The next breakfast was a awkward and dry affair to say the least. Mulengu looked downcast as he simply stabbed his eggs with a fork rather than eating like he normally would, Pyrrha kept silently to herself, Thor just sat there looking at everyone else with an equally upset expression and Ursa who was glaring at her own meal like it was her mortal enemy and as for Chris, he wasn't any better, looking at his team.
"So who's fighting first for us?" He wanted to break the silence.
"That's not for us to decide" Tomoe finally decided to make her presence known. She sat to the left with Benkei who was tearing through his breakfast with the type of vigour Mulengu and Thor would usually have.
"What do you mean it's not up to us to decide?" He asked confused.
He could imagine that they chose who they would fight, but their own fighters had to be their own choice.
"Forgive me for not being clear. Its not our choice to make. can't you see that none of the clan elders are here" she gestured around her.
Ursa's grandmother, her uncles, aunt's and even her parents weren't present at the table since they had arrived to eat their breakfast.
"So they decide who fights?" He asked her for confirmation.
"Yes" she answered with a sigh " We don't know who we fight until we step into the ring".
"That sucks" Thor said with a heavy sigh.
" What about the imperil object, what will we do with it? " Pyrrha asked about the thing that they had fought over the previous day.
" Nothing, This tournament is won by having good point's. All those things are worth are the points that come with them " Tomoe answered as she ate her bread.
"Could you explain how points work exactly?" Pyrrha asked her.
"For the first fight there shall be a battle between all houses at once using one champion for five points, though a good performance in a fight shall give you a point or two. The winner of today's match has the right to call for a two on two battle which would quite advantageous as it gives three points for the victor, then later matches shall be one on one before the main event which has four points, the family with the most points at the end wins" Tomoe explained and it would be a lie to say that Chris understood what she said.
Chris was about to say something when he heard someone shouting out his name. He never got to react in time as Venus came to crash into him so hard that all the air in his lungs was knocked out.
"Hey there big bro" she shouted as she hugged him deeply.
"Venus...can't breath...can't breath" he acknowledged her with a gasp as he struggled out of her vice grip of a hug.
"Why so down big brother, aren't you excited about what we are going to do today!?" she asked him with shear excitement.
"I am not, Venus" he said as he finally managed to throw her off, though like a boomerang she instantly came back into another hug.
"What do you mean that you're not?" She asked him with a whinny voice.
"I mean that i am not unhappy to see you, now please. Let go" he managed to once again pry her off as he sucked in precious breaths of fresh air.
"Hey Ouchi, beat it" Tomoe said as she glared hard in their direction.
" Excuse me Ashikage?" Chris wouldn't let her insult his sister like that, but Tomoe just rolled her eyes at him before answering.
"I didn't mean her, i mean them" she pointed behind him and Chris turned to see the rest of the Ouchi team.
He could see Pyrrha's brother in the group and at the head of the group was a tall woman from the previous day.
"We shall Ashikage, but first we must take our teammate back to our table" rather than being offended she just seemed disinterested.
"Hey, Hey big bro...." Venus whispered into his ear, before shouting " ...when you like somebody, you ask them out, not staring!".
He jumped up in fright as he rubbed his ear in irritation from the sound that shook his eardrums " What the hell Venus! ".
" I am just being a good love doctor " she said as she smiled while looking at him with a big thumb's up.
"Venus, we must go" the head Ouchi woman told Venus as she began to walk away.
"Well, see on the battlefield big bro. Don't worry, i will be the perfect wingman for you and the pretty lady" she whispered before leaving him shaking his head in annoyance.
"This is gonna be a long week" he said as he felt some stress building upon his shoulders.
If only Chris knew that his day was going to get worse as Theseus landed on the table like he had done when they first met.
Chris had a loaf of bread in his mouth and it just remained there as he looked at the Fae who had a big grin on his face.
"Theseus?" Mulengu asked as confused as the other members of team phantom.
"Greetings team Phantom, or should i say team Ashikage" Theseus said with a smile as the rest of his team, led by a man with a similar appearance to Meghanada.
Chris sucked the entire loaf into his stomach and he asked Theseus as coldly as possible "What are you doing here?".
" We are part of team Imagawa Anjin" Theseus replied with a wide grin.
Chris had to resist the urge to wrap his hands around Theseus's throat. Why was everyone in his life complicating things, he wondered.
"How many people do we know, who are in this tournament?" Mulengu asked finally getting out of his depressed stupor.
"Family marriage?" He asked hoping that his assumption was right and Meghanada just nodded as she looked at the man with a disapproving scowl.
"My brother got engaged without telling me, now i have to help my future in-laws" she glared at her brother who nervously laughed as sweat rolled down his face.
"It was supposed to be a surprise".
" Well i don't like your surprise ".
Thor coughed a bit too loud to be natural and he brought everyone's attention to him.
He looked at Meghanada and with the most over dramatic voice said " Hey, Meg...Meghanada.. Uhm, so...how are you doing? ".
Mulengu on the side had hidden his face behind his hands in shame and Chris wanted to join him as Thor was sweating like a man under the desert sun.
" I am doing great " the monotone deadpan reply showed that she had not sensed the meaning behind Thor's greeting.
Chris brought his hands to his face and internally he prayed to Deus that this didn't get worse.
" Isn't this great sir. I can now truly test my metal against yours" Theseus was grinning and Chris was groaning.
The main fighting arena was huge a massive structure that impressed, no matter what angel you saw it from.
The VIP center of the stadium was the highest point that overlooked the center of the stadium which looked wide enough that Chris thought he could park near fifty bumblebees in it.
"Welcome" Kazuto declared as they entered the VIP lounge.
Chris looked at the Ashikage Anjin family elders and he could see, Ursa's father with an annoyed grimace on his face as he spoke to her grandmother who wore a similar coloured robe to when they met but the sunflowers imprinted upon it were a bright purple instead.
"Something is wrong " he thought as he studied the Ashikage family and he could see tensed shoulders and forced smiles. Something had happened, something that had put a wedge between the elders.
He wondered what it was as he got the viewing area to overlook the inner stadium.
He could see the lower seats filled to the brim with more than a thousand of Anjin clan members. All tightly packed within the stadium, filling the seats to the brim.
"Quite a sight isn't it, sixty thousand men and women are gathered down there to see you" Hanzo said from his left, startling the Prince of Avalon.
Chris turned looked closely and he observed that the man had a slight limp in his right leg. It wasn't too noticeable, but he could see it.
"Yes, it's an impressive structure and those are equally impressive numbers, they make me a bit nervous to be honest" he answered Hanzo and this brought a smile to the older man's face.
"Tomoe told me that you guys get to decide who fights here?" He wanted proper confirmation from a direct source.
" This is all a political game Aeris Ddraig, it's an unfortunate game. One of it's biggest rules is not to speak about it" he answered as he threw a glare at Tomoe who was excitedly speaking to her father.
"So it isn't just him and uncle Falcon " he wondered what could have happened for both brothers to turn on Kazuto.
" I understand " it was clear that Hanzo wouldn't say anymore on the matter, so it was best to just drop it.
"Tell me about yourself Aeris Ddraig. It would be very interesting to pick apart the brain of the legendary Prince?".
" There isn't much about me to know. I am just happy to serve " he hoped that didn't come out wrong.
"Happy to serve...." an uncomfortable silence passed over the two of them before Hanzo asked "prince Ddraig, may I make a serious request of you?".
The man looked straight in the eyes with a straight face. Chris felt a slight bit uncomfortable under Hanzo's unflinching gaze.
"Of course" what else was he supposed to say to the man who looked at him with that intensity.
"Please put your all in this fight, go beyond anything you think is possible" Hanzo more or less demanded of him as he rested his hand on Chris's shoulder with a slightly harder than normal squeeze.
"Of course sir, i know what is at stake" Chris was pretty sure that he was going to go all out for this was going to give this tournament his best anyway.
"Good, because you are in the first match" Hanzo answered him and Chris sharply turned his head to the man in confusion.
" What?, i have no idea what i could have said that would elicit such a reaction from you, my Prince" Hanzo innocently smiled at him as he walked or rather limped away with swagger in his step.
Chris was about to stop him when Ursa came stomping towards him and he felt dread growing within him. Since yesterday, the teams archer had been in the fouler mood than usual.
Her teeth bashed together, her eyes were bloodshot with heavy bags under them, her purple hair was unkept mane and her posture screamed murder.
"What did he say!" She demanded with a growl in her voice.
"Hello Ursa, how are you feeling this morning, did you have a good night's sleep. Well nice of you to ask, because my sleep was amaz...".
" Enough! " she grabbed him by his shoulders and that brought a low silence to the room as everyone turned to them.
"Ursa, hands off" as he spoke ice began to spread from him and onto her fingers forcing Ursa to recoil in pain brought upon by the negative temperatures.
"Calm yourself now" he ordered her and she wanted to argue, but she was silent when her mother said.
"Honey, i think you need to sit down".
Ursa was led away by her mother and Chris just sighed as he looked at the glare that his friend sent his way.
"We should deal with her before she does something crazy" Thor said as he approached him
"Aeris Ddraig" Tomoe called to him from the door " Its time".
He nodded before turning to Thor "Just try talk to her until i get back, and make sure that she doesn't do anything stupid until then".
" Get back from what?"Thor asked as he walked towards Tomoe who stood by a door.
"Fighting" Chris answered out loud as he walked out of the room with Tomoe in the lead.
They descended into a dark passage way, that was much more different from the one that had been used for them to get here. This one was for the fighters, it was colder and darker.
"Don't tell me that you are mad at me too?" He asked Tomoe.
The girl had been silent as she led him. She came to a sharp halt as he spoke and she turned to look at him with a sharp look.
"Tell me Prince" She stepped up to him with her eyes burrowing right into his just like her uncle and cousin had just a few minutes ago.
"Is looking into peoples eyes a thing in this family?".
"How serious are you taking this tournament".
" let's see, hundreds if not thousands of people could be displaced, uncle Hiro could see his family lose everything and the pressure of such a loss could destroy Ursa. I know what is at stake Tomoe and i am taking this very seriously " his facial muscles tightened as he scowled at her.
"Good, remember that when you go out there" Tomoe said to him as she made a pushing gesture with her right arm and the wall besides rolled open to let the light in.
Chris took a deep breath and he walked out of the dark tunnel and into the bright light of the arena. The hard brown earth beneath his feet helped center him onto the ground as he watched other slots on the walls open and fighters descend from them.
"Hey, so am i supposed to..." He turned to Tomoe but the hole in the wall was sealed up and Chris could only curse himself.
"...and nothing. I guess that i will have to just wing it, again" he sighed.
He summoned Lucius-aurora into his hand and he began to walk towards the combatants as he studied them. The first was the woman leading the team his sister was on. In her hands was a black and red Naginata.
She walked with a confident purpose and with the way she held that Naginata, she knew how to use it.
The second person was none other than Theseus, who had the biggest grin on his face. Chris knew that he could take Theseus in a pure physical fight, the introduction of Alpha-Spells and other combatants made that knowledge a bit uncertain now.
The third combatant on the field was a knight dressed in sea green armour with an emerald katana in their hand. The knights armour and weapon had scale and ocean pattern's engraved upon them and they moved with a stature of one who knew their capabilities in combat.
The final person was a giant elf woman with the body of fitness freak. She was dressed in a silver armour with large crystal bracelets and a rather large mace that had a planet globe for a head.
She had a confident body posture with how she stood with the mace in her hands. She tightened her grip of it as she glared directly at him.
As he looked at her closely Chris realized that he had seen her in Arumu Sycamore's office once before.
"Sir Ddraig, Sir Ddraig. We are in the first match, isn't that exciting" Theseus was jumping up and down with excitement.
"Yes it is Theseus, yes it is" he was being completely sarcastic, but chances were that Theseus couldn't tell.
"Looks like the rumor was true" the large elf woman smirked at him "Come down from your ivory tower to swim with the rest of us pigs in the mud?".
" A friend needs help, its why i am here. Also I don't own an ivory tower" he answered her dismissively.
A loud siren bleared across the arena and all the people in the stadium began to cheer out loudly and loudly.
Without anyone properly reacting, the woman with the Naginata rushed towards him and Chris was glad that he had his breastplate, because the impact from the weapon sent him rushing into the wall's of the fighting arena.
"Give me a warning, why don't you!" He shouted as he pulled himself out of the crack that he had created in the wall.
He was lucky enough to move his head out of the way and avoid the Naginata, which would have split his head in half.
"Deus almighty!, what is you're problem lady!?" He managed to pull himself out of the way.
" This is a tournament to the glory of our families. Do you think that i will give you any quarter. To think that people talk about you as if you are some kind of god " the woman stated with a scoff as she pulled her Naginata out of the wall.
" No need to hit below the belt" he straightened himself and got into a two handed battle stance.
"Oh trust me, i fully intend to" did everyone except for Theseus hate him here or something.
She rushed him once more, and her style was a series of fast stabs and slashes, a skilled fighting style in clearly capable hands.
But it wasn't on his level, having to dodge Morigans spears kind of helped make him an expert at it. He could have easily side stepped and beheaded her, but all she got was a kick to the gut that launched her across the arena.
He wasn't out of trouble yet as the giant elf woman attacked and she was a strong combatant. Every time her mace came down, the earth was torn apart from her sphere strength alone that shook the entire arena.
Chris had to avoid her mace or else he would have found himself waking up in another year. Though it wasn't an easy thing to do as the land beneath him kept being reshaped.
" Not bad for a silver spooned brat" the elf said as she tried attacking him once again with her impressive speeds but failed against his own.
"I am not going to dignify that with a response" he answered as he swung Lucius-aurora at her chest, but she managed to stop it with her mace that knocked him aside.
"You kind of have little Prince" She slammed her mace into the earth and from it large rocks shot out like bullets at him.
"So you are a earth elementalist"
He managed to obliterate all of them with a few simple swings from his blade and he ducked just in time under the mace, while kicking the elf in the back of her left knee.
She landed on the said knee as he managed to roll back up to his feet and with superb nimbleness he managed to strike her right in the face with his foot and that didn't seem to faze her much at all.
"Who are you anyway?" He asked her as she rose back up with his boot imprinted upon her face.
"My name is Atla Titan, and i underestimated you" she spat to the ground after she was finished saying that.
"You finally see that i am a good fighter" he said to her with a smile, though it vanished to the absolutely murderous grin from her that showed off her fangs.
"Oh i see it alright. So there is no need for me to hold back" she said to him as she grinned even more.
"Me and my big.." Chris never got to finish as Atla seemed to have increased her speed and she collided into him faster that he could react.
The two of them went sliding across the earth and Chris was made accustomed to heavy right fist's that repeatedly met his face with absolute malice.
Managing to regain some of his bearings, even with the fist raining down. He managed with a great push, to throw Atla off of himself.
The woman get up but his knee to her face that staggered her back and Chris followed his attack with a right hook and a powerful blow from Lucius-aurora across the chest that like his earlier opponent, sent her flying across the battlefield.
And just like that another combatant had joined the battle. This was the emerald Knight. This knight was swift on their feet and skilled with their blade.
As soon as they started swinging and thrusting it, Chris was on the defensive. He parried, dodged and even at one point kicked the blade away, but he couldn't regain a good footing to be on the offensive.
"Alright, enough of this" he reached out and caught the katana in his gloved grip.
The two knights began to struggle for control of the sword as they tried to out maneuver and out muscle the other.
"You are strong" he said with a strain before he quickly turned and judo flipped the Knight over himself and onto the ground.
"But i am..." And then Atla's mace came out of no where and it smashed him in his face.
Chris only regained the feeling of taste in his mouth after his body stopped rolling on the ground.
The world sounded like static, his brain shook and he could barely string coherent thoughts together.
"Mommy, is that you?" His delusional mind asked as he stumbled around like a drunk person.
The sound of two weapons clashing above him, brought him back to his senses.
Over him, he could see Theseus and the Naginata woman locked in a test of strength.
"Hey, Aeris Ddraig. A little help would be appropriated" Theseus asked with a strained voice as he struggled against the Naginata woman.
Chris tightened his fist and he could feel a rush of Mana in his right fist as a mist of subzero ice surrounded it. He aimed it at the woman and a strong blizzard blew from the mist.
The cold winds coated everything that they fell upon in a layer of think ice that restrained even the strong warrior he aimed it at.
"Nice one" Theseus complimented him.
" Thanks" he answered with a thumbs up.
And just like that Theseus attacked with some heavy swings that Chris was forced to deflect.
"Oh, come on kid" he sighed as he sidestepped the attack.
"Nothing personal Aeris Ddraig. But i really want to fight against you" Theseus apologized.
Chris deflected a right swing, and as the blade flew back, Chris reached in and locked Theseus in a front headlock before he threw him across the battlefield.
Elsewhere he could see the green knight and Atla engaged in a serious trade of blows. The green knight was proving themself to be a swift and nimble fighter who moved like they were dancing.
This fighting style is what was saving them from Atla's strong and heavy blows that left large craters from the air pressure realised alone.
Atla was beginning to show her frustration with how she was unable to land a single hit. Her eyes squinted and her mouth unleashed curse upon curse without end.
Chris would have joined in to give Atla a taste of her own sneak attack medicine had the block of ice behind him not been torn open by the victim that it had entrapped.
" Oh, hey" he nervously waved at her as he looked at her.
She was snarling in rage, with eye's focused on him and hair that was a tangled mess. She tightened her grip upon her Naginata as she looked at him.
"Look lady, i am trying not to hurt you so" he said as tried to calm her down.
" My name is Izanami Ouchi Anjin, and it is you who needs to worry about your safety" she declared with her Naginata pointed at him.
" Okay, but i have kind of been winning every encounter we have had so.... i am not going to say that i could beat you anytime and anywhere, i am just going to simply imply it, very strongly might i add".
Izanami gritted her teeth together before she took a deep breath and she seemed to relax.
"Anytime and Anywhere?" She asked him as she raised her Naginata into the air.
"Let's see about that" she slammed her Naginata into the earth and Chris felt a cold shiver run down his spine.
" Yomi " she whispered the word's and Chris's skin crawled from the immense burst of Mana in the air.
From above, upon the Ashikage stands, Thor watched on in interest. The fighters in the arena had just vanished from the fighting ring as if they had never been there.
It had began with a burst of Mana from the woman holding the Naginata and them just like that, they shimmered from existence.
"That's a pocket world" Thor said as compared this Mana code to the one the vampire the fought earlier had.
"You are right" Kazuto said to him as he scratched his chin with interest "Consider me impressed Ouchi".
"How are we supposed to view the rest of the match" Ursa asked and Thor felt nothing but pity for his friend.
She looked like a worn down shadow of herself. She bit at her nails in nervousness and he whispered to herself like a mad woman.
"Give it time" Kazuto answered and as he did a large screen was projected upon the arena from above and in it they could see the pocket world of Yomi.
"Now that's unsettling" Mulengu said and Thor agreed.
Chris knew a pocket world when he saw one, and this one was one of the most unsettling he had ever seen.
This world was trapped within an eternal twilight, it's earth was black hard rock, it's trees were dead and rotting and stretching out for thousands upon thousand of meter's without any end in sight.
Around himself he could see hundreds of mountains that all protruded out of the earth like large fangs.
Izanami had vanished as soon as this pocket dimension was warped around them.
" This is unnerving " he said as he took in the rest of dead landmass.
"She has a pocket world, impressive" Atla declared with respect heavily laired in her voice.
"Truce" Chris said out loud bringing the other's attention to him.
"Why should we" Atla brandished her mace and shockingly the green knight jumped between the two of them with their katana brandished at Atla.
"Let's hear him out Tokugawa" the knight was clearly male now that he heard the voice.
"Why is that Hojo, because he is royalty" Atla mocked them.
"Because he is an honourable man and i trust him" the Hojo knight declared.
"As do i" Theseus stated as he took a stand besides the green knight.
" Fine, you suck ups " Atla lowered her weapon.
" We have to work together here. A pocket world like this isn't just going to trap us but it gives it's creator all manners of advantages. Some that we might not know of" Chris wasn't sure what boost she would get, but he wasn't interested in finding out on his own.
"That's true, my pocket world makes me stronger and faster" Theseus collaborated.
"Now listen here..." Atla was cut off a wave of air pressure shot past her and a mountain in the back was torn apart by it "....Let's get her together".
" Please do try that " from above them the sickly voice of Izanami called.
They could see Izanami floating in the air and she was changed. Her cloth's seemed worn out and torn in places, her Naginata was now covered in cracks and rust.
But that wasn't her biggest change. Her body was covered in holes that showed her internal organs and bones that looked gray land inactive as if she was a living corpse that had long been dead for days.
" Oh we will. Come on!" Atla called before leaping towards Izanami with her mace raised high.
"Atla wait!" They needed a plan but it was too late.
The collision of both the Mace and the Naginata shook the earth with such force that entire pocket world shook as if it was struck by a earthquake.
"Damn it, flank her" he ordered the two other knights and he rushed towards Atla and Izanami who continued to shake this pocket world with their strength alone.
"Izanami has gotten stronger " when they fought in the arena she never displayed this strength.
He neared them and drove forward his own sword, but it met nothing but a mist. This paused all the fighters with the exception of Izanami who materialized away from them.
"What the hell?" Atla demanded as she turned to Izanami, who's form was a mixture of solid and mist.
"Oh, don't be shocked, my world my rules" Izanami said as she twirled the Naginata.
"I have had it with you" Atla raised her mace and the amount of Mana in the air was positively electrifying.
" Mino! " Theseus shouted cutting Atla off and all the Mana building up around her managed to vanish without no more than a whimper as they were stolen by some invisible force.
"What did you do?!" the elf grabbed the Fae by his throat and lifted him into the air.
"Hey let him go" Chris managed to grab her hand and rip Theseus out of it.
"Enough truce!" Atla pushed the both of them away and just as she swung her mace at them a large fist broke through the earth and collided with her.
The force launched her meters away from them. From the earth a nine foot tall brown Minotaur emerged with a great battle axe in it's hands.
The Minotaur roared before it rushed Izanami with its axe in swing that was stopped by the Naginata. Unfortunately for Izanami, the Minotaur was stronger and it's strength drove her into the earth.
She screeched in pain before she once again seemed to teleport away from them.
"Enough" her voice echoed across the battlefield and then Chris felt it.
All the strength in his limbs began to vanish and like the others he fell to his knees. Each breath was a struggle and his limbs were beginning to go numb from a cold that was not his own.
"Whaaa...what is this?!" He demanded as his saliva solidified into droplets of ice that made breathing much harder.
"This world doesn't just make me stronger. It also erodes away things like matter, Mana and of course that very essence called life".
Her point was proved as Theseus's bull roared in pain as it vanished. The Mana keeping it manifested eroding away.
" Death enforcement, you will kill us!" his knees gave out and he fell to his belly flat.
"So be it" Izanami began to float towards them with the Naginata poised to stab through them.
Chris looked to Theseus and he could see the kid looking frightened as he looked at him.
"Damn it, Damn it! " his fingers dug into the black hard rock as he pushed himself against the pain that was surging through his limbs.
"Hey, Izana..." Then blackness took his sight.
He was alone in total darkness once more, it felt like he was sinking in something. What it was he couldn't tell but it took the breath from his lungs.
But that was the least of his trouble as he felt as if something was watching him. This something felt vast and terrifying, he tried to turn around and see it, but he couldn't move.
He thrashed against his invisible restraints but he was frozen in space. He screamed over the top of his lungs, but no sound escaped his lips.
It was getting getting closer, he could tell and he tried harder and harder, until the darkness was torn asunder to give way to a golden light that cast the darkness away.
Chris opened his eyes again and he was in a bed. An infirmary bed with Pyrrha standing besides his bed.
"Did i die?".
" No, you won" the elf answered and Chris tried to get up but every part of his body screamed out in pain.
"Damn it...how?, how did i win?" He didn't remember match but the last memory he had left him at Izanami's power and ready to go into the far lands.
Support "Phantom Ddraig"
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