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Chapter 4: First Day II

The next session at Mythos Academy was set to be a thrilling one—sparring day. Despite the initial class rankings being based on the entrance exam, the results weren't infallible. This made the sparring matches between the same classes on the first day an interesting affair.

I knew this would be fascinating because Ian would challenge Lucifer, only to be defeated easily. Lucifer, in turn, would reveal a trump card—his ability to use 5-circle magic, a detail explained in depth in <<Saga of the Divine Swordsman>> in order to beat Ren.

The mana system intricacies in the novel classified magic by circles, and Lucifer's mastery of 5-circle magic as a first-year swordsman showcased his extraordinary capabilities. Ren, once hailed as a genius, now faced a significant blow to his ego.

But my focus shifted back to myself. This sparring session would be a great opportunity to assess the gap between me and Class A students and plan accordingly. Challenging Lucifer directly would be futile, given his overwhelming strength even when holding back.

Instead, I decided to challenge Seraphina. As a fellow swordsman with the [Ice Crystal Jade Body] Gift, she provided a fair match, especially considering the limitations of her Gift's development. As Nero led us to the Class A training facility, I felt the tension rise.

"Now, all of you are to engage in duels so I can rank you guys properly," Nero announced, "This relic will serve as your health bar, you need to break your opponent's relic to win."

He then handed us a defensive relic each.

When Nero turned to me and granted the right to the lowest-ranked, I wasted no time. "I challenge you, Seraphina," I said, looking directly at her.

A smile crossed her face as she accepted the challenge, "I want to see just how strong you are since you made it here anyway."

The other matchups were quickly decided, mirroring the events from the novel. Cecilia challenging Jin, Ian against Lucifer, and Rachel facing Ren. I didn't pay much attention to the others, focusing on my impending duel with Seraphina. The atmosphere grew tense as we faced each other, ready for the clash.

According to the memories I've inherited from Arthur, his combat style was a departure from conventional swordplay because he didn't learn any weapon arts. Unlike typical sword movements that involved channeling mana akin to a spell, Arthur's approach was dynamic and didn't rely on those specific maneuvers.

Of course, the question lingered: would this uniqueness prove sufficient?

"Begin!" Nero's commanding voice echoed through the training facility.

Seraphina maintained a cautious distance, concentrating on infusing her sword with ice magic. A cyan aura enveloped her blade as she awaited my first move.

I seized the opportunity, bending my body low before springing toward her, my sword wrapped in a crackling lightning aura.

Aura, the manifestation of mana around the body, became accessible at <Silver> rank, a skill I was well acquainted with.

The lightning aura was swift and perilous, yet challenging to control.

I swung my sword downward with force. Seraphina's gaze remained cold as she expertly parried my strike, redirecting my momentum into her counterattack.

Ducking swiftly, I evaded her retaliatory swing, countering by delivering a precise strike to her knee with my foot.

She retaliated swiftly, swinging her sword downward while I was momentarily down. I barely managed to defend against the onslaught.

As anticipated, she possessed remarkable strength.

Quickly regaining my footing, I aimed my sword for her neck. However, she shifted gears, revealing her true prowess. The ice aura around her transformed into a flurry of tiny ice petals as she unleashed the Mount Hua sword technique.

'Dammit,' I cursed inwardly as her technique skillfully dismantled my lightning aura.

It became evident—I was outmatched.

Or so it seemed?

While Arthur may not have known intricate swordsmanship techniques, he harbored knowledge of a 4-circle spell—the very trick I had been biding my time for.

[Flame Burst].

A surge of vibrant blue flames erupted, with me at the center, incinerating the ice petals and propelling Seraphina away.

"Enough!" Nero intervened, stepping into the midst of our duel.

"Your loss, Arthur," he declared, turning his attention to me.

'What?!' I protested silently, convinced I'd executed a flawless turnaround.

Only then did I register the shattered remnants of the shield relic.

Learning a weapon art is necessary as I thought.

"Your strategy had merit," Nero conceded, "Your only misstep was in the end, but using a 4-circle spell like that was quite ingenious."

"Thanks," I replied through clenched teeth, masking my frustration.

Fortunately, Seraphina emerged unscathed, her relic absorbing the brunt of the spell's damage.

"It was a good duel," I said, extending a hand to her.

"Truthfully, it should be my loss," she confessed, "You had the upper hand against me."

Before I could counter her argument, a resounding boom seized my attention.

Our attention veered towards Ian and Lucifer locked in a fierce duel. Ian had just unleashed his dragon will—a gift from Tiamat—centered around the fire element.

[Inferno's Fury]

It was as though he embodied fire itself, clashing with Lucifer. Unfortunately, even this formidable display wasn't enough to overpower the MC.

Lucifer smirked, effortlessly kicking Ian to create some distance. He taunted, "Are those feeble sparks what you call flames?"

Ian's eyes flashed with anger as he swung his spear, vibrant trails of fire following the weapon's trajectory, but just as it neared Lucifer, the latter summoned his own flames.

Twin pillars of intense blue fire erupted on either side of him. Lucifer's azure flames dance and flicker, casting an ethereal glow across the sparring ground, creating a mesmerizing display of colors.

"These," Lucifer chuckled, "are flames," he declared, swinging his sword wreathed in azure flames.

Ah, reliving this scene from the novel was truly something special. Lucifer scorned Ian by quashing his flames, all without resorting to actual 5-circle magic.

A colossal wall materialized before Ian, a consequence of Lucifer's dominance.

As anticipated, Ian's flames crumbled in the face of Lucifer's, leading to his eventual defeat.

The victory was an overwhelming landslide in favor of our MC. It was in this moment that I truly grasped the extent of his strength.

For perspective, Ian could likely defeat me even without resorting to his dragon will, though I might catch him off guard with my 4-circle magic spell.

Yet, against Lucifer, Ian stood no chance even with his dragon will.

The acrid smell of scorched earth lingers as Lucifer's intensified flames scorch the training ground, leaving a temporary mark.

Moving on, the final bout loomed ahead. Rachel, Lucifer's childhood friend, hesitated to face him. Similarly, Jin recognized Lucifer's strength and preferred not to challenge him. Only Ren, brimming with confidence in his abilities, stepped forward.

It was a fair match, considering Ren's prowess exceeded what Lucifer had revealed thus far.

"Sir," Ren addressed Nero, as I anticipated, "May I challenge Lucifer?"

"Hmm," Nero pondered, "Proceed. Your duel will determine the rankings for Rank 1 and Rank 2 since I can't assess you both accurately yet."

Nero's confusion was justified. Ren, with [God's Eyes] and triple affinity for space, gravity, and time, versus Lucifer, a formidable force with a <White>-rank core and exceptional swordsmanship.

Of course, if Nero knew that Lucifer could already wield 5-circle magic, the confusion would dissipate.

Glancing at the others, I noted their reactions. Rachel sighed, well aware of the likely outcome, while the rest showed keen interest in the clash between these two formidable beings.

Ian, in particular, wore a frustrated and somber expression.

Ian held a deep-seated concern for maintaining strength, largely fueled by the towering expectations set by those around him. The world anticipated him to be the epitome of strength, thanks to the prestigious dragon will bestowed upon him by the mighty dragon Tiamat.

However, the reality proved to be a different tale. Tiamat's wills, while formidable, were surpassed by other Gifts in the world. Divided into three aspects—[Inferno's Fury] for fire, [Aqua Tempest] for water, and [Zephyr's Embrace] for wind—Ian inherited [Inferno's Fury]. His father possessed [Aqua Tempest], and his uncle wielded [Zephyr's Embrace].

Even combining all three of Tiamat's wills paled in comparison to the two Gifts that Lucifer possessed.

As the confrontation unfolded between Lucifer and Ren, their postures exuded an air of relaxed confidence, almost as if both assumed victory was a given.

"Begin!" commanded Nero.

Ren, with a smirk, launched an immediate assault on Lucifer, hurling stones at him. The stones, propelled by gravity magic, raced toward Lucifer with astonishing speed.

Yet, Lucifer, surrounded by ethereal blue flames, effortlessly incinerated the projectiles.

"Well, well," Ren commented, arching an eyebrow.

Without hesitation, Lucifer surged toward Ren, wielding a sword enveloped in vivid blue flames.

In response, Ren extended his fingers toward the oncoming blade, invoking the power of [God's Eyes] and employing space and gravity magic to unleash the unique spatial distortion spell of the Kagu family.

The 4-circle spatial distortion spell: Rift Unbound.

Ren's Rift Unbound created a localized distortion in the space around Lucifer's sword. The very fabric of reality seemed to warp as the weapon entered the affected zone. 

Ren's spatial distortion, designed to unravel the enemy's mana, faced a formidable challenge from Lucifer's escalating flame mastery. Lucifer, opting to elevate his blue flames from a 4-circle to 5-circle, signaled a boost in both power and control.

In the realm of magic, elements like fire, water, wind, earth, lightning, and ice were considered on par, while light, dark, space, time, and gravity held superior positions. Lucifer's decision to advance his flames to the 5-circle level showcased not only increased raw power but also a higher level of finesse and understanding.

Power in magic wasn't just about the elemental hierarchy; it extended to how well one could wield a particular element. Lucifer's 4-circle flames, seemingly equal to Ian's, revealed a clear advantage due to purer mana, superior control, and heightened mastery. These factors collectively positioned Lucifer's flames as an overwhelming force.

Lucifer's blue flames proved relentless, tearing through Ren's spatial magic. With a measured step back, Ren had to employ spatial magic again, this time for a strategic retreat.

The unfolding scene mirrored the events from the novel with uncanny accuracy. Ren's impending defeat at the hands of Lucifer played out as expected.

I looked at my classmates to note their reactions. Rachel was the only one not surprised by the outcome since she knew how strong Lucifer is. However, even Jin was taken aback by Lucifer's display of strength.

As the familiar narrative continued, my thoughts drifted toward the challenges awaiting me on the next day at Mythos Academy.

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