The closer they neared the Holy Dawn Arena, the more suspicious Ayrin’s expression became. He couldn’t help but mutter to himself, a little apprehensive.
“What’s wrong?” Belo turned his head around and looked at Ayrin. “Ayrin, can’t you eat your sausage first before talking. Don’t you feel very ridiculous talking with a roasted sausage hanging on your mouth?”
In two or three bites, Ayrin finished the sausage he’d already gnawed halfway. Then he looked at the Holy Dawn Arena’s vast and lofty dome that was already emerging in front of them. He said, “Belo, did you remember the date of the match wrong? A confrontation like this between the strongest students of the two academies involves the honor between the two academies, it should be much more spectacular than the Beast Battling Exam, so there should be many spectators coming. Why are there so few people on the way?”
“The reason is very simple.”
Belo looked at the sparse flow of people on the street ahead and said, “It’s because the battle record of our Holy Dawn Academy is really too lame. Every time, what you want to see is your own academy giving a painful beating to the guys from the other academy, and then get qualified, but what you see every time is people from your academy get painfully beaten up by other people. When something’s too disappointing and feels too much of like a loss of face, of course there will be much fewer people coming to watch. For the vast majority of students, this competition happening only once a year is the greatest affair in Eiche. Countless students and even those who’ve already graduated will come in great flocks to watch their academies’ matches, but our Holy Dawn Academy is instead almost going to completely forget about this popular competition that’s all the rage in the entire kingdom.”
“The worse the battle record and the worse the strength, the more you should go to the arena and cheer for them.” Ayrin said, “This way the atmosphere is more imposing, and maybe their display will be a bit better too.”
“That’s your way of thinking. There aren’t many people like you who don’t know what shame is.”
“But the more shamed you feel, the more you ignore this competition, the less passionately you throw yourself into this contest, then the less likely your team will defeat the other academies, isn’t it?”
“What you say is smart, you’re talking about the important point.” Belo squinted his eyes. “Right now there are many guys inside Holy Dawn Academy that have a little talent like Hawthorne and managed to compact primordial arcane particles very early, becoming arcane masters. They’re all garbage who only know how to hide inside the school, acting cool and strong. What I think is, these wastes have now long forgotten the meaning of courage. I wouldn’t have come to this shameful academy if it wasn’t for Holy Dawn Academy having many formidable arcane skills you can’t find elsewhere, and its many fierce elite teachers.”
“Hey, isn’t that Moss? He came to watch the match too.”
Ayrin suddenly pointed his finger in front of them. Inside the sparsely populated crowd, the red-haired Moss was coming close to an entrance of the arena.
“Newer students will be more curious about the novelty of this competition, and they’re prone to be more hopeful about it. That’s why there are more first years and second years coming to watch. Isn’t it very normal for this guy to come have a look?”
“Let’s go and sit together with him?”
“Alright, we’ll sit together and beat him up!”
“…That won’t be necessary.”
“Courage is the gateway to every dream.”
At the entrance, Ayrin saw these words on every direction board in the blue Holy Dawn Arena, an arena that dwarfed him.
Looking pensive, his head lowered, he followed inside after Belo.
The sight suddenly widened in front of their eyes when they went through the tunnel. Ayrin shivered the moment daylight sprinkled down from the sky and shrouded him in it; his eyes suddenly spread wide open.
The blue stands that could accommodate several dozen thousand people seemed like a circle of waves revolving around the field below.
The circular form of this field wasn’t as smooth as the one inside the Beast Training Field though.
Scattered weeds looked lonely in it, shuddering in the slight breeze. The vast majority of the field was however covered in cracks and pits big and small!
Vestiges from the burn of flames, the crush of heavy objects, or the sharpness of cutting weapons were left everywhere behind.
Even if it was his first time coming here, Ayrin was certain these were all scars left behind by previous battles.
Perhaps the names of those who fought here were long forgotten, but the vestiges of their fights still lived on.
At this very moment, Ayrin really couldn’t understand why the Holy Dawn students could ignore his competition after witnessing the scars of these battles.
Indeed, there weren’t many Holy Dawn Academy students who came to watch.
Students of the other academies each also had their own temperaments and their own various hobbies, but the competition venues in the vast majority of academies would be bursting full when the matches were underway. However, merely half the seats were occupied in this arena.
The venue seemed a little cold and empty, but a clamor suddenly rose inside.
Ayrin looked toward the source of the noise. A big crowd of people clad in yellow came their way, and very quickly occupied a portion of the stands.
These people wore identical yellow uniforms and even carried small drums, pounding them in dong dong dong dongs. The venue previously seemed very quiet, now it instantly became exceptionally raucous.
Ayrin thought of something and turned his head around, asking Belo, “These are students of Southern Monsoon Academy? Their school uniforms are yellow with a parasol tree leaf emblem on them?”
“That’s not a parasol tree leaf, it’s a maple leaf emblem. The strongest arcane master in the history of the Southern Monsoon Academy had a secret skill called ‘Maple of Life.’ The maple leaf emblem is in remembrance of the legend and glory of this powerful arcane master.” Belo pushed his glasses and said, sounding as if he were a big shot. “Look carefully at that group of students, see which ones among them are the most arrogant and the most enthusiastic.”
“After the match ends, we’ll go beat up the noisiest and most arrogant ones.”
Amidst all the racket suddenly brought by the big group of Southern Monsoon students, the red-haired Moss sat alone in a certain corner of the stands.
An inexplicable disquiet had gotten hold of him after chancing upon the team of five on the road. Someone like him who came from a great clan with a formidable blood lineage would naturally not have the same ambitions as those ordinary students. They’d find a steady job after graduation, drifting along and waiting for death, while his goal was to become a mighty arcane master under the starry skies that would inspire awe and reverence. So for a freshman as proud as him, the academy’s glory was something essential. He’d always thought before meeting that team of five that no matter how disastrous the academy’s past results, everything would be better once he was eligible to go to battle as a representative of Holy Dawn Academy.
However, the emergence of that team of five actually made him feel uncertain about everything.
That feeling of pressure that made him almost unable to breathe, it made him feel like he’d have no way to compete even if given a year or two.
An extremely conflicted and somewhat confused Moss stood up all of a sudden, breathing heavily.
At this time, the teams from Holy Dawn Academy and Southern Monsoon Academy as well as the teachers in charge of them began to come inside the field. He could see with a single glance that the golden-haired boy was definitely not among the five from Southern Monsoon Academy.
“So they weren’t the student team for Southern Monsoon?”
“Then who the hell are they?!”
Moss stared blankly at Southern Monsoon’s team. Other than the golden-haired boy, he didn’t have much an impression of the other four, but he was certain right now the five from Southern Monsoon Academy were different from the five he met beforehand.
“Its the Amazing Girl!”
At the other end of the stands, Ayrin immediately shouted with excitement when he saw Chris among the representatives for Holy Dawn Academy.
Chris had her air bunched up today. She looked especially spirited.
Belo muttered, “What are you yelling for.” His gaze full of evil intent lock onto tightly on the team of five from Southern Monsoon Academy.
“Hmm?” Very quickly, he made a strange sound.
Ayrin immediately asked, “What?”
“There’s a new guy who joined their team, looks very dangerous,” Belo solemnly said.
“Which one? You know the rest of them?” Ayrin stared blankly. Everyone in the Southern Monsoon team was a boy. One of them had an especially tall figure, looking close to two meter tall, with very short hair. He didn’t wear Southern Monsoon’s outer uniform like the others, but only a yellow tank top. Thick body hair grew on his exposed skin, looking as hard as steel needles.
Among the four others, one was short fatty with a very bloated figure. He looked like a ball seen from afar. It even looked like he was chewing something in his mouth. There was small and thin person with hair of a peculiar green color. Another one had his collar pulled up, his hands shrunken inside his sleeves, his head always lowered, his pale white hair tied in a braid. There was also one with pale yellow hair, his build and facial features both very ordinary.
“I watched the Southern Monsoon team’s matches before.” Belo rubbed his chin, looking as if plotting something. “That very tall guy who looks especially fierce is their team captain, Ferdinand. That fatball is Apia, the white-haired kid shrinking inside his clothes is from Clan Ryswell, the pale yellow hair kid seems to be called Crewe. That green-haired kid came out from thin air.”
“What’s special about Clan Ryswell?”Ayrin looked at Belo with some resentment, “You still haven’t told me what the rules of the competition are like.”
“Clan Ryswell is a clan with hybrid mutated blood.”
“Hybrid mutated blood?”
“Their bloodline is especially mixed. The successive generations of the clan have a history of intermarriage with elves, giants, and beastmen bloodlines. They have a little bit of every bloodline, that’s why you can’t even tell what’s their real bloodline nowadays. The only thing that’s certain is that people from their clan have move especially nimbly, and also, their clan have secret skills exclusive to those with their clan’s blood.”
Belo’s sight locked on tight on that seemingly low-key green-haired shorty, while he carried on with his explanation to Ayrin, “Now you can see the teams from both sides, both sides have five people, the rules are very simple. Both sides each send out one person, the winner can stay on the field and continue fighting. The game ends when the five on one side are all defeated.”
“One versus one duel, when you win you can even keep fighting on?”
“Right, that’s why usually even if you can’t win you still have to struggle to the utmost, so you can consume the other side’s strength and create an opportunity for the teammate coming after you.” Belo nodded. “That’s why many matches stop only when one side collapses entirely, unable to stand back up.”