Chapter 34: Challenges, black balls!
“Disaster! I'm going to be late!”
At dawn, Ayrin suddenly woke up after sleeping like a dead pig, sat up, and shouted in alarm.
“Today's teacher Huston's own training day, there's no need to go to class,” Belo reminded Ayrin, lying on the opposite bed, some kind of grass hanging on his mouth.
“Oh yeah, I forgot.”
Ayrin fell back like a heavy sack. He wanted to sleep for another while, but then he abruptly sat up again. “I can't sleep now, I have to train hard! I have to condense arcane particles!”
“You were beaten black and blue yesterday, aren't you hurting at all?” Belo said, glancing at Ayrin.
“Oh, you're right.”
Ayrin's face stiffened. All of a sudden, his spirited appearance turned into an expression of pain.
“It hurts! It really hurts!”
His hands repeatedly rubbed over his body, as if they were spasming.
“Someone with such a slow reaction is indeed rare enough.” Belo snorted coldly in his mind. He leisurely sat up, watched Ayrin's strong reaction and his painful breathing, and said with a total lack of empathy, “You want to eat something? If you don't, I'll go have breakfast by myself.”
Ayrin blanked out.
Then he seemed to realize something and immediately shouted, “So hungry so hungry!”
“Belo, look at my hands, they won't stop shaking.”
Shouting his hunger, he stretched his hands out at the same time to let Belo see.
Belo was speechless.
“It looks like teacher Huston's method makes sense. See, I'm so hungry my hands are already shaking like this, now if I can still complete my training and use arcane skills, I'll definitely become stronger.” Ayrin started to be unexpectedly a little excited. He felt as if even the last shred of warmth was about to drift out from the minute particles inside his body. The most important thing was, because he was too hungry, hungry to the point the feeling of weakness drowned everything else, the places on his body that had been hit didn't seem as painful anymore.
“In that case, you just continue to shake.” Belo stood up without the slightest trace of interest, ready to go out.
“Wait! I remember thinking yesterday of a method to condense arcane particles as fast as possible, other than the one teacher Huston taught me.”
“What method?” Belo paused in the doorway.
“It's to keep challenging opponents stronger than us!” Ayrin thought back to last night's fight with excitement and gestured with his shaking hands. “That Kybaver last night was really strong, he can prop his body just with a single hand and spin really fast on the ground, he can create three afterimages just with the swinging motion of his body, so fast I had no way to see it clearly. I noticed though, I progressed a lot faster fighting him compared to training alone. I think I was somewhat able to clearly see his movements toward the end!”
“I realize now. Living, powerful people will always bring a greater pressure than trees that can't move. If you don't fight to the utter limit, you're the one who'll get beaten! That's why we'll definitely progress a lot faster than doing foundation drills by ourselves if we challenge powerful opponents, challenge those strong senior students.” Ayrin looked excitedly at Belo. “Belo, what do you think, am I right?”
“If that's what you think, then we're of one mind.”
Belo turned back, white light flashing on his glasses. “In that case, I'll reluctantly take you in and form the Two Class Tyrants with you.”
“...” Ayrin blinked. “It looks like my method is more or less the same as you going out of your way to scuffle with senior class tyrants.”
“It doesn't matter, you've always been slow on the uptake, slow reactions and slow thinking.”
Belo pushed his glasses. “Since you finally understand that you'll progress much faster challenging those guys, I just happen to have a suitable candidate.”
He took out a card from his clothes and handed it to Ayrin.
“What's that?” Ayrin curiously took Belo's card. He froze blankly as soon as he took a glance at it. “Chris?”
This cardboard card was made with exquisite care. There was someone's portrait on it, almost true to life, together with words of introduction. The girl on the current card was clearly Chris.
“Oh, I took the wrong one.” Belo took the card back as if nothing happened. He fished out another card and gave it to Ayrin. “I spent money to have these personage cards made. If you beat up people following the portraits, you definitely won't hit the wrong person!”
“Don't tell me you even want to beat up Chris.” Ayrin looked speechlessly at Belo. Then looked at the card in his hand.
The figure drawn on the card was a boy with a sharp chin and long black hair.
“That's right.” Belo said, looking at Ayrin, “This Rowan guy is the strongest in a second-year class, his father is a titled arcane master of clan Flint, that's why he's in possession of a couple unique secret clan skills. His fighting skills are also decent. In summary, he's equivalent to the fusion between Kybaver and Dyfer from yesterday, but he's a bit stronger than Dyfer still when it comes to arcane skills.”
“He's that strong?” Ayrin firmly brandished his fist. “Then we'll go challenge him right now?”
“You'd be a burden if we went right now. You can't be of any help at all with your current level, you'd just be in the way instead. Even if you can't land a hit on the opponent, at least you can't be instantly sent flying, you have to be a distraction and help me split that guy's attention.” Belo smiled coldly. “However, since you and I are finally of a single mind, I can actually think of a way to help you increase your strength a little.”
“How? What should I do?” Ayrin became immediately excited.
“If you can still run and jump, then follow me to the school's body training complex.” Belo glanced at Ayrin. “The facilities aren't as good as some special complexes outside, but it's enough already in your current state, plus it doesn't cost any money.”
“Yesterday you said Kybaver's family operated a body training complex.” Ayrin asked, a little embarrassed, “What kind of places are body training complexes?”
“Places where you train the basic qualities of your body when facing your enemies. You'll know when you go there.”
Not even half an hour later, Belo, gnawing on a hot dog, and Ayrin, swallowing his saliva nonstop, arrived in front of Holy Dawn Academy's body training complex.
Holy Dawn Academy's body training complex was situated east of the Holy Dawn Arena, not far away from it. Its exterior appearance was extremely ordinary, black square constructions sitting on flat ground, like big iron boxes.
Belo led Ayrin in front of a relatively small building that happened to be empty, and casually said, “Kibaver's Flurry of Leaves doesn't even have a third of Chris' speed, but you can't dodge it even at that level. You first go properly practice in there.”
Ayrin watched the signboard at the building's gates, reading out loud, “Ball Bouncing Gym?”
“After you go in, as long as I help you step on the pedals, black balls about the size of a fist will keep bouncing out. You can barely see things clearly with the visibility inside.” Belo explained, “The black balls bounce very easily, but they're very hard and it's very painful when they hit you. The only way's to do your best to dodge, do your best to block them with your hands and feet. However, when these balls bounce out and hit the walls, they'll bounce back. Also, you have to be careful not to step on the black balls rolling on the floor, otherwise it's very easy to lose your balance and fall. Generally speaking, it's more or less fine if you can withstand ten minutes inside. Ordinary moves from opponents like Kybaver most likely won't hit you.”
“There's actually such a venue. Then the other buildings must also be extremely interesting?”
“Don't try to bite more than you can chew, try to deal with this place first.”
“Ok, let's start!”
Not wanting to waste a single minute, Ayrin pushed the great gates open without the slightest hesitation and walked inside this building.
This was an almost entirely sealed room, about twenty meters wide, with only a few ventilation grills set on the walls and ceiling. It was very dim, just as Belo said, only a few sparse rays of light filtering through the ventilation grills.
There was an iron panel standing by the door, several pedals extending from the floor behind it.
After telling Ayrin to go to the center of the gym, Belo shouted “Begin!” without giving Ayrin any time to react, then firmly stepped on several pedals.
Every pedal he stepped on seemed to lift up something heavy, then knocking on something.
Ayrin saw black shapes whiz through the air and smash in his direction before he could react.
A miserable cry rose. His left eye had been cruelly hit.
Just as soon as his wretched cry sounded, his body suffered three or four blows in other spots.
There was indeed no way to differentiate the strengths of these bouncing balls with punches from Kybaver and the others. They were indeed extremely hard however. Everything they landed on his body, the impact and pain seemed as if a hammer pounded on his bones, almost to the point of cracking them, yet not at the level of completely cracking them.
“Too lame.” Belo's contemptuous voice judged Ayrin's performance. His feet didn't pause the slightest bit however.
In just an instant, the black balls seemed everywhere around him, smashing out nonstop. He had no idea any longer what was happening, he just dodged subconsciously, then punched and kicked as if he'd gone crazy.
“I have to hang in there!”
“Bastards, you blood balls can go die!”
He very soon reached the same state as after being repeatedly hit by Kybaver, his body seemingly not his anymore, a voice repeatedly tempting him to lie down. But still, he was unwilling to surrender.
Ten minutes later...
Belo stopped his movements. All the black balls slowly halted their bounces. They rolled on the floor, then stopped slowly.
Ayrin stood among a pile of black balls, his body trembling nonstop from head to toe. The hands hugging his head slowly lifted away.
Under the hands was a distorted face beaten black and blue, tears and snot streaking wild on it. Even if old Ginns were to come in at this moment, he probably wouldn't realize this guy was Ayrin.
“Ten minutes are gone?”
“I won?” He cheered all of a sudden, even when he was already in such a state.
“You idiot, does it look like you won?” Belo was thoroughly speechless. “When I said ten minutes, I meant dodging and blocking your way through them, taking very few hits. Your ten minutes, you spent them getting beaten up!”
“No matter what, it's still useful.” What made him even more speechless was, after being beaten so hard probably no one would be able to recognize him anymore, Ayrin actually still said with some satisfaction, “At the very least, I've been forced to my limits in these ten minutes. Usually, when I swing my arms or things like that, it's definitely impossible to do it so fast.”
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