Thor wasn't new to tournaments, he had once participated in one during his mission to retrieve the egg, he had needed some information and winning the hole competition had been his only option, though the fighters in this one were of a far higher caliber than the ones he fought.
He smiled remembering the little city of Ananito. Even if it was a Lunar kingdom city he was still enamored with it's beauty to this day, though he would never dare say that out loud.
He had not expected to be the only one of his team, well with the so exception of Tomoe and Benkei, to be at the arena first. He could have seated himself on the Ashikage VIP platform, but mingling here with the crowd of people felt much more natural, even though the visibility of the match from above was preferable.
" These guys are good " he thought as he watched the two combatants below him fighting with all the fury that they could master.
The first was a young man who appeared to be in his twenties and he was dressed up in a light blue tunic with some light armor upon it. The trident that he held onto was a dangerous weapon, its length had given it some serious reach on his opponent.
His said opponent would fit into the stereotypical Avalonian take on classical Greek armor. Unlike his opponent who bore a single long trident in two arms, this man had a bronze shield and short spear.
"Even with that shield the Hojo guy is winning hard " Thor had thought as he evaluated the people below.
The people besides him stood up and cheered as the Hojo Knight with the trident managed to strike his opponent across the chest, staggering him before he tumbled over.
Thor winced as he watched the Tokugawa fighter crash into the earth so hard and so unnaturally Thor feared that even his helmet would not protect him.
The Tokugawa fighter rolled away from the Hojo's trident that threatened to cut into his exposed left leg.
"This tournament should not be rewarding serious wounds with points " he thought in annoyance as once more the Hojo knight proved the better of his opponent who he once again sent to the ground.
"He isn't doing well is he?" A bored voice asked as the smell of ash assaulted Thor's senses, confusing him.
It was the smell of ash straight off the fire and having set fire to many things with his lightning bolts Thor was well familiar with the smell. But something else accompanied the smell, the faint tingle of Mana was present. Faint it might have been but he could still sense it.
He followed the smell to his right where a rather scrawny boy dressed in black and red with long mopey scarlet hair. The young man seemed to be near his age group and his face had a look that naturally screamed trouble maker to Thor.
"Um, greetings friend" Thor didn't want to come off as rude so he extended his hand to the young man who grinned very widely as if he had a joke that Thor should have known but he didn't.
Perhaps remembering common courtesy the young man shook his hand and that was when Thor noticed that all of his fingernails were painted black. The more he looked at it, he noticed that the young man had a sort of punk and rebellious feel to him.
"My pleasure..." He chuckled for a bit longer than Thor was comfortable with before continuing "...Friend".
" Of course... " something about this young man felt odd, like he was considering a trick that could either be playful or cruel.
" Why don't you tell me you're name?" The boy asked him with twinkle in his eye.
"Thor Stormcloud, i am with the Ashikage" he answered the young man against his better judgment.
"Thor...well isn't that ironic. My name is Loki Tokugawa" Loki answered with a slight chuckle and Thor himself wasn't immune to the laugh as his lips too parted releasing his own laugh.
"Well it is a pleasure to meet you Loki. Pity that our encounter has to be on opposing side's".
" Yes, yes a pity indeed" Loki turned to the battle where the Tokugawa fighter seemed to have gained a second wind as he seemed to be taking on more and more blows from the Hojo.
The crowds began to cheer even louder as each blow traded between the two became faster and faster, until they both became blurs even to the likes of Thor.
"I assume that you are part of the Tokugawa team?" Thor remembered catching a brief glimpse of Loki back then.
"Did the last name give it away" Loki should have come off as rude, but it sounded more like he was teasing Thor.
"Well there might be hundreds of Tokugawa's running around Avalon before you guy's arrived".
" Funny..." Loki didn't really seem to find it that funny.
The smell of ash was still in the air and now that he focused on it some more. He could see that some of the other people sitting around him had noticed by how they were looking at Loki.
"Is something wrong?" Loki must have caught Thor looking at him intensely.
Thor wanted to tell him, but something within him told him to be silent.
"Nothing, i am just wondering if i have seen you fight yet" he stated covering his original question.
"Oh trust me friend, when i fight, no one can forget it" Loki grinned as if he was thinking back upon the battles he had fought before.
"I look forward to seeing that".
Thor answered as he turned back to the fight where the Hojo fighter was proving himself the better skilled of the two as he had managed to strike his opponent's exposed body part's many times, while easily blocking and out maneuvering his Tokugawa opponent.
" This knight is a good fighter, unless something happens to help your man, those bleeding wounds will lose him this match" Thor had only seen a few people fight as good or even better with poled weapons " He is almost as good as Pyrrha, though Morigan is better ".
" Yes, Zhao had once served as part of the Anjin's blades, it is to be expected" Loki answered as the Tokugawa finally managed to land to land a blow, though it did little to slow down his foe.
"The Anjin's blades?".
" The whole clan's armed defense force. When everyone isn't playing this wannabe game of thrones we of have to work together to protect ourselves".
It explained the skills being displayed by this Zhao of the Hojo house, who managed to lock his foe into a headlock before he easily threw him to the ground.
"And what of the other guy?. He doesn't seem to be a similar caliber of warrior as this Zhao character" as if the universe was intent on proving his point the Tokugawa fighter was caught by the trident in his thigh that thankfully didn't cut through flesh but Thor could a dark purple blister forming.
"He is a knight believe or not, married into the Tokugawa family through his father".
" Married into the family? ".
"Of course, even those in the Anjin's blades can't match the shear power and skill of an Avalonian knight, unless they have been able to become like you. It is to be expected though, everyone is aiming for the position of head family, even if mercenaries and demon's are needed for that to be done" Loki answered him as he shuffled through his pockets as if he looked for something.
"Are you a knight?" Thor asked him as Loki finally pulled out a cigarette.
"Of course not" the tip of Loki's cigarette erupted into flames without him having done anything visible.
"Do you mind" Thor had nothing against people smoking, what he had a problem with was them smoking so close to him that it chocked him.
"Of course not" Loki turned his face and blew his smoke into the face of some other unfortunate person who turned with a face that most people held when they were ready to murder another person.
"That was unnecessary" Thor could see the other persons friends stopping them from beating Loki into the ground.
"Well what else was i supposed to do with that one" Loki dropped the cigarette and stepped upon it, snuffing it out.
"You don't have that many friends do you?" Thor had met people with Loki's attitude before, they tended not to have a big social circle.
"Me?, i have tons of friends big T " Loki sank some more into his seat " Though enough about me, what about you?".
"I have plenty of friends".
Loki began to sarcastically clap ever so slowly as he had a grin that rubbed Thor in a bad way.
" Well good for you mr celebrity. So are you fighting today Ashikage?" the light in Loki's eyes reminded Thor too much of a predatory beast salivating at the thought of a near kill.
"Maybe i am" Thor threw back a glare at Loki with enough malice painted upon.
If the Tokugawa was intimidated by the much larger Thor, he didn't show it. In fact by judging Loki's grin that somehow grew wider it seemed like he was getting more excited at the prospect that Thor was baited into this stand off.
"Good, i look forward to seeing what it takes to drag the heaven's in all of their fury down to the earth" Loki spoke as he arose from his seat.
"Trust me Loki, nothing can drag me out of the heaven's" bolt's of electricity began to run across Thor's body as he pulled off the most serious face that he could against Loki.
Any other type of person would have seen the thinly veiled threat and backed off or tried to one up it, but Loki simply smiled harder as if the sight amused him.
Loki rather that speaking to Thor, turned to the arena and as loud as he possibly could he shouted.
"HEY ACHILLES, STOP SCREWING AROUND AND END HIM!".
His voice soared through out the arena and every ear heard from those in the stands to the important family members sitting in the VIP sections above and most importantly to the fighters.
The Tokugawa knight now identified as Achilles got a new breath of strength as he grabbed the trident and after a futile attempt by Zhao, ripped it out of his grip and began to beat the Hojo warrior into the ground with it.
By the time he had stopped all that was left was Achilles standing over the unconscious body of Zhao that was surrounded by a pool of crimson.
" Will you look at that, turns out the mighty can be brought low by the cold fringes of the serpent" as Loki spoke his body dissolved into ash that was blown with the wind.
Try as Thor might to refute it, Loki's words had somehow hooked themselves into him and left him unnerved.
Truthfully those words had been haunting Thor for weeks now. The words " Will you look at that, turns out the mighty can be brought low to the cold fringes of the serpent ".
Those were the words that Hana had last spoken to him before they left the capital. He had spent more time with the avatar of Sophia over anyone else since his return to Avalon.
Since he found her in that broken temple within the northern islands. He had been drawn to the pure Divine energy that she gave off, it was like a bone fire with empty darkness.
Her minds eyes that could stretch into the future by the guiding of Sophia were never nothing to take lightly. From her knowledge of the incident with the Zodiac of the Lunar nation to how she had charted all the safe routes of their journey back to Avalon, Thor had fully beheld and grown to respect her wisdom.
So when she had mentioned those terms as a warning he had been most troubled. Like the others he had hoped that coming to this land would be a fresh break from the previous madness of the capital, a pity it was that the recent events had been anything but simple and peaceful.
He sighed feeling a metaphorical load upon his shoulders grow as he exited the arena with many other spectators.
They all chatted excitedly about the match and it's rather grim end. Thankfully a medic had been able to patch up Zhao who was still unconscious as the crowds with the exceptions of those amongst the Tokugawa threw insults and cruel chants the way of Achilles, who for his part didn't seem proud about beating his foe to this state.
"Those words, how did Loki know them? " maybe those words had been seen by Hana as she glanced far beyond time and space or maybe there was more to Loki than the eyes gave away.
This was something Thor had been feeling about the Tokugawa since they had started speaking. It was as if Loki was playing a game and Thor was just there to amuse him.
" Maybe i am just over thinking it " he thought as he rubbed the side of his head in order to mitigate the sharp headache that was starting to grow.
"Thor, Thor, hey Thor!" the sound of Mulengu shouting out his voice as best as could be done by someone not wanting to be drowned by the massive mob of the Anjin spectators.
Thor looked around for Mulengu who was still shouting his name and thankfully he managed to find him standing a bit further away from the crowd of people.
Thor was thankful that Mulengu hadn't stood amongst the crowd of Anjin's, as their numbers were great and their clothing a mixture of colours with their houses colours being the most prominent, thus making them an almost never ending and forever twisting rainbow.
After having to push his way through the crowds, Thor came upon Mulengu who was standing besides one of the restaurants that served a meal to the spectators.
As he neared Mulengu he noticed that his friend wasn't alone but was in fact besides the Ouchi group with princes Venus who seemed less angry than when Thor had last seen her, though the woman Izanami was nowhere to be seen.
" It is probably for the best, though with Achilles recent deed, she is no longer the most despised fighter present " he thought as he neared them.
"Hey big guy, how you doing?" Mulengu smiled as he playfully slapped Thor across the shoulder in a manner that left a slight sting present upon his flesh.
"Mulengu, princess Venus and the Ouchi" he nodded his head in acknowledgement of them.
"So you must be Thor" Venus said as she studied him closer with her golden eyes that seemed to see even past his flesh " You are not what i expected. In his letter's big brother made you seem bigger".
"I apologize for disappointing you then" Thor laughed nervously as he wondered just what kind of proper reply would one possibly have from what she just said.
"It's okay, big brother was probably just overzealous about his team. Speaking of big brother, where is he?".
" Still resting" Mulengu answered "I passed by the medical bay on my way here, he was out like a sack of potatoes".
Venus's face fell and she looked rather upset at the news. She grumbled something under her breath and all Thor could get from it was "...Izanami...jerk...".
The boy besides her who he had seen fight besides her against Ursa and Tomoe "ey...hey Venus, I...i... I am sorry about... about Izanami " he said with a starter.
The princess sighed and Thor suspected that this was not the first time that the black knight had apologized to her.
" its okay Aides, its not your fault that your sister tried to kill four competitors in this tournament " Venus replied to him.
"She isn't the only one who has tried " the sight of Achilles standing over Zhao was burned into Thor's mind.
"Yeah boy stop beating yourself up about it" Paris the younger sibling of Pyrrha was one he easily recognized.
The lighter skin tone and purple hair might have separated the human boy from the rest of his Elvish kin, but his accent and stature was reminiscent of the Ulster family.
"If i may ask Aides Ouchi..." Thor was no fool, since their arrival here he had noticed that most family teams had a much larger balance of outsiders than the natives "...Why are there less native fighters in this tournament?".
A series of emotions flew across the boys face from confusion, anger, fear and most of all guilt. It had began as a spark within him but Thor was beginning to doubt if any of them were brought to fight for these people under truthful circumstances.
" Is the seal even real? " he highly doubted that Hiro Falcon would play along with such a rouse but it didn't mean that he couldn't be tricked.
"Many of our people did not make it through the end of Earth and those who can fight are not so willing. Many of the outsiders you see volunteered or had married into the family before the end came".
As he spoke Aides didn't even bother to look Thor in the eyes. As soon as the last word had left his mouth he turned sharply and walked to the arena as fast as his legs could carry him without it being made absolutely clear to the world that he was running away from them.
His teammates looked back at Thor and to the retreating form of Aides in confusion. They didn't stick around long and chased after the black knight.
" What the heck was that? " Mulengu questioned him with a puzzled expression upon his face.
"It was nothing, just a thought".
Mulengu bought it as much as if Thor had stated that the sky was always pink.
" Yeah, sure buddy" if the world had a sarcasms alarm, Mulengu's would be on red alert.
"Look it's not that importtooto..." Thor's words fell out of his mouth as he watched Meghanada and the rest of team Argonaut passing by.
"Um Thor, hey Thor" Mulengu's words faded to nothing as did the rest of the world as he watched the white haired goddess move past him.
This moment in a bottle should have been preserved for all eternity...had Mulengu's fist not connected with Thor's gut, dropping the strongest member of team Phantom to the ground as he clutched on to his belly in pain.
"Why?" Thor managed to wheeze out as his inside's stung in pain.
"Because you were acting creepy and unsettling!" Mulengu shouted back at him.
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