The Deadlands, Chel Continent
A massive Dragon drifted in slumber, dreaming of days of conquest and destruction. The great Drake slowly raised its eyes and awoke, glancing around at its lair. The years had taken their toll, with several large cracks appearing in the huge cave wall. The Dragon was sitting on a huge crystal rock, that gave off a bluish aura, in the depths of the earth. A large, dark cavern spread around the Drake, with countless shadowy passageways spread around in every direction.
“Wrrrraaaaatttthhhhhhhh..” the Drake rumbled, his deep voice shaking the air. The huge Dragon was colored a deep and powerful ruby red, with huge glinting eyes, narrowed to slits now, staring out at the world. He had a huge wingspan, and gave off a majestic aura that could bring kings to their knees. Right now, however, he looked quite angry. “WRAAAATHHH!” he roared, grumbling loudly.
Quickly, a smaller but still massive Dragon rushed into the cave, “Yes milord.” Wrath said, slowly tasting the air with his tongue. Wrath was also a Ruby Dragon, with a large Ruby set in his heart, “What does milord require?”
“I felt a Fire Lord awaken somewhere in this continent,” said the Ancient Drake, its eyes glowing, “Bring him to me.”
“Yes milord!” cried Wrath, quickly bowing and making an exit. The ground rumbled as he swiftly moved through the passageways.
The Ancient Drake slowly lowered his head and closed his eyes, resting as time continued its inevitable march.
Morn Main School, Chel Continent
“WHAP!” Dale was sent smashing through the air, barely managing to land on his feet, and spin around, resuming his guard position and launching a lightning fast riposte. “CLANG!” Dale’s blade collided with his opponent’s and he was sent flying again.
“Maintain your balance! There is nothing more important to a Time Knight.” declared Instructor Lem, as he wove his Rapier in a beautiful but powerful attack. It was all Dale could do to block his attack, and it was clear that Instructor Lem was not trying hard. “To date, the only opponents you have fought have been children.” He said, shaking his head, “Their naïve way of fighting has infected you. When you fight against a child, of course, maintaining your balance isn’t a necessity. After all, they may be strong, but none of them are masters. However, in the real world, there are no children fighters.” Instructor Lem sent Dale flying again.
Dale was currently learning and practicing the first stage of the Time Knight Weapon Technique. This technique was several levels above his previous Slowed Time technique. It was the combat style of all Time Knights, and was ridiculously powerful. Instructor Lem, who was only a Silver Core Expert, could slow time to an incredible 55%, allowing him to make ridiculously fast attacks. These attacks when combined with the deadly accurate piercing power of the Time Knight’s Weapon Technique were truly powerful.
Time Knights wield a weapon known as a Rapier. Rapiers are long, thin metal swords, usually sharpened only at the point. Their piercing power was second to none, and was one of the three weapons of choice for Time Knights. Dale was fighting against Instructor Lem using a small wooden rendition of a Rapier.
“Focus your energy on compressing time as you move! The key to understanding the Time Knight Weapon Technique is balance. You must perfectly balance yourself, and slip through Time. True masters are said to be able to completely slip through time, freezing time at 0%.” Lem continued, launching another of his smooth attacks.
Dale focused his energy, slowing time as he slowly struck out. Time slowed to 80% and his rapier lunged out directly at Instructor Lem’s face. Instructor Lem swept his rapier through the air, almost as if in slow motion, blocking Dale’s attack, and responding with a riposte of his own. Dale was sent flying again.
“Hmm, that’s enough for today. You have already advanced to the limit of the first step. You will have advanced to the second step when you can break past the 80% time limit.” Instructor Lem said, slowly lowering his blade. He walked over to the side of the practice room, grabbing one of the buckets he brought, drawing water from it. He handed Dale a cup. Dale accepted gratefully, drinking it down.
“Your friend, Feng, is being taught by the Principal himself now, right? I think they should be finished for today as well, off with you!” Lem said, a smile on his face.
“Yes Instructor!” Dale ran out of the room, waving gratefully despite his aching muscles. It had been 2 months since he accepted Dale as his student. In that time, Dale had successfully broken through to the peak of the Coal Core level, and was making progress in forming his Copper core. He could feel his energy slowly transforming.
Dale jogged towards his dorm, on the south side of campus. He passed by the dorm where Kyle lived. Kyle and Jerome, the boys who invited them to join their future Expedition Force, had been overjoyed when they heard Dale and Feng accept their proposal. The Expedition Force might be a long 3 years from now, but it was never too late to prepare.
Dale soon passed by the campus’ central coliseum, moving through the large building, peeking into training rooms as he walked by. He soon found the one with Feng in it.
“Power! Strength! Might! Put all of these into your attacks!” yelled a huge, overbearing figure, his face covered in scars. It was Principal Warren, giving off a majestic and powerful air. Feng was standing next to him, drawing in air as he prepared to launch another powerful attack. Feng was undergoing strength training, and was using large powerful attacks over and over, to give him a better grasp at distributing his attacks with maximum efficiency.
Feng noticed Dale standing in the doorway, and abandoned his attack, sprinting over to Dale. He yelled, “Master! Look, Dale is done! Doesn’t that mean I can go now?” he glanced down meekly at the Principal.
“Hmph, Very well. Get out of my sight. Don’t forget to mediate and practice! You are almost through the Copper level, and are at a very important stage!” Warren gestured at them to leave. Dale and Feng complied, heading back towards their dorm.
“Thank God you came when you did!” gasped Feng, “That old monster is trying to kill me, I swear. He makes me practice at full strength for hours, I’m dying.”
“Oh, it can’t be THAT bad,” Dale replied, shrugging his aching muscles, “My instructor tries to stab me to death every time we practice. It’s pure torture I say.” The boys grumbled together, mutually complaining about their various practices.
As they walked towards their southern dorm, they passed by a group of students, gathered in a circle. In the center of this circle, a fight was going on. Two identical looking boys were going at each other, launching powerful attacks, tearing up the ground. The only difference between the two was one of them had a red stripe in his blonde hair, while the other didn’t. Both boys had average sized builds, and looked to be around 11 or 12. They gave off a Coal Aura, as they swung their fists back and forth.
“It’s your fault!” screamed the boy with no stripe in his hair.
“No! It’s yours!” replied the boy with a stripe.
This went back and forth, as the boys dueled, covering each other in bruises. Dale asked one of the onlookers what started the fight.
“Apparently, these twins confessed to the same girl and were both rejected. They blame each other.” The fight started to escalate, with the Aura of Arts starting to join their attacks.
Suddenly, a suave looking kid who looked perhaps 13 or 14 and was dressed like a noble, separated from a pack of gorgeous women and jumped forward. He restrained each brother and said, “Come, let’s not fight! Why can’t we all be friends here, eh? You two look to be brothers, why don’t you just talk over your differences?”
“Words mean nothing!” yelled the boy with no stripe, preparing to launch a powerful looking attack.
The noble started looking nervous, trying to defuse the situation. Dale stepped forward, grabbing the fists of the boy without a stripe. Feng stepped forward as well, restraining the striped kid’s arms.
“Listen to what this guy says. Don’t fight on campus.” Dale said, staring at his classmates coldly. He gave off just a hint of his Aura.
The boy’s faces whitened and they apologized, before running off together, conflicts forgotten. Feng gave Dale a thumbs up. The noble looking boy turned to face him. “Thanks for that!” he said, nodding towards Dale and Feng, “someone might have been injured if they kept fighting! I abhor violence after all!” he laughed.
“My name is Regis! Regis Sarn. A pleasure to make your acquaintance!” He smiled cheerfully at Dale and Feng, “What are your names?”
“I’m Dale Wensworth, and this is my best friend, Feng Constantine.” They shook hands, smiling. Regis really was quite polite. Regis looked at them for a moment, as if trying to recall something.
"Aha! Feng Constantine! You have a Lords Bloodline, right? I watched some of your battles during the last Tournament! And Dale, you did amazingly well too! You are a Time Arts user, right?" he exclaimed, looking at the two of them. Time Arts users are incredibly rare, it wasn't unexpected that he would have heard of Dale. As well, once word got out that Feng had the Fire Lords bloodline, his name spread like wildfire.
Regis looked at them for a moment, as if making a decision.
“My father owns several of the largest auction houses in the city,” Regis said, taking out a card, “You guys feel free to come visit me anytime! When I’m not in class here, I’m helping him take care of auctions, and working on paperwork up there!” he said warmly, “Drop by tomorrow, there’s a huge auction going on, I think you guys would have fun watching it!” he handed Dale and Feng a small, silver card that read, “Sarn Auctions: Vip Card.”
The capital city of Morn is home to the largest Auction houses in the world. It was said the wealth of kingdoms was exchanged in these great homes. Items beyond compare, legendary artifacts, Gem level monster cores, secret Art techniques, and more were bought and sold at these homes. Hundreds of thousands of gold was exchanged. To be able to even be present at one of the prestigious auctions required either a huge amount of wealth, or connections in the right places. The Sarn Auctions were known to be the wealthiest, filled with the most exotic and exciting items.
“That’ll get you inside, I’ll be in the 3rd booth at the top, on the right! You guys better come! It’s boring up there alone with my parents and his guests!” He smiled winningly at Dale and Feng, and then ran off through the crowd, back towards the women he was walking with. He waved at Dale and Feng as he exited.
Dale and Feng exchanged looks, and shrugged, returning back towards their dorm. Tomorrow would be an interesting day, they both thought.