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Aether Beasts

Chapter 22 - 22

Chapter 22 - 22

The outcome of the next four fights made me wonder about how much of a coincidence things really were, because out of the next four fights, the steel heart won only one, with the twin horn taking the other three, leaving six people left, three people from the steel heart and three from the twin horn.

"There"s no way this is normal," I muttered under my breath as Deon spoke with Elder Samuel and another man which I guessed was the twin horn elder.

"It is strange," Zirani said. "So far it"s always evened out, but I don"t know how they could have pulled it off unless they were working together, but their hatred isn"t fake, so…"

Her words trailed off in quite muttering.

"I wonder if it"s going to be a three on three," Sandra said from beside me. She was the third steel heart disciple that had won. Her long black hair flowed down her back, and her pale face was quite pretty with a mischievous smile that always seemed to be in place. Her emerald eyes shone with intelligence. She had fought quite in a unique way, and the techniques she"d used had been unlike anything I"d ever seen. Zirani described her as a stealth skirmisher type, not that I knew what that meant.

"Three on three would make sense," Lucas commented. "I"d say we have good chances. With myself and Aiden we have close and mid-range combat sorted and with you, Sandra, we have long-range attacks and your mobility makes you a hard target to hit."

A three-on-three would be good, but I"d need to make sure I put in the most work so I got to choose what prize I took home, though I"d never really fought with a group before.

Deon nodded and the three broke apart, the twin horn elder heading to his group of three that had won and Elder Samuel heading towards us.

"It"s been decided that the final match will be a three on three," Elder Samuel declared when he stopped in front of us. "It will begin in an hour, so make sure that you are prepared."

He left after that, and we went our separate ways, Lucas heading to speak to some friends while Sandra crept off to do who knew what. She had an air of mystery about her and if I had time then maybe I might have followed her or tried to talk to her, but I wanted to get something to eat before the match.

It didn"t take long to get into town, though I did stop and wait for Leyton and Thomas. There were food stalls in the town market offering a surprisingly wide variety of foods. The livestock kept in and around the town allowed us plenty of meat to work with and there were rarely any aether beasts within a mile of the town, so picking herbs and planting vegetables was very doable. The gale wolves were an exception, but who knew why they"d come that close to town.

I ended up buying a lamb and chicken wrap along with some flavored water. Leyton and Thomas got something similar and we ate as we made our way back to the arena area.

"You think you"re gonna win?" Leyton asked.

I nodded. "I"m confident we can, although I"m a bit worried. I"m not used to fighting alongside other people. I just hope things don"t get muddled or confused."

"You"ve done good so far," Thomas said. "Just keep at it."

"He"s right," Zirani added in my mind. "Just make sure you have at least a simple plan worked out with the others."

After fishing my food and saying goodbye to Leyton and Thomas who headed back to their seat, I met back up with Lucas and Sandra to talk about strategy. We didn"t have much time but we were able to get a basic plan together. Sandra for some reason seemed hesitant to talk about her abilities, but we managed to get to give up at least a bit. The plan was to have her constantly harass them with ranged attacks, switching between them constantly, keeping them off guard while I fought in a more conventional way. The plan actually relied a lot on me, as I was meant to finish them off. Sandra was that good at close range and they wouldn"t fall for Lucas"s technique again. They would keep them occupied while I tried to finish our opponents as quickly as possible, which made sense. The others were not arrogant and knew that I was the heaviest hitter and the most skilled fighter. We all wanted to win, and I was glad they weren"t like Jason or like the rumors I"d heard about some sects."

Zirani of course added her own input and her advice helped me to refine the plan a bit and come up with some contingencies just in case things fell apart.

Elder Samuel arrived a few minutes before the fight was set to begin.

"Are you prepared and ready?"

We all nodded.

"Good. Give it you"re all. The outcome of this match will affect greater things back in Orton. I"ve received news that they"ve made another push against one of our camps. We lost a few."

Lucas and Sandra looked pissed at that, though I had no idea what he was talking about. He noticed my confusion of course."

"There are some things I must explain to you after this fight, but for now, just know the outcome of this tournament will affect the lives of others and people will live or die because of it."

Another reason to win this. It had been clear something had been going on, and even though I didn"t know what it was, I fully intended to win this fight, not just for the warp seed, but for the people that might live because of it. I wouldn"t consider myself a hero, but if I could save someone while still accomplishing my own goals then I would.

"Can the two groups please make their way to the center stage!"

Professor Deon"s voice rang out, silencing the crowd, and I glanced at my fellow disciples, happy to see the same determination in their eyes that I knew mine held. We made our way to the stage together, aether surging within us.

"Let"s go win this."

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