Book 2, Growing Up, Chapter 20 – Who is Number One? (part 2)

By now, Linley had nearly reached the peak of the second rank for warriors. Given that the strength of an ordinary warrior of the first rank was enough to raise a hundred pounds, a warrior of the second rank could casually throw about hundred pound objects.

“You…cough…cough…” Holding his throat, Rand coughed a few times, and then stared furiously at Linley. “You…you actually…”

“Yeah!” Yale suddenly shouted loudly, his face filled with excitement. “That felt so good. Third bro, I didn’t expect you to be as strong as that!”

“That kid is pretty small, but he is so strong…”

Those magi of the fifth and sixth ranks were all astonished. There were some magus instructors in the hotel as well, and all of them were staring at Linley with surprise.

A kid who appeared to be perhaps twelve or thirteen years old was able to casually toss a 90 pound person with one hand.

And this youth was a magus!

“Hey, Rand, weren’t you bragging about how you were number one amongst the first graders?” Yale mocked.

Rand’s face went red, as his heart was filled with fury and shame. Staring at Linley, he shouted fiercely, “You, are you a magus? If you have the skills, compete with me using magic. What sort of behavior was that? A noble magus actually used the lowly skills of a warrior.” Rand was filled with anger and humiliation. He had just won the yearly tournament for the first graders, but just now, when Linley seized him by the throat and hoisted him up, he had been filled with the terrifying sense that his life was in the hands of another.

“Right, if you have the skills, compete using magic! Are you even a student of the Ernst Institute?” Rand’s nearby friends immediately called out in support.

But towards Linley, the four of them felt some dread in their hearts. Linley’s astonishing display of strength just now had shocked them.

“Magic?”

Reynolds immediately began to laugh loudly, as he said arrogantly, “Rand, do you actually believe that just because you won the first grade tournament, you really are the strongest amongst the first graders? Dream on. The number one first grader is our dorm’s third bro. You? Step off to the side.”

“Third bro, show’m a bit of your power.” Yale urged as well.

George had just been yelled at by Rand, so right now, he was in no mood to give Rand any face either. “Rand, let me tell you something. Know your own limits. Many of the experts in our school simply don’t deign to participate in the yearly tournament. Don’t really believe that you are something special.”

Rand’s face grew uglier and uglier.

“You’ll know the truth upon dueling. Rand, compete with them.” Those fifth and sixth grade students called out laughingly. They viewed the struggles of the first graders as nothing more than an amusing diversion.

Rand was just ten years old, after all, and had been called a genius since he was little.

Even at the Ernst Institute, he was amongst the top tier. When had he ever suffered such humiliation?

“Number one?” Rand ground out. “Number one isn’t something that is simply proclaimed. It comes through competition. If you have the ability, then come duel with me.” Rand was very confident in his magical ability. After all, he had won the yearly tournament for first graders.”

“Hey, why isn’t the manager of this hotel coming in to calm things down?” Some of the onlookers felt surprised and curious about this.

In fact, the Huadeli hotel manager was standing far away, but he didn’t want to interfere.

Because he recognized these students.

Even aside from the fact that these were students from the Ernst Institute, based on the status of these students, he didn’t want to anger them. Especially…Yale.

“Young master Yale is here? Ugh. Forget it. He can do as he wishes. Even if he smashes the entire hotel, it’s none of my business.” The hotel manager rubbed and shook his head helplessly. He couldn’t dare to offend young master Yale.

And upon entering the Ernst Institute, Yale’s status amongst his family had only increased even more.

“Well spoken. Number one isn’t self-proclaimed. It’s won.” Linley stood up as well, his face cold as he stared at Rand. “Rand, if we are going to engage in a magical duel, let’s make it exciting. If you win, when I see you in the future, I’ll have to take the long way and avoid crossing paths with you. If I win, you need to do the same.”

Rand couldn’t help but sneer, “You call that exciting? When the loser meets the winner, not only does he have to take the long way around, he also has to give a hundred gold coins. How about that?”

Linley frowned.

A hundred gold coins?

He only had a hundred gold coins each year for living expenses. He wasn’t rich like some people.

“Haha! Rand, just a hundred gold coins? Aren’t you embarassed, saying such a number? How about this. Loser pays ten thousand gold. Deal?” The nearby Yale said loudly.

“Ten thousand gold?”

Upon hearing these words, many students in the hotel sucked in a cold breath. Ten thousand gold coins was not a small sum. There were perhaps only a very few number of students in the hotel who could so casually, calmly bring out such a large sum.

“Ten thousand gold?” Rand couldn’t help but feel his heart shake.

Although his clan was a large one, each year, he only received three thousand gold in living expenses. He didn’t come spend money at the Huadeli Hotel every day. Today, he only came to celebrate him and Rickson becoming the number one and number three victors of the tournament.

“Haha, don’t have the balls?” Yale pulled out a magicard, waving it around as he spoke.

“Rand, agree to him.” Rickson said. “We four bros should be able to pool together ten thousand gold coins. I refuse to believe that this little punk who came out of nowhere can be a match for you.”

Rand and his three bros glanced at each other.

“Fine! Ten thousand gold it is!”

Rand said loudly, and then sneered towards Linley, “Let’s go. This place is too small. We’ll go to the arena where the tournament was held. If you have courage, follow me!” After speaking, Rand arrogantly left the hotel, and his three bros followed him.

“Let’s go.” Yale’s eyes were shining.

Reynolds and George were also excited. Linley nodded as well as he calmly chuckled, “Someone wants to give us ten thousand gold? How can we refuse?”

Linley, Yale, Reynolds, and George all left the hotel as well, directly heading for the arena.

The entire hotel was now in an uproar. A duel with a ten thousand gold coin wager on it was rarely seen, even by sixth grade students. And what’s more, of the duelists, one was the person who had just won the yearly tournament for first graders, Rand, and one was a mysterious kid that no one knew.

Immediately, many people paid their tabs and headed off in that direction as well.

….

The arena floor was made of limestone and extremely sturdy.

Right now, Rand and Linley were each standing on a separate side of an arena dueling area.

Beneath the upraised dueling area was a large group of people. After all, this was dinnertime, so on the way here from the Huadeli Hotel, one person became ten, and ten became a hundred. In a short period of time, a large group of people had been gathered. This exciting duel with a ten thousand gold wager was more than enough to attract many onlookers.

Seeing how many people had come and how noisy it had become, a look of confidence appeared on Rand’s face.

“Today, I am going to engage in a magical duel with this kid Linley, with the loser paying ten thousand gold coins and having to avoid the other in the future. Everyone, please be my witnesses.” Rand said. He enjoyed the feeling of being watched by many. He didn’t suffer from any stage fright at all.

Immediately, many cheers exploded from below. During the yearly tournament, Rand had many supporters, while in contrast, very few people were supporting Linley.

But Linley just stood there on the dueling area quietly.

“Said enough?” Linley said calmly.

Rand smiled arrogantly. “Let’s go.”

Rand and Linley almost simultaneously began to chant the words to a spell. As both were magi of the second rank, the spells they used were all of the first and second rank and were easy to cast, requiring just a word or two.

“Whoosh!”

Seven sharp blades of wind sprang into existence, slicing directly towards Rand.

“A magus of the second rank?” The experienced onlookers could immediately tell.

But Rand had released a spell at the same time, and five balls of dull red flame shot towards Linley as well. The blades of wind were much faster than the fireballs, however, and Rand was forced to dodge in a rather sorry fashion. But Linley casually and effectively sidestepped the fireballs. And, while doing so, Linley’s lips continued to move as he executed his second spell.

Earth style magic – Earth Tremor!

“Rumble….”

Rand felt the limestone beneath his feet begin to tremble violently. Under these circumstances, Rand couldn’t focus enough to chant any spells. Immediately afterwards, Linley released his third spell, and five fists of earthen-colored stone shot out rapidly towards him.

Rand couldn’t even maintain his footing on the shaking earth. He just barely dodged two of the stones.

“Thud.”

One stone smashed into Rand’s stomach, immediately causing him to vomit fresh blood. Rand hurriedly used his arms to cover his chest. Two more striking sounds were heard, and Rand was directly thrown off the dueling area, his entire body covered with dust.

Magic duel, Linley, victorious!

Linley calmly glanced at Rand once. Linley was very clear about the attack he had just used. With just a month’s recovery time at most, Rand would be fine. If he, Linley, had decided to be merciless, he could have directed the stones at Rand’s head and most likely finished him.

“A dual-element magus of the second rank. We have such an expert amongst us first graders?”

The onlooking first graders called out, astonished. For a second rank magus to appear amongst the first graders was a rare event, much less a dual-element magus, who would be the absolute strongest amongst them.

“This kid controlled his mageforce very precisely, and his body movements were very nimble.”

Some of the fifth and sixth graders were a bit surprised. Just now, when facing the fireballs, Linley had been able to dodge while continuing to chant the words to a spell. From this one could tell how agile Linley was.

“Haha, Rand, did you really think you were number one? Our dorm’s third bro, just using magic, is still able to easily trample you.” Yale laughed loudly.

“Cough, cough.” Rand stood up, clutching his chest.

Rand knew in his heart that just then, Linley had shown mercy.

“Yale, tomorrow, bring Linley. I’ll go with you to the Golden Bank of the Four Empires local branch to transfer money. Ten thousand golds. I’ll keep my word.” Rand took a long look at the distant Linley. This defeat at Linley’s hands had totally woken Rand up from the arrogant haze of being a genius.

Even if one was talented, if one wasn’t strong enough, he would still be defeated by others!

“Linley, thank you!” Rand said, bowing, causing Yale and others to be startled. And then, Rand stared at Linley and said resolutely, “But there will come a day when I will defeat you.”

And then Rand, still clutching his chest, left with the help of his bros, returning to his own residence.

“Linley, you are too awesome. You won your bros a lot of face!” Reynolds immediately ran over and embraced Linley, who had stepped down.

Linley glanced around.

Many people were now staring at him and discussing him. Most of the talented people at the Ernst Institute had become well-known already. Nobody expected such an individual to appear out of nowhere amongst the first graders and easily defeat Rand, the tournament champion.

“Hi Linley, my name is Danni [Dan’ni], a water magus of the first rank. I’m glad to meet you.” Immediately, a golden-haired girl with a tall, slender figure walked over and said to Linley with a smile.

“Hi, my name is Linley.” Linley didn’t have the habit of talking to strangers much. “Sorry, I’m going to go train and enter the meditative trance now.”

After speaking, Linley glanced expressively at his three bros. Yale and the others knew what he was thinking, and immediately, the four bros ignored everyone around them and departed, leaving behind that young lady, Danni, who frowned unhappily.

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