Chapter 21: Explosive (2)
“Aren’t they done yet?” Victoria asked.
“They might take half a day again like their last duel,” Luna said.
“They know when to stop,” said Teacher Apollo who sat drably while his legs posed on the table. His words were hardly understandable due to the cigarette that was stuck in his mouth.
A few minutes more, suddenly, the explosions stopped. Even the continuous shaking earlier on the floor had disappeared. Luna stood up and prepared her kit. It looks like they’re done.
I think the hardest part of duel training is knowing when to stop. The decision to stop is all in your hands. It’s a delicate responsibility; the kind that can easily be broken. When someone practically made you experienced hell, would you be so kind to easily let go? Do you think it would be simple to control yourself from fighting back? No.
You will have the tendency to lose all your self-control the moment you’re hurt. But your control needs to be stronger than your barbaric instinct to fight back. It’s like jumping from a cliff then stopping yourself before you hit the ground. It requires a huge amount of control, self-control.
Sir Apollo switched off the dimensional apparatus and revealed Ethan and Cain. They were gasping for breath; Cain was holding his bloody arm that looked fractured, while Ethan’s blood freely flowed from the wound on his forehead, not to mention the cuts and wounds all over their bodies.
Ethan’s white shirt was nearly unrecognizable because of the dirt and blood. Identically, Cain almost had nothing left on his upper garments.
But the funny thing is, they are laughing. They walked limply towards our direction while chatting and laughing. I looked at them incredulously. They still managed to laugh after everything? God. I was put into a weird group.
It’s my third day in Titan Academy when I finally visited Miss Aura in her office. She’s still insisting on having the scheduled one-on-one even though I have avoided it for several times now. I sighed. I’m not really good with conversations and Miss Aura seems to be the person who asks too many questions the moment we start.
I entered a classroom at five o’clock in the afternoon. She said she’d be in this room from three to five. I was not mistaken. There was no one in the room except for a woman sitting by the table and seemingly reading a book.
“Good afternoon,” I briefly greeted her.
She immediately raised her small cute head. “Oh! Shia, you’re here. Come sit.”
A chair from the corner suddenly moved and flew straight to the other side of her table. She just used her ability. I’ve just noticed now that she and Ethan have the same ability. But Ethan was more precise.
“I thought you won’t turn up again,” she said with a smile.
“I think I won’t be able to avoid it anyway.” I answered.
She beamed. “You are too straight to the point.”
She put down the book that she held and faced me. I can’t help but notice how pretty her face is. She looks like a doll but more natural, augmented by the sunset from the window that caresses her face.
She took something in a drawer under the table, and then placed it on the top. I stared at it and raised an eyebrow. A map?
“So Shia, are you familiar with this?”
I almost rolled my eyes as I stared at that thing. “A map of the Districts. Are we going to discuss about this? I’m not illiterate. I have studied so somehow I learned a thing or two.”
She smiled gently at me. “I know and I’m not saying that you don’t have any idea about this. Hesperia’s public schools have an excellent standard in teaching Basic Education. We are not going to discuss geology here. I’m here to point out your future rivals.”
My interest was suddenly pricked.
“As you’ve known there are four districts under the category of special abilities in the Magic World. Hesperia is in the East as well as Prum and Salem. Then there is the twin district of the West, Shou and Shinoa. The Fishing District of the South, Kimmyye and Boran. And from the mountains of the Northern District, the town of Dione.” She pointed them based on their locations in the map.
“Obviously we are the biggest district. That explains the over population and incapacity to properly allocate the resources. I have a question: How many teams do you have to compete against the Linus Cup?”
“Seven.” I watched the previous game from two years ago. If I remember correctly there were seven teams when the game started. Shinoa and Shou had only one team to represent the two communities.
Miss Aura smiled. “This year it would only be six.” She took a red marker and encircled the six towns. “They closed down Salem Academy six months ago.”
“Their government can’t afford the cost of sustaining the school. It was sold to them last year because it went bankrupt. Only a few families in Salem could afford to send their children to Advance Education. The cost of running the place is more than what is earned from the tuition of the few students. The community of Salem is out of the competition.”
“But what about those who wished to have an advance education there?”
“They can go to Prum or go here, to Hesperia, and enroll in Titan Academy. I’m afraid that’s the only solution for now. Do you know how this situation can affect you in the Cup?”
I shrugged. “Less competitor? More chances of getting out alive?”
Miss Aura sighed. “If this is an ordinary game that would be the exact effect. But this is a survival game. Less competitor means less distraction. The lesser the number in competition, the higher the tendency for other teams to focus their attention to you. Lesser is fatal.”
Oh. Great strategical thinking.
“I want you to know your advantage, Shia. We are lucky that you are more than just a seer. You are physically capable of fighting one-on-one; you have a great weapon and aiming skill. We need to practice that while you’re here. I have scheduled you under weapon training with Gin.”
I almost choked, gagged, considering that I’m not even drinking. “What?!”
“You heard me right,” Miss Aura said indifferently.
“You are now under physical training. We are done with the duels for the week. The Team Captain needs to assess your physical capability to find the limit of each and every member.”
Damn. Why is it Gin?
“Something wrong, Shia?” she asked when I didn’t reply.
“Nothing. That’s fine with me.” What a liar.
I’m not comfortable with this setup. I don’t want Gin to be near me. It just feels so wrong. My body is reacting strangely when I’m with him and it alarms me.
Cain is pronounced as “Keyn” as in sugar cane.