Chapter 18 – Martial Competition
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"Here's your room." Simonne said while gesturing to a door at the far left corner of the hallway. "My room's just beside the staircase at the front. You can talk to me if you ever need anything."

Simonne waved his hand as he left Kaiji on his own.

"So this is my new room...?" Kaiji entered the door and looked around the inside of the room.

The space inside, although was not that small, wasn't that big either. There was a white bed placed at the corner along with a white bedsheet made of linen and a pillow. Beside the bed, was a wooden desk, which was filled with bundles of parchments and writing tools, and a stool to accompany the furniture. Aside from that three, the room looked completely empty and desolate.

"..." Kaiji felt as though he was still dreaming.

It had been only a half year since the day he had left the Church. Everything— his friends, the priest, Sister Lily, the Church, everything that happened back then, the peaceful times, now only remained as memory for him now. He clenched his fist at that notion.
  
  
  
What transpired that time still lingered to his mind like it only just happened yesterday.
   
     
   
     
"Run!"

"Ahhh!"
  
  
*Crash*
   
  
"Don't move!" Countless men donned in heavy armors poured out from the entrance, their metal equipments constantly clangoring against the breaking limestone tiles. They entered the gates like they were an army of ants, numbering for about a hundreds or less of soldiers.

Everyone inside the church started screaming and running like insane, particularly the children, who numbered the most of them. Some of them began to hide underneath the wooden benches, underneath the statues, under the stairs, anywhere they found it to be safe; while the others, especially the church's personnel, escaped at the back exit only to be met by another hundreds of soldiers.

"Why are you doing this?!" An old man wearing a white robe embroidered with golden symbols, hollered out in a utter rage. "This is the sanctuary of God!! How dare you bring your weapons inside and act as if you own the place?! I don't care even if you're the Royal Knights, you've tarnished the holiness of the sanctuary with your sins!!"

"Cheh." The one who led the whole army of the knights made a derisive smile and snorted as he made a motion using his mouth.

*Spit*

"YOU!! YOU... IMBECILE!!!" The priest screamed in absolute outrage, his face bulging in a red hue as if it was about to explode.

"Capture everyone here, specially the children." The knight completely ignored the priest as he gave out orders to his soldiers. "Make sure no one gets out."

"...!"

When the children of the church saw all those hundreds of armored knights moved nearly at the same time, they felt as if the end for them was nigh.
  
   
"Come here!"

"No!!"

"I don't want to go!!"

"Stop grabbing my leg!"

"Let go of yourself!"

"No!!!"

"Don't run!"

"Waaaahhh!"
    
     
  
It was utter chaos.
    
   
    
Kaiji closed his eyes as he firmly shook his head.

  
'I don't want to remember it anymore.'
    
   
    
Kaiji took a deep breath as he sat down at the edge of the bed.
 
  
"..."
  
  
He let his body slump down at the soft, comforting mattress of the bed.
  
   
"I need to get strong."
  
 
  
That's what he needed the most.
  
  
  
---
   
      
   
"The Martial Competition will officially start at the end of this month. It only meant that the contestants who'll participate in the competition will only have thirty days to prepare before it begins." A muscular man without a top proudly stood at the center of a raised wooden platform and shouted in a domineering deep voice. His bulging muscles and tight sinewy chest became a wholesome sight for everyone. "So wisely use your remaining time to train for the battle!"

"I'll definitely participate!"

"I need to prepare!"

"Ooohh! I should probably watch."

"The Martial Competition?"

"Yea! This only happens once every ten years so we mustn't tarry any longer! Let's get ourselves ready!"

"Where am I?"

"This Competition will surely be great!"

The crowd instantly bursted into a wild riot, discordant chattering and loud squeals overwhelmed the entire floor as the everyone of them talk to each other, seemingly without a care about how loud their noises were, regarding about the upcoming Martial Competition.

"But no matter what happens during the Martial Competition, Cathloy will definitely win the first place at the rankings!"

"That's right! He surely will!"

"But there's still that Simonne right? I heard he's quite strong."

"What? Are you siding with that demon? He's just boasting about his strength, don't mind him since Cathloy will just beat him up at the Martial Competition anyways."

"But are you certain he's joining at it?"

"Paah... that demon loves to fight, I'm pretty sure he'll join the competition. And when he does... Cathloy will knock him hard at his arse in a split second."

"Yeah! That's what he gets for messing with his brother, Welfer."
  
  
  
The sound of chattering continued on for a while.

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