"Did Chris use this passage way, it is so small, dark and cold " Ursa thought with a shudder as Tomoe led her down the tiny passage way that led to the arena.
The walls didn't seem as damp as she would have expected them to be, in fact they were dry with only the deep cold of this place giving away the feeling that they were wet.
"Seriously why is this place so cold?! " she furiously thought as she rubbed her body in a futile attempt to stave off the cold.
This cold was rather unnatural, she had been exposed to Chris's ice before and that ice could freeze over an entire lake near instantly, but that had never had a similar bite to this one.
She wondered what kind of magical force was turning this stone into a cold refrigerator that shook her to the bone.
"Are you even listening to what i am saying?" Tomoe demanded as she span backwards to face Ursa.
Tomoe might have been bearing a half frightening oni mask, a spear and a bow, but she would never intimidate her and just to make it clear she walked up to Tomoe looking her straight in the face.
The two of them stood there eye to eye, trying to see who would be the first to flinch and back down, but they both proved too proud for that.
"No" she answered truthfully in Tomoes face.
And just to infuriate Tomoe some more she grinned like a mad woman while Tomoe's face became red from the anger that was almost threatening to escape through her flesh.
"Are you crazy, we are just about to face two powerful warriors and you couldn't even be bothered to hear my strategy, are you just that relaxed about this whole thing?!".
As Tomoe ranted she gave all sort's of uncoordinated hand gestures and stomped her foot into the earth multiple times as if that would get her point across better.
Ursa sighed and rolled her eyes at the same time. She knew exactly what Tomoe's great almighty plan was and it wasn't exactly revolutionary or some kind of master class sixth dimensional checkmate.
" No i am not Tomoe, i know what your history defining plan already is. It is you fighting them in close quarter and i get to cover you with my arrow's... " Tomoe scowled silently unable to refute her words "....Or maybe i am wrong, please tell me".
" Take this seriously Ursa, our family is on the line" the room got colder and smaller as Tomoe said those words.
She didn't want to think too much about that. She wasn't sure that she could properly focus on the fight if this is what she was left thinking about. The faces of the hundreds of hopefuls who's way of life lay upon her shoulders.
She lost her smile and she felt any single shred of emotion drain out of her near instantly. She remembered just how much she hated this place, this contest, this family and anything associated with them.
They had brought nothing but unwanted fights, fathers who placed ticking time bomb curses on their own children and grandmother's who drugged people.
They were her misery made manifest and she could see why her father had nothing but scowl angrily and hide in his workshop to keep away from his demon family.
She wanted to dig up her grandfather's soul and tear it apart for having caused these problems.
"I know that Tomoe" she could feel her body tremble in rage as she glared at her cousin.
Tomoe's face strangely softened and she almost comfortingly placed her hand upon Ursa shoulder startling the young bow woman who knocked her hand away through a reflex trigger.
"What are you doing?" She demanded.
"I am comforting you" Tomoe nervously said as she pulled away her hand.
"Well stop it" Ursa said before she turned and walked to the end of the dark tunnel that she focused on as it rolled out of the way and the touch of the new days rising sun warmed her body from the hold of the darkness cold.
She stepped into the slightly repaired arena that Chris in his warriors frenzy the previous day had restructured.
Large cracks were stretched upon the floor and walls. It frightened her to no end to think that whatever light power Chris had shown could not only destroy a pocket world but also horribly affect the true world outside.
From the stands, the people seemed to melt together thanks to the nature of the morning. The bright almost riotous nature of the crowd was snuffed out to half asleep vapid eyes.
There was an almost uncomfortable feeling to being small and self-conscious about every part of her when brought before this silent crowd who treated her like she was some kind of exhibit.
She looked around trying to get a good look of the Ashikage private seating area. But all she could see were the lights of the family a few shadows contrasting against the great lights.
She wondered what her parents were thinking up there. Just the very thought of it made her very nervous.
" Pay attention, it's starting! " Tomoe snapped at her.
Ursa gripped the bow in her hand tighter and tighter as she imaged ramming the think right into Tomoe's thick skull and knocking some sense into the idiot.
The wall before them began to roll open as two of the enemy fighters walked into the arena.
It was Chris's sister and another young boy with wild black fuzzy hair and obsidian armour with a cold scythe in hand. She recognized him as the younger brother of the Ouchi girl who had almost killed Chris and he must have known because he flinched away from her gaze.
"Tomoe... Remember when Pyrrha arrived to talk to Venus and you intervened and blew her off...now might be a good time to apologize" Ursa could see it in the way Venus looked at them with those piercing golden eyes like a cat eyeing a trapped rat.
She could tell that Tomoe had noticed because she was gulping for oxygen and swallowing saliva in fear.
The other knight besides her looked uncomfortable and nervous at how Venus was glaring at Tomoe and Ursa could feel that nervousness as the hairs upon her body stood as if electricity was being driven through them.
" Welcome to the awkward club Ursa, just ignore it and focus " she thought as she stretched her limbs in order to beat off the morning stiffness that had locked her joints like rusty metals.
"Of course not" Tomoe strapped her bow behind and she held her spear with the stature and confidence of one who was skilled in the art.
"That is really mature" Ursa held her bow good in her hand and her eyes began scanning around for a good place to gain any buffer or elevated position and snipe her opponents from far away.
"I am not apologizing to this child simply because i was doing my duty" Tomoe twirled her spear in her right hand while looking dead center at Venus.
If this was supposed to be an intimidation tactic, Ursa would never know. Venus though didn't seem at all impressed, she simply got into a battle stance awaiting the bell.
"Ursa and Tomoe Ashikage shall be representing their house who have chosen to press the right gained for them by their warrior Christian Ddraig yesterday. House Ouchi answers this call with Venus Ddraig and Aides Ouchi. Combatants, ready yourselves for glory.....and fight!" A loud voice belonging to some kind of announcer bellowed across the arena.
The manner that Venus stood in combat was completely different to what Ursa hadn't seen all of the Ddraig family members she had observed before.
She knew Chris's battle stance was right foot forward with his sword pointed higher to go for a skull cracking blow as a battle stance. This style belonged to Morigan and she had beaten it into all of team phantom, it made her teammates fighting style predictable for someone who knew in an interment manner such as her.
Joan from what she could remember was left foot slightly forward with the blade in one hand while she hunched over slightly. She might have fought like a rabid beast in fury, but Ursa would have to be a fool to not recognize the sphere skill and technique.
The joys of being a bow woman meant that she was naturally extremely observant of things upon the battlefield more than most.
" They all have had different teachers " she had hoped that she could use Chris as a reference point on how to face his sister but that wasn't going to happen here.
The second figure who must be Aides according to the announcer besides had an almost similar stance to Venus. Ursa could see a thousand similarities in how they stood, how the sword was positioned, which foot was forward, how much distance was their between each leg and how his body posture held itself.
"Venus" Ursa called to her but the girl ignored her and remained like a statue glaring at the both of them.
"Hey Tomoe, try not to die" Ursa pulled her bowstring as she felt her heart beat harder and harder as fear reared it's ugly head as it did in every battle.
Within an instance, Venus was a lightning bolt, covering many meters with a single second and her blade clashed into Tomoe's spear. The impact of the blow tore apart the ground upon which they stood, adding new scars to the arena as Chris had before.
For as much as she didn't wish to, Ursa could admit that her cousin was a great fighter with the spear. This saved her from being pummeled into the ground by Venus Ddraig who fought with a cold fury.
Ursa didn't have much time because she began to fire many arrow's against the obsidian knight who proved his speed and skill by dodging all of her arrows as he came charging towards her.
She felt her mind trailing to the Grimoire strapped to her waist and she felt a great temptation to use one of the spells weaved into it, but her opponent was too close.
"No, Fight Smart " she told herself and she began backtracking as she shot more and more arrows so fast that she was sure that her fingers would be bruised.
To her right she caught a glimpse of Tomoe swinging her spear at Venus and though the spear never struck it's target, a strong gust of wind came with it and it struck Venus like a war hammer.
She reached her back to the wall, boxing her in as the knight came rushing towards her with his scythe shimmering under the sun.
She focused into the Mana coursing through her veins. She slammed her bow into the earth and out of it, many crystal spikes as large as a man sprouted out of the earth aimed towards the knight.
The knight didn't stop, he ran right into the spikes and with a swing of his scythe sand shot from the earth like blades and cut the spikes in half allowing the knight to continue his charge against her unimpeded.
Ursa managed to move to the right as she shot a few more arrows against the knight who lost a few strands of hair from the arrows that narrowly flew besides his hair, cutting through it.
"An opponent skilled in a similar element to me will be difficult to beat " she thought as another one of her arrows was stopped by a wall of sand that her for burst through.
She drew her bow string and shot another arrow that went straight for the knight. Unfortunately for her a twister of sand formed around him and smacked the arrow away.
As the tornado continued she read for her Grimoire. A burst of electricity surged through her body as her fingers touched the cold leather book cover.
"Now what can i use here" she thought as she flipped through the spell book until she came across one that would aid her " Got it".
Feeling mana burning through her flesh she reached into the earth and she began to utter complex incantation as she weaved together the tapestry of arcane threads to draw form a pale white stone from the earth that radiated power so much power that it began to vibrate near endlessly.
The sand tornado dispersed but as it did she kicked her pale stone towards the knight who once again swung his scythe to knock it aside, but alas when steel and earth made contact the stone shattered as if made of glass.
With it's shattering came a sound so strong her charging foe was forced to his knees as the sound beat him down into the earth.
She drew her bowstring ready to fire her arrow upon her kneeling opponent. But her attention was cast to Tomoe who was now at the receiving end of Venus fury.
Her cousin thrust her spear forward at Venus who managed to grab the spear shaft stopping it, before a burst of flames erupted from her so hot that the earth beneath them became a puddle of hot magma. From the burst of flames Tomoe came flying onto her back.
"Damn it Tomoe! " she thought as she turned and fired off her arrow at Venus, but a burst of sand erupted between Venus and the arrow, halting it before it could strike the girl.
Her face snapped to the knight she had left upon his knees through her spell, who was now standing upon his feet, breathing heavily and wincing from the pain that still remained from her spell.
"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Aides Ouchi, " he declared his name as if it was supposed to mean something to her.
"Do i look like i care!" Ursa shouted as she began to fire more and more arrows against him without end.
Aides was swinging his scythe over and over as fast as he could with burst's of sand happening periodically around him and stopping whichever of Ursa's projectile's he hadn't cut down from reaching him.
As he swung his scythe he got closer and closer to Ursa who kept up her projectiles going faster and faster against the him.
She knew that she needed to go to the aid of Tomoe who had barely managed to hold a series of rather brutal offensive attacks against Venus, but she couldn't turn her back to Aides who was slowly nearing her.
"Damn you!" She cursed him as she focused on the next arrow.
She felt her mind building up the familiar arcane blue print within her mind, she felt the Mana coursing through her blood vessels burn her internal organs a jolt of electricity jump up her spine.
She opened her mouth as her arrow became a bright glowing rode of purple hot energy.
"Shi-No-Hoshi-No-Hiki ! " she called out as she let the arrow go from her bow.
The arrow escaped the bow with a shockwave as it easily surpassed the sound barrier. The arrow flew faster and faster, tearing apart the earth it flew over as it became a hypersonic object.
Aides was swift enough to sidestep the arrow as Ursa hoped. He turned to her a bit surprised by the smile plastered across her face.
She mouthed " Behind You" to him and Aides must have then sensed the build up of energy behind of him.
He turned to the bright mini star behind him that pulled him straight off the earth and into it's gravitational pull.
Ursa turned to Tomoe who had managed to smack Venus across the face with her fist stunning her but Venus answered this with a strong elbow across the face that sent Tomoe crashing backwards onto the earth.
Ursa charged the Avalonian princess as she shot her arrows, but a wall of fire formed around Venus protecting her from the arrows but also blinding her from Tomoe who was once again on her feet.
"Die girl!" The bruises on Tomoe's face clearly made her hate the Avalonian princess just as much as the princess hated her.
Tomoe once again charged against Venus but the princess managed to maneuver herself past the spear and close enough to Tomoe that her blade struck her across the chest with enough force that she was launched like an artillery shell towards the wall of the arena that almost caved in from the impact.
Ursa aimed and fired two arrows, one to her face and the other to her feet. Venus proved her swiftness and agility by bending and twisting her body between the arrows.
"Damn it!" Ursa cursed out loud as she tried to create another Alpha-Spell.
But her body felt drained and all the Mana she was trying to pull felt like her internal organs were being pulled thin into string. This pain caused her to loose focus and stumble backwards as she lost any concentration.
A fist from Venus caught her in the face and she was dropped to the earth besides Tomoe. The pain from her attempt of drawing her Mana to create another Alpha-Spell and the surprisingly strong punch Venus had delivered left her on the ground groaning in pain.
Venus raised her sword high above and Ursa could feel Mana beginning to build up around the blade like some kind of condensed energy storm.
"No!"Tomoe shouted as a thick wall of condescend air formed around them.
It was Tomoe's creation and Ursa could see her pouring every last ounce of Mana from her body into it.
Unfortunately the wall caved in under the amplified power of Venus's blade that came with the force a plutonium bomb. The impact shook the earth and rag dolled the both of them around.
The sound of the horn indicating the end of the match was punch to the gut. Unfortunately an even bigger punch would come from the announcer who would declare.
" And your winners, Venus Ddraig and Aides Ouchi of the Ouchi family "
A multitude of feelings drove through Ursa's mind and soul. The first was near emptiness, disbelief, sorrow and like a final circle of hell unbridled rage.
Ursa screamed, cursed and struck the earth. She had to be dragged out of the arena by Tomoe. The last thing that she saw before the earthen wall closed was a confused Venus with a nervous Aides soaking in the cheers of the Ouchi crowd while the Ashikage crowds looked close to tears.
For the first time in her life Ursa felt genuine hate for a fellow human being. Many people could lose what they loved and identity because of that little brat who had the guts to look confused as if she hadn't done anything wrong.
A thousand curses escaped her lips but in this dark and cold place only Tomoe could hear them.
"Calm down" Tomoe managed to lock her grip around Ursa who was thrashing around as the bonfire that was her anger burned even brighter.
She managed to throw Tomoe off of her and onto the ground as savagely as she possibly could.
Tomoe tried getting up and that proved a terrible mistake on her part as in a moment born of Ursa's drunkenness of her fury, she struck out her fist and Tomoe staggered backwards with blood leaking out of her mouth.
"Tomoe!" She looked to see Kazuto rushing down the steps in shock as he had just seen her brutality strike his daughter across the jaw.
He rushed past her and began to cradle his daughter in his arms. He turned to Ursa and he with anger boiling under his face.
"What the hell is wrong with you girl!?" He shouted at her.
Her anger was about to explode to levels unknown of when she heard her mother's voice.
"What is going on here?" Ursa felt her anger deflate, leaving her like a empty shell.
Ursa looked to her mother who must have put two and two together because that face of disappointment didn't come from nowhere.
"Ursa..." She tried to say something but Ursa just couldn't... no she wouldn't hear it.
She ran past her mother, hoping to Deus himself that this horrific nightmare she was living would blow over.
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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