Chapter 18:

Chapter 5.1, Coliseum

Don't Worry, We Have the Best Supporter in Our Team

“How did it end up like this?”Bookmark here

They were back in Alice and Jayce’s apartment unit, after helping Irene and Aiden settled in their new accommodation.Bookmark here

“We don’t have any ingredients to cook for dinner.”Bookmark here

“Didn’t you two bought new ingredients from the Moon Village before coming to the Academy?” said Alice.Bookmark here

“Our weapons took up most of the spaces in our magic gloves.”Bookmark here

Irene and Aiden apologized to them. Jayce then breathed out a sigh, folding his arms at the sight of them. They were sitting by the dining table, casually drinking some tea as if nothing had happened.Bookmark here

Feeling resign, he then gave them an order. Bookmark here

“Fine. Everyone takes a bath before having dinner.”Bookmark here

“Is he always like this, Alice?”Bookmark here

“You can say that.”Bookmark here

After taking their baths and changed into their night wears, they returned to the kitchen. Jayce was preparing dinner for four. He also had to consider vegetarian dishes for Aiden, so he took out separate frying pans to cook different dishes. Bookmark here

The dinner he had prepared for them was the luminous salad he had served Alice last night and the steak that was bought from the Moon Village. Instead of the goat cheese, they used in the Moon Village’s Inn, he decided to use the dried luminous mushrooms he had bought from one of the travelling merchants they had met when they journeyed back to the Capital and some herbs he had in their kitchen.Bookmark here

During their meals, they had some light conversation to get to know each other. Bookmark here

“Irene, I was wondering who made the bow that you lent it to me?”Bookmark here

“My parents told me it was made by their old friend a long time ago. I did ask for the creator’s name, but they promised him to keep it as a secret.”Bookmark here

While Alice and Irene were talking about archery, Jayce asked Aiden discussed the poisons Aiden had used for his blade gauntlet.Bookmark here

“Aiden, did you purposely reduce the potency of your poisons to increase the sharpness of your blades? And what kind of spring mechanisms did you use?” Bookmark here

He pointed out to Aiden’s blade gauntlet.Bookmark here

“Yes. Although my poisons’ potency seemed to be above the threshold from what I wanted to be. I’m still trying to find the right recipes to make it less fatal. The spring mechanism is my family’s secret so I can’t reveal it. But these weapons can’t even compare to your weapons.”Bookmark here

“In terms of durability, my long sword reigns superior, but it still has many flaws. Like how much time it needs to assume my stance for another strike.”Bookmark here

“Hmm…” Aiden leaned back to the chair with a hand to his chin. “The only solution to that was to have better arm strength and reflex in order to prepare the stance more earlier and quicker.”Bookmark here

“Even with training, I don’t think I have any capability to do that. That was why I need Alice’s help.” Bookmark here

He turned to the girl in question.Bookmark here

“?” Bookmark here

She returned him a glance quizzically.Bookmark here

“When it comes to decision making, Alice is better than me. There is no guarantee for me to give orders to change the tide of the battle when I’m busy defending myself from our opponents.”Bookmark here

“Is that the reason why you let me provide support from the long-distance instead of close-quarters combat?”Bookmark here

“During that quest, yes. You just got your new ensemble and you’re not too familiar with the magic gloves I gave you.”Bookmark here

“But still… you could have got yourself kill from the bandit leader.”Bookmark here

“We made it out, right? As for Irene and Aiden, you need to buy some weapon racks. There wasn’t enough space to walk in a room full of weapons. A wall-mounted weapon rack will do.”Bookmark here

“Aiden and I will get that sorted out tomorrow.”Bookmark here

After Irene and Aiden left their apartment, Alice and Jayce began cleaning up the dishes at the kitchen. While doing so, a thought came across her mind and asked him. Bookmark here

“I know both Irene and Aiden work well together. But what kind of guild do you think they are going to join?”Bookmark here

“I have a feeling they are going to ask us whether they are allowed to join our guild. But they are hesitant for some reason.”Bookmark here

“I can’t think of any reason that makes them be that way.” Bookmark here

“I think they are preparing something. That’s for sure.” Jayce could guess what they had in mind, but it would be best not to anticipate it too much.Bookmark here

“…” Bookmark here

She looked down to the plates in the sink, pondering about it.Bookmark here

“Are you wondering about the compound magic that I cast to your dinner last night?” said Jayce, wiping the plates dry with the cloth that was withdrawn from one from the kitchen cabinets.Bookmark here

“Yes. I’ve read the magic circles, but I can’t seem to tell what makes them complement each other.”Bookmark here

“The answer to that lies in our conscious.” He pointed at his temple with his index finger.Bookmark here

“Our conscious?” she repeated, tilting her head slightly.Bookmark here

“What happens when you cast a fire spell to a block of ice?” He held out his hands, casting a fire spell in his right hand and ice spell in the other. Bookmark here

“The fire will melt the ice.”Bookmark here

He nodded. Bookmark here

“That is the human conscious.”Bookmark here

“I tried casting a fire spell while maintaining it to not to melt ice, but it didn’t work well.”Bookmark here

“Even if you cast magic with that mindset, human consciousness will not allow it to work.” He released the flames to the block of ice, melting it into water. He then prepared the spells in both hands again. “However, the trick to counter human conscious is by not thinking anything at all.”Bookmark here

“…So you’re saying we need to be mindless when it comes to casting compound magic?”Bookmark here

“Yes. But that applies for compound magic that defies logic. For conventional compound magic, the magic circles have to be conditional magic type. You have to inscribe the conditions onto the magic circles while maintaining their integrity. Some worked, others don’t. All that’s left is your creativity and you just have to test it out.”Bookmark here

“I see.”Bookmark here

                                                           ____________________Bookmark here

The next day, after the classes ended, Irene and Aiden headed off to the Capital in search for their everyday needs, while Alice and Jayce went back to their apartment to their own device.Bookmark here

“So we need to buy some ingredients, weapon racks, a few materials for arrows and weapon maintenance. What else do we need?” Bookmark here

“I think that’s all we need for now. I wonder, is there a place where we could fight other adventurers around here.” Bookmark here

He focused his hearing around their vicinity, gathering information regarding his question.Bookmark here

As they walked around the plaza, Irene and Aiden were discussing their needs. They wore their usual adventurer ensembles. The plaza was crowded with merchants stalls that sell weapons, armours and furniture.Bookmark here

Irene could tell the people around were staring at her bow. The bow she equipped was the wooden bow that was gifted by her parents. Her parents had a huge collection of bows back home, and sometimes they did suggest her to bring it along to the Capital, but she declined. She wanted to create bows and arrows with her own hands. Bookmark here

The bows she had stored in their apartment were still incomplete, each of them required specific materials in order to complete them as a whole and they can only be found either in the Capital or the higher rank quests.Bookmark here

She did mention about this to Aiden. He could understand how she felt about her weapons as he, too, was looking for materials for his weapons, but most importantly, his poisons. Bookmark here

The ingredients for the poisons were limited throughout the Capital. They knew about this after visiting ten alchemy shops in the Capital. They did come across Nora’s shop as she had the ingredients Aiden was searching for. Bookmark here

As for the weapon maintenance tools, they can be bought from most blacksmith stalls and travelling merchants. After completing their purchase, they went to the market to purchase one week supply of food and a few weapon racks. Travelling merchants nowadays had almost everything you need.Bookmark here

After getting everything they need, Aiden picked up a conversation from a group of adventurers about a match that was going to take place at the coliseum. Bookmark here

With that, he informed Irene about it and they had the same idea. They began climbing the nearest building they could find and made their way to the coliseum by jumping from roof to roof. Bookmark here

The people in the capital didn’t complain about their actions as this was normal in their daily lives, as long as they didn’t steal anything from anyone. Even if they did, the capital’s security guards surely would have apprehended them by now.Bookmark here

“Irene, where do you think is the best spot to watch the coliseum?” asked Aiden, who kept his ears open to get the image of the buildings around them to time his jump properly. Bookmark here

Along the way, the coliseum slowly came into her field of vision. She looked around for a better vantage point, taking into account their hearing capabilities until she saw a watchtower that lies just outside by the coliseum. Bookmark here

She gave the direction to Aiden and they picked up their pace towards it.Bookmark here

They met up with a guard who took post at the watchtower. Of course, they paid the fees to the receptionist before reaching to the watchtower. Bookmark here

After checking the tickets they had bought, the guard allowed them to watch the battle and he resumed his duty. Some may say the security seemed to be lax, but the guards were mainly retired veteran adventurers, taking these jobs as a means to kill time. Bookmark here

When they settled down, Aiden could feel the air around the guard was heavier, so he could tell he took his duty seriously. Part of him wondered, what kind of adventures he had gone through that made who he was now.Bookmark here

When they heard the cheers from the crowds, they were absorbed into the battle that was about to unfold in the coliseum. The match seemed to be a battle between a warrior and a magician. Bookmark here

The announcer struck the bell, signalling the battle to begin. Bookmark here

The magician raised his staff in the air and a magic circle formed a metre ahead of him. Snakes in the form of mana poured out of the magic circle and slither their way toward their foe. Bookmark here

“Will that be enough to stop him?” asked Irene.Bookmark here

“Doubt it.”Bookmark here

With his remark, the warrior gave one heavy swing of his axe, sending the snakes flying and back to where they came from. Without a moment to spare, the warrior dashed towards the magician, axe readied from his left.Bookmark here

Just as the axe was about to land on the magician’s side, the magician crossed his arms, blocking the hits with the snakes he had summoned earlier. He made use of the blow to distance himself away from him. Bookmark here

While being blown away, he cast earth spells, creating layers of walls between them. Bookmark here

“Your spells are not going to stall me that easily,” said the warrior, lifting the axe up high for a downward strike. He swung his axe down, rendering the walls before him useless, but—Bookmark here

“Unfortunately, I don’t have any intention to lose,” proclaimed the magician, who was about to unleash a fire spell. Bookmark here

As he activated the spell, a large magic circle appeared beneath the warrior, setting him up in ablaze. Bookmark here

Even with the magic gloves, the warrior endured the heat until it subsides. Once it did so, the warrior struck the earth with the pommel of his axe, keeping himself standing. His vision became fuzzy due to lack of oxygen in his body system. Bookmark here

The magician summoned more snakes and ordered them to restrained his opponent. The battle ended with the warrior unable to break free from the snakes’ grasp. The crowd cheered wildly; some were disappointed as the battle ended short. Bookmark here

Unable to satisfy most crowds, the announcer voiced her idea to them.Bookmark here

“Ladies and gentlemen! Are there any challengers who dared to battle with this magician?!”Bookmark here

The crowds let out another wave of excitement. Bookmark here

“Interested to join the battle?” said the guard who had been standing by their side. “Both of you can join the battle as a team. If you win, you can get the winning prize.” Bookmark here

From the beginning, he could tell they were no ordinary adventurers. He wanted to watch how they fare against this B class warrior. Bookmark here

With that, they gave a smile to each other and then to the guard. They thanked the guard for his information. Bookmark here

They each took a few steps from the ledge of the watchtower and made a sprint and jumped out of the watchtower. They managed to land on one of the coliseum’s pillars and headed towards the centre of the arena.Bookmark here

“Oh! We have new challenges! They seemed to be an archer and assassin class.” Said the announcer through a pocket-size mana crystal in her hand. Bookmark here

The mana crystal in her hand was crafted to relay every word she wanted to her audiences, which in this case, the coliseum’s audiences.Bookmark here

Ignoring the audiences and the announcer. They unsheathed their weapons and took a position. Aiden took the front while Irene positioned a few metres away behind him. Bookmark here

They exchanged their greetings to the mage before them. He returned their greetings in kind and struck his staff to the ground before him.Bookmark here

When the announcer signalled the battle to begin, two magic circles appeared in both magician’s hands. Bookmark here

“Dual magic?” muttered Irene, keeping her voice at a lower volume so that she was communicating only to Aiden.Bookmark here

“I will block off his spells, you will outflank him.” Bookmark here

“Got it.” Bookmark here

She nocked her arrow to her bow and moved around their opponent.Bookmark here

The magician released an ice spell towards her. Instead of dodging the projectile, she kept her bow trained on her target.Bookmark here

“Not gonna happen!” Bookmark here

Aiden appeared in front of Irene, destroying the icicle with a single swing of his blade gauntlet.Bookmark here

“Such blinding speed!” The announcer exclaimed at the spectacle. Bookmark here

The crowd didn’t cheer; they were watching the battle closely that they had never seen before.Bookmark here

The magician’s other magic circle produce a mana dagger in his left hand. He assumed his defensive stance. Bookmark here

“Aiden, you go on ahead. I can take care of myself.” Bookmark here

“Understood.” He took a few steps forward then disappear once more. Bookmark here

He looked around his surrounding. Aiden was nowhere to be seen, so that means… Bookmark here

“Above?” Bookmark here

The magician looked up and held his dagger high, meeting a strike from Aiden. He held out his other hand toward Irene, casting a barrier spell to deflect her arrow. Bookmark here

“Not bad.”Bookmark here

“We’re just getting started,” proclaimed Irene, readying another arrow to her bow. This time, she lowered her centre of gravity.Bookmark here

“Assassin skill: Paralysis Strike!” Bookmark here

With all his might, he struck the magician’s mana dagger, causing the magician’s muscle to numb, unable to move for a few seconds. Bookmark here

“Now!” Bookmark here

“Archer skill: Four-way Pincer.” Bookmark here

She fired her first arrow at the magician, then made an arc sidestep around her target and fired another arrow and repeat it until she fired her fourth shot.Bookmark here

While the arrows flew their way to their target, Aiden distanced himself away from the magician, recovering the numbness that crept through his arms. Paralysis Strike was a double-edged sword, the user will also experience the same effect as their target. Bookmark here

Although the mana shield from the magician was chipped off, including his previous battle with the warrior, he was still standing. He summoned a swarm of mana snakes, each and every one of them headed towards Irene.Bookmark here

She continued firing her arrows towards her foe while backing herself away from his snakes. When she got herself cornered, the snakes sprang towards her, but they were soon decapitated.Bookmark here

“Did you purposely let them come closer to me?” asked Irene, eyeing at Aiden in suspicion.Bookmark here

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” he responded, but there is a hint of an upturned smile at the corner of his mouth.Bookmark here

She shrugged it off. Bookmark here

“Shall we end this fight with a bang?” Bookmark here

She switched out her bow and arrows. The bow she withdrew from her magic gloves was made of Mithril bow; it was heavy and users had to possess good arm strength and the string was extremely taut. She then replenished her quiver with piercing arrows.Bookmark here

“That sound… you want to test that bow?” Bookmark here

“Yeah. But I need some time to fire it. Can you hold them off?” Bookmark here

Despite the fact that her bow was heavy, she was able to hold it normally as she was strengthening her arms with her mana.Bookmark here

With Aiden fast approaching the magician, the snakes flew out of his sleeves as a surprise attack to steer off Aiden’s attack and cast an ice spell at one of his legs. Bookmark here

“!”Bookmark here

An arrow pierced through three snakes then hits the magician’s arm, changing the trajectory of his ice spell.Bookmark here

“You sure took your time to fire an arrow,” said Aiden, shifting his stance for his next strike.Bookmark here

“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Bookmark here

She let out a small laugh when she nocked two piercing arrows to her bow. When she aimed them right at the magician, her eyes narrowed and fired it. Bookmark here

When the next two arrows flew toward the mage, he dodged them to the side. As soon as he recovered his stance, Aiden was nowhere to be seen. The only person within his field of vision was Irene, who lowered her bow and her expression seemed to be calm. He then heard a voice from his left.Bookmark here

“Assassin skill: Armor break!” Bookmark here

The magician’s mana shield dispersed immediately. He then fell unconscious without so much as a grunt. Aiden retracted his blade gauntlets and went back to Irene’s side. Bookmark here

The announcer and the crowd were speechless at the sight of the battle. Their eyes couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed: Irene’s marksmanship and Aiden’s blinding speed. Bookmark here

The announcer returned her focus to the task at hand and announce tonight’s victors. Bookmark here

“Ladies and gentlemen! The winner of tonight’s coliseum goes to the newcomers! Please give them a round of applause!” Bookmark here

After her announcement to signal the end of the battle, slowly, one of the crowd began applause and they grew into a wave of cheers to them.Bookmark here

The announcer jumped down from the platform and handed the rewards to them. Bookmark here

“Congratulation on winning today’s coliseum. We do hope you will come back some other time. What are your names?”Bookmark here

After accepting the reward from the announcer, they later told her that they weren’t particularly interested to take part in the coliseum anytime soon, so they decided not to give their names away. Bookmark here

The announcer understood their decision and continued her job. Bookmark here

“That will be it, folks! Thank you for joining us our today’s coliseum.”Bookmark here

After the battle, they exited the coliseum from where they had entered, trying to avoid the people who might be looking for them. As they climbed back up the watchtower, they were offered a hand from the guard who they just met earlier.Bookmark here

“Haven’t watched a battle like that for months! You have my thanks for participating in the coliseum.”Bookmark here

“We should be the ones thanking you. Although the magician was put up quite a fight,” said Aiden, taking the guard’s offer to lift himself up.Bookmark here

“Here, we don’t need the prize money. We had fun joining the battle.” Bookmark here

Irene handed out the pouch containing the prize money, but…Bookmark here

“You should keep the prize money, you two had a future ahead,” he held his hand up and shook his head, declining their offer. “I’m just an old man watching days go by before my very last breathe. Now I know the future generations can protect the Capital in my stead.”Bookmark here

Irene gave a grave expression after listening to the guard. Bookmark here

“Don’t be sad. This is how I wanted my life to be. Now go. The next guard will be here at any moment now.”Bookmark here

They gave a deep bow to the guard and headed off. The guard gave a smile and waved his goodbye to them. As he sat on the chair on the watchtower, he closed his eyes and took an endless sleep. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.