“Oy. I know you, your dad is one of our errand boys right?”
Marcos and Leo hadn’t realized that Damien had even noticed them but when they heard those words directed towards them, Marcos realized who he was.
“Hah! What is a bag boy like you even doing taking this exam? You hear to bring me my groceries? You followed me out here just for that? Boy aren’t you committed to your job haha
Seriously though… Your father isn’t worth crap, he can barely deal with commoners so why are you even taking this exam? I bet you cheated to even get this far.” Damien said those harsh words loud enough for everyone around him to hear.
Marcos was already clenching his teeth but he didn’t know how to respond. “If I say something to him it could be bad for my dad… Damn it but how can I not say anything at all when he’s insulting my dad! I’m no coward!”
Leo would normally say nothing if he was mocked or badmouthed. Even though his family had lost prestige over the years it still meant something so he’d been put into awkward situations before. The commoners didn’t think of him as one of them so they kept away and the kids with power had mocked him from time to time due to his family barely being worthy of what it used to be. Still, he’d never much cared, he always figured he’d prove himself through his actions someday and shut everybody up.
Still… This was Marcos! There was no way he’d let his friend get mocked like this for no reason and let the guy get away with it.
“I don’t know what your problem is but you can just shut up and go away now.” Leo didn’t yell back but he said them loud enough for the people around them to hear.
Damien glanced at him and then scoffed “So the cheater has a friend? Why are you even sticking up for this good for nothing? Why don’t you come over here, leave this cheater behind and be friends with us what do you say?” even as he spoke the crowd was taking notice.
Even with all the space in the vast fields everyone had grouped together closely. No one wanted to get attacked by a random monster far away from everyone else and get killed while sleeping.
Leo took a glance at his surroundings as he noticed more people gazing in their direction.
Although a lot of these people had taken notice of what was happening no one was saying anything. Some of them found Damien to be overbearingly rude, like an idiot but in their world. If you were insulted then you stood up for yourself. Whoever was strongest was right, if Damien had the strength to do insult these two guys then no one was going to stop him.
Leo knew no one was going to step in, and he knew the moment the guy had spoken up and said what he did who he was. Even though he wasn’t someone he wanted to get into a conflict with, he wasn’t going to back down either, especially now that he had insulted his friend in front of this crowd of people who could inevitably turn out to be his future competition in the academy.
“No thanks, I don’t like to get involved with mentally deficient people while in the wilderness. Carrying extra luggage in the wild is silliness.” Leo responded to him knowing where this was heading.
Damien on the other hand was surprised that this kid hadn’t flip flopped to his side in a heart beat, even more surprised he’d just called him stupid “Doesn’t this kid know who I am?” he wondered as he frowned.
“I am Damien Knight. I am the future of Lumea City. I am the future savior of humanity! I will become stronger than anyone has ever been and conquer every monster and beast on this entire realm of existence! Did you really just call your future king mentally deficient?” Damien said nearly growling
“Ugh…” Leo just stared at him agape. “The balls on this dude. I mean wow, I wanted to try and be witty, granted not my strong suit… But I mean… The confidence this guy has… It’s overwhelmingly impressive… It’s to the point of delusion… How many compliments does his mommy give him daily for him to get like that?” Leo wondered still staring unable to speak momentarily.
“Exactly. Your stunned silence says everything. Apologize now and beg for forgiveness and I will exhibit one of my many glorious traits, mercy and forgive your insolence and chalk it up to poor manners and education.” Damien continued as he noticed Leo’s wide eyes and open mouth. He knew this boy had realized that mistake he’d made and was utterly regretting it. No one had ever spoken to him like that before, obviously the boy was raised outside the city in the slums or something.
Finally regaining some of his composure Leo looked around at the people around him and pointed a finger at Damien “Okay okay! I get it, this is a practical joke right?? One of the guardsmen hired a clown to perk us all up before the exam right? Oh man, these guys sure are considerate. I don’t know how appropriate a clown is but he sure is funny. He’s a bit over the top though right? What’s up too? If you’re a clown why don’t you have a clown outfit on? Why do you have the clothes of a warrior on? Is that a joke too? I don’t get those high level jokes man, I’m not that bright.”
Damien was now the one that was stunned at Damien’s words. The people around him were stunned that this kid had the audacity to say these things to Damien. Most of them people knew about his personality and temper. Some of them even subconsciously moved away from Damien a step or two afraid he was about to blow up.
“Oh the clown is turning red! Awesome! Is this one of your tricks? If the academy trained a clown to use magic for tricks I gotta say, they sure are committed to their prospective students!”
Damien had his hand on his sword as his face turned red and everything turned red for a second. Without even thinking he pushed off the ground and moved towards Leo, his one step off the ground propelling him forward over 10 as he closed the distance and pulled out his straight sword to attack Leo. Without regard for the test he took a full slash at him as Leo narrowly avoided the blade pushing himself back a few feet with a step of his own.
Leo avoided the slash with ease. Damien had completely telegraphed his move and intentions the moment he turned angry.
“Whoa man! This is over the top! There is no reason why the academy should be giving a clown a sword. You should hand that over guy, you could seriously hurt yourself with that. It’s pointy and sharp you know!”
Damien heard his words and started slashing at Leo with reckless abandon just wanting to cut him into pieces.
Leo dodged every slash moving left and right while taking one or steps each time as he watched Damien’s arm and the trajectory of the blade.
Every slash was missing him and Damien felt utterly humiliated as he stopped and finally took a moment to inhale and calm himself down. “Utterly humiliating. I was a fool. I got angry at this idiots words and snapped for a second. I am going to kill him.” Damien was thinking and even though he was calming down, his desire to kill Leo hadn’t gone way. If anything now that he was calm his entire aura felt different.
Leo noticed this instantly and felt there was a sudden premonition of danger. He’d been fooling around with Damien because Damien was angry and wasn’t using any technique or thought behind his sword slashes, but he knew that this wasn’t the extent of his skills. “This guy was raised to be strong by the strong. If I wasn’t strong myself and practiced swordsmanship and movement techniques then he would have already cut me in half as it was. Now that he’s calmed down everything feels different.”
Realizing this was now serious. Leo finally shut up and put his hand on his sword at his waist as he spoke up “If you come at me, I’m going to draw my sword.”
Damien ignored his words as he crouched and steadied his position. He was now calm but he couldn’t let this slide after being embarrassed in front of a crowd. In fact even if he was alone and he’d been insulted like this he wouldn’t have let it slide. “I’m going to cut you up into little pieces” was the only thought that surfaced in his mind as he prepared to move.
“Enough children.” Leo and Damien’s mind trembled as they heard those words which weren’t yelled almost directly in their ears in an overbearingly loud tone.
Walking out of the crowd was Professor Lydia. “I don’t care who started what, this is an exam. If either of you takes one more swing or attempts to hurt the other while this exam is going on, you fail. Now shoo… Shoo!” waving her hands at them as if they were pesky squirrels trying to steal her meal.
Leo watched Damien not taking his hand off the hilt of his sword until Damien had turned around and walked away as he sheathed his sword. Watching him walk away Leo realized he just stirred up more trouble with his big mouth.
Walking back to Marcos who was looking at him with a grateful but disapproving look “Yeah I know… I said too much. Big mouth. *sigh* This is why I don’t bother with most people. They’re all so sensitive and can’t handle a few words here or there. I was almost surprised that he actually came at me trying to kill me over some words. The guy had the nerve to call himself a god basically!”
Marcos didn’t know what to say and didn’t think he had the right to nag at him after he’d just stood up for him. Leo had basically just stirred up a hornets nest for him. “I think we should just get some sleep now”
Leo shrugged “Yeah, we need be at our best for tomorrow. That’s when the action really begins!”
They both laid down on their backs as they closed their eyes.
Away from them Damien had already calmed down as he walked through the crowd with his lackeys behind him. They were a little terrified after his display. Even if he didn’t manage to hurt the other guy he’d moved so fast almost all of them wouldn’t have been able to dodge more than two of those slashes. The other guy was just a freak like Damien! What actually scared them was that Damien looked serene and wasn’t displaying a hint of anger after what had just happened…
“Meh. Maybe a wild boar or something will kill him. If not I will after the exam. She said not to kill him during the exam. I won’t kill him during the exam” Damien thought to himself.
“Thanks…” Marcos said after finally bringing himself to say it.
He had no problem standing up to Damien. He wasn’t afraid of him even if Damien was stronger. He just couldn’t bring himself to say something and possibly have his father lose his job over him. They didn’t have that kind of money and he just couldn’t do it.
Leo understood that and didn’t even reply. There was no thanks necessary between real friends.