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A note from Kyfe

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Reivyn walked along the main thoroughfare with his family. Teilon and Kimberly had joined them as well, as the Magic and Knight Academies were next to each other in the central region of the city. He was dressed in one of his new robes, white with blue trim, and the admissions token hung from the belt at his waist. Like Teilon and Kimberly with the Knight Academy, Reivyn had already gone to the administrative building of the Magic Academy to submit his two letters of recommendation and received the token already.

Contrary to Reivyn's clothing, Teilon and Kimberly were dressed in their usual style, though of higher quality after having spent some money over the past couple of months in The Capital, and they carried their gear stowed away in the large packs they still had from when they trained their Forced March Skill on the way to the Dungeon Town.

This robe is very comfortable, actually. Maybe the origin of Casters wearing robes was more because it was easy and comfortable instead of any kind of visual cue. Melee combatants need armor to protect themselves, and the flowing nature of robes would actually cause more material to be in the way and cause more problems. If armor is worn under the robes, then the comfortable nature of the robes is a moot point, anyway.

Speaking of armor, there's a question I've had for a while now...

"Dad, what's the point of Health Points if a stab to the heart kills you?" Reivyn asked.

His entire family had chosen to join him on the trek to admissions to see him off. He would be required to stay in the dormitory for the first month. It wasn't unusual for the family members to come along with them, and it was doubly so for Reivyn's family. Kailey and Riley were also going to be enrolled in the supplementary school as well.

The supplementary school didn't have the stipulation of requiring the students to live in the dorms for a set time, but they still needed to be escorted by their parents or a guardian. Reivyn could see many such scenes of families walking along, and even the occasional situation like his family where there was a student in the Academy and the supplementary school.

"Well, a stab to the heart doesn't necessarily kill you immediately," Refix answered. "A stab to the heart deals 10,000 damage, and then 1,000 damage per second until healed. So your mother and I would both survive a stab to our hearts, but if we don't have someone there to accelerate the healing, it would still eventually be fatal. Quicker for your mother, than for me.

"Someone with really high Vitality would also have really high natural recovery, but 1,000 damage per second is still a lot. I would live for 34 seconds after receiving a stab to the heart, and that's not enough time for the wound to heal. I would need about two minutes for it to heal sufficiently enough to stave off the damage per second."

"Oh, I never knew that," Reivyn said. "What about decapitation?" Teilon and Kimberly looked over as they listened in on the conversation as well.

"Decapitation deals 100,000 damage, and 10,000 damage per second afterward," Refix replied. "It's possible for someone with over 100,000 health, and a powerful enough healer nearby, to survive decapitation and have their head healed back to their body. If one's body is destroyed, however, only a Divine Skill that can regrow an entire body would save them.

"It's possible for a healer to keep a severed head of a powerful individual alive indefinitely, but that would be more a form of extreme torture than an act of saving. I know I wouldn't want to be a head on someone's shelf until my natural lifespan expired, and anyone with 100,000 health has a very long lifespan."

"Huh, that's a good point," Reivyn said. "There's no way to build a body back other than a Divine Skill? What about attaching the head to a different body, or an artificial one?"

"Yeah, it's theoretically possible," Refix said. "Though the meridians would be from the other person's body, or, in the case of the artificial body, either non-existent or completely in the hands of whoever built the body. That would bring about a whole slew of problems, though. I don't know what the System would do in such a situation.

"I suppose someone strong enough could research meridians enough to build their own body with the meridians they conceive to try and make themself an even more powerful body, but the gains most likely wouldn't equal the risks involved.

"If a portion of the person's body is recovered, a healer strong enough to save a severed head would be able to grow the body back, but a body would also require additional materials other than just the magic of the healer involved. Someone that strong would also require materials that matched the Tier of their Class, so Tier 6 or higher, most likely.

"Why the questions about getting stabbed in the heart or getting your head cut off, all of a sudden?" Refix quirked an eyebrow at his son.

"Oh, I was just thinking that these robes were very comfortable," Reivyn replied. "And then that led me to thinking about why Casters wear them and Martial Classes don't, and it eventually led my train of thought to armor and Health Points."

"That's quite the leap in thought," Refix chuckled. Reivyn shrugged as they walked along.

The family and friends continued their journey through the city with the occasional banter. The pedestrian traffic was always heavy in the large city, especially in the central region where all the official business took place and the more expensive and higher quality goods could be found, but it was especially so on this day. Reivyn hadn't realized just how many people would be coming to enroll in the new semester.

I guess it makes sense, Reivyn thought. The Academies do accept students from the entire kingdom. I imagine there are also some of the people from the smaller towns of the Tier 2 Region who come here, as well. If they can't qualify or secure a seat in the higher Tier Academy, it makes sense to come to this one instead of giving up completely.

They eventually made their way to the front gate of the Knight Academy. Reivyn and his family stopped for a moment to bid farewell to Teilon and Kimberly.

"We'll be seeing each other again, soon," Reivyn said as he gave his best friend a shoulder hug. "I know that you'll do fine in the testing and secure a good position in your class."

"Yeah, I know we'll do well," Teilon said, returning the gesture. "Still can't beat the jitters, though."

"You'll do great," Reivyn said with a smile.

Teilon took in a deep breath, looked to Kimberly, who nodded her head, and the two waved goodbye as they joined the throng of other individuals joining the Knight Academy. Reivyn could see several other people with admission tokens tied to their waists, but the majority didn't have one.

Most of the students come from different cities within the kingdom and don't show up ahead of time with any kind of letter of recommendation to secure their spot. A lot do, obviously, but the admissions process is called "admissions" for a reason.

Reivyn nodded his head to his parents and they continued on their way to the Magic Academy. The two Academies took up quite a large acreage in the city because of all the buildings and training spaces, so even though they were literally right next to each other, it was still a bit of a walk between the front gates of the two. Refix and Ameliyn would take Kailey and Riley to their school after they saw Reivyn off.

Reivyn kept an eye out on all the other teenagers dressed in robes and noticed the same trend with admissions tokens as those who went to the Knight Academy. Most of the people in robes walking the street with their families didn't have tokens already, but a decent amount did.

I would say it was about 10% for the Knight Academy, and maybe a bit more, 20%, for the Magic Academy, Reivyn noted.

"You know, thinking of admissions, there's apparently a prince from Eldiar attending the semester at the Magic Academy this time," Reivyn said. Ameliyn and Refix looked over at their son as he spoke, "One of the reasons Melissa dragged us to the particular restaurant we went to the other day was to catch a glance at his arrival. One of her friends is the daughter of a noble, so she apparently had some inside information.

"Anyway, something weird happened when he finally showed up."

"Oh, what happened?" Ameliyn asked.

"We were on the second floor of the restaurant, and we had a clear line of sight of the street below, but when he rode by with his entourage, he stopped his procession for a moment and looked up at the restaurant. I know for a fact that he looked directly at me and smiled."

"That is strange," Ameliyn said with a frown. "Did anything else happen?"

"Nope," Reivyn said. "He smiled for just a moment, and then they resumed their journey. That's it."

"Huh," Ameliyn said. She and Refix shared a look, both with perplexed looks on their faces. "Well, the only thing I could think of is that somehow you gained the attention of the Duke over Count Ilpir, and that, in turn, somehow made its way up the chain?"

"It's plausible," Refix said. "But even then, he wouldn't know what he looks like or that he was there. The only thing I can think of is that he sensed something from Reivyn, but that he didn't particularly know who Reivyn was."

"Yeah, that was my thought," Reivyn said. "I didn't get any sense from him, though, so I wasn't sure."

"Well, we'll have some of our people investigate this prince and his family," Ameliyn said. "Until then, though, until we know any more information, just act normally."

"Ok," Reivyn nodded his head. "I just thought you two should know. I don't think anything's going to come of it. Melissa mentioned he might form a Party to go explore the Dungeon in the mountains at the end of the semester, and hopefully, we'll know more by that time. I doubt he'll enlist the help of students in their first semester, but I do have experience running the Dungeon, and it's not a secret."

"I wouldn't worry too much about it right now," Ameliyn said. "Just focus on your own studies and do what you need to do. Even if the worst comes about and it turns out this prince has some sort of nefarious interest in you - which I highly doubt - there's nothing he could do to you with your father and me around."

"Thanks, mom," Reivyn said with a smile.

The family made it to the front gates, and like in front of the Knight Academy, there were countless scenes of families bidding farewell to the new students. Reivyn gave his family members a hug each.

"I know you've already unlocked the Ambidexterity Skill, but keep practicing doing as many things as possible with your off-hand," Ameliyn gave one final piece of advice.

"Don't let anyone stand on your head," Refix said. Reivyn gave him a confused look. "It means don't let anyone bully you. Don't worry about anyone's background. If someone wants to throw their weight around with you, they have to have that weight themselves. Don't worry about any threats they might make, they're all empty."

"Sure thing, Dad," Reivyn said. He bent down and picked his sisters up for a hug, too.

"Behave yourselves in school," Reivyn said. "Don't look at it as work. Try and find what's fun about it, and make a game of it. I'm sure you'll do great."

"Uh-huh," Kailey said. "I'm not so sure about this school thing, but mom said it would be fun."

"Yeah," Riley said, "as long as it's fun."

Reivyn shook his head as he set his sisters back down. He turned to his parents and gave a final wave goodbye.

"I'll see you in about a month."

"Yes, yes," Ameliyn said. "We love you, son. Make us proud."

"Will do," Reivyn said. He turned and joined the other teenagers entering the Magic Academy.

The Academy was surrounded by a wall all around the perimeter. It wasn't anything like a city wall built for defense, but Reivyn suspected there was more to it than just looks. The road was paved straight to a magnificent building about a hundred yards inside the compound, and it was lined by trees and flowers to provide shade and a pleasant aesthetic. The main building reminded him of the Adventurer's Guild in Magron with its ostentation, but it was much more spectacular. It was a shining white building with a large, golden dome in the center. Pillars adorned the front entrance above the grand stairs leading to the door.

The building itself wasn't his destination, though. Reivyn saw that there were two lines leading to tables set out in front of the building. He quickly spied that the much larger line was populated by students without an admission token, so Reivyn veered toward the shorter line. As he walked, he saw that the ones in front were led away by an older student to a side building.

Reivyn looked around as he walked to his position, and he could see pathways leading to gardens and fountains in the front space. There were several other buildings that could be seen in the distance, as well, and Reivyn speculated that they were the dorms and classrooms.

The practical training grounds are probably out of sight behind the administrative building.

Reivyn had already been to the administrative building once. At first, he had thought that it was strange that such a large, grand building was set aside for purely administrative reasons, but he had learned that some of the more advanced classes were also taught to the older students in one of the wings.

It kills two birds with one stone, Reivyn mused. They get to set up their prestige while at the same time not wasting any space.

Reivyn finally arrived at the end of the line and assumed his spot. He noted that his estimate on the number of students with an admission token versus those without had been pretty accurate, as the other line was about five times as long as the one he stood in.

The student in front of him turned and gave him a friendly smile, holding his hand out in greeting. Reivyn took the proffered hand and shook it.

"Tom," the student said.

"Reivyn," Reivyn replied.

"You're a new face," Tom said. "I'm from The Capital, and I thought I knew who most of the new students who already had an admission token were. Are you from one of the duchies?"

"No, I'm from Magron," Reivyn replied with a smile. "I had a letter of recommendation from the Count and from Knight-Captain Reifold, which is how I got the admissions token."

"Oh, I've heard about the goings-on in Magron," Tom nodded. "Usually, cities that far out don't make much news that people in The Capital are interested in, but a Dungeon Break with an army of undead attacking a city is definitely not something that happens every day." Tom chuckled. "So were you involved with all that hoopla? Is that how you got the letters?"

"Yup," Reivyn said. "I and my friends volunteered to defend the city. We were with the conscription that laid Claim to the Dungeon, and then we became Adventurers afterward and delved it several times before the Break. We got lucky and got out of there ahead of time, but we decided to stay and fight. It was pretty crazy, and if we hadn't had help, we wouldn't have made it."

"Yeah, I heard about those crazy high-level Adventurers showing up to save the day," Tom said with a twinkle in his eye. "Is it true that one of them summoned angels to descend in a cloud of light to turn the very heavens against the undead horde?" Reivyn laughed out loud at the question.

"It wasn't exactly like that, but I tell you, it wasn't far off," Reivyn said. Tom gestured for Reivyn to go on with excitement clearly written on his face. "The Mage who destroyed the undead army pretty much did turn the heavens on them. I've since learned that the Spell she used was of the Tier 4 Celestial Affinity. She summoned a giant tornado made of light, and it merged with another one of her Spells that shot out beams of light to disintegrate the horde.

"It was the single most awe-inspiring thing I've ever witnessed."

"Yeah, sounds like it," Tom said. "Man, I wish I could have been there to see such a thing," he shook his head before giving Reivyn a rueful look. "Don't get me wrong, you're much braver than I am. I don't think I would have stuck around without knowing someone so powerful would show up. But still, what a thing to see."

"Yeah, it definitely gave me motivation to get stronger."

"I'll say. So you've run the Dungeon?" Reivyn nodded. "I've heard that a couple of the Magic Academy students were there, and they got a lot of school credit for being the first ones in the Academy to explore it."

"Oh, are you talking about Melissa and Larissa Bluefayre?" Reivyn asked. Some of the other students in line, ahead of Reivyn and Tom as well as some of the new ones that had trickled in during their conversation, listened in.

"You know who they are?" Tom asked, puzzled. "I know they're pretty famous for their exploits in the Dungeon - as well as their looks and background - but I wouldn't have thought a newcomer would have heard of them so quickly." It was Reivyn's turn to give Tom a puzzled look.

"Really? They also stayed behind in Magron to fight against the Dungeon Break. Of course, I should know who they are." Tom and the other listeners were taken aback at that news.

"I didn't know that," Tom said. "The only thing everyone knew was that they had been to the new Dungeon that had had the Break. It's not common knowledge that they also fought against it. My appreciation for them has gone up even more, now." Tom had a wistful look on his face.

"So they're pretty famous, huh? Do you want to meet them?" Reivyn asked. Reivyn had gotten a pretty good impression of the other young man through their dialogue. He didn't know if Tom had the Charisma Stat unlocked and had that working in his favor or not, but his manners and speech were friendly and inviting even if that was the case.

Tom rolled his eyes at the question. The other listeners chuckled at the absurd question and returned to paying attention to their own things, leaving Reivyn and Tom talking alone once more.

"Of course, I would want to meet them, who wouldn't," he shook his head. "But they're from a pretty prominent family, and the circles they run in are kind of exclusive. How could we possibly meet them?"

"Well, to tell you the truth, I and they were in the same Party for the Dungeon runs, and we fought together in Magron," Reivyn revealed.

"Get out of here," Tom said with a friendly shove against Reivyn's shoulder. "You jest." Reivyn just stared at him for a moment as Tom chuckled. Eventually, Tom noticed the look Reivyn was giving him, and his smile wiped off his face. "You're serious?" Reivyn nodded.

"Yup."

"Wow, and here I thought I was the one who was going to try and rope you into my little group after hearing about your background," Tom said, shaking his head. "I just got my Luck Stat up to 8. I didn't realize it would have such an effect as to put me in line right in front of someone like you," Tom laughed.

Maybe he does have the Charisma Stat unlocked. I know Melissa and Larissa do, but I'm not sure if they have the Luck Stat unlocked. He probably mentioned it in order to impress me further. He doesn't seem like he was gloating.

"Hey, I have no problem making new friends," Reivyn said. "I got some other friends at the Knight Academy, as well - my other Party Members who aren't Casters - and we can all get together sometime after the initial phase of the new semester."

"Umm, let me think about it," Tom tapped his chin for a moment. "I've thought about it. Yeah, that would be great. Say, do you have a roommate already chosen?"

"Roommate?" Reivyn asked.

"Yeah, first semester students have to live in a shared living quarters. We'll each have a space with four rooms attached to a general living room. My friends and I only have three spots taken up, and we were originally going to just let fate decide who our newest roommate was, but they let people choose if they have friends they want to stay with."

Just like the little houses to rent in the Dungeon Town. Is it a coincidence, or is it standard practice, I wonder?

"Hmmm, that sounds fine to me," Reivyn said. "Better to go along with someone I get along with than chance getting stuck with three strangers I might not." Reivyn nodded his head. "If there's three of you, where are the other 2?"

"Oh, they already went ahead," Tom said. "They're probably in the Affinities Test right now."

"Affinities Test?"

"Yeah, you don't know about the tests?" Tom asked. "They didn't tell you when you got your admissions token?" Reivyn shrugged.

"I didn't ask," Reivyn admitted. "I knew there was some form of test, but it's for the first semester students. How hard could it be?"

"Yeah, there's some truth to that," Tom said. "And since you already have the admissions token, you don't even have to worry about failing. But it's not as easy as you think," Tom said with a serious expression. "You have to have three of the four basic affinities at Level 11 to pass, and you need at least one Tier 2 Affinity at around Level 15 if you hope to get into the Elite Class."

Reivyn eyed his Affinities Tab surreptitiously at the information. My Tier 1 Affinities are four times higher than the minimum to pass, and my Tier 2 Affinities are mostly ten points higher than required to get into the Elite Class... I wonder what Tom would think if he knew?

"Well, I'm pretty confident I can get into the Elite Class, then," Reivyn said. Tom gave him a look of appreciation. "What about you?"

"Yeah, I have my Metal Affinity at 16, so I'm also confident I can get into the Elite Class. My other two friends as well," Tom clapped Reivyn on the shoulder. "This works out great, then. We'll all be roommates and be in the same class."

"So how does the Affinity Test work?" Reivyn asked.

"Since you say you're confident in making it to the Elite Class, I'll let you experience it for yourself," Tom winked. "There's an inspection orb at the front desk that verifies you have a Caster Class, and then you go off to one of the side buildings for the Affinities Test."

Reivyn looked up and noticed that there were only a few people left before it was their turn. He saw that there was a crystal ball on each desk that the new students placed their hands on when they arrived. The people manning the desk would get some sort of information from it and write it down on a form before handing it to another, older student who escorted them away.

"It doesn't look like anyone doesn't have a Caster Class," Reivyn said.

"Yeah, it's common knowledge one has to be a Caster in order to attend the Magic Academy," Tom chuckled. "It's more a formality and a way to get the proper information for one's record. Oh, looks like it's my turn. I'll meet up with you on the other side of the Affinities Test."

"Sure," Reivyn said. He watched Tom get his information taken down before being escorted away.

Interesting, Reivyn thought as he stepped forward. What are the chances that I happened to get in line behind someone so open and friendly with two friends and one available spot left in their room arrangements? Reivyn glanced at his 66 Luck Stat. It seems it was more my Luck Stat in play than his.

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Kyfe

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