Since Sariel’s birth, “Evil Eye” had always been her exclusive weapon. She began to learn the ways of manipulating this transformable weapon when she was just a child.
The “Evil Eye” was a sphere, with metal layer wrapping around its inner nucleus. It looked like a piece of jade, gently shining with emerald luminance. As it sensed the power of its master, it would transform into different weapons according to Sariel’s mind. However, no matter how hard Sariel practiced, she could only alter its form between a sphere and a spear.
Mentor: Any progress today?
Sariel: Just a spear...
Mentor: Duel me. An actual combat is always the best practice. It can help you quickly harness the skills to control the “Evil Eye”.
To ignite Sariel’s potential power, the mentor deliberately launched attacks that Sariel could only dodge, gradually pushing her into a corner of the training grounds. As she finally passed the point of no escape, the mentor started to divert the attacks to Sariel. Sariel managed to protect herself by strenuously warding off the attacks with her spear.
However, the mentor’s attacks grew increasingly fierce. She concentrated her power at a single attack, forcing Sariel to alter the form of the weapon because of the danger.
Sariel’s spear was not enough to defend herself. It appeared that the mentor had no intention to stop. Sariel grew increasingly tense — she must transform the “Evil Eye” into a stronger weapon!
Just as the mentor had expected, the “Evil Eye” sensed a change in Sariel’s power and began to transform according to her mind. It radiated emerald luminance, transforming the spear into a broadsword —
Sariel wielded the broadsword to repel her mentor’s wave of attacks. The impact was so powerful that half of the training grounds was destroyed in a second!
Sariel lowered her hands, looking at the devastated training grounds in stupefaction. Luckily, all the people who had been practicing their combat skills had already left before sunset; otherwise, they would definitely have been severely injured by Sariel’s destructive attack.
Mentor: ... Sa… Sariel… Sariel!
As she heard her mentor calling her name, Sariel finally collected herself and realized that she had nearly killed her own mentor. Fortunately, her mentor had managed to swiftly dodge the attack.
The mentor had underestimated the power of the “Evil Eye”, and had also overestimated Sariel’s ability to manipulate it. Looking at Sariel’s panicked expression, the mentor comforted her with a gentle voice:
Mentor: Think about this in a positive way. You have just made progress and your weapon has a new form now.
Mentor: If you master the skills to control it, it will become a part of your power and help you through life’s many adversities.
Mentor: But, before you have absolute control of it, never use the “Evil Eye” in the form of a broadsword, understand?
Sariel nodded in response. The broadsword had already turned back into a sphere. Looking at the “Evil Eye” in her hands, a sense of unease started to grow within her heart...
A few months passed since Sariel transformed the “Evil Eye” into a broadsword. As she kept training with her mentor every day, Sariel’s fear of the “Evil Eye” abated, and she gradually learned to control the broadsword.
One day, Sariel went training as usual. On her way to the training grounds, she saw in an alley a few boys besieging something. As she looked closer, she saw an injured boy lying on the ground beside the wall. One of the boys who stood around him was beating and even kicking him!
Sariel: Hey! Stop! What are you doing?
The boys were startled by Sariel’s voice. They turned to face her and found that she was alone, standing at the entrance and staring at them. After the bullies scanned around to ensure there was no one else, they felt at ease and resumed their poor behavior.
Keeper Trainee: I thought it was our mentor… Don’t scare us!
Sariel: I was asking you, what are you doing?
Sariel glanced at the injured boy and asked sternly, while the leader of the bullies answered complacently, as if he was doing a great deed:
Keeper Trainee: We’re “teaching” him how to get along with people. This is none of your business. Get lost!
Sariel: If that is what “teaching” means, then maybe I need to “teach” you a lesson on how to treat your companions!
Sariel summoned the “Evil Eye” in the form of a spear to attack the boys.^ ^ A narrow alley is never the best place for long weapons and Sariel did not even know the capability of her opponents. Therefore, she used her first attack to set the pace of the battle, leaving the boys restricted to the narrow alley with no other choice but to fight back one by one.
Sariel blocked the only entrance and exit of the alley, wielding her spear to beat the boys one after another. The bullies were soon covered in bruises and limped away. Sariel immediately went to check the injured boy. He was Raguel, a classmate in the same training class as Sariel. Looking at the unconscious Raguel whose face was severely bruised, Sariel started to feel anxious.
She tried her best to remember first aid skills she had learned, and unintentionally awoke the power in her body. The dull “Evil Eye” began to radiate emerald luminance as it sensed Sariel’s thoughts. Its luminance transformed into delicate threads that scattered and wrapped Raguel’s bruises. Sariel suddenly remembered the healing prayer; she instantly realized what to do and concentrated on manipulating the “Evil Eye” to heal Raguel...
Sairel: Our gracious and compassionate Lord, have mercy on us; grant us peace…
Before this incident, Sariel was only aware of the Evil Eye’s basic spherical form, and did not know that it also possessed power in this form, let alone knowing that it had the power to heal. Under Sariel’s treatment, the injuries on Raguel’s body gradually healed.
Sariel: It’s alright now. Wake up!
Sariel gently patted Raguel’s face, trying to wake him up. To her surprise, her hand was shoved away during her second attempt. Raguel gave Sariel a cold gaze and said to her with a standoffish tone:
Raguel: Enough. You’re very noisy. I am alright.
Sariel: I… I am noisy?
Raguel: This was none of your business. Stop being meddlesome.
Sariel: I am being meddlesome? So … you were conscious all along?
Raguel turned away without answering her. Sariel gave him a look of astonishment while she felt slightly irritated.
Sariel: You… You pretended to be unconscious just to fool me? No one would treat their savior this way!
Raguel: I did not ask you to save me.
Raguel said as he picked up his belongings that were scattered in the alley, and left without saying one more word. Irritated, Sariel yelled to him and stomped her foot in exasperation. That was how their “fated” bond forged.
The Keeper training was about to end. The last training was an arena combat in teams of three. This was a battle to determine whether each individual was capable of handling the challenges ahead or whether they should be disqualified from being a Keeper. In this critical battle, Sariel was “unfortunate” to team up with Raguel.
What was more unfortunate was that their opposing team was the bullies who beat up Raguel, with their leader being the same bully leader back then.
Raguel: Sigh… so troublesome.
Keeper Trainee: I didn’t expect us to be on opposing teams. I suppose enemies are bound to meet when we’re on the same path, huh?
Even before the battle began, the tension in the arena was already palpable. The arrogant opponents stirred up the anger inside Sariel. Right after the battle began, Sariel summoned the “Evil Eye” in the form of a spear and aimed it at the rival team’s leader.
For Sariel, the only advantage of being on the same team with Raguel was that he knew how to precisely coordinate his timing to conjure his protection spheres, allowing Sariel to focus on attacking the opponents without needing to worry about defense.
As Sariel was fighting against the leader of the rival team, her teammate dashed forward to attack another opponent’s head with ten consecutive kicks, hoping to gain an advantageous position by forcing him back. However, the opponent did not dodge; instead, he clenched his fist and took all the kicks’ impacts. To everyone’s surprise, the person who was in pain was Sariel’s teammate but not the opponent.
Sariel’s teammate was bleeding from his ankle and he was in too much pain to speak. Raguel looked at his opponent attentively and saw that he was wearing brass knuckles where its camouflage caused it to blend in with the color of his gloves. Raguel could see blood dripping down the brass knuckles’ glistening surface.
Sariel: You must withdraw from the trial to receive treatment, otherwise you might be permanently disabled.
Sariel asked the judge for a timeout to allow her teammate to leave the arena for a treatment, but this left Sariel’s team at a disadvantage, as they now only had two members facing three opponents. With a sinister smile, the leader of the rival team slid his hand across his neck, a gesture signaling his intention to kill Sariel.
Raguel: They want revenge and this time they’ re targeting you. They always like to cause troubles for others. You were unwise to have offended them.
Sariel was already enraged by the rival team; Raguel’s words were undoubtedly adding fuel to the fire, but he was unaware of it.
The rival team did not wait for the pair to finish their conversation. As the leader pointed at Sariel, his teammates simultaneously prepared to launch a pincer attack at Sariel from two fronts. If we were not considering morals, they would have been praised for their flawless synchronization. This resulted in Sariel and Raguel to be in a more disadvantageous position.
Raguel was occupied with tackling the team leader; he did not even have enough time to conjure a protection sphere for Sariel. Sariel fought against two enemies all by herself, and even needed to be cautious of the razor-sharp brass knuckles. The opponent was so strong that he was able to severely injure her teammate to the extent that he had to withdraw from the battle. He was now aiming at Sariel’s weak spots!
The battle went on as Sariel and Raguel were still at a disadvantage. Sariel channeled all of her power into the spear to ward off the attacks from both sides, but the brass knuckles were striking her at an increasingly fast speed. When Sariel was at the verge of defeat, the “Evil Eye” suddenly shone with dazzling luminescence. To protect herself, Sariel unintentionally transformed it into a broadsword. Clang! Sariel blocked the imminent attack of the brass knuckles.
Sariel heaved a sigh of relief for her successful defense. She was capable of wielding the broadsword after days of practices. To turn the tides, she did not transform her weapon back into the form of a spear, but continued using the broadsword. The rival team quickly recovered from the shock of the sudden change and immediately continued attacking Sariel.
Sariel then regretted not changing her weapon back into a spear. The heavy broadsword rendered her movements slower and less flexible, enabling the brass knuckles to easily attack her vital spots!
At that critical juncture, Sariel stretched out a hand to defend herself. Clang! As she tore her broadsword into two halves, she successfully warded off the brass knuckles. Boom boom! Along with her attacks, a huge cross-shaped crack appeared in the roof of the arena. The broken roof collapsed, falling on everyone present.
The last training for Keepers had begun. Sariel, who was on the same team as Raguel, transformed the “Evil Eye” into a new form during the bitter battle. She destroyed the roof of the arena. The broken roof collapsed, falling on everyone present.^ ^ After a long time, rubble finally stopped falling and the flying dust settled. The hubbub of the crowd could no longer be heard; the only thing left was dreadful silence...
Sariel: ... What... have I done…?
In Sariel’s mind, the scene in front of her reminded her of the time when she did the same to the training grounds; it was her first time using the broadsword. At that time, she nearly killed her mentor; now, hundreds of people were trapped under the rubble!
Sariel: What should I do? The “Evil Eye” was out of control again! And this time… I have hurt numerous people!
She threw the “Evil Eye” in the form of double swords away, squatting down in frustration…
Sariel: It is all my fault. What have I done? After all this time, I still can’t control the power of the “Evil Eye”, why?
Raguel: Sariel! You are still wasting your time in a daze?
Raguel had quickly conjured a protection sphere, so he was unharmed. Upon hearing his voice, Sariel realized that she was not alone. Not knowing how to respond, she grabbed Raguel by the shoulder and kept asking, “It is all my fault. What should I do?”
Raguel: I remember your “Evil Eye” has healing power, right?
Sariel: “Evil Eye”...? No way! I cannot use the power of the “Evil Eye” anymore… It only brings destruction!
Raguel: Didn’t you use it to heal me before? Try your best to recall! How did you do that?
Sariel: I… I do not know…
Sariel’s eyes were glazed and she was inarticulate; it was obvious she was still lost in fear. To snap Sariel back to reality, Raguel clapped his hands in front of her forehead. Startled by this sudden clap, Sariel gradually collected herself and looked at Raguel.
Raguel: Do you still remember how you healed me before?
Sariel: ... Yes.
Raguel: Come on. Do it again.
Raguel led Sariel to the nearest injured crowd. Sariel, who was now calm, started to recall how she had manipulated the “Evil Eye” for healing.^ ^ Responding to Sariel’s mind, the “Evil Eye” emitted emerald luminescence. The gentle threads of light diffused across the arena, rescuing and healing the people.
The threads of light lifted the rubble, piling the rock on an empty ground to rescue everyone underneath. Similar to when Sariel healed Raguel, Sariel wrapped the light around the injured, murmuring the prayer of healing, “Our gracious and compassionate Lord, have mercy on us; grant us peace…”^ ^ As the prayer echoed through the arena, the injured gradually healed.
After this accident, Sariel realized that she could skillfully use the “Evil Eye” to heal others rather than using it for offensive purposes. Because Sariel healed all the people as a form of atonement, the instructors exempted her from the punishment of disqualification.
Since then, Sariel kept practicing her abilities to manipulate the “Evil Eye”. She had fully mastered the power of the “Evil Eye” by the time she became a Keeper. Like what her mentor had said — “the ‘Evil Eye’ will become your power and help you through life’s many adversities.”