In the end, Innes ultimately decided to go and participate in the tournament. After much deliberation, she’d decided that fighting in the tournament and doing well, but maybe not too well, was probably the best she could do.
Not participating would lower her stock in the school and possibly land her with nowhere to go. But if she did especially well, there was a hope that the school would place just enough importance on her not to allow anything troublesome to come her away. In other words, she was steering into the bend that she’d found herself driving towards. Hoping that if she followed this curve in the road, she’d end up somewhere good.
For while she was aware each increase in her total strength was a step towards independence she just wasn’t sure she was ready to head out on her own and take on the world yet.
While she wasn’t weak, she was still far from strong and even without all the general Agarthan knowledge that was available in the “Moonlit Tower”, the girl still didn’t think she knew enough about her new world to try and live in it on her own.
She’d asked her ever shadowy and amorphous master what he thought of her decision and again he said whatever she decided was fine. Which had her wondering whether he was really that accepting of her or if he just didn’t care.
She suspected it was probably both. In any case, less than two weeks after making up her mind she found herself in Bernardo, the free-city that lay between the kingdoms. Where the tournament was always held.
She current stood in the little building that housed the sign up offices for the tournament. An old oxman with large gold-tipped horns on his head stood at the door watching everyone who entered. A slightly younger mouseman with large, round, dinner plate ears stood at the back of the building, standing at the counter taking in names.
The room was full, congested with youths, seniors and the soft murmur of dozens of quiet conversations.
“Alright little Miss, Mind giving us a [Status Reveal]? We need it for our records.” said the man at the counter.
|Name:||Innes N. Kaufman|
|Affiliation(s):||Dusk-Sea Academy(Student), Red Moon Sovereignty(Student) (Hidden)|
|Title(s):||First Disciple of the Red Moon Sovereign(Hidden), Descendant of Vel(Hidden)|
|Affinities:||Darkness, Space, Life, Illusion|
|Abilities:||Stalwart Physique(Passive), Inconspicuous(Passive), Neural Enhancement(Passive), Energy Efficient(Passive), Mana Efficient(Passive), Endurance Boost(Passive/Active), Auto Recovery(Passive)|
The man frowned at the window that appeared in the air before him. Only giving the girl’s talents a single glance as the number of abilities and traits in the world were so numerous that even his seniors were generally hard put to know what each of the abilities a person had were.
His gaze drifted upwards towards the top of the window, his eyes widened and his bushy white eyebrows shot up towards his receding hairline.
The man looked at the girl’s talent and level. He looked at the numbers and then he looked at the girl and then he looked at the numbers again. Momentarily forgetting his own status as the administrator in charge of the Tourney’s sign-up process.
He took the chance to curry favor and chat with the old mage that stood behind her, as he found himself feeling it become more imperative to put pay attention to the people in front of him.
After seeing the gem that the little group had brought with them, the old clerk looked to glean benefits in the same way ivies climbed the tallest trees to gain sunshine.
Even if the only benefits was information to use to tell his friends and acquaintances when they came to him to ask which names would best for betting on.
The old mage the clerk spoke to was yet another Teacher and Master among the multitude of teachers and master that were gathered her in the small little building.
Teacher Malone had been sent to escort the Academy’s youths and see that they were properly signed in to the tournament.
Other teachers of the Academy and even a few elders waited outside and nearby. While the half-decade tourney was generally supposed to be a safe enough affair for the children, the stakes and the tension were such that it wasn’t unheard for “accidents” to occur. An outcome that would be disastrous for a small school like Dusk-Sea Academy.
“Nice…Very nice. If you don’t mind this humble sir, commenting.” said the old man.
While the children and teenagers that stood at Malone’s side couldn’t see the window, the old mage was close enough and strong enough that he could bring a copy of the status that hung in the air before the other man, into his view.
He glanced at the status and just barely managed to avoid gasping in shock. Eyes bulging out just a little, despite his intentions to play things cool.
The old man just barely managed to cover his surprised retort with a timely cough and a stiffly held expression. He let the window fade shortly before the clerk did. Pointedly avoiding looking at the girl who still stood at the counter as he responded.
. “Hmph…our Dusk-Sea Academy has only ever taken the best.” said Malone.
“Ah…Of course, Of course….I expect Dusk-Sea will shine gloriously this year then…” said the clerk.
“Why wouldn’t we?” scoffed Malone. Hearing the cockiness of his words and wondering whether he was being too excessive or not being excessive enough.
His words were met with a small startle from the other students waiting in line. And some increased murmurs and looks of interest from the other teachers of other schools who happened to be nearby.
The old clerk merely laughed. Eyes turning into crescents as he thought of how much money he could make with information he’d gained today. The girl was just one part of it, each half-decade brought new young geniuses, new stars to dazzle the world on the open stage.
The other teachers and students looked as if they wished they could get a peek at what had garnered so much of the old clerk’s interest.
For all that his current position was a humble one, the importance of the Half-Decade Tournament held towards to secular, martial and magical was such that only individuals of the Elite rank and above were allowed to hold it.
Considering that old Dudu was a freakish leveller who’d still managed to reach the True Elite Rank. Reaching the rank by his hundredth year despite having to temper himself against his own violent impulses, his sloth, his lust, his simple lack of focus and myriad other issues. Working like a dog to manage it. Famously doing it for sheer spite and the hand of a woman he’d ultimately only sleep with once and then brusquely cast aside.
They knew two things. The first, was that anything that could make the old freak surprised was probably significant. The second, was that trying to sneak a peak at whatever the old man was looking at would probably earn them a beating and possibly, a partial disqualification from the tournament.
Dudu had made his stance on those who went above themselves and tried to cut in on his profits quite clear in prior years.
Thus they could only lean in and try to eavesdrop, hoping to catch a useful word or two to take back to their seniors.