“Did you hear?”

“No what is it?”

“Armand is going to test some kind of a newbie.”

“Armand? Didn’t he break that last guy’s legs?”

“The same, we should go check it out. I heard his opponent is quite an eccentric.”

Two men were chatting outside the adventurer guild building. They soon moved around it towards the training field in the back. As they arrived they could see a small crowd of people already there.

“What are the odds?”

“Five to one in Armand’s favor. We are also betting on how long the new meat will last in the ring.”

People were placing bets on how long the man in red armor would last against the hired guild instructor. The man was an active adventurer who liked performing these sorts of tests for one reason or another. Other adventurers were just here to see a show as everyone liked to see newbies getting brought down a peg by more experienced seniors.

“You weren’t lying when you said he was an eccentric… What’s with that color? and are those runic symbols?”

The two men that had come late looked at the man in the red suit of armor. To them, he looked like a son from some kind of rich merchant. Normally no one could afford a full suit of runic armor, they could even see mana stones peeking out which showed them that it was a more expensive version.

This new silver rank candidate was in the middle of picking out his training weapons. He wasn’t allowed to use swords that had a blade for safety reasons. Though even without a sharp edge, someone at tier 2 could easily kill someone with a direct hit from a blunt weapon. The ones performing the test were aware of this. They would be compensated for the danger and any healing potions were on the house.

Armand that was this instructor was on the other side. The two were in a fenced round ring of sorts with a lot of space to maneuver. People could see him put on two metallic-looking gauntlets and a cute looking lady was helping him strap them in. It didn’t seem like the man was perturbed by his opponent that was clad in full body armor, his face was relaxed and filled with smiles.

“Will it really be that easy? That guy shouldn’t be that weak.”

“Are you stupid did you see what they are wearing? Armand clearly has the advantage here, those gauntlets will dent that armor in no time.”
One of the men was quite sure that the guild instructor had it in the bag. From this guy’s perspective, the man in red armor was clearly some kind of shield warrior, a tank in gaming terms. His armor would be good against weapons with blades but weak against blunt force. His opponent Armand was a Pugilist, someone that specialized in close combat with his fists.

When those gauntlets landed on the red armor it wouldn’t matter how hard it was, the blows would get through to the internal organs. There was also the agility aspect, the man in the bulky armor would have trouble contending with his opponent's speed.

“I bet this fight will be quite boring… either he goes down with a few hits or keeps defending with that shield… but that training shield won’t last that long…”

Tier 2 fighters reached past the human limits, with enough punches a shield made from iron or steel would give out.

“Yeah yeah, quiet I think it’s starting…”

The man in the crimson armor went with a shield and a sword. The sword was blunt and would count more as a blunt weapon than a real blade. The only thing that made it better than a mace was its lower weight, it was more of a finesse weapon.

The crowd cheered as the fun was finally beginning, even more after they saw the beautiful sun elf receptionist lady there. She would be the one that gave the signal to start the battle as well as be the witness.

“Everyone ready?”

The man in red armor nodded and his opponent just shrugged while getting in a lazy fighting stance. He was clearly not taking this training match too seriously.

The signal for them to begin was given and people could hear Armand chuckling. He stood there and beckoned his opponent to attack.

“How about I give you four free hits? Think that would be fair, don’t you all think?”

The people that were looking in started laughing as they knew that this man liked to play around with his foes. This was clearly a tactic used to agitate an opponent and make him do sloppy decisions. With what looked to be a heavy shield warrior against him, Armand would find it easy to evade any of his sluggish attacks.

“Well, what are you waiting for newbie? Attack me, or are you scared?”

The man in red didn’t seem to be taking the bait at first but after some more taunts, it looked to have worked. He took a step forward with his shield in front and sword to the side. The people around expected some kind of blind rage-filled charge and they got something similar.

That crimson armor started glowing in green color. This glow was mostly coming from the embedded green mana stones. Anyone that was able to sense mana opened up their eyes wide at this phenomenon. This was just the beginning as their curious faces quickly turned to ones of bewilderment.

The man took off in a sprint but in reality, it looked more like he was flying forward. The speed at which he was going was not something a tier 2 beginner should be able to produce. Armand barely reacted by dodging to the side, his expression was similar to everyone else here as he felt something graze his cheek.

A long streak in the ground was formed as the man in the armor zoomed by. It looked as if this person had trouble containing his own speed. The greenish glow that the red armor produced faded away and the silver rank candidate turned to Armand that rubbed his cheek. Even from here, everyone could see that he was bleeding, they weren’t sure how but it didn’t look like this would be such an easy fight for this instructor.

People started moving closer as now everyone was interested in what this person had to offer. Was it some kind of special class or was this armor responsible for this sudden speed boost, only time would tell.

Soon the bout resumed as the armored man glowed green again and charged forward. This time around he was even faster, Armand was unable to keep his word and defended himself against the practice blade with his metal gauntlets.

A quick exchange of sword against fists took place. Sparks started flying but it didn’t seem like anyone was giving an inch. The clash ended after the Pugilist landed a hard hit on the armored man’s shield. The impact caused him to slide back and a small dent appeared on the slab of metal that the armored warrior was holding.

This tradeoff was followed by a pause. It seemed like the two fighters were about equal but the man in the red armor didn’t take any hits. He managed to slip in a couple of sword strikes here and there while also skillfully defending himself with his shield.

The crowd that was looking at this was quite astonished. What was supposed to be a quick little training exercise that should have already ended in Armand’s favor was still in full swing. It even looked like the fresh tier 2 adventurer was winning as his agility was above this trained pugilist.

“Did he lie about his level or something? Are we getting scammed?”

The people that bet against the warrior in red were now worried. This could have been some scam that pitted someone that was above Armand in levels and in experience.

“That red guy’s movements did seem a bit sluggish in the beginning… was he playing it off?”

Some of the adventurers noticed that the armored man had started off slow, he even fumbled around a couple of times. Now on the other hand it looked like he was slowly gaining the upper hand. It was as if he was someone that was just learning to use a new weapon and only now was he getting the hang of it.

“Armand doesn’t seem to be in on it at least... “

One of the adventurers pointed at the tanned man that took on a different fighting position. His darkish skin started changing color into a more reddish tint. This color shift was accompanied by bulging of muscles. While the adventurer was already muscular before this now he just looked like an over-pumped bodybuilder. All kinds of veins could be seen coming off those rippling muscles.

It was clear that he activated some kind of Pugilist skill. The effect showed as his speed and strength were at a different level than before. A punch connected with the borrowed shield that almost instantly collapsed onto itself. The man in red armor had to abandon it while jumping back, he did it by throwing it at his opponent.

The Pugilist just smacked it to the side but it looked like it was just a faint from the armored man’s side. His armor changed its hue to green again as he tried to deliver a sword strike to his opponent's back. The hit went through but the result that he was probably hoping for wasn’t there. The flimsy steel sword bent backward after it connected with that muscular body.

The adventurers that bet against the man in crimson cheered. It looked like it would be over soon, there was no way for a knight type to win against a martial artist type in hand to hand combat.

“It’s over fresh meat!”

Armand had already forgotten that this was just a test of strength for a new silver rank adventurer candidate. The elven lady started even shouting out to stop the fight but the man wouldn’t listen. He was already charging forward with his fist aiming for his opponent's head. The armored man responded not but evading but by blocking with a cross arm block.

Everyone expected the man to just be sent flying with a broken forearm but this wouldn’t be happening. The armor glowed in a blue hue right before the fist connected with the block. He slid back slightly but he stood his ground. Armand had over swung a bit so he was left open for a counterblow. The armor glowed in a red hue now before the punch collided with those rippling side muscles.

The crowd shouted out as they saw the hit connect with Armand’s liver. It was clear that this hit hurt, Armand was clearly in pain as he stumbled backward. He had some air knocked out of him for sure and his opponent wouldn’t let him regain his footing that easily.

For the people here it was strange to see a slugfest between a martial artist and a man dressed in full body armor. It didn’t look like he was even that good at it but whenever Armand tried to retaliate. The kicks and punches that he threw and that connected didn’t seem to be that effective. Each time a flash of blue would cover that armor and somehow cause those huge fists to not be as effective.

Just by attrition, it looked like the newbie was winning. At one juncture the two got in a bout of strength, their fingers interlocking.

“I’ll break your fingers!”

Armand’s eyes were quite bloodshot from the prolonged fighting and his muscular body had taken some hits. Normally a Pugilist would have the strength advantage but it didn’t look like the other party was budging.

The armor turned red again and the adventurers could hear a crunching sound, this appeared to be poor Armand’s fingers that were getting pushed in by his opponent. The man gritted his teeth and was quick to deliver a headbutt to the armored man. Both of them jumped back while glaring at each other. Before the fight could continue further a womanly voice called out from the side.

“That’s enough, stop!”

The elven receptionist woman jumped into the ring to stop the test. The crowd that was on the sides out started shouting and booing as the victor was not decided.

“Why are you interfering? This isn’t over!”

Armand called out while trying not to flinch, his hands didn’t look too good after some of the fingers were broken. He was quick to set them in place though, it didn’t look like this was his first rodeo.

“Mr. Armand please calm down, this was only meant to be a test. You too Mr. Wayland, please stop…”


Roland gave out a sigh of relief after the elven lady jumped in to stop the fight. He wasn’t sure how long he would be able to keep this up. The man he was facing was well over his level and had higher physical stats to boot. It was all thanks to his armor that he was able to survive this long.

He didn’t want to stand out too much so he decided not to use obvious mage spells during this whole bout. Testing out his new gear in the field also caused him to go with another approach.

The constant color shifting was an indication of his switching to certain preset programs. This was an idea he came up with after remembering an old game he used to play. The green color would cause a massive boost to agility, the blue color would be the defensive mode and red would increase his strength.

By switching between these modes on the fly he was able to somewhat overpower this higher level opponent. This was just a runic program that switched between buffing spells and the corresponding mana stones that increased certain stats. Thanks to this he could either switch between specialized boosts in one stats or spread it out evenly.

It took him some time to get used to the agility boost the most but luckily his opponent wasn’t taking him that seriously. This allowed him to field test this armor of his which he thought was a big success. There was some lag between switching the various modes and he accumulated some damage as well. This was something that he expected and now he just needed to work out some kinks.

“No, I won’t accept this. It wasn’t his own strength, it was all that armor, you saw it!”

Roland wanted to go ask if with this he would get his silver rank but it seemed that his instructor wasn’t seeing it his way. It was clear that the man didn’t take the draw well. Roland knew that if he started to use some of those common grade attacking spells he had that his opponent would have probably been down for the count a lot sooner though. He also wasn’t able to use his own shield and sword. Those two wouldn’t have been trashed that easily.

“Would you tell that to a monster that used an enchanted sword?”


After getting closer to the elven receptionist and the man that was his instructor he had to chime in. From Roland’s perspective, this armor was a part of his strength, it was something he made and there was no shame in using it. The man was clearly acting immaturely, trying to shift the blame on the use of magical gear.

“You know what I mean, do you want me to take you on with my bare fists?”

Roland’s point was easy, each class had its strong and weak points. Him using magical gear was clearly acceptable. Though it didn’t seem that other people saw it his way, probably because no one knew that he made this armor himself. In their eyes, he looked to be some spoiled rich kid that was using magic equipment to come out on top. He could clearly see some disdained faces from the side but after his show of might, not many people would speak their mind in front of him.

Before another fight could break out the elven lady was quick to pull Armand away. Roland on the other hand was told to wait in the guild building. Back there he could see the gazes of the other adventurers, this was something that he had hoped to avoid. The only good thing that came out of this was that he was able to test his new armor.

In about fifteen minutes the elven lady was back out again. He was even handed a healing potion on the house. What she told him afterward only cemented in his mind that people here looked down on individuals that used runic equipment.

“Due to the test being inconclusive you will be given a secondary mission.”

For a moment he wanted to go find Armand and shove an ice arrow up his behind. Luckily the request was something that aligned with his own plans. It was to go to the dungeon and get some tier 2 monster materials. With this in mind, he left the adventurer guild, his armor didn’t suffer that much damage so he could finish this up in one day.


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