*The thought of finally reaching chapter 10 warms up my heart.
"The Deus Cibum restaurant is famous for their one-of-a-kind method to deliver their customers' meal. As you can see, there is no kitchen tool of any kind in sight," The youngsters stared at the kitchen table, past the transparent glass separating the smiling chefs from their adorable customers, and saw various raw materials in pristine conditions and different kinds of tableware, but not a single kitchen tool, "The entire cooking process relies only on magic and nothing else. Of course, they weren't the only one who uses this method, but they are certainly amongst the first, or even the ones who came up with this idea. Now, let us watch how our meal will be prepared as the chefs here will begin cooking one of their popular dishes for you to enjoy." He gave the chefs a signal and they began to work.
"Woah. This is impressive. How are they doing this?" Jack asked no one as he watched the chef in front of him heating a tiny ball of two types of meat wrapping each other with fire coming out from his finger, then drench the cooked meat with sauces before using some sort of vegetable leaf covering up the meat/sauce tightly and placed it on a small plate on the table. For the final touch, the chef melted some cheese on top of the crunchy leaf and repeated the same process for the next one.
"You don't know about Will Magic?" Damien overheard the boy sitting beside him and asked, "Will Magic? I only know about people using magic in the form of spells. What is it?"
"Will Magic is a sub-branch of magic which functions entirely on your will. You use your thoughts instead of spells to achieve the same effect."
"So, does that mean I can do anything spells can do just by thinking? If that's the case, then why isn't everyone using this type of magic?"
"Yes. Everyone can use Will Magic, but they simply have no ability to do so. Just like playing a musical instrument: you might have hands to play them, but that doesn't mean you automatically know how to play it. One would take decades, or even centuries to be able to use it with ease. However, that only applies to you if you want to master the entirety of the branch. There are many types of Will Magic, the most common one is the elemental bending, which actually most individuals can do. Now, to answer your original question. Take a good look at the chef's fingers. What do you see?"
Jack didn't take long to notice the ring-like items on the fingers, "They are wearing something on each of their fingers. Those things allow them to use Will Magic? It seems more like telekinesis to me than regular old magic."
"It's still part of Will Magic. And yes, those devices allow them to manipulate the ingredients, but only the ingredients. Those things only provide certain functions for the chef to use, so you don't need to worry about any of them using explosive magic in front of you."
All of them had a fabulous time watching a live performance while eating. Many students praised the delicious food; they claimed it has a special taste to it, but Rey doesn't think so. To him, it's probably the unconscious messing with people's senses due to high expectations. After Jack finished his meal and saw Rey was also done, he drew closer to the impassive boy a little bit.
"Hey, Rey. I've been wanting to ask you a question," He paused to wait for the boy's reply. He turned his head towards Jack before adjusting it back to its original position and said, "Continue."
"Did you remember what the other kid said during the banquet? What was his name again? That guy with squinty eyes?" "Oliver." "Right! Oliver! He said something about 'protagonists' and 'heroes from the stories'. Why did he say something like that, as if we...as if we are..."
"As if we are living in a fairy tale? It's not uncommon for someone to say something like that in front of you. Speir is filled with real life heroes and many of them were immortalize through legends. They exist everywhere at any time in this world. It wouldn't be a surprise if you or I suddenly appeared in a novel or fable one day."
"So...are you telling me there has constantly been a fight between good and evil in this world so much so that it's a common occurrence?"
"You shouldn't have too much doubt. After all, you have quite a story to tell yourself, don't you?" Rey stared right at his eyes before turning back, as if he was telling him 'You are also one of them.' After finishing their lunch, they proceeded towards the largest and most important museum in Anima.
However, some of the students protested. They were tired of going to museums and they want to go to places with fun stuff in it. Damien seemed to have predicted this situation and so he proposed a solution. All of them would go to the museum first. When they reach there, those who wish to visit the museum will get off the train while those who don't will stay. The train will take the rest who stayed in it to the Entertainment Sector. After the 'museum group' have spent their time there, they will meet with the other group, spend another controlled amount of time there before moving on.
It goes without saying that most of the passengers remained in the train when it arrived at the museum. Initially, Eli wanted to go to the Entertainment Sector with Jack and Emily, but, after a quick choice making, he decided to not leave Rey's side. The obvious reason was that he didn't exactly feel comfortable going somewhere unfamiliar without his 'brave' friend. However, he has something he wanted to check out in the museum, at least he hoped that it would be in the museum.
To much of Eli's surprise, he saw Rey discussing something in front of an ancient tablet display with another student from the train. From that, it was apparent to the brunette that when it comes to Rey's interests, the smoke-white haired boy would not mind the greatly annoying interaction with strangers which he spoke of. Nevertheless, the duo had a pretty good time in the museum. For Eli, it was the purchase of an intricately crafted, one-eared earring which has a mysterious engraving on it from the souvenir shop that made his stay in the museum worthwhile.
When the museum group advanced towards the Entertainment Sector, the group which was already there had completely immersed themselves in the wonders of magic. The duo experienced the peculiar music made entirely from magic, live game shows which surround the utility of magic and the arcade games which integrated the essence of magic into its core gameplay mechanic. When it was time to leave, a lot of the youngsters were unwilling to do so. But, when they were told the next Sector they were going was a Sector dedicated to selling pretty much every kind of things related to magic, they became cooperative.
Jack was uncertain if he needed to buy something from the store. He figured he really should throw some of his money on some magic tools to help him better master the abilities of his sword. Maybe even for future potential magic training if it comes down to it. But the most important of them all, he should get some magical protection charms or one-time spell attack strips in case those terrible things happens again. He took a glance at Rey and saw him carrying a fancy tome, probably a high-quality grimoire, and a few other stuff in his hands.
"So, did you guys have a magical time here?" Damien asked as he grinned. All of them replied yes while some also rolled their eyes when saying it, "If that's the case, you gotta be ready for the next Section, because everyone there is all about logic, mathematics, standard laws of universe and religion. Magic have little to no place there, but Source does. Boys and girls, I present you the Section of Technology and Faith, 神之眼!"
It was as if they stepped into an entirely different world. In Anima, the buildings gave them a sort of 'ancient' impression when they wandered around the Section. However, in this Section, it was completely opposite from the vibe they got in Anima. Everything here was futuristic and shiny. Holograms and all sorts of robots can be seen from their windows. And, despite the cleanliness look of the Section, there were plenty of greenery too.
"Breathtaking, isn't it? I had the same excitement as you guys when I first saw this amazing scenery," He stared briefly outside before resuming his job, "As all of you would know, the world of Zion is a mysterious one. Ever since the apocalyptic event which nearly wiped out the entire realm, the residents in that world has been forbidding anyone from entering their land or leaving it. However, we still had lots of records detailing about the world and its natives, albeit not complete ones. We know that whoever's living inside the barrier is known as 'Angels', beings who seemingly able to wield powers to bring upon miracles."
"There were rumors which state whoever live in this section of land could have the chance to witness these angelic beings and ask them for divine help. Alas, there were no truths in these rumors. However, in the past, many had believed it and travel far to reach this 'sacred land'. Soon after, a religion was born. It was supposed to bring people hope and teach them about love, instead, it had caused the deaths of many innocents. A long chain of events had taken place after the Church of Zion was founded, but I'm just going to tell all of you the short version."
"Back in those days, there were a lot of religions telling lots of people different things. Some approve certain actions while others condemned it. Almost all of the followers of these religions were at throat with each other, but no one dares to start a war, until someone from the Church did something stupid at the wrong place, at the wrong time. A full scale, centuries-long war began. All of these religions kept on preaching about preserving peace while they kill people who don't agree with them. Then, one day, a group of people suddenly appeared and ended the bloody war. Their solution? Kill every single person who has the power to revive any existing religion after they were destroyed at the time." A few youngsters had a horrified expression on their face.
"Some said it was cruel and unnecessary, while others assert that there were no other options. In any case, the war is over, but despair took over the land. As an act of spite, or irony, the elves, normal elves, gathered intelligent minds from all types of races and built many research centers in this Section. Whereas the Church requires blind faith in order for something good to happen, the scientists and researchers actively discover ways to improve everyone's lives."
"The story doesn't end there. Various religion has popped out from practically everywhere to fill in the void. But, no matter how hard people tried, they cannot prevent new religions from emerging. The reason for this was because the people of this land needed something to believe in, an entity to place their hope on. So, in order to avoid another war, the men and women of science came up with a plan. They tried to find a perfect deity to be the heart of a new religion which promotes morally 'good' attributes while dismissing the 'bad' ones and will also be able to 'grant wishes'. Long story short, a 'hero' helped achieve their goals and the Church of Aether was founded. Aaaand we have arrived!" The train halted in front of a massive building.
The Church of Aether was humongous, to say the least. Anyone could see whoever built this put much effort to every detail on the building. The Church's colour is primarily white, though there are other light colours to compliment the overall aesthetic. The hall directly behind its entrance was nothing short of impressive. There were statues at the sides; the windows were large and have artistic paintings on them; the crazy amount of benches of the highest quality with angelic symbols etched on them and a pulpit at the other end of the hall which was an obelisk with an eye on top of it standing behind.
"Aside from the Church, the main focus of 神之眼 is to improve our technology and our understanding of the world, or realm. Whatever suits you. So, the name of Section 1, 神之眼, or The God's Eye have two meaning. First, it's obviously referring to the Church. Aether is the God and he always watches over us. The other meaning of the name is to represent the knowledge which the people here has accumulated and how they have been using it to benefit us as a society. God is omniscient, and if we look through his eyes, we can see everything in this universe. Our next couple of stops will give you some insight on what kind of technology is being developed and how they can affect our everyday lives."
"The Church was renewed several times to prevent any contradictions and displeasures from the masses. After all, the Church was created and designed by scientists. It also integrated many rules to prevent anyone with high position within the ranks to manipulate the Church's faithful followers."
They spent some times exploring the interior of the Church as well as listening to bits of history through the files in the audio machine placed in front of certain paintings or artifacts.
After that, of course, they visited the largest entertainment center in the entire Section. From watching movies in a virtual world to playing the most bizarre hologram games they could find. Not only that, they serve weird snacks there too. It was fun, but nothing notable happened there.
Later on, it was time for the obligatory visit to a shopping complex. They could find the latest versions of Circulums and PCs, biological enhancements equipment like exoskeletal hiking machine, and general things like a coffee machine which could make all types of coffee imaginable or a lite version of the 3d food printing machine. However, most of the things sold there were quite expensive, so not much people bought anything.
"Now the next Section, Ealain, is kind of an odd one. First of all, its theme doesn't correspond to Niflheim uniqueness at all, at least in my opinion and many others'. Some of you might realize that Speir does not have a stable and healthy relationship with Niflheim for a long time in the past. Neither worlds have grudges against each other, it's just that the residents of Niflheim prefer to live a quiet and undisturbed life. They rarely interact with anyone came into their world, even if those people were harboring evil intention." The train passed through the Section border before Damien continued.
"Ealain is the Section of Art. Whether it's music, sculpture, painting, or anything else you would consider as art, you can find all of it right here. There are a lot of museums dedicated to many types of arts and its history, studios where various professionals work together, and a few research centers to come up with even more instruments for artists to express themselves. While most visitors would come to this Section to admire masterpieces of traditional art, some would come to discover the latest and weirdest art form one could find."
In this Section, the train first brought them to visit all the famous landmarks, most of which were beautifully crafted by prominent masters. For example, there's the Pillars of Life. The design of pillars themselves was indeed fascinating, but the true draw of this particular landmark was often misunderstood by visitors. The group was lucky as they were able to witness the true function of the pillars.
When the professional dancer they saw gently touched the first pillar, a soft music was played but its origin unknown. Then, as the dancer whirl around at her feet, gracefully making her way towards the second pillar, the music became louder and its rhythm fitted perfectly with her movement. Her dance, as well as the music, gradually became more and more complex as she approaches the final pillar. And when she finally reached the twelfth pillar, the music and her dance ended in a spectacular fashion. Everyone around applauded, even Rey, who genuinely enjoyed the performance.
Next, the went to the museums. All of the museums in Ealain were connected by teleportation pads; it was even better that they don't charge fees to whoever's using them. Damien allowed each small groups to go whatever museum they want to as long as they return to the main one at the designated time. Most of them just went to the movie museum, or the manga/comic/graphic novel museum, or the modern literature museum.
Rey's group went to the music museum first. Rey was interested in the 'chillstep' genre; Eli was into EDM; Jack chose to go to the post-rock section with Emily following him. Then they went to a few other museums, all of which they didn't stay long. The duo insisted on staying a little longer in the picture museum. There were hand-drawn landscapes, digitally painted battlefields, photographs taken at once-in-a-lifetime moments, portraits of the most charming individuals and much, much more.
They also came across the Weird Art Museum. All of the art there was indeed weird. A dodo bird sculpture made from chewing gums; an entire song comprised of sounds made by a male elven body; a dance which requires the dancer to hold a whip and kept saying 'Ney, Ney'; and the weirdest of them all, a blank picture. It was just a standard white canvas which anyone could buy from literally any art stores. Jack was beyond confused. He could never understand the essence of art.
The last one they went to is the museum of comics/manga/graphic novel. After seeing the crowd of students amassed at that place, Damien decided to move the gathering location to this one instead. Both Eli and Rey were full of excitement (Rey didn't express his emotion outwardly) as they went through many legendary collections placed under the display. Jack and Emily, on the other hand, was much more uninterested. The home they lived before coming to the Academy doesn't have this kind of entertainment, so they don't know much about it. However, Jack took a look anyway, perhaps he could finally found something worthwhile to kill time with.
"Hey, hey! Check this out! This is the one I told you about! One of the best manga in the entire history of manga!"
"Hmm? What is it about again?"
"The setting of the world was that everyone is an immortal, I would say they were about SS-rank immortal in our world. The story begins a long time after the appearance of the Resurrection Deficiency Syndrome, a disease which would cause a person, the immortals, to die. It was spread by individuals who were known as Vectors, but no one knows how or why the RDS exist. In later chapters, it was revealed that those Vectors came from our world. They were teleported to that world against their will. The Vectors, once they let three people fall in love with them and infect them with RDS, somehow, they will become a B-rank immortal."
"The heroine was a member of a rebellion organization. Her job was to save any Vectors from the Anti-Vector Task Squad before they were killed. The story might seem a little cliche, but trust me, it is unlike anything you ever see before."
"Even better than the two alchemist brothers one?"
"Nah. But, I would say both of these mangas are on the same level. Trust me, it is extremely better than any of those terrible, shitty anime on the Web."
Before returning to the train, they went to the souvenir shop. Jack bought a flower (blue lily) earring for Emily while Rey, surprisingly, bought an artistically crafted hairpin for Eli. He heard him about buying a new one few days ago and also because he thought it would definitely look good on Eli. It goes without saying that Eli was overjoyed. He immediately put it on and thanked Rey. Even though Rey's reply was plain, he was glad that Eli was happy.
"Before I go on to give all of you an overall description for Section 3, there's a few things you need to know about Terra. Most of you will know that there is a barrier isolating the residents of that world from the wider realm. However, this is not the same case as with Zion or Hel, the barrier was set up to protect Terrarians due to a very specific and convoluted reason. The mystery surrounding Terra is incredibly complex and unbelievable, you can access the Academy's library if you want to know more about it."
"Although not everyone can enter and leave Terra whenever they want, including Terrarians themselves, some individuals can, whether they did it with magic or through other methods, come and go as they please. Through the expeditions into Terra, the explorers were amazed by the inner workings of the world. That world only contains humans, various kinds of humans, and a majority of them did not believe or even know the existence of magic or Source! Hard to believe, right? However, there is a perfectly good explanation for this. It seems that Terra has incredibly low amount Source floating around, they're low density too! This would explain why magic did not exist there and why the only intelligent beings there are humans as they can survive in that kind of environment."
"Many would find it hard to imagine such a world deprived of magic. However, Terra, exactly because of its special circumstances, has developed a unique society. They have created many things that we could not in order to compensate for the lack of magic. But, the humans there are extremely different from the humans in other worlds. They were violent, barbaric, irrational, and in many situations, stupid.
They could start wars with their own kind just because they have different skin color. Or in an even worse situation, countries are willing to destroy the entire world to prevent their neighbours from getting something they don't have or simply because they want to remain as the most superior sub-race. Nevertheless, they seemed to have tamed their animalistic nature and began working with each other to advance their civilization." The train crossed the Section border. The buildings were plain, unlike the ones they saw in Elaine.
"And now, I shall talk about the Section of Randomness, Casuale. Yep, you hear that right, this Section is all about random stuff, although it still has a main focus, which is studying all civilization's culture. Casuale used to be called as Stjórnmál, a place where people discuss politics, laws, and held democratic meetings. But, after the final Ring was built, the government decided to move all of that into the Academy. They know they had to devise a new theme to fill in the void. The cultural thing was good, it does somewhat correspond to Terra, but it isn't 'big' enough. Then, someone proposed a brilliant idea. How about we put everything that isn't suitable to the themes of other Sections into this one? Everyone agreed with the proposal and they renamed Section 3 to Casuale because the suggestion was brought up casually."
"Like I've mentioned before, the convergence of different cultures in this Section draws most of the attention of visiting foreigners. The second draw is astrology. I know what you're thinking, how in the world did astrology manage to stand in the spotlight? Since the creation of this planet, our atmosphere has been protecting us from cosmic dangers at the same time it has kept us prisoners. We can see through it, but we cannot, physically or otherwise, pass through it, hence our slow progression in this field of space science. However, as time move forward, the spell on the atmosphere has weakened. We can approach closer and closer to the fine boundary separating the outer space from our planet. And now you know why our first stop is the largest observatory in the entire realm." He raised his hand aiming at the building as the door opened.
The observatory impressed many of the youngsters. Not only it was massive, the decoration of the building gave its visitors a feeling of boundlessness, as if they were actually in outer space. While the function of the observatory is to house astronomical telescope and other scientific apparatus for the scientists to conduct their extensive research on cosmic occurrences, it mostly acts like an exhibition hall. There were many displays showing what scientists have found in our atmosphere and what interesting events they had observed through their telescope. There was even a large model of the four moons hanging from the ceiling.
Next, they went straight towards the culture gallery. Almost all the cultures that ever existed after The Apocalypse have a sector of their own, some small while others were colossal. Among all the cultures from all eight worlds, Speir, as apparent as it could get, has the widest range of them all. As the floating world's position is in the middle the realm, it's not hard to come to the conclusion that visitors from other worlds would most definitely gather here. Whether they came here to trade, to begin a new life or to seek answers, some of them would eventually decide to spend the rest of their life here.
Before the visitors became the residents of Midgard, they would obviously need to come from somewhere else. And, even though those individuals might be of the same race, they might not originate from the same clan or the same world. Different clans in different world have their own unique cultures due to their living conditions, and when they came to Speir, their cultures were modified to fit their new society better, hence the reason why Speir has a large variety of old and new cultures; even Midgardians themselves sometimes does not recognize cultures exist in their own world.
Other than Speir, the only other worlds with lots of different cultures are Tenebrae, Arcadia, and Terra. Jack was attracted to the cultures in Tenebrae. Most of the inhabitants there belong to warrior clans as their world was indeed chaotic in the past. Rey, on the other hand, was attracted by the cultures in Arcadia. After all, Arcadia is the pioneer of all things magic. But, in the end, all of the youngsters went to the Terra sector. Everything in Terra was too interesting due to its peculiarity and no one could get their eyes off the display, especially the dinosaur displays.
Anyhow, there was a restaurant of some kind beside the gallery. They had a nice afternoon tea break there. They serve foods of all cultures you can find in the gallery, but, of course, all of the young students chose to eat the strange but delicious cuisines of Terra. However, the variety of food in Terra isn't as wide as many thought. There have been a lot of explorers venturing into Asgard, and most of them had influenced the inhabitants there, one way or another. Still, that's not to say there aren't originality in any of the food.
The duo, Jack, and Emily were the first to finish their afternoon 'snack'. Damien could see they weren't fond of the idea that they had to wait for the others to finish too before they could get back to the train, so he decided to bring them back first. This way, he would also have some time to rest before the journey continued. They went to the gallery through the main road, but they took a shortcut by entering a small alley. Just when they walked into the alley, Damien received a call from one of the attendants.
"...I'll be right there," As soon as the call ended, he turned towards the four, "It seems a student has caused some trouble with one of the employees there. We'll have to go back."
"Wait! Can't the four of us walk back to the train? After all, it's not that far away."
"No. Have you forgotten what happened last time when you're alone?"
"Come on, Damien. We can literally see the train from here, and there's nothing dangerous in front of us either.
Nothing bad will happen." He didn't want to go back because one of the customer there was eating an awfully terrible smelling food. He did NOT need to go back and smell it the second time. Damien stared at him for awhile as he secretly used his natural ability to sense nearby enemies. No one with malicious intent was near them.
"Alright. I'll allow it. However, if something bad did happen, you must contact me immediately. Understand?" "Understood." "Good. I'll see you four later." And he left immediately. Jack let out a sigh and they proceeded to amble towards the train.
"Can't handle the smell back there?" Rey asked. "Yeah. I'd do whatever it takes to not smell that again." Silence filled the air for a few seconds before Rey spoke again, "Say, Jack, what did happen the last time when you're alone?" He glanced at the azure-haired boy with suspicion.
"I-" A barrage of silent bullets rained down on the four of them. Jack swiftly grabbed Emily with his arm and leaped forward with force. When he noticed the bullets kept on following him, he summoned his sword, put down Emily, and swing it in a circle above his head with crazy strength within one second. The sword, after detecting Jack's thought, changed the element of the core to 'air'. When he completed the revolution of his sword, an intense wind barrier was formed. When he raised his head to see who had ambushed them, no one was in sight. In fact, the attack stopped completely. He deactivated the barrier and released his sword.
After a brief moment of relaxing, his body tensed up again with a sudden thought: what happened to Rey and Eli? He swirled to his back panicking, but what he saw was a semi-spherical fire barrier. Strangely enough, when the barrier came down, there was no burnt mark on the ground. Nevertheless, he quickly grabbed Emily in his arms again and rushed forward. As he stood in front of the duo and let down Emily, he saw Rey's calm, but angry face, Eli's trembling body and frightened expression, and Hinoko's glowing eyes returning to normal on Rey's shoulder.
"Please, before you say anything, please don't tell Damien about this." He felt even bad for saying this when he thought Eli was on his verge of crying. "Then you're in luck, Jack. Whoever attacked us also have no desire to let anyone know about their ambush. There were no bullet marks anywhere, and they didn't use Source projectiles. I won't tell anything to Damien, I don't want this incident to ruin the trip for everyone else," Jack let out a breath of relief, "However, you're not off the hook that easily," before he took a strained one.
"Considering you just endangered me and Elliot, you are going to tell me what I want to know. If you refuse, Damien will know every juicy detail about this." At the same time he finished the sentence, a few students with an attendant popped up at the end of the alley. Jack nervously pulled the duo's hand and urged them to walk normally with his expression, "Okay, okay. I'll tell you what you want to know, just promise me, promise me you won't mention this to Damien or anyone else." He murmured.
"I promise. Now, tell me," He was so going to regret allowing Rey to ask him-
"Where do you live now? And where do you live before you came to Speir?" What? Why was Rey asking this kind of questions? Nevermind that, at least he didn't ask the questions concerning the attackers, "I live in a student house in the Sea Region, its name is Moira. Before I came to Speir, I lived in Tenebrae, inside a remote village far from the empire's reach."
"Are you a human?" It's as if Rey dropped a bomb on his head. Everyone immediately stared at Rey. They were almost at the train due to their quickened steps. "...not entirely…." He spat out those words painfully. How in the world did Rey know that?!
"Experiment?" "...yes…." "Living weapon?" "How, in the name of Gaia, did you know about that?!" He shouted while they were already inside the invisible elevator slowly moving to the top. It wasn't fear that he felt. It was more like a defence mechanism. Like a prey being caution towards an unknown predator.
"Answer my question, Jack. Are you an experimental living weapon? Yes, or no?" The elevator came to a halt. He practically ground the word out from his mouth, "...yes..."
"I know this because," He sauntered into the train, "I have been collecting information about you since the day I met you. When I first saw your aura, I knew you aren't just a normal person. And I," He sat down on the bench, "Have to know for certain who or what exactly are you. I won't tell you why I did it; you wouldn't understand my motive anyway. Now, onto the next question. Do you know why you are made?" The rest of them took a seat on the same bench as well. He could see Jack's expression clearly as he sat beside him.
"No, I don't." "Do you know who made you?" "I'm….not sure." "Do you know the people who attacked us?" Rey probably won't accept his answer, but fuck it, "No." Surprisingly, Rey doesn't seem to be bothered by it, "Did you came to the Academy because you were sent here or did you came here because you want to find answers?" He gave up trying to guess how Rey knew what he knew, "Both." "Send me your Circulum number." He did as Rey told awkwardly; he's still wasn't familiar with this device. After Rey added his number to the 'VIP list', he didn't say anything else.
"You...aren't going to ask me more questions?" "No. Unless you want me to." Rey ignored him and diverted his attention to Eli as a few students boarded the train. He tried to comfort the frightened boy, but it seems Eli had already recovered from that frightful experience, mostly, at least. After everyone was back on the train, Damien began to spoke as the transportation resumed its journey.
"My fellow students, we are now on the road to our final Section. No matter how much all of you have enjoyed the trip, it is unfortunate that our journey had nearing its end. However, I am positive that all of you, once you have seen what Section 4 has to offer, you would return your homes happily. May I present you, the Section of Life and Understanding, Zivot!"
The first sight of Zivot was astounding; it was as if they've entered a forest with modern buildings in it, but much tidier. They could see various aerial beings flying past them, and a few types of beasts and animals doing stuff on the rooftop with humanoids through the window.
"Eintracht is one of the two worlds which were untouched by modern civilization, thus it was able to preserve the many flora and fauna which many had thought extinct along with many exotic ones. So, the theme of this Section which corresponds to Eintracht is of course all about living beings. More specifically, the perseverance, caring, and protection of any and all sentient beings. Everything you would associate with biology can be found here."
"I'm sure all of you want to know what is the attraction of Zivot, and I'm doubly certain that all of you already have a good guess in your mind. To find out the answer," The train halted its movement, "You just have to step out the train."
They spent their remaining time in the 'zoo'. It's not an actual zoo because it's illegal to capture any sentient beings and throw them into a cage then charge whoever wants to see it with money. Plus, the Guardians of the Forest would not stay quiet if it did happen. To picture what exactly was this place, imagine humanoids living in the forest. There's nothing wrong with it, they live harmoniously with the living beings there, they don't kill animals/beasts to eat their meat, and they can come and go as the please if they follow the rules set by the authorities. Imagine that situation for animals and beasts.
But of course, the Safe Haven doesn't just invite beasts or animals here for fun, the employees there also researched them for tons of reasons that ordinary people don't care about. This is also where the internship for Tamers is held. Visitors visit the place all day every day; sometimes they would have the chance to witness gigantic beasts while other days they could interact with lower Demis which their consciousness just elevated to a higher one.
Rey wasn't terribly fond of animals or beasts, aside from Hinoko. However, seeing that she was enjoying herself so much with other foxes and beasts resembling foxes, he couldn't help but agreed to join the Kitsune to have some fun. Jack and Damien, on the other hand, were drawn to a rare crystal wyvern on the top of the building. Jack had the unlikely opportunity to watch a dragon-daemon interact with a subspecies of a dragon.
Damien used a weird but extremely loud voice to communicate with the wyvern. Because it's not an actual dragon, the President had to resort to using vocal communication to 'talk' to the astonishingly gentle and calm beast. Although its scales appeared to be crystals, it was only a thin glittering coating. The horns were real crystals though; it acts as an excellent medium for the beast to channel its magical powers, which was why they were once on the brink of extinction.
Then, after Damien finished conversing with the wyvern, he asked Jack whether he wants to have a ride on its back. How could any boy of his age say no? So, after the employees there gave them a few safety equipment and installed a saddle on the large wyvern's back, they were good to go. The boy excitedly sat on the saddle, but the daemon was standing behind the boy instead.
Not counting the violent departure, the experience of the entire flight on the beast's back was beyond mind-blowingly awesome. The sunset, the buildings, and their high altitude permanently ingrained the scenery he saw with his very eyes into his mind. He wished Emily could see this, but she would probably be too sick to even brace the takeoff. He peeked at Damien behind his back for a few seconds whenever the wyvern changed the direction of the course through gliding to see how was he able to not fell down instantly. It was a bit disappointing though, he just stood there perfectly straight without a hint of concern. It's probably magic.
They landed back on the building after the aerial beast began to feel tired. Jack went looking for Emily with a burning desire to tell her all about his experience. He found her, along with almost half of the students, cuddling small, adorable creatures. Surprisingly, he saw her exchanging a few words with Eli. He decided not to interrupt her and tried to blend in with other youngsters as well.
Rey, after spending some quality time with Hinoko, went to the 'botanical garden' with a quarter of students and two attendants. Aside from his intention to see what kinds of exotic flowers are planted here, he also wanted to test if he could spend some time in a quiet garden far from the cacophony of civilization. He went to a higher floor where he could sense no one was in there. The plants here were a bit dull in colour, but wonderful nonetheless.
For example, he found a small section of the wall entirely dedicated to Windsongs, a plant which plays a natural music when the wind blows at it. He used an air spell on one end of the section to the other. He expected the sound to be incompatible with each separate Windsongs, but he couldn't be any more wrong. It was beautiful. It. Was. Beautiful.
As the dusk slowly transitioned to the night, all of them boarded the train one last time before heading home.
"Well, folks, the trip is officially over. I hope all of you had a good day and I wish I would have a chance to meet all of you again. Goodbye." Said Damien once the train stopped. The students began to step out from the train.
"See you next time, Rey, Eli. Sorry for what happened earlier."
"Until next time, Jack." Rey quickly brushed past Jack and alighted the train without batting an eye at him. It's hard to tell if he was still mad or he was too tired to bother to bid a proper farewell.
"Goodbye, Jack, Emily." Eli hurriedly caught up with Rey. A few seconds later, the door slid back and began moving towards the Sea Region.
"Rey! Eli! Welcome back!" Aster stood up from a couch opposing the door the moment he saw them, "How was the trip? Was it good?"
"Yeah! It was awesome!" "If it's awesome even for you who lives in the city, imagine what I had felt when I went to the trip, although I didn't buy the VIP ticket. What about you, Rey? What do you think of the trip?" The boy's attention was not on the goat Demi, but rather on the person with carmine hair sitting across the couch Aster was sitting on just now.
"Alan, you can stop pretending you're not there already." The carmine head jerked. Then, the person lazily stood up and turned around.
"I'm not pretending, Rey." Alan looked like he had a makeover. His blonde hair was gone, so does his sunglasses. His hair was laid down and the 'subtle' makeup seen on his face during previous meetings was gone. He looked more natural and handsome this way.
"Whatever. Have you eaten yet, Aster?" A wave of students entered the dorm during this sentence.
"Nope. I was waiting for you two to come back. Let's go." Aster took the lead, Alan at his side, while the duo followed behind.
"Nice makeover, Alan." "Shaddup, Rey. I don't want to hear that from you." They stepped into the elevator. "Is this what you have been doing with Alan, Aster? Giving him a new look?" Now they exited the small space.
"No. Well, not the only one, anyway. This is his original look. I've been trying to get him back on track, for example: forcing him to attend the classes that he should be going, fixing his unhealthy diet, and the most important of them all, restoring his original personality. It was a request made by Ada, she couldn't stand him being his obnoxious self." Searching a table for five together.
"Hey, I'm right here, you know? Ugh, why do you care about me anyway?"
"What can I say, I like helping people out. There, beside the window, behind the orc." All of them swiftly swim through the crowd to reach their destination.
"Must be hard." "Hmm? Not really. Ada was the one doing most of the job. It seems she have quite a relationship with Alan here. Wanna share your story?" He grinned.
"Fuck off." The conversation was temporary halted as they sat down, ordered their food, and ate it.
"Alright, I'm done. I'm going back to my room." Unfortunately, Aster dragged him back to his seat before he could run for it.
"What now?" He muttered in an annoyed tone.
"We should hear about Rey's first case! He promised he would tell the tale once Eli and I were gathered together."
"I. Don't. Care." He abruptly shot up and strode away. However, a few seconds later he came back, "Fine. I'll listen to his stupid story." Aster grinned again. This time with a hint of sarcasm.
"You saw Ada." "Yep." "She's really going hard with the whole 'training' thing huh?" "I don't want to talk about it."
"Initially, it was two separate cases. The first is the mysterious symbols appeared on seven pictures taken by seven people on seven consecutive days around the Artifact Displaying Room. The second was a 'cursed' picture taken by one of the groups in the Treasure Hunting Association. The people inside the picture were drawn with the ways that they would die."
"It all begins when a student in that picture narrowly avoided death. He was the first one to saw the drawings on the picture his friend took and he believed that he should precaution to avert the way of his death. After the incident, he quickly told the other 9 that was also present in the picture about what happened. One of them eventually came to the Analytical Mind and reported the incident."
"At the time, I was following my mentor trying to solve the first case. However, seeing that we aren't making any progress, Arthur shove the second case to us. I was ordered to find out the details of why they were cursed. There, I found a connection between two cases. Those ten people in the picture were responsible for bringing a new artifact into the Academy."
"I asked them if they know what the symbols in the seven pictures meant, and sure enough, they do. The symbols were alternate words to an ancient language. They mentioned that they saw similar symbols in the chamber which they took the artifact from. They decipher the words, and it reads 'You won't be forgiven. Death will follow.'"
"They didn't know what they need to do to repel the spirit, so I suggested they should go to the Artifact Displaying Room and see who was the one putting the symbols into random pictures. One of them was acting aggressively, and he was eager to kill whoever responsible for the drawings and symbols. My mentor used a few tricks, and we were able to summon the entity."
"The aggressive halfling* was about to kill the seemingly harmless entity, but his companion, the first victim, I'll call him J for simplicity, stopped him. After a few explanations, we found out that the entity was not the evil spirit. The entity originated from a small statue lies outside the chamber where the artifact lies. Before J went in, he grabbed the toppled statue and made it stood upright again. He'd even pray at the statue for protection."
"The truth about the entity was that it was once a protection spirit guarding the chamber. However, after the chamber was abandoned, nobody cared about it anymore. When J prayed at him, it felt hope. After the group of people took the artifact, it knew terrible things would happen to them, so it tried to warn them."
"The first thing it tried was the symbols, but it didn't work out because it didn't know where to find them. Just as the curse was about to take place, one of the group members went back to the artifact room. That person was planning to steal and sell the artifact. He failed, by the way, but it gave the entity a chance to find J. Now they know about the whole story."
"What about the evil spirit?"
"The curse cannot be revoked, and the evil spirit had decided to attack all of us at that moment considering his plan to kill them one by one has foiled. The entity was going to sacrifice itself to save them, it was cliche as hell if you ask me. However, I had a better plan. I learned how to extinguish mid-level evil spirits like these back at the Outer Regions, it was a necessity. It was quite difficult, but Hinoko was very helpful." Rey gently stroke the fur on her head.
"The evil spirit was gone, and the benevolent entity got to stay with J. Happy ending."
"Wow, Rey. That was quite a story."
"Yeah, whatever. It wasn't challenging at all. Now, if you would excuse me, I want to go back to my room and rest."
"Of course. Goodnight, Rey, Eli." Hinoko lightly howled as she does not like to be ignored, "And of course you too, Hinoko." She nodded in satisfaction.
"See you later, Aster, Alan." He stood up and sauntered away.
"Goodnight Aster! Goodnight to you too, Alan." He quickly catches up with Rey.
"Ugh." Then Alan groaned and quickly left.
Aster was the last one left. He slowly gets up on his two feet, pushed in his chair and Alan's, and left with a smile on his face.
✵End of Chapter Ten✵
*Halfling in my story refers to a child born from two different humanoid races.
Hey guys. I have bad news and a neutral news. We'll start with the neutral one.
I wrote a short story two days ago called "Walk The Sky". I'm still not sure as to why I wrote it, but I hope you would check it out.
As for the bad news, I will be stopping to write this story for awhile. I never thought assignments in university is this tedious. I had to write a bloody script and do a short video. It's hard. Well, the main problem I have right now is that I don't have any ideas. More specifically, I need way too much time coming up with the details of the story. And I'm not in the mood for it.
BUT, if it makes you any better and makes me something like an ultimate hypocrite, I will be partnering up with another guy to work on a new story. Yup. I have time to do that but not this. We haven't officially started writing it, maybe we'll even stop it before it even begins. Anyway, I'm sorry if I disappointed you guys, I'm not emotionally strong and I am very flawed. I just hope that once this story is back on again, you guys will be here to support me again. Peace!