Chapter 114 Color me Pickled (Part 1)
Lydia couldn’t help but let the word slip out of her mouth as she stared at Daichi as her lips quivered as she watched everything around her change as Daichi did something she thought impossible before her very eyes.
Lydia stared at daichi mouth agape, her stone exterior finally revealing the shocked expression she’d been hiding now that Daichi had done what she considered impossible. For a few moments she simply watched Daichi her mind blank, then one thought after another started swarming around inside of her head.
Staring at Daichi, a slew of things went through Lydia’s mind as she struggled to compose herself and organize her thoughts. ‘How…. How old is he…?’ was finally the thought she settled on after wondering how he was doing what he was doing, where he learned this ability, whether he learned it himself or whether he was taught. How much of it was pure talent and how much of it was premised on a skill.
Lydia could find no words to express herself as she stared at Daichi her mind disorganized and her feelings rattled.
Moments ago Lydia watched as Daichi (with an unpleasant look) seemed to dissipate those flames but their essence seemed to have been used to manifest small sparks of lightning that was now surrounding Daichi.
Surrounding his entire body, were small sparks of dark azure lightning that would dissipate and and then reappear surrounding his body at some other location. Clad in lightning, Lydia looked at Daichi like a monstrous talent she’d never seen before with her very own eyes.
Being able to manifest lightning was the goal of many people in Lumea. Lightning was afterall a very destructive force that could both stun or kill an opponent depending on it’s power and the control of the user. Except without lightning as an attribute, it was near impossible for people to manage such a feat. That was the very reason that currently not a single person in Lumea Academy could manifest lightning. Even with all the geniuses of the city bunched together in one place, not a single one could manage the feat that Daichi was currently doing.
The very idea was ridiculous. After all, the residents of Lumea City weren’t just people who had lived and grown up in Lumea because of convenience. Lumea City had been one of the greatest cities with people coming from every city to gain knowledge and understanding from its library. Thus, the people who had managed to settle down in Lumea City despite the cost of living were not only the wealthy but the powerful. The children from their bloodlines had inherited their talent if not skills, and yet even with all these factors in play, Lydia thought ‘Not a single one of them could do what the boy in front of me is doing.’
Lydia had to take the time to compose herself before she began to notice the strangeness of the lightning surrounding Daichi. It wasn’t simple golden lightning like she had read in some of the books that detailed the lightning attribute or some of the skills that were possible to learn with sufficient comprehension. Instead the lightning surrounding Daichi was a dark azure color that vaguely resembled the blue flames he had previously manifested. Lydia’s heart lurched at the thought that he had somehow created this lightning from those flames.
A small part of her wanted to walk right up to Daichi and test the destructive power of the lightning to see whether it was just for show or whether it actually contained real power. Lydia’s right leg trembled as she inadvertently almost took a step forward before calming down and reminding herself that this was neither the time or place. ‘He’s already complied with what I’ve asked. Regardless of how powerful this technique is… It’s extremely impress he’s managed to manifest lightning. Even if he IS lightning attributed, he would be the only one in Lumea City. This is a fantastic find!’
Even though Lydia was thrilled as she rationalized Daichi’s value, she still wanted to test out the lightning technique but something inside of her, a small little voice in her subconscious was screaming at her to stay away. Stay as far away from Daichi as possible at that moment. Even if she didn’t realize that a small part of her was warning her of the danger right before her very eyes, her excitement and the prospect of finding such a talented individual stopped her from creating quite possibly the biggest mistake of her life.
“You’ve certainly passed the first portion! Very impressive! I was surprised when you manifested flames, it’s not so easy at your age without a skill. Then when you started burning the flame hotter and changing the color and quality, I was nearly dazed at your talent! That’s not even to speak of the blue flames which you controlled with ease! You definitely have the qualifications to pass the first portion of the exam!”
Staring at Daichi’s countenance, Lydia figured since he looked so displeased that it must have taken quite a toll on him to perform such a technique, ‘With his age it’s already impressive that he could, can’t ask too much!’
Daichi on the other hand was utterly displeased by every single word coming out of Lydia’s mouth, ‘If you were so impressed why didn’t you show it!’ In reality, Daichi was more displeased with himself than Lydia. He felt that if it were years ago he would have been able to read the subtle changes in her expression, instead since it’d been so long he could tell a single thing from her stoic expression before and had shown more cards than he meant too. Slowly he allowed the mana surrounding him to dissipate but the lightning only became smaller sparks that still circled him for quite a bit.
Although it looked particularly impressive to Lydia, from Daichi’s perspective it was a huge fail. This could be considered an extremely formidable defensive technique… Except from his first trial right now experimenting with it, he could tell it would be a very long time before he could recreate this technique with sufficient speed to make it usable in a real life or death situation. Moreover despite all his theorizing he’d only been able to create a theory to implement this technique and hadn’t thought of so many flaws that occurred!
Although it looked like the lightning had been surrounding Daichi, it was in fact surrounding the space from which Daichi had triggered the technique. Even if he’d wanted to step out of the area he wouldn’t have been able too unless he wanted to be damaged by his own technique and how embarrassing would that be!?
Moreover this technique was far too dangerous… This was his first try at mixing his insights into different elements to willfully manifest his chaotic mana to take form. This technique had been a mixture of his insights into fire, lightning and chaos all at once!
Even though he might not have been able to leave the area after triggering the technique, had Lydia really stepped towards Daichi and tested it’s destructive capabilities. Even Daichi wouldn’t have been able to do a single thing about it, and he couldn’t tell based on this one experience at how formidable it would be, but he could tell based on how uncomfortable the skin that came into close contact with the lightning had felt. He’d felt like he was being charred and devoured all at once for brief moments.
Daichi had never stopped to think about it but for the first time he wondered what his chaotic mana actually felt like to other people. He’d used nothing but chaotic based attacks when he’d entered the forest before, but not once had he considered what his opponents felt when he triggered his skills against them.
“Good good. It seems you can even maintain that technique for quite a bit! Are you okay? Do you still have sufficient mana to continue?” Lydia asked with what almost seemed like genuine concern.
Daichi merely nodded, while deep in thought as he considered the fruits of his labor.
“Very well. What’s your age?”
“It’s necessary for me to know. Regardless of how marvelous a talent someone may be, if they are too young or if they are too old, they will not be allowed entry as a student to Lumea Academy.”
Daichi didn’t need to think any further, he could lie but what point would there be considering he didn’t know the age requirements? He’d already seen more than one group of students and they all seemed to be around the same age as he “technically” was, so therefore he spoke the truth.
“I am 17”
Lydia nodded at the words but didn’t much care. Although she was glad to hear he was an acceptable age, once they got back to the academy they would have to confirm his age with a formal exam that measured the aging of his bones.
“That was something I should have asked before, but it’s a good thing you fit within the acceptable range. Normally what I just asked you to do would be the second exam, but I saw no reason to ask you to go through the first exam considering I can’t verify. Just so you know, the first exam is verifying whether you have an attribute or not. If an applicant does… Then they are normally assessed to have sufficient potential that even if they have no ability now, the academy will invest in teaching them enough so that they can grow and grow their ability. I would like you to tell me if you have an attribute or whether you know if you do?”
Everything she said made sense to Daichi, except he found it strange that she would even ask if he knew whether he even had an attribute. It took him a second to realize she meant that because the status windows no longer seemed to apply. He long ago knew that those were a thing of the past. Even within the mist he actively felt the change and somehow just knew that it was a magic he could no longer use. Thinking about it now, he realized how strange it must be for others to grow up without a status window. Something he’d taken for granted in his “youth”.
Daichi considered how to answer the question… He could tell the truth but it would be hard to explain. ‘Better to just cross that bridge as it comes. I’ve already proven I have ability, there’s no reason they’d turn me away if I happen to show that I don’t and if I do, there’s no reason to turn me away then either.’
“I don’t know.” Daichi said with a shrug.
Lydia nodded having not expected much. She considered whether she should have him undergo the third test. The third test would have been surviving in this forest but clearly it was something he had already been doing. She considered perhaps asking him to have small duel with her, while pulling her punches but in the end decided against it. It felt too unnecessary when she could slowly find out what other secrets this boy had, like peeling back an onion she had a feeling that Daichi had layers and layers of secrets.
“Well the third exam was what the other participants underwent, but the fact that you are alive and in this forest should be proof enough of your ability. I’ll consider it a pass. Okay then! I formally invite you to return with us to Lumea. I will personally recommend you.”
Daichi finally relaxed a bit. In reality he’d expected more, instead it basically just came down to showing off a few of his abilities which he found more than a fair trade.
Lydia smiled at Daichi as she saw him sigh in relief. Then immediately turned her head in the direction where they had come from. Noticing the distortion of mana she could tell that Crimson had already begun moving out.
Daichi seemed to sense it too but took no action, not wanting to give away more than he had too.
Lydia spoke up “Well come along then. I’m about to show you a whole new world!” as he began to back track.
Daichi only waited a moment before following in haste behind her, a smile on his face as expectation began to build in his chest. ‘I’m finally going to enter Lumea…’