Chapter 2:

Rejuvenation Trial E1-04

Spirit Containment Team 1201

As Ari led Drake through the school building, they could both feel the eyes of the younger students on the both of them as the walked. Whether Drake knew it or not, he had a reputation amongst the younger students.

To the younger girls, he was seen as unfortunately having the worst possible combination of looks and personality. He was quite attractive, but many felt his aloof, disinterested personality made him unapproachable.

To the boys, he was the guard dog to another prize, his sister. Despite her being in her early twenties, that didn't stop the older men, and some women, from making advances towards her. Many felt that approaching her directly would be difficult, and looked to Drake for help. As he felt that helping them would be annoying, he typically declined.

Sometimes they didn't like that... sometimes they even got violent, every time... they went home as single as they arrived, with the occasional bruise or cut.

Ari would never tell him, but she secretly thought that it was sweet that he felt it necessary to protect her chastity. She knew that she could take care of herself just fine, but being an Ungifted meant that she was at the mercy of the students if they decided to use their Contracts against her, so she was more than happy to have Drake at her side.

Still, the siblings either didn't notice, or didn't care, and chatted idly as they walked amongst the younger classes.

"So... why exactly did you choose E-Rank?" She asked.

"Hmmm... it's mostly about potential... it was something I noticed back when I took my Prelim Trial." He said.

"Potential? Surely the students who make it into B-Rank from the start have the most potential, right? I mean... look at you." She replied.

"How do I put it? Let's see... when I took my Trial, I noticed something a little interesting. See, I realized pretty early that you could separate the Trial participants into two groups. A group who was trying as hard as possible, and a group who don't have a clue how to use their Contracts." He said.

"And this leads you to choose from E-Rank because...?" She asked.

"Those who belong in the first group either ended up in F, D, C, or B rank... but I noticed a few of my fellow trial-goers who had plenty of strength and good contracts... but didn't know how to use them. Now that they've learned how to control what they have, the majority of those who were in E-Rank during the first half year are in the top three Ranks now." He explained.

"But... why not F-Rank, if you're looking for potential? Surely some of them could be filled with latent potential too, right?" She asked.

Her hand motioned to a slightly open door to their right, and they entered it, being greeted with a staircase leading to the second floor. As they made their way down, Drake continued his explanation.

"Well... that has more to do with gambling odds than anything. You know how gambling works, right? There's always an attractive option that would net a huge payout if it succeeds. Buuut... there's also always a safer option... in this case I see the E-Rank potential as the safe option, since they can't get expelled for staying in their Rank." He said.

"Oh... that's right, last year the Ivoria Committee implemented the removal policy, so that any F-Rankers who don't increase in Rank after the Midterms get expelled to make room for more capable students. The air in Ivoria started to feel a bit more brutal after that." Ari noted.

"Yep, that'll give me some time to assess my team fully and work out how best to get them to where they need to be." He said.

"I see... this is the you I like, Little Brother, the you who actually gives a damn about something... THAT you is so much more incredible to see, so much better to know." She said.

"You think? It's a lot of work, caring and shit. I really feel more like myself when I can just relax and go at my own pace." He said, stretching his arms behind him for emphasis.

"I know, I know... but... please try to remember that from this point forward you'll have four young students who will be wholly dependent on your guidance as an instructor to help them succeed in your profession." She said.

"I know, I know... this here the one that's starting next?" He asked, pointing to a door on the left side of the hallway.

"E-Rank First Year Classroom 4. Yep, this is the one. I'll tell their homeroom teacher the situation, and then see if they're ready to start." She said.

They entered the room, which was filled with numerous students, most the standard 15 years old, but a few looked younger or older. There seemed to be a near equal spread of girls to boys, with maybe one more girl.

A rudimentary look at them revealed that they all seemed to feel the exact same way about their Rejuvenation Trials... Nervous.

'They are exactly what I expected.' Was the thought that passed through his mind.

Drake pushed his chin softly in an upward angle, letting the soft popping of his joints wash over him in a wave of relief. A few of the students winced at the sound, something that brought a soft smirk to his lips.

Ari bowed her head to the homeroom teacher, a portly man with white hair who seemed to be in his mid-fifties. He stood and addressed the class room with a gesture.

"Alright everyone, this here is Drake, a third year B-Rank student. As I stated this morning, the tradition is for third year students to take four First years under their wing, and guide them as an instructor for their First and Second year. Now, I'm sure you all are a little nervous, but you just need to do what you can." He said.

There was a bit of cheeriness from the crowd of students, but most of them simply nodded in understanding. Drake nodded to the teacher, then turned back to the students.

"Alright everyone, my name is Drake Greymoor, I've been a student at this school for two years, this being my third. Now, I'm sure a few of you who've been keeping up with the goings on of Spirit Hunters might know my name, so let me go ahead and answer the common questions I get." He said.

A rather large number of students, mostly female, perked their heads up as his words registered.

"The exact number of Contracts that I have? Five, four Goddesses, One Demon. Am I human? Yes, yes I am. Do I devour souls in order to be able to have more than one Contract, maybe, maybe I'm just doing this so I can eat your souls." He said, baring his teeth in jest.

Some of the students tensed up even further than before, and the teacher deigned it necessary to step in.

"Alright, that's enough, Drake. Let's move on to the task that you'd like them to complete in order for you to grant them your consideration. I was thinking you could choose a few and... duke it out, per se." He said.

Drake stroked the soft goatee on his chin as he considered his options. He smiled and shook his head, pointing to the class as a whole.

"No... I think I have something better... I want a battle royale. I want all of you to beat the living shit out of each other's Avatars... but... keep this in mind... I'm looking for potential... I'm looking to see who out of your group is worth my time." He said, turning to the teacher. "Is that okay?" He asked.

"Sure, just give me some time to get the classroom set up." The teacher responded.

Drake tapped his foot impatiently, considering reminding the teacher that he had HIS OWN Rejuvenation Trial to attend.

After about three minutes, the classroom had been cleared of desks and chairs, now ready for an all out brawl. Given the sheer size of the room, even 50 students would have a hard time arguing that there wasn't enough space.

The students had spread out in the space of the room, with Drake marking a large square for them to stand in and fight. Each of the students had a decent amount of space between them and the next student. Drake looked at each student, then, satisfied, clapped his hands together.


A flurry of words filled the air, each the name of a God or Goddess. Many of the students had the same Avatar, some lesser God or Goddess that was easy to make a Contract with. The blows came just as quickly, with many people trading soft strikes, Drake's words about winning still on their minds.

Drake watched closely as one young man struck out at ablonde girl who... disappeared? His eyes scanned the class, before finding her again, unfortunately between two others as their blows were about to connect. She ducked and disappeared again, causing Drake to shake his head, trying to shake any possible illusion.

After this happened a few more times, Drake placed his index fingers on his temples and whispered.


A heat filled his skull, pulsing against the back of his eyes. He scanned the room once more, and noticed that everyone had stopped. The girl who had disappeared reappeared once more, and was walking slowly between the frozen bodies, her form shaking with nervousness as she moved.

"Hey!" Drake barked.

She shot up straight, her arms locking at her sides as she turned to face him.

"You... you... you can see me?" She stammered.

"You're stopping our perception of time, right?" He asked.

When she nodded, he motioned for her to come to him. She walked to him slowly, fully unsure of what would come next. When she reached him, he continued his query.

"What's your name?" He asked.

"F-F-Furushima Hibiki." She said, the stutter in her voice even greater than before.

"Hibiki, eh? Hmm... who're you contracted with?" He asked.

"Umm... Titan... Cronos." She said, her voice calming down slightly.

"Oooh... a Titan... don't see that every day. How long?" He asked.

"Um... about a month or two.." She replied.

"Wow... I thought you seemed a little unsure of yourself." He said.

Her head perked up slightly, the soft blond curls on her bangs bobbing loosely against her forehead. She was rather cute, her tiny form punctuated with breasts that seemed way to large for someone of her height. With Drake being slightly short for a man, and her coming up to only his shoulder, she was maybe four foot eleven, at most five foot even.

Her face filled with blush as she realized that Drake was scanning her in her entirety. After being satisfied with what he could see, he gave her a soft pat on the head.

"Hm... well, welcome to my Team, C-Rank Furushima Hibiki." He said, giving her a smile.

"What? Really!? C-Rank?!" She asked.

"Yep... like I said, I'm looking for potential, and you've already demonstrated more potential than most have." He said.

She sucked in a breath, then exhaled heavily.

"Thank you, sir."

"Just Drake will do. I already don't like the formality of this position. Can you let them go? I need three more like you so I can get out of here." He laughed.

Just like that, the fighting continued, and he immediately picked out another student, a red haired girl who seemed to dart amongst the students with speed that seemed to outpace even those with Contracts with Hermes. She struck a male student who had sent a blast of energy her way with a blast of her own, completely trouncing his and knocking him to the ground.

"Stop time again." He demanded.

On cue, all of the students froze, save Hibiki and Drake, who had been expecting the change. He walked to the red haired girl and pointed to her.

"If I touch her... she regains her perception of time, right?" He asked.

Hibiki nodded, and Drake tapped on her forehead. Her body flailed with shock, her leg kicking out and almost striking his head. His arm shot up and caught her ankle mid kick.

She stared at him for a moment, trying to piece together exactly what had happened. Upon understanding to some degree what she was doing, she jumped back, a look of horror plastered to her face. She dropped down to her knees and bowed.

"I'm so sorry! I don't know why I attacked ju!" She said, her odd pronunciation of the word "you" being the first thing he noticed about her after her stark beauty.

Almost exactly opposite to Hibiki, she had a thin, tall form that seemed purpose built for speed and athleticism. Her red hair framed her more mature face, which was completely unblemished, save for a small mole beneath the left side of her lip.

"It's fine... who are you Contracted with?" He asked.

"Aries, Mister Drake." She said.

"A Constellation? Another rarity..." He said. "And your name?" He continued.

"Ah! Forgive me... my name is Colette Villiger, it's a pleasure to meet you." She said, standing and giving a more greeting appropriate bow.

"Heh, same... welcome to my Team, C-Rank Colette Villiger." He said.

"Oh! Thank you, sir!" She said.

He motioned to Hibiki, and Colette dutifully took a spot beside her, outside of the square.

He returned to his own spot and asked Hibiki to release the students, intent on using her power of time manipulation to ensure that he made it to his Trial on time.

As the students continued like nothing happened, he set about scanning the bunch again. He came up empty, at least for a few minutes, until he noticed something odd about two of the students.

Two girls near the back of the square were fighting each other, not so strange. But they didn't seem to be using any powers from their Contracts. Instead, they seemed happy to pummel each other with bare hands.

"Stop them again." He said.

One final time, the students stopped in their tracks, and Drake made his way over to the two girls. He pulled them by their collars, bringing them back into reality... only to be greeted with a kick to the stomach from one side, and a jab to the face from the other.

The girls looked at Drake, confusion etched in their gazes. Despite the animosity they had put into their strikes, he seemed wholly unfazed. He put them down, and turned to the girl who had punched him.

"Your name?" He asked.

"Valeria Astakhov." She said.

She had jet black hair, and was somewhere between Hibiki and Colette, height wise. The parts of her face not bruised, swollen, or cut seemed as though they belonged to a "cute" girl, although said injuries made it hard to tell.

"Who's your Contract with?" He asked.

"Hephaestus." She said.

"The Fire Goddess... interesting... what about you?" He asked the other girl.

"Xeria Tsaplin." She said, turning and glaring into his eyes.

Her platinum colored hair was straighter than her dark haired adversary's, and her own face carried an undeniable attractiveness to it. She looked to be the exact same height as Valeria, with the only difference in proportions being her own slightly larger bust.

"Tsaplin... and Astakhov... you two are Russian?" He asked.

They nodded.

"Who's YOUR Contract with?" He asked.

"Ababanili." She said.

"The Chickasaw Fire Spirit? Wow... you must be the only one Contracted with her... nice..." He said.

He guided them back to Colette and Hibiki, where the 4 quickly introduced themselves to one another, the animosity between the Russian girls seemingly gone.

"Well everyone... I've seen enough from the four of you to feel comfortable giving you all C-Rank." He said to them.

"But we didn't use our-"

"You didn't use your Contracts... but the both of you are REALLY roughed up, enough that I'm sure that most of your classmates here would have passed out from pain. You two went at it for a while there. We call what you two have "resilience" and it serves the pros wonderfully in the field." He said.

He skirted the outside of the square, then tugged on the frozen teacher's shirt, pulling him back into reality.

"Hey... I've got the four I want, when we leave, everyone else should start moving again... thanks for your time." He said.

"Of course... just curious, but what Rank are you giving them?" He asked.

"C... they've demonstrated prowess that I believe deserves that much." He said.

"Wonderful! I'm glad that some of Ivoria's E-Rank students proved themselves worthy today... you have your own Trial, right? You'd best move along." He said.

Drake grabbed his sister's arm, shaking her back into reality as well.

"Oh! Are you done?" She asked, wholly unfazed by the trip into purgatory.

"Yeah, I'll introduce you on the way... but right now we have to move!" He said.

His hands clapped together, and commanded his new students to file out of the door.

'Guess it's time to decide which of you are going to help me in my Trial.'

Poynt Fury