"You're going to have to be faster than that!" Irina laughed heartily as she was toying with the wolf.
However, at that moment, just as I was watching how she fought, suddenly, I felt a movement around me.
'Hmm?' Immediately sensing something was amiss, I grabbed my daggers.
There, my eyes picked up a wolf with silver fur approaching me at a rapid speed.
Immediately raising my daggers, I blocked the claws of the wolf. Though from the confrontation alone, it was evident that the strength of the wolf was higher than mine.
'Ho…. So, one of them sensed me, huh? It doesn't matter anyway.'
I was not planning to participate in the fight, but that didn't mean I was going to let myself get attacked and injured.
With a fast speed, the wolf dashed to me again. But my eyes were able to see his movements.
First was a claw attack coming at my chest; raising my daggers in a cross shape, I blocked the attack.
However, that wasn't the end, as the wolf kept attacking me at a rapid speed.
'The instructors should be watching.' I thought, thus choosing not to use my shadow trait.
The wolf lunged again, aiming for my exposed flank. Reacting swiftly, I sidestepped, narrowly avoiding its razor-sharp claws. But the beast wasn't giving up so easily; it turned on its heel and lunged once more, this time attempting to catch me off guard.
I parried the attack with one dagger while using the other to counter, but my strike was deflected by the wolf's reinforced hide. The impact sent a jolt of pain through my arm, but I gritted my teeth and focused on my opponent.
'I knew I was weak, but to think that I can't even injure a rank two beast on my own….' That was to be expected, but reality hitting me still made me feel weird.
The wolf kept attacking me, and I kept blocking his claws with my daggers.
In any case, that was not the time to be discouraged, as I saw others were about to finish.
Imbuing my dagger with my mana, I readied myself. This time, different from at that moment, it had a blue aura rather than a crimson.
'It is not the time to think about this.' I thought to myself, raising my daggers.
With that simple thought, I felt the power entering me as my skill activated.
Using my other skill, my eyes immediately focused on the wolf before me, showing its weaknesses to me.
'As expected, this place was his weak spot.'
While observing the fight, I noticed the weak spot of the monsters, and just as I expected, my skill showed the same.
With a calculated move, I feigned an opening, baiting the wolf to attack.
And it took the bait as it lunged forwards, trying to attack me on my right shoulder.
lightsnοvεlHowever, my speed was faster than it should have been; with a smooth move, I tilted my body to the side, dodging the lunging wolf.
People who did close combat would know the importance of one's footing and how fatal it could be if one were to jump forwards.
But, the wolf didn't….
Seizing the opportunity, I stabbed the wolf, my dagger aimed at a vulnerable spot between its ribs on its flying navel. The blade sank in, eliciting a furious yelp from the wolf.
As the wolf stumbled back from my well-timed strike, I wasted no time and immediately transitioned into the Whispering Thorn stance—a deadly technique of the Basic Dagger Stance I had practiced through countless training sessions.
In this stance, my daggers moved like a flurry of thorns, striking with precision and speed, leaving no room for the wolf to counter. The strikes especially aimed at the weak points of the enemy, making it reliant on the information the user needed to obtain beforehand.
SWOOSH SWOOSH SWOOSH
I darted in and out, exploiting the weak spots that my Keen Eye skill had revealed. Each strike was aimed at vulnerable points on its body, delivering quick, calculated blows that gradually wore down the creature's defenses.
My mana was okay, but my body was getting weaker and weaker with each passing second.
The wolf, now on the defensive, struggled to keep up with my relentless assault. Its silver fur became stained with blood as my daggers found their mark again and again. Despite its strength, the creature was no match for the precision and speed of the Whispering Thorn.
And, it became desperate since the pain was enveloping his body. In just three seconds of time, the fight has turned in its enemy's favor, after all.
Thus with a swift feint, I lured the wolf into a momentary opening, and with lightning-fast reflexes, I slid behind it. In one seamless motion, I drove both daggers into its exposed flank, hitting a vital area that caused the wolf to howl in pain.
My relentless barrage of attacks was taking its toll. The wolf's movements slowed, and its growls became weaker.
As the wolf tried to turn and face me, I anticipated its every move. My footwork was precise and light, allowing me to dance around the creature with ease. I became a blur of motion, and the wolf found itself surrounded by a whirlwind of strikes.
CLANK CLANK CLANK
The sound of metal meeting flesh echoed in the clearing as my daggers continued their deadly dance. I was in perfect harmony with my blades, channeling all my focus and energy into each strike. My heartbeat seemed to synchronize with the rhythm of my attacks, creating a symphony of battle.
The wolf's movements grew sluggish, and its eyes showed signs of desperation. It knew it was outmatched, and yet it refused to surrender. But I didn't show any mercy; this was a fight for survival, and the stronger one would live.
I mean, it was not that dramatic, but whatever.
With one final, decisive strike, I drove both daggers deep into the wolf's heart.
It let out a guttural gasp.
Before collapsing to the ground, lifeless.
I stood there, panting heavily, covered in sweat and the wolf's blood. No matter how easy it looked for me to beat the wolf, my body was weak. It was too weak to engage in a direct confrontation. At least, my constitution stat was too low.
As I caught my breath, I glanced over to where Irina had been toying with the other wolves, and there I saw she was also about to finish her job.
The others were also the same, as they also killed the remaining ten lesser wolves on their own.
From this alone, you can see how weak the original body of Astron was. Even with my increased body stats, I still had a hard time dealing with one wolf, while these two dealt with ten of them. And they were not even fully tired like me.
'Well, it doesn't matter.'
With that thought, I raised my body as a message came through my smartwatch.
Time elapsed: 34 Minutes 12 Seconds – 20/600
The moment the notice came to me, I could see the expression on Irina's face stiffen.
'She must be regretting toying with the wolf right now.' I thought. After all, there was a time record for the students, and they were going to be ranked.
Though the time would not matter on grades too much aside from the performance evaluated in the dungeon by instructors, that didn't mean it was for nothing.
No…. It would actually ignite competition amongst the students since almost everyone would be competing with each other.
'20, huh? It was the same as in the game.' I thought. Though I did not have any idea about Astron, I knew Irina was ranked 20 in the game since the rankings would not change too much aside from the first 10.
But I got a feeling that Astron was on Irina's team and ended up getting ignored in the same way.
Just as I was thinking about that, I felt another sharp glare on me. Turning to face the source, I saw Irina was looking at me with a glare.
'You brought it on yourself, don't be a brat and do your own thing.'
Ignoring her gaze, I slowly started walking out of the dungeon; since this was an artificial dungeon, it would not throw the people inside out when it was cleared. There was no need to interact with those no more. After all, I got what I wanted.
'Real life experience against a monster and a good opportunity to observe how high-ranking cadets fought.' That alone was enough for me to be happy.
As I walked out of the dungeon, I could feel Irina's intense gaze following me. I knew she was not pleased with her own performance and was mad. But she was looking for a person to blame.
As I reached the exit, Irina approached me, her fiery red hair still glowing from the adrenaline of the battle. "What was that all about?" she demanded, her tone accusatory. "You barely did anything in there! We were fighting a whole pack of Lesser Galewind Wolves, and you just stood there like a statue! At least fight like a man!"
I didn't flinch under her gaze and just looked at her with an unbothered expression. To be honest, I did not want to be involved with the main cast of the game if not necessary. I had my own reason to be here, and I certainly didn't care about what they were doing.
"Don't talk to me," I answered with a cold tone. The way she was speaking at me like she was above made me slightly irritated.
"What?" With a tone of surprise, she asked, certainly not expecting such an answer.
"I said don't talk to me."
"You bastard! It was because of you we were this slow." Irina shouted in anger while her hair got stiff again. She was angry, as usual.
'This girl's personality is really bad….' I thought. In the game, just because of that reason, the player would get into trouble quite often.
"Umm….Let's stay calm, Irina. We shouldn't cause a scene here." Nora interrupted with a stiff expression throwing a short gaze at me. It was evident that she was also not favored towards me, but I didn't care about her either.
"But this bas-"
"If it is because of me, then it will show on our grades. If you have a problem, report it to the teachers. Don't talk to me anymore."
With those last words, I turned back and started walking, leaving the three dumbfounded. Certainly, none of them was expecting me to behave like that since making an enemy from one of the strongest cadets in this academy wouldn't do any favor to anyone.
And the words I said were also true. If it was because of me, the results would show itself on our grades already, so arguing right now would be pointless.
I could hear Irina fuming behind me, but I ignored her words.
Just like that, I left the place, going my own way. After all, I needed to train until the weekend….
Hope you liked the chapter. You can see why Astron decided to become a ranger from this chapter alone. Just one wolf was hard to deal with in close combat.
You can check my discord if you want. You will be able to see the illustrations here and engage in a conversation with me if I am available.