Cal stepped out of his dorm building, the misty air filling his lungs with the smell of mornings from his childhood. He had always loved early mornings. He still hated waking up, just like everyone else, but being out in the early mornings was the best feeling in the world to Cal. There was barely anyone around, the world felt abandoned. The sun rise giving a soft shine to everything, especially the dew on the grass and trees. The sky a beautiful gradient from pink to blue. No sounds but those of the fountain splashing water, the breeze blowing through the trees, and birds chirping as they flew overhead.
Cal wished he could practice out here, but he didn't want people to see his powers. He moved on and went into one of the private training rooms in the arena. He refreshed his memory of his other automations, like being able to make a blade of water all at once, rather than making each individual atom. He also did a bit more experimenting with ones, but he didn't find anything too useful. He tried making a disc of water that would carry him, but it would just get his feet wet if it wasn't ice, and if it was ice, it didn't mean that it could fly.
After a while of training, he made his way to the arena, said hello to Josh and Sarah and then went down to the field. Now that they were at the second stage of the tournament, some things had changed. They now had an announcer booth, the sound of which would easily reach the ears of anyone who pressed the button that they wanted to hear it, and silent for those who didn't thanks to the sound attunement.
They had also used some metal and earth elementals to reshape the stadium slightly, so that now the field was on a bit of an elevated stage, and getting pushed over the line meant being pushed off a small ledge now. It also gave the audience a more focused view.
As he approached the stage he saw that he was up against Flo. She was a pretty powerful plant elemental. He had seen her win her first match, her opponent didn't last very long.
"Approaching the stage are Calvin Fletcher, who showed himself to be a capable water elemental, and Florence Green, with a fitting name. She is a formidable plant elemental. Calvin will really have a challenge with this one." The announcer's voice boomed, echoing through the stadium. Even though Cal knew that he could only hear it because he wanted to, even during a match, it was hard to believe that there were people who just heard silence through all of that.
"Let the match begin!" The horn sounded, and a vine reached out of the ground and wrapped itself around Cal's ankle. He cut it with a blade of water and then sprinted towards Flo.
He hoped that she wouldn't expect this and it would by him time to think. He sliced at vines as they neared him, and dodged thorns that were flung from nearby plants. He sent a blade of water at Flo, but she dodged it easily.
She started trying to trap him in a cage of rapidly growing vines, but even though more and more were piling on, he was able to slice through and easily run from another barrage of thorns.
As Cal sprinted along the circle, keeping Flo at an even distance on his left, he looked at her, prepared to send another blade of water. What he found instead was a wall of vines obscuring her from him. She had been building it while she was trying to trap him. She had really just been distracting him, trying to obscure his vision. She was much better than he expected. He had greatly underestimated her.
He knew that she would be powerful enough to almost trap him with the vines, but to be able to simultaneously build this wall and to think of a misdirection like this. She was very good.
He tried to cut through the wall of vines, but his blade splashed when it hit. These vines were too strong. He instead tried making a very fast flowing jet of water to slowly cut through it. He managed to cut through and go towards her, but she held her hand up towards him and a large vine flew out and towards him.
He tried to blast it with water, but instead it started soaking up the water and using it to grow into a suit of armor around her. She got rid of the other vines now, it was just the one she was sending at him, which he was battling off as best he could. She was putting all of her power into sending it to him, the only reason she was still able to make armor out of it was because it was drinking down the water he sent at it.
He didn't know what to do. Her armor couldn't be cut by him any more than this vine. Well, it's the same vine.
That's it! Cal let the vine soak up lots of water. Rather than a small focused jet of high pressure water, he gave it more of a fire hose. Lots more water, and it was fast, but it would really cut less. That wasn't his goal anymore.
Once the vine had almost reached him, John froze all of the water. The stream and every drop that the vine had absorbed. What had been a suit of armor for Flo had now become a frozen prison, completely unbreakable, even if she could control ice.
He made a small gap of water to separate her from the ground and then picked her up and carried her to the edge of the arena. He wanted to congratulate her on a good fight, but she was so good that he wanted to make sure that he had actually won first. He dropped her over the ledge, unfreezing the water and dampening her small fall with a pile of snow, since she couldn't catch herself. She got rid of the vines and he immediately jumped down with her to shake her hand, as the horn blew and the crowd erupted into cheers.
"Absolutely incredible! He did the impossible! Calvin showed himself to be an incredibly powerful water elemental, capable of control of ice and snow, and used these powers to win against an opponent with an advantage of being a powerful plant elemental!" The announcer shouted, increasing the applause.
Cal held out his hand to Flo. "You were absolutely incredible. I really underestimated you. I knew you were a powerful plant elemental, but I didn't know that you were that powerful, or that clever for that matter. That misdirection of the cage really got me and I wasn't able to cut through your vine wall before it was too strong to cut normally. Thanks for the great match, you nearly kicked my ass." He chuckled.
She smiled and shook his hand. "I underestimated you too. When you started going for more water, rather than more pressure, to cut my vine I thought you were a bit of an idiot, but apparently I fell for your misdirection too. Great match. It's too bad I can't have a rematch, but I suppose that there is always the other tournaments."
They went their separate ways and went back to their seats. Before Cal could get to his, a few acquaintances of his congratulated him, and chided him for keeping his powers quiet, although they also said that it was really clever. When he got back to his seat, Josh and Sarah celebrated with him over a nice dinner at the restaurant that Cal had yet to try.
He sat next to Sarah again and they all had so much food that they ran out of room for their plates on the table.