On the third day Patt joined Reidy in his morning training session, he asked him, "Reidy, what's that weird metal wheel with a chair strapped on it in the corner of the yard for? Is it a toy for Alisa and Howard?"
Reidy shook his head and said, "That's not a toy. It's something I used before for my training. It's not like we don't let the kids play with it though. They simply just don't want to."
"A training equipment? I don't seem to understand how it works," said Patt as he gave it another look and tried to imagine how it could be used for training.
"I used to play around in the mountains and forests a lot when I was small. And there was this one time when I accidentally knocked on a bees' nest and naturally, they started swarming around me. I was so scared and started swinging a branch around and managed to kill quite a few of them, but I got stung by many more and had sores all over my body and only managed to recover after a month. Because of that incident, I've developed a phobia of sorts. Don't laugh, that's what master told me," said Reidy, dissatisfied at Patt's laughter.
"Alright, sorry. My bad... Please continue your story," apologized Patt.
"Before, I used to learn swordsmanship from my father. When I came over to Morante City, I also got some lessons from Uncle Charlando, who's the owner of the Red Grace Inn. Don't be fooled by that limp he has, he's actually a Gold Swordsman. When I'm only practicing normal sword moves, I would perform without a problem. However, when I start sparring with someone, the moment I see the flash of a sword, I will unconsciously be reminded of the shiny tails of the bees that have given me so much grief and uncontrollably close my eyes and swing my sword around randomly. At that point, I've already forgotten all the techniques I know. My father and uncle both came to the conclusion that I wasn't swordsman material..."
"But you seem to have pretty good skills now, don't you? I didn't see any of that behavior when I sparred with you yesterday..." Patt couldn't imagine how the current Reidy still had any of those bad habits that he had just mentioned. During the sparring match yesterday, he was surprised and quite dissatisfied with the fact that a Three Star Iron rank like him was evenly matched with Reidy who was at the Three Star Bronze rank. And during the duel, it could be seen that instead of closing his eyes, Reidy had both of them wide open and seemed like he was paying attention to every single move Patt was making. That made Patt doubt the story Reidy had just told him.
"Of course it's no longer an issue for me. I've been treated by master using that training machine. The big metal wheel is called a hollow rotor while that metal chair is called a spinning chair," explained Reidy.
"Hollow rotor? Spinning chair? These two things managed to treat that bad habit of yours? Tell me how it managed to do that," asked Patt curiously.
"Alright. When I first started to train with master, he discovered that bad habit of mine and asked me patiently about the reason that made me develop that habit. I told him about the incident with the bees and he said that it has caused a phobia to develop within my psyche which causes me to unconsciously close my eyes every time I felt like I was in danger. He said it was something called 'ostrich mentality. Don't ask me what an 'ostrich' is, I don't know that either. According to master, it's a kind of bird that lives in desert that hides its head into the sand every time it detects a predator and believes that as long as it can't see the enemy, it would be safe. Do you think there's actually a stupid bird like that?"
"Then what happened after that?" asked Patt impatiently.
"Master said that it would take quite some time to treat the phobia through some kind of psychological treatment to slowly change that mentality of mine. But he also said that there was a quicker method that made one feel extremely horrible but could allow one to gain a unique visual ability that lets one see fast moving objects at a much slower rate. As long as I can see things moving slowly, I wouldn't feel that I was in danger and the instinct to close my eyes wouldn't kick in," explained Reidy.
"So you chose the quicker way?"
"Of course. I decided to do that right away. After that, master had someone make the hollow rotor and the spinning chair. All my life I've never experienced something that dreadful. It took me almost two whole months to be able to get used to the sensation. After that, master said I was successfully treated and put some honey all over my body before releasing a couple of bees for me to strike down with my sword. At first, I was horrified at the notion. But when the bees came at me that time, I suddenly noticed that they approached very slowly. I could even see every flap of their wings clearly and managed to easily kill each and every one of them." Initially, Reidy showed a pained expression when he talked about the treatment process, but he started to sound more eager when he reached the part where he fought against the bees once more.
"Master said that the ability I developed was called dynamic vision which allowed me to perceive fast moving objects at a slowed rate when I focus. When I sparred against you yesterday, I could see each and every one of your sword strikes clearly and could parry every single one of them without breaking much of a sweat, thus allowing a Bronze rank like me to match up to a Three Star Iron rank like you. That's why our sparring match ended up in a draw," said Reidy with a satisfied expression.
Patt looked at the hollow rotor and spinning chair and was instantly moved. "Then Reidy, if I use that chair to train like you did, will I develop that dynamic vision ability as well?"
Reidy was surprised before he said, "You should be able to. Master said that this equipment was built precisely for normal people to develop dynamic vision. If you want to try it out, I'll go ask master for permission. However, let me warn you that when you first start, you'll feel so horrible that you might even want to die. Are you sure that you don't want to reconsider?"
Patt shook his head and said, "I've made up my mind. As long as I can have the same ability as you do, I'm sure that my skills will definitely rise and I will be able to better protect master. I think I'll go ask him myself."
"No, there's no need. I'll ask for you," said Reidy excitedly as he turned and ran towards the house entrance.
Patt touched the equipment and thought, these two things look so simple. I wonder if it's really as horrible as Reidy had described? He couldn't just be trying to dissuade me from using it, could he?
Without delay, Reidy came back and said happily, "Brother Patt, master has already agreed to let you use it. But he said that you have to endure it no matter how terrible you feel and must absolutely not give up in the middle."
Patt said, "Then I promise that I'll never give up. No, I'll even swear."
"Alright, then would you like to start now? Master has said that as long as you train the way I did, you'll definitely be able to develop dynamic vision," said Reidy, who looked like he was about to enjoy a good show.
Maybe it's just my imagination, thought Patt.
At that time, the sound of a horse galloping could be heard approaching the yard. Kelly had returned from the Business Sector from a shopping trip using the carriage shuttle service of the residential area.
Reidy and Patt went over to help her carry the luggage into the storeroom.
"Miss Kelly, what are we having for lunch today?" Reidy asked.
"I'm going to make steak, fish soup, salad, fruit pudding as well as Alisa's favorite chicken drumsticks."
"Alright. You should make one less portion of steak. Otherwise, it'll go to waste," said Reidy.
"Why? Is the young master not coming back for lunch?" she asked.
Reidy smiled and said, "Nope, it's not the young master. You'll know soon......"
The dark night has come and a veil of silence blanketed the land. Even the frequent croaking of the frogs around the Moon Lake were significantly quieter.
Lorist got up and stood by the window of his room and looked straight at the night view of the Moon Lake. A chilly breeze lifted the curtains and let it dance under the illumination of the silver moon.
The sandglass on a table nearby showed that it was around two in the morning. But Lorist had no desire whatsoever to sleep and after pondering for a bit, he decided to go take a walk by the Moon Lake to calm his feelings down.
The 8th month has already passed and it was currently the 1st day of the 9th month. The academy semester break was officially here.
Few days back, President Peterson sent a box containing 30 gold coin notes to Lorist and thanked once again the instructors as well as the assistant instructors because his son Dorsedaus has successfully managed to awaken his Battle Force along with the last batch of students.
Academy Head Levins also issued the promised reward of 1000 gold Fordes to the instructor team. Coupled with President Peterson's gift, there was at least 4000 gold coins in total. As the head instructor, Lorist collected 300 gold coins. Hughes, Marlin and Anfya each had a bonus of 200. The 24 other instructors each got 100 gold coins while the assistant instructors got 50 each. The remaining gold coins were used for a celebration at the Red Grace Inn where everyone engaged in fervent merrymaking during which Lorist was forced to drink so much that he puked over three times.
As for the aftermath of the duels, Lorist finally secured his title as the Silver Undefeated the moment he got his 3000th win. When the dueling event was finally over, the academy administration had Lorist's physical proportions measured for the life-sized statue they were going to commission for him. Starting from the next semester, his statue will be erected within the academy, forever immortalizing the legend of Iron Locke the Silver Undefeated.
In a few more days, Els finally wrapped up his betting pool. By that time, Lorist will finally receive the 26000 gold Fordes he was entitled to, causing him to have a grand total of almost 30000 gold Fordes. In Morante City, a person with that kind of money could already be considered a tycoon who would be able to live in luxury for tens of years even if they stayed jobless.
And when the next semester comes during the 10th month, there would be no tasks at the moment that the academy can hand to Lorist, meaning that he could use that time to enjoy his life at home or go adventuring with a couple of friends as he has done so in the past. Even though the semester break had finally come, for some reason, Lorist still felt as if a burden could be felt deep in his heart which caused him to be unable to relax to the point where he didn't have any appetite and started having sleepless nights.
The silver moon's light made the lakewater seem to glisten. Lorist sat on a large rock by the bank and stared at the moon's reflection as he thought...
Indeed, he was merely trying to run away. If it were the past few days, he could still use the dueling event and the Battle Force awakening course as an excuse to postpone the decision to return to his homeland. But now that everything was settled, he had no choice but to face the facts squarely.
Why should I return to inherit the dominion? That place is completely foreign to me and I don't know anybody there at all. Also, the family is also in deep trouble and accepting the title of the lord is equal to jumping into a pit of fire... Lorist really couldn't understand. He had lived at Morante City for the past ten years and formed connections with the people here and even got a stable job and was practically a living legend here. This was where he belonged.
Very much satisfied with his life here, Lorist was really unwilling to go to the Northlands to inherit the position. As Shadekampf had said when he first arrived, the standard of living in Morante City was far better than that of the Norton dominion; Morante City was practically paradise. When it came to food and many other necessities, Lorist's homeland couldn't even compare as it really was far too underdeveloped.
So, why, then did he feel a tinge of longing in his heart? It was as if a voice called out nonstop for him to leave Morante City to return to his dominion. Perhaps it was the blood and soul of the Nortons that was ingrained within him that prompted him to feel a deep desire to develop his dominion and strengthen his family. That was probably the deepest dormant instinct the descendants of the Norton family had.
Even though Lorist really wanted to stay in Morante City and not return to his homeland, that wish conflicted with the imprinting of his soul thus making him feel unsettled and bothered till symptoms of insomnia and lack of appetite even manifested. If he continued to go on like that, who knew how bad it would become should he choose to endure the torturous inconsistency within his mind? Maybe if I continue to endure it until the 3rd month next year, the feeling will disappear when the family picks the previous lord's illegitimate child as the heir, Lorist thought.
So what if that person isn't from a proper line of descent? Doesn't he also have the Norton Family's blood in him? The moment Lorist had that notion, a sudden intense wave could be felt within the core of his being, sending chills down his spine.
"Achoo!" sneezed Lorist.
Alright, fine... Illegitimate children still have a fundamentally different status from the bloodline of the official line of descent that flows within my veins... Oh little Locke... It truly feels like we are two people sharing one body... Now that my mind is living in your body, it wouldn't be comfortable for any of us if you continue to struggle like this... Come on, I beg you... stop making me feel so bad... After his sincere pleading, the wave in his body finally calmed down. But a barely audible voice of someone crying could still be heard in his mind. "I want to go home... I want to go home..."
That's right. I want to go home too. Little Locke, your homeland is still within reach but there's no way for me to return to mine......
Lorist silently teared up as he sat alone on the rock by the lake. As the first rays of dawn broke the veil of the night sky, a trail of dried tears could be seen on his face. Lorist stood up and faced the rising sun before saying, "Little Locke, let's go back home together."