Chapter 107: Stingham's collapse
“Sacrificial Halo and Brambles Backlash!”
Moss was suddenly startled.
His clan wasn't a giant clan with an especially pure lineage compared to some ancient clans, and they long ago ceased to worship these already destroyed giant kingdoms as the lands where the souls of their ancestors rested. Yet, for anyone with some giant blood, these two legendary arcane skills bought absolute shock, because these two arcane skills were once the symbol of the giants' glory.
In many ancient records, in these epic-level scenes, the scene of a giant wearing scalding lava rock armor, attacking while ignoring almost every arcane skill, fighting shoulder to shoulder with companion beasts as huge as small hills, was far inferior to the shock of a giant wrapped in a golden halo, seven forking, snow-white brambles blossoming around him, their thorns gleaming with light, instantly killing seven mighty arcane masters at the same level as him.
Liszt added, his tone lazy, yet still carrying a trace of emotion as he evoked an era past, “After the War of the Dragons, the fight between arcane masters and Evil Dragon followers still continued on. Some formidable bloodlines passed on from generation to generation, and they very much wanted to destroy these arcane skills that were once lethal for them.”
“The more they destroyed, the more formidable the influence they exerted from the shadows.”
“You're very lucky,” Liszt said, looking at Moss. “Our Holy Dawn arcane teams once fought many times against henchmen of the Evil Dragon followers. Once, they discovered that their objectives were the arcane skills left in the vestiges of a giant kingdom. That's the reason why, among the highest arcane skills in our Holy Dawn Academy, there is an arcane skill that only people with giant bloodlines can learn. 'Sacrifical Halo.'”
Moss forgot his fear and exclaimed, “Teacher Liszt, back then, your Holy Dawn team successfully repelled the henchmen and obtained the arcane skill 'Sacrificial Halo' among the vestiges of the giant kingdom?”
“No need to get excited. In fact, there are many academies today who have in their possession arcane skills that once made history. They just can't find anyone suitable to learn them, to the point no one choose these arcane skills anymore,” Liszt lazily said.
“Teacher Liszt, teach me this secret skill then,” Moss shouted. “At the very least, when we find ourselves outmatched, I can risk my life to use this skill and protect ourselves with this.”
“Not bad, it seems you got a lot of fighting intuition hanging out with Ayrin. That said, as long as you undergo a special training to reinforce your vitality and your ability to recover, you won't easily die even if you shoulder the same kind of injury.” Liszt started to smile. “With guys like you and Ayrin, we may well actually remind some people of a truth they wanted to spread from the very beginning of the tournament, back when they first drew up the rules.”
“What?” Moss stared blankly again.
Liszt told him, “Because of arcane masters' formidable mobility, as well as to avoid being killed or injured by armies or large-scale arcane skills, arcane masters naturally formed countless small teams under the starry skies inside battles, starting from the War of the Dragons all the way until now. Hence, when it comes to carrying out missions, small arcane teams are also the ones sent out. Oftentimes, only the arcane teams who understand how to cooperate with each other, who know to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the teammates, only teams like these will become the strongest arcane teams.”
After a slight pause, Liszt added, “When they first drew up the rules of the tournament, it was precisely to foster this very awareness. To fight to the very end for your comrades, to fight until you can't stand anymore, in order to annihilate a few more enemies for the sake of your teammates.”
“Stop chasing me!”
“Why do you keep chasing me!”
“Treachery, perfidy, an academy that doesn't keep its words! Didn't you say you wouldn't force me to train!”
Looking at Ayrin chasing him like a shadow, Stingham howled with indignation.
“No one's betraying their words. You're free to pursue your romantic interests inside the academy, everyone has the privilege to court anyone they see fit.” Without batting an eye, Rui appeared on a branch not far away from him. “No one's forcing you to train.”
“Free romance? What the hell are you talking about!”
Stingham almost puked out blood. Watching Ayrin behind him, his body covered from head to toe in ointment, a smile beaming across his face, seemingly drooling with desire for him, Stingham felt an evil chill shiver through him. He shrieked miserably.
“Damn it, this guy clearly only had some brute force, why did he become so agile and so fast all of a sudden!”
Often, as soon as he left Ayrin behind and lost sight of his shadow, Ayrin's silhouette would immediately reappear before he had time to feel relieved.
“Suitable arcane skills can speed up your movements, but the important thing is to grasp the right timing to use them. If you don't use them appropriately, it'll only make the opponent accurately guess your position instead. Or you'd directly crash against the opponent's arcane skills and become a live target.”
Rui's silhouette flashed and immediately reappeared beside Ayrin. “You also need to constantly keep an eye on the level of your arcane particles. Otherwise these skills that increase your movement speed will use too many of them, and then you won't have many arcane particles left for attacking.”
Ayrin kept chasing after Stingham, saying at the same time, “I understand, teacher Rui! You're really fast!”
“Next I'm going to teach you Phantom Mirage. This is a movement skill that the opponent won't easily notice when you launch it, just like Southern Monsoon's Shadow Dust. It's especially useful on a dark night.”
“Did I finally get rid of that pervert?”
Stingham panted heavily, hiding in dense thickets. He waited for a long while. Finally, he saw no trace of Ayrin.
However. Just as he wiped off some sweat and wondered whether he might as well directly slip away from Holy Dawn Academy and take a stroll in Agate Lake Academy.
All of a sudden, he felt his back break out in gooseflesh.
When he turned around abruptly, he saw a black shadow drop down, then Ayrin suddenly filled his vision, seeming to strangely float out from the wind.
“Haha, finally caught you!”
Ayrin clung to him before he had time to evade.
“Ah! Get lost!”
An extremely frightened shriek came out of his mouth. A gigantic stream of water flushed out under his feet, immediately flushing him and Ayrin more than a dozen feet away in the air.
“Why are you hanging around like a bad smell, I don't like men! Act with propriety!”
Rinsed away by his own arcane skill and dropping heavily like a boulder, golden stars still swimming in front of his eyes, Stingham saw a shadow bolting in his direction once again. “What new arcane skill did he suddenly learn this time. He's moving so fast!” In spite of his pain, he jumped up and started running immediately. But this time, no matter how hard he tried, Ayrin always kept within five or six meter. He couldn't find a way to throw him off.
For Stingham, the next several days were like one nightmare following another.
Apart from when Ayrin ate and slept, Ayrin was always in his face.
And the most terrifying thing was, Ayrin was increasingly fast and nimble, increasingly unpredictable, coming and going like a shadow.
Early morning, six days later.
Rui and Ayrin stood side by side on a roof inside the Ivy district.
“You're progressing even faster than I thought.” Rui watched the mist curling around the forest of giant trees, saying, “You should be good to go today, right?”
“I should be able to catch him as long as I want to,” Ayrin said proudly. He clasped his hands behind his head and laughed out loud.
“Go then.” Rui nodded, saying in an extremely simple manner, just like his usual style.
“Teacher.” Ayrin suddenly thought of something, his rushing silhouette halting all of a sudden. “I thought of someone even more suitable who could do this training with me.”
Rui looked his way. “Who?”
“Rinloran of course,” Ayrin said excited. “His body coordination and his changes of direction, the speed of his entire body, very few people should be able to match those. Teacher Carter said that this is the innate advantage of high-level elves. If I could be as nimble as him, then very few people in the national tournament should be able to surpass me.”
Rui frowned faintly. “But I heard he has no desire at all to join the school team and participate in the tournament.”
“He doesn't want to participate in the tournament, but I'm his friend. There should be no problem if I ask him to help me with the training,” Ayrin said with aplomb.
“Alright.” Teacher Rui nodded. “Accomplish your task today, then you can go find him.”
“Back again! When are you ever going to stop!”
Stingham's miserable shrieks echoed once again inside the forest of giant trees.
Chasing behind him, Ayrin stretched himself and warmed up his body, saying with a laugh, “Just bear with it, it'll be over today.”
“Bastard, what does that mean, it'll be over today.”
“Because I'm going to catch you today.”
“I'm about ready, we can begin!” After exercising for several minutes, Ayrin felt his body become completely light and lithe.
Ayrin had always stuck behind him like ghost, but now Stingham suddenly noticed he couldn't see him anymore behind his back.
Still darting swiftly, he looked left and right.
On the left, nothing.
On the right...
When he turned his head around and looked right, he noticed Ayrin standing on a tree branch on his left, all smiles. He even stuck his face forward, not even one meter away from him.
Stingham's face almost went green. He shrieked and ran for his life. Ayrin vanished from his vision, but by the time he turned around, he once again saw Ayrin standing in front of himself, smiling at him.
“Ah!” “Ah!” “Ah!”
Stingham fled as if his life were in imminent danger, but no matter in which direction he escaped in, Ayrin's smiling face would always appear in front of him.
The most excessive time, he didn't see Ayrin's figure at first, but Ayrin actually stretched out his hand and tapped his shoulder.
“Don't be like that! Let me go.”
After almost crashing into Ayrin many dozen times, Stingham finally collapsed. He drilled himself into the hollow of a tree and wouldn't show his face no matter what.
“Ah? You gave up so quickly. I'm going to find someone else then. Bye!” Ayrin's voice gradually came from further and further away.
“He's really gone?”
Stingham slowly poked his head out. When he discovered Ayrin was finally gone from the surroundings, when things finally quieted down, tears ran wild on his face.
“I actually can't even run away. This can't go on, otherwise, doesn't that mean that he can catch me anytime he wants to find me?”
Several minutes later, he bolted toward the place Rui were often at. “Teacher Rui, teach me! Make me become faster!”
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