“Hmph, the Tournament hasn’t even started yet, and here you are fighting amongst yourselves! How embarrassing!” one of the Grand Masters said as he eyed Boxer and the Claymore mayor. With just a glare, the two of them started forming beads of sweat on their brows. They dared not make a peep. “The Boundless Academy’s fighters are about to arrive. If you wish to continue squabbling like children, do not blame me for when my hand is forced!” the Master commanded.
Suddenly, a loud screeching noise echoed throughout the arena. It was like a great talon had descended upon the arena, tearing apart the empty space. Suddenly, two middle-aged men descended slowly from the sky. One of them looked to be quite common, yet the energy he exuded was telling of otherwise. The other however, was dressed in rich clothing, with many fancy accessories. They had torn the air around them asunder, and somehow solidifying it under their feet.
“These are Agiles of level five, only they could possess such power!” Boxer said quietly. They had stopped midway in the air, as if they stood on solid ground itself. Many fighters were likewise envious. Who would not want to walk in mid-air as if it were the ground?
“Greetings Master!” The five Masters quickly greeted. The one dressed in fine silk and pearled embroidery was none other than the Master of the Grand Masters. The other more commonly dressed one was a skilled fighter from the Academy.
The two fighters gave each other a look, before they allowed the Master to speak, “I take it everyone knows why you’re here?” He continued, “This Tournament has become more different than before. As long as you show promise, you will be enrolled into the Boundless Academy!” His voice did not match his looks. As he was a powerful practitioner, he could slow his aging process. His true age was definitely much older than what his looks would tell. “It’s been a long time since the last Tournament, however I dare say this shall be one of the most important ones!” He continued, “The Boundless Academy is among the Five. If you were to be selected by them, your clan, city, and yourself would no doubt improve in status!”
“Let me remind you all, this is an important event. If you fool around, I will disqualify not only you, but also your clan, permanently!” As he finished that sentence, the Master released a shockwave throughout the arena. “Please,” he continued, as he gestured for the Academy representative to speak.
“I won’t add much. What I will add is that this Tournament would be indeed different than before, as the rules are less restrictive. Meaning, yes, killing is… tolerated. Therefore, if any of you would like to leave now, please do so! By the way, this arena is located in the Land of Despair, I’m sure you’ve heard of it!”
Zephyr noticed Bruce and Boxer slightly tremble at the mention of the place.
“Land of Despair? That can’t be right!”
“Indeed, how can this be? That is but the deadliest place known to man!”
“F*ck the Tournament, this f*cking place would kill us first!”
“I give up! I give up!”
Many fighters started to cry out in terror.
“Weaklings!” Boxer lamented.
“Bruce, what did he mean by ‘Land of Despair’? Is it that scary?” Zephyr asked.
“Heh heh...it’s only natural! The Land of Despair is one of the most dangerous places in the Ahi Dynasty. Although it’s filled with countless treasures, many dangerous beasts and creatures also inhabit this land. On top of that, there’s dustorms, deadly gas… you name it, they have it!” Bruce answered, chuckling, yet his expression was stern nonetheless.
“The Land of Despair was originally the royal training grounds, but it had become too dangerous over time. Many royal members and staff had gotten lost here. Over time, this place became more and more abandoned.” Bruce continued on while he darted his eyes around. “Before, the Inter-city Tournaments were a way for the academies to pick out future students, but this year’s Tournament will be run by the Boundless Academy. That’s why it’s much harsher this time. However, I’d never expected them to go this far!”
Zephyr nodded, but he expressed no fear. Many fighters were surrendering one after the other. Although the reward for this Tournament was great, their lives were too precious to be put on the line. Especially those who were younger, they did not wish to cut their potentially long and bountiful lives short like this. The Master could not help but grimace at the sight of the fighters that easily gave up like that. After all, these were representatives of the Ahi Dynasty as a whole, how would the prestigious Academy look at them now?