Chapter 233: A Perfect Opportunity! A Change of Format!
“What is this feeling? My breathing is out of control and my blood won’t stop boiling!”
“A war like this, just what will it look like?”
The greatest reason behind the existence of arcane masters was the need for people to defend against the invasion of Evil Dragon Followers. At this moment, Ayrin felt as if a weight had suddenly been placed onto his shoulders. It was a mission he couldn’t run from.
Gatling continued speaking.
“The Evil Dragon Followers’ main campsite has been discovered in the Southam Demon Forest at the end of the Cherry River! You all have been ordered to gather here in the Sacred City to create an illusion of an incoming strike. But in reality, the dragon riders of our Kingdom of Eiche’s nine great families, as well as the entire Southam Demon Corps, began a large scale operation last night. We caught the Evil Dragon Followers off guard and dealt them a great blow! All four of their outer strongholds – the Sawatis Fort, the Valentina Fort, the Blood Shadow Forest Fort, and the Bone Filled Valley Fort – have all been destroyed! Furthermore, Augustine, one of the thirteen bishops, was killed during last night’s great battle!”[1. Rowan from the prior chapter(s) is from the Southam Demon Corps. I had it as Southern Devil Corps because I didn't know Southam Demon was a thing. It's now been changed.]
When Gatling announced that the main campsite had been discovered, not many people had been too shocked. But as his next words rang across the square, everyone immediately froze in place.
“We already attacked the Evil Dragon Followers’ main campsite last night?”
“The dragon riders of the Kingdom of Eiche’s nine great families simultaneously moved?! Just what is the scale of this action!”
“Even Augustine, one of the thirteen bishops, the one called the ‘Evil Dragon Spokesperson’, was already killed?” Ayrin and the people around him, along with Morgan and Audrey’s group, who were not too far away, showed expressions of shock instead of joy as they heard the great news.
Augustine of the thirteen bishops was rumoured to have inherited the evil eye of the Evil Dragon King, resulting in an extremely abnormal right hand which contained a terrifying eyeball in the palm.
In recent years, there hadn’t been a single survivor amongst the arcane teams which encountered him. Indeed, of the thirteen bishops, he was one of the stronger ones. Bishops like Diaz, who had become one after him were completely unable to compare with him in terms of power.
An existence of this level had been killed during the night battle, making it clear just how vicious the battle had been.
“The critical points of the Evil Dragon Followers’ defense, the four outer strongholds, have already been destroyed! Their line of defense has completely fallen! All that’s left now is for all of you arcane teams which have been summoned here to attack and pierce directly into the heart of the valley!”
Gatling’s voice rang over the square once more.
“Today, you are all moving to the front lines! Take advantage of yesterday’s great victory and slaughter the Evil Dragon Followers! The future of Doraster is in your hands! Brave warriors!”
Before Gatling even finished speaking, countless arcane masters had already begun chanting and shouting as the square before the Sacred Tower abruptly turned into a bubbling volcano.
“Are we truly moving out to the Valley of Fallen Shadows today? But what about the national tournament?”
Ayrin powerfully clenched his fists, but at the same time, he couldn’t help but look towards Chris.
It was naturally more meaningful for him to participate in this battle of unparalleled proportions, but at the same time, he knew just how important and meaningful the national tournament was to Chris.
“It’s fine.” Chris immediately figured out the thought going through Ayrin’s mind. In this chaotic mess of inspirited people, she calmly looked back at Ayrin and said, “The national tournament has run to an end every single year. This year won’t be different. Only, there will definitely be some arrangements.”
“I hope so!” Ayrin replied as he nodded his head. But before he could say any more, Gatling began to speak once again from the terrace atop the Sacred Tower.
“Before we leave, everyone please take a moment to remember the beliefs and life mission of arcane masters.”
“I swear on my life to use this flesh and blood to protect the peace of Doraster. I will courageously fight against the enemies, and never give up! I swear! Glory above all else!”
Before Ayrin could react, many of the arcane masters around him had already crossed their arms and begun chanting these words.
“This is the vow of an arcane master, to protect their country with their lives and remain eternally loyal to their companions,” Charlotte quietly reminded Ayrin from not too far away
Ayrin immediately began chanting at the top of his lungs alongside everyone else.
“Only by sincerely following these convictions can one become the greatest arcane master.”
At this moment, Ciaran, Liszt and the others glanced at each other. As they watched him chanting the oath, they felt as if a halo of light had covered his body.
After the oath, there weren’t many other important points. Arcane masters of the Office of Special Affairs began to walk throughout the square as they handed sealed mission scrolls to all of the various arcane teams present.
Upon receiving a scroll, the arcane team would immediately depart.
“Dragon Breath Academy’s team! Abel Academy’s team! River Bend Academy’s team! Holy Dawn Academy’s team! Please report here!”
When about a third of the arcane teams had left, a command suddenly rang out from the bottom of the Sacred Tower.
The currently dazed Ayrin immediately became energized as he quickly ran over with Chris and the rest.
An Office of Special Affairs’ arcane master waved them over and motioned for them to enter the great hall of the Sacred Tower alongside the other three academy teams.
“It’s Angil, as well as Clancy and the others!”
Upon entering the great hall, Ayrin immediately recognized Angil, Clancy, and other important members of the national tournament committee. They seemed to be conversing with each other.
“We apologize. Because this fight is for Doraster’s livelihood, we have to use every last bit of power. Thus, after holding a meeting between those organizing the competition and those in charge in the various academies, the organizing committee has decided to make some changes to the last stages of this year’s national tournament.
Angil looked at the members of the four teams as he said with a meek smile, “Each academy team will be split into two teams, with each one being led by a teacher from their respective school.”
“Each team will be split into two teams?” Everyone was stunned for a moment.
“Indeed. In the end, we will have a total of eight arcane teams.”
Angil remained smiling as he continued, “These eight arcane teams will all be sent to the Valentina Fort, where they will receive the same tasks. As each team receives the same tasks, the two academies which end up with the most completed tasks across their two teams will be considered the winners and go on to fight each other in a final match to determine the final champion of the competition.”
“The two academies which complete the most tasks across their two smaller teams advance? So if there are two academies which complete no tasks, or only one task, while the other two academies complete two tasks each, the latter two will advance?”
“Indeed. Of course, if one fails a mission, there will likely be another one arranged. We believe that by competing this way through execution of real missions, especially ones against the Evil Dragon Followers, victory will be much more meaningful.”
As Angil looked across the faces of the members of the four teams, he nodded, “I will also reveal a little bit of news for next year. Although this year’s change was done one the fly, it has been decided that we will continue this change through next year’s competition. For next year’s national tournament, we shall assign teams various territories. Instead of having participants fight face to face atop a stage, participants will now have to invade each other’s territories to find their opponents and defeat them. By making the tournament closer to what real missions are like, it will more fairly reflect the true combat powers of each arcane master and team.”
“Next year’s tournament will undergo such a great change…”
Everyone looked at each other, looks of shock on their faces.
“This will be greatly beneficial for arcane masters like Sarina, who rely on concealment and assassination skills. Indeed, these changes will make the tournament much fairer and more representative of actual combat prowess,” Morgan thought to himself.[2. Sarina was part of Silver Trout Academy's team]
“I wonder what kind of missions?”
Ayrin shook his head with some regret.
Since it was like this, even though Charlotte, Ferguillo, Ivan, and the others had all received qualification from the Office of Special Affairs and were participating in this great war, Ayrin wouldn’t be able to participate in missions with them like he had hoped for.
“Alright, please look to see your respective teams.”
As Angil spoke in a cheery tone, Clancy and several others handed lists to the respective leading teachers.
“Holy Dawn Academy team one. Leading teacher: Minlur. Team members: Chris, Moss, and Belo.”
“Holy Dawn Academy team two. Leading teacher: Rui. Team members: Ayrin, Stingham, and Rinloran.”
“The leading teachers aren’t Teacher Carter and Liszt, but Teacher Minlur and Rui?”
Ayrin was a little stunned at the announcements. Meanwhile, Stingham began to shout loudly, “Why am I on team two! I’m an absolutely unparalleled force, I should be on team one!”
“Team one and two are only names. They do not mean anything. If you want, we can call your team number one,” several people simultaneously responded.
“No. It’s still not okay. I cannot be on the same team as this pervert, Ayrin, and Rinloran. Quickly move me,” Stingham cried.
“I was put onto a team with a fellow like this.” As Rinloran watched the antic-full Stingham, he immediately felt like it would be best if he could be switched away. Otherwise, Stingham would definitely drag him down.
“These teams are already determined. There is no changing. Otherwise, it will be treated as a forfeit.” But as a referee responded, Rinloran could only sigh in disappointment whereas Stingham fell into an extremely depressed state.
“These teams, they were separated by the teachers, right?”
Morgan was a little confused upon hearing the teams for Holy Dawn Academy. “Chris and Belo are still injured, whereas Moss’s combat ability is dependent on Sacrificial Halo, which can only be used once. It’s obvious that team two is much stronger than team one. This kind of unbalanced separation… Just what is Holy Dawn Academy playing at again?”
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