Chapter 165 – Damien’s Fight Part 2
Had she known that Daichi had been doing just as she’d seen since the moment she’d left him over a day ago to now, reading one book after another at a phenomenal speed for over 30 hours she would have felt truly sick to her stomach in horror at what a little gluttonous monster Daichi truly was. He was certainly only memorizing the books, but anytime his mind had a thought about something he’d read, he’d go back and reference multiple books to gain an understanding of something he’d never known but was truly intrigued by.
The following day, Daichi was met was a surprise as Lydia had a stack of dry food and jugs of water. Nothing like fancy food on expensive china he’d received the previous day.
“Now now, don’t give me that face. Pick up the food and water. Based on the past 2 days, It’s obvious you’re going to hole yourself up like a hermit no matter what I say.”
Daichi wasn’t about to disagree but if he had a choice between something more delicious and what was basically rationed food for survival, he’d pick the latter.
“Grab the food, water and any books you’ll immediately need and follow me.” Lydia began walking away while Daichi was giving her an aloof look that masked his annoyance. Instead of arguing he listened, put the water and food in his ring and followed behind. He’d already finished every book in his surroundings but he still grabbed a few… Just in case.
Much to his delight, Lydia only led him further into the library after walking for over an hour they reached the core of the library.
A single beam of circular blue light indicating something special. Lydia was a little disappointed at the lack of awe on Daichi’s expression as he ignored the light that left every new student in awe and focused on the books in the surrounding shelves.
“Follow.” They walked into the light and within an instant they were somewhere else. Daichi would have found it far more impressive if the entre academy wasn’t premised on something similar for moving from one place to another.
“You don’t seem impressed.” Lydia stated.
Daichi glanced around the new surroundings with a smile on his face at the books. It was clearly another floor and he was inclined to go look at the differences between the books but held himself back. “Why would I be? Doesn’t seem that different from anything else.”
“Hmm… Nothing different?”
“No. Did I miss something?” Any other time Daichi would have recognized the change in tone immediately but his mind was far too preoccupied.
“That must mean you have no aptitude into the light element.”
Lydia’s words finally got his attention as he gave her a quick look, before turning to stare at the beam of light.
It took a few moments but his eyes finally widened in understanding. He hasn’t felt any spatial fluctuations.
Lydia smiled as she began leading the way again. “This is the source for the portals in the academy. Like most things, it stems from a power within the library itself.”
“How? The portals outside are different?”
“My father and grand father tweaked things a bit to make it easier to move about the university without the need for the light-stones previously ascertained from within the library. He changed their nature slightly but also made them more user friendly.”
Leading them to another room within the library itself, another one previously created for special use for visitors when the library was created “This’ll be your private room. You can use it as you wish, try not to linger outside. You can bring any book you want from out there in here. We’re currently on the second floor. You’ll be safe here, I’ll come back in five days.”
“Why five days?” Daichi asked but already losing interest as he placed his hand on the door frame, something lacking most areas of the academy as he gazed at all the books he considered were begging to be read by him.
“Have you already forgotten Damien’s match?” Lydia asked.
“The match… The match. I thought Damien was rejected?” Daichi had already forgotten the events of that day, too many things had happened but the mention of Damien’s name now held a different kind of importance.
“Alex agreed. Their match will be held at the end of the month, and I’ll be giving him some special guidance so that he doesn’t embarrass me.”
Daichi rolled his eyes even though he was facing away from her.
Those in the audience were all used to this as well. The start of any fight was usually filled with a lot of trash talk or a deafening silence between both parties. Everyone at the academy was learning to fight in some form of another. They understood this anxiety that would take over before a match all too well and waited with baited breath or screamed obscenities in anonymity.
Leo’s face was cloudy. Although he’d taken Marcos’s side, he was still rooting for Damien. In fact, they all were, Marcos included. Taking notice of how calm Alex looked, Leo was thinking the same things as his friends, that it could only mean trouble.
The anxiety in the atmosphere came to a head as Alex and Damien moved at the same time, stepping forward and drawing their swords at almost the same time. Both sides clashed explosively almost instantly!
Alex’s attack was straight forward and direct, a sideways slash with no further skill than pure force. His body arched forward as his muscles were taut with all the strength he could muster put into that one swing. His sword as fast as an arrow as he swung with the intent to cut Damien’s body in half.
Damien drew his sword only slightly slower but that small difference was more than enough to cost a man his life in battle! Those who’d come to watch the spectacle strong enough or with keen enough eyesight to notice the small difference were few in number, but almost all of them drew a breath in surprise when it was Damien’s sword that made contact with Alex’s sword first! His timing slower but his momentum quicker!
The astonishment from the few was matched by the majority as astonishment spread through the audience.
Everyone was expecting to see how far Damien would be pushed back, some perhaps even how wounded he would be if alive at all, but the truth was far from that.
When their attacks met, it was Damien who stood there as if his body was nailed to the floor. Cracks spreading from where his right foot had stepped onto the arena and bore the brunt of the collision, but he didn’t so much as sway. Alex on the other hand had a look of absolute shock as his attack was forcibly stopped in its tracks.
Damien’s left hand let go of his sword as he pulled his arm back slightly and then threw a full powered punch from close distance, the fist landing on Alex’s right ribs but making no impact. The shock Alex was feeling had lowered his guard for a moment, letting Damien land a punch but not so much that he wouldn’t have a physical strengthening technique activated. The punch did no damage and it bolstered Alex’s confidence.
It was only as a burning sensation and the smell of burnt clothes and chicken wafted into his nostrils that he finally broke eye contact with Damien and looked at his opponents smile before looking down to see Damien’s fist covered in flame!
The crowd was shocked. It had only been one exchange but Damien had not only held his ground but managed to get the first attack!
In that same moment he realized Damien’s punch had only been a diversion for the flame to come, did he instantly retreat a few steps back creating a wide gap between them. A feeling of shame flowed over Alex as he realized he’d retreated against a younger opponent, a first in his entire life.
Leo was equally shocked for different reasons as he gazed Damien with his mouth hanging open. He was rooting for him, but only a very small part of him thought he had a chance of winning.
The Damien he was looking at now, was not the same one he’d practiced with until a month ago! Leo stared hard and realized after leaving Lydia he’d begun to slack whereas Damien had run himself into a corner. It had made a difference
A few moments passed as Damien and Alex maintained eye contact, their feelings completely reversed from just minutes ago.
A weariness that hadn’t existed lingered within Alex’s gaze. He could tell that he had actually suffered some 2nd degree burns from the fist flame attack Damien had landed, and even with all his arrogance he wasn’t so foolish as to realize that even if the attack had landed due to his own negligence it clearly still had the power to damage him. Even if only superficially.
Lydia’s grin disappeared as she watched the scene from a crystal ball with Daichi next to her. His eyes going back and forth from the crystal ball to the book in his hands.
“He should have pressed forward and attacked the moment he created an opening. Instead he’s just looking at his opponent like some fool! Alex will not make that same mistake again!”
“You seem very invested.” Daichi mumbled. He was truly enthralled by the book, but even he had to admit that Damien’s progress in one month’s time was astounding. At a glance he realized what Lydia had done, something he hadn’t thought of doing himself.
“I gave him special tutoring, and even called in a special favor from another professor. He made more progress with our one on one training this month than he did the entire time you all trained together.” She boasted.
“Is that how you tweaked the skill for him?” Daichi asked.
Lydia turned to look at him wide wide eyes for a moment before giving him a skeptical look “You figured it out?”
“I think. I’m a little disappointed it’s something I never thought of… But how did you fix it so that it doesn’t cause him serious damage?”
Lydia’s gaze turned back to the fight. The silence in the room lingered for nearly a minute before Daichi pressed “You did come up with a method right? Otherwise…?”
“I have a friend that can heal the damage afterwards. It’s another favor I’ll have to call in, but if it helps Damien gain a better understanding of his element and create a name for himself then it’ll be worth it.”
Taking the words in Daichi finally closed the book in his hands, giving the fight his full attention.
A new found confidence was flowing through Damien’s mind. He’d felt humbled by Daichi and Leo. Their improvement was nearly tangible. He saw them visibly improve every day and Haeru had stood out even more than the others during their exam. The pride he’d once had in the belief that he was going to be the strongest first year had long been shattered.
It was only in this past week, that he gained something he could be proud of. Although it was only after stepping into this ring, and clashing with Alex that he finally had some confidence the strategy and skills he’d gained recently could possibly work.
A devilish grin suffused on his face as he gazed at Alex.
Damien’s knees slightly bent as he gathered his strength in his calves. He gathered as much fire elemental mana as he could safely use for now and let it combust as he pushed off the ground shooting himself towards his opponent unabashed!
Alex prepared for impact but was caught unaware again.
Sword in his right hand behind him, he led with his left hand as he grasped towards Alex! A huge suction force was emitted from his open palm enveloping Alex.
Alex felt as if all the air in his suroundings had been sucked away and as the oxygen left an immediate sense of danger overwhelmed him as he released all of his mana to create a living a flash of light blinding everyone in the stands including Damien who was nearly on top of him!