“Girls, brave warriors, do your best!”
“We won, so you girls have to win as well!”
In the contestants’ preparation area, team Agate Lake was nervously waiting for their turn when all of a sudden, they heard a loud familiar voice shouting from the noisy stands.
“It’s Ayrin. Why isn’t he watching in the stands reserved for the participants, why’d he run into the spectator stands instead?”
“I think that’s Charlotte. So that’s the reason why, he came to watch with Charlotte!”
“This guy, he’s afraid we won’t hear him, so he’s even jumping so high.”
“We see you! My word, he’s cheering so hard for us, we definitely can’t lose to Hunter Academy.”
In the stands, Ayrin cheered for team Agate Lake, totally unselfconscious. He desperate waved both his hands while jumping at the same time, leaping five to six meters high every time. He looked a little comical, but these girls from Agate Lake Academy waved back at him, smiling despite themselves, their nervousness dissipating for a moment.
“This guy is really very interesting.”
Team Golden Stag wasn’t too far away from team Agate Lake. Seeing Ayrin bouncing and hopping, that flirtatious girl covered a chuckle with her hand.
Rinsyi looked at this girl without a word. Ever since he met Ayrin in St. Lauren, he felt more and more that Ayrin was like an exceptionally noisy fly, buzzing round and round all around him without respite.
And the most crucial was, this fly was even becoming more and more of a threat.
“It’s our match next.”
He didn’t turn around to look at Ayrin. He merely glanced at the teammates around him and coldly said, “I want to go over some things one more time. Our team Golden Stag has always had an elimination tradition. The one with the worst performance in the tournament will be directly kicked out of the school team, whether there’s a powerful freshman awaiting to take their place or not.”
“We know.” No matter the main member of the rosters or the five substitutes around him, none of them showed any surprise.
After spending some time in this kind of team atmosphere, it seemed every member of team Golden Stag, even substitutes, had about the same temperament as Rinsyi and the other main members. All of them were extremely confident, all of them feeling a cut above the others.
“It’s that guy.”
When Ayrin was cheering for team Agate Lake at the top of his lungs, Charlotte’s gaze latched tightly onto team Hawkmoon, likewise standing in the preparation area.
A strange sensation of danger even pushed her shyness aside.
Since she noted down his traits and appearance beforehand, she noticed at first glance that boy with long curly brown hair.
She could clearly see that boy’s face. It was a somewhat long and narrow face, with a somewhat small chin that made the mouth look as though it were placed lower than usual. One could say he was one of those with particularly distinctive facial features.
Because team Hawkmoon also ranked as a strong team at almost the same level as Golden Stag, Breith Magazine had gone into some details when presenting their main roster. And after comparing with Breith Magazin’s issue from a few days ago, Charlotte discovered this boy didn’t belong among the five main members of team Hawkmoon. He should be one of the reserve fighters.
For an ordinary substitute, if they couldn’t even win their place in the main lineup, how would they look at Ayrin with a gaze that made Ayrin feel threatened?
This made Charlotte even more suspicious. She felt the need to first secretly investigate this Hawkmoon substitute while Ivan and the other members of team Divine Shield were here.
“Hurry up and look, team Golden Stag and team Snow Wolf are going on stage!”
“The match is going to start!”
The stands became noisy just then. The two teams opposed in the first match were already taking their places in the field.
“Golden Stag Academy against Snow Wolf Academy, first fight, Pires against Ferguson.”
Without making the spectators in the stands wait for too long, the main referee Kleis and his assistant referees took their places at various spots in the field. Then, according to the fighting sequences the two teams had handed over, Kleis announced the members participating in the first match for both sides.
“Pires, I don’t remember this name. It’s a newcomer in team Golden Stag. The first one to fight for team Golden Stag is really a substitute.”
Every pair of eyes in the field was gathered on this first member taking to the field for Golden Stag.
This was a boy with seemingly a very noble air. Even his walking posture seemed extremely graceful and appropriate. He had the aura of a prince with excellent schooling. His build seemed to have been chiseled by special training, looking slender and graceful, not too thin and not too fat, not a single ounce of excessive flesh on him. His body brimmed with great power. Some kind of hair gel had been smeared on his short blond hair. It was plastered very smoothly on the back of his head, like a golden helmet.
His opponent was short and stout in contrast, his skin somewhat dark-red as though he had gone overboard with his liquor. His short black hair was sparse and in a disarray, his nose was a bit too big, and his eyes very ferocious, giving off a coarse and warlike feeling.
His nickname was also appropriate: the “Hacking Butcher.” He was team Snow Wolf’s vice-captain, his strength ranking second in the team.
“It’s really a substitute. This guy and his team, are they really going to deal with Snow Wolf Academy with a substitute-only lineup?”
When he saw that the one stepping onto the field was truly a substitute, Ayrin threw a very displeased glance at Rinsyi standing there at the edge of the field, then immediately started to encourage team Silver Wolf. “Do your best, team Silver Wolf! Knock them down!”
“Pardon me, please let me through, I’m from Breith Trading Company.”
Just then, two men suddenly squeezed their way to Ayrin. They flashed a polite smile in his direction and said, “Ayrin, you should still remember us. May we bother you again?”
“Faint… It’s your guys again.” A speechless Ayrin looked at these two guys from Breith Magazine smiling their polite smiles. “What do you want this time?”
“We saw you seemed to have strong opinions against team Golden Stag. Is there any conflict between you?” the two men from Breith Magazine said, all smiles.
“It’s nothing, it’s just that I very much want to meet them in the tournament, then defeat them.” Ayrin said a few serious words, then added, “Defeat them with all their main members! Knock out Rinsyi!”
Light suddenly flashed bright in the eyes of these two. They exchanged a look, then looked at Charlotte beside Ayrin, then said pardon us for the trouble, we hope you’ll have a pleasant time watching the match. Then they left, full of excitement.
“I have a bad feeling.” Charlotte watched their backs and couldn’t resist saying, “I wonder what on earth they’re going to write this time.”
“It doesn’t matter. The more excessive it is, the more provocative, the angrier Rinsyi will be. Teacher Carter already said that infuriating your opponent is a very useful method, because someone burning with rage will often make mistakes.” Ayrin glanced at Rinsyi and humphed.
“But that guy Rinsyi, he’s on a totally different level from us.” Charlotte looked at Rinsyi’s back and said, solemn, “Ayrin, you already saw Ivan in action. But you have to understand that even for Ivan, there’s an insurmountable gap with direct Lannister descendants. This gap, it’s simply the gap between elite and taboo.”
“Exactly. The enemy is so powerful, so that’s all the more reason for you guys to help me.” Ayrin said, his tone very natural, very unwilling to admit defeat, “If you aren’t brave enough to see this guy as an enemy, then you’ll never surpass that guy.”
“…” Charlotte felt that it was simply impossible to refute Ayrin’s sometimes bold and confident reasoning.
Just then, the referee announced the formal start of the fight between Pires, the first one representing Golden Stag, and Snow Wolf’s vice-captain Ferguson.
“Boom!” “Boom!” “Boom!”…
The air around Ferguson exploded in vibrations as soon as the match officially began.
“Clang… Clang… Clang…”
Explosive metallic sounds rose in the field at the same time.
A thick scarlet armor suddenly appeared on Ferguson, two ram horns on the helm. A scarlet ax also appeared in his hands, taller than a grown man, the blade glinting with a red light so thick it seemed to be dripping with blood.
The picture of a bloody butcher!
On the contrary, Golden Stag’s Pires didn’t move an iota. He merely observed the bloody butcher-like Ferguson with a graceful smile.
“Did he immediately use a materialization skill like that because he’s afraid of his opponent?”
Ayrin couldn’t hold back his cry of surprise. “Won’t an ax and a thick armor like that consume many arcane particles in one cast? Or does he have some other special skills that guarantee he can strike his opponent before the ax and armor vanish?”
“No.” Charlotte had already trained a long time in Lannister’s army, hence her knowledge was even broader than Agate Lake’s Sophia. When she heard Ayrin’s astonished voice, she immediately shook her head. “This isn’t an ordinary materialization skill, it’s a permanent-type materialization skill.”
“Permanent materialization, what does that mean?” Ayrin immediately asked.
“An arcane skill that can permanently merge arcane particles with arcane energy and transform them into weapons. In other words, you can use arcane particles and arcane energy beforehand and condense them into a weapon, then this weapon won’t disappear, you can carry it with you. And some arcane skills among those can even turn these weapons back into minute particles and store them inside the body. They can be assembled again when they’re needed. The power of weapons like these scale with the strength of an arcane master’s arcane particles. Generally speaking, the weapon condensed by a three-gate arcane master will surpass almost any item made of steel,” Charlotte explained, turning to look at Ayrin.
“The Cup of Starry Sky Braves was originally made to stimulate and enhance arcane masters’ fighting techniques and use of arcane skills, because the inherent power of an arcane master at the taboo-level or above often surpasses all mundane weapons. That’s the reason why the Cup of Starry Sky Braves prohibits the use of any weapon, but permanent materialization skills are considered a type of arcane skills, so they’re allowed. Also, when you shape the weapon, it’s the same as casually pulling out a weapon prepared in advance, you don’t need to consume all that many arcane particles. You only start to consume arcane particles when you use these weapons.”
“These permanent materialization skills are pretty rare, they’re called a Gift of Steel in the world of arcane masters,” Charlotte added after a small pause. “Only a minority of arcane masters can learn them. People see them as an addition to the bloodline, like an additional innate talent. In the world of arcane masters, the most powerful close-range battlemasters are usually called wild battlemasters. And out of ten wild battlemasters, there are at least five who use this type of arcane skill. For this kind of wild battlemaster with at least five open gates, they can cut apart their opponents’ arcane skills merely relying on the weapons they condense beforehand. They simply don’t need to spend all that much energy to deal with arcane masters of a lower level. A powerful wild battlemaster can even kill a dozen arcane teams in succession. This is something arcane masters of other styles simply can’t compare to.”