Arc 5 Chapter 74: Tournament registration

The morning desert sun was slowly rising into the sky warming the lingering chilly desert night air.

Akira stood in the long line to enter the capital Otria, along with Mileena and Varbu. For some unknown reason, he felt extremely happy and was smiling while looking around at his surroundings.

“Tch, stop that. You’re making me and everyone else around you feel uncomfortable with your lewd face,” said Mileena.

“Lewd face? You’re wrong, this is my cool guy smile,” said Akira bombarding her with the full power of his cool guy smile.

“Help a pervert is talking to me! Mmpphh…” said Mileena half joking before Akira covered her mouth with his hand to stop her saying anything else, worried others might get the wrong idea. He quickly realized that this put him in an even worse position and removed his hand.

“Who’s a pervert? If I was a real pervert I would say something like ‘Look at that cute little assassin’, or something,” said Akira.

Mileena’s cheeks had turned beet red and Akira was immediately forced to dodge a swipe from her dagger, something that he had become an expert in over the last few weeks.

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Varbu chuckled watching the two act the same way they normally did as if they had known each other for years.

“You two stop acting up you’re making people stare at us,” said Varbu.

The two stopped their squabbling upon hearing Varbu and started to feel the sharp gazes of the surrounding people staring at them.

“Ahem, yes you’re right, now’s not the time for such talk. That reminds me we need to wear our cloaks and sand masks before we get to the gates and enter the city. Can’t let the Magic guild’s spies find out we’re here,” said Akira as he raised his dust mask a piece of torn cloth, over his mouth and nose and flipped up the hood of his cloak.

Both Mileena and Varbu followed suit. It didn’t help much since the people standing next to them now thought they were an even more extremely odd bunch of people. Mileena had a hard time hiding her tail which she had to curl around her waist and use her cloak to hide.

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The large capital was surrounded by tall sandstone walls with mud bricks covering the outside to protect them from the weather. The clay was from the nearby sea only a few days away where the city’s salt mines were.

The height and length of the walls showed the city was as large as any of the other capitals he had seen.

When the gates opened the long line outside started to move forward slowly. It was another two hours before they were able to enter the city with a warning that anyone caught breaking the law would get the harshest punishment.

The city guards were enforcing the laws to the extreme in order to keep the massive overflow of people coming to watch the tournament in check.

The three had no idea where to go so they wandered around the large city while looking for a notice board or the arena that would be hosting the tournament.

The majority of the city’s buildings were also built out of mud bricks and sandstone, with a few of the more important buildings, used marble.

They finally gave up after a short while of fruitless searching and asked for directions to the registration from a stranger on the street.

The stranger annoyed at being stopped hurriedly pointed them in the correct direction before walking away.

The three walked to the large building next to the arena and watched from a distance as the large crowd of people near the arena were slowly entering the building after being registered by what looked to be monks sitting at several tables.

Ding!

Quest received:

Enter the tournament and win!

Difficulty: C

Will you Accept?

Yes / No


Akira declined the quest he wasn’t here to win the tournament.

They continued to watch the process in order to not mess up later when they went to register.

“Hey, they’re all wearing masks,” said Mileena pointing out something Akira had been too preoccupied to notice.

“Hmm…This is a good thing. It should help us protect our identity. The only problem is we don’t have masks,” said Akira.

“No problem, I saw a few stands selling festival mask a few streets back. I didn’t get a good look at what they were selling but it should be usable,” said Varbu.

The three backtracked the way they had come to find multiple vendors selling all types of festival mask mostly for children.

When they reached the last booth they met an old grumpy man who was sitting behind it.

“What do you want?” asked the old man.

“Do you have any masks left to sell,” asked Akira.

“You lot are a bit old to be playing with festival masks aren’t you?” asked the old man looking at Varbu’s towering height.

“We need them for the tournament as we plan to join,” said Mileena.

“The tournament you say? I’m sorry but I only two left and they are part of my special one of a kind super ultra rare limited edition mask series. But it seems no one has an interest in such great designs. They would rather use the same old boring wooden mask.”

“That’s fine we only need two masks since only two of us are joining. Can we see them?” asked Akira.

The old man shrugged and took the two mask out from underneath the booth.

Akira took an immediate interested in them. They were both full face masks the type that covered your entire head.

One was of a fierce black furred wolf grinning menacingly showing off his sharp teeth. It was a mask that made regular people shy away from it and kids cry. That was the reason the old man had hidden it under the booth so he didn’t upset or scare away his customers.

The grumpy old man had come to realized that only people with an odd sense of taste would be interested in such a mask.

The second mask was almost the direct opposite of the wolf mask and was of a white-furred feline cat with blue eyes that gave off a feeling of royal beauty starting at you with a haughty indifference.

Varbu let out loud laughter for the second time that day. The masks were perfect for the two.

“You don’t have to rude! I know that they aren’t what most people would find appealing but I am still trying to change the mask industry as I have been for over the last 40 years of my life,” said the old man getting a little agitated.

“I didn’t mean to offend you. I just did not expect that we would find such masks that would fit my companions so perfectly,” said Varbu sincerely apologizing.

“Fit perfectly? Does that mean you want to buy them?” asked the old man perking up.

“Yes,” replied Akira handing over one gold coin.

The old man overjoyed with happiness took the coin and handed them the mask.

As the three walked away they could hear the old man muttering, “This is good. If they join the tournament and win while wearing the masks I created everyone will know how great my masks are and want to buy more! I must get to work on creating newer and even better masks!”

***

Akira looked over both of the masks and made a few changes to make sure it would hold up in a fight. When he finished both Mileena and Akira put the masks on.

Akira let out a sigh of relief the mask fit as if it had been made for him. His vision was not blocked by the mask too much since the wide grin of the wolf mask was where he looked out. It also helped ventilate some of the heat from inside the full mask it was still a little uncomfortable but not extremely.

Mileena’s mask fit her as well but her ears felt a little cramped. She felt Akira’s gaze looking at her and turned to stare back at him.

Her mask truly was amazing and gave off a haughty majestic feeling.

“Tch, looking at your mask makes me think of you and your lewd smile,” said Mileena in an annoyed voice.

Akira ignored her since he knew she would never understand the power behind his cool guy smile.

When they reached the registration area the line had become almost two times longer and even more cramped and overflowing with people wanting to try their hand at winning the tournament.

“While you guys wait in line I’m going to go buy a ticket to watch the tournament before they’re sold out,” said Varbu.

Although there were four lines for registration they were still forced to wait a long time to get to the front tables.

They passed the time listening to the people talking around them.

“Hey, do you think we have a chance? I heard that The wig duo and The broomstick breakers are supposed to be in the tournament.”

“We won’t be able to win, but if we get high enough in the rankings we should be able to get some good rewards and people will recognize our names when we mention it at the taverns.”

When Akira and Mileena finally reached the front of the line the monk behind the table shouted out in a loud voice, “Last registration! Everyone else, thank you for coming but the spots are now filled.”

Multiple groans and shouts of anger rose up from the teams behind them. The monks from the three other lines shouted out the same thing. Squashing the hopes of some who tried to line up in them after the first had closed.

Akira was sweating under his mask not because of the heat but because of such a close call in getting here in time for registration. If they had arrived a day later no even a few hours later they would have been out of luck and would not have been able to complete their plan.

A hand grabbed onto Akira’s shoulder. The hand applied a large amount of force into its grip.

“Hey…Buddy… how about you let us take your spot we traveled such a far distance to get here. All the way from the next town over just to enter the tournament,” said the voice behind Akira.

Akira reached up and calmly grabbed the hand with his full strength and pulled it off his shoulder and turned around still holding the wrist. He stared at the muscle-brain behind him who was wincing partially from the sight of the mask but mostly from the pain in his wrist.

“Look ‘friend’ I have no intention of giving up my spot. So I would be happy if you would stop pestering me or I will be forced to get angry,” said Akira letting the man’s wrist go.

“My apologies sir. It was rude of me to ask,” said the man bowing before fleeing with his teammate.

“What are your ring names?” asked the monk behind the table emotionlessly as if nothing had happened.

“Ring name? What’s that?” asked Akira.

“The name you will be using when fighting in the tournament or will you use your real name?”

Akira had been so focused on worrying about getting here that he had not thought about such a thing. He took a few seconds to think of a great name and blurted out the first one that came to mind.

“Super Cool Black Wolf, and Miniature White Cat.”

Mileena stomped on his foot unhappy with the name.

The monk looked at Mileena as if asking are you sure you want to be named that?

“What he meant to say is his name is Lewd wolf and I am known as Majestic cat,” said Mileena quietly.

“Wait…” said Akira as he tried to protest but his foot was stomped again silencing him.

The monk nodded, “Lewd wolf and the majestic cat,“ said the monk loudly as he wrote it down.

 

“Alright take these,” said the monk as he handed them both an identical large copper coin with the number 1000 on it.

“Show that to the guards behind me and you will be allowed to enter the building with the rest of the contestants.” 

Upon showing the burly guards the coins the large doors were opened allowing them to pass through.

The building was one large room with over 2000 people crammed inside loudly talking and moving around. Some were even warming up doing exercises to get ready for any type of fight.

Only a few people in the large crowd noticed the two entering the large room.

“Looks like you two are the last team to register,” said an extremely skinny male with dyed blue hair standing near the door.

“Honestly, I don’t know why people join on the last day. They had two full weeks to join. We joined on the first day,” said a large woman with purple hair standing next to the skinny man.

“Ignore them,” said Akira as he grabbed Mileena’s hand and waded through the crowded room towards the center.

There were five large raised squares with ropes ringing them off in the middle of the room. Many of the people near the fighting rings were staring at them with determination in their eyes.

“Quiet! Quiet!” shouted young bare-chested teenager with a large bullhorn. The teen was escorting 5 old monks and one muscular man who held a Cat o’ nine tails whip.

The young teen scrambled up into one of the rings and with the help of the muscular man helped what seemed to be the oldest monk up to the raised platform, before joining the old monk.

The teen boy handed the bullhorn over to the muscular man.

“What part of quiet don’t you understand,” barked the muscled man. The low murmuring chatter died immediately.

“I am Khepri the Head overseer of the Big Arena, these old fellows are the local monks. They will be the impartial judges for the tournament. Whatever they say goes if you try to make a scene and argue you will be banned from the tournament and… you will be punished,” said Khepri as he slapped the whip against his hand a few times.

Akira could hear multiple people involuntarily gulping at the threat.

- my thoughts:
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