Chapter 1063: The Game Began!
Neverwinter held the first National Sports Meeting on the Victory Day.
Roland had simplified the process of the game, so there was neither an opening ceremony nor a running commentary on the match. However, this could not stop it from becoming a major event in the city.
Early in the morning, everyone spontaneously rushed to the Kingdom Main Street with a little stool or a felt-padded cushion in hand, since they all wanted to grab a nice position to watch the game. Most of them went out with all of their family members. Such a huge stream of people attracted lots of peddlers. They carried snacks and beverages on their backs, peddling along the way.
Considering that most people in the city needed to walk at least 28 kilometers to the middle section of the Kingdom Main Street, where the finish line was located, Roland decided to start the race at 2:00 pm. By doing so, he could allow more time for the spectators to get ready. Still, beyond his expectations, he soon found out that he had underestimated their enthusiasm for this game. By noon, this place had already been tightly surrounded by about 10,000 enthusiastic spectators, and more people were still coming here.
As the king of Graycastle, he did not have to huddle together with the common people. The Ministry of Construction had built a stand next to the street a day before. There were around 100 seats on its platform, which were reserved for the senior officials of Neverwinter. Some soldiers of the First Army also were placed around the stand to ensure their safety.
“Your Majesty, here’s the roster of the 1,462 participants.” Scroll came up with a thick stack of papers in hand. “But due to the limited registration time, I only categorized the information and analyzed the data rudimentarily. If I had two more days…”
“That’s alright.” Roland waved his hand to stop Scroll. “We are holding this sports meeting to boost people’s morale for the expedition. We can’t afford any delay.”
When he glanced through the roster, he found out that Scroll was just being modest. In such a short time, she found out every participant’s address and resume and recorded all the information in an orderly way. Roland believed no one else could do a better job.
In the roster, he came across some familiar names.
One was his old buddy, Yorko.
Another one was Lucia’s younger sister, Ring.
He also saw the three alchemists from the former capital city’s Alchemist Workshop.
He was happy to see them approve the sports meeting’s proverb, “the most important thing is to participate”, as none of them had any chances of winning the game, even though there were no witches involved in this match.
The names of the participants, who were more likely to win the race, were on the first page.
Roland saw that the top two names were Ferlin Eltek and Carter Lannis. He asked Scroll, “Do you think the champion is going to be either the Morning Light or my Chief Knight?”
Scroll smoothed back her hair and replied with a smile.
“Your Majesty, it’s almost time.” Barov, who was in a seat below, reminded him.
“Well, let’s get started.” Roland put down the roster and picked up the telephone next to him.
Guelz wore a desert-style fighting robe and was warming up before the game. He asked Rohan, “Do you know what the great chief is going to do to make all the participants in the two regions start running at the same time? The two starting lines are on the opposite sides of one another and all of us will run toward the middle of the street. Fairness is the most important thing in the holy duel. If this race is a little bit unfair, it’ll damage the great chief’s reputation.”
“Who knows. That doesn’t matter at all.”
Rohan complained in his heart before replying with a little embarrassment, “Father… Could you please take that headband off? And the fur around your waist…”
He had never expected that a magic movie, The Wolf Princess, would’ve influenced his father so deeply. They had spent a large sum of money to watch the movie, and since then, his father had become obsessed with the Wolf Princess. Recently, he had repeatedly praised Lorgar’s beauty and reproached himself for asking her to cover her wolf parts to avoid criticisms. The movie made him realize how stupid and cowardly he was and regretted that he had not done his fatherly duty which was to accept and protect his daughter.
Rohan understood his father’s feelings, but he felt really uncomfortable seeing him dressed like this. Guelz wore a headband with a pair of toy wolf ears stitched on it. He also wrapped a strip of fur around his waist as a wolf tail.
“You’re the chief of the Wildflame clan! If someone from the Port of Clearwater were to see you dressed so silly and if they were to pass it on to the Mojins, how would you face the other clan chiefs in the future?”
Rohan yelled in his heart.
“This is my compensation for her. Don’t ask me to take them off again,” said Guelz seriously. “The courage she displayed in the magic movie made me feel ashamed. Stick to the road of your choice and never let anyone else’s opinion shake your resolve. That’s what I taught her, but I myself failed to do so. The best way to cope with criticism is to confront it. If more and more people are willing to accept this look, they won’t think of Lorgar as a monster.”
“…” Rohan opened his mouth only to find out that he was lost for words.
“I heard you question the credibility of this match.” Suddenly, a voice came from behind. “You aren’t from here, right? You’ve no idea how talented His Majesty is. He’s invented something called the telephone to exchange instant messages with people from far away. And did you notice those things above?”
Rohan turned his gaze toward the place the man pointed at and saw two big black cylinders up there. He could hardly think of how they were going to pass messages to the race participants.
“It’s called a loudspeaker! It can magnify the sound by several dozens of times. There’s another loudspeaker near the start line in Longsong District. They are both connected to His Majesty’s telephone. In this way, he can give an order to all the participants at the same time,” the man explained proudly.
“Oh! That’s great!” Guelz said while clapping his hands. “As long as it’s a fair game, I’ll try my best to win the match!”
“By the way, uncle. Your body’s really strong… The winter’s just ended so it’s still quite chilly. Aren’t you cold in that short robe?” The man looked at Guelz with interest. “And this headband with wolf ears—”
“Oh no, here it is…”
Rohan closed his eyes in embarrassment. He assumed that the man was going to ridicule his father’s outfit and that his father was going to feel awkward or furiously beat the man up. If that were to happen, they would inevitably make a bad impression on the great chief.
“You’re cosplaying the Wolf Princess, aren’t you? I like your outfit…” The man said. “Can you tell me where to buy it?”
Rohan could not believe his ears.
“Hahaha, this outfit…”
When Guelz was about to answer the man, a harsh sizzling noise suddenly came out from the loudspeaker—
“Good afternoon, everybody… sizz… I’m Roland Wimbledon.”
All the people in the street fell silent.
“I’m sure you already know the rules of the game well. I just want to remind you that the result of the race is not the most important thing. You came here to challenge yourselves. As long as you do your best, you’ll be your own hero, whether or not you make it to the end. Remember not to disturb your opponents or play any other tricks in this race. Just focus on your own journey and try to win a prize with your own strength.”
“I’ll wait for you at the finish line. Wish you all do well in this game.”
“Now, please get ready.”