Volume 2 – Growing In Power
Chapter #54 – Team Joshua
“The legendary Daneel. How are you here? Aren’t you all forbidden from entering our grounds?”, said one of the kids who had just arrived and was helping up the three who were still wincing from the pain.
“Haven’t you heard? My award was unlimited access to the academy.”, Daneel said, folding his hands.
“OK, then what brings you here? And what suggestion do you have?”
Daneel just looked at the kid without speaking before he realized that they hadn’t even told him their names yet.
“I’m Joshua, the team leader. This is Helvix, my classmate. These 3 are Vander, Jander and Xander. They are brothers and they attend the fighter academy next door.”
Nodding, Daneel said, “And as you all seem to know, I’m Daneel. Observing the crowd, I noticed that this wasn’t the first time you were sparring. What is your quarrel with the nobles?”
“They are the tyrants of the Yellow batch. They regularly beat up those who spoke even a little ill of the King or the nobility. Yet, the academy turns a blind eye towards them. Some masters admonish them a bit, but they don’t care about that.
“The two of us were beaten up into a near-death condition in the beginning of the year due to a casual remark that I made. Since then, we had been planning to take revenge. During the 5 day break, we trained this combo with the 3 brothers who live near us. They had also suffered in the hands of the nobility in the fighter academy, and we became a team when we shared our stories with each other.”
He looked down with shame as he continued.
“The first time after getting back, we almost beat them because they were caught off guard. At the last moment, that darn defense trinket was activated and we have been losing ever since. Each time, we have been challenging them hoping to find a weakness. I just… don’t want to give up. But there is no point in getting injured again and again.”
An expression of struggle was evident on Joshua’s face as he said the last lines. This was clearly some one who hated to give up, but simply had no other choice.
Daneel marveled at the tenacity of the team which had chosen to plan and wait for the right moment to beat down those who had oppressed them. Such a combo was definitely not easy to train, yet these 5 had almost perfected the execution in just a few days. Also, they had only been 12 years old! Being able to think with such maturity at such a young age was truly something to be praised.
He felt lucky that he had found exactly the type of people he had been looking for. Although he would inquire later if everything was true, it was now time to throw out the bait.
“I can show you the way to defeat the barrier. But what will I get in return?”, he asked, looking expectantly at Joshua. His answer would decide his fate.
“Anything. If you can really do that, we would be willing to follow you to the depths of hell.”, he answered, shaking with anger remembering everything that they had had to endure. As he looked at his team mates, they also nodded, signaling that they would follow their leader.
Daneel was actually shocked hearing the answer. He had never expected that it would be this easy. It seemed that the oppression in the lower grades was much higher than he had expected.
The King was really making things too easy for him, he thought, before replying to Joshua whose hand was shaking because he was squeezing it too hard in anger.
“Remember what you said. Meet me in the woods near the library in 30 minutes.”, he said, before turning around and leaving.
It was up to them whether they would stand on their word.
After going back to the quarters and grabbing a quick bite to eat, Daneel made his way to the forest which was accessible to all students. This had been the location where he had practiced his path of a Paragon.
To his delight, the 5 were already at the entrance of the woods, waiting.
Daneel himself had chosen to come 5 minutes early, but they had come even earlier.
“Follow me”, he said, before leading them further inside.
An hour later, the 5 kids walked out of the woods with anticipation apparent on their faces.
“Remember what you promised when you win the fight. Meet back here at the stroke of midnight if you choose to keep your word.”
Daneel, who had followed them out, said these words before walking away in a different direction.
Yellow Batch Sparring Grounds, National Magic Academy of Lanthanor
A crowd of students could be seen rushing to a particular sparring arena which already had over 50 students milling around, waiting for something to happen.
“Whats the matter? Didn’t the match between Team Joshua and Team Valanel already happen?”, asked a kid dressed in commoner clothes, puzzled at what the rush was.
“Joshua challenged them again! The match is gonna start in 5 minutes!”, said one of the students who was in a hurry to get to the arena.
Eyes widening, he joined the crowd and ran, trying to get a spot in the front.
In the past few days, the teams had repeatedly fought and it had always been a sight to see. Whether it was the expensive defense trinket or the exquisite team work between Joshua and the others, each fight had not failed to make the crowd go “ooh” and “aah”.
Soon, the match began. Much like before, the two teams were standing in front of each other as the same judge announced the start of the match.
As the crowd cheered without stop, two of the fighters walked forward and turned around, positioning themselves in front of their team.
“Let the monkeys jump around however they like. They can’t do anything against the trinket anyway. Maybe at least then, they will give up after realizing their incompetence.”, said one of the nobles in the opposite team.
Hearing this, the others relaxed and started watching the scene.
The two fighters who had their backs to the enemy kept turning around to check whether there were any spells shooting their way. Seeing that the team had chosen to relax like in one of the spars they had had before, they smiled, thanking their lucky stars.
Joshua and Helvix had already raised their hands, concentrating on casting the spell they had agreed on beforehand.
On hearing Joshua’s signal, Xander started running forward. His brothers, who were directly in front of him, cupped their hands and placed them on their thighs after kneeling down.
On reaching the first brother, Xander leaped up on the cupped hands, rising into the air. The former also jumped in sync, increasing Xander’s upward momentum.
A second later, the second brother, who had been standing a few inches away from the first, leaped up before putting his cupped hands above his head.
This was the second step up. Using his brother’s hands in the air as support, Xander leaped again, pushing the other down.
He was now 10 feet up in the air due to the light weight of their bodies.
A metal layer like before started forming on Xander’s right fist which was raised in the air. Only, it seemed to be congealing into what looked like a sword.
They had planned it so that Xander would fall down exactly on top of the dome created by the defense trinket.
Everything happened in only a few seconds, so the enemy team had no chance to respond before they saw Xander bearing down on them from above.
The dome flickered into existence but was quickly and smoothly pierced through by the sharp sword, allowing Xander to land between them.
Meanwhile, 5 fireballs had already been shot by Joshua and Helvix before casting the spell that made the metal sword on Xander’s fist. They had perfectly calculated it so that the fireballs would hit as soon as the dome was pierced.
The crowd went into an uproar seeing all 5 of the enemy team teleported out by the judge, who couldn’t believe his eyes.