That night, Emery and his friends decided to go to the seventh mountain summit, where Roran and the other acolytes had gathered.
Upon seeing them, the brown-haired acolyte greeted their group with excitement.
I\'m glad you could make it.
Have you guys decided to join
Yes, but we\'d like to know more about your plan first.
Roran shook his head and answered.
Yeah, right, we can\'t do that, we need you to join before we can tell you more about the plan.
After all, don\'t forget we all are competing for the same thing.
Smart. Klea quipped.
What do you say, guys Roran insisted.
Emery decided to speak and change the topic.
I\'m sorry, but this is the decision me and my friends have agreed to.
We really don\'t wish to break our word later on.
Let\'s do it this way, tell us roughly the kind of plan you have in store, or we can each stick to our own plans
Roran thought about it for a second, before answering.
As you are part of the top ten group, I will make an exception for you all.
Come with me.
In this group, there are almost one hundred acolytes.
All of them have agreed to work together, except for Emery\'s team.
The meeting began.
In front of all the gathered acolytes, Roran showed a map detailing the potential layout of the battlefield they will be fighting in.
They decided on a simple tactic to gather in the center of the battlefield and maintain a defensive position.
In total, 92 of us will be working together.
Basically, we have about a quarter of the total participants on our side.
I\'m pretty sure we can achieve decent results with this strategy. Roran said.
As for who will decide the top 50 participants among us.
If after we defeated everyone else there are still more than 50 of us, we can have a fair and square battle, since we would be the only ones left in the arena.
There you go, we have a simple, but effective plan.
Upon hearing the plan, an acolyte named Dopa decided to speak up.
Roran, how can you be so sure of that What guarantees we won\'t kill each other before facing the elites
Dopa was an acolyte from Class 75.
He became a part of the group alongside the other members from his team.
He had quite a few acolytes backing him up in the group.
Roran has anticipated the question and answered.
That\'s a good question.
Don\'t worry, I\'ve thought long and hard about this, and I have prepared a solution.
Here it is.
Roran used his ring and took out an old-looking black scroll from his inventory.
Upon seeing the scroll, a few acolytes seem startled.
For you who have no idea, this is called a [Soul Contract].
Basically, this scroll is used to create an unbreakable contract between us all.
With this, we won\'t have to worry about any traitors putting our plan in jeopardy.
Emery and his friends had no idea what the scroll was, however, a lot of acolytes in there knew the purpose of the scroll.
From the other acolytes\' whispers and murmurs, Emery was able to glean the scroll was something often used among magus to create an agreement.
Then, what will happen if we break the contract written there
As far as I know, if you break it, the contract will affect your soul.
Your spirit cultivation may be damaged, hindering your progress as a magus at the very least.
In worst cases, the punishment for breaking the contract is death.
Wait, isn\'t the [Soul Contract] an insanely expensive item An acolyte interjected.
Not really, at least, not for Roran\'s family, the Hartlights. Another acolyte answered.
Roran took out a pen and started writing on the black parchment.
Afterwards, he stopped writing and showed the contents of the contract to everyone standing there.
[Soul Contract – No member of the team shall harm each other until one hour before the game ends]
Would this be enough of a guarantee for our cooperation
A few acolytes walked closer to confirm the contract was to their satisfaction.
After they finished reading the contract, they bit their fingers and drew symbols on the parchment with their blood.
Julian looked at the acolytes before staring at his friends and asking.
So, what do you guys think I do think it looks safe enough, at least.
No one in the group, even Emery, could think of any good reason to reject the offer.
In the end, everyone agreed to join Roran\'s group.
Emery stepped forward, bit his finger, and drew a symbol on the black leather parchment.
Right as he finished drawing the symbol, the mark on his hand flashed and sent bits of information into his mind.
[This is a soul contract]
[Read the agreement carefully, as breaking the contract will lead to disastrous consequences.]
[Do you want to accept the contract]
Emery signed the contract, and felt a shift in his heart, as if something had changed.
Emery realized the unique leather scroll did affect something inside of him.
The contract had been sealed.
After all 92 acolytes created their symbols on the contract, Roran took the scroll and announced.
We have a huge group.
If we want everything to proceed smoothly, we will need a leader chosen from one of us.
It was not difficult to conclude everyone would choose Roran as the leader.
After becoming the leader,Dopa suggested the group to have a vice-leader or a co-leader just in case anything would happen to Roran.
After some discussion, everyone agreed to choose a leader from those who became part of the top ten.
There were five teams, who were part of the top ten.
Three out of those five belonged to acolytes from Roran\'s class.
Roran had two very capable leaders, who lead the other two teams, Lymord, a young man with a scar on his right eye, and a curly red-haired girl named Mallara.
Emery could tell both of them were rank 7 acolytes.
But as a show of goodwill, Roran decided he would offer the position to those outside his class.
Okoye the acolyte from Akamba planet was the obvious main choice.
However, she chose to not accept the offer.
Hence, the offer fell on Emery\'s Team.
Does anyone from your group want to try their hand as a leader Roran asked.
Unfortunately, Emery realized he had very little battle experience.
He felt he would not be able to lead the team to its fullest potential.
Meanwhile, Julian raised his hand, as he felt he was up to the task.
He had some experience as a centurion within a fully trained Roman army, along with dozens of battles he had participated in.
Yes, I will do it. Julian said.
Not many people were excited about having someone from a lower realm to be a co leader, but then all agreed to give face to Roran.
With the decision taken, their preparation was now complete.
The next day, the second phase of the game would begin.
I wish you all good luck.