ ear, “For you, this match is only an arduous training match. All you need to do is to consume your opponent’s arcane particles… This opponent isn’t worthy yet of us using our secret weapons, so you absolutely can’t use Sacrificial Halo. Just withdraw when you can’t persevere anymore.”
“It’s finally here! Our first match in the tournament is finally here.”
Ayrin looked beside him at Chris. “I can’t seem to control it even if I keep breathing deeply. It’s like there’s a flame burning nonstop in my chest.”
Chris nodded. She softly said, “The same for me.”
Stingham firmly brandished his fist at the stands. “See that? I’m the most handsome!”