Field of Battle
“Gilbert you will be the striker, Stewart you are support,” said Cherry, delegating their positions. She, herself, was a rogue. But without any mages on their team it was up to her to make all the decisions.
“Of course,” laughed Gilbert, haughtily. He made various cool poses to show off his physique. “I have to make sure they see all my good points.”
He winked to a girl who was standing opposite from him. She held a twinblade on one hand and a shield in another. She caught him glancing at her and gave him a disgusted look before returning to her teammates.
“Ah,” said Gilbert, nearly fainting. “That piercing glare. Mireya is looking fantastic today.”
“I’ll pretend you don’t exist,” said Cherry, gloomily. She poked a rock with her knife, wanting this day to be over.
“Open the doors!” said a guard, bellowing through a horn. The call rang out and people began to take their seats. Many of them gasped when looking at the earthen stage. The fissures and craters on the platform made it look as if they were looking onto the scene of a fierce battle!
When they had all been seated a voice rang loud and clear.
“Now for the event you have all been waiting for!” said a young tomboyish girl. She leaped up, spinning into the air before landing on a rope suspended over the arena. “I am your host! Syndee! Welcome everyone to the 193rd Grand Summer Festival!”
“Hoorah!” cheered the crowd, waving the banners of their favorite fighters.
“To my right are the adventurers of Doahu City. Young bright individuals who will no doubt do great heroic deeds for our great country!”
A collective gasped went through the crowd as they all looked at the group of nervous teenagers on the bottom of the platform. They all waved back smiling, each of them carrying a unique magical weapon.
It could be said that because adventurers were so rare that many villagers could go their entire lives without seeing a single one! Thus rumors about how they towered above the common folk, slaying monsters as if pudding, began to grow rampant among the far away communities.
For several members of the crowd today. It was the first time they laid eyes on these legendary people who strived to be the greatest in all the lands.
“Ah, they are all staring,” said Cherry, nervously. “Why did I have to get stuck with this messed up team. I hope my dad isn’t watching.”
She saw a banner with a drawing of a bright young cherry on it several yards away and instantly cursed her perfect vision.
“Dad you s-stupid! What’s up with that huge sign.”
She hid her face in embarrassment, wanting to be invisible.
“Now some of you may be wondering why these adventurers all look so young!” said Syndee, “Well let me tell you! These inspiring heroes have all come here to pass their adventurer qualification test! This is a prestigious event where they will become official adventurers, able to roam the world wherever they pleased!”
The audience began to clap loudly.
“But of course such a test cannot be simple. So with their guild master’s permission. We here at the Province of En have elected to come up with a series of tests in order to prove their worth. And of course who better to judge their performance than you the good people of this country!”
The cheers grew louder, excitement boiling over the seats.
“Now the stage is set!” said Syndee, twirling a baton in her hand. “The participants are ready! Let us begin the first test!'”
Drums rolled in the background. A cage was lowered onto the middle of the arena, containing a group of men armed to the teeth. Many of them had violent scars all over their body and were missing limbs or fingers.
“Ooo,” said the crowd in anticipation.
“Based on a real historical battle our adventurers must pass through this desolate landscape in order to save a village under attack by bandits!”
A group of tiny terrified figures could be seen on the far end of the arena. They had built several shelters and walls made out of rocks, from a distance it really did look like a village.
The crowd held their breath. They were all children!
“The goal of the adventurers is to bring back the villagers to safety back at their starting area! Once they are brought back to the gates they will be considered safe and taken out of the arena. And to the person who saves the most villagers! They will win a prize from our great benevolent Governor Yu! A rare magical item!”
A ring was shown at one of the luxurious booths which housed many noble families. A butler took out the ring from a small box. It was an sapphire gemstone with three faceted crystals arranged in the shape of a flower.
“What this magical item is, even I don’t know! Secrecy is important to adventurers as is to our lord governor. After all if we all knew what it did then it would make it less useful in a fight am I right?”
Laughter rang throughout the crowd. This was indeed true. If an attacker knew a person had a ring could send out magical shield. Then they would use attacks that would bypass that shield every time! Not knowing what equipment a person had was vital to their survival.
“Now without further interruptions! Let the test begin!”
The drums rumbled in the background, foreshadowing a loud and powerful wind.
Chimes rang imitating the sound of rain. The scene of a battle beset by a terrible storm became present in everyone’s mind.
The cages holding the bandits back opened, and the men rushed out in a frenzied state, running for their lives. They had all been told if they were able to kill all the children at the end of the pit that they’d all be set free. Only a few held back, brandishing their weapons.
“We got to get going. It’ll be embarrassing if we are the last one’s there,” said Cherry, hiding her daggers behind her dress. She looked to Stewart and Gilbert. Both of them were ready. “Try to keep up!”
She ran ahead. Her footsteps touching the ground so lightly they did not make a sound.
A jolt of electricity burst from the soles of her feet up to her legs and into her arms. She grit her teeth and her body became a blur!
She ran as if she were a bolt of lightning.
Those adventurers around her had a stunned expression on their faces.
“Cherry knows accelerate!”
“What the f-”
“She’s going to get all of them before we do,” said Loch. He was a young teenage boy with a wizard’s hat and a blue crystal staff. “Elizabeth! Moss!”
The girl wearing a fluffy dress and boy with the seaweed hair gathered around him.
Loch drew the sign for water into the air, reciting his incantation for high speed movement.
“Make swift my legs. On land I sail. May water guide and never fail!”
Water formed up beneath their feet, lifting them up from the ground.
“Super speed!” shrieked Loch, striking the water.
The water began to rapidly spin forward in a circle, carrying all them on top.
“Are you sure this thing is saaafe?” said Elizabeth. Her eyes were getting dizzy as the they spun around.
“Who cares! We can’t let her beat us!”
Having started on the far end of the arena many of the adventurers were hard pressed to intercept the bandits before they reached the village on the other side. In normal circumstances, it would be fair to say most of the children would die before they arrive, but Cherry wasn’t like most adventurers.
Accelerate was a high ranking movement skill that allowed a person to cover a distance in an instant. It used electricity to speed up a person’s normal range of motion, allowing them to travel faster than the blink of an eye. The only downside was that while electricity sped up one’s movement, it also caused internal damage. Cherry halted right in front of a group of bandits, unable to go any further.
Her legs felt as though they were on fire!
“What the!” said a bandit, looking at her with shock.
“One actually made it to us!” said a second bandit, nearly jumping up in fright.
The bandits had all assumed they had at least a thirty minute head start. None of them had guessed an adventurer would have been able to reach them in less than ten!
“Looks like I’m first,” panted Cherry, drawing out her knifes. Sweat dribbled down her forehead. “Come at me you goofs!”
The bandits took up their battle stances, drawing their weapons. There were five in all. Two of them held with swords and shields. The rest held battleaxes.
“You look a bit worn down little missy. Let me help you rest!”
A bandit threw himself forward and struck down with his battleaxe aiming for her head. It was slightly angled to make it difficult to dodge, but rogues were notorious for being slippery folk. Cherry braced herself, raising her knife so that it struck the axe at its center of gravity, causing it to fling backwards unnaturally.
It was as if she had casted a magical spell upon her weapon to deflect the blow.
The bandit looked at her with alarm muttering the word, “Magi-” before getting decapitated. His head rolling on the ground.
“It’s not magic it’s skill,” said Cherry, twirling her knives. “Who is next!”