Hitting a stationary archery target wasn’t difficult. The only difficult thing was long distance and if wind was involved, but the courtyard we were in kept most of the wind away. From a hundred feet away, hitting the bullseye wasn’t hard. It was more difficult further away, but not terribly difficult. I even got to show off Rapid Shot, though I’d just barely learned that one.
Guildmaster Timmy then had me shoot a swinging target. That just meant I had to know when to shoot. Getting the exact timing I wanted wasn’t hard- Martial Trance could slow everything down to almost a standstill. The harder part was knowing which timing I actually wanted. How long did it take my arrows to travel that distance? I had real combat experience, and though enemies didn’t swing back and forth in a pattern, the pattern still made it easier. From a hundred feet, I could still hit at or near the bullseye.
Then Timmy picked up one of the archery targets. “Alright, this time I’ll be the one moving it around.”
“… I’ll assume you know what you’re doing.” Shooting in the direction of someone was just asking for disaster, but Timmy didn’t become guildmaster by not knowing what he was doing. Probably. Besides, he was huge. I doubted any accidental shot would cause him much harm. Besides, he was wearing armor.
Hitting the target with him controlling it was much harder. The movements were less predictable- and he even moved the target to “dodge” my shots. Even so, I could tell the shots were all possible. Not that I hit all of them, but with more experience I probably could have. Timmy lowered the target after my quiver had been emptied. “Alright, anything else?”
I couldn’t tell what he thought of my performance. Personally, it thought I was doing pretty well. “I usually fight in melee, but I also throw spears…”
He nodded and gestured to a target, “Let’s see your spear throwing.”
Spear throwing was much easier. Everything involved moving my own body, and I didn’t have to worry about snapping a bow in half. I had no trouble hitting the bullseye at a hundred feet or even two hundred feet. With a swinging target it was much the same. I could throw a spear nearly as fast as my arrows flew, but with my increased control came increased accuracy.
“I also know Piercing Spear.”
Timmy gestured his massive hand toward one of the standard targets.
I had learned Rapid Shot from Halette. Because of that, I executed it casually. Not that I didn’t take her teachings seriously, but when she shot her bow it was just an attack. The same was not true with Piercing Spear. Ruslan throwing a spear wasn’t just an attack. It was a work of art. It was serious focus and devotion. Thus whenever I used Piercing Spear I tried to give it my best. A few moments of concentration, and then I released my spear and mana together. My target wasn’t the bullseye, but the wall behind it. Through it. That was the best Piercing Spear I had ever thrown up to that point. It was full of power and grace… and I even hit my target. I sheepishly pulled my spear out of the wall, but I was happy to see the hole right through the middle of the bullseye.
Timmy nodded, “Alright, we’ll test your melee capabilities next.” I noticed that he didn’t suggest we try me throwing a spear with him holding the target.
Going against Timmy in melee made me realize how small I was… and that I wasn’t the strongest person, even though I was very strong. Watching him just grab my heavy mace with his hand to stop it was depressing… and it was also depressing to watch him beat me in speed and finesse as well. In the end I was lying on the floor, sweating and panting. I hadn’t managed to land a single hit on him, and he hadn’t once taken the initiative to attack me, but I couldn’t continue.
Timmy walked to the edge of the courtyard before calling back to me, “You passed. Come back tomorrow to get your new card.”
My first guild card was just a wooden plaque. The same was true of my B and C rank cards. Thus, I was expecting more of the same for my D-rank card.
Instead, I was handed a silvery card. Upon looking closely, it was just polished iron… but it felt much more solid and real than the wooden plaques. The engraved text almost glowed. “Llyr Merrick, D-Rank”. Well, that part was the same at least. Pretty minimalist.
“Inject mana into it,” the receptionist behind the counter said. As I did so, the card actually glowed. “Give it to me for a moment.” The receptionist took the card and placed it on a pedestal, where it continued to glow for several moments before fading out. When he handed the card back to me, he grinned, “Be careful with that one. Don’t lose it.”
“Is it expensive? I’ll try not to.”
The receptionist laughed, “Expensive? Well, a bit. Actually, if you lose it we can find it. The only problem is if you get lost as well.”
“You can find the cards?”
“That’s right.” He nodded, “D-rank adventurers are a bit more rare than the rest. It’s worth some effort to verify their identities and make sure we can keep them alive.”
He didn’t mention that they could also use the card to track you down if you were doing anything wrong… but then again, if I was going to go commit crimes I wouldn’t keep my guild card on me. I wondered if there was anything else it did… but I wasn’t sure if they would tell me even if I asked. At least it meant I was worth spending money on.
Kantrilla also successfully got promoted to D-rank, and with that the two of us weren’t novice adventurers anymore. Not that we were high rank or anything, but at least we were something. Unfortunately, it didn’t make me feel better when I thought that Kasner could have been with us.