|[Chapters Not Titled]
On the westernmost edge of the continent of Xelorameiu, lay the small country of Torik, home to around two hundred thousand people. But it was summer, at the beginning of the autumnal season, the country's population would rocket by a factor of ten or more. The majority of people were enjoying their summer holidays in hotter countries such as Cami. The people who would be returning to Torik would most likely be starting a new year at the Kemyíl Academy.
Kemyíl Academy was one of three on the continent. There was another in Nyros and the biggest, on the Siedt-Tublir border. Kemyíl trained their students in the arts of war, all kinds, from fist-fighting to exotic weapon warfare to magical incantations. Other academies trained in only one or two types of combat, but to a higher standard. Most academies began tuition from the age of around 18, but at Kemyíl, tutoring began at age 14. This meant, that by the time that most of the academics were at the same level by aged 20, with Kemyíl having the extra four years, but a multitude of extra subjects and styles.
Among those starting a new year at Kemyíl Academy were the children of Thargei'ik Miglaiku, CEO of Miglaikorp, the continents largest supplier and manufacturer of Mêlée weapons and enhancements, Veruut and I'onlych Miglaiku. They were to begin their last year at the Academy, along with Ayorkgen Haldmordij, Elneria Takra, Savaar and Yami Nayalukov, Kaito Makanatatsu and Mira Tolnos, a group of friends from around the Xelorameiui continent, but brought together by the Kemyíl Academy's exchange programme.
The island of Qaharme'il was the most sought after summer holiday destination, especially to Torikans, due to their usual climate verging on Tundra. Qaharme'il, in the Summer, was hot, but not too hot – with an average daytime temperature of 31°C.
Veruut was lying on his hotel bed in agony from sun burn. His back and legs were tomato coloured, after he had fallen asleep on his sun-bed near the pool. I'onlych, his twin sister had drawn the short straw of administering aid.
As the cold after-sun lotion made contact with Veruut's burning flesh, it made a sizzling sound, which was drowned out by his screams of pain.
'You idiot, that stings really bad! Be more careful!' Veruut was yelping at the top of his lungs,
'I'm doing the best I can, it's not my fault that you slept for two hours in the baking heat!'
'Just be more careful!'
'Good, God! You've had your arm almost ripped off by a Genlaub, but a bit of sunburn is too much for you to handle!?'
'Just stop it!'
* * *
"Only another two days before the start of the year…" it was Ayorkgen, "I can't believe the summer has gone so fast"
"You guys ready for the New Year's Tournament?" Kaito was always more interested in fighting than anything else,
"Hell yeah!" brash as usual, Yami was always ready, with no exception, "Even got me a few more levels' worth of orbs over the holiday!"
"Really? impressive…" Elneria was always a dark horse, she liked to hang back and not get too involved in anything, physically or emotionally.
"That should bring me up to a healthy β4,"
"Those first years won't know what hit them – I got my Cleaver enhanced" Savaar grinned to himself,
"What with?" Ayorkgen's question sounded demeaning, but it was genuine,
"Fire, level 6, cost me over 400 kguyen!"
"You know, you could have waited until we went back to the Academy, they have trained alchemists who can do that for you… I got my sais enhanced with level 8 ice, that only cost me 120 kguyen…"
"Yeah, well, I know that mine is definitely done… those clowns at the Academy may have told you it's level 8 ice, but it might only be level 3, or it could be level 8 frost…"
Their argument lasted a long time, and it was soon time for them to go home and rest up, to get ready for the last day of their holiday, and eventually, there first day back at Kemyíl Academy.
* * *
The buzzer rang out through the lecture hall to signify the beginning of the academic day. Instructor Leilan walked slowly and sinisterly into the classroom, with her small oval-rimmed glasses on the end of her witch-like nose. She wore her usual black, floor-length robe and as she walked, it gently grazed the tiled floor behind her.
Approaching the lecture stand, she gave a small, throat-clearing cough and began to speak,
"Welcome back, dearies," her voice was soft and calming, nothing at all like her exterior, "I'm sure none of you will be surprised by the day's schedule: from now until 10:30, you can catch-up on what you did on your holidays, the half hour after that, you have time for any last minute training and re-equipping yourselves, and from 11:30, until the end of the day will be the traditional New Year's Tournament"
Yami and Savaar looked across at each other and gave a small grin and a barely noticeable nod,
"It could be good this year," Yami whispered to Savaar,
"Yeah, none of the higher years to contend with,"
"Mr Nayalukov and Mr… Nayalukov… anyway, are you two really so stupid that you think I can’t hear you talking over me, when you’re sat at the front of the classroom, no more than five feet away from me…?"
They both sank into their seats and tried to disguise their sniggers with a hand over their mouths.
"Well, then… off you trot, go, sort yourselves out,"
The six of them headed straight for the training area, each paid their deposit of 12 tsékguyen and received their helmets and a small purse to contain any orbs they might obtain. The training helmets were rounded metal, with a translucent visor that covered the face, down to the nose. The visor was not only to protect, but it allowed the wearer to check their shield strength and analyze the enemies' stats. The visor was made of triply reinforced diamond, to ensure that it wouldn't shatter and harm the wearer.
They all readied their weapons, some of which had been remodelled over the summer. Ayorkgen slipped the silver sais out of the holsters attached to her ankles, Elneria grabbed her steel-tipped fans, Savaar unsheathed his flame-cleaver, Yami kept his thunder samurai sword in its scabbard by his waist, Kaito was already carrying his Halberd and Mira had her pinwheel on her wrist, ready for action.
They all went in together. At the safety gate, the on-duty instructor halted them,
"Be careful in there, there have been reports of a huge bear-like creature with razor claws and massive teeth, now there are six of you, and you are all seniors, so I can let you in, but don't forget, be careful."
The instructor opened the gate and they went through and all made one last check that they were fully equipped.
"Everyone got plenty of Cure spells?" asked Ayorkgen,
"I have, just in case – but I've got loads of fire and ice spells ready too," the reply came from Mira.
"Let's go then,"
The first battle was almost immediate, five glorvs, small wolf-like creatures, quite weak in comparison to some of the monsters that one could face, but one of the strongest that were permitted to be used in Academies for training purposes.
"Just so I know, what are everyone's ASIs?" asked Kaito,
"ASI?" Savaar never paid much attention in classes other than 'Kickass 101'
"Armour Structural Integrity,"
"Oh, mine's 472,"
"Mine's 436," said Ayorkgen
"499," answered Elneria
"451," called Yami,
"408," said Mira,
"Ok, good," it was Kaito again, "just so you know, mines 486", cure me when I go less than 100, okay?"
"Yeah, no problem," Elneria was in her element when it came to fighting and healing with magic.
Flashes and whirls of seemingly incomprehensible numbers and graphs whizzed along the visors and each of them chose a monster to fight, with the exception of Savaar and Yami, who were used to sharing.
<Elneria silently flitted through the air toward her chosen target and with her broad fan open, jumped and slashed down, vertically through the air, until the steel tip of the fan sank deep into the torso of the glorv. She quickly removed the fan and in an instant, whipped a spell orb from her pocket. Spell orbs were no larger than a double-sized marble, so they were quite difficult to keep a hold of. She held it, clasped in the palm of her left hand, while guarding herself with the fan in her right,
"I uowwns aayf, ajit," she muttered the incantation and threw the orb at the glorv. The air around the it turned red, then orange, then white, as a flame engulfed the monster, but quickly exhausting itself of its own oxygen supply. When the blaze subsided, all that was left in its wake was a few experience orbs, slightly larger than spell orbs, and a different colour. Spell orbs were an opal colour, whereas experience orbs were green with a turquoise tint.
Elneria scooped up the orbs and carefully wiped the blood residue from the steel tip of her fan, with her sleeve.
Ayorkgen initially hurled her left-hand sai at the beast, then ran furiously at it, slashing wildly, yet she was controlled. When she first made contact between silver blade and snarling beast, her arm moved as elegantly as ever, swooping across her body, back and forth. The glorv gave a howl of pain as one sai embedded itself in its chest and the other bisected its nose, causing a slash of blood to mark the already stained floor.
She reached for the other sai which was lodged in one of the glorv's ribs, and it took a strong jerk to dislodge it – this proved fatal for the monster, as the jarring motion caused the sin-sized wound to grow to a gash, to a gaping hole, out of which flooded both halves of the broken rib along with some entrails.
After regaining her composure, she collected her reward, some bloodstained experience orbs. She, too, used her sleeve to wipe the blood from her weapons, but she also had to clean the orbs.
Kaito took a more upfront approach to slaying his target, he lunged at the glorv, the point of his halberd digging deep into the monster's skull, killing it instantly, but not cleanly. When the blade was removed, a torrent of blood and fleshy brain matter came falling out after it.
Holding back the urge to vomit, Kaito plucked his reward out of a puddle of blood and brain matter.
Savaar and Yami, when working together, always made a big song and dance over everything. This meant that instead of killing the beast outright, which they could have easily done, they spent some time circling it. Savaar with his oversized cleaver, clockwise, and Yami with his sheathed samurai sword, anticlockwise. They, in unison, slowly raised their respective weapons and menacingly closed in on the beast, still circling it, to prevent its escape.
If they'd have attacked then and there, they would have killed it, but instead, they carried on circling and approaching. This made the glorv nervous and it panicked. It lashed out with its razor claws, slicing into Yami's calf, who screamed in pain and fell to the floor. The wound wasn't deep, but it was wide and blood seeped out of it, through the hole in his khaki coloured trousers.
Seeing this, Savaar panicked, grabbing a handful of spell orbs and mumbling an incantation that turned out not to make sense. He hurled the orbs at the glorv but all they did was hit it and bounce off. Noticing Savaar and Yami's clear distress, Elneria threw three spell orbs, one at each of the Nayalukov's and one at the glorv,
"I uowwns aayf, ajit, ajnc pue ajnc," a flame surrounded the glorv, as before incinerating it instantly. Around Savaar and Yami, a blue-green aura appeared and around them pulsed a warming glow. Yami's wound dried up and the scab dissolved, revealing healthy skin.
Elneria flitted across to them and picked up two of the four orbs that were there. Savaar thought it wise not to protest.
Mira liked to distance herself from her opponent, that's why she used projectile weaponry. She looked the glorv in the eye and gracefully and gently tapped the release mechanism on her pinwheel. It danced through the air as it swiftly and accurately made its way to the target. Accurate as it may have been, the blade on the pinwheel wasn't the sharpest, and so didn't do much damage. Seeing this, she reached into her satchel and pulled out a spell orb,
"I uowwns aayf, japunyf," the air above the monster grew darker and visible clouds began to form. Flashes of lightning were visible, coming from within the clouds. Crackling, one of the flashes grew into a fork of lightning and in an instant struck down onto the glorv's head, melting its brain and rendering its nervous system useless. Mira used her pinwheel to pick up her reward, as she couldn't stand the smell of melted glorv brain.>
Putting their experience orbs in their orb purses, they healed and went on.