After one year of cultivating the Aquametal technique, Lorist reached the second form of the Bright stage, Timeless Waterflow. The second and third forms of the Bright stage prioritized unleashing the eight extraordinary meridians and linking it with the twelve standard meridians to form the Major Cycle to achieve a state of robust vitality and harmonizing the polar energies of Yin and Yang within the body.
Following the unleashing of the eight extraordinary meridians, it would only take a few months to unleash the Yangwei and Yinwei meridians, after which one can train in the third form of the Bright stage, the Robust Warhorse. Lorist had not reached this level before in his past life. This technique he had inherited from previous family was pretty beneficial after all. The astonishingly fast training speed of the Aquametal Technique was so great a source of joy for Lorist that he forgot he was using Battle Force to train in it and made him feel extremely hopeful of his progress in the future.
But Lorist, deeply engrossed in his training, did not pay attention to the way others around him viewed him. He went to the academy as usual to attend his courses as well as coach his students in swordsmanship. Eventually, he stunned everyone in the academy with the 100% success rate of his first Battle Force awakening course.
Lorist met his first love since coming to this world around this time. Their similar history with their respective families served as a pivot for their growing intimacy and motivated them to strive and build their own happy future.
Nothing much changed until that day when Lorist had a talk with the fat, Deathly Miser.
"Hey, fatty... Aren't you looking at me a little funny? Is there something on my face?"
"I feel sorry for you. I don't know if you even know about it...."
"What are you feeling sorry for? Isn't my life fine as it is right now? I don't need your sympathy."
"Is that so? You say you're fine as you are? Locke, let me ask you. How long has it been since you've trained your Battle Force?"
"Umm, about that... It's true that I've been neglecting my Battle Force training. But that's hardly my fault. My family's Battle Force attribute is totally different from that of a majority of Battle Force techniques. And, given that I don't have the rest of the manual, I couldn't train in it even if I wanted to."
"Then what are you gonna do? Are you going to remain at the Three Star Iron rank forever? You're gonna wait for the conflict in your homeland to subside before reaching out to them for the rest of the technique?"
Shrugging his hands in futility, Lorist said, "What else can I do? It's not like that's getting in the way of my current life so I'm not in too much of a rush."
"Sheesh, you... Can't you just try harder?" said the fatty solemnly. "Didn't Instructor Claude say that you should continue to train in your Iron rank Battle Force until it reaches the peak density in your veins and go experience some life threatening battles? You might be able to stimulate the full potential of your Battle Force amidst the heat of battle and break through to the Silver rank even if you're using the hexagram circulation path for the Iron rank. Brother, you're already at the peak of the Iron rank. Perhaps, if you took another step and got a little push, you might just break through and become a Silver Swordsman! You can't just give up like that!"
"That's not the point. What are you so worried about? I'm passing my days just fine, why would I go out of my way to go fight life-and-death battles? I can afford to wait a few years. Who knows if I might encounter a high-ranked magical beast and perish if I did decide to go train... That's not a decision I can make lightly."
"Look at you... You're still so young, where has your ambition gone? You were not like this before. High rank magical beast aside, you were fearless and not hesitant at all when you pulled out your sword and faced off with five Silver ranked attackers. Magical beasts should be even easier to handle than the likes of men. Let's go to the mercenary guild and find a suitable date to go training and complete some missions in the meantime for some quick cash."
Shaking his head adamantly, Lorist said, "I don't have that kind of time now. I have my hands full with the academy and helping Wenna with her business."
Wenna was Lorist's girlfriend's nickname.
Charade let out another bitter sigh. "Love and women are the downfall of great heroes. Didn't you say that yourself? Look at the you now. Ever since you started dating Wenna, you've never left Morante City even once! You can't go on like that! You are definitely a person with a bright future ahead of you. Don't just idle about and waste your life away!"
"Haha, don't don't have such high expectations for me you cursed fatty. To be honest with you, I don't have any great ambitions myself. I only desire to get a large house on Brinn Hill when I earn enough and settle down there with Wenna and live out the rest of my life in bliss," said Lorist as he laughed.
Brinn Hill was located somewhere to the south of Morante City and was near the Golden Bay. It had great scenery and was one of the most expensive areas in the city to live in. Only the richest of the rich could afford to reside there.
Charade shook his head and said, "You're talking about tens of thousands of gold for a mansion on Brinn Hill. I think you're much better off spending only a few thousand gold coins to get a four-storey building in the southern sector of the city and collect some rent while you're at it. There's nothing good about the sea breeze on Brinn Hill either."
Charade faced Lorist and continued solemnly, "Then again, brother, you should really make more effort in your training and get to the Silver rank quick so that nobody can say anything about your abilities. I'm only telling you this for your own good."
Feeling a little suspicious, Lorist asked, "What's going on? Is there something I should know about?"
"Sigh, the Silver ranked Instructors in the academy are probably plotting something. I think they want the academy to fire you as a swordsmanship instructor because of your Iron rank Battle Force. They think you're not fit to be an instructor for an academy that's ranked the top ninth on the whole continent. That's all I have to say. You go back to see your Wenna if there's nothing else."
Surprised, Lorist exclaimed, "What the heck! What does my Battle Force rank have anything to do with them? They can't make me resign as a swordsmanship instructor! Even with their Silver Battle Force rank, there's no one among them who can match up to me in a duel!"
"It's not uncommon for people to get jealous," said the fatty faintly, "Even with your Iron rank Battle Force, they wouldn't mind if you had better swordsmanship than them. What they didn't expect was that all the students in your Battle Force awakening course successfully awakened their Battle Force. Not only was this a miracle, it made them feel even more worthless. How do you think they'd feel when they can't even match up to an Iron rank instructor? They won't be satisfied until they kick you out of the academy."
If all of the SIlver rank instructor grouped together, the academy would probably be pressured to remove Lorist from his post.
"The best solution as it is now is for you to try breaking through to the Silver rank. Once you're a Silver Swordsman, they won't be able to do anything to you. That's why I suggested you to go experience some life-and-death battles," said Charade earnestly.
Letting out a bitter laugh, Lorist shook his head. He couldn't bear to tell Charade, who was earnestly concerned about him, that he was training in the Aquametal Technique he got from his past life and that his Battle Force constantly leaked through his hexagram circulation path into his meridians. There was no way he could explain it to him.
"It's too hard. Without my family's Battle Force manual, there's almost no way for me to break through without the following hexagram circulation path diagrams. You yourself said that the hexagram path of my Battle Force technique was like nothing you've ever seen. Even if I were to engage in life-and-death battles, there's no guarantee that I would be able to break through within a short time frame."
"Then there's only one other way for you to secure your position in the academy. Have you heard about our academy's Gold Instructor Badge?"
"I know about that. Didn't Instructor Claude have one himself? Instructor Welledor who's in charge of the knight training course, Instructor Wensen from the horse traning course and even Instructor Loboff from the herbalism department possess those too. Isn't that badge given to anyone whose Battle Force is at the Gold rank?"
"No, I'm not talking about that badge. There's another gold swordsmanship instructor badge in our academy. A hundred years ago, there was a One Star Silver rank student in our academy who had won 30 straight duels against Two Star Silver instructors and rose to fame instantly. The academy employed him as a swordsmanship instructor and even made him a gold instructor badge. However, the student joined the army and went to fight in the Battle of the Silver River and successfully killed three imperial knights who were all Gold ranked fighters during an assault on the town of Ried but subsequently died from his injuries after the fight. To commemorate his deeds, the academy preserved his gold instructor badge and decided that anyone who was able to gain 30 consecutive victories with opponents of a higher rank (even those 1 star above) would gain that instructor badge and receive the same treatment as normal Gold ranked instructors. But should one lose even once to anybody, one would lose the qualifications to wear that badge as well as one's position as a Gold ranked instructor."
Charade continued explaining, "Nobody within a 100 years has been able to get 30 consecutive victories like that student and the medal currently lies forgotten in the academy's hall of honor. Why don't you try obtaining that medal to avoid getting kicked out from the academy? I bet that it won't be too hard for you to win 30 duels."
"There really was such a thing?" Lorist rubbed his hands and continued, "I'm definitely getting this gold badge. Fatty, what was that student called?"
"His name was Raven Incador. Had he survived the battle with the Gold rank experts of the Krissen Empire, he could have become a Blademaster. It's a shame he died so young. The special gold badge is called the Incador Medal," said Charade while lamenting the loss of such a talented man.
"Alright, fatty, let's figure out what I should do next. You mentioned there was a group of Silver ranked instructors plotting against me? Give me the names of all of them. I'll challenge them one by one," said Lorist as he licked his lips deviously, like a predator deciding on which part of its prey to enjoy first.
The following ten days in the academy was rife with excitement.
Lorist sent out letters of challenge to the instructors listed by Charade but none of them really cared much about it and even thought that it was a joke. Some of the instructors even tossed the letters into the trashcan, laughing and exclaiming, "You think he's qualified enough to challenge us?"
Given their arrogant attitudes, Lorist no longer held back either. He barged into the class of several instructors and challenged them in front of their students. Feeling rage and humiliation, the instructors pulled out their swords and wanted to teach the impudent and disrespectful Lorist a lesson he would never forget. In quick succession, one by one the instructors were beaten and sent to the academy medical center.
The students of the academy were ecstatic. It wasn't every day when one got to see a proud, aloof instructor get beaten up by an Iron ranked instructor. As Lorist marched towards his next target, a crowd of students followed behind him and even told him the other instructors' locations.
"Instructor Locke, Instructor XX's over there. Are you gonna challenge him?"
"Instructor XX and instructor XX are over there, hold them back! Instructor Locke is coming over for them..."
"Over here, quick, Instructor Locke.."
The crowd was stopped by ten or so Silver rank instructors from advancing and the other instructors insisted that the academy management come in to handle the situation and take care of Lorist, who has disrupted their courses and sent seven of their colleagues to the medical center.
Some Silver ranked instructors hated Lorist to the bone and even shouted for him to leave the academy and that he was not fit to be an instructor there.
Following that, several Gold ranked instructors including Instructor Claude came over and investigated the issue.
Lorist told them this, "I want the Incador Medal."
The crowd was bewildered and didn't know what it was.
Charade, who was maintaining the order of the student crowd, explained it to the other instructors.
Following that, the gold ranked instructors finally understood that it was an academy tradition and even they could not do anything about it. They could only report it to the higher ups and await their decision.
Lorist was unfazed and believed that this commotion wasn't his fault. To begin with, he only did this because the instructors who ignored his letters of challenge and didn't treat it seriously.
Those who understood the situation looked pitily at the Silver ranked instructors, who started to feel pressured and anxious.
Without much delay, Academy Head Levins announced his decision. "Lorist, keep at it. It would be a shame to see the Incador Medal continue to gather dust. I'm rooting for you."
But he also mentioned that Lorist was not to disrupt the classes of other instructors and carry out the duels after work hours.
The Silver ranked instructors were stunned and made excuses to take some time off from work to avoid the calamity that was to come. Several others went to other academies and applied for jobs there. The remaining ones grudgingly agreed to duel Lorist under the witness of Instructor Claude and the other Gold ranked instructors and the jeering students. One by one, they lost to him and were finally let off.