༺ Eyes of a Dragon and the Human Heart (16) ༻
Suddenly, the world fell silent.
A severed arm rolled across the ground, the continuous flow of blood showing no indication of stopping. The female student trembled, clasping the severed area with her remaining hand.
Blood seeped through her fingers, her eyes bloodshot as she wrestled to endure the agony.
Until they tormented Emma, the other female students were quite bold. It didn’t take long for their faces to pale with fear.
Sometimes, a single action spoke louder than a hundred words.
When the blood started to gush like a fountain, emitting a warm, metallic stench, even the female students had to admit internally.
Ian Percus was a lunatic.
He was not a commoner, but a noble. Yet, for just slapping a commoner, he had swiftly severed an arm.
This was not something a sane person would do.
Provoking a noble extended beyond the confines of the academy. Often, it could escalate into conflicts between entire families.
Especially considering the female students were only harassing a mere commoner girl.
A daughter of a rural herbalist, had she not been admitted to the academy, these nobles would have been completely indifferent to her life or death.
They couldn’t fathom Ian’s logic in reacting so violently just because they bullied a commoner.
But then, they remembered a few facts they had forgotten.
Firstly, Ian Percus had already offended the princess. So, he likely had no qualms about further conflicts with other noble families.
After all, the downfall of the Percus family was almost certain the moment he dared to touch a member of the Imperial Family.
Secondly, Emma was someone Ian Percus had revived at the expense of over 10,000 gold. Asserting ownership over her wasn’t strange.
However, there were still a few things the female students couldn’t quite understand.
Regardless of Ian’s feelings for Emma, she was still a commoner. Severing an arm just because a noble retaliated against a commoner was unheard of.
Usually, such matters were resolved through discussion.
Additionally, they’d heard that Ian feared expulsion.
He had even personally requested the princess to prevent his expulsion. This was information currently being conveyed by reliable sources.
The female students had no reason to doubt this information.
Even if he had offended the Imperial Family, having an academy diploma would secure his livelihood in the Holy Church or the Ten Kingdoms, even if his family were to fall.
After all, dousing an Imperial Family member with water wasn’t sufficient for expulsion. They believed Ian had restrained his provocation of the princess for this reason.
Yet, the reality before them surpassed all those judgments.
There was not a hint of hesitation in his actions.
One of their classmates’ arms lay pathetically rolling on the ground, a likely preview of the others’ fate.
A clear terror seized the female students’ minds.
Ian Percus advanced steadily toward them. At a pace neither too slow nor too fast, further draining the colour from their faces.
The notion of resisting didn’t even dare to cross their minds.
He was a monster who had hunted a named beast, defeated a demonic human, and overpowered four of the princess’s knights. While they were merely average academy students, undoubtedly no match for him.
So, as they always had, they resorted to another sort of tactic.
One of the female students cried out in desperation.
Ian’s steps came to an abrupt halt.
However, his golden eyes remained devoid of emotion as they focused on the girl. It appeared he was merely willing to hear her out one last time.
She sensed it. This was their final chance.
If they couldn’t persuade Ian now, a bloodbath was inevitable. But was it truly justified, all this just for slapping a commoner girl?
She was on the verge of tears, overcome by a sense of injustice and rage.
In their eyes, there existed a colossal gap between them, born and bred as nobles, and that commoner girl; it was truly a gap as vast as heaven and earth. Severing a commoner’s arm for daring to touch them was one thing, but the reverse was utterly inconceivable.
Their value was simply different.
Even having to justify themselves for such a trivial matter felt like an unbearable humiliation.
The female student, prepared to enlighten this barbarian in noble’s clothing, burst into fervent speech.
“Are you, are you insane? We are nobles! And that, that girl is a commoner! No matter how much you favour a commoner, if you are a noble, you should at least have the sense to discern…”
But her words were abruptly cut short.
A gleam of silver sliced through the air.
It was impossible to tell when he had moved. She believed he had only taken a couple of steps, but suddenly there was a gash on the female student’s shoulder.
Wide-eyed, the girl stared down at her shoulder in disbelief.
Blood seeped through the precise incision. This was only the beginning.
With a swoosh, blood burst forth again, drenching the ground.
Delayed pain engulfed the female student’s mind. A piercing scream echoed through the air.
The female student couldn’t even contemplate collapsing. She just stared in disbelief at the space where her arm used to be.
Ian had no intention of waiting for her to recover.
Thwack, his foot almost immediately collided with the abdomen of another girl.
It was an unrelenting kick, the impact embedding itself with a dark trail, delivering a silent shockwave. The girl’s body bent as if being crumpled from the force of the kick.
Her body tumbled across the ground, unable to absorb all the shock, bouncing several times.
Blood, streaming from her arm, painted a trail in the air. The one-armed female student’s body left a bloody smear as it rolled on the ground.
The girl who took the hit to the abdomen gasped and choked, struggling to breathe. She seemed to want to clutch her chest, but with only one arm remaining, she seemed somewhat short-handed.
The remaining trio of girls, faces paler than death itself, had their frozen gazes fixed on Ian.
He spoke in a voice devoid of any emotion.
Only then did the trembling eyes of the three lock onto each other.
They were up against a madman who couldn’t be reasoned with. Trying to persuade him with common sense was out of the question.
Then, only one option remained.
They had to overpower him by force. Once they understood this, the female students quickly nodded in agreement.
Two of them stomped their feet on the ground.
The third, seemingly a mage, began to mutter something that sounded like an incantation.
Ian continued advancing, as if he had a single task to accomplish, regardless of whether they charged at him or not.
And the moment he and one of the female students crossed paths.
With a harsh slicing sound, his ruthless upward strike severed the arm of the female student trying to bring down her sword on him. Before the blood could even spurt, Ian used the recoil to spin in the opposite direction.
Shock flashed in the eyes of the second approaching female student.
It was because the man had closed in on her too quickly. However, this left Ian with his back turned, and the female student thought she had an opportunity.
That was until the man’s elbow crushed her abdomen.
Smack, it resonated like thunder crashing inside the girl’s head.
The sudden pain caused her muscles to spasm uncontrollably. Her rigid body couldn’t properly follow her brain’s commands.
That momentary gap was enough.
Ian’s body rotated back to the front, and his sword pierced through the girl’s abdomen.
Blood welled up and leaked through her lips. The man pushed forward relentlessly. The impaled body of the girl served as a shield before his charging form.
Confusion swirled in the eyes of the mage at his response that was beyond her imagination.
Her lack of real-world combat experience became evident. The consequence was immediate.
Blood splattered. The mage, still a few steps away from Ian, stood dumbstruck.
It was a hatchet. The hatchet, embedded in the ground, had seemingly descended on the mage’s shoulder by itself.
In the face of this inconceivable scene, the mage couldn’t even scream.
Ian didn’t miss the opportunity.
“What is th-, Ahhhhhhhhhhh!”
His sword severed the mage’s thigh.
The mage instantly lost her balance. Her body, now leaning precariously, would never stand upright again.
With a heavy splat, her body collapsed onto the blood-soaked ground.
Beside her, another female student, now free from the sword that had pierced her abdomen, fell in a heap.
It only took a few seconds, and all that remained were pools of blood, screams, and limbs still twitching, not yet realising they had been severed from the body.
“My, my arm… my armmmmm!”
“Ughh, ah… arghhh!”
“M-My leg is gone… it, it hurts…”
Ian strode forward and pulled out the hatchet embedded in the shoulder of the mage.
A delayed spray of blood turned the ground a dark red. The girl convulsed from the sudden pain, but Ian was indifferent.
Yet, there was still one female student who had not given up.
“Revenge, ugh..I will have my revenge…”
Ian’s golden eyes briefly glanced behind him.
There, the first girl whose arm had been severed, now sitting collapsed on the spot, forced a twisted smile.
Her blue eyes, oozing with hatred and resentment, fixated on Ian.
“I, I’ll… have you expelled, you hear me? I’ll make sure your life is over… do, do you hear me?!”
He remained silent for a moment.
It was only after a while that he resumed moving, advancing steadily towards the girl.
The noble girl still wore her smile, her eyes simmering with intense vengeance. Yet, the pain appeared unbearable, as her forcibly curled lips trembled.
Ian, stroking his chin, realised he had seen her somewhere before.
“…Young Lady of the Lupesia County.”
Golden hair, blue eyes.
She had the look of a typical snobbish noblewoman.
Realising that she had been recognized, she seemed exhilarated, grinding her teeth.
“How dare a mere nobody like you touch me? You don’t want to be expelled, right? Ahaha… I’ll make sure you are! I’ll call the disciplinary committee, use all my connections and power…”
However, her words were abruptly cut off.
Her eyes dulled once again. A familiar sensation crept up.
Time slowed, sounds became distant, but the discomfort in her shoulder was clear.
Fear flooded her blue eyes.
There was no need to look. The fresh spurt of blood was evidence enough of what had occurred.
Her remaining arm had been severed too.
The sensation, like her spine being pierced by a red-hot skewer, was so surreal that she was unable to react for a while.
Her voice reacted before her body could.
“Heugh, ah… kkyaaaaaaaak!”
She hastily attempted to staunch the bleeding from the severed area, but she had no arms left.
Fear filled her blue eyes. Desperately, she tried to scoot away from the man.
Away from those indifferent golden eyes.
However, her attempt was swiftly thwarted.
A chilling slicing sound echoed.
It was her thigh now. A dying scream escaped her as her right leg was severed.
“Aaah, ah… aaaahhhhh! Uh, uh…”
Hyperventilating, she felt a genuine threat to her life. Her mind went blank, incapable of any thought.
She had provoked the wrong person.
This clear realisation dominated her thoughts as her trembling eyes looked up at Ian.
His golden eyes were disturbingly emotionless.
And he simply uttered in a cold voice.
“…Do whatever you wish.”
At that flat response, tears welled up in her eyes.
She had truly provoked the wrong person.
For the first time in her life, she felt a profound regret.
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