Chapter 112 Impress Me (Part 2)
Daichi was faced with a crossroads. He could lie and perhaps get some benefits out of it or he could tell the truth and possibly be turned away. ‘I didn’t even realize my eyes had changed color… If I lie she might be able to tell and if I tell the truth she might not believe me. Tch…”
He quickly came to the conclusion that this person before him was fundamentally misunderstanding something, and instead of correcting her. He considered the consequences to admitting to either. Considering that she wanted the truth, he decided to do just that.
“I assume you can tell whether I am lying. Firstly, I have not been chosen by any god nor agreed to such by any god. Secondly I was born human and as far as I know, that hasn’t changed.”
Lydia was paying rapt attention and a deep disappointment registered on her face as Daichi responded. She knew he wasn’t lying based on his heartbeat but a small part of herself believed that perhaps he had somehow found a way to lie to her. Based on she’d been told by her mentor, those two were the only explanations for his eyes being such a strange color. ‘Could he simply have been born with such a unique eye color?’ she momentarily wondered to herself.
Crimson wasn’t totally on board with what he knew Lydia was thinking but even as Lydia considered the situation her original intent hadn’t particularly changed. Even the questions she’d asked him thus far had little to do with the city itself and more to do with the benefits she would gain by not only recommending but raising a possibly outstanding pupil herself. She’d already considered the recognition she would receive from the headmaster and the benefits as well. Professors at Lumea had one of two responsibilities.
They could either teacher lessons to students in a classroom format for those that wished to attend, or they could do something a bit more unique. They could attend the Lumea exam and recommend prospective students. These professors had less overall responsibilities but their success and the the benefits they received from the academy were premised on the successes of their recommended students.
Lydia’s eyes had grown wide when she’d first seen Daichi. Everything about him screamed talented to her. If what he was saying was true, if he was really not from the city and and had somehow survived on his own in these woods for any period of time by himself. He would have already accomplished more than virtually any student would have been able to do on their own.
Lydia was given quite a bit of leeway due to her own personal power. She also had a good idea of the talents within the academy. Aside from a few natural born talents that had already been born gifted and were sub sequentially nurtured their entire lives no one else the same age as Daichi would have been able to survive in these woods alone for any prolonged period of time. Although there was still a small lingering suspicion that perhaps he wasn’t human after all. ‘Although he wouldn’t make it through the barrier back in the city… I would get laughed at by everybody…’
Lydia was letting her vanity and ego make all the decisions today. From coveting such a talented youth to the repercussions of bringing him back with her.
No matter how hard she tried to weigh the pros and cons, the benefits were too enticing. She didn’t know what Daichi could do but she had a strong feeling. ‘Only one way to test the waters…’
Still close to Daichi she leaned back in and whispered “I want to have a small wager with you. Should you win, I will allow you to come back with us to Lumea. In fact… Should you win I will personally recommend you entry to Lumea Academy. The academy is actually the one that holds the power to allow entry to the library.
Daichi had waited a few breaths of time after speaking for a response. He wasn’t sure what kind of response he would receive but he wasn’t too anxious. He knew what he wanted, he wanted some company and access to the library. The truth was that although he was more than excited to get out of the mist and experience life again. Every year he’d spent in the mist had made it harder for him to gain more and more insights. Without experience, without guidance and without experiencing the universe itself it had become increasingly difficult to understand anything past what he already knew. He’d reached a wall in his progress. He wanted to go, but knew that worst case scenario he would only be attacked and he’d simply have to kill.
Daichi didn’t hold any anxiety in his heart over these possibilities. If he had to hold any anxiety or fear over something, it would likely be being trapped somewhere worse. He’d already experienced it once, and it was only made bearable by the amount of liberty he held while caged.
After Lydia spoke his mind processed the words and wondered what she was up too. “I don’t even know who you are, shouldn’t you introduce yourself first before trying to make a bet with me?”
Lydia was taking a liking to the boy in front of her. Although his calm demeanor made her want to grate her teeth, there was something exciting about a boy that seemed manlier than the majority of the men she knew. “My name is Lydia Skywater. I am a professor at Lumea Academy. Will you accept my wager?”
Daichi was no longer impressed or shaken by her words. Every single experience since he’d left the mist had caused one surprise after another that he’d grown accustomed to hearing and seeing what he would have once considered the silliest things.
Humans in a forest he once considered void of all human life? Sure.
Everyone had as much mana as him despite what he’d thought to be a prodigious amount of mana for his age? Sure.
Participants in an exam that all happened to belong to the city he was originally aiming to reach? Sure.
An offer to enter the academy he’d once made his life goal? Sure.
‘Why even be surprised anymore?’ he thought as he chuckled to himself as he asked Lydia “Okay Miss Lydia, and what would happen if I were to lose this bet?” Daichi asked with a smile across his face.
Lydia held her tongue for a moment as she was so close to Daichi as he’d turned from a youthful guy with a calm demeanor into a stunning boy with a devilishly handsome smile all within an instant. She was dazzled enough that she forgot herself for a moment as a small blush threatened to make its way towards her cheeks as brought her hand up to her mouth and coughed for a moment to regain her barring.
She normally didn’t get so close to others and she’d only approached Daichi for the sake of privacy. He seemed so… Unarmed that this was the one form of attack she hadn’t expected.
“If you lose…? If you lose, then you stay here on your own.” She was almost a little confused after she thought about the question. After being caught off guard before she quickly regained her composure and then thought about the strange question as if it wasn’t obvious. ‘Leaving you here alone in this forest. It’s a death sentence. What more could I want to do to you?’
Daichi smile only brightened. ‘If I win I get a wonderful prize and if I lose I just follow you and steal that prize? It’s win-win!’ he thought to himself.
“I have no problem with the stakes, how will we go about settling the bet then?” he asked.
“Follow me.” Lydia as she waved to Crimson to walk over to them.
“So… What are you going to do?” he couldn’t help but ask her. He knew her personality all to well, and even though he himself was very wary of this random stranger she was probably thinking of him like some treasured jewel she’d found while undertaking a tedious task.
“I am going to make a little bet with him. Get everyone fully healed up or as much as you can. Give them more pills if necessary, I want the group going back in as best a condition as we can manage. I’ll need about ten minutes or so.” Lydia said dismissively as she began to walk towards the woods.
Daichi gave Crimson a quick glance before beginning to follow Lydia. It was clear to him that whatever authority he held, Lydia still seemed to be in charge out of everyone here… Suddenly Daichi was now beginning to wonder if she was the second person he’d seen with Crimson before. Through his mana sense he couldn’t quite make out any distinguishing features unless the people he was seeing were literally within his range of vision. He’d assumed it was another man, but based on these short interactions he’d now begun to reassess his previous thinking.
‘Am I sexist?’ He wondered to himself as he followed behind Lydia without a shred of nervousness.
After they’d walked far enough from the group of participants that they couldn’t be seen Lydia began to speed up her formerly unhurried steps to a brisk pace and eventually broke out into a full on sprint of which Daichi had been specifically following. Once she’d begun running at a sprint through the woods, Daichi begun finding it extremely hard to keep up with her. He’d been doing nothing but running and hadn’t pushed himself to do anything that would make him stand out thus far but now he was being left with no other option if he intended to keep up with her ‘Perhaps this is a test?’.
A small smile played on his lips as his speed suddenly increased two-fold. His body as light as a feather, keeping up with Lydia became bearable. Lydia had been running at what seemed like a full-sprint but in reality was only a moderate speed to her, she was doing so in order to test Daichi. ‘If he can’t even keep up with me now then he isn’t worth my time.’
However, she was surprised when he’d seemed to having trouble, it made her question whether she’d been wrong all along. Those doubts were quickly eased as his speed seemed to double within an instant. More surprising to her was that he seemed to be keeping up this new speed with less effort than before, as if he was as light as a feather and could run at this speed for hours on end without breaking a sweat.
Lydia maintained her pace for a few miles and when she realized he was indeed maintaining that pace effortlessly, a small satisfied smile broke across her face. She knew that this wasn’t a speed a normal person could reach without using mana in some form or another. She was very curious what his method was, but she knew she would find out soon enough.
Lydia finally came to a halt in the middle of another small clearing. It was the first they’d reached since leaving the group. “Okay we’re far enough. Would you like to get started?”
Lydia’s excited demeanor gave Daichi slight pause, but his expression didn’t show the slightest bit of anxiety as he merely asked “Get started with what?”
“Simple. Like my three questions, I’m going to give you three small tests. I like the number three, and coincidentally… Lumea Academy normally has three exams it has all prospective students go through if they want to enter the academy. I’ll be performing a slightly modified version of each to my own standard. Aim to impress you get it?”
Daichi’s expression finally changed as he realized this woman in front of him wasn’t going to make his life easy. Except… Instead of being upset he was thrilled!
“Sounds fun! Okay! So what’s the deal? What’s first?”