“Old geezer please explain the rules,” said Khepri.
The old judge hobbled forward using a cane to keep steady and grabbed the bullhorn from the young teenager.
”The main rules are simple, don’t kill your opponent and listen to the judge when they give a verdict or you will be disqualified and not allowed to participate in any tournament in the future,” said the old man pausing to look at everyone in the room.
“As you know this year’s tournament requires you to have a partner to participate in the tournament. In order to make sure that each team participating is up to our high standards. We will be having an elimination round today before the start of the tournament tomorrow,” the old man paused again.
Everyone knew there would be an elimination round otherwise there would be too many teams to fight in the short time frame of the tournament. So they didn’t understand why it was mentioned.
“But…unlike the tournament, you will not be participating as a team in the elimination round. To ensure that there are no teams where a random person was pulled off the street in order for a solo fighter to participate, everyone will participate in the 1v1 elimination round. If both members of a team win their individual fight the team will be allowed to enter the tournament,” said the old man before taking a step back signaling he was done talking.
A low murmur of excited talking started and a few curses could be heard somewhere in the crowd.
“You heard him! The elimination round to cull all of you weaklings starts now. There are five rings so we can get this done in one day. Each judge will randomly call two names off the list of participants. When you hear your name, head to the ring the judge is next to. That means you better shut up so that people can hear the judges,” said Khepri.
The room immediately became silent again as they watched Khepri and the old judge limp down and the other judges slowly walk to one of the five rings. They walked up onto a small raised platform with a chair overlooking each ring.
Once the old monks sat down they each called out two names from a list in their hands.
Akira and Mileena watched as the elimination round began. He was interested to see how strong everyone was and measure his own strength that had grown in leaps and bounds.
Akira felt a tug on his armor and looked to see Mileena looking at him.
“What?” asked Akira in a whisper.
“This wasn’t part of our plan. I don’t know if I can win a fight on my own,” whispered Mileena worriedly.
“Don’t worry as long as your luck isn’t crap you should be able to pass this easily. Don’t worry too much and just watch the matches. You’ll be able to get some information on the fighters in case we have to fight them in the main tournament.”
“Okay…but I’m still worried.”
“Oh yeah, that reminds me, keep an eye out for your sister in case she’s here. I know it’s highly unlikely since she’s part of the gladiators participating in the tournament events. But it’s best to be on the lookout just in case.”
Akira continued to watch the battles silently while studying the fighters. Some fights were done in seconds while others were a test of endurance and lasted a while until one of the two were knocked out.
From what he saw the majority of fighters were average fighters, and there were only a few hundred extremely powerful people that dominated their matches.
‘Please don’t pair me with a monster,’ though Akira. He chuckled to himself due to his thinking of them as monsters.
Mileena jabbed him in the side with her small elbow and asked, “What are you doing laughing like a maniac?”
Before he could answer a fight ended in ring number three and the judge stood up.
“Lewd Wolf vs Blue Stick!,” said the judge in a loud voice.
Multiple people were looking around to see who the idiot was that had chosen a ring name like ‘Lewd Wolf’.
Their eyes locked onto Akira as he walked to ring number three and climbed up and through the ropes, to stand tall in the ring ready to fight his opponent.
Now more than ever he was extremely glad that he had a full head mask on so people could not see his face. It didn’t help that there were multiple laughs and sharp gazes staring at him from the surrounding crowd.
The opponent that entered the opposite side of the ring was the skinny man with blue hair that he had met when he first entered the building.
“So you’re Lewd Wolf? What a lame name,” said Blue Stick.
“Right back at ya, Blue Stick,” said Akira as he readied his sword and shield.
“Whatever. I’ll beat you in under 3 minutes,” said Blue Stick swinging around his long blue Quarterstaff which was nothing more than a stick compared to Varbu’s own weapon.
“Fight!” shouted the judge.
Blue stick decided to ignore caution and charged towards Akira his quarterstaff held high ready to strike down on Akira’s head.
The Quarterstaff collided with Akira’s shield and bounced off. Blue stick was able to regain control over his weapon quickly and continuously attacked Akira from different angles trying to wack him into submission.
To Blue Sticks annoyance and great frustration, none of his attacks were getting through Akira’s defense each attack was blocked by the shield. Akira wasn’t worried about the attacks since they were nothing more than an annoyance with little force behind it.
“It’s been three minutes. Since you did not defeat me, I will defeat you in under a minute,” said Akira.
He had decided not to use any skills in the elimination tournament for fear of killing his opponent and any other people near the attack.
Akira kicked out with one foot hitting Blue Stick in the stomach, forcing him to take multiple steps backward.
Akira followed after him and before Blue Stick could even regain his balance he slammed his shield into the left side of Blue Stick with his full power.
The attack caused Blue Stick to fly backward and slam into one of the wooden posts of the ring.
“AHHHHH! You broke my arm! My arm! MY ARM!” wailed Blue Stick pitifully as he was laying on the ground clutching his broken left arm.
“Winner Lewd Wolf!” shouted the judge.
Akira let out a sigh of relief that he had been given such an easy opponent and was able to pass with such ease.
“Shut up and get out of the ring or I’ll kill you myself,” shouted Khepri threatening Blue Stick who was crying loudly.
Akira hopped down from the ring and looked for Mileena but could not find her. Before going into a panic he turned around and found her already fighting in ring number one.
Blue Stick continued wailing in pain as Akira walked away from ring number three to watch Mileena’s fight.
A few minutes ago.
“Majestic cat vs Purple Hourglass!” shouted the judge at ring one startling Mileena who had been fretting over whether or not she could win a fight on her own.
She smacked her cheeks once to clear her mind and walked to ring number one.
Mileena watched as her opponent struggled to climb up into the ring.
Purple Hourglass was actually the rude female with purple hair that she had the displeasure of meeting when she first entered the building.
“Heh, look what we have here such a short shrimp this should be easy,” said Purple Hourglass.
“….,” Mileena was quiet trying to ignore the woman’s words and focus on the fight.
“Oh aren’t you that girl that was the last to enter was it because you were too scared to join, that you waited for the last possible moment to join? Don’t worry, I’ll end this quickly for you and let you go home.”
“In your dreams ugly,” replied Mileena.
“What did you call me? Hmph…Everyone knows that plump girls are the most beautiful. We are far better than someone like you who is so small and skinny.”
“Fight!” shouted the judge.
Mileena started inching to the right to attack the side of Purple Hourglass but her opponent wanted to finish the fight quickly and charged forward with her chubby arms held out in front of her wanting to grab onto Mileena.
Mileena dodged by spinning to the right and stuck her leg out in front of her charging opponent.
Purple Hourglass did a face-first belly-flop onto the hard canvas ring floor, and slowly huffed as she tried getting back up onto her feet.
“Watch where you’re putting your legs!” barked Purple Hourglass angrily.
Mileena darted in and landed a few hits with the butt of her daggers to Purple hourglass’s back before jumping back to evade a counter attack.
She darted around the ring continuously hitting Purple Hourglass and escaping.
“Stay still you little kid,” shouted Purple Hourglass.
Mileena ignored her and continued to dodge and attack.
“You little runt if you stop moving I’ll tell you how to actually get boobs and not be so flat.”
Mileena’s rage exploded at the mention of the taboo word. She leaped forward dodging Purple Hourglass’s outstretched hands.
Mileena’s attack was swift accurate.
Mileena’s hand smacked the left cheek of Purple Hourglass forcing her back away a step from shock.
“Don’t hit my face you might damage my beautiful skin!” screeched Purple Hourglass.
Paaa! Again, Pa, Pa, Pa, Pa, Pa!
Mileena let out a hail of smacks landing on the cheeks of her opponent which had started to become deep red from being hit.
Mileena launched a running kick to the dizzy Purple Hourglasses stomach causing her to fall down and roll out of the ring with a flop.
“Winner Majestic Cat!” shouted the judge.
Mileena quickly sheathed her weapons and hopped out of the ring where she found Akira waiting for her.
“Did you win?” asked Mileena worried that he might have failed.
“Yes, it was quite easy. I’m curious, what fueled all those attacks at the end? You were on fire there for a bit,” said Akira.
“Don’t worry about it,” said Mileena her face getting red.
The elimination rounds lasted all day and finally finished up after dinner. Akira was hungry as they had not been allowed to leave and only had snacks to munch on.
They were currently listening to the old monk speak.
“Those of you that have failed leave us now!”
Over two-thirds of the people standing in the building slowly filtered out of the main doors.
When they were gone the once cramped room now felt extremely empty.
“There are just over 300 teams that have reached this point…Do not let that get to your head! It means nothing if you pass and can do nothing in the tournament! Tomorrow the tournament will start and we will see who has the power and the will to win,” said the old monk pausing to catch his breath.
“Since you lot have passed the elimination, I will tell you that the last qualifying rounds will ignore the rule of no killing as they are to be fought to the death!”
A low murmur of shocked voices started to talk amongst themselves.
“Indeed this is the first time we have done something like this but if you win the tournament you will receive 1000 gold! You will also be allowed to speak to the king for 1 minute! What a gracious King!” said the old monk before stepping back and allowing Khepri to step forward.
“You’re all dismissed for today. Make sure you’re here bright and early. No one is allowed to quit now that you have passed the elimination stage! Anyone who is late will be punished!” said Khepri.