Thomas spent the time until Fulin called for their lunch break just activating and deactivating the featherweight spell over and over again. His only goal was doing it as fast as possible. His practice still consumed a fair amount of mana so he was forced to use 'Serenity' every now and then to recover his mana. His hard work paid off though, now he could activate the spell in less than a second. With some more practice, he would be able to activate it at will and he found that extremely exciting.

For lunch, Thomas invited Treena to join him and the others. With her acceptance, everyone in the class, except Brao, were now hanging out together and eating lunch as a group. This time spent with the whole group was giving Thomas a deeper insight into the NPC's in the game. It was one thing to be told that all of the NPC's were individual entities, but it was completely different to sit down and have a conversation with them. Everyone had their own dreams, desires, and plans for the future. Thomas knew he needed to pay more attention to them as people instead of just bits of code that could potentially give him quests.

As they were eating lunch and chatting with each other, an aide wearing the staff uniform came up to their table and addressed Thomas, "You are Thomas Darkrose correct?"

Thomas set down the bite of food he was about to eat and looked at the staff member. He was a middle-aged man with holding an envelope in his hand. Thomas replied, "Yes, that's me."

The staff member nodded and held out the envelope to Thomas, "I was given directions to give this to you."

Thomas accepted the envelope while saying, "Thank you."

The staff member gave a curt nod before leaving the cafeteria to go about his business. Thomas looked over the envelope, aside from his name written on the front there was nothing else on the outside. Shrugging his shoulders he opened the envelope and pulled out the letter contained within. After opening it up and reading it, he frowned deeply, "What the hell?"

To Thomas Darkrose,
You have officially been challenged to a duel of honor to be held tomorrow morning. Please arrive at dueling ring three promptly in the morning. You may bring a witness of your choosing to witness your duel. The duel will be overseen by a member of the staff. As this is your first time participating in a duel we feel that we should inform you to not be worried. The dueling rings at the academy are heavily enchanted and will prevent permanent injury or death. All damage dealt during the duel will be healed by the academy free of charge, including replacement of broken weapons or armor.
You may refuse to participate in the duel. However, if you choose to do so you may potentially be expelled from the academy depending on the grievances of the opposite party and the validity of their claims.
Magic, Weapons, and Armor have all been approved for the duel. Consumable items such as potions are forbidden.

Sincerely, Dean Zorzic

Seeing the frown on Thomas's face, Fuller spoke up, "Something wrong?"

Thomas didn't say anything and just passed the letter to Fuller for him to read. Fuller glanced over it and frowned as well, but said, "I see. Well, it's part of the curriculum so there's nothing really wrong with it. Duels are a part of life here at the school. Usually, students will use the dueling rings to practice their spells against an opponent and get some combat practice in. Though that usually doesn't happen with new students like us since we're still learning and too green to really use the spells properly in one-on-one combat."

Selena plucked the letter from Fuller's hand and read it herself while Fuller continued to explain, "It's rare, but it's also possible for people who have a grudge against each other to have a formal duel in one of the rings to work out their differences. Such as if someone insulted someone else. The insulted party could request a duel of honor to get an apology from the offending party. It's not common, but not rare either. Did you insult someone badly enough for them to want a duel with you Thomas?"

Thomas shook his head, "Not that I am aware of. The only people I've spent any time with here is you all. I can think of two possibilities though. One is an instructor here that I refused to take as my teacher. The other is Brao. But I didn't really do anything all that great to insult either of them to the point of asking for a duel. In fact, I haven't even seen that teacher since the day we selected teachers. As for Brao, I haven't even spoken to him since the first day of class. I know he doesn't like me but isn't a duel a bit much for that?"

Fuller stroked his chin and shook his head, "It wouldn't be any of the teachers. They're not allowed to challenge students to a duel, that would just be bullying and give the academy a bad reputation. Brao could challenge you to a duel, but if it is him then you can ignore the challenge if you want. From what I know he hasn't been so greatly offended by you that the academy would consider expelling you for ignoring the duel summons. But if it's someone else that you offended unknowingly then skipping it could have pretty severe consequences."

Selena held the letter out to Thomas as she said, "I'd suggest not skipping the duel request. No matter what it's about it would be best for you to show up and fight in the duel. You should never underestimate how much people around here regard honor. Even if it's a minor incident, skipping the duel would give people a negative impression of you and could lead to different troubles even if the academy doesn't punish you."

Thomas accepted the letter from Selena and stored it inside of his inventory, "So you think I should go? I'm not afraid of a fight so I think I'll go. Regardless of what happens, it should be a good experience for me." He looked at Selena and grinned, "Want to be my witness Selena?"

Selena thought for a moment and then nodded, "I would be honored to be your witness."

System Notice: New Quest!
You have been challenged to a duel of honor. Participate in the duel. You will receive different rewards based on if you win or lose the duel.
Rewards: ???
Failure: ???

Thomas smiled at the quest notice and went back to eating his lunch. He was pretty sure the person challenging him was Brao, though he had no idea on what grounds Brao was challenging him. It didn't really matter though, he was certain he could easily beat Brao in a duel. From what he could gather the majority of the students at the academy focused more on their Magic attribute with a bit spent on their Power attribute. With his Agility and Endurance, he should be faster and tougher than Brao even if he was equal in Power and fell behind in Magic. He figured that if he could get within melee range he could easily handle Brao.

After they all arrived in the classroom as a group they saw Brao sitting in the room alone. Brao looked at Thomas and gave him a smug grin. The look on Brao's face firmly cemented the fact that he was the one challenged Thomas to the duel tomorrow in everyone's mind. The girls looked disgusted with Brao's behavior while Fuller just shook his head in exasperation. Thomas didn't care one way or the other. He was kind of happy, if he was being honest, since he wanted to give Brao a good beating to wipe that smug look off of his face anyway.

Everyone picked their seats with the three girls sitting together and chatting and Fuller sitting near Thomas. Shortly after everyone was sitting, Fulin walked into the classroom and looked over the students. He smiled as he spoke, "Alright. Today was the last day of lessons for the time being. After this, you will all be free for all of next week to do whatever you wish. Just remember that I want all of you to get your Earth, Water, Fire, and Wind elements all up to rank twenty-five before we meet again next week. Anyone who fails to do so shouldn't bother showing up for class again."

System Notice: New Quest!
Instructor Fulin has required that you get your Earth, Water, Fire, and Wind magic up to rank 25 before classes resume next week.
Rewards: 2,000 Experience, ???
Failure: Expulsion from the Reykhoten Academy of Magic
Time Limit: 1 Week

Thomas looked at the quest notice and smiled, today was just his day for getting quests it seemed. At least the quest from Fulin offered a nice chunk of experience. Fulin looked over the students before he asked, "So does anyone have any questions?"

Thomas spoke up, "Why do you want us to get those particular four elements to rank twenty-five? Even those in the class without affinity for them?"

Fulin looked at Thomas and smiled in a somewhat teasing manner, "You will find out when you succeed."

Thomas just sighed, but at least his suspicion was confirmed. It was now almost guaranteed that something would happen when those four elements reached rank twenty-five. He just didn't know what would happen and Fulin refused to tell the class that it was. Thomas thought for a moment longer than asked, "Are there any skills or abilities that can be learned to help recover mana faster? I need something to help fill the gap until I can get my mana control higher."

Fulin nodded, "I know of one ability called 'Spirit Healing'. It can increase the amount of mana your body generates after you spend some. However, the only way to gain this ability is to bathe in a spirit spring and all of those are located in the heart of elven forests and they generally do not allow humans to use them. You could also learn meditation, but that won't passively recover your mana. You will have to actively use it to gain benefits from it, but it will greatly increase your mana recovery rate while you use it. It's useless in combat though as it would leave you completely vulnerable."

Thomas nodded and decided to try to gain the meditation ability, but honestly, it sounded like a weaker version of his 'Serenity' ability since 'Serenity' would recover not just his mana but his stamina and health as well. Not that he'd needed to use it for his health yet. Though, maybe mediation would recover his mana faster than 'Serenity' did? Only one way to find out.

Fulin looked over at the other students and asked, "Anything else?"

Everyone else shook their heads. Unlike Thomas, they'd been in this world their entire lives and had a much better understanding of magic and the world they lived in. Fulin nodded and announced, "Then with that class for today is over. I suggest that all of you go to the practice field to work on your wind magic for the remainder of the day. After that do whatever you want until we reconvene class next week. When we're all back here we'll see if you all understand why I had you do all of this."

Thomas and the other students left the classroom and made their way to the practice field. He wanted to spend a little time working on his Wind magic to get it closer in rank to his other elements. Earth, Water, and Fire had all gotten to at least rank ten and he wanted his wind element to get at least a little higher than that before he called it a day. Once it was he could head to his dorm room and finally use the formation plate he spent so much effort making. He'd done his best to forget it for the day's lessons, but now that they were officially over, all he could think about was getting back to his room and giving it a try!

A note from thomasdarkrose

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About the author


  • Georgia, USA

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

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