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He was a dark and stormy knight. Stormmaster, as no one but he called himself. Today was the day of the Grand Melee, which meant today was the day Stormmaster would make his name known. He donned his navy blue armor and polished his Aquarius, before catching a Road to the town square.

The Colossos towered over the thousands of warriors below. The releasement of its barrier and the clearing of its Road marked the opening of the tournament. Stormmaster would have one hour to prepare before he entered the fight of his life. He exchanged pleasantries with other knights whom he knew by name and examined those whom he did not. The top fighters were notably absent from the initial stream of contestants, which was most likely to prevent them from getting swarmed. They were undoubtedly already inside the Colossos, preparing to compete.

Stormmaster was worried less about the small number of elites and more about any potential wildcards that he could encounter. He could hold his own against someone like Ursa, but a direct counter to him would end any hope he had of winning the tourney. He took his place in the hub of the Colossos, almost twitching with anticipation. Upon the third bell toll, the Grand Melee would begin. He readied himself, praying to his Aquarius to give him strength.

The first bell toll. He could feel his skin bristling with mana. The interior shielding of the Colossos was about to disengage, and he had to act fast if he wanted to come out ahead.

The second bell toll. He glanced around, knowing that, in participating in the Grand Melee, he risked death or even capture. Anyone standing next to him could be his end.

The third bell toll. He felt a moment of nausea but quickly recovered. After blinking several times, his vision cleared.

He was standing on a grassy hill off to the side of a plain. Stormmaster was grateful for the high ground, even if it put him out in the open. In the distance, he could see Ursa Major forming a protective seal around Ursa Minor, but he quickly brought his focus back to himself. He had to concentrate if he was going to get this right.

Taking deep breaths, Stormmaster summoned every ounce of his being into his body. He found the faintest scratch in the membrane and began to pour millions of gallons into breaking it open. Just when it seemed like he had wasted his mana, the smallest tear opened in the sky. He watched as a single raindrop fell on his visor. Ecstatic, he felt a light misting descend on the battlefield. This was more successful than he could ever have hoped for. As the ceiling began to darken ever so slightly, Stormmaster ran down the hillside to find cover.

A shrill cry brought Stormmaster’s attention to the plateau in the distance, and he climbed up a tree to safely observe. His heart froze when he saw the cause of the scream. Chrysalis, the warlock, had made her return to the Grand Melee. Stormmaster had only heard stories, legends of Chrysalis, but never in his life did he think he would ever meet her. Petrified, he watched as hundreds of fighters froze in a translucent crystal and began to orbit around a glowing sphere, which got bigger and brighter with every passing second. He practically fell out of the tree as he fled away from the plateau.

Stormmaster found a cave in which he could stay hidden from the disastrous conflict that was occurring on the plains. The rain was a light drizzle now, and the cave acted as a natural funnel which he used to fill up his leather pouch. If he wanted to maintain the downpour, he would have to rehydrate himself. He drank as he watched Ursa Major get torn apart by the ferocious storm of crystals. While Ursa Major had size, Chrysalis had firepower. It wasn't long before Ursa Major began to break apart, as crystals had grown in the deep gouges left in the ethereal skin, pushing them even farther apart. He watched as Ursa Major was destroyed and Ursa Minor was added to the unending storm surrounding Chrysalis.

A heavy rain started to fall, and Stormmaster thought he might have heard some thunder, but he was too focused on staying hidden. Chrysalis was bright enough to be seen from any point on the battlefield, and he doubted if more than a hundred people remained. She never killed anyone, only captured and ransomed any fighters back to the families who were able to pay. If someone like him was captured, he doubted he’d have anyone who would pay to get him back. He watched as all the elites were taken down one by one, all of them being frozen solid and swept up by the incessant storm of crystal. His stomach started to hurt, but he kept on drinking.

Lightning struck in the battlefield. Stormmaster was having trouble keeping water down, but his storm had built up to the point where the sky was almost pitch black and the rain was a heavy downpour. This was his moment, any second now he would get a chance to defeat Chrysalis.

Three bell tolls were heard throughout the Colossos. Three contestants remained standing. Stormmaster looked around for the third and spotted a bright flash in the middle of the plains. Janus, son of Roadmaker, exited a white scar extending from the sky to the ground. Stormmaster had exited the cave he took refuge in and approached the same hill he started at. Chrysalis remained still, standing just in front of Janus, who appeared to be opening the bright scar further with every passing second.

Lightning began to strike more frequently now. The wind started to pick up, almost knocking Stormmaster off his feet. Janus was too small to be hit by the lightning, and Chrysalis had a protective shield of crystal surrounding her core. Stormmaster saw Chrysalis seem to hesitate, but upon nothing exiting Janus’s doorway, she froze Janus faster than he could blink and swept him up in the hurricane of crystal.

Two bell tolls. Stormmaster stood tall on the hill. Hurricane-speed winds were accompanied by an unending deluge and a deafening lightning storm. Chrysalis started moving towards him, circumnavigating the blinding door that stood between them. She floated in front of him, threatening to end the Grand Melee in an instant. Stormmaster stayed firm, tuning out the countless thoughts telling him he was doomed. He could feel crystal start to form on his armor.

Suddenly, a flurry of metal birds emerged from the portal, with a number of them surrounding Chrysalis. Before she could even retaliate, a bright flash erupted from the sphere inside the hurricane of crystal and metal, blinding Stormmaster. He felt his mana out of reach, and the storm immediately let up. He found that all the mana in the immediate area was gone, and he wasn’t able to maintain the storm anymore. When he opened his eyes again, he saw Chrysalis fall out of the sky. She barely missed Stormmaster, hitting the side of the hill and rolling into the scar, disappearing in a flash of light. Every fighter simultaneously broke free of their crystal prison, immediately falling unconscious. The scar abruptly closed, the remaining metal birds falling out of the sky.

One bell toll. Stormmaster had won by default. The storm disappeared completely, and he threw up from the amount of water he had consumed. As the inside of the Colossos began to reform, he picked up one of the metal birds. It was misshapen and cracked, but he could make out words on it. “Foundation Containment Drone.” He thanked the mysterious metal bird for defeating Chrysalis. Stormmaster placed it down as he felt the Colossos reset, marking the end of the Grand Melee.

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