The Shapers in the stands watched in shocked silence as the ant monster relaxed its pose and made its way across to its defeated foe. At first, it didn't seem as if there was anything left after the vortex of doom vanished but when Granin looked closely he could see a small ball the size of his own clenched fist resting in the depression left behind in the aftermath of the spell.
Anthony crawled down into the crater and before the befuddled eyes of the spectators began to drag the sphere back toward his own exit where a very wary triad of guards was waiting.
Even though he was forewarned, Granin was as stunned as everyone else. Anthony had warned him that he wouldn't believe it until he saw it, and he was right! What the hell was that?! The incredible suction, that horrifying dark sphere that seemed to consume the very air itself! The power was beyond his expectations, far beyond! Judging by the look on Inaron's face, he was struggling to accept what he'd just seen also.
"I have to hand it to you, Inaron," Granin tried to play it cool, "I'm truly impressed by the defensive capabilities your monster displayed. Great work."
So saying, he tried to escape from the spectator area by walking casually toward the exit. Unfortunately, he didn't make it three steps before Inaron grabbed him by the arm.
"What in the name of the Worm was that?! I've never seen that spell before Granin!"
"Oh, that? You know, it's a " he groped for some excuse to play it off, "a combination of dark and fire magic. You felt that wind kick up, right? That's from the, uh, flames."
He tried to pull his arm loose but the numbed Iranon still had him locked in a death grip. Glancing around he could see that other Shapers had recovered from their initial malaise and had started to move toward him. If he got stuck here he'd be bogged down by questions and pestering until he crumbled to dust! He couldn't allow it. If he left Anthony alone for that long the insect would be dragged away by Gravus to a separate chamber and he'd probably never find him again. He had to get out, now.
Granin was a Golgari of action. Make a plan, follow the plan, always deliver. So that's what he would do. He turned to face Iranon head-on and placed his loose hand on the Shaper's shoulder.
"Sorry about this Iranon. I'll buy you some Rock Beer next time."
"What are you -."
With one colossal fist, Granin knocked the words straight of his colleague's mouth and the sense out of his head. Out cold, the poor scholar loosened his grip and fell back into the seats with a clatter. Finally free, Granin did what any self-respecting mage of advanced age would do. He turned and bolted for the exits shouldering aside all who tried to accost him on his way. Angry shouts punctuated the air in his wake but he didn't dare delay. The moment word of what happened got back to the leading triad, things would hit the fan.
Dammit, Anthony! I know you said it was big, but I never imagined it would be like that!
It took ten minutes of dashing through the tunnels for Granin to finally make it Anthony's chamber. When he arrived he was relieved to see Corun and Torrina already here and no sign of Gravus.
"What the hell was that spell, Granin?" Corun nearly shouted. "I could hear it from out in the corridor!"
"You didn't ask, Anthony? He's right there?" Confused, Granin pointed at the ant attempting to gnaw at the ball of presumably squashed Biomass.
"He won't say anything," Corun grumbled, "just tell me it's his 'special move' and can't be advertised."
[Bit late for keeping it under wraps now, isn't it?] Granin sent to the bug-brained fool. [The whole place is in an uproar! I had to knock out another Shaper just to get here!]
The ant didn't turn its head, but Granin had grown to understand that due to his compound eyes Anthony could still see him, shifting his head just wasn't necessary most of the time.
[It's pretty awesome, I have to agree. Keeping Corun in the dark is just fun, he's practically pouting over there! What a baby.]
[That's so petty!]
[I'm trying to eat here Granin. What do you need?]
A persistent scraping sound jarred the ears of all present as the giant ant tried to snap and chomp at the ball on the ground in front of it, without much success.
[Is it compressed?] Torrina broke in to ask.
[Of course, it's compressed! It's been smashed together by the force of gravity! With enough mana that spell could probably do the same thing to the planet as it did to that Creeper thing.]
Granin's eyes bulged.
[What did you say?!] he shrieked.
[Calm down. It would take, like, a lot of mana. Way too much. What you saw then was pretty much as strong as I can handle the spell right now.]
The old Shaper tried to clear his head for a moment. Torrina filled in the silence.
[Anthony, I thought your gravity magic affected weight. Made things heavier or lighter. How does it produce the effect that you created?] She asked slowly.
The ant snapped its mandibles in irritation.
[Explaining gravity is so weird. It's gravity! Besides, I don't have any particular reason I need to share this information with you, do I?]
At that moment the doors to the upstairs viewing are blown open and Gravus barged in followed by six Shapers.
"Everyone out!" He bellowed. "I will be assuming the management of the creature!"
Even from below Granin could see the greed blazing in the eyes of the old cantankerous snake. New magic was a lure that Shapers found hard to resist and it didn't look like Gravus was trying too hard right now. Anthony's gravity magic wasn't too desirable initially, the effects were novel but hardly intimidating. After that display, the story had completely changed.
"Over my dead body, Gravus!" Granin roared as he stomped toward the ladder to climb back to the upper level.
Corun and Torrina had leapt to their feet when the invaders had appeared and when they saw Granin charge forward they leap to back him up. Triads acted together in the face of outsiders and they would do no different now when the stakes were high. Granin was like an angry bull as he surged up the ladder, curses and threats pouring out of his mouth to the extent that even those who entered behind Gravus were looking a little pale. Not the fearless leader though, his face twisted with rage as he beheld his most detested individual flying toward him.
Before the inevitable confrontation could explode the door was forced open once again and the much calmer visage of Irette Plamine entered the chamber.
"That's quite enough, I think," she warned those present.
Gravus restrained himself with a visible effort whilst Granin and his two triad mates finished making their way up the ladder where they then paused, eyeing the crowd distrustfully. The situation was tense, feelings were running high on both sides. So Gravus was absolutely not surprised when that stupid ant went and opened his big mouth.
[I'm happy to let you know a little about my magic,] he sent to Plamine, [IF you let me out of this stupid tournament. Good deal, no?]