“Thank you for the information Miss Helen. This clears up a lot of confusion. I am going to go and register for the tournament, do you wish to come with me?”
“Thank you Mark I think I will.”
We both headed to the central plaza and soon saw a large pavilion set off to the side with a sign declaring tournament participants sign in here. We headed over and registered for the tournament quite easily. Since we knew each other we had to pay an extra 100 gold fee to be placed in different starting groups. Neither one of us wanted to fight each other in the general melee. We could have teamed up, but I think Miss Helen had the same mentality about that as I did. If I teamed up, was I really strong enough to make it to the next round?
The tournament started in one week and most participants had already signed up. There were a few stragglers like ourselves, but the groups were pretty well set. The only thing that I found strange was that I had to verify my status, but not my level. When I asked Miss Helen she said it was to prevent information about people’s levels from getting out. If everyone in you group knew you were they highest level then they might all gang up on you from the beginning to get rid of the biggest threat. It supposedly also helped to keep betting fairer also.
Speaking of betting I decided that since I was going to be trying to get into this new deity world I should probably leave a legacy. I talked to Miss Helen, and she went with me to the betting booth at the dungeon guild. I talked to the gentleman there and found out the odds. It seems that all competitors who are new had the same odds. 1 to 1 on making the top twenty. 1 to 2 odds on making the top ten. 1 to 4 odds on making the top five. And 1 to 10 odds on becoming the champion. Betting was also limited to 1 million gold coins.
The amount did not even seem like it was worth it at this point with how much I had earned from the dungeons, but I guess for normal people it was still a lot. I bet the maximum with me winning at every step. Every time I won I would reinvest 1 million gold coins to bet for the next level. I asked the Dungeon Guild betting office to have half of the winnings every round if available to be put aside for scholarships to the Vulcan Academy. While I did not have many interactions with normal students or teachers, the Academy did help me out and train me when I needed it. I figured a few million gold coins in scholarships should help everyone out there.
After placing my bets, Miss Helen and I returned to the house. The rest of the week went by so fast it was amazing. I did a couple of dungeons just to stay sharp, but most of the time was just relaxing and feeding mana to my tree back at the Elvish Embassy. I was trying to figure out how I could somehow keep feeding it mana while I was gone. My best idea was to fill several mana gems and have them dole out the mana a little at a time. It would be perfect except for the fact that I could not figure out how to get the mana gem to release a little at a time. Maybe I can just come back occasionally. Who knows?
Finally, the first day of the tournament arrived. I was awake early. This tournament is my next step. If I win here I move up, power up, and from what I understand I can get my revenge. After thinking about what Miss Helen told me I have concluded that the “Overbeing” that killed me off was probably a god or the next step higher and part of the Might faction. I was thinking this because Earth did not have mana, but we have stories of magic and mana from the past. To me this makes it sound like someone ascended and became a Might person who funneled Earth’s mana into just themselves. The other people I saw could be his family or others of the Might faction, maybe his minions. I do not know if I am right, but I do know that it fits the scenario.
I waited a little impatiently for the Headmaster and Miss Helen to come down. After a quick breakfast I dragged them off the arena. When we got there we sat in the Demi-God participants section. They were rather good seats. I wanted to watch a few matches of the Hero level and a couple of the Demi-God fights just to make sure I was ready. The Headmaster was in group 4. I was Group 5 and Miss Helen was in Group 9. I watched the first few matches and saw no tricks or anything else that would make a difference in my strategy. That was good. I can adapt, but I hate last minute changes and avoid them when I can.
Soon enough the Headmaster started to head down for the next round. We wished him good luck.
“Miss Helen, what do you think the Headmaster’s chance are?”
“Definitely not as good as you or I have. The Headmaster is weak in melee combat. If his opponents leave him alone at the beginning and he can set up some magic defenses his chances go way up. However, the arena is not that big which tends to favor quick magic and melee combat.”
Miss Helen’s prediction came true. The Headmaster started out strong and managed to knock out several competitors from a distance, but when the others realized he was a powerful magic user they closed the distance and he was eliminated. As soon as he was out of the ring I started to make my way to the arena. I wanted to be ready when they called for me.
Just a few minutes later I found myself in the arena with 14 other competitors. I was definitely the youngest of the 15 in my group. The air shimmered around me and the arena transformed into rolling plains. Perhaps the best terrain possible for magic. Nowhere for anyone to hide. As soon as the starting whistle sounded I started throwing out spells left and right at everyone and everything. I wanted mass confusion as it could only work to my favor. I got what I hoped for. Since I use chantless magic it took everyone in the arena several seconds to work out where all the spells were coming from. By that time 3 people had already been knocked out and several more were injured. The injured turned on each other and 3 others headed in my direction.
This will work out perfectly. Time to show off a little. I use elemental shaping to create a dome of stone over myself. Right before it closes I toss a handful of gravel in the air and also cast stone shower and dump 5,000 mana into it. My favorite part of stone shower is that if people have never seen it they just assume the rocks went somewhere else or maybe the spell failed. In reality they go high up and come crashing down. 5,000 mana is enough cover the entire arena. I spend the next 20 seconds reinforcing my dome as the three contestants who came over start pounding on it. Then I heard the awesome whistling of approaching doom. The whistling noise was the falling rocks which were now of very significant size and falling very fast. The whole arena rumbled for several seconds and I opened up my dome of rock to see a lot of dust and several coughing referees.
Maybe I overdid it just a little bit. As the dust cleared I could see most of the people in the stands just staring at me. The referees were running around checking on all of the other participants. I walked over to one and asked, “Does this mean I made it to the next round?”
He just stared at me for a second and then nodded yes. Great I made it to the top twenty. First bet has paid off. I walked back to where Miss Helen was sitting with the other participants.
“Mark, how come I have never seen that spell before?”
Oh man, think quick. “I just created it a couple of days of go. I haven’t really tested it out yet, so I thought I would give it a try in today’s competition.”
“Very Well, I will believe you this time. I will remind you though that I do not like it when secrets are kept from me.”
I am pretty sure that I am stronger than Miss Helen now. Why is it that I feel like a little kid who got caught and is going to be punished? I have this uncanny feeling that if I do something she doesn’t like she could still put me in my place no matter how strong I get. Man I just don’t understand how women think.
There was a slight delay in the tournament as it seems that my spell had overwhelmed several sections of the illusion runes that powered the arena. Several different craftsman and magic users were out fixing both the floor of the arena and the illusion mechanism. Soon enough they finished repairing everything and the next round began. Rounds six, seven, and eight passed without anything unusually happening and next up was Miss Helen in round nine.
Miss Helen’s group had what looked like a swamp terrain. This was going to be good. I had trained with Miss Helen in swamp environments before. She hated to get dirt. Intellectually she was prepared to fight in any terrain and was quite good at fighting in any terrain, but she hated swamps. The first person that got her dirty even on accident was going to be in for a surprise. In fact, this may have been the perfect draw for terrain. She would not agree, but I knew eventually she would reach her breaking point in this terrain and would become a scarier version of what she normally was. As long as she was not knocked out immediately then Miss Helen was almost guaranteed one of the winning spots.
It happened almost exactly like I predicted. There was some mage that went with a large AOE spell that caused mud to splash everywhere. Now understand this is illusionary mud and not even real, but that did not matter to Miss Helen. Miss Helen proceeded to lose her mind and go on an extremely scary rampage that ended up with her being one of the two winners in that round. Now that everyone was finished we started to head back to the house. We met the Headmaster who was packing up.
“Mark could I trouble you for a quick teleport back to school? I think I have been gone long enough.”
“Yes sir, I can take care of that, just let me know when you are ready.”
“Miss Helen, we have already talked about this, please send me notice if you will be traveling on to deity world. You will be sorely missed if you make it, but I know that you will do great things. Someday I hope to join both of you.”
“Headmaster if I earn an extra spot do you want it. You can stay to find out.”
“No Mark, but thank you for thinking of me. I am determined to earn this one on my own.”
“Very well Headmaster.”
I soon teleported the Headmaster back to the academy. Miss Helen and I spent the rest of the evening relaxing and preparing for tomorrows combat. Late in the evening Miss Helen finally broke our companionable silence.
“Mark, I want your promise that tomorrow no matter what the draw is you will try your very best. Even if it is against me. I need to know just like the Headmaster that if I am going on to deity world it is because I am strong enough.”
“Yes Miss Helen, if that is what you want. I promise to not hold back in any of my bouts even if you are the opponent.”
When we arrived at the tournament arena the next morning it was almost as if Miss Helen was prophetic. I was matched against her in the first round. One of us would not be continuing on. I did what Miss Helen asked and held nothing back. I defeated her in just under a minute. She smiled and said she would be cheering in the stands for my eventual win. I was proud but also broken hearted at this point. This woman had given everything to me unconditionally. She knew I had secrets and did not care. I was happy to show her how much I had grown, but devastated that it was against her to prove it.
I went into the top ten with a little bit of a grudge against the world and used my opponent to work out my mad. I probably was a little more violent than I should have been, but at least I didn’t permanently injure my opponent. This put me into the top five. All five competitors had to fight each other for this to be fair. If you went undefeated, you were obviously the champion. Any ties for wins would be settled in the ring. Nothing was going to stop me from getting to where I wanted to be. I ruthlessly dismantled my opponents in each round. It wasn’t even a contest. I was too well rounded. If I fought a mage I went in close and dominated. If it was a melee fighter, I held back and bombarded them with spells. I was the only one who could equally claim to be a demi-god fighter and a demi-god sorcerer. It only took another 2 hours for them to declare me the overall champion.