King Acacia was a very prideful man. In fact, judging by his entrance, anyone could tell that his arrogance reached the same heights as Dyon. Even in his youth, when he had yet to awaken his manifestation, he had a confidence many made fun of until he proved himself. So, it was no surprise to anyone that the day came and left without him apologizing.
Dyon, though, wasn't worried. He had spent a day of leisure with his wives. Laughing, joking and eating like he hadn't seen a meal in years. But, those who knew him could see the fire in his eyes. He was impatient for the day to end.
"You seem to be having a grand time." Ava plopped down next to her elder brother, Arios.
Arios smiled, rubbing his little sister's head, "How'd you do? Top 5?"
Ava snorted, "With all the truly powerful meridian experts competing for the overall rankings, why wouldn't I be top 1? Thanks for not watching me."
Dyon, who was laying down on a couch with his head resting on Madeleine's lap waved, "I was watching, I swear."
"Liar." Ava pouted. "I went to the skybox first. Why aren't you spending time with your in laws? You can't kidnap poor Ri from her parents!"
Ri giggled, looking up from sitting on a table with Clara, Venus, Delia and the Elvin girls. "How much did my dad pay you to say that?"
Ava coughed, seeing that she had been caught red handed. Although she had a very small impression of King Acacia, he was technically still one of her dad's best friends. And, she absolutely adored Queen Acacia. So, they were like an adoptive aunt and uncle to her. As such, when she saw how red King Acacia's face still was, and found out the situation from her elder brother, Riley, she thought she would try to help.
"Dyon, you're too overbearing." Ava harrumphed.
Dyon grinned, nestling his cheek into Madeleine's soft thigh, clearly content with himself as she lightly played with his hair.
"It'll be time to go soon." Dyon said suddenly. "Have they explained the format yet?"
"Normally the way it's set up," Arios began to explain, "Is that the remaining thousand are split into ten brackets, one bracket for each of the top ten. Unfortunately, this year, they've been talking about the 'true top ten', so it probably won't be a surprise to you that they mean ranked two through to eleven."
Dyon sat up, nodding. He had expected as much. As soon as he participated in the final selection round, he had already renounced his right to the top ten.
"Essentially, everyone has practically already decided that the final round robin tournament will be amongst the top ten. But, in the essence of fairness to younger campaigners who might be just as powerful, these first sets of rounds are to gain the right to challenge a top ten ranker for their spot in that penultimate battle.
The idea is that as long as you manage to make it into the top nine of your bracket, you get to challenge any one of the top ten rankers. This is also for the sake of balance."
Dyon nodded, "This way the top ten will have to fight a lot of battles as well because there will be 90 challengers for 10 people."
"Right. But, that's only in the case where none of the top ten are replaced. In very rare cases, some actually do beat out top ten rankers. But, in those cases, the replacement can also be challenged."
Dyon's eyes flashed, "So that places people outside of the top ten at a severe disadvantage."
Arios nodded. "Imagine having just fought a top ten ranker. If you beat them, it's likely that it was not easy by any measure. Because, if it had been, you likely would be in the top ten yourself."
"With little to no rest, you could be challenged immediately after that battle…"
Arios sighed, "This is why, in year's past, the amount who chose to challenge the top ten rankers were very few. Unless you have supreme confidence in your abilities, it's just not worth it. Those who manage to earn the right to challenge instead decide to save their stamina so they can fight for a better position in the top 100."
It all made sense. If you managed to be among the 90 who gained challenge rights, you were already crowned as among the top 100 talents in the universe. Why risk death or crippling injury? It was better to make a safer bet.
However, this realization only made Dyon's blood boil. He was only now starting to fully understand the gravity of what it meant to have his top ten title stripped from him.
Dyon smiled, chuckling a bit. "If I didn't give them a handicap, would it be any fun?"
"I can't wait to see you get your ass kicked." Clara laughed.
"Someone sounds mad she can't do it herself anymore." Dyon grinned.
"Hmph. Just wait on it. But then what's the format for deciding the top nine of each bracket?" Clara suddenly asked. It was clear that despite her words, she was still worried.
"Essentially, it's a battle for points." Arios explained. "Everyone starts with a set amount depending on cumulative ranking.
Top 20, of course excluding the top 10 who aren't participating, are given 10 points. Then, it works its way down by 1 until those who aren't ranked start with a single point. So, top 30, or ranks 20-29 in this case, would start with 9 points and top 100, or 90-100, would have 2 points. Everyone from 101 and below will start with a single point.
As you might guess, hitting 0 points means that you've lost and can no longer gain points.
Fighting can be done in two ways. You can either use stock rules or betting rules.
Stock rules are used almost every time. Basically, the warriors with the lower number of points dictate what is being bet – this is to ensure that those with a higher number of points aren't always being challenged because the penalties are set to hurt the lower points holder much more.
If you have a single point, you can only fight to gain a single point. But, should you lose, you also lose a single point and are therefore out of the running. If you have two points, you can only gain up to two additional points, but, if you do this, you must also lose two points should you lose. Basically, you can only choose to gain, and therefore lose, points within your range.
In the end though, this is capped at 5 points. Only a maximum of 5 points can be exchanged in a single match when using stock rules. Betting rules, however… There is no such limit.
But, this isn't as simple as it seems. Betting rules are named as such because instead of the lower point holder dictating the amount, it must be agreed upon by both parties."
"So then how does all of this come to an end?" Dyon asked.
"Simple, really. In a single bracket, since you can only challenge warriors in the same bracket as you, there's a set amount of points. When a pre-decided amount of those points is held among nine individuals, the contest is stopped. If there are any ties, then those who have tied have a final battle to decide.
There are 990 people participating. There will be 10 brackets, so 99 to a bracket. The brackets will split the cumulative rankers up evenly – or, try its best to. Meaning each bracket will only have a single top 30 ranker, or a person ranked between 20 and 29. And so on.
Rankers 11-19 only have 9 people total. But, rankers 90-100 obviously have 11. This means that there'll be one bracket with no top 20 members at all and yet another with two 90-100 members. This could be a good or bad thing depending on how it shakes out.
That aside though, a normal group will have 54 points accumulated by 9 rankers, and an addition 90 points accumulated by 90 miscellaneous warriors.
Once the top 9 hold 108 points combined, or 75% of the total points, the bracket will be closed."
Just as Arios finished his explanation, the booming voice of Elder Den rang through the massive stadium.
"This what we've all been waiting for! Would our final 1000 warriors people make there way out! It's time for the final stages to begin!"