Everyone could feel that Swind hadn't awakened either of his mana organs yet, but that wasn't the reason that Lone was concerned. 'That orb can detect if he has the potential to use magic, right? I really hope he gets at least one point. I can work with one point, otherwise, making his arm and tail is going to be far less fun if I can't incorporate magic into them.'
"Mr Immortus-ss, I'll be heading up," Swind said.
"Mmm," Lone replied, "Don't be disheartened even if you get a zero. This test doesn't measure your particular talents and is kind of unfair to you," he added.
Swind nodded his head. "Of course-ss Mr Immortus-ss," he said with a happy tone, though it was hard to tell due to his thick accent. Swind was a very tough person to crack and it was rare to get any emotions out of him, which made lone feel better.
Without any further delay, Swind stepped up onto the stage and placed his only hand onto the orb. Naturally, a lot of people whispered very lightly amongst themselves after seeing him up close. Swind was missing a hand and his tail, not to mention the fact that he was the weakest person here bar Eolande who was still maintaining her illusions.
"Do you think he was allowed to take the tests because of his race? I've never seen one of his kind before."
"Maybe. Perhaps his race has a very unique ability or he could be a soul oracle."
"No way. Soul oracles are all stupidly strong. There's no way he could be one."
Fep kept his gaze fixed on Swind and he asked Lone a question. "I'm just asking out of curiosity, but Swind really is normal except for his race, is he not?"
"As normal as they come. There's nothing special about him at all except for his uncanny ability to knit a very flattering scarf with a single hand," Lone laughed lightly.
From Lone's other side, Eko joined in with his own laughter. "Now that's a talent I wouldn't mind having at my disposal! He wouldn't happen to have time to knit me a hat, would he? It can get a bit chilly at times," Eko said as he rubbed his bald head.
Sophie couldn't help but laugh at that. While Lone and his companions appreciated Eko's sense of humour, the Elves certainly didn't. Their hate for the outsiders only grew and even the King himself frowned.
It was at that point that the Fairy in charge of this test announced Swind's results. It was clear for everyone to see that the orb hadn't glowed even slightly, so no one expected for the Lemurian to get a good, or even half-decent, score.
"Zero! However, there was a very tiny response, but it wasn't enough to justify a point, so zero!"
A few low laughs of disdain could be heard from the crowd of participants and Falin's eyes held a certain amount of contempt in them as he smirked in Lone's direction.
"Very disappointing. Not only are you a cripple with no combat ability, but you even lack any potential in magic. You may leave now. Regardless of your connection with The nine-tails, we can't accept someone as useless as you," King Ele'hunda ordered with a domineering tone.
The King then looked at an older Elf sat on his right and said, "Create a contract with this person so that they will never reveal anything they have seen thus far or speak our language ever again."
Just as that elf nodded in acceptance as if such a thing was normal, a thunderous cackle filled the plaza and gained everyone's notice.
Lone was stood at the back of the crowd just the same as before, except his entire body was shaking and his eyes were tearing up as his head was thrown back. Listening to his roaring laughter was almost deafening to the ear and it seemed to even penetrate the soul.
Fully activating his Aura of Dominance for the first time in a very long time, Lone craned his head down and looked at the King of Elves like he was absolute trash.
"Who are you to judge my friend as 'useless'?! Disqualify him from the test, sure. Make note of his lacking strength, sure. But to dare call him 'useless'?! You are unfit to be a king, you scum!" Lone, fully fueled by his rage stat, yelled before spitting on the ground.
Eolande swiftly floated next to Sophie and whispered, "It might be a good idea to prepare your mana to teleport us all out of here, Lone doesn't look like he's in the mood to go back on his words and apologise. I'm not sure if I can beat or even hold back that monster of an Elf."
Were they able to, every Elf present would have surely attacked Lone and killed him in cold blood for disrespecting a world tree's king like this, but thanks to his Aura of Dominance, almost everyone was struggling to breathe save for Lone's friends whom he had purposely not targeted and the King himself who could resist the domineering effects.
King Ele'hunda felt a drop of sweat crawl down his brow and the large image of an enraged golden fox hanging over Lone's head actually frightened him. 'I... I'm frightened? Me? Frightened by a C-ranker? And that fox image...'
"Apologise to Swind this instant or I will kill you!" Lone could feel his emotions getting the better of him. He was falling into his rage, and it wouldn't be too long until Void made an appearance for the third time.
The King stood up from his seat and slowly walked forward. Without making a sound or giving Sophie a chance to teleport everyone to safety, King Ele'hunda was already behind Lone and he briskly and swiftly punched Lone in the back of the head while holding back most of his strength.
Immediately, like a doll whose strings had been cut, Lone collapsed to the floor. Everyone simultaneously felt themselves being able to breathe again and they all looked at Lone with terror and shock clear in their expressions. This was especially true of Falin and the Demon Princess.
"Sweetheart, heal him. I admire his character. Rare is it that someone would so openly threaten me despite knowing the difference in strength," the King stated with a praise-filled tone.
Her Highness nodded and quickly ran towards her father and Lone before she started to chant spell after spell to heal the would on Lone's head and any internal damage her father may have caused.
King Ele'hunda walked back up onto the stage and sat on his seat once more. He looked at the unmoving Swind and smiled mysteriously. "I take back my earlier words. You may participate in the remaining tests."
"Lone!" Sophie screamed before she quickly ran to Lone's side and held his hand. She was desperately trying to hold back her tears.
Breena was glaring at the Elven King and she was doing very little to hide her murderous intent. 'He hurt Master and insulted Swind! I need to be stronger! Strong enough to actually protect Master from people like this scum!'
Swind slowly walked off of the stage and ignored the looks he was getting from the Elves. 'To think that Mr Immortus-ss cared so much about me... Are my petty cooking and knitting skills-ss really valued that highly by him?'
Eolande couldn't help but sigh as she sat on Kyuubi's back. "Husband is always so brash. There was no way he'd win. Thankfully the King didn't take it too personally it would seem, right, girl?" Kyuubi nodded her fluffy head in response.
Fep laughed from their side and asked, "Is he always like this?"
Eolande shook her head in a slightly embarrassed fashion. "Unfortunately, he is. Sometimes he can control his impulses, other times... Though that is one of his attractive features."
"Certainly. He's a fun character, that's for sure," Fep replied with a smile on his blue face.
Eko chuckled and wiped the sweat away from his bald head. "What a scary ability. I could hardly breathe! He's way stronger than he was back in Milindo."
The one who agreed the most with Eko was the Demonkin Princess. 'That frightening aura... It reminds me of how I feel whenever I'm in father's presence...'
The council of High Elves and King Ele'hunda didn't waste any more time and continued on with the testing. The next number that was called, coincidentally, belonged to Eolande.
"How fun. Time to get a little bit of revenge for Husband I think? Don't you agree, Kyuubi?" Eolande said mischievously. Naturally, Kyuubi lazily bobbed her head in agreement.
Eolande flew up onto the stage and just before she put her hand on the testing orb, she undid the constant illusion on herself that was concealing her true power, revealing her X-ranker strength.
Very few people thus far had realised her innate strength levels, the King and Her Highness were some of these people, but almost everyone else present had assumed she was only an H-ranker like her illusion had made her out to be.
It took a few seconds, but the momentary shock left everyone quickly since quite a few council members and elders were as strong, if not, stronger than Eolande. However, what happened next stunned everyone speechless.
Eolande had placed her gentle and frail looking hand on the orb, only for it to instantly explode and shatter into a million pieces.
"Oh, would you look at that. It broke. I wonder if it was defective? You wouldn't happen to have a stronger one that won't do that next time, would you? That's a health and safety hazard," Eolande teased the King in full view of everyone.
"... Intriguing. You, your magical talent must be extraordinary to be able to overload a magical potential testing orb without outside assistance, no? You pass will full marks," the King stated before looking at the Fairy in charge of evaluating the Keepers, "Replace the orb with a stronger one."
"To think that you weren't using your strongest one just in case someone like me showed up... I guess you guys are looking down on us outsider keeper candidates, huh? Or maybe you are used to a small amount of innate magical ability from your own kind? How foolish," Eolande giggled as she covered her mouth. Many of the council members surrounding the King and every Elven keeper candidate present got angry at Eolande's provocations.
The King was one of the few that seemed to be unphased. Normally, Eolande wouldn't have ever dared to act so rudely in the presence of so many beings as strong as her or stronger than her, but the time spent with Lone had changed her and she had allowed his arrogance to seep into her personality somewhat.
Twenty minutes passed, and while they were upset with the Tylwyth Teg, no one could do anything unless the King ordered them to, so the testing continued.
Breena had gone up and gotten a score of forty-eight which was barely a passing score. Eko was graded with a measly ten which was a failing score, but it wasn't low enough to disqualify him from the following tests. Fep, being a Changeling, was able to score eighty-two since his race was very attuned to magic, granting an inborn potential to it.
The Demonkin Princess was surprisingly able to get a high evaluation of ninety-five which even surpassed the most talented High Elf, Falin's score. When Fep harmlessly asked her about this, she simply answered that her race had always been extremely attuned to dark-flame magic, so it was only a natural result for her, not to mention she was from the royal lineage.
Finally, it was now Sophie's turn. Lone had been fully healed and was simply unconscious. There were still quite a few people who had been untested, so he had more than enough time to wake up for his evaluation.
Sophie approached the orb and placed her hand on it. Immediately, it began pulsing with a bright rainbow-coloured hue and was clearly on the verge of exploding much like with the weaker one that Eolande had purposely destroyed, however, Sophie wasn't doing anything beyond simply touching the orb.
At this point, the King finally cracked a bit. 'We only have so much money, so we can't really afford a new one of these... Okay, let's stop her.'
After getting Sophie to stop touching the testing orb, the King personally graded her with a perfect one-hundred and he then sent her back to Lone's group.
Falin had watched all of this from within the crowd and he could no longer keep up his facade. 'How can a Human have a higher magical potential than I, a prestigious High Elf of the Southern Tribe?!'
Little did Falin know that this wouldn't be the only test that Sophie would completely dwarf him in.
Meanwhile, Rachel had stayed silent the entire time and chose to hide behind Swind when he was finished with his turn. She had yet to be tested and she was honestly quite nervous despite her immense talents in fire magic. 'Uwah... I guess I'm kinda glad I came here with Lone and his friends. All the attention is on them and Sophie is too busy to attack my poor tails...'
Rachel curled herself up in her fluffy limbs and disappeared amongst them since there was most definitely more tail than the person.
Swind had watched all of this and he looked at the young Foxkin with curiosity. 'How peculiar. Mr Immortus-ss and Miss-ss Redtail have never done that with their tails-ss before... I wonder if it's-ss a unique trait of this-ss one?' Rarely did Swind get fascinated by people, but Rachel's obnoxiously cute actions had drawn in his attention.
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