The sound of hammer shaping steel rang in his ears, a brilliant red aura emanating from his very skin. The pearl-white creature that growled behind him seemed ready to obliterate anyone that stood in its path, but was kept tame solely by its partners wishes.

”I won ask again. Submit or perish, ” the man growled, his flaming armor shining with an even brighter intensity.

The warriors behind him roared as their king made his stand, their armor shining in unison with his. They were all crafted by the same hand, all perfected by the same god.


”Morning brother, ” greeted a blonde girl, her skin sickly pale and her voice so dry that it almost overshadowed her sweetness.

”Morning Lira. What are you doing out of bed? ” replied a boy with jet-black hair and a rather athletic build as he rushed to help the girl.

The place they lived in was run down, the wooden walls had begun to rot and the planks barely hung onto the walls. They had a dining table, but only one chair. The boy, Kaion, helped his sister into the seat.

”Im feeling rather strong today, ” replied the girl with a smile before cuffing her hands together expectantly. ”So, todays the big day, huh? ” she asked as she tried to get comfortable in the old chair.

”Yeah, todays the day that decides our future, ” replied Kaion, a burning fire within his eyes as he stared into nothingness.

”Im sure youll do well. Almost certain… ” she said before pausing for a few moments. ”So… can I come watch? ” she asked, a radiant smile on her face.

”No. You aren strong enough to be walking around. Ill go ace the test and come pick you up when I get accepted into the academy. Just you wait, ” replied Kaion, balling his fists as he said this. ”Anyway, Ill prepare you something to eat befo- ”

”Im not hungry, ” Lira interrupted, annoyed that her brother wouldn allow her to tag along with him.

However, Kaion was already in the kitchen area preparing the last piece of bread they had and a few leftover vegetables they had cooked a few days ago into an old wooden bowl.

If it wasn for their neighbors donating what little they could every now and then, the two of them probably wouldve died a long time ago.

”And thats exactly why you
e all skin and bone. Now eat up, I won be long, ” he said, placing the bowl on the table in front of his sister.

”Hmmpf. But brother, do you think youll really be okay without an element release? I know you trained your body a lot, but will you really be okay against magical attacks? ” Lira asked, fiddling with the food on her plate.

”Its not like I have a choice. But trust me, Ive trained five years for this. Now stop playing with your food. And don forget, don look out the window and don open the door for anybody. Even if it is one of our neighbors. Can trust anyone these days, especially with someone as pretty as you, ” smiled Kaion, kissing her sister on the cheek before leaving.

Lira was speechless, her cheeks flushed red from her brothers comment. He was always like this, one moment he seemed like an overbearing flame, and the next he was the sweetest younger brother in the world. She loved him even more than she loved herself.

As she watched Kaion walk past the window, she looked down at her frail body, and sighed in defeat.

”Good luck brother, ” she whispered, before forcing herself to take a bite out of her bread.


It was a clear sunny day, the perfect day for an academy entrance exam. Kaion wasn the only one in the neighborhood going to take the exams, every other kid of age dreamed of getting accepted and taking their families out of the slums.

Scores of children erupted from their makeshift wooden shanties, dressed in their finest clothing -which for most was anything that didn have too many holes- with steely resolve in their eyes.

Kaion wasn too friendly with anyone, he recognized a few familiar faces from the odd jobs he did around the slums, but nobody he knew too well.

The slums were separated from the city by a long gravel road, so those going to take the entrance exam had to get up earlier than they usually would to get a head start.

The area around the road was mostly cleared forest, with tall green grass and a few thorny trees here and there. This area was once a monster hot spot, but thanks to the city mages that was now all in the past.

Kaion began stretching his limbs after walking for a few meters, jumping up and down before speeding off. The other children saw this and decided to follow suite as well, but Kaion was like a speed demon, and before long he was but a dot in the far distance.

[I wonder how strong the city children are,] wondered Kaion as he tried regulating his breathing. This wasn more than a warm-up for him, as for the past 6 years, in preparation for this day, he would hike to and from the city as exercise.

He merely regulated his breathing because he was somewhat nervous. He only ever sparred against other slum kids, and though some of them had magical affinities, they weren too pronounced and of course hadn been trained as well as the city kids.

[No, theres no point worrying about that. Regardless of how strong they are, Im at a disadvantage. Ill just have to take them out before they have time to cast any spells.] he thought to himself.

He wouldn allow his mind to be plagued by negative thoughts, he was the type of person who worked on what he had. Having been born in rather shoddy circumstances, he knew more than anyone else that crying about your situation wouldn change a thing.

After running for nearly 30 minutes straight at breakneck speeds, he finally got to the city. The first section of the city was the market, which was bustling as usual. Traders shouted prices and sales, while animals about to be sold off for food filled the air with a variety of sounds, making it seem as if they were on some sort of farm.

There were multiple roads that led to the city center, where the entrance exam would be held. And on each of those roads were lined with wooden stalls displaying different goods.

Kaion took a peek at each of the stalls as he passed by, having arrived earlier than usual, he had time to survey the stock. Though it was mainly window shopping, as he didn even have a cent to his name. Though if he got accepted, he wanted to know what he would spend his pocket money on beforehand.

”Hey, what are you looking slumpuppy, get lost, ” shouted one of the stand owners as he saw Kaion get a little too close. Kaion gave the man a look before moving on at a faster pace.

[I can wait until these bastards regret ever treating us this way,] he thought angrily.

Though he understood why the man acted the way he did. Children from the slum were usually thieves, and though he had never stolen anything, he couldn deny that it had crossed his mind several times.

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