Zachariel and his classmates hurried towards the coliseum located on the 3rd floor.
“So, who are the five people representing the Great Human Imperium today?”, Zachariel asked.
“The five students who will represent are Sabrina Rossi, Jeremias Pickler, Helena Summer, Victoria Spencer, and Prince Kane Cromwell.”, Luiz recalled, using his fingers to count how many people he called out.
Zachariel narrowed his eyes.
Luiz nodded his head.
“Your cousin was supposed to be the last one but her qualification as a Prospect candidate was revoked. The Great Schools made up their mind to place Prince Kane instead.”, he shrugged.
He suddenly gasped and looked at Zachariel.
“Oh, yeah, Zachariel. Now that I’ve mentioned your cousin, we haven’t seen her alongside you for a while. Is she okay? I… I mean, we hope that she wouldn’t be that devastated about the news, you see.”, Luiz scratched his head in embarrassment.
“She’s been missing for more than a month. I heard that rumor from her classmates in the Great Magic school.”
If Amelia’s case was the same as those missing students, they feared that Zachariel would become prey to it sooner or later.
The families of the victims have already appealed to the Imperium Court, the Imperium Barracks, and the Great School deans.
They requested to conduct a wide-area search of the missing students but none has been found so far.
The disappointing results planted doubt in the hearts of the public.
If the events pile up, people might get suspicious that the Great Schools were playing a prank or making a fool out of them, or they were simply incapable of securing the lives of their students.
“She’s okay, at least for now. You don’t have to worry about it.”, Zachariel’s cold voice replied.
He avoided the topic of Amelia.
It was a nightmare, and guilt in his heart he wasn’t ready to endure and reminisce.
Iria didn’t say anything. She already knew what happened, but knowing Zachariel, she kept her mouth shut unless he gave her the approval to say anything.
Luka, on the other hand, became suspicious.
`Zachariel’s tone feels like he doesn’t want to talk about his cousin, Amelia. Was she kidnapped? Or did something worse happen?`
The girl was too close to Zachariel and he, alongside the rest of his classmates, saw first-hand how the two interacted with one another.
In Luka’s defense, it would be strange if she didn’t appear near Zachariel’s side all the time.
“Ah yeah, about Prince Kane’s participation. It made a huge mess because many people wanted you to take over his position.”, Luiz added.
Zachariel was confused.
He didn’t think that he was deserving of such a position. Sir Matthias rejected him, and now, he was revoked of his title as a Prospect candidate.
“It all started when you won against the elden girl with some strange power that made her predict one’s move.”, Luiz shrugged.
“The public argued that you were more qualified than Prince Kane, in that you were able to defeat an elden Prospect easily, and took out a draw against a senior Prospect many years older and more experienced than you.”
Luiz had nothing but praise for Zachariel in his heart. In his heart, he was somewhat envious of Zachariel.
He thought that it was somewhat a waste as Zachariel wasn’t the type to gossip and talk around with other people.
The rest of them were similar in their thoughts as well.
“Is that so?”, Zachariel wondered.
“Yeah, yeah!”, Luiz panicked.
He thought that Zachariel doubted his words.
“You see, when you were imprisoned by the Imperium guards, many people protested outside the Imperium Palace! The protesters said that the accusations against you were hearsay, and the Royal Family were afraid of you and your talent surpassing Prince Kane!”
Zachariel chuckled on his mind.
He tapped Luiz on the shoulder, “Thank you, Luiz.”
Luiz was dumbfounded.
`Thi-this guy just thanked me? What for?`
He scratched his head in confusion.
“Alright, we’re here.”, Iria stopped.
Zachariel observed the two-way door in front of him.
He could feel a thumping rhythm synchronizing with his heart as the shouts and cheers resounded behind the door that stood between him and the coliseum.
“There are other entrances but since most of the people are inside, it doesn’t matter which one we choose from.”, Iria explained.
She turned around and narrowed her eyes.
`Strange, there should be captain guards here. Where are they?`
She shook her head.
`It’s better this way. Zachariel should still be locked down in the Imperium Dungeon. If they were here, they would realize what happened and bring him back there. Probably alongside us as well.`
Zachariel slowly took his steps towards the door.
The shouts became louder and the thumping of his heart intensified. An exciting feeling dwelled upon his body, wanting to burst out and show itself to the world.
He opened the doors.
Solus’s light touched upon his face. He looked up and saw the vast sky above.
Curses and cheers assaulted his ears.
His heart started to beat fast. The adrenaline was getting into his body.
“Yeah! Go beat that elden, girl!”
“Human Prospect, show these f****** eldens what you’re made of!”
“Start! Start! Start! Start!”
Right when he was about to shout as well, a wave of calmness drowned his mind and body.
Below them was a huge platform with the size of 10,000 square meters.
Zachariel noticed Victoria walking from the left towards the center of the huge platform.
On the other side was Raffila, Zachariel’s opponent before.
The rest of his classmates followed behind him.
“Damn, the seats are all full!”, Luiz complained.
“No, not yet. Over there.”, Zachariel pointed to the left of them.
Everyone marveled at Zachariel’s eyesight.
“Ah, how comfortable!”
Luiz closed his eyes and enjoyed the refreshing feeling.
At that point in time, an announcement was sent throughout the entire coliseum.
“Everyone! Welcome to the final part of our annual friendly freshmen skirmish event!”
“For our first match, we have Victoria Spencer from the Great Human Imperium!”
The humans cheered loudly for Victoria.
On the platform, she struggled with the embarrassing moment and internally fought the feeling.
`You can do it! You can do it!`
She took a deep breath and regained her composure, staring at Raffila from afar.
“Next, we have Raffila Erzera from the Great Elden Conglomerate!”
In the western side of the coliseum were the group of Eldens clapping in unison, though the jeers overshadowed their actions.
“Tsk! How disrespectful!”, one of the elden Prospects snorted.
“Leave them be, Veidora.”, Elder Gorfo dismissed.
On the northern side was where the leaders of each empire were seated together.
Tarron leaned over at Thalanil and whispered.
“Your Highness, at this point, we may not receive a reply from Zachariel Strom.”
Thalanil smiled, “What do you think about that?”, secretly pointing towards Zachariel’s position.
Tarron noticed it and gasped in surprise. He returned to his seat with a smile on his face.
Emperor Marcus wondered what happened and looked over as well.
`How the hell did that brat end up here?`
The Imperium Dungeon was guarded by at least diamond-level Imperium guards. Moreover, he was restrained by top-class beldum cuffs.
There was no way Zachariel could get out of there.
`Just who is his backer? Is it Supreme Elder Azzad?`, before glancing at Thalanil.
Emperor Marcus narrowed his eyes, `Forget it. I’ll have him put back in there, and whoever freed him out of there, I will have them join in on the fun as well.`
He turned his eyes back on the platform.
`Victoria Spencer. I don’t know why you’re still alive after all this time, but after this day is finished, your life will be no more.`
He knew that Victoria and his son, Kane, contained the same mysterious power under a similar curse.
In order to elevate his son’s talent and power, he would sacrifice Victoria’s life and have her power transferred to his son.
“Emperor Marcus, we shouldn’t obsess ourselves with the problems of the younger generation.”, Thalanil spoke out.
Emperor Marcus knew what Thalanil implied, nodding in affirmation and choosing to ignore the elden.
Beside him were the deans of the Great Schools in the Great Human Imperium.
“Your Imperial Majesty, it is dire news for all of us, but, the eldens might win over this skirmish event once again.”, William worried.
“Dean William, why are you so worried about petty things? Are you belittling Prince Kane’s power?”, James questioned William’s doubts.
In James’ eyes, William Martin was a definite supporter of the revolutionary faction.
The way the plump man addressed the problem, he wanted to look like the humans were powerless in the face of elden supremacy.
“I am not, James Mason. Even if Prince Kane Cromwell wins his match, that might not be necessary to the other rounds as well. What I’m trying to imply here is that…”
James waved his hands, dismissing William’s point.
“My, my, William Martin. You have grown old and stupid, haven’t you? It doesn’t matter if the rest of the matches are a loss or win. As long as Prince Kane emerges victorious, the Great Human Imperium’s dignity wouldn’t be tarnished at all.”
“We will still have the hope of growing stronger in the future. Why are you focusing on the others when they have such minuscule talent and skills compared to His Imperial Majesty’s son?”
James’ eyes emitted hostility as he stared at William.
William snorted and didn’t dare to speak another word.
`What nonsense is this?!`
He sighed in his mind.
James acted smug, followed by the rest of the deans who were loyal to Emperor Marcus.
`That’s it, fatty. Bask yourself in defeat as reality opens your blind eyes to the truth!`
He turned his eyes to where the young human Prospects were situated.
`That damn Helena and Sabrina! If it weren’t for them, my daughter Priscilla would’ve easily taken a place as a participant for this event!`
Matthias’s figure entered his eyes.
`And this damn f*****! He’s been on my nerves since a very long time ago. I hope you would get yourself embarrassed as only Prince Kane would emerge victorious on this day, while the rest of your ‘carefully picked students to get defeated easily by their opponents!`
“Is everyone ready?!”, the announcer.
The fighters on the platform nodded.
“Well then! The first match for today begins!”
The announcer raised his right hand, pointing at the air, in between Raffila and Victoria. He sent out a fireball, exploding when it reached its destination.
Raffila dashed towards Victoria, readying her fists for pummeling.
Victoria distanced herself away from Raffila but the latter only snorted and continued on her pursuit.
Victoria attempted to restrict Raffila’s movements but the elden girl saw through it and evaded the water serpent.
The water serpent couldn’t catch up to Raffila’s speed and be left behind.
`How annoying is she!`, Victoria cursed, `Wind Pummel!`
The surprise attack hit Raffila, blowing her farther from Victoria.
`Chance! Water Serpent!`
The water serpent she sent before quickly slithered in the direction of Raffila.
It jumped and coiled itself around the elden girl.
`Fireball! Wind Pummel!`
Raffila received the attacks and was knocked out.
“Tha-that fast?!”, the announcer was dumbstruck.
Everyone knew that Raffila could observe one’s mana and qi essence flow within the body.
Therefore, any surprise attacks or attempt of surprise attacks could be and should be seen by her.
`Raffila managed to dodge her first attack, but why couldn’t she dodge the following ones?`, Thalanil narrowed his eyes.
He observed the mana essence flow of Victoria, to which he could see perfectly even if he didn’t have Raffila’s unique skill.
`Strange. Raffila isn’t someone who commonly fails at her job miserably. She wouldn’t dare to underestimate any Prospect opponent either.`
What he didn’t know was that Victoria has Hakkusha and the naughty wraith interfered earlier.
Hakkusha mysteriously covered Victoria’s mana essence flow such that Raffila couldn’t project what Victoria was going to do.
“We-we have a winner! Victoria Spencer from the Great Human Imperium!”
The cheers resounded again.
On the platform, Victoria pouted.
`Hakkusha, why did you do that earlier?!`
She wanted to have a fair match against Raffila.
<Mistress, the marked one is here. And I sense a familiar hostile aura from long ago that I do not wish to speak of much right now.>
Victoria widened her eyes.
`Wai-wait, Zachariel got out of the Imperium Dungeon? But how? And why did I not sense it earlier?`
<No time for that, Mistress. You should go back to your seat for now and warn him later when he fights on the platform.>
Victoria sighed in relief after knowing that Zachariel got out of the Imperium Dungeon.
Hakkusha blocked Victoria’s sense of connection between her and Zachariel so that the little girl wouldn’t start acting emotionally on-stage and look for him.
Victoria put herself in a bad mood after knowing that Zachariel was locked-up in the Imperium Dungeon.
She couldn’t help herself about it either.
Something inside her heart would always weep every time she remembered Zachariel’s condition and whereabouts.
Victoria bowed and went back to her seat, to the lowermost eastern side of the coliseum.
“Victoria, job well done.”, Matthias nodded to her.
Victoria twitched her mouth.
“Uh, yes, Sir Matthias…”
Helena and Sabrina ran to her, expressing their compliments.
“Wow, Victoria, how did you manage to win against that elden girl that easily?”, Helena wondered.
“I just got lucky, I guess.”, Victoria replied.
Kane snorted on the sides.
“Hmph, you sure were just one lucky damn girl.”, he mocked.
“Hey, can’t you appreciate her win instead?”, Jeremias reprimanded.
“Shut the f*** up, you low-life.”, Kane waved his hands.
“How’s the feeling of sucking up to girls like them, huh?”, Kane smirked.
He didn’t have a good impression of Jeremias.
This guy was an attention-seeking brat in his eyes. Moreover, Jeremias was thinking too highly of himself.
Jeremias ignored Kane and went to congratulate Victoria.
“Victoria, you really did good there. I hope that you weren’t injured or anything at the least.”, he rubbed his hands.
“Stay away, two-faced.”
Helena snorted and dragged Victoria away.
Sabrina looked at Jeremias with an apologizing expression.
“Sorry for that, Jeremias. Helena isn’t in the mood to talk with you today.”, bowing at him before catching up to the two girls.
Jeremias’ expression became hostile once Sabrina turned around.
`You damn fuckers! You think I’m not capable enough? That Helena, just because she’s from a noble household doesn’t mean she could look down on me! Are they still idolizing that Zachariel?`
He snorted inside his mind.
`I made it to the list of participants for this skirmish event while he failed on the first try! Hah, what an idiot.`
He turned to his seat and daydreamed on the day the Imperium flooded him with honor and praises as he vanquished the forces of the demon beasts and the dark underground factions.
`All of you, just you wait! Sir Matthias said I have the potential, and I will show everyone that!`
Kane observed all of Jeremias’s actions.
He mocked Jeremias’s naivety.
`You think you’re powerful, eh? You better start hoping that that damn Matthias would back you up all the way to the end.`
`As for that damn Zachariel, I’ll visit him again later. I’ll make sure that he would experience the most painful torture in history!`
Thinking of Zachariel, a revolting hatred resurfaced deep within his heart.
The recent criticisms of his position as a participant in the skirmish event made him angry and irritated with Zachariel.
After hearing that Zachariel was imprisoned, he immediately wanted to go over and exact punishment by himself, but his father forbade him from doing so.
Emperor Marcus reasoned that the skirmish event was more important than punishing a brat like Zachariel.
Kane wouldn’t gain any public affirmation about it. Instead, it would worsen the criticisms he would receive should the news go out.
`Tsk, what damn lucky bastards. That f*****, and that Victoria! I’ll have them executed at some point in time. But for now, we should focus on the event.`
He calmed down and closed his eyes to straighten his thoughts.
The crowd’s roar continued, hungry for more action.
“I know! I know! That first match was a little bit lacking of excitement!”
“And for the next match!”
The announcer inserted his hand onto a small box with a hole on top, barely fitting his hands.
He took out a small parch of paper with words imprinted on it.
“We have… Sabrina Rossi from the Great Human Imperium!”
He grabbed another box and took out another paper.
“Al’dous Sal’gin from the Great Elden Conglomerate!”