XXIV. Pandemonium

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The following morning, an even larger crowd of people came from the mainland to fill the stands.
The remaining competitors had arrived and stood in the arena, waiting for the announcer to begin the proceedings.

Lena kept her gaze at the ground, hoping to avoid eye contact with Hunter, who stood a few feet away.
Jace looked at her with concern, when he felt Kai's hand on his shoulder.
"Hey," he said, "What's up with her?"
"We had an... encounter... with Hunter yesterday," Jace explained, "It made us both uncomfortable."
"I bet," Kai sniffed, "He didn't hurt you guys, did he?"
"No!" Jace blurted out, "...No, he didn't."
Kai looked at Jace, then looked at Lena. The others noticed Jace's blurt-out, and expressions of concern took hold on their faces.

"Welcome, welcome everyone!" Danford announced from her tower, and the crowd erupted in cheers, "We have an exciting event planned for today! Before we go into it, however, I will pass the honor of commentating on today's events to our esteemed ice Symbol; Frederick Thompson!"
The crowd applauded, as a grey-haired, elderly gentleman in a business suit stood up in the adjacent tower, and walked up to the microphone. He wore a snowflake pin on the left of his coat.

"Thank you, Ms. Arielle Danford," he smiled, "Today's event is, indeed, exciting! It is called... Plant Pandemonium!"
At that moment, six people entered the arena in casual uniforms, three underneath each tower.

"These six nature Gifted volunteers will create an abundance of nature creatures; like a small army," Thompson explained, "You will take on the creatures produced by our gracious volunteers in groups of three at a time. The five competitors with the five smallest amounts of defeated creatures will be out of the tournament. While a group is engaged, the other participants will wait in the dugouts for their turn. Our first group is as follows... Daniel Peixegato... Ezekiel Nunez... and Lena Prasylova!"

Lena sighed, as the others went towards the dugouts.
"Good luck!" Aria half-whispered as she walked past. Dai just gave her a smile, and Luke and Jace gave her a thumbs up.
Lena smiled at them, appreciating the encouragement. All the same, she was feeling anxious, despite all the training she went through.

Before long, the arena was clear except for Lena and the two others. She recognized one of them as being the stone Gifted boy from the event on the first day, and the other was unfamiliar to her.

"Let the event... begin!" Thompson declared.
All six nature Gifted volunteers outstretched their arms, focusing, as numerous variants of plant creatures crawled up and out of the sand.

"Hey, ginger," the stone Gifted said, "Good luck, you'll need it."
Lena grunted, and rolled her eyes, as numerous plant creatures emerged and started moving towards them. Their features were widely different, though they all seemed to be mainly big brutes.

Lena took a deep breath.
"I'll show you who needs luck," she uttered under her breath.
She then sprouted water wings, recalling the tips Aria gave her yesterday. Slowly and steadily, she began to beat them, and the faster she went, she slowly began to be lifted into the air.

Before long, she was hovering. She took a moment to be proud of herself, but that didn't last long, for a brute creature roared and lunged at her. She quickly fired an ice beam, freezing the creature completely. She then flew to the side as the frozen creature fell to the sand, its arms breaking off.

Lena then formed two ice katanas, and looked to the charging forces of plant creatures bearing down on both sides. She took a deep breath once again, and charged to the force on the right, soaring towards them.

Upon reaching them, she sliced through four creatures before being punched out of the air by a fifth.
She stumbled in the air, before using her wings to steady herself.
The creature, along with three of its allies, charged towards her, arms outstretched, roaring loudly.

An idea then came to her, and she lined her katana blades with water.
She then crossed her arms, the blades on either side of her. She then swung them with great force, slashes of water flung towards the creatures.

The water cut right through the four creatures, forcing the pieces of them to fall to the sand.
Lena half-chuckled, impressed with herself. She then heard a scream of fear, and noticed the stone Gifted boy, who she assumed was Daniel, crawling on the ground away from a group of five creatures in fear.

"These things are unstoppable!" he wailed, backing up against the wall of the arena in complete fear.
Lena then swung her blades upward, and a massive wave of water glided towards them at speed, pushing all of the the creatures into the wall. The impact caused the wall to crack, much to the audience's worry.

Lena then flew towards the creatures, and with careful swings, decapitated all five of them.

She soared above the crowd and back down into the arena, noticing the other boy, who she assumed was Ezekiel, struggling using lightning attacks against the creatures.

She flew down and landed on her feet, her katanas and wings dissipating. She then balled her fists and mustered all her strength, and thrusted them forward.
A wave bigger than the previous one formed and flew forward at a faster speed, the height of it towering above the first couple of rows of audience seating, and almost as wide as the arena itself.

The wave crashed through Ezekiel, as well as all of the creatures on that end of the arena, sweeping them up into the water, and forcing them to crash onto the ground, the creatures dispatched.

The wave dissipated once it reached the end of the arena.
Lena gazed in shock at what just happened.
Ezekiel, who was drenched from being swept by the wave, looked at her in amazement, as well as Daniel, and the audience.

Lena's friends were all shocked as well.
"That was... a big wave..." Dai said in amazement.
"That was incredible!" Aria exclaimed excitedly.

Lena breathed heavily, herself surprised by what she accomplished. She then heard snarls from behind her, and she turned to see that only seven creatures remained.
With a smirk, she formed her ice katanas, and pointed a finger at the first one. A small ice beam fired from the tip, and the creature's feet were frozen to the ground.

She then charged at the creatures, running at them. Once she reached the creature whose feet she froze, she took one of her katanas and sliced through its abdomen, severing it from its legs.

The other creatures proceeded to charge at her. The closest one punched downward. Lena dodged, its fist hitting the spot where she once stood. She cut off its arm and then its head in swift motion.

The third and fourth came along side by side. She jumped at them, plunging her katana blades straight through their necks. She fell on top of them as they fell on the ground, flipping over them as they landed, and herself landing upright, pulling her blades out of them as she did.

The fifth then charged up and tried to grab her with its arms.
She cut off both its arms, then slid underneath its now handless arms and cut through its legs with one blade. The now limbless creature fell on its stomach, unable to move. Lena then finished it off by quickly stabbing through its head.

Finally, the last two.
Lena threw her two katanas at them. One landed its blade right in the chest of the one on the left, while the other missed.

She then raised her arm up as the left one fell, and water spears formed around her. She then thrusted her arm forward, and all the water spears shot towards the right one, all plunging straight through it.

As it dropped to its knees, and then dropped to the ground, its body wilting away, the silence that came over the arena was deafening.

Lena breathed heavily. Her hair and clothes were filthy and she was worn out. The cheers that then erupted from the crowd took her by surprise. Her friends cheered with extreme excitement, and she looked at them, a feeling of pride growing within her.

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