Chapter 10 The School of Sword Arts
On the western side of Kirst, Torch Tavern in the commoner district was bustling with activity.
The smell of cheap tobacco and alcohol along with the stench of sweat from a few or more than ten days' worth of not bathing drifted in the air. As the liveliest tavern in the commoner district, it was full of various gangsters, hippies, and the lowest of the laborers, alcoholics, gamblers, and prostitutes...
"Have you heard? Fei Yang Knight Academy is recruiting, and I'm planning on trying out."
"Haha, you? I remember you only managed to learn your foundation skills after five years."
"Have you heard? Traces of demons were found north of Uranlis."
"Huh, was this made up by those blasphemers again?"
Fang Xingjian absorbed bits of information one after another. This was his third day in Kirst, and he already had a general idea of the city's affairs based on what he had acquired so far.
One of the largest cities on the west coastline of Sinkoda, Kirst, was a massive ocean trading-port, as well as one of the political and economic centers of the west coast.
It was common to see black-haired and black-eyed men like him here. It was said that on the other side of the ocean, the Western Land, most people had features like Fang Xingjian.
Nevertheless, Fang Xingjian knew that they were not Earthen descendants, despite their Asian features.
Being a political and economic center as well as a trading port, Kirst was especially prosperous. As a matter of fact, there were myriad organizations providing opportunities to learn and advance martial skills.
This was a world where skill advancement, techniques, specialties, and attributes were part of everyday life. Everyone, from young to old, had qualities far surpassing those of earthlings.
Leveling up and becoming stronger was a way of life. Each individual hoped to change his or her life by building up their strength.
In Kirst, other than the common Warrior academies, Martial Art academies, Dojos and others, there were the seven most famous academies in the city, collectively known as the Seven Pearl Academies.
The 'Pearl' part of the name referred to Kirst, the pearl of the Empire's west coast.
According to the information Fang Xingjian had acquired, two of the Seven Pearl Academies were well-known for their swordsmanship, namely The School of Sword Arts and Tresia Knight Academy.
Dave Tresia, the founder of Tresia Knight Academy, had achieved level 30 more than a hundred years ago, and he had groomed batches and batches of prominent aces, generals, and experts. Although Tresia Knight Academy had fallen behind in recent years, it was still within the top three of the Seven Pearl Academies.
The School of Sword Arts, however, paled in comparison.
The academy in Kirst was only a secondary branch. Its headquarters were in the capital, Deha. Both branches used to be the topmost academies across the entire Empire.
However, the previous leader of the Kirst branch had succumbed to injuries after being defeated in a spar, and the current chief was too young and inexperienced. The academy had thus faced a decline in recent years, eventually falling to the lowest rank of the Seven Pearls. Some were wondering if it even deserved to still be part of the Seven Pearls.
On the other hand, it was strange that Fang Xingjian had not once heard anything about magic prints ever since entering Kirst.
It was as if transitions using magic prints had never been a practice in this land. The transition methods they used in this world were ancient and monopolized by various large organisations and the imperial family.
They also had limited knowledge about Mages, and the majority of the commoners did not understand the extent of the Mages' powers. This lack of understanding was inferior to many cultivators in Demonic City.
'Did the Mages themselves prevent the information from spreading?' Fang Xingjian wondered to himself. 'Or did the earthlings do their own research and came up with the magic prints, just as the government said?'
Fang Xingjian could not figure it out, and had to continue relying on the sources around him.
"Hey, have you heard? The Black Mage King has taken in another disciple."
"Huh? I wonder who's so unlucky that they were taken in by those blasphemers for research."
Hearing this, Fang Xingjian's expression froze.
"Mage King... Onassis..." His fists were clenched so tightly they turned slightly white. There seemed to be a blazing fire in his heart.
Each sentence and word that he heard in any second during those seven days were clearly engraved in his heart.
Uranlis was one of the six countries on the mainland. It was ruled by Mages. The three strongest Mages were the only Mages who had reached the godlike level 30, and they were known as the Mage Kings.
Among them was the Black Mage King, who had the greatest interest in Earth, and who had supported the union and exchange between Uranlis and Earth.
Earth... Demonic City... Magic prints... Onassis Clan... Mage King... Everything seemed to be connected.
Fang Xingjian instinctively knew there was a mystery to be solved here, but he also knew that now was not the time to explore it. Learning the art of the sword and becoming stronger were the most important matters at hand.
'Then it has to be The School of Sword Arts...'
Tresia Knight Academy mostly groomed officials and royalty, and it was compulsory to study etiquette, theology, languages, military affairs, management, and various other skills. The academy also required many recommendations, strict qualifications, and a notable background. The School of Sword Arts, where anyone could enroll, would be better suited for Fang Xingjian.
Fang Xingjian had also taken interest in a rumor saying that The School of Sword Arts had been amassing sword art techniques passed down through many generations.
Thus, Fang Xingjian arrived early the next day at the entrance of the school, which was located on a street in the eastern part of the city.
On a deserted street, there was a rusty metal door not even with a gatekeeper. By the looks of it, The School of Sword Arts was definitely ramshackled.
Fang Xingjian tried pushing the door open and realized that the metal door was not even locked. He walked in with long strides, turned a corner, and found himself before a training ground with tens of apprentices sparring and practicing sword techniques, longswords in hand.
A young man wearing a grey training garb was instructing the apprentices on their swordsmanship as he paced around the training ground. He was blonde and had emerald eyes. He looked gaunt and malnourished, the only thing that made him stand out being the imperceptibly valiant spirit he exuded.
Spotting Fang Xingjian's arrival, the young man gave a friendly expectant smile. Even though Fang Xingjian looked like a penniless wanderer, there wasn't any hint of intolerance in his eyes.
"How are you? I am Kyle, the chief here. Are you here to learn swordsmanship? We have a hundred and fifty years' worth of history, and our school is a Mecca for learning sword arts on the mainland.
"I see you have long and strong limbs. You are definitely a budding sword art apprentice. Would you like to train here with us? We will include a first job transition if you enroll here. Once you submit the tuition fee, all sword techniques are free to learn and teach..."
Fang Xingjian looked stunned for a moment. The situation in this school seemed to be worse than what the rumors said.
"I'm here to learn sword arts," he interrupted.
"Oh?" Kyle chuckled. "Good good good, but you have to pay the fees first. They're paid every half a year for a total of thirty copper coins."
Thirty copper coins. Fang Xingjian had earned around 100 copper coins on the way. The fees were fairly cheap. He nodded and passed over the money.
Kyle accepted happily with a relieved smile on his face.
"Good good good, come! I will first teach you the Basic Sword Technique of The School of Sword Arts, The Grizzly Bear Sword Technique." With that, Kyle picked up a wooden sword from the side and began the drill.