Chapter 17: Apprentice
As he goes into the ACO’s headquarters, he first noticed the artifacts that were incubated on a cylinder with blue fluid. “Where’d these things come from?” Shiro asks one of the members, “These, are from the surface, the artifacts you see here are from around the globe” says one of the members. Haiizo Kuro, the Akuma family alchemist, asked Shiro if he wanted to be an apprentice to the ACO, fascinated, Shiro agrees to it. Kurogane Shiro, the Akumu family alchemist and the head of the council, took him in his wing. Shiro, still corrupted by the Leviathan’s cross, is slowly gaining power by eating Shiro’s soul, the ACO noticed this so the Akumu family alchemist led him to a room where there is no contact with the outside of the room itself, upon entering, Shiro noticed there were nothing but a white room with blue pillars, but there were no windows, mirrors or contact with the outside. ’This is where they led me to try and tame the cross huh?’ he thought to himself, after a while, Shiro found an encased letter on the ground, he thought that it came from outside the room, he picked it up wanting to read it but all it had was the Leviathan’s cross written in it. Shiro tried taming it, but when he tries, the cross burns him. But on his last try, he summoned Leviathan by accident, when he tried talking to it, the beast hit him hard making him fall into the ground, after getting up, the beast stuck him again but this time, with the use of 008 and 009, he managed to block the attack. After a few hours of the two clashings, none of them are yet to give up, the two of them are almost tired, the Leviathan started to reduce its height as its strength also weakens, Shiro on the other hand, has one more card to play “Invocation: Ryuujin!” he invoked, bringing forth the dragon who killed half their population on his own. The Leviathan’s cross reacted to his invocation and began to make a new seal for him, he the Leviathan told him of the things why his cross reacted on his arm as he invoked Ryuujin’s name “Ryuujin was feared even for us, there is no thought about it, the only way we could die is with him, this battle proved that even the dragon’s host can withstand my power without using the demonic dragon of wrath” The Leviathan told him. As he realized, he tried touching the forehead of the Leviathan, as the beast kneeled down to him. ’I tamed it! Finally!” he thought to himself. When the beat disappeared, he then got a message from the outside that he is able to come out of the room. Once he was out, he then told Senjuu Saki, the Yami clan alchemist, to teach him how to cast Alchemy spells, she then led him to Kurogane Shiro, the Akumu clan alchemist and the head of the ACO. While he was teaching Shiro how to cast alchemy spells, he then remembered why the son of the nightmare king was named Shiro. “When I become king, my son will have the same name as you” The nightmare king told Shiro when he was just an ACO apprentice. That memory made him smile as the next grand king wanted to learn Alchemy the way he did, while thinking, he accidentally put his guard down, Shiro thought of this as an advantage since his mentor is distracted with something, “Alchemy seal: Leviathan, Sacred tail” he invoked, a spear arisen from the ground he held it and felt something that made him smile in excitement. “Alchemy seal: Blade entrapment” he chanted, Shiro on the other hand is floating inside a cage made of sharp blades that could pierce every part of your body once touched. A moment of silence surrounded them for a few minutes. The cage broke after the silence dispersed, clueless, Shiro asked his mentor how the cage broke after there was silence and no invocations “You see, Alchemy and Invocations are the same when you chant them, also, they can be chanted silently by thinking of what you want to do. For example, when I broke past your blade entrapment, I used a spell called “Cage break” and it can release you of anything from alchemy seals and invoked seals” he said to him. The next day, another school day is upon them, yet Shiro is not seen in school, not one ounce of him is seen. Shiro on the other hand, locked himself up in a room where he practiced silent chanting, after a few days, he managed to master how to chant silently and began to try chanting invoked seals silently. Himari, Ryuu, Hikaru, and Mai thought of visiting Shiro at the Akumu manor, but they got there, the maid told them that Shiro has not come home for a week. The bunch then went to the 5 kinds’ council to ask where Shiro might be, but the grand king told them that Shiro is at the ACO’s hidden headquarters to tame the cross at his left arm. Disappointed, the bunch went back to the surface and to their homes worrying about Shiro. A few more days have passed, Shiro is still inside the room where he locked himself, while the others still worry about Shiro. A month has passed since the disappearance of the grand king and Shiro was taken to the ACO’s headquarters when Shiro unlocked himself from the room to challenge the other Shiro, his mentor, to a friendly duel. The other alchemists were worried if Shiro lost his mind that he even challenged the head of the council in a duel, but of course, Shiro accepted his challenge. When they started, there was only silence, the other alchemists were surprised that within a month, Shiro managed to tame the cross, learn to so alchemy, and chant silently. An hour has passed after the duel started and silence covered the arena inside the headquarters, and it seems that the two of them are on even grounds, the two Shiros are fighting with all they have, and yet none of them are giving up. Another hour has passed, the apprentice has the upper hand, and the mentor almost down in his knees, ’My apprentice, you did well, and it is also time for you to take a step forward to rule the realm on your own, in less than two years, you will make a fine grand king’ the mentor thought while seeing Shiro fighting with all that he’s got and not backing down. Another hour has passed, the mentor was struck down by his own apprentice, while the apprentice’s mind goes blank after the duel, and the two Shiros bid each other goodbye then parted ways. After leaving the headquarters, Shiro went back to the manor to meet his father who was waiting patiently for his return, sadly, the maid told him that the nightmare king went to the 5 kings’ council meeting. After a while, the nightmare king was surprised by Shiro’s return to the palace, the king ran to him and asked him “How are you? What happened to the cross?” Shiro explains to his father how it went inside the facility, and gladly, Shiro learned a few more tricks that would help him in the grand tournament. Shiro then went to his room and took some rest, the next day, Shiro was seen on school grounds and the others were shocked at how he grew, his eyes were different than before, as well as his aura. Himari asked him about the facility and where they can find it, “I can’t tell you, it’s a secret” he jokingly answered. After class ended, the bunch went to the realm because there was a special announcement the grand king will deliver. When they got there, the grand king was already there, when the grand king noticed that the rest of the heirs were there, he said “This year’s grand tournament will be tomorrow, and no further, only 16 participants are allowed to enter. Also, this year, the Akumu clan is the only clan that will be allowed to have 4 participants” the whole realm was shocked to hear that the grand tournament was advanced this year.