Please read the author's notes. (Examples and explanation of moves and appearance+ Monster Sources)
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Throughout the City of Orario on this silent morning, unlike the usual days of bustling traffic and the crowds of the early morning market providing a lively atmosphere, this morning was much different. The quiet streets were sparsely populated, no shops or stalls were open, all aside from one place.
Within the high walls of Orario's coliseum, the stomping grounds of the Ganesha familia monster tamers, the seats could be seen filled with the gods of Orario. Each god and their respective familia captain occupied the seats. Many saw familiar faces of the allies and decided to sit together such as Hephaestus and Miach. While others were surprised but the attendance of the much more reclusive deities such as the lovely Freya, sitting high atop the crowd in a private booth with Ottar standing behind her on her right. Directly opposite her on the other side of the coliseum, the Loki familia with their goddess is in another private booth discussing the upcoming event.
Sitting on a small couch Loki can be seen with her feet up nursing a hangover as she tries her best to ignore the sound of her main expedition teams' voices behind her.
Tiona: "This is taking so long, we've been here like an hour already."
Gareth: "It's only been 20 minutes" Sigh
Finn: "I wish we could get more information for her honestly."
Riveria: "Agreed, but, she took her training much better than I could have ever expected. Seems she might have the making of a great mage, just like her someone else we know."
Lefiya: "Thanks Riveria," she says with a slight blush, "She really did work super hard this past week. I think she'll be fine. Well, the rules changed so it's not that dangerous to be in there and we can just jump down there if it goes too far."
Loki: "Ugh, be quieter" Loki groans as she holds an icepack on her head, nursing her hangover, "And no jumping in the fighting pit. I'd hate to see what punishment HE has planned for rule-breakers."
Bete: "You think she can pull off a win Finn?"
Tione: "She's one of us so the least we can do is believe in her Bete."
Finn: "Well, we know that it's mostly level 3 adventurers in there. No word on most of them but most people decided to take a year with their falna sealed instead of competing or they just ran away from their familia. Best case, she only meets weaker level 2s until the high-level competition is done. Then it's just a matter of lasting till the end. Worst case, she meets a level 4 early. Ideally, she meets your Boyfriend if she can't win, assuming he's competing."
Lefiya: "Why him?"
Loki: "Because he will just knock her out and be done with it."
During this entire exchange, however, Riveria spotted one thing that made her entire being flooded with doubt. Finn was squeezing his thumb during this entire conversation. A telltale sign that something terrible was about to happen.
Riveria: "It's starting."
As she spoke the gates of the arena began to raise. Slowly the massive gates retreated and out walked the fully geared up adventurers that would be competing. As they began walking out the floor of the arena began to shine, eventually, the light dimmed, and instead, the insignia of the competing familias was projected in the sand. 14 familias were shown, but 1 appeared much larger than the others. At the very center, the Ishtar familia insignia was almost 5 times the size of the other. It only took a moment however for all to see why.
While Yang garnered many eyes at first because of his outstanding records, he was quickly outshone as 15 people stood to represent the Ishtar familia. Lead by 2 amazons, 13 men stood lifelessly behind them as if they were soldiers ready for war.
'What did she do?'
'This can't be allowed?!'
Many gods and adventurers alike had thoughts such as these when they all saw this blatant act of disrespect from the goddess Ishtar. Charming adventurers to fight for her in this competition was an all-new low for the goddess.
As Ishtar was receiving dirty looks from the spectators Orcus slowly made his way to the ringmaster's seat at the front of the arena overlooking all competitors. Taking his seat he raises his hand, silencing the crowd.
Many adventurers look to each other before looking at their gods, all sizing up their competition.
Standing alone on the Hephaestus insignia Yang couldn't help but feel a bit nervous. Looking towards Hephaestus ad Tsubaki he could barely manage to fake a smile for them. Receiving a discrete nod from his goddess and a beaming thumbs up from Tsubaki in response.
Pock meanwhile was staring directly at Finn. Taking one more look at his hero before beginning what can be a direct way to catching up to the man he idolizes. As he does this he completely misses the worried look of Hermes in the crowd.
Van however is much more concerned with looking at his competition than anything else, whilst Elfy is trying to calm her nerves and holding the new staff Riveria bought her so tight that it looked as if she was trying to break it. Taking one last look at her friends she closed her eyes and focuses on calming herself.
Rising from his seat and standing before the crowd Orcus caused a hush to replace the whispers of the crowd. Raising his hand he began to channel his divinity into his raised left palm before suddenly closing it into a fist.
As his divinity echoes throughout the city multiple divine mirrors appear all over the city for all to spectate the challenge, however, everyone quickly noticed that these mirrors were not to view into the arena the gods were currently seated at. Instead, they were seeing somewhere completely unknown.
As everyone began to ponder what exactly was going on the ringmaster began to speak whilst channeling even more divinity into his other hand whilst raising it high into the air. His massive form helping his already booming voice intimidate the mortals before him.
Orcus: "Chaos, is to sort the weak from the strong, those who thrive in it shall conquer all, it calls to you, conquer yourself, conquer my labyrinth, conquer the chaos. AND CLAIM YOUR MARK!"
His voice finally booms across all of the city as he quickly closes his hand and dragged his fist downward. As he does this the insignias the adventurers are standing on flash brightly blinding the crowd for less than a second as his magic takes effect.
As the light dissipates many gods and civilians are a bit startled. The arena is now empty but hosts multiple divine mirrors currently looking at their children within the walls of what is now obviously Orcus's labyrinth. All the adventurers are at dead-ends in the structure and all of them are completely alone. of the almost 4 dozen adventurers, only one can win after all.
Finn: "Well, now we know why he wasn't concerned with us jumping into the arena."
Loki: "I never expected that he'd go this far, hmmm. It makes sense really if the prize is his mark like he says."
---Meanwhile, within the labyrinth...
Whilst all the competitors were getting used to the sudden change in environment. Some were beginning to regret their choice to enter. Looking around they could see the grey magically reinforced angular walls of the labyrinth that seem to extend barely 10m before being stopped by a ceiling of the same material.
As everyone began to move forward out of their dead ends a sudden pulse of red energy passed along the walls toward the dead-end wall at their backs. As if to indicate that they all had to go toward the middle of the labyrinth. As then energy passed through the lines of the labyrinth many adventurers began to move through to corridors.
Yang, however, decided to sit down. Much to the surprise of everyone watching he simply sat down and placed his palms directly on the ground. Channeling more and more magic into them and focusing on the absurdly solid material below him as he forces his 'Seismic Sense' into the structure.
After a minute of trying he was barely able to sense the corridor, he was in and nowhere beyond that.
Sigh 'I guess I'll have to do this without any kind of map, well then, let's start.'
He thinks before beginning to run down the corridor and join the competition.