182.1. Personal Statement
“Urgh, I must’ve had the worst nightmare from—”
I piped up as Saffron jolted back. She crawled away from me, to the other side of her large bed, desperately hugging a pillow.
“Yes, it’s me!”
“This means that…”
She trailed off, and I cocked my head. A voice spoke up from the side, drawing both of our attention.
“That is correct, Lady Saffron. The events of the previous night were not a dream.”
The young noble buried her head in her hands, wanting to melt into her bed. But her butler continued.
“I have spoken with hall director Andrew. So there isn’t any need to worry. The issue has been resolved.”
“But how? The rules explicitly state that violating curfew could result in expulsion.”
“It is only a possibility if it is repeatedly violated. But this is your first time. And you have only been a violator this once. Also, if word gets out that the esteemed daughter of the Merryster family found herself in trouble at Mavos Academy, it’d be a scandal that’d plague the noble circles for years to come.”
Saffron narrowed her eyes as I glanced between the two.
“You bribed him.”
“If that is what you wish to call it, Lady Saffron.”
Sighing, she pulled herself out of her bed. She straightened and dusted her dress.
“I am not a child who needs to be pardoned with the help of others, Matthew.”
“Apologies, Lady Saffron.”
Saffron shook her head as I peered at her, waiting for a lull in the conversation. When I found it, I spoke up.
She turned to me, speaking over me.
“I’m not helping you.”
She folded her arms across her chest. I paused.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m not going to be your scribe, Salvos. Unfortunately, even if it is the weekend, I still have duties to carry out as a student of Mavos Academy and as the daughter of the Merryster family. You’ll have to ask someone else to help you with your personal statement.”
“Oh, I wasn’t talking about that.”
I gestured at a few sheets of paper lying on the nearby desk.
“Matthew already helped me out!”
“I did what I had to do, Lady Saffron.”
For whatever reason, he sounded defeated. I shrugged, grabbing my personal statement off the table.
“I just wanted to ask for your help with reading through it. Maybe tell me what you think?”
Saffron seemed more open to this idea.
“That… is something I can do.”
I hefted the pieces of paper over to the noble woman. She sifted through it, furrowing her brows.
“Wait, you dictated all this?”
“Yep! I told him what to write.”
She started reading it aloud.
The infant floats in a sea of nothingness, existence but a mere eternity in darkness away from her birth. Logic dictated that this nativity is when the self is born, consciousness seeping into the fore of one's senses, distinction as a precondition rather than a prefiguration of life. Yet, this truism stipulates the priori of heightened perception: for consciousness being-in-itself as well as being-for-an-other.
I had been alone; no friends; no companions; nothing more to experience than the infinitude of death. I remember questioning the very verisimilitude of my own lugubrious existence, flummoxed by the superfluous phantasm of life. How could any epistemology hold merit if my own truncated extant was mere frivol?
The moments passed like teardrops, lost to a vast ocean. My life had no meaning— I was just another pebble on the ground, to be trampled without care. It was only upon meeting the others did what I perceive truly expand beyond my fringes. They were pulchritudinous things. Colorful. Exuberant. Different.
Subjects that I treated as objects, and subjects that treated me as an object.
I saw none of myself in these strangers—
“What the fuck?”
Saffron placed the first piece of paper down. I hesitated.
“Is it that bad?”
“No, no, I just— was caught off guard. This is… a lot more coherent than I thought it’d be.”
I beamed as she continued reading it, not shriveling in disgust at what I had Matthew write down.
“I like talking about myself.”
“You really do, don’t you?”
She finished going over the entire thing.
“This is… quite good, Salvos. You didn’t just talk about your own achievements, you also mentioned those who helped you and aided you in becoming who you are today. Honestly, most students who write these personal statements tend to fixate on themselves or others in their life. You have a good mix of both.”
I proudly raised my head, scratching a cheek shyly.
“I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for those around me.”
“I do pity these two friends you’ve extensively mentioned. But as I had suspected since I first met you, you are truly quite a remarkable individual.”
Setting my personal statement down, she gave me an approving look.
“This would be enough to compel me to accept your entrance into Mavos Academy.”
I perked up as she nodded. I believed her assessment, so that was likely settled.
“Now, all that’s left to do is to get the hundred platinum I need from the Merchants Guild and…”
Choose my Class.
I was still undecided, but I will have to pick on eventually, right?
[Dimensional Mage], [Fairy Maiden], and [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus].
Wimborne’s Merchants Guild was quite small compared to its Adventurers Guild. Apparently, [Traders] and [Merchants] had a lot of autonomy here, considering the importance of the ocean route and the various ways Shedos connected the Eastern Kingdoms to the Helbir city states.
A high-leveled [Banker] had to come and hand me the amount I wished to withdraw, since there were apparently a lot of complications in suddenly taking a large sum of money with short notice. But it was all resolved, and I headed back to Mavos Academy.
For whatever reason, people were staring at me, whispering, and pointing fingers. I ignored most of them, even though [Passive - A Hunter’s Sense] made me keenly aware of what they were doing. I walked down an alleyway and a man with a knife followed after me.
I was pretty sure he wanted to attack me, but another man stopped him. After exchanging a few hushed words, they hurried off. Which was strange. They would’ve seen me as a Level 36 [Mage], right?
They were both around Level 50. I would’ve thought they’d be more confident in their abilities. Unless, somehow, they knew I was truly disguising my level. It wasn’t like I made a scene any time recently.
Oh wait… I remembered what happened at the docks a few days ago. Oops. I didn’t mean to make a big deal out of it.
But I just did leave the Merchants Guild with a hundred platinum, didn’t I?
Well, things to learn for next time.
Saffron was busy gathering alchemical ingredients or something, so I didn’t really have anywhere to go. I decided that I might as well just submit everything to Clayton now, since I hit all the requirements.
I stood at the base of his tower, a bag of platinum coins in one hand, and a stack of papers tucked neatly under the arm of my other hand. The Headmaster arrived shortly after I spoke to a [Secretary].
He harrumphed as he saw me.
“So, you’ve returned.”
“I’ve done everything you asked me to do!”
I handed him the payment and my personal statement, which he didn’t accept by hand. They simply floated when I let go of it, hovering up to just above his shoulders.
“And you’ve already reached your next Class advancement?”
He tapped a leg impatiently.
“Well, what is it?”
“I’m still kind of undecided?”
I gave him a half-hearted look. He stared at me.
“Yep! I just kind of assumed that, you know, I can choose it later when I’m more decided. I mean, the requirement was to reach your next advancement, not undergo it, right?”
I didn’t even convince myself. And yet, somehow, he conceded.
“While one would say that is one in the same, I would admit that the rules are not particularly harsh on such a matter.”
“There have been students admitted into our regular curriculum, of course, who chose to stave off their Class advancement. They are typically required to make a decision before the end of their first year, so you are not the only one to have come to this conclusion. However, such a situation has never happened for those applying to the School of Aspiring Elites.”
Clayton was uncertain. He ran a hand through his scruffy beard as I raised a hand.
“But that’s because most of those who apply for the School of Aspiring Elites are already experienced. I’m… not, right? You’ve said it yourself. I need guidance. And I feel like making a hasty decision would only cost me.”
He considered it. He wore a thoughtful look on his face as I shuffled uncomfortably, waiting in silence. I wanted to add more to it, but it seemed like he had heard enough and just needed to mull it over for a moment. Finally, he nodded.
“Very well. I will grant you a month, Salvos the Liberator of the Plaguelands. That is, if you are accepted, of course. You will hear back about your admission by the end of the week. Although, due to these extraordinary circumstances, you may receive your results sooner rather than later.”
I smiled in relief, bowing my head.
“Thank you, Headmaster Clayton Skyshredder.”