Legend of the Dragon Chapter 1: A new life (1)

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It was a dark and stormy night. Moonlight shone down through the little gaps between the clouds as a lone man was leaning against an old withered tree. He sat there with his wounded and weakened body, as his mind was frozen looking at his hands. Poisonous arrows were piercing his left forearm, left shoulder and right hip, his two gauntlets were shattered, barely holding together. Even worse was his right eye, covered by a massive cut, that was slowly turning black. Then there was blood. Blood everywhere. Recalling what just happened caused his hands to shake.
As the wounds were tearing at the last remains of his strength, he heard the metallic sound of a person clad in armor approaching. Barely able to keep his eye open and in the darkness of the night, he granted that person no more than a quick glance away from his hands, but that was all he needed. No matter how blurry his vision was, what situation they were in or how long they were separated, he would always recognise his friend.
Kneeling down in front of him, his friend looked him straight in the eye, checking for any signs of life and talking to him.
Since he was unable to give his friend any kind of response, he tried to understand him, but it didn't matter. He simply couldn't comprehend any of the spoken words. So he tried to focus his blurry view to at least properly see his friend. Slowly the blurriness faded, letting his view get clearer and sharper with every second, but as soon as he managed to get a better look, he felt devastated. The sight of his friend's face that showed absolute grief made him realise the truth. It happened. It really happened. It happened and he couldn't prevent it.
As a single tear came out of his left eye, his friend wiped it away and stood back up. Even though he still couldn't understand anything, his friend kept talking while looking for something in the distance. Once his friend had found it, he looked back at him one last time. With a pained look full of sympathy, the friend bid his farewell. In the next moment, he vanished.

*CRASH* Suddenly a blinding light, followed by a mind-shattering sound. Soon after came the massive rainfall. It was a lightning strike. An occurrence he was so familiar with and which once caused enemies to shiver in pure fear - whether by sight or by sound.
As the intense rain fell, it began to wash off the blood from his hands and wounds. As he realised what was happening, he tried to frantically cover his hands, clenching his fist and keeping them close to his body. His terrible wounds prevented him from proper movement, so much that standing up proved almost impossible, but even then, he tried to bend his body over his hands to shield what little blood was still on his hands.
This was the last he had left, the last time he could feel this connection. He tried everything he was able to do, but to no avail. Now it was all gone and with it, the last of his strength vanished and his vision blacked out...


Shocked he awaked in his bed. Breathless he gasped for air, before he felt an extreme sting around his right eye. Drenched in sweat he slowly got up while clutching his head with both hands.

("This dream again…")

He stood under the shower as he tried to calm his mind.
("Over a year has passed already… I need to accept what happened that day.")
To distract himself he pushed his hand against a sensor inside the shower. Aura gathered in his arm as he issued a voice command. "Turn on radio. Select news category; order by prior preferences."
As he put his hand away, a panel on the wall started glowing up. Once it reached maximum brightness the sound of the radio started.
Mechanical voice: "News by highest interest: first news story."
>>Yesterday at around 7pm in the evening another hostage situation has been resolved. The victim was the high-ranking noble, Professor Ahgad and his family, who is known for his latest progress in Prana-absorption technology. The main culprit was Ishgar Ceheno, a former commander in the Natherian army.<<

"Stop", he said after hearing the name. "Switch over to video news."

>>His demands were as following: "This is a message for our current 'ruler'. If you want this person to be released unharmed, I demand to see the body of Draganta Dacarmus. Before you let us confirm the death of our true king, we will never accept you as the rightful heir to the throne. You have one hour before I start cutting down the hostages one by one for every minute passing."
After kidnapping and taking hostages Ceheno and his followers had barricaded themselves inside the mansion of Professor Ahgad. Yet not even thirty minutes after the hostage situation started, the whole incident was resolved by the intervention of the newly found Storm Division. As an immediate response unit brought to life by the current king, Lord Irresta, they are personally selected by him and act as an independent unit. Under their own authority they sneaked into the mansion and killed all the captors. Sadly the son of Professor Ahgad was caught in the crossfire and is currently fighting for his life in hospital. We wish him the best and hope for a quick recovery.<<

Mechanical voice: "Second news"
>>Yesterday at around 4pm in the afternoon another fight occurred between the West Dragon Academy and the Dextry Garuma School. Three students of West Dragon were attacked on their way to school related business, when a group of twelve Dextery students ganged up on them and tried to inflict personal harm. As witnesses reported, the following fight was an unexpected beatdown. One of the three students from West Dragon was Iriel Catral, a third year and famous student for his participation in last year's Dragon Festa. As the Dextery students started to attack him and his fellow students, he single-handedly knocked them all down, while harming only two of them. This marks the fourth fight between the two schools in Wintforn this month.<<

Mechanical voice: "thir-..."
Suddenly the voice is interrupted by a alarm sound.
"... I forgot the time."

He rushed out of the hotel in his preferred clothing; a tight fitting black t-shirt and dark blue pants. Good for moving around and relatively light compared to the uniform he would be wearing soon. He ran across the street and stopped after jumping over a fence into an alley to look at his wristwatch: 8:53. The appointment was at 9:00. Too late if he didn't hurry. He took a quick look around him.
("Alright. Nobody should see me here. Let's hope that I can still do it.")

He concentrated his attention on his hand. As his fingers closed and formed a fist, energy also focused there. The energy encompassing and existing inside of everything in this world, the Aura. After gathering enough of his Aura, he pushed it into the ground. By forcing his Aura to move through the ground he could detect anyone in motion in his vicinity. As he combined it with his Aura-Vision he calculated a path he could use. With a suitable path found he gathered his Aura in feet and legs. After he accumulated a significant amount he whispered "Dragon Step" and started moving.

As he used his high-speed movement he was highly alerted while rushing through various covered passages. Just when he reached the end of an alley he suddenly noticed a person about to cross his path. To avoid the collision he stopped his movement instantly and tried to halt in front of her. Barely able to stop before he reached her, he failed to control his Aura properly, which resulted in an wave of Aura shooting straight forward that pushed the other person down.

Unexpectedly the girl suddenly vanished like an afterimage. Surprised to find the girl gone he noticed an ominous feeling coming from his back. Quickly he turned around only to see a shadow radiated on from the sun behind it.
To defend himself he raised his arm to block the attack, but the turning movement in addition to his bad Aura control made him lose his balance and slip. Adamant the shadow pushed him down, her forearm pressed on his neck while also using something sharp to push against his throat.
Flat on his back he looked up to her. Her long, blonde hair covered her face while the sun slightly blinded him. Since he didn't intend for this to happen, he held his hands up as signal for her to calm down.
"...my apologies for surprising you like this. Won't you forgive me?"

Cautiously she observed his reaction as she slowly lessened the pressure on his throat. With a look around them she didn't notice any feelings of hostility and finally agreed. She raised her upper body and took away her arm from his neck, while she spun the pen that she used against his throat around in her hand.

Finally she responded with a refreshing smile:
"Alright, I'll forgive you."

Long eyelashes, small dimples and crystal clear green eyes almost shining through strands of hair. Pulling back her bright blonde hair she revealed her complete face. Mesmerising. He couldn't look away. As he watched her every move she also looked at him carefully.

A tired and scarred face, with a look as if it had lived through countless of sorrows already. His left eye had a clouded look, as if life has been given up before. His right eye on the other hand...
The large scar cutting diagonally through his right eye was more than just an eye-catcher. The pitch black colour of the wound... intimidating. Threatening. Painful. Concerned she asked him:
"Your scar… it's from a cursed blade, right?"

("A cursed blade... yes that's right. In more than one way…") He clutched the right side of his face as he let out a deep sigh.
"Yes, it is."

Worried she pressed further:
"It doesn't have to stay like that, right? It might be removable. Our school has a specialist for cursed weapons, he should know how to free you from it. The pain must be excruciating…"

"...I can't. Or rather I won't. I won't let it be removed."

"You won't? But isn't it just… painful? You should really consider it."

"No... it's not that simple…"

Reluctantly but understanding she accepted his answer.
"Alright then. Just don't forget that the possibility exist."

As she continued to sit on his lap during the conversation, he finally asked her:
"Not that I mind, but how long are you going to stay on top of me?"

Surprised she looked down on how she was sitting on him, which flushed her cheeks in a deep red colour as she hid her face very embarrassed. Finally she answered awkwardly:
"Well... take it as a service? Ha..haha.."

As she stood up she patted the dust off from her clothes and tried to regain her composure. Meanwhile he took his time instead and just looked at her. When she noticed him still on the ground, she reached out her hand to him. With her offer he grabbed her hand and pulled himself up. Now standing in front of each other, she chuckled.
"I didn't notice until now, but you are quite short."

"...coming from the grade schooler over here."
A dump noise followed his words as he suddenly found himself on his knees again.

("...what was that punch? Even without putting up a defense, to just knock me down like this…")
He looked back up to her, though she looked away with a pouting face. An almost too familiar scene…

As he stood up again, he noticed her sudden lack urgency.
"...by the way, weren't you in a hurry?"

A startled face emerged as she realised her tardiness. She looked at her watch and said to herself:
"Oh no... I'm going to get scolded again."

With both hands she gave herself a soft slap to put some confidence back into her mind.
"Alright, maybe I can still make it."

As she started running off, she turned to him once more. "It was nice meeting you. We'll see each other in school."

While he watched her running along, he noticed the striking similarities.
("...what an unexpected encounter… and surprisingly pleasant.")
After seeing her off he charged his feet with Aura again and prepared to continue. Then it suddenly hit him.
("We'll see each other in school?")
With a look at his watch he dismissed it for the moment and used "Dragon Step" again.

-School administration, headmaster's room-

"Arriving late on your first day of school is inacceptable."
A cold face stared down at him. Judging, controlling, dominating. Simply having her look at him made him shudder.
"You will have to be disciplined at once."

"Now now", said a young man in his chair.
"It is his first day after all. And our school is indeed quite large. We shouldn't blame him for not finding the right way. I am Nathaniel Zerak, the headmaster of this school. Let me welcome you in this school. We'll leave your punishment for another day."

The woman angrily replied to the man.
"But headmaster!"

"Irina, stand down.. We don't want our image to be ruined now do we?"

"Hmpf, fine."

("So the headmaster does have the authority here.")

The headmaster turned the attention back to him and continued:
"So, might I ask why you decided to attend our school so close to the end of the semester?"

"I noticed how much pain I caused the people I care about with my current lifestyle. I wanted to change that."

He stretched his arms over his head and followed up:
"I see. A change of pace? I really encourage you for your choice then."
Putting his elbows on the table and crossing his hands, the headmaster placed his head on his hands and continued:
"It's remarkable for you to ace our entrance tests like you did. Even the advanced questions were solved with full points. Not to mention your physical skills... it is almost like you have "real" experience."

As he noticed the intentional wording he selected his words carefully and responded:
"My parents were members of the Dragonar Corps. When they retired due to injury they spent all their time on preparing me to one day join the Corps too. After their untimely death I was lost and alone. Not until I met a certain person was I able to walk a clear path again."

After he heard his answer the headmaster responded with an encouraging smile.
"I'm sorry for your loss, but as you have found your way again, I'm sure your parents would be proud. As you are going to live here from now on, you don't need to hold back on anything. If you have any questions or wishes, please state them. We will try to answer to our best capabilities."

With a formal hand gesture and a slight bow he thanks the headmaster.
"I appreciate your support."

"No need to be so formal.Now to help you get used to the school I have called for the student council president to show you around. She should be here any second now."

"I think I will be fine on my…"

-knock knock-

"Ah there she is. Come in."
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