The academy (early Spring)
The academy was a boarding home for teenagers (fifteen to seventeen years old) seeking to become hunters. The Academy's headmaster was Candravar, the last Elder. He was respected among the hunting society, very strong and wise. He recruited the best hunters to teach in his academy. During a period of three years, the Academy will teach the basics of duel and hunting, and prepare them to perform well in the Hunting Examinations. This summer, the Academy will be releasing the first generation of students who will take the Hunting Examinations, being the youngest group of applicants ever to apply for the Examinations.
A drop of sweat fell on the ground, next to my knee. My trouser was slightly ripped, revealing a wound, where my opponent's spear had grazed my thigh. I was kneeling on the ground of the duel arena, breathing hardly, exhausted. My hands grasped the handles of my twin reverse-blade katanas, holding dearly to them. My opponent, Karion, was hunched forward, his spear was on the ground. He began crackling, his shoulders shaking violently, he threw his head backwards, laughing. His mane of gold hair was spread on his haggard face, I eyed him with curiosity.
He stooped and took his spear on his hand, he caressed the spear and immediately I saw a yellowish aura emanate from it, he was eager for more. His feat of laughter stopped, his eyes boring at my worn complexion. He gave me a sly smile, licked his lips in sign of enjoyment. "This has been a very good duel, Wilcaust," he said in a mildly entertained voice, "I am surprised you lasted this long!"
A smirk appeared on my face, I stood up brandishing the swords by my side, ready for more fight. "Likewise, Karion," I replied in amusement.
"Then, let's finish this!" Karion took the spear with both hands, the yellowish glow was brighter and stronger, his spirits were highly elevated. He ran at top speed toward me. I injected power into my swords, a blueish aura surrounded them, I placed a feet forward and ran with my body slightly bent forward to maximize my speed and break air friction. This was the end.
Skill demonstrations at the Duel Arena were very common, especially towards the end of the Academy year. The duels consisted of two students of any year chosen randomly to fight and exhibit their fighting skills. Karion and I were both in our last year at the Academy and high quality of battle was expected from both of us. I think we deliver that, our duel was close to thirty minutes and none of us was yielding to the other.
Karion moves were simple and predictable, his duel philosophy was: attack your enemy and don't allow him/her to be able to attack you back. He applied it too well in our duel. I was constantly blocking his multiple attacks, he sent blow after blow always aiming for my legs.
He rounded me on the arena's safety wall, his spear menacingly pointing at my chest. "Ahhh!" he thrust his spear forward. I bent my legs slightly and jumped out of his range, his spear head was stuck on the wooden wall, I landed on spear. Before I could jump out of it, he dragged the spear out of the wall and threw me with great force down from the spear. I somersaulted in the air, when I landed he jumped toward my direction driving his spear to where I was. I skipped some steps backwards, he followed shortly with stab-like moves, clearly aiming to hurt me. I blocked his spear with my swords. In a moment in time everything seems to slow down, I took advantage of that moment, I united my sword into one and slashed him upwardly across his chest.
He flew through the air, before landing 3 feet away from me, his spear fell some ten feet away, where the Headmaster balcony was located. I had not killed him, that I was sure, I was highly dexterous with my swords, inherited from my grandfather, an Elder. My swords had something in particular, they were reverse-blade, the blunt side of the blade was down and the cutting part was upwards. He might wake up with bruises on his chest, but nothing serious.
Karion was lying the ground, his eyes were wide open. I looked down upon him, my brows were knitted together in a frown, "we are done, you have lost." The aura of his spear was dying away in the distance, like smoke into the air. I turned my back to him and started advancing toward the gates. The entire audience in the arena were in dead silence. The aura from my swords was also dying away, now a faint azure colour.
"Not... so... fast.... Aldrest," I heard Karion said in a tired voice, "I gave you a hard time, right?" He laugh with his breath, "honestly I expected a much better challenge! You, are no difference than the rest of the mediocres here! But you should be doubly ashamed of yourself, coming from a legacy of Hunters!"
In the Headmaster's balcony, Candravar sat along with other hunter-teachers. One of those teachers tapped the wise old Elder on his shoulder, "Sir, I think we must stop this, Karion is stepping into turbulent waters." But Candravar only waved the thought away with these words :"I want to see how Aldrest reacts."
I turned to face him, fire in my eyes."You are a bad loser."
"And you are a failure," Karion continued, enjoying the displeasure in my face.
"You better not say another word," I warned him in a low, dangerous voice. I knew this incident will arise somewhere during the duel, I had hope against it. But it was impossible to wish otherwise, this was part of my legacy and will hunt me forever.
"You should be ashamed of your family," he stood up and staggered on his feet, "your father being a criminal, and your grandfather a coward." He sneered.
The last drop, after three years. I was full charge toward him, running as fast as my tired legs would allow me, my swords burning bright with blueish aura. I crossed my swords into an X shape (scissor like) and unconciously turned the blunt edge upside down, the sharp edge was aiming at him, shining. Sweet Revenge. My blades were inches from snipping his neck, his eyes and body were shaking with fear, sweat pouring down his face, he was murmuring "sorry". But I was deaf to them, the damage had been done.
"Enough Aldrest!" a voice called from the headmaster's balcony. I felt my surroundings paralyzed, I could not move a muscle from my arms. Karion fell to the ground, panting with fear, and scrambled away from me. I turned toward Candravar, his hand was outstretch, revealing five rings, each on a finger.
I heard the clanking of chains around me. Within seconds I saw what was wrapped around my arms and body, invisible thin chains that glowed in white aura. The favourite hunting weapon of Candravar. Only the most experienced could do tricks like making their weapon invisible. I relaxed my muscles, his chains loosened and disappeared. I bowed once toward Candravar and left the arena. Silence resentment and shame pervading my heart. The arena was in dead silence.