On a cold, snowy night, a delicate figure with long scarlet hair was battling against a massive beast of monumental stature. It was unclear where the confrontation had started as smoke rose in the sky, and there was destruction wherever one looked.
The two opponents had somehow found themselves fighting above a large forest, once green and full of life but now masked by a sheet of white.
The beast was the epitome of cruelty, its eyes dark and hollow and its wings so large that they covered the sky in its entirety. It had claws and scales harder than any metal known in the region, which seemed to consume the light that came across them.
This was the king of all beasts: A true dragon.
The beast roared as it slashed at the delicate figure, who successfully dodged the attack by a hair's length. The individual who was either brave or ignorant enough to fight against the dragon was finally drawing weary after a whole day of battling.
Despite this, the figure dashed forward with a long sword, slashing several dozen times in the blink of an eye.
This move had served the dragon's foe well in the past, decimating many enemies before they had known what had happened. However, the attack barely damaged the dragon, lacking its usual accuracy.
It was as though the delicate figure was distracted today. Their gaze lingered towards the west every once in a while.
There was the smell of death, and a scene of carnage as hundreds of magical beasts contended for whatever scraps came falling several thousand meters below. These beasts would usually cower in fear and run as far away as possible from the two opponents in the sky.
However, today they hoped to be the battle's benefactors due to the high chance of injury or death for both sides in the encounter.
Among them, some beasts could have used their flight capabilities to claim the rewards first. But they did not dare, in fear of becoming unfortunate casualties of the conflict.
Before the delicate figure could relax, the dragon had already recovered and retaliated by blowing out unforgiving dragon fire, which had reached a temperature so high it was white.
The dragon's opponent could see through the beast's attack due to past experiences and was able to dodge skillfully before it connected. Taking advantage of the time it took for the dragon to react, the stranger struck again with a flurry of sword movements.
Meanwhile, as the dragon's cries resounded throughout the forest, by a river several kilometers west of the battle, a leaf fell and slowly landed on a casket floating down the river. Inside the casket lay a baby with short scarlet hair and grey eyes full of wonder.
Had the baby cried even once during the journey downriver, several beasts lurked in the shadows that were able to make a quick snack out of him.
Despite this, the baby remained silent as though he was incapable of speaking, or perhaps even at this young age, caution was a part of his nature.
Many hours later, on a river bank far away from the forest hosting the battle, an old man with grey hair, whose eyes seemed to have lost their light, was humming a tune while happily fishing. The old man had a long grey beard and wore clothing that were so ordinary and ragged that one could mistake him for a beggar.
"Oh, and what do we have here?" said the old man as he spotted a casket floating in the river. He cautiously walked over.
"A baby?" he picked up the baby and gave him a quick examination.
"Hahaha! What a fortunate baby to have met me" he fished the casket out of the river while holding the baby in one of his arms.
"What's this? A pendant?" the old man questioned as he noticed a pendant made of a dark alloy shaped like a sword in the baby's casket.
"House Silver," he read.
"I guess I should name you Silver then hoho! It's a good name, just like your eyes. Fear not, young Silver! For I will take you in as my apprentice. It's a cruel and unforgiving world out there, but I will teach you how to conquer it, hahaha!" said the old man as he stared at the baby's eyes.
"Eh? Does this baby even understand me? I'm talking to myself, right? Uhum," the old man blushed as he walked into the distance with the baby in his arms.
On a clear, sunny afternoon, an old man with long grey hair was sparing with a boy who was about eighteen years old near a waterfall. The boy was tall and handsome. When one looked into his grey eyes, they would think that he could see right through them. He had curly scarlet-colored hair, which swayed with the wind, covering his eyes at times.
"Here I come." said the boy as he dashed forward, feinting a left hook only to then kick up fiercely. However, his master was well experienced and slipped to the side as though he saw the move coming.
"You're going to have to do better than that, Silver," taunted the old man as he went in for a quick jab, hitting the boy in the face and knocking him to the ground.
The boy kicked his feet from beneath him, getting up in one fluid motion with determination in his eyes.
"Oh? You haven't had enough yet. I see" the old master smiled and took a battle stance.
[It seems I raised a demon,] he thought to himself.
[He can keep fighting for an entire week even with all those weights I made him wear around his body.]
"Again, master." Silver charged forward, this time going in for a sweeping kick. The old master jumped up in time, retaliating with a quick kick of his own to the boy's side.
Silver grunted at the pain and went for a left uppercut to his master's chin. The old man dodged effortlessly and gave him a jab that should have connected as a reply. Surprisingly, however, the boy managed to dodge and aimed a ferocious right hook at the old man's throat.
[He has killer instincts too,] the old man thought as he barely dodged in time.
"That's enough. You have now completed martial arts," he said while signaling the boy to stop.
"Finally!" shouted Silver as he jumped in excitement.
"Alright, alright, that's enough celebrating. How many skills does that make?".
"That is the three hundred and third skill you have taught me, Master."
"Hmm, not bad at all." the old man stroked his long grey beard as he contemplated. In reality, his thoughts contradicted his words. He was shocked at the perception level of the youth in front of him and his capability to learn skills so quickly.
[Did I teach him that many different skills? Eighteen years do fly by] he pondered.
[But even so, I doubt I could find a second baby who's able to learn that many skills in such a short while.]
"Master? What are you thinking about?" asked Silver.
"Hmm? Oh, nothing, it's just I have some bad news for you".
"Is it finally time for you to go, master?".
Silver was already aware that his master would be leaving to take care of some essential matters. However, having to depart with the only person in the world he regarded as family deeply upset him.
"Yes, unfortunately, it is," the old master replied.
"I have taught you all I could in the time we had."
"Master, will I see you again?" Silver looked down, unable to hide the sorrow on his face.
"Hahaha, what is that nonsense? Don't get all sentimental with me now?".
"It's just..." Silver started but couldn't find the words.
"Remember my lessons, boy. With strength, everything is possible. If you wish to see me again, you can find me in Star City".
"Where is that?"
"Somewhere far too dangerous for you right now."
"And what exactly am I supposed to do now? How am I supposed to find my parents without your help?" Silver was beginning to get worked up as the reality of his soon-to-be loneliness started to set in.
"You should first go to the Academy. You will learn what you wish to learn most and become strong there. As I have said before, only with strength will you be able to accomplish all your desires." the old man placed a hand on Silver's shoulder in hopes of calming him.
"Magic?" Silver looked up, his sadness replaced with anticipation.
"Yes. You are now at a stage where I believe you have the right basis and won't become reliant on it like all the other kids".
This statement almost made Silver forget the grief in his heart. For the longest time, he had always wondered why his master refused to teach him magic. When he was younger, he had asked the old man constantly, but he would always change the subject or tell him that he was not ready to learn magic yet.
However, as time passed and Silver grew older, he no longer asked his master to teach him as he had complete trust in the old man.
"How do I join the Academy?" He asked instead.
"The Academy recruits new students each year around this time; you can go into the nearby Blue City and partake in their trials to see if you qualify. Which, of course, you will".
"Thank you, master! I will make you proud" having now gained a clear path, Silver became determined to fulfill his master's expectations.
"Hahaha, I don't doubt it, kid. Remember to eat your vegetables so you can grow strong like me. And don't get into trouble".
"Of course, master."
"Good kid!" the old man rubbed Silver's scarlet hair.
"Master." said Silver as he looked into his master's eyes.
Silver seemed to be struggling with a thought as he was frowning slightly in thought. However, in mere seconds his expression changed to that of clarity.
"I'm going to make my name known across the whole blue-sky continent," he said without blinking.
The old man was slightly taken aback as it was not what he was expecting to hear. Nevertheless, it was as though he heard an undeniable fact, so his initial confused look turned into a wide, bright smile.
"Hahaha," he laughed while patting Silver on the back.
"Make sure they know it far and wide, my boy, from the east to the west, from the beggars to the kings, and most importantly, from the chickens to the dragons," the old master joked while sticking out his tongue and winking.
He knew, however, the real reason why this youngster wanted to become world-renowned. His name was the only thing he had from his parents. The boy thought that if he could make them aware of his existence, they would surely come and find him. This noble and almost naive reasoning would start the journey of a man whose name would become etched in time.
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