184. First Day!
“According to the Axiom of Dimensional Truncation, the fabric of reality itself can be utilized to precipitate hastened travel. This idea was first discovered by the great [Space Mage] Helmut Brys. He postulates that since Faunia’s Second Law—”
I tried to listen. I did what I could to mentally take notes of everything the lecturer was saying. But not only was I weeks behind in this class so I didn’t know half the terms she discussed, but I also was too tired to even pay attention. I found myself, with nothing to focus my thoughts, nearly dozing off on multiple occasions.
It took me a while to even understand the rough idea of what the lecturer was trying to convey. Also— I didn’t know her name. Sure, it was written down somewhere in the documents I had submitted. But I didn’t think about memorizing the individual names of each of my mentors, since there were going to be a lot of them.
I wanted to raise a hand and ask a question, but I didn’t even know where to start. This was a bit overwhelming. School was… hard and not fun at all!
A voice drew my attention. I glanced over at the man I was sitting next to. He had slick red hair tied into a braid that hung around his shoulder. The clothes he wore were decorated, a gray vest with a pale gold shirt beneath. I looked past the jewelry he had adorned, straight at the badge pinned over his left breast.
It had a simple design— the same one I wore on my blue jacket. An ‘A’ and an ‘E’ were almost conjoined, although they had a contrasting black-white. They were separated by an ‘S’ which slithered down where they met. A bright blue, like the sky. Or a diamond.
It was the badge for the School of Aspiring Elites. We didn’t need to wear uniforms unlike the students enrolled in the College of Aspirations; they had different uniforms for different years, too. Saffron was a second year student, so she wore a black jacket alongside her gray shirt. First year students had white uniforms with a gray sweater. Third year students had black long-sleeved shirts and long pants with a red blazer. Graduating students were only given a badge, similar to us in the School of Aspiring Elites. There was no need for them to wear a uniform, for whatever reason.
Everyone in this classroom had a badge— no uniforms. Half of them, however, seemed to be fourth year students of the College of Aspirations. I wasn’t sure how it worked, but they were the only ones who could share classes with us.
My neighboring student was not one of them. He was from the School of Aspiring Elites like me. And he slid over a notebook with a pen.
I saw a few notes already scribbled onto the page. But they weren’t incredibly detailed, nor did they seem like they were of today’s lecture. There were terms— definitions. And key individuals. The specific books and chapters they were referenced in were written next to it, and the dates of the lectures they were taught to the class. Essentially, he was giving me a very brief summary of the class up till today.
“You’re giving this to me?”
That was all he said. He seemed brusque— straightforward. Still, I smiled gratefully at him.
He grunted, turning his attention back to the lecturer.
Even with his notes, I still had no idea what was going on in the class.
“What’s your name?”
I caught the man once class ended. The lecturer— I learned her name was Claudia at some point— left the instant a bell rang. She didn’t stay behind to reprimand me or to answer questions. She came, she gave her lecture, and she left. That was it.
The red-haired man was in a hurry too. But I still wanted to get to know him.
“I have heard about you, Salvos the Liberator of the Plaguelands. I am Lamarr of Traith.”
He continued walking, only glancing at me slightly. I cocked my head, notebook still in hand, and following after him.
“Traith? Where is that?”
“It is a country in the Easter Kingdom Alliance.”
Lamarr didn’t elaborate. He headed down a set of stairs as I walked by his side. He walked briskly, not exactly trying to shun me, which was a good sign! It didn’t mean he hated me: it just meant that he was a bit rough. Which made sense, considering—
[Warrior - Lvl. 113]
Those tended to have varying extreme personalities. Some were boisterous and loud. Others were more straight-edged, like Lamarr!
“So, why’d you decide to be a [Space Mage] for your second Class?”
I peered at him as we exited Shoveler’s Hall. I was pretty sure it god its name by the shape of the building. It looked almost like a shovel. I continued.
“I’m still undecided for my second Class— I only got my advancement options last week, and they all kind of sound the same? But they’re different. I’ve been thinking about it, but every day, I want to choose a different option. It’s very difficult settling on just a single one.”
He paused mid-step. Students and teachers and others rushed around us as we stood under a lamppost. Turning to face me for the first time since I approached him after class ended, Lamarr spoke simply.
“I am not a [Space Mage].”
“Wait, you’re not? Then why are you in that class?”
“It is for my general education. There are requirements beyond your Class’ specialization.”
“Oh, I knew that.”
But for whatever reason, I thought everyone in the class had been [Space Mages] or of a related Class. Apparently not.
“Most of the students you will find in your lectures won’t share your second Class. It is common in the College of Aspirations. But for the School of Aspiring Elites, where enrollment numbered in less than a hundred, you will not find a lot of overlapping Classes with others. Space magic, however, is a popular subject. Which is why the class was rather crowded.”
“That was crowded?”
There were only a dozen students; it had been anything but crowded. Still, with how many Diamond Ranks there were in the world— it made sense why there were so few here.
“In response to your question: I am a specialized [Enchanter]. I decided on this Class when I realized my country lacks proper tools of war. Each of our soldiers are poorly equipped, so I thought that I’d be able to serve my people beyond the simple rule of law.”
“I see, I see… wait, rule of law?”
For the first time, I saw a hint of emotion creep up on his face— a slight curling of his lips.
“I am the Warrior King of Traith.”
I blinked, taking a moment to process this. He was a Warrior King? No, wait— he was a king. He ruled a country. As in, he led his people. And he wasn’t there right now.
“But, um, if you’re here, then…?”
I had so many questions. He waved a hand dismissively, starting away from me.
“My people are not reliant on only myself. A government ruled only by one man is no government at all. The senate is fully capable of keeping peace while I am gone.”
I was about to follow him when I heard the tolling of a bell. I glanced up at a nearby clocktower. My next class was about to start!
“I’ve gotta go—”
I took off, running past Lamarr. He nodded at me, smiling.
“It was a pleasure meeting you. However, I advise you against using your Skills or magic to reach your next class.”
I paused as he raised a hand. I looked at where he was pointing. A pair of guards dressed in platemail were escorting a first year student of the College of Aspirations away from a building. The student was saying something, but they ignored him and continued leading him to a castle-looking tower.
“It would violate Mavos Academy’s codes of conduct. And if repeatedly broken, it could result in expulsion.”
Well, that sucked. I was going to be late again, wasn’t I?
I was late for my next class. But the lecturer was nowhere to be seen when I arrived. So, I could, with much relief, find a seat and comfortably ready myself for the upcoming lecture.
It was a class on general rune study. The lecture hall was far larger than my first class. It was brimming with students from the College of Aspirations, not just fourth years. First years mingled with second and third years, while fourth years were more studious and reserved.
They were quite lively. I was excited to join in on the conversations, when I realized everyone sitting around me had moved away. A few of those who had sat in the same row as me moved to the back of the lecture hall. But the room had been full. So, many of the students were standing with their notes in their hands, refusing to sit near me.
I was perplexed. At least, until the lecturer arrived.
“Ah, apologies for my late arrival, class.”
A rather young man hurried in, adjusting his wrinkled shirt and combing his messy hair. He had an apologetic-but-not-really expression on his face. He didn’t even glance at us as he dropped his stack of notes on the front desk.
“You see— and I know I’ve said this before— but I was collecting different artifacts for us to study. Etching their runes onto my own parchments. But my dastardly nercat decided to knock over my ink pot—”
He paused when he realized no one was saying anything. It was as if he expected some sort of a response, like groans or jeers. He glanced over at us, frowning. Then he laid eyes on me.
“Ah yes, a new student is joining us today. I am sure some of you are quite apprehensive, but I assure you, you can sit down and act like you usually do.”
I blinked as I watched the students standing at the back hesitantly shuffle forward. They murmured and spoke quietly to each other, filling the empty seats. I tried waving at the third year and first year students sitting adjacent to me, but they only returned a small nod.
What’s wrong with them? The lecturer shook his head.
“Well, it’s good to have you here, Ms… what was your name again?”
I helpfully added in a respectful voice: I didn’t want to disrespect my teachers, after all. He snapped his fingers.
“Ah, right. I am professor Lisbenon. And I’m sure I can speak for all of us here that we’re flattered to have someone as esteemed as you in our class today.”
Then I paused. I glanced around one more time. And I finally realized I was the only one from the School of Aspiring Elites in the lecture hall.
“I have to say, it is my first time teaching someone of your level in a class of mine. So, I should be the one thanking you for enhancing my resume.”
He laughed as if he had made a joke. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh. Normally, I’d just join in since it seemed amusing. But the class was dreadfully silent. He cleared his throat.
“Anyways, now that we’ve got introductions out of the way, let us begin our lecture. As I left off last week—”
I tried to focus. Pay attention to what was being said. But I had good senses. And I couldn’t help but notice the other students were whispering, pointing, and even staring at me. Professor Lisbenon opened a folder, producing a rather large sheet of paper. He pinned it against the chalkboard and explained.
“This is a foundational rune used back in the Alexandrian Era.”
“Who is she?”
“I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard of a Diamond Rank with her name before.”
“My older sister told me that she’s the Savior of Silvergrove.”
“Isn’t she supposed to be Gold Rank?”
Lisbenon droned on, his voice rather monotonous, except for the rare moments where he cracked jokes. I struggled to write down everything he said— I even drew the symbols he was showing us.
“It continued to remain the dominant form of rune etching used by most [Enchanters] even in the centuries after Alexander’s death, during the pre-Melissian Era.”
“No, that was years ago! She’s much higher-leveled now!”
“What level is she?”
“I’m not sure, but they call her the Liberator of the Plaguelands.”
“I hear she fought the Headmaster in a duel to get join the School of Aspiring Elites during the academic year!”
“Seriously? She’s insane!”
My ears twitched as I felt the urge to correct them about what happened. Sure, I would’ve liked that story to be true. But it wasn’t. I didn’t like falsehoods being made about my person: that wasn’t Salvos, that was some fake Salvos!
“Compared to the runes used today, you can see the stark difference in how much more simplistic our—”
“She’s gorgeous too. I wonder what her makeup routine is?”
“Oh, shut up Alana. That’s all you ever think about.”
“Don’t you naturally become more handsome or beautiful as you level?”
“You must’ve been hideous as a child, Jayden.”
“Go talk to her—”
“How did she kill—”
By the time professor Lisbenon moved on from the history of the foundational rune— also called the Crux Symbol, used in every modern artifact— the lecture hall was full of chatter and conversations. He didn’t even try to stymie the noise. He simply continued with what he had to say. And while I liked being praise— I thoroughly enjoyed hearing others talk about me in a good way— I also found it very distracting.
Suffice to say, just like my first class, I learned nothing in my second class.