“Is everyone all right?” asked Mira, after the teleportation had succeeded; looking at every party member present, checking their conditions to ensure no one was injured.
The Scroll of Teleportation allowed the user to move to a location that they had previously marked as their place of interest. However, such scrolls were rare to come by, as they needed to be obtained in specific dungeons that spawned Corrupted Hyenas; the sort that walked on two legs inflicted curses and wielded axes as their favorite weapons, in other words, overly tough opponents.
Mira possessed no such scrolls. The one she had utilized transported them to the nearest country city that was not in the state of war. Due to the island of Akkaresh only housing two kingdoms, Damas and Vaalmer, who were in conflict, their cities ended up being skipped regardless of danger.
“I think we are all right. But, where are we?” asked Janine in confusion, while Alviona wandered away, getting distracted by a pillar that was visible beside them, attempting to inspect it.
“Well, I can not tell you exactly where we are, but I can assure you that this place is not in a state of war. How about we walk over to that city to find out?” said Mira, pointing towards the city gates that were visible, which appeared to be about half-an-hour away.
Seeing Janine’s nod, she looked around to check on Alviona, who was playing around, inspecting items and her surrounding, her face clearly showing excitement, natural for the girl who one could argue was the most curious creature living in the world.
“Child, what caught your attention?” (Mira)
“This thing is interesting. It emits no mana but has cute things on it. What are those?” asked Alviona pointing towards the statue which stood 3 meters in length from the ground.
The object in question was known as the city beacon, an item that could be crafted by kingdoms and distributed to their different cities or towns to allow for quicker and more convenient movement between the locations. It also had a use during the war, especially for people who were granted a nobility status by the Kingdom ruler, as they could travel to safer beacons. The downside to this was that regardless of rank, one could not carry caravans through it, nor could they transport items, with an exception for those that were already equipped or stored inside the magical pockets/pouches.
After talking to Alviona, explaining to her what the statue in front of her was, the girl’s eyes were sparkling, and ears wiggled in excitement. Mira, Janine, and Solomon watching the child’s state could not help but think how adorable she was.
“All right. Let’s head over into the city,” said Mira extending her hand to the child who gently grabbed it and followed her. “By the way, Alviona is there any way for you to hide your wings? They stand out a little too much. Fallen angels are a rare sight; even if you are not one and your wings are different from theirs, you still resemble their kin in the eyes of other species.”
Ok, thought Alviona, as she hid her wings, making them disappear as if they were never there in the first place. Mira looked confused by this, for nothing had really happened. She even tried to touch the limbs but space was empty, it was not an illusion, the girl had really made them disappear.
Approaching the city gates, the four of them were greeted by guards who, at the sight of Alviona, could not take their eyes away for a few seconds, but in the end, merely inquired about their motive behind the visit.
“All right. I can see that the three of you are not registered under any country. Therefore if you wish to enter this city, you can make a payment of 15 copper per person entering,” stated the guard captain, turning around to Janine, “As for you miss, being registered under the kingdom that is currently at war and is outside of the mainland, you have to pay one silver coin in order to be eligible for entry. Note that the port services will be unavailable for you until the conflict resolves.”
“We just arrived here by utilizing the Teleportation Scroll, as such we do not quite understand where “here” refers to. Would you be kind enough to explain?” asked Mira to the captain after their inspection concluded and payment of one silver and 45 copper was provided.
The guard nodded, moving the payment into a pouch and tossing it into the hands his nearby colleague.
“You are currently in the Kingdom of Xanais, and this here is our port city of Alpall. We mostly conduct trading here. Anything else you would like to know?”
“Yes, are there any guilds in the city?” (Mira)
“A few, yes. There are traders guilds, looking for people that have appraisal skills on various items and objects; Smiths guilds, looking for new recruits and apprentices since we are always busy and the requests for weapons and armors are high. Lastly, there are information guilds for those that are going in and out of the kingdom or want to be updated with current news,” replied the guard. “Is there anything else you wanted to know madame?”
“No, that is quite satisfactory. Thank you very much,” replied Mira with a smile, gesturing towards her party to follow her into the city.
“All righty then. Please, follow me.” The guard approached the door and knocked several times. The slit opened and quickly closed, followed by the door opening and welcoming new visitors in.
The city was not too big but possessed a unique atmosphere and charm to it. Buildings were neatly spaced out, creating broad alleyways where pedestrians walked hurriedly without bumping into each other too much. The roads were packed by wagons that were pulled by oxen, some of their contents being visible while others not so much. Some wagons were escorted by people on the horseback that wore all sorts of different garments and battle gear.
Walking around, trying to find the information guild first, the party could see the mood of the pedestrians. Some people were chattering here and there, greeting each other while delivering food or just merely discussing the weather and life in general; while others, were getting frustrated over the amount of work that needed to be done due to lack of people helping them. Some men and women were laughing hysterically after hearing gossip about some noble. At times, though not occasionally, a cart would pass by, probably transporting a wealthy merchant. It was afternoon, but drunken people would also be seen trying to pick a fight but were always disbanded by city guards that were on patrol duty. While their equipment was not made for war or siege, they were potent at keeping the busy streets as safe as possible.
After wandering around for a while, Alviona, whose appetite awoke due to excitement, became restless, her stomach beginning to growl. The fact that the streets were emitting different smells from the nearby bakeries did not aid the child’s situation, so much that at some point she stopped, touching her growling stomach.
Mira, who held Alviona’s hand, felt the sudden stop and looked at her. Hearing the growling stomach, she could not help but burst into laughter. Everyone had eaten their breakfast a few hours ago, before using the scroll, so witnessing this small child already be at this level of hunger was extraordinary.
“Everyone, let us go and have a quick snack for now. Alviona seems to be hungry,” said Mira, giggling and not taking her eyes off her. She is actually brave. Distanced from her mother for almost three hours now and yet, not a single drop of tears. Furthermore, she is not misbehaving nor is she anxious about being in an unknown to her place, although I do wonder why she is not talking much. “All right, let us go find a place where we can have lunch,” continued Mira; however, Alviona who was still holding her hand shook her head and instead pointed towards a shop sign which read “Velven’s Bakery.”
Seeing her actions, neither Solomon nor Janine could hold their laughter. Mira ended up shrugging, and so the company walked into the bakery.
“Hello. Welcome to Velven’s Bakery. How are you doing today?” came a greeting from a young man behind the counter, beating the eggs and applying sugar into the bowl.
“Good afternoon. We are doing good, thank you for asking.” (Mira)
“I am glad to hear it. What can I do for you today?” (The man)
“We are just looking for the information guild, and while we were at it, the aroma emitted from this establishment lured us in,” said Mira, giving a wink to Alviona, whose face was expressing delight. For her, it was a first time seeing a person mixing ingredients to create a bakery item, so naturally, her curiosity was aroused.
“I-is that really so?” asked the man in delight and confusion. “I am grateful for hearing this. Then… are you here to purchase something?” he continued asking, with an excited face.
“Naturally. Why? Do you not get much business?” asked Solomon, who was confused by the man’s gestures.
“No, no. Not at all. The business gets me from day to day, it is that acquiring new customers is relatively hard, due to high competition. My bakery is old, it was passed down from my grandfather who had baked for the entire town back then before it became a fully-fledged port city. As the trading enlarged, other wealthier people began opening better shops in the vicinity. I still have retained my loyal clients though,” replied the man with a chuckle. “So, what would you like me to get for you?”
“I will take a pecan tart if you sell it.” (Solomon)
“A chocolate waffle for me please.” (Janine)
“I would like a crepe with whip cream please.” (Mira)
Alviona stared, unable to understand what any of those words meant. She was just tempted by the smell but had no clue as to what that smell was coming from. She knew nothing of the food, aside what her mother had always made for her: Hardboiled eggs and crushed oats.
“I will also take two slices of an apple pie if I may,” said Mira, realizing why the child, who was the main reason behind them coming here, was not active. For a moment, she had forgotten about the accelerated age.
The man brought the ordered items, and Mira provided the payment of one silver. Deciding to sit down, the four of them began eating their desserts.
Alviona, who had never seen or eaten a pastry before, looked at the item in front of her, thoroughly analyzing it. However, no information was given. Mira was watching her all the while, chuckling while slowly enjoying her crepe.
Janine, who was sitting in front of the child, seeing that she was nowhere near to even start eating her dessert, and in fear of it getting cold, decided to grab a spoon, gently taking a small piece.
“Here, open your mouth and say aah,” as she said it, the child complied, and the bits of apple pie landed in her mouth. The syrupy taste from apples, the sweet and savory flavor of cinnamon, crunchy and mildly salted crust, all mixed together for an otherworldly taste for Alviona. It was her first time eating something like this and experiencing this new sensation, tears of happiness dripped down her cheeks. Janine, who was watching a person cry over food for the first time in her life, could not help but think that Alviona was overly cute, so she decided to continue feeding her.
After the party was done, they got up and followed Mira, who left another coin of silver and 14 copper pieces on the table for the young man.
“Madame, why?” asked the man in confusion, attempting to give the money back.
“Because you have given this child her first-time experience with the sweets and opened her door to the world of the bakery, particularly desserts. For that, I am grateful. Thank you very much!” replied Mira, bowing and leaving the store with Alviona holding her hand, followed by Janine and Solomon; their destination being the information guild.
Asking the guards for proper directions, the four of them finally located the Informations Guild bureau and stepped in. It was a 3-story building, made of cream-colored bricks that were enchanted with magic alloy, to avoid cracks accumulating over time. The reception room was grand, with men and women moving in and out, carrying scrolls, books, and maps around, saying words such as That information is outdated! Replace it; Cyclops sighted in the Forest of Whispers; Bandits assaulted the Caravans. Guards equipped with shortswords and small wands, stood tall, protecting the staircase that led to the upper floors.
Mira approached the receptionist, who was sitting behind the gold-colored metal bars, which she guessed protected her from people reaching over and stealing information scrolls that were traded here. After waiting in line for twenty or so minutes, it was finally her turn to walk up to the girl.
“Good afternoon and welcome to the Informations Guild. How may I be of service today?” (Receptionist)
“Hello, I would like to purchase some piece of information in regards to magic on this continent.” (Mira)
“Very well, what sort of magic are we talking about?” (Receptionist)
“Child, what sort of magic are you considering in pursuing?” asked Mira to Alviona, who was wiggling her ears in excitement after hearing the word “Magic,” but was unable to understand what she meant.
“I do not think that she has considered pursuing a specific school of magic, because she does not know what that word even means,” replied Solomon in her stead, understanding what his mistress was telling him.
Mira pouted and excused herself from the receptionist, stepping back and allowing the next person in line to pursue their business. She went towards a sofa, and sat down, gesturing towards everyone to join her.
“Very well then. Let me explain to you what the schools of magic refer to darling,” said Mira with a smile, patting Alviona’s head and asking for her attention, to which she received a nod.
The schools of magic referred to the different styles and utilization of mana to achieve different goals, which were divided into five types:
Martial – Utility of Mana to boost the strength of muscles, increase the impact of attacks, become more nimble, increase agility; in short go beyond physical body restrictions. For example, Akaron was a legendary warrior that utilized Martial schools of magic. He was adept at using [Earth Body], which caused his muscles to strengthen in such way that he would be reminiscent of an unmovable boulder. No matter how hard one would strike him with a weapon, he was immune, and having reached the realm of perfection, could instantly disable that ability and use another one such as [Pouncing Thrust], pouncing with his entire body and thrusting with his mighty spear, essentially going right through that person. This school of magic is very demanding that the user trains the body from an early age and learns to control breathing.
Elemental – Utility of Mana to Shape, Form, and Control the different types of elements such as Wind, Earth, Water, Fire, and Lightning. Solomon was an example of this, for he was an Elementalist sorcerer, that utilized Fire based magic to its full extent, able to cast an advanced spell such as [Incinerate] which caused his targeted area to instantly roast anything into ashes. This school of magic had a lot of charm to it because users were able to mix and match various elements and see what suited them the best. Those that also had elemental affinities could cast that specific element much more potently and at a less mana consumption that could further be toned down through equipment and training mind.
Summoning – Utility of Mana to Shape, Form, Create, and Control an entity that stays in the realm for a defined time, aiding the creator with support based attacks, remaining as a front-liner, or being a back-liner. The strength and skills of the summon are dependent on the creativity of its summoner. For example, a person could create an earth golem that would have all the properties of one. The size would be up to the user and the bigger it would be, the less likely that it would stay for long. On the other hand, some creative users could create butterflies the size of humans that had electric wings and spiritual body, able to heal allies and at the same time, combat enemies with electric based elemental attacks.
Psychic – Utility of Mana to Weaken, Confuse and Control the minds of the opponent. This school of magic was not favored by anyone. It had a steep learning curve, and no-one to date had mastered it completely. Just having interest in this field of magic was considered as a lowly and dishonorable deed. However, countries required organizations such as spies and assassins, and as such, some individuals would pursue the teachings, for the pay was really good.
Divine – Utility of Mana to Bless, Protect, Heal, and Preserve the life. A protection based school of magic, which allowed users to cast buffs that reduced incoming magical damage, healed wounds and sometimes, could even resurrect the dead back to life, although this required a blessing from an angel, a feat that was ridiculously costly to achieve and dangerous, for most countries and organizations would be after such ability user. Divine could also accelerate and even fully restore the mana of allied targets, but it caused extreme exhaustion and the inability of utilizing said skill for at least 3-4 hours, as it would generally go on cooldown.
Of course, no one was ever restricted to one school of magic, in truth, it was encouraged that inhabitants of Dedrillon pursued multiple schools and mixed things up. However, it was a good idea to always have a solid foundation and then branch out later. Which is why different magical schools offered a different level of knowledge in the five schools of magic.
Concluding her lesson about the topic, Mira looked at Alviona, ensuring that she did not have any questions or that she did not get confused during the explanation.
“So, now that you know about different schools of magic, which one do you think will you pursue?” asked Mira, curiosity filling every inch of her body, for she knew to whom she was posing such question.
Alviona began contemplating over the provided information. After 10 minutes passed, she grinned and looked at her grandmother.
“I want to pursue Divine and Elemental. However, I want to learn about all the magic. Is there a way of doing it?”
When this question was posed, a brick fell down on the heads of the three listeners.