Tomas and Ciara led me down a spiral staircase and into a spacious passage, the scale of Arcane River really took the breath away, it was enormous and there was no creaking wood in sight. The castle was surprisingly well lit, there were quite modern looking light fixtures above, curious, I asked Tomas about it.
"Oh, these? Most are made with alchemy, only light magi can do enchantments like this and they are busy doing, well, important things I assume." He explained.
"Alchemy, huh," I muttered.
"Yah, it's crazy stupid though. The alchemists are weird too, they keep buyin me acid," Ciara said.
Many of the students shot us curious glances, I was the only person not wearing a uniform after all. Most of them only stole a single glance before returning to their previous activities. Some were reading, others were madly writing something on their knees, presumably homework.
I even saw one guy juggle a fireball with his feet, he was quite proficient and the students around cheered him on. Another thing that caught my attention was a group of people surrounding two students, egging them on.
It wasn't a fight surprisingly, instead, there were two knee-height metal figurines whacking each other with their small fists. Fascinated, I watched as the silver figurine threw a stiff haymaker and almost fell over, the crowd laughing at it.
In fact, if not that we had to hurry up I would stop and watch till the end. I even craned my neck as we were turning but the fight was still going on, the bronze figurine looked to be winning.
Tomas laughed and said, "Sorcerers and their toys, the bronze one should win. Merron is really good at making these golems."
"Remember that horse he made?" Ciara said in a mocking voice.
"The one that exploded and drove bolts up his behind? Yeah, no comment on that." Tomas said and shook his head.
"What happened to him?" I asked, sickened but curious.
"You saw him standing there, right? He is the tall lad with crazy hair." Tomas shrugged, "There are three medical sorcerers in Arcane River, there isn't much that they can't fix."
"And that Aren?" I asked with a frown.
"Beats me, brain damage is hard to heal, especially when its caused by magic," Tomas said, disinterested.
"We are almost there," Ciara said, changing the topic.
After walking up a really long set of stairs, we stopped before a pair of really tall doors, Gand was nervously pacing back and forth until he noticed us. Excited he walked over.
"There you are! You two, come back in an hour or so." Gand said to them.
"Yes, teacher!" Tomas and Ciara said.
They waved to me and told me we will keep their fingers crossed for my results, after this, they ran downstairs. Gand waited for them to go down before taking a deep breath and smiling to me.
He said, "Marie, they will ask some questions so do your best to answer truthfully, we will know if you lie."
I felt my stomach twist into a knot, this didn't sound so hot.
"Can I refuse to answer?" I asked, sourly.
"I already told them that you don't want to discuss some topics, just answer some basic questions and then I'll cover for you. " Gand said and shot me an encouraging smile.
I stiffly smiled and nodded my head, I just wanted to get over with this. Gand solemnly nodded his head and led me inside. After walking through the doors a large circular hall opened before us, it had a high ceiling and looked a little bit like a wonky courtroom.
There was a stone stand in front of me, a familiar lamp like device on it. I could see a spiral staircase going down behind it and seats above, most were empty but three were occupied. The one in the middle was occupied by a cold looking old man with a neatly trimmed black beard and hair, I could already tell he was the principal.
A smiling middle-aged woman was seated to his right, she was slightly chubby and had her brown hair in a tight bun. The last person was a stern looking older man with short gray hair, his face was contorted into a dangerous frown.
Quite a selection of individuals I would say.
Gand signaled me to get to the stand and shot me another encouraging smile before floating up. and sitting next to the angry man. I gulped and walked up, this was even worse than a job interview I once had, that one didn't end too well.
The principal looked at me and said, "My name is Awyn Dolor, if you pass the test you can just refer to me as 'teacher'. I would like you to hold this tool at all times while answering our questions."
I hesitantly looked at the lie detector and clenched my jaw before grabbing it. I was really jittery at the moment.
Awyn then introduced the other teachers, "This is miss Sabrine Vigil, one of the four Archmages of our academy. As for this friendly looking gentleman, he is none other than battlemage Orion Solba. You already know Gand so I won't introduce him again."
I nodded my head, trying not to let the nerves get to me.
Gand cleared his throat and said, "Let's start with a control question first, to make sure that everything is in perfect order." He then asked, "Marie, are you a girl?"
"Hm? Yes." I answered automatically.
Awyn crossed eyes with Gand and took over, he asked me, "What's your name?"
"Marie Penn," I replied.
"How old are you?"
"Why do you want to learn magic?"
This question stumped me, I thought for a moment, clutching the shirt above my whistling heart. Awyn patiently waited, so did the other teachers.
"I want to get something back and to get stronger." I hesitated for a moment before adding, "And to get revenge."
Awyn squinted his black eyes, he asked, "For yourself?"
I shuddered and replied, "For myself, and for them."
There was no reaction from the device all this time. Awyn nodded his head, seemingly satisfied with my answer. I could tell that Orion's angry face is also somewhat relaxed, he now looked only moderately angry.
"The last question then, do you hail from Western Ocean?" Awyn asked me.
Again this question, I couldn't understand their fixation about this.
"I don't want to answer." I squeezed out.
All of them looked somewhat disappointed but thankfully Awyn didn't want to pressure me. Gand gave me a discreet thumbs up, I found it interesting that this gesture also was known there, assuming that it had the same meaning.
Awyn stood up and the other teachers after him.
"Please, follow us. It's time to determine your magical potential." He said.
There it comes, I was really excited about this.
I fervently nodded my head and shakily followed them downstairs. We walked into a well-lit room entirely made of pristine white material, I actually couldn't tell if it was stone or metal or something else. There were twisting engravings everywhere, all connected to two big orbs that stood next to each other and to another orb further into the chamber.
The teachers walked to the third orb, Awyn walked up behind it and placed his hands on its surface, the thin engravings around the room instantly lit up.
I looked around myself in amazement, this was magic all right.
Gand chuckled and said, "We will start with your element, walk up to the orb to your right and place your hands on it. You will get drawn into an illusion but don't panic, it will end after you realize what your element is."
I nervously nodded and strode towards the orb, I really hoped I wouldn't have a weak element or no element at all. The thought of having Arcane crossed my mind, I really couldn't know how my body would interact with the magic of this world.
Under the watchful gazes of the teachers, my hands made contact with the orb. Instantly, I felt my body spin around and the room was replaced by smudged colors. Disoriented, I shook my head and my vision cleared.
I was no longer touching the orb, actually, there was nothing in front of me. There was a glittery white path beneath my feet, it started where I stood. Other than that, it was pitch black.
"Limbo again?" I muttered.
After making sure that there was nothing behind me, I walked forward into the darkness, the shiny road as my only companion. It didn't take long for something to appear from within the darkness, it was a small wisp of flame erratically jumping around. I tried to grab it but it avoided my hand and disappeared into the darkness.
"Not fire, huh." I mused under my nose.
This situation repeated itself many times, a droplet of water sneaked between my fingers and a snowflake dodged my hand like a speck of dust when you try to grab it. Later, there were some vines just floating there, once again I couldn't touch them.
Annoyed, I continued walking forward, at this rate I would probably end up without an element.
Suddenly, something weird appeared in front of me, it was dark, yes, it was dark, and I could see it in the blackness that surrounded me. This super shadow shook and slithered towards me, even getting onto the path. Excited, I crouched and tried to touch it but something scared it away, the shadow shook and dissipated.
I cursed under my nose and turned around, a small mote of gold light was hovering just in front of my nose. It radiated a warm, somehow encouraging light accompanied by a soft hum. I nervously reached out, it didn't evade my hand.
This little mote of light happily danced between my fingers, it felt warm but not too hot. Enchanted, I watched as the mote of light transformed and spread over my hand like a glove. I couldn't help but grin, it was beautiful.
Then I heard it. The deafening buzzing of wild electricity.
The light around my hand shook and trembled as if annoyed by the newcomer. I could see it in the corner of my eyes, blinding lightning bolt sneaking through the darkness, straight towards me. My heart revved up to the max, the whistling almost syncing up with the buzz.
I didn't want this, everything but this.
Hyperventilating, I stuck out my hand, still covered in the gold glove. I didn't know whether this little mote of light could protect me, I really hoped it would. The lightning bolt struck against it.
Terrified, I fell on my butt. I was back in the testing chamber, the ground was cold and felt like metal. I looked at my hand, the little light was gone, so was the lightning bolt. I shuddered thinking about it, I really wanted to cry at the moment.
My little light was gone.
"Unbelievable..." Awyn muttered.
Right, I wasn't alone.
I gritted my teeth and clenched my fists, I wouldn't cry at this moment, I could still learn alchemy or become a sorceress. I stood up and looked and the teachers, they were all looking at me in amazement.
I couldn't understand why. My little light was destroyed.
Awyn took a deep breath and shot me a serious gaze, he said, "Congratulations, Marie Penn. You have a dual element of light and lightning, the first combination of these elements in recorded history."
What did he just say? My heart was going out of control, I don't know if from excitement or from what happened in the illusion. Dual element. Light and lightning. I glanced at my hands and grinned like an idiot.
My little light was still there.
"An adequate reaction I would say, now then, let's see how much magic power you are packing," Awyn said.
Still grinning, I said, "I have a feeling I will break a record."
Awyn raised his eyebrows and said, "Confidence is good but we won't know until you try, please."
I walked up to the other orb and after getting a signal from the teachers, I touched it. This one was warm to touch and it vibrated lightly. Nothing else was happening so I shot a quizzical glance at the teachers, I was told to be patient.
Growing more nervous with each moment, I shuffled my feet. How long could it really take? I soon got my answer when the orb started spewing out radiant gold light, it became so bright that I had to close by eyes but even then it pierced through my eyelids.
I could feel the orb absorbing something from within me through my fingers as it grew brighter, suddenly, the orb started to buzz like electricity. My hair stood on its end. Startled, I winced and looked at the orb.
There was gold lightning dancing around my fingers, shining brilliantly.
The little electrical discharges happily crackled around my hands, as if happy to be under my control. This feeling wasn't mutual, I couldn't stop myself from taking my hands off the orb and taking a shaky step back.
"Did something happen?" Awyn asked me from across the room.
"The lightning..." I started but didn't go further.
"Oh, I understand. I saw enough anyway." Awyn said and took his hands off the control orb.
The runes around us dimmed and soon stopped shining, I was still jittery, my leg was slightly jumpy.
"You didn't break the record, by the way," Awyn said, calmly.
Disappointed I asked, "How far off was I?"
He thought for a moment before replying, "You have roughly sixty percent of the potential magic power that the record holder does."
I thought it's disappointing until I saw the other teacher's faces, all of them wide-eyed, with slightly opened mouth. Their gazes were boring into me to the point that I shyly averted my gaze, I didn't like this at all.
Still looking away, I asked in a small voice, "Who is the record holder?"
"Why, our founder of course," Awyn said.
This made sense but I still felt disappointed, it must have shown on my face because Gand hurriedly asked, "Do you even know what it means?"
I looked at him and shook my head.
Gand took a deep breath and explained, "Listen, Marie, Archmagus Nec Divinus is regarded as the strongest magus alive. Do you understand now?" He wiped his eyebrows and shook his head in disbelief, "Heavens! Your potential magic power is like three times mine, if not more!"
At this moment I didn't care about my magic power anymore, this name drop was enough to shake me up.
"Nec Divinus?!" I asked in disbelief.
"Please show some respect to Master's name, and yes." Awyn calmly replied.
"I-I am sorry, " I squeezed out and said, "I just know this name."
How could I not know this name, the name of a legendary player from Lemuria Online? The very same player who defined how wizards were played, the person who defined the meta. I am not sure what kind of expression I had on my face but Awyn and the other teachers looked at me suspiciously.
Awyn traced his chin and furrowed his brows, he said, "Master was missing for a dozen or so years, most certainly busy with important matters. There was never anyone who had half of his potential before you arrived." He looked at me seriously and asked, "Forgive me for being nosy, but are you his daughter?"
I almost choked on nothing, this was a reaching theory if I ever saw one.
"No way!" I waved my hands and shook my head, denying it on the spot.
Awyn looked at me as if hesitating and muttered, "The silver eyes..." He shook his head and said, "Never mind then." He turned to the other teachers and ordered, "Never mention this matter outside, we will discuss it later."
The teachers acknowledged his orders, all of them shooting me curious glances or smiling encouragingly, except Orion, he just looked less angry. They absolutely didn't believe me, amazing, really amazing.
Goddamnit Nec, great minds think alike and stuff but did your avatar really had to have silver eyes as well?