Chapter 192 Growth
“I was lucky. I got him with the Flying Beast Defense Technique.”
Inside a tavern, several guards were talking to each other.
“So you were the reason why he managed to evade my spears!” another guard on the table grumbled.
The first guard only snickered. “Well, I was the first one. How did your fight go?”
“I think I was the fourth he fought,” the other guard said. “Luckily, he didn’t know the Earth Beast Cracker. I don’t remember what his weapon was, but I remember that I managed to make him lose his weapon. The fight was over after that.”
“Yeah, he probably wears one of these Haze Masks,” the first guard said. “Of course, I can’t remember.”
At that point, another guard walked through the doors since his shift had just ended.
“Hey, Steve!” the second guard shouted. “Over here!”
The newest guard, Steve, walked over with a laugh and sat down. “What’s up?” he asked.
“Hey, did you fight that guy in the academy too?” the second guard asked.
“Wait, you guys fought him as well?” Steve asked.
The two guards nodded.
“Didn’t your shift end like five hours ago?”
The two guards nodded again.
“What was your number?” Steve asked.
“I was number one, and Jarrod was number four,” the first guard said.
“Tch,” Steve spat. “You probably had it easy as number one.”
The first guard only laughed. “Don’t act like you didn’t also have it easy.”
“What are you talking about?” Steve asked. “I was number 57, and I had to fight him for like over half a minute.”
The first two guards only looked at Steve in surprise.
“What?” Steve asked.
“Half a minute?” Jarrod asked. “Did we fight the same guy?”
“Probably,” Steve said. “The numbers seem to check out with the timeframe. Why?”
The first guard and Jarrod looked at each other. “Well, we basically won in an instant.”
“In an instant?” Steve asked. “I mean, I get that being the first has some advantage, but that quick?”
“Yeah, he didn’t know our techniques in the beginning,” the first guard explained.
“That would explain things,” Steve said.
“So, how did your fight go?” Jarrod asked as he pushed his mug of beer towards Steve.
Steve drank from the mug.
“Well, after trying to get him with our Defense Techniques, I had to fight him with my sword,” Steve said.
“Huh, so you actually had to use your real weapon?” Jarrod asked.
Steve nodded. “But it still wasn’t easy. He moved very weirdly. Sometimes he went really low to the ground, and other times, he even jumped over me. Like, who does that?” Steve asked.
The other two laughed when they heard that. “That really is a strange way to fight.”
“But it was effective,” Steve said. “Fighting him was very different from fighting any other warrior. Usually, it’s not that difficult to foresee what my opponent will do, but with him, it was basically a shot in the dark. I had to rely on my instincts and habits the entire time.”
“Sure, I won after some back and forth, but it definitely wasn’t easy.”
The other two remained silent for a bit.
“Hey, how old do you think he is?” the first guard asked.
“How am I supposed to know?” Jarrod answered with a snort. “He wears one of those Haze Masks. I don’t even remember how tall he is or what weapon he uses.”
“Yeah, sure,” the first guard said, “but based on how he fought, I was sure that he was a fresh graduate. You know, someone that just reached the General Stage.”
“And how is that supposed to work?” Steve asked. “The guy is obviously at the Early General Stage, and his technique also wasn’t bad. I can’t remember his weapon, but I can somewhat remember how he moved.”
“He didn’t seem like a fresh graduate. I think he is probably in his late twenties.”
The other two snorted. “Late twenties? The guy didn’t even know our techniques.”
Steve wasn’t sure what he should think about that.
The other two told Steve that he was inexperienced, but the opponent Steve fought didn’t seem inexperienced.
After a while, the topic veered away from Shang, and he was quickly forgotten.
Several hours passed, and it was late at night now.
The bar had closed, which forced the off-duty guards to gather in one of the towers to play cards.
“Hey, did you guys also have to fight that one student from the academy?” one of the players on the table suddenly asked the other three.
“Oh yeah, that guy,” Steve said. The other two he had met in the bar were already back at work, and he would also need to return soon.
“Which number were you?” the guard asked.
“Number 57,” Steve answered.
“Oh, so you’re one of the early ones,” the guard commented.
“Early ones?” Steve asked. “How many did the guy fight?”
“I don’t know,” the guard said. “I only know that I was Number 183.”
“183?” Steve asked in shock. “He fought that many of us in just half a day?”
“I was Number 95,” another guard said.
“I was Number 144,” the fourth one said.
“Oh yeah, how did your fights go?” Number 183 asked.
“He wasn’t bad,” Number 95 said.
“He was pretty good,” Number 144 said.
“A bit inexperienced, though,” Steve said.
The other three guards looked at Steve.
“What?” Steve asked.
“Inexperienced?” Number 144 asked with skepticism. “He seemed pretty experienced to me.”
“I mean, he was experienced but pretty experienced? I don’t know,” Number 95 said.
“Why are we even talking about this?” Number 183 asked. “He was definitely very experienced!”
Now, the three guards looked at Number 183 in skepticism.
“You don’t have to overdo it,” Number 144 said.
“I’m not exaggerating!” Number 183 shouted. “I nearly lost to him!”
“You nearly lost?” Steve asked in shock. Sure, Steve’s opponent had been pretty strong, but Steve had been nowhere near to losing.
“Yeah!” Number 183 answered in frustration. “He even managed to trigger the Magic Circle on my armor.”
That surprised the other three guards.
Triggering the Magic Circle?
That meant that Number 183 had received a life-threatening attack.
After that, the four guards started to argue with each other.
Their recounts varied wildly from one another, but they were all certain that they were right. After all, they had seen it with their own eyes!
An hour later, Steve went back to work, and a new guy entered the tower.
“Hey! Did you also fight that student?” Number 183 shouted towards the new arrival.
The new guard looked over. “I was Number 229,” the other guard said without much enthusiasm.
“How did it go?” Number 144 asked.
The guard silently took his armor off and slipped into his normal clothes.
“I lost,” he said before exiting the tower.
The other guards only looked at the closed door.
Their colleague had lost?
“I told you!” Number 183 shouted. “How can he be inexperienced when he won against one of us?!”
And thus, the argument began again.
Soon, the night passed, and a new day began.
A guard left the big underground room with no energy in his step.
He had just lost in a devastating fashion.
“That should be the last of them,” Viera said with a bright smile. “Shang, you’ve managed to improve tremendously!”
“Well, I’m not sure if you can call it improvement,” Shang said. “It’s more thanks to getting used to my new body and this thing,” he said as he gestured to his mask.
“With this mask, I can finally use more than just my Ice Affinity. By also using fire, I can push my speed way more.”
“Of course, but you still managed to overcome their techniques,” Viera said.
“Techniques?” Shang asked. “Sure, they have a lot of experience, but their fighting styles are very uniform. I also don’t think that warriors aiming to reach the Commander Stage would take up a position as guards in Warrior’s Paradise.”
“They also obviously didn’t come from our Academy,” Shang said.
“Some of them did,” Viera said, “but you’re right. The ones that came from our Academy weren’t the best of their class.”
“How would you estimate their strength?” Shang asked.
Viera hummed a bit as she scratched the side of her head.
“I think average?” she said uncertainly. “They are better than town guards, but there are plenty of warriors that are more powerful than them.”
“Anyway, that was the last one,” Viera said with a bright smile. “300 guards! Well done, Shang!”
Shang released a sigh. The fights had definitely been exhausting.
“But don’t relax yet!” Viera said with a bright voice. “Teacher said that the first Adepts will arrive in about an hour or so!”
“You’re going to fight your first Mage, yay!”