Chapter 54: Match Start
My body couldn’t help but tremble in suppressed anger at the thought of being in the same class as that brat Lucas; and of all classes, a team fighting class. The sick irony of having that traitor in a class focused on learning team cohesion in battles almost makes me want to laugh.
Our eyes met but he looked at me apathetically, like I was an insect on the ground.
“Good! Everyone’s here!” A loud voice suddenly booms over the field. As all of the students start turning their heads to locate where the voice came from, I look straight up to see a massive hawk-like mana beast hovering over the field.
This beast was at least 4 meters long and its wingspan was well over 8 meters. With its sharp talons tucked underneath it, the beast slowly made its descent, revealing a well-toned woman with a giant sword strapped to her back, standing up on the back of the hawk.
“Welcome! My name is Professor Glory and I will be the one teaching all of you brats! This Flare Hawk is Torch, my precious bond.”
The first thing I did was measure the stage our professor’s mana core was at, but upon trying to inspect her level, I felt a sudden sharp pain in my head as Professor Glory whipped her gaze at me. Giving me a confident smile, she gazed down to my direction. Hopping off of her Flare Hawk, she makes her way around the group of students in her class. Studying each of the students she passes, she takes a closer look at some of them before making her way towards me.
It wasn’t unusual for mages to build defenses around their core stages, especially the higher level ones. It was also lot more difficult to hide which element they use, since the mana particles of their element naturally surrounded them. Most don’t find the need to hide their elemental attribute so it wasn’t a big deal even if they couldn’t, but needless to say, it was surprising to see how strong Professor Glory’s defenses were.
I couldn’t tell what her core stage was or even her elemental attribute. While I got the hang of masking my core stage level, I needed to use seals in order to completely hide my elemental attributes. I wasn’t sure whether she used seals like I did in order to hide her abilities but one thing for sure is that she knew I was the one inspecting her.
“I have to say, you guys have set the bar pretty high for all of the other classes.” She announces after inspecting Lucas. She took quite a bit longer to inspect the Disciplinary Committee and the Student Council Members, nodding every once in a while.
“Well if it isn’t my newest colleague, Arthur Leywin. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Professor Glory gives me a playful grin, as if she was itching to tease me.
The students start murmuring amongst the group in confusion at her greeting.
“Professor Glory, what do you mean by colleague?” One of the upperclassman males raised his hand.
“Ah! Most of you have probably seen him from the commencement this morning but this boy is a freshman Disciplinary Committee Officer. A real prodigy if I do say so myself. He’s also a newly appointed Professor for the Practical Mana Manipulation class that you guys all took during your underclassman years.” She gives me a firm pat to my back.
“You can’t be serious, Professor!”
“If that brat is a professor then I’m the King of this Continent!”
“What has this academy turned into, to accept a freshman as a professor?”
“How is that even possible? Even the best upperclassmen these days don’t get picked to be professors, but that first year did?”
Various noises of protests make me sigh. They were bound to find out eventually but it would’ve taken the upper classmen a bit longer to find out this news, considering they don’t really get much communication dealing with lower division classes.
“GRRRR~” Sylvie has her fur standing on its end as she growls warningly at the group of students. ‘Papa is stronger than all of you combined!’
Everyone has seen Sylvie by now, whether it was passing through the Academy or at the Commencement ceremony earlier today so no one really cared much about the tiny mana beast on my head that could turn big enough to gnaw on their bodies.
“Now now! Before we jump straight into complaints, we should have more faith in the Director’s decision. He has qualified to some degree by beating the professor that taught the class previously!” She shoots me a wink.
“But Professor Glory! The underclassman professors aren’t all that great anyway! I bet some of the upperclassmen students here could beat most of them!” Another round of complaints issue on, making me grow sleepy. Must be the food coma from lunch.
“Haha! To be honest, I’m itching to test how strong you really are, boy! Unfortunately, Director Goodsky made it clear for us to not do that. So! These students here will test you in my place!” She puts her hands on her hip, grinning in anticipation.
By now, I see a sudden raging fire burning in some of the male student’s eyes as they look at me. I can almost see the words that they’re thinking etched into their face.
‘I’m going to kill this bastard.’
‘Who does this brat think he is?’
‘Murder, murder, murder, murder…’
‘I’m jealous. Why is he good looking too? He needs to die.’
The female students, on the other hand have a look in their eyes that scare me even more. Their stares remind me of hyenas looking at fresh meat as they almost drool over the ‘goods’ that I suddenly became to them.
Taking a glance at Tess, I notice that she has a surprised look on her face, her lips curling slightly in pride, but when she notices that I’m looking at her, she quickly glances away, but I did notice her ears were a little red.
Sigh, you know… it’s not weird for you to talk to me.
Clive, on the other hand, is scowling in contempt while Lucas is looking at me with his brow raised in renewed interest, as if I got promoted from an insect to a mammal.
“Director Goodsky told me to take it easy on my upper division classes until I adjust to school. This is my first day after all.” I try to ease my way out of this. Fighting against these hormonal teenagers wasn’t going to end well.
“Oh come on! That’s no fun now, is it? In order to get proper respect, a certain amount of skill needs to be shown, you know? It’s just to prove to us that you are actually capable of being in this upper division class. Isn’t that right, class?” She shouts.
Was this a military boot camp or something? Why was there always a reason to prove myself in whatever situation came up?
“Sigh… What did you have in mind, Professor Glory?” I say in defeat. This wasn’t going to end and I didn’t want to waste my breath in arguing with people who don’t want to hear logic.
“Fear not! I am a just and fair woman!” She harrumphs.
Just and fair, my ass.
I feel as if she just read my mind because she wraps her well-built arm around my neck and squeezes. Unlike Angela’s, from the Twin Horns, breasts, they were muscular and hard, not much different from a man’s.
“We will start off this semester by playing a little game! Aren’t I so nice?” By the look on her face, she was the most excited about this.
Continuing on, she says. “So! What kind of game should we play… a mock team battle? War?
“How about having the three Disciplinary Committee officers on the same team, Professor? I feel like that could be a good way to let us work on teamwork as well.” Curtis raises his hand as Claire nods in agreement next to him.
“Hmmm, not a bad idea!” She responds while rubbing her chin.
“But Professor, both Curtis and Claire are one of the top students in this Academy! It wouldn’t be fair to have both of them on the same team as him.” A tall, black haired teen argues.
“That’s true…. Aha! I got it! For the DC team, we will have Arthur play the role of King, the match resulting in an immediate loss if he gets put out of battle. I think that should be fair. Now, what about the other team?” As if she was talking to herself, she starts muttering the possible candidates when a hand is raised up.
“Professor. How about having the Student Council President and I as their opponent.” Clive raises his hand up high as he makes his suggestion.
“What?” Tessia turns her head to Clive in surprise. Before she has the chance to object, however, Professor Glory clasps her hands.
“OHH! NOW things are getting interesting! But it would unfair to have only the two of you versing the three of them.” She looks around the group of students.
“I think the President and I will suffice if the immediate loss rule affecting Arthur Leywin is implemented. He says seriously.
“I’ll volunteer to be on the Student Council team.” Lucas Wykes says calmly while leaning on his staff.
“Hmmm, Mr. Wykes, our other genius freshman… Very well! It would be a good chance to see your abilities in action as well!” I could tell she had a twinge of doubt. Maybe she heard some rumors about him.
““Awww.”” Some of the other students were disappointed that they didn’t get the chance to beat me up and be on the same team as the Student Council President but everyone was excited to see the match.
“The match will have a time limit of 30 minutes, where we will have a short discussion and a breakdown of it afterwards. Please gear up!” With that, a pile of what looked like exercise gear dropped to the ground out of Professor Glory’s dimension ring.
Turning serious, she begins explaining. “These are special equipment designed by artificers to measure the amount of damage that is dealt. This equipment will activate, releasing a shrill noise, if the damage it takes passes the threshold that’s encrypted into it. If anyone chooses to ignore this warning and continues to fight or cast spells, it will lead to immediate expulsion from my class and other possible consequences regarding your stay here as a student. This rule goes for any upper division fighting class in this Academy so engrave this rule into your guys’ brains. All of you are all at the level where protecting yourselves with mana shouldn’t be a problem. Let me reiterate this but, these equipments don’t protect you so don’t rely on it as a source of protection.” She announces to everyone else in the class as well.
Clearing her throat, Professor Glory shouts. “Do I make myself clear!?”
“Good! Now, the six of you gear up.” She gets back on her bond while the rest of the students head towards the viewing platform.
Curtis come up to me and pats my back before picking up his gear. “Well, it seems like we’re going to have an early practice session! Let’s do our best, Arthur. I still remember you wanting a sword back then for practicing as a hobby. Let’s see how good you are!”
“We can’t embarrass the DC name now, can we? I’ll make practice extra hard for anyone who doesn’t meet standards!” Claire grins evilly while grabbing her gear.
Clive and Lucas walk past me, ignoring me as I go after them to pick up my gear. The gear consists of a tight jacket and a series of straps that I wrap around my legs. The jacket also had sleeves made of some special straps that I was supposed to wrap around my arms.
I was having trouble putting on the arm wraps when Tessia silently comes up and helps me bind the straps around my right arm.
“Is it okay for Princess Tessia to be helping me like this?” I smirk while letting her help me.
Shooting me a glare, she tightens the straps, jerking my arm towards her. “Can it, Mr. Genius. They’re over there anyways. Sigh…I can’t stand acting like I don’t know you.” Her gaze softens.
“You know, they’re going to find out eventually. Why try so hard hiding it?” I shrug.
“You mean… you don’t care? Grandma Cynthia mentioned to me about you wanting to keep a low profile so I thought…” Her face loses composure as she starts stuttering.
“Pff… Well I haven’t been doing a very good job of that, now have I?” I couldn’t help but snicker, confusing Tess even more.
“It’s okay. There are just a few things I mainly wanted to hide. As long as those remain a secret, the rest doesn’t really matter. For one, do you notice anything?” I stick out my chest to let her analyze me.
“I don’t get what… Ah! I can’t sense your mfff.” She was getting too loud so I had to cover her mouth. Leaning closer to her face, I whisper. “Yup, that and Sylvie’s true identity as well. I’m keeping most of my abilities a secret for now so you have to do your part as well. Maybe keeping the fact that I visited your Kingdom a secret might be a good idea but you don’t have to ignore me, Tess.” I let go of her mouth and pat her head, making her flush and push me away from her.
“Y-you’re too c-close.” Tess mutters under her breath as she’s facing down.
“Are you guys done flirting over there?” Professor Glory’s voice from above surprises the both of us as I quickly finish adjusting the straps.
“Ah! Arthur. I suggest you leave your bond in a safer place if she’s not capable of assisting you during the battle like Curtis’ bond.” She points towards the viewing platform.
“Kyu!” Sylvie cries in protest.
“I think it’ll be better for you to sit this one out, Sylv.” I say while patting her small head.”
‘Aww… Okay.’ She jumps off my head before scurrying off out of the field.
Tess just finished putting on her gear as I went up to her. “Let’s both do our best. I want to see how much you improved.”
Giving me a confident smile, she says back, “You better watch out then” before running off to the other side of the field where Clive and Lucas were.
I head towards where Curtis and Claire were situated. Claire was stretching while Curtis was mounted on top of his World Lion, Grawder.
“Even with Grawder, we’re still at a disadvantage because they have two Conjurers and Clive is a long range Augmenter. The fact that it’s an instant loss for us if your gear activates gives us a seriously limited set of options.” Claire was leaning on her unsheathed sword while stretching her leg back.
“You’re right. Claire and I don’t really know anything about your fighting style so we’ll match your pace. We’ll take priority in protecting you while we get in range to do some damage.” Curtis responds while petting Grawder.
I look for Tess, Clive and Lucas and spot them a few dozen meters away. Seems like we’re going to be target practice for them until we get in range. This should be fun.
I couldn’t help but grin as my blood boils. It should feel good giving Lucas a few good blows during the match, although I can only imagine that both Lucas and Clive thinking the same thing.
I take out my blade, Dawn’s Ballad, making sure to not take out its sheath, as both Curtis and Claire ready their weapons as well.
“That’s a beautiful sword you have there, Arthur.” Claire stares at my blade.
I have to admit that Curtis looks pretty damn impressive wielding his dual double-edged swords while mounting his bond.
Claire releases a fierce battle aura as she infuses both wind and fire attribute mana into her body.
I turn forward as well, imbuing wind and earth mana into my body and sword. My hair and clothes flutter as the ground beneath me pulses to my command.
Professor Glory’s powerful voice echoes through the battlefield, signaling us to begin.
“LET THE MATCH COMMENCE!”