~ Chapter 62: Exhibition Fight (Part 1) ~
[Alkelios' point of view]
It has been over a month since my wedding ceremony with Seryanna, and Drakaria was preparing for the beginning of the Grand Tournament of Strength and Honor, which was initiated by Draejan and now reorganized by Queen Elliessara. My friends and I didn't really care about it. We all had more important things to deal with right now. Besides, I was already told that I won't be participating in it. I was far too strong for the possible contestants and pinning them against me would have been completely unfair for them. But, this didn't mean that I wasn't to have a part in it. There was going to be an exhibition match to start the tournament, through which the Queen hoped to raise the spirits of both those who were watching and those participating.
During this month, I had the pleasure of learning more about this world and Drakaria itself. By now there were a lot of people who knew about me. I was the new young Duke who was a Breakthrough-er and also the grandson-in-law of General Brekkar Draketerus. While addressing me as Duke Draketerus wasn't wrong, most of them preferred to call me Duke Yatagai.
To be honest, I had a feeling not all noble dragons and dragonesses were happy with my rise to power. There were a few who looked down on me or avoided talking to me completely. They didn't dare bully me, but I wasn't one to keep such matters a secret. When I asked Seryanna about it, she claimed it was impossible not to encounter fools who did not know where they stood or what the difference between us and them was.
There were also those who believed they had more authority than they should. In regard to this special type of fools, Kataryna told me a few stories about how certain dragonesses tried to bribe or subdue her with 'words'. The silver-scaled dragoness apparently stripped these noble women of their clothes and tossed them in the Gold Scale River, the one passing alongside Drakaria. Despite the fact that the King scolded her, he didn't really do much to her. The dragoness was a far more important asset than those nobles who tried to mess around with her.
Still, despite all of these incidents, the number of people trying to get their hands on me, Seryanna, or Kataryna didn't go down. Whenever a fool was silenced, another appeared to take his place, but what did change was their approach. Being tossed naked in the river wasn't on their priority list.
Kleo and Iolaus both continued their training under Kataryna and Brekkar respectively. I had to admit, they were gaining strength fast. It wouldn't be a surprise if in a few years they were going to achieve a Breakthrough as well.
Imagining that black-scaled prankster becoming as powerful as Kataryna or Brekkar sent a shiver down my spine.
During this month, I also had the pleasure of briefly meeting Seryanna's friend, the blacksmith Dregarya Gorrashy. Apparently, she was among the people who witnessed the moment of my rise to nobility, and she was also among those who had a front row seat at my wedding ceremony. I had to think really hard to remember her, but she was indeed there, among all those dragons and dragonesses.
To this awkward moment she declared that I probably didn't remember her because she was wearing a dress, and she hates them, but Seryanna made her wear one. Apparently she was unaware of the fact that dropping by such an important event covered in soot and wearing a blacksmith's apron was considered rude by some.
Unfortunately, we caught her right when she was in the middle of preparing her bags. She was to head off in an hour or so to the Western border, where she would meet the First Prince Charmeill and fix his armor.
Despite the fact that she had to go soon, the dragoness had yet to finish off preparing her bags, and she was still covered in soot. This angered Seryanna a bit, who dragged her by the tail to the bathrooms. After she returned, I finally found out that Dregarya's scale color wasn't black but white, and her hair was silver with a strand of regal blue color.
Seryanna then helped her pack her bags, while I got to chat a little bit with her. My wife forbade her friend from entering the forge and put me in charge of making sure she didn't try to sneak in. It was a bit tougher than I had expected, she was like a small child who wanted her favorite toy back. She finally settled down when I told her that I made my own armor. In that moment, her eyes sparkled and the rest of our conversation turned to a detailed description about the right angle at which you need to hammer a plate of armor. Most of which I had to agree with.
Overall, it was a peaceful time. Once this 'honeymoon' was over, I had to get started on procuring the ingredients for the Queen's cure and at the same time research a little bit about the history of this world. I wanted to know what I could find beyond the borders of Albeyater. I wanted to see a world map if I could, and with my newfound friends and authority as a Duke, there was no reason for me not to find one.
Until then, however, I had to go through one last small... event.
On the first day of the Grand Tournament of Strength and Honor, a lot of dragons and dragonesses gathered from across the entire kingdom. Drakaria itself never had an arena for such events. Draejan had planned on buying several buildings within the Adventurer Area and demolish them to build an impressive Colosseum. Thanks to me, however, this plan came to a stop, so the Queen changed the details.
Using her authority as the Queen of Albeyater, she ordered the soldiers to go to the slum area and demolish a part of it. The families who lived there were offered another home in the Workers Area. Those who were in trouble with the law were arrested. During this month, she made a full sweep of the slums and locked away those who were found guilty while helping the others relocate or restart their lives. She wanted to get rid of the slums in a way that would help all the dragons living there rather than to force them to submit.
The arena that was built in that location was not intended to be grand and luxurious, just very sturdy and efficient. It was large enough to fit all the contestants on it, a little over 100X100 meters with a height of 3 meters above the ground and 4 bellow it. The thing was made out of sturdy stone and enchanted to survive powerful magic attacks.
The audience was placed behind three layers of barriers, but the nobility and royalty had special seats reserved for them. For the King and Queen, they practically built a small tower with a balcony from where they could leisurely enjoy the fights. Meanwhile, the nobles had smaller, wooden platforms placed to the left and right of this tower. Their families and guests had reserved benches, but the high nobility was separated from the lower one through a wall between the benches.
The only ones who had to stand to watch the fight were the commoners. For them, a platform with three levels was built, which surrounded the rest of the arena. It was large and could hold with ease anywhere between 500 and 1000 individuals, but this didn't mean that they were left without options. Those who had wings could fly and watch the battle from the sky. If they knew a spying magic, they could use it as well to get a better view.
The whole tournament was going to have quite a decent amount of spectators, therefore, the Queen ordered for a certain number of soldiers to patrol the area and act as guards against those who wished to prey upon the pockets of the unsuspecting people.
“Dragons and dragonesses! Welcome to the Grand Tournament of Strength and Honor organized by her Majesty, Queen Elliessara Seyendraugher!” said the announcer with the help of a spell that sent his voice throughout the entire area.
Countless cheers were raised to the sky, showing the excitement of the people.
The announcer waited for them to settle down a bit and then coontinued “We will begin this glorious event through a friendly exhibition match between our King, Feryumstark Seyendraugher, and Duke Yatagai! The rules are simple: If you step out of the ring, you lose! If you are knocked out, you lose! Using anything else other than the weapons and armor provided by the organizers of this tournament is prohibited! Using potions or buffing spells cast by other dragons is prohibited! Of course, killing your opponent is also prohibited! Now, let us wish these two contestants luck and let their match begin!”
It was a brief and simple explanation bundled up together with the rules for our fight. There was no need to explain how the entire tournament was going to progress, this was information aimed at the participants themselves, not the two of us who were here just to give these people an opening show.
Indeed, what I needed to know was just what not to do, so I wouldn't lose by default.
While the announcer explained this, I stepped into the ring. On the other side was the King, with a big grin on his face.
So, this was why the old lizard was so excited about this match... I did find it strange that no one told me who my opponent was. Trying to persuade Seryanna didn't work either... I thought as I stretched my arms a bit.
“How are you feeling, youngling?” asked Feryumstark.
“A bit worried... What if I injure you?” I replied as I unsheathed my sword.
“Then try! Come at me with all your might!” he replied spreading his arms wide and showing me a big grin.
“Good thing I was the one who enchanted our items then.” I said with a smirk.
The first to attack... was me.
[Kataryna's point of view]
For this tournament, I was tasked with being her Majesty's bodyguard together with Brekkar. Seryanna stood besides Princess Elleyzabelle, and I could tell both of them were eager to see this battle between the King and Alkelios. Behind us was a small army of Royal Guards, which laid hidden inside this tower. A good number of them was spread among the crowd as well, just to be sure no one was trying any 'smart' moves on the royal family. With me here, though, I doubted anyone could do anything, and Seryanna wasn't one to ignore either.
“Was it hard to keep his opponent a secret?” her Majesty asked me.
With a nod, I replied “Yes, quite. Seryanna especially had a very hard time with him.”
“Alkelios tried through various means to compel me to say who it was, but I kept my lips sealed... although, I will admit that I did enjoy some of the things he tried.” Seryanna giggled.
“Is that so? Both of you did good then. My husband couldn't wait for this match. He wanted it to be a surprise for Alkelios.” she said.
“I'm sure it was.” I nodded.
“Everyone, they are starting.” said Elleyzabelle.
Turning my gaze towards the arena, I saw Alkelios unsheathing his sword and taking a stance. The King, however, spread out his arms as though he wanted to give him a big hug, but the truth was that he showed no openings. He was a powerful dragon, indeed, quite fearsome actually.
I wonder if Alkelios can win? I thought.
The first to move was the half-human. For normal dragons, it may have looked as though he vanished for a moment, but he couldn't fool my eyes. His speed, however, was ridiculous... The King as well, blocked the attack with his own sword at the very last moment.
A shockwave was formed from this single attack, lifting the dust and shaking the arena. Every whisper and every sound vanished from among the audience. The two fighters caught their attention in a staggering display of might, but this was just the first move.
Alkelios jumped back and shot a fireball where the King stood, but the old lizard cut it in half and then launched an ice spike at him. Using wind, he pushed himself to the left and dodged the dangerous projectile. These two attacks took place in a split second.
With a big smile on his face, the King rushed towards Alkelios and tried to attack him using a sword skill. When he unleashed it, countless strikes were launched, but his opponent managed to avoid most of them, while those that landed barely scratched the armor. Pushing himself to the left with a wind burst, Alkelios launched a series of fireballs at his opponent, forcing him to dodge them. But the King wasn't one to back down from this. Just like him, he pushed himself forward with a wind burst and launched from his left hand a series of ice spikes. Alkelios countered with a fire shield and then unleashed a fire breath through his shield, melting his opponent's magic and forcing him to raise an ice shield.
All this time, they kept themselves in the air not with their wings but with a wind magic called [Wind Burst], which had as only purpose of creating a powerful wind that blew from the caster in the direction he aimed it at. If used on the ground, it could push an enemy away, but if used in the air, it would push the user in the air, controlling it, however, required skill and practice.
Alkelios landed on the left side of the arena, while the King landed on the other side. Both of them had showed an fearsome combat ability and had yet to even transform into half-beasts.
“Ice spikes? Really?” Alkelios asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Well, you were the one who attacked me with a fireball first!” the King replied with a smirk.
“Then I should up my game a bit.” he said.
“I as well!” the other replied.
The two of them glared at each other, but I could tell they were having fun with this battle. They were both good opponents to each others, who didn't break from a single punch. In retrospect, Draejan was nothing but a fly when compared to them.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
Seeing how things have been a bit hard for me lately, I will try and focus around posting only at the end of the week, during a Friday or Saturday(ish). I'm going to try the weekly chapter dump version of the schedule to see if this fits me better.
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