Chapter 118: National tournament, begin!
“Ciaran, you're still stronger than I expected. I didn't think you could kill Makkany even in circumstances like those.”
As before, Ciaran sat quietly on top of the small, old building in front of Holy Dawn Academy's infirmary. Her hands were wrapped in thick bandages. She heard the sound of something breaking through the air behind her, then heard Donna's voice.
When she turned around, she heard another two somethings going through the air. Minlur and Rui appeared beside Donna.
“You guys also came back?” Ciaran smiled peacefully. “How was it?”
“This was indeed a multi-layered plot planned with utmost care. Both Mori, the boss of the gnome store, and that Evil Dragon follower called Pattinson fled away.” Donna looked at Ciaran and added, “That said, we caught Iron Forest' Johnny, and we also found out several arcane masters secretly helping the Evil Dragon followers from the shadows. There's an important figure among them, Golden Lion Academy's Marte.”
Donna nodded. “A powerful great master as important as Makkany. That said, he already fell into our nets. Although we couldn't capture Mori and that mastermind called Pattinson, their goal this time should have been to draw away the teams I and Liszt direct so that they can assassinate some people on their list. After you led Moss and Ayrin away on a mission, you guys became their final target. But the final result is that you guys survived fine and dandy, and instead killed Makkany who was in charge of securing the final targets. His exposure also led to the exposure of other important figures. From now on, the Evil Dragon followers' influence around St. Lauren should be eradicated. That's why, we're still the victors in this fight.”
After a small pause, Donna said to Ciaran again, “Planning everything for so long, then when the time comes to harvest the fruit of their labors, they instead squandered even the one in charge harvesting the fruit. I'm sure the one called Dias certainly feels very thwarted.”
“The reason they chose you as their final target was that, one, you just happened to take Moss and Ayrin by yourself and left St. Lauren. On top of that, the most important thing is, Dias should be aware that you were the one closest to Ashur among the several of us. For Ashur, you were the most important person. From Dias' point of view, it's because of Ashur that we killed his brother. That's why, it's very possible that you're the first target he wants to kill. You definitely can't lower your guard in the future,” Rui looked at Ciaran and said, his voice slow and serious.
He wasn't good with words. He didn't talk much in ordinary times, but this time, he quite uncharacteristically spoke a long while.
“I definitely won't leave Holy Dawn Academy before my injuries heal. Since he's also always been looking to get his revenge on us, then the more low-key I stay, the fewer opportunities I give him to kill me, then the more irascible he'll get. It'll be easier for him to make mistakes and pay a dear price by then,” Ciaran calmly said. “There will come a day when I kill him with my own hands.”
Donna nodded, then looked at Ciaran and said in a tone that didn't dare believe, “Ayrin, that guy, did he really use Fire Embers just like that?”
“He's fated to be a kaleidoscope-type arcane master.” Ciaran smiled, an unspeakable confidence on her face. “Plus, his body is stronger than any kaleidoscope-type master on Doraster from any era.”
“It's not that I am strong enough to be certain I could kill Makkany even in those circumstances,” she said in a warm tone after a faint pause. “I was merely lucky to have those two students who, like Ashur, shielded me behind them regardless of everything. Were it not for them pinning him down, I wouldn't have been able to follow Makkany's invocation speed from the start.”
“Counting Ivan the last time, that guy Ayrin already thwarted two assassination attempts from the Evil Dragon followers.” Donna couldn't help but shake her head. “The crucial thing is, that guy's never satisfied. He's probably once again training with his all...”
After the end of the War of the Dragons, the entire continent of Doraster had recovered its peace. In the long, long following years, there was simply no telling how many skirmishes and battles, great and small, happened between arcane masters of every nation and Evil Dragon followers.
What was fortunate was, the fight in Windsough Canyon this time ended with the victory of the righteous side.
Holy Dawn Academy, afternoon. It wasn't time yet to open to the public, and the library basked under a drowsy sunlight.
The moment Liszt crossed inside the library's entrance, the unremarkable-looking library manager, professor Plum, unfailingly appeared on the glossy stones in the library's vestibule, like the clock hand of a precise mechanical clock.
Professor Plum still held in his hands an open classic book.
The book was titled “Study on Rare Bloodlines.” The author was Egriss, one of the legendary arcane masters from the kingdom of Doa who participated in the War of the Dragons.
“Senior, do you have a rough idea about Ayrin's bloodline?” Liszt glanced at the book in professor Plum's hands and asked with a very courteous smile.
“I don't.” Super chatty in front of ordinary students, professor Plum's answer was actually very straight and simple when faced with Liszt.
Liszt smiled a lazy smile. “I have something I would like professor Plum to help with.”
Professor Plum looked at Liszt without showing any expression. “What is it?”
“In a few days, our Holy Dawn Academy's team will depart for the city of Eichemalar.” Liszt looked at him and said, very expectant, “Senior, you must also be aware of what had transpired during these few days. Ayrin already thwarted two of their assassination attempts. With Ayrin's performance and the Evil Dragon followers' consistent style, they will be in danger even if they go to participate in the tournament. But for now, I have to stay here and handle some affairs, to prevent the Evil Dragon followers from trying again to assassinate Ciaran or the genius youngsters of St. Lauren. That's why there won't be enough of a protection for them. So I want to invite senior to go to Eichemalar together with them, and protect them. I'm sure that with your ability, if Evil Dragon followers were really planning to target Ayrin and the others, they'll certainly die a very wretched death.”
“No problem.” Professor Plum nodded and agreed, very straightforward.
“Ah?” This time, Liszt was actually a little stunned. He couldn't resist rubbing his chin.
In his impression, this senior who loved books as dearly as his life rarely ever left this library.
Was it because Chris was also his student?
Professor Plum looked at Liszt and said, “Just help me take all the books on the fourth floor with us.”
“Ah? The entire fourth floor?” Liszt was immediately flabbergasted.
“What?” Professor Plum frowned. “It's not possible?”
“It's a little troublesome, but all in all, moving all these books isn't something impossible.” Liszt let out two hollow laughs. “Since that's the case, I'll go and let someone prepare luggage carriages.”
“You have to find absolutely reliable people. Also, it's best to find docile beasts like unicorns to pull the carriages. Otherwise, you know the consequences if we lose a book or two,” professor Plum said without the slightest expression.
Walking out of the library, Liszt wiped his sweat and said to himself with a bitter face, “I came to find you to protect Ayrin, but now I still have to find someone to protect your books. Is this protecting someone or protecting some books...”
In the secret training area.
Just like usual, Ayrin and Rinloran were chasing each other.
But what was different from the past was, the pursuit training the two of them did right now happened inside the Iron Thorns Forest.
This was a dangerous chase.
They slipped through the cracks between the sharp thorns filling the surrounding. If they were a little careless and hit their eyes on a sharp thorn, then it wouldn't be simply some pain.
But at this moment, the two of them weren't merely chasing each other. They were even like former human arcane masters entering the Iron Thorns Forests surrounding the elven kingdoms and trading blows with elven masters.
The two of them were trying every mean at their disposal to attack their opponent, dodging their opponent's attacks at the same time.
In a chase like this where the mind always had to stay on high alert, in a fight that was wholly close to a real battle, the exhaustion of body and mind was extremely fierce.
The two of them were already training for a long time.
When it was difficult to dodge, the two of them protected their weak spots and let the hard thorns prick other parts of their bodies.
That was why, the two of them had quite a few stabs and scratches on them.
Their steps looked extremely deft and graceful. Even in a forest where no road seemed to exist, filled with dense, crisscrossing long thorns, they looked as nimble as butterflies through a field of flowers.
But every time their steps fell down, sweat would splash out.
From beginning to end, Ayrin couldn't really tie down Rinloran, to say nothing about knocking him down.
He was already extremely tired, to the point he even had the feeling he wanted to directly fall down head first and fall asleep in these woods.
“He's really hard to cope with, it's really a difficult fight...”
Ayrin even silently talked to himself like that. But as soon as he thought back to the fight in Windsough Canyon and remembered that it was precisely thanks to his own fighting that teacher Ciaran didn't end up paying a grievous price, there would be a renewed vigor bubbling forth inside him, allowing him to press on.
“He's not at his limits even like this?”
“This guy, why is he much stronger again compared to a few days ago? If we weren't on such a terrain... In the forest of huge trees, he would have defeated me long ago!”
Rinloran's breathing was already as heavy as the wind in a ventilation box. He clenched his teeth, unwilling to admit defeat.
“These two guys. It's about time...”
Carter exhaled softly after secretly observing them for a long time. In a few rises and falls, his figure appeared beside the Iron Thorns Forest.
Ayrin and Rinloran both halted inside. Ayrin was the first to shout, “Teacher Carter, why did you come?”
“I came to notify you. We're setting off for Eichemalar tomorrow in preparation for the national tournament,” Carter gently said.
“We're leaving tomorrow already, the national tournament is starting?” Ayrin couldn't help but jump.
With a miserable “Oh damn” scream, he careless pricked himself a few times on the thorns nearby.
Carter nodded with a smile. “Yes. We still need many days before arriving in Eichemalar. The draw for the tournament will probably happen the day after we arrive there.”
“Then...” Ayrin suddenly thought of something. He turned his head around and looked at Rinloran.
“Rinloran, come with us.” Without waiting for Ayrin to say anything, Carter already looked at Rinloran and spoke in all seriousness. “It doesn't matter if you don't want to join the school team. You can still help with Ayrin's training just like before.”
“Come with us come with us!” Ayrin immediately nodded firmly at Rinloran. “I heard teacher Ciaran say that there are a great many weird and bizarre arcane masters in the national tournament. Elsewhere, you won't see so many types of arcane masters even in a lifetime. It'll definitely be interesting.”
“Alright then.” Rinloran nodded after some hesitation.
“Great!” Ayrin jumped again in happiness.
“Oh damn!” Screamed miserably again.
“Hasn't he learned his lesson yet?” Seeing Ayrin get stabbed by the thorns again, Carter couldn't resist laughing. Even the frosty Rinloran couldn't help but puff in a laugh.
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