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This article, Invitation to Blood Shed: Journey to the Pergrande Tournament!, is property of Zicoihno.

A Undeniable Invitation: The Mysterious Messenger Appears

The streets of a certain city were bustling, people were everywhere. It was a holiday seemingly, everyone took it upon them to clog up the streets.Sanjo had just got a drink from a bar, he made his way up a building. Landing softly on the roof, he took in the sight. The building wasn't huge, but it was nice to be able to see things from afar. A habit he has had since childhood. He yawned a little, he hadn't got much sleep.

"Damn I should check up on my job listings and funds. Jeeves should have it all compiled." Sanjo always told his little sister that being grown up was no fun when it came to money. But all that Sanjo had, that palatial cliffside home of his was a result of his hard work alone. "Well I better get going" he thought. He was about to leap off the building, when he felt a presence appear behind him.

He quickly turned to see a young woman in dark clothing with a white cloth draping over her head and around her neck. She looked like she was about to break into a bank. Sanjo narrowed his eyes at the woman. "Who are you?" She looked at him, having a calm and blank expression. She put forth a envelope and signaled him to take it. Sanjo cautiously approached her and took the envelope from her.

"That shall allow you verification of your accomodations." she said faintly.

"What?" Sanjo said. He tilted his head in slight confusion. Who was this woman? What Accomodations? He looked back at her. "You're not actually gonna just give this and leave are you?" he asked sharply. "You are to enter the Pergrande Tournament. There you will compete with some of the best for whatever reasons you desire." Sanjo looked at her, a bit dumbfounded.

"I am to? So I have no choice. I have to answer this call up and participate in whatever thing you mentioned. Who the hell are you -" She quickly cut him off. "It is the call of the committee, it's an honor and you have no choice eitherway." She replied calmly, she showed no real emotion to speak of. Sanjo was not thrilled at this development. "And what If I don't?" She walked over to him and whispered something in his ears. Sanjo's eyes widened in shock.

"That's how it is. Now you must leave today, the tournament begins in two days time. You must travel to the Pergrande Kingdom." Sanjo raised an eyebrow at the statement. "That's far, very far. Anything else?" he asked, with a hint of disgust in his tone. "There aren't much rules. But you can only bring up to 3 people with you. Be aware of that. " Sanjo stomped his foot.

"That's it! Damn it woman, whose-" She began to walk away slowly. "All the other details are int he envelope. My name is Mari, I came on behalf of the committee. They wish to see you present. As a Wizard Saint, it makes that more an enjoyable contestant." Mari said.

The wind blew hard, blowing her head cloth to the side. She quickly disappeared. Sanjo could of followed her, but there was no point. He was just in utter shock. "What in the hell just happened?!" he thought. He was just forced into competing in some tournament in some distant land, for god knows what. Sounded like a story book plot. Sanjo sighed, "How did this happen". But he knew he could not refuse this invitation. But first he needed to find some people and he knew just who.

Mari zoomed through the forest. She was a quick mage, no doubt. She had to make it back to her safehouse and then go back to the committee. It was an annoying job, but she enjoyed it strangely. She was really interested in why the committee wanted the 'Golden Lion' to compete so badly. But she already knew there were some really interesting participants this year.

She suddnely stopped, she looked to the communication lacrima strapped to her wrist. She was recieving a message. She activated it. "Is it taken care of?" a dark voice calmy asked through the lacrima. She took a moment to think. "Yes sir, it's all been taken care of He knows the deal." The lacrima glowed as the voice began speaking again. "Excellent. Now report back and well done." It cut off.

She lowered her wrist, things were going as planned. The tournament was very close, it was gonna be huge. The competition had actually been put on hold for a few years, but it was back now. Those competing would be deadly men and women. Made one wonder about how the stadium would hold. Mari sighed, "I need to hurry up." She disappeared with the wind once more.

They have Mage Tournaments?

After leaving the city, Sanjo made his way back to his home. It was eventful day to say the least, it was still the afternoon though. Sanjo had to make a decision on who to bring, he knew who, but wondered how to get them in time. Now in the surrounding areas of his home, Sanjo is trying to act out how to ask them to come with him.

Sanjo stroked his chin, "Well with Richard it shouldn't be that hard. Just simple explanation would work." he thought to himself. He sighed, "But damn it's been a few months since I last saw him. Big favor on short notice, crap." Sanjo was feeling a little down now, it didn't seem hopeful for him. He slapped his forehead. "How the hell am I gonna convince Lana?!" He shrieked at the very thought of it.

"Her temper is no joke, she won't be too happy with my proposal. Damn I wanted to see her all these months, but never got to going over there. This can't bode well." He exhaled a deep breath. Sanjo gazed up into the sky, he shielded his eyes from the sun with his forearm. "Well gotta do what you gotta do." Sanjo resumed walking when a sound caught his attention. He looked over to the brush near him.

"Show yourself punks. I'm not in th-" "Who are you calling a punk Sanjo?!" shouted a familiar female voice. Sanjo eyes widened in surprise, he did it now. "Calm down, as if he knew we were coming." said another voice. Richard and Lana walked out of the brush and over to Sanjo. Richard was smiling, but Lana was now scowling at the blonde man. Sanjo scratched his head, "What are you doing here?" he asked.

"Well we both wanted to visit you, it's been a while. huh" Richard remarked. Lana looked away from Sanjo, she was not happy anymore. Sanjo could tell this would not go too well. "Anything new happen?" Richard asked. Sanjo rubbed his hands and called for them to follow him on a walk.

"Well apparently Siata joined Fairy Tail." Lana smirked at the statement. "So now she's a little rookie mage. What are you worried about her." Lana caught up with Sanjo and Richard. She looked over to Sanjo, waiting for an answer. "Well considering my household, she's probably one of the stronger female mages there. Not really worried about her skills, but her judgment." Richard narrowed his eyes at Sanjo. "Meaning..."

"Just as it sounds, she does some careless stuff."Sanjo replied quickly. All three became silent. This visit was not going how Lana would of wanted it to, but she kept a stern expression. Sanjo decided not to beat around the bush anymore. "I have a problem/issue/favor/ proposal for you two." Richard shook his finger, "enough with the slashes, get to the point." Sanjo suddenly stopped walking, the other two paused as well.

"The Pergrande Tournament? First off that's far from here. Second, when did they have big time mage tournaments?" Richard asked in confusion. It's not often you were asked for such a favor. Not to mention for something so out of place. Lana sighed, "I've heard of it actually. Not as famous as it once was. So you want us to join your team and fight with you?" Lana was getting straight to the point.

"No surprise here, that's Lana for you." Sanjo thought, as a smile cracked on his face. "We've been through quite a lot, this could be a hell of an adventure." Lana put her hand on her forehand in annoyance. "An adventure, that's how you refer to it? We've been bored, but this is serious stuff." the young woman snapped. "Well I'm in." Lana suddenly looked at Richard. "Come on Lana this is it." he remarked.

Sanjo was certain Richard was onboard. Now on to Lana, she was interested, but not convinced. Sanjo eyed her long jet black hair and matching eyes, along with her curvy figure; lovely face. He had wanted to see her for a long while, not for laughs alone, but to spend time with her. This was not what he had in mind, but had to suffice. Lana thought on the issue. Richard suddenly spoke up, "Wait don't you need 4 members for your group?"

"Well that's the total, not the minimum. Also I think we shall meet our new companion there." Sanjo answered with a shrug. Lana let out an emphatic sigh, she had made her decision. "Well someone needs to keep you two in line. I'm in." she said. Sanjo smiled, "Alright Team Vista has been formed. Now we just need to get to the transportation depot from the info given to me; we are set."

Lana thought back on Alia's words. Recreational time had to wait, this was a favor for a good friend. But this was definietely not how she wanted things to go. But at least she would be with Sanjo, she figured. Lana wasn't the type for all this mushy crap, but Sanjo was different for her. "This is gonna be interesting." Richard said with a smirk.

Quieter Days

It was just another day at Headquaters, well the Headquaters of the Fiore Royal Military. Just another afternoon, nothing of note happening. The the headquaters had a notable loss in population, since many generals took over bases situated around Fiore. So the day was going well for most. Low level soldiers were walking through the halls, getting in paper work and all that jazz. But the day wasn't great for all them.

"Crap!" shouted a dark-skinned young woman as she flung several papers in the air. "How the hell do I get stuck with so much paper work. All the time!" she shouted. She shot her near by assistant a quick glare. "How? How is it that theres always more kid?" The young man gulped, you don't want to make a Commander mad. "I'm sorry Xena -dono...." he said nervously.

Xena shrugged and regained her composure. "Naw I'm sorry for losing it, I just really HATE paperwork." she said, a cool tone comforting the young man. Xena was a rather laid back woman, just had a hate for paperwork. A hate that was famous, and got her trouble with the top dog every now and then. Xena was stuck with it for now though. "I need to get out of this office." she groaned, stretching out on her chair.

She suddenly got out of her seat. "I'm going for a walk, see ya kid." Xena remaked laughingly. Xena rushed out of the room, not even paying attention to the young man's words. She waltzed through the large halls of HQ, eager to relieve herself of this stress. Apparently it was hard to be lady like and being a Military heavy weight.

"Well I guess I could bother Giotto. Franz is not to be messed with though. Oros likely isn't here." Xena storked her chin, as she pondered what to do next. She made it a point to hang out with her fellow Commanders. They were the top fighters of the Military, and alot good and bad things came with the title. For one most men were too intimidated to make a move on her, despite her beauty.

Xena chuckled to herself, "I know just what to do..." she said to herself deviously.

BAM!

Xena suddenly barged through the double doors of the Supreme Commander's office. A dumb idea, and yet somthing to keep her entertained. But she was saddened to find no one was inside. "Where is that old man?" She thought looking around the room in confusion. She hear footsteps and turned around to see the Supreme Commander's assistant and head strategist of the military, the renown Tina Amakusa.

Xena sighed, "Oh it's you Tina. Where is that guy? I was gonna nag him to pass the time." Xena said it in such an amusing manner. Her sheer boredom had pushed her to this state. Tina sighed at the remark."Raimo went out with his wife. I think he took the rest of the day off as well." Xena shook her fist. "So he gets to go out, while I die of boredom? Damn it!" Xena exclaimed. She lightly knocked her fist against the wall.

"Seriously Xena? I think you overdoing it. I'm sure you can find something to pass the time." Tina said with a weak smile. Xena searched her face for any hint of sarcasm. "I'm not amused. It's just been quiet around here, very quiet."

A Nautical Misadventure: Setting off to the Pergrande Kingdom

The pier of Lasolas city was bustling among other things. This pier was located on the northern coast of Fiore, a popular area for ships from the Pergrande Kingdom to dock. Of course this was the destination for Sanjo and his friends to make their way to the Pergrande Kingdom. Ships were ready to set off, workers shouting for people to board their respective ships.

Lana had medium sized bag hanging from her right shoulder. She packed the essentials, and would stock up on other things there. The brisk wind braced her for a moment, she shivered a little. "Will you clowns hurry up?" She called, turning around to her companions. Sanjo had a bag slung over his shoulder. Richard had a backpack, he was looking around to find the ship.

"It's that one, we should hurry." Richard began to walk towards the ship, leaving the others behind. Sanjo sighed, "You ready Lana? Isn't that too little for a lady to carry?" He asked, with a sincere tone. But the naive question did not sit well. She kissed her teeth at the comment. "As if you would know. I will stock up other stuff there. I just borught some essential clothes and a new outfit for combat." Lana replied as she adjusted her bag strap.

Sanjo scratched his head. The sound of seagulls were clear as day. "New?" Lana turned to him with a cocked eyebrow. "Did you think I normally wear this outfit in battle? I need to be ready all the time over there. It's not like we can trust this 'committee' anyhow. It's alot more comfortable too. You'll see it in time." She said. Lana smirked a little. Sanjo started daydreaming of other outfits for her, but he snapped out of it in time.

Lana had already taken off to the ship. Sanjo shook his head in disbelief. He could hear Lana and Richard shouts above the murmuring of the passing crowds. Sanjo ran for the ship and jumped onto the deck. He quickly gave the worker his ticket and walked over to his friends. "Yea warn a guy, you know." Sanjo remarked. Lana shook her head, "This is gonna be interesting."

Yet deep down Lana was happy to have this makeshift team together again. Richard was easy to talk to, making for amusing times. But being with Sanjo was the highlight. She didn't know why, but she was anticipating something to happen between the two of them. But she wanted to focus on the now. Richard stretched his arms and let out a big yawn. "Well we should head to the lounge. We're the only group still on the deck."

The three of them crossed the deck towads the commons level of the ship, where the lounges and inship restaraunts were. It was funny that this nice ship was taking them to where they could possibly lose their lives in hellish combat. But the three would keep their wits about them, being coerced into a competition would make one cautious of their safety.

They entered a nice lounge, this ship seemed to have mostly civilians. But they knew there were fellow rivals on board. "Let's get a seat guys" Richard remarked, he took a seat at a table close to them. Sanjo and Lana followed his lead. "Well this place is nice and yet makes me uneasy." Lana said, tapping her fingers on the table.

"Some of these people have given us strange looks. I guess all the 'money' holders are on here. So I doubt any of our fellow competitors will try anything." Richard shrugged. "Just relax, if they try anything it's over. We're a strong team after all. You can tell to right Sanjo?" Lana raised an eyebrow. "Tell what?" she asked, Lana jsut wasn't following them. Sanjo folded his arms across his chest. "That none of the people worth our time are on this ship." the young man replied.

Lana looked at Richard and then at Sanjo. "Or, you guy are just being reckless and blind. Don't let your guard down. Especially not you Sanjo, I know you. In casual situations you're too carefree." Lana said, with judgmental tone of voice. Lana would not have any of their carelessness today.

Richard suddenly stood up and pushed in his chair. "I'm gonna check the rooms out. Lana, you of course have your own room next to Sanjo and I. I need to sleep a little." Richard remarked. He gave a smile and went on his way.

Sanjo shook his head, a smirk across his face. "Hey Lana?!" he called. She rested her face on her palm. "What?" she asked, stern as ever. Sanjo's smirk got bigger."Let's go explore the ship, bored as heck anyway on here. The front of the ship should be nice. What do you say?" Sanjo asked, his boredom was obvious as day. Lana smiled a little. "Sounds like fun."

Suddenly Sanjo grabbed her wrist and pulled her from her chair. He quickly pushed it in. She blushed alittle, but he was too busy to notice. He lead her out of the lounge, seemingly excited. Sanjo was normally a calm and collected guy, but when he was excited, it was obvious. The older people surprised by the sudden exit, shook it off as "young people being young people".

Sanjo and Lana walked side by side to the frontal portion of the ship. This area was less populated, mostly just workers here. The subject of their conversation was the tournament of course. Lana was worried about Sanjo being reckless on things since it was a competition, but knew he wasn't naive. "It's gonna be interesting, that much is sure." Lana remarked.

Sanjo looked at her. "You know, the popular name for the Pergrande Tournament is the 'Hell Tournament". I wonder why that is." He asked, his hands in his pockets."Likely due tot he difficulty. Must one hell of a competition." Lana remarked half-heartedly, she didn't want to make too many assumptions on these things.

"Close, but not quite." said a raspy voice.

The two quickly turned to see an old man in sailor apparel. It could be assumed he was a veteran worker on the ship. Sanjo raised an eyebrow, "And you are?" he asked cooly. The old man walked over to them, but still kept a relative distance. He coughed a little, "Just an old man whose seen many like yourself before." Sanjo could tell this old man wasn't too healthy at all.

"Like myself? How long have you been sailing gramps?" he asked with a smirk. "Don't call me gramps. I've been on the seas for 50 years, and I have seen dozens and dozens of mages make their way to the Hell Tournament from here." Sanjo crossed his arms. Lana stood in silence. "So what's the story on the nickname of the tournament?" Sanjo asked. He figured it would be good to know.

"Why is it called the Hell Tournament? It's simple really." He coughed again a little." Because when you step into the ring, you step into a virtual hell. Little to no rules. A violent struggle to stay alive in hope of the small chance you advance considerably. And somehow clinch the title of world champion...." The old man let out another series of light coughs.

"That is the essence of the hell tournament...." The old man had a serious look in his eye.

Lana wasn't too interested in any of this, but it didn't hurt to know. " Real interesting and all. But this is importaant. Are there any big competitors on this ship?" Lana asked with a serious tone. She set her eyes on him, it was time to be serious. "Not that I know of." He shrugged. A bell rang out, it was time to get to their stations. "Well I must be off young ones. Good luck, I hope to see you alive on your ride back."


Richard had decided to take a nap, but that didn't work out. It would still be a while till they reached their destination. He figured he should pass the time with a walk. He made his way down the levels, though the ship had some wealthy civilians. There was still criminal trash waltzing around down below. These were the competitors who didn't have anything to lose.

The young mage decided he should watch his back, just in case. "Damn I should of went with them." His mind wandered alittle. The tournament was bound to be fierce supposedly. It had him somewhat excited, but the fact that his good friend was coerced into this did not please him. He went down some steel stairs into a huge storage area.

"Seems like passengers can go where they want." Richard said to himself. He looked around him, just crates and crates. Riichard heaard multiple footsteps from behind. He sighed and slowly tuned to see what he was expecting. Several mages, probably no names, stood before him. They didn't seem to friendly though, but combat between mages on the ship would be a serious issue.

Richard figured he would avert any type of conflict. "What's up gentlemen" he said with a shrug. One of the men gave him a cold stare. " If we just take out the stronger competitors together earlier, we have a better chance at the prize." He said deviously. The others nodded in agreement, they had their mind made up.

Richard smirked at the statement. He scratched his head, this was in no way intimidating. "Hey hey, what's this about. How about you all calm down." In that moment they had dashed towards him in an angry assaut. The smile never left Richard's face as he quickly pulled a scalpel and subdued each of them quickly.

He hadn't killed any of them, but left them on the ground. Richard shook his head in taunting disappointment. "You guys were careless, you're gonna need alot more then that to handle me." He said with a smile. Their groans were almost depressing, that had been to easy. Richard saw it was time to leave.

"This tournament is gonna be alot of fun...." Richard remarked to himself.

Arrival at a New Land: The Hell Tournament Beckons

The ship layed anchor to a huge port, magic cranes had begun unloading crates from the storage areas. The port was filled with large ships, the sounds of seagulls clear as the radiant sun. Sanjo stepped foot onto the concrete pavement, and let out a sigh of relief, relief from being on that ship any longer. They were finally here, at their destination, the checkpoint to their fates- the Pergrande Kingdom!

Richard yawned alittle, stretching out to wake himself up better. They had their bags, now onto the next step. "Well we're here, it's time guys." Sanjo said with smile, he gazed up into the sky. Lana squinted, "Well I think those magical vehicles are for us. We should get over there." Lana took off, Richard followed her lead. Sanjo's happy expression to a somewhat serious one.

"I worry about this committee. They went through alot to get fighters like me here. I'll get to the bottom of that later."He thought to himself. Lana beckoned him to hurry up. Not wanting to risk her wrath, he made his way to the car. It would of been a normal car ride, but Lana insisted on going over how they would do things. Many things were on the minds of these young mages, but the biggest wonder was this "committee".

The vehicle stopped before a massive hotel, the building was impressive and eye catching. Richard whislted at the sight of it. "It is impressive." the driver said. Sanjo tapped his seat. "Thanks for the ride man." Sanjo said, he got out of the car after Lana. The man looked the three of them. " Good luck.....surviving it all." He sped away.

Richard shook his head, "That doesn't sound promising. Well let's get some rest for tommorrow." Lana nodded in agreement. " It's the first rounds tommorrow, we are one of the last matches though. So we have enough time to see all our rivals, well most of them." She said folding her arms. Richard qucikly turned to Sanjo." Yea but what about a 4th member? Wouldn't be better for us?" he asked nervously.

Sanjo smirked, "I think that may of been taken care of. Tommorrow should make things clear." He looked over to Lana who was admiring the architecture. "Hey Ice Princess, need any help with things in your room." he had a cool tone as he made that remark. Lana jutted away, "As if you idiot! Let's just go." Lana didn't want any other weird things going through her head about them, little did she know Sanjo was in the same situtation.

Richard wanted to press the issue, but decided to take Sanjo's word on things. The promptly made their way inside and checked in. Their rooms were next to each other. Tommorrow would be the start of a great battle. They may of had their suspicions, but little did they know things were gonna get crazy in time. The Hell Tournament was upon them , a new challenge.

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