“Those of you that are here to observe please make your way over here, the area to the right is for participants only! Please be ready to submit either your guild card or press pass!” A lady with a sign held above her head yells out towards the mass of people inside the building
We are currently in the waiting area beneath the arena stands. Despite being early, we are far from the first people to gather here. To the left is a roped off area where they are shepherding what looks to be a mass of reporters and the like. The contestants seem to be in a back room out of sight for the moment.
“Hello, are you two participating or spectating?” A lady ask as I walk up to a counter with Tea
“I’m participating, but I brought a guest. Is it alright if I bring him along?” I ask while presenting my guild card
“That won’t be a problem at all. Each contestant is allowed up to two seconds to help prepare and heal them between rounds. If you register him as one he will be allowed to participate in the ceremony with you.” She explains as she slides a paper towards me
“…What is this?” I ask as I pick it up and pretend to read it
“Simply a waiver stating that your respective kingdom or alliance won’t attempt to ask for or demand compensation in the event that you are harmed in any way during the tournament. Seeing as some of the contestants are serious parts of armies and subjugation forces we occasionally have problems with people being upset when their fighter becomes injured.” She explains cautiously
Her expression makes it clear that she has both needed to and regretted explaining this before. I pity her somewhat for having to deal with so many oddballs in her career.
“So I just sign here?” I ask after finding a line with an x at the bottom
“Yes! We apologize for the inconvenience.” She says with obvious relief
Happy that I could avoid admitting my illiteracy yet again I sign my name at the bottom.
“Um… Madam? I’m sorry to admit, I don’t know the language you’re writing in. What country are you from?” The lady ask while staring at my name on the paper
I ended up writing it in Japanese, so I can’t really blame her. It’s the only language I know how to even write my name in after all.
“That’s not important right now, is there anything else you need?” I ask avoiding the question
I feel like I have more practice in avoiding difficult questions than I do fighting monsters at this point.
“In that case could you pronounce it for me? The announcer needs a name or alias to refer to you by during the tournament.” She explains with the same nervous look she had while explaining the paper
Oi, don’t go thinking I’m an oddball for something that small.
“Mano… Did you say ‘announcer’?” I ask still not fully understanding her statement
“… Please make your way to the back room. Someone should come to explain the rules of the tournament draw to you after a short period.” She says after a moment without looking me in the eye
So you know how to avoid questions too, eh?
I shrug my shoulders and decide to walk towards the back room. Before I make it too far, however, I remember something that bothered me.
“Hey, what about the guy outside? He’s part of the tournament too right?” I stop and ask
I can still see him sitting against the wall blotting out several windows. He hasn’t made so much as a sound since sitting there so I’m worried that he can’t think of a way inside.
“Oh, him? Someone came by earlier to take care of all of his paperwork for him. We made sure to prepare an area for him to watch the drawing so, for now, he is going to wait outside.” She explains while looking at him with an odd look
Her tone shifted slightly as well. I can’t quite place it, but it wasn’t the courteous tone she had been using with me earlier.
I don’t say anything and turn to walk away again.
Maybe I’m just thinking about it too much.
As we walk into the back room the difference in the people gathered becomes instantly obvious. Nearly every person in the room looks as if they are either in some kind of cosplay or a dangerous villain. You would not have trouble picking any single person in this room out in a crowd. The most normal looking people are those you would never expect to see here. An older gentleman who seems to be napping in the corner, and a rather voluptuous red hair woman seem to be the least conspicuous.
“So Tea-” I begin as I turn to talk
The look on his face makes me falter for a moment out of surprise.
“You okay?” I ask
“This. Is. Amazing! I’ve never seen so many legendary weapons in a single room before! Look! Over there is the mountains split! Oh! There’s the cursed needle!” He begins to let out in an overjoyed voice
I swear if he was having any more of a moment here he would be foaming at the mouth. If I see him make a move towards anybody weapon I might just have to hold him back.
“Ah… You…… Contestant?” I hear from behind in a familiar voice
“Hm? Ah! I was wondering when we would see each other again. Didn’t think we would run into each other right after I arrived.” I say as I greet the little girl that beheaded the orc
“Hm… should… go home.” She says coldly as she looks me over
“Are you saying I should leave?” I ask trying not to get insulted
“Yes… weak.” She says before turning to walk away
Somehow it’s even more irritating to get insulted by someone with a largely emotionless face. I’ll take solace in the fact that we may face each other.