We left the Welton Estate the following day and were seen off by our mother after saying our goodbyes to everyone. Father had to stay behind, stuck investigating a potential late-night break-in after the guards claimed they heard a noise while on watch. And although it could have been a cat seeing as nothing was stolen or broken, they couldn’t ignore the fact my grandfather and uncle suffered from upset stomachs the same night, making everyone think someone tried poisoning them and failed. To make things even better, Rose happened to overhear a conversation between the maids, who claimed Grandfather had an unfortunate accident in the middle of the night.

“Are you sure you packed everything you need?” Mother asked for the fifth time.

“You needn’t worry, Mother. I’ll keep an eye on them.” Eliot smirked, tapping my back. “Especially this little troublemaker.”

“Me?” I jokingly scoffed, glancing at the airship docked at the crowded port tower, one of the highest points in Raveryn. “That’s so like you, picking the most boring job. Were you perhaps looking for an excuse to slack off?”

“Alex, I’m many things, but dumb isn’t one of them. If I were looking to slack off, I would have chosen our sister, not you.” He chuckled. “Besides, I won’t stand to be defamed by someone who hasn’t even enrolled yet. You and I should–”

“–give the letters you received from Professor Berandel to the dockmaster,” Penelope interrupted, handing them to us. “We’ll be leaving soon.”

“See, Mother? It’ll be as if we never left,” Eliot teased, making me chuckle, much to Penelope’s annoyance.

She was quick to roll her eyes, turning to Rose, saying, “Thank god you’re here. . .” but quickly realized Rose wasn’t listening.

“Hm? Sorry, what did you say?” She smiled, caught awed by the flying ship hovering midair.

“Nevermind. . .” Penelope sighed, making us snicker.

Poor Penelope, I thought, but I couldn’t blame Rose. The airship was a true thing of beauty, twice the size of anything we sailed across the sea, manned by capable mages who helped keep it afloat by ensuring the enchanted orb, strapped to a strange spiral contraption made of metal, didn’t lose its power. The giant masts helped propel the ship forward, but I had no clue how they manipulated wind without constantly relying on magic. Then again, I was never into sailing all that much, let alone flying airships which I never expected to be on.

“It’s good to see everyone in good spirits, but Alex, Eliot. . . I expect you to take good care of the girls while at the Academy, okay?”

“We will, Mother.” I smiled at her.

“Good.” She nodded before looking over my shoulder. “Now listen to your sister and go hand off your letters. Stay safe, and don’t forget to write from time to time.”

“We will. . . Mother,” Eliot repeated before stepping closer and hugging Mother, eager to board.

“Goodbye, Mother,” Penelope was next to embrace her in a tight hug, but unlike the oldest, she patiently waited for us instead of just heading to the dockmaster.

“Mother. . .” I said, smiling the entire time as she simply looked at me with her loving gaze.

“Oh, Son. . . We’ll miss you guys dearly,” she whispered as she hugged me. “Stay safe.”

Her grip tightened, and after last night, I couldn’t blame her.

“I’ll keep them safe, Mother– no matter what.”

Breaking away from the hug, she was quick to mess with my hair as if I were Ellie. “I know you will.”

Taking a deep breath, I gave her a nod before stepping back.

“Rose,” she turned.

“Goodbye, Lady Isabella.” Rose gracefully curtsied.

Both looked at each other with tight smiles before Mother opened her arms, inviting her in for a hug.

“Come here you. . .” Mother said, to which Rose happily complied. She was a small thing– Rose, melting away in her arms. “Remember, sweetie. You’re one of us now. Don’t hesitate to rely on them for anything you need.”

“Thank you. . .” she said quietly, closing her eyes.

It was a touching sight.

Afterward, we boarded the airship, having said our goodbyes.

It was a wild experience leaving Raveryn by the sky, frightening too. When they untied the ropes keeping us at bay, the ship began moving on its own despite having raised sails, nearly making me lose balance.

“Hey, Alex!” Ron yelled, sitting on the taffrail and looking over the edge. “Come here.”

“I was wondering where you were,” I said, slowly approaching.

“Saw you guys entering the port tower but figured I’d give you a chance to say your goodbyes before saying hello.” He paused for a second, taking a good look at me. “Was that your mother? I can see the resemblance.”

“Yeah. . . it was.” I smiled. “You should’ve introduced yourself.”

“Maybe another time,” he chuckled, looking over the edge again. “Anyway, you should take a look. It’s quite the view from up here.”

I half expected my stomach to turn when I did, but the very first glance left me utterly awed by the breathtaking view of Raveryn from above. There was something magical about looking over the edge, feeling a light breeze as we flew away. Everything was so small, reminding me of just how big the world was. And as the sails lowered, we began picking up speed, leaving our home behind.

“You’re not going to tear up, are you?” Ron teased, jumping off the wooden railing.

“What? No,” I chuckled, shaking my head.

“Good. Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to say hi to the others.”

Ron walked off, leaving me to enjoy the view by myself.

I swear I could’ve stayed up there forever if they’d let me, but there was so much to look forward to when we arrived at the Academy.

“I bet you’re already there,” I mumbled smilingly, leaning forward with my elbows resting against the wood.

“Thinking about a girl?” asked a familiar feminine voice approaching from the left.

“Professor Berandel,” I smiled, caught a bit off guard. “Didn’t know you were traveling with us.”

“Well, someone has to keep our students safe as we make our way to the Academy,” she explained, stepping next to me before looking over the edge herself. “But haven’t I told you to call me Professor Tessa? And you also haven’t answered my question.”

“Then does that mean you owe me one in return, Professor?” I joked, figuring from her smile I could get away with it.

“I’ll. . . consider it.” She giggled, looking toward the endless ocean with serenity in her gaze.

There was a moment of silence between us, broken by my sigh.

“I was just thinking about a friend of mine. . . wondering if she was there already.” Leaning on the edge again, I couldn’t help but smile. “It’s silly, but we’ve been apart for months and–” I paused, glancing at the Professor and then back at the ocean. “Guess what I’m trying to say is that I miss her,” I admitted, feeling she wouldn’t tell anyone.

“Are you perhaps talking about Alice Kelthyra?”

“How’d you–” She sure took me by surprise, but then it clicked. “Ah. . . the letter of recommendation.”

“Victor told us when we first arrived in Dellion.” She turned around, sitting on the railing with her feet hovering above deck. “You should be proud of the connections you’ve made.”

“A wise woman did say once that the world of magic isn’t fair and that we should grab all the advantages given to us,” I quoted her, dropping my gaze as I chuckled.

“You should listen. Words of those with experience often come from a lesson well learned, and only by knowing can we make the right decisions when the time comes.”

“But what if we still don’t know the right answer?”

She hummed before going quiet, crossing her arms as I turned to look at her.

“More often than not, Alexander, life will present us with a choice that is neither right nor wrong, and the best thing we can do is make a decision tempered with wisdom. Remember, your experience is no less important than that of another when seeking the truth, and regardless of how hard you try, regret will always lurk in the shadows, waiting for when you’re most vulnerable.” She sighed. “Guess what I was trying to say is that no matter what, do what you feel is right– What you’ll regret least.”

She raised so many questions, yet it felt inappropriate to ask but had a gaze so telling that when I looked at her, I figured there was no need. Eyes filled with sorrow I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

“You had a question you wished to ask,” she reminded me, shifting her gaze off my peers.

“Ah. . . Right.” I rubbed my elbow as a cold breeze blew in our direction, thankful she subtly changed topics. “I was wondering, Professor, why would you insist students call you by your first name?”

“Ha. I wasn’t expecting such a personal question,” Professor Tessa chuckled.

“Sorry, Professor. . .” I sighed, feeling dumb. “The thought of it being a personal reason completely skipped my mind. I just assumed– Actually, it’s probably best I don’t say anything.”

“Fear not. You haven’t dug up any dark secrets just yet.” She couldn’t help but giggle before taking a deep breath. “You’re young and full of questions. Trust me, I know.” She stretched her arms up and leaned back, looking as if she were about to fall off the airship, but she gracefully put her hands on the taffrail without a hint of worry. “As for why I prefer you call me Professor Tessa. . . it’s because I left behind my family name behind when I chose to teach at the Academy, my new home.”

“Is that common among professors?”

“Some. But you’ll learn more about it when you get to the Academy.” Professor Tessa sighed, looking back at those onboard. “It seems this year’s entrance exam shall be difficult for us.”

“How come?” I asked.

“Although some here are returning students, many aren’t. Naturally, we’ll have a hard time picking who’s worthy of attending the Academy.” Her gaze swept the deck. “Keep in mind, everyone here is from Eleron, so you can imagine how many there are in total.”

“Then how come–”

“Excuse me, Alex.” She stood back up with hands behind her back. “I’ve greatly enjoyed our chat, but it is time for me to speak to the captain.”

“Oh. . . Of course, Professor.” I smiled, giving a respectful bow.

“Good luck, and be ready. We’ll be reaching the island in just a few hours.”

“Thank you, Professor–” I paused before a sigh escaped me. “–Tessa.”

She smirked, taking her leave.

Just a few minutes before our arrival, we were warned to stick close to each other once we got off the airship. My only concern was getting lost in the thick fog through which the airship navigated, one that I quickly learned was magical in nature, or so Ron explained. Apparently, the floating island wasn’t something that just anyone could find, and even the captain needed some form of magical aid to help guide him in the right direction. It led the airship toward a settlement known as ‘The Hamlet.’

“We’re finally here!” Ron’s excitement reached boiling point as we docked at a port hanging on the island’s edge. One wrong step, and we’d be falling to our deaths, a truly terrifying thought. “Welcome to the Hamlet.”

“Why are you saying it like you’ve been here before?” Eliot asked.

“Oh. Well–”

“You have, haven’t you?” I smirked, refusing to believe otherwise. “That’s how you knew about the fog and all the other stuff too.”

He laughed. “Busted. . .”

“But wait. . . how?” Eliot asked. “You’re enrolling this year, so how did you–”

“Professor Olivia Arden,” Penelope cut him off, handing over her luggage to me as I promised to help carry it to the Academy. “You’re her son,” she said, turning to Ron.

“You knew?” Ron furrowed his brows. “Since when?‘

“When you first introduced yourself. I’ve memorized all the Professor’s names,” she admitted. “Your mother is the Herbology Professor, isn’t she?”

“Yeah, but how? Even I don’t know all their names, and I’ve been here plenty of times. In fact, I don’t even know how I’d find out without asking directly.” Ron was genuinely confused.

“I’ve looked through Eliot’s textbooks. It had her signature on it.”

“You’ve been through my stuff?” Eliot asked, taken aback.

“Just the textbooks. . .” Penelope sighed. “As if you’d have anything I’d be interested in.”

“Ouch.” Ron chuckled.

“No, she’s right. His stuff is boring as hell,” I said.

“Don’t tell me you’ve also–” Eliot mumbled, pulling back his suitcase.

“Yeah? When I was with Ellie,” I lied, savoring the sight of seeing him flustered.

“Has everyone been through my stuff?!” Eliot raised his voice, looking back at Rose.

“Sorry. . .” Rose lowered her gaze, clasping her hands together.

She was so convincing that even I, who knew it was likely a lie, had a hard time telling.

“Now I’m tempted to take a look.” Ron grinned, rubbing his palms together.

“No!” He took a step back. “Do none of you know what privacy means?”

Admittedly I was the first to burst into a hearty laugh as I couldn’t handle seeing the mortified look on his face; however, even after hearing that, Eliot was unsure if he could trust us or not. Luckily for him, Professor Tessa asked us to follow along as carriages were waiting not that far away.

They were big enough for all five to fit inside, and while making our way toward the Academy, located further into the island, my wandering eyes couldn’t help but be enthralled. It was a shame we were in a rush, but Eliot promised we’d have more time to explore as soon as we were done with the entrance exam.

Chapter End.

Thank you for reading.


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Riz Tales

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<My Last Reincarnation>
<Tales of Alexander: The Ancient Bloodline>

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