Book 2, Growing Up, Chapter 18 – A Learning Period (part 2)
A month had passed after Linley had become a magus of the second rank.
Within the first grade wind magic classroom.
Linley would only go to the earth magic class once every month or so, but he attended every single wind magic class. Today, Linley was seated in his usual spot.
“Linley, you came.” Just as Linley sat down, a very adorable young lady sat down next to him.
Seeing the girl, Linley smiled. “Delia, you came pretty early. There’s still quite some time before the next class starts.” Sitting together with a beautiful girl was of course something enjoyable. Naturally, Linley wouldn’t push her away.
Delia was no ordinary person.
Her brother, Dixie, was the number one genius of the entire Ernst Institute, and described as a talent which would be found once in a century at most. He, too, was a dual element mage, and his elemental essence affinity was exceptional. But what’s more, he was a supreme talent with 68 times the spiritual essence of an ordinary person.
As the sister of Dixie, Delia naturally was pretty exceptional as well.
“It’s because I know you always come early.” Delia beamed, her eyes crinkling.
The two sat together and chatted. Time passed quite quickly, and before they realized it, class had started. Instructor Trey energetically explained in front, and Linley sat beneath him, listening intently. But Delia, every so often, would sneak a peek at Linley.
“Alright, today’s class is over for now. But before class ends, there’s something I must inform you all about.” Instructor Trey smiled as he spoke.
All of the students immediately began to buzz.
“The older students all know that our Ernst Institute has a tradition. At the last two months of every year, a yearly tournament will be held. The yearly tournament is always the most noisy, energetic time at the Ernst Institute. The students who achieve victory in the yearly tournament will likely have a higher chance of being rated ‘superior’ upon their graduation. When they graduate, most likely they will be invited by the Four Great Empires.” Instructor Trey laughed.
All of the students below immediately began to grow excited.
At the Ernst Institute, talents were as common as the clouds. And the number one problem that all talents shared was that they didn’t like to admit inferiority to others!
Thus, the yearly tournament had become a way for talents to become famous. Close to 90% of the students would pay attention to the tournament, and everyone with some ability would participate.
“Naturally, we wind magic practitioners will also do battle. Everyone interested in enrolling, please speak to me.” Instructor Trey smiled as he spoke, but his gaze drifted towards Linley.
“Instructor, I wish to enroll.” Many students below immediately began to clamor to enroll.
“Great.” Instructor Trey took out a duck feather quill pen and began to record down names, but after taking down ten or so names, he realized that Linley was busy chatting with Delia, apparently not interested in enrolling at all.
Trey walked over.
Linley involuntarily glanced up and immediately called out respectfully, “Instructor Trey.” The nearby Delia also paid her respects.
Trey smiled and nodded. “Linley, this yearly tournament is an excellent opportunity to train one’s self. I expect all of the elites of the first grade students will attend. Why aren’t you enrolling? This is a rare opportunity.”
“I’m not interested.” Linley said directly.
Instructor Trey couldn’t help but start.
“Linley, you no doubt are unaware that the victors of the tournament will receive some rewards.” Instructor Trey said enticingly.
“Rewards?” Linley was in desperate need of money.
His clan’s economic situation was in such terrible shape. If he could win some money, he wouldn’t mind attending the yearly tournament.
“Right. You should know that most students live in ordinary dorms, those single unit ones. But the top three victors of the tournament are all qualified to live in those two-story high buildings for a year. That’s a proof of status. The rooms are much more comfortable as well.” Instructor Trey continued.
There weren’t many two-floor dorms, and most of those belonged to powerful magi of the seventh or eighth ranks. From what he was now hearing, the top three students in each grade also were allowed to live in them.
Linley didn’t care about it at all.
“I’m not attending.” Linley still said.
Instructor Trey grew somewhat impatient. As a sixth grade student, if one of Trey’s student became one of the top three in his grade, not only would he be rewarded, he would also gain a lot of face. Young people all cared about face.
Instructor Trey leaned in towards Linley, saying in a low voice, “Linley, are you concerned about revealing your ability? I know that you are a magus of the second rank.”
Hearing these words, Linley couldn’t help but look up at Trey in surprise.
How did Instructor Trey learn about his current level of power? After all, it was hard to judge one’s abilities from external appearances.
Seeing the expression on Linley’s face, Instructor Trey thought that he had hit the mark. Laughing, he said, “Linley, if you have ability, you shouldn’t hide it. Even if you decide not to attend the competition for fear of revealing your ability, I might just decide to expose you myself.”
“Whatever. Still not going.”
Linley stood up unhappily, and then politely paid his respects. “Farewell, instructor.”
And then, ignoring the stupefied look on Trey’s face, he immediately left.
“Bah. This kid.” After recovering, Trey couldn’t help but laugh. The nearby Delia couldn’t help but cover her mouth and giggle as well.
By the time the wind magic class had ended, it was almost six at night. The sky was growing dark. Linley ran back towards his dorm. The bros of dorm 1987 shared strong affection towards each other, and at night they always ate together.
“Linley, you’re back.” A curly haired youngster from dorm 1986 said warmly to Linley.
“Harry [Ha’li], have you eaten dinner?” Linley smiled back in response.
Linley was on excellent relations with most of the nearby neighbors. Harry laughed and nodded. “Of course I have. Your three bros are all waiting for you inside.”
“Linley’s back. Let’s go, everyone, time to eat!” Yale’s voice sounded out.
Clearly, from inside their dorm, Yale had heard Linley’s voice. Yale, Reynolds, and George all walked out and waved to Linley. The four bros proceeded towards the dining areas. The Ernst Institute contained some luxurious restaurants, but after being persuaded by Linley, Reynolds, and George, Yale no longer took them to those places.
The dishes in the small dining hall were simple and fresh, very pleasing to eat.
After ordering some food, the four bros began to chat amongst themselves.
Linley got most of his news regarding the Institute’s going-ons from his three bros, as Linley, who spent all his time training in the mountain, probably would be totally in the dark otherwise.
“Man, in about a month, the school year is coming to an end. The last two months of each year, the entire Institute will engage in the yearly tournament. The top three students in each grade are all allowed to live in those two-story dorms for a year.” Yale said.
“The yearly tournaments?” Linley began to laugh. He had just heard about this from the classroom.
“Haha, I’m definitely attending,” Reynolds said confidently.
Yale pursed his lips. “Punk, you became a magus of the first rank on the road from the O’Brien Empire to the Ernst Institute. I wager that by now, you aren’t too off from becoming the magus of the second rank. That really is unfair.”
Reynolds spent a full year traveling from his home to come here.
On the entire journey, Reynolds’ family housekeeper had been teaching him magic, which is why he had become a magus of the first rank even before the journey ended.
George smiled towards Linley. “Hah, you are forgetting about Linley. Linley was a magus of the first rank by the time he entered the Institute as well. What’s more, he’s crazy about training, and he’s a dual-element magus. I think he’s probably the strongest person in our dorm.”
Linley quirked his lips in a smile. “George, don’t flatter me.”
“Linley, have you gained your second rank yet? Be honest?” George stared at Linley.
“How could he gain his second rank so quickly? From an introductory student to the first rank, based on our talent, a year is necessary. But from the first rank to the second rank, at least two years is needed.” The nearby Reynolds frowned as he spoke.
“Not necessarily. I also feel Linley’s been really sneaky.” Yale also looked at Linley. “Linley, have you become a magus of the second rank?”
Linley casually nodded.
What was the big deal about becoming a magus of the second rank? Even before the magus testing event, he had already become a magus of the first rank. A full year had passed since then. If he still had not become a magus of the second rank, then all his hard work would’ve been totally pointless.
“You really reached it?” Yale, Reynolds, and George’s eyes all bulged out. None of them expected it to be true.
“Go enlist in the yearly tournament, Linley. You’ve gotta take part. Give those guys a good trampling and gain some prestige for dorm 1987.” Yale immediately said.
By now, the servers had brought the dishes they ordered.
“Eat, eat! I’m not interested in the yearly tournament.” Linley had no interest in competing with those weaker than himself. Those tournament battles were nothing more than exercises in showing off!
Yale and the other three traded glances.
They all knew how hard Linley trained. Although in their year, there were geniuses who had exceptional levels of elemental affinity and spiritual essence, in terms of being hard-working, none of them could match Linley. And with Linley being dual-element…in their hearts, all of them believed that Linley was most likely the most powerful amongst the first grade students.
“It would be such a waste if you didn’t participate. Someone else is going to get the glory, once again, in the yearly tournament.” Yale mumbled. “Too bad I’m not strong enough. If I had your strength, Linley, I would’ve given a dazzling display long ago. Then, I would be able to seduce some pretty girls.”
Linley laughed. “That’s enough. Let’s eat. Stop fantasizing.”
Linley really didn’t care about the yearly tournament in the slightest. But the vast majority of the students at the Ernst Institute were extremely excited about it. And not just the students. Even some of the full magi residing at the Ernst Institute would pay close attention to the tournament results.