Chapter 187: Apex
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With the forceful stare coming from the foreign teacher, the students grouped around the podium and had hushed conversations in small groups.

The sun climbed along the sky and gradually heated up the field.

Dust and burning hot air gradually oppressed the youths, waiting for the arrival of the esteemed guest.

Here and there a bunch of whispers flared up whenever the foreign teacher in charge was looking towards the path next to the training field, waiting for the guest to arrive.

But soon enough, he would sweep his glare over the crowd and put out those outbreaks of noise, eager to prepare a dignified and silent scene.

Nisha wanted to converse with her two friends as well, yet seeing the harsh glances from the instructor, she remained quiet as well and sat on the ground next to Little Lia, who had escaped Lisa’s grasp by now.

The tension in the air alarmed the wolf, and no matter how much Accalia loved sleep, the instincts of a monster overruled that desire.

Surveying the field and all living humans on it, the contracted beast stalked around its master, ready to strike at any dangers.

The dragon in question, though, sat on the ground and waited for the coming visitor.

Patience had never been trouble for an accomplished hunter, whether it was in her dragon form previously or as an elf afterwards.

Among her earliest memories, Nisha and her three dragon siblings stalked a group of forest mice that happened to live near the place they hatched.

Individually, none of the small critters stood a chance against a newly hatched dragon, however the big number of enemies meant that the weaker vermin stood a very real chance to triumph over the hatchlings.

Plagued by hunger after they ate the provisions in their nest, the four little lizard like beasts cooperated to stake out a portion of the forest mice, waiting for their chance to strike and feast.

Only after a long time did a smaller group break off the main host, and Nisha and her siblings started a great slaughter as soon as they were out of hearing range for the remaining enemies, due to the great hunger.

Not a speck of the monsters was left behind, the hatchlings gorged themselves and hid away soon afterwards, digesting the meat and aura they plundered.

It was the first step towards growth for them.

 

The dragon was stuck in her memories of the past and only noticed that a commotion was going on when the surrounding people, Unico and Lisa made a commotion.

In order to have several fields worth of students together with their teachers wait for them, no one needed to tell them how important the coming guests were.

Everyone looked forward to meeting them, especially since it was a member of the most famous A rank adventurer team.

Nisha, as well, had a bit of interest in meeting such strong humans.

Her cultivation surpassed the great barrier and reached the fourth rank in the past, yet the interference from remoulding her body with [Dragon Force] condensed that strength back into the peak of the third rank for aura and mana.

Strictly speaking, the dragon would have no trouble getting back that missing cultivation to break through the fourth rank right away again, but she felt that the effects of [Dragon Force] did more than just alter her physical appearance.

The power coursing through her body and mind condensed their intensity, gaining a unique trait associated with them.

Rashly breaking through the first great divide without grasping the exact aspects in her own power and getting used to them would result in an unstable foundation and make it much more troublesome to break through in the future.

As of now, Nisha planned to let nature take its course and only when her cultivation overflowed on its own would she advance to the next rank again.

In any case, the elf did not worry about being powerless. Despite being at the peak of the third rank in name, her actual combat prowess should rank higher than that.

Furthermore, her physique fundamentally belonged to that of a dragon.

In the crowd, her short stature made it hard to look above the sea of heads, and her thin frame appeared quite frail, but in truth her bones were as strong as iron and her skin tougher than any monsters leather.

If I learn the [Polymorph] spell in the future, I can revert to my original form, too.

But will that count as regaining my dragon form or is it my battle form instead and I will return to being an elf soon afterwards?

Without the tension of hunting down prey, Nisha’s thoughts drifted again, even though the party of guests was spotted by someone in the group and gave rise to the commotion.

 

“Silence! They are here!”
The foreign teacher next to the stage stood up and ascended the stairs, silencing the crowds agitation and assuming a proper stance to welcome the guests.

As many of the students attending the academy had some sort of background, either as nobles or the descendents of influential merchants and officials, they all knew how important an official visit from a major personage was, hence they quickly shut up.

Similarly, the commoners had to pick up survival skills to live and learn in the [Royal Academy] and they copied their actions.

On the plastered stone path passing by the practice field, their teacher Mr. Oak led a middle aged man and an old official looking dame along.

Seeing the silent field, their teacher gave the substitute a nod filled with gratitude and led the party on top of the stage.

Despite being an easy going teacher most of the time, Mr. Oak solemnly took the center of the stage and invited the middle aged man to stand next to him.

Drawn to the strong reaction of her [Spirit Sight], Nisha stared at the old lady, hardly noticing two youths behind them, a boy and a girl of their age, who followed the trio.

She actually recognized the middle aged man too, his disorganized and unkempt appearance was still the same from the time the elf met him in the academy.

His straw sandals, the dusty robe, and big eyebags, his appearance did not change in the slightest.

Still, the dangerous air about him never changed, despite standing next to a powerful warrior with a ridiculous amount of aura. Nisha had seen plenty of soldiers and guards, and could roughly gauge their strength most of the time.

The dame had to be above the seventh rank at least to give the dragon’s [Spirit Sight] trouble.

While not the most powerful she had ever seen, it still awed Nisha a tiny bit to see such strong people appearing inside the academy.

“Let me introduce our guests to you, students.

Thanks to an initiative started by the palace officers, the department in charge of the [Royal Academy] reached out to the [Adventurer’s Guild] and made a request to dispatch some qualified teachers.

These tutors do not have to show much aptitude in terms of teaching itself, rather, their combat experience, life skills and specialized techniques more than make up for it.

If that was all, we, the instructors, would have simply integrated that into our lessons.

However, the guild has shown us an unexpected amount of favor and contacted several high level teams, and secured the assistance from the most renowned adventurer group there is in our kingdom, the [Silvershroud] party.

Please give a round of applause to the esteemed warrior, holding the frontline position, and also often named as the [Eternal Warrior], Tyne Pinedew!”

Hyped up by the introduction, the crowd raged like a mad ocean with cheers, whistles and shouts by the end.

Mr. Oak had to gather his own rather formidable aura, at least compared to the students, and send a shockwave of air through the placa before the area regained a semblance of quietness.

Nisha appreciated the info, she had not really heard of the party the man belonged to before, although she also grew some expectations after hearing about them.

Furthermore, the elf kept an eye on Tyne, who simply scratched the back of his head while the commotion was going on, looking not too keen on the spectacle.

 

“Furthermore, the guild also sent one of their senior staff to oversee the selection process.

Yes, there will be a special selection soon, you heard correctly.

Since there is no way to have an esteemed figure like Ser Tyne come into the academy whenever it is time for lessons, the guild and the academy agreed to let him pick out suitable students himself, and teach them whenever he is free instead.

Additionally, both institutions approved supplementary funds to make this arrangement a long term project over the entire turn, after which it will be decided whether or not it will carry on into the next school term as well.

Whether it’s the personal lessons by Ser Tyne or the practical lessons by the adventurer tutors, both are very hard to come by.”

Mr. Oak spread his hands, perhaps in a bid to show how much all parties involved invested into the project.

The students, on the other side, grew more and more excited as much as possible while still keeping quiet.

They had the chance to get selected for personal lessons with a member of [Silvershroud]!

No one heard any rumors or imagined that the guild and the academy would agree to work together in the first place.

Intrigued at the prospect of learning real techniques used by active adventurers, the dragon allowed herself a small grin and looked from the stage towards her two friends.

As expected, Lisa was besides herself and hopped up and down from excitement.

Unico frowned a bit, however, he also clenched his fists beneath his wide open sleeves.

Nisha wondered what he worried about, yet the head teacher continued his speech and she looked back forwards.

“As you can see, Ser Tyne already picked two suitable candidates, and personally, I am quite agreeable to his method of choosing, as such Madame Ellison has not objected to them so far.

Since the students her are most likely quite tired of me talking on and on, I respectfully hand over the stage to Ser Tyne.

May luck be with you all, and per chance you can also get selected.”

Giving a small bow, the instructor stepped next to the lady and steeled himself.

The dusty and unkempt looking [Eternal Warrior] took a step forward and swept his lazy eyes over the crowd.

He stopped a moment longer on the spot where the elf stood, her height not enough to stand out among the crowd, but he showed a small sign of recognition before looking at the remaining youths.

 

“Alright, let me get this over with, I don’t want to waste the whole day.”

Scratching his chest hair through the giant neckline of his robe, the [Eternal Warrior] walked forward to the edge of the platform.

For the most part, the crowd still cheered a tad and anticipated the selection, the chance to get into contact with a member of [Silvershroud] was about the same as a fantasy or dream, nigh impossible.

Every move the man made appeared incomparably majestic and dignified to them.

Nisha, on the other hand, wondered what he was going to use as the criteria for his choice.

Among all the powerful humans she saw before, Tyne happened to be considerably young.

The court members, Luthais, priests from the church and high guild officials all showed signs of higher age, like the one accompanying the selection this time.

Furthermore, because of their positions, they acted with dignity and the disparity with Tyne’s sloppy appearance increased so much more in her mind.

His energy managed to somehow escape the dragon’s [Spirit Sight] though, which is why she did not dare to underestimate him regardless of his messy style.

Since the moment of truth was about to arrive, the sea of students quieted down until the silence enveloped everything.

Tyne inspected the prospective targets a last time and yawned heavily, while rubbing one of his bear like legs against the other.

“Testing you one by one will waste a lot of time, so I’ll do it all at once.

Those that make it through can follow me, though I’ll kick you out if you have no talent.

Let’s start.”

And then, everything changed.

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