Kaida looked over Rei's lance. "I have to say Rei, I'm amazed it's not in pieces with how hard you hit Konda during your match."
"I'm honestly a little surprised myself," Rei said. "But I honestly believe it is thanks to Asa's threads that the lance in whole."
"You mean when she bound the front end of the lance?" Kaida asked to clarify. "If that's so, what would happen if you wrapped the whole thing in her fabric?"
"You think that will work?"
"Not sure, but it seems like her fabric is strong. It may be able to act as a buffer to any blows that you might face in the second-round matches."
"I'll have Asa wrap it up right now. What are you going to do, Kaida?"
"I'll probably have Chiyo grow vines around the lance. It won't protect it but it should help support it. That's what I'm hoping for anyway."
The girls worked with their creatures on improving their lances as they waited for Kaida's turn. She was not called for group two or group three. When the fourth group was called, they heard Tsuda say, "Kaida Fujihara and Mita Keiko come to quadrant two."
"Guess that's us, Chiyo," Kaida said as she jumped on Chiyo's back. Rei handed her the lance which was now covered with vines. "Wish us luck." They rode off to area two.
Once they arrived, Mita greeted Kaida with a friendly wave atop her bonnacon. She was slender with long legs. Her black hair was tied back into a ponytail with a few bangs hanging down in front of her eyes. "I am looking forward to this," Mita said confidently. "My partner Ahmer is as well."
"Chiyo and I are excited about this match," Kaida greeted politely. "It will be a pleasure facing you."
As with Rei's match, a judge stepped forward to explain the setup and to start the match. As the judge spoke Kaida felt more nervous than ever before, she was sweating under all the armor. Looking at her opponent made her even more anxious. Kaida remembered that bonnacons are naturally skittish creatures, but looking at Ahmer with his bulky body and large ram horns would make anyone think twice before approaching.
The whistle blew and both creatures ran full speed. Kaida was taken back by Ahmer's speed. She didn't think a creature of such a heavy stature could run as fast as a horse. Kaida held on tight while Chiyo kept a steady gallop down the field. She saw Mita preparing her lance for a strike so Kaida raised hers in preparation as well. One thing that gave her confidence was the vines reinforcing her lance.
The two girls both lowered their lances and thrust them forward, hitting tip to tip before passing. The whistle blew and the judge came back over. "We will not count the tips of the lance hitting as a point and request that you rerun." The girls both returned to the ends of the field to start again.
The whistle blew and both creatures took off just as fast as before. It wasn't until Kaida was preparing her lance that she felt something was off with Ahmer. He had slowed his pace. "Is he tired?" Kaida thought. As the two girls lowered their lance for another strike, Ahmer kicked it into high gear and lunged full power. Mita tilted her body to avoid what would have been a near-direct blow and then thrust her lance at Kaida. Chiyo slowed down at the last minute, which flung Kaida forward, allowing her to evade a hit from Mita. Both Ahmer and Chiyo stomped around out of control.
"Both of you calm your creatures!" The judge yelled.
Kaida patted Chiyo on the neck. "Calm down Chiyo, I'm alright." She looked in Mita's direction and thought, "Ahmer changed his speed on purpose to give Mita more force behind her strike. If Chiyo hadn't jolted me forward then I would have been knocked off."
"Darn," Mita said. "I was hoping to end this quickly but it seems I've underestimated you and your little horse."
"Chiyo is a unicorn."
"My bad." Mita began stroking Ahmer's neck. "No hard feelings, but you're going to have to take a back seat and watch us win."
"Why should I?"
"Because I have one of the strongest creatures in this school. It's only right that Ahmer and I get a spotlight on the team.
"You're kidding me," Kaida said to herself.
"It's nothing personal, but I'm not letting you ruin my chances of getting a spot on the team."
The whistle blew a third time and the two creatures ran full speed down the field. Kaida was focused. She wanted to show Mita that this competition meant just as much to her. Not just her, but Rei, and all the other students who worked so hard to train for this day.
Both creatures maintained their speed. Kaida knew if this kept up, then the winner would be determined by pure strength, and Chiyo was no match for a bonnacon. She needed to think of something fast. Kaida and Mita prepared their lances to strike. Without hesitation, Mita thrust her lance as hard as she could. Without thinking, Kaida used her lance to divert Mita's. The lance still stuck Kaida in the chest but with less force. Before the two passed each other, Kaida repositioned her lance and thrust it at Mita with enough force to knock her off Ahmer.
For a moment Kaida was relieved to see the girl in front of her tumble to the ground. That relief was short-lived when a crackling sound came from her hand. Her lance had shattered.