Chapter 103 Stranger in the Woods (Part 4)
“Who did this?” Lydia asked but she was staring at Leo. She’d kept a close eye on their group and figured it was him but he was staring at Haeru and she got the message immediately.
Lydia walked up to Haeru ignoring the others and gave him a questioning glance as she gazed at the flute in his hands.
Haeru shrugged his shoulders “It’s something I’ve been working on.”
Lydia tilted one eyebrow in response hoping he’d continue his explanation, but looking at the little fellow refusing to follow it up she begrudgingly followed up herself “How?”
The few students close enough to hear were more surprised by that question then the events that had just occurred. In most of their eyes the professors of Lumea Academy were the top of the pyramid and to their credit they assumed they knew just about everything. They had assumed that at least the instructors knew how Haeru did what he did, but finding out otherwise only made them wonder in astonishment how Haeru had created such an amazing attack.
Their eyes widened as their admiration for his accomplishment growing even more in their hearts.
Karina was the only injured ones who managed to notice the eye contact from the others and the looks of surprise on the instructors to maintain a calm enough state of mind to connect the dots. She realized it was that one boy who’d turned everything around for them when despite her efforts the best she could hope for was to take the life of one of these creatures by paying the price of her own life.
It was at this moment that one of them screamed “Imps!” in a horrified expression near one of the creature’s bodies. That made everybody who understood take in a deep breath as they all turned to look at the creatures with a second glance.
“They… They really a-are… Imps…!” one of the ones who’d killed one of the creatures managed to choke out as fear gripped his entire body as just came to realize the amount of danger he’d actually been in.
Some of them didn’t understand the meaning behind their words or the significance of these monsters being imps were and so Crimson spoke up as he spoke with the intention of clarifying the situation “These are class 3s monsters.”
Everyone understood the meaning of these words more so than the horror in the word “imp”.
The strength of monsters was specifically state in a lot of books and scrolls, by specific attributes and abilities, and generally the monsters ease of which it could kill others and be killed but the warriors who in recent years frequently left the city to fight monsters and return with valuable materials had created their own classifications for monsters or non-humans. Although it wasn’t as detailed, it was more helpful for the common man who couldn’t afford some of the resource that people who’d come directly from Lumea Academy or from a prestigious family with generations of information and skills that could be passed on from generation to generation.
Crimson continued “Some of you may or may not know, but the warriors not from Lumea came up with a classification system for non-humans. Almost specifically for this forest but it could easily be applied to anything anywhere. The system is simple and it isn’t meant to be used for anything other than knowing when to retreat to safeguard the lives of those you’re traveling with. The system is a four tier classification, from class one to class four. Class one monsters are monsters that generally do not pose a threat to a warrior of any level by themselves. A class two monster is weak but can generally be killed with some experience or strategy in mind. A class three monster is dangerous and not worth risking your life to defeat. Lastly we have class four, those are the beasts that you should immediately run once you recognize their existence.”
Crimson waited a moment to let the information sink in, although he knew that most of the people here knew this much. It was a crude classification system but it was widespread and had done it’s job in the past years. It’s only real purpose was helping warriors who weren’t knowledgeable enough maintain their lives in a life or death situation.
“What you all may or may not know, is the classifications are further divided into five other categories that do not always apply. Class S/D/R/H/E. These classifications apply to specific monsters whose abilities or attributes stand out in certain areas that are too notable not to be mentioned. A class S creature has abnormal speed, speed that humans can’t match up with. A class D creature has abnormal defense, nearly impossible to penetrate without some special skill. A class R creature has strength that could rip a man in half. A class E creature has some sort of elemental affinity and poses an additional threat due to it’s attribute and ability to manipulate nature in some way. A class H creature has human features, and can even pass as humans. These are arguably the most dangerous, because these creatures will possess intelligence on par with humans. These creatures are never to be underestimated!”
Everyone thought about the words Crimson had just spoken as they sunk in. Some of them had already had a somber expression and had ignored the speech knowing what he would say and wallowing in acknowledgment of the danger they just realized they’d just been in.
“It was no wonder it was classified what it was… It’s speed was so ridiculous we basically only ever saw a blur when it moved….”
“Yeah no kidding man! It wasn’t until they were falling from the sky like beaten dogs that we even saw what they looked like!”
“Hey… Doesn’t that make that skill that stopped them even more impressive…?”
Everyone eventually came to the same conclusion after they got past the danger they’d just been in. Haeru was a monster.
“Hmm… Let’s talk in private shall we?” Haeru whispered in front of Lydia as he began to walk into the woods as Lydia followed him immediately intrigued.
After they were far enough from the group, Haeru turned around and glanced at his surroundings. Ignoring the trees and the lack of bugs in the area. He came to weird realization that he hadn’t come across any bugs at all the entire time he’d been in this forest which felt really strange.
Noticing his instructor’s impatience Haeru could only chuckle as he spoke up “That was something I came up with based on my insight into sound. I used a specific frequency that was only perceptible to the imps to stun them by targeting their Cochleas which is turned shook their brains up a bit hehe.”
“Sound!?” Lydia’s eyes went wide.
“Shh!!” Haeru put a finger to his found indicating that his instructor should calm down
“Yes I know it’s not easy, and I know what you’re thinking but no. I’m not some hidden genius. In fact it’s a wonder I got a chance to use this ability. My insights into sound are really low. What I did I can’t do again with out sufficient time and some luck.”
Haeru shook his head wistfully. Lydia was staring at him wondering whether it was some sort of false modesty but he genuinely didn’t put this ability in his eyes. It really seemed like it just wasn’t much to him but how could it not be incredible. Insights into sound!
‘Although it isn’t the most profound of the elements… Gaining insight into sound is extremely difficult. That he managed to get enough insight to create an attack of his own at this age and one that could be so effective even against such fast creatures… This is already extremely impressive.’
“And that attack is that simple?” Lydia asked with a smile on her face.
In her eyes Haeru had just turned from a potentially impressive candidate to her new personal favorite. Her eyes were shining as she stared at him and nodded her head.
“Professor please stop looking at me like some delicious piece of cake… I’m really not as impressive as you’re making me out to be.”
Haeru didn’t tell her the whole process for the attack. Naturally something as complicated as his insights into an element wouldn’t be so easily given away. He described the most basic concept of the attack without some of the more crucial details. Moreover he didn’t dare mention any of the actual knowledge that had led him to have enough insight into creating an attack like this. That would be something he wouldn’t even tell anyone else in the world, even if they wanted to know.
Lydia’s cheeks blushed pink but she waved her hand in front of his face dismissively. “No matter what you say, gaining insight enough to create such an effective attack through sound is an impressive feat no matter what Haeru.” After staring at him for a few seconds more, she nodded her head again and turned around to walk back to the group.
Haeru shook his head wondering whether this was a good thing or a bad thing.
‘Sure it’s great that I’m being looked on so favorably. The whole point of this exam is to stand out but… I hope I didn’t set the bar too high for myself…’ with an inaudible sigh, Haeru followed behind Professor Lydia.
Even though they’d only been gone a few minutes the looks on everybody’s faces had turned somber. After the joy of escaping death had passed they couldn’t help but look at the dead bodies with pause. These were kids that had never experienced or witnessed death before. It was only natural that they would be left disturbed after seeing so many others of the same age with similar talent be killed off. If it hadn’t been for the fact that they had watched the torture from start to finish stomaching the after math would actually be worse.
Crimson was over looking the process of moving the corpses away from the group. He considered this group to the be one of the luckiest he’d ever been responsible for. ‘Lucky bastards. I thought when we got back they’d all be dead but only this many died. This is already good luck.’
All of a sudden a clear crisp voice rang out. “Whoa. So many corpses! Scary!” Everyone was startled upon hearing this voice. They had been fighting monsters in this forest expedition for over 10 days now and they had yet to run across any other humans.
After all, this was quite a distance from any town. Even if someone had wandered away or into the forest from one of the small towns created by people who couldn’t afford to live within the major cities or perhaps just people who wanted to survive on their own… Only someone with spacial abilities would be able to get this far into the forest, away from a road or civilization… Or someone ridiculously strong.
With his even voice still stirring their minds, a young man walked out from the trees into view. He looked to be young, still a teenager around his late teens and quite roughed up. His clothes were ragged and torn. Stains of soot and blood on the pieces still in tact. His black wavy curls tussled giving him the appearance of just waking up as those wavy strands came down to his eyes. He looked young and ragged, but something about the way he carried himself gave all of them the feeling that he wasn’t just a normal child. Something about his posture, his sway as he walked, seemed too… At ease.
At ease in this forest of death, where only the strong survive, he was casually walking towards them seemingly not a care in the world.
As his curls swayed when he walked, it drew attention to his eyes. His unflinchingly amethyst eyes that erased all traces of doubt in their minds as to whether this child could be so simple.
They all drew a breath as they each noticed his eyes at different moments. Those eyes which seemed so soft like flowing water and rigid like the hardest metal would have been special based on the look alone… but the eye color.
Not only was the eye color breathtakingly beautiful but Crimson immediately recognized what it meant. It meant this boy, no. This man, was special. These eyes had been enriched by mana, and naturally turned into a pure color not normally seen.