“Argh! That retard Shin!”
Junius’ headache was getting worse as the exposed Shin slowly walked to their direction.
Shin tilted his head as he gave his greetings.
“So you are one of the three who are awakening their spirit? Meh… Anyway, if you didn’t hear, I need to assess one of you… Could you spar with me for one round? Please help me out, or grandad will scold me again…”
Linus requested Shin to fight.
Shin was speechless. He thought that by following Junius, he could provide moral support for his friends but it turned out that he was the one that required the help.
“Ermmm… Linus is it? Why don’t you take on those from the direct lineage instead? For example, Ariel from our division is also undergoing her spiritual awakening tomorrow.”
Shin wanted to pass the buck to his childhood friend Ariel.
Junius and Lily were flabbergasted. How could Shin sellout their friend so quickly? Was he still vengeful that Ariel beat him to a pulp?
“Sister Ariel? I can’t do that. Grandad told me to fight those from the Orphans!”
A childish Shin who was prepared to sabotage his friend and a childlike Linus who was adamant in following his grandad’s orders clashed.
“But I am weak!”
“It’s okay! Just show me what you got!”
“So I am supposed to stand there and let you injure me?!”
“Yeah! If not grandad will scold me!”
This back and forth exchange continued. All the spectators had a bitter smile as they witnessed these two ten-year-olds acting like they were five.
“Linus! Just beat him up. Let’s just finish the assignment given by the Elder and leave this depressing place.”
Leon, who could not take it anymore, asked Linus to beat up Shin.
Ryner stepped forward with clenched fists ready to fight the rude intruder, but a hand appeared in front of him.
“Ryner, don’t attack them first. No matter what happens, we can only endure. Even if we are provoked, if we throw the first punch, we would be at fault. The first elder would be able to do something if they were the ones who started fighting, but if we did it, the punishments we will receive is much more than what they would receive.”
Junius logically explained to Ryner. Ryner clenched his fists and held himself back. As if thinking of something, Junius gave a wry smile and continued speaking.
“Maybe letting Shin fight this Linus would help him be more serious.”
As Ryner and Lily heard Junius revelation, they gasped.
“Young master Linus!”
Junius called out one of the two youths who was arguing.
“Hmmm… What is it big brother Junius? Also, calling me Linus is fine though…”
“Then Linus! We can let you assess Shin, but please leave immediately afterwards. Shin still has to prepare for tomorrow.”
Blood drained from his face as Shin realized that the one he trusted the most was offering him up on a chopping block.
“Naturally… I wasn’t planning on staying too long anyway…”
“Okay, and could you reign in your lackeys? I personally don’t mind it but them insulting our abode is indirectly throwing insults at the first elder.”
It was true. The place that the orphans were living is was personally established by the first elder and insulting it meant demeaning the care the first elder put in making this place.
Leon was annoyed with Junius’ statement and snapped back at Junius. The same could be said about the other members escorting Linus.
Junius had no qualms about throwing insults back at the peace-distributors. They had come here with the intent to be disrespectful. Hence, Junius threw being courteous out of the window. Although they could not fight, he saw no reason to stand there and not retaliate when provoked.
“It’s fine brother Leon… ”
Linus glanced and Leon and walked towards Shin slowly.
“Hey… Shin right? Just give it you’re all… I need to tell grandpa the level that the orphans my age have achieved.”
Shin who was initially despairing on being sold out started to awaken at the words of the child the same age as him. Although there was no malice in the words he uttered, the intention was clear as day.
‘If I lose here, would it imply that the first elder teachings are bad hence giving a reason for the second elder to pick on us?’
Shin realized that his performance today would not only affect himself but the entire division as well.
‘Maybe that’s why he sent his grandson. Assuming that he inherited the second elder prowess, he should be someone near Ariel’s level.’
Thinking that he was going to face someone who was of similar levels to Ariel gave Shin a headache.
“So Shin… Let’s make this quick…”
Linus took a deep breath in and went into the standard Frie battle stance. The Frie Clan developed their own hand-to-hand combat style, and every member of the clan would be taught the very basics.
What Linus was displaying, with his legs crouched and left hand in front of his right was the standard Frie battle stance.
As Shin saw that battle was inevitable, he adopted the same stance.
The air was tense as none of the spectators was talking. All that could be heard were the breathing of the two boys.
Linus pounced at top speed towards Shin as he raised his right leg towards Shin’s face. As if expecting that, Shin dodged to the right as the vertical forward motion of Linus made it hard for him to change directions.
However, Linus landed his right foot which was in the air and delivered a back roundhouse kick in the direction Shin had dodged into. Seeing the left heel of Linus moving at top speed towards him, Shin bent his back to avoid the oncoming attack. After Linus’ rotation ended, Shin somersaulted away from the dangerous boy.
‘He’s fast! He might be a little faster than Ariel! I knew it! The Frie Clan’s ancestor must have been a big bully!! Why must all of them be so violent?!’
Shin had no time to collect his thoughts as a punch started flying in his direction. Quickly dodging the attack, he retaliated with a kick with his right leg, but it hit the air.
‘Damn it! He’s agile as well!’
The back and forth between the two continued as Lia muttered.
“Hey… They are not using spiritual energy right? How can they be so fast?”
Even Lily was slightly shocked at the lazy bum who was physically adept.
“Although they are not as fast as Junius, they can’t be that far off. I can probably understand the second elder’s grandson but how is Shin this fast as well?”
“Haha! Lily, you’re surprised, right? I told you that you underestimated him. Think about it. If he can keep pace with that monster Ariel, he should be capable of this much.”
Ariel Frie. Even at the age of five, she had the strength that could match teenagers. Amongst every youth of the Frie clan, her pure martial arts is at the very best. In particular, her power strikes. It was said that one day when she was nine, she accidentally injured a Spirit Apostle in a pure martial arts session even though she had not cultivated an ounce of spirit power.
Due to the first elder’s ‘love,’ Shin has been fighting against Ariel as long as he has been in the Frie Clan. Naturally, he could not match the strength of the beast. Thus, he ran. The first spar session with Ariel still gives Shin nightmares. Ariel back then still had little control over her strength, and every punch could cripple Shin many times over. Thankfully, the first elder intervened in time if not Shin would not be alive right now.
As the battles went on over the years, Shin had developed cat-like reflexes and blinding speeds to survive the ordeal that is Ariel.
“Haha! So running away from Ariel made him strong! This is ridiculous.”
Lily snickered as she thought of her friend who was probably still sleeping at this hour.
Not only were the orphans shocked, but even the guys who came with Linus were also speechless.
“To think that there was someone other than young lady Ariel who can keep up with Linus regarding speed.”
One of them whispered to the other. Linus was unbeaten in his age group due to his agility and speed. Most of the kids who challenged Linus could not even touch him. However, it seems that the tables had reversed in this situation. No matter what Linus did, he could not make contact with Shin.
Leon’s face turned sombre as he thought to himself.
‘As expected, the orphans might have another expert in their midst. Although limited in number, they could become an asset to the Frie clan in the future… I wonder why the second elder is so insistent on driving them out?’
Not a hint of arrogance could be observed from Leon. He acted like a bully since the second elder hated the orphans and ordered Leon to make their lives miserable whenever they met, but he could not see the value in agonizing future experts that could bring merit to the now weakened clan.