Descending Fire 5
As I rose from my slumber, I could already hear somebody scampering around downstairs. I had once again gotten up a bit earlier than usual, wanting to squeeze in some training and a patrol before making my way to the tournament grounds, but it seems somebody else had beaten me to the punch. The waking up early part at least. I’ve not had much company on the training, nor the patrols as I might hope for.
When I did get downstairs, I managed to see Aster heading out the gates in the direction of the tournament grounds. She must have a lot of preparations for the day’s fights. As the tournament progresses, the injuries are likely to get more severe.
Following training, I once again headed out into the city in an attempt to right some wrongs, and stop some senseless acts of thievery. Thankfully, I didn’t run into many issues. I imagine the shady sector of the city is as distracted with the tournament as the rest of the city is.
As I made my way towards the tournament grounds, I was again inundated with shouts of encouragement from the people of the city. I am glad to be able to bring at least some joy into their worlds.
The first match of the day is between Silken Orchid of Fallen Love, verus Throk Fire Gazer. Whoever wins this fight will likely face me after my fight with Dinger Earth Hallow.
Broken Walls and I went to see Dinger during Throk’s fight. As the fight progressed before us, I told Dinger that I expect nothing less than his best. He assured me that he will give it his all, but judging by his previous fights, I had my doubts.
The match goes on for a fair amount of time. Throk put in a good effort, but Silken Orchid eventually dispatched him. Still, both of them were heavily wounded and were brought to Aster’s tent for recovery. I hope Silken Orchid will be able to recover in time for our match.
Broken Walls and I again investigate the days prizes. A box of Jars seemingly crafted from large gemstones catches my eye, but Broken Walls again shows me the the value of things can often be deceptive. He pointed towards a gem the size and shape of an eye. “That is what you should be trying for” he told me. I’m not sure I believe him, but I do trust him. I’ll get the eye next.
I make my way back to my tent before my first bout of the day. Dinger might not look like the challenge that I wish for, but I still intend to give him a good run. One of these opponents will be a challenge, and I will be ready to meet it.
I clear my mind and once again focus on strengthening my muscles. I considered going beyond and hardening my fists as well, but I decided against it. How hard could Dinger be anyway?
When we entered the ring, I could clearly see that Dinger was excited to be there. He had been waiting for this fight. Hopefully I live up to his expectations.
With the sound of the bell, we rushed towards each other, aiming to strike at the same time. I swore I had planted my first firmly in his jaw, but at the moment of contact, I was hit from behind!
I turned, angry, ready to smash the man who had interrupted my match. He had red hair, pale skin, and wore red gauntlets with glades that glowed like the night’s sky, but before I could even finish turning towards him, he was gone; replaced with Dinger, who promptly hit me again.
By this point, I had seen enough. Something was going on, but I wasn’t about to wait around to find out what. My next strike hit Dinger hard. As I hit him I saw the Red haired man’s figure fade into existence, with his eyes rolling back into his head before Dinger’s visage once again took over.
He tried to strike again, but could clearly not see straight after my last hit. I swiftly moved past his punch, then slamed Dinger in the side of his ribs.
It was at this point that the strange apparition revealed himself to me. “That was fun!” he said almost gleefully. “Come and find me later!” he said, tosing me a strange looking compass before disappearing. Once gone, Dinger collapsed.
I was not expecting Dinger to collapse of course. Moments ago he looked to be in fighting shape, and surely my last hit had not hit him hard enough to do him in. I yelled at him to stand up, even tried to lift him to his feet, but it was no use. Dinger was done.
The crowd roared as I was proclaimed victorious, but I was more confused than anything else. What just happened? Who was the red haired guy?
I quickly learned that nobody else had even seen the additional participant in the fight. Not Broken Walls, not Descending Dawn. Nobody. It doesn’t make any sense. He was right there, clear as day when he handed me the compass. I look it over briefly, as if to reassure myself that I hadn’t imagined the figure; that Dinger hadn’t in fact, hit me hard enough to knock the sense out of me. But there it was, pointing off in it’s own direction, begging to be followed. “Another time” I told myself as I stuffed it into my pouch. I had more important things to worry about.
I returned to the prize pool and claimed the eye shaped gem as my reward. I did notice that this time there was much less attention on me as I picked my winnings compared to last time. Last time I could swear I was being watched by a dozen or so people, which was not the case this time. I guess other things must have the attention of the people.
I returned to my tent, feeling more and more exhausted as the adrenaline of the fight wore off. I didn’t even bother to watch the next fight, which I probably should have. It was Dedecasi’s Demise versus Broken Walls.
I got the highlights afterward from one of the spectators. Broken Walls had managed to fake out Dedecasi’s Demise, causing him to ring out. I couldn’t believe it. That fight should not have ended that way. As I try to reason out the result , I realise something else: I’m going to get to fight Broken Walls after all. This day was looking better and better.
Having not seen the fight that I had arguably been looking forward to the most, I decided to pay better attention to the next one. It might not be Broken Walls, but it might be entertaining at least.
Rose Piercing Wind, faced off against Sun Shen Lee. Something about how Sun Shen Lee moved reminded me a little of Piper. I knew Piper studied martial arts, but I didn’t even know the name of his style, yet alone the style itself. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if they had trained together in the past. I’ll try to remember to ask Piper when I see him next.
The fight itself seemed fairly even, but in the end Sun Shen Lee forfeited. Still, it looked like Rose piercing wind was not to be taken lightly.
With the quarter finals finally complete, Broken Walls again looked upon the prizes for the next tier. I didn’t see anything obvious, but again Broken Walls discreetly point out that there were some red packets that seemed incredibly valuable. I really hope Broken Walls isn’t messing with me here, but I once again agree to his suggestion.
I prepared myself once more in my tent, before hearing my name called out for the next match. Silken Orchid was waiting. I hadn’t really expected a challenge of this fight, having seen Silken Orchid fight Throk, but I still took the match seriously. I wouldn’t want my opponent to be disheartened to think that I didn’t respect their efforts. Still, the match went as I expected. I carried her to Aster’s tent after she dropped, giving a small shrug as Aster glared at me.
I of course retrieved the red pouches, counting out 15 of them total before returning to my tent. I wonder what they actually are.
As I tried to meditate, I could hear shouts of disappointment from the crowd. Something was wrong.
I emerged to find that Broken Walls’ opponent, had not shown up. It seems that Dedecasi’s Demise wasn’t the only competitor to scare off a fighter.
I tried to let the events get to me, instead returning to my tent and continuing my meditation and preparation. There wasn’t any doubt anymore. I would be facing Broken Walls next!
Or so I thought. Broken Walls forfeited! I couldn’t believe him as he spoke the words. This was going to be it. Him and me! Me and him! Fighting for all to see! I don’t even know how to react. I’m devastated of course, but Broken walls must have had his reasons. I turned to him with an impassioned look, as if to ask “Why did you take this from me?”, but the words that came next were not what I was expecting. “There’s a good chance that Rose Piercing Wind was a spy from Kampthahar” he said without regard to who could hear him.
I turned to face Mauk, who had a puzzled look upon his face. “This isn’t over! Broken Walls and I will be back to finish this!”
I knew that I was faster than Broken Walls. Much faster. I had seen him run many a time, but now was not the time to humor him.
And just like that, I swept Broken Walls off his feet and started running in the direction of Presad, while Broken Walls shouted directions.
I ran for hours, having shifted Broken Walls onto my back. I can’t say he was the most comfortable of passengers, but we made good time at least.
When we caught sight of Rose Piercing Wind, I threw Broken Walls straight at him, knocking him from his horse.
I take a swing at him, but he quickly rolls out of the way, right into Broken Wall’s grasp, as he effortlessly bends Rose Piercing Wind’s spear around him, trapping him tightly in place.