I woke up almost two hours later and upon waking and looking at the clock I thought I had wasted too much time sleeping and wanted to do the next tasks without much delay.
We now had one priority task in mind and that was to choose the creature and gear that I was going to fight within the arena.
This, according to me, was only to increase the entertainment of the event and to increase the danger for the contestants.
Recalling to Muite’s fight I did not remember seeing his creature and that may have been because, at the right time his creature had entered, I had passed out.
Now exiting the Chawk we all now walked towards the stables. This time I did not hesitate to go for the whip, which even though I was not a master of, knew it was the kind of thing to take into the arena.
As I ran through the various armaments present in the aisle of the weaponry, I could not help but think how Muite must have stood where I was standing right now, a few days before, nervous and unsure of the armor and weapon he was going to don.
I could not think of myself in his place and was glad that I had been selected as a soldier and that I was familiar with this place.
My sister and father gave excellent suggestions on what I should wear for the battle and suggested a shield that fitted me perfectly and in no time wearing the full set it seemed like I was perfectly fitted for the battle.
Once this was done we decided that it would be best to for me to keep the armor on except for the helmet, as we had a doubt whether I would have time to wear it again.
So now we walked over to the stables and for the first time looked at the creatures there, without any hurry. Me and my sister always visited the stables only when we were going into battle but now since we had nothing immediately, we had a long look at the creature I was going to use.
There were the Xions and Xuters which we used, and there were many of these around ten of each species, which took up most of the pens and there were other smaller species that lived off in the stables, but were of no practical use to us.
I walked inside the stable structure searching for Zeq. There were many other options and I had ridden many Xions before, but I felt a connection with Zeq, and I thought this was primarily due to him saving my life.
Looking around I found him eating silently at the corner of the stable in the last pen.
I walked over and spoke to him. “Hey, there Zeq! Remember me?" I said timidly so as to not scare him. He snorted in resentment, like as if remembering the time I accidentally hit him with the whip, paralyzing him.
“Zeq would you help me fight again? I have been chosen to fight in the Zelia and a mighty beast like you would really help me." I hoped my flowery words would convince him to fight.
Instead, he now walked out of his pen and onto the street, like he was ignoring me.
I felt like he was asking a favor from me, for saving me, and so I thought long and hard for what he really wanted, while he continued his walk getting farther away from the stable.
“Okay!" I shouted hoping he could hear. “You don’t need to fight any other battles for the rest of your life, not for me or for anyone, if you help me now, also...also you can have all that you want to eat for the next year." the stable keeper who was feeding a nearby Xuter looked at me in disbelief. I ignored him as I had noticed Zeq stop.
He now turned around and walked towards me and then stood facing the direction of the Quike. I, at first did not know what he meant. He stood there for a second and then seeing that I had still not mounted him, he sorted again.
It was only then that I knew I had convinced him and that seemed to be one of the happiest moments at that time.
Having this beast by my side in battle seemed to rest my agitated mind as I knew I had a better chance at survival now.
But thinking about it, my mind only came up with tougher questions. We had only two major species of creatures that we used for battle here in Voulderan and any of the other contestants would have either chosen a Xuter or a Xion to fight in the battle and yet none of them had won. Which begged the question, what was there in that arena that made someone with such amazing animals fail at winning the deadly game?
I now pushed those questions to the back of my mind as I climbed Zeq’s back and he started his slow slumber towards the Quike.
Along the way, I met almost all of my friends, including Vare and other strangers who gathered upon to witness the giant Xion cross the market street.
Almost everyone wished me in terms of good luck, as Zeq continued his walk not minding the villagers in the way.
By the time we were a few meters from the Chawk, there was a huge crowd that had gathered around me. Almost everyone there including Serosa wished me luck as walked on towards the Chawk.
As we passed a tree I felt something land on me and I instantly knew Nibbles had joined the party.
And even though I knew I was slowly walking towards my doom I was happy because of the heartwarming wishes that came from villagers known and unknown.
We now reached the Chawk and walked on a huge crowd following us and with a backward glance I looked up at the window of my house, hoping and wishing that I would be able to see it again.
Walking on, I could not help but think I was some kind of hero returning from battle victorious and still in armor walking with a bunch of my supporters in the fading evening light.
The candles had come out now and the place seemed more scenic as we entered the east side of the market. The market now looked beautiful than ever as I looked at everything in a new light, knowing that this well and truly might be the last time I saw such scenes.
The crowd behind me had increased drastically as villagers from almost all parts of the village gathered to get seats in the Quike and watch me fight.
In a few minutes, we entered the large clearing of the Quike and the crowd behind me dispersed as they went on to buy merchandise which, yet again, I was surprised to see.