Nightbend Family Manor.
Heath Nightbend walked up to the Nightbend Manor and pushed open its doors. A row of maids and butlers bowed down and greeted Heath.
“Welcome back, young master!” The row of servants welcomed Heath back enthusiastically.
An old man dressed in a similar but different butler outfit stepped out from the row of servants and walked up to Heath.
“Your father wishes to speak with you, Isabella is already here,” The old butler said softly.
Heath nodded and headed to the main meeting room. As Heath opened the doors to the meeting room, the sight of an expressionless plump man who was sitting on top of a throne and Isabella Phoenixvale kneeling in front of the man greeted his eyes.
Heath walked up and knelt besides Isabella, “I have returned, father.”
“What happened in there?” Heath’s father asked with a low voice.
“A commoner by the name of Astra Gale received Sloveus’ legacy as well as Reach’s token. I attempted to retrieve the items but he put up more of a fight than I had thought. A mysterious earthquake interrupted us and he fell off a cliff along with several others,” Heath reported.
The Lord of the Nightbend family stared at Heath for a moment before asking, “...Is he dead?”
“I don’t think anyone could have survived that fall. He should be dead,” Heath replied.
Heath’s father glared at Isabella and asked dully, “Is he dead?”
Isabella’s brow furrowed and replied, “No...I still feel my imprint on him. He’s definitely still alive.”
Heath looked over at Isabella with astonishment as he thought to himself. There was an imprint on him? Nevermind that, he’s still alive?!
Isabella exhaled a sigh of relief. The Nightbend Family had eyes and ears everywhere. New students that were deemed to be special was marked by a special imprint that was specially created by the Nightbend Family. The imprint allowed the user that imprinted it to know the target’s location and their status. However, marking a person with the imprint requires a strong physical collision in order to embed it deep within their body. Furthermore, making the target ingest a special powder would activate the second trait of the imprint which was minor hypnosis. The target would still be able to think rationally but would be subconsciously inclined to do whatever you wanted them to do.
“...Impossible! There was no way he survived that fall! I saw him fall down myself!” Heath said anxiously.
With indifference on her face, Isabella replied, “He’s alive.”
The Nightbend Lord raised his hand.
A black shadow appeared behind Heath and knelt down besides him, “Yes, Lord Bozo?”
“Is my son lying?” Bozo Nightbend grunted.
“No, my lord. Astra has indeed fallen off the cliff.” The black shadow replied with a husky voice.
Bozo breathed in deeply and pondered. Bozo knew that Fausto’s recruit wouldn’t be someone ordinary. With Fausto’s accomplishments and attitude, there was no way he would choose a typical mage. It seems that placing an imprint on Astra wasn’t a huge waste after all. However...it seems like the boy really did fall off the cliff and yet he is still alive…
“Who else fell off?” Bozo inquired after a few minutes of contemplation.
“Nobles,” Heath responded.
Bozo rubbed his hefty chin, “Anyone important?”
“No, just some lower-tiered ones,” Heath answered.
Bozo smirked and instructed Heath, “Tell the Elite Assembly. Mention that Astra is still alive and make the situation as tense as possible.”
“Yes, father,” Heath and the black shadow dismissed themselves and walked out.
Seeing Heath leave, Isabella got up and began to walk out when a repulsive voice stopped her.
“Where do you think you’re going? Your family is still indebted to me, don’t be so eager to leave,” Bozo Nightbend sneered.
Isabella grimaced and muttered to herself, “...Bastard pig of a man…”
Several years ago, Isabella’s father, the Lord of the Phoenixvale Family, had been poisoned and was heavily injured. It was a rare poison that would cause one’s skin to bloat up to the point of bursting and bleed from the seven orifices. Only a medicinal herb named the Knot Blossom could cure the poison. With how rare the poison was, the Knot Blossom was just as difficult to acquire, but as luck would have it, the Nightbend family had a scarce supply of Knot Blossoms. With the Lord of Phoenixvale nearing death, the family would do anything to keep him alive because if the Lord died, the family’s power would diminish and the other nobles would snatch up their territory.
The Nightbend Lord didn’t want money or territory but rather he wanted the youngest heir of the Phoenixvale Family which happened to be Isabella. In exchange for giving the Phoenixvales the Knot Blossom, Isabella had to serve the Nightbend family for eight years. If Isabella were to disobey the Nightbend Lord, the Phoenixvale Family would have to hand over half of their territories. The Phoenixvale Family wasn’t lacking in heirs and wasn’t reluctant at all to hand over Isabella.
“Come here,” Bozo motioned for Isabella to sit on his lap as he chuckled pervertedly.
With great reluctance, Isabella slowly walked over to his throne and sat on his lap. Bozo ran his thick fingers through Isabella’s hair and placed it under his nose.
“Mmm, your aroma never fails to please me,” said Bozo as he breathed in deeply.
Bottom of the Fissure.
Astra grunted as he struggled to dodge Dahlia’s blows. After dodging a few blows, Astra would always gain some distance from Dahlia and managed to run several meters away before Dahlia appeared in front of him in an instant.
“A desire to dodge...A desire to run...A desire for speed,” Dahlia chanted these three phrases like a mantra as the duo continued their training.
Soon enough, Astra was able to dodge Dahlia’s strikes and run away from her with ease.
Dahlia stopped as she took a deep breath, “Finally, your body is ready. Now it’s time for you to use it.”
Astra focused within his body. Indeed, there were minor changes to his mana. If he were to concentrate on a small part of his body, he would feel a slight electric current flowing through his veins.
“How do I use it?” Astra asked.
Dahlia gave off an uneasy smile, “There must be a need for you to use it...Lightning Shura, first step! Tempest Bolt!”
A glow of sapphire surrounded Dahlia as she disappeared into thin air.
“Huh? Where did she-”
Suddenly, Astra felt a sharp pain on his back. He looked over his shoulder and saw Dahlia standing right behind him. He had never seen this sort of acceleration before. Dahlia’s speed had explosively increased.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Dahlia repeatedly struck Astra in the back four times before he managed to tumble and roll away.
Astra coughed and spat out a puddle of blood. He looked up at saw a murderous intent in Dahlia’s eyes.
That...was too fast!
In a split second, Dahlia appeared in front of Astra and thrusted her rod right at Astra’s head. A sense of danger acquired from training in the forest from a young age gave Astra the intuition to quickly duck his head. Astra’s blood began to boil as his body recognized that he was in a life-and-death situation. A barrage of strikes came at Astra as he quickly got up.
With no time to think, Astra fully depended on his body and his intuition to dodge Dahlia’s lethal attacks. Astra panted heavily as he thought to himself.
Unbeknownst to Astra, soft crackles could be heard from his body and his agility began to increase. Astra began to move faster and faster in order to dodge the rod. The crackles became louder and louder as if Astra was the embodiment of thunder itself. A blue glow slowly appeared on Astra’s skin.
Noticing this, Dahlia smiled as she aimed for Astra’s chest.
Astra grinned as he saw the rod slowly coming towards him. As swift as lightning, Astra kicked the rod out of Dahlia’s hands.
“You’ve done it,” Dahlia smirked.
Astra frowned, “I almost died there. If I hadn’t awakened my power then I would have been in big trouble. Were you really going to kill me?”
Dahlia chuckled, “If that was all it took to kill you, the Lightning Clan doesn’t need you.”