It was day two of the Spirit tournament and the upcoming matches were Glare and Zero vs Hera and Garu and whoever loses would have to fight Murph and Jayleen in the loser's bracket. Whoever won there would come back on the third day for the finals at an odds match vs the winner.
However, since many thought of Hera and Glare as the favorites to win the whole competition, the suspense around today's semi finals match was tangible. As the arena is being seated and Spirit Threaders finish getting ready in their rooms, Zero approaches Murph.
"Remember our promise Murph. We won't let that witch from Gemmare win!"
"You know it dude, she's going down."
"Zero, come on, we're about to go. It's game time." said Glare as he pulls Zero to the arena entrance.
"You got this dude!" yelled out Murph.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, the most awaited pairing in this entire tournament... FROM the humble town of Root Haven we have the duo of light and wind, Glare and Zero!" The crowd goes wild with various comments in anticipation.
('Look that's the kid I told you about! He can make light arrows!')
('From Root Haven? I thought they only had cooks and farmers down there.')
"Aaaaaaand all the way from Gemmare and our own gem from Tenmori, the beauty and the beast, Hera and Garu!" In almost an exact same replica, the crowd goes equally wild for this pair.
('Whoa isn't Garu the one who lifted that table with 5 people sitting on them last festival?')
('My god are all of Gemmare's women so beautiful? I might have to visit!')
"Damn right I'm a beast baby!" says Garu as he puffs his chest into the arena. "Let's get this show on the road babe."
Hera glances over to Glare and Zero, "Hope you didn't stay up too late last night. Wouldn't want you using that as an excuse when you lose."
"Funny, I was about to say the same thing to you," replied Glare.
"READYYY? 3... 2... 1... Show us your fighting spirit!"
Immediately Garu begins running straight towards Glare.
"Won't let you set up camp back there like a coward little man!"
Zero takes out his sword and as fast as the breeze flowing in the arena appears behind Garu, "Wind Slash!"
"An attack like that won't get through this boy." The gust of air sent out from Zero's blade dissipates on Garu's skin which is now secreting an amber liquid all around him. Before Zero can discern what this liquid actually is, Garu spins back and swings with his sledgehammer which is now also getting coated in this viscous liquid.
"FOR THE LOVE OF ELYRIA STOP NAMING YOUR ATTACKS MID FIGHT ZERO, YOU PROBABLY WOULD HAVE CUT HIM DOWN ALREADY."
"You sure you have time to worry about your friend there?" whispered Hera on Glare's ear. Klink! Hera's daggers are deflected by a spiritual white shield. "Oh?"
"Don't think I've taken my eyes off of you for a second." says Glare.
"Oh my, how bold." says Hera as she covers her slight cleavage.
"That's not what I meant!" yelled out Glare with a blushed face.
Swoosh! Another swing from Garu forces Glare another step back.
"You think you can flirt with my girl mid fight? Time to break out the big guns." The viscous honey-like liquid begins hardening and forms a bright amber armor across Garu's body.
ROOOOAR. He releases a loud roar throughout the arena as a spiritual honey badger manifests around him. The Sledgehammer is similarly coated in the same hardened honey material. Swoosh. Swoosh. Swoosh. A fierce frenzy of swings are thrown towards Glare.
"Not so tough without your little arrows are you?"
Glare thinks to himself, 'Tsk this is starting to get a bit annoying. Fenrir help me out!'
Spiritual energy in the shape of a wolf begins condensing around Glare and bites out at Garu. Garu holds his thick hardened hammer in between the wolf's teeth and is being pushed back.
"This... Wolf is strong... I thought he was an elemental, he's also a spiritualist? Like Hera?"
"Nice assist Glare! I'll finish him off! Tornado Steps!" Zero jumps in the air and swirling winds surround him and his blade as he continues to spin and grab more momentum. Garu begins to show panic until one final spin from Zero and KLINK.
Hera stands between the both, blocking the blade with her crossed Daggers. "Mibuki, here's a snack." Water surrounds Hera as a spiritual Frilled Shark emerges and swallows Zero whole.
"FIERCE ATTACK BY HERA SHIBUKI, WILL ZERO BE OKAY? WHAT AN INTENSE BACK AND FORTH FROM THE MATCH OF THE DECADE... NAY MATCH OF THE CENTURY. WHO WILL COME OUT ON TOP?"
Gurgles. 'Shit... I let my guard down... I can't breathe... Tornado steps really takes a lot out of me... Glare... Help...'
Glare takes this moment where both his foes are stuck in one position to charge a giant arrow that shines with iridescent hues, his hair and eyes glow in every shade of color possible.
SWOOOSH. Hera looks back and redirects her shark spirit towards the blast whilst Garu is still stuck with Fenrir's unrelenting bites.
"This is bad." were Garu's last words as the arrow explodes like a firework in every color imaginable, stuns Garu and explodes the Spiritual Shark with Zero still inside it.
"My, my, better be careful where you aim that," said Hera as she looks at an unconscious Zero.
"He'll be fine, I've hit him harder in training."
Glare readies another light arrow as Hera begins amassing the sphere of water around her in the same way she did against Murph.
"THIS IS IT FOLKS, THE MATCH WILL BE DECIDED WITH THIS NEXT ATTACK, WILL GLARE BE ABLE TO DEFLECT HERA'S ULTIMATE ATTACK OR WILL SHE REMAIN UNDEFEATED?"
The swirling water rushes towards Glare as Hera crosses her daggers and the Frilled Shark Spirit surrounds her.
"You finally did it." Glare drops his bow to the ground and stands back with iridescent energy forming around his hands. "COME AT ME!"
The light grows brighter and brighter forming two white claws of pure spiritual energy.
WHOOSH. BOOM. The Clash with Hera's two daggers and Glare's Claws crackles bright energy around them causing some audience members to turn away from the brightness and others to become blinded as they stubbornly try to make out the details.
"This is the first time I've seen you make such an honest face, Hera." says Glare as they continue to have this test of strength, staring at her focused and tense facial expression.
Hera's face showed a true yearning for something for the first time since Glare has seen her. "I'd say it's the second time you've seen it... " Hera smiles for a moment before the explosion launches her back 10 feet.
"WHAT A FINALE! THE WOLF OF LIGHT, GLARE HAORU TAKES THE VICTORY!" The crowd's cheers and claps surround Glare's senses as he sits in the limelight for the first time in his life, yet he knew, it wasn't over yet. He looks over at Murph in the stands and gives a nod of acknowledgement.
Medics run over to the arena and begin treating everyone's wounds.
"DON'T GO JUST YET LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. WE'LL BE TAKING A QUICK LUNCH BREAK AND THEN WE'LL BE BACK AGAIN WITH THE LOSER'S BRACKET SEMI-FINALS BETWEEN MURPH AND JAYLEEN AND HERA AND GARU."
Glare sits next to Zero as he wakes up while being treated. "Yo, Glare... I kinda messed that one up didn't I?"
"What are you talking about fool? We won."
"Yeah but you're right... Had I not said my attack out loud before, we might have had a clean sweep."
"Well, maybe... But look over there."
Glare points over to a pair of kids waiting in line for a hot dog who are pretending to be spirit threaders, one of them dancing around like an idiot yelling out 'Tornado Steps!'.
"The world needs fools like you Zero."
"Heh..." Zero focuses his view purely on the kids for the next few minutes.
"Yo, you good dude?" said Murph as he checked up on Zero.
"MURPH! Of course I am! Glare hits me like that 5 times a week!"
"Cool. Brought you a corn dog."
"Sweet! I don't really have anything for you but..."
"You already gave me this dude." and Murph shows the drawing from when they first met. "This is worth at least an entire farm of corn dogs, don't sweat it dude."
Zero cries overdramatically, "Murph you're so kind! This world doesn't deserve you!"
Jayleen, who was previously lingering in the back heads over towards Glare. "That was an impressive attack you did at the end there, I can't believe you kept up with her speed."
"Well to be honest I couldn't really see her in time, luckily I did manage to hear the sound of the water rushing and I slashed out on instinct. Luck was all it was ha ha."
"Nothing in life is ever definitive. No matter how planned out or how prepared we think we may be, there's always a chance things could go awry. In a world where anything could happen, it's those who side with luck who reap all the rewards. It's like Elyria herself has chosen you, be proud of that."
"Huh... I never thought of it like that."
"Murph, it's our time now. Let's head on out."
"On my way, take care of yourself dude." says Murph as he waves goodbye.
"You better win so we get to fight in the finals Murph!"
"Count on it dude."
"3... 2... 1... Show us your fighting spirit!"
The battle between Murph and Jayleen vs Hera and Garu was now underway. Garu looked visibly scared as if his life depended on this fight while Hera had the face of a woman who has nothing left to lose and is willing to risk it all. Similarly, Murph and Jayleen were seething with the taste of revenge after being so humiliated last time. A couple seconds go by that feel like hours with neither party outright advancing before Hera pushes Garu in. He stumbles forward and yells.
"Ah to hell with this! Let's go!" He assumes the same honey armor as before and rushes over at Murph.
"Man is that all you ever do dude?" Swoosh, the hammer swings but Murph catapults from the hammer to his face and grapples him.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" Garu struggles to get Murph off of him.
"I'm just a cuddly dude, dude."
"Tsk. So useless, guess it's all up to me again." said Hera before getting her path blocked by a familiar crossbow bolt.
"I might have lost last time, but it's a new game now bitch."