Cid isn’t picky about most things, but he does love hisself a nice hot spring. Since there’s a hot spring in Lindwurm that’s where he spends some time. He happens to meet Alexia there (something I’m sure Rose might be upset about) and she ends up striking up a conversation that eventually leads to him warning her not to judge a book (or rather, his “Excalibur”) by its cover.
At the arena where the Goddess’ Trial takes place, Alexia is seated between Rose and the newest, hottest celebrity author, who is really Beta. Alexia is intimidated by Beta’s ample bust, while Beta is wearing a revealing, crowd-pleasing dress on purpose to piss of Alexia, whom she believes is out of her league when it comes to messing around with Lord Shadow.
The ensuing trials are pretty perfunctory; we watch a couple of warriors with weird names call for one of the legendary warriors of yore to emerge from the Sanctuary to fight them, but throughout the day and into the evening only one manages to actually summon one. Then, thanks to Rose, Cid Kagenou gets his turn.
Rather than run away or fight as Cid and blow his cover, Cid chooses a third way: sending up a big purple flare that distracts everyone. When they look back down at the arena, Shadow is there, and he ends up summoning Aurora, Witch of Calamity, someone so destructive in her time even the two princesses have never heard of her—because so few people were left to tell stories.
Of course, the Seven Shadows’ resident bookworm Beta knows all about Aurora, as does the acting Archbishop Nelson (who rejected Alexia’s request to run an investigation). Nelson has a low opinion of Shadow and believes he’s bit off more than he can chew. At least initially, Aurora’s staggering display of power seems to bear that out.
Of course, ol’ Violet Eyes and her tangled web of blood spears has absolutely nothing on our boy Mister Atomic, but she is the toughest opponent he’s yet faced, and he appreciates her shared commitment to treating their battle like a spirited, joyful conversation. The rules of the trial mean the version of Aurora he gets is only “equal” to his skills and power, after all.
Cid is having fun in this battle, as is Aurora, but eventually brings things to an end quite decisively, shattering Aurora’s web and delivering a fatal strike that sends her back to the hereafter from whence she came. Shadow doesn’t stick around for applause, but shortly after he skedaddles a new, elaborate magic circle appears.
Alpha, Delta, and Epsilon watch as that circle extends beyond the confines of the arena and envelops a large part of the city. And while Cid only engaged in battle on a whim, his Seven Shadows naturally assume he intended for this to happen, and that the Sanctuary is responding to his challenge. If tougher opponents than Aurora are on their way, I imagine he’s looking forward to another conversation or two.