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The next morning I woke up before dawn. I believe the stress of my new situation kept me a little on edge. I put on my worn leather armour and headed to the training yard, hoping to make a good impression on whoever would be waiting for me there. As I passed by the barracks, I noticed little sign of life. There were guards at every major gate, sure, but the other guild members must still have been sleeping. Hopefully that meant that I had time to warm up before the real training started.

When I arrived at the yard, I was surprised to find out that I wasn't the first to arrive. At the entrance of the courtyard stood a blonde man who didn't look a day over 25. He had long hair and blue eyes. The man was wearing a white suit of plate armour with golden accents, reminding me of the heroes of the stories my mom always used to tell me about before bed.

 

I walked up to make conversation, intent on finding out if he was the one that would be training me. Sadly, he didn't looked happy seeing me here this early, considering the scowl on his face. Without saying a thing, he drew his sword from its scabbard and charged at me.

 

Reacting quickly, I drew my own bastard sword and moved to parry. I blocked his initial horizontal swipe, but couldn't counter it because of his immediate response in the form of a thrust at my neck. I redirected his blade with my own and made some distance.

We each took a few steps back and sized each other up. He didn't give me much time to settle my nerves, charging in again. Like this, we clashed for a few moments. My opponent came close to getting past my guard several times, but seemed to hold back right at the last second. Clearly, this was a test of some sort. I could get behind putting actions before words, to be honest.

After a few clashes that proved me to be the weaker swordsman, he backed off and raised his sword to the sky. The sword lit up in a white light. Instantly, I felt my senses flare up.

They screamed of danger.

That sword could and would kill me if it connected, the light mana being the antithesis of my existence as a dark mana user. My opponent charged forward again. This time, blocking his attack became close to impossible. Each time I lifted my weapon to block my muscles strained under the impact. The light mana would wash over me, causing a sharp pain to all of the skin it touched, burning it slightly in the process. A split second later, another attack would arrive. Clearly, I wouldn't win like this. My opponent was still scowling and emitted what I could only describe as bloodlust. He wasn't planning on letting me live if I failed to meet expectations.

 

Remembering the guild master's words from the day before about the yard being enchanted, I threw caution to the wind. I revved up my core and felt the familiar embrace of my dark mana flooding my veins. The cold washed away the heat and healed my skin at a visible rate. My garments and sword became as black as the night, my muscles gaining power by the second, recovering from the previous beating.

I firmly planted my feet on the ground, cracking the dirt floor a little. Not needing to consider the safety of anyone in my surroundings, I let my mana run wild, causing black winds to erupt from my body, which covered the yard in a few moments, making my opponent's hair flow in the wind in the process.

With renewed determination and a smile on my face, I was the one to charge forward this time. Credit to my opponent, he didn't even seem the slightest bit intimidated as he moved to block my strike. Showing surprising resilience, his sword hardly moved from the impact. Clearly he was a higher tier than me. Regardless, It wasn't as if I couldn't copy his flurry of strikes from earlier.

I started whaling on him, swinging left and right, up and down. Swings, thrusts, parries and counters, I threw my whole repertoire of swordsmanship at him. He moved to block every strike, so I sped up. Again, he managed to keep up, so I sped up some more, eventually reaching my limit.

Still he matched me blow for blow. The earth cracked upon each collision, my leather armour getting torn up just from the shockwaves. His light mana clashed with my dark mana, showing no clear superior. Still, I could see him starting to sweat, he was getting tired. We continued for a few more minutes, but sadly he didn't tire completely.

In the end, my mana ran out first. I collapsed, breathing heavily, leaning on my sword to stay upright. To my relief, my mysterious opponent sheathed his blade, finally ending our surprise bout.

 

He briskly marched up to me, stopping a few steps in front of me.

"You are provisional hunter Arthur, correct?"

I huffed and puffed a little more, eventually catching my breath. Not quite ready to forgive him for attacking me, I replied with a sarcastic tone. "Who else?"

"You fight like a tier 4 that got his class by accident."

I was a little confused when I heard that, not sure if it was a compliment or an insult. Noticing my expression, he continued.

"My name is Doran. I am a tier 4 [Paladin]. The guild master has instructed me to train and guide you as your instructor. I understand that the guild master has decided to trust you, however, I am not convinced. People of your ilk don't belong in the guild, no, in society in general. At least, that was my first thought. Seeing you fight, however, I can begin to understand the guild master's decision. You did show a surprising amount of strength just now. That being said, if you betray his expectations, I will personally annihilate you. Is that understood?"

 

I was shook by his sudden attitude. First he attacks me, then he insults me, and now he's acting like I'm the one who did something wrong?

To be honest, I had expected such a reaction from the people around me earlier. It surprised me that it took this long before I was discriminated against based on my class. Just because I expected it didn't mean that it was any less frustrating to be treated like that. Gritting my teeth, I got a little defensive.

 

"I understand perfectly well, sir. However, just because I have a certain mana alignment you don't like doesn't mean I deserve this much suspicion from a person who doesn't even know me. Are you sure your preconceptions aren't a 'you' problem, rather than mine?"

The paladin looked me in the eyes and readjusted his stance a little.

"It is not about your mana alignment, it is about mental skills. I have been shown a copy of your status, so I am aware you do not have any such skill right now. However, who is to say you will not receive one upon tiering up? The possibility exists, making you a possible threat to the guild as a whole."

"There's always an inherent possibility that a person with strength will misuse that strength to hurt others, yet they're trusted not to do that based on their past behaviour and responsibilities. Are you trying to tell me I don't deserve a chance? What allows you to decide in the first place?"

His glare seemed to lessen a little. "You make a good point. Plenty of people have abused their system-given power, and plenty of people have used it for the good of others. As your instructor, I will make sure you fall into the latter category, no matter what."

"Damn and blast! My plan of becoming an evil overlord has been thwarted thanks to you mentioning that! What a hero you are!"

This time he looked a little taken aback. He actually showed some signs of guilt as he replied.

"Look, I understand that my first impression wasn't exactly the epitome of kindness, but I had to know what your limits were. You should know that I take my responsibility as your instructor very seriously. We do not have to like each other, we must simply be capable of working together. Only then will your potential come to fruition."

I gave him a final glare, before acquiescing. I would just have to take his training and be done with it. Revenge would be sweet once I was strong enough to beat him up with a single pinkie.

"Fine. Let's get to work."

 

He turned around and beckoned me to follow. We reached a part of the training yard that had a number of training dummies lined up, like I had seen in the guard barracks in my hometown. These dummies were made out of metal however, and seemed quite sturdy as a result.

Doran turned to me while keeping his posture as straight as a rod. "To make sure you don't waste that potential, we will first have to raise your statistics properly. Your physical statistics will rise another 4 points each before you tier up purely because of your levelling stats, so get all of them to 96 right now."

Happy that we were finally getting into things, I nodded quickly. "Ah, this is to get that perfect tier up, right?"

"There is no such thing as a 'perfect' tier up, but close enough. Next, we shall be raising one of your mental stats to 50 to reach the first milestone. I recommend the wisdom stat, because of a hidden property this stat has that allows you to negate some of the mental effects that your mana alignment brings."

"I see. So would this also help me if I do get a mental skill later on?"

"Hmmm. I am not sure about that, but it very well might. It will certainly help more than the intelligence statistic would."

"And how does mana alignment affect ones mentality anyway? I've caught myself thinking things lately that I wouldn't normally. Do other people have to deal with stuff like that?"

"Every type of mana alignment affects one's mentality in positive and negative ways. Yours might make you focus on power and status too much, but it also provides you with an essential source of ambition and willpower. The light element that I possess makes a person more focused on justice and fairness, but also creates self-righteousness, supposedly."

I stared at him with a dead-pan face. Clearly he hadn't realised how ironic that was, considering our conversation from a few seconds ago.

"The fire alignment causes passion and recklessness, life causes peace, but also passivity and so on. Well, commence investing your free statistic points, we shall discuss your skill training afterward."

 

Nodding once, I allocated some points.

Name: Arthur
Titles [Dark prodigy]
Class: [Death Knight] LVL 23
Strength 96
Constitution 96
Dexterity 96
Intelligence 25
Wisdom 50
Affinity 223
Free stat points 6

Skills:

Passive: [Simple dark core](60%), [Elementary dark sight](38%), [Novice Swordsmanship](48%),

[Novice lifespan](N/A), [Perfect physique](N/A), [Flexibility](N/A)

 

Active: [Dark augment](58%), [Shadow apparation](12%), [Meditation](62%)

 

Ding! Wisdom reached 50. Awarded the [Mental resistance] skill.

[Mental resistance](N/A)

Tier 1 skill.

Your mind becomes better protected.

Increase wisdom to the next milestone to increase skill tier.

 

Reading the skill description, I laughed in glee. Clearly this skill was made for me!

"No wonder you recommended the wisdom stat, considering this milestone skill!"

The blonde looked at me weirdly. "What might you be talking about?"

"The [Mental resistance] skill!"

Now he looked even more surprised. "Huh. I did not expect you to receive a specialised milestone skill. You must have earned that affinity of yours."

Now it was my turn to look confused. "What do you mean?"

"Well, a standard milestone skill exists for each statistic. You received the three normal skills for each of your physical stats. However, normally reaching the wisdom statistic milestone would award you the [Mindset] skill, which alters the mind to better suit the affinity of the user. Sometimes people receive a different milestone skill, however."

"If a person is already very flexible, for example, they won't receive the [flexibility] skill, since it has become obsolete. They will instead be awarded a skill well suited to them. It's a common practice employed by nobles to receive better skills, which is why it is not common knowledge. I did not expect your mentality to suit your affinity so well. Just how have you lived until now?"

Wisely, I decided not to answer. Something told me mentioning my training habits would just make him even more suspicious.

He seemed to notice my hesitation, looking at me with a brief flash of pity appearing on his face.

"Well, you were awarded with a skill that you can make good use of. Since we are currently speaking about skills, why don't we go to the next topic? You will need training before you can tier up. Your tier 1 class skills should all have become tier 2 before you advance, in order to get a better tier 2 class. That means your dark core skill, swordsmanship skill and dark sight skill. Why don't we add meditation to the package for good measure, since it grows along with your dark core skill."

"I've made a training schedule. I'll explain this list in more detail in a moment, but essentially, your day will be separated into multiple segments. You will continue this schedule until your skills have reached tier 2."

He handed me a note with exquisite handwriting.

---

05:00 Morning routine

06:00 Swordsmanship drills

08:00 Learning new sword forms

11:00 Sparring (swords)

12:00 Break

13:00 Meditation in a dark room

17:00 Break

18:00 Sparring (all skills)

19:00 Meditation

21:00 Sleep

---

I looked at my instructor with newfound respect. Clearly he was just as much of a training nut as me!

"So, when will you be ready to commence?"

"Well, no time like the present, right?"

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A note from Belgianfri

Writing this while listening to Kendrick's new album was a vibe.

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Support "My class [Death Knight] is just barely legal..."

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Belgianfri

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Bio: I like fries. The belgian kind.

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