Chapter 26:

May the Tournament Begin

Adventures of Zeleon

A little over 90 days passed by rather quickly. It's now the day of the gathering for the Tournament. On this day, brackets will be released, competitors will meet each other, possibly for the first time in person. Leon was amongst the other 31, including Oni, Ravlynn and Maeva.

They were in a large room within the modern looking Coliseum. Leon, feeling the most isolated of them, leaned against the back wall. In front of them, Atticus, who was in full royal garb, was speaking.

"The day has come competitors! It has been a little over six months since my announcement, but now, tomorrow begins the fight to take the prestigious title of Guardian!"

"God, he always sounds so fake when he addresses people in that voice." Leon almost whispered these words out loud, but thought better of it.

Meanwhile, a cocky looking red haired guy stepped up in front. "My King, no offense but you may as well hand that title to me, it's a foregone conclusion that I'll win!"

The guy's name was Wes Vaelstrom, a man who proclaims he's never lost a battle of blades. Which after seeing his skill wasn't unlikely, no one has ever seen him lose in public. Still, his attitude usually got him in nearly serious fights with people.

Ravlynn was clearly irked and spoke up. "Oh shut it Wes! You may be a good sword fighter but that doesn't mean that's all it takes. I've heard in a battle of fists you got your ass handed to you."

"Grahhhh! Look here girlie, I don't like starting stuff with women but I'll make you pay for saying that if we cross paths!" Wes exclaimed.

Atticus got fed up quickly. "Both of you hold yourselves or you'll be DISQUALIFIED!!!"

The outburst made them both step away from each other and behave. Amongst the commotion Maeva sneaked to the back wall next to Leon.

"Well, well. Long time, no see. You look more built than when we first met." She spoke to him in a whisper, he glanced over at her with a faint smile.

"It's been a long process, but my training has worked out for me. I feel ready, like actually ready. Though if I were to face you, I'd still be really nervous."

She hushed a chuckle after he said that. "Are you afraid of me? Or are you afraid of something else?"

Leon rubbed his head nervously. "The impending payback for biting you like I did…Gwilym told me you were married afterwards and I've had a sinking feeling since."

"Wait really…? I felt no ill will over it. In fact my husband actually was inspired by it…"

Leon shushed her right at that moment in a slight panic. "I don't need to know...I don't want to know, please don't divulge these things with a teenager."

His words were almost desperate coming out, so much so that Maeva nodded and agreed with him, but did this with an evil smile across her face.

Atticus went back to speaking once again. "The bracket will be broken down into four parts containing eight of you within it. They shall be sectioned as group A,B,C, and D. The winner of A faces C and the winner of B faces D in the semi finals. Now, you've all had your letter randomly selected for you.

A monitor in the back pre grouped all of them already. As he focused in, Leon saw he was in Group D with Oni, the others he didn't recognize.

"Hmm. Looks like we'll meet in the semifinals instead. I'm in Group B, with that hotheaded girl and Wes." She said with a serious expression.

"Now! That you've seen your Group, we'll randomize the matchups!" Atticus exclaimed.

The screen created a bracket in four sections, starting with Group A and ending with Group D. Leon was the last one to come up against someone he'd only heard about.

"Raize Aeros, isn't he the one who's like a master at hand to hand combat?"

"Yeah...your bracket is way more talented than some of the others. I can't say much for the big muscular fellow. But Raize has never lost in a hand to hand fight and Perceval is a well renowned knight. If you win one you'll likely face the other. I had a feeling they wouldn't make it easy but they're trying to end you out of the gates.

Group C isn't near as good. The talent isn't balanced."

Maeva explained as she scanned around the board with a gentle sigh. "My path doesn't look as difficult as I'd thought either. The hotheads are facing each other right off, and there's one little thing nagging at me. There's a knight, in full armor, just called Justice."

It hadn't been noticed by either one of them, but there was a person in full armor, who hadn't made much of a sound.

"That's weird. This whole thing is screaming failure."

"Not really a failure as much as rigged. But it's ok. I have faith you'll break through and eventually lose to me in a match that'll keep people talking for many years to come. And when I do, I'll assist in whatever they'd hoped you'd help with, if I believe it is just."

She smiled at him warmly, patting his shoulder.

"Maeva. I really hate that I know I'll have to face you. You seem like you could be the next true Guardian of Zeleon. Then again, this Tournament was created because of me, and thus created an opportunity for you. Still. It makes me feel bad…."

"Hmmm. Let's up the ante, whoever loses is the other's sidekick."

This response came as a shock to Maeva, but she loved the energy and rolled with it.

"Deal. I wouldn't mind an adorable fresh face to drag along."

Atticus chimed in once again making the chatter from everyone cease immediately.

"The match order will go from first in Group A to last in Group D."

"Now I'm going last too. Probably the day after tomorrow."

"Any questions?"

Raize, who'd been quiet up to this point, spoke up immediately.

"Shall I be the one to address the room here? Why can't we disqualify this Earth human from our ranks?"

"Ohh fuuuck offf!"

Atticus shrugged his question off. "My wife chose him. I hate it as much as any of you here, but I'm willing to humor her."

Leon piped up. "Well, I was wondering how long this would take. Look, how about instead of whining, you beat me yourself and be whatever hero you want to be for it."

Raize was hushed at that point as no one else actually cared.

Atticus continued his explanation.

"With that out of the way. Each stage will start as a different kind of match. The all out matches won't start until the Group's final. The first stage is hand to hand, the second is weapons combat."

Leon almost hit his head against the wall with that news.

Maeva spoke to him in a hushed tone.

"See? I told you it was massively rigged. I actually feel kind of bad. You're getting a pretty raw deal."

"That covers just about everything. Except for one last piece of information. The full matches don't end via a blade to the neck, you must continue until one can't get back up or if they forfeit."

Atticus spoke his last piece that did catch some off guard. Normally, most matches tend to keep everyone's bodies intact, but this was much more from the Komodron rulebook.

Everyone was permitted to leave afterwards. Leon left with more thoughts in his mind of just how steep of a hill he will have to climb.


The next day arrived quickly, Leon went to the Coliseum in hopes of doing a bit of scouting. But Maeva tracked him down and drug him through several hallways.

"Why the hell are you dragging me?!" Leon exclaimed with his voice carrying in the large metal structure.

She ignored him with a face filled with determination as she eventually got him to a betting line.

"Here. Look at the board." She said in a serious tone, whilst pointing at what she spoke of.

Leon gazed at the numbers realizing he was number 32 in odds with only EARTH HUMAN, in large capital letters.

"I don't have a name apparently.." He said with a disappointed expression. "Why'd you bring me here…?"

"To inspire you. No one is giving you a chance. You need to go out there and show you at least belong here. Something I know you can do."

He smiled at her fiery pep talk. As he walked back to the stands again.

"You should seriously get yourself ready."

"I will. I'm not going to lose. Not even to you, chosen one."

The two went their separate ways afterwards. As Leon made his way to the stands amongst the rest of the crowd. The stadium looked like a fancy one back at home with flashing lights and an almost post modern look to it. An over enthusiastic announcer was on a PA system kicking off the Guardian Tournament.

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first ever Guardian Tournament in Zelenia Coliseum!! We're starting off this first round where our contenders use whatever true fighting skills they got without a weapon! Now, our first matchup is about to begin, the mysterious knight called Justice versus Mae Thornhill!"

Leon was particularly intrigued over this Justice person. There was absolutely nothing on them, even their gender. This person was still 23rd in the betting line, which irked Leon a bit.

After they were on the battleground, the announcer chimed in again.

"Let the first match begin!!!!"

If you could call it that. Justice in full armor laid waste to Mae. After Mae's first onslaught was blocked completely, Justice pounded her ribs initially before knocking her out cold after nine consecutive hits to the jaw.

The audience cheered but at the same time there was an initial collective gasp.

"This Justice person really means business. And they're in the other bracket too. If I make it, is that going to be my finals opponent?"

That thought crossed Leon's mind, as he continued watching other matchups that just weren't that good in Group A.

In Group B, the people cheered so loudly for Maeva that it was deafening, her opponent wasn't much of a matchup for her either, she won with ease.

Ravlynn and Wes had an interesting bout however. It turns out Wes didn't actually have the glass jaw that she said he did. But alas, after the ten minute mark he seemed fatigued trying to hold up against her and eventually lost. He took it more humbly than expected and even raised her hand in victory.

After day one of the prelims were over, Leon still went off and fine tuned himself a bit before his first Tournament matchup.