And now comes the next chapter. Since the last fight was fairly quick, this chapter will depict three fights: Ronnie Anne's, Paige's, and Molly's.
Who will be their opponents? You'll just have to wait and see. ;)
Now, let's answer some reviews:
1) Nobody245: You'll get to see it now!
2) Zombie D-Man: I know, right? She's kinda like Molly in a way; her Epithet doesn't sound like much, but she knows how to make it work.
3) Mr. Haziq: Thanks!
And now, to the chapter!
Lincoln's ears were still ringing from all the cheering, but he was mostly fine besides that. He did feel a bit of pride over the fact he actually won his first tournament match.
He'd certainly try to keep in contact with the Persephone girl, too. She seemed cool.
And keeping the cool was a good idea, since he stayed calm just in time to enter the resting room-or whatever it was called-and found...
"Mera? Indus? What are you doing here?"
"Indus dragged me here," Mera rolled her eyes. "Said that it was important I tell you something."
"And that is?" Indus asked with a smile.
"... You did really well during the fight."
Mera began to blush. "I'm really… happy you managed to find a new way to implement your Epithet. One that never occurred to me once."
Mera's blush spread across her cheeks as she looked everywhere, before taking a deep breath and muttering:
"I'm… proud… of you…"
Mera shot a furious look at Indus' gasping expression of joy, though something else caught her attention before she could beat him up.
This being Lincoln hugging her.
"Have you ever fought in a tournament before, Mera?"
"Not really; my Epithet was so detrimental to my health, that I was bedridden for practically my entire life," Mera shrugged as she returned the hug. "At best, I got to watch the Epithetlympics once in a while, but that was the end of that."
Lincoln hummed. "So this was an entirely new environment for this Epithet…"
"Lincoln, listen; I'm not going to take back what I said just now. I really do feel proud of you," Mera put her hand on Lincoln's shoulder while Indus squeed in approval. "But I want you to be extra careful moving forward. Things are only going to get harder from here, so I need you to use the utmost caution while using Fragile, understood?"
"Yeah, understood," Lincoln hugged harder. "You don't have to worry about anything."
"I wish that was the case," Mera sighed as she and Lincoln separated. "Anyway, I think the next fight is going to happen soon, so we should get to our seats."
Lincoln nodded. "Sounds good to me."
"Hooray!" Indus grabbed Mera and Lincoln and wrapped them both in a hug. "The Salamin-Tarbellas shall sit together! Like a family!"
"Hey, watch it!" Mera yelled. "You're gonna hurt Lincoln!"
Meanwhile, at the audience seats, Molly sat on her seat, tenting her fingers while staring at the next upcoming fight. Ronnie Anne was on one side, while a new student she hadn't seen before was going to the opposite side.
The fight between Lincoln and the girl with the Pathetic Epithet didn't last long, so if the rest of the fights lasted just as long, her match might come sooner rather than later…
And that sent shivers down her spine.
"Oh hi, Molly!" Lincoln chirped as the girl slightly jumped, then sat down. "What's up?"
"I'm on the very last match of the first set," Molly answered while scratching her head, Lincoln's family sitting down as she spoke. "So I've been mentally preparing myself for when it comes."
Molly began laughing awkwardly, at least until Lincoln flashed a reassuring smile and stated:
"I'm sure you'll do great. You have my support."
"The one who needs support right now is Ronnie Anne, guys," Mera pointed out sternly. "Keep your eyes on the arena."
"Yes, ma'am!" Lincoln and Molly exclaimed in unison as they faced the arena.
"ON THIS CORNER! SHE'S GOT THE LOOKS OF AN ANGEL, AND THE POWER OF ONE TOO! EVERYBODY PLEASE WELCOME MOLLIE!"
The winged girl waved her hand, flapping her wings as the audience cheered for her.
"AND ON THIS CORNER! SHE'S TOUGH! SHE'S ROUGH! AND SHE'LL SEND YOU HOME CRYING TO YOUR MOM! A ROUND OF APPLAUSE TO RONALDA ANNE SANTIAGO!"
"Geez, why do you have to make me sound like a bad guy?" Ronnie Anne muttered as the audience cheered.
And once the cheering ended, the girls exchanged looks, Ronnie Anne narrowing hers as she looked at Mollie's serene expression.
Mollie motioned her arms and a set of wheels were launched straight to Ronnie Anne, who ran towards her.
The tomboy dodged the wheels as they came, until eventually, she leapt right in front of Mollie, who could only gasp as Ronnie Anne created an energy baseball bat and shouted:
The angel girl was struck by the bat, and sent flying straight into a wall, which she slid down as Ronnie Anne landed on the ground and stretched.
"Mollie is out of bounds!" the referee exclaimed. "Ronnie Anne goes to the next round!"
Ronnie Anne took a deep breath and dusted herself as the audience cheered, with her catching a glimpse of Lincoln and his family cheering for her as well.
However, something else quickly caught her attention: Leni sitting among the audience, clapping slowly while sporting a wide-eyed, approving look.
Ronnie Anne rubbed her eyes and looked again… and Leni was nowhere to be seen.
She decided to leave after that.
A few more fights later came Paige's turn, the girl pocketing her hands as she got on the arena and the announcer shouted:
"ON THIS CORNER! HER NAME SHOULD BRING TO MIND A POPULAR SAYING! PAIGE!"
The girl stretched her legs and kept her hands pocketed as the audience cheered, a confident smile on her face.
"AND ON THIS CORNER! HE MIGHT LOOK LIKE A SIMPLETON, BUT HE'S GOT THE BRAINS TO CARRY HIS OWN WEIGHT! RUSTY SPOKES!"
The redheaded guy groaned as the audience cheered as well.
Rusty took out an object and empowered it with his Epithet, launching it straight to Paige just as she took out something and threw it at him.
"Huh? An apple?" Rusty hummed and felt it for a bit. "Hmm, its warm."
Then he saw the faux missile he threw coming towards him.
"OH NO! ITS WARM!"
Rusty screamed and ran out of the stage, the object striking the warm apple that Rusty had thrown away.
But by then he had ran out of the arena, with Paige smirking as the referee shouted:
"Rusty is out of bounds! Paige goes to the next round!"
Paige shot a few kisses at the audience, with her only stopping when she saw Ronnie Anne shooting her a look, chiding her to take it seriously.
At that, she rolled her eyes and walked away, Ronnie Anne lowering her eyelids as she did.
With even more fights flying by, Molly took a deep breath and paced back and forth at the break room.
"Okay, Molly, no need to panic. It's your fight… the last fight of the preliminaries… where everyone will be seeing you and judging your every move-"
The girl squeaked and turned around, letting out a sigh of relief when she saw Lincoln enter the room.
"My heart almost jumped out of my mouth!"
"Sorry, I should've knocked," Lincoln remarked. "How are you feeling?"
"I wanna say I'm good, but I'm honestly terrified," Molly put a hand on her cheek. "I try my hardest to tell myself to not worry, but then I end up reminding myself over how everyone will be watching me, and if my other Epithet were to come out…"
Suddenly, Lincoln walked to Molly's side and put a hand on her shoulder.
"Don't think about it. The audience, the people watching, act like they're not there. Just focus on beating your enemy, and on ending the fight as quickly as possible. And most importantly…"
Lincoln raised his fist. "You got my support."
Molly looked at the fist, then smiled and gently bumped it.
"ON THIS CORNER! FROM SWEET JAZZ CITY, THIS GIRL MIGHT CLAIM TO BE DUMB, BUT DON'T LET HER HUMBLE NATURE FOOL YOU, SHE PACKS A PUNCH! MOLLY BLYNDEF, EVERYONE!"
Molly stretched slightly while the audience cheered, the girl taking the time to wave at the Salamin-Tarbellas waving from their seats.
"AND ON THIS CORNER! HE MIGHT NOT LOOK LIKE A BIG DEAL, BUT HE'S GOT SINISTER INTENTIONS! AND HIS NAME IS SILAS!"
The gothic boy remained unfazed as the audience cheered. And truth be told, this made Molly grow concerned over what he was planning.
But alas, it was too late to back down. She now needed to go to the next round without revealing her other Epithet.
Silas tapped the ground, a small light blue circle briefly flashing before he ran to Molly, who did the same.
The duo exchanged a few blows before Solas grabbed Molly and spun twice before throwing her, the girl catching her balance and managing to slide before she fell off the arena.
Suddenly, an ethereal bear trap emerged from the ground and struck Molly's leg, sending a sharp pain without actually damaging her limb.
"It's okay, the trap's an illusion," Silas explained as Molly dropped to her knees and he approached her. "It's not really there and your body's not being mutilated. But the pain is still very much real."
Molly gritted her teeth as Silas reached her and folded his arms.
"I can lay down a lot more of those. So if you don't want to feel your body giving out-"
But he didn't get to finish: Molly flashed sharp teeth before grabbing Silas' leg and throwing him right off the edge, the guy rolling a bit as Molly calmed down and caught her breath.
"Silas is out of bounds!" the referee shouted. "Molly goes to the next round!"
And as the audience cheered, Molly laid on the ground, the leg that was struck by the Illusionary bear trap twitching as she tried to move it, to no avail…
Meanwhile, Sylvie and Lisa looked at the Arsene Amulet while it was inside a tube, their glasses shining as a machine released some papers with some info on them.
They checked the papers, and while Lisa narrowed her eyes, Sylvie gasped in disbelief.
"Now there's no way around it," Sylvia sighed. "With these readings, its clear that someone definitely used the amulet."
"Now the question becomes who did it," Lisa scratched her chin. "And why…"
Sylvia hummed… then winced. "Lisa, I might have an idea on who could've used it."
Lisa raised an eyebrow, and if Sylvie's expression was anything to go by, she wasn't going to like the answer...