“No of course not!” Lilia answers as if Metztli said something stupid.
They spend some time comforting Metztli and eventually fall asleep.
Next day at school.
“I want to report that Resyana has fallen ill and can’t participate in her match today” Cleamon says to one of the teachers leading the tournament. That’s bad to hear, I will inform the rest that the match will be won by default by her opponent” she answers.
The tournament roster was made known to everyone.
“Welcome everyone, today we’ve got some exciting matches. Unfortunately one of our contestants is sick and can’t complete. Sylas Myrtics will advance to the next round as winner by default. Our first match starts in five minutes” echoed through the school’s halls.
Everyone moves towards arena 1 and take their places.
“First match is Cecily Sageflower who has the Light affinity versus Graeyam Winterblood who has the Water affinity. Both of these participants have shown good control of their respective magic and spells and this will be a test which one of them is the strongest!” the announcer says.
They both come out and greet each other, Graeyam is two heads taller than Cecily and rather bulky.
“Fighters ready! The match starts in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, START!”
Cecily and Graeyam both move backwards whilst doing their Incantation, Cecily’s finishes first. She launches two of her Light Arrows at Graeyam, but he manages to dodge them. Cecily manipulates the arrows and turns them around mid flight. Graeyam meanwhile finishes his Incantation and it’s eerily similar to Cecily’s spell.
Around Graeyam a circle of water appears, he launches several water bullets towards Cecily. One scrapes Cecily’s face leaving behind a cut and fresh drawn blood. The water bullets pierce trees behind Cecily and eventually die out hitting rocks or the walls. The fight goes back and forth between dodging each others’ attacks for 15 minutes. They both get better at reading and dodging each others’ attacks and are near running out of mana.
Cecily feigns having no more mana and charges in, dodging water bullets as they fly in her direction. She hides one of her Light arrows behind her body, while getting closer to Graeyam. Graeyam slightly panics seeing her coming much closer, he tries keeping his distance, but as result his spell drains much more mana. He cancels his own spell and switches over to melee. He blocks Cecily’s first punch with one hand, but underestimates her power. He breaks two of his fingers, and lets out a scream. He quickly scurries and hides behind a rock, heavily panting in pain.
Cecily takes the time to prepare her next attack, stealthily she moves closer to Graeyam, using the technique Cleamon showed Homian.
Graeyam uses a piece of cloth to tie his fingers, while trying to take notice of his surroundings. He however doesn’t expect the almost silent approach of Cecily.
Cecily jumps from behind him and punches Graeyam on his neck, she lodges her Light Arrow in his spinal cord. He falls over paralyzed from the interference in his nervous system. He collapses on the ground.
“Graeyam has fainted! Cecily is the winner by knockout! That was an exciting match! Cecily is the first person to enter the semi-final, give her a round of applause!”
All the people watching applaud while Cecily takes it all in and waves happily.
“The next match will start at 11:00, due to the forfeit of one contestant, the next match has been won by Sylas Myrtics”
The announcer talks about what there is to do at the school to wait for the next match to start. They are doing a mock battle between two teachers to entertain the crowd.
Cleamon and his friends are sitting at a table inside the cafeteria, people have been eying them for quite a while and some came up to congratulate Cecily. However most people find them too intimidating, since it’s not normal for first years to beat second and thirds years.
A girls is walking up to Cleamon, her arms and legs are wrapped in bandages, she’s not even sure why she’s here. Her face shows signs of stress and she keeps checking her surroundings. “Cleamon, can I have a word with you in private?” the girl says.
“Isn’t that Izbella, the one he beat before in the tournament? What happened to her?” whispers are going around the place. Students look anxious, they anticipate a fight so most of them are backing up.
“Sure” Cleamon says and stands up “lead the way”.
He already told Lilia about what he’d done so she’s in on it, the rest however look stunned as he walks away. They enter an empty classroom and Izbella locks the door.
“What did you do to me?” she asks slightly frightened “why do I have to urge to see you? In the beginning it was just curiosity, but now I can’t even control my own actions!” she says walking close to Cleamon.
‘I guess a side-effect of the magic is that people can’t control their actions anymore, I wonder how long that will go on’ Cleamon thinks.
“Even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. Let’s say that I know if your family situation, and why you have those bandages” Cleamon says pointing at her arms.
“How can you know? This is a private matter!” she says “even if you did, how does this explain why I’m talking to you now?!” she was getting more frustrated with the situation.
“If you really want to know, you would have to make a deal with me, I can’t say more than that. Also this deal will restrict you in releasing any information about this, but if you do I might be able to help you” Cleamon says calmly.
“What deal? I just want to know what you did, why are you keeping this a secret?!” her voice almost sounds angry now.
“Look, I could just walk away now and you’ll be stuck with this. I will give you five minutes to think it through. Do you want to know and therefore sign the contract or will we leave here and go our separate ways?” Cleamon asks her in a serious tone.
He sits down on a chair and starts cultivating, to the annoyance of Izbella. She was pacing around the room trying to make up her mind.
“I could just leave here and tell my father that you did something to me, he would probable make you pay for it!” she says after two minutes.
“Yes, you could, but you probable have to bare the consequences of that decision” Cleamon releases his aura, it’s filled with the Intent to kill. A darkness overwhelms Izbella, her knees start shaking and her eyes widen.
“W-what are you!?” she manages to say “Why are you doing this to me, what do I ever do to you!” she was now on the verge of crying.
Cleamon releases his aura and Izbella falls on her knees, shaken by the event. She knows Cleamon was only toying with her in the match even now the feeling and pressure she got from his aura was so immense it rendered her defenseless.
“Look, I know you’re not a bad person and you have your reasons why you’re like this. This is why I’m giving you a chance, you can take it or leave it. You have two minutes left to decide” Cleamon says going back to his cultivation.
Two minutes go by quickly and the closer to the mark, the more panicked Izbella becomes.
“Time’s up, what’s your decision” Cleamon says jumping from his seat.
“Okay, okay I’ll do it” she says finally, pressured into it.
Cleamon takes out a crystal he prepared with the same Inscriptions as the ones his friends used at the castle, only this one is bound to him.
“To make this contract you will need to put a drop of blood and insert you mana into this crystal. It will make sure you can’t tell anything you hear here to anyone else without my permission” Cleamon says showing the crystal to Izbella.
“And how am I supposed to trust you? Maybe this is some weird spell that makes me your slave!” she says looking at it. Izbella is very suspicious of the item Cleamon showed.
Cleamon shows his truth crystal and as with Idalia he explains how it works, he does the questions first and then gives it to her. After the whole ritual of testing each other on truth, Cleamon again explains what his plan is.
“Okay, I believe you” she draws a drop of blood from her finger, drops it on the crystal and puts mana in it. The crystal glows bright blue and the light fades again, but the crystal stays blue.
“Now, I’ll explain what I did and why I did it, like I said before if you would tell this to anyone it will end badly for you” Cleamon says in a serious tone.
He explains what happened with the assassins sent after him, what he heard about Sylas and the situation with her family. By her reaction Cleamon could see that she had no idea what is going on behind the scenes. He felt kind of sorry for her getting tied into this mess.
“I-I had no idea this was going on” Izbella says as she sits down after hearing the story “is my family really going to do this?”.
“Yes, they are”