Destroyer of Ice and Fire
Chapter 29: The young man who ran for his dream
“Today's test is very simple.”
Out of habit, Huston rubbed his hair that stood straight from too much hair wax, then pointed to a white boulder behind him, as big as a giant. “You just need to run up on it, we'll just see how many steps you can run on this boulder. Only enough explosiveness and running speed, enough body coordination, will allow you to reach as high as possible on it. According to my usual conventions, you pass the test as long as you can run nine steps in succession on it.”
Most students' faces became black once they heard Huston's words.
This test was indeed very simple. It called “wall running” in professional terms. You ran toward the sky along a straight wall, that was something many arcane masters very much liked to do, it gave the feeling of climbing the endless skies.
Almost every freshman also clearly knew that many arcane masters with astounding strength and speed could run up on any upright wall in Holy Dawn Academy without using any arcane particle, run all the way to the top of the highest roof.
But nine steps, that was really a bit too hard for new students like them.
This huge boulder Huston had chosen was even a little tilted inward and didn't have any obvious foothold. It made things even more difficult for them.
“Too despicable, too insidious.”
Many freshmen started to silently curse Teacher Notebook even harder when they glanced at Ayrin's belly bulging high.
In this test, the higher you ran, the heavier you fell.
Don't mention Ayrin not being able to run nine steps, even if he could, with his belly so swollen, would he fall so hard he'd puke out like a fountain?
What the vast majority of freshmen had trouble understanding was, Ayrin actually seemed very excited when he heard Huston's words, and asked as if he were eager to try, “You can pass with only nine steps? Then teacher Huston, those students you've taught who were strong enough to join the academy's team, how many steps could they run back when they were like us and took this test?”
“So much nonsense!” Huston cursed silently in his mind, but his face maintained its genial appearance as he said all smiles, “The powerful characters of yesteryear were already able to run up fifteen steps when they first took my test.”
“Ok, I have to challenge their record!”
Ayrin resolutely clenched his fist. There was only that rock inside his vision now.
The sound of a heavy footstep suddenly rose in this empty space inside the Thinker's Stone Forest. Everyone's heart thumped fiercely.
Everyone clearly saw the soil under Ayrin's feet explode out just like a spindrift.
“How could have such a powerful strength!” Huston's smile stiffened all of a sudden, his heart filled with a bad premonition.
“Pa!” “Pa!” “Pa!” …
The sound of rapid footsteps banged like a drum, heavily explosive at first then lightening very quickly.
Aryin dashed at flying speed under everyone's astonished stare, producing a blurry trail behind him.
“How could he have such explosiveness, such speed?” Huston was naturally different from these freshmen, he could ascertain that Ayrin's strength had entirely exceeded his imagination with the first step of his full-strength dash. And when Ayrin ran faster and faster, his face turned from complacency to complete shock.
Ayrin issued a great excited yell at the same time he landed his first step on the giant white rock.
While the freshmen looked on as if they were watching a monster, he yelled “Ah, Ah!” nonstop and ran nonstop, charging toward the sky!
His body soared up at flying pace. Once at a height that made everyone incredulous, he issued a strange peculiar yell. His body fell down.
What made everyone's astonished was that he didn't tumble down. At the highest point he could reach, he'd flipped over and then dropped on the ground, but he merely cushioned his hands on the ground, then stood up without any harm.
“You ran up so many steps, how can you still stand up so steadily when you fall down!”
Huston's hysterical's screech echoed in the empty space.
When a man fancied himself a great schemer, but again and again lost to the same person, the ravages to the spirit were truly too great. The current Huston was a perfect example. This Notebook Teacher even began pulling his own hair.
“How many steps did he actually run?”
All the freshmen subconsciously rested their gazes on that huge white boulder.
Dusty footprints were clearly left behind on the white rock.
“One, two, three, four... eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen!”
Someone shouted in alarm.
Ayrin was also very single-mindedly counting when Huston's hysterical voice sounded. When he found out he ran up a full sixteen steps in succession, he immediately yelled out loud with incomparable excitement, “Teacher Huston! Teacher Huston! I ran sixteen steps! I broke the record!”
Huston's heart was bleeding already, and when he saw Ayrin's excited look, he felt as if he'd again been stepped on the face.
“Some enemy clan must have sent him on purpose to toy with me, right?”
Such a thought emerged inside his brain.
He'd taught a few outstanding students before, figures so strong they sent a chill to his heart when he thought about how strong they were now, and they indeed had run fifteen or sixteen steps the first time they took the test, but the most important thing was, Ayrin's belly was ballooned so big at the moment.
What the hell was this guy's bloodline, did he really train even more painstakingly compared to those guys back then?
“You ran up so many steps, how can you still stand up so steadily when you fall down?” With patches of darkness flitting across his vision, he merely repeated the same sentence, subconsciously.
“I often practiced crashing into trees these past couple days, when I crash against the tree I do a backflip and try my best to land steadily, so now I can land steadily,” Ayrin explained in all seriousness.
“Crashing against trees? You don't properly practice anything else, you practice crashing against trees?”
“No no, I only practice crashing into trees after completing the foundation drills that teacher arranged for us.”
“You can even add your own training after completing my foundation training?” Huston kept breathing hard. He thought he was going to lose his mind again if he continued to talk with Ayrin.
“You guys take the test yourselves. Those of you who can't run nine steps, go run ten laps around the Thinker's Stone Forest before coming back.”
He turned his head away without looking at Ayrin's face, forcibly withstood the urge to spit blood, told himself to stay calm, then issued his order.
The freshmen started to take the test one by one, too afraid to express any protest.
Stifled cries of pain unceasingly rose one after another, following the sounds of heavy falls.
Very few people could reach nine steps. More and more freshmen left for a run.
The Stone Forest was vast. It was already hard to tell how much distance a single lap covered; ten laps was an inhuman torture. Inside the increasingly diminishing crowd of freshmen, Belo looked like he didn't care in the least. The eyes under his glasses had been all along locked tight onto Rinloran to the side.
He was very interested in knowing how many steps Rinloran and his obviously high-level elven bloodline could run.
Under his eyes full of expectation, Rinloran finally began his test, began his sprint.
Not a step less or a step more. Rinloran ran nine steps on the huge boulder, then landed on the ground, stood up, and went back to where he was standing before, without a single word.
“He doesn't want to waste his strength, or did he hold back on purpose?”
Belo mumbled, then started to feel bored. He also started his sprint.
A freshman had already started his own test, but after this freshman ran a few steps, he saw Belo easily overtaking him and running in front of him.
This freshman halted his steps, shocked, then watched Belo run nine steps on the stone like a wisp of smoke, then drop down, his hands behind his back.
Moss was among the last ones to take the test.
Outside the Thinker's Stone Forest, he'd already suffered a lethal blow, and just now, Ayrin's score of sixteen steps sent his brain into an even greater blank.
When he joined Holy Dawn Academy, he, who inherited a fraction of giant blood, thought that he would certainly become a legendary arcane master in the history of Holy Dawn Academy, far surpassing his classmates. When he found out Rinloran's bloodline and talents were even higher than his, he'd already been a little discouraged. And now Ayrin, the one he'd always looked down upon, the one he thought wouldn't obtain any achievement, the one who he thought was only wasting his tuition fees, was actually powerful to such a degree!
“Moss, come on, you can do it!”
Ayrin exclaimed happily as soon as he saw Moss step up.
Moss was confused already. As soon as he saw Ayrin happily cheer for him, with Huston's faintly green eyes staring at the side, he knew that no matter what he said in the future, the Notebook Teacher would never believe he wasn't Ayrin's and Belo's good friend.
He didn't even know how he sprinted, and didn't know how he ran up the boulder. When he heavily fell back down, he found out he actually ran only seven steps.
All the freshmen completed the test, and all those who didn't pass it went running around the Stone Forest. Ayrin suddenly asked Huston, “Teacher Huston, I also want to run ten laps, can I?”
Huston stumbled, almost fell off.
“Did my enemies really send you to mess with me?” Huston clenched his teeth and held back words like these inside his mouth. He casually waved his hand, indicating to Ayrin he could do whatever he wanted.
Ayrin immediately ran out in high spirits.
A dazed Moss ran around the Thinker's Stone Forest. He finally felt free of his worries. Now he could avoid looking at that little shorty who gave him a fatal psychological blow. It was easier being punished to run in comparison.
“Moss, let's run together!”
A familiar voice came to his ears, however. He turned his head back and immediately jumped away several meters, yelling, “Little shorty, you're a ghost! You're haunting me, why do you have to follow me even during my penalty run.”
“Stay away from me! I don't want to see you!”
Not understanding why Moss had such an attitude, Aryin started to sprint, again and again.
“I have to try harder!”
“I have to become stronger!”
“I must condense arcane particles!”
Under the sunlight, many crystalline drops of sweat sprinkled from his running figure.
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