Emblem Apocalypse [System, Progression, lite Litrp apocalypse]by
Chapter 130: Emblem Academy
The water-based Dark beings are exactly the opposite of what researchers and many dozens of years were spent on. It went through many sacrifices and unsurprisingly, new things and crazy mutations are happing on the surface. Now, researchers go through wild things, and there is no need for the public to know about them.
It is the case of evident evolution and the undeniable versatility of Dark beings. They are crazy monsters, to begin with, with various physical issues, strengths, and variants. Some scientist even assumes that the water type is the aftershow of the Federation and many dark beings that are constantly shifting their way to this location. Federation is far from the Amazon but out of any larger human forces, it is the closest. Thus, a mutation or natural selection of some species of the Dark beings are trying to reach out to the Federation. They try, however. Walkers and the military can protect everything, as long as the Rank isn't too high, or the numbers aren't too large.
It is a matter of time before those beings underwater could reach a higher potential. It's undeniable since the same happened to the surface-level threats of many variants. Humanity saw the emergence of sky variants, which did exist at the start, but in extremely small qualities. They became stronger, faster, and more prominent in the upcoming decades when the need to travel became mandatory for hunting. Now, the same can happen with the water variants, and it can be even possible to lose even more hope.
It is tough knowledge. Louise and Stark know about it.
Seeing no chance to pass to the back deck, Stark gives up, turns, and goes back to the middle section of the boat. He has no interest in something that he has seen before and William will learn about this harsh reality eventually. Now, or before, he has no need to know about it.
Although those water creatures could still cause some engine problems, they aren't smart. Instead, their bodies would smash the engines to their deaths, and cause damage to the boat. In this case, the protection of Walkers is here to shine, and with dozens of high-rank Walkers on the boat, nothing will touch it.
There can be a point in them hurting the general population and sailors, but there hasn't been a case of them hurting regular humans. That in itself is a strange thing, but perhaps it is because commercial fishing for human needs is business. It's usually protected around the Federation, but no further.
On the opposite side of the spectrum where the Walkers are involved, they would appear and attack without hesitation. Assembly missions such as tanker one, which Luke underwent, are such a thing. A dangerous mission without even water dark beings being involved all that much but they can form a lot of annoying problems.
It's the case of the instinctual motions that Walkers undergo at all times. Dark begins will hunt them no matter what, and for the public knowledge to know about it isn't necessary. It is probably for the better, since hope, and morale is important for humanity. If the population of the Federation would get to know that there are monsters lurking under the waters, it wouldn't end well. It is a thing that shouldn't happen but happens nonetheless, and it would cause panic and disaster.
William understands it immediately, and can't help but acknowledge this fact by the sight of instructors alone. Even though the mentions and meanings that Louise and Stark said have been... questionable, they serve as a good confirmation.
I guess those monsters will find their way to us one way or another. Be it the sky, underground, land, or underwater. That's insane... but I saw it, read it in the Library, and can guess it from the Outside. Not the water ones, but... those things can change and grow. As Walkers do, I fear, and not in a good way. The terrible way... William laments in his mind and chose to withdraw from this section of the boat as well.
Seeing William retreat as well, Louise has no choice by to do so as well. There is no point in arguing between the instructors and them. Getting to see the further sight of the boat is dangerous, so he may forget it since it doesn't matter.
“Have a wonderful voyage, Outsider, and don't fall off the boat again. It wouldn't be pretty, and I bet those fishes wouldn't leave much out of you. That would be such a disaster. Heheheh.” Stark shouts at William at last and drags Louise away to another part of the ship.
By this point, Louise only awkwardly sights and waves at William to see him later, before helplessly going with the Stark's flow. It's not like William is someone he knows that well, but that is only temporary. He is only inclined to befriend some Walkers like him since it is a task from his family and it is a sensible one. One can't work alone in this world. No matter the talent, senses, or time. Unlike Stark who can't care less about others, Louise can't fathom the ridiculous arrogance.
None would care one way or another about William or his standing but in terms of the future? That may be another thing.
Louise remembers the single time he met William in the library, and Stark's comment back then too. The further things around the Awekenign aren't something private as well, so he got to know some things in recent days. But as with many challengers to this Academy Trial, he had no time to worry about others. 10 days are already a small number to achieve something incredible with one's starting Emblem. Thus, he knows only a couple of things, while the other is William's interesting and crimson-looking Emblem. It is a fascinating one since the matter of Annihilation goes a long way. Louise knows that, and Stark does so as well.
With the boys gone, William sights to his luck and decides to wait it out alone. That's what he wants, and that's what he gets.
Time goes rather peacefully, without much disturbance from behind. Sometimes, there are some splashes and sights of water and shaking disturbances, but nothing too large. From time to time, some instructors go along the boat, making sure everything is safe. Less than 1 hour after meeting Stark and Louise, on the more open deck at the front, he waits.
There are more like him around this deck. Walkers expect the sight of the academy, and at least a third of the challengers want to see it too. Even those who aren't first-timers are curious as if the upcoming sight is something incredible. It is, as far as William knows. Mi-Yung said so, and so did Roman and Ellie.
Suddenly, the raspy voice of the captain echoes from the outside speaker, informing them of the upcoming changes.
“Attention! We are going into the proximity of the academy grounds. Careful of some bumpy ride, and if possible, grab something and don't stand freely in the railings.”
William hears it from a sitting position on some chair he found, so he isn't phased by this announcement. Unexpectedly, the sight of the upcoming journey soon changes. There isn't a storm, but an incredibly thick fog spreads over the horizon. It doesn't seem to move or eat a lot of light, and it's miles wide, as one's eyesight goes over the horizon. It is unmoving as if it is a wall that protects something. William gazed forth towards the hazy and misty fog and Jordan the IV soon penetrates it, going into the mist without any hesitation.
Not knowing what to expect, William clutches his fists and waits in wonder. He can't see anything. Even his own fist seems to be too far, but it is there. Weirdly enough, even when he activates his Velvet Eyes, he can't seems to gain proper sight. It is thick fog one way or another, and who knows how deep, tall, and far it goes.
The blind sailing continues for 5 more minutes in the deep layers of this fog. It is dense and moist, and one can't see anything in front of their face. The Jordan IV lowers its speed, even though there haven't been any crazy currents, nor has anything changed. But something changes. The disturbance from the back deck ends, and calm and silence prevails. The water is still, and the wind is non-existent, allowing William to hear his own beating heart. It's so silent, he questions his own heart.
This goes on for another 10 minutes until the fog slowly fades away and the following scene leaves some light for the upcoming craziness. It is exceeding William's expectations by large margins, and he couldn't even fathom how much.
There, in the middle of the surrounding fog, and mist, stands a series of islands, and tall buildings alike. Buildings? Those are tall skyscrapers and quite a lot of them. It looks like some strange caricature of a city and something that couldn't be built by a hand of a man.
“Holy shit.” William lets out these words alone and he couldn't stop himself.
The sight of the whole picture for him is much smaller, however. He sees only the front of the Emblem Academy and the whole picture is significantly larger. There are 10 smaller islands at the front that enters his view. They aren't wide, tall, and without large skyscrapers. They sort smaller things and have ports and other smaller businesses. Further beyond them are tall, miles-wide perimeters of humongous islands.
They are like tall cliffs, hundreds of feet tall, with stone and wavy grass in many sections that go for miles to the distance. Protruding from some sections are 3 large and tall skyscrapers with more of them hiding beyond visible sight. It seems the main islands have more of them, but from the position that William can see, he hardly sees them all.
The 10 beginning islands are the first destination. They form a beginning archipelago, with bridges and economic sectors. They shape and go further up along the architecture and buildings. Almost like a pyramid, but not at the same time.
However, William doesn't seem that interested in this. The sight after them is crazier. The series of skyscrapers half a mile tall, with cliffs, and land build upon them, within them, or around them.
It's a strange sight as if someone took these large buildings and shoved them together into the wild nature of an ocean, or this land. Perhaps, it may be a mix of everything. Someone shoved the land and skyscrapers together and called it a day. That is how it seems to him.
The cliff and this place don't seem like a good place for them to stand, and some are angled weirdly as if they will fall down, but there are bridges built between them, with even some land to support them.
Yet here they are. Fine and sturdy standing for dozens of years already. There are about 10 skyscrapers as tall as anything that William has ever seen. Half a mile! This is incredibly tall and majestic. None of them are looking bad, or destroyed, which signifies the architects, or repairs. They all seem in great condition and even the sight of the islands, trees, and surrounding city is quite magical. In the closest front is a fjord which then leads to the main island further on. Quite a few boats, yachts, and sailboats are stationed there for work, fishing, or to make up some businesses.
Town upon hills, series of cliffs, and so on are also visible from the boat. Beyond them is the sight of those skyscrapers, which feels as if they shouldn't be there. Glass and metal itself make up the majority of William's guesses of their materials. They shine in the sun, which is right above the perimeter of dense fog. Up there, there is a sunny sky without a speck of clouds.
Even William can't guess the lands apart, but there seem to be bridges and many islands. He can't even guess what's the meaning of them, or why is there a small city to begin with. He looks dumbfounded, and even his face is obviously shocked. Few join him on this occasion, but most Walkers aren't as surprised. In fact, 7 in 10 participants in the Trials aren't first-timers and they have seen this sight before.
Then, upon feeling lost and shocked, William hears another signal.
“Deployment is in 3 minutes. Participants in the Trials are to follow their Instructor onto the Academy grounds in the similar way it has started.” the voice of the man, who appears to be the butler from the start of this journey, speaks.
Right... I guess this is to be expected. Whatever... I guess I expected another world, and all that I've got is another city? Interesting. William thinks to himself and reaches the place where Roman spent the whole journey - at the front of the desk.
“Hey, Roman. Have you heard the announcement?” William asks as he enters the small room.
Roman, as if unaware, turns his head quickly as if he was asleep. “What?”
“We are in the Academy.”
“Already? Alright... It's time to go. Go that is.” Roman mumbles, and swipes the table clean of the papers. Storing them in his pockets, he follows William who just takes his bag from the bed before going out.
In the middle deck, everyone is already waiting in the open space. Not even instructors are no longer at the back since the Dark beings stopped attacking, the moment they entered the cloudy fog.
After a few minutes of waiting, the butlers make their appearance in the middle deck, the moment the Jordan the IV stops beside the fjord. Everyone is already waiting here, but there are some words to be said first.
“I see everyone. Good. The trial will start in an hour. Sections of the yearly challengers will follow each passing butler of the Academy. Butler A is for the first timers, B for 2nd timers, and so on. Follow the instructors to their respective places to start the Trials. That's all. Further questions will be answered in due time. Instructors are free to join or not, but they are also free to retrieve their rewards and await the other boat that will go to the Federation tomorrow.” he explains, and not one complains about his words.
William finds it not that strange, while no amount of information about the Trial has been successfully discovered by him. He looks behind his left shoulder, to see Roman's view on this. Whether he wants to continue is up to him. Being an instructor or not depends on him. He wouldn't find it strange if he would get the rewards, and that would be about it. William wouldn't fault him for that at all.
“Tomorrow? I may as well travel that distance in an hour... on my own. What are you looking at me for, William?” Roman argues out loud.
“I am curious to see your decision. That's all.”
“I will follow for god's sake... If am here already, so it's whatever. After so long, I may as well stay for the remaining Trial of yours... and see how you will do.” Roman tells helplessly and follows William's route that ends in the wooden deck that makes up the fjord.
To William's surprise, there are only about 13 youths like him, which surprises him. Are there only 13 who reached the threshold for the Academy Trials? In hundreds of Awakening ones? This is a piece of a surprise, while the following is an even bigger one. That means the majority of Trial takers are the ones who make more than one try.
“Is it that difficult? What in the bloody word have I got myself into?”
Although his wonders and thoughts are warranted, Roman has no idea bout them.
“So, what do you think of the Academy? Is it to your imagination?” Roman asks.
“Damn straight it isn't. What are even those skyscrapers? And that land across them? It doesn't look natural at all!” William argues in a whispering voice as he looks at the particular sections beyond the distant cliff horizon. There are 3 tall skyscrapers that seem sectioned to have 9 parts. It is as if someone had an interesting idea, and used the 3 skyscrapers to build a much bigger skyscraper. Using them as a foundation, there are 9 pieces of land between the 3 of them in a triangular formation. Thats right. Land, grass, trees, fauna, and so on. It is a strange sight that William doesn't understand.
“Oh, that? There is some wild stuff here, so I guess you will see some strange things.” Roman assures as he follows William's line of vision.
With the brief conversation, all participants of the 1st time Trial are present. Some have the instructor with them, while most don't.
Before them is another Buttler who presents herself as a letter A. It is a woman in her 40ies, with a bun, stern expression, and suit-like attire. There is seemingly nothing extraordinary with her appearance, but one thing is. She appears out of nowhere between this smallest group of people.
“Greetings the First timers. I am A. A butler of the Academy that will provide guidance to your first try in the Trials and potentially reach the membership of this place.” the woman tells in a hoarse voice that doesn't sound pleasant, nor comforting. It's more emotionless than anything else. Every youth pays her attention, and it pleases her quite a bit, even though she doesn't show it.
“As for the few Instructor, you may follow but you are prohibited from any interferences or the things in the Trials. With that said, follow me to the location of the Trial.” butler A says, and follows the predetermined path before any other group starts theirs.
- Czech Republic
A hobby writer with 1 year of experience. Nothing much stands out more than a willingness to share a story with a broader world.
Writer of RR-published novels - Mortal's Fate, Emblem Apocalypse and Reincarnated as a Duck.