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amaliaverdezoto > The Selection > 19 Academy Year 4 – Preliminaries
tion toward the spectators. I focus on him and then extrapolate where his field of vision points. There are three men seated together.

"Well, of course! They're people too!" Luna exclaims and then Sitos turns back to us.

I ask, "Sitos, do you know those people? I saw you looking at them just now."

"Well, yes. It is my father, older brother, and personal trainer."

"You two are lucky… No one's comin' to watch the rest of us," Hiro says and then sighs.

"What about you, Kaister? Didn't you have Emdos?" Drugo asks. I jerk my eyebrows upward and then look in the seats around me. I narrow my eyes around everyone who are seated, eventually turning 360 degrees. Emdos is nowhere to be found. I frown.

"It doesn't look like he's here."

"Don't worry 'bout it!" Hiro exclaims and slaps me on the back.

Maybe he's one of the referees? I look around the various platforms. There are ten in total; two rows of four platforms with the third row with only two. We're located in the second row, fourth platform. There is no platform behind us. Emdos is not one of the referees close to us. The other referees are too far to identify. I notice Marin's parents inserting a blue Crystal into each of the four devices placed around the platform. I figure it's a Mana Crystal.

"We're going to be starting soon, so hurry and put on these leather garments. As you probably have been told before, these will absorb magic attacks that hit you so you won't have to worry about any life-threatening injuries," Marin's mother instructs. Afterward, we each pick out our own respective leather armors with sizes specified last week and put it on. Moments later, the sound of wood hitting each other resounds along with grunts and shouts of keywords from the other side of the Arena.

"I'll review the rules: When the method of battle is determined, one of you will step forward onto this black square and fight a member of the opposing team. Don't move or begin fighting until one of us has announced the start of the battle. You lose if you get knocked off of the platform, your magical armor loses its power, break the rules, don't make an attempt to attack at least once every 30 seconds, or we determine at our discretion. If you win, you can't fight again until every member of your team has fought at least once. Afterward, the rotation starts over, and you can fight in any order of your choice again. Losers can't fight again for the remainder of the preliminaries. In the first phase of the preliminaries, you'll fight this team until one of you is completely eliminated. That's all and good luck! My husband and I will take turns drawing the method of battle," Marin's mother explains while on the platform.

Soon after she briefly meets up with her husband before walking back toward us. "The method of battle for the first match has been decided. It's 'magic only'. Please decide which one of you will fight."

Our group turns toward each other.

"I'll go," Luna a

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