Shortly after William left, it was Roel’s turn to blast the Splitting Goose. His result was also an inestimable full mark.
On the whole, this seemed to be a good day for the transfer students from the Knight Kingdom. Most of them had started making a name for themselves in their respective classes.
“I heard that Miss Teresa performed spectacularly in the Hextongue Class. Madame Monica evaluated her to be a prodigy who appears once in a hundred years and strongly encouraged her to join her classes, saying that she would reduce her classroom size next year so that she could devote her attention to nurturing her!”
During their night meeting, Paul revealed the news he had heard in astonishment. However, neither Roel nor Geralt was fazed because they had already heard about it.
“You’re lagging behind. It’s not just Teresa; Juliana has received an invitation too, just that it was from Sir Lyon’s Dark Magic Class. The other transfer students have also shown their skills in one way or another.”
Geralt took a sip of tea, clearly rendered speechless by those monsters coming from his country. Roel had to admit that those from the Dawnbringer Order had something to show for, too.
Saint Freya Academy was a cradle for talents. Students who had showcased their potential would be coveted by the Scholar Guilds. Take Teresa for example, the Hextongue Guild had already extended an official invitation to her.
Given William’s strength, if he had chosen to enroll into Saint Freya Academy right from the start, it was likely that he could have defeated the Ring Guardian and become a Ringbearer.
Roel found that he hadn’t been able to ascertain William’s exact Origin Level to date, and that was abnormal. While the latter wore full armor that interfered with detection, Roel should still have been able to sense somewhat discerned his mana pulsation if he was at Origin Level 4 as well.
On top of that, William was on par with Roel in terms of burst magic, who was already on par with Origin Level 3 transcendents. Putting all of these together, it was likely that William had already reached Origin Level 3.
No normal human could have reached Origin Level 3 at their age group. Even the extraordinarily talented Lilian had only reached Origin Level 3 in her Second Grade, and others like Nora, Charlotte, and Roel himself were still at Origin Level 4.
Admittedly, Roel was already on the verge of a breakthrough after undergoing the Witness State, but that was something he obtained by putting his life on the line. If William was already at Origin Level 3—which was to say that he grew even faster than Roel—what could he have given up in exchange for it?
This was a world where power came at a price, and Roel didn’t think that William would be any exception. Regarding this question, he actually had an idea in mind since there was a jarringly peculiar aspect about William—his armor.
When they said that William never took off his armor, it was not just a figurative expression. He kept every single piece of his armor on at all times, including his helmet. In fact, Roel couldn’t even remember a single occasion where William had taken in food, be it in this world or Eyes of the Chronicler.
Did William have to disfigure himself in order to obtain his current strength, so he doesn’t want others to see his appearance? Or did he receive a curse that prevented him from taking off his armor?
Roel had no answer to this question, but he had a strong feeling that this was a crucial factor to understanding William’s background.
Another bizarre fact he had uncovered was that he seemed to have a special place in William’s heart. The two of them had clear clashes in their ideology, but William stubbornly chose to blame the ‘bad influences’ around him instead. Even when he thought back on their interactions thus far, he had to acknowledge that William had been incredibly friendly to him.
For the time being, Roel could only attribute William’s friendly attitude with the close ties their clans had shared in the past.
It was also weird how William harbored great enmity toward the women by Roel’s side, and coincidentally, Nora and Charlotte appeared to feel the same way as well. It looked like a conflict was inevitable here.
“Oh? Did that metal can say that? He wants to defeat us and take you away with him?”
“Tell him to give it his best shot. We’ll determine the victor through the Challenger Cup. Whether it’s his stance toward darling or his arrogant attitude, I can’t turn a blind eye to this anymore.”
That was Nora and Charlotte’s response when Roel informed them of William’s decision.
As the leader of the Enforcement Division, Lilian had already heard about the incident in the assembly hall and noticed the anomaly surrounding the transfer students. When she heard that their goal was to take Roel away with them, she fell into silence.
Amongst the women around Roel, the one who wanted Roel to stay at Saint Freya Academy the most was none other than Lilian. She knew that it would be hard for her to remain in contact with Roel once he left the academy given the differences in their backgrounds. Yet, the First Grade transfer students actually wanted to take him away.
This was unacceptable for Lilian.
There was no way she could remain silent under such circumstances. After Roel confirmed this matter, Lilian took a much more serious attitude toward the Challenger Cup. She was determined to thoroughly crush the Knight Kingdom so that they would dare not harbor such thoughts anymore.
“Since all they know is speaking through their fists, I’ll play along with them. Not even the descendants of the Twilight Sages Assembly have the right to pull us apart!” declared Lilian furiously.
Meanwhile, a certain silver-haired girl was also infuriated upon hearing of the matter. This was one of the few times that she had chosen to stand on the same side as her love rivals. It was just that her young age disallowed her from participating in the Challenger Cup and teaching those arrogant transfer students a lesson, so she could only rage from the sidelines.
Time passed swiftly in this fiery yet unnervingly quiet atmosphere, almost like the calm before the storm. Soon, it was time for the Challenger Cup to commence.
Under the influence of the highly popular Challenger Cup, Leinster was so vibrant that it felt like they were having a festival. The students from all academies excitedly signed themselves up for the tournament, and tourists were starting to gather from far and wide to watch the fights.
The crowd on the street had visibly grown denser, and inns were packed with travelers. Hardly would there be any empty seats in restaurants and taverns, and even streetside stores found their business booming.
It was just that none of these were important to the students participating in the Challenger Cup. What Roel and the others were the most concerned about right now was the format of the tournament.
On the bright side, the age restriction and the Challenger Cup being held only once every few years meant that there would be no veterans on the field. Everyone was somewhat on equal footing here.
The prestige and handsome rewards offered by the Challenger Cup drew in many hopeful students who were banking on their luck that they would somehow get somewhere. This wasn’t a bad thing for the tournament, but it did complicate the selection process.
For one, they couldn’t be for the standard 1-on-1 duels for the preliminary round of selections, or else the ten thousand challengers would ensure that the fights would be lined up till next year.
In view of this limitation, the organizing committee opted to go for a battle royale for the preliminary round. The ten thousand challengers would be divided into thirteen groups and placed in different environments. Only the top 1% would be able to qualify for the following 1-on-1 elimination rounds.
No mishap could be allowed to happen in a tournament involving top prodigies coming from all over the world. The organizing committee had to do its best to ensure the safety of the challengers. Thus, they allocated each challenger with a substitution magic tool that would bear injuries and even death in their place.
This substitution magic tool was around the size of a palm and resembled a little figurine carved out of jade. Despite its humble appearance, it was the crystallization of the Magic Conversion Guild’s many years of efforts, and it had revolutionized tournaments ever since its creation.
Before this substitution magic tool came to be, all transcendent tournaments on the Sia Continent were practically deathmatches. It was incredibly difficult to retract a spell once it had been cast, so accidents were commonplace. Only the most daring of transcendents who were willing to put their life on the line for wealth and glory would join those tournaments.
Things only turned for the better after the substitution magic tool was created.
With tournaments becoming non-fatal, the number of participants in transcendent tournaments immediately grew by more than tenfold. It also slowly changed from a ‘deathmatch for money’ into a ‘selection battle to scout talents’. It was around that time that the Challenger Cup was established.
Interestingly, this substitution magic tool was actually considered a failure back then when it was first created.
The Magic Conversion Guild had initially embarked on the creation of a magic tool named ‘Death’s Substitute’ with the goal of selling it to nobles as a protective magic tool against assassins. Yet, after pumping in a whole lot of money, the product turned out to be mediocre.
The substitution magic tool needed to be activated for the substitution to take effect, but its active duration was too short to offer consistent protection. To make things worse, there was a damage cap to the substitution magic tool.
To use an analogy, it was just like fighting a boss monster with a shield that had to be broken before one could shave off its health points. If there was a huge disparity in strength, the shield honestly wouldn’t make much of a difference at all. In a sense, it was worse than a barrier.
To summarize, it made for an incredibly useless protective magic tool.
The Magic Conversion Guild fell into despair. The huge losses they had incurred in the project put them at the risk of being dissolved, but at this crucial moment, they found that this substitution magic tool made for an ideal protective device for sparring. This discovery helped them to turn things around, bringing a new chapter to the history of tournaments.
It was interesting how the greatest of inventions could sometimes originate from a mere coincidence. Such had been the case in his previous world too.
It was just that the knowledge that there was a damage cap to the substitution magic tool left Roel feeling a little uneasy.
“Surely no problem can arise out of this, right?”
Roel murmured worriedly as he stared at the name, ‘Selina’, that was assigned to the same group as him.