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The Headmaster has a request?
Age Ten - Would you like to? Part 1
          - Academy Courtyard -
          "Since you've all already awakened your mana roots, you are now able to sense the mana around you.".
          Urie arrived at the academy courtyard and joined the group of students forming a circle. In the middle, the instructor was giving his lesson. Urie stepped in a bit closer to listen, but he didn't notice that he had ended up standing beside Elicia Perid, who was taken aback by his sudden appearance.
          "As I've explained earlier, mana circulation is the process of absorbing mana using your roots and compressing it towards your seed. After which you'll be able to use the mana you've absorbed."
          The instructor held out his hands with his palms to the sky and closed his eyes in demonstration.
          "Spread around and try to imitate what I do. Try to sense the mana around you, the feeling should come to you naturally."
          The students all put distance between themselves and except for two people, they closed their eyes while holding out their palms to the sky.
          "Now, hold this position and attempt to gather the mana around you. You don't have to do this every time, only until you get used to the feeling of letting the mana flow inside your body. "
          The instructor opened his eyes and came towards the students one by one, giving them pointers. He noticed the two students who still had their eyes open and asked,
          "Student Elicia Perid, is something the matter?"
          Elicia crossed her arms and spoke in an apathetic tone, "I can already perform mana circulation without having to do that embarrassing pose." Her expression turned into one of pride.
          Before the Harvest Festival, she already had a yellow-colored mana seed. They didn't expect anything other than the formation of her mana roots during the festival ceremony but even before her body had lit up with yellow light, she caused the surrounding dirt and gravel to levitate a few inches off the ground.
          According to the officials, this meant that she had an incredibly high aptitude and that she had received a blessing from an earth spirit.
          The instructor whistled in amazement. He turned towards Urie and asked with an expectant expression, "And? Are you the same, student Urie Loeth?"
          A complicated expression arose from Urie's face as he thought about what to say to the instructor.
          Elicia was at the side mumbling to herself, "He's from the Loeth House so maybe..." She shook her head sideways before resuming her usual prideful demeanor.
          "Instructor, I can also perform mana circulation but..." Urie pondered for a moment and said, "You all need to stay a distance away while I do."
          He was neither arrogant nor embarrassed but his tone of voice was hesitant. This only served to confuse the instructor as well as the person listening at the side.
          "Is there any particular reason you don't want anyone near you while you absorb mana?"
          "Instructor, people may get hurt if they stay near."
          Seeing Urie's expression turn serious, the instructor decided to take his word for it and urged the other students to keep a certain distance.
          Although a bit skeptical, Elicia followed after the instructor but sat down in a slightly nearer position than the other students.
          Once Urie saw that they were at a safe distance, he sat down cross-legged and closed his eyes.
          Elicia felt a small feeling of victory the moment she saw him sit down and close his eyes but immediately lost that once she saw what had occurred a few seconds later.
          Surprise, astonishment, and disbelief could be seen from the faces of the many students including Elicia and the instructor, as a red hue had begun to envelop Urie's body before starting to flicker around like flames.
          Just as the initial excitement had begun to die down, a wave of heat coming from Urie's body stirred the crowd once again. Elicia felt the air in front of her face grow hotter and she took a few steps back as she couldn't handle the heat.
          Meanwhile, from a window on the highest floor of the academy, a pair of yellow eyes with narrow vertical pupils was watching the situation with excitement on a different level from those on the ground.
          His mouth had curled up the highest they could and revealed two rows of sharp teeth. He slowly reached out his trembling right hand towards the window glass and from his index finger, a small red ball of light had appeared. He pinched it with his fingers and flicked the ball towards Urie's direction below.

          - Urie -
          For the past week, Urie spent a few hours each day performing mana circulation at the stone circle in the garden behind the Loeth Residence. He was familiar with the sensation so he had no qualms about other people watching from a safe distance.
          "A little while longer should be enough."
          He thought about stopping his demonstration after a few minutes, but suddenly, he sensed a small, dense, hot orb of mana enter his body and go directly into his seed.
          "What was that!?" He was startled.
          Urie stopped actively circulating his mana just as it happened but was alarmed as his seed had continued operating on its own. An incredibly comfortable feeling rushed out from it, and his expression of alarm had turned into one of happiness. He was sensing changes within his body.
          "Was it supposed to happen this early?"
          The mana seed inside him had grown from the size of a grain of rice into the size of a small pea. The smile on his face grew wider after his discovery, and after a few seconds he regained control over his seed.
          The moment he stopped absorbing mana, he noticed that the earlier noise from the crowd had disappeared.
          "What's with that smile!?"
          With his eyes still closed, the sudden appearance of an unfamiliar voice startled him. He slowly opened his eyes to a bewildering sight reminding him of a certain fateful night.
          Crimson red locked with his icy blue, he put on an incredibly dumbfounded face as he kept staring at the young girl who exuded a different sense of beauty from his mother.
          Long flowing red hair with a few strands falling right between the bridge of her nose, neatly tucked behind her right ear. Her petite face, no longer obstructed by ripples from the water's surface, could be viewed in full detail as the light of the sun reflected on her face from the surrounding wall of ice.
          "What are you doing!?"
          The red-haired girl in from of him yelled in a cracked voice, unused to shouting. The sudden question had snapped him out of his confused stupor as he quickly took a look around him.
          "Is father here? Elder brother? Second older brother??"
          "They aren't here..."
          Sitting down on the ground, the girl's cheeks were flushed as she tried to regain her breath. Sweat started to drip down from her face as she had just exerted a great deal of energy.
          "Then who--"
          His question was answered before it had come out as he noticed the layer of frost covering the girl's hands. His attention then turned towards the wall of ice which had thinned down due to the dissipating heat.
          Along with a loud bang, the wall slowly started to crumble down as a bob-cut black-haired woman resembling Elicia appeared from the debris and hurried towards them.
          "Are you alright?" The woman knelt down and examined the red-haired girl for any injuries. She turned to Urie and examined him as well to confirm that they were both alright.
          "Aunt Merea!"
          Elicia arrived with teary eyes and flew into the embrace of the woman that resembled her.
          "Elicia, what happened here?" She asked. Elicia's skin was tinged red with a couple of strands of her hair curling up.
          Merea placed both her hands on Elicia's face and wiped the tears that were about to fall.
          With none of the arrogance on Elicia's face that she displayed earlier, she looked over her aunt's shoulder and stared at Urie.
          "What did I do!?" Urie was alarmed. Finally realizing that something was amiss, his attention was drawn towards the scorched earth beneath them. The grass had disappeared leaving barren soil. He raised his head towards the location of his other classmates to see a majority of them peeking from behind academy pillars.
          Urie saw the instructor approaching them from one of the pillars. A large portion of the previously straight, light brown hair covering his eyes was comically curled up. He also used to wear glasses but it seemed he had taken them off.
          "Instructor Danny, what's going on?" Merea asked.
          She tried to speak with a serious tone, but it was evident on her face that she was making an effort to stifle a laugh.
          Instructor Danny, blushing at the sight of Merea, replied with a strained smile, "Student Urie Loeth was demonstrating mana circulation. I thought he was exaggerating when he asked us to stay back, but it seemed I underestimated his warning."
          He turned his head towards Urie, "Student Urie, I apologize for not taking your warning more seriously."
          "No... That's not it--" Urie wanted to say that that wasn't the case and that something had occurred in the middle of his demonstration, but a sudden thud caused alarm to surface on everyone's faces as their attention was brought to the red-haired girl lying face-up, down on the ground.
          "It's fine, she's just asleep. She used more mana than she could handle earlier." A deep resounding voice echoed across the courtyard as a scruffy, white-haired old man with a short fluffy beard approached from inside the building.
          "Merea, bring the girl to the infirmary to rest. I told that stinky boy Sacha to go there. Danny, bring your class along and have them examined for any injuries."
          Merea wasted no time and carried the unconscious girl ahead towards the infirmary, with Elicia running right behind her. Instructor Danny gathered his class before also following along.
          "Little boy! You stay here." Urie was about to go with them but flinched in surprise as he was suddenly called.
          He eyed the ground nervously as he heard the scruffy old man walking towards him.
          The old man's red robe, even though the ends dragged along the scorched earth, didn't seem to get sullied by the dirt.
          As the old man came closer, Urie slowly raised his head and saw the old man's appearance. His eyes looked unusual while his face seemed to be holding back great excitement.
          "Little boy..."
          Urie was frightened as the old man leaned down before his face and asked an unbelievable question.
          "Would you like to kill a dragon?"
Age Ten - Would you like to? Part 2
          - Urie -
          Urie was walking along the hallways towards the academy infirmary with exasperated steps as he thought back to the series of incomprehensible events that had occurred.
          "Little boy, would you like to kill a dragon?" The smile plastered on the scruffy old man's face was incredibly eerie.
          Urie was confused as to how he was asked a question instead of being reprimanded for his actions.
          Dragon? Thinking about a word that he had heard for the first time in his life,
          "What's a dragon??" Urie asked.
          "What's a--? Aaaghk!!!" The old man scratched his head in frustration.
          "--You know that statue in the middle of the fountain as well as the mural on the gate of the Academy? It's that." The old man started to gesture towards a few places.
          A creature with a long tail, large horns, and sharp claws. Having wings on it's back meant that it could fly.
          Urie's brows furrowed as he wondered why this old man would ask him such a question. He tried to think with a bit of logic. Would this maybe be part of his graduation exam? If he could get an idea from the old man, he might be able to graduate early and head to the wall.
          "Where is it?" He decided to ask a simple question.
          If the dragon was found in the central area of Erden's Tower then he might as well forget it. His brothers mentioned that there lived more threatening magic beasts around the middle of the tower's interior.
          "In the middle of Arinndra's Forest." The scruffy old man replied without batting an eye.
          Arinndra's Forest, the forest up north past the wall, the dwelling place of magic creatures, and the source of the mana beasts. Like Erden's Tower, the more you approach the center area, the more likely you'll run into danger.
          The old man wanted him to go there!? Forget Arrindra's Forest, even his older brothers didn't go anywhere near the tower's central area.
          Urie turned around without a word and left the Academy courtyard, leaving the scruffy old man with an incensed expression, and furiously scratching his head.
          Urie walked along the academy corridors and headed for the infirmary's location.
          "Mother had warned me about a senile old man with white hair loitering around within the Academy." He whispered.
          The old man seemed to have a certain amount of authority as both instructor Danny and that woman resembling Elicia followed his instructions.
          About that woman, Urie remembered Elicia calling her aunt.
          "What was Elicia's last name again?" He tried to recall.
          "Elicia, Elicia Perid!" Was what she said before leaving the lecture room.
          "Perid? From the Perid House?"
          He remembered her mother saying she had a friend from the Perid house. The previous head of the Perid House had two children, twins. The older twin became the current head of the Perid House. If he was Elicia's father, then her aunt would be the younger twin.
          "Elicia must look up to her a lot, seeing as she imitated her appearance." Urie chuckled, and addressed another subject,
          "Anyways, about the demonstration..." He thought back to the earlier events." That girl with red hair, I feel like I have a lot of questions to ask but, where should I start? Who is she? How could she use ice magic?"
          He stopped just before the door to the Academy's infirmary.
          "Why was she at the fountain that night?" His stomach churned and his palms started sweating.
          He asked himself, "How do I even begin a conversation with her?"

          - Academy Infirmary -
          "Merea! What happened to my granddaughter!?"
          A tall old man with a receding hairline was acting hysterical as he pulled on the already scant hair on his head and stood over a bed with an unconscious little girl.
          Merea was on the other side, an apologetic expression was on her face.
          "It's alright Vinney Head, she's just mana fatigued. She used a great deal of mana earlier." Trying to calm him down, Instructor Danny spoke from the side.
          "You--!!" Although instead of calming down, he became even wilder and stepped in front of the instructor, pulling him by his collar.
          "I heard it was one of your students that had caused this!" He snapped. "How could you let this happen!"
          Against the old man's overbearing nature, Instructor Danny couldn't raise an argument as he was too timid.
          Merea opened her mouth and tried to speak in the instructor's defense but couldn't intervene as Sacha, the old man with a receding hairline, continued to complain.
          The commotion he was stirring up was making it hard for the young girl, who was closing her eyes and holding her stomach, to get up from the bed, and even harder for the young boy, hesitating outside of the door, to enter the room.
          "Sacha, you stinky boy! Simmer down!" A sudden shout coming from the doorway had startled everyone in the room.
          The scruffy old man from earlier had come into the room with an annoyed face, pushing Urie in front of him.
          "It was this kid that did it. He's not yet able to regulate mana circulation so I'll be putting him in my care." He declared.
          The three people surrounding the bed with the young girl feigning unconsciousness all expressed a myriad of emotions. The one on Sacha Vinney's face in particular being the most expressive, as his eyes were twitching repeatedly.
          "Headmaster, have some sense of decency and forget about corrupting that child." Merea spoke without the slightest bit of respect, furrowing her eyebrows.
          "He-Headmaster, wh-what about his attendance in my class?" Instructor Danny spoke with a bit of a stutter as he wasn't good at dealing with the Headmaster.
          "He would still attend your classes, only, my lessons would take precedence. Also, I'll take that little girl as well." He pointed his finger towards the bed.
          The girl on the bed opened her eyes as she was curious to who the scruffy old man was referring to but quickly closed them in fright. She put a little more strength to her hands pressing her clothes when she saw the finger pointing at her.
          Wind suddenly gathered in the room as a green hue had begun to emit around Sacha's body. Losing all decorum, he dashed towards the scruffy old man with incredible speed.
          "You senile old freak! Don't you dare place your eyes on my grandchildren!!!" He yelled.
          His face looked ferocious as he stabbed his two fingers towards the old man's yellow eyes, but before they could reach, a pale wrinkled hand suddenly appeared from within the scruffy old man's sleeves and planted itself on Sacha's face.
          In the blink of an eye, Sacha was laying down on the ground, unconscious. The whites in his eyes were showing while his mouth was starting to foam.
          "Merea, place this idiot on a bed." The scruffy old man said.
          Merea, who was rooting for Sacha, clicked her tongue but still followed instructions as she and Instructor Danny carried Sacha towards a vacant bed.
          Urie had watched all of this happen with his eyes wide open. He once again thought back to the scruffy old man's question,
          "Would you like to kill a dragon?"
          The scruffy old man turned his head and looked towards Urie as if he knew what Urie was thinking.
          "What do you think now little boy?" He smiled with a similar expression as earlier.
          "Why do you ask me? If you're so strong, why don't you kill it yourself?"
          Urie was truly perplexed, not knowing why this old man would make such a request.
          "I would if I could--!!" Clicking his tongue, the scruffy old man held back the words in his mouth and crossed his arms while frowning.
          "I need your help little boy. Come on, you'll also be helping that little girl over there."
          Curious at the sudden mention, Celeste opened a single eye to peek at the two people having a conversation. She opened them both in surprise. Her gaze had been caught by theirs.
          "Little girl. If I had to take a guess, you're from the 'outside', aren't you?"
          The old man's eyebrow was raised and he began rubbing his chin.
          "I'll help you get back, just agree to help me." He added.
          Celeste's shoulders jumped at the question, she looked down at the ground in silence. Neither confirming nor disagreeing, the scruffy old man took her actions as a sign of affirmation and spoke towards Urie like a merchant selling a deal.
          "Come on little boy, agreeing to help me, you would also be helping this little girl--"
          "Stop calling me a little boy!"
          "Stop calling me a little girl!"
          Both Urie and Celeste abruptly shouted and glared. This time, a startled expression appeared on the old man's face.
          "Then I take it that both of you agree?" He resumed his usual eerie smile and directed it towards the children.
          The string of well-placed sentences implied that he had ample experience in tricking children.
          The two in front of the old man looked at one another and came to an agreement.

          - Celeste -
          A gentle voice in my head had suddenly begun speaking to me in a frantic tone when I was being shown around the academy by the woman 'grandfather' called Merea.
          As if somebody was pulling me along, I arrived at the academy's courtyard, where I finally saw that ashen-haired boy. I knew I would meet him eventually but not in this kind of situation.
          He was sitting on the ground, surrounded by quickly growing flames.
          Just as they were about to spread towards the people watching at the sides, a familiar rush of warmth had suddenly spread across my body. My hands moved in front of me as I directed the warmth towards the flames.
          A wall of ice had formed between the boy and the other people. My hands that were covered in frost felt fine. I didn't appear to be affected by the cold.
          I turned towards the boy to see how he was doing.
          "What's with that smile!? I yelled.
          All of this was happening around him and yet he was just sitting there smiling? I struggled to keep my eyes open as a wave of exhaustion had hit me.
          "What are you doing!?" I blurted out another question before I could no longer hold myself up. I passed out onto the ground.
          When I came to, that grandpa was making a ruckus beside my bed. I decided not to bother and just kept my eyes closed.
          "Sacha, you stinky boy! Simmer down!"
          A creepy old man suddenly came and it seemed he had brought that boy along. The room shook and at the same time, I heard a loud bang before that grandpa no longer uttered a sound.
          Beside the bed, the boy and the creepy old man were left having a conversation. I strained my ears to listen in on them.
          "I need your help little boy. Come on, you'll also be helping that little girl over there."
          Little girl? Was he talking about me? I tried opening my right eye to peek. Ah! They saw me. They know I'm awake.
          "Little girl. If I had to take a guess, you're from the 'outside', aren't you?" The old man asked.
          Outside? What was he talking about?
          "I'll help you get back, just agree to help me."
          Did he mean my home? He can take me home? Really?
          "Come on little boy, agreeing to help me, you would also be helping this little girl--"
          "Stop calling me a little boy!"
          "Stop calling me a little girl!" I yelled.
          I felt angry at being repeatedly called a little girl.
          "Then I take it that both of you agree?"
          Wha--What should I do?
          [Agree..o his reque...or now...]
          Gentle voice?
          What did he mean? He asked if I was from the outside?
          I was confused, did he mean the place where I came from? If anything, this whole place would be more suited to be called the outside, no?
          [That..isn't of...importance...ight..ow]
          What did he think? I looked towards the ashen-haired boy.
          He nodded as our eyes met.
          Then I'll trust his decision for now. As long as I can go home.
          I want to see them...

          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.

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