As the horn as sounded signalling the students assembled on the field to retreat to their locker rooms to await their respective matches the large black screen's built into the walls around the seats flared to life, displaying the neatly arrayed tournament brackets. "That's right folk, feast your eyes and make sure you don't forget. One of these teams will fight their way past their legion of competitors to be crowned the Kings of Capture The Flag, pushing their school into this years front runner."
The camera pulled away from the brackets and as it did the whole interior of the announcers box came into view. Two people sat behind a long table, and easygoing looking man that lounged with his head resting on his hand and a serene looking nun that sat stock straight with her gauntleted fists folded in front of her. The man gave a cheeky little smile and sat up. "And will be your MC's for today's festivities! As always I am the ever gregarious, ever gorgeous, ever oh so humble Adenium Alhazred and joining me today to provide her insight on battle strategy and tactics is the lovely fist of the God of War himself, Mother Superior Gloria Maximillia!"
Gloria gave her own sweet smile a bowed to the audience. "May the grace of Bishamonten be with all those brave souls who do battle today, and may he sup greedily upon the blood we are about to spill."
"Hehehehe," Adenium laughed nervously. "Remember friends, we're all here to have a good time. There are medical teams standing by, along with a few St. Laurel's alumni ready to step in in case someone decides they're not here for good time, so if you've got a vendetta check it at the door and it's bound to be there waiting for you when leave. Speaking of..."
What looked like a bubble was currently growing in the center of the arena. It expanded outward, occasionally sparking with energy as it encountered the obstacles laid out before pushing past to envelop them. It expanded to the walls of the arena and then began to blow up, like a huge oval shaped balloon, Until it looked like the whole area and a good amount of the air above it was enclosed in a giant, glossy soup bubble. Then the gloss faded, unto the bubble could only faintly be seen when the wind blew hard enough to jostle it.
"Looks like they have the bound field in place." Adenium continued. "You folks in the front row might be tempted to touch the Bound field because it's so bouncy, but I would advise against this."
"I remember when they added the electric component of the bound field." Gloria said wistfully. "We would dare one another to see who could go the longest jumping on it before the shocks rendered us unconscious. Of course, they were stronger back in the day."
"Yes, nowadays it's just enough to keep someone from trying to push their way through the field. Remember that it is protective measure, for both the audience and the competitors."
"Though you could still stick someone to it and hold them there until they pass out."
"Pardon? Are we not all here to have fun?"
Meanwhile, as these words blared from the screen that was also in the Mephisto locker room it was drowned out by a small crisis. Not only had Thobias never shown up, but it seemed like Celestine had gotten cold feet and pulled a runner. Clara had assured everyone that, as she trusted their judgement on the battlefield, she would be the one to go and search for the delinquent students. The problem was she wasn't back yet, the first match was about to start, and that left Bak and Rurik high and dry. They'd be disqualified without their third member.
So it was that Bak had gone begging.
"Please please please please please!" Bak said, hands clasp in front of her chest as she tilted anxiously in front of the trio of Yuuto, Vittorio, and Christine. "I am sure Clara will find someone before your match, but if Rurik and I do not have Christine right now we will lose before we even get to fight!"
Once she got their agreement she all but picked Christine up and carried her away to their match.
Luckily for Vittorio and Yuuto, however, Clara had indeed found someone. With a whiff of brimstone a noticeably frazzled and twitchier Gilliam was suddenly dumped out of thin air into the room. His hair was matted and unkempt, his clothing was mismatched, he smelled like a sewer, and he didn't seem to have full control of the configuration of his face. He looked around, his eyes frantically scanning the room he was in. Then, realization! "This was today?" He asked incredulously from two separate mouths before dragging himself to his feet. "How long have I been gone?"
And so the matches began and continued throughout the day, the weaker teams and fodder sent in by lesser schools falling like wheat before the farmers scythe. Henry Darge, Trevor Graybody, Goldilocks Evergreen, YOLOman, all strong fighters in their own right and yet all came up short until, at last, the tournament was within spitting distance of being decided.
The final eight teams stared at the brackets that decided their fate.
First was Rurik, Christine, and Bak VS. Andras, Brutus, and Aram. Bak scowled at the listing. Vigilantes! Traitors that they were she couldn't wait to put a missile in the faces, even it it meant facing Brutus's awful Zaps.
Next was Andreim, Lise, and Samoth VS. Reverie, Eulogy, and Misery, representing Bishamonten Seminary. Strange as their names were they had done really well for a bunch of nuns in training.
Third was Katherine, Cassius, and William VS. Vittorio, Yuuto, and Gilliam. Gilliam had managed to get calmed down and showered, but had still seemed filled with the nervous energy of a hunted animal. He spent the matches before this more concerned with scanning the crowd, refused to take his base form in public, and was even pretending that he only had super strength and reflexes, forgoing his monstrous powers entirely.
This, though, had nothing on the strangeness going on with Katherine, who had spent the first half of the day seemingly having hushed, mumbling arguments with herself that just seemed to get worse and worse as the day wore on. In contrast her performance in the arena just seemed to get stronger and stronger. Now, though? The arguments had stopped. Or maybe they'd reached some kind of stasis? Whatever the case there was an eerie glint in her eyes now.
The last was Wolf, Naseraph, and Michael VS. Meredith, Diana, and Ria. A match the Nasearph seemed strangely exited for. On the opposite side, however, someone thing weird was happening with Ria. As they fought through their matches together Ria's expression became more and more foreign to her. Even the people who had never had the displeasure on knowing her would think it was strange that a girl whose team was doing so well had such a look of worry on her face. Those that did know her knew that Ria never worried about anything.
Finally the horn sounded, calling the first teams onto the field. Which one would stand atop the pinnacle, waving their flags proudly in victory? That was about to be decided!
FIRST MATCH! START!!!