This chapter is brought to you by AnmesicCat, Masadeer, and StellarAshes.
Daylight had just climbed out of the healing Maxun when he noticed Silver Mask, Kaiser, Meinan, and Jetter, who had a distasteful expression on his face. They were all standing in front of the healing Maxun, staring at him.
Daylight was baffled, so he asked as he walked towards everyone: “Are you guys waiting for me?”
“Yup. We’re waiting for you so we can be on our way.” Kaiser answered
“On our way?” Daylight was even more confused.
“There was suddenly an academy ranking match this year, so every academy will be sending a five-person team to the match.” Meinan explained the situation to Daylight.
“The old geezer Barbalis didn’t realize the match was the day after those Violet students came to cause trouble, and that would be today. We’re short on time, so we’re here waiting for you so we can be on our way.” Kaiser snapped.
“Academy ranking match? Aklan Academy had been the best for years, why is there suddenly a ranking match?”
Daylight suddenly felt heavy responsibility placed upon his shoulders. If they lost and it caused Aklan Academy’s ranking to drop, wouldn’t they suddenly be the sinners of Aklan Academy’s history?
“Barbalis said, the other academies have joined forces against him.” Kaiser snapped and grunted:
“That damn old geezer, if I were in other academies, I would make him pay too!”
Daylight looked at the quiet Silver Mask on the side, walked in front of him and asked:
“Silver Mask, are you a member of this team too?”
Wearing the silver mask, Liola nodded at Daylight, whom seemed to have sighed in relief. As a defeated opponent, Daylight was quite clear of how strong Silver Mask was.
Daylight calmed down and began to get excited for the battle: “Let me go prepare for the trip then we’ll go.”
Kaiser pouted and took out a long pike — it was Daylight’s weapon.
Meinan opened a bag, inside were Silver Mask’s white, silver-lined uniform, gray Sorcerer robe, and Daylight’s blue-lined Knight’s uniform. Liola didn’t say anything, but his legs were wrapped by two Dragon tails: one was white, the other was red.
Everything was ready, even the Eastern Wind.
[T/N: The refers to the Battle of Red Cliff where two allied forces won a decisive victory because of the eastern wind, and it carried flame ships towards the enemy fleet.]
Kaiser snapped again: “The principal said, since we already have two Dragons, so we will have to ride the Dragons to the match, and therefore save on traveling fees.”
Daylight nodded. As he walked out of the healing room, he asked his Fire Dragon, Flames, to transform outside via telepathy. Liola walked out with Daylight and also used telepathy, asking Baolilong become bigger.
Before long, two giant Dragons stood tall on the plaza. Right after Daylight had gotten on Flames, Kaiser and Meinan too climbed up with him.
Daylight curiously turned around and looked at them, then he looked at Silver Mask, who was standing alone on top of the white Dragon.
“One of you could go ride Silver Mask’s Dragon.” Daylight reminded them.
Meinan’s face suddenly changed, then shook his head continuously. Kaiser said: “No, thank you. We’re not too terribly interested in things like 720 degree turns in mid air.”
“Wait a minute, what about me?” Jetter, who had been silent, suddenly yelled anxiously.
“You?” Kaiser said coldly: “I remember you are from the School of Mecha Fighters? Do the students there not have Mechas to use?”
Jetter ground his teeth and said: “My Mecha can’t be used for long distance flights. I’ve already used a flying Maxun to send it to the match!”
Kaiser smiled sinisterly.
Everyone who knew Kaiser would know that it was the same smile he puts on whenever he saw the misery of other people.
Not only was his smile despicable, the sound he makes when he laughs would wanted to make the listeners punch him in the face:
“Then… You go sit on Silver Mask’s White Dragon. It’s a Sacred White Dragon, and not something you would have a chance to ride whenever you want.”
Jetter looked at Silver Mask hesitantly. Since Silver Mask had some conflicts with him, Jetter thought that if Silver Mask want to take revenge on him, wouldn’t it be easy to give him a little push in mid air?
As if he had read Jetter’s mind, Kaiser lightly flung his fingers and said.
“Don’t worry. If Silver Mask wanted to kill you, it wouldn’t be much harder than stepping on an ant. He wouldn’t take you up into the sky, and then push you off as if he was trying to announce to the world that he killed you.”
Though Jetter was furious at the tone of Kaiser’s voice, he couldn’t refute Kaiser’s statement. Besides, it was indeed a rare chance to ride on the Sacred White Dragon! So with a grudge against Silver Mask, and excitement with riding the Sacred White Dragon, Jetter stepped onto the Dragon and headed to the match.
* * *
Jetter didn’t noticed at all why Kaiser and Meinan would rather ride on Daylight’s Red Dragon instead of the Sacred White Dragon. But before long, he understood completely.
With a child’s heart, Baolilong wasn’t at all interested in ‘smooth flight’. His favorite thing to do in the air was tumbling.
Baolilong didn’t like flying straight, but instead flying in the shape of an ‘S’ was his favorite. Flying into the path of a wave was also a common occurrence.
Anyway, since it was rare for Baolilong to return to its true form nowadays, it would always play when it was back in Dragon form, often to the point where it forgets its master was riding on its back.
Fortunately, Baolilong’s master happened to be the best Assassin with a terrifying sense of balance, otherwise Baolilong probably would’ve killed its master a countless number of times. (So in a sense, perhaps Lanski should be thankful to Liola?)
“Let me down! Let me down!”
Jetter desperately screamed on the top of his lungs. Every now and then, Liola would grab him and “fish” him back to prevent him from being shaken off of Baolilong, and falling out of the sky to his death.
“Silver Mask’s balance is unbelievable. Is he really the same age as me?”
Daylight curiously asked. But as he said so, he suddenly remembered that there was an even bigger question that needed answering.
Daylight turned and looked at Kaiser, then asked skeptically:
“Kaiser, is Silver Mask really the Paladin’s apprentice? Why was that Violet Academy’s Water Dragon Knight so sure that he isn’t?”
Kaiser, who was originally laughing his head off at Jetter, heard Daylight’s question and almost choked on his own saliva. After coughing for a long while… Actually, he was using the time to desperately think of an excuse. Finally, under Daylight’s gaze, Kaiser bit the bullet and said:
“Well, you already know, Liola is Silver Mask.”
Daylight nodded. When Silver Mask was in danger, Daylight looked for Silver Mask, but instead saw Liola with a gray Sorcerer robe and a white-haired, pink-eyed child.
“He’s in a disguise because…” Kaiser showed a forced smile and continued, “Because his master, the Paladin, had told him so. As for why… well, maybe…”
“Because the Paladin didn’t want Liola to become arrogant.” Meinan quietly continued where Kaiser had left off.
Daylight’s gaze was now focused on Meinan.
“If everyone knew Liola was the Paladin’s apprentice, then their attitudes to him would be far different.” Meinan kept his calm and continued,
“In order to not let Liola be intoxicated by pretentious fame, the Paladin forbid Liola to announce himself as his apprentice, and he himself never said he has an apprentice, so the Water Dragon Knight said the Paladin has no apprentice.”
Daylight finally understood what happened, and he wasn’t at all suspicious of what Meinan had said.
“Whenever the principal needed Liola’s help, Liola would disguise himself as Silver Mask to help the principal. So that’s why. The Paladin’s thoughtfulness is really admirable, and Liola is certainly worthy to be his apprentice. Liola even entered the School of Sorcery, and he didn’t disobey his master’s order even if Knights with lower rank than him would insult him.”
Daylight nodded in satisfaction, and he was no longer skeptical of Liola’s identity. He even secretly reminded himself, never leak Liola’s secret identity, so the Paladin’s thoughtfulness wouldn’t go to waste.
Though the dangerous situation had been averted, Kaiser curiously looked at Meinan, who was making a ‘V’ sign.
‘Since when did this guy learn to lie?’ Had he not been certain that Liola was definitely not Lancelot’s apprentice, even Kaiser would’ve been fooled by Meinan’s explanation.
“We’re here.” Daylight pointed at a place where loud cheers could be heard.
It was a circular arena. It was a place only used for special events in the Empire, but now it was used for the academy ranking matches.
Daylight looked at Liola and pointed in the direction of the arena. Liola nodded, and soon both directed their Dragons toward the arena.
Two Dragons appearing in the air on top of the arena made the original cheers silent. Thousands of students in the circular arena widened their eyes to look up, and even the teams in the center of the arena looked up at their opponents.
Having two Dragon Knights indicated significant power, but it was not uncommon, as there were quite a few Dragons on the side.
What was important was the Dragon Knights’ ranks.
The White and Fire Dragons slowly landed, and the administrative staff immediately walked up to Liola and the others. After having seen the school badge on their chest, he immediately raised his microphone to announce:
“Aklan Academy has arrived!”
The arena immediately started to roar. Being currently ranked first, Aklan Academy was commonly regarded as the biggest opponent. Everyone seemed to be surveying the five Aklan Academy students.
“Two Dragon Knights, my god! They even have a rank silver Knight? How is that possible? Silver Knights are usually instructors!” One of the students screamed.
“One Mecha Fighter student. Isn’t that Jetter? Ahaha!” Participants from other academies exploded with laughter, because Jetter had fallen off as soon as the White Dragon landed. And then, with foam around his mouth, he was unconscious and was carried off by the medical staff.
“Two Sorcerer students…” People who were examining the representatives had gotten quiet when they saw Kaiser and Meinan, and they were confused.
Ordinarily, very few principals would send Sorcery students. Out of the tens of teams present, only two of which had Sorcerers. Violet Academy had only sent one Sorcerer, but Aklan Academy sent two.
“Come here quick, you’re the only ones not in position.” The administrative staff beckoned the students from Aklan Academy.
Daylight looked at Liola, and reminded him: “Silver Mask, your rank is the highest. You should walk in front of us.”
After Liola asked Baolilong to return to a meter-tall small Dragon, he walked in front of his companions, and followed the staff to the center of the arena. There were already more than ten teams of participants standing there, and everyone settled their gazes on Liola.
Though Liola didn’t care for their stares, he wondered if he had done something wrong. Why else would everyone be staring at him?
Actually, Liola hadn’t done anything wrong. But he was wearing a white uniform, and he walked very calmly.
His eyes were sharp, and he mimicked a Knight’s pride perfectly. His demeanor was exactly of a Silver Knight. But the reason why all the students were staring at Liola, was because of his rank.
There had never been a Silver Knight ranked among students!
Though every academy had a couple of Blue Knights here and there, no one had ever reached rank-silver while they were still a student.
The abysmal gap between Blue and Silver rank was something that many Knights couldn’t cross in their lifetime. Even instructors in academies were not all rank-silver. The majority of them were still Blue ranked.
“Your position is here. Please wait.” The staff courteously asked Liola to stop. His identity as a Silver Knight made even the staff cautious.
“If I knew this before hand I would’ve asked Barbalis to lend me a Silver Knight uniform, so they wouldn’t treat me as if I’m transparent.” Kaiser quietly complained:
“No, I should just get a Gold ranked uniform.”
“Then every Knight would have their swords on your neck. There are only ten Gold Knights in the world, and they’re all very famous.” Daylight advised with good intentions.
“And Kaiser, no one is treating you as a transparent person.” Meinan was holding an eyelash brush, and looked in the mirror to raise his lashes even more:
“There are more than ten Knights, lots of Mecha Fighters, but only three Sorcerers! I can safely say that we are the most eye-catching ones. Why don’t you straighten up your messy hair? You can use my hairbrush.”
Kaiser looked at the brush Meinan handed over, and he did not bother to hide his disgust:
“Get it away from me! I’d rather be bald than brush my hair with a pink brush with a butterfly pattern on it!”
Meinan shrugged and took the brush back. He then started meticulously brushing his hair, even though it looked straight and neat.
Seeing every academy had a different badge, Liola lowered his head for the first time and looked at his own chest, at the badge he temporarily took off from his Sorcery robe and put on his Knight uniform.
For the first time, Liola realized the Aklan Academy’s badge was a pentacle. Liola raised his head to look beside him. Those students were wearing a violet on their chest. He then looked up and saw a familiar face, because it was the person who came to Aklan Academy yesterday to provoke them and defeat Daylight and Purity — Yizhou.
Yuzhou had a distasteful expression. He glanced at Liola, and his voice was as cold as yesterday: “I will defeat you, you fake Silver Knight and expose your lies.”
The staff saw that every academy had arrived, so he raised his mic again:
“All 15 participating academies have arrived. Then allow me to introduce this ranking match’s judges. The first is the Silver Knight, Feir.”
A man with black hair, black eyes, and wearing white, silver-lined Knight uniform stood up on the stage. He had a warm smile, and it made people feel refreshed.
Feir nodded lightly, and said: “I hope that everyone can compete in this match fair and square. Long live chivalry!”
Feir put his right fist on his left chest, and performed a Knight salute to everyone. All the Knights returned the salute, even Liola had learned to do so.
Feir looked curiously at Liola before he sat down.
“Feir is Purity’s older brother. His full name is King Feir.” Meinan whispered in Kaiser’s ears, which made Kaiser’s jaw drop.
[T/N: In Chinese customs, last name is placed in front of the first name.]
Because of his sharp hearing, Liola heard this information too. So the Knight uniform Liola took from Purity belonged to the same Feir before him?
“Hey! Purity’s last name isn’t really King, is it?” Kaiser was rather curious.
“Yes. Her last name is King, and her first name is Purity.” Meinan said as a matter-of-fact.
[T/N: Purity’s original name is Qing Qing]
Kaiser showed a strange expression: “Then is your last name Mei and first name Nan? Daylight, is your last name Day and your first name Light? Haha, Liola would be even more strange. Could his last name be Li and first name be Ola?”
Daylight answered seriously: “It’s true. My last name is Day and my given name is Light.”
Meinan raised his head from looking at the mirror, and rolled his eyes at Kaiser: “My name is Meinan Glory, not Mei Nan.”
“I don’t have a last name.” Liola replied to Kaiser, whom awkwardly scratched his face upon hearing.
While Kaiser and others were discussing names, the staff had introduced a few Mecha Association’s Honorable Advisors, and a representative from the Sorcerer Association. After the judges had greeted all the aforementioned attendees, the staff saw that everything was just about in order, so he spoke again:
“Now I announce that the First Annual Academy Ranking Match begins! First…”
A voice had interrupted the staff’s announcement. Everyone looked at the person who spoke. It was a person in the Violet Academy, and he was wearing a purple Sorcerer robe.
It was the person who came yesterday to provoke Aklan Academy, and the Water Dragon Knight’s elder brother — Yiyu.
“There is a Silver Knight among students. Doesn’t anyone suspect something?” Yiyu smiled maliciously.
Everyone’s gaze immediately gathered on Liola; their eyes were indeed filled with suspicion.
Yiyu from Violet Academy walked out of his team, and said loudly to the judges on the stage:
“This Silver Knight not only wearing a mask and call himself Silver Mask, he even claims to be the Paladin Lancelot’s apprentice. I hereby proclaim, this person is most likely lying. He’s definitely not Lancelot’s apprentice, and he’s probably not even a Silver Knight!”
This speech caused the stadium to rumble as if there was a bomb. Everyone within the arena, and probably everyone on the Aklan Continent, were already suspicious of this Lancelot’s apprentice appearing out of no where. But because they were intimidated of his silver rank, no one opened their mouth to openly question his identity. Now that someone had spearheaded questioned him, everyone’s suspicions had surfaced.
Standing at the epicenter, Liola still remained calm. Fortunately, Kaiser had already predicted something like this would happen.
Facing everyone suspicions, Liola did not say a word, but instead walked towards the stage. As he walked step by step, the crowd had slowly quiet down. Finally, Liola was in front of Feir, and everyone was quietly watching how this would progress.
Feir’s face was still filled with warm smile, and he curiously looked at what Silver Mask would do.
Liola then took out a silver, metal card from his pocket, and placed it in front of Feir. He said: “Please don’t say my real name.”
Feir took the card he was most familiar with, because it was given out by the Knight Association to prove a Knight’s identity. The silver color represented the Silver Knight’s identity.
The small card had the Knight’s name and rank, a picture of the Knight, and a Holy Sword Emblem representing the Knight Association.
Feir took out his card as well. When two authentic Knight card touch, the emblem will shine with a golden color. This was the best way Knights could confirm each other’s identity. Feir lightly touched the two cards, and the sword emblems on both cards did indeed glow.
“Your Knight card is authentic, but I still need to confirm if the picture is really yours.” Feir said as he handed the Knight card back to Silver Mask.
Liola nodded. With his back to everyone, he quickly took off his mask and then immediately put it back. Though it was a short time, but Feir had already seen his face clearly. He nodded and said:
“You really are a Silver Knight, that I can promise. But I don’t know if you are the Paladin Lancelot’s apprentice.”
“Whether I’m the Paladin’s apprentice has nothing to do with this match.” Liola hadn’t planned on explaining any further.
“But this has to do with your code of honor. Are you sure you don’t want to give any explanation?” Feir asked somewhat curiously.
Liola’s face sank, and he was unsure how to respond to anything regarding to his code of honor.
At this time, Daylight, who had been anxious for Liola, couldn’t hold back anymore. He quickly ran up to the stage, and his serious face was filled with determination. He first saluted Feir, then said:
“Sir Feir, Silver Mask has his reasons for not explaining, and I can promise you on my honor that Silver Mask is not lying.”
“Crap! Somebody’s honor was just destroyed in the hands of Liola.” Kaiser murmured. Meinan, the only one who heard the murmurs, had a helpless expression.
“You’re on the same team as Silver Mask. You would obviously say he’s not lying.” Seeing the favors were tilting in Silver Mask’s direction, Yiyu hurriedly yelled.
Daylight’s face sank, and turned around to say solemnly to that Sorcerer: “I’ve already sworn on my honor. If you still insist that I’m lying, then I must duel with you to protect my honor.”
“We’ve already dueled, and if I remember correctly, you’ve lost to us yesterday.” Yiyu smiled.
Without giving up at all, Daylight openly admitted: “Yesterday I did lose. But to protect my honor, I will give it my best today.”
Unable to make Daylight feel embarrassed, Yiyu was obviously unhappy. He narrowed his eyes and started announcing:
“My brother had met Sir Lancelot before, and the Paladin himself said he had no plans to have any apprentices. This was only five years ago, so how could he suddenly have a Silver-ranked Knight apprentice. Do you think this is possible?”
After his speech, everyone had gotten quiet again. Everyone’s gaze was back on Liola.
“Oh, so, you wanted to be Lancelot’s apprentice, but in the end you got rejected. No wonder you’re acting like we owe you a ton of money.” Kaiser looked up and down at the Water Dragon Knight, and he was laughing sinisterly.
Everyone seemed to thought about what Kaiser said, and what Yiyu had announced, then burst out laughing.
Yizhou’s face had turned colder, and his freezing gaze was on Liola. He said word by word: “The Paladin would never have you as an apprentice!”
Seeing the doubtful voices in the arena was increasing, things were getting out of hand. Liola had no way of fixing this. The only person who could complete his lies, Blood Wolf, was nowhere to be seen after giving him the Knight card last night. (Strange, why does Blood Wolf not care about his honor?)
When Kaiser was completely helpless, a crisp neigh was heard from the sky. When everyone raised their head to look at the sky, their jaws dropped in disbelief. Even the Silver Knight, Feir, immediately stood up, and performed a Knight salute.
A snow white unicorn was snorting amidst the blue skies, and on it there was a man in White Knight uniform. His long brown hair was tied into a ponytail, and his sky-blue eyes seemed to be searching among the crowds. As soon as he saw Liola, Lancelot slightly frowned, and commanded the unicorn to land on the stage, where Liola was standing.
Lancelot got off the unicorn, and walked directly towards Liola. He didn’t not look at anyone else, and he only waved his hand briefly at Feir’s salute. Lancelot walked to Liola, and curiously looked at Liola. His face sank and he said solemnly:
“You don’t know how to salute?”
Though Liola was stunned at the situation, but he still put his right fist on his left chest out of reflex to salute Lancelot.
“Wait for me on the unicorn.” Lancelot sounded like he was scolding his own child. His tone was strict and as if it can’t be defied.
Hearing a command tone, Liola instead felt strangely familiar. His body practically obeyed Lancelot without his control. It wasn’t until he had gotten on the unicorn did Liola remember that Lancelot wasn’t the Leader, and he didn’t need to obey his orders.
Though Liola thought this way, his body still obeyed the order and he stayed on the unicorn without moving. Confused, Baolilong, who was in a meter-long Dragon form, bit the corner of Liola’s pants.
Liola lowered his head to look at Baolilong. After thinking about it carefully, he used telepathy to tell Baolilong.
“I’ll be fine. You stay here and help Kaiser and others.”
On Baolilong’s long Dragon face, two cheeks puffed up, and he grunted in dissatisfaction. But it obeyed Liola’s orders, and walked back to Kaiser. Baolilong frequently turned around to look at Liola, hoping Liola would change his mind and allow itself to remain by his side.
Lancelot now finally looked directly at the judges on the stage. He said, “I’m sorry, but I have to take him away. I will try my best to bring him back before the match starts.”
No one dared to say anything. Even if Liola evaporated from the world, no one would say anything bad about the Paladin. Lancelot knew this very well, and it was just a formality for him to give an excuse to the judges. He then walked back and rode the unicorn, then took his apprentice and flew away.
* * *
When everyone was in shock, Kaiser suddenly burst out a cry: “My god! He took away my trump card!”
‘But, why did the Paladin take Silver Mask away?’ Meinan was puzzled as he thought about it.