"Mr Immortus-ss?" Swind asked. Rare was it that Lone would talk to Swind outside of meal times unless it was something important.
"Give me that sword of yours," Lone ordered.
"Of course." Swind didn't hesitate for a second and he immediately handed over the alterion greatsword that he struggled to wield due to its weight.
"The harness too," Lone added.
Swind did as told. Everyone except for Sophie was confused. Why was Lone disarming his companion? True, the Lemurian was easily the weakest person present, but that didn't mean that he had to humiliate him like this by forcing his weapon away from him, right?
Most of the Elves respected Swind to some extent for how bravely he had fought despite his apparent weaknesses, so even if they resented that he was getting a free pass by the King to become a keeper and that he wasn't an Elf, they still found Lone's current actions to be very distasteful.
"Here, a present," Lone said as he took out the new bastard sword from his dimension and a new sword harness that fit the long weapon perfectly. Naturally, since Lone was its creator, he could hold it without receiving the same penalty like anyone else except for Swind would receive upon holding it.
Swind gracefully accepted the sword and was shocked by its weight. The limit that he could hold comfortable with a single arm was roughly sixty-kilograms thanks to his robust body and innate H-ranker strength.
The previous alterion greatsword he was using weighed fifty-five kilograms and he struggled to use it due to how cumbersome it was, but for some reason, Swind felt like he knew how to use this one-handed bastard sword as if he had trained with it for at least a few years.
"I can't possibly accept ss-something as-ss valuable as-ss this-ss, Mr Immortus-ss," Swind quickly refused to take it and tried to hand it back to Lone.
"It wasn't that hard to make, it just took a few mana orbs. Identify it before you give it back, okay?" Lone prompted the Lemurian with a prideful grin on his lips.
Not only Swind, but Eolande, Sophie, Lone and Breena all used Clicker's power on the weapon to see exactly what it was. Very surprisingly, it was a grade higher than Legendary which was previously thought to be the highest grade by The Wanderers. This sword was rated as 'Mythic' and the status screen for it was red in colour.
|[Unnamed] One-handed Bastard Sword|
Created by Lone Immortus with an unidentifiable magic. It should have been impossible to create such an item, but Lone Immortus' unique magic made the impossible possible.
This sword is designed to be used with a single hand despite its size and destructive power and this is only doable thanks to its incredibly low weight.
This sword has the potential to grow an ego.
|Passively grants [Sword Mastery] Beginner Level 10 to the wielder.|
|Absorbs all magical damage.|
|May only be used by the hosts, Lone Immortus and Swind.|
"Insanity..." Eolande mumbled. "You... You created something as strong as a Divine Level Tool! Only ten such tools exist and only three of those are weapons!" Eolande made sure to block off her voice with illusion magic so that only The Wanderer's could hear her.
"I didn't know that my creation magic was capable of this too. It really seems like I can create anything that can exist in this world if I have enough mana. Speaking of which, I'm going to need everyone to donate their mana to me for at least a few days. That monster of a weapon used up forty orbs. Ah, don't worry about it, Swind. You know that money and mana orbs are two of the things that mean next to nothing to me value-wise, right? After all, I can just create them at minimal costs," Lone asked as he tried to make Swind feel less guilty.
"But Mr Immortus-ss..." Swind still felt like he was taking advantage of Lone's kindness.
"If you want to repay me, hurry up and awaken your mana organs so you can start helping fill up my mana orbs, yeah?" Lone smiled.
"Mr Immortus-ss... Okay then, I won't refuse your kindness-ss any further. I ss-swear that I will follow you for the rest of my life to repay this-ss debt." Were they not in a public place, Swind would have gotten down on one knee to show how serious he was.
"Geez, we're friends, aren't we? Don't be so formal," Lone shrugged.
"Swind," Sophie called, "Make sure you don't get drunk on the power of that sword. True strength comes from within. If you only rely on your items, then it won't be long before you get killed in battle," she warned.
Sophie's words instantly chilled the warm atmosphere, but everyone knew that she was right. It had been displayed mere moments ago by the Demon Princess. That kind of arrogance was different from Lone's.
Lone's almost unparalleled confidence came from his skills, not from the items and weapons which he used. Relying on a weapon or an item wasn't inherently bad, but there was a fine line between depending on one to get stronger, and depending on one while ignoring your own growth.
"I will keep Miss-ss ss-Sophie's-ss words-ss in mind," Swind responded with a bow of his head. He carefully equipped the new sword harness and it was clear that he was still trying to get used to the lighter weapon on his back.
"Well, now that that's out of the way, I guess I can dispell these illusions," Eolande said before she waved her hand, shattering the two illusions she had set up.
"Heh... You set up a visual one too? That's impressive. I never knew that you could cover so many people with a visual illusion. Do you think the King saw through them?" Lone commented quietly.
"I doubt it. He's not very talented in magic as far as I can tell even if I can't see the ends of his power," Eolande shrugged.
"I see. That's good then," Lone replied and then sat on the floor again. Sophie immediately reclaimed her throne of fluff.
The remaining participating Elves looked at Swind and saw the new sword on his back, so their disdain of Lone lessened. It seemed he was only giving him a new weapon, not depriving him of his current one.
It didn't take too long for the second round to conclude. Luckily, none of Lone's friends had been forced to fight each other after Rachel and the Demon Princess' fight.
Sophie's opponent conceded immediately purely out of fear thanks to her fight with Falin in round one.
Eolande was able to easily win by trapping the young Elf she was battling in a never-ending illusion until the poor girl passed out.
Eko had also won his fight, however, he was rather close to losing this time. After finishing the battle, he immediately sat down to meditate and recover.
Breena struggled far more in her fight as she was facing one of the top Elven contenders who had simply been outshone by Falin and Lone's group in the prior tests. She ended up with several cuts all over her body and a non-lethal toxin had invaded her system from her enemy's shortswords. She barely won by utilising her shadow walking.
Lone immediately cured her of all of her wounds as soon as she returned. Detoxifying the toxin was a bit tricky, but since he had recreated the girl's entire body before, it wasn't a big deal and required a minimal amount of mana and time, even if it was a complex procedure that required his full attention.
Breena being in perfect shape only five minutes after her battle only helped to further disprove Elder Shan'len's theory that Lone had cheated during his skill test and helped boost everyone's opinion of him.
"I-I'm sorry to force Master to waste his powers on healing me..." Breena sounded like she wanted to cry. She deemed her victory as a loss. What use was she if she was rendered incapable of fighting after dealing with a single A-ranked opponent?
If any normal adventurer could hear what Breena was thinking, they would smack her upside the head. She, as a D-ranker, was able to defeat an A-ranker. Most would label her as an absolute fool for thinking that such a thing was a disgrace simply because she didn't win unscathed.
Lone gently flicker her forehead and said, "Don't be an idiot. You're like a sister to me, so it's not a problem for me to fix you up when you get hurt," Lone smiled and added, "I'm very proud of you, Breena."
Tears poured out of the usually stoic girl's eyes and she mumbled, "Thank you... Master... Really, Thank you..."
With the sound of something popping inside her head, energy flowed through Breena body. "I... I broke through?"
Fep clapped his hands and said, "How touching! Congratulations, little one. You've successfully become a C-ranker! The energy from the world tree sure is great, huh? A little bit of enlightenment, and 'poof'! A breakthrough."
Eolande had a bitter look on her face as she sat on Kyuubi's back. "First Husband and Sophie, then Swind of all people, and now Breena... Arg! Damnit! Why does going from an X-ranker to and XX-ranker needs so many levels?! How frustrating!"
"Hahaha! I'm jealous too," Eko laughed from her side. He had finished recovering, so his loud personality was able to display itself in full. "I've got the right level, but all I need is enlightenment. Cheer me on, will you, Eolande? Maybe I can become an A-ranker today, hahaha!"
Eolande simply frowned and continued to sulk by herself. Some time passed and finally, the third round had started. There were only thirty-two participants remaining, so Lone hoped the fights would end quickly, after all, he was starting to get bored.
"The next fight shall be between numbers fifty-one and one-hundred and seven," the King declared with a satisfied smile as if he had made a very smart decision with this pairing.
"Huh, those are our numbers, right, Soph?" Lone asked while he took out his badge and looked at the big '51' that was written on it.
Sophie likewise peeked at her badge and it did, indeed, have the number '107' on it. "I suppose so."
"I wonder what the King's planning... Oh well, let's go up," Lone said with a light and relaxed tone.
The two got on the stage and Lone lazily put his hands in his pockets while Sophie stood opposite him awkwardly. The King alternated his gaze between the two and smirked. "Begin."
"Ah, I forfeit," Lone suddenly stated, shocking everyone.
"You... what?" King Ele'hunda was left utterly speechless. Did the nine-tails seriously just concede without even fighting? Of course, the King was aware that the two were clearing intimate with each other, which was exactly why he had made them each other's opponents.
They both held top-class combat skills so the King was genuinely looking forward to watching them battle each other to the fullest of their capabilities. Never did he expect Lone to simply admit defeat instantly.
"Ah, well, I don't know what you wanted to see, but If I fought Soph seriously, she'd instantly lose, but if I fought with her evenly then I'd lose after a few exchanges unless I got really lucky. I don't know about you, but I'm not very interested in beating up my lover or getting beaten up by her. I'll just let her win the winner group while I sweep the loser round. Besides, I've pretty much already been accepted as a keeper at this point, right?" Lone had arrogance in his voice, but more so than that, there was a heavy feeling of laziness in his tone.
The tests had already dragged on for several hours and Lone just wanted them to end, to be honest. He still had to talk with Eolande about whatever the King had said to her earlier and he wanted to test the limits of Sophie's recently unlocked negative immunity.
"You think you can easily win the losers circle and make it into the top two for the winner's group?" King Ele'hunda asked.
"Don't make me laugh," Lone sneered before he looked right at Falin. "I've already beaten Rachel before, and that Falin dude, I could probably beat him with a single hand? And even if Sophie ends up dropped down to the loser's ring, I'll just forfeit again. It's no loss to me. I kinda just wanna get this over with already. Good enough answer for you?"
"HAHAHA! Very good, Nine-tails! Your confidence is reassuring and not without sufficient backing. You are correct. I have already decided to welcome you and your adventurer group as world tree keepers along with young Rachel Redtail, however, please, stay for the remainder of the competition. Your skills are a good way to temper the inexperienced youths of my people," King Ele'hunda roared with a jubilant smile plastered on his lips.
"Sure," Lone replied before he waved dismissively and walked back to his spot with Sophie next to him.
Falin was stood within the crown and he was grinding his teeth in anger. 'Beat me with a single hand?! He may have more potential than me, but I'll show him! If I have to, I'll even use that medicine father gave me... It was only supposed to be used in emergencies, but were he here, Father would surely understand...'
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