Act 3: The girl of my dreams
[2 years ago – Etibar Aurel-Terran: Age 17]
In a wide open field that was more than five kilometers in width and length, a mass of people was lined up in rows in a very neat fashion. There were thousands of them, both male and female.
A dot of light suddenly appeared in the distant sky. A second later, the light had already arrived. But this was not a just an ordinary light; it was a giant fiery lion!
However, the lion wasn’t even the main character of this moment. Instead, what stood out about the scene was that there was a man of great stature seated on the back the giant fiery lion.
The man wore a silver-purple armor which had blue electric arcs occasionally charging across it. Combined with his long silver hair and dark skin, the man almost looked like a portrait, otherworldly!
“Oh my god! Does the General have a fire beast as mount?!”
The people on the field only referred to the man as ‘the General’.
“Ignorant! You don’t even know? That’s the Fire Lion Puppet technique.”
“A puppet? Oh.” The person who first spoke sounded a bit disappointed. However, his compatriot did not take well to this response.
“You ignoramous! This is why I don’t like interacting with you country bumpkins. Do you know how rare a puppet of this grade is? Some random beast mount is like a pile of dog crap before it!!”
“Look at that lightning charged armor. It might only be pure steel but it still stronger than 99% of all magical armors in the world! Who do you think the General is? Divine and Unparalleled. Unequal! He is someone who has entered the Lionheart Inventory! You clowns…”
Before the fellow could continue his tirade, a soft cough interrupted him.
It was the General! It turns out that even he had heard everything. Even in a crowd of thousands, the General’s senses were naturally strong enough to pick out any conversation.
Further, when the two fellows had started speaking, it was just ordinary low toned chattering but one of them gradually got louder while defending the General. This kind of guy was a real fan! Even the General was a bit embarrassed hearing what he said.
Seeing his idol’s eyes on him, the fellow also could not help but shrink back into himself and zip his mouth.
“Everyone! Welcome! You have entered the Terrace as newbies, trainees, rookies, but I promise you that you will walk out of these fields as experts!” With a loud booming voice, the General finally spoke to the crowd.
All around him, Terran could already see the crowd’s excitement. This was the start of a long journey for most of these young people. Some of them would naturally drop off along the way, but others would go on to become great men and women. Terran was determined to be the latter.
“A new world, here we come!” It was with excitement that Terran started his training at one of the top military institutions in the country, Black Terrace.
In such a competitive cutthroat environment, Terran was not disadvantaged in any way. In a week, his seniors are already acting like juniors before him.
However, there were always some in the crowd that would be jealous of the talented. This was natural in any institution no matter the field of practice. And in a shadow military institution like Black Terrace, this sense of competition was naturally amplified ten times over.
“Why does this greenhorn think he can just come here and act like he is some type of royalty?”
“Talent, he has it, you don’t?.”
“Ha ha ha ha.”
“Are you just going to take that lying down Zeri?”
“Why don’t you challenge him?”
“…or is gossip all you have?”
This was THE true instigator.
“You shut it!”
These types of conversations were not uncommon around Terran. The previous star of the military institution, Zeri, was naturally not all too pleased about Terran’s quick rise.
As for the other military students and cadets, they were all too eager to instigate a clash between Terran and Zeri.
However, Terran never cared about nonsense like that. Since a young age, he had always kept far away from any childish games. To him, these types of people were not worth interacting with let alone listening to their nonsense.
It could be said that Zeri was also not a shallow man. However, the power of words is immense. Words have the power to break through people’s wills like a river shaving through rock.
On the surface, Zeri had always been calm and collected. His hair was long, his clothes were stylish, his way of speaking was refined, his mannerisms were elegant, and his overall nature was generally reserved. Although he had a playful side to him, he was still someone with clear-cut boundaries.
However, with the passage of time, the subtle implications that he was a ‘coward’, he was ‘old news’ or that he was ‘falling off’ naturally got to him.
One rainy night, he finally came to a decision and went to find Terran.
Knock, knock, knock.
“Who is disturbing my sleep late at night?” Terran was a bit angry as he opened his door.
Finding Zeri standing before him, Terran did not have any thoughts about it. After all, he had never interacted with Zeri that much in the past. They were at most distant acquaintances.
When Zeri asked Terran to follow him, he was a bit reluctant but still followed. The path they followed took them to an underground bunker.
The bunker was hidden in a giant hole that was almost a kilometer in diameter. When they walked inside, Terran saw many cadets behind a glass wall hard at work even though it was late in the night.
‘One-way glass? It seems as if they can’t see us.’
In the room behind the glass wall, there were many giant wooden boards and hundreds of cadets were stepping on them as if operating a giant pump. As for whatever machine was being operated or whatever substance was being pumped, no one here knew.
When they came to an isolated are, Terran finally could not stand it anymore and spoke up, “This has better be most important. It is quite late for you to be calling me out here like this.”
Terran could not understand why this fellow came to drag him out at night.
“Fine, fine, I will get to the point. Have you heard of the analogy of the king and the horse? In front of seniority, authority, and strength, it is only right that the knee that bends.” When he uttered the words “bends”, a heavy pressure like a mountain emerged from Zeri’s body.
Boundless earth strength crushed towards Terran’s shoulders from above. It was if the power to crush mountains and empty seas was compressed into a small area only covering Terran’s body.
This level of strength control was absolutely terrifying!
These were the means of an Earth Rank warrior!
Terran finally understood why this fellow had called him here.
‘If this type of force was applied outside this bunker, the ground would be crushed tearing a hole through the earth. Instead of bringing me to my knees, I would be pushed deep into the ground instead!' Terran mentally exclaimed. However, his thoughts were still calm, 'Only if I let it though.’
His thoughts were not far from the truth.
When he released the pressure, Zeri could already see the scene of Terran crumbling to the ground. However, with a sly smile, Terran calmly walked out of the range of Zeri’s pressure.
‘It did not even ruffle him!’ Seeing Terran completely unbothered by his pressure, Zeri was naturally shocked.
His power could not even affect Terran’s clothes let alone the man himself!
“There are many words in my mental dictionary; many words that shake me. But bending the knee is not in my list of trouble words.”
This voice came from behind Zeri yet he could still see Terran in front of him.
‘Not good! An afterimage!’ Zeri was shocked as he tried to quickly turn around but no matter how he tried he could not move a single step.
Terran’s hand was already on his shoulder!
“You have too many issues competing with your objectives in coming here, To Black Terrace. You are gifted and you have skills. But you are immature.” Terran’s voice sounded once again.
As he was speaking, Terran exerted great strength on Zeri’s body. Sounds of creaking emerged as Zeri’s shoulder was violently ‘massaged’ in Terran’s hands. However, even though he wanted to scream in pain, Zeri could not even muster his voice. It was gone!
“They say that every person is a raw material so I will give you a chance. But only the single one! Not another!”
When the word ‘another’ was uttered, the pressure disappeared. Turning back, Terran was no longer there. Gone like a flash of wind.
With his back dripping in sweat, Zeri finally collapsed to the ground. As he sat on the ground, there was a sense of defeat but also a sense of relief hidden deep in his eyes.