1-17 Unique Talent

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Author: EnroItzal Original Source: Scribble Hub

Anyone who had been in this town for even half a day could see the results from miles away. Needless to say, the duel that took place behind Verdant Inn ended with Nivia as the victor. It was an utter defeat for Lyra and she was even using real arrows. This wasn’t because Lyra fully intended to kill Nivia but it was just that she didn’t have any other kind of arrows, or at least that was what Lyra claimed. After witnessing Lyra pulling out a knife in the middle of an eatery, Erin was dubious at her reasons.

But Erin’s dubiety was gratuitous, in the end.

Despite having the range advantage, it was not enough for Lyra. She was only level seven and Nivia was level seventeen. It wasn’t just their levels, the difference in ability and skill were also too significant. From what Erin witnessed in this short battle, Lyra didn’t have any Magic Arts. All she had were some Combat Arts that didn’t seem too staggering. Whatever her skills were, it was just allowing her to move and react faster than the average person. Nivia on the other hand, had what Erin presumed to be Wind Magic and Light Magic.

Presumably with Wind Magic, Nivia dodged all of Lyra’s shots with so much grace that it seemed like a dance to Erin’s pristine eyes. For the arrows that hit its mark, they bounced off against some sort of light-based barrier. The duel was concluded with Nivia’s blade pressing against Lyra’s neck after having evaded all of her offence.

After Lyra admitted her defeat, Nivia sheathed her blades. She looked down, figuratively and literally, with a triumphant glare. “As promised, you will leave Erin alone. From now on, I will be her companion”

“Hold it right there,” Erin spoke up from the sidelines. “It appears that you are under some sort of misconception, Nivia. I did not promise anything about becoming your companion.”

Nivia’s face completely fell at Erin’s words. She wanted to retort but she couldn’t find the words as Erin was right. Erin had only agreed to a lunch date but she didn’t say anything about accepting Nivia as a partner. Only Lyra consented to the duel. Nivia neglected to ask Erin for her consent as she thought Erin, a fellow Faerie-kin, would be unanimous.

The floodgates were open as Lyra let loose a chortle while clutching at her stomach. “I’m tactless, that I am, but it beats being presumptuous.” She continued chortling.

Nivia ignored the mockery Lyra was spouting and directed her gaze at Erin with grief written all over her face. “Erin, are you dissatisfied with certain parts of me?”

Erin flinched at the odd question she threw at her. It was a weird way to ask someone for their reasons. But to Nivia’s question, Erin had a lot to say but she wasn’t fond on the idea listing every point out. So, she went with a simple and also truthful response. “It’s not about you, Nivia. I just prefer to operate alone.”

Nivia was obviously discontented with such a reasoning. “I don’t know if you realize but two is safer than one in our line of work, especially with the likelihood of Goblins out there.”

Of course, it wasn’t a matter of safety or secrecy. Erin just wanted to level up faster and bringing a companion along might reduce the experience gained. She wasn’t sure how it worked but she didn’t have the leisure to find out. As Nivia had pointed out, Goblins were out there. There may even be a nest of them. However, her primary reasons in the end fell on her wish to regain her former status as the Sword Saint as quickly as possible.

“Or is there something you cannot tell me?”

“It’s nothing like that. I just wish to increase my level faster.”

“Hmm, certainly the experience gained will be individually less in a party. I understand your concern in that regard but I expected you to be smarter than that. Your life and safety are worth a billion more than the rate of your growth.”

Erin was indirectly told that she was an idiot, by an Elf with stalker and over-obsessive tendencies no less. This did not sit well with Erin. “Forgive me for being blunt, Nivia. I have not known you for long but in the span of the time that I had, you didn’t exactly give me a good impression either in appealing to become my companion.”

“I am level seventeen. I have Spirit Magic, Light Magic, and Wind Magic. Or does this not suffice your touchstone?”

Erin was groaning in her mind. Not only did Nivia have an unhealthy obsession tendency, she was even a bit dim when it came to social matters. “You misunderstood, Nivia. I never said I wasn’t impressed. I am impressed by your ability but your character leaves much to be desired. I’m sure you know where I’m getting to with this.”

Nivia instantly turned as red as an apple. Of course she understood what Erin was implying. Her hidden side was exposed to the only Faerie-kin other than her in this town. It became a page in her dark history. It certainly didn’t leave Nivia with any counter-argument.

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Lyra, who was just calming down from her chortle, was about to burst out laughing again when she saw the distraught look on the Elf’s face. It betrayed everything Lyra had known about her and she was undeniably curious of Erin’s implications about the Elf’s character. She let out a dark smile when she imagined the things she would do to Erin just to get the answer out of her.

Erin willfully ignored Lyra’s titillating expression that exuded not a small amount of lust and debauchery. It was only recently Erin had lost her virginity. She couldn’t possibly be able to comprehend what an experienced woman like Lyra could be planning for their night together.

Wait. Why am I already on the assumption that I’ll be sleeping in her room and copulate with her again tonight?

Before Erin could sort out her disheveled mind, Nivia took a step forward with a look that was clearly written with her intentions.

“I have a proposal,” Nivia said.

Lyra and Erin could already guess the proposal. Lyra could only sigh while Erin gave a wry smile.

“I challenge you to a duel, Erinthea,” Nivia announced in an unnecessary grandeur manner, posing sideways and pointing at Erin.

As Argon Raze, she was fond of duels, especially when the opponent could offer her a real challenge. This peculiar penchant was carried over to her current self. Be that as it may, there was a time and place for everything. Erin was simply exhausted. She just wanted to find a nice place to rest and clean herself up but somehow, she got dragged into a puddle of meaningless conflict.

“Fine, I accept your challenge.” She accepted because she knew Nivia would just cook up an even more absurd challenge, or so said her hunch.

“Here are the conditions. If I win, you’ll join my party but if you win, I swear in the eternal name of the Spirits, I shall never bother you again.”

What? Do you have to go that far? Are you— wait. Hmm… Isn’t this kind of a good opportunity?

Vigor returned to Erin as she arrived at a realization.

“What say you, kin of mine?”

Erin restrained her eyes from rolling to the back of her head. “No,” she refuted.

“No? Do the conditions not satisfy you?”

“More like it terrifies me. I don’t think you need to go as far as to shun yourself away from me if you lose. That’s just too excessive. I don’t mind staying as friends, just not partners.”

“I-I see.” Nivia stammered. “Then what are your conditions if you emerged as the victor?” The fact that Nivia allowed Erin to put forth her conditions just went to show that Nivia wasn’t completely confident about her own victory against Erin.

“You’re well-versed with Magic Arts?” Erin asked.

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“I’m an Elf, a Faerie-kin. Of course, I am.”

“In that case, I’ll have you teach me Magic if I win in this duel.”

“Are you sure?” Nivia cast a dubious glance. In her eyes, it wasn’t much of a reward since she had learned about Magic since she was only a child. In actuality, Nivia was still considered tyro. Wet behind her ears, as humans would call it. It was common for Tyro Elves to be apathetic to those who wished to learn Magic due to Faerie-kin’s natural affinity to magic.

“Absolutely,” Erin answered.

“Very well. Those shall be your conditions.”

Although Erin didn’t like how the situation escalated to this state, she wasn’t discontent with the results. After all, she did want to duel with the strongest adventurer of Green Scar and she found herself someone who could potentially teach her Magic. Erin labeled Nivia as “potentially” because she wasn’t sure if Nivia had the aptitude for teaching.

I guess I’ll find out if I win.

Despite having two swords, Erin was only using the steel sword loaned to her by Sven. It wasn’t because she was terrible at dual-wielding but it was due to her hunch. Nivia had the level and stats advantage, and her skill with dual blades was still a mystery to Erin. The duel with Lyra was more focused on her Magic Arts than her skill with swords. With all these points, Erin was inclined to listen to her hunch.

Nivia had an odd stance and grip, Erin saw. She was wielding her twin cutlasses in a reverse grip and she was crouching low. It did not fit any sword forms that Erin was aware of and in all honesty, it looked impractical to her.

Impractical or not, the stats and level differences would surely compensate that aspect.

After some quick stretches, which Erin almost forgot to do, the duel began the moment Erin brandished her sword and went into her stance.

Erin felt the wind shift against her favor, ferrying Nivia over like tidal waves. Erin was prepared to receive the cutlasses but instead, Nivia jumped, twisted, and sent a kick at her. Erin guarded the kick with the flat part of her sword but the force behind that seemingly small foot was more than what Erin could imagine. Her own feet grazed across the grass of the plains as she struggled to a halt.

Damn! This is the strength of a level seventeen?

“Not bad,” Nivia praised. “You withstood that kick. If it was that woman over there, she would have gone flying.”

Lyra had retreated a good distance away from the two to give room but she was still close enough to hear everything that escaped through Nivia’s lips.

Not good. No matter how skilled I am, the difference in physical strength alone will be enough to defeat me. What’s more, she’s fast.

“Here I come.” Nivia moved again. She dashed in a “Z” pattern and vanished upon reaching the range Erin’s sword reached.

Without any hesitation or pause, Erin spun and parried the blades aimed for her back. She couldn’t see Niva nor could she smell her since she was able to manipulate the direction of the wind flow. However, Erin understood her form from that kick alone. Nivia was the type to rely on subverting her opponent’s expectations.

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Nivia unleashed a flurry of slashes that Erin could barely parry away or guard against. She could tell Nivia was holding back. If she struck with her full strength, she could easily shatter Erin’s sword. After a round of seemingly wild attacks, Nivia infused Magic into her cutlasses and tossed them up into the air.

Erin’s eyes instinctively followed the cutlasses but she forced them to stay on the Elf. Nivia allowed her surprise to be painted on her face. She was impressed. It shook her confidence at her chances of victory but at the same time, she was glad she didn’t need to hold back as much as she thought. Lights gathered in her palm and morphed into cutlasses. She thrust the pair of Magic blades at Erin.

Now that is just dazzling, literally so.

Erin simply twisted her body out of the way and swung at Nivia, but her original cutlasses fell back down at the perfect moment. Erin hit the falling cutlass, giving Nivia enough window to retaliate. She dismissed her Magic blades, snatched the other falling cutlass right off the air, and swung at the Fox-kin. Erin was left with no other way but to leap back away from Nivia’s counter.

Not willing to hand over any more advantage, Erin lunged as soon as she found her footing. Her aggressive ways stunned Nivia as her brows stretched to its limits. She deflected Erin’s attack just in time to keep her chances of being the victor but all too late in preventing the blade grazing her cheek. Erin wasn’t done with that. She continued her assault. She landed blows after blows but Nivia took them all like a dancer of blades.

She may be dim in character but her fighting skill is just gleaming.

Knowing that she would actually lose if she just kept receiving Erin’s blows, Nivia pushed herself away from the deadlock by using Wind Magic.

Oh no you don’t.

Erin poured the two skill points she was saving up into Fleet Foot.

[Fleet Foot Lv. 3 has been increased to Lv. 5]

She closed their gap in an instance, further surprising Nivia. The Elf tried to escape by flipping over her but Erin forced her to stay by slashing down with full force. Nivia skillfully directed the slash away from her body and riposted at the now defenceless Erin.

I will not lose.

Erin declared.

Erin parried the Elf’s riposte in the most unimaginable way possible. She cast Arcane Armor on just her left forearm. She ground her armored forearm against Nivia’s blade, it broke as quick it was conjured but it did the job of parrying her riposte. Erin reined in her sword and lunged again. She threw aside strength and focused her current strikes with speed.

Nivia tried to use Magic to create herself some distance but Erin denied her of those opportunities. Panic began surfacing in Nivia’s heart.

In truth, Nivia wasn’t used to dueling. She had rarely fought with another person in a proper duel. At most, it was just sparring with her fellow Elves back in the forest. She was an adventurer, not a duelist. She wasn’t even a proper swordsman as half of her skills encompassed Magic Arts and her sword skills were nothing without the support of her Magic Arts. She was a Mage Fighter. Moreover, she excelled in hunting and taking down monsters instead of peoples. So to say, her experience in swordsmanship and dueling was pretty much at the bottom if compared to someone like the former Sword Saint, Erinthea.

She’s better than me, Nivia realized.

Nivia was beyond impressed. She had never met anyone like Erin even on her own level.

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Erin understood her own limits and instead of wallowing in her own weakness, she kept pushing through with her strength. For Nivia, it didn’t feel like she was fighting a novice at all. Erin’s attacks were lacking in strength and speed but her movements and techniques were immaculately polish. Nivia understood that aspect with each clash of their blades. Nivia could feel the countless sweat, tears, and blood poured into the swordsmanship of Erin. It was as if Erin was completely one with the blade when she wielded a sword.

Be that as it may, things still weren’t in Erin’s favor. She was currently on the offense and Nivia was just on defense but that didn’t define Erin’s victory. She was not making any headway through the Elf’s guard. Erin compensated the level gap with experience and skills that her current body could manage but it wasn’t enough. She needed more to fully cover the gap between their levels. She knew one thing that could do just that but… she considered it cowardly.

But… if I lose, I’ll also lose a potential Magic teacher. Well, I’m the former Sword Saint, now. Emphasis on former. F̲u̲c̲k̲ playing fair. Her level seventeen isn’t fair in the first place.

“Sorry about this,” Nivia suddenly said. She sheathed one of her cutlasses and gathered wind into her palm. The gust rapidly converged into a sphere of air.

Erin didn’t know what it was but she had a good idea of what it could do just from the appearance alone.

In the split second when their blades clashed and bounced off from each other, Nivia kicked off the ground and threw herself away from Erin. Before Erin could close the distance once again, Nivia threw the ball of wind at her.

Erin thought about dodging it with a simple twist or flip, but the sphere was expanding outwards as it travelled. If she threw herself out of the way, Nivia would surely use that chance to land the finishing blow. Erin could only take this head-on.

Ah f̲u̲c̲k̲ this. Sorry, Sven.

She cast Arcane Edge on her steel sword without restraint. As she raised her sword to block the sphere of raging gust, she also cast Arcane Armor on her sword. There was a lot of resistance in her attempt but it didn’t feel like it was impossible. When she saw the blade begun to crack, she cast Spirit Mend without a second thought. She didn’t know if it would work but she was at her wits end.

Come on. Come on!

She screamed in her mind.

COME ON!!

She forced Arcane Armor on to the steel sword and adamantly “fixed” the crack with Spirit Mend. The ball of wind was already close to her and it had expanded to the size of the average person. There was no way she could dodge this now. It was do or “die”.

Come on, dammit!! Magic is supposed to be nigh-omnipotent, is it not!?

She banked it all into this nonsense hope of hers. The idea of Magic being near-omnipotent was just a gossip around the campfire in her former world. It wasn’t necessarily something that had translated to this world but Erin wasn’t in the right state of mind to care about such trivial matters.

[Warning: Magic Vigor has fallen below 25% of the threshold.]

So f̲u̲c̲k̲i̲n̲g̲ what? Keep it going! I have already died once! I will learn Magic!

Against the warning of the system and the meteoric depletion of her Mana, Erin didn’t cease her foolery. And finally—

[Conditions met – Unique Talent unlocked.]

What? Unique Talent?

[Unique Talent: Mystic Blade Lv. Ex – acquired.]

Arcane Edge, Arcane Armor, and Spirit Mend, all these three spells molded into one before her eyes at the announcement of the system. A thin sheet of lustrous azure blue light was now layer on top of the steel blade and the crack on the blade was mended.

[Experience gained +20% – Level Progression: 55%]

Without asking too many questions of the miracle that descended upon her, Erin cut the sphere of wind into half. Yes, she cut the Wind Magic spell into half with the steel blade coated in a blue glow. The ball of wind dispersed back into a simple breeze as the spell lost its form.

Not minding the astounded face of Lyra or Nivia, Erin dashed towards the Elf with full throttle on Fleet Foot. Nivia was quick to recover from her daze and brandished both of her cutlasses. Nivia was obviously shaken by the miraculous development. Erin knew she was no longer in all of her focus.

With the last ounce of her Magic, Erin conjured up a small sphere of cyan light, Light Drop. It didn’t cost much Magic but Erin poured every last of her Mana into it and she flung it at Nivia.

The Elf didn’t give much thought to the Light Drop. She thoughtlessly battered the Light Drop away with her cutlass but that proved to be her mistake.

“W-what!?” Nivia exclaimed as the Light Drop suddenly shone even more intense than it was supposed to but that blinding light lasted for not even five seconds. However, it was enough.

“Checkmate,” Erin declared.

When the lights had faded, Erin had already reached Nivia. The Elf responded quickly but it didn’t match up to Erin’s experience with the sword. Erin countered Nivia’s riposte, successfully breaking through her guard. She stopped her blade right before it managed to carve into the Elf’s throat.

Not a sound or noise were present at the particular moment of the duel’s climax. Both of them were drawing quick breaths and both of them were drench in their own sweat. Their gazes bridged a form of understanding and acknowledgement between them.

Eventually, Nivia sighed and dropped her cutlasses. “It’s my loss. You’re one amazing swordsman.”

“I know,” Erin responded with a fulfilling smile.

[Experience gained +15% – Level Progression: 70%] [Finesse: 11 has increased to 12]

Erinthea – Faerie-kin: Fox-kin

Level: 6 | Status: Moderate Exhaustion

Might: 14 | Arcane: 11 | Finesse: 12

Magic Arts – Spirit Magic Lv. 5 | Arcane Edge Lv. 2 | Arcane Armor Lv. 1

Combat Arts – Sword Art Lv. 6 | Fleet Foot Lv. 5

Innate Skills – Self-appraisal Lv. Ex | Night Vision Lv. Ex | Sixth Sense Lv. Ex | Toxin Resistance Lv. 1 | Lust Deviant Lv. Ex

Unique Talent – Mystic Blade Lv. Ex

Level Progression: 70%

Skill Points remaining: 0

Ability Points remaining: 0


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