Chapter 90: Three pairs of eyes in the darkness
“I can get the black iron ore for you, yes, but you also know that it’s not that easy to obtain. How many gold coins do you intend on spending to buy it?” Han Shuo weighed things up internally as he spoke slowly with a calm expression.
His mental state sharpening, Lawrence drew himself upright and said with some excitement, “So you can get it. Heh heh, I only need the size of a fist to forge weapons. The black market currently has a shortage, so name your price!”
Rubbing his chin, Han Shuo remembered a conversation he had with Phoebe last time and hesitated, saying faintly, “How about this? Give me five thousand gold coins and I’ll try to get a piece for you.”
“No problem, although black gold ore is even more rare, a black iron ore the size of a fist is indeed worth five thousand gold coins. If you can get a piece of black iron ore, you can come find me at the knight school. We’ll do an exchange of goods and money.” Lawrence said joyfully.
Nodding, Han Shuo remembered how he’d been beaten up by Lawrence a few months ago at the knights school. His eyebrow flicked upwards as he chuckled. “I’ll get you a piece of black iron ore within ten days. Why don’t you practice with me again right now? I’ll be very happy to be a human target for you again.”
“Alright, then let’s begin. I can check out just how wonderful you are. Even someone as proud and aloof as Phoebe continuously complimented you in front of me. I’m quite curious about your strength.” Lawrence struck a pose excitedly and was prepared to immediately fight with Han Shuo.
It was noon, and most of the students in the courtyard had just put their things away and were getting ready to go to lunch. Only two or three students sunbathing in the far distance seemingly hadn’t left because they’d fallen asleep. Han Shuo swept a glance around the perimeter and smiled, “Let’s go to the left. There aren’t that many people there and we won’t affect anyone.”
Han Shuo lifted his head provocatively at Lawrence after he spoke and walked to an empty clearing behind the railing to the left. Lawrence tightened his fists and chuckled lightly, following behind Han Shuo and also making for the empty lot on the left.
When he arrived, Han Shuo circulated the magical yuan throughout his body and started adjusting his bodily condition. Lawrence was a few steps behind Han Shuo and had just walked down the stone steps when Han Shuo had already doubled back like lightning, bringing a fist crashing down on Lawrence without giving him time to react.
Lawrence hadn’t anticipated that Han Shuo would make a move so quickly. The punch with frightening momentum had already arrived in front of Lawrence before he’d had time to react. His facial expression changing slightly, Lawrence suddenly backed up a step after putting his feet down, returning to the stone steps again and shunted his body to the side, avoiding the punch that Han Shuo had suddenly flung his way.
The punch whistled past Lawrence’s face and frigid air emanated from Han Shuo’s left fist, giving Lawrence a bit of a fright.
Han Shuo retracted his left arm before Lawrence had time to react, then suddenly curved it and slammed his elbow into Lawrence’s chest.
Lawrence grunted lowly as his body was forced into the railing by Han Shuo’s elbow, his face reddening slightly.
“Heh heh, Lawrence your sense of alertness isn’t good enough!” Han Shuo didn’t follow up his elbow blow to Lawrence’s chest with another attack. He backed away with an odd smile instead, teasing Lawrence in a sing-song tone.
The two of them were only practicing and not fighting to the death, so Han Shuo hadn’t used his full strength in that strike. He’d only released the barest hint of frigid air from the “Glacial Mystical Spellfire”. As a sergeant knight, Lawrence had fighting aura protecting him internally and hadn’t suffered any injuries.
“You were the one who suddenly ambushed me. This punch doesn’t count, I’ll make you pay later.” Lawrence wasn’t mad as he elaborated on the truth with a wry expression. He then walked down the stone steps again and suddenly faced Han Shuo with no hints of levity.
Pale-green fighting aura suddenly blossomed from Lawrence’s hands as his footsteps sped up. He approached Han Shuo like lightning, the fighting aura from his left hand suddenly formed into the shape of a sword of light and hurtled down towards Han Shuo.
Lawrence had just experienced Han Shuo’s speed and strength and understood that the current Han Shuo couldn’t be compared with who he had been before. This was why he was using his fighting aura, but his movements were quite cautious as he obviously pulled his punches.
A trace of a slight smile curved at Han Shuo’s lips as he watched Lawrence’s movements. He measured up the strength of Lawrence’s fighting aura and completely failed to dodge. He circulated the “Glacial Mystical Spellfire” in his right hand as a thin beam of faint, red light materialized in the path of Han Shuo’s waving right fist. It crashed down into the sword of light coalesced from Lawrence’s fighting aura along with Han Shuo’s right fist.
Bam sounded out dully as Lawrence’s sword of light, made from fighting aura, dispersed in a mass of light spots. Lawrence’s strong forward momentum was halted in its tracks. Han Shuo also felt a wave of soreness and numbness overcome his right hand as his body backed up two steps involuntarily.
“Lawrence, how much of your fighting aura did you use in coalescing your sword of light just now?” Han Shuo looked at Lawrence with burning eyes as he asked
“Sixty percent!” Lawrence responded and then looked askance at Han Shuo. “Your speed and aura is noticeably different compared to a few months ago. It looks like you were definitely acting on purpose last time — except, why would you be willing to be beaten up for five gold coins?”
Han Shuo had been a rookie who hadn’t been tried in combat a few months ago, and his magical yuan had only been at the first level of the “solid realm”. He had done so to earn gold coins, but most importantly to train his body and thus hadn’t held himself back. It looked like Lawrence was misunderstanding Han Shuo.
Sixty percent of his fighting aura. Han Shuo thought briefly and went over the amount of magical yuan he had infused just now. He finally concluded that his own strength should be slightly stronger than Lawrence’s because he had only infused his punch with about forty percent of his magical yuan. This already had the effect of being at equal strengths with his opponent.
After testing his strength through the direct collision of one fist, Han Shuo didn’t continue colliding head on with Lawrence. He used the agility and nimbleness of his body instead to battle Lawrence in much more efficient ways.
The two of them traded blows back and forth for a while on the empty lot and both of them suffered from a few attacks. Han Shuo’s body was obvious much stronger than Lawrence’s, and he emitted low grunts when punches of equal strength landed on his body.
Han Shuo’s body was stronger than Lawrence’s to begin with, not to mention that the initial stage of training magical yuan had been self inflicted torture, so he had endured all sorts of pain. He was already used to this kind of pain, so these blows didn’t even register on his body when they landed.
Spots were dancing in Lawrence’s eyes when he voluntarily stopped after a while. He smiled wryly, “No more, enough. You’re quite a strange person. I can’t feel any fighting aura from you at all, but why is it that your strength is much greater than mine. Is your body made out of steel? Why does it feel like I’m punching a stone wall when I hit you? Don’t you feel pain at all?”
Chuckling evilly, Han Shuo said, “Don’t you worry about this. My body is naturally odd. Can’t my body be strong?”
“Eh, do you have the blood of barbarians running through you, or can you go berserk like the berserk warriors? Phoebe was right, you are a marvelous person!” Lawrence first asked in astonishment and then murmured to himself.
Han Shuo also understood his deficiencies after the two had sparred. His body and magical yuan was indeed wondrous, but Lawrence had obviously been trained in martial arts and there was quite a rhythm in his punches and evasive maneuvers.
Han Shuo had never learned martial arts, and his attacks were always the simplest methods. Compared to Lawrence, he lacked effective attacking methods. He made a mental note of this deficiency. Han Shuo planned on thoroughly pondering this when he had time and see if there were any other attacking styles left behind in Chu Cang Lan’s memories.
“I don’t know. Alright, let’s stop here for today. I’ve finally redeemed myself for last time. I’ll come to the knight school when I obtain the black iron ore.” Han Shuo mentally weighed a few things and made his careless farewells to Lawrence as he returned to the necromancy major with furrowed brows.
Lawrence didn’t get mad after coming off a bit worse for the wear this time. After he bid farewell to Han Shuo with a smile, he walked towards his knight school and muttered, “A strange person indeed. The durability of his body can probably be compared with orc warriors!”
Han Shuo mused privately as his footsteps continued to take him towards the necromancy major. Phoebe needed some time to prepare the rations and he didn’t intend on returning to the cemetery of death in the short terms. Duke was currently residing within the school and Han Shuo still didn’t know his exact plans. Therefore, he decided to remain within the necromancy major after some thought.
Han Shuo’s dorms had long since been arranged by Fanny, but he’d never lived in them. Now that he’d decided on temporarily staying within the academy, the dorms were finally proving to be of some use to him.
The Babylon Academy of Magic and Force was the largest institution of learning within the Empire. Its facilities were very comprehensive, and it was no wonder that a high tuition was enacted from every student.
Han Shuo’s quarters were in the corner of the second floor and were roughly fifty to sixty meters squared. It included a bedroom and a bathroom, with tables, chairs, and mirrors. It was the difference between heaven and earth compared to the warehouse Han Shuo had stayed in before.
It was already past noon after he’d arrived at his dorms. Han Shuo had missed meal time and could only take out a few chunks of meat jerky from his space ring to pad his stomach.
Han Shuo didn’t leave the dorms after he finished eating. He closed the room door tightly and sat on the bed, taking advantage of a quiet lull to practice his magical yuan. The magical yuan started circulating and slowly began to coalesce in his mind from all parts of his body. A sort of clear, slightly-cool feeling permeated through his brain, making Han Shuo feel that his brain was immersed in a refreshing pool of water.
However, this feeling only lasted for a short while. The comfort of his mind was replaced by a soul wrenching pain. The training of the “molded spirit” level caused Han Shuo’s brain to continuously switch between comfort and pain. He would feel lazily at ease one second, and so much pain that it felt like someone was digging through his brain with a sharp knife the next.
What was most agonizing about this for Han Shuo was that every time the pain surged, his mind would become immensely clear headed. This would cause the pain to be suddenly magnified ten times. The clarity of his mind was specifically for him to suffer through even greater pain. This made Han Shuo wish to curse whoever created this magical yuan technique was seriously a perverse masochist.
After a long, long time, Han Shuo breathed out lightly and halted his magical yuan training. Hot air rose from his body like he’d just taken a hot shower and a strong sense of manliness rolled off his body.
Training his magical yuan had taken Han Shuo from afternoon directly to night. The night scenery outside his window was captivating as the cool night breeze blew in. It was desolate and silent all around.
Sitting up from his cross legged position, Han Shuo turned on the hot water in the bathroom and laid back leisurely in the tub, enjoying this rare moment of carefree ease. He even hummed a small tune.
The dead of the night was the perfect timing for those with ulterior motives to come skulk around. Two small sounds suddenly sounded in Han Shuo’s ears, just as he was lazily showering. One of them came from within the dormitory building, the other outside the window.
Three original demons flew out, without a sound, from the back of Han Shuo’s neck. Two of them went out the window to check what was going on outside. One of them floated towards the origin of the sound, while the other stayed near the window, silently observing any abnormalities. The last original demon floated out the crack in the door and arrived in the hallway of the dormitory building, moving forward along the hallway and floating to where the sound had come from.
The one that had gone outside finally discovered Duke surreptitiously floating around the sides of the buildings after traveling for a while. Duke hadn’t used nightwalker clothes this time. He appeared like a ghost in the darkness, floating to the dark major’s classroom buildings without any weight at all.
The original demon within the hallway had discovered one of the dormitory room doors had been lightly opened, with Fitch tiptoeing out quietly with a sinister face. He was walking towards Han Shuo and judging from his facial expressions, seemed to bear ill will.
Han Shuo immediately jumped out from the bath tub and quickly towelled himself off. He put his pants back on and lay down on the bed with his back facing the door, even breathing sounds emitting from his mouth.