Book 1, Chapter 112

Soulguard

The branches she was resting on were very delicate, making it hard to believe that they could even hold her weight. The branches were swaying even in the wind, but abruptly they sunk downwards under her force. Just before they crossed the breaking point they were relieved of her weight, and by the time they even returned to position she’d catapulted away at the speed of lightning.

Even just a jump left Richard gasping in awe. He’d learnt the techniques of the underworld himself, so he could recognise the profound control of strength behind that leap. Breaking a branch might seem like a small matter, but it would leave behind traces that were impossible to erase. A brilliant hunter could use such traces to track their prey. Even with her target right in front of her the girl didn’t slack off in the slightest, leaving no tracks behind. If her actions were not because of prior training to take care of such detail, she had to have a natural disposition as an assassin.

The girl hugged the ground stealthily, reducing the distance between her and her prey at an unfathomable speed. She shot forth like a rocket every time her feet touched the granite rock, moving a few metres in a near instant. From a distance she just looked like a white apparition moving across the river-bank.

The injured prey had made his way across the stream with great difficulty. His steps were unsteady, and he eventually landed flat onto the ground. Injured and having to travel across the ice-cold water in the stream, he was obviously only seconds from falling apart. He struggled to crawl back up, but he fell down again pretty quickly, before eventually getting himself up and fleeing the scene in haste.

“This fellow is pretending, biding time for a final attack. It seems like he wants to take her down with him,” Lina commented. Even though she’d only recently become a grand mage herself, her intuition and combat experience were not something Richard could quantify. Lina could sense that Richard had grown interested in that hunter, so she added more information to help his judgement.

The youth sped up, leaning forward so much now that her hands almost touched the ground. She instantly charged through the riverbank, before going on all fours and leaping up like a ferocious beast. She left a blur of white in the air, using both hands to steady herself on the emerging rocks that dotted the surface of the stream as she shot from rock to rock. 

To Richard, it was like a cunning winter wolf was chasing after her prey with all her might. She crossed the ten metres of the stream effortlessly, catching up with her target. Despite her great speed, she didn’t seem to give out a single sound in the process.

On the other hand, the injured man had accurately predicted her exact position. He decided to give up the facade in that instant, turning around quickly as he pounced at her with a roar. Given the builds of the two, one could easily tell that his strength far exceeded hers, giving him the advantage in close quarters combat. However, the teenage girl did not have any idea of escaping, and she too, prowled towards the man. 

Just as the two seemed about to collide, the girl jumped faster and higher than the man. She changed her position mid-air, avoiding the collision as she stepped on the man’s body. Using him as a pivot she somersaulted forward, placing herself behind him. And then, with what seemed like a mysterious hand supporting her, she mysteriously changed direction to land on the man’s back with a thud.

Time seemed to have stopped at this very moment, as the teenage girl held the prey in a chokehold with her right hand. Her left hand had suddenly conjured a blacksteel weapon.

Thus, under Richard’s careful attention, the iron rod in the girl’s hand viciously moved towards the man’s hips. It sent shivers down Richard’s spine, so much so that he subconsciously clutched his glutes. Thankfully for him, many others reacted in the same way, Lina included. 

The man abruptly let out a pathetic squeal, his body tensing up as he was fiercely catapulted to the ground. The girl flicked her wrist, burying the rod in the man’s behind before she harshly removed it, leaving behind a spray of fresh blood.

She followed that up by rolling away from the prey, giving no chance for the man who was making a futile effort to survive. She instead steadied herself on the floor like a wolf, glancing at all the students in the wooden huts and on the cliff with the threat evident in her eyes. Kerfe, the one with the drow bloodline, moved towards her, but seeing her with no heavy injuries nor any signs of fatigue, he waved it away and retreated to his original position.

As for the other students, many largely avoided the teenage girl’s vicious glance. 

No one came forth to fight for the prey, and the man eventually lost any signs of struggle as he began to twitch on the ground. Having observed the scenario, the teenager then decided to walk to the prey, before she used a sharp blade of the steel weapon to slit the prey’s throat, ending his suffering. Afterwards she probed around the prey’s chest, and retrieved an engraved silver placard. She broke the chains of the placard took it in hand, walking towards Schiller.

The girl stopped only a few metres away from Schiller, not daring to get too close to him. Her body tensed up, evidently showing that she was in a very defensive state. The anxiety she showed at this juncture proved to be more intense than when she was facing the others of the training camp. 

A dull thud rang out as she threw the placard in Schiller’s direction, announcing in a rigid voice, “Placard… this month.”

Schiller nodded his head, “This is your third placard in this month. That’s great! I’ll get someone to send you your items tomorrow.” 

Lina explained the situation with a whisper. It seemed like the death camp added prey to the training every once in a while, giving all the prey placards. The students had to kill such prey every month, being rewarded with medals and reimbursement for their effort. The reimbursements included things such as equipment, resources, as well as potions that would enhance one’s physique. Of all the rewards, the potion was the most sought after as they would enhance the member’s fighting physique. And the students all had placards that would certify their identity. Should they be mistaken for prey, they could merely produce their placards to prove their identity to seek freedom. This would be much safer than simply running away. 

As for the students who did not manage to fulfill their quotas every month, they would receive punishments in the first three months. The punishments included beatings of varying intensities, and were administered independent of gender. 

The fourth time the students failed to complete their quota, they would be rendered the same status as the prey.

After the teenage girl threw the placard to Schiller, she shot a glance at Lina before slowly retreating. She was still very much guarded, and refused to leave her back facing any of them. Just at this juncture, a ray suddenly shone onto her body. The teenage girl watched the debris behind her fly into the air in shock.

A thud ensued almost instantly as she went prone, stealthily arming herself with the weapon that still had fresh blood on it. She levelled a deathly gaze onto Richard.

Lina took a step forward and shielded Richard, as she wielded the magical staff in her hands. With regards to the teenage girl’s vicious aura, Lina appeared to have certain reservations. The Dragonmage was also taken aback by the fact that this teenage girl would threaten even herself, as the teenage girl’s strength was not particularly outstanding. 

As for the ray of light shining on the teenage girl, it was a testing spell, just like what Lina had previously released. A typical mage only obtained conventional feedback about the target’s strength, magic powers, and bloodline, but with Precision Richard was amongst the esteemed ones who could tell a target’s capacity from the magic waves alone. It was not something even many true runemasters could manage.

Fearful of Lina and Schiller’s formidable strength, and not feeling like she had been hurt, the teenage girl’s killing aura slowly dissipated, as she retreated once more. 

“Hold up!” Richard suddenly called to the teenage girl. He then pointed to her as he declared to Schiller: “I want her!” 

Schiller’s brows furrowed, “This is Waterflower, somewhere between 16 and 18 years old. She’s currently a level 9 assassin, with an acute sense of smell for danger. She also has outstanding talent at combat, but she’s not your best choice. The other three are all level 10 already, and unlike her they’ve actually awakened their bloodline abilities. Furthermore, she’s very hard to tame.” 

Richard looked up and down over the teenage girl, and stated: “I have a soul contract, training her doesn’t pose a problem at all. Also, why does she have such an uncommon name? Does she hail from any rare tribes? You don’t seem sure of her age, either.” 

Schiller hesitated, before explaining, “I picked her up during one of my trips in the forest. She was living with a pack of moon wolves at that point, probably raised like a wolf cub. She looked about five years of age by normal standards, but even having learnt to speak she hasn’t been able to explain exactly how long she’d lived with the wolf pack. That’s why we don’t know her definite age. As for her name, it was given to her by the other students in the training camp. They say that she’s akin to an aquafloral fruit, tasty yet formidable with the protection of lethal poison. She’s completely unattainable by the common person.” 

“Alright! She’s the one I want!” Richard had already made his decision. 

Lina could not help but raise her concerns,: “Richard, are you sure you don’t want to reconsider your decision? Even though she is gifted in combat, she has not been able to showcase her bloodline abilities yet; that’s a flaw that you will not be able to make up for. Furthermore, Schiller said that she was raised by a pack of wolves, so we will never be able to properly confirm her heritage; we can’t be sure whether she even has any bloodline potential at all. We should err on the side of caution, and choose a more suitable option like Gangdor.” 

Lina’s worries were not unfounded. Theoretically, both one’s bloodline and their rune capacity were instrumental components of their battle might. In a battle between two rune knights of equal level, the one with the higher-ranked ability would be able to completely suppress the other. Gaton had deliberately assigned Lina to Richard. It was done so that Richard could tap into her rich knowledge in the field of magic, aiding him in the selection of a befitting soulguard.

Having said that, Lina eyed Waterflower’s attractive figure once more. She started to think that Richard wanted to choose the girl for her appearance. After all, Waterflower’s looks were extraordinary. The earlier scene also suggested that she had a formidable sixth sense on the battlefield, allowing her to compete with those with more innate abilities than her. However, to use a soul contract on her seemed a bit of a waste.

Lina herself came from the upper class, possessing high expectations for class and elegance. Thus, she found Waterflower’s tactics in attacking her prey’s vitals quite distasteful. However, she wasn’t surprised. A girl raised by wolves would naturally fight like one. The death camp itself focused on the opponent going down, not how that was accomplished.

Having thought of this point, Lina immediately turned to look at Schiller: “How many guys have bedded Waterflower?” 

What the dragonmage was hinting at was very obvious. For a girl to hail from such a chaotic place, she would probably have had intimate relationships with many men. The sight they’d seen in the initial location was proof of that.

However, Schiller’s next words defied that rule, “Right now, she’s still pure.”

“That’s impossible!” Lina immediately retorted. 

“I picked her up myself. Before the age of 10, I did not allow anyone to touch her. And once she did reach that age, the other students of her batch haven’t been able to grow intimate with her either.”

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OMA's Thoughts

It's a double!

Translation/TLC By: OMA

Edited By: Theo