Circle Star Adventure. The Ever Blooming Flower.

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Chapter 34. A Valuable Observation.

- Did you see that? A Bronze Rank guy defeated Roland! – shouted one spectator.

- Unbelievable! And what kind of magic was that? He created his armor and that weird looking weapon out of thin air! – said the other.

- This fight was so awesome! I looking forward to his next fight. – added the third one.

- Why is he still a Bronze Rank? He is as strong as a Gold Rank adventurer! – shouted yet another.

It was pleasant as well as funny to hear them.

Hah. And you probably thought I’ll be lying on the ground after Roland’s first swing? I could say ‘Never judge the book by it’s cover’, but I was burned by this statement in the past myself, so I better not. In any case, I’ll get rid of my gear for the time being.

- Unsummon. – my Blood Armor and Blood Halbert disappeared and I was back in my shabby clothes again.

- Yey TC! Congratulations! – Rori almost startled me.

- Oh Rori? Thanks. – I realized I was close to the arena wall, right in front of their seats.

- Where is Eve? – she asked.

- She’s staying at Grog’s place with her new friend. – I said.

- Sir TC your fight was incredible. What kind of magic was that? – Stan asked me.

- I don’t think I have enough time to explain it right now. – Not that I wanted to anyway.

- My, my. What an interesting turn of events. Congratulations on your win Mister TC. – Madam Norel addressed me.

- Thank you Madam Norel. And Sieran is here as well? Sorry, I broke my swords again. – I made a silly smile.

- Ya damn bloody did. But I’ll let it slide this time, since ya made me few extra coins. I’m more interested to learn about the equipment ya had just a second ago? And who made it? – Sieran was eager to know.

I wish I knew myself. I can’t just tell them I got it after defeating a certain ‘God’, worshiped by some lizardmen.

- If I may be so direct Mister TC, you’ve made us all a small fortune by winning this fight. Isn’t that right Mister Squintl? – Madam Norel giggled.

- Yes. It was rather... unexpected to say the least. – Squintl wasn’t as happy as the rest of them.

- What do you mean by that Madam? – I asked.

- Mister Squintl is a money trader and offered to be an intermediary of taking the bets on your fight. The odds were not in your favor Mister TC, but they worked in ours when you won the match. – Madam Norel smiled happily.

- So people were placing bets on my fight? – I asked.

- Yeah. Squintl here said the odds of you winning were only one to twelve, but you still won. Now Stan can by me new outfit from Madam Norel’s shop. – Rori was happy.

- Right... – Stan sighed.

- One to twelve? That’s quite high. In my last tournament they gave me the odds of one to a hundred. – I thought out loud.

- Your last tournament? – Robert overheard me.

- Errr... never mind that. How much did you bet? – I changed the topic.

- We bet one gold coin each, but Madam Norel put in ten gold coins on you. – said Robert.

- Oh nice. You’ve made a small fortune there Madam. – I congratulated her.

- Why thank you Mister TC. – she smiled.

- You were a big surprise coming out as a winner there... errr... TC was it? Care to tell us how did you create such a powerful equipment, that even a Gold Rank adventurer was no match against it? – Squintl asked me.

I didn’t create it. I simply summoned and equipped it. But maybe it’s better if they think that way.

- So you’re the money trader? – I asked him instead of answering his question.

- Yes, I am. To tell you the truth, I see great potential in you. How about we work together? I can make you rich. – he started his sleazy pitch.

How nice of him. Money trader wants to make me rich. Yeah, right. Let’s see if your words match your actions first.

- Rich you say? That sounds awesome. So what are my winnings from this fight? – I sounded almost as excited as Eve.

- Aaaa... winning... I mean... – he stuttered.

- What’s wrong? You said you’ll make me rich, didn’t you? As far as I know, certain portion of the bets go to the winner of the fight. Isn’t that right? – I asked him point blank.

- Hah. Ya slimy weasel. The lad’s right. Part of the bets belong to the winner. – added Sieran.

- It’s... one tenth... of the winning bets. – Squintl wasn’t extremely happy about it.

- Ok great. Would it be too much trouble Madam Norel if I asked you to be the guardian of my winnings until the tournament is over? – I asked her.

- Not at all Mister TC. It would be my pleasure to assist you in this matter. – Madam Norel agreed.

- Thank you. – I was happy about unexpected ‘pocket money’. – By the way Sieran, you don’t happen to have a spare weapon with you by any chance?

- Ya got guts lad, I tell ya. Don’t ya remember how my shop looked like when ya came over to pick up the swords? – he replied with a question.

- Yeah, I guess. –it was worth asking.

- But what about your equipment you used just now? – Don asked me.

- It’s not like I can use it all the time. – I said.

Actually I can, but that doesn’t mean I want to. Using it against just anyone is a waste. If I can win using normal equipment, I’d rather do that. Besides, I don’t want to use such a powerful gear against weaker opponents. They’ll die from one swing...

- You can use mine. – offered Robert.

- Are you sure?. What if I break it? – I was reluctant to accept.

- Don’t worry about it Sir TC. It would be an honor to assist you. – he insisted.

- Well if you insist. Thank you. – I took his sword and a shield.

Hey, they are pretty good. Much better than the swords I got from Sieran.

- Excuse me sir. – One of the Tournament assistants approached me. – Can you please go back to your seating area? We need to start the next match.

- Oh, yes of course. Sorry about that. – I realized we’ve been talking for quite a while. – I’ll be off now. Thanks again Robert.

- Aaarrg! I need to go tell Eve about the fight. She’ll be so happy to hear TC won his first match! – Rori jumped from her seat. - Stan! Let’s go!

- What? But what about the fight? It’s about to start. – Stan didn’t want to go.

- Will you let your adorable, yet helpless companion walk down the streets alone? What if something happens to me? – she was so evident.

- Ok, ok. I’ll go with you. – Stan knew he had no other choice.

- Next match! Number six versus number twelve! – Vorin started the next introduction.

Stan looked like he was about to cry, but still followed Rori out of the arena.

I came back to the waiting lounge right before the introductions started. The atmosphere was totally different from when I left it. I was the center of everyone’s attention. Like before, nobody spoke to me, but I felt all the eyes were on me. People who thought I’ll drop out in my first match, were either nervous or impressed.

I wasn’t concerned about who’s going to win in the following matches. It didn’t really matter. I needed to win all of my fights, so who cares which opponents I have to face next. I sat down and thought about my match against Roland and Meera.

They were powerful opponents indeed. And my guess was they didn’t show all of their strength fighting me. The surprise element, when I summoned my gear, helped me win the fight. Switching to defense against my Blood Halbert was their biggest mistake.

Luckily, they didn’t figure out it was my Halbert’s ability to slice through my opponents if my weapon reached them. Which means, they can’t tell anyone how it really works. But I need to be careful who to use it against in the following matches. If I can win using Robert’s equipment, I’d rather do that.

On the other hand, it’s amazing what happens when people make the wrong assumptions about you. In my case, nobody thought a Bronze Rank adventurer can win against a Gold Rank one. That’s the biggest mistake people make.

Same goes for the wrong expectations. I noticed the lower Rank adventurers were more optimistic and excited after my match. So was the team number six, who were the winners of Bronze Branch Section B. My fight inspired others to think they have a higher chance of winning as well.

I thought that was a stupid hope. You need to know your strength and weaknesses in order to win. As well as be aware of your opponents. Simply getting your hopes up because somebody else won a fight means you’re weaker than you think. And this next match was a great example of that.

From all of the commotion I missed the main part of the intro from Vorin. The last thing I heard was that Uegi was a Gold Rank adventurer who excelled at spear fighting and his two star Gold companion, Sauli, was a sorceress.

It was a sad sight. Sad for the team number six that is. The fight was over in less than a few seconds. Sauli blew both of the opponents away. And she didn’t even use very powerful magic.

The best, and most amusing part, was the reaction of all the spectators. I even laughed out loud hearing some of the complains. After my victory against Roland and Meera, people expected the next Bronze Rank to do equally well.

- Next match. Number three, Rial and Elnara, versus number ten, Kodi and Suki! – I heard a new announcement.

Again Vorin was doing a short intro about each participant.

- Rial is a Gold Rank adventurer and Elnara is his Two Star Gold companion...

I watched all four of them walk down to the arena. The difference in their auras strength was evident. Rial and Elnara were both overwhelmingly strong. Even an untrained villager would be able to sense their power. Unless Kodi and Suki were suppressing their real strength, or had some tricks up their sleeves, I doubted they can win.

Seeing Elnara carrying a bow made it clear it will be very difficult for Kodi and Suki, who were Silver Rank and Suki had only three stars as a companion. During my fight against Robert and Angi I witnessed what an archer can do. Angi’s new skill – Infinite Arrows – was really impressive. Without Eve’s Wall of Thorns it would’ve been difficult to deal with.

- Begin! – Vorin interrupted my thoughts.

Elnara released a flurry of arrows right away. Since Kody had a shield, he defended against her attack. His companion was quick enough to evade the arrows as well. She rushed towards Elnara as soon as opportunity appeared.

Rial wasn’t idle while his companion had their opponents attention. He had a big axe, with a burning red glow and was quick on his feet too. On top of that, each of his swings released a fiery blaze of fire. That explained the red glow on the axe.

Pretty impressive. His weapon must be imbued with fire magic or fire rune. Another tough opponent to deal with.

However, even with the difference in their strength, Kody and Suki managed to hold their ground pretty well. They did all the right things anyone would do and defended against the onslaught of never stopping attacks.

Kodi used every opportunity to counter attack Rial’s attack. That didn’t make his opponent the happiest person on the field. Judging from Rial’s moves, he wasn’t paying much attention what was happening and was focused on attacking all the time.

Suki was successfully evading Elnara’s arrows. She was really fast on her feet. In one instance, she managed to get close to Elnara and had a good chance to reach her with the sword. But, to Suki’s big surprise, Elnara dropped her bow and took out a big long sword she had on her back.

Holding it with both hands, first she deflected Suki’s attack, then swung back at her with a powerful strike. She was as skilled with a sword as with a bow.

I noticed Rial wasn’t paying attention what was going on at Elnara’s side. He was blasting Kody with his Fiery Axe. I thought Rial was either confident about Elnara’s abilities or he didn’t care what happens to her.

For a short while Kodi and Suki were holding out. But their opponents were on offense most of the time. You can’t really win if you’re on defense all the time. After few more powerful Ral’s swings, Kodi lost his shield. One more Fiery Axe’s swing threw him on the ground.

Rial didn’t rush to finish him off. He just stood there and apparently said something to his lying opponent. After that Kodi gave a signal to surrender and the fight was over.

- Winner number three, Rial and Elnara! – announced Vorin. – Next match! Number thirteen, Mordan and Htilil versus number fifteen, Rolam and Kimele!

The crowd cheered as loud as they could.

What is that all about? They went crazy all of a sudden. Must be someone big again.

- Mordan is a Silver Rank adventurer, who is known for fierce in battle and never lets his opponents escape. He is accompanied by a friend, Htilil, who helped him win the Silver Branch preliminaries. Rolam is a Gold Rank adventurer and been with the guild for a long time now. He doesn’t need an introduction as all of the Saramis knows of his achievements...

Excluding me of course. Hah, that’s why everyone’s so excited.

I watched as the next four participants made their way to the arena. But this time, it wasn’t the Gold Rank adventurer or his companion who struck me. It was their opponents. Especially the woman, who was accompanying the Silver Rank guy.

She didn’t have any stars, which meant she wasn’t his companion. And Vorin didn’t even give any details about her. But there was something about Htilil that made me wonder who she was. I could sense she was suppressing her aura. And on top of that, it didn’t feel like it was a human’s aura in the first place.

It looks like we’re in for another surprise. This match might be rather interesting after all. - I grinned with excitement.

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