They waited for what seemed like forever, though it was only about an hour, Rhazin was growing hungry and restless. Since Exceed had started the fight, Rhazin hadn't had the chance to eat. The last time he HAD ate was before entering the city hours before.
The sky was almost when the two finally got inside the building. The inside was simple in design, yet gave off an air of greatness. Rhazin felt himself get jitters. He thought of all the heroes of old and legendary people who had walked through this very room. The FirstBorn Dorcus herself had walked through here, before going on to kill nearly a dozen Great Lizards in the Race. It was a feat unmatchable to this day, though they never found out why Great Lizards were in the isles of Murdos.
“Name,” A voice said. Rhazin pulled himself out of his head. He hadn't noticed the line move by.
“Rhazin,” he told the man at the desk.
“No surnames?” he asked, looking at him oddly.
“Not yet, sir.” The man smiled as if he heard a great joke. He scribbled a few things down on the parchment he had. “Your partner?” he asked when Exceed stepped up beside Rhazin.
“Yes, sir. The name is Exceed Draq Heron Frae.”
“Ahh, well good,” he said as he wrote some more, “This newcomer needs a strong partner.”
Exceed laughed and slapped Rhazin on the back. “Yeah, I'll take good care of him, hough I'm afraid he might not be as weak as you think.”
The man nodded slightly, now ignoring the two. “Next.”
Rhazin and Exceed made their way outside into the night air. The line had died down to only a dozen or so men and women. More would probably come tomorrow. The two made their way towards a nearby restaurant. Neither had spoken, but both of them, after smelling the delicious aroma of cooked meat, wandered into the large building.
At once, they were assaulted by the heavy scent of meats and cheese. The restaurant was made up of dozens of tables, mostly filled, and a large buffet. Behind the buffet table, the cooks cooked up more food for their customers. A few young women walked around to the tables taking up orders as well. Rhazin had never seen such a place before, but he already loved it.
“Do you like the Draq Heron ?” Exceed asked, taking a deep inhale of the delicious air.
“I think I will,” Rhazin said.
The two picked a table toward the entrance to the kitchen. It was one of the only available seats, after all. The waitress came up to take their order. Rhazin had been confused at first, but Exceed had ordered for him. When the waitress headed away from them, Exceed looked to Rhazin with a serious expression.
“What?” Rhazin asked, unsure of Exceed's thoughts. He had never seen the man serious in the breif time that he knew him.
“Are you really a Void user?” He asked flatly.
Rhazin was taken back, somewhat. Had he used void on accident? He quickly scanned the restaurant for any of the Scarred Sanction, a group of men who religiously hunted and killed Void users. He hadn't seen any yet, but he wouldn't take chances with them. He already had enough people wanting him dead for his crime.
“By your expression, I guess it's true,” Exceed said, smiling once more.
“Will you be quiet?” Rhazin whispered, “Do you want these people to hate me?” He had gone through that with nearly everyone who found out. In fact, Monstroth and his brother had been the only exceptions that weren't Void users.
“Don't worry so much,” Exceed said, once again smelling the aroma of food, “No one here cares at all. They are ruled by the Sovereign of Void after all.”
Rhazin looked to Exceed curiously. Did he mean the HighKing or the Firstborn? He was about to ask him when the waitress who had taken their order came by with two plates of steaming entrees. Rhazin's question was forgotten as he took in the sight of baked duck and fried apples. Around the plate were leaves of intricate design and a few slices of cheese. It was a beautiful sight to Rhazin, who had not eaten since early that morning.
“Well, I would say grace to the Unscarred Creator, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind us skipping it this once would he?” Without any further words, the two men began devouring the food on their plates.
Rhazin thought he might never eat again, once they had finished. The food had been above and beyond his expectations, making him eat as much as his stomach could contain. Exceed had done the same, even to the point of forcing a few bites down. The poor man had choked a little toward the end, but had done what he wanted to; He had ate two whole plates of baked duck.
After they had finished, Exceed had paid the bill – mainly because he insisted – and they ordered drinks.
“I saw who who our first opponents are in the first match is,” Exceed told Rhazin, “And where we are placed on the charts.” He took a long sip of his beverage, which the waitress had just placed in front of the large man.
“And?” Rhazin asked him, eager to find out about his opponent.
“Well... It's good and bad. What should I tell you first?”
“The good,” Rhazin said immediately. He always liked to hear good news first. It helped him endure whatever bad news was coming.
“Well, if you win this match, you go straight to fight the champion,” Exceed said. Rhazin's heart raced. That meant if they could best two matches, the duo could head out first and get a head start on everyone else. “But...,” Exceed continued.
“What?” Rhazin had a bad feeling.
“We are going up against the HighKing in the first round,” Exceed said, “And if we lose, we start last.”
“The HighKing!?” Rhazin shouted, “How are we gonna win against a man that powerful?” Others around the restaurant looked their way, but Rhazin and Exceed both ignored them.
“The HighKing isn't our problem,” Exceed told Rhazin, “It's his partner.”
“What do you mean?” Rhazin asked the man, feeling truly confused.
“He's taking along a woman named Darana,” Exceed said, “Does that name ring a bell?” Rhazin shook his head. He remembered the woman from the camp, but she just seemed like any other guard. Exceed sighed. “Her full name is Darana Dower. And if you don't know that, then Dower is the name given to those who win the Great Race.”
Rhazin's eyes widened. “So we have to deal with the HighKing and a previous winner?” It seemed unfair somehow. The HighKing was sure to be powerful and this Darana had won the Race before. There were less than a dozen winners in the Great race, so she had to be powerful and smart.
“Yeah, but the HighKing isn't a problem,” Exceed repeated.
“I'm not sure I follow, didn't he beat you before?” Rhazin asked the man before taking a sip of his drink. Sadly, it had gone cold/
“No, he had found me after I broke my leg in an accident and gave the Race up to take me to a doctor's hut,” Exceed said.
“But he is a Plasma Master, why couldn't he do it?” Rhazin asked, confused again. He knew that Plasma users could speed up the healing process, but Masters could do much more. They were immortals, after all.
“He isn't a doctor and the bone had to be re-alligned, otherwise I would have a distorted leg,” Exceed said, “Now, this Darana is ruthless.” Rhazin was almost tempted to keep Exceed talking about the Plasma mystic, but decided that their opponents were more a more important subject.
“Go on,” Rhazin told Exceed.
“OK, so this is what I'm planning...” Exceed explained his battle strategy for almost half an hour. It was a simple plan and easy sounding, but there were problems. So, Rhazin and Exceed sat talking about how to improve the plan to make it the most effective.
After another half-hour, the two men had finally come to reach an agreement. They were confident in their plan, so they decided to head to sleep. Exceed already had a room in a nearby hotel with a spare bed, so the men headed that way, eager to get some sleep and rest their full stomachs for the upcoming battle.
Rhazin and Exceed stepped into the large arena, coming into view of thousands of people. Whatever sense of security Rhazin had felt before entering was washed away.
There would be no way to avoid people seeing his Void mystics and possibly his Darkness.
Luckily, he had told Exceed that he had a mental condition that gave him a split persona. It was believable enough, due to it being used continuously by Void users. It was the only way to explain their actions and avoid revealing the truth of the Darkness. Not to mention, there were other mental conditions out there. People believed that it wasn't Void mystics causing the split, but a brain defect. Hopefully, though, no one would make a connection between the split persona and Void users.
On the other side of the large arena, two gold doors opened to reveal the HighKing and the woman Rhazin knew to be Darana. Rhazin never knew why people used gold to make things. It was inexpensive and common, true, but it was also weak. Maybe they found it pretty?
The HighKing waved at Rhazin, making his long battle-robe flow side to side. Darana just nodded, though it was hard to see the nod from how far away she was. The woman wore leather armor, but it looked to have silver rings under it. It was a HighGuards uniform, alright, just like Exceed had said the night before. They were made for being light, yet taking heavy hits.
Rhazin took a deep breath, trying to clam his nervousness and, surprisingly enough, his excitement.