Legend of the Dragon Chapter 3: A new life (3)


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(Sound of the school bells ringing)

With the sound of the bell a stream of students rushed in and out of the main hall inside the Center Dome Tower. While he initially walked along the others, Troy was surprised to find himself almost alone as he tried to leave the school through the main gate. He dismissed his curiosity for the moment though and continued with his intended goal, until he noticed a presence about to approach him.
("Someone is coming closer... and he's trying to hide himself")
With a quick turn he tried to face the unknown presence, but was caught by surprise to see no one directly behind him. Suddenly he felt a familiar situation arise as he noticed an object pointed at his back.

With a slight smile he turned to her.

Chuckling she took her pen away and spinned it in her hand again.
"Hey there. How was your first day in school?"

"...surprisingly pleasant and calm", Troy answered.

"Did you expect something else?", Ashnie asked as follow up.

"Yes, actually. There's more free time than I thought for a former military school.""

"That's just a feeling", Ashnie reassured. She hinted at two students in a hurry towards the training grounds and continued: "Normally the students would now begin going to their chosen classes or clubs, and just in case there is always the Arena, to train and fight."

("So extra curriculum is supposed to be chosen...")
"I see."

"Anyways, where are you heading to? I figured I could visit some classes with you, since you don't know your way around yet."

"Thanks for the offer", Troy answered, "but I'll be fine."

From behind them a stern voice appeared:
"What's this offer you're talking about?"

As he turned around he saw a girl slightly taller than Ashnie, with a very precise pinned-up hairstyle, a slender body in a seemingly altered skin-tight school uniform. Her butterfly-shaped hairpin kept strands of her straight dark hair neatly on her left side, while her shining light green eyes were left hidden beneath rectangular glasses. The appearance of a serious person with straight thoughts and a clear mind.

Ashnie looked back and responded:
"Ah, Kyoka, what a coincidence!"
She walked towards Kyoka, grabbed her on both shoulders and pushed her towards Troy:
"Troy, this is Kyoka Alder, my best friend and student body president. Kyoka, this is Troy Rivers, the new student I was talking about."

With a serious expression she examined him:
"So you are the one I heard so much about already."

"I have a reputation?"

"A mysterious new student with a cursed scar acing his entrance test while also receiving a full scholarship? Of course there are going to be rumors. Or did you really not notice all the glances directed at you?"

"Oh please", Troy responded calmly. "I was clearly under the impression that the glances were directed at the two beauties in front of me."

Opening the fan in her left hand, she covered her mouth and answered: "My, aren't you flattering. I bet you are like this with every girl."

"On the contrary", Troy retorted, "I simply like stating the obvious. I do not believe you aren't aware of your own looks."

"What a silver tongue you have... then tell me, am I attractive to you?"

With minimal movement of his eyes he glanced to Ashnie as he considered how to answer. While Ashnie was distracted for a moment to answer another student, he said:
"...I'll refrain from answering."

Kyoka noticed his quick glance that was directed at Ashnie. Since she realised his answer was decided after looking at her friend, she continued:
"Ah, how mean. Why not?"

"Let's change the topic, shall we? What is your rank?"

With a smirk she responded: "So you don't want to tell me about yourself but rather know about me? Works for me, too. I am currently A-ranked."

"A-ranked? Impressive."

"Isn't it? If you like I wouldn't mind giving you a chance to test me."

"Kyoka, stop troubling Troy", Ashnie intervened. Since the other student was gone, she turned her full attention back to them. "Do you really want to leave such a bad image for the student body?"

With Ashnie's mention Kyoka realised they attracted more attention than intended. Since a little crowd formed around them, Kyoka decided to back down.
"Alright, alright. Ashnie, we have a meeting to attend to."

"Ah, you're right, I forgot the time again."
Making an apologetic gesture, Ashnie grabbed Kyoka's arm and pulled her along.
As Troy followed them with his eye he wondered whether he made a mistake.
("I shouldn't get too involved with her… someone is going to be in trouble.")

Sweat ran down his face as the sun stood high in the sky without a single cloud to block it's radiance. When he returned from his trip he couldn't help but be amazed by the enormous main gate that he saw once again. Big, no, massive walls connected to the sides of the gate, showing a sense of strength and superiority of this place. Just the shadows it created on this sunny day was already overwhelming. He walked closer with his luggage in hand as he notices a skirmish right at the front gate. Without information about the reason for the fight, he decided to not interfere and moved on top of the gate's wall with his Dragon Step. From there he watched as the scene played out.
A male student of this school with dark blonde hair, moderate height but a noticeable build. With a strong and solid Aura around his body he stood as solid as a rock.
Using a classic cross formation to encircle the student are four other students with distinct darker uniforms.
("I remember him… he introduced himself since he is seated next to me in class… Procter Bess?")

Procter: "Alright, last chance. Stop bothering the students of this school or live with the consequences."

(Confidence while surrounded and no guard… too confident or not used to this situation?")

As reply to Procter's threat one of the opposing students answered:
"Someone doesn't seem to understand his standing. You aren't in a position to make any demands."

Procter: "Who are you to decide that?"

Just when he finished his sentence, a knife came flying at his back. With a sidestep he dodged the knife and turned in anticipation of more projectiles. Simultaneously the one in front of Procter rushed in and went for an uppercut, adding more pressure.
Instead of dodging the other incoming projectiles, Procter challenged the uppercut with a kick. The clash of the two attacks knocked his opponent back, which opened a chance for him to strike. With an aura-empowered fist he tried to strike, but is perfectly interrupted as his arm is suddenly bound by an enormous tongue from another opponent. From above an additional foe with stone-covered arms joined the fight, with the intent to attack from a blind spot. The sun's light, however, helped Procter notice the sudden shadow over him. He grabbed the long tongue that held him and pulled his opponent to toss him against the one on top of him. Using the short disarray, Procter dashed towards the wall to cover his back.

Still on top of the school's outer wall Troy watched the fight with interest.
("Impressive. His reactions are far better than I expected. But it seems like he reached a dead end…?")

With heavy breathing Procter touched the wall with his hand. By showing a weak and defenseless appearance he lowered his enemies caution. In truth he sapped up parts of the Aura enhancing the walls, therefore boosting himself.
("Four people: one throw-enhancing Prana, one body modifier, another one with a potential Earth-Prana and one unknown. I might have bitten off more than I can chew... well, let's see how this goes...")

"Tell me your name."

Surprised Procter responded as he took a defensive stance Procter:
"My name is Procter Bess. Why do you care?"

"I am Hunter Krall...", he said as he pulled up his right sleeve, "...and this is a list of all the people I've broken. You're the next."

With a snap of his finger Hunter signaled his allies to start the attack. Instantly cutting off any possible escape route left, the tongue- and throw-enhancer attacked his sides, solely to keep him in place. With a rush from the only path left open the stone-covered fist flew towards Procter's face. Reinforced by the wall's Aura Procter easily brushed the punch to the side, which left his opponent wide open for a counter. As his blow connected, Hunter hid in the shadow of the stone-enhanced opponent and used the cover to go for a sneak attack, but is suddenly stunned. With that big opening to act Procter immediately went for a follow-up attack, kicking the other enemy with a strong Aura boost into the tongue-enhancer. Driven into a nearby tree, both are temporarily taken out of the battle, leaving the fight as a two versus one.
With the stunning gone, Hunter started his onslaught on Procter, which forced him into a heavy fist-fight. While he held his own initially, Procter started to lose ground, as he constantly exerted Aura and attention to dodge and block the incoming projectiles from Hunter's ally. To overturn the situation from getting worse, Procter changed his strategy. At the first opening he rushed out towards the throw-enhancer to overwhelm him and focus on Hunter afterwards. He imbued his fist with a tremendous amount of the wall's Aura, to try and oneshot his opponent.
Much to his misfortune, Procter was hindered by the sudden recovery of the tongue-enhancer. The enormous tongue wrapped around his arm and changed the trajectory of his punch, which made him blow the Aura without any gain.
Stopped in his tracks, Procter is sucker-punched by Hunter, finally knocking him down. Before he can react to this, the thrower flung some stones into his legs, to reduce much of his mobility. As the stones hit his nerves perfectly, he instantly dropped to his knees without any resistance. Wounded and on the ground Procter is pulled by his hair to face Hunter. Forced to look upwards, he noticed a sudden dark cloud forming over them, which slowly started to block the sun.

Hunter chuckled as he took out a knife.
"Not so smug now, aren't we?"

Procter remained silent, as his cold stare was focused on the strange cloud.

"Fine", Hunter continued and licked the blade.
"Now what shall I take as souvenir?"

Suddenly Procter taunted him with a smile, while he stayed silent as before.

"I see. Since you don't seem to use it much, I'll just take your tongue."
Preparing to cut it off, Hunter forced his mouth open and pulled Procter's tongue. With one quick cut he intended to remove the tongue. Right then Hunter is suddenly swept away by a kick, which drove him against the wall and knocking him out.

"...are you alright?"

As he saw his saviour Procter answered jokingly:
"Never been better. Though I was under the believe you didn't want to intervene."

Surprised Troy responded:
"You knew?"

"One of the few things I'm still good at. My detection skills are even superior to some teachers. That's how I knew you were watching."

("Still good at?")
"I see."

"Can you fight them alone?"

"We'll see.."

"Alright then. I'm eager to see the new student in action."

"...watch your wounds."

"It's nothing too serious. Just some bruises..."
Whilst Procter spoke another set of projectiles suddenly came flying, which he dodged with the help of Troy picking him up by the collar of his uniform.
Right after that he flung Procter with his back against the wall to have him at an easier place to protect.
"...stay there."

"Is that how you treat an injured person?", Procter quipped.

"I thought it wasn't anything serious?", Troy responded in kind before his attention went back to the intruders.

With the stone-enhanced person recovered too, Troy now faced a three versus one situation. No intention to give them the benefit of the first move, he suddenly engaged the tongue-enhancer in close combat. Since he had information about their fighting style from watching, he had the advantage. With him as immediate opponent, Troy forced a mid-ranged fighter into a bad situation which also hindered the ranged one very effectively with a meat shield.
Through that initial surprise Troy avoided the stone-enhanced opponent and slowly advanced towards the projectile user. Just as he was in the right distance, Troy changed his target and instantly knocked him out with a clear blow to the sternum.
Now with only two opponents left, he once again rushed towards the tongue-enhancer. This time he was prepared and lashed out his tongue straight into Troy's path. Troy waited patiently for the tongue to almost hit him, when he once again changed his path and jumped towards the stone-enhanced enemy. Gathering earth the enemy covered his body with an armor of stones to defend against the incoming attack.
With his armor as shield, he prepared for the right moment to counter. Troy however took up the challenge and accelerated even more. With the sudden burst of speed he effectively moved past the counter range and pushed his hand against the armor.
Surprisingly Troy's attack seemed to be in vain, as it didn't have any effect. The earth-enhancer used that to regain his posture and tried to crush Troy with two giant stone knuckles. Motionless Troy stood right in front of his opponent only saying a short whisper. Just before the knuckles were about to hit him, a shockwave emerged. A massive, destructive shockwave running through his opponent, utterly shattering the stone armor and devastating the vicinity behind him. The instantaneous damage left his beaten opponent unconscious as he fell to the ground. And then, silence.
Troy then turned his attention to the only enemy left. Though he intended to finish the fight, he suddenly found the last one already running way. Surprised that he would leave his fellow student, he noticed them sinking into a strange shadow.
Emerging outside of the school, Hunter carried his two downed companions. With blood running down his face, he showed a big grin. Licking some blood off his cheeks he whispered: "Enjoy your victory. I'll be back soon enough." With an almost maniacal laughter he turned away and disappeared into his shadow entirely.

After Procter confirmed that the intruders left the school ground, he complimented Troy.
"Well that was certainly a special performance."

"They were already weakened from your fight. Can you move?"

"No need to be that concerned. As long as I'm not fighting anymore, I'm actually alright. A quick visit to the school nurse and I'll be just as new."

"Alright", Troy answered. He turned towards Procter to give him a helping hand. "Let me take you there…"

Before he could take another step, he was suddenly surrounded by three people with weapons pointed at him.
("One sword at my neck, one person locking my right arm in a hold and another one concealing his weapon. Should I wait and play this out or just take them on…")

A rough and threatening voice spoke up: "State your name and your business."

Flicking away the blade with his left hand Troy responded:
"Is this how you introduce yourself?"

"You don't seem to understand your situation. You're in enemy territory, alone and surrounded, yet you still have the nerves to quip?"

Troy took a closer look at them. When he recognised the uniform and the emblem on the collar, he realised his situation. ("Enemy territory? Guess I should have worn my uniform even when going out. Well, at least I know what's the deal with them.")
"Isn't it a bit sad that the student body needs to resort to empty threats and numbers to intimidate people?"

"What?! You…"

"Enough!", Procter interrupted them to clear up the misunderstanding. "You really shouldn't aim your sword at a fellow student, Luka."

"Fellow student…?"
As the three realised their potential mistake, they lowered their weapons and released him.

"What is going on here?", a sweet sounding voice appeared.

As he knew the voice very well by then, Troy didn't even look for the source and answered.
"Ashnie. What are you doing here?"

"I heard a commotion", she said and walked straight up to Procter, "Since I knew the student body was having a meeting concerning the missing members of the third and fourth year, I thought I should check it out myself."

"Seems like that wasn't necessary", Procter responded. "Troy did an exceptional job helping me take care of the troublemakers."

"Did he?", Ashnie wondered with a big smile. "That does sound like a lucky coincidence."

Worried by her sudden change of tone Troy asked:
"What do you mean with lucky coincidence?"

Just then another voice came out of nowhere.
"Don't worry, I think you'll fit right in."

"Kyoka! Where did you come from?"

"I had to finish some issues concerning the Gardening Department after the meeting, so I send the three here first to see what was going on. But it seemed to be unnecessary after all."

"Yeah Kyoka, Troy took care of it."

"I see. And not so much as a scratch on him…"

("Why do I suddenly have a bad feeling…")
"What are you guys talking about?"

"Well, Troy...", Ashnie started with a big grin, "...as you just heard the third and fourth years of the student body are missing. That's because of the practical part of their years started now. Therefore the student body is a little bit understaffed around this time…"

"...I don't like where this is going…"

"So the student body had a meeting to discuss how to deal with the missing members", Kyoka continued. "It was unanimously decided that we need to recruit a few new members."

"... but this doesn't have anything to do with me, right?"

Grabbing Troy by his shoulder from behind, Procter added: "Well, I think this could fit you quite well."


As the cloud above them started to dissolve again, single rays of light started to break through. The scenery brightened as the light shone at Ashnie, causing her green eyes to shimmer even more. Her long blonde hair waved with the breeze while her smile was enhanced by the brilliance and contrast of light and shadow. Swayed by her appearance he remembered a similar situation; a memory he tried to close off. A memory, he once held very dearly.
Finally Ashnie asked Troy:
"Would you like to join the student body?"
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