A week has passed by and it's academy day!
| Age Ten - Daerin Academy
It's been a week since the Harvest Festival and enrolment period for Daerin Magic Academy had passed. All the children that participated in the Harvest Festival ceremony had to go to the academy in person to take a series of mandatory exams before officially being enrolled. Although, as long as the child had formed his mana roots, it was a sure-fire thing to be enrolled into the academy.
At a certain office inside of the academy, an old man wearing a thick red robe adorned with yellow embroidery was hunched over while sitting at his desk. He had a head of scruffy white hair and a short fluffy beard. His sunken yellow eyes were shifting from side to side as his right hand was lazily flipping through a stack of papers placed on top of the desk.
In front of the desk, a short, bob-cut black-haired woman was standing in an upright posture, holding another stack of papers to her chest with her right hand while her left hand was readjusting the eyeglasses she wore on her face. She was wearing a dark, maroon-colored uniform with its hems outlined in yellow designed for the academy's faculty, and black woolen slacks.
A gleam of light flashed by her lenses as the old man brought his left hand near his face and started picking his nose with his pinky finger,
"You said there was a late recommendation that arrived from the wall?" He asked.
"Yes, Headmaster. It has the seal of the head of the Vinney House, Sacha Vinney."
"Urgh, Sacha that stinky boy. He sent that crazy daughter of his a few years ago, now he's sending in another brat?" The old man spoke with an annoyed tone as he recalled unpleasant memories.
"Headmaster, you seem to be getting senile. Rivelle Vinney was among the batch that graduated over two decades ago. That recommendation is probably for a grandchild." The woman, tipping the frame of her glasses with her left hand, replied without any hint of respect.
"It was that long ago? You two were quite close, weren't you? Two crazy women trying to win the favor of a block of ice--"
Before he could finish his sentence, he deftly tilted his head to the left. The heel of the woman's boot had suddenly appeared on the side of his right cheek.
His face was unfazed and he was still continuing to pick his nose. He was used to it.
"Which reminds me--" He paused and lowered his head to glance behind the foot hovering on his right side.
Set aside on his desk were two sets of papers with different seals. He raised his head and continued to speak with an apathetic tone as he looked towards the bob-cut woman,
"The last time the three Houses sent in their children at the same time was back then, huh?"
The woman lowered her stretched out leg before replying. "Yes Headmaster, this year, we have the youngest son of the Loeth Head, the eldest daughter of Perid, and this recommendation from the Vinney Head--"
She leaned in closer to give the papers in her hands to the old man but was interrupted with a wave of the old man's left hand.
The bob-cut woman took a step back in disgust and shot a glare at the old man.
"You're not gonna read them?" She rebuked.
"Just toss it in with the other two." Using his pinky finger, he gestured towards the sets of papers of differing seals.
"It's the same every time. The Vinney keep sending idiots, the Loeth keep sending iceblocks, and the Perid send--" Before he could finish his sentence, he deftly tilted his head to the right.
Appearing on the side of his left cheek was the heel of the woman's other boot.
"What's the use of reading their papers? Just put them all in the same class." He continued.
The old man arranged all of the papers on his desk together along with the recommendations, and gave them to the bob-cut woman who was clicking her tongue. The woman left shortly after and the old man was left in the room.
Leaning back from his chair, He shut his eyes while facing his head up at the ceiling and spoke to himself in a voice loud enough not to escape the room,
"The kid that Perid sent has a blessing from an Earth Spirit, as for the kids from Loeth and Vinney..."
In a short moment, he opened his eyes and grit his teeth as the expression of utter indolence on his face had suddenly turned fierce. A pair of narrow vertical pupils had appeared within his yellow irises while his bared teeth revealed unusually sharp edges.
"I don't need to read their recommendations. The Earth, Water, and Wind Spirits don't matter, but I've already been in this academy for so long and I've yet to see a brat that could commune with the Greater Fire Spirit!"
He grabbed his hair and unconsciously raised his voice near the end of his sentence before abruptly closing his mouth and getting up from his chair. He focused his attention to sense if there was someone who could be eavesdropping but sat back down in relief after sensing no one at the door.
"It seems like I'll have to spend the remainder of my time on this forsaken land." Leaning back on his chair and raising his legs to the desk, he recovered the appearance of a slovenly old man as he closed his eyes and fell into slumber.
A few days later, in one of Daerin Academy's many lecture rooms, a number of children were at their seats listening to the instructor speaking in front.
The academy's lecture rooms were designed such that from the front row, facing the instructor and the blackboard, the students' seats were placed on meter wide platforms ascending step by step towards the back row.
Although the seats available were enough to accommodate about thirty students in one room, the number of students assigned to one class usually weren't enough to fill the rooms.
The mandatory exams taken by enrolees during the enrolment period were designed to test for their affinity to the elements and their aptitude for magic. The results would be the basis for the segregation of the new academy students. Those with an average aptitude for magic would be placed in a General class while those with a high enough aptitude would be placed into an Advanced class.
The only exceptions to this were the three Houses of Loeth, Vinney, and Perid. They were given the privilege to send in their recommendations for an Advanced class without having to take the mandatory exams since almost every child born within one of the Houses would have a high aptitude for magic.
In the front row, one seat was occupied by an eager looking boy with ashen grey hair and blue eyes. Wearing white woolen slacks and a lighter colored uniform similar to the faculty's, he was a newly enrolled student placed into an Advanced Elements class. The boy was Urie Loeth.
He was attentively listening to the instructor in front, giving an introduction about the General and Advanced classes.
"--From their 2nd year up to their 5th year, the General Element classes would move on to learning how to use magic for jobs suited to the managing or the development of the city while your Advanced Element classes on the other hand, would learn to manipulate your mana for actual combat. From your 3rdyear onwards, you will have the option to continue your studies here or to graduate early and enlist as trainees at the Wall."
Urie was reminded of something as the instructor had mentioned graduation.
As a result of his mother, Rivelle's persistence, both of Urie's older siblings had stayed at the academy for 2 more years before applying for graduation and going to the Wall. He could remember how his mother would cry on command every time his eldest brother would mention graduating early.
As for his second older brother, he didn't bother to say anything and just went along with their mother's wishes. Urie thought about graduating early only for a moment before deciding to follow his second older brother's example and turned his attention back to the instructor.
"Those who opt not to enlist at the Wall would remain at the academy until graduation. Although you might not be at the Wall, a majority of the requirements for you to graduate would involve taking tests and requests that would require you to venture into Erden's Tower, so you would still be able to gain experience fighting against magic creatures there."
Erden's Tower, Urie had once asked about it from his brothers. The exams the Academy gave would only require them to venture around the vicinity of a forest inside the tower and hunt magic beasts. His eldest brother described the tower as being incredibly deceiving, as the space inside was incomparably vast compared to its outside appearance.
A few minutes later, the instructor finished his long introduction and began another topic.
"Magic. What is magic? Does anyone know?" He took a quick look around the room to check if any of the students would volunteer to answer his question.
His eyes shifted from one student to another, deliberately looking past a pretentious looking girl with bob-cut black hair before resting his gaze on Urie Loeth. Both of them were raising their hands, but between the two children, the instructor chose to ask Urie to answer. The pretentious looking girl lowered her hand before letting out a snort and directed a glare towards Urie's seat.
Oblivious to the attitude of the black-haired girl, Urie stood up and spoke, "Magic is the phenomenon that occurs when the mana absorbed from the surroundings is manipulated with the help of the Spirits to manifest any of the elements."
Hearing his answer, the black-haired girl smirked.
The instructor nodded his head and gestured for Urie to take a seat. "Although what you said is correct, it is incomplete. The reason why we hold the ceremony for you children during the Harvest Festival is that without forming your mana roots you won't be able to sense and absorb mana."
"With your roots formed, you should be able to attract mana by yourselves. Mana would then soak into your roots and gather towards a certain point in your chest, the seed. As you are now, your seed should be just about the size of a grain of rice."
"The strength of the type of magic you can utilize is proportionate to the size of your seed while the speed at which you can recover the mana you used would be determined by the thickness of your mana roots. "
"The repeated absorption and use are what we call mana circulation. After every circulation, some of the mana you absorb would compress within that grain of rice and allow it to grow larger, eventually being able to hold vast amounts of mana."
A look of contemplation was on Urie's face as he listened to the lecture. Curiosity had urged him to raise his hand.
"Instructor, aside from the time you eat and sleep, wouldn't just repeating mana circulation allow your mana seed to grow indefinitely?" He asked.
The other students, as well as the black-haired girl all paid attention as they thought the same thing.
With a smile of approval, the instructor answered,
"Excessive mana circulation would put a lot of strain on your physical and mental strength, so you would need to rest and recuperate before you would be able to fully utilize mana again. The thicker your mana roots, the lesser the strain you would be put under. This is how we determine aptitude."
The instructor continued his class with a few more minor discussions before the bell for the changing of classes rung.
"Alright everyone, go outside to the academy courtyard for your Practical Magic class."
One by one, the students and the instructor left the room with Urie and the black-haired girl being the last ones inside.
Standing from a platform higher by one step, the black-haired girl's head was slightly raised as she looked down at Urie.
"You. What's your name?" She suddenly asked.
"Urie Loeth." Bowing his head in courtesy with his right hand on his stomach, Urie introduced himself. Raising his head, he smiled and said, "But shouldn't you introduce yourself first before asking for someone else's name?"
The girl felt speechless for a moment before abruptly speaking in a loud voice, "Elicia, Elicia Perid!" She stomped her feet before leaving her name and headed outside towards the academy grounds.
"What was that about?" Urie was left alone in the room with a puzzled expression. For some reason, he thought, the girl looked familiar.
- Daerin Academy Gate -
Along the brick path leading up to Erden's Tower, a mural depicting a large magic creature can be seen on a huge iron gate. The creature had a long tail and was decorated with large horns and sharp claws while unfurling from its back were a pair of majestic wings.
Stepping down from a carriage pulled up at the side of the path. A tall old man with a receding hairline went forward to speak with two guards posted at the gate. Following behind him was a girl with red hair, she was squinting her eyes whilst taking a look around.
"Why is it so bright?" She muttered.
Everything was outlined with vivid colors. The wagons, the houses, and all of the people that they passed by. The young girl stared at the horses pulling along their carriage, the soft luster on the surface of its black hair made it look absolutely gorgeous. She felt uneasy at the unfamiliarity of it all and placed both of her hands on her stomach.
She shifted her attention towards the old man, he was holding up a seal outlined with green accents in front of the guard. They were allowed passage only after the guard carefully scrutinized the seal.
With the old man leading the way, they walked past the gate and stood before the largest building she'd seen in the city, aside from the structure in the distance that was towering into the clouds.
At the entrance, they were met by a bob-cut woman with black hair who seemed to have been waiting for them.
"Merea Perid! It's been a long time, how have you been?"
The red-haired young girl saw the old man speak with a happy expression after seeing his acquaintance.
"Sacha Vinney." She greeted. "I am doing well. I met your daughter earlier after she dropped off her son. She didn't seem to be informed of your arrival today."
The woman named Merea spoke with a respectful tone while taking a glance at the young girl hiding behind Sacha.
"Ah yes, well, we were supposed to come back earlier but we got delayed. I took my granddaughter, Celeste, out for sightseeing, you see."
On their trip from the wall, the young girl would look outside the window of the carriage with awe of the scenery, then her 'grandfather', Sacha, would occasionally stop the carriage and let her look around.
"She must be quite tired, can you show her a place to rest while I have my appointment with the Headmaster?" Sacha suggested.
The young girl, Celeste, shook her head from side to side.
Seeing her reaction, Merea gave a proposal, "Why don't I show her around the academy grounds instead? I think she would like that."
Sacha turned towards Celeste, asking for her confirmation, and she paused for a moment before giving him a nod.
"Either way, I can't bring her with me to see that senile old freak." Sacha turned towards Merea and stated, before saying goodbye and leaving Celeste in her company.
"Hello, Celeste. My name is Merea Perid. Allow me to show you around the academy grounds."
She sounded formal, Celeste thought.
"Since you will also be attending this academy starting tomorrow, it will be good to familiarize yourself with its facilities."
Celeste nodded her head and quietly followed after Merea who started walking towards the inside of the building.
Author's notes :
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
If you want to continue reading, the first volume of the book is available on smashwords. It has illustrations of some of the characters as well as the rest of volume 01.
It is free, but you can choose to pay for it if you'd like to. That would help this new author out greatly and support the series. Leaving a rating and or a review would also be greatly appreciated.
The rest of the work is also available on tapas.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope you enjoyed it and will continue to read it.