Lone: The Wanderer



Book 3 Chapter 66: Losers and Winners


A note from Lone

Second and final guaranteed chapter of the week.

After having watched Sophie's display of raw power, everyone was left speechless and even the now pride-filled Demon Princess was frightened of Sophie's capabilities.

As soon as the final match between the two started, the Demon Princess simple admitted defeat. Despite her newfound arrogance, she knew that her legendary greatsword couldn't match up against so much magical energy. Everything had limits, after all, even an ability to nullify magic.

It was fortunate for Sophie that the Demon princess decided to forfeit since it was impossible for her to create such a powerful barrier blade barrage again.

"Well, this is unexpected, but the Human outsider keeper candidate is the winner of the victors' circle. We will now begin the losers' matc-"

A loud and very bored voice interrupted the King rudely. "Ah, do you mind if I suggest something for the losers' circle?"

"Nine-tails? Speak. Just so you know, only losers from round three and below will be participating, as all of the winners or losers after that point, have already passed this test," King Ele'hunda was open to any ideas Lone had since he valued him so highly.

'So that means me, Eko, Fep, Eolande, Falin, Rachel and Swind, and ninety-one other participants, right? Perfect,' Lone calculated.

Lone approached the stage and shrugged his shoulders a bit dismissively. "Make everyone fight me all at once and just pass my fellow outsiders."

King Ele'hunda frowned and shook his head lightly.  "I'm sorry Nine-tails, but despite you and your friends' absurd talents, even I can't bend the rules that far. I would have to confer with the full council which includes several members who aren't currently here."

"Would ten-thousand ruby-gold coins change your mind?" Lone asked while he raised an eyebrow inquisitively.

The King valued the traditional way of doing the keeper tests, however, he and the tree he governed were desperately in need of gold, so he decided to make a compromise. "... Fifteen thousand."

"Let's make it twenty and everyone walks away happy," Lone upped the sum unexpectedly.

"I can agree to that." Not willing to let go of such an opportunity, King Ele'hunda immediately agreed. He was sure that the present council members and all of the ones that couldn't make it today would agree that the money was more valuable right now than their traditions were.

"Great! Well then, should we start?" Lone asked after tossing a large and heavy sack over to the King's feet.

After checking that the bag was, indeed, full of ruby-gold coins, the King smiled. "Yes. Come up onto the platform. This has never happened before, Nine-tails. Is it perhaps your goal to break as many of our records as you can today?"

"Maybe," Lone smirked mischievously. "How about everyone just comes up one after the other?"

"Good idea. Everyone, I apologize for this change in the test, but as you are all aware, we are in a dire need of financial aids, and I am sure all of you are willing to entertain the nine-tails' request in exchange for twenty-thousand ruby-gold coins, no?" King Ele'hunda sounded apologetic, however, there was no room to question this decision and he wasn't keeping this a secret with his tone of voice.

Everyone unanimously nodded. Even if some of the Elves that were participating in the keeper test weren't from this world tree, they were more than aware that it had endured the full assault of the Darkness Dragon, Ythmagobla.

In fact, every one of the other three world trees had been sending support over ever since this tree fell ill to Ythmagobla's curses, so no one here would willingly deny Lone's selfish request if he was actually prepared to hand over the equivalent of two-hundred million golden coins for such a simple demand. Even Falin wasn't an exception to this.

The young and handsome Elf was very prejudiced, but he still valued the four world trees and mother nature above that of his own petty goals. This, however, didn't stop Falin from wanting to punish Lone slightly for his constant rudeness today.

"I would like to be the first one to fight you, Nine-tails," Falin stated clearly and politely. He would teach the arrogant Lone a lesson with his combat skills!

"Falin? Sure, I could use a warm-up." Lone cracked his neck and showed his canines provocatively.

'A warm-up?' This time, the nine-tails had actually offended the Elf who was supposed to be the one to ace these tests before Lone's existence was made known.

Falin bowed slightly out of habit and then drew his shortswords before launching himself at Lone. He brought his blades up in an arc over his head and moved them downwards to slice Lone. 'He's not even moving?! Does he look down on me that much?!'

Just as Falin's swords were about to hit Lone, the Foxkin grinned and his tails moved faster than the eye could see. Two of the multi-coloured and fluffy limbs smacked away Falin's swords while four more pierced each of the Elf's limbs.

"AHHH!" Falin's familiar sounding scream echoed through the plaza.

"Grit your teeth. If you think that hurt, then this is going to feel like hell," Lone warned and then created a lightning wave inside of Falin's body.

Were it not for the fact that Falin was an A-ranker and that he had an inherently strong body, the voltage alone from the lightning magic would have stopped his heart dead.

Falin's body slid off of Lone's tails and fell to the ground with a wet thud. While his fight with him had obviously been faster than Sophie's, it definitely seemed crueller and more brutal. The crowd's rising opinion of Lone quickly started to drop, but it was only by so much because this kind of behaviour was initially expected of him.

Were it not for the fact that Lone was incredibly bored and didn't like Falin much, he would have continued to fight with honour, but this particular Elf had given him one too many provocative glances.

"Next." Now satisfied and glad to have put the nuisance known as 'Falin' in its place, Lone heaved a sigh of relief and waited for his next opponent.

Lone's cold attitude woke everyone up from their stupor and Her Highness quickly got off of her seat and pulled the unconscious Falin away to heal him.

After such a horrible display of power, the first few opponents after Falin hesitated and fought with extreme caution, but it was soon made apparent that Lone had returned to his previous style of allowing handicaps and letting the Elves learn from him like he had promised the King.

Lone had enjoyed himself a lot, and naturally, no one was able to defeat him. During his fights, he had gained seven skills, which greatly improved his mood and helped to alleviate his overwhelming boredom.

Lone suspected that he would have gained more if the Elves had any confidence in defeating him and weren't using him as a tool to temper their combat senses and raw abilities.


Passive Skill: Shortsword Mastery

A skill critical for shortsword-users and passively allows for better handling and control over shortswords.

Cost: N/A
Mastery: Beginner Level 1


Obviously, after having sparred with Sophie and Breena, Lone had gained Sword Mastery and Dagger Mastery, but this one was new and it might help him with his swordspear techniques, so Lone was happy to learn more skills like this. He was still awaiting the day that he'd receive the Bastard Sword Mastery skill from Swind as soon as the Lemurian learned it himself.


Nature Magic Skill: Binding Roots

Allows the user to use the magic of nature to create several roots that will bind the user's opponent. Strength varies depending on consumed MP and the skill level.

Cost: 100 MP
Mastery: Beginner Level 1


Lone didn't see any practical use for this skill since he could freeze enemies with his Lord of Possibility skill or by shocking their muscles with lightning magic, but it did grant him the nature magic affinity which he'd wanted ever since he saw Gilbert using nature magic, so Lone was satisfied with this ability.


Active Skill: Pierce

A skill usable with only melee-based weapons. Adds a keen edge to the point of bladed weapons wielded by the user and grants immense piecing powers to them.

Can be used on other melee-based weapons or the user's body parts at half efficiency.

Cost: 250 SP
Mastery: Beginner Level 1


Finally, Lone had obtained a real combat skill. Thus far, he had been forced to use his instincts or magic whenever he fought. Sophie and Breena, too, suffered from this. As talented as the three of them were, learning existing skills by themselves or creating completely new ones was very time-consuming, even for them.



Nature Magic Skill: Minor Healing

Allows the user to cast a minor healing spell that can heal minor cuts and bruises.

Cost: 500 MP
Mastery: Beginner Level 1


Lone was very pleased to gain this skill. While its MP cost was quite pricey despite its minimal effects, it would require far less mental effort from Lone to heal people in the future if they were afflicted with only minimal injuries than if he used his favourite skill, Creation Magic.


Active Skill: Dash

Allows the user to double their speed for a brief moment while moving.

Cost: 400 SP
Mastery: Beginner Level 1


Lone likened this skill to one he already owned, Haste.  He had gained that ability from the first Humans he had ever encountered on Altros, the pirates. Lone's natural speed was high enough that he had never needed to use it in the past, and he doubted he'd need this one too, but Lone wasn't particularly bothered. The more skills, the merrier.


Active Skill: Submissive Movements

Allows the user to move their body in such a way that it will lower the guard of their opponents.

Cost: MP 100 (Per 30 seconds)
Mastery: Beginner Level 1


This particular skill frightened Lone. He had almost lost to the owner of this skill purely because Lone constantly wanted to forfeit the fight whenever he saw her body's movements.

The owner of the skill was unlucky to have fought the Demon Princess who was more or less immune to such magic-based mental attacks thanks to her sword. Lone judged that this person should have at least ranked in the top eight were it not for her encounter with the Demon Princess.


Nature Magic Skill: Scented Charm

Allows the user to call upon the power of nature to seduce people with their natural scent.

Cost: 1,000 MP
Mastery: Beginner Level 1


This reminded Lone far too much of his Petting skill. At the very least, he had another tool to help spice up his and Sophie's sex lives. He would normally consider using it against others in battle, but Lone was confident that a certain Cosmos-level being would get extremely jealous if he did that.

Lone was sat back on the ground with Sophie occupying his knees and he was lost in thought until the King's voice rang out.

"The council and I thank you all for your patience. After much discussion, we have finally decided on whom to award the prizes for second and third place," King Elehunda stated with a big smile on his bearded and scarred face.

"Wait, the tests have overall winners?"

"I knew there was an internal ranking, but I never thought it came with benefits..."

"Did our memories of this get wiped to prevent any mishaps during the exams when we failed the last test? The knowledge of a possible prize can be very toxic, after all."

"You're probably right."

While the Elves speculated and made up theories that were likely to be true, Lone was busy thinking of something else. 'Second and third? So first was easy to decide?'

"In third place is... the Human, Sophie Vladimirovich! She shall be awarded with ten bottles of spirit essence!" The King announced with a loud voice.

Lone kissed Sophie's head and everyone in his group congratulated her, so she curled up in embarrassment with a loose grin on her lips.

"In second place is... the Crimson Foxkin, Rachel Redtail! She shall be granted twenty bottles of spirit essences and access to one of our secret keeper techniques!" King Ele'hunda's voice boomed through the plaza.

"Finally, in first place by an incredibly large lead... having won four of the five test, the Golden Foxkin, Lone Immortus! He shall be bestowed with fifty bottles of spirit essence and access to three of our secret keeper techniques!" declared King Ele'hunda with pride and joy in his voice.

Lone was happy that he got his rightful place as first, but he was fairly confused. 'I can guess what the techniques are. Probably skills, right? But what the fuck is 'spirit essence'?'

A note from Lone

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  • The Scottish Slothy Sloth

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