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After turning away from Molbon, Thomas looked over the teachers around the square and focused on the ones he didn't recognize. As he was walking around a teacher he didn't recognize approached him with a smile. The man looked to be in his late forties with dark hair and streaks of grey at his temples. He had a refined air about him that Thomas instantly recognized as a noble bearing. The man came to a stop in front of Thomas and spoke in a somewhat high voice, "You must be the otherworlder I heard about. The one with the recommendation letter from Grandmaster Hekrin and with an affinity for all elements. I am Jerendalv Theun Von Kedz, second son of Duke Drandek Galdoud Von Kedz and it is your honor to be chosen to join my class here in the Reykhoten Magic Academy where I will teach you the glorious power of fire magic."

Thomas immediately felt a headache coming on. Nobles were just the worst, the absolute worst. No matter what game it was, no matter what era the game took place in. If they were a noble they were a self-righteous egotistical pain in the ass. All nobles felt like 'commoners' should bow down and lick their boots just for being in their presence. He absolutely hated dealing with them, so much so that he almost always had a policy of not working for them. He couldn't count how many times nobles had attempted to rip him off by refusing to pay for the items he'd made.

Thomas looked Jerendalv straight in the eyes and said, "No, thanks."

Thomas could actually see Jerendelv's brain stop for a few moments at his flat denial to his face. Once Jerendelv's brain kicked back into motion he smiled and laughed, "Ah! No one told me you had such a good sense of humor!" His demeanor turned serious as he said in an almost threatening tone, "After all, it could only be a joke to deny the offer of the nephew to the King."

This, this right here was exactly why Thomas loathed nobles. Tell them no and they instantly tried to throw their weight around and bully you into doing what they wanted with their noble titles and familial connections. He absolutely couldn't stand that. Even though he wasn't the strongest or best fighter out there, he at least stood for himself and didn't use the names of his powerful friends or the connections he forged through his work to push people around. Thomas knew talking to someone like Jerendelv would just be a complete waste of time, so instead of replying he simply turned on his heels and walked away while calling out over his shoulder, "It was nice meeting you."

That was a blatant lie, but there was no need to be too rude. He probably already made himself a powerful enemy, but he really didn't care. Once he was done here he would be going back to Ulvstad for a bit, then maybe head to a different country to explore. The worst thing that could possibly happen to him was death, but that wouldn't be permanent so who cared?

After ditching the uptight prick of a noble he looked around and saw a teacher sitting off to the side of the square yawning. The teacher looked disheveled, ragged, and bored. Thomas immediately felt his gamer instincts trigger just from looking at him. He looked middle-aged with unkempt dark hair, a day old beard, bags under his dark eyes, and his clothing wrinkled as hell. All the other teachers that Thomas had seen were pristine and perfect like it was a requirement. They were also all actively seeking students. Yet this man looked like he'd just rolled out of bed in his clothing and didn't seem to care if he got any new students at all.

Thomas made his way over to the teacher with a grin on his face. Something about the stark difference between him and the other teachers just made Thomas's instincts scream that he had found his teacher. Of course, there was always the possibility that the unkempt teacher was a complete loser and a red herring to throw players off. There was only one way to find out! Thomas stopped before the teacher. The teacher looked up from where he was sitting and squinted his eyes at Thomas, "Need something kid?"

Thomas felt his grin growing. It was almost like being called 'kid' was the magic word. Hekrin was very fond of calling him 'kid' and from what he could tell, Hekrin had a hell of a backstory. This was all supposition and could be entirely wrong, but he felt like it was a good possibility. He introduced himself in a chipper tone, "I'm Thomas, a new student and I was hoping to talk to you about possibly being your student."

The man groaned and ran a hand down his face then asked rhetorically, "Why me?" He looked at Thomas and sighed, "I'm Fulin and I am not looking for new students."

Thomas tilted his head quizzically, "If you're not looking for new students why are you here with the new students?"

Fulin sighed again and hung his head, "Because the headmaster forced me to be here! I've already got five students and that's plenty. Go pick someone else."

Thomas made a show of looking at the other teachers actively seeking students. While he pretended to examine them, he couldn't help comparing Fulin to Hekrin. Hekrin had been a pain in the ass who wanted Thomas to just leave him alone, and it was his refusal to do so that eventually lead him to where was now. That was no guarantee that the same thing would happen again but regardless he felt like Fulin was better than any of the prim and proper teachers he could see. He eventually turned back to Fulin and said, "I'd rather learn from someone less uptight, like you."

Fulin groaned, then perked up as he seemed to think of something, "Alright. In order to qualify to learn from me, you have to have an affinity with at least two elements! And... And you have to have been recommended to the academy by someone of status!"

Thomas fought hard not to laugh in Fulin's face. He was sure that dual affinities were probably pretty rare for the NPC's, but for him it was laughable. As for a recommendation from someone of standing? He was recommended by the impossible to please 'Grandmaster Hekrin Graveljaw'. If there was anyone harder to get a recommendation from, Thomas would eat his boot! Thomas pretended to think for a moment before letting out a fake sigh and shaking his head, "I'm afraid I don't have an affinity with two elements."

Fulin perked up and had a bit of a scheming grin on his face. At least he did until Thomas continued, "Rather, I have an affinity with all elements. Just picking two would be too limiting." Fulin's face immediately crumpled and his appearance only grew worse as Thomas continued, "As for my recommendation. I was recommended to the academy by Grandmaster Hekrin Graveljaw himself. I believe that should count as someone of standing."

Thomas didn't know too much about Hekrin, but he could speculate that Hekrin had held a high rank of some sort within the capital if he was speaking directly with the King! Judging by how Fulin's face looked like he'd just chewed on a raw lemon, Thomas was certain his speculation was right. Fulin took in a deep breath and let out a long defeated sigh, "Fine kid. Be that way." He looks up at Thomas with a frown, "So you're the otherworlder that I heard the others mention huh?" Fulin dug around in his robe for a moment before pulling out a small badge and holding it out to Thomas, "This is your student badge. Classes start first thing tomorrow morning in building D room 1. If you're ever late you're automatically expelled from my class if you don't inform me beforehand. The only excuse I ever accept is death."

Thomas accepted the badge and pinned it to his shirt to show he'd picked his teacher. He wasn't completely sure if he'd made the right choice or not, but looking at the asshole Jerendalv talking to other students he instantly felt better about his choice. In the end, it didn't really matter who his teacher was as long as he could get the basic teaching and learn how to gain the magic skills or abilities. Once he learned the basics it wouldn't take much more effort to learn more.

Thomas looked back to Fulin and asked, "Where is the library? I'd like to do some reading."

Fulin glared at Thomas and huffed, "I'm your teacher, not your tour guide."

Thomas shrugged his shoulders and looked around a bit. He spotted an aide and got directions to the library. This was one of the two reasons that he'd come to the academy after all. It took a little time to make his way over to the building that housed the library. Before he could enter he had to present his badge, but that was it. Once he stepped inside his eyes widened and he couldn't stop himself from grinning broadly. There were thousands of books inside the library! He walked to a central desk where several librarians sat. With simple directions, he was guided to a section of the library that would contain the books he was looking for.

Unfortunately, it was impossible to know if any of the books on the shelves would contain exactly what he was looking for just from their titles. Titles like 'Zenillir's Thoughts' told him nothing about what might be contained in the book. If they were like books in the real world with inserts or descriptions on the back they might be more informative, but no. Just titles. Thomas let out a deep sigh and looked over the collection as he tried to think of a way to narrow down what he wanted to find.

After staring at the books for a while he found himself wishing for even the most basic of divination magic. Even if all he could get was a yes or no answer from the spell he could at least know if a book would be helpful to him or not. With no other real options available to him, he started from the upper left-hand side of the shelf and pulled out the first book to take a look through it. The book was titled 'Danvil's Doodles' and, unfortunately, seemed to only contain drawings and descriptions of various herbs and materials that could be used in alchemy. The book didn't appear to have anything related to transmutation inside of it. After putting it back he pulled out the book right next to it, he was going to go through them one at a time until he could find a better method.

He spent the next three hours going through book after book. He occasionally found references to transmutation circles and practices, but no drawn examples of them. He was starting to get rather frustrated when his stomach growled and reminded him he hadn't eaten lunch or dinner yesterday nor breakfast today and it was getting close to lunchtime again. He put the most recent useless book back on the shelf, memorized its name so he could pick up where he left off and left the library.

It took some asking around but he discovered there was a cafeteria where he could get his three meals a day and that it was covered by his tuition fee. Happy that he didn't have to go hunting for a place to get food, he made his way to the cafeteria to get himself something to eat. It was still a bit early for lunch so the place was practically deserted, but there were still people there to cook and serve food. After stepping up to the counter he was greeted by a wonderfully chipper woman, "Hiya! Let me get your lunch for you!"

Apparently, he didn't get to ask for anything specific and just got to eat whatever was being made for the day. Honestly, he didn't care. As long as it wasn't disgusting he'd eat it. Like most of the women he had met so far, the woman working in the cafeteria was rather attractive with short dark hair and dark eyes. The combination of dark hair and eyes seemed to be a local thing since most people had that combination of hair and eye color.

When she returned she had a plate with a decent amount of food set on it. Thomas happily accepted it and found himself a place to sit so he could dig in. He wasn't sure what anything was but it tasted alright. It wasn't nearly as delicious as the meals he'd had at The Swans Nest or The Crooked Knuckle. He refused to compare anything to Zan's Eatery, nothing could compare to that place! The food wasn't bad by any measure, it just wasn't as great as some other places. Thomas suspected that the school spent a bit less on ingredients than the places he'd stayed at.

After finishing his meal, Thomas returned the cleared plate to the woman working in the cafeteria and left to make his way back to the library. He intended to spend the rest of the day at least attempting to find a book on transmutation!

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About the author

thomasdarkrose

  • Georgia, USA

Bio: Just your average self-employed American with some spare time that enjoys reading, and now writing.

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