Chapter 10.1: First Battle – Akira
Akira flew straight into a nearby rock with a boom and fell to the ground, his momentum killed by the rock which had itself been pulverized. If it hadn’t been for Ten’s minor physical boosts and the quick body enhancement he had cast, Akira would’ve broken several ribs and perhaps lost the function of an organ. And yet, the basic magical defense of body enhancement could not nullify the pain he felt. Gritting his teeth, he jumped up to his feet and regrouped with his team.
Luckily for his sister and Hiroshi, they managed to avoid the fissure in the ground by a hair’s breadth. It was all thanks to the twin in armored boots, who had acted quickly by grabbing them and running out of harm’s way. Shaking the dust out of his now dirty, red hair, he cautiously glanced at the assailants as the dust from the previous attack settled.
“Tch, he’s still conscious.”
“Oi, oi, that was a perfect chance and you ruined it, damn it!”
“You two, don’t be so noisy. You’ll attract others.”
As expected, coming out from behind the trees was another team. There were 3 boys and a girl. The first two boys seemed to be the rowdy type, while the girl and the last boy were on the quiet side. They wore collars similar to Akira’s group, but the letters were a D, C, B, and B respectively. The D-ranker held the mace that had sent Akira flying; the C-ranker possessed a sword; the female B-ranker had a book in her hands; the quiet B-ranker, a warhammer. The D-ranker had a slouched back and was currently tapping his mace on his shoulder with a displeased expression, but mixed into his annoyed eyes was a hint of greed.
“I never expected you would be fine from a direct hit. As expected of an S-ranker.”
“Thank you for your praise.” In a light tone, Akira gave him a mocking smile while replying. In response, his opponent’s brows twitched in irritation. The D-ranker lowered his mace while glaring at him. He bent his knees and took on a low stance.
“Go to hell. We’ll be taking your points.” His teammates prepared themselves. The girl opened her book, the swordsman gripped his sword, and the hammer wielder propped his enormous Speculo on his shoulder.
“I’d rather not, and you’re mistaken about that second part.” As Akira fortified his body with a grin, Akane summoned fireballs and the twins pumped mana into their Speculo.
With that short exchange, Akira’s first battle in the exam started as they all split up to fight.
A gigantic forest near the school grounds owned by the academy. That was the true identity of the battlefield being occupied by the near 250 applicants wishing to attend JNIM. Having borne witness to a multitude of destructive battles in the past, there were several clearings free of trees and foliage. Splitting up, Akira, Akane, and the twins all headed towards different such zones in order to fight their opponents unobstructed. As he was chased by the D-ranker, Akira pulled away from the others, feeling grateful for the knowledge of the surroundings gathered by their team’s scout. One person alone, even at the D-rank, was already a great challenge for him. It was no surprise that he didn’t want to experience fighting against an enemy with backup.
The mace wielder pushed off the ground with great force and rushed towards Akira, his arm arching backward as he wound up for an attack. But Akira jumped back at the last second, feeling the wind buffet his face as the blunt metal end of the mace flew right past his eyes. Landing on his hands, he pushed off, backflipping several feet away and creating a large distance between him and the D-ranker.
As soon as he was upright again, Akira aimed Ten in the D-ranker’s direction. However, instead of firing the huge revolver, he took the mana he had been channeling into it ever since he had been attacked and formed a bolt of fire using magic. Without pause, he discharged it at his opponent who was winding up for another attack. The flame bolted towards the D-ranker at a pace not inferior to a bolt from a real crossbow, but alas it did not do much to its target, who snuffed it out with his mace. However, the attack wasn’t all in vain as the mace-wielder yelped and sustained burns on his arms.
“You bastard! Fight me like a ma- gah!” While the mace-wielder was shouting at him and applying light healing to his arms, Akira had already prepared another bolt of fire and shot it. As he hadn’t been moving, the D-ranker was hit square in the chest. The D-ranker shouted out in pain from the unforeseen attack and stumbled backward, clutching his now bare chest. When he looked up, the greedy shine was gone from his eyes, and now anger burned in its place.
However, unbeknownst to him, Akira was in no better shape.
How much mana did I just use? Akira was starting to sweat. By virtue of the Mana Boost, Ten would purify his mana and lower the cost for each technique; that did not mean he was now able to cast magic with no restriction. Akira’s already low reservoirs were reaching half their volume, and he needed time to recharge the mana he had burned. Unfortunately, his opponent was not so lenient as to give him time to rest.
The D-ranker had recovered from the burns and was once again charging toward Akira. Shit! I don’t have time to cast magic! That means… With no other options left, Akira took a stance. Watching his opponent carefully, Akira tensed up.
5 seconds until contact.
The D-ranker wound up his step, preparing to firmly kick off the ground like earlier.
3 seconds until contact.
Bending his knees, he accumulated power.
In a flash, he kicked against the ground and flew towards Akira, with his mace prepared to strike.
Akira moved out of his stance with a swift, flowing motion and sidestepped the D-ranker, grabbing his opponent’s left arm and putting his foot around his right leg. Quickly, Akira pushed his arm and brought back his leg, flipping the D-ranker mid-charge. While the D-ranker was airborne, Akira elbowed him in the ribs and received a satisfying crack. Taken by surprise, the D-ranker was unable to react and could only yelp in pain as his world spun and his back impacted the dirt. Dazed, he lay on the ground for a moment before standing up while wincing.
“Shit!” Standing up while supporting his broken ribs, the D-ranker stumbled for a moment before looking up. To his great shock, his prey had vanished into thin air. Immediately, the shock on his face turned to rage.
“GET BACK HERE!”