In the lowest level of the center pillar laid a massive room of ceremony. Carpets of lavender and crimson bathed the floor, fighting against the blue hues that washed in from the surrounding lake. The grand room was the only level of the center pillar that was submerged underwater and had a ceiling of at least 30 meters in height.
Strong and sturdy silver pillars carved with intricate patterns followed the rooms circular shape. Pillar after pillar gave the room a dominating feel that was only interrupted by the gaps allowed for the 6 entrances that connected the outer pillars.
The designs of the silver pillars seemed to hold up the ceiling my merging with it, continuing the captivating carvings to lead to a massive chandelier.
Many circular tables filled the grand room, bathed in cloths that matched the carpet's blood red design. Elaborate floral decorations and candles graced the centers of these tables, displaying never-ending wealth.
At the end of this room laid a wide set of stairs that led to 6 thrones. Familiar faces that had graced the silver yacht sat there, once again feigning politeness.
The beautiful dark-skinned Duco spoke, "Patia, your daughter has grown to be quite beautiful."
A strong and stoic man sat on one of the two center thrones. His skin had a deep olive color that seemed to complement Delia's. His eyes glowed a murky brown that was worn with age. His beard was marvelous, flowing a deep brown that was accented with whites. His hair was of medium length – combed over and well kept.
His wardrobe matched the other 5 family heads. A flowing red robe with a chain of gold that held the symbol of focus (F) at its middle.
He smiled, "indeed she has. I hear Fero has grown to be quite dependable. The Duco family will have good times ahead."
Duco smiled, appreciating the compliment but being inwardly surprised. She had gone through quite a few measures to keep Fero's potential hidden, but it seemed that the head of the Patia-Neva family had seen through her.
A tall and sharp Asian man, whose face still contained his youthful vigor, walked up to the nobles before placing himself on the last throne beside Patia-Neva. He nodded in greeting before closing his eyes and preparing for the ceremony to begin.
The shorter Asian man glanced at him before turning away, "it seems the Kami family head has come. Now that we're all here, we can begin. Correct head master?"
Delia's father nodded in agreement. His eyes scanned the room as if looking for something before landing on his daughter who sat at a table with the other chosen of the pillar families. Delia gave him a pointed look that conveyed her message.
Delia's father understood, "I guess he's not coming," he said in a soft voice, "no matter."
He stood and the pressure in the room seemed to increase immensely.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and silence reigned. The soft swaying of the ceiling's chandelier made the rooms only sound, filling the room with a faint twinkling sound.
"Today, we've gathered in honor of the opening of a new year at our Focus Academy. As is customary, the chosen of our families will display their talents for us today to showcase their level of understanding of martial theory."
He turned to look at the table of youths, sparing a quick glance at the empty seat.
"I'm sure you all understand the importance of this event. You only get 1 chance, and in many ways, it will decide your path for at least the next 10 years. Stay resolute. Be confident. Display your focus. We will all bear witness to the level of will you can display."
A towering teen who was almost an exact replica of the towering man from the yacht stood, "It would be an honor if you would allow me to go first, head master," The teen clasped his hands and bowed.
The head master nodded before returning to his throne. The tables, chairs and people were picked up by some unknown force and guided to the edges of the room. You would be hard-pressed to tell what was happening if you had your eyes closed.
A platform raised itself about 3 feet in the center of the now opened space. The tall boy strode forward with confidence, hopping up and onto the platform.
"SPEAR!" he shouted in a voice much deeper than what it should have been for his age.
A black carbon spear materialized. Its tip shone with a silver sharpness as lightning crackled along its handle.
The nobles nodded in appreciation. He's able to call upon the elements. Although faint, this is proof of at least a basic understanding of the will of lightning. Something that was commendable for such a youth.
This would have been impressive enough to gain quite a few sponsors, but Storm's smile only grew larger.
Clouds began to materialize as the youth spun his spear. He moved swiftly, with an agility that shouldn't be possible with his size. The crackles of lightning within the dark clouds grew more and more pronounced until the youth reached the apex of his movements.
He roared. A thick bolt of lightning descended onto the platform falling directly onto the tip of the sword as the youth swept his spear for the final time.
The headmaster waved his hand, forming a barrier around the platform. The barrier rippled and distorted as the youth stabbed forward.
Sweat rolled down the youth's brow, "I am Hauk Storm. Remember my name."
The barrier dematerialized as Hauk stepped off the platform.
A booming laughter filled the room, "Haha, well done son."
The nobles were stunned. That technique was at least at the greater success level of a common level technique. Hauk was at the second or even third year level, a genius indeed.
"A 13-year-old at such an advanced level. You've raised quite the successor Storm," spoke Bai, the small Asian man.
Storm beamed, looking off at his son proudly.
A fair skinned Asian girl stood after Hauk took his seat. She strode forward with elegant steps, her features beautiful and her demeanor domineering.
The room seemed to be washed with a white light that flowed from the young lady's flowing sundress. She stood even shorter than Delia, and her eyes shone a violet that was only more pronounced because of her swaying jet-black hair.
A translucent compass lit her feet as she used it to float onto the stage.
The nobles received their second shock of the night and it was Bai's turn to smile this time.
"The Feng Shui Compass, Bai?! Where have you been hiding this gem?" Duco spoke out, her silver eyes shining to disbelief.
The compass beneath the beautiful girl's feet grew in size to perfectly fit the elevated platform before she bowed.
"My name is Bai Meiying, I look forward to the coming years," she said in a sweet voice. Her compass shrunk and guided her back to her seat where she sat still smiling.
Although an understanding of the elements is considered top tier within the martial world, an understanding of something more abstract like the compass Meiying used supersedes its difficulty by several folds. This is because, although will is abundant, it is also limited. Elements are easier to understand because their existence is infinite and supported by the will of everything. However, a Feng Shui compass has limited will supporting it because it is a practice only seen in a small portion of the world. For a child as young as Meiying to carve out a place for herself in the will of the Feng Shui compass was unheard off.
"To be competing for the will of the compass against experts well beyond her years… And to be able to expand it as far as she did… She is without a doubt a future pillar of our alliance," Storm spoke in disbelief. He had been confident that his son would be most impressive, but it seemed that he had counted on too much.
The youths came up one after another, displaying talents far beyond their years.
Fero Duco displayed his shapeshifting ability. His will of the eagle, wolf and bear shook all in attendance. To understand not one, but three wills at such a young age was simply outrageous.
Kami Mayumi was equally as impressive. His unceasingly calm demeanor as he pulled on his bow and arrow was unmatched through at least 4 grades. A chill filled the room as he pierced target after target. His father opened his eyes and gave him a curt nod before Mayumi returned to seat.
Afterwards, a small boy with black framed glasses walked to the stage. He was meek and frail, but his golden eyes shone with a keen intelligence.
"Caligraphy!" he called out in a soft shout.
A kneeling table materialized along with a rolled piece of thick paper and a glass container of ink with an elegant brush leaning within it.
The boy kneeled and set himself. His meekness instantly disappeared. His eyes grew sharp as he opened the paper and lifted the brush in one swift motion.
The nobles held their breath, all think the same thing, 'the will of words.'
The boy began writing with strokes as sharp as his eyes. His brow furrowed as he leaned in with the utmost concentration. A soft wind seemed to sweep the room as he finished his final swipe of the brush.
"My name is Pertinacis Sapientia. Today I give you this word: Genius."
"How bold," someone in the crowd spoke as they waited to see the word.
The ceremonial hall washed over in a radiant light as Pertinacis turned over his work for show. In that instant, everyone felt the will of his word. The overbearing pursuit of knowledge and the perseverance to achieve the ultimate goal.
"Truly genius. To convey emotion and by extension change the will of those around you is something even 5th and 6th grade students of Focus academy can't do. Mayumi reached this realm partially by washing us over with his cold intent. But, Pertinacis has his feet firmly planted in this realm. Truly astounding," the headmaster spoke his words of appreciation.
The handsome man who wore the crystal framed glasses smiled at his son as Pertinacis walked off the stage.
Pertinacis walked to the steps at the end of the hall before respectfully bowing and continuing. He handed the paper to his father before heading back to his seat.
"well done," Sapientia spoke softly.
Delia broke out of her concentration to stand once Pertinacis sat. Brown-gold hair flowing, her eyes sharpened.
She wore a beautiful black skirt that had layered folds. Her black stockings were stretched by her toned legs and ended in black flats. The neck of her pale pink blouse wrapped around her shoulders lower than usual, revealing the silver necklace that graced her collarbone.
A sword materialized in her hand as ice petals blossomed from her feet. Her pale green eyes iced over into a cold blue.
The only nobles that remained seated were Kami and Patia-Neva, but even Kami's usual calm demeanor was blown over as his eyes snapped open.
Duco sucked in a breath, "the will of ice manifested changes within her."
The nobles were stunned. Although Fero had called upon the will of the eagle, bear and wolf, the changes were only illusory. The eagle for example, partially increased his eyesight and agility, the bear his strength, and the wolf his instincts and speed. But Delia was becoming a whole new person.
Her hair instantly turned into a bright white. Her skin paled, becoming even fairer than Meiying's. Her body shone a bright light before bursting out within her. A layer of frost covered the whole of the ceremony hall. A barrier appeared as she swung her sword.
A wall of ice emanated out, causing fierce ripples within the barrier.
Delia finally closed her eyes, lowering herself to the ground. The cold winds subsided, reducing the chill of the guests in the hall. Her hair returned to its usual golden brown and her eyes warmed to its usual pale green and hazel color.
Her sword disappeared as she returned to her seat.
Hauk was the first to compliment her, "you're amazing Delia. And here I thought I was going to be the best," admiration, jealousy and attraction colored his blue eyes.
Meiying grabbed Delia's arm and pulled her closer, "stay away Hauk, I can smell your breath from over here."
Delia smiled warmly and looked up at her father who gave her a nod of approval.
"I'm confused though, why are there 7 seats here," Meiying whispered into Delia's ear.
A complicated expression flashed on Delia's full features before they were interrupted by the whooshing of one 6 doors opening.
Clapping resounded from the door. Dyon stood with his hands clasped together, clearly dressed much too informally. His dress shirt flowed behind him and his crisp white shirt clung to his lean torso as he strolled into the room towards Delia's table without a care in the world.
His voice sounded through the quiet hall, "I didn't open the door earlier because I didn't want to interrupt such a spectacular performance. Why didn't you tell me you could get even more beautiful?"
Dyon stopped in front of Delia and Meiying before he grabbed Delia's hand and placed her identity card within it.
Dyon let go as his eyes flashed with interest when he looked over at the beautiful Asian girl holding onto Delia.
"Wow, you have beautiful friends too," Dyon's laughter filled the hall as if oblivious to the pressure that was building on the stage behind him.
Back in the control room Libro shook his head, "A monster… simply a monster."
Oh my. Seems like Dyon wants to cause some trouble ">
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