Chapter 28: Changes In Dicathen
I unsheathe the short sword and hold it in front of me with one hand. The various sounds around the coliseum are soon drowned out as I focus solely on the opponent in front of me.
He’s making figure eights with his rapier while his left hand is in his pocket. Yet, he has no openings. He’s not even trying to hide his killing intent while he’s smiling innocently at me. My mind flashes back to my old world’s dueling arena. I didn’t think I’d find someone like him so soon, someone capable of making me excited. This should be different from sparring with Gramps.
“Please prepare yourself. I wouldn’t want the person Miss Flamesworth is sponsoring to lose too quickly.”
He blinks and instantly closes the gap as his rapier cuts a few pieces of hair above my left ear.
“Nice dodge.” He winks as he recoils his rapier, preparing for his next move.
I block his second thrust with the end of my handle, using the momentum to spin my body.
Kaspian leans back, dodging my swing but a small cut appears across the tip of his nose.
He looks surprised for a bit but instantly regains focus. Not giving him a chance to fully recover, I follow up with a roundhouse kick to his leg.
His sheath stops the force of my reinforced kick. In that split second, he was able to use his other hand to reposition his sheath to block my attack.
The force of my kick to his sheath creates a small dust cloud around us and he uses that opportunity to gain distance.
“I must apologize for underestimating you. I shall be a bit more serious now.”
His innocent gaze gleams a bit with murderous intent as his rapier glows with a silvery hue.
He lunges at the air in front of him and all of a sudden I’m hit in the arm with something hard.
“You managed to partly dodge that as well. Seems like Miss Flamesworth has picked up someone worthwhile.”
I look down to see a gash in my left arm.
He was aiming for my heart! I only managed to dodge on pure instinct. He’s releasing too much of his killing intent. Is he doing it on purpose?
I curse at my body. Every time I fight, I still can’t help but feel restricted.
He lunges his rapier two more times, but I know what’s coming.
He’s creating spears of wind with his thrusts. The difficulty in dodging it comes from the spears being close to invisible. I’ll have to rely on sound and timing to dodge, but I have to decrease the distance between us while doing so.
He had the advantage of a longer reach and a much bigger mana supply than me. In this body, I’m not confident enough to even say that I have the advantage in terms of technique. My body just doesn’t listen to me as well as I want it to. The only advantage I could think of was my body being a lot tougher than his thanks to assimilating with Sylvia’s Dragon Will.
I dodge one spear of wind while the other one lightly grazes my right arm as I close the distance between us.
It’s evident that both of our sword techniques consist of speed and agility.
I embed my shortsword in fire, releasing an arc of flames with my swing.
With a simple swing of his rapier, a gust of wind blows the fire away, but that’s what I wanted him to do.
A technique focusing fire affinity mana into the sole of your foot in rapid succession, gaining instantaneous acceleration.
I arrive in front of him while his rapier is still swung up next to his shoulder.
His brows rise in surprise as I use my free hand to push his hand up so he can’t swing down his rapier.
He will just blow flames away so I coat my sword to an extremely high temperature.
Suddenly the momentum from my flicker step is thrown off and a force pushes me into the ground.
I jump back to gain distance and see that there’s an intense swirl of airstream coming out of him that’s strong enough to create cracks on the ground around him.
He widens his stance, recoiling his rapier back with his left hand stretched out, resting on the blade.
His arm and rapier turns into a faint blur as he produces a succession of countless thrusts.
This was an exam right? Is he actually trying to kill me?
One of the few techniques I managed to develop while training with Grandpa. A technique using lightning affinity mana to run currents of electricity throughout my nerves, quickening my reflexes a couple times over. If the average human has a reaction time of around 0.3 seconds, there are trained fighters that can get it down to 0.2 or even 0.15 seconds.
With Thunderclap Impulse, I can quicken my reaction time to 0.05 for a short period of time.
My pupils contract and the hairs on my skin stand up on end due to the electricity.
I can hear the spears of wind shooting towards me as I prepare to dodge them.
His skill dissipates and my hair is just blown by a small draft.
Releasing my skill as well, I look at him quizzically. Before I had the chance to ask him, Jasmine is already by my side, staring daggers at Kaspian with her two blades in her hands.
“I may have gotten a little carried away.” He just shrugs nonchalantly.
“It seems you wish to hide much of your ability. I can only imply that you wish to be placed at a lower rank. Note. B class.”
Before walking off, he stops in front of the corridor. “I assume you have no problem with this?” He turns his head a little to look at me.
I just nod in agreement and he disappears from sight walking down the hall.
“That is the last examination for today! Please go to the front desk to receive your Adventurer’s card. Everyone is dismissed.” The Augmenter examiner shouts before he and the other examiner both rush after Kaspian.
KASPIAN BLADEHEART’S POV:
I arrive to my desk and before I even have the chance to take a seat, the two Adventurers in charge of today’s exams bombard me with questions simultaneously
“Sigh… George, Emily, take a seat and don’t talk all at once.” I sit down and lean back.
“Sir! What was with today’s examinees? Three B class Adventurers right off the bat in a day? This kind of situation is unheard of. Not to mention that two of them were kids! Dark yellow at the age of 11… Has that ever occurred amongst humans? ” Emily nods fervidly in agreement.
“Do you remember what happened half a year ago here in Xyrus?” I throw them a question.
“Around 6 months ago was the first tournament that was held for all three races right?” Emily answers.
“Correct. The Adventurer guild workers will all know soon so there isn’t much of a point in hiding this. I was just notified of this a couple of weeks ago as well. The ban on elves and dwarves becoming Adventurers has been lifted and today’s batch included some of the representative examinees.”
“S-sir, do you mean to say that all three of them are either dwarves or elves then?” George’s jaw is slack as he’s saying this.
I pull out a small file of papers from my desk.
“Lucas Wykes is a half elf that has been residing in the Kingdom of Sapin. The information on his birth is classified but if I had to guess, he was probably a product of an elf slave. The Wykes family has always had a bad reputation for dabbling in nefarious ways to create better mages for their house. He’s an unusual case though, being able to be so adept in flame affinity, despite his elf lineage. He awakened at the age of 8, which is fast even amongst elf standards and was sent here for a sort of trial run. The Wykes no doubt expended a lot of money into buying beast cores and other supplements to quicken his growth.” I flip to the next page.
“Elijah Knight. He’s quite the mystery. According to the file, his origin is unknown. He was, however, raised amongst dwarves since a young age. He was sent as one of the first representatives from the Kingdom of Darv to assimilate into the human kingdom.
“How come he wasn’t tested Sir? The clerk only told me to just put him into B class.” Emily leaned forward from her seat.
“Elijah awakened a couple of months of ago, so he’s only now barely reached the Dark Red stage. As for why he was allowed to be a B class Adventurer probably has to do with the person backing him up. I don’t have any say in his case so we can only let him be. I’m curious as to what his abilities are.” I shake my head.
“As for that masked Augmenter from today, to be honest, I have no idea who he is. He wasn’t recorded as one of the representatives on the list. I was simply curious as to what kind of person Miss Flameheart would be willing to sponsor.
“Flameheart…as in THAT Flameheart house right? The famous house that is known for birthing the strongest fire attribute mages?”
I put away the file and look at them seriously, adjusting my glasses. “I told you all of this because you will find out soon anyway. However, I trust that you guys will refrain from telling others until the announcement is made across the country.”
I dismiss them as soon as I receive confirmation that they’ll comply.
I ponder over today’s events. That masked Augmenter. His techniques were not the standard skills that most fire attribute mages use. Even his style with the sword, it was something that made me shiver. But somehow, I get the feeling that he wasn’t at his optimal state. That somehow, he was being restrained. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it but his movements were awkward at times, as if he wasn’t used to his own body.
I dismiss my thoughts and start going over the pile of documents.
I can’t help but grin to myself. This continent is changing. There will be a lot interesting events happening from now on.
ARTHUR LEYWIN’S POV:
The same clerk that led us to the examination site hands me my bronze-colored Adventurer’s card at the front desk.
From E class to B class, the card is a copper color, where starting from A class, it’ll change to silver, then gold for AA class, then white for S class.
“Do you have a close relationship with Kaspian, Jasmine?” I ask after putting away my card, Sylvie asleep on my head.
“He’s an acquaintance of my father.” She says simply under a cold expression.
I don’t dig for any further answers. She obviously doesn’t have any sort of positive feelings about all of this.
Changing the subject, I ask Jasmine, “So what should we do next?”
She ponders for a bit. There were several options. We could do missions that were at or below our rank. These missions included a variety of tasks, from guarding, to acquiring specific items. We could also transport ourselves to the Beast Glades and explore while hunting down mana beasts.
“Dungeon exploring.” She answers, a soft smile on her face.