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I opened the door quietly, stepping inside the classroom. As expected, I got immediate attention.

“Don’t mind me,” I said, giving the teacher a smile and getting myself seated on the very first row - which was the only row that still had available seats remaining. Alice and Aldrynte followed me quietly, sitting next to me. It was slightly annoying, to be honest, but there was not much I could do. I could understand why they were careful. But there hadn’t been any news about the killings nor about the assassin.

As I got myself seated - surprisingly next to Aurora - I could feel all the eyes on me. But I wasn’t bothered. Not anymore. Quite the other way around, I had gotten too used to it all, so I started to slightly enjoy the attention. Only Aurora ignored me and was perhaps slightly annoyed that I was sitting next to her and drawing some attention to her.

“Hello matey!” a sharp whisper suddenly reached me from the other side of Aurora. Loid waved his hand like crazy. “I’m a huge fan-”

Aurora’s cold stare reached Loid, making him shut it immediately. “Ugh, scary,” Loid mumbled to himself. I smirked, raising one of my hand halfway up as a response. But I wasn’t there for any of them. I actually wanted to listen to the actual teacher. You see, the teacher was a rather known adventurer, and he was going to talk about something I needed to learn about. Of course, I pretended to be there as just an observer. Thank you Aldrynte for this opportunity.

 

The older teacher continued his talk.

“Magic is something that every adventure needs. Very few can adventure for a long time without one. It’s mostly the rich who can do that. However, there are three known magical statuses. We call them Wizards, sorcerers, and magicless. Probably you all know those terms, but let go over them anyway.

“Wizards are those who have unlocked their entire magical pool and can use it until they are completely depleted or even beyond that. They are mostly those who use magic to fight their battles. But there’s one huge but. More they use, slower their essence recover. Funnily enough, your magical pool uses your own magical essence to fasten the recovery. If one would use magical pool below the absolute limit, they might damage themselves so much that they might never be able to recover the magical essence, making them magicless.

“Sorcerers are able to only use a very tiny part of their magical pool. Nobody knows why one can’t have access to their entire magical pool. But for that very reason, sorcerers are often enchanters. They enchant their armor and weapons or use them as a helper. So, how do we differentiate a sorcerer and a wizard? Sorcerer’s magical essence always recovers fast, because they never will run low on their essence. They can’t. So they are never hit by the side effects of running low on magical essence. There are recorded cases, though, when a sorcerer unlocks their entire magical pool becoming a wizard.”

The man who explained all of this was an older man named Stanley. As I said, he’s a very well-known, but also a very old adventurer. He has a long white beard but is completely bald. He was one of the first to be accepted as a teacher. It was actually one of his dreams. When I had gotten back to the campus from the meeting, he searched me up to just to thank me. He was a sweet old retired adventurer. I could only respect him.

“Now, once the wizard goes below the point where sorcerer finds their limit, the lack of magical essence will start showing off. For every wizard, it can be something different. Sometimes even something dangerous. But usually, it is just exhaustion and physical burden. I, for a fact, am the other case. I will start losing hair until I go bald. That’s why I never had hair when I was a young adventurer like you. Of course, I also had physical exhaustion, but not as harsh as many others.

“So, if you can cast magic, but you never feel any drawbacks, you’re probably a sorcerer.” Stanley took a few steps towards the clean part of the blackboard. “Now, I don’t think I need to explain what magicless means.” Almost everyone shook their head. “But here’s a question; Will magicless have no chance to become an adventurer?”

Aurora sighed, raising her hand.

“Yes?”

“Magicless can still field magical weapons. And while Magic and magical weapon are great, in the end, one might have much greater skill in sword-fighting than one who has magic or magical weapon. And there is always a choice to be the most armored person at the very front, drawing a lot of attention to themselves,” she said out loud. Of course, it was she who said that. Her very own brother was magicless.

“Correct! There are many great adventurers who get far with only their physical skills alone. There are many stories of those who had no magic but kept their party safe from harm. In the end, magic is an advantage, but not a ticket to victory.”

He raised the chalk once more, pointing it towards Loid. Loid slightly winced. “Tell me the six main elements of magic!”

Loid chuckled. “Easy. Fire and ice. Earth and air. Water and cosmic. Many call the last one lightning.”

“Correct!” Stanley said as he wrote down all the elements. “Now here’s an interesting fact. All those elements are reverse of another. Opposite of fire is the ice. Opposite of earth is air. And the opposite of water is cosmic. Why is Cosmic opposite of the water, Loid?”

“Because like water can go truly deep, so can the sky,” Loid said, sighing.

Stanley nodded. “Some say that earth can go deeper, but who cares about the details?” he said, chuckling. “None of them are countering any other. It more depends on how each power is used. As an example, fire can melt ice, but Ice can also extinguish the fire.”

He marked all those on the blackboard, finally getting himself seated on his own table. “Yet every single person can only own a single element of those six. There is nobody who has ever owned more than one.”

Of course, I knew that. It was common knowledge. But I had always thought that one element counters another. At least a lot of adventurer books said it like that. In the end, some things are changed for fictional purposes. Interesting.

“Now, here’s something interesting. Which are the rarest elements of those six? And which are the most common?”

Aurora immediately raised her hand.

“Yes?”

“Three groups all mark also three different rarities. Fire and ice are the most common. Earth and Air are a lot rarer. Water and Cosmic are extremely rare.”

Stanley nodded. “During my lifetime, I’ve met a total of five people who had a cosmic element, and a total of fifteen people who had water. They are considered stronger than most elements.”

Somewhere behind a hand rose.

“Yes?”

“What’s the difference between ice and water?”

Stanley nodded. “An excellent question,” he muttered. “With ice, you can only manipulate items that you touch. You can freeze them. If you burn a lot of essences, you might be able to create an ice sword. But if your element is water, you can pull out the water of anything, which may include living beings. Don’t get injured, if you meet one.“ There was a moment of silence in the room, as everyone was thoughtful. It was scary. Even I found it slightly scary.

Stanley gave us a smile. “But can someone hold many elements?” Stanley asked, looking at Loid.

“Yes! There are special elements!” he said enthusiastically.

“Correct, Loid,” Stanley said, nodding. “Here’s a few; Nature, poison, flying, psychic, bug, spirit, dark, shadow, fear, time, healing, copy, illusion, gravity, demon, dream, aether and many other special elements. These are confirmed elements that at least someone had them. Some of them have been owned by a single person, while others are widespread. Healing magic is probably the most spread special magic out there. And a major difference between normal and special element is that while normal can be a completely random element, the special can be given to children. So, some of them have been a heritage from one family to another. And some have been so powerful, that their bloodline ended with the last bearer, or sometimes was ended. There have been secret and hidden wars over some of the bloodlines.”

I was intrigued. I had no idea that there were so many different special elements. I had a hard time hiding my excitement.

“And one can own more than one special element. Sometimes one does not own one of the six elements, but only a special one.”

Aurora raised her hand.

“Yes?”

“Will the person have separate magical pools for each magic type?”

Stanley shook his head. “An excellent question, but no. You all have one magical pool. What you do, is convert your essence into the magic you want to use. However...”

I smirked. This was the topic I was waiting for. I knew too little about it, and I wanted to know more about the catalysts.

Stanley stood up and walked behind his desk, lifting up two items. On one hand, he had a wand. On the other, he had an old book. “Both of these are catalysts. Every mage and every sorcerer needs a catalyst. Catalyst is the most important thing in a magician's life.”

I felt shivers.

“This wand is a forced catalyst.” - he showed the wand to everyone - “All of you can get one. It is made of a material that will help you convert your essence to any magical element you own. However, conversion is horrible. Your essence does not cooperate with it well, and a lot of your essence is wasted.” He then lowered the wand and showed a book. “This is a personal catalyst that can be used for one type of magic. It is something that your essence acknowledges and works well with. You can turn a lot more of your essence into the magic. It can be from slightly better to unimaginably better. This book happens to be my catalyst.

“Also, remember, normally you should never reveal your best catalyst to anyone who you don’t trust enough. Maybe you shouldn't even to those who you do trust and love. If they steal it, or if you lose it, you might never find as good catalyst again. That’s why a lot of magicians have one that they show to the public and one secret that they only use when they need to fight seriously. You can own many personal catalysts if you’re lucky. However, I’m old, and I’m the teacher, so I don’t care if you know mine.”

The class chuckled, including me.

Interestingly enough, he crouched and picked up two flower pots, placing them on his table. He then raised his wand, touching the dirt inside one of the pots. As he focused, a beautiful small flower began to grow. Everyone stared at the pot, some gasped for air, while others just watched it with their widened eyes.

“Wow!” Loid shouted. “You’re a nature wizard?”

Stanley smiled. “This was created by this wand. Now, I’ll do the same thing and apply the exact amount of magic to the other pot.”

He put the wand down and lowered his finger into the other pot while holding the old book in his other hand. Everyone stared his finger. Some whispered, almost placing bets how big the difference would be.

“Three times,” Loid whispered to Aurora. She only chuckled in return. “That little?” she responded.

As Stanley touched the dirt, a tree began to come out from the pot, flowers blossoming next to it, mushrooms already growing in many parts on the trunk. But it wasn’t a tall tree. It was short but wide. Stanley had purposely chosen a wide tree that would hide a huge part of the ceiling. But the last thing he needed was to destroy it. He removed his finger, looking at everyone. He was slightly panting. “Gosh, I’ve gotten old,” he said, grinning. “Back when I was young, this was a small thing to do.”

Everyone stared at his tree. Many were shocked. Even I had a hard time not to gasp for air.

“This is why finding a conduit is important. This is why you keep it hidden. And even if you do have a low magical pool - with a proper conduit, you might be a much greater wizard than those who have massive pools but can’t find their conduits. This is also why sorcerers can beat wizards.”

Suddenly I realized why Alice hid her clip. It was her shadow magic conduit. And The hero’s badge was my conduit for light magic. I couldn’t do any magic without it. But with it, I didn’t feel any problems.

“Now,” Stanley began, taking hold of his cane that he used the very first time, and walked in front of his desk, leaning against it, leaving the tree’s trunk as a background. “How does one find their conduit?” Stanley asked, gazing at many different students. “The answer is surprisingly simple. It’s usually something that’s precious to you. More precious, the more likely it’s your conduit. I didn’t have my conduit until I got this book as a present from my dying father. It became precious to me. And suddenly, it became my conduit. So, sometimes it takes time to find yours. But if you can, you might want to find something that’s already a lot better than this wand that’s probably the worst conduit possible.”

“Then why to use the wand at all?” one of the students asked.

“There are many good reasons. For once, without any conduit, you can’t do magic. You’ll be the same as magicless. So this will help you to do at least some magic. It will help you learn to use magic. And it is also a way to hide your real conduit if you have only one. Finally, you can cast any magic you have control over it. With conduit, you can cast only one.”

I took a peek at Alice. Now that I thought about it, she used a wand for her ice magic. Didn’t she have a conduit for her ice magic? She was in enough danger to use anything else than her wand as well.

“Of course, there are exceptions. There have been few cases of some wizards who can convert magical essence to their element without any conduit. Merlin, for example, was a very famous wizard for it. According to him, he was so narcissistic person, that he became his own conduit,” Stanley said, making everyone laugh. “Then there are magical creatures. Fairies, or, for example, dragons, do not need any conduits either.”

He chuckled, remembering something. “Here’s an interesting thing. Dragons can do only their elemental type of magic. Fire dragon can only do the fire magic. Ice dragon can do only ice magic. And so on. With exception of Golden Dragon. But we do not know much about Golden Dragons. They are merely legends. Some think they are extinct, altogether.”

Aldrynte leaned towards me. “They aren’t,” she whispered to me. I grinned at her.

“But can you only do fire magic?” I whispered back.

She sighed but gave me a slight nod. “And detection magic.”

“However,” Stanley said loudly. “You still don’t want to go into a fight with a dragon. They probably have more magical essence than all of us together, times hundred or thousand.

Aldrynte smirked once more, while others just laughed. This lesson must’ve been hilarious to her.

 

“Now. To the final question that we’re going to talk about,” Stanley said, standing up and walking again behind his table. He pulled out a key, unlocking a drawer, opening it, and pulling out a large glass orb, except there was a clothing piece between his fingers and the glass. He walked at the center of the room, placing it on a prepared stand. Many whispered and recognized what it was.

“Do you know what it is?” Stanley asked. Many whispered the answer, pleasing him. “That’s correct. Spyglass. One of the greatest discoveries by the dwarves. They accidentally found it, mined it, and discovered its properties. Mostly by losing their own magic.”

For the first time, two guards that were leaning on the opposite side of the classrooms straightened up, paying more attention. They were probably guarding the spyglass.

“Spyglass is very expensive. However, it is the best way to discover what’s your magical elements, including your magical pool. You see, the orb will take all your magical essence, and convert it into all the elements that you can use. It will also show you pretty accurately how big is your magical pool, mostly by just inspecting how much you fill inside of this orb. But remember, if you’re a wizard, you’ll also have to go through the empty magical essence withdrawal effect.”

With that, I understood the benefits of Alice’s method. It wouldn’t use all my magical essence to find out my powers. But there was no way to find out the exact size of my pool, only a general idea.

Stanley then turned to me. “As a hero, would you like to demonstrate?”

I looked at him. “Certainly!” I said. There was a very slight moment of silence. Everyone looked at me. “That’s something none of you should ever say!” I added loudly.

Stanley began to laugh. “That’s correct. Like conduit, you might not want everyone to know your element. Especially the special one. If you have something truly special, you might get the attention of some bad people. Only you should know your exact capabilities. That’s why, if you wish, you can do the check all by yourself, or request one trusted observer in the room with you. They can help you identify elements, or converse with others while keeping your anonymity.”

Stanley sighed, pushing his hand out. “But as a demonstration, this is how it works.” He put his hand on the spyglass, making everyone lean slightly forward.

We could see how the magical essence began to gather at the very center of the glass. There was some dirt, and a plant began to grow out of it. But it didn’t grow that large. If anything, it was rather tiny. Immediately after Stanley removed his hand, he leaned on his cane a lot more, slightly panting. “The magical essence pool changes as you age. I used to have at least thrice as large as this,” he said jokingly, limbing back to his desk, leaning against it. “Plus, you should only do this test after you have rested and you’re sure that you’re ready. As you can see, I’m earth and nature user. If I was just an earth user, you would see only the dirt. But I was lucky enough to have two elements that are very connected to each other.”

Stanley was visibly very exhausted from the test. It was that moment when the plant began to die in the middle of the spyglass and the dirt was dying off. “It lasts around a minute,” he said as he looked at it as well.

“And that’s it. That’s all I have to share today. As you can see, I’m now very exhausted. All of you can now one by one test out if you have any elements. If nothing appears, you’re magicless. If something appears, and you’re fine afterward, you’re a sorcerer. If you’re like me, you’re a wizard. We’ll talk about how to use elements the next time. But remember, it’s entirely up to you how you use them, and how you master your own magic. You might copy others and try to be a master of the basic flame. Or you can try hard, and learn to create a blue flame. But at the same time, don’t try to become something you can’t.”

He suddenly clapped his hands together, making everyone to look at him. “That’s it for now. You’re all dismissed. Outside of the room is registration paper for this spyglass. First to register is first to be served. We’ll be doing the tests for the next three days, so you still have a chance to rest.”

Everyone stood up, immediately, almost running towards the exit. They all wanted to register their own turn. There was a lot of excitement in the air.

And I knew it as well - it was my only chance to use the spyglass. But how? I needed to make sure that nobody saw me using it. I needed to make sure that nobody would suspect anything.

“Umm,” Aurora whispered towards me, still being seated next to me.

“Yeah?” I said, looking at her.

“Can you be my observer?” she asked, looking me seriously.

“Eh? Why?” I murmured.

“It’s my idea,” Alice said, raising her hand, who was next to aldrynte, at the edge of the row. “I had a talk with Aurora beforehand and suggested that maybe you should be the one to help her.” She gave me a wink. “It’s only right, don’t you think?”

And the harem grows, Elbert’s voice echoed in my ears.

But I realized what she was doing. Alice was trying to give me a chance to be alone with the glass. She knew that I wanted to test it out. After all, she was the only person who knew my secret.

Aurora nodded. “Since you knew my brother as well, I thought it would be great. That is if you don’t mind. I don’t really want to do it alone. I’m afraid that I’m magicless, like my brother.”

“Then be my observer as well, please!” Loid said out loudly, giving already a bow. “I’d be very happy if you’d be my observer, and my teacher, and my-”

“Shut up,” Aurora said sharply, throwing her stare at me.

I began to laugh. “Sure. I’ll observe both of you if you want.” For once, I was excited. This was thrilling. Like a kid, I waited for that moment when I could quickly test out my element. Was it really only the light? Or did I miss something when we took a test with Alice?

I couldn’t remove that smirk from my face.

“Hiro?” Aldrynte whispered, looking at me.

“Thank you, Aldrynte,” I whispered to her. “This academy was a great idea!” I needed to get stronger, and this is what I needed. Nobody got time for that assassin.

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A note from Elven

A long juicy chapter <3.


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About the author

Elven

  • Matthew E. Damson

Bio: I'm someone whose pen-name is Matthew E. Damson. Some others know me as Elven. I'm also known as elf, elfie, elves, pointy ears, and some more. To be honest, I have no idea why they call me other names, but they create nicknames, not me.

You can read my stuff and shorts at reddit.com/r/Elven

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I'm not the best at grammar, but I try to fight against it with a better story-writing.

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