In a certain third-year dorm, Tonkin 1 tossed and turned, but couldn’t fall asleep no matter what.
He was an ordinary student of Holy Dawn Academy, the one who once walked past the academy canteen’s notice board but chose to turn a blind eye.
Once, he had been utterly disappointed by the academy team’s fighting achievements. Once, he had been in utter despair. But the feelings once pressed down to the depths of his heart had been thoroughly ignited once again by the present team’s performance.
“I still can’t sleep…”
After tossing and turning countless times, Tonkin finally couldn’t help himself anymore. He sat up, gazed at the stars twinkling and glittering in the night sky. “The news about Ayrin and the others in their first match should reach Holy Dawn Academy by tomorrow morning, shouldn’t they? I really hope they can defeat their opponents once more…”
“Victory! We won again!”
All of a sudden, an ear-piercing yell cut through the night, startling countless nocturnal birds.
Tonkin opened the windows, almost subconsciously. He directly leaped outside without even wearing his shoes.
A single yell startled awake the entire peaceful Holy Dawn Academy, turning it into a boiling pan.
Tonkin heard countless shrill sounds cutting through the air. When he turned around and saw countless figures rushing outside just like him, he realized that most people couldn’t sleep, just like him.
“We won! We really won!”
“A senior who’s already graduated transmitted the news through the night. Our team won a great victory over team Mountain Kings, five two!”
“Ayrin beat four of them all by himself, and in the end he even forced the captain on the other side, Wild Battlemaster Werther, to run out of arcane particles and directly forfeit!”
“There’s another good piece of news. In the same group, the match between Harrenhal Academy and Rapier Academy turned out extremely bitter. The score was five to four. The victorious Rapier Academy has three members of their main lineup who suffered heavy injuries and who might be absent in the next match. And their next match, it’s precisely against our Holy Dawn Academy!”
“We defeated team Mountain Kings!”
“We really defeated a strong team like that by a great margin!”
Tonkin suddenly released a great shout when the very precise news came to his ears one great yell after another. His red feet stepping on the icy-cold stone pavement, he started running as if his life were on the line.
It seemed the only way he could thoroughly vent the feelings inside him was to run madly, to cheer at the top of his lungs. It was the only way he could dry the hot tears of happiness gushing out from the rims of his eyes.
The entire Holy Dawn Academy fell into crazed joy that night.
Many people ran wildly, many people sang at the top of their lungs, many people cried tears of joy, many people didn’t even know anymore why there were randomly bouncing and jumping.
In the dark of the night, Eichemalar was still lit as brightly as before.
All sorts of crystals left from the era of the War of the Dragons overflowed with brightness and color. Almost every shop kept to the tradition from thousand years ago: whether deep at night, or just before dawn when they were at their most tired, they were still open for business. Polite and attentive shop clerks were on duty, ready to receive at any time guests come from afar.
Even in an era of absolute peace, some clans or perhaps some special communities innately preferred to operate at night.
Before the War of the Dragons, irascible cave dwarf buyers, night elf nobles who liked to buy special crystals, drink- and brawl-loving mountain giants, all of them could be commonly seen in Eichemalar’s streets at night.
In the athlete village defended and patrolled by teams of elite masters, almost all members of participant teams were already fast asleep.
A lone figure wearing team Hellfire’s uniform walked out from one of the residences within. He walked all the way inside an ordinary training building.
This person wearing team Hellfire’s uniform was shockingly Death God Lotton, the one who’d caused the whole arena to fall into panic.
Before him, there had already been three contestants participating in the tournament who’d entered this dark training building, wearing uniforms from different schools.
“So you’re the captain of our team?”
The three of them were frightened when they clearly saw Lotton’s face as he walked inside the half-open doors.
Lotton merely took a single glance at these three, committing the three of them to memory, then nodded. Without a word, he went out of this training building shrouded in darkness.
Inside the building, the other three also walked outside soon after, each of them clearly carrying their own thoughts and worries. They left separately.
After the four of them left, three arcane masters wearing black arcane robes soundlessly flashed out of the shadows surrounding this training building, like ghosts in the night. One of the arcane masters asked the tallest one among them, “A very unusual situation, how should we proceed?”
“Report to the Office of Special Affairs, send a team to first observe these people. Don’t let them find out. Let us first discover their intentions.”
Light faintly flashed in the eyes of this arcane master, the tallest one among them. After issuing his orders, he hesitated a moment, then added, “To prevent any mishap, we need Jurin’s team to come over. Even I can’t see through this Lotton’s genuine strength, but what I can be sure of is, his arcane skills are partly mind attacks in nature.”
“Is this the place?”
At about almost the same time, five people stood in the sewers somewhere underneath the athlete village.
These five people wore uniforms from respectively Abel Academy, Silver Trout Academy, Three-Headed Dragon Academy, Windsinger Academy, and Sea Gale Academy.
Among the five of them, there was one Ayrin could have recognized. It was the one from Silver Trout Academy, the tender-faced shy-looking freshman, Shinro.
“Is this the place?”
A short boy wearing Windsinger Academy’s uniform glanced at the sewer wall in front of them. He stretched out his fingers and tapped on it, then turned his head around and looked at the skinny boy wearing Abel Academy’s uniform.
For five people like these to be assembled in the hidden sewers, it was already a very strange combination. But what was even more surprising was, Windsinger Academy didn’t rank as a powerful team in the national tournament, and there was no especially famous celebrity fighter in the team either. Between them and a team like Abel Academy that was vice-champion last year and was also dubbed a monster-level team this year, the distance was as far as between the sky and the land. But right at this moment, this short boy wearing Windsinger Academy’s clothes didn’t seem to feel awkward or stifled in the slightest. He seemed to be on equal footing with every one of the other four.