Book 3 Chapter 172

Tournament

"Someone from the constabulary... Oh, their uniforms look much better," Leguna whispered.

Their uniforms had changed, but Leguna recognized the badge on the man's chest.

"What do we do?" Vera asked. This was her first time in Chino and she wasn't too familiar with the empire's laws and regulations. It was best to rely on Leguna.

"Let me deal with it," Leguna murmured as he smiled at the middle-aged man.

"Is sir from the constabulary?"

"Sir's a bit much. I'm just a constable," the middle-aged man replied calmly, "You three aren't locals, are you?"

"Why do you say that?"

"We've had a lot of foreigners here lately, most are here for the tournament. You guys must be here for that as well. You guys look like warriors so I can't imagine any other reason for you to be here. I don't get why you're causing trouble here though."

"We're not causing any trouble," Leguna quickly replied, "We're just looking for someone. I was a little rash because I'm anxious to meet them. The lady that was speaking to me just now can vouch for me. You can ask her if you like."

Leguna offered the constable a gold coin as he spoke. The constable was quite surprised. He could tell the three were more powerful than the average troupe. He didn't intend to cause them undue trouble, he was just doing his job since they looked to be causing trouble. The man smiled at the generous kid.

"Since it's only a misunderstanding, I won't make a fuss." he said as he slipped the coin into his pocket.

"Thank you, Sir--" Leguna bowed enthusiastically. "--Oh, could I ask you something, Sir?"

"Oh? What do you want to know?"

"I'm interested in this tournament you mentioned. Could you tell me about it?"

"I don't mind," the constable nodded. He spent the next five minutes explaining the tournament.

Hocke and a neighboring empire, Stok, were at war and things weren't looking too good. Hocke pushed deep into enemy territory when the war began, but Stok launched a strong counter attack a year ago and Hocke was on the back foot ever since. The front-lines were currently back at the pre-war border.

The consecutive losses demolished the army and subjects' morale. Things were very shaky at the moment. The Emperor decided to host a tournament to take the people's minds off the war and boost their spirits. He hoped a strong display would boost everyone's morale and possibly attract a few recruits from outside the empire's borders.

The tournament had two segments based on the power orders -- one for the low-order, and one for the mid-order. People with one to seven strata could take part in the first segment, and people with eight to fourteen strata could take part in the second segment. There was no point in having a mid-order segment because there were just too few of them. The entire empire had less than a hundred high-order warriors, and magi of the same level were even rarer. They were all also already in the empire's service, and those not from the empire itself were big figures in their home regions and would not attend something like this. The tournament was mostly for unaffiliated individuals, but the empire did sign in a few of their own men.

The tournament had an age restriction. The low-order segment was only open to people under 20 years old, and the mid-order segment to those under 50. Everyone knew this was so only those with decent talent could participate and it would keep the tournament from being bloated with trash. There was quite a difference between the two restrictions though. The first restriction was to get talented youths who could be developed, so the restriction was as low as reasonably possible. The second was different. Even if people were 40, and where thus not likely to advance much further, they were still quite decently powerful and as such were still useful.

Leguna thanked the constable and the three left.

......

"What are you planning?" Kurdak asked as they stepped into the inn, "Still going to look for Annie?"

"Yes."

"So you're going to take part in the tournament, right?"

"Yes."

The tournament was set to happen in half a month and there was still time to sign in. It was a rushed decision, but he couldn't not do it; he had to see Annelotte again. The mansion had many servants, but no one knew where she was, and it seemed that they wouldn't tell him even if they did. He couldn't wait for her to come back either. He was sure that she would do great in the tournament, so as long as he did well too, they would eventually meet.

Kurdak cracked a smile and shot Vera a glance, "Alright. We'll join with you."

"Huh?"

Kurdak shrugged.

"We don't get a chance to join a tournament often. We have nothing better to do and we don't just want to sit around watching you, so we'll join. Plus, if we make it into the top 32 we'll get a gold coin."

"Sis, you think so too?" Leguna asked.

Vera stretched her head lazily, showing off her alluring curves.

"Yes. This ol' gal here hasn't had any action in a while. I'm bored to death."

"Okay. Let's sign up this afternoon!"


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