“I feel refreshed and clean. It must have been a bit of a bother for you. Thank you very much.”
“Theres nothing better for us to do right now anyway.”
The NPC winked after she spoke, in a way that would have caused most men to fall in love instantly. However, Lancelot just respectfully bowed to her before continuing through the gate into Thousand Scents Land.
Thousand Scents Land was fairly empty, probably because most users were out participating in the Siege Quest.
“Lets see, Thousand Scent should be…”
Lancelot covered both his eyes with his left hand and waited for a brief moment, until a map appeared in his field of vision. The normal map didnt show the specific location of users and objectives like the mini-maps on the level-up exams, but Lancelot could estimate the general area where Thousand Scent should be, based on the geographical layout of the land. It also helped that Thousand Scent didnt venture too far from her designated area.
“Hmm? First time seeing you here.”
“Ah, yes maam. I just reached level six.”
The Seven Holy Lands all had an outer and inner city area. In the outer city area, vendors sold general books and provided fee-based classes. Both services were provided to the general public. In the inner city, they sold higher-level books and provided skill-specific classes from Grand Masters. A user had to be at least level six to access the services provided in the inner city. This differentiation was in an effort to avoid overburdening the Grand Masters.
“You dont have to speak so respectfully. I look much younger anyway.”
Many would have mistaken Thousand Scent as just another young girl. She split her hair into two ponytails, which ran down all the way to her hips. Most people would think that she was a teen, and possibly a very young teen at that. However, she was young only in appearance; at the very least, she had lived a life ten times, and even fifty times longer than any of the users.
“Hahaha, still, I came to receive some instruction and learn, so I should still be respectful.”
If users were constantly asking to become her disciple, she would likely not have given Lancelot another look. However, not many people came to receive lessons from a Grand Master. Most users could gain knowledge from books and train in the training grounds, and this was usually enough for most users to accomplish what they sought.
Though the number of users was large, the instructors at every holy land were as available as the many Maris who existed in the beginner zone. Since there were many instructor copies, they presented an ample opportunity to receive valuable one-on-one instruction. Of course, Thousand Scent was on a whole different level of strength and power compared to these Grand Master instructors. But a users development was based on how much effort they put into learning something, not how powerful their teacher was.
“To be more specific, I have something to ask. The instructors here havent been able to properly provide an answer.”
“Whats your question?”
“Thats… Im not able to reveal or manifest my affinity or specific skill set.”
“Youre a level six user, yet you havent been able to?”
Usually, once a user reached level five, they would have a general sense of which attribute affinity and skill set was appropriate for them. Hearing that Lancelot had not yet found his path, Thousand Scents eyes grew round in surprise. Even if Lancelot had realized or materialized his specialized skill set or attribute affinity, he would be at the earliest stages of development. To not even have an idea of ones specific skill set or attribute affinity was unheard of.
“Can you show me your aura?”
Lancelot complied and materialized his aura. His aura power had been weakened by the journey to Thousand Scents Land. He knew that what Thousand Scent wanted to see was the aura itself, not its strength, so Lancelot didnt have any qualms about revealing his weakened aura.
Lancelot flinched, taken aback by Thousand Scents sudden clap. He gave her a confused look, but Thousand Scent paid no attention to his expression, as she was focused on reading his aura.
“Focus your aura on your right shoulder.”
“Please wait, one moment.”
Lancelot moved his aura to his right shoulder as requested. Thousand Scents eyes narrowed as she read Lancelots aura movements as he moved his aura to his right shoulder.
‘He just doesnt possess any talent.
Thousand Scent was left momentarily speechless at her realization. There wasnt a specific reason why Lancelot couldnt realize and manifest his special skill set or attribute affinity. It was the same reason why early level users couldnt realize their special skill set or attribute affinity; they just didnt have enough talent or were unskilled.
‘My goodness, to not be able to realize or manifest a special skill set or attribute affinity up to level six…
This kind of case didnt happen very often. However, this didnt mean that Lancelot was the only user to ever be in this position. Though Lancelot was unskilled and possessed no talent, there were many others just like him. If talented people existed, it was only natural for unskilled and untalented people to exist too. However, this was Thousand Scents first time seeing one, as users who lacked skill and talent did not make it beyond level five.
‘How did he reach level six? Wait, before that, why was he even chosen as a beta tester?
She now understood why the other instructors couldnt answer his question. Lancelots aura control ability was similar to someone who was using aura for the first time. The reason he couldnt manifest his special skill set was due to the same reason, his unskilled use of aura. Somehow, though, he had made it to level six. What made the situation more unbelievable was that Lancelot had not even properly trained his aura control.
“Hmm, would you mind launching an attack at me?”
“Launch an attack? But…”
“No need to be concerned for me. Even if you attack as though your life depends on it, Ill be able to defend with just my pinky finger.”
Thousand Scent smiled. She did not speak with overconfidence, she was only telling Lancelot the truth.
“Well, if you put it that way…”
Lancelots readiness to launch a spear attack wasnt quite normal either. Since it was well known that Thousand Scent was powerful, and because he was a visitor in an area that he had just set foot in, it would have been normal for Lancelot to hesitate before acting. However, Thousand Scent didnt see his instant preparedness as something to frown upon.
“You may start when ready.”
As soon as she finished her words, Lancelot lunged with his spear, as quick as lightning. He moved his body at an optimal angle, properly shifted the weight of his spear, gauged the speed at which he thrust, and properly channeled what little aura he had left into this single attack.
‘A proper thrust!
Thousand Scent took a step to the left, dodging the attack. She couldnt help but be surprised at Lancelots refined movement, which was totally at odds with her evaluation of his skills when he moved his aura. Her step to the left was simple, yet it allowed her to completely avoid his attack.
Thousand Scents palm made its way towards Lancelots side. She attacked slowly on purpose in order to observe how hed react, but… Lancelot just took the attack.
Thousand Scent looked perplexed as she watched Lancelot fly three to four meters before crashing into a wall. His attack had been so balanced and quick, yet he couldnt even counter such a simple attack. She quickly ran over to help Lancelot up, but Lancelot just shook his head, reassuring her that he was fine.
“I apologize. I couldnt react.”
“My attack wasnt so quick as to not even be seen…”
“It wasnt that I didnt recognize your attack, I do have eyes. However, I was a step… no, two steps late in shifting my aura. If I hadnt even used aura in the first place, then I may have been able to react in time, but then, there wouldnt have been any significant power behind my movement…”
Lancelot was stating that it wasnt that he didnt recognize Thousand Scents attack but that he wasnt able to control his aura to counter the attack. This inability fit better with Thousand Scents initial assessment of Lancelot. She had just been thrown off by how balanced and sharp his spear strike had come in. She now understood how Lancelot was able to launch such a quick attack.
‘Innumerable hours of training…
Lancelot must have practiced and trained that exact spear move ten, hundreds, no, thousands of times. He had repeated the movement so many times that his body and aura had virtually memorized what movements it had to make. This allowed him to successfully launch an attack that went far beyond his own reaction speed. If an opponent defended the attack and countered, he wouldnt be able to respond, just as he had been unable to respond to Thousand Scents palm attack.
“So, do you know the reason why Im not able to realize my special skill set or attribute affinity?”
“Oh, yes. I know, but…”
She was certain. Simply put, he had no talent. However, stating something like that so blatantly would be too cruel. While Thousand Scent pondered on how to respond, another user showed up.
“Ah, so annoying!”
“Why the hell didnt they come! I was going to make sure that I killed off the boss this time around!”
Cruzes aura roared around her as if visually representing just how angry she was. For her aura to move with this much ferocity just from her emotional outburst, one could easily tell that Cruzes aura ability and talent was tens if not hundreds of times greater than Lancelots.
Of course, Cruze did have about ten times more aura power, as Lancelot had only one hundred points in aura power. Moreover, since Lancelot had died a few times, his aura power capacity cap had been forcibly lowered. However, the difference in how the two used aura alone was enough for anyone to easily see that Cruze was leagues above Lancelot in aura ability, usage, and talent.
‘That overwhelming aura… is she that Master that everyones been talking about?
During one of the Siege Quest battles, from a distance, Lancelot had only seen her launch a few cannon attacks. But, he had heard countless rumors about her. She was currently one of two Master-level users in DIO; someone who was popularly known as anamed user.
“The Siege Quest battle began, but the Undead army never showed up. It felt like the Announcement Board was trolling us.”
Cruze huffed and puffed and complained some more before slamming herself down onto a chair. Seemingly used to seeing this sort of behavior, Thousand Scent gave a good-natured smile and said,
“Shall I make some tea?”
“That would be nice, thanks. Ah, Id like an apple too, since youre offering.”
“Do you have any idea what happened to the Undead army?”
Cruze spoke to Thousand Scent as if Lancelot didnt even exist. However, Lancelot didnt feel offended or put off by her behavior. Not because of his good nature, but because something else had caught his eye.
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