Metaworld Chronicles

by

Wutosama

Chapter 12  - Instructions and Instructors

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A note from Wutosama

edited 19/12/2018


Woodland survival took place within an especially constructed Illusion inside the Blackwattle's athletics field, supplemented by Conjured flora. The process was apparently both costly and complicated, and an average school like Blackwattle could only afford enough resources to keep the Enchantment lit for a month at best. As such, within a limited time frame, all eligible students had to complete Woodland Survival 101 or forfeit their chance at distinguishing themselves on the Field Trip.

The course was operated by several Rangers who were sent down from Randwick Barracks, specialising in overland combat, especially recon and scouting missions.

Gwen's eyes lit up when their instructor, a six-foot-four clean shaven Staff Sergeant, presented himself to the students.

“Call me Sergeant Boone.” The military grinned affably.

Gwen's face heated up. Having spent so much time in the company of teenagers, the presence of an actual 'man' made her realise just how much she had missed interacting with adults.

Sgt. Boone had the exterior of a poster soldier from propaganda Vid-casts, owning a stubble capable of grating cheese. His figure was long and muscular. In his tight khaki crew-neck, he resembled an Aussie G.I Joe.

“Gwen, stop drooling…” Yue nudged Gwen in the ribs. She noted that her companion was into strong and stoic guys, which made perfect sense. Gwen perpetual lamented the fact that her father was a useless, unambitious layabout who relied on his women to make his bed.

The exercises the students had to perform were numerous, but for Gwen who had the patience and experience of an adult, field dressing and other basic survival routines provided a scant challenge. Though physically exhausting, it was no drama watching Boone go about his explanations, sweat perspiring on his thick arms.

Indeed, it was no trouble at all - until the class moved onto utilitarian magic.

The students each had to take a hand in makeshift-shelter construction and fire making. They also practised hunting relatively harmless Wildland creatures for provisions, or at least animated Constructs imitating the real-life animals. The illusory field furthermore disorientated the students, assessing their orienteering and tracking abilities. Day after day, the schedules and activities continued. The field even had simulated rain, as well as one time, a bushfire, though Gwen suspected Yue had something to do with it.

By the fourth day, Gwen's confidence was shot.

Since Mages could manifest a variety of practical phenomena, different Schools of Magic made specific tasks negligible and trivial.

Yue, for example, could create fire, but couldn't control flames. It meant that if she lost control of a spell, the entire camp could end up in smokes. Here was where Water Mages, the most common of all Elemental Mages, saved the day. They may not be able to fight very efficiently, but they could conjure clean water for drinking and washing, put out fires, and even effortlessly create mana Shields to block the rain.

Likewise, recruit a good Earth Abjurer or Transmuter, and one had instant shelters. Abjurers created igloo-like dome structures where teammates could sleep, whereas Transmuters could transmute stone and build a two bedroom bungalow. Anecdotally, Boone told them that one-time, his squad had been stuck out in the Wild Lands near the Orange Zone of central Australia. Lacking shelter from the sun, their Transmuter went and dug a small complex underground so secure and well sheltered that the Army opted to convert it into a Forward Operating Base.

Therefore, watching the others busy at work, Gwen and Yue realised a fundamental flaw of Evocation. Evokers were very, VERY good at killing stuff and blowing shit up.

But were otherwise one-trick ponies.

Oh. My. God. Her face burned.
To think she would be ashamed to be an Evoker.

Gwen, Yue and half a dozen others stood and watched those whom they had looked down upon previously going about a dozen tasks at once.

I am sorry, non-Evocation Mages! Gwen apologised profusely. I was too arrogant and ignorant of your talents!

Where Evokers had been the star of every practice session, with every eyes and ear enticed by their loud explosions and cool pyrotechnics; now they just loafed around.

Together with Gwen and Yue, they watched their precarious wood shacks wavering in the wind while someone like Debora transmuted themselves an elevated stone fortress.

Wincing at the tenderness of her blistering fingers, all motivation drained from Gwen. Even with Boone watching her, she couldn't muster the motivation to do more than the bare minimum.

What was worse, Debora, having discovered the girls' ineptitude, had set herself up to flirt with Boone, asking for pointers on how she could strength her Normandy battle fortress. She was the perfect candidate, after all, possessing both Transmutation and Earth talents, the same as Boone.

Watching her sculptures twist and turn into arches and extend to become walls was agonising for Yue, who could do nothing but hack away at the branches with a tomahawk, feeling like a useless NoM.

“The nerve!” Yue growled. “She’s all over Sgt. Boone like a cheap piece of meat.”

“It's fine…” Gwen shrugged. She could see that Boone was uncomfortable and understood the man perfectly well. These were high school girls, and he was a thirty-something adult. Though Debora had the body of a woman, her childish idea of flirtatious sexuality had Boone sweating buckets.

By the time Debora finished, she had created an elevated fortification, a two-metre tall monstrosity with a roof and an observation platform. Boone was heaping praises upon her, and their rival was aglow with otherworldly confidence.

Yue and Gwen observed their shabby stick humpy, breathing out sadly through their noses.

You win this time Debbie! They sobbed dejectedly.

Thinking about Debora's display, the girls noted Transmutation's versatility. Debora could launch a short-range Catapult; she could Barkskin, she could Stone Shape in the future. She could even self-buff and melee her targets with Enhance Ability. Transmutation was an all-rounder talent! Debora was one hell of a useful existence to have on a team, more so than themselves, who were glass cannons.

“I think we looked down on her too much,” Yue confessed miserably. She liked to be honest with her feelings.

“Yeah…” Gwen found herself twiddling her hair, “I feel useless.”

“Erg…”

Elvia joined them on the fifth day, having had separate training for battle triage and field hospital protocols. She was likewise useless at base-building. And so it was that the three girls spent the next week learning a little thing or two about the versatility of the other Schools of Magic.

In the end, the trio managed a 'Pass'.

 

 

Combat training and teamwork followed.

On paper, Jun's setup was perfect.

Their scout, Henley, did not need to separate from the team and as such, could enjoy the full benefit of Gwen and Yue’s firepower as well as Elvia’s healing should things come to a head.

Thanks to an augur in their midst, the party could move while maintaining formation, alternating casts between Gwen and Yue to conserve mana, and have Elvia and Henley buff the party. Jun himself served double duty as both battlefield control and tank, using his spells to snare and slow opponents. If they ran into Soldier-tier beasts, Gwen and Yue could attack, and Jun would slow. In the worst-case scenario, Henley and Elvia had their own Shields. Furthermore, as a Cleric, Elvia's mana-intensive Shield of Faith was as strong as Jun's Abjuration Shields, though she could only protect herself.

On paper, their formation seemed perfect.

 

 

“Oh my God! I just died, Yue! I just died!”

The training field had transformed into a sparse fire trail thanks to a combination of Illusion and Conjuration, setting the girls to track a moving ‘dummy’ of sorts.

When Yue spied the dummy hidden behind a thick-waisted oak, she let loose a barrage almost on instinct. The effect was spectacularly disastrous.

Her first bolt struck the tree. The second caught on a branch. The third thumped the ground adjacent, sending up a cloud of dust and soil.

The dummy skipped away, but the tree Yue had struck splintered and fell, almost knocking out Jun, who had to hastily erect a reinforced ice barrier.

“You’re fine!” Yue pointed out.

“I know, but if I was slow, or if I SUCKED, I would be a pile of meat under a tree right now. Imagine if Gwen or Henley was in my place.” Jun pointed out coldly, which riled up Yue even more.

The group's training was not unfolding smoothly.

Yue had a knack for firing bolts at whatever came into her field of vision. Even with the divination provided by Henley, she was hitting trees left and right, sending blasts of splintered wood, dust, and assorted debris towards her team.

She should be using shaped blasts, Gwen thought of the physics of her old world and wondered if such a thing could be applied to Spellcraft. Though she had no idea how shaped charges worked. It wasn't like they taught demolition in MBA courses at the University of Sydney.

“So what do you want me to do then?” Yue demanded with exasperation. The woodlands proved a terrible terrain for her Magic, incidentally the very terrain for their incoming Field Trip in the Royal National.

The two senior students halted the party.
The five huddled to discuss better strategy.

“Yue, I am not blaming you or anything, but you need to be aware of overhead obstacles.”

There were reasons why baseline spells were timeless after all. Had Yue stuck to the self-seeking flaming missiles, there would be no problem. Rescinding, however, would halve her damage output, not to mention Yue was adamant she could somehow make it work.

“Alright, let us take ten, and we’ll get back to you.”

Yue fell back and moved to the middle of the party, and Gwen moved up just behind Jun.

“Now Gwen.” Jun indicated for her to follow. “With me, on my mark.”

“Righto.” Gwen followed, feeling adrenaline kicking through her body.

Jun indicated to the Controller to release another dummy. In the distance, the shape of a semi-humanoid creature materialised. It landed mechanically on the forest floor, imitating a kind of half-wallaby, half-goblin hybrid.

“Blast Bolt!”

A blue bolt of electricity ionised from midair and struck the creature before it even moved from the summon circle, obliterating the golem-dummy into bits of splintering wood and animal skin.

“On my mark…” Jun groaned. “On MY MARK, Gwen…”

Elvia appeared downright embarrassed for her two trigger-happy friends.

“Sorry…” Gwen made a face. “I was a bit nervous…”

“Another! Sorry about that!” Jun called out to the Controller.

“YOU GOT THIRTY MORE MINUTES.” A husky female voice called out from the control tower.

“Alrighty then.” Jun turned to Gwen. “On my mark…”

Another dummy materialised, making its gangly way into the woodland illusion. This time they waited until the thing hid somewhere in the woods.

“Alright, here goes.”

Henley’s halo came into being; he scanned the area before him, locating almost immediately the magical signature of the skittish Construct.

“Three O clock, twenty metres, one enemy, small,” the Diviner reported expertly.

The party moved forward as quietly as they could manage, with Henley reporting their quarry's movements every time it shifted positions. Gwen’s Bolts were effective up to forty meters, but her spatial accuracy suffered as distance increased.

“Engaging,” Jun announced.

“Bless.”

“True Strike.”

The group held its breath. The dummy stopped behind another tree, but quickly decided against hiding and leapt from the bush quick as a mechanical wallaby could wallop.

“Guiding Bolt!”

Gwen watched with surprise as her bolt, which had been half a metre off, arc towards the target as if guided by providence. It was the chance-altering effecting of True Strike, which tapped into the threads of possibilities and gave her a sensation of preternatural foresight. From the view of others, it looked as though the thing had run into a bolt of lightning.

'Crack!'

The additional energy from the Blessing spell kicked in. Not far, the positively charged bolt ripped apart the Construct, sending bits of wood all over.

“Finish it!” Jun commanded.

“Lightning Blast!”

Guided by the positive energy planted by her Guiding Bolt, a half dozen bolts arced through the air. Three strikes, three near misses and a mess of electrical explosions later, nought but a smouldering mass was left.

“Ray of Frost.” A crinkle of frost smothered the sparks and cooled the area.

Jun’s cantrip stamped out any potential fires before they could spread. That was something they had to wary of; the Green Zone had little economic activity such as logging, meaning the forest was thick with tinder.

“Good job!” Jun breathed out.

“Nice one Gwen,” Henley appended.

Gwen bumped fists with Yue and Elvia.

That was a good run by any metric.

It demonstrated the absurd advantage Lightning Mages had over those with projectile blasts. So long as Gwen could visualise the manifestation point, she could manifest from the back, the front, the side, above, any which way. It was still safest to shot from above the target though, as electricity tended to arc towards the nadir, and Gwen did not want to risk wasting a spell by grounding it accidentally.

The group switched between Yue and Gwen three more times before their allotted training hour was over. Yue succeeded on her next try, but her final attempt once again overcommitted, started a small forest fire.

“Alright, let's pack it up for today.” Jun made the call, and the five retreated from the practice field. The illusion faded, and they were once again out on the concrete walkway.

“Impressive firepower,” a sultry voice rang out behind them.

“Ma’am.” Jun greeted the figure still in the shadow of the fading illusion.

“AOE problems?” the owner of the voice enquired as an envious silhouette materialised.

The Instructor was a woman who looked to be in her late twenties, slim and professionally attired. She wore a scarlet pencil skirt and a tapered white blouse adorned with a carmine ribbon-neck tie, matched by heels in ruby-red. There was an air of confidence about the woman that made the students instantly attentive, undiminished by her uncommonly gorgeous face. She wore her hair as a piled bun, leaving loose ringlets of red hair to frame her delicate profile.

The Instructor's ultramarine eyes twinkled.

More so than the others, Gwen felt doubly impressed. The Instructor reminded her of herself.

“Ma’am.” The students made their respect known.

“Alesia De Botton, guest Instructor.” Their Instructor extended a hand and crisply shook the student's sweaty palms. “I’ll be looking after your group for the Field Trip.”

“We’re in your care Ma’am,” Jun answered before anyone else, already smitten, much to Yue's dismay.

“Not so soon, Tiger.” Alesia's scarlet smile was full of confidence. “First-impressions are important.”

She waved to the control station, and the field changed from that of the forest to that of a dozen dummies roving back and forth.

“Fire Ball!”

A mote of flame shot out from her fingertips toward the roving dummies. To their surprise, it perfectly flew between the first two, through a gap in the third, and struck the fourth dummy dead centre. An eruption of fire then blossomed like a red-scarlet lotus, rolling across the field.

But there was something odd and unusual about the explosion, for it lacked the heat that was so ubiquitous to Yue’s spells.

When the dust settled, they were shocked to see only ONE dummy destroyed, and all the others merely seared and scorched.

“HOW!” Yue's jaw hung half open.

How indeed! Gwen felt her mind reeling. What she was seeing defied reality!

“That’s a shaped-spell.” Alesia shook her finger cooly like someone tapping the ash from a cigarette. “You need a little bit of Evocation and a bit of Transmutation, a little meta magic training and a little help from an elemental spirit, then it should be manageable with a little practice."

The gathered teens gazed upon their new Instructor, genuine worship welling from their little impressionable hearts. Despite her vague advice, even Gwen was infected by her startling displays of competence.

Evocation... and Transmutation?

Her mind reeled.

A MAGUS!

A REAL LIFE MAGUS!

Someone who was fully competent in TWO Schools!

And the woman doesn't look a day over thirty!

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A note from Wutosama

Chapter Ref ::  


Volume 1 Amazon (US) the book is in all markets as well.
Volume 2 Amazon (US) the book is in all markets as well.
 
V1 Google Play, iBook, Kobo, Nook and Playster Link
V2 Google Play, iBook, Kobo, Nook and Playster Link

Paper back in near future


Metaworld-Meta-fics :

Strictly CaliAn islander's Meta-journeyStrategic MagicThe Strange Life of an Elf From Sydney
"Strictly Caliban" From the always catty @Wandysama
And "An Islander's Meta-Journey" from young gun @Bartimeus
The Mysteries of Fudan, and Other Rumors From the Metaworld
Strategic Magic by kjoatmon
Farewells - The Strange Life of a Quarter-Elf From Sydney
Rise of a Magi by a Duck Mage (Rhein)


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AGROSQ Audio 


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About the author

Wutosama

Bio: I write on the phone and edit at home. Times are tough!

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