Chapter 30: Lessons from the Sage

The soil on which one plants a tree is a determining factor on how much the plant will grow. The same applied to Spiritknights, with the first skill they gained being the ‘soil.’ If one had a high-class ability as their foundational ability, one’s future was limitless.

 

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“Glory level Indomitable as a foundational ability. Sigh, even I am now getting jealous,” said Donald with a hint of envy.

 

“Don’t jump to conclusions,” barked Kylian, “It could still be just a Valor-class ability. The gap between Valor and Glory is extremely large.”

 

Donald could not help but nod at his compatriot’s words. “So Kylian, do you want to recruit him?”

 

Kylian sat back in his chair, deep in thought. Donald valued his opinion quite a bit, not to mention that Kylian was much better at observing potential than the brutish man was.

 

“I’m not sure. On one hand, we have a clearly incredible talent, potential Glory class foundational ability, and an incredibly well-trained body. On the other, we have an uncertain bloodline history and a volatile ability, not to mention that we are hardly the only ones observing this test. Ethereal Forge Academy is a den of dragons and tigers. It would not be an odd thing for one of the old monsters hiding within these old walls to fancy the boy.”

 

“Bah! Nonsense! If anyone wants him, they can only get him if we aren’t interested,” scoffed Donald.

 

Kylian ignored his old friend and fell deep into thought. It was not that simple. Kylian was a cautious person by nature, so he wanted to make sure everything was what it seemed to be before making such an important decision.

 

“There is more time. Let’s see how he performs in the next exam. Besides, we haven’t even seen the class of the second Dantian he got. Who knows what ability it’s hiding?”

 

Donald scoffed at his friend’s words and went to sleep. He was not one to waste time on things he couldn’t deal with or guess at without any firm evidence. Kylian brought up some recordings from the day’s earlier events on his mobile device. He kept going over Darius’s various encounters, trying to see if he had missed something. He didn’t notice it himself, but a slight smile was on his face while he watched the young man struggling to survive. A smile on Kylian Laporte’s face was quite charming, and even more so, rare.

 

 

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Back to Darius and the Elder, the old man coughed violently for a few moments then he breathed heavily to regain his composure.

 

After a while, blatant anger apparent on his face, he glared at the smug Darius who was sitting in his chair as if nothing had happened. Darius was doing everything in his power not to laugh. Once again, he had thrown the old man off his perch. It was quite a pleasant feeling for the young man. The old man wanted to shout but didn’t quite know what to say.

 

Someone of his esteemed position had never had to deal with such blatant disrespect. Then again, the young man before him probably didn’t even know who he was. After thinking things through for a while, the elder sat down opposite Darius and sighed.

 

“Young man, how much do you know about Spiritknights? About their abilities and classifications?”

 

Darius was intrigued by the elder’s words. Indeed, he knew absolutely nothing, which was an unpleasant situation, especially for one as cautious as himself.

 

“Ehem, esteemed Elder, would you mind enlightening me on a few topics regarding these issues?”

 

The elder smiled and nodded. This was more along the lines of what he wanted: a chance to hold the boy’s attention for a while and teach him a few things. Granted, he would have preferred to have taken it slowly, but the boy was quite cunning and elusive, so the elder had to throw him a bone and hope to gain his trust.

 

For the next few hours, the duo discussed all the general information Darius needed to know about the world of Spiritknights. The duo also discussed many other details, such as what an Indomitable could do, how to activate the ability and its value. Darius couldn’t wrap his head around how he had something so amazing. Feeling the old man’s goodwill, Darius asked him how to access the ability he had gained from the other Dantian.

 

Quite some time was spent by the old man in helping Darius understand his own power. As time when on, Darius started to truly understand the advantages of following the old man. His new-found sixth sense told him that things would only get better if he followed this old codger. Darius lowered his guard somewhat and became more obedient. He at least knew what the old man wanted from him, so he was better informed than when he had been dealing with Lionel.

 

The only issue was the matter of the old man’s requirements. Tolerance for pain and the mundane as well as being in possession of shamelessness. Shamelessness and the mundane were nothing to Darius, but the word pain stuck out like a sore thumb.

 

There is no young man in their right mind who did not fear pain. Being the coward he was, Darius naturally feared it. Not nearly as much as death, but the fear was still there nonetheless.

 

However, the old man constantly reminded Darius of the rewards that would follow his hard work like riches, fame, and power. Anything he desired would be at his grasp so long as he was able to master this elder’s skills.

 

Multiple times did Darius ask one question. “Will this kill me?” Nonetheless, the elder also reassured Darius multiple times that becoming his disciple would not be lethal in any way. Rather, becoming his disciple would guarantee his safety for life. This was the true attraction for Darius.

 

It was obvious that this old man was someone important. If being his disciple could guarantee his survival in this cruel world, then Darius was all for it. Then again, Darius knew that there was no such thing as a free lunch in this world. The old man would most likely work him to the bone and then some. Judging from his initial requirements, being his disciple would be no walk in the park.

 

Darius had too much going on in his mind even by the time their conversation reached its end. He was not at all sure about what to.

 

Should he agree? Yes, the old man guaranteed his survival and happiness, but was it worth the pain or the risk? Not to mention the hard work. In fact, who knew if this old man was even telling the truth? Maybe this new sixth sense was a trick manipulated by the old man to get him to lower his guard. Maybe this was all an insidious plot to trick him again…

 

After a mental struggle, Darius decided to gather more information both on the old man as well as his own abilities. If the old man was correct, many powerful people would approach Darius to recruit him after the tests. Perhaps there were people more powerful than the old man, people who were better suited to guarantee his safety…

 

 

 

By the time their conversation had finished, it was already dawn. Darius had a sturdy body and mind, so he could go a few days without sleep, and everyone would be none the wiser.

 

After the old man had spoken his piece, he stood up and walked to the door. Just before he opened it, he looked back and said, “Young man, try not to think so much. You have no training, so don’t do anything fancy out there. Just keep these words to heart: if you kill them, they can’t kill you.”

 

With these auspicious words, the old man left the room. “If I kill them, they can’t kill me.” Darius wasn’t sure why, but these words struck a chord with him, reaching the deepest recesses of his mind. He kept saying them over and over again.

 

Darius also noticed that the old man said ‘them’. In other words, ‘them’ could be anything. Darius quite liked this mantra. As someone who valued his life above all else, killing others to save his own skin was something he was more than capable of. Unbeknownst to the young man, a vicious glimmer ran through his mind as he thought about the upcoming test. He didn’t know it himself, but he was looking forward to the test!   

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