After the disturbance caused by Ariel, the Shrine Maiden calmed the vicinity and resumed the ceremony. However, even she was shaken. She had been performing the Spirit Awakening Ceremony for years and never had she help awaken a Spirit that could trigger a natural phenomenon. To her knowledge, it was the first time in the Frie Clan history that someone initiated a natural phenomenon when awakening their Spirit.
Not only was she excited about what the future holds for the little she-devil, but also the future of the Frie Clan. If Ariel matures safely, she might be able to become the most influential individual the clan has ever seen. By then, the Frie Clan would be able to rise from the ashes and reclaim its spot as one of the most decorated families in the Himmel Empire.
Casually calling the other children present, the Shrine Maiden was trying to quicken the process as there was vital time lost due to Ariel damaging the floor in front of the altar.
The children who went after Ariel performed underwhelmingly. Maybe it was due to nerves, many of them took longer than ten minutes to awaken their Spirit. Of course, no one else was able to trigger a natural phenomenon, but that was to be expected. Ariel was the anomaly.
But no one could blame them. After witnessing Ariel’s performance, even veterans would have been shaken to the point where they would not be able to control their bodies.
“Next, Linus Frie.”
The entire clan were looking forward to this year’s Spirit Awakening Ceremony. Why? Because of two individuals. One was the infamous First Elder’s granddaughter. The one who injured a Spirit Apostle even before she cultivated spiritual power. The other individual was the Second Elder’s grandson. A genius that could match the monstrous innate body of Ariel. The two clashed a few times, and every match ended with a draw. Ariel was merely too much slower than Linus.
Ariel’s speciality lay in the power of her strikes. But her strength was useless if she could not land any of her hits. So when she was up against Linus, who was the fastest and most agile kid in the Frie Clan, she was unable to secure the win.
“Since Ariel awakened such a Spirit, do you think Linus will too?”
“I doubt it. Ariel was different from Linus from the start. Her Spirit should be a result of her innate talent. Something that Linus lacks.”
“But he is the only one who can fight Ariel to a draw!”
“That does not mean that his Spirit would be as awesome as Ariel’s.”
Those remaining in the Shrine Room speculated about the boy’s Spirit as he slowly made his way to the altar. Once in position, he knelt down and shut his eyes tight.
“Hey Ella, when will it be our turn?”
Shin was confused on why it took so long for the Shrine Maiden to call out their names.
“Didn’t brother Junius tell you? I bet you weren’t listening again!”
“Half of the words that come out from his mouth is constant nagging, so I usually ignore him!”
“And you’re proud of that?!”
Emma giggled at how the two were starting to fight again.
“Anyway, we will awaken our Spirits once the rest have done so. It was the case for every Spiritual Awakening Ceremony since brother Junius underwent it four years ago…”
As she said that, Ella started to become downcast.
“Oh, I see…”
Giving preferential treatment to those with the Frie bloodline was something that the orphans were used to. After all, the best should be given to the immediate family. Something Shin and the others were not.
“Okay! Don’t start getting depressed! Look! Linus is going to begin the ceremony. Maybe it might cause a sensation like when Ariel awakened her Spirit.”
Trying to change the topic, Shin directed the twins attention to the boy kneeling at the altar.
“Linus, look inside yourself…”
The same procedure that had been repeated many times this morning was conducted by the Shrine Maiden on Linus.
Like Ariel, a scarlet red glow started to emit out of the young boy’s body. However, unlike Ariel, there was no increase in temperature.
As the Second Elder saw this, he started to give a visible frown. After all, his rival had one-upped him. His own grandson was not able to match up with the First Elder’s granddaughter.
‘Looks like there will not be two geniuses under the same sky…’
The Shrine Maiden sighed to herself. If the Frie Clan had two monstrous Spirit practitioners, the future would be much more optimistic. After being crippled ten years ago, the Frie Clan had been focusing all its efforts on rebuilding, and one aspect of the process was to train talented individuals.
‘We should not be too greedy. Linus himself is a great talent.’
Although she said that in her head, the Shrine Maiden was nevertheless, disappointed.
All of a sudden, the red glow being emitted by Linus started to condense into a ball in front of him. The ball of red light started growing smaller and smaller till eventually…
A crisp and sharp voice could be heard. The ball of light dispersed and revealed a small rainbow coloured bird that was apparently a hatchling. It looked around in confusion for a while until it spotted Linus. With a chirp, it happily hopped to the boy.
“Oh ho… It’s a Niji Swift.”
“The Second Elder’s spirit is an Emerald Lion. I was sure that Linus would have awakened something similar. To think that his grandson awakened a bird Spirit.”
The First Elder and Clan Master commented.
The Niji Swift is a Spirit that specialises in extreme speed. Amongst bird Spirits, it was one of the fastest. It was fitting that a fighter, whose emphasis was on speed, awaken one of the fastest Spirits.
“Although not as eye-catching as Ariel’s awakening, if nurtured properly, this Spirit can become a tremendous asset to the clan.”
The Clan Master remarked.
“I agree. The Niji Swift is one of the rarest Spirits to have. It might cause a problem in finding information on how best to train it. But being one of the top bird species, there are a few basic methods we can try.”
The First Elder replied the Clan Master.
“Hmmm… Weren’t you and the Second Elder both at odds, why are you so supportive of Linus? Shouldn’t you want to devote more assets to Ariel?”
The Clan Master teased the old man.
“I only have a problem with the backward fella over there whose entire body is filled with hate. I support any type of increment in strength to the Frie Clan. No matter where it comes from.”
“You should know why he turned this way… And I doubt you can blame him. After all, he lost his only son in that battle.”
“So did I…”
The two realised that the conversation was starting to go the wrong way and decided to keep quiet to stop exchange before it got too awkward.
“Anyway, who amongst the three orphans being sent out has the best potential?”
The Clan Master changed the discussion topic.
“The twins show promise. But I would think Shin has the best potential.”
“The one who fought Linus to a draw?”
Being the Clan Master, she had to know every single incident in the Clan. The report on how Linus and Leon visited the orphans to pick a fight had been relayed in detail to the Clan Master. The First Elder even filed a complaint on the Second Elder, so it was hard for the Clan Master to forget the incident.
“Yeah. But that’s not the reason why I fancy his chances.”
“Hmmm… Why then?”
“Hmph. That little brat has been Ariel’s training partner since he could walk. And so far, Ariel has not beaten him once.”
The Clan Master was genuinely alarmed. Ariel had long become a legend in the clan. Her monstrous strength and ridiculous combat skills made her one to look out for. She had long held the title for the strongest child in the Frie Clan. Even though she had drawn with Linus when they fought, it was not considered a defeat. But the First Elder was claiming that Ariel could not even beat this lean black-haired youth?!
“Don’t look down on Shin. Most of the time he seems weak, but that is merely a farce. That boy is as talented if not more talented than Ariel. It’s just that he wants to avoid drawing attention to himself as much as he can.”
“There’s no way… Are you telling me that he had defeated Ariel in a fair fight?”
“That’s right! The angry face Ariel’s back then was so cute!”
As the First Elder started to reminisce about the time where Ariel lost to Shin, a happy parently smile appeared. Frowning, the Clan Master urged the old man to continue his story.
“Cough. Cough… Ever since that defeat, Ariel has been training hard to earn a win over that kid. If Shin did not exist, I doubt that Ariel would have become as strong as she is now.”
“Wait, so Ariel has never trumped Shin in battle?!”
“Well, that’s not technically right. During practice sessions, Shin normally runs away from Ariel and ensures that he would not get hit. During those times, Ariel would sneak in a minor victory by lightly bruising Shin. However, if there was something on the line, let’s say I ban him from eating his favourite foods if he loses, Shin becomes a demon. When he is in that state, not even Ariel could pin him down.”
The First Elder narrated his experiences with Shin to the Clan Master.
“To think that you were hiding another monster in your division…”
“Shin does not have Ariel’s superhuman strength though. It’s just his natural physical awareness and battle sense that vastly exceeds Ariel’s.”
“Hoh… Now I’m looking forward to this little boy’s achievements.”
Unbeknownst to Shin, the highest authority of the Frie Clan had locked on to his little body.