Xin Fan woke up in a familiar bed in the infirmary. He felt refreshed, as if he could take on anything. Yang Bing was sitting there peeling an apple.
"Looks like you have woken up."
"W...What happened to me?"
The memories of that afternoon seemed fragmented. After his fight with Xiao Yu, it became blurry. He simply remembered the emotions and the pain. Although retrospectively thinking, the fight didn't seem all that bad. He didn't even get hurt that badly. There were light bruises but that was all there was to it.
"You were attacked by a demonic beast."
"Yes a Despair Slug. It's a parasite that feeds on and amplifies the dark emotions of humanity."
"Is it dead?"
"Not yet. Principal Yao ordered a search and destroy last night. We should be getting information soon."
Xin Fan got out of the sick bed and started to stretch. His clothes were crinkled and worn out due to the fight and he did not have a chance to change. On the bed next to him, was an unconscious Peng Gu. When he was treated overnight, they found out he was going to be in a coma for a long time. It was uncertain whether he would naturally wake up. Otherwise, treatment was necessary. Yang Bing had finished peeling the apple and passed it over to Xin Fan.
"You haven't eaten anything since yesterday afternoon."
Xin Fan took a large bite of the apple. It was sweeter than an average apple and seemed to fill him up immediately. It gave off a similar effect as when he ate his spirit rice. His wounds also started to heal significantly faster as if it were magic.
"It's quite late in the morning. Classes should start in 10 minutes."
Xin Fan's eyes widened and jumped out the window to run to his dorm. He simply wouldn't allow himself to enter class in this ragged state. Xin Fan rushed up the stairs and entered his room. Because he hadn't been in the room for so long, he had almost forgotten where he put everything. Xin Fan scrambled around looking through the wardrobe for his few sets of robes. He changed within 10 seconds and rushed back to class. He barely made it with Wang Mei just entering the classroom after him. Today, Wang Mei did not have the same indifferent look as usual. She seemed a lot more serious.
"Class...Today, we are not going to be sparring."
The class groaned. Although painful, they would much rather stretch their muscles and fight than stay in class taking notes for things that they probably won't need in the future.
"Silence! Due to recent events, the school has prioritized in teaching about demonic beasts."
The class turned silent. This topic was one that the students would only learn on their last year at the school. This is because the first few years are to build up foundation to allow students to realize their full potential. The topic of demonic beasts were typical as a supplementary course and therefore was left till the end.
"But isn't that a fifth year topic?"
A 'brave' student stood up to ask this question expecting a harsh scolding. However, Wang Mei did not blow up on the student like she usually would. Instead, she decided to explain the situation to the fullest extent.
"I don't want to lie. I wish this did not happen but I am going to say this anyway. There has been a demonic beast attack in this school yesterday. There staff were informed and these are simply the actions we have to take."
The student sat back down. The overall mood of the classroom became gloomy. This is understandable as for all their lives, these students have been fed tales of the demonic beasts. Stories of how demonic beasts will eat them. Tales of demonic beasts destroying cities. If one was raised on such stories, it is no wonder that demonic beasts are feared. Wang Mei talked in great depths of the different types of demonic beasts. She explained how they can be distinguished from their dark aura. Aura from beasts are a lot different than aura for humans. When humans release aura, it is only detected through spiritual sense. Beasts on the other hand have physical manifestation of their aura, the manifestation of their instincts which can be used to hurt others. It is the primal nature which distinguishes man from beast. If man were to return to the beginning and succumb to their primal nature, they too could release a baleful aura.
"Remember, Black aura means danger. It means it is a demonic beast. Do not get it mixed with others like holy and ancient beasts."
The class ended with a clear message. 'Don't mess with demonic beasts.' Xin Fan walked over around the back of the building to finish the last of his challenges. Tianfei followed closely behind him.
"Be careful today."
Xin Fan frowned. She was strangely unnerved today. Xin Fan could not even imagine what she saw yesterday. He could not even imagine her own pain, seeing him slowly breaking while beaten down both mentally and physically. He just couldn't imagine.
Behind the school was a large open field. It was an unpopular area due to the low maintenance and tall grass. Xin Fan himself liked the area as it was quiet. Sitting amongst the grass was a boy. His defining feature was his uncharacteristic vibrant red hair. Typically people from the nearby regions had dark colored hair. As the boy stood up, he introduced himself.
Despite his appearance, he was quite timid. Xin Fan would never have guessed that this was the same person who gave a challenge letter yesterday. In fact, he didn't ever remember seeing him.
"Someone else...wrote name down...challenge."
Ahh...I see now. Tong Hu never wanted to challenge Xin Fan in the first place. Although it was true that he had reached the second stage, he hadn't found out about the challenge until today.
"Are we fighting or what?"
Tong Hu assumed a boxing stance. he threw out quick jabs all of which Xin Fan could dodge. Because the break was only for a couple of minutes, Xin Fan wanted to finish this fight fast. Xin Fan immediately activated his 'harvest slash II' and slashed down upon his opponent. Tong Hu returned the slash by blocking with a technique of his own, 'Armour Fist'. Unlike most of the opponents Xin Fan had faced, Tong Hu did not shout out the name of the technique he used. This did give Tong Gu some element of surprise as he could almost land a blow on Xin Fan.
"You're quite good."
This fight was a pleasant surprise for Xin Fan. The fight overall was calm. The blows that were traded didn't result in bad injuries. This was partly due to Tong Hu's prowess. He was a natural fighter and could predict the attacks heading for his way. However this came at the cost of fire power as although Xin Fan could not predict, he could easily dodge it by observation.
Xin Fan sent a burst of energy using the blade as a medium attempting to break Tong Hu's guard. Tong Hu used his fists and punched it accurately and managed to avoid it easily.
"You are strong..."
Tong Hu murmured some incomprehensible words and suddenly moved forwards. He sent a flurry of rush attacks and knocked Xin Fan back a few steps but it didn't do much to hurt him. Firm was a good word to describe how the punches felt. Xin Fan slashed forwards trying to get some sort of hit on Tong Hu but no matter what he did, the blow would be intercepted mid way. The fight was at a standstill. No matter how much he wanted to finish the match, the fight kept dragging.
"Xin Fan! Classes are starting!"
Xin Fan was reluctant to leave the fight as it is and requested for a rematch after class. After all, he didn't want to have an unresolved fight.
"Are you free after school?"
"No...have training...don't want to fight."
Tong Hu rejected his request for a rematch and quickly left. Xin Fan stood there unsure of what to do. Looks like I was too cocky for thinking the quest would be easily completed. Xin Fan returned to class unsure of whether to send out challenges himself or to wait and see.
Xin Fan felt a tapping on his back. It was the same boy who was bullied by the lackeys the other day. The boy handed him a small crushed note. Xin Fan opened it up to find scrawly text.
I Hu Li challenge you to a duel after class. I heard how you humiliated my boys and I shall take revenge. Don't even think about running away.
Xin Fan nodded at the boy. He seemed relieved that Xin Fan accepted the challenge. If he didn't he would be the one paying for the consequences.
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