Chapter 9: Contract
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
News of the fire in Enigma Forest spread quickly, and Lance Academy was the closest. Several instructors from the Academy rushed there and ran into members of a mercenary group with the same intention. The two groups worked together to put out the fire so that it wouldn’t continue to spread and affect the surrounding area.
When the fire was finished, the church arrived late.
In this world, the church was second only to the royal family, and there were branch churches all over the world, and everything related to magic was under the jurisdiction of the church.
The Dean of the Academy led some men in silver robes toward the Academy’s council chamber, while Ning Chu quietly peered into the crowd. The man at the head of the group looked to be in his thirties and had a fiery red bird standing on his shoulder, presumably his contracted beast.
It seemed to be aware, as a pair of black bean eyes aimed at the exact location of Ning Chu. Ning Chu clutched Third Cub in his jacket and turned around to leave quietly.
A little later, Ning Chu arrived at the commission hall, and returned the empty storage bag to the staff, “I’m sorry…”
The staff had heard about it and didn’t take the bag back, saying, “It’s good that you came back safely.”
Ning Chu looked slightly embarrassed and said, “The money paid in advance… I will pay you back as soon as possible.”
The church sent people to blockade the forest, so even if there were still things inside not burned clean, Ning Chu couldn’t enter. This was an accident, and the staff didn’t expect Ning Chu to spend the 100 purple gold coins.
“This… There’s no rush,” he said, “If you’re really short on money, why don’t you try the arena?”
There was no limit to the number of challenges he could take on in a single day, and as long as Ning Chu could afford it, plus the newcomers had high odds, even 100 purple gold coins could be earned in a few days.
The staff thought about it again, how could Ning Chu not know this? Maybe people have been on the scoreboard for a long time, which was why he didn’t remind him at first.
“It’s me who talked too much,” he smiled, “I will explain the situation to the institute about the advance, you don’t have to worry.”
The commission card had Ning Chu’s signature on it, so there was no fear of him running away. Ning Chu wanted to go to the arena, but he was so weak that he couldn’t even do the simplest of magic.
There were many students nearby talking about Enigma Forest, and all of them mentioned the Scarlet Flame Dragon, guessing that it was the cause of the fire. Ning Chu pressed his jacket in his hand, thanked the staff, and left the commission hall. He went to the taming grounds to see how the Cloud-Winged Dragon was doing.
The effect of the universal medicine was remarkable, as the Cloud-Winged Dragon’s spirit status was much better than yesterday. Smelling Third Cub’s scent, it kept circling around the cage. The cage was still unguarded, and Ning Chu used tweezers to pick up the raw meat from the iron bucket and throw it into the cage.
“You seem to be better,” Ning Chu squatted down, “You remember me, right?”
The Cloud-Winged Dragon recognized his scent, but was still wary of him, his sharp claws scratching at the bottom of the cage, his muzzle emitting a constant “hu hu” sound of intimidation.
Third Cub emerged from his clothes and showed his teeth, “Grr…”
The Cloud-Winged Dragon was immediately honest and sniffed the meat that Ning Chu threw in, before eating it obediently.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have more money for now,” Ning Chu whispered, “otherwise I would have bought you some health pills to make up for it.”
The common dragons weren’t as smart as a rare dragon, and the Cloud-Winged Dragon couldn’t understand Ning Chu’s words, so it lay down and licked its claws. Ning Chu thought to himself, if he could turn the cloud-winged dragon into his contracted beast, he might be able to take it to the arena with him.
However, he didn’t know if it was because he was actually an outsider, but Ning Chu couldn’t feel any of this world’s magic, spiritual power or anything else.
There was a contract service in《Dragon Island》’s mall, but the contract could only be made with one of the five rare dragons, and one cost 100 credits.
There were no details in the game, so he couldn’t be sure of the effect of the contract service, so Ning Chu didn’t spend the money. With 130 credits left, he would only have 30 left if he used the contract service.
Ning Chu was torn, but the 130 credits weren’t even enough to buy a single dragon crystal…
He made a secret decision and left Crow Market with Third Cub in his arms.
Late at night, Ning Chu opened his eyes in the darkness.
Bowen across the room was breathing steadily in a deep sleep, so Ning Chu crept up and lifted the blanket.
Third Cub lay on Ning Chu’s shoulder as he went to the bathroom and locked the door from the inside. There wasn’t much space in the bathroom, but it was enough for one person and one dragon. Ning Chu opened《Dragon Island》and said to Third Cub, “Cub, I’m going to try something now, tell me if you feel something wrong.”
Third Cub gently tickled Ning Chu’s palm to show that he understood.
Ning Chu selected ‘Third Cub’ Scarlet Flame Dragon in the contract service and paid 100 credits at the system prompt.
At the same time, Third Cub felt a peculiar power coming from Ning Chu’s body.
It was… Ning Chu’s spiritual power? Of course, Third Cub was willing to be Ning Chu’s contracted beast, so he agreed without hesitation.
【Congratulations, you have successfully signed a contract with ‘Third Cub’ Scarlet Flame Dragon!】
At the same time, a【Contract】menu icon appeared in the bottom right corner of the main screen.
Ning Chu opened it with three options:【Battle Settings】【Daily Settings】【Dragon Language Translation: Disabled】
Ning Chu turned on the translation by switching it to【Enabled】.
He looked at Third Cub who was crouching on his knee, “San San?”
Third Cub gave an “awoo”, with a slight upturn of his tail.
The sound was no different than before to Ning Chu’s ears, but he understood what Third Cub was saying, as if it was asking, ‘What’s wrong?’
Ning Chu was very excited and picked up Third Cub, “The other cubs! And Cubbie…”
There were only five known magic dragons, and Ning Chu couldn’t find out anything about Cubbie, which was always on his mind.
Third Cub tilted his head and whispered, “Awou.”
Little Thunder should be on Dragon Island, but he didn’t know anything about the other dragons, as for Cubbie…
Wuuth didn’t tell him where he had gone, and he didn’t know exactly where Wuuth was now or when he would be back.
The translation didn’t fully convey Third Cub’s meaning, and Ning Chu only got a vague “I don’t know”.
He said with disappointment, “Mn…”
Ning Chu opened the menu and studied it.
【Daily Settings】was mainly to check the various statuses of the contracted object, more detailed than the data card, it showed the precise data of statuses such as hunger and mood, the best status being 100.
【Combat settings】was something Ning Chu couldn’t understand. What magic element value, power value, durability value, sensitivity value…? Each item could be adjusted at will with a maximum value of 100.
Ning Chu, with the idea of trying, pulled the overall value of the top item to 20.
Ning Chu and Third Cub stared at each other, when Ning Chu finally said, “Let’s go back to bed.”
He had been on Dragon Island at night and had played with Fourth Cub for a while, but now he was studying the game in the middle of the night and was so sleepy that he began to yawn one after another.
Third Cub flew up to his shoulder and squatted down, tilting his head and rubbing his side with his dragon horns.
Ning Chu got up to open the door, but he found that the lock was stuck.
Their dormitory bathroom door had long been broken, and it would often get stuck this way, and because neither of them had any extra money on them, they hadn’t been able to get someone to change the lock.
So Ning Chu gripped the handle tightly, while the side of his shoulder was propped against the door, and intended to knock the stuck lock open. With one push, he heard a loud crack.
The wooden door of the bathroom fell to the ground with a bang, and Ning Chu was dumbfounded as he squeezed the dislodged handle in his hand.
He heard Third Cub scream in amazement and excitement as the Dragon translation was still open.
The loud noise woke up the sleeping Bowen, who stumbled over, putting on his glasses as he did so, “What the hell… Hugh?”
His eyes shift between the door on the floor and Ning Chu’s face, shocked and confused.
Third Cub hid behind Ning Chu, his paws gently hooked in his clothes, and from Bowen’s perspective, he couldn’t see anything.
With the door handle still in Ning Chu’s hand, he said stiffly, “What’s going on with the door? I was locked in again, and I gave it a little push…”
Bowen’s expression was incomprehensible, this situation didn’t look like it was caused by a “gentle push”.
But Ning Chu couldn’t lift his hands and shoulders, and he couldn’t even use his magic in the last practice session. To say that he suddenly increased his strength and broke the door, Bowen also didn’t believe it. “You… It’s late, let’s talk about it tomorrow.”
Ning Chu was too busy to respond, and together with him, he lifted the door from the floor and put it aside.
Bowen went back to sleep, Ning Chu was one step behind him, as he opened the【Combat Settings】and hurriedly pulled all the values to 0. He lay down on the bed with a sigh of relief, his heart still not fully recovered.
Third Cub was lying silently on the side of Ning Chu’s neck, his round eyes looking at him in the darkness.
Ning Chu probably guessed from the moment he was caught off guard that the values that could be adjusted at will should be the power he could get from Third Cub’s transformation.
The magic element value and strength value was as the name implied, the agility value was speed, and the durability value was probably… Stamina or something like that? A more specific meaning would need to be experimented with before it could be determined.
20 was so powerful, if it was at 100… Ning Chu didn’t dare to imagine, and his heart was vaguely excited.
It wasn’t that Ning Chu didn’t care that he was too weak before, but the fact that his only source of income had been burned to the ground made him even more anxious. At the same time, he also found that the contract made through the game wasn’t the same as the one that existed in this world.
Ning Chu had never experienced what a normal contract was like, but he had happened to look through books on the subject, and the contracted beast only assisted in the battle, so the master couldn’t utilize the abilities and powers of his contracted beast.
There was also the ability to take the contracted beast into the mental power space and communicate with it directly in the mind, but these two abilities weren’t in the contract service. But Ning Chu didn’t dwell on this, he only cared about one thing; whether he could go to the arena.
Ning Chu opened the game again and pulled the magic element value to 2. He raised one hand, and with a mere thought, a flame burst out of his palm. Ning Chu sucked in a breath and hurriedly extinguished the fire. However, he remembered one more problem.
This body was a wood-water double innate skill, he… How could he use fire magic in a reasonable way?
The next day, Ning Chu came to Crow Market early. He came alone, and Third Cub was left in the dormitory to guard the incubating Fifth Cub. It was the time when most of the students were in class and the arena was almost empty. Ning Chu went to the inner room in the back and found a middle-aged man who looked like a staff member.
After listening to Ning Chu, the middle-aged man asked, “So you want to participate in the arena, but you don’t want people to know who you are?”
Ning Chu nodded in response, “Yes.”
The middle-aged man looked him up and down, “Yes, that’s possible, but why do you want to do that?”
Students who come to participate in the arena do so for the glory of winning and ranking in the standings, to get themselves noticed and admired by the crowd, but Ning Chu didn’t want to reveal his name.
Ning Chu simply said, “I have my own reasons… And I want the arena to keep my identity a secret as well.”
He seemed to have only one concern, and was so confident that he could win the sparring match that the middle-aged man was immediately interested in this first-year student. He said readily, “Okay, I promise.”
The middle-aged man, Donald, one of the arena’s directors, ordered a new outfit and a mask for Ning Chu. He noticed Ning Chu’s special pupil color, and the mask he prepared for him was equipped with inky lenses, so that nothing could be seen from other people’s viewpoints, but it wouldn’t affect Ning Chu’s vision.
Ning Chu thanked Donald and registered with him.
When asked for his alias, Ning Chu thought about it and wrote down the word “Ning” with a pen.
There were several small training rooms in the arena for the students to use, but they were empty at the moment, so Ning Chu went to one at random. He wanted to check whether his guess from last night was right or not.
There were sandbags and iron stakes in the training room, so Ning Chu opened them and adjusted all the values to different levels, and then tested them one by one.
As expected, the magic element value represents the use of fire magic, the strength value was the physical attack power, the durability value was the stamina, and the sensitivity value was related to the five senses in addition to speed.
Ning Chu wasn’t sure what the strength of the students on the scoreboard was, so he temporarily adjusted the magic element value and strength value to 30, while the durability value and sensitivity value were directly pulled to full.
After getting everything ready, Ning Chu went to the bottom of the leaderboard and picked his opponent. There were 80 students on the list, and Wuuth was in first place, with a huge lead over the second place.
It wasn’t appropriate to choose a high level of difficulty right away, so Ning Chu finally chose the fiftieth ranked person, someone named Goran.
After choosing a good player, the arena would help Ning Chu inform the other party that the match was scheduled at 7 PM.
Since Ning Chu was a newcomer and he challenged a high ranking, if he won the match, he would not only get 300 gold coins, but would also directly take away the opponent’s points and squeeze into the top 50 in the standings.
Ning Chu made a decision before he knew there was this rule, and vaguely sensed something was wrong, “Robbing points?”
Donald smirked, “Yes, I thought you knew? Don’t worry, people do things like that all the time.”
Ning Chu had already signed off on it and couldn’t make any changes now, so he had to say, “Okay.”
It was still a long time before 7 PM and before Ning Chu left, Donald reminded him, “Remember to bet on yourself.”
The students could hardly hide anything from each other, and soon word spread that a newcomer was going to cross the line today and grab the fiftieth place points, and after dinner Bowen asked Ning Chu, “There’s a lot of action in the arena today, do you want to come along?”
Ning Chu made up a random excuse, “You can go.”
At the same time, he took out a purple gold coin and handed it to Bowen, “Just place a bet for me.”
“Who to bet on to win?” Bowen asked, “Goran?”
Ning Chu curled his lips, “Bet on the newcomer.”
It was almost 7 o’clock, and Ning Chu was nervous.
Bowen had gone out and he was alone in the dormitory. He squeezed Third Cub’s dragon horn, “San San, what if I lose?”
Third Cub gave him an “awou” to cheer him on, meaning that he couldn’t lose.
Ning Chu sighed, before crossing over, he had only studied taekwondo for half a month, and then stopped going because his body couldn’t take it.
The students here were all good fighters, and he wasn’t sure how many times better they were than himself.
Ning Chu thought it over, and raised his strength value by a few points.
When it was almost time, he told Third Cub to stay in the dorm and went to the Crow Market arena. Ning Chu entered quietly from the backstage, changed into a gray suit and put on his mask.
Donald came to him, “Are you ready?”
Ning Chu nodded and followed Donald into the arena.
The stage was already full and it was just as lively as the last time Ning Chu was here, except this time he wasn’t in the audience. As soon as he appeared with his mask on, the noisy crowd around him quieted down for a moment, and then got noisy again.
“Is this the newcomer? How come he’s covering his face?”
“Is it because he’s afraid of losing and embarrassing himself?” Someone said with a smile, “Or he’s too ugly to face others.”
“Goran will win! Goran will win!”
Ning Chu steadied his mind and looked across the stage. Goran was wearing the blue uniform representing the second years, and raised his hand to summon a tiger with horns on its forehead. For a moment the atmosphere on the field became more heated and the crowd turned their attention back to Ning Chu.
However, Ning Chu didn’t do anything, he didn’t even have a contracted beast.
“I was hoping I could win money today! I should have bet on Goran!”
There were boos outside the arena, as if they had already seen the end of Ning Chu. The two approached to shake hands and bow to each other. Goran’s eyes were contemptuous, he only thought that Ning Chu was too ignorant to challenge him. He saw Ning Chu’s outstretched hand was white and thin, and lowered his voice, “Don’t cry later.”
Ning Chu didn’t bother to pay attention to him, and his eyes under the mask carefully watched Goran’s contracted beast.
Both sides took a few steps back, the bell representing the start of the battle rang, Golan stood still, waving his hand for the contracted beast to attack. He was too confident, so confident that he thought he could defeat Ning Chu with his contracted beast alone.
The tiger lunged at Ning Chu, which was so large that it was almost as tall as Ning Chu’s shoulders. Ning Chu’s sensitivity was turned up to maximum, and in his eyes, the tiger’s running movements continued to slow down, and Ning Chu could even make out the distinctive hair on the edge of its sharp claws. When it got close, Ning Chu grabbed one of its front paws and did an over-the-shoulder slam.
The spotted tiger hit the ground hard, and the arena instantly went silent.
Goran’s face was blue, as he commanded the tiger to break free and continue the attack, while pulling out his magic staff. He mumbled an incantation and countless green vines sprang from the ground, twisting into several strands and attacking Ning Chu together.
However, before the vines touched Ning Chu, his body lit up with red light, flame instantly burned the vines into ash.
Goran was shocked, he had never seen such a dominant fire magic before. He tried to recall someone like this ‘Ning’ in the Academy, but in a moment of inattention, Ning Chu had dodged and stood in front of him, extending his white hand towards him.
With a bang, Goran was thrown to the ground by Ning Chu as he had just done to his tiger, covering his heart and saying, “I admit defeat!”
Ning Chu paused in his movements, seemingly surprised, then nodded at him and turned around and left the arena.
The crowd behind him had already exploded. They originally thought that Ning Chu would definitely lose, but who knew that he would win… The crowd behind him had exploded.
Three days later, Wuuth finally returned to the Academy with his teacher. As soon as he returned, he learned two pieces of news. The Scarlet Flame Dragon had burned Enigma Forest to the ground and there was a very powerful newcomer in the arena who was going to compete with him for the top spot in the rankings. The newcomer’s name was “Ning”.