A total of thirty-two participants joined the main event tournament. Today was the day they would announce the tournament bracket. It was selected by a raffle, but no participants made any wishes for luck as they all had pride in their strength.
<strongest one="" wins="">
That was what all the participants had in mind and it did not matter who they were fighting against. However, that was only what the participants thought. People were dying to see the tournament matchups to see who would win and climb the ladder.
"Sir Korakan… and Sir Mountive are in the main tournament!"
"Who's fighting against Rian?"
"If Kuntarian wins, I'm not going to watch the tournament. Douchebag!"
People gathered to take a look at the tournament bracket, and word began spreading quickly throughout the capital. It was also posted up inside the main hall of the Guarran-Tia, so Celine and Sian were checking it. Sian wasn't interested in the other people, but he wanted to know where Rian was placed.
"Who's this Sion? He fights with Rian in the first round."
"He's a famous Exer. He uses kinetic powers to fight, I think."
"OH! The one that you use to make boxes move and pour water without touching anything?"
"Uh… yeah. But it moves boulders and waterfalls, not boxes."
Celine fixed Sian's skewed examples.
"Rian will win against him. Exers have a hard time using their powers when being pushed around. Who will be next?"
Celine looked at the pair next to Rian and turned grim. Sian wondered why her expression had changed and looked at the pair. The names written there made him frown.
[Mountive vs. Kuntarian]
The winner was going to fight against Rian, and it was likely that Kuntarian would win.
"I regret it."
"I should've beaten up that half-wit more when I had the chance."
"Haha, I'm joking. Rian would not like me doing that. It's not honorable."
Sian laughed it off, but Celine knew he would have run out to break Kuntarian's leg in a heartbeat if his brother didn't mind. She smiled at Sian as he had no interest in any other thing except for his brother.
"You really look after your brother. Sir Rian is not someone who needs looking after, you know."
"What are you saying? He worries me all the time. He's not weak, but he always heads into danger."
"Yeah, he is passionate. But you should learn from him if you want to be popular. That's what makes him popular with the girls."
"…No, that's not the only reason."
"Uh… fine. Yeah, I agree."
Celine agreed. Being passionate was only part of what made Rian popular.
"Besides, if going to dangerous places makes me popular, I'll just stay unpopular."
Sian valued survival as the most important aspect of life. There was no way he would jump into dangerous situations. Besides, anywhere that might be dangerous for him would be across the Great North Wall, or on top of Sky Mountain, where no women would be able to watch him be passionate.
As he thought on, Sian became worried. Kuntarian seemed like the sort who would do bad things to his brother. He was a half-wit, but he was still stronger than Rian. However, it seemed that Kuntarian tried to avoid angering the Grand Banders. If he feared their father, Kuntarian would not do anything nasty to Rian.
Sian sighed at himself for worrying about his brother.
'He needs to become a Grand Bander fast so that I don't have to worry about him.'
The tournament was as expected. Rian was victorious in his first round and now had to fight Kuntarian who had defeated Mountive. Celine and Sian watched the two men stretching themselves from their spectator seats.
"That Kuntarian is up to no good for sure."
Kuntarian was smirking as he stretched; he was surely up to something.
'Should I go right now and break his bones…?'
Sian felt an urge to beat him up with his scabbard but held back because of what his brother told him the other day.
<sian, i="" know="" you="" are="" worried,="" but="" don't="" ever="" jump="" in.="" it's="" an="" embarrassment="" as="" a="" warrior.="" and="" please,="" don't="" break="" sir="" kuntarian's="" leg="" or="" something="" before="" the="" match.="" he="" has="" a="" bad="" reputation,="" but="" i="" respect="" him="" as="" a="" strong="" warrior="" and="" i="" want="" to="" fight="" him="" fairly="" in="" the="" tournament.="" help="" me,="" brother.="">
'He knows me too well.'
He had no intention to jump in during the tournament. He was just going to break some of Kuntarian's bones before the tournament, but Rian had stopped him from doing that also. Sian respected his brother, so he decided to stand back.
'Good luck, brother.'
"Greetings, I am Rian von Roman."
"Heh, I'm Kuntarian."
Kuntarian glanced at Rian. He watched Rian's fights just in case, but there was no way he would lose. He was just deciding how to beat up this girly-looking man.
'Should I use <poison> and make it more dramatic? Or I can use <confusion>, so he pisses in his pants and cries for help…'
Once the tournament started, Kuntarian jumped back and distanced himself from Rian. He had no intention to end the fight fast. Rian stood his ground and carefully watched him.
'Okay, let's use <poison> first, I'll make his face turn purple.'
He decided and began focusing Exar from within, which was when Rian reacted. Rian quickly charged in at Kuntarian who was trying to pull and focus the Exar.
Kuntarian had never been attacked in the middle of pulling up Exar. He gritted his teeth and stopped the process as he used his sword to block the attack.
"You dirty rat, trying to attack when I'm vulnerable?"
Kuntarian spat at Rian and blocked Rian's attack. The amount of Bander on his sword was too much, so Rian carefully avoided direct contact with Kuntarian's sword as he continued.
"Hah! You use your sword like a girl too!"
Kuntarian had a hard time defending against <lion's way="">, but the sheer difference in pure energy soon enabled Kuntarian to match Rian's pace.
"Shall we start then?"
It had been a while since they started the fight, but Kuntarian just considered it to be the start and began pushing Exar out from his armor. The armor that was already shiny began glowing with bright light. The third defensive magic, <elan's light="">, was activated. It was an amazing artifact; the magic had the potential to block <kularen>'s explosives that were usually used on the castle gate.
Rian frowned. His opponent's defense had gone up too high. There was no way to break through using a sword. He took a step back while Kuntarian smirked.
'I should've started with this.'
Kuntarian then wondered what magic he should use and decided.
'This will do. <eruan's hold="">.'
At that moment, the 4th-grade magic, <eruan's hold=""> activated, and the vapor in the air began freezing, slowing Rian's body.
Celine looked surprised to see Rian putting up an even fight against Kuntarian.
"He seems okay."
"I didn't expect his show-off-ism to be this severe. It's getting worse."
"Just look at him. He's using fancy magic on purpose to show-off."
That was when Celine realized he wasn't really using his Bander. Kuntarian's main strength came from using Bander that was at the level of a Master. However, he was handling Rian by using magic and armor.
"I guess he wants to show off everything he has first, and then defeat Rian at the end… but that's not a good idea against Rian."
Celine remembered the nickname of the Roman family.
The Roman family's Bander-Roa had increased resistance against Exar that allowed them to be stronger against Magic Priests or Exers. It was why Rian was able to defeat Sion in the first round despite the fact that Sion was stronger.
"But Rian doesn't seem to be resisting it too well."
"It's just a feint. Look, he's closing in little by little while gathering the power to strike back."
Celine then realized Rian was quite close to Kuntarian, and he didn't seem too weak either. But, she wasn't sure if he was gathering power for an attack.
That was when all the magic that was directed at Rian was suddenly thrown back, opening a path straight to Kuntarian.
Rian's sword swung fiercely at Kuntarian's armor.</magic></eruan's></eruan's></kularen></elan's></lion's></poison></confusion></poison></sian,></strongest>