The next day arrived and James suffered through his training. He sighed, 'Ugh! What did I do to deserve this torment? At least my body is getting stronger… shouldn't be too long before I reach the peak as a 2nd grade knight.' He met with Adam for the 3rd round of the tournament.
"You can't slack off this time!" Adam yelled. "Our opponents have a 2nd grade magus and 2nd grade knight just like us. It won't be an east fight, understand?"
"Okay! Okay! I'll fight seriously!"
They stepped upon the stage and faced their opponents. One was a short and skinny magus. The other one was a large muscular knight. The knight was nearly twice as tall as the magus. It made for an odd fight.
"keke." The short one snickered in a screechy voice. "This will be easy."
"Mm." The big one nodded.
The gong sounded to start the match. A black fog rolled out from the short magus and covered the whole stage. The knight covered himself in a black aura and wielded a great sword. Loud footsteps rang out in the darkness as he charged forward.
"Hmph!" Adam snorted in disdain. "What's the point of making the stage dark if the knight isn't even trying to be quiet!"
"It doesn't seem to be corrosive?" James questioned in confusion.
"Of course not!" Adam replied. "Do you know how hard it is to learn a corrosive fog spell at the 1st grade? It wouldn't even be very powerful. Why would anyone bother learning it?"
'Eh? But master said Shadow Threads was even harder to learn than the corrosive Dark Fog spell… What's the point of learning a useless fog with no corrosive effect like this?' James wondered to himself.
"Grah!" The knight swung his broadsword towards Adam. He hurriedly dodged away and shot high-pressure water towards him. To their surprise, the body dissipated into fog.
Adam spoke, "That should be the 2nd grade spell the short magus learned. Some kind of illusion that can't actually hurt us."
"This is annoying!" James frowned. He shot a large number of threads in all directions. Most shot straight through the fog without hitting anything. A few hit the body of each of the enemies. "That direction!" He ran towards the short magus and saw him surrounded by fake knights. The real one was back towards Adam. He ran straight for the magus at full speed! He passed through the fake knights and prepared to attack.
"I surrender!" The short magus screamed. James froze in shock as his eyes opened wide. A white light flashed onto the stage as the referee carried the short magus offstage.
"That's it…?" The fog slowly disappeared. He saw Adam and the knight fighting in close range. Adam held his own since his defensive techniques had improved considerably. He was able to dodge the slow broad sword attacks and counter with the water spell. James watched quietly from the side as Adam slowly pulled off their victory.
The boys walked off stage together and Adam complained, "You didn't help again!"
"What do you mean? I beat the magus and you beat the night. Fifty-fifty. It was fair."
"Whatever." Adam rolled his eyes.
The third day of the tournament came and went. James and Adam scored an easy victory. Then the finals arrived.
"We might lose today." Adam grimaced.
"Eh? Why is that?" James questioned.
"Both of our opponents are 2nd grade magi. Neither has trained as a knight, but they cover each other well. One learned only offensive earth spells. The other one learned only defensive earth spells. Earth is very strong in both aspects. We must be careful."
"Okay." James nodded. He rubbed his chin, 'I've won the other matches too easily… I didn't get a chance to humiliate my master while winning. I have to find a chance this time!'
The two teams stood on stage. The opponents had tan skin, brown hair, and brown eyes. They were common features of the people of the Earth kingdom. One was named John and the other Jerry. John pointed at Adam, "You disgust me! To waste a spell on a crappy marble shield is one thing, but you even learned a weak water spell! I was expecting a strong competitor when I found out there was another peak-talent for the earth element. How disappointing."
Adam frowned. "It's no concern of yours what spells I choose to learn. I plan on entering trade. I have no need to waste my spells excessively on offense or defense."
"Then why are you even competing?!" Jerry yelled.
"Hmph!" Adam snorted. "I'm here to earn my master some face. He also said the secret prize would be useful to me."
"Begin!" The referee yelled as a gong sounded out.
John created a large earth wall in front of him. The rectangular wall stood over 3 meters high. It covered both brothers completely. Then John uses another spell and rocks covered his body.
Jerry made earth spikes shoot from the ground towards James and Adam. A large earth-colored sword appeared in his hands. However, he did not charge forward. He stayed behind his brother's earth wall while continuing his long-range spells.
"Damn!" James screamed as he dodged back and forth. "Can't you do anything to stop them? Shoot some marble from the sky or something?!"
"I can't!" Adam gritted his teeth. "I chose practical spells for construction. I can create small amounts of marble in various shapes. My water spell is high-pressure but is only useful in close-range."
"Ughh!!!" James moaned. "What a pain in the ass."
"Just give up!" John yelled. "You can't get past our defense. Jerry's earth spikes will hit you eventually!"
"Screw it! I'll use my secret weapon!" James screamed.
"Secret weapon?" The two brothers looked at James wearily.
"Hehe! Here we go! Attack them Snekky!" The black and silver snake on James wrist opened its eyes. Each one looked like a black and silver yinyang symbol. It jumped off his wrist and disappeared in midair. It appeared directly behind Jerry!
"Aghh!!!" Jerry screamed as the small snake bit his shoulder. He stopped shooting spikes and rolled around on the ground in panic.
"Calm down!" John grabbed his brother and pulled the snake off. "It's just a 1st grade magic-beast. A baby one at that! He tossed the snake off the stage, but James had closed the gap between them!
'Now is my chance! Now or never!' James ran straight for Jerry and yelled, "Taste the secret move my master passed down to me! Fist of Valor!!!" He threw an ordinary fist towards his opponent. Jerry hurriedly used his broad sword to block.
"AGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" A bloodcurdling shriek rang out in a high-pitched voice! James kicked him in the balls while he was distracted by the fist. Jerry fell to the ground and rolled around in agony.
"You! You! John stuttered. "What the fuck, dude?!"
Adam watched in silence with his mouth hanging wide open.
"Do you want to lose face?! What kind of man kicks another below the waist?!" John yelled in anger.
"Don't insult my move!" James replied. "My master passes down this secret move only to his personal disciples! It is the heirloom technique of my master, Skeleton! Are you saying my master has no face?! Do you dare?!"
"You're damn right I dare!" He yelled back. "What kind of shitty master is he?! Is he retarded?!"
James was preparing a comeback when his face froze. He hadn't expected someone to actually be brave enough to insult his master. While it was true he was trying to humiliate him, his master didn't have a stellar reputation in the first place. Most students within the academy feared him.
John noticed that the crowd had quieted down. He looked around in confusion.
"Hmph!" A loud voice sounded, "You've got some nerve to talk about the great me that way!"
The contestants turned towards the stands and saw Skeleton! He flashed on stage in front of John and lifted him by his neck. John's face turned red as he struggled and kicked.
"Um… Mr. Skeleton, sir." The referee stepped forward. "We're in the middle of a match."
"I don't give a shit!" He yelled. "I'm going to teach this brat some respect! You'll see him again in a week!"
James slowly backed up and tried to hide behind Adam. Sweat poured down his forehead. 'Fuck! What is he doing here?! I never would have pulled that shit if I knew he was here!'
Skeleton turned towards James and his face turned red in anger. "Yale! Get your ass over here now!"
"Yes, master!" He ran forward and knelt on the ground. "Master! Your skin is absolutely glowing today! Just look around us! The crowds have gone completely silent in awe of your handsomeness!"
"Hmph!" Skeleton snorted. He kicked James in the chest, causing him to fall to the ground. He stepped on his chest and yelled, "WHO DID YOU SAY TAUGHT YOU THAT HEIRLOOM TECHNIQUE?!"
"Master! I'm sorry! I know I was wrong! I'll do better in the future!"
"Stop giving excuses! Which one of your senior apprentice brothers did you meet?! I haven't taught you the technique yet, so one of my other disciples must have taught you it!"
James face scrunched up in confusion. "Master, what are you talking about? I made that technique up…"
"Made it up?! Impossible! That's my secret heirloom technique!"
"Master!!! I'm telling the truth!"
"Hmm…" Skeleton rubbed his chin. He looked at John who he was still holding in midair. "Oy, boy. Remove that rock spell for a minute."
John desperately nodded in agreement and removed the rocks around him, revealing his body. Skeleton set him down and turned towards James. "Demonstrate again."
James looked to his master in confusion but nodded his head. He ran towards John and pretended to punch him. Then he let out a mighty kick into his balls. John fell to the ground screaming and crying.
"Hmm?!" Skeleton's eyes widened. "You really didn't learn it. You just kicked him in the balls! What's the point of doing that without my secret technique?"
"What technique master?"
"Mm. I'll teach you it later. Forget it."
"Sir!" The referee called. "What should we do about the tournament?"
"I told you I don't care!" He turned towards the boy on the ground and grabbed him. He grew black wings and flew away.
Adam, James, and Jerry all remained on the stage staring at each other in confusion. Jerry was still lying on the ground from the pain. "Well, might as well win!" James smiled. He shot shadow threads and attached them to Jerry. Then he swung him out of the arena.
The referee hesitated for a moment. Then he announced, "The winners are Adam and James!" The crowd let out subpar applause. Many stood up to leave the venue without waiting for the prize announcement.
James and Adam waited on the stage. Adam spoke, "So what's with the snake?"
"It's a void snake." James smiled. "I accidentally stole it from master and it formed a contract with me, haha!"
"I see… Why did you name it Snekky?"
"I thought of a really clever name! But I forgot it… so I named her Snekky."
The referee walked towards the boys with an ugly expression. "Here are your prizes. Take them and leave." The prizes were two meditation mats. They were made from a special spiritual grass that helped calm the mind. However, most people smoked it to relax instead of making it into a meditation mat.
The next day. James headed for his master's place for his final day of knight training. He reached the peak of 2nd grade knights near the end of the day.
"Now watch closely." Skeleton smiled. "I only show each disciple once. I came up with this secret knight technique after a hundred years of training. Despite only being a 4th grade knight at the time, I used this technique to defeat several 6th grade knights!"
John had his hands tied to a wooden pole in front of them. His mouth was gagged. He wiggled back and forth trying to escape. Fear was evident in his eyes. Skeleton ran towards him as a black knight aura covered his foot. Two tiny spikes formed on his foot. He slammed his foot into John's balls! A high-pitched scream rang out. John's voice sounded just like a women's!
Skeleton turned towards James. "See how great my attack was?"
"Not really…" James shook his head. "Looks like you just kicked him in the balls to me?"
"Wrong!" Skeleton yelled. "Would it take me 100 years to develop such an ordinary technique?! Behold!" He ripped Johns robe's off and revealed his family jewels!
"They're gone!" James exclaimed in shock.
"Right!" Skeleton nodded. "The key is to get the angle and power just right using the aura spikes. The jewels will be knocked up right back into their body! They'll never fall down again and will leave the man impotent! This is my deadliest knight technique!"
James looked at his master with fear and at John with pity. He subconsciously closed his legs together and covered his jewels defensively. 'To think the ultimate plan I came up with to humiliate master was actually a simple version of his secret knight technique…'
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