The next few hours were extremely mundane as the students following Shin put on a lacklustre performance, and to be honest, who could blame them? Other than Kanari, yet another Spirit Core practitioner had been revealed, and he was in the very same class as themselves! Due to that fact, many of them were suffering from a mild case of inferiority complex and developed a slight performance issue. Often times, the training golem would smash the students’ Spirit straight back into their bodies while they were nervously trying to do their best.
Naturally, some freshmen were wholly unaffected by Shin’s superb display. Suji and Danroy took Shin’s performance as fuel to produce even more excellent results. Using his Purple Dragon Crescent Blade, Suji slammed the golem into a hundred pieces yet again, sending coils of lightning crashing around the field, generating a carnage only seen from natural disasters. Suji’s message was crystal clear. Even though Shin had condensed his Spirit Core before him, that didn’t mean that the black-haired youth was superior to him.
Danroy also didn’t disappoint. Earlier in the year, he was unable to thoroughly destroy the training automation and was forced to swallow up his pride. However, this time, he used the full powers of his Bangeo Rhinoceros to smash a hole straight through the chest of the golem, forcing it to immediately go out of commission.
Finally, the twins were the next highlights of combat class C. Having dozens of their fans show up to cheer them on, Ella and Emma got into the ring with abashed faces. As expected, they began to show why they were famed as the Faries of the Hail. The Blizzard Fairy Sharpshooter, Ella, started to rapidly fire her icicle barrage at a speed that not even Shin could easily evade, while the Glacial Fairy Markswoman, Emma, was giving long-range support from the back lines. In just a few moments, the training golem was unable to take anymore onslaught and eventually, turned off by itself.
During Mychael’s session, four training automatons, which had been wired to sustain vast amounts of damage, had been wholly whacked out of commission by a bunch of freshmen in his class. Of course, Madam Warulee, who was in charge of logistics, was absolutely livid when she heard about that fact, and demanded that Mychael’s class should get banned from ever using the training golems ever again.
“It sure is getting crowded,” Shin complained while being sandwiched between the two purple-haired twins. After finishing their mid-year practicals, the trio promptly escaped from the area, lest they got mobbed by the sea of curious gazes. Unfortunately, their next destination was filled with even more meddlesome onlookers.
“Well, it is Kanari’s turn to get assessed. Everyone in the school, from teachers to upperclassmen, would want to catch a glimpse of her combat abilities. I mean that’s why we’re here too.”
“I know that…” Shin sighed in indignation.
Currently, the trio were in yet another training yard where a bunch of training automation were lying in wait at the centre of the flat arena. Just like how people were allowed to spectate Shin and the twins assessments, they could also enter into other student’s evaluations to act as a bystander. Crashing in on the mid-year practical test for combat class A, the trio eagerly waited for the event.
“Kanari’s Spirit… We finally get to see it in action.” Shin bit his lip in anticipation. Even though Kanari and himself were friends, the ethereal black-haired beauty never once summoned out her Spirit in front of him. The only information that he had about Kanari’s Spirit was just hearsay from the twins and the blabbermouth Isadore.
“Yeah… Now that she’s at the peak of Rank 22, many people would want to see how much she has grown as well.” Ella added onto Shin’s point with squinted eyes. Down at one corner, Kanari and Elrin were isolated from the group as they mentally prepared themselves to take the assessment. At the centre of the ring, there was a tall and well-built man, who seemed to be a model straight out from a teacher’s magazine, was presently trying to do a head count.
“Hmmm, that seems about right. Alright, students! The mid-year practical for combat class A is about to begin! When I call your name, you must come straight up to challenge the training golem. If I deem it to be necessary, I will assess you myself.” The teacher shouted out while holding up his name list. “The first person… Casie Navin, please step up.”
A thin and timid looking girl got up from her seat and slowly walked towards the centre of the ring, trying her best to block out the fact that there were hundreds of eyes prying into her very soul. Although all of the spectators weren’t here for her, it still affected the poor girl tremendously.
“I almost feel bad for the rest of the group… Everyone’s here to see Kanari in action, and yet, her innocent classmates are the ones that are suffering…” Emma sympathised with the young girl, who was currently at the centre of attention.
“There’s no helping it… Kanari is by far the most popular girl in the academy, scratch that, she’s the most popular girl in the entire Capital. There is no doubt that there would be hundreds of people trying to view her powers.”
While the three orphans were conversing, numerous students went onto the stage and did their best to take down the training golem. Unfortunately, the pressure from the surroundings proved too tremulous for some of them, and they underperformed. Although the crowd could pity the students, ultimately, they were here for one reason only…
“Kanari Saniela! Please step up.” As the teacher called out the young teenage girl’s name, the crowd broke out in commotion, some spectators even rose up in complete jubilation. The time that they had waited for had finally arrived.
Heaving out a huge sigh, Kanari shook her head as she used her silky smooth hands to dust her skirt. Sashaying down the aisle like a runway model, the black-haired beauty immediately became the prime focus of everyone in the training facility. The young boys seated at the aisle started to blush as Kanari brushed past them, while the girls were enthralled by her heavenly grace.
Reaching the middle of the arena, Kanari moved her eyes that sparkled like rubies towards her teacher, signalling that she was ready to begin her assessment.
“Do your best… Is what I want to say, but please hold back so that you don’t destroy the golem. I don’t want to get chewed by Madam Warulee…” The man advised the black-haired beauty. However, Kanari was currently zoned out. Taking one peek into the crowd, she noticed a pair of azure eyes that was fixed onto her body, forcing her to recall a bitter memory.
‘Shin… He grew so strong in just a few months… What have I been doing?’ Kanari thought.
Having witnessed the black-haired boy’s spectacular display earlier on in the day, Kanari fell into a state of reflection. Throughout the years, she had been mindlessly chasing perfection, with no apparent goal in sight. Due to her immense talent and resources, Kanari had towered over those in her generation, and there has never been a time where she felt inferior to anyone. Yet, everything changed after she befriended Shin.
Shin wasn’t given the same love and attention that Kanari had received since she was young. Being an orphan in the Frie Clan, he didn’t have access to the same amount of resources as well. However, his drive was far higher than her own. Working as hard as a horse, Shin persisted on forging his own path and trained day in, day out, so that he could accomplish his goals. There were even days where she personally witnessed how hard the boy worked in his cultivation and physical training, and how he would torture himself to improve.
Even though Shin had already made history to become the youngest healer that the world had ever seen, in pursuit of his goals, he was able to forgo the fame and fortune that would follow him if he revealed himself to the world.
For the first time in her life, Kanari felt that she was… inferior. Shin was weaker as compared her. Less experienced in combat as compared to her. But nonetheless, he was superior to her.
‘I have been too overconfident. There’s always a mountain higher… Mother, I finally found my mountain.’ Clenching her fist, the young girl released a slight spiritual pressure as the mana within her body circulated out of her Spirit Core. An ivory white light shone from the depths of her Spirit Core as her body started to metamorph. ‘So I’ll prove to you, Shin! That I will be a leader that’s worth following!’
A pillar of white light erupted from the bottom of Kanari’s feet, engulfing the entire beauty up, obscuring her from the vision of the audience. The moment the pillar of light emerged, the teacher standing close by immediately jumped back to evade the oncoming surge of spiritual energy. Bewitched by the gorgeous luminescence, the audience immediately fell into a tranquil state, as if a gentle brush had been stroking at their souls.
After a few seconds, all of the spiritual energy being released by Kanari congregated into her body, as nine glorious fluffy tails materialised at the back of the young girl’s body. Each one of the ivory-coloured tails moved independently as if they had a mind on their own. On the crown of her head, two sharp-pointed ears grew out, and they twitched lightly whenever the gentle breeze caressed them.
Kanari’s ruby-coloured eyes had become more defined as it started to glow in an ominous light, spellbinding any human that gazed upon them. Moving down to her hands, the young girl’s fingernails had turned into razor-sharp claws that could lacerate any sort of flesh that it came into contact with. Finishing her Spiritual Body Enhancement, Kanari raised up her right hand until it hit her chest. All of a sudden, a pale blue flame appeared within the palm of her hand and divided itself into three balls of fire that circled around Kanari’s body. Taking one step forward, a robust mystical gale propelled the lightweight girl off from the ground and sent her flying towards the automation standing not far away from her.
“That’s!” Ella dropped her jaw as she cried out.
“That’s Kanari’s Spirit… The Kumiho…” Shin blurted out with his eyes widened as well. “Governing over three elements, Wind, Fire and Mind, the Kumiho is one of the most special Spirits to ever hit the records of human history. Its versatility means that the Kumiho is by far, one of the most all-rounded Spirits to ever exist.”
“Exactly. The Kumiho possesses a multitude of inherent abilities that would essentially label it as a cheat among cheats. Firstly, anyone that lays their eyes on those pupils would be charmed unless they have the willpower to resist that enchantment. That very ability is why Kanari is called the Witch in the South by those from the Kori Federation.” Shin explained all of the information that he sucked out from Isadore about Kanari’s Spirit.
“Secondly, the Kumiho can summon out deadly balls of fire, each one with the capability of melting even the toughest of metal. And finally, the Kumiho can also manipulate the wind to their liking.”
“That’s… absurd.” Hearing the facts about Kanari that she didn’t know, Ella couldn’t find the words to describe her shock. “No wonder everyone is crazy over Kanari’s future potential… Her Spirit is stupidly strong!”
“I know… Governing over multiple elements is a rarity among all Spirits, and yet, the Kumiho possesses three of them.” Even though Shin was the one narrating the facts, he still couldn’t believe the words that came out from his mouth. However, the ethereal beauty on the field was definitely showing off her dominion over the three elements.
Flying in the air, Kanari sent one of her three blue flames straight onto the ground right underneath her, forming a fiery pale blue blaze in the process. Sensing that it was in danger, the training golem rebooted itself and promptly retreated, however, there was no way that Kanari would let that happen. Waving her outermost tail at the blaze, Kanari sent a shockwave of air, instantly spreading the blue fire towards the escaping automation, encompassing it in flames in the process.
“Hoho… Was that not enough?” Kanari smirked as she watched the training golem struggle to get the flames off it. Apparently, her first attack wasn’t capable of destroying the automation in one go. “I guess… It’s time for the debut of my third spiritual ability.”
When Kanari awakened the Kumiho, she was granted three inherent abilities due to her control over the three elements. Charm, Foxfire, and Gale Control. During her promotion to the Spirit Apostle realm, Kanari learnt how to use Spiritual Body Enhancement. However, her third spiritual ability has never been publicly released before. After all, she had only recently condensed her Spirit Core, and there were no events for her to showcase the ability.
Leaving her body to float in the air, Kanari’s nine tails erratically moved as the mana spreading out from her pores distorted the air around her. Those that were inside of the training yard suddenly felt a drastic dip in temperature as a swooshing gale terrorised the facility. Turning their eyes skywards, they could see a faint celestial object forming behind the levitating young girl, making her seem like an immortal descending from the heavens.
Naturally, everything that they were witnessing was an optical illusion created by the Kumiho’s discharge of mana, making it appear as if a moon had appeared indoors. However, knowing that it was a phantasm didn’t take away how intimidating it looked.
As the moon behind Kanari become more and more dazzling, the young girl pointed her finger at the poor automation, which was still trying to rid itself of the pale blue flames that were stuck onto its body. When her mana reached its peak, Kanari simply said two words.
The moon behind the black-haired beauty instantly turned into a vicious ray of radiant light and crashed down onto the platform. Unable to outrun the speed of light, the only thing that the golem could do was to raise its hands in indignation as it was incinerated into fine dust by the concentrated mana beam.
“…” Silence dominated the field soon after. All around the arena, no one could believe what they had just witnessed. Even the teachers with a significantly higher cultivation level couldn’t fully comprehend what had just happened.
Kanari’s Lunar Beam was a combination of all of the three elements that she controlled. Using fire and wind, Kanari concentrated all of the heat into one point while using her mind element, she could create an illusion that the moon had appeared behind her, intimidating her enemies in the process.
Falling down from the air, Kanari released her Spiritual Body Enhancement and reverted back to her regular state. Walking down leisurely towards the teacher who had dropped both his grading sheet and jaw, the black-haired beauty enquired with a monotone voice. “Teacher, are we done?”
“A-Ah… Yeah! You don’t need to be further assessed by me!” The man stuttered as he replied the girl who was almost a third his age. After that crazy attack, only a lunatic would be willing to get into the ring with Kanari.
“So that’s the full might of the Witch of the South…” Shin thought out loud.
“Yeah… Kanari is insanely overpowered.” Emma unconsciously responded. “How is anyone able to steal the valedictorian spot away from her?!”
“…” Mindlessly staring down at the black-haired girl’s visage, Shin suddenly met eyes with Kanari. Putting on a radiant smile, the goddess-like girl shot an arrow into the hearts of all those that laid eyes on her. However, to Shin, Kanari’s subtle gesture had a particular hidden meaning that only he could decipher.
Kanari had always been vocal about how she wished to recruit him under her wing, and her display of might was to show him how reliable she was as a partner. If he became her subordinate, Kanari would use the power that she had shown here to aid him in whatever goals he wished to accomplish.
‘She’s… Really determined huh?’ Shin mentally sighed. ‘I guess I’ll have to take her offer a little more seriously next time…’