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“Your defeat?” Louise gazed at Curtis from a distance with her head held up high. She was waiting for him to admit it while enduring the burning sensation in her eyes.

“Right. I was hit,” Curtis mumbled as he adjusted himself.

He shook the wrist which the purple compound gyrostone bracelet was attached to. And from the looks of it, the mana hadn’t diminished one bit.

“The gryostone hasn’t lost its shine yet,” Curtis smirked to himself.

Louise looked at Curtis incredulously. He had been hit point-blank by that attack just now, and he’s saying the gryostone hasn’t—

Curtis raised his wrist up in the air, pouring mana to augment the violet shine of the bracelet under the light of the sun.

“The rules said that the duel ends after the crystal loses its shine right?” A ball of flames coalesced in his hands.

“Hahaha. I must admit, you’ve exceeded my expectations,” Louise crackled a laugh, she didn’t expect Curtis to actually come out of that without losing. What did he use to fend off against that anyways? Louise wondered.

“What was that?” Dean had never personally seen Curtis fight before. Under normal circumstances, magic served as a kind of art form. It wasn’t something used in battle unless they were playing an auxiliary role or a medic. Being undefeated after that hit baffled him.

“Coat O’ Arms,” Ellis blinked.

“What’s that?”

“Erm... that’s his custom magic. It’s a barrier that nullifies attacks. You know how knives cut not because a lot of force is required but because they are sharp right? This really just turns a sharp attack into a blunt one.”

“What element of magic is it?” Dean had a little knowledge about magic although he cannot utilize it. He read books about it before. Magic was classified into different elements: Fire, water, wind, earth, light, and dark. Each one had its own set of spell types. Upon reaching a certain understanding, one could use two or more elements to be combined to form a compound spell.

“It’s veritable magic.”

A class of magic Dean has never heard of before.

“Third times the charm!” Louise growled before shooting forth.

The moment Curtis saw her figure flicker, the ball of flames dissolved, revealing an orb of light inside. The flames were, in fact, a feign.

Curtis closed his eyes; Louise had already covered half the distance.

{Flash orb}

The light flickered in an undiluted brightness, excessive light blew up the battlefield. The crowd instinctively shut their eyes, feeling the burn behind their corneas, the random flickers disorienting their minds.

Ellis covered her eyes with her arm.

The light dwindled, the crowd left in a daze. Some of them nauseated to the point of falling to the ground, others rubbing their eyes, seeing stars. Ellis opened her eyes.

Dean was totally out of it. His vision became blurry, with some black spots and white specks swimming in the air.

Louise was on the ground. Climbing onto her two feet, she rubbed her eyes to look at Curtis who was no longer there.

He had faked his reaction speed earlier.

“You lose,” Curtis made a slight tap on her shoulders from behind.

“Not yet!”

She arched an elbow strike to the back, striking Curtis’ chin and sending him flying.

Ellis saw the whole thing take place and stiffened in shock. Curtis was knocked 3 meters into the sky before landing outside the training grounds.

Another point Louise failed to mention: if you were knocked out of the boundary, it counted as a loss. Oh, so this was what she forgot.

Ellis rushed over to Curtis who landed like a mini meteor, a dust cloud shot into the air.

Curtis didn’t want to actually physically hurt the princess. That was why he didn’t attempt any shrewd acts and attack her when she was still vulnerable. He thought this princess would at least understand how to stand down and accept defeat. Who knew she was this sort of iron-willed lady who didn’t want to admit defeat.

Wait, the rules said the duel ends when the crystal stops shining didn’t it?

Curtis rubbed his head a few times as he slowly regained his consciousness. Ellis knelt down beside him and let out a sigh of relief. A crowd gathered where Curtis landed.

“Winner of the duel, Princess of Rozel Kingdom, Louise,” Dean announced, seeing that Curtis was fine.

Curtis sighed. Maybe he should have just blasted the princess to shreds.

The princess walked over, the crowd opened a path.

“That was a good fight,” Louise stuck her thumb out.

‘If only I didn’t act leniently. ‘

“Thanks,” Curtis replied before taking off the bracelet and gave it back to Louise. Ellis helped him up from his sitting posture.

Louise smiled with both her hands at her hips.

“Open way! Open way! Open way!” A yell could be heard from afar accompanied by the sound of a rumbling march. ”Princess! Get back here this instant!”

Louise turned her head over to see the royal knights. She had to crane her neck like a giraffe of course.

“Oops. I better get going now. My sincerest gratitude for the wonderful fight,” she hopped over to the shouting knights.

Curtis and Ellis looked dumbfoundedly as one of the guards that didn’t seem to be from Haital reprimanded her with a stern tone. Ellis couldn’t quite make out what the two were saying with the deafening commotion from the crowd. Then in astonishment, Louise stuck her tongue out playfully in responding to the lecture.

The knights shook his head and dragged Louise back to the castle. Louise didn’t resist, merely following their lead. The other guards walked beside her as if she was a delicate flower in need of protection.

“Truly, that spell could have made me blind.” Louise rubbed her eyes as if saying that to someone. She could still see some dark spots floating around not recovered. She would probably need the assistance of a healer after this.

She then took notice of two faint purple glows. Bring the brackets up to her face, she noticed that both crystal still had about 90% of its capacity left. Did the crystal not nullify her elbow slam?

“Just who is he?” Louise felt a slight shiver up her neck. In fact, the elbow strike was unleashed with her full might, any normal person would have had his jaw shattered. She could’ve really injured Curtis then. “Why was Will so wary of him..”

Seeing the princess walking away, the crowd soon dissipated. Some of them gave Curtis a thumbs up. They didn’t doubt Curtis’ ability, the princess was in fact too much of a cheat. Having both physical enhancing and magic abilities.

“Thank you, Curtis. That fight was amazing. Utilizing compound magic to create an advance spell,” Dean walked together with Curtis and Ellis as they head for the main Croquel building. Dean probably still didn’t quite understand the concept of veritable magic.

“I’m surprised she could use magic. How is that possible?”

“Yeah, I’ve never seen it before.”

“If my information isn’t wrong, the princess is only limited to wind magic. She’s not able to use any other elemental magic,”

“So there is a limitation?”

“I don’t think you could call that a limitation...”

“Right..”

Scuttling past the adventurers, they entered a store built just across the Croquel guild building. Seeing the metal signboard with the iconography on an anvil that had the insignia of the Croquel guild, Ellis couldn’t help but gulp.

The result of the previous duel no longer mattered.

They pushed open the wooden door, the pleasant ring of a bell sounded the moment they step foot inside.

The person behind the counter who was carving a statue halfway looked towards the three, he showed a thrifty smile.

“What bring you here Sir Dean?” He said in an amiable tone.

“George Smith, may I request the finest sword for this young woman here?”

Ellis wriggled her eyebrow a little when she heard that. Young woman? That sounded a little, funky. He could have at least introduced their names first.

George smiled. “A pleasure to do so.”

“And the set of seven Maverick spellbooks. It’s still in the storage right?”

This time, George flashed an apologetic expression.

“I’m afraid you have misjudged the order, Sir Dean. Only 2 Maverick spell books are present in my hands. The 5 others are of a different kind.”

Hearing that Dean looked at the sky—the ceiling. He snapped to realization and acted as if a cold shower had just poured down on him, before letting out a sigh.

“Looks like even I forgot what I order,” feeling apologetic, “I’m sorry Curtis, looks like the colour choices would be limited.”

“That’s alright. I should be thanking you for even giving me such an item instead. The most important I think is Ellis’ sword.”

George ushered them deeper into the weapon store.

One rack held a variety of daggers, ranging in colour, design and size. One looked like it was crafted out of a tooth of a Megalodon. On the other side, small crystalline swords glistened with a transparent shine. A workbench with a sword left unfinished was placed under the force of a tight clamp, which had something to do with straightening the sword, if Curtis recalled.

The place was well lit, incredibly dainty. Having the impressive esthetic of a high-end restaurant, but serving out killer weapons instead of food.

Then passing-by the armour section, Curtis noticed an oddly shaped piece of chain mail armour. Could it be like a swimming suit, capable of stretching flexibly? The metal strands were woven tightly and looked rather compact and firm. From the shape of it—quite ambiguous as to how it functions.

George stopped in front of a large weapon rack at the very end of the path. Turning to look at Ellis, “Which want would you like little miss?”

Ellis didn’t say anything. First, she was called a young woman, now, little miss? Perhaps she was too particular about it. If she were him, she wouldn’t know how to address herself either. Young lady? That’s too creepy!

George stood aside, face brimming with a smile, letting Ellis walk forward to pick out one.

These swords were all superb in quality. Each one of them felt as if emitting an aura capable of smiting a zillion Giant Morays in a swarm. Individually, all of them had a different feeling to it. One sword made with a golden alloy radiated a powerful, glorious gleam. Another one, having a long skinny blade, felt sharp and menacing.

George then told her to take her time, then, disappearing into the apparent storage room at the corner.

“George Smith wouldn’t mind if you have a few swings around with them,” Dean and George, although there was a large gap in their statuses, were very fond of one another. Dean understood tacitly that George was the easy-going kind.

Ellis made a nod before reaching forward to grab the sword that caught her eye. It had a circular plated guard, around it had three vacant notches built into it to hold gryostones. One of the only five swords present that could hold a gyrostone. Most people found it troublesome to use utilize the magic functions of a fusion crystal, or rather, it was difficult to master. Besides, it would ruin the sword’s appearance if gryostones weren’t etched into it.

The grip was wrapped around with matte black spongy soft material that fit her hands perfectly. A silver, thin two-inch cross-sectional titanium alloy blade had a slight shade of oxidized purple. The whole blade stretched to approximately a meter long, the tip sharpened to a scary fine point. There was a hard to describe beauty to it.

Ellis swung the sword around, making a few loops in the air, her wrist acting as the pivot. The weight of it was heavier compared to her jade sword. The dense alloy was probably the reason, but the weight of it wasn’t much of a concern. It could become a trade-off for a better and stronger slashing power. It should help create a stronger blow from the larger momentum. In fact, Ellis felt the extra weight made it pleasant to hold.

George came back, holding two bulky books. He glanced at Ellis and nodded.

“Which one?” George asked Dean. Maverick Spellbooks were super high-grade magic equipment. Since Haital didn’t have many people that would want to buy something so expensive when the lower version would suffice, those Maverick Spellbooks were like gold bars—to Curtis at least.

“Red or blue?” Curtis was nudged by Dean.

“Blue,” Curtis thought that would suit his temperament better.

The book had a hardcover in a dusky blue leather gloss. The edges were flowered with real gold plates. In the centre was a pentagonal symbol that connected into a Star, each point of the star could hold a single gryostone. In the centre of the symbol was another slot, the core, able to fit a larger gryostone compared to the other five. This meant that there were six slots in total.

Curtis thought about the superior red crystal he acquired before. It should be big enough to fit the centrepiece.

The choices were made. A wisteria coloured Sword and Blue Maverick Spellbook.

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