A swift arrow surged through the air, shimmering with icy energy. The spear-wielding knight dodged, countering with a lightning-charged thrust. The clash of ice and lightning resonated, each aura battling for dominance.
Another arrow flew, encased in frost, aiming to bind the opponent. The spear-wielder evaded, retaliating with a swirling spiral of lightning. The bow was encased in aura and was used to defend and then counterattack. It was a very interesting use of the bow.
The spear expert parried, aiming to disrupt with lightning strikes. After that attack failed, the combatants paused momentarily, their determination unwavering. After they paused for a minute, they resumed with full power.
After two more rounds that didn’t reach an end, the bow-wielding girl knew that she had to end it fast before she ran out of aura.
She unleashed a final, concentrated arrow infused with chilling frost. The arrow soared towards the spear-wielder, who deflected it with a precise lightning-infused strike. In a split second, the spear closed the distance, thrusting towards the bow-wielder’s chest.
With lightning-fast reflexes, Selena got onto the stage and stopped the deadly blow. The combatants stood facing each other, panting, their weapons by their sides.
“So, we are done here,” Asher said. “We have all 4 students who will get onto the New Student Ranking.”
Everyone got off the stage and stood in a line facing Asher. He talked to the 9 students who were left.
“So, you all are the strongest people out of everyone who tried to join the academy today. But that doesn’t mean that it will remain that way forever. When you enter the academy, you will need to work hard and strive to grow stronger.” He said.
“For now, you will go back to your houses. You have all provided us with your addresses, so you will be sent a card to represent your identity to your houses. You can only enter the academy with that card. The academy is in session from 1st September, so you will come here on that day. Enjoy the next 1 month.”
Leo groaned inside when he heard this. He didn’t want to wait for another month before joining the academy, but he clearly didn’t have a choice. On the other hand, Marcus had his own concerns.
“How much is tuition to attend here?” He asked.
“Well, the first year is going to be 900,000 Starcoins to attend. The second year here will cost 1.3 million Starcoins while the last year will be 2 million Starcoins,” he said.
Marcus took a gulp and looked at Leo. Both of them were assuming that tuition was only 500,000 Starcoins, but this was almost twice that. Leo saw his nervous look and smiled.
He nodded lightly to show that there wasn’t any problem with the prices. Marcus saw this nod and smiled gratefully.
“If there aren’t any other questions, then you can all leave now,” Asher said.
Leo and Marcus were the last people to turn around to walk out. They weren’t in any hurry to get out since there wasn’t really anyone waiting for them. Everyone else had their parents waiting for them so they wanted to go quickly.
As they were walking slowly, they saw that two people were waiting for them outside. This confused both of them.
One of the people who was waiting immediately confronted them when they left the gates of the academy. It was Miller.
“Hello, I am Miller Grenwich. I am from the Baron family of Grenwich. I wanted to talk to you about how you are funding your academic pursuits.” He said.
Leo raised an eyebrow at the boy’s words. They were far too diplomatic for someone his age.
“I overheard information that lead me to believe that you might need financial assistance for tuition. I would like to offer to sponsor both of you on behalf of my family,” he said. He seemed proud of his offer.
Marcus immediately asked him, “What does sponsoring mean?”
“It means that we will pay for your tuition and also support you in your training. In return, you can directly work for the Grenwich family once you are out of the academy.”
Leo frowned. He knew that this was attractive to other candidates, but it would be far too restrictive for him. He would have to work for another family no matter what once he left the school.
He didn’t bother wasting his time listening to the entire proposal. There was really no way he was going to accept it from the beginning. After all, he already had enough money for all three of the years. On top of that, why would he want to go work for a Baron family who didn’t even have a mage stronger than him?
Leo’s next words clarified this question for him.
“We won’t need your assistance. Thank you for the offer.” Leo said this and walked forward. Marcus followed him while Miller frowned.
He was incredibly confident that he would get at least one of the boys to agree to be sponsored. Especially since one of them was an orphan. So why did they say no?
His mind ran through all the possibilities. Were they already being sponsored by another family? That could be the reason.
As Miller was thinking about these reasons, the second person waiting for the two stopped them. It was Lyra.
“Hello, I am Lyra Eldridge,” she introduced herself to the two.
Marcus nodded. “Marcus Bright,” he said.
“Leo,” Leo said.
“I am here to talk about-“
“If it’s about sponsoring us, then we already made it clear to the person behind us. We are not interested. Even if that happens to be someone from a prominent family like yours,” Leo said.
Lyra was taken aback. Her eyes showed a hint of disappointment, but she hid it quickly.
“Well, you aren’t wrong. I was going to mention it. I also wanted to ask you a question. I am a 2nd Circle Aura Knight and I could only make it to the 4th Step with great difficulty. How were you able to get there without looking as tired or under pressure?” She asked.
Leo looked at her for a minute, thinking about what to say. He never really expected that question from her, so he didn’t prepare a rehearsed answer.
“I guess… I guess I have strong bones?” He said.
Lyra was unimpressed with that answer. “What do you mean by that? Did you train from an early age? Or were you born with a blessed physique” She asked.
He shook his head. “You are stressing too much about how someone else was able to beat you. There are two things wrong with that. What worked for me definitely won’t work for you. And the only thing that will remain constant in your life will be yourself. Don’t try to concentrate too much on chasing after people other than yourself.”
He left her with these words and left.