“Say, Nikita, what’s the relationship between you and Rinloran?”
“Be honest and fess up, when did you become so chummy with Rinloran!”
“Who would have thought, Nikita, you secretly started dating this handsome guy. That said, Rinloran looks very much like a pretty girl. Instead of giving yourself to an outsider, you might as let this sister enjoy you instead.”
Team Agate Lake was making its way inside the tunnel reserved for participants in the Arena of Fire and Blood. Nikita’s face was red down to the ears as her teammates chatted around her. She explained, extremely shy, “I’m not… We just met when shopping for something, then I lent him some money.”
“Woah, even a money-lending story that happened, no wonder you two look so intimate now,” some Agate Lake girls shouted in a dramatic fashion.
“How are we intimate…” Nikita was so embarrassed she even had trouble speaking. “He just said a few words of encouragement.”
“He especially came to see you and encourage you, isn’t that being intimate? Why didn’t he come and encourage us?”
“That’s right. That Rinloran never spoke much on the way here, he’s clearly acting different with you.”
“For the sake of this handsome boyfriend of yours, you must be sure to put on a good performance, Nikita.”
“We really aren’t…”
“To explain is to cover up.”
Sophia would certainly have stopped these raucous girls in ordinary times, but now she merely smiled and didn’t pipe a word.
Because their opponent today was Golden Stag Academy.
Apart from being exceedingly formidable, Golden Stag Academy had also somehow become a common enemy for everyone in St. Lauren.
She could clearly feel that her teammates were much more nervous than usual.
So, messing around like this might reduce some of their pressure and relax them a little.
In the stands, Charlotte, Ivan, Wilde and the others, as well as the whole team Holy Dawn sans Ayrin, as well Chris’ supporters, team Southern Monsoon, all of them were already in place.
In everyone else’s opinion, the true focal point of Agate Lake Academy’s group should be the clash of giants next round between Golden Stag Academy and Hawkmoon Academy.
But for the teams from St. Lauren, this match had a special meaning.
Team Agate Lake came out of the contestants’ tunnel and appeared in Rinloran’s vision.
Because they loved you too much, they wanted to protect you, to protect the beautiful peace, that’s the reason why they went to battle and stopped at nothing, even sacrificing their lives.”
He looked at Nikita’s back, her voice constantly ringing in his ears.
He was very grateful for this girl. She was tall, but her thoughts were meticulous, and her heart was honest and generous.
Ayrin, Chris… and also Nikita. More and more, they made him realize he’d been trapped inside his own world, unable to escape.
In fact, he also very well that the hatred for fighting wasn’t his real feelings.
His truest and deepest feelings were merely love and sorrow.
He simply couldn’t find a way out of his grief.
But these friends of his were like warm sunlight, slowly thawing the ice in his heart.
“Do your best!”
“Sophia, do your best! Nikita, do your best!”
“Knock ’em flat!”
Such a stage would naturally not be missing the Stingham Show. As soon as he saw team Agate Lake appear on stage, Stingham had already stuck his hands on his hips and started yelling.
“With a brilliant martial god ultra-handsome lady killer like me cheering for you, you’re definitely going to win!”
“Why isn’t team Golden Stag here yet?”
Today was the day for group one and group two in the lower half to fight. The confrontation between Agate Lake Academy and Golden Stag Academy happened to be the first match in the lower half, but when team Agate Lake was already at the edge of the field and waiting, team Golden Stag was still nowhere in sight.
“Here they are!”
Only after waiting all the way until the match was about to begin officially did many people suddenly see team Golden Stag come out of the contestants’ tunnel.
“Ahahaha. Are they afraid? Is that why they didn’t have the guts to come earlier?”
Stingham’s crazy laughter once again rose from the stands.
“…” Almost everyone in the stands was struck speechless. It would have been a possibility if he’d said Golden Stag Academy was showing off its status and making the opponent wait. As to being afraid of Agate Lake Academy, that was of course out of the question.
But what made many people sweat big drops was, Stingham still yelled at Rinsyi and the others, “Hey! I think you should directly throw the towel, because even if you can qualify, you’ll still lose to us if you come across us. Ahahaha, I’m the most handsome!”
As they made their way to the field, no one in team Golden Stag turned around to look at Stingham. One of their members coldly said, “People from Holy Dawn Academy are really all idiots. This guy’s really a stands pet.”
The girl with nails painted black and an especially flirtatious appearance asked with an alluring smile, “What’s stands pet?”
“A pet dog who makes everyone in the stands laugh,” that team member said with a cold smile.
“How fitting.” The flirtatious girl and some other team members all laughed together.
“Ayrin, and also you trash from St. Lauren, I’m going to let you know just how big a mistake you made.”
There wasn’t any smile to be seen on Rinsyi’s face. He merely looked at team Agate Lake opposite him, his glare pure ice.
In the stands, there was a boy with a tender and immature face, seemingly a freshman from some academy or other coming to the national tournament for the first time. He was first shocked by the scale and grand spectacle of the arena, then his eyes almost popped out of their sockets when he saw the flirtatious girl in team Golden Stag.
Because the uniform that the pretty and flirtatious girl wore was a golden dress with a long skirt, and it even had slits on the sides so that when she walked, it exposed a good half of her long and fair legs.
“You idiot, what are you looking at.” Some elder people around him suddenly noticed him staring straight at that flirtatious girl. An old man with a scruffy beard immediately bopped him on the head.
“But she really looks beautiful,” this freshman said, hugging his head in dejection and exhaling in pain.
“She does look beautiful. But, you let your brother ask us to accompany you here and watch the tournament, but you don’t even know a single person here. What the hell are you looking at? Do you know this girl’s nickname? Her nickname is the Black Widow Huntress,” the man with the scruffy beard said with a cold smile. “She belongs to House Roland, a house that’s pledged loyalty to House Baratheon. House Roland is called the Reaper House. At the western border of Eiche, in this house, as well as for their mortal enemy House Eclipse Moon, the mission entrusted to the arcane masters of these two houses ever since their childhood is simply to kill people from the other house. Both these houses call their opponent house’s territory their hunting ground. For the coming of age ceremony in both these houses, they need ten skulls from people of the enemy house to complete it. Of course, for a well-known figure in her house like her, she wouldn’t have stopped at a mere ten.”
“She was actually born from an ancient and bloody battle house like that?” The face of this freshman suddenly froze.
“Anyone in the main line-up of team Golden Stag is a freak. Death God Rinsyi has storm dragon blood, you should know that. Look at the cold-faced boy over there, that’s Golden Stag’s vice-captain, Warlock Hill!”
“His spiritual strength is far above the level of arcane master of the same rank, the arcane skills he trains in are all extremely strange, to the point people call him a warlock.”
“Also, look at that short boy with short hair who seems a little silly and afraid of the cold, he’s the famous Hellball Master Tyrin.”
“Also, that boy with long dark-gray hair, pointy ears, with a face that looks very sinister, he’s “Plague Disseminator” Zouchen. He’s someone who once ambushed and killed an entire arcane team all by himself.”
The old man with the scruffy beard turned to look at the freshman whose face was already white from fright. “The greatest difference between these people in team Golden Stag and those from other teams is that all of them are slaughters with hands already tainted by the blood of many arcane masters. They’re exactly the same as a powerful army team specialized in mass-slaughter.”
“Members taking to the field on both sides, please get ready.”
Only after the assistant referees spoke did Rinsyi look back and sweep his eyes over the entire stands, a cold mocking smile floating on his lips.
“Ferguillo, Ayrin, it’s truly regrettable you didn’t come to watch,” he silently said to himself, his smile cold.
“Golden Stag Academy against Agate Lake Academy, first fight, Gezny against Hedi!”
Referee Kleis’ voice rose in the field.
“Is Golden Stag Academy really going to keep fielding substitutes?”
“Is he really going to engage in a grandstand with Ayrin for the sake of love rivalry?”
The stands suddenly erupted when they heard the name of the first one to fight for team Golden Stag.
But at the same time, everyone thought that even if they were truly going to use an all-substitute lineup, Golden Stag Academy’s lineup would still be overwhelmingly tyrannical.
Stepping out first onto the field at present, Gezny had already gained the nickname of “Bloodshifter” after the match in the previous round. He’d also become a grand celebrity-level fighter.
In the stands, Ivan, Charlotte, Wilde and the others all blinked in confusion when they heard the name of the first one to fight for Agate Lake Academy.
Victory or defeat in the first fight was of utter importance for morale, especially against a team like Golden Stag that put pressure the opposite team. In their opinion, even if Nikita wasn’t to be the first one to fight, it should at least be “Radiant Fighter” Connie whose strength was great in the team.
Hedi seemed to be a mere substitute in Agate Lake Academy. She’d stepped onto the field and fought as a main member only a few occasional times previously.
“Is Hedi also someone who’d always concealed her strength before?”
Ivan and Charlotte and the others were all a confused as they looked at the long, black-haired girl about to take to the field.
“Our gamble paid off! The opponent really sent out a substitute! And it’s even Gezny!”
What no one else knew was that, while looking nervous and grave on the outside, everyone in team Agate Lake was secretly wild with joy at this time.
Repressing the wild joy in her heart while keeping a grave expression on her face, Sophia whispered to Hedi, “Hedi, don’t be nervous, just properly do your thing. Among all of us, you’re the one with the arcane skills who counter these guys best. As long as you fight at your usual level, Gezny and Oeness, as well as that Pires, none of them will be your match.”
“For honor, for St. Lauren!”
Hedi had long black hair and an oval face. She usually looked weak and delicate, but now, she merely said a few firm and forceful words before lifting her head and walking to the center of the field.