On the sixth year of his new life when his current body was 20 years old, Lorist discovered something troubling.
Lorist had fared pretty well for the past few years and had already grown from being a low-ranked errand running Bronze mercenary into an Iron ranked mercenary veteran.
Lorist was also quite well known in the Dawn Academy, given that he applied for another three professions after completing his magical beast studies and herbalism courses, among which included archaeology, ruin exploration as well as language studies. Having been among the ranks of the mercenaries for quite some time, he came to understand that the legends surrounding the magical civilization was not without basis and was true to a certain extent.
In one of his excursions with his buddies a year before, Lorist visited an already excavated small ruin that was said to be a tower that used to be a magus’s residence. The colossal tower that reached out beyond the clouds described in books was no longer standing, but the discovery of the three basement floors shocked them. Large, smooth walls made from stainless steel shone like a mirror, seemingly unworn from the passing of time. Lines stretched across the floor up to the walls and intersected to form a complicated, three-dimensional magical formation diagram and chunks of neatly-arranged rocks with archaic fairy script could be seen in the vicinity. These could be the cornerstones that served as the foundation of the magical formation.
Every one of them in his group dreamed about gaining boundless wealth and fame for discovering this ruin but felt it wasn’t too realistic. Most of the ruins that humans once inhabited had already been excavated and studied and were no longer of much value with only a few exceptions that possibly lay hidden somewhere in the lush, dense forests or the desolate mountains. Given their abilities and the magical beasts that lurked around such areas, however, it would have been a suicidal effort. They could only daydream in vain of the glory and riches that awaited.
Lorist however was ecstatic and marched forward with enthusiasm. Having read ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ in his past life, he had always been fascinated with magic and wanted to become a mage himself. Too bad he arrived on the Grindia Continent a little too late. Had he crossed over to a few thousand years earlier into the age of magic, his dreams in becoming a great magus might just come true.
At that time, Lorist, having just recently obtained his qualifications in magical beast studies and herbalism, was wondering which courses to sign up for next. Given that Dawn Academy’s archaeology, language studies and ruin exploration courses were quite highly-ranked, he decided to sign up for them during the following semester.
Ruin exploration refers to the research and study of the architecture and the purpose of buildings left behind from the age of magic as well as the means to excavate such ruins with as much care as possible to avoid damaging the ruins. Archaeology dealt with the distinguishing and handling of artifacts found in ruins and was concerned with determining the purpose and worth of such artifacts. Language studies was the hardest of the three, given that the languages of the fairies, dragons, gremlins that the magi used were said to contain mystical power and people without magical affinity could not truly grasp the language; even if someone did manage to learn a couple of words, he would only be able to make similar sounds but be unable to reproduce the archaic power contained within each word.
These magical languages by nature could not be easily passed down through the generations. But the magi of the time frequently inscribed the script of these languages onto stone tablets to record important information. These days, the field of language studies can only rely on the characters on the tablets to slowly decipher the actual meaning of the words by matching the drawings that was occasionally found next to the characters. So far, the largest achievement in the field of language studies was the ability to distinguish words of the fairy language from that of the gremlin language. Not much progress had been made however in understanding the language of the dragons.
These three courses were closely related. Lorist quite cynically summed up the essence of these three courses into two words: grave robbery. The only difference between this and actual grave robbing was that it was legally endorsed by the various powers on the continent and it was common practice for people to raid and explore such ruins, loot the artifacts inside and auction them off to gain wealth and fame. Archaeologists, however, were dissatisfied with such a phenomenon and deemed such acts destructive and unethical.
Lorist believed that once he obtained those qualifications, he would live a rather adventurous life as both a researcher and explorer, venturing around the continent in search of thrills. What he didn’t expect was that the act of applying for all three courses would draw so much attention to him. If he were to graduate with qualifications in seven professional courses, while he may not be the first in the academy’s history to do so, he wouldn’t be too far off from being the last one.
Attending these courses weren’t that much of a burden to Lorist. What he was truly worried about was his stunted Battle Force training due to the lack of the following Blazing Battle force manuals for the higher levels.
This wasn’t an uncommon occurrence in Grindia. Descendants of noble families intentionally brought Battle Force or swordsmanship style manuals in parts with them in fear of the techniques being leaked out and would only request for the rest of the manuals when they reached a certain level. But Lorist could not do so as he had already lost contact with his family for years. The Krissen Empire in the north was in much chaos due to the infighting among the three princes of the empire and caused Lorist to be unable to reach out to his family. Seeing that the conflict was likely to continue for a few more years, he wouldn’t be so stupid to wait and do nothing until the day he manages to contact his family finally comes.
Even if he had the patience to wait, he had to continue training to keep his body in peak condition. Already resigned to his situation, he motivated himself to train in some other abilities.
Just a few months after he crossed-over and started training in swordsmanship, he noticed that this body of his had a unique gift of dynamic vision: it was the ability to accurately focus and see the trail of objects moving in high speeds.
Lorist wasn’t too unfamiliar with the ability either. When he was still a soldier in his past life, in one of the training drills, he was in charge of leading his special ops team stealthily into the base of the other side, thinking that it was going to be a piece of cake. He didn’t expect all his team members to get eliminated from the simulation by merely one guy and decided to rush into him with a grenade in hand, intending to perish along with him. The sensors on their uniforms let out some smoke, which signified their ‘deaths’ in the training exercise. Offering that other soldier a cigarette, he curiously asked how he managed to avoid the concentrated barrage of bullets. Most people wouldn’t be able to survive such an assault.
That guy cockily told Lorist that he wouldn’t be able to pull off what he did and explained that his natural gift of dynamic vision made any fast moving object appear slow in his eyes. That’s why he was able to easily avoid the bullets and was practically invincible as he struck Lorist’s teammates down. The only thing he didn’t expect was Lorist’s suicide bombing and was trapped in a corner without being able to do anything in retaliation.
Lorist was really envious of that man’s natural talent but was told that it could be learned with sufficient training. He said that pilots would also need to have good dynamic vision but the training process was extremely nauseating to most people and encouraged Lorist to try it out and experience it for himself.
The man sighed and continued to say that his natural dynamic vision was unlike those that people could obtain from training in that it put a lot of stress on the mind. While the vision one could obtain from training was certainly inferior to his, it was more than sufficient for the average person for most intents and purposes.
At that time, Lorist didn’t understand why that man sighed and did some reading on the internet about the ability and discovered many training methods one could use to train one’s dynamic vision. One of the methods involved sitting on a chair that turned at extremely high speeds and having someone hold large cardboards with words written on them beside the chair and trying to read the words on the cards while spinning around. Within merely ten minutes of trying it out, he collapsed feeling intense vertigo and discomfort and couldn’t stomach any food for up to two days.
It is said that if one perseveres through the training, in time, one would be able to see clearly the faces of passengers through the windows of a speeding train.
But the intense discomfort caused by the training made Lorist think that such an ability wasn’t worth the pain. He subsequently gave up on the training.
The present Lorist, however, fully understood why that man sighed on that day.
Initially he was exhilarated to discover that his new body had this ability. Through intense focus, he could even see each distinctive flap of the wings of a passing fly. In sword battles, no matter how agile and quick the opponent, Lorist only perceived a slow moving sword and could easily come out with a counter to break his opponent’s move.
However, the utilization of this ability was extremely mentally taxing. Before, he wasn’t able to use it for too much a time. As he used this ability more and more, however, he noticed that his mental endurance increased in tandem with the amount of time he could sustain his dynamic vision. Even when he was not in deep focus, his sense of the environment around him had grown ever more sensitive; a fact he figured out during one of his magical beast hunts.
The main problem, however was that his body’s reaction couldn’t catch up with his senses’. When he first discovered this ability his Battle Force was at the One Star Bronze rank. For a time he could still keep up with his improving dynamic vision as his Battle Force grew and was unparalleled among his peers in swordsmanship, causing him to be appointed as an assistant swordsmanship instructor.
But ever since he got stuck at the Three Star Iron rank, Lorist found that his movements couldn’t keep up with his ever improving dynamic vision. In time, his body would no longer be able to keep up with his reaction time.
Given his performance as an assistant instructor a year before, he was then promoted to a full-fledged instructor. But that incident caused many Silver ranked instructors and students much dissatisfaction and even prompted many Silver ranked students to challenge him to duels. It was then when Lorist first encountered the problem of his body’s movement speed.
Given the complete defeat of the first few Silver ranked students who challenged Lorist on behalf of a swordsmanship instructor, that instructor decided to join the fray himself. When the duel started, Lorist began to feel pressure; this was a man who had rich experience in real life battles and was not like some people whose skills were visually impressive but outright impractical. Every strike of his was fast, damaging and straightforward. Some of his moves were even willing to suffer a small hit in order to land a bigger one!
Under Lorist’s intense concentration, the moves of the enemy were broken one by one. To the people watching the duel, Lorist’s moves were flexible and flawless. But he himself felt the opposite: there were a few times when he clearly found weak points in his opponent’s strike but his body wasn’t able to move in time. There were also a number of times when he could clearly see the trajectory of the sword but was only barely able to avoid them. That duel only ended with his narrow victory.