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"Where are you from?"

"..."

"When did you arrive at the academy? Just now? Oh, and have you seen the city before you got here? How does it look like?"

"..."

Lucius's patience was wearing thinner and thinner by the second. With a sigh, he tore his eyes away from the book he was reading and looked at his 'roommate'—a short, auburn-haired boy with big round eyes the color of pale wood complete with a warm, pleasant smile on his face.

Lucius rubbed his chin with a deadpan look, thinking that he might've just encountered another 'Tissette'.

"Would you mind? Sir Gi—er, Gilly, was it?" Lucius said, recalling the boy's name. Short and simple. Gilly was an orphan just like him, or at least, just like he introduced himself to be.

"Oh? What is it?" the small boy—Gilly said with an attentive look on his face as he sat by Lucius's desk.

"I'm reading."

"Oh. Uh, sorry about that," Gilly said in a lowered tone. His smile, however, remained unchanged. "I just haven't had a roommate in a while. The ones I've had before either requested a change in dorm rooms as soon as their Virtus rose or quit the academy altogether. It gets pretty lonely here in the 'Lowest Virtus' section of the dorms, you see."

Lucius was just about to try and power through Gilly's talkativeness by filtering him out just like he did with Tissette when an important thought came to him.

"Say, Gilly, do you know how one might be able to read the Patch Notes?"

"Ooh, is that a pop question? That's pretty easy. W-Well, just use the Command for it!"

Lucius nodded despite having no clue what the boy was talking about. "And how exactly does one use this 'Command'?"

"Well, just say the word out loud or think of it with Intent, just like how it is for other Commands, of course," Gilly explained while scratching his head.

Lucius nodded inwardly. One's intent, he remembered Castarossa saying, was what separated simple words and thoughts from things related to spell casting or summoning Declarations.

Just like showing Declarations of my stats then. Hmm. «Patch Notes».

 


PATCH NOTES - Version 2.0

• Due to the destruction of a Catalyst Artifact, the Providence of Odysseus and the Outworlder System have been removed. Outworlders are now banned from realm-hopping indefinitely until further notice.

• Due to the successful eradication of the Insidious Ones, the Providence of Icarus and the Leveling System have been added. EXP, or experience points, can be earned via completing quests and slaying aberrants. Upon leveling up, Elyssians and former Outworlders will be given [5] Triforce Points—[7] if the Human Racial Trait: Boon of Growth is active—that can be used to increase either the Corpus, Sensus, or the Animus.

• Due to the great strides in technology and outstanding display of resilience during the war against the Insidious Ones, the Providence of Promethea and the Crafting System have been added. The residents of Elyssia and former Outworlders alike can now create items. By default, item rarity and crafting success relies heavily on the Triforce stats and random chance.

• Due to the success in resisting the Insidious Ones' deceitful offer for a truce, the Providence of Eden and the Drop System have been added. Aberrations—lifeforms from another realm have been introduced to Elyssia. When killed, these creatures give out experience points and random item drops not limited to currencies, consumables, and Materia. Item rarity depends on the tier/danger level of the Aberration and chance.

• In addition to «Revelare» and «Aestimo», more Commands can now be used. Specific commands can be checked by using the command: «Commands List»


 

Lucius's eyes narrowed.

Three new Providences and one removed? It was the one that favored the Players too. How could this even happen?

"Wait, are you looking at the Patch Notes right now?"

"No."

"I can see that dull, rectangular glint in your eye though," Gilly muttered with a pout. "Y-You see, my Ma told me lying is bad."

Only needing three whole seconds to commit the entire wall of text to his memory, Lucius then closed the Patch Notes and looked at Gilly. He never knew that there was a way to tell if a person was looking at a Declaration that only they can see. Nevertheless, it was certainly a good thing to know, to say the least.

Gilly shifted uncomfortably under Lucius's gaze. "Wh-What? Did I say something wrong?"

Lucius looked at the squirming, nervous-wreck of a boy for a while before closing the book he was reading and turning his full attention towards Gilly.

This one seems interesting. Hmm, there's no harm in making conversation for now. Maybe he even has something better than what I can learn from these books at the moment.

"Uh..."

"Do you know any spells?" Lucius finally said, much to Gilly's surprise.

Gilly perked up and smiled. "Oh, a spell? Of course! Do you wanna see me cast one right now?"

"Go ahead," Lucius said while trying to hide his excitement with a straight face.

"I'm attuned to Stone, so I think I'll just cast a buff spell called Harden on my fist. I'm not really good at anything besides Incantation Casting, so that's the method I'll use for now. Let's see...harden, harden, harden, harden..."

Lucius waited patiently and watched Gilly's bizarre and almost-ritualistic way of using Incantation Casting. With his eyes tightly shut and his incessant mumbling, Gilly appeared to struggle for a while until finally...

"‹Harden›!"

Gilly finally succeeded in casting the spell. Only partly, however.

"See, Lucius? A spell!" Gilly said with a tired huff before proudly waving a finger that was partially covered with a jagged, rough layer of stone around Lucius's face. "Cool, huh? Took me like six months to understand and get the Spellform right in my mind. M-My Sensus stat is pretty low, so..."

Despite the underwhelming results of Gilly's spell, Lucius was still intrigued enough upon seeing yet another spell up close, so much so that he could not even take his eyes away from the finger.

"Can I touch it?"

Gilly looked as if he was stumped for a moment, but with a wholesome, inviting smile, he then said, "Sure, go ahead!"

Lucius nodded and held the finger before looking at it more closely. He then shook and flicked the finger, much to Gilly's confusion.

Hmm. Dense and coarse, just like the walls back in the castle! How brilliant!

With a wry smile on his face, Gilly interrupted Lucius's inspection and muttered, "A-As you can see, my spellcasting isn't all that great. You see—"

"Oh, nonsense. You've done good enough," Lucius said dismissively, letting Gilly's finger go right before the buff's duration expired. "Where I come from, I rarely see spells being used since the people I was with wished to maintain my ignorance when it comes to spellcasting. They didn't even teach me the basics in fear that I might...act up. Thus, I thank you for showing me one up close just now. It truly showed me what I had been missing ever since my childhood."

Gilly stared at Lucius for a while, looking as white as a sheet. Then, with a melancholic smile, he finally said, "N-No. I'd like to thank you, actually."

Lucius raised a brow. "Whatever for?"

"Uh, I dunno, for being amused by my crappy spell, I guess?" Gilly chuckled uncomfortably before frowning. "I mean, you might not know this yet, but Primus students like me who're both halfbreeds and orphans are guaranteed to have a much harder time progressing through the academy than those who are not, much less graduate as a Tertius."

With a long, suffering sigh, Gilly continued, "A-And, well, after spending over three years in this academy without much going on for myself I'm kinda happy to hear my efforts being appreciated for once. So, thanks, I guess."

Although a bit curious after hearing what he just heard, particularly about Gilly being a halfbreed as well, Lucius acknowledged Gilly's heartfelt words with a nod. He let a moment of silence pass by before breaking the ice once again and said, "You have been here for three years? How old are you, may I ask?"

"Yeah, I've been here ever since my Coming of Age at fifteen years old." Gilly looked up momentarily, then frowned as if he remembered something unfortunate. "Oh, and my Name Day was just five days ago. You missed it by a bit. How about you?"

"Fifteen," Lucius said, somewhat surprised that the much smaller and younger-looking Gilly was three years older than him.

He must be part dwarven or hobbit. Either way, a fraction of this one's bloodline must be from the Ancient race, which is interesting since not many Ancients revealed themselves much except for the elves were around back then. I wonder how they get by now?

"Oh! I'm older than you?" Gilly said, his eyes widening in delight before nodding curtly towards Lucius in a laughable, yet somewhat endearing attempt to look reassuring. "Don't worry Lucius. I have been in the Academy enough to know how it operates from the inside out! So, let's survive through hell, together shall we?"

Lucius looked at Gilly's outstretched hand before giving it a shake. The genuine smile on the boy's face was enough to make him grin. He realized that he might have just made another friend.

Moreover, he felt satisfied with himself as he didn't even have to recall and use any passages from the book: 'The Art of Friendmaking for Incompetent Fools' to his advantage.

I needn't rely on my knowledge for this one. Maybe I'm a natural after all?

Lucius grinned smugly at the thought.

"Uh, my hand is starting to cramp up. C-Can I have it back now?"

Curses. I stand corrected.

Lucius let go of Gilly's hand as quickly and as nonchalantly as he could. In an attempt to recover his bearings, he tried to think of a good line of conversation to discuss with the boy, and he eventually settled with one that he deemed more productive than others.

"What do you know of this academy's politics?" Lucius said, his eyes narrowing down ever-so-slightly. "You have the experience, Gilly. Do you have any important information that you think I must know?"

"Politics? Important information?" Gilly scratched his head. "Do you mean rumors or something like that?"

"Yes. Something to that effect," Lucius said with a short nod. "Furthermore, if you know any notable students or factions within the academy, that would help."

"Oh gosh, where do I even begin?" Gilly chuckled while scratching his head. "I'm happy to help, but if you really wanna know these things, it'll take some time to explain."

Lucius, for the first time, showed Gilly a wide, genuine smile. Compared to any book that he could've read today, he was certain that he'd just found something even better.

It was then that Castarossa's teachings echoed within his head.

Lucius could somewhat surmise that the academy was somewhat similar to a kingdom in the sense that it was also a system full of social connections and interactions that were exploitable. Furthermore, within that system are people with a clear distinction of social class and hierarchies that sometimes band together into groups.

The popular and the unpopular.

The wealthy and the poor.

The strong and the downtrodden.

And, in such a setting where he needed to navigate through that 'system' effectively in order to acclimate to it, the indisputable truth was that 'Knowledge is power.'

"Go on. We still have some time before night falls," Lucius said while pointing at the window across the room.

Gilly's eyes lit up, and his smile widened even further. "Alright! Oh, uh, w-well, if you say so."

...

And thus, the last few remaining hours of Lucius's first day in the future were spent talking to a person he barely even knew.

Compared to how it began, the way Lucius ended this day was indeed a touch anticlimactic, though strangely enough, he wasn't dissatisfied in the slightest. In fact, he could barely keep an excited grin from showing in his face as he sat back and listened to Gilly's words, and by the time they finished talking, he knew enough about the academy to tell that there'd be plenty of exciting days in the future.

 

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Red Fox

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  • a.k.a. Red Fox

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