Linus was chasing Shin around as the latter easily dodged all his attacks. It shook Linus to the core. To think that there was someone faster than him in his generation. Even though he sparred with Ariel before, there was no clear winner as their speeds were similar with Linus taking a slight edge. After all, if Ariel landed a few of her hits on Linus, even he would not be able to come out unscathed.
But since he was a little faster, Ariel could not land most of her shots. With Ariel being the best pure martial combatant in their generation, Linus believed that he was the fastest kid in the Frie clan.
However, his trip to the orphans division proved otherwise. There was actually someone that he could not lay his hands on no matter how fast he attacked. Although his perceived title of fastest in his generation was dethroned, Linus did not feel disappointment or anger. All he felt was one emotion.
‘I’m going to hit him!’
It was desire. The desire to surpass the adversary in front of him and to retake his position as the fastest kid in the clan.
Linus started to take shorter intervals of rest and his attacks on Shin became more frantic.
‘His speed increased?’
Shin performed a manoeuvre to dodge Linus who increased his speed. Left kick, right uppercut, high knee. All sorts of attacks came flying Shin’s way. In the end, Linus jumped in the air and stretched his right leg far out. With a thump, the heel came flying down towards Shin’s face.
‘I can’t dodge!’
Realising his predicament, Shin crossed his arms together to block the incoming strike. It might break his forearm but at least his face was protected.
‘Goodbye, my arms… Thanks for your company all these years.’
Thinking that he was going to lose his arms, he looked away and closed his eyes. A split second later, Shin felt an impact on his arm.
‘Arghhh! It hurts! It hurts! It hurts?…’
Shin felt a slight impact but he realised that there was not as much pain as he expected. He opened his eyes and looked up only to see that Linus’ right heel was stopped by Shin’s defence.
‘Oh… He doesn’t have Ariel’s gorilla strength… Phew, my arms are still intact.’
Conditioned by Ariel, Shin’s body defences are already at the top end of children of his age group. In fact, it might be even stronger than the average adult. Years of having his bones damaged by Ariel and having it heal to grow stronger has made Shin extremely durable.
“Okay young master Linus, I believe you have an accurate grasp of Shin’s ability now?”
Junius walked in and stopped the fight. After all, no matter how durable Shin was, weakening him any further might actually cause problems for tomorrow’s spirit awakening.
Linus lifted his leg off Shin’s arms and relaxed. He smiled and replied to Junius.
“Yeah… I think this much should be enough… For now…”
Shin felt a shiver run down his spine when he heard the last two words Linus said.
‘For now? Is he planning to fight me again? I knew it Frie clan members are all battle junkies!’
Linus beckoned to Leon and others to leave. As the group walked further away from Shin and the orphans, Linus turned back and hollered.
“See you tomorrow!”
“He sure is weird. I thought that the second elder’s grandson would be more condescending but he seems to be alright.”
Junius gave his thoughts to those present.
“Hmph. So what? He’s surrounded by low lives like Leon. I’m pretty sure in the future he will become a bane to us.”
Ryner agreed with Junius but gave his opinion on what could happen in the future.
“Yeah, we have to be careful…”
Lily thought out loud.
“At least we managed to push them out of here… Hey Shin! Let’s go! We don’t want to be late for training!”
Junius turned to Shin only to find him drawing circles on the floor.
“Oh come on! You’re sulking now?”
“You sold me out! What kind of elder brother throws his little brother into a fight?!”
“It’s not like you’re injured or anything!”
“I could have been!”
Shin started quarrelling with Junius. He could not forget the despair he felt when Junius agreed Linus’ demands for a fight.
“Stop being a baby. Let’s go! Do you want the instructor to punish us?”
“Argh! I freaking hate you!”
Although Shin was vengeful that Junius betrayed him, his fear of the instructor ultimately propelled his feet in the direction of his peers.
Before training started, Junius recounted the orphan’s previous interaction with Linus and Leon to the instructor. After understanding the situation, the instructor told the orphans not to worry as he would discuss the matter with the first elder. Other than that, the day was mundane as usual. Shin trained together with the twins in preparation for their spirit awakening whereas those not involved in the ceremony stuck to their routines.
“What spirit do you think we would get?”
One of the twins, Emma, asked Shin and her sister.
“Spirits are not given you know…”
Shin replied apathetically.
“You know what I mean!”
Emma puffed her face and chided Shin. The two twins were indistinguishable other than the small mole that Emma had. With her cheeks expanded like a pufferfish, it was easier to locate the mole. Shin would often mix the two up thus the small mole was helpful for him.
“Ignore him, Emma, he would probably get a bad spirit after all. Maybe he would get a sloth spirit. Seeing that he likes to sleep so much.”
Ella chipped in on the conversation with a jab to Shin. Probably due to her attachment to Lily, Ella has developed a sense of discomfort when discussing Shin’s matters.
“Yeah yeah… You’re starting to sound a lot like Lily.”
“Thanks for the praise.”
Shin and Ella’s eyes met as invisible lightning sparked between the two of them. Knowing that the conversation was getting nowhere, Emma started speaking again.
“I think Shin might get a weapon spirit! Just like Junius!”
Emma responded with a smile.
Ella and Shin exclaimed at Emma’s prediction.
“I mean… You’re quite similar to Junius.”
“Emma… You can’t look at it that way. Look at Lily and Lia. They both have plant spirits but Lily is much more hardcore when compared to Lia!”
Shin gave Emma a logical comparison.
“Hey! Don’t talk bad about sister Lily!”
Ella snapped at Shin.
“Fine… Looking at how much you worship her, you would probably be elated if you awakened a spirit that is similar to hers. Since you would get to train with her.”
Ella remained silent but her face indicated that although she was annoyed with the way Shin phrased it, his statement did hold some truth.
“It would be great if we all had water spirits though…”
Emma softly stated. However, Shin and Ella did not answer it. Awakening water spirits were undeniably unprecedented in the Frie clan due to their fire heritage. However, all the current orphans had awakened water elemental spirits. Junius has his Azure Water Blade. Lily with her Magenta Lilypad. Ryner awakened the Acidic Salamander and lastly, Lia with her Cyan Hyacinth.
Every single one of the orphans had contracted a water elemental spirit that was unheard of in the Frie clan. Up till now, only four of the orphans had awakened their spirits so the First Elder could chalk it up to coincidence. But if tomorrow the trio also all awakened water spirits, there would be seven water spirit users.
The orphans had their suspicions but since it was not addressed by any of the Clan members, the could only keep their thoughts to themselves.
“Well, if we do we probably should ask the First Elder why…”
Shin murmured in a volume that the twins could hear. If every orphan had the same element, the water element to boot, why did the Frie Clan select them?
The twins nodded their heads in contemplation.
“I guess we will find out tomorrow.”