Circle Star Adventure. The Ever Blooming Flower.

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Chapter 29. The Winner Of Section A.

- Last match! The winner of this fight will go to the finals to compete in the main Arena. Number eight and number twenty one step into the arena now! - announced Jarral.

- Just promise me you’ll be careful Master. - Eve was worried about me.

- Of course. - I said going down to the arena.

- Aaah… I wanted to fight together with my Master. - Eve pulled her lip.

- I’m sure TC has a plan. - said Robert.

- And he’s worried about you too Eve. You saw what kind of man that spell caster is. TC doesn’t want you to get hurt. - added Angi.

- But will he be ok by himself? That man is scary. - asked Don.

- I’m sure he will. - said Robert. - I was barely holding my ground against him, but I am sure he wasn’t using his full strength against me.

- Hmm… What you say is probably true. TC barely fought at all, only during the match against you two. - Don said thoughtfully.

- Go Master TC! Blow them away! - Eve cheered as loud as she could.

The crowd joined her with the shouts and encouragements.

- A bunch of fools, just like you. - my opponent blurted angrily. - And what do you expect to do on your own? I’ll be the one to blow you away. Heh.

- I’ll have you release her from your Forced Pact. - I pointed at his companion.

The elf girl’s eyes widened, showing a spark of hope, but she didn’t say anything.

- Haha. Interesting. So you know about the Forced Pact? Don’t even dream about it. You’ll be DEAD before that happens. - he emphasised the word ‘dead’.

I didn’t say anything back, but waited for Jarral’s signal.

- Begin! - and the fight started.

Before the spell caster even raised his hand, I followed Don’s example and threw one of my swords at him.

- Aargh! - spell caster wasn’t able to completely dodge it.

The swords blade cut him on the arm. He fell on the ground, yelling more from anger than from pain.

- You stupid, useless slave! How dare you just stand there?! Go deal with him before I get really angry! - his face was red from rage.

His companion charged at me with swords in her hands. Without waiting for her to reach me, I threw my other sword at the caster again. It flew right past the elf girl, which surprised her, but she kept running at me.

- Aaaa! - this time my sword stabbed the tattooed man’s leg.

The girl was frightened from what happened, and turned around to see if her Master will cast Dark Lightning to strike us both down. I jumped forward and hit her just bellow the neck to knock her out.

“Sorry, but I need you to lie down for now.”

- Agh… - she succumbed and passed out.

- Heal Wounds. - the elf’s Master was healing his injuries instead of attacking me. - You’ll regret for what you did. I’ll make you suffer! Dark Lightning!

- Shield. - I cast shield spell to protect myself.

- Hehehe… huh? - the man saw his spell did nothing to me. - Wha..? Dark Lightning!

And again my shield protected me.

- This is impossible, it can’t be. Why are you still standing? - my opponent couldn’t believe his eyes.

I was close enough to hit him now.

- ‘Bam!’ - I punched him in the stomach.

- Aagh… cough… - he hugged the stomach with both hands.

- You’ll pay… for th-

- ‘Bang!’ - I punched him in the face.

- Ugh… - and the man fell down on the ground.

- Not so tough when you don’t have another body to take the hits for you, eh? - I glared at him.

- Dark… aargh! - I grabbed his hand and twisted it backwards.

- Aaargh! You… scum. I… ugh! Cough… - I punched him in the stomach again.

- The tables have turned. I’m the one who will decide whether you live or die now. Release the elf girl from your Forced Pact now. - I ordered.

- Never… - he grinned through his swollen face.

I twisted his hand again, but this time I went further and broke it.

- Aaaaa! - he screamed from pain.

- Changed your mind yet? - I waited what he’ll do next.

- You bastard… I might’ve lost here… but I’ll never release her! I surr-

I quickly placed my hand over his mouth to shut him up.

- No you don’t. Don’t think you’ll get away that easy. I’ll force you to do it one way or another. As long as the opponent is conscious and doesn’t surrender, the fight continues. - I pressed on the broken hand.

- Mhm… mmm… - he squirted from pain, but wasn’t able to scream with my hand covering his mouth.

- You ready to release her yet? - I asked.

- Mhmm… eeem… - he desperately tried to break free.

After few desperate, failed attempts the man tried to hit me with his other hand. However, being a spell caster, he was physically weak and his punches felt like nothing.

- You know I can simply kill you here and now, which will definitely release her from your pact, won’t it? - I raised my hand with clenched fist.

- Mhmm… - the man tried to shake his head, with eyes filled in fear for the first time.

He struggled, but waved with his hand indicating he’s willing to do it.

- Get on with it and don’t try anything stupid. - I removed my hand from his mouth.

The spell caster slowly took out a rune with some strange symbols surrounding a star on it. He glared angrily at me for a moment.

- Release. - and the star on the rune glowed.

- Aaaa! - his companion screamed in pain.

The part of her neck, where the star is, was glowing a red light. It looked almost like it was burning. After few moments, the tattoo and the star on her head disappeared and the girl wasn’t in pain any more. The rune stopped glowing and crumbled into small little pieces.

- You can surrender now. - I stood up and turned away to pick up my sword.

- Damn you fool! I’ll make you pay for this! Dark… - the man raised his uninjured hand to cast the spell.

I turned around and - ‘Swoosh!’ - cut it of with my sword.

- Aaaa! - he screamed. - Nooo! Aarghh!

- People like you don’t know when to give up. You’re willing to die instead I see. - I was ready to strike again.

- I give up! I give up! - he fell backwards.

- Winner number eight! - Jarral didn’t wait.

I lowered my sword and turned away. The fight was over.

- Attention. - Jarral continued. - This was the last match. Number eight is the winner and will advance to the finals. The final matches will be held in the main Arena tomorrow. That is all!

- Yeaaah! - people cheered.

After I picked up my other sword, I went over to check on the elf girl. She started to regain consciousness, but was still in pain from injuries.

- Here, drink this. - I handed her a healing potion.

She sat there looking at me, not knowing whether to trust me or not.

- Don’t worry, you’re free now. I’m not here to hurt you. - I offered the potion again.

The girl touched her neck and her eyes filled with tears.

- But… why? - she finally spoke.

- No reason. Here. - I placed the small bottle in her hand.

She hesitated, but then drank it. The injuries she had healed in few moments.

- What’s your name? - I asked.

- It’s… Luna. - she answered timidly.

- Nice to meet you. I’m TC. - I smiled.

- Haaaa! - Eve surprised me with her jump and I fell on the ground. - Congratulations Master. You won!

- Haha. Thank you Eve. You can get of me now. - I really didn’t expect it.

- Hi, my name is Eve. - she stood up and greeted Luna cheerfully.

- I’m… Luna. - she said quietly.

I looked around, but her former Master was nowhere to be seen. He must’ve ran away quickly to heal his injuries. Luna was free, but she still needed help. I knew it wasn’t safe for Luna to stay on her own in the city full of adventurers looking for new companions. And considering she’s an elf, it was even more important to keep her safe.

- Luna how about you stay with us for now? After the tournament is over, we can escort you back home. - I offered.

- Really? - she broke in tears. - Why… are you… so nice to me?

- Not all humans are bad you know. It’s unfortunate what happened to you and I simply want to help. Besides, I owe someone a favor. - I remembered my first encounter in the forest.

“She did help me find a way out of the forest after all.”

- Master, what are you thinking about? Your face is all red. - Eve was staring at me.

- Errr… nothing. I mean, lets go get something to eat. - I said.

It turns out our Branch Section was the first one to finish all the matches. I asked a person at the Information Stand and he said the other Sections were only half way through the fights. I wanted to see who my future opponents might be, but Bronze Branch participants weren’t much of an interest to me. And they were closed to public spectators anyway.

“Maybe I can go check out the fights in the main Arena? But I don’t want to walk through the city with Luna, who’s free from the Forced Pact now.”

- Will you go watch the fights at the big Arena sir TC? - Robert asked me.

- Not sure. We’ll go eat something first. - I said.

- Ok then. I’ll see you tomorrow. And thank you for the fight sir TC. I learned a lot. - Robert thanked me.

- No problem. See you later. - I added.

- Bye Angi. - Eve waved.

- See you later TC. And thank you again for saving my life. - Amelia hugged me warmly.

- It’s ok. Glad I could help. - I hugged her back.

- Thanks TC. You were a real life saver. I don’t know what I would’ve done if you weren’t there. - said Don.

- Look at it from the bright side. You did find a companion. - I commented cheekily.

- Yeah, that’s true. Haha! - he laughed his usual laugh.

We said our goodbyes and headed towards Grog’s Inn. Eve and Luna must be hungry and probably tired too. Considering Luna is an elf, going to the main Arena by myself wasn’t such a good idea. I didn’t know what to think after meeting that spell caster. He might try to catch and make her his companion again.

- Ok girls, lets go eat something. - I suggested.

- Yey. - Eve cheered.

Needless to say, having an elf girl with us, attracted quite the attention walking down the street. Eve, of course, didn’t mind that one bit. Not that she was used to it. Extra attention never bothered her, since all of her attention was on me. And since we won Section A Tournament, she was extra cheerful.

- My Master is the strongest. - she was hugging my arm. - He will win the whole Tournament for sure.

“As if it will be that easy. We haven’t met really strong opponents yet.”

Luna, on the other hand, was quiet and timid. She was walking close to me not knowing what to expect next. I knew she didn’t quite trust me yet, but had no one else to turn to right now. Being enslaved by Forced Pact and treated like a real slave must’ve rubbed on her the wrong way. Anyone would keep their guard up after that kind of experience.

Eve, on the other hand, was very friendly and talkative to Luna. She saw how her former Master treated his companion and was very sympathetic.

- I’m so glad you’re free from that horrible man. - she said. - It must’ve been awful to be his companion. He treated you so bad, it made me mad.

“You mad? I’d like to see that. Haha.” - I couldn’t imagine Eve mad.

- Yes… I’m grateful… your Master freed me. - despite being cautious, Luna felt slightly at easy around Eve.

There are plenty of people like that spell caster around. No wonder elves live in hiding. But I understand why people would want an elf as a companion. Luna is really strong, even if she looks like an ordinary girl.

When you form a pact, it increases companion’s strength as well. And Luna became a Silver Star, even with the Forced Pact, which says a lot. She easily beat her opponents on her own, but I doubt she showed her real strength yet. And I know how strong elves can be.

“I wonder if she’s ok.”

- Here we are. - I stopped in front of the Inn. - This is the place we are staying in. The owner is a great guy and the food here is amazing.

- And he has the best Croberry Juice in the whole Saramis. - Eve couldn’t wait to get some.

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