Darius enjoyed the conversation with her quite a bit, almost reaching the point that he fully immersed himself within it. However, Darius was, after all, Darius. In the deep recesses of his mind, he kept asking himself the same questions.
‘Why is she being so friendly to me? What’s her objective?’
Due to his past experiences, and his recent incident with Lionel, Darius had started to more often think the worst of other people. As they talked, he kept wondering why she was talking to him.
‘Is it because she is attracted to me?’
It took only a second for him to trash that foolish thought. His intuition told him otherwise, and he found it hard to disagree with. After all, what was there to like about him? It certainly seemed that there wasn’t enough to attract a Princess. He was cowardly, poor, and not particularly charismatic. Granted, he was now somewhat strong, but surely that wasn’t enough to warrant a princess’s attention… or was it?
Hence, when she had asked him how he had gotten so strong, the gears in his mind had entered overdrive.
‘As a princess, she must have access to a wealth of information. She should know plenty of methods to get strong. A country hick like me, on the other hand, knows nothing.’
Many ideas went through his head until one idea stuck out like a sore thumb.
‘She wants to know the source of my strength!’
Nevertheless, she was not the only one curious about this matter. Darius himself wasn’t quite sure. He had even asked the old man about it the night before.
“If one spent every day doing what you did for hours on end, it would be weird if they didn’t become strong.”
This had been the elder’s answer. Darius had not been satisfied with it because he had suspected that the old man had still been hiding something, but he had kept his reservations to himself. After all, if Darius truly had a technique that made it easy to obtain strength, he would attract far too much attention. He doubted that he could smoke the information out of the wily old fox so easily.
‘I should just be honest. Well, not too honest.’
Darius was someone who prided himself in his ability to avoid confrontations of any kind; thus, he had come up with many ways to avoid difficult questions. After all, his daily hammering of the anvil had been bound to have captured others’ curiosity, yet so far, no one had ever managed to get a single peep out of him. Well, except for that old man.
“To be honest, Princess, I’m not sure myself. I just do some simple muscular exercises. Before this test, I didn’t even know I had this much strength.”
The truth mixed with lies was always the best combination. Darius was not a social person, so he was not confident about lying convincingly. The solution he came up with was half-lying. Hopefully, that would prevent his body from unconsciously revealing his falsehoods. The action he performed with his hammer every day was a muscular exercise of sorts, but it was by no means simple. Before the test, Darius had also been unaware of his strength, so that much at least was also true.
He had had an inkling that he was stronger than the average person, but he had not believed that it was to this extent.
The elder had explained that becoming a Spiritknight had unlocked the latent potential hidden in his body, producing his explosive strength. Darius was not knowledgeable on the topic, so all he could do was helplessly accept the elder’s words.
He didn’t really feel that much stronger, but the old man had had no answer for this, so Darius was not sure either. Darius didn’t buy the elder’s lackadaisical explanation, but there was nothing he could do, so he had moved on.
The answer was actually quite simple. Using the hammer every day had granted Darius a sublime control over his strength. He didn’t simply hit the anvil ten thousand times a day. He also aimed to produce a certain sound, which required delicate control over his body.
The action of raising the hammer and striking the anvil involved every muscle in his body. Hence, over the years, Darius had developed an incredible subconscious control over his body.
Nevertheless, due to his timid nature, Darius always held back in whatever he did. Be it at the orphanage or at Sahid, Darius had tried his best to not garner any unnecessary attention. Thus, his brain would translate this hesitation into his actions, resulting in him not exerting his true strength.
The extent of his childhood trauma also played a part in this. His cowardice was deeply rooted in his mind and now a part of him. There were many unforeseen side effects of this, the reduction of his strength merely being one of them.
The elder had believed this to be so but had decided against telling the boy, believing it to be counterproductive.
All that Darius knew was that if he wanted to, he could exert incredible strength. In fact, he had used his room’s summoning function to have many odd objects brought to test out his strength after the elder had left.
He would clap his hands and summon metals and objects that he had thought would be either heavy or hard. The results had been quite surprising, and the boy had been shocked by his own strength. While he had not had much time to truly discover his limits as it had already been morning with the test having been only a few hours away, he’d managed to break quite a few valuable metals. At the time, he had put his embarrassment at the back of his head and focused on his constant priority, staying alive.
Lara crossed her arms over her bountiful chest and scrutinized the boy from head to toe. Lara considered herself a good judge of character, but she could not find anything wrong with his expression.
‘There is no way a country hick could outsmart me, so he must be telling the truth.’
Her pride refused to let her believe that Darius was good enough to pull one over her, so she let it slide.
‘So, the source of his strength is inherent. He either has inborn strength or a powerful bloodline or maybe even both.’
Since talking to him was not helpful, Lara smoothly changed topics, which Darius happily obliged. The two chatted for quite some time until an emotionless voice entered their ears.
“Please prepare. The fourth test is about to begin. This test is quite dangerous, so take this time to mentally prepare yourselves!”