The two boys woke up at the crack of dawn and headed towards the tournament stadium, which was already nearly filled to the brim with spectators.
The first few rounds of the tournament, as they learned, would be thousand-man brawls in the stadium arena, designed to weed out the weak. It was also a quick way of lowering the number of competitors. After all, only about a thousand or so would be accepted into the Burning Legion, and there were easily more than 50 thousand competitors.
Only 1 in 50 would be able to join the Burning Legion!
Jia Yuan wasn't nervous at all, but many of the competitors around him were. After all, few of the candidates had ever actually experienced a battle they could die in. Those who were from noble families naturally would be pampered. They might have some sparring experience with a gifted teacher, but they would never be allowed to fight a fair match with someone with the ability to kill them. After all, what kind of child would willingly throw their prized child's life away?
As for some of the competitors who had come from destitute backgrounds or were even slaves before coming, they were also clearly nervous. For all of them, the tournament was their big chance to escape from poverty, but it could also be the event that led them to their deaths.
While the tournament didn't encourage killing among candidates, they didn't ban it either, as long as it happened in the stadium. After all, what kind of army wants a soldier who can't handle some bloodshed?
Jia Yuan glanced over at Dou Di, who didn't seem nervous, but had a gaze of determination on his face instead.
That's my big bro.
The competitors were split into 8 different groups for the first round, and the rounds would end after there were only 1000 competitors left. Competitors would be disqualified if they fainted, surrendered by running out of the edges of the stadium grounds, or died.
In just a single round, 50 thousand competitors would become 8 thousand!
Jia Yuan and Dou Di both went to find out what groups they were in. Jia Yuan found that he would be in the 8th group, while Dou Di would be in the 3rd group.
The two brothers exchanged some last words of confidence, and then separated to their respective groups.
Upon arriving at the location where the competitors in the 8th group were supposed to gather at, Jia Yuan examined the people around him.
Most of the competitors seemed to be between the 2nd to 4th level of Absorption, which was fairly impressive, considering that the majority of the applicants were between the ages of 12 and 15. In this regard, Jia Yuan was one of the youngest, and given that he was suppressing his aura, which most people at the Absorption level couldn't do, he didn't stand out at all.
In fact, the only people who were standing out was a group of finely dressed youths who were chatting loudly while standing in a circle.
"Ah, Da Rong, you're already at the 5th level of Absorption? But you're only 14! How are you so powerful? Wahh, please take care of me well!" One of the few female competitors was currently praising one of the finely dressed youths. Although she was at the 4th level of Absorption, she wanted to get some security. If she could get someone to fight her battles for her, why not?
"Don't worry, Yan Dan. Who in this filthy group of competitors is a match for me? Advancing from this round will be a walk in the park, I guarantee it."
Similar conversations floated around the circle of youths. All of them were supremely confident, even if some of them were only confident for show. After all, showing nervousness at this stage could be considered shameful, not to just themselves, but to their families who had invested so much into them!
Jia Yuan didn't care about these youths. If they wanted to draw attention to themselves, that was fine. Even if they were strong, if they were grouped up on, they would be quickly overwhelmed, even if they were individually stronger than the other competitors.
They're just trying to dig their own graves...
Jia Yuan turned around and walked to the edge of the gathering area. Over the next few hours, the first seven groups each entered the stadium grounds, after which the stadium would erupt with cheers and shouts.
I wonder if Dou Di made it out okay.
Jia Yuan was worried for Dou Di, but there wasn't anything he could do about it until the round was over. Then, he would be able to search for his brother.
Finally, the 8th group was ushered into the stadium.
Upon arriving at the stadium, Jia Yuan wrinkled his nose. Thousands of competitors had already died in the stadium, and the metallic smell of blood permeated the air. Some of the competitors with weaker stomachs even started to retch just at the smell.
Once all of the competitors in group 8 were inside the stadium, the announcer introduced the King of the Fire Kingdom, who addressed the audience and fighters.
"Citizens of the Fire Kingdom, brave candidates of the Burning Legion. This will be the last event of the first day of the Burning Legion Tournament. Citizens, I hope you continue to enjoy the show. Competitors, bring honor to your Kingdom, your families, and most importantly, yourself."
" As I said for each of the last 7 rounds, the one who impresses me the most during the battle, will be given access to the royal armory and be able to take a weapon of their choice! Now, Begin!"
With that, explosions sounded throughout the perimeter of the stadium, signaling the beginning of the fight.
Jia Yuan gave a wry smile. He hadn't planned on showing off his abilities so early in the tournament, but now, it looked like there was quite an alluring prize.