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The breakfast at the mess hall wasn't that bad. If you could manage to stomach some of the blandest oat meal known across the greater Multiverse itself. The dull yellow substance resting in his plate was unappetizing enough for Chris to almost lose his appetite.

He could see a lot of people on his table eating with absolutely zero enthusiasm while some had just given up eating. Well except for Mulengu and Thor who were busy relentlessly gulping down large amounts of the oats with all the speed and vigour in the world.

The two were endless abysses swallowing everything before them that registered as food without any restraint or sign of filling up at all.

" You two are disgusting " Ursa deadpanned with shame leaking off of her as Mulengu discarded his spoon and just drunk everything from his bowl and Thor followed suite in this frankly disgusting display of pure gluttony.

For the first time in a while Chris agreed with Ursa as he saw Thor lick the rims of his bowl for some remaining oats.

"Are you guys done, please?" He could feel the eyes of the other knights looking down at their team "Because while you might not have noticed but, people are watching us".

Mulengu took a tissue and wiped his mouth of the remaining stains while speaking in a faux sophisticated accent " Of course my good man".

"Thank Deus" Ursa put her spoon down while still glaring at the two "We have at least four hours of training today before we are handed out assignments ".

" How do you know that?" Mulengu asked though Chris could see him eyeing his oats with the hungry eye's of a wild beast that was starved.

"Does he ever get full?".

Chris just sighed in defeated and handed Mulengu the bowl that was instantly cleared of all it's content's while he turned to Ursa who looked repulsed.

"I..." She cleared her throat and regained her composure before continuing "I have the time table" she pulled out a roll of paper from one of her pouches and handed to him.

Chris could see their entire day from training time, active missions, clean up and evening patrol written on the sheet of grey paper " Damn, will we even get a chance to visit you're parent's with how packed our day is?".

"If there aren't any missions or we finish ours fast enough and without any complications, we can" Ursa picked up some of the oats with her spoon but after looking at it with total disgust for a few minutes she just pushed her bowl to the vacuum cleaners known as Mulengu and Thor's stomachs.

Chris was about to ask her some more question's when someone came and sat right there between the two of them with enough force to gain the attention of every person on the table.

This person was a fae with blue hair. He was dressed in a blue and yellow armor with aquatic symbols like tridents, waves and all sort's of marine life engraved to it in a way that made the armor look even more extravagant.

The fae wore a large grin on his face and was looking directly at Chris with a facial expression that made it seem as if he was looking at Deus himself.

"Greetings Prince Christian of house Ddraig" he made sure to declare it loud enough that every head within the great hall turned to them with interest and Chris felt annoyance growing in his chest.

" I am Theseus of house Troezen it is a pleasure " even as he spoke, the fae's cheeks looked puffed and red from just visible excitement.

Theseus had thrust out his hand for Chris to shake and with all of these people here watching Chris couldn't appear rude by not taking the guys hand, even though he was creeping Chris the hell out with the way he was looking at him.

So with much reluctance Chris outstretched his hand to Theseus in turn" A pleasure Theseus Trozene".

Theseus showed himself to have a strong and firm grip, leaving Chris wondered if this guy was trying to intimidate him " It is quite pleasure indeed your majesty. Lady Pyrrha of house Ulster, i see that you too are here, it is a pleasure to make the acquaintance of the famed banshee ".

Pyrrha awkwardly waved at Theseus who now appeared to be jumping up and down for joy as Chris racked his head for the name Trozene until it came to him finally and he sighed in defeat.

" It has been a long time since i have had contact with your house sir Trozene, please forgive me" it had genuinely been a long time since the Troezens had a strong presence in the realm " Tell me how does you house fair".

Theseus seemed to get even happier if the red tint on his cheeks and his smile was anything to go by " We fair quite well my prince. My father and mother are of good health and my younger siblings are vibrant as the sea the Bulls sea itself. As for me, i am an Aeris third class knight, serving the honor of the Avalon".

"Impressive, I have heard of team Athenia and your work in suppressing the dark intrusions" Chris remembered it being the talk of the capital a few month's ago.

When Sophia had created a this new reality, not just elements of living worlds were used to form this amalgamation, but parts of worlds that had fallen to the realm of darkness could be found beneath the ground.

These unnatural sections of the world were hives of monsters and contained many things that would be best locked away in better hands. Many knights and military personal made names for themselves by managing to clear these dark intrusions of their foul inhabitants.

Theseus chuckled as he scratched the back of his neck. He tried not to look Chris in the face from some obvious shyness and Chris could relate, what with their conversation becoming the center piece of attention here.

" Forgive me, my Prince but my achievements mean little before an Aeris second class knight who struck a death blow at Nimue the enemy of Avalon. What am i before the legendary Winters Knight " Theseus did not sound as if he was mocking him, in fact he sounded genuine.

"The Winters Knight, is that what people have been calling me since the whole Nexus incident?" Chris asked Theseus as he paid more attention to what everyone said around and he could hear things like...

"That's really Christian Ddraig" or "I heard he went to the Nexus by using a worm hole" or " That boy killed Nimue and came back alive" or even "I heard that he he had a hole blasted through his chest and he just walked it off" and finally " I heard that he can cause entire blizzards by being angry".

Chris felt a migraine grow in his head as he frankly heard the ridiculous untrue stories that they claimed about him.

"Of course" Theseus clapped Chris's right shoulder playfully " Everyone in the realm knows about you're performance, the knights present at the time spoke wonders about you're martial skill and elemental magic. Everyone knows that by defeating Nimue you proved yourself a force of nature no different than winter, so you are winters knight ".

"Thank..." Chris never got to finish because Theseus cut him off.

"As such i have decided that the only way to improve myself as a knight is to become you're rival!" Theseus jumped out of his seat startling everyone including Chris "So prepare yourself Prince Christian Ddraig, for i Theseus Trozene declare on this day to be your rival in knighthood!".

This bold declaration was enough to silence the entire mess hall for a time. Chris took in a breath to regain the wits that had had left him speechless like everyone else.

Chris never even got a chance to ask what in Deus's name was going on as Theseus took off as fast as he could out of the room leaving everyone in the eating hall stunned once more.

That was with the sole exception of Thor who simply stated with a shrug "What a strange little man".

And Chris couldn't have found himself agreeing anymore Thor over that statement.

XXXXX


The training area was a large open field in the broken down remains of what appeared to be an old castle training yard. While the original structure was mostly torn down, parts of it remained still standing as remnants of the first ages, before even his grandparents had stepped upon these lands.

The field was littered with sparing rings, racing tracks, firing ranges and practice dummy's. He could see many knights and military personal from older warriors with grey starting to appear in their hair to young ones as green as summer grass.

"This place is truly wondrous" Thor placed MjĂžlnir down on the earth as he took a deep breath admiring the sight of warriors training " Come, let us make allies and hone our skills in those fighting pits. further my friends. Our strength isn't going to grow on it's own ".

" Thor, i think... " Chris never got to finish what he wanted to say as Thor grabbed him by his arm and began dragging him towards what appeared to be a fighting ring or rather a fighting pit with many of their fellow knights around it observing something that was happening inside.

As they neared the pit, loud popping sounds filled the air that reminded Chris a little too much of gun shot rounds.

Within the pit he could see two knights sparing sword to spear with a similar fury that to he saw in the royal training hall though the difference's here were that the royal knights were without question faster, stronger and more skilled than the two fighters in the pit. Though that didn't diminish from the skill as Chris knew that knights in the capital were beyond the curve.

Another deference between those sparing sessions and these were the bullets flying all over the pit in every conceivable direction and angle. Across the pit's walls were mounted firearms that all fired hundreds of bullet's per second.

"Are they insane, those could hurt them " Ursa shouted and Chris could understand as very high caliber blue steel rounds could punch through fairly average armor.

"Don't worry, those are simply normal iron rounds" a soldier besides Ursa said calming her down.

The combatants were dodging the hundreds of supersonic metal projectiles while their clash continued without them missing a step.

" What is this?" Mulengu asked as he neared the edge of the pit " And when can i try it?".

"Its called a Xzunim duel. Back home in the summer lands arrows and spears are used instead of bullet's" Pyrrha spoke with a fondness in her voice while the rest of the team collectively shuddered as they thought about her mother chucking her spear at them.

"My rival!" Theseus voice was like a knife to his ears and Chris was ready to jump into the pit had the fae not somehow sneaked up on him from behind.

"Theseus" he tried to control himself and succeeded for the most part as he thought " I want to hate this guy but i can't. He doesn't seem like a jerk and more like an excited dork... more like me".

A few deep breaths were taken and he turned to face the fae who had his entire team with him now and Chris was praying that they at least were more controlled from creating another indicate.

"Greetings my rival" Theseus smiled from ear to ear.

Chris wanted to tell him that he wasn't but the poor guy looked so happy at the thought that he was his rival that Chris felt bad about even thinking it.

"I see that you too are here to show your metal as an Aeris second class " Theseus smiled as he said that " I can't wait to see someone of your impressive caliber, display your legendary skills ".

" Yeah, i suppose" Chris didn't have legendary skills, he knew and everyone would know it when they saw him fight " Though you know that...".

" Good!" Theseus's loud outburst not only cut him off but it was now drawing people to them much to Chris's annoyance.

Theseus pointed at him with a confident smile and declared " Then as your rival, i hereby challenge you to a duel in the fighting pits to prove who amongst is currently better!".

"Why?".

" Because we are rivals... " Theseus looked confused as if the thought that Chris couldn't comprehend the notion he had just set forward was simply insane "... and that is what rivals do".

Chris didn't think that he could ever so easily fall to such peer pressure, but the eyes of every knight were upon him and Theseus. This was a crossroad in his life and he knew it.

"They all want to see what i am made of... If i take this stupid challenge then i gain their respect to a degree and i lose my self-respect and Theseus bothers me till the end of time " the other option to this predicament was "I don't fight him and i either come off as a coward or an entitled brat. I get to keep my self-respect for not falling for such bait and Theseus hopefully leaves me alone".

The choices were clear as day for him, he could preserve his dignity, not encourage Theseus's irritating behavior and preserve his respect in his own will to not be forced by crowd's to act up. The choice was clear and Chris took a deep and heavy breath as he readied himself to deliver those dreaded words to Theseus...

"I accept my...rival".

He watched as eye's in the crowd widened and people began to charter in excitement as they would see the prince in action. His teammate's looked indifferent to his decision with the sole exception of Pyrrha who almost looked disappointed.

Theseus shrieked, yes he shrieked in excitement like a little child who had just been given cake and Chris felt even worse at finding the boy annoying.

"Oh yes, before we duel i must introduce you to my team" Theseus seemed to finally remembered his teammates who all stood behind him looking embarrassed by his out burst's " First we start with our captain Jason D'Arc..".

Jason was a young human male with a tanned skin tone that made Chris think of the peoples of the Shell islands. He had golden curly hair that reached his shoulders with piercing grey stormy eyes.

His armor was bronze that left his arms exposed with nothing more than wrist guards protecting them. And upon his shoulders rested a golden rams fleece that would occasionally give off surges of golden energy that Chris recognized as light energy.

"A Jason with a fleece ".

Chris wanted to roll his eye's but looking around he could see hundreds if not thousands of knight's who shaped themselves around the figures that they drew their names from.

" A pleasure to meet you Aeris D'arc" he said as he firm shook hands with the team leader.

"Elizabeth Victoria..."

A young female fae dressed in an all red and gold that matched her golden hair. Resting in her hand was axe with a round shield strapped upon her back. He shook her hand as well.

" Isfandiyar Goshtasp...".

Another young lad with a similar skin completion to Ursa and Mulengu. Dark messy hair, a bow and some very interesting looking purple armor that seemed to radiate some kind of powerful magical code, even more than his.

" Goshtasp... I know that name " he said as he shook Isfandiyar's hand.

"My ancestor was David of the great shield " Isfandiyar answered and then it came to Chris.

" ... And finally Meghanada Indrajit" Theseus finished in glee.

Meghanada Indrajit was the shortest person in their group but Chris almost felt that could be the deadliest by some strange feeling in his gut. She had snow white hair that clashed against her chocolate brown skin tone and her armor was lightning blue and black.

"A pleasure" Meghanada said with a blank face, she so far had the strongest grip in this group.

"And that's our little crew, the Argonauts" Theseus raised his arms in pride while his teammates only looked embarrassed at his antics.

Chris introduced his team and he could tell some people namely Thor was sizing up Meghanada who also seemed to be sizing Thor up in turn.

The combatants in the pit ended their furious engagement, before they both leaped out at the same time.

"Well then" Theseus drew his sword, a silver coloured blade with bluish green engravings of the waves and " Are you ready?".

Chris drew Lucius-aurora and the two of them jumped straight into the pit ready to duel.

The moment the two of them landed into the concrete pit the guns began spitting bullet's. The hot pieces of metal from his perspective were crawling through the air but that didn't matter now.

He raised his blade and stopped Theseus's sword that was aimed for his head. The impact of both their swords colliding, shook the pit and the resulting shockwave knocked away all the bullets that raced towards them.

"You are strong" Chris had to get into a better stance to avoid Theseus pushing him back through a parry.

"So are you" Theseus said with a strained voice as Chris parried his sword and the force of the impact shook the both of them " I must say, when people said that you were strong they weren't kidding ".

Chris raised his eyebrow in surprise as he asked "People say that?".

" You killed Nimue after she matched the king and queen. That's a lot of power your holding back" Theseus as he spoke moved his head to the right and out of the way of a bullet that had come racing behind him.

"He has good combat awareness" Chris thought as he too moved out of the way of many bullets that came from all angels and directions.

This was an important aspect of knight training and Morigan had thrown enough spears at him for it to become a core aspect of his.

Chris decided that now was his chance to put some distance between the two of them. He thrust his foot forward into Theseus gut push kicking his for back.

He could hear the crowds watching them in excitement and from how they spoke and the few who were cheering made him feel slightly better. He could have started posing for the crowd if it wasn't for the hundreds of bullet's flying around that he found himself dodging near constantly.

"I hope that i am doing it right " He remembered that the first fighters dodged the bullets instead of just blocking.

Theseus's choice to also play the dodging game was enough for him to be sure that's what was needed of him. He charged Theseus who was ready for him and managed to knock aside Lucius-aurora, while his sword came for Chris's chest.

Chris was thankfully fast enough to catch Theseus's blade with his armored left hand while he slammed his right elbow square into the fae's head, staggering him enough for Lucius-aurora to tag Theseus in his own breastplate hard enough to floor him.

From the crowd someone shouted " 2 points for the prince !".

"It's a point based game " he felt stupid for not recognizing or even asking that but to fair all spars with Morigan back home included the game only ends after Morigan beats the hell out of you and your on the floor gasping for air.

He watched Theseus jump back onto his feet smiling and looking to be having fun and ready to go another round " I am going to be here a while ".

XXXXX


The first meeting of the elders had concluded and with it the official order to enact the clans tournament had began. They walked through the halls of the head clans mansion, a near replica of the one that had been on earth.

Two month's, that's all they had before the first preliminary matches began. It was time both too little for others and too much for some.

The race was on to find suitable candidates to act as the families champions regardless of their proper ties to their clan. They knew about the Hojo and Ouchi families secret meetings with Avalonian Magi and warriors to bolster their ranks.

They knew of the marriage and blood ties that they had been forming with outsiders. They would be disgusted if they hadn't admired these under table dealings. They had been difficult to unearth and those families with weaker spy networks would be caught with their pants down at what was coming.

While the other families kept their pride in their own family bloods might, they had seen the same truth that the Hojo and Ouchi saw as they looked into this new world.

They knew that they needed, the outcast brother. They had something or someone who would be necessary for what was to come.

XXXXX

 

"...And then you freaking body slammed him so hard you collapsed the entire damn pit!" Mulengu was yammering on without stopping as he described the final moments of his duel with Theseus " Just before you kicked the poor guy halfway across the entire fort!".

 

Chris slumped over in shame as he looked over to Theseus himself who now had an ice bag over his swollen right eye and was smiling at him without a hint of anger or resentment over Chris having pummeled him into the ground rather savagely.

 

"Please stop, we have all lived it" he pleaded with Mulengu as he winched at the memory of how his fist collided with Theseus's face and gave the knight the swollen bump on his forehead.

 

"How can i?" Mulengu grabbed by his shoulder's and looked him right in his eye's like some sort of mad man " You fought like you wanted to kill the guy. I mean you even stomped his head into the dirt, and that's before you decided to pimp smack him with your pummel ".

 

"I just got a little carried away that's all..." that excuse sounded a little weak and by the look's on everyone else faces no one bought it at all.

 

He felt even worse as he thought about brutal he had been with Theseus. Chris honestly didn't know what came over him, one second he was enjoying a nice spar and the next second his entire body was calling for the fae's blood.

 

" I should go and apology " he needed to apologizes as many time's as possible after his behavior.

 

He tried to stand up from his chair but Ursa grabbed him by the arm and stopped him with a firm grip as she said " You have already apologized enough, also Arumu sycamore won't like it if our team leader doesn't walk in".

 

The line of summoned knight teams awaiting entry to receive missions from Arumu sycamore was long. Behind them stood the Argonauts as well as hundreds of others.

 

It didn't take them long to reach to worn out blue door that led to their scowling commanding officer. After the team leader of the knights in front of them left the room, Chris walked in and thankfully today the smell wasn't present though Sycamore remained scowling.


"Aeris Ddraig" Sycamore said greeting the only the only way that she knew, annoyed.

"Arumu Sycamore" his fist thumped his chest in respect to her, even though he didn't like the woman, and he was sure that the feeling was mutual.

"This is your team's mission" she declared as she pushed a brown folder towards him and he took it up and opened it to read through the it "There has been a sighting of a great Naga attacking ships. We want you to eliminate that problem".

Within the file he could see images of ships broken in half and images of the water with the remains of the boats and some of their unlucky inhabitants. He would have been proud to accept this duty had he not known that aquatic combat would be best suited for the sea devil units.

" is something wrong Aeris Ddraig? " she asked him.

"Forgive me Arumu Sycamore, but is this not Sea Devil territory?" He asked her and since her nostrils didn't flair up in anger he assumed that she wasn't angry.

"All current Sea Devil unites are upon the battleship's protecting Avalon. Now i know that a little Prince like yourself is used to having your way with things, but that isn't how things work here, when you are told to leap, you leap, you don't ask why" Sycamores eyes bore into his own and Chris struggled to stop himself from glaring at her.

The door was swung wide open, startling the both of them. The person walking was a giant elf of woman with a large bronze mace that looked like a globe.

"Hey Hathor, we are sick and tired of waiting" she declared at Sycamore who erupted like a volcano, leaping off her seat and shouting.

"Get out until i am done Atla. I don't know if you haven't noticed but these aren't the Grey lands, this is the iron fortress and there is a procedure that you must respect if you..." Chris decided that it was best for him to leave the two knights arguing at each other.

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A note from Redchaos1

Sup Guy's And Girls It's Redchaos1 Here, Sorry That I Haven't Published A Chapter In A While, Writer's Block Just Did Me In Bad Recently. But On A Bright Note We Are Getting Closer And Closer To The Tournament.


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About the author

Redchaos1

  • Zambia

Bio: I am a 21 year old law school student at the National Institute of Public Administration. My dream is to one day publish my story phantom ddriag and hopefully get a show made from it.

I also have a youtube account that hundels web fiction content, here is the link https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCFz-mHywXBJnLF8uyofcLAw/videos

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