On the stage area of the platform was Zushuatri along with six of his students, and Kayn. As for Sphinx and Sage, the two of them were nowhere to be seen. When the other participants saw that some of Master Zushuatri's students were missing, they began to let their imagination run wild at the possible explanations for their absence. However, no one dared to ask any questions about this matter, especially since Master Zushuatri was currently speaking.
Still, once Zushuatri said the words "Lustrum Imperial Bout", the realization started to finally sink in and the participants could not help but hold back their excitement. Besides Izroth and a few other individuals, everyone failed to hide their anticipation of the top ten announcement. Even those who knew that they did not make it into the top ten were looking forward to it.
This was the perfect chance to exchange pleasantries to get on the good side of the amazing future talents of the Mortal Realm and to build some connections. This was another huge side benefit of surviving the selection!
"I am sure that all of you understand what it means to participate in the Lustrum Imperial Bout, however, in order to avoid any potential misunderstandings I shall explain it to you in detail. The Lustrum Imperial Bout..." Zushuatri spoke in an unhurried manner as he explained the contents and history of the Lustrum Imperial Bout to those present.
Since the majority of the remaining participants already knew what the Lustrum Imperial Bout was about, there were few who listened in earnest. However, this was Izroth's first time hearing about such a grand event. He made sure not to miss a single word that left Zushuatri's mouth and quickly formed a full picture of why this selection process was so important.
The Lustrum Imperial Bout took place once every five years in a mysterious realm known as the Imperial Peninsula Realm. It was similar to the Chaotic Dogma Realm in that it could not be entered into freely and only opened up at specific intervals of time. Although the Imperial Peninsula Realm was not a place of exploration like the Chaotic Dogma Realm, according to Zushuatri, it still contained many hidden secrets that even those in the legendary realm failed to uncover.
The main purpose of the Imperial Peninsula Realm was to act as a grand stage for the Lustrum Imperial Bout. It was a neutral mysterious realm that belonged to no one, therefore, it served as the perfect place for a meeting between the various great powers.
The Imperial Peninsula Realm was split into five different sections. The fifth and utmost bottom section was a general area where the various groups would meet before the official event took place. As for the other four sections, each one was for a respective team.
The fourth section was for the fourth team, the third second for the third team and so on. Each section had a set of trials and after successfully undergoing all the trials, a grand bout was held to determine the final rankings. The greater one's ranking in the Lustrum Imperial Bout, the greater the rewards and benefits they would reap from the Imperial Peninsula Realm!
The Mortal Realm, as well as the other realms, each formed four separate teams that were restricted by one's age. While there were exceptions where sometimes the those who were younger would end up on higher teams due to their monstrous talent, such as Kayn being placed within the first team, one could not be placed on a lower team if their age exceeded a certain number.
For example, the second team consisted of those under the age of 30. This meant that anyone at or above the age of 30 would be unable to join the second team, however, they could join the first team with those who were below the age of 40. The third team consisted of those whose ages did not exceed 25 and the fourth team was made up of individuals at the age of 20 and younger.
Although someone at the age of 25 or even 20 could join the first team, it was simply unheard of due to the natural gap in strength that existed between the different age groups. After all, geniuses like Kayn did not just sprout up from the ground in the Mortal Realm.
Though what grabbed Izroth's attention the most was the purpose that the Lustrum Imperial Bout served and the opponents that would await them.
'As I thought, there really are many others out there. The question is, just how many are there?'
Izroth discovered that the opponents they would be facing did not originate from the Mortal Realm, but from other realms! While Zushuatri did not go into too many details regarding the specifics of the realms, Izroth understood that those realms were not places where humans could tread freely given the dangers and the lack of support from their own kind. This was because in most of those realms, humans did not exist or they were on the weaker end of the spectrum.
Zushuatri released a deep sigh as he said, "For the last two decades, the second team of our Mortal Realm has shown poor results while our first team has only managed to place in the top ten twice in their last four Lustrum Imperial Bouts. As for our second team... They have always been in the bottom five." There was a look of disappointment on Zushuatri's face as he spoke.
He then continued, "As for the other third and fourth team... Well, these two are not even worth mentioning."
Everyone was shocked when they heard Zushuatri's words. He was joking, right? Those powerful individuals, who made it onto the second team in the previous years and were seen as the future talents of the Mortal Realm, were not capable of even climbing up out of the bottom five?! How was that even possible? Even the illustrious first team filled with absolute monstrous talents was only able to make it into the top ten twice out of four Lustrum Imperial Bouts! The atmosphere grew tense as the remaining participants started to become nervous.
"What's this? Don't tell me you're all too scared to fight after hearing these words. With me leading the first team, so what if you brats place in the bottom five? Aren't you a little too full of yourselves? I plan on stealing all the glory for myself while leading the first team to claim the number one spot in the Lustrum Imperial Bout!" Kayn said with a grin on his face as he swept his gaze over the participants.
At first, everyone was silent. However, after a few moments passed by, Izroth was the first to break the silence.
"I, Izroth, also plan on stealing all the glory, therefore, I'm afraid the prince of the Dragon Palace will have to be disappointed." Izroth said in a carefree tone. He understood what Kayn's intentions were and decided to lend him a hand as thanks for assisting him with his Essence and his Seal of Ten Chakrams.
A grin formed on Kayn's face as he responded, "Oh? You dare want to claim the glory of this young master for yourself?" When those words left Kayn's mouth, the other participants looked at Izroth as if he were insane and had a death wish. That was the third young master of the Dragon Palace he was speaking to! Did he want to die?!
Though more importantly, the majority of the participants were curious and baffled as to how someone as weak as Izroth actually managed to survive the selection. However, he was risking all of that by having just offended the third young master of the Dragon Palace!
Even Zushuatri's six students had frowns form on their faces when they heard Izroth's bold words. With that level of strength, even if he did survive the selection, luck definitely played a major role. Therefore, how could he dare talk about stealing any glory? What a joke!
A carefree smile appeared on Izroth's face as he held up one finger and replied, "This year at the Lustrum Imperial Bout, the second team will claim the number one spot in the second layer."
"Ridiculous...!" One of Zushuatri's students could not help but unconsciously utter that word from his mouth. What a bold and arrogant statement to make so grandly before everyone. Just what did he think the Lustrum Imperial Bout was?
"The words you speak are bold. What makes you so confident that the second team will claim the number one spot this year?" Kayn asked as he narrowed his eyes slightly. In truth, even he was surprised by Izroth's grand statement. He knew that Izroth was helping him out by playing along, but he never expected him to go this far to do so.
"Because I'll be there." Izroth stated without the slightest bit of hesitation in his voice.
The others nearly coughed up blood when they heard Izroth speak. Because he'd be there? The arrogance was too much for them to handle. How could someone be born this conceited?!
"This guy is dead for sure speaking such nonsense before the third young master..." One of the participants said.
However, contrary to their expectations, Kayn erupted into a burst of joyous laughter as he roared, "Ahahaha, well said! A real man does not go back on his word! If the second team claims first place because of your efforts, this young master is willing to acknowledge you as his brother!"
What?! The third young master was willing to acknowledge him as a brother? With that kind of influence and backing, who in the entire Mortal Realm would dare to mess with him in the future?
All of a sudden, the remaining participants had forgotten their previous nerves. How could they lose out to someone like that? If he wanted to steal the glory for himself, then he would have to first do so after them, not before!
Izroth caught the attention of six specific individuals. Out of the six individuals, four of them had strange symbols on their forehead. As for the other two, one of them was incredibly mysterious and constantly shrouded by an unusual black mist. The last one, however, was actually someone Izroth had met before. It was none other than Lances, the individual Izroth had met before his first relocation took place within the selection!
"As I thought, this guy really isn't so simple." Lances thought to himself. He had witnessed Izroth's fight against those other participants and so he knew that it was not his luck that brought him along this far.
"Hmph... Did that fool Roudin really get himself eliminate? He must have gotten too arrogant and lost to one of Master Zushuatri's students." One of the individuals with a strange symbol on his forehead thought to himself. He had azure-colored eyes and hair with a handsome appearance and wore a magnificent set of martial robes. Around his neck was a bizarre azure-colored tattoo with unknown markings. His name was Zouren and he originated from the same power as Roudin.
After things calmed down and Zushuatri finished his explanation of the Lustrum Imperial Bout, it finally came time to announce the official top ten participants of the selection!
"In tenth place is Torugou Aragon. In ninth place..." Zushuatri went on to announce the placements.
"In seventh place is Lances Pride!"
Lances had actually climbed his way to seventh place! This alone showed that his actual strength was not to be underestimated.
However, the moment Zushuatri announced who placed sixth, everyone was stunned. This was because one of those monsters who was guaranteed in a spot in the top five had actually placed in sixth! This was a huge upset! But, if one of them placed sixth, did this not mean that someone else had claimed a top five spot?
At the same time, there were some participants who were secretly mocking Izroth. Now that Lances had placed sixth, there was no way that he would make it onto the second team. This meant that all that arrogant talk not too long ago was just for show. But, Izroth paid no mind to these people and simply kept a calm demeanor.
"In third place is Zouren!"
This time, the shock was even greater than last time! Even Zouren himself had a brief expression of disbelief appear on his face. Third place? How could he of all people get third place?! The excitement grew as everyone tried to speculate who it was that took the 1st place spot in the selection. However, among the excitement one of the participants noticed something.
"Wait... Isn't one of those five monsters missing?" The participant said.
"One, two, three, four... You're right! But, that's means...!" They did not dare to say those words because it was simply too unbelievable. However, it meant that not one, but two of the top spots had been claimed by dark horses!
"In second place is... I'm afraid your name escapes me, young man." Zushuatri said as he directed his gaze towards the individual shrouded in black mist. Even Zushuatri could not see through this black mist. Could it be some sort of powerful magic item?
"...You can call me Law." The shrouded individual responded in a steady voice.
Zushuatri gave a small nod in response as he announced, "In second place is Law!"
Law? Who was that? No one had ever heard of that name before now. Whoever he was, his power was certainly authentic since he managed to obtain the 2nd place spot in the selection.
'Hm? That's... A player? Interesting.'
Although Izroth could not see their information, he was certain that they were not an NPC due to the fact that it showed Player Name instead of NPC Name for that person via the system information. However, Izroth was unable to see any of his player information which was most likely due to the black mist formed around him. For a player besides him to make it to this place and even claim the 2nd spot, they were certainly a step well above the rest.
"The individual who placed 1st in the selection and shall act as the captain of the second team is..." As Zushuatri spoke, everyone held their breath. Who would it be? They wanted to personally meet this unknown dark horse!
"Izroth! The members representing the Mortal Realm for the second team have been chosen. With this, the selection of the second team has officially come to an end. Everyone, you must do your best not to lose face for the Mortal Realm!" Zushuatri announced.
However, there was complete silence after he finished speaking. What? Did they just hear that correctly? Izroth? Wasn't that the person who just spoke so arrogantly a few moments ago?! He really came in first place?!
"I object!" Zouren was the first to voice his objection.
He then continued, "Master Zushuatri, forgive me for being blunt, but how is this weakling fit to lead our second team? We'll be the laughing stock of the Lustrum Imperial Bout!"
There were only a few among the remaining participants who knew of Izroth's true terrifying strength, however, none of them dared to say a word for fear of getting caught up in the aftermath.
As for the others, although no one else said it, most of them were thinking the same thing as Zouren. When it came to being the captain of the second team, wasn't that fellow a bit lacking? It would be strange and unreasonable if everyone just accepted it and was somehow okay with this arrangement without a deeper explanation.