I was running. Sweat dripped along my temples under a September sun. Today was the entrance exam, admission day- I couldn't be late. I was in such a hurry I didn't even notice a short girl with long blonde hair walking around the corner. Time slowed to a near stop as I crashed into her.
"You idiot!" someone yelled while I slowly got to my senses. Soon, I understood it was the girl shouting. I also understood why she was angry, I didn't just run into her. In an attempt to break our fall I tried to catch her, and succeeded. Unfortunately I grabbed onto something soft and pliable- through some twist of fate I had grabbed a delicate part of her. Simply put, I grabbed her chest, of which the size wasn't even that big which made it even harder to explain how my hand ended up there.
"My apologies miss, I was just trying to…" before I could even finish her righteous fury had already taken over of her body. Resulting in a red copy of her hand plastered across my face. "You pervert!" She yelled,running off.
How embarrassing… I hope I won't see her again, I hoped to myself. Well, time to go the entrance exam. So, I set of to the side courtyard where the entrance exam would be held. When I walked in the courtyard I was greeted with many people from over the lands.
"Hey boy… yeah you there with the ponytail!" I looked around to locate the person who had called out to me so rudely. I saw an old man waving and walked towards him. When I arrived, the man started rambling.
"Okay who do we have here Guro Gusai. Hmm I see:
eye colour: grey,
previous magic use: military,
prefered magic: Umbramancy,
body type: slender,
and last but not least, ultimate form: unknown.
We have quite a few gaps to fill in don't we?" He asked like I was hiding something, I laughed to make it seem like a joke. He was suspicious already and I hadn't even started yet.
"Okay, first let's establish your magical rank, Follow me." He mumbled and walked away. When we stopped walking we were standing in front of a few objects nothing special.
"So what do you need me to do first?" I asked excitedly, the last time I got tested was ages ago.
"First off, lift that crate with magic" The man said. I focussed all my energy on the crate, suddenly the crate imploded, crushed by a overload of magical energy. A thousand splinters flew through the air. "You aren't very good at this, are you? I said lift the crate, not obliterate the crate." He said in a condescending manner.
"Next up, summon your weapon." He instructed, as though it's the most basic thing ever.
"Uhm, I don't have one." I replied shamefully.
"What do you mean you don't have one?" He answered surprised.
"As I said, I can't summon my weapon yet," the man sighed in reply and scribbled something down on his notepad.
After a few minutes, he moved on. "So, can you transform?" I shook my head. The man sighed in despair. "What am I supposed to do with you" he mumbled to himself. After that, we did a few more tests, which I seemed to be very bad at.
"This is the last test. I'm almost afraid to ask; can you fire your highest lvl spell at the magical crystal? Then, I'll see what your attack power is." he said with no sense of confidence in me.
I had to think for a while before I knew which spell I would use, eventually I decided. "I would like to have a go at laser beam please," Laser beam was a regular spell which everyone could use, however, the power was decided by your training and stamina.
"Are you sure you can manage?" he said with concern in his voice, to which I replied yes.
I got ready and snapped my fingers, no one could have foreseen what happened next. A beam the width of fired at the crystal causing a gigantic shockwave. As a result, when all the smoke dissipated, we saw the crystal, skittering across the ground. Thousands of crystal flakes covered the field we were standing in. I looked at the guy completely in shock. "Did I pass?" the old man stumble back "u-uhm yeah ".
When I got back at the school, old memories invaded my mind. For a second it felt like I had only left this place yesterday. The building has been here for as long as I can remember. Nostalgy got the best of me when I remembered the first time I walked around this campus, I was surprised how big it was and yet not discomforting. The academia was a great fort from the last war redesigned to function as the ultimate magic academy. It had all the facilities you could hope for: The building had a giant tower at the right back corner where the medical bay was located. Two buildings jutting out forward from the main building, both used as dormitories. I remembered that the girls' dorms where on the left and the boys' on the right, giving the whole structure a U shape when viewed on a map. Separating the former ammunition department from the school itself was a large, lush courtyard; the natural, Japanese style of which still impressed me. The ammunition department was turned into a library where you can find any information you could ever want to look for. The fact that none of this had changed one bit over all these years giving it a familiar aura.
It had been two days since the entrance exam. I had already received the announcement that I had been accepted so now I would get to know the rank and class in which I would follow my curriculum for that year. The rankings go from F up until A, then goes even higher to S for the special high level mages who had come here. Looking at the giant clock on the medical tower, I realized I was late, so I had to hurry.
"Hey you! You are the freaky perv who had molested my chest!" A squeaky voice yelled. A shiver went down my spine, Crap.
"How did they accept a student like you?" she wondered out loud when she walked up to me.
"Have the standards lowered this much?" She asked genuinely surprised.
"My deepest apologies for trying to catch you while you were about to crash in to the ground." I said said full on sarcasm.
"Okay, If you manage to answer my question correctly, I'll let you off the hook… for now."
I'll be honest- she confused me. She seemed to dislike me, yet kept the conversation going. Was I the only one she could talk to? Didn't she have friends, or was there some other reason? well I can better stay on good terms, who knows maybe we have to work together someday.
"Okay, ask." I answered straight forward
"Do you know what the purpose of this academy is, And if so why we would attend it?" she asked with a smile on her face thinking I wouldn't know the answer. The large mass of students trickling past kept their distance, but kept staring at us. She might actually have no friends. This could be interesting I laughed.
"Here in this world we live with and among magic, normally the amount of magical power is determined on training, genes and experience; now, we practice magic at schools over the whole world. In this world, we have 4 districts: Aria, Lancia, Grundle and Ribartok. At these schools, we learn to use magic in all kinds of ways, for example: practical use, politics and combat. When using magic in combat you have multiple artefacts you can use to channel your magic through, some of which include weapons like: swords, spears, bows and or shields. This completely depends on what your specialty is. We can also call it practical magic use, since you use it for yourself as weapon or a shield. Every district has 3 council member of which 2 offence fighters and one politician, this makes a total of 12 council members; These people are the most powerful mages around. Uhm... Atleast... that's what I have heard." I looked back at her face to catch a glimpse of her surprised expression when I answer her question spot on. Answering was totally worth it, she really didn't see it coming.
"Oh-uhm, that's pretty accurate" She said surprised, implying I was stupid. Silence fell for a few seconds.
"B-but this doesn't mean I already accept you as a mage, nor friends... That reminds me, you didn't even give me your name!" She asked out of nowhere.
"Oh, uh… my name is, uh, Guro… Gosai... Yeah, that's me: Guro Gosai" I stuttered.
"Okay then?" She hesitated, probably confused by my inability to remember my name.
"Well, my name is Shera, Shera of the Harvinia family. I'm in my second year, Rank S. And you, are you a freshman?" she said full confidence.
Her name; It was her name that made my heart skip a beat. Now taking a good look at Her eyes. bright blue eyes shone with confidence and pride staring at me. Combined with her blonde hair, almost gold coloured. Now that I had a better look I could see the similarities. "The Harvinia family she says." I repeated mumbling. My hand twitches involuntarily, for one second I almost went for her throat. After a pause for what seemed an eternity, I managed to tell her I was a transfer student and as for such, a second year student.
"Oh, well in that case you should come with me to the rank announcement, otherwise you're going to be late!" Right when we arrived in the school's hall, now crammed with lined up students Shera whispered something.
"Quick- they've already started and it seems you're up next. Don't worry, just go up and take the envelope." She was right, the dean called my name and told me to step forward. While I walked forward everyone watched me closely. My proximity to this more or less famous girl made me conspicuous. I mingled with the rest of the students, trying to get the letter. Hoping to have lost Shera in the crowd, I accepted the letter and went back in to the crowd. Shera had kept a close eye on me, because not all to much later she hopped up next to me.
"And? What rank are you?" she asked.
"Rank E, class A4." I said showing her the piece of paper. She didn't notice that my hand was trembling. "What!" she recoiled, "H-How... T-that's my class! This must be a mistake. Your rank is way lower than mine, so how can you be in my class?" She snatched the paper out of my hands. "A-and your room number!" She put her hand over her mouth to conceal a gasp. "What?" I asked confused. "Th-that's my room!" Shera had turned bright red, and ran off to call a teacher. In the meantime I hoped I had lost her… But this not more that a lie I had put up for myself. She came back protesting loudly, with a teacher in tow. "What is this?" she asked out of breath. Tapping at the paper repeatedly.
"Could you please explain why this low ranked slacker is going to cohabitate with me? On top of that he's a guy, this is against the rules!" she yelled after she regained some stamina.
The teacher tried to silence her by explaining that they had decided I could learn a lot from Shera, and since she still didn't have a partner I was a great fit for her. Besides that, I was at her level with theoretical classes.
"B-but this can't be," she said with disbelieve. "I think you'll find that it can and will work out. Also, the principal already signed the agreement, so changing isn't possible at this point. miss Harvinia?," the teacher said firmly since Shera seemed to have lost her conscious. "And... wait what... partner? He can't be my partner, he's just an E rank" And once again I was told off just because of my rank. I ripped the imaginary dagger Shera just stabbed in my heart out of my chest.
"So what, I think he might just surprise you." mixed feelings boiled up now that I got a better understanding of what was going on.
"Let me stop you both right there," I said, holding up a palm, trying to limit my outward display of fury. "do I have no say in this? Since when am I her battle partner? I enrolled in the political science class!" I said firm since I had no interest in battling anymore and on top of that a, Shera as my partner… I sighed.
Now that I bursted out the teacher focused on me. "Our school demands at least a B-rank in combat ability in order for a student to enroll. As such, you're automatically enrolled as a minor in Applied Combat. Didn't you read the curriculum, Mr. Gosai? You'll be training for, and as well as participating in student battles every two months, along with miss Harvinia. Who knows, You might just get enough points to enter the finals and win a prize! Or-" The teacher leaned closer. "If you win, you can try challenging a council member to take their place. Exciting, isn't it?"
I slightly backed away from the teacher's face. I knew exactly how the system worked.
The teacher turned back to Shera. "As for you, I know you are very keen on being accepted into the council. But just being strong isn't enough for that. You have to be a good person to join the council."
I had to hold back a sneer. Good people in the council, don't make me laugh. "So..." the teacher said, applying this conversation was as good as over. "Be a good person and help Guro train, will you? I know you can do it!" I smiled, this will be interesting. "Okay, I will try," Shera said, looking at her feet, at that moment I saw my chance and took the opportunity to get away.
The rest of the day was more relaxing for me, mainly because Shera left me alone. She had disappeared. Dreading to meet her eventually in our room, I postponed having to go there by having a look at all the other freshmen.
While I sat in the academy's courtyard, I somehow sensed someone watching me, were they at the academy? Undoubtedly, but had they already found me? I was sure my disguise, fake name and specially my ranking were enough to mislead them, at least for a while. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up, I raised myself from the bench of which I had been relaxing on.
"Guro! Wait!" The girl who had called out to me came running. "I haven't seen you since you helped me carry the groceries last week," she said, gasping quietly from exhaustion. It was Lilly Weatherford, I recall. I met her while scoping out the area. I found her while she was carrying four stuffed bags around the street, so I helped her. Getting on the good side of locals is never a bad idea, but it turned out she is a student here too. Her small group of friends joined her side and asked where she knew me from.
"It's a friend I made while grocery shopping, he helped me carry my bags, but I haven't had the chance to say thanks," Lilly explained. Nice now I'm the guy who seems to have a crush within the first week. I sighed, all the girls started staring at me with suspicion. Well that's one way to make a guy feel uncomfortable I thought while I smiled back. "Thanks again!" Lily said.
"Don't mention it, it was nothing, really," I waved her off still under gase of the girls. "No, no I'm really grateful." It was silent for a few seconds. " Hey, do you want to join us for a bit? We were going for some food, so what if I make it up to you by buying you something?" It was tempting to go with her, not only because she was a pretty girl but also because she provided me with a reason to stay away from the room where Shera must be waiting, to say something insulting to me, or maybe murder me. Even thinking about it gave me the chills. How good of a relationship did she have with her father anyway? I was about to agree to Lilly's offer when exhaustion mixed with a dark aura of disapproval from the girls set in. I have been awake for three days at this point. I tried sleeping in the bed of my temporary domicile, but I couldn't. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw my friend covered in blood, and the face of Harvinia Sr. laughing at me. I would jolt awake, even more tired than before. But I couldn't stay awake forever either, and I was sure that if I fell down on to whatever bed, in whatever room, regardless of its inhabitant, I would sleep instantly. So I told Lily that I was very grateful and that I would see her tomorrow. I left her with a slightly disappointed look on her face and went on my way to her.