Circle Star Adventure. The Ever Blooming Flower.

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Chapter 27. The Unexpected Turn Of Events.

- Begin! - shouted Jarral.

Instantly, both archers released the arrows aiming at each other. At the same time, two shields, like impenetrable wall, were raised to block both arrows on each side.

- Wow! Incredible. Both of them were so fast. - Eve was impressed.

“Ghm… ” - I thought about what happened.

Robert leaped forward and swung at his opponent.

- ‘Zing!’ - he hit the opponents shield.

And then quickly blocked incoming swing with his.

- ‘Bang!’ -

Archers were releasing arrows at one another and jumping to the sides to not get hit.

- They are evenly matched. - commented Don.

I sheepishly smiled. In a fight were opponents had similar strengths, in order to win you had to predict few moves in advance. Or better yet, guide your opponent to fight in a way, which eventually force them to make a mistake.

“Let’s see how you handle them.” - I grinned to myself.

Robert and his opponent were fighting each other with everything they’ve got. Angi and the other archer were focused on each other as well. However, Robert and Angi, were moving around the arena much more than their opponents. In fact, it looked like both of them were on defense most of the time.

- Oh no! They are being pushed back. - Eve was worried.

I chuckled.

- Why are you laughing Master? Robert and Angi might lose if this keeps up. - she said.

- Quite the opposite. If their opponents don’t realize what’s happening, Robert and Angi will win. - I grinned.

- Huh? - Eve, Don and Amelia gave me surprised looks.

The other archer was releasing arrows one after another and barely moved from her position. Angi, on the other hand, was running and dodging the arrows, occasionally shooting at her opponent. Most of her shots missed her target, but I knew it was intentional.

Robert was blocking his opponent’s hits and tried to stay in the same spot. The other adventurer was hitting as hard as he could, trying to knock Robert down.

After few more jumps and rolls, Angi stopped and carefully aimed at her target. Her opponent’s arrows flew right next to her head, but she didn’t even flinch. And then, she released her arrow, which shot so fast, it left a trace of white line behind it.

“So she can enhance the shots with magic to give them more speed and power. Impressive. But I believe she needed few seconds to charge it up first.”

The other archer didn’t even try to dodge the arrow, since it flew slightly to the side and wouldn’t have hit her. That left her rather surprised and she was about to ready her next shot, when…

- Aaaaargh! - Robert’s opponent slumped to the ground.

The archer, companion of the wounded adventurer, turned around and realized what happened. The Magic Arrow Angi released hit her Master in his back, right bellow the left shoulder.

- And that’s it. - I said with satisfying grin on my face.

- You knew this would happen Master? - Eve was surprised.

- I told you if their opponents don’t realize what’s happening, Robert and Angi will win. - I was happy my prediction came true.

- But how did you know Master? - she asked.

- Simple. Angi pretended she was on defense and let her opponent think she’s on the run. It was pretty evident to tell you the truth. Angi missing her shots? Really? At the same time, Robert kept his opponent busy by defending more than attacking. Angi was running to the side until she reached the spot to aim at Robert’s opponent from behind. And since she was aiming at his back, all Robert had to do was keep him in one spot. From the very start Angi’s target was the other adventurer, not his companion. That was a smart strategy if you ask me. - I explained.

- Wow. Amazing. - Eve was impressed.

Right after the adventurer was injured, Robert jumped in and swung his sword to disarm him. The wound was deep and painful, so he couldn’t defend himself.

- I surrender! - he shouted.

Robert stopped his attack and stepped back.

- Winner number forty two! - the result was announced.

The wounded adventurer’s companion ran towards her Master to help him out. The match was over. Robert and Angi did a great job.

- Yey! They won! - Eve shouted.

“Hah. Nice one.”

Help came over to attend to the injured adventurer. Robert and Angi came back to their seats happy about their win.

- Congratulations. - Eve cheered.

- Thanks. - Angi smiled.

- Well done. - I added.

- Thank you sir TC. - Robert was pleased.

- Number three and number sixteen! - the next match was about to begin.

I wasn’t really looking, but the number of participants was going down fast. The fights didn’t take that long and there were less than half of the people left.

“Huh? Either it goes faster than I thought or I lost track of time. I might have two or three more fights to go.”

- Next! Number eight and number twenty seven! - it was our turn again.

- Yey! Lets go Master. - Eve was excited.

“Haha. She’s really enjoying it. Never thought Eve was into fighting. On the other hand, she probably doesn’t think about it too much as long we’re doing it together.”

- Ok. Let’s go. - I stood up.

We entered the arena, but our opponents were nowhere to be seen.

“What gives?”

- Number twenty seven enter the arena immediately! - Jarral shouted.

He waited for few more seconds, but nobody showed up.

- Number eight wins by default! Next match! Number twenty one and number thirty eight! - he announced.

- What? No… - Eve was disappointed.

- Haha. Our opponents were scared of you and didn’t show up. - I laughed.

- That’s mean Master. - she puffed her cheeks. - I’m not some kind of monster.

“No, you’re an angel. An Angel of Death that is. Haha. Speaking of angels, I wonder how is it going at the Silver and Gold Branches. She’s probably checking the fights out herself.”

- Yo friend. Congratulations on your win. - Don said passing us.

- Hah. Thanks. It was a tough fight, but we somehow managed. - I pretended to wipe my forehead.

- Haha! That’s funny. - he laughed.

- By the way. Be careful. That spell caster is different from the others. And his companion is yet to show what she can do. - I advised him.

- Hey thanks. It’ll be alright. We’ll crush them before they can do anything. Haha. - Don finished his sentence with his gorilla laugh again.

However, I was a little worried about them.

- Hello mister magician. Get ready to lose. - announced Don.

- Don’t make me laugh. I am not interested in such low lives as yourselves. I’ll make it quick and painful. - he retorted.

- Begin! - shouted the announcer.

The spell caster raised his hand to chant a spell.

- No you don’t. Yaaa! - instead Don swung his huge mace and threw it directly at him.

- Aaargh… - the man dropped to the ground to avoid getting hit by it.

The mace landed just few inches away from him.

- You damn slave! You should’ve taken the hit to protect me! - he yelled at his companion.

- We’re not done yet! Amelia! - Don bent his knees and put his hands together as if getting ready to pick something up.

- On it. - Amelia got on his hands and Don threw her forward towards their opponent.

- Wow so cool. - Eve gasped.

“Impressive. They’re not half bad.”

- Yaaa! - Amelia was flying through the air, directly at the lying spell caster.

Amelia reached her target and was about to swing.

- ‘Cling!’ - her blade hit another blade.

The man’s companion jumped in to protect him.

- Out of my way! - Amelia swung again.

- ‘Cling!’ - and her blade was parried again.

- Keep them busy slave! - the tattooed man ordered.

He stood up and ran away to the safe distance.

- Haaa! - Don caught up and threw his punch at the hooded companion.

She was too fast for him to reach and dodged his attack. Amelia ran after her and attacked with everything she had. Fast and deadly strikes were flying back and forth. Silver star companion was good at defending and parried all of them.

“Ghm… something’s off. She’s fast and precise to block all of her attacks, but she’s not striking back.”

- You’re mine! - Don jumped from the side to try and grab her.

Again she dodged faster than he could touch her. In the attempt to stop her movements, Don grabbed her cloak and pulled it off.

- What?! - not only Don and Amelia were surprised.

“So that’s why her aura felt familiar. That damn bastard.”

Don revealed the identity of the silver star companion – she was an elf. But there was no time for them to stand around and gasp.

- Good job slave. - the spell caster readied his spell. - Dark Lightning!

To everyone’s shock, the lightning struck not only Don and Amelia, but silver star companion as well. All of them were blown away by the spell and fell on the ground.

- Stand up slave and finish them off! I don’t want to waste my spells on that trash. Unless you want to join them? - the man declared angrily.

His companion didn’t say anything, but desperately picked herself up.

- This is horrible… - Eve covered mouth with her hand.

Don and Amelia weren’t knocked out yet themselves.

- Argh… That hurt. Are you ok Amelia? - Don tried to stand up.

- Don watch out! - Amelia jumped. - Aaaargh!

The elf companion was about to stab Don, but Amelia covered him.

- Wha…? - Don saw her fall on the ground. - Amelia!

He grabbed the elf with his hand and, full of anger, threw her away as far as he could. She hit the ground, rolled few meters away and lied without moving.

- Amelia! Amelia! - Don kneeled next to her. - Can you hear me?

- Don.. - she opened her eyes.

- Why did you do that? I am the one who should’ve protected you. - his voice trembled.

- You’re such a baby Don. I said I’ll watch your back, didn’t I? - Amelia was losing blood and was getting weak. - You can still win. Go…

- But I don’t want to win if you’re not there. You can’t die! - Don was pressing on the wound to try stop the bleeding.

- It makes me happy to hear that. - Amelia smiled.

- Don’t talk. You’ll be alright. - Don didn’t know what to do.

- That useless slave. Can’t do what she’s told. - the spell caster walked close enough and started chanting a spell.

- You! - Don looked at him, eyes full of anger.

But he knew Amelia didn’t have much time and needed treatment right away.

- I give up! - he shouted, but the man didn’t stop chanting his spell.

- Dark Lightning! - he cast his spell.

- Nooo! - Eve jumped.

A cloud of dust covered the area around Amelia and Don. The arena went quiet and everyone’s eyes were on the spot where the lightning struck.

- My apologies honored judge. It seems I wasn’t fast enough to stop my spell after my opponent declared he wants to give up. - the man said with a grin on his face.

Jarral didn’t say anything back to that. The dust cleared and everyone saw Don leaning on the ground, covering Amelia. To everybody’s big surprise, and spell caster’s disappointment, his body was enveloped by a shiny magic shield.

- Huh? Master? - Eve was confused first, then excited. - Aaahh! Master!

I cast my shield spell on Don as soon as he surrendered and the Dark Lightning never reached him. Don was safe, but Amelia still needed treatment.

- Amelia! No! Amelia! - Don was crying.

- Show me the wound. - I instructed him.

- Huh? - he was surprised seeing me next to him, but quickly ripped the clothing around the wound.

The wound was deep and Amelia lost a lot of blood. I quickly poured a Healing Potion on the wound and the bleeding stopped.

- Aaah… - Amelia took a deep breath.

- Here, drink this. - I held another potion next to her mouth.

She drank it slowly and her strength returned. In a few moments, Amelia sat back up surprised at what happened.

- But I thought I was stabbed. - she touched the spot where the wound was. - TC? You healed me?

- Yeah. I gave you a Healing Potion. - I stood up.

- Amelia… - Don was smiling through the tears.

“Eeww… Honestly, he looks worse than laughing his gorilla laugh. Sigh… I’m glad I made it in time.”

- You big baby. - she sighed. - But we lost.

- It doesn’t matter. I’m just happy you’re ok. - said Don.

- Let’s go. Next match is about to begin. - I turned to go.

Amelia stood up and people in the seats cheered.

- What’s this? - she didn’t expect it.

- I suppose your performance impressed others and they’re are happy you’re ok. - I added.

She waved showing she’s perfectly fine.

- Tsk… worthless fools. - the tattooed man wasn’t happy.

He walked over his companion and kicked her in the belly.

- You useless slave. If not for the stupid tournament rules, I would leave you here to die and get someone else. - he extended his hand to chant a spell. - Heal Wounds.

The elf girl had her major injuries healed and regained consciousness. She stood up still wobbling a little.

- ‘Slap!’ - he slapped her on the face.

- How dare you make me use my healing magic to heal your wounds. If you fail me again, I’ll kill you myself. - the man threatened her.

His companion didn’t say a word and stood with her head bowed down.

- Tsk… useless. - the man walked away.

She followed him back to their seats.

- Winner number twenty one! - Jarral announced.

All three of us went back to our seating. Eve was sparkling with excitement and couldn’t stand still.

- You were so cool Master! - she jumped and hugged me.

- I missed you too. - as usual, I loved her ‘personal touch’.

- TC… - Amelia addressed me. - Thank you so much for saving me.

She bowed down with tears running down her face.

- Hey, hey. It’s fine, don’t mention it. I couldn’t let you die there. Besides, my stomach couldn’t handle seeing Don cry. - “Here I go again.”

- Hahaha! - everyone laughed.

- But it’s too bad you lost. - Eve said. - Didn’t you want to find a companion.

- I believe he did. - I sat down, grinning from ear to ear.

Amelia blushed and Don scratched the back of his head, smiling uncomfortably.

- Aaahhh! So romantic. Don and Amelia! - Eve clapped her hands.

“Haha. Great job beautiful. Now their faces are even more red than a tomato.”

- Well… - Don smiled.

- You big mountain of muscle. It took you a while. - Amelia said sheepishly.

- Amelia… - Don mumbled. - Would you like to be together with me?

“I suppose it was the best he could manage. But it was rather cute coming from him. Haha.”

- Of course I would. What do you think I was doing all this time? You muscle head. - she was back at being herself.

- You did, didn’t you? I’m glad you stuck with me all this time. Haha. - And Don was back at being himself.

- Sigh. - Amelia sighed. - I suppose you won’t be able to get a job at Adventurer’s Guild, but we’ll manage somehow.

- I don’t think joining an Adventurer’s Guild should be a problem for you two. - I commented.

- Huh? But you need a companion to do that, don’t you? - Don was puzzled.

- Yes, you are correct. That’s why I said it shouldn’t be a problem. - I grinned again.

- Then how? - he asked.

“You really do have muscles instead of brains in your head. Sigh…”

- All you need to do is have Amelia become your companion. - I said.

- Wha..? - everyone gasped.

- If Amelia wants to, that is. - I added.

- But… doing it… here. - Amelia was at a loss of words.

“Seriously? And I thought Eve was simple minded about it.”

- Oh man… You need to form a pact, not ‘evolve’. Don’t get ahead of yourselves. - I sighed.

- Yeah, that’s right. Haha! - Don laughed, his face being all red again.

- But how do you form a pact? - Amelia asked.

- You both need to agree on it. Don must accept you as his Companion and you must accept him as a Master. And then you form a pact with a kiss. - “Reading those books proved to be useful not only in a fight.”

- A kiss?! - Eve sparkled.

- Amelia… would you like to become my companion? - Don surprised almost everyone with his question.

“Hey! I didn’t say you have to do it now. You simply can’t wait, can you? Oh well… His muscle brain can be his best friend at a times like this.”

- You big mountain of muscle. You always say what you think. - Amelia was the only one who wasn’t surprised.

- Haha. I suppose. - Don laughed.

- Yes, I do. - she answered.

“Wait! What? That sounded like a wedding vows. And it happened… at the fighting arena… after a death match… in front of more than forty strangers… so romantic… But that takes guts. They’re definitely serious about it.”

Don bowed down while Amelia stood up on her tiptoes and they kissed.

- Aaaahh! - Eve and Angi were melting.

Suddenly, their bodies were surrounded by magical energy. The circling light entangled them, gathering small magical rays on top of Amelia’s head. A small shiny circle gave form and created a star on her neck. At the same time, magical rays formed a star and gave it a bronze color. It started to spin faster and faster and then it split once, and then twice.

- Wuaahh! - everyone gasped.

The spinning stopped and the magic light subsided, leaving three stars over Amelia’s head. And then…

- Oaaaa! - the whole arena erupted in cheers.

- Wow! Amelia you’ve become a Three Star Bronze Companion! - Eve was the loudest of them all.

“Not only that. Their magical energy and overall strength increased as well. So it does benefit Master as well as his companion when they form a pact.”

- Haha. That’s a little embarrassing. - Don wasn’t used to such attention.

“Yeah, right. You’re the one who couldn’t wait.”

- Congratulations Don and Amelia. - Robert and Angi congratulated them.

- Yey for Don and Amelia. - Eve clapped.

“Hah. Never expected to witness someone forming a pact. Especially here during the tournament. Well, I never formed a pact with Eve, so what do I know… ”

Then I realized it wasn’t over, not for me at least. I felt a stare directed at me and I knew who it was. Since I never formed a pact with her, someone was being jealous. I turned my head and saw Eve’s cute, yet a little upset face. Without saying anything, I leaned forward and gave her a kiss.

“Yes, you deserve it. And yes, I wanted to do it for a long time now.”

- Aaaahh! - she hugged herself, cheeks burning red.

- Sir TC is quite cheeky, isn’t he? - Angi commented.

- Haha, he sure is. - added Robert.

- Next match! Number one and number forty three! - new announcement interrupted our laughs.

However, we were too excited about the romantic events to pay attention to the fights that followed.

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