Blades of Rebellion

The Second exam

”Wait a minute, this can be right! ” Toga said.

Ryuma clenched his fist. Even though he didn want to accept this, this was the result he got. There wasn much they could do about it. He got a Twenty-four touching the soul stone. By no measure should that be a fluke. He had to accept reality as quick as possible and work around it.

”Is everybody seeing this!? Ryuma got a TWENTY-FOUR! I COULD HAVE SLEPT MY WHOLE LIFE AND GOT HIGHER THAN THAT! ” Diaga shouted.

Several students either covered their mouths, or outright laughed all together. Suddenly most of the girls that were previously attracted to him turned away in embarrassment as if they never knew him. Many of the instructors there turned their head down in shame.

Ryuma didn care about any of that superficial crap. With a soul force that low, hed have to blow the next two exams far beyond their expectations and even that might not be enough. Still, hed have to try. As far as control and combat, both should be easy, but what would the instructors say at the end of it.

”That display is an embarrassment to the White Dragons. If you have any respect at all for our faction, youd pull out of this exam immediately, ” Wen said.

”Who would have ever guessed that the prodigy of the White Dragons, had such low soul force? This changes everything, ” Binzo said.

”What does this change exactly? Hes still better than us when it comes down to it, ” Clara asked.

”That may be true now. But thats only down here where there isn a large difference in soul force. Its clear now that hes been this talented with such a clear handicap as this, but if his soul force doesn change, there will eventually be a point in which well have so much soul force, his combat skills won even matter. In the end, skill means nothing in terms of overwhelming power, ” Binzo said.

”Bummer. Thought the guy was kinda cute. But hey, if nobody wants him, maybe I can take him back and make him my boytoy, ” Clara said.

Ryuma turned around and walked off the arena. He was facing the ground, disappointed with the results. The amount of gossip around him took an entirely different nature then it was previously. There was nothing he could say back to them given his new position and if the momentum continued like this, he might not even be in the order.

”Ryuma… ” Nuna called. Her voice was tinged in sadness, but it was clear she had nothing to say.

”Nuna don . If you think pitying him is going to make him feel better, then you don understand the hearts of men, ” Talo commanded. He stood with his arms folded and deigned not to look at Ryuma as he passed him. ”Ryuma, ”

Ryuma stopped walking.

”Im going to be straight. I still have amazing respect for your skill in the sword arts. That much is unquestionable. That being said, if you join the order with such a soul force, better yet, end up on a team, with my sister, you risk putting her and everyone around you in danger, ”

”TALO! ” Nuna yelled.

Talo ignored her. Ryuma could understand what his concern was. His request was no different than what Wen just asked him to do. Quit the exams here and now.

”I understand your concern… but I won quit here. If Im not made to join the order, then theyll have to tell me themselves, ” Ryuma nodded his heads towards the instructors.

Talo sighed. ”Then do what you want, ”

Ryuma walked to the wall and sat down. He needed to think about his next move. He never knew his soul force was this low. What went wrong?

”This doesn make any sense, ” Toga said. ”I never got the impression you ever had a handicap, ”

”Forget it, ” Ryuma said. He was annoyed, but he didn want to go down that route. Hed look bad if he started alleging sabotage. Hed be in an even worse position if he got a redo and the same score popped up.

Ryuma had no choice but to work with the hand with which he was dealt. He dared not to look into the stands where the high edict was, less he drew in any more unwanted attention.

”Aren we a trooper? ” Diaga said clapping his hands. It was clear that he was mocking him. ”Don you think its fitting that the best of the White Dragons is still trash? Personally, that would explain their situation if you think about it. Desperately clinging to a job they clearly weren made for. You
e the Truest form of a White Dragon If Ive ever seen one, ”

”Beat it Diaga! Soul or not, Ill end you myself if you keep pestering us, ” Toga said.

”Fine, Ill back off. Leave it to us Red Dogs to keep coming to their rescue. If we do it out there, no reason we wouldn do it up here either. Cmon, lets go. It feels like the next exam is about to start anyway, ”

The group walked off, his lackeys chuckling as they left.

Toga slumped down next to him. ”So what are we going to do now? ”

”Dunno… My only option is to overcompensate on the next two exams. Assuming they let me continue that is, ”

”Think you can do it? ”

”It doesn matter what I think. I must do it, ” Ryumas eyes burned with determination. Something of this caliber wasn going to break him. It was a minor setback.

”I envy that fire you have. You somehow manage to have more than the Red Dogs, ”

”Thanks I guess, ”

From the looks of it, the instructors were going through the last of the people. None managed to score as low as he did, something his fellow schoolmates weren too shy on reminding him.

”THIS NOW CONCLUDES THE FIRST EXAM! I WANT ALL STUDENTS TO PLEASE PREPARE THEMSELVES FOR THE SECOND EXAM! ”

All the students began whispering to themselves again, some openly staring his direction. He knew what they wanted to say, none would do so to stomach the nerve.

”If I may interject, ” Wen said. All attention was on him now. ”Not only did Ryuma fail to reach a soul force of fifty, but he also has one monstrously lower than fifty. Why must he be allowed to continue with the test? Wen said.

”Because thats what has been decided. If you have a problem with it, I suggest you take it up with the High Edict, ”

Wens eyes went wide like saucers. He looked up into the stands where the High Edict was now standing in attention, with chilling eyes directed at Wen.

At once, Wen immediately knelt with his head down. ”FORGIVE ME YOUR HIGHNESS!? IT WAS NOT MY INTENTION TO QUESTION YOUR WISDOM! ” Sweat started forming on the young mans skin.

The entire student body followed Wens lead and knelt now that the High Edict was standing. All except for one student, who was stuck glaring back.

Ryuma wondered what it was this man was thinking. Why would he of all people save his exam. If anything, he would have thought that the High Edict wouldn even acknowledge his existence with a display like that. What was he after?

”You
e forgiven, ”

It was all the man said in such a low-pitched voice. It mattered not, with how quiet it was, everybody heard it, as well as the veiled threat it imposed on Wen. His eyes slightly shifted from Wen, to the now standing Ryuma.

Ryuma felt his face slamming into the dirt. The back of his head being covered by hands. ”Are you insane!? ” Toga whispered.

Now that Ryuma thought about it, his staring could have been mistaken as a look of defiance. He was lucky Toga did that when he did, otherwise he couldve doomed his entire family should he have offended the man in any way.

Thankfully, nobody other than Toga noticed that little slip up.

”You may continue, ” The High Edict said. He sat back down into his seat.

All the students got up, that heavy pressure to kneel on sight having now lifted. ”Well my body feels lighter now, ” Toga said bouncing to emphasize his point. ”How about you? ”

”Im sorry, what? ” Ryuma asked. His body didn feel heavy at all. He didn know what Toga was talking about.

”Listen. we may be friends Ryuma, but if you pull a stunt like that again, Ive no clue who you are. Im not being dragged down with this nutcase, ” Toga said.

”Oh yeah… my bad man. I don know what came over me. I was just curious, ”

”Curious about what? How fast you can get your family clapped? ”

”Why would the High Edict want to save my expulsion from the exam? It doesn make sense, ”

”Why wouldn it make sense? He might just want to see what is it that makes you the strongest, ”

Ryuma went into deep thought. Was that really what it was. A simple whim? If that were the case… then did he really get a second chance at passing this exam?

Or… was he now just here for passing entertainment?

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