Metaworld Chronicles

by

Wutosama

Chapter 126 - Off to see the Wizard

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The next morning, Gwen remained in her room and engaged in astral mediation until a NoM servant knocked on her door.

“Ms Gwen, there’s a man outside who says he’s here to see you and Mr Richard.”

“I’ll be out in a minute.”

Gwen had been expecting the house call since babulya had stated that Magister Luo, the Dean of Fudan, requested for an interview at their earliest convenience.

Having received a less than subtle hint from Klavdiya that Magister Luo had an eye for the aesthetic, Gwen elected to plan her outfit meticulously. From the top, she piled her hair until it coiled into a messy bun, showing off her slender neck and dignified shoulders, leaving enough of a fringe to frame her face in a feminine way. For her upper-body, she wanted something youthful but not playful, and so settled upon an antique-white, elbow length blouse with flared trumpet sleeves. It was one of the more unusual fashion items she had picked out from Singapore, with a tailored allowance for her bust and a tightly tapered waistline, showing off her honed collarbones. A cobalt ribbon-tie accentuated the collar, bringing the observer’s gaze up toward her hazel irises. For her lower-half, Gwen chose a tightly hugging, high-waisted pencil-skirt in dark charcoal, finished off with her signature Mary-Janes. To finish, she had pondered what manner of face she should paint for something as important as a meeting with the Dean, strategically choosing a nude contour with bright ruby-red lipstick, a touch of mascara, darkened brows, and striking tips for her eyes.

When Gwen finalised her outfit and exited her room, she found Richard and another fellow in jovial conversation.

Gwen watched their eyes light up as their attention turned towards her, and knew with confidence that she had chosen the right outfit. It wasn't that difficult to impress. This world had no corporate culture and thus, no corporate fashion. From what she had seen so far, the Chinese Mageocracy should arguably invest in some talented NoM designers like the Europeans.

“Beautiful.” Richard gave Gwen a smile of approval.

“I am inclined to agree.” The stranger approached with an open hand. “Magus Jin Ru, at your service. I am here to deliver you to the Dean.”

A Magus? Gwen felt shocked as they shook, then retreated a step and bowed. A Magus just to deliver two neophytes? Babulya was better connected than her casual demeanour gave off.

Jin beamed at Gwen appreciatively, his eyes gleaming with a discerning admiration.

“Hoho, I bet the old man can’t wait to see you. Now, before we leave, I need to verify one thing.”

“Sir?” Gwen tilted her head enquiringly, causing a single lock of style hair to hug her cheek.

“Lightning and Void, if you could give me a small demonstration.” The Magus seemed a little embarrassed by his request. “For verification, of course, it’s a little hard to believe that someone could be in possession of two oppositional, rather than complementary, elements.”

“Of course, Sir.” Gwen turned to the middle the training hall. One could wear shoes in the training hall, not heels, but she didn’t want the embarrassing hassle of struggling out of her shoes in her tightly tailored outfit. Gwen settled on inoculating the Magus any potential surprises later, and so materialised both Ariel and Caliban.

Ariel felt the same as always, while Caliban felt more robust and vigorous since its consumption of the Elder Gila.

She received an empathic demand from Caliban to transform into its new form, but Gwen suppressed the creature's whinning. She knew better than that. She had an inkling of what Caliban's new form entailed, and she wasn't about to announce it to the world here.

Jin watched the two critters chase one another around the hall after fighting down a bout of vertigo when Caliban emerged from the dark space between Planes.

“Very impressive, Ms Song. I do believe we may proceed.”

“Thank you, Magus Ru.” Gwen dismissed her familiars.
With the Magus leading, Gwen followed Richard and Jin out of the compound.

A car awaited them outside, a dark SUV embossed with the Fudan logo, a pictogram of the words ‘Fu-Dan’ composed in the character style of the late Qing. As the vehicle left the compound, Jin began to give the cousin duo a history lesson on the University.

“Fudan stems from the final era of the late Qing Dynasty,” Jin began. "The characters were chosen by its founder, Meister Xianbo Ma, from the Confucian Analects Shangshu Dazhuan. Its intended meaning, 'Itinerant as the twilight, the sun glows, and moon luminesces' represents our expectations for the Mages who graduate from the college. Our motto is to learn extensively and adhere to aspirations, to inquire earnestly and reflect with self-application."

"Our university is a survivor. We have outlived the Qing, the first Great War, the Second Great War, the Communist Revolution, glory be to Mao, and finally the coming of modernity and the global conversion to western Spellcraft. Today, we remain one of the only independent universities in China, as well as possing our very own Faculty Tower for apprenticing students."

“Fudan has its own Tower?” The last point came as a surprise. Gwen hadn’t realised that other Towers apart from the PLA and the Pudong Tower existed in Shanghai.

“Well, technically no.” Jin battered a hand as he turned into the Second Orbital Highway. “It’s an experimental Tower, made to simulate conditions within a real tower. Quest boards, training rooms, Meditation suites, Cognisance Chambers. There’s are no combat engines, an army of Golems, or Shield Generators, its designed so that the students can compete for resources. For obvious reasons, under the PLA, the mobile-fortress function of the Towers have been defunct and neglected since the 1970s...”

"However, you are welcome to participate and even take a room in the Tower should your grades and academic ranking allow. Your grandmother, our alumina, once possessed one such room near the top floor."

“I didn’t know Fudan had this facility either,” Richard said puzzlingly. “When did you begin this program?”

“The program was halted by the PLA in the 70s. But we managed to get permission to reinitiate in 1990,” Jin answered proudly. “We have two Towers, in fact, T1 and T2, with the joining bottom segment named Guanghua, the Hall of Brilliance. Students wishing to stay in the Tower may choose a mock-Faction, and there are competitions for items and interesting resources. We’ve since also added the chance to trade CCs for resources as well.”

“Saves us a trip to the PLA or the Pudong Tower,” Richard pointed out.

“Saves you from getting into politics before you graduate, while giving you a taste for it,” Jin replied. “You have no idea how many times we lost good students to the Towers. The Magus and Magisters in Pudong and the PLA are hungry for talent. This way, you get to try out your hand before committing yourself.”

“Isn’t early commitment seen as a good thing?” Gwen inquired.

“If all the talented students are off fighting the Undead, expanding our borders, hunting monsters or digging up Dungeons, who's going to be advancing Spellcraft, creating new spells, and investigating unseen phenomena?” Jin sighed wistfully. “Not to mention politics is far more dangerous than anything you can encounter in the wild. When you die to Magical Beasts, there’s at least a corpse left behind.”

“Sounds harsh,” Gwen chuckled nervously. She was beginning to get an inkling as to what Magus Ru thought about life outside of the confines of academia.

“You young Mages are still growing into your wings. Sometimes, it is best to pluck a feather and fly low until you understand what awaits in the sky above.” Jin shook his head. They drove in silence for a quarter of an hour, then turned off a ramp into the University Town of Fudan.

The immediate indication that they had arrived were two gargantuan towers stabbing like twin spears into the sky. Constructed of a mixture of brutalist architecture and art-deco from the early 20s, the glass and concrete facade of the Hall of Brilliance with its twin-towers cut an imposing presence over the surrounding low-lying campus, its parallel shadows reminding Gwen of a giant sundial.

As the car turned into the University, the passengers became accosted by a bronze statue of the People’s Magi, the legendary figure known as Mao Zedong. From coppery eyes that did not see, the great leader looked down upon all who entered Fudan’s grounds, its face frozen in mock benevolence. It stood with one hand behind its back; the other pointed slightly forward as if to urge the observer to look ahead. As a part of its facade, the figure wore a modified mandarine tunic in the military style, etched to resemble cotton fabric, showing the viewer that despite his greatness, Mao was a man who was humble.

The broad, four-lane avenue known as the Dashua Road, or University Road, was filled with eateries! Alfresco dining spilling out from restaurants littered the four-kilometre boulevard framed by gigantic mulberry trees turning a shade of dark summery emerald. There was Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, cuisine from all the different city-states of China, so florid and of such multitude that Gwen salivated against the panes of the car's window.

Eating out was something of her old life she sorely missed sometimes.

Finishing work at the Quay, old Sydney was a Mecca of restaurants, and bars from tapas to pasta, seafood to steak, wine bars to fine dining to experimental gastronomy.

Since arriving in her current body, with the occasional exception, her entire diet had depended upon the convenience of circumstance. She had seldom possessed the choice of what to eat. Now that they could attend Fudan, she could have her pick of food from anywhere in the world! What’s more, with Caliban’s help, she couldn’t gain weight; a generous boon of unbidden luck! It was going to be a glorious three years, at least in so far as her gastronomic adventure was concerned. The more she thought about it, the more Gwen felt that she could kill for some sushi, in fact. That had been a staple part of her pre-Mageworld diet, and even now she craved it whenever the thought crossed her mind.

There were two campuses adjacent to one another. The old campus was the target of their visit, known as the Handan Campus, while the newer campus converted from old warehouses and remaining Chinese Hutongs was called the Jianghan campus.

The office of the Dean was surprisingly not located in the Fudan Towers, but in an old Victorian Era building leftover from Shanghai’s colonial stint called Zibinyuan, located in the lower quadrant of Handan. Most of the buildings in the University reflected the Fudan's Cosmopolitan nature. In fact, as they passed the University’s central avenue, Gwen saw a Japanese style building ‘Japan House’, an 'American House', and even one done in the Northern European style, with slanted roofs and pitched awnings, labelled as ‘Nordic House’.

Gwen was still marvelling at the nostalgic architecture when Richard opened her door. She took his hand and extended a lithe white leg out the entrance to balance herself before bringing her other stalk across and sliding gingerly from the SUV, expertly dissuading her skirt from riding up her thighs.

Magus Ru looked away and found renewed vigour in introducing to them the history of the historic manor house that now served as the University’s administrative headquarters.

The trio walked past the blue shaded lawn and found themselves in the vaulted hall of a manor which split into east and west ring. A university guard saluted the Magus as he entered, his eyes lingering a little too long before turning forward like an automaton. They then made their way through a hall carpeted in navy and walled with mahogany, with Gwen noting that unlike the exterior architecture, much of the interior had been updated to reflect modern mores.

At the end of the corridor was a set of double doors, which opened into a waiting area with an open door looking into the Office of the Dean. An outlandish looking woman sat at an over-large reception desk, languishingly moving paperwork from tray to tray with agonising slowness and an expression of severe consternation.

As they entered, she looked up.

Holy cows! Gwen swallowed. The woman evidently wasn’t human. Her eyes were two milky-orbs of air with specs of ultramarine; her flaxen hair resembled strands of sunbeams.

“Aeeee!”

“Woa! Lea!”

With an outburst that surprised them all, Lea separated from Richard’s body and materialised herself.

“Kin! Kin!” Lea begged with the eagerness of a child.

Like a child... Gwen considered her assessment to be sound. Lea was, mentally speaking, a child. She was sapient and sentient, but that didn’t mean she was intelligent in the conventional sense. Lea was incapable of abstract philosophy and other complex cognitive functions like advanced arithmetics or ethical dilemmas. From what she’d gathered in her studies, it was exceedingly difficult to fully control a high-tier Spirit when oneself wasn’t potent enough to bend them to one’s will. It was precisely the reason why Richard requested, rather than commanded, Lea. Even one as powerful has her Master, Henry Kilroy, spoke to Sufina with habitual respect. Now that Gwen thought about it, both summoners indulged in the whims of their Familiars whenever it was convenient or necessary.

The woman at the table rose from the air to meet Lea, and the two danced a little jig, despite her human appearance, it seemed that the air sprite was less in control of its 'womanly' form than Lea. Around the spirit as well, the 'secretary' radiated Elemental air like a localised whirlwind.

“An Air Elemental?” Richard turned to Ru. "A lesser Djinn?"

“Indeed, this is Ellen, the Magister’s Familiar.”

“The Magister’s an Air Conjurer?” Gwen’s mouth formed a happy ‘o’; it was always nice to know another powerful Conjurer.

“Indeed, as well as a Transmuter and Illusionist,” Ru affirmed Gwen’s expectant expression with a nod. “Please, leave the Spirits to themselves, it's rare for elementals to meet kin so similar to their own.”

As expected, Richard indulged Lea, using his Conjuration to sever her from his body. The duo marvelled at the fact that the Magister had his familiar permanently manifested and was even trying to get her to do his paperwork.

Gwen regarded the sloppy pile of work, evidently left undone. Was it perhaps an attempt to further humanise the spirit, or to test out if a Familiar was capable of learning higher functions? She tried to imagine Caliban or Ariel doing the same work and had to suppress a mirthful smile. How could she convince her Lecturer that Caliban ate her homework?

“Jin! Gwen, Richard! Come in, come in!” Magister Jiang’s booming voice came on like a trumpet.

The duo entered while Magus Ru retreated to the door.

“We’ll hopefully meet again.” Ru nodded at the two young Mages. "Fare you well."

“Thank you, Sir.”

They both bowed.

* * *

Inside the Dean’s office, Magister Luo had their files opened in front of him. He had read through the cousins' stats almost a dozen times since last night.

Richard came on as expected, a young man with a thin face, lean of limb and body, with a square jaw and a Roman nose that hinted at his mixed heritage.

When Gwen appeared behind the young man, Luo felt a jolt of electricity fill the air. The girl was stunning! A handsome mien, striking green-ochre eyes, an elegant swan’s neck, a tapered torso, and a pair of white legs extending from a hip-hugging pencil skirt, she was the picture of perfection, a poster child.

Luo kept his face impassive.

“Greetings, I am Magister Luo Jiang, the Dean of this University.”

Gwen and Richard both bowed deeply.

“I am Gwen Song; it’s a pleasure to meet you, Sir.”

“I am Richard Huang, Sir; it’s an honour.”

“I’d ask that you sit, as is proper for western customs.” Luo kept his eyes on the duo. “Conjure Object!”

A pair of antique sitting chairs appeared behind them.

"Please sit."

An impressive tier 4 spell, performed quietly and efficiently with great subtlety. There was no ripple in the Astral Plane, no burst of Conjuration mana; it was as though the chairs had always been there. To achieve such a feat required an exercise in Conjuration as natural as taking a breath of fresh air, as passive as blinking.

Gwen and Richard sat.

“I have studied both of your applications, including the commendations from Pudong Tower on behalf of the Morning Star himself. I am impressed, as anyone would be impressed, by your achievements at so young an age.”

“Thank you, Sir.” Gwen inclined her head.

Luo rapped his fingers against the table.

Rap. Rap. Rap. The crisp sound was an onomatopoeic representation of the Magister's thoughts.

“However, your applications have come at a difficult time for us. Are you aware that your Grandmother, my respected colleague, the esteemed Klavdiya Song, Director of the 2nd PLA Hospital, has submitted you for a Scholarship position?”

“Sir?” Gwen had not heard. She had assumed that she was applying for a full-fee position.

“Are we eligible?” Richard asked the more poignant question. He wasn't one to let an opportunity slide.

Luo pursed his lips. The duo held their breath.

“Yes,” he said finally. “I am allowing it.”

Both Gwen and Richard felt their breath slowly escaping their lips.

“However, there is a multi-stage process for selection of students for the Lim-Chanrol Student Scholarship prize, or the LCSS, as endearingly known amongst the cohort. There will be a written exam, a Practical, then an interview before a panel. Usually, students have weeks, even months to prepare. I regret to inform you that you have…”

Luo paused.

“…Several hours. What say you?”

Gwen and Richard meet one another’s eyes. Several hours wasn't the problem. It was a competition, after all, all they needed to do was to out perform and deliver.

“That is if you wish to vie for the current crop of scholarship students. You are always welcome to apply for the latter year cohort for 2004’s semester 1. I hope you understand that Director Song has sprung this upon me rather unconventionally.”

“If we fail, Sir, are we still able to apply for the non-scholarship course? Or for the scholarship course again?” Gwen asked

“Of course,” Luo answered them. “Further pertaining to your suit, I should note that the students selected for the Inter-University Competition are usually LCSS alumnus. That and you need to understand that having failed once, it will reflect poorly, though not critically, upon your next application.”

“I see.” Gwen considered the hand she and Richard had been dealt. Play it safe and slow or loose and fast; those were the options before them. How confident was she? She could feel Caliban's brooding energy within her edging for release into the Material world.

“I have confidence in both of your abilities, however.” Magister Luo continued. “Shall I explain the stages of each competition?”

“Please do.” Gwen squared her shoulders attentively.

“Very good.” The Magister's lips curled mirthfully. “The written exam is an essay on a topic pertaining to the current status of our precarious world. It can range anywhere between Demi-humans and Humanity, ecological issues with the Mermen, Political treaties between the Frontier Cities, and so on. It has the least weighing of the three exams, and serves largely as a measure of your eloquence and wisdom in assessing current affairs.”

Oh, that’s not good. Gwen bit her lip hesitantly. She was a country bumpkin from the woods. What kind of political discourse or sagely observation could she possibly give regarding matters of a world she had barely begun to know?

“The next exam is the Combat examination. You may select a tier of Summoned Creature, then attempt to best the randomised creature that emerges from the Conjuration Circle. Rest assured that your life will be in no danger, though I wouldn’t guarantee the same for risk of significant injury, so do be careful.”

“What tier can we choose from?” Richard asked.

“The exam begins at 5, which is already beyond the abilities of your average University student, and may progress up to 12.”

“12?” Gwen turned to Richard questioningly. “What could be tier 12?”

“The Imperial Tier system is largely a generalisation,” Luo explained. “As you are both from the frontier, you have probably had little to no contact with higher-order Demi-humans. A High Elf, for example, is usually a tier 4 creature, possessing extraordinary dexterity and intelligence, not to mention a lifespan of millennia. When you add that age and wisdom to Arcane Craft, however, as well as elemental affinity, an Elven Druid or Sorceress could easily surpass tier 10 regarding raw destructive potential. In the manner of the Summon Creature Circle, I'd venture to say an altered baseline creature with Elemental affinities, such as a Dire Bear with Fortified Earth, and so on, which would be 6 or 7.”

“Incredible,” Gwen confessed. She tried to imagine meeting her first elf. Would it be like when Frodo and Samwise saw Rivendell for the first time? Short, simple country folk meeting the highest power, the most ancient race, and the most graceful mien of the Material Realm. If she could also have that experience one day, that would be wonderful.

“The same applies to us. Are we not dangerous in ourselves, hmm? Even as the common man is merely tier 1.” Luo chuckled amiably, then irritably, he looked toward the open door. “Ellen! Where is that tea?!”

‘Ellen’ appeared with a tea set bore on solidified air.

“Use your arms and legs, Ellen.” Magister Luo pinched the ridge of his nose.

The air sprite took the tray with her ethereal fingers and tried to manipulate the handle. She clumsily took a cup and began to fill it with tea. Gwen blinked as the spectacle unfolded. ‘Ellen’, as human-like as she appeared, even dressed appropriately in the garb of a doe-eyed secretary, had a pair of arms holding the tea tray, and another pair of arms manipulating the teapot and cups. Her slender legs wobbled on her heels as she tried to maintain balance without taking flight.

Ellen passed a cup over to Richard, but when she got to Gwen, she hesitated.

“I’ll take that, thank you.” Gwen reached out for the cup and saucer, watching Ellen titter.

“Woa!” Ellen slipped and flung the tea straight toward Gwen’s face.

“Lea!”

Thankfully, Richard recalled Lea just in time and caught the liquid before Gwen became drenched in Osmanthus water.

“Ellen…” Magister Luo apologised. "It's hard work, trying to humanise your Familiar. If and when you may acquire a Spirit, you should try it."

“That was your fault!” Ellen seemed more peeved at Luo than Gwen herself. With a flash of Conjuration, she ceased to exist within the material and bid herself to return to her Pocket Dimension. The tea set was left hanging in the air for a comical moment before Lea caught it expertly in a watery bubble.

“She’s a work in progress,” Magister Luo confessed. “I acquired her as a mid-tier spirit, and I am trying to improve her fine motor skills and general intelligence, but alas, Air Sprites are willful, proud, and a little too flippant.”

Richard asked Lea to bring the tea set to rest against a sideboard.

“What you have there, is the envy of all Conjurers anywhere.” Luo watched Lea manipulating the tray expertly. “You’ll have to tell me about how you came to acquire such a spirit one day, Richard.”

“I look forward to it.” Richard grinned at the Magister. "She's not for sale, by the way."

"I would broker nothing of the sort, my boy! I am merely admiring. She's a beauty, she is."

"She is, is she not?"

Richard politely asked Lea to service the trio, watching her pour the tea clumsily and collecting the wayward drops with elemental manipulation.

Gwen looked on covetously. She had no spirit. Ariel was immeasurable for fighting, petting and snuggling on cold nights; Caliban for mass murder. What would happen if she should acquire a Spirit? What would happen to Ariel or Caliban?

“Where was I?” Magister Luo rested his eyes on the two young Mages before him.

“The Combat Exam, the Tiers,” Gwen answered him.

A smile touched Luo’s lips affirmatively.

“The creatures randomly summoned will be within one to two tiers of your indicated challenge rating. Should a creature be too powerful, it will be banished, unless you request otherwise.”

“Understood, Sir,” Gwen replied.

“What if a creature has directly oppositional affinities?” Richard inquired further. “Such as if I were to face an Ice Elemental, or Gwen an Earth Elemental? Wouldn’t that be unfair?”

“You have three attempts,” Luo informed them. “If you are unlucky all three attempts, then I can only assume that you have the worst relationship with Luck. Fortune, is also a keen component of a Mage’s growth. Dungeon diving, Adventuring, the discovery of new fauna an flora, all tied to one’s luck.”

"Alas," the Magister continued. "The purpose is not to defeat the beasts but to demonstrate your skills. Brute force, skilful manipulation, wisdom in Spellcraft or even courage under adversity, we take them all into the account."

“The final component is the interview, conducted by the Magisters from the three main factions within the University. These are not real Factions, like the ones in the Tower, of course, they are staff and student organised social groups. There will be the Faculty Head of Advanced Spellcraft, the Department Head of a school I will refrain from informing you, and the Provost of the General Department.”

“Any clues as to what they may ask, Sir?” Richard inquired bluntly.

“A range of questions, to be sure,” Magister Luo replied mysteriously. “Some personal, some political, others merely of interest to the Interviewers themselves. My recommendation is to be yourselves.”

“I see.” Richard motioned for Lea to return. Lea ignored him and instead flittered about the room poking at old photo frames and swirling about crystal decanters that scintillated against the sunbeams shining through the french windows.

The two spirit-possessing Conjurers regarded one another with looks of mutual understanding. The boon and bane of having sapient spirits were that they had a mind of their own.

“I am willing,” Gwen announced with surety. She looked at Richard, who returned a reassuring nod. “That is, we, are willing to undergo these trials, Sir.”

“Excellent.” Luo put his hands together. “I will inform the others that you will be joining them.”

“How many others, Sir?” Richard asked. "What's the competition?"

“Including you, twenty,” Luo replied. “A few genuinely talented students, the others prodigies from the Clans and the Houses, here for prestige more so than anything else the Scholarship may provide. There are only two spots for Full-Scholarship, followed by four spots for Half-Scholarship.”

“So, six out of twenty?” Gwen nibbled her lips contemplatively. “Do we have to duel any of the other contestants?”

“There is precedence, but no, you will not. The result is objectively determined, based on your performances, then extensively debated.”

“I see.”

“Very well then, I shall expect the good news. The results will be posted by the week's end. The semester itself begins mid-June. Assuming you succeed, there is still a month to sort out campus accommodations.”

"I admire your confidence, Sir." Richard smirked. "And your foresight."

"I am an open book." Magister Luo glanced at his two proteges, a knowing smile upon his face. “Ellen will take you to the testing grounds on the other side of the campus. Do take care.”

“Thank you, Sir.”
“Thank you, Sir.”

Gwen and Richard bowed once more and exited the Dean’s office.

The air sprite, Ellen, reappeared in her prim and proper humanoid form and motioned for the two young Mages to follow.

They proceeded away from the Colonial house and down the central Handan promenade, where the entrance to the Hall of Brilliance lay, its three-metre glass doors swinging to and fro as Mages entered and exited. Gwen observed the cosmopolitan students, mostly Chinese, some European, some Eurasian, a few resembling the Han Chinese but distinctly different, which she could only assume to be Korean or Japanese, as well as a few more exotic faces which she guessed to be South American or Mediterranean.

There was a massive area of lawn right before the Fudan Towers, with broad, poplar strewn avenues running down either side. Amongst the greenery, the trio proceeded until reaching the second campus, Jianghan, where the newer Spellcraft facilities resided.

“In here.” Ellen’s inhuman eyes were scintillatingly beautiful, reflecting the infinite cloudscape of the Elemental Plane of Air. She pointed to a warehouse converted office building with two lines of Chinese written in red down either side of the door.

The first read:

‘There exist no shortcuts on the winding path of Spellcraft’

The second read:

‘There is no shore when sailing upon the seas of Arcane knowledge.’

An elegant set of proverbs, said to be originally coined by the Chinese Lord-Scholar Mengzi, during a period when people still believed magic was pilfered from the Gods, rather than a product of human endeavour.

“Welcome!”

A pair of Mages, a man and a woman, emerged from the shaded double doors of the warehouse.

“Greetings.” Gwen and Richard bowed.

The two Proctors returned their greeting with slight inclines of their heads. One of them motioned for the two to enter.

“The written exam is in here, the General Examination Hall. Would you like to begin?"

Gwen couldn't think of anything productive she could potentially pertain as to the two hours she possessed, and so she nodded. Beside her, Richard brimmed with supernatural confidence.

The interior of the warehouse betrayed the shabby looking exterior, likely preserved to retain the historical look of the campus. Instead of galvanised sheeting, the interior was a vaulted wooden ceiling with soft golden pine, embedded with soft down-lights and climate-controlled to perfection. The hall itself took advantage of the warehouse’s arched ceilings, split into three sections by wooden wishbone dividers. A proliferate surface of vines covered one wall, giving the place a fresh, lively look, while under the apex, the chamber appeared large enough to seat almost a thousand students.

Currently, there were only four students busily scribbling away at their tests.

Soundlessly, the proctors placed Gwen and Richard into separate, private examination rooms plated with ash-blonde wood, modestly reflective with a pleasant matt-lacquer. The furniture likewise, was Transmuted-wood growing out from the floor in a natural design, forming into four sets of backless benches and working tables.

Gwen smoothed out her dress and sat, crossing over her long legs to make herself comfortable.

“You have two-hours.”

Upon the table was a stack of paper and a single test sheet, which Gwen presumed to be the exam paper.

She flipped over the page and read the conditions of the Exam.

Written Section
Total Marks (50)

Allow 120 Min for this section:
—————————————————————————————————————
IN YOUR ANSWER you are assessed on how well you:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the way Spellcraft may be applied practically.
- Describe, explain and analyse the relationships between Spellcraft, context, and real-world events.
- Demonstrate appropriate use of language and form in the essay format
—————————————————————————————————————

“Humanity must strive to bring significant and enduring change through the application of Spellcraft.”

Address this statement with your observation and opinions.

Gwen felt for the pen and pulled a piece of exam paper toward her chest. She licked her drying lips again and pondered how she should go about it. She was going to write the whole thing in English and hoped that the language barrier wasn't going to be a problem. After all, the question was perfect; it was ripe for the bull.

How should she go about it?

Radical, insightful, or groundbreaking? There was so much from which to choose!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A note from Wutosama

I am back in Australia! Here's some pictures of Fudan which I visited for research. 

There are some really nice food in that University Rd! 

 


About the author

Wutosama

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

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