Panda-eyed, Ayrin and Moss walked shoulder to shoulder on the great avenue passing through the academy’s gates.
“Didn’t you watch the duel between Stingham and Ferguillo? People like them who possibly have their third arcane gate open already, just how much stronger are they compared to us?”
“The gap between us?” Moss rubbed his face. He turned his head to glance at Ayrin and said, a little dejected, “Even if they just stood there without moving, we’d be sent flying who knows where before we can even clearly see what’s happening. On top of that, we won’t even be able to get up.”
Ayrin brandished his fist and exclaimed, “Such a big gap, true or false.”
“Simply put, take a single move like “Great Water Dragon” that’s very ordinary for Stingham. Even if I used Multi-Size Technique and gave it my all, he could casually smash me flying a dozen feet in the sky just with that one move.” Moss stretched his hand and gestured at Ayrin. “If it were you instead, you’d surely become a little black dot in the sky.”
Ayrin thought for a little. “Then did Chris open her third arcane gate as well?”
“I don’t know. They say she’s from the most ordinary human bloodline, that’s why it’s not possible to progress so fast. Maybe she only opened two arcane gates.” Moss puffed his cheek, trying to relieve the pain from the fight inside his mouth. “Someone like her might have a talent for fighting that’s out of the ordinary though, an ability to operate every kind of arcane skill in the most appropriate way. Since she said she could beat teacher Huston, then it wouldn’t be a surprise if she were able to to beat an arcane master with three open arcane gates in a one versus one. Plus she has that supreme secret skill that can swallow arcane particles. Only, guys like Stingham and Ferguillo also seem to have strange secret skills that others can’t understand.”
“Ah! Ah! Ah!” Ayrin suddenly let out three gloomy shouts.
“You’ve gone crazy?” Moss jumped in fright. “Why are you shouting out of nowhere with no rhyme or reason. Maybe you think you need more people to admire your panda eyes?”
“Such a big difference, when on earth am I going to condense arcane particles.” Ayrin said, “Moss, to what level do I need to train my body before I can reach the required step for condensing arcane particles?”
“For ordinary people, if they can run twice longer than you and dash up two boulders that size, then they’ve more or less reached the critical point.” Moss glanced at Ayrin. “Condensing arcane particles requires body and spiritual power to both reach the required level though. Ordinary people can use their physical strength as a measure. When they train their strength to that level, their spiritual power will be more or less there as well. But for a monster like you whose physical strength rises very fast, your body is definitely far far ahead of your spiritual strength. Only training to your limits will be a genuine test for your spiritual determination and make it progress a little.
“For example, an ordinary person has to train painstakingly a hundred times to their limits to gain the same rise in strength you get after ten training sessions, but their spiritual strength will go through more tempering than yours. That’s why when the time comes, your physical strength will certainly be far higher than theirs, but your spiritual strength won’t be enough yet, so you won’t be able to condense arcane particles like them. Physical strength is something you can see at first glance, but you have to use a dwarven benchmark tool to know what level the spiritual strength really reached.”
“What kind of thing are dwarven benchmark tools?”
“It’s something only dwarven smiths from the kingdom of Doa can craft, it’s a measuring tool especially made to measure the level of spiritual strength. The main components are some mysterious underground crystals.”
“Then where do they sell it in St. Lauren?” Ayrin turned immediately excited. “Let’s go buy it right now.”
“Idiot, the price was up to a hundred gold coins even several years ago, and you’re not even certain to find one.” Moss cursed Ayrin, but he actually turned his head around and said, “I think there’s one in our Quinn clan, I can think of a way to go home and take it out in a couple days.”
An Aryin fiercely nodding his head walked out of the school gates together with Moss, going through great streets and small alleys in St. Lauren. Looking at the two of them, no one would think they just fought a brawl a little earlier, or that Moss even thought of Ayrin as a mortal enemy just a few days ago.
“This must the silly hot-bloodedness of youth.” This was the way Minlur described the two of them when Moss and Ayrin each lent the other an arm in support and went out of the Thinker’s Stone Forest. Such a situation made even Minlur a little sentimental, a little envious.
When the darkness of the night entirely descended on St. Lauren, when the starry skies once again glittered bright, Ayrin and Moss came in front of Divine Shield Academy’s eastern gates.
There was no commercial street inside Divine Shield Academy. This way, it turned several streets around Divine Shield Academy entirely into commercial streets instead. People came and went. Compared to Holy Dawn Academy, Ayrin felt that Divine Shield Academy looked like a bustling city that never slept, when Holy Dawn Academy seemed like a park almost no one visited at night.
Ayrin and Moss didn’t wear their Holy Dawn Academy’s uniform in order to better infiltrate inside the enemy area, but their faces beaten black and blue still attracted the attention of many people along the way. What most exceeded people’s imagination was, when the two of them were about to surreptitiously sneak inside Divine Shield Academy, two persons stopped them at the gates.
“Are you students from our Divine Shield Academy?”
“Why aren’t you wearing the uniform?”
“Which district do you live in, which building?”
Moss was totally struck dumb after these few questions.
Only then did he see a noticeboard hanging outside Divine Shield Academy’s gates, with “This academy isn’t open for visit to students of other academies” written on it.
Not having expected to encounter something like this after traveling half a day, Moss and Ayrin could only helplessly retreat to a corner of the streets. Ayrin couldn’t help but mumble, “What, do academies prohibit students from other schools from entering? Why can people go inside our Holy Dawn Academy whenever they want, didn’t you go inside Iron Forest Academy as well?”
“I have no idea either, I don’t think other academies have this kind of rules.” Moss said, a little depressed, a little ashamed as well, “Maybe it has something to do with Holy Dawn Academy being sponsored by clan Lannister. Many students graduating from Holy Dawn Academy will join clan Lannister’s western army or their arcane teams, that’s why they’re particularly strict in their management, a little like an army.”
Moss helplessly watched the many golden roofs inside Divine Shield Academy, then looked at the two Divine Shield students on duty at the gates who were watching them as if they were thieves. He said, “We might as well go back then. We don’t even know what people from team Divine Shield look like, so even if we stood watch here, we wouldn’t know it even if their team members walked right under our noses. There’s also no way to watch their training.”
“No!” Ayrin was still full of a zest that didn’t concede defeat no matter what. “I’ll stroll along the walls and see if there’s a place where we can flip inside. If that’s really not possible, I’ll see if there’s a place we can dig a hole into!”
“Faint!” Moss looked at Ayrin. “Worthy of someone hanging out with the Impulsive Freshman.”
“Holy Dawn Academy? Trash like Holy Dawn Academy… We never even regarded Holy Dawn Academy as an opponent.”
Just when Moss was following admiringly behind Aryin and circling around Divine Shield Academy, they suddenly halted in place.
This voice came from a shop not far away beside them.
This was a little shop specializing in barbecues. They also sold a few cards with pictures and explanations about various kinds of monsters and rares beasts inside.
“Who’s so arrogant? Could it be a member of team Divine Shield?”
Ayrin walked straight toward that shop, his face awe-inspiring like a tiger. Moss followed right behind him.
“Hah, two pandas, they even look a little like the pandamen monsters on the picture cards.” Inside, a shop owner over thirty years old was amused at his first sight of Ayrin’s and Moss’ appearances. “Joking joking… You two want to buy something?”
“We don’t need anything.” Moss felt that Ayrin became a little impulsive as well after staying too long with Belo. Also, felt that Ayrin was sometimes smart, and sometimes so slow it was hard to imagine. Hence he hurried a little anxiously to the front and said, “We’re Divine Shield Academy’s freshmen, we’re very concerned about our team’s matches. We heard people discuss this match, that’s why we came in.”
Moss then turned toward the several people sitting there and chatting. “Could you seniors precisely be our school’s team? Would it be possible to give us an autograph?”
The people sitting there all wore Divine Shield Academy uniform, their yellow the color of autumn leaves, ironed straight just like army uniforms. A white-faced boy among them lifted his head when he heard Moss’ words. He wore glasses just like Belo, but his hair stood up even straighter on his head than Huston’s. “Freshmen will be freshmen, they don’t understand anything. How could it be so easy to meet our Divine Shield Academy’s team, would they be sitting here at a time like this?”
“So you’re not?” Moss said without batting an eye, “But just now I heard you say… you never regarded Holy Dawn Academy as an opponent. Isn’t there an Amazing Girl Chris in Holy Dawn Academy, I heard she beat the entire Southern Monsoon team just by herself.”
“How can a trash team like team Southern Monsoon compare to our Divine Shield Academy?” This glasses man with erect hair said with contempt, “This Crazy Girl, she only has a little fame in a place like Holy Dawn Academy. If she were in our Divine Shield Academy, hmph hmph, maybe even us lot will be able to sort her out. Who knows, maybe I’d find her too ugly even if she tried to be our girlfriend. To be our opponent, I’m dying, it’s too funny. After that there’s only Iron Forest Academy’s Ferguillo left…”
Moss knew things were going south as soon as he heard the sound of heavy breathing behind him. Indeed, before he had time to even turn around, he heard Ayrin’s voice say, “Did you stand upside down for too long during your training today?”
“Hm? I didn’t, what are you trying to say?” The glasses man with erect hair was a little confused for a while, blanking out a little.
“You stood upside down for too long, even your poop’s coming out of your mouth, that’s why your words stink so much,” Ayrin said, looking at him.
“…” Moss was suddenly at a loss for words. Ayrin had always seemed like a good child before, as if nothing could make him angry. He didn’t expect Ayrin to actually insult someone, and even insult him so strongly at that.
“What did you say!”
Glassman and the others beside him finally came back to their senses. They all stood up amidst crashing chairs.
“You need to apologize for what you said about Chris just now,” Ayrin said.
“Are you from Holy Dawn Academy or someone of our Divine Shield Academy?” Glasses let out a nasty laugh. “What happens if I don’t apologize?”
“I am from Holy Dawn Academy! If you don’t apologize, then I’ll beat you up until you apologize!”
“Students from Holy Dawn Academy? Even Holy Dawn Academy people dare make a racket here? Either you get lost right now, or else I’ll beat you up, make you kneel down and lick my feet!” Glasses and the others from Divine Shield Academy beside him all watched Ayrin like fiends and devils. What made them immediately stunned though was, Ayrin had already run outside the door like a drift of smoke, before this sentence even ended.
“I can’t fight anymore today, too tired. I’ll come back tomorrow to beat you up!”
By the time these Divine Shield Academy people came back to their senses, Moss had already followed behind Ayrin and ran away until not even their shadows could be seen anymore.
The glasses boy was the first one to let his laughter out loud, unable to hold it in. He laughed until his belly actually hurt. “He actually directly fled in fear just like that? Run if you have to run, he still had to ‘I’ll come tomorrow to beat you up,’ it’s really too funny. I’ve never seen something so funny.”