Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Volume 2 - Chapter 13 - An Unexpected Show (Up)

In Earth time, it has been almost four months since Rick’s first stumbled into the guard. That means within the world of Amoatlz, a year has almost passed. It is once more the Summer season, during the 3rd day of the High month. The [Field of Ashes] is a blazing hell once more while the kingdom of Sardon is enjoying its warm weather. The summer harvest is in full swing in parts of the region, while other villages are rotating their crops to match the season. In this warm, comfortable weather, the entire upper echelon of the city of Feia presents itself at the Zinnia Academy, surrounded by an escort force consisting of demihumans as well as its original retinue of town guards. As the carriages and carts stop in the large field before the main building of the Academy, the passengers start disembarking from the various vehicles. In the mean time, some of the demihuman escorts disappeared briefly, before coming back in colourful uniforms and with glistening swords strapped to their belts.

[T/N: 夏成 - 潼月三日 , Summer Grow/Become/Ripe - High Month Third Day, doesn’t make sense in English at all even though it does make sense in kanji. Each of the seasons and months have their own unique little meaning as well. In this case, it means the peak month of summer.]

“Halt!” A rough looking caninoid -with half of his right ear missing- leading the way abruptly stops the group. “Welcoming the Elders of Feia! Present, ARMS!”

The colourfully dressed squads behind him quickly form two columns, before marching toward opposing sides, becoming a living corridor. Each of the 64 caninoids stands rigidly at attention in perfect unison. As though on a silent cue, all of them soundlessly draw their swords with their left hands, holding the swords high above their heads.

““HA!”” *SHI*
““HA!”” *SHI*
““HA!”” *SHI*

Starting from the pair closest to the visiting entourage, each pair shouts before slashing their swords downward, bringing the sword to their left side, within an inch of their neighbour. Echo guides an elderly, wrinkly, smiling man toward the path created by the caninoids in special uniforms. The captain of the Feian guards stands on the opposite side, fitting in perfectly. Behind them are 9 other Elders, each of them looking left and right. Further behind, the rest of the entourage are looking left and right as well, in obvious awe of the escorts, as they murmur amongst themselves.

“Headmaster Rick, this way please.” A demihuman appears from nowhere, surprising both Rick and Till who were simply watching the unexpected ceremony. Rick nearly jumps a foot in the air from a standing position, he starts rubbing his knees from the unexpected jolt after he confirms where the voice came from.

“Damn it! Don’t do that!” Rick flexes his legs one by one after rubbing the knees. “What is going on anyways?”

The demihuman tilts his head. “These are the rulers from the city of Feia, bearing gifts and such. The students here informed us that the Academy have friendly relations with them. As such, we are treating it as an impromptu State Visit. We apologize if we are inadequate in our presentation.”

“Wait, what, who told you to do that?!” Rick starts scratching the back of his head rapidly with an incredulous face.

“Just go along with it Rick-ni, this looks cool~!” Till’s eyes are shining. Although she is said to be a prodigy and knows many things, she is still a child at heart. Since she was often isolated or ill, she never had a chance to see a parade in her life. With such an unique sight appearing before her, even though it’s technically small, how can she not enjoy herself?

“Gaaahh! Fine! Lead the way!” Rick gives up in frustration before turning to the demihuman, who can only chuckle good-naturedly.

Till is led elsewhere by another demihuman who shows up afterward, she unwillingly follows as she keep her eyes on the colourful troops that move in sync, with beautiful, elaborate movements as the leading Elder walks past them.

Rick is brought to the end of the caninoid path under the guidance of the demihuman. The first Elder slowly makes his way towards Rick, if one were to look carefully, they would see tears gathering at the corners of his eyes. Next to him is the captain of the guard, wearing a stern, but pleasant, expression. Around the last quarter of the way, Sekn appears out of nowhere and waits a few steps behind Rick and slightly to the right side. Likewise, on the left side, stands Till, who is beaming as she slowly rotates her left arm back and forth while staring at the elaborate, delicate-looking glove and vambrace on it.

The glove is fingerless and only covers the back of her hand, there’s a finely carved ring for each of the four fingers -which is connected to the deep blue fabric on the back of her hand by a fine mesh of extremely thin, almost translucent wires- which anchor the cool fabric in place. Starting at her wrist, the vambrace -made with fine silvery wires and sapphires that depicts a scene of the sea- anchors the other end of the fabric with a series of woven chains. In the center of the fabric, a series of clear aquamarine gems forms a perfect circle on the back of her hand, making an illusion of a full moon viewed from under the sea. The vambrace is latched together on the inside arm, with a series of runes running along the edge up and down the length of it to amplify mana conversion rates, especially those of Water mana.

This is a replica of a tool Sekn received from Alfina when he first became an Officer. Like the original, it is made to restrict the mana usage of the individual wearing it while constricting the flow of mana as it runs through the entirety of the accessory combo, forcing the individual to learn to control their mana output and exert detailed manipulation. It also allows the gems to endow the coursing mana with additional Water mana stored in the gems if desired. The rings themselves were originally made by Alfina and Sekn’s father for practice:

[ED: Here’s a visual aid, just imagine a piece of fabric covering the back of the hand]

The Ring of the Peacock, a series of glass prisms embedded on the outer rim of the ring, used for releasing the mana in a cone-shaped manner, like the tail of its namesake.

The Ring of the Crystal Mirror, a series of zircons set on the ring redirects the flow of mana to a fine point, used for concentrating the mana into a single point before releasing it.

The Ring of the Dancing Fae, a plain looking silver ring with hidden runes engraved on the inside, adds random, chaotic movements to the outgoing mana, spreading it in a wide area in an unpredictable manner.

The Ring of the Desolate Fortress, limits the expelled mana to a fixed distance and shape, effectively making a shield consisting of the mana used.

These rings imitate what any experienced [Magician] can do on their own, although wearing them will still help the individual refine their techniques somewhat. Meaning these rings, individually, are not all that valuable save for their sentimental values. But together, combined with the vambrace’s unique properties, make it an invaluable tool to any [Magician], especially beginners. Once they mastered the usage of the tool, they will be able to shape their mana and control the directions of their spells at will. An «Earth Pillar» can become a massive single spike that homes in on its target - or just as easily become a pit of spikes that attacks wildly as if it’s alive. A «Fireball» can become so small that it’s almost undetectable and can burn a hole through its target without the target realizing it until it’s too late - or just as easily become a suit of blazing armour that burns those around the caster. The invention of this tool is one of the minor achievements by Alfina as an [Arcanist] back in the Pent Kingdom.

This was secretly made with the help of the regiment’s blacksmith as well as Dosnak, who knows Till’s exact measurements and mimicked them to help with the minute adjustments. Although it does not come close to replacing the amulet, Sekn still wishes to give Till something to remember Alfina by - a tool borne out of Alfina’s legacy and creations seems thusly fitting. Of course, Sekn didn’t tell Till about the rings made by his father, merely telling her that this is something Alfina poured her blood and sweat into, which is the undeniable truth.

“Presenting, First Elder of the Free City of Feia, Bartholomew Markus!” Echo announces with fanfare as the sound of trumpets playing appears from somewhere. The old man walks up to Rick reverently, grabbing his hands and shaking them vigorously. Unexpectedly, the Elder kneels on the ground and starts kissing Rick’s feet.

“Wait! What are you doing! Get up, get up!” Rick backs away at the sudden unexpected gesture.

“You are undoubtedly a living god, paying respect this way is a given.” The old man remains kneeling on the ground, with his head bowed.

“I’m no g-”

“Elder, Headmaster Rick would prefer a more subtle, discreet way of greetings.”

The Elder remembers the promise forced upon them when the God of Fertility agreed to help them in the first place, that it must be kept a secret. He makes a horrified face, “I’m so sorry, Your Wor-… Headmaster. Forgive my indiscretion.” The old man struggles to get up before approaching Rick once more, grabbing one of his hands, and bows at the waist until his forehead touches the hand. Markus stands up after a few moments, murmuring apologies repeatedly. Rick can only smile awkwardly.

The ceremony proceeds smoothly, with each Elder repeating the motion of lowering their forehead to Rick’s hand after clasping it. These Elders are introduced one after another, before being directed to their pre-determined spot. Most of the entourage look on with smiles or reverence, while a handful shows a dark, sullen expression. By the time the impromptu ceremony ended, it’s approaching sunset. Two more groups of people shows up unexpectedly as soon as the ceremony ends, causing Rick’s eyes to spin in circles.

The first group consists of 14 men and women on gray Cadejos mounts, led by Niji. The second group is made up of 3 carriages, with a few children, men, and a gray fox. Both parties get escorted by a group of guards, keeping a keen eye on them, but the gray fox draws glances from everyone. The first group has business with Rick, and the presence of the cadejos cause the demihuman escorts to exchange meaningful glances with each other. The second group has important business with the Elders, so they are being led to them.

“Eh, Rick, Till, what’s going on here? It’s like you have an army here or something.” Niji greets the two casually as he comes in range with his people, causing the Elders to furrow their brows in displeasure. Some members within his party waves and smile as well, as they still remember the two during the first time the [Cerebus] was defeated.

“Sir, you and your party must dismount. We will bring them to the stable for the time being.” A demihuman aide appears from the side, interrupting them. Niji gives his two parties of seven a quick nod, before getting off his mount as well. More demihumans show up to help lead the cadejos to the stable.

“Um… what are YOU doing here?” Rick asks back as he can’t think up an excuse in time. “Damn, why are there all these visitors, did blue birds circled the house when I wasn’t looking?” The youth starts mumbling after asking Niji the question.

[T/N: I’ve no idea what 青鳥 represent to, but according to Chinese folklores, they represent messengers. Bird visiting a house often represent death, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The other folklore I found saying that birds circling a house means visitors are coming, which I think is the likely interpretation of this line. On the other hand, 赤い鳥 (red colour bird) circling a house means there’s going to be a fire… I will amend this if someone corrects me with sauce (or until the bugger gets back to me)

Had someone with some insight via irc

a blue bird is a good omen
so maybe the people saw the blue bird circling the house
and decided to go there
because blue birds are meant to bring happiness
or rather, are a sign of happiness
it seems to me only your main char is depressed or something
or maybe your guests want something to hold ointo
and that blue bird could raise their morale
hence why they came to the place that's being circled by it]

“I sent you a PM earlier, said I’d drop by for a duel since we will be heading for the Tralan Duchy for a quest to deal with some PKers. Want to do a little testing, if you don’t mind. Although… you never did send a reply, did you?” Niji makes a “oops” face while he scratches his cheek.

“Oh? Immortals dueling? Excellent! Hey! Everyone, the Immortals are going to have a duel!” One of the younger Elders starts riling up everyone.

“What?! Immortal duel?!”
“Did you hear that? A duel!”

The news spreads like a rapidly falling line of dominoes, making its way all the way to the people in back, before Rick can even make a reply.

“I don’t th- OOMMPH” *uuuu* “What was that for, Till?” The blond youth rubs his ribs that got suddenly visited by the elbow of a certain little girl.

Till reaches up and drags Rick’s left ear to her mouth before she starts talking in a hushed tone. “The duel is a good way to show off, we can get more students this way if we do it right~”

“But Bell and Kun aren’t here.”

“Don’t worry~~ Just follow my lead.” Till releases Rick and turns to Niji. “Sorry~ there’s only 2 of us logged in at the moment. Mind if I make some suggestions?”

“Eh, I don’t mind, we are just here to see how far we’ve come. As you can see, we have beaten the [Cerebus] 13 more times.” Niji brags lightly with a beaming smile.

Rick and Till look at each, before turning to look at Sekn… who is now no where to be seen. They can only make an awkward smile before turning back, since Niji and his party have no idea the deal Sekn had them implement during their first meeting.

The background is in organized chaos as people vie for a better viewing position for watching the duel. The demihumans likewise start preparing the grounds and lighting up some braziers, they familiarized themselves with all the equipment ever since the “training games” were introduced by Rick. It didn’t take long before chairs and tables were prepared for the Elders while the rest of the people are forced to sit on the floor in the front and on logs in the back. However, no one is complaining, the duel between the Headmaster of the Academy and the Captain of the Guards became well known within Feia. In fact, quite a few of those watching now watched the duel within the barracks. There is even a betting pool going on with those in the back and amongst the human guards.

“Okay~ Lets do something a little different, let’s have a 14 vs 14 fight with non-lethal weapons, just make sure you don’t seriously hurt our students. They will drop out as soon as they lose half their health, okay~?”

“Then what about you two?”

“Oh, try your best to kill us if you can~ Oh, and don’t worry, we will return everything even if you die~”

“Oy, watch it little girl, I wouldn’t be so cocky if I were you.” A scruffy looking teen with a head of dirty blond hair marches himself forward toward Till, with his two swords rattling.

Niji grabs the teen before he can get any closer to Till. “Woah, Sable, chill out.” Niji turns to Till. “Sorry, he didn’t mean any offense.”

Till narrows her eyes and beams a wide smile. “None taken.”

Rick in the mean time can only look on while massaging his temples. There’s a familiar chill going up and down his spine, like when he’s about to be attacked by Bell. He turns to look at the smiling Till, who reminds him of another “tiger with a smiling face” from Bell’s family, and involuntarily shivers.

“Hm… I guess we will have to wait until they are done before we can deal with the elders.” Cori directs the kids and Gui to a spot that was made for them to spectate in.

“Are you ready?” Echo asks everyone within the duel as he looks left and right. “Remember, try to avoid seriously injuring the children. They are out if they exit the field or if they are on the ground.”

The people on Niji’s side nod their heads, the newer members doing so impatiently. Till nods, still maintaining her smile. Rick readies himself, giving the opposing side a somewhat pitying look. The selected students make minute adjustments non-stop since this is the first time they are having a proper fight, the training they did never taught them how to manage their nervousness - which requires experience rather than training.

“Start!” Echo shouts while backing away to a safe distance. He’s going to be refereeing the match, so he’s allowed within the field, but he starts running away since his instinct is screaming at him to get away.

“«Air Lance»~!” A thin, powerful breeze brushes by Echo as soon as the match starts, towards the teenager with the twin swords. “«Rising Tempest»~!” *fuuuu* “«Rain of Hammers«!” Within one breath, Till sends the teenager flying backward, before getting tossed upward into the air. As he approaches the edge of the field in a daze, multiple condensed «Air Hammer»s attacks him all over the body, before tossing him toward the spectators like a ragdoll.

“What in the…”
“Stop gawking newbie! Gather around!”
“““«Earth Pillar»”””

Niji reacts quickly as their [Mage]s set up a series of defensive earth barriers. He already considers the party of four as monsters, so he wasn’t surprised at the sudden attack, but the power and speed of the attack still leaves him slightly shaken.


Rick unconsciously gets into a defensive stance as the pity becomes completely apparent on his face. “Poor bastards probably don’t know Till was mad at running out of mana during the fight with [Cerebus] and has been training ever since… this is what happens when you poke a sleeping tiger…” The youth mumbles to himself as he half-heartedly prepares himself for battle, he has a feeling he might not have much to do.


  1. Thanks for the chapter.

    Seems like a rather chaotic night at the academy.

  2. Kun isn't logged in... so much for their meeting. Doesanyone refer to kun as Kun-kun?

    1. Gui uses kuns machine to log in since he sleeps on his machine sometimes.

  3. Thanks for the chapter!
    Lol, this is going to be fun to read about how the deal ends. :D


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