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At first, Jak said nothing in response, bright red eyes still fixated on the large grotesque monsters wandering around some distance away. It was impossible to tell what was going through the youths mind as he stood there, unmoving, crimson gaze void of any emotion. Even Flora, who had been paying the utmost attention to the redhead could only guess at the youths thought process as he finally began to move.
Clak. Clak. Clak. Clak.
Every step of Jaks resonated through the crowd, the sound of his shoes hitting the metal floor somehow being heard even above the goblins excessive screeching. The surrounding air began to warm rapidly, so much so that Margaret felt a hot breeze engulf her when the redhead eventually walked past. Smoke drifted up from the spots the youth stepped on, black footprints being left in his wake whilst literal flames appeared around him, swirling like a miniature tornado. It was a completely different atmosphere from the last test and the audience could feel every bit of it, both physically and mentally. None spoke as Jak slipped past the invisible barrier separating the Goblin Guards from the crowd.
Ding! A large transparent blue box manifested on the barrier, a timer that immediately started a countdown from the three minute mark.
The test had just commenced.
Right from get go, one of the Guards took notice of Jaks sudden appearance, beady black eyes locking onto the boy the moment it detected movement. A snarl escaped its thin lips, rotten teeth flashing as the monster shifted course, heading towards the redhead without a second thought, club swinging by its side.The other Goblins hadn caught on but it was only a matter of time before they too initiated an assault against the youth.
”Ive been meaning to ask you Flora, ” Margaret whispered, violet eyes watching Jaks every move. ”Do those things spawn with a club or do they pick them up somewhere. ”
”Is now really the time to be asking that? ” Flora muttered back, turning her head slightly to glare at her colleague.
”They don spawn with anything, ” the blonde receptionist answered after a moments pause, watching as the Goblin Guard raised its club. ”The WGC gave them those clubs to provide more of a challenge to the regular rookies and weed out the weaker links. ”
A bellow far stronger then any of its previous ones escaped the Goblin as it swung its massive weapon, swiping downwards towards Jaks side.
”He isn gonna dodge it?! ” Margaret exclaimed, reaching for the button on her side that would halt the Trial.
”Hold it. ”
BAM!! The giant club slammed into its intended target, the wind from the attack blowing around the area, going so far as to even reach the crowd, ruffling their clothing. The amount of strength packed into the swing was undeniable, the sheer power being enough to make the other rookies back off nervously.
”Weak. ” Jaks red hues seemed to glow, vision locked onto the Goblin who had assaulted him.
With a single arm stretched out to the side of him, the redhead had managed to outright negate the overwhelming force the raging Guard had conjured, fingers digging into the wood making up the club. From the onlookers perspective, it was as if the Rookie had sustained little to no damage, casually blocking a blow that other beginners could only dream of replicating. Even the very Goblin that had attempted to pulverize the youth was stunned, its snarling and vicious expression replaced with a look of surprise and disbelief. As a captive of the WGC, it rarely seen prey that could withstand one of its charges, let alone catch it with a single hand.
Once the initial shock value had worn off, the Goblin attempted to give it another go, its anger taking hold once again. However, the monster barely had time to collect itself before the club was unceremoniously yanked out of its hand and chucked aside, bouncing across the field until it out of sight.
The Goblin Guard let out a guttural roar, one entirely comprised of rage and aggression. Without another thought, the lumbering green mass raised its clenched hand and swung it down over the youths head.
Once again, the redhead raised his arm and stopped the assault in its tracks, the wind from the punch ruffling his hair and cloak.
Bright eyes glanced from below the large fist, gazing up at the infuriated Goblin Guard, crimson hues looking deep into its preys miniscule black ones. Even as the lumbering behemoth opted to pull away, the emotionless stare remained, calmly watching the Goblin struggle and squirm in a futile attempt to pry loose from Jaks grip.
”Thats where I know him from!! ” A newbie exclaimed, breaking the awed silence that had enveloped everyone, even Flora and Margaret. ”Hes the NameLess Swordsman! ”
Everyone turned away from the Trial to look at the person who had spoke, a young rookie with black hair. Unlike everyone else, this kid held a look of excitement and wonder.
”With a symbol on the back of his dark cloak and a sword attached to his hip, the crimson haired swordsman wanders the various worlds looking for challengers. ” The kid quickly recited something from his head, his eyes still focused on the trapped Goblin. ”With skills rivaling that of a Rift Hunter, he wields power in comparison to that of a Knight. Many have seen him and many have fought him but none know of his true name or abilities. He is the NameLess Swordsman. ”
Boom! A loud sound quickly drew everyones attention back to the fight, just in time to see Jak slam his fist in the stuck Goblins chest. Staggering backwards, the Goblin Guard fell over, crashing to the metal ground where he began to dissipate, his body slowly turning into black powder before that too disappeared.
(( ”He destroyed the magic core with a single punch?? ”)) Margaret questioned internally.
Soon after that small display, Jak merely stood around and waited for time to run its course. Upon seeing their fellow Guard kick the bucket with no visible difficulty, none of the other lumbering giants looked to be in any hurry to follow suit. Though monsters were known to be aggressive and bloodthirsty, the outright defeat by something much stronger then themselves had clearly brought forth what little sense of self preservation they possessed. For the rest of the Trial, they wandered around their box whilst giving the redhead a wide berth, completely avoiding him. Jak in return did nothing to the rest of them despite giving each one a glance as it passed by.
The second the three minutes had transpired, the countdown box disappeared and a smaller one reappeared over Jaks head. A large 300 sat in the middle of it with the amount of time, three full minutes, sitting just beneath it.
”Jak Yanda. You may clear the area. You have passed the second test. ” Flora was the first one to speak up, breaking the lengthy silence that had followed after the first Goblins death. She quickly scribbled down the information in the box, easily shifting back to her professional attitude and commanding demeanor. ”Anom, Korin. You may step up and begin the assessment the moment the field is available. ”
The youths walk back towards the group was tense to say the least. After everyone had witnessed the boys immense physical capabilities, the entire group was left on edge, awaiting to see what he would do next.
Their worries held no weight however as Jak trekked past them, not even giving them so much as a second glance.
”May I do the last test? ” Jak asked, stopping in front of Flora. ”Or will it be the same as last time? ”
Flora glanced at the youth, brown orbs sizing him up. ”Very well. Theres no need for you to sit around here and wait for us. Go on and do what you need to do. ”
Jak nodded and turned around without another word, heading to the other end of the large room where a small wooden door rested. Margaret immediately wanted to reach out and stop the youth, but the other receptionist stopped her, giving a small shake of her head.
”You already saw what hes capable of, ” Flora explained. ”Theres no reason for us to keep him here. He already has enough points to complete this Trial so just let it go. ”
”But the rules- ”
”Are flexible when one reaches a certain level of power, ” Flora finished. ”This is one of those cases. ”
Walking through the wooden door at the end of the Goblin room, Jak didn really have any sort of expectations on the next Trial. Having bested the last two assessments with relative ease, most would have been confident in their abilities or at least be at peace with whatever came next, especially considering they would have already met the qualifications to pass. It was natural for one to feel some form of intense emotion when going into the final phase of their Exam, regardless of whatever that feeling happened to be. However the only feeling running through Jak was a painful nostalgia. Memories of past events flashed through the youths head as he walked down the lengthy hallway connecting the Goblin room and the combat room.
”Jak Yanda. I will now issue my verdict. You have failed the Final Trial. ”
Frustration, anger, sadness. So many emotions welled up inside the youth from the emergence of memories that had long been suppressed. However, they were fought back down just as quickly, pushed under the rug before they could fully rear their heads. There was no need for negative emotions where he was heading and Jak knew it quite well.
Biting his lip, the last vestiges of pain quickly disappeared from the teens visage.
After what felt like an eternity, the youth finally made it to the end of the hallway, pushing his way through the wooden door attached to it.
Closing the door behind him, Jak took a quick look at his surroundings before making his way forward, crimson hues flicking in every direction. Despite knowing nothing had changed in the last four years, he couldn help but absorb every detail.
It was a large square room just like the one prior, but thats where the similarities ended. Weapons of all kinds filled the entirety of the right wall while items both new and familiar to the redhead lined the opposite one. The floor was made of tile instead of metal and the ceiling was composed of hard crystals, of which brightly glowed, fully enveloping the entire area. Positioned near the head of the room, the furthest spot from the door, a small table was placed in the corner, complete with two sturdy oak chairs. On top of the table sat a kettle and two tea cups. An older looking individual sat in one of the chairs drinking from one of those tea cups, patiently watching Jak scan the interior.
”Ah. It seems my first challenger has arrived.
” The tea drinker set down his cup, a smile slowly forming.
e here early. I wasn expecting any visitors for another hour or so. ”
”Hello there, ” Jak responded, giving a slight bow. ”My name is Jak Yanda. Im a Reinstatement. ”
”Oh, is that so? ” An unknown emotion flashed through the mans eyes when Jak said his name. ”How very interesting. Well then, I guess I should introduce myself. Seems only proper to reciprocate since youve demonstrated such courtesy. ”
The man calmly pushed his seat back and rose up from the chair. Jak hadn noticed it before, but the stranger was actually quite tall, easily topping out at 200cm when fully standing. Suited up in a white button down, black tie, black slacks, and equally dark tuxedo, the gentleman filled the appearance of a butler perfectly. Positioned on the right shoulder of the coat was a white hexagon, a symbol of a white rabbit situated in the center of it. Neatly trimmed brown hair, black eyes, and pale skin, everything about the individual screamed prim and proper, not a speck of dirt or misplaced hair anywhere to be seen.
”Allow me to introduce myself, ” The man said, giving a slight bow, hand on front as if he were cradling his stomach. ”Im Lugoh, butler to the glorious House Raine and current proctor for the third trial of the Adventurer Exam. Its an honor to meet you. ”
Raising up from his position, the gentleman walked back to his seat and picked up a wooden stick that had been leaning against the table. After twirling it a few times, he moved towards the center of the room, waving his hand for Jak to join him.
”Lets get our match underway,
” Lugoh said, a wide smile on his weathered face.
”Feel free to choose from any of the weapons and items youd like. They
e completely at your disposal. ”
Jak gave a small nod, and walked towards one he had already eyed on the walk in, a medium sized bamboo sword hanging near the floor. Feeling the weight on his hands, the redhead nodded again in satisfaction before returning to stand before Lugoh, sword raised and ready.
”Passing is simple. All you have to do is attack me with everything you have, no holding back. ” Lugoh took a stance of his own, tucking one hand behind him and the other raising his sword straight up. ”Ill use whats displayed to come to a conclusion. ”
Jak narrowed his eyes and leaned forward.
Boom! The moment Lugoh gave the go ahead Jak blitzed forth, slamming his sword down towards the butlers head.
(( ”Hes quick for his age. ”)) The man remarked, casually knocking the sword aside with his own. (( ”Its already clear that physical abilities are nothing to scoff at. Based on strength alone, hes already well into G rank territory. Maybe even F. ”))
Chak. Chak. Chak.
Jak struck at Lugoh again and again, his blade of wood unceasing and unrelenting no matter how many times it was deflected or pushed back. Then, without warning, he abruptly changed the flow, switching for a low kick after another one of his strikes was parried.
(( ”Huh. Attempting to adapt when the situation was going nowhere. ”)) Lugoh tilted his head as the foot made contact with his ankle. It didn hurt him but he most definitely felt how much strength was put into it. (( ”Lots of people would have fell for that. Not a bad move by any means. Certainly knows how way around a fight at least. ”))
Moving from his current spot, the gentleman allowed Jak to take control of the fight, parrying the youths advances and switch up in attacks at his own leisure. Every swing of the sword, every punch, every kick was carefully analyzed, down to the last movement, nothing escaping Lugohs gaze. Even when the redhead became wild and unorthodox with his swings, he merely took note of them, blocking them all with minimal effort. Eventually, after the fight had gone on for a minute or so, the man took a step away from Jak and held up a hand, making it clear that he wanted to halt the match.
”Thats enough for the time being. ” Lugoh said, lowering his sword to the ground. ”Ive definitely seen more then enough to come to a decision. Further examination would be a frivolous waste of our time. ”
Jak stopped midswing, red eyes locked onto the butler.
e done? ”
It wasn a particularly deep voice nor was it one that one would describe as menacing. Yet, when Lugoh heard it, he felt a small shiver run down his spine, a shiver that caused his whole body to tense up. It wasn like there was power or any sort of conviction behind the spoken question but rather it was the lack of emotion that threw the man off. It was a cold tone, one void of any warmth or kindness, love or understanding, patience or restraint. It was as if he was a heartless beast, a monster that wouldn hesitate to kill him if he could. It was almost absurd how much he felt from just a mere question, especially considering he could crush the child with his thumb. Yet here he was feeling anxious. From his spot slightly to the side of the redhead, he could feel the bloodlust, feel the stare from the cold red eyes. Bright crimson hues that looked at him like a sack of meat, as if he wasn even a living creature.
e finished here, ” Lugoh said, shifting away from the boys intense gaze. ”There isn any need to continue. ”
Jak relaxed his pose, arm lowering his blunt weapon towards the floor.
”Jak Yanda. You have passed the final Trial. ”
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