“Sword Swan is a swan with two sharp swords hidden under its wings. It is said that a Sword Swan can send its swords flying back and forth to slash off everything to pieces in ordinary hunting grounds except for Stone Turtles, which have the hardest shells on Goldearth. As the old saying goes, don’t trouble a Sword Swan until a Sword Swan troubles you, so Kevin must be wild crazy to invite trouble.”
His head tilted up high, Kevin looked proud and seemingly did not care about the praises from others. Instead, he cast a dirty look at Tolly, with glimmers of contempt in his eyes.
“Sally Addison, as an ordinary alchemist of the sixth rank, caught a top-grade Axe Arm Mantis.” The master alchemist Ms. Harmsworth said in a loud voice.
When the result was reported, everyone widened their eyes in disbelief.
“W-w-what? She’s caught an Axe Arm Mantis? It’s unbelievable! You know, Axe Arm Mantises are also known as the Mantises of Death. It is much more powerful than a Sword Swan when it comes to its killing power. It can chop off almost everything in an instant with its stout spiny forelegs because they are just like sharp axes.”
“Sally was just at rank five last month, but now she is at rank six, how did she make it in such a short time? She’s not only Venus standing on a half shell, but a prodigy as well!” someone said jealously.
The crowd all turned their heads in her direction and cast admiring looks at her, gaping in disbelief. Among the crowd, a handsome boy with brunette hair had his long fingers crossed before his heaving chest, blinking his eyes, and murmured,
“Wow, Sally is so beautiful and so intelligent! She is surely going places. She is a sure-fire success. No doubt that she will become a master alchemist in the near future. She deserves to be the best school babe. And as the most handsome boy in our school, how nice if I can be his boyfriend! If I do get her as my girlfriend, I’m sure my life won’t be a waste in this world.”
“What are you talking about? Look at your snub nose, Jerry! How can you be the most handsome boy in our school? You know, It’s I that am the school hunk! I might be her best choice! Your dream of having her as your girlfriend is just a pie in the sky. You are aiming at the moon. I can’t believe that you a little ugly toad want to have a bite of a snow-white swan.”
“You are also daydreaming, Frank! If I were you, I’d be satisfied if I could become her best friend. You guys don’t even have a chance to get close to her. What a shame! To tell you the truth, I sort of envy that useless guy who was dragged off the aircraft by Fushi just now for having a chance to get close to her almost every day. If possible, I’d rather be her private assistant than a student here. Then I can be by her side every day.”
Jerry and Frank all agreed on the point about the useless guy Tom had just mentioned. They cast a contemptuous look at Tolly unanimously.
Because of Tolly, Sally received some negative remarks. A boy with small freckles all over his face said sarcastically,
“There’s nothing wrong with the fact that Sally is a prodigy, but hanging out with that crap all makes her a prodigy with a tragedy. What a shame!”
Hearing that, they burst into a fit of raucous laughter.
Everyone knew that ‘tragedy’ in his words actually referred to Tolly. Aggravated, one of the boy fans of Sally’s tried to defend her. He retorted furiously,
“It’s not Sally’s fault but Tolly’s. Without that waste of space, Sally would have done better. A few days ago, Sally gave up her Yellow Energy Pills to Tolly. Maybe you guys don’t believe it, but I can swear it was true—I saw it myself. “
As the sibilant murmuring briefly pervaded the sword-like aircraft, Tolly gave a solemn look at the girl beside him—Sally.
‘Well, I’m sure I have been transmigrated to this new world!’ Tolly thought to himself, ‘It’s unbelievable! But It’s lucky for me to have such a beautiful girl to keep me company!’
He took a deep breath and then squeezed his eyes shut. His mind began to churn itself faster and faster. In a heartbeat, countless memories came flooding into his mind.
His parents died when he was five, leaving him in this cruel world alone as an orphan. Since then, he had been growing up in a large impersonal orphanage. He had always been sad and lonely and disliked talking to others until Sally became his best friend.
Two years before, they had decided to leave the boring orphanage and began a new life by building a small hut of their own. Although Sally and Tolly were not biological siblings, they had been dependent on each other as if they were a family since then. As Sally was one year older, she was simply like an elder sister to Tolly, looking after him in all aspects.
Tolly took another deep breath, finding it so absorbing to reincarnate into this new world. Everything seemed strange yet interesting to him.
As he immersed himself in his thinking, the master alchemist Ms. Harmsworth suddenly turned to Tolly and gave him a cold harrumph, saying,
‘Tolly McCoy, as an ordinary alchemist of the first rank, caught nothing at all. He was the only person dragged off to the ground by a Fushi, so he failed the test. If he can’t pass the next upcoming test in a fortnight, he will be expelled out of the school straight away.”
What Ms. Harmsworth had said about Tolly provoked a boisterous burst of laughter in the crowd. It seemed like they were taking him as a funny clown.
Finally, a boy with tawny glasses on his snub nose could not bear him. After pushing his glasses back up onto the short ridge of his nose with his middle finger, he began to make harsh remarks about Tolly.
“You are a big joke, Tolly! Please stop taking Sally’s Yellow Energy Pills. You’re delaying her cultivation. Don’t be such a drag on her! You can’t keep mooching off our school Belle all the time! Try to be a true boy, not a she-boy!”
Then the boy despised Tolly by giving him a thumbs-down.
“Ha-ha…” The other boys laughed uncontrollably right after.
That was so outrageous that Sally clenched her fists tightly until her knuckles turned white. Although as pretty as a red rose in the summer garden, she soon turned herself into an iceberg of over 14 winters. She was enraged and about to argue, but Tolly stopped her.
Memories of his past, like a puzzle, had been pieced together. It was a little bit not himself if he continued to keep silent and play dumb here. Although the world of his new rebirth was quite magical and unfamiliar to him at the moment, he inherited some portion of his characters in his previous life.
He had always been a tough guy who fought for his life in dangerous deep gold mines. He had met violent robbers and fought ferocious animals. As a man of the world, what else had he not seen before in his last life?
He held his breath for a while and exhaled deeply. After that, he curved up his lips into a sneer.
“Damn it! Did I take YOUR pills? You know I didn’t, just shut your piehole.” he spat back, “Besides, Sally simply likes to be mooched off by ME. It’s none of your business. Being a lady moocher is a natural ability that you can never learn, I guess you’re jealous of me. Get lost and eat your heart out if you are!”
A sudden silence reigned among them. Everyone widened their eyes, gaping.
Sally was also shocked to her bones, giving Tolly a startled look. Ever since she met him, Tolly had always been extremely introverted. He had rarely talked, one could say, dumb as an oyster, not to mention to shoot any four-letter words.
Putting on a terrifying and threatening expression on his face, the boy swallowed a small mouthful of saliva and then pushed his glasses into place with his middle finger again. He was so annoyed that he was dying to lunge at him and slap him in the face.
At that moment, Kevin suddenly said with a sinister smile, ‘Hey, Tolly! You’re nothing but a smart mouth. In a fortnight’s time, you’ll probably be expelled from the school. As an ordinary alchemist of the first rank, you can’t even hand a candle to us now, so what’s your point of being so proud and arrogant? Put up or shut up!”
Creasing his eyebrows, Tolly roamed over him from head to toe. Then he said with a mocking smile,
“Well, you are Kevin, right? Let me teach you something. Being a smart mouth is also a great ability, a gift, or even sometimes a weapon, you know? In my humble opinion, you are nothing but all brawn and no brain.”
Kevin felt a sting in his heart and his face immediately burned with anger. He raised his eyebrows and widened his eyes, ultimately letting out a strangulated squeak of outrage.
“Shut your piehole, or I’ll shut it for you!”
“I didn’t expect that you’d be so easily provoked. Needless to say, you are also narrow-minded. A good piece of advice: be careful not to be pissed off to death by me, thank you!”
With that, Tolly let out a fit of raucous laughter.
“You are cruising for bruising, you bloody Tolly!” Kevin roared.
“Try me first! If you dare to lay a finger on him, I’ll skin you alive!” Sally sneered, stepping forward.
“Do you think I won’t fight a girl?? But you’re totally wrong, Sally. I’ll let you pay your price for defending such a good-for-nothing!” Kevin replied, leaning his body a little forward.
It seemed like a fight would be inevitable.
“That’s enough!!!” Ms. Harmsworth thundered, “You take him back, Sally. There are only two weeks left before the next test. What’s the point of playing lip service here? Go back to cultivate, or you’ll all be punished.”
The crowd began to disperse and soon drifted away in twos and threes, who proceeded to board their respective sword-like aircraft on which they had ridden here. Not before long, the aircraft were all ready and they began their journey back to their settlements.
The planet they were living on, with only a few little oceans on its surface, was mainly covered with numerous lofty mountains and high ranges, where precious stones, minerals, exotic flowers, and rare herbs were secretly hidden. This explained why it was called Goldearth.
However, no one could explain why all human beings here lived on the top of the highest mountain—Mount Fanta. They were so accustomed to it that nobody had ever stopped to think of the question.
Perhaps one reason would be for their safety. After all, countless brutal beasts and ferocious animals were running amok. They ruled the ground and guarded those precious resources for refining pellets of cultivation, thus becoming deadly enemies of humanity.
Thus, all these people lived on the top of Mount Fanta, which caused some inconvenience. If they would like to take a trip somewhere for collecting herbs or something else, they would have to ride on a sword-like aircraft—Saircraft, the most common transport for all of them.
All human beings here had a great dream that they would become successful alchemists one day. It was said that a good alchemist could easily lift an a-thousand-pound boulder with just one hand and that he could then crash it into pieces with a small punch.
Anyhow, as the old saying goes, a thousand miles journey begins with a small step. To be a great alchemist, one had to begin with being an ordinary one, learn to hunt Fushi or other animals to eat them as food, and collect some basic resources from them for refining pills. In this way, they would rise up to the top of the world step by step.