First Real Battle
Dark Knight was a unique skill, a unique job of a Dullahan.
Despite them being monsters, they were able to have interactions with people, and they were also a belligerent race who loved to fight.
The cause of their extinction can be said to be their mode of birth. They can’t reproduce as normal monsters can. The Dullahan species can be born purely by evolution.
That’s why, when a Dullahan was born, they were without exception powerful and dangerous existences.
In the past, it is said that the Demon King subjugated in Ishtalika had two aides, one of whom was a Dullahan.
If you fight them, you should never take them on a one-vs-one.
If you fight them, you should never take them at a close range.
No one would stand a chance in close combat. That was the monster that earned the great trust from the Demon King, the Dullahan.
“I know this is just your job. But that doesn’t mean your opponent can just take your words.”
“Did you say something, brat? ……If you have time to complain, then……come……at.”
Ain had yet to fully utilize the Dark Knight’s abilities.
The only thing he was able to use right now was the “phantom hand”. One of the basic skills for a Dark Knight. Just like a Dryad was born able to use Absorb, so was the “Phantom Hand” to a Dark Knight.
The third arm was activated with the use of magic. Or rather, it worked by ‘feeding’ magic into it, instead of just ‘using’ magic.
This made the strength of one of these hands adjustable by changing the amount of magic you fed it, similar to a magic-eating insect.
It could become as strong and hard as you wanted, and if you fed it magic while angry, you could achieve endless strength.
Ain knew he shouldn’t make a big show of it. He just wanted to threaten the instructor and make him eat his words.
Thus, the Dark Knight’s skill that was not supposed to be used, was activated.
“Hey, brat, what are you doing!? ”
The magic power listed in the stats of an untrained human would be basically around 200, and 500 for a fully-fledged mage.
Ain, on the other hand, had over 2,500 in magic power, more than 5 times that amount.
Seeing the black aura emanating from Ain, the examiner asked him what he was doing. However, Ain didn’t respond.
“If I knew something like this would happen, I should’ve checked the power beforehand. Well, I guess little by little should be fine.”
And thus, Ain fed it about 200 magic power.
There’s no need to use more magic power after feeding it. One didn’t need to use more until the Phantom Hand was destroyed or it had exhausted the power poured into it.
And so, after feeding it magic power, he made the Phantom Hands appear.
Despite them looking like black tentacles, they were muscular arms that gave off an intimidating feeling.
He didn’t plan on using the “Dark Straw”, and although he never tried it before, he made two of them from around his shoulder blades.
The phantom hands that appeared were about 1.5m in length. Ain was slightly looking forward to how strong one of these arms would be, having the magic of one ordinary person.
“Wh-What is that……!? Hey, what are you-!? ”
“I’m not sending flames so it’s fine, isn’t it? ”
“I’m telling you to explain! ”
“There’s no such rule. If you’re scared and you want me to stop, you can always forfeit, you know? ”
Bickering back. This was not something necessary to do for taking the examination.
However, Ain decided he was no longer put up with it, so he was more stubborn than usual.
“……Hahaha! I see you’re still cheeky, well, it doesn’t matter if I don’t know what skill it is. If you could get stronger just because you have more arms, then insects would be stronger than you……Right!? ”
After finishing saying so, the examiner dashed towards Ain.
Putting more effort than before, the examiner used that gap to break into Ain’s range at an accelerated speed and swung his sword towards Ain’s head.
” !? It’s quite the dexterous arm! Tch! ”
Using one of the Phantom Hands, he held down the wooden sword the examiner swung.
Ain still had three hands left to use. This time, using his own arms, Ain took a swing toward the examiner.
“Hmm! Despite having more arms, you’re a troublesome opponent.”
From the beginning he already noticed, the examiner was strong. Or at the very least, stronger than the castle knights he always sparred with.
He dexterously guarded Ain’s attack using the armguard.
“That’s not what you said before. Haa!! ”
He tried to hit the examiner with the other Phantom Hand aiming at his torso, but his opponent curled up his body and Ain wasn’t able to get a clean hit because he guarded with his arms.
“Guuh……Nuh. Isn’t it a bit too hard!? Damn it! ”
The Phantom Hands were created with 200 magical power. It was powerful enough for a strong person like the examiner to take damage, even while guarding. However, Ain thought that he still needed a bit more power.
“No. A bit more, this isn’t enough.”
The examiner then thought after hearing those words: More what? What are you talking about?
From among the examiners, Ain’s first attack was enough for him to pass.
And then, Ain put more magic power into it. Let’s just go with double, he thought. Thus, he added 200 more magic power.
With this, the magic power used in the two Phantom hands had now doubled.
“(What the heck is this? Maybe because it’s strengthened, but the arms are pulsating with a blueish glow, and they seem like blood vessels will pop……!)”
After making a motion as if absorbing, the Phantom Hands became a tone darker.
“This time is my turn.”
Ain then dashed towards the examiner who had now made some distance.
Ain was by no means agile.
Rather, his agility was lower than the castle knights.
And usually, Dark Knights fought using skills and body reinforcement, so their agility originally low.
“You use some strange skills, but it helps me your movements are still slow……fuu! ”
The sword that Ain wielded with both hands was easily parried. However, with his sword swung down with both arms, Ain forced the examiner to put strength into his waist and parry the sword with both arms.
“Are you sure this is fine? ”
For a moment, the examiner looked scared as he saw the black arm coming out from behind him. The black arm began to move the moment the examiner guarded Ain’s attack.
But even in such a critical situation, the examiner managed to rotate his body and tried to guard against it using the sword as a shield. From a third party’s point of view, the movements and reaction time of the examiner could be called nothing less than superhuman.
Still, the strengthened black arm of the Dark Knight didn’t care about guards.
After an audible cracking from his equipment, the examiner was blown back a few meters.
Ain’s Phantom Hand feigned an attack for a moment, and that’s when the other one attacked. He made a bluff.
Still, the examiner moved and managed to defend from that feint. Ain felt amazed by the examiner’s movements.
Shortly after, the blown away examiner stood up and looked at Ain.
“Haa……Haa……What the hell was that? This is the first time I’ve seen a kid like you.”
“I’m honored to hear that. Alright, let’s continue.”
“Are you dumb? It was my loss, in the first place it’s unprecedented for an examiner to lose in an entrance exam…… You’ve passed.”
Right at the end of the battle, Ain had already forgotten he was taking an entrance exam. At the same time, he regretted using Dark Knight and also his attitude towards the examiner.
“I apologize for my bad attitude during the exam.”
So, for now, he decided it was best to apologize. He couldn’t forgive him for insulting his mother, but he knew he only said that for the sake of the exam.()
“Same here. Geez, even though there are still test left, I guess I’ll have to ask for a substitute. You’ve passed, after completing the procedure, you can go home.”
He passed the entrance exam to the Royal Kingsland Academy, which was his purpose. He did it, but he never expected he would be using the Phantom Hand, so Ain’s body felt tired.
“O-Okay. Well then, thank you for the test.”
After it was over, the adrenaline due to excessive anger and pumping himself up left his body like a wave.
All that remained was pure tiredness and a bit of regret for the fuss he caused.
“Ain-sama. Congratulations on passing the exam.”
After submitting the numbered card he got as an applicant, the test was completed.
Apparently, detailed information for successful applicants will reach the applicant’s house, which, for Ain’s case, should be the castle.
Right outside of the entrance to the venue was Chris, waiting for him to come out.
“Yes, thank you very much. Did you know when was I coming out, Chris-san?”
“Yeah, obviously. Also, I’m sure you might be tired so I apologize in advance. I’ll have to lecture you on our way back……There are some things I got to say, so you don’t mind, right Ain-sama? ”
This was why Chris was standing at the entrance waiting for Ain, and also why she knew he had passed the exam.
Chris knew Ain had used Dark Knight. She was able to feel the signs of it activating even at a distance.
Although Ain couldn’t see her face behind the helmet, he knew she was still angry.
“Say, Chris-san. ”
“Yes, what is it?”
As they walked, Chris answered Ain’s call in a slightly colder voice than usual.
“Are you angry because you’re disappointed? Or just purely angry? ”
‘Then, it’s alright’, thought Ain. If she were disappointed, there he would be left utterly helpless.
“I knew the examiner was trying to angry me for the sake of the exam. But if someone makes fun of you, Chris-san or Lloyd-san, who taught me swordsmanship, and called you bad teachers, there’s no way I wouldn’t get mad.”
Actually, the words that were said after that were the trigger. But still, he wasn’t lying.
In fact, Ain got angry when the examiner berated Chris and the others.
“Hmm……mmm……Still, that wasn’t good! You used a skill that shouldn’t be shown……It doesn’t matter how strongly you felt about it.”
He felt a bit calmer. Ain understood that he had done something wrong, but right now he was so tired he wanted to be spared from the lecture to come.
“I, think of you as my real sister, Chris-san.” That’s why I couldn’t help getting angry.”
This was also true. Ain cherished Chris since she had always been with him, being escorting or training with him.
“……Haa. Still, I think His Majesty will learn about this incident through the school.”
“I think there no helping that. Come to think of it, I did hurt the examiner, is there going to be a problem about that?”
“Since he was the examiner, I’m sure he wouldn’t have expected getting hurt. However, there are people at that school that specialize in healing magic, so don’t worry about it.”
It appeared Chris would stop the lecturing for now, to which Ain felt quite relieved.
Having to endure Chris’ sermon would be painful with the current fatigue in his body.
However, what kind of reaction would his grandfather, Silvird, have? While feeling a bit depressed, for now, he just wanted to go back to the castle and take some rest.
“(I wonder if I’ll be able to make some friends? I don’t know many people close to my age……I wonder when will Krone come?”)
After passing the exam, he started to think about his future school life.
Up until now, Ain had no friends his age, so he was somewhat looking forward to that.
Included in that was Krone, who was coming to Ishtalika, and Ain was curiously looking forward to that.
It had turned a bit chilly after the tenth month arrived.
A month had passed since Ain’s entrance test problem, and a formal acceptance letter had arrived.
When the letter arrived, Silvird and the others were speaking about Ain.
“In any case, it’s great he passed without issue. But I can’t deny that was a problematic attitude.”
This was what Ain’s grandfather, Silvird, said. Of course, the issue in question had been already been communicated to Silvird during the day of the test.
A certain examinee made a couple of black arms and won against the examiner. And apparently, the examiner was painfully injured.
But since there was nothing that went against the rules of the exam, the judges decided to pass him. Still, Silvird could do nothing but hold his head on one hand when he heard that.
Ain returned home that day with a tired expression and rested while absorbing some Ripplemodoki magic stones.
Olivia took the news of him passing as a matter of fact, but when she heard he had used the Dark Knight, she told him he shouldn’t have. And so, she then gently lectured him.
“Hahaha. Well, it wasn’t an unbearable situation for Ain-sama, but still, it wasn’t something to be praised.”
“As his teacher, I feel happy to hear my disciple got mad for my sake. That’s why I can’t chide him too much……”
Warren didn’t adulate him, and Lloyd, on the other hand, wasn’t too keen on blaming him. Ain had gotten angry for his sake, so this placed him in a difficult position since that had made him happy.
“Fortunately, there’s a huge amount of skills. That’s why they don’t know what was used, and it’s not a situation where it can be identified.”
“That’s what’s most important.”
“Incidentally, what about the examiner’s injury? ”
“I had someone who could use healing magic treat him. I heard he’s now in good shape.”
Lloyd was concerned about the injured examiner.
And he came to see Silvird, to find out how was he.
“Well, with that said, speaking from the standpoint of someone who also trains people. It’s his responsibility if he gets hurt. And in the end, all that remains is the fact that he lost.”
His opinion was a severe one. Since he was Ishtalika’s Grand Marshal and the commander of the Royal Guard, placing him in a similar teaching position, he was surprised the examiner wasn’t prepared for the unexpected.
“Lloyd-dono. But don’t you think it’s for the best to say something about this issue? After all, what Ain-sama used was the Dark Knight. It’s a technique from the legendary Dullahan……I don’t know if that was too much for the examiner.”
“I too agree with that. But with that said, I can tell where Lloyd is coming from, after all, having our biggest talents, such as him and Chris as teachers make this an obvious outcome.”
Lloyd was convinced after hearing those words. The truth was, Ain had made more effort training than just relying on his skills. He felt as if he was looking at his young self.
“By the way, Lloyd-dono. You were recommending your son, right? ”
“Oh, about that matter. Since he’s still immature, it will only be for the school grounds and in emergencies.”
“I see. Then, what about bringing him and picking him up from school? ”
“For picking Ain-sama up, I still don’t have much trust in him. So, I was thinking about having Chris take on that role.”
“Sounds reasonable. In that case, I’ll allow it.”
What the three of them were talking about was Ain’s exclusive knight.
Since Lloyd’s son attended the same school, he had recommended him. But from a Grand Marshal’s point of view, the off-campus escort wasn’t yet viable for him. Therefore, that escort should only be provided while on campus, and Chris should continue with her work while off-campus.
His son was, so to speak, an exclusive knight apprentice.
“Well then, let’s speak to the Princess along those lines. I’ll inform Ain-sama later.”
“Okay, Warren-dono. Please do.”
“In any case, it’s getting colder and colder outside, I don’t have any problems with heat, but I can’t come to like the cold.”
“Yes, indeed. Speaking of things changing…… It’s almost time, Your Majesty.”
“Uh? Ahh, you’re right. The long-awaited first shipment will arrive.”
Just like Warren said, it was almost time for the long-awaited Sea Crystal shipment to arrive at Ishtalika.
The first cargo, the result of the trade deal with Euro, was scheduled to arrive at Ishtalika soon.
“The long wait will end. Was the amount mined exceeding our expectations? ”
“Yeah, that’s right. Thanks to it, I don’t think we will worry about depletion for a while.”
“That’s great. It’s just as the Princess predicted.”
This was cheaper than the deal they had with Heim, so the amount they could purchase was more.
Therefore, with this becoming a situation where the amount needed by Ishtalika was easily covered, they could shelve their worry for mineral exhaustion for a while.
And thus, the first shipment was soon to arrive. And along with it, a lot of Sea Crystals, and some guests from Heim.