Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 280: The Tournament (2)

Jess and James had prepared as best as they could. The change of the exam to a public event had come as a surprise, but the two adventurers decided to join anyway.

Not because they thought they were able to win and get a piece of epic equipment. The two wanted to go after the prizes for the lower seats. The top 5 got epic items and the top 10 would still get a rare item. The top 20 could get a set of potions.

And everyone in the top 50 would get a coupon for the Turquoise Anvil. If they managed to get into the top 50 it might enable them to buy a rare item in the future.

They had spent the week farming materials in the dungeons. They knew it was futile to try and increase their leveling in such a short amount of time, but with the additional money, they were able to improve their equipment.

It was nothing fancy, they couldn ’t get anything fancy even if they wanted to. But it wasn ’t too shabby either. They had spent more time than money on haggling and researching their gear.

James wore a mix of plate and mail armor. Everything he wore was centered on the chain mail they had once dropped in the dungeon. It was an uncommon drop called ”Glimmer of Chivalry ”. It allowed him to multiply his defense when protecting one other female party member.

With this, he could play the role of an off-tank despite the rest of his gear being more centered around improving his attack capabilities.

Jess similarly had an uncommon set of rings that gave her the option to store mana over the day and recover her full mana pool in an emergency. This enabled her other equipment to be a mix that of attack, evasion, and additional mana regeneration. It increased her survivability instead of being a glass cannon like other mages.

The venue of the tournament was the Delta Stadium. A huge structure that had been used for international sports festivals like the Wonder Games. It had been a refugee camp during the early days of the catastrophe when dungeons and portals went rampant.

This was the first official event ever since the district had calmed down with the entrance of the Chrona Empire.

There were two lines at the stadium. One was the audience waiting to get in or buying tickets at the counter. The other was the reception for participants. The masses of people surrounding the stadium clogged up the streets for miles.

Several thousand contestants and several hundred thousand viewers were slowly filling the rooms and ranks of the stadium. It reminded James of the past. When things were normal. If he just ignored the various kinds of weird magic equipment some among the crowd wore.

He could not have imagined this a year ago. When they were struggling with random monster invasions and dungeon breaks. When the volcano would rumble every day and their only choice was to either die in the wilderness full of monsters or a city full of monsters that had an active volcano looming over it.

James wondered. Who would have thought they could back to days where a crowd of excited people was mingling in public without the fear of a monster suddenly popping out of thin air?

This had all started as a simple recruitment for a clan. The adventurer guild joined in. The church joined in. Even the Empire and the leadership of Delta did not stay away from the spectacle.

Jess and James finally reached the reception counter where they showed their proof of registration and got a slip of paper that showed they were participants.. Thanks to their level being below 35 they managed to join the PVE Tournament. It was dubbed like that because participants competed by fighting monsters with increasing levels.

A lot of people would not have joined if the guild didn ’t assure everyone ’s safety. Not only could they revive they were even offered to repair their equipment for cheap before and in between the rounds.

They had just passed the counter when they heard a commotion in the back.

”Get out of my way! Do you not know who I am? ” a bulky man was making his way through the crowd like an icebreaker.

”Oh no… it ’s that guy again. ” Jess moaned in annoyance beside him.

”Well, it ’s the price for increasing the scale, ” James commented resigned.

”But what is he even doing here? Isn ’t he in the PVP Tournament? ” she asked but James could only shrug his shoulders.

With the exam becoming a public tournament co-administered by the adventurer guild Minas Mar ’s original bn of some unruly people was lifted. The overbearing Adventurer King had registered on the same day that it was open for everyone

The couple hurried to the participant quarters. They really didn ’t want to get involved with this guy or his party. Was what they thought.

”Why am I assigned to the same break room as the low-level scum?! ” the burly man ranted to one of the guild officials who was sweating and trying to explain that there was a mistake with his application. This was an impromptu decision because there was no place anywhere else. They could only fix it after the next round.

The king and is party didn ’t seem to notice but James could see a small smile around the corners of the staff ’s eyes. This was definitely not a mistake. Had Minas Mar used their influence to mess with this guy?

James was all for getting back at the man, but why did they have to suffer for it? In tacit understanding, neither nobody in the room spoke a word for the time they stayed. Nobody wanted to give the angry elephant in the room a reason to pick a fight with them.

Shortly before the round started the bull and his party were led away.

For better or worse, everyone was able to make a sigh of relief when the first round finally started. Their nervousness before the start of the tournament was suppressed by the tension, they had felt confronted by the very real possibility of leaving the stage before even entering it.

Fighting a monster was better than being in a room with an agitated tyrant.

Like gladiators, they entered the stadium through a row of big gates. Barriers split the stadium into several hundred fields where they would face off against the monsters. All participants had entered the stadium for the entrance ceremony.

”Ladies and Gentleman! We welcome you to this very special event! It is the first of its kind here on Urth and hopefully not the last! Before I continue, how about a thundering applause for our brave contestants? ” the voice of an announcer echoed in the stadium and was followed by several hundred thousand cheers.

The adventurers in the arena were stunned. Big screens in the stadium showed close-ups of them. It became hard to breathe in the rush of claps. He had never seen so many people at once. All their eyes were on them- Jess gripped his hand hard, bringing him back to the present. He, too, clenched her hand tightly.

”It ’s great that everyone is so motivated. I will now explain this competition. In the next three days, these valiant people currently in the arena will take part in the first half of this event. In these next three days, we will see them fight otherworldly beasts of increasing levels to prove their skill.

The latter three days will be a PVP-Tournament involving the participants above lv. 35. You can look forward to duels involving some of the strongest adventurers of Delta!

Please don ’t despair if you did not get a ticket for the full length of the event. Everything will be aired live on TV and crystal screens in all public spaces.

The rules of today are simple. The participants have to defeat the opponents that will appear in their field. What tricks, skills, items, or pets they use is up to them.

As the well-informed spectators may know, the level range for this part of the competition is 25 to 35. To make sure everyone gets a chance to show their true skill the guild has prepared opponents of up to level 40. ”

The presenter made a short pause to give people time for processing the information and there were a few oohs and ahhs audible in the stadium. It was already quite a challenge to fight creatures at the same level as oneself. It would be undeniable proof of their strength if the participant really managed to slay creatures several levels above their own.

”But what is there to win? The Guild Minas Mar has sponsored 5 epic items for the top5, 10 rare items for places 6-15, 25 sets of rare potions for the top20, as well as 50 coupons for the Turquoise Anvil as prize for the top 50. The winner will be able to commission a personal item from Minas Mar.

Although only the last 50 can win a prize, there is no need to lose hope. As this originally started as the recruitment exam of Minas Mar anyone who proves their skill can be scouted by them.

On top of that, any participant can get a certificate of participation as proof of their performance. They may even ask for footage of their fights. These are backed by the Guild and can also be used to ask for an adjustment in adventurer rank. ”

Murmurs filled the audience and the participants. This was new. A first. It felt like a report card for adventurers. It was official as even the guild recognized these results. Some of the participants that had pulled out started to regret it.

Why? Minas Mar was not the only guild. Even if those guys currently participating were not scouted by them, they could use a good result to apply with other guilds and clans. Even if they were not the best in the turnament, having definite proof vs someone that still needed to be tested was an advantage.

A small number also talked about the adjusted prizes.

”Without further ado, let ’s start this event! ”

The adventures not part of the first round returned inside while the others found their fields by following the instruction on the paper they got at the reception. Jess and James were among the first group of participants in the first round.

In the first round, they would need to fight against 3 monsters at lv.25, 26, and 27 respectively. They were not sure how exactly the monster would enter the field until suddenly a portal opened. Two tall figures jumped out before it closed again.

They were Gnolls. A mix of hyena and man standing at almost 2 meters. One was a shaman the other a warrior. It matched their own party. The fight was not really hard. Even though they looked monstrous, humanoids had not too much of an advantage against human adventurers when it came to power. With the level advantage, they had easily overpowered the duo.

They took a breather and could see that everyone else was also fighting Gnolls similar to theirs. They had not much time to watch as the portal opened again and they got ready to face their next opponent.

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