On a quiet afternoon, in a clearing within the forest of huge trees.
Ayrin joined his two hands together, his ten fingers constantly jiggling about, unceasingly switching into different gestures one after another. The speed was fast, to the point the fingers would produce faint sounds each time they touched each other.
Ayrin’s expression was a fully earnest one, all of his attention raptly concentrated on his hands.
However, he stopped a dozen minutes later, discouraged, dejectedly exclaiming in a soft voice, “I still can’t do it!”
It had already been over twenty days since Ciaran taught him this spirit-focusing “Logic Fingers,” but no matter how hard he tried, no matter how much he gathered his spirit, he could only have a vague feeling of arcane power flowing around his hands, but he simply couldn’t seize it.
“Flaming Evil Eye!”
After another failure at condensing arcane particles, Ayrin once again stretched his hands out, once again thought in his mind about the operating method of the “Flaming Evil Eye.”
No arcane particle seeped out from his fingertips. The skill naturally failed.
“Ah, it’s not working!”
“It seems like teacher Ciaran was right, my spiritual strength really hasn’t reached the level of condensing arcane particles yet. Why do I still have this feeling though!” He once again gloomily shouted to himself.
The feeling that his first arcane gate was open was still there. The “arcane particles” inside the arcane gate didn’t seem to have increased, but they hadn’t decreased either.
“Whatever, the more I fail to condense arcane particles, the harder I have to try!”
After letting out two depressed shouts, he once again started to sprint toward a huge tree in front of him.
Friction had visible rubbed off the bark on many places on this tree, leaving shapes of footprints behind.
Ever since that day the dwarven benchmark tool measured his spiritual strength at twenty, Ayrin’s everyday training routine was at least four times that of an ordinary student!
“Pa Pa Pa Pa…”
Rapid footsteps rang inside the forest. Dashing at full-speed on the huge tree, Ayrin ran up until he couldn’t run anymore, then fell down. After a back roll on the ground, he immediately charged toward another huge tree, constantly going back and forth like this.
Ayrin actually persisted a full thirty minutes with such a constant effort without the slightest interruption. Sweat was already dripping from the corners of his clothes, but he still didn’t give off any indication of tiring out or stopping!
“You look very diligent, brave warrior!”
A voice came to his ears, a voice that rang with sounds of panting and a feeling of exhaustion that couldn’t be hidden.
Ayrin was right in the middle of accelerating the speed of his sprint. He fell all of a sudden with a “Ah” as soon as he heard this voice. He raised his head and looked at the treetop, seeing with happy surprise Chris appear on top of the tree. “Chris, why did you come here? You finally remember my face this time?”
“You’re the only one here, and I’ve already memorized the sound of your footsteps. I won’t be mistaken no matter what.”
Chris charged downward from the treetop like a genuine madwoman at the same time she said these words.
An ordinary person, if they tried to run down from the top of the tree, would definitely fall straight away with a Ah and become a flat cake pasted on the ground, but Chris kept her steps on the trunk of the tree as she charged down, faster and faster. She kept at least the tip of one foot on the tree trunk at all time. Ayrin could also see that she used no arcane particle at all during this process.
“How do you do that, are you merely using the friction between your soles and the tree trunk? How much strength is that.” Unable to even keep his eyes open under the raging winds blown up when Chris rushed in front of him, Ayrin’s admiration for Chris reached the apex. “Today’s the day your team starts training together, that’s why you came to find me?”
“There’s not much trick to it, you’ll be able to do it too in the future as long as you train a lot.”
After panting two rough mouthfuls of air, Chris turned around and started to run. “Follow me. I’m sure you’ve trained nonstop these few days, so it’s probably been a long while since you last saw the bulletin boards outside the academy’s canteens. Today’s the selection for the academy’s team members, teacher Ciaran said we can let you give it a try. She already helped you apply. If you can really pass it, then you’ll be able to directly participate in the tournament as a member of the academy’s team.”
“Academy team’s selection?” Ayrin stared blankly a moment, then he immediately started to sprint at full-speed, following behind Chris. “It’s today?”
“Mm, it’s going to begin soon… Don’t waste any time…” Chris answered, panting heavily. These words of hers seemed once again meant for herself, somewhat, but Ayrin’s heart violently banged once in his chest nevertheless. He could tell that Chris indeed put all her time into painstaking training, just as she once told him. She didn’t waste even a second even when coming to tell him about the news. She still used this time to do constant foundation exercises.
“I absolutely have to make the team, I have help her become champion!”
He once again told himself these heavy words. Then he immediately asked, “I didn’t see the notice, what are the rules for the team selection, are you members of the team also participating? Do we need to defeat you team members before we can join the school team?”
“Team members don’t participate in these selections. You can make the team as long as you finish in the top five. When the match comes, the school team will decide on the final composition of five depending on the conditions of all the team members, as well as the characteristics of the opponents. We organize these selections twice every year.”
“Then let’s call Moss and go together?”
“He’s the one who told me where to find you. He’s still slumped on his bed and can’t get up yet after you beat him up yesterday, there’s no way he can participate in the selection.”
“Oh… I forgot. Right, where’s the selection?”
“Holy Dawn Arena.”
Holy Dawn Arena.
The three elite teachers Ciaran, Minlur, and Rui stood on the edge of the highest dome, just like during the last match.
Seeing the distant figures of Chris and Ayrin running their way, Minlur couldn’t resist asking, “Ciaran, you really think him opening his first arcane gate isn’t some mistaken false impression?”
“His spiritual strength measured twenty on the dwarven benchmark tool. There’s very little possibility of a false impression at that level of spiritual strength.” Ciara turned her head around and threw a glance at Minlur. “I would rather believe we are the ones who don’t understand the reason.”
Rui was usually the most low-key among them. Now he still stood silent, not uttering a sound, but then he turned around towards a certain direction all of a sudden.
A silhouette seemed to condense from thin air, suddenly appearing on the edge of this dome.
Ciaran exclaimed in happy surprise, “You came back already?”
“I heard you already let that little guy register in the team selection. Such an interesting thing, how could I not rush back?” Liszt stretched his back and slowly walked their way, his every-present lazy air about him.
“How was it?” Rui looked at Liszt and said three very simply words.
“Same as the Evil Dragon followers who appeared before. They’re all especially strong, totally out of control, and still don’t leave a single living witness behind.” Liszt looked at him and said, “There’s some headway however, at least we found the rough location of their camp. Quite a few arcane teams are going to search there.”
Rui nodded and didn’t speak any further.
Liszt glanced at Ayrin and Chris who were about to reach the entrance to the arena, and asked, very interested, “Ciaran, you guys let him participate in this selection, is it merely because he made some progress, or because you really think he can enter the top five?”
Ciaran said, “It all depends on him. If he can find a fighting style that suits his present state, and if he has some natural talent for fighting, then he should already be able to pass the exam and join the team.”
“You’re so confident about him?” Liszt looked at Ciaran, Minlur, and also Rui, a little astonished. “You’re all of the same mind?”
“You weren’t in the academy, that’s why you don’t know what happened these past days.” Ciaran took in a deep breath and said, “His body already reached a level sufficient to condense arcane particles. What’s even more astounding is his momentum… His momentum and resistance to blows, his ability to recover, they are already several times above senior students who managed to condense arcane particles not long ago.”
After a slight pause, Ciaran couldn’t resist adding, “Some days ago he still had some trouble handing that red-haired kid Moss from clan Quinn after Multi-Sizing, but yesterday, he faced Muti-Sizing together with ‘War Blast’ and easily beat up Moss to the point he couldn’t even crawl up.”
“It seems he far exceeds my expectations.” Liszt rubbed his chin and smiled. “Even those Evil Dragon followers who obtained a little evil dragon blood are only so-so.”
“Even these Evil Dragon followers don’t have his powerful learning ability.” The silent Rui standing at the side suddenly said, “There’s a strong little guy in Golden Lion Academy also. I already went and had a look yesterday after I heard Ciaran talk about it. It should be a very high-level green dragon bloodline.”
“You already went to look and ascertained it’s a green dragon bloodline?” Ciaran and Minlur turned around and looked at Rui, both taken aback.
Rui nodded, falling silent once again.
“Green dragon bloodline, it’s something that hasn’t appeared in a long while. If he can ultimately learn “Dark Green Domain,” that’d be something to behold.” Liszt shook his head, sighing in admiration.
In the doorway to a small canteen in Golden Lion Academy, a Stingham holding a pack of ice against his cheek let out a sneeze.
“I’m really unlucky, I even got beaten up in a pitch-black alley when I came out at night for a late snack.” His eyes like panda eyes, his face blue here and purple there, Stingham grimaced from the pain of the sneeze as he mumbled to himself, extremely depressed.
“So many people!” At the same time, Ayrin had already gone inside Holy Dawn Arena after Chris. He could see at first glance the stands densely packed with people, much fuller than in the previous match between Holy Dawn Academy and Southern Monsoon Academy.
“It’s Ayrin? The freshman who went to pick a fight in Divine Shield Academy. Why did he come together with Chris, don’t tell me he also signed up for the selection?”
Ayrin became very famous in Holy Dawn Academy ever since he went to pick a fight in Divine Shield Academy last time, hence many people recognized him as soon as he came in after Chris inside the arena.