Ashton ducked and evaded two bolts of arrow coming his way. Using the momentum of his previous action, he turned around and swiftly scanned where were the people who shot him was.
One was hiding on top of a tree while one was standing inside the bushes.
Ashton"s palm glowed with a blue radiance as he condensed a Mana Arrow and shot it to the one hiding on top of the tree.
'Tch.' Ashton clicked his tongue and once again ducked to avoid another arrow coming his way, the performed a combat roll and hid behind a tree for a brief moment of respite.
He took a deep breath and focused. He sensed their movements, he can hear movements on his right and it's somewhat above him and he's also hearing a movement closing in on his left, this one was close to the ground.
'They're trying to restrict my movements.' He concluded.
Ashton immediately responded by supply mana to his palms and raising it in front of him. A thin layer rectangular-shaped shield appeared before him. This is Mana Shield, with this he can at least defend against the next projectiles they'll aim at him.
As expected, a few breaths later, two more arrows came from his right and right. Ashton decided to move the barrier behind him and faced his left side.
He performed another combat roll to avoid the arrow shot close to him while the arrow behind him was blocked by the Mana Shield. Before performing the roll, Ashton's palms were already condensing a Mana Arrow which he immediately shot at the person on the ground level.
'Got him...' He murmured inwardly. The sound of the Mana Arrow piercing through that person was unmistakable. The dead guy suddenly vanished into a shimmering blue light as Ashton faced his last foe.
Alas, it seems that the last guy was smart. He used the time when Ashton was occupied to find another hiding spot. Ashton couldn't tell where he is.
'Dude's probably going to wait until my Mana Shield's duration runs out.' He concluded, 'How I find him then?'
As Ashton thought about this, he didn't stop moving. He walked slowly and close to the ground, trying to make as little noise as possible.
He focused on his senses to and tried to track the last enemy down. He paid attention to the sounds, the scent and search for tracks that were left to follow.
Out of nowhere, alarm bells on his head went off. He sharply turned around in reflex and place his guard-up only to receive a solid blow on his body. It didn't hurt a lot but Ashton nearly fell from impact, thankfully he caught himself and prepared for a beat down.
'You should've kept your distance my guy.' Ashton jeered inwardly as he rushed his enemy down.
With fists and feet glowing blue, Ashton engaged in close quarters combat with the last guy alive.
Using the techniques he learned from the Military Combat Tactics, he employed the Virtue of the Python.
He intercepted his opponent's fist and swiftly rotated it behind him as he himself used the momentum of the strike to wrap his legs around his enemy's body to lock it in place. With a sharp tug, Ashton heard the sound of joints disconnecting and the painful cry of his enemy.
But, Ashton wasn't done. He didn't let go of the limp arm, instead he uncoiled is and gave it a strong tug to drag his enemy's body close to him as he met it with his knee.
The blow caused the man to buckle down, Ashton then raised his leg and wrapped around the neck of the guy, then the used his upper body strength to slam the guy's head onto the ground. And with his final move, Ashton got up and used his hand to twist the guy's neck, effectively killing him.
He then stood up and said: "You really should've kept your distance. Had you done that, you'd be safer from me."
The guy disappeared into shimmering wisps of blue light. Ashton took a deep breath and calmed himself down.
Moments later, his surroundings warped and reverted into the usual appearance of the Training Room.
Yes, Ashton was fighting against dummies in the Training Room. He figured that it's about time for him to learn how to defend himself and get used to combat.
As someone who rarely engaged in conflicts in previous life, Ashton didn't really have a sense of battle. He wasn't a Martial Artist or something, he read about them, sure but that's not the same.
This part of training is usually reserved on his afternoon training session. Since he no longer has to study for now, his schedule is more or less free so he's spending his time wisely.
However, for today he included it in his morning routine since he'll be occupied later.
Today's the day that he'll be interviewed for the scholarship. He'd have a lot to think about so he freed up his afternoon.
Ashton glanced at the clock and saw that it's already 8:15am.
'Alright, this should do for today. I have a visitor coming. Gotta look presentable at least.'
Thinking about this, Ashton left the training room and as usual Jerry was waiting for him outside. Jerry told him that his bath is ready and asked him what to prepare for breakfast.
After choosing the menu, Ashton went to his room and took a bath. He changed into a new set of clothes, the newer ones he bought which looked good on him. After that, he went down to eat breakfast and waited until the visitor arrives.
Around 9:30am, Ashton heard his doorbell ringing.
He got up from the couch and looked at himself in front of a mirror to make sure he looks presentable at least. When he's satisfied, he went to the door and opened it to see a woman standing there in a business attire.
"Hello, my name is Angelica Kendrick. I'm from Mystic Academy's HR Department. Are you Mr. West?"
"Yes, I am Ashton West. Please, come in."
Ashton gestured for the woman to enter, which she didn't hesitate to do so.
Angelica looked like someone on her mid-twenties. She wore glasses had fair skin and she has this noticeable mole on the corner of he lip. She was elegant and sounded very kind. Like she's someone who's easy to talk to.
Ashton lead her to the receiving area which was sparkling clean thanks to Jerry's efforts.
"Would like some beverage?" Ashton offered.
To which Angelica shook her head and said: "Thank you but that's not necessary."
"Alright." Ashton didn't insist. He sat down in front of her and then she began talking...
"I'd assume that you've already read the e-mail we sent to you yesterday, no?" Ashton nodded to confirm that. "Good, that makes things easier for us."
"Once again, I'm Angelica Kendrick. I'll be the one who will arrange your Scholarship details and I would very much appreciate it if by the end of this, I can help you find the best offer you can have."
"I also have your student credentials with me but we'll leave that for later. Right now, let's begin by reviewing how the Scholarship works."
Ashton nodded and Angelica continued:
"Scholarships is a form of investment through one way or another." She stated, "Agencies and the Academy itself are willing to support the growth any talented students that we see."
"The support we offer comes in many forms; financial support, resources, certain privileges, personal coaching, etc. Depending on the agency you choose, the support you'll receive may vary so choose wisely."
"But of course, we're not doing this for nothing." She said after a brief pause, "In exchange of our support, it should be understandable that we will expect something from you."
"For the Academy's side, we're going to give you a set of Academic Requirements and Behavioral Expectations. So long as you perform according to the bars we set, you'll be good. You'll see the requirements later when I start showing you the contracts."
"For the Agencies, their requirements will vary. Not all agencies will expect the same thing out of you. I'd advice you to read through them carefully weigh down your options."
"Because once you signed-up the contracts, you'll be bound to them. What's going to happen afterwards is something that you'll deal with yourself. Again, do choose wisely."
"I'll give you the rest of the day to ponder about your options. Just submit the signed contract to our e-mail and you'll be given the printed copy of it delivered to your address along with the first batch of supplies agreed upon according to the contract."
"In the event that the offers you receive aren't up to your liking, you may also refuse the Scholarship altogether. Don't worry, you won't be in trouble for rejecting the offers, it is an option open for you as well so we'll understand. Of course, if you refuse to sign any contracts, then you wouldn't get the additional support at all."
"Alright, I've said all that I have to say. Now, I'll show you the offers your receive..."
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