So I won a duel against Ilya’s dad. I wonder what Bouncykins would think if I told him I trounced a ninth-circle magician. He probably wouldn’t believe me, huh? That rabbit was always praising magicians for their power and undermining warriors. It’s a good thing I stopped traveling with him; otherwise, his negativity may have dragged me down. I’m a divine warrior! I’m stronger than the Godking was! Now I just have to figure out a way to become famous.
“Are you listening, Lucia?” Ilya asked and poked me.
Gah! Don’t poke me while I’m eating! I stole the food off her plate before asking, “What?”
Ilya’s expression fell. “That was the best piece…,” she muttered before shaking her head. “My father asked you if you’d be willing to represent him in the upcoming tournament.”
“Tournament? What tournament?” How convenient; when I want to become famous, a stage appears where I can display my power. The god of this world must love me. “This is my first time hearing about a tournament.”
“My dad asked you about it yesterday and the day before that, but you didn’t respond,” Ilya said with a blank expression. “You said you’d think about it a week ago.”
Hm. Hmm. Hmmmmm. Nope, I don’t recall any of this. Did it really happen? I’ve been doing as Ilya asked and started weening myself off of these bones, but I’ve been getting really bad headaches and, apparently, memory loss at times. The past week’s been a blur of luxury and relaxation. Ah, that reminds me, I need to obtain some more beast cores since I consumed all the ones I had while breaking through. I wonder if they sell any at the capital or if I’d have to travel back to the desolate mountains again.
“Lucia…?” Ilya asked and poked me again.
Stop poking me! “What?”
“About the tournament,” Ilya said, her voice slowing down. I don’t know whether I should feel offended or not. “Will you represent my father?”
What tournament? “What do I get out of it?”
“My dad just wants the prestige,” Ilya said. “You can have the reward for first place—if you manage to get it.” Her eyes lit up. Was the prize a precious treasure? “The first-place prize is a legendary beast’s core. It’s an elder dragon’s. Cain Thunderfire personally killed it; not only that, but you’ll get a chance to meet Cain himself!”
Legendary beast’s core?
“Legendary is the tier above divine,” Ilya answered.
Don’t read my mind! Gosh, am I that easy to read?
“I’m not a mind reader, Lucia,” Ilya said. “Your face is just very … filled with expressions.”
That’s not very fair.
“Don’t worry,” Ilya said. “I heard nearly all beastkins wear their hearts on their sleeves. Except for the rabbits; you have to watch out for those.”
…How come I haven’t heard about that?
“Anyways,” Ilya said. “You’ll do it, right? Don’t you need the legendary beast core to get stronger?”
“I’ll do it. When does it start?” She’s right. If Durandal finds out I had any downtime where I wasn’t absorbing cores, he’d beat me. …Could he? Aren’t I stronger than him now?
“Lucia…, you’re making a very perverted face right now,” Ilya said and bit her lower lip. “Are you sure you’re going to remember this conversation in the morning?”
“Just tell me about the tournament.” I’ll remember! Even if I don’t, Ilya will remind me and manage to convince my forgetful future self that this conversation happened.
“Okay,” Ilya said. “It’s called the Godking’s Brawl. It’s a really famous tournament that happens once per decade.”
“If it’s really famous, how come I’ve never heard about it?”
Ilya stared at me. “Lucia, you’ve never heard of blue cheese before. I’m not surprised you’ve never heard about the Godking’s Brawl.”
That’s fair. Even though I do feel a bit insulted.
“Anyways, it’s scheduled to happen within two months. The three factions are going to send twenty representatives each,” Ilya said. “It’s a massive tournament to uncover the top talents of the decade. Cain is pushing really hard for it; in fact, he’s the one who insisted on continuing the tradition even when the three factions were in tense times.”
“Cain’s not competing?”
“No, he’s the host,” Ilya said. “Everyone knows he’s the strongest person in the world; why would he have to compete?”
“And I’m allowed to compete for your dad?” I don’t get it. Wouldn’t I be representing the beastkin for the fae? What kind of demon would choose a beastkin as their representative? Right, Ilya’s dad would.
“As a duke, my father automatically gets one of the representative positions,” Ilya said. “But he’s old, and Cain insists for the participants to be younger than thirty.” She made a strange expression. “You’re younger than thirty, right, Ms. A Warrior Doesn’t Age?”
“Of course I’m younger than thirty!” Seriously, I am. How old did she think I was? Jeez.
“Then there’s no issue,” Ilya said. “Though we’re demons, it’s not unusual for humans or beastkin to compete for us, just like it’s not unusual for beastkin or demons to compete for the humans. Ultimately, the representative slots go to the schools and rich nobles, and sometimes those nobles think they’d have a higher chance of winning if they chose someone that’s not their race. The participants and the person they’re representing both get a prize; the participant for winning, and the other for unearthing the talent.”
So Ilya’s dad gets to leech off of my hard work? Well, that’s fine as long as I get the beast core. First place will be a cinch with my newfound strength! Ah, that’s a difficulty and hardship flag, isn’t it? I think I just jinxed myself. Well, it’s not like I’ll have to deal with poison or betrayal or anything of that sort, right?
“Oh, and it turns out the Flopsy Gang that’s been messing with my father’s territory has designs on this tournament, so there might be some unexpected danger,” Ilya said. “At least that’s what my father told me, but that shouldn’t really concern you, right? …Um, Lucia? Are you okay? You’re making a really ugly face right now.”