Book 2 - Chapter 5
Dale and Collin’s fists collided. A massive impact shattered through the air, causing rippling shockwaves and shattering the ground beneath where they stood. Blades of wind whipped out, against a huge and overwhelming Aura. Onlookers were forced back a few steps, as the massive Aura dominated the field.
“He can use the difficult Aura type of Art too?!?” several onlookers gaped in astonishment. Never in the history of the Main School had a Coal Metal Expert been adept at both Aura and Time. It was already exceedingly rare to find a Time Coal Metal Core user. For him to be able to use Aura too was beyond ridiculous. It was practically monstrous.
The massive impact split between the two of them, and both of them were forced back, flying through the air. Dale, with an inhumane force of will, kicked down, smashing his legs into the ground, forcing himself to stop, landing barely inside the arena ring. He looked down at his hand, which was badly injured from the impact. Blood had covered his hand, and he could see bone.
He looked up, towards where Collin had fallen. Collin was in a daze, with a dribble of blood sliding down his face. He looked stunned, and had landed roughly 6 meters outside of the ring. He wasn’t as badly injured as Dale.
“Winner! Dale Wensworth advances!” cried the referee.
Collin quickly roused himself, protesting, “I’m fine! I just slipped, I haven’t lost!” Collin refused to accept that he could have possibly lost to someone who was only in the Coal layer. He unsteadily got to his feat, his delicate features filled with rage.
The referee, a Silver Metal Core layer expert, glared down at Collin stating, “Do you wish to question my decision?” his eyes spelled death.
Collin glared at him annoyed, then relented and said, “No instructor.” grinding his teeth. He glared across the field at Dale, and then limped off.
The instructor walked up to Dale, glancing down at his fist with a concerned look. “Here, take this.” He said, bringing out a light yellow orb. It gave off a warm and cozy feeling. “This orb will heal the majority of your injuries.”
Dale nodded gratefully, and swallowed the orb, feeling its healing energy take over. His body began to reknit itself, slowly covering the exposed bone, and the pain he had felt was replaced by a warm feeling of happiness. Slowly, his energy stores restored himself, and he felt a warm glow surrounding him. This was the first time he had ever taken a healing orb, its effects were truly miraculous. From what he had learnt in his classes, the orb was created using portions of Monster Cores as a base.
Slowly, the matches around him came to a finish, and a teacher dressed in an austere and noble looking outfit yelled, “Today’s matches have been resolved! All students please return to your dorms to rest! Tomorrow’s matches will begin at noon. That is all, thank you!” the teacher walked off, towards a gathering of the rest of instructors. Students around the arena began to peel off through the various entrances. Dale made his way over towards the A block, looking for Feng.
Dale pushed his way through the crowd, spotting Feng leaning against the far wall. “Feng! Hey!” he waved. Feng nodded, smiling back, looking quite smug.
“Heyo! How’d your matches go, Dale?” he said, with a glimmer in his eye.
“I won all of them! The last one was a bit difficult though.” He stated, smiling. Feng seemed very eager to share how he performed. “How about yours?”
“I won them all as well! I fought 2 Iron Core users and a Coal Core user!” he said, smugly. “And I won against them all!” he looked at Dale expectantly, waiting for him to be astonished. Dale clapped lightly. “Who’d you fight against?”
“Remember that Collin kid I told you about?” Dale said, leadingly, “I fought against him in my last match. He had advanced to the Steel Aura level. It wasn’t an easy match, and if it had been an actual battle, I don’t think I would have won. However, I managed to knock him outside the ring, and advanced.”
“Niiiice!” Feng said, hi-fiving him, “About time someone taught that jerk a lesson, ahaha.” He started to hop around eagerly, full of energy even after having fought several matches.
Dale nodded, and they made their way towards the northern exit, the one closest to them. They joined the large exodus of students, on their way, overhearing the various complaints and gossip.
“Did you see Frederick go? Dude he’s brutal, I hope I don’t match up against him! I hear he’s in D block.”
“Yeah man, he’s ridiculously powerful.”
“What about that Life expert from C Block though? I think his name is Raven. He’s practically indestructible!”
“Did you see the monster Coal expert in A Block?”
“You mean D Block, right? Yeah that guy was crazy; he beat a Steel Core expert.”
“No, he was in A Block! And he didn’t fight any Steel Core experts. What are you talking about?!”
“No, he was-…
Dale and Feng walked through the entrance, separating from the crowd on their way back to the apartment. They began to discuss the various battles they had, comparing strategies and deciding what the other would do in their situation.
Feng whistled, “I think I would’ve lost, if I faced that Collin prick.” He said, as they walked towards their dorm area. Feng glanced around at the surrounding trees, as if he wanted to practice breaking them with his newfound prowess in his flame Art.
“It was a hard fight, like I said.” Dale shrugged, not too interested in the results of the fight. He had won, and that’s all that mattered. “Who do you think you’re up against tomorrow? Any ideas?”
“No.” Feng replied, glumly, “The teachers wouldn’t give any hints; it’s supposed to be random.” He shrugged back at Dale.
They arrived at their dorm and split up, promising to meet in the morning tomorrow to practice before the next tournament rounds.
Dale went back to his room, and started meditating. He focused on the battles he fought, integrating the experience he gained in with his strategies. He felt that if he hadn’t been so naive and unexplored in battle, he would have performed much better, without injuring himself as badly. He focused for a bit, and then headed off to sleep.
The next day
Dale and Feng were practicing outside the dorm, in the grass area. They were just lightly warming up, discussing how they planned on fighting, and practicing. They decided against wasting energy, especially since the tier of opponents they would be battling this late in the tournament would be top notch.
After practicing for about an hour, Feng and Dale grabbed a late breakfast, and headed over to the tournament coliseum at the center of campus. They encountered a much larger flow of students as they walked. Apparently, now that the preliminaries were over, and the final 120~ students were picked, the fights would be more exciting and more people came to watch.
Dale and Feng arrived at the grounds, splitting up to their personal blocks, ready to fight, but nervous and excited at the same time. Dale patiently waited as various fights started. Suddenly, Dale heard his name called.
“Dale Wensworth vs Frederick DeMonge!” called the referee, glancing around as Dale stepped into the ring.