Most of Cal's introductions were like this for the next few weeks, until the announcement. Two years ago, the leader of the United Elements died of old age. After that there was a lot of argument and division between the nations about who should be the next leader. Finally, it was decided that there would be competitions for the position. These were sponsored by large corporations. Every month since then, they had competitions, but something happened that they were disappointed with the results. Now they announced that all colleges were going to participate in the tournament.
Cal was not happy about this. If there was one thing he hated, it was the large corporations. They quickly went around to all of the well-known, powerful elementals. They offered sponsorships where the elemental would get training, mentorship, and a ton of money and in trade they would win the tournament and become the leader and do whatever the corporation wanted. They didn't explicitly say that, of course, but it was obvious. It disgusted him. His mother had been a politician, one that was very against corporations, and he knew she would be pissed about this.
He met with his friends at the bus stop. "Dude, I know you have heard the announcement. If you speak up, you could easily get a sponsorship!" Josh said.
"Not interested." Cal said in a dangerous tone.
"Damn dude. I knew you hated corporations, but i didn't realize you hated them so much that you had no common sense anymore. Think about all the money you would have." Josh said.
Cal controlled his breathing and tried to slow his heart rate. His jaw was clenched so tightly that his teeth hurt. He didn't answer Josh.
"Cal? Are you okay?" Sarah spoke up.
The bus pulled up and Cal got on without answering her. He just needed a minute to breath.
They tried to change topics, realizing that Cal was upset. Cal tried to participate, but mostly just listened with his eyes closed, focused on breathing.
They went back to Cal's to play games, and he was finally able to relax with them. At some point, Josh got up to use the bathroom and Sarah took advantage of her moment alone with Cal.
"What the hell happened back at the bus stop?" She asked him in a loud whisper.
He tried to think of an answer, opening his mouth, but then just gave up and closed it and shook his head. Josh came back and they went back to the games and then Cal decided that he was going to head to bed, so they all left.
The next day, the sponsors went through and picked up all of the powerful elementals. They announced that the tournament would be in just one week. There would be three phases. The first was the destruction tournament. It was a fighting tournament where you had to push your opponent out of the circle before they could do the same to you. The second was a construction tournament. You had to make a creation while your opponents made one and everyone could interfere with each other. The third tournament was the restoration tournament. They were given an injured partner to try to heal, whoever did the best job wins.
He was going to win this by himself. He would become the leader so that he could push corporations out of politics. It's what his mother would want, if she was still a politician.
He spent most of his time outside of classes training in private places. He could to small things okay, but trying to make large creations was something he had to train for. If you wanted to make a large wall of diamond to protect you, for example, it was a lot harder than just making a diamond. There are a lot of atoms in that wall. It took time and focus, and in a fight he wouldn't have that. He tried to figure out new strategies and techniques. So far, his best one was automation. He would do a process, like making carbon out of the air, but then think of it as a single step, rather than a long process like take carbon atoms, separate the oxygen molecules and release those. Then he could just make carbon as a step and automate making diamond as a single step, and then he could think of making a wall of diamond like painting a wall. He could drag his hands along and make the wall appear just behind it.
This was enough for the combat tournament, he decided, and he would have more time to train before the next tournament. By the time he was done with this, it was Friday, the day before everyone was going to be shipped off for the tournament. There were a lot of different parties going on and Josh and Sarah had even invited him to one that they were going to.