"Hey, who's that?"
"I don't know. I've never seen them before..."
"Wait, that ninetails and the blond girl, aren't they Headmaster Erion's new disciples?"
"Oh, you're right! I wonder who found them?"
"I bet it was Prince Aldruin."
"Right? He was so boastful."
"Who're the other people though? Is that a pixie or something? And that man with the... steamforged? With the metal arm and tail. I've never seen his species before. There's an awakened three-tailed foxkin too."
"I'm a bit worried that they have a cripple with them... What good will bringing her along be?"
"They're just nons except the cute girl, so ignore them. Like they can use magic better than us elites."
Lone tuned out the conversations at that point. If they were just going to devolve from harmless curiosity to visceral speciesism, then Lone would rather act ignorant than accidentally lash out and throw someone off of the bridge and into the ocean.
Swind couldn't quite do the same, but he was mature enough to do nothing beyond tighten his fists around the straps that affixed Rachel's seat to his back.
Before long, Lone's group - as well as the other potential future students and returning ones - reached a large open square.
On all sides of the square were tall and archaic buildings that reminding Lone of grand castles and palaces, but some things were moving or working solely with the help of magic.
Lone found this to be very interesting. "It's kinda like Hogwarts, but more magical..."
"Hogwarts?" Eolande asked in confusion. "What's that?"
"A fictional school to teach magic. I'll make the books it's from for you at some point. It's a pretty fun read," Lone answered off-handedly.
"is that so?" Eolande coyly questioned. "Thanks."
Lone and his group were garnering an incredible amount of attention from the many humans and few demihumans in the square. There were easily 3,000 people here not including the robed teachers and students who were keeping the peace and monitoring everyone for the time being. Of those 3,000, at least 2,000 were watching or talking about Lone and Soph's odd group.
"Hey, you!" a short human boy with freckles covering his handsome face shouted as he pointed at Lone.
"Me?" Lone asked as he followed the boy's finger with his own and pointing at his face. "Do you have business with me?"
The boy nodded and stormed up to Lone. "I don't acknowledge you as Headmaster Erion's personal disciple!"
'Hah. He's a D-ranker, so he can't feel my strength, and I intentionally didn't wear my adventurer plate to not draw more attention initially than I needed to, but he hasn't heard about what I've done in Mystopolis for the past 2-weeks? This is kinda refreshing. I knew it was a good idea to hide all of our plates,' Lone thought as he stood there in silence.
"Did you go mute, Demi?!" the boy yelled in anger.
Lone smiled faintly. "No, sorry. I was locked in thought. Anyway, what do you intend to do? I didn't want to be Erion's disciple, and I fully plan to learn here like a normal student, as do my fiancée and all of my friends here."
"All of your friends?" the boy glanced at the disabled Rachel. "Even her?"
Lone immediately nodded. "Yes. Her condition is only temporary. Anyway, I can see one of The Academy's students coming over here to register us for the test, so if that's all you had to say, could you please leave us alone now?"
The boy looked upset to be so dismissively brushed off, but he held back his words of anger and just said, "I will never acknowledge a non like you!" then he walked away, back into the crowd.
Lone shrugged and commented, "It's not like I need nor want your acknowledgement."
Lone's group successfully all registered, and surprisingly, no questions were asked in regards to Rachel, which was a bit odd, but it certainly wasn't a bad thing in Lone's opinion.
Maybe an hour later, a very loud clap filled everyone's ears, forcing all gathered hopefuls to wince a bit and look at its source.
Rachel was extremely rattled and scared by the sound, so Swind ignored the person responsible for the noise and took off his backpack-slash-chair very carefully then hugged Rachel and began petting her tails to keep her calm.
Swind had discovered after spending so many sleepless nights spend by her side, that stroking her fluffy tails would result in her being soothed ever so slightly whenever she was scared or panicked, and keeping her comfortable mattered far more to him that whatever the person floating up in the sky above them had to declare.
Seeing that Swind had Rachel perfectly handled and cared for, Lone looked coldly at the elderly woman who was 40-feet off of the ground above the centre of the square.
"What a cunt," Lone loudly said as he broke the deafening silence. "You didn't need to fuckin' assault our eardrums to get our attention. I hope you'll apologise for putting my vulnerable friend in distress."
The woman snorted and ignored Lone. "All gathered hopefuls are to be tested for their general magic potential as well as for what schools of magic you have any talent in. I and my fellow professors shall be using a tool on each and every one of you individually which shall utilise the world system to display these potentials to everyone present. You were all given a number upon your registration, so approach me or the relevant teacher when your number gets called."
After coldly stating that, she floated over to an open area and waved her hand, making a stage grow from the stone beneath her feet. She did the same once she was standing on the new stage, making one long table and 20 chairs appear - 10 on either side.
She and nine other academy professors then took a seat on the side facing the crowd. Without skipping a beat, they began magically amplifying their voices and calling out numbers one at a time in a very professional manner.
A lot of the hopeful students gave Lone mocking glances or openly laughed at him - especially the one that had publically challenged him earlier.
Lone didn't care about them even one bit. His eyes remained fixed on the old woman who seemed to be in charge as he asked Swind, "Is Rachel okay?"
"She's fine now. Thank you for your concern, Lone," Swind replied in a soft voice as he continued hugging Rachel to his chest.
Lone nodded. "Good. If that old bag of bones does something like that again, I swear to fucking God, I'm punching her in the face."
Soph squeezed his hand and frowned. "Potty mouth..."
Eolande covered her mouth and giggled. "For some reason, I sort of hope that she does that again now..."
"I, for one, do not," Swind said immediately as he struggled to hide the anger that was filling him.
"Urg... Ma? Swoo..." Swind's anger receded a bit upon hearing Rachel's incoherent mutterings.
"It's okay now, Rachel. I'm here," he said in a soft voice.
Breena's eyebrows were creased, but she didn't say nor do anything. She did, however, think privately to herself. 'What is that human thinking? Can't she see that she hurt my cousin? Master is also a very powerful and famous person... Even if the students are ignorant, the teachers shouldn't be...'
Those thoughts would remain unresolved as Lone's group waited for their numbers to be called.
Very soon, hundreds of people had been testing. Without exception, every single one had been failed so far.
From how the test worked, it displayed your potential in magic with a number out of 1,000, obviously, with 1,000 being the best. Along with that, it displayed any affinities you had to all known magic types, and additionally, it even showed your total MP.
Thus far, the highest score for the general potential was displayed as 102/1,000, which apparently wasn't enough to satisfy The Academy's requirements.
"Hey, Husband, isn't that the boy who was so rude to you earlier?" Eolande asked as she pointed to the stone stage.
Lifting his head, Lone squinted his eyes and nodded. "Looks like it."
Soph growled softly. "I haven't accepted you yet. He isn't your husband." She then wrapped her arms around Lone's waist and a few of his tails defensively.
Eolande laughed awkwardly. "Sorry. Force of habit."
Lone didn't pay the girls too much attention since this was a normal skit for them, and he just muttered, "I hope he scores really well and gets accepted so that when I show him up and outdo him, it'll be even more impactful."
Breena smiled beneath her facemask. "Master is evil."
Lone grinned and rubbed the girl's head. "Only to asshats."
They watched as the boy was tested and then Lone focused on his displayed stats.
|Overall Magic Potential|
"He has so much potential!"
"He even has three affinities! He can become a tri-mage if he works hard for a few decades!"
"Who is he?"
"I wonder if he's single? He's kinda cute..."
Suffice to say, the crowd was going wild.
The teacher in front of him smiled and said, "You pass. Please wait here until we're done testing the rest of the hopeful students."
The boy thanked the teacher and then smirked as he tilted his head back and glanced at Lone. The foxkin just smiled and shook his head slowly as he mouthed the words, 'Fucking idiot', greatly upsetting the boy.
Lone couldn't care any less. he ignored the teen as he stood to the side.
Soph tugged on Lone's arm and asked, "Lone, what number are you?"
"Hmm? I'm dead last," he replied. "Number 3,062."
"Huh... Um, I'm next. They just called my number," Soph said a bit shyly.
Lone petted her head and said, "Not that you need it, but good luck."
"Mmm!" Soph left the group and walked up onto the stage.
A lot of the gathered hopeful or lingering rejects began commenting on how beautiful Soph was and how young she appeared to be. Regardless of that, the teacher in front of her smiled politely then he tested Soph.
|Overall Magic Potential|
"Sh-She has the potential to be a penta-mage?!"
"Ignore that! Look at how much MP and potential she has!"
"I think I'm gonna pass out... is this real?"
"Who even is she? I've never seen her before!"
"I know who she is! The students of The Academy spent their entire mid-year break searching for her and that foxkin over there!"
"Right! She's one of Headmaster Erion's personal disciples!"
The teacher in front of Soph was equally shocked, but he soon laughed a bit dryly and shook his head. "You pass with near-perfect marks. It's such a shame that Headmaster Erion already has his eyes on you. I'm sure Professor Mildburrow would have loved to finally take in a disciple for once. Oh well. Please, stand to the side and wait for us to finish testing everyone else."
"Mhmm," Soph shyly replied then stood to the side but didn't get anywhere near the boy from before - who, by the way, was red with embarrassment and anger.
If Soph had this much potential as a mage, then only the Primal's knew how absurd the results for Lone's test would be. The young teen was starting to heavily regret his previously arrogant behaviour.
Eolande's face fell. "She even has more MP than me now? I'm really pathetic for a double-X-ranker, huh?" she whispered.
Lone heard her and smiled. "Regardless of that, she has no aptitude for illusion magic, so stop being so whiny, huh?"
Eolande pouted. "Sure, but then there's you. I'm really not looking forward to seeing your results."
Lone shrugged. "Well, at the very least, you have more MP than me."
Eolande giggled. "You aren't even going to lie to console me? You're too cruel, Husband... I don't hate that about you."
The next moment, both Eolande and Breena's numbers were coincidentally called at the same time. "Well, wish me luck, Husband."
"Like you need it. I'll see you both up on the stage shortly. Breena, if they fail you, ignore them and stay on the stage anyway," Lone said with a big smirk on his face.
Breena's eyes softened and she nodded her head. "I... I'll try not to disappoint you, Master."
With that said, the two girls approached the stage together.
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- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
Bio: Hey there, nice to see you. I'm just an ordinary man who enjoys writing, which is great since it's my full-time job now thanks to the support from you guys over on Patreon! I hope you enjoy my novels if you read them, and if not, I hope you enjoy looking at my profile.