The next evening we had our first lesson of Weapon Practise. After getting their weapons, everyone from class 1 would first gather near the Armory, where Mr. Basara would introduce us to the different instructors that would guide us more hands-on.
This was the first lesson where we students got to use our own weapons, so I was curious to see what some of the other students had chosen. I hadn't bothered paying attention or asked anyone earlier, so the only ones whose weapon choices I knew were Jean Bradford, the other archers, and Liang Yuhan. I remembered Liang Yuhan’s weapon because she was one of the two students who had picked gauntlets during the first day.
At the time I arrived, most of the other students had already gathered. When Liang saw me with my bow on my back, her eyes shot open with surprise.
“Kim, you’re an archer?!” She exclaimed.
“Yeah. You didn’t know?”
She looked at me with a shocked expression. “No. Sorry… But I was sure you were a support.”
I shot her an interrogating look. “And why’s that?”
"It's because you're weak. Usually, only support types are that weak.” Kay, who was standing to the side looking appropriately indifferent, cut in from the side
“Ah, no! Kay, you can’t say that!” Liang yelped as she grabbed Kay’s arm.
Kay looked at her with a confused expression. “Why not?”
“Because he’s a guy! Men’s pride hurt really easy if you call them weak.”
Kay turned to me inquisitively. “Is that true?”
I nodded my head. “Yeah. Kinda.”
Liang pointed at me ardently. “See?!”
Kay looked back and forth between me and Liang before pausing her gaze at me as she observed me for a while. “He doesn’t look upset.” She stated.
I put on a stern expression. “That’s because I’ve got nerves of steel. But trust me, I’m hurting on the inside right now.” I said resolutely. In truth, I didn’t mind what she said much. It was the truth, and I knew it. However, teasing her like this seemed fun, so I didn’t mind exaggerating a bit.
Kay turned to Liang again. “Should I say that I’m sorry?”
Liang shook her head fervently. “No, that’ll hurt his pride even more. My dad’s always like that with my mom. It’s just better to pretend like it never happened.”
I thought that Liang was joking like me, but was she being honest?
Fortunately, Kay herself unwittingly changed the subject when she looked at Liang curiously and asked. “Your father? Yuhan Zhu?”
“Yepp. I know the media make him out to be all macho, but when it comes to my mom, he's like a little kitty.”
“Is your dad someone famous?” I asked Liang.
She widened her eyes as she looked at me. “Wow. That’s new. Not many people I meet don’t know about my dad.”
Kay raised her eyebrows. “Her father is Yuhan Zhu, ‘The Bloodsoaked Ox.’ He’s a champion-ranked hero. You haven't heard of him?"
I scratched the back of my neck and smiled awkwardly. “I don’t pay much attention to hero rankings and things like that.” The only heroes I’d looked up were Lloyd Massey and the eight legends. I should do that tomorrow.
“I see.” She said.
Then I noticed something and got curious.
“By the way, where’s your weapon, Kay?” Currently, she wasn’t holding anything nor was she
wearing anything except for the red uniform.
"Oh, she doesn't have a weapon," Liang answered.
My eyebrows shot up. “You don’t?”
Kay nodded her head nonchalantly. “Mm. I don’t need it.”
“I saw her during the entrance exam in Guangzhou. She really doesn’t need it. She’s probably the only one in our class that I’m scared of fighting.”
“Really? That amazing.”
“But why did you take the entrance exam in China?” I asked.
"I was curious about that too," Liang added.
Kay raised her shoulders. “I used to travel a lot.” She then pointed over my shoulders. “We should stop talking. The teacher is here.”
I turned around and saw Mr. Basara walking towards us students with several people, who I assumed were the new instructors, at his side. When he stopped, he looked down and looked down at his watch as if he was making sure of something, before looking back up again. “Good, everyone’s here.”
He gestured for the instructors to step forward and spoke. “I won’t waste any of your time. These here are your instructors. They can introduce themselves.”
The first to introduce themselves was a tall, dark man with a large sword on his back and a short Asian woman with a rapier at her side. "I'm Gabriel Kane.” The man said. “And I’m Indira Haldar.” The woman added. “We’ll be the instructors for you swordsmen and women in this class.”
A few of the students seemed to have recognized the names as they stared at them with wide eyes.
After that, a guy with tanned skin and long brown hair who was leaning on a spear introduced himself. "Yo’. I’m Cassius Murray. I’ll be teaching you spear-users.”
The rest of the instructors also introduced themselves. A few of them garnered the same reactions from the students as the first two instructors did. The last instructor to introduce themselves was the archery instructor. She was wearing a hood, but when she stepped forward and pulled it down, a wave of surprise swept through the students.
The archery instructor was a middle eastern woman with long dark hair that contrasted staunchly with her bright blue eyes that looked like they could peer through your soul. Judging from wrinkles that had started to crop up, she was somewhere in her fifties. In her hand, she held a tall, authoritative bow made out of red marble that had beautifully ornated limbs and an almost transparent string. The whole bow seemed to radiate a sense of grandeur. Without a doubt, that had to be a relic. She looked over the crowd of students attentively. “I’m Tanju Shar. I’m expecting much out of you.” That was all she said. She spoke with a steely and assertive voice.
I heard the whispering of some of the students.
-Tanju Shar!? What is she doing, being an instructor here?!
-God! Why couldn’t I be an archer…
-Isn’t she friends with Marley Gallagher? I bet she’s here because of Abigail.
Marley Gallagher. That name I recognized. He was one of the eight legends. And Abigail… I think that’s the blond archer from my class. Maybe she’s related to Marley Gallagher? I wasn’t sure what her last name was. Anyway, there is no doubt that this Tanju Shar was a big deal.
Mr. Basara clapped his hands to grab everyone’s attention again. "Now, everyone, go to your respective instructor and follow them to the training facilities. From now on, every time you have weapon practice, you'll meet there with your instructors directly. Oh, and Kay?" He looked directly at Kay. "We couldn't find an individual instructor for you specifically, so if you want, you can have extra lessons with instructor Sung-Suk."
Kay shook her head. “No, it’s okay. I’m fine by myself.”
"Okay. It's your choice. Then you can go ahead and practice by yourself in the future. Now, the rest of you start moving." He gestured towards us students and clapped his hands.
The students scattered. Me and the other four archers approached Tanju Shar. She looked us over again as we stood before her. "You can either refer to me as Mrs. Shar or instructor." She said and then focused on Abigail. "I only accepted the academy's request for me to work as an instructor as a favor towards your grandfather. I’m expecting you not to disappoint me.”
Abigail nodded her head at the older woman’s words. “I will do my best to perform up to your expectations, Mrs. Shar.”
“Good.” She said, and turned around. “Follow me. Today we will see what you students are capable of.”