Circle Star Adventure. The Ever Blooming Flower.

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Chapter 31. Double The Prices.

I woke up early in the morning and felt full of energy. I remembered the incident last night, but when I got up I noticed Luna was gone.

Oh, so she left after all. How come I didn’t wake up?”

There was no time to wonder. The tournament was only a few hours away. Eve was as cute and asleep as always. I felt bad needing to wake her up, but we had to go.

- Wake up sleeping beauty. - I gently shook her.

- Is it… morning… - Eve didn’t finish her sentence.

- Yes, it is. Get ready and come downstairs. We need to be on time for the tournament. - I said.

- Huh? Wait Master. Where’s Luna? - she asked.

- Luna was gone when I woke up. I don’t know where she is. - I replied. - I’ll wait for you downstairs.

- Really? Oh, that’s a shame. - Eve jumped out of the bed and started undressing from her pajamas.

EeerLet’s call it a good start of the day.

I went downstairs with Eve undressing images floating in my head. I almost tripped on my way down. To my big surprise, the dining area was packed.

What in the world? Why there are so many people in here?

It was definitely too early for the inn to be so busy.

- Good morning Grog. What’s going on? - I asked him.

- Good morning indeed. - he was grinning from ear to ear.

- What are you so happy about? - his happiness puzzled me.

- Today is a special day. All items on the menu are double priced. - he announced proudly.

- What? - I didn’t expect that.

- Haha. Don’t worry. I’ll charge you normal rate. It’s thanks to you I can charge double. - Grog laughed.

- You realize you make no sense, right? - I was surprised and confused at the same time.

- What… would you like… to order… sir? - a familiar, timid voice asked me.

- Luna? - she was wearing maids uniform.

- Haha! Sorry friend, I had to see your face. - Grog laughed even louder.

So that’s why she woke up earlier than us. Now that’s an unexpected turn of events.

- Wow Luna. You look so adorable. - Eve ran over all excited.

- Thank you… Eve. - Luna blushed.

- So that’s what’s going on. - I finally realized why Grog was so excited.

- Hihi. - Grog looked like he found a treasure of his life.

- I didn’t expect to see you working here. This uniform looks so cute. I’m so jealous. - Eve was all over it.

- Eve, why don’t you order our breakfast and have a chat with Luna at the same time? I’d like to speak with Grog for a moment. - I said.

- Sure Master. - Eve said cheerfully and they both walked towards the counter.

- Well? - I glared at Grog.

- Hey don’t blame me. She offered to help herself. - Grog said defensively. - And you were right. She did want to leave last night.

- Yeah. I heard her leaving the room. But then she came back. What happened? - I asked.

- Luna wanted to leave for sure and I didn’t try to stop her. I only said it will be difficult for her to reach Silvernight Forest on her own. - he answered.

- That forest is elves territory. What made her change her mind? - I was curious.

- Surprisingly, or maybe not so much, she asked about you. Luna didn’t understand why you helped her. - Grog said.

- She asked me why as well. Ghm… I couldn’t think of a good reason really. I simply hated the fact of a Forced Pact. Tsk… it’s more of a ‘Slave Pact’ to be honest. - I frowned.

- Apparently you’re the first human she met who did something good for her. Long story short, I told her a little bit about you and what kind of person you are. - Grog added.

- Yeah? And what kind of person am I? - I inquired.

- Haha. That was the hard part. I don’t really know myself. But I assured Luna you honestly want to help. She wanted to leave, but hesitated. I am sure she noticed people lurking in the shadows just outside the Inn. Then out of the blue, Luna turned around and asked me how she can help. And then-

- And then you decided to double the prices on the menu? - I interrupted him.

- Haha. That was your idea by the way. In any case, it turned out for the better. She’ll be safer inside my territory. At the same time, Luna attracted people to eat here like cats to freshly caught fish. Even now people are lining outside my inn and there were a bunch of them waiting in front of my door before I even opened. Word gone fast that I have an elf staying in my inn. And now that she’s working here, I expect a hell of a lot of customers today. - Grog scratched the back of his head.

- And you’ll pay her double as well, right? - I asked him with a grin.

- You got me. Haha. Of course I’ll pay her for the work. - he put on a victorious smile.

- Our breakfast will arrive soon Master. - Eve came back with a happy face.

- Well then, enjoy your food. - Grog smiled.

That surprised me. I never expected Luna to do something like that. On the other hand, I don’t know her that well. On a bright side, Grog was right. She will be much safer inside the inn working and serving customers, rather than staying in the room. All the customers staring at her will be Luna’s guardians. Hah. With so many eyes on her, nobody will try to do anything stupid.

After the breakfast we had about an hour left before the tournament starts. I was slightly worried about Eve. We fought fairly weak opponents up till now. Today’s fights will be much tougher. With Eve around I’ll have to be careful and step up myself.

- Good luck to you two. - Grog came over to see us off.

- Thanks. - I grinned.

- Bye Luna. Oooh, I’m so jealous you get to wear a maid’s dress and serve the food to all the customers. - Eve sounded rather sad.

Hearing her comment gave me an idea. I didn’t think about it up till now, but that might turn out for the better.

- Eve, how about you stay here just for today and work together with Luna? - I offered.

- What? Really? - Eve was rather ecstatic hearing my suggestion. - But what about the tournament?

- I’ll be fine. You know our opponents weren’t that strong and it’s only a few fights today. Besides, Luna will go back home and you probably won’t see her again. - I added.

- Yeah, I really want to spend more time with Luna, but I don’t want to leave your side Master. - she hesitated about it.

- It’s ok. Like I said, I’ll be fine. I want you to have some fun as well. Leave the fighting for me this time. On top of that, I am sure Grog might treat you with some Croberry Juice. - I dangled the carrot on a stick.

- Aaah… Croberry Juice. - Eve’s face brightened. - But you have to promise me you’ll be careful Master.

- Of course. - I lifted my thumb up. - How about it Grog? You’ll need an extra pair of hands, won’t you?

- That’d be highly appreciated. - Grog was happy to have more help.

- That settles then. Have fun. - I kissed Eve on a cheek.

- Aaaah Master! - she jumped on my neck hugging me.

Mmm… Perfect motivation before the tournament. Soft and fluffy.

- Haha. Ain’t you a lucky one? Say, one last question? - Grog’s face was serious.

- Yeah? What is it? - I was prepared to hear him out.

- How was it to sleep with two beauties last night? - Grog grinned.

- Why you cheekbum. Go do some work, customers are waiting. - I retorted.

- Hahaha! - Grog laughed wholeheartedly.

- Baah… I better go now. See ya. - I turned towards the door.

- Bye Master. Hey Luna, we’ll be working together today, yey! - I heard her leaving the inn.

I wasn’t planning to go by myself, but now I believed it will be better this way. Eve was strong and her Thorns spell definitely can help during the fights. But I knew our opponents won’t be so easy to deal with as before. I had a hunch I’ll meet some strong fighters today.

Last night’s fight I saw made it clear they are on another level than Bronze Rank adventurers. And that was only Silver Rank participants. I’d be worried too much about Eve getting hurt. This way I will be able to focus solely on the fights.

I might be able to get serious and have some fun for a change, hehe.

If Grog’s Inn was packed, the entrance to the Arena was stuffed. I haven’t seen so many people waiting to get inside in my life. There wasn’t much time left and I needed to register fast.

Luckily for me, the entrance for participants was on the side, away from the crowd. A guard stood in my way, with less than a spoon of patience or a small grain of manners for that matter.

- Stop right there! This is the entrance for the fighters only. Get lost, unless you want to be thrown away. - he ordered.

- Hey, take it easy. You see, I am one of the participants. - I said.

- You? Don’t make me laugh. You’re not the first beggar trying to sneak in. - he raised his shield in front of him.

I pulled out my confirmation letter as the winner of Bronze Branch Section A.

- Huh? Oh… - his face changed.

- It’s ok. Let him in. - I heard Vorin’s voice behind the guard.

- Sir, apologies… I thought… - the guard turned around.

- Please forgive his attitude. We need to keep security tight. We had far too many people trying to sneak in. - explained Vorin.

- That’s ok. I get that a lot. - I smiled as if nothing happened.

- Let me show you to the Registration Desk. - he offered.

- Thanks. - I followed him.

- If you don’t mind me asking, how come you’re alone? Is your companion hurt? - Vorin asked respectfully.

- Nah, she’s totally fine. I thought I’ll leave her out of it. She keeps our new friend company today. Besides, it will be easier for me to fight this way. - I said.

- Is that so? By the way, I heard you eliminated the whole pack of doggons just recently. And killed a doggon sorcerer as well. I was impressed hearing you did it only with the two of you. That is quite a feat. - Guild Leader praised me.

- Thanks. - I almost blushed.

- Have you considered my offer about the Conquerors Division sir TC? - asked Vorin.

- Ahm… not really. Haven’t thought about it actually. I was busy with something else. The raid part was appealing, but to tell you the truth, I don’t know I fit the bill. - I said without much of a thought.

- Modesty is part of one’s strength as well. I am sure you will be of great help. - he tried to persuade me.

- I’ll see how the tournament goes first, if you don’t mind? Assuming there are participants from the Conquerors Division in the finals. - I said.

- There are indeed. We have arrived. Hey there. - Vorin addressed the clerk. - This is our last participant. His name is TC. He won Bronze Branch Section A tournament.

- Oh great. Aaaa… it says here you registered with your companion Eve? - clerk wanted to double check.

- I will be fighting alone today. - I said.

- Just so you know. If you register alone, you won’t be able to change it once the fights start. - he explained.

- That’s fine. - I added.

- Ok, great. Your number is sixteen. - he passed me the tag with the number.

Yey, I am the last one. Glad I made it in time though.

- This way sir TC. - Vorin showed me the way.

We went through the corridor and entered a lounge with the view into the arena. It was big and spacious. Other participants were inside and waiting. I can’t say anyone was thrilled to me of course. Other than thinking it’ll be an easy win, probably.

- Everyone is here now. We will start the Tournament shortly. - announced Vorin. - Few rules to remember. Fighting in this lounge is forbidden. You’ll be instantly disqualified if that happens. When your number is called out, step into the Arena immediately. Follow the instructions and fight to win. This Tournament will affect the Adventurer’s Guild directly, as well as your own reputation. Angel will be watching the fights herself. In the end, she will be the one to choose her new Master. That is all. Best of luck to you all.

With that, Guild Leader Vorin left. I looked around. Quite a few eyes were focused on me. I felt like a piece of meat on the counter being inspected by future buyers.

- Hi. - I raised my hand with a smile.

Nobody returned my greeting. Few of them smirked at me.

Yeah, I know. You’re all thrilled to see me. Don’t worry, the feeling is mutual.

I looked around again to check out my would be opponents. There were quite a few gold star companions between all the participants. Unlike me, nobody tried to suppress their powerful auras. Solid armor and magic weapons made an impression too.

Few of them were chatting between themselves. And all of them were ignoring me. It wasn’t a bad thing really. Since I didn’t want to show off and didn’t have flashy armor, nobody was interested in me.

I looked calm from the outside, but in the inside I was itching to get into the arena as soon as possible. Seeing so many powerful opponents was a thrill in itself. I was looking forward to see how strong Gold Rank adventurers, and their companions of course, really are.

The Tournament was about to begin. Guild Leader Vorin started the introductions himself.

- Greetings everyone and welcome to our Five Star Tournament! - he announced.

The crowd cheered in return. Nobody was able to sit still. The excitement filled the Arena.

Vorin went on to deliver a speech about the Guild and about the amazing fights all the spectators will see. They wanted to make it as much of a show as well. I stopped paying attention half way. My focus was on my opponents, who were also eager to know who will fight first.

Soon a clerk from the Reception Desk showed up and informed us the fights will start soon. He went over the rules briefly and wished us good luck.

- Now then, are you ready for the first fight? - Vorin asked the crowd.

- Yeeaaah! - people shouted.

- Ok then, lets begin! In our first fight we have number two, Lyren and his companion Drana. And their opponents are number nine – Dirk and Roland!

Dirk and Roland were the two guys who won the last fight yesterday. I recognised them as soon as I came in to the lounge. Both of them, as well as their opponents, stood up and went to the arena. The first fight was about to begin.

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